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The Gambling ladies-Ladies Archer, Buckinghamshire, Mrs Concannon, &c.Private Faro Banks Card-money- Gaming House end of Eighteenth Century-Anecdotes—The profits of Gaming Houses—C. J. Fox and Sir John Lade-Col. Hanger on gambling.

WE have previously read how ladies of position kept gambling houses, and pleaded their privilege to do so; they, however, had to bow to the law. In the latter part of the eighteenth century many ladies opened their houses, the best known, probably, being Lady Buckinghamshire and Lady Archer. The former is said to have slept with a blunderbuss and a pair of pistols by her bedside, to protect her Faro bank; and the latter was notorious for her "make up," as we may see by the two following notices in the Morning Post.

"Jan. 5, 1789. The Lady Archer, whose death was announced in this paper of Saturday, is not the celebrated character whose cosmetic powers have long been held in public estimation."

"Jan. 8, 1789. It is said that the dealers in Carmine and dead white, as well as the perfumers in general, have it in contemplation to present an Address to Lady Archer, in gratitude for her not having DIED according to a late alarming report."

We get portraits of these two ladies in a satirical print by Gillray (31st March 1792), which is entitled "Modern Hospitality, or a Friendly Party in High Life," where they are shewn keeping a Faro bank; and as these fair ones were then somewhat passées, the picture has the following :-" To those earthly Divinities who charmed twenty years ago, this Honourable method of banishing mortifying reflections is

dedicated. O, Woman! Woman! everlasting is your power over us, for in youth you charm away our hearts, and, in your after years, you charm away our purses!" The players are easily recognised. Lady Archer, who sits on the extreme left, has won largely; rouleaux of gold and bank notes are before her, and, on her right hand, are two heaps of loose gold and the painted old gambler smiles as she shows her cards, saying, "The Knave wins all!" Her next-door neighbour, the Prince of Wales, who has staked and lost his last piece, lifts his hands and eyes in astonishment at the luck. Lady Buckinghamshire has doubled her stake, playing on two cards, and is, evidently, annoyed at her loss, while poor, black-muzzled Fox laments the loss of his last three pieces.

Gillray portrayed these two ladies on several occasions. There are two pictures of St James's and St Giles's, and in Dividing the Spoil, St James's, 1796," we see Lady Archer and Lady Buckinghamshire quarrelling over gold, bank notes, a sword, and an order. One other lady, probably Lady Mount Edgecumbe, is scrutinising a bill, whilst a fourth, with a pile of gold and notes before her, looks on smilingly.

Another print (16th May 1796) is called " Faro's Daughters, or the Kenyonian Blow Up to Gamblers." Here we see Lady Archer and Mrs Concannon placed together in the pillory, where they are mutually upbraiding each other. The motif for this picture was a speech of Lord Kenyon's, who, at a trial to recover £15, won at gaming on Sunday, at a publichouse, commented very severely on the hold the vice of gaming had on all classes of society, from the highest to the lowest. The former, he said, set the example to the latter, and, he added, "They think they are too great for the law; I wish they could be punished"-and then continued, "If any prosecutions of this kind are fairly brought before me, and the parties are justly convicted, whatever be their rank or station in the country, though they be the first ladies in the land, they shall certainly exhibit themselves in the pillory."

They were getting somewhat too notorious. In spite of Lady Buckinghamshire's precautions of blunderbuss and pistols, her croupier, Martindale, announced, on 30th Jan. 1797, that the box containing the cash of the Faro bank had unaccountably disappeared. All eyes were turned towards her ladyship. Mrs Concannon said she once lost a gold snuff-box from the table when she went to speak to Lord C. Another lady said she lost her purse there the previous winter, and a story was told that a certain lady had taken by mistake a cloak which did not belong to her at a rout given by the late Countess of Guildford. Unfortunately, a discovery was made, and when the servant knocked at the door to demand it, some very valuable lace with which it was trimmed had been taken off. Some surmised that the lady who stole the cloak might also have stolen the Faro bank.

Townsend and his meddlesome police would poke their noses into the business, and, although they did not recover the Faro bank, something did come out of their interference, as we read in the Times of 13th March 1797. "PUBLIC OFFICE, MARLBOROUGH STREET. FARO BANKS. On Saturday came on to be heard informations against Lady Buckinghamshire, Lady Elizabeth Luttrell, Mrs Sturt, and Mr Concannon, for having, on the night of the 30th of last January, played at Faro, at Lady Buckinghamshire's house, in St James's Square, and Mr Martindale was charged with being the proprietor of the table.

