The Project Gutenberg EBook of Every Boy's Book: A Complete Encyclopædia
of Sports and Amusements, by Various

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Title: Every Boy's Book: A Complete Encyclopædia of Sports and Amusements

Author: Various

Editor: Edmund Routledge

Release Date: February 23, 2013 [EBook #42172]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Chris Curnow, Harry Lamé and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive)

Please see Transcriber’s Notes at the end of this text.




With more than Six Hundred Illustrations


R. Clay, Son, and Taylor, Printers,
Bread Street Hill, London.


The twelve years that have passed since the first edition of Every Boy’s Book was published, have brought so many changes in our national sports and pastimes, and have seen the introduction of so many new games, that it has been thought desirable to remodel this work, in order to bring it down to the requirements of the present time. In carrying out this plan effectually, Every Boy’s Book has been almost entirely rewritten; and scarcely anything now remains of the old work except the title.

All the articles that were in the former edition have been thoroughly revised, and papers on Boxing, Canoeing, Croquet, Fives, Golf, Rackets, Sliding, Billiards, Bagatelle, Dominoes, Spectrum Analysis, Canaries, Hedgehogs, Jackdaws, Jays, Magpies, Owls, Parrots, Ravens, Boats, Cryptography, Deaf and Dumb Alphabet, Dominoes, Mimicry and Ventriloquism, Shows, Stamp Collecting, and Tinselling, appear now for the first time.

In carrying out this work much valuable assistance has been given by Professor Pepper, the Rev. J. G. Wood, W. B. Tegetmeier, Clement Scott, Sidney Daryl, J. T. Burgess, Dr. Viner, Thomas Archer, W. Robinson of the Field, Cholmondeley Pennell, and other well-known writers on sports.

The articles at the end of this work on American Billiards, Base Ball, and the Canadian sport of La Crosse, have been contributed by Henry Chadwick, the leading authority on these games in America.

Christmas, 1868.


It would be impossible for a single author to produce a book of this description with a fair prospect of success, because it necessarily treats of many subjects; and a perfect acquaintance with some of the more important would occupy a lifetime. The reading and researches of one man would not be sufficiently extensive to embrace the rich variety of the materials required. Being fully convinced of this fact, the Publishers have endeavoured to obtain the aid of the most distinguished writers in the various departments of knowledge which the following pages are intended to illustrate. Thus each contributor, in furnishing his quota of information for the work, has been engaged in a congenial task, one best suited to his peculiar turn of mind, as well as to his individual acquirements, and one upon which he could, therefore, with the greatest ease and accuracy dilate. This brief explanation will show in what spirit the Publishers embarked in the undertaking; and the accompanying list of the writers may be received as a proof that they have succeeded in securing the services of the most competent authorities. With that portion of the book with which he was practically acquainted each of the following gentlemen has dealt: W. Martin, Esq., C. Baker, Esq., R. B. Wormald, Esq., J. F. Wood, Esq., A. McLaren, Esq., Stonehenge, author of “Rural Sports,” and the Rev. J. G. Wood, author of several works on Natural History, who also furnished some of the designs. The remaining illustrations are by William Harvey and Harrison Weir; and the credit for the able manner in which they have been engraved is due to the brothers Dalziel.

2, Farringdon Street,
February, 1856.



Hop, Step, and Jump 1
Hopping on the Bottle 2
Hop-Scotch 2
French and English 3
Drawing the Oven 4
I Spy 4
Pitch-Stone 3
Duck-Stone 5
Prisoner’s Base, or Prison Bars 5
Fox 7
Baste the Bear 7
Leap-Frog 8
Fly the Garter 8
Spanish Fly 9
Touch 10
Touch-Wood and Touch-Iron 10
Buck, Buck, how many Horns do I hold up? 10
Warning 10
Follow my Leader 11
The Fugleman 11
Hare and Hounds 11
Steeple Chase 13
Duck and Drake 13
Simon Says 14
King of the Castle 14
Battle for the Banner 14
Snow-Balls 15
Snow Castle 16
Snow Giant 17
Jack! Jack! show a Light! 18
Jingling 19
Jump little Nag-tail! 19
Jumping Rope 20
My Grandmother’s Clock 20
Rushing Bases 21
See-saw 21
Thread the Needle 22
Tom Tiddler’s Ground 22
Two to One 22
Walk, Moon, Walk! 22
Want a day’s work? 23
Will you List? 23
Whoop! 24
High Barbaree! 24
Bull in the Ring 24
Cock Fight 25
Dropping the Handkerchief 25
Blind Man’s Buff 26
Bob-Cherry 26
Buff 27
Concert 27
Consequences 28
Cross Questions & Crooked Answers 28
Dumb Motions 29
Family Coach 29
Frog in the Middle 30
The Four Elements 31
Hand 31
Hot Boiled Beans 32
Hot Cockles 32
How? Where? and When? 32
Hunt the Slipper 33
Hunt the Ring 33
Hunt the Whistle 33
Magic Music 34
Post 34
Proverbs 35
Puss in the Corner 36
Red-Cap and Black-Cap 36
Shadow Buff 37
Slate Games 37
Trades 40
Trussed Fowls 40
The Two Hats 40
What is my Thought like? 41[viii]
Catch Ball 43
Doutee-Stool 43
Egg-Hat 44
Feeder 44
Monday, Tuesday 45
Nine-Holes 46
Northern Spell 46
Rounders 46
Sevens 48
Stool-Ball 48
Trap, Bat, and Ball 48
The Hoop 50
Encounters 50
Hoop Race 51
Posting 51
Tournament 52
Turnpike 52
How to make a Kite 53
Flying the Kite 54
Messengers 55
Calico Kites 55
Fancy Kites 55
Bounce Eye 58
Conqueror 58
Die Shot 58
Eggs in the Bush 59
Increase Pound 59
Knock out, or Lag out 59
Long Taw 60
Nine-Holes, or Bridge Board 60
Odd or Even 61
Picking the Plums 61
The Pyramid 61
Ring Taw 61
Spans and Snops, and Bounce About 62
Teetotum Shot 62
Three-Holes 62
Tipshares, or Handers 63
The Humming-top 64
Peg-top 65
Spanish Peg-top 65
The Whip-top 65
Chip-stone 66
Peg-in-the-Ring 66
The Apple Mill 68
Aunt Sally 68
Baton 69
Cat 69
Cat and Mouse 70
Knock-’em-down 71
Pea-shooters 71
Quoits 71
Nine-pins 72
Skittles 72
Dutch-pins 73
Throwing the Hammer 73
The Boomerang 74
The Skip-jack, or Jump-jack 74
The Sling 74
Walking on Stilts 76
The Sucker 76
Battledore and Shuttlecock 78
Bandilor 79
Cup and Ball 79
The Cutwater 79
Fox and Geese 80
Goose 81
Head, Body, and Legs 81
Knuckle-bones 82
Merelles, or Nine Men’s Morris 83
Paper Dart 83
The Popgun 84
Push-pin 84
Schimmel 84
Spelicans 86

A Word about Fish 90
About the Rod 91
Choosing the Rod 91
Lines or Bottoms 92
Shotting the Line 93
The Float 93
Reels or Winches 94
Reel Lines 94
Hooks 94
How to bait a Hook 95
Baits 95
To Bait with Greaves 97
To Scour and Preserve Worms 97
The Plummet 97
Plumbing the Depth 97
Landing-hook and Landing-net 98
Clearing Ring and Line 98
Drag-hook 98
Bank Runner 98
Live-bait Kettle 99
Disgorger 99
Angling Axioms 99
Salmon 100
Trout 100
Jack or Pike 101
Gudgeon 103
Roach 104
Dace 105
Perch 106
Grayling 107
Chub 108
Carp 109
Tench 110
Pope, or Ruff 110
Bream 111
Flounder 111
Eels 112
Stickleback and Minnow 113
Barbel 114
Natural Fly-fishing, or Dipping 115
Fly-fishing and Artificial Flies 115
Materials for making Flies 115
The Long-bow 122
The Cross-bow 122
Feats of the Bow 123
Length of Bows and Arrows, and how used in Ancient Times 124
Marks for Shooting at 124
Equipment for Archery 125
Ancient Directions for Archery 125
Decline of Archery 125
Modern Archery 126
The Bow 126
The String 126
Stringing the Bow 127
The Arrows 127
The Quiver 128
The Tassel, Brace, Belt, and Pouch 128
Shooting Glove, and Grease Pot 129
The Target 129
Butts 130
How to draw the Bow 130
Flight Shooting 131
Clout Shooting 131
Roving 131
General Hints for Archers 132
The Bat 145
The Ball 145
The Stumps 145
Pads or Guards 146
Batting Gloves 147
Wicket-keeping Gloves 148
The Laws of Cricket 148
The Laws of Single Wicket 152
The Batsman.—Hints to Young Players 153
Fielding 159
Bowling 162
The Wicket-keeper 165
Long-stop 166
Point 166
Short-slip 166
Cover-point 167
Long-slip 167
Long-on 167
Long-off 167
Leg 167
Mid-wicket on and off 167
Third Man up 167
Diagram I.—Fast Round-arm Bowling 168
Diagram II.—Medium Pace Round-arm Bowling 169
Diagram III.—Slow Under-hand Bowling 169
CROQUET.—Materials of the Game 170
The Mallets 170
The Balls[x] 171
The Hoops 171
The Posts 172
Clips 172
Marking Board 173
Tunnel 173
The Cage 173
A Croquet Stand 174
How the Game is played 174
Diagram, No. I. 177
Diaram, N II. 178
Diaram, N III. 179
Diaram, N IV. 180
Rules 181
Striking 181
Order of Playing 181
The Croquet 182
The Posts 185
The Rover 185
Hints to Young Players 186
Introduction 192
The Horse in Harness 193
The Horse 194
The Harness 194
The Carriage 195
Putting to 196
Directions for Driving 196
The Guard 199
Advance 200
Retreat 201
The Longe 201
The Recover 201
The Engage 202
Parades 202
Quarte 203
Tierce 203
Seconde 205
Demi-Cercle 205
Octave 206
Contre-Parades 206
Attacks 207
The Straight Thrust 207
The Disengagement 207
The One-Two 208
The Beat and Thrust 208
The Beat and Disengagement 208
Cut over the Point 208
Cut over the Disengagement 208
Double 209
All Feints 209
The Assault 209
General Advice 210
Positions 211
Target 212
Cuts and Guards 213
Cuts 213
Points 214
Guards 215
Parry 215
Hanging Guard 216
Inside Guard 216
Outside Guard 217
Attack and Defence 217
Draw Swords 218
Recover Swords 219
Carry Swords 219
Slope Swords 219
Return Swords 219
Practices 220
Second Practice 220
Third Practice 220
Fourth Practice 221
Fifth Practice 221
Fort and Feeble 222
Drawing Cut 222
General Advice 222
Introduction 228
Historical Memoranda 229
Modern Gymnastics 230
Walking 230
The Tip-toe March 231
Running 232
Jumping 232
Leaping 233
To climb up a Board 234
Climbing the Pole 234
Climing t Rope 235
Climing Trees 235
The Giant Stride, or Flying Steps, and its capabilities 235
Parallel Bars 241
The Horizontal Bar 243
The Horse 246
The Swing 249
Throwing the Javelin 253
The Trapeze, Single and Double 254
Tricks and Feats of Gymnastics 262
The Horse 271
The Marks of Age in the Horse 271
The Paces of the Horse 272
Terms used by Horsemen 274
Form of the Horse 274
Varieties of the Horse suitable for Boys 274
The Accoutrements and Aids 275
Mounting 277
Dismounting 278
The Management of the Reins 278
The Seat[xi] 279
The Control of the Horse 280
Management of the Walk 280
The Trot and Canter 281
The Management of the Gallop 282
Leaping 282
Treatment of Vices 284
Historical Memoranda 288
Construction of Ancient Ships and Galleys 289
Roman Galleys, Ships, &c. 290
Of Boats 291
The Component Parts of Boats 292
The Oars and Sculls 293
Sea Rowing 293
River Rowing 293
Management of the Oar 294
The Essential Points in Rowing 295
Management of the Boat 295
Rowing together 296
Caution to Young Rowers 296
Characters of a Yacht 301
Various kinds of Yachts 302
Description of the Cutter Yacht 303
Construction of the Hull 303
Something about the Masts, Spars, Ropes, &c. 306
Sailing a Yacht 308
Bringing up 310
Making Snug 310
Going back 310
Jibing 310
Bringing up at Moorings 310
Of the Mariners’ Compass, and various Nautical
Terms 311
Cautions and Directions 312
Nautical Terms 312
The Skate 317
Putting on the Skates 318
How to start upon the Inside Edge 319
Movement on the Outside Edge 319
Forward Roll 320
The Dutch Roll 320
The Figure of Eight 321
The Figure of Three 321
The Back Roll 321
General Directions to be followed by Persons learning to Skate 322
Places and Times for Bathing and Swimming 327
Entering the Water 328
Aids to Swimming 328
Striking off and Swimming 329
How to manage the Legs 330
Plunging and Diving 330
Swimming under Water 331
Swimming on the Side 332
Swimming on the Back without employing the Feet 332
Floating 333
Treading Water 333
The Fling 333
Swimming on the Back 334
Thrusting 334
The Double Thrust 335
To Swim like a Dog 335
The Mill 335
The Wheel backwards and forwards 335
To Swim with one Hand 336
Hand over Hand Swimming 336
Balancing 336
The Cramp 337
Saving from Danger 337
Sports and Feats in Swimming 338
Bernardi’s system of Upright Swimming 338
The Prussian System of Pfuel 339

Difference between Sound and Noise 347
Sounds, how propagated 347
To show how Sound travels through a Solid 347
To show that Sound depends on Vibration 347
Musical Figures resulting from Sound 347
To make an Æolian Harp 348
The Invisible Girl 348
Ventriloquism 349
Balloons 350
How to make an Air-balloon 351
How to Fill a Balloon 352
To make Fire-Balloons 352
Parachutes[xii] 352
Gases 357
Oxygen Gas 358
Experiments 359
Nitrogen 360
Experiments 361
Atmospheric Air 362
Hydrogen 364
Experiments 364
Water 365
Experiment 366
Chlorine 367
Experiments 368
Muriatic Acid Gas, or Hydric Chloride 369
Experiments 370
Iodine 371
Experiments 371
Bromine 371
Experiments 371
Fluorine 372
Experiment 372
Carbon 372
Experiments 373
Carbon and Hydrogen 374
Experiment 375
Coal Gas 376
Experiment 376
Phosphorus 377
Experiments 377
Sulphur 378
Metals 379
Potassium 381
Experiments 381, 382, 383
Crystallization of Metals 383
Experiment 383
To form a Solid from two Liquids 384
To form a Liquid from two Solids 384
Experiments 384
Changes of Colour produced by Colourless Liquids 385
Simple Means of producing Electricity 386
Attraction and Repulsion exhibited 387
How to make an Electrical Machine 388
The Conductor 389
The Plate Electrical Machine 389
How to draw Sparks from the tip of the Nose 389
How to charge a Leyden Jar 390
The Electrical Battery 390
Dancing Balls and Dolls 391
The Electrical Kiss 391
Ringing Bells 391
Working Power of Electricity 392
The Electrified Wig 392
Imitation Thunder Clouds 393
The Lightning Stroke imitated 393
The Sportsman 394
GALVANISM, or Voltaic Electricity 395
Origin of Galvanism 395
Simple Experiment to excite Galvanic Action 396
With Metal Plates in Water 396
To make a Magnet by the Voltaic Current 397
Effects of Galvanism on a Magnet 397
Change of Colour by Galvanism 397
The Galvanic Shock 398
The Electrotype 398
How to make an Electrotype Apparatus 398
To obtain the Copy of a Coin or Medal 399
HEAT 399
Heat or Caloric 399
Expansion 402
The Syphon 405
The Pump 405
The Hydraulic Dancer 406
The Water Snail or Archimedean Screw 407
Relation of Magnetism to Electricity 408
To make Artificial Magnets 409
How to Magnetise a Poker 409
To show Magnetic Repulsion and Attraction 409
North and South Poles of the Magnet 410
Polarity of the Magnet 410
The Magnetic Fish 410
The Manetic Swan 411
To suspend a Needle in the Air by Magnetism 411
To make Artificial Magnets without the aid either of Natural Loadstones or Artificial Magnets 411
Horse-shoe Magnets 412
Experiment to show that soft Iron possesses Magnetic Properties while it remains in the vicinity of a Magnet 412
Electro-Magnetism 413
Power of the Electro-Magnet 413
The Mariner’s Compass, and Experiments with a Pocket Compass 413
Variation of the Needle 414
Dip of the Needle 414
Useful Amusement with the Pocket Compass 414
Interesting Particulars concerning the Magnet 415
Experiment of the Law of Motion 417
Balancing 418
The Prancing Horse 418
To construct a Figure, which being placed upon a curved surface and inclined in any position, shall, when left to itself, return to its former position[xiii] 418
To make a Carriage run in an inverted position without falling 418
To cause a Cylinder to roll by its own weight up-hill 418
The Balanced Stick 419
The Chinese Mandarin 419
To make a Shilling turn on its edge on the point of a Needle 419
The Dancing Pea 420
Obliquity of Motion 420
The Bridge of Knives 421
The Toper’s Tripod 421
The Compound Microscope 432
Light as an Effect 455
Refraction 456
The Invisible Coin made Visible 456
The Multiplying Glass 457
Transparent Bodies 457
The Prism 457
Composition of Light 457
A Natural Camera Obscura 458
Bullock’s-eye Experiment 458
The Camera Obscura 458
The Camera Lucida 459
The Magic Lantern 460
Painting the Slides 460
To exhibit the Magic Lantern 461
Effects of the Magic Lantern 461
Tempest at Sea 461
The Phantasmagoria 462
Dissolving Views 462
How to raise a Ghost 462
The Thaumatrope 463
The Bird in the Cage 463
Construction of the Phantasmacope 464
Curious Optical Illusions 464, 465
The Picture in the Air 465
Breathing Light and Darkness 466
To show that Rays of Light do not obstruct each other 466
Optics of a Soap-bubble 467
The Kaleidoscope 467
Simple Solar Microscope 468
Anamorphoses 468
The Cosmorama 470
Distorted Landscapes 470
How to make the Negative on Glass, using Collodion bromoiodized for Iron development 472
Weight of the Air Proved by a pair of Bellows 477
The Pressure of the Air shown by a Wine-glass 478
Another Experiment 478
Elasticity of the Air 478
Reason for this 479
The Air-Pump 479
To prove that Air has Weight 479
To prove Air elastic 480
Sovereign and Feather 480
Air in the Egg 480
The Descending Smoke 480
The Soundless Bell 481
The Floating Fish 481
The Diving Bell 482
Experiments 482, 484, 485
With Ice or Snow 485
Without Snow or Ice 485
How to use the Spectroscope 488
To obtain the Bright Lines in the Spectrum given by any Substance 488
Professor Stokes’ Absorption Bands 489
To Map out any Spectrum 489

DOGS 506
Glasses 517
Feeding 517
Diseases 517
OWLS 526
Varieties of Pigeons 545
Blue Rock Dove 545
The Antwerp, or Smerle[xiv] 546
The Pouter 547
The Carrier 548
The Dragon 549
The Tumbler 549
The Barb 550
The Owl 551
The Turbit 551
The Fantail 551
The Trumpeter 552
The Jacobin 553
Fowls 554
Fattening 555
Laying 555
Hatching 555
Rearing of Chickens 556
The Pintado, or Guinea Fowl 557
Ducks 558
Food of the Silkworm 576
Hatching, Feeding, and Temperature 576
Moultings 577
The Cocoon 577
The Aurelia 578
Winding the Silk 578
The Moth 578
General Remarks 579

English Bagatelle 591
The French Game 591
Sans Egal 591
The Cannon Game 592
Mississippi 592
The Angles of the Table 597
The American Game 602
Pyramids, or Pyramid Pool 602
Winning and Losing Carambole Game 602
Pool 603
Italian Skittle Pool 604
Cutter 606
Smack 607
Schooner 607
Lugger 608
The Shop and Bench 609
Of Planes 610
Saws 611
The Spoke Shave 613
Stock and Bits 613
How to make a Wheelbarrow 613
The Way to make a Box 615
To cut the Dovetails 615
The Bottom of the Box 616
The Laws of the Game 618
The King’s Knight’s opening 620
Game I.—Philidor’s Defence 621
Ga II.—Petroff’sDef 622
Variation A. on White’s 5th Move 622
Game III.—The Giuoco Piano 622
Variation A. on White’s 6th Move 622
Game IV.—The Evans’ Gambit 623
Variation A. on White’s 9th Move 623
Varition B. on hite’ 9th 624
Varition A. on Black’s 10th Move 624
The Gambit declined 625
Game V.—Ruy Lopez Knight’s Game 626
Variation B. on Black’s 3rd Move 627
Varition C. on lack 3rd 627
Game VI.—The Scotch Gambit 627
Variation A. on Black’s 4th Move 628
The King’s Bishop’s Opening 630
Game I.—The Lopez Gambit 630
Variation A. on White’s 4th Move 631
Game II.—The Double Gambit 631
Game III. 631
Variation A. on Black’s 4th Move 632
The King’s Gambit 632
Game I. 632
The Salvio Gambit 633
Variation A. on Black’s 4th Move 633
Game II.—The Muzio Gambit 633
Game I.—The Allgaier Gambit 635
Game II. 635
Game I.—The Bishop’s Gambit 636
Game II. 636
The Gambit refused 638
Game I. 638
Game II. 639
The Centre Gambit 639
Game I. 639
Variation A. on Black’s 3rd Move 640
Game II. 640
The Queen’s Gambit 641
Game I.[xv] 641
Variation A. on Black’s 3rd Move 641
Game II. 642
Sleight of Hand 645
The Flying Shilling 645
Another Method 646
The Beads and Strings 646
To get a Ring out of a Handkerchief 647
To tie a Knot in a Handkerchief which cannot be drawn tight 647
The Three Cups 648
To tie a Handkerchief round your Leg, and get it off without untying the Knot 648
The Magic Bond 649
The Old Man and his Chair 649
To tie a Knot on the Left Wrist without letting the Right Hand approach it 651
The Handcuffs 651
To pull a String through your Button-hole 652
The Cut String restored 652
The Gordian Knot 653
The Knot loosened 653
To put Nuts into your Ear 654
To crack Walnuts in your Elbow 654
To take Feathers out of an empty Handkerchief 654
Tricks requiring Special Apparatus 654
The Die Trick 655
The Penetrative Pence 656
The Doll Trick 657
The Flying Coins 657
The Vanished Groat 658
The Restored Document 658
The Magic Rings 658
The Fish and Ink Trick 659
The Cannon Balls 659
The Shilling in the Ball of Cotton 660
The Egg and Bag Trick 660
The Dancing Egg 661
Bell and Shot 661
The Burned Handkerchief restored 662
The Fire-Eater 662
Tricks with Cards 663
To make the Pass 663
To tell a Card by its Back 664
The Card named without being Seen 664
The Card told by the Opera Glass 664
The Four Kings 666
Audacity 666
The Card found at the Second Guess 666
The Card found under the Hat 667
To call the Cards out of the Pack 667
Heads and Tails 667
The Surprise 668
The Revolution 668
The Slipped Card 668
The Nailed Card 668
To ascertain the Number of Points on three Unseen Cards 669
To tell the Numbers on two Unseen Cards 669
The Pairs repaired 669
The Queen digging for Diamonds 670
The Triple Deal 670
The Quadruple Deal 671
Tricks with Cards that require Apparatus 671
The Cards in the Vase 671
The Metamorphosis 672
To change a Card in a Person’s Hand 673
The Alphabet 682
The Numbers 685
The ordinary Boy’s Game 686
All Fives 687
The Matadore Game 687
All Threes 687
Tidley-Wink 688
The Fortress 688
Whist Dominoes 688
How to play the Game 690
The Moves 690
Laws of the Game 690
Games for Practice 691
Game I. 691
Game II. 692
Gunpowder 693
How to make Touch-paper 694
Cases for Squibs, Flower-pots, Rockets, Roman Candles, &c. 694
To choke the Cases 694
Composition for Squibs, &c. 694
How to fill the Cases 695
To make Crackers 695
Roman Candles and Stars 695
Rockets 696
Rains 696
Catherine Wheels 696
Various Coloured Fires 696
Crimson Fire 696
Blue 697
Green „ 697
Purple „ 697
White 697
Spur 697
Blue Lights 697
Port or Wild Fires 697
Slow Fire for Wheels 697
Dead Fire for Wheels 697
Cautions 697
To make an Illuminated Spiral Wheel 698
The Grand Volute 698
A brilliant Yew-tree[xvi] 699
On Laying out a Small Garden 702
Planting the Ground with Trees, Flowers, &c. 703
The Noblest Kind of Gardening for Boys 703
The Boy’s Flower Garden 710
Te Boy’ Fruit Garden 717
Cropping the Ground 719
Digging 719
Hoeing 720
Raking 720
Weeding 720
Sowing Seeds 721
Transplanting 721
Watering 722
Various Modes of Propagation 723
Layers 723
Pipings 723
Grafting 724
Tongue-Grafting 724
Budding 725
Inarching 725
Grafting Clay 726
Pruning 726
Training 726
Insects and Depredators 727
Protection from Frost 727
The Young Gardener’s Calendar for the Work to be done in all the Months of the Year 728
January 728
February 729
March 729
April 729
May 730
June 730
July 731
August 731
September 731
October 732
November 732
December 732
The Divided Garden 736
The Vertical Line Puzzle 736
The Cardboard Puzzle 736
The Button Puzzle 736
The Circle Puzzle 737
The Cross Puzzle 737
Three-Square Puzzle 737
Cylinder Puzzle 737
The Nuns 738
The Dog Puzzle 738
Cutting out a Cross 738
Another Cross Puzzle 738
The Fountain Puzzle 738
The Cabinet-maker’s Puzzle 739
The String and Balls Puzzle 739
The Double-headed Puzzle 739
The Row of Halfpence 740
Typographical Advice 740
The Landlord made to Pay 740
Father and Son 740
Answers to Puzzles 741
The Divided Garden 741
Vertical Line Puzzle 741
Cut Card Puzzle 741
Button Puzzle 741
Circle Puzzle 741
The Cross Puzzle 742
Three-Square Puzzle 742
Cylinder Puzzle 742
The Nuns’ Puzzle 742
The Dog’s Puzzle 742
Cutting out a Cross Puzzle 743
Another Cross Puzzle 743
The Fountain Puzzle 743
The Cabinet-maker’s Puzzle 743
String and Balls Puzzle 744
Double-Headed Puzzle 744
The Row of Halfpence 744
Typographical Puzzle 745
The Landlord made to Pay 745
Father and Son 745
Punch and Judy 746
Fantoccini 749
The Sailor 751
The Juggler 751
The Headless Man 751
The Milkwoman 751
American Billiards 797
La Crosse 812





Boys playing Hop, step and jump

Make a mark on the ground at a place called the “starting point.” At ten yards’ distance from this make another, called the “spring.” Then let the players arrange themselves at the starting point, and in succession run to the second mark called the spring. From the spring make first a hop on one leg, from this make a long step, and from the step a long jump. Those who go over the greatest space of ground are of course the victors.



Various games are in vogue among boys, in which hopping on one foot is the principal object. Among these is one which not only assists in strengthening the limbs, but also teaches the performers the useful art of balancing themselves upon a movable substance. A wooden bottle, a round wooden log, or something of that description, is laid upon the ground, a mark is made at a certain distance, and the players have to hop from the mark upon the bottle, and retain their possession while they count a number agreed upon. In the olden times of Greece, this was considered an exercise of sufficient importance to give it a place at the public games. The performer in this case had to hop upon inflated leather bags, carefully greased, and of course, by their inevitable upsettings and floundering, caused great amusement to the spectators. The sports took place on the Dionysia, or festivals of Bacchus, when the vintage was gathered in, and the victor was appropriately rewarded with a cask of wine. The rustics in many parts of England introduce a modification of this game in their rural festivals. Two men place themselves opposite to each other, the right knee of each being supported on a wooden cylinder, while the remaining foot is totally unsupported. When they are fairly balanced, they grasp each other by the shoulders, and endeavour to cast their opponent to the ground, while themselves retain their position upon their fickle support.


This is a game played by hopping on one foot and kicking an oyster-shell or piece of tile from one compartment to the other, without halting the lifted foot, except in one case, to the ground, and without suffering the shell or tile to rest on any of the lines. A diagram is first drawn similar to the subjoined. It consists of twelve compartments, each being numbered, and at its further end the pleasant and inviting picture of a plum pudding with knife and fork therein stuck. In commencing the game, the players take their stand at the place marked by a star, and “quoit” for innings. The object is, that of doing what every boy is supposed to like above all things to do, i. e. “pitch into the pudding,” and he who can do this, and go nearest to the plum in the centre, plays first.

Hop-scotch diagram

Method of Playing.—The winner begins by throwing his shell into No. 1; he then hops into the space, and kicks the tile out to the star *; he next throws the tile into No. 2, kicks it from No. 2 to No. 1, and thence out. He then throws it into No. 3, kicks it[3] from 3 to 2, from 2 to 1, and out. He next throws it into No. 4, kicks it from 4 to 3, from 3 to 2, from 2 to 1, and out; and so he proceeds till he has passed the cross and comes to No. 7, when he is permitted to rest himself, by standing with one foot in No. 6 and the other in No. 7; but he must resume hopping before he kicks the tile home. He then passes through the beds 8, 9, 10 and 11, as he did those of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, &c., and so on, till he gets to plum pudding, when he may rest, and placing his tile on the plum, he is required, while standing on one foot, to kick it with such force as to send it through all the other beds to * at one kick. If one player throws his tile into the wrong compartment, or when he is kicking it out, he loses his innings, as he does also if the tile or his foot at any time rests on a line, or if he kicks his tile out of the diagram.


This is an old Greek game, and, like very many simple boys’ games, has retained its popularity to the present day. Its Greek name was rather a jaw-cracking one, but may be literally translated by “Pully-haully.” It consists of two parties of boys, who are chosen on different sides by lots. One party takes hold of one end of a strong rope, and the other party of the other end. A mark being made midway between the parties, each strives to pull the other over it, and those who are so pulled over, lose the game.

In this game, two leaders should be appointed, who must calculate the powers of their own side, and concert plans accordingly. The leader of either side should have a code of signals, in order to communicate with his own friends, that he may direct them when to stop, when to slacken, or when to pull hard. So important is the leader’s office, that a side with a good leader will always vanquish a much superior force which has no commander to guide it. For example, when all the boys are pulling furiously at the rope, the leader of one side sees that his opponents are leaning back too much, depending on their weight more than on their strength. He immediately gives the signal to slacken, when down go half the enemy on their backs, and are run away with merrily by the successful party, who drag them over the mark with the greatest ease. Or if the enemy begins to be wearied with hard pulling, an unanimous tug will often bring them upright, while they are off their guard, and once moved, the victory is easily gained. We have seen, assisted, and led this game hundreds of times, and never failed to find it productive of very great amusement. No knots are to be permitted on the rope, nor is the game to be considered as won, unless the entire side has been dragged over the line.


This is a game not very dissimilar to the preceding, but not so much to be recommended, as the clothes are very apt to be torn, and[4] if the players engage too roughly, the wrists are not unfrequently injured. The method of playing the game is as follows:—Several boys seat themselves in a row, clasping each other round the waist, thus fantastically representing a batch of loaves. Two other players then approach, representing the baker’s men, who have to detach the players from each other’s hold. To attain this object, they grasp the wrists of the second boy, and endeavour to pull him away from the boy in front of him. If they succeed, they pass to the third, and so on until they have drawn the entire batch. As sometimes an obstinate loaf sticks so tight to its companion, that it is not torn away without bringing with it a handful of jacket or other part of the clothing, the game ought not to be played by any but little boys.


This is a capital game for the summer months. The players divide themselves into two parties, one party remaining at a spot called “Bounds,” and concealing their faces, while the other party goes out and hides. After waiting for a few minutes, the home party shouts, “Coming, coming, coming.” After a short pause they repeat the cry, and after another short interval they again shout, “Coming.” If any out-player is not concealed, he may cry, “No,” and a few minutes more are allowed. At the last shout, the home players, leaving one to guard bounds, sally forth in search of their hidden companions. Directly one of the seekers sees one of the hiders, he shouts, “I Spy,” and runs home as fast as he can, pursued by the one he has found, who tries to touch him before he can reach bounds. If he succeeds, the one so touched is considered taken, and stands aside. If the hiding party can touch three, or more, if especially agreed upon, they get their hide over again. The object of the hiders is to intercept the seekers, and prevent them from reaching bounds without being touched. The worst player is left at the bounds, in order to warn his companions, which he does by the word “Home,” as any hider may touch any seeker.


This game is played by two boys, each of whom takes a smooth round pebble. One player then throws his pebble about twenty feet before him, and the next tries to strike it with his stone, each time of striking counting as one. If the two pebbles are near enough for the player to place one upon the other with his hand, he is at perfect liberty to do so. It is easy enough to play at this game when the pebbles are at some distance apart; but when they lie near each other, it is very difficult to take a good aim, and yet send one’s own pebble beyond the reach of the adversary’s aim. Two four-pound cannon balls are the best objects to pitch, as they roll evenly, and do not split, as pebbles always do when they get a hard knock.



This game may be played by any number of players. A large stone is selected, and placed on a particular spot, and the players first “Pink for Duck,” that is, they each throw their stones up to the mark, and the one who is farthest from it becomes “Duck.” The Duck places his stone on the other, while the rest of the players return to the bounds, and in succession pitch their stones at his with the endeavour to knock it off. If this is accomplished, Duck must immediately replace it, and the throwers must pick up their stones and run to the bounds. As soon as Duck has replaced his stone, he runs after any of the other players, and if he can succeed in catching or merely touching any one of them, the player so touched becomes Duck.

Boys playing Prisoner's Base

This is a most delightful game, and is a very great favourite among boys of all classes. It is commenced by choosing Captains, which is either done by lot or by the “sweet voices” of the youths. If by lot, a number of straws of different lengths are put in a bunch, and those who draw from one end, the other being hidden, the two longest straws, are the two “Captains;” each of which has the privilege of choosing his men: the drawer of the longest of the two straws has the first choice. When this has been arranged each Captain selects, alternately, a boy till the whole are drawn out.

This method is, however, often attended with considerable inconvenience, as it is not impossible that the lots may fall on the two worst players. It is very much better to let the boys choose the two[6] Captains, as the two best players will then assuredly be elected, and most of the success of the game depends on the Captains.

The leaders being thus chosen, the next point is to mark out the homes and prisons. First, two semicircles are drawn, large enough to hold the two parties, the distance between the semicircles being about twenty paces. These are the “homes,” or “bounds.” Twenty paces in front of these, two other semicircles, of a rather larger size, are marked out. These are the prisons; the prison of each party being in a line with the enemy’s home. These preliminaries being settled, the sides draw lots; the side drawing the longest straw having to commence the game. The Captain of side A orders out one of his own side, usually a poor player, who is bound to run at least beyond the prisons before he returns. Directly he has started, the Captain of side B sends out one of his men to pursue, and, if possible, to touch him before he can regain his own home. If this is accomplished, the successful runner is permitted to return home scathless, while the vanquished party must go to the prison belonging to his side; from which he cannot stir, until some one from his own side releases him, by touching him in spite of the enemy. This is not an easy task; as, in order to reach the prison, the player must cross the enemy’s home. It is allowable for the prisoner to stretch his hand as far towards his rescuer as possible, but he must keep some part of his body within the bounds; and if several prisoners are taken, it is sufficient for one to remain within the prison, while the rest, by joining hands, make a chain towards the boy who is trying to release them. When this is accomplished, both the prisoner and his rescuer return home, no one being able to touch them until they have reached their home and again started off. But the game is not only restricted to the two originally sent out. Directly Captain A sees his man pressed by his opponent, he sends out a third, who is in his turn pursued by another from side B; each being able to touch any who have preceded, but none who have left their home after him. The game soon becomes spirited; prisoners are made and released, the two Captains watching the game, and rarely exposing themselves, except in cases of emergency, but directing the whole proceedings. The game is considered won, when one party has succeeded in imprisoning the whole of the other side. Much depends upon the Captains, who sometimes, by a bold dash, rescue the most important of their prisoners, and thereby turn the fate of the battle; or, when the attention of the opposite side is occupied by some hardly-contested struggle, send some insignificant player to the rescue; who walks quietly up to the prison, and unsuspectedly lets out the prisoners one by one. No player is permitted to touch more than one person until he has returned to his home; when he can sally out again armed with fresh strength, like Antæus of old, who could not be conquered at wrestling, because whenever he touched the ground his strength was renewed by his mother Earth.



This game was extensively played at the school where our boyhood was passed; but we never saw it elsewhere. It used to afford us such amusement in the long summer evenings, that it deserves a place in this collection of sports. One player is termed Fox, and is furnished with a den, where none of the players may molest him. The other players arm themselves with twisted or knotted handkerchiefs, (one end to be tied in knots of almost incredible hardness,) and range themselves round the den waiting for the appearance of the Fox. He being also armed with a knotted handkerchief, hops out of his den. When he is fairly out, the other players attack him with their handkerchiefs, while he endeavours to strike one of them without putting down his other foot. If he does so he has to run back as fast as he can, without the power of striking the other players, who baste him the whole way. If, however, he succeeds in striking one without losing his balance, the one so struck becomes Fox; and, as he has both feet down, is accordingly basted to his den. The den is useful as a resting-place for the Fox, who is often sorely wearied by futile attempts to catch his foes.

Boys playing Baste the Bear

This is a funny game. The players generally draw lots for the first Bear, who selects his own Keeper. The Bear kneels on the ground, and his Keeper holds him with a rope about four feet long, within a circle of about five feet in diameter. The other players tie knots in their handkerchiefs, and begin to strike or baste the Bear, by running close to, or into the ring. Should the Keeper touch any of the boys while they are at this sport without dragging the Bear out of the[8] ring, or should the Bear catch hold of any player’s leg, so as to hold him fast, the player so touched or caught becomes Bear. The second Bear may select his Keeper as before, and the play continues.

Knotted handkerchief



This is an excellent game of agility, and very simple. It consists of any number of players; but from six to eight is the most convenient number. Having by agreement or lots determined who shall give the first “back,” one player so selected places himself in position, with his head inclined and his shoulders elevated, and his hands resting on his knees, at ten yards’ distance from the other players; one of whom immediately runs and leaps over him,—having made his leap, he sets a back at the same distance forward from the boy over whom he has just leaped. The third boy leaps over the first and second boy, and sets a “back” beyond the second; and the fourth boy leaps over the first, second, and third, and sets a “back” beyond the third, and so on till the players are out. The game may continue for any length of time, and generally lasts till the players are tired; but the proper rule should be, that all who do not go clean over should be out. Those who “make backs” should stand perfectly stiff and firm; and those who “make leaps” should not rest in their flight heavily upon the shoulders of their playmates, so as to throw them down, which is not fair play.


