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Title:      London Street Games (1931)
Author:     Norman Douglas [1868-1952]
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Language:   English
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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      London Street Games (1931)
Author:     Norman Douglas [1868-1952]



FIRST PUBLISHED 1916
SECOND EDITION REVISED AND ENLARGED 1931



To an old friend
H. M. TOMLINSON
this new edition




PREFACE


It was a pastime that grew on you like a fever--collecting these
outdoor sports in Finsbury, Hackney, Islington, Whitechapel, Stepney,
Limehouse, Poplar, Shoreditch, Bethnal Green, Deptford, Camberwell,
Kennington, Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Shadwell, and God knows where
else; it brought you in touch with new lives and new ideas. The first
result of the craze was an article, a little Cockney study, in the
_English Review_ (November 1913). By that time the game-microbe, far
from growing extenuated, had established itself firmly in the system;
incipient stamp-collectors will recognize this symptom. The following
pages, published in 1916, mark another stage in the progress of the
infection; and I might have continued to note down Street Games till
Doomsday, and compiled a veritable Corpus of them, but for the fact
that, owing to other occupations, it became increasingly difficult to
find the necessary tune. Time! It required time, days and weeks, to
stalk these children and win their confidence. Whoever doubts
this--let him try. ...

One reviewer lamented that the book did not contain sufficient
descriptions of the sports. I could double their number at this
moment, since the old manuscripts, an enormous and fascinating bundle
of play-rules written by the children themselves, are lying before me.
But I does it matter how all of them are played? What matters is
that they actually are, or at least were, played. Their peculiar
rules strike me as neither important, nor even interesting (see page
85). I think it should suffice to have copied, for nearly every
separate class of game, one or more of its playing-rules in the
original language without the alteration of a letter, no two of them
being done by the same child. For an almost unintelligible specimen
see note to page 39; others wrote surprisingly well.

The typescript was offered to several publishers in vain, though
Andrew Melrose took kindly to it. 'It is simple fact,' he wrote, 'that
your _Street Games_ fills me with admiration for it as a literary
achievement of the most difficult kind triumphantly done.' That
sounded promising. He would not have it, all the same; not even
gratis. 'In short, I can't see a public for it.'

He might have seen a public, I suspect, had the material been cast
into the shape of an informative treatise. There is always a public
for stodgy professorial dissertations on out-of-the-way subjects; and
indeed, in the case of Street Games, the thing had already been done
after a fashion. That was not my aim. I wished to produce a social
document, however unpretending. My point, my only point, was the
inventiveness of the children. That is why I piled up the games into a
breathless catalogue which, to obtain its full momentum and
psychological effect, should be read through, _accelerando_, from
beginning to end without a break. It is then that you fully realize
the youngsters' inventive powers. Hence the apparent disorder in my
recital and its impromptu flavour, which were deliberately contrived
to convey that sense of flurried accumulation. I thought I had
succeeded in making this clear to an intelligent reader. Yet a critic
complained of my 'undigested material,' and begged his readers to
'forget the irritation caused by casual methods.' If he knew what
pains those casual methods had cost me!

Another of them made a sager remark when he said that one marvels at
the 'stupidity of the social reformer who desires to close to the
children the world of adventure, to take from them their birthright
of the streets, and coop them up in well-regulated and uninspiring
playgrounds where, under the supervision of teachers, their
imagination will decline, their originality wither.' That was well
said. For the standardization of youth proceeds relentlessly; it is
part of what Richard Aldington calls the insane process of making
great groups happy by destroying the personal happiness of every
individual in that group; it is one of many steps in the direction of
that termite-ideal towards which we are trending. I wonder how many
of these games are still played?

1931.







There's not much for _us_ to do, down our way--in the way of sports, I
mean. Nothing at all, in fact. When we come home from work we
generally go straight indoors and have a lay-down, and a cup of tea
and a pipe; or else we go out and watch a match somewhere. There's
always the 'Three Swans', of course. ...

But the youngsters get on all right--seem to, at all events. Some of
them have got bats and stumps or footballs, and off they go into the
park; and some of the girls have got shuttlecocks, and off _they_ go.
But most of them haven't, you know; so they just lark about where they
are. PAPER-CHASE and ROUNDERS, for instance; you know those? They're
plain sailing. But some of these games, like EGG-IN-CAP (also called
EGGET), are rather complicated; and as to MONDAY-TUESDAY (or NUMBERS;
another kind of egg-in-cap)--it would take me till next Saturday
_week_ to explain it. Perhaps you can make it out from this
description:

'After clipping the throer calls out the name of the day in the weke
and the chap whats taken that day has to catch if he misses it they
all run away and shout no Egg if I move--becose if they dont the
throer can say a egg if you move--& that helps to make the quantity of
the Eggs. The Misser of the ball throes it at one of the player and if
he misses it is a egg to him and if he hits its a egg to the one he
hit. After the throer has hit his man--the man has to throw it up
again. If one of the player catch the Ball they throw it up again and
call out the name, the total of egg to get you out is three. After the
game is over the winner has clockwork on the Losers; they each stand
up against a wall wile the winner throes at their heads with the ball.
They can also claim 3 Hard throes or six soft ones.'

Now you know how it's done.

Then there's QUEENIE, which is really a girls' game. One boy stands
on the kerbstone with his back to the street, and they call him
Queenie. He throws a ball backwards over his shoulders into the
street, where four others are standing to catch it. As soon as one
of them has it, they all hold their hands behind their backs, and then
Queenie has to turn round and face them and guess who has the ball.
If he guesses right, he goes on being Queenie; if not, the boy who has
the ball takes his place.

Why they call it QUEENIE? Because that happens to be its name. Aunt
Eliza, who has travelled all over the place and can explain mostly
everything (thinks she can) tells me that QUEENIE is a Chinese game
and that she has seen it played there and that it must have come to
London over the docks. I daresay it did. But the worst of Aunt Eliza
is that you never know whether----

There are other ball-games, such as HOT RICE and FRENCH CRICKET and
FOOTBALL-CRICKET and FIDDLE-DE-DEE and PALM OVER (a rough game) and
CATCH (also called TEASER), which goes not as you think it does, but
like this--

'Two boys stand at each side of the road and one in the middle, that's
Hee. One of them tries to get the ball over middles head for the other
to get it but if middle gets it the throer goes Hee'--

and WALL-BOUNCING and KING and MISSINGS OUT and FRENCH FOOT and
KNOCKING UP THREE CATCHERS and SWOLO (rather like hockey) and DAYS OF
THE YEAR and PUNCH-BALL and BOUNCE-BALL and TOUCH IT EUN and HUNDRED
WINS (where you knock bricks out of a ring with a ball) and
ONE-TWO-THREE-AND-A-LAIRY (I wish I knew what a-lairy meant) and ALONG
THE ROW and UNDER THE ROW and ACROSS THE ROW and RABBIT IN THE HUTCH
and FIVE-TEN and BASE (or DOLL) and WALLIE (because played against a
wall) and STRIKE UP KNOCK DOWN and IN THE HAT and DUSTHOLES, and no
doubt many more. But however many I might tell you, there are not
nearly as many as there ought to be.

Why not?

Well, Mr. Perkins--he works with the firm of Framlingham Brothers
(Limited), a likeable well-spoken gentleman, and he often watches the
children playing and sometimes we have a talk about things at the
'Three Swans'--Mr. Perkins says, speaking of ball-games, exactly what
I always say, which is this: that there's a difficulty about
ball-games, which is this: that most of them generally need a ball;
meaning you can't play with a ball unless you have a ball to play
with. And you generally haven't got one--meaning the children. And
then the trouble begins. Because then you have to start thinking about
something that doesn't need a ball.

Somebody or other may have a top, for those who care about this kind
of game. Top-games are not as fashionable as they used to be; still,
there are a good many of them left. You can play TOP-FOOTBALL, and
SKATING, and GRULLEY (also called GEOWLEY, or GROWLING KEEPS, or
PLACING), and GETTING IN THE RING, and SENDING MESSAGES, and GULLEY
HOLE (or HULLY-GULLY) and FLY DUTCHMAN and BACK SCALINGS and TRACING
and RAILWAY LINE and MOUSETRAP (where you have to get the string wound
round the top as it spins) and CHUCKING and GRUDGES and GULLEY KEEP
TOP and GULLEY KNOCK ABOUT and FETCHING HOME, and PEG IN THE RING, and
BOAT-RACE, and PEGGING, and LIVE O's and CHIPSTONE. For CHIPSTONE you
need hard smooth ground and some pebbles and this is how you play it:

'Two lines about 6 ft. apart are drorn. A boy first puts his stone on
a place half-way between the two, he spins his top picks it up and
makes it spin in the palm of his hand and chips his stone towards the
line. The first boy who gets his stone beyond the line he wins.'

I used to know a good deal about tops, but it's quite a while since I
played, and I have forgotten half their names, and couldn't describe
them if I tried. I can only remember peg-tops, whipping-tops,
mushrooms, klondykes, tomtits, boxers (made of boxwood), racing tops,
corkscrews, clodhoppers, humming tops, Russian tops, Jews' tops, Japan
tops (rather flatter at the end than the usual kind), French tops (red
and white on the top, with a little thing for tying a piece of string
on, to spin with), and window-breakers, which are rather like
mushrooms.

_And_ the dumb-bargee.

Ever heard of a dumb-bargee? It's a kind of top after the style of a
klondyke. It's too heavy to rise from the ground like a racer. You
simply can't get a rise out of a dumb-bargee. Perhaps that accounts
for the name. Because it's easy enough to get a rise out of an
ordinary bargee, isn't it? And when you do, he's not exactly what you
call 'dumb', is he? Not the bargees I 've known.

And if you have no tops, you can make up games with your caps or boots
or jackets. DEAD MAN'S EISE (also called DEAD MAN'S DARK SCENERY or
COAT) is one of these jacket-games, where one party has to hide,
covered up in their coats. Shoe-games are rather commoner--there's
SIZE OP YOUR BOOT (one boy has to be blind-folded for this), and BOOT
IN THE TUB, and NAILS, and COBBLER COBBLER MEND MY SHOE. But the
commonest are the cap-games. Here are some of them: CHIMNEY-POTS (or
UPSETTING THE CHIMNEY); HAT UNDER THE MOON; MOUSE IN TRAP; SAUSAGE;
KNOCK HIM DOWN DONKEY; PULL FOR THE SHORE SAILOR; SUGAR AND MILK; HOP
o' MY THUMB; TOUCH-CAP. In the three last you have to go 'through the
mill', if you fail. NUTS IN CAP is played with caps and crackers
(Spanish nuts); in HITTING THE SUN you must throw your cap at your
opponent's at about twelve yards distance; other cap-games are QUOITS
(with folded-up caps) and FIRE ENGINES, and SHYING OVER THE MOON, and
SHOOTING THE STABS, and PILING THE DONKEY, and CAP IT, and WHERE's
THIS LITTLE HAT To Go, and SALLY ROUND THE JAM-POT (with piled-up
caps), and BALL IN CAP, and RUN A MILE FOR A HALF-PENNY, and HOOK AND
CAP, and HOT SOUP, and Fox COME OUT OF YOUR DEN, and THROW OVER, and
MILLER'S SACK, and WHACK CAP, and HATCHING EGGS, and UNDER THE GARTER.
All these are played with caps, and some of them, such as FLIES (or
SALLY) ROUND THE JAM-POT, are really duty games, of which I must tell
you later on.

And if you have no caps, which you sometimes haven't, you must just
find something else to play with. Buttons, for instance--everybody
knows the old game of BUTTONS (or BANG-OUT, or BANGINGS) where you
pitch them against a wall and have to measure the intervals between
them with the span of your fingers and always end up with a row about
cheating distances. You can make a fine gamble out of BUTTONS if you
play the same game with halfpennies; you can win quite a lot, when
there are no coppers about. ...

But nobody need play for money unless they like, and, anyhow, I don't
care to talk about these things. Because, of course, our boys don't
gamble, and there's an end to it. They never try to make money, like
some do, out of silly tricks like BRAG, and BOOKS, and SPIN UP THE
PENNY, and RAPS ON THE BUGLE, and NAP, and TRUMP, and BEAT YOUR
NEIGHBOUR OUT OF DOORS, and MY BIRDIE WHISTLES, and POLISH BANKER, and
DONKEY, and TUPPENCE You HEAD IT, and PITCHING UP THE LINE (double or
single), and SHOVE HA'PENNY, and NEAREST THE LINE TAKES, and
CHUCK-FARDEN, and PONTOON, [Footnote: The French 'Vingt-et-un.']
and PIEMAN, and ODD MAN SPINS, and ON THE STICK, and GUESSING WITH
THREE CARDS, and GUESSING WITH SIX CARDS, and ANCHOR-CROWN-HEAD, and
PITCH AND Toss and BLIND SAM and OVERS KEEPS--or whatever all these
things are called; no, not our boys. They never climb down to the cut
[Footnote: The cut is the canal.] on a Sunday afternoon like some
people do--although, as a matter of fact, it's a pretty safe place
just now, because only three weeks ago a couple of peelers were
chucked into the water for interfering.

Many of these sports are played with cigarette-cards or with ordinary
playing cards, or with either; and I might tell you the names of some
of those of the first kind, seeing that the lads have to play their
card-games out of doors, hereabouts, if--if it weren't for the
gambling they lead to. For instance, there's KNOCKING DOLLY OUT o' BED
where you lay down three for a king, two for a jack, one for a queen
and none for an ace, and--well, there you are! You must just come and
ask some of the boys higher up the street; maybe they've heard of the
game. [Footnote: One of _them_ tells me that OVERS KEEPS goes like
this: 'Make a line, pitch up ha'pennies, if they go over, they are
kept by the man whose coin is nearest to the line under. He keeps all
those what are over, and spins up those what are under.'] Ours are
respectable. Gambling is forbidden by law, and they know it. That's
why you have to be so darned careful not to get copped.

Or you can play with tins, or bits of metal and wood, or with nuts. In
THROWING THE NICKER (or TIN ON THE LINE) you really ought to use a
piece of lead or tin, or an old key, but sometimes you haven't got
one, and then you must put up with a slate; and the same with NIXIE
and PITCH OUT and PITCHING ON THE HAT and PITCHING IN THE HAT and
BULLS EYE and ONE, Two, THREE and OVER THE LINE. There are many
tin-can games, such as TIN-CAN BUMP and TIN-CAN JUMP and TIN-CAN CATCH
and TIN-CAN FISHING and TIN-CAN FETCH IT and TIN-CAN RACING and
TIN-CAN GO IT and TIN-CAN TOUCH and TIN-CAN HIDE IT and TIN-CAN HAVE
IT and COCK-SHY and CATCH THE RIDER and PITCHING UP THE WALL. The best
of all of them is TIN-CAN COPPER (or KICK-CAN POLICEMAN) which goes
like this:--

'You get a tin and place it on the road. You then toss up who is to be
tin-can copper. After the one is found you throw it up the street &
then go and hide. The one who has to go after the can must not turn
round and must come backwards. When he has got back he puts the tin
down & then looks to see if he can see you--if he see you he points
were you are and shout your name & Bangs the can down three times, if
he does not see you you can creep up and steal the can & fling it up
the road again and all of them can hide. The last one caught is the
Tin-can-Copper.'

There are different ways of playing TIPPIT and I can't stop to explain
them; one is played with sticks, and one without, and another with
tin; and you can play tippit with a top and a coin; in fact, it 'a one
of those names, like 'fire-engines' or 'pitching up the line', that
don't mean anything in particular and are used for all kinds of
sports. With sticks you can also play CUNJER, and CATCHING THE FALLING
WAND (a ring-game for children) and SEIZING STICKS (or SCOTCH AND
ENGLISH):--

'One of A.'s side tries to rush and get a stick from B.'s side without
being caught. If he is caught he remains a prisoner, unless touched by
one of his own side again. But no sticks can be taken by any one
while there are prisoners. The game is won by the side who gets all
the sticks'--

and WAND BALANCE RACE and different kinds of TIBBY-CAT (or NIBBY-CAP)
such as SETS and RUNS and WOGGLES and CATCHERS and SINGLES. You can't
play TIBBY-CAT if there are any blue boys hanging around; they're
down on the game, because people sometimes get their windows smashed
or their eyes bunged up.

HITTING THE MUMMY is played with nuts--

'You throw nuts against a wall and let them lay there till one of them
is hit, then he who hits has the lot. But if he doesn't leave Mummy
laying down he has to pay six.' With nuts (or cherry-stones or
date-stones) you can also play You HAVE ALL You GET and KNOCK HIM DOWN
HAVE HIM and TIP-TAP and MOP CHEERY-STONES and UP THE GUTTER-SPOUT; as
well as another game for which you need nuts and an old tobacco-tin. I
can't tell you its name, because I don't know it; and the lads can't
tell you either, because it hasn't got one--not yet. It's quite a new
game.

But some of the best sports are those which they make up without
anything at all, just out of their heads, like STAGS, and FOX-HUNTING,
and SHOEING THE WILD HORSE (you need confederates for this, and a
fresh boy; but it's quite a respectable game), and TOMMY ALL ROUND,
and BLIND DONKEY, and SAILOR, and HORSE-SOLDIERS. HORSE-SOLDIERS
(also called FLYING ANGELS) is rather rough, and so is COCK AND HEN
FIGHT. Or hide-and-seek games like I SPY--SPIT IN YOUE EYE, which goes
like this:--

'Five or ten can play, one has to hide wile the Others hide. If he
sees you you have to come out of your Crib & twig & get home. The one
that hides can only come a little way from home--to get home you have
to run and touch the piller or Post where he was hiding '.

POINT is like I SPY; but you need a lamp-post for it. MONKEY IN THE
WOOD is the same kind of game, but without a lamp-post; FORTY and
INNER AND OUTER are other hide-and-seek games. Or hunting sports like
WIDDY, which you play in winter to get warm with. There are different
ways of playing WIDDY; one is this:

'Say there's ten of you, one is widdy, thats Hee. He runs after the
others till he catches his one then there's two that must hold hands
then they run after the eight till they catch another and so on till
there all cort and the last one to be cawt is widdy for next go '.

Or you can make WIDDY into a hopping game. One is 'he', they all
gather round him and sing--

  Widdy Widdy way, I shan't play,
  Kick your post and run away--

and then he kicks his lamp-post and hops after them on
one leg. I don't know what 'Widdy' [Footnote: _Vide_--look out.]
means, but I should think that all these hunting 'he' games are
rather old (other 'he' games are sometimes new). FISHING (or FAG-OUT)
is another of them, and COALER another, and LAST ONE HOME another.

To play DELIVER UP THOSE GOLDEN JEWELS (or DELIVER UP THE BLACK
PUDDING) you need confederates. You go up to a soft boy and say '
Let's have a game of Deliver up those Golden Jewels _and you shall be
judge_', So the softy gets very keen about being judge, and sits down
'in Court' on a step or somewhere; then they lead up the prisoner who
is in the know, you know, and they ask him a lot of sham questions;
and as soon as the judge says 'Therefore deliver up them golden jools',
the prisoner--no, I can't tell you any more about that game. It's
rather rude. None of our boys are caught at it more than once--not at
playing the judge, at least. There are other games of this sort, like
WHITE MICE and HIGH TREASON and THREE GOLDEN BALLS and FARMER LEFT HIS
HAT BEHIND and SCORING and RUNNING TOO FAST and HIDE AND SEEK (_not_
the usual kind); they can all be played in a respectable fashion, but
the worst of it is, they generally aren't. Another is called P ..... E.
That's worse. I can't say anything whatever about it except that
you need good confederates and a boy who is quite new to the quarter.
And some of them are still worse; not at all nice, in fact. If you
want to find out about them, you must come yourself and talk to a few
of our rough chaps. You might ask them about TOUCHING THK KING'S
SCEPTRE. If you can get that out of them, you can get anything. . . .





Now I daresay you've heard of leap-frog, and maybe you think there's
only one way of playing it. Well, if you want to see how our boys can
invent things out of their heads because, and only because, they have
no bats or other things to play with, you should come and watch them
at their leap-frog and duty games. (In leap-frog and overbacks they go
in certain fixed orders over each other's backs; in duty one man stays
down until another fails in the duty and takes his place). Always
inventing new kinds, too. You could write a whole book about sports of
this kind, each with its separate rules and separate name --fancy
names they are, some of them--and each with its 'showman' or
'duty-man' or 'namer' who decides what things are to be done. There's
ALL THE WINKLES, a grand game for as many as you like; and HOPPING TO
LONDON and ALL THE WAY TO LONDON and RACING TO LONDON and FOUR WAYS TO
LONDON and HOT PIES and COLD PIES and HERE COMES MY SHIP FULL SAIL and
BUNNY RABBIT (rather difficult) and HOP, STEP AND JUMP and HOPPING
ROUND BIG BEN and ALL HANDS ON DECK (also called FINGER ON THE BLOCK).
CUT-A-LUMP (or CUTTER)--that's another kind. Bill bends down in the
gutter, while the others stand up behind him in a row; the first of
them is called cut-a-lump. He goes over Bill's back, and where his
feet touch the ground--there he makes a mark; then the next boy,
without moving from his old place, has to jump over Bill and touch the
same mark; then the next, and the next--over they go! Of course, it
becomes more difficult with each jump, as the distance gets wider.

Whoever first misses the mark must take the place of Bill, who then
becomes cutter in his turn. That's cut-a-lump: see?

Why it's called cut-a-lump?

Because he cuts a lump off the distance in front of Bill.

Then there's FROG IN FIELD and FROG IN THE MIDDLE and FROG IN THE
WATER and INCH IT UP and SHRIMPS (where you have to go over a boy's
back with your cap doubled up on your head--many duty games have to be
played with caps) and LOBSTER (also called EGGS AND BACON, where you
have to throw down your cap while going over his head and pick it up
with your teeth without rolling off his back) and EGG IN A DUCK'S
BELLY (holding the cap between your legs) and CAT o' NINE TAILS and
SPUR THE DONK and OVER THE MOON and FOOT IT (where you jump sideways)
and CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE and CAT ON HOT BRICKS (about as good
as any) and POSTMAN and HOPPING ALL THE WAY TO CHURCH and
MUSSENTOUCHET--

'In mussentouchet one boy flies over back and then he puts the boys
hats anywhere he likes [on their bodies] and tells them to run to
certain spot and they must not touch their hats the one whose hat
falls off is down'--

and NEWSPAPERS (or PAPERS) and Two FOOT FLY and STIFF-LEGGED COPPER
(also called POLICEMAN or STIFF BLOATERS or SHOWING No IVORY, because,
after jumping over, you have to stand stock still and not show either
your teeth or your finger nails) and WHITEWASH and PLATES AND DISHES
and FLYING THE GARTER and WRITING LETTER TO PUNCH and SENDING LETTER
TO CANADA, which is played like this:

'When all the boys have gone over the boy who they call namer calls
out sending a letter to Canada. Then the boy who is down has to bend
down again then all the boys write the letter on his back then they
put it up his coat then stamp it then they hit him with their knees on
the ....'

or perhaps you can understand it better from this:

'One boy bends down and then you pretend to write on his back then you
bang for the Stamp and then put it under his coat and push him first
leap over his back and say Sending a Letter to Canada '.

Perhaps you think these are all the duty games they play, but there
are a good many more, such as FLIES ROUND THE JAM-POT and HOT COCKLES
AND HOT MUSTARD (rather like BUNNY BABBIT) and SHOOTING THE MOON
(played with caps and spittle) and YANK HIM OVER and UPSETTING THE
APPLE-CART and WEAK HORSES (played against a lamp-post where you pile
yourselves as high as possible) and STEPPING-STONES (difficult) and
GLORY and FISHING FOR OYSTERS and TICKLERS and COUNTRY (or NORTH,
SOUTH, EAST AND WEST) and BUMPERS (or BUMPUMS) and SMASHING YOUR
GRANDMA'S WINDOWS and BACKY-O and ROMAN CANDLES (or THUMBS UP: very
difficult) and CHINESE ORDERS and CHINESE YUM-YUM and KING JOHN SAYS
So and DEAD SOLDIERS and SALMON FISHING and MISCHIEF and PULLING LEGS
and FOLLOW MY LEADER (yes; duty) and PIGGY BACKS and WHEELBARROWS and
JOCKY WHACK and SWIMMING IN BLUE WATER. SWIMMING IN BLUE WATER is
played like this:

'One boy stoops down in bending attitude, and another boy lays on his
back crossways, and does the action of swimming, if the boy who is
swimming falls off he has to be down'--

and CARRYING THE OLD WOMAN'S WASHING and MESSENGERS (or MESSAGES) and
ELEPHANTS' TRUNKS AND TAILS and SKINNING A RABBIT and MOGGIES
[Footnote: Moggies are cats.] ON THE WALL and SOPPY SOLDIER and
TAILOR. And if you're not yet tired of duty games, I will tell you
one or two more. There's PICKING LEAVES and SCISSORS and THROUGH THE
MOON and PULLING BONES OUT OF FISHES and PORTER COLLECTING TICKETS (or
TICKET PUNCHING) and HOP THERE AND BACK AGAIN and UP SIDES DOWN MIDDLE
and NELSON and HIDING HATS IN THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT and POLLY TELL
ME THE TIME (duty) and BUCK, BUCK, HOW MANY FINGERS HAVE I GOT UP and
SOLOMON SILENT READING.  SOLOMON SILENT READING--queer name, isn't it?
This is how the game goes:

'First of all a boy bends down and each boy flies over and the Duty
man being last shouts out a game while flying over such as Solomon
silent reading. A boy must bend down, then the Duty man thinks of a
word and writes it on the boy's back with his finger, then the one who
is bending down gets up and tells the Duty man what he wrote, then all
the other boys stoop down one at a time and the Duty man repeats the
writing [on their backs] and the last one to get it wrong has to give
down'--

and BULL-DOG RACE and EATING FISH AND POTATOES and UPSETTING MOTHER'S
GRAVY and HANDS OFF and CAP TELLING and WHO WILL TAKE THE PIG (or the
UGLY BEAR) TO MARKET and ARM'S LENGTH and LAUGH AND CRY and BRASS BAND
and CANNON BALLS and FOOT IT and DEAF AND DUMB MOSES (also called DUTY
FOUR, where you have to pretend to be deaf and dumb) and FIRE ENGINES
(or FIREMAN: duty) and STICK IN THE MUD (or STICKUMS) and BRITISH
WORKMAN and SUGAR CANES and CARRYING CROCODILES' FOOD. You play
CROCODILES' FOOD like this:

'All the boys leap over one's back and then run to end of street and
then you all come back with your hands and feet on the ground and your
chest above the ground and then you place your hat on your chest and
walk along and the boy who falls over has to go down'

in other words, the cap (the crocodiles' food) has to lie on your
stomach, which is sometimes called chest, while you move forwards with
your back to the earth supporting yourself on hands and feet, as you
can see perfectly well from this other description:

'Have to run to top of street then the boy who is down shouts out
carrying crocodiles' food, then the other boys have to come back with
their hats on their chests and their hands behind and running along on
their backs.'

and GAMMON BASHER and CATCHING STONES and RACE
FOR A LEAF and CARRIAGES and ALL SORTS and PULLING
UP FATHER'S RHUBARB and HAYSTACK and KING'S
DINNER and MOUSE IN THE TRAP and PUNCTURED TYRE
and COBBLER and DRUMS and FOOT AND LEE and FINGER
IN THE BIRD'S NEST and BABBLE and OVER THE GARDEN
WALL and THREE AND ON and How FAR CAN YOU RUN
and BUNG THE BARREL and PICKING THE BLOATER and
SIFT THE GRAPES and HOT ROLLS and WARNIE I 'M A
COMING--and that's just a few of them.

WARNIE has to be played against a wall, and this is
what they say to it:

  Hi Jimmy Nacko, one, two, three--
  Obobe, Obobe-all-y-over!

Warnie, I suppose, means 'I warn ye', because they say it just before
they jump. But I can't even make a guess at Obobe--wish I could. It's
quite possible that it never meant anything at all, to begin with. The
boys sometimes call it High Bobbery--it's a way they have, of working
the old names round into a sort of sense, when they've forgotten their
real meaning. I must write and ask Aunt Eliza; she knows everything
(thinks she does).  As to Jimmy Nacko--they sometimes call it Jimmy
Wag-tail, but one of the lads tells me it means 'Neck, ho!' which
only shows how they like twisting the names about.  (That's why they
now say shuttlecock instead of shuttle-cork, because they forget it's
played with a cork). What I think about Jimmy Nacko is this: judging
by his name, he was just an old shonk [Footnote: A shonk is a
foreigner, generally a Jew.]  of some kind. . . .

And now I must tell you about RELEASE. There is one game of this kind
played by small children, and not worth talking about. But the real
RELEASE (or ROBBERS AND COPPERS) is quite another thing altogether. In
RE-LEASE you take sides and catch prisoners; you have to touch their
heads and 'crown' them; that's what makes them prisoners. And that's
what makes them so wild--because the other chaps can't always release
them; and that's why the old people bar the game--because you always
get your clothes torn; and that's why it's also called BEDLAM--because
there are so many rows while it's going on. You see, they don't like
being made prisoners and being 'crowned' and having their heads
touched--not at all, at all. Just mad, it makes them.

'D' ye want a claht over the jor?' says one. ''Cos yer never did touch
me 'ead, so there.'

'Ole Ikey see'd me doos it,'

'Liar.  'Cos 'e wos t' ovver side o' the street.'

''E never. Yer wos on the grahnd when I crahned yer napper.'

'Liar. Yer sez I wos a-layin dahn when all the time I wos on me
stumps. Yer finks I'm up the pole to 'ear yer tork. Knock 'arf yer
fice orff.'

'Not 'arf. Yer knows I touched yer nut 'cos don't yer remember me
a-standin on yer arms?'

'Ef yer want an eye bunged up or a punch on the snaht--'

'Well ef I'm a liar yo're the biggest. So yer lumps it.  I'm goin to
be blowed ef I play wiv a lahsy blisterin blitherin blinkin blightin
bloomin bleedin blasted barstard wot's got a mower wot's got a bloke
wot's--'

''Ere, d' ye want a clip on the Kiber-pass?'

'Gain!  Piss up yer leg, an play wiv the steam.'





Girls' games?  Bless you, dozens of them.

They play sports together with the boys: ball-games like ROUNDERS ('
FOUR CORNERS ') and HEAD GAME and DAGGLES and BROKEN BOTTLE (yes;
BROKEN BOTTLE is a ball-game, and is also called PASSING ROUND) and
THREE CATCHES OUT and ROTTEN EGG (or CRACKED EGG) and A AND B, where
they have to stand in four rings marked in chalk on the pavement; and
some without balls such as FOOL, FOOL, COME TO SCHOOL (rather like
DUNCE, DUNCE, DOUBLE D.) and WINKLE-SHELLS and HARK THE ROBBERS COMING
THROUGH--an old catch game--and STEPS, and SLY FOX, and LET GO MUST GO
(a wall game) and HONEY-POTS.

HONEY-POTS is very respectable, but a little old-fashioned. Aunt
Eliza says she used to play it, and I can quite believe that. I can
just see her playing HONEY-POTS.

PLEASE WE'VE COME TO LEARN A TRADE (also called GUESSING WORDS or DUMB
MOTIONS)--another game for boys and girls. There are two parties, one
on each side of the street. One of them has to think of a trade, such
as picking hops, for instance; then they take the first letters, P.
and H., and go over to the others and say' We have come to work a
trade.' When the others ask, 'What's your trade?' they must answer 'P.
H.', and pretend to be picking hops with their hands. If the others
guess what trade they mean, they must shout it out and chase them
across the street; and if they catch one of them--why, then they, the
hop-pickers, must do the guessing instead. CATCH-IN-THE-ROPE is also
for boys and girls, and so is PUSSY CAT, and so is STATUES.  There are
UGLY STATUES and PRETTY STATUES. When you play this game you have to
line yourselves up against a wall or a house; then the judge comes
along and pulls one of you forwards and in that moment you have to
make a posture and a face, sometimes pretty but mostly ugly, and
pretend to be a statue. It spoils everything if you laugh over this
game, as you may understand from this description:--

'A lot of players stand on a form. One person in front; tells the
person to form a statue if she move or laugh she is hee--'

Another of them is HERE WE GO UP THE MULBERRY TREE, where they form
two parties who challenge each other and try to pull each other across
the street. And they have handkerchief games together such as I SENT A
LETTER TO MY LOVE ('and on the way I dropped it', a decent game for
boys and girls, also called LOST LETTER; and if you haven't got a
handkerchief, which you generally haven't, you can take any old rag);
and NICK NACK TOLLY WHACK, which is rather rough and goes like this:--

'Pick up for sides and one side says nick nack tolly wack. Then if the
other side does not move they rush and each one has to have a wack
with the tolly wack (a handkerchief with a knot in it).'

There are several more of these games for boys and girls--such as
LOOKING GLASS and GOOSE-GANDER and SNOW-WHITE (where they go on hands
and knees and get very dirty) and PET POST--but not as many as there
might be, because they don't play together as much as they might. ...

Then the girls have games to themselves: ball-games like MACKINTOSH,
and BASKET-BALL, and CROSS-BALL, and EMPEROR BALL, and CENTRE BALL,
and CORNER CATCH BALL, and CIRCLE STRIDE BALL, and HAND BALL, and ONE
IN THE MIDDLE, and QUEEN MAB (a ball-hiding game, also called QUEEN
ANNE); and hand-clapping games such as ONE-TWO-THREE and ORANGES,
ORANGES, FOUR A PENNY, and TWISTERS AND CLAPS; and ring games like UP
TO THE KING, and RUNNING IN AND OUT THE BLUEBELLS, and FIRE, and
WALKING ROUND THE VILLAGE, and THIEF, PRINCE, KING, QUEEN, BEGGAR, and
THROWING THE BEAN-BAGS, and PRETTY AND UGLY--where one girl stands in
the centre of the ring and picks out another one who has to make a
face, and if she's satisfied with the face, she allows her to stand in
the centre instead.

Other girls' games are MOTHER I'M OVER THE WATER and Box NUTS and
VICTORIA and TURNING MOTHER'S WRINGER and WE THREE KINGS and JOHN
BROWN'S KNAPSACK and FILLING (or PUSHING THROUGH) THE GAP and WHEN I
WAS A SCHOOLGIRL and BREAD AND BUTTER (shuttlecock game) and COME TO
SEE POOR MARY and WE ARE ROMANS (two parties of girls) and WHAT IS IT
and WHO KNOWS and HOW, WHEN AND WHERE and HEAD AND SHOULDERS and
BEAST, BIRD, FISH, FLOWER and POLLY GOES TO BED and POOR POLLY CAN'T
SEE and TAG and RAILWAY RACE and ON THE MOUNTAIN and HOOK AND EYE and
EGG IN THE SPOON and HAWK AND DOVE and BORROW A LIGHT and PEASE CODS
and GOLDEN GOOSE and TREACLE PUDDING and WHO's AFRAID OF BLACK PETER
and JENNY PLUCK PEARS and WALKING-STICKS and LOOKING FOR MOTHER'S
THIMBLE and TIME and LADYSMITH and PUSHY BACK and PASS OVER and WE ARE
BRITISH SOLDIERS and L. S. D. and the WHITE SHIRT. THE WHITE SHIRT is
an old ghost game, played like this:

'You have a lot of girls standing against a wall, one of them being
the mother of the others. She tells them to go and see if father's
shirt's dry (the shirt being a girl in white, standing at a distance).
They go in turn to see if it is dry & each time the "ghost" in
father's shirt catches one. At last the mother alone is left, she goes
and is caught; then another "shirt" is picked, and so the game goes
on.'

I wonder whether Aunt Eliza ever played THE WHITE SHIRT?--and MERRY
MONTH OF MAY and CON-STANT-I-NO-PLE and BLACK AND BLUE and FOLLOW YOUR
MOTHER TO MARKET and PUSS and MY SISTER JANE and TWO LITTLE PEOPLE
WENT OUT ONE DAY (' As they went out they were heard to say') and OLD
DEVIL IN FIRE (or LIGHT MOTHER'S COPPER FIRE), which is played so:
'About one dozen girls can play. They select one who has to be the
devil, she's to stand against a wall, with a girl hid behind her. All
the children have to try and light the fire, and each time the girl
behind pinches them and they say " Oh, mother, the devil's in fire."
Then the mother tries to light the fire and the devil chases them, and
the one who is caught has to become devil, next time.'

It's perfectly certain Aunt Eliza never played OLD DEVIL.

And other girls' games are JACOB AND RACHEL (where two of them have to
chase each other blindfolded) and BUSHEL BASKET and MRS. BROWN and
WOODEN LEG and ROLLING PIN (two parties of girls who decide which of
them has to chase the other by the red or blue colour marked on a
rolling pin which is rolled between them) and PORK AND GREENS--

'One player asks a question and the next says pork and greens. If she
says anything else she is out--'

and TWO'S AND THREE'S--

'A double ring is formed. Then two children are out, they chase each
other & one runs in front of a child then the back one is hee--' and
BUZZ--

'One player counts one then the next says two and so on. Every 5 the
player instead says buzz--'

and PARSON'S CAT--

'Children sit down in a ring and begin saying something about the
cat such as Abomnerble Cat. Then B, such as Bloody Cat and so on.'

I SPY WITH ONE EYE and BLACK IN TOPPER and LOOKING THROUGH THE
KEY-HOLE and PEEPING BEHIND THE CURTAIN are hiding games for girls.
For SWINGS you need a lamp-post and a piece of rope; it's not exactly
a game, but you can spend a nice Sunday afternoon over it, if there
are no coppernobs about. In POLLY TELL ME THE TIME they wind a
skipping-rope round a girl's waist a certain number of times, and then
un-wind her.

And that reminds me that some of the best girls' games are with
skipping ropes.

They have SWING-SWONG, and DOUBLE DUTCH, and AMERICAN JUMP, and HIGHER
AND HIGHER, and RUN AND SKIP, and HOOP AND SKIP, and INNERS AND
OUTERS, and TOUCH TAIL, and NEBUCHADNEZZAR, and HIGH WATER, and NEVER
LEAVE THE ROPE EMPTY, and OVER THE MOON, and ONE-TWO, and TIPPERARY
(new), and ONE AND OUT, and SNAKES, and BIG BEN STRIKES ONE, and WHAT
O SHE BUMPS (a new one), and ALL IN THE ROPE, and FOLLOW THE LEADER
(yes; a skipping game), and FULL-STOP, and COLOURS, and HAREM SKIRT,
and NAUGHTY GIRL, and THROWING UP GIRLS, and CATCH IN THE LONG ROPE,
and EIGHTS, and DIFFICULTY, and THREE BETWEEN, and THREE AND ALL ON
and SITTING ON THE STAR, MARY and I AM A LITTLE SHADOW and ROCK THE
CRADLE and GIRLS' NAMES, and BOYS' NAMES, and goodness only knows how
many more. . . .





Some of the hand-clapping and ring and skipping games--most of them,
in fact, and other ones too, in which the boys used to join--have
songs that go with them; BOYS' NAMES, for instance, begins like this:

  Black-currant--red-currant--raspberry tart:
  Tell me the name of your sweetheart,

and then they begin with A, B, C, and all through the
alphabet, a skip with each letter; and when they have
found the sweetheart's name they have to discover when
they are to be married, and how many rings, and how
many brooches, and in what clothes, and in what carriage,
and how many kisses, and in what house they will
live, and how many children--all in the same alphabetical
manner; so that, if this game were ever properly finished,
it would take at least a month's hard skipping. Others
of them end either with the numbers 1, 2, 3, etc.; or with
penny, tuppence, threepence, etc.; or with the things in
the cruet-stand (salt, mustard, vinegar, pepper); or with
the days of the week, or the months of the year.
Here are a few of these chants:--
[Footnote: Not all of them are sung to games.]

I had a dolly dressed in green,
I didn't like her--I gave her to the Queen--
The Queen didn't like her--she gave her to the cat--
The cat didn't like her, because she wasn't fat.

or

Sally go round the moon, Sally,
Sally go round the sun.
Sally go round the ominlebus
On a Sunday afternoon.

or

Dancing Dolly had no sense,
She bought a fiddle for eighteen pence--
And all the tune that she could play
Was 'Over the hills and far away'
(Or: 'Sally get out of the donkey's way'.)
(Or: 'Take my dolly and fire away'.)

or

Eaper Weaper, chimbley-sweeper,
Had a wife but couldn't keep her,
Had anovver, didn't love her,
Up the chimbley he did shove her.

or

Do you like silver and gold?
Do you like brass?
Do you like looking through
The looking-glass?
Yes I like silver and gold,
Yes I like brass, etc.

or (an old one)

As I was walking through the City,
Half past eight o'clock at night,
There I met a Spanish lady
Washing out her clothes at night.

or

First she rubbed them, then she scrubbed them.
Then she hung them out to dry,
Then she laid her hands upon them,
Said: I wish my clothes were dry.

or

Policeman, policeman, don't touch me,
I have a wife and a family.
How many children have you got?
Five and twenty is my lot,
Is my lot, is my lot,
Five and twenty is my lot.

or

Pounds, shillings and pence,
The monkey jumped over the fence.
The fence gave way, and the man had to pay
Pounds, shillings and pence.
[Footnote: There is an improper version of this, and
of several others.]

or

I went down the lane to buy a penny whistle,
A copper come by and pinch my penny whistle.
I ask him for it back, he said he hadn't got it--
Hi, Hi, Curlywig, you 've got it in your pocket,

or

I'll tell Ma when I get home
That the boys won't leave me alone.
They pull my hair and break my comb,
I'll tell Ma when I get home.

or (for a shuttlecock-game)

Sam, Sam, dirty old man,
Washed his face in a frying pan,
Combed his hair with the leg of a chair--
Sam, Sam, dirty old man.

or

Look upon the mantel-piece,
There you'll find a ball of grease,
Shining like a threepenny-piece--
Out goes she!

or

Piggy on the railway, picking up the stones,
Up came an engine and broke Piggy's bones.
Oh, said Piggy, that's not fair--
Oh, said the driver, I don't care.

or

I had a black man, he was double-jointed,
I kissed him, and made him disappointed,
All right, Hilda, I'll tell your mother
Kissing the black man round the corner.
How many kisses did he give you?
One, two, three, etc.

or

Charlie, Arlie, stole some barley,
Out of a baker's shop.
The baker came out and gave him a clout,
And made poor Charlie hop, hop, hop.

or

Up the ladder, down the wall,
Ha'penny loaf to feed us all,
I'll buy milk and you buy flour,
There'll be pepper in half an hour.

or

Lay the cloth, knife and fork,
Bring me up a leg of pork.
If it's lean, bring it in,
If it's fat, take it back,
Tell the old woman I don't want that.

or (an old one)

Green gravel, green gravel,
Your grass is so green (or: Your voice is not heard)
I'll send you a letter
To call (Florrie) in.
I'll wash you in milk, and dress you in silk,
And write down your name with a gold pen and ink.

or

Two in the rope, and two take end,
Both are sisters, both are friend,
One named (Maudie), one named (Kate)--
Two in the rope and two take end.

or (evidently made up of different bits)

The woods are dark, the grass is green,
All the girls I love to see
Excepting (Rose Taylor), she's so pretty,
She belongs to London City.

or

Callings in and callings out--
I call (Rosie) in.
Rosie's in and won't go out--
I call (Maudie) in.

or

All the boys in our town, eating apple-pie,
Excepting (Georgie Groves), he wants a wife--
A wife he shall have, according he shall go
Along with (Rosie Taylor), because he loves her so.
He kisses her and cuddles her, and sits her on his knee,
And says, my dear, do you love me?
I love you, and you love me.
Next Sunday morning, the wedding will be,
Up goes the doctor, up goes the cat,
Up goes a little boy in a white straw hat.

or

Vote, vote, vote for (Billy Martin),
Chuck old (Ernie) at the door--
If it wasn't for the law,
I would punch him on the jaw,
And we won't want (Billy Martin) any more.

or

I know a washerwoman, she knows me,
She invited me to tea,
Guess what we had for supper--
Stinking fish and bread and butter.

or

Half a pint of porter,
Penny on the can,
Hop there and back again
If you can.

or

Down in the valley where the green grass grows,
Dear little (Lily) she grows like a rose.
She grows, she grows, she grows so sweet--
Come little (Violet) and grow at her feet.

or

Sweete, sweet Carroline,
Dipt her face in Terpentine,
Terpentine, made it shine,
Sweet, sweet Caroline.

or
Monday night, Band of Hope,
Tuesday night, pull the rope,
Wednesday night, Pimlico,
And out comes (Ethel Rowe).

or

I had a bloke down hopping,
I had a bloke down Kent,
I had a bloke down Pimlico,
And this is what he sent:
0 Shillali-tee-i-o.

or

Mary had bread and jam,
Marmalade and treacle,
A bit for me and a bit for you,
And a bit for all the people.

or

Mrs. Brown went to town,
Riding on a pony,
When she came back she took off her hat,
And gave it to Mrs. Maloney.

or

Light the fire, blacksmith, show a pretty light,
In comes (Nellie), dressed in white,
Pretty shoes and stockings, pretty curly hair,
Pretty beads around her neck, but no chemise to wear.

or

One, two, three, four, five,
I caught a fish alive.
Why did you let him go?
Because he hurt my finger so.

or

The black man said (or: My mother said)
That you are A.,
If you do not want to play,
You can sling your hook away.

or (skipping)

One, two, buckle my shoe,
Three, four, knock at the door,
Five, six, breaking up sticks,
Seven, eight, Mary at the gate. ....
(I forget the rest)

or

One fair maid a-dancing (repeat twice),
All on a summer's day.
All go round and curtsey (repeat)
All on a summer's day.
Two fair maids a-dancing etc.

or (skipping)

Rat a tat tat, who is that?
Only grandma's pussy-cat.
What do you want?
A pint of milk.
Where is your money?
In my pocket.
Where is your pocket?
I forgot it.
O you silly pussy-cat.

or

Our boots are made of Spanish (or of leather)
Our stockings are made of silk,
Our pinafores are made of cotton
As white as white as milk.
Here we go around, around,
And we all must touch the ground,

or

Rosy apples lemon and a pear
A bunch of roses she shall wear.
Gold and silver by her side,
I shall make her my bride,
Take her by the hand,
Lead her across the water,
Give her kisses one, two, three,
And call her a lady's daughter.

