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"A STORY AS IS A STORY!" --

AN AMERICAN RIVAL TO MR. SPURGEON.

JpsaUraMs liptt. -

.-io. -.----COMMERCIAL GRIEF.

MANIA FOR LOTTERY SPECULATION.

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MANIA FOR LOTTERY SPECULATION. From the moment one lottery is drawn, the mind of the people is intent on selecting numbers for the next. Nor is this an easy matter,—all sorts of superstitions existing as to figures and numbers. Some are lucky, some unlucky, in themselves,—some lucky only in certain combinations, and some sympathetic with others. The chances, therefore, must be carefully calculated, no number or combination being ever played without pro- found consideration, and under advice of skilful friends. Almost every event in life has a numerical significa- tion and such is the reverence paid to dreams that a large book exists of several hundred pages, called Libro dei Sogni," containing, besides various cabala and mystical figures and lists of numbers which are sympathetic," with directions for their use, a dic- tionary of thousands of objects, with the numbers sup- posed to be represented by each, as well as rules for interpreting into numbers all dreams in which these objects appear -and this book is the constant vade- mecum, of a true lottery-player. As Boniface lived, ate, and slept on his ale, so do the Romans on their numbers. The very children lisp in numbers, for the numbers come," and the fathers run immediately to play them. Accidents, executions, deaths, apoplexies, marriages, assassinations, births, anomalies of all kinds, become auguries and enigmas of numbers. A lottery-gambler will count the stabs on a dead body, the drops of blood from a decollated head, the passengers in an over-turned coach, the wrinkles in the forehead of a new-born child, the gasps of a person struck by apoplexy, the day of the month and. the hour and the minute of his death, the sciidi lost by a friend, the forks stolen by a thief, anything and everything, to play them in the lottery. If a strange dream is dreamed;—as of one being in a desert on a camel, which turns into a rat, and runs down the Maelstrom to hide,—the Libro dei Sogni" is at once consulted, the numbers for desert, rat, camel, and Maelstrom are found and combined, and the hopeful player waits in eager expectation of a prize. Of course, dream after dream of particular numbers and combinations occurs, -for the mind bent to this subject plays freaks in the night, and repeats contortedly the thoughts of the day, —and these dreams are considered of special value. Sometimes, when a startling incident takes places with special numerical signification, the run upon the num- bers indicated becomes so great that the Government, which is always careful to guard against any losses on its own part, refuses to allow more than a certain amount .to be played on them, cancels the rest, and returns the price of the tickets. Sometimes, in passing through the streets, one may see a crowd collected about a man mounted upon a chair or stool. Fixed to a stand at his side or on the back of his chair in a glass bottle, in which are two or three hollow manikins of glass, so arranged as to rise and sink by pressure of the confined air. The neck of the bottle is cased in a tin box which surmounts it and has a moveable cover. This personage is a charlatan, with an apparatus for divining lucky numbers for the lottery. The "soft bastard Latin" runs off his tongue in an uninterrupted stream of talk, while he offers on a waiter to the bystanders a number of little folded papers containing a pianeta, or augury, on which are printed a fortune and a terno. Who will buy pianeta," he cries, with the numbers sure to bring him a prize? He shall have his fortune told him who buys. Who does not need counsel must surely be wise. Here's Master Tommetto, who never tells lies. And here is his brother, still smaller in size. And Madame Medea Plutonia to advise. They'll write you a fortune and bring you a prize for a single baiocco. No creature so wise as not to need counsel. A fool I despise, who keeps his baioccp and loses his prize. Who knows what a fortune he'll get till he tries ? Time's going, Signori,-who buys ? who buys ? And so on by the yard. Meantime the crowd about him gape, stare, wonder, and finally put their hands to their pockets, out with their baiocehi, and buy their papers. Each then makes a mark on his paper to verify it, and re- turns it to the charlatan. After several are thus collected, he opens the cover of the tin box, deposits them therein with a certain ceremony, and commences an exhortatory discourse to the manikins in the bottle,-two of whom, Maestro Tommetto and his brother, are made to resemble little black imps, while Madama Medea Plutonia is dressed a la Francese) Fa una reverenza, Maestro Tom- metto Make a bow, Master Tommetto! he now begins. The puppet bows. Ancora Again! Again he bows. Lesto, Signore, un piccolo giretto Quick, Sir, a little turn And round whirls the puppet. "Now, up, up, to make a registry on the ticket! and do it conscientiously, Master Tommetto! And up the imp goes, and disappears through the neck of the bottle. Then comes a burst of admiration at his cleverness from the charlatan. Then, turning to his brother imp, he goes through the same role with him. "And now, Madama Medea, make a reverence, and follow your husband! Quick, quick, a little giretto And up she goes. A moment after, down they all come again in his call; he lifts the cover of the box; cries, Quanto, sei caro, Tommetto and trium- phantly exhibits the papers, each with a little freshly- written inscription, and distributes them to the pur- chasers. Now and then he takes from his pocket a little bottle containing a mixture of the colour of wine, and a paper filled with same sort of powder, and ex- claiming, A h tu hai fame e sete. Bisogna che ti dia da here e mangiare," pours them into a tin cup. It is astonishing to see how many of' these little tickets a clever charlatan will sell in an hour, and principally on account of the lottery-numbers they contain. The fortunes are all the stereotype thing, and almost in- variably warn you to be careful lest you should be ".tradito," or promise you that you shall not be tradito for the idea of betrayal is the corner-stone of every Italian's mind. Roóct di Ronta," in the Atlantic Monthly.

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