Budapest

NCW Cursed

“Money, I had in plenty, and everything I touched turned into gold. I tried stocks and I went to the races and I gambled, and I bet my money like a drunken sailor, and I always won. That was good, because I needed a great deal of money those days. I was forever travelling — always moving on in the hope that I would find the big life — the high place that was waiting for me. I had never known what it was to have ‘easy’ money before, but now my pockets were bulging with it, and I spent it as freely as it came, and yet it brought me nothing. I chased on from town, to city, and afterward from one country to another — my eyes were blinded by the colors of the rainbow always in front of me and my dogged brain hurried me on in my search for the pot of gold. And then one night the good luck which had been my evil companion through all my travels suddenly left me — left me alone, friendless and miserable. Budapest was the name of the place. I had lost heavily all day at the races, and I tried to win it back at night at a gambling club, and I lost and lost. The cards were human things, that reached out and took my money from me and laughed at me. The damned things had no mercy and they took it away from me — everything. And then I cursed them and I cursed the men who grinned at me across the green table.”

— From “Tommy” by Charles Belmont, illustrated by N.C. Wyeth for Scribner’s Magazine, 1904

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