This book has been made in the hope that the question which forms its title, "What shall we do now?" may come to be put less frequently. It is so easy for children to ask it, so hard for grown-up persons with many other matters to think about to reply to it satisfactorily.
In the following pages, which have something to say concerning most of the situations in which children find themselves, at home or in the country, out of doors or in, alone or in company, a variety of answers will be found. No subject can be said to be exhausted; but the book is perhaps large enough. Everything which it contains has been indexed so clearly that a reader ought to be able to find what he wants in a moment. Moreover, by way both of supplying any deficiencies and of giving each copy of the book a personal character, an appendix of blank and numbered leaves (with a few spaces in the index) has been added, in which the owner may record such omitted games and employments as he has found good.
There are, of course, many fortunate girls and boys who do not require any help whatever, who always know what to do now, and do it. For them some sections of this book may have little value. It is for that greater number of less resourceful children who whenever time is before them really are in need of counsel and hints, that it has been prepared.
|FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS|
|A Pueblo Settlement||Frontispiece|
|Outdoor Games for Girls||128|
|Outdoor Games for Boys||138|
|In the Country||202|
|The Library and Furniture from "The House that Glue Built"||244|
|A Dutch House||264|
|An Esquimau Sled||266|
|ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT|
|A Trussed Fowl||37|
|The Last Man Surveying the Ruins of the Crystal Palace||56|
|The Dancing Dwarf||106|
|The Overhand Knot||117|
|Figure of Eight||118|
|Crossed Running Noose||119|
|The Glass Maker||125[Pg x]|
|Cardboard Box Beds||223|
|A Doll's Apartments||227|
|Cardboard Dolls' House||239|
|Appearance of House When Complete||240|
|Various Pots and Pans||248|
|Dining-Room Table and Cloth||249|
|Child's High Chair||257|
|Walking Paper Dolls||259[Pg xi]|
|Paper Mother and Child, with Clothes for Each||260|
|A Paper Girl with Six Changes||261|
|Shadows on the Wall||280|
|A Cocked Hat||284|
|A Dancing Man||289|
|Flying A Kite||294|
"Blind Man's Buff" is one of the best, oldest, and simplest of games. One player is blindfolded, is turned round two or three times to confuse his ideas as to his position in the room, and is then told to catch whom he can. If he catches some one, yet cannot tell who it is, he must go on again as blind man; but if he can tell who it is, that person is blindfolded instead. Where there is a fireplace, or where the furniture has sharp corners, it is rather a good thing for some one not playing to be on the lookout to protect the blind man. Sometimes there are two blind men, who add to the fun by occasionally catching each other. But this is rather dangerous. There is also a game called "Jinglers" where every one is blind except one player with a bell, whom it is their object to catch. But this is more dangerous still.
A good variety of "Blind Man's Buff" is the silent one. Directly the man is blindfolded, and before he begins to seek, all the players take up positions in corners, on chairs, or wherever they think most prudent, and there they must stop without making a sound. The task for the blind man is thus not catching the others, but, on finding them, deciding upon who they are. As chuckling or giggling is more likely to tell him than his sense of touch, it is tremendously important to make no noise if you can help it. Sometimes this game is played (without any standing on chairs) by a blind man armed with two spoons, with which he feels the features of those whom he runs against. In this case it is practically impossible to avoid [Pg 4] laughing. The sensation produced by the bowls of two spoons being passed over the face in the attempt to recognize its owner is overwhelming.
In French "Blind Man's Buff" the hands of the blind man are tied behind his back and his eyes are left uncovered. He has therefore to back on to the players before he can catch them, which increases his difficulties.
Here the blind man has a stick, one end of which is grasped by the other players in turn. The blind man puts three questions to each player, and his aim is to recognize by the voice who it is that replies. The aim of the players, therefore, is to disguise their voices as much as possible. Sometimes, instead of merely asking questions, the blind man instructs the holder of the wand to imitate some animal—a cock or a donkey, for example.
The player who is blindfolded is first placed in the middle. The others walk from him to various positions all around, carefully measuring the number of steps (long or short) which take them there. The blind man is then told how many steps will bring him to a certain player, and he has to guess the direction toward him, and the length of step. This player, if found, becomes blind man.
The player who is blindfolded is placed in the middle and all the other players touch him. He counts out loud as rapidly as possible up to ten, during which time the players rush as far away from him as possible. Directly he reaches ten he [Pg 5] cries out "Still Pond! No more moving!" and the players must stand perfectly still. He then says "you may have three steps," or any number beyond three which he wishes to give. The players save these steps until he comes dangerously near them and then try and use them to the best possible advantage, to escape. It is not a step if one foot remains in the same place. After a player is caught and identified by the one who is "it" he in turn is blindfolded.
A sheet is stretched across the room. One player stands on one side, and the rest, who remain on the other, pass one by one between the sheet and the candle which throws their shadows upon it. The aim of the single player is to put right names to the shadows on the sheet, and the aim of the others is, by performing antics, to keep him from recognizing them. If it is not convenient to use both sides of a sheet, the single player may sit on a hassock close to it with his back to the others, while they pass between his hassock and the candle.
A good-sized donkey without a tail is cut out of brown paper and fixed on a screen or on a sheet hung across the room. The tail is cut out separately and a hat-pin is put through that end of it which comes nearest the body. Each player in turn then holds the tail by the pin, shuts his eyes honestly, and, advancing to the donkey, pins the tail in what he believes to be the right place. The fun lies in his mistake.
This is boisterous and rather messy, but it has many supporters. Two players are blindfolded and seated on the floor opposite one another. They are each given a dessert-spoonful of sugar or flour and are told to feed each other. [Pg 6] It is well to put a sheet on the floor and to tie a towel or apron round the necks of the players. The fun belongs chiefly to the spectators.
This is a game in which only two players take part, but it is exciting to watch. Both "Deer" and "Stalker" are blindfolded. They are then placed at opposite ends of a large table, and at a given moment begin to move round it. The stalker's business is, of course, to catch the deer, and the deer's to avoid it; but neither must run out into the room. Absolute silence should be kept both by the audience and players, and if felt slippers can be worn by the deer and its stalker, so much the better.
A very funny blind game. A candle is lighted and placed in position about the height of a person's head. A player is then placed a few feet from it, facing it, and, after being blindfolded and turned round three times, is told to take so many paces (however many it may be) and blow the candle out.
Another amusing blind game to watch is apple-snapping. An apple is hung from a string in the middle of the room about the height of the blind man's head. The blind man's hands are then tied, or he holds them strictly behind him, and he has to bite the apple.
The same game can be played without blindfolding, but in that case it requires two players with their hands fixed behind them, each trying to bite the apple.
A good blind game for a Christmas party is "Bag and Stick." A fair-sized paper bag is filled with candy and hung from a string in the middle of the room. A player is then blindfolded, turned round three times, given a stick, and told he may have one, two, or three shots at the bag, whichever it may be. If he misses it, another one tries, and so on; but if he hits it the bag breaks, the candy covers the floor, and the party scramble for it.
Each player save one takes a corner. The other, who is the puss, stands in the middle. The game begins by one corner player beckoning to another to change places. Their object is to get safely into each other's corner before the cat can. Puss's aim is to find a corner unprotected. If she does so, the player who has just left it, or the player who was hoping to be in it, becomes puss, according to whether or not they have crossed on their journey.
The players sit in a circle on the floor, with their knees a little gathered up. One stands in the middle with a slipper, and the game is begun by this one handing the slipper to a player in the circle, with the remark—
and then retiring from the circle for a few moments. The player to whom it was handed at once passes it on, so that when the owner of the slipper returns and demands her property again it cannot be found. With the hunt that then sets in the fun begins; the object of every player in the circle being to keep the player in the middle from seeing the slipper, [Pg 8] from getting hold of it, or from knowing where it is, as it rapidly travels under the knees of the players here and there in the circle. Now and then, if the seeker is badly mystified, the slipper may be tossed across the circle. The player in whose possession it is when at last secured changes place with the one in the middle. Other handy things will do quite as well as a slipper, but something fairly large should be chosen, or discovery may take too long; and it ought to be soft in texture, or there may be bruises.
This is partly a trick. A player who does not know the game is put in the middle of the ring, round which a whistle is moving in the way that the slipper moves in "Hunt the Slipper." The object of the player in the middle is to discover the person who blew the whistle last. Meanwhile some one skilfully fixes another whistle on a string to the player's back, and that is the whistle which is really blown. As it must always be behind him when it is blown, nothing but the twitching of the string is likely to help him to discover the blower (and the trick); and in a small circle where every one is moving and laughing it takes some time to notice the twitching at all.
This is partly a trick. The leader takes a cane in his left hand, thumps on the floor several times, and passes it to a player saying, "He can do little who can't do this." The player tries to imitate him exactly, but if he takes the cane in his right hand he is wrong, the leader says, "You can do little, you can't do this," and hands the cane to the next player. The game goes on until every one has guessed that it is not the thumps which are to be imitated, but the holding the cane in the left hand.
This is a very good game. All the company leave the room save one. He stays behind with a thimble, which he has to place in some position, where, though it is in sight, it will be difficult to discover. It may be high or low, on the floor or on the mantelpiece, but it must be visible. The company then return and begin to look for it. As the players find it they sit down, but it is more fun to do this very craftily and not at once, lest a hint be given as to the article's whereabouts. When every one has found it, or when a long enough time has been passed in looking for it, the thimble is hidden again, this time by the player who found it first. The game sounds easy, but it can be very difficult and very exciting, every one at the beginning of each search wishing to be first, and at the end wishing not to be last. Players often stand right over the thimble, staring directly at it, and still do not see it.
One player goes out. The others then hide something for him to find, or decide upon some simple action for him to perform, such as standing on a chair. When he is called in, one of the company seats herself at the piano and directs his movements by the tone of the music. If he is far from the object hidden the music is very low; as he gets nearer and nearer it becomes louder and louder.
The same game is played under the name of "Hot and Cold." In this case the player is directed by words; as he gets nearer and nearer the object he becomes "warm," "hot," "very hot," "burning"; when quite off the scent he is "cold."
The one who shall be "it" is decided upon by counting out (see page 134), and he takes his place in the middle of the room. The others, arm in arm, walk around him in couples, singing,
At "Grab," every one must change partners, and the one in the middle tries to be quick enough to get one himself. If he does, the one left alone must take his place in the middle and be the "Jolly Miller."
Some one sits at the piano, and a long row of chairs is made down the middle of the room, either back to back, or back and front alternately. There must be one chair fewer than the number of players. When all is ready the music begins and the players march round the chairs in a long line. Suddenly the music stops, and directly it does so every one tries to sit down. As there is one player too many some one must necessarily be left without a chair. That player has therefore to leave the game, another chair is taken away, and the music begins again. So on to the end, a chair and a player going after each round. The winner of the game is the one who, when only one chair is left, gets it. It is against the rules to move the chairs. A piano, it ought to be pointed out, is not absolutely necessary. Any form of music will do; or if there is no instrument some one may sing, or read aloud. But a piano is best, and the pianist ought now and then to pretend to stop, because this makes it more exciting for the players.
This is another variety of "Going to Jerusalem." The chairs are placed against the wall in a row, one fewer than the players. One of the players sits down in the middle of the room with a stick and pretends to be stirring a bowl of mash with it, while the others march round crying, "Stir the mash, stir the mash." Suddenly the player with the stick knocks three times on the floor, which is the signal for running for the chairs, and, leaping up, runs for them too. The one who does not get a chair has to stir the mash next.
A circle of chairs is made, and all the players but one sit on them. This player stands in the middle and his chair is left empty. The game consists in his efforts to sit down in the empty chair and the others' attempts to stop him by continually moving one way or the other, so that the empty chair may this moment be on one side of the ring and the next on the other.
This is a game for several little players and two stronger ones. The little ones are the honey-pots, and the others the honey-seller and honey-buyer. The honey-pots sit in a row with their knees gathered up and their hands locked together under them. The honey-buyer comes to look at them, asking the honey-seller how much they are and how much they weigh; and these two take hold of the pots by the arms, one on each side, and weigh them by swinging them up and down (that is why the hands have to be tightly locked under the knees). Then the buyer says he will have them, and the seller and he carry them to the other end of the room together. Once there the seller returns, but quickly comes running [Pg 12] back in alarm because he has missed his own little girl (or boy), and he fancies she must be in one of the honey-pots. The buyer assures him that he is mistaken, and tells him to taste them and see for himself that they are only honey. So the seller goes from one to the other, placing his hand on their heads and pretending to taste honey, until at last, coming to the one he has marked down, he exclaims, "Dear me, this tastes just like my little girl." At these words the little girl in question jumps up and runs away, and all the other honey-pots run away too.
The players stand in two rows, facing each other and holding hands. A line is drawn on the carpet (or ground) between them. One row then step toward the other, singing—
They then fall back and the other row advance to them singing in reply—
The first row, after settling on the particular player on the opposite side that they want, reply thus—
The other row then ask—
The answer perhaps is—
Arthur then steps up to the line on one side and Phyllis on [Pg 13] the other, and each tries to pull the other over it. The one that loses has to join the other row, and the singing begins again.
All the players, except one, stand in a line. The other, who is the old soldier, then totters up to the end player, saying—
The player must then say what she will give him, but in doing so must not use the words "yes," "no," "black," "white" or "scarlet." The old soldier's object is to try and coax one of these words out of her, and he may ask any question he likes in order to do so. A mistake usually means a forfeit.
A color-barred game for girls is "My Lady's Clothes" or "Dressing the Lady." The players first decide on what colors shall be forbidden, perhaps blue, black, and pink. The first one then asks the next, "How shall my lady be dressed for the ball?" and the answer must contain no mention of these colors. This question goes round the ring, no article being allowed to be mentioned twice.
One player stands in the middle. The others join hands and surround her, their aim being to prevent her from getting out of the ring. She then passes round the ring touching the hands, at the first hands saying "Here I bake," at the second "Here I brew," at the third "Here I make my wedding-cake," and at the next "And here I mean to break through." With these last words she makes a dash to carry out the threat. If she succeeds, the player whose hand gave way first takes [Pg 14] her place in the middle. Otherwise she must persevere until the ring is broken.
The cobbler sits in the middle on a stool or hassock, and the others join hands and dance round him. "Now then, customers," says the cobbler, "let me try on your shoes," and at the same time—but without leaving his seat—makes a dash for some one's feet. The aim of the others is to avoid being caught. Whoever is caught becomes cobbler.
The name of this game dates from the period when stiff cylinder-shaped horsehair sofa-cushions were commoner than they are now. One of these is placed in the middle of the room and the players join hands and dance round it, the object of each one being to make one of his neighbors knock the cushion over and to avoid knocking it over himself. Whoever does knock it down leaves the ring, until at last there are only two striving with each other. A hearth-brush, if it can be persuaded to stand up, makes a good substitute for a cushion. It also makes the game more difficult, being so very sensitive to touch.
The players sit in a ring, and the game is begun by one saying to the next, "I've just come back from shopping." "Yes," is the reply, "and what have you bought?" The first speaker has then to name some article which, without leaving her seat, she can touch, such as a pair of boots, a necktie, a watch-chain, a bracelet. Having done so, the next player takes up the character of the shopper, and so on round the ring. No article must, however, be named twice, which [Pg 15] means that when the game has gone on for a round or two the answers become very difficult to find.
Half the players go out, and the others stay in and arrange the chairs in a line so that there is an empty one next to every person. Each then chooses which of the others he will have to occupy the adjoining chair, and when this is settled some one tells the outside party that they can begin. One of them then comes in and takes the chair for which he thinks it most likely that he has been chosen. If he is right, everybody claps and he stays there. But if wrong, everybody hisses and he has to go out again. Another player then comes in, and so on until all the chairs are filled.
An extension of this game is "Neighbors." In "Neighbors" half the company are blindfolded, and are seated with an empty chair on the right hand of each. At a given signal all the other players occupy these empty chairs, as mysteriously as they can, and straightway begin to sing, either all to a tune played on the piano or independently. The object of the blind players is to find out, entirely by the use of the ear, who it is that is seated on their right. Those that guess correctly are unbandaged, and their places are taken by the players whose names they guessed. The others continue blindfolded until they guess rightly. One guess only is allowed each time.
This pleasant old game begins by two of the older or taller players—one being Oranges and the other Lemons— taking places opposite each other and joining their hands high, thus making an arch for the rest to pass under in a long [Pg 16] line. The procession then starts, each one holding the one in front by the coat or dress. As the procession moves along, the two players forming the arch repeat or chant these lines:—
With these final words the arch-players lower their arms and catch the head of the last of the procession. In order that the arrival of the end of the procession and the end of the verses shall come together, the last line can be lengthened like this—
Another shorter verse which is often sung is,
In this case the two players who make the arch with their arms can choose any eatables they like—"ice cream" and "oysters." The players who are caught are asked which they prefer and their places are back of the one representing their choice. The captured player is then asked in a whisper which he will be, oranges or lemons? and if he says oranges, is placed accordingly behind that one of his capturers who is to [Pg 17] have the oranges on his side. The procession and the rhyme begin again, and so on until all are caught and are ranged on their respective sides. Then a handkerchief is placed on the floor between the captains of the oranges and the lemons, and both sides pull, as in the "Tug of War" (page 38), until one side is pulled over the handkerchief.
The players sit round the room in a large circle, and, after appointing a postmaster to write down their names and call out the changes, choose each a town. One player is then blindfolded and placed in the middle. The game begins when the postmaster calls out the first journey, thus, "The post is going from Putney to Hongkong." The player who has chosen Putney and the player who has chosen Hongkong must then change places without being caught by the blind man, or without letting him get into either of their chairs first. Otherwise the player who is caught, or who ought to be in that chair, becomes the blind man. Every now and then "General Post" is called, when all the players have to change seats at the same time; and this gives the blind man an excellent chance.
A tin plate, to serve as platter, is placed in the middle of the room. The players sit round it in a large circle, each choosing either a number by which to be known, or the name of a town. The game is begun by one player taking up the plate, spinning it, calling out a number or town belonging to another, and hurrying back to his place. The one called has to spring up and reach the plate before it falls, and, giving it a fresh spin, call some one else. So it goes on. On paper there seems to be little in it, but in [Pg 18] actual play the game is good on account of the difficulty of quite realizing that it is one's own borrowed name that has been called.
This is a variety of "Spin the platter." The players sit in a ring and choose each the name of some kitchen utensil or something used in cooking, such as meat-chopper or raisins. One player then goes in the middle with a bunched-up handkerchief, and this he throws at some one, at the same time trying to say the name of that some one's kitchen utensil three times before that some one can say it once. If, as very often happens, the player at whom the handkerchief is thrown is so completely bewildered as to have lost the power of speech or memory until it is too late, he must change places with the one in the middle.
The players sit on opposite sides of a table, or in two opposite rows
of chairs with a cloth spread over their laps. A quarter or dime or
other small object is then passed about among the hands of one of the
sides under the table or cloth. At the word "Up Jenkins!" called by
the other side all these hands tightly clenched must be at once placed
in view on the table or the cloth. The first player on the other side
then carefully scans the faces of his opponents to see if any one
bears an expression which seems to betray his possession of the
quarter, and, having made up his mind, reaches over and touches the
hand in which he hopes the quarter is, saying, "Tip it." The hand is
then opened. If the guess is right the guessing side take the quarter
and hide it. If wrong, the same side hide it again, and the second
player on the guessing side tries his luck at discovering its
whereabouts. A score is decided on before the game begins, and
the winning side is that which make the fewest number of wrong guesses.
Another way to play "Up Jenkins" is to have the players, equally divided, sit opposite each other at a table. A quarter is then passed along under the table by one side or team. At the command "Up Jenkins," given by the captain of the other side, chosen beforehand, all the players on the side having the coin must lift their hands above the table; and at the command "Down Jenkins," also given by the captain, all the hands must be brought down flat on the table. The greater the bang with which this is done, the less chance of detecting the sound of the metal striking the table. The captain then orders the players to raise their hands one by one, his object being to leave the coin in the last hand. If he succeeds, his side takes the coin; if he fails, the other side score the number of hands still left on the table, and again hide the coin. Another person then becomes captain. If the coin can be "spotted" in a certain hand, either by sight or sound, before a hand has been removed, it has to be forfeited, and the side that wins it adds double the number of hands of the other side to their score. If it is "spotted" and is not in that hand, the side still retains the coin, and also score double the number of hands. If anybody obeys any one else but the captain, in raising, lowering or removing his hands, his side loses the coin, no matter who holds it, but neither side scores.
All the players but one form a circle, with their hands on a piece of string on which a ring has been threaded. The other player stands in the middle of the circle. The ring is then hurried up and down the string from end to end, the object [Pg 20] being to keep its whereabouts hidden from the other player.
In this game, which is usually played by girls, one player hides her eyes, while the others, who are sitting in a row, pass a ball from one to another until it is settled who shall keep it. This done, they all hide their hands in their laps, as if each one had it; and the other player is called, her aim being to discover in whose hands the ball is hidden. She examines the faces of the others very closely until she makes up her mind which one probably has the ball, and then addresses that one thus—
To this the player replies—
and the seeker answers—
If the ball really is with this player, the seeker and she change
places, but otherwise the seeker hides her eyes again and the ball
changes hands (or not). And so on until it is found.
Another way is for sides to be taken, one consisting of Queen Anne and her maids and the other of gipsies. The gipsies have the ball first, and, having hidden it, they advance in a line toward Queen Anne, each holding up her skirts as if the ball were there, singing—
[Pg 21] Lady Queen Anne and her maids reply—
If they have hit upon the right player she goes over to Queen Anne's side. But if not, the gipsies sing—
They then turn round and hide the ball again.
A very exhausting game. The players sit round a table and form sides, one half against the other, and a little fluffy feather is placed in the middle. The aim of each side is to blow the feather so that it settles in the other camp, and to keep it from settling in their own.
The same game can be played with a marble on a table from which the table-cloth has been removed. In this case you all sink your faces to the level of the table.
The players sit in a long line or ring. The first, turning to the second, whispers very rapidly some remark or a brief story. The second, who may hear it distinctly, but probably does not, then whispers it as exactly as he can to the third player; and so on until the line is finished. The last player then whispers it to the first player; and the first player repeats his original remark to the company, and follows it with the form in which it has just reached him.
All the players sit in a ring, except one, who stands in the middle holding a soft cushion. This he throws at any one of the players and begins to count ten. The person at whom the [Pg 22] cushion was thrown must call out the words of a well-known advertisement before ten is reached. If he fails he must pay a forfeit.
The players, or jury, form up in two rows facing each other. The judge sits at one end, or passes between the two lines, and asks his questions. These may be of any description. Perhaps he will say, "Miss A, do you think it will rain to-morrow?" Now although the judge addresses Miss A and looks at her, it is not she who must answer but the player opposite to her. And he in his answer is not allowed to say either "Yes," "No," "Black," "White," or "Gray." If the player who was addressed answers she becomes judge and the judge takes her seat; or if the opposite player does not answer before the judge has counted ten he becomes judge and the judge takes his seat.
The players sit in a circle, and the game begins by one player turning to the next and asking a question. Perhaps it will be, "Did you get very wet this evening?" The answer may be, "Fortunately I had a mackintosh." The second player then asks the third, and so on round the circle until it comes to the first player's turn to be asked a question by the last one. Perhaps this question will be, "I hope your cousin is better?" All these questions and answers have to be very carefully remembered, because on the circle being complete each player in turn has to repeat the question which was put to her and the answer which she received to the question which she herself put. Thus in the present instance the first player would announce that the question was, "I hope your cousin is better?" and the answer, "Fortunately I had a mackintosh." Another variety of cross question is played as follows. The company is divided into two parts, and stand [Pg 23] facing each other. A leader is chosen for each side, one to give the questions and one to give the answers. One goes down his side giving to each player in a whisper some serious question which he must ask of his opposite in the other line. The other leader whispers to each of his players an absurd answer. Then the play begins. The first in line asks his opponent his question and receives the absurd answer three times. If either of them smile he is put out of the game. The person who can keep a straight face to the last, wins the prize. After the whole line has asked and answered the first set of questions, the first couple become the leaders, and propound two other sets of questions and answers. And so on until only two are left.
One player has his eyes blinded and stands in a circle made by the other players. They dance silently around him until he points at one, who must then enter the circle and try to avoid being caught by the blind man. The pursuer calls out from time to time "Ruth!" to which the pursued must always answer at once "Jacob!" at the same time trying to dodge quickly enough to escape the other's immediate rush to the spot. After the "Ruth" is caught, the "Jacob" must guess who it is and if he guesses right, the "Ruth" is blindfolded and becomes the "Jacob," and the game begins anew.
The player who is chosen as leader sits down and places the first finger of her right hand on her knee. The others crowd round her and also place the first finger of their right hands on her knee, close to hers. The game is for the leader to raise her finger suddenly, saying, "Fly away [something]." If that something is not capable of flight the other fingers must not move, but if it can fly they must rise also. Thus, "Fly away, thrush!" "Fly away, pigeon!" "Fly away, butterfly!" [Pg 24] should cause all the fingers to spring up. But of "Fly away, omnibus!" "Fly away, cat!" "Fly away, pig!" no notice should be taken. The game is, of course, to catch players napping.
This is a very confusing game of contraries for five players. Four of them hold each the corner of a handkerchief. The other, who stands by to give orders, then shouts either "Let go!" or "Hold fast!" When "Let go!" is called, the handkerchief must be held as firmly as ever; but when "Hold fast!" it must be dropped. The commands should be given quickly and now and then repeated to add to the anxiety of the other players.
In this game one player represents a sergeant and the others are soldiers whom he is drilling. When he makes an action and says "Do this" the others have to imitate him; but if he says "Do that" they must take no notice.
The players sit about on the floor or on chairs, each holding out on his knee his clenched fist with the thumb sticking straight up. One player calls out "Simon says thumbs down." All the thumbs must be instantly reversed. Then he tries to confuse them by alternating between up and down for some time until they all get into the way of expecting the change, and then he gives the same order twice in succession. Those who make a mistake pay a forfeit. If he calls out simply "Thumbs up" or "Thumbs down" no attention must be paid to this order as a forfeit is taken.
The orders are sometimes varied by the command "Simon says wig-wag!" when all the thumbs must be waggled to and fro.
A somewhat similar game of contraries is "The Grand Mufti." The player personating the Grand Mufti stands in the middle or on a chair, and performs whatever action he likes with his hands, arms, head, and legs. With each movement he says, "Thus does the Grand Mufti," or, "So does the Grand Mufti." When it is "Thus does the Grand Mufti" the other players must imitate his movement; but when it is "So does the Grand Mufti" they must take no notice. Any mistakes may lead to forfeits.
There is no contrariness about "The Mandarins." The players sit in a circle, and the game is begun by one of them remarking to the next, "My ship has come home from China." The answer is "Yes, and what has it brought?" The first player replies, "A fan," and begins to fan herself with her right hand. All the players must copy her. The second player then turns to the third (all still fanning) and remarks, "My ship has come home from China." "Yes, and what has it brought?" "Two fans." All the players then fan themselves with both hands. The third player, to the fourth (all still fanning), "My ship has come home from China." "Yes, and what has it brought?" "Three fans." All the players then add a nodding head to their other movements. And so on, until when "Nine fans" is reached, heads, eyes, mouth, hands, feet and body are all moving. The answers and movements of this game may be varied. Thus the second answer to the question "And what has it brought" might be "A bicycle," when the feet of all the players would have to move as if working pedals; the third answer could be a "snuff-box," which should set all the players sneezing; and so on. A typewriter, a piano, a barrel-organ, a football, would vary the game.
This test of self-control is rather a favorite; but it is not so much a game as a means of distributing forfeits. The players sit in a circle. One then stands up and, holding out a stick, repeats these lines—
This must be said without laughing or smiling. Each player in turn holds the stick and repeats the verses, those that laugh or smile having, when it is over, to pay a forfeit.
This is another game in which laughter is forbidden. The players sit close together in a silent circle. Whatever the leader does the others have to do, but without smile or sound. Perhaps the leader will begin by pulling the next player's hair, and pass on to pat her cheek, or prod her sides, or pinch her nose.
Another trial of composure. The players choose what positions they will and become as still and as silent as statues. One player is judge. It is his business to try and make the statues laugh. All who laugh pay forfeits; but the one who keeps his face grave longest becomes "Judge."
"Laughter" is just the opposite. The company sit in a circle and the game is begun by one throwing a handkerchief into the air. Immediately this is done every one must begin [Pg 27] to laugh and continue to laugh until the handkerchief touches the ground. They must then stop or leave the circle. Gradually all will leave but one, who must then perform by himself, if he is willing.
One third of the company agree to say "Hish" all together at a given signal, another third agree to say "Hash," and the rest agree to say "Hosh." The word of command is then given, and the result is the sound as of a tremendous sneeze.
In "Bingo" the players begin by joining hands and marching round, singing—
The players then loose hands, the girls go inside the ring and stand there, and the boys run round them singing the rhyme again. Then the boys go inside and the girls run round them and sing it. And then hands are taken once more and all go round in the original circle singing it a fourth time. If no boys are playing, the girls should arrange, before the game begins, which shall personate them.
A good game for the fireside is "Robin's Alive." There are so few children nowadays who have fireplaces that this can be modified so that it is a good evening game for any quiet group of children. Some one lights a piece of twisted paper [Pg 28] or a stick of wood, twirls it rapidly in the air to keep it burning and says, as fast as he can,
and at once passes the paper on to the next player who in turn recites the verse. The one in whose hand it finally goes out is "back-saddled" in this way. He lies down on the floor and the others pile cushions and chairs and books on him while he repeats,
The players join hands and go round and round in a ring, singing—
They then let go hands and sing—
and as they sing they pretend to be washing. After the verse is done they join hands again and dance round to the singing of the mulberry bush chorus again, and so on after each verse. The other verses are—
[Pg 29] And lastly and very gaily—
and then the chorus comes again, and the game is done.
This is another of the old country games in which the players all have to do the same things. They first join hands and dance round, singing—
Then, letting go of hands and standing still, they sing—
and at the same time they do what the song directs. Then the dance and chorus again, and then the next verse, and so on. This is the order—
An ear-splitting game that is always great fun. The players stand in rows before the leader or "conductor," who sings a verse from any well-known nonsense or other song. [Pg 30] Then he says, pointing to one of the players, "and the first violin played this simple melody," whereupon the two sing the verse over again, the player imitating with his arms the movements of a violin player, and with his voice the sound of a squeaking fiddle. Then the conductor says, pointing to another player, "and the big trombone played this simple melody." Then the three sing together, the second player imitating the sound of a trombone and the appearance of a trombone player. This is continued until every one is playing on an imaginary instrument, the conductor, of course, being the only one who sings the words of the song.
A nonsensical game, useful in leading to forfeits. The company sit in a row, and one of the end players begins by saying, "A good fat hen." Each of the others in turn must then say, "A good fat hen." The first player then says, "Two ducks and a good fat hen," and the words pass down the line. Then "Three squawking wild geese, two ducks, and a good fat hen." And so on until the end is reached, in the following order—
|Fourth round.—||Prefix:||Four plump partridges.|
|Fifth round.—||"||Five pouting pigeons.|
|Sixth round.—||"||Six long-legged cranes.|
|Seventh round.—||"||Seven green parrots.|
|Eighth round.—||"||Eight screeching owls.|
|Ninth round.—||"||Nine ugly turkey-buzzards.|
|Tenth round.—||"||Ten bald eagles.|
The sentence has now reached a very difficult length:—"Ten bald eagles, nine ugly turkey-buzzards, eight screeching owls, seven green parrots, six long-legged cranes, five pouting pigeons, four plump partridges, three squawking wild geese, two ducks and a good fat hen." Any one making a mistake may be made to pay a forfeit.
The same game may be played also with "The House that Jack Built," and there are other stories of a similar kind. Among these the most amusing for a large party would perhaps be the old rhyme of "John Ball."
|First round.—||John Ball shot them all.|
|Second round.—||John Block made the stock,|
|But John Ball shot them all.|
|Third round.—||John Brammer made the rammer,|
|John Block made the stock,|
|But John Ball shot them all.|
|Fourth round.—||John Wyming made the priming,|
|John Brammer made the rammer,|
|John Block made the stock,|
|But John Ball shot them all.|
|Fifth round.—||John Scott made the shot....|
|Sixth round.—||John Crowder made the powder....|
|Seventh round.—||John Puzzle made the muzzle....|
|Eighth round.—||John Farrell made the barrel....|
|Ninth round.—||John Clint made the flint....|
|Tenth round.—||John Patch made the match...|
In the tenth round, then, each player has to say—
There is also the old rhyme of "Chitterbob," but it is usual in repeating this to say it all at once, in one round, and not prolong the task. This is the rhyme:—
In the old way of playing "Chitterbob" a paper horn used to be twisted into the player's hair for each mistake made in the recitation, and at the end these horns could be got rid of only by paying forfeits.
"The Muffin Man" is another variety. The players sit in a circle, and the game is begun by one of them turning to the next and asking, either in speech or in song—
The reply is—
Both players then repeat together—
This done, the second player turns to the third and the same question and answer are given; but when it comes to the comment—
the first player also joins in. At the end therefore, if there are eight people playing, the whole company is singing—
In "Family Coach" each player takes the name of a part of a coach, as the axle, the door, the box, the reins, the whip, the wheels, the horn; or of some one connected with it, as the driver, the guard, the ostlers, the landlord, the bad-tempered passenger, the cheerful passenger, the passenger who made puns, the old lady with the bundle, and the horses—wheelers and leaders. One player then tells a story about the coach, bringing in as many of these people and things as he can, and as often. Whenever a person or thing represented by a player is mentioned, that player must stand up and turn round. But whenever the coach is mentioned the whole company must stand up and turn round. Otherwise, forfeits. A specimen story is here given as a hint as to the kind of thing needed:—
"There's the railway, of course," said Mr. Burly, "and there's the motor wagonette, and you've all got bicycles; but let's go to London in the old-fashioned way for once; let's go in the Family Coach." These words delighted everybody. "Oh, yes," they all cried, "let's go in the Family Coach." It was therefore arranged, and John the Coachman had orders to get everything ready. This was no light matter, for the Family Coach had not been used for many years, and it would need to be taken to the coachbuilder's at once and be overhauled. So the next morning it lumbered off, and it did not come back for a week; but when it did there was a change indeed. The wheels had been painted red, the axles had been tested, the springs renewed, the inside re-lined, the roof freshly upholstered, and the whole made bright and gay. At last the morning came, a clear, sunny day, and punctually at nine John rattled up to the door. The horses stood there pawing the ground, as if ready to gallop all the way. John had a new coat and hat, and Tim and Peter, the grooms, were also in new livery. Every one was ready. First came Mr. Burly in a wonderful great overcoat, and then Mrs. Burly in furs. Then Uncle Joshua, then Aunt Penelope, and then the three girls and two boys. How they all found room I don't know, but they did. "Are we all ready?" said Mr. Burly. "All ready," said Uncle Joshua. So Tim and Peter sprang away from the horses' heads, crack went the whip, round went the wheels, Uncle Joshua blew the horn, and the old Family Coach was fairly on its journey.
It was a splendid ride. John kept his horses going at a grand pace and [Pg 34] hardly used the whip at all, the wheels ran smoothly over the road, and whenever we passed through a village Uncle Joshua blew the horn. We stopped at Thornminster for lunch. John brought us up to the inn door in style, and the landlord came out rubbing his hands and helped Mrs. Burly and Aunt Penelope down with a flourish. "Proud to see you, sir," he said to Mr. Burly. "It is seldom enough that folks travel nowadays in an old Family Coach. I wish there were more of them."
After lunch we went along in the same splendid way until suddenly round a corner came a donkey-cart with the donkey braying at the top of his voice. John pulled the horses well over to the side, but the braying was too much for them, and they rolled into the ditch. In a moment the old Family Coach was overturned. Mr. Burly was shot into the field across the hedge, Uncle Joshua, grasping the horn, landed in a pond, John and Aunt Penelope, Mrs. Burly and the grooms all stuck in the hedge. No one was hurt, but two of the wheels were broken to pieces and one axle was bent, and that was therefore the last of the old Family Coach. So we never got to London in the old way after all.
If this story is not long enough, it can be lengthened. The words in italics are those to be distributed among the company, each player taking more than one if necessary. When the accident comes they might all fall down as they are mentioned. In the case of the wheels and the horses, these may either be taken all four by one player, or eight players may share them. Thus, when the wheels are mentioned, all four players who have taken the wheels would stand up and turn round, and four others when the horses were alluded to.
"The Traveler" is a favorite variety of the "Family Coach." In this game a player with a ready tongue is chosen as traveler, and the others are given such names as landlord, bell-boy, clerk, waiter, chambermaid, electric light, elevator, bed, supper, paper, sitting-room, bedroom, steam-radiator, slippers, and so on. The traveler is then supposed to arrive and give his orders. "Can I have a room to-night? Good. And how soon will supper be ready? Ask the bell-boy to take [Pg 35] my satchels up to my room. Show me to my room and send up the papers." And so on, each person named having to stand up or be booked for a forfeit.
This game lends itself to various new forms. One might be called "The Bicyclist" and run thus:—A player having been chosen as the bicyclist, the others take as many bicycling names (or two names each might add to the fun) as there are players. Thus—lamp, wick, oil, handle-bars, spokes, tires, chain, pump, nuts, bell, hedges, fields, sheep, roads, hill, dog. This settled, the bicyclist will begin his story, something in this style:—
It looked so fine this morning that I determined to go for a long ride. So I got out the pump and blew up the tires, put the monkey-wrench to a few nuts, filled the lamp, trimmed the wick, polished up the bell and the handle-bars, and started off. The roads were perfect. The fields were shining with dew, the hedges were sweet with honey-suckle, and I skimmed along like the wind until suddenly, at the turn at the foot of Claymore Hill, I rode bang into a flock of sheep and came down with a smash. You never saw such a ruin. The lamp and bell were lost completely, the handle-bars were twisted into corkscrews, the tires were cut to ribbons, the spokes looked like part of a spider's web, my hands and my knees were cut, and the worst of it was that the shepherd's dog mistook me for an enemy and I had to beat him off with the monkey-wrench, until the farmer heard the noise and came to the rescue.
During this story all the players named would, in the ordinary way, stand up for a moment when their adopted names were mentioned, except at the point when the accident occurs, and then every player bearing the name of a part of the bicycle—the handle-bars, spokes, tires, chain, air-pump, lamp, wick, bell, monkey-wrench, pump, nuts—should fall to the ground.
There are various feats which can be performed in a small room without injury to furniture. To lie flat on the floor on one's back and be lifted into an upright position by a pair of [Pg 36] hands under the back of the head, keeping stiff all the time, is a favorite accomplishment. Another is to bend over and touch the floor with the tips of the fingers without bending the knees. Another is, keeping your feet behind a line, to see who, by stretching along the ground supported on the left hand only, can place a penny with the right hand the farthest distance and get back again to an upright position behind the line without moving the feet or using the right hand for a support. This done, the penny must be recovered in the same way.
Another feat is, keeping your feet together and one arm behind you, to see how far back from the wall it is possible to place your feet (remembering that you have to get into an upright position again) while you lean forward supported by the other hand laid flat against the wall.
Another is to keep the toes to a line, and kneel down and get up again without using the hands.
Another is to make a bridge of your body from chair to chair, resting the back of your neck on one and your heels on the other. This is done by beginning with three chairs, one under the back, and then when you are rigid enough having the third one removed.
If you hold your hands across your chest in a straight line with the tips of the forefingers pressed together, it will be impossible for any one else, however strong, to hold by your arms and pull those finger-tips apart.
It is quite safe to stand a person against the wall with his heels touching it, and, laying a shilling on the floor a foot or so is front of him, to say it will be his if he can pick it up without moving his heels from the wall.
Another impossible thing is to stand sideways against the [Pg 37] wall with your left cheek, left heel, and left leg touching it, and then raise the right leg.
In this contest two boys are first trussed. Trussing consists of firmly tying wrists and ankles, bringing the elbows down below the knees and slipping a stick along over one elbow, under both knees and over the other elbow, as in the picture. The game is, for the two fowls to be placed opposite each other with their feet just touching, and for each then to strive to roll the other over with his toes.
Another balancing game. Two boys face each other, each with a candle, one of which is lighted and the other not. Kneeling on the right knee only and keeping the left leg entirely off the ground, they have to make one candle light the other.
A tall hat is placed in the middle of the room and a pack of cards is dealt out to the players seated round it. The game is to throw the cards one by one into the hat.
This is properly an outdoor game, but in a big room indoors it is all right. The two sides should be even in numbers, at any rate in the first pull. In the middle of the rope a handkerchief is tied, and three chalk lines a yard apart are made on the floor. The sides then grasp the rope, the captain of each side, whose duty it is to encourage his men by cheering cries, having his hands about a yard and a half from the handkerchief. The rope is then trimmed by the umpire until the handkerchief comes exactly over the middle one of the three lines. On the word being given, each side has to try and pull the rope so that the handkerchief passes over the chalk line nearest it. The best of three decides the victory. For the sake of sport it is better, if one side is much weaker than the other, to add to it until the balance of strength is pretty even.
The players stand in as wide a circle as the size of the room allows, with one player in the middle. He has a rope or heavy cord in his hand with some object, rather heavy but not hard, tied to it, such as a small cushion or a large bunch [Pg 39] of rags. Stooping down, he begins swinging this around the circle. As it comes to them the players must jump over the cord. As the cushion is swung faster and faster it goes higher and is more difficult to jump over. The first one to miss takes the place of the person swinging the rope, who is not allowed to raise his hand higher than his knee.
In this game goals are set up at each end of the room, the players are provided with fans, and the football is a blown hen's egg, which is wafted backward and forward along the floor.
A string is stretched across the room at a height of about three or four feet. The players divide into sides and line up on each side of the string. The balloon is then thrown up, the game being to keep it in the air backward and forward over the string, so that if it falls it will fall in the other side's camp. It ought to be tapped with the back of the fingers and not hit hard.
In this game tissue-paper is cut into pieces three or four inches square. As many squares as there are players are placed in a line at one end of the room, and at the other are placed two books, or other objects, a foot or so apart. At the word of command each competitor, who is armed with a Japanese fire-screen or fan, starts to fan his square through the goal-posts. For the sake of distinguishing them it is better to mark the papers or have them of different colors. A competitor may not fan any other square except by accident.
This game should not be played unless there are some older, stronger players to prevent possible accidents, but it is very [Pg 40] amusing. Each player in turn goes to the end of the room, takes a cane or umbrella, puts his head down on the handle, closes his eyes and, stooping over thus, whirls rapidly about six times, not moving the point of the cane from its original position. Then instantly he straightens up and tries to walk steadily the length of the room along a string laid down or line marked. The one who steps nearest to the line all the time is the winner.
This is a good game for a hall or landing. Two baskets are needed, which are placed at one end of the hall about two yards apart, and then in a line from each basket are placed potatoes, at intervals of a yard or so all down the floor, an equal number to each line. Any even number of competitors can play, the race being run in heats. Each competitor is armed with a long spoon, and his task is to pick up all the potatoes on his line and return them to the basket before his opponent can. Each potato must be carried to the basket in turn, and if dropped on the way must be picked up again before another can be touched, and the spoon only must be used. Any help from the other hand or from the foot disqualifies.
At a fire in the country, where there is no hose, a line of men extends from the burning house to the nearest pond, and buckets are continually being passed along this line. Hence the name by which this excellent game is called here. It is played thus. A large number of miscellaneous and unbreakable articles—balls, boots, potatoes, books, and so on—are divided into two exactly equal groups, and each group is placed in a clothes basket. The company then forms into two [Pg 41] equal lines, and each chooses a captain. Each captain stands by the basket at one end of his line, at the other end being a chair and another player standing by that. At the word "Start," the articles are handed one by one by the captain to the first player in the line, and passed as quickly as possible without dropping to the player by the chair. As they come to him he piles them on the chair (without dropping any) until all are there, and then returns them with equal speed until the basket is filled again. The side which finishes first is the winner. If an article is dropped it must be picked up before any other of the articles can pass the player who dropped it.
In many of the games already described mention has been made of "Forfeits." They do not now play quite so important a part in an evening's entertainment as once they did, but they can still add to the interest of games. "Paying a forfeit" means giving up to the player who is collecting forfeits some personal article or other—a knife, a pencil, a handkerchief—which, at the end of the game, or later in the evening, has to be recovered by performing whatever penance is ordered. When the times comes for "crying the forfeits," as it is called, the player who has them sits in a chair, while another player, either blindfolded or hiding her eyes, kneels before her, the remaining players standing all around. The first player then holds up a forfeit, remarking, "I have a thing, and a very pretty thing. Pray what shall be done to the owner of this pretty thing?" To which the blindfolded one replies by asking, "Is it fine or superfine?" meaning, Does it belong to a boy (fine) or a girl (superfine)? The answer is either "It is fine," or "It is superfine," and the blindfolded one then announces what its owner must do to get possession of it again. Of stock penances there are a great number, most of which [Pg 42] are tricks which, once known, are necessarily very tame afterward. In the case of those that follow, therefore, something definite and practical is required.
Frown for a minute.
Dance for a minute.
See how many you can count in a minute.
Say the alphabet backward.
Do the exact opposite of three things ordered by the company.
Crow like a cock.
Say "Gig whip" ten times very rapidly.
Say "Mixed biscuits" ten times very rapidly.
Say rapidly: "She stood on the steps of Burgess's Fish Sauce Shop selling shell fish."
Say rapidly: "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper. A peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper, where is the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked?"
Count fifty backward.
Repeat a nursery rhyme.
Hold your hands behind you, and, keeping them there, lie down and get up again.
Hold your hands together and put them under your feet and over your head.
Walk round the room balancing three books on your head without using your hands.
Yawn until you make some one else yawn.
Push your friend's head through a ring. (Put your finger through a ring and push your friend's head with the tip.)
Place a straw on the floor so that you can't jump over it. (Very close to the wall.)
Put a chair on a table, take off your shoes and jump over them. (Over your shoes.)
Leave the room with two legs and come in with six. (Bring in a chair.)
Repeat five times without mistake, "A rat ran over the roof of the house with a lump of raw liver in his mouth."
Repeat ten times rapidly, "Troy boat."
