Excerpt from Alban: A Tale of the New World
The British tars sauntered along the quiet streets, rolling on their hips, and squaring their elbows like yard-arms. There were no grog-shops open in Yanmouth on the Sabbath day, and though immoralities of another kind were far from being unknown, there was yet no absolute rendezvous in this comparatively innocent sea port, where the distraction of equivocal female society could be obtained. The selectmen exercised too strict a vigilance. So, finally, a little knot Of the blue-jackets, en'nuye with promenading without a purpose, sat down upon the stone door-step of a store, and one Of them pulling out Of his pocket a pack of dirty cards, they fell to amusing themselves with a game that is a prime favorite with sailors.
Cards are dull without a stake so the next thing some of His Majesty's silver pictures were produced, and the shillings and half crowns changed hands rapidly; Unfortunately the position Of the gamesters was commanded from the windows of the meeting-house gallery. They were quiet at first, as they had been strictly enjoined to be, and spoke in under tones, for the hush Of the town awed them but forgetting themselves by degrees, particularly the lookers-ou of the game, they gave way to occasional laughter, with loud talking, to which now and then a ripping oath added its peen liar energy. In the deep pause between the giving out of the last hymn, and the preparatory fa mi sol Of the volunteer choir, the noise Of a laugh came faintly in at the Open windows and caught the ear Of Deacon Jabez Flint, a zealous upholder Of the ancient laws, and one of the selectmen of Yanmouth. TO seize his hat - a broad-brim - and staff (it was silver-headed) and go forth to ascer tain the cause Of these profane sounds, was in fact the duty of Deacon Flint; and his investigations soon brought to light the enormities that were in the act of commission - card-playing.
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