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Broadside entitled 'The Perpetual Almanack!!! Or, Gentleman Soldier's Prayer-book'




Showing how one Richard Middleton was taken before the Mayor of the City he was in, for using
Cards in Church during Divine Service: being a Droll, Merry, Humorous Account of an
Odd affair that happened to a Private Soldier in the 60th Regiment of Foot.

THE Serjeant commanded his party to the church, and
when the Parson had ended his prayer. he took his
text; and all of them that had a Bible. pulled it out to
find the text, but this soldier had neither Bible, Al-
manack, nor Common Prayer- Book, but he put his
hand in his pocket and pulled out a pack of Cards, and
spread them before him as he sat, and while the parson
was preaching he first kept looking at one card and
then at another The Serjeant of the company saw
him. and said, Richard, put up your cards, for this is
no place for them. Never mind that, said the soldier,
for you have no business with me here.                  

When the parson had ended his sermon, and all was
over, the soldiers repaired to the church-yard, and the
commanding officer gave the word of command to fall
in, which they did The Serjeant of the city came and
took the man prisoner. Man you are my prisoner,
said he. Sir, said the soldier, what have I done that I
am your prisoner? You have played a game of cards
in the church. No, said the soldier, I have not played
a game, for I only looked at a pack. No matter for
that, you are my prisoner. Where must we go, said
the soldier. Yon must go before the mayor, said the

So he took him before the mayor and when they came
to the mayor's house, he was at dinner. When he had
dined, he came to them and said, well, serjeant, what
do you want with me. I have brought a soldier before
your honour for playing at cards in the church. What,
that soldier ? Yes. Well, soldier, what have you to say
for yourself? Much sir. I hope Well and good, but
if you have not, you shall be punished the worst that
ever man was Sir, said the soldier, I have been five
weeks upon the march, and have had but little to sub-
sist on, and am without either Bible, Almanack, or
Common Prayer book, or any thing but a pack of cards,
I hope to satisfy your honour of the purity of my

Then the soldier pulled out of his pocket the pack
of cards, which he spread before the mayor, and then
began with the ace.

When I see the ace, said he. it puts me in mind that
there is one God only ; when I see the deuce, it puts
me in mind of the Father and the Son ; when I see the
trey, it puts me in mind of the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost; when I see the four, it puts me in mind of the
four Evangelists that preached the gospel, viz Matthew,
Mark, Luke, and John; when I see the five, it puts
me in mind of the five wise virgins that trimmed their
lamps; their were ten, but five were foolish, who were
shut out; when I see the six it puts me in mind that
in six days the Lord made heaven and earth ; when I
see the seven. It puts me in mind that on the seventh
day God rested from all the works which he had created
and made wherefore the Lord blessed the seventh day
and hallowed it; when I see the eight it puts me in
mind of the eight righteous persons that were saved
when God drowned the world, viz, Noah, his wife,
three sons, and their wives ; when I see the nine, it
puts me in mind of nine lepers that were cleansed by
our Saviour; there were ten, but nine never returned
God thanks ; when I see the ten it puts me in mind of
the ten commandments that God gave Moses on Mount
Sinai, on the two tables of stone.

He took the knave and laid it aside.

When I see the queen, it puts me in mind of the
Queen of Sheba, who came from the furthermost parts
of he world to hear the wisdom of King Solomon, and
who was as wise a woman as he was a man : for she
brought fifty boys and fifty-girls all clothed in boys
apparel, to show before King Solomon, for him to tell
which were boys and which were girls ; but he could
not until he called for water for them to wash themselves,
the girls washed up to their eibows and the boys only
up to their wrists, so King Solomon knew by that.
And also of Queen Victoria, to pray for her And
when I see the king, it puts me in mind of the great
King of Heaven and Earth, who is God Almighty.

Well, said the mayor, you have given a very good
description of all the cards except one, which is lack-
ing. What is that? said the soldier. The knave,
said the mayor. Oh, I can give your honour a good
description of that, if your honour won't be angry. No,
I will not, says the mayor, if you will not term me the

Well, said the soldier, the greatest that I know of is
the serjeant of the city that brought me here. I don't
know, said the mayor. that he is the greatest knave,
but I am sure he is the greatest fool.

I shall now show your honour how I use the cards
as an almanack. You certainly are a clever fellow,
said the mayor, but I think you'll have a hard matter
to make that appear.

When I count how many spots there are in a pack
of cards, I find there are three hundred and sixty-five,
there are as many days in the year.

Stop, said the mayor, that is a mistake. I grant it,
said the soldier, but as I have never yet seen an almanack
that was thoroughly correct in all points, it would have
been impossible for me to in itate an almanack exactly
without a mistake. Your observations are very cor-
rect, said the mayor, go on. When I count how many
cards there are in a pack, I find there are fifty-two,
there are so many weeks in the year ; when I count how
many tricks there are in a pack, I find there are thirteen,
there are so many months in a year. You see, sir, that
this pack of cards is a Bible, Almanack, Common
Prayer-book, and Pack of Cards to me.

Then the mayor called for a loaf of bread, a piece of
cheese, and a pot of good beer, and gave to the soldier
a piece of money, bidding him to go about his business,
saying, he was the cleverest man he had ever seen.

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Probable period of publication: 1906-1907   shelfmark: RB.m.143(068)
Broadside entitled 'The Perpetual Almanack!!! Or, Gentleman Soldier's Prayer-book'
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