"The evidence went to prove that the defendants had gaming parties at their different houses in rotation; and, that when they met at Lady B.'s, the witnesses used to wait upon them in the gambling room, and that they played at E. O., Rouge et Noir, &c., from about eleven or twelve till three or four o'clock in the morning. After hearing counsel the Magistrates convicted Henry Martindale in the penalty of £200, and each of the ladies in £50. The information against Mr Concannon was quashed, on account of his being summoned by a wrong Christian name.”

Gillray improved this occasion, giving us "Discipline à la Kenyon," and drew Lady Buckinghamshire tied to the tail of a cart, on which is a placard, "FARO'S DAUGHTERS BEWARE" the Lord Chief Justice is depicted as administering a sound flogging both with birch and cat-o'-nine-tails to the delinquent lady, whilst Lady Luttrell and Mrs Sturt stand in the pillory guarded by a stalwart constable.

These ladies do not seem to have survived the century, for the Morning Post of Jan. 12, 1800, says: "Society has reason to rejoice in the complete downfall of the Faro Dames, who were so long the disgrace of human nature. Their die is cast, and their odd tricks avail no longer. The game is up, and very few of them have cut with honours." Mrs Concannon still kept on, but not in London, as is seen by the following paragraph. Morning Herald, 18th Dec. 1802: "The visitors to Mrs Concannon's petits soupers at Paris, are not attracted by billets previously circulated, but by cards, afterwards dealt out in an elegant and scientific manner; not to mince the matter, they are the rendezvous of deep play and the only questionable point about the matter is, whether the Irish or the French will prove victors at the close of so desperate a winter's campaign."

The following extracts from The Times tell us much about the fashionable professional lady gamblers :

"Feb. 5, 1793. Mrs Sturt's house in St James Square was opened yesterday evening, for the first time this season, for public play. The visitors were numerous."

"Feb. 6, 1793. Some of the Faro ladies have opened their play-houses, and announced the Road to Ruin until further notice. The Gamesters was publicly rehearsed in St James Square on Monday night.”

"Feb. 10, 1793. The profits of FARO are become so considerably reduced that most of the Banks now lose almost every evening, after defraying the expenses of the house, which are very considerable. Those public spirited Ladies who give such frequent routs, do so at a certain gain : for the sum of TWENTY-FIVE guineas is regularly advanced

by the bank holders towards the night's expenses. The punters at Mrs HOBART'S and Mrs STURT'S Faro banks have dropped off considerably; and those who continue are got so knowing that heavy complaints are made that they bring no grist to the mill. There have not been above eight punters at Mrs STURT's bank any night this season. The pigeons are all flown, and the punters are nothing better than hawks."

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14 Mar. 1793. The BANKING Ladies in St James Square do not see themselves much obliged to the Abbé de St Farre, and his brother, for introducing so many noble Emigrants to their houses. These people come with their crown pieces and half guineas, and absolutely form a circle round the Faro tables, to the total exclusion of our English Lords and Ladies, who can scarcely get one punt during the whole evening."

"2 May 1793. A Banking Lady, in St James Square, is about to commence a prosecution, because it is said, that there was much filching at her FARO table. The house was quite in an uproar, on Tuesday night, in consequence of a paragraph that appeared in a Morning Paper of the preceding day. The Lady vows she will call in the aid of an Attorney to support her reputation: and observes, that the credit of her house will suffer, if such reports are permitted to go unpunished. The Faro Ladies are, in the sporting phrase, almost done up. Jewels, trinkets, watches, laces, &c., are often at the pawnbrokers, and scarcely anything is left to raise money upon except their pads.1 If justice is to be hoodwinked, and gambling and sharking permitted, why not make it an article of revenue, as in foreign countries, and lay a heavy tax on it."

"2 Apr. 1794. Lord HAMPDEN'S Faro Bank is broken up for the present season. Lady Buckinghamshire, Mrs Sturt and Mrs Concannon alternately divide the Beau monde at their respective houses. Instead of having two different hot suppers at one and three in the morning, the Faro

1 Ladies then wore their hair very high-combed over pads of horse hair.

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