Ask a question to which "no" cannot be answered. (What does y-e-s spell?)
[Pg 43] Shake a dime off your forehead. (The coin is wet and some one presses it firmly to the forehead of the one to pay the forfeit, who must keep his eyes closed. The dime is taken away, but the forfeit player still feels it there and tries to shake it off.)
Repeat a verse of poetry, counting the words aloud. Mary (one) had (two) a (three) little (four) lamb (five).
Dance in one corner, cry in another, sing in another, and fall dead in the fourth.
Two forfeits may be redeemed at once by blindfolding two players, handing them each a glass of water, and bidding them give the other a drink. This, however, can be a very damp business.
The old way of getting rid of a large number of forfeits was to tell their owners to hold a cats' concert, in which each sings a different song at the same time. Perhaps it would be less noisy and more interesting if they were told to personate a farm-yard.
A novel way of awarding prizes is to auction them. Each guest on arrival is given a small bag instead of a tally card. These bags are used to hold beans, five of which are given to all the players that progress at the end of each game. After the playing stops the prizes are auctioned. Of course the person who has the greatest number of beans can buy the best prizes; so that besides making a great deal of fun, the distribution is entirely fair.
Many persons, when a drawing game is suggested, ask to be excused on the ground of an inability to draw. But in none of the games that are described in this chapter is any real drawing power necessary. The object of each game being not to produce good drawings but to produce good fun, a bad drawing is much more likely to lead to laughter than a good one.
All children who like drawing like this game; but it is particularly good to play with a real artist, if you have one among your friends. You take a piece of paper and make five dots on it, wherever you like—scattered about far apart, close together (but not too close), or even in a straight line. The other player's task is to fit in a drawing of a person with one of these dots at his head, two at his hands, and two at his feet, as in the examples on page 48.
Another form of "Five Dots" is "Outlines." Instead of dots a line, straight, zigzag, or curved, is made at random on the paper. Papers are then exchanged and this line must be fitted naturally into a picture, as in the examples on page 49.
A good way to play Wiggles when there are a number of people to play, is to mark the same line for all the players, either by pressing down very hard with a hard pencil so that the line can be traced from one piece of paper to another, or with carbon copy paper between the sheets. Thus each person has the same line, and the one who uses his in the most fantastic and unexpected way is the winner. The only rule about making the line is that a circle shall not be made. The two ends must be left ready to add the rest of the design. It is well sometimes to limit the pictures to human faces, as this makes the grotesque unlikeness of the drawings all the more absurd.
The usual thing to draw with shut eyes is a pig, but any animal will do as well (or almost as well, for perhaps the pig's curly tail just puts him in the first place). Why it should be so funny a game it is difficult quite to explain, but people laugh more loudly over it than over anything else. There is one lady at least who keeps a visitor's book in which every one that stays at her house has to draw an eyes-shut pig. The drawings are signed, and the date is added. Such a guest book is now manufactured, bound in pig skin, or in cloth.
While on the subject of novel albums the "Ghost of My Friends" might be mentioned. The "ghost" is the effect produced by writing one's signature with plenty of ink, and while the ink is still very wet, folding the paper down the middle of the name, lengthwise, and pressing the two sides firmly together. The result is a curious symmetrically-shaped figure. Some people prefer "ghosts" to ordinary signatures in a visitors' book.
The "Book of Butterflies" is on the same order. With the book come four tubes of paint. The paint is squeezed on the page, which is doubled and flattened. The effects are very beautiful, and surprisingly lifelike.
Another guest book is the "Hand-o-graph," in which the outline of the hand of each guest is kept. The "Thumb-o-graph" is on the same principle, except that in this case the [Pg 51] imprint of the guest's thumb is preserved, made from an ink pad supplied with the book.
A remarkable collection can be made of ink-blot pictures. A drop of ink, either round as it naturally falls, or slightly lengthened with a pen, is dropped on paper which is then folded smartly together and rubbed flat. The most surprising designs are the result, some of which, aided a little by the pen, look like landscapes, figures and complicated geometric designs.
Six drawing tricks are illustrated on this page. One (1) is the picture of a soldier and a dog leaving a room, drawn with three strokes of the pencil. Another (3) is a sailor, drawn with two squares, two circles, and two triangles. Another (5), Henry VIII, drawn with a square and nine straight lines. Another (6), invented for this book, an Esquimaux waiting to harpoon a seal, drawn with eleven circles and a straight line. The remaining figures are a cheerful pig and a despondent pig (4), and a cat (2), drawn with the utmost possible simplicity.
In this game the first player writes the name of an animal at the top of the paper and folds it over. The next writes another, and so on until you have four, or even five. You then unfold the papers and draw animals containing some feature of each of those named.
A variation of this game is for the players to draw and describe a new creature. On one occasion when this game was played every one went for names to the commoner advertisements. The best animal produced was the Hairy Coco, the description of which stated, among other things, that it was fourteen feet long and had fourteen long feet.
A good guessing contest is to supply every person with a slip of paper on which is written the name of an animal. He draws a picture of it and these pictures are all exhibited signed with the artist's name. The person who guesses correctly the subjects of the greatest number of them wins.
For this game sheets of paper are handed round and each player draws at the top of his sheet a head. It does not matter in the least whether it is a human being's or a fish's head, a quadruped's, a bird's, or an insect's. The paper is then turned down, two little marks are made to show where the neck and body should join, and the paper is passed on for the body to be supplied. Here again it does not matter what kind of body is chosen. The paper is then folded again, marks are made to show where the legs (or tail) ought to begin, and the paper is passed on again. After the legs are drawn the picture is finished.
Each player sits, pencil in hand, before a blank sheet of paper, his object being to make a picture containing things chosen by the company in turn. The first player then names the thing that he wants in the picture. Perhaps it is a tree. [Pg 55] He therefore says, "Draw a tree," when all the players, himself included, draw a tree. Perhaps the next says, "Draw a boy climbing the tree"; the next, "Draw a balloon caught in the top branches"; the next, "Draw two little girls looking up at the balloon"; and so on, until the picture is full enough. The chief interest of this game resides in the difficulty of finding a place for everything that has to be put in the picture. A comparison of the drawings afterward is usually amusing.
As a change from ordinary letter-writing, "Hieroglyphics" are amusing and interesting to make. The best explanation is an example, such as is given on pages 52 and 53, the subject being two verses from a favorite nursery song.
Each player draws on the upper half of the paper an historical scene, whether from history proper or from family history, and appends the title, writing it along the bottom of the paper and folding it over. The drawings are then passed on and each player writes above the artist's fold (or on another sheet of paper) what he thinks they are meant to represent, and folds the paper over what he has written. In the accompanying example the title at the bottom of the paper is what the draughtsman himself wrote; the others are the other players' guesses.
The Abbot of Christchurch, near Bournemouth, surveys the scaffolding of the abbey.
The end of the Paris Exhibition.
An old man coming back to the home of his childhood, looks across the river, where a duck is swimming, to the dilapidated cathedral and town which represent the stately piles he remembered.
The building of the Ark.
The Last Man surveying the ruins of the Crystal Palace.
Many of the games under this heading look harder than they really are. But the mere suggestion of a writing game is often enough to frighten away timid players who mistrust their powers of composition—although the result can be as funny when these powers are small as when they are considerable. The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.
There are "Simple Acrostics" and "Double Acrostics." The simple ones are very simple. When the players are all ready a word is chosen by one of them, either from thought or by looking at a book and taking the first promising one that occurs. Perhaps it is "govern." Each player then puts the letters forming "govern" in a line down the paper, and the object of the game is to find, in a given time, words beginning with each of those letters. Thus, at the end of time, one player might have—
The players then describe their words in turn, one letter going the round before the next is reached, and from these descriptions the words have to be guessed, either by any player who likes or by the players in turn. The player whose paper we have quoted might describe his words like this: G—— [Pg 60] "Something that makes hot beef nice"; O—— "A fruit"; V—— "A flower"; E—— "A girl's name"; R—— "A bird"; and N—— "A name for a silly person." If any one else has the same word neither of you can score it, and it is therefore important to seek for the most unlikely words.
Another way of playing "Simple Acrostics" is to insist on each word being the same length. Thus "govern" might be filled in by one player thus:—
In "Double Acrostics" the game is played in precisely the same way, except that the letters of the word, after having been arranged in a line down the paper, are then arranged again in a line up the paper, so that the first letter is opposite the last, and the last opposite the first. Thus:—
The players have then to fill in words beginning and ending with the letters as thus arranged. One paper might come out thus:—
G rai N
O rde R
V ersatil E
E ... V
R apall O
N othin G
[Pg 61] This word is rather a hard one on account of the E and V. As a rule, words of only three letters are not allowed in "Acrostics," nor are plurals. That is to say, if the word has to end in "S," one must not simply add "S" to an ordinary word, such as "grooms" for G——S, but find a word ending naturally in "S," such as "Genesis."
It is not necessary to invert the same word in order to get letters for the ends of the words. Two words of equal length can be chosen and arranged side by side. Thus (but this is almost too difficult an example):—
"Acrostics" may be made more difficult and interesting by giving them a distinct character. Thus, it may be decided that all the words that are filled in must be geographical, or literary, or relating to flowers.
"Fives" is a game which is a test also of one's store of information. A letter is chosen, say T, and for a given time, ten minutes perhaps, the players write down as many names of animals beginning with T as they can think of. The first player then reads his list, marking those words that no one else has and crossing off all that are also on other players' papers. Then the names of vegetables (including flowers, trees, and fruit) are taken; then minerals; then persons; and then places. The player who has most marks wins the game.
A variety of this game is to take a long word, say "extraordinary," and within a given time to see how many smaller [Pg 62] words can be made from it, such as tax, tin, tea, tear, tare, tray, din, dray, dairy, road, rat, raid, and so on.
"Lists" is a variety of "Fives." Paper is provided, and each player in turn calls out something which the whole company write down. Thus, suppose there are five players and you decide to go round three times: the first may say a river; the second, a doctor; the third, a complaint; the fourth, a play; the fifth, a State in the Union; the first again, a musical instrument; the second again, a poet; and so on, until the fifteen things are all written down. Each paper will then have the same list of fifteen things upon it. One of the company then opens a book at random, and chooses, say, the first letter of the third word in the first line. Perhaps it is T. For a given time each player has to supply his list with answers beginning with T. At the call of time one of the papers may present this appearance:—
A river Tees
A doctor. Mr. Treves
A complaint Tic Doloreux
A play Timon of Athens
A state in the Union Tennessee
A musical instrument Trombone
A poet Tennyson
A flower Trefoil
A mineral Tin
A lake Tanganyika
A tree Tulip
A country Turkey
An author Trollope
An artist Tadema
A preacher Talmage
Each player in turn reads his list aloud, strikes off those words that others also have, and puts a mark against the rest. The specimen list here given is too simple to be called a good [Pg 63] one. Players should reject the first thing that comes into their thoughts, in favor of something less natural.
The first thing for the players to do is to decide what kind of name they will bury. The best way is to call out something in turn. Thus, if there are four players they may decide to bury the name of an author, a girl, a town, and a river. Each player writes these down and a fixed time is given for burial, which consists in writing a sentence that shall contain the name somewhere spelled rightly but spread over two words, or three if possible. At the end of the time the sentences are read aloud in turn, while the others guess. Of course, the whole game may be given up to burying only one kind of name, but variety is perhaps better. Examples are given:—
An author: I like to keep the yew in good order.
A girl: The boy was cruel, lazy and obstinate.
A town: Clothes that are new have no need of brushing.
A river: To see spoilt ham especially annoys me.
It is permissible to bury the name in the middle of one longer word, but it is better to spread it over two or three. Perhaps the best example of a buried English town is this: "The Queen of Sheba sings to keep her spirits up." This is good, because the sentence is natural, because of the unusual number of words that are made use of in the burial, and because in reading it aloud the sound of the buried town is not suggested.
In this game you begin with the Letter. The first thing to write is the address and "My dear ——," choosing whomever you like, but usually, as in "Consequences," either a public [Pg 64] person or some one known, if possible, to every one present. The paper is then folded over and passed on. The next thing to write is the letter itself, which should be limited to two minutes or some short period, and should be the kind of letter that requires a reply. The paper is folded and passed on again, and the subscription, "Believe me yours sincerely," or whatever adverb you choose, and the signature are then added. (These may be divided into two separate writings if you like.) The signature should be that of another public person, or friend, relation or acquaintance of the family. The paper is then passed on once more, and a reply to the letter, in the form of a telegram, is written. That is to say, you must say as much as you can in ten words. Example:—
The first player writes:—My dear Buffalo Bill.
The second player writes:—Can you give me any information about suitable songs for our village choir?
The third player writes:—Believe me yours slavishly.
The fourth player writes:—Kitchener of Khartoum.
The Reply Telegram
The fifth player writes:—Be with you to-morrow. Have sheets aired. Am bringing everything.
There is also the game of "Telegrams." In this the first thing to write is the name of the person sending the telegram. The paper is then passed on, and the name of the person to whom it is sent is written. The papers are then passed on again and opened, and the players in turn each say a letter of the alphabet, chosen at random, until there are ten. As these are spoken, each player writes them on the paper before him, leaving a space after it; so that when the ten are all written down his paper may look like this:
From the Duke of York
To Barnum and Bailey.
H ... A ... P ... N ...
W ... E ... K ... S ... F ...
A period of five minutes or more is then allowed in which to complete the telegram, the message having to be ten words long, and each word to begin, in the same order, with these letters. The players should, as far as possible, make the telegrams reasonable, if not possible. Thus, the form given above might, when finished, read like this:—
From the Duke of York
To Barnum and Bailey.
Have Awning Prepared Next
Wednesday Evening Kindly Send Five
In calling out the ten letters which are to be used in the telegram, it is well to avoid the unusual consonants and to have a vowel here and there.
An amusing variety is for all the players to compose telegrams on the same subject; the subject being given beforehand. Thus it might be decided that all the telegrams should be sent from President Roosevelt to Alice in Wonderland asking for her views on the tariff. Then having completed these messages, the answers may also be prepared, using the same letters. But, of course, as in all games, family matters work out more amusingly than public ones.
Paper is handed round, and each player thinks of some public person, or friend or acquaintance of the company, and writes in full his or her Christian name (or names) and surname. [Pg 66] Then, for, say, five minutes, a character sketch of the person chosen has to be composed, each word of which begins with the initial letter of each of the person's names, repeated in their right order until the supply of thought gives out or time is up. Thus, suppose the person chosen is Frank Richard Stockton, the story writer. The character sketch might run:—
F ancifully R ecounts S trange F reakish R omantic S tories. F inds
R isibility S urely. F requently R aises S miles.
An occasional "and" and "of" may be dropped in if necessary. Where one of the names begins with a vowel (such as William Ewart Gladstone) the character sketch can be made to run more easily.
It is sometimes more amusing to give every one the same names to work on; and in some houses the players are not allowed to choose names for themselves, but must pass the paper on. The characters of towns and nations may be written in the same way, using all the letters of the word as the initials.
A more difficult game is "Riddles." At the top of the paper is written anything that you can think of: "A soldier," "A new dress," "A fit of the blues," "A railway accident"—anything that suggests itself. The paper is passed on and anything else is written, no matter what. It is passed on again and opened. Suppose that the two things written on it are, first, "A school-teacher," and second, "A pair of skates." The duty of the player is to treat them as a riddle, and, asking the question either as "Why is a school-teacher like a pair of skates?" or "What is the difference between a school-teacher and a pair of skates?" (whichever way one prefers), to supply a reasonable answer. This game, it will be seen, is suited particularly to clever people.
This is a game that needs a certain amount of readiness and some skill with words. Each of the party writes at the top of a piece of paper a question of any kind whatever, such as "How old was Cæsar when he died?" or "What is your favorite color?" The paper is folded over and passed on, and the next player writes a word—any word—such as "electricity," "potato," "courageously," "milk." The papers are then passed on once more and opened, and the task of each player is to write a rhyme in which the question on his paper is answered and the word on his paper is introduced.
Every one is supplied with a piece of paper and pencils and tries to write down correct answers to questions about everyday things which we none of us know. A suggestive list is given but any one can add to it indefinitely.
1. How big do you think a postage-stamp is, in inches—a five dollar bill?
2. Draw a picture of a clock's face with the hands pointing to five minutes of twelve.
3. How tall do you think a man's silk hat is, a derby?
4. Draw the design in panels of the door to the room you are in. (Of course without looking at it.)
5. How many holes are there in a high laced shoe—your own?
6. How many toes has a cat, a dog?
7. How many legs has a fly?
8. How does a cow lie down? A horse?
9. About how many petals has a common daisy? A wild rose? A sun flower?
10. How high from the ground is a street-car?—a railway car?
[Pg 68] The person who can answer most correctly the greatest number of questions is the winner.
"Consequences" is always a favorite game when a party has reached its frivolous mood. The method of playing is this: Sheets of paper and pencils are handed round, and every one writes at the head (1) an adjective suitable to be applied to a man, such as "Handsome." This word is then folded over so that it cannot be read, and each paper is passed on to the next person. The name of a man (2) is then written, either some one you know, or a public person, such as the president or Mr. Carnegie. This in turn is folded over and the papers are passed on. The word "met" is understood to be inserted at this point. That is to say, the completed story will tell how Handsome Mr. Carnegie met some one. The next thing (3) is to put down an adjective suitable to apply to the woman whom he met, such as "Buxom," and then (4) the woman's name, again either some one you know, or a public person,—the papers being folded and passed on after every writing. The remaining items are these:—(5) The place where they met—say, on the pier. (6) What he said to her—say, "I hope your neuralgia is better." (7) What she said to him—say, "There's nothing like rain for the crops." (8) What the consequence was—say, "They were married." (9) What the world said—"All's well that ends well."
It must be remembered that unless there are very few players, when it is less fun, you do not get the chance of writing more than once, or at most twice, on the same sheet of paper, so that it is of no use to have a reasonable series of remarks in your mind. The specimen given above is an average one. In print nothing could be much less funny, but when the company has the spirit of "Consequences," even so tame a story [Pg 69] as this might keep the room merry. The game is always full of the unexpected, and the people who meet each other are almost sure to be laughing-stocks. The results are often better if all the papers are handed to one player to read.
The form of "Consequences" above given is the ordinary one and the simplest. But in certain families the game has been altered and improved by other clauses. We give the fullest form of "Consequences" with which we are acquainted. As it stands it is rather too long; but players may like to add to the fun of the ordinary game by adopting a few of these additions:—
Adjective for a man.
What he was wearing.
What he was doing.
Adjective for a woman.
What she was wearing.
What she was doing.
The person he would much rather have met.
Where they met.
What he thought.
What he said.
What she thought.
What she said.
What he gave her.
What she did with it.
Where they went.
What they did.
What the consequence was.
What the world said.
The honorable Theodore Roosevelt, who was dressed in a Moiré antique bath-towel and was eating walnuts, met coy Aunt Priscilla in a Khaki tea-gown [Pg 70] playing with her Noah's Ark, when he would much rather have met Madame Tussaud. They met at South Hampton. What he thought was, "Here's this woman again," but he merely said, "That's a very chic costume of yours." What she thought was, "I wonder if he's seen Peter Pan," but she only said, "That's wet paint you're leaning against." He gave her a piercing glance, and she swallowed it. So they went to prison together and learned to ride the bicycle, and the consequence was they caught influenza, and the world said, "It's an ill wind that blows nobody good."
Another folding-over and passing-on game is "Composite Stories." Paper is passed round, and for five minutes each player writes the opening of a story with a title prefixed. The papers are passed on, and each player reads through as much of the story as has been written and for five minutes adds to it. And so on, until each player has written once on each paper. The papers are then passed on once more, with the result that each paper will be found to be lying before the player who began it. The next and last five minutes are then spent by each person in reading through the story and bringing it to an end, sometimes a difficult enough task. If six persons are playing and allowances of five minutes have been given, there will be at the end of thirty-five minutes six complete stories to read aloud.
A variety of the story game is for each player to write the name of a well-known person or friend of the family on the top of the paper, fold it over, and pass it on. This happens, say, five times, which means that when the papers are opened the names of five persons will be found on each. A story has then to be written introducing these people.
Another story game is one in which each player attempts to tell the most improbable or impossible story. In this case [Pg 71] the papers are not passed on, but a certain amount of time is given for the stories to be written in.
This is a rather elaborate but really very easy game to play. One player, who acts as editor, takes as many sheets of paper as there are players and writes at the head of each the title of a section of a newspaper. Thus on one he will write, Paris Correspondence; on another, English Correspondence; on another, Berlin Correspondence; on a fourth, Political News; on a fifth, Our Fashion Page; on a sixth, Reviews; on a seventh, Weather Report; and so on. Each player then, for a given time, writes on the subject allotted to him, more or less in the manner of the daily press, and at the end the result is read aloud by the editor.
The plan is easily adapted to family or village life. The heading may refer to domestic matters, such as Nursery Correspondence, Kitchen Gossip, Fashions for Gentlemen (an account of father's new suit), Garden News, Village Chatter, and so on. Or, instead of a newspaper, a popular magazine may be contributed, with illustrations.
This is a good game for a company of ingenious people, and it will be found that almost every one is ingenious when confronted with a difficult situation and given time to think out a solution. Every one is given paper and pencil (or this is not necessary since the solutions may be oral). Then one player starts the game by suggesting some predicament and asking the company "What would you do in such a case?" Five minutes are given for reflection, and fifteen if the answers are to be written. Then each in turn must say how he would have extricated himself from the scrape.
A few suitable subjects are given here. If you found [Pg 72] yourself in a strange city, where you didn't know a soul, with no money and nothing you could pawn, what would you do?
If you should wake up in the night and see a burglar just entering the room, what would you do?
If you should look out of your school-room door and see smoke and fire in the hall, what would you do?
If you should be in a foreign country, not able to speak the language and wanted to order a room and breakfast, what would you do?
Card games proper, such as Bezique and Cribbage and Whist, do not come into the scope of this book. Nor do games such as Chess, Draughts, Halma and Backgammon. It is not that they are not good games, but that, having to be bought, their rules do not need enumerating again. The description of a few very old and favorite games with cards, and one or two new ones, is, however, given, because they can be made at home.
On page 178 will be found the simplest letter game. Letters can be used for a round game by one player making a word, shuffling it, and throwing it face upward into the middle of the table. The winner is the player who first sees what it spells.
Distribute a box of letters among the players, dealing them face downward. In turn each player takes up a letter at random and puts it face upward in the middle of the table. The object of the game is to make words out of these letters. Directly a player sees a word he calls it out, and taking the letters places them in front of him, where they remain until the end of the game, when each player counts his words and the owner of the greatest number is the winner. If, however, a word has been chosen which, by the addition of another letter or so from the middle of the table, can be transformed into a longer word, the player who thinks of this longer word takes the shorter word from the other player and places it before himself. Thus, A might see the [Pg 76] word "seat" among the letters, and calling it out, place it before him; and then B, noticing another "t," might call out "state," and adding it to A's word, take that to himself. If, however, A then detected an "e" in the middle and called out "estate" the word would be his again. These losses and reconquests form the chief fun of the game. An "s" at the end of a word, forming a plural, is not allowed.
Many games of "Patience" can be played as well with numbered cards as with ordinary playing cards. It does not matter much what size they are, but for convenience, in playing on a small table, they may as well be about an inch wide and two inches long, with the number at the top. Thus:—
A "Patience" set consists of four packs of cards each containing four sets of thirteen cards numbered from 1 to 13. These can be made at home perfectly well, and a little bag to hold each pack should also be made. The simplest game is to arrange the four sets in their right order. One player empties her four bags into a basket, shakes them up, and calls [Pg 77] them out as she picks them out (at random). The others, who have the cards spread before them, then arrange them in four rows as well as may be, until a 1 is called and there is a chance to begin packing the others upon it. With inexperienced players five rows are sometimes allowed. We do not give other games of "Patience," for two reasons. One is that it is not exactly a children's game, and the other, that it is one of the games which can be properly taught only by personal instruction. Varieties of "Patience" are very numerous, and good books can be had on the subject.
There can be no real need to describe "Snap," but perhaps it may be useful to have the rules in print here in case of any dispute. A pack of "Snap" cards is dealt round, any number being able to play; and the game begins by the players taking their cards one by one from their hands and in turn laying them face upward on the table before them. If a card is turned up similar to a card already on view on the table, the player who turns it up or the player who owns the similar card cries "Snap," and the cards go to the player who says "Snap" first. As it is sometimes difficult for the players to distinguish which says "Snap" first, it is well to have an umpire. In the case of an undoubted dead-heat the game should go on as if nothing had happened. The player who won the cards gathers up also into his hand all the cards which were before him and continues the game. When a player has transferred all his cards from his hand to the table he waits until his turn comes and then takes them into his hand again. This is a very exciting moment, because, if his top card were snapped, then he would lose everything.
In good "Snap" packs there are several sets of cards which are intentionally made nearly but not absolutely alike, [Pg 78] and it is very common to say "Snap" by mistake when one of these turns up. In that case the cards of the player who cried "Snap" are placed in the middle of the table, where they stay until some one turns up a card exactly like the top one and "Snap Centre" is called, when both the centre pack and the pack in front of the turner-up belong to the player who cried "Snap Centre." It may of course be the turner-up himself, but is very likely somebody else, because whereas under ordinary conditions only the owners of similar cards may cry "Snap," when there are cards is the middle too any one may cry "Snap Centre." (In some houses any one may cry "Snap" all through the game, but that is not the best way.)
When a player has lost all his cards he is out of the game until there are cards in the middle again, when an opportunity comes of snap-centring them and getting into play again. The game goes on until one player has all the cards.
In "Grab," a very rowdy variety of "Snap," a cork is placed in the middle of the table. The rules are the same as in "Snap," except that, instead of saying "Snap," you snatch for the cork; in the case of "Snap Centre," snatching and saying "Centre" too.
"Snap" cards may just as well be home-made as bought. They either can be painted, in which case you must be careful that the sets of four articles are just alike, or you can cut out shapes of different colored paper and stick them on. A bundle of wall-paper patterns is splendid material for a pack. The only advantage that bought "Snap" cards have over home-made ones is that they slip better.
This game can be played by any number, either with a home-made pack or with ordinary playing cards from which three of the queens have been taken away; the remaining queen being the old maid. The cards are then dealt and each player first weeds out all pairs, such as two knaves, two aces, two fives, and so on. All having done this, the player who begins offers her hand, with the cards face downward, to her neighbor, and her neighbor takes one. She then looks through her cards to see if it pairs with any that she already has, and, if it does, throws the pair on the table. Having finished her examination she offers her cards in the same way to the next player, and so it goes on. As the possessor of the old maid card is, at the end, the loser of the game, each one who gets it does all in her power to induce the next player to take it. As the cards get fewer and fewer the excitement grows and grows.
"Old Bachelor" is played in the same way, except that three of the kings are then thrown out.
"Pig" is a very noisy game. It is played with ordinary cards, unless you like to make a "Pig" set, which would be very easy. Having discovered how many persons want to play, you treat the pack accordingly. For instance, if five want to play you throw out all cards except five sets of four; if six, or three, you throw out all cards except six sets of four or three sets of four. Thus, if five were playing, the cards might consist of four aces, four twos, four threes, four fours, and four fives; or, if you began at the other end, four kings, four queens, four knaves, four tens and four nines. The cards are shuffled and dealt round, four each, and the game is for each player to complete a set of four. You do not, as in [Pg 80] "Old Maid," select one from the cards that are offered, face downward, but each player hands whatever card he likes to the next player, who is bound to accept it. Directly a player has a set of four complete he lays the cards on the table, either very stealthily or with a bang, whichever he likes. Immediately a set is laid on the table (or directly the other players notice it) all other cards have to be laid there, too. The player who is last in laying them down is Pig. The game is played for as many rounds as you like, the player who was last the fewest times being the winner. The word Pig alters with each round. The last player to lay down his cards in the second round is not merely Pig, but Little Pig; in the third, Big Pig; in the fourth, Mother (or Father) Pig; in the fifth, Grandmother (or Grandfather) Pig; in the sixth, Ancestral Pig; in the seventh, Venerable Pig; in the eighth, Primeval Pig; in the ninth, Crackling.
This is a memory game and a very amusing one. It is played with two packs of cards of any sort. One pack is laid in a heap, face down, in the middle of the table. The other pack is distributed to the players, who lay them face upward in rows; each person should not have more than twelve cards since it is practically impossible to remember more than that number. Any one can begin by giving either a prophecy or a characteristic—thus: "Who will inherit a fortune inside a year?" or "Who will be the first in the room to wear false teeth?" at the same time turning up a card from the centre pile. Whoever has the card matching this, takes it, lays it face down on his card repeating the prophecy, "I will be the first to wear false teeth." The next in turn gives a characteristic, "Who has the worst temper?" or "Who has the most unselfish disposition?" This process continues around, [Pg 81] until all the centre cards are matched. Then the memory test comes in. Every player in turn tries to remember and repeat all the prophecies and characteristics which have fallen to his share, giving them aloud in rapid succession. He is allowed for deliberation on any one only the time while ten is being counted. The one who remembers the greatest number is the winner.
This game is utterly foolish, but it can lead to shouts of laughter. It has been founded on an old-fashioned card game called "Mr. Punch." The first thing required is a pack of plain cards on which should be written the names of articles of food and clothing, household utensils, and other domestic and much advertised things: such, for example, as a frock-coat, a round of beef, a foot-warmer, a box of pills. A story, somewhat on the lines of that which follows, must then be prepared and copied into a note-book. The company take their places and the cards are handed round. These should be held face downward. When all is ready one of the players reads the story, pausing at each blank for the player whose turn comes next to fill it in by calling out whatever is on his uppermost card. No matter how often the game is played (provided the cards are re-shuffled) the unexpected always happens, and it is usually so absurd as to be quite too much for a room all ready for laughter. The number of blanks in the story should be equal to the number of cards, and in order that the story may run on smoothly it is well for the next player always to glance at his top card just before his turn, so as to bring it out readily and naturally. The following story, which makes provision for nearly fifty cards, should be found serviceable until a better and more personal one is written. It will add to the amusement if the player who [Pg 82] reads it substitutes the names of real shops and, if he likes, real people:
Attention. It was Miss Flitters's birthday, and she woke with a start and hurried down to see what the postman had brought. There were five parcels and a letter. The letter was from Miss Bitters. "Dear Miss Flitters," it ran, "I am so sorry to hear of your cold, and in the hope that it will do you good, I am sending you a ——. I always find it excellent, although mother prefers ——. We both wish you many happy returns of the day." The other presents were, from Miss Ditters a handsome ——, from Miss Glitters a delicate ——, and from Miss Hitters a particularly refined ——. "Dear me!" said Miss Flitters, "what a useful gift! just exactly what I wanted." She then sat down to breakfast, which, this being a special day, consisted of ——. "I did my best to do it to a turn," said the cook, as she laid it on the table with her own hands. "Mary said as how you'd prefer a ——, but, bless your 'eart, Miss Flitters, I know your tastes best." "You do, indeed," said Miss Flitters. "The thing is perfectly cooked. It's delicious. It reminds me of ——. To-day," she added, "I am giving a party, and I want you to let us have a very charming meal. I will get the things directly after breakfast. What do you think we shall need?" "Well, ma'am," said the cook, "you may please yourself about everything else, but we've done without a —— for so long, that I must have one." "Quite right," said her mistress.
She then prepared for going out; and seeing that it looked like rain, took a —— from the cupboard and on her head tied a ——. "Bless your 'eart, mum," cried the cook, "you've forgot your smelling salts. Suppose you was to feel faint—what then? Never mind," she added, "this'll do just as well"—handing her a ——. Miss Flitters hurried off at such a pace that she ran right into the minister. "I beg your pardon," she exclaimed, "I mistook you for a ——." "May I come with you?" asked the minister. "Most certainly," said Miss Flitters.
They went first to Buszard's for a ——, and selected two particularly juicy ones. Then to Marshall and Snelgrove's for a ——. "Is this for the complexion?" asked the minister, picking up a —— from the counter. "La, sir," said Miss Flitters, "how little you know of domestic life!" Then they went to Fuller's for a ——, and to Jay's for a ——. "It's too dear," said Miss Flitters. "Give me a —— instead." At the stores they inspected ——. "Haven't you anything fresher?" asked Miss Flitters: "I'd as soon buy a ——." None the less she bought two and slipped them into her reticule, adding as a little gift for the cook a ——.
The party began at six o'clock. The first to come was Miss Kitters. "You don't mind my bringing my work, I know, dear," she exclaimed; "I'm [Pg 83] embroidering a —— for the natives of Madagascar, and it must be done soon." Miss Litters came next, and being rather short-sighted, sat down on a ——. "Never mind," said Miss Flitters. "Oh, I don't," she replied, "but it would have been more comfortable if it had been a ----." Miss Mitters came just as the clock struck. She was wearing a charming —— trimmed with ——. "What perfect taste she has!" the others murmured. Miss Nitters followed. Miss Nitters was the exact opposite of Miss Mitters in all matters relating to dress. She had no taste at all, and was wearing merely a —— with pompons attached, and in place of earrings a couple of ——. "So fast!" whispered Miss Litters. Miss Pitters, Miss Ritters, and Miss Titters each brought a present. Miss Pitters's present was a silver-plated ——. "So useful for the toilet table," she said. Miss Ritters's was a Japanese ——, a piece of exquisite workmanship; while Miss Titters produced from her pocket a brown paper parcel which turned out to contain a very choice ----, an heirloom in the Titters family for centuries. "I didn't know whether to bring this or a ——," she said; "but father decided me. Father always knows best."
When all were assembled, the guests sat down to supper. But here an awkward thing happened. "If you please, mum," the cook was heard to whisper in a loud voice, "the —— hasn't come. Shall I get a —— instead?" "Yes," said Miss Flitters, "that will do very well. Don't you think so, Miss Pitters?" "I think," was the reply, "I should prefer ——." It was none the less an excellent and generous repast. Opposite Miss Flitters was a noble ——, flanked by a —— and a ——. At the foot of the table was a dish of ——. "I never tasted anything so delicious in my life," said Miss Mitters, taking a large helping of ----. "Oh!" said Miss Glitters, "you should try the ——. It's yumps." The first course was followed by sweets, the most imposing of which was a wonderful frosted —— with Miss Flitters's name in pink sugar. "You must all have a piece," said the hostess, "but I'm afraid it's rather rich."
After supper came games, "Blind Man's Buff" and "Hunt the Slipper," but as no one cared to lend a slipper, they used instead a ——, and it did very well. At midnight the party broke up, the guests saying that they never had spent a pleasanter evening. As a protection against the cold Miss Flitters gave them each a hot ——. She then hurried to bed and dreamed all night of ——.
The players sit in a long row, as if in a class at school. The one that acts as schoolmaster asks sharply, beginning at one end, "The name of the letter?" "A," says the player. The schoolmaster turns to the next player, "the name of the ship?" and straightway begins to count ten very quickly and sternly. "Andromeda," is perhaps rapped out before he reaches that number. "The name of the captain?" "Alfred." "The name of the cargo?" "Armor." "The port she comes from?" "Amsterdam." "The place she is bound for?" "Antananarivo." "The next letter?" "B," and so on. If the schoolmaster is very strict and abrupt with his questions and counting, he can drive every idea from the mind of the person he points at. If he counts ten before an answer comes, he passes on to the next, and the next, and the next, until the answer is given. The one who gives it moves up above those that failed. The game should be played rapidly.
A variation on this is "When my ship comes in." This is played with a handkerchief knotted into a ball. Any letter of the alphabet is chosen; say B. One player throws the handkerchief to another, crying out, "When my ship comes in it will be laden with ——." The player who catches the handkerchief must supply a cargo, beginning with B before ten is counted, bees, butterflies, belts, etc. If he fails to do this he gives a forfeit. When one letter is exhausted another is chosen and the game starts over.
This is not played now as once it was. In the old way the players sat in a line and went steadily through the alphabet, each one taking a letter in order. This was the form:—"I love my love with an A, because he is [a favorable adjective beginning with A]. I hate him with an A because he is [an unfavorable adjective beginning with A]. He took me to the sign of the [an inn sign beginning with A], and treated me to [two eatables or an eatable and drinkable beginning with A]. His name is [a man's name beginning with A], and he comes from [a town or country beginning with A]." Then B, and so on.
A and B might run thus:—
I love my love with an A because he is adorable. I hate him with an A because he is apish. He took me to the sign of the Alderman and treated me to arrowroot and ale. His name is Arnold, and he comes from Ayrshire.
I love my love with a B because he is brisk. I hate him with a B because he is bookish. He took me to the sign of the Beetle and treated me to biscuits and bovril. His name is Brian, and he comes from Boston.
There is no reason why men should always be chosen. For the sake of variety the love may as well have a woman's name and a woman's qualities. In that case the inn might perhaps go and some such sentence as this take its place:—
I love my love with an A because she is amiable. I hate her with an A because she is awesome. We went to Uncle Alexander's, and had apricots and Apollinaris. Her name is Audrey, and she comes from Annapolis.
As finding seven words beginning with one letter is rather a heavy task for each player, the words might be taken in turn, as in the case of the "Ship" game mentioned above.
For a shorter way of playing "I Love my Love" the following [Pg 89] form is used:—"I love my love with an A because he—or she—is [favorable adjective]. I will send him—or her—to [some place] and feed him—or her—on [something to eat]. I will give him—or her—an [some article, the use for which must be mentioned after it], and a bunch of [some flower] for a nosegay." Thus:—
I love my love with an A because he is artistic. I will send him to Australia, and feed him on asparagus. I will give him an alpenstock to climb with, and a bunch of asters for a nosegay.
The players sit in a row or circle, and one, having thought of something—of any description whatever—asks them in turn, "What is my thought like?" Not having the faintest idea what the thought is they reply at random. One may say, "Like a dog"; another, "Like a saucepan"; a third, "Like a wet day"; a fourth, "Like a comic opera." After collecting all the answers the player announces what the thought was, and then goes along the row again calling upon the players to explain why it is like the thing named by them. The merit of the game lies in these explanations. Thus, perhaps the thing thought of was a concertina. The first player, asked to show why a concertina is like a dog, may reply, "Because when it is squeezed it howls." The next may say, "It is like a heavy saucepan because it is held in both hands." The third, "It is like a wet day because one soon has enough of it"; and the fourth, "It is like a comic opera because it is full of tunes."
Another old game of this kind is "P's and Q's." The players sit in a circle and one stands up and asks them each a question in turn. The question takes this form, "The King of England [or France, or Germany, or Africa, or Russia, or [Pg 90] India, whatever country it may be] has gone forth with all his men. Tell me where he has gone, but mind your P's and Q's." The player who is addressed must then reply, naming, in whatever country is mentioned, some town that does not begin with P or Q or with any letter before P in the alphabet. Thus, if the question refers to England, he may say "Salisbury" but not "Bristol," "Redruth" but not "Oxford"; or to France, "Toulon" but not "Lyons," "Versailles" but not "Dieppe."
The game is capable of improvement or, at least, of variety. For instance, instead of P's and Q's, the questioner may say, "Mind your K's and L's," or instead of ruling out all letters before P, all letters after Q may be stopped. And one need not confine the game to geography, but may adapt it to include animals, or eatables, or books.
The players sit in a circle, and the game is begun by one of them throwing a rolled-up handkerchief to another and at the same time calling out the name of one of the four elements—air, water, earth, or fire. If "Air" is called, the player to whom the handkerchief is thrown must at once mention some creature that flies. Having done so she throws the handkerchief to some one else, calling perhaps "Earth," whereupon that player must mention an animal that inhabits the earth. And so on. The same animal must not be mentioned twice, and when "Fire" is called, the player to whom the handkerchief is thrown must keep silence until she throws it on again. Sometimes each player, after throwing the handkerchief and calling the element, counts ten as the limit of time in which the answer must be given. If it is longer in coming, or if something is mentioned which has been mentioned before, then a forfeit follows.
This is a game which people either dislike or like very much. The players sit round the fire or table, and one of them begins by naming an article of any kind whatever, such as watering-pot. The word "watering-pot" will immediately suggest something to the next player—say "gardener." He therefore says "gardener." The next is perhaps reminded by the word "gardener" of a bunch of violets she saw the gardener carrying that morning, and she therefore says "violets"; the next at once recollects finding violets when she was in the country last spring, and she therefore says "Vermont." Thus the game goes on for, say, ten rounds, by which time, as we have seen already, the minds of the players have been carried miles away from the original watering-pot which set them at work. It is now necessary to trace the series of suggestions back to watering-pot again. This is done by the last player mentioning, not the last thing that he thought of, but the thing which suggested that to him. (Thus, the player next him may have said, in the last round, "an apple-core," which may have suggested to him "Tom Sawyer." He would not, however, when the task of retracing begins, say "Tom Sawyer," because to repeat your own words is too easy, but "an apple-core" and the next player, going backward, in his turn would repeat the word which suggested "an apple-core" to him.) The second part of the game, retracing the suggestions, is naturally more difficult than the first.
In this game two things are very important. One is, that silence should be maintained; the other, that the word you give should be suggested to you only by the previous player's remark. Also it is more fun to be quite honest about it, and really say what was first suggested, instead of making a choice.
This is a game which requires some poetical knowledge. The players sit in a circle and one begins by repeating a line of poetry. The next caps it by repeating whatever line comes next to it in the poem from which it is taken. The poem may either be continued or the game may deal only in couplets or four-lined stanzas. In another quotation game the first player repeats a line of poetry and the next follows it with another line of poetry which begins with the last letter of the previous quotation. Thus, if the first player says—
the next might cap it with—
and the next with—
Rhyming games require more taxing of brains than most players care for. The ordinary rhyming game, without using paper, is for one player to make a remark in an easy metre, and for the next to add a line completing the couplet. Thus in one game that was played one player said—
And the next finished it by adding—
But this was showing more skill than there is real need for.
[Pg 93] An easier rhyming game is that in which the rhyme has to come at the beginning of the line. The players are seated in a circle and one begins by asking the next a question of any nature whatever, or by making any casual remark, the first word of the answer to which must rhyme with the last word of the question. The game is then started, each player in turn adding a remark to that made by the one before him, always observing the rhyming rule. Thus, the original question may be, "Do you like mince pies?" The next player may reply, "Wise people always do." The next, "You, I suppose, agree with that?" The next, "Flat you may knock me if I don't." The next, "Won't you change the subject, please?" And the next: "Eas-ily; let's talk of books."
This is another of those fireside games that need more readiness of mind than many persons think a game should ask for. The first player begins an original story, stopping immediately (even in the middle of a sentence) when the player who is appointed time-keeper says "Next." The next player takes it up; and so forth until the end comes, either at the end of the first round or whatever round seems best.
Another way is for each player to contribute only a single word; but this is rarely successful, because every one is not at the same pitch of attention. Except on the part of the person who is narrating there ought to be absolute silence.
The company, according to the number of persons, divides up into two or three or even four groups, or clumps, in different parts of the room, seated closely in circles. As many players as there are clumps then go out and decide on some extremely out-of-the-way thing which the clumps have to guess. In one game, for example, the mine was thought of [Pg 94] from which the iron was taken to lay the first railroad rails in America. That is the kind of far-fetched and ingenious thing. When it is decided upon, the players return to the room and take their places, one in the midst of each clump. Questions are then put to them the answers to which must be either "Yes" or "No," and the clump that discovers the thing first is the winner.
The same game can be played without such keen rivalry, one player sitting in the midst of a great circle and answering questions in turn. There is also a game called "Man and Object," in which two players go out and decide upon a man (or woman) and something inanimate or not human with which he is associated or which he is known to have used, such as "Washington and his hatchet," "Whittington and his cat," "A druid and his mistletoe-knife." They then return and each player asks them each a question in turn until the problem is solved.
The same game is sometimes turned inside out, the players that remain in the room deciding upon some one whom the player that has gone out has to personate and discover. In this case it is he who puts the questions. As he is supposed for the time being actually to be the thing thought of, he ought to frame his questions accordingly: "Am I living?" "Have I been dead long?" "Am I a man?" and so forth.
This is a catch game and useless except when one of the company knows nothing about it. That player is sent out of the room, and after a due interval is called in again and told to guess what the other players have thought of. He may ask any questions he pleases that can be answered by "Yes" or "No." The thing thought of is each player's right-hand [Pg 95] neighbor, who is of course so different in every case as to lead in time to the total bewilderment of the guesser.
One player leaves the room, while the others decide on some word, the name of a thing for choice (such as tale, tail), which has one pronunciation but two or three different meanings and perhaps spellings. They then sit in a circle or line and the other player is called in, his object being, by means of questions put in turn to each player, to discover what the word is. His questions must take the form, "How do you like it?" "When do you like it?" and "Where do you like it?" Let us suppose that "tale" is the word thought of. "How do you like it?" he will ask the first of the circle. The answer may be, "I like it amusing" (tale). "How do you like it?" he may ask the next. "I like it active" (tail). To the next, "When do you like it?" "I like it at night" (tale). To the next, "Where do you like it?" "At the end" (tail). To the next, "Where do you like it?" "In an armchair" (tale). And so on until he guesses the word.
A similar game is called "Coffee-Pot" or "Tea-Pot." In this case also the company think of a word with more than one meaning, but instead of answering questions about it they make a pretense of introducing it into their answers by putting the word "coffee-pot" in its place. As the player who is guessing is at liberty to put any kind of question he likes it is well to choose a word that will go easily into ordinary conversation. Let us suppose, for instance, that the word is rain, reign, rein. The questions and answers may run something like this:—"Are you feeling pretty well to-day?" "I always feel well when there is no coffee-pot" (rain). "Have you been reading anything interesting lately?" [Pg 96] "Yes, a very interesting book on the present coffee-pot" (reign). "I hope your toothache is better." "Thank you, I hope its coffee-pot will soon be over" (reign). "Did you walk here this evening?" "No; we came with the assistance of the coffee-pot" (rein). The guesser is allowed to make three guesses aloud, but after that he must meditate on the word in silence or put questions to test his theories. If the word is a verb and a past tense or present tense has to be used in an answer, the player says "coffee-potted" or "coffee-potting."
This is much like "How, When, and Where," except that instead of asking questions the player, or players, that went out sit still and listen to the others talking to each other concerning the selected word's various meanings. Thus, if it is "Spring," the first may remark, "It makes our drives so much more comfortable"; the next, "I am always happier then than at any other time"; the next, "To drink there is to know what drinking really is"; and so on.
