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Title: How to Behave and How to Amuse: A Handy Manual of Etiquette and Parlor Games

Author: George H. Sandison

Release date: September 26, 2015 [eBook #50059]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chris Curnow, Emmy and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
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This cover was created by the transcriber and is placed into the public domain


pair of young gentlemen meeting three young ladies in room with palm trees



G. H. Sandison.
Louis Klopsch, Proprietor,



Etiquette has been tersely defined as “the art of doing the proper thing in the proper way.” An acquaintance with the rules of etiquette is of the greatest service to all who are brought into contact with Society, and in these days few, if any, are wholly outside of the world of social usage and convention.

In this little Manual, it is not intended to lay down, in the fullest sense, rules for the guidance of the reader in all stations of social life, but rather to furnish hints that may prove useful in dealing with those social events that are of most frequent occurrence. The etiquette of the parlor, the assembly chamber, the street, the social function, is something all should know, since to be ignorant concerning such matters is to class one’s self as uninformed on many things that go to make up the sum total of everyday life, and to know and practice which adds greatly to the pleasure of living. The well-bred man or woman is always welcomed, whereas the person who has no acquaintance with even the most ordinary social rules is quite differently regarded by the majority of people.

Nor is there any reason why an acquaintance with social usages should longer be confined, as in[12] the past, to certain classes. The farmer’s boy, the intelligent mechanic and the humblest clerk or artisan, in these days of widely-diffused knowledge, may familiarize themselves with the customs and observances of polite society to an extent that will go far toward placing them on a level with those who would otherwise be regarded as their superiors. Refined manners are the boundary line between the ignorant and the cultured, and it is within the power of all to aspire to belong to that class of men and women whose presence is always agreeable, and who combine, in rare degree, that charm of manners and morals which is always allied with true nobility of character.



How to Behave. Part I.
Anniversaries, Wedding 53
A Young Girl’s Social Life, 70
Address, Polite Terms of 68
Birthdays and Christenings, 57
Breakfast Parties, 37
Bowing and Salutation, 16
Behavior in Church, 66
Blushing, 82
Christenings and Birthdays, 57
Correspondence, Etiquette of 64
Church Weddings, 48
Cards (see Invitations), 46
Calls and Calling Cards, 18
Church, Behavior in 66
Conversation, Art of 89
Dinner Table, How to Set the 34
Dress, Men’s 23
Début, Young Lady’s 27
Dinner Parties, 30
Diners, Notes for 36
Dancing, 42
Dozing in Public, 78
Enjoy the Present Hour, 84
Faulty Social Training, 69
Feet, Causes of Deformed, 80
Gifts (see Wedding Gifts), 51
“High Teas,” 40
Home Weddings, 51
Hands, Beautifying the 79
Hands, Management of the 77
Hint, A Useful 92
Home Maxims, 87
Innocent and Sinful Pleasures, 73
Introductions, 15
Invitations, 46
Kettle-Drums, 39
Luncheons, 37, 39
Ladies’ Cards, 21
Make Home Attractive, 84
Men’s Dress, 23
Mock Modesty, 88
Monopolizing Talkers, 90
Mourning Etiquette, 59
Notes about Weddings, 54
Notes for Diners, 36
New Year’s Calls, 55
Private Weddings, 51
Posing for Effect, 78
Points on Being Well Dressed, 91
Servants, Treatment of 77
Sitting, Awkwardness in 81
Small Talk, when Timely 89
Stray Hints, 84
Style of Cards, 19
Sunny Temper, A 85
Superior Hostess, The 92
Suppers, 37
Tactful Hostesses, 70
Teas, 37
Teeth, Care of the 81
True Politeness, 87
Various Points on Deportment, 68
Value of Female Society to Man, 86
Weddings and Wedding Etiquette, 46
Wedding Breakfasts, 50
Wedding Gifts, 51
Wedding Anniversaries, 53
Wine Question, The 35
Winking in Public, 78
Young Lady’s Début, 27
Youth, Enjoy Your 91
How To Amuse. Part II.
All-around Story Game, 103
Anagrams, 270
Ant and Cricket, 132
Answers to Conundrums, 262
Art Exhibition, 213
A Trip to Paris, 291
Balancing a Pencil, 104
Beast, Bird or Fish? 123
Bouquet, 102
Bean Bags, 114
Boston, 119
Blind-Man’s Buff, 115
Children, Amusing the 141
Clumps, 131
Crambo, 96
Cross Questions, 98
Charades, 283
Counting Apple-seeds, 129
Consequences, 122
Conjuring Tricks with Coins, 220
Conundrums and Riddles, 249
Dancing Egg, 93
Divided Pear, 101
Doesn’t Like Peas, 293
Driving a Needle through a Cent, 107
French Rhymes, 99
Five Straw Puzzle, 99
Force of the Breath, 111
Funny Outlines, 296
Games of Arithmetic, 143
Going to Jerusalem, 114
Going Shopping, 126
Guessing Characters, 133
Guessing Eyes and Noses, 123
Globe, Rotation of the 138
Hanging Without a Cord, 139
Horse, 121
How, When and Where? 106
Hunting the Ring, 112
Hit or Miss, 126
I Love My Love, 107
Lighting the Candle, 130
Living Pictures, 155
Location, Game of 131
Logogriphs, 272
Magic Candle Extinguisher, 134
Magic Figures, 110
Mary’s Little Lamb, 295
Mirror, The Broken, 135
My Grandfather’s Trunk, 106
Magic Music, 113
Mesmerizing, 122
Miscellaneous Tricks, 233
Needles and Pins Made to Float, 124
Old Family Coach, 94
Optical Illusions, 173
Pictured Quotations, 97
Pin, a Wonderful, 137
Proverbs, 108
Problem in Gymnastics, 130
“Punch and Judy,” 201
Quotations, 95
Queer Candlestick, 116
Rebusses, 268
Rooster, 121
Rhymes, 98
Redeeming Forfeits, 131
Scorpion, 140
Shadows on the Wall, 125, 137
Spin the Plate, 129
Shadow Buff, 113
Spinning a Cent upon a Needle Point, 128
Sleight of Hand, 179
Three Matches, 126
Truth, 123
Throwing the Handkerchief, 115
The Tailless Donkey, 119
Tongue Twisters, 103
Tossing the Rings, 109
Water, Through the 139
What D’ye Buy, 289
“What, Sir! Me, Sir?” 121
Where is Your Letter Going? 100
What is Your Age? 120
Weighing a Letter with a Broomstick, 117
Wax-Works Gallery, 162
Word-making, 293
Young Folks’ Concert, 295
Zoetrope, a Parlor 135




Ladies who are on a social equality are introduced to each other, and so also are gentlemen. The latter, however, are always presented to ladies.

When the difference between the parties is a debatable one, it is the formal custom among many to say, “Mrs. A., this is Mrs. H.; Mrs. H., Mrs. A.”

Where a gentleman is presented to a lady by another gentleman, permission must first be secured from the lady, and afterward the presentation is made complimentary by this formula: “Mr. Mortimer desires to be presented to Mrs. or Miss Fairfax.” Or if the individual making the presentation desires the unknown parties to become acquainted for his or her own personal reasons, this form can be used: “This is Mr. Mortimer, Mrs. Fairfax. It gives me pleasure to present him to you.” The married lady, if she be glad to know Mr. Mortimer, says so frankly and thanks the presenting party, after which the latter retires. The young lady expresses a polite recognition of the gentleman presented, by bowing, smiling, and mentioning the name of the new acquaintance as a response. The expressed gratification must come from the gentleman, who will say some complimentary thing to her in regard to the ceremony.

Hand shaking is not so common as it was formerly.

In introductions generally the younger is introduced to the elder, except when a publicly admitted superiority exists. The unknown is always presented to the famous. The single lady is introduced[16] to the married one, and the single gentleman to the married, other things being equal.

A person must conduct himself or herself, while remaining in a house on invitation, as if there were no more exalted society than that present.

To converse above the comprehension of others is an unpardonable egotism, and to try to give the impression that superior surroundings are the only ones with which you are familiar is evidence to the contrary.

Bowing and Salutations.

Bowing means recognition and nothing else, and it is the lady’s prerogative to offer this, and the gentleman’s to accept it. Between intimate friends it is immaterial which bows first, the gentleman or lady. The lady may be distant or cordial in her salutation, and the gentleman must be responsive to her manner, and claim no more attention than she offers.

If a gentleman lifts his hat and stops after a lady has recognized him, he may ask her permission to turn and accompany her for a little, or even a long distance. Under no circumstances should he stand still in the street to converse with her, or be offended if she excuse herself and pass on.

At entertainments a gentleman who is a formal acquaintance waits for the lady-guest to recognize his presence.

On entering a parlor to pay a visit, a gentleman should always carry his hat, leaving overshoes, overcoat, and umbrella in the hall if it be winter time. The lady rises to receive him, unless she is an invalid, or aged, in which case she receives him seated. If she extends her hand to him, he takes it, but does not remove his glove. He never offers his hand first. If it be a brief call, and others are present, he seldom seats himself, and takes[17] leave very soon after another gentleman enters, the lady not extending her hand a second time. Hand-shaking is falling into disuse in ordinary visits.

A lady should never accompany a gentleman to the door of the drawing-room, much less to the vestibule, unless she entertains a special regard for him. She introduces him to no one, unless there be some reason why this formality should take place; and he talks with her other guests just as if he had met them before. No after recognition is warranted between gentlemen, or between ladies. If the parties desire to be presented to each other, the hostess should not refuse this formality if asked to perform it.

There may be cases when a gentleman may lift his hat to a lady, even though he cannot bow to her.

It not infrequently happens when gentlemen are driving, that they cannot touch their hats because too closely occupied; but a cordial bow satisfies under such circumstances. When riding in the saddle he may lift his hat, or touch its rim with his whip. Etiquette permits either style of greeting.

In passing a group of mourners at a door-way, where their dead is being carried forth, or a funeral procession in a quiet street, a gentleman should uncover his head.

A gentleman should always lift his hat when tendering a service, however slight, to a strange lady. It may be the restoration of handkerchief or fan, the receiving of her change, opening her umbrella or any other courteous act. To say “Thank you!” is not now considered necessary; it has ceased to be etiquette.

A gentleman will open a door for a strange lady, hold it open with one hand and lift his hat with the other, while she passes through. He always quickly offers her the precedence.[18]

A gentleman who is walking in the street with a lady, touches his hat, and bows to anyone she salutes in passing. This is done in compliment to her acquaintance, who is most likely a stranger to him. If accompanying her across a drawing-room, and she bows to a friend, he inclines his head also but does not speak. He always raises his hat when he begs a lady’s pardon for an inadvertence, whether he is known to her or not.

Calls and Calling Cards.

It is a rule among the best people to call upon the stranger who is in town. If the visitor brings letters of introduction, an entree to society is easy through the usually observed forms. If strangers who have come to reside near us, or even to visit our locality, bear credentials of respectability, courteous and hospitable residents will call upon them, after sufficient time has elapsed for the recently arrived to have adjusted themselves to their new positions. No introduction is necessary in such a case. The resident ladies call between two and five o’clock, send in their own with their husbands’ or their fathers’ or brothers’ cards, and if they find the strangers disengaged, a brief and cordial interview ends the first visit. This must be returned within a week, or a note of apology and explanation for the omission is sent, and the return-visit is then paid later on. If a card be sent in return for this visit, or is left in person without an effort to see the parties who have made the first visit, it is understood that the strangers prefer solitude, or that there are reasons why they cannot receive visitors.

A gentleman should not make a first call upon the ladies of the family of a new-comer without an introduction or an invitation.

When should a lady call first on a new desirable acquaintance? She should have met the new[19] acquaintance, should have been properly introduced, and should feel sure that her own acquaintance is desired. The oldest resident, the one most prominent in society, should call first. Good expedient for a first call is the sending out of cards, for several days in the month, by a lady who wishes to begin her social life in a new place. These may be accompanied by the card of some well-known friend, or they may go out alone. If they bring visits or cards in response, the beginner has started on her career with no loss of self-respect. First calls should be returned within a week.

After a dinner-party a guest must call in person and inquire if the hostess is at home. For other entertainments the lady can call by proxy, or simply send her card. In sending to inquire for a person’s health, cards may be sent with a courteous message. No first visit should, however, be returned by card only.

Bachelors should leave cards on the master and mistress of the house, and the young ladies. To turn down the corners of the card has become almost obsolete, except, perhaps, where a lady wishes it understood that she called in person. The plainer the card the better. A small, thin card for a gentleman, not glazed, with his name in small script and his address well engraved in the corner, is in good taste. A lady’s card should be larger, but not glazed or ornamented.

Style of Cards.

Ladies’ cards should be nearly square (about 2½ x 3 inches), of smooth-finished card-board, medium weight, pearl-white in color, and the engraving plain script.

A gentleman’s card is smaller and narrower, (about 1½ × 2¾ inches), of heavier card-board, and the engraving larger and somewhat heavier.[20]

If the surname is short, the full name may be engraved. If the names are long, and the space does not admit of their full extension, the initials of given names may be used. The former style is preferred, when practicable. In the absence of any special title properly accompanying the name—as “Rev.,” “Dr.,” “Col.,” etc.,—“Mr.” is always prefixed. Good form requires this on an engraved card. If in any emergency a man writes his own name on a card he does not prefix “Mr.”

Omit from visiting-cards all titles that signify transient offices, or occupations not related to social life; using such titles only as indicate a rank or profession that is for life; and which has become a part of the man’s identity, or which is distinctly allied to his social conditions. Thus: the rank of an officer in the army or the navy should be indicated by title on his card. His personal card is engraved thus: “General Green”—the title in full when only the surname is used; or, “Gen. Winfield Green,” “Gen. W. S. Smith”—the title abbreviated when the given names, or their initials, are used. Officers on the retired list, and veteran officers of the late war who rose from the volunteer ranks, retain their titles by courtesy. The official cards of political officers and ambassadors, with the title and office of the man—with or without his name—should be used only on official or State occasions, and during the term of office.

Professional or business cards that bear ever so slight an advertisement of occupations are not allowable. The three “learned” professions, theology, medicine, and law, are equally “for life,” and should appear on the card. On the other hand, the callings of the clergyman and the physician respectively, are closely allied to the social side of life, closely identified with the man himself. Therefore “Rev.,” or “Dr.” may with propriety be considered as forming an inseparable compound[21] with the name. The title is an important identifying mark, and its omission, by the clergyman, at least, is not strictly dignified.

It is not good form to use merely honorary titles on visiting-cards. In most cases, a man should lay aside all pretension to special office or rank, and appear in society simply as “Mr. John Brown.” An engraved address implies some permanency of location. Those who are liable to frequent changes of address would better omit this addition to the visiting-card, writing the address in any emergency that requires it. No messages should be written on a man’s card, and no penciling is allowed, except as above, to give (or correct) the address, or in the case of “P. P. C.” cards, sent by post.

Cards for Ladies.

A woman’s name should never appear on a visiting-card without either “Mrs.” or “Miss” prefixed. The exception would be in the case of women who have regularly graduated in theology or medicine. Such are entitled, like their brothers, to prefix “Rev.” or “Dr.” to their names.

A married woman’s card is engraved with her husband’s name, with the prefix “Mrs.” No matter how “titled” the husband may be, his titles do not appear on his wife’s visiting-card. The wife of the President is not “Mrs. President Washington,” but “Mrs. George Washington.”

A widow may, if she prefers, retain the card engraved during her husband’s lifetime, unless by so doing she confuses her identity with that of some other lady whose husband is still living. It is more strictly correct for a widow to resume her own given name, and to have her card so engraved. An unmarried woman’s card is engraved with her full name, or the initials of given names, as she prefers, but always with the prefix “Miss.” The[22] address may be engraved or written in the lower right corner.

If a society woman has a particular day for receiving calls, that fact is announced in the lower left corner. If this is engraved, it is understood to be a fixed custom; if written, it may be a transient arrangement. If a weekly “at home” day is observed, the name of the day is engraved, as “Tuesdays.” This means that during “calling hours” on any Tuesday the hostess will be found at home. A holiday, a birthday, a wedding anniversary, or other event in a friend’s life may be remembered by sending a card, upon which is penciled “Greeting,” “Congratulations,” “Best wishes,” or some similar expression. Such cards may be sent alone, or may accompany gifts.

Any brief message may be penciled on a woman’s card, provided the message is sufficiently personal to partake of the nature of a social courtesy. But the card message should not be sent when courtesy requires a note.

In strictly formal circles a young woman, during her first year in society, pays no visits alone. She accompanies her mother or chaperon. She has no separate card, but her name is engraved, or may be written, beneath that of her mother (or chaperon) on a card employed for these joint visits. After a year or so of social experience the young woman has her separate card, subject to the general rules for ladies’ cards.

During the first year after marriage cards engraved thus: “Mr. and Mrs. James Wills Gray,” may be used by the couple in paying calls, or returning wedding civilities. Such cards are also used when jointly sending presents at any time. For general visiting, after the first year, husband and wife have separate cards.

Cards are to be left in person in the following cases: After a first hospitality, whether accepted[23] or not; calls of condolence, and after-dinner calls by cards. In such cases, when personal card-leaving is impossible, the card is sent by a private messenger, and an explanation, or apology, sent by note. Cards of condolence may be sent by mail by friends at a distance; but not by persons residing in the near vicinity. In cases where personal card-leaving is not imperative, cards may be sent either by messenger or by mail.

Social observance allows a man to delegate the distribution of his visiting-cards to a near female relative, whenever it becomes impracticable for him to attend to the matter personally. Only the women of his own household, or a relative with whom he habitually pays visits, can thus represent him by proxy.

Men’s Dress.

Good clothes are not alone sufficient to gain one admittance to the better circles of society, but without them admittance is impossible. When we go out into the world, it is not sufficient to do as others do, we must also dress as others dress. The man is best dressed whose dress attracts least attention. One’s dress must be seasonable, appropriate, conform to the prevailing fashion, without going in the least beyond it, and appear to be comfortable.

To dress well requires sense, taste and refinement. Dress is a safe index of character, and few dress really well that would not be considered persons of culture. The golden rule is to avoid extremes. The man of sense and taste never wears anything that is “loud,” flashy, or eccentric; he yields always to fashion, but is never a slave to it.

One good suit of clothes does more service than two cheap suits. The low-priced suit never looks well, while the high-priced suit looks well to the[24] last, if kept clean and occasionally pressed into shape.

Linen is a test of good taste. Shirts should fit well and be of good quality. Let your collars always be strictly within the fashion; cuffs should be no larger than is necessary to admit of slipping the hand through them when buttoned. Colored shirts may be worn traveling, in the country, but most men of taste prefer white. The pattern of colored shirts should be small and the color quiet. If the coat, trousers and vest of business and morning suits are not made of the same cloth, the coat and vest should be of the same goods, and darker than the trousers. Men who cannot spend much money with tailors should always select dark stuffs. A dark morning suit may be worn on many occasions where the wearing of a light suit would be in bad taste.

Single-breasted overcoats, made with a “fly,” are most worn, and most desirable. A man of taste always selects for his overcoats dark, quiet colors. His boots and shoes are made long, broad in the sole and in the shank, and with a big and only moderately high heel. Pinched toes are an abomination. The shoe that does not look comfortable never looks well. There are many women who wear shoes that distort the feet and are most uncomfortable; such shoes, however, are rarely, if ever, seen on the feet of well-bred ladies.

A man’s hat should be fashionable, and his jewelry should be good and simple. False jewelry is vulgar. A watch, to be thoroughly in good taste, should never be very large, nor very thick, nor elaborately chased, nor should it have a hunting-case unless his business or pleasure renders him liable to break a crystal, when he is out of the easy reach of a jeweler to replace it. The watch chain should always be small and the pattern plain. Indeed, the young man who wears a big elaborate[25] chain and attaches it in one of the lower button-holes of his vest has made an egregious blunder. Watch chains that go around the neck are no longer worn. The vest chain should be attached nearly as high up as it will reach, in a button-hole. If a locket or seal is worn, it should be very plain. A man’s ring should be on the third finger of the left hand. All kinds of rings are worn by men except cluster rings; they are worn by women only. Scarf-rings and collar-buttons with settings are in doubtful taste. Diamond studs are now very little worn by men of the better sort, and they never wear them except with full evening dress. Three studs in a dress shirt are to be preferred to one. Imitation diamonds are the extreme of vulgarity.

Nowadays, with few exceptions, men wear the hair very short, and the exceptions are not found among men of taste. The most artistic and becoming cut is that that trims the hair very short on the sides and back of the head, and leaves it comparatively long on the top, for the reason that a high head is always more pleasing than a low, broad one. The “parting” should be high up—in the middle, if one chooses to put it there. Pomatums and other inventions of the barbers are no longer used. Most men look best with a full beard, if it is kept properly trimmed and is well cared for. A man with a beard that reaches down over his chest, or a moustache so long as to be in his way, is a disgusting object to look on. If a man shaves a part of the face only, he should shave that part that is most prominent. A man with a prominent chin and thin cheeks should shave his chin and let his beard grow on the sides of his face; on the other hand, a man with a retreating or a light chin and full cheeks should shave his cheeks and let his beard grow on his chin. In short, the beard should be so trimmed, if worn full, or so cut, if only a part is worn, as to give regularity to the outline of[26] the face. Every man, no matter who he is, should learn to shave himself quickly and well. Shaving should be as much a part of the regular morning toilet as the brushing of the hair. Much depends on having a good strap and knowing how to use it.

The finger nails should be kept moderately long, and be so cut that they are a little more pointed than the upper ends of the nails are. They should not be scraped, and in cutting, care should be taken not to encroach too much on the angles.

Canes should be strong, plain, stiff, light and small. Very big canes are in very bad taste, especially for young men.

A full-dress suit consists of a swallow-tailed coat, a low, white or black single-breasted vest, black trousers, a white necktie, a stand-up collar, a high black hat, and a pair of light kid gloves. This dress should never be worn until evening, and never before the dinner hour. A white necktie should not be worn except with a full-dress suit, save by clergymen and a few elderly men who never wear any other color. Black trousers should not be worn except with a dress coat, save at funerals. A high hat should not be worn with a sack coat. A low hat should not be worn with a long coat—a double-breasted frock, for example. Dark suits are preferable for Sundays, especially in town, and light suits should never be worn to church anywhere. Double-breasted frock coats should always be black.

At small informal gatherings most men regard themselves as sufficiently dressed when they wear black frock coats and dark trousers. At public entertainments where ladies wear bonnets, the man who wears a black frock coat, dark trousers, and light kid gloves is better dressed—because more appropriately—than he that wears a full-dress suit.

No man who has any regard for the proprieties will ever appear at table, even at home, whether[27] there are strangers present or not, or will show himself to any one with whom he is not on a familiar footing, in his shirt-sleeves.

A Young Lady’s Début.

Social custom, both here and in Europe, has fixed the time for a girl’s formal introduction to society as between the ages of seventeen and twenty. Abroad, the daughter’s début means much more than with ourselves, and the launching of a clever and prepossessing young girl into the fitful sea of social life is quite an important function.

The mother invites only suitable people to her house, where she may present her daughter to them as a member of their circle. This act conveys the information to the polite world that the young lady has been graduated in all the accomplishments and knowledge necessary as the equipment of a woman of society.

Just previous to her formal presentation or début, her mother and her elder unmarried sisters—if any—pay visits, or at least leave their own with their fathers’ and brothers’ cards, upon all acquaintances whom they intend to invite to be present at the début. Engraved invitations follow this formality, and they are issued about ten days previous to the event. If they are sent by mail, an extra outer envelope incloses all the invitations that are directed to one family. If delivered by messenger, the outer wrap is no longer used. The mail has become as suitable a method as any for conveying social messages. One envelope is directed to Mr. and Mrs. A. If there are more daughters than one, the address is, “Misses A.,” or, if preferred, “The Misses A.” Each son receives a separate invitation; it is the custom. Replies are sent in the names of the parties addressed on the envelopes. The invitation is engraved in script, or, if crest or cipher[28] be used, it may be placed on the envelope, and is in form similar to that used for parties. Cards have been used on which the special purpose of the party is stated, with the name of the young lady who is to make her début engraved upon them; but this is seldom done, and is not considered in the best possible taste. The following is the formula if such a card is used:

request the pleasure of presenting their
[or second, etc.,] daughter,
Miss Ada Anna,
on Wednesday evening, April 11, at half-past
eight o’clock
No. 2002 Fifth Avenue.

A preferable method is simply to inclose the card of the young lady in the envelope containing the invitation.

The reply is written and forwarded directly, and corresponds in style to the invitation, in the following manner:

accept with pleasure
Mr. and Mrs. B. N. Jones’
kind invitation for Wednesday evening,
April 11th
No. 969 Irving Place.          March 12th.

The young ladies use the same form, and commence their note with “The Misses Jones,” or in whatever style the invitation is sent to them. Young gentlemen follow the same custom. Intimate friends may send flowers on the day of the young girl’s first appearance, if they please; but it is not an inflexible custom.

The young lady stands at the left of the mother during the reception of guests, and is presented to her elders and to ladies. Of course, welcomes and brief congratulatory compliments are offered to her by each guest, and then place is made for the presentation of others who are arriving. When supper is announced, the brother or father escorts the young lady to the table, and the mother follows, accompanied by some honored gentleman guest. If the brother takes the young lady in, the father leads the way with the eldest or most distinguished lady of the party.

Visits of ceremony paid to the hostess following this entertainment should include this young lady, but during her first season in society she has no card of her own, and does not pay formal visits alone. If she be the eldest unwed daughter, her name is engraved as Miss Jones, beneath that of her mother. If she have elder sisters at home, her name is engraved as Miss Ada Anna Jones. During this first season she does not receive visits from gentlemen without a chaperon under any circumstances. If her mother be unable to receive with her, she politely declines a visit. After the first season, her own separate card may be left, either alone or with those of other members of her family. This formality past, she may be considered launched into the world of social intercourse.

Young gentlemen on the other hand, enter society without formality, and without much difficulty. A youth usually begins by endeavoring to assist his mother at her entertainments, and by[30] being an escort to his sisters on informal evening visits among lady acquaintances where his agreeable traits win him a future invitation.

Dinner Parties.

Next to a wedding, there is probably no social duty that taxes to a larger extent the cleverness and originality of the mistress of a modern household than a fashionable dinner. As a preliminary step to such an event, she is careful to catalogue all the names of those to whom she desires to extend the hospitalities of her house. From all these she selects and groups those who will affect each other pleasantly. The differences in social conditions often go far toward deciding upon the groups, and the combinations of guests may be based upon mental accomplishments, or family connection. In either case the etiquette is the same.

To give a dinner in honor of some person, or “to meet” a particular party, as the invitation should explain (provided the guest be not well-known and famous), has an especial advantage in that it settles who shall, and who need not, be present. This is a simple method of disposing of our first difficulty when issuing invitations. In such a case the card of invitation should be in the usual form with the addition of an extra card as follows:



Of New Mexico.

thus intimating that the dinner is to be given in his honor. The regular invitation should always be given in the name of the host or hostess, thus:[31]

Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Fitch
request the pleasure of
company at dinner,
on ..................................
at seven o’clock.

No. 94 Florida Avenue.

The custom of engraving the initials, R. S. V. P. (Answer, if you please), on the lower left-hand corner is less followed than formerly. Another and also quite proper form, when the dinner is given in honor of some distinguished person, is to issue an invitation in this style:

request the pleasure of
company at dinner, on Tuesday,
January 12th, at seven o’clock, to meet the
No. 94 Florida Avenue.

The form used in writing an immediate reply is as follows:

accept with pleasure
invitation to dinner, at seven o’clock, Tuesday
evening, January 12.


If unable to come, the refusal should be worded in a manner expressive of disappointment. The following is the popular style:

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Henderson
regret that a previous engagement
[or illness, or an unfortunate event]
prevents the acceptance of
invitation for Tuesday evening, January 12.

The answer, whether affirmative or negative, should be addressed to the mistress of the house, and dispatched, if possible, within twenty-four hours of the receipt of the invitation. Having accepted an invitation, be punctual. “To be too late is a crime, and to be too early a blunder.” You should not fail to arrive within a very few minutes after the time named, say within five, or ten at most. Well-bred people, and people that dine out frequently, make a point of arriving in good time. It is not well, however, to arrive before the hour named. On entering the drawing-room, go and pay your respects to the hostess, then to the other members of the family, and finally to any acquaintances present. Do not offer your hand either to hostess, host, or to any member of the family; any offer to shake hands should come from them. On leaving, offer your hand, if you choose, to those of your entertainers that offered their hands to you when you arrived. But it is well to confine your leave-taking to the hostess and host. Do not go the rounds and take leave of the whole company individually; such a course is vulgar. If you[33] have a lady with you, do not enter the drawing-room arm in arm nor side by side. The lady, or ladies will enter slightly in advance.

Gentlemen do not wear gloves at dinner-parties.

Dinner being announced, the hostess gives the signal to leave the drawing-room. The host or the hostess choose partners for their guests. Offer either arm to the lady. In entering at doors a gentleman takes the lead, until reaching the dining-room, when he may let the lady pass first. If there are steps, you may allow the lady to pass first, or you may go a step or two in advance. If you go down side by side, give her the side next the wall.

In the dining-room, assist the lady to be seated, and wait till the other ladies are in place before taking your seat. The host remains standing until all are seated. He also selects the places for his guests.

Sit erect and close to the table. Unfold your napkin and spread it over your lap, or over one knee, as you prefer. Before being served and during the intervals between the courses, do not toy with the knives, forks, or spoons, or with anything on the table. As soon as helped, begin to eat, but not hastily. Do not wait till your neighbors are served.

Dinners usually begin with a soup. This, you should sip from the side of the spoon, without noise. Not only soup, but everything else eaten with a spoon should be sipped from its side when practicable. The plate should never be tilted to get the last teaspoonful. If the soup is too hot, do not blow it, but wait till it cools. In eating it sit upright, and do not rest your forearms on the table.

Fish is eaten with a bit of bread in the left hand and a fork in the right. Neither soup nor fish is ever offered twice at a formal dinner.

As the fork is now used almost exclusively to convey all kinds of food that have any consistency to the mouth, it is very desirable that one should know how to use it properly. It should not be used[34] in the left hand with the tines pointing upward. Food conveyed to the mouth with the fork in the left hand should be taken up either on the point of the tines, or on their convex side. In the right hand, the fork may be used with the tines pointing upward or downward, at will. It need hardly be said that eating with the knife is a social offence not to be overlooked.

Eat peas with a dessert spoon, and curry also. Asparagus may be handled with the fingers of the left hand; also Saratoga potatoes and olives. Green corn should be cut from the cob and then eaten with a fork. Cheese is eaten with a fork, or is placed, with a knife, on bits of bread and carried to the mouth with the thumb and finger. Pies and pâtés, as a rule, are eaten with a fork only. Sometimes it may be necessary to use a knife to divide the crust.

How to Set the Dinner Table.

There is no pleasanter sight than an artistically set dinner table just before the guests are seated and the repast is served. To set it is, indeed, an art of itself. It should first be covered with a mat of double-faced cotton flannel wide enough to fall several inches below the edge, all around. This greatly improves the appearance of the table-cloth, which can be laid much more smoothly over this soft foundation. Small table mats for the purpose of protecting the cloth are not fashionable at present. The table-cloth should fall about half way to the floor all around. For a square or extra wide table a large floral centre-piece, either round or oblong, is usually chosen, with endless varieties in its component arrangement. It may be low and flat, like a floral mat, in the middle of the table, or may be lofty. Small fringed napkins of different colors are used with a dessert of fruits. Napkin[35] rings are discarded by many hosts. Fancy doylies of fine linen embroidered with silk are sometimes brought in with the finger-bowls; but these are not for utility, the dinner napkin doing service, while the embroidered doyly adds a dainty bit of effect to the table decoration. Good quality of chinaware and artistic glassware are also essential. Any ostentation in the use of plated ware is vulgar. But one may take a pride and satisfaction in the possession of solid silver. Every ambitious house-keeper will devise ways of securing, little by little, if not all at once, a neat collection of solid spoons and forks.

After the floral decorations and possibly a centre-piece of pond lilies or other flowers have been put in place, with fruits and bonbons to balance the flowers, and here and there at convenient points cut glass decanters of fresh sparkling water, the next step is the laying of the covers. The courses in their order are soup, fish, entrees (served on hot plates), roast (which is carved at the side table), and game (if in season). The heavy courses end, the table is swept for crumbs and dessert is brought in. Finger-bowls and doylies are brought in on the dessert-plates. Each person at once removes the bowl and doyly to make ready for whatever is to be put on the plate. Strong coffee is served last of all, in small cups, fashion directing that café noir or black French coffee be used.

The Wine Question.

The wine question is one that disturbs many a dinner-giving family. Shall wine be served or not, is a growing problem. Society has at last reached the point where it is not considered a breach of good form to serve a dinner without wine. Such a course is sanctioned by the example of many high social leaders; and when it is the result of a[36] temperance principle it has the respect of every diner-out. No lady or gentleman will find fault with the absence of wine at his host’s table. It is good form for a host to serve or not serve wine, just as he chooses. Apollinaris can be made to take the place of stronger waters, and no embarrassment follow. The hostess who simply does not offer wine to any guest under any circumstances, is using her influence effectively and courageously in the cause of temperance and in support of Christian principles.

Notes for Diners.

At a dinner served in courses, it is better, as a rule, not to take a second supply of anything. It might delay the dinner.

Bread should be broken, not cut in small pieces. To butter a large piece of bread and then bite it, as children do, is something the well-bred never do.

In eating game or poultry do not touch the bones with your fingers.

Never gesticulate with your knife or fork in your hand, nor hold them pointing upward, keep them down on your plate.

A gentleman wears a dress suit at dinner. A lady wears a handsome gown, “dinner dress” being “full dress;” differing, however, from the evening party or reception gown in the kind of fabrics used.

Gloves are removed by both ladies and gentlemen, after being seated at the table, and they need not be replaced again during the evening.

Never load up your fork with food until you are ready to convey it to your mouth.

Never send your knife and fork, or either of them, on your plate when you send for a second supply. Do not hold them meanwhile in your hand, but lay them down, with something under them—a piece of bread, for example—to protect the table-cloth.[37]

Don’t use a steel knife to cut fruit if there is a silver one.

Don’t hold your elbows out; keep them close to your sides.

When you eat fruit that has a pit or a skin that is not to be swallowed, the pit and skin must be removed from the mouth with the fingers of the left hand, or with a spoon or fork in the right.

Tea, coffee, chocolate, etc., are drunk from the cup and never from the saucer. Never blow your tea or coffee; wait till it cools.

Don’t tip your chair, nor lounge back in it, nor hitch up your sleeves, nor call “Waiter!” nor try to talk with a full mouth, nor masticate so loudly that others can hear you, nor lay bones or bits of fruit on the table-cloth, nor pick your teeth at table. If you must do the last-mentioned, do it unobserved, if possible. Should you unfortunately overturn or break anything, make no apology, but let your regret appear in your face. Never fold your napkin where you are invited for one meal only, but lay it loosely on the table. When the ladies withdraw from the table, the gentlemen rise. Remain in the drawing-room at least half an hour after dinner before bidding host and hostess good-by.

Breakfasts, Luncheons, Teas and Suppers.

These, and all similar entertainments of the “At Home” order, are much less formal than the dinner event. The breakfast invitation should read in the customary form, and at the right hand lower corner the words:

“Breakfast at ten o’clock,
March 15.”

This breakfast should not be elaborate, but dainty in its food and appointments. The best of everything, prepared in the choicest of styles, but[38] nothing heavy, nor excessive in quantity, should be prepared. Walking costumes are worn by both gentlemen and ladies, also visiting-gloves, which are removed at table. The descent from the dressing-room and greetings between the hostess and guest are just the same as at a dinner-party.

Suppers are usually gentlemen parties; and from nine to ten o’clock is the usual time for them to be served. There are game suppers, fish suppers, and several other kinds of suppers, each one of which differs in the appropriate supplies for the table. But the formalities of the occasion, or, rather, the informalities, are all of the same kind. The invitations may be made at interviews, by friendly notes, or by the host’s visiting-card, with this, written upon it:

Thursday, September 16.

If it is a fish supper, only little food except that which once lived in the water is provided; salads and fruits, without a sweet dessert, complete it, with the addition of coffee.

It was surely a gracious social benefactor who introduced the afternoon reception which, between the hours of four and six, summons a host of friends to cross one’s threshold and meet informally, over a social cup of tea, each group giving place to others, none crowding, all at ease, every one accorded a gracious welcome from the hostess, who thus has tacitly placed each guest on her evening list for the season. The afternoon reception is much the same, whether it be a tea merely, or a musicale, or a literary occasion. Conversation and the chat of society, the greeting of friends, the tea and its pleasant accessories, fill a half-hour or so very pleasantly. When a musicale is given, it is usually in honor of some favorite amateur, a pianist, singer or reader. Under[39] such conditions the invitation cards should be a little more explicit, and may state “Music at 4,” or whatever the feature of the reception or sociable may be. Tea is served in the same room, when the guests are few, and in another room if the reception be crowded. Usually a single table is set, with coffee or chocolate at one end, and tea at the other, served by young ladies. To be invited to preside at the coffee-urn, or tea-kettle, is accounted a high compliment. The refreshments may be very thin slices of bread and butter, or wafers, or similar trifles; but if the occasion approaches the nature of a formal reception a more elaborate preparation is made, and bouillon, oysters, salads, ice-cream and cakes, delicate rolls and bonbons may be offered.


These are not as popular here as abroad, and the informal lunch is not yet fully appreciated in this country. In rural districts it is called early dinner, or ladies’ dinner; in the city, when the gentlemen are all down town, it becomes the elaborate ladies’ lunch. The invitations to luncheon are similar to those of a tea or reception, but the affair itself is even less formal. All the dishes should be light. Broiled fish, broiled chicken, broiled ham, broiled steaks and chops, are always satisfactory. The house-keeper living near the sea has an ample store to choose from. The fresh fish, the roast clams, etc., take the place of the deviled kidneys and broiled bones of the winter; but every housewife should study the markets of her neighborhood.

The Kettle-Drum.

This is simply a reception under another name, which is given to signify that the entertainment is not so pretentious as a formal reception. The name[40] “kettle-drum” signifies to a metropolitan resident, a light entertainment, with demi-toilette for both ladies and gentlemen. Sometimes a tiny drum is beaten at intervals in the vicinity of the tea-table, where a lady of the household or a friend presides. Sometimes a young lady, costumed prettily as a vivandiere sits or stands by the tea-urn as its presiding genius; but these picturesque additions to an ordinary afternoon reception are not to be considered in the light of customs, but simply as pretty caprices, calculated to give vivacity to the entertainment, which any lady may adopt. Not a few leaders in society choose the “kettle-drum” because they dislike general gatherings, or are too absorbed to assist in entertaining evening guests. It is simply an “at home” in the daytime, or a social matinée.

High Teas.

The “High Tea,” as its name indicates, is a more formal and pretentious entertainment than the ordinary afternoon tea. Special cards are engraved, and if any special entertainment is provided, the fact may be indicated by the words, “Music,” or “Miscellaneous Program” (when readings and music are interspersed). Or, the announcement may be omitted, and the program furnish a pleasant surprise for the guests.

The card for a “musicale” or similar occasion, is simply engraved:

Mrs. John Jerolomon
at home

Friday, October 11, from
four to seven o’clock.

1269 Seventeenth Street.

For a party or reception given in honor of another, the invitations should be engraved with a blank space left for the name of the invited guest; or, the form may be filled out, and the name of the guest appear on the envelope only. It may read:

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Wylie
request the pleasure of
company on Tuesday evening, June sixth,
at nine o’clock,
to meet

R. S. V. P.           64 Lark Street.

or, the wording may be “request the pleasure of your company,” etc. The same form of invitation can be adapted to almost any reception, party or other social entertainment, with such variations as suit the circumstances. If a series of receptions are to be given, the lower line on the left of the card may be simply:

Wednesdays in December,
from three to seven o’clock.



There is no phase of social life that contains so much of hidden peril as that which relates to dancing. Of itself, there is nothing sinful in dancing; but its associations and temptations, and the tendencies of modern dancing to frivolity, unhealthful dissipation and immorality are so obvious as to need no enumeration here. It is a positive detriment to the spiritual growth of young men and women, and is prolific of promiscuous acquaintanceships that cannot be claimed to be safe or desirable for any young person having a serious object in life. The ball-room has to many thousands proved the first step to perdition.

Of dancing, the Rev. Dr. Talmage has said:

“It is the graceful motion of the body adjusted by art to the sound and measures of musical instrument or of the human voice. All nations have danced. The ancients thought that Castor and Pollux taught the art to the Lacedæmonians. But whoever started it, all climes have adopted it. In ancient times they had the festal dance, the military dance, the mediatorial dance, the bacchanalian dance, and queens and lords swayed to and fro in the gardens, and the rough backwoodsman with this exercise awakened the echo of the forest. There is something in the sound of lively music to evoke the movement of the hand and foot, whether cultured or uncultured. Passing down the street we unconsciously keep step to the sound of the brass band, while the Christian in church with his foot beats time while his soul rises upon some great harmony. While this is so in civilized lands, the red men of the forest have their scalp dances, their green-corn dances, their war dances.

“The exercise was so utterly and completely depraved in ancient times that the church anathematized[43] it. The old Christian fathers expressed themselves most vehemently against it. St. Chrysostom says: ‘The feet were not given for dancing but to walk modestly, not to leap impudently like camels.’ One of the dogmas of the ancient church reads: ‘A dance is the devil’s possession, and he that entereth into a dance entereth into his possession. As many paces as a man makes in dancing, so many paces does he make to hell.’ Elsewhere the old dogmas declared this: ‘The woman that singeth in the dance is the princess of the devil, and those that answer are her clerks, and the beholders are his friends, and the music is his bellows, and the fiddlers are the ministers of the devil. For as when hogs are strayed, if the hogsherd call one all assemble together, so when the devil calleth one woman to sing in the dance, or to play on some musical instrument, presently all the dancers gather together.’ This indiscriminate and universal denunciation of the exercise came from the fact that it was utterly and completely depraved.