Chalk or make a line, or, as it is usually termed, “a garter,” on the ground; on this line one of the players must place himself and bend down as in leap-frog, while the other players in rotation leap over him, the last one as he flies over calling out “Foot it.” If he should fail in giving this notice, he is out, and must take the other boy’s place at the garter. The boy, immediately the word is given, rises, and places his right heel close to the middle of the left foot; he next moves the left forwards and places that heel close up to the[9] toes of his right foot, and bends down as before. This movement is called a “step,” and is repeated three times. The other players should fly from the garter each time a step is made, and the last player must invariably call out “Foot it” as he leaps over. After making the three “steps,” the player giving the back takes a short run, and, from the spot where he made his last step to, jumps as far forwards as he possibly can, and bends down again; the others jump from the garter and then fly over. Should any of the players be unable to jump easily over the one giving the back, but rather slide down upon, or ride on him, the player so failing must take the other’s place at the garter, and the game be begun again; if, also, through the impetus acquired in taking the jump from the garter, a player should happen to place his hands on the back of the player bending down, and then withdraw them in order to take the spring over, he is out, and must take his turn at the garter. It is usual, in some places, for the boy giving the back to take a hop, step, and a jump after he has footed it three times, the other players doing the same, and then flying over.


This game is capable of being varied to any extent by an ingenious boy, but it is generally played in the following way:—One boy, selected by chance, sets a back, as in “fly the garter,” and another is chosen leader. The game is commenced by the leader leaping over the one who gives the back, and the other players follow in succession; the leader then leaps back, and the others follow; then they all go over in a cross direction, and return, making, in all, four different ways. The leader then takes his cap in both hands, and leaves it on the boy’s back while he is “overing,” and his followers perform the same trick; in returning, the last man takes the lead, and removes his cap without disturbing the others, and each boy does the same: this trick is repeated in a cross direction. The next trick is throwing up the cap just before overing, and catching it before it falls; the next, reversing the cap on the head, and so balancing it while overing, without ever touching it with the hands; both tricks must be performed while leaping the four different ways. The leader, with his cap still balanced, now overs, and allows his cap to drop on the opposite side; the others do likewise, but they must be careful not to let their caps touch the others, nor to let their feet touch any of the caps in alighting; the leader now stoops down, picks up his cap with his teeth, and throws it over his head and the boy’s back; he then leaps after his cap, but avoids touching it with his feet. The other players follow him as before. The next trick is “knuckling,”—that is to say, overing with the hands clenched; the next, “slapping,” which is performed by placing one hand on the boy’s back, and hitting him with the other, while overing; the last, “spurring,” or touching him up with the heel. All these tricks must be performed in the four different[10] directions, and any boy failing to do them properly goes down, and the game begins afresh.


This is a brisk game, and may be played by any number of boys. One of the players being chosen as Touch, it is his business to run about in all directions after the other players, till he can touch one, who immediately becomes Touch in his turn. Sometimes when the game is played it is held as a law that Touch shall have no power over those boys who can touch iron and wood. The players then, when out of breath, rush to the nearest iron or wood they can find, to render themselves secure. Cross-touch is sometimes played, in which, whenever another player runs between Touch and the pursued, Touch must immediately leave the one he is after to follow him. But this rather confuses, and spoils the game.


These games are founded on the above. When the boys pursued by Touch can touch either wood or iron they are safe, the rule being that he must touch them as they run from one piece of wood or iron to another.


This is a very good game for three boys. The first is called the Buck, the second the Frog, and the third the Umpire. The boy who plays the Buck gives a back with his head down, and rests his hands on some wall or paling in front of him. The Frog now leaps on his back, and the Umpire stands by his side: the Frog now holds up one, two, three, five, or any number of fingers, and cries, “Buck! Buck! how many horns do I hold up?” The Buck then endeavours to guess the right number; if he succeeds, the Frog then becomes Buck, and in turn jumps on his back. The Umpire determines whether Buck has guessed the numbers rightly or not. In some places it is the custom to blindfold the Buck, in order to prevent him seeing. This plan, however, is scarcely necessary.


This is an excellent game for cold weather. It may be played by any number of boys. In playing it “loose bounds” are made near a wall or fence, about four feet wide and twelve long. One of the boys is selected, who is called the Cock, who takes his place within the bounds; the other players are called the Chickens, who distribute themselves in various parts of the playground. The Cock now clasps his hands together, and cries, “Warning once, warning twice, a bushel of wheat, and a bushel of rye, when the Cock crows out jump I.” He then, keeping his hands still clasped before him, runs after the other players; when he touches one, he and the player so touched[11] immediately make for the bounds; the other players immediately try to capture them before they get there; if they succeed, they are privileged to get upon their backs and ride them home. The Cock and his Chick now come out of the bounds hand-in-hand, and try to touch some other of the players; the moment they do this they break hands, and they and the player now touched run to the bounds as before, while the other players try to overtake them, so as to secure the ride. The three now come from the bounds in the same manner, capture or touch a boy, and return. If, while trying to touch the other boys, the players when sallying from the grounds break hands before they touch any one, they may immediately be ridden, if they can be caught before they reach the bounds. Sometimes when three players have been touched the Cock is allowed to join the out party, but this is of no advantage in playing the game.


This may be played by any number of boys: one being selected as the Leader, and the others are the Followers. The Followers arrange themselves in a line behind the Leader, who immediately begins to progress, and the others are bound to follow him. The fun of this sport is in the Leader carrying his Followers into “uncouth places,” over various “obstacles,” such as hedges, stiles, gate-posts, &c., through “extraordinary difficulties,” as ditches and quagmires,—every player being expected to perform his feats of agility; and those who fail are obliged to go last, and bear the emphatic name of the “Ass.” The game lasts till the Leader gives up, or the boys are all tired out.


This is a game something like the above. It consists of the Fugleman and his Squad. The Fugleman places himself in a central spot, and arranges his Squad before him in a line. He then commences with various odd gestures, which all the Squad are bound to imitate. He moves his head, arms, legs, hands, feet, in various directions, sometimes sneezes, coughs, weeps, laughs, and bellows, all of which the Squad are to imitate. Sometimes this is a most amusing scene, and provokes great laughter. Those who are observed to laugh, however, are immediately ordered to stand out of the line, and when half the number of players are so put out, the others are allowed to ride them three times round the playground, while the Fugleman with a knotted handkerchief accelerates their motions.

Playing Hare and Hounds

This is perhaps the very best game that can be introduced into a school. The principle of it is very simple, that one boy represents the Hare and runs away, while the others represent the Hounds and pursue him. The proper management of the game, however, requires[12] some skill. When we were at school in the north, this game was extensively played; and in more recent times, when we ourselves were masters instead of scholars, we reduced the game to a complete system. The first thing to be done is to choose a Hare, or if the chase is to be a long one, two Hares are required. The Hare should not be the best runner, but should be daring, and at the same time prudent, or he may trespass into forbidden lands, and thereby cause great mischief. A Huntsman and Whipper-in are then chosen. The Huntsman should be the best player, and the Whipper-in second best. Things having advanced so far, the whole party sally forth. The Hare is furnished with a large bag of white paper torn into small squares, which he scatters on the ground as he goes. An arrangement is made that the Hare shall not cross his path, nor return home until a certain time; in either of which cases he is considered caught. The Hounds also are bound to follow the track or “scent” implicitly, and not to make short cuts if they see the Hare. The Hare then starts, and has about seven minutes’ grace, at the expiration of which time the Huntsman blows a horn with which he is furnished, and sets off, the Hounds keeping nearly in Indian file, the Whipper-in bringing up the rear. The Huntsman is also furnished with a white flag, the Whipper-in with a red one, the staves being pointed and shod with metal. Off they go merrily enough, until at last the Huntsman loses the scent. He immediately shouts “Lost!” on which the Whipper-in sticks his flag in the ground where the scent was last seen, and the entire line walks or runs round it in a circle, within which they are tolerably sure to find the track. The Huntsman in the meanwhile has stuck his flag in the ground, and examines the country to see in what direction the Hare is likely to have gone.[13] When the track is found, the player who discovers it shouts Tally ho! the Huntsman takes up his flag, and ascertains whether it is really the track or not. If so, he blows his horn again, the Hounds form in line between the two flags, and off they go again. It is incredible how useful the two flags are. Many a Hare has been lost because the Hounds forgot where the last track was seen, and wasted time in searching for it again. Moreover, they seem to encourage the players wonderfully. We used often to make our chases fourteen or fifteen miles in length; but before such an undertaking is commenced, it is necessary to prepare by a series of shorter chases, which should however be given in an opposite direction to the course fixed upon for the grand chase, as otherwise the tracks are apt to get mixed, and the Hounds are thrown out. The Hare should always carefully survey his intended course a day or two previously, and then he will avoid getting himself into quagmires, or imprisoned in the bend of a river. A pocket compass is a most useful auxiliary, and prevents all chance of losing the way, a misfortune which is not at all unlikely to happen upon the Wiltshire downs or among the Derbyshire hills.


This is a trial of speed and agility, and may be played by any number of boys. It consists in the boys agreeing upon some distant object for a mark, such as a conspicuous tree, or house, or steeple. The players then start off in whatever direction they please, each one being at liberty to choose his own course. In a long run of a mile or so it very often happens that hedges, ditches, and other obstructions, have to be got over, which adds great interest to the play, and the best climbers and jumpers are the most likely to come in victors. He who comes in first to the appointed object is called the King, the second the Duke, the third the Marquis, the fourth the Viscount, the fifth the Earl, the sixth the Knight. The last receives the dignified appellation of the Snail, and the last but one the Tortoise.

At Oxford there were in our undergraduate days two clubs for the purpose of Steeple-chasing, one named the Kangaroo Club, and the other the Charitable Grinders, whose performances over hedges and ditches were really astonishing. There was also a club which kept a set of beagles, and used to hunt a red herring with intense perseverance.


This is a very simple sport, but necessarily restricted to those spots where there is a river, or a pond of some magnitude. It consists in throwing oyster-shells, flat stones, or broken tiles along the water, so as to make them hop as often as possible. One hop is called Dick, the second Duck, and the third Drake. The sea-shore is a capital place for this sport, as, if the player can only succeed in making the stone touch the top of a wave, it is tolerably certain[14] to make a succession of hops from wave to wave. If a rifle-bullet is shot along the water, it will go a great distance, making very long hops, and splashing up the water at every bound. In war, this method of firing at an enemy that lies low is extensively made use of, and is called “ricochet practice.” It is also much used in naval warfare.


This, if well managed, is a very comical game. The players are arranged as in Fugleman, the player who enacts Simon standing in front. He and all the other players clench their fists, keeping the thumb pointed upwards. No player is to obey his commands unless prefaced with the words, “Simon says.” Simon is himself subjected to the same rules. The game commences by Simon commanding,—“Simon says, turn down:” on which he turns his thumbs downwards, followed by the other players. He then says, “Simon says, turn up,” and brings his hands back again. When he has done so several times, and thinks that the players are off their guard, he merely gives the word, “Turn up,” or “Turn down,” without moving his hands. Some one, if not all, is sure to obey the command, and is subject to a forfeit. Simon is also subject to a forfeit, if he tells his companions to turn down while the thumbs are already down, or vice versâ. With a sharp player enacting Simon, the game is very spirited.


This is a very good game, and to play it properly there must be in the centre of the playground a small hill or hillock. One player, selected by choice or lot, ascends this hill, and is called the King; and the object of the other players is to pull or push him from his elevation, while he uses his endeavours to keep his “pride of place.” Fair pulls and fair pushes are only allowed at this game; the players must not take hold of any part of the clothes of the King, and must confine their grasps to the hand, the leg, or the arm. If a player violates these rules, he is to sit down upon the ground, and is called “Dummy.” The player who succeeds in dethroning the King, takes his place, and is subjected to the like attacks.


This game is to be played from a mound, the same as the above, and it may consist of any number of players. Each party selects a Captain, and having done this, divide themselves into Attackers and Defenders. The defending party provide themselves with a small flag, which is fixed on a staff on the top of the mound, and then arrange themselves on its side and at its base, so as to defend it from the attacks of their opponents, who advance towards the hillock, and endeavour to throw down those that oppose them. Those that are so thrown on either side, are called “dead men,” and must lie quiet till[15] the game is finished, which is concluded either when all the attacking party are dead, or the banner is carried off by one of them. The player who carries off the banner is called the Knight, and is chosen Captain for the next game.

Playing Battle for the Banner

Every boy has played at snow-balls, from the time that his little fingers were first able to grasp and mould a handful of snow. Elderly gentlemen know to their cost how apt the youthful friend is to hurl very hard snow-balls, which appear to pick out the tenderest parts of his person, generally contriving to lodge just at the juncture of the chin and the comforter, or coming with a deafening squash in the very centre of his ear. Even the dread policeman does not always escape; and when he turns round, indignant at the temporary loss of his shiny hat, he cannot recognise his assailant in the boy who is calmly whistling the last new nigger-song, as he saunters along, with both his hands in his pockets. The prudent schoolmaster will also not venture too near the playground, unless he has provided himself with an umbrella. It is rather a remarkable fact, that whenever a Grammar-school and a National-school are within a reasonable distance of each other, they are always at deadly feud. So it was at the school where our youthful days were passed. One winter’s morning, just after school had opened, the door was flung violently open, and a party of National-school boys hurled a volley of snow-balls at the head-master. He, after the door had been secured, remarked in a particularly mild voice,—“Now, boys, if I had been at school, and[16] my schoolmaster had been assaulted by National-school boys, I should have gone out and given them a thrashing. Remember, I do not at all advise you to do so, but merely mention the course that I should have adopted under such circumstances. We will resume lessons at three.” So saying, he took off his gown, put on his hat and gloves, and walked out to see the fun. Now, the prospect of a morning’s holiday would have made us attack a force of twenty times our number, but as they only out-numbered us threefold, we commenced a pursuit without hesitation. After a sharp engagement, we drove them back to their own schoolroom. The cause of their yielding was, that they threw at random among us, whereas each of our balls was aimed at the face of an opponent, and we very seldom missed. When they had reached their school, they closed and barred their door; at which we made such a battering, that their master, a large negro, rushed out upon us, vowing vengeance, and flourishing a great cane. He was allowed to proceed a few yards from the door, when one snow-ball took off his hat, and two more lodged in his face. He immediately went to the right-about, and made for the school, which he reached under an avalanche of snow. We pursued, but he had succeeded in fastening the door, and we could not open it for some time. When we did, the school was deserted; not a boy was to be seen. There was no back entrance to account for their disappearance, and we were completely puzzled. At last, when we had quieted down a little, a murmuring was heard apparently below our feet, and on examination we found that the entire school had taken shelter in the coal-cellar. We made a dash at the door (a trap-door), and in spite of the showers of coal that came from below, fastened and padlocked the door, carefully throwing the key among a clump of fir-trees, where it was not likely to be found. Having achieved this victory, we had a snow-ball match among ourselves, and then returned to school. About five o’clock, in rushed the black schoolmaster, who had only just been liberated by the blacksmith, and who came to complain of our conduct. So far, however, from obtaining any satisfaction, he was forced to apologise for the conduct of his boys.


The object of this game is, that a castle of snow is built, which is attacked by one party and defended by the other. The method of building the castle is as follows:—A square place is cleared in the snow, the size of the projected castle. As many boys as possible then go to some distance from the cleared square, and commence making snow-balls, rolling them towards the castle. By the time that they have reached it, each ball is large enough to form a foundation-stone. By continuing this plan, the walls are built about five feet six inches high, a raised step running round the interior, on which, the defenders stand while hurling the balls against their opponents. In the centre are deposited innumerable snow-balls,[17] ready made; and a small boy is usually pressed into the service, to make snow-balls as fast as they are wanted. If the weather is very cold, some water splashed over the castle hardens and strengthens it considerably. The architect of the castle must not forget to leave space for a door.

Using a playmate as a battering ram

This is made in the same way as the snow castle, that is, by rolling large snow-balls to the place where the giant is to be erected, and then piled up and carved into form. He is not considered completed until two coals are inserted for eyes, and until he is further decorated with a pipe and an old hat. When he is quite finished, the juvenile sculptors retire to a distance, and with snow-balls endeavour to knock down their giant, with as much zest as they exhibited in building him. If a snow giant is well made, he will last until the leaves are out, the sun having but little power on so large a mass of hard snow. There is a legend extant respecting the preservation of snow through the warmer parts of the year. A certain Scotch laird had for a tenant a certain farmer. The laird had been requested by influential personages to transfer the farm to another man directly the lease was run out. The farmer’s wife, hearing of this from some gossip of hers, went to her landlord, and besought him to grant a renewal of the lease. When she called, he was at dinner with a numerous party of friends, and replied in a mocking tone, that the lease should be renewed when she brought him a snow-ball in July. She immediately called upon the guests to bear witness to the offer, and went home.[18] In due time the winter came, and with it the snow. One day, her husband, an excellent labourer, but not over bright, asked her why she was wasting so much meal. At that time, she had taken a large vessel of meal to a valley, and was pouring it into the space between two great stones. Upon the meal she placed a large quantity of snow, which she stamped down until it was hard. Upon this she poured more meal, and placed upon the meal a layer of straw. The whole affair was then thickly covered over with straw and reeds. To her husband, who thought she had fairly lost her senses, she deigned no reply, except that the meal would repay itself. So affairs went on until July, when the good dame, hearing that her landlord had invited a large party to dine with him, many of whom had been at the party when the promise was made, proceeded to the store of snow, which she found about half diminished. The remainder she kneaded hard, and put it in a wheelbarrow, well covered with straw, which she rolled up to the laird’s own house. When once there, she took out her snow-ball, and presenting it to her landlord, before all his guests, demanded the renewal of her lease. It may be satisfactory to know, that the laird, struck with her ingenuity and perseverance, at once granted her request.

Waving boy

This game can only be played in the dusk of evening, when all the surrounding objects are lost in the deepening gloom. The players divide into two parties, and toss up for innings, which being gained, the winners start off to hide themselves, or get so far away that the others cannot see them; the losers remaining at the home. One of the hiding party is provided with a flint and steel, which, as soon as they are all ready, he strikes together; the sparks emitted guide the seekers as to what direction they must proceed in, and they must endeavour to capture the others ere they reach home; if they cannot[19] touch more than two of the boys, the hiders resume their innings, and the game continues as before. It is most usual, however, for the boys at the home to call out, “Jack, Jack! show a light!” before the possessor of the flint and steel does so. When one party is captured, the flint and steel must be given up to the captors, that they may carry on the game as before.


The jingling match is a common diversion at country wakes and fairs, and is often played by schoolboys. The match should be played on a soft grass-plot within a large circle, enclosed with ropes. The players rarely exceed nine or ten. All of these, except one of the most active, who is the “jingler,” have their eyes blindfolded with handkerchiefs. The jingler holds a small bell in his hand, which he is obliged to keep ringing incessantly so long as the play continues, which is commonly about twenty minutes. The business of the jingler is to elude the pursuit of his blindfolded companions, who follow him by the sound of the bell in all directions, and sometimes oblige him to exert his utmost abilities to effect his escape, which must be done within the boundaries of the rope, for the laws of the sport forbid him to pass beyond it. If he be caught in the time allotted for the continuance of the game, the person who caught him wins the match; if, on the contrary, they are not able to take him, he is proclaimed the winner.

