MY BOOK OF INDOOR GAMES
With Full Page Illustrations from Photographs Loaned by The Chicago Park Commission
The publishers gratefully acknowledge their thanks to the Chicago Park Commission for the loan of the photographs of which the half tone illustrations used in this book are copies.
INDEX OF INDOOR GAMES
Acting Proverbs 37
Acting Rhymes 54
All Fours 64
Alphabet Game 84
Animal, Vegetable or Mineral 45
Ants and the Grasshopper 91
Balancing Spoon 114
Band Box (Charade) 29
Beggar My Neighbor 69
Birds, Beasts and Fishes 61
Bird Catcher 26, 105
Birds Fly 100
Blackboard Relay 102
Blind Man’s Buff 18
Blind Man’s Wand 47
Bob Major 24
Bridge of Knives 112
Buff Says Buff 18
Card Games 13
Cat and Mouse 17
Cat and Rat 104
Cat’s Cradle 81
Changing Seats 102
Chinese Shadows 118
Coach and Four 93
Cock Fighting 83
Circle Ball 106
Coin Trick 115
Cross Questions and Crooked Answers 11 Crows’ Race 104
Cushion Dance 77
Dancing Egg 111
Dancing Pea 114
Dead Ball 106
Diamond Ring 78
Draw a Pail of Water 87
Drop the Handkerchief 15
Duck Under the Water 88
Dumb Crambo 24
Earth, Air, Fire and Water 44
Eraser Game 106
Eraser Relay 108
Family Coach 14
Find an Object While Blindfolded 117 Fives and Threes 60
Flag Race 103
Forbidden Letter 78
Force of a Water Drop 115
Fox and Chickens 107
Fox and Geese 83
Fox Chase 103
French Roll 27
Frog in the Middle 100
Gallery of Statutes 51
Game of Cat 34
Game of Conversation 50
Garden Gate 27
Grand Mufti 79
Green Gravel 59
Hand Shadows 118
Hands Up 48
Hide the Thimble 103
Honey Pots 85
Hot Boiled Beans and Bacon 52
How to Light a Candle Without Touching It 112 How, When and Where 21
Huckle, Buckle, Beanstalk 102
Hunt the Ring 49
Hunt the Slipper 48
I Apprenticed My Son 17
I Love My Love With an A 43
I Point 78
I Say Stoop 100
I Sell My Bat, I Sell My Ball 81
I Suspect You 68
Jolly Miller 55
Judge and Jury 48
Jumping the Rope 105
Last Man 102
Little Lady 99
Living Pictures 34
Living Shadows 119
Lodgings to Let 49
Lost and Found 45
Lubin Loo 97
Magic Music 16
Magic Thread 111
Magic Whistle 92
Magic Writing 79
Malaga Raisins 93
Man and Object 54
Man With His Head the Wrong Way 117 Mother, Mother, the Pot Boils Over 89
My Master Bids You Do as I Do 52
Mysterious Ball 117
Noughts and Crosses 61
Oats and Beans and Barley 95
Obstinate Cork 112
Old Maid 66
Old Soldier 22
Oranges and Lemons 12
Our Old Grannie Doesn’t Like Tea 42 Paper and Pencil Games 61
Pigeon House Game 95
Pope Joan 67
Postman’s Knock 42
Preliminary Ball 107
Puss in the Corner 20
Questions and Answers 88
Racing and Counting Scores 101
Red Cap and Blue Cap 53
Revolving Pins 116
Riding the Bicycle 104
Rule of Contrary 26
Running Maze 92
Ruth and Jacob 56
Sally Water 94
School Room Basket Ball 101
School Room Tag 108
Sea King 17
Seat Tag 106
Sentinel Drop 115
Serpentine Maze 110
Shouting Proverbs 38
Simon Says 26
Six and Five Make Nine 113
Slap Jack 104
Slow Poke 110
Snip, Snap, Snorum 66
Spelling Game 86
Stool of Repentance 49
Squirrel and Nut 101
Suggestive Breathing Work 103
Swimming Needles 111
Tag Me or Heads Up 105
Tag the Wall Relay 110
Teacher and Class 109
Think of a Number 119
Third Man 107
Thought Reading 70
Tit, Tat, Toe 61
To Balance a Coffee Cup 112
To Guess Two Ends of a Line of Dominoes 120 To Tell the Age of Any Person 120
Travelers’ Alphabet 14
Tricks and Puzzles 110
Twirl the Trencher 11
Vanishing Dime 113
What’s My Thought Like? 81
“Let the child imbibe in the full spirit of play. There is nothing like it to keep him on the path of health, right thinking and mind development.”
That is the guiding purpose of the author. The reader will find in this book a collection of old and present day games. The student of Play has long realized that there are no new games, that all our games of today are built on the old timers.
The purpose of My Book of Indoor Games is to furnish amusement, entertainment and to be the means of sociability. So very often the question comes up–“What shall we do?” In many cases this book serves only as a reminder, the games and parlor tricks are well known but cannot be recalled at the critical moment. A combination, such as this, of the best of the old-fashioned games and a carefully compiled list of the games of today will furnish much help to the young in their search of entertainment and amusement.
But the book will be equally useful to grownups. The author has seen staid, respectable people play “Lubin Loo” with as much zest and spirit as the youngest group of children. All of us have played “Going to Jerusalem.” The spirit must be there; there is nothing so contagious as the spirit of play.
[Illustration: Hide–then go seek]
TWIRL THE TRENCHER
This is a game which almost any number of children can play.
The players seat themselves in a circle, and each takes the name of some town, or flower, or whatever has been previously agreed upon. One of the party stands in the middle of the circle, with a small wooden trencher, or waiter, places it upon its edge, and spins it, calling out as he does so the name which one of the players has taken. The person named must jump up and seize the trencher before it ceases spinning, but if he is not very quick the trencher will fall to the ground, and he must then pay a forfeit. It is then his turn to twirl the trencher.
A very similar game to this is “My Lady’s Toilet.” The only difference is that each player must take the name of some article of a lady’s dress, such as shawl, earring, brooch, bonnet, etc.
* * * * *
CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS
To play this game it is best to sit in a circle, and until the end of the game no one must speak above a whisper.
The first player whispers a question to his neighbor, such as: “Do you like roses?” This question now belongs to the second player, and he must remember it.
The second player answers: “Yes, they smell so sweetly,” and this answer belongs to the first player. The second player now asks his neighbor a question, taking care to remember the answer, as it will belong to him. Perhaps he has asked his neighbor, “Are you fond of potatoes?” and the answer may have been, “Yes, when they are fried!”
So that the second player has now a question and an answer belonging to him, which he must remember.
The game goes on until every one has been asked a question and given an answer, and each player must be sure and bear in mind that it is the question he is asked, and the answer his neighbor gives, which belong to him.
At the end of the game each player gives his question and answer aloud, in the following manner:
“I was asked: ‘Do you like roses?’ and the answer was: ‘Yes, when they are fried!'” The next player says: “I was asked: ‘Are you fond of potatoes?’ and the answer was: ‘Yes, they are very pretty, but they don’t wear well.'”
* * * * *
ORANGES AND LEMONS
Two of the players join hands, facing each other, having agreed privately which is to be “Oranges” and which “Lemons.” The rest of the party form a long line, standing one behind the other, and holding each other’s dresses or coats. The first two raise their hands so as to form an arch, and the rest run through it, singing as they run:
“Oranges and Lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s;
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s;
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
I do not know,
Says the big bell of Bow.
Here comes a chopper to light you to bed! Here comes a chopper to chop off your head!”
At the word “head” the hand archway descends, and clasps the player passing through at that moment; he is then asked in a whisper, “Oranges or Lemons?” and if he chooses “oranges,” he is told to go behind the player who has agreed to be “oranges” and clasp him round the waist.
The players must be careful to speak in a whisper, so that the others may not know what has been said.
