True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young. Page: 219
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HOUSTON AND HOUSTONIANS 219
can goes hard with him. That Mexican did lots to him, for he
don't leave but one little patch of beard on his face, and Joe's
head looked like a whole tribe of Indians had been scalping him.
"But 'Frenchy' is the big man of the works in the Gray Front.
He deals faro bank. They call him 'Frenchy,' though why they
do so I never could understand. His place is away back near
the stove, where it is warm and comfortable. He ain't got no
box but deals out of his hand. He shuffles up the cards, shows
the soda card, and then, turning them face down, proceeds to
deal. It's a good way, too, and he has a game going nearly all
"One night two fellows come in and buck against him. They
have only passable luck. The next night they both come again,
but only one of them plays. Soon one of them disappears. Nobody
notices where he goes at the time, but it develops afterward
that he goes under the table, where he can look up and
see the cards Frenchy is holding in his hand, face down. He
and his partner has signals, so the bank loses pretty constantly.
After a while the stranger who is playing makes a funny kind
of bet on the nine and wins, of course. This excites Frenchy's
suspicion and, placing the cards on the table and putting a stack
of chips on them, he leans back so he can see under the table.
There he sees the legs of the stranger's partner.
"Frenchy says nothing, but reaching over to the pile of cordwood
that's there for the stove, he selects a good big stick.
There's deep silence, for nobody knows what's up. The fellow
under the table must have been a mind reader, or he has good
instincts for danger; anyway, he knows something's wrong and
he makes a break for freedom. He upsets everybody sitting
in front of the table and starts for the front door. It's a long
run but he wastes no time. The front door is a screen that
swings back. He reaches it and just as he does Frenchy's stick
of wood reaches him. It catches him in the small of the back,
doubles him up and assists him through the door. As he emerges
he collides with a man who is just entering and they both go
down together. The stranger gets up first and starts for the
"'Come back; don't go in there,' shouts the fellow on the
"'Why not?' asks the man.
"'Because,' says the fellow, 'they are playing faro bank in
there and paying off with cordwood. I don't win but one bet.
If I had whipsawed them they would have killed me'."
FAMOUS STREET DUEL.
FAMOUS STREET DUEL.
VERYBODY remembers Matt Woodlief. Some because
during his lifetime he inspired them with dread and fear,
for he was a typical desperado and killer, and others with
feelings of gratitude, for he was charitable and generous and his
purse was always open to an appeal from the needy. Matt must
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Young, Samuel Oliver. True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young., book, 1913; Galveston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24646/m1/219/: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .