Returning to “The Royal Game of Bezique,” by Camden — Part V: Comments on the original publication of the Goodall booklet . . .

Note:  In an effort to avoid certain format-problems, for this post I am placing my remarks in boldface.  The quotation from The Westminster Papers is the segment not in boldface.

In the May 1869 issue of The Westminster Papers appears the following interesting discussion.  I was unable to locate the “first” article, to which the following refers.  The item below is the first paragraph of a somewhat longer piece, of which, however, the remainder is not quite as relevant.

As intimated, in the periodical the following appeared as one paragraph.  I have broken it into several paragraphs, in the hope of making it more easily read.

BÉZIQUE.

MESSRS. REYNOLDS complain of our statements respecting Bézique. They say they introduced the game to this country; that they registered their rules af Stationers’ Hall first, viz., on the 20th September, 1868; and that, so far from the whole of the English rules being taken from W.P.’s, their rules were translated from l’Académie des Jeux, to which we referred in our article.

We stated we had only cursorily read Reynolds’ rules, and the fact was we enquired at several shops where Reynolds’ cards were sold and could not get a copy to re-read them, and we were informed at the last place we applied that the rules were out of print, and therefore it was we confined our remarks to those rules we thought still alive.

Before writing our article, we asked Messrs. Reynolds to send us patterns of their cards and anything of interest to the card world, and as they did not do so, we assumed that the statement made to us was correct, and we can only express our regret for our inadvertency.

In answer to Messrs. Reynolds’ letter, we requested them to furnish us with a copy of their rules and the date of the first advertisement they issued respecting Bézique. They reply that their first advertisement appeared in the Times of October 14th, 1868.

We wrote at the same time to Messrs. Goodall, and asked them if they could forward their printer’s bill for their rules. They have forwarded such bill, and it is dated August 1868; it occurs to us that August came before September in the year 1868.

Goodall certainly did not register their rules until the 1st of October, i.e. four days after Reynolds, but they were prepared for the sale of Bézique long before the 14th of October (the date of the first advertisement of Reynolds & Co.), and they actually sold Bézique cards at Glasgow in the month of August.

It is not the first time great ideas have been brought to perfection by great minds simultaneously, and at any rate we trust they have each received a reward for their daring.

Reynolds’ rules are on one sheet of paper and not in book form. This is not a convenient arrangement. They are simple and plain, and any one can play by them who has never gone deeper into the mysteries of the game. According to these rules, the highest deals, and the last card is really the last.

Ouch!  I would love to have heard the thoughts of the Reynolds people regarding the foregoing.

In my next post, I hope to get a little further into the introduction of Bezique into England.

—Tom Sawyer

Sunday, December 30, 2012

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