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.
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.
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.
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.
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.