“How many people in America have stepped from the ball-room into the graveyard! Consumptions and swift neuralgias are close on their track. Amid many of the glittering scenes of social life in America diseases stand right and left and balance and chain. The breath of the sepulchre floats up through the perfume, and the froth of Death’s lip bubbles up in the champagne.

“It is the anniversary of Herod’s birthday. The palace is lighted. The highways leading thereto are all ablaze with the pomp of invited guests. Lords, captains, merchant princes, the mighty men of the land, are coming to mingle in the festivities. The table is spread with all the luxuries that royal purveyors can gather. The guests, white-robed and anointed and perfumed, come in and sit at the table. Music! The jests evoke roars of laughter. Riddles are propounded. Repartee is indulged.[44] Toasts are drank. The brain is befogged. The wit rolls on into uproar and blasphemy. They are not satisfied yet. Turn on more light. Pour out more wine. Music! Sound all the trumpets. Clear the floor for a dance. Bring in Salome, the beautiful and accomplished princess. The door opens, and in bounds the dancer. The lords are enchanted. Stand back and make room for the brilliant gyrations. These men never saw such ‘poetry of motion.’ Their souls whirl in the reel and bound with the bounding feet. Herod forgets crown and throne and everything but the fascinations of Salome. All the magnificence of his realm is as nothing now compared with the splendor that whirls on tiptoe before him. His body sways from side to side, corresponding with the motions of the enchantress. His soul is thrilled with the pulsations of the feet and bewitched with the taking postures and attitudes more and more amazing. After awhile he sits in enchanted silence looking at the flashing, leaping, bounding beauty, and as the dance closes and the tinkling cymbals cease to clap and the thunders of applause that shook the palace begin to abate, the enchanted monarch swears to the princely performer: ‘Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me I will give it thee, to the half of my kingdom.’ At the instigation of her mother, Salome takes advantage of the extravagant promise of the king and says, ‘Bring me the head of John the Baptist on a dinner plate.’ Hark to the sound of feet outside the door and the clatter of swords. The executioners are returning from their awful errand. Open the door. They enter, and they present the platter to Salome. What is on this platter? A new glass of wine to continue the uproarious merriment? No. Something redder and costlier—the ghastly, bleeding head of John the Baptist, the death glare still in the eye, the locks dabbled with the gore, the features still distressed with the last[45] agony. This woman, who had whirled so gracefully in the dance, bends over the awful burden without a shudder.

“In my parish of Philadelphia there was a young woman brilliant as a spring morning. She gave her life to the world. She would come to religious meetings and under conviction would for a little while begin to pray, and then would rush off again into the discipleship of the world. She had all the world could offer of brilliant social position. One day a flushed and excited messenger asked me to hasten to her house for she was dying. I entered the room. There were the physicians, there was the mother, there lay this disciple of the world. I asked her some questions in regard to the soul. She made no answer. I knelt down to pray. I rose again, and desiring to get some expression in regard to her eternal interests, I said: ‘Have you any hope?’ and then for the first her lips moved in a whisper as she said: ‘No hope!’ Then she died. The world, she served it, and the world helped her not in the last.

“With many life is a masquerade ball, and as at such entertainments gentlemen and ladies put on the garb of kings and queens or mountebanks or clowns and at the close put off the disguise, so a great many pass their whole life in a mask, taking off the mask at death. While the masquerade ball of life goes on, they trip merrily over the floor, gemmed hand is stretched to gemmed hand, gleaming brow bends to gleaming brow. On with the dance! Flush and rustle and laughter of immeasurable merry-making. But after awhile the languor of death comes on the limbs and blurs the eye-sight. Lights lower. Floor hollow with sepulchral echo. Music saddened into a wail. Lights lower. Now the maskers are only seen in the dim light. Now the fragrance of the flowers is like the sickening odor that comes from garlands that have[46] lain long in the vaults of cemeteries. Lights lower. Mists gather in the room. Glasses shake as though quaked by sullen thunder. Sigh caught in the curtain. Scarf drops from the shoulder of beauty a shroud. Lights lower. Over the slippery boards in dance of death glide jealousies, envies, revenges, lust, despair, and death. Stench of lamp-wicks almost extinguished. Torn garlands will not half cover the ulcerated feet. Choking damps. Chilliness. Feet still. Hands closed. Voices hushed. Eyes shut. Lights out.”

The dance must be classed with the wine-cup as the insidious enemy of a pure, upright, wholesome society. Pleasant and fascinating at first, it lures its victims to sacrifice after sacrifice until the end is reached. No man or woman was ever benefited morally, intellectually or physically by the dance; thousands and tens of thousands have found it their bane, and date their ruin from the first step they danced to the music across the floor of a lighted ball-room.

Wedding Etiquette.


Socially considered, marriage is the most important and imposing of all functions. It gives opportunity for the greatest display, the most elegant toilets, and the most lavish and superb manner of entertainment. Yet singularly enough, the etiquette of weddings is probably more variable and subject to innovation than that of any other event in the social calendar. At no two grand weddings is the etiquette precisely the same.

Wedding invitations according to present custom are consigned to the post from two to three weeks preceding the date of the event. Those sent to friends and relatives abroad are sent quite three[47] weeks earlier. A representative invitation is given below:

Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Browne
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter,

on Wednesday, June the twenty-first,
at twelve o’clock, in
The Church of the Pilgrims.

This is engraved in round-hand script, without flourish and with little shading, and a tendency toward the medium and the small in size. The lines are rather close together, allowing considerable margin at top and bottom of the note. The paper most preferred has a white dull kid and parchment finish, in size between octavo and billet. When folded it fits an envelope that is almost square and which offers a choice of either a pointed or square flap. In town the pointed flap is considered the proper thing while the country favors the square one. The envelope inclosing the note is without gum and of the same weight as the inclosure, while the outer one, intended as a carrier only, is of lighter quality and gummed for sealing.

Wedding invitations require no answer. But people living at a distance, who cannot attend the wedding, should send their cards by mail, to assure the hosts that the invitation has been received.[48]

The usual form of invitation for a wedding reception is as follows:

At Home
After the Ceremony,
7 East Market Street

This is enclosed, with the cards of the young bride and of her intended husband, to the favored ones only.

People with a large acquaintance cannot always invite all their friends to a wedding reception, and therefore invite all to the church. Sometimes people who are to give a small wedding at home request an answer to the wedding invitation; in that case, of course, an answer should be sent, and people should be very careful not to ignore these flattering invitations. Any carelessness is inexcusable when so important an event is in view. Bridesmaids, if prevented by illness or sudden bereavement from officiating, should notify the bride as soon as possible, as it is a difficult thing after a bridal program is arranged to reorganize it.

Church Weddings.

We have gradually adopted feature by feature of the English style of wedding in America until to-day the general order followed in both countries may be said, in all essential particulars, to be identical. The bridegroom is dressed in a frock-coat and light trousers of any good pattern; in other words, he wears a formal morning dress, drives to the church with his best man, and awaits the arrival of the bride in the vestry-room. He may wear gloves or not as he chooses. The best man is the intimate friend, sometimes the brother, of the groom. He[49] accompanies him to the church, follows him to the altar, stands at his right hand a little behind him, and holds his hat during the marriage-service. After that is ended he pays the minister’s fee, accompanies the bridal party home, being in a coupé by himself, and assists the ushers to introduce friends to the newly wedded pair.

The bridegroom is allowed to make what presents he pleases to the bride, and to send some gift, such as a fan, locket, ring or bouquet, to the bridesmaids; he also buys the wedding-ring, and, of course, sends a bouquet to the bride; but he is not to furnish cards or carriages or the wedding breakfast; that is done by the bride’s family. In England the groom is expected to drive the bride away in his own carriage, but in America this custom is not often followed. The bride, beautifully dressed usually in white satin, with point lace veil and orange blossoms, is driven to the church in a carriage with her father, who gives her away. Her mother and other relatives precede her and take front seats; her bridesmaids should also precede her, and await her in the chancel. The ushers then form the procession with which almost all city weddings are begun. The ushers first, two and two; then the bridesmaids, two and two; then some pretty children—bridesmaids under ten; and then the bride, leaning on her father’s right arm. Sometimes the child bridesmaids precede the others. As the procession reaches the lowest altar step the ushers break ranks and go to the right and left and the bridesmaids also go to right and left, leaving a space for the bridal pair. As the bride reaches the lowest step the bridegroom advances, takes her by the right hand, and conducts her to the altar, where both kneel. The clergyman signifies to them when to rise, and then proceeds with the ceremony. The bridal pair walk down the aisle arm-in-arm, and are conducted to the carriage and driven home, the rest following.[50] In some cases, a bridal register is signed in the vestry.

Formerly brides removed the whole of the left glove; now they neatly cut the finger out of the glove, so that they can remove that without pulling off the whole glove for the ring.

In a marriage at home, the bridesmaids and best man are usually dispensed with. The clergyman enters and faces the company, the bridal pair follow and face him. After the ceremony the clergyman retires, and the wedded pair receive congratulations.

Wedding Breakfasts.

The English fashion of a wedding breakfast is not common here yet, but it is well to describe the proper etiquette. The gentlemen and ladies invited should be notified a fortnight in advance, and should accept or decline immediately, as it has all the formality of a dinner. On arriving at the house the gentlemen leave their hats in the hall, but ladies do not remove their bonnets. After greeting the bride and groom and the father and mother, the company talk together until breakfast is announced. Then the bride and groom go first, followed by bride’s father with groom’s mother, then groom’s father with bride’s mother, then best man with first bridesmaid, then bridesmaids with attendant gentlemen, and then the other invited guests, as the bride’s mother arranges. Coffee and tea are not usually offered, but bouillon, salads, birds, oysters, and other hot and cold dishes, ices, jellies, etc., are served at this breakfast, and finally the wedding-cake is set before the bride, who cuts a slice.

“Stand-up” breakfasts are far more commonly served, as the French say, en buffet. More guests can come and it is far less trouble to serve a collation to a number of people standing about than to furnish what is really a dinner to a number sitting down.[51]

Home Weddings and Private Weddings.

If the marriage is to be solemnized at home, the date follows the names in succession, and the place of residence is given last. The invitation may vary, “the wedding reception of their daughter,” etc. Or, accompanying the church wedding invitation may be a square card bearing the lines: “Reception from half-past seven until nine o’clock,” with place of residence on the line below.

If the ceremony is private, the immediate family and chosen friends are invited verbally. It is then optional whether or not a formal announcement shall be made to a wider circle of friends by sending out engraved cards the day after the ceremony. These are, like the invitations, printed on note sheets. The private wedding and after announcement is often the most suitable method when a bride is comparatively alone in the world, or has no near relatives. In such a case the announcement is worded: “Mr. Walter Edward Brown and Miss Anna Childers Wilson married; Wednesday, October twentieth, 619 Grace St.” If no other place is given this is understood to be the place where to address cards of congratulation. If the young couple are to receive later, in a new home, that address, with date of the “at home,” is also given, thus, “At home, after November fifteenth, 6417 Ocean Ave.” If the change of residence is to another town, the name of the town is also given.

Wedding Gifts and Other Gifts.

There are probably few matters that are the occasion of more troublesome study and vexation of spirit than the selection of wedding presents. They should in all cases be chosen with due reference to the circumstances of the bride. For the daughter of wealthy parents, who marries a man of large means, rare and costly articles are suitable wedding[52] gifts. For a bride who is going to housekeeping on a moderate income, articles that are useful as well as beautiful are appropriate. A handsome chair, a china cabinet, or some china to put in it, a few standard books, fine table linen, or one of the many other things within the range of house-furnishing are acceptable.

Presents devised and made by the ingenuity and labor of the giver—hand-painted screens or china, embroidered work, or a painting or etching—are specially complimentary gifts.

A man should not make valuable presents to a lady outside of his own family, unless she is very much his senior, and a friend of long standing. A lady should not accept valuable gifts from a gentleman unless his relationship to her warrants it. Trifling tokens of friendship or gallantry—a book, a bouquet, or a basket of bonbons—are not amiss; but a lady should not be under obligation to a man for presents that plainly represent a considerable money value. When a gift is accepted, the recipient should not make too obvious haste to return the compliment, lest he or she seem unwilling to rest under obligation.

To refuse all trifling favors is regarded as rudeness. It is often the greatest wisdom as well as kindness, to allow some one to do us a favor.

When some well-meaning person innocently offers a gift that strict conventionality would forbid one to accept, it is sometimes better to suspend the rules and accept the token, than to hurt the feelings by refusal.

Gifts of flowers to the convalescent are among the graceful expressions of courteous interest. Even a total stranger may send these, without offending.

Wedding gifts may be sent at any time within two months before the wedding. All who send gifts should be asked to the wedding and reception.[53]

Wedding Anniversaries.

It is becoming more and more the custom, both in town and country, to celebrate wedding anniversaries. These occasions, however, with a few exceptions, are usually confined to the exchange of gifts and expression of good-will by members of the immediate family. But when a number of years have passed, a married pair, whose wedded lives have been harmonious, begin to look forward to the approach of an anniversary which can be celebrated by a much wider circle. The marriage anniversary which falls after five years is sometimes called “a wooden wedding;” after ten years, “tin;” after twenty, “crystal;” at twenty-five, “silver;” at fifty, a “golden anniversary;” and at seventy-five the “diamond wedding” occurs.

So general has been the custom, in the past, of making these anniversaries occasions for the making of gifts of all descriptions that self-respecting families have at last drawn the line at this practice and engraved upon their anniversary invitation cards: “No gifts received.” Still some old friends will take the liberty sometimes of disregarding the engraved injunction, just as such valued individuals indulge themselves in familiarities with the rules that usually govern one’s private social affairs. But if remoter relatives or mere society acquaintances send a gift other than flowers or a book, after being requested to restrict their generosity, they need not be surprised if the act be considered an impertinence, and resented accordingly.

The prevailing style of cards of invitation to an anniversary party or reception is the same as to any ordinary entertainment. A wedding-bell, or a horse-shoe of white flowers, with the date of the marriage wrought into it with colored blossoms, or a bride’s loaf dated in sugar and placed upon a separate table, informs the guests of the reason for[54] rejoicing. Here is the correct form of invitation card for such occasions:

Mr. and Mrs. Alexander J. Marshall
request the pleasure of your presence
on Tuesday evening, January eleventh, at
eight o’clock, to celebrate the
twenty-fifth anniversary of their marriage.

No. 47 Rylance Street.
No gifts received.

It is customary for the host and hostess to secure as many guests as possible from among those who were present at their wedding. The clergyman who performed the ceremony is bidden, and, if possible, the wedding-garments are again worn.

Other interesting formalities are added, making the occasion impressive, without being oppressive. Near kinspeople offer congratulations first, when other guests follow after the manner of a wedding reception. When a formal supper is provided, the host and hostess lead together upon this peculiar occasion, and the guests follow in convenient order, as at an ordinary party. The supper may be in buffet style, if preferred.

Notes About Weddings.

When a honeymoon follows, the old customs are still maintained. The father, mother and intimate friends kiss the bride, and, as the happy pair drive off, a shower of satin slippers and rice[55] follows them. If one slipper alights on the top of the carriage, luck is assured to them forever.

Many brides nowadays prefer to be married in traveling dress and hat, and leave immediately without congratulations.

Wedding-cake is no longer sent about. It is neatly packed in boxes; each guest takes one, if she likes, on leaving the house.

Wedding-favors of white ribbon and artificial flowers are used in England, but not to any great extent in America. Here the groom wears a boutonnière of natural flowers.

A widow should never be accompanied by bridesmaids, or wear a veil or orange-blossoms. She should wear a colored silk and a bonnet, and be attended by her father, brother or some near friend. It is proper for her to remove her first wedding-ring, as the wearing of that cannot but be painful to the bridegroom. If married at home, she may wear a light silk and be bonnetless.

It is an exploded idea that of allowing every one to kiss the bride. Only near relatives have this privilege.

Wedding tours are no longer considered obligatory nor is the seclusion of the honeymoon demanded by fashionable society.

New Year’s Day Calls.

The old-time habit of serving wines and liquors at these gatherings has, happily, almost died out, in good society. Those who entertain elaborately upon New Year’s Day sometimes send out cards of invitation in the name of the hostess. They are handsomely engraved, and enclosed in a single envelope. If a daughter or daughters receive with her, “Miss Blank or Misses Blank” is engraved beneath her own name. If other ladies than her daughters also receive with her, their[56] visiting-card may be enclosed in the same envelope with the hostess’ invitation. Should the lady-guest invite her own personal friends to meet her at the residence of her hostess for this day, she writes the number of her residence where she is to receive on New Year’s upon her own card, adding the receiving hours in ink, and she incloses the visiting-card of her hostess.

The invitation of the hostess is engraved in the following form:

Mrs. Wilmer Ralston
January first, from one until ten o’clock.
No. 679 Little Silver Street.

All the ladies are in full toilets, and the house is lighted as if it were evening. A table is spread, as if for an ordinary reception or party, in the back parlor or dining-room. A servant opens the street-door and the gentlemen leave their cards in the hall. They enter the drawing-room with hat in hand, or they may leave it in the hall with overcoat and cane. Ladies in full costume require the atmosphere of their drawing-rooms to be kept comfortably warm. They rise to receive their guests. The hostess offers her hand to the guest when he enters, and, after an exchange of compliments he is presented to her lady friends. After partaking of refreshments, which consist of oysters, tea, coffee, chocolate, bouillon or lemonade, with cake and cold meats, boned turkey, etc., he may retire soon from the house without interrupting his hostess, provided she be occupied with later visitors. He need only bow to each lady as he passes out.[57]

Ladies who receive New Year’s callers less formally may write “January 1” upon their visiting-cards and send them to such of their gentlemen acquaintances as they may like to see. They need not provide an elaborate repast. They may wear a visiting costume with light gloves, but they need not turn on the gas, because informal receptions are held in daylight. If they do not mention upon their cards the hours for receiving, it is etiquette for a gentleman to call at any time between twelve m. and ten o’clock p. m. The formalities between hostess and guest are the same as if the reception were held in grand toilet.

Gentlemen who cannot call enclose their visiting-cards in envelopes, and send them by messengers on the morning of New Year’s, or by mail the day before. Others drive from door to door and leave their cards, the right-hand side folded over to signify that they delivered the card in person. A gentleman leaves as many cards as there are ladies who are old enough to receive visitors.

Gentlemen should wear a morning costume of dark coat and vest, with lighter pantaloons, when they pay New Year’s calls. It is not uncommon to see dress-suits, but they are never strictly correct until evening. Gloves, while light in tint, should never be white. Medium tints in scarfs and gloves are in taste upon these occasions.

Christenings and Birthdays.

There are occasions when family and friendly reunions of the pleasantest character may be enjoyed. Christening ceremonials among our superior citizens are becoming more and more beautiful each year in New York. The formality which is most in favor is the giving of a reception; the hours are fixed from three or four o’clock until six[58] p. m. It is equally proper to write the invitations, or to order them engraved in script.

The engraved form is scarcely varied from the following:

Mr. and Mrs. William Ashton
request the honor of your presence at the
Christening Ceremony
of their son
[or daughter] at five o’clock,
Thursday, December sixth.
Reception from four to six o’clock.

No. 1624 W. Eleventh Street.

This card calls for an early response.

At these parties, flowers ornament the house tastefully. The guests all arrive in reception or visiting toilets, before five o’clock, and meet the host and hostess just as they would at any reception.

There may be a band of music, or a pianist and a quartette of singers, to entertain the guests.

Sometimes professional musicians are employed. A temporary font is arranged in a prominent place in the room, and on a small round table is placed a silver goblet or bowl, or one of crystal. The edge of the pedestal is often hung with trailing flowers.

The child is brought to the parents, who stand by the font, and the sponsors join them. If it be a girl, its selected guardians are usually two young ladies, who are dressed in white and who arrange themselves one at each side of the father and mother, and a hymn or chant is sung. The clergyman performs the rite according to the formalities[59] of his own established church; more music follows, and then a benediction. Directly after this, congratulations are offered to the father and mother, and the child is admired and shortly afterward removed.

Refreshments are offered as at any afternoon entertainment.

Children’s birthdays are celebrated more and more after the customs of Europeans. A little feast is made for the child, to which its companions are invited, but the invitations seldom extend beyond a number that may be seated at table. The feast is dainty but not rich, and with a pretty cake in which may be placed as many toy wax-candles as there are years in the age of the young host. They are already lighted when the young people enter the room. Plays follow the supper. Guests are not expected to make presents.

Among the elders of a family the yearly return of the birthday is seldom celebrated except by his or her own kinspeople. The twenty-first birthday of a young man is often made an occasion for a dinner, or a party, but a lady’s age is not thus publicly celebrated. When the lady or gentleman becomes very old, delightful attentions are often bestowed upon them by their young friends, and by the companions of their youth. Flowers, letters of congratulation, cards of inquiry and respect, gifts that will interest, breakfast or dinner parties, and receptions, are considered proper for such celebrations.

Mourning Etiquette.

Death comes to all alike and custom has long established a conventional observance in dealing with the presence of death, in our own homes or elsewhere. In our own country black is worn as the typical attire of sorrow, and it has come to be regarded as a token of respect to the lost one. It[60] is now decreed that crape shall only be worn six months, even for the nearest relative, and that the duration of mourning shall not exceed a year. A wife’s mourning for her husband is the most conventionally deep mourning allowed. Bombazine and crape, a widow’s cap, and a long, thick veil—such is the modern English idea. Some widows even have the cap made of black crêpe lisse, but it is generally of white. In this country a widow’s first mourning dresses are covered almost entirely with crape. There are now, however, other and pleasanter fabrics which also bear the dead black, lustreless look which is alone considered respectful to the dead, and which are not so costly as crape or so disagreeable to wear. The Henrietta cloth and imperial serges are chosen for heavy winter dresses, while for those of less weight are tamise cloth, Bayonnaise, grenadine, nuns’ veiling, and the American silk.

Mourning is expensive, and often costs a family more than they can well afford; but it is a sacrifice that all gladly make. Many consider it an act of disrespect to the memory of the dead if the living are not clad in gloomy black.

Widows wear deep mourning, consisting of woolen stuffs and crape, for about two years, and sometimes by choice for life. Children wear the same for parents for one year, and then lighten it with black silk, trimmed with crape. Half mourning gradations of gray, purple, or lilac have been abandoned, and, instead, combinations of black and white are used. Complimentary mourning is black silk without crape. The French have three grades of mourning—deep, ordinary, and half mourning. In deep mourning, woolen cloths only are worn; in ordinary mourning, silk and woolen; in half mourning, gray and violet. In France, etiquette prescribes mourning for a husband—six months of deep mourning, six of ordinary, and[61] six weeks of half mourning. For a wife, a father, or a mother, six months—three deep and three half mourning; for a grandparent, two months and a half of slight mourning; for a brother or a sister, two months, one of which is in deep mourning; for an uncle or an aunt, three weeks of ordinary black. Here, ladies have been known to go into deepest mourning for their own relatives or those of their husbands, or for people, perhaps, whom they have never seen, and have remained for seven or ten years, constantly in black; then, on losing a child or a relative dearly loved, they have no extremity of dress left to express the real grief. Complimentary mourning should be limited to two or three weeks.

The duration of a mourner’s retirement from the world has been much shortened of late. For one year no formal visiting is undertaken, nor any gayety. Black is often worn for a husband or wife two years, for parents one year, and for brothers and sisters one year; a heavy black is lightened after that period. Ladies are beginning to wear a small black gauze veil over the face, and are in the habit of throwing the heavy crape veil back over the hat. It is also proper to wear a quiet black dress when going to a funeral, although not absolutely necessary. Friends may call on the bereaved family within a month, not expecting, of course to see them. Kind notes expressing sympathy are welcome from intimate friends; and flowers, or any similar testimonial of sympathy, are thoughtful and appropriate.

Cards and note-paper are put in mourning, but very broad borders of black are in bad taste. A narrow border of black is correct. The use of handkerchiefs with a two-inch square of white cambric and a four-inch border of black is to be deprecated.

Mourning which soldiers, sailors, and courtiers[62] wear is pathetic and effective. A flag draped with crape, a gray cadet-sleeve with a black band, or a piece of crape about the left arm of a senator, a black weed on a hat, are in proper taste.

For light mourning, jet is used on silk, and makes a handsome dress.

Elegant dresses are made with jet embroidery on soft French crape, but lace is never “mourning.” During half mourning, however, black lace may be worn on white silk; but this is questionable. Diamond ornaments set in black enamel are allowed even in the deepest mourning, and also pearls set in black. Gold is never worn in mourning.

The Swedish kid glove is now much more in use for mourning, and the silk glove is made with such neatness and with such a number of buttons that it is equally stylish, and much cooler and more agreeable. Mourning bonnets are worn rather larger than ordinary bonnets.

People of sense, of course, manage to dress without going to extremities in either direction. Exaggeration is to be deprecated in mourning as in everything. The discarding of mourning should be effected by slow stages. It shocks persons of good taste to see a widow change into colors hurriedly. If black is to be dispensed with, let its retirement be slowly and gracefully marked by quiet costumes, as the grief, yielding to time, is giving way to resignation and cheerfulness.

Before a funeral the ladies of a family see no one but the most intimate friends. The gentlemen, of course, see the clergyman and officials who manage the ceremony. It is now the almost universal practice to carry the remains to a church, where the friends of the family can pay the last tribute of respect without crowding into a private house. Pall-bearers are invited by note, and assemble at the house. They, accompanying the remains, after the ceremonies at the church, to their final[63] resting-place. The nearest lady friends seldom go to the church or to the grave. This is, however, entirely a matter of feeling, and they can go if they wish. After the funeral only the members of the family return to the house. It is not expected that a bereaved wife or mother will see any one other than the members of her family for several weeks.

All the preparations for a funeral in the house are committed to the care of an undertaker, who removes the furniture from the drawing-room, filling all the space possible with camp-stools. The clergyman reads the service at the head of the coffin, the relatives being grouped around. The body, if not disfigured by disease, is often dressed in the clothes worn in life, and laid in an open casket, as if reposing on a sofa, and all friends are asked to take a last look. The body of a man is usually dressed in black.

The custom of decorating the coffin with flowers is beautiful, but has been overdone, and now the request is frequently made that no flowers be sent.

No one in mourning for a parent, child, brother, or husband, is expected to be seen at a concert, a dinner, a party, or at any other place of public amusement, before three months have passed. After that one may be seen at a concert. But to go to the opera, or a dinner, or a party, before six months have elapsed, is considered heartless and disrespectful. If one choose, as some do, to wear no mourning, then he can go, unchallenged, to any place of amusement, but if he put on mourning he must respect its etiquette.

A woman may wear mourning all her life if she choose, but it is a question whether in so doing she does not injure the welfare and happiness of the living.[64]

The Etiquette of Correspondence.

Good or ill-breeding is no more marked in general deportment than in the writing of notes and letters. A gracefully and courteously worded note is always pleasantly received. Very long letters are now rendered unnecessary by the increase of mail and telegraphic facilities, but the writing of notes has correspondingly increased; and the last few years have seen a profuse introduction of crests, ciphers, designs, and monograms in the corners of ordinary note-paper. The use of sealing-wax has almost been abandoned, although it is still the only elegant, formal, and ceremonious way acknowledged in England, of sealing a letter.

Colored note-paper fell into disuse long ago, and for the last few years we have not seen the heavy tints. Pale greens, grays, blues, and lilacs have found a place in fashionable stationery, but now no color that is appreciable is considered stylish, unless it be écru, a creamy white. Fanciful emblazoned and colored monograms have been dropped; the crest and cipher are laid aside, and ladies have simply the address of their city residence, or the name of their country place printed in one corner (generally in color), or, a fac-simile of their initials, engraved and set across the corner of the note-paper. The day of the week, also copied from their own handwriting, is often impressed upon the square cards now so much in use for short notes, or on the note-paper. Good, plain, thick, English note-paper, folded square, put in a square envelope, and sealed with red sealing-wax is always stylish in any part of the world.

The plan of having all the note-paper marked with the address is an excellent one. It gives a stylish finish to the appearance of the note-paper, is simple, and useful. The ink should be plain[65] black ink, which gives the written characters great distinctness.

Every lady should study to acquire a free, and educated hand; a cramped, poor, slovenly, unformed handwriting is sure to produce a poor impression upon the reader.

Custom demands that we begin all notes in the first person, with the formula of “My dear Mrs. Brown,” and close with “Yours, cordially,” or “Yours with much regard,” etc. The laws of etiquette do not permit us to use numerals, as 3, 4, 5, but demand that we write out three, four, five. No abbreviations are allowed in a note to a friend, as, “Sd be glad to see you;” one must write out, “I should be glad to see you.” The date should follow the signing of the name. A note in answer to an invitation should be written in the third person, if the invitation be in the third person. An acceptance of a dinner invitation must be written in this form:

Mr. and Mrs. Green
have great pleasure in accepting the polite
invitation of

Mr. and Mrs. Dinsmore
for dinner, on the seventeenth inst., at seven
18 Golden Square.
July sixth.

Above all things, in letter writing, spell correctly. A word badly spelled stands out like a blot on a familiar or ceremonious note. Do not send a blurred, blotted, slovenly note to any one. The fashion[66] is not now, as once, imperative that a margin be left around the edge of the paper. People now write all over the paper. Do not cross your letters: such letters are a nuisance to all people who have not the keenest of eyes.

No letter or note should be written on ruled paper. Every person should learn to write without lines. The square cards are much used, and are quite large enough for the transmission of all that a lady ordinarily wishes to say in giving or accepting an invitation. The day of the week and the address are often printed on the card. Square envelopes have also driven the long ones from the table of the elegant note-writer, and the custom of closing all ceremonious notes with sealing-wax is still adhered to by the most fastidious. Dates and numerical designations, such as the number of a house, may be written in Arabic figures, but quantities should be expressed in words. Few abbreviations are respectful. A married lady should always be addressed with the prefix of her husband’s Christian name. In this country, it is the custom to abbreviate everything except the title of “Reverend,” which we always give to the clergy. A properly written note honors the writer and the person to whom it is written, while a careless one may injure both.

Behavior in Church.

It may not be out of place to furnish a hint as to behavior in church. There is, of course, such a thing as church etiquette, although its code is rather implied than written. As a preliminary, it should be assumed that the right spirit has drawn the worshiper thither and that a reverent attention will be given to the service. The following suggestion may be accepted as embodying the general view of church etiquette:[67]

1. If possible, be in time. You need at least five minutes after coming to get warm or cool: to compose your body and mind, and to whisper a prayer before the service begins.

2. Never pass up the aisle during prayer or Scripture reading. If you do, your presence will distract the minds of many in the audience.

3. Be devout in every attitude; all whispering should be studiously avoided. Find the hymn and sing it if you can. Share the book with your neighbor. If in a strange church, conform to its customs.

4. If the sermon has begun, take a seat near the door—no matter if you are “at home.”

5. Be thoughtful for the comfort of others. Take the inside of the pew, if you are the first to enter, and leave all vacant space at the end next to the aisle.

6. Speak a bright, cheery word to as many as possible at the close of the service. If you are a stranger, ask one of the ushers to introduce you to the pastor, or to some of the church officers. This will always insure you a hearty welcome.

7. Never put on your coat, overshoes or wraps during the closing hymn, and do not make a rush for the door immediately after the benediction is pronounced.

8. There should be no loud talking and jesting after the service is concluded. They are as much out of place in the house of God as at a house of mourning.



Polite Terms of Address.

Not every one who is accustomed to most of the usages of good society, is familiar with the approved forms of address, even in the simplest matters. A good authority writes:

Say “Thank you,” not “Thanks”—a lazy and disrespectful abbreviation. If you say “Pardon me,” let your manner be appropriate to your words. “I beg your pardon” is sometimes uttered in prefacing the expression of a contrary opinion, and the insolence of the tone and manner give the words all the force of a contradiction. In most phrases of compliment the words are nothing, the manner everything. So of adding “Sir” or “Ma’am” to “Yes” and “No.” “Yes, sir,” “No, sir,” may be rude and defiant; “Yes” and “No” may be polite and deferential. There is a difference of opinion as to whether it is necessary, or even proper, for people of social equality to add sir or madam to these responses, and especially as to whether children should be taught to do so. It is a provincial custom, but the best usage does not allow it. Children may be taught to say “Yes” and “No” with a well-bred courtesy of tone and inflection to which the additional syllable “Sir” could give no additional grace. It is an important point of training in etiquette to enforce the truth that the spirit of words and deeds is the essence of good manners, or good anything, in fact.[69]

Faulty Social Training.

That society is bad whose members, however tenacious they be of forms of etiquette and elaborate ceremonials, have one code of manners for those whom they deem their equals, and another for those whom they esteem to be of less importance to them by reason of age, pecuniary condition, or relative social influence, writes Mrs. Sherwood. Bad manners are apt to prove the concomitant of a mind and disposition that are none too good, and the woman who slights and wounds people because they cannot minister to her ambitions, challenges criticism of her own shortcomings. A girl who is impertinent or careless in her demeanor to her mother or her mother’s friends; who talks slang; who is careless in her bearing toward young men; who accepts the attentions of a man of bad character or dissipated habits; who is loud in dress or manner—such a girl must be classed as ill-bred and undesirable in good society.

So with a young man who is indifferent to his elders, neglects to acknowledge invitations, sits while a lady stands, does not speak to his host; who is selfish, immoral and careless of his reputation. No matter how rich, or how agreeable to those he may wish to please, he is to be avoided by a wise host or hostess.

If a young girl comes from a secluded circle, and sees some handsome, well dressed woman much courted, and observes in her what seems to be insolent pretence, unkindness, frivolity, and superciliousness, let her inquire and wait before she accepts her acquaintance. Good society is the bringing together of the best men and women in a pleasant and proper way. Good breeding, personal superiority, beauty, genius, culture, are all estimable things, and every one likes a person of[70] charming manners; but the best society is that of those who have virtue and good manners combined.

Tactful Hostesses.

The capable hostess will give her instructions for the details of the entertainment so explicitly that on the arrival of the guests she need have no other care than their pleasure. If she is nervous, or shows constraint, it affects the ease of her guests. Upon the demeanor of the hosts the success of the occasion largely depends. Much tact may be shown in placing the right people together at the table. If one is a great talker let the other be a good listener; if one is dogmatic let the other be without positive views, and so on; for every one is happiest when appearing well. The guests, too, have their obligations, and in recognition of the compliment of being invited where the number of guests is limited to very few, each one should exert himself to be as agreeable as possible, a dull dinner or tea companion being a misfortune. At a dinner there is time, not given at most other forms of entertainment, for rational and sustained conversation, and this may be turned to durance vile if one victimizes by his egotism or caprice the person who without power of withdrawal is assigned to his society for perhaps two hours or more. Also, if one finds himself neighbor to some one he dislikes, it must not be allowed to interfere with the general pleasure; and should such a situation occur, there is nothing to do but to make the best of it. The discovery is sometimes made that an unfriendly person is more agreeable than was supposed, and a pleasanter relationship results.

A Young Girl’s Social Life.

Here is a pretty and instructive little sketch by Ruth Ashmore from her new book on “Sidetalks[71] with Girls,” in which she pictures the “Social Life of a Girl.” She writes:

You are just beginning to go out; you are twenty years old, and you would like, as is perfectly natural, not only to have the love of women, but the genuine admiration of men. The admiration of all men is not worth having. You believe that you are pleasant to look at, but when you meet strangers you are abashed, the blood rushes to your face, and you don’t know what to say. Now a little bit of that is due to self-consciousness; more of it to inexperience. When a man is presented to you you need not expect to enter into an easy conversation with him, as does the woman of forty, but you can get your thoughts away from yourself and answer him as intelligently as possible. Make up your mind to be a little slow in your speech rather than to give a foolish answer, and after you have resolved to do this you will not find it difficult to overcome that silly giggle so peculiar to young women, and which is very often the result of great nervousness, and an effort to speak quickly.

Don’t be too perfectly certain about things. The positive girl who, the very minute a stranger speaks to her, gives him an answer which she announces is her opinion, and which she permits no one else to doubt, is quite as undesirable as the girl who is afraid to say anything. I think you will be most successful socially if you are willing to learn, and if you never permit yourself, from false shame, to tell an untruth and say you do know of things about which you are totally ignorant. Experience has taught most social leaders that men like to give information, consequently when a stranger has been presented to you, and after the first ordinary commonplaces, asks, “Did you meet the Spanish Princess?” answer yes or no, as the truth may be, and supplement this by[72] another question, “Did you? And what did you think of her?”

It is not difficult in this world to attract, if one is young and pleasing to look upon.

It may be taken as a general rule that no woman can retain her friends who cannot control her temper. What she thinks may be right, but, because it is so, no excuse can be found for her going into a long, quarrelsome argument, raising her voice, and making her hostess and all the other guests uncomfortable. Then people must know that, socially, a girl is to be relied upon; that she is not going to bring the daily worries of her life into the social atmosphere, but that she is certain to bring her mite of agreeableness to add to all the other mites until the perfection of enjoyment is achieved, and the pleasant side of everybody is seen and enjoyed. The woman who wishes to keep her friends must steer clear of vital subjects on which they may differ.

Be pleasant and agreeable to all who may be in your own social world. To retain one’s friends one must also respect their social rights. That girl shows wisdom, who, invited to a very elaborate affair and feeling that she cannot afford even a simple suitable dress, refuses the invitation rather than mortify the hostess by being out of tune in the general harmony. One has achieved a great wisdom when one has learned how to say “no” in the social world without giving offence. So it should be with any games, or any affair involving late hours, or at which she would meet undesirable people. The saying “no” is right, but it must be said at the right time, that is, it must be said before the temptation arises and before you would be forced to appear as rude. You cannot accept an invitation and refuse to meet your hostess’ friends. Once there, you are bound to be polite to them, though afterward you need only recognize them[73] very faintly, and gradually the recognition may die away altogether. A form of declination for those invitations which you are sure will place you either in disagreeable positions or among people whom you do not care to meet, is this:

Miss Brown thanks Mrs. Charles Jones for the kind invitation for Wednesday evening, and regrets her inability to accept it.

At your own home have the parlor the prettiest and most comfortable room in the house, but don’t be alone there—have some of the members of the family with you. Arrange the parlor with a view of furnishing subjects for conversation. Have whatever illustrated magazines or papers you have in view, or any photographs of celebrities; have the piano open and the music on it.

Innocent and Sinful Pleasures.

It is frequently asked: “What pleasures or recreations may a young man or woman share that are not objectionable.” There are a thousand innocent pleasures within easy reach of all. Pleasures may be classified as, (1) Recreative and helpful; (2) Harmless and enjoyable but neither helpful nor otherwise; (3) Injurious for various reasons and objectionable as being detrimental to spiritual growth and the development of the finer qualities in either sex. To the latter category belong gambling of all sorts, dancing, theatre-going, flirtations and frivolous companionship, and all pleasures that merely “kill time” and induce a temporary excitement. Objectionable pleasures are never recreative—a term that implies healthful and upbuilding if not uplifting qualities.[74]

The greatest tonic, stimulant, and equalizer, writes Lyman B. Sperry, is genuine pleasure. Contentment, satisfaction, joy, are remarkable for their beneficial influence on mind and body. Occupations that are inviting and pleasurable, whether they be called work or play, are helpful to human development, longevity, and efficiency. Diversion, recreation, pleasure, are demanded as an antidote to our feelings of depression and fatigue, a stimulant to our courage, a basis for satisfaction with life. All must have recreation and amusement in order to thrive well, but in seeking them it is easy to find and to follow those which, though apparently, and perhaps temporarily healthful, are finally destructive of things good and satisfying. All amusements which leave a sting, or feelings of surfeit or of regret, are either essentially unhealthful (and therefore unjustifiable), or they are used in such a way as, practically, to make them injurious. There are some so-called amusements which are inevitably bad, and there are others which are bad only when they are intemperately pursued. So much depends upon the time, the manner, the amount, the associations, the tendencies of various forms of activity called amusements, that it is impossible to classify them rigidly as either commendable or objectionable. All intelligent persons must admit that our lives should be conformed to ways that are helpful to advancement in all that is really and permanently good.

Amusements should secure rest from irksome toil and conduce to real recuperation. While they enable fatigued parts of the body to rest, they should also bring into action other parts that need, for the general good of the body, as well as for their own good, to be called into exercise. Genuine and healthful amusements stimulate mental emotion in such a way as to make one forget his burdens and sorrows, they leave in the consciousness a sweet[75] memory which spreads its perfume over and through the succeeding period of toil, and even into the toil of one’s neighbors. There should be no doubt about the effects. Questionable amusements are usually injurious amusements. Some really commendable forms may be in bad repute simply because they are habitually in bad company, or possibly because of mere prejudice. Each one should be intelligently examined as to its nature and influence, and be accepted or rejected only after a fair judgment is passed upon it.

Comparatively few persons lack opportunities for amusement, and with many the great question is what not to do. With so much to select from, how shall we amuse ourselves? The answer is, In any way we please—provided, first, that we can afford it; second, that we find practically that it furnishes the rest and recuperation we need and that without leaving a residuum of regret or of lessened self-respect; third, that our indulgence does not interfere with the natural rights of others, or prove a stumbling-block to them; and fourth, that it is not of such a fascinating nature as to induce us to consume an undue amount of time and energy. It requires a goodly stock of intelligence and conscience to determine, each for himself, what amusements he shall seek, and where, when, and how they shall be sought.

The man or the woman who, at the social party or at the family fireside, plays any kind of a game for stakes, even though they may be trifling, thereby kindles and fans a flame that in many cases becomes unquenchable. The person thus tempted easily follows his impulses, and rushes into anything that will either arouse or gratify the love of excitement.

The moral quality of most forms of amusement may be determined simply by their physical effects. So intimately related are mind and body,[76] so influential is the conscience over physical processes, that nothing which the conscience condemns can be healthful and recuperative. And it is equally true that every form of physical excess or of dissipation, inevitably leaves mental recoils and moral stings.

