After his retirement Scott passed the summer of 1862 at Cozzens' hotel, West Point, where every evening a party of gentlemen adjourned to the general's sitting room for their game. Being a good player, the host was usually victorious, but if he and his partner were ever beaten Scott's ire was made manifest. One night it happened that the usual party was missing. What was to be done? The general must have his whist. There happened to be staying at the hotel a judge, who was asked to do the favor of taking the fourth hand. With some protest on his part he agreed to do it. By cutting for partners the general and the judge played together and were beaten — horribly beaten. Knowing how it irritated the general to lose the game, the judge, as he rose from the table, said in his most dignified and courtly way: "I formerly played a fairly good game of whist, but have been out of practice so long that I am somewhat rusty. I hope that fact may be taken as an excuse for my mistakes." Whereupon the general arose with equal dignity and retorted, "I am glad to learn that I have been playing with latent talent and not with a natural born fool!" — Kate Field's Washington.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008