The game then goes on again, in the same way, until all the children have been caught and have chosen which they will be, “oranges” or “lemons.” When this happens, the two sides prepare for a tug-of-war. Each child clasps the one in front of him tightly and the two leaders pull with all their might, until one side has drawn the other across a line which has been drawn between them.
* * * * *
MUSICAL CHAIRS OR GOING TO JERUSALEM
This game must be played in a room where there is a piano.
Arrange some chairs, back to back, in the center of the room, allowing one chair less than the number of players. Some one begins to play a tune, and at once the players start to walk or run round the chairs, to the sound of the music.
When the music stops, each player must try to find a seat, and as there is one chair short, some one will fail to do so, and is called “put.” He must carry a chair away with him, and the game goes on again until there is only one person left in, with no chair to sit upon. This person has won the game.
* * * * *
THE TRAVELER’S ALPHABET
The players sit in a row and the first begins by saying, “I am going on a journey to Athens,” or any place beginning with A. The one sitting next asks, “What will you do there?” The verbs, adjectives, and nouns used in the reply must all begin with A; as “Amuse Ailing Authors with Anecdotes.” If the player answers correctly, it is the next player’s turn; he says perhaps: “I am going to Bradford.” “What to do there?” “To Bring Back Bread and Butter.” A third says: “I am going to Constantinople.” “What to do there?” “To Carry Contented Cats.” Any one who makes a mistake must pay a forfeit.
* * * * *
THE FAMILY COACH
This is a very good old game, and is most amusing if you can find some one who is a good story-teller.
The players sit in a circle and every one, except the story-teller, takes the name of some part of a coach or its equipments; for instance, door, step, wheels, reins, box-seat, and so on.
When all are ready, the story-teller begins a tale about an old coach and what happened to it, how it went on a journey, came to grief, was mended, and started off again. The story should be told fluently, but not too quickly. Every time any part of the coach is mentioned, the player who has taken that name must rise from his seat and then sit down again.
Whenever “the coach” is mentioned, all the players, with the exception of the story-teller, must rise. Any one who fails to keep these rules must pay a forfeit.
* * * * *
DROP THE HANDKERCHIEF
A ring is formed by the players joining hands, whilst one child, who is to “drop the handkerchief,” is left outside. He walks round the ring, touching each one with the handkerchief, saying the following words:
“I wrote a letter to my love,
But on my way, I dropped it;
A little child picked it up
And put it in his pocket.
It wasn’t you, it wasn’t you,
It wasn’t you–but it was you.”
When he says “It was you,” he must drop the handkerchief behind one of the players, who picks it up and chases him round the ring, outside and under the joined hands, until he can touch him with the handkerchief. As soon as this happens, the first player joins the ring, whilst it is now the turn of the second to “drop the handkerchief.”
* * * * *
One of the players is sent out of the room, and the rest then agree upon some simple task for her to perform, such as moving a chair, touching an ornament, or finding some hidden object. She is then called in and some one begins to play the piano. If the performer plays very loudly, the “seeker” knows that she is nowhere near the object she is to search for. When the music is soft, then she knows she is very near, and when the music ceases altogether, she knows that she has found the object she was intended to look for.
* * * * *
This is a very old game, but is always a very great favorite. The more the players, the greater the fun. The way to play it is as follows: The players sit in a circle and begin to count in turn, but when the number 7 or any number in which the figure 7 or any multiple of 7 is reached, they say “Buzz,” instead of whatever the number may be. As, for instance, supposing the players have counted up to 12, the next player will say “13,” the next “Buzz” because 14 is a multiple of 7 (twice 7)–the next player would then say “15” the next “16,” and the next would, of course, say “Buzz” because the figure 7 occurs in the number 17. If one of the players forgets to say “Buzz” at the proper time, he is out. The game then starts over again with the remaining players, and so it continues until there is but one person remaining. If great care is taken the numbers can be counted up to 70, which, according to the rules before mentioned, would, of course, be called Buzz. The numbers would then be carried on as Buzz 1, Buzz 2, etc., up to 79, but it is very seldom that this stage is reached.
* * * * *
“I APPRENTICED MY SON.”
The best way of describing this game is to give an illustration of how it is played. The first player thinks of “Artichoke,” and commences: “I apprenticed my son to a greengrocer, and the first thing he sold was an A.”
Second player: “Apple?” “No.”
Third player: “Almonds?” “No.”
Fourth player: “Asparagus?” “No.”
Fifth player: “Artichoke?” “Yes.”
The last player, having guessed correctly, may now apprentice his son. No player is allowed more than one guess.
* * * * *
CAT AND MOUSE
The children sit in two rows opposite each other with a space between. One child takes the place of “cat,” being blindfolded, and one takes the place of “mouse,” and is also blindfolded, the cat standing at one end of the row and the mouse at the opposite end. They start in opposite directions, guiding themselves by the chairs, the cat trying to catch the mouse. When the mouse is caught it is made the cat, and one of the company takes the place of the mouse.
* * * * *
THE SEA KING
This game can be played by any number of children. They proceed by first choosing one of the party to act as the Sea King, whose duty it is to stand in the center of a ring, formed by the players seating themselves round him. The circle should be as large as possible. Each of the players having chosen the name of a fish, the King runs round the ring, calling them by the names which they have selected.
Each one, on hearing his name called, rises at once, and follows the King, who, when all his subjects have left their seats, calls out, “The sea is troubled,” and seats himself suddenly. His example is immediately followed by his subjects. The one who fails to obtain a seat has then to take the place of King, and the game is continued.
* * * * *
BUFF SAYS “BAFF”
This is a game in which no one is allowed to smile or laugh. All the players, except one, sit in a row or half circle; one goes out of the room and returns with a stick or poker in his hand, and a very grave and solemn face. He is supposed to have just returned from a visit to Buff. The first player asks him: “Where do you come from?” “From Buff.” The next asks: “Did he say anything to you?” To which the reply is:
“Buff said ‘Baff,’
And gave me this staff,
Telling me neither to smile nor to laugh. Buff says ‘Baff,’ to all his men,
And I say ‘Baff’ to you again.
And he neither laughs nor smiles,
In spite of all your cunning wiles, But carries his face with a very good grace, And passes his staff to the very next place.”
If he can repeat all this without laughing, he delivers up his staff to some one else, and takes his seat; but if he laughs, or even smiles, he pays a forfeit before giving it up.
* * * * *
BLIND MAN’S BUFF
In the olden times this game was known by the name of “Hood-man Blind,” as in those days the child that was chosen to be “blind man” had a hood placed over his head, which was fastened at the back of the neck.
In the present day the game is called “Blind Man’s Buff,” and very popular it is among young folk.
Before beginning to play, the middle of the room should be cleared, the chairs placed against the wall, and all toys and footstools put out of the way. The child having been selected who is to be “Blind Man” or “Buff,” is blindfolded. He is then asked the question, “How many horses has your father got?” The answer is “Three,” and to the question: “What color are they?” he replies: “Black, white, and gray.” All the players then cry: “Turn round three times and catch whom you may.” Buff accordingly spins round and then the fun commences. He tries to catch the players, while they in their turn do their utmost to escape “Buff,” all the time making little sounds to attract him. This goes on until one of the players is caught, when Buff, without having the bandage removed from his eyes, has to guess the name of the person he has secured. If the guess is a correct one, the player who has been caught takes the part of “Buff,” and the former “Buff” joins the ranks of the players.
* * * * *
PUSS IN THE CORNER
This game is really for five players only, but, by a little arrangement, six or seven children can take part in the fun.
Four players take their places in the different corners of the room, while the fifth stands in the middle. If a greater number of children wish to play, other parts of the room must be named “corners,” so that there is a corner for every one.
The fun consists in the players trying to change places without being caught; but they are bound to call “Puss, puss,” first, and to beckon to the one they wish to change with. Directly they leave their corners, the player in the center tries to get into one of them.