One of the best men of the day, who has seen much of life and who has studied many of its problems, says: “If an amusement sends you home at night nervous, so that you cannot sleep, and you rise up in the morning, not because you are slept out, but because your duties drag you from your slumbers, you have been where you ought not to have been. There are amusements that send a man, next day, to his work, yawning, stupid, nauseated, and with blood-shot eyes; they are wrong amusements. There are entertainments that give a man disgust with the drudgery of life; with work-tools because they are not swords; with working aprons because they are not princely robes; with domestic cattle because they are not infuriated bulls of the arena. If anything sends you home longing for a life of thrilling adventure, for love that takes poison or shoots itself, for moonlight adventures and hair-breadth escapes, you may depend upon it you are the sacrificed victim of unsanctified pleasure. Our recreations are intended to build us up, and if they pull us down, as to our moral or as to our physical strength, you may come to the conclusion that they are obnoxious.”

Wise people judge all so-called amusements by their actual fruits; by their immediate and their remote influence on the body, the mind, and the soul. It is the part of wisdom to cheerfully avoid all that prove to be dissipating to physical energy, or degrading to moral character; and the highest wisdom as clearly dictates that we cheerfully engage in those things which rest, refresh, and energize our God-given powers.[77]

Treatment of Servants.

There is no surer sign of ill breeding and ill feeling than the rude treatment of dependents. The obligation of civility to servants should be inculcated especially upon the young American, who ought to learn at the earliest period that the accidental relation of advantage of position, which is ever alternating in a country free from prescriptive right, gives no title to a haughty demeanor and a domineering conduct. The recognition of the mutual obligation of master and man, and mistress and maid, is a certain sign of the true gentleman and lady, who will never exact from those temporarily placed in subjection to them the civility they are unwilling to bestow. The “thank you,” “please,” and other courteous expressions of a kindly consideration of the obligation of the employer to the employed, will be freely proffered by all who are fully conscious of their social duties and willing to acknowledge them. Policy, as well as good breeding, inculcates the necessity of gentle treatment and courteous behavior to servants, who will seldom fail to respond with a more zealous service and a readier obedience to exactions and commands rendered less harsh and domineering by a soft word and a subdued mastery.

Management of the Hands.

The management of the hands in company seems to embarrass young people greatly. This comes from the false modesty which induces them to suppose they are the observed of all observers. Let them think only of themselves in due proportion of estimate with the vast multitude of mankind, and frequent habitually the company of the refined, and they will probably overcome much of their awkwardness, if they do not acquire a large degree of grace.[78]

Posing for Effect.

To attitudinize, with the view of producing an impressive effect upon the beholder, seldom succeeds except with the rawest members of society. When detected, as it always is by accomplished people of the world, it creates, at first sight, a feeling of aversion which it is not easy to eradicate. This posing for effect is so old a trick, and so easy of detection, that it is surprising any person who has reached the years of discretion should attempt to play it. Yet how often do we see it, in its various phases of the delicate young lady with the languid air, the listless step, or die-away posture!—the literary young lady with the studiously neglected toilette, the carefully exposed breadth of forehead, and the ever-present, but seldom read book!—the abstemious young lady, who surreptitiously feeds on chops at private lunch, and starves on a pea at the public dinner!—the humane young lady, who pulls Tom’s ears and otherwise tortures brother and sister in the nursery, and does her utmost to fall into convulsions before company at sight of a dead fly!—the fastidious young lady, who faints, should there be an audience to behold the scene, at the sight of roast goose, but whose robust appetite vindicates itself by devouring all that is left of the unclean animal when a private opportunity will allow. We assure our young readers that such affectations are not only absurd, for they are perfectly transparent, but ill bred, as shams of all kinds essentially are.

Winking and Dozing in Public.

Winking and all knowing glances had better be left to the horse jockeys and the frequenters of the bar-rooms, billiard saloon, and gambling-tables. It would seem hardly necessary to remind any one of the indecorousness of sleeping in company, but[79] it must be recollected that the obligation is equally urgent upon all not to put people to sleep. It is the duty of every one to be wakeful; it is equally so to be as little somniferous in matter and manner as possible. An illustration is given of the somnolency of Washington Irving, who, according to the author, D’Israeli, was taken up bodily from a dinner-table where he had fallen asleep, and did not awake until set down in the midst of an evening party.

Beautifying the Hands.

Much can be done by care to beautify the fingers, upon the grace of which depends greatly the beauty of the whole hand. The natural tapering length of these can only be preserved by removing from them all pinching manacles of kid and jewelry. Much of the beauty of the finger depends upon the proper treatment of the nails. These, if cut too close, deform the finger-ends and render them stubby. The upper and free border of the nail should always be left projecting a line or so beyond the extremity of the finger, and be pared only to a slight curve, without encroaching too much on the angles. To preserve the half moon, or what the anatomists call the lunula, which rises just above the root of the nail, and is esteemed so great a beauty, care must be taken to keep down the skin, which constantly tends to encroach upon it. This should be done with a blunt ivory instrument, and the growth gently pushed away, but never cut. By this means, also, the production of the annoying “hang-nail” will be prevented. The habit of filing or scraping the nails is fatal to their perfection, as it thickens their substance and destroys their natural transparency. The ordinary finger-brush should alone be used for cleaning and polishing the nails. The ugly habit of biting the[80] nails is fatal to their beauty. They become excessively brittle in consequence, not being allowed time to acquire their natural toughness, and, moreover, the ends of the fingers, being unsupported, turn over, forming an ugly rim of hard flesh, which will prevent the regular growth of the nail.

Causes of Deformed Feet.

The tight shoe or boot, too narrowly toed, is exclusively responsible for that painful affection, ingrowth of the toe-nail. If treated in time, it can be easily and simply cured. All that is necessary is to scrape down the nail until it becomes quite thin, and then cut the projecting edge of it in a semilunar form, with its concavity looking outward from the foot. The nail of the great toe should always be thus pared, care being taken not to clip the angles. This causes it to grow toward the centre, and shrink from the tender flesh at the sides. Chloroform now happily fulfills the service for the rendering of which this awkward process was barely a pretext. Though the operation has thus become painless to the insensible patient, it has lost none of its horror to the spectator. The surgeon, grasping the toe, thrusts the sharp-pointed blade of a pair of scissors under the nail as far as it will go, and then, cutting it in two, tears out each half with a pair of pincers from the quivering flesh in which it has been long imbedded. No one, not even the slave of fashion, should submit to any form of the boot or shoe other than the broad-toed, which is fortunately now in vogue.

The foot, like the hand, is subject to the infirmity of excessive perspiration. It is to be remedied by the same general and local treatment. The habitual daily washing of the feet should be with cold rather than with warm water, and a[81] powder of starch or arrowroot, which it would be well to perfume with bitter almonds, orris, or some other no more intrusive odor, should be sprinkled in the inside of the stocking.

Care of the Teeth.

A wholesome condition of the teeth is not only essential to good looks, but to daily comfort and permanent health. Chewing of the food, so necessary to a good digestion, cannot be properly performed with weak and diseased masticators, which are, in fact, the frequent cause of dyspepsia and other affections of the stomach. Local diseases of the most tormenting kind, such as neuralgia and the various painful face, head, and earaches, and disorders of the eye, as well as the fatal cancer and tedious ulcers of the tongue and lips, are often due to no other cause than a decayed and ragged tooth.

Awkwardness in Sitting.

Many ladies, by not bending the knees, render their walk very ungraceful. The posture, moreover, if too rigid, particularly in sitting, has an exceedingly ugly look. Some folks are unable to sit on a chair, though they have so many opportunities of learning how to do it. While some never fairly get on a seat but to their own manifest discomfort, and that of all who look upon their misery, poise and balance themselves on the sharp edge, there are others who roll their bodies up into heaps, as it were, and throw them with an audible bounce deep into the receptacle, whatever it may be. Every one seating himself should take his place deliberately, and so completely that he may feel the full repose of the chair, which it is designed[82] to give. The limbs, once at rest, should be moved, if moved at all, as noiselessly as possible; and all extraordinary actions, such as lifting, for example, one leg high upon the other, and holding it there manacled by a grasp of the hand, should be avoided. A person striding a chair, and grinding his teeth, and thrumming his hands on the back, has by no means an elegant look to the observer before or behind. This practice, which is never becoming in any company, is simply indecent in that of women.

About Blushing.

Blushing, which, as a sign of modesty, may be commendable in the young, especially of the female sex, is by no means always pleasing and worthy of encouragement. When immoderate and inopportune, it becomes a social nuisance. There is a false shame, which is the very reverse of true modesty. The usual signs of the fictitious quality are shyness, with the common accompaniments of frequent and ill-timed blushing, hesitancy of speech, hanging of the head, downcast eyes, sidelong glances, shambling and stumbling gait, restlessness of posture, and a general air of voluntary shrinkage, if we may be allowed the term. This false modesty is the result of a genuine vanity, which, overestimating self, fancies it the object of universal attention. This naturally begets a sensitiveness and an anxiety about personal appearance so great that they embarrass the whole behavior; for these excessively vain persons, fancying all eyes constantly upon them, would desire to make a figure in society of which they are manifestly incapable. Of this they are the first to become conscious, and their hopelessness of success is painted in strong colors upon the face, and visibly impressed upon every[83] limb and feature. There are persons who live to an advanced life, and yet retain this fault. It has often proved fatal to the social qualities of some who have been otherwise singularly well adapted not only to receive from society, but to bestow upon it, both distinction and happiness.



Enjoy the Present Hour.

There is an Eastern legend of a powerful genii, who promised a beautiful maiden a gift of rare value if she would pass through a field of corn and, without pausing, going backward, or wandering hither and thither, select the largest and ripest ear,—the value of the gift to be in proportion to the size and perfection of the ear she should choose. She passed through the field, seeing a great many well worth gathering, but always hoping to find a larger and more perfect one, she passed them all by, when, coming to a part of the field where the stalks grew more stunted, she disdained to take one from these, and so came through to the other side without having selected any. This little fable is a faithful picture of many lives, which are rejecting the good things in their way and within their reach, for something before them for which they vainly hope, but will never secure. On a dark night and in a dangerous place, where the footing is insecure, a lantern in the hand is worth a dozen stars. It is well to look beyond the present into the future, and in the season of strength and prosperity, to make provision for a time when misfortune and old age may overtake us. But this does not mean that we should ignore the present altogether, nor that our pleasures should consist solely in the anticipation of some future prosperity or expected success.

Make Home Attractive.

Some one has said that the three sweetest words in our language are, “Mother, Home and Heaven.” We may well pity that being so unfortunate as not[85] to have enjoyed the blessings of a happy home, for in the battle of life we need to be armed with the counsels and prayers of a mother, and all holy and sweet home influences, if we are to successfully meet the snares and perils which will beset us. Home is the paradise in which this wonderful world is first revealed to our growing consciousness, and as from its safe shelter we look out upon life we form our estimate of it according to the impressions and teachings we there receive. If the home is brightened with the sunshine of love, its radiance is reflected in all around us, and the whole world appears to us only as one family,—full of kind thoughts, tender sympathies, gentle ministrations and noble deeds. If the home life is sour, gloomy and unhappy, then we see the whole world through the same atmosphere of misery and discontent; and it is to us only a dull, dismal prison, crowded with selfish souls, whose petty strifes and base actions cause perpetual turmoils and unhappiness.

Parents, depend upon it, you have no holier nor higher work to do than to make home attractive. In after years your endeavors will be repaid a hundred fold by the grateful affection, the happy memories, and the noble lives of your children, who, whatever their success elsewhere, will ever turn to the old homestead and its inmates as the Mecca of their earthly pilgrimage.

A Sunny Temper.

If it were possible for us to invoke the aid of some powerful genii, who, as we passed through life, could summon troops of loving friends around us, and make our pathway radiant with their smiles and blessings, we should think no labor too arduous, no sacrifice too great to procure such inestimable happiness. If such a beneficent fairy held court and dispensed such favors, though she[86] dwelt in the uttermost parts of the earth, what caravans of eager pilgrims would throng to that favorite realm! We often forget that the priceless charm which will secure to us all these desirable gifts is within our reach. It is the charm of a sunny temper,—a talisman more potent than station, more precious than gold, more to be desired than fine rubies. It is an aroma, whose fragrance fills the air with the odors of Paradise. It is an amulet, at sight of which dark clouds of perplexity and hideous shapes of discord flee away. It wreathes the face with smiles, creates friends, promotes cheerfulness, awakens tenderness, and scatters happiness. It fills the heart with joy, it robs sorrow of its pain and makes of earth a very heaven below.

Value of Female Society to Man.

One of the most marked men of this century, Disraeli, who achieved distinction in many different lines of thought and action, toward the close of a career of extraordinary success, made the remarkable statement that “a female friend, amiable, clever and devoted, is a possession more valuable than parks and palaces, and without such a nurse, few men can succeed in life,—none be content.” The reason why multitudes of gifted and brilliant men fail in their career, is for want of the very traits of character which female society would impart. How many men are intellectual, well informed, and possess a complete practical knowledge of the pursuit they enter upon! but they are brusque, imperious, and overbearing; they lack the urbanity of demeanor, the consideration of others’ feelings, the gracefulness of expression, which are necessary to conciliate men and to draw them to themselves; and for the need of these qualities their progress is impeded, or they fail in their plans[87] altogether. The female character possesses those qualities in which most men are deficient,—the delicate instincts, the acute perceptions, the ready judgment, the wonderful intuitions,—these all belong to her by native right, and are usually acquired by men through her influence.

Home Maxims.

The following maxims, if put in practice daily, would do much to promote harmony and good feeling in the home:

“Never make a remark at the expense of the other; it is meanness.”

“Never manifest anger.”

“Never speak loud to one another, unless the house is on fire.”

“Never reflect on a past action which was done with a good motive, and with the best judgment.”

“Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. Besides, it may be that you will not meet again in life.”

“Let each one strive to yield oftenest to the wishes of the other, which is the mutual cultivation of an absolute unselfishness.”

True Politeness.

Politeness has been called the oil which makes the wheels of society run smoothly; and certainly it does greatly lessen the friction of daily contact with each other. Keen perceptions, a wise discernment, and a natural power of imitation, with much contact with the world, are the essential requirements of polished manners. It has been said “that the best bred man is he who is possessed of dignified ease, to reconcile him to all situations and society.” This is not attained so much from a knowledge of the rules of etiquette, as by an innate[88] nobility of character, a greatness of soul, and proper self-respect. True politeness is never the product merely of punctilious conformity to established usages, although it is necessary to have a knowledge of these, but rather of an overflowing kindness of heart, a generosity of spirit, and a sacred regard for the golden rule. Indeed, the grand foundation on which the etiquette of all civilized countries is based, is that of doing to others as you would they should do unto you, and in preferring others to yourself.

Mock Modesty.

A proper sense of modesty is a virtue which makes real merit more charming, because seemingly unconscious of excellence. But carried to an excess it will tend to dwarf the powers, cripple the energies and defeat the great purposes of life. When a man is well qualified to do a certain thing, and feels that he can and ought to do it, but is impelled by modesty to shrink back into obscurity for fear of bringing himself into notice, then has his modesty degenerated into cowardice, and instead of consoling himself that he is cherishing a great virtue, he needs the lash of stern rebuke for his lack of manliness. One of the most charming of essayists, says: “I have noticed that under the notion of modesty men have indulged themselves in a spiritless sheepishness, and been forever lost to themselves, their families, their friends and their country. I have said often, modesty must be an act of the will, and yet it always implies self-denial, for if a man has a desire to do what is laudable for him to perform, and from an unmanly bashfulness shrinks away and lets his merit languish in silence, he ought not to be angry with the world that a more unskillful actor succeeds in his part, because he has not confidence to come upon the stage himself.”[89]

The Art of Conversation.

To converse well requires more than mere information or knowledge, combined with a ready facility of expression. There must also be sound judgment and a good heart, for without these all other triumphs are hollow and delusive. Our conversation should be such as will be agreeable to others; the subject of it should be appropriate to the time, place and company, and we should avoid all bitterness, all thoughtless criticisms, all unseemly ridicule, and the heartlessness which wounds the feelings and disturbs the peace of those who listen to us,—and then our presence will be welcomed, and we shall diffuse pleasure and promote friendship. All the resources of tact and wisdom may be summoned into action in the exercise of our colloquial powers. An ancient philosopher made it a rule to divide the day into several parts, appointing each part to its proper engagement, and one of these was devoted to silence wherein to study what to say. What innumerable heart-burnings; what a multitude of quarrels; what a host of local feuds would be avoided, if this wise rule were universally followed!

When “Small-Talk” is Timely.

One of the first requisites of conversation is to have something worth saying. Lowell once said, “Blessed are they who have nothing to say, and cannot be persuaded to say it;” and another remarked, “There are few wild beasts to be dreaded more than a communicative man with nothing to communicate.” Clearly, this might be aimed at the small-talk habits of some.

Carlyle, in his rugged, vigorous style, expresses himself quite as strongly to the same point: “Thou who wearest that cunning, heaven-made organ, a[90] tongue, think well of this: Speak not, I passionately entreat thee, till thy thought have silently matured itself, till thou have other than mad and mad-making noises to emit; hold thy tongue till some meaning lie behind it to set it wagging. Consider the significance of Silence; it is boundless,—never by meditating to be exhausted; unspeakably profitable to thee! Cease that chaotic hub-bub wherein thy own soul runs to waste, to confused suicidal dislocation and stupor; out of silence comes strength.”

The ground-work of conversation is knowledge of the subject under consideration, and without this words are but useless sounds. Yet there are conditions in which a vigorous flow of “small-talk,” we talk with no particular object or value. Live to enliven and keep in good humor, is most desirable.

Monopolizing Talkers.

An eminent clergyman once administered this rebuke to a young lady, who absorbed the entire time of the company by her small talk: “Madam, before you withdraw, I have one piece of advice to give you, and that is, when you go into company again, after you have talked half an hour without intermission, I recommend it to you to stop awhile, and see if any other of the company has anything to say.” There are few persons of such rare learning and ability that one can afford, when in their company, to be only a listener. There is a Chinese proverb that “a single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years’ study with books.” But how comparatively few good talkers there are, and how lightly is the art esteemed. And yet, will it not always be true that “Words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in pictures of silver?”[91]

A Point on Being Well Dressed.

A celebrated English divine once said to a lady: “Madam, so dress and so conduct yourself, that persons who have been in your company shall not recollect what you had on.” To be well dressed does not necessarily mean that your apparel should be a copy of the latest whim of fashion, or made of the costliest material. That person is well dressed whose attire shows a suitableness to circumstances of time and place, and the position and means of the wearer. Neglect and inattention to the small externals of dress should be carefully guarded against.

Enjoy Your Youth.

Youth comes to us but once; it is the season of golden hopes, of overflowing spirits and of joyous anticipations, and so it demands surroundings suited to these emotions. You may require no recreation but such as your business and daily toil supply; your mind may be absorbed in your plans and schemes, which appear to you of almost as much importance as the affairs of an empire, and with this you are satisfied; but, if so, your eyes are not young eyes, and your heart must have long ago been dead to the voices of your youth, to expect that your children will be contented and happy, unless you respond to some of the impulses of their joyous natures. If you have not already the refining power of music in your little circle, procure a piano or organ, and encourage your children to sing and play. Surround yourself with a little social circle of your own. Adorn your walls with pictures and thus cultivate a love of art; subscribe to a standard magazine or two, and provide them with such books as will give them glimpses of what is going on in the world around them.[92]

The Superior Hostess.

A superior hostess does not make her house a spectacle. She infuses into her hospitalities the charm of comfort and purity, the sweetness of friendship, the sacredness of the relation between the entertainer and the entertained; and between herself and even the humblest of her guests there is a recognizable tie which is as dissimilar to that which fastens her interest to another guest as its variation is charming.

A Useful Hint.

At an evening visit or entertainment, if the invited person departs before the usual and specified hour, he and she should omit formal adieus, if possible, to avoid putting the thoughts of an unusually early departure into the minds of other guests; but if an unnoticed departure is impossible, the leave-taking should be quietly done, the hostess expressing her regret at the early departure, but on no account can she request a delay that some necessity has demanded. It would be as unkind as it would be indelicate to urge a guest to inconvenience himself for the sake of keeping a crowd intact at a fashionable crush, or even at a small party.



egg on upside down plate

The Dancing Egg.

Place the egg (which should be hard-boiled, not raw) upon the under-side of a smooth tray, and move the tray round and round horizontally, gradually increasing in speed. The egg, resting in the middle of the tray, is carried round and round by the movement, and gradually begins to revolve on its own axis, faster and faster, till at last it is seen to rise on end, and spin away exactly as a top would do.

In all experiments involving egg-balancing, you will find it a material aid to success to keep the egg upright in the saucepan while it is being boiled. The air-chamber will, in such case, be kept central with the longer axis of the egg, which will in consequence be much more easily balanced.

To set the egg spinning as above described demands a considerable amount of practice, not to[94] mention some strength, and, still more, address. For the benefit of those who may prefer to succeed at the first attempt, I will indicate a simpler plan of proceeding:—

Place the tray on the table, letting it project so far over the edge as to be readily and rapidly grasped by the hand. Place the egg in the middle, and with the thumb of the left and the first finger of the right hand placed at opposite ends, set it vigorously spinning. It will immediately rise on end, still spinning. Quickly seize the tray, and you will then have nothing to do but to keep the egg still rotating, which is a very easy matter. This is done by moving the tray in horizontal circles, but in the reverse direction to that in which the egg revolves.

The Old Family Coach.

Miss Annie and Clara and the Little Dog decided to take a ride in the Family Coach, so, whip in hand, the fat Coachman shut the Door, mounted the box, the Little Dog barked, when they entered the Family Coach, and almost fell among the Wheels. Miss Clara and Annie scolded the Coachman for being so careless in starting the Family Coach too soon, and putting the Little Dog in danger of falling among the Wheels. Finally the Coachman cracked his whip and the Family Coach started in good shape, the Little Dog barking furiously. Everything went well with the Family Coach for a few miles, till the Coachman spied a pretty girl on the road. He kept looking after her and did not see that he was putting the Family Coach and horses in danger, when crash! went the Family Coach. Miss Clara and Miss Annie screamed, the Little Dog barked; the Coachman shouted, the Wheels went in different directions, and the Axle, the Whiffle Tree and all the[95] parts of the Family Coach were left in a heap in the road, in care of the Coachman, while Miss Clara, Miss Annie and the Little Dog went home on foot. Such were the adventures of the Family Coach.

Assemble the company, and give to each one of the names that are capitalized in the first paragraph, four being Wheels, two Axles, one the Whiffle Tree and one the Door, the names of the ladies to two, and select the tallest person in the room for the Little Dog. After all the names of all the parts are given, some one stands in the middle of the floor and reads the Adventures of the Family Coach.

Each time the Family Coach is mentioned every one in the room should rise, turn around three times, and sit down again. When the wheels are mentioned, four persons bearing the names of Wheels also rise, turn around three times, and sit down. The Little Dog barks, the Coachman shouts, the two ladies bow when their names (Miss Clara and Miss Annie), are called. There is great fun when the Little Dog is called on repeatedly to rise, turn, and sit down again. When the Horses are mentioned four persons also rise, turn around, etc., and so until disaster overtakes the Coach. This game causes much merriment, and general good feeling.

The Game of Quotations.

All the members of the company being seated, each is provided with pencil and paper. Some one gives a quotation, while the other players write the speaker’s name upon their papers, and opposite it the name of the author from whom they believe he has quoted. After each in turn has given a quotation, the papers are collected and re-distributed, care being taken that no one shall receive his own. Then each repeats the quotation[96] originally given, this time adding the name of the author; the other players correcting meanwhile the papers held by them. The person who has given the largest number of authors correctly wins a prize. For example, the first player rises and says:

Colors seen by candle-light
Do not look the same by day.

The next says:

Handsome is that handsome does.

And so on until all have given quotations. When the papers are exchanged, No. 1, again rising says:

Colors seen by candle-light
Do not look the same by day.
Mrs. Browning.

No. 2:

Handsome is that handsome does.

And so on through the list. If any player has substituted some other name for Browning or Goldsmith, or has failed to write the name of any author, it must be marked as incorrect. One player then collects and compares all the papers and announces the winner of the contest.


Each member of the party is provided with paper and pencil, also with two small cards or slips of paper, upon one of which is to be written a question and on the other a single word. The questions and words are collected separately and re-distributed, whereupon each player must answer in rhyme the question he has drawn, introducing into the rhyme the word on the other card. The[97] time is limited to five minutes, and when this has expired, each reads aloud the result of his labors, first giving the question and word received. To make the game more interesting it is sometimes required that the word received shall be made a rhyming word. Here is an example: A writes for his question “Where is the end of the rainbow?” and for his single word “goose.” In the allotted time he writes the following:

You ask where the end of the rainbow is found;
Just answer yourself if you can, sir.
For “anser” in Latin in English means “goose,”
And I’m not such a goose as to answer.

Pictured Quotations.

At the top of a half sheet of paper (each player having one), a picture is rudely drawn illustrating some quotation. When all the drawings are finished each player passes his paper to his right-hand neighbor, who writes his interpretation of the picture at the bottom of the paper, turning the paper over to conceal the writing and passing it on to the next player. When each has written on all the papers and they have returned to their owners, they are unfolded and their contents read aloud, the correct quotation being given last. As an instance, A draws a casement window through which is seen a face gazing at a cluster of stars. The paper is passed to No. 1, and he writes as his interpretation:

In the prison cell I sit, thinking mother dear of you.

No. 2 writes:

Mabel, little Mabel, with her face against the pane.


None guess correctly, so A explains that it illustrates this couplet from Tennyson’s “Locksley Hall:”

Many a night from yonder ivied casement ere I went to rest,
Have I looked on great Orion sloping slowly toward the West.

Cross Questions.

The company is divided into two equal parts, and blank cards and pencils are distributed. One side writes questions on any subject desired, while the other prepares in like manner a set of hap-hazard answers. The question cards are then collected and distributed to the players on the other side, while their answers are divided among the questioners. The leader holding a question then reads it aloud, the first player on the other side reading the answer he holds. Some of the answers are highly amusing.

The Game of Rhymes.

A variation of the former game. The game is begun by a young lady or gentleman speaking a single line, to which the next nearest on the left must respond with another line to rhyme with the first. The next player gives a new line, of the same length, and the fourth supplies a rhyme in turn, and so on. The game is provocative of any amount of fun and nonsense. A sample may be given.

1st Player.—I think I see a brindle cow.

2d Player.—It’s nothing but your dad’s bow wow.

3d Player.—He is chasing our black Tommy cat.

4th Player.—Poor puss had best get out of that, etc.

Any amount of nonsense may be indulged in a[99] game of this sort, within proper limits. Clever players can easily give the game a most interesting turn and provoke rhymes that are original and witty. Thus, a subject once started, every phase of it may be touched upon before the round closes.

Five Straw Puzzle

The Five-Straw Puzzle.

You are supplied with five straws of equal length (about three and a half inches), and you are required to lift all five, holding only the tip of one of them. A glance will show you the arrangement of the five little straws and the coin in their centre, which is, as will be seen, as simple as possible—when you know it. The use of the coin is an optional addition. It wedges all tight, and prevents the straws slipping when once put together; but it is by no means indispensable.

French Rhymes.

Each member of the company writes upon a slip of paper two words that rhyme. These are collected by one player and read aloud, and as[100] they are read everybody writes them down upon new papers. Five or ten minutes being allowed, each player must write a poem introducing all the rhyming words in their original pairs. At the expiration of the given time the lines are read aloud. Suppose the words given are “man and than,” “drops and copse,” “went and intent,” etc., these are easily framed into something like this:

Once on a time a brooklet drops,
With splash and dash, through a shady copse;
One day there chanced to pass a man,
Who, deeming water better than
Cider, down by the brooklet went,
To dip some up was his intent.

Of course the result is nonsense, but it is pleasant nonsense, and may be kept up indefinitely, to the entertainment of the participants.

Where’s Your Letter Going?

All being seated, two of the company are chosen, one for postmaster, the other for carrier. The Postmaster gives the name of some city to each person, writing the names down upon paper as they are given. The carrier, blindfolded, stands in the middle of the room and the postman calls: “I have a letter to go from Philadelphia to St. Louis.”

As the names are mentioned, the persons representing these cities change places, the carrier at the same time trying to catch one of them. If he succeeds, and can, while blindfolded, give the name of the captured player, the latter becomes carrier in turn. When the postman says: “I have letters to go all over the world,” everybody rises and changes places, and if in the confusion the carrier captures a seat, the player who remains standing becomes carrier in turn.[101]

Pear held above two crossed knives

The Divided Pear.


Problem: To find the position in which a knife must be held that a pear, suspended high up near to the ceiling, shall, on the severing of the thread to which it is attached, so fall as to cut itself in half upon the blade. There is no necessity for line or plummet; we need only dip the suspended pear in a glass of water, which we forthwith remove. The water drips from it; we note the exact spot on floor or table where the drops fall, and make a private mark on such spot.

This is done privately beforehand, so that the company, on their arrival, find the pear suspended in readiness for the feat, and know nothing of the tell-tale “drop.”

At the proper moment you hold the knife, edge upward, immediately over the point which you have marked, while some one applies a lighted match to the thread. If you have duly followed our instructions, the pear, in falling, should cut itself in half upon the blade.

For the experiment as above described one knife only is used; but it may also be performed with two knives, as shown in our illustration.

The Game of Bouquet.

Each player composes in turn a bouquet of three different flowers, that he names aloud to the person conducting the play. The leader then writes the names of the flowers, and after them the names of three persons in the room. He then demands of the player who has composed the bouquet, what he intends doing with the flowers, and upon their proposed disposition being declared, the names of the three persons they represent are read aloud.


Leader.—“Miss A, choose three flowers.”

Miss A.—“A rose, an aster and a pansy.”[103]

L.—“I have written them. Now what will you do with the rose?”

A.—“I will throw it out of the window.”

L.—“And the aster?”

A.—“I will put it in a vase.”

L.—“And the pansy?”

A.—“I will always keep it near me.”

L.—“Very well. You have thrown Mr. A out of the window, put Mr. B in a vase and expressed a desire to keep Mr. C always near you.”

The All-Around Story Game.

This is a very entertaining game and productive of general merriment, if conducted at all cleverly by the players. One person in the room begins to relate a story, and after telling enough to interest his hearers and arouse their curiosity, suddenly breaking off, throws a knotted handkerchief at some other member of the party, calling upon him to continue the narrative. This is kept up as long as possible, the more absurd and improbable the plot of the story the better. If any one fails to respond upon receiving the handkerchief, he or she must pay a forfeit.


The amusing game of tongue-twisters is played thus: The leader gives out a sentence (one of the following), and each repeats it in turn, any player who gets tangled up in the pronunciation, having to pay forfeit.

A haddock! a haddock! a black-spotted haddock, a black spot on the black back of the black-spotted haddock.

She sells sea shells.

She stood at the door of Mr. Smith’s fish-sauce shop, welcoming him in.[104]

The sea ceaseth and it sufficeth us.

Six thick thistle sticks.

The flesh of freshly fried flying fish.

A growing gleam glowing green.

I saw Esau kissing Kate, the fact is we all three saw; I saw Esau, he saw me, and she saw I saw Esau.

Swan swam over the sea; swim, swan, swim; swan swam back again; well swum, swan.

You snuff shop snuff, I snuff box snuff.

The bleak breeze blighted the bright broom blossoms.

High roller, low roller, rower.

Oliver Oglethorp ogled an owl and oyster. Did Oliver Oglethorp ogle an owl and oyster? If Oliver Oglethorp ogled an owl and oyster, where are the owl and oyster Oliver Oglethorp ogled?

Hobbs meets Snobbs and Nobbs; Hobbs bobs to Snobbs and Nobbs; Hobbs nobs with Snobbs and robs Nobbs’ fob. “That is,” says Nobbs, “the worse for Hobbs’ jobs,” and Snobbs sobs.

Susan shines shoes and socks; socks and shoes shine Susan. She ceaseth shining shoes and socks, for shoes and socks shock Susan.

Robert Rowley rolled a round roll round; a round roll Robert Rowley rolled round. Where rolled the round roll Robert Rowley rolled round?

Strict, strong Stephen Stringer snared slickly six sickly, silky snakes.

To Balance a Pencil on its Point.

Dig the blade of a half open penknife into a pencil, a little above the point, and to open or close the blade, little by little, till you find that the balance is obtained. The combination of pencil and penknife thus placing itself in equilibrio is an illustration of a familiar law of mechanics; the centre of gravity of the combination falls below[105] the point of support (the finger, edge of the table, or the like), and thus stable equilibrium is obtained.

Balancing pencil being cut by knife

By varying the degree of opening of the penknife, you impart corresponding degrees of inclination to the pencil. When the centre of[106] gravity of the two combined falls in the same line as the axis of the pencil, the latter will assume a perpendicular position.

My Grandfather’s Trunk.

A great game for young folks of a winter evening. The company being seated in a circle, somebody begins by saying, for instance:

No. 1. “I pack my grandfather’s trunk with a pair of spectacles.”

No. 2. “I pack my grandfather’s trunk with a pair of spectacles and a silk hat.”

No. 3. “I pack my grandfather’s trunk with a pair of spectacles, a silk hat and a dime novel.” And so on, each person repeating all the articles already mentioned, beside adding a new one.

If any one fails to repeat the list correctly, he drops out of the game, which is continued until the contents of the trunk are unanimously declared too numerous to remember.

How, When and Where.

One member of the company leaving the room, a word admitting of more than one interpretation is chosen by the others. On his return, he asks each in succession, “How do you like it?” The player questioned being required to give an appropriate answer. He then inquires in similar manner, “When do you like it?” and if the answer to that question still give him no clue, proceeds to ask, “Where do you like it?”

When he at last discovers the word, the person whose answer has furnished him with the most information, must in turn leave the room and become the questioner.

We will suppose the word chosen to be “rain,” which can also be taken as “reign” or “rein.”[107]

The question “How do you like it?” receives the answers “tight,” “heavy,” “short,” “warm,” etc.

The question “When do you like it?” “In summer,” “When I am driving,” “In the nineteenth century,” etc.

“Where do you like it?” “In England,” “On a horse,” “In the sky,” etc.

I Love My Love.

A pretty game and a prime favorite with country lads and lasses. The leader commences by saying, “I love my love with an ‘A’ because she is Angelic, because her name is Araminta and because she lives in Atlanta. I will give her an Amethyst, feed her upon Almonds and make her a bouquet of Anemones.” The next player, taking the letter “B,” loves his love in the same set of phrases, only because she is Bewitching, her name is Belinda, etc. The next takes “C,” and so on through the alphabet, omitting the letter X.

Any one failing to supply the required words promptly gives a forfeit.

To Drive a Needle Through a Cent.

To drive a needle through a cent, particularly if the needle be a fine one, seems at first sight an impossibility. It is, however, a very easy matter, if you set about it in the right way. Thrust the needle through a cork, allowing the point to project slightly, and then, with a pair of cutting-pliers, nip off all that remains exposed at the opposite end. Place cork and cent as shown in our illustration, or simply let the coin rest on a piece of soft wood, and hammer away vigorously on the top of the cork.

The needle, being steel, is harder than the bronze of the coin, and the cork preventing it[108] from bending to either side, it may be driven through the cent, or any other coin of like substance, with perfect ease.

Hammer on cork

The cork should be kept in position with the left hand, while receiving the blows of the hammer.


This game requires the players to be alert and on the watch for the words that give the clue to the solution. One player (A) having gone from the room, a proverb is selected by the others, of which each person takes a separate word, in order. The absent player then being recalled, proceeds to question the others singly, each introducing in his answer the word of the proverb he has previously received. Suppose the proverb selected to be “Nothing venture nothing have,” the game would proceed thus:[109]

A. “Is the proverb a long one?”

1st Player. “Nothing should be too long for you to guess.”

A. “Have you ever played this game before?”

2d P. “Really I cannot venture to say.”

A. “Are you fond of parlor games?”

3d P. “Nothing pleases me more.”

A. “Are you enjoying yourself this evening?”

4th P. “I have enjoyed myself thus far.”

If A has not by this time guessed the proverb, he continues his questions until enlightened, when the player whose answer has given him the most information goes from the room.

Rather a noisy way of playing the same game is to have all the players at a given signal shout their words in unison, leaving the listener to distinguish in the uproar some word that shall give him a clue to the proverb. The shouting is repeated as often as desired until he is successful.

In either modification of the game the player whose answer or word leads the questioner to discovery becomes the one to go from the room.

Tossing The Rings.

Fasten securely a stick two feet long and an inch or more in diameter to the centre of a block of wood or piece of board, so that the block forms a substantial base for the stick, which should be slightly tapered at its upper end. Make out of wire six hoops or rings, three of them nine inches in diameter, two of them seven inches, and one five inches. They should be heavy enough to toss easily, perhaps half an inch in thickness. Wind these with cloth torn into strips, fastening the ends with needle and thread. Use three colors of the cloth, the rings of each size being the same color. Red, white and blue make a pretty combination, using red for the largest size, white for the next, and blue for the one small one. Now set[110] the standard at some distance from the players, and the game begins. One player takes all the rings and tosses them one at a time over the upright stick. For each of the large rings which he succeeds in getting upon the standard, he counts ten; for each of the next size, fifteen; and for the smallest one, twenty-five. Any number agreed upon may be called a game, and the player first obtaining that number of counts wins. After one player has thrown all the rings, another player takes them, tossing them in the same way. Any number of players may take part in the game. When once around, the first one tosses again, and so on until the game is out. For small children, five or six feet is far enough to toss the rings, but larger ones may increase the distance.

drawing a magic figure

Magic Figures.

Upon a little square of ordinary writing-paper, sketch some geometrical figure—square, rectangle, triangle, polygon, etc.—using for that purpose a pencil whose tip has been moistened with water.[111] Float the paper, with the design upward, on the water in a basin, and fill up with water the figure you have traced. With a little care you may do this without difficulty, for the lines of moisture which form the outlines of your figure (a triangle, we will suppose) will prevent the liquid overpassing the limits thereby defined. The water thus enclosed will rise in a little heap. Now take a pin, and placing the point at any spot you please within the triangle, in such manner that the point dips into the water but does not touch the paper itself, you will see the paper begin to move horizontally in a straight line until the geometric centre of the triangle places itself exactly under the point of the pin. You can readily determine beforehand this central point, which we will call A, and holding the pin as shown in the engraving, you will find that the paper travels in the direction shown by the arrow, till A comes just under the point of the pin, when it will stop of its own accord. Repeat the experiment with a square or a rectangle, and you will find that the spot which is beneath the pin-point, when the paper comes to a standstill, is precisely the point of intersection of the two diagonals.

The Force of the Breath.

When you blow into a paper bag in order to swell it out, afterward bursting it with a blow to produce the familiar “bang,” have you ever stopped to ask yourself what was the precise force of your breath? You know that such force can be measured by the instrument known as the spirometer, which you occasionally see at a railway station or a country fair. But a simple paper bag may be made to answer the purpose of the spirometer, as I propose to explain.

blowing over large books

The bag must be rather long and narrow, airtight, and of thin, tough paper. A bullock’s[112] bladder will answer the purpose still better. A tube should be inserted in the neck, through which to blow. Lay it flat, near the edge of a table, with the mouth turned toward yourself; place various weights upon it, increasing by degrees, and you will be surprised at the weight that your breath will thus lift. To upset a couple of big dictionaries, placed one upon the other, will be mere child’s play, as you will find on putting the matter to the test.

Hunt the Ring.

All the players stand in a circle holding a long cord, which forms an endless band upon which a ring has been slipped before it was joined at the ends. This ring is passed rapidly from one player to another—always on the cord and concealed by the hand—while somebody in the centre endeavors to seize the hands of the person who holds it, who when actually caught takes his place within the circle.[113]

If the circle is very large two rings may be slipped upon the cord, and two players placed in the centre together.

A small key may be used instead of a ring, while still another variation is to have the concealed object a small whistle with a ring attached. When this is adopted an amusing phase of the game is to secretly attach a string to the whistle and fasten this to the back of the player in the centre by means of a bent pin at the other end of the string. Then while feigning to pass the whistle from hand to hand, it is occasionally seized and blown upon by some one in the ring, toward whom the victim is at that moment turning his back, causing that individual to be greatly puzzled.

Shadow Buff.

A sheet being stretched across one end of the room, one of the players is seated upon a low stool facing it and with his eyes fixed upon it. The only light in the room must be a lamp placed upon a table in the centre of the room. Between this lamp and the person on the stool, the players pass in succession, their shadows being thrown upon the sheet in strong relief. The victim of the moment endeavors to identify the other players by their respective shadows, and if he succeeds the detected party must take his place.

It is allowable to make detection as difficult as possible by means of any available disguise that does not conceal the whole person, any grimacing, contortion of form, etc.

Magic Music.

A beautiful game, which amuses even the mere spectator as much as it does the actual players. One of the company sits at the piano while another leaves the room. The rest of the party then hide[114] some article previously agreed upon and recall the absent player. At his entrance the pianist begins playing some lively air very softly; keeping up a sort of musical commentary upon his search, playing louder as he approaches the goal, and softer when he wanders away from it. In this way he is guided to at last discover the object of his search.

Going to Jerusalem.

This is another piano game, but does not require so much skill as the former. One person goes to the piano, while the others arrange in a line as many chairs, less one, as there are players; the chairs alternately facing opposite directions. Then as the pianist begins to play, the others commence marching around the line of chairs, keeping time to the music. When this suddenly ceases, everybody tries to sit down, but as there is one less chair than players, somebody is left standing and must remain out of the game. Then another chair is removed and the march continued, until the chairs decrease to one and the players to two.

Whoever of these succeeds in seating himself as the music stops, has won the game.


A game of skill, the equivalent of parlor quoits. It is played with bean-bags and a board three feet long and two feet wide, elevated at one end by another board to an angle of thirty degrees, and having some six inches from the top an opening about five inches square. Station this board at one end of a long room and divide the company equally. Eight bean-bags are all that are required.

