“The Historic Newport Casino”
The setting was Newport, Rhode Island, August 1879. James Gordon Bennett, the influential publisher of America’s leading newspaper theNew York Herald, and Captain Henry Augustus Candy, retired officer of the Queen’s 9th Royal Lancers and skillful British Polo player, were the two key figures in the origins of the Newport Casino. Bennett, as a summer resident, was a member of the Newport Reading Room, a gentlemen-only club, which was a gathering place for prominent Newporters. As Bennett’s guest, Captain Candy also enjoyed the benefits of Reading Room membership. The story goes that one late summer day, the two men were up for some amusing entertainment and Bennett presumably bet or dared Captain Candy to ride his polo horse up onto the front porch of the Reading Room. Candy, without hesitation, mounted his horse and rode onto the porch…and then proceeded into the club! Although Candy won the afternoon wager, club members expressed their displeasure at the insulting disruption. The Governors of the Reading Room were also not amused and revoked the guest privileges of Captain Candy. Bennett was not one to be chastised and tempers flared, all resulting in the end of Bennett’s Reading Room membership.
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