Royal Tunbridge Wells
the ladies were as eager to taste the excitement to be found at the tables as the men. " The town very empty and no sign of money anywhere, but at the Bath and Tunbridge, where the ladies shake the elbow," Francis Hopgood wrote to Thomas Coke, so early as 1696. Not all played at the public tables, however, and many private parties were made up. It was even rumoured that cards were frequently played before the hour of dinner. As the years passed, whist became more and more popular, and then the amusement could be indulged in by those whose purses were not heavy enough to sustain a run of bad luck at E O and other games of pure chance. " Few places are pleasanter for a couple of months than Tunbridge Wells," Samuel Derrick remarked in 1762. " You are here with the most elegant company in Europe, on the easiest terms; and you need be at no loss for a party of Whist or Quadrille with respectable personages, at any price, from a shilling to a guinea a corner."