This is also a similar game to "How, When, and Where," except that the player who goes out of the room has, on his return, to guess something belonging to one of these three groups. His first question therefore is, "Is it animal?" Perhaps it is not. "Is it vegetable?" "No." He knows then that it is mineral, and after that to find out what it is is only a matter of time.
One or two players go out. The others sit in line and choose a proverb having as many words as there are players. Thus, if there were eight players, "They love too much who die for love" would do; or if more than eight, two short proverbs [Pg 97] might be chosen. Each player having made certain what his word is, the others are called in. It is their duty to find out what proverb has been fixed upon, and the means of doing so is to ask each player in turn a question on any subject whatever, the answer to which must contain that player's word in the proverb. If the first round of questions does not reveal the proverb, they go round again and again.
In this game, instead of answering questions one by one, when the guesser or guessers come in the players at a given signal shout the words which belong to them at the top of their voice and all together. The guessers have to separate the proverb from the din.
This is a very simple acting game. The players should divide themselves into actors and audience. The actors decide upon a proverb, and in silence represent it to the audience as dramatically as possible. Such proverbs as "Too many cooks spoil the broth," and "A bad workman quarrels with his tools," would be very easy—almost too easy if any stress is laid upon guessing. But, of course, although the guessing is understood to be part of the fun, the acting is the thing.
Two players go out. The others choose the name of a well-known person, public or private, the letters of whose name are the same in number as the players left in the room. Thus, supposing there are seven persons in the room, the name might be Dickens. The letters are then distributed; each player, as soon as he knows which letter is his, selecting some well-known living or historical character beginning with the same letter, whom he has to describe or personate. To [Pg 98] personate is more fun than to describe. The players seat themselves in the right order to spell the name, and the other two are called in. When they are ready the first player, D, is called on to describe or impersonate his letter; and so on in the right order.
In this game the company divides into two. One half goes out, and the one that remains decides upon a verb which the others shall act in dumb show. A messenger is then despatched to tell the actors what the chosen word rhymes to. Thus, if "weigh" were the verb fixed upon, the messenger might announce that it rhymes to "day." It is then well for the actors to go through the alphabet for verbs—bay, bray, lay, neigh, pay, prey, pray, play, stay, say; and act them in order. When the word is wrong the spectators hiss, but when right they clap. If the word chosen has two syllables, as "obey," notice ought to be given.
A very simple game. One player goes out. The others decide on some workman to represent, each pretending to do some different task belonging to his employment. Thus, if they choose a carpenter, one will plane, one will saw, one will hammer, one will chisel, and so on. Their occupation has then to be guessed. It is perhaps more interesting if each player chooses a separate trade.
One player goes out. The others then say in turn something personal about him—such as, "He has a pleasant voice"; "His eye is piercing"; "He would look better if he wore a lower collar." Those remarks are written down by one of the party, and the player is called in and placed on a chair in the [Pg 99] middle. The recorder then reads the remarks that he has collected, and the player in the middle has to name the persons who made them.
A sheet, or a screen made of newspapers, is hung up, and two holes, a little larger than eyes and the same distance apart, are made in it. Half the players retire to one side of it, and half stay on the other. They then look through the holes in turn, while those on the opposite side try to name the owner of the eyes. The game sounds tame, but the difficulty of recognition and the false guesses made soon lead to laughter.
This is a trick. Those in the company who have never played the game go out of the room. One of the inside players, who is to represent the potentate, then mounts a chair and is covered with a sheet which reaches to the ground. At the point where it touches a shoe is placed, the toe of which is just visible. In the potentate's hand is a sponge full of water. One of the players outside is then invited in; he is told to kneel down and kiss the toe; the potentate on the chair leans forward a little to bring his sponge immediately over the subject's head; and a shower-bath follows. Then another subject is admitted, but after a while there is enough water on the floor to make them suspicious.
Another trick. The players who are to be mesmerized—among them being the one or two who do not know the game—stand in a row, each holding a dinner-plate in the left hand. The mesmerizer, who also has a dinner-plate, faces them, and impresses on them very seriously the importance, if they really want to be mesmerized, of doing exactly what he does and not [Pg 100] moving their eyes from him in any direction. He then holds the plate flat, rubs the first finger of his right hand on the bottom of it, and makes an invisible cross on his forehead, on each cheek, and on the tip of his nose. That is all. The trick lies in the fact that the plates of the players who do not know the game have been held in the flame of a candle until they are well blacked. This means that when the mesmerism is over they each have black marks on their faces, and know nothing about it until they are led to a looking-glass.
In all thought-reading games it is best that only the two performers should know the secret. Of these two, one goes out of the room and the other stays in, after having first arranged on the particular trick which will be used. Perhaps the company will then be asked to settle on a trade. Let us say that they decide on a chemist. The other player is then called in, and his companion puts questions to him in this way:—"You have to name the trade which we have thought of. Is it a grocer?" "No." "Is it a draper?" "No." "Is it a goldsmith?" "No." "Is it a fruiterer?" "No." "Is it a lawyer?" "No." "Is it a chemist?" "Yes." This will look rather mysterious to some of the company; but the thing is really simple enough. The questioner merely arranged with his companion that the trade thought of should follow a profession.
Perhaps on the next occasion the company will be asked to think of an article in the room. Let us say that they fix on the clock. The questions will then run something like this:—"You have to name the article in this room which has been thought of. Is it the piano?" "No." "Is it the curtain-rod?" "No." "Is it the carpet?" "No." "Is it the fireplace?" "No." "Is it the sideboard?" "No." "Is it [Pg 101] the armchair?" "No." "Is it the clock?" "Yes." This again is bewildering; but again the trick is very simple, the questioner having arranged that the article shall follow something that has four legs.
A third way is for an article to be touched and for the thought-reader to be asked to name it. "Is it this?" "Is it this?" "Is it this?" is asked of one thing after another, the answer always being "No." "Is it that?" "Yes." The secret is that the article touched is always signified by "Is it that?" But in this case, and in that of the others already described, the effect of mystification can be increased by arranging beforehand that the article in question shall not follow the key phrase immediately, but, say, two questions later.
A fourth way is for the questioner to begin each question in due order with a letter of the French word for the article touched. Thus, if it were the bell, he might say, "Come now, was it the table?" "Look, was it the armchair?" "Or the piano?" "Come now, was it this book?" "How about this hearth-rug?" "Endeavor to be quick, please. Was it the clock?" By this time "Cloche" has been spelled, so that the next question is, "Was it the bell?" "Yes."
In another form of "Thought-reading" the two players who know the secret remain in the room long enough for the trick to be made sure. One stands in a corner and the other calls loudly, "Ebenezer, do you hear?" (Ebenezer is the usual name, but a more attractive one would do.) Ebenezer says nothing, but listens attentively to hear who among the company speaks first. The other player repeats the question and still there is no answer. Soon after that some one will perhaps make a remark, and then Ebenezer, having got what he was waiting for, says, "Yes, I hear." "Then leave the room," says the other player, and Ebenezer goes out. The [Pg 102] other player then makes a great show of choosing some one to touch, but ends by touching the person who spoke first after the game began. This done, Ebenezer is called in to say who was touched, and every one is puzzled by his knowledge.
With these thought-reading tricks may be put one or two arithmetical puzzles. Here is a way to find out the number that a person has thought of. Tell him to think of any number, odd or even. (Let us suppose that he thinks of 7.) Then tell him to double it (14), add 6 to it (20), halve it (10), and multiply it by 4 (40). Then ask him how many that makes. He will say 40. You divide this in your mind by 2 (20), subtract 6 (14), divide by 2 again (7), and astonish him by saying that the number of which he thought was 7.
In this case you insist on the number chosen being an even number. Let us suppose it is 8. Tell him to multiply by 3 (24), halve it (12), multiply by 3 again (36), and then to tell you how many times 9 will go into the result. He will say 4. Double this in your mind and tell him that he thought of 8.
Another trick. Tell the person to think of a number, to double it, add 6 to it, halve it and take away the number first thought of. When this has been done you tell him that 3 remains. If these directions are followed 3 must always remain. Let us take 7 and 1 as examples. Thus 7 doubled is 14; add 6 and it is 20; halved, it is 10; and if the number first thought of—7—is subtracted, 3 remains. Again, 1 doubled is 2; 6 added makes 8; 8 halved is 4, and 1 from 4 leaves 3.
[Pg 103] A more bewildering puzzle is this. Tell as many persons as like to, to think of some number less than 1,000, in which the last figure is smaller than the first. Thus 998 might be thought of, but not 999, and not 347. The amount being chosen and written down, you tell each person to reverse the digits; so that the units come under the hundreds, the tens under the tens, and the hundreds under the units. Then tell them to subtract, to reverse again, and add; remarking to each one that you know what the answer will be. It will always be 1089. Let us suppose that three players choose numbers, one being 998, one 500, and one 321. Each sets them on paper, reverses the figures, and subtracts. Thus:—
The figures are then reversed and added. Thus:—
Guessing competitions, which are of American invention, can be an interesting change from ordinary games. In some the company are all asked to contribute, as in "Book Teas," where a punning symbolic title of a book is worn by each guest, and a prize is given to the person who guesses most, and to the person whose title is considered the best. Thus, a person wearing a card having the letter R represented Middlemarch, and a person with catkins in his buttonhole, Hazell's Annual. But simpler devices are just as interesting.
In other guessing competitions the preparations are the [Pg 104] affair of the household which gives the party. It is with these that we are concerned here. Giving prizes certainly adds to the interest of them.
Several articles of number are placed on a table, say a box of matches, a bag of beans, a reel of cotton or ball of string, a large stone, a stick, a photograph, and various coins with the date side turned down. Each of the company is provided with a card on which these articles are written, and the object is to guess as nearly as possible something about each; for instance, how many matches there are in the box, how many beans in the bag, the length of the string, the weight of the stone, the length of the stick, the age of the person in the photograph, and the date of each coin. The right answers are, of course, ascertained beforehand and written on a card in the hostess's possession.
The real name of this game may be something else, but "Observation" explains it. A small table is covered with a variety of articles, to the extent of some twenty or thirty. It is then covered with a cloth and placed in the middle of the room. The players stand round it and the cloth is removed for a minute (or longer). During that time the aim of each player is to note and remember as many of the things as possible. The cloth is then put on again and the players have five minutes in which to write the fullest list they can of the objects seen.
A more puzzling competition is to place a row of large bottles on the table, all numbered, at the bottom of each of [Pg 105] which is a small amount of liquid bearing a noticeable scent. Some may be toilet scents, and others medicines or essences used in cooking. A card numbered according to the bottles is given to each player, and the game is to guess as many of the scents as possible.
The performers in this concert, who should be of nearly the same size, take their places behind a sheet stretched across the room at the height of their chins. They then put stockings on their arms and boots on their hands (or this may be done before they come into the room), and stand looking over the sheet at the company, with their hands and arms carefully hidden. The concert begins by the singing of the first verse of a song. Immediately the verse is finished, the singers, stooping down so that their heads disappear from view, thrust up their arms and wave them about, the effect being that of a row of people standing on their heads. The chorus is thus sung. Then they pull down their arms and put up their heads again and sing the next verse.
This is a very amusing illusion and easy to arrange. All the players but two are sent out of the room and these stand behind a table. One stands close to the table, his arms in front of him so that the fingers rest on the table. Boots, or stockings and shoes, are put on their arms and a long dark cloak is thrown over the shoulders of the first player covering the one behind him. The one behind furnishes the arms by thrusting his out in front. The little feet resting on the table show from the folds of the cloak and give the appearance of a dwarf. The players are then called back and the dwarf, whose face should be disguised, performs any feat that [Pg 106] they ask for—he sings a song, or makes a speech or prophesies the future of any one who desires it, always ending with a wild dance performed by the arms and hands of the other person. The light should be turned down somewhat and the audience should be straight in front of the table to keep the illusion at its best.
"Charades" can be written in advance and carefully rehearsed, but in this book we are concerned more nearly with those that are arranged a few minutes (the fewer the better) before they are performed. As a rule a word of two or three syllables is chosen, the syllables are first acted, then the [Pg 107] whole word, and then the audience guess what it was. Sometimes the word is brought in, both in its complete form and in its syllables; and sometimes—and this is perhaps the better way—it is acted. Thus, if the word were "Treason," one way would be to make the acts themselves anything that occurred to you, merely saying "Tree" with some distinctness in the first; "Son" or "Sun" in the second; and "Treason" in the third. The other and more interesting way would be to make the first act relate to tree-felling or tree planting, or, say, a performance by Mr. Tree; the second to a son or the sun; and the third to some treasonable situation, such as, for example, the Gunpowder Plot. On account of the time which is occupied in preparing and acting it is better to choose two-syllabled words—which, with the whole word, make three scenes—than three- or four-syllabled ones; although there are certain four-syllabled words which split naturally into two halves of two syllables each. "Parsimony," for example, could be performed: Parsee, money, parsimony. As a general rule the charades that are arranged during the evening are better performed in dumb show, with plenty of action, than with any talking at all. Under the circumstances gestures are so much easier than words and not any less amusing.
Very good fun can be had also from impromptu pantomimes, where the performers enact some story which every one knows, such as "Aladdin" or "Red Riding Hood" or "Cinderella"; or a scene from history proper, or from village or family history. The contrast between the splendor of Cinderella's carriage in the story and the old perambulator which has to serve in the charade only adds to the fun. Every one, being dumb, acts to the utmost. It is sometimes [Pg 108] more amusing if all the parts are turned upside down and a boy plays the heroine and a girl the hero. Where the scene is too tremendous for any representation to be given, it is best to meet the case frankly and use, as they did in Shakespeare's day, written labels, such as "This is Aladdin's Palace."
It is, of course, much more fun to dress up; but dressing up is not so important that a charade is spoiled without it. If, on the day of your party, you know that charades will play a part in it, it is wise to put in a convenient room a number of things suitable to dress up in. Then at the last minute there need be no furious running up-stairs to pull things out of closets and boxes, and the unpleasantness will be avoided which sometimes follows when you have taken somebody's best clothes for a rather violent performance.
Almost the best garment there is for dressing-up purposes is a fur coat. While priceless for Red Riding Hood's wolf it will make also most of the other animals in the Zoo. A soldier's uniform is a great possession, and a real policeman's helmet has made the success of many charades. Most kinds of hat can, however, easily be made on the morning of a party out of brown paper. Epaulettes and cockades are also easily made of the same material. Powder or flour for white hair, some corks for moustaches and beards (you hold them in the candle for a minute and wait till they are cool enough to use), and a packet of safety-pins should be in handy places. Cherry tooth-paste makes serviceable rouge.
"Tableaux Vivants" are a change from acting, but they need, if done at all well, a great deal of preparation and rehearsal, and are therefore perhaps better left to older people. [Pg 109] But quickly-arranged groups representing (not too seriously) scenes in American history might be good fun.
The drawback to all charades and dressing up at a party is that they make away with so much valuable time of the players who are out of the room, and unsettle those who are left in. It should be the first duty of every one taking part in acting at parties to decide quickly on the subject or word, and to perform it quickly. Many and many a party has been spoiled by the slowness of the actors outside. Historical or family scenes with no dressing up and some action are perhaps better than much dressing up and absolute stillness. In "Canute and the Waves," for example, it is better that the incoming tide should be represented by a boy rolling slowly over the carpet than that there should be nothing but fixed eyes and stern faces.
This is a chapter written to meet the needs of several children shut up together in bad weather. The chapter on "Indoor Occupation and Things to Make" gives suggestions for a single child, but here are a few suggestions for several occupations for a group of children, which do not mean the destruction of the furniture.
Any one of the games given in the chapter "In the Train" is suitable for rainy days.
There are of course many games treated elsewhere in this book which can be played on rainy days indoors. Many of the parlor and outdoor games are equally suitable for indoors. All the card games and back-gammon, checkers, etc., are invaluable resorts in case of a long dreary day, but there are a few other recreations which, in some families are saved for such occasions.
One of these is the old fashioned game of bean-bag. One rainy morning can be spent in making the outfit. The girls can be occupied in making the cloth bags, from six to ten inches square, partly filled with beans: and the boys in making the board which is shown in the illustration.
It should be about three feet square of any sort of boards and propped up at one side so that it forms an inclined plane. Five holes are cut in it, about seven inches square, all but the centre one which is only five inches square. The players stand off from six to twelve feet according as their skill increases with practice and try to throw the bags through the holes. There are various rules for playing the game which you can [Pg 114] arrange to suit yourself, or to make a change. One way is have the bags in sets of six, each six being of one color, different from the others. The players stand in a line and all throw at once, trying to get their six bags in the holes as soon as possible. When they have thrown their bags they rush up to the board, gather up those which have gone wild and run back to the firing line. The one who gets his six bags in first wins the game. A bag thrown through the small centre hole counts as two.
Another way to play it is to throw in turn, each throwing all his six bags one after another. The one who gets most in is the winner.
Ring-toss is another game in which skill can be acquired only through practice and it is very good for rainy-days. It is really indoor quoits, and is a favorite game for shipboard. Any one with a little patience and care can make the rings [Pg 115] which are of rope fastened together with slanting seam, wound with string so that there is no bulging, overlapping hump at one side.
A stake is nailed upright to a board (the stake can be a section of an old broom handle, or a smooth, small, straight peeled branch of a tree) and the outfit for the game is complete. It is played with the same rules as quoits (see "Outdoor Games for Boys"), and a very considerable degree of skill can be obtained by practice. As in pitching quoits, the rings should be thrown with a little level twist to make them whirl about.
A variation of this can be played with common large nails and brass curtain rings. Eight nails are driven into a board in a circle, leaving about an inch sticking up. In the centre, one is driven, standing about three inches tall. Small rings, curtain rings, for instance, are thrown toward this. Each time they encircle one of the lower nails is counted five, and the centre nail ten.
A soap-bubble race is easy to arrange and very good fun. An old shawl or blanket is laid on a table or the floor, goals are made at each end of it with piles of books, leaving an opening between, and each person is provided with a pipe for blowing bubbles. One bowl of soap-bubbles is enough for the company (see page 279 on the best way to make lasting soap-bubbles). The game is to see who can most quickly blow a bubble, deposit it on the woolen cloth at one end and blow it through the goal at the other. Of course you try to direct your puffs so that you will not only blow your own bubble along but will force your opponent's back.
Another way is to stretch a cord across the room and divide into two sides, standing three feet from the cord. At a given signal dip your pipes in the bowl of soap-suds, blow a bubble, and try to blow it over the cord. The side which succeeds in landing most bubbles in the enemy's territory wins.
A game which is good, quiet fun for a rainy day is Jack-stones. Although not played much nowadays it is very interesting and is to indoors what "mumble-the-peg" is to outdoors. It is played usually with small pieces of iron with six little feet: but it can also be played with small pebbles all of a size. All kinds of exercises can be used, many of which you can invent yourself but a few of the commonest are given below. 1. The five stones are thrown up and caught on the back of the hand. 2. Four of the stones are held in the hand while one is thrown up. They must then be laid on the table, or floor, in time to catch the stone before it comes down. It is then thrown up again, and the four stones are picked up either one at a time or all together, and the stone caught again.
Nearly all the exercises are variations of this. One stone [Pg 117] is thrown up and different things must be done quickly with the others before it falls again.
Another occupation for rainy days that will interest several children (as well as one) is puzzling out the construction of some of the simplest sailor's knots. This is a useful and a very desirable accomplishment. Often several together can solve a difficult knot better than one, and after some proficiency is acquired it is interesting to have a competition to see who can tie them most quickly and perfectly. Every one is supplied with a piece of clothes-line (the best rope for this purpose) and some one calls out "Running Noose," or "Figure of Eight." Every one must then make this as quickly as possible.
It is impossible to give directions in words about tying knots. The best way is to get clear illustrations and then work over them until you have mastered the intricacies. A few simple knots are shown here, but there are many books which give an almost endless variety.
A competitive game which is easy to manage is hit-or-miss illustrating. Any old magazine (the more the better) will furnish the material. Figures, furniture, landscape, machines—anything and everything—is cut out from the advertisement or illustrations, and put in a box or basket in the middle of the table. Every one is given a piece of paper and a proverb is selected for illustrating. Twenty minutes is allowed to choose suitable pictures, to paste them on to sheets of paper and to add, with pencil, accessories that are necessary: and then results are compared. The variety and excellence of these patchwork pictures are surprising. This can be played during convalescence. It is not necessary to select a proverb for illustrating. Any suggestive title will do. A few that have been found fruitful of varied and spirited pictures are given here.
A trying moment.
Companions in misery.
This is my busy day.
"I didn't know it was loaded."
His proudest moment.
The unhappy experimenter.
The best of friends.
A great scare.
Fine weather for ducks.
"Won't you have some?"
"Don't we make a pretty picture?"
Too busy to stop.
No harm done.
"I didn't mean to do it."
A great success.
"See you later."
A temporary quarrel.
A narrow escape.
A happy family.
A happy mother.
A game which is often played on shipboard can be modified for an indoor, rainy day game very easily. This is shuffle-board, all the outfit for which you can easily make yourself. If you can have a long table that scratching will not injure your board is all ready, but you can easily procure a common, smooth-finished piece of plank, two feet wide, if possible, and four feet long. On one end mark a diagram like the preceding, about ten inches by eight inches. Mark a line at the other end of the board about four inches from the edge, put your counters on the line and you are ready to play. The counters may be checkers (or any round pieces of wood) or twenty-five cent pieces, or large flat buttons, although discs of lead are the best because the heaviest. Your pusher should [Pg 122] be a little tool made especially, like the illustration, about a foot long, and anybody with a jack-knife can whittle a satisfactory "shovel" as it is called.
But if an impromptu game is desired, your counters may be pushed off with a common ruler, with a long lead-pencil, or even snapped with the finger nail, though this is apt to hurt. Each player has six counters which he plays by three's, thus one person begins by shoving off three of his counters toward the board on the end, trying to make them fall on the places that count the highest. The next player then shoots three of his counters, trying not only to place his own men well but to dislodge his adversary's men if they are in good places. After all have played in turn, the first player shoots his other three counters and so on till all have played again. At the close of each round the board is inspected and each person is credited with the sum of the numbers on which his men rest. The game is continued thus, until some one has reached the limit set, which may be a hundred, or fifty, or any other number according to the skill of the players.
The counters of each player may be distinguished from the others by any distinctive sign marked on them. They must not be pushed along but struck a sharp blow with your shovel. The head of your shovel must not pass the line marked for the counters. Counters which rest on, or touch a line do not count. A very considerable degree of skill can be attained in this game and it is a never failing resource on dull days.
A rainy day is a good time to practice various tricks and puzzles so as to perfect yourself in performing them.
There are a number of balancing tricks which are easy and ingenious. The secret of most such tricks is in keeping the [Pg 123] centre of gravity low, and when this idea is once mastered you can invent tricks to suit yourself. For instance a tea-cup can be balanced on the point of a pencil thus: put a cork through the handle of the cup (it should be just large enough to be pushed in firmly) and stick a fork into it, with two prongs on each side of the handle, and with the handle under the bottom of the cup. (Fig. 1.) The centre of gravity is thus made low, and if you experiment a little and have a little skill, and a steady hand you can balance the whole on a pencil's point.
Or you can balance a coin edgeway on a needle's point. The needle is stuck firmly into the cork of a bottle, and the coin [Pg 124] is fixed in a slit cut in a cork, in which two forks are stuck. (Fig. 2.)
The simplest of these tricks is to balance a pencil on the tip of your finger by sticking two pen-knives in it, one on each side. (Fig. 3.)
A cork with two forks stuck in it can be made to balance almost anywhere—on the neck of a bottle from which the contents are being poured for instance. (See fig. 4.)
Amusing toys can be constructed on this principle. Tumbling dolls are made of light wood or cork, glued to the flat side of a half bullet. No matter how often they are knocked flat, they rise again at once.
Another good trick that needs a little practice is to make an egg dance. Boil an egg hard, keeping it in an upright position (between cups set in the water or in some other way). Then turn a plate bottom side up and put the egg on it. Turn the plate around, more and more quickly, always holding it flat and level, and the egg will rise on its end and stand quite straight while it spins about.
A pea can be made to dance on a column of air as you sometimes see a rubber ball rising and falling in a fountain of water. Take a piece of a clay pipe about three inches long, and make one end into a little rounded cup, by cutting the clay carefully with a knife or file. Then run two small pins cross-wise through a big, round pea, put the end of one pin in the pipe and hold the pipe in an upright position over your mouth. Blow gently through the pipe and the pea will dance up and down.
Another trick to play with pins is the glass-making pin. Cut an ordinary rubber band in two, and stick a bent pin through the middle of this. Now hold an end of the elastic in each hand and whirl it rapidly around, stretching it a little. The revolving pin will at once assume the appearance of a tiny glass vase, or tumbler, and the shape can be varied at will. It is best to have a strong ray of light on the pin and the rest of the room darkened.
Various tricks can be played by means of the electricity in paper. Ordinary sealing wax, rubbed briskly on a coat-sleeve until it is warm will attract bits of tissue paper, or any other soft paper. A variation on jack-straws can be played by means of this trick. Tiny scraps of tissue paper, each numbered, are piled in the centre of the table and each player by means of a piece of sealing wax tries to draw out the greatest number in the shortest time. This is a fascinating game and arranged impromptu in a very short time. The pieces of paper need not be of tissue paper, as any very thin paper will do. They should be about a quarter of an inch wide by an inch long and numbered up to twenty. They must be removed from the centre pile and put in piles before the players without touching with the fingers. It will be found that shaking them off the sealing wax is often harder than making [Pg 126] them stick to it. Of course an effort should be made to secure those pieces of paper which have the largest numbers on them, as a few of these count more than many of the others.
Electric dancers are easy to make. Cut little figures out of tissue paper and lay them on the table. Put on each side of them two books and lay a sheet of glass over them about an inch and a half above them. Rub the glass briskly with a flannel cloth and they will jump up and down.
A rubber comb rubbed with a silk handkerchief will attract small bits of paper, feathers or wool. Various games and tricks can be devised by this means, such as "bringing the dead to life," i. e., raising paper figures to an upright position from a grave made of books, or a box.
Outdoor games for girls and outdoor games for boys are very often the same, although they are separated here for the sake of convenience.
"Battledore and Shuttlecock" is equally good for one player or for two. The only game to be played is to see how long the shuttlecock can be kept in the air. If you are alone the best way is to set yourself a number, say a hundred, and persevere until you reach it. This can be varied by striving to reach, say, thirty, by first hitting the ball each time as hard as possible, and then hitting it very gently so that it hardly rises at all.
Ordinary skipping is good enough fun for most of us, but for those who are not satisfied with it there is skipping extraordinary, one feat of which is now and then to send the rope round twice before you touch the ground again. To do this, as it cannot be done with a mere rope, you must make a new rope of whipcord, in the middle of which you place a small chain about a foot long. This chain gives the weight necessary for whirling the rope very swiftly through the air.
The player who is first going to be Tom Tiddler stands or sits inside the part of the garden (or room) marked off for him, pretending to be asleep. The others venture on his ground, crying, "Here we are on Tom Tiddler's ground, picking up gold and silver." As Tom still sleeps they grow bolder and [Pg 130] bolder until he suddenly awakens and dashes for them. The one that is caught becomes Tom Tiddler. Tom may not cross the boundary-line.
Another "Tom Tiddler's Ground." One player crouches down pretending to be a stone. The others run round about her, gradually, as she shows no sign of life, getting nearer and more bold. The stone suddenly leaps up and begins to chase them, and the one caught is the old stone.
Even more exciting than "Tom Tiddler's Ground" is "Hen and Chickens." In this game one player represents a fox and sits on the ground looking sly and hungry. The others, who are the hen and chickens, form a procession, holding each other's skirts or coats by both hands, and march past the fox, saying in turn—
Then they leave go of each other and stand round the fox, and the leader, the hen, says, "What are you doing, old fox?" The fox replies, "Making a fire"; and the conversation goes on like this:—
|The Hen:||What for?|
|The Fox:||To boil some water.|
|The Hen:||What is the water for?|
|The Fox:||To scald a chicken.|
|The Hen:||Where will you get it?|
|The Fox:||Out of your flock.|
With these words the fox springs up and the hen and chickens run in all directions. The chicken that is caught becomes the new fox, and the old fox is the new hen, the leader of the procession.
[Pg 131] The same game is played by Essex children with an old woman in place of the fox, and with different words. In this case the hen and chickens make a procession in front of a player who personates an old weeping woman. As they march by, the hen sings—
Then they leave go of each other and stand round the old weeping woman, and between her and the hen the following conversation is held:
|The Hen:||What are you crying for, my poor old woman?|
|The Old Woman:||Because I've lost my needle.|
|The Hen:||What do you want a needle for?|
|The Old Woman:||To sew a bag with.|
|The Hen:||What do you want a bag for?|
|The Old Woman:||To put salt in.|
|The Hen:||What do you want salt for?|
|The Old Woman:||To scour a saucepan.|
|The Hen:||What do you want a saucepan for?|
|The Old Woman:||To boil one of your chickens in.|
The old woman then leaps up and tries to catch a chicken, and the hen tries to stop her.
Many of the games described in other parts of this book are good also for the garden; such as "Still Pond! No More Moving!" (p. 4), "Puss in the Corner" (p. 7), "Honey-pots" (p. 11), "Nuts in May" (p. 12), "Here I Bake" (p. 13), "Lady Queen Anne" (p. 20), "The Mulberry Bush" (p. 28), and "Looby, Looby" (p. 29).
"Witches" is a home-made game played thus, according to the description of E. H.—"One player is made witch. A [Pg 132] good spot is chosen for home, and here the others wait until the witch has had time to hide. The idea is that the country round is preyed upon by the witch, home being the only place where she has no power. The rest of the children have to explore the witch's country without being caught by her. It must be a point of honor to leave no suspicious place unexamined. The child chosen for witch need not be a particularly fast runner, but she must be clever and a good dodger. Any one that the witch succeeds in touching is at once turned to stone and may not stir except as she is moved about by the witch, who chooses a spot to stand her victim in as far removed from home as possible. The stone can be released only by some other child finding her and dragging her safely home, where the spell ceases to act. But until actually home the victim remains stone, so that if the rescuer is surprised by the witch and lets go her hold, the stone has to stand where she is left and is so recovered by the witch. The witch must not, of course, guard her prisoners too closely. She ought to try and intercept the rescuers on their way home, rather than spring upon them in the act of finding the stone. But each time the stone is recovered the witch may place her in a more inaccessible spot, so that it becomes more and more dangerous to release her. Sometimes at the end of the game all the children are turned to stone in different parts of the garden, but sometimes, of course, a swift runner will outstrip the witch and drag the victim safely home. A clever witch acts the part too—appearing and disappearing suddenly, prowling about in a crouching attitude, making gestures of hate and rage, and so on."
Another home-made game is described by E. H. thus:—"The game is taken from the player's favorite ballads. In our [Pg 133] play the eldest of the four players, who was also the best organizer, represented the cruel father. The youngest little girl was the fair damsel. The other two represented the wicked lover and the faithful knight, the part of the faithful knight being taken by the fleetest of the party to balance the combination of the father and the wicked lover. The game begins by the fair damsel being imprisoned in the coach-house because she refuses to marry the wicked lover. (Of course any shed would do.) Here she waits until her knight comes to rescue her, and they escape together, pursued by the other two. If the lovers succeed in getting away the story has a happy ending; but the more dramatic ending is the tragic one, when the faithful knight is overtaken, and after killing the cruel father and the wicked lover, himself dies of his wounds, the fair damsel slaying herself with his sword over his dead body.
"The interest of this game is greatly increased by having retainers. These are armies of sticks which are planted at particular corners. There must be some mark by which your own retainers can be distinguished from the enemy's. For instance, the faithful knight may have peeled sticks and the others unpeeled. If, when charging round the house, you come across a troop of the enemy's retainers, you cannot go on until you have thrown them all down, as they are set to guard the pass. So, if the lovers are escaping and they find their way blocked by the father's retainers (the father and the wicked lover may have separate sets of retainers, in which case the war is always bitterest between the two rivals, as the father's retainers are sometimes spared for the damsel's sake), they have to lose time by first overcoming the retainers and that gives time to their pursuers to come up. But if they are so far in advance that they can stop to set up their own retainers in the place of the enemy, it serves to give them [Pg 134] further time to make good their escape, as the others have to wait to overthrow the knight's sticks in their turn. In no case are you allowed to take away your enemy's sticks. If the lovers are overtaken, the rivals have to fight, and meanwhile the father once more carries off and imprisons the damsel."
To decide who is to begin a game there are various counting-out rhymes. All the players stand in a circle, surrounding the one who counts. At each pause in the rhyme (which occurs wherever a stroke has been placed in the versions which follow) this one touches the players in turn until the end is reached. The player to whom the last number comes is to begin. This is one rhyme:—
Eena-a, | deen-a, | dine-a, | dust, |
Cat'll-a, | ween-a, | wine-a, | wust, |
Spin, | spon, | must | be | done, |
Twiddlum, | twaddlum, | twenty-one. |
O- | U- | T | spells | out. |
Intery, | mintery, | cutery | corn, |
Apple | seed | and | apple | thorn; |
Wine, | brier, | limber | lock, |
Five | geese |in | a | flock; |
Sit and sing | by a spring |
O- | U- | T | and | in | again. |
One-ery, | two-ery, |
Ziccary | zan; |
Hollowbone, | crack-a-bone, |
Ninery, | ten; |
Spittery | spot, |
Must | be | done, |
Twiddledum, | twaddledum,
Ring | around | a ring-pot, |
One spot | two spot | three spot | san |
Bob-tailed | winnie-wack | tittero | tan |
Ham | Scram |
Fortune | man |
Singum | sangum | Buck! |
The old way of making a daisy chain is to split one stalk and thread the next through it up to the head, as in this drawing. That is for out-of-doors. If you are using the chain for decorations indoors, it is perhaps better to cut off the stalks and thread the heads on cotton; but there seems to be no great need to use daisies in this way at all.
An ivy chain is made by passing the stalk of one leaf through the point of another and then bending it round and putting it through the point of its own leaf, the hole thus made being used for the stalk of the next, and so on, as in this drawing.
A flower-show competition is an excellent garden game. A handkerchief on sticks forms the tent. Underneath this is a bed of sand in which the flowers, singly or in groups, can be fixed. Some one can easily be persuaded to come out of the house to act as judge.
Shop in the garden or out-of-doors is played with various things that resemble articles of food. Thus you can get excellent coffee from sorrel, and capital little bundles of rhubarb can be made by taking a rhubarb leaf and cutting the ribs into stalks. Small stones make very good imitation potatoes, and the heads of marguerite daisies on a plate will easily pass for poached eggs.
In this place a word might be said about some of the curious things to be found in flowers and plants. If you cut the stalk of a brake fern low down, in September, you find a spreading oak tree. The pansy contains a picture of a man in a pulpit. A poppy is easily transformed into an old woman in a red gown. The snap-dragon, when its sides are pinched, can be made to yawn. The mallow contains a minute cheese. By blowing the fluff on a dandelion that has run to seed you can tell (more or less correctly) the time of day. An ear of barley will run up your sleeve if the pointed end is laid just within it; and an apple's seeds make exquisite little mice.
If the garden has no summer-house or tent a very good one can be made with a clothes-horse and a rug.
This book is written for children who need help in amusing themselves. It is natural that there should be some difficulty about thinking of games for indoors, or when there is a problem of a large company to amuse; but it is hard to imagine any healthy boy, turned loose out of doors, who cannot take care of his own entertainment. The number of things to do is without limit and the boy so uninventive as to be at a loss with all outdoors before him must be in a sad way. Hence there has been no effort made in this chapter to make an exhaustive list of outdoor games, only those being given which are suggestive, that is, which can be infinitely varied according to your ingenuity; which are, so to speak, the first of a series.
Also, the rules of regular games are not given here (such as baseball, football, hockey, etc.). There are plenty of small manuals, given away with the outfits for these games, which print in much more detail than would be possible here, their principles. More than that, most boys absorb a general knowledge of these games through their pores, and need a book only to settle some small, knotty, disputed point of ruling.
One of the best things to have when out of doors is a ball. There is no end to the uses one can make of it.
The simplest thing to do with a ball is to catch it; and the quicker one is in learning to catch well the better baseball player one will become. Ordinary catching in a ring is good, but the practice is better if you try to throw the ball each time so that the player to whom you throw it shall not [Pg 140] need to move his feet in order to catch it. This teaches straight throwing too. Long and high throwing and catching, and hard throwing and catching (standing as close together as you dare), are important. There is also dodge-catching, where you pretend to throw to one player and really throw to another and thus take him unawares. All these games can be varied and made more difficult by using only one hand, right or left, for catching.
A boy with a ball need never be very lonely. When tired of catching it in the ordinary way he can practice throwing the ball straight into the air until, without his moving from his place, it falls absolutely on him each time. He can throw it up and catch it behind him, and if he has two others (or stones will do) he can strive for the juggler's accomplishment of keeping three things in the air at once. Every boy should practice throwing with his left hand (or, if he is already left-handed, with his right): a very useful accomplishment. If it is a solid india-rubber ball and there is a blank wall, he can make it rebound at different angles, one good way being, in throwing it, to let it first hit the ground close to the wall's foot. He may also pledge himself to catch it first with the right hand and then with the left for a hundred times; or to bat it up a hundred times with a tennis racket or a flat bit of board. An interesting game for one is to mark out a golf course round the garden, making a little hole at intervals of half a dozen yards or so, and see how many strokes are needed in going round and getting into each hole on the way.
All kinds of races are easy to arrange and these can be repeated from day to day as your proficiency increases. Here are a few.
[Pg 141] The Spanish race, sometimes called the Wheelbarrow race, is played by forming the boys into two lines, one standing back of the other, and the front row on their hands and knees. At a signal to begin, each boy on the back row takes hold of the ankles of the boy is front of him and lifts his knees off the ground. The boy in front walking on his hands, and the boy behind trundling him along, make the greatest haste possible. The pair who first reach the goal are the winners.
Races may be run, hopping on the right foot, or on the left, or with both together, or with first a hop and then a jump. It is well to appoint one of the boys umpire during these odd races, to see that they are run fairly and none of the rules agreed upon are broken.
A sack race is fun. Each boy is tied into a gunny sack and shuffles his way to the goal. A substitute for this is the three-legged race, run by two boys. They stand side by side, and the right leg of one is tied to the left leg of the other and so with three legs between them they must somehow get to the goal.
Hands and knees races, backward races (run with your back to the goal), races with burdens on your back, or balancing a pole across your hand or on the tip of your finger—there is no limit to the ones you can invent.
But the best ones, after all, are the plain old trials of speed. There is no more fun than a good running race, and a walking race is next to it. Bicycle races are apt to be dangerous and a course that is very wide should always be selected.
Quoits is a game not played as much as it should be by American boys. It is easy to arrange, for although there is [Pg 142] an outfit sold in the toy shops, a home-made one is just as good. It consists of a collection of horseshoes and a stake driven in the ground—certainly not a difficult apparatus to assemble. The stake should not project more than an inch above the ground and the players, according to the grown-up rules, should stand about fifteen yards away from the stake (which is usually called "the hub"). But for boys the distance from the hub can be determined by your skill. You may increase it as you improve with practice. Every player has a certain number of quoits (horseshoes) and standing at a fixed distance from the hub he tries to pitch them so that they will go as near as possible to the hub. Some very good players can cast a quoit so that it falls about the hub. This is called a "ringer" and counts ten, but it is a rare shot. Every one pitches his quoits and then all go to the hub and reckon up the score. The one whose quoits lie nearest to the hub counts one point for each quoit, but each quoit entitled to count must be nearer the hub than any of the opponents' quoits. This continues until the score is complete. People usually play for eleven. This game can be played with flat stones instead of horseshoes and with any rules that you choose to make.
Duck on a Rock is a variation of Quoits which is excellent fun. One of the players, chosen by counting out, puts a stone (called in this game the "duck") about as big as his fist, on the top of a smooth rock and stands near it. All the other players have similar "ducks" and try to dislodge the one on the rock by throwing their stones, or ducks at it. As soon as each has thrown his duck he tries to watch his chance to run up to it and carry it back before the player standing by the rock can touch him. When some one knocks off the [Pg 143] duck from the rock the "it" (the player by the rock) must put it back before he can tag any of the players. This is therefore, of course, the great time for a rush of all the players to recover their ducks and get back to their own territory before the "it" can tag them. If any player is touched by the "it" while attempting to rescue his duck he must become "it" and put his duck on the rock.
Bowling is the best of sports but this usually needs too much apparatus for the average boy to have. Nine pins, however, can be arranged in a rough sort of a way, by setting up sticks and bowling at them with round apples. Your own ingenuity will devise ways to use the materials you find about you.
Hop-scotch is a great favorite which scarcely needs a description, although there are various ways of marking the boards. The game is played by any number of persons, each of whom kicks a small stone from one part to another of the diagram by hopping about on one foot. The diagram is drawn on a smooth piece of ground with a pointed stick or on a pavement with a bit of chalk. The most usual figure is given here.
To begin, a player puts a pebble or bit of wood into the place marked 1, and then, hopping into it with his right foot, he kicks the counter outside the diagram. Then hopping out himself, he kicks it (with the foot on which he is hopping) into the part marked 2. He hops through 1 to 2, kicks the counter out again, and follows it out. This continues until he has kicked the counter in and out of every space in the diagram, without stepping on a line, or so casting the counter [Pg 144] that it rests on a line. If this occurs he is put back a space, and it is the turn of the next player. Each one plays until he has made a fault, and when it is his turn again, he takes up the game where he left off. The one who first gets through the required figures is the winner.
There is literally no end to the variations of this game, either in the diagram used or in the rules. Sometimes when people become very skilful they play it backward, and sometimes at the end the player is required to place the pebble on his toe and kick it in the air, catching it in his hand.
Various trials of strength are good for boys out of doors, provided rules are fixed and adhered to. Cane-spreeing is good sport, but should only be tried by boys pretty well matched in [Pg 145] size and strength. A cane (or broom-stick) about three feet long is held by two boys facing each other, each with a hand on each end of the cane, the respective right hands being outside the lefts, that is, nearest to the end. Then one tries to get the cane away from the other. It sounds simple, but there are a great variety of strategic tricks to be learned by practice. No struggle should last more than two minutes by the watch, when the boys should stop and get breath. The feet are not used, but it is quite allowable to use your body, if you get down on the ground in a sort of wrestling.
Hare and Hounds can be played either in the country or the city and is fine fun, although it should be begun with a short run. In the excitement of the chase boys are apt to forget, and over-strain themselves. The "hares" are two players who have a bag of small paper pieces which they scatter after them from time to time as they run. They are given a start of five or ten minutes and then all the others, who are the "hounds," start after them, tracing their course by the bits of paper. In the city the hares take a piece of chalk and mark an arrow on the wall thus —--> showing in which direction they have gone. Good stout shoes should be worn to run in, or you will blister your feet.
A game for city pavements or for smooth country roads has so many names that it is difficult to say which is its right one, but a common one is "dog-stick." It is played something like hockey, the aim being to get a ball or counter over your opponent's goal line. The ball in this case is not a ball but a piece of wood which you can make yourself, of an odd shape. It is like a flattened ball with a tail to it. With a club or stick you strike the tail so that the ball springs up in the air and [Pg 146] then before it falls you strike it with your club toward your enemy's goal line. The players are divided into sides who try to defend their goal lines and to send back the ball to the other side. Make your own rules as experience teaches you is fair.
The endless variations of leap-frog should not be forgotten in devising outdoor games: and tournaments of long or broad jumping and high jumping are good. Stilts and the games to be arranged with them are also another great resource. And the seasons bring, as regularly as flowers and snow, the round of tops, and kites and marbles. Of these last a very summary account is given here as most boys and regions have their own rules.
The first thing to learn in "Marbles" is the way that the marble should be held. Of course one can have very good games by bowling the marble, as if it were a ball, or holding it between the thumb-nail and the second joint of the first finger and shooting it with the thumb from there; but these ways are wrong. The correct way is to hold it between the tip of the forefinger and the first joint of the thumb. Marbles are divided into "taws," or well-made strong marbles with which you shoot, and "clays," or the ordinary cheap colored marbles at which you aim and with which you pay your losses.
Two or three boys with marbles could never have difficulty in hitting on a game to play with them, but the best regular game for several players is "Ring Taw." A chalk ring is made on as level a piece of ground as there is, and each [Pg 147] player puts a clay on it at regular distances from each other. A line from which to shoot during the first round is then drawn two yards or so from the ring, and the game begins by the player who has won the right of leading off (a real advantage) knuckling down on the line and shooting at one of the marbles in the ring. If a player knocks a marble out of the ring, that marble is his and he has the right to shoot again from the place where his taw comes to a stand; but if in knocking a marble out of the ring his taw remains in it (or if his taw remains in it under any condition whatever), he has to put all the marbles he has won into the ring, in addition to one for a fine, and take up his taw and play no more till the next game. There is one exception to this rule: If only one marble is left in the ring, and if, in knocking it out, a player's taw remains in the ring, he does not suffer, because the game is then over. The other two rules are these: If a player succeeds in hitting the taw of another the owner of that taw not only must leave the game but hand over any marbles he has won. (In no case are taws parted with.) Also, if it happens that only two players are left, and one of these has his taw hit, that ends the game, for the player who hit it not only has the marble of the taw's owner but all the marbles left in the ring too.
"Ring Taw" can be played by as few as two players; but in this case they must each put several marbles in the ring.
To decide which player is to begin, it is customary for them all to aim at the ring from the knuckling-down line, and whichever one places his taw nearest to the middle of the ring has the right to lead.
