Casanova and the Florentine Countess – Excerpt 8
As I had hoped, Falcone’s friends denied all knowledge of the Marked Deck stating that they too had been victims and lost money to Falcone. I was happy, I now knew I was only facing one man, not four. ‘The way I see this, is that we all return any winnings to the loser and ask the Duchess for a New Deck.’ Everyone but Falcone, thought this an honourable solution, but then he was the big winner.
He was just about to jump up and protest when I remarked, ‘Before you do anything foolish Signor Falcone, one of the reasons I am in Florence is that I left behind me three dead men in Venice, and I mean men, not boys!’ Falcone’s face paled and he resumed his place at the table. He did not agree, but then he dare not disagree.
I signalled to the Duchess and asked her if she could oblige me with a new Deck of Cards, which she gladly provided, and as we had arranged beforehand, this was my own Marked Deck, but marked in such a subtle way that only I knew how.
I opened the Pack, split the cards in to four and passed one to each of the other players, Falcone included, ‘Please check all the cards, if you are satisfied that they are unmarked, then we will play!’ They all examined the cards meticulously but could find nothing, so consent to play was agreed upon.
Shall we cut the Cards, Highest card deals, Falcone muttered under his breath, but his friends all agreed, I cut the cards four times passing a stack to each of them and keeping the last for myself. When the cards were turned over Falcone won the deal with an Ace. He smirked confidently, he had not a clue he had been conned.
It was falling into place, just as I had planned, win a little, lose a lot, but always let Falcone think he was getting away with it. It was no hardship, Falcone was a mediocre gambler at best. Just a little longer, let him get his confidence back.
(C) Damian Grange 2017