The leader of one side begins. Standing at a suitable distance from the board, he endeavors to throw the bags, one at a time, through the square opening. Every bag that reaches the goal counts[115] ten, every one that lodges upon the board five, and every one that falls to the ground outside of the board a loss of ten.

Suppose A to have put two bags through the opening (twenty), and two upon the board (ten),—that is a gain of thirty—but the other four bags falling to the ground makes a loss of forty, so his real score is a loss of ten.

B puts four through the opening (forty), three upon the board (fifteen), and one upon the ground (ten), which gives him a gain of forty-five.

The sides play alternately, and after three rounds for each, the scores, which have been carefully kept by one member of the party, are balanced, and the side having the greatest gain declared winners.

A prize may be given for the highest individual score.

Throwing the Handkerchief.

A very old and still quite popular game. The company being seated around the room in a circle, some one stationed in the centre throws an unfolded handkerchief to one of the seated players. Whoever receives it must instantly throw it to some one else, and so on, while the person in the centre endeavors to catch the handkerchief in its passage from one player to another. If he catches it, as it touches somebody, that person must take his place in the centre. If it is caught in the air the player whose hands it last left enters the circle.

The handkerchief must not be knotted or twisted, but thrown loosely.

Blind-Man’s Buff.

A player is led blindfolded into the middle of the room, taken by the shoulders, and turned around three times, after which he must catch[116] somebody to replace him. As he is being turned, the others say:

“How many horses have you in your father’s stable?”

“Three; black, white and gray.”

“Turn about, and turn about, and catch whom you may.”

This game belongs to many countries, and is known by many different names. It is “Blind Cow” in Germany; “Blind Goat” in Sweden; “Blind Mouse” in South Germany and Servia; “Blind Hen” in Spain; “Blind Fly,” or “Blind Cat,” in Italy. To the English name, “Blind-man’s Buff,” correspond the Polish “Blind Old Man,” and the Norwegian “Blind Thief.”

A familiar variation makes this a ring-game. The blindfolded person stands in the centre, with a staff, while the ring circles about him. When he strikes the floor three times, the ring must pause. The person in whose direction he points must grasp the staff, and utter some sound, disguising the voice as much as possible. The first must then guess the name from the sound. This form of the game is called “Peg in the Ring.”

A Queer Candlestick.

Take a short piece of candle, and into its lower end thrust, by way of ballast, a nail. You should choose a nail of such a size that the candle-end shall be all but immersed, the water just rising to its upper edge, though not so high as to overflow the top and wet the wick. Now, light the candle, and you may safely make a wager that, in spite of the apparently unfavorable circumstances in which it is placed, it will burn completely to the end.

This may, at first sight, appear a rash assertion, but after a little reflection, you will see how the arrangement works. The candle, of course, grows[117] shorter as it burns, and it seems therefore as if the water must overflow the top and reach the wick; but on the other hand, it grows proportionately lighter, and therefore rides higher in the water.

Further, the external surface of the candle, kept cool by the surrounding liquid, melts much more slowly than it would in the open air, so that the flame hollows out for itself a sort of little well, as represented in the right-hand corner of our illustration.

candle burining in glass of water

This hollowing process further lightens the candle, and the wick will, as you have stated, burn to the very end.

To Weigh a Letter with a Broomstick.

For the purpose of weighing light objects as, for instance, a letter, a very delicate balance is[118] required; and as such we recommend to our readers our new broomstick letter-weighing machine. Cut off the end of an ordinary broom-handle, to a length of about ten inches, and plunge it into a tall glass jar full of water—first, however, weighting it at bottom in such manner that about seven inches of its length shall be under water. Attach to the upper end, by means of a tack, an ordinary visiting card. This will form the tray or scale of the apparatus—and behold your weighing-machine, complete. All that remains to be done is to graduate it. Place on the scale a one-ounce weight, note how far the stick sinks, and mark thereon, with a very black pencil, the point where it meets the surface of the water.

card on broomstick in jar


The apparatus being so far graduated, take off the weight, and lay on the card, in its stead, the letter you desire to weigh. If the pencil mark remains above the surface of the water, your letter weighs less than an ounce, and two cents will pay the postage; if, on the contrary, the mark sinks below the surface, your letter is over-weight, and you must pay accordingly.

The Tailless Donkey.

An amusing game at which any size of party may play and enjoy it for hours. Cut a large figure of a donkey, minus a tail, from dark paper or cloth, and pin it upon a sheet stretched tightly across a door-way. Each player is given a piece of paper, which would fit the donkey for a tail, if applied. On each tail is written the name of the person holding it. When all is ready, the players are blindfolded in turn—placed facing the donkey a few steps back in the room—then turned around rapidly two or three times and told to advance with the tail held at arm’s length, and with a pin previously inserted in the end, attach it to the figure of the donkey wherever they first touch it. When the whole curtain is adorned with tails—(not to mention all the furniture, family portraits, etc., in the vicinity)—and there are no more to pin on, the person who has succeeded in fastening the appendage the nearest to its natural dwelling place, receives a prize, and the player who has given the most eccentric position to the tail entrusted to his care, receives the “booby” prize, generally some gift of a nature to cause a good-humored laugh.


This is a variation of “Blind Man’s Buff,” which is described elsewhere. Seat the company[120] round the room and give each a number. Blindfold one person and station him in the centre of the room, twirling him around several times so that he may successfully “lose his bearings.” He must then call any two numbers included in the number of players, and the two people representing them must at once rise and change places, while the “blind man” endeavors to seize one of them. If he succeeds in doing this he must, while still blindfolded, identify the captive, who then in turn enters the circle.

More than two numbers may be called at once, and when the “blind man” calls out “Boston!” and everybody changes places, he may, by slipping into a vacant seat during the confusion, find a substitute in the person left standing when all the chairs are occupied.

What is Your Age?

It is always a delicate thing to inquire a lady’s age, but the question in this game will offend nobody. There must be at least two people in the secret, and one of them leaves the room. Somebody in the company tells his age to the others, and the absent player is recalled. Everybody is at liberty to question him, but he only pays attention to the one player he knows holds the secret of the game, and from the first letters of the words introducing the remarks of this person he takes his cue—the first ten letters of the alphabet standing for the ten figures, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0.

A goes from the room and B asks for somebody’s age. C volunteers, “I am twenty-five.” A being then recalled, there is a universal demand from the company for the required age, and a great deal of doubt expressed as to his ability to guess it. During the general confusion, B hastily says: “Be sure before you speak,” and then again:[121] “Enough thinking. Tell us now.” Whereupon, A, guided by the first letter, “b,” of the first remark, and the “e” of the second, which he knows represents the digits “two” and “five” respectively, quickly says “twenty-five.”

What, Sir? Me, Sir?

One player says to another:

“Mr. Brown, I saw you on Broadway.”

Whereupon Mr. Brown says:

“What, sir? Me, sir?”

The other replies:

“Yes, sir; you, sir.”

“Oh! no, sir, not I, sir.”

“Who then, sir?”

“Mr. Smith, sir.”

Mr. Smith immediately replies:

“What, sir? Me, sir?”

And so on till each is mentioned in turn. Those who miss must pay a forfeit. At the end of the game all the forfeits are redeemed.


The players are seated around the room. One person pretends to whisper to each of the others in turn the name of a different animal. After naming them all, he must call out the name of some one animal, and the person having that name must run out at the door. Having given the whole company the name of horse, he calls horse whereupon they all make a simultaneous rush for the door. A narrow door should be chosen, if possible.


This is a short game, reaching a quick conclusion and exciting a hearty laugh. Tell everybody in the room that you will give to each in a[122] whisper, the name of some animal, whose peculiar cry they are to imitate in concert at a given signal. To all but one person the simple charge to “keep perfectly silent” is given. Upon that one is bestowed the name of “Rooster.” Then saying, “All be ready when I say three!” Count “one, two, three,” when a lusty crow from the victim of the joke, and a laugh from the others, tell him that the general amusement has been at his expense.


The players are each provided with a slip of paper and a pencil. Each must write the name of some gentleman (who is known to the party), turn down the end of the paper on which the name is written, and pass the paper to the next neighbor. All must then write the name of some lady (also known), then change the papers again and write “where they met,” “what he said,” “what she said,” “what the world said,” and “the consequences,” always passing the papers on. When all are written, each player must then read his paper.

Mr. Jones..........

And Miss Smith.....

Met on a roof........

He said, “I trust you are not afraid.”

She said, “Not while you are here.”

World said, “It’s a match.”

Consequences, “He sailed for Africa next morning,” etc.


This may be made very amusing, although no actual mesmerism is attempted. A member of the party announces that he has been declared to possess a vast amount of mesmeric power; not enough to gain absolute control over a person, but[123] sufficient to at least prevent him from rising from a chair alone. His challenge being accepted by some one, he seats his victim in a low chair and himself in a higher one close at hand. Then, solemnly demanding a complete relaxation of will power and a sober countenance on the part of the subject, he begins making passes with his hands, stroking the forehead of the person beside him, and otherwise imitating a genuine mesmerist. After a short time he quietly says:

“Now see if you can get up alone!”

Of course, the subject rises to his feet at once, but so does the mesmerist, thus proving to the former that having risen simultaneously with himself, he has surely failed to rise alone.

Guessing Eyes and Noses.

A sheet is fastened up between two doors. Holes are cut in it, and some of the party go behind the sheet and stand with their eyes at the holes, while the others must guess to whom the eyes belong. Failing to guess correctly they must give a forfeit.

Beast, Bird or Fish.

The players sit round in a circle, and one player, who is “it,” points to some one, and says either “beast,” “bird,” or “fish.” He then counts ten as quickly as possible. The person pointed to must name some “beast,” “bird,” or “fish” (whichever he was asked) before ten is reached. If he fails, he must give a forfeit.


The players pile up their hands, choose a number, and draw out in turn, and the person who draws his or her hand from the pile at the number selected has to answer truly any questions put by the rest.[124]

floating needles and pins

Needles and Pins Made to Float.

Take an ordinary pin, thoroughly dry. This is an object which water can moisten, but less easily than glass. If, by some means or other, you can manage to lay it on the water without wetting it, you will see the water take a convex shape on either side of the pin, and this latter, displacing a proportionate body of water, will float on the surface, just as a lucifer match would do. The same experiment may be performed with a needle, and it must not be supposed that a very fine needle or pin alone is suitable.[125]


Shadows on the wall.


Hit or Miss.

Great amusement is excited by this game when played in the presence of a company of guests. Spread a sheet upon the floor and place two chairs upon it. Seat two of the party in the chairs within reach of each other and blindfold them. Give each a saucer of cracker or bread crumbs and a spoon, then request them to feed each other. The frantic efforts of each victim to reach his fellow sufferer’s mouth is truly absurd—the crumbs finding lodgment in the hair, ears and neck much oftener than the mouth. Sometimes bibs are fastened around the necks of the victims for protection.

Going Shopping.

A lively game of “talk and touch.” The company is seated in a circle, and one who understands the game commences by saying to his neighbor at the right:

“I have been shopping.”

“What did you buy?” is the required response.

“A dress,” “a book,” “some flowers,” “a pencil”—whatever the first speaker wishes, provided always that he can, in pronouncing the word, touch the object mentioned. Then the second player addresses his neighbor in similar manner, and so on around the circle until the secret of the game is discovered by all.

Whoever mentions an object without touching it, or names one that has already been given, pays a forfeit.

The Three Matches.

matches stuck together being lifted

With your penknife slit one end of a match, and trim that of another into a wedge shape. Insert this latter into the split end of the former, so that the two shall form an acute angle. Place[127] them on the table, the angle upward, and prop them up by leaning another match against them, the whole forming a tripod, as shown in the figure. Now hand a fourth match to one of the company, and request him to lift with it the other three from the table. Such is the problem to be resolved. All that you have to do is to insert the fourth match just inside the point of the tripod, between the two conjoined and the single match; and with it to press the two joined matches lightly outward till the third falls with its upper end on the one you hold. You lower this till the end of the single match passes within the angle formed by the juncture of the two first. If you then raise the match you hold in your hand, the three others will ride astride upon it, the single match on the one side, the two joined matches on the other. The table used should have a cloth on it, that the lower ends of the matches may not slip. Some little[128] delicacy of handling is needful to make the single match fall just in the right position, but this once achieved, the three thus slightly supported might be carried a mile without any fear of dropping them.

To Spin a Cent Upon a Needle Point.

very bent wire balanced

Bend a hair-pin as shown in our illustration. Place a cent horizontally on the right-hand hook, which should be narrow enough to clip it closely, and hang upon the left-hand hook a tolerably heavy finger-ring (or two, if one is found insufficient). Place the free edge of the coin on some upright point (that of a lady’s bonnet-pin, for example), and you will find that the combination can be made to balance itself. Furthermore, by gently blowing upon the ring, you can set the[129] apparatus revolving rapidly, without any disturbance to its equilibrium.

If you spin the cent upon a very sharp steel needle, you will find that the needle will at length work its way completely through the coin. You may therefore, if you please, propound your puzzle in this rather striking form—How to bore a hole through a cent by merely blowing upon it.

Counting Apple-seeds.

This rhyme, formerly used in England, remains unchanged, except the omission of the last three lines. Apples were an essential part of every entertainment in the country. The apple, having been properly named for a person, with a pressure of the finger, was divided, to decide the fate of the person concerned according to its number of seeds.

One, I love,
Two, I love,
Three, I love, I say,
Four, I love with all my heart,
And five, I cast away;
Six, he loves,
Seven, she loves,
Eight, they both love;
Nine, he comes,
Ten, he tarries,
Eleven, he courts,
Twelve, he marries;
Thirteen, wishes,
Fourteen, kisses,
All the rest little witches.

Spin the Plate.

A tin pie-plate is set spinning in the middle of the floor; someone is called from the party, who must catch the plate before it stops, or pay a forfeit.[130]

Lighting the Candle.

This feat is a very amusing one and is performed as follows: Two persons kneel on the ground, facing each other. Each holds in his left hand a candle in a candlestick, at the same time grasping his right foot in his right hand. This position compels him to balance himself on his left knee. One of the candles is lighted; the other is not. The holders are required to light the unlighted candle from the lighted one. The conditions are simple enough, but one would hardly believe how often the performers will roll over on the floor before they succeed in lighting the candle. It will be found desirable to spread a newspaper on the floor between the combatants. Many spots of candle-grease will thus be intercepted, and the peace of mind of the lady of the house proportionately spared.

A Problem in Gymnastics.

Place a low stool on the floor, close against the wall, and yourself facing the wall, with your feet distant from it just double the width of the stool. Stoop down and grasp the stool with one hand on either side, and rest your head against the wall. Now lift the stool from the floor, and slowly raise yourself to the erect position—or rather, endeavor to do so. It is better to try the experiment for the first time on a well-carpeted floor. On polished oak or parqueterie you would probably have a bad fall. We have here a curious effect of the displacement of the centre of gravity of the body, which renders it almost impossible to stand upright without first replacing the stool on the ground, and resting the hand upon it to get the needful support.[131]

Redeeming Forfeits.

The girl who is to name the penalty by which the forfeit must be redeemed lays her face on the lap of another who sits on a chair, while a third, standing behind, holds the article over her head and asks:

“Here is a forfeit, a very fine forfeit; what shall be done to redeem it?”

“Is it fine or superfine?” (i. e., does it belong to a gentleman or to a lady.)

The sentence is then declared.

Another formula, used in the Middle and Southern States, is: “Heavy, heavy, what hangs over you?”

The German usage is nearly the same, the question being: “Judge, what is your sentence, what shall he do whose pledge I have in my hand?” Any proper penalty may be named.

The Game of Location.

Sides are chosen and the opposing parties stand in separate lines as for a spelling match. No. 1 of one side mentions the name of some city or town in any part of the globe, and No. 1 of the other side must locate it before his opponent has finished counting ten or twenty, as may be agreed. He then, in turn, names a city which No. 2 on the other side must locate. If anyone fails to give the correct location before the expiration of the ten counts, a member from the side he represents is chosen by the other.

The Game of Clumps.

Sides are chosen, and a representative from each side goes from the room. After choosing the object to be guessed, they return, each going to his opponent’s side, where he is asked questions to be[132] answered by “yes” or “no,” concerning the object selected. The side which first guesses correctly has the privilege of choosing a member from the opposing side. Then the successful guesser of one party and the player who has been most nearly successful on the other go from the room and choose a new subject. The two parties must be separated by some distance and the questioning carried on in a low voice, so that nothing said by one side can be heard by the other. An illustration:

For instance, the object chosen is the thumb on the right hand of the Washington Monument.

Question. “Does it belong to the animal kingdom?”

Answer. “No.”

Q. “To the mineral kingdom?”

A. “Yes.”

Q. “Is it in existence now?”

A. “Yes.”

Q. “Is it in this country?”

A. “Yes,” and so on until a successful termination of the guessing is reached.

Ant and Cricket.

One of the company being appointed to represent the Cricket, seats himself in the midst of the other players, who are the Ants, and writes upon a piece of paper the name of a certain grain, whatever kind he pleases. He then addresses the first Ant: “My dear neighbor, I am very hungry, and have come to you for aid. What will you give me?” “A grain of rice, a kernel of corn, a worm,” etc., replies the Ant, as he sees fit. The Cricket asks each in turn, and if one of them announces as his gift the word already written upon the paper, the Cricket declares himself satisfied and changes places with the Ant.[133]

If the desired word is not spoken, however, the same cricket keeps his place, scorning each article of food as it is suggested to him. In either case the form of the question changes, and the supplicant says: “My hunger is appeased and now I wish to dance. What dance do you advise?” He therefore writes the name of a dance upon his paper and the Ants advise in turn—“A polka, a fandango, a minuet,” etc. The third Cricket declares himself unable to dance without music, and requests that a suitable instrument be recommended. “A lyre, a kazoo, a mandolin,” etc., say the Ants.

The fourth Cricket, tired of dancing, wishes to rest, and asks upon what he shall take his repose. “A rose-leaf, the moss, the heart of a lily,” are all suggested, but unless the name he has previously written upon his paper is mentioned, he expresses himself dissatisfied.

The fifth and last Cricket confesses fear lest while sleeping he shall be devoured by a bird, but requests advice concerning the choice of a destroyer. “A lark, a turtle-dove, a pigeon,” are thereupon mentioned by the Ants.

By carefully selecting the most uncommon names for replies, the same Cricket may be kept through the entire set of questions. If the word written upon his paper, however, is mentioned in any case, he must show it to the unfortunate Ant, to whom he surrenders his place.

Gussing Characters.

One of the party leaves the room while the others decide upon some character, real or fictitious. The absentee is then recalled, and each in turn asks him a question referring to the character he has been elected to represent. When he guesses his identity the player whose question has[134] thrown the most light upon the subject has to go from the room.

For example: A goes from the room and the company decides that he shall represent King Henry VIII. When he enters, No. 1 asks: “Which one of your wives did you love best?” No. 2 says: “Do you approve of a man’s marrying his deceased brother’s wife?” No. 3 adds: “Were you very sorry your brother died?” etc., while A, after guessing various names, is led by some question to guess correctly, and the fortunate questioner is consequently sent from the room to have a new character assigned him in turn.

The Magic Candle Extinguisher.

Cut out of thin cardboard a couple of little figures, and insert in the mouth of each, fixing it, say, with sealing-wax, a piece of quill (a portion of a toothpick, for instance), through which he or she appears to be blowing. Fill each tube with sand, but leave a minute space empty at the end remote from the figure. In the cavity of the one place a few grains of gunpowder, and in the other a tiny morsel of phosphorus. The figures being thus privately prepared beforehand, you call for a lighted candle, and announce that the one figure will blow it out and the other relight it.

The moment the tube with the powder is brought near the candle, the powder will ignite, and will produce an explosion of infinitesimal proportions, but large enough to blow out the candle and cause a jet of smoke in the direction of the second figure, which you hold in the opposite hand. The heat of the smoke will cause the phosphorus to ignite, and if you hold the tube which contains it pretty close to the wick, the candle will again be lighted.

This is an experiment which should not be attempted by unskilled hands. Both gunpowder and[135] phosphorus require to be handled with great care, but it might be possible to make, out of thin paper, little cartridges containing a minute portion of each substance, to be introduced into the tubes as occasion required. Unless the reader has some practical knowledge of laboratory work, he should not attempt this experiment.

The Broken Mirror.

The painters have given the last finishing touches to the room they have been redecorating, but before leaving they cannot resist the temptation of a joke on whoever is sent to see that all is in order. Imagine the horror of the servant-girl when she sees a great crack, perhaps half a dozen, right across the big drawing-room mirror. Meanwhile, behind her back the workmen are smiling over her discomfiture. After having sufficiently chuckled over the success of their innocent joke they offer to repair the damage, and, not to keep their victim longer in suspense, one of them takes a wet cloth and passes it over the supposed crack in the glass. Lo, a miracle! The cracks disappear under the mere touch of the damp duster, and the glass is whole again. She can hardly believe her own eyes. And yet there is no witchcraft about the matter. If you are inclined to play a similar trick, you have only to trace, with a small piece of soap, on the mirror which is to appear broken, a few fine lines in imitation of cracks. Their reflection in the glass will give them depth, and make them seem as though they extended through the thickness of the glass, while a rub with a wet flannel will make all right again.

A Parlor Zoetrope.

We have here the game of the “little horses,” so popular at Continental watering-places, brought[136] in a simplified and innocent form within reach of everybody. Glue round the inside of the rim of a circular dish of white porcelain, a number of little cardboard figures of animals; or simply sketch thereon, with ink, similar figures or numerals, equidistant from one another. Place the dish thus furnished, in an ordinary dish of somewhat larger size, and having its centre slightly elevated—a not uncommon pattern. You will only have to give a slight impulse with the hand to the smaller plate to set it spinning within the other. Should the larger dish not be raised in the centre, you have only to pour into it a little water, enough to make the inner dish just float, and it will then revolve with great freedom, the water practically destroying all friction.

You can repeat the same figure, but with, say, the arms in different positions, so that, when the plate is set spinning, you may have depicted, in due order, the successive positions of a man raising and lowering his arms. Thus, for example, if the first figure has his arms hanging down close by his sides, the next will have them a little further from the body; the third will have them extended horizontally; the next following a little higher; and, finally, the last will have them raised above his head. Now peep, with one eye only, through a little hole made with a pin in a visiting-card or playing-card, and gaze at any given point of the circle described by the figures. When the dish is set in motion, you apparently see one figure only, but such figure seems to move like a living being, its arms appearing to take in succession the various positions which are really those of the separate figures. You may amuse yourself by thus arranging several series of such figures, their positions varied in proper succession, thus reproducing, at merely nominal expense, the scientific toy known as the Zoetrope or Praxinoscope.[137]

A Wonderful Pin.

Take a piece of cord elastic, and through it thrust a pin bent by twisting the ends of the elastic, held vertically between the thumb and finger of each hand, and then drawing the hands apart, so as to stretch the cord, you can communicate to this latter a movement so rapid that the revolutions of the pin shall produce the shape of a glass cup. The illusion will be the more complete if the pin is itself brilliantly illuminated, while having a dark background behind it, the operator should be in a darkened room, and a single ray of sunlight from without, should fall through a hole in the shutters, upon the pin. With a little skill in manipulation one can produce, using pins bent in different ways, the semblance of the most diverse objects—say, a cheese-dish, and aquarium, a bouquet-holder, or a goblet.

Should the form of the pin tend, by reason of centrifugal force, to make it assume a horizontal position, this can be cured by securing one end of it, by means of fine white silk, to the elastic. This will usually be invisible when the pin is made to revolve as above described, and, in any case, will not affect the appearance of the figure.

Shadows on the Wall.

The exhibitor, as well as the cardboard figures, is placed behind the spectators, a position which has many advantages. Place on the table a lighted candle, and in front of it, at two or three feet distance, attach to the wall a sheet of white paper to form your “screen.” Between the light and the screen interpose some opaque body, for example, an atlas or other large book.

But under such conditions how are we to cast the shadows on the screen? Simply by the use of a[138] mirror, placed at the side of the table. The reflection of the mirror will appear on the wall as a luminous space, oval or oblong as the case may be, and if you have placed it at the proper angle with reference to the screen, and move your cardboard shapes about cleverly between the candle and the mirror, you will forthwith see little fantastic figures projected in shadow on the screen, while the uninitiated spectator is wholly at a loss to discover how you produce them.

The Rotation of the Globe.

When you next chance to eat an egg for breakfast, do not fail to try the following experiment. It is one which always succeeds, and is productive of much amusement to the company.

Moisten slightly with water the rim of your plate, and in the centre paint with the yolk of the egg a sun with golden rays. By the aid of this simple apparatus you will be in a position to illustrate, so clearly that a child can comprehend it, the double movement of the earth, which revolves simultaneously round the sun and on its own axis.

All that you have to do is to place the empty half-shell of your egg on the rim of the plate, and keeping this latter duly sloped, by a slight movement of the wrist as may be needful, you will see the egg-shell begin to revolve rapidly on its own axis, at the same time traveling round the plate. It is hardly necessary to remark that the egg-shell will not travel uphill, and the plate must therefore be gradually shifted round, as well as sloped, so that the shell may always have an inch or two of descending plane before it.

The slight cohesion caused by the water which moistens the plate counteracts the centrifugal force, and so prevents the egg-shell falling off the edge of the plate.[139]

Through the Water Dry.

Into a basin full of water, throw a coin, or ring, or other suitable object, and announce that you will take it out of the basin without wetting your hand. All that is needed to effect this is to dust the surface of the water with some form of powder having no cohesion with water, and which, consequently, water does not moisten. Powdered lycopodium, to be procured of any chemist, has this property.

Having sprinkled a little of this powder on the surface of the liquid, plunge your hand boldly to the bottom, pick up the ring, and show the company that your hand is as dry as it was before the operation. This comes of the fact that the lycopodium has formed over your hand a regular glove, to which the liquid cannot adhere any more than it can to the plumage of the ducks, which we see plunge and plunge again, and still come up dry as ever, by reason of the oily matter secreted by their feathers.

Those who may care to carry the experiment further may try it with hot water, increasing the temperature at each attempt, when they will find that it is possible, with the aid of the lycopodium, to lift an article out of a kettle of all but boiling water. The sensation of heat is not destroyed, but it causes no injury to the tissues—in other words, no scald.

Hanging Without a Cord.

Soak a thread in strong salt and water; dry thoroughly, and repeat this two or three times. This must be done privately beforehand. When you bring forward the thread thus prepared, the spectators have no reason to suppose that it is other than the ordinary article.[140]

Use this thread to suspend a ring, choosing as light a one as possible. Set fire to the thread, which will burn from end to end, but the spectators will be surprised to see that the ring does not fall, being supported by the ash resulting from the combustion. In reality, the fibrous particles of the thread have been destroyed, but there remains a tiny filament of salt, strong enough, if there is no draught in the room, to support the weight of the ring.

This experiment may be varied in this manner:

Attach four pieces of thread to the four corners of a little piece of muslin, so as to form a miniature hammock. Soak the whole in salt water; then dry it, and repeat the operation three or four times. When the threads and the muslin are thoroughly saturated with salt and perfectly dry, place a blown egg in the little hammock, suspended as shown in the figure. Set fire to the hammock, which will burn freely enough, as also the fine threads, but if the experiment has been properly carried out, the egg will remain suspended, to the astonishment of all who behold it.

The Magic Scorpion.

Place on the surface of the water in a glass or basin a number of small pieces of camphor of various sizes, together representing the form of some animal, say a scorpion. After a little while the scorpion will begin to stir in the water; you will see him move his claws, as though trying to swim, and curl his tail convulsively, as if in pain.

This amusing experiment is easy to perform, and costs practically nothing, for camphor is to be found in every household; but in spite of its simplicity we may deduce from it, as you will see, several interesting observations.

1. Our scorpion floats on the water, but lies almost entirely below the surface. This proves to[141] us that the specific gravity of camphor is nearly, but not quite, equal to that of water.

2. The animal does not dissolve. Camphor is therefore insoluble in water.

3. The different fragments of which our scorpion consists do not separate, but remain one against the other as we originally placed them. This is because they are held together by the force known as cohesion.

4. Lastly, the eccentric movements we have mentioned depend on a well-ascertained but mysterious property of camphor, viz., that when placed on the surface of the water, it moves spontaneously. It is a well-known fact that a morsel of camphor placed in a glass of water will, after a few moments, begin to move either with a sidelong or rotary movement; such movement being due, according to some authorities, to the recoil produced by an escape of liberated gases; according to others, to a mysterious force inherent in the surface of liquids, and known as superficial tension.

Amusing the Children.

A clever way to amuse a party of children is to invite them to a peanut party. Tiny cards of invitation are sent out, on each of which two half peanut shells are fastened. A large quantity of the nuts are hidden about the house, and when the young folks arrive they are told to hunt them. They who find the most and least of them receive prizes.

Another is a soap bubble party. The invitations for this should have a pen and ink sketch of a pipe and bubble. Provide plenty of clay pipes, with the name of a guest written on each, and make the soapsuds with the addition of glycerine to make the bubbles strong and tough. For the prizes for the most successful bubble blower, a fancy pipe is[142] suitable. It can be made by gilding the handle and outside of the bowl of a clay pipe and painting the inside of the bowl in water colors. A bow of baby ribbon to match the paint improves it. For the booby prize a little pipe can be made from a match and half an acorn shell.

A penny party furnishes amusement for an evening. With the invitations is sent a request for each guest to bring a penny, not for an admission fee, but for use. For each guest there are provided two cards and a pencil; one card is blank; the other has a list of the things to be found on a penny. The list is numbered, and each person is expected to name as many as he can, prizes being awarded for the best and poorest list. Find—1. Top of hill. 2. Place of worship. 3. An animal. 4. A fruit. 5. A common fruit. 6. Links between absent friends. 7. Union of youth and old age. 8. A vegetable. 9. Flowers. 10. What we fight for. 11. A metal. 12. A messenger. 13. A weapon of defence. 14. A weapon of warfare. 15. A body of water. 16. A beverage. 17. What young ladies want. 18. The most popular State. 19. What men work for. 20. Sign of royalty. 21. A jolly dog. The answers are—1. Brow. 2. Temple. 3. Hare (hair). 4. Date. 5. Apple. 6. Letters. 7. 1894 (the date of the penny). 8. Ear. 9. Tulips (two lips). 10. Liberty. 11. Copper. 12. One sent (cent). 13. Shield. 14. Arrow. 15. Sea (c). 16. Tea (t). 17. Beau (bow). 18. United States (matrimony). 19. Money. 20. Crown. 21. A merry cur (America). Usually a half hour is allowed for filling out the blank cards, and after that some time for correcting the lists and awarding prizes.

It is often hard to find games for evening amusements that will amuse all. Some are so noisy that the sensitive cannot enjoy them, but the following will instruct as well as amuse: One is to transpose the misplaced letters of words, usually the name[143] of a city. To prepare for the game make a large quantity of small cards from pasteboards, about an inch and a half square. Paste a large letter on each one, cut from a newspaper or advertisement, having several for each letter of the alphabet. Give to each the letters necessary to spell a word and let him study it out. Thus the letters ilisyantp can be made to spell Ypsilanti, or stoonb Boston.

Another game which is quite entertaining is called a pronunciation match. Any number can play. One is elected as leader. At first he will call out a letter, as a, and each person must think quickly while he counts five, and be ready to tell the name of a city in the State agreed upon before the contest begins. For instance, the leader, while he counts five, points to one of the company who must give the name of a city beginning with the letter A, B or C, as the leader may announce. When one answer has been given, he quickly counts again, and points to another person until some one fails to respond, when he is declared leader and also pays a forfeit. It is very amusing and teaches people to think quickly and keep their wits about them.



Ask any person to think of a number, say a certain number of dollars; tell him to borrow that sum of some one in the company, and add the number borrowed to the amount thought of. It will here be proper to name the person who lends him the money, and to beg the one who makes the calculation to do it with great care, as he may readily fall into an error, especially the first time. Then say to the person: “I do not lend you, but[144] give you $10; add them to the former sum.” Continue in this manner: “Give the half to the poor, and retain in your memory the other half.” Then add: “Return to the gentleman, or lady, what you borrowed, and remember that the sum lent you was exactly equal to the number thought of.” Ask the person if he knows exactly what remains; he will answer “Yes.” You must then say: “And I know also the number that remains; it is equal to what I am going to conceal in my hand.” Put into one of your hands 5 pieces of money, and desire the person to tell how many you have got. He will answer 5; upon which open your hand and show him the 5 pieces. You may then say: “I well knew that your result was 5; but if you had thought of a very large number, for example, two or three millions, the result would have been much greater, but my hand would not have held a number of pieces equal to the remainder.” The person then supposing that the result of the calculation must be different, according to the difference of the number thought of, will imagine that it is necessary to know the last number in order to guess the result; but this idea is false, for, in the case which we have here supposed, whatever be the number thought of, the remainder must always be 5. The reason of this is as follows: The sum, the half of which is given to the poor, is nothing else than twice the number thought of, plus 10; and when the poor have received their part, there remains only the number thought of, plus 5; but the number thought of is cut off when the sum borrowed is returned, and, consequently, there remain only 5. The result may be easily known, since it will be the half of the number given in the third part of the operation; for example, whatever be the number thought of, the remainder will be 36 or 25 according as 72 or 50 have been given. If this trick be performed several times successively,[145] the number given in the third part of the operation must be always different; for if the result were several times the same, the deception might be discovered. When the five first parts of the calculation for obtaining a result are finished, it will be best not to name it at first, but to continue the operation, to render it more complex, by saying, for example: “Double the remainder, deduct two, add three, take the fourth part,” etc.; and the different steps of the calculation may be kept in mind, in order to know how much the first result has been increased or diminished. This irregular process never fails to confound those who attempt to follow it.


Tell the person to take 1 from the number thought of, and then double the remainder; desire him to take 1 from this double, and to add to it the number thought of; in the last place, ask him the number arising from this addition, and, if you add 3 to it, the third of the sum will be the number thought of. The application of this rule is so easy that it is needless to illustrate it by an example.


Ask the person to add 1 to the triple of the number thought of, and to multiply the sum by three; then bid him add to this product the number thought of, and the result will be a sum from which if 3 be subtracted, the remainder will be ten times of the number required; and if the cipher on the right be cut off from the remainder, the other figure will indicate the number sought.

Example—Let the number thought of be 6, the triple of which is 18; and if 1 be added, it makes 19; the triple of this last number is 57, and if 6 be added it makes 63, from which if 3 be subtracted,[146] the remainder will be 60; now, if the cipher on the right be cut off, the remaining figure, 6, will be the number required.


Tell the person to multiply the number thought of by itself; then desire him to add 1 to the number thought of, and to multiply it also by itself; in the last place, ask him to tell the difference of these two products, which will certainly be an odd number, and the least half of it will be the number required.

Let the number thought of, for example, be 10; which, multiplied by itself, gives 100; in the next place, 10 increased by 1 is 11, which, multiplied by itself, makes 121; and the difference of these two squares is 21, the least half of which, being 10, is the number thought of.

This operation might be varied by desiring the person to multiply the second number by itself, after it has been diminished by 1. In this case, the number thought of will be equal to the greater half of the difference of the two squares.

Thus, in the preceding example, the square of the number thought of is 100, and that of the same number, less 1, is 81; the difference of these is 19, the greater half of which, or 10, is the number thought of.

How to Tell Numbers Thought of.

If one or more numbers thought of be greater than 9, we must distinguish two cases; that in which the number of the numbers thought of is odd, and that in which it is even. In the first case, ask the sum of the first and second; of the second and third; the third and fourth; and so on to the[147] last; and then the sum of the first and the last. Having written down all these sums in order, add together all those, the places of which are odd, as the first, the third, the fifth, etc.; make another sum of all those, the places of which are even, as the second, the fourth, the sixth, etc.; subtract this sum from the former, and the remainder will be the double of the first number. Let us suppose, for example, that the five following numbers are thought of, 3, 7, 13, 17, 20, which when added two and two as above, give 10, 20, 30, 37, 23: the sum of the first, third, and fifth is 63, and that of the second and fourth is 57; if 57 be subtracted from 63, the remainder, 6, will be the double of the first number, 3. Now, if 3 be taken from 10, the first of the sums, the remainder, 7, will be the second number; and by proceeding in this manner, we may find all the rest.

In the second case, that is to say, if the number of the numbers thought of be even, you must ask and write down, as above, the sum of the first and the second; that of the second and third; and so on, as before; but instead of the sum of the first and the last, you must take that of the second and last; then add together those which stand in the even places, and form them into a new sum apart; add also those in the odd places, the first excepted, and subtract this sum from the former, the remainder will be the double of the second number; and if the second number, thus found, be subtracted from the sum of the first and second, you will have the first number; if it be taken from that of the second and third, it will give the third; and so of the rest. Let the numbers thought of be, for example, 3, 7, 13, 17: the sums formed as above are 10, 20, 30, 24; the sum of the second and fourth is 44, from which if 30, the third, be subtracted, the remainder will be 14, the double of 7, the second number. The first, therefore, is 3, third 13, and the fourth 17.[148]

When each of the numbers thought of does not exceed 9, they may be easily found in the following manner:

Having made the person add 1 to the double of the first number thought of, desire him to multiply the whole by 5, and to add to the product the second number. If there be a third, make him double this first sum, and add 1 to it, after which, desire him to multiply the new sum by 5, and to add to it the third number. If there be a fourth, proceed in the same manner, desiring him to double the preceding sum; to add to it 1; to multiply by 5; to add the fourth number; and so on.

Then, ask the number arising from the addition of the last number thought of, and if there were two numbers, subtract 5 from it; if there were three, 55; if there were four, 555; and so on; for the remainder will be composed of figures, of which the first on the left will be the first number thought of, the next the second, and so on.

Suppose the number thought of to be 3, 4, 6; by adding 1 to 6, the double of the first, we shall have 7, which, being multiplied by 5, will give 35; if 4, the second number thought of, be then added, we shall have 39, which doubled, gives 78; and, if we add 1, and multiply 79, the sum, by 5, the result will be 395. In the last place, if we add 6, the number thought of, the sum will be 401; and if 55 be deducted from it, we shall have, for remainder, 346, the figures of which, 3, 4, 6, indicate in order the three numbers thought of.

Gold and Silver Game.

One of the party having in one hand a piece of gold, and in the other a piece of silver, you may tell in which hand he has the gold, and in which the silver, by the following method: Some value, represented by an even number, such as 8, must[149] be assigned to the gold, and a value represented by an odd number, such as 3, must be assigned to the silver; after which, desire the person to multiply the number in the right hand by any even number whatever, such as 2; and that in the left by an odd number, as 3; then bid him add together the two products, and if the whole sum be odd, the gold will be in the right hand, and the silver in the left; if the sum be even, the contrary will be the case.

To conceal the trick better, it will be sufficient to ask whether the sum of the two products can be halved without a remainder; for in that case the total will be even, and in the contrary case odd.

It may be readily seen, that the pieces, instead of being in the two hands of the same person, may be supposed to be in the hands of two persons, one of whom has the even number, or piece of gold, and the other the odd number, or piece of silver. The same operations may then be performed in regard to these two persons, as are performed in regard to the two hands of the same person, calling the one privately the right and the other the left.

The Number Bag.

The plan is to let a person select several numbers out of a bag, and to tell him the number which shall exactly divide the sum of those he has chosen: Provide a small bag, divided into two parts, into one of which put several tickets, numbered 6, 9, 15, 36, 63, 120, 213, 309, etc.; and in the other part put as many other tickets, marked No. 3 only. Draw a handful of tickets from the first part, and, after showing them to the company, put them into the bag again, and, having opened it a second time, desire any one to take out as many tickets as he thinks proper; when he has done that, you open[150] privately the other part of the bag, and tell him to take out of it one ticket only. You may safely pronounce that the ticket shall contain the number by which the amount of the other numbers is divisible; for, as each of these numbers can be multiplied by 3, their sum total must, evidently, be divisible by that number. An ingenious mind may easily diversify this exercise, by marking the tickets in one part of the bag, with any numbers that are divisible by 9 only, the properties of both 9 and 3 being the same; and it should never be exhibited to the same company twice without being varied.

The Mystical Number Nine.

The discovery of remarkable properties of the number 9 was accidentally made, more than forty years since, though, we believe, it is not generally known:

The component figures of the product made by the multiplication of every digit into the number 9, when added together, make NINE.

The order of these component figures is reversed, after the said number has been multiplied by 5.

The component figures of the amount of the multipliers (viz. 45), when added together, make NINE.

The amount of the several products, or multiples of 9 (viz. 405), when divided by 9, gives, for a quotient, 45; that is, 4+5=NINE.

The amount of the first product (viz. 9), when added to the other product, whose respective component figures make 9, is 81; which is the square of NINE.

The said number 81, when added to the above-mentioned amount of the several products, or multiples of 9 (viz. 405) makes 486; which, if divided by 9, gives, for a quotient, 54: that is, 5+4=NINE.[151]

It is also observable, that the number of changes that may be rung on nine bells, is 362,880; which figures, added together, make 27; that is, 2+7=NINE.

And the quotient of 362,880, divided by 9, will be, 40,320; that is 4+0+3+2+0=NINE.

To add a figure to any given number, which shall render it divisible by Nine: Add the figures together in your mind, which compose the number named; and the figure which must be added to the sum produced, in order to render it divisible by 9, is the one required. Thus

Suppose the given number to be 7521:

Add those together, and 15 will be produced; now 15 requires 3 to render it divisible by 9; and that number, 3, being added to 7521, causes the same divisibility: 7521 plus 3 gives 7524, and, divided by 9, gives 836.

This exercise may be diversified by your specifying, before the sum is named, the particular place where the figure shall be inserted, to make the number divisible by 9; for it is exactly the same thing, whether the figure be put at the head of the number, or between any two of its digits.

The Magic Hundred.