A picnic may be either a complicated affair which has occupied you all the day before, or the most impromptu expedition which you arrange on the spur of the minute; and the last kind are often more fun. Any place out of doors will answer for a picnic, but if possible it should be near water. Anything will answer for a picnic lunch, but it is pleasant, if older people are with you, if you are allowed to have fires to do some outdoor cooking. This is always easier than it sounds and adds infinitely to the fun of the lunch. Bacon is one of the easiest things to cook outdoors, all that is needed being a forked stick which you can cut for yourselves. The strip of bacon is impaled on the forks and toasted over the fire, each person cooking his own slice and eating it on bread. Or with two larger forked sticks a steak can be deliciously broiled for the whole company, or chops can be cooked. It is the easiest and most delightful task to arrange a sort of cooking-hole of stones over which the coffee pot may be set and potatoes may be boiled over another similar hole. You will find that it is far better to have a number of very tiny little fires entirely separated from each other, than one big bonfire which is almost sure to grow unmanageable. It will be seen that it is far easier to take a big piece of bacon (to be sliced after reaching the picnic grounds) a loaf or two of bread and raw potatoes than to spend hours in making sandwiches and packing cake. Beside the things cooked out of doors always [Pg 152] taste so much better. Great care should be taken to put out every spark of fire before going home, and to leave no scraps of paper, or egg-shells lying about. These should be burned or buried.
For a short time "It" is a good warming game. It is the simplest of all games. The "It" runs after the others until he touches one. The one touched then becomes "It."
The name explains the game, which is played as "It" is played, except that you can be caught only when you are not touching wood. It is a good game where there are trees. It is, of course, not fair to carry a piece of wood.
This is the ordinary "Tag," save that if, while the "It" is chasing one player, another runs across the trail between him and the pursued, the "It" has to abandon the player he was at first after and give chase to the one who has crossed.
A good variety of tag is "French Tag." The first one caught must join hands with the "It," the next one with him, etc., and so on in a long line all running together. Any one can catch an opponent, but the original "It" must touch him before he can take his place in the line.
The players form a ring, leaving one outside, who passes round it singing, "I have a little dog and he won't bite you," and as he does so, touching each player in turn with a knotted pocket-handkerchief. "And he won't bite you," "And he [Pg 153] won't bite you," he calls to one after the other, and then suddenly changes this to "But he will bite you." The player touched when this is said has to run after the toucher with all his might. When caught they change places.
All the players except one join a ring. This one, with a knotted handkerchief in his hand, walks round the outside of the ring for a while, and then, dropping the handkerchief behind one of the players, runs off crying—
The player behind whom the handkerchief was dropped must catch the squirrel before he can take up the empty place in the ring left by the pursuer. It is more fun if, in dropping the handkerchief, it can be done without the player discovering it for a little while.
The way in which old-fashioned country children play this game (called usually "Drop the handkerchief"), is a little different. As the one with the handkerchief walks around and around the outside of the ring all join in singing,
As the words "I've lost it!" are repeated, the player outside must drop the handkerchief, but no one must look behind him until the verse is ended. Then the one who finds the [Pg 154] handkerchief behind him must try to catch the first one, who in turn tries to slip into the empty place.
The players form a ring: all except one, who is "It." This one runs round the ring and touches one of the players in the circle. They both set off running immediately in opposite directions, the object of each being to get first to the gap made in the circle by the player who was touched. The one who gets to the gap first remains in the circle, while the other becomes "It."
A very good picnic game. All the players except two form a large ring, standing in twos, one behind another. Of the two who are over, one is the pursuer and the other the pursued; and the game is begun by the pursued taking up his position (if he can do so before the pursuer catches him) in front of one of the couples in the ring, thus making three. Directly he does this he is safe, and the last player in the little group at the back of him has to run. Whoever is caught becomes the pursuer, while the one that caught him becomes the pursued until, by standing in front of one of the couples, he transfers that office to another.
"Hide and Seek," which is perhaps the best out-of-door game without implements, needs no explanation. It is usual to give the player who hides a start of as much time as it takes the others to count a hundred in. Some boys, instead of counting from one to a hundred, divide the sum into ten tens, which are counted thus: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1; 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, 1; and so on. These can be rattled through so [Pg 155] quickly that your 100 is done and you have started out before, in the ordinary way, seventy would have been reached.
A customary arrangement to avoid taking the hiders too much by surprise is for the boy who stays at the base and counts a hundred to call out when he finishes
"I Spy" combines "Hide and Seek" and "Tag." One player stays in the base, covers his eyes and counts a hundred, while the others run off and hide. On finishing the hundred the player shouts "Coming!" and runs out to look for the others. Directly he catches sight of one of them (and they are not hidden so carefully as in "Hide and Seek"), he calls out his name and the place where he has seen him; as, for instance, "Harry! behind the summer-house!" If there is no mistake and the name is right (it is very often wrong, in which case the player does not move), Harry has to run out and try and catch the other before he reaches the base.
Another way is for as many players to seek as to hide. In this case it is agreed beforehand as to how many of the seekers must be caught by the hiders for the game to be won. If the number is given at four and four are caught, the same side have the privilege of hiding again; but if only three or a smaller number, then the seekers have won and it is they who hide next time.
There is no better running game than this. You first pick sides and then mark off the two camps and take up your station there. The field is arranged thus:—
[Pg 157] The game is opened by several of the A side running out to some point immediately in front of the two camps. When ready they call "Chevy." As many of the B side then start out to pursue them, each calling his particular quarry by name. The object of each A man is either to get back before the B man who is after him can catch him, or to tempt the B man into ground so near the A camp that he may be caught. In this aim he is helped by the fact that directly his B pursuer called his name and started out another A man probably called out the name of the B man and started to cut him off. No one is allowed to be pursued by two players at once.
If caught, the A man has to go to the place reserved for B's prisoners. Directly he gets there he calls "Rescue"; an A man will then call "Prisoner," and rush out to relieve him; while a B runner is all ready to intercept this A rescuer if he can.
The game is good both for runners who can keep it up a long time and for those who can make short, sharp dashes. The first named decoy the enemy out in pursuit, and the others hold themselves ready to dash across in front of the enemy's camp and cut off any one who is across the line. The rule as to shouting the name of the man you have marked down should be kept.
If there is more than one prisoner they stand just touching hands, in a line which reaches as far as possible toward their own camp, so that the distance between the first prisoner and the rescuer may be shortened. Each new prisoner takes up his place at the back of this line, farthest from the camp. A prisoner is rescued by being touched.
If one side is much weaker than the other a time comes when it is nearly all taken prisoner, with none to rescue except by leaving the camp undefended. Directly a camp is left undefended one of the enemy steps in and "crowns" it and claims the game. More often than not, however, a game of [Pg 158] "Chevy" is left undecided. It does not matter in the least, for in this game the fun is more in playing than in winning.
For this game the ground must be divided by a path or line into two territories—French and English. At the further side of each territory a number of flags—handkerchiefs will do—must be placed at intervals. The players are then divided into the two nations, and the game consists in each side trying to get the flags from the other side, to guard its own, and to catch the enemy when he is off his own ground. Once a player sets foot upon the enemy's territory he must go on, but he cannot be caught if he has a flag in his hands. If he is caught he becomes a prisoner (as in Chevy), and is only released by being touched by one of his own party. A player cannot redeem a prisoner and take a flag at the same time. The game ends when all the flags of one side have been taken.
This is rather rough. A line is drawn at each end of the playing place and one player is told off to stand between these lines. The object of the others is to run across, from base to base, without being caught by him: being caught meaning not merely being touched, as in "It," but being really held and stopped. Each one that is caught has to stay in the middle to help catch the others, until no one is left to run across at all.
The player in the middle calls out to the crowd of players, "What'll you do when the black man comes?" and they answer,
This is the signal to begin each rush across from one line to the other.
"Stagarino" is similar to "Black Man," except that all the players who are caught, and whose business it is to catch the others, join hands. Those that run across have therefore to avoid them or to try and break through the wall of arms.
"Red Rover" is also similar to "Black Man," except that instead of all running at the same time, the "Rover" calls out:—
at which the one named has to run from one base to the other. If he is caught, he must assist the "Rover" in catching the others.
This is a change from ordinary racing. The competitors, instead of running against each other, see which can cover the most distance in a hop, a step, and a jump, or, say, three hops, three steps, and three jumps. It needs an umpire to watch very carefully that the step begins exactly where the hop left off and the jump where the step finished.
This needs no explaining. It is nearly always good fun for a while, and particularly so if the leader has original ideas.
On country walks, where there is much to see, one should not be in need of ways to make the time seem shorter. And new walks in the town, or walks where there are interesting shop-windows, are not dull. But the same walks again and again can be very tiring; and it is to help these that the methods which follow have been collected.
A good walking pastime for two is for one to drive the other. Hoops are a great help (see p. 169) and so are dolls' perambulators. But on many walks nothing of this kind is allowed, and one has to fall back on conversation. Telling stories in turns, or making up stories about passers-by, is useful, but it is not every one that is able to do this.
In the Channel Islands visitors riding about in large wagonettes pass the time by playing a game called "Roadside Whist." The people on the left seat of the carriage take the right side of the road, and those on the right seat take the left. The conductor teaches them the rules at the beginning of the drive. In our case it is better perhaps to make them for ourselves, to suit our own particular country. Let us suppose that—
If you see
|A baby in arms||you score||1|
|A baby in a perambulator||"||3|
|A white horse||"||5|
|A ladder against a house||"||2|
|A woman in a white apron||"||1|
|A butcher's cart||"||1|
|A street gate||"||2|
[Pg 164] Then there should be a few things for which marks have to be taken off. Let us suppose that—
If you see
|A pug dog||you lose||2|
|A piebald horse||"||4|
|An open gate||"||2|
|A flock of sheep||"||3|
No matter what the score is, whichever side sees a cat on a window-ledge wins the game.
In a town there are other varieties of roadside whist for two players or sides. Counting dogs is one. In this game one takes all the streets leading from the left, the other all from the right.
A good game (writes E. R.) while out for a walk is "when you see a horse coming, guess what color his tail is before he can reach you, and then, whoever guesses right, the horse belongs to him."
Except in very dull streets shop-windows can be always entertaining. It is interesting to suppose you have so much money—say five dollars—to spend, or, if you like, an unlimited sum, and choose what you would buy as you pass each shop, E. H. writes:—"One little girl used to suppose that she was the eldest of a large family whom she had to provide for, and was always on the lookout for things in the shops that would do for her younger brothers and sisters. For instance, if she decided that the family must have new winter clothes, she would first make up her mind how much she could afford and then price the things in the shop-windows. [Pg 165] Sometimes she would set her heart on a particular cloak for the baby, but could not pretend to buy it till she had seen whether it would leave her enough money for the other children. If she could get all the children dressed fairly nicely for the sum at her disposal she had all the satisfaction of a successful day's shopping. Sometimes the clothes she wanted were too dear, and then she had to decide what was most necessary, what she could make at home, and so on."
It is rather exciting for each player to take a side of the road where there are shops and see which can first complete a given sentence or word from the initial letters of the shopkeepers' names, Christian or surname. In fixing upon a sentence it is well to be careful not to have unusual letters, such as Q, or U, or J in it. If this is too difficult all the letters in the shopkeepers' names may be taken, or those in every other name.
In Mrs. Meynell's book, The Children, one little girl on her walks collected Jones's—that is, shops with the name of Jones over them. If any one else cared for this amusement there would be no need to stick to Jones.
In this game you go through the alphabet, applying adjectives to your love. "I love my love with an A because he [or she] is so admirable"; "I love my love with a B because she is so beautiful," and so on, keeping to each letter as long as possible. On pages 88 and 89 will be found more difficult varieties, less suitable, perhaps, to be played when walking.
Another alphabet game requires adjectives to be put before the word cat. You begin with A. "An artful cat," one player may say; and the next, "An avaricious cat." Perhaps "An awful cat," "An adhesive cat," "An arrogant cat," and "An attractive cat," will follow. A is kept up until no one can think of any more; or—if you play in that way—until no one can think of any more while ten is being counted. Then B: "A bushy cat," "A bruised cat," "A bellicose cat," "A bumptious cat," and so on.
In this game the players each contribute a letter toward the spelling of a word, their object being never to be the one to complete it, but to force the next player to do so. Thus (with four players) the first player may say "p," and the next, thinking of "prim," may say "r," and the next, also thinking of "prim," may say "i." But the fourth player, running his thoughts quickly over possible words beginning with "pri," may light upon "prism" and say "s." This saves her, but puts the first player in danger, which is only averted by her thinking of "prison" and saying "o," in which case the next one is bound to be the loser.
A favorite old game which can be played as well on a walk as indoors is "The Grand Mogul." "The Grand Mogul does not like E's," says one player; "what will you give him for dinner?" Each player answers in turn, but none of the dishes named must contain the letter E, or the player either stands out, or (indoors) pays a forfeit. Thus, the answers to the question may be "apricots," "mutton," or "soup," but not "apples," "beef," or "porridge." On a walk the letter [Pg 167] E might be persevered with until every one failed, and then the other vowels might be tried.
This is a counting game in which, whenever the number 7 comes, or a multiple of 7, such as 14, 21, 28, 35, or a number with 7 in it, such as 17, 27, 37, the player whose turn it is must say "Buz." Otherwise, out-of-doors, he loses a round or two, or, indoors, he must pay a forfeit. When 70 comes you say "Buz" in the ordinary way, but for 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 78, and 79 you say "Buz 1," "Buz 2," and so on. For 77 you say "Buz Buz."
In this game one player thinks of a word and gives the others a rhyme to it. Thus, she may think of "coal," and she would then say, "I've thought of a word that rhymes to pole." The others have to guess what the word is, yet not bluntly, as, "Is it mole?" but like this: "Is it a little animal that burrows?" "No," says the first player (who thus has a little guessing to do herself), "No, it is not mole." "Is it a small loaf of bread?" "No, it is not roll." "Is it something you eat bread and milk from?" "No, it is not bowl." "Is it something you burn?" "Yes, it is coal." The player who thought of "coal" then finds a word for the others to guess.
The "Apprentice" is an old game for two or any number. One says, "I apprenticed my son to a [mentioning a tradesman or craftsman], and the first thing be sold [or made] was a [mentioning, by its initial only, something peculiar to the trade or craft]." The player who first guesses what the initial stands for then makes a similar remark. Thus, one player may say, "I apprenticed my son to a blacksmith, and [Pg 168] the first thing he made was a D. K." (Door Knocker). Another, "I apprenticed my son to a grocer, and the first thing he sold was S. S." (Soft Soap). Another, "I apprenticed my son to a gardener, and the first thing he grew was a C. B." (Canterbury Bell). Another, "I apprenticed my son to a firework manufacturer, and the first thing he made was a G. R." (Golden Rain).
This is a somewhat similar game bearing on geography. Suppose there are three players. One chooses a well-known place, say Boston, and begins, "I know a place where they sell boots," or whatever it may be beginning with B. The next player then knows what letter the place begins with and at once starts thinking of what place it is likely to be. Perhaps she settles on Birmingham, in which case she would say, to indicate that the second letter of the word was "I," "I know a place where they sell isinglass" (or icicles, or inglenooks). "No," says the first player, and the third therefore has to try. Perhaps she decides that the place is Brighton, in which case she will say, "I know a place where they sell rockets" (or rump-steak or raisins). "No," says the first player again, and then it being her turn she gives them another light on the right word by saying, "I know a place where they sell oranges" (or oil, or ocarinas), and so on, until the place is spelled through.
Other games suitable to be played when walking are "P's and Q's" (p. 89), "Suggestions" (p. 91), "Clumps" (p. 93), "How, When, and Where" (p. 95), "Coffee-Pot" (p. 95), "Throwing Light" (p. 96), and "Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral" (p. 96).
Iron hoops are the best, but it is a matter of taste whether a stick or a hook is used for them. If the stick is a stout one you get rid of the skidding noise made by the hook, and there is more satisfaction in beating a thing along than in, as it were, pushing it. It should be every one's aim to make the hoop do as much as possible with as little treatment as possible. After a very fast run it is equally interesting to see how slowly a hoop can be made to travel. To make it keep as straight a course as may be is very absorbing. Bought hoops can be strong, but to get exactly what one wants it is necessary to go to a blacksmith. A hoop standing as high as its owner, through which he can run to and fro as it rolls, is a possession which only a blacksmith or working-ironmonger can supply.
Hoop games are few in number, and, with the exception of "Posting," not very exciting. With a large hoop and a small hoop two players can learn to time the pace of a hoop very exactly and then bowl the little one through the big one as it rolls.
There is also a game called "Turnpikes," in which several players and one hoop take part. The turnpikes, of which there are as many as the players, less the one who begins with the hoop, are two stones an inch or so apart, through which the hoop has to be bowled without touching, the faster the better. If it touches, or misses, the player who has been bowling it gives the hoop to the turnpike holder, who then tries his fortune with it, keeping it until he fails at any of the stones.
A very good hoop game for several players is "Posting." The idea is that a distance is to be covered (as in the old posting [Pg 170] days) as quickly as possible by relays of riders, and the first thing to do is to station four posts at various points along the route. Then, when they are ready, each with hoop-stick or hook, the player with the hoop starts and bowls it as fast as he can to the first post. Immediately it reaches him that post takes it on, without stopping the hoop for an instant, to the next, while the first one takes the place left by him; and so on, as often round the ring as you like. When there is a time-keeper and you post against time it is even better fun. The advantage of standing in a large circle is that the hoop need never be checked; but if the circle is impossible, you can go up and down a long line, with checks only at each end.
A long journey in a train—say from New York to Chicago—can, even if you have a window seat, be very tiring; but without a window it is sometimes almost unendurable. The hints which follow are mostly adapted for two players, but one or two will be found useful if you are alone with no one to play with.
A map of the country which the train passes through is an interesting thing to have on a long journey. It tells you the names of the hills and villages you see from the windows and you can very likely fix the exact moment that you cross from one county or state into another.
Two persons can have good competitions. They can agree beforehand that the game is to go to whichever of them sees the more horses, or cows, or sheep, or men driving, or bicyclists, or rabbits, between two given points, say one station and the next. It is not necessary to be at different windows; in fact a new kind of excitement comes in if both are at the same window or at windows on the same side, because then in addition to seeing the things there is the fun of not letting the other think you have seen them.
This is a kind of "Roadside Whist," the rules for which will be found on page 163. As has been said there, most players will prefer to draw up their own scoring table; but the following things and figures may be found useful as a foundation:—
If you see
|A church||it counts||3|
|A field with sheep||"||3|
|A field with cows||"||2|
|A field with horses||"||4|
|A field with rabbits||"||3|
|An open gate||"||5|
|A shut gate||"||2|
|An ordinary dog||"||2|
|A sheep dog||"||6|
|A horse and cart||"||5|
If you see
|A waving handkerchief||you lose||6|
|A red barn||"||5|
|A grocer's wagon||"||1|
|Children on a gate||"||10|
Whichever side first sees a black sheep wins, no matter what the score is. Otherwise the scorer of the greatest number of marks is the winner. In "Railway Whist" it is necessary for the players to be on different sides of the train.
A variety of "Observation" (see page 104) can be played on journeys. While the train is stopping at a station every [Pg 175] one looks out of the window and notices as many things as possible. When the train starts again each writes as many of these things as he can remember, and the one with the best list wins.
If you have a watch it is rather interesting to guess the exact time at which the train will reach the next station. The one who guesses nearest becomes the holder of the watch until the next guess is decided. Other things can be done with a watch, particularly if it has a second hand. Guessing the length of a minute is rather interesting, or timing the speed of the train by noting how long it takes to go between the telegraph-poles at the side of the line.
This is a primitive game, capital for cold weather, for it is well named. It is played by two people, one of whom spreads out his hands flat, palms up. The other puts his, palms down, within about three inches of the other's, and tries to strike them a smart blow. If the first player can withdraw his hands quickly enough so that they are not touched it is his turn to try and strike. As long as the player whose hands are palms down can strike the other's hands he can go on. This is an excellent game for cultivating quickness. The player whose hands are to be struck will find that he can succeed better in escaping the other's blows, if he watches his eyes rather than his hands.
This can be arranged among many players as a sort of tournament, trying out the players by couples until finally the two best contestants are left to struggle for the championship. This is a good game to play while getting your breath after [Pg 176] skating—or at any time out of doors when you are obliged to be quiet, and there is danger of getting chilled.
It is well to take a pencil and paper when you go on a long journey. If the train rocks a good deal it is interesting to see which can write a sentence most clearly. There is a way of balancing oneself on the edge of the seat and holding the paper on one's knees which makes for steadiness. It is never too shaky for "Noughts and Crosses."
"Noughts and Crosses" is playable anywhere; all that is needed is a piece of paper—a newspaper will do—and a pencil. The framework is first made. Thus:—
One player chooses crosses and the other noughts, and the one who is to begin puts his mark—say, a cross—in one of the nine squares. The other puts a nought in another of the squares, and so it goes on until either three noughts or three crosses are in a straight line in any direction. Thus, this is the end of a game in which noughts played first and crosses won:
But it often happens that the game is drawn, as in this example, in which noughts played first:—
A blank book for "Noughts and Crosses," with the framework all ready, can now be obtained. It has places for the names of the players, and the date.
"French and English," another game for two, belongs to the family of "Noughts and Crosses," and can be played anywhere and on any scrap of paper. You first decide which will be English and which French. Each player then takes one-half of the paper and covers it with, say, sixty dots. It does not matter how many, but there must be the same number [Pg 178] on each side. Then in a corner each draws a cannon, or draws something that can be called a cannon for the purposes of the game. You then decide how many turns you will have. The game is played by placing the pencil on the cannon, shutting your eyes, and dashing the pencil across your enemy's side of the paper, straight or crooked, in any direction you like. Then you open your eyes, count how many dots the pencil line has passed through, and score them down. The player who, at the end of the number of turns settled upon, has gone through the greatest number of dots is the winner.
A box of letters is an unfailing help to pass the time. A word will sometimes keep a player puzzling for hours, which is, of course, too long. "Pomegranate," "Orchestra," and "Scythe" are good examples of difficult words.
You can also take words and sentences seen on the journey, such as "Wait till the train stops," and "Pears' Soap," and see how many words they will make. A more difficult task is to make anagrams of advertisements. "Lipton's Teas," for instance, makes "Taste on, lips."
The word-making game has been adapted into a writing competition. Each of the company is handed a card which has been prepared for the purpose beforehand by having names of a dozen animals, or towns, or flowers, or birds, or whatever it may be, written on it in what might be called twisted spelling. For instance, "butterfly" might be spelled thus, "trelbyfut," and "Manchester" thus, "Tramschene." A certain amount of time is given, and the winner is the player who has found out most words therein.
A version of this game is to dot out all the letters of the [Pg 179] word except the first and the last. You would put "Elephant" on the paper thus, E......t, and tell your companion it was the name of an animal. Or you might write "Peppermint" thus, P........t, and tell him it was the name of a sweet.
This is a more difficult game, very suitable for a tiring journey. The two players sit side by side, and one of them dots out on a piece of paper the words of a proverb or well-known line of poetry. Thus, "I met a little cottage girl" would be set down in this way:—
. ... . ...... ....... ....
Underneath this line a small gallows is erected. Thus:—
The game is for the other player to discover the line. In order to do this he is permitted to ask his opponent for letters. Perhaps he will begin by asking, "May I have an 'a,'" because there are few sentences that do not contain an "a." His opponent will then put the first "a" in. Thus:—
. ... a ...... ....... ....
Then perhaps another "a" will be asked for, and the line will come out thus:—
. ... a ...... ....a.. ....
[Pg 180] Then perhaps an "e":—
. .e. a ...... ....a.. ....
So far all has gone favorably with the guesser, and the gallows is still untouched. But perhaps he will now venture to ask for a consonant (which is much more risky than a vowel), and will say, "May I have an 's'?" As there is no "s" in the line the reply will be against it, and the opponent will at once append to the rope of the gallows a small head. Thus:—
This means that the guesser has lost one out of a possible six points, the others being his body, his two arms and two legs. For each letter he asks for in vain he loses one of these, and when all have gone he has lost the game too. Sometimes, however, the quotation can be detected very quickly.
Many games usually kept for the house can be played in the train. "Old Maid" (see p. 79) is a good train game; so is "Buz" (see p. 167). A "Fox and Geese" board, or a draughtboard, will help to pass the time.
Food is a great help toward shortening a long journey. A little picnic every hour, if it is permitted, is something not too [Pg 181] distant to look forward to, and it may take up ten minutes each time. A larger meal all at once may, of course, be more convenient, but, if not, the hourly picnic is worth trying.
This is the simplest game possible but will while away endless hours. It is played with nothing but your hands, which are made to assume three positions: one with clenched fist; one spread out flat; and one with first and second finger spread apart like the blades of scissors. The first is called "the stone," the second "the paper" and the third "the scissors." Very rapidly both players strike their right hand (clenched) into the left palm three times, and then both at the same instant bring up the right hand in one of the three positions. The winner is determined by this formula: "Scissors cut paper. Stone breaks scissors. Paper wraps stone." That is if you have made your hand "the stone" and your companion "the paper," he wins. But if you had chosen "the scissors" you would have won. The winner must call out the formula that fits the case, "Scissors cut paper" for instance, and count is kept of the number of losses and gains. The one who comes out ahead after a half-hour's contest is the winner of that bout.
Among the best toys with which to play alone are bricks, soldiers, balls, battledore and shuttlecock, and dolls. No one needs any hints as how to play with them; but it might be remarked that ordinary bought bricks being rarely what they should be, it is better, if possible, to get a carpenter to make some of a more useful size, say four inches long, one and a half inches wide, and an inch thick. With a hundred of these you can do almost anything in the way of building, and if made of tough wood they ought to last forever.
A good game of soldiers is to see how many shots are required from a cannon to kill the whole regiment. The cannon can either be a spring cannon or a pop-gun, or a pea-shooter. Just at first it is almost impossible not to clear off two or three men with each shot, but later it becomes more difficult and exciting.
With a box of ninepins very much the same game can be played. In wet weather, in the hall, a box of large ninepins is invaluable.
A good quiet game to play alone is "Spanish Cup and Ball." A long stick has fastened to it a loop of wire standing out at right angles, thus. To this is attached by a long string a worsted, or a very light rubber ball. The game is to see how many times you can throw the ball up to the ceiling and catch it in the loop of wire as it falls.
All kinds of balancing games are excellent when you are alone and tired of toys. There is no way to acquire proficiency in these but by practice, but practice is fascinating work. Try balancing at first a long pole (an old broom-stick handle will do) on the palm of your hand, then on your finger, then on your chin and forehead. The longer the pole, the easier to balance it. Remember one golden rule. Keep your eyes on the top of the pole.
Then try balancing a whole broom, or a chair. The practice of balancing is excellent for training yourself in quickness of eye and muscle.
Of course bricks and soldiers and ninepins, as well as balls (see p. 139), are more interesting when more than one person plays; but one can pass the time very well with them.
Where toys become tedious, games have to be made up; and in making up games no outside help is needed. At the same time, some games which E. H. describes may perhaps supply a hint or two. "One little girl," she writes, "used to find endless joy in pretending to be Douglas bearing the heart of Bruce to the Holy Land. A long stick in the right hand represented his spear; a stone in the left hand was the casket containing Bruce's heart. If the grown-ups stopped to talk with some one they met, or if there was any other excuse for running on ahead, the little girl would rush forward waving her stick and encouraging her men (represented by a big dog), and, after hurling her stone as far forward as possible, and exclaiming, 'Lead on, brave heart,' she would cast her spear in the same direction in a last effort against the Moors, and then pretend to fall dead to the ground." This little girl had found the story of Bruce in Tales of a Grandfather, by Sir [Pg 188] Walter Scott. Almost every book will yield people and events to play at.
Another little girl whom E. H. knew "once spent a short time in a hotel, and while there divided the other people into camps according to the floor on which they had rooms. The designs in the windows on the various floors represented the badges or heraldic signs of each camp. For instance, one window (they were of colored glass) had a border with eagles, another had gryphons, another lions, and so on. If she met some one of another floor coming in or going out of the hotel, it represented the meeting of two rival bands. If she actually found herself in the elevator with them, it was a dangerous encounter, in which, if they got out first, she had driven them off the field, but if she got out first it was she who was in retreat. If two people of different floors were seen talking together, a truce had been declared, and so on."
The little book called A Child's Garden of Verses, by R. L. Stevenson, has several poems which describe how a lonely little boy used to play. Thus (in "Block City"):—
And (in "The Land of Story-Books"):—
That is ordinary play. There is also a poem describing play in bed:—
When more than one sleep in the same room, the time before sleep can be very interesting. Many games which have already been described are suitable for bed, such as "Telling Stories" (p. 99), "I Love my Love" (p. 88), "Spelling" (p. 166), "The Grand Mogul" (p. 166), "Rhyming Lights" (p. 167), "The Apprentice" (p. 167), "Towns and Products" (p. 168), "Suggestions" (p. 91), and "Clumps," adapted (p. 93).
On this subject B. R. L. writes:—"We made a list, which was stuck on the wall with a different game for each night. One was 'I Love my Love with an A' (see p. 88), which we steadily made up all through the alphabet. Another was 'Initials,' in which you take turns in saying the initials of people you know, while the other guesses the names. Another was 'Twenty Questions,' in which one thinks of something that has to be guessed as quickly as possible, only 'yes' and 'no' being given as answers. One very girlish game was like this: suppose you had a little girl with golden hair and blue eyes, and she was going on a visit to London, what sort of frocks would you buy her?"
E. H. recommends for girls the "Imaginary Family" game. This is her description of it:—"First you have to settle the names, ages, and characters of your family, and then you can carry on their adventures every night. One little girl who was devoted to books of travel, and who loved to pore over maps and charts, used to travel with her family every night in whatever country she happened to be interested in at the time. Thus she and a favorite son, Pharaoh, traveled for a long time in California, crossing every mountain-range by the proper passes, exploring every valley, tracing each river to its source, and so on. In the same way she traveled with her family is Central and South America, the Malay Peninsula, and the South Sea Islands. Another little girl who was very fond of adventure stories carried her family through all sorts of perils by land and sea. At one time they were shipwrecked and lived like the Swiss Family Robinson. At another time they were exploring Central Africa, and traveled about with three years' supplies in a gigantic caravan with fifty elephants. Yet another little girl had for her family any characters out of books that particularly fascinated her. Thus, when she was reading The Heroes, her family was reduced to one daughter, Medea, a rather terrible daughter, who needed a great deal of propitiating, and for whose sake all other children had to be given up. Later on, when the same child was reading Tales of a Grandfather, her family consisted of three sons, Wallace, Bruce, and Douglas. (It is rather a good thing, by the way, to have a very heroic family, especially if you are at all inclined to be afraid in the dark, as they help to keep one's courage up.) Two little girls, who lived in a clergyman's household, had an imaginary poor family they were interested in, and they planned about them every night,—how much the father earned, what their rent was, whether the [Pg 191] mother oughtn't to take in washing, whether the eldest girl could be spared to go into service, and so on. When they weren't allowed to talk at night they carried the family history on independently and compared notes in the morning."
Making plans is always interesting, but particularly so just before Christmas, when presents have to be arranged for.
The favorite way is to imagine that you see a flock of sheep scrambling through a gap in the hedge, and to count them. A variety of this is a desert with a long train of camels very far off, coming slowly near, and then passing and gradually disappearing in the far distance. Counting a million is also a good way.
A good thing to do in bed when getting better from an illness is to cut out pictures for scrapbooks. Any kind of cutting out can be done, as the scissors and paper are very light and do not, therefore, tire the arms. "Patience" (see page 76) is also a good bed game, because it needs very little thought.
In A Child's Garden of Verses there is a poem called "The Land of Counterpane," which tells what a little boy did when he was ill, lying among the pillows with his toys:
Dolls are, of course, perfectly at home in bed when you are ill, but there is even more interest in a menagerie. On this subject it would be difficult to do better than quote from a letter from E. M. R., who has 590 china animals, mostly in families and all named. She began this magnificent collection with a family of monkeys.
The mother was called Sally, her eldest son Mungo, the next Pin-ceri, another, eating a nut, Jock, and the youngest, a sweet little girl monkey, Ness. I was soon given a family of three foxes, Reynard, Brushtail, and Whitepad, and from that time to the present my collection has been growing. I soon had enough to fill a shelf in a cabinet, and I turned my doll's-house into a boarding-school for the little animals with a big pig as headmaster. But when my collection rose to 400 animals, I had too many children to be all boarders at the school, so some had to be day-scholars, and the headmaster was changed to a green frog who swam beautifully, and who was assisted by two swans, a duck, a fish, two crocodiles, and a seal, who all swam. Another frog taught the children swimming by tying a piece of string round their bodies, and dangling them in the water from the edge of a basin.
The animals' abode was now changed, and they were put into a large cabinet containing six small shelves and one big one.
I called the big shelf a town, and the rest villages. The town was called Weybridge: the village where the birds lived, Airsbury; and that where the dogs were, Canistown. The rest had various other names. At this time an important addition was made to the collection, for a big lion was given me, which I immediately created king; then came a queen and four princesses, and shortly after a crown prince, another prince, and three more little princesses.
The royal family was allowed a village all to itself, which was called Kingston, and was given five servants, two nurses, a footman, a housemaid, and a cook.
As I had now two families of several of the kinds of animals, I determined that they should be married, so, nominating Sally's husband rector, I had several weddings. I built a church with some bricks I had, and formed a procession up the aisle, to the Wedding March, played on an American organ.
First came the bride and bridegroom, then the best man and the bridesmaids, and last the children of the animals who were to be married, two and two. When the ceremony was over, I marched them all back to their places on the shelf.
I now made eight laws, and copied them out in an exercise-book, together [Pg 193] with the names of all the animals, the number of men, women, boys, and girls, and the number of married and single families.
I had had several little separate china animals given me, belonging to none of my families, so I made a law that if any family of their kind came to the collection they must adopt these little orphans.
I also made two acting companies, one of big animals, and one for the children, with a boar-hound called Sir Philip of Ravenswood for the manager of the first, and a little black and white kid, named Tim, for manager of the second, and at the Christmas of the same year that I formed the two companies I had two plays, the children acting "Hansel and Gretel," and the big animals "The Yeomen of the Guard."
Being now unable to get any fresh families of small animals, I started a collection of big china animals, and soon had thirty-five, among whom were a Jersey bull and cow, another brown bull and a brown and white cow, two beautiful horses, several dogs, two donkeys, and two goats.
These I kept apart from the small animals, in another cupboard; but I still kept the lion king over them as well, and gave them two big animals, a bloodhound and a St. Bernard, as governors over them.
Among the small animals I had a very learned-looking pig called Orsino, whom I made doctor, while an old bulldog, Dimboona, to whom I had been obliged to give two wooden legs, was Prime Minister. I also had a treasurer, a rent collector, a steward, and an under-steward. I also made a young boar-hound, called Panther, the son of Sir Philip, keeper of the stables, which consisted of ninety-two horses which I had made.
And this brings the narrative of the growth of my china animal collection up to the present time, when I have 555 small animals and 35 big ones, 590 in all.
The first thing to do on reaching the seaside is to find out when it is low tide. In each twelve hours low tide comes twenty minutes later, and knowing this you can arrange your days accordingly. Nothing is so saddening as to run down the beach in the belief that the tide is going out and to find that it is coming in.
To boys who wear knickerbockers the preparations for paddling are very simple; but girls are not so fortunate. Lewis Carroll (who wrote Alice in Wonderland) took their difficulties so seriously that whenever he went to the seaside to stay he used to have with him a packet of safety-pins for the use of any children that seemed to be in need of them. This piece of thoughtfulness on his part might determine you to carry them for yourselves.
Sailing a good boat in the sea is not the best fun, but there is a kind of boat which is very easily made as you sit on the beach, and which is useful to play with when wading, and afterward to throw stones at. You take a piece of cork for the hull. Cut a line down the middle underneath and wedge a strip of slate in for a keel to keep her steady. Fix a piece of driftwood for a mast, and thread a piece of paper on that for a sail.
When wading it is just as well not to get your clothes wet if you can help it. Clothes that are made wet with seawater, [Pg 198] which probably has a little sand in it, are as uncomfortable as crumbs in bed. There is no reason why you should get them wet if you wade wisely. Sitting among the rocks, running through the water, and jumping the little crisping waves are the best ways to get soaked.
Seaside places where there are rocks and a great stretch of sand are the best. Rocks make paddling twice as exciting, because of the interesting things in the little pools—the anemones, and seaweeds, and shells, and crabs, and shrimps, and perhaps little fish. Sometimes these pools are quite hot. To enjoy the rocks properly you want a net.
To make full use of the sands a spade is necessary and a pail important. The favorite thing to make is a castle and a moat, and although the water rarely is willing to stay in the moat it is well to pour some in. The castle may also have a wall round it and all kinds of other buildings within the wall. Abbeys are also made, and great houses with carefully arranged gardens, and villages, and churches. Railways with towns and stations here and there along the line are easily made, and there is the fun of being the train when the line is finished. The train is a good thing to be, because the same person is usually engineer and conductor as well. Collisions are interesting now and then. The disadvantage of a railway on crowded sands is that passers-by injure the line and sometimes destroy, by a movement of the foot, a whole terminus; it is therefore better at small watering-places that few people have yet discovered. If an active game is wanted as well as mere digging and building, a sand fort is the best thing to make, because then it has to be held and besieged, and [Pg 199] perhaps captured. In all sand operations stones are useful to mark boundaries.
Burying one another in the sand is good at the time, but gritty afterward.
Seaweed and shells make good collections, but there is no use in carrying live fish home in pails. The fun is in catching the fish, not is keeping it; and some landladies dislike having the bath-room used as an aquarium. On wet days seaweed can be stuck on cards or in a book. The best way to get it to spread out and not crease on a card, is to float the little pieces in a basin and slip the card underneath them in the water. When the seaweed has settled on it, take the card out and leave it to dry. The seaweed will then be found to be stuck, except perhaps in places here and there, which can be made sure by inserting a little touch of gum. It is the smaller, colored kinds of seaweed that one treats in this way; and it is well to leave them for a day in the sun before washing and preparing, as this brings out their color. The ordinary large kind of seaweed is useful as a barometer. A piece hung by the door will tell when rain is coming by growing moist and soft.
A good use for little shells is to cover small boxes with them. The shells are arranged in a simple pattern and fastened on with glue. If the shells are not empty and clean, boil them, and scrub them with an old tooth-brush.
So many interesting things are to be seen at the seaside that there is no need to be always at play. Fishermen will come in with their boats, which need pulling up; or a net that [Pg 200] has been dropped near the shore will be drawn in from the beach, and you can perhaps help. If the town is not merely a watering-place but also a seaport, it is, of course, better, because then there will be the life of the harbor to watch. To be friends with a lighthouse man is almost as good a thing as can happen; and if there is both a lighthouse and a shipbuilder's you could hardly be more fortunate.
This chapter has been written more for readers who live in a town and visit the country only during the holidays than for those whose home is always there. Regular country dwellers do not need to be told many of the things that follow; but none the less there may be a few to find them useful. The principal special attractions of the country are—
|In the spring||Birds' nests.|
|" June||Bee-swarming and hay-making.|
|" July||Sheep-washing and shearing.|
|" August||Early windfalls and harvest.|
|" September||Blackberries, nuts, hops, mushrooms, and squirrels.|
The most important thing to do when staying at a farmhouse is to make friends with the principal people. The principal people are those in charge of the chickens and ducks, the cows and the horses. The way to make friends is to be as little trouble as possible.
On reaching the farm, it is well to make a journey of discovery, in order to learn where everything is. The more one knows about the things in store—the size of the barn, the height of the haystacks, the number of horses, the name of the watch-dog, the position and character of the pond, and so forth—the simpler will it be, on going to bed, to make plans for the visit.
The farmer's wife usually has charge of the chickens and ducks, but very often it is her daughter or a servant. No matter who it is, as soon as she is convinced that you will be careful and thorough she will let you hunt for eggs. This is very exciting, because hens have a way of laying in nests in the wood and all kinds of odd places, hoping that no one will find them and they will thus be able to sit and hatch out their chickens. The hay in the stable is a favorite spot, and under the wood-pile, and among the long grass. Sometimes one overlooks a nest for nearly a week and then finds three or four eggs in it, one of them quite warm. This is a great discovery. Just at first it is easy to be taken in by the china nest-eggs, and to run indoors in triumph with one in your hand. But the farmer's wife will laugh and send you back with it, and the mistake is not likely to be made again. After a while one gets to know the hens personally, and to know the noise which means that they have just laid. Sometimes, if a hen is going to lay just as you come to her nest, she will run off clucking and screaming and lay the egg on the ground.
Ducks' eggs, which are rather larger than hens' eggs, and pale green in color, are often more difficult to find. They have to be hunted for in the grass by the pond.
The farmer's wife also lets her visitors feed the chickens if they are gentle with them and thoughtful. It needs quite a little thought, because if you throw down the grain without thinking, many of the weaker and less greedy ones will get nothing, and many of the stronger and greedier ones will get too much. After a few handfuls you can see which are the weaklings, and after that you can favor them accordingly. A [Pg 205] greedy hen is so very greedy that she will always, whatever you do, get more than her share; but it is possible to snub her a little. The very little chickens and ducklings do not have grain, but soft food, which is put in a saucer and placed inside the coop. It is after they have finished eating that they can most easily be picked up, but one must be very careful not to squeeze them.
If the farmer's wife makes her own butter there will be an opportunity to help her. Perhaps she will let you use the skimmer. Turning the churn is not much fun except just when the butter forms.
Bees swarm on hot days in the early summer, usually in a tree, but sometimes in a room, if the window is open, and often in a bush, quite close to the ground. When they swarm in a tree you would think a black snow-storm was raging all around it. Every moment the cluster of bees grows larger and larger, until, after half an hour or so, it is quiet. Then the swarm has to be taken. This is the most interesting part, but you must be careful not to be too near in case an accident occurs and the bees become enraged and sting you.
If the farmer has the new wooden hives with a glass covering he will very likely let you peep in and see the bees at work. Before doing this you certainly ought to read something about their exceedingly wonderful ways. One of the best books is Sir John Lubbock's (Lord Avebury's) Ants, Bees, and Wasps, but most encyclopædias contain very interesting articles on the subject.
The man who looks after the cows is a very valuable friend. He may even let you try to milk, which only specially gifted children ever succeed in doing at all well; and he will teach you the cows' names (in some farms these are painted up over each stall—Primrose, Lightfoot, Sweetlips, Clover, and so on); and perhaps he will give you the task of fetching them from the meadow at milking time.
In a general way sheep are not very interesting, especially in low-lying farms. But though sheep, as a rule, are dull, there are two occasions when they are not—at sheep-washing and sheep-shearing. The washers stand up to their knees, or even their waists, in the brook, in oilskin clothes, and seizing the struggling sheep one by one by the wool, plunge them into the water. Shearing is a finer art; but the sheep is hardly less uncomfortable. He has to be thrown into various positions (on his back for one, and with his head between the shearer's knees for another), while the shears clip-clop all over him. The wool is not taken off in scraps, as our hair is at the barber's, but the whole fleece is removed in one huge piece.
It may be that while you are at the farm the day will come for having the horses shod, and you may go with them to the blacksmith. The blacksmith is of course a very important person to be friends with; and people are very fortunate if their lodgings in the country are close to a smithy. Some blacksmiths permit their friends to stand right inside the smithy, instead of just at the door, where strangers have to stay. Perhaps the blacksmith will ask you to blow his bellows while he is making a horseshoe, and it may happen that if he has not much work on hand he will make you a [Pg 207] hoop that will be far cheaper and stronger than a bought one (see p. 169). In hot weather the flies are so troublesome to horses which are being shod, and make them so restless, that some one has to stand beside them and brush the flies away with a green branch. This job might fall to you.
One of the advantages of being in the country in spring is that that is the time when birds build. In May the weather is not yet sufficiently warm to make sitting about out-of-doors very comfortable, but birds'-nesting can make up for that. It is of no use to say in this book, "Don't take the eggs," because it is possible only for one person here and there to be satisfied with merely finding a nest and then passing on to find another. But it is a pity for any one who is not a serious collector to take more than one egg. For your purposes one is enough, and the loss of a single egg rarely causes a bird to desert her nest. Of course if you know for certain that the nest is deserted, it is right to take all. You can find out by visiting it two or three times, and if the eggs remain cold or wet and there is no sign of the bird you may safely feel that she has abandoned them. Birds have so many natural enemies to fear that it is hard that we should harm them too.
For blowing eggs a brass or glass blow-pipe is the proper thing, using only one hole, which is made at the side with a little drill. But for your purpose a hole at each end made with a pin is simpler and equally good. In blowing you must be careful not to hold the egg so tightly in the fingers that its sides crush in. Before making the holes it is well to put the egg in a basin of water. If it sinks it is fresh and can be blown easily; but if it floats it is set—that is to say, the [Pg 208] young bird has begun to form—and blowing will be difficult. In such cases it is wise, if you are using a blow-pipe, to make a largish hole and put a little water in and leave the egg to lie for a day or so; then blowing it will be not much trouble. But if you have no blow-pipe the best thing to do is to make one good-sized hole in the less interesting side of the egg, and empty it with a bent pin. Then, when it is empty, you can put it in the egg box with the broken side underneath. Country boys often thread birds' eggs on a string which hangs from the ceiling, but the ordinary way is to put them in cotton-wool in a box with cardboard compartments. Making this box is a good country occupation for wet weather.
Butterfly-hunting begins when birds'-nesting is done and the weather is hot. Here again it is not the purpose of this book to go into particulars: the subject is too large. It is enough to say that the needful things are a large net of soft green gauze, a killing-bottle with a glass stopper, a cork-lined box with a supply of pins in which to carry the butterflies after they are dead, and setting boards for use at home. The good collector is very careful in transferring the butterfly from the net to the bottle, lest its wings are rubbed or broken; and before taking it out of the bottle and putting it in the box you should be quite certain that it is dead. The way to get the butterfly into the bottle is to drive it into a corner of the net and hold it there, and then slip the bottle inside, remove the stopper, and shake the butterfly into it. The stopper should be off as short a time as possible. For handbooks for a butterfly collector see the "Reading" section.