Playing Jump Little Nag-Tail

In this game, six or eight players on each side is the best number. The two leaders should toss up for choice of partners, and after selecting them, toss again for innings. The loser must then place himself quite upright, with his face to a wall, against which he rests his hands; and one of his partners should next stoop down, and put his head against his leader’s skirts, as shown in the annexed illustration;[20] another partner also bends, and places his head against the skirts of the second player, and the rest of the partners must take their places in the same manner, one behind the other: when thus arranged, they are called “nags.” One of the winning party next takes a run, and placing his hands on the back of the last player or “nag,” endeavours to spring on to the back of the first, or at least to clear as many “nags” as he possibly can, in order to allow room for those following him to leap on the backs of the other “nags,” which they should do in succession, until they are all fairly astride. If any of the “nags” sink under the weight, or in trying to support themselves touch the ground either with their hands or knees, or if the riders can keep their seats without touching the ground, whilst their leader counts twenty, or repeats the words, “Jump little nag-tail one, two, three!” three times, concluding with “off, off, off!” the riders resume their innings, and begin again; on the contrary, should there not be sufficient space for all to leap on, or they are unable to keep their seats on the backs of the “nags,” they lose their innings, and become “nags” in their turn. The “nags” must, while in the line, hold either by the trousers of the player before them, or else lean their hands on their knees, or cross their arms on their breasts. Each rider must call out “Warning” before he leaps on the back of one of the “nags.”


Two players swing round a long rope, and when the revolutions become tolerably regular, one, two, or even more boys step forwards, and allowing it to swing over their heads, jump up as it descends, so as to let it pass under their feet as in the case of the common skipping-rope. The leapers must step forwards the moment the rope is at its highest, in order to be ready to skip over as it swings close to the ground; and they should be careful to keep the same time with the motions of the boys holding the rope, so as not to be struck by it in its circuit. Another game may be played with a long skipping-rope, by the player at one end holding the rope in his outside hand, making a step or two towards the other player, and with his help swinging it round, and then skipping over it.


In this amusing sport the players join hands, and extend their arms to their full extent. One of the outside players remains stationary, and the others run round him as fast as they can, which proceeding is called “winding the clock.” In this manner the straight line becomes a confused spiral, and all the players get huddled together in a most laughable manner. The winding of the clock usually leads to such disorder that it is next to impossible to unwind it without breaking the line of boys.



Two bases having been made, one at each end of the playground, all the players take up their position in one of them, except one, who is generally elected by counting out; this player, who is called “the King,” stations himself midway between the bases, and endeavours to catch the others as they rush through his territory from base to base. Should the king succeed in catching one of the trespassers, he raps him on the head, saying, “I crown thee king!” and the one so crowned joins the first king between the bases, and helps to catch the other players. When the out-players considerably outnumber those remaining in the bases, they may enter the bases, and, if they are strong enough, pull the others out and crown them. In this lively game the rule is, that a player must run to the opposite base if he puts both feet outside his own. In some parts of England this game is known by the name of “King Cæsar.”

Playing See-Saw

For this amusement a stout plank should be laid across a felled tree or a low wall; it must be very nicely balanced if the players are of the same weight; but if one is heavier than the other, the end on which he intends to sit should be the shortest. Two players then take their seats on the plank, one at each end, whilst a third stations himself on the middle of it, as represented in the illustration; the name of this player is in some places Jack o’ both Sides, and in others Pudding. As the players by turns make slight springs from their toes, they are each alternately elevated and depressed, and it is the duty of Pudding to assist these movements by bearing all his weight on the foot, on the highest end of the plank, beyond the centre of the tree or wall on which it rests. This will be best understood by referring to the illustration: thus, A is the trunk of a tree;[22] across it a plank is laid, on which two players, B, C, take their seats; D is “Pudding;” it will be seen that his left foot is beyond the centre of the trunk A, on the highest end of the board, and consequently his weight being added to that of B will depress that end of the plank, and the end on which C sits must, of course, rise; Pudding then bears on his right foot, and C in turn descends; and thus the game continues during pleasure, Pudding bearing alternately on each side.


This game can be played by any number of boys, who must all join hands; the game is begun by the outside players at each end of the line holding the following dialogue: “How many miles to Babylon?” “Threescore and ten.” “Can I get there by candle-light?” “Yes, and back again.” “Then open the gates without more ado, and let the king and his men pass through.” The player and the one next to him at the end of the line opposite the last speaker then elevate their joined hands as high as they can, to allow the speaker to run under, and the whole line follows him, still holding hands. This should be done, if possible, without breaking the line by letting the hands go, and is styled “threading the needle.” When all the boys have passed through, the same conversation begins again, excepting that the respondent in his turn becomes the inquirer, and runs between the opposite players, the others following as before.


This is a very favourite game with little boys, and may be considered as a modification of rushing bases. A large base is formed by drawing a line across the playground, and one boy, called “Tom Tiddler,” takes his station within it, while the others run in crying out, “Here am I on Tom Tiddler’s ground, picking up gold and silver.” If Tom Tiddler can touch any boy while he is on his ground, the boy so touched takes his place as the guardian of the imaginary gold and silver.


Two to one is a very capital exercise with a common skipping-rope. It is done by skipping in the usual way for a short time, and then increasing the rapidity of your movements, and leaping tolerably high, endeavouring to swing the rope round so quickly that you can pass it twice under your feet while you are taking the leap; practise this till you are quite proficient, and then try to pass the rope three times under your foot instead of twice.


This may be played by any number of boys, who all tie large knots in one corner of their pocket-handkerchiefs, and then toss up to see[23] who shall be “Moon;” the loser is the one to whom the part falls, and he must be blindfolded. “Moon” now stands with his legs stretched apart, while his playmates go behind him in succession, and jerk their handkerchiefs between his legs, as far as they can and in whatsoever direction they please. When all the boys have done this, one of them cries “Walk, Moon, walk!” which is a signal for the blindfolded player to walk forwards until he treads upon one of the handkerchiefs, when in an instant the other players pick up their knotted handkerchiefs, with which they belabour the unlucky owner of the one trodden upon by Moon, as he runs to a distant base and back; after which he becomes Moon, and the game continues as before.


This is a capital game when well played, and the antics and grimaces of boys who are mimics cause great merriment. It also gives a boy a good notion of how mechanical labour is done, as no boy will ask for work unless he understands something of the nature of the business he solicits to be employed upon. The game begins thus, and it matters not how many boys are engaged in it:—A line is drawn; within that line is the shop, and when a bad workman is discharged he is pushed across the line. The employer, or master, should be a very sharp lad. A boy comes up, and the master asks him if he wants a day’s work; the boy says he does. He is then asked what trade he is; if he says a tailor, a coat is supposed to be given to him to make; if a shoemaker, a pair of shoes; if a tinker, a saucepan to bottom; if a stonemason, a stone to cut or saw, and every boy must imitate the actions of the tailor, shoemaker, &c., while at work, whatever the trades may be. Then the master looks over the work, finds fault, gets in a rage, discharges the workman, and, if he can, turns him out of the shop. But if in the struggle the boy turns the employer out, he then becomes master, and the other is set to work. So that, after a few good-natured trials of strength, each boy in turn generally becomes master.


This is a very old game, and in some places is called “playing at soldiers;” the whole ceremony of enlisting is gone through, taking the shilling and swearing to serve the Queen, &c. But there ought to be two parties of boys, of not less than a dozen, with a commanding officer on each side. After learning their exercise, such as shouldering arms and marching, war breaks out; then one party is English and the other the enemy. Their weapons ought to be bulrushes, or stout reeds, such as are used in building, or something that will not do any injury when the charge commences. The side that breaks or takes away the most weapons is the conqueror, and much skill may be displayed in capturing the arms of others, and[24] retaining your own. If boys can get some old soldier to drill them a few times, this may be made as good a game as they can play at. We have too few military amusements in our English games.


One player takes his station at a spot called the “home,” while the others go to seek out various hiding-places in which to ensconce themselves; when all are ready, one of them calls out “Whoop!” on which the player at the “home” instantly goes in search of the hiders, and endeavours to touch one of them as they run back to “home;” if he can do so, the one caught takes his place at the “home,” while he joins the out players.

Boy hiding

In this game sides are chosen, and one party remains “at home,” while the other hides. When the hiders are all ready, one of them calls out “High Barbaree!” upon which the seekers sally forth to look for them, as in “Whoop!” If the seekers can succeed in touching a certain number of the hiders before they can get to “home,” they take their turn at hiding. The number to be caught must be agreed upon beforehand, and of course depends upon the number of players. It is usual to mention this number in the cry—thus, “High barbaree! three caught he!”—“four caught he!” and so forth. As a general rule, the number to be caught should exceed half the number of the hiders.


This active, merry, noisy game can be played by any number of boys, and commences by their joining hands and forming a ring,[25] having enclosed some boy in the middle, who is the Bull. It is the Bull’s part to make a rush, break through the ring, and escape, and the part of the boys who form the ring to hold their hands so fast together that he cannot break their hold. Before making a rush the Bull must cry “boo” to give warning, so that the boys may grasp their hands more tightly. The whole ring generally replies to the Bull’s challenge by crying “boo” all together, and a pretty noise they make. When the Bull breaks through the ring he is pursued until captured, and the boy who seizes him first is “Bull” when they return. A good “Bull” will lead them a pretty dance, clearing hedges and ditches; and if he gets back and touches some mark agreed upon, near to where he broke through the ring, he is “Bull” again.


This humorous sport must not be confounded with the cruel battles between game-cocks once so popular in England. Two boys represent the feathered combatants; each hops upon one leg, with his arms folded, and bumps against the other, endeavouring to compel him to put both feet to the ground. The boy who keeps up longest wins the game.


A tolerably large ring should be formed by several boys standing in a circle and joining hands; another boy, who stands out, when all are ready walks round outside the ring, drops a handkerchief behind one of the players, and immediately runs off; he is instantly followed by the one behind whom he dropped the handkerchief, and who must track him in all his windings in and out under the arms of the boys in the ring, who elevate them for the purpose, and indeed wherever he runs to; should the pursuer be able to touch the pursued, the former takes the handkerchief in his turn, and the latter joins hands in the circle. If the boy who dropped the handkerchief is enabled to elude his follower by passing through and about the ring, he walks again round and drops the handkerchief behind some other player.




Playing Blind Man's Buff


Consists in one person having a handkerchief bound over his eyes, so as to completely blind him, and thus blindfolded trying to chase the other players, either by the sound of their footsteps, or their subdued merriment, as they scramble away in all directions, endeavouring to avoid being caught by him; when he can manage to catch one, the player caught must in turn be blinded, and the game be begun again. In some places it is customary for one of the players to inquire of Buff (before the game begins), “How many horses has your father got?” to which inquiry he responds, “Three.” “What colours are they?” “Black, white, and grey.” The questioner then desires Buff to “turn round three times, and catch whom you may,” which request he complies with, and then tries to capture one of the players. It is often played by merely turning the blindfold hero round and round without questioning him, and then beginning. The handkerchief must be tied on fairly, so as to allow no little holes for Buffy to see through. Blind Man’s Buff is a very ancient pastime, having been known to the Grecian youths. In England it formerly went By the name of Hoodman Blind, because it was customary to blind Buff with his hood.


Attach a cherry to a piece of string, and then fasten it to a door, sufficiently high to compel the player to jump a little in order to[27] catch the cherry in his mouth. The cherry is then set swinging; and the players, ranging themselves in line, jump at the cherry, one after the other. This game is productive of much amusement, and may be kept up for a long time.


In this game one of the players enters the room, armed with a poker, with which he taps on the floor. “Where do you come from?” inquires one of the company. “Alas! from poor Buff, who is full of grief.” “And what did he say to you?” “He spoke thus,” is the reply

“Buff said ‘Baff,’
And gave me this staff,
And bade me not laugh
Till I came to his house again.”

Having thus spoken, the messenger leaves the room. While he has been delivering his speech, the company, however, endeavour to make him laugh, by asking him any absurd questions that may present themselves to their imagination. If they do not succeed in this, the emissary of the great Buff delivers himself of a more lengthy address:

“Buff says ‘Baff’ to all his men,
And I say ‘Baff’ to you again;
But he neither laughs nor smiles
In spite of all your cunning wiles,
But keeps his face with a very good grace,
And carries his staff to the very next place.”

A noisier game than this could scarcely be desired by the most boisterous of our young friends. The players having selected a “conductor,” seat themselves round him in a circle. The conductor now assigns to each a musical instrument, and shows how it is to be played. When all are provided with their imaginary instruments, the conductor orders them to tune, and by so doing, he gives each musician a capital opportunity for making all sorts of discordant noises. When the different instruments have been tuned, the conductor waves an unseen bâton, and commences humming a lively air, in which he is accompanied by the whole of his band, each player endeavouring to imitate with his hands the different movements made in performing on a real instrument. Every now and then the conductor pretends to play on a certain instrument, and the player to whom it belongs must instantly alter his movements for those of the conductor, and continue to wield the bâton until the chief player abandons his instrument. Should a player omit to take the conductor’s office at the proper time, he must pay a forfeit. The fun of this game greatly depends upon the humour of the conductor, and the adroitness with which he relinquishes his bâton and takes up the instruments of the other players.



The first player writes an adjective on the upper part of a slip of paper, and then folds the slip so that the written word cannot be seen by the next player, who writes the name of a gentleman, real or imaginary, on the paper, which he passes to another after having folded it over again. The third player writes an adjective; the fourth, a lady’s name; the fifth, the name of a place; the sixth, what the gentleman said to the lady; the seventh, the lady’s reply; the eighth, the consequences; and the ninth, what the world said about the whole affair. One of the players now unfolds the slip and reads what has been written by the different persons engaged in the game, adding a few words to unite the disjointed members of the little narrative. As a specimen of the ludicrous result which arises from each player’s ignorance of what has been written by his companions, we give the following pathetic tale, in which the words and phrases printed in italics represent those written on the slip of paper:—“The ill-favoured Peter Wilkins met the adorable Jenny Jones in the silver mine of Potosi. He said to her, ‘Will you love me then as now?’ and she replied, ‘When did I refuse you anything?’ The consequences were, he drowned himself in the water-butt and she married the baker, and the world said, ‘Served them right!’” When there are only three or four players, the slip of paper is to be passed round from one to another until it is filled up. When the players are numerous, three or four slips may be commenced simultaneously by different persons.


This game will be best described by a short dialogue.

Harry.—I am going to put a question in a whisper to Tom, who is seated on my right hand, to which he will reply in the same tone. He will then put a question to his next neighbour, and receive his answer. When the tour of the circle is made, I shall commence by stating aloud the question put to me by my left-hand neighbour, answering it by the reply received in answer to my own from Tom. He will then do the same, giving my question and his next neighbour’s reply.—(Whispers to Tom.) Of what use are the bellows?

Tom.—To blow up the fire.—(To Charles) Of what use is a fire-engine?

Charles.—To put out a fire.—(To John) Of what use is a plough?

John.—To plough up the ground.—(To James) Of what use is a cap?

James.—To cover the head.—(To Edward) Of what use is a shoe?

Edward.—To protect your foot.—(To William) Of what use is a black pin?

William.—To fasten your collar with.—(To Harry) Of what use is a barometer?


Harry.—To tell the weather.—(Aloud) William has just asked me the use of a barometer? Tom replies, “To blow up the fire!”

Tom.—Harry has asked me the use of the bellows; and Charles replies, “To put out the fire!”

Charles.—Tom wishes to know the use of the fire-engine, and John tells him, “To plough up the ground,” &c.

Any mistake is punished by a forfeit.


The players form sides, and decide who shall be masters and who men. The principal aim of the men is to keep working as long as possible, and to prevent the masters taking their places. The men consult secretly among themselves, and decide upon some trade or profession, the practice of which may be certain movements of the arms, hands, or legs. They now range themselves opposite the masters, and the foreman tells them the first and last letters of the trade they are about to exercise; as for example, C—r for carpenter, D—t for druggist, B—h for blacksmith, and so on. The men now set to work and express in dumb motions the various labours belonging to the craft they have chosen. Let us suppose that they have selected the trade of blacksmith: one of the players will appear to be blowing the forge bellows, another will seem to be filing something in a vice, while others will be violently exerting themselves by wielding imaginary sledge-hammers round an unseen anvil. If any of the men speak at their work, or make use of inappropriate gestures, the whole side is out. The masters are allowed one guess each, and if none of them can hit upon the right trade, the men tell them their occupation, and then fix upon another. If the masters can guess the name of the trade, the men are out and become masters. The men need not continue their labours until all the masters have guessed, but may stop working, and demand their wages, after having plied their craft for a reasonable time. When the name of a trade consists of two words, the men must tell the first and last letter of each word, as C—h B—r, for coach builder.


The chief player in this amusing game must possess the faculty of inventing a long story, as well as a tolerably good memory. This player gives to each of the others the name of some person or thing to be mentioned in the story he is about to relate. For example, he may call one “the coachman,” another “the whip,” another “the inn,” another the “old gentleman,” another the “footman,” another “the luggage,” and so on, until he has named all the persons engaged in the game. The story-teller now takes his stand in the centre of the room, and commences his narrative; in the course of which he takes care to mention all the names given to the players.[30] When the name of a player is mentioned, he must immediately rise from his seat, turn round, and sit down again, or else pay a forfeit for his inattention; and whenever “the family coach” is named, all the players must rise simultaneously. In the following example of a story, the names given to the different players are printed in italics: “An old gentleman, dreading an attack of the gout, resolved to pay a visit to the hot wells of Bath; he therefore summoned his coachman, and ordered him to prepare THE FAMILY COACH (all the players rise, turn round, and sit down again). The coachman, not liking the prospect of so long a journey, tried to persuade the old gentleman that THE FAMILY COACH was out of repair, that the leader was almost blind, and that he (the coachman) could not drive without a new whip. The old gentleman stormed and swore upon hearing these paltry excuses, and ordered the coachman out of the room, while the little dog sprang from under his master’s chair and flew at the calves of the offender, who was forced to make a precipitate exit. Early the next morning, THE FAMILY COACH belonging to the old gentleman stopped at an inn on the Bath road, much to the surprise of the landlord, who had never seen such a lumbering conveyance before. The family coach contained the old gentleman, the old lady (his wife), and the little dog that had made such a furious attack on the poor coachman’s legs. The landlord called the landlady, who came bustling out of the inn to welcome the old gentleman and old lady. The footman jumped down from behind THE FAMILY COACH, and helped the old gentleman and the old lady to alight, while the boots and chambermaid belonging to the inn busied themselves with the luggage. The little dog trotted after the old lady, but just as it was going into the inn, the coachman gave it a cut with his whip. The little dog howled, upon which the old gentleman turned round, and seeing the coachman with his whip raised, he seized him by the throat. The footman came to the assistance of his friend the coachman, and the ostler belonging to the inn took the side of the old gentleman. The landlord, landlady, chambermaid, boots, cook, stable-boy, barmaid, and all the other inmates of the inn, rushed into the road to see what was the matter, and their cries, joined to the yells of the little dog and the screams of the old lady, so frightened the leader, the white horse, and the brown mare, that they ran away with THE FAMILY COACH.” Of course this tale might have been continued to any length, but the specimen we have given will be sufficient to give the story-teller some idea of what is expected from him to keep up the fun of the game.


This is a highly amusing, though very simple game. One player seated on the ground is surrounded by his comrades, who pull and buffet him till he can catch one of them, when the person so caught takes his place, and is buffeted in like manner. As the players sport[31] round the Frog, they usually cry, “Frog in the middle—can’t catch me!” but they frequently find that this is vain boasting, as Froggy does catch them now and then.


The party being seated in a circle, the player who has been chosen to commence the game takes a knotted handkerchief, and throws it suddenly into another’s lap, calling out at the same time either “Earth!” “Water!” “Air!” or “Fire!” If “Earth” be called out, the player into whose lap the handkerchief has fallen must name some quadruped before the other can count ten; if “Water!” he must name a fish; if “Air!” a bird; and if “Fire!” he must remain silent. Should the player name a wrong animal, or speak when he ought to be silent, he must pay a forfeit and take a turn at throwing the handkerchief; but should he perform his task properly, he must throw the handkerchief back to the first player. Those who have never joined in this simple game can have no idea of the absurd errors into which the different players fall when summoned unawares to name a particular kind of animal.