or (for a ball-game)

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, she sits in the sun,
As fair as a lily, as white as a swan.
We bring you ten letters, pray can you read one?
We cannot read one, unless you bring all,
So pray Master Willie give up the ball,
The ball is ours, it is not yours--
So we have a right to keep it.

or (for an action game)

We are washing linen, linen,
We are washing linen clean (repeat)
This way, tra la la,
That way, tra la la (repeat).
We are rinsing linen, linen etc.
We are mangling linen, linen etc.
We are hanging linen, linen etc.

or

The big ship sails on the holly holly ho,
Holly holly ho
Holly holly ho
The big ship sails on the holly holly ho
On the last day of December.

or (for skipping)

Lady, lady, drop your purse,
Lady, lady, pick it up,
Lady, lady, touch the ground,
Lady, lady, turn right round,
Lady, lady, show your foot,
Lady, lady, sling your hook.

or (ring-game)

There was once a king of York
Who had ten thousand men,
He led them up to the top of a hill
And led them down again,
And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down,
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down.

or

Lady, lady on the sea-shore,
She has children one to four,
The eldest one is twenty-four,
Then she shall marry a tinker, tailor etc.

or

There come six Jews from Juda Spain
In order for your daughter Jane--
My daughter Jane is far too young
To marry you, you Spanish Jew--
Farewell, farewell, I'll walk away,
And come again another day--
Come back, come back, you Spanish Jew,
And choose the fairest one of us--
The fairest one that I can see
Is (Dolly Hayes), so come to me--

or

The farmer's in his den (or: ill in bed), the
farmer's in his den,
He I Hedy Ho, the farmer's in his den.
The farmer wants a wife etc.
The wife wants a child etc.
The child wants a nurse etc.
The nurse wants a dog etc.
We all pat the dog etc.

or

I-N spells in--
I was in my kitchen
Doing a bit of stitching,
Old Father Nimble
Came and took my thimble,
I got up a great big stone,
Hit him on the belly bone--
O-U-T spells out.

or

Caroline Pink, she fell down the sink,
She caught the Scarlet Fever,
Her husband had to leave her,
She called in Doctor Blue,
And he caught it too--
Caroline Pink from China Town.

or

Hush-a-larly, hush-a-larly
You are a funny girl.
Hush-a-larly, hush-a-larly
Will you give me a kiss?

or

Eight o'clock bells are ringing
Mother, may I go out
My young man's a-waiting
For to take me out.
First he bought me apples,
Then he bought me pears,
Then he gave me sixpence
To kiss him on the stairs.
I don't want your apples,
I don't want your pears,
I don't want your sixpence
To kiss me on the stairs.
Then he tears the leg of my drawers,
And that's the last of all.

or (an old one)

As I was going to Strawberry Fair,
Singing buttercups and daisies,
I met a maiden taking the air--
Her eyes were blue and gold her hair,
As she goes on to Strawberry Fair....
[Footnote: 'has I was goning to strrber far sing butter u cup and
dassies I bet a mide take a there forder In the ises were belw but I
gend a hir she gose on to strrber far rif rif tola len lile rif rif
tale led lile.']

or (skipping)

Who's in the well?
Only the pussy-cat.
Who pulled him out?
Little Tommy Stout.
Oh, you naughty pussy-cat.

or

I am a little beggar-girl,
My mother she is dead,
My father is a drunkard
And won't give me no bread.
I look out of the window
To hear the organ play--
God bless my dear mother,
She gone far away.
Ding-dong the castle bells
Bless my poor mother--
Her coffin shall be black,
Six white angels at her back--
Two to watch and two to pray,
And two to carry her soul away.


Not a very cheerful rope-song, you'll say;  but our girls love it; you
can't think how it makes them laugh.  They laugh more than the boys,
anyhow, over their games--

or

Cold meat, mutton pies,
Tell me when your mother dies.
I'll be there to bury her--
Cold meat, mutton pies.
which is also sung like this:
Cold meat, mutton chops,
Tell me when your mother drops.
I'll be there to pick her up--
Cold meat, mutton chops,
[Cf. Boswell's Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, Sunday,
September 26, 1773.]

or

My name is sweet (Jennie), my age is sixteen,
My father's a father [farmer] and I am a Queen.
Got plenty of money to dress me in silk,
But nobody loves me but (Gladys dear),

or

My mother sent me out a-fishing,
Fishing cockles in the sea.
My foot slipped and I tumbled in--
Two little nigger-boys laughed at me.

or

Charlie likes whisky,
Charlie likes brandy,
Charlie likes kissing girls--
O sugar-de-candy.

or (a new one)

What O she bumps,
She skips and she jumps,
If she don't jump
I'll make her bump,

or (ring-game)

There was a jolly miller and he lived by himself,
As the mill went round he made his wealth,
One hand in his pocket and the other in his bag--
As the mill went round he made his grab,

or (ring-game)

Wallie, Wallie, Wall-flowers
Growing up so high--
All these young ladies
Will all have to die.
Excepting (Mabel Groves), she is the only one,
She can hop and she can skip,
She can turn the organ--
Hi, Hi, turn again,
Turn your face to the wall again,
or
In and out the windows (repeat twice)
As you have done before.
Stand and face your lover (repeat twice)
As you have done before.
Take her off to London etc.
Bring her back from London etc.
Kiss her before you leave her etc.

or

Here we go Loobeloo, here we go Loobellee,
Here we go Loobelloo, on a Sunday afternoon.
Put your right hand in, put your right arm out,
Shake it a little, a little, then turn yourself about.
Put your left arm in (repeat as before).
Put your right leg in, etc.
Put your left leg in, etc.
Put your noddle in, etc.
Put your whole self in, etc.

or (an old one)

Here comes three duks [dukes] a-riding, a-riding, a-riding,
Here comes three duks a-riding, on a Ransi-tansi-tay.
Please we've come to marry, to marry, to marry,
Please we've come to marry with a Ransi-tansi-tay.
Marry one of us Sir, us Sir etc.
Your all as stiff as pocars, pocars, etc.
We can bend as well as you Sir, you Sir etc.
Your all to black and dirty, dirty, dirty,
Your all to black and dirty, with a Ransi-tansi-tay.

or

Old Roger (or: Poor Robin) is dead and gone to his grave,
He, Hi, gone to his grave.
They planted an apple-tree over his head,
He, Hi, over his head.
The apple grew ripe and ready to drop,
He, Hi, ready to drop.
There came an old woman of Hipertihop,
He, Hi, Hipertihop,
She began a picking them up,
He, Hi, picking them up,
Old Roger got up and gave her knock,
He, Hi, gave her a knock,
Which made the old woman go hipertihop,
He, Hi, Hipertihop.

or (skipping)

I went to the animal show, and what do you think I
saw there?
The Elephant sneeze
And fell on his knees,
And what became of the monkey--
(Keep saying monkey untill out).

or

Early in the morning at eight o'clock
You may hear the postman's knock,
Up jumps Mabel to open the door--
Letters, one, two, three, four.

or

We lost our cat aweek ago,
But cant tell where to find it
We sometimes hear a tuneful noise
Is daily growing weaker
So Tommy Brown we all must say
That your to be the seeker
(something is hidden, and after this is sung they come to
look for it)

or

Caroline Brown from China Town,
Earning all the dollars
Ironing shirts and collars,
Busy as a bee
You can always see
Caroline Brown from China Town.

or

Ener Dena Dinah Doe
Catch a nigger by his toe,
If he hollows let him go--
Ener dena Dinah Doe.

or (one girl in the ring and two outside)

Brave news is come to town,
Polly Dawson's married.
You can tell the parson's wife,
You can tell the people,
You can buy the wedding-gown,
I will thread the needle.
What will you give to her for a loving token?
A piece of soap and an old cart rope,
And a candle-stick that's broken.
Out you get and out you go for a stingy miser,
If you live till forty years I hope you will be wiser.
Brave news is come to town (repeat first six lines)
What will you give to her for a loving token?
A piece of gold and a ring to hold
The sweetest words ere spoken.
In you get and in you go. ....
(I forget the rest).

or

Old mother roundabout
Knocking all the kids about--
Outside Elsie's door.
Up comes Elsie with a great big stick
And lets her know what for.

or

I was in the garden
A-picking of the peas--
I busted out a-laughing
To hear the chickens sneeze.

or

Mother got the Hooping cough
Father got the gout--
Please (Rosie Milton)
Will you walk out?

or

Half a pound of bacon,
Fry it in the pan--
No one else shall have it
But me and my young man.

or

Who's that walking round my garden?
Only Tommy Jingle.
Don't you steal none of my fat pigs,
Or else I'll make you tingle.

or

My young man is so lively,
Takes me up the Wells * every Friday,
Wears brown boots on a Sunday,
With half a dozen buttons on his coat.
[* Footnote: Sadler's Wells.]

or

Here comes our jolly jolly sailors
Just arrived on shore,
We earn our money like .....
And now we'll work for more.

or

I fell into a box of eggs--
All the yellow run down my legs,
All the white run up my shirt--
I fell into a box of eggs.

or (an old one)

Mother buy me a milking-pail, milking-pail, milking-pail,
Mother buy me a milking-pail--one, two, three.
Where's the money coming from (repeat as above)
Sell father's feather-bed, etc.
What's father got to sleep in, etc.
Sleep in the pigsty, etc.
What's the pig got to sleep in, etc.
Sleep in the washing-tub, etc.
What have I got to wash in, etc.
Wash in a thimble, etc.
What have I got to sew with, etc.
Sew with a poker, etc.
What have I got to poke the fire with, etc.
Poke it with your finger, etc.
Suppose I burn my finger, etc.
Serve you right.
(The mother then tries to catch her children.)

or (this is a sham)

Up you go feathery toy,
Up in the air so lightly--
Children gaze after you,
Watching your movements brightly.
Tap, tap, battledores,
Up once more you spring,
Just like little dicky-birds,
Sporting on the wing.

or (this is the real thing)

Shuttlecock, shuttlecock, if you don't spin,
I'll break your bones and bury your skin.

or

Appletree, peartree, plumtree pie,
How many children before I die?
One, two, three etc.

or

Three little children sitting on the sand,
All, all a-lonely,
Three little children sitting on the sand,
All, all a-lonely,
Down in the green wood shady--
There came an old woman, said Come on with me,
All, all a-lonely,
There came an old woman, said Come on with me,
All, all a-lonely,
Down in the green wood shady--
She stuck her pen-knife through their heart,
All, all a-lonely,
She stuck her pen-knife through their heart,
All, all a-lonely,
Down in the green wood shady.

Goodbye (May), while you're away,
Send a letter, love,
Say you're better, love,
Don't forget your dear old (Nell)
(Call another girl in)

or

I know a girl, sly and deceitful,
Every little tittle tat she goes and tells her people.
Long nose, ugly face, ought to be put under a glass case,
If you want to know her name,
Her name is (Evie Alien).
O (Evie Alien), get away from me,
I don't want to speak to you,
Nor you to speak to me.
Once we were playmates,
But now we can't agree--
O (Evie Alien), get away from me.

or (ring-game)

Choose the one you love the best,
Choose the merriest of the lot.
Now you're married I wish you joy--
First a girl and then a boy.
Seven years old and .....
Play and cuddle and kiss together--
Kiss her once, kiss her twice,
Kiss her three times over.

or

There stands a lady on a mountain,
Who she is I do not know,
All she wants is gold and silver,
All she wants is a nice young man.
Madam will you walk it, Madam will you talk it,
Madam will you marry me?  No!
Not if I buy you a silver spoon
To feed your baby every afternoon?
Madam will you walk it etc.  No!
Not if I buy you a nice silk hat
With seven yards of ribbon hanging down the back?
Madam will you walk it etc.  No!
Not if I buy you the keys of Heaven
To let yourself in at half-past seven?
Madam will you walk it etc.  Yes!
Go to church, love (repeat)
Go to church, love,--Farewell.
Put your ring on (repeat)
Put your ring on,--Farewell.
What for breakfast, love (repeat)
What for breakfast, love,--Farewell.
Boiled eggs and bread and butter (repeat twice)
On the mountain,--Farewell.
What's for dinner, love (repeat)
What's for dinner, love,--Farewell.
Roast beef and plum pudding (repeat twice)
On the mountain,--Farewell.
What's for tea, love (repeat)
What's for tea, love,--Farewell.
Bread and butter, water-cress (repeat twice)
On the mountain,--Farewell.
What for supper, love (repeat)
What for supper, love,--Farewell.
Squashed flies and blackbeetles, etc.

or

Now I'm off to the butcher's shop,
There I stay no longer.
If I do, mother will say,
Naughty girl to disobey,
And play with the boys down yonder.
Come in my (Ellen) dear,
While I go out.

And if you like these chants, here are the beginnings
of a few more:--

Oxford boys are very nice boys,
Cambridge boys are better--

and

Handy-Pandy, sugar-de-candy,
French almond rock--

and

Hoky, Poky, penny a lump,
The more you eat, the more you jump--

and

There was an old lady of Botany Bay:
What have you got to sell today--

and (an old one)

All in together--all sorts of (or frosty) weather--
When the wind blows we all go together--

and (a very old one)

Here we come gathering nuts in May (they now
call it: _and_ May)
On a cold and frosty morning--

and (quite a new one)

Soldier, Soldier, you may be
Just come home from Germany--

and

A house to let, enquire within,
And please to call my Nellie in--

and

Hot boiled beans and melted butter:
Ladies and gentlemen, come to supper--

and

Gladys, Gladys, come out tonight,
The moon is shining bright--

and

O tonight is Saturday night,
Tomorrow will be Sunday--

and (a very old one)

Sally, Sally Water--sprinkle in the pan:
Fie, Sally--cry, Sally--for a young man--

and that's really interesting, because the children don't
understand the meaning of this song any more, and so
they have invented a new one to take its place, like this:

Little Sally Sanders, sitting on the sand,
Weeping and crying for a young man,
Rise Sally, rise so sweet--

I forget the rest; but you can see how they have twisted
it about to make sense--

and

You naughty flea,
You bit my knee--

and

Come in my garden,
And give me your hand--

and

Slow skip, what you like,
A dolly or a pepper--

and (a very naughty one)

Mabel, Mabel,
Lay the table--

and

Mother made a seedy cake,
Give (that means gave) us all the belly ache--

and

I know a doctor, he knows me,
What do you think he brought for tea--

and

Red, white and blue:
I don't speak to you--

and

O dear me, mother caught a flea,
Put it in the tea-pot and made a cup of tea--

and

This house to let, no rent to pay,
Knock at the door and run away--

and

Dolly dear, Dolly dear,
Your sweetheart is dead--

and

Evie, Ivy, over,
The kettle is boiling over--

and

Up in the North, a long way off,
The donkey's got the whooping-cough--

and

Turn your back, you saucy cat,
And say no more to me--

and

Send a letter, send a letter,
Be content in the weather--

and

Crossing the waters one by one,
Crossing the waters two by two--

and

Four little chickens all in white,
Saw some bread and began a fight--

and (skipping and shuttlecock)

Old mother Mason--broke a basin:
What did it cost her?  One penny, tuppence, etc.

and

Stockings red and garters blue,
Shoes laced up with silver--

and

Penny on the water, tuppence on the sea,
Threepence on the railway--out goes she--

and

Down by the river where the green grass grows,
There little Sally was washing her clothes--

and

Here comes a little bird through the window,
Here conies a little bird through the door--

and

Willie, Willie, I am waiting, I can't wait no longer for you,
Three times the whistle blows, are you coming yes or no?--

and (skipping)

Little Mary Anne who lives up stairs,
With high legged boots and a feather in her hat--
That's the way she meets her chap--

and

Take a little bird and hop in the corner,
Take a little bird and hop away--

and

Ma she said that this won't do,
To play with the boys at half-past two--

and

On the carpet she shall kneel,
Stand up-right upon your heel--

and

Ching Chang Chinaman had a penny doll--
Washed it, scrubbed it, called it pretty poll.

