The Gambler is a novel about an Irish girl whose life is imperiled by her genes, her upbringing, and her own innocence.
The danger to Clodagh is moral rather than mortal—and it’s terrifying.
The Gambler: A Novel by Katherine Cecil Thurston
Illus. John Cameron. Toronto: Fleming H. Revell,1905. 1905 bestseller #6. Project Gutenberg ebook #33490. My grade: B+.
When Denis Asshlin is fatally injured, his daughters write their father’s school friend, James Milbanke, for help.
Asshlin’s gambling has beggared his girls.
Milbanke can send Nance to boarding school, but what can he do with 17-year-old Clodagh?
Milbanke proposes marriage.
“I suppose it is what father used to call a debt of honour,” Clodagh says.
Four unhappy years later, while her husband talks about archaeology, Clodagh meets titled society people.
She envies—and fears—them.
After Milbanke dies leaving Clodagh a comfortable income, she rejoins her high society acquaintances.
Soon Clodagh’s gambling debts are larger than her annual income.
When she looks in the mirror, Clodagh sees her father’s face.
She accepts 1000£ from Lord Deerehurst realizing it obligates her but unaware what payment he expects.
A less adept writer than Katherine Cecil Thurston couldn’t have made Clodagh more than a pretty doll.
Thurston makes her a complicated woman-child, craving love and respect but traumatized by a childhood she cannot ever outgrow.
© 2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni