July 20, 2006

So Grave a Matter

May 7. There hath been a sad case. A woman and man hath been fined for playing cards. They lived very near the meeting house. The fine was five pounds, but Uncle John says it should be more for so grave a matter.

-- Hetty Shepard's Fears about the Future of New England, 1675-77

Posted by Jason at July 20, 2006 6:03 AM | TrackBack

When I was growing up in a Pentecostal househaold, playing cards was still controversial (even non-gambling games such as Hearts, Go Fish, etc). So we usualy played "card games" with non-traditional (?) decks, such as Uno, or games such as Dominos. Perhaps the additional solidity of the Domino made it less sinful?

Posted by: Chuck at July 20, 2006 4:15 PM | Permalink to Comment

Actually, Chuck, I'd prefer to contrast the above with the following (which I think is just a hoot):

April 2. Mother had writ that Samuel Checkly’s mother was buried in March. There was a fine funeral, but she says she had tasted better funeral meats. The napkins were good but sadly stained by the saffron in the meat. Poor Samuel! I like not this habit of putting saffron in the meat. My fingers were stained all the week after Mistress Adam’s funeral.

So, maybe dominoes were acceptable b/c the y weren't stained by saffron? Who knows (I would have thought that dominoes carried an equally weighty association with gambling)...

Posted by: Jason at July 20, 2006 5:27 PM | Permalink to Comment

What bizarre reading. Sounds like a lot of fun. I have no idea why dominoes were ok while cards were bad news. Maybe all the colors? But it could be the saffron....

Posted by: Chuck at July 20, 2006 9:45 PM | Permalink to Comment
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