If you really like these songs, I can tell you the names of one or two
more, such as I CAN DO THE TANGO and I'LL TELL MOTHER, MARY ANNE, and
MOTHER, MOTHER, FETCH ME HOME and FATHER GIVE (that means _gave_) ME A
HA'PENNY and POLLY PUT THE KETTLE ON and JUMBO HAD A BABY and LEAVE
THE ROPE and COME ON, AMY and SOME ONE'S UNDER THE BED and PLEASE WILL
YOU LEND THE KEY and CINDARELLA-UMBERELLA and THE HOUSE IS EMPTY AND
NOBODY IN and HABERDASHER ISHEE ASHER OM POM TOSH and E. WHITE'S
GINGER-BEER GOES OFF POP and MADEMOISELLE WENT TO THE WELL (which is
interesting because they have forgotten what'mademoiselle' means and
now call it ADAM AND ELL) and MY SON JOHN WENT TO BED WITH HIS
STOCKINGS ON and MY MOTHER SAID THAT I WAS BORN and POOR JENNIE is
A-WEEPING and LONDON BRIDGE is BROKEN DOWN (two well-known old ones)
and WlLLIE HAD A LETTER FOR TO GO ON BOARD A SHIP and OATS AND BEANS
AND BARLEY GROW and Now WE 'RE ON THE BATTLEFIELD and MY FATHER HAD AN
OLD SHOE and I WENT DOWN PICCADILLY.

You can get as many of these songs out of the girls as you like, if
you care to come round and ask for them; you'll find the girls far
less shy about their games than the boys are. And you'll also notice
that they're just as good at inventing sports--the boys show up best
in the duty games, and the girls in their songs. But there 's this
difference. You'll not find much talk in these songs about sunshine
and flowers and things like that--except in the older ones which I
think were used by girls and boys together, and perhaps even by
grown-ups. The girls don't discover poetic things like 'Swimming in
Blue Water' or 'Dead Man's Dark Scenery'; they're matter-of-fact; they
sing about clothes and food and money.  That's what makes Aunt Eliza
say that women have more common sense than men. . . .






Then the smaller girls and boys have a number of games together:
MOTHERS AND FATHERS, for instance, and TEACHERS, and SCHOOLS, and
SOLDIERS, and NURSES, and HOSPITALS, and CARTS AND HORSES, and SHOPS,
and CONVICTS AND WARDERS, and RAILWAY STATIONS, and games of that
kind; and OLD DADDY WITCHES (also called POLLY WITCH or GRANNY WITCH)
and SLEIGHS and I BOUGHT A DONKEY and I BOUGHT A PENNY DOLL and FIRE
ENGINES and FROGS and WAR and CAT AND MOUSE and CAT AND DOG and HERE
WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH and A.B.C.D.F.G.--WHAT HAVE I LEFT
OUT?--

'one silly kid says E., and then all the others says you're _it_!'
namely 'he' (E.)--

and JACK HORNER and OLD AUNT SALLY and Tip-Top is A SWEETS STORE and
TOM TIDDLER. You know TOM TIDDLER, of course:

'I'm on old Tom Tiddler's ground,
Picking up gold and silver--'?

There is also another game of this kind where they sort
themselves into two parties called ORANGES AND LEMONS
to the song of

Oranges and Lemons
Bells of Saint Clement's--

Everybody knows that!  In fact, children are not particular
what they play at--

'I Can Play at Whipping top also i Play Hoopla.  And i Play at Darts.
And have a game at horses. And i Play at hide and seek and i play with
Cherry stones.  And i Play at skiping rope and Jumping over the rope.
And i like a game of Boxing and i like a game of foot Ball and i like
a game of Cricket. And i like a game of rounders and i Play a Game of
Blow Cards and i play Pigy Backs and i play at Going up on your hands
against the wall, i Play at racing i Play Drawfs i Play with my hoop
and Stick i Play at Soldiers. . . .'

And other children's sports are MARY, MARY and WEEK DAYS (a ball-game
played by eight of them) and another one called SHEEP, SHEEP COME
HOME, where one line of children represents the sheep, and another
line the wolves; and behind the wolves stands the sheep's mother
--many of these games are'mother-games'--who calls the sheep; but as
they run to her they are caught by the wolves. It goes like this:

'Sheep Sheep come home,
Afraid.  What off.  The Wolfs.
Wolfs gone to Devonshire
Wont be home for seven year
Sheep Sheep come home--'

and DAN, DAN THREAD YOUR NEEDLE and WILL YOU GIVE us BREAD AND WINE

and

GRANDMOTHER, GRANDMOTHER GRAY,
May I go out to play?
I won't go near the water
To drive the ducks away--

and

MOTHER MAY I GO OUT?
No, it's raining.
No, it ain't.
Oh, all right then.
Mother, I can't get over the water.
Well, swim.
Can't.
Ride on a duck's back--
Quack!  Quack!
Where have you been?
To Grandma's.
What did she give you?
Slice of bread as big as my head,
Lump of cheese as big as my knees,
Glass of wine as big as my eyne,
And a rusty farthing to go home with.
Where's my share?
Up in the air.
How shall I get it?
Stand on a broken chair.
Supposing I fall?
Serve you right,
For getting drunk on a Saturday night

(the mother runs after the children and the first one
caught takes her place)--

and TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE STAR (ring-game) and MATCH and RING-A-RING
O' ROSES and CHERRY-OGS (or CHERRY-BOBS) and CHERRY-PIES.

That reminds me that the last two must not be mixed up with CHERRY-BOB
ARCH, a gambling game for bigger lads, quite simple but rather risky,
played with cherry-stones and the lid of an old wooden box in which
spaces and numbers have been marked out. You throw and--well, you
must ask some of the boys higher up the street. . . .

Now small children don't invent games (it's the older ones who do
that) and so they carry on a good few which used to be played long ago
and which the others don't care for any more. That accounts for the
queer sports you see among the kids. One of them is KING OF THE
BARBARY, where one party captures a 'castle' made of the other
children holding their hands together. Another is GREEN MAN RISE-O, a
very old game; it goes like this:--

'A boy has to get don and put some gass [grass] over him and run out
and call out geren man rays and he got to fine [find] you--'

Perhaps this is clearer:--

'The way we play the game of greenman one of us lay down and cover his
self with grass and the others run out and hide then they say greenman
greenman rise up then he gets up and trys to catch them and the last
one thats cort goes it--'

For GREEN MAN RISE-O you have to go to the park, nowadays; but if you
can't go to the park, and want to play it in the street, this is how
you do:--

'A boy as got to lay down and all the others have to put thier coats
on him and then they have to say green man rise up and if he see a boy
he as got to say one, two, three, and the last one as to go it--'

--in fact, it becomes like DEAD MAN'S RISE, for lack of grass.

In COCK ROBIN IS DEAD all the children who are playing have to arm
themselves with shields (for which they use saucepan-lids) and with
bows and arrows; and some of the bows are worth looking at--made of
string, they are, and half a barrel-hoop or a whalebone out of their
big sister's stays--if she wears any. Another of these sports is an
old witch-game called TO BECKLES TO BECKLES (? Beccles in Suffolk). It
is played like this: 'The children form a ring, and two in the middle.
One is a witch and the other is a girl. The children dance round once.
Then the girl in the ring says, "To Beckles to Beckles to get some
wood." Old witch says: "What for." Girl: "To boil the pot." Witch:
"What for." Girl: "To cook the fowl." Witch: "Where did you get it?"
Girl: "From your yard." At this a race ensues, until the girl is
caught by the witch.'

GROTTOES--May sport--are built heart-shaped or square or round, with
an edge of grass (if you can get it) filled up with picture-cards and
oyster-shells and old scent bottles or anything else that looks
pretty. It's just a dodge for mumping halfpennies; and not a bad one
either. They come up to you and say 'Remember the grotto '--meaning
Pay up. Speaking for myself, I gener-ally forget the grotto--meaning
Go to blazes. But some people pay up, and I once saw Mr. Perkins give
them sixpence! He was a bit all right, that evening--must have been. ...

By far the best children's games are those played with mud. Of mud you
make PIES, and BRIDGES, and STICKING-BRICKS (against a wall), and
MUD-CARTS (played with a tin-can), and WELLS, and TUNNELS, and
FLOWER-POTS, and CASTLES--in fact, anything you please.  There's
nothing like mud, when all is said and done, and it's a perfect shame
there isn't more mud about, nowadays; or sand, at least. You should
see them go for it, when the streets are up. Because the park is too
far away for most of them. And then, the fact of the matter is, our
boys don't much like playing in the park, anyhow; and the few who care
about it aren't allowed to go, because their mothers say 'You've got
no clothes.' They prefer the streets; and that's the truth, though you
wouldn't believe it. I can't stop to tell you why.  For one thing, the
keeper is always coming up in the park and interfering; next, they
can't find kerbs and paving-stones there; next, it makes them wild to
see other boys with bats and things, when they have none. . . .

Some of these games used to come in at fixed seasons, as TOPS and
MARBLES and PICTURES and BUTTONS still do; they came regularly, like
the ice-cream jack or the lavender-boy or the rate-collector or the
measles or the hoky-poky man or the carol-singers. But things are
changing. SKIPPING used to begin on Good Friday, and now they skip
half the year round; HOOPS used to come in at Christmas sharp, and
here they are already.  Danged if I know the reason why. But there it
is.  GROTTOES ought to be played on St. James' day, and I've seen them
in mid-winter. The same with these MUD-PIES. You would think they
belonged naturally to the wet season. Not a bit of it! Not nowadays,
at all events. If their clay is too dry in summer, they manage to make
it moist again, even without waiting for the rain.  Unseasonable, I
call it. ...

What I said about paving-stones reminds me of MARBLES. We used to play
them in the winter, on the pavement. But marlies are going down in the
world, that's certain. It's a good while since I played, but I still
remember the names of a few kinds--Toms, and Alleys, and Glarnies, and
Miggies; and Forty-eighter and Twenty-fourer and Twelver and Sixer and
Fourer and Three-er. You hardly ever hear of a Forty-eighter nowadays.
The smaller stone marbles were called Tich; those you got out of
lemonade bottles were Glass-eye; they also had names, which I 've
forgotten, according to the different coloured marks. We used to play
at NOCKS (that is, KNUCKS: because your knuckles had to touch the
ground), and MARBLE-BOARD, and SKITTLES, and GLASGOW, and THREE HOLES,
and NIXY's IN THE HOLE: I TAKE, and GUTTER MARBLES, and ROW MARBLES,
and UP THE ALLEY, and SPICK AND SPAN, and DOB 'EM, and TIP, and FOUR
HOLES, and NEAREST THE WALL, and PICKING THE PLUMS, and GOING UP, and
BOWLING IN THE HOLE and HIT IT LEAVE IT and HIT IT HAVE IT and
THROWINGS OUT and STAYS and HITS AND SPANS and FIVE TEN and PICKING
NUMBERS and BAGATELLE and IN THE RING and PITCHING and FOLLOW ON and
KILLING and PORKY and THROW THE FARTHEST and SOME OR NONE and
BRIDGE-BOARD. BRIDGE-BOARD was played with a diagram looking like a
row of railway arches; and I might explain the game if I could draw
diagrams, which I can't. In BOUNCE EYE each player gave a certain
number of marbles which were pooled in a ring. Then one of them held a
marble to his eye and dropped it among them; if any others were
knocked out of the ring he kept them; if none, his own marble went
into the pool. There used also to be games that you played with
marbles in a flat iron ring--the rings cost 2d. if you bought them,
but you generally got them off the barges for nothing--games like
RINGUMS and CHIPPING OUT OF THE RING.

But, as I was saying, marbles are not played as they used to be. The
police are getting more interfering every day; they tell the boys to
move on and not block up the pavement, and that interrupts them in the
middle of a game and makes them half wild; and if you don't clear off
at once, they kick your marbles into the gutter where they get lost
down a drain, and that makes you alto-gether mad. Aunt Eliza explains
things by saying that marble-games wear out boys' clothes at the knees
and that mothers are growing to be'more careful in such matters'. More
fussy, I call it. And then she says that marbles--and I say it all
comes from wasting her time running all over the place in a feather
hat and silk garters, ever since she came in for that little bit and
left off trying to be school-mistress, and messing about the way she
has done with children's homes and a lot of old cranks, instead of
doing some honest work at home--she says that marbles, and not only
marbles but HOOPS, used to be played by the big boys at the public
schools.

Hoops: that's what she says. And I say: hoops be blowed. With all
respect to Aunt Eliza, I might have swallowed marbles, but I can't
swallow hoops; not on this side of the year after next. I know this,
at least, that if a big lad were seen playing, or ever had been seen
playing with a hoop, down our way, except, perhaps, an iron one--why,
his own parents wouldn't know him again, when he got home, if he ever
did, which I rather doubt. But that's neither here nor there, except
in so far as it shows what Aunt Eliza's explanations are worth.  Mr.
Perkins, of Framlingham Brothers (a good old firm--and a nice place
he's got, too)--he's an understandable kind of gentleman and he gets
talking about things after his second pint of Burton and he says,
speaking of marbles, that he's noticed the same thing as I have.  And
when I asked him _why_ marbles are going out of fashion, he says:

'Marbles are going out of fashion,' he says, 'because they're getting
unpopular. That's why. And I happen to know this,' says he, 'because
our little Percy he tells me that shopmen don't stock them the way
they did because they know that boys don't ask for them the way they
did and boys don't ask for them the way they did because they know
they couldn't get them the way they did because shopmen don't stock
them the way they did. Which proves what I said. Trust me,' says he,
'when things begin to lose their popularity, they are sure to become
unfashionable sooner or later, whether it be games, or clothes, or
drinks, or religions. For instance', says he, 'take Nonconformity'.
But I wasn't taking Nonconformity just then, and when I tried to keep
him to the point, and asked why marlies, and just marlies, were
getting unpopular, he scratches his chin which hadn't been shaved for
the inside of a week, and has another go at his tankard, and puts it
down with a bit of a bang, emphatic-like--a sure sign, with Mr.
Perkins--and then he looks at me and says:

'Marbles are getting unpopular,' says he, 'because they're going out
of fashion. That's what's the matter with marbles and with a good many
other things as well.  Take Nonconformity', and when I told him I was
only taking bitter that night, he has another pull at his Burton, and
at last he says, casual-fashion:

'Marbles are not stimulating enough for modern life.  It's the same
with religions, _don't you see_? Now take Nonconformity '--and God's
truth! I had to take Nonconformity for the better part of an hour,
after all.






