The Mott Street Poker Club
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The Mott Street Poker Club

 

His Uncle's Nephew

A Case of Diamond Cut Diamond

 

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MR. HOP-SAM had never, since the organization of the Club, enjoyed any special favor from his brother members. His freshness and frivolity were regarded by them with suspicion, and he was rather tolerated than cordially welcomed at the sessions of the organization. When, however, he introduced an old friend from San Francisco, who had come on to secure a legacy of four hundred dollars left him by an uncle recently deceased, who had, it was said, accumulated this fortune by strict attention to the business of rat catching for culinary purposes, he rose several per cent. in the estimation of the rest of the Club. His friend was made welcome and speedily initiated into the game, and, in view of the prospective profit to be derived from him, was allowed to win for three days hand running, in order to encourage him for an endurance of the final coup.

 

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This event was brought about in Mr. Hong-Lung’s most artistic style. So delicate and well regulated were this gentleman’s manipulations of the cards, indeed, and so artfully was the campaign conducted, that even the crabbed and contentious disposition of Mr. Lee-Tip was subdued to a condition of lamb-like placidity, and Mr. Hop-Sam viewed the inspiring scene with tearfully envious eyes.

In a steady succession of jack pots and blinds, the San Francisco visitor’s legacy was melted down and led away, until three hundred and ninety-six bright, broad dollars were stacked upon the table, and he announced that he was “bloke.” The money he had previously won from the club was at present securely stowed away in his luggage, he said, but he would get it out in time for to-morrow’s game, and so claim his revenge, for which he professed a great and devouring yearning.

The three hundred and ninety-six dollars were then locked up in Mr. Lee-Tip’s cash-box, and the Club took its honored guest off for a solacing whiff of opium at the Club’s expense.

At the appointed time next day, however, the visitor from the Occident did not put in an appearance. Mr. Hop-Sam having been sent out to scout for him, after a while returned with the information that when last seen he had been putting his baggage on a Western bound train in Jersey City. At this news Mr. Lee-Tip was seized with a violent convulsion of the limbs, which caused him to give vent to an exclamation. Then he unlocked his cash-box with a trembling hand.

 

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The $396 were there. After all, the Club was out only about the same sum, which it had allowed the legatee to win, so that it was practically not the loser at all, except in its bright hopes, and the time devoted to the rites of outraged hospitality.

At the suggestion of Mr. Hong-Lung, the treasure was brought forth to be divided among the Club in proportion to their individual losses in the games in question. While it was being counted out, one of the pieces fell upon the table and emitted a dull, leaden thud, that caused Mr. Hong-Lung’s pigtail to rise on end. He grabbed a handful of the dollars and commenced to sound them. They, all had the thud in its thuddiest form. He put one between his teeth and bit it through, like a slice of cheese.

Then, without a word, he leaped upon Mr. Hop-Sam and commenced to drown him in the biggest wash-tub. His emotion could only express itself in the one remark,—

“Countelfeit, by glosh!”

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