He had sat up...playing hazard [a gambling game played with dice] at Almack's, from Tuesday evening 4th till five in the afternoon of Wednesday 5th. An hour before he had recovered £12,000 [approximately £720,000 pounds today] that he had lost and by dinner, which was five o'clock, he had ended by loosing £11,000 £660,000 today].Indeed, Walpole himself notes that:
In less than two hours, the Duke of Cumberland lost four hundred and fifty pounds at Loo [a card game] Miss Pelham won three hundred and I, the rest. On another occasion, I lost fifty-six guineas before I could say Ave Maria.Within their confines gossip was exchanged, heated debate of a political nature took place and men, like Charles Fox, gambled themselves into near-ruinous debt.
|Exterior of Whites's Club|
The [citizens of London] trudge[d] to St James's Street in expectation of seeing judgements executed on Whites's angels with flaming swords and devils flying away with dice-boxes.Almack's Club began as a rival to White's on the opposite side of the St James Street. It's name derives from a reversal of it's founder's name, Macall. It was among the first of its kind to admit both men and women, indeed, it was once described as a 'female Brooks's' and it was presided over by a prestigous committee of six or seven influential ladies who constituted its governing body - the Lady Patronesses. These women determined who was admitted into the club and were scrupulous in their judgement to say the least - The Duke of Wellington, hero of Waterloo, was at one time barred from entering for committing the gross satorial crime of wearing trousers in place of the customary stockings and breeches.
|The Assembly Room at Almacks's|
whose speculative skillMore simply, George Selwyn (a man who incidentally spent a record 44 years in the House of Commons without making a speech) described him as "the completest composition of knave and fool that ever was, to which I may add liar." Unsuprisingly, Selwyn "relinquished nasty Brooks's" in favour of Whites's across the road, which he described in a manner that suggests it become more conservative after the establishment of its competitors - for Selwyn maintains that Whites's had, at this time, 'no more than 300 members', little gambling beyond 'the occasional trente-quarante for a few guineas' and afforded 'very little amusement'. But still, it was better than Brooks's which he deemed 'a precipice of perdition.'
In hasty credit and distant bill,
...nursed in clubs, disdain[ed] a vulgar trade,
Exult[ed] to trust, and blush[ed] to be paid
|Gaming Room at Brooks's|
Gentleman's clubs is subject on which I have much to say and thus, this post will be no means be the last resource I post on them, but I thought it best to begin with a brief introduction.