But Mr. Perking hit the nail on the head, all the same.  For I feel
sure that boys need more excitement than they did. Or perhaps I ought
to say they want it. That's it: they just want it. And thinking it
over, I believe the cinematograph is to blame: it makes them want more
excitement, and then it gives it them; and then it makes them want
still more, and then it gives them still more; quite restless, in
fact, it makes them, and I shouldn't be surprised if sooner or later
it weren't responsible for a new kind of boy altogether. And that
would mean the end of a number of these old games. Because nowadays
the bigger lads, those who used to do most of the inventing--they
prefer to go to picture-shows whenever they get a chance, instead of
larking about the streets as they used to do. (They get some games out
of the cinematograph, by the way, such as COWBOYS-INDIANS, which has
lately been re-christened GERMANS-ENGLISH.) So the playing-age is
growing to be younger and younger, and these small boys are not so
good at discovering fresh sports; it's quite true they do make up new
ones every day, but I think, on the whole, they forget more than they
ought to remember; and this is the reason, if you really want to know,
why I'm making up this catalogue: to see whether the next lot of
children knows anything about these sports, or even their names.

The 'organized games' they make them play in the parks nowadays--they
work in the same direction; so does the regular county council
schooling; so does the scout movement. The fact is, boys are not left
to themselves the way they used to be; everybody goes fussing about
and telling them to do this and that, when they want to be doing
something else--something of their own; that's why many games are
being forgotten. I don't know a single boy who really cares for
'organized games' the way a man does; even Aunt Eliza can't bring
herself to believe in the system over-much, though she likes to think
it keeps the youngsters out of mischief. And it all comes from
thinking that boys think the same as we think--which they don't; or
ought to learn to think the same as we think--which they oughtn't.
Because the right kind of boy thinks differently from the right kind
of man about games and everything else. And so he ought.

To prove that they still can invent, you need only watch them at their
picture-games--played with cigarette-cards and all of them, of course,
absolutely new, seeing that these cards were quite unknown up to a few
years ago. These picture-games have helped to do away with marbles,
for two reasons: firstly, the boys are keener on them because they're
more exciting; and secondly, they're cheaper. You have to pay for
marbles.  But you don't pay for fag-pictures: you mump them, see? And
here the difference between our games and those of richer people comes
in. The more expensive their games are, the more they Like to play
them; they don't seem to care about sports that are played with
nothing at all--the dearness is what makes everybody want to go in for
them; whereas with our boys a game can only be played if it's cheap,
and if it costs nothing at all--why, then it becomes really popular,
or fashionable--as the case may be. Now fag-cards are cheap, and no
mistake. That's why you can play so many games with them--EGGS IN THE
BUSH, and SNAP, and BANKER (or BANK), and NEAREST THE WALL TAKES, and
NEAREST THE WALL SPINS UP, and SEVENS (quite a new kind), and SCALING
UP THE RING, and SCALING UP THE LINE, and UNDER THE HAT, and GETTING
IN THE RING (that's a paving-flag, and the game is also called IN THE
SQUARE), and OVER-LAPPINGS, and IN THE RING FARTHEST, and POKE IN THE
HOLE, and DROP THEM (or DROPS), and SKATE THEM, and PICTURE OR BLANK,
and WALLIE (or UP THE WALL), and PITCHING IN THE BLOCK (or PITCHER),
and PITCHING UNDER, and SLAP-DAP, and SCRAPINGS, and TIPPING IN THE
HOLE, and BLOWINGS (also called BLOWS or BLOWUMS: you need an outside
window-sill for this), and TOUCH-CARD, and GETTING-ON, and INNERS AND
OUTERS, and THUMBS, and SHOWS-UP, and KNOCK 'EM DOWN, and DICINGS, and
WATERFALLS (or SNOW-FALLS) and SPANS (or SPANNERS)--there's thirty of
them, anyhow.

There's this to be said for picture-games: they make the boys
uncommonly nimble with their hands and ringers, and this must help
them later on, if they go in for certain trades like watch-making. In
fact, they require real skill; as I found out the other day when they
asked me to play BANKER (just for a lark, they said) and got five
coppers out of me in about half as many minutes. No, I've nothing
against picture-games except that their names are not as good as those
of the duty sports and that they don't give the youngsters any chance
of running about and using their legs. And also this: they're really
horrible inducements to gambling--especially BANKER.  Now I don't like
even talking about gambling, because it's forbidden by law, and
everybody knows it. And yet, only yesterday I noticed a lot of them at
it; evi-dently at it. I could see they were up to mischief, by the
way they cleared. Dam funny it was--how they just melted into nothing,
before I could get a proper sight of them. Not our boys, I'm glad to
say.

They're so keen on these picture-games that you can see them playing
at half-past six in the morning and after nine at night; and in the
rain, too; and when they have no fag-pictures they try to play the
same games with bus-tickets and then, if you're not very careful, you
can hear some shocking bad swear-words which they pick up I can't
think where, because the bus-tickets bend too easily and won't fly as
they should.

And that reminds me of some other games of the smaller children--those
played with five stones (boys) or gobs and bonsers (girls). Gobs
(cobs) are shaped like dice, or ought to be; and a bonser or bonk or
buck or bonster is a large marble that bounces from the ground
(bouncer), about the size of a forty-eighter. You can buy four gobs
and a bonk for a half-penny; you can also make them yourself--the gobs
or stones, I mean--out of bits of porcelain and pebbles and
winkle-shells; but the bought ones are the best, because, for one
reason, you have to pay for them.

With these things you play BUCK AND FOUR of different kinds, such as
TELLINGS and SISTER and STAND UP JACK. For BASKETS you need a diagram
on the pavement, which I can't draw.  Other games of this sort are
ALLEY GOBS and CHANGES and PICKSES and STANDSES--

'In standses aim the marble up then as the marble is coming down stand
one of the stones up till you stand all the four up then you drop them
again--'

and SHUFFLES and FULL-STOP AND COMMA and FLY DOBS and BABES IN THE
WELL and ONE STAND UP ONES'ES--

'if one gob stands up when thrown out, the process of ones'es must be
taken. After this you must get two to stand up [on their sides, of
course], then three and so in the right order '--

and OVER THE WALL ONE TWO THREE and SPANS and LONDON BRIDGE--

'the bonk is thrown up and while it is descending the two in the
middle are caught up, but the bonk must be caught with both stones in
the middle then the two stones outside are caught up making a total of
three in the hand' (not very clear, is it?)--

and BABES IN BED and PIGEON-HOLE and CROW'S NEST and LAMP-POST--

'build up four stones, throw up the bonk so that it knocks down one of
them; and so on till only one stone is left. Then throw up the bonk
and catch it in your hand together with the four stones that are on
the ground; if you miss one, you're out'--

and TWOS AND THREES and FOURS and FIVERS and FIVES SIX TIMES and
SAVING BABY'S LIFE--

'The way to play Saving Babies life is like this. First of all you
pick out a stone which will be the bonk, then lay the remaining four
on the left hand, and then by hitting the hand which holds the stones
one of them flies into the air, then when it comes down the player
must catch it or else he is out. When all the stones have been caught
in this way they are laid on the hand in two's, then in three's, and
when that is done all the four are caught, but this time the bonk must
be picked up while the others are coming down.'

It takes some doing, this game; and it isn't worth doing when you can
do it.

Now proper boys won't touch a marble that bounces from the ground--I
can't tell you why, but there it is; so they generally use a fifth
stone instead of a bonk, as in this last game, which is the boys' way
of 'Saving Baby's Life '. But most of them don't care about these
things anyhow, and I don't either; rotten games, I call them, fit for
silly little girls and only interesting because they're a sort of
half-way (the old FIVE-STONES, for instance, is played both with
common stones and with gobs) between marbles which they can't
manufacture at any price and real stones which you just pick up
anywhere.

Talking of real stones, there's no doubt whatever that games played
with them are the oldest in the world, together with the
mud-larks--excepting perhaps those that are not played with _things_
at all, like hide-and-seek and some of the old 'he' games. And it's
just wonderful what you can do with stones. But they are dying out,
all the same; because the worst of it is, there are not half enough
stones about, nowadays; not half enough.  You can play DUMPING (or
DUMPLING) with stones, and BUNG (also called GO-GULLEY) and NIP (also
called TAP or LEG-ALONG--where you hit each other's stones, each hit
counting ten) and DUCK; and you can tell from these names how old the
games are. Stones for LEG-ALONG--stones of the right kind, of proper
shape and weight, flat on both sides and fitting nicely into the hand,
are hard to come by and carefully kept. DUCK (or DUCK ON) goes like
this:

'About eight or nine can play; you make a hole in the ground and Duck
puts his stone before it, then the Others come up close and have to
knock his one into the hole with theirs; if they miss they must pick
up there stones and run back to the Curb before he can catch his One;
if he catch him, that man is Duck instead.'

Other stone-games are FRENCH PACKET and SHUFFING THE MONEY and
FIVE-TEN and HESLING and TWO AND THREE HOLES and KNOCKING THREE'S and
PENNY-TUPPENCE and COCK-SHIES and STONE CHASE and THROWINGS OUT and
RINGING THE STONE and PUDDING.

Have you ever played DUCKING MUMMY?  Probably not. But it's a good old
stone-game for small boys.  Two of them take a stone each, and with
these stones they aim at a third stone. The third stone--that's Mummy.
If one of them hits Mummy, he keeps on throwing till he misses; then
the other has a turn at it; and so on. In the end they are supposed to
count up who has made most hits--the loser paying a peppermint.  Of
course they try to cheat each other, and so it always ends in a free
fight: that's the best part of the whole game. Nobody ever gets the
peppermint.

But they sometimes gets a black eye. . . .

And that's about all the games I can think of, just now.





Wait a bit. There are the chalk-games. These are what you see marked
out in white or coloured chalk on the pavement or asphalt--summer
games, of course, and pretty common everywhere. Ordinary HOP-SCOTCH,
for instance, and LONG HOP-SCOTCH, and FRENCH HOP-SCOTCH, and
TIDDLEDEWINK, and PUDDING AND BEEP (or STONE HOP-SCOTCH, where you
have to keep a stone balanced on your head or open hand as you hop
through).  Then there's WRIGGLY-WORM (also called WHIRLY-WHIRLY, or
WIGGLY-WOGGLY, or SNAIL), and SQUARES, and NUMBERS, and DOT-BOXES (or
DOTS) and ALL OVER THE WORLD, and STEPPING-STONES, and ZIG-ZAG. They
play NOUGHTS AND CROSSES out of doors (OXEN-CROSSES, they call it;
which shows how they twist the names about); other chalk-games are
MAPS, and LONDON, and BATTLEMENTS, and SNAKES, and BABY, and BILL
BAILY.

They also play BODY-BUILDING of different kinds, and one of the most
complicated of these chalk-games is now called GERMANS-ENGLISH. It
begins with a design shaped rather like a coffin with fields of
squares in the middle and a field of them running along each side, and
a field for 'lost' at the top and another field at the bottom which I
don't remember the use of, and two starting-points at each end of the
bottom. Only two boys can play; they throw their nickers by turns into
the middle fields, and if they land on a line it counts nothing, but
whoever lands in a field can begin building a soldier in the
corresponding side-field; first his head; then (for another throw into
the right field) his body; then (for another) his legs; then his
rifle; then a bullet at the end of his rifle. Once the bullet is
there, that soldier stands for good. But while he is still being
built, the other boy, if he throws well, can set up another soldier in
the corre-sponding side-field in shorter time, and once that soldier
has his bullet--why, he can shoot the other fellow oppo-site, if he's
not complete, and finish him off for good.  So there are all the time
soldiers building in the different side-fields on both sides, each
growing up as fast as he can, and all shooting each other whenever
they get the chance; and the winner is the boy who has most soldiers
alive at the end. And you can see from this that it's a complicated
business and shows what youngsters can think out with a bit of chalk
(if somebody didn't think it out for them); but to explain it properly
would require at least twenty diagrams to show the game in its
different stages, and I can't draw diagrams--never could; which is a
pity.

The small children have a chalk-game all to themselves called POLLY
POLLY WHAT's THE TIME, where they draw a sort of clock on the pavement
and cover up parts of it with their jackets or anything else.

The girls have another, BOOTS, SHOES, TIPS, OR NAILS, in which one of
them draws a square on the pavement containing room for the four
letters b. t. s. or n.; she writes one of them down and then covers it
up; the others must guess which letter it is, and they score up how
many correct guesses each one has had. Boys some-times play this, but
not often.

And then the well-known CHALK-CHASE.  There are different kinds of
CHALK-CHASE, such as CONVICTS AND WARDERS (or TRACKING THE CONVICTS)
and SCOUTS; but the real old CHALK-CHASE, as played by my friends of
the 'Char-charcoal-chalk-chase-club', goes like this:--

'You pick parteis and then they clip for First outing.  Each player
has a piece of chalk which he has to draw arroes the hounds follow &
they must cross out the arroes until the Others are caught then its
the Others turn'.

Played it yourself, maybe?

And there! I nearly forgot some of the best of all these sports: the
touch games. There's OFF-GROUND TOUCH and FRENCH TOUCH and TOUCH THE
ROAD YOU MUST GO OVER and CROSS TOUCH and HE (called EE; all
touch-games are 'he' games, and this is the grandfather of the whole
family), and ELBOW TOUCH and HELP TOUCH and B--TOUCH and TOUCHING
BOOTLEATHER and HOP TOUCH and DOUBLE TOUCH and TOUCH LAST (or HAD You
LAST) and TOUCHING IRON and TOUCH WOOD AND WHISTLE and NON-STOP TOUCH
and STICK-TOUCH, or STICK-HE (touching with sticks) and WATER-HE
(played in the baths) and STRING-HE (touch and hold hands: like WIDDY)
and TREE-HE (up trees) and SHADOW-HE, which must be played in the
sunshine, like this:

'The one who is he has to try and tread on one of the person's
shadders, then he is he.'

FRENCH TOUCH is as good as any of those I can remember just now; it is
played like this:

'Fr tutch run after another boy and tutch him any were and the boy you
tutched has to keep his hand on the place were you tutched and go ea
(' he') and run after another boy and tutch him any were and he has to
keep his hand on the place where he tutched and go ea and run after
another boy and tutch him any were and he has to keep his hand on the
place were he tutched and go ea and run after another boy and tutch
him any were etc.'--

and OFF-GROUND TOUCH like this:

'You are not supposed to let your feet touch the ground, if you do,
the one who is out can have you '--but somebody really ought to make
a full list of games of this kind. Aunt Eliza might do it (always
fussing about with school-children, she is, and seeing that their
clothes are properly patched behind) if she weren't so fond of
explaining things--so fond that I daresay she'ld mix up B--TOUCH with
HOOPS and HONEY-POTS, for the sake of fitting it in with some
explanation or other. That's the worst of Aunt Eliza; she's sometimes
right, but you never know when. . . .