When the center player succeeds in getting into a corner, the one who has been displaced has to take his place in the middle of the room.
* * * * *
For this game all the players, except two, seat themselves in a circle. One of the two left out is blindfolded and is called the “Postman,” the other is called the “Postmaster-General.” Each of the players seated in the circle chooses the name of a town, which the “Post-master-General” writes down on a slip of paper, so that he may not forget it. He then calls out the names of two towns, thus: “The post from Aberdeen to Calcutta.” At once, the players who have taken those names must change places, and while doing so the “Postman” must try to catch one of them. If he succeeds in doing so he takes his place in the circle, having chosen a town for his name, and the one caught becomes “Postman” in place of him. Sometimes “General post” is called, when all have to change places, and the “Postman” is then almost sure to gain a seat.
* * * * *
This is a most amusing game if well carried out. The two performers must be hidden behind two curtains in front of which a table has been placed.
One of the performers slips his hands into a child’s socks and little shoes. He must then disguise his face, by putting on a false mustache, painting his eyebrows, sticking pieces of black court plaster over one or two of his teeth, which will make it appear as though he has lost several teeth. This, with a turban on his head, will prove a very fair disguise. The second performer must now stand behind the first and pass his arms round him, so that the second performer’s hands may appear like the hands of the dwarf, while the first performer’s hands make his feet. The figure must, of course, be carefully dressed, and the body of the second performer hidden behind the curtains.
The front player now puts his slippered hands upon the table and begins to keep time, while the other performer follows suit with his hands.
The dwarf can be used either to tell fortunes, make jokes, or ask riddles, and if the performers act their parts well, the guests will laugh very heartily.
* * * * *
HOW, WHEN, AND WHERE
One of the company goes out of the room, while the others choose a word to be guessed, one with two or three different meanings being the best.
We will suppose that the word “Spring” has been thought of. When the person who is outside the room is recalled, he (or she) asks each one in succession: “How do you like it?” The answers may be “Dry” (meaning the season), “Cold and clear” (a spring of water), “Strong” (a watch-spring), and “High” (a jump). The next question is: “When do you like it?” The answers may be: “When I am in the country,” “When I am thirsty,” “When my watch is broken.”
The next question is: “Where do you like it?” and the answers may be: “Anywhere and everywhere,” “In hot weather,” “In the clock.” The game is to try and guess the word after any of the answers, and if right, the player last questioned takes the place of the one who is guessing; if wrong, the questioner must try again.
* * * * *
Old Soldier is a game for young children, and though it seems very simple, yet there is a good deal of fun in it. One of the children pretends to be an old soldier, and goes round begging of each of the other players in turn, saying that he is “poor, and old, and hungry,” and asking what they will do for him or give him. In answering the Old Soldier, no one must say the words: “Yes,” “No,” “Black,” or “White,” and he must be answered at once without hesitation. Any one who does not reply at once, or who uses any of the forbidden words, must pay a forfeit.
* * * * *
Two of the players sit down, and a cloth, large enough to prevent their seeing anything, is put over their heads. Then two other persons tap them on the head with long rolls of paper, which they have in their hands, and ask, in feigned voices, “Who bobs you?” If either of those who have been tapped answers correctly, he changes places with the one who has tapped him.
* * * * *
Divide the company into two equal parts, one-half leaving the room; the remaining players should then select a word, which will have to be guessed by those outside the door. When the word has been chosen–say, for instance, the word “will”–the party outside the room are told that the word they are to guess rhymes with “till.” A consultation then takes place, and they may think that the word is “ill.” The company then enter and begin to act the word “ill,” but without speaking a word. The audience, when they recognize the word that is being performed, will immediately hiss, and the actors then retire and think of another word.
Thus the game goes on until the right word is hit upon, when the company who have remained in the room, clap their hands. The audience then change places with the actors.
* * * * *
Each player must choose a trade and pretend to be working at it. For instance, if he is a tailor, he must pretend to sew or iron; if a blacksmith, to hammer, and so on. One is the king, and he, too, chooses a trade. Every one works away as hard as he can until the king suddenly gives up his trade, and takes up that of some one else. Then all must stop, except the one whose business the king has taken, and he must start with the king’s work. The two go on until the king chooses to go back to his own trade, when all begin working again. Any one who fails either to cease working or to begin again at the right time, must pay a forfeit.
A somewhat more elaborate and livelier game of Trades is played by each boy in the party choosing a trade which he is supposed to be carrying on. The leader must invent a story, and, standing in the middle, must tell it to the company. He must manage to bring in a number of names of trades or businesses; and whenever a trade is mentioned, the person who represents it must instantly name some article sold in the shop.
* * * * *
This is always a favorite game. One of the players is chosen schoolmaster, and the others, ranged in order in front of him, form the class. The master may then examine the class in any branch of learning. Suppose him to choose Geography, he must begin with the pupil at the head of the class, and ask for the name of a country or town beginning with A. If the pupil does not reply correctly before the master has counted ten, he asks the next pupil, who, if he answers rightly–say, for instance, “America,” or “Amsterdam,” in time, goes to the top of the class. The schoolmaster may go on in this way through the alphabet either regularly or at random, as he likes. Any subject–names of kings, queens, poets, soldiers, etc.–may be chosen. The questions and answers must follow as quickly as possible. Whoever fails to answer in time, pays a forfeit.
* * * * *
RULE OF CONTRARY
This is a simple game for little children. It is played either with a pocket-handkerchief, or, if more than four want to play, with a table-cloth or small sheet. Each person takes hold of the cloth; the leader of the game holds it with the left hand, while with the right he makes pretense of writing on the cloth while he says: “Here we go round by the rule of contrary. When I say ‘Hold fast,’ let go; and when I say ‘Let go,’ hold fast.” The leader then calls out one or other of the commands, and the rest must do the opposite, of what he says. Any one who fails must pay a forfeit.
* * * * *
Seat yourselves in a circle and choose one of the company to be the leader, or Simon. His duty is to order all sorts of different things to be done, the funnier the better, which must be obeyed only when the order begins with “Simon says.” As, for instance, “Simon says: ‘Thumbs up!'” which, of course, all obey; then perhaps comes: “Thumbs down!” which should not be obeyed, because the order did not commence with “Simon says.”
Each time this rule is forgotten a forfeit must be paid. “Hands over eyes,” “Stamp the right foot,” “Pull the left ear,” etc., are the kind of orders to be given.
* * * * *
To play this game you must first decide which one of you is to be the Bird-catcher; the other players then each choose the name of a bird, but no one must choose the owl, as it is forbidden. All the players then sit in a circle with their hands on their knees, except the Bird-catcher, who stands in the center, and tells a tale about birds, taking care to specially mention the ones he knows to have been chosen by the company. As each bird’s name is called, the owner must imitate its note as well as he can, but when the owl is named, all hands must be put behind the chairs, and remain there until the next bird’s name is mentioned. When the Bird-catcher cries “All the birds,” the players must together give their various imitations of birds. Should any player fail to give the cry when his bird is named, or forget to put his hands behind his chair, he has to change places with Bird-catcher.
* * * * *
A good many children may play at this game. One player is called the buyer, the rest form a line in front of him and take hold of each other. The first in this line is called the baker, the last the French roll. Those between are supposed to be the oven. When they are all in place the buyer says to the baker, “Give me my French roll.” The baker replies, “It is at the back of the oven.” The buyer goes to fetch it, when the French roll begins running from the back of the oven, and comes up to the baker, calling all the while, “Who runs? Who runs?” The buyer may run after him, but if the French roll gets first to the top of the line, he becomes baker, and the last in the line is French roll. If, however, the buyer catches the French roll, the French roll becomes buyer, and the buyer takes the place of the baker.
* * * * *
THE GARDEN GATE
The Garden Gate is a very pretty game. A ring is formed of all the players except one, who stands in the middle. The others dance round her three times, and when they stop she begins to sing:
“Open wide the garden gate, the garden gate, the garden gate, Open wide the garden gate and let me through.”
