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Lucky Sevens

Greetings Sir R-----! This evening's chill wind might be forgiven some of its injurious assault upon me by delivering me some good company as I warm my bones. Come, shed your coat and join me in a glass of this rather delightful mulled cyder!

Might you be interested in a little sport whilst we recover?


This foul zephyr puts me in mind of the infantile conflict between King Oberon and Queen Titania that was in full force during my first visit to the faerie kingdom. I had arrived there quite by accident but fortunately my reputation was sufficient to earn me an invitation to dine at the King's table. That the fare was sumptuous beyond the dreams of mortal man goes without saying, but the conflict between the King and his consort cast something of a shadow upon the evening.

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Fifteen Love

Greetings Sir R-----, come warm your bones at my table by the hearth and join me in a glass of brandy! I trust that winter's chill has not cooled your ardour for wager?

Good fellow! Splendid fellow!

I have in mind a game much played by the short statured, excessively hairy and nature obsessed folk of the Wimbledon commune, whose encampment I chanced upon whilst taking a morning constitutional some several years ago. I was drawn to it by a rather odd smell in the air, which I subsequently discovered to emanate from a peculiar blend of tobacco that they were especially fond of; a blend quite inferior to the Russian I can tell you!

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The Last Stand

Hallo Sir R-----! Come take a seat and slake your thirst this warm evening with a draught of cider!
Might I presume that you also thirst for a wager?

Then I have just the thing in mind sir!

I recently attended a banquet at castle Gormenghast, the familial seat of the Groans, a noble family, if perhaps a little overly obsessed with tradition and ritual. It having been the occasion of a Saturnal syzygy of Mercury and Venus, and a Thursday at that, before the feast could commence the Lord and Lady of the house, together with their son and heir, insisted upon following the tradition dictated for just such circumstances by performing the Last Stand, a ritual dance in which each took turn to stand in their place whilst the others exchanged theirs and which would cease upon their each having stood in place once, and only once, at each station.

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Lonely Hearts

Good evening Sir R-----. Will you join me in a dram of this rather fine whiskey and, perhaps, a little sport?

Good man! Come, take a seat.

I have in mind the game of Lonely Hearts, taught to me by the lovelorn son of Montague, Romeo. At the time I was employed as the master of the premier salle d'armes in Verona; something of a futile pursuit since the students had been thoroughly spoiled by the Italian school and were quite unreceptive to the German, a failing for which his friend Mercatio paid the ultimate price.

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Four Houses

Sir R----- my good man, come dry yourself by the fire and take a glass of warming spirit!
Being the man of sport I know you to be I take it that you would not be averse to joining me in a wager this evening?


I have a fancy for a game of Four Houses, its method of play always reminding me of the time that the Empress of Russia tasked me with brokering a peace between those four great French houses of Carreau, Coeur, Trèfle and Pique, whilst simultaneously avoiding any opportunity for their famously internecine machinations.

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Sixes And Sevens

Greetings Sir R-----! I must say that it is a very great pleasure to find you here as I am in the mood for some sport. Are you game sir?

Good man! Take a drop of this aqua vitae and come join me at my table.

I have a fancy for a wager much enjoyed in the famed gaming houses of Atlantis, although I fear that, owing to some small misadventure, it shall be many years before I frequent those glorious halls once again.

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