A quieter pastime, but a very interesting one, and also one that, unlike egg-collecting and butterfly-collecting, goes on [Pg 209] all the year round, is collecting flowers. For this purpose tin cases are made, with straps to hold them from the shoulders, in which to keep the plants cool and fresh; but there is no need to wait for the possession of one of these. An ordinary box or basket will, if you have not very far to walk, serve equally well. You will also need a press, which can be simply a couple of boards about a foot long and six inches wide, with a good supply of blotting-paper between. The flowers are pressed by spreading them very carefully, to show their beauty to best advantage, between the blotting-paper, and then piling a few books on the boards. The weight need not be very heavy and the blotting-paper should frequently be renewed. You will soon learn how long the pressing need continue, but it is of the highest importance that the flowers are thoroughly dried before you mount them in your album or on separate sheets of paper. The simplest form of mounting is to glue little strips of paper here and there across the stems. A botanical collection is more valuable if the roots of the plants are also included; and this will make it necessary for you to have a long trowel. For the collector of flowers a handbook is compulsory. Such a book as Alice Lounsberry's The Wild Flower Book for Young People gives many details of the growth and nature of plants, told with a story that makes the book unusually interesting, and will arouse your enthusiasm to gather wild flowers and see how large a collection of them you can make.
It is interesting, if you have any skill in painting, to make water-color copies of all the flowers that you find; another good occupation for wet days in the country.
In nutting you want a hooked stick with which to pull down the branches. For blackberries a hooked stick is not so [Pg 210] important, but it is well to have leather gloves. The blackberries ought to be dry when they are picked. Rain takes their flavor away; so you should wait until the sun comes again and restores it. One thing that you quickly notice is that all blackberries are not after the same pattern. There are different kinds, just as there are different kinds of strawberry and raspberry. Some are hard and very closely built; some are loosely built, with large cells which squash between the fingers; some come between these two varieties; and there are still others. For eating on the spot the softer ones are the best, but for cooking and for jam the harder ones are equally good.
In picking blackberries you soon find that it is better to have the sun at your back, because if it shines through the bush into your eyes you cannot distinguish clearly between the shades of blackness. An open basket full of blackberries is a radiant sight. Each of the little cells has a point of light, and thousands of these together are as gay as jewels.
No one need starve on the open road in September, for there is food on every hedge—two good courses. Nuts are there as the standby, the backbone of the meal, and after come blackberries, as pudding or dessert. To pick the two for an hour, and then, resting beneath a tree, to eat until all are gone—that is no bad way to have lunch. If you take advice in this matter, you will not crack the nuts with your teeth but between stones.
Near the farm is certain to be either a pond or a stream. If it is a clean and high pond, not in a hollow surrounded by trees, it will be good to sail boats on. Sailing boats on inland water is much better than on the sea, because, with a pond, [Pg 211] directly the boat is fairly started on its voyage you can run round the other side and meet it. Even with a very poor pond it is still possible to have a very good time. In buying or making a boat, be sure that the lead along the keel is heavy enough. So little do toy-shop people think of these things that they very often put no lead at all on their boats, and more often than not put too little. Once a boat is properly weighted in this way you are certain to have fun in sailing her, but otherwise it will be useless to try. In boat-sailing it is well to have a long stick with a hook at the end with which to draw the ship to land. For suggestions as to making a useful and simple sailing-boat see p. 295.
Sailing boats in a stream is little good, because there is no steadiness of wind, but ordinary boats will float along in the current splendidly. It is interesting to launch one and follow its adventures from the bank. Sometimes it will be caught in a weed; sometimes an eddy will sweep it into a back water; sometimes, in shooting the rapids, it will be overturned. But a long stick can always put things right. Or one of you will go down the stream to a given point and the other will send down messengers—pieces of wood, walnut boats (see p. 298), paper boats (see p. 285), or whatever it may be.
But there is no absolute need for you to have boats in order to enjoy a stream. There are so many other things to do, not the least interesting being to make a dam and stop or divert the course of the water. And when tired of playing it is very good to sit quite still on the bank and watch things happening: perhaps a water-rat will swim along suspecting nothing, and then, seeing you make a movement, will dive and [Pg 212] disappear, and suddenly come into view ever so far away on the other bank. Perhaps a kingfisher will flash by or settle on a branch overhanging the water. Kingfishers grow more rare every year, owing to the merciless and unthinking zeal with which they are shot; and maybe before long there will be no more to be seen anywhere.
Indeed, to keep absolutely quiet and watch things happening is for many people one of the most delightful occupations which the country holds. When there is no one else to play with it is as good a way of spending the time as can be found.
In a wood or in any place where there are old leaves, as in a dry ditch, you will usually get through the ear the first tidings of any moving thing. For instance, you will hear a field-mouse rustling long before you can see its queer pointed nose pushing its way through the dead leaves. Or it may be a mole blundering blindly along. If by any chance a mole is caught in a trap while you are in the country, be sure to examine its little hands and feel the softness of its fur. Perhaps the farm boy will skin it for you.
Sometimes the rustling is a snake on his way to a sunny spot where he can bask and sleep. Very slender brown speckled snakes, or blind-worms, are quite harmless, and so are the large grass-snakes, which are something like a mackerel in lines and markings. The adder, however, which is yellowish brown in color with brown markings and a "V" on his head, is dangerous and should be avoided.
On p. 205 is given the title of a book about bees. Hardly less wonderful are ants, concerning whom there is much curious information in the same work, the reading of which makes it ten times more interesting to watch an ant-hill than it was before. One sometimes has to remember that it is as serious for ants to have their camp stirred up by a walking-stick as it would be for New York if Vesuvius were tossed on top of it.
In the flight of birds there is nothing to compare for beauty and speed with the swift, or for power and cleverness with the hawk. On moist evenings, when the swifts fly low and level, backward and forward, with a quaint little musical squeak, like a mouse's, they remind one of fish that dart through the water of clear streams under bridges. The hawk, even in a high wind, can remain, by tilting his body at the needed angle, perfectly still in the air, while his steady wide eyes search the ground far below him for mice or little birds. Then, when he sees something, his body suddenly seems to be made of lead and he drops like a stone on his prey. A hawk can climb the sky by leaning with outspread wings against the breeze and cork-screwing up in a beautiful spiral.
The time to see squirrels is September and October, when the beech nuts and hazel nuts are ripe. In the pictures he sits up, with his tail resting on his back, holding nuts in his little forepaws; but one does not often see him like this in real life. He is either scampering over the ground with his tail spread out behind him or chattering among the branches and scrambling from one to another. The squirrel is not seen at his best when he goes nutting. His beautiful swift movements are checked by the thickness of the hazels. In a beech [Pg 214] grove he has more liberty to run and leap. Sometimes you will see twenty at once all nibbling the beech nuts on the ground. On hearing you they make for a tree trunk, and, rushing up it for a yard or two, stop suddenly, absolutely still, with fearful eyes, and ears intently and intensely cocked. If you stand equally still the squirrel will stay there, motionless, like a piece of the tree, for a minute or so, and then, in a very bad temper, disappear from view on the other side of the trunk, and probably, though you run round the tree quickly several times and search every branch with your eyes, never come into sight again. It is a good thing to sit under a tree some distance from the beech trees, making as little movement as possible; and by and by you will cease to be considered as anything but a regular part of the landscape and the squirrels may come quite close to you.
If you are fond of writing you might find a good deal of interest in keeping a country diary: that is to say, a small note-book in which you set down evening by evening all things seen during the day that seemed to be sufficiently out of the way to be worth recording.
Nothing is said in this book about amateur photography, because to own a camera is still the exception rather than the rule, and if once we began to say anything practical about photography we should have to say very much more than the scheme of the volume permits. But we might urge any reader who has a camera to use it in the country in taking pictures of animal life and old buildings. Old-fashioned farmhouses and cottages are disappearing so rapidly that we ought to keep as many records of them as possible, and well-chosen photographs of animals are not only beautiful pictures, but [Pg 215] are also very useful. Mr. Kearton's work in this way, which may be studied in With Nature and a Camera, is extremely valuable.
In the "Reading" chapter will be found the titles of several books which describe life in the country, and tell you all about the habits of animals, birds, and insects.
The most magnificent ready-made dolls' house in the world, with gables and windows, stairs, front garden, and the best furniture, cannot quite make up to its owner for all the delight she has missed by not making it herself. Of course some things, such as cups and saucers, glasses and bottles, saucepans and kitchen utensils, must be bought; but almost all the really necessary things for house-keeping can be made at home.
One advantage of making the dolls' house yourself is that you can arrange for it to have a garden, a provision rarely made by toy-shops. Grass plots can be made of green baize or other cloth of the right color; garden paths of sand sprinkled over glue, or of strips of sand-paper; flower-beds of brown paper, and the flowers of tissue-paper and wire. A summer-house, and a dog-kennel to hold a china dog, might also be added (see p. 241), and, if you have room, stables.
Garden seats and tables can be made of cardboard and cork. For a seat, take a card two or three inches long and not quite as broad. Mark it right across, lengthwise, in the middle with a sharp knife, and then half fold it. This will make the back and seat. Glue the seat to four slender corks for legs and paint the whole green. To make a table, glue four cork legs to a strong piece of cardboard.
A dolls' house can be made of almost any kind of box. For the simplest and smallest kind cigar boxes can be used and the furniture made of cork, for which directions are given later; or a couple of low shelves in a bookcase or cupboard will do. Much better, however, is a large well-made packing-case divided by wooden and strong cardboard partitions into two, four, or six rooms, according to its size. A specially made box is, of course, best of all; this should be divided into four or six rooms, and should have a sloping roof to give attic room for boxes and odd furniture. The house can be stained outside or papered a plain dark color. One or two windows should be cut out of the walls of each room by the carpenter who made the box, and there must be doors between the rooms. A piece of thin glass cut to the right size can be fixed on the windows at home. But before this is done the house must be papered. The best kind of paper is that used by bookbinders for the insides of the covers, because the patterns used are so dainty and small; but this is not always easy to get. Any small-patterned paper will do, or what is called lining paper, which can be got in every color. The paper must be very smoothly put on with paste. Always start at the top when pressing it to the wall, and smooth it downward gently. Dadoes or friezes can be divided off with the tiny beading which frame-makers use, or with a painted line, which must be straight and evenly done.
Fireplaces, which can be bought or made at home, should be put in next. To make one yourself, take a strong cardboard-box lid about four inches long and two wide (though the size must depend on the size of the room). Very neatly cut off a quarter of it. This smaller part, covered with gold [Pg 221] or silver paper, will make the fender. Then cut off both sides of the remaining piece, leaving the strip at the top to form the mantelpiece. Glue the back of the cover to the wall, hang little curtains from the shelf, put some ornaments on it, arrange the fender in front, and the fireplace is complete. A grate can be imitated in cardboard painted black and red.
A splendid game of shop can be played while the furnishing is going on: in fact, from the moment you have the bare house a board or sign with "To Let or For Sale" will quickly attract house-hunting dolls, and when a couple have taken it they will have their days full of shopping before it is ready for them. You will, of course, yourself be the manufacturers and shopkeepers. It is well to make out careful bills for everything sold, and the more things you can display in your show-rooms the better. All house-hunting dolls require plenty of money.
Windows have been mentioned, but they are not by any means a necessity. Yet even if you cannot have windows, you should put up curtains, for they make the rooms prettier. Shades can be made of linen, edged at the bottom with a piece of lace, and nailed on the wall just above the window. During the day these are rolled up and tied. White curtains should be bordered with lace and run on a piece of tape, which can be nailed or pinned on both sides of the window. They will then draw. The heavy inside curtains can be hung on a pencil (which may be gilded or left its own color) supported by two picture screws. Fasten these curtains back with narrow ribbons. Some dolls' houses, of course, are fitted with real doors. But if you do not have these, it is perhaps well to hang the doorway with curtains, also on pencils.
The floors can be stained or painted either all over or round the edges. Carpets are better not made of ordinary carpet, for it is much too thick, but of colored canvas, or chintz, or thin felt, or serge. A rug made of a plain colored material with a cross-stitch or embroidered pattern around it is very pretty. Fine matting can also be used, and oil-cloth is excellent for the kitchen.
In another place in this book (pp. 228-233) will be found instructions for making furniture for very small and simple dolls' houses; but for a good dolls' house with several good-sized rooms you would probably prefer, for the most part, to use bought things. Square tables are of course easy to make (a cardboard-box lid on four legs is practically the whole thing), and there are other articles which, if you see your way to devise, are better made at home, instructions for which will be found as you read on; but chairs and round tables and so forth are perhaps most satisfactory when they come from the toy-shop. Both in buying furniture and in making it, it is necessary always to remember the size of the rooms and of the dolls, and the size of whatever furniture you may already have, so as to keep everything in proportion.
Beds can be made of cardboard-boxes of different sizes. The box turned upside down makes the bed itself, and the cover should be fixed upright behind it for curtains to hang from. These curtains and the frill round the bed should be made of any thin material, such as muslin. The mattress, bolster, and pillows are best made of cotton-wool covered with muslin or calico. Sheets may be made also out of muslin; pillow-cases should be edged with lace; for blankets you use [Pg 223] flannel, button-hole-stitched round with colored silk or wool, and the quilt will look best if made of a dainty piece of silk, or muslin over a colored sateen to match the curtains. A tiny nightdress case should not be forgotten. Beds for doll children can be made in the same way out of match-boxes; and for cozy little cots for babies there are walnut shells.
Chairs can be made with wire, beads, a little silk or cotton material, some cardboard and cotton-wool. To make a [Pg 224] chair in this way, cut a piece of cardboard the size that you want the seat to be. Lay a good wad of cotton-wool over it, and then cover it neatly. On a piece of strong wire thread enough beads to go round the seat of the chair. Sew this firmly to the seat. Then thread beads on four pieces of wire the right length for the legs, and leave a little piece of wire with which to fasten them to the wire round the seat. Then make the back from a longer piece of wire, bent into shape and attached to the seat in the same way, and put a short row of beads across the middle. You will need a pair of tweezers to cut the wire and to finish the fastening securely.
Pictures for the walls can be made very easily. The picture itself will be a scrap or tiny photograph. This is pasted on a piece of cardboard larger than itself, and round the edge of that you place a strip of whatever colored paper you want for the frame. The picture cord, a piece of cotton, can be glued on the back. More elaborate frames are cut out of cardboard and bound round with colored silk and covered with gold paint. The picture is then stuck into it.
The simplest bookshelves are those that hang from a nail on the wall. They are made by cutting two or three strips of cardboard of the size of the shelves and boring holes at the corners of each. These are then threaded one by one on four lengths of silk or fine string, knots being tied to keep the shelves the right distance apart. Care has to be taken to get the knots exactly even, or the shelf will be crooked.
Books can be made by sewing together a number of tiny sheets of paper, with a colored cover and a real or invented title. Sometimes these books contain real stories.
A dolls' house ought to be as complete as possible, and though this will take a long time it is absorbingly interesting work from start to finish. It should be the ambition of the mistress of a dolls' house to have it as well furnished as the house of a grown-up person, and if she looks round the rooms in her own home carefully she will see how many things can be copied. There will be cushions to make, fancy table-cloths for different tables, toilet-covers and towels for the bedroom, splashers to go behind wash-stands, mats in front of them, and roll-towels and kitchen cloths for the kitchen.
Everything should be made of the thinnest and finest material, cut with the greatest care and sewn with the tiniest stitches. Light and dainty colors are best for a dolls' house. If you have several rooms, it is a good plan to have a pink room, a blue room, a yellow room, and in each room to have everything of different shades of that color and white. Perhaps no material is so useful to the owner of a dolls' house as art muslin. It is soft, cheap, and very pretty.
Coming to other furniture which can be made at home, we find screens (made of cardboard and scraps), music for the piano, walking-sticks, flowers (made of colored tissue-paper and wire), flower-pots (made of corks covered with red paper), cupboards to keep linen and glass in (made out of small cardboard boxes, fitted with shelves), and many other little things which, if you look round your own home carefully, will be suggested to you. Even bicycles can be imitated in cardboard and placed in the hall.
As to dolls, the more the merrier. They are so cheap and can be dressed so easily that it seems a great pity not to have a large family and a larger circle of friends who will occasionally [Pg 226] visit them. There must be a father and a mother, a baby and some children, servants (in stiff print dresses with caps and aprons), and certainly a bride, who, if her dress can not be changed for an ordinary one, ought to be kept carefully hidden, except when there is a wedding.
It is rather difficult to dress these tiny dolls so that their clothes will take off and on, but it is much better to do so if possible. In any case they can have capes and hats which take off. The thinnest materials make the best underclothes, but stiff material for dresses makes it possible to stand the dolls up. Glove buttons, and the narrowest ribbons, tapes, and laces, are useful things to have when you are dressing dolls'-house dolls.
Dolls occasionally require parties. The food may be real or imitation. If real,—such as currants and raisins, sugar and candied peel,—it is more amusing at the moment; but if imitation, you have a longer time of interest in making it. Get a little flour, and mix it with salt and water into a stiff paste, like clay. Then mould it to resemble a round of beef, a chicken, a leg of mutton, potatoes, pies, or whatever you want, and stand it in front of the fire to dry. When dry, paint (in water-color) to resemble these things still more. If there is clay in the garden, you can make all these things from that, and many others too.
Just as people live not only in houses but in flats, so may there be dolls' flats as well as dolls' houses. A dolls' flat consists of a board on which the outline of the rooms is made [Pg 227] with single bricks. For example, a four-roomed flat might be arranged like this—
To lay the bricks on a board is not necessary. They can be laid on the floor equally well, except that when you have done playing you will have then to put them away again, whereas if placed on a board they can be left till next time. Nor is there any reason why the walls should not be higher than a single brick; that is merely a matter of taste. Once the walls are ready the furniture and dolls can be put in in the ordinary way.
So far we have been considering larger dolls' houses. But there are also smaller ones, which naturally require much smaller furniture. These dolls' houses can be made of cardboard (as described on p. 237 and on), or they can be merely small boxes—even cigar boxes; and the dolls and furniture in them can be, if you like, all paper, or made of materials in ways that are now suggested.
This furniture, if very neatly made, can be very successful, and it costs almost nothing. Plain pins will do quite well, although the fancy ones are much prettier. Velvet or thin cloth is best for the dining-room furniture; silk for the drawing room; and some light-colored cotton material for the bedrooms.
You will need—
Several good-sized corks, or pickle corks, for the larger things.
Some pieces of fancy silk or velvet.
A number of strong pins of different sizes. (The fancy pins with large white, black, and colored heads are best.)
Some wool, silk, or tinsel which will go well with the silk or velvet.
A strong needle and a spool of cotton.
Cut a round or square piece of cork about quarter of an inch thick and one inch across. Cover it with a piece of silk or velvet, making all the stitches on that side of the cork which will be the under side of the seat. For the legs put a [Pg 229] pin firmly into each corner. Wind a little wool or silk firmly round each leg, finishing it off as neatly as possible. The back of the seat is made by sticking four pins rather closely together and winding the wool or silk in and out of them. Fasten the wool with a tiny knot both when you begin winding and when you finish. Armchairs are made in the same way, except that they are rather larger, and arms—made of small pins—are added.
Very good dining-room chairs can be made of chestnuts. The flatter side of the nut is the seat, and in this are stuck pins for the back (and arms if necessary), which may be bound together with gold or silver tinsel. Other pins are stuck in underneath for legs.
For a sofa a piece of cork about two inches long and half an inch thick is needed. This must be covered, and then quite short pins stuck in for legs. Put a row of short pins [Pg 230] along one side and the two ends, and wind the wool neatly in and out of them.
Round tables can be made best of different-sized pieces of cork, with very strong pins for legs; and square ones of the outside of a wooden match-box, with four little medicine-bottle corks glued under it for legs. In either case it is most important to have the legs well fixed on and of exactly the same length. It is not necessary to cover a table, but a table-cloth of silk, either fringed, or hemmed with tiny stitches, and a white table-cloth for meals, should be made.
Fancy tables can be made by taking a flat round cork and sticking pins into it at regular intervals all round. Weave silk or tinsel in and out of the pins until they are covered. (See above.)
Several small pieces of cork may be covered to make foot-stools.
A serviceable standard lamp can be made by taking a small empty cotton spool, gilding or painting it, and fixing the wooden part of a thin penholder firmly into it. On the top of it glue a round piece of cork, on which a lamp-shade, [Pg 231] made of one of the little red paper caps that chemists put on bottles, can be placed.
You will need—
Two large wooden match-boxes.
Several corks of different sizes.
Some pieces of chintz, of cotton material, flannel, linen, oil-cloth, and a little cotton-wool.
An empty walnut shell.
Several wooden matches with the heads taken off.
Pins of different sizes.
Wool, silk or tinsel, for the backs of the chairs.
A tube of glue.
To make a bed, take the inside of a match-box and cut away the bottom of it. Then take two matches and glue them to the two corners at the head of the bed so that a portion sticks out below the bed for legs and above the bed for a railing. Cut two more matches to the same length as these others, less the part of them that serves for legs, and fasten [Pg 232] these at equal distances from each other and from the two others already glued in position. Along the top of these place another match for a rail, and the head of the bed is done. For the foot of the bed repeat these operations exactly, except that all the upright matches must be a little shorter. Then cut off one end of the bottom of the box and fit it in to form the part of the bed that takes the mattress. The bedstead, when made, should be like the one in the accompanying picture. A little mattress must now be made to fit the bed exactly; it can be stuffed with cotton-wool or bran. A pillow, blankets, sheets, and a fancy coverlet may also be made, and a very thin and tiny frill should be put right round the bed to hide the box.
A very pretty baby's cradle can be made out of half a walnut shell. It should be lined, and curtains should be hung from a match fastened upright at one end of the shell.
The outside of the same match-box that was used for the bed will make a dressing-table. Stand it up on either side of its striking sides, and glue or sew a piece of light-colored thin material all round it, and then over this put a muslin frill. Make a little white cloth to lay on the top of the table. The looking-glass is made by fixing a square of silver paper in a cardboard frame.
Take the inside of another match-box and stand it up on one of its sides. Then take five or six matches and cut them to that length which, when they are glued in an upright row at equal distances apart to the back of the match-box, will cause them to stand up above the top of it about a third of an inch. On the tops of them then lay another match to make a little railing. Cover the box as you did the dressing-table. [Pg 233] Put a little mat of oil-cloth on the top of the box, and make another large one to lay in front of it. Proper jugs and basins will, of course, have to be bought, but an acorn cup or small shell makes a very good toy basin.
The wardrobe is made by standing the inside of a match-box on end, fixing inside several little pegs made of small pieces of match stuck in with glue, and hanging two little curtains in front of it. If, when done, it seems too low, it may be raised on four little corks.
A towel-horse can easily be made with six long pins and two small pieces of cork.
To make a clothes-basket, take a round piece of cork about a quarter of an inch thick and stick pins closely together all round it, as in the above picture. Then weave wool in and out of them.
A cardboard house, furnished with paper furniture and occupied by paper dolls, is a very good substitute for an ordinary dolls' house, and the making of it is hardly less interesting. The simplest way to make a cardboard house is to cut it all (with the exception of the partition and the roof) in one piece.
The plan given here is for a two-roomed cottage, the measurements for which can be multiplied to whatever size you like (or whatever is the utmost that your sheet of cardboard will permit). The actual model from which this plan was made (the house was built from a royal sheet of Bristol board) had a total floor measurement of 8 inches by 14. The end walls were 5 inches high, the side walls 5 inches, sloping up to 7 in the middle, and the partition was 7 inches. The roof was slightly wider than the floor, in order to make wide eaves, and as much longer as was needful not only for the eaves but also to allow for the angle.
The first thing to do is to rule the outline of the cottage. All the measurements must be most accurately made, as the slightest incorrectness will keep the house from fitting together properly. Then cut it out. When this is done, draw the windows and doors. Then lay your cardboard on a board, and run your knife along each side of the windows and the three free sides of the doors until the card is cut through. A ruler held close to the penciled line will make your knife cut straight. The bars across the windows can be made of strips of paper glued on afterward. If the doors have a tiny piece shaved off each of the cut sides, they will open and shut easily.
[Pg 238] To make the front door open well, outward, the hinge line of the door (KK) should be half cut through on the inside. The hinge can be strengthened by gluing a narrow strip of paper or linen along it. At the three points marked H make small slits through which to put the tags, marked G, of the partition wall.
All drawing and painting must be done on both sides while the house is still flat. The doors inside will need handles and keyholes. Small pieces of mica can be glued over the windows instead of glass.
Little curtains of crinkly tissue-paper can also be made, and, if you like, the walls can easily be papered with colored paper pasted on. This will cause some delay, however, for it must be well pressed. Instead, wall-paper patterns could be painted on.
Outside—that is, on the underside of the cardboard—there is a great deal to do. Both walls and roof can be painted, and tiles, bricks, and creepers imitated. The front door should have a knocker and a letterbox, and around both the door and the windows should be imitation framework. As the upright joints of the four walls will be made of linen painted to imitate brick-work or stone-work, you need not carry the painting of the walls quite to the edges, because these will be covered by the joints. It is best to paint the joints before you stick them on.
Before turning the card over again, run your knife along the four sides of the floor to assist the bending up of the walls. Do not on any account cut through; merely make a half cut.
When you have drawn and painted all you can think of to make the house complete and pretty, take your strips of linen, for the fastening of the walls, crease them in half, lengthwise, and glue one half to the outside of the edge of the walls marked CB and DE in the plan. When this is quite [Pg 240] dry, bend the back wall and the two side walls up, and glue the free sides of the strips to the wall marked AB and EF, holding the walls firmly together until well stuck. Strengthen the fold LM, which has to serve as a hinge for the front of the house, with a strip of linen glued underneath. The sides of the front wall must remain unattached, as that forms the opening. It can be kept closed by a strong pin slipped through the roof.
Now for the partition. Put the three tags G G G through the slits H H H and glue them firmly down on the outside. (These will have to be touched up with paint.) The roof must then be put on. Cut out a slit N an inch long to fit the tag on the partition, also marked N. Run your knife along the dotted line underneath, and fold it to the necessary angle to fit the sloping walls. Where the roof touches the end walls it must be fastened on with strips of linen or paper, which have been folded in the same way as before and one half fastened securely to the walls. It is important to let it get quite dry before gluing the other half to the roof.
The chimney, of which the illustration is the actual size, is the last thing to be made. First paint, and then fold the two side pieces downward, cut out the three little holes and put into them three chimneys, made by folding small pieces of paper, painted red, round a penholder, and gluing their edges together. The chimney is fixed to the sloping roof with very small pieces of glued paper. Remember that all the pieces of paper used as fastening ought to be touched up with paint. The chimney in the drawing of the complete house on page 240 is put at the side of the roof, but it may even better go in the middle.
The cottage can then be fixed to a piece of wood or paste-board, to form its garden and add to convenience in moving it about. A cardboard fence and gate can be cut out and painted green. A path to the front door is made by covering a narrow space of the cardboard with very thin glue over which, while it is wet, sand is sprinkled to imitate gravel. Moss will do for evergreens, and grass plots can be made of green cloth. A summer-house, garden chairs and tables are easily cut out of cardboard. So also are a rabbit-hutch, pump, dove-cot, and dog-kennel. A plan of a dog-kennel, actual size, is given.
It is, of course, possible to make a house of several pieces instead of one. The walls and floors can be made separately and joined with linen strips; but this adds to the difficulty of the work and causes the houses to be less steady. Cardboard houses can also be made with two floors.
A novel kind of paper house has been gotten out in book form. It is called The House That Glue Built, and consists of pictures of rooms, without furniture, which is shown on separate sheets. The object is to cut out the furniture, arrange it and paste it in its proper place. The illustration shows the library, and the furniture for it. There is also a sheet of dolls to be cut out, who represent the owners of the house. Two other books on the same order are The Fun That Glue Made and Stories That Glue Told. They are all easily put together, and are lots of fun.
Everything required for the furnishing and peopling of a cardboard dolls' house can be made of paper; and if colored at all cleverly the furniture will appear to be as solid as that of wood. After cutting out and joining together one or two of the models given in the pages that follow, and thus learning the principle on which paper furniture is made, you will be able to add all kinds of things to those mentioned here or to devise new patterns for old articles, such as chairs and desks.
Two recent inventions of the greatest possible use to the maker of paper furniture are fish-glue which gets dry very quickly and is more than ordinarily strong, and adhesive tape. Glue can be bought for very little, and adhesive tape, which is sold principally for mending music and the torn pages of books, is put up in inexpensive spools.
A pair of compasses is a good thing to have; but you can make a perfectly serviceable tool by cutting out a narrow strip of cardboard about four inches long and boring holes at [Pg 244] intervals, of a quarter of an inch, through which the point of a pencil can be placed. If one end of the strip is fastened to the paper with a pin you can draw a circle of what size you want, up to eight inches across.
These are the materials needed when making paper furniture:—
A few sheets of stiff note-paper or drawing-paper. Scissors. A penknife. A ruler (a flat one). A mapping-pen. A box of paints. A board to cut out on. Adhesive tape or stamp-paper. Glue.
If the drawings are to be traced, tracing-paper, or transparent note-paper, and a sheet of carbon-paper, will also be needed. To trace a drawing, cover it with paper and draw it exactly. Then cover the paper or cardboard from which you wish to cut out the furniture with a piece of carbon-paper, black side down, and over that place your tracing. Draw over this again with a very sharply pointed pencil or pointed stick, and the lines will be repeated by the carbon-paper on the under sheet of paper.
The furniture, for which designs are given in this chapter, can be made of stiff note-paper, Whatman's drawing-paper, or thin Bristol board. The drawings can be copied or traced. In either case the greatest care must be taken that the measurements are minutely correct and the lines perfectly straight. A slip of paper is a very good thing to measure with.
Enough designs have been given to show how most different kinds of furniture can be made. These can, of course, be varied and increased by copying from good furniture lists; while many little things such as saucepans, dishes, clocks, and so forth, can be copied from stores lists and added to the few that are given on p. 248.
(Facing page 244)
[Pg 245] These small articles are cut out flat, but an extra piece of paper is left under each, which, when bent back, makes a stand.
The front legs of chairs, the legs of tables, and the backs of furniture must be neatly joined together by narrow strips of stamp-paper or adhesive tape. To do this, cut a strip of the right size, crease it down the middle, and stick one side. Allow this to dry, before you fix the other.
Wherever in the pictures there is a dotted line, it means that the paper is to be folded there. It will be easily seen whether it is to be folded up or down.
Before the furniture is folded it should be painted. Wood, iron, brass, and silk can all be imitated in color.
In cutting out small spaces of cardboard—as between the bars of a chair—lay the card on a board, and keeping your knife, which should be sharp at the point, against a flat ruler, run it again and again along the lines you want to cut, until you have cut through. If your furniture is made of paper, the spaces can be cut out with finely pointed scissors, taking care to start in the middle of the space, for the first incision is seldom a clean one.
Paper dolls are not as good to play with as proper dolls. One can do much less with them because they cannot be washed, have no hair to be brushed, and should not sit down. But they can be exceedingly pretty, and the keeping of their wardrobes in touch with the fashion is an absorbing occupation. Paper dolls are more interesting to those who like painting than to others. The pleasure of coloring them and their dresses is to many of us quite as interesting as cutting out and sewing the clothes of ordinary dolls.
The first thing to do is to draw the doll in pencil on the cardboard or paper which it is to be cut from. If you are not good at drawing, the best way is to trace a figure in a book or newspaper, and then, slipping a piece of carbon-paper (which can be bought for a penny or less at any stationer's) between your tracing-paper and the cardboard, to go over the outline again with a pencil or a pointed stick. On uncovering the cardboard you will find the doll there all ready to cut out. It should then be colored on both sides, partly flesh color and partly underclothes.
The dresses are made of sheets of note-paper, the fold of which forms the shoulder pieces. The doll is laid on the paper, with head and neck lapping over the fold, and the line of the dress is then drawn a little larger than the doll. A small round nick to form the collar is cut between the shoulders of the dress, and a slit is made down the back through which the doll's head can be passed. After the head is through it is turned round. (Of course, if the dress is for evening the place which you cut for the neck must be larger, and in this case no slit will be needed.) All the details of the dresses, [Pg 259] which can be of original design, or copied from advertisements and fashion plates, must be drawn in in pencil and afterward painted. Hats, trimmed with tissue-paper feathers or ribbons, are made of round pieces of note-paper with a slit in them just big enough for the tip of the doll's head to go through. The illustrations on pp. 260 and 261 should make everything clear.
Simpler and absolutely symmetrical paper dolls are made by cutting them out of folded paper, so that the fold runs right down the middle of the doll. By folding many pieces of paper together, one can cut out many dolls at once.
Walking ladies are made in that way; but they must have long skirts and no feet, and when finished a cut is made in the skirt—as in the picture—and the framework thus produced is bent back. When the doll is placed on the table and gently blown it will move gracefully along.
Dresses can also be made of crinkly tissue-paper glued to a foundation of plain note-paper. Frills, flounces, and sashes are easily imitated in this material, and if the colors are well chosen the result is very pretty.
To make a row of paper dolls, take a piece of paper the height that the dolls are to be, and fold it alternately backward and forward (first one side and then the other) leaving about an inch between each fold. Press the folds together tightly and cut out the half of a doll, being careful that the arms are continued to the edge of the fold and are not cut off. Open out and you will have a string of paper dolls.
Other articles to be made from paper and cardboard will be found on pp. 284-291.
It is not in the least necessary to confine yourself to making playhouses that are like the houses you live in or see about you, for with a little ingenuity you can construct bits of all sorts of strange countries right in your play-room. In one of the schools in New York City the children study geography and history of certain kinds by making with their own hands scenes from the places about which they study.
One of the most valuable materials for making these playhouses is ordinary modeling clay. You can buy fifty pounds for from fifty cents to a dollar, and with this you are equipped to make almost anything you can see in pictures. Put the clay (if bought dry) into a jar, pour over it clear water, and stir it up with a stick until perfectly smooth and about the consistency of hard butter. The first thing to do is to make a supply of bricks for building. This should be shaped like real bricks and about two inches long. Smaller ones are also possible if you wish to have your settlement on a very small scale. These should be made as regularly as possible and as nearly of the same size. After a little practice one becomes very expert in this simple art. They should then be dried in the sun and are ready to use, though they must be handled carefully. If you can obtain terra-cotta clay, and have it baked hard you will have real bricks that will outlast your play-time.
Suppose now that you have been reading about the life of the Pueblo Indians in our Southwest, and you have a picture of one of their singular settlements. The accompanying [Pg 266] picture shows what was done in the way of constructing such a settlement by a class of school children, none of whom were over eight years old. You can model little clay Indian inhabitants and paint them as you please, to represent their brown skins and bright-colored clothes. If you can have a box with a little earth in it to set before your Pueblo village you can sow wheat seed, or mustard, and model Indians working in the fields with their crude plows. Anything of which you can find a picture can be reproduced. Indian villages and camps are easy to make and interesting. And once you are started on Indian life it may be fun to make yourselves Indian costumes. The costumes in the picture shown were made by the boys who wear them. By looking closely at them you can copy them.
Another class in the same school painted their bricks white to represent blocks of snow and made an Esquimau village. This is fascinating and easy to do. Or, the rounded huts can be modeled all in one piece directly from the clay. Any book describing the life of dwellers in the Arctic region will tell you how they make their houses and you can make tiny imitations of them that will be infinite fun to construct and the admiration of all your friends when finished. Cotton-wool can be used for snow (powdered isinglass also is pretty), and bits of broken mirror for ice-ponds. Little sleds can be made on which to put your Esquimau hunter, who may be one of the white-fur-clad dolls so cheaply bought in toy-stores. Or you can model a little doll just the right size to be entering the door of your tiny rounded white hut.
(Facing page 266)
Or if you get tired of living near the Arctic circle you can sweep your table clean of Esquimau dwellings and construct [Pg 267] a Filipino village. For these you do not need bricks (which can be given a rest and put away in a box) but little splints of wood the same size and length which you can make yourself with a knife. Make a little thin floor of damp clay (but drier than you use it to model with) and stick your upright pieces in this in the shape of the house you wish to make. When the clay has hardened they are held quite firm and you can make a wattled hut by weaving long straws or grasses in and out to form your walls. A thatched roof can also be made of long grasses, tied in little bunches and laid close together all sloping down from the ridge-pole. Almost every magazine of a few years back has in it pictures of Filipino villages which will furnish you with models to copy. According to the size of the table or board on which you make your settlements you can have more or less extensive tropical country, surrounding your village. Mountains can be made of the clay, covered with moss or grasses to represent the jungle and a river with overhanging trees arranged with bits of broken looking-glass, and twigs with tiny scraps of green tissue paper glued to them for leaves. The exercise of your own ingenuity in using all sorts of unlikely materials which you will find all about you is the best part of this game.
After you have decided to change the climate and character of your village, the clay used may be broken up and put back in your jar, wet again, stirred smooth and is all ready to begin again. Great care should be taken that it is kept clean, that bits of wood or glass be not left in it, or you may cut or prick your fingers in handling it.
You cannot only wander from one climate and from one nationality to another, but from one century to another. If [Pg 268] you are studying early American history nothing is more fun than to make a street in an old Dutch settlement. Your bricks are painted red for this. Almost any history-book will have pictures of one or two old Dutch houses which will show you the general look of them. They are harder to construct than the ruder huts of savages and may need to be held together with a little use of damp clay. It is interesting to try and reconstruct old Dutch Manhattan, from the maps and pictures, showing the bay and the walk on the Battery.
Or if you are interested in Colonial New England, make a settlement of log-houses with the upper story overhanging the first. On any walk you can pick up enough small sticks to use as logs after trimming and measuring.
Other possibilities in this line are suggested below. You will have more fun in working them out yourself than if you are told just how to proceed. A Roman arena with gladiators fighting and a curtain which may be drawn to keep off the sun. A little fishing-village beside the sea (a large pan of water) with tiny nets spread out to dry and little walnut shell boats drawn up on the sandy beach.
A farmhouse, barn, pig-pen, dog-kennel, carriage-house and the like. A very pretty settlement can be made of this with fields of growing grain, brooks, water-wheels, etc.
All the animals of a farm can be modeled and painted. When they are skilfully made they are very pretty and add much to the picture and when they are done unskilfully it is fun to have people guess what they were meant for. However, with a little practice very presentable animals can be modeled. It is easier to make them in clay than to draw them.
A gypsy camp, with tents and open fires (bits of yellow and red tissue-paper), under a black kettle (made of clay and painted) swung on a forked stick, can easily be made.
[Pg 269] Of course with tin or lead soldiers the number of games one can invent with these tiny settlements is innumerable. One favorite with some children is the attack and capture of the Filipino village by American troops. Sometimes it is burned, and this is always a stirring spectacle. Indeed with tin soldiers (which are just now unjustly out of favor) one's range of subjects is unlimited, and one always has plenty of inhabitants for any settlement. An army post can be made, with a fort and barracks and a wide green parade ground with the regiment drawn up in line for dress-parade. A tiny American flag flutters from the flag-pole and after the sunset gun booms (a fire-cracker exploded or only some one striking a blow on a tin pan) it can be lowered to the ground while the best whistler of the company executes "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Painting is an occupation which is within almost everybody's power, and of which one tires very slowly or perhaps not at all. By painting we mean coloring old pictures rather than making new ones, since making new ones—from nature or imagination—require separate gifts. On a wet afternoon—or, if it is permitted, on Sunday afternoon—coloring the pictures in a scrapbook is a very pleasant and useful employment. After dark, painting is not a very wise occupation, because, in an artificial light, colors cannot be properly distinguished.
All shops that sell artists' materials keep painting-books. But old illustrated papers do very well.
An even more interesting thing to do with a paint-box is to make a collection of the flags of all nations. And when those are all done, you will find colored pages of them in any large dictionary, and elsewhere too,—you might get possession of an old shipping guide, and copy Lloyd's signal code from it.
Coloring maps is interesting, but is more difficult than you might perhaps think, owing to the skill required in laying an even surface of paint on an irregular space. The middle of the country does not cause much trouble, but when it comes to the jagged frontier line the brush has to be very [Pg 274] carefully handled. To wet the whole map with a wet brush at the outset is a help. Perhaps before starting in earnest on a map it would be best to practice a little with irregular-shaped spaces on another piece of paper.
If you have a magic lantern in the house you can paint some home-made slides. The colors should be as gay as possible. The best home-made slides are those which illustrate a home-made story; and the fact that you cannot draw or paint really well should not discourage you at all. A simpler way of making slides is to hold the glass over a candle until one side is covered with lamp black and then with a sharp stick to draw outline pictures on it.
Another way is to cut out silhouettes in black paper, or colored tracing-paper, and stick them to the glass. In copying a picture on a slide put the glass over the picture and draw the outline with a fine brush dipped in Indian ink. Then paint. All painting on slides should be covered with fixing varnish, or it will rub off.
As a change from painting there is illuminating, for which smaller brushes and gold and silver paint are needed. Illuminating texts is a favorite Sunday afternoon employment.
There is also pen and ink drawing, mistakenly called "etching," for which you require a tiny pen, known as a mapping pen, and a cake of Indian ink. If the library contains a volume of old wood-cuts, particularly Bewick's Birds or Bewick's Quadrupeds, you will have no lack of pictures to copy.
In place of paints a box of chalks will serve very well.
Smaller children, who have not yet learned to paint properly, often like to trace pictures either on tracing paper held over the picture, or on ordinary thin paper held over the picture against the window pane.
Pictures can also be pricked with a pin, but in this case some one must draw it first. You follow the outline with little pin pricks close together, holding the paper on a cushion while you prick it. Then the picture is held up to the window for the light to shine through the holes.
Home-made Easter eggs are made by painting pictures or messages on eggs that have been hard-boiled, or by merely boiling them in water containing cochineal or some other coloring material. In Germany it is the custom for Easter eggs to be hidden about in the house and garden, and for the family to hunt for them before breakfast—a plan that might very well be taken up by us.
Paper and cardboard articles can be prettily decorated by spatter-work. Ferns are the favorite shapes to use. You first pin them on whatever it is that is to be ornamented in this way, arranging them as prettily as possible. Then rub some Indian ink in water on a saucer until it is quite thick. Dip an old tooth-brush lightly into the ink, and, holding it over the cardboard, rub the bristles gently across a fine tooth comb. This will send a spray of ink over the cardboard. Do this [Pg 276] again and again until the tone is deep enough, and try also to graduate it. It must be remembered that the ink when dry is much darker than when wet. Then remove the ferns, when under each there will be a white space exactly reproducing their beautiful shape. If you like you can paint in their veins and shade them; but this is not really necessary. Colored paints can be used instead of Indian ink.
Making scrapbooks is always a pleasant and useful employment, whether for yourself or for children in hospitals or districts, and there was never so good an opportunity as now of getting interesting pictures. These you select from odd numbers of magazines, Christmas numbers, illustrated papers, and advertisements. Scraps are very useful to fill up odd corners. In choosing pictures for your own scrapbook it is better to select only those that you really believe in and can find a reason for using, than to take everything that seems likely to fit. By choosing the pictures with this care you make the work more interesting and the book peculiarly your own. But in making a scrapbook as a present for some one that you know, you will, of course, in choosing pictures, try to put yourself in his place and choose as you think that he would.
Empty scrapbooks can be bought; or you can make one by taking (for a large one) an old business ledger, which some one whom you know is certain to be able to give you, or (for a small one) an ordinary old exercise-book, and then cutting out every other page about half an inch from the stitching. This is to allow room for the extra thickness which the pictures will give to the book. Or you can sew sheets of brown paper together.
For sticking on the pictures, use paste rather than gum; [Pg 277] and when it is done, press the book under quite a light weight, with sheets of paper between the pages.
Children that are ill are often too weak to hold up a large book and turn over the leaves. There are two ways of saving them this exertion and yet giving them pleasure from pictures. One is to get several large sheets of cardboard and cover them with pictures and scraps on both sides, and bind them round with ribbon. These can be enclosed in a box and sent to the matron. She will distribute the cards among the children, and when they have looked at each thoroughly they can exchange it for another. Another way is to use folding books which are more easy to hold than ordinary turning-over ones, and you can make them at home very simply by covering half a dozen or more cards of the same size (post-cards make capital little books) with red linen, and then sewing them edge to edge so as to get them all in a row. In covering the cards with the linen—red is not compulsory, but it is a good color to choose—it is better to paste it on as well as to sew it round the three edges (a fold will come on one side), because then when you stick on the pictures they will not cockle up. Pictures for hospital scrapbooks should be bright and gay. Colored ones are best, but if you cannot get them already colored you can paint them. Painting a scrapbook is one of the best of employments.
Sometimes it happens that you get very tired of one of the pictures in your scrapbook. A good way to make it fresh and interesting again is to introduce new people or things. You will easily find among your store of loose pictures a horse and cart, or a dog, or a man, or a giraffe, which, when [Pg 278] cut out, will fit in amusingly somewhere in the old picture. If you like, a whole book can be altered reasonably in this way, or made ridiculous throughout.
A screen is an even more interesting thing to make than a scrapbook. The first thing to get is the framework of the screen, which will either be an old one the covering of which needs renewing, or a new one made by the carpenter. The next thing is to cover it with canvas, which you must stretch on tightly and fasten with small tacks; and over this should be pasted another covering of stout paper, of whatever color you want for a background to the pictures. Paste mixed with size should be used in sticking it. After the pictures are all arranged they should be stuck with the same material, and a coat of paper varnish given to the whole, so that it can be cleaned occasionally.
Stamp-collecting is more interesting if money is kept out of it and you get your stamps by gift or exchange. The best way to begin is to know some one who has plenty of foreign correspondence and to ask for all his old envelopes. Nothing but time and patience can make a good collection. To buy it, is to have little of the collector's joy.
Old American stamps can be used for making snakes. There is no need to soak the stamps off the envelope paper: they must merely be cut out cleanly and threaded together. A big snake takes about 4,000 stamps. The head is made of black velvet stuffed with cotton wool, and beads serve for eyes. A tongue of red flannel can be added.
If you have a fret saw, and can use it cleverly, you can make at home as good a puzzle as any that can be bought. The first thing to do is to select a good colored picture, and then to procure from a carpenter a thin mahogany board of the same size. Mahogany is not absolutely necessary, but it must be some wood that is both soft and tough. Deal, for instance, is useless because it is not tough, and oak is useless because it is not soft. On this wood you stick the picture very firmly, using weak glue in preference to paste or gum. When it is quite dry you cut it up into the most difficult fragments that you can. It is best to cut out the border so that each piece locks into the next. This will then be put together first by the player and will serve to hold the picture together. After the puzzle is cut up it is well to varnish each piece with paper varnish, which keeps it clean and preserves it.
A simple puzzle can be made by pasting the picture on cardboard and cutting it up with scissors or a sharp knife.