And now, come to think of it, I believe I can tell you just one or two
more of the games they play down our way. There's WILL YOU 'LIST (a
recruiting game, very popular just now), and HAMMERS ON, and KICKS,
and RED ROVER ('Three steps and I'll be over'), and CARLOW, and FRIED
EGGS AND A RASHER, and POST-MAN'S KNOCK, and TEN O'CLOCK POLICE, and
SCHOOL-BOYS, and ICKAMY-!CKAMY-CO (' where's the poor man to go? '),
and SHUNTING ENGINES and FOLLOW THE LEADER--

It's the only really dangerous game we have, FOLLOW THE LEADER.
Because of course the bravest boy is chosen as leader, one who crosses
the road just in front of some heavy van and then goes and raps at all
the doors of the neighbours who rush out in a rage to see what's the
matter; so that by the time the third man has done the same there's
sometimes a smash-up and always a row. A grand old game is DOING EACH
OTHER'S DAGS, as they call it; but it's bound to end in trouble of
some kind, for dead certain; though the 'leader' generally comes off
without a scratch, as they do in the army--

and STITCH AWAY TAILOR and BOATS and HOOPLA FOR CHOKLITTS and BUS
HORSES and REIN HORSES and SCOUTS and PICKING THE CROW'S NEST and
KNOCKING DOWN GINGER and KNOCKING GINGER OUT O'BED (rough; played with
door-knockers) and WHIRLIGIG and ROBIN SNATCH (with handkerchiefs) and
FLAG RACE and POTTY and FIVE HUNDRED MONKEYS UP (the last two are
hide-and-seek) and GUARDING THE STAKE and JUPITER. I'm glad I didn't
forget to remember JUPITER; it's an old game and goes like this:--

'One has to be Jubiter and every time he hops out he has to say
Jubiter and if he catches one he has to be servant and so on until you
catch all except one and he has to be Jubiter'--

and SUNDAY-MONDAY and HIDING STEPS and OUTINGS

and HOME IT and WHAT 'S THE TIME and TAILOR SAID and LAST MAN STANDING
(like OFF-GROUND TOUCH) and RELIEVO (like RELEASE, only chalked dens
are used) and POSTMAN RELAY and EGG AND SPOON RELAY and INDIAN CLUB
RELAY and DAY AND NIGHT and JUMPING THE BROOK and ONE MORE NO MORE and
PARVY and STOLEN NECKLACE and OUT OF BOUNDS and GIVE A JOIN (like
WIDDY) and DATE-HOGS--

I must tell you about DATE-HOGS. It's played by small children with
date-stones and screws--the stones you find, the screws you pinch or
mump; and each boy has a certain number of throws with his date-stones
at one of the other chaps' screws standing up on end. Now it's quite
clear that, getting the screws the way they do, they sometimes get big
ones, and sometimes little ones, and have to be jolly glad to get any
at all; and it's also clear that, big screws being easier to hit than
little ones, the game would be unfair if you always threw from the
same distance. Therefore you mustn't always throw from the same
distance. But how are you to settle it fairly? Well, everybody knows
that big screws have more turns or twists in them than little screws
have. So they measure the throwing-distance by the number of these
turns. A small screw, which is hard to hit, has (say) five turns, so
you have to stand five paces of!; a big screw, which is easier to hit,
has (say) ten turns, and so you stand ten paces off; and this makes
the chances always even. Shows how artful these kids are--.

and Fox AND HOUNDS (HARE AND HOUNDS) and BATTLE OF WATERLOO and LAMP
AWAY and STICKJAW and PAPER TRUNCHEONS and POTATO-SHOOTERS and FUEL
FOR THE FIRE and TIME GUESSING and ROUND THE BLOCK and HUMBLE-BUMBLE
and GO YOUR WAY and A PIN TO LOOK AT THE POPPY-SHOW--

A poppy-snow--that's a puppet-show, if the boys hadn't forgotten what
a puppet-show was. You need rather a fresh boy for this game, and when
you 've found him, you get hold of a big book--a Bible, if possible,
because it has so many pages and looks respectable any-how, but
chiefly on account of the pages--and anywhere between its pages you
put a few transfers; just a few.  You hold the book in your hand with
the back down-wards and press the covers together as tightly as ever
you can, and come up to your lad and say 'A pin to look at the
poppy-show'. Then he, with a pin, has to dab down between the closed
pages of the book, and if he strikes a place where a transfer happens
to be, of course it's his; otherwise, you keep his pin. You can guess
his chances, when there are about three transfers hidden among four
hundred pages. If he likes to be a fool, he can get rid of all his
pins that way, while you keep your poppy-show for the next fresh boy
you come across--

and LAST ACROSS and STEPS ACROSS and PEEP (also called JACK) and HOME
FOUR and I SPY EGGS AND BACON (hide-and-seek) and SAVOY (also called
SAVELOY) and WATER-MAN and LEADING THE BLIND HORSE TO THE KNACKER and
FAIRY CHASE and HOPPING JINNY and SKITTLES KNOCK 'EM DOWN and GUESSING
WORDS (at shop-windows) and NICKO MIDNIGHT (' Flash your light') and
PIG IN THE POT--

'One person stands in the middle all the rest stand at one end the
whole lot have to run to the other side. If you start you must keep
on. If one or two are caught you have to join hands and go after the
others----' and FIGHT FOR THE FLAG (two parties: played from a mound)
and LEARN YOUR A. B. C. and SERVING YOUR COUNTRY A GOOD GAME and
LIG-A-LOG and FRENCH BLIND MAN'S BUFF and ANIMAL BLIND MAN'S BUFF--

'A ring is drawn, in which is a blind man, and the players; the
players move about until the blind man strikes on the ground with his
wand. He then touches any one (all are standing still) and asks them
to imitate an animal's voice. He then tries to recognise them by their
voice. If he succeeds the other is the blind man, if not, the game is
continued '--

and WILL YOU SURRENDER and TELLING YOUR DREAM and FIVE TEN FIFTEEN
TWENTY (catch-game) and JACK AROUND (catch) and SEE YOU ACROSS and
LONG RUN and RACE TO BERLIN (new) and BOGIE MAN (catch) and No MAN
STANDING and WALL TO WALL and SAINT GEORGE AND HIS MERRY MEN and
DELIVER YOUR LUG-GAGE and FISH AWAY JACK (four lamp-posts and eight
boys) and PIN, BUTTON, OR MARBLE--

In this, you go up to a boy smaller than yourself and take him by the
throat and say 'Pin, button, or marble.' And that's all you have to
do. Because then he must turn out his pockets and give you whatever he
can find, and thank God if he doesn't get a thrashing into the
bargain. It isn't exactly what you 'Id call even chances, but it's
quite all right, especially if you happen to be the big boy; because
the big boy generally wins at this game. Now you may wonder why they
collect pins.  Well, our boys will collect anything, anyhow,
anywhere--even if it's useless; but precious few things, you know,
are really useless (I can't think of a single one, just now), and as
to pins--I'm not even going to try to tell you in how many ways you
need them. Some boys go about with a provision of hundreds of pins
stuck in their clothes for different sports; mothers are also very
fond of pins, and if you give them a nice handful on a Saturday
morning, they'll think you 've been quietly thinking about them all
the week and collecting pins for them; and maybe that'll mean an extra
something for the picture-show later on. They collect buttons the same
way, for games like BUTTONS IN THE RING; only the buttons must be of
metal, of brass or steel; they must ring like money when you throw
them on the pavement: that's the test. All other buttons are simply
'toot'--not worth talking about. The best metal buttons are
commissionaires' buttons; they're called 'raileys', and a good railey
is worth four or even six ordinary metal ones, while a bad one (with a
loose shank, for instance) will fetch only two. Many boys are able to
stitch them-selves full of these buttons, for use in games; the less
clever ones, those who keep on losing them, have to cut the buttons
from their own clothes and go about from one year's end to another
with their trowsers hitched to their braces by means of their sisters'
hair-pins, bent double. But that's neither here nor there--

and SINGLE SAY-GO and DOUBLE SAY-GO and QUEEN, KING OR DIRTY RASCAL
and Moscow and RUGBY SCRUM (introduced by the scouts) and I WILL
APPRENTICE MY SON TO A CARPENTER and SAILOR BOY and STORKY and EGGS
and THREE IN THREE OUT (the last four are hide-and-seek games) and
CROWNINGS (also hide-and-seek) and MOUSE IN THE COPPER and SHOW THREE
FACES: GO and MAGIC WRITING and DRAG-LAG (played with sacks) and
PICKLE CABBAGE (name-calling) and PUTTING (not pulling) THE KAISER'S
WHISKERS (new) and BLUE BOY and BACK YOU and KING CAESAR and TING TING
THE SPIDER (you need an outside window for this) and PUSS IN THE
CORNER and HOP AND CHARGE and TAKING THE CASTLE and DARTS (also called
NIBS) and PENNY THREE HALFPENCE TWOPENCE (running) and TWO IN TWO OUT
and TUG OF WAR and CHIVY CHASE and DADDY RED-CAP (or GREEN-CAP)--and
that's enough for to-day.

DADDY RED-CAP has a song beginning like this:

'Plaster of Paris has lost his hat--
Some say this, and some say that. . . .'

and that's interesting, because 'Plaster of Paris', of course, is all
nonsense. And so is 'Plaistow Palace ', as they sometimes call it. The
real song goes:--

'Beadle Palace has lost his hat--
Some say this, and some say that. ...'

but the boys twist the words about, because they disremember who
Beadle Palace was; and I can't tell you either. Mr. Perkins, of
Framlingham Brothers (Limited), once told me he knew all about it; he
said that 'Beadle Palace' stands for the Bishop of London, who _really
did_ lose his hat one evening; and 'some say' it was blown off his
head by the wind, and 'some say' he gave it to a woman with red hair
and a squint, and never got it back again. But he was a bit on, that
night, was Mr. Perkins.  Or else the Bishop must have been. ...






These are about a thousand of the outdoor games they play down our
way--not a bad number, when you think that our children can only play
after they come home from school or work, and that they hardly ever
play on Sundays on account of their clothes, or in winter because the
evenings are too dark, and that the rain often keeps them indoors
anyhow, and that the lads over 14 don't play at all. And yet, no
doubt, I must have forgotten to tell you half of them; and I shall
never stop forgetting, if I don't stop trying to remember. ....

Now what I think is this.  It doesn't matter how all these sports are
played.  What matters is that they _are_ played.  To show how
wide-awake our youngsters are, to be able to go on inventing games out
of their heads all the time--that's the point:  my point, at least.
The particular rules of all these different games--they don't strike
me as very important, or even interesting.

And you'll agree with me that it's as clear as daylight, and it all
comes to this: if you want to see what children can do, you must stop
giving them things. Because of course they only invent games when they
have none ready-made for them, like richer folks have--when, in other
words, they've nothing in their hands. As Mr.  Perkins said: 'You
can't play a ball-game, if you haven't got a ball', meaning that if
you want to play, and have nothing to play with, you must play at
something that doesn't need anything. Give them bats and balls, and
they soon forget their CHINESE ORDERS, and there's an end of SHOWING
NO IVORY, and nobody thinks of PULLING our FATHER'S RHUBARB, and OLD
DEVIL may go to--well, where he came from. That's what keeps them
alive and 'imaginative' (as Aunt Eliza would say)--having nothing to
play with. That's what makes them use up all they can find--clay and
kerb-stones and nuts and winkle-shells and clothes and empty
condensed-milk tins and walls and caps and stones and window-sills and
buttons and doorsteps and lamp-posts and rags and anything else that
comes handy. And that's how they come to play any number of games and
to discover new ones every day, while better-class lads get into
grooves and go on with their frowsy old cricket and one or two more
all the time, always the same, year after year.

Not that I'm saying anything against CRICKET in particular.  You can
do many things with a bat. But there are many more things you can't
do. And all these other things are bound to be left outside your reach
in the long run, if you get taken up by cricket. Because, you see, you
don't take up cricket--you think you do, but you don't; you get taken
up. You think you are going to do what you please with a bat, but the
fact is, the bat does what it pleases with you; you think it's your
servant, but in reality it's a master who drives you along the way he
means to go--or rather, the only way he can go (that is, hitting a
ball). It's perfectly true that you can play well or badly; but, play
as you like, you can't help your faculty for inventing something
outside bats and balls getting rustier all the time. And it's true
that cricket saves you the trouble of inventing those other games;
that's just its drawback, I say. No getting out of the rut! With the
bat in your hand, you can only do what it allows you to do. Which is a
good deal; but not half as much as if your hand were empty.

And what Mr. P. said of ball-games applies to all the others that are
played with _things_. Say you want to have a go at WRIGGLY-WORM.
Eight! But you can't mark out a pattern in chalk if you have no chalk
to do it with.  That's clear. And you haven't always got a lump of
chalk in your pocket; now, have you? And then you feel about and turn
them inside out and find you have not only no chalk but nothing
else--absolutely nothing at all; not a top or a marble, no, not even a
konker or a nicker or a bus-ticket. And then?

Why, then, if you can't invent something different, something jolly
well altogether out of your head, where are you? Because, of course,
you 've got to play some-thing or other--unless you want to be a
soppy fathead.  And our youngsters don't want to be soppy fatheads.
What's more, they aren't. They try a good many things, and often they
succeed; but they couldn't be _that_, even if they tried.




Postscript. Aunt Eliza writes to say that she can't explain what the
boys mean when they say' Obobe ', but she feels sure it must be
'something not quite nice'.  Thank God, there's one thing she can't
explain. For my part, I think these words like Obobe and A-lairy and
Widdy are the queerest thing of all, about these sports.  And what's
queerer still are the names like Salmon Fishing and Cold Pies and Blue
Boy, that make sense but have nothing whatever to do with the games.
She also tells me that the song of _London Bridge is broken down_ goes
back to 'bloodthirsty rites of foundation-sacrifice' (read it in some
book, I daresay, and so thinks it must be true), and that _Fie Sally,
Cry Sally_ 'originated in early water-worship'. Early water-worship be
blowed. Late beer-worship is more my style.  But Aunt Eliza knows too
much, anyhow; so much, that I shall have to ask her about the
originating of the game of DUCKING MUMMY, and whether it makes her
think of a certain good old custom. Then she says that _Here we come
gathering nuts in May_ is 'a relic of Marriage by Capture', and some
more stuff of that kind. No doubt; no doubt. Aunt Eliza thinks a good
deal about Marriage by Capture--to judge by her talk, at least. Nobody
ever tried to capture _her_, you know. And nobody ever will, I don't
think.




