Amongst the temptations of the city, the contents of my purse soon vanished, and I found myself at last possessed of more wit than fortune. I applied for assistance to those who had assisted me to spend my money, but it was perfectly astounding to see the want of recollection evinced by these wretches directly I riiade known my distress: some positively denied my acquaintance, while others dismissed me with their advice to be more cautious in future.
I shrugged my shoulders, but suffered my lot patiently; and turned out to seek my fortune with such readiness, that I did not think of providing myself with any luxuries. I took what I thought most necessary, from the things which remained to me, and amongst others, these cards (at the same time drawing them from their concealment) from which I have managed to derive an honorable subsistence amongst the inns frequented by travelers.
Possess a marvelous virtue
I always play at Vingtun, which is a very excellent game for my purpose; and although you see the cards are somewhat the worse for wear, yet, I can assure you, they possess a marvelous virtue for those who understand them; indeed, they are become so familiar to me from long acquaintance, that I know them as well by the back as the front.
“Independently of these advantages, I learned of a certain ambassador a method of handling the cards, by which I am as much at home with their capabilities, as you are in the cutting of antiparas. So you see, my honorable sir, that I am in no danger of starving, for let me be in what place I may, there are always persons to be found who are willing to divert themselves with an innocent game; and he who has the least experience, is generally the loser.
Now, for example, let us look out for a pigeon amongst these carriers within; we will sit down and play as though in earnest, and if any one wishes to make a third, you will see that he will be the first to lay down his cash.”
“With all my heart,” returned the younger adventurer, “and I feel much indebted for your frankness, in return for which I can do no otherwise than relate, in a few words, what concerns myself. I am a native of that goodly country situated between Salamanca and Medina del Campo.
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