Two persons agree to take, alternately, numbers less than a given number, for example, 11, and to add them together till one of them has reached a certain sum, such as 100. By what means can one of them infallibly attain to that number before the other? The whole secret in this, consists in immediately making choice of the numbers, 1, 12, 23, 34, and so on, or of a series which continually increases by 11, up to 100. Let us suppose, that the first person, who knows the game, makes choice of 1; it is evident that his adversary, as he must[152] count less than 11, can, at most, reach 11, by adding 10 to it. The first will then take 1, which will make 12; and whatever number the second may add, the first will certainly win, provided he continually add the number which forms the complement of that of his adversary, to 11; that is to say, if the latter take 8, he must take 3; if 9, he must take 2; and so on. By following this method, he will infallibly attain to 89; and it will then be impossible for the second to prevent him from getting first to 100; for whatever number the second takes, he can attain only to 99; after which the first may say—“and 1 makes 100.” If the second take 1 after 89, it would make 90, and his adversary would finish by saying—“and 10 make 100.” Between two persons who are equally acquainted with the game, he who begins must necessarily win.

To Guess The Missing Figure.

To tell the figure a person has struck out of the sum of two given numbers:—Arbitrarily command those numbers only, that are divisible by 9; such, for instance, as 36, 63, 81, 117, 126, 162, 261, 360, 315, and 432. Then let a person choose any two of these numbers; and, after adding them together in his mind, strike out from the sum any one of the figures he pleases. After he has so done, desire him to tell you the sum of the remaining figures; and it follows, that the number which you are obliged to add to this amount, in order to make it 9 or 18, is the one he struck out. Thus:—Suppose he chooses the numbers 162 and 261, making altogether 423, and that he strike out the centre figure, the two other figures will, added together, make 7, which, to make 9, requires 2, the number struck out.[153]

The King and the Counselor.

A King being desirous to confer a liberal reward on one of his courtiers, who had performed some very important service, desired him to ask whatever he thought proper, assuring him it should be granted. The courtier, who was well acquainted with the science of numbers, only requested that the monarch would give him a quantity of wheat equal to that which would arise from one grain doubled sixty-three times successively. The value of the reward was immense; for it will be seen, by calculation, that the sixty-fourth term of the double progression divided by 1: 2: 4: 8: 16: 32: etc., is 9223372036854775808. But the sum of all the terms of a double progression, beginning with 1, may be obtained by doubling the last term, and subtracting from it 1. The number of the grains of wheat, therefore, in the present case, will be 18446744073709551615. Now, if a pint contains 9216 grains of wheat, a gallon will contain 73728; and, as eight gallons make one bushel, if we divide the above result by eight times 73728, we shall have 31274997411295 for the number of the bushels of wheat equal to the above number of grains: a quantity greater than what the whole earth could produce in several years.

The Nails in the Horse’s Shoe.

A man took a fancy to a horse, which a dealer wished to dispose of at as high a price as he could; the latter, to induce the man to become a purchaser, offered to let him have the horse for the value of the twenty-fourth nail in his shoes, reckoning one farthing for the first nail, two for the second, four for the third, and so on to the twenty-fourth. The man, thinking he should have a good bargain, accepted the offer; the price of the horse[154] was, therefore, necessarily great. By calculating as before, the twenty-fourth term of the progression 1 : 2 : 4 : 8: etc., will be found to be 8388608, equal to the number of farthings the purchaser gave for the horse; the price, therefore amounted to £8738. 2s. 8d.

The Dinner Party Puzzle.

A club of seven agreed to dine together every day successively as long as they could sit down to table in different order. How many dinners would be necessary for that purpose? It may be easily found, by the rules already given, that the club must dine together 5040 times, before they would exhaust all the arrangements possible, which would require about thirteen years.

Basket and Stones.

If a hundred stones be placed in a straight line, at the distance of a yard from each other, the first being at the same distance from a basket, how many yards must the person walk who engages to pick them up, one by one, and put them into the basket? It is evident that, to pick up the first stone, and put it into the basket, the person must walk two yards; for the second, he must walk four; for the third, six; and so on, increasing by two, to the hundredth. The number of yards which the person must walk, will be equal to the sum of the progression, 2, 4, 6, etc., the last term of which is 200, (22). But the sum of the progression is equal to 202, the sum of the two extremes, multiplied by 50, or half the number of terms: that is to say, 10,100 yards, which makes more than 5½ miles.



There are few better amusements for a large party in the same house, with plenty of time on their hands, than the organization of Tableaux vivants. Tableaux, to be successfully represented, demand quite as much attention to detail, and scarcely less careful rehearsal, than a theatrical performance. The first element of success is a competent stage manager. His artistic taste should be beyond all question, and his will should be law among the members of his corps. The essentials of a “living picture” are very much the same as those of a picture of the inanimate description, viz., form, color, and arrangement. If, therefore, you can secure for the office of stage manager a gentleman of some artistic skill, by all means do so, as his technical knowledge will be found of the greatest possible service.

Before proceeding to plan your series of pictures, it will be necessary to provide the “frame” in which they are to be exhibited. If the room which you propose to use has folding-doors, they will of course be used. A curtain, preferably of some dark color, should be hung on each side, and a lambrequin, or valance, across the top. Where circumstances admit, the directions we give elsewhere as to the construction of a stage and proscenium for private theatricals, may be followed with advantage. In any case, a piece of fine gauze should be carefully stretched over the whole length and depth of the opening. This is found, by producing softer outlines, materially to enhance the pictorial effect. If it is practicable to have a raised stage, it will be found a great addition. Where this cannot be arranged, it is well to place a board, six inches in width, and covered with the same material as the rest of the frame, across the floor (on edge) from[156] side to side, in the position which the footlights would ordinarily occupy.

The next consideration will be the curtain. The ordinary domestic curtains, hung by rings from a rod or pole, and opening in the middle, will serve as a makeshift; but where a really artistic series of tableaux is contemplated, the regular stage-curtain of green baize is decidedly to be preferred.

The question of “background” will be the next point to be attended to. Tableaux vivants may be divided into two classes, the dramatic, i. e., representing some incident, e. g., a duel, or a trial in a court of justice; and the simply artistic, viz., such as portray merely a group, allegorical or otherwise, without reference to any particular plot or story. For the former, an appropriate scene is required, varying with each tableau represented; for the latter, all that is necessary is a simple background of drapery, of such a tone of color as to harmonize with, and yet to give full prominence to, the group of actors. The material of the latter, as also the covering of the floor, should be of woolen or velvet, so as to absorb rather than reflect light. A lustrous background, as of satin or glazed calico, will completely destroy the effect of an otherwise effective tableau.

The lighting is a point of very considerable importance—the conditions appropriate to an ordinary theatrical performance being here reversed. In an ordinary dramatic performance all shadow is a thing to be avoided, the point aimed at being to secure a strong bright light, uniformly distributed over the stage. In a tableau vivant, on the contrary, the skilful manipulation of light and shade is a valuable aid in producing artistic effect. Footlights should, in this case, either be dispensed with altogether, or at any rate used very sparingly, the stronger light coming from one or the other side. A good deal of experiment, and some little artistic taste, will be necessary to attain the right[157] balance in this particular. Where gas is available, it will afford the readiest means of illumination. What is called “string-light,” viz., a piece of gaspipe with fishtail burners at frequent intervals, connected with the permanent gas arrangements of the house by a piece of india-rubber tube, and fixed in a vertical position behind each side of the temporary proscenium, will be found very effective; one or the other set of lights being turned up as may be necessary. Where a green or red light is desired, the interposition of a strip of glass of that color, or of a “medium” of red or green silk or tammy, will give the necessary tone. Colored fires are supplied for the same purpose, but are subject to the drawback of being somewhat odoriferous in combustion. Where, as is sometimes the case, a strong white light is required, this may be produced by burning the end of a piece of magnesium wire in the flame of an ordinary candle.

These points being disposed of, costume and make-up will be the next consideration. As to the latter, the reader will find full instructions in the chapter devoted to private theatricals. With respect to costume, as the characters are only seen for a few moments, and in one position, this point may be dealt with in a much more rough-and-ready manner than would be advisable in the case of a regular dramatic performance. The royal crown need only be golden—the royal robe need only be trimmed with ermine—on the side toward the spectators; indeed, the proudest of sovereigns, from the audience point of view, may, as seen from the rear, be the humblest of citizens. Even on the side toward the spectators a great deal of “make-believe” is admissible. Seen through the intervening gauze, the cheapest cotton velvet is equal to the richest silk; glazed calico takes the place of satin; and even the royal ermine may be admirably simulated by tails of black worsted stitched on a ground of flannel. Laces may be manufactured[158] from cut paper, and a dollar’s worth of tinsel will afford jewels for a congress of sovereigns. Of course, there is not the least objection to his wearing a crown of the purest gold, or diamonds of the finest possible water (if he can get them), but they will not look one whit more effective than the homely substitutes we have mentioned.

A “ghost effect” may, where necessary, be produced by the aid of a magic lantern; the other lights of the tableau being lowered in order to give sufficient distinctness to the reflection.

Dramatic tableaux may often be exhibited with advantage in two or more “scenes;” the curtain being lowered for a moment in order to enable the characters to assume a fresh position. Examples of this will be found among the tableaux which follow.

Having indicated the general arrangements of tableaux vivants, we append, for the reader’s assistance, a selection of effective subjects, both simply pictorial, and dramatic.

i. Dignity and Impudence.

(With background of plain drapery, remaining unchanged.)

A magnificent flunkey, in a gorgeous suit of livery, standing (with left hand on hip, right hand in breast), side by side with a very small and saucy “boy in buttons,” upon whom he looks down superciliously. Boy with both hands in trouser-pockets, and gazing up at his companion with an expression of impertinent familiarity.

ii. The Fortune-Teller.

A pretty girl, in simple outdoor costume, standing sideways to the spectators, with downcast eyes, and a half-smiling, half-frightened expression. The fortune-teller faces her, and holds the young lady’s[159] right hand in her left, while her own right holds a coin with which she is apparently tracing the lines of the young lady’s palm, at the same time gazing with an arch expression into her face, as though to note the effect of her predictions. The fortune-teller should be in gipsy costume, a short, dark skirt, and a hood of some brighter material thrown carelessly over her head. She should be of a swarthy complexion, with a good deal of color, and jet-black hair.

iii. Faith.

A large cross, apparently of white marble (really of deal, well washed with whitening and size) occupies a diagonal position across the centre of the stage, facing slightly towards the left. Its base or plinth is formed of two or three successive platforms or steps of the same material. At the foot a woman kneels, clasping her arms around the cross, as though she had just thrown herself into that position in escaping from some danger. Her gaze should be directed upwards. A loose brown robe and hood, the latter thrown back off the head, will be the most appropriate costume. Magnesium light from above.

iv. Hope.

A female figure, clothed in sober gray, and seated on a very low stool, facing R., and gazing heavenwards. (If a “sky” background is procurable, a single star should be visible, and should be the object of her gaze.) Her right elbow rests upon her right knee, and her right hand supports her chin. Her left hand hangs by her side, and at her feet lies the emblematic anchor. Red light, not too strong.

v. Charity.

A ragged boy, barefooted, and clasping a worn-out broom, sits huddled on the ground L., but[160] facing R. His arms are folded and rest on his knees, and his head is bent down upon them, so as to hide his face. A girl, in nun’s costume, is touching him on the shoulder, and apparently proffering help and sympathy.

vi. Single Life.

Scene, a tolerably well-furnished but untidy sitting-room, with numerous traces of bachelor occupation, such as crossed foils on the wall, a set of boxing-gloves under a side-table; boots, hats, and walking-sticks lying about in various directions. On one corner of the table some one has apparently breakfasted in rather higgledy-piggledy fashion. Near the table sits a young man, with a short pipe in his mouth, and one foot bare, while he is endeavoring to darn an extremely dilapidated sock.

vii. The Sailor’s Farewell.

Scene, a cottage home. A young man, in sailor costume, and with a bundle on his shoulder, stands with his right hand on the latch of the door, R.C., but looking back with a sorrowful expression at his wife (personated by a young lady in short black or blue skirt, red or white blouse, and white mob-cap), who sits with her apron up to her eyes in an apparent agony of grief. Three children are present, the two elder crying for sympathy, the youngest sitting in a crib or cradle, and amusing himself with some toy, in apparent unconsciousness of his father’s approaching departure. Soft blue light from L. Music, “The Minstrel Boy.”

viii. Home Again.

The same scene. Children a couple of years older. (This may be effected by suppressing the youngest, and introducing a fresh eldest, as much like the others as possible.) The sailor of the last[161] scene, slightly more tanned, and with a fuller, “made-up” beard, has apparently just entered. The wife has both arms round his neck, her face being hidden in his bosom. Of the children, the eldest has seized and is kissing her father’s hand, while the two younger each cling round one leg. Soft red light. Music, “A Lass that Loves a Sailor,” or “When Johnny comes Marching Home Again.”

Various Tableaux.

We have not space to give the complete mise en scène of a larger number of tableaux, but subjoin a list of favorite subjects, leaving their actual arrangement to the taste and intelligence of the reader. It will usually be safe to follow the hints in good illustrations.

“Choosing the Wedding Gown.” A charming scene, after Mulready, from the “Vicar of Wakefield.”

“William Penn Signing the Treaty with the Indians.”

“Scene from ‘Pickwick.’” Mr. Pickwick, with Mrs. Bardell in his arms, surprised by his four friends, whose countenances are just visible in the open door-way. See illustrations to “Pickwick Papers.”

“The Drunkard’s Home,” “Signing the Pledge.” “The Temperance Home.” See some good illustrations.

“Mary Queen of Scots and the Four Maries.”

“Mr. Pecksniff Dismissing Tom Pinch.”

“The Song of the Shirt.”

“Little Red Riding-Hood.”

“The Duel from the ‘Corsican Brothers.’”

“Héloïse in her Cell.”

“William Tell Shooting the Apple from his Son’s Head.”

Etc., etc., etc.



This capital form of amusement has attained great and deserved popularity. It shares with Living Pictures the merit of giving employment to several performers at once, and has the special advantage of being far more easily organized. The idea is that of a Waxwork Exhibition, the characters being personated, after a burlesque fashion, by living performers. Each “figure” is first duly described by the exhibitor, and then “wound up,” and made to go through certain characteristic movements.

The collection is supposed to be that of the far-famed Mrs. Jarley, of “Old Curiosity Shop” celebrity. She may be assisted, if thought desirable, by “Little Nell,” and a couple of man-servants, John and Peter. The costume of Mrs. Jarley is a black or chintz dress, bright shawl, and huge bonnet; that of Little Nell may be a calico dress, and white apron, with hat slung over her arm. John and Peter may be dressed in livery suits, and should be provided with a watchman’s rattle, screw-driver, hammer, nails, and oil-can. At the rise of the curtain the figures are seen ranged in a semicircle at the back of the stage, and Little Nell is discovered dusting them with a long feather brush. Mrs. Jarley stands in front, and delivers her descriptive orations, directing her men to bring forward each figure before she describes it. After having been duly described, the figure is “wound” up, and goes through its peculiar movement, and when it stops it is moved back to its place.

If the stage is small, or it is desired that the same actors shall appear in various characters in succession, the figures may be exhibited in successive groups or compartments, the curtain being lowered to permit one party to retire, and another[163] to take their places. After the whole of the figures of a given chamber have been described, the assistants wind them all up, and they go through their various movements simultaneously, to a pianoforte accompaniment, which should gradually grow faster, coming at last to a sudden stop, when the figures become motionless, and the curtain falls.

If it is found impracticable to procure a lady to deliver the descriptions effectively, Mrs. Jarley may be made a silent character, sitting on one side, and occasionally making believe to dust or arrange a figure, while the “patter” is delivered by a male exhibitor. Or Mrs. Jarley may, if preferred, be suppressed altogether, and the exhibitor appear as (say) Artemus Ward, or in ordinary evening costume, without assuming any special character. A good deal of fun may be made of the supposed tendency of any particular figure to tip over, and the application, by John and Peter, of wooden wedges, penny pieces, etc., under its feet to keep it upright. Supposed defective working, causing the figure to stop suddenly in the middle of its movement, and involving the re-winding or oiling of its internal mechanism, will also produce a good deal of amusement. The “winding up” may be done with a bed-winch, a bottle-jack key, or the winch of a kitchen range, the click of the mechanism being imitated by means of a watchman’s rattle, or by the even simpler expedient of drawing a piece of hard wood smartly along a notched stick. (This, of course, should be done out of sight of the audience.) The movement of the figure should be accompanied by the piano, to a slow or lively measure, as may be most appropriate.

The arrangement being complete, and the curtain raised, Mrs. Jarley delivers her opening speech, about as follows:—

“Ladies and Gentlemen,—You here behold Mrs.[164] Jarley! one of the most remarkable women of the world, who has traveled all over the country with her curious Collection of Waxworks. These figures have been gathered, at great expense, from every clime and country, and are here shown together for the first time. I shall describe each one of them for your benefit, and, after I have given you their history, I shall have each one of them wound up, for they are all fitted with clockwork inside, and they can thus go through the same motions they did when living. In fact, they execute their movements so naturally that many people have supposed them to be alive; but I assure you that they are all made of wood and wax;—blockheads every one.

“Without further prelude, I shall now introduce to your notice each one of my figures, beginning, as usual, with the last one first.”

i. The Chinese Giant.

A man or woman standing on a high stool, chintz skirt round the waist, long enough to hide the stool, Chinese over-dress, hat, pig-tail, and moustache.

“This figure is universally allowed to be the tallest figure in my collection; he originated in the two provinces of Oolong and Shang-high, one province not being long enough to produce him. On account of his extreme length it is impossible to give any adequate idea of him in one entertainment; consequently he will be continued in our next.

“He was the inventor, projector, and discoverer of Niagara Falls, Bunker’s Hill Monument, and the Balm of Columbia. In fact, everything was originally discovered by him or some other of the Chinese. The portrait of this person, who was a high dignitary among them, may be often seen[165] depicted on a blue china plate, standing upon a bridge, which leans upon nothing at either end, and intently observing two birds which are behind him in the distance.

“John, wind up the Giant.”

The Giant bows low, then wags his head three times, and bows as before, and after a dozen motions slowly stops.

“You will observe that I have spared no expense in procuring wonders of every sort, and here is my crowning effort or master-piece.”

ii. The Two-Headed Girl.

“A remarkable freak of Nature, which impresses the beholder with silent awe. ‘Observe the two heads and one body.’ ‘See these fair faces, each one lovelier than the other.’ No one can gaze upon them without a double sensation ‘of sorrow and of joy’—sorrow that such beauty and grace were ever united, and joy that he has had the pleasure of contemplating their union.

“Wind them up, Peter.”

This figure is made by two young ladies standing back to back wrapped in one large skirt. They hold their arms out with their hands hanging, and slowly revolve when they are wound up.

iii. The Sewing Woman.

“John, bring out the Sewing Woman, and let the ladies behold the unfortunate seamstress who died from pricking her finger with a needle while sewing on Sunday. You see that the work which she holds is stained with gore, which drips from her finger on to the floor. (Which is poetry!) This forms a sad and melancholy warning to all heads of families immediately to purchase the best[166] sewing-machines, for this accident never could have happened had she not been without one of those excellent machines, as no family should be.”


When wound up the figure sews very stiffly and stops slowly.

iv. Captain Kidd and his Victim.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,—Permit me to call your attention to this beautiful group, which has lately been added at an enormous expense to my collection. You here behold the first privateer and the first victim of his murderous propensities. Captain Kidd, the robber of the main, is supposed to have originated somewhere down east. His whole life being spent upon the stormy deep, he amassed an immense fortune, and buried it in the sand along the flower-clad banks of Cape Cod, by which course he invented the Savings Banks, now so common along shore. Having hidden away so much property, which, like so many modern investments, never can be unearthed, he was known as a great sea-cretur. Before him kneels his lovely and innocent victim, the Lady Blousabella Infantina, who was several times taken and murdered by this bloodthirsty tyrant, which accounts for the calm look of resignation depicted upon her lovely countenance.

“Wind ’em up, John.”

Costumes.—Captain Kidd—White pantaloons, blue shirt, sailor hat, pistol, and sword.

Victim.—Lady with flowing hair, white dress.

Movement.—The Captain’s sword moves up and down, and the victim’s arms go in unison.

v. The Siamese Twins.

Two gentlemen dressed alike in ordinary costume; with a large bone (attached by wire or[167] string) between them. One arm of each over the other’s neck. Pugnacious expression of countenance.

“The Wonderful Siamese Twins compose the next group. These remarkable brothers lived together in the greatest harmony, though there was always a bone of contention between them. They were never seen apart, such was their brotherly fondness. They married young, both being opposed to a single life. The short one is not quite so tall as his brother, although their ages are about the same. One of them was born in the Island of Borneo, the other on the southern extremity of Cape Cod.”

When wound up they begin to fight, continue for a moment, and stop suddenly.

vi. The Celebrated Dwarf.

Boy with red cloak, long white wig, bowl and spoon.

“This wonderful child has created some interest in the medical and scientific world, from the fact that he was thirteen years old when he was born, and kept on growing older and older until he died, at the somewhat advanced age of two hundred and ninety-seven, in consequence of eating too freely of pies and cakes, his favorite food. He measured exactly two feet and seven inches from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, and two feet and ten inches back again. Was first discovered ten miles from any land, and twelve miles from any water, making the enormous total of ninety-one, which figure was never before reached by any previous exhibition. Wind him up, John.”

Dwarf eats very stiffly with a large spoon in his right hand; in his left hand he holds a bowl, which falls on the floor after a moment, and is broken.[168]

“John, get your tools and screw up that dwarfs hand, for it has become so loose that it costs a fortune for the crockery he breaks.”

John screws up the hand, gets a new bowl, and again winds up the figure, which now moves with much greater energy.

vii. The Vocalist.

“Bring out the Vocalist. I now call your attention to the most costly of all my figures. This wonderful automaton singer represents Signorina Squallini, the unrivaled Vocalist, whose notes are current in every market, and sway all hearts, at her own sweet will.

“Wind her up, and let her liquid notes pour forth.”

She gesticulates wildly, and sings a few notes in a very extravagant manner, then stops with a hoarse sound.

Mrs. J.—“John, this figure needs oiling. Why do you not attend to your duties better?”

John gets oil-can, which he applies to each ear of the figure, which strikes a high note, and sings with much expression and many trills, then makes a gurgling sound, as if running down, and suddenly stops again.

Costume.—Evening dress.

viii. The Yankee.

Description.—A tall, thin man, clean shaven but for a tuft on chin, dressed in black, with broad-brimmed straw hat. He is seated on a low rocking-chair, with his legs resting on the back of another chair. He holds a wooden stick, which he is whittling with a jack-knife.

“You here behold a specimen of our irrepressible, indomitable, native Yankee, who has been[169] everywhere, seen everything, and knows everybody. He has explored the arid jungles of Africa, drawn forth the spotted cobra by his prehensile tail, snowballed the Russian bear on the snowy slopes of Alpine forests, and sold wooden nutmegs to the unsuspecting innocents of Patagonia. He has peddled patent medicines in the desert of Sahara, and hung his hat and carved his name on the extreme top of the North Pole. The only difficulty I find in describing him is that I cannot tell what he cannot do. I will therefore set him in motion, as he hates to be quiet.”

When wound up he pushes his hat back on his head and begins to whittle.

ix. The Cannibal.

“Here you behold a curious Cannibal from the Feejee Islands, first discovered by Captain Cook, who came very near being cooked by him. In that case the worthy Captain would never have completed his celebrated voyage round the world. This individual was greatly interested in the cause of foreign missions. Indeed, he received the missionaries gladly, and gave them a place near his heart. He was finally converted by a very tough tract distributor, who had been brought up in a Bloomsbury boarding-house, and was induced to become civilized. One of his evidences of a change of life was shown by his statement that he now had but one wife, like the English. ‘What have you done with the other twelve which you said you had a month ago?’ asked the tract distributor. ‘Oh, I have eaten them!’ replied the gentle savage. This Cannibal was very fond of children, especially those of a tender age; he holds in his hand a war-club, with which he prepared his daily meals, also a war-whoop, which is an original one.”[170]

Costume.—Brown jersey and drawers, face and hands colored to match, very short skirt, feather head-dress, large rings in nose and ears. One hand holds a war-club, the other a child’s hoop.

Movement.—When wound up he brandishes his club and raises hoop to his mouth.

x. Babes in the Wood.

Two men, the bigger the better, one dressed as a very small boy, the other as a little girl; each holds a penny bun.

“In the next group you behold the Babes in the Wood, who had the misfortune to have an uncle. This wicked man hired a villain to carry these babes away into the wood and leave them to wander until death put an end to their sorrow, and the little robins covered them up with leaves. These lifelike figures represent the children just after taking their leaves of the villain. By a master stroke of genius the artist has shown very delicately that human nature is not utterly depraved, for the villain has placed in the hand of each of the innocents a penny bun as a parting present. I have been often asked ‘why I did not have a figure of the villain also added to the group?’ but my reply always is, ‘Villains are too common to be any curiosity.’

“Wind ’em up, John.”

Each Babe offers to the other a bite of bun alternately.

xi. Little Red Riding-Hood.

A young lady carrying a basket on her arm. Costume in accordance with the story.

“Here you behold Little Red Riding-Hood, a model of grand-filial devotion, for she was so fond of her granny that she wandered through the forest to take the old lady’s luncheon, and was eaten by[171] the wolf for so doing, which is a warning to all children to be careful how they do much for their grandmothers, unless they are rich and can leave them something in their wills. This personage was an especial favorite with children, who love to read about her, and shed tears over her unhappy fate, although some of them think that had she been as smart as her dress, she would have been too smart to have mistaken the wolf for her grandmother, unless she had been a very homely old lady, or he had been much better-looking than most wolves.”

When wound up, the figure curtseys and holds out her basket.

xii. Lady with Golden Locks.

Young lady, with long fair hair, flowing over her shoulders; holds bottle (labelled Mrs. Blank’s Hair Restorer) and curling-tongs.

“This is one of the most expensive of my costly collection, for blonde hair is very high, and you see how heavy and long are the golden locks which adorn her beautiful face. I cannot pass this figure without saying a few words in praise of the wonderful Hair Restorer, for this image had grown so bald from the effect of long journeys by road or rail that she was exhibited for two years as the Old Man of the Mountain. One bottle of this wonderful fluid, however, restored her hair to its present growth and beauty, and a little of the fluid being accidentally spilled upon the pine box in which the figure was carried, it immediately became an excellent hair-trunk.”

When wound up the lady applies the hair-restorative and curls her hair.

“You have all gazed with rapture upon my wonderful Collection, and your bewildered senses may now prepare for a new sensation, as I am[172] about to wind up all these beautiful and lifelike figures at once, so that you can see them all work together in harmony.

“John, set all the Waxworks going.

“I thank you for your attention and attendance, and cordially invite you all to come again to-morrow and see ‘Jarley’s Far-famed Waxworks.’”

All the figures being wound up at once go through their motions in unison.



Raising a Ghost.

Place a small magic lantern in a box large enough to contain a small swing dressing-glass, which will reflect the light thrown on it by the lantern in such a way, that it will pass out at the aperture made at the top of the box, which aperture should be oval, and of a size adapted to the cone of light to pass through it. There should be a flap with hinges, to cover the opening, that the inside of the box may not be seen. There must be holes in that part of the box which is over the lantern, to let the smoke out; and over this must be placed a chafing-dish, of an oblong figure, large enough to hold several lighted coals. This chafing-dish, for the better carrying on the deception, may be inclosed in a painted tin box, about a foot high, with a hole at top, and should stand on four feet, to let the smoke of the lantern escape. There must also be a glass planned to move up and down in the groove, and so managed by a cord and pulley, that it may be raised up and let down by the cord coming through the outside of the box. On this glass, the spectre (or any other figure you please) must be painted, in a contracted or squat form, as the figure will reflect a greater length than it is drawn. When you have lighted the lamp in the lantern, and placed the mirror in a proper direction, put the box on a table, and, setting the chafing-dish in it, throw some incense in powder on the coals. You then open the trap door and let down the glass in the grove slowly, and when you perceive[174] the smoke diminish, draw up the glass that the figure may disappear, and shut the trap door. This exhibition will afford much wonder. The lights in the room must be extinguished; and the box should be placed on a high table, that the aperture through which the light comes out may not be seen.

A Magic Lantern Trick.

The light of the magic lantern, and the color of images, may not only be painted on a cloth, but also reflected by a cloud of smoke. Provide a box of wood or pasteboard, about four feet high, and seven or eight inches square at bottom, but diminishing as it ascends, so that its aperture at top be but six inches long, and half an inch wide. At the bottom of this box there must be a door that shuts quite close, by which you are to place in the box a chafing-dish with hot coals, on which is to be thrown incense, whose smoke goes out in a cloud at the top of the box: on this cloud, you are to throw the light that comes out of the lantern, and which you bring into a smaller compass by drawing out the movable tube. In this representation, the motion of the smoke does not at all change the figures; which appear so conspicuous that the spectator thinks he can grasp them with his hand. In the experiment, some of the rays passing through the smoke, the representation will be much less vivid than on the cloth; and if care be not taken to reduce the light to its smallest focus, it will be still more imperfect.

The Phantasmagoria.

In showing the common magic lantern, the spectators see a round circle of light with the figures in the middle of it; but, in the Phantasmagoria, they see the figures only, without any circle of light. The exhibition is produced by a magic lantern,[175] placed on that side of a half transparent screen which is opposite to that on which the spectators are, instead of being on the same side, as in the ordinary exhibition of the magic lantern. To favor the deception, the slides are made perfectly opaque, except in those places that contain the figures to be exhibited, and in these light parts the glass is covered with a more or less transparent tint, according to the effect required. The easiest way is to draw the figures with water colors on thin paper, and afterward varnish them. To imitate the natural motions of the objects represented, several pieces of glass, placed behind each other, are occasionally employed. By removing the lantern to different distances, and at the same time, altering, more or less, the position of the lens, the images are made to increase and diminish, and to become more or less distinct at the pleasure of the exhibitor; so that, to a person unacquainted with the effect of optical instruments, these figures appear actually to advance and recede. Transparent screens for the Phantasmagoria are prepared by spreading white wax, dissolved in spirits of wine or oil of turpentine, over thin muslin: a screen so prepared may be rolled up without injury. A clearer screen may be produced, by having the muslin always strained upon a rectangular frame, and preparing it with turpentine, instead of wax: but such a screen is not always convenient, and cannot be rolled without cracking, and becoming, in a short time useless.

Chinese Shadows.

Cut out an aperture in a partition wall, of any size; for example, four feet in length and two in breadth, so that the lower edge may be about five feet from the floor, and cover it with white Italian gauze, varnished with gum-copal. Provide several frames of the same size as the aperture, covered with[176] the same kind of gauze, and delineate upon the gauze different figures, such as landscapes and buildings, analogous to the scenes which you intend to exhibit by means of small figures representing men and animals. These figures are formed of pasteboard, and their different parts are made movable, according to the effect intended to be produced by their shadows, when moved backward and forward behind the frames, at a small distance from them. To make them act with more facility, small wires, fixed to their movable parts, are bent backward, and made to terminate in rings, through which the fingers of the hand are put, while the figure is supported by the left, by means of another iron wire. In this manner they may be made to advance or recede, and to gesticulate, without the spectators observing the mechanism by which they are moved; and as the shadow of these figures is not observed on the paintings till they are opposite those parts which are not strongly shaded, they may thus be concealed, and made to appear at the proper moments, and others may be occasionally substituted in their stead.

It is necessary, when the figures are made to act, to speak a dialogue, suited to their gestures, and imitate the noise occasioned by different circumstances. The paintings must be illuminated from behind by means of a reverberating lamp, placed opposite to the centre of the painting, and distant from it about four or five feet. Various amusing scenes may be represented in this manner, by employing small figures of men and animals, and making them move in as natural a way as possible, which will depend on the address and practice of the person who exhibits them.

A Wonderful Mirror.

Make two openings, of a foot high, and ten inches wide, and about a foot distant from each other, in[177] the wainscoting of a wall; let them be at the common height of a man’s head; and in each of them place a transparent glass, surrounded with a frame, like a common mirror. Behind this partition place two mirrors, one on the outward side of each opening, inclined to the wainscot at an angle of forty-five degrees; let them both be eighteen inches square; let all the space between them be enclosed by boards or pasteboard, painted black, and well closed, that no light may enter; let there be also two curtains to cover them, which may be drawn aside at pleasure. When a person looks into one of these supposed mirrors, instead of seeing his own face he will perceive the object that is in the front of the other; so that, if two persons present themselves at the same time before these mirrors, instead of each one seeing himself they will reciprocally see each other. There should be a sconce with a candle or lamp placed on each side of the two glasses in the wainscot, to enlighten the faces of the persons who look in them, otherwise this experiment will have no remarkable effect.

This recreation may be considerably improved by placing the two glasses in the wainscot in adjoining rooms, and a number of persons being previously placed in one room, when a stranger enters the other, you may tell him his face is dirty, and desire him to look in the glass, which he will naturally do; and on seeing a strange face he will draw back; but returning to it, and seeing another, another, and another, what his surprise will be is more easy to conceive than express.

When one looks in a mirror placed perpendicularly to another, his face will appear entirely deformed. If the mirror be a little inclined, so as to make an angle of eighty degrees (that is, one-ninth part from the perpendicular), he will then see all the parts of his face, except the nose and forehead; if it be inclined to sixty degrees (that is,[178] one-third part), he will appear with three noses and six eyes; in short, the apparent deformity will vary at each degree of inclination; and when the glass comes to forty-five degrees (that is, half-way down), the face will vanish. If, instead of placing the two mirrors in this situation, they are so disposed that their junction may be vertical, their different inclinations will produce other effects; as the situation of the object relative to these mirrors is quite different.

The Disappearing Paper.

Attach to a dark wall a round piece of paper an inch or two in diameter, and, a little lower, at the distance of two feet on each side, make two marks; then place yourself directly opposite to the paper, and hold the end of your finger before your face in such a manner, that when the right eye is open, it shall conceal the mark on the left, and, when the left eye is open, the mark on the right; if you then look with both eyes to the end of your finger, the paper, which is not at all concealed by it from either of your eyes, will, nevertheless, disappear.

Multiplied Money.

Take a large drinking-glass, of a conical form, that is, small at bottom and wide at top, and, having put into it a dime, let it be half filled with water; then place a plate upon the top of the glass, and turn it quickly over, that the water may not get out; a piece of silver as large as half a dollar will immediately appear on the plate, and somewhat higher up another piece of the size of a dime.



To Balance an Egg.

Lay a looking glass upon an even table; take a fresh egg, and shake it for some time, so that the yolk may be broken and mixed up with the white. You may then balance it on its point, and make it stand on the glass. This it would be impossible to do if the egg was in its natural state.

The Juggler’s Lunch.

Pare some large apples that are rather of a yellow tint; cut several pieces out of them in the shape of a candle-end, round, of course, at the bottom, and square at the top; in fact, as much as possible like a candle that has burnt down within an inch or so. Then, cut some slips out of the insides of sweet almonds, fashion them as much in the shape of spermaceti wicks as you can, stick them into your mock candles, light them for an instant, so as to make their tops black, blow them out again, and they are ready for use. When you produce them, light them (the almond will readily take fire, and flame for a few moments), put them into your mouth, chew and swallow them one after another.

Ring and Ribbon.

Select two pieces of ribbon, alike in length, breadth, and color; double each separately, so that the ends meet; then tie them together neatly, with a bit of silk of their own color, by the middle, or crease made in doubling them. This must all be[180] done in advance. When you are going to exhibit this trick, pass some rings on the doubled ribbons, and give the two ends of one ribbon to one person to hold, and the two ends of the other to another. Do not let them pull hard, or the silk will break, and your trick be discovered by the rings falling on the ground, on account of the separation of the ribbons. Request the two persons to approach each other, and take one end from each of them, and without their perceiving it, return to each of them the end which the other had previously held. By now giving the rings, which appeared strung on the ribbon, a slight pull, you may break the silk, and they will fall into your hand.

The Changing Ball Trick.

Take a ball in each hand, and stretch your hands as far as you can, one from the other; then state that you will contrive to make both the balls come into either hand, without bringing the hands near each other. If any one dispute your power of doing this, you have no more to do than to lay one ball down upon the table, turn yourself, and take it up with your other hand. Thus both the balls will be in one of your hands, without their approaching each other.

A Sensitive Goblet.

To fill a glass with water, so that no one may touch it without spilling all the water. Fill a common glass or goblet with water, and place upon it a bit of paper, so as to cover the water and edge of the glass; put the palm of your hand on the paper, and taking hold of the glass with the other, suddenly invert it on a very smooth table, and gently draw out the paper; the water will remain suspended in the glass, and it will be impossible to move the glass without spilling all the water.[181]

To Light a Candle by Smoke.

When a candle is burnt so long as to leave a tolerably large wick, blow it out; a dense smoke, which is composed of hydrogen and carbon, will immediately arise. Then, if another candle, or lighted taper, be applied to the utmost verge of this smoke, a very strange phenomenon will take place; the flame of the lighted candle will be conveyed to that just blown out, as if it were borne on a cloud, or, rather, it will seem like a mimic flash of lightning proceeding at a slow rate.

The Magic Re-illumination.

After having exhibited the trick of lighting a candle by smoke, privately put a bit of paper between your fingers, and retire to one corner of the room with a single candle, and pass the hand in which you hold the paper several times slowly over the candle until the paper takes fire; then immediately blow the candle out, and presently pass your hand over the snuff and relight it with the paper. You may then crumple the paper, at the same time extinguishing the flame, by squeezing it suddenly, without burning yourself. If this trick be performed dextrously, it is a very good one. It is not necessary for the performance of this trick that all the other lights in the room should be extinguished; in fact the trick is more liable to discovery in a dark room, than in one where the candles are burning, on account of the light thrown out by the paper while it is burning, previous to the re-illumination.

Fascinated by a Feather.

Take a bird and lay it on a table; then wave a small feather over its eyes, and it will appear as dead, but taking the feather away, it will revive[182] again. Let it lay hold of the stem part of the feather, and it will twist and turn like a parrot; you may likewise roll it about, on the table, just as you please.

The Moving Ball.

Roll up a piece of paper, or other light substance, and privately put into it any small insect, such as a lady-bird, or beetle; then, as the creature will naturally endeavor to free itself from captivity, it will move its covering toward the edge of the table, and when it comes there, will immediately return, for fear of falling; and thus, by moving backward and forward, will excite much diversion to those who are ignorant of the cause.

The Paper Furnace.

Enclose a bullet in paper, as smoothly as possible, and suspend it above the flame of a lamp or candle; you will soon see it melt and fall, drop by drop, through a hole which it will make in the paper; but the paper, except the hole mentioned, will not be burnt. The art of performing this trick consists in using a smooth round bullet, and enclosing it in the paper with but few folds or uneven places.

Storm and Calm.

Pour water into a glass until it is nearly three parts full; then almost fill it up with oil; but be sure to leave a little space between the oil and the top of the glass. Tie a bit of string round the glass, and fasten the two ends of another piece of string to it, one on each side, so that, when you take hold of the middle of it to lift up the glass, it may be about a foot from your hand. Now swing the glass to and fro, and the oil will be smooth and unruffled, while the surface of the water beneath it will be violently agitated.[183]

The Knotted Thread.

A good deal of amusement may be occasioned by this trick. It is most frequently performed by a lady, but the effect of it is considerably increased when it is displayed by a boy. A piece of calico, muslin, or linen, is taken in the left hand, a needle is threaded in the presence of the spectators, and the usual, or even a double or treble knot made at the extremity of one of the ends of it. The operator commences his work by drawing the needle and the thread in it quite through the linen, notwithstanding the knot, and continues to make several stitches in like manner successively. The mode of performing this seeming wonder, is as follows: a bit of thread, about a quarter of a yard long, is turned once round the top of the middle finger of the right hand, upon which a thimble is then placed to keep it secure. This must be done privately and the thread kept concealed, while a needle is threaded with a bit of thread of a similar length. The thread in the needle must have one of its ends drawn up nearly close, and be concealed between the forefinger and thumb; the other should hang down nearly as long as, and by the side of the thread, which is fastened under the thimble, so that these two may appear to be the two ends of the thread. The end of the piece that is fastened under the thimble is then knotted, and the performer begins to sew, by moving his hand quickly after he has taken up the stitch. It will appear as though he actually passed the knotted thread through the cloth.

The Imps of the Bottle.

Take three little hollow figures of glass, an inch and a half high, representing imps, which may be obtained at a glass-blowers, with a small hole in[184] each of their legs. Submerge them in water in a glass bottle, which should be about fifteen inches high, and covered with a bladder tied over the top. A small quantity of air must be left between the bladder and the surface of the water. When you think fit to command the figures to go down, press your hand hard upon the top, and they will immediately sink; when you would have them rise to the top, take your hand away, and they will float up. By these means, you may make them dance in the middle of the glass at your pleasure.

The Bird in the Box.

Take a box made with a false lid, on which glue some bird-seed; privately put a bird into it, under the false lid; then show it, and it will seem to be full of seed. Put on the true lid, and say,—“I will command all the seed out of this box, and order a living bird to appear.” Take off the covers together, and the bird will be seen.

The Multiplying Mirror.

This must be performed with a looking-glass made on purpose; the manner of making it is this:—First, make a hoop, or fillet of wood or horn, about the size of a half-dollar in circumference, and about a quarter of an inch in thickness. In the middle, fasten a bottom of wood or brass, and bore in it several small holes, about the size of peas; then open one side of this bottom, set in a piece of crystal-glass, and fasten it in the hoop close to the bottom. Take a quantity of quicksilver, and put as much into the hoop as will cover the bottom; then let into it another piece of crystal-glass, fitted to it; cement the sides, that the quicksilver may not run out, and the apparatus is complete. One side will reflect the beholder’s face[185] as a common looking-glass; in the other it will be multiplied according to the number of holes in the wood or brass.

The Half-dollar Upheld.

Privately cut the rim of the edge which is raised to protect the face of a half-dollar, so that a little bit of the silver may stick up; take the coin in your right hand, and by pressing it with your thumb against a door or wainscot, the bit that sticks up will enter the wood, and thus support the half-dollar.

The Bowing Beau.

