The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #41018   Message #3076646
Posted By: GUEST,CLW
17-Jan-11 - 04:20 PM
Thread Name: Lyr ADD: Shooting of Dan McGrew (Robert W Service)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Shooting of Dan McGrew (Robert W Service)
RE: Meaning of "spread misere"

The above link explains the rules of Whist, a common cardgame. In the poem, Dangerous Dan McGrew was playing a solo game. Spread misere is a type of bid in Whist, where the bidder plays solo and must complete the play with all cards face up on the table after the first trick has been taken - with the object of a spread misere, to take NO tricks. Failure of the bid is costly in points but the most lucrative of bids for those who succeed.

I believe Dangerous Dan's declaration of the bid during a quiet part of the piano playing, brought him to the attention of the stranger. Dan was recognized as someone who had done the stranger grievous injury and the exchange of bullets left both of them dead.

The poem does not match the lyrics I've seen posted here.