For blowing bubbles the long clay pipes are best. Before using them, the end of the mouthpiece ought to be covered with sealing-wax for about an inch, or it may tear your lips. Common yellow soap is better than scented soap, and rainwater than ordinary water. A little glycerine added to the soap-suds helps to make the bubbles more lasting. On a still summer day, bubble-blowing out-of-doors is a fascinating and very pretty occupation.
Shadowgraphy nowadays has progressed a long way from the rabbit on the wall; but in the house, ambition in this accomplishment does not often extend further than that and one [Pg 280] or two other animals, and this is why only the rabbit, dog, and swan are given here. The swan can be made more interesting by moving the arm which forms his neck as if he were prinking and pluming, an effect which is much heightened by ruffling up and smoothing down the hair with the fingers forming his beak. To get a clear shadow it is necessary to have only one light, and that fairly close to the hands.
Leaves which are to be skeletonized should be picked from the trees at the end of June. They should be perfect ones of full growth. It is best to have several of each kind, as some are sure to be failures. Put the leaves in a big earthenware dish or pan, fill it with rain-water, and stand it in a warm and [Pg 281] sunny place—the purpose of this being to soak off the green pulpy part. There is a great difference in the time which this takes: some fine leaves will be ready in a week, while others may need several months. Look at the leaves every day, and when one seems to be ready slip a piece of cardboard under it and shake it about gently in fresh cold water. If any green stuff remains, dab it with a soft brush and then put it into another basin of clean water. A fine needle can be used to take away any small and obstinate pieces of green. It is now a skeleton and must be bleached according to the following directions:—Pour into a large earthenware jar a pint of water on half a pound of chloride of lime. Mix thoroughly, breaking up any lumps with the hand. Add two and a half quarts of water, cover over, and leave for twenty-four hours. Then pour off the solution, leaving the sediment behind. Dissolve two pounds of soda in one quart of boiling water, and pour it, while on the boil, over the chloride solution. Cover it, and leave for forty-eight hours; then decant into bottles, being careful to leave all sediment behind.
Fill an earthenware dish with this solution, lay the leaves in it, and cover tightly. The leaves will be bleached in six to twelve hours. They should be taken out directly they are white, as the lime makes them very brittle. After bleaching, rinse the leaves in cold water, float them on to cards, and dry between blotting-paper, under a heavy weight.
It should be noted that if you intend to skeletonize ferns, they should not be picked before August, and they must be pressed and dried before they are put into the bleaching solution, in which they ought to stay for three or four days. The solution should be changed on the second day, and again on the fourth. After bleaching they can be treated just as the leaves are.
Cut out two rings of cardboard, of whatever size you like, from one inch in diameter up to about four inches. A four-inch ring would make as large a ball as one usually needs, and a one-inch ring as small a one as could be conveniently made. The rim of the largest rings should not be wider than half an inch. Take a ball of wool and, placing the cardboard rings together, tie the end of it firmly round them. Then wind the wool over the rings, moving them round and round to keep it even. At first you will be able to push the ball through the rings easily, but as the wool is wound the hole will grow smaller and smaller, until you have to thread the wool through with a needle. To do this it is necessary to cut the wool into lengths, which you must be careful to join securely. Go on until the hole is completely filled and you cannot squeeze another needle through. Then slip a pair of scissors between the two rings and cut the wool all round them; and follow this up quickly by slipping a piece of string also between them and tying it tightly round the wool that is in their midst. This is to keep the loose ends, which were made directly you cut the wool with the scissors, from coming out. All that is now necessary is to pull out the cardboard rings and shape the ball a little in your hands. The tighter the wool was bound round the cards, the smaller and harder the ball will be and the more difficult will it be to cut the wool neatly and tie it. Therefore, and especially as the whole purpose of a wool ball is softness and harmlessness, it is better to wind the wool loosely and to use thick wool rather than thin.
To make a "Wool Demon," take a piece of cardboard as wide as you want the demon to be tall, say three inches, and wind very evenly over it wool of the color you want the [Pg 283] demon to be. Scarlet wool is perhaps best. Wind it about eighty times, and then remove carefully and tie a piece round about half an inch from the top to make the neck. This also secures the wool, the lower looped ends of which can now be cut. When cut, gather up about twenty pieces each side for the arms, and, holding them firmly, bind them round with other wool, and cut off neatly at the proper length. Then tie more wool round to form the body. The legs and tail are made in the same way as the arms, except that wool is wound round the legs, beginning from the feet and working upward, only to the knees, leaving a suggestion of knickerbockers. Eyes and other features can be sewn on in silk.
Among other occupations which are not in need of careful description, but which ought to be mentioned, bead-work is important. It was once more popular than it now is; but beads in many beautiful colors are still made, and it is a pity that their advantages should be neglected. Bead-work lasts longer and is cleaner and brighter than any other form of embroidery. Perhaps the favorite use to which beads are now put is in the making of napkin-rings. Bead-flowers are made by threading beads on wire and bending them to the required shapes. Boxes of materials are sold in toy-shops.
"Post-Office" is a device for providing the family with a sure supply of letters. The first thing to do is to appoint a postmaster and fix upon the positions for the letter-boxes. You then write letters to each other and to any one in the house, and post them where you like; and at regular times the postmaster collects them and delivers them.
In "The Home Newspaper," the first thing to do is to decide on which of you will edit it. As the editor usually has to copy all the contributions into the exercise-book, it is well that a good writer should be chosen. Then you want a good title. It is better if the contributors are given each a department, because that will make the work more simple. Each number should have a story and some poetry. Home newspapers, as a rule, come out once a month. Once a week is too often to keep up. There is a good description of one in a book by E. Nesbit, called The Treasure-Seekers.
To make a cocked hat, take a sheet of stiff paper and double it. Then fold over each of the doubled corners until they meet in the middle. The paper will then resemble Fig. 1. Then fold AB AB over the doubled corners; fold the corresponding strip of paper at the back to balance it, and the cocked hat is ready to be worn. If it is to be used in charades, it is well to pin it here and there to make it secure.
If the cocked hat is held in the middle of each side and pulled out into a square, and the two sides are then bent back to make another cocked hat (but of course much smaller); and then, if this cocked hat is also pulled out into a square, it will look like Fig. 2. If the sides A and A are held between the finger and thumb and pulled out, a paper boat will be the result, as in Fig. 3.
Take a sheet of stiffish paper about the size of this page and fold it longways, exactly double. Then fold the corners of one end back to the main fold, one each side. The paper sideways will then look as in Fig. 1. Then double these folded points, one each side, back to the main fold. The paper will then look as in Fig. 2. Repeat this process once more. The paper will then look as in Fig. 3. Compress the folds very tightly, and open out the top ones, so that in looking down on the dart it will have the appearance of Fig. 4. The dart is then ready for use.
Take a square piece of thin paper (Fig. 1), white or colored. Fold it in half (Fig. 2), and then again in half (Fig. 3), and then again from the centre to the outside corner, when it will be shaped as in Fig. 4. If you want a round mat, cut it as marked by the dotted line in Fig. 4; if square, [Pg 287] leave it as it is. Remember that when you cut folded paper the cuts are repeated in the whole piece as many times as there are folds in the paper. The purpose of folding is to make the cuts symmetrical. Bearing this in mind cut Fig. 4 as much as you like, as suggested by Fig. 5. Perhaps it would be well to practice first of all on a rough piece. The more delicate the cuts the prettier will be the completed mat.
Take an exactly square piece of paper (cream-laid note-paper is best in texture), and fold it across to each corner and press down the folds. Unfold it and then fold each corner exactly into the middle, and press down and unfold again. The lines of fold on the paper will now be seen to run from corner to corner, crossing in the middle, and also forming a square pattern. The next thing is to fold over each corner exactly to the line of this square on the opposite half of the paper. When this is done, and the paper is again straightened out, the lines of fold will be as in Fig. 1. Cut out the triangles marked X in Fig. 1, and the paper will be as in [Pg 288] Fig. 2. Then cut along all the dotted lines in Fig. 2, and stand the opposite corners up to form the sides and lid of the box: first A and B, which are fastened by folding back the little flaps at the tip of A, slipping through the slit at the tip of B, and then unfolding them again; and then C and D, which are secured in the same way.
Cardboard boxes, of a more useful nature than paper boxes, are made on the same principle as the house described on p. 239, and the furniture to go in it, as described later in the same chapter. The whole box can be cut in the flat, out of one piece of cardboard, and the sides afterward bent up and the lid down. Measurements must of course be exact. The prettiest way to join the sides is to use thin silk instead of paper, and the lid may be made to fasten by a little bow of the same material.
Paper boxes, when finished, can be made more attractive by painting on them, gluing scraps to them, putting transfers here and there, or covering them with spatter-work (see p. 275). Scraps can be bought at most stationers' in a very great variety. Transfers, which are taken off by moistening in water, pressing on the paper with the slithery clouded surface downward, and being gently slipped along, used to be more common than they now are.
Directions how to make many other paper things will be found on pp. 243-262.
Dissolve a teaspoonful of salt in a glass of water, dip a pen in ink and touch the point to the water. The ink descends in strange serpent-like coils.
The accompanying picture will show how a dancing man is made to dance. You hold him between the finger and thumb, one on each side of his waist, and pull the string. The hinges for the arms and legs, which are made of cardboard, can be made of bent pins or little pieces of string knotted on each side.
The fashioning of people and animals from scraps of velvet glued on cardboard was a pleasant occupation which interested our great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers when they were children many years ago. A favorite picture was of a boy and a St. Bernard, in which the boy's head, hands, collar, and pantaloons, and the dog, were made of white velvet painted. The boy's tunic was black velvet, and its belt a [Pg 290] strip of red paper. The dog's eye was a black pin-head. The whole was mounted on a wooden stand with wooden supports at the back, one running up to the boy's head and the other to the tip of the dog's tail. With some scraps of white and black velvet, and a little patience and ingenuity, one could make all the animals on a farm and many in the Zoo.
All the apparatus needed for a "Hand Dragon" consists of a little cardboard thimble or finger-stall, on which the features of a dragon have been drawn in pen and ink or color. This is then slipped over the top of the middle finger, so that the hand becomes its body and the other fingers and thumb its legs. With the exercise of very little ingenuity in the movement of the fingers, the dragon can be made to seem very much alive. The accompanying picture should explain everything.
Various games can be played with the fingers. Tiny caps and hats can be made, features drawn with ink on the fingers and little tissue paper dresses made. A whole play can be acted or sung by these tiny finger marionettes.
Once you have begun to make things out of cardboard, you will find no end to its possibilities and should be in no [Pg 291] more need of any hints. After building, furnishing, and peopling a dolls' house, a farm or a menagerie would be an interesting enterprise to start upon. E. M. R. has a stud of ninety-two horses, each named, and each provided with a horse-cloth, a groom, and harness. She has also several regiments of soldiers and a staff of nurses, all cut from cardboard and painted. She chooses her horses from Country Life, or some such paper, and copies them. Another enthusiast has a cardboard theatre in which plays and pantomimes are performed.
It might be added that cardboard figures can be made to stand up either by leaving a strip of cardboard at the bottom, in which teeth can be cut and bent alternately one way or the other, or by slipping the feet into grooves cut in little blocks of wood.
There are a great many cut-outs issued nowadays, which may be bought for a small sum at any toy shop. Perhaps the best among these are "The Mirthful Menagerie," "The Agile Acrobats" and "The Magic Changelings." "The Mirthful Menagerie" when properly cut out and pasted together, make a lot of animals that have thickness as well as length and height; "The Agile Acrobats" can be made to assume almost any position, and in "The Magic Changelings," Little Red Riding Hood, for instance, can be changed into the wolf, and then back again!
Books of cut-outs are also made, in which the books are intact after the cut-outs have been removed. "The New Mother Goose" gives illustrations of many of the Mother Goose rhymes to be cut out and pasted together, and has a story and other pictures besides. "The Electric Fire Fighters" is on the same order, only in this case the pictures [Pg 292] to be put together are of the Electric Fire-Engine, the Electric Water-Tower, etc. They are all easily made, and are fascinating games for stormy weather, or for indoor games at any time.
In China, and to some extent in Holland, kite-flying is not the pastime only of boys, but of grave men. And certainly grave men might do many more foolish things. To feel a kite pulling at your hands, to let out string and see it climb higher and higher and higher into the sky—this is a real joy. For good kite-flying you want plenty of room and a steady wind; hence a big field is the best place, unless you are at the seaside when there is a wind off the land, in which case you can fly your kite from the beach. To make an ordinary, serviceable kite, take two laths (which can be bought for a penny from any builder), one three feet long (AA in the picture) and the other two feet (BB). Screw BB with two screws exactly in the middle, at right angles to AA, at C, a foot from the top. Then take some stout twine of good quality and make the outline of the kite by tying it securely to the ends of each of the laths. Next take the thinnest unbleached calico you can find, stretch it fairly tightly, and sew it over the strings. (Or strong but light paper will do, pasted over the string.) Make a hole (D) through the upright lath and calico, midway between the cross-piece and the top, and another hole (E) about fifteen inches below the cross-piece, and tie a strong string, two and a half feet long, to these holes, with a loop (F) in it a foot from the top hole. To this loop you will tie the string of the kite. The tail (G) is made of pieces of paper about six inches long, rolled tightly and [Pg 293] tied at distances of a foot. Its exact length will depend on the strength of the wind and can be determined only by experience, but, roughly speaking, it should be five times the height of the kite, or, with the kite which we are making, fifteen feet long. It is best to have the tail in two or three pieces, and then it can be lengthened or shortened at will. For instance, if the kite plunges in the air and will not keep steady, the tail is not long enough; but if it will go up only a little way, the tail is probably too long. Be sure to have plenty of string, carefully wound, so that there will be no hitches in paying it out. When starting a kite you need the help of some one who will stand about thirty yards away, holding the kite against the wind, and throw it straight up when you have the line tight and give the signal. If it does not rise it may be well for you to run a few yards against the wind. At first you must not pay out line very rapidly, but when the kite is flying steadily you may give it, also steadily, all the string it wants.
A messenger is a piece of cardboard or paper with a good-sized hole in it, which you slip over the string when the kite is steady, and which is carried right up to the kite by the wind.
The following directions, with exact measurements, apply to one of the simplest home-made sailing-boats. Take a piece of soft straight-grained pine, which any carpenter or builder will let you have, one foot long, four inches wide, and two inches deep. On the top of the four-inch side draw an outline as in Fig. 1, in which you will be helped by first dividing the wood by the pencil line AB, exactly in the middle. Then turn the block over and divide the under four-inch side with a similar line, and placing the saw an eighth of an inch each side of this line, cut two incisions right along the wood about a quarter of an inch deep. The portion between these two incisions forms the keel. Then carry the line up the middle of the end A, and repeat the incisions as along the bottom, these making the boat's stem-post. Next turn to the top again, and make a line, similar to the dotted line CC in Fig. 1, about three-eighths of an inch inside the outline of the boat, and then carefully hollow out with a gouge everything inside this dotted line. It must be very carefully done; it is better, [Pg 296] indeed, to err on the side of not hollowing her out enough, and then a little more can be removed afterward. Next shape the outside, first with a saw and then with a chisel, again using the utmost care. Try to give her a fine bow, or "entry," and a good clean stern, or "run." If the boat were cut in two crossways in the middle, the section ought to resemble that in Fig. 2. This flat "floor" will be graduated away to nothing at bow and stern. Next fix on the lead keel (see K in Fig. 3), which should be a quarter of an inch thick, a quarter of an inch deep at the bow, and three-quarters at the stern, fastened on with four long thin screws. Next make the deck, which should not be more than an eighth of an inch thick and should fit very closely at the edges.
The mast (C), which should be about three-eighths of an inch in diameter at the foot, and should taper slightly, must stand one foot above the deck, and pass through the deck four [Pg 297] and a half inches from the bow. First pass it through the hole in the deck and place it in position, leaning a little back from the bows; then slip up the deck and mark the place in the bottom of the boat where the mast rests, and there fix, with four small brass screws, a block of wood with a hole in it, into which the mast can be firmly "stepped." Then on the upper side of the deck, just in front of the mast-hole, screw a small eyelet. This is to hold the line called the foresail sheet (L), but as the deck is only an eighth of an inch thick you must place a little block of wood under the deck, into which the eyelet can be screwed. Directly this is done, the deck is ready to be screwed firmly to the boat with brass screws. If you are in any doubt as to its being water-tight, you had better bore a hole in it and put a cork in, so that you can tip it up and empty it after each voyage.
The bowsprit (J), a quarter of an inch in diameter, should be three and a half inches long, two inches of which project beyond the bow. Screw it firmly to the boat. You have now to shape the boom (F) and gaff (D), which must have a fork at the end, as in Fig. 4, to embrace the mast, the ends of this fork being joined by string. The boom should be eight and a half inches long and three-eighths of an inch in [Pg 298] diameter, and the gaff five inches long and a quarter of an inch in diameter. The gaff is kept in position, about three inches from the mast-head, by the throat halyards and peak halyards, to which we now come. The peak halyards (H), throat halyards (G), and foresail halyards (F) should be of very fine fishing-line. After being tied respectively to the gaff and foresail, they pass through small holes in the mast, down to eyelets screwed into the bulwarks on each side of the mast.
The foresail sheet (L) and main sheet (M), which are some four inches long, are hitched to eyelets screwed into the deck amidships, one just in front of the mast, as already explained, and the other about two inches from the stern. The sails must be of thin calico, neatly hemmed round. Both sails should come to about three inches of the head of the mast. The foresail is fastened only to the tip of the bowsprit, the foresail halyards, and foresail sheet; the mainsail to the gaff, all along, and to each end of the boom.
Nothing has been said about a rudder, because a boat built and rigged in the manner described would balance herself, and so keep on any course on which she was laid. With a very little wind she ought to cross and recross a pond without any hitch, all that will be necessary being to let the sails have plenty of play, by loosening the foresail sheet and main sheet, and to give her a steady push.
To make a boat from a walnut shell, you scoop out the half shell and cut a piece of cardboard of a size to cover the top. Through the middle of this piece of cardboard you thrust a match, and then, dropping a little sealing-wax into the bottom of the shell, and putting some round the edge, you fix the match and the cardboard to it. A sail is made by cutting out a square of paper and fastening it to the match by [Pg 299] means of two holes; but the boat will swim much better without it.
Here it might be remarked that capital contests can be had with the empty halves of walnut shells. A plate is turned upside down, and the two fighters place their walnuts point to point is the middle. At the given word they begin to push, one against the other, by steady pressure of finger and thumb on the stern of the shell. The battle is over when the prow of one shell crashes through the prow of the other. This always happens sooner or later, but sometimes the battles are long and severe. At the end of each contest the number of shells defeated by the victor should be marked on it, and it should be carefully kept for the next conflict. At school we used to have tremendous excitement when two champions met, a walnut with a record of 520, for instance, and another with 700. The winner in such a battle as this would, of course, be numbered 1,221, because you always add not only your defeated adversary to your score, but all his victims too.
A sucker is a round piece of strong leather. Thread a piece of string through the middle, and knot the string at the end to prevent it being pulled through. Soak the sucker in water until it is soft, and then press it carefully over a big smooth stone, or anything else that is smooth, so that no air can get in. If you and the string are strong enough, the sucker will lift great weights.
The wish-bone of a goose makes a good skipjack. It should be cleaned and left for a day or two before using. Then take a piece of strong thin string, double it, and tie it [Pg 300] firmly to the two ends of the wish-bone, about an inch from the end on each side. Take a strip of wood a little shorter than the bone, and cut a notch round it about half an inch from one end. Then slip it half way between the double string, and twist the string round and round until the resistance becomes really strong. Then pull the stick through to the notch, into which the string will settle, and tie it at each side, so that it is not likely to slip either way. A little piece of cobblers' wax must be put on the bone on the other side to that where the stick naturally touches. Pull the stick right over to stick on the wax, and lay the skipjack, stick downward, on the ground. In a little while the wax will give way, and the wish-bone will spring high into the air.
The cut-water is best made of tin or lead, but stout cardboard or wood will serve the purpose. First cut the material into a round, and then make teeth in it like a saw. Thus:—Then bore two holes in it, as in the drawing, and thread strings through them, tying the strings at each end. Hold the [Pg 301] strings firmly, and twist them a little. Then, by pulling at them to untwist them, the cut-water will be put in motion, first one way, while they are being untwisted, and then the other, while they twist up again. If held just over a basin of water, the notches will send spray a great distance, but you must be careful to dip them only when the cut-water is revolving away from you, or you will be soaked.
With a sharp knife a very good whistle can be made of hazel or willow, cut in the spring or early summer. A piece of wood about three inches long should be used. Remember what an ordinary tin whistle is like, and cut the mouthpiece at a similar angle, and also cut a little nick out of the bark, in the place of the hole immediately beyond the mouthpiece in the metal instrument. Then cut all round the bark about an inch from the other end of the stick, hold the bark firmly with one hand clasped round it, and hold the inch at the opposite end firmly with the fingers of the other, and pull. The greater portion of bark should slide off quite easily. You will then have a tube of bark about two inches long, and a white stick about three inches long, with an inch of bark remaining on it. Cut from the mouthpiece end of this stick as much as exactly fits between the end and the little nick in the bark which you have already made. Shave the top until it is flat (just as in an ordinary whistle), and place it inside the bark again. Then cut off from the white part of the stick all but a quarter of an inch: fit this into the other end of the bark tube, and you ought to get a good shrill whistle. It will be better if you keep a pea inside.
Getting ready for Christmas is almost as good as Christmas itself. The decorations can be either natural or artificial or a mixture of both. In using evergreens for ropes, it is best to have a foundation of real cord of the required length, and tie the pieces of shrub and ivy to it, either with string or floral wire. This prevents any chance of its breaking. For a garland or any device of a definite shape, the foundation could be a stiffer wire, or laths of wood. Ivy chains are described on page 135.
The simplest form of paper chain is made of colored tissue paper and glue. You merely cut strips the size of the links and join them one by one.
For paper flowers, paper and tools are especially made. But for the purposes of home decoration ordinary tissue paper, wire, glue, and scissors will serve well enough.
Mottoes and good wishes can be lettered in cotton wool on a background of scarlet or other colored linen or lining paper. Scarlet is perhaps the most cheery. Or you can make more delicate letters by sewing holly berries on to a white background; and small green letters can be made by sewing box leaves on a white background. For larger green letters and also for bordering, holly leaves and laurel leaves are good. Cotton-wool makes the best snow.
In hanging things on the Christmas tree you have to be careful that nothing is placed immediately over a candle, nor should a branch of the tree itself be near enough to a candle [Pg 303] to catch fire. After all the things are taken off the tree there is no harm in its burning a little, because the smell of a burning Christmas tree is one of the best smells there is. To put presents of any value on the tree is perhaps a mistake, partly because they run a chance of being injured by fire or grease, and partly because they are heavy. The best things of all are candles, as many as possible, and silver balls which reflect. On the top there should, of course, be either a Father Christmas, or a Christ child, as the Germans, who understand Christmas trees even better than we do, always have. For lighting the candles a long taper is useful, and for putting them out, an extinguisher tied to a stick.
Bran-tubs or Jack Horner Pies are not so common as they used to be, but there is no better way of giving your guests presents at random. As many presents as there are children are wrapped up in paper and hidden in a tub filled with bran. This is placed on a dust-sheet, and the visitors dip their bands in and pull out each a parcel. The objection to the bran-tub is that boys sometimes draw out things more suitable for girls. This difficulty could be got over by having two tubs, one for girls and one for boys. Sometimes the ribbon of each parcel is long and falls over the edge of the dish. The boys take one color ribbon, and the girls the other, and all pull at the same time.
Two games with nuts and cherries may as well go at the end of this section as anywhere else. Almonds sometimes contain double kernels. These are called Philopenas, and you must never waste them by eating both yourself, but find some one to share them with. There are several ways of playing. [Pg 304] One is "Yes or No," in which the one who first says either "yes" or "no" must pay a forfeit to the other. Another is "Give and Take," in which the one that first takes something that the other hands him is the loser. Or whichever of you first says to the other "Good morning, Philopena," on the following day, or the next time you meet, wins a present. Or this is sometimes played that whoever first answers a question put to him by the other must pay a forfeit. Of course this makes great fun in trying to invent and evade plausible questions.
Cherry-eating races can be very exciting. The players stand in a row with their hands behind them, and a number of long-stalked cherries are chosen from the basket and placed by the tip of the stalk between their teeth. At the word of command the players begin their efforts to draw the cherry up by the stalk into their mouths. All heads must be held down.
For making candy you will need an enamel or earthenware saucepan; a long wooden spoon; one or two old soup-plates or dishes; a bowl, if there is any mixing to be done; a cup of cold water for testing; a silver knife; and, if you are not cooking in the kitchen, a piece of oil-cloth or several thicknesses of brown paper to lay on the table.
Butter the dish into which the candy is to be poured before you begin to cook. To do this put a little piece of butter on a piece of clean soft paper and rub it all over the dish.
Always stir round the edge as well as the middle of the saucepan. Stir slowly but continually, for candy burns very quickly if left alone.
The flavoring should be added just before taking the saucepan off the fire.
To find out if your taffy or candy has boiled long enough, drop a little in the cup of cold water. If it at once becomes crisp and hard, it is done.
Before your candy is quite cold, mark it with a silver knife into squares. This will make it break up more easily and neatly when cold.
Dissolve the sugar in the water, and add the well-beaten white of an egg (this must be done before the mixture is heated). Then put on the fire in a strong saucepan. Remove all scum as it rises, and when the syrup begins to look clear, [Pg 308] take off the fire and strain through muslin. Put the syrup back into the saucepan and let it boil quickly until you find by testing it that it is done. Then add the juice of the lemon and pour on to a buttered dish. Before the mixture sets cut it into strips and twist.
Boil all together for half an hour, stirring continually.
Cocoanut caramels are made in the same way, except that 1 oz. of grated or desiccated cocoanut is used instead of the chocolate.
Melt the sugar with as little water as possible. Continue to let it boil gently until the syrup begins to return to sugar again. Directly this happens put in the cocoanut and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a flat dish or tin.
Put the sugar, cocoanut-milk, and butter into a saucepan. When they boil, add the cocoanut gradually. Boil for ten minutes, stirring all the time. Pour the mixture into a basin and beat till nearly cold, then turn out into a dish.
Mix well together and bake in drops on buttered paper for fifteen minutes.
Melt the sugar with a very little water, and when boiling add the butter and Nestlé's milk. Stir continually, as the mixture burns very easily, for fifteen minutes. Try in water to see if it will set. Add the vanilla, pour into a dish, and beat until nearly cold.
One ounce of cocoanut or 2 of grated chocolate can be used instead of vanilla to flavor the above.
Put the sugar in a saucepan and let it heat slowly. Then boil rapidly five minutes; add grated cocoanut, and boil ten minutes. Stir constantly. Put a little on a cold plate, and if it makes a firm paste, take from fire. Pour part of it into a large tin lined with greased paper; and add to what remains in the saucepan, chopped blanched almonds, candied cherries, nuts, etc. Pour this over the other cream, and cut in bars.
The corn has to be "popped" over a clear fire in a little iron basket with a long handle. The corn is put in the basket and shaken continually, and in time each grain pops suddenly and becomes a little irregular white ball. These can be eaten with salt, or rolled in a sweet syrup (colored and flavored as you like it best) made of 1/2 lb. of white sugar boiled for ten minutes with a very little water.
Stir until done.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, and then add the sugar, syrup, and ginger. Stir continually, adding a little lemon juice every now and then. Boil for ten minutes, and then test in cold water.
Two ounces of blanched and split almonds can be added to the above. The almonds should either be mixed with the toffee just before taking it off the fire, or else a well-buttered dish should be lined with them and the toffee poured over.
To blanch almonds, put them in a bowl and cover them with boiling water. Put a saucer over the bowl to keep the steam in, and leave for about three minutes. Then take out the almonds one by one and rub off their brown skins between your fingers.
Boil the water and sugar together very gently until the sugar is melted. Then add the butter and boil all together for half an hour.
Boil all together for half an hour.
Boil everything, except the nuts, for twenty minutes, [Pg 311] stirring all the time. Test, and if done, add the nuts. Stir them in thoroughly and pour off into a dish.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the sugar. Boil from ten to fifteen minutes and then add the nuts. Walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, or peanuts (which have been baked) may be used.
Boil the butter and syrup very gently until the mixture hardens when tested in water. Add the peppermint and pour into well-buttered dishes.
Very dainty and good sweets can be made without cooking at all. All that is necessary is to have a certain amount of cream with which to stuff or surround stoned dates, cherries, and French plums, or walnuts and almonds.
The cream is made in this way. Put the white of an egg and one tablespoonful of water into a bowl, and into this stir gradually 1 lb. of confectioner's sugar (confectioner's sugar or "icing" is the only kind that will do), working it very smooth with a spoon. This will make a stiff paste, which can be moulded into whatever shape you please. The cream can then be divided into different portions, and each portion flavored as you like best. A few drops of vanilla or lemon juice, a little grated cocoanut or chocolate, or some pounded almonds, make excellent flavorings. Part of it can be colored pink with cochineal, or green with spinach-coloring.
[Pg 312] When this is done, stone some dates, French plums, or raisins, or blanch some almonds and slit them in two, or have ready a number of the dried walnuts which can be bought at any grocer's. Only the perfect halves must be used. Form some of the cream into little balls and put it between two walnut halves or two almond halves, or stuff the other fruit with it. Trim all the sweets very neatly with a knife and roll them in granulated sugar. This is prettier when it has been colored pink or green, but there is no necessity to do so.
To color the sugar, mix about 1 oz. with a few drops of green or pink coloring; dry it thoroughly, and, if the grains are not quite free, put the sugar between some paper and roll it, or crush with an iron.
Another richer mixture for filling dates, etc., can be made as follows:—Mix 1/2 lb. of ground almonds with 1 oz. of ground pistachios. Beat the whites of 3 eggs to a stiff froth and add the almonds and 1/2 lb. of confectioner's sugar. Color with green. Almonds can be bought already ground.
Although young America is growing more and more fond of out of doors, the lovely old occupation of gardening is less a favorite than formerly: and this is a great pity, for if one loves flowers, nothing so repays labor as gardening. Nor is it necessary to have a large tract of ground to cultivate. Indeed a tiny piece, well tended, is both more interesting and more successful. A corner of a city back-yard—even a window-box can be a source of never-failing entertainment; although of course a little plot of rich earth in one part of a lawn or country garden, lends itself to greater and more extensive plans. The important thing about growing plants is to like to do it. If you are impatient of routine and neglectful you should not be intrusted with plants any more than with animal pets, for they are both entirely dependent on your care.
It is your business, as a gardener, to know everything you can about your flowers. A gardener should be able to recognize seeds as well as seedlings; to know what treatment each flower likes best; and to exercise a special care for tender plants which need protection until there is no longer any danger of frost. The beauty of a flower depends very much upon its content. Many flowers need particular soils; some need dry soil, some moisture, some shade, and some sun; and the gardener, who is a kind of mother to the flowers, will have to remember all those things. In return, the flowers, [Pg 316] which have a real sense of gratitude to those who care for them tenderly, will do their best to grow beautiful.
It is best to begin with a few flowers and to learn all that one can about these. Annuals will scarcely ever fail if carefully sown in good soil. In making your choice, choose so that you will have flowers from spring to autumn. Perennial plants are the most satisfactory of all to grow; for once planted they need only a very little attention and increase in size each year. Bulbs produce some of the most beautiful flowers and are very easy to grow. But great care must be taken not to dig into them after their blossoms have died down.
Besides those flowers for the growing of which directions are hereafter given there are many tender ones which must be raised in frames. This is a part of gardening which can well be left until later and upon which instructions can be found in any more advanced book on horticulture.
In arranging a garden, select flowers which will keep it full of blossom from May to October, and remember when planting and sowing that some colors are more beautiful together than others. The color arrangement of a garden is always difficult, but one must learn by experience. Scarlet and crimson, crimson and blue, should not be put together, and magenta-colored flowers are never satisfactory. Whites and yellows, and whites and blues, are always suitable together, and for the rest you must please yourself.
A good catalogue gives illustrations of most flowers, and in many cases its cultural directions are very helpful. As an extension of the notes that follow nothing could be more useful than two or three catalogues issued by good growers.
It is a good thing for a gardener to keep a diary. At the beginning of the book he would make a plan of the garden, to scale: that is to say, allowing one inch, or more, in the plan for every foot of bed. In this plan would be marked the position of the bulbs and perennial plants. The diary would take note of everything that happened in the garden. The sowing of seeds would be recorded; also when the seedlings first appear; when they are thinned out, and when they blossom: in fact, everything to do with the life of the plants. A little collection of drawings of seedlings would be of great use in helping to distinguish them another year. At the end of the book might be written the names of any plants that the owner would like to have, or any special information about the culture of a plant, or the description of some arrangement which had been admired in another garden.
Where several children have gardens in the same big garden, or the same neighborhood, a flower-show is very interesting to hold now and then. To do this it is needful first to find some one willing to act as judge, and—if agreeable—to give several small prizes in addition to certificates of merit. The different things for which prizes are offered will depend, of course, upon what the competitors can grow. There might be prizes for different flowers, for collections of flowers, and for lettuces or radishes, if there are enough competitors who grow such things. But the most important prize would go perhaps to the owner of the best-kept garden. Another for the best arrangement of bunches of flowers, garden and wild, might lead to some very pretty bouquets.
For simple gardening the following tools are needed:—spade, trowel, hoe, rake, watering-can with a fine rose, syringe. They should all be strong and good. Besides these tools you will need either wooden labels or other home-made means of marking seeds, some strong sticks to use as supports for tall-growing plants, and tape to tie them up with. A pair of gloves—any old ones will do—is very necessary.
Plants should never be watered when the sun is shining on them. Early morning in spring, and late afternoon or early evening in summer, is the best time. It is best to water with water which has had the chill taken from it by standing in the sun or in the house. In watering seedlings and tiny plants, keep the rose on your watering-can; but with big plants it is better to take off the rose and pour the water gently, waiting every now and then for it to sink in round their roots. If the ground is very dry and baked, break up the surface of it round the plants with a rake, or push a fork carefully into the earth. This will help the water to sink in.
Water very regularly during hot and dry weather. It is very hard on your plants to give them a splendid drink one day and to forget all about them for a week.
Ferns should have a gentle spray bath every afternoon if you want to keep them fresh and green, and all leaves look the brighter for a shower from your watering-can.
Perennial plants, annuals, and rose-trees will greatly benefit if watered with slop-water while they are flowering.
If your garden is very small, but is against a sunny wall, the growing room can be increased by fixing a number of [Pg 319] pockets, made of wood or of flower-pots, against the wall. These should be filled with good soil, and in them wallflowers, pinks, bulbs of different kinds, Wandering Jew, and some varieties of wild-flowers, etc., can be planted.
The first thing to do when a plot has been given to you, is to mark it off clearly with a border. There are several ways of doing this. Gardens are sometimes bordered with escallop shells, which are neat enough but seem rather out of place among flowers. Tiles make another tidy artificial border; but the best is made of natural rough stones from six to twelve inches long. These stones, which should be sunk into a groove, are soon covered with patches of green moss, and if between their irregular ends you drop a few seeds of low growing annuals, such as candytuft; or plant little pieces of thyme, blue forget-me-not, or any kind of rockfoil or stonecrop, the border will become one of the prettiest things in the garden. If you prefer a growing boundary, a very nice stiff little hedge can be made by sowing endive in a line all round the garden, and, after allowing it to run to seed, cutting and trimming it. But of course there is no natural border to compare with box; but to get a good box hedge is a tedious matter.
The seeds of all annuals can be sown from March until June according to the locality. Any one in the neighborhood who has gardened for some years can tell you when to plant better than any catalogue. The seeds of favorite flowers should be sown several times at intervals of a fortnight, so that you may have a succession of them through summer and autumn.
Before sowing any seeds, see that the soil is nicely broken up, and remove any stones.
When you have decided where to sow the different seeds, take away a little earth from each place and sow the seeds very thinly—remembering that each plant must be from four inches to twelve inches apart; cover lightly with the earth you took out and press it down firmly with your trowel. Then mark the place with little pieces of white wood, on which the names of the seeds have been written with an indelible pencil. It is much easier to sow the tiny seeds thinly if you first mix them with a little sand. These must be only just covered by a very fine sprinkling of earth; but sweet-pea and nasturtium must be sown deeper.
Begin to thin out the seedlings very soon after they appear, and be very careful not to pull up too many. It is easiest to thin out when the soil is wet. When the seedlings are two inches high only those which you wish to keep should be left in. It is not very easy to say exactly how much room to leave the different plants, but plants which will be six inches high should be about three inches apart; those which will be one foot high about six inches, and so on. Godetia, nasturtium, love-in-a-mist, sweet-pea, cornflower, and larkspur seedlings can be transplanted when about two inches high, if you find you want them where they have not been sown. To do this water the ground well first, and then pull the seedlings out so gently that none of their tiny fibrous roots are snapped; and, if possible, bring away a little earth with each. Re-plant them as quickly as you can, making for each a little hole big enough for the roots to spread out in. Hold the seedling in position, and fill in with very moist earth; or else, [Pg 321] after you have made the hole, fill it up with water, then put back some of the earth and stir it up into a sort of paste, and put the seedling in this, filling up the hole with the rest of the earth. Seedlings that have been transplanted must be kept moist until they have taken a good start, and if possible they should be shaded with a branch of evergreen, for they droop very quickly in the heat.
All seedlings must be watered gently and often. If you notice how quickly the sun dries the surface of the ground, you will see how necessary it is to keep the ground moist until the roots get bigger and go down deep into the earth.
It is most important to know what the baby-plants will look like when they come up, because one has to weed hard in the warm showery weather, and if one is not careful, mignonette, sweet-peas, and poppies may go on the rubbish heap, and chickweed and purseley be left on the flower-bed; which, although it is what the birds like, will, later, be very disheartening to you. Of course, if your seeds are well marked, there will be less difficulty, but even then weeds will come up amongst them. The only safe way is to get to know the appearance of all the seedlings, and to help you to remember it is a good thing to make little drawings of them in your garden note-book.
Some seeds, such as cornflowers, godetias, and poppies, can be sown in the autumn. They will stand the winter as a rule and will make finer plants and blossom earlier than if sown in spring. They should be sown thinly in open ground.
Any good catalogue will give you a list of annuals suitable [Pg 322] for your purposes and with a little advice from an older gardener you will have no difficulty in selecting wisely.
These are best sown in May. If the garden is full they may be sown in an ordinary wooden box filled with several inches of good earth. Transplant them to their permanent places later on.
Remember that all plants will flower for a much longer time if the flowers are kept cut and any faded ones taken off.
The best seed is saved from plants set apart for that purpose; for good seed comes from the first and finest flowers and not from those left over at the end of the flowering season. These plants should be sown in a little patch by themselves, should be allowed to run to seed, and carefully tended until the seed-pods are ripe enough to be gathered. If, therefore, you have not a large garden, it is best to buy most of your seed each year, using a little of your own, from which, however, you must not always expect the finest flowers. If you have no wish to keep any of your flowers merely for seeding purposes but still want, while getting flowers from them, also to save a few seeds, the thing to do is to mark one or two of the finest blossoms with a tiny piece of wool or silk (it is better when it is the color of the flower) and let it go to seed. Take special care of the plant, and cut off all other flowers as you wish to gather them. Watch the seed-pods when they are formed, and when they are ripe—that is, brown and dry—cut them off, break them open, and spread the seeds out. Look them over very carefully to see that there are no maggots amongst them, and if they are at all damp leave them in a warm place until they are dry. Then make them up in little [Pg 323] packets, clearly labeled with their names, colors, and the date, and put them away in a dry place until next spring. In saving sunflower seeds choose your best sunflower, and when the petals have fallen tie it up in muslin, or else the birds will steal a march on you. In gathering sweet-pea pods one has to be rather clever, because when they are quite ripe they burst open and the seeds fly out suddenly, sometimes just as one is going to cut them. In one poppy pod there are hundreds of seeds, enough to stock a garden, and the same is the case with the pretty pods of love-in-a-mist. Nasturtium seeds should be picked up when they fall on the ground, and spread out until quite brown and dry. Cornflowers, which have little seeds like shaving-brushes, generally sow themselves, and marigolds do too, but they are both easy to save. In choosing a place in which to keep seeds through the winter remember that damp is not the only danger. Mice enjoy them thoroughly.
Perennials are plants which, although they die down in winter, come up again and blossom every following spring or summer. They can be grown from seed, but, with a few exceptions, this is a long and troublesome part of gardening, and it is best to get them from friends or from a nurseryman.
The best months for planting perennials are November, February, and March. Dig a hole large enough to take the roots when well spread out, hold your plant in position, with the junction of stem and root just below the level of the earth, and fill in gently with fine soil, pressing it down firmly all round the plant, and if there is danger of frost protect the plants with straw, bracken, or a mulching of manure. Never water if there is any likelihood of frost.
[Pg 324] Here follow some general remarks concerning the treatment of perennials through the spring, summer, and autumn:—
In the spring, slugs, which eat the tender new leaves of many plants, can be kept away by sprinkling coal-ash around them.
In hot weather, water perennials regularly and well, breaking up earth around them so that the water sinks in easily.
All tall-growing perennials will need stakes to support them. Care must be taken not to injure the roots when putting these in. The stalks can be tied with twine.
Perennials can be divided if they grow too large. With summer-flowering plants this should be done in October or November, and with spring-flowering plants in June. In dividing you simply dig up the plant and break off as much of it as you want, being careful not to injure the roots. As, however, there are many plants which, to be divided, must be cut, and as this is an operation which requires some skill and knowledge, it would perhaps be better to take advice.
Snapdragon, wallflower, pansies, and hollyhocks are very easily grown from seed. They can be sown in June (wallflowers are best sown in April) in boxes, and thinned out and transplanted to permanent places as soon as they are large enough. They will blossom the following year.
Seedlings of most perennials can be bought for a few cents a dozen. They should be planted as quickly as possible and watered well, and they will flower the following year.
Consult a good nurseryman's catalogue for a list of hardy perennials, as for the annuals.
A garden that is planted only with bulbs, or with bulbs and a few ferns, can be kept beautiful all the year round. Many of our loveliest flowers come from bulbs, and they are easy to grow and interesting to watch from the moment that the first leaf-tips push through the earth until they die down. The position of all bulbs should be very carefully marked on the beds and in your garden-plan, so that you will not cut or injure them when digging your garden over.
The first bulbs to come—through the snow sometimes—are the snowdrops, single and double, crocuses—yellow, purple, lilac, and striped—and then the tiny bright blue squills; and a little later the yellow daffodil and white narcissus, hyacinths, and tulips of every kind. Then white, red, and purple anemones, ranunculi, and wax-like Stars of Bethlehem. In June there are wonderful irises and tall spikes of summer-flowering gladiolus—red and white—and later still the tall garden lilies. There are many of these lilies, and all of them are exceedingly beautiful. Two kinds should be in all gardens—the white Madonna lily, and the orange tiger lily. All the bulbs that have been mentioned cost very little and can be grown very simply. And all bulbs that have been mentioned can remain untouched for many years unless they exhaust the soil around them (when, instead of increasing as they should each year, the plants become poorer and smaller).
Never move a bulb when it is in active growth: after the leaves have died down is the right time.
[Pg 326] Leaf-mould mixed with your garden soil will help to give you fine flowers.
If the leaves of the bulbs are attacked by slugs, as they often are, sprinkle a little wood-ash all around them.
For planting bulbs choose a day when the earth is dry, and make your holes with a trowel. If you want to make a clump of bulb-plants, take away the earth to the right depth from the whole area you wish to fill, place your bulbs in position, points upward, and cover over, pressing the earth firmly down.
In planting a bulb in a hole made for it by a trowel, be very careful to see that it is resting on earth, and is not "hung," that is to say, kept from touching the earth underneath because of the narrowness of the hole.
All bulbs may be protected during the winter by laying hay or straw over them. This must be neatly pegged down, and removed in March.
Never cut all the leaves of plants growing from bulbs, but allow those that are unpicked to die down naturally. If they look very untidy, as the leaves of the Star of Bethlehem always do, tie them up tightly. Seeds of annuals can always be sown among bulbs, and they will hide dying leaves and fill up the places that are left vacant.
"Shades" are subterranean gardens: holes in the ground, some eighteen inches deep and about a foot square (or larger), the sides of which are covered with moss and little ferns. At the bottom you can sink a pot or a tin, which must always be kept filled with water. It is more interesting if a toad [Pg 327] or a frog lives there. Over the hole stands a shade made of glass and wood, which, together with the water, keeps it cool and moist.
If you want to grow other things besides flowers, lettuces, radishes, and mustard and cress are interesting to raise. Strawberries, too, are easy to cultivate, but they need some patience, as the first year's growth brings very few berries. In sowing the seeds of lettuce, radish, and mustard and cress, follow directions given for sowing flower seeds on page 320. If you want to grow even the few things mentioned, which need only very simple culture, the soil of the garden must be good.
Sow a few seeds of lettuce very thinly in a line once every three weeks. When the seedlings, which should be protected from birds by netting, are three inches high, thin them out, leaving one foot between each plant. The seedlings that are pulled up can be transplanted or eaten. Transplanted lettuces should be shaded during hot weather and given plenty of water. During dry and hot weather you may water lettuces every day.
Sow a few radish seeds thinly once every three weeks, and cover very lightly with earth. These seedlings also must be protected by netting from birds, and must have plenty of water, or the radishes will become stringy and poor. In summer sow in a shady place.
Mustard and cress seed can be sown at any time and is almost sure to be successful. In very hot weather sow in the [Pg 328] shade, or protect from the sun in the middle of the day. The cress should always be sown three days before the mustard. It is a favorite device to sow one's name in mustard and cress. For other ways of treating it, see page 332.
Plant strawberries carefully in August or September. Dig a hole for each plant and spread the roots well out. Hold the plant while filling in the earth, so that that part of it where root and stem join comes just below the soil. Each plant should be eighteen inches from its neighbor. Cut off all runners—that is, the long weedy stems which the plants throw out in spring, and water well if the weather is dry. Protect the strawberries from birds, and watch very carefully for slugs, which are greedy strawberry-eaters. When the fruit begins to form, lay some straw on the earth under and between the plants. This will keep the berries clean.
