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ground, and, as it must not be With proper rules there is no touched until the admeasurements such thing as chance in the game. have been taken, gives an advan- Unfortunately rules of any kind are tage to the overthrows, and places almost entirely unknown. The one the short quoits at a corresponding or two simple ones that are needed disadvantage. Failing this, a swan's have yet to be made. I never saw or raven's feather is perhaps the but one set in print. They were best stake; but they have a most very extraordinary-especially the awkward knack-from old associa- rule which imposed a fine of sixpence tion, I suppose-of jumping out of or threepence for the use, or rather the ground and trying to fly at every mis-use, of certain words; and as the third or fourth throw. The gutta- duty of judging of the enormity of percha can be cut to any length, the offence and the fine to be inflicted and thrust deep enough to prevent was to be referred to the members the possibility of this.

present at the time, the intervals Planting the right foot by the between throwing might possibly stake, keeping it to the outside, the have been enlivened by a spirited game begins. There is no running philological discussion. It must or walking up to the place from not be inferred from this that quoits which the throw is made. Such a is a game belonging to a not too proceeding would render a true respectable class of people. It has throw of very rare occurrence. The

been a favourite game, at one time quoit is held in the right hand, or another, with almost every class. balanced by the left, and raised, as At present it belongs almost exclua rifleman raises his rifle, until the sively to gentlemen and county edge just covers the tip of the stake. matches, and great public games There is a moment's pause and are very seldom heard of, though poise, during which the brain and there are districts in which it is eye are carrying their commands to much played for wagers.

The the muscles. Swing! The quoit quoit-ground is generally at the is swung backward, then forward bottom of the lawn, or attached to again rapidly, and there it goes on the subscription bowling-green. its course. Loosed when the arm Perhaps I may be allowed, in the was nearly horizontal, and made to absence of other authority, to indispin by a twist of the wrist and the cate what the rules should be. First drawing away of the fingers, its of all in importance is the law that flight is beautifully true. It does no quoit which does not stick in the not describe a perfect arc. For about ground should count, unless it is two-thirds the length of the ground prevented by striking another quoit. it makes a gradual ascent, and at This rule is not acknowledged geneits highest point the height very rally, I know. If it were, it would nearly agrees with the distance: deal with all sorts of unskilful that is, in a throw of eighteen yards throws; for it may be depended it is at twelve yards' distance about upon that there is something radithat height in the air, or rather less. cally wrong when, if the ground is Players differ on this point, some in proper condition, a quoit bounces maintaining that the highest point out and rolls away.

'Rollers,' and in the trajectory should be at mid- 'floppers,' and, in a lesser degree, distance. It is a mistake, as the 'wabblers' all do this, and they are commonest application of scientific all unskilful. A 'flopper' is very principles would show. In such a ugly. The disc being loosed at an throw the edge' is not sufficient to improper altitude, before the edge insure its being a sticker.' Its de points sufficiently upwards, it flies scent should be such that it will to a great height, and comes down enter the ground at right angles to quite flat. The force of the concusthe two stakes and at angle of about sion, when it reaches the ground, 45 degrees. The stake is planted throws it up again, and it may leap so as to meet this position and allow close to the stake. If the concave a perfectly true throw to leave the side is downwards it will not count, quoit a‘ringer,' which counts double. but if it is uppermost it will, and

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very often does so, to the prejudice my hand to the left-away it went, of quoits thrown much more cor- an eyesore, a wretched wabbler rectly and nearer. Ought it to count but it entered the ground at a corat all? Certainly not; for, from rect angle. That is not often the first to last, it was an offence against case : for once a 'wabbler, it is a all the rules of art. On 'lively' wabbler' as long as it remains in

d, as the cricketers say, I have the air, and usually strikes the seen a quoit so thrown jump five or ground with an inclination to one six yards. To insist upon counting side or the other. such a quoit is to me a sure evi- I have been theorising. It is such dence of an indifferent player. a dear old game-so time-honoured

The roller' is also defective, but in ancient song, but never in modern not so bad. The properly thrown prose, that I hope for pardon. quoit maintains its parallel the whole Meanwhile, what of the game ? distance: but if, in the act of loosing Our game has gone on pleasantly it, it is turned to the left or right- all the while: these remarks about that is, one side raised higher than rules might have been made incithe other-it will strike the ground dental, had not delicacy prevented in that position and will then bounce me from supposing that you, reader, out and roll spirally, very often end- who were my supposititious oppoing by settling down close to the nent, would be guilty of throwing stake. The rule in this case evi- 'floppers,' 'rollers,' or 'wabblers, dently ought to be to take the quoit which are grave offences in the eyes to the place where it struck the of all lovers of quoits. We have two ground, place it in the cut made, 'shots' each from each end. At and pressing the lip down, let it bo every throw there is a free backward measured therefrom-that is the only swing, followed by a forward one equitable law. The same law would that somehow draws the whole body meet all cases where the ground is into action, and necessitates a couple too hard for the disc to enter deep of long strides forward that leave enough to be held. In such a case the stake free for the next player, I always throw well over the stake, who, quoit in hand, stands ready. because it leaps out, and when the So the game goes on, with sharp leap is from the back of the stake, it walks from end to end. No player is a positive gain, while from the must leave an end until the last front it is an equally positive loss. quoit is thrown, and when we are

The 'wabbler' is often a better- getting nearly 'up,' and they are thrown quoit than the roller,' yet it too close for it to be possible to is far less graceful to watch. It gene- tell who is 'in,' we are pleasantly rally makes a sadly erratic course, but impatient to be off. There is liteoften comes to a good ending never- rally no waiting when only two theless. Having this article and play, and any more than two is too this very paragraph in view, I en- many. Everybody has a short turn deavoured, the last time I played and often. While one is throwing, quoits, to throwa'wabbler,' in order the other is making ready. Then to ascertain the cause. I found it we walk down, sometimes to find difficult, gave it up in despair, and two so nearly equidistant, that the went on with the game. The very eye fails to tell which is first. Then best players sometimes throw'wab- a string attached to the pin is unblers. They look shocking, like an furled, and the point soon settled. unsteady pigeon-a 'tumbler,' that This arrangement for measuring is wants to make a summersault in the so very simple, that it seems to comair, and finds its courage fail at mend itself to every quoit-player as every attempt. After giving up the the natural thing. Yet it is rarely endeavour, I threw a 'wabbler,' seen, because it is unknown, and the without meaning it. My quoit was players at every turn go casting just raised, and at the moment when about for straws or anything that I was about to loose it I saw that it will do for the admeasurement. was leaning to the right hand, and Perhaps both are equally near, then would probably be a roller. I jerked neither counts. It would be a good rule, in such cases, for the second and the desire to realize the vision quoits to be adjudged; but there are is strong. It is so dull in the enough reformations required in City; and the haunts of the quoit laws, without this, which is kingfisher, where the rivulet glitnot very material, being insisted ters in the sunshine, passing beupon.

tween beds of primroses, would be The game goes on rapidly. Now so sweet! What are the cathedrals, and then there is a ‘ringer,' or one palaces, and exchanges to the templayer has 'two in,'—that is, both ples of Nature, where men may taste his quoits nearest; ard by-and-bye the subtler inspiration which makes we look at our watches with that the concert in the wood and every peculiar glance which denotes a hedge-row vocal! But it can't be little anxiety, such as I have seen done, says stern Necessity; comlurking about expectant faces at merce and Lombard Street cannot railway stations, when a train that is spare you. The beauty of the mornbearing some one dear to the own- ing will not make a susceptible difers has been slightly overdue. We ference in the duties to be gone are about to remark that dinner is through at the War Office; Excise rather late, when the welcome bell and Custom House work must be goes, or little Willie'runs out with done, cheques cashed, and the money a pleasant summons; and then we found for them; entries made; go in with wonderful appetites, im- newspaper articles written; tape proved digestions, and a most com- measured: and, in short, the busiplete oblivion with regard to the ness of the world does not care a fig lunch we ate at midday in the City, for the spring. More's the pity, the Temple, or Strand : for all which thinks many a man who would not we thank our quoits and that bit of care to be thought quite so 'sentiland' at the back of our friend's mental' by his friends and fellows: suburban house.

for 'sentiment' is not the thing' in the City just now. For all that

he determines to go away home as CHAPTER II.

early as possible, and enjoy the sun

shine in his garden. Perhaps he BOWLS, SUMMER SKATES, AND CHIL

will turn to the work of primitive DREN'S GARDEN GAMES.

man-sow a bed of mignionette, and Spring is a great enemy to reading. plant dahlias. It is more likely that The soft, luxurious perfumes, the he will play some garden game: the west winds, and the sweet sunshine

spring will not let him be idle, and of beautiful May, make men desire

the sunshine will not allow him to to rush away from the little written

linger indoors. to the Great unwritten thought. It

What will he play at? There is is not difficult to understand how

such a variety for him to select Wordsworth's Susan saw

from: croquet and lawn-billiards, • Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury quoits and bowls, and ball games glide,

innumerable. Of all aids to sport And a river flow on through the vale of commend me to balls. For every Cheapside.'

age, every time, every place we An experience not unlike hers is English have a ball-game. We known to many London men coming have them in every material, from down by 'bus in the morning sun


the crimson that captivates the eye shine to the unromantic City. The of childhood, up to the ivory of bilsong of a caged lark or thrush re- liards and the ebony of the green calls flower gatherings, visions of bowls. meadows and woods where the gay Bowling on the green is a game daffodils and the frail wind-flowers for the sage: a philosopher might bloom in clusters: groves where, leave his study to play it. It is beneath the trees, are spread simple, but what judgment, what Sheets of hyacinth.

