Monte Carlo (Kuprin)

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Monte Carlo
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man observed the corrupting influence of gambling in Monte Carlo, witnessing the desperation and greed of its patrons, the cunning of its organizers, and the impact on the surrounding area.

Monte Carlo was once described as an earthly paradise, but in reality, it was a small, squat building with a pistachio-colored exterior. The place was filled with fat-buttocked Venuses and bloated cupidons painted by house-painters. The bronzes were imitations, and there were busts of great writers who had never seen Monte Carlo or had anything to do with it.

For Monte Carlo is, after all, nothing but a dive, erected by the enterprising, talented Blan, upon a bare and barren rock.

The establishment was created by a clever man named Blan, who decided to exploit human folly and greed.

Blan — founder of Monte Carlo's gambling establishment; cunning, ruthless, and skilled in exploiting human greed.

He succeeded in marrying his daughters to princes and providing for his benefactor, Grimaldi. Blan had the foresight to forbid entry to his gambling hall to all Monegascs, including Grimaldi.

Such was Blan’s grasp of human psychology. Every winner would return to him to win once more; and every loser, to win his money back again.

The croupiers at Monte Carlo underwent two years of schooling, learning to send a little ball over a whirling disc, remembering faces and costumes, speaking all languages, and wearing clean linen. Their wives and daughters were provided for by the administration, who opened small tobacco and wine shops for them.

The corrupting influence of Monte Carlo was felt everywhere on the azure shores. In every bar, tobacco shop, and hotel, there were machines for gambling. People would put their hard-earned money into these machines, not understanding that the machine had a much higher chance of winning.

The corrupting influence of Monte Carlo is to be felt everywhere upon the azure shores.

There were also secret, shady gambling haunts all over the azure shore. One of the most noteworthy was in a small hamlet called Trinité, where wine and cold meats were "on the house." The minimum stake was a franc, and anyone was admitted. The gathering was a mix of croupiers, old ladies, Russian sharpers, international personages, and disguised police agents.

General Goiron, the newly elected mayor of Nice, ordered the closing of all gaming houses in Trinité. A raid was arranged, and the gamblers scattered in terror. Monsieur Paul, the organizer of the most important establishment, was also in flight, pursued by a police commissioner. The commissioner sprained his foot, and Monsieur Paul helped him up and took him into town. The next day, the newspapers praised the chivalry of the French people and reported that Monsieur Paul had reopened his gaming house in Trinité.