So far, we have been speaking of gardens in the country, or, at any rate, not among houses. There are many more difficulties to contend with in town gardening; there is more uncertainty, and often less reward for the greatest care, than in country gardening; but the flowers that do grow seem so sweet between dull walls and under smoky chimneys, that one can forget how much more luxuriant they could be in other circumstances.
The following list of annuals, perennials, and bulbs which grow well in the heart of towns, though it is not complete, contains enough plants to fill a garden:—
In addition to the plants mentioned above, hardy ferns grow well, and so do lilies of the valley, and stonecrops and saxifrages. Wandering Jew will also thrive, and the canary creeper grows as well in town as in the country.
In summer, geraniums, fuchsias, heliotrope—which must be well watered—pansies, lemon verbena, and scented geraniums, can be planted out.
Roses do not do very well in towns; but hardy ones will grow quite enough flowers to make the possession of them a great delight.
A window full of flowers and green plants makes all the difference to a room. There are always certain difficulties about growing plants in a room; but these may, however, be partly overcome. One is the great change of temperature between day and night in winter; another is the very evil effect of gas on plants; and a third is the presence of dust. The difference of temperature is met to a great extent by taking the flowers away from the window at night and putting them in the middle of the room. This is specially necessary when there is any danger of frost. If gas is burned in the room where plants are all day, it is wise at evening to take the trouble to move them into another room, for nothing injures them more. As to dust, ferns and plants which have [Pg 330] smooth leaves should be gently sponged with warm water once a week, or else the pores will be so choked that the plants will not be able to breathe. Those plants which cannot be sponged, such as fine-leafed ferns, geraniums, etc., should be gently sprayed occasionally, or, in warm weather, placed out-of-doors during a soft shower. When a room is being cleaned, the plants should either be taken away or covered with soft paper.
The window chosen for your plants should be a sunny one and as draughtless as may be. It should not be opened unless the day is very mild. One thing to remember is that wherever the plants are they should have as much sun, as equal a temperature, and as little draught as possible.
No exact rule can be given for watering; but it should be noted that water ought never to be allowed to stand in the saucers. In winter, one good watering a week with lukewarm water, applied in the morning, will be sufficient. In spring, when the plant is more active, more water will be needed, and in summer constant attention must be given to watering. Remember, that not only the surface but the whole soil needs moistening.
In spring time, if the plants seem to have outgrown their pots, or if they are not thriving well, re-pot them in larger pots with the best earth you can get. Water well after re-potting.
Turn the plants round every day, as the sun always draws them toward it.
A list follows of suitable plants to be grown indoors. Green plants are mentioned first.
Aspidistra.—Of all green plants the aspidistra is the best to grow indoors. (This plant indeed is so hardy that it will stand not only draught but even a certain amount of gas.) Its smooth, beautiful leaves should be carefully sponged every week.
India-rubber Plant.—The india-rubber plant is a very handsome, smooth, bright-leaved plant. It should not be given too much water.
Ferns.—Several hardy ferns grow well in a window. The maidenhair is very beautiful while it lasts, but it is a poor thing the second year unless it can be put into a greenhouse and cared for.
Ivy.—Small-leaved variegated ivy will grow under almost any conditions. Its leaves should be kept clean. If grown up a small trellis it is very pretty.
Japanese Fern Balls.—In February and March one can buy Japanese fern balls. The balls have to be soaked for two or three hours in water (rainwater if possible) and then drained and hung up in a window where there is not too much sun. They should be watered three times a week. Gradually the delicate ferns will grow and unfold until the whole ball is a mass of green. In November they should be put away in a cool dark place until the following February, when they can be started again.
Miniature Trees.—Fine little trees can be grown from chestnuts, beechnuts, acorns, and hazel-nuts. Collect the nuts as they fall and leave them in a dark place, until about two weeks before Christmas, when you lay them in bowls full of wet moss or in pots filled with earth, and put them in a warm dark place near hot pipes, or in a warm cupboard. This [Pg 332] warmth will start the root growth. When the root is two inches long, fill a bowl with moss or pebbles, lay the nuts on the top so that they are only half covered, with the roots downward, and keep in a room where they will have plenty of light. Water frequently but do not let much water stand in the bowl.
Wheat or Canary Seed.—Wheat or canary seed can be sown in any kind of dish, the bottom of which is covered with wet moss. Sow the seed thickly and then keep the dish in a dark cupboard until the seedlings are about two inches high. Then place it in a sunny window. The seed, which will take about three weeks to grow, makes a beautiful patch of clear light green in a room. Keep the moss wet.
Mustard and Cress can be sown in pots or on pieces of wet flannel.
Campanulas.—Blue and white campanulas are grown in almost every cottage window, and they are very beautiful and graceful. They can be grown in pots, but are prettiest in baskets from which to hang down.
Fuchsias and Geraniums.—Both fuchsias and geraniums are gay and delightful plants for a room. Good kinds should be bought in early summer and well watered. In winter the plants should be kept in a cool dark place, until with the coming of spring they begin to grow again. Both can very easily be increased by cuttings. To do this take off a shoot of about four inches long, cutting it off just below a joint. Then pull off the leaves just above the joint and put it into some earth in a sunny corner and water it well. In about a month roots will have formed and it can then be potted.
Bulbs.—Bulbs, such as tulips, iris, daffodils, crocuses, scillas, and snowdrops, can be grown in pots or deep earthenware saucers that have been filled with cocoanut fibre. This can be bought at any florist's. A little shell, shingle, or sand, [Pg 333] can be mixed with the fibre, and a piece of charcoal should be put at the bottom of the pot to keep it sweet. The bulbs need only to be covered with a thin layer of damp fibre. Water regularly, as they must never get dry. If your pot has no drainage hole it is a good thing a little while after watering to turn it gently on one side so that any water which has not been soaked up by the fibre can run off.
Bulbs can also be grown indoors in earth. Plant them in October just below the soil, and keep them in a cool dark place until they have made a little growth. Then bring to a sunny window. Horsfieldii narcissus, polyanthus-flowered narcissus, and yellow jonquils, grow well, and so do tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses. In a sunny window the Scarborough lily (Vallota purpurea) can be grown. It is a very gorgeous and imposing red flower which blossoms in August and September. It should be planted in autumn and plenty of room allowed for its roots.
The Good-Luck Lily, which is a strong and beautiful polyanthus narcissus, can be grown in bowls filled with pebbles and water. Fill the bowl almost to the top with clean pebbles (which can be brought from the seashore), and among them plant the bulbs and fill up with water which must be added to as it evaporates. Among the pebbles put two or three pieces of charcoal.
Hyacinths and daffodils can also be grown in glasses filled with water, either glasses sold for the purpose, or any kind into the necks of which the bulbs will fit. The bulb should be placed in the glass in October, and should not quite touch the water. Use good fresh water and put a little piece of charcoal in the glass. Change the water once a week. In warm sunny weather the hyacinths can be put out of doors for a little while every day.
One cannot grow very many things in a window box, but it is most interesting to grow a few. In a town it is often all the garden that many people possess.
The length of a window-box will depend on the size of the window. Its depth should be ten inches at least. At the bottom of the box some cinders or other rough material should be put, and then it should be filled up with the best earth you can get. And because of the difference it makes to the growth of your flowers it is worth while to take a great deal of trouble in getting good, rich mould. The earth may be kept level, or heaped up at one or both ends, and a few stones added to make a tiny rockery, in which you can grow small saxifrages and other rock plants.
Nasturtiums and canary creeper can climb up a little trellis made of sticks at each end of the box, or they can cling to strings fixed to the box and nailed high up at the side of the window. Wandering Jew or ivy-leaved geranium will fall over the front of the box and make it look very gay. Bulbs, such as winter aconite, squills, snowdrops, a few daffodils, tulips and irises, will grow well in boxes. These should be planted rather deep. Then primroses and forget-me-nots can be planted, and in May a border of lobelia, one or two geraniums, pansies, fuchsias, a plant of lemon verbena, and some musk. Mignonette, Virginia stock, collinsia, should be sown in spring in little patches or lines.
Keep the leaves of all the plants as clean as possible by gentle watering with a rose. Never let the earth get dry from neglect, or sodden from too much watering; yet water well, for driblets only affect the surface, and it is the roots far down in the box that need moisture.
It is best, if possible, to pick flowers the day before you want to send them off. Pick them in the afternoon, sort them and bunch them up, and then stand them in water right up to their heads, and keep them there over night. A basin is the best thing to put the flowers in, unless the stalks are very long, and a jam-pot or two in the water will help to keep them from tumbling over and drifting about. Be very careful that the blooms do not touch the water. Keep the flowers in water until you are ready to pack them. Tin boxes are best to send flowers away in; but generally one has to use cardboard ones. Choose the strongest you can find and line it with two sheets of paper, one across and one long ways, and each long enough to fold over when it is full. Then line again with some big cool leaves or moss. Dry the flowers and pack them as tightly as possible, taking great care not to crush the petals. Cover them with a few more leaves and fold the paper over. Then wrap up the box, remembering to write the address on a label tied at one end of the box, so that the postmark will not be stamped on the box itself and perhaps break it.
When you are picking flowers to send away, never pick old ones. Buds are best generally, especially in the case of poppies; but they should be buds just on the point of opening. Always use scissors to cut flowers with. A very slight tug at a little plant in dry weather pulls its roots out of the ground. Cut the flowers with long stems and with some of their green leaves, and at the top of the box that you are sending away it is pleasant always to put something which smells very sweetly—lemon verbena, or mignonette—for that first sweet scent is one of the very best things about receiving a present of this kind.
When flowers are sent to you, each stem should be cut with a slanting cut before you put it in water. Flowers with very thick or milky stems should be slit up about half an inch, and woody stems are best peeled for an inch or two. Put the flowers deep into water that has had the chill taken off it. Always put flowers in water as quickly as possible after they are picked. Change the water every day, and recut the stems if they look at all brown or dry.
In no case do the following hints as to the care and character of pets go so far as they might. But they lay down broadly the most useful rules. In cases where a dog or bird is really ill, and ordinary remedies and treatment do not help, the advice of some one who knows should be asked. It is because all children are in touch with some one who knows, that this chapter is not longer. The aim of the writer of most of the notes which follow has been to describe those creatures which are most commonly kept as pets, with a few suggestions as to their care in ordinary health.
All dogs need plenty of exercise; indeed it is scarcely possible to give them too much when once they are over six months of age. After twelve months they can follow a horse, but a bicycle as a rule is too fast for a dog, and the excessive exertion is likely to make them ill. Plenty of fresh air and freedom are necessary, and your dog should never be chained except at night, when he should have a snug bed away from any draught. The house is the best place for a dog to sleep, but should he live in a kennel it must be a roomy one, filled two or three times a week with clean straw and raised from the ground about six inches so that it will keep dry. Kennels with runs in front are the best, as then the dog need never be chained. In these there should be a wooden bench for him to lie on, sheltered by a sloping roof. An earthenware trough of clean water he must always have, and most dogs will do best if they are fed twice a day: a light [Pg 340] breakfast of biscuit or brown bread and a good dinner of scraps or dog-biscuit soaked in gravy with vegetables and plenty of rice. A rounded leather collar is best for dogs with long hair, as it does not show so much or spoil the coat, but for smooth-coated dogs a flat plain collar is best.
Dogs should not be washed very often, nor will this be necessary if they are well brushed every day. A stable dandy-brush is best for short-coated dogs, and a hard hair-brush, or one of those with metal bristles, which can be bought in most saddlers' shops, for long-coated ones.
Common yellow soap and soft thick towels should be used when your dog really needs a bath. Have a pailful of warm water, a pitcher to dip it up with, a piece of mild yellow soap, and a pail of cold water. Pour a little warm water over the dog, beginning with his back, shoulders, and sides, and finish with his head, rubbing the soap into a lather all over him at the same time. Be careful not to let any water into his ears, or soap into his eyes. Next rinse the soap well out of his coat with the warm water, beginning with the head. Then pour the cold water all over him and let him shake himself well. Rub him dry with towels and give him a run on grass. Big dogs must be washed in a yard, but you can put a little one in the tub indoors. All dogs are better for something to eat after a bath. To swimmers a plunge in a pond or river is good exercise and a tonic; but dogs should not be thrown in.
Puppies at first need feeding five times a day. At four months old four meals will do. At twelve months they settle down into grown-up dogs, and the two meals are sufficient. [Pg 341] Do not feed them later than six o'clock, and always give them a walk after their last meal. A few dry dog-biscuits when they go to bed will do no harm, and a large mutton or beef bone now and then will do them good, but small bones are very dangerous, as they splinter and may kill or seriously injure the dog.
Young dogs are almost sure to have distemper, and if a puppy about six or eight months old is depressed and quiet, and his eyes look inflamed, you should put him away by himself at once, sew him up in thick warm flannel, bathe his eyes with cold tea, and attend very carefully to his diet. It will be difficult to make him eat, but you must coax him and even pour strong beef-tea or milk down his throat, for if he does not eat he will have no strength to fight the disease. Tripe is the best food for him if he will take it, but try everything to tempt him, and give him as much as he will take. When you take your patient for a walk (and he will need exercise) do not take him where he may meet other dogs, for distemper is very infectious. Put an extra coat over him, wrapping it well round his throat and chest. Distemper is a fever, and the risk of chill is very great; it means inflammation of some sort from which the dog being weak is not likely to recover. It is always best to call in a veterinary surgeon when a dog shows symptoms of distemper.
If your dog is a terrier there is no end to the tricks you can teach him. Always begin by teaching him to "trust," for it is the foundation of his training, and he will learn it before he is two months old. Do not keep him "on trust" for more than a second or two at first, but gradually make the time longer, until he will let you leave the room and not [Pg 342] touch the biscuit until you return. Then you can teach him to die, and waltz, sing, ask, box, and beg. Treat him always with patience and firmness; be quick to reward but never give in to him. You will, of course, bear in mind the character of the dog in teaching him tricks. Dogs of dignified nature, such as St. Bernards, mastiffs, Great Danes, and deer-hounds, for example, you would not labor to transform into performers. The best dogs of all for teaching elaborately are poodles.
Do not overdo your mastership. Remember that a dog needs much liberty and independence to develop his individuality, and an enterprising puppy learns more by observation and experience in a week than a pampered lap-dog does in his whole life; he learns self-reliance, but he will always run to his master or mistress in any real difficulty, and you who are his master or mistress must be wary not to misunderstand or disregard him, for he needs sympathy and love, and if he does not get them he either becomes cowed and stupid or a ne'er-do-weel.
If you wish to buy a dog, the best way is to get the catalogue of some big dog show, and find the address of a well-known breeder of the kind of dog you wish to have. If you write to him and tell him exactly what you want he will probably send you a suitable puppy at a fair price. If you think of buying through an advertisement, have the dog on approval first. Another objection to buying a dog at all casually is that you will not know either his temper, which is generally inherited, or his age. In all cases it is best to buy puppies and train them yourself. This means a good deal of trouble at first, and takes time and patience, but the younger [Pg 343] the puppy the easier he is to train. The best age is about five weeks old. With constant attention day and night for a few weeks you will have a perfectly trained dog who will be a perfect companion to you for years.
Brief descriptions of some of the best known dogs are here given, beginning with terriers:—
The bull-terrier is very discriminating in his attachments and does not easily lose his temper, or, as a rule, fight, unless he is unduly excited. He is such a nervous dog that if he is roughly treated he is apt to become a coward, but there is no truer, more faithful friend than a properly trained terrier of this breed.
The fox-terrier is often a restless fidgety dog in a house; indeed, to keep him much in the house seems to affect his intelligence. He fights readily, but a strong master can alter that. In sharpness and brightness and hardiness he is not to be beaten, and no dog is more inquisitive and full of spirits. Perhaps of little dogs he is the best.
The greatest fault of the Irish terrier is his fondness for barking unnecessarily; but he is particularly intelligent, active, and vigorous, and will learn any trick your ingenuity can devise for him.
There are many other terriers—the Skye, with coat nearly sweeping the ground; the black and tan, the Welsh terrier, and others less well known; but for pluck, brains, and fidelity, it is impossible to beat bull-terriers.
Of all spaniels the Clumber is the most intelligent and beautiful; he is also, although not a very demonstrative dog, very sincere in his devotion to his master.
The Cocker is a small spaniel: an active, merry little fellow who can be taught to retrieve. The black spaniel and the liver-colored Sussex are, like the Clumber, of the oldest and best breeds, and the Sussex variety makes an excellent house dog. He is quiet and dignified and has very good manners. The common Norfolk spaniel is intelligent, a good water dog, and a faithful companion. A satisfactory puppy should not cost more than five dollars. He and the Cocker are the best of the spaniels as pets, although these two breeds are also capable of good work in the field if carefully trained.
Retrievers occasionally make good companions, but for the most part they are dogs of one idea—retrieving—and have little interest in using their intelligence in any other direction.
The setter is a wise and affectionate animal. He is full of spirit and needs careful training, but train him well as a puppy and you will be able to take him everywhere with you, for he is a very gallant and courteous gentleman. In color the English setter varies with the different breeds. The Gordon setter is black and tan, and the Irish is red.
The reputation for uncertain temper which collies have is not well grounded. They are excitable, it is true, and apt to snap if you romp too long and wildly with them, and they do not take correction kindly; but people who have owned [Pg 345] many specimens of this beautiful breed testify to having found them always loving and sagacious. A collie should always belong to one person; many masters make him too universal in his affections, and under these circumstances he does not develop intelligently. The collie at work is the wisest of dogs, he knows each individual sheep in his care, and in snow or mist will bring every one to the fold before he rests.
Collies may be taught to play hide-and-seek—a game they are very fond of. First hide a ball in the room and help the dog to find it, and by degrees he will find anything by himself and will seek all over the house and garden. Among bad habits many collies have the serious one of running round and barking at horses. This should be checked by keeping the dog strictly to heel where he is likely to meet any traffic.
The old English bob-tailed sheep dog is a bouncing, rough-and-ready fellow. He is not suitable for a house dog, but he is honest and true and a good worker, and one can get extremely fond of him.
The Newfoundland is one of the grandest of beasts. The true Newfoundland is black all over, except for a white star on the chest, and he stands at least twenty-seven inches at the shoulder. The black-and-white specimens are called Landseer Newfoundlands, on account of the famous painter's fondness for them. In character these dogs are dignified and magnanimous, and they are particularly good with children. Many stories are told of their gallant efforts in saving life from drowning. The Newfoundland is used for draught in the island from which he takes his name.
The mastiff is the best of all guards; it is more pure instinct with him to guard his master's property than it is with any other breed. He is honest through and through, and as a rule he is gentle and a good companion.
The bull-dog is stupid and not particularly affectionate. Although excitable he is not quarrelsome or savage, and if reasonably treated no doubt would make a quiet, faithful pet. A not too highly bred bull-dog is likely to be more intelligent than his very blue-blooded relations.
The most majestic of dogs is the St. Bernard. He is high-couraged and sagacious and very discriminating in his devotion. Once your friend, he is always your friend. Although with you he never makes a mistake, he is apt to growl at strangers, and is not to be relied on to be polite to visitors. If you have one of the rough-coated variety you must groom him regularly and take great care of him, as he is a delicate dog and subject to weakness in the back and hind legs if he is allowed to get wet or lie on damp ground.
The Great Dane, or boarhound, is a powerful and active dog. His appearance is suggestive almost of a wild beast, and he is particularly well fitted to act as guard. He is gentle and manageable with those he knows, and his great courage, intelligence, and strength make him a most desirable companion.
Of hounds that hunt by sight we have the English Greyhound, swiftest of dogs, but neither very intelligent nor affectionate; [Pg 347] the Scotch Deerhound, dignified and very devoted to his master, and a wonderful jumper over gates and walking-sticks; and the Irish Wolf-hound, bigger and less graceful than either of the others, but with a great big heart and noble courage. Gelert was of this breed. There is also the Borzoi, whose appearance is a combination of greyhound and setter, a very beautiful but rather stupid animal. Finally, there is the Bloodhound, remarkable for great intelligence, good temper, and fidelity. He is one of the finest of dogs, wise and self-reliant and capable of the truest devotion to his master. He seldom or never fights, but is full of courage in spite of his naturally nervous disposition.
Toy dogs are fairly intelligent, but noisy and wayward. They cannot be recommended as interesting pets, since they have little originality; but they can be taught tricks, and if treated sensibly and not pampered, no doubt they would develop more intelligence. The best of the toy dogs are Pugs, toy Pomeranians, the King Charles' Spaniel (black and tan in color), and the Blenheim spaniel (white and chestnut).
The Pomeranian is a sharp and rather snappy dog, not remarkable for either great intelligence or amiability; but, as with all breeds, there are individual exceptions to this rule.
Poodles are intelligent and the best of all dogs for learning tricks. They are also very expensive.
Mongrels can be the best of friends. They are often more original and enterprising than their too highly-bred [Pg 348] cousins, and they are very self-reliant; but as a rule they are not so courageous nor so steadfast as a well-bred dog. The chief advantage of possessing a mongrel is that dog-stealers are less likely to be tempted by him, and you can give him more freedom, which will make him more interesting and intelligent than a dog you need to shut up and look after carefully.
There is very little to say about cats, except that they need much petting and plenty of milk and tit-bits. They should always have a warm bed in a basket or chair. They should never be allowed to stay out-of-doors at night.
Of all rabbits the brightest and most intelligent, as a pet, is the wild rabbit. If you can get two or three baby wild rabbits and feed them on milk, they will grow up very tame. We heard recently of two small wild rabbits that were taken out of the nest and brought up by hand. They and their mistress and a collie pup would play together, and they ran about the room, racing over the floor and furniture. In the summer one escaped from the coop on the lawn in which they were shut up, so the other was turned loose too. They would both come out of the bushes when called, run about over one's dress, and hunt pockets for oats or bits of apple, and would still play with their old friend the collie. It is sad to tell of their death, which they met at the jaws of a strange dog who came marauding. They did not recognize in him an enemy, and easily fell his victims.
The long-haired Angora variety of rabbit is intelligent and very handsome. These need regular grooming and great [Pg 349] care, or their long coat gets matted and frowsy. Belgian hares are big, powerful animals, rather apt to be uncertain in temper, but they have beautiful glossy coats and are enterprising and amusing. The lop-eared rabbit is a stately beast and less brisk than his prick-eared relations. The Himalayan rabbit has no connection with the mountain chain from which it has its name, is white, with all its extremities—nose, ears, tail, and feet—black or very dark in color. The Dutch rabbits are small. The body is colored, but the neck, forelegs, and jaws are white. But to the ordinary owner of a rabbit in a hutch, particular variety does not matter very much.
A good hutch can be made of a grocer's box, by covering the open front partly with bars or wire netting and making a door. The hutch should stand on legs, or at any rate should be raised from the ground, and holes should be bored in the bottom for drainage. Then put in clean straw, and it is ready for the rabbit. In cold or wet weather and at night, it is well to throw a cloth over the hutch for warmth. The hutch must be well ventilated, and it should be made in two compartments, one to admit plenty of light, and the other dark. It should be made so that the animal may be confined in either compartment while the other is cleaned out.
Bran, grain, and vegetables—such as peas, parsley, carrots, turnip-tops, but not much cabbage—serve for rabbits' food. It is advisable to vary it occasionally. The leaves should not be wet, but a dish of clean water may always stand in the hutch.
The animal should be allowed at least half an hour's run every day, precautions being taken against its burrowing [Pg 350] habits, and against its finding anything poisonous to eat. More than one family should not be allowed out at the same time, as they are very pugnacious. Most diseases are the result of neglect in cleaning out the hutch regularly and thoroughly. Rabbits which most nearly approach the wild in color are hardiest.
If you find you have an intelligent rabbit who quickly learns to come to you when you call him by name, you will find, with patience, you can teach him that when you say "On trust," he must not touch the dainty you offer him, and that "Paid for" means he may have it. He will also learn to "die," and shake hands when you tell him to do so.
Guinea-pigs need treatment and housing similar to rabbits.
In buying a squirrel make sure it is a young one, because whereas a young one is difficult enough to tame, an old one is not to be tamed at all. Unless you can give him a really large cage, with room for a branch on which he may leap about, it is cruel to keep a squirrel at all, so beautifully free is his nature. A little side compartment containing a revolving wheel should be added. Your only chance of taming him is to be extremely quiet and gentle in all your visits to the cage and in giving him his food—nuts, acorns, grain, cold boiled potatoes, dry bread, and now and then a small piece of cooked meat. A very charming account of what it is possible to do with tame squirrels will be found in a little book called Billy and Hans, by Mr. W. J. Stillman.
Mice should have a cage with two compartments, one of which should have a door in the woodwork but no wires. In this room should be a bed of hay. The natural food of mice is grain, but in captivity they are generally fed on bread and milk and slices of apple. They can be tamed to a small extent, but for the most part they do no more than run round a wheel, although if other gymnastic contrivances are offered them they will probably do something with them. Dormice (to whose food you may add nuts) sleep through the winter months, and are therefore not very interesting for more than half the year.
A turtle is rather an interesting animal to keep, although he will not do much in return. Even in summer they have a curious way of disappearing for weeks together, and in winter, of course, you see nothing of them. An ordinary mud turtle is often seen moving slowly along the roads after a rain. He can be carried home by turning him over on his back—but be careful to keep your fingers away from his snapping mouth. As a rule they can feed themselves, and they also have the happy knack of doing without food altogether for long periods, so that you need not be anxious.
Bowls of goldfish are not uncommon, but few people seem to care for fish of other kinds. And yet a little aquarium can be stocked for a small sum and is a most interesting possession. One small tank of young bream, for example, can be a perpetual and continually fresh delight. Let the tank have cloisters of rockwork and jungles of weed, so that hiding may be possible, and then watch the smaller fish at their frolics. Young trout are hardly less beautiful, and [Pg 352] very easy to keep healthy, in spite of general opinion to the contrary. The important thing is to maintain a current of water through the tank. The old way was to carry the overflow down a pipe in the centre through its surface opening, but an improvement on this system is for the leakage to be at the bottom of the tank and the inflow at the top. Young perch are beautiful too,—and tench, and dace, and roach,—and all are hardy. Feeding them is very simple. The shop from which you buy the fish will keep you supplied with the proper food. The American catfish, with its curious antennæ or whiskers, and its gleaming eyes, set as by a jeweler, is more wonderful, and not a whit more difficult to keep. But to be amused by such unfamiliar neighbors as a tankful of fish there is no real need either to stray abroad or to spend any money. The ordinary minnow, which you can catch in any stream and pop into a jar, will serve to introduce you to a new world—a world of silent progressions, of incredible celerities, of amazing respirations.
Silkworms, if kept at all, ought to be taken seriously and used for their true purpose. That is to say, you really ought to wind their silk carefully. Few owners of silkworms in this country seem to trouble to do this. Silkworms' eggs can be bought of any naturalist, or some one who keeps silkworms will willingly give you some. The time is about the end of April. They are usually laid on scraps of paper, and these you put in shallow paper and cardboard trays covered with gauze, and place them in the room where the sun can reach them. As the worms hatch out you must move them—it is done best with a small paint brush—to another tray or trays and keep them supplied with fresh mulberry leaves or lettuce. The worms continue to grow for about a month, and then, [Pg 353] when full-sized, they prepare to spin. You may know that this time is reached by their refusal to eat, and you must then make a little paper toilet, about two inches deep, for each worm, and drop it in. You have now nothing to do (except to watch the worms regularly) for some weeks, in which time the cocoon has been finished and the worm has become a chrysalis. When the chrysalis inside the cocoon rattles the time has come to wind the silk, or the moth will shortly emerge and eat it. The outside of the cocoon is useless and can be removed by placing the cocoon in warm water. Once that is out of the way, the silk can be wound on a card. The moth soon afterward appears and, after growing to its full size, lays its eggs—some two hundred—and dies. It must be remembered that with silkworms a little practical demonstration from any one who has kept them is worth much more than many pages of hints. One thing is of the highest importance, and that is constant attention. Silkworms must never be neglected.
Silkworms are more useful but not more interesting than many other caterpillars which can be hatched from eggs. The Privet Hawk Moth, for example, is very easily bred, and a very beautiful creature it is when in full plumage. But for information on this subject you must go to more scientific books.
Pigeons are not exactly pets, for they rarely do more than come to you for their food, just as chickens do, but they are beautiful creatures and no country roof is quite complete without them, and a dove-cot is a very pretty and homely old-fashioned object. Usually, however, the birds are given a portion of a loft. Whatever the nature of their home, it [Pg 354] must have separate compartments for each pair of pigeons and must be warm. If a loft is used there should be sand or gravel on the floor, with a little lime to assist the formation of the shells of the pigeons' eggs. The place should be kept clean, and you must guard against rats and cats. Pigeons eat peas and pigeons'-beans and most kinds of grain. If they fly loose they will find out other food, such as green meat, for themselves. But if you keep them at home you ought to give them some. They should have a dish of water in a regular place. New pigeons should be shut up by wiring in their house for a fortnight before you give them their liberty, or they will fly away. They do not care for hay or straw in their boxes, but will make a nest in their own way when they need one. Pigeons are of many kinds, the commonest of which is perhaps the Runt, and the prettiest a white Fantail. Any one who takes up pigeons except merely for the pleasure of owning one or two should read up the subject carefully.
Doves, which are happier when kept in pairs, require the same food as pigeons. As a rule they are kept in wicker cages. They are not very interesting.
Parrots are most companionable pets, and, next to a dog, quite the most interesting and intelligent. They are always cheerful: whistling, singing, and talking. The gray parrot is the best talker, and speaks much more distinctly than any other kind, but the Blue-fronted Amazon is more amusing and far better-tempered as a rule. These birds are very beautiful, with bright green plumage and touches of yellow and red, and a blue patch on the forehead. The best food for parrots is parrot seed, on which they may be fed entirely, and they should never be allowed dainties except nuts, fruit, and a little [Pg 355] piece of sugar. In the summer time sprinkle your parrot with water through a fine hose every morning, but in the winter do so only when he asks for a bath by trying to get into the water basin. As to talking, parrots will pick up far more readily any words they hear by accident than any that you set yourself to teach them. They will also get by heart in this way a few bars of a whistled tune. When parrots are apparently spiteful it often proceeds much more from nervousness than from vice. If frightened they will peck anything near them. It is important to have a thick baize cover for your parrot's cage, and to put this over it directly the lamps are lit.
Before coming to the different kinds of birds which you can keep, a few general words about their care ought to be said. Remember that with them, as with all pets, the most important of all rules is perfect cleanliness. The best cages are wooden ones with unpainted wires, and the perches should be of different thicknesses, as, if they are all one size, the bird is likely to get cramp in his feet. Once in a week at least the perches and tray should be scrubbed with very hot water with soda in it, but they must be dried thoroughly before they are put back into the cage; therefore if possible it is best to have two sets of perches and to use them alternately. A thick layer of red sand or shell gravel should be sprinkled on the tray, and occasionally a pinch of maw-seed thrown on it.
All birds should have a bath given them. They like best a shallow glass dish, which should be put in the cage when the tray is out. It is a good plan to put a biscuit-tin lid on the floor of the cage to prevent the bird from making the woodwork wet. Other rules in the care of all birds are—never [Pg 356] let them be in a draught, but do not keep them in a very warm place. Cover them with a white cloth at night, and in cold weather put a shawl over that.
Seed-eating birds do best if they are fed on canary seed and a little summer rape, with now and then a few hemp-seeds, some Hartz mountain bread, and a bit of groundsel or water-cress that has been well washed. If they look dull and sit in a puffed-up little heap, a drop of brandy in their water often does good; and, should they show signs of asthma, try chopped, hard-boiled egg, with a few grains of cayenne pepper, and a bit of saffron or a rusty nail in the water. These are also good when the bird is moulting. For insect-eating birds you must buy meal-worms and ants' eggs, and thrushes and blackbirds need earth-worms as well.
Some birds are easily taught tricks. We remember a red-poll who would draw his water up from a well in the cage in a little bucket; but if you teach your bird to do this you must be careful to watch him, in case the string gets twisted and the bucket does not reach the water, when your pet will suffer terribly from thirst. He will also learn to pull his seed-box up an inclined board if you put it day by day a little farther from him, so that he must draw the string to get his food. It is better to take a long time in training birds, and tempt them with any dainty they care most for, such as water-cress, groundsel, chickweed, or hemp-seed, as otherwise you must starve the bird first, or he will not trouble to get the seed. This means a certain amount of cruelty and cannot be right.
The favorite cage-bird is the canary, which, though a foreign bird, is kept in this country in greater numbers than any other bird, and is also bred here. One has to be very well posted up in the nature of the bird to be protected against deception when buying it; and you ought therefore, in getting a canary, to find some one competent to buy what you want.
Canaries must be kept carefully. They cannot stand much air. Be particular that the cage does not hang in a draught, and let it be large enough for comfort. When evening comes it is kinder to take the cage out of a room in which there will be much light and noise, and put it somewhere dark and quiet, as the air of a room where gas is burned is not good for it. But if moving the cage is not convenient, lower it to a position below the level of the burners and cover it up with a thick cloth. By day the cage should be hung in the sunshine if possible, but if the sun is very hot a green gauze cover ought to protect the bird a little. If the bird's singing is too lusty—as sometimes happens—a handkerchief thrown over the cage will check it; but this seems rather hard treatment.
In feeding canaries follow the rules on p. 356, but you may put a lump of sugar between the bars now and then, or a sprig of groundsel or water-cress. Do not give them cake; it is no real kindness.
When they are moulting, canaries (and other birds too) need rather more attention. Give them a little richer food, such as chopped-up eggs, and put some saffron in the water. There is a kind of insect called the red mite which often attacks canaries. It is not the rule by any means that canaries should be thus troubled—many escape—but it may happen. If you cannot account for the bird's despondency in any other [Pg 358] way, catch it and look at its skin under the feathers of the breast and the under part of the wings. If there are little red spots, it means that the red mites have found out the cage, and you must wash the bird every day with a weak solution of white precipitate powder—about twelve grains to a small glass of warm water—and either wash the cage too with a stronger solution, or, if it is a wooden one, destroy it. Now and then you ought to clip their claws, if they seem too long.
The love-birds feed almost entirely on millet or canary seed, and they like a sod of grass in their cage. They are bright little birds, but are naturally very wild and need much petting if you wish to tame them. Once tamed, however, they are very confiding and amusing.
One of the most beautiful of cage-birds is the red-crested cardinal. He is quite hardy and eats seeds and insects impartially, thriving on canary, millet, and a little hemp-seed, with meal-worms now and then. He should always have a very large cage, or he will spoil his plumage. His song is sweet and strong.
Wax-bills eat millet-seed, canary seed, and a little soaked bread and sponge-cake.
Java sparrows are pretty creatures, although they do very little for you. Perhaps the most attractive of small foreign birds is the avadavat, a tiny, perky little soldier. These live quite comfortably together; and indeed, if it is permitted, you should certainly, for the non-singing birds, have a large [Pg 359] cage and keep many such birds in it rather than put them in small cages. They will be far happier.
The chaffinch has to re-learn his song every spring, and for a fortnight or more you will hear him trying his voice very sweetly and softly, but as soon as he has acquired his song in perfection, it will be so strong and piercing that on fine days he often has to be banished from the sitting-room. He should not, however, be exposed too much to sun and wind; a cloth thrown over half the cage will make a shelter. The chaffinch is another bird that should never be put in a bell-shaped cage. He should occasionally have flies and other insects given him. He is lively and hardy and a very gay companion.
We remember a goldfinch that became very tame, perching on his owner's hands and taking seed from her lips. Goldfinches should never be kept in bell-shaped cages—which make them giddy—but should have one with a square flat top. Along this they will run head downward. They are such active birds that they need plenty of space. They chatter all day long and are very cheery, and they are very beautiful in their brown, gold, and scarlet coats. In a wild state the goldfinch feeds chiefly on the seeds of weeds and thistles, groundsel, and dandelion, and he is therefore a friend to the farmer, but in captivity be will thrive on canary and German rape with several hemp-seeds daily, and now and then lettuce, thistle-seed, and fruit.
The bullfinch is squarely built, with a black head and pink breast. No bird can be more affectionate and intelligent. [Pg 360] He will learn to pipe tunes if you put him in the dark and whistle a few bars of some easy melody to him over and over again; and he soon gets a number of fascinating tricks. After a while you will be able to let him out of the cage at meal-times, when he will hop about from plate to plate and steal little tit-bits. No bird is so fond of sitting on its owner's shoulder as the bullfinch can be. Also, unhappily, few birds are so liable to fatal illness. A bullfinch can be apparently quite well one minute and the next you find him lying at the bottom of the cage. Over-eating is often the cause of his death, so that one must be careful. Hemp-seed and apple-pips, for instance, which he loves, should be given in moderation. Rape and millet, lettuce and ripe fruit suit him best. Gardeners are great enemies of this sturdy little bird on account of the damage he does amongst fruit-trees, but he probably does a great deal more good than he does harm by eating insects which are fatal to plants.
The yellow bunting (or yellow hammer) can be a pet; and he has the sweetest little whispering song. If you have a caged bunting, his seed should be soaked in cold water for some hours before it is given to him, and he must have the yoke of a hard-boiled egg, meal-worms, ants' eggs, and any insects you can catch for him. He must also have plenty of opportunities for bathing, and as much fresh air without draughts as possible.
The blackbird is delicate when caged and must have plenty of nutritious food, bread and milk, boiled vegetables, ripe fruit, insects, and snails. He is a thirsty bird and needs plenty of water.
[Pg 361] Birds of all kinds especially like cocoanut (though they will come to the window-sill simply for bread crumbs). The cocoanut should be sawn in two, and a hole bored through each half, about an inch from the edge. A strong string is then threaded in and they are hung from the bough of a tree. They should be hung rather high up, on a bough reaching as far out from the trunk as possible, so as to avoid all risk from the cat. The birds frequent elm-trees more than any others, because the rough bark contains many insects, but you may choose any kind of tree, as close to your windows as you like. The birds will keep pecking at the cocoanut all day long and will soon want a new one. If you have no tree near the house you might fasten a cord across the outer frame of your window and tie the pieces of nut to that. The birds would soon find out the cocoa-nut and come to it, and bread crumbs could also be put on the window-sill to attract them. Or, if you have a veranda, they could be hung up there, if you could make them safe from the cat. Mrs. Earle, in her book More Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, gives elaborate directions for an arrangement in a veranda or balcony of cocoanuts, etc., for the birds. Lumps of fat will do as well as cocoanut. Some birds also greatly love a bone to pick at—an uncooked one with plenty of fat on it, which the butcher will probably be glad to give you if you ask him and explain its purpose. It can be hung up in a tree or merely laid on the window-sill.
In the ordinary way one would not keep robins at all. They are so tame and fond of the company of human beings that they will come regularly to the door for crumbs every morning and never be far off at any time. But if a wounded robin is found or a nest is abandoned (probably owing to the [Pg 362] death of the mother at the cat's hands) just before the young birds are ready to fly, you might pop them in a cage. They do not often thrive long in captivity, even if the confinement does not seem irksome, but to keep one until it was strong enough to be let loose would be a kindness. Still there have been many cases of happy tame robins. The best food for them is bread crumbs, grated carrot, yoke of egg and sponge-cake mixed together, the carrot making the mixture moist enough. A few insects daily are advisable. Robins are such quarrelsome birds that it is impossible to keep two of them in an aviary, or even to keep one robin with birds weaker than himself. Perhaps the best way to treat a pet robin is to let him fly all over the house in the winter. He may one day fly away altogether in the spring, but if he is alive he is almost certain to come back again when the cold weather begins.
Robins in the garden are so pretty, so cheeky, so sweetly musical, and are so friendly to man (in spite of their arrogance and selfishness among birds) that they ought to be encouraged. As the only way of encouraging wild birds is to feed them, we have to try and give them what they like best. Robins are quite content with bread crumbs only. They will eat sop if they can get nothing else; but they prefer crumbs, and not too dry. For an especial treat they like fat bacon beyond everything: cooked bacon, that has been boiled, not fried. It should be mixed up very small, and the bread also crumbled into tiny morsels, for robins like to eat very nicely and daintily. Robins are pleased to have crumbs given them all the seasons through, though in the autumn they can very well take care of themselves.
Each robin has his own special domain, which any other robin invades at his peril. The robins that come to the [Pg 363] window for food are those that belong to that particular side of the house and no other. This means that there are other robins is different parts of the garden which will have to be fed in their own special localities. You will soon find out where these are, even if you have not already been guided to them by their songs. Robins like their food scattered always in the same place, or under the same tree, and, as nearly as you can, at the same time. Then you will find them on the lookout for you, and if you take always the same basket (a rather shallow flat one which stands firmly) and, putting it on the ground, go a few steps away, you will see them hop into it. After a few days they will probably get tame enough to come into the basket while it is in your hand; only you must have a little patience at first, and hold it very still, and of course you must not have previously scattered any food on the ground.
This brings us to the other garden birds which we have no wish to put in cages, but which it is well to be as kind to as possible. In winter, when there is a frost, to feed them is absolutely necessary; but at all times it is well that they should know that you are not enemies (of which they have so many), but their friends. The following notes, together with the foregoing passage on feeding robins, on birds in the garden have been prepared far this book:—
"Birds are grateful all the year through for a shallow pan of water, which they can drink from and use also as a bath. And the bees, too, will be glad to come and get a sip of water, for they also are thirsty things. A small round yellow earthenware pan is excellent for the thrushes and blackbirds, but it is as well to provide a smaller one, say an [Pg 364] ordinary shallow pie-dish, for the robins and little birds. These should be refilled twice a day, at least, in summer time. You can place the pans on the grass or path, where you can see them comfortably from the house, but not nearer than you can help, because the blackbirds are rather shy, and it would be a pity to make drinking too great an adventure for them.
"Birds are thankful for a little feeding right through the spring, both when the mother bird is sitting on the nest and the father has to forage for two, and when the young ones are hatched and there are at once many more mouths to fill. In the summer too, if it should be unduly wet and cold, or unduly hot and dry, and grubs and insects scarce, the young birds are pleased to find a meal ready for them. But in the winter it is a positive duty to feed the birds; for remember that when the ground is covered with snow, or frozen hard, they can get no insects, and thus, after all the berries have gone, they will starve unless they are helped with other food.
"Almost every household has enough waste scraps, if they are collected carefully, to give the birds a good meal once a day. Bread, of course, will form the chief part, but nothing comes amiss to them, however tiny. Morsels of suet, dripping, shreds of fat, meat, and fish, and cheese rind also, all mixed up together, are an especial treat. The mince should be well mixed with the bread crumbs, or all may not get a fair share. Crusts, or any hard, dry bits of bread, can be scalded into sop (though, unlike chickens, wild birds do not seem to like it hot), and a little piece of dripping or fat, soaked with the sop, makes it more tasty for them. If the supply of bread be short, the birds will be very pleased with chickens' rice. It should be the 'second quality' kind, in the brown husk, which can be procured from most corn-dealers. But this is hardly necessary excepting in a long hard frost. [Pg 365] Starlings are especially fond of bones, and they will esteem it a favor if any which have been used in making soup, and are not required for the dog, are thrown out to them on the ground. Their joyous chattering over them is quite cheering, even on the dreariest winter's day. They are also grateful for the rind of a ham or piece of bacon, after it has been boiled. This should be thrown out to them whole, not cut up in little pieces. They are equally fond of the bones and skin remains of a 'dried' haddock.
"For the bolder birds, such as robins, you will like to put some food on the window-sills, and also on the path or grass close to the house. But remember the more timid ones, and scatter it in other parts of the garden as well.
"Sparrows, of course, deserve their food as well as any of the others; but it is rather hard to see them taking every morning much more than their share, while the less courageous or impudent birds (who also sing to you) get none. It seems impossible to prevent this, though Mr. Phil. Robinson, in his book Garden, Orchard, and Spinney (in the chapter entitled 'The Famine is my Garden'), recommends scattering some oatmeal mixed with a few bread crumbs on one side of the house, to keep the sparrows occupied, whilst you feed the other birds elsewhere. Sparrows, however, have a way of being on every side of the house at once. Still, if you feed your birds daily, and as nearly at the same time as possible (they like it as soon as may be after your own breakfast), you will find them on the lookout for you, and they will manage to get a good share, if they all start fair, in spite of the sparrows. In a hard frost they are thankful for a second meal, but it should not be later than two o'clock, because birds go to bed very early in cold weather, and the food would be frozen too hard for them to be able to eat it next morning.
"One word more. There is great danger of birds being [Pg 366] caught by a cat while they are busy with their food, especially if near the bushes. The only possible protection against this which you can take is to see that your own cat is indoors and is therefore not the offender."
All persons who care very much for reading will find their way naturally to the books most likely to please them; left alone in a library they are never disappointed. For them no advice is necessary. Nor is advice important to those who have opportunities to compare notes on reading with friends who have similar tastes. For instance, two boys may fall to talking of books. "Have you read David Balfour?" one will say. "No; who's it by?" "Stevenson." "What else did he write?" "Well, he wrote Treasure Island." "I've read that. If David Balfour is anything like that, I must get it." He gets it; and thus, either by asking others whose taste he can trust, or by going steadily on through each author who satisfies him, he will always have as much good reading as he needs.
But there are still other readers—who have no real instinct for books, or no memory for authors' names, or few opportunities of comparing notes—for whom a list of books that are worth trying, books which have been tested and found all right by thousands of readers, ought to be very useful. In the following pages a list of this kind has been drawn up. It is very far indeed from anything like completeness—many good authors are not mentioned at all, and others have written many more books than are here placed under their names—but those chosen are in most cases their best, and it will be very easy for readers who want more to find out other titles. The books named are for the most part not new. But before children read new books they read old; the new ones come later. What is suggested here is a ground-work. Moreover, there are so many ways for new books to suggest [Pg 370] themselves that to attempt the impossible task of keeping pace with them here was unnecessary.
Girls are such steady readers of what are called boys' books, and boys are occasionally so much interested in what are called girls' books, that the two groups have not been separated. All that has been done is to describe the nature of each division of stories.
Nearly all the best old fairy tales are to be found in Mr. Andrew Lang's collections, of which six are mentioned:—
The Blue Fairy Book.
The Red Fairy Book.
The Pink Fairy Book.