Make a figure, resembling a man, of any substance, exceedingly light, such as the pith of the alder tree, which is soft, and can easily be cut into any form: then provide for it a hemispherical base, of some very heavy substance, such as the half of a leaden bullet, made very smooth on the convex part. Cement the figure to the plane part of the hemisphere; and, in whatever position it is placed, when left to itself, it will rise upright. The figure of a beau, or master of the ceremonies, is appropriate for this trick.

The Vanishing Wafers.

On each side of a table-knife, place, in the presence of your company, three wafers. Take the knife by the handle, and turn it over two or three times, to show that the wafers are all on. Desire some person to take off one wafer from one side of the blade; turn the knife two or three times again, and there will appear only two wafers on each side; remove another wafer, turn the knife as before, and there will appear only one wafer on each side; take the third wafer away, turn the knife as before twice[186] or thrice, and there will appear to be no wafer on either side. After a momentary pause, turn the knife again two or three times, and three wafers will appear on each side.

The secret of this capital trick consists in using wafers of the same size and color, and turning the knife, so that the same side is constantly presented to the view, and the wafers are taken off that side, one by one. The three wafers will thus remain untouched on the other side, so that when you have first made it appear that there are no wafers on either side, you may, apparently, show three on each, by the same means. The way to turn the knife is as follows: when you lift it up, turn it in your hand, with your finger and thumb, completely round, until the side that was uppermost when you lifted it, comes uppermost again. This is done in an instant, and is not perceptible, if adroitly managed.

The Cut Lace Joined.

Conceal a piece of lace in your hand; then produce another piece of the same pattern; double the latter, and put the fold between your forefinger and thumb, with the piece which you have previously concealed, doubled in the same manner; pull out a little of the latter, so as to make a loop, and desire one of the company to cut it asunder. If you have conveyed the concealed piece of lace so dexterously as to be undetected, with the other between your thumb and forefinger, the spectators will, naturally enough think you have really cut the latter; which you may seem to make whole again, while repeating some conjuring words, and putting away the two ends of the piece that is actually cut.

Vanishing Dime.

Stick a little wax upon your thumb, take a bystander by the fingers, show him a dime, and tell[187] him you will put the same into his hand; then wring it down hard with your waxed thumb, and, using many words, look him in the face; suddenly take away your thumb, and the coin will adhere to it; then close his hand; it will seem to him that the dime remains; now tell him to open his hand, and, if you perform the feat cleverly, to his great astonishment, he will find nothing in it.

The Adhesive Stick.

This feat has astonished crowds of spectators. It was one of the favorites of a late popular professor, and is now first promulgated. Before you perform it in public, you must practice it, until you are quite perfect, in private, for it would be a pity to spoil its effect by making a blunder in it. Begin by stating very seriously, what is a well-known fact, that if a bucket full of water be hurled round his head by a man, who is sufficiently strong, none of the water will fall out. If this be at all discredited, be prepared not only to support your assertion, but to carry the point still further by placing a tumbler full of any liquid in the inside of a broad hoop, which you hold in your hand by a small piece of string fixed to it, and twirling it round at your side. If you do this with velocity, although the tumbler, in the circles made by the hoop, is frequently quite bottom upward, it will neither fall from the hoop, nor will any of the water be spilt. To do this, however, requires even more practice than the trick which it prefaces; as, although there is no difficulty in it while the hoop is in rapid motion, yet there is some danger until you are rendered expert by practice, of the tumbler’s falling, when you begin to put the hoop in motion, and when you wish to stop it. If, therefore, you are not perfectly capable of doing it, state the fact only, which some or other of your auditors[188] will most probably support, as it is pretty generally known. You now go on to say, that the air, under the water in the glass, when it is topsy-turvey, keeps it in; and that upon the same principle, if you can turn your hand, upon which you place a piece of thin wood (about one inch broad, and six inches long), sufficiently quick, although the back be uppermost, the air will actually keep the wood up against the palm of your hand, without any support. This they will be readily inclined to believe. They will, however, doubt your being possessed of sufficient manual dexterity to perform it quick enough.

We must now tell you how it is to be done:—Lay the piece of wood across the palm of your left hand, which keep wide open, with the thumb and all the fingers far apart, lest you be suspected of supporting the wood with them. Next, take your left wrist in your right hand, and grasp it tightly, for the purpose, as you state, of giving the hand more steadiness. Now, suddenly turn the back of your left hand uppermost, and, as your wrist moves in your right hand, stretch out the forefinger of your right hand, and as soon as the wood comes undermost, support it with such forefinger. You may now shake the hand, and, after a moment or two, suffer the wood to drop. It is two to one but the spectators will admit it to be produced by the action of the air, as you had previously stated, and try to do it themselves; but, of course, they must, unless you have performed the feat so awkwardly as to be discovered, fail in its performance. If you have no objection to reveal the secret, you can do it again, and, while they are gravely philosophizing upon it, suddenly lift up your hand and expose the trick. This will, doubtless, create much amusement. Observe that in doing this feat, you must keep your fingers so low, that no one can see the palm of your left[189] hand; and move your finger so carefully, that its action may not be detected; and if it be not, you may rest satisfied that its absence from round the wrist of the left hand will not be discovered, some of the fingers being naturally supposed to be under the coat; so that, if the spectators only see two or even one, they will imagine the others are beneath the cuff. There is one other observation necessary before we conclude; it is this, when you have turned your hand over, do not keep the stick too long upheld, lest the spectators should take hold of your hands, and discover the trick; before their astonishment has ceased, adroitly remove your forefinger, and suffer the stick to fall to the ground.

The Magic Thread.

Take two pieces of thread, one foot in length each; roll one of them round, like a small pea, which put between your left forefinger and thumb. Now, hold the other out at length, between the forefinger and thumb of each hand; then let some one cut the same asunder in the middle; when that is done, put the tops of your two thumbs together, so that you may, with less suspicion, receive the thread which you hold in your right hand into your left, without opening your left finger and thumb. Then, holding these two pieces as you did before, let them be cut asunder in the middle also, and conveyed again as before, until they be very short; then roll all the ends together, and keep that ball of thread before the other in the left hand, and with a knife, thrust the same into a candle, where you may hold it until it be burnt to ashes; pull back the knife with your right hand, and leave the ashes, with the other ball, between your forefinger and thumb of your left hand, and with the two thumbs and forefingers together, rub the ashes, and at length, draw out that thread[190] which has been all this time between your forefinger and thumb.

The Long Pudding.

The following is a famous feat among those mountebanks who travel the country with quack doctors. This pudding must be made of twelve or thirteen little tin hoops, so as to fall one through another, and little holes should be made at the biggest end, so that it may not hurt your mouth; hold it privately in your left hand, with the hole end uppermost, and, with your right hand, take a ball out of your pocket, and say, “if there be any old lady that is out of conceit with herself, because her neighbors deem her not so young as she would be thought, let her come to me, for this ball is a certain remedy;” then seem to put the ball into your left hand, but let it slip into your lap, and clap your pudding into your mouth, which will be thought to be the ball that you showed them; then decline your head, open your mouth, and the pudding will slip down to its full length; with your right hand you may strike it into your mouth again; after having done this three or four times, you may discharge it into your hand, and put it into your pocket without any suspicion, by making three or four wry faces after it, as though it had been too large for your throat.

The Changeable Watch.

Borrow a watch from any person in company, and request the whole to stand round you. Hold the watch up to the ear of the first in the circle, and command it to go; then demand his testimony to the fact. Remove it to the ear of the next, and enjoin it to stop; make the same request to that person, and so on throughout the entire party.[191]

Explanation. You must take care, in borrowing the watch, that it be a good one, and goes well. Conceal in your hand a piece of loadstone which, so soon as you apply it to the watch, will occasion a suspension of the movements, which a subsequent shaking and withdrawing of the magnet will restore. For this purpose, keep the magnet in one hand and shift the watch alternately from one hand to the other.

The Vanishing Ring.

You may cause a ring to shift from one hand to another, and make it go on any finger required on the other hand, while somebody holds both your arms, in order to prevent communication between them by attending to these instructions:—Desire some lady in company to lend you a gold ring, recommending her, at the same time, to make a mark on it, that she may know it again. Have a gold ring of your own, which fasten by a small piece of catgut-string, to a watch-barrel, and sew it to the left sleeve of your coat. Take the ring that is given you in your right hand; then putting, with dexterity, the other ring fastened to the watch-barrel, near the entrance of your sleeve, draw it privately to the fingers’ ends of your left hand. During this operation, hide the ring that has been lent to you between the fingers of your right hand, and fasten it dexterously on a little hook, sewed for the purpose, on your waistcoat, and hidden by your coat. After that show your ring, which hold in your left hand; then ask the company on which finger of the other hand they wish it to pass. During this interval, and as soon as the answer has been given, put the before-mentioned finger on the little hook, in order to slip the ring on it; at that moment let go the other ring, by opening your fingers. The spring which[192] is in the watch-barrel, being confined no longer, will contract, and make the ring slip under the sleeve, without anybody perceiving it, not even those who hold your arms; as their attention will be occupied to prevent your hands from communicating. After this operation, show the assembly that the ring is come on the other hand; and make them remark that it is the same that had been lent to you, or that the mark is right. Much dexterity must be made use of to succeed in this entertaining trick, that the deception may not be suspected.

The Handkerchief Trick.

This feat, strange as it appears, is very simple; the performer must have a confederate, who has two handkerchiefs of the same quality, and with the same mark, one of which he throws upon the table, to perform the feat with. The performer takes care to put this handkerchief uppermost in making a bundle, though he affects to mix them together promiscuously. The person, whom he desires to draw one of the handkerchiefs, naturally takes that which comes first to hand. The performer then desires to shake them again to embellish the operation; but in so doing, takes care to bring the right handkerchief uppermost, and carefully fixes upon some simpleton to draw; and if he find the person is not likely to take the first that comes to hand, he prevents him from drawing by fixing upon another, under pretence of his having a more sagacious look. When the handkerchief is torn, and carefully folded up, it is put under a glass upon a table placed near a partition. On that part of the table on which the handkerchief is deposited, is a little trap, which opens and lets it fall into a drawer. The confederate, concealed behind the curtain, passes his hand under the table, opens the trap, and substitutes the second[193] handkerchief for the first. He then shuts the trap, which so exactly fits the hole it closes, as to deceive the eyes of the most incredulous. If the performer be not possessed of such a table, he must have a second handkerchief in his pocket, and change it by sleight of hand.

The Canary in the Egg.

Separate an egg in the middle, as neatly as possible; empty it, and then with a fine piece of paper and a little glue, join the two halves together, having first put a live canary bird inside it, which will continue unhurt in it for sometime, provided you make a small pin-hole in the shell to supply the bird with air; have also, a whole egg in readiness. Present the two eggs for one to be chosen; put the egg, which contains the bird, next to the person who is to choose, and, for this purpose, be sure to select a lady; she naturally chooses the nearest to her, because, having no idea of the trick to be performed, there is no apparent reason to take the further one at any rate, if the wrong one be taken, you do not fail in the trick, for you break the egg, and say: “You see that this egg is fair and fresh, madam, so you would have found the other, if you had chosen it. Now, do you choose to find in it a mouse, or a canary-bird?” She naturally declares for the bird; nevertheless, if she ask for the mouse, there are means to escape: you ask the same question of several ladies, and gather the majority of votes, which, in all probability, will be in favor of the bird, which you then produce.

The Money Box Trick.

A piece of money, or a ring, is put into a box, in the presence of a person who holds it; the operator stands at a distance, and bids him shake the[194] box gently, and the piece is heard to rattle inside; he is desired again to shake it, and then it is not heard to rattle; the third time, it is again heard, but the fourth time it is gone, and is found in the shoe of one of the company. The box must be made on purpose, in such a manner that, in shaking it gently up and down, the piece within is heard; on the contrary, shaking it hard, horizontally, a little spring, which falls on the piece, prevents it from being heard, which makes you imagine it is not within. He who performs the trick, then touches the box, under pretence of showing how to shake it, and, although it is locked, he easily gets out the piece by means of a secret opening, availing himself of that minute to put in a false piece, and to leave the box with the same person, whom he causes to believe that the piece is or is not within, according to the manner the box is shaken: at length, the original piece is found in the shoe of one of the company, either by means of the person being found in confederacy, and having a similar piece, or by sending another to slip it on the floor. In this last case, it is found on the floor, and the person fixed on is persuaded that it fell from his shoe as he was taking it off.

A Startling Metamorphosis.

Take a few nut-galls, bruise them to a very fine powder, which strew nicely upon a towel; then put a little brown copperas into a basin of water; this will soon dissolve, and leave the water perfectly transparent. After any person has washed in this water, and wiped with the towel on which the galls have been strewn, his hands and face will immediately become black; but, in a few days, by washing with soap, they will again become clean. This trick is too mischievous for performance.[195]

A Volcano Under Water.

Take one ounce of saltpetre; three ounces of powder; of sulphurvivuix, three ounces; beat, sift, and mix them well together; fill a pasteboard, or paper mould, with the composition, and it will burn under the water till quite spent. Few persons will believe that this can be done before they have seen it tried.

The Magic Spoon.

Put four ounces of bismuth into a crucible, and when in a state of complete fusion, throw in two ounces and a half of lead, and one ounce and a half of tin; these metals will combine, and form an alloy fusible in boiling water. Mould the alloy into bars, and take them to a silversmith to be made into tea-spoons. Place one of them in a saucer, at a tea-table, and the person who uses it will not be a little astonished to find it melt away as soon as he puts it into the hot tea.

Magic Dyes.

Dissolve indigo in diluted sulphuric acid, and add to it an equal quantity of solution of carbonate of potass. If a piece of white cloth be dipped in this mixture, it will be changed to blue; yellow cloth, in the same mixture, may be changed to green; red to purple; and blue litmus paper be turned to red.

Incombustible Paper.

Dip a sheet of paper in strong alum-water, and when dry, repeat the process; it will be better still, if you dip and dry it a third time. After this, you may put it in the flame of a candle, and it will not burn.[196]

Visible and Invisible Portraits.

These are performed with French chalk, a natural production of the earth, (sold in most oil-shops,) of a greasy, but extraordinary nature. It is made use of to draw portraits upon looking-glasses; which may be made visible and invisible, alternately, by breathing on and wiping off, and they will so continue for many months. The lines will appear very distinct where the glass is strongly breathed on, and disappear entirely when it is wiped dry again.

The Dancing Egg.

Boil an egg hard, and peel off a small piece of the shell at one end; then thrust in a quill filled with quicksilver, and sealed at each end. As long as the egg remains warm, it will not cease to dance about.

To Put an Egg in a Bottle.

You may make an egg enter a bottle without breaking, by steeping it in strong vinegar for some time; the vinegar will so soften the shell, that it will bend and extend lengthways without breaking; when put in cold water, it will resume its former figure and hardness.

The Ice Candle.

Cover a small portion of the upper end of a tallow candle with paper, and give the remainder of it a coat of fine coal and powdered sulphur, mixed together; dip it in water, and expose it to the air during a hard frost, and a slight coat of ice will form round it, which may be, subsequently, rendered thicker, in proportion to the number of immersions and exposure to the air which it receives.[197] When it arrives at a sufficient consistency, take off the paper, light the upper end of the candle, and it will burn freely.

The Changing-Colored Ribbon.

Dip a rose-colored ribbon in nitric acid, diluted with eight or ten parts of water, and as soon as the color disappears, which it will do in a short time, take out the ribbon, and put it into a very weak alkaline solution; the alkali will quickly neutralize the acid, and the color will then reappear.

Consulting the Oracle.

Some amusement may be obtained among young people, by writing, with common ink, a variety of questions, on different bits of paper, and adding a pertinent reply to each, written with nitro-muriate of gold. The collection is suffered to dry, and put aside until an opportunity offers for using them. When produced, the answers will be invisible; you desire different persons to select such questions as they may fancy, and take them home with them; you then promise, that if they are placed near the fire, during the night, answers will appear written beneath the questions in the morning; and such will be the fact, if the papers be put in any dry, warm situation.

The Witch’s Cave.

Write several questions and answers on paper; for the answers, instead of nitro-muriate of gold, you may use the juice of a citron, or an onion. Let any of the questions be chosen by a party, and placed in a box, which may be called “The Witch’s Cave.” This box must be furnished with a piece of hot iron, beneath a false bottom of tin; when[198] the paper is put in it, the heat will cause the answer to appear; you then take it out, show it to the person who made choice of the question, and, as soon as it is read, put it aside; the answer will vanish when the paper becomes cold again.

The Four Elements.

Take a glass tube, about the thickness of a man’s finger, and securely seal one end of it. Mark it, all round, with four equal divisions. Introduce mercury, sufficient to fill the space below the first mark; a solution of sub-carbonate of potass for the second division; white spirit, to which a blue tint is imparted, for the third; and turpentine, colored red, for the fourth. After these preparations are completed, close up and seal the mouth of the tube, and you may then give a fanciful exhibition of chaos and the four elements. Shake the tube, and you will mix all the contents together, and this mixture will represent chaos; in a short time, if the tube be not removed, all the ingredients will separate, and each go to its allotted division, placing itself according to its specific gravity, in comparison with the others; the contents of the upper division, which is red, will represent fire; the next, which has a blue tint, air; the third, which is colorless, water; and the lower one, earth.

Phosphoric Oyster Shells.

Take some very thick oyster shells, and cover them with some burning coals; in half an hour take them carefully out of the fire, and it will be only necessary to expose them to the light for a few minutes to be convinced that they have become phosphorescent. In fact, if put in a dark place, they shed a light accompanied by the greater part of the prismatic colors. If the calcination be[199] made in a closed crucible, the colors will be less brilliant. If the crucible be of lead, the parts that have come into contact with it will yield a reddish light; if a few bits of steel be strewed about the crucible, the phosphorescence will be more lively; but if some flat pieces of coal be used instead of steel, the colors will be more beautiful, particularly the blue, red, and green.

Flaming Phosphorus.

By compressing a bit of phosphorus between two pieces of wood, it will inflame. The same effect may be produced by the friction of one piece of phosphorus against another.

A Mask of Flame.

Take six parts of oil of olives and one of phosphorus, suffer them to digest well together, and preserve the solution, which, in the dark, will become luminous. An experiment that is considered amusing may be performed by closing the eyes and lightly passing a sponge, dipped in this solution, over the face and hands, which will then, in the dark, appear covered with a light bluish flame. This trick is not at all dangerous.

A Miniature River on Fire.

Let fall a few drops of phosphorized ether on a lump of loaf sugar, place the sugar in a glass of warm water, and a very beautiful appearance will be instantly exhibited; the effect will be increased, if the surface of the water, by blowing gently with the breath, be made to undulate.

The Illuminator and Extinguisher.

Make two little figures of wood or clay, or other materials, with a little hole in the mouth of each.[200] Put in the mouth of one, a few grains of bruised gunpowder, and a little bit of phosphorus in the other. Then take a lighted wax candle, and present it to the mouth of the figure with the gunpowder, which, taking fire, will put the candle out; then present your candle, having the snuff quite hot, to the other figure, and it will light again immediately.

To Light a Candle by a Glass of Water.

Take a little piece of phosphorus, of the size of a pin’s head, and with a piece of tallow, stick it on the edge of a drinking-glass. Then take a lighted candle, and having blown it out, apply it to the glass, when it will immediately be lighted. You may likewise write, with a bit of phosphorus, on paper, some words, which will appear awful, when the candle is withdrawn from the room.[201]


This famous puppet-show can easily be arranged for the parlor. The first requirement of the performance will naturally be the dramatis personæ. These, in the drama as usually played, are as follows:—

1. Punch. 2. Judy. 3. The Baby. 4. The Dog Toby. 5. The Clown. 6. The Policeman (or Beadle). 7. The Hangman. 8. The Doctor. 9. The Ghost. The head for each character must be carved out of wood, with a tubular cavity in the neck large enough to admit the first joint of the performer’s forefinger. Wooden arms and legs must next be prepared. These need only extend to the elbow and knee, and the Baby will require arms only. Appropriate costumes must next be manufactured. Mr. Punch will have the usual conical hat, and Judy a frilled cap and black ribbons. The body of each figure is a mere bag, just large enough to admit, through an opening behind, the hand of the performer, whose forefinger is thrust into the hollow of the neck, and the thumb and second finger into the sleeves, thereby giving motion to the arms.

The robes of the various characters are firmly attached to the respective heads, and the arms glued just within the lower part of the sleeves. By slipping his hand, therefore within the robe, his forefinger being inserted into the hole in the neck, and his thumb and middle finger into the sleeves, as above mentioned, the performer not only keeps the robe properly distended, but is able to impart the requisite appearance of vitality to the figures.

Having described the characters, it next becomes[202] necessary to say a few words as to the “stage” whereon they perform. Most of our readers will be familiar with the portable theatre of the genuine street artists; a sentry-box-like wooden framework with a green baize cover, within which the performer stands, while a movable shelf in front of him supports the box which contains the puppets and other “properties” of the mimic drama. A little simple stage-carpentering will transform the domestic clothes-horse into a capital Punch-and-Judy theatre. Some sort of ornamental framework or border should be tacked all round the outer edge of the opening, by way of a kind of proscenium, and a slip of thin board, three or four inches in width, should be nailed horizontally across from side to side, to form the stage. The remainder should be covered with green baize, tammy, or any other available material, reaching to the ground. The structure should be placed against a wall or window curtain, which will close its vacant side, and form a convenient background.

Where even this simple arrangement is deemed too elaborate, an open door, with a slip of wood tacked across it about six feet from the floor, and a table cover hanging from this by way of curtain, will serve as a tolerable makeshift.

The “properties” of the drama are not numerous. They consist of a gallows or gibbet, made to fit, when in use, into a mortice cut into the piece of wood which forms the stage, a couple of wooden sticks, about a foot in length and half an inch in diameter, and an instrument known as the “squeaker,” which is said to be used to produce those peculiar vocal effects in which Mr. Punch delights. It consists of a couple of pieces of tin, each about an inch and a quarter in length, and three quarters in breadth. These, which are slightly curved in the direction of their length, are laid one against the other (the concave faces inward),[203] with a piece of tape or China ribbon, of the same breadth, stretched tightly between them, and the whole bound firmly together with thread. This instrument is placed in the mouth, and is asserted to produce the Root-i-too-ti-too! and other eccentricities of the Punch language, and it is possible that in the hands (or rather the mouths) of those who cultivate the art professionally, it really does so. We must confess, however, that our own attempts in that direction have not been successful, and after several very narrow escapes of swallowing the instrument, we have come to the conclusion that a less perfect Root-i-too, produced by natural means, is on the whole to be preferred. Should any reader, after this warning, still be disposed to run the risk of choking himself in the pursuit of artistic effect, far be it from us to discourage his noble ardor.

It is customary to have a second or assistant showman, who stands outside the theatre, and forms the orchestra, for which purpose he is supplied with a set of Pandean pipes and a drum, or, for lack of these, with the best substitutes available. In a drawing-room, some obliging young lady at the piano-forte will generally render the performance independent of his musical aid. But he has a second function somewhat akin to that of the “Chorus” of a Greek play. His duty is to converse with Mr. Punch, to “draw him out,” to elicit his views on things in general, and his own domestic arrangements in particular, and last, but not least, by judicious repetition, in the form of questions or otherwise, to translate, so to speak, his observations to the audience.

The drama of Punch and Judy is based on tradition. The plot is pretty much the same in all cases, but the dialogue varies according to the taste and invention of the individual performer. We subjoin a specimen, representing pretty nearly the[204] popular version, on which the reader may engraft such variations as he pleases.

Punch (heard below).—Roo-it-oot-i-too-it!

Showman.—Good morning, Mr. Punch.

Punch.—Good morning, Mr. Showman. Have you seen my Judy?

Showman.—Have I seen your Judy? No, sir, I don’t know the lady.

Punch.—She’s such a beauty! I’ll call her. Judy, my dear! Judy!

Enter Judy.

Judy.—Well, Mr. Punch, what do you want!

Punch.—Why, I want to give you a kiss, to be sure. (They embrace, then dance.)

Punch.—Now Judy, my dear, go and fetch the baby. (Exit Judy.) Such a beautiful baby! Just like me!

Showman.—Just like you, is he? Then he must be a beauty!

Punch.—Oh, here he is! Dance a bady-diddy!

(Judy appears with baby, which she hands to Punch, and exit.)

Punch.—There’s a little popsy-wopsy! (Nurses baby and sings),

“Hush-a-bye, baby,
On the tree-top;
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock;
When the wind ceases
The cradle will fall,
Down will come cradle
And baby and all.”

(Baby cries, Punch slaps it and continues)—

“Hush-a-bye, baby,
Sleep while you can;
If you live till you’re older,
You’ll grow up a man.”

[205] Oh, you little duck! There never was such a good child.

Master Punch (cries).—Mam-ma-a-a!

Punch (knocking the Baby’s head against the wall).—Go to sleep, you naughty boy! (Resumes his song.)

“Hush-a-bye, baby——”

Master Punch (louder).—Mam-ma-a-a-a!

Punch (hitting harder).—Hush-a-bye!

Master Punch (yells).—Ya-a-a-ah-ah!

Punch (hitting him).—Be quiet, can’t you? Bless him, he’s got his father’s nose! (The child seizes Punch by the nose.) Murder! Let go! There! go to your mother, then. (Throws Master Punch into interior of show, calls, “Judy, my dear! Judy!” then sings)—

“She’s all my fancy painted her,
She’s lovely, she’s divine.”

Enter Judy.

Judy.—Where’s the baby?

Punch.—The baby?


Punch.—What! did you not catch him?

Judy.—Catch him?

Punch.—Yes; I threw him out of window. I thought you might be passing.

Judy.—Oh, my poor child!

Punch.—Why, he was as much mine as yours.

Judy.—Oh, you cruel monster! I’ll tear your eyes out!

Punch.—Root-to-to-to-too-it! (They fight. Ultimately Punch ducks down, and brings up stick, and, after a further scrimmage, hits Judy on the head and kills her. The body remains hanging over front of stage. Punch dances.)[206]

Policeman (brandishing his staff).—Hullo! hullo! hullo! Here I am!

Punch.—Hullo! hullo! hullo! And so am I! (Whacks policeman over the head.)

Policeman.—Do you see my staff, sir?

Punch.—Do you feel mine, sir? (Hits him again.)

Policeman.—No nonsense, Mr. Punch! You have committed murder, and you must answer for it to the laws of your country.

Punch.—We don’t keep it.

Policeman.—No nonsense, Mr. Punch! I am a Policeman.

Punch.—And so am I!

Policeman.—You a Policeman?


Policeman.—Where’s your authority?

Punch.—There it is! (Knocks him down.)

Policeman (rising).—Mr. Punch, you are an ugly, ill-mannered fellow!

Punch.—You’re another!

Policeman.—Take your nose away from my face, sir!

Punch.—Take your face away from my nose, sir!


Punch.—Pooh! (Hits Policeman again.)

Policeman.—You have committed an aggravated assault and contempt of court, and I am under the painful necessity of taking you up.

Punch.—And I am under the painful necessity of knocking you down. (Kills him with a blow of his stick.)

Punch (dancing).—Root-to-to-to-too-it!

Showman.—Hullo, Mr. Punch, you’ve done it now!

Punch.—Oh yes, I’ve done it! What a day we are having! (Dances again.)

(Mysterious music. The Ghost rises and places its hands upon the bodies of Punch’s victims. The bodies rise slowly and disappear.)[207]

Punch (sings).—

Pop goes——”


Punch.—A-a-a-ah! (He throws up his hands and kicks wildly.)


Punch.—Oh, dear! oh, dear! It wasn’t me!

Ghost (points at Punch).—Boo-o-o-o-oh! (Punch faints. The Ghost sinks.)

Punch.—Oh, dear! I’m a dead man; somebody fetch a doctor.

Enter Doctor.

Doctor.—Who wants the doctor? Why, I declare, it is my old friend Punch. What’s the matter with him, I wonder? (Feels the patient’s pulse.) Fifteen—sixteen—eleven—nineteen—six. I don’t believe he’s quite dead, though. Punch, are you dead?

Punch (starting up and hitting him).—Yes, quite dead. Please bring me to life again.

Doctor.—Where are you hurt? (Examines him. When he reaches the legs Punch kicks him in the eye.) Oh, my eye, my eye! I must go and fetch you some physic!


Punch.—A pretty sort of doctor, to come without any physic!

Re-enter Doctor with stick.

Doctor.—Now, Mr. Punch, we’ll soon see whether you are dead? (Beating him.) Physic! physic! physic!

Punch.—What sort of physic do you call that, Doctor?

Doctor.—Stick-licorice! stick-licorice! stick-licorice! (Repeats the dose.)

Punch.—Stop a bit! Give me the bottle in my[208] own hands. (Takes stick from the Doctor, and thrashes him with it.) Physic! physic! physic!


Punch.—Don’t you like your own physic? (Hitting him again.) Stick-licorice! stick-licorice! stick-licorice!

Doctor.—For goodness’ sake, Punch, pay me my fee, and let me go!

Punch.—What is your fee? (Lays down stick.)

Doctor.—A five pound note.

Punch.—Give me the change out of a twopenny-halfpenny postage stamp.

Doctor.—I want five pounds.

Punch.—Let me feel for my purse. (Takes up the stick and hits Doctor.) One! two! three! four! five! (Delivers five blows, and Doctor falls lifeless.) The bill’s settled, and so is the doctor. Root-to-to-to-too-it! (Sings and dances.)

Enter Joey, the Clown.

Joey.—Hullo, Mr. Punch! (Disappears again.)

Punch.—Who called me? (Looks round, and seeing no one, resumes his song.)

“I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls,
With vassals and serfs at my si-i-ide——”

(Joey rises, and taking up the dead body of the Doctor, bobs its head in Punch’s face.)


Punch.—Who said “Boo?”

Joey (pushing Doctor into his face again).—Boo! boo! boo!

Punch.—Boo! boo! boo! (Knocks Doctor out of sight, and discovers Clown.) Ah, Joey! was that you?

Joey.—No, it was I.

Punch.—Well, don’t do it again, because I’m nervous. Come and feel how my hand shakes.[209] (Clown approaches. Punch tries to hit him, but he ducks and avoids the blow.) Come a little nearer; I won’t hurt you. (Joey again approaches Punch, and again avoids the blow intended for him.) There! it didn’t hurt you, did it?


Punch.—Nor that? (Makes another failure.)


Punch.—Nor that?

Joey.—Not a bit.

Punch.—Then what are you afraid of? Come and shake hands. (Joey approaches, but has to duck down as before, to avoid a blow which Punch makes at his head.) Joey, you’re a coward!

Joey.—Come on, then.

(Music. Terrific combat between Punch and Clown. The Clown dodges all Punch’s blows, and after bobbing up and down in every direction, suddenly appears behind Punch.)

Joey.—Hullo, Punch! (Disappears.)

Punch.—Where are you, Joey?

Joey (appearing behind Punch).—Here I am. (Disappears again.)

Punch.—I see you. (Peeps round cautiously and comes into collision with Joey. Both start back. Punch lays down his stick and peeps cautiously round the curtains.) I’ve got him now!

Joey (rising behind him and seizing stick).—And how do you like him? (Cudgels Punch.)

Punch.—Murder! fire! thieves! Toby, come and help your master! (Toby barks below. Exit Clown.)

Enter Toby.

Punch.—Good doggy! I knew you’d come to help your master. Poor little Toby! (Rubs his head against the dog’s face.) Ain’t you fond of your master? (Toby snaps.) Oh, my nose! Now,[210] be a good dog, and you shall have a pail of water and a broomstick for supper. (Toby snaps again.) Be quiet, sir, or I’ll knock your brains out! (Toby barks, and Punch attempts to strike him, but at the same instant Joey rises again.)

Joey.—Hullo! Why, that’s my dog Toby. Toby, old fellow, how are you? (Toby barks.)

Punch.—He isn’t your dog.

Joey.—Yes, he is!

Punch.—No, he isn’t!

Joey.—He is, I tell you! A fortnight ago I lost him.

Punch.—And a fortnight ago I found him.

Joey.—We’ll soon settle which of us the dog belongs to, Mr. Punch. We’ll fight for him. (Ducks down and comes up with a stick.) Now don’t you begin till I say “Time.” (Punch knocks Joey down.) Mr. Punch, that wasn’t fair.

Punch.—Why, you said “Time.”

Joey.—I didn’t.

Punch.—What did you say, then?

Joey.—I said, “Don’t you begin till I say ‘Time.’”

Punch (knocking him down again).—There! you said it again.

Joey.—Toby, assist your master. (Toby flies at Punch.)

Punch.—It isn’t fair; he didn’t say “Time.”

Joey.—At him again, Toby! (Toby barks, and Clown thrashes Punch.)

Punch.—Murder! call him off!

Joey.—Oh, you’ve had enough have you? Very well. Come along, Toby! (Exit with Toby.)

Punch (calling after them).—I wouldn’t have him at a gift; he’s got the distemper! Root-to-to-to-too-it!

Enter Hangman with gallows.

Hangman.—Mr. Punch, you are my prisoner.

Punch.—What for?[211]

Hangman.—For having broken the laws of your country.

Punch.—Why, I never touched them.

Hangman.—At any rate you are to be hanged.

Punch.—But I never was tried and condemned.

Hangman.—Never mind! We’ll hang you first and try you afterward.

Punch.—Hanged? Oh, dear! oh, dear!

Hangman.—Yes; and I hope it will be a lesson to you. (Erects the gallows on the stage.)

Punch.—Oh, my poor wife and sixteen small children! most of them twins, and the oldest only three years of age.

Hangman.—Now, Mr. Punch, you are ordered for instant execution.

Punch.—What’s that?

Hangman.—You are to be hanged by the neck till you are dead! dead! dead!

Punch.—What! three times?

Hangman.—No; once will be enough. Place your head in the centre of this noose.

Punch.—Stop a bit; I haven’t made my will.

Hangman.—We can’t help that. Come, put your head in.

Punch (putting his head one side of the noose).—Where? There?

Hangman.—No; higher up.

Punch (putting his head over).—There?

Hangman.—No; lower down.

Punch.—Well, I never was hanged before, so how should I know how it’s done?

Hangman.—I suppose I must show you the way. Now, then, keep your eye on me. I put my head in the noose—so! (Puts his head in the noose.)

Punch.—Oh, like that, is it? (Pulls the rope tightly, and hangs the hangman.) Oee! oee! oee! I understand all about it. Root-to-too-it! Here’s a man tumbled into a ditch, and hung himself up to dry.[212]

Hurra! hurra! I’ve done the trick!
Jack Ketch is dead, and Punch is free!

(Ghost rises, and taps Punch on the shoulders.)

Ghost.—You’re wanted.

Punch.—Oh, dear! oh, dear! What for?

Ghost.—In the other world, to answer for your misdeeds.

Punch.—Stop a bit! whom were you to ask for?

Ghost.—Why, Punch, the man who was to be hanged.

Punch—Oh, the man that was to be hanged; then that’s the gentleman you want! (Points to Hangman.)

Ghost.—Oh! I beg your pardon! Good night! (Carries off Hangman.)

Punch (hitting the sinking Ghost with the stick).—Good night! Pleasant journey to you! (Sings).

Root-to too-it! serves him right,
All my foes are put to flight;
Ladies and gentlemen all, good night,
To the freaks of Punch and Judy!

(Curtain falls.)



The elaborate “sell” which goes by this name is an institution which has only sprung up within the last three or four years. We have seen it introduced on two or three occasions at fancy fairs and charity bazaars, at which it has proved a great attraction.

A regular printed catalogue is got up, containing apparently the names of a collection of pictures or sculpture, each object duly numbered, and with the name of the artist appended. In some instances the name of a (supposed) picture is followed by an appropriate quotation in poetry or prose, after the orthodox fashion of the American Academy and other galleries. We append, by way of illustration, a selection from the catalogue of a collection which has met with great success:

Exhibition of the Works of Living Artists

Part I.

  1. Horse Fair After Rosa Bonheur.
  2. A Brush with a Cutter off Deal Carpenter.
  3. Caught in Squall off Yarmouth Fisher.
  4. The Last of poor Dog Tray Barker.
  5. “He will return, I know he will”         Lent by the Trustees of the Parish.
[214]  6. The Midnight Hour C. Lock.
  7. Heroes of Waterloo Schumacher.
  8. True to the Core C. Odling.
  9. “Spring, Spring, Beautiful Spring!” Mayne.
10. “Tears, Idle Tears” Strong.
11. The Midnight Assassin F. Sharpe.
12. The Dripping Well T. Inman.
13. Family Jars Potter.
14. Never Too Late to Mend S. Titch
15. Past Healing Köbler.
16. The First Sorrow Smalchild.
17. Saved S. Kinflint.
18. Lost.
19. First Love Sweet.
20. The Death of the Camel After Goodall.
21. His First Cigar A. Young.
22. A Good Fellow Gone M. I. Slade.
23. Portrait of a Gentleman Anonymous.
24. Portrait of a Lady Anonymous.
25. Our Churchwardens Screw.
26. Portraits of the Reigning Sovereigns of Europe G. P. O.
[Taken by special order.]
27. Waifs of Ocean Fish.
“Strange things come up to look at us,
The monsters of the deep.”
28. The Last Man Unknown.
29. Contribution from the celebrated Sheepshanks Collection Butcher.
30. The Light of Other Days Dimm.
31. The Meet of Her Majesty’s Hounds Pratt.
32. Water Scene
“And I hear
Those waters rolling from the mountain springs
With a sweet inland murmur.”
33. The Maiden’s Joy Bachelor.
[215]34. The Fall Adam.
35. Motherhood
“She laid it where the sunbeams fall
Unscanned upon the broken wall,
Without a tear, without a groan
She laid it near a mighty stone
Which some rude swain had haply cast
Thither in sport, long ages past,—
There in its cool and quiet bed
She set her burden down and fled;
Nor flung, all eager to escape,
One glance upon the perfect shape
That lay, still warm and fresh and fair,
But motionless and soundless there.”
C. S. Calverley.
36. A Friendly Party on Hampstead Heath Moke.
37. Borrowed Plumes Wigg.
38. Out for the Night Anonymous.
39. Something to Adore Anonymous.
40. The Wearied Grinder Mayne Force.
“Change and decay in all around I see.”
41. Repentance G. Templar.
42. Maggie’s Secret Rossetter.
43. Somebody’s Luggage S. Canty.
44. Eusebius B. Linkers.
45. Happy Childhood Wackford Squeers.
46. Not such a Fool as he looks The Exhibitor.

Part II

47. A choice Collection of Old China.
48. A fine Specimen of Local Quartz discovered in the Possession of a Workman during the Building of the New Town Hall.
49. The Skull of the Last of the Mohicans.[216]
50. A Marble Group.
51. Bust.
52. The Puzzle.
53. The Instantaneous Kid Reviver.
54. The Earnest Entreaty.


Any one not in the secret perusing the above catalogue would naturally conclude that the descriptions referred to pictorial art of some kind or other. But such is by no means the case. The visitor, on being admitted, finds, in place of the expected pictures, shelves or tables on which are arranged sundry very commonplace objects, each bearing a numbered ticket. On close examination he finds that the numbers correspond with those in the catalogue, and that No. 1, “Horse Fair” (Fare), is represented, after a realistic fashion, by a handful of oats and a wisp of hay. No. 2, which he expected to find a spirited marine sketch, is in reality only a tooth-brush lying beside a jack-plane; while the supposed companion picture, “Caught in a Squall off Yarmouth,” is represented by a red herring. No. 4, “The Last of Poor Dog Tray,” is a sausage, and the exhibitor particularly begs that no gentleman will on any account whistle while passing this picture. No. 5, “He will return, I know he will,” presumably the agonized cry of a forsaken maiden, is in reality a poor-rate collector’s paper, marked “Fifth application.” No. 6 is represented by a numbered ticket only, with no object attached to it. The exhibitor explains that “The Midnight Hour” has not yet arrived, but that any gentleman who likes to wait till it does (which will be at twelve o’clock punctually) is very welcome to do so. The “Heroes of Waterloo,” Wellington and Blucher, No. 7, are represented by a couple of the boots known by[217] those distinguished names. 8, “True to the Core,” is a rosy-cheeked apple. 9 is a coil of watch-spring. 10, “Tears, Idle Tears,” on which the exhibitor feelingly expatiates as a noble example of the imaginative in art, is—an onion! The space dedicated to No. 11 is occupied by the numbered ticket only, the exhibitor explaining that “The Midnight Assassin” (who is stated to be a large and lively flea) has strolled away, and is wandering at large about the room; and he adds an entreaty that any lady or gentleman who may meet with him will immediately return him to his place in the collection. “The Dripping Well” (No. 12) proves to be of the description more usually known as a dripping-pan. “Family Jars,” by Potter, is found to consist of a pickle-jar and jam-pot. No. 14, “Never Too Late to Mend,” is a boot patched all over; while 15, “Past Healing,” is its fellow, too far gone to admit of like renovation. “The First Sorrow” is a broken doll. “Saved” is a money-box, containing twopence-halfpenny, mostly in farthings. The next is a vacant space, over which the exhibitor passes with the casual remark, “No. 18, as you will observe, is unfortunately Lost.” No. 19, “First Love,” is a piece of taffy. 20, “The Death of the Camel,” is a straw, labeled “The last,” and the exhibitor explains that this is the identical straw that broke the camel’s back. “His First Cigar” is a mild Havana of brown paper. “A Good Fellow Gone” is suggested, rather than represented, by an odd glove. Nos. 23, 24 are represented by two small mirrors, which are handed to a lady and a gentleman respectively, with a few appropriate remarks as to the extreme success of the likenesses, coupled with critical remarks as to the “expression” in each case. “Our Churchwardens” are a pair of long clay pipes. No. 26, “Portraits of the Reigning Sovereigns of Europe,” are represented by a few cancelled foreign[218] postage stamps. “The Monsters of the Deep,” in No. 27, are represented by a periwinkle and a shrimp. “The Last Man” (No. 28) is at present missing from his place in the collection, but the exhibitor explains that he will be seen going out just as the exhibition closes. The “Contribution from the Sheepshanks Collection” (29) is a couple of mutton-bones; while “The Light of Other Days” (30) is an old-fashioned lantern and tinder-box. “The Meet (meat) of Her Majesty’s Hounds” is a piece of dog-biscuit. No. 32 is a leaky can of water. “The Maiden’s Joy” (obviously) is a wedding-ring. “The Fall” is a lady’s veil. No. 35, “Motherhood,” is the gem of the collection, and should be kept carefully hidden (say by a handkerchief thrown over it) until the company have had time to read and appreciate Mr. Calverley’s graceful lines, when the veil is removed, and behold—an egg! No. 36, “A Friendly Party on Hampstead Heath,” is represented by three toy donkeys. “Borrowed Plumes” are represented by a lady’s false front. “Out for the Night” is an extinguished candle. “Something to Adore” is a rusty bolt. “The Wearied Grinder” is a back tooth of somebody’s, very much the worse for wear. “Repentance” (No. 41) is represented by a smashed hat and a bottle of soda-water. “Maggie’s Secret” is a gray hair, labeled “Her first.” No. 43, “Somebody’s Luggage,” consists of a broken comb and a paper collar. “Eusebius” is a pair of spectacles. “Happy Childhood” is indicated by a lithe and “swishy” cane. When the company arrive at No. 46, the corresponding object is apparently missing. The exhibitor refers to his notes, and says, “46—46? I see they have written down against No. 46, ‘The Exhibitor,’ but I don’t see quite what they mean. Suppose we pass on to the curiosities, ladies and gentlemen.” No. 47 is merely some smashed crockery, and No. 48 a pewter[219] quart-pot. No. 49 is again a vacant space, and the exhibitor explains that ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ has just gone home to his tea, and has taken his skull with him. No. 50 is, as its name implies, a group of marbles (of the school-boy character). No. 51 is a paper bag of peas, and, being too full, has “bust.” “The Puzzle” (No. 52) is an old Guide-book. “The Instantaneous Kid Reviver” is a baby’s feeding-bottle; and “The Earnest Entreaty” is the request of the exhibitor that the visitors will recommend the collection to their friends.

