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called, are a number of thin narrow slips of wood, bone, or ivory, each more or less notched, sometimes cut into fantastic shapes, and numbered.
These being held together in a bundle, arc allowed to fall on the table, and the players, two or more in number, each in turn pull them out one by one with a small hook. As long as a player can go on abstracting from the heap, without in any way shaking or disturbing more than one spillikin at the time, his turn continues, and all he thus secures he keeps; at the least shake his turn ceases, and the next player goes on.
When all the spillikins have been thus abstracted, each player counts his heap, each spillikin being valued at the number inscribed on it, and he who has most wins.
THE OLD FAMILY COACH.
This is a very good old game, but it depends entirely for its spirit upon the inventive faculties of the person who tells the story upon which the game hinges.
The players sit in a circle, and all but the story-teller take names, each of some part of the coach or its equipment; door, step, boot, wheels, coachman, horses, traces, &c
The story-teller—when all are ready and know their respective names—begins a long tale about the adventures of this old coach, bringing it to all sorts of grief, and making the story as humorous as possible. The story ought to be told fluently, but not too fast to be readily followed by the audience. Every time any part of the coach is mentioned, the player who has assumed its name must rise from his scat and sit down again, under penalty of a forfeit; and every time the old coach is mentioned the whole party, with the exception of the story-teller, must do likewise.
The game may be played with a railroad instead of a coach if it be preferred.
TWIRL THE TRENCHER.
This is a game for almost any number of players—the more, within reasonable limits, the better. The players scat themselves in a great circle in the middle of the room, each assumes the name of some town or beast, or they are numbered one, two, three, and so on. One of the party now twirls or spins a wooden trencher upon its edge, and leave! it spinning, calling the name or number of one of the circle, who, under penalty of a forfeit, must spring up p.nd prevent the trencher from falling, twirling it in turn, and calling another name or number.
This is a very good game for forfeits, as the players are apt to forget their names till too late. A change of names should be made every dozen twirls or so, as from mere practice the players get too familiar with them, and so half the fun is lost.
PUSS IN THE CORNER.
A very good game for a small number of players. All the players but one, who is called " Puss," take their places, each in one corner of the room, whi'c the puss stands in the middle.
The fun consists in the endeavours of the several players to exchange corners without letting puss supplant them. If puss can get into a vacant corner, the player who is left corncrless becomes puss in his stead.
The game must be played with spirit; too great caution in leaving corners soon makes it fall exceedingly flat, whereas if the players evince a noble disregard to the danger of being cut off from their corners, and plenty of activity, it may be kept up for a long time with undiminished zest.
To those timid spirits who fear to leave their corners until assured of absolute safety we have only one piece of advice to offer, and that is simply to abstain from playing; for if all went on the same principle it is very evident there could be no game at all. If, therefore, they cannot play with some spirit, and without this selfish sensitiveness to their own personal position in the game, they are very much better out of it.
HUNT THE SLIPPER.
For this game at least ten or a dozen players are icquired to get any continued fun out of it.
One player stands up in the middle of the room, and the rest sit on the ground in a circle, with him in the centre. A slipper is given to one of the seated players, who passes it under his legs to the next, and he to the next, or back again, and so on, being careful the while not to give the one who is standing any indication of its whereabouts.
After a short interval ti e one who first took the slipper cries " Ready!" and the hunt begins. The hunter tries to detect the actual holder of the slipper and to seize his hands, while, of course, all conspire to baffle him in the search. All sorts of means are employed to deceive the hunter, one player pretending to be very busy and mysterious, while the slipper is actually on the other side of the circle; or, on the opposite principle, to be very quiet, and so excite his suspicions, and bring him down on a bootless quest.
The hunter, if he have his wits about him, may generally give a pretty shrewd guess as to the position of the slipper by watching the countenances of those in the circle: there arc sure to be some two or three, at least, who have but slight control over their features, and who, therefore, will certainly, by conscious looks, betray themselves whenever the slipper comes to them. A useful maxim for the hunter is to watch the less chver players closely, and leave the clever ones to themselves.
This game is a very interesting and amusing one. The players (of whom there may be any number— the more the better) seat themselves round the table, each provided with a pencil and piece of paper, pens, and ink. Each, player draws a line in ink upon his piece of paper, which he then passes to his next neighbour, who must make a picture of it, introducing the ink line as part of the outline. The ink line may be as long or as short as the author chooses, only he must not lift his pen while drawing it, or at least he must make the line unbroken. Short lines make the best and funniest pictures. Uhe picture must be drawn in pencil.
There is no attempt at any careful or finished draw ing, as thl pictures must be finished quickly; else the game is apt to be dull and slow The greater the variety the better. Care should be taken to prevent the too lrequent repetition of one idea. Profiles of faces, for instance, may very easily be made out of almost any line, a.id so can comical looking animals. This, how ever, should be avoided after one or tw o examples, just as a piece of cncouiagement to timid hangers back who profess that they cannot draw. The best fun is caused by the most uncouth pictures.