accuracy it requires! what a combiThat seem the heavens upbreaking through the

nation of rights, with never a wrong, has to take place! Imprimis, there


is the bias-you observe that the first became acquainted with its ball, or "bowl,' is weighted on one giddy pleasure, a 'swaque.' Noside-to be calculated, then the dis- thing to do but to sit down and go tance to the jack, the balls that lie backwards and forwards apparently. in the way, and the plan by which A little observation shows that there you can circumvent them. Oh, it is more than this—that exertion of is a charming game, bowling these a general character is required to black balls over the close green keep up the motion, and that it deturf! It demands mathematical ac- mands vigorous and brisk work, curacy to send the ball spinning especially for the arms and legs. round and round, nearer and nearer Summer skates are new adjuncts with every circle to the jack, till at to sport. On a lawn they are capilast it settles quietly down in its tal, and give a new charm to 'tick.' close vicinity; or say it comes in The supposition that they are useful contact with it while it still has in learning real skating is a nonsenmotion, and knocks it close up to sical one, and they do not need such your opponent's ball.

There is a a fictitious claim to make them poputrial for your temper, after all your lar. The invention is not a new one. calculation and care, only to have A Swiss, half a century or more ago, aided your adversary to win-that, made house skates, having 'quatre too, with a splendid ball! Most pro- petits roues, et ne pouvaient être voking! But it will happen. employé que dans les chemins bien

A well-kept garden, with a single unis.' But they have only lately pad to walk in, often costs a great become popular in England. The deal. I do not refer to the expendi- four little wheels revolve beautifully ture on gravel, tulips, or gardeners' on turf, and some ingenious turns labour: I mean, by the indirect ex- may be made in them, and some pense which it might have been the still more ingenious falls, at which, means of preventing had it been a as it is only on soft turf, and not playground instead of a garden, hard ice, we can afford to laugh; with a lawn to run upon, bowl and Miss Ada-when she is quite hoops, throw balls, use skipping- sure that only an inch or two of ropes, erect swings, and play at delicate ankle has been displayed* Tom Tidler's ground,' 'pewit,' and can arise and join in the merriment, the always diverting 'tick,' and 'five and skate away againholes,' and all those little nonde

* Aad wind about, and in and out, script games which make the sum

Like a sweet little brook flashing in the sunlight.' of happiness in child-life, and which are essentially garden games. They 'Les grâces' is another ladies' are of more importance in this garden game. It is rather insipid, crowded London than a few flowers, but since it has power to induce for they mean health and strength; them to leave tatting,' and the and I never see a prettily laid-out fashionable decalcomanie,' and little patch of garden, where the book-illuminating, I will hold my children's feet must never press the peace concerning it, and leave them edging of box, without some regret, to throw their silken hoops from though I am not insensible to the their lance wands and catch them beauty of flowers.

as they descend again. I cannot The games I have mentioned have see any peculiar grace in the pose no classical reputation. As games which the pastime requires-but they are so little and insignificant perhaps the fault is mine. that I feel I have done a bold thing Archery does not come within the in introducing them here. Their category of garden games, except value must be my excuse; and they the now nearly obsolete cross-bow are, moreover, very charming in their shooting. Were it otherwise - had way, as all games must be that ladies grounds in which they could make little cheeks glow, eyes practise when they chose, the art of sparkle, and faces radiant with Robin Hood would soon be wonderpleasure. What a simple thing is fully popular, and Mrs. Horniblow a swing, or, as it was called when I would have to look to her laurels :

for archery is the one solitary sport will, despite Sir Richard Mayne and at which ladies are allowed to com- his knights, skip, and trundle hoops; pete in public for prizes, and at boys will play tip-cat and leap-frog; which their skill comes into direct and at this time there is an enorcomparison with that of the gentle- mous rage for the recently well-nigh men-and they are determined to obsolete whipping-tops; and I have be content with no indifferent place only to look from my window into in the race; but there is always this the 'quiet street' in which I live to difficulty of the ground, which re- see a host being zealously lashed by quires to be long to be of service boys and girls belonging to widelyfar longer than lawns in gardens separated grades of London society; are.

for the stockingless, bonnetless girls Of other garden games—and there and ill-clad street boys know that it are many, it is needless to speak: is a 'quiet street,' and dispute the the want is rather in the gardens pavement inch by inch with the than in the games. This wonder- respectable children who, lacking a fully serious capital of ours is too garden for their games, come out to intent upon business to take much play them on the smooth flag-stones. heed of playgrounds. There are the Surely every genial-hearted rateparks—but who can get to them ? payer enjoys a secret chuckle when how can girls go there to skip and he sees any one of the crew make bowl their hoops? In the streets game of the bobby.' they are forbidden; yet children


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