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This game is useful in testing accuracy of eye and aim, and is a decided improvement on Aunt Sally.
The machinery of the game consists of a large wooden star with eight long rays, each painted of a different colour. The rays are not fixtures, but their bases are merely slipped into grooves in the body of the star, so that they can be easily knocked out.
There are also eight wooden balls coloured in accordance with the rays of the star. In order to play the game, each player takes the balls, and, standing pt a specified distance, throws them at the star, so as to knock out the rays. If he succeed in striking out a ray of the same colour as the ball, he scores two points but if the ray and ball arc of different colours, he scores one pomt. If he should miss the-star altogether, three points are deducted from his score.
When he has thrown the eight balls, the rays are replaced and the next player takes the balls.
Sometimes each player pays a counter into a pool, and instead of deducting three points from his score when he misses the star, he pays three counters into the pool. He who has scored highest takes the pool.
When this game is played a curtain should be arranged behind the star to stop the balls.
This game is played something like lawn billiards, except that there are six revolving rings instead of one, and that the ball is thrown and not pushed with
a cue. As in the previous game, the rings and balls are painted of corresponding colours.
The object of the game is to throw the six balls through the rings, each successful throw counting as three; but when a ball passes through a ring of its own colour the player scores six.
This game is best played by having a pool, as mentioned in the royal star.
CUP AND BALL.
In this game there is no infusion of chance, the whole interest of the gams lying in the dexterity of the player.
The cup is a piece of wood or ivory, with a point at one end and a cup—the shallower and smaller the better—at the other. The ball is solid, with the exception of a hole, which ought to l1e just large enough to receive the point, and no larger. The ball is connected with the stem of the cup by means of a string, which, if possible, should be of soft silk, so as to avoid "kinking," which is obstructive to all play.
The learner should begin with catching the ball in the cup. He should take the stem by the middle, taking care to hold it as lightly as possible between the ends of the fingers and thumb, and not to grasp it firmly. Many good players pass the string over the forefinger; but we believe, after long experi
ence, that the ball can be thrown more accurately if the string hang directly from the stem. The ball should be thrown upwards by a slight jerk of the wrist, not of the whole arm; and, if properly done, it falls of its own accord into the cup. Just as the ball touches the cup the right hand should be allowed to drop a little, otherwise the ball, though it may fall into the cup, will roll out again.
When the player can make sure of catching the ball in this manner, he should hold the stem by the very point between the forefinger and thumb, and practise catching the ball as before. He will find this rather difficult, as the cup is apt to yield to one side or the other, and to let the ball roll out. In order to avoid this, the cup should be rather balanced than held, so that it is perfectly upright when the ball comes into it.
The next feature is to swing the ball into the cup instead of throwing it; and the most difficult feat that can be accomplished with the cup is to jerk the ball into the air as usual, and then rapidly pass the cup under the left wrist, so that when the ball settles in the cup the wrist is encircled by the string. A good player ought to be able to catch the ball in the cup with his eyes
Now we come to catching the ball on the pomt, which is a very difficult matter, and yet, difficult as it may seem, a moderate player ought to succeed ten times in twelve. We have often caught it on the point thirty times in succession.
In order to do this properly, hold the stem as represented in the illustration, and with the fingers of the right hand give the ball a smart spin. Let it spin as far as it can in one direction, and allow it to spin back again for ten or twelve times, watch that it is quite steady, and then throw it up as before. Turn the point upwards as if you were aiming at the spot where the string enters the ball, and just as the ball touches the point let your hand sink slightly.
If this be done properly the ball settles itself on the point almost mechanically, and the proof of a really good catch is that the ball revolves several times after it has been caught.
This game is invaluable for giving lightness of touch, dexterity of hand, and quickness of eye.
THE FLYING CONE.
This singularly pretty toy is managed on precisely similar principles as the last, namely, the revolution of a piece of wood or ivory round its axis.
In shape it resembles two cones united at their points, and for convenience sake it is usually made hollow, with a hole at one side so as to produce a humming sound when spun rapidly.
The mode of playing this toy is as follows: Take two slender sticks—those used for " Les Graces" will answer the purpose admirably—and tie a string about a yard in length to their tips. Lay the cone on a table or on the floor, take one of the sticks in each hand, and slip the string under the middle of the cone, taking care that the cone is near the right-hand stick. Now lift up the
string with a steady fling of the right hand, so as to make the string communicate a revolving motion to the cone. Continue the process by a sort of whipping movement, so that the cone is spun horizontally, just as a whip-top is spun vertically; and as soon as it begins to hum it may be considered as fairly settled to its work.
