Dealing by Fifteens


After having well shuffled and cut the cards, or, as we have before said, had them cut, deal them out in two packs, containing[10] sixteen cards in each. Desire the person consulting you to choose one of them; lay aside the first card, to form “the surprise;” turn up the other fifteen, and range them in a half-circle before you, going from left to right, placing them in the order in which they come to hand, and taking care to remark whether the one representing the person for whom you are acting be among them. If not, the cards must be all gathered up, shuffled, cut, and dealt as before, and this must be repeated until the missing card makes its appearance in the pack chosen by the person it represents. Now proceed to explain them—first, by interpreting the meaning of any pairs, triplets, or quartettes among them; then by counting them in sevens, going from right to left, and beginning with the card representing the person consulting you; and lastly, by taking the cards at either extremity of the line and pairing them. This being done, gather up the fifteen cards, shuffle, cut, and deal them so as to form three packs of each five cards. From each of these three packs withdraw the topmost card, and place them on the one laid aside to form “the surprise,” thus forming four packs of four cards each.

Desire the person for whom you are acting to choose one of these packs, “for herself” or “himself,” as the case may be. Turn it up, and spread out the four cards it contains, from left to right, explaining their individual and relative signification. Next proceed in like manner with the pack on your left hand, which will be “for the house;” then the third one, “for those who do not expect it;” and lastly, “the surprise.”

In order to render our meaning perfectly clear, we will give another example. Let us suppose that the pack for the person consulting you is composed of the Knave of Hearts, the Ace of Diamonds, the Queen of Clubs, and the Eight of Spadesreversed. By the aid of the list of meanings we have given, it will be easy to interpret them as follows:

“The Knave of Hearts is a gay young bachelor—the Ace of Diamonds—who has written, or will very soon write, a letter—the Queen of Clubs—to a dark woman—Eight of Spades reversed—to make proposals to her, which will not be accepted.”

On looking back to the list of significations, it will be found to run thus:

Knave of Hearts.—A gay young bachelor, who thinks only of pleasure.

Ace of Diamonds.—A letter soon to be received.

Queen of Clubs.—An affectionate woman, but quick-tempered and touchy.

Eight of Spades.—If reversed, a marriage broken off, or offer refused.

It will thus be seen that each card forms, as it were, a phrase from an assemblage of which nothing but a little practice is required to form complete sentences. Of this we will give a further example, by interpreting the signification of the three other packs—“for the house,” “for those who do not expect it,” and “the surprise.” The first of these, “for the house,” we will suppose to consist of the Queen of Hearts, the Knave of Spades[11] reversed, the Ace of Clubs, and the Nine of Diamonds, which reads thus:

“The Queen of Hearts is a fair woman, mild and amiable in disposition, who—Knave of Spades reversed—will be deceived by a dark, ill-bred young man—the Ace of Clubs—but she will receive some good news, which will console her—Nine of Diamonds—although it is probable that the news may be delayed.”

The pack “for those who do not expect it,” consisting of the Queen of Diamonds, the King of Spades, the Ace of Hearts reversed, and the Seven of Spades, would signify:

“The Queen of Diamonds is a mischief-making woman—the King of Spades—who is in league with a dishonest lawyer—Ace of Hearts reversed—they will hold a consultation together—Seven of Spades—but the harm they will do will soon be repaired.”

Last comes “the surprise,” formed by, we will suppose, the Knave of Clubs, the Ten of Diamonds, the Queen of Spades, and the Nine of Spades, of which the interpretation is:

“The Knave of Clubs is a clever, enterprising young man—Ten of Diamonds—about to undertake a journey—Queen of Spades—for the purpose of visiting a widow—Nine of Spades—but one or both of their lives will be endangered.”


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Brandon K. Nobles

Brandon is an author, poet and head writer for Sir Swag on YouTube. With 630k subscribers. Since February 2021 he has written for the most important and popular series, News Without the Bulls%!t and the least popular work on the channel, History Abridged. Brandon joined the channel in late January, since then his work has been featured every month in News and History. His novels and works of fiction have also been well received, and he continues to be a proficient and professional chess player. In his spare time he like to catch up on work.

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