If the “showman” be possessed of a good fund of talk and a dash of dry humor, the fun of the collection may be still further enhanced by his explanations and criticism of the various objects. Poor Artemus Ward’s celebrated lecture is an excellent model to copy; indeed, many of his “bits” may be stolen bodily with very satisfactory result. Even without the aid of a showman, the comparison of the poetical descriptions and the sober reality will produce a good deal of fun; but, in this case, the various blanks or vacant spaces to be filled up by explanation must necessarily be omitted—a good many telling items being thereby sacrificed.



Coin-conjuring, like card-conjuring, has its own peculiar sleights, which it will be necessary for the student to practice diligently before he can hope to attain much success in this direction.

The first faculty which the novice must seek to acquire is that of “palming”—i. e., secretly holding an object in the open hand by the contraction of the palm. To acquire this power, take a half-crown, florin, or quarter (these being the most convenient in point of size), and lay it on the palm of the open hand. Now close the hand very slightly, and if you have placed the coin on the right spot (which a few trials will quickly indicate), the contraction of the palm around its edges will hold it securely, and you may move the hand and arm in any direction without fear of dropping it. You should next accustom yourself to use the hand and fingers easily and naturally, while still holding the coin as described. A very little practice will enable you to do this. You must bear in mind while practicing always to keep the inside of the palm either downward or toward your own body, as any reverse movement would expose the concealed coin.


Being thoroughly master of this first lesson, you may proceed to the study of the various “passes.” All of the passes have the same object—viz., the apparent transfer of an article from one hand to the other, though such article really remains in the hand which it has apparently just quitted. As the same movement frequently repeated would cause[221] suspicion, and possibly detection, it is desirable to acquire different ways of effecting this object. It should be here mentioned that the term “palming,” which we have so far used as meaning simply the act of holding any article, is also employed to signify the act of placing any article in the palm by one or other of the various passes. The context will readily indicate in which of the two senses the term is used in any given passage.

Pass 1.—Take the coin in the right hand, between the second and third fingers and the thumb, letting it, however, really be supported by the fingers, and only steadied by the thumb. Now move the thumb out of the way, and close the second and third fingers, with the coin balanced on them, into the palm. If the coin was rightly placed in the first instance, you will find that this motion puts it precisely in the position above described as the proper one for palming; and on again extending the fingers, the coin is left palmed. When you can do this easily with the hand at rest, you must practice doing the same thing with the right hand in motion toward the left, which should meet it open, but should close the moment that the fingers of the right hand touch its palm, as though upon the coin which you have by this movement feigned to transfer to it. The left hand must thenceforward remain closed, as if holding the coin, and the right hand hang loosely open, as if empty.


In the motion of “palming” the two hands must work in harmony, as in the genuine act of passing an article from the one hand to the other. The left hand must therefore rise to meet the right, but should not begin its journey until the right hand begins its own. Nothing looks more awkward or unnatural than to see the left hand extended, with[222] open palm, before the right hand has begun to move toward it.

Pass 2.—This is somewhat easier than Pass 1, and may sometimes be usefully substituted for it. Take the coin edgeways between the first and third fingers of the right hand, the sides of those fingers pressing against the edges of the coin, and the middle finger steadying it from behind. Carry the right hand toward the left, and at the same time move the thumb swiftly over the face of the coin till the top joint passes its outer edge, then bend the thumb, and the coin will be found to be securely nipped between that joint and the junction of the thumb with the hand. As in the last case, the left hand must be closed the moment the right hand touches it; and the right must thenceforth be held with the thumb bent slightly inward toward the palm, so that the coin may be shielded from the view of the spectators. This is an especially quick mode of palming, and if properly executed the illusion is perfect.

Pass 3.—Hold the left hand palm upward, with the coin in position. Move the right hand toward the left, and let the fingers simulate the motion of picking up the coin, and instantly close. At the same moment slightly close the left hand, so as to contract the palm around the coin, and drop the hand, letting it hang loosely by your side.

The Vanishing Trick.

A word of caution may here be desirable. These “passes” must by no means be regarded as being themselves tricks, but only as processes to be used in the performance of tricks. If the operator, after pretending to pass the coin, say, from the right hand to the left, and showing that it had vanished from the left hand, were to allow his audience to discover that it had all along remained in his right[223] hand, they might admire the dexterity with which he had in this instance deceived their eyes, but they would henceforth guess half the secret of any trick in which palming was employed. If it is necessary immediately to reproduce the coin, the performer should do so by appearing to find it in the hair or whiskers of a spectator, or in any other place that may suit his purpose, remembering always to indicate beforehand that it has passed to such a place, thereby diverting the general attention from himself. As the coin is already in his hand, he has only to drop it to his finger-tips as the hand reaches the place he has named, in order, to all appearance, to take it from thence.

The various passes may be employed not only to cause the disappearance of an article, as above described, but to secretly exchange it for a substitute of similar appearance. These exchanges are of continual use in conjuring; indeed, we may almost say that three parts of its marvels depend on them. Such an exchange having been made, the substitute is left in sight of the audience, while the performer, having thus secretly gained possession of the original, disposes of it as may be necessary for the purpose of the trick.

With this brief practical introduction, we proceed to describe a few of the simpler tricks with coins.

Heads or Tails.

You borrow a quarter, and spin it, or invite some other person to spin it, on the table (which must be without a cloth). You allow it to spin itself out, and immediately announce, without seeing it, whether it has fallen head or tail upward. This may be repeated any number of times with the same result, though you may be blindfolded, and placed at the further end of the apartment.

The secret lies in the use of a quarter of your[224] own, on one face of which (say on the “tail” side) you have cut at the extreme edge a little notch, thereby causing a minute point or tooth of metal to project from that side of the coin. If a coin so prepared be spun on the table, and should chance to go down with the notched side upward, it will run down like an ordinary coin, with a long continuous “whirr,” the sound growing fainter and fainter till it finally ceases; but if it should run down with the notched side downward, the friction of the point against the table will reduce this final whirr to half its ordinary length, and the coin will finally go down with a sort of “flop.” The difference of sound is not sufficiently marked to attract the notice of the spectators, but is perfectly distinguishable by an attentive ear. If, therefore, you have notched the coin on the “tail” side, and it runs down slowly, you will cry “tail;” if quickly, “head.”

If you professedly use a borrowed coin, you must adroitly change it for your own, under pretence of showing how to spin it, or the like.

Odd or Even; or, the Mysterious Addition.

You take a handful of coins, and invite another person to do the same, and to ascertain privately whether the number he has taken is odd or even. You request the company to observe that you have not asked him a single question, but that you are able, notwithstanding, to divine and counteract his most secret intentions, and that you will, in proof of this, yourself take a number of coins and add them to those he has taken, when, if his number was odd, the total shall be even; if his number was even, the total shall be odd. Requesting him to drop the coins he holds into a hat, held on high by one of the company, you drop in a certain number on your own account. He is now asked[225] whether his number was odd or even; and, the coins being counted, the total number proves to be, as you stated, exactly the reverse. The experiment is tried again and again, with different numbers, but the result is the same.

The secret lies in the simple arithmetical fact, that if you add an odd number to an even number, the result will be odd; if you add an odd number to an odd number, the result will be even. You have only to take care, therefore, that the number you yourself add, whether large or small, shall always be odd.

To Rub One Dime Into Three.

This is a simple little parlor trick, but will sometimes occasion a good deal of wonderment. Procure three dimes of the same issue, and privately stick two of them with wax to the under side of a table, at about half an inch from the edge, and eight or ten inches apart. Announce to the company that you are about to teach them how to make money. Turn up your sleeves, and take the third dime in your right hand, drawing particular attention to its date and general appearance, and indirectly to the fact that you have no other coin concealed in your hands. Turning back the table-cover, rub the dime with the ball of the thumb backward and forward on the edge of the table. In this position your fingers will naturally be below the edge. After rubbing for a few seconds, say, “It is nearly done, for the dime is getting hot;” and, after rubbing a moment or two longer with increased rapidity, draw the hand away sharply, bringing away with it one of the concealed dimes, which you exhibit as produced by the friction. Leaving the waxed dime on the table, and again showing that you have but one coin in your hands, repeat the operation with the remaining dime.[226]

The Capital Q.

Take a number of coins, say from five-and-twenty to thirty, and arrange them in the form of the letter Q, making the “tail” consist of some six or seven coins. Then invite some person (during your absence from the room) to count any number he pleases, beginning at the tip of the tail and traveling up the left side of the circle, touching each coin as he does so; then to work back again from the coin at which he stops (calling such coin one), this time, however, not returning down the tail, but continuing round the opposite side of the circle to the same number. During this process you retire, but on your return you indicate with unerring accuracy the coin at which he left off. In order to show (apparently) that the trick does not depend on any arithmetical principle, you reconstruct the Q, or invite the spectators to do so, with a different number of coins, but the result is the same.

The solution lies in the fact that the coin at which the spectator ends will necessarily be at the same distance from the root of the tail as there are coins in the tail itself. Thus, suppose that there are five coins in the tail, and that the spectator makes up his mind to count eleven. He commences from the tip of the tail, and counts up the left side of the circle. This brings him to the sixth coin beyond the tail. He then retrogrades, and calling that coin “one,” counts eleven in the opposite direction. This necessarily brings him to the fifth coin from the tail on the opposite side, being the length of the tail over and above those coins which are common to both processes. If he chooses ten, twelve, or any other number, he will still, in counting back again, end at the same point.

The rearrangement of the coins, which is[227] apparently only intended to make the trick more surprising, is really designed, by altering the length of the tail, to shift the position of the terminating coin. If the trick were performed two or three times in succession with the same number of coins in the tail, the spectators could hardly fail to observe that the same final coin was always indicated, and thereby to gain a clue to the secret. The number of coins in the circle itself is quite immaterial.

The Wandering Dime.

Have ready two dimes, each slightly waxed on one side. Borrow a dime, and secretly exchange it for one of the waxed ones, laying the latter, waxed side uppermost, on the table. Let any one draw two squares of ordinary card-board. Take them in the left hand, and, transferring them to the right, press the second waxed dime against the centre of the undermost, to which it will adhere. Lay this card (which we will call a) on the table, about eighteen inches from the dime which is already there, and cover such dime with the other card, b. Lift both cards a little way from the table, to show that the dime is under card a, and that there is (apparently) nothing under card b. As you replace them, press lightly on the centre of card a. You may now make the dime appear under whichever card you like, remembering that, if you wish the dime not to adhere, you must bend the card slightly upward in taking it from the table; if otherwise, take it up without bending.

The Magic Cover and Vanishing Pennies.

For the purpose of this trick you require half a dozen cents, of which the centre portion has been cut out, leaving each a mere rim of metal. Upon[228] these is placed a complete cent, and the whole are connected together by a rivet, running through the whole thickness of the pile. When placed upon the table, with the complete coin upward, they have all the appearance of a pile of ordinary pennies, the slight lateral play allowed by the rivet aiding the illusion. A little leather cap (shaped something like a fez, with a little button on the top, and of such a size as to fit loosely over the pile of cents), with an ordinary die, such as backgammon is played with, complete the necessary apparatus.

You begin by drawing attention to your magic cap and die, and in order to exhibit their mystic powers, you request the loan of half a dozen cents (the number must, of course, correspond with that of your own pile). While they are being collected, you take the opportunity to slip the little cap over your prepared pile, which should be placed ready to hand behind some small object on the table, so as to be unseen by the spectators. Pressing the side of the cap, you lift the pile with it, and place the whole together in full view, in close proximity to the die. The required cents having been now collected, you beg all to observe that you place the leather cap (which the spectators suppose to be empty) fairly over the die. Taking the genuine coins in either hand, you pretend, by one or other of the “passes,” to transfer them to the other. Holding the hand which is now supposed to contain the coins immediately above the cap, you announce that they will at your command pass under the cap, from which the die will disappear to make room for them. Saying, “One, two, three! Pass!” you open your hand, and show that the coins have vanished; and then, lifting up the cap by the button, you show the hollow pile, covering the die and appearing to be the genuine coins. Once more covering the pile with the cap, you[229] announce that you will again extract the coins, and replace the die; and to make the trick still more extraordinary, you will this time pass the coins right through the table. Placing the hand which holds the genuine coins beneath the table, and once more saying, “One, two, three! Pass!” you chink the coins, and, bringing them up, place them on the table. Again picking up the cap, but this time pressing its sides, you lift up the hollow pile with it, and disclose the die. Quickly transferring the cap, without the pile, to the other hand, you place it on the table, to bear the brunt of examination, while you get rid of the prepared coins.

The Pepper-Box, for Vanishing Money.

This is a small tin box, of the pepper-box or flour-dredger shape, standing three to four inches high. The “box” portion (as distinguished from the lid) is made double, consisting of two tin tubes sliding the one within the other, the bottom being soldered to the inner one only. By pulling the bottom downward, therefore, you draw down with it the inner tube, telescope fashion. By so doing you bring into view a slit or opening at one side of the inner tube, level with the bottom, and of such a size as to let a half-dollar pass through it easily. The lid is also specially prepared. It has an inner or false top, and between the true and false top a loose bit of tin is introduced, which rattles when the box is shaken, unless you at the same time press a little point of wire projecting from one of the holes at the top, and so render it, for the time being, silent. The box is first exhibited with the inner tube pushed up into its place, and the opening thereby concealed. A marked coin is borrowed, but either before or after the coin is placed therein, as may best suit his purpose, the performer secretly draws out the inner tube a[230] quarter of an inch or so, thus allowing the coin to slip through into his hand. As he places the box on the table, a very slight pressure suffices to force the tube up again into its original position, and close the opening. Having made the necessary disposition of the coin, the performer takes up the box and shakes it, to show (apparently) that the coin is still there, pressing on the little point above mentioned when he desires it to appear that it has departed, and immediately opening the box to show that it is empty. The pepper-box will not bear minute inspection, and is in this particular inferior to the rattle box.

A Nest of Boxes.

This consists of half a dozen circular wooden boxes, one within the other, the outer box having much the appearance, but being nearly double the size, of an ordinary tooth-powder box, and the smallest being just large enough to contain a quarter. The series is so accurately made that, by arranging the boxes in due order, one within the other, and the lids in like manner, you may, by simply putting on all the lids together, close all the boxes at once, though they can only be opened one by one.

These are placed, the boxes together and the lids together, anywhere so as to be just out of sight of the audience. If on your table, they may be hidden by any more bulky article. Having secretly obtained possession, by either of the means before described, of a coin which is ostensibly deposited in some other piece of apparatus, you seize your opportunity to drop it into the innermost box, and to put on the united lids. You then bring forward the nest of boxes (which the spectators naturally take to be one box only), and announce that the twenty-five cent piece will at your command pass from the place in which it has been deposited into[231] the box which you hold in your hand, and which you forthwith deliver to one of the audience for safe keeping. Touching both articles with the mystic wand, you invite inspection of the first to show that the money has departed, and then of the box, wherein it is to be found. The holder opens the box, and finds another, and then another, and in the innermost of all, the marked coin. Seeing how long the several boxes have taken to open, the spectators naturally infer that they must take as long to close, and (apart from the other mysteries of the trick) are utterly at a loss to imagine how, with the mere moment of time at your command, you could have managed to insert the coin, and close so many boxes. If you desire to use the nest for a coin larger than a quarter, you can make it available for that purpose by removing beforehand the smallest box.

The Ball of Berlin Wool.

An easy and effective mode of terminating a money trick is to pass the marked coin into the centre of a large ball of Berlin wool or worsted, the whole of which has to be unwound before the coin can be reached. The modus operandi, though perplexing to the uninitiated, is absurdly simple when the secret is revealed. The only apparatus necessary over and above the wool (of which you must have enough for a good-sized ball), is a flat tin tube, three to four inches in length, and just large enough to allow a quarter or half-dollar (whichever you intend to use for the trick) to slip through it easily. You prepare for the trick by winding the wool on one end of the tube, in such manner that when the whole is wound in a ball, an inch or so of the tube may project from it. This you place in your pocket, or anywhere out of sight of the audience. You commence the trick by requesting some[232] one to mark a coin, which you forthwith exchange by one or other of the means already described, for a substitute of your own, and leave the latter in the possession or in view of the spectators, while you retire to fetch your ball of wool, or simply take it from your pocket. Before producing it, you drop the genuine coin down the tube into the centre of the ball, and withdraw the tube, giving the ball a squeeze to remove all trace of an opening. You then bring it forward, and place it in a glass goblet or tumbler, which you hand to a spectator to hold. Taking the substitute coin, you announce that you will make it pass invisibly into the very centre of the ball of wool, which you accordingly pretend to do, getting rid of it by means of one or other of the “passes” already described. You then request a second spectator to take the loose end of the wool, and to unwind the ball, which, when he has done, the coin falls out into the goblet.

The only drawback to the trick is the tediousness of unwinding. To obviate this, some performers use a wheel made for the purpose, which materially shortens the length of the operation.



The Raisin Tortoise.

This noble animal is constructed as follows:—A muscatel raisin forms the body, and small portions of the stalk of the same fruit the head and legs. With a little judgment in the selection of the pieces of stalk and the mode in which they are thrust into the body, it is surprising what a lifelike tortoise may be thus produced. While the work of art in question is being handed round on a plate for admiration, the artist may further distinguish himself, if the wherewithal is obtainable, by constructing

The Lemon Pig.

The body of the pig consists of a lemon. The shape of this fruit renders it particularly well adapted for this purpose, the crease or shoulder at the small end of the lemon being just the right shape to form the head and neck of the pig. With three or four lemons to choose from, you cannot fail to find at least one which will answer the purpose exactly. The mouth and ears are made by cutting the rind with a penknife, the legs of short ends of lucifer matches, and the eyes either of black pins, thrust in up to the head, or of grape-stones.[234]

The Seasick Passenger.

The requirements for this touching picture are an orange, a pocket-handkerchief or soft table-napkin, and a narrow water goblet. The orange is first prepared by cutting in the rind with a penknife the best ears, nose, and mouth which the artist can compass, a couple of raisin-pips supplying the place of eyes. A pocket-handkerchief is stretched lightly over the glass, and the prepared orange laid thereon. The pocket-handkerchief is then moved gently backward and forward over the top of the glass, imparting to the orange a rolling motion, and affording a laughable but striking caricature of the agonies of a seasick passenger.

The Enchanted Raisins.

Take four raisins or bread-pills, and place them about a foot apart, so as to form a square on the table. Next fold a couple of table-napkins, each into a pad of five inches square. Take one of these in each hand, the fingers undermost and the thumb uppermost. Then inform the company that you are about to give them a lesson in the art of hanky-panky, etc., and in the course of your remarks bring down the two napkins carelessly over the two raisins farthest from you. Leave the right-hand napkin on the table, but, in withdrawing the hand, bring away the raisin between the second and third fingers, and at the same moment remarking, “You must watch particularly how many raisins I place under each napkin,” lift the left-hand napkin (as if merely to show that there is one raisin only beneath it), and transfer it to the palm of the outstretched right hand, behind which the raisin is now concealed. Without any perceptible pause, but at the same time without any appearance of haste, you replace the folded napkin on[235] raisin No. 2, and in so doing leave raisin No. 1 beside it. Now take up raisin No 3 (with the right hand). Put the hand under the table, and in doing so get raisin No. 3 between the second and third fingers, as much behind the hand as possible. Give a rap with the knuckles on the under-side of the table, at the same time saying, “Pass!” and forthwith pick up the left-hand napkin with the left hand, showing the raisins 1 and 2 beneath it. All eyes are drawn to the two raisins on the table, and as the right hand comes into sight from beneath the table the left quietly transfers the napkin to it, thereby effectually concealing the presence of raisin No. 3. The napkin is again laid over raisins 1 and 2, and No. 3 is secretly deposited with them. No. 4 is then taken in the right hand, and the process repeated, when three raisins are naturally discovered; the napkin being once more replaced, and No. 4 left with the rest. There are now four raisins under the left-hand napkin, and none under that on the right hand, though the spectators are persuaded that there is one under the latter, and only three under the former. The trick being now practically over, the performer may please himself as to the form of the dénouement and, having gone through any appropriate form of incantation, commands the imaginary one to go and join the other three, which is found to have taken place accordingly.

The Demon Lump of Sugar.

The performer commences by borrowing two hats, which he places, crown upward, upon the table, drawing particular attention to the fact that there is nothing whatever under either of them. He next demands the loan of the family sugar basin, and requests some one to select from it a[236] lump of sugar (preferably one of an unusual and easily distinguished shape), at the same time informing them that, by means of a secret process, only known to himself, he will undertake to swallow such lump of sugar before their eyes, and yet, after a few minutes’ interval, bring it under either of the two hats they may choose. The company, having been prepared by the last trick to expect some ingenious piece of sleight-of-hand, are all on the qui vive to prevent any substitution of another lump of sugar, or any pretence of swallowing without actually doing so. However, the performer does unmistakably take the identical lump of sugar chosen and crush it to pieces with his teeth. He then asks, with unabated confidence, under which of the two hats he shall bring it, and, the choice having been made, places the chosen hat on his own head, and in that way fulfills his undertaking.

The Mysterious Production.

This is another feat of the genus “sell,” and to produce due effect should only be introduced after the performer has, by virtue of a little genuine magic, prepared the company to expect from him something a little out of the common. He begins by informing the spectators that he is about to show them a great mystery, a production of nature on which no human being has ever yet set eye, and which, when they have once seen, no human being will ever set eyes on again. When the general interest is sufficiently awakened, he takes a nut from the dish and, having gravely cracked it, exhibits the kernel, and says, “Here is an object which you will all admit no human being has ever seen, and which” (here he puts it into his mouth and gravely swallows it) “I am quite sure nobody will ever see again.”[237]

The Family Giant.

A very fair giant, for domestic purposes, may be produced by the simple expedient of seating a young lad astride on the shoulders of one of the older members of the company, and draping the combined figure with a long cloak or Inverness cape. The “head” portion may, of course, be “made up” as much as you please, the more complete the disguise the more effective being the giant. A ferocious-looking moustache and whiskers will greatly add to his appearance. If some ready-witted and genial member of the party will undertake to act as showman, and exhibit the giant, holding a lively conversation with him, and calling attention to his gigantic idiosyncrasies, a great deal of fun may be produced. The joke should not, however, be very long continued, as the feelings of the “legs” have to be considered. If too long deprived of air and light they are apt to wax rebellious, and either carry the giant in directions he would fain avoid, or even occasionally to strike altogether, and bring the giant’s days to a sudden and undignified termination.

The Animated Telescope.

This is a much more finished deception, and is not unfrequently seen exhibited at theatres and circuses. The figure is constructed as follows:—You procure a stout broomstick, four feet long, and on one end thereof fasten firmly a grotesque pasteboard head, with appropriate headdress. Next construct an extinguisher-shaped robe of some dark material (a coarse black muslin or canvas is the best, as allowing a reasonable amount of light and ventilation to the performer). It should be gathered in with a frill round the neck of the figure, and[238] should be of such a length that when the performer stands beneath, with the stick extended at full length above his neck, it shall all but reach the ground. The robe should taper gradually outward, from a diameter of about eight inches at the top to about two feet six at the bottom. A cane hoop should be fastened horizontally within it at about the height of the performer’s knees, and another at about the level of his chin. These keep the garment distended, and give the operator much greater freedom of movement than he would otherwise enjoy. The lower hoop should be attached by four pieces of tape to a belt around the performer’s waist, this arrangement keeping it at a uniform height from the floor, and preventing the skirt getting under the performer’s feet in walking.

With a little practice the figure thus composed may be made to go through a variety of the most eccentric manœuvres. For instance, by gradually lowering the stick, and at the same time contracting the body into a crouching position, it may be made to sink to the dimensions of a dwarf.

By bending the body, and at the same time lowering the stick into a horizontal position, the figure will be made to salute. While in this position the head may be made to describe a circle of three or four feet in diameter, with inexpressibly comical effect. The stick may then be sloped backward. By way of finale, the figure may be made to pass its head between its legs, and in that position make its exit. Some little practice is required to work the “Nondescript” effectively.

The What-do-you-Think?

Our next three or four sections will be devoted to the description of the after-dinner menagerie. We will begin with the “What-do-you-Think?”[239]

The exhibitor begins, in proper showman style, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the pleasure of exhibiting to your notice the celebrated ‘What-do-you-Think?’ or Giant Uncle-Eater. You have all probably heard of the Ant-Eater. This is, as you will readily perceive, a member of the same family, but more so! He measures seven feet from the tip of his snout to the end of his tail, eight feet back again, five feet round the small of his waist, and has four feet of his own, making twenty-four in all. In his natural state he lives chiefly on blue-bottle flies and mixed pickles, but in captivity it is found that so rich a diet has a tendency to make him stout, and he is now fed exclusively on old champagne corks and back numbers of some daily paper. His voice, which you may perhaps have an opportunity of hearing (here the ‘What-do-you-Think?’ howls dismally), is in the key of B flat, and is greatly admired. People come here before breakfast to hear it, and when they have heard it, they assure us that they never heard anything like it before. Some have even gone so far as to say that they never wish to hear anything like it again.” Etc.

The “What-do-you-Think?” is manufactured as follows:—The performer, who should have black kid gloves on, places on his head a conical paper cap, worked up with the aid of the nursery paint-box into a rough semblance of an animal’s head. This being securely fastened on, he goes down on his hands and knees and a shaggy railway rug (of fur, if procurable) is thrown over him, and secured round his neck, when the animal is complete.

The Giraffe.

A grotesque head, as nearly approaching the required shape as possible, is securely fastened to[240] the end of a long stick, which is held by the foremost of the two performers who form the body beneath. To this head is attached the cloth which is designed to form the body of the animal, and which should be pinned round the bodies of the two performers. A rope tail may be added.

A good deal of fun may be produced by the efforts of the animal to scratch his head with his hind leg, etc.

The Dwarf.

The Dwarf can scarcely be said to belong to the menagerie, but may appropriately follow in this place. He is constructed as follows:—A table, with cover, is placed just in front of the drawn curtains of a window. The performers, of whom there are two, place themselves behind the table, the one in front of the other. The foremost either stands, or kneels on a stool, as may be found most convenient, and rests his hands, which are encased in a pair of boots, upon the table. These form the feet of the Dwarf. The second performer stands behind the first, concealed by the curtain, and passes his arms, which are the only part of his person in view, over the shoulders of the first performer, to form the arms of the dwarf. The above arrangements are, of course, made before the company are admitted into the room. The dwarf then proceeds to make a speech or sing a song, which the arms accompany with (as a rule) singularly inappropriate gestures. Thus, at a very impressive portion of (say) Hamlet’s soliloquy, the right hand will be seen to tweak the nose violently, or even to “take a sight” at the assembled company. The arms have even been known to stop the eloquence of the mouth, by violently cramming a pocket-handkerchief into it. The legs are equally eccentric in their behavior,[241] the Dwarf not hesitating, on an emergency, to scratch his nose with his foot, and so on.

The representation of the Dwarf demands a little practice, but, if it is well worked, the effect produced will fully repay the trouble expended in arranging it. A child’s pinafore will be found the most appropriate garment.

The Two Hats.

This is a modern version of the old “Game of Contraries.” The leader brings forward two hats; one he places on his own head, and hands the other to one of the company, with whom he enters into conversation. The person addressed must stand when the leader sits, and sit when he stands, take off his hat when the leader puts on his, and vice versa. A failure in any of these particulars is punishable by a forfeit. The conversation may be somewhat as follows:

Leader (standing and wearing his own hat). Allow me to offer you a hat, sir. (Sits down.)

Victim (standing up). I am much obliged to you, but I already have one.

Leader. Scarcely so becoming as this one, I think. But won’t you try it on? (Stands up, and victim sits down.) Allow me to place it on your head.

Victim. Not at present, thank you, though I quite admit it is a very charming hat.

Leader (throwing himself into a chair, and fanning himself with his hat). Dear me, how very hot the room is! Pray don’t rise on my account. (Victim stands up, but omits to put on his hat, whereby he incurs a forfeit, and the leader passes on to endeavor to entrap some other player.)[242]

The Knight of the Whistle.

This is a capital game for everybody but the victim, and produces much fun. Some one who does not know the game is chosen to be Knight of the Whistle, and is commanded to kneel down and receive the honor of knighthood, which the leader (armed with a light cane, the drawing-room poker, or other substitute for a sword) confers in due form.

While placing him in position, opportunity is taken to attach to his back, by means of a bent pin or otherwise, a piece of string about a foot in length, to which is attached a small light whistle. Having been duly dubbed, in order to complete his dignity, he is informed that he must now go in quest of the Whistle, which is in the hands of one of the company, and will be sounded at intervals, in order to guide him in his search. Meanwhile the other players gather in a circle round him, making believe to pass an imaginary object from hand to hand. The victim naturally believes that this imaginary object must be the long-lost Whistle, and makes a dash for it accordingly, when the player who happens to be behind his back blows the actual whistle, and instantly drops it again. Round flies the unhappy Knight, and makes a fresh dash to seize the Whistle, but in vain. No sooner has he turned to a fresh quarter than the ubiquitous Whistle again sounds behind his back.

If the game is played smartly, and care taken not to pull upon the cord, the Knight may often be kept revolving for a considerable period before he discovers the secret.

Sometimes a lady is chosen to “dub” the intended Knight, and the following piece of doggerel is repeated, the leader prompting:—

Lady. Why do you kneel thus low to implore?
Gentleman.  That I may remain a mere gent no more.[243]
Lady. How can I help your being a gent?
Gentleman. Dub me a Knight—you shall not repent.
Lady. If I should yield to your request,
What knightly duty will please you best?
Gentleman. To wait on ladies from morn till night,
And meet their foes in deadly fight.
Lady. Will you promise to heed all I may say,
And my will or whim henceforth to obey?
Gentleman. Yes, whatever you bid me do
Shall be my law—I belong to you.
Lady. Go, then, and be no longer blind,
And the troublesome Knight of the Whistle find.

The lady then strikes his shoulder with her fan or handkerchief, and says, “Rise up, Sir——”

In this case the victim is not told, but is left to discover that he himself is the Knight of the Whistle.

He Can Do Little.

This is another “sell” of almost childish simplicity, but we have seen people desperately puzzled over it, and even “give it up” in despair.

The leader takes a stick (or poker) in his left hand, thence transfers it to his right, and thumps three times on the floor, saying, “He can do little who can’t do this.” He then hands the stick to another person, who, as he supposes, goes through exactly the same performance, but if he does not know the game, is generally told, to his disgust, that he has incurred a forfeit, his imitation not having been exact.

The secret lies in the fact that the stick, when passed on, is first received in the left hand, and thence transferred to the right before going through.[244]

Throwing Light.

Two of the company agree privately upon a word (which as before, should be one susceptible of two or three meanings), and interchange remarks tending to throw light upon it. The rest of the players do their best to guess the word, but when either of them fancies he has succeeded, he does not publicly announce his guess, but makes such a remark as to indicate to the two initiated that he has discovered their secret. If they have any doubt that he has really guessed the word, they challenge him, i. e., require him to name it in a whisper. If his guess proves to be right, he joins in the conversation, and assists in throwing light on the subject; but if, on the other hand, he is wrong, he must submit to have a handkerchief thrown over his head, and so remain, until by some more fortunate observation he shall prove that he really possesses the secret.

We will give an example. Mr. A. and Miss B. have agreed on “Bed” as the word, and proceed to throw light upon it; alternating upon its various meanings of a place of repose, a part of a garden, or the bed of a river.

Miss B. I don’t know what your opinion may be, but I am never tired of it.

Mr. A. Well, for my part, I am never in a hurry, either to get to it or to leave it.

Miss B. How delightful it is after a long tiring day!

Mr. A. Yes. But it is a pleasure that soon palls. The most luxurious person does not care for too much of it at a stretch.

Miss B. Oh! don’t you think so? In early spring for instance, with the dew upon the flowers!

Mr. A. Ah! you take the romantic view. But how would you like it beneath some rapid torrent, or some broad majestic river.[245]

Miss C. (thinks she sees her way, and hazards a remark). Or in a souché!

Mr. A. I beg your pardon. Please tell me, in a whisper, what you suppose the word to be?

Miss C. (whispers). Fish! What! isn’t that right?

Mr. A. I am afraid you must submit to a temporary eclipse. (Throws her handkerchief over her face.)

Mr. A. to Miss B. You mentioned spring, I think. For my own part, I prefer feathers.

Mr. D. (rashly concludes, from the combination of “spring” and “feathers,” that spring-chickens must be referred to). Surely you would have them plucked?

Mr. A. (looks puzzled). I think not. May I ask you to name your guess? Oh, no, quite out. I must trouble you for your pocket-handkerchief.

Miss B. It is curious, isn’t it, that they must be made afresh every day?

Mr. A. So it is; though I confess it never struck me in that light before. I don’t fancy, however, that old Brown the gardener makes his quite so often.

Miss B. You may depend that he has it made for him, though.

Miss C. (from under the handkerchief). At any rate, according as he makes it, his fate will be affected accordingly. You know the proverb?

Mr. A. (removing the handkerchief). You have fairly earned your release. By the way, do you remember an old paradox upon this subject, “What nobody cares to give away, yet nobody wishes to keep?”

Miss E. Ah! now you have let out the secret. I certainly don’t wish to keep mine for long together, but I would willingly give it away if I could get a better.

Miss B. Tell me your guess. (Miss E. whispers.)[246] Yes, you have hit it. I was afraid Mr. A.’s last “light” was rather too strong.

And so the game goes on, until every player is in the secret, or the few who may be still in the dark “give it up” and plead for mercy. This, however, is a rare occurrence, for, as the company in general become acquainted with the secret, the “lights” are flashed about in a rash and reckless manner, till the task of guessing becomes almost a matter of course to an ordinarily acute person.

Multiplying Shadows.

Before quitting the subject of fireside amusements, we may give a passing mention to the subject of the curious optical illusion called “The Multiplying Shadows,” sometimes also known, from one form in which it is presented, as The Witches’ Dance. A dummy figure (suppose that of a witch, riding on the conventional broomstick) is suspended by fine threads or wires on the side of the screen remote from the spectators. Behind this are ranged, one behind the other, and at right angles to the screen, a row of lighted candles. Being all in the same line, they throw one shadow only on the screen. The figure is now made to oscillate slightly, so as to impart some little motion to the shadow. One of the candles is now removed from its place in the row, and waved gently about, now high, now low, the effect to the spectators being that a second shadow springs out of the first, and dances about it on the screen. A second and third candle is then removed, and waved up and down, each candle as it leaves its place in the line producing a separate shadow. It is well to have three or four assistants, each taking a candle in each hand.[247]

The Vanishing Knots.

For this trick you must use a silk handkerchief. Twisting it rope-fashion, and grasping it by the middle with both hands, you request one of the spectators to tie the two ends together. He does so, but you tell him he has not tied them half tight enough, and you yourself pull them still tighter. A second and a third knot are made in the same way, the handkerchief being drawn tighter by yourself after each knot is made. Finally, taking the handkerchief, and covering the knots with the loose part, you hand it to someone to hold. Breathing on it, you request him to shake out the handkerchief, when all the knots are found to have disappeared.

When the performer apparently tightens the knot, he in reality only strains one end of the handkerchief, grasping it above and below the knot. This pulls that end of the handkerchief out of its twisted condition and into a straight line, round which the other end of the handkerchief remains twisted; in other words, converts the knot into a slip-knot. After each successive knot he still straightens this same end of the handkerchief. This end, being thus made straight, would naturally be left longer than the other, which is twisted round and round it. This tendency the performer counteracts by drawing it partially back through the slip-knot at each pretended tightening. When he finally covers over the knots, which he does with the left hand, he holds the straightened portion of the handkerchief, immediately behind the knots, between the first finger and thumb of the right hand, and therewith, in the act of covering over the knots, draws this straightened portion completely out of the slip-knot.[248]

The Dancing Sailor.

The Dancing Sailor is a figure cut out of cardboard, eight or nine inches in height, and with its arms and legs cut out separately, and attached to the trunk with thread in such a manner as to hang perfectly free. The mode of exhibiting it is as follows:—The performer, taking a seat facing the company, with his legs slightly apart, places the figure on the ground between them. As might be expected, it falls flat and lifeless, but after a few mesmeric passes it is induced to stand upright, though without visible support, and, on a lively piece of music being played, dances to it, keeping time, and ceasing as soon as the music ceases.

The secret lies in the fact that, from leg to leg of the performer, at about the height of the figure from the ground, is fixed (generally by means of a couple of bent pins), a fine black silk thread, of eighteen or twenty inches in length. This allows him to move about without any hindrance. On each side of the head of the figure is a little slanting cut, tending in a perpendicular direction, and about half an inch in length. The divided portions of the cardboard are bent back a little, thus forming two “hooks,” so to speak, at the sides of the head. When the performer takes his seat, as before mentioned, the separation of his legs draws the silk comparatively taut, though, against a moderately dark background, it remains wholly invisible. When he first places the figure on the ground, he does so simply, and the figure naturally falls. He makes a few sham mesmeric passes over it, but still it falls. At the third and fourth attempt, however, he places it so that the little hooks already mentioned just catch the thread, and the figure is thus kept upright. When the music commences, the smallest motion, or pretence of keeping time with the feet is enough to start the sailor in a vigorous hornpipe.



These are by no means of modern origin: the Sphinx puzzled the brains of some of the heroes of antiquity, and even Alexander the Great, as it is written, made several essays to untie the knot (a practical riddle) with which Gordius, the Phrygian king, who had been raised from the plow to the throne, tied up his implements of husbandry in the temple, in so intricate a manner, that universal monarchy was promised to the man who could undo it: after having been repeatedly baffled, he, at length, drew his sword, considering that he was entitled to the fulfillment of the promise, by cutting the Gordian knot.

The modern riddle or conundrum, however, is a simpler affair, invented to amuse. We append a list of some that will keep the company in good humor. The key or solution appears on a later page.