The circle then dances round her again, singing:
“Get the key of the garden gate, the garden gate, the garden gate, Get the key of the garden gate and open and let yourself through.”
The girl inside the circle, pretending to sob, replies:
“I’ve lost the key of the garden gate, the garden gate, the garden gate, I’ve lost the key of the garden gate, and cannot let myself through.”
But the dancers dance round and round her, singing:
“Then you may stop all night within the gate, within the gate, within the gate,
You may stop all night within the gate, unless you have strength to break through.”
The captive then rushes to the weakest part of the ring, and tries to break through by throwing her whole weight upon the clasped hands of the children, and generally contrives to break through, the one whose hand gives way being made captive in her stead.
* * * * *
A back drawing-room with folding doors makes a very nice theater for acting charades. Almost anything may be used for dressing up–shawls, anti-macassars, table-cloths, handkerchiefs, cast-off dresses, or a dressing-gown. The latter is a very useful garment in representing an old gentleman, while tow or white fire shavings make excellent wigs.
The great thing in a charade is to try and puzzle your audience as much as you can. You must choose a word of two or more syllables, such as “Bagpipe.” First you must act the word “Bag,” and be sure that the word is mentioned, though you must be careful to bring it in in such a way that the audience shall not guess it is the word you are acting.
Next comes the word “Pipe,” and this must be brought in in the same manner. When you have acted the two syllables, you must act the whole: “Bagpipe.”
Before beginning the charade, you should arrange who is to bring in the charade word or syllable. You must also settle what you are going to say, or at least, what the act is to be about. Let every scene be well thought out and be as short as possible. You must be as quick as ever you can between the acts, for all the fun will be spoiled if you keep your audience waiting. If you have no curtain or screen, the actors must simply walk off the stage at the end of the scenes.
To act charades well, one requires a little practice and plenty of good temper, for, of course, only one or two can take principal parts, and therefore some of the children must be content to take the smaller ones. It is a good plan to take it in turns to play the best parts, and if the elder children are kind and thoughtful, they will try to make some easy little parts, so that their younger brothers and sisters may also join in the fun. Here we give you a very simple charade, the words of which you may learn, and then act, after which you will very likely be able to make up charades for yourselves.
* * * * *
THE “BAND-BOX” CHARADE
SCENE 1: A STREET
This can be made by placing a row of chairs with open backs near the wall facing the audience; a child is stationed behind each chair, and, looking through the open back, pretends to be looking out of a window.
First Child behind chair.–Oh! dear, how dull our street always is. I declare nothing nice ever comes this way.
Second Child.–No, I quite agree with you. Why, I haven’t seen a “Punch and Judy” for months. I wish my mother would go and live in another street.
Third Child.–Never mind, let us go out and have a game.
(Enter five or six children–or a lesser number, if more convenient–carrying toy musical instruments.)
First Child.–Hurrah! Here comes a German band. Come along, children; let’s go and listen to it.
(The band groups itself at the end of the street, and the children stand round. After tuning up, the band begins to play.)
Second Child.–Now, Mary Jane, we can dance. I’ll dance with you.
Third Child.–No, I want to dance with Mary Jane.
First Child.–I don’t want to dance at all.
Second Child.–You must.
Third Child.–Yes, you must.
(Band ceases playing and one of the bandsmen comes round for money.)
First Child.–I haven’t any money.
Second Child.–But we haven’t begun to dance yet.
Bandsman.–You shouldn’t have been so long arguing then. Surely you’ll give the band a nickel, after all the pretty music it has played?
First Child.–I won’t.
Second Child.–I won’t.
Third Child.–And I won’t.
Bandsman.–Well, you are mean. Come along. (Beckoning to the rest of the band.) We’ll go, and it will be a long time before we come down this street again.
SCENE 2: A ROOM
Tommy (hopping about the room, waving a letter in his hand.)–Hurrah! hurrah! Uncle Dick is coming. Hurrah! hurrah!
(Enter Tommy’s brother and sister and papa and mamma.)
Papa.–What’s the matter, Tommy?
Tommy.–Uncle Dick has written to say he is coming to spend Christmas with us, and he is bringing me a Christmas box.
Mamma.–How kind of him! But be sure you are careful not to offend him, Tommy. He is rather a touchy old gentleman.
Sister.–I wonder what it will be, Tommy.
Brother.–I hope it will be a set of cricket things, and then we can play cricket in the summer.
Tommy.–Oh! yes, I hope it will be, but whatever it is, it is sure to be something nice.
(Begins hopping about again. Enter Uncle Dick, a very old gentleman with a gouty foot. Tommy does not see him and goes banging into him, treading on his gouty foot.)
Uncle Dick.–Oh! oh! oh! oh, my toe!
Tommy.–Oh! Never mind your toe! Where’s my Christmas box?
Uncle Dick.–Your Christmas box, you young scamp! Think of my toe.
Tommy.–Please, uncle, I’m very sorry, but I do so want to know what you have brought me for a Christmas box.
Uncle Dick (roaring).–Here’s your Christmas box, and may it teach you to be more careful in future. (Boxes Tommy’s ears.)
Here is a list of words which will divide easily into charade words:
Brides-maids. Sea-side. Car-pen-try. Cur-tail. Nose-gay. In-do-lent.
Hand-i(I)-craft. Turn-key. Hand-some. Key-hole. Rail-way. Sweet-heart.
Port-man-teau(toe). Mad-cap. A-bun-dance. In-no-cent. Fox-glove. Pat-riot.
To make your charades a real success, you will, of course, require a curtain. A very effective one can be made with a little trouble and at a small cost; indeed, the materials may be already in the house.
First you must fix a couple of supports on each side of the room, taking care that they are screwed firmly into the wall, and also taking care not to damage the paper.
If you are a neat workman, you will find on taking out the screws that the two small screw-holes on each side will scarcely be noticed, as of course the supports must be fixed near the ceiling.
You must then put up your curtain-pole, which should be as thin as possible, so that the rings may run easily. A cheap bamboo pole is the best.
Two wide, deep curtains are required; very likely the nursery curtains may be suitable.
On to these curtains you sew a number of small brass rings, which you can buy for about 20 cents a dozen, or even less. The rings should be sewn on the curtains, as you see in the illustration, right across the top, and from the extreme top corner of the curtain, slantingwise across to the middle.
The top rings are passed along the curtain-pole, a string (marked in the illustration A1) is sewn on to the curtain, and threaded through the rings until it reaches A2. It is then threaded through the rings on the pole until it reaches A3, when it is allowed to fall loose.
The same arrangement is gone through with string B. The bottom of the curtain must be weighted with shot, or any other weights that may be convenient.
When the curtain is to be raised, the stage manager and his assistant stand on each side of the stage with the strings ready in their hands, and at a given signal–the ringing of a bell is the usual sign that all is ready–they each pull a string, and the curtains glide to each side, and may be fixed to hooks, put up on purpose.
When the curtain is to fall, the two in charge of it must simply loosen the strings and let them go, and the weights cause the curtains to fall to the center.
All sorts of useful and ornamental “properties” may be made at home for a very small cost. Cardboard, and gold and silver paper, and glue go a long way toward making a good show.
Swords, crowns, belts, gold-spangled and gold-bordered robes can be made from these useful materials, and look first-rate at a distance.
An old black dress with little gold stars glued or gummed to the material would make an excellent dress for a queen. The swords or belts must first be cut out in cardboard, then covered with gold or silver paper.
To make a good wig, you should shape a piece of calico to fit the head; then sew fire shavings or tow all over it. If you wish for a curly wig, it is a good plan to wind the shavings or tow tightly round a ruler, and tack it along with a back stitch, which will hold the curl in position after you have slipped it off the ruler. These few hints will give you some idea of the very many different costumes which can be made by children out of the simplest materials.