The game of Hand is of great antiquity, and is common to almost every nation, whether savage or civilized. In many of the rural districts of England this universal pastime is known by the name of “Coddem.” To play at Hand, sides must be formed, and the players of each side must seat themselves at a table opposite their antagonists. Chance decides which of the sides shall first hide the piece; which may be any small object that can be easily held in the closed hand of one of the players. One of the fortunate players now exhibits the piece to his opponents; having done which, he cries out, “Hands down!” at which signal he and his comrades put their hands out of sight, and in the language of the game, commence “working the piece,” which operation is performed by shifting the piece from hand to hand, so as to deceive the opposite players as to its whereabouts. When the piece has been properly worked, the chief player calls out, “Hands up,” and he and all his comrades simultaneously place their closed fists on the table. The top player on the opposite side has now to fix upon the hand in which the piece is concealed. There are two ways of guessing, either of which he may adopt; the first is to point at once to the hand supposed to contain the piece, and cry out, “Hand!” The second mode of guessing is to point to those hands which appear to be empty, saying with each guess, “Take that hand away!” and when most of the hands have been removed from the table, to fix upon the most likely-looking one among those that remain. If the guesser can find the piece without making a mistake, he claims it for his party, and is entitled to guess again when the opposite side regains it; but if he makes a[32] mistake, either by ordering the hand that holds the piece to be removed, or by “handing” an empty fist, his antagonists retain the piece, and having concealed it, the second player attempts to discover its whereabouts. From our description, the reader will probably regard Hand as a mere frivolous game of chance; but we can assure him that chance has little to do with the discovery of the piece. A good Hand player watches the faces of his opponents while their hands are engaged in working the piece under the table; he scrutinises the different hands, and does not allow himself to be misled by any of the cunning devices which the hiders employ to throw him off the right scent; again, when he has the piece in his possession, he takes care not to let a tightly-clenched fist, a guilty smile, or an anxious expression, betray the fact to his wary antagonist.


In this game, one of the players is sent out of the room, while the others hide a handkerchief or any small article that can be easily secreted. When the article has been concealed, the door is opened, and the seeker is invited to enter in these words: “Hot boiled beans and butter; walk in and find your supper.” The seeker now sets to work to look for the hidden article. When he approaches the place of concealment, his playmates must give him notice of it, by telling him that he is “rather warm,” “very hot,” or, if he gets very near it, that he “burns.” When he wanders away from the object of his search, he is told that he is “cold;” and if he persists in his mistaken course, he is informed that he “freezes.” Should the seeker succeed in finding the hidden article, another player goes out of the room in his stead.


One player with his eyes bandaged lays his head on a chair, or in another player’s lap, while the others strike him on his back with their open hands. In this unenviable position he remains until he can guess who strikes him, when the striker takes his place. The poet Gay describes this pastime in the following lines:

“As at Hot Cockles once I laid me down,
And felt the weighty hand of many a clown,
Buxoma gave a gentle tap, and I
Quick rose, and read soft mischief in her eye.”

One of the players is sent out of the room, while the others fix upon a subject, which may be anything to which the three questions, “How do you like it?” “Where do you like it?” and “When do you like it?” will apply. When the subject has been decided upon, the out-player is summoned. He now puts the first question to the nearest player, who returns him a puzzling answer; he then passes to the next, and repeats the same question; then to the next, and[33] so on, until he has made the round of the room. If none of the answers enable him to guess the subject, he tries each player with the second question, and if the answers to this leave him still in the dark, he solicits a reply from each to the third and last question. Should the player fail to guess the subject after asking the three questions, he pays a forfeit and takes another turn outside; but should he succeed in guessing it during his rounds, the player last questioned must pay a forfeit, and go out of the room in his place. The in-players should always endeavour to hit upon some word that has two or three meanings for a subject, as such a word renders the answers extremely confusing. For instance, if Jack be the subject decided on, one of the players may say, in answer to the first query, that he likes it “fried,” referring to fish called the Jack; in answer to the second, that he likes it “before the kitchen fire,” referring now to a roasting-jack; and in answer to the third, that he likes it when he is “dressing,” now regarding the subject as a boot-jack.


This old-fashioned pastime is so generally known that it is scarcely necessary to describe it; however, as it forms one of the merriest indoor sports for the long winter evenings, it would be absurd to omit it in this work. Several boys seat themselves in a circle on the ground, and another, taking his place inside the ring, gives a slipper to one of them, by whom it is immediately and secretly handed to one of his neighbours; it is now passed round from one sitter to another, with as much dexterity as possible, so as to completely perplex the “hunter” (or player standing in the middle) in his endeavours to “chase the slipper by its sound,” and who must continue his search until successful. The player in whose possession it is found must in his turn “hunt the slipper,” whilst the former hunter joins the sitters.


A game almost similar to the former. A piece of tape, on which a ring is fastened, is held by the players as they stand in a circle, with one in the middle. The ring is passed from hand to hand, and the hunter’s business is to find out in whose hand the ring is.


A boy who has never seen the game played is elected hunter; the others seat themselves on the ground, as in Hunt the Slipper. The hunter, having been shown the whistle, kneels in the centre of the circle, and lays his head in the lap of one of the players until the whistle is concealed. While he is in this posture, the whistle is to be secretly attached to the back part of his jacket or coat, by means of a piece of string and a bent pin. One of the players now blows the whistle and drops it, and the hunter, being released, is told to[34] find it; but this is no easy task, as he carries the object of his search about his own person. As the hunter kneels in the centre of the group, the different players blow through the whistle and drop it, as the opportunities occur. The puzzled hunter is sometimes fairly tired out before he discovers the trick that is played upon him. We need scarcely say that the whistle should be very small and light.


This is a very similar game to Hot Boiled Beans. One player having been sent out of the room, the others arrange some simple task for him to perform on his return. When this has been done, he is summoned by the magic music, which is played by one of his comrades, either by tapping a tea-tray with a key, or by rattling the poker and tongs together. The boy who has been sent out of the room must perform his appointed task under the guidance of the musician, who so regulates his performance on the rude instruments that the music gets loud and noisy when the puzzled player does what he ought not to do, and grows soft and quiet when he does anything towards the performance of his task. To render this game more intelligible, we will suppose the task to be the removal of a certain chair from one room to another. The player having entered the room is saluted by the magic music, the unmeaning clatter of which only confuses him at first. He walks towards the side of the room where the chair is stationed, and as he approaches it the clatter grows fainter; this informs him that he is in the right path. He touches the table, but removes his hand at the sound of the music, which suddenly gets terribly noisy. He touches the chair; the music ceases. He now knows that he is expected to do something with this particular chair, so he very naturally sits down upon it; but he jumps up directly he hears the “clatter, clatter, clatter” of the music. He lifts the chair, and as he does so the music grows soft again. He now turns the chair upside down; carries it into the middle of the room; places it on the sofa; but all to no purpose, as he cannot stop the continual clatter of the magic music. At last he carries the chair into the adjoining room; the music ceases, and his troublesome task is accomplished. In this noisy but amusing game the players go out of the room, and have tasks set them in turns. The musician generally retains his office throughout the game.


This exciting game may be played by an unlimited number, and is particularly adapted for a large party. One of the players, called “the postman,” has his eyes bandaged as in Blind Man’s Buff; another volunteers to fill the office of “postmaster-general,” and all the rest seat themselves round the room. At the commencement of the game the postmaster assigns to each player the name of a town, and, if the players are numerous, he writes the names given to them on a[35] slip of paper, in case his memory should fail him. These preliminaries having been arranged, the blind postman is placed in the centre of the room, and the postmaster-general retires to some snug corner, whence he can overlook the other players. When this important functionary calls out the names of two towns,—thus, “London to Halifax,”—the players who bear these names must immediately change seats, and as they run from one side of the room to another, the postman tries to capture them. If the postman can succeed in catching one of the players, or if he can manage to sit down on an empty chair, the player that is caught, or excluded from his place, becomes postman. The postmaster-general is not changed throughout the game unless he gets tired of his office. When a player remains seated after his name has been called he must pay a forfeit, or if the game is played without forfeits he must go to the bottom of the class, which is represented by a particular chair, and to make room for him all the players who were formerly below him shift their places.


One player leaves the room, and while he is absent the rest fix upon some proverb. The words are then distributed among them, and each player, in reply to a question asked by the guesser, has to introduce his particular word. When all the words have been introduced, the guesser has to guess the name of the proverb, and another player takes his place. If, however, he cannot make it out, he has to leave the room again.



Four players take their stations in the four corners of a room, and a fifth, called “Puss,” places himself in the middle of it; the players in the corners then change places by running to the opposite ends, and Puss must endeavour to get into one of the vacant places before the opposite player is able to reach it; if he can do so, the player left out becomes Puss.


The players sit round in a circle, each taking a colour. Thus one is red-cap, another black-cap, and so on. One of them, who takes the place of master, and has no colour, taking up a cap says: “Hullo, here’s a false stitch. Who made it, blue-cap?” Blue-cap then answers, “Who, sir? I, sir?” “Yes, you, sir!” “Not I, sir.[37]” “Who then, sir?” “Yellow-cap, sir.” Yellow-cap then starts up and says, “Who, sir? I, sir?” and goes through the dialogues, giving another colour. The player who neglects to start up when his colour is mentioned, or who does not repeat the question correctly, pays a forfeit.


Shadow Buff differs very materially from Blind Man’s Buff, but it is equally amusing. A large piece of white linen should be fastened neatly up at one end of room, so that it hangs quite smooth; Buff (not blinded) seats himself on a low stool with his face to the linen, and a table, on which is a lighted candle, should be placed about four or five feet behind him, and the rest of the lights in the room extinguished. Buffy’s playfellows next pass in succession, between the candle and him, distorting their features in as grotesque a manner as possible—hopping, limping, and performing various odd antics, so as to make their shadows very unlike their usual looks. Buffy must then try to guess to whom the shadows belong, and if he guesses correctly, the player whose shadow he recognises takes his place. Buff is allowed only one guess for each person, and must not turn his head either to the right or left to see who passes.


Birds, Beasts, and Fishes.—“Now, Tom,” said Harry, “get your slate and pencil, and I’ll show you such a jolly game. Well now, look here, I have put down h × × × a. Now that stands for a beast’s name, the first and last letters of which are h and a, with three letters between, represented by the crosses.”

“Let’s see,” replied Tom, scratching his head, “I know—Hare.”

“You muff! There are only four letters in ‘hare,’ and five in my word. Try again—mind you have only three guesses; so look out.”

Tom wondered again for a minute, and then suddenly blurted out, “I know—Horse.”

“Wrong again,” replied Harry; “the last letter of Horse is e and not a. Now be careful, Tom, for this is your last turn.”

Again Tom scratched his head, bit his fingers, and after meditating for at least two minutes and a half, shouted out in a moment of inspiration—“Hyena!”

As he was right, it now became his turn to put down a name. So he wrote on the slate s × × × × × w, at the same time telling Harry it was a bird; for according to the rules of this game you must say whether this name represents a beast, a fish, a bird, an insect, or a reptile.

Harry in a minute shouted “Sparrow!” and so the game went on; and such a capital game did Tom and Harry have, that they sent this account of it to us in the hope that we would make it known to the world in “Every Boy’s Book.”


French and English.—On the slate should be drawn a plan somewhat like the following. The dots represent soldiers, one side being termed French and the other English. Each player is provided with a sharply pointed pencil, and the game is played as follows:—English, keeping the point of his pencil on a spot denoted by a cannon, draws it quickly across the slate in the direction of the other army. The pencil naturally leaves a line to mark his track, and if this mark passes through any of the men belonging to the other side, they are considered dead. The game is over as soon as all the men on one side are dead. Each player has a certain space on the slate allotted to him, and he may dispose his men in whatever part of it he pleases.[39] The track of the pencil must be straight or curved; any shot in which there is an angle does not count. In p. 38 we give a battle-field where the strife is ended. In this the English side has killed all the opposite side in eight shots, while the French in eight have only been able to kill nine men.

French and English slate
French and English slate

Noughts and Crosses.—This is a capital game, and one which every school-boy truly enjoys. A figure is drawn as follows, and the object of the one player is to draw three crosses in a line before the other can draw three noughts. Thus A begins by drawing a + in the centre division; B follows with a nought in the top right-hand corner. A then draws a + in the bottom right-hand corner, because by this means he gets two crosses in a line, and spoils one of B’s chances. B in a hurry instantly places a 0 in the top left-hand corner, and A follows by placing his + between the two 0’s. B then, seeing that in the centre line A already has two crosses, places a 0 in the third vacant space of the line; while A, as a last resource, plants his + in the second space of the left-hand line. Then when B puts a 0 in the centre space at the left-hand, A places a + in the bottom left-hand corner, and the game is drawn, the plan standing as above.

Noughts and Crosses slate
Noughts and Crosses slate



Every player, except one who holds the office of reader, selects a trade or profession, which he must retain throughout the game. When all have chosen their trades, the reader opens a book at random, and reads a passage from it aloud; but when he comes to any common noun, he looks at one of the tradesmen, who must instantly name some article that he is supposed to have for sale, or some implement connected with the exercise of his craft. By this substitution of one noun for another, the most pathetic passage is converted into an indescribable jumble of absurdities. In the following burlesqued extract from an Eastern tale, the words in italics are supposed to be supplied by the different tradesmen, in place of the nouns omitted by the reader:

“One offered the prince a bucket of the most precious mutton chops of Golconda; another a curious piece of a Wellington boot, made by a European artist; another a piece of the richest plum-pudding from the looms of China; another a gridiron, said to be a sovereign remedy against all poisons and infectious diseases; another a choice piece of the most fragrant Turkey rhubarb, in a warming-pan, inlaid with acid drops; another a coffin full of genuine treacle; another a rocking-horse of the purest breed of Arabia; and another a Flanders brick of exquisite beauty. The whole court of the palace was overspread with gingerbread-nuts; and long rows of slaves were continually passing loaded with corn-plasters, tenpenny-nails, bees’-wax, and other articles of high price.”


Two boys having seated themselves on the floor, are trussed by their playmates; that is to say, each boy has his wrists tied together with a handkerchief, and his legs secured just above the ancles with another; his arms are then passed over his knees, and a broomstick is pushed over one arm, under both knees, and out again over the other arm. The “trussed fowls” are now carried into the centre of room and placed opposite each other, with their toes just touching. The fun now begins; as each fowl endeavours, with the aid of his toes, to turn his antagonist over on his back or side, and the one who can succeed in doing this wins the game. It frequently happens that both players turn over together, to the great amusement of the spectators. On board ship these comical encounters frequently take place between the boys, who are trussed by their elder shipmates.


This game, although only two persons are engaged in it at a time, furnishes much amusement, from the contradictory nature of its words and actions. The rules relative to it are as follow:—If three mistakes are made by the person who responds to the inquiries of the[41] player who brings the hats round, and whom for distinction’s sake we will call the questioner, he must pay three forfeits, and is out of the game; when the questioner desires the respondent to be seated, the latter must stand up; when he begs him to put his hat on, he must take it off; when he requests him to stand, he must sit; and in every point, the respondent must take special care to do always the very reverse of what the questioner wishes him. The questioner may sit down, stand up, put his hat on, or take it off, without desiring the respondent to do so, or giving him the least intimation of his intention; the latter must, therefore, be always on his guard, so as to act in a contrary way in an instant, else he incurs a forfeit. These rules being settled, the game is simply this: one player places a hat on his head, takes another in his hand, and gives it to one of the company; he then begins conversing with him, endeavouring both by words and actions to puzzle him as much as he can, so as to cause him to pay a forfeit. We will give a slight specimen of a dialogue, describing the accompanying movements of the hats, in which A is the questioner, B the respondent:

A. (taking his hat off.) A very beautiful evening, sir.

B. (putting his hat on.) Yes, indeed, a most lovely one.

A. (putting his hat on, and sitting down, B. instantly taking his off and getting up.) Pray be seated, sir; I really cannot think of sitting while you stand (gets up, and B. sits down). Have you been out of town this year? (takes off his hat.)

B. (putting his on.) I have not yet, but I think I shall, before (A. sits down, B. gets up) the beauty of the season has entirely passed away, venture a few miles out of town.

A. (putting his hat on.) I beg ten thousand pardons, you are standing while I am sitting; pardon me, your hat is on—you must pay a forfeit.

It generally happens, that before the dialogue has been carried thus far the respondent has incurred three forfeits, and is, of course, out; the questioner then goes in succession to the others, and the same scene is repeated by each: the conversation, it is almost needless to add, should be varied as much as possible, and the more nonsensical it is the better.


The leader of the game commences it by asking each of his companions in turn, “What is my thought like?” to which they reply at hazard, by mentioning anything that first comes into their thoughts, of course avoiding naming the same thing twice over, as that incurs the penalty of a forfeit. The leader carefully notes down all the answers he receives, and then revealing his thought, desires to know what the thing thought of resembles in what it has been compared to.

John.—Charles, what is my thought like?

Charles.—A young girl.



James.—A queen.

John.—Now, Harry?

Harry.—A lion.



John.—You, William?

William.—An oak-tree.

John.—Alfred, it is your turn.

Alfred.—A beautiful woman.




Arthur.—A hedgehog.


Ben.—A rose.

John.—And you, Cecil?

Cecil.—A vine.

John.—My thought was a rose; so now, Charles, tell me why a rose is like a young girl.

Charles.—Because it is loveliest when only half-blown.

John.—And why a queen?

James.—Because the rose is the queen of all flowers.

John.—Harry, why is a rose like a lion?

Harry.—Because it is one of the emblems of England.

John.—And why, Tom, is it like beauty?

Tom.—Because it soon fades.

John.—William, why is it like an oak?

William.—Because both spring from the earth.

John.—And you, Alfred; why is a rose like a beautiful woman?

Alfred.—Because its fragrance often remains after the charms are faded.

John.—Andrew, why is a rose like hope?

Andrew.—Because in returning sunshine it forgets the past storm.

John.—Arthur, why is a rose like a hedgehog?

Arthur.—Because its thorns defend it from a rough grasp.

John.—You, Ben, having fixed upon the same thing as myself, must pay a forfeit. Cecil, why is a rose like a vine?

Cecil.—Because in old times they were both considered essential to a banquet. I can think of nothing better.

Various outdoor games





Fancy title Balls

This is very simple play. The ball is thrown into the air by one player, the others standing round him. He calls out the name of the player, for whom the ball is thrown. If it be caught by the player so called, before the ball reaches the ground twice, he scores a point; if any of the other players catch it, they score a point, and the other loses one.


This is a variety of the above game. A certain number of stools are set up in a circular form, and at a distance from each other, and every one is occupied by a single player; when the ball is struck, which is done, as before, by the hand, every one of them is obliged to alter his situation, running in succession from stool to stool; and if he who threw the ball can regain it in time to strike any of the players before he reaches the stool to which he is running, he takes his place, and the person touched must throw the ball, until he can in like manner return to the circle.



