Courtly ladies' game of 18th-century France
It will not be unnecessary to acquaint the Reader, that the following game of Quadrille has been about two years, and is at present, the favourite game at the French court... [It] is more amusing and entertaining than... any other Game on the Cards...
Anon, The Game of Quadrille (1726)
C'est au bon goût de la nation française, & principalement du beau sexe, qu'il faut rapporter la vogue générale où est ce jeu, ainsi que la prédilection qu'il a sur tous les autres.
Les Règles du Médiateur (Paris, 1752)
I have known it happen, that a party, being desirous to play at Quadrille, has been obliged to forego the pleasure of the entertainment, for want of some one to regulate the various payments.
She despised [its] chance-started, capricious, and ever fluctuating alliances. The skirmishes of quadrille, she would say, reminded her of the petty ephemeral embroilments of the little Italian states, depicted by Machiavel; perpetually changing postures and connexions; bitter foes today, sugared darlings to-morrow; kissing and scratching in a breath;- but the wars of whist were comparable to the long, steady, deep-rooted, rational, antipathies of the great French and English nations.
Charles Lamb, "Mrs Battle's Opinions on Whist", in The Essays of Elia (1823)
It is to the good taste of the French nation, and principally to that of the fair sex, that one must ascribe the widespread vogue for this game and the preference accorded to it over all the others.
To the Ladies: After reading this little book, you will understand what Mr Hoyle says, as well as any Man in England. The Men, some few excepted, like you Ladies, and myself, take it for granted that his calculations are true...
Gaming, like every thing else in this sublunary world, is subject to the caprices and vicissitudes of fashion. Thus Quadrille, which for upwards of a century held the first rank in all the gambling circles of Europe, is now completely banished from them; and is rarely or ever seen beyond the precincts of some antiquated provincial circles, where it continues still to faire les douces of many a dowager.
The old time for cards was the interval between tea and supper. Now there is no such interval, except here and there in out-of-the-way places, where, perhaps, quadrille and supper may still flourish as in the days of Queen Anne. Nothing was more common in country towns and villages, half a century ago, than parties meeting in succession at each other's houses, for tea, supper, and quadrille.
Card playing is greatly out of mode: very likely there are not six ladies of fashion in London who know the difference between Spadille and Manille.