|Montesquieu (16891755). Persian Letters. 1901.|
|Usbek to Ibben, at Smyrna|
|GAMING is very common in Europe. To be a gamester is to have a position in society, although one is neither well-born, wealthy, nor a man of integrity: it entitles one, without any inquiry, to rank as a gentleman. All know that it is often a most untrustworthy credential, but people have made up their minds to be deceived.|| 1|
| Above all, the women follow it. It is true that the attractions of a dearer passion prevent them from giving it much attention in their youth; but as they grow old, their love of gaming seems to grow young, and when all others are decayed, that passion fills up the void.|| 2|
| Their desire is to ruin their husbands; and for that purpose they have means suitable to all ages, from the tenderest youth to the most decrepit age; dress and luxury begin the disorder, which gallantry increases, and gaming completes.|| 3|
| I have often seen nine or ten women, or rather, nine or ten centuries, seated round a table; I have watched them hoping, fearing, rejoicingabove all, in their transports of anger: you would have said that they would never grow calm again, and that life would leave them before their despair; you would have been in doubt whether they were paying their creditors or their legatees.|| 4|
| It seems to have been the chief aim of our holy Prophet to restrain us from everything that might disturb the reason: he has prohibited the use of wine, which steals away mans brains; by a special law he has forbidden games of chance; and where the cause of passion could not be removed he has subdued it. Love among us brings with it no trouble, no frenzy: it is a languid passion which leaves our souls serene: plurality of wives saves us from the dominion of women, and tempers the violence of our desires.|
PARIS, the 10th of the moon of Zilhage, 1714.