All the players engaged in this favourite pastime must place their caps on the ground, close to the wall, in such a manner that a ball may be easily pitched into them. A line being marked on the ground about fifteen feet from the wall, one of the players takes his station at it, and begins the game by throwing the ball into one of the caps; the moment this is done all the boys run away, excepting the one into whose cap the ball is thrown, who immediately runs to take it out, and endeavours to strike one of the fugitives by throwing the ball at him; if he can do so, the one struck has a small stone, called “an egg,” placed in his cap, and has to take his turn at pitching the ball. Should the thrower fail to hit one of the boys as they are running away, an “egg” is put into his cap, and he has to pitch the ball into the caps again. If a player fails to throw the ball into a cap, he earns an “egg,” but continues throwing until he succeeds. When a player gets three “eggs” in his cap, he is out. When all the players but one have been struck out, he is considered the winner, and the punishment of the losers then commences; one of them standing near the wall bounces the ball at it with all his force, and next stands with his back to the wall, stretching out his right arm, and placing the back of his hand quite close to the wall, while the winner, standing where the ball fell, takes aim, and throws the ball at the said loser’s hand three times: each of the losers likewise receives the same punishment from him. In some places it is usual, when one boy gets out, for him to bounce the ball against the wall, and all the other players, standing at the spot where the ball first touched the ground, to have their three balls at his back, as he stands with his face to the wall. Should the ball in rebounding swerve either to the right or left, a line must be drawn, from the spot where it falls, to a place directly in a straight line from the boy at the wall; thus, suppose A is the boy who has just bounced the ball, which instead of going direct to B, has deviated from the straight line A B to C, a line should be drawn from C to B, and the winner should stand at the latter.

Feeder playing field

In this game four or five stones or marks must be placed on the ground, as in the annexed figure, A, B, C, D, E, about twelve or fifteen yards asunder; these marks are called bases, and one of them, as A, is styled “home.” The players next toss up for the office of “feeder,” who takes his place about two yards in front of “home,” as at F, and the rest of the players stand at and round the home. The feeder then calls out “Play!” and pitches the ball to the first player, who endeavours to strike it with[45] a bat, as far as he possibly can; should he succeed in hitting the ball, he immediately drops the bat, and runs to the first base on his right hand, as E, while the feeder is going after the ball: but if he can run all the bases and then home, before the ball is in hand, so much the better. If, however, the feeder obtains the ball soon enough to throw it at, and strike him with it as he is running from base to base, the player is out; he is also out if the feeder catches the ball: in either case the player becomes feeder, and the latter runs home to join his playmates. Should any of the other players be out at the bases, when one is caught or struck out, they also must run home. If the first player could only reach the base E, after striking the ball, he should, when the second player strikes it, run to the base D, as it is not allowable for two persons to be at one base at one and the same minute; he proceeds in the same manner to the third and fourth bases, until he arrives home again, thus enabling the others to get to their bases and home in their respective turns. The player with the bat is not obliged to take every ball the feeder chooses to give him; if he does not like a throw, he catches the ball and throws it back again. He is not allowed to make more than three “offers” at the ball; if he does so he is out, and must be feeder.

Playing Feeder

This game, which takes its title from the names assumed by the players, is played by seven boys, each of whom calls himself after one of the days of the week. To show the manner of playing the game, we will suppose that some boys are playing at it, and that the ball is taken by “Wednesday;” he throws it up against a wall, calling out at the same time the assumed name of any one of the other players, who should be standing around—we will suppose, for instance, “Friday!” All the boys but Friday run away, and he endeavours to catch it ere it falls to the ground; if he can do so, he throws it up again, calling out another boy’s name—say “Sunday!” Should the ball touch the ground before he can catch it, he must[46] pick it up and throw it at the retreating party; and if he succeeds in hitting one of them, the boy struck has to throw the ball up the next time; but if he cannot strike one he loses a point, as in Egg-hat; indeed, in the rules respecting the punishment of the losers, and the number of points each player is restricted to, it resembles that game.


Dig near a wall nine holes, of about six inches in diameter, and three deep. Let each player have one of these, according to his number, which must be determined by lot. At about six yards from the holes draw a line, and from this, as a fielding place, one player pitches the ball into one of the holes. The boy to whom this hole is assigned immediately runs to it, while all the other players run off in different directions. The player snatches the ball from the hole, and throws it at one of the “runners;” if he hits him, the one so hit becomes “pitcher,” and the one that struck him marks one. Should he not hit him, the player who throws the ball loses a point, and bowls. The player who misses his aim at throwing the ball at his partners a second time becomes a “Tenner.” If he loses a third hit, he is a “Fifteener;” if the fourth, he stands out and can play no more. When all the players are thus out, the last player remaining in wins the game, and he can compel each of the losers to stand with their hands open against the wall, for him to throw at, and give what is called the “Brandy Ball.” If the ball be a soft one, this conclusion of the game is all very well; but if a hard ball be used, it ought to be omitted, or the “Brandy” may be too strong.


This game is played with a trap and ball, which is struck with a bat or bludgeon at the pleasure of the players; but the latter is most commonly used. The performance of this game does not require the attendance of either of the parties in the field to catch or stop the ball, for the contest between them is simply who shall strike it the greatest distance in a given number of strokes; the length of each stroke is measured before the ball is returned, by means of a cord made fast at one end near the trap, the other being stretched into the field by a person stationed there for that purpose, who adjusts it to the ball, wherever it may be.

The cord is divided into yards, which are properly numbered upon in it in succession, so that the person at the bottom of the ground can easily ascertain the distance of each stroke by the number of the yards, which he calls to the players to place to their account, and the ball is thrown back.


This is a most excellent game, and very popular in some of our English counties. It is played with a moderate-sized ball and a[47] hand-bat, i. e. a bat that can be held in one hand, and which is about two feet in length, smooth, and round. Two parties play at the game, and there ought not to be less than five on a side; and the first innings is decided by throwing up the ball, the party catching it being allowed to go in first.

Rounders playing field

In playing the game, five stones, or stakes (called bases), or, if these be not convenient, as many holes may be made, at about sixteen yards apart, forming the five parts of a pentagon, as in the diagram. At the centre of this figure is a station called the feeder’s place, being the spot at which one of the out party stands to give the ball to the batsman, or to “feed” him, as it is technically termed. The out party are distributed over the field, except the feeder, who takes his station at F to deliver the balls, while one of the in party takes the bat and places himself at Fig. 1, which is enclosed within a circle, and called the Home, and where all the rest of the in party stand. The feeder then says “Play,” and delivers his ball to the batsman, who immediately strikes it as far as he can. As soon as he has done so, he drops his bat, and runs to as many of the stations as he can; but he must touch at all, or he will be out. If while he is running to the second, or between any of the bases, the returned ball is sent up and strikes him, he is out, and the next of the in party takes up the bat. If he is not struck while he runs, as soon as he reaches one of the stations the next of the in party takes up the bat, another ball is given by the feeder, and he runs to the first, or as many other of the stations as he can; the first batsman does the same, so as to go the whole round of the bases to the home at No. 1. The in player is also out if he tips the ball behind him, or if he misses striking it when delivered. The in players as they arrive at home take the bat again, till they are got out, according to the rules of the game just given. When it happens that all are out but two, the best of the two may, with the consent of the other, call for “three fair hits for the rounder.” Standing at the home, the feeder then gives him in succession three balls. He may decline as many balls as he pleases, if they do not suit him; but if he strikes at the ball, he is only allowed to do so twice without running. On the delivery of the third ball, he must run the entire course, touching with his bat at every one of the five points. If, during his progress, he be touched by the ball, or it be grounded at the home while he is absent, he is declared out, and the opposite side go in and take their places. If, on the contrary, he reaches home without being struck or the ball grounded, his side go in again, and continue the game as before. Should he miss the ball when striking at it the third time, the rounder is lost. In the play the feeder is allowed to make feint or pretence of throwing the ball, in order to tempt a player to run[48] from his base, so as to get a chance of hitting him. It is usual also for the out party to place a player behind the home, so that when a batsman makes a tip on the side of the home, he may seize the ball and strike him out before he reaches the first base.


This game is very like Catch-ball. The object is to catch a ball seven times in a particular fashion; hence the name. The player begins by throwing the ball in the air and catching it seven times with both hands. Then he catches it seven times with the right hand, next seven times with the left. Then he throws the ball up, claps his hand while it is in the air, and catches it seven times with both hands, then with the right, and then with the left. The players are allowed to make as many more variations as they please; and he who goes through the series first wins the game.


This is an old English sport, mentioned by Gower and Chaucer, and was at one period common to women as well as men. In the northern parts of England, particularly in Yorkshire, it is practised in the following manner:—A stool being set upon the ground, one of the players takes his place before it, while his antagonist, standing at a distance, tosses a ball, with the intention of striking the stool. It is the former player’s business to prevent this, by breaking it away with the hand, reckoning one to the game for every stroke of the ball; if, on the contrary, it should be missed by the hand, and touch the stool, the players change places. The conqueror of the game is he who strikes the ball most times before it touches the stool.

Trap, Bat and Ball necessities

This game is so called from the trap used to elevate the ball when it is to be struck by the batsman. It is one of the earliest games played with the trap and ball, and we can trace it to the commencement of the fourteenth century. The manner in which it was then played was somewhat different to the style at the present day. As now played, the trap is no longer elevated, but set on the ground, and is generally made in the form of a shoe, the heel part being hollowed[49] out for the reception of the ball: but some boys, when they cannot get a trap, make a hole in the ground, and having obtained the crochet bone of an ox, place it in a slanting position, one end being in the hole and the other out of it. The elevated end is then sharply struck with the bat, which causes the ball to rise to a considerable height, and then all the purposes of a trap are answered, especially if the ground be hard and dry.

It is usual in the present game of Trap and Ball to place two boundaries, at a given distance from the trap, between which it is necessary for the ball to fall when struck by the batsman, for if it falls outside of either, he gives up his bat and is out. He is also out if he strikes the ball into the air, so that it is caught by an opposite player; and, again, if the ball when returned by an adversary touches the trap, or rests within one bat’s length of it. Every stroke tells for one towards the striker’s game.

There are some variations in the play of the game in different counties. In Essex and Suffolk, for instance, the game is played with a cudgel instead of a bat, which would seem to be a preferable weapon, as those who strike with it rarely miss their blow, but frequently send it to an astonishing distance, no boundaries being set.

The ball being stopped by one of the opposing party, the striker forms his judgment of the ability of the person who is to throw it back, and calls in consequence for any number of scores towards the game that he thinks proper. It is then returned, and if it appears to his antagonist to rest at a sufficient distance to justify the striker’s call, he obtains his number; but when a contrary opinion is held, a measurement takes place, and if the scores demanded exceed in number the length of the cudgel from the trap to the ball, he loses the whole, and is out; while, on the other hand, if the lengths of the bat are more than the scores called for, the matter terminates in the striker’s favour, and they are set up to his account.


Trundling the hoop is a pastime of uncertain origin, but it has long contributed to the health and amusement of the youth of Great Britain. Iron hoops have almost superseded the old-fashioned wooden ones, and instead of being trundled with a stick, they are usually[50] guided by an iron hook shaped like the annexed figure. On a cold frosty morning the hoop is an invaluable companion to a boy, as he is enabled by its aid to defy the weather, and dispense with overcoats, comforters, and all such devices for keeping out the wintry wind. Often have we envied our juvenile friends, as they have rushed past us with their hoops, and lamented that custom should prevent grown-up people indulging in the same healthful recreation.

Iron hook for propelling hoop

The proper and legitimate hoop, however, should be made of a stout ashen lath, round on the outside and flat on the inside, and should be well fastened at its point of juncture; it should be in height so as to reach midway between the youngster’s elbow and shoulder, so that he may not have to stoop while striking it. The stick should be about sixteen inches long, and made of tough ash; and, in bowling the hoop, the bowler should strike it vigorously in the centre, and in a direction horizontal with the ground. Such hoop exercise is exceedingly good, and a good run with such a hoop will warm the youth in the very coldest weather.

The games, properly so called, that can be played with the hoop are very few, and not generally known.


Two boys start at different ends of the playground with their hoops, and, meeting in the middle, each endeavours to knock down the hoop of his antagonist, while his own remains upright.

There is no small skill required in this game, for it is not always easy to make the hoops touch each other at all. Then a light hoop has little chance against a heavy one, unless it can strike it sideways, for if it were struck directly in front, it would be certainly upset.

Also, a ready hand at recovering a falling or tottering hoop wins many a game that appears to be hopelessly lost.

Wooden hoops, also, give due exercise to the arm; and there is some tact required in knowing exactly where to strike a hoop, so as to propel it with the greatest force.

This cannot well be done with iron hoops, and forms one of the objections to them. Moreover, boys always complain that they soon lose their round form, and are awkward to bowl. Still, there is something cheering in the ringing sound of an iron hoop, as it rushes[51] along under the pressure of the curved iron rod that is used instead of a hoop-stick; and as long as boys don’t drive them against the legs of unwary passengers, they are very well in their way.

Hoop race

Any number of boys can join in this exciting sport, but they ought all to be provided with hoops as nearly equal in size as possible. At a given signal the players all start together, and each endeavours to reach the winning post (which may be any distant object) before his companions. He who arrives at the winning-post last is generally received with groans, hisses, and other vocal signs of disapprobation.


Bases, called posting-stations, are formed at regular distances, in a large circle or ellipse, and at each base a player is stationed. Every player, except the hoop-driver, has charge of a base. Let us suppose that there are seven players—A, B, C, D, E, F, and G, and that the latter holds the hoop: the other six players having taken possession of their stations, G now starts from the station belonging to F, and drives the hoop towards A, who waits, with hoop-stick in hand, ready to relieve G of his charge. G stops at the posting-station, while A trundles the hoop to B, who takes charge of it, and delivers it to C. C trundles the hoop to D; D transfers it to E; E delivers it to F; and F conveys it in safety to the first player, G. In this way the game continues, until all the players have worked round the circle five or six times. It is considered very disgraceful to touch the hoop with the hand, or to allow it to fall after it has been started on its journey. The game is rendered much more lively by increasing the number of players, and having two or three hoop-drivers to follow each other from base to base.



This game is almost the same as Encounters. Two boys drive their hoops one against the other, and he whose hoop falls in the encounter is conquered. With eight players this game may be rendered very exciting. Four of the players stand in a row, about six feet apart, and, at a considerable distance, the other four take their stand, facing them. At a given signal each player dashes towards his opponent, and strives to overturn his hoop. The four victors now pair off, and charge two against two. The conquerors then urge their hoops one against the other, and he who succeeds in overturning the hoop of his antagonist wins the game. Wooden hoops are more suitable for Tournament than iron ones, though the game is usually played with the latter.


Five or six boys can play at this game, though only one hoop is required. Chance decides which of the players shall first take the hoop. The other players become turnpike-keepers. Each turnpike is formed of two bricks or stones, placed on the ground, and separated by about three fingers’ breadths. These turnpikes are fixed at regular distances, and their number is regulated by the number of keepers. When all is ready, the first player starts his hoop, and endeavours to drive it through all the turnpikes; should he succeed in this, he turns the hoop, drives it back again, and retains it until it touches one of the turnpikes, the keeper of which now becomes hoop-driver. When a player touches the hoop with his hand, or allows it to fall, he must deliver it up to the nearest turnpike-keeper. Each keeper must stand on that side of his turnpike which is towards the right hand of the hoop-driver, and it therefore follows that he must alter his position when the hoop-driver returns. Should a keeper stand on his wrong side, the driver need not send the hoop through his turnpike. When the players are numerous, there may be two or more hoops driven at once.

Hoop accident




The form of the kite and manner of flying it must be familiar to all our readers. This favourite toy probably received its denomination from having originally been made in the shape of the bird called the kite. The flying of paper kites is a favourite pastime among the Chinese. On a certain day they hold a sort of kite festival, and then people of all ages hasten to the hills to fly their kites, the fantastic shapes and gaudy colours of which produce an extraordinary effect. Philosophers have occasionally taken the kite out of the hands of the schoolboy, and have applied it to useful and curious purposes. By means of a kite formed of a silk handkerchief stretched over a wooden frame, Dr. Franklin drew down lightning from the clouds, and demonstrated its identity with electricity. Many years ago Mr. Pocock, of Bristol, travelled on the road between Bath and London in a carriage drawn by two paper kites, supported at a moderate elevation, and impelled by the wind. The paper kite has also been employed to convey a line over the capital of Pompey’s Pillar. We do not expect our readers to perform any electrical or locomotive experiments with their kites; but we are quite sure that they may derive great amusement from these little aërial machines, especially if they manufacture them with their own hands. We know of no pleasanter occupation for a summer’s day than watching the graceful flight of a well-made kite.


For the upright get a good straight lath, as A B, in the annexed figure, and next procure half of a thin hoop or cane for the bow C D, and then tie the hoop to the upright at A, and take care to have as much on one side of the upright as on the other; otherwise your kite[54] will be sure to fall on one side when flying. Notch the two ends of the bow C D, and tie a long piece of string to D; pass it round the upright at E, and then fasten it at C; next carry the string to A, pass it down to D, and tie it there: from thence it is to be continued to B, passed round a notch there, and carried up again to C, then down the upright at F, and up to D, where it is to be finally fastened off. The skeleton being thus finished, the next thing to be done is to paste several sheets of paper so as to form a surface large enough to cover the kite and allow of a little turn over to fasten the outer edges; after you have pasted the paper on to the skeleton, you must make two holes, in the upright, as at G, G, through which the belly-band is to be passed, knotting the two ends of the string to keep it from slipping through the holes. The wings are to be made of several sheets of paper, cut into slips, rolled close up, so as to bear some resemblance to a tassel, and tied to the sides of the kite at C, D. The tail, which should be about fifteen times the length of the kite, is made by folding a number of pieces of paper so as to be about an inch in breadth, and four inches in length, and afterwards tying them on a string at intervals of three inches, and is finished by affixing to the end of the string a large tassel made in the same manner as the wings. Tie the string with which you intend to fly the kite to the belly-band, and your kite is complete and ready for service.

Flying a kite

We need not enter very minutely into the rules to be observed in flying a kite, as every boy is acquainted with them. Unless there be a nice breeze stirring, the kite-flyer need not expect to have much sport, as nothing can be more vexatious than attempting to fly a kite when there is not sufficient wind for the purpose. To raise the kite in the first instance, the flyer will require the aid of another boy. The owner of the kite having unwound a considerable length of string, now turns his face towards the wind and prepares for a run, while his assistant holds the kite by its lower extremity as high as he can from the ground. At a given signal the assistant lets the kite go, and if all circumstances be favourable it will soar upwards with great rapidity. With a well-constructed kite, in a good breeze[55] the flyer need not trouble himself to run very fast nor very far, as his kite will soon find its balance, and float quite steadily on the wind. The kite-flyer should be careful not to let out string too fast. When a kite pitches, it is a sign that it is built lop-side, or that its tail is not long enough.


Some boys amuse themselves by sending messengers up to their kites when they have let out all their string. A messenger is formed of a piece of paper three or four inches square, in the centre of which a hole is made. The end of the string is passed through the hole, and the wind quickly drives the messenger up to the kite. The kite-flyer should be careful not to send up too many messengers, lest they weigh down the kite.


Calico has many advantages over paper as a covering for kites; it is not so liable to be torn, is not damaged by wet, and may be sewn on the framework much more neatly than paper can be pasted. Being much heavier than paper, it is, however, only suited for large kites. A portable calico kite may now be procured at most of the toy-shops. The framework of this kite is formed of two slender pieces of wood, which turn on a common centre in such a manner that they can either be shut up, so that one piece lies flat upon the other, or opened out into the form of a cross. The calico covering is attached to this cross by means of tapes. This portable kite can be rolled up and carried to the field without inconvenience.