When a good player has made the cone hum, he takes all kinds of liberties with it: sometimes he flings it high in the air, and catches it on the string, which he stretches tight, and on which he makes the cone leap and spring like a rope-dancer; sometimes he throws it on one of the sticks, and makes it roll upwards from the point of the stick to the arm; sometimes he whirls the sticks, string, and cone round his body, the cone continuing to spin, and retaining its place as if endued with life.
We very strongly recommend this toy, as it gives plenty of exercise, and combines the neatness of hand and precision of eye required for cup and ball with an amount of continuous muscular exertion which cannot be obtained by the cup and ball alone.
This toy, simple as it looks, and easy as it is when properly managed, requires some little skill to make it play properly.
It consists of two dises united in the centre, and having a s1ring wound in the groove formed by their junction. In order to play the bandilore properly, wind up the string until the groove is nearly filled with it, and then let the bandilore drop, as shown in the illustration, so that the string is unwound, and makes the bandilore revolve rapidly. Just before it reaches the end of the string throw the hand gently but firmly upwards, so that the revolution of the bandilore may wind up the string again, but in a reverse direction. It can thus be kept flying up and down for any length of time. A skilful player can mark the string at different intervals, and cause the bandilore to wind itself up to any mark that may be fixed upon.
About the beginning of the present century the bandilore became suddenly a fashionable toy under the name of ijuiz, and scarcely any person of fashion was without one of these toys.
This very simple toy is made on the same principles as those which have preceded it, and can be easily made by any boy.
Get a circular piece of tin, three inches or more in diameter, and cut it round the edges in the form of a star. Bore two holes through it about an inch and a half apart; pass the two ends of a string through the holes; tie them, and the toy is complete.
Hold an end of the doubled string in each hand, as seen in the illustration, and spin the tin star, or " cutter," as we shall call it, until the string is twisted as far as it will bear. Now separate the hands, and the cutter will revolve rapidly, and, when the hands are at their full extent, will come to rest as shown in the illustration.
But if, instead of allowing the hands to reach their fullest extent and to remain there, they arc brought gradually together again, the cutter will revolve in the opposite direction and wind itself up again. Thus it may be made to wind and unwind itself as long as the player likes, just as is done with the bandilorc
This toy is called the water-cutter because, if spun over a basin of water, and allowed to dip as it spins, it cuts through the water and sends a shower of spray from it over the operator when it spins in one direction, and over the spectators when it spins in the other.
This game does not require quite so much skill as some of thos; which have been mentioned, but is nevertheless amusing.
It consists of a board with a number of cups, a ball for each cup, and a movable arm from which a heavy ball is suspended by a string. The cups are numbered.
The players begin by placing the balls in the cups, and the first player then turns the arm in any position which he thinks best, draws the suspended ball out to the full length of the string, and allows it to swing back again, so as to strike the balls out of the cups.
For each ball knocked out of a cup he scores one point. Each cup is numbered, and if a player can strike a ball out of ore cup into another, he scores as many points as are indicated by the number in the cup. A ball struck off the board is lost, and scores nothing.
The second player replaces the balls in the cups, and commences in the same way.
Each player has four strokes. Threescore and one is a medium game; fivescore and one a long game.
This game is played by means of seven pins, made so that they may either be driven into the ground or fixed on a board. Each pin is numbered, from one to seven. There is a slight cup at the top of the pins.
To play the game, six of the pins are fixed in a circle, with the seventh in the middle; and the players, standing at a given dislance, take the wooden
quoits, with which they try to knock the balls out of the cups. Before playing, they must name the pin at which they aim, and if they strike off the ball belonging to any other pin, the score goes to the adversary. If, however, he knocks off the ball at which he aims, and by the same throw strikes off one or more besides, he may score them all.
In another version of the game, if the player can strike off the seven balls and have one or more quoits to spare, he may try to throw the quoits so as to fall upon the pins, and for every case in which he succeeds, he adds the number of the pin to his score.
PARLOUR RINGOLETTE. This is entirely a game of skill.
As may be seen from the illustration, it is played with pegs which can be fastened firmly into a board, and with a corresponding number of wooden rings or q'loits. When the pegs arc set in their places, the first player takes the quoits, and, standing at a specified distance, endeavours to throw the rings over the pegs. For every ring that fairly encircles a peg the thrower scores