The Evening Standard (Ogden, Utah), May 20, 1911



What Brixton is to Belgravia the gaming tables of Nice are to the gaming tables of Monte Carlo. We do our best. We keep up the atmosphere as far as possible. All down the tables you will see men with stern, set faces, eyeing every movement of the india-rubber ball as it picks its way mincingly among the holes; and here and there are those who work out systems on little slips of paper. The croupiers, too. They do not let the thing down. To look at their grave countenances you would think that thousands were at stake. They never smile. They refuse to admit the least touch of frivolity into the proceedings. But the fact remains that the maximum which you may stake is two and a half louis, and that the majority of the gamesters are limiting themselves to a franc a time, generally on a combination of numbers.

It is an interesting game in itself, and picturesque, with its forms and ceremonies and general atmosphere of millions at stake. There is something almost human about the little red ball that controls the play. In happier circumstances it would have been a stump cricket ball. One has played stump cricket with 100 of its brothers. But its surroundings have caused it to deteriorate, and have filled it with an impish humor. It can do practically everything except laugh. You can see it thinking quietly by itself as it rolls. It has a keen sense of the dramatic. It will settle down in one hole, and then, when all seems over, give itself a shake and roll over into the next, and bang goes another franc for somebody.

—P. G. Wodehouse, in the London Globe.



Originally published as “The Tables at Nice” in the Globe, January 21, 1911.