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Black Betty

Posted by Lewis on August 30, 2005

In Reply to: The Queen of Spades posted by Smokey Stover on August 30, 2005

: : Hey,
: : This isn't the usual kind of question but I thought you guys may be able to help me.

: : I need to know are there any metaphors or phrases or ANYTHING concerning the Queen of Spades (all I know is that there's an opera by that name).

: : Any help would be greatly appreciated.

: Once again, guessing in the dark, owing to a lack of context. However, in the short amount of time I spent Googling the phrase, only three things turned up: 1) the Pushkin novella of that name , 2) the Tchakovsky opera (Pikovaya Dama, also known as Picque Dame, as well as The Queen of Spaces), and 3) a British film based on the Pushkin story. The story is one of those mysterious stories a bit a la Poe. A Russian army officer without money wants to win some at cards. He becomes acquainted with a girl whose grandmother, known as the Queen of Spades, has secret knowledge of how to win at gambling. From there on Pushkin's story and those derived from it vary a bit. Of course, things end badly for the young officer. Tchaikovsky's opera was one of his two most successful, both based on Pushkin stories. (The other was Eugene Oniegin.) I know of no particular significance attached to that card in the deck outside of Pushkin's story, but others may. SS

the Queen of Spades is known as "Black Betty", which is the name of a card game and a song by Geno Washington's Ram Jam Band (in the 1970s).