Kites shaped like a balloon and a mole
Kites shaped like a hairy gentleman and a soldier

Ingenious boys now and then take a hint from the Chinese, and so shape and paint their kites that they resemble different animate and[56] inanimate objects. The “officer kite,” which has the figure of a soldier painted on it, and the “hawk kite,” which rudely represents a flying hawk, are common forms of fancy kites. A very funny effect may be produced by painting a kite like a sailor, and attaching moveable arms, instead of the ordinary tassel wings, to the shoulders. We present our readers with a few suggestive forms, which are quite novel. All fancy kites should be painted with the most glaring colours, and the figures on them drawn as coarsely as possible, as they are intended to be seen at a great distance.

Carried away by the kite



Playing at marbles

In ancient times, when we were boys, and indulged in the luxury of marbles, they were very different from their present form. They were made of stone, nicely polished, and some of them, called “alleys,” of the purest marble. Many of the stone marbles were beautifully variegated, and now and then a fancy pet was treasured under the name of “taw,” which had somewhat the virtues of a talisman, for to “lose it or to give it” were “such perdition,” as Othello says, as could never be exceeded. Of late years, marbles, like all other matters, have undergone considerable change. Foreign marbles have been introduced, prodigiously cheaper, it is true, than our old English marbles, but infinitely worse; and various kinds of “patent marbles” have had their day. Some of these go by the name of Dutchmen, others are called Frenchmen, and others again Chinamen, while it is not quite impossible to procure some right old English marbles, which, if they can be procured, are still the best. We would advise all marble players to procure these, if they can, as “marbles” is a royal game, and ought to be duly honoured.

Holding a marble the proper way


How to Shoot your Marble.—The art of holding a marble to shoot it properly seems to be lost among our London boys, who are generally[58] content to throw one marble at another, or if they shoot it to hold it in the turn of the fore-finger, forcing it out by the thumb, which is placed behind it. This, in our boyish days, was held to be a very illegitimate way of proceeding, derogatory to the true marble-player, and bore the dishonourable appellation of “fulking,” and any one who made it his rule to hold a marble in such a manner was looked upon as a charlatan, or almost a cheat. The true way to hold your taw is to place it between the point of the forefinger and the first joint of the thumb, and to propel it from the nail of the thumb with strong muscular force; and so great was the skill attained by many boys, that they would sometimes strike a marble at five yards’ distance, and frequently shoot one to six or seven.


This game is played by several players, each of whom puts down a marble in a small ring. One player then stands in a perpendicular position over the cluster of marbles, and, taking his own bounce in his hand, lets it fall from his eye on to the heap, and those forced out of the ring by this method are considered won. If he does not succeed in this, and his marble falls within the ring, it belongs to the common stock, and is there impounded.


There is a game called “Conqueror,” which is extensively played in some places. A piece of hard ground, and free from stones, is chosen for the spot. The first player lays his marble on the ground, and the second throws his own at it with all his force, and endeavours to break it. If he succeeds, his marble counts one, and the vanquished player lays down another marble. If two players have marbles that have already vanquished others, the “Conqueror” counts all the conquered of the other party in addition to his own. For example, suppose A, being conqueror of twenty, breaks B, also a conqueror of twenty, A counts forty-one, i. e. twenty of his own, twenty for the vanquished belonging to B, and one for B itself.

Nuts, chestnuts, and other similar objects are also employed in this game, only they are fastened to a string, and swung against the opponent, instead of being thrown.

Die on marble

This is a very good game, and requires both skill and caution. It is played by elevating a die upon a marble, whose sides are slightly ground down, so that it will stand firmly, and firing at it from an offing, which is generally at a distance of about four feet from it. The die-keeper undertakes[59] to pay to the shooter who knocks down the die the number which falls uppermost, receiving one marble from each player as he shoots.


This game is a great improvement upon odd or even. Dick asks Tom to guess the number of “eggs in the bush”—that is, the number of marbles in his closed hand. If Tom can guess the right number, he takes all; but if he is out in his reckoning, he pays Dick as many marbles as will make up or leave the exact number. Suppose Dick has six marbles in his hand; now, if Tom should guess either four or eight, he would have to forfeit two marbles to Dick, because four is two less, and eight is two more, than the exact number. The players hold the “eggs in the bush” alternately.


In most respects resembles Ring taw, the variations being, that if before a marble is shot out of the ring one player’s taw is struck by another’s (excepting his partner’s), or if his taw remains within the ring, he puts a shot in the pound, continues in the game, and shoots again from the offing before any of his companions. If his taw is struck after one or more marbles have been driven out of the ring, if he has taken any shots himself, he gives them to the player who struck him, puts a taw in the ring, and shoots from the offing, as before. If, however, he has not won any marbles during the game, before his taw is struck, he is “killed” and put out of the game; he is likewise out if, after any shots have been struck out, his taw gets within the pound—if it remains on the line it is nothing. He then puts the marbles (if he has won any) into the circle, adding one to them for the taw struck, and shoots again from the offing. In case he cannot gain any shots after his taw gets “fat,” as remaining in the ring is termed, he is killed, and out for the rest of the game. When only one marble remains in the ring, the taw may continue inside it without being “fat.” Each player seldom puts more than one marble in the ring at the beginning or a game.

Knock-out playing field

This game is played by knocking marbles against a wall, or perpendicular board set up for the purpose; and the skill displayed in it depends upon the player’s attention to what is called in mechanics the resolution of forces: for instance, if an object be struck against the wall at A from the mark at B, it will return again to B in a straight line; if it be sent from C to A, it will, instead of returning to C, pass off aslant to D, and its course will[60] form the angle C A D; the angle of incidence being equal to the angle of reflection.

The game is played by any number of players: the first player throws his marble against the wall, so that it may rebound and fall about a yard distant from it; the other players then, in succession, throw their marbles against the wall, in such a way as to cause them to strike any of those already lagged out, and the marble struck is considered won by the owner of the taw that strikes it, in addition to which the winner has another throw. When only two boys play, each successively throws out till one of the “laggers” is struck, and he who strikes takes up all.

Long Taw play

Long taw is played by two persons in the following manner. One boy places his marble on the ground at A, the other at B; then both retire to the spot C. The first boy now shoots at B from a line marked at C. If he strikes it, he takes it and shoots at A; if he strikes A, he then wins the game. If, however, he misses B, the second boy then shoots at B; if he strikes it, he can then either shoot at the first boy’s taw at the place at which it lies, or he can shoot at A. If he hits his opponent’s taw, he is said to kill him, and wins the game, or if he shoots at A, and hits it. The boy who hits the last shot has the privilege of shooting at the taw of the other, provided it has not already been killed. If he hits it, the taw is taken, or the owner must pay one, and the game ends; and if he misses it, the game is then at an end also. Long taw is a game seldom played by London boys, but is very common in the different English counties.


This game is played by means of a piece of board cut into the form of a bridge, having nine arches, and just large enough to let the marbles pass through, as in the subjoined diagram. One of the players undertakes to be “bridge-keeper,” and the stipulation usually made is, that he should receive one for every unsuccessful shot, and pay to those who shoot their marbles through the arches the numbers standing over them. The place from which the players shoot their marbles is generally about four feet from the bridge.

Nine-holes bridge



One player extends his closed hand containing some marbles, and asks his opponent to guess whether their number is odd or even. Should he guess wrong, he forfeits a marble, and his questioner tries him with another lot; but should he guess right, the first player must pay him a marble, and take a turn at guessing.

Picking the plums

This game consists in each player placing a marble on a line drawn upon the ground thus, and the whole shooting at them in succession from a mark about four feet off. The order of the shots is determined beforehand, by pitching at a marble from a six-feet offing, those nearest being first, second, third, and fourth in order, as the marbles lie. The marbles knocked off the line are won by the respective shooters.

Pyramid play

In this game a boy generally sits upon the ground, with his legs open wide, and, making a small circle, places in it three marbles at the three points of a triangle, and the fourth on the top of them, so as to form a small pyramid. A distance of about four feet is then chosen as the point to shoot from, and the other players shoot at the pyramid. Those that strike it have all the marbles they knock out of the ring; but if they miss, they lose their shots.

Ring taw

Ring taw is a game requiring skill and judgment, and is a most excellent game. It is played as follows. Two rings are drawn upon the ground, a small one, six inches in diameter, enclosed by a larger one, six feet in diameter. Into the small ring each player puts a marble, called “shot.” The players then proceed to any part of the large ring, and from thence, as an offing, shoot at the marbles in the centre. If a player knocks a marble out of the ring he wins it, and he is entitled to shoot again before his companions can have a shot. When all the players have shot their marbles,[62] they shoot from the places at which their marbles rested at the last shot. If the shooter’s taw remain in the small circle, he is out, and has to drop a marble in the ring, and he must put in besides all the marbles he had previously won in that game. It is a rule, also, that when one player shoots at and strikes another’s taw, the taw so struck is considered dead, and its owner must give up to the striker of the taw all the marbles he may have previously won during the game. The game is concluded when all the marbles are shot out of the ring, or all the taws are killed.


This consists of one boy laying down his taw, and, giving a distance, his antagonist shoots at it; if he misses, the first boy shoots at the taw of the second, till one is struck, which the striker claims. Bounce About is the same game played by throwing large marbles instead of shooting smaller ones, he who strikes the other’s bounce being the winner.


This is played on the same conditions as Die Shot. A teetotum is set spinning by the keeper, and, when in motion, any player is allowed to shoot at it, upon the payment of one marble, receiving, if he strikes, turns over, and stops the teetotum, as many marbles as are indicated on the side that falls uppermost. This is a very skilful game, and requires good shots.

Three holes

This game is played by making three holes in the ground, about a yard and a half or two yards asunder. About two yards from the first hole a line is drawn. The right to shoot first is decided by chance. The first shooter now knuckles down at the line, and[63] endeavours to shoot into the first hole. If he does this he proceeds to the second, then to the third, and wins the game; but this rarely occurs. If he misses the first hole, the other players shoot their taws, and if neither of them enter the hole, the first shot immediately does so; and then he has the privilege either of proceeding to the second hole, or of killing the other men by shooting at and hitting them, when they must either give up their taws or drop one. Sometimes a player will kill all his antagonists in succession without proceeding to any hole except the first, and thus wins the game; at other times the game may be won by any of the players killing their antagonists during any period of the game. It is a rule that no one can “kill a taw” till he has been in the first hole.


This game is played by two or more players. To play it, a hole, of the diameter of three inches, is first made on a smooth or level piece of ground, and a line is marked at about seven feet from it. Each boy puts down two, three, or four marbles, as may be agreed upon, and then the whole party bowl for their throws, by retiring to three times the distance already marked from the hole, and bowling one marble to it; the order of throws being determined by the nearness that each boy’s marble approaches the hole. When this is settled, the first thrower takes all the marbles in his hand, and throws them in a cluster towards the hole. If an even number falls in, such as 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, he wins all; but if an odd number falls in, he loses all.

Boy with marbles




The peg-top appears to be a modern invention, but the whip-top is of great antiquity, it having been used in remote times by the Grecian boys; it was well known at Rome in the days of Virgil, and in England as early at least as the fourteenth century, when its form was the same as it is now. Strutt, in his “Sports and Pastimes of the People of England,” relates the following amusing anecdote of Prince Henry, the eldest son of James I., which he met with in an old manuscript at the British Museum: “The first time that the prince went to the town of Stirling to meet the king, seeing a little without the gate of the town a stack of corn in proportion not unlike to a top wherewith he used to play, he said to some that were with him, ‘Lo, there is a goodly top!’ Whereupon one of them saying, ‘Why do you not play with it then?’ he answered, ‘Set you it up for me and I will play with it.’”


These cannot easily be made, but can very easily be purchased by those who are so lucky as to have the money. They are made hollow, having at their crown a peg, round which is wound a string; this, being pulled through a kind of fork, gives motion to the top, and sets it spinning—the fork and the string being left in the spinner’s[65] hand. In spinning the top, care should be taken to wind the string firmly and evenly on the peg; and when it is pulled out, neither too much nor too little force should be used, and a firm and steady hand should be employed, while the top should be held in a perpendicular position. The string should be drawn with a steadily increasing force, or the top will not hum properly.


There are various kinds of Peg-tops, and they also vary in shape, some being much rounder than others. Those are the best which are shaped like a pear. There is also great variety as regards the shape and size of the peg, which in some tops is short and thick, in others long and tapering. Again, tops are made of different kinds of wood, some being made of deal, others of elm, some of yew-tree, and others of boxwood. These last are the Boxers so highly prized. Some of the very best tops are made of lignum vitæ, with long, handsome pegs.

Spanish peg-top

The Spanish peg-top is made of mahogany. It is shaped somewhat like a pear; instead of a sharp iron peg, it has a small rounded knob at the end. As it spins for a much longer time than the English peg-top, and does not require to be thrown with any degree of force in order to set it up, it is extremely well adapted for playing on flooring or pavement.


Whip-top is a capital sport when played by two persons; and is played by first whirling the top into motion by turning it sharply with[66] both hands, and then by flogging it till its motion becomes very rapid. When two persons play whip-top, the object should be for each to whip his top to a certain goal, he who reaches it first being the victor.


This game is played by two boys, in the following manner: Two lines, about six feet apart, are marked upon the ground, which ought to be smooth and hard. Some small stones are then procured and placed midway between the lines; they should not be larger than a small bean, and the black and polished ones are the most sought after. The tops are now set up spinning on the ground, and the players, being each provided with a small wooden spoon, dexterously introduce them under the pegs of the spinning tops, and then, with the top still spinning in the spoon, throw the point of the peg against the stone, so as to chip it out of bounds; he who does this the soonest being the victor. While the top continues to spin, he may take it up with the spoon as many times as he can, and when it spins out he must again wind up, pursuing the same plan till he “chips out.”

Directions.—In winding up the top do not wet the end of the line too much, and take care to lay it closely and evenly within the grooves. In throwing the top from you, the line must be pulled in with a peculiar jerk of the hand, which practice alone can give. The string button should be held close in the hand, between the last two fingers of the hand. There is what is called an “underhand” way of spinning a top, i. e. by holding it peg downwards, throwing it in a straight line forward, and withdrawing the string; but as we dislike everything underhand, we shall not recommend this practice any more than we shall the Spanish tops, which are spun after this method.

Playing at Chip-stone

This game may be played by any number of boys. A ring about a yard in diameter is first marked on the ground, and another ring[67] surrounding the first, and at a yard’s distance from it, is also marked. The players must stand on this ring, and from it throw their tops. One player begins by throwing his top spinning into the ring, and while it is there spinning the other players are at liberty to peg at it as quickly as they can. If none of them hit it while it is spinning, and if it rolls out of the ring, the owner is allowed to take it up, and having wound it, to peg at the others which may be still spinning in the circle. Should any of the tops, when they cease spinning, fall within the ring, they are considered dead, and are placed in the centre of the circle for the others to peg at. The player who succeeds in striking any of the tops out of the circle claims those so struck out. In some places each player may ransom his top with a marble.

Sleeping tops are exposed to much danger in the play, for they offer a fair mark to the “pegger,” and often get split, when the “peg” is taken by the splitter as his trophy. Long-pegged tops are the best for the game, for they lie more upon their sides after their fall, and, before the spinning entirely ceases, are the more likely to spin out of the ring.

There is a way of making the top spring out of the ring directly it has touched the ground. Only long-pegged tops will execute this feat. It is done by drawing the hand sharply towards the body just as the top leaves the string. When the manœuvre is well executed, the top will drive any opponent that it strikes entirely out of the ring, while it does not remain within the dangerous circle itself for more than a few seconds.

A broken window pane



Suitcase with toys

There are some out-door games played with toys which do not fall under any of our previous headings. These games we now lay before our reader, together with a description of the toys in common use.

Apple mill

The Apple Mill is made by boring a hole in a nut, just large enough to pass a thin skewer through; the kernel should then be extracted, and another hole bored in the side of the nut, as A in the annexed figure. A skewer should next be cut or thinned, leaving it large enough at the top to form a head, as shown in the cut. A piece of string is then to be tied to the skewer, and passed through the hole in the side of the nut at A, and an apple stuck on the end of the skewer. The mill being now complete in all its works, it should be twirled round in the same manner as the humming top to wind up the string, holding the nut stationary between the forefinger and thumb of the left hand; when this is done, the string must be pulled out quickly, and the mill will immediately spin round. When an apple cannot be procured, a small potato will serve equally well.


This amusing game is of a very simple character, consisting essentially in throwing at a small object. Aunt Sally herself is composed of a head and bust cut out of a solid block of wood, and generally carved with negro features, and painted black. In the middle of her nose, or between her lips, a hole is bored, into which is stuck a short pipe. To break it is the object of the game. An iron[69] rod serves to support the wooden figure at a proper elevation from the ground; and when in gala costume, Aunt Sally is usually arrayed in a mob cap and a petticoat. The mode of playing the game is as follows:

The iron rod is stuck in the ground, a pipe put into the old lady’s mouth, and a line drawn upon the ground, at twelve, sixteen, or more paces. At this line the players stand, and each is furnished with three short cudgels, about eighteen inches in length, which they hurl at Aunt Sally’s head, in hopes of hitting the pipe. The best plan is to throw the cudgels underhand, giving them a rapid rotatory movement at the same time. Some persons insert an additional pipe into each ear; but this is an innovation, and leads to careless throwing. It is better to hang a sheet, net, or large cloth behind Aunt Sally, in order to catch the sticks, and save the trouble of continually fetching them from a distance. Within doors, the iron rod is furnished with a loaded pedestal.

Requirements for playing Aunt Sally

Or, “Throwing Sticks.” This very popular game among the Greeks was by them called Kyndalismos. It was played with short batons, and required considerable strength and quickness of eye. With us the game is played in much the same manner as the Greeks played it. A stick is fixed in a kind of cup or hole, about six inches deep, in a loose moist soil, and the players consist of the Keeper and Throwers. The Keeper places on the top of the stick some article, such as an apple or orange, and the Throwers endeavour to knock it off, by throwing at it with short thick sticks, or batons; whoever succeeds in doing this claims the prize, whenever it falls without the hole. The Thrower will soon find in his play, that to hit the stick is of little importance, as from the perpendicular line of gravity which the apple or orange will take in its descent, it is almost certain to fall into the hole. The aim, therefore, should be to strike the object from the stick. This game is very common at fairs and similar places, and three sticks, with articles upon them, are usually set up, but which offer no advantage to the throwers.


Tip Cat, although not altogether a nice pastime, ought to be noticed here. It is a dangerous game, and should be played with great caution on the part of the players. It is a rustic game, well known, and generally goes by the name of Cat. It is played with a[70] cudgel or bludgeon, resembling that used for trap-ball. Its name is derived from a piece of wood called a “Cat,” of about six inches in length, and an inch and half, or two, in diameter, diminished from the middle to both the ends, being of the shape of a spindle or double cone; by this contrivance the places of the trap and ball are at once supplied, for when the Cat is laid upon the ground, the player with his stick tips it at one end by a smart stroke, which causes it to rise in the air with a rotatory motion, high enough for him to strike it as it falls, in the same manner as he would a ball.

Tip Cat cat and cudgel

There are various methods of playing the game of Cat. The first is exceedingly simple, and consists in making a large ring upon the ground, in the middle of which the striker takes his station. His business is to beat the Cat over the ring; if he fails in so doing he is out, and another player takes his place; if he is successful, he judges with his eye the distance the Cat is driven from the centre of the ring, and calls for a number at pleasure to be scored for the game: if the number demanded be found, upon measurement, to exceed the same number of lengths of the bludgeon, he is out; on the contrary, if it does not, he obtains his call.

The second method of playing Cat is to make four, six, or eight holes in the ground, in a circular direction, and as nearly as possible at equal distances from each other, and at every hole is placed a player with his bludgeon. One of the opposite party who stands in the field tosses the Cat to the batsman who is nearest him, and every time the Cat is struck the players are obliged to change their situations, and run once from one hole to another in succession. If the Cat be driven to any very great distance, they continue to run in the same order, and claim a score of one towards the game every time they quit one hole and run to another. But if the Cat be stopped by their opponents, and thrown across between any two of the holes, before the player, who has quitted one of them, can reach the other, he is out.