[Illustration: THE CURTAIN CLOSED]
[Illustration: THE CURTAIN OPENED]
* * * * *
THE GAME OF CAT
The person who is to play the part of Cat should stand outside the door of the room where the company is assembled. The boys and girls, in turn, come to the other side of the door and call out “miaou.” If the Cat outside recognizes a friend by the cry, and calls out her name correctly in return, he is allowed to enter the room and embrace her, and the latter then takes the place of Cat. If, on the contrary, the Cat cannot recognize the voice, he is hissed, and remains outside until he does.
* * * * *
Living pictures are very amusing if well carried out, and even with little preparation may be made very pretty or very comical, whichever may be desired. It is perhaps better to attempt comical ones if you have not much time in which to arrange them, as the costumes are generally easier to manage, and if you are obliged to use garments not quite in keeping with the characters, it does not matter much; indeed, it will probably only make the audience laugh a little more.
The great thing in living pictures is to remain perfectly still during the performance. You should select several well-known scenes either from history or fiction, and then arrange the actors to represent the scenes as nearly as possible.
Simple home living pictures are a great source of fun, and many a wet afternoon will pass like magic while arranging scenes and making dresses to wear. Newspaper masks, newspaper cocked hats, old shawls, dressing-gowns, and sticks are quite sufficient for home charades.
Suppose, for instance, you think of “Cinderella” for one tableau. One girl could be standing decked out with colored tissue paper over her frock, and with paper flowers in her hair, to represent one of the proud sisters, while Cinderella in a torn frock is arranging the other proud sister’s train, which may consist of an old shawl. Bouquets of paper flowers should be in the sister’s hands.
“Little Red Riding Hood” is another favorite subject for a living picture. The wolf may be represented by a boy on his hands and knees, with a fur rug thrown over him. Red Riding Hood only requires a scarlet shawl, arranged as a hood and cloak, over her ordinary frock and pinafore, and she should carry a bunch of flowers and a basket.
All living pictures look better if you can have a frame for them. It is not very difficult to make one, especially if you have four large card-board dress-boxes.
Having carefully cut out the bottoms of the boxes, place the frames as here shown:
Cut out the center framework, leaving a large square, so:
You must then fasten the four pieces together by gluing cardboard on each side of the joints, and you will have a very good frame, which you can cover with colored paper or ornament with muslin.
This frame will last a very long time if carefully treated. It should stand upright by itself; but if it is a little unsteady, it is better to hold it upright from the sides. Of course, this will only make a very small frame, but you can increase the size by using more boxes.
If you have no time to make a frame, arrange your figures close to a door, outside the room in which the audience is seated.
When quite ready, some one must open the door, when the doorway will make a kind of frame to the living picture.
It is always well to have a curtain if you can; a sheet makes an excellent one. Two children standing upon chairs hold it up on each side, and at a given signal drop it upon the floor, so that, instead of the curtain rising, it drops. When it has been dropped, the two little people should take the sheet corners in their hands again, so that they have only to jump upon the chairs when it is time to hide the picture.
Of course, these instructions are only for living pictures on a very small scale; much grander arrangements will be needed if the performance is to take place before any but a “home audience.”
As I told you before, comic living pictures are the easiest to perform on account of the dresses being easier to make, but there are other living pictures which are easier still, and which will cause a great deal of fun and merriment. They are really catches, and are so simple that even very little children can manage them.
You can arrange a program, and make half a dozen copies to hand round to the audience.
The first living picture on the list is “The Fall of Greece” and sounds very grand, indeed; but when the curtain rises (or rather, if it is the sheet curtain, drops), the audience see a lighted candle set rather crookedly in a candlestick and fanned from the background so as to cause the grease to fall.
Here are some other similar comic tableaux which you can easily place before an audience:
“Meet of the Hounds.”–A pile of dog biscuits.
“View of the Black Sea.”–A large capital C blackened with ink.
“The Charge of the Light Brigade.”–Half a dozen boxes of matches labeled: “10 cents the lot.”
These are only a few of the many comic living pictures you can perform; but, no doubt, you will be able to think of others for yourselves.
* * * * *
The best way to play this game is for the players to divide themselves into two groups, namely, actors and audience. Each one of the actors should then fix upon a proverb, which he will act, in turn, before the audience. As, for instance, supposing one of the players to have chosen the proverb, “A bad workman quarrels with his tools,” he should go into the room where the audience is seated, carrying with him a bag in which there is a saw, a hammer, or any other implement or tool used by a workman; he should then look round and find a chair, or some other article, which he should pretend requires repairing; he should then act the workman, by taking off his coat, rolling up his sleeves, and commencing work, often dropping his tools, and grumbling about them the whole of the time.
If this game be acted well, it may be made very entertaining. Sometimes the audience are made to pay a forfeit each time they fail to guess the proverb.
* * * * *
This is rather a noisy game. One of the company goes outside the door, and during his absence a proverb is chosen and a word of it is given to each member of the company. When the player who is outside re-enters the room, one of the company counts “One, two, three,” then all the company simultaneously shout out the word that has been given to him or her of the proverb that has been chosen.
If there are more players present than there are words in the proverb, two or three of them must have the same word. The effect of all the company shouting out together is very funny. All that is necessary is for the guesser to have a sharp ear; then he is pretty sure to catch a word here and there that will give him the key to the proverb.
* * * * *
This is a very interesting game, and can be played by a large number at the same time. Supposing there are twelve persons present, one is sent out of the room, while the others choose a proverb. When this is done, the “guesser” is allowed to come in, and he asks each person a question separately. In the answer, no matter what question is asked, one word of the proverb must be given. For illustration we will take “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
1. John must use the word “A” in his answer. 2. Gladys must use the word “bird” in hers. 3. Nellie must use the word “in” in hers. 4. Tommy must use the word “the” in his. 5. Estelle must use the word “hand” in hers. 6. Ivy must use the word “is” in hers.
7. Wilfrid must use the word “worth” in his. 8. Lionel must use the word “two” in his. 9. Vera must use the word “in” in hers. 10. Bertie must use the word “the” in his. 11. Harold must use the word “bush” in his.
The fun becomes greater if the answers are given quickly and without allowing the special word to be noticed. It often happens that the “guesser” has to try his powers over several times before succeeding. The one who by giving a bad answer gives the clue, in turn becomes guesser, and is then obliged to go out of the room while another proverb is chosen.
Here is a list of proverbs:
A bad workman quarrels with his tools. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. A cat may look at a king.
Aching teeth are ill tenants.
A creaking door hangs long on the hinges. A drowning man will catch at a straw.
After dinner sit a while, after supper walk a mile. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
A good servant makes a good master. A good word is as soon said as an evil one. A little leak will sink a great ship.
All are not friends that speak us fair. All are not hunters that blow the horn. All is fish that comes to the net.
All is not gold that glitters.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. A pitcher goes often to the well, but is broken at last. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
A small spark makes a great fire.
A stitch in time saves nine.
As you make your bed, so you must lie on it. As you sow, so you shall reap.
A tree is known by its fruit.
A willful man will have his way.
A willing mind makes a light foot. A word before is worth two behind.
A burden which one chooses is not felt. Beggars have no right to be choosers.
Be slow to promise and quick to perform. Better late than never.
Better to bend than to break.
Birds of a feather flock together. Care killed a cat.
Catch the bear before you sell his skin. Charity begins at home, but does not end there. Cut your coat according to your cloth.
Do as you would be done by.
Do not halloo till you are out of the wood. Do not spur a willing horse.
Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Empty vessels make the greatest sound.
Enough is as good as a feast.
Faint heart never won fair lady.
Fine feathers make fine birds.
Fine words butter no parsnips.
Fire and water are good servants, but bad masters. Grasp all, lose all.
Half a loaf is better than no bread. Handsome is as handsome does.
Happy is the wooing that is not long in doing. He that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing. Hiders are good finders.
Home is home though it be ever so homely. Honesty is the best policy.