Very pretty designs may be obtained by wr ting a name on a fold of paper, do ' ling it, and rub in t together while still wet, w ith a paper knife. First fold your paper, then write rapidly, with a sojt pen, the name you choose, on
the crease; fold the paper again and rub it very hard. You w.il thus produce designs, varying for every name, something like the annexed pattern, which shows the result of writing England with plenty of ink.
BLIND MAN'S DUFF.
This is one of the best of indoor games, giving plenty of healthy exercise, affording lots of food for laughter, and yet not so rou^h but that boys and girls may join in it on tolerably equal terms.
It is played thus: One of the party is blinded by having a handkerchief tied over his eyes, which operation should be very carefully performed, or he will be able to see quite distinctly, and all the real fun of the game be lost. Fairly blinded, he is taken into the middle of the room, turned round solemnly three times, and let loose to catch whom he may.
If he succeed in catching one of the others, and in guessing the name correctly, the person caught becomes blind man in turn. The blind man may feel the face and dress of his captive—who, if once fairly caught, is required to stand still until finally released—and is allowed to make one guess at the name, which if he fail to do correctly, he must let the player go, and try his luck again.
The other players may touch the blind man, and call his attention by talking to him; but they must not push or pull him, or, in fact, use any violence under any pretence. They may, however, employ any device they can hit upon, within fair bounds, to mislead him as to their persons, such as exchanging coats, altering their collars, the dressing of their hair, and the like. But they must not put themselves in any way out of his reach, and if any of them leave the room during play the blind man must be apprised of the fact.
The room should be carefully prepared beforehand for this game by removing as much of the furniture as possible altogether, and piling up the rest out of harm's way, especial care being taken not to leave anything over which the blind man might trip up: a hearthrug is a very common source of danger on this head, and should be invariably removed.
If possible, there should be no fire in the room; if, however, it be unavoidable that there should be one, the blind man must be warned every time he approaches and at loast a wire guard must be kept before it.
A good blind man is guided more by his ear than anything else, and watches not only for footsteps, voices, the rustling of dresses, and the like, but for all indications which the presence or absence of noises in special parts of the room afford him of their being vacant or occupied: a sudden raid into a very quiet corner—too peaceful in his opinion to be natural—will often reward him by the capture of some specially crafty individual. A sudden lull, too, in the tumult, when he is bearing down upon some point, is an almost invariable sign that he has struck a "warm corner," and the interest is so intense that all the rest have stopped to look: if head and hands only work together then, he ought to be secure of a capture.
The blind man may, if he gets the chance, catch two people, and, failing with one in guessing his name, may try the other; but he is bound to hold both all the time; for though the captives, when once fairly held, are forbidden to struggle, they are yet not bound to remain in durance any longer th m their captor has actual hold of them.
The blind man is allowed to take his own time, within reasonable limits that is, about making his guess at the name of his captive, and may, as said above, employ his sense of touch to elucidate this matter, and he may ask questions, hoping to get a clue by the voice; but the captive, though bound to stand still, is not bound to speak, and may, like Martin Chuzzlewit's American friend, go upon the principle that "A man may ask a question, so he may," with the clear understanding " that another man mightn't answer it, so he mightn't," and may please himself about answering, which, of course, he will scarcely be foolish enough to do. The blind man is not, however, allowed to mention names, as, "It is not so and so, or so and so," hoping to get a hint from outsiders thus. The first name he mentions must be the one he abides by; only if he has given the right name, and yet said "It is not so and so," he is considered equally wrong as if he had given the wrong name. There are a good many more rules and regulations, which must depend a great deal upon the circumstances of the moment, and may, therefore, be left for special legislation at the time.
The party are seated in two rows facing each other down the room; one person is left chairless, and becomes Postman. He holds a piece of paper and a pencil, and asks each person to take the name of a post town, English or foreign, which he writes down.
When every one is seated, the postman calls out, "The post is going between London and York," or any other two towns chosen as names by the players. The moment he speaks, the persons so named exchange seats rapidly, the postman, of course, trying to get one of their scats. When he says, "The general post is going out," everybody changes seats, and in the scramble he manages to get one ; but, as there is always one chair less than the number of the players, somebody else is left out, and becomes postman. Any "town" not answering to its name pays a forfeit.
A BLIND JUDGMENT.
A young lady is blindfolded. The Lord or Lady of Misrule then brings the players, one by one, up to her, and requires her opinion of them. She is not restored to sight till she has given a just opinion of some one, in accordance with the judgment of the company. Those presented must be quite silent, and endeavour to step lightly, so as not to let her guess whether she is giving her opinion of a young lady or gentleman.
Aifo a very good game for forfeits. One of the party stands up before the rest like a drill-sergeant, while they keep line before him. He holds his hands before him, with ihe fingers clenched, and the thumbs or forefingers pointing upwards, in which the squad must imitate him.
He now cries, " Simon says, Turn down," and reverses his thumbs: all must follow suit, under penalty of a forfeit; then, " Simon says, Turn up," or " Simon says, Wig-wag," suiting the action to the words, and looking out to catch any ot the squad tripping.
The squad must only obey an order prefaced by "Simon says," and the leader tries to catch them by repeating the right formula several times rapidly, and then suddenly saying "turn up," or "down" without the " Simon says;"