1. He loved her. She hated him, but, woman-like, she would have him, and she was the death of him. Who was he?

2. Why is life the greatest of riddles?

3. If a church be on fire, why has the organ the smallest chance of escape?

4. Why should a sailor be the best authority as to what goes on in the moon?[250]

5. What does a cat have that no other animal has?

6. When is a man behind the times?

7. What is the difference between a baby and a pair of boots?

8. Use me well, and I’m everybody; scratch my back, and I’m nobody.

9. What word becomes shorter by adding a syllable to it?

10. If a stupid fellow was going up for a competitive examination, why should he study the letter P?

11. Why is buttermilk like something that never happened?

12. Why is the letter O the noisiest of all the vowels?

13. Why is a Member of Parliament like a shrimp?

14. Why is a pig a paradox?

15. Why is a bad half-dollar like something said in a whisper?

16. Why do black sheep eat less than white ones?

17. Why is a barn-door fowl sitting on a gate like a halfpenny?

18. Why is a man searching for the Philosopher’s Stone like Neptune?

19. What is the difference between a much-worn fourpennypiece and a halfcrown?

20. Why is the nose placed in the middle of the face?

21. What is most like a hen stealing?

22. What is worse than “raining cats and dogs?”

23. When is butter like Irish children?

24. Why is a chronometer like thingumbob?

25. Of what color is grass when covered with snow?[251]

26. Name in two letters the destiny of all earthly things?

27. What is even better than presence of mind in a railway accident?

28. What word contains all the vowels in due order?

29. Why is a caterpillar like a hot roll?

30. What is that which occurs twice in a moment, once in a minute, and not once in a thousand years?

31. What is that which will give a cold, cure a cold, and pay the doctor’s bill?

32. What is that which is neither flesh nor bone, yet has four fingers and a thumb?

33. What is the difference between a rhododendron and a cold apple-dumpling?

34. Why has man more hair than woman?

35. What is that which no one wishes to have, yet no one cares to lose?

36. Why is the letter G like the sun?

37. Why is the letter D like a wedding-ring?

38. What sweetens the cup of life, yet, divested of its end, embitters the most grateful draught?

39. Why should ladies not learn French?

40. Which tree is most suggestive of kissing?

41. What act of folly does a washerwoman commit?

42. Why should a cabman be brave?

43. What is the most difficult surgical operation?

44. Why is it difficult to flirt on board the P. and O. steamers?

45. What letter made Queen Bess mind her P’s and Q’s?[252]

46. Why is it an insult to a cock-sparrow to mistake him for a pheasant?

47. What is that from which the whole may be taken, and yet some will remain?

48. Why is blind-man’s buff like sympathy?

49. When may a man be said to have four hands?

50. Why is it easy to break into an old man’s house?

51. Why should you not go to London by the 12.50 train?

52. Why should the male sex avoid the letter A?

53. When does a man sneeze three times?

54. What relation is the doormat to the scraper?

55. Why does a piebald pony never pay toll?

56. When does a steamboat captain say that he is what he is not?

57. Why is the letter S like a sewing-machine?

58. Why need France never fear an inundation?

59. What is the difference between a cow and a rickety chair?

60. What flower most resembles a bull’s mouth?

61. What does a stone become in the water?

62. If the alphabet were invited out to dine, what time would U, V, W, X, Y, and Z go?

63. Why are sailors bad horsemen?

64. When was beef-tea first introduced into England?

65. What letter is the pleasantest to a deaf woman?

66. Why are ladies like churches?

67. When is love a deformity?

68. Why is a mouse like hay?

69. Why is a madman equal to two men?[253]

70. Why are good resolutions like ladies fainting in church?

71. Which is the merriest letter in the alphabet?

72. Why is a horse like the letter O?

73. What is the difference between a bankrupt and a feather-bed?

74. What is that word of five letters from which, if you take away two, only one remains?

75. Why is the letter B like a fire?

76. What word is pronounced quicker by adding a syllable to it?

77. Which animal travels with the most, and which with the least, luggage?

78. How many sticks go to the building of a crow’s-nest?

79. Which is the best-behaved food, cake or wine?

80. Which member of Congress wears the largest hat?

81. Why are bakers the most self-denying people?

82. Which of the constellations reminds you of an empty fireplace?

83. What relation is that child to its own father who is not its own father’s own son?

84. When does a pig become landed property?

85. Which is the heavier, the full or the new moon?

86. What is the best way to make a coat last?

87. Why is an alligator the most deceitful of animals?

88. Why are fowls the most profitable of live stock?

89. What is that which comes with a coach, goes[254] with a coach, is of no use whatever to the coach, and yet the coach can’t go without it?

90. If your uncle’s sister is not your aunt, what relation is she to you?

91. Why does a duck put its head under water?

92. Why does it take it out again?

93. What vegetable products are the most important in history?

94. Why is the letter W like a maid of honor?

95. What letter is always invisible, yet never out of sight?

96. What is an old lady in the middle of a river like?

97. Why are E and I the happiest of the vowels?

98. Why is the letter F like a cow’s tail?

99. On which side of a pitcher is the handle?

100. What is higher and handsomer when the head is off?

101. Why is a pig in a parlor like a house on fire?

102. What is the keynote to good breeding?

103. What is the best thing to make in a hurry?

104. What Queen Mary, of England, had before, poor thing! what King William had behind, poor thing! what Queen Anne never had at all, poor thing!

105. What do you add to nine in order to make it three less?

106. Why is a tallow-chandler like a villain exposed?

107. What is it that walks with its head downwards?[255]

108. Why could not Lord Beaconsfield insure his life?

109. Why is a lame dog like a schoolboy adding six and seven together?

110. Why is the Brooklyn Bridge like merit?

111. What we all require, what we all give, what we occasionally ask for, yet very seldom take?

112. A man remarks, looking at a portrait, “Uncles and brothers have I none, but that man’s father is my father’s son.” What relation is the original of the portrait to the speaker?


Formed long ago, yet made to-day;
Employed while others sleep;
What few would wish to give away,
Yet no one cares to keep?

114. What did Adam first plant in the Garden of Eden?

115. Four men went to sea on a marble slab. The first had no eyes, the second had no hands, the third had no legs, and the fourth was naked. The first saw a bird, the second shot it, the third ran and picked it up, and the fourth put it in his pocket. What is that?

116. What is Majesty, deprived of its externals?

117. If you saw an egg on a music-stool, what great poem would it remind you of?[256]


Can you tell me why
A hypocrite’s eye
Could better descry
Than you or I
On how many toes
A pussy-cat goes?

119. How would you make a thin man fat?

120. What is the difference between a young maid of sixteen and an old maid of sixty?

121. When was fruit known to use bad language?

122. If a man gets up on a donkey, where should he get down?

123. Why were Adam and Eve a grammatical anomaly?

124. What is lengthened by being cut at both ends?

125. Why are men like gooseberries?

126. Why should you never write a secret with a quill-pen?

127. “I am what I am; I am not what I follow. If I were what I follow, I should not be what I am.” What is it?

128. Which is the most cautious of birds?

129. Which is the strongest day of the week?

130. If a pig wanted to build himself a house, how would he set about it?

131. Why does a donkey prefer thistles to oats?

132. Where can you always find sympathy?[257]

133. What is the difference between a lady and a looking-glass?

134. Why need a man never starve in the desert?

135. Why are oysters the best food for dyspeptic people?


If by chance a man falls
From the top of St. Paul’s,
What does he fall against?

137. What was Joan of Arc made of?

138. Why is a kitten biting her own tail like a good manager?

139. Why is the figure 9 like a peacock?

140. Why did Adam bite the apple when Eve gave it to him?

141. Which are the most contented birds?

142. What animals have only one leg between them?


143. In my first my second sat; my third and fourth I ate.


Cut off my head, and singular I seem;
[258]Cut off my tail, and plural I appear;
Cut off both head and tail, and—wondrous to relate!—
Although my middle’s left, there’s nothing there.
What is my first? It is a sounding sea,
What is my last? It is a noble river,
And in their mingling depths I sportive play,
Parent of sweetest sounds, though mute for ever.


Cato and Chloe, combined well together,
Make a drink not amiss in very cold weather.


My first’s the joy of every cozy dame,
And in my second o’er to England came.
My whole of every household forms a part.
Thou art not Science, but thou teachest art.


My first is won, and never lost,
Reversed, it’s now before ye;
My next, reversed, is red as blood
In veins of Whig or Tory.
My whole’s so wond’rous strange, that I
Must candidly confess it,
Though you’re ingenious, it will be
A wonder if you guess it.



If I had been in Stanley’s place,
When Marmion urged him to the chase,
A thing you quickly would espy
Would bring a tear to many an eye.


You eat me, you drink me, deny it who can,
I’m sometimes a woman and sometimes a man.


The beginning of eternity, the end of time and space,
The beginning of every end, and the end of every place.

151. My first I hope you are; my second I see you are; my whole I know you are.

152. My first is French, my second English, and my whole Latin.


My first the fair Ophelia gave the Queen;
My next a steed, as ancient legends make it;
If fair Ophelia’s gift my whole had been,
Pray, would her majesty do right to take it?


The following fine example of the charade is from the facile pen of W. M. Praed:


“The canvas rattled on the mast
As rose the swelling sail,
And gallantly the vessel passed
Before the cheering gale.
And on my first Sir Florice stood,
As the far shore faded now,
And looked upon the lengthening flood
With a pale and pensive brow.
‘When I shall bear thy silken glove
Where the proudest Moslems flee,
My ladye-love, my ladye-love,
Oh, waste one thought on me!’
“Sir Florice lay in a dungeon-cell,
With none to soothe or save,
And high above his chamber fell
The echo of the wave;
But still he struck my second there,
And bade its tones renew
Those hours when every hue was fair,
And every hope was true.
‘If still your angel footsteps move
Where mine may never be,
My ladye-love, my ladye-love,
[261]Oh, dream one dream of me!’
“Not long the Christian captive pined,
My whole was round his neck,
A sadder necklace ne’er was twined
So white a skin to deck.
Queen Folly ne’er was yet content
With gems or golden store;
But he who wears this ornament
Will rarely sigh for more.
‘My spirit to the heaven above,
My body to the sea,
My heart to thee, my ladye-love,
Oh, weep one tear for me!’”

We cannot better conclude than with the beautiful, though hackneyed, enigma on the letter H, one of the most perfect ever written. The honor of its authorship belongs to Miss Ferrier.


“’Twas whispered in Heaven, ’twas muttered in Hell,
And Echo caught faintly the sound as it fell;
On the confines of Earth ’twas permitted to rest,
And the depths of the Ocean its presence confessed.
’Twill be found in the sphere when ’tis riven asunder,
Be seen in the lightning, and heard in the thunder;
’Twas allotted to man with his earliest breath,
Attends at his birth, and awaits him in death;
Presides o’er his happiness, honor and health,
[262]Is the prop of his house and the end of his wealth.
In the heaps of the miser ’tis hoarded with care,
But is sure to be lost by his prodigal heir.
It begins every hope, every wish it must bound;
With the husbandman toils, with the monarch is crowned;
Without it the soldier, the sailor may roam,
But woe to the wretch who expels it from home!
In the whisper of conscience its voice will be found,
Nor e’en in the whirlwind of passion be drowned.
’Twill not soften the heart; but, though deaf to the ear,
’Twill make it acutely and instantly hear.
In shade let it rest—like a delicate flower,
Or breathe on it softly, it dies in an hour!”

Answers to Conundrums, Enigmas, Etc.

1. A flea.

2. Because we must all give it up.

3. Because the engine cannot play upon it.

4. Because he has been to sea (see).

5. Kittens.

6. When he’s a weak (week) back.

7. One I was and the other I wear.

8. A looking-glass.

9. Short.

10. Because P makes “ass” “pass.”

11. Because it hasn’t a curd (occurred).[263]

12. Because all the rest are in-audible.

13. Because he has M. P. at the end of his name.

14. Because it is killed first and cured afterward.

15. Because it is uttered, but not allowed (aloud).

16. Because there are fewer of them.

17. Because its head is on one side and its tail on the other.

18. Because he is a-seeking (sea-king) what never was.

19. Two-and-twopence.

20. Because it’s the scenter (centre).

21. A cock robbing (cock-robin).

22. Hailing omnibuses.

23. When it is made into little pats.

24. Because it’s a watch-you may-call-it.

25. Invisible green.

26. D K.

27. Absence of body.

28. Facetiously.

29. Because it’s the grub that makes the butterfly.

30. The letter M.

31. A draught (draft).

32. A glove.

33. The one is a rhododendron and the other is a cold apple-dumpling. (You surely wouldn’t wish for a greater difference than that.)

34. Because he’s naturally her suitor (hirsuter).

35. A bald head.

36. Because it is the centre of light.

37. Because we cannot be wed without it.

38. Hope—hop.[264]

39. Because one tongue is enough for any woman.

40. Yew. (This is a riddle which should be used with due precaution.)

41. Putting out tubs to catch soft water when it rains hard.

42. Because none but the brave deserve the fair (fare).

43. To take the jaw out of a woman.

44. Because all the mails (males) are tied up in bags.

45. R made her (Armada).

46. Because it is making game of him.

47. The word “wholesome.”

48. Because it is a fellow feeling for another.

49. When he doubles his fists.

50. Because his gait (gate) is broken and his locks are few.

51. Because it is ten to one if you catch it.

52. Because it makes men mean.

53. When he cannot help it.

54. A step farther (step-father).

55. Because his master pays it for him.

56. When he says he’s a bacca’-stopper (ease her, back her, stop her).

57. Because it makes needles needless.

58. Because in France all the water is “l’eau.”

59. The one gives milk and the other gives whey (way).

60. A cowslip.

61. Wet.

62. They would go after tea (T).

63. Because they ride on the main (mane).[265]

64. When Henry VIII. dissolved the Pope’s bull.

65. A, because it makes her hear.

66. Because there is no living without them.

67. When it is all on one side.

68. Because the cat’ll (cattle) eat it.

69. Because he is one beside himself.

70. Because the sooner they are carried out the better.

71. U, because it is always in fun.

72. Because Gee (G) makes it Go.

73. The one is “hard up” and the other soft down.

74. Stone.

75. Because it makes oil boil.

76. Quick.

77. The elephant the most, because he never travels without his trunk. The fox and the cock the least, because they have only one brush and comb between them.

78. None; they are all carried to it.

79. Cake, which is only occasionally “tipsy,” while wine is always drunk.

80. The one who has the largest head.

81. Because they sell what they knead (need) themselves.

82. The Great Bear (grate bare).

83. His daughter.

84. When he is turned into a meadow.

85. The new moon; because the full moon is a great deal lighter.

86. Make the waistcoat and trousers first.

87. Because he takes you in with an open countenance.[266]

88. Because for every grain they give a peck.

89. Noise.

90. Your mother.

91. For divers reasons.

92. For sun-dry reasons.

93. Dates.

94. Because it is always in waiting.

95. The letter I.

96. Like to be drowned.

97. Because they are in happiness, while all the rest are in purgatory.

98. Because it is the end of beef.

99. The outside.

100. Your pillow.

101. Because the sooner it is put on the better.

102. B natural.

103. Haste.

104. The letter M.

105. The letter S. S(IX).

106. Because his wicked works are brought to light.

107. A nail in a shoe.

108. Because no one was clever enough to make out his policy.

109. Because he puts down three and carries one.

110. Because it is very often passed over.

111. Advice.

112. His son.

113. A bed.

114. His foot.

115. A lie, of course.

116. A jest.[267]

117. “The Lay of the Last Minstrel.”


A man used to deceit.
Can best counterfeit (count her feet);
And so, I suppose,
He could best count her toes.

119. Throw him out of a second-story window, and let him come down plump.

120. The one is happy and careless the other cappy and hairless.

121. When the first apple cursed the first pair (pear).

122. From a swan’s breast.

123. Because they were two relatives without an antecedent.

124. A ditch.

125. Because women make fools of them.

126. Because it is apt to split.

127. A footman.

128. The dove, because she minds her peas and coos (p’s and q’s).

129. Sunday, because all the others are weak days.

130. Tie a knot in his tail, and call it a pig’s tie (pig-stye).

131. Because he’s an ass.

132. In the dictionary.

133. The one speaks without reflecting, the other reflects without speaking.

134. Because he can always eat the sand which is (sandwiches) there.

135. Because they die just (digest) before they eat them.

136. Against his inclination.[268]

137. Maid of Orleans, of course.

138. Because she makes both ends meet.

139. Because without a tail it is nothing.

140. Because he had no knife.

141. Rooks, because they never complain without caws.

142. A pair of post-horses (which have only the postilion’s leg between them).

143. Insatiate.

144. Cod.

145. Chocolate.

146. Tea-chest.

147. Won-der.

148. On! Stanley! on!—On-i-on.

149. A toast.

150. The letter E.

151. Wel-come.

152. La-tin.

153. Rhu-barb.

154. Bow-string.

155. The letter H.



1. A child’s plaything.

2. What we all do at every meal.

3. A disorder incident to man and horse.[269]

4. Nothing, twice yourself, and fifty.

5. What we should always be ready to do to persons fighting, and the top of a house.

6. Equality and decay.

7. A celebrated English architect.

8. A tailor’s implement.

9. A lever.

10. An instrument for raising weights.

11. Three-eighths of a monthly publication, with a baked dish.

12. A valuable species of corn, and a very necessary part of it.

13. A cheated person.

14. A distant country.

15. Spoil half a score.

16. The defence of a bridge.

17. An instrument of diversion for men and boys.

18. A piece of wood, and a fashionable name for a street.

19. To cut off, and a vowel.

20. A piece of land, and a good thing which it produces.

21. What we say a person has got when he falls into the water.

22. An Animal which a Jew must not eat, a vowel, and a preposition.


I am found in a jail; I belong to a fire;
And am seen in a gutter abounding in mire:
Put my last letter third, and then ’twill be found
I belong to a king, without changing my sound.



Ye rebus wits,
Now mind your hits;
For your’s the task
My name to unmask:
A fruit we eat,
As sauce to meat;
And with fish too,
That wants a gout;
One letter, pray,
Take quite away;
A point of land
You’ll understand
Which sailors dread
Too near their lead,
But when embay’d,
Enjoy its shade:
One more letter
Then unfetter
The thing that’s left,
When thus bereft,
Is worn by all,
Both great and small,
From king and queen
To beggar mean.


1. Ten tea pots.

2. Sly Ware.

3. It’s in charity.[271]

4. Golden land.

5. Great helps.

6. Rare mad frolic.

7. Honor est a Nilo.

8. Hard case.

9. Claims Arthur’s seat.

10. No, appear not at Elba.

11. No more stars.

12. O poison Pitt.

13. I hire parsons.

14. Got as a clue.

15. To love ruin.

16. Best in prayer.

17. Nay, I repent it.

18. Veto. Un corse la finira.

19. Comical trade.

20. Spare him not.

21. Real fun.

22. In Magic tale.

23. Evil fast.

24. Yes Milton.

25. ’Tis ye govern.

26. See a pug dog.

27. A just master.

28. Made in pint pots.

29. A hot pen.

30. I call many sot.

31. A nice Pet.

32. The bar.

33. The law.

34. Truly he’ll see war.[272]

35. I send into Siam.

36. True, I am in.

37. Hire a prison.

38. There we sat.



A creature was formerly seen in England, which has lately been expelled from it, and which has some very peculiar properties appertaining to it. It stands upon one leg,—on which, without any body, is seen a great square head. It has three eyes, of which the centre is by far the largest; indeed so much so, that it has before now contained two more. The head is of a very peculiar construction, but exactly suited to its design: whenever it is about to be used, it is separated in halves, and, when reconnected, is held up to the gaze of an insolent rabble. All the notice, however, which it generally attracts, results from its being the effectual means of exhibiting another to the gaze of a hostile crowd. Such is this when entire; but when divided, and cut to pieces, a curious and careful observer may collect all that follows, by a selection and appropriate arrangement of its fragments.

A dose of medicine conveyed in a very agreeable manner, as, however nauseous its ingredients may[273] have originally been, it is quite tasteless. Such a state of the physical powers as requires such a dose. A part of the face, of a color quite different from the rest, and the more handsome, the greater the difference. A public record on which many are very anxious to get their names entered; or, to descend from great things to small, a substance that is devoured every morning for breakfast. A river which flows through a very delightful and agreeable part of Europe. What curious people are very fond of doing. What a candidate, for your vote at the next general election, if he should think it worth his while, will demand. A very poetical portion of the watery element, which murmurs and meanders in the description of many a poetaster. A quality of resinous substances. A female nickname. What is very necessary to be done occasionally in your shrubbery. An exclamation of surprise. A flower displaying more to admire than Solomon in all his glory. To tear. The expressed juice of olives,—and its adjective. A conjunction. And two initial letters, whose reiterated sounds have drowned the voices of strutting monarchs and ephemeral heroes.


Ye who in mystic lines delight,
Unveil and bring me forth to light,
Nor deem me tiresome, if my song
Should, like myself, prove wondrous long.
It may perhaps excite your mirth,
[274]That animals to me give birth;
Yet vegetables oftener claim
The honor to produce the same.
One time as white as snow I’m seen,
Another, red, blue, yellow, green;
The friendly brown I also wear,
Or in a sable garb appear:
The rhetorician owns my power,
For though well dressed with many a flower
His florid speech would gain no praise,
But, losing me, contempt would raise.
But now my name you surely know,
Dissected in the lines below.
That power to which we all must bend;
And what we call a valued friend;
A goddess of revengeful fame;
And Abram’s near relation’s name;
Two articles in common use;
And what we oft complain of news;
A weed which grew upon the plain,
Suffer’d till harvest to remain;
Two quadrupeds will next appear,
Which both conduce to sport and cheer;
A third, a noxious little creature;
And what adds charms to simple nature;
A fruit; a color; and a date
A firm support of Britain’s state;
What high, yet low, we wish to be;
A term for one who goes to sea;
One thing another oft put over;
Two things by this you may discover,—
[275]To make my hint somewhat more plain,
One keeps the other from the rain;
The vital spring of every woe;
And every pleasure that we know;
What’s always done whene’er we walk;
And what we do when others talk;
With what we’ve done when they give o’er
Two notes in music next explore;
What, join’d to home, is sent about,
As invitation to a rout;
What oft we see upon the plain;
Two little words denoting pain,
Or quick surprise, or laughter vain
A sign of sorrow; mark of spirit;
What envy bears superior merit;
A fragrant shrub we oft infuse:
Two pronouns in most frequent use;
A passion which the envious feel;
A weapon pointed oft with steel;
One of the properties of stone;
A term for misanthrope well known;
What oft in summer months we feel;
What aids when secrets you reveal;
What sinful deeds should ever be;
What’s daily done by you and me.
If all these meanings you expound,
Just five and forty will be found.


I was before the world begun,
[276]Before God made the rising sun;
Before He made the lesser lights
To drive the darkness from the nights.
I’m at the bottom of the sea,
And I am in immensity;
The daily motion of the earth
Dispels me, and to me gives birth;
You cannot see me if you try,
Although I’m oft before your eye.
Such is my whole. But for one part
You’ll find in taste I’m rather tart;—
Now I become th’ abode of men,—
And now for meaner things, a pen;
I am a man who lives by drinking,—
Anon I keep a weight from sinking;
To take me, folks go far and near,
I am what children like to hear;
I am a shining star on high,
And I’m its pathway through the sky;
I take the strength from iron and steel,—
Am sometimes left behind a wheel;
I am a term of due respect,—
Am used in English to connect;
I’m made to represent a head,—
Am found on every loaf of bread.
Such are the many forms I take,
All these, and many more I make;
Yet, after all, so strange am I,
Soon as you know me, then I die.



The man of letters finds me in his books;
The angler by the side of babbling brooks;
The sportsman seeks me with his dog and gun;
In foreign lands the traveler thinks I’m won;
The spendthrift hopes to buy me with his gold;
And childhood has me when a tale is told;
The love of me decoys the giddy youth,
From useful studies, till he learns this truth,
“All those who seek me only, most I fly;”
Lastly, when you my hidden sense descry,
You’ll own that for my sake you pondered long
The countless changes, that to me belong.
Such am I as a whole—but for one part,—
The youth invokes me when he feels love’s dart;
The Swiss, when exiled from his native vales,
Hears me with anguish, and his fate bewails;
New zest I add to scandal’s busy hour;
And adverse winds and tides confess my power;
I am the dazzling source whence colors flow;
The sluggard’s teacher; and your equal now;
Without me sails were useless; then a word
Expressing like; and now meek woman’s lord;
To measure next; anon to add; to vex;
The gentle office of the weaker sex;
I’m flesh, not fish—I’m silent ever;
Sought by all ranks, on earth found never;
Your near relation, and the squirrel’s food;
What you would keep when in a lazy mood;
Neptune’s abode; the forest monarch’s pride;
[278]A term to the departed souls applied;
What you possess, but others oftener use;
Your coat must have me, spite of what you choose;
Now the soft clime of “the cedar and vine;”
And last, a short word importing new wine.
More could I tell, but I bid you adieu,
Lest by prating I cause my own loss to you.


1. Kite.

2. Swallow.

3. Thrush.

4. OWL.

5. Partridge.

6. Parrot.

7. Wren.

8. Goose.

9. Crow.

10. Crane.

11. Magpie.

12. Wheatear.

13. Gull.

14. Turkey.

15. Marten.

16. Starling.

17. Bat.

18. Sparrow.

19. Snipe.

20. Fieldfare.[279]

21. Duck.

22. Pigeon.

23. Grate; great.

24. Caper; cape; cap.


1. Potentates.

2. Lawyers.

3. Christianity.

4. Old England.

5. Telegraphs.

6. Radical reform.

7. Horatio Nelson.

8. Charades.

9. Charles James Stuart.

10. Napoleon Bonaparte.

11. Astronomers.

12. The opposition.

13. Parishioners.

14. Catalogues.

15. Revolution.

16. Presbyterian.

17. Penitentiary.

18. La Revolution Française.

19. Democratical.

20. Misanthrope.[280]

21. Funeral.

22. Enigmatical.

23. Festival.

24. Solemnity.

25. Sovereignty.

26. Pedagogues.

27. James Stuart.

28. Disappointment.

29. Phaeton.

30. Monastically.

31. Patience.

32. Breath.

33. Wealth.

34. Arthur Wellesley.

35. Dissemination.

36. Miniature.

37. Parishioner.

38. Sweetheart.[281]


1. Pillory: in which may be found pill; ill; lip; roll; Po; pry; poll; rill; ropy; Polly; lop; lo; lily; rip; oil; oily; or; O. P.

2. Thread: in which may be found, death; dear; Ate; Terah; the; dearth; tare; hare; hart; rat; art; a; date; red; era; trade; rated; tar; hat; head; heart; tread; hear; heard; re; da; at, herd; ah; ha; tear; dare; hate; tea; her; eh; hated; dart; hard; hater; heat; ear; hatred; eat.

3. Obscurity: in which may be found, sour; city; sty; sot; buoy; tour; story; orb: orbit; rust; rut; sir; or; bust; crust.

4. Amusement: in which may be found, Muse; tea; stream; sun; ant; mate; mast; as; man; mete; sum; tease; amuse; meat; mute; ease; aunt; nut; seat; sea; mane; manes; name; seam; east; strum.

Some persons cannot, without considerable difficulty, find the proper answer to an enigma or a rebus; while others, of no greater general acuteness, do so with ease. It is no proof, therefore, of inferiority, not to be able to reply to a quaint conundrum, so quickly as another. Many young people have displayed much ingenuity in the[282] construction of different sorts of riddles in rhyme,—they are, in general, the most happy in solving those of others. The admirers of these frequently amusing trifles, consider opposition in their component parts, or curious combinations, to be most essential in the construction of good riddles.



In some form or other, the game of charades is played in almost every country under the sun. The most popular form is as follows:

Send one-half the company out of the room, the others remaining as audience. Rooms separated by double doors or portières are best for the scene of action.

The party outside thinks of some word which can be represented entire, in pantomime or tableau. Thus, the door opening, discloses a half dozen young girls standing in a line, while one of the acting party announces that this striking tableau represents the name of a famous orator. The audience failing to guess, is told that Cicero (Sissy-row) is the man.

Again just as the clock strikes ten, the doors opening, reveal a lady eating an apple or any convenient edible, while a gentleman who stands near, points to the clock and then at her. This being correctly guessed to represent “attenuate,” (at ten you ate) the other side goes from the room and the previous performers become the audience.

There are a host of words which, with a little ingenuity and the aid of a dictionary, may be turned to account. For example:

Ingratiate. (In grey she ate.)[284]

Catering. (Kate. Her ring.)

Hero. (He row.)

Tennessee. (Ten, I see.)

And so on. Clever players will devise new and amusing combinations in the game.

Charades may be performed after a variety of different fashions. First is the highly finished charade, with speech and action carefully prepared and duly rehearsed. Secondly, the spoken charade, got up on the spur of the moment, words and action alike ex tempore. We have seen a good deal of fun got out of charades of this description; but unless the actors are of more than average ability, and have some little dramatic experience, the chances are much against any very satisfactory result. On the whole, we should strongly recommend, that where a charade is got up ex tempore, it should be acted in pantomime only. It is of course understood that, whatever be the particular mode of performance, a charade always represents a “word” to be guessed, with one scene to each syllable (or group of consecutive syllables), and a final scene representing the whole word. The successive scenes are sometimes wholly independent of each other, but in the more finished class of charades are made parts of a complete drama. The following are good charade words:—

It will be obvious that in some of these instances, as, for instance, “Sweepstake,” “Housekeeping,” two syllables must be taken together to supply the motif for a single scene.

We will take the word “Windfall,” as affording a ready illustration of the pantomime charade, and be it remembered that, in charades of this description, the shorter and simpler the action the better. Thus the scene, “Wind,” may be represented by a German Band, puffing away at imaginary ophicleides and trombones, with distended cheeks and frantic energy, though in perfect silence. The next scene, “Fall,” may be a party of boys on a slide, who “keep the pot-a-boiling” for a moment or two, and then exeunt. Enter an elderly gentleman, with umbrella up; walks unsuspectingly on to the slide, and falls. It should be mentioned, that the expedient adopted in the very early days of the drama, of putting up a placard to notify, “This is a street.” “This is the quarter-deck of the Baltimore,” is quite correct in the case of a pantomime charade. The complete word, “Windfall,” may be represented by a young man sitting alone, leaning his elbows on his hands, and having every appearance of being in the last stage of impecuniosity. To produce this effect, he may go through a pantomime of examining his purse and showing it empty, searching his pockets, and turning them one by one inside out, shaking his head mournfully, and sitting down again, throwing into[286] his expression as much despair as he conveniently can. A letter carrier’s whistle is heard; a servant enters with a legal-looking letter. The impecunious hero, tearing it open, produces from it a roll of bank-notes (these, if a due supply of the genuine article does not happen to be readily obtainable, may be of the “Bank of Elegance” description), and forthwith gives way to demonstrations of the most extravagant delight, upon which the curtain falls.

A very absurd, but not the less meritorious, charade of this class is represented as follows:—The curtain rises (i. e., the folding-doors are thrown open), and a placard is seen denoting, “This is Madison Square,” or any other place where professional men most do congregate. Two gentlemen in out-door costumes cross the stage from opposite sides, and bow gravely on passing each other, one of them saying, as they do so, “Good-morning, doctor.” The curtain falls, and the audience are informed that the charade, which represents a word of six syllables, is complete in that one scene. When the spectators have guessed, or been told that the word is “met-a-physician,” the curtain again rises on precisely the same scene, and the same performance, action for action, and word for word, is repeated over again. The audience hazard the same word “metaphysician,” as the answer, but are informed that they are wrong,—the word now represented having only three syllables, and they ultimately discover that the word is “metaphor” (met afore).

In another charade of similar character, if the audience be classically inclined, when the curtain rises, nothing is seen but a little toy wooden horse, such as can be bought for fifty cents. The spectators are told that this forms a word of two syllables, representing an island in the Ægean Sea. If the spectators are well up in ancient geography, they[287] may possibly guess that Delos (deal ’oss) is referred to. The curtain falls, and again rises on the same contemptible object, which is now stated to represent a second island in the same part of the world. The classical reader will at once see that Samos (same ’oss) is intended. Again the curtain rises on the representation of another island. Two little wooden horses now occupy the scene, Paros (pair ’oss) being the island referred to. Once more the curtain rises, this time on a group of charming damsels, each reclining in a woe-begone attitude, surrounded by pill-boxes and physic-bottles, and apparently suffering from some painful malady. This scene represents a word of three syllables, and is stated to include all that has gone before. Cyclades (sick ladies), the name of the group to which Delos, Samos, and Paros belong, is of course the answer.

Another comical charade is a performance representing the word “imitation.” The spectators are informed that the charade about to be performed can only be exhibited to one person at a time. One person is accordingly admitted into the room in which the actors are congregated. The unhappy wight stares about him with curiosity, not unmingled with apprehension, fearing to be made the victim of some practical joke; nor is his comfort increased by finding that his every look or action is faithfully copied by each person present. This continues until he has either guessed or given up the word, when a fresh victim is admitted, and the new initiate becomes in turn one of the actors. Sometimes, however, the victim manages to turn the laugh against his persecutors. We have known a young lady, seeing through the joke, quietly take a chair, and remain motionless, reducing the matter to a simple trial of patience between herself and the company.

Acted charades, to be successful, demand much[288] care and preparation. There are numerous printed collections of charades of this kind, obtainable from any bookseller. Whatever be the charade selected, we cannot too strongly impress upon the reader the advantage of frequent and careful rehearsal.



What d’ye Buy?

This game may be played by any number from three to thirteen. There are a dozen good-sized pieces of cardboard, each bearing a colored illustration of one of the “trades” following: viz., a milliner, a fishmonger, a greengrocer, plumber, a music-seller, a toyman, mason, a pastrycook, a hardware-man, a tailor, a poulterer, and a doctor. Besides these there are a number of smaller tickets, half a dozen to each trade. Each of these has the name of the particular trade and also the name of some article in which the particular tradesman in question may be considered to deal. A book accompanies the cards, containing a nonsense story, with a blank at the end of each sentence.

One of the players is chosen as leader, and the others each select a trade, receiving the appropriate picture, and the six cards containing the names of the articles in which the tradesman deals. He places his “sign” before him on the table, and holds the remainder of his cards in his hand. The leader then reads the story, and whenever he comes to one of the blanks, he glances towards one of the other players, who must immediately, under penalty of a forfeit, supply the blank with some article he sells, at the same time laying down the card bearing its name. The incongruity of the article named with the context make the fun of the game, which is heightened by the vigilance which each player must exercise in order to avoid a forfeit.[290] Where the number of players is very small, each may undertake two or more trades.

We will quote a small portion of the story, by way of illustration. The concluding words indicate the trade of the person at whom the leader glances to fill up a given hiatus.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I propose to relate some curious adventures which befell me and my wife Peggy the other day, but as I am troubled with a complaint called ‘Non mi ricordo,’ or the ‘Can’t remembers,’ I shall want each of you to tell me what you sell: therefore when I stop and look at one of you, you must be brisk in recommending your goods. Whoever does not name something before I count ‘three’ must pay a forfeit. Attention!

“Last Friday week I was awoke very early in the morning by a loud knocking at my door in Humguffin Court. I got up in a great fright, and put on”—(looks at Toyman, who replies, “a fool’s cap and bells,” and lays down that card).

“When I got downstairs, who should there be but a fat porter, with a knot, on which he carried”—(Poulterer) “a pound of pork sausages.”

“‘Hallo!’ said I, ‘my fine fellow, what do you want at this time of day?’ He answered”—(Fishmonger) “A cod’s head and shoulders.”

“‘Get along with you,’ I said; ‘there’s my neighbor, Dr. Drenchall, I see, wants’”—(Butcher) “a sheep’s head.”

“I now went up to shave, but my soap-dish was gone, and the maid brought me instead”—(Milliner) “a lady’s chip hat.”

“My razor had been taken to chop firewood, so I used”—(Greengrocer) “a cucumber.”

“I then washed my face in”—(Doctor) “a cup of quinine,” “cleaned my teeth with”—(Fishmonger) “a fresh herring,” and “combed my hair with”—(Pastrycook) “a jam tart.”[291]

“My best coat was taken possession of by pussy and kittens, so I whipped on”—(hardware-man) “a dripping pan.”

“The monkey, seeing how funny I looked, snatched off my wig, and clapped on my head”—(Poulterer) “a fat hen.”

“I now awoke my wife, and asked her what she had nice for breakfast; she said”—(Doctor) “a mustard plaster.”

“Then I scolded Sukey, the servant, and called her” (Poulterer) “a tough old turkey.”

“But she saucily told me I was no better than”—(Music-seller) “an old fiddle.”

“I soon had enough of that, so I asked my wife to go with me to buy”—(Tailor) “a pair of trousers.”

“But she said she must have her lunch first, which consisted of——” etc., etc., through half a dozen pages, the tradesmen supplying more or less appropriate articles to fill up the gaps in the discourse.

A Trip To Paris.

There is another game on the same principle, known by the somewhat ambitious title of “The most Laughable Thing on Earth; or A Trip to Paris.” The tickets for this game are nearly 150 in number, each containing name and grotesque sketch of some article or articles, as “a hod of mortar,” “a guinea-pig,” “a basin of gruel,” “a wheelbarrow,” “a jar of pickles,” “a tub of soft soap,” “two dozen eggs,” “Jemima’s new bonnet,” “some castor-oil,” “a penny whistle,” “a peck of peas,” etc., etc. The game is full of innocent nonsense and played precisely as in the last case (save that there is no reference to any particular trades). The story to be read by the leader commences as follows:

“Brown, Jones, and Robinson were walking[292] together in the streets of Boston, when Brown suddenly exclaimed, ‘I will go to Paris, and return the personification of ——’

“‘I, too,’ said Jones, ‘should like to see Paris, but I have not got ——’

“‘And I should like to accompany you,’ said Robinson, ‘if I knew ——’

“‘Go with us then,” said Brown, ‘and we’ll have ——’

“‘There’s an excursion train to New York in the morning; we can see the “lions” there on our way, and then take ——’

“It was now ‘Pack and off!’ Brown went to bid his friends good-bye, giving to each a parting gift. To an old schoolfellow he gave ——

“To Matilda Jane, a young lady who laid claim to his heart, he gave, with a kiss, ——

“Now, Matilda Jane would not be outdone, so she kissed him twice, and begged him to accept of ——

“Brown was perplexed, but he took the gift, and going home was saluted by the children, who shouted, ‘There goes a man with ——’

“That night he had wonderful dreams; he thought he was chased by ——

“And that he was trying to crowd into his carpetbag ——

“When a man came along and charged him with stealing ——

“He was enraged at this, and was about to pitch into the man, when he awoke, and found it all a dream, caused by his having eaten for supper ——

“He was early at the station, and on asking for a ticket, the clerk gave him ——”

And so on, in like manner. These last games, as a change from graver recreations, make a good deal of fun, particularly with young players.[293]

The Cook who Doesn’t Like Peas.

The fun of this game depends on a fair proportion of the players not being acquainted with it. The leader begins, addressing the first player, “I have a cook who doesn’t like peas (p’s); what will you give her for her dinner?” The person addressed, if acquainted with the secret, avoids the letter p in his answer, and, for example, says, “I will give her some walnuts.” The question is then asked of the second person, who, if unacquainted with the trick, is likely enough to offer some delicacy which contains the letter p; e. g., potatoes, asparagus, pork, apple-pie, pickled cabbage, peanuts, etc., etc. When this occurs, the offender is called upon to pay a forfeit, but the precise nature of his offence is not explained to him. He is simply told, in answer to his expostulations, that “the cook doesn’t like p’s.” When a sufficient number of forfeits has been extracted, the secret is revealed, and those who have not already guessed it are aggravated by being told over and over again that the cook did not like p’s, and if they would persist in giving them to her, they must, of course, take the consequences.


It is surprising what a fund of amusement may be derived by the children from four or five alphabets, printed on card-board, and then cut up into, say, half-inch squares, with a single letter on each. A double supply of vowels will be found an advantage. The most simple mode of using the alphabets is for one person to pick out the letters forming some word, e. g., “nevertheless,” and then hand them, well mixed together, to another player, who endeavors to discover what word they form.[294]

Another game is played as follows.—The players, each of whom is supplied with paper and pencil, are divided equally into two sides, and the leader having selected a word, suppose “notwithstanding,” each party sets to work to see how many different words they can make of the same letters. (Thus from the word above suggested may be made “not, with, stand, standing, gin, ton, to, wig, wit, his, twit, tan, has, had, an, nod, tow, this, sat, that, sit, sin, tin, wing, what, who, wish, win, wan, won,” and probably a host of others.) A scrutiny is then taken, all words common to both parties being struck out. The remainder are then compared, and the victory is adjudged to the one having the largest number of words.

Sometimes the division into sides is dispensed with, and each player depends on himself. Another purpose for which the alphabets in question is used is that of forming anagrams, in the composition of which they are a very great assistance, but this is hardly simple enough for children. We are inclined to doubt whether the results obtained in this game bear a fair proportion to the labor involved; though it is unquestionable that once in a way an anagram is produced that is curiously appropriate. We may instance the following:

Telegraph, Great help,
Florence Nightingale,    Flit on, cheering angel,
Astronomers,Moon starers.

A fourth Spelling Game is played by each person drawing, say twenty letters hap-hazard, and trying to form them into a sentence, the palm of merit being awarded to the player who at the same time produces the most coherent phrase, and also succeeds in using the greatest proportion of the letters assigned to him.[295]

The “Young Folks’ Concert.”

The little players sit or stand round the room in a circle. The leader assigns to each some musical instrument, as harp, flute, violoncello, trombone, etc., and also selects one for himself. Some well-known tune is then given out, say “Yankee Doodle,” and the players all begin to play accordingly, each doing his best to imitate, both in sound and action, the instrument which has been assigned to him, the effect being generally extremely harmonious. The leader commences with his own instrument, but without any warning suddenly ceases, and begins instead to perform on the instrument assigned to one or other of the players. Such player is bound to notice the change, and forthwith to take to the instrument just abandoned by the leader, incurring a forfeit if he fails to do so.

Mary’s Little Lamb.

This is a great favorite with the young folks. When everything else has become tiresome, some one starts the first line of the verse,

Mary had a little lamb,
Fleece as white as snow, etc.

All sing, and on the second verse being reached the last syllable of the first line is dropped, then the next to the last, the third, the fourth and so on, until the line is totally omitted. The aim of the singers is to keep exact time, counting a beat for each omitted syllable, and any one whose voice breaks in when all should be silent, pays a forfeit. The same can be done with “John Brown’s Body,” repeating the first verse and omitting syllable after syllable at the end of the first line until there is nothing left to sing but the chorus.[296]

Funny Outlines.

The artistic faculty of the young folks is in this case brought into requisition. Slips of paper being distributed, each young player marks on his slip a crooked line of any shape he or she pleases. The papers are then exchanged, and each has to draw some sort of figure, working in as part of the outline the crooked line already drawn by his neighbor.

The best plan in this game is to allow the line already drawn, if possible, to suggest some figure, and to work out that idea. It is of course understood that the works of art to be produced are only expected to be of the very roughest description. If there is a difficulty in dealing with the outline as it stands, the player is entitled to place it on its side, or even upside down, if he prefers it.

Thus a curve may suggest a swan, a square may give a hint of a house, a wave-line of a snake or an eel, a long sweeping curve may fit in as a horse’s back, or an irregular outline may afford an idea for a comical face. The sketches produced with strict regard to the conditions of the game will be found full of fun and novelty, if not characterized by any high degree of art.

Transcriber’s Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 64, “initals” changed to “initials” (of their initials)

Page 67, repeated word “the” removed from text. Original read (If the the sermon has begun)

Page 134, “Where” changed to “Were” (Were you very sorry)

Page 170, “villian” changed “villain” (leaves of the villain)

Page 173, “o” changed to “to” (adapted to the cone)

Page 205, “gallaries” changed to “galleries” (and other galleries)

Page 230, “quart” changed to “quarter” (to contain a quarter)

Page 250, “noisest” changed to “noisiest” (O the noisiest of all)

Page 274, “liftle” changed to “little” (noxious little creature)

Page 287, “surrround” changed to “surround” (surrounded by pill-boxes)