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. It is never too late to learn.
It is not the cowl that makes the friar. It is a long lane that has no turning.
It’s a good horse that never stumbles. It’s a sad heart that never rejoices.
Ill weeds grow apace.
Keep a thing for seven years, and you will find a use for it. Kill two birds with one stone.
Lazy folk take the most pains.
Let sleeping dogs lie.
Let them laugh that win.
Make hay while the sun shines.
Many a true word is spoken in jest. Many hands make light work.
Marry in haste, repent at leisure. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Old birds are not to be caught with chaff. Old friends and old wine are best.
One swallow makes not a spring, nor one woodcock a winter. People who live in glass houses should never throw stones. Possession is nine points of the law.
Procrastination is the thief of time. Short reckonings make long friends.
Safe bind, safe find.
Strike while the iron is hot.
Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves. The more the merrier, the fewer the better cheer. The darkest hour is just before the daylight. The cobbler’s wife is the worst shod.
There’s many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip. There’s a silver lining to every cloud. Those who play with edge tools must expect to be cut. Time and tide wait for no man.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
Union is strength.
Waste not, want not.
What the eye sees not, the heart rues not. When rogues fall out honest men get their own. When the cat’s away, the mice play.
Willful waste makes woful want.
You cannot eat your cake and have it also.
* * * * *
This is a very good game and will combine both instruction and amusement. The idea is that the company imagines itself to be a party of travelers who are about to set out on a journey to foreign countries. A good knowledge of geography is required, also an idea of the manufactures and customs of the foreign parts about to be visited. It would be as well, if not quite certain about the location of the part, to refer to a map.
A place for starting having been decided upon, the first player sets out upon his journey. He tells the company what spot he intends to visit (in imagination) and what kind of conveyance he means to travel in. On arriving at his destination, the player states what he wishes to buy, and to whom he intends to make a present of his purchase on returning home.
This may seem very simple, but it is not nearly so easy as it appears. The player must have some knowledge of the country to which he is going, the way he will travel, and the time it will take to complete the journey. To give an instance, it will not do for the player to state that he is going to Greenland to purchase pineapples, or to Florida to get furs; nor will it do for him to make a present of a meerschaum pipe to a lady, or a cashmere shawl to a gentleman.
More fun is added to this game if forfeits are exacted for all mistakes.
The game continues, and the second player must make his starting point from where the first leaves off. Of course, all depends upon the imagination or the experience of the player; if he has been a traveler or has read a good deal, his descriptions should be very interesting.
* * * * *
One player begins the game by going out of the room, and then giving a double (or postman’s) knock at the door; it is the duty of one of the other players to stand at the door inside the room to answer the knocks that are made, and to ask the postman for whom he has a letter. The postman names some member of the company, generally of the opposite sex; he is then asked, “How many cents are to be paid?” Perhaps he will say “six”; the person for whom the letter is supposed to be must then pay for it with kisses, instead of cents; after which he or she must take a turn as postman.
* * * * *
“OUR OLD GRANNIE DOESN’T LIKE TEA.”
All the players sit in a row, except one, who sits in front of them and says to each one in turn: “Our old Grannie doesn’t like T; what can you give her instead?”
Perhaps the first player will answer, “Cocoa,” and that will be correct; but if the second player should say, “Chocolate,” he will have to pay a forfeit, because there is a “T” in chocolate. This is really a catch, as at first every one thinks that “tea” is meant instead of the letter “T.” Even after the trick has been found out it is very easy to make a slip, as the players must answer before “five” is counted; if they cannot, or if they mention an article of food with the letter “T” in it, they must pay a forfeit.
* * * * *
“I LOVE MY LOVE WITH AN A.”
To play this game it is best for the players to arrange themselves in a half circle round the room. Then one begins: “I love my love with an ‘A,’ because she is affectionate; I hate her with an ‘A,’ because she is artful. Her name is Alice, she comes from Alabama, and I gave her an apricot.” The next player says: “I love my love with a ‘B,’ because she is bonnie; I hate her with a ‘B,’ because she is boastful. Her name is Bertha, she comes from Boston, and I gave her a book.” The next player takes “C,” and the next “D,” and so on through all the letters of the alphabet.
* * * * *
One of the most popular games at a party is certainly “Consequences;” it is a very old favorite, but has lost none of its charms with age. The players sit in a circle; each person is provided with a half sheet of notepaper and a pencil, and is asked to write on the top–(1) one or more adjectives, then to fold the paper over, so that what has been written cannot be seen. Every player has to pass his or her paper on to the right-hand neighbor, and all have then to write on the top of the paper which has been passed by the left-hand neighbor (2) “the name of the gentleman;” after having done this, the paper must again be folded and passed on as before; this time must be written (3) one or more adjectives; then (4) a lady’s name; next (5), where they met; next (6), what he gave her; next (7), what he said to her; next (8), what she said to him; next (9), the consequence; and lastly (10), what the world said about it.
Be careful that every time anything has been written, the paper is folded down and passed on to the player on your right. When every one has written what the world says, the papers are collected and one of the company proceeds to read out the various papers, and the result may be something like this:
(1) The horrifying and delightful (2) Mr. Brown (3) met the charming (4) Miss Philips (5) in Lincoln Park; (6) he gave her a flower (7) and said to her: “How’s your mother?” (8) She said to him: “Not for Joseph;” (9) the consequence was they danced the hornpipe, and the world said (10), “Just what we expected.”
* * * * *
EARTH, AIR, FIRE, AND WATER
To play this game seat yourselves in a circle, take a clean duster or handkerchief, and tie it in a big knot, so that it may easily be thrown from one player to another. One of the players throws it to another, at the same time calling out either of these names: Earth, Air, Fire, or Water. If “Earth” is called, the player to whom the ball is thrown has to mention something that lives on the earth, as lion, cat; if “Air” is called, something that lives in the air; if “Water,” something that lives in the water; but if “Fire” is called, the player must keep silence. Always remember not to put birds in the water, or animals or fishes in the air; be silent when “Fire” is called, and answer before ten can be counted. For breaking any of these rules a forfeit must be paid.
* * * * *
One of the party leaves the room, and on his return he is asked to find a word which has been chosen by the other players in his absence; and in order to help him, another word is mentioned rhyming with the word to be guessed. Questions may then be asked by the guesser, and the players must all introduce, as the final word of their answer, another word rhyming with the word chosen. For instance, suppose the word “way” is selected. The guesser would then be told that the word chosen rhymes with “say.” He might then ask the first one of the party: “What do you think of the weather?” and the answer might be: “We have had a lovely day.” The second question might be: “Have you enjoyed yourself?” and the answer might be: “Yes; I have had lots of play.” The game would proceed in this way until the guesser gave the correct answer, or one of the party failed to give the proper rhyme, in which case the latter would then be called upon to take the place of the guesser.
* * * * *
LOST AND FOUND
A very similar game to “Consequences” is that of “Lost and Found,” which is played in an exactly similar manner, but the questions are quite different: (1) Lost, (2) by whom, (3) at what time, (4) where, (5) found by, (6) in what condition, (7) what time, (8) the reward.
The answers may be something like the following: (1) Lost a postage-stamp, (2) by sister Jane, (3) at three in the morning, (4) at St. Louis, (5) it was found by a policeman, (6) rather the worse for wear, (7) at dinner-time; (8) the reward was a kiss.
* * * * *
“ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, OR MINERAL?”
