"Very well," was her ladyship's contented answer--"then Speculation if you please, Mrs. Grant. I know nothing about it, but Fanny must teach me."
Here Fanny interposed however with anxious protestations of her own equal ignorance...but upon every body's assuring her that nothing could be so easy, that it was the easiest game on the cards, and Henry Crawford's stepping forward with a most earnest request to be allowed to sit between her ladyship and Miss Price, and teach them both, it was so settled....[T]hough it was impossible for Fanny not to feel herself mistress of the rules of the game in three minutes, he had yet to inspirit her play, sharpen her avarice, and harden her heart, which, especially in any competition with William, was a work of some difficulty....
Thus Jane Austen introduces the famous Speculation scene in Mansfield Park. Although we won't have the dubious benefit of a Henry Crawford at hand to teach us the rules, we're going to observe the second annual joint meeting of the JASNA Syracuse Region and the Colgate Bookstore JA Book Club by trying a few rounds of Speculation ourselves--and by talking a bit first about Regency card and parlour games in general. The David Parlett Games site's "Rewrite" rules for Speculation seem to be the clearest set available online, so those are the rules we'll be using. (Click on the link for the online version, although hard copies will be available at the meeting.)
Please don't be shy about joining in the game: Your JASNA Regional Coordinators have never tried it before either, so we will all be starting from a position of "equal ignorance," unless some of you can advise us! And, to "inspirit your play, sharpen your avarice, and harden your hearts," a prize will be awarded to the player with the afternoon's cumulative high score: a copy of the book Regency House Party, by Lucy Jago (this was the companion to a U.K. Channel Four TV series a few years back).
So we hope you'll join us at the Colgate Bookstore (3 Utica St., Hamilton) on Saturday, February 12, at 2 pm! The Bookstore's meeting rooms are on the third floor.