Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/240

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220
REACTION

by the Puritans burst forth unrestrained as soon as the check was withdrawn. The desire for amusement was indulged to the full, little or no restraint being imposed. Cock-fighting and bull-baiting, "butcherly sports," were once more freely witnessed by all classes of society. Ladies and gentlemen, disguised with masks, mixed with the common people at crowded fairs and low entertainments. Cards and gambling passed away the precious hours, and "cursing, swearing, grumbling, and rejoicing were heard to an accompanying rattle of guineas." Women joined enthusiastically; night after night they sat at the card-table indulging in this fashionable folly, heedless of rebuke and warning:

"Yet sitting up so late, as I am told,
 You'll lose in beauty what you gain in gold."

The game of Gleek, popular in Queen Elizabeth's time, sprang into favour at the Restoration. Pepys learnt the game in the winter of 1662: "My Aunt Wright and my wife and I to cards, she teaching of us to play at Gleek, which is a pretty game." Whist was played towards the close of the reign of Charles II. In 1674 a book appeared called The Compleat Gambler; or, Instructions how to