This is a capital game for a large party, for it is both instructive and amusing. Two sides are picked, one has to guess what word or sentence the remainder of the company has chosen. They go out of the room, and when the subject has been decided upon, return and ask a question of each of the other side in turn. The answer must be either “Yes” or “No,” and in no case should more words be used, under penalty of paying a forfeit. The first important point to be found out is whether the subject is “Animal,” “Vegetable,” or “Mineral.” Supposing, for instance, the subject chosen is a cat which is sleeping in the room by the fire, the questions and answers might be like the following: “Is the subject chosen an animal?” “Yes.” “Wild animal?” “No.” “Domestic animal?” “Yes.” “Common?” “Yes.” “Are there many to be seen in this town?” “Yes.” “Have you seen many this day?” “Yes.” “In this house?” “No.” “Have you seen many in the road?” “Yes.” “Do they draw carts?” “No.” “Are they used for working purposes?” “No.” “Is the subject a pet?” “Yes.” “Have they one in the house?” “Yes.” “In this room?” “Yes.” “Is it lying in front of the fire at the present time?” “Yes.” “Is the subject you all thought of the cat lying in front of the fire in this room?” “Yes.” The subject having been guessed, another one is chosen and the game proceeds. The questions are limited to twenty, but it is hardly ever necessary to use that number.
* * * * *
HUNT THE SLIPPER
The players seat themselves in a circle on the floor, having chosen one of their number to remain outside the circle. The children seated on the floor are supposed to be cobblers, and the one outside is the customer who has brought his shoe to be mended. He hands it to one of them, saying:
“Cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe; Get it done by half-past two.”
The cobblers pass the shoe round to each other as quickly as they can, taking care that the customer does not see which of them has it. When the customer comes to fetch it he is told that it is not ready. He pretends to get angry and says he will take it as it is. He must then try to find it, and the cobbler who has it must try to pass it to his neighbor without its being seen by the customer. The person upon whom the shoe is found must become the customer, while the customer takes his place in the circle on the floor.
* * * * *
This game requires for the leader a person who can tell a story or make a little amusing speech. Each one who plays must place the right hand upon the left arm. The leader then tells a story, during the telling of which whenever he mentions any creature that can fly, every right hand is to be raised and fluttered in the air to imitate the action of flying. At the name of a creature that does not fly, the hands must be kept quiet, under pain of a forfeit. Thus:
The little wren is very small,
The humming-bee is less;
The ladybird is least of all,
And beautiful in dress.
The pelican she loves her young,
The stork its parent loves;
The woodcock’s bill is very long,
And innocent are doves.
In Germany they hunt the boar,
The bee brings honey home,
The ant lays up a winter store,
The bear loves honeycomb.
* * * * *
THE BLIND MAN’S WAND
This is another way of playing Blind Man’s Buff, and is thought by many to be an improvement on that game.
The player who is blindfolded stands in the center of the room, with a long paper wand, which can be made of a newspaper folded up lengthways, and tied at each end with string. The other players then join hands and stand round him in a circle. Some one then plays a merry tune on the piano, and the players dance round and round the blind man, until suddenly the music stops; the blind man then takes the opportunity of lowering his wand upon one of the circle, and the player upon whom it has fallen has to take hold of it. The blind man then makes a noise, such as, for instance, the barking of a dog, a street cry, or anything he thinks will cause the player he has caught to betray himself, as the captive must imitate whatever noise the blind man likes to make. Should the blind man detect who holds the stick, the one who is caught has to be blind man; if not, the game goes on until he succeeds.
* * * * *
JUDGE AND JURY
The company should be seated in two lines facing each other, and one of the party should then be elected to act as judge. Each person has to remember who is sitting exactly opposite, because when the judge asks a question of any one, it is not the person directly asked who has to reply, but the person opposite to the judge. For instance, if the judge, addressing one of the company, asks: “Do you like apples?” the person spoken to must remain silent, while the person who is opposite to him must reply before the judge can count ten; the penalty on failing to do this is a forfeit. A rule with regard to the answers is that the reply must not be less than two words in length, and must not contain the words: “Yes,” “No,” “Black,” “White,” or “Gray.” For the breaking of this rule a forfeit may also be claimed.
* * * * *
The company in this game must divide, one-half taking seats on one side of the table, and the other half on the other side; the players on one side being called the “guessers” and the players on the other side being called the “hiders.” A button or any small object is produced, and the hiders have to pass it from hand to hand, under the table, so that those sitting opposite may not know who holds it. When it is hidden, one of the guessers cries out, “Hands up!” Immediately the hiders must place their closed hands on the table; the guessers have then to find out which hand holds the button. If successful, the hiders take their turn at guessing. The person in whose hand the button is found must pay a forfeit.
* * * * *
LODGINGS TO LET
The company sit in a circle, and a player stands in the center. There is one spare chair, and the game is for this player to get possession of a vacant seat. When the game begins, every one moves as quickly as possible to the chair next beside him or her, and as this is done all the time, it is difficult for the person who is looking for “lodgings” to find a place by slipping in among them, and his attempts will cause much amusement.
* * * * *
HUNT THE RING
For this game a long piece of string is required. On this a ring is threaded, and the ends of the string are knotted together. The players then take the string in their hands and form a circle, while one of the company, who is called the hunter, stands in the center. The string must be passed rapidly round and round, and the players must try to prevent the hunter finding out who holds the ring. As soon as he has done this, he takes his place in the circle, while the person who held the ring becomes the “hunter.”
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THE STOOL OF REPENTANCE
The players sit in a circle, in the center of which a stool is placed. One of the company goes out of the room, and the rest say all sorts of things about him. For instance, one will say he is handsome, another that he is clever, or stupid, or vain. The “culprit” is then called back into the room and seats himself on the stool, which is called “the stool of repentance,” and one of the players begins to tell him the different charges which have been made against him. “Some one said you were vain; can you guess who it was?” If the culprit guesses correctly, he takes his seat in the circle and the person who made the accusation becomes the “culprit” in his stead. If, however, the “culprit” is unable to guess correctly, he must go out of the room again while fresh charges are made against him.
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Having procured a small flossy feather, the players sit in a circle as closely together as possible. One of the party then throws the feather as high as possible into the air, and it is the duty of all the players to prevent it from alighting on them, by blowing at it whenever it comes in their direction. Any player whom it falls upon must pay a forfeit.
It is almost impossible to imagine the excitement that is produced by this game when it is played with spirit, and the fun is not altogether confined to the players, as it gives almost as much enjoyment to those who are looking on.
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THE GAME OF CONVERSATION
To play this game successfully, two of the company privately agree upon a word that has several meanings. The two then enter into a conversation which is obliged to be about the word they have chosen, while the remainder of the company listen. When a member of the party imagines that he has guessed the word, he may join in the conversation, but if he finds he is mistaken, must immediately retire.
To give an illustration: Supposing the two players who start the conversation decide upon the word “box.” They might talk about the people they had seen at the theater and the particular part of the house in which they were sitting. Then they might say how nice it looked in a garden, and one might mention that it grew into big trees. Perhaps one of the company might imagine that he had guessed the word correctly and join in, when the conversation would be immediately changed, and the two would begin to converse about a huge case in which a very great number of things were packed away. By this time, possibly the person who joined in the conversation will leave off, completely mystified. If, however, the word should be correctly guessed, the person guessing it chooses a partner, and they together select a word, and the game begins again.
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THE GALLERY OF STATUES
For this game all the company leave the room with the exception of two. One of these then stands like a statue, with perhaps the assistance of a tablecloth or something similar as drapery, while the other acts as showman.
When the position is decided upon, one of the company is called in and taken on one side by the showman, and is asked his or her opinion as to the merits of the statue. It is almost certain that some suggestion will be made; in that case he or she is made to assume the attitude suggested, and another player is called in, to whom the same question is put, and another suggestion made and adopted. As each statue is added to the gallery, a great deal of merriment is caused, and in a short time a large collection will be obtained.
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One person represents the huntsman, the other players call themselves after some part of the huntsman’s belongings; for instance, one is the cap, another the horn, others the powder-flask, gun, whip, etc.
A number of chairs are arranged in the middle of the room, and there must be one chair less than the number of players, not counting the huntsman.
The players then seat themselves round the room, while the huntsman stands in the center and calls for them one at a time, in this way: “Powder-flask!” At once “Powder-flask” rises and takes hold of the huntsman’s coat.