INDEX
[page numbers removed for this online edition]

A and B
A.B.C.D.F.G. etc
Across the row
Adam and Ell
A house to let etc.
Alley gobs
All hands on deck
All in the rope
All in together etc.
All over the world
All sorts
All the boys etc.
All the way to London
All the winkles
Along the row
American jump
Anchor-crown-head
Animal blind man's buff
A pin to look at the poppy-show
Apple-tree pear-tree etc.
Arm's length
As I was going etc.
As I was walking etc.
Babble
Babes in bed
Babes in the well
Baby
Back scalings
Backy-o
Back you
Bagatelle
Ball in cap
Bangings (bang-out)
Banker (bank)
Base
Basket-ball
Baskets
Battlements
Battle of Waterloo
Beast bird fish flower
Beat your neighbour out of
doors
Bedlam
Big Ben strikes one
Bill Baily
Black and blue
Black in topper
Blind donkey
Blind Sam
Blowings (blows or blowums)
Blue boy
Boat race
Boats
Body-building
Bogie man
Books
Boot in the tub
Boots shoes tips or nails
Borrow a light
Bounce-ball
Bounce-eye
Bowling in the hole
Box nuts
Boys' names
Brag
Brass band
Brave news is come etc.
Bread and butter
Bridge-board
Bridges
British workman
Broken bottle
Buck and four
Buck buck etc.
Bull-dog race
Bulls eye
Bumpers (bumpums)
B--touch
Bung
Bung in the barrel
Bunny rabbit
Bushel basket
Bus horses
Buttons
Buttons in the ring
Buzz
Callings in etc.
Cannon balls
Cap it
Cap telling
Carlow
Caroline Brown etc.
Caroline Pink etc.
Carriages
Carrying crocodiles' food
Carrying  the  old  woman's
washing
Carts and horses
Castles
Cat and dog
Cat and mouse
Catch
Catchers
Catching stones
Catching the falling wand
Catch in the long rope
Catch-in-the-rope
Catch the rider
Cat on hot bricks
Cat o' nine tails
Centre ball
Chalk-chase
Changes
Charge of the light brigade
Charlie Arlie etc.
Charlie likes whisky
Cherry games
Chimney-pots
Chinese orders
Chinese Yum-Yum
Ching Chang Chinaman
Chipping out of the ring
Chipstone
Chivy chase
Choose the one etc.
Chuck-farden
Chucking
Cinderella-umberella
Circle stride ball
Coaler
Coat
Cobbler
Cobbler cobbler etc.
Cook and hen fight
Cook robin is dead
Cook-shies
Cock-shy
Cold meat mutton pies
Cold pies
Colours
Come in my garden
Come on Amy
Come to see poor Mary
Con-stant-i-no-ple
Convicts and warders
Corner catch ball
Country
Cowboys-Indians
Cricket
Cross-ball
Crossing the waters etc.
Cross touch
Crownings
Crow's nest
Cunjer
Cut-a-lump (cutter)
Daddy red-cap (green-cap)
Daggles
Dan Dan thread your needle
Dancing Dolly
Darts
Date-hogs
Day and night
Days of the year
Dead man's rise (dark scenery)
Dead soldiers
Deaf and dumb Moses
Deliver up the golden jewels
Deliver your luggage
Dicings
Difficulty
Dob 'em
Doing each other's dags
Doll
Dolly dear etc.
Donkey
Dot-boxes (dots)
Double Dutch
Double say-go
Double touch
Down by the river etc.
Down in the valley etc.
Do you like silver etc.
Drag-lag
Drop them (drops)
Drums
Duck
Ducking mummy
Dumb motions
Dumping (dumpling)
Dunce dunce double D.
Dustholes
Duty four
Eaper Weaper
Early in the morning
Eating fish and potatoes
Ee
Egg and spoon relay
Egg in a duck's belly
Egg-in-cap (egget)
Egg in the spoon
Eggs
Eggs and bacon
Eggs in the bush
Eight o'clock bells etc.
Eights
Elbow touch
Elephants' trunks and tails
Emperor ball
Ener Dena etc.
Evie Ivy over
Fag-out
Fairy chase
Farmer left his hat behind
Father give me a ha'penny
Fetching home
Fiddle-de-dee
Fie SaUy cry Sally
Fight for the flag
Filling the gap
Finger in the bird's nest
Finger on the block
Fire
Fire engines
Fish away Jack
Fishing
Fishing for oysters
Five hundred monkeys up
Fivers
Fives six times
Five-stones
Five-ten
Five ten fifteen twenty
Flag race
Flies round the jam-pot
Flower-pots
Fly dobs
Fly Dutchman
Flying angels
Flying the garter
Follow on
Follow the leader
Follow your mother to market
Fool fool etc.
Foot and lee
Football-cricket
Foot it
Forty
Four corners
Four holes
Four little chickens etc.
Fours
Four ways to London
Fox and hounds
Fox come out of your den
Fox-hunting
French blind man's buff
French cricket
French foot
French hop-scotch
French packet
French touch
Fried eggs and a rasher
Frog in field (in middle in
water)
Frogs .
Fuel for the fire
Pull-stop
Full-stop and comma
Gammon rasher
Germans-English
Getting in the ring
Getting on
Girls' names
Give a join
Gladys Gladys etc.
Glasgow
Glory
Goodbye May etc.
Goose-gander
Go-gulley
Going up
Golden goose
Go your way
Grandmother Gray
Granny witch
Green gravel etc.
Green man rise-o
Grottoes
Grudges
Grulley
Guarding the stake
Guessing with three (six) cards
Guessing words
Gulley games
Gutter marbles
Haberdasher isher etc.
Had you last
Half a pint of porter etc.
Half a pound of bacon
Hammers on
Hand ball
Hands off
Handy-pandy etc.
Hare and hounds
Harem skirt
Hark the robbers etc.
Hatching eggs
Hat under the moon
Hawk and dove
Haystack
He
Head and shoulders
Head game
Help touch
Here comes a little bird etc.
Here comes my ship full sail
Here comes our jolly sailors
Here come three dukes etc.
Here we come gathering nuts
Here we go loobeloo etc.
Here we go round the mulberry
bush
Here we go up the mulberry tree
Hesling
Hide and seek
Hiding hats etc.
Hiding steps
Higher and higher
High treason
High water
Hit it have it (leave it)
Hits and spans
Hitting the mummy
Hitting the sun
Hoky poky etc.
Home four
Home it
Honey pots
Hook and cap
Hook and eye
Hoop and skip
Hoopla for choklitts
Hoops
Hop and charge
Hop o' my thumb
Hopping all the way to church
Hopping Jinny
Hopping round Big Ben
Hopping to London
Hop-scotch
Hop step and jump
Hop there and back again
Hop touch
Horse soldiers
Hospitals
Hot boiled beans etc.
Hot cockles and hot mustard
Hot pies
Hot rice
Hot rolls
Hot soup
How far can you run
How when and where
Hully-gully
Humble-bumble
Hundred wing
Hush-a-larly etc.
I am a little beggar girl
I am a little shadow
I bought a donkey (a penny doll)
I can do the tango
Ickamy-ickamy-co
I fell into a box of eggs
I had a black man etc.
I had a bloke etc.
I had a dolly etc.
I know a doctor etc.
I know a girl etc.
I know a washerwoman etc.
I'll tell ma etc.
I'll tell mother etc.
In and out the windows
Inch it up
Indian club relay
Inner and outer
Inners and outers
I-N spells in
In the hat
In the ring
In the ring farthest
In the square
I sent a letter etc.
I spy etc.
I spy eggs and bacon
I spy--spit in your eye
I spy with one eye
I was in the garden
I went down Piccadilly
I went down the lane etc.
I went to the animal show
I will apprentice my son etc.
Jack
Jack around
Jack Horner
Jacob and Rachel
Jenny pluck peas
Jocky whack
John Brown's knapsack
Jumbo had a baby
Jumping the brook
Jupiter
Kick-can policeman
Kicks
Killing
King
King Caesar
King John says so
King of the Barbary
King's dinner
Knock 'em down
Knock him down donkey
Knock him down have him
Knocking Dolly out o' bed
Knocking down (out o' bed)
Ginger
Knocking three's
Knocking up three catchers
Knucks
Lady lady etc.
Ladysmith
Lamp away
Lamp-post
Last across
Last man standing
Last one home
Laugh and cry
Lay the cloth etc.
Leading the blind horse etc.
Learn your A. B. C.
Leave the rope
Leg-along
Let go must go
Lig-a-log
Light mother's copper fire
Light the fire etc.
Little Mary Anne etc.
Little Sally Sanders
Live o's
Lobster
London
London Bridge
London Bridge is broken down
Long hop-scotch
Long run
Looking for mother's thimble
Looking glass
Looking through the keyhole
Look upon the mantel-piece
Lost letter
L. S. D.
Mabel Mabel etc.
Mackintosh
Mademoiselle went to the well
Magic writing
Maps
Marble-board
Marbles
Mary had bread etc.
Mary Mary
Ma she said etc.
Match
Merry month of May
Messengers (messages)
Miller's sack
Mischief
Missings out
Moggies on the wall
Monday night etc.
Monday-Tuesday
Monkey in the wood
Mop cherry-stones
Moscow
Mother buy me etc.
Mother got the hooping cough
Mother I'm over the water
Mother made a seedy cake
Mother may I go out
Mother mother etc.
Mothers and fathers
Mouse in the copper
Mouse in the trap
Mousetrap
Mrs. Brown
Mrs. Brown went to town
Mud-carts
Mud-pies
Mussentouehet
My birdie whistles
My father had an old shoe
My mother said etc.
My mother sent me etc.
My name is sweet Jennie etc.
My sister Jane
My son John etc.
My young man etc.
Nails
Nap
Naughty girl
Nearest the line takes
Nearest the  wall (spins up
takes)
Nebuchadnezzar
Nelson
Never leave the rope empty
Newspapers
Nibby-cap
Nibs
Nick naok tolly whack
Nicko midnight
Nip
Nixie
Nixy's in the hole etc.
Nocks
No man standing
Non-stop touch
North south etc.
Noughts and crosses
Now I'm off etc.
Now we' re on the battlefield
Numbers
Nurses
Nuts in cap
Oats and beans etc.
Odd man spins
O dear me etc.
Off-ground touch
Old aunt Sally
Old daddy witches
Old devil in fire
Old mother Mason etc.
Old mother roundabout
Old Roger is dead etc.
One and out
One fair maid a-dancing
One in the middle
One more no more
One stand up ones'es
One-two
One two buckle my shoe
One two three
One-two-three-and-a-lairy
On the carpet etc.
On the mountain
On the stick
Oranges and lemons
Oranges oranges etc.
O tonight is Saturday night
Our boots are made etc.
Outings
Out of bounds
Overs keeps
Overlappings
Over the garden wall
Over the line
Over the moon
Over the wall etc.
Oxen-crosses
Oxford boys
Palm over
Paper-chase
Papers
Paper truncheons
Parson's cat
Parvy
Passing round
Pass over
Pease cods
Peep
Peeping  behind the  curtain
Pegging
Peg in the ring
Penny in the water etc.
Penny three halfpence etc.
Penny-tuppence
Pet post
Picking leaves
Picking numbers
Picking the bloater
Picking the plums
Pickle cabbage
Pickses
Picture or blank
Pictures
Pieman
Pigeon-hole
Piggy backs
Piggy on the railway etc.
Pig in the pot
Piling the donkey
Pin button or marble
P ..... e
Pitch and toss
Pitching
Pitching in the block; pitching
under
Pitching in (on) the hat;  up
the wall
Pitching up the line
Pitch out
Placing
Plates and dishes
Please we 've come etc.
Please will you lend etc.
Point
Poke in the hole
Policeman
Policeman policeman etc.
Polish banker
Polly goes to bed
Polly put the kettle on
Polly tell me the time
Polly what's the time
Polly witch
Pontoon
Poor Jennie is a-weeping
Poor Polly can't see
Pork and greens
Porky
Porter collecting tickets
Postman
Postman relay
Postman's knock
Potato-shooters
Potty
Pounds shillings and pence
Pretty and ugly
Pretty statues
Pudding
Pudding and beef
Pull for the shore sailor
Pulling bones  etc.;  pulling legs
Pulling out father's rhubarb.
Punch-ball
Punctured tyre
Pushy back
Puss
Puss in the corner
Pussy cat
Putting the Kaiser's whiskers
Queen Anne etc.
Queenie
Queen king etc.
Queen Mab (Anne)
Quoits
Rabbit in the hutch
Race to Berlin
Race for a leaf
Racing to London
Railway line
Railway race
Railway stations
Raps on the bugle
Rat a tat etc.
Red rover
Red white and blue
Rein horses
Release
Relievo
Ring-a-ring o' roses
Ringing the stone
Ringums
Robbers and coppers
Robin snatch
Rock the cradle
Rolling pin
Roman candles
Rosy apples lemon etc.
Rotten (cracked) egg
Rounders
Round the block
Row marbles
Rugby scrum
Run a mile for a halfpenny
Run and skip
Running in and out the blue-bells
Running too fast
Runs
R. White's gingerbeer etc.
Sailor
Sailor boy
Saint George and his merry men
Sally go round the moon
Sally round the jam-pot
Sally Sally Water
Salmon fishing
Sam Sam etc.
Sausage
Saving baby's life
Savoy (saveloy)
Scaling up the ring
Schoolboys
Schools
Scissors
Scoring
Scotch and English
Scouts
Scrapings
See you across
Seizing sticks
Send a letter etc.
Sending letter to Canada
Sending messages
Serving your country etc.
Sets
Sevens
Shadow-he
Sheep sheep come home
Shoeing the wild horse
Shooting the moon
Shooting the stars
Shops
Shove ha'penny
Showing no ivory
Shows-up
Show three faces: go
Shrimps
Shuffing the money
Shuffles
Shunting engines
Shuttlecock shuttlecock etc.
Shying over the moon
Sift the grapes
Singles
Single say-go
Sisters
Sitting on the star Mary
Size of your boot
Skate them
Skating
Skinning a rabbit
Skipping
Skittles
Skittles knock 'em down
Slap-dap
Sleighs
Slow skip what you like
Sly fox
Smashing your grandma's windows
Snail
Snakes
Snap
Snowfalls
Snow-white
Soldiers
Soldier soldier etc.
Solomon silent reading
Some one's under the bed
Some or none
Soppy soldier
Spans (spanners)
Spick and span
Spin up the penny
Spur the donk
Squares
Stags
Standses
Stand up Jack
Statues
Stays
Stepping-stones
Steps
Steps across
Sticking-bricks
Stick in the mud (stickums)
Stickjaw
Stick-touch (stick-he)
Stiff-legged copper (stiff bloater)
Stitch away tailor
Stockings red etc.
Stolen necklace
Stone chase
Stone hop-scotch
Storky
Strike up knock down
String-he
Sugar and milk
Sugar canes
Sunday-Monday
Sweet sweet Caroline
Swimming in blue water
Swings; swing-swong
Swolo
Tag
Tailor
Tailor said
Take a little bird etc.
Taking the castle
Tap
Teachers
Teaser
Tellings
Telling your dream
Ten o'clock police
The big ship sails etc.
The black man said etc.
The farmer 's in his den etc.
The house is empty etc.
There come six Jews etc.
There stands a lady etc.
There was a jolly miller etc.
There was an old lady etc.
There was once a king etc.
The woods are dark etc.
Thief prince king etc.
This house to let etc.
Three and all on
Three and on
Three between
Three catches out
Three golden balls
Three holes
Three in three out
Three little children etc.
Through the moon
Throwings out
Throwing the bean-bags
Throwing the nicker
Throwing up girls
Throw over
Throw the farthest
Thumbs
Thumbs up
Tibby-cat
Ticket-punching
Ticklers
Tiddledewink
Time
Time guessing
Tin-can games
Ting ting the spider
Tin on the line
Tip
Tipperary
Tipping in the hole
Tippit
Tip-tap
Tip-top is a sweets store
To Beckles to Beckles
Tommy all round
Tom Tiddler
Top-football
Tops
Touch-cap
Touch-card
Touch games
Touching the king's sceptre
Touch it run
Touch tail
Tracing
Tracking the convicts
Treacle pudding
Tree-he
Trump
Tug of war
Tunnels
Tuppence you head it
Turning mother's wringer
Turn your back etc.
Twinkle twinkle little star
Twisters and claps
Two and three holes
Two foot fly
Two in the rope etc.
Two in two out
Two  little  people went out etc.
Two's and three's
Ugly statues
Under the garter
Under the hat
Under the row
Up in the north etc.
Upsetting mother's gravy
Upsetting the apple-cart
Upsetting the chimney
Up sides down middle
Up the alley
Up the'gutter-spout
Up the ladder etc.
Up the wall
Up to the ring
Up you go feathery toy
Victoria
Vote vote etc.
Walking round the village
Walking-sticks
Wall-bouncing
Wallie
Wallie wallie wall-flowers
Wall to wall
Wand balance race
War
Warnie I'm a-coming
Waterfalls
Water-he
Waterman
Weak horses
We are British soldiers
We are Romans
We are washing linen etc.
Week days
Wells
We lost our cat etc.
We three kings
Whack cap
What is it
What O she bumps
What's the time
Wheelbarrows
When I was a schoolgirl
Where's this little hat to go
Whirligig
Whirly-whirly
White mice
White shirt
Whitewash
Who knows
Who's afraid of black Peter
Who's in the well
Who's that walking etc.
Who will take the pig etc.
Widdy
Wiggly-woggly
Willie had a letter etc.
Willie Willie etc.
Will you give us bread etc.
Will you 'list
Will you surrender
Winkle-shells
Woggles
Wooden leg
Wriggly-worm
Writing letter to Punch
Yank him over
You have all you get
You naughty flea etc.
Zig-zag



THE END





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