fragment © Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
1. Pearl cocktail
One of the most ancient bet in the history of mankind was concluded between Cleopatra and her Roman lover mark Antony. The Queen made a bet that at one dinner drink wine in 10 million sesterces. The prospects opened very interesting, and mark gladly accepted the bet. However, the cunning woman, of course, cheated. At the beginning of the meal before she put the glass of wine vinegar, Cleopatra took itself out of the ear of a huge black pearl, which was known for its fabulous value, and threw it into the glass. Calcium carbonate reacts with acetic acid, weaken it, and at the end of dinner, the resulting cocktail was quite possible to drink one bold breath that the Queen has done. Mark Antony declared her victory.
By the way, scientists recently proved the realism of this chemical experience. A Professor prudence Jones from the University of new Jersey armed with vinegar and pearls and found that it takes about 24 hours to dissolve in acid medium the pearl. He admits that the Egyptian Queen in advance soaked his earring in vinegar and pulled her out of the ear in a softened form. Or dinner, as it often was at that time, especially in a society Cleopatra, segued into Breakfast.
2. Race with the butcher the Following story happened in England in the EIGHTEENTH century and may rightly be considered one of the most ingenious wager. In Brighton, lived a butcher by the name of bullock, he was known throughout the city for its thickness and ingenuity: this gentleman never climbed by word in a pocket. In the same area was an estate of the Earl of Barrymore, the brilliant young aristocrat, keen athletics. The count is rightly considered himself one of the best athletes in the country. History is silent whether Barrymore client bullock, however, it is known that the butcher once suggested to count an unusual bet. The fat man declared that is ready to overtake the young athlete on the street, but on two conditions: he reserves the right to choose the place and asks for a head start in 35 meters. The winner gets the losers from a substantial amount compared to the cost of the entire business of Mr. bullock. The count was amused by this bold proposal, and he agreed. Runners began to prepare for the competition.
Only a few hours before the race, the butcher revealed the card he chose the street black lion lane – one of the narrowest in the UK. Immediately after the start Barrymore caught up with his opponent, but... was not able to squeeze past him to reach the finish line first. Say, Earl pleaded loser and honestly paid Bullock all that he owed.
3. Balzac women This story exists more as a literary bike (none of the official biography of Honore de Balzac it does not confirm), but all the prerequisites for something like that really was. It is known that Balzac considered himself a connoisseur of women and often entertained friends by writing a detailed biography of any dog on the street an interesting stranger.
So, once Balzac with a friend were walking in the Park. There were two ladies, represented a remarkable contrast. One was a blonde beauty with a remarkable figure and movements, the other flat, the awkward brunette with an incredible hat on his head. Balzac announced friend that is willing to bet on anything: the blonde is a native Parisienne "Parisian walk"; rather, she had several rich lovers, she's childless and lead a beautiful life. Well, brunette – English; probably the housekeeper; she has one child, the fruit of the mistakes of his youth, who lives with his grandmother; she could barely make ends meet. Buddy opened his mouth in surprise and took the bet. Decided to argue for dinner at a nice restaurant. If Balzac is right – pay PAL, if wrong – on the contrary. Friends made a bet. The writer without a trace of embarrassment came to the ladies and met them. But the more they answered his questions, the darker became a "connoisseur of women's souls." It turned out that blonde – a German, a respectable mother of two, wife of a famous diplomat. Well, brunette is the root Frenchwoman; moreover, the actress is very frivolous character, which is not averse to "dine with the gentlemen." Balzac barely managed to get rid of it: dinner with him that day, and so strongly no luck.
4. Lunar bet In the moment when Neil Armstrong took his giant step in the history of mankind, sincerely rejoiced not only all of America, but one very modest British. His name was David Threlfall, and he was very lucky. For nine years prior to this event, in 1960, he came to the bookmaker with 10 pounds in his pocket and the idea to put on something crazy. From the list most of all he liked the man's journey to the moon in the next 10 years. Bets were taken 1 to 1000. Ten pounds was not so small a sum in those days: the monthly salary of workers was equal to 30-40 pounds. Nevertheless David took a chance and, as we know, won! In 1969, less than a year before the expiration of the bet the Americans made the moon landing. And Threlfall then bought a luxurious sports car. However, the smile of fortune turned sarcastic grin: in the first year, David crashed to death in his car.
5. Around the world in... the Most glorious in the world literature bet Phileas Fogg ("Around the world in 80 days") has spawned a lot of imitators. The first who managed to beat the record Fogg in real life, was an American journalist Nellie bly. In 1888, she suggested to her editor at the News of the World (by the way, it was the Pulitzer) to send her on a business trip on the route Jules-Verhovskogo character with a small suitcase and 200 pounds in his pocket.
While Nelly was preparing for the journey, Cosmopolitan magazine also interested in the matter and sent its reporter: she was going to travel around the globe, moving in the opposite direction. In the end, it was a bet, which of the girls first return to the departure point.
On 14 November 1889 Nellie got on Board a transatlantic liner Augusta Victoria and went. Of course, in real life was waiting for her significantly less adventurous than in the book, however, there were missed trains, and a visit to a leper colony in China, and the purchase of tame monkeys in Singapore, and even meeting with by Jules Verne. All this Nelly wrote telegrams in my journal. The Pulitzer even opened the tote to readers: taken bets on when Nelly gets to the next destination. January 21, late for two days because of storms in the Pacific ocean, Nelly arrived back in the United States. However, she would have to move to another coast. If the journalist was traveling by conventional rail, it does not fit in 80 days, but the Pulitzer has sent her personal train, so nally arrived at the point of departure for eight days early! Her competitor from the Cosmopolitan at this point, still plied the Atlantic, hopelessly losing a bet.