“Cap,” “Gun,” “Shot,” “Belt,” the huntsman cries; each person who represents these articles must rise and take hold of the player summoned before him, until at length the huntsman has a long line behind him. He then begins to run round the chairs, until he suddenly cries: “Bang!” when the players must sit down. Of course, as there are not sufficient chairs, one player will be left standing and he must pay a forfeit. The huntsman is not changed throughout the game, unless he grows tired, when he may change places with one of the others.
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HOT BOILED BEANS AND BACON
This is a game for young children. Some small article is hidden in the room, while the little one who has to find it is sent outside. This finished, the players call out together: “Hot Boiled Beans and Bacon; it’s hidden and can be taken.” The little one enters and begins to hunt about for the hidden article. When she comes near to its hiding-place, the company tell her that she is getting “hot”; or, if she is not near it, she is told that she is “cold.” That she is “very hot” or “very cold,” will denote that she is very near of very far away from the object that is hidden; while if she is extremely near, she would be told that she was “burning.” In this way the hidden object can be found, and all the children can be interested in the game by being allowed to call out whether the little one is “hot” or “cold.”
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“MY MASTER BIDS YOU DO AS I DO.”
For all those children who are fond of a little exercise, no better game than this can be chosen. When the chairs are placed in order round the room, the first player commences by saying: “My master bids you do as I do,” at the same time working away with the right hand as if hammering at his knees. The second player then asks: “What does he bid me do?” in answer to which the first player says: “To work with one as I do.” The second player, working in the same manner, must turn to his left-hand neighbor and carry on the same conversation, and so on until every one is working away with the right hand.
The second time of going round, the order is to work with two, then both hands must work; then with three, then both hands and one leg must work; then with four, when both hands and both legs must work; lastly with five, when both legs, both arms, and the head must be kept going. Should any of the players fail in keeping in constant motion, a forfeit may be claimed.
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RED CAP AND BLUE CAP
The players seat themselves in a circle to represent tailors at work on a piece of cloth–a handkerchief or a duster will answer the purpose. A leader or foreman is chosen, and every one of the company is named in turn Red Cap, Blue Cap, Black Cap, Yellow Cap, Brown Cap, etc. The leader then takes the piece of cloth and pretends to examine the work which is supposed to have been done by the workmen. He is supposed to discover a bad stitch and asks: “Who did it, Blue Cap?” The latter immediately answers: “Not I, sir.” “Who then, sir?” “Yellow Cap, sir.” Yellow Cap must then answer at once in the same manner and name another workman. Any one who fails to answer to his name pays a forfeit. If carried on in a brisk manner, this game will cause endless amusement.
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One of the players is asked to go outside while the company thinks of some person in the room, and on his return he has to guess of whom the company has thought.
The players then arrange themselves in a circle, and agree each to think of his or her right-hand neighbor; it is best to have a girl and boy alternately, as this adds much to the amusement.
The one outside is then called in, and commences to ask questions. Before replying, the player asked must be careful to notice his or her right-hand neighbor, and then give a correct reply. For instance, supposing the first question to be: “Is the person thought of a boy or a girl?” The answer would possibly be “A boy;” the next person would then be asked the color of the complexion, the next one the color of the hair, if long or short, etc., to which questions the answers would, of course, be given according to the right-hand neighbor.
Nearly all the answers will contradict the previous ones, and something like this may be the result: “A boy,” “very dark complexion,” “long yellow hair,” “wearing a black velvet jacket,” “with a dark green dress,” “five feet high,” “about six years old,” etc. When the player guessing gives the game up, the joke is explained to him.
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For this game, half the players go outside the door, while those who stay in the room choose a word of one syllable, which should not be too difficult. For instance, suppose the word chosen be “Flat,” those who are out of the room are informed that a word has been thought of that rhymes with “Cat,” and they then have to act without speaking, all the words they can think of that rhyme with “Cat.” Supposing their first idea be “Bat,” they come into the room and play an imaginary game of cricket. This not being correct, they would get hissed for their pains, and they must then hurry outside again. They might next try “Rat,” most of them going into the room on their hands and feet, while the others might pretend to be frightened. Again they would be hissed. At last the boys go in and fall flat on their faces, while the girls pretend to use flat-irons upon their backs. The loud clapping that follows tells them that they are right at last. They then change places with the audience, who, in their turn, become the actors.
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MAN AND OBJECT
Two persons go out of the room, and after agreeing together as to what they shall represent, they come back again, and sit side by side in front of the company. One of the two takes the part of some well-known person, and the other represents an object which is closely connected with that person; for instance, say one represents the governor, and the other the mayor. When the two return to the room, the other players take it in turns to ask each of them a question, to which both the man and the object must reply either “Yes” or “No,” until the right person and the right object have been guessed.
The first player will perhaps ask the “man:” “Are you alive?”
The man will reply, “Yes;” then the object is asked: “Are you of wood?” “No.” The second player next questions him, and then the third, and so on until every one has had a turn at questioning, or the person and the object have been guessed.
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THE JOLLY MILLER
The players decide among themselves which one of their number shall act the part of the Jolly Miller. This being done, each little boy chooses a little girl as partner; the Jolly Miller having taken his stand in the middle of the room, they all commence to walk arm-in-arm round him, singing the following lines:
There was a jolly miller who lived by himself; As the wheel went round he made his wealth; One hand in the hopper, and the other on the bag; As the wheel went round he made his grab.
At the word “Grab” all must change partners, and while the change is going on the miller has the opportunity given him of securing a partner for himself. Should he succeed in doing so, the one left without a partner must take the place of the Jolly Miller, and must occupy the center of the room until fortunate enough to get another partner.
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RUTH AND JACOB
One player is blindfolded, the rest dance in a circle round him till he points at one of them. This person then enters the ring, and when the blindman calls out “Ruth,” answers “Jacob,” and moves about within the circle so as to avoid being caught by the blindman, and continues to answer “Jacob,” as often as the blindman calls out “Ruth.” This continues until “Ruth” is caught. “Jacob” must then guess who it is he has caught; if he guesses correctly, “Ruth” takes his place, and the game goes on; if he guesses wrongly, he continues to be “Jacob.”
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This is a splendid game and one very easily learned. It is played upon a special board with thirty-two white and thirty-two black squares.
Two persons play at the game, who sit opposite to each other. The players have each a set of twelve pieces, or “men,” the color of the sets being different, so that the players can distinguish their own men easily. The men are round and flat, and are usually made of boxwood or ebony and ivory, one set being white and the other black.
Before placing the men upon the board, it must be decided whether the white or the black squares are to be played on, as the whole must be put on one color only. If the white squares are selected, there must be a black square in the right-hand corner; if the black squares are to be played upon, then the right-hand corner square must be a white one.
The movements in checkers are very simple; a man can be moved only one square at a time, except as explained hereafter, and that diagonally, never straight forward or sideways. If an opponent’s man stand in the way, no move can take place unless there be a vacant square beyond it, into which the man can be lifted. In this case the man leaped over is “taken” and removed from the board.
The great object of the game, then, is to clear the board of the opponent’s men, or to hem them in in such a way that they cannot be moved, whichever player hems in the opponent or clears the board first gains the victory. As no man can be moved more than one step diagonally at a time (except when taking opponent’s pieces), there can be no taking until the two parties come to close quarters; therefore, the pushing of the men continuously into each other’s ground is the principle of the game.
In beginning the game, a great advantage can be obtained by having the first move; the rule, therefore, is, if several games are played, that the first move be taken alternately by the players.
When either of the players has, with his men, reached the extreme row of squares on the opposite side (the first row of his opponent), those men are entitled to be crowned, which is done by placing on the top of each another man, which may be selected from the men already removed from the board. The men so crowned are called “Kings” and have a new power of movement, as the player may now move them either backward or forward, as he wills, but always diagonally as before.
The Kings having this double power of movement, it is an important