Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/268

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first invented by the devil, (as Cornelius Agrippa Wryteth,) and frequented by unhappy men: the detestable roote, upon which a thousand villainies grow.

"The nurses of thease (worse than heathenysh) hellish exercises are places called ordinary tables: of which there are in London, more in nomber to honour the devyll, than churches to serve the living God.

"I constantly determine to crosse the streets, where these vile houses (ordinaries) are planted, to bless me from the inticements of them, which in very deed are many, and the more dangerous in that they please with a vain hope of gain. Insomuch on a time, I heard a distemperate dicer solemnly sweare that he faithfully beleeved, that dice were first made of the bones of a witch, and cards of her skin, in which there hath ever sithence remained an enchantment that whosoever once taketh delight in either, he shall never have power utterly to leave them for, quoth he, I a hundred times vowed to leave both, yet have not the grace to forsake either."[1]

The casual allusions contained in the old plays to the thriftless indulgence in gaming by people of all classes are innumerable. In Middleton's Your Five Gallants (iv. 1) there is a reference to

  1. [[Author:George Whetstone|]], The Enemie to Unthriftinisse, 1586.