I am sweeping away tho dreamlights That dazzle your waking eyes; I am scattering all the shadows That keep you from winning the prize.
A coquettish damsel in dainty cap and apron, short skirts, aud dapper crimson stockings, leans thoughtfully on the handle of her broom ; and at the back is the legend: Oh, «hen I am sweepping—sweeping, My heart goes into a song, And I fancy that I am breaking All the fetters that do you wrong.The curious Peacock Cards, too, are a happy combination of the quaint and the gorgeous. Delarue’s chief strength is in their natty almanacks and diaries; their neat little morocco calendars to stand on your writing table and prevent you from misdating your letters; their compact little “finger almanacks,” neatly packed away in a natty little Russian leather card-case, half the size of that required for your visiting tickets; their gorgeous satin-lined purses; their useful desk-diaries, and calendars of all sizes and designs for wall, or table, or pocket.Handsomer or more tasteful presents it would be hard to choose for Christmas or for any other time.As it is, I must just pick out a few of the more characteristic, a “specimen brick” or two from each elaborate house of cards. A few small cards—one of them, by-the-way, very pretty, with shiny blue forget-me-nots on rice paper—two or three cheap paper boxes of scent, a folding paper almanack with grotesque French figures, and a plaster-of-Paris lobster with a pill-box in his stomach containing a tiny bottle of scent, seem to constitute the contributions of the latter firm to the extravagances of the season.The former would appear to have been more inventive, having achieved the origination, not only of a novel idea in cards in the shape of a large silver initial letter prettily decked with flowers, but of some new games with cards. Saunders, on the other hand, appear to have a speciality for choice pale greys and fawns for their backgrounds, whereupon gleam rich red and yellow roses and brilliant butterflies, and delicate quaker grass, and feathers from the wings of fairy birds. Saunders, as is shown by the pretty little flower fan that opens out, as Cis delightedly observes, “when you pull him tail;” and an elegant little group of birds, that “cheep and twitter” when pinched artfully in the right place.The British Museum Collection is valuable for archaeological study, irrespective of mere amusement.It comprises packs of cards, and portions of packs, of English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, Hindoo, and Chinese origin. Willsher, who prepared the descriptive catalogue by order of the trustees, has added coloured representations of some of the cards, obtained by Goupil’s photozincographic and polychrome process.They appeal, moreover, to a class of combinations and calculations quite beyond the range of dice and dominoes; while at the same time they may be made to afford, in a simplicity of use, amusement and excitement to illiterate persons, and, by a more complicated application of powers, a pastime to more cultivated intellects.Three theories are afloat concerning the origin of playing-cards.The vicissitudes of chance have ever had a powerful hold on mankind.” These vicissitudes, as we all know, lead by a well-beaten path to gambling.The convenience of cards for use is one of the reasons why they are so much adopted in playing games of hazard.