Mademoiselle von Raasloff and the gambler.

Hare's Journal, May 4, Florence.

Mademoiselle von Raasloff told me that Count Piper, an ancestor of the present Count Piper, was a very determined gambler. Been once at one of his desolate country estates, he was in perfect despair for some one to play with him, but he was alone. At last, in a fit of desperation, he said, 'If the devil himself were to come to play with me, I should be grateful.' Soon a tremendous storm began to rage, during which a servant came in and said that a gentleman overtaken by night was travelling past, and implored shelter. Count Piper was quite enchanted, and a very gentlemanlike man was shown in. Supper was served, and then Count Piper proposed a game of cards, in which the stranger at once acquiesced. Count piper won so enormously, that he felt quite ashamed, and at last he proposed their retiring. As they were leaving the room, that stranger said, 'I'm very much concerned that I have not sufficient money with me to pay all my debt now; however, I shall beg you to take my ring as a guarantee, which is really of greater value than the money, and which has very peculiar properties, one of which is that as long as you wear it, all you possess is safe from fire. The Count took the ring, and escorting the stranger to his room, wished him good night. The next morning he sent to inquire after him: he was not there, his bed had not been slept in, and he never was heard of again. Count Piper wore the ring, but after some time, as it was very heavy and old-fashioned, he took it off and put it away. The next morning came the news that one of his finest farm-houses had been burnt down. And so it always is in that family. The descendants of Count Piper always have to wear the ring, and if they ever leave it off for a single day, one of their houses on one of their great estates is burnt.