The Green Fairy Book.
The Yellow Fairy Book.
The Orange Fairy Book.
Many families do very well with merely
Grimm's Fairy Tales.
The Arabian Nights.
Andersen's Fairy Tales.
These are traditional. First favorites among English whimsical tales are, of course,
|Alice's Adventures in Wonderland||By||Lewis Carroll.|
|Through the Looking-glass||"||"|
of which there is no need to speak, nor of
|The Water-Babies||By||Charles Kingsley.|
|The King of the Golden River||"||John Ruskin.|
|The Rose and the Ring||"||W. M. Thackeray.|
And among other good stories are—
|Fairy Tales||By||Alexandre Dumas.|
|Mopsa the Fairy||"||Jean Ingelow.|
|Prince Prigio||"||Andrew Lang.|
|The Gold of Fairnilee||"||"|
|Twenty Best Fairy Tales||"||Lucy Perkins.|
|The Bee-Man of Orn||"||Frank R. Stockton.|
|The Clocks of Rondaine||"||"|
|Old-Fashioned Fairy Tales||"||Mrs. Ewing.|
[Pg 371] Lewis Carroll's "Bruno's Revenge," the story which was the beginning of Sylvie and Bruno, is perfect in its way.
|The Heroes||By||Charles Kingsley.|
|A Wonder Book||"||Nathaniel Hawthorne.|
|The Story of the Odyssey||"||Rev. A. J. Church.|
|The Story of the Iliad||"||"|
|Stories from Homer||"||"|
|The Morte D'Arthur||By||Sir T. Malory.|
|Tales from Shakespeare||"||Charles and Mary Lamb.|
|Puck of Pook's Hill||"||Rudyard Kipling.|
|Stories from the Faerie Queen||"||Mary Macleod.|
|Heroes of Chivalry and Romance||"||Rev. A. J. Church.|
|Stories of the Magicians||"||"|
|Olaf the Glorious||"||Robert Leighton.|
|Robin Hood||"||Howard Pyle.|
|Men of Iron||"||"|
|Robin Hood: His Deeds and Adventures||"||Lucy Perkins.|
|Ballads in Prose||"||Mary Macleod.|
|Forgotten Tales of Long Ago||"||E. V. Lucas.|
|Old Fashioned Tales||"||"|
|Tales from Maria Edgeworth. Introduction||"||Austin Dobson.|
|Tales from the Canterbury Pilgrims. Retold||"||J. H. Darton.|
|The Book of King Arthur||"||Mary Macleod.|
|Midsummer Night's Dream for Young People||"||Lucy Perkins.|
|The Wonder Book of Old Romance.|
Here also we might place Gulliver's Travels.
Our first acquaintance with poetry is made through nursery rhymes. Many collections of nursery rhymes may be [Pg 372] had. And there are also a number of very charming picture books of simple verse, suitable for small readers, such as Miss Kate Greenaway's
Under the Window.
A. Apple Pie.
Mr. Walter Crane's
and various toy books.
Four favorite books of comic verse are Edward Lear's
Book of Nonsense.
Nonsense, Songs and Stories.
Four books, more recent, which come nearer to poetry than anything already mentioned, are—
|Verses for Children||By||Mrs. Ewing.|
|Sing Song||"||Christina G. Rossetti.|
|Lilliput Lyrics||"||W. B. Rands.|
|A Child's Garden of Verses||"||R. L. Stevenson.|
A large collection of verse of the kind already described, with the addition of ballads, open-air rhymes, animal verses and other matter—intended to pave the way to real poetry—exists in
A Book of Verses for Children.
Another Book of Verses for Children,
compiled by E. V. Lucas. After these, we come to collections containing real poetry, two excellent ones being
|The Blue Poetry Book||By||Andrew Lang.|
|A First [Second and Third] Poetry Book||"||M. A. Woods.|
There is also
|Lyra Heroica||By||W. E. Henley,|
a collection for boys. Selections from Tennyson, Browning, and other poets, intended for children, have been made, but most young explorers of poetry like to have the complete [Pg 373] works and hunt for themselves. Other popular books of poetry are—
|The Golden Treasury of Songs and Lyrics.|
|Poems Every Child Should know.|
|Mr. C. R. D. Patmore's Children's Garland from the Best Poets.|
|Miss Agnes Repplier's Book of Famous Verse.|
|H. E. Scudder's American Poems.|
|The "Original Poems," and Others||By||Jane and Ann Taylor.|
|National Rhymes for the Nursery||"||George Saintsbury.|
|The Ballad Book||"||W. Allingham.|
|Lays of Ancient Rome||"||Lord Macaulay.|
|Lays of the Scottish Cavaliers||"||W. E. Aytoun.|
|The Percy Reliques.|
|A Thousand and One Gems of Poetry.|
Many boys also like the humorous stories in Barham's Ingoldsby Legends.
To this section, which is suited more particularly for girls, belong a large number of stories of a very popular kind: stories describing the ordinary life of children of to-day, with such adventures as any of us can have near home. Years ago the favorites were—
|The Fairchild Family||By||Mrs. Sherwood.|
|Sandford and Merton||"||Thomas Day.|
But these are not read as they used to be, partly because taste has changed, and partly because so many other books can now be procured. But fifty and more years ago they were in every nursery library.
The Swiss Family Robinson,
the most famous family book of all, will be found in the adventure section, to which perhaps really belong
Feats on the Fiord,
The Settlers at Home,
by Harriet Martineau, although these two, and
The Crofton Boys
[Pg 374] may be included here. Here also belong Maria Edgeworth's
Moral Tales for Young People.
The Parent's Assistant,
which, although their flavor is old-fashioned, are yet as interesting as ever they were.
Another writer whose popularity is no longer what it was is Jacob Abbott, the author of a number of fascinating stories of home life (on farms and in the country) in America in the middle of last century. The Franconia stories are these:—
And this is the Rollo series, intended by Mr. Abbott for rather younger readers:—
The Little Scholar Learning to Talk.
Rollo Learning to Read.
Rollo at Play.
Rollo at Work.
Rollo at School.
A list of other books, which come more or less rightly under the head of "Stories about Children" follows, the earlier ones being better suited to younger readers, and the later ones to older, the age aimed at in this chapter (and indeed in the whole book), ranging from five to fifteen.
By Kate Douglas Wiggin:—
Polly Oliver's Problem.
By Louisa M. Alcott:—
Rose in Bloom.
An Old-Fashioned Girl.
Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag.
The Little Pepper Series, and the Elsie Books.
[Pg 375] By Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett:—
Little Lord Fauntleroy.
The Captain's Youngest.
By Mrs. Whitney:—
Faith Gartney's Girlhood.
By Gelett Burgess:—
Goops, and How to be Them.
More Goops, and How Not to be Them.
The Lively City o'Ligg.
The Burgess Nonsense Book.
This section is necessarily more incomplete than any of the others, since it is impossible to keep pace with the great number of stories of this kind which are published every Christmas. But a few more may be added:—
|Stories Told to a Child||By||Jean Ingelow.|
|The Lost Child||"||Henry Kingsley.|
|Helen's Babies||"||John Habberton.|
|The Treasure-Seekers||"||E. Nesbit.|
|Holiday House||"||Catherine Sinclair.|
|Deeds of Daring done by Girls||"||N. Hudson Moore.|
|Children of Other Days||"||"|
|Paleface and Redskin||"||F. Anstey.|
|The Silver Skates||"||M. M. Dodge.|
|Molly and Olly||"||Mrs. Humphry Ward.|
|Sweetheart Travelers||"||S. R. Crockett.|
|Sir Toady Crusoe||"||"|
|Sir Toady Lion||"||"|
|No Relations||"||Hector Malot.|
|Jogging 'Round the World||"||Edith Dunham.|
|A Little Daughter of the Revolution||"||Agnes Sage.|
|A Little Colonial Dame||"||"|
|The House of the Red Fox||"||Miriam Byrne.|
|The Would-be Witch||"||"|
|Little Barefoot||From the German of Auerbach.|
|Indian Boys and Girls||By||Alice Haines.|
|Japanese Child Life||"||"|
|Little Japs at Home||"||"|
|Jap Boys and Girls||"||"|
|According to Grandma||"||"|
|When Grandma was Little||"||"|
|What Grandma Says||"||"|
[Pg 376] Here also belong many of the stories of Miss Yonge, and we might perhaps place Uncle Tom's Cabin here too.
In this section are placed stories of modern boys, either at home or at school, and their ordinary home or school adventures. Among the best are—
|Tom Sawyer||By||Mark Twain.|
|The Story of a Bad Boy||By||T. B. Aldrich.|
|My Boyhood||"||H. C. Barkley.|
|The Swan and her Crew||"||G. C. Davies.|
|Captain Chap||"||Frank R. Stockton.|
|The Tinkham Brothers' Tidemill||"||J. T. Trowbridge.|
The best school story will probable always be
|Tom Brown's School Days||By||T. Hughes.|
Among the books of this kind meant rather for grownup readers, but read also by boys, are—
|Huckleberry Finn||By||Mark Twain.|
|Frank Fairlegh||"||F. E. Smedley.|
|The Interpreter||"||Whyte Melville.|
|The Human Boy||"||Eden Phillpots.|
|Vice Versâ||"||F. Anstey.|
This is the largest group of books usually described as "for boys," although girls often read them too with hardly less interest. The first place in this class will probably always be held by Defoe's
[Pg 377] and it is likely that most votes for second place would go to
The Swiss Family Robinson.
After these we come to modern authors whose books have been written especially for boys, first among whom is the late Mr. R. M. Ballantyne, the author of, among numerous other books,
The Coral Island.
The Gorilla Hunters.
The Dog Crusoe.
The Pirate City.
The Wild Man of the West.
The Iron Horse.
Fighting the Flames.
Erling the Bold.
The Fur Traders.
The Red Man's Revenge.
Many of Ballantyne's readers make a point of going through the whole series of his books. The other titles can be collected from the advertisement pages at the end of these volumes. With R. M. Ballantyne is usually associated the name of the late W. H. G. Kingston ("Kingston and Ballantyne the brave," Stevenson called them in the verses at the beginning of Treasure Island, another book which comes high in this section). Kingston's stories were also very numerous, but it will serve our purpose here to mention only the following six:—
Peter the Whaler.
The Three Midshipmen.
The Three Lieutenants.
The Three Commanders.
The Three Admirals.
From Powder-Monkey to Admiral.
Several authors have carried on Ballantyne and Kingston's work. Chief among these are Mr. G. A. Henty and Mr. G. Manville Fenn. Here are six of Mr. G. A. Henty's stories:—
Out on the Pampas.
The Young Colonists.
The Young Franc-Tireurs.
In the Heart of the Rockies.
Maori and Settler.
Redskin and Cowboy.
[Pg 378] And here are eight of Mr. G. Manville Fenn's:—
Dick o' the Fens.
The Golden Magnet.
Jungle and Stream.
Mr. Max Pemberton, author of
The Iron Pirate.
The Impregnable City.
"Q." (Mr. Quiller Couch), author of
Dead Man's Rock.
The Silver Spur.
and Mr. David Kerr, author of
The Boy Slave in Bokhara.
Lost Among the White Africans.
The Wild Horseman of the Pampas.
Cossack and Czar.
Old Tartar Deserts.
Prisoner among Pirates.
Jules Verne is a French writer, but his stories have always quickly been translated into English, many of them by Mr. Henry Frith. Their titles are a good guide to their subject, for Jules Verne goes to science for some wonderful invention, such as a submarine boat or a flying machine, and then surrounds it with extraordinary adventures. Among his best books are—
Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.
Round the World in Eighty Days.
Five Weeks in a Balloon.
The English at the North Pole.
The Clipper of the Clouds.
From the Earth to the Moon.
The Mysterious Island.
A Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
First of English inventors of fantastic stories of adventure is Mr. Rider Haggard. His three most popular books are—
King Solomon's Mines.
The books already named, with the exception of Robinson Crusoe, were written especially for boys. Other books which were not so intended, but have come to be read more [Pg 379] by boys than any one else, include Fenimore Cooper's Indian stories, of which these are four:—
The Last of the Mohicans.
The Bee Hunters.
Other Indian stories are those of Gustave Aimard, translated from the French, among which are these:—
The Last of the Incas.
The Trail Hunter.
The Indian Scout.
The Red River Half-Speed.
The Border Rifles.
The Trappers of Arkansas.
These are, of course, North American tales. Other North American tales are those of Captain Mayne Reid, which include—
The Boy Hunters.
The Boy Slaves.
Bruin, or The Grand Bear Hunter.
The Bush Boys.
The White Chief.
The Desert Home.
The Forest Exiles.
The Giraffe Hunters.
The Headless Horseman.
The Rifle Rangers.
The Scalp Hunters.
In this section belong the books of Mr. George Bird Grinnell, author of
Jack in the Rockies.
Jack, the Young Ranchman.
Jack Among the Indians.
Jack, the Young Canoeman.
Jack, the Young Trapper.
Also Harold Bindloss'
The Young Traders.
And to this section belong also stories of the sea, several of which have already been mentioned. High among these are Captain Marryat's
together with many of his tales intended originally for older readers, such as
Mr. Midshipman Easy.
[Pg 380] Mr. Clark Russell's stories:—
The Wreck of the "Grosvenor."
The Golden Hope.
An Ocean Free-Lance.
The Frozen Pirate.
Here also belong Mr. Kipling's
and an old sea favorite—
|Two Years Before the Mast||By||R. H. Dana.|
Other good sea books, not fiction:—
|My First Voyage||By||W. Stones.|
|The Voyage of the "Sunbeam"||"||Lady Brassey.|
|The Cruise of the "Cachalot"||"||F. T. Bullen.|
|The Cruise of the "Falcon"||"||E. F. Knight.|
New historical stories are published in great numbers every year. The most popular author of this kind of book for boys is Mr. G. A. Henty, among whose very numerous historical tales, all good, are—
At Aboukir and Acre.
Bonnie Prince Charlie.
By Right of Conquest.
The Dash for Khartoum.
In the Reign of Terror.
With Moore at Corunna.
The Lion of St. Mark.
Maori and Settler.
St. Bartholomew's Eve.
Under Drake's Flag.
With Clive in India.
With Frederick the Great.
With Lee in Virginia.
By Rev. A. J. Church—
The Chantry Priest of Barnet.
The Count of the Saxon Shore.
Stories from English History.
With the King at Oxford.
Other historical tales:—
|Stories from Froissart||By||Henry Newbolt.|
|The Scottish Chiefs||"||Jane Porter.|
|The Children of the New Forest||"||Captain Marryat.|
|A Monk of Fife||"||Andrew Lang.|
|Grettir the Outlaw||"||Baring Gould.|
|The Story of Burnt Njal||"||Sir George Dasent.|
|Lorna Doone||"||R. D. Blackmore.|
|In Old Egypt||"||H. P. Mendes.|
|An Island Story||"||H. E. Marshall.|
[Pg 381] By R. L. Stevenson—
The Black Arrow.
By Charles Kingsley—
Hereward the Wake.
By Conan Doyle—
The White Company.
By Stanley J. Weyman—
The House of the Wolf.
Under the Red Robe.
The Man in Black.
A Gentleman of France.
By Mr. Andrew Balfour—
By Stroke of Sword.
By Mark Twain
The Prince and the Pauper.
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc.
There are also historical stories more particularly intended by their authors for grown-up readers, but which boys and girls can, however, find quite interesting enough, even if much has to be skipped. First among these are Sir Walter Scott's novels:—
Other writers and books follow. By Alexandre Dumas—
The Three Musketeers.
Twenty Years After.
The Vicomte de Brageleonne.
Marguerite de Valois.
Chicot the Jester.
The Forty-five Guardsmen.
[Pg 382] By Charles Dickens—
A Tale of Two Cities.
By Lord Lytton—
The Last of the Barons.
The Last Days of Pompeii.
First among the animal books are Mr. Kipling's two Jungle Books. Two other beast stories by Mr. Kipling are "Moti Guj, Mutineer," the tale of a truant elephant, which is in Life's Handicap and "The Maltese Cat," a splendid tale of a polo pony, which is in The Day's Work. Next to these comes Mr. E. Thompson-Seton's Wild Animals I Have Known. The lives of animals by themselves, or by some one who knows everything about them, are always favorite books with small readers. Among the best are these:—
|Black Beauty (the story of a horse)||By||Mrs. Sewell.|
|Conrad the Squirrel||"||the author of Wandering Willie.|
|The Story of the Red Deer||"||J. W. Fortescue.|
|Every Inch a King (the story of a dog)||"||Anon.|
|The Lives of the Hunted||"||E. Thompson-Seton.|
|The Trail of the Sandhill Stag||"||"|
|The Adventures of a Siberian Cub||"||Leon Golschmann.|
|The Autobiography of a Grizzly.||"||E. Thompson-Seton.|
The best tale of a bear is perhaps Bret Harte's "Baby Sylvester," which will be found in one of his volumes of short stories. Good animal stories are scattered about other collections of short stories. In Mr. Anstey's Paleface and Redskin are stories of dogs.
Red Book of Animal Stories
has both dogs and cats in it, and many other creatures too. Here also should be placed Mr. Warde Fowler's
Tales of the Birds.
[Pg 383] Other very popular animal books are Mr. Joel Chandler Harris's
Nights with Uncle Remus,
Uncle Remus and Brer Rabbit (largely illustrations),
Mr. Rabbit at Home,
and the same author has written also
The Story of Aaron,
Aaron in the Wild Woods,
which are stories not only of animals, but of people too; and here, perhaps, may be placed Æsop's Fables.
|Wood Magic||By||Richard Jefferies|
is an attempt to do for English wild life somewhat the same service that Mr. Kipling performed for India.
Other open air and animal books are:—
By the Rev. J. G. Wood—
By Back-yard Zoo.
Pet Land revisited.
A Tour Round My Garden.
|Curiosities of Natural History||By||Frank Buckland.|
|White's Selborne||Edited by Frank Buckland.|
|Wanderings in South America||By||Charles Waterton.|
|Wild Traits in Domestic Animals||"||Louis Robinson.|
|The Voyage of the "Beagle"||"||Charles Darwin.|
|Ants, Bees, and Wasps||"||Sir John Lubbock. (Lord Avebury).|
|On the Senses, Instincts, and Intelligence of Animals||"||"|
|Bob, Son of Battle||"||"|
A series of very interesting scientific books, under the general title "The Romance of Science," is published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Among these volumes are—
|The Making of Flowers||By||Professor Henslow.|
|The Birth and Growth of Worlds||"||Professor Green.|
|Spinning Tops||"||Professor Perry.|
|Time and Tide||"||Sir Robert Ball.|
[Pg 384] The same publishers also issue a series of "Natural History Rambles," including—
|In Search of Minerals||By||D. T. Ansted.|
|Lane and Field||"||the Rev J. G. Wood.|
|Ponds and Ditches||"||M. C. Cooke.|
|Underground||"||J. E. Taylor.|
|The Woodlands||"||M. C. Cooke.|
|The Sea-shore||"||Professor Duncan.|
There is also a new series, called "The Wonder Books of Science," of which
The Wonder Book of Volcanoes and Earthquakes, and
The Wonder Book of the Atmosphere
are the first.
Other good scientific yet very entertaining books:—
|The Fairyland of Science||By||A. B. Buckley.|
|Through Magic Glasses||"||"|
|Life and Her Children||"||"|
|The Romance of the Insect World||"||Miss L. Badenoch.|
|Madam How and Lady Why||"||"|
|The Old Red Sandstone||"||Hugh Miller.|
|The Testimony of the Rocks||"||"|
|Homes without Hands||"||Rev. J. G. Wood.|
|Sun, Moon, and Stars||"||A. Giberne.|
|The Story of the Heavens||"||Sir Robert Ball.|
|Other Worlds than Ours||"||R. A. Proctor.|
|The Orbs around us||"||"|
|The Boys Book of Inventions||"||R. S. Baker.|
|Extinct Animals||"||E. Ray Lankester.|
|Electricity for Young People||"||Tudor Jenks.|
A good deal of more or less truthful history will be found in the section given to historical tales (see page 380). Here follows a small list of more serious historical books which also are good reading:—
|Tales of a Grandfather||By||Sir Walter Scott.|
|Stories from English History||"||Rev. A. J. Church.|
|Lives of the Queens of England||"||Agnes Strickland.|
|Cameos from English History (several series)||"||C. M. Younge.|
|Stories from Roman History||"||Mrs. Beesley.|
|Deeds that Won the Empire||"||W. H. Fitchett.|
|Fights for the Flag||"||"|
It is not important that travel books should be written especially for young readers. Almost all records of travel contain some pages of interest, whatever the remainder may be like. The fact that a book describes wanderings in a far country is enough.
But the books by Commander Robert E. Peary and his wife deserve mention.
The Snow Baby.
Children of the Arctic.
On this page is given a copy of the book mark which a clergyman, Mr. Henry Maxson, prepared for the use of the readers in the children's section of a library in Wisconsin.
Once upon a time a Library Book was overheard talking to a little boy who had just borrowed it. The words seemed worth recording, and here they are:—
"Please don't handle me with dirty hands. I should feel ashamed to be seen when the next little boy borrowed me.
"Or leave me out in the rain. Books can catch cold as well as children.
"Or make marks on me with your pen or pencil. It would spoil my looks.
"Or lean on me with your elbows when you are reading me. It hurts.
"Or open me and lay me face down on the table. You wouldn't like to be treated so.
"Or put in between my leaves a pencil or anything thicker than a single sheet of thin paper. It would strain my back.
"Whenever you have finished reading me, if you are afraid of losing your place, don't turn down the corner of one of my leaves, but have a neat little Book Mark to put in where you stopped, and then close me and lay me down on my side, so that I can have a good, comfortable rest.
"Remember that I want to visit a great many other little boys after you have done with me. Besides, I may meet you again some day, and you would be sorry to see me looking old and torn and soiled. Help me to keep fresh and clean, and I will help you to be happy."
In making a book of this kind, it is impossible to think of all the things that ought to be mentioned. Every reader is certain to know of some game or pastime that has been left out. In order that you may yourself bring this collection nearer completeness, the following Appendix of blank pages has been added. Some reference to everything that is written in the Appendix ought to be made, if only in pencil, in both the body of the book and in the Index.
Acrobatic impossibilities, 36
Acrobatics, drawing-room, 35-41
Acting initials, 97
verbs (Dumb Crambo), 98
Adhesive tape, 243
Adventure, stories of, 376
Almonds, how to blanch, 310
Alphabet, the cat, 166
Alphabet, the love, 88, 165
Alphabet, the ship, 87
Angora rabbits, 348
Animal, vegetable and mineral, 96
Animals, books about, 382
composite (drawing game), 51
invented (drawing game), 54
Annuals, treatment of, 319-323
Apprentice, the, 167
Arm-chair (model), 251
Auctioning prizes, 43
Autumn sowing of seedlings, 321
Bag and stick, 7
Balancing tricks, 122
Ball games, 139
Ballad game, the, 132
Barley Sugar, 307
Baths for birds, 355
Battledoor and shuttlecock, 129
Bead furniture for dolls' houses, 223
Bean bags, 113
Bed boat, the, 189
thinking games for, 189
Beds for dolls' houses, 222
Bedstead (model), 252
Belgian hares, 349
Bicyclist, the, 34
Biennials, treatment of, 322
Birds, large and cage, 355-366
in the garden, 363-366
Birthday, the old maid's, 81
Blackbird, the, 360
Black man, 158
Blacksmith, the, 206
Blenheim spaniels, 347
Blind feeding the blind, the, 5
Blind games, 3-5
Blind man's buff, 3
played with spoons, 3
Blind man's wand, 4
Blind worms, 212
Block city, 188
Bloodhound, the, 347
Blowing eggs, 207
Blowing out the candle, 6
Boat, a simple toy, 295
Boats, paper, 285
on a stream, 211
walnut shell, 298
Book mark, 385
and bookshelves for a doll's house, 224
about animals, 382
about boys, 376
of adventure, 376
about children, 373
of fairy tales, 370
historical, 380-382, 384
of poetry, 371
about the sea, 379
of travel, 385
of legendary tales, 371
Borders for a garden, 319
Borzoi, the, 347
Boxes, cardboard, 288
for collections of eggs, 208
for dolls' houses, 220
Boy and schoolboy stories, 376
Boys' toys, 292-301
Bruce's heart, 187
Bubbles, soap, 116, 279
Buff, blind man's, 3
Buff, shadow, 5
Bulbs, treatment of, 325-326
in cocoanut fibre, 333
in glasses, 333
in pots, 332
Bull dog, the, 346
Bullfinch, the, 359
Bull terrier, the, 343
Bunting, the yellow, 360
Buried names, 63
Butterfly hunting, 208
Buying dogs, 342
Cage birds, 355-366
Cages for birds, 355
Candle lighters, the, 38
Candy, molasses, 310
Cardboard and paper furniture:—
drawings of, 241-257
dining-room table, 249
high chair, 257
kitchen chair, 247
pots and pans, 248
Cardboard and paper toys, 284-292
Cardboard boxes, 288
dolls' houses, 237-243
uses for, 290
Card games, 77-83
Cardinal, the, 358
Cards for patience, 76
for snap, 77
Cards, hat and, 38
Catalogues, gardening, 316
Cat alphabet, the, 166
Catching balls, 140
Caterpillar game, 11
Cat-fish, the American, 352
Chaffinch, the, 359
Chair (model), 256
Chairs, chestnut, 229
Characteristics, prophecies and, 80
Cherry contests, 304
Chickens, feeding the, 204
Child's Garden of Verses, A, 188
Children, books about, 373
China animals, 192
Chinese gambling, 181
Clap in, clap out, 15
Clothes-basket, a doll's house, 234
Clothes-horse, summer house, 136
Clumber spaniel, the, 344
Coach, family, 33
Cobbler, the, 14
Cocked hat, paper, 284
Cocker spaniel, the, 344
Cocoanut cream, 308
fibre for bulbs, 332
Collars for dogs, 340
Collecting Jones's, 165
Collections of china animals, 192
of flags, 273
of flowers, 208
of stamps, 278
Collie, the, 344
Color in a garden, 316
Coloring maps, 273
Compasses, home-made, 243
Competitions, guessing, 103
Composite animals (drawing game), 51
scrap books, 277
Concerted sneeze, the, 27
Concerts, the topsy-turvy, 105
an extended form of, 69
Contests, cherry, 304
Convalescents, games for, 191
Copying woodcuts, 274
Cork and matchbox furniture, 228-234
Cot (model), 257
Counting dogs, 164
a million, 191
Counting imaginary flocks of sheep, 191
Counting-out rhymes, 134
Country books, 215
Country, employment in the, 203-215
Cradle, a walnut, 232
Cream caramels, 309
stuffing for dates, 311
Cress, mustard and, 327, 332
Crosses, noughts and, 176
Cross questions, 22
Cumulative games, 29-31
Curtains for cardboard dolls' houses, 238
dolls' house, 221
Cutting flowers, 335-336
Cutting out pictures, 191
Cutting leaves, 326
Daffodils, 325, 333
Dairy, the, 205
Daisy chains, 135
Dancing dwarf, the, 105
Dancing egg, the, 124
Dancing man, a, 289
Dancing pea, the, 124
Darts, paper, 286
Dates, stuffed, 311
Day's shopping, the, 14
Decorations, evergreen, 302
Deerhound, the Scotch, 347
Deer Stalking, 6
Demons, wool, 282
Diaries, country, 214
Dining-room table (model), 249
Dinner parties, dolls', 226
Distemper, treatment of, 341
Ditto game, the, 26
Dividing perennials, 324
Dogs, counting, 164
food for, 339
how to buy, 342
how to teach tricks, 341
the various kinds of, 343-348
treatment of, 339-343
Dogs' collars, 340
kennel (cardboard), 241
Dolls for dolls' houses, 225
rows of paper, 262
Dolls' dinner parties, 226
garden seats and tables, 219
house beds, 222
gardens, 220, 242
wall papers, 220
Donkey's tail, the, 5
Dots, five, 47, 48
Double acrostics, 60
Dragons, hand, 290
Drawing games, 47-56
Drawing-room acrobatics, 35-41
Drawings, eyes-shut, 50
Drawing tricks, 51
Dresses for paper dolls, 258
Dressing dolls, 226
Dressing the lady, 13
Dressing-table (model), 254
table, matchbox, 232
up for charades, 108
Duck on a rock, 142
Ducks' eggs, 204
Dumb Crambo, 98
Dutch rabbits, 349
Dutch street, a, 267
Dwarf, the dancing, 105
Easter eggs, 275
Eggs, blowing, 207
Elements, the, 90
Employments, guessing, 98
Esquimau village, a, 266
Evergreen decorations, 302
Everton toffee, 310
Exercising dogs, 339
Eyes-shut drawings, 50
Fairy-tale books, 370
Family coach, 33
specimen story, 33
Family, the imaginary, 190
Fantail pigeons, 354
Feather, the, 21
Feeding chickens, 204
Fern halls, 331
Fights, walnut shell, 299
Filipino village, a, 266
Fireplaces for dolls' houses, 220
Five dots, 47-48
Flags, collection of, 273
Floors in dolls' houses, 222
Flower pots, 330
Flower shows, 136, 317
Flower symbols, 136
Flowers, collecting, 208
for a doll's house, 225
for town gardens, 328
for window boxes, 334
Fly away, 23
Follow my leader, 159
Food for birds, 356
for chickens and ducks, 204
for dogs, 339
for puppies, 340
for rabbits, 349
for wild birds, 359, 361, 365
on a railway journey, 180
Football, parlor, 39
Foot-stools, cork, 230
Fowls, trussed, 37
Fox-terrier, the, 343
French and English, 158
French tag, 152
French Blind Man's Buff, 4
Fruit cream, 309
Furnishing dolls' houses, 222
Furnishing game, a, 221
Games with a ball, 139
by rote, 189
in bed, 185-193
with cards, 75-83
[Pg 402]for convalescents, 191
for a journey, 173-181
for a party, 3-43
for a picnic, 151-159
thinking, guessing, and acting, 87-109
for a walk, 163-170
with a watch, 175
yes and no, 94-96
Gambling, Chinese, 181
Garden, dolls' house, 219, 242
Gardening catalogues, 316
General post, 17
Ghosts of My Friends, 50
Glasses, bulbs in, 333
Glass-maker, the, 125
Going to Jerusalem, 10
Goldfinch, the, 359
Gold fish, 351
Good fat hen, a, 30
Good luck lily, 333
Gordon setter, 344
Grand Mogul, the, 166
Grand Mufti, the, 25
Grass snakes, 212
Great Dane, the, 346
Greyhound, the, 347
Guessing competitions, 103
the color of horses' tails, 164
Guinea pigs, 350
Gypsy camp, 268
Hand dragons, 290
Hare and hounds, 145
Hat and cards, 38
Hats, cocked, 284
Heads, bodies and tails, 54
He can do little who can't do this, 8
Hen and chickens, 130
Hen, a good fat, 30
Hens' eggs, where to look for, 204
Here I bake, 13
Hide and seek, 154
Hieroglyphics, or picture-writing, 52, 53, 55
High chair (model), 257
High skip, 38
Himalayan rabbits, 349
Hish! hash! hosh! 27
Historical stories, 380-382
History books, 385
Hives, bee, 205
Hold fast! Let go! 24
Home newspaper, the, 284
Hoop games for two, 169
Hop, step, and jump, 159
Hospitals, scrap books for, 277
Hot and cold, 9
Hot hand, 175
Hotel game, an, 188
Houses, cardboard, 237-242
House that glue built, the, 243
How, when, and where, 95
Hunting for eggs, 204
Hunt the ring, 19
Hunt the slipper, 7
Hunt the squirrel, 153
Hunt the thimble, 9
Hutches, rabbit, 349
Hyacinths, 325, 333
Illustrated papers, painting, 273
I love my love, 88, 165
Imaginary family, the, 190
Improbable stories, 70
India-rubber plant, 331
Indoor gardening, 329-334
occupations and things to make, 273
Initials, 65, 189
Ink sea-serpents, 288
Invented animals (drawing game), 54
Irish setter, 344
I spy, 155
Jack Horner pies, 303
Japanese fern balls, 331
Java sparrows, 358
John Ball, 31
Jolly miller, the, 10
Jones's, collecting, 165
Journeys, games to play on, 173-181
Judge and Jury, 22
Jumping Rope, 129
Killing butterflies, 208
King Charles spaniel, 347
Kitchen gardens, 327
table (model), 246
chair " 247
range " 247
pots and pans, 248
Kitchen utensils, 18
Kite messengers, 295
Lady Queen Anne, 20
Lamp for small dolls' house, 230
Land of counterpane, the, 191
Land of Story-books, the, 188
Leaves, skeleton, 280
Legendary tales, 371
Letter games, 75
Letters and telegrams, 63
and words, 178
with a pencil, 178
Lights, rhyming, 167
Little dog, the, 152
Looby, looby, 29
Log Houses, 268
London Bridge is Falling Down, 15
Love alphabet, the, 88, 165
Lubbock, Sir John, on bees, 205
Madonna lilies, 325
Magic-lantern slides, 274
Magic music, 9
Making friends, 203
Making plans, 191
Making obeisance, 99
Making sentences, 165
Man, a dancing, 289
Mandarins, the, 25
Maps, coloring, 273
on a journey, 173
Mastiff, the, 346
Mats, paper 286
Messengers, kite, 295
Milking cows, 206
Million, counting a, 191
Miniature trees, 331
Missing information, 67
Mogul, the Grand, 166
Molasses candy, 310
Mottoes for Christmas, 302
Mounting pressed flowers, 209
Muffin man, the, 32
Mufti, the Grand, 25
Mulberry bush, the, 28
Music, dolls', 225
Music, magic, 9
Mustard and cress, 327, 332
My lady's clothes, 13
My right-hand neighbor, 94
My thought, 89
Narcissus, 325, 333
Natural history books, 382
Neighbor, my right-hand, 94
Newfoundland dogs, 345
Newspaper, the, 71
Newspaper, the home, 284
Norfolk spaniel, 344
Noughts and crosses, 176
Numbers, guessing, 102
Nut candy, 310, 311
Nuts in May, 12
for railway journeys, 174
Occupations, indoor, 273-304
Old bachelor, 79
Old maid, 79
Old maid's birthday, the, 81
Old soldier, 13
Old stone, 130
Oranges and lemons, 13
Outdoor games for boys, 139-147
Outdoor games for girls, 129-136
Outlines, 47, 49
P's and Q's, 89
Packing flowers, 335
cardboard dolls' houses, 238
cardboard furniture, 245
dolls' house food, 229
eggs for Easter, 275
magic-lantern slides, 274
Paper boats, 285
and cardboard toys, 284-292
French and English, 177
Papers for dolls' houses, 220
Parlor football, 39
Party, games for a, 3-43
Patience or Thirteens, 76
Pen and ink work, 276
Peppermint candy, 311
Perennials, treatment of, 323
Picking flowers, 335
Picnic games, 151-159
Pictures and titles, 55
Pictures, coloring, 273
for dolls' houses, 224
Pictures to order, 54
Picture-writing, or hieroglyphics, 52, 53, 55
Plain toffee, 309
Plans, making, 191
Planting bulbs, 326
Plants, window, 329
Playhouses of other peoples, 265-269
Poetry books, 371
Pomeranian, the, 347
Postage-stamp collections, 278
Post office, the, 283
Potato races, 40
Pots and pans (models), 248
Pressing flowers, 209
Pricking pictures, 275
Prisoner's base, 156
Prize, auctioning, 43
Products, towns and, 168
Prophecies and characteristics, 80
Pueblo settlement, a, 265
Puppies, how to feed, 340
Puss in the corner, 7
Quantities, guessing, 104
Queen Anne, Lady, 20
Quotation games, 92
Rabbits, wild, 348
Races, potato, 40
Spanish, or wheelbarrow, 141
Railway competitions, 173
Railway whist, 174
Rainy-day games, 113-126
Red rover, 159
Remarks on acting, 109
Retriever, the, 344
Rhymed replies, 67
Rhymes, counting out, 134
Rhyming games, 92
Rhyming lights, 167
Ring, hunt the, 19
Ring taw, 146
Roadside whist, 163
Robin's Alive, 27
Robin, the, 361
Rocking-chair (model), 256
Rows of paper dolls, 262
Runt pigeons, 354
Russian scandal, 21
Ruth and Jacob, 23
Sailing boats, 197, 210
Saint Bernard, the, 346
Sand castles, 198
Saving seed, 322
Scandal, Russian, 21
Scarborough lily, 333
Scents, guessing, 104
Schoolboy stories, 376
Science, books about, 383
Scrap-books, 191, 276
covered screens, 278
Scraps and transfers, 288
Screen (model), 248
Screens covered with scraps, 278
for dolls' houses, 225
Sea-Serpents, ink, 288
Seaside friends, good, 199
Seaside employments, 197-200
Seedlings, perennials, 325
general remarks on, 321
Seed, sowing, 322
Sentences, making, 165
Sergeant, the, 24
Setting-boards for butterflies, 208
Shadow buff, 5
Shadows on the wall, 279
Shearing sheep, 206
counting imaginary flocks of, 191
dog, the, 345
Shell work, 199
Ship alphabet, the, 87
Ships, cork, 197
Shop, game of, 221
in the garden, 136
Shopping, the day's, 14
Shop windows, 164
Shouting proverbs, 97
Shuffle board, 121
Sideboard (model), 250
Simon says thumbs up, 24
Simple acrostics, 59
Skeleton ferns, 281
Skye terrier, the, 343
Sleep, ways of getting to, 191
Small dolls' houses, 227
postage stamp, 228
Snap cards, 78
Sneeze, the concerted, 27
Soap-bubbles, 116, 279
Sofa (model), 251
Sofas, cork, 229
Soldiers, 185, 191
Solitary watchfulness, 212
Sowing seeds, 320
Spanish cup and ball, 186
Spelling game, 166
Spin the platter, 17
Spoons, blind man's buff played with, 3
Squirrels, wild, 213
Stamps, collecting, 278
Star of Bethlehem, 325
Station Observation, 174
Stevenson, R. L., 188
Still Pond! No More Moving, 4
Stir the mash, 11
Stool of repentance, 98
Stories, composite, 70
about schoolboys, 376
telling, 93, 163
Story books, 188
Story for Family coach, 33
for Old maid's birthday, 82
Story game, 70
Strength tests, 144
Stuffed dates, 311
Sugar, Barley, how to make, 307
Sugar, how to color, 312
Sussex spaniel, the, 344
Swarming of bees, 205
Tableaux vivants, 108
Table games, 75-83
Tables, cork, 230
Telling stories, 93
during walks, 163
Thinking games, 87-93
for bed, 189
Thirteens, or Patience, 76
Thought, my, 89
Thought-reading tricks, 100
Throwing light, 96
Tissue-paper dresses for dolls, 262
Titles, pictures and, 55
Toffee, almond, 310
Tom Tiddler's ground, 129
Tools for gardening, 318
Topsy-turvy concert, the, 105
Touch last, 152
Towel-rack, cork, 233
Town gardens, 328
Towns and products, 168
Toy boats, 295
Toys for boys, 292-301
Tracing pictures, 275
Train, games to play in the, 173-181
Transplanting flowers, 320
Travel, books of, 385
Traveller, the, 34
Trees, miniature, 331
Tricks, how to teach birds, 356
how to teach dogs, 341
[Pg 409]drawing, 51
Trussed fowls, 37
Tug of war, 38
Twenty questions, 189
Twos and threes, or Terza, 154
Tying knots, 117
Unison games, 26
Up Jenkins, 18
Utensils, kitchen, 18
kitchen (models), 248
for sweet-making, 307
Velvet animals, 289
Verse and poetry books, 371
Walking dolls, 259
games to play when out, 163-170
Walking Spanish, 39
Walnut fights, 299
shell boats, 298
Wand, blind man's, 4
Wardrobe, matchbox, 233
Washing dogs, 340
Watch, games to be played with a, 175
Watering flowers, 318
window boxes, 334
window plants, 330
Welsh terrier, the, 343
Wet clothes, 197
When my ship comes in, 87
Whist, railway, 174
Whist, roadside, 163
Whistle, the, 8
Wild birds, feeding the, 361
Window boxes, 329, 354
Windows, shop, 164
Wool balls, 282
Writing games, 59-72
Yellow bunting, 360
Yes and no games, 94-96
|The Young Traders. Illustrated, 12mo, cloth||$1.50|
|A capital story of two boys in West Africa.|
|Crockett, S. R.|
|The Surprising Adventures of Sir Toady Lion. Illustrated, 12mo, cloth.||1.00|
|Sir Toady Crusoe. Illustrated. Large 12mo, cloth||1.25|
|The adventures of two boys and a girl on the Scottish coast.|
|Sweetheart Travellers. Illustrated, 12mo, cloth||1.00|
|Fine Art Juveniles|
|Children's classics in artistic form. Beautifully illustrated. Each 8vo, cloth||1.50|
|1. Old Fashioned Tales. E. V. Lucas.|
|2. The "Original Poems" and Others. Ann and Jane Taylor.|
|3. Tales from Maria Edgeworth.|
|4. Tales of the Canterbury Pilgrims. F. J. H. Darton.|
|5. Fairy Tales from Grimm.|
|6. Fairy Tales from Hans Andersen.|
|7. Stories from the Faerie Queen. Mary Macleod.|
|8. The Book of King Arthur, Mary Macleod.|
|9. The Fairchild Family. Mrs. Sherwood.|
|10. National Rhymes of the Nursery.|
|11. Forgotten Stories of Long Ago. E. Y. Lucas.|
|[Pg 412]12. Ballads in Prose. Mary Macleod.|
|13. Another Book of Verses for Children. E. V. Lucas.|
|14. The Wonder Book of Old Romance. F. J. H. Darton.|
|Grinell, George Bird|
|The "Jack" Books. Illustrated. Each 12mo, cloth||1.25|
|Good books for boys, full of hunting, adventure and natural history.|
|Jack the Young Ranchman.|
|Jack Among the Indians.|
|Jack in the Rockies.|
|Jack the Young Canoeman.|
|Jack the Young Trapper.|
|Neighbors of Field, Wood, and Stream. Illustrated, 12mo, cloth||1.25|
|An account of wild creatures not far from civilization.|
|Houston, Edwin J.|
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|The Wonder Book of the Atmosphere.|
|Electricity for Young People. Illustrated, 12mo, cloth||net, 1.50|
|The story of the progress of electricity from the earliest times.|
|The Wild Flower Book for Young People. Illustrated, 12mo, cloth||net, 1.50|
|A story of the lives of wild flowers.|
|Marshall, H. E.|
|An Island Story. Illustrated in color. Large 8vo, cloth||net, 2.50|
|A child's history of England.|
|Scotland's Story. Illustrated in color. Large 8vo, cloth||net, 2.50|
|Stirring events in Scottish history.||[Pg 413]|
|Moore, N. Hudson|
|Deeds of Daring Done by Girls. Illustrated in color, 12mo, cloth||1.50|
|Examples of heroism of girls under twenty.|
|The Treasure Seekers. Illustrated, 12mo, cloth||1.50|
|By the author of The Wouldbegoods.|
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|Further adventures of the fascinating Bastable children.|
|Perkins, Lucy F.|
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|A uniform edition of children's classics, splendidly illustrated.|
|Midsummer Night's Dream for Young-People.|
|The Twenty Best Fairy Tales.|
|Sage, Agnes C.|
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|Child-life during the exciting period of the War for Independence.|
|Steedman, C. M.|
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|Ault, Lena and Norman|
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|Children's Library, The|
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|Stories of all kinds interesting to children.|
|The Would-be Witch. Miriam Byrne.|
|Two Are Company. E. M. Field.|
|The Old Oak Chest.|
|Mary Jane Papers. A. G. Plympton.|
|Courage. Ruth Ogden.|
|Little Homespun. Ruth Ogden.|
|Tommy's Tiny Tales. Lady Leigh.|
|The House of the Red Fox. Miriam Byrne.|
|Cooke, Grace MacGowan|
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|Glen, M. A.|
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|Harris, Joel Chandler|
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|Some of Bre'r Rabbit's most amusing adventures told in stories, verses and pictures.|
|Jewett, J. H.|
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|Moore, N. Hudson|
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|An art book for children, giving reproductions of famous paintings of children.|
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|The account of the visit of a little American girl to England.|
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|A story of a child in New York one hundred years ago.|
|Loyal Hearts and True. Illustrated, 12mo, cloth||1.00|
|How "The Dry Dock Club" showed its patriotic spirit during the war with Spain.||[Pg 416]|
|Outcault, R. F.|
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|With many new adventures.|
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|Peary, Josephine D.|
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|Peary, Robert E.|
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|Randolph, H. S. F.|
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|Williams, Clara Andrew|
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|Betts, Ethel Franklin|
|Favorite Nursery Rhymes. Illustrated in color, 4to, cloth||1.50|
|The most popular nursery rhymes beautifully illustrated.|
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|The primary rules of good manners in clever rhymes.|
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|Modern fables—a Hans Andersen up to date.|
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|A collection of Mr. Burgess's nonsense verses and stories.|
|Deming, E. W.|
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| Each of these books contains just half the pictures and text of "Red Folk and Wild Folk."
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|Stories about Indian children. [Pg 418]|
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|Each containing just half the illustrations and text in the preceding volume.|
|Dumpy Books for Children|
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|Simple stories for very young children.|
|The Story of the Teasing Monkey. Helen Bannerman.|
|Billy Mouse. Arthur Layard.|
|Pat and the Spider. Helen Bannerman.|
|The Story of Little Kettle Head. Helen Bannerman.|
|The Story of Little Black Quibba. Helen Bannerman.|
|The Story of Little Black Sambo. Helen Bannerman.|
|The Bad Mrs. Ginger. Honor C. Appleton.|
|The Alphabet Book. Henry Mayer.|
|A Cat Book. E. V. Lucas and H. C. Smith.|
|Haines, Alice Calhoun|
|Little Folk of Brittany. Illustrated in color, 4to, cloth||1.50|
|Delightful stories and verses about this remarkable land.|
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|Indian children in characteristic occupations.|
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|What Grandma Says. Illustrated in color, 4to, cloth||1.00|
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|Distinctive and beautiful stories and verses of child life.|
|Little Japs at Play. Illustrated in color. Large 4to, boards||1.00|