Political quadrille

Image not available
Charles Williams
Political quadrille
Peel 1903
Formerly owned by Sir Robert Peel.

Lettered: "Pubd Octr 1806 by Walker No 7 Cornhill."
Library's copy partially trimmed within plate mark.


The players sit at two square card-tables-George III presides at one (l.), Napoleon at the other; both are in profie to the right. The King sits between the Tsar on his right., and in back view, and the King of Spain on his left.; his vis-à-vis is the King of Prussia, scowling meditatively. He holds five cards, ace, King, &c, of Hearts, ace, &c, of clubs (quadrille is played with a pack of 40 cards). On the table is the nine of diamonds. He says: "I never had luck when the curse of Scotland was in my hand - however I have now discarded it - Ay this will do - I have now a strong suit without a knave among them." The Tsar: "I never had such luck since I have Russian, compleatly beasted off the board - but that I must endeavour to forget and try to play better in future." On the back of his chair is a bear. Charles IV, very disconsolate, says: "I was obliged to play tho it was forced Spadille. my Queen deceived me - but however I must not now give myself Ayres as I have lost all my Dollars." Prussia meditates: "Shall I play or not? - if I play I fear I shall be beasted, and if not, they will call me Prussian Cake". Napoleon's vis-à-vis is Holland, a fat burgher, who sits full face, turning away from the table; he inspects his hand of five cards, smoking, and says with a wry smile: "I have got a King - without calling one - but I have no Trump now and I fear I shall lose all my fish." The Pope sits in back view, wearing embroidered robes; his cross and tiara lie on the ground beside him. On the back of his chair are crossed keys. He says: "I fear it is nearly over with poor Ponto." His vis-à-vis is the Emperor of Austria, very melancholy; he says: "For the present - I fear the game is up with me so I pass." Napoleon inspects a good hand of clubs, saying: "I begin to fancy I can play alone - No - I can call a King when I please. I am strong in my suits - besides I know how to finesse my cards. George III wears court dress, Charles IV Spanish ruff and slashed doublet; the other sovereigns are in uniform. The carpet is patterned with stars and irradiated suns.

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