This sport, which is of French origin, is for two players only. Both being blindfolded, they are tied to the ends of a long string, which is fastened by a loose knot in the middle to a post, and, as the[71] knot is very slightly tied, the players are enabled to move about with facility. The player who takes the part of the “mouse” scrapes two pieces of wood together, so as to make a grating noise, and for which purpose the edges of one of the pieces of wood are notched: the sound attracts the other player, who represents the “cat,” and he immediately uses his utmost efforts to catch his prey, by following the noise as well as he can, the “mouse” at the same time struggling about, in order to escape being caught.

Knock-'em-down stand

A similar game to Aunt Sally, but a simpler one, is made by scooping a hole in the ground, and placing in it an upright stick; on the top of it is placed a stone, or similar substance. The player then retires to a distance, and flings at the stone with cudgels or balls, the latter being preferable. If the stone falls into the hole, the player only counts one towards the game; but if it falls outside the hole, he counts two. This is a capital game for the seaside, and can be played upon the sands. This game is almost similar to Baton.


The pea-shooter is a tube of metal, through which a pea may be propelled with great force by a puff of air from the mouth. The ordinary tin pea-shooters sold in the shops are comparatively worthless. We should advise the reader to procure a straight piece of brass tube from two to four feet long, and get a brazier to tin one end of it, so that the brass may not corrode when placed in the mouth. With such a tube peas, pellets of clay, and other projectiles may be shot with great precision to a considerable distance. The game of puff and dart is played with a long brass tube, and a small dart having a needle point. The dart is blown through the tube at a target, on which there are divisions bearing different numbers.


The game of Quoits is very excellent. It seems to have derived its name from the ancient discus, and with us in the present day is a circular plate of iron perforated in the middle, not always of one size, but larger or smaller to suit the strength or convenience of the several candidates.


To play at Quoits an iron pin called a hob is driven into the ground within a few inches of the top, and at the distance of eighteen or twenty yards, as may be agreed upon, a second pin of iron is also fixed. The players are generally divided into parties, and[72] the players pitch the quoits from hob to hob; those who pitch the nearest reckoning towards the game. But the determination is discriminately made; for instance, if a quoit belonging to A lies nearest to the hob, and a quoit belonging to B the second, A can claim but one towards the game, though all his other quoits be nearer to the hob than all the other quoits of B, because one quoit of B being the second nearest to the hob, cuts out, as it is called, all behind it. If no such quoit had interfered, then A would have reckoned all his as one each. Having all cast their quoits, the players walk to the opposite side, and determine the state of the play. Then taking their stand there, throw their quoits back again, and continue to do so alternately, till the end of the game. A quoit that falls with its flat side upward does not count.

Nine-pins set up

This game, as its name denotes, is played by means of nine pins, which are set up in a regular order, the aim of the players being to throw down as many as possible in the fewest attempts. Each player is permitted to throw three times at the pins, and if he can knock them all down in two throws, it is called a “single,” and they are again set up for his last throw; or, if he can knock them down in one throw, it is called a “double,” and they are set up. A heavy wooden ball, called a “bowl,” is used to throw at the pins.

Skittles set up

Skittles is played in a manner somewhat similar to the preceding game, but the number of pins is only four. These are very large, and[73] are arranged on a square framework, so as to present one of the angles to the player. The bowl used for playing this game is of the shape of a cheese, and is usually made of lignum vitæ, as being very heavy and hard wood. The game requires more bodily strength than nine-pins, as the bowl must be thrown upon the skittles, and not rolled up to them.

The best play is to throw the bowl with a round-handed swing of the arm, so as to strike the nearest skittle at the right of its upper third. The ball then springs to the second skittle, and from this generally twists to the third, while the fourth skittle is sent down by the roll of the one first struck. It is very difficult to make this throw successfully, and many players prefer driving down the first and third skittles with a straightforward shoot, and then making their second ball spring across from the second to the fourth. This latter stroke appears very difficult, but is soon learnt; the great point being to throw the bowl high, so that it may drop as perpendicularly as possible on the left of the upper third of the second skittle. In the long run, the constant repetition of this practice will overbalance occasional brilliancy of play.

Dutch-pins set up

This game is nothing more than a modification of nine-pins; the pins being higher, and the centre one bearing the name of king, and a crown upon its head. The great point in this game is to strike the king out of the board without knocking down any of the subjects. If this can be done, the game is won. In all other cases, the king counts for no more than any of his subjects.


This is a good athletic sport, but the Hammer can scarcely be called a toy. The hammer used by rustics is generally the sledge-hammer of the blacksmith, with a head weighing some twelve or fourteen pounds. The players are all single and do not join in parties, and the prize is given to him who makes the greatest number of long throws in a dozen. It does not merely require strength to throw the sledge-hammer, but a nice calculation of the area which the Hammer has to pass over in its flight, combined with the strength of the thrower.



This instrument is a curved piece of wood, flat on one side, and slightly rounded on the other. It is used by the natives of New South Wales, who can throw it so dexterously as to kill a man behind a tree, where he may have fled for safety. It should be held horizontally in throwing it, and cast by bringing the arm backwards, and after making a variety of curves it will come back again to the person who send it. If skilfully thrown, it may be made to go in almost any direction the thrower pleases.

[1] The instrument represented in the cut is the Australian boomerang. Those used in England have a sharper curve.

Ski-jack made out of wishbone

The skip-jack is manufactured out of the merry-thought of a goose, which must, of course, be well cleaned before it is used. A strong doubled string must be tied at the two ends of the bone, and a piece of wood about three inches long put between the strings, as shown in the marginal illustration, and twisted round until the string acquires the force of a spring. A bit of shoemaker’s wax should then be put in the hollow of the bone at the spot where the end of the piece of wood touches, and when the wood is pressed slightly on the wax the jack is set; it adheres but a very short time, and then springs forcibly up. The skip-jack is placed on the ground with the wax downwards, and in some parts of the country it is usual to call out, “Up, Jack!” or “Jump, Jack!” just before it springs.

Man with sling

The art of slinging, or of casting stones with a sling, is of very high antiquity. We see it represented on the Nimroud monuments, and the feat of the divine youth, David, is familiar to every one. In the earliest times there were bands of slingers, and probably whole regiments of them, and there is little doubt that the art of slinging preceded that of archery. The former seemed, however, to belong to the Asiatic, as the latter did to the European nations. Our Saxon ancestors, also, seem to have been skilful in their manner of holding the sling. Its form is preserved in several of their paintings, and the manner in which it was used by them, as far back as the eighth century, may be seen in the annexed cut. We have also sufficient testimony to prove, that men armed with slings formed part of the Anglo-Norman soldiery.



In country districts, slinging of stones is a common sport; and the sling so used consists simply of a piece of leather cut into the subjoined form, to which are affixed two cords, one having a loop. In using it, leather is suffered to hang from the strong downwards; the slinger places his little finger in the loop, and holds the other end in his hand, and then putting the stone in the hole of the sling at A, which prevents its falling, whirls the whole round for three or four times, to obtain a strong centrifugal force, and suddenly letting go of that part of the sling held in his hand, the stone flies forward with inconceivable rapidity, making a twanging sound in the ear as it flies. Slinging is a very good exercise for imparting strength to the arm, but young slingers should be very careful where they send their stones, or they may do much damage.

Sling leather

If any of my readers may wish to construct a better kind of sling, they may do it in the following manner:—Get a currier to cut a piece of very strong buckskin leather in this shape, the centre being cut into bars. Two long strips of the same leather are then cut of this shape,

Leather strip

two cuts being made along them, so as to leave three leather cords. These are plaited together, and the flat ends firmly sewn to the centrepiece. The shape will then be this:

Complete improved sling


A sling made on this principle will carry a stone of a pound weight. The loop and point should be whipped with silk. The accuracy that can be obtained with such a weapon is astonishing, only the missiles should always be leaden bullets of the same weight—two or three ounces being the best average weight. At the school where my boyhood was spent, we used to send such bullets just over the weather-cock of one of the loftiest spires in England, and stripped a chestnut-tree of its blossoms. One year there was a solitary blossom on the top of the tree, which defied our efforts for many days. The blossoms were soon knocked off, but the green stalk resisted the blows for a long time. It was battered to pieces, but bent to the strokes, and had to be knocked off in fragments. I mention this to show the accuracy of aim that can be attained by practice.

Stilt walker

Among the Swiss, and in several districts in the South of France, walking on stilts is not only an amusing, but a useful, practice, as by means of these crane-like legs men and women transform themselves into the order of “Waders,” emulating the long-legged storks and herons, and can cross over marshes and flooded grounds without wetting their feet. Stilts are easily made, being nothing but a pair of poles, with a wooden step at the sides for the feet to stand on. The poles are kept in their proper place by the hands. A little practice will soon render a youth “easy on his stilts,” and they may be made an amusing and healthy exercise.

Boy on donkey

The sucker is a toy of the simplest construction imaginable; it is made by merely cutting a circular piece out of some tolerably stout leather, boring a hole in its centre, and then passing a string through the hole, taking the precaution to make a large knot at the end of the string, to prevent its being drawn completely through the hole.[77] Before using the sucker, it must be steeped in water until it becomes quite soft and pliable. If its smooth, moist surface be now pressed so closely against the flat side of a stone or other body, that the air cannot enter between them, the weight of the atmosphere pressing on the upper surface of the leather will cause it to adhere so strongly, that the stone, if its weight be proportioned to the extent of the disc of leather, may be raised by lifting the string. If the sucker could act with full effect, every square inch of its surface would support about the weight of fourteen pounds. The feet of the common house-fly are provided with minute natural suckers, by aid of which the insect is enabled to run up a smooth pane of glass and walk along the ceiling.

Our young readers will in all probability remark that we have laid but little stress on games with toys, and that comparatively few toys have been mentioned. We have done so intentionally, because the book is written expressly for boys, and those, English boys. Now an English boy always likes a toy that will do something. For example, he cares not one farthing for all the elegant imitations of guns in the world, as long as he can have his pea-shooter; and the walnut stock, the glittering decorations, and the burnished but useless barrel of the toy gun, are nothing in his eyes, when compared with the plain tin barrel of his beloved pea-shooter, which will throw a missile with rifle-like accuracy of aim.

For these reasons, we have mentioned but very few toys, looking with contempt upon those innumerable fabrications that find their place in the windows of toy-shops, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred are only purchased for the immediate gratification of spoilt children, who unconsciously illustrate the real objects of toys, by pulling them to pieces, and converting the fragments to unexpected uses.

Destroyed toys





There are many elaborate toys which are not included under this head, as they are always sold with printed directions for using them. The games which follow are played with toys of the simplest construction, many of which may be easily manufactured by the reader.


This game is so well known as to require but little remark. The Battledores may be purchased at the toy-shops, as may also be the Cocks; but many of our young friends who know anything about carpentry may easily make both for themselves. The Battledores can be cut out with a key-hole saw into the subjoined shape. They should be about a quarter of an inch thick, the handles about six inches long, and the “spades” of about five inches long, and five broad. The Shuttlecock may be made by cutting a piece of cork into the following form, and placing a small brass nail at its lower end. The top should be plumed with five feathers standing outwards from the rim, being fastened by a little gum into small holes cut therein. The practice of the game is for two players to beat the Cock backwards and forwards from one to the other, and the one that lets it fall, by failing to strike it with his bat, is to give to the other a pea, bead, pin, or some other small article. Some foreigners, particularly the Chinese, play at this game with the toes, hands, elbows, and other parts of the body, and will keep the Cocks up in a most amusing manner, in the midst of many grotesque gestures.



This toy is simply a wheel or pulley of hard wood, having a very deep groove, round which a strong but fine cord is wound. The player holds the free end of the cord between his finger and thumb, gives a rapid rotatory motion to the bandilor, by allowing it to fall towards the ground; by a sudden jerk he now tightens the cord in the groove, and the toy rises towards his hand. A little practice will enable any one to keep the bandilor in motion for a considerable time by causing it to rise and fall alternately.


A ball of ivory or hard wood is attached to a stem of the same substance, having a shallow cup at one end and a point at the other. The player holds the stem in his right hand, as shown in the figure; and, having caused the ball to revolve by twirling it between the finger and thumb of his left, he jerks it up and catches it either in the cup, or upon the spike, to receive which a hole is made in the ball. We need scarcely say that the latter feat can only be performed by a skilful player. Cup and Ball was the favourite pastime at the court of Henry III. of France.

Cup and ball

The Cutwater is a circular piece of sheet lead, notched like a saw round the edge, and having two holes pierced in it at some distance from each other, through which is passed a piece of string, the two ends being afterwards tied together. The annexed figure shows this toy, and the way it is to be held by the player. To set the Cutwater in action, the double string must be alternately pulled and slackened. Every time the string is relaxed the disc revolves, in consequence of the impetus it has acquired from the previous pull; and every time the string is tightened, it whirls round in an opposite direction, as the double string is then untwisted. If the edge of this toy be dipped in water, it may be made to sprinkle the bystanders and the player; hence its title of “Cutwater.”

Cutwater toy


Fox and geese playing board

Fifteen ordinary draughtsmen compose the flock of geese. The fox may either be two draughtsmen placed one upon another, or any small object which may be at hand. The game is played on a board marked as shown in the annexed engraving. The fox is placed in the middle of the board, and the geese on the points on one side of it, as shown in the illustration. The game is to confine the fox to some spot on the board, so that there shall be either the edge of the board or else two rows of men round him. When the fox cannot escape, the game is done, and the player of the geese wins; but when one of the geese is left on a point next to that occupied by the fox, and is not supported by another goose behind, or by the edge of the board, the fox can take it, and by jumping over its head to the next space, he may, perhaps, escape the persecutions of some of the others, as all the geese are compelled to move forwards towards the end of the board that was unoccupied at the commencement of the game. The fox is allowed to move either backwards or forwards. Neither fox nor goose must be moved more than one space at a time. If the fox neglects to take when he has a chance, he is huffed, and one of the captured geese is restored to the back of the board. The fox should avoid getting into the lower square of the board if possible, as he will find it difficult to extricate himself from a position which can be so easily blockaded.

Fox and geese played on chessboard

There is another method of playing fox and geese on a chessboard; namely, with four white men, representing the geese, and one black one, representing the fox.

The geese are ranged on the four white squares nearest one player, and the fox may be placed where his owner pleases. The best place for him is that marked in the diagram, as he can manœuvre in a very puzzling way.

The geese can only move forward, and the fox moves either way. The object of the geese is to pen up the fox so that he cannot move, and the fox has to break through.

If the game is properly played, the geese must win, the secret being to keep them all in line as much as possible. The fox tries to prevent this plan from being followed up; and if he can succeed in doubling the geese, or getting one to stand before another, he is nearly sure to pass through them.



To play at Goose a board must be made containing sixty-three circles, placed so as to form some resemblance to the shape of a goose, and numbered consecutively. Two dice and a box, and as many counters as there are players, are required. Each player in turn throws the dice, and according to the number he throws, so he reckons, counting from No. 1, and placing his counter on the number he obtains. The player who first reaches sixty-three wins the game. But mark; he must throw sixty-three exactly, or else he has to count the surplus number back from sixty-three. For instance, suppose when at sixty he throws eight, this makes sixty-eight, five over sixty-three. The player must, therefore, take five back from sixty-three, and leave his counter at fifty-eight. The game is called Goose from the fact that a goose is usually drawn on every fourth and fifth ring; and the player who lands on one of these, scores double the number he has just thrown. Several obstacles occur, however, on the journey. On one ring is drawn a bridge, to pass which a toll of one counter must be paid. A little farther on is an inn, where the player halts for two turns and pays two to the pool; but if he fall into the pond, the unfortunate wight has to stay there until another player tumbles in too, when he is allowed to proceed on his journey. The last hindrance is a gloomy prison, in which the same rule holds good, except that the relieving party, instead of going on as in the case of the pond, remains in durance vile until somebody else enters the prison-house. Other obstacles may be inserted at the players’ option.


One player takes an oblong piece of paper, and having divided it into three equal parts by folding, he sketches a comic head, either with pen or pencil, in the upper space; he then doubles the paper over, and hands it to another, who draws a body in the middle compartment, folds the paper over once more, and passes it to a third, who completes the figure by drawing a pair of legs in the lower space. The player who draws the head, must continue the neck a little way into the middle space, and he who sketches the body must just commence the legs in the lower compartment; this arrangement insures the connexion of head, body, and legs. Our first illustration shows how the paper is to be folded over for drawing the different parts of a figure. Each player should be provided with a pen or pencil, and a few pieces of paper; having drawn a head, he should fold his sketch in a proper manner and pass it to his right-hand neighbour; in this way a number of figures may be finished simultaneously. A knowledge of drawing is not expected of any player, as the crudest notion of a head, a body, or a pair of legs, will fully meet the requirements[82] of the game. Those who have never played at Head, Body, and Legs, can have no idea of the absurd combinations that spring from the independent labours of the different players; thus, a man’s body will sometimes get joined to a donkey’s head, and be supported by the legs of an ostrich.

Examples of Head, body and legs

This game is played with five little bones from a sheep’s trotter. One player tosses up the knuckle-bones, sometimes one at a time, sometimes all together, and catches them either in the palm or on the back of his hand, according to certain rules. Should he fail to perform one of the tricks properly, he must hand the bones to his opponent, who attempts to go through the same series of manœuvres with them. When the first player regains the bones through the unskilful play of his adversary, he once more attempts the feat he failed to accomplish before, and if he succeeds he tries to pass through the subsequent stages of the game. The player who first arrives at the end of the regulated series of tricks wins the game. It would be impossible to give the reader a clear idea of the manner[83] of performing each trick without the aid of diagrams. In almost every school may be found an experienced player at knuckle-bones, whose directions will be of more value than any remarks we can make, though we were to devote a couple of pages to this pastime. In some parts of England a similar game, called “Jackstones,” is played with small round pebbles.

Nine men's morris playing board

This is an ancient English game, and ought not to be laid aside; so we resuscitate it for the benefit of young England. It used to be played in England on the ground with stones, but may be played best on a table indoors. The form of the merelle-table, and the lines upon it, as it appeared in the fourteenth century, are here represented. These lines are still the same. The black spots at every angle and intersection of the lines are the places for the men to be laid upon. The men are different in form and colour, for distinction sake. The manner of playing is briefly thus: Two persons, having each of them nine pieces, or men, lay them down alternately, one by one, upon the spots; and the business of either party is to prevent his antagonist from placing three of his pieces so as to form a row of three without the intervention of an opposing piece. If a row be formed, he that made it is at liberty to take up one of his competitor’s pieces from any part he thinks most to his advantage; excepting he has made a row, which must not be touched if he have another piece upon the board that is not a component part of that row. When all the pieces are laid down, they are played backwards and forwards in any direction that the lines run, but can only move from one spot to another at one time. He that takes all his antagonist’s pieces, is the conqueror.

Paper dart

To form this dart you must take an oblong piece of paper, and fold it down the middle lengthwise; then double each of the lower corners up to the middle crease, and fold the doubled paper over to the same mark; you must now turn each folded side outwards, and your dart will resemble the annexed figure. The paper dart, when thrown from the hand, rarely hits the object aimed at, as it generally makes a graceful curve in passing through the air. Boys sometimes amuse themselves by fighting sham battles with these harmless weapons.



The best Popguns are made of a strong straight piece of elder-tree, which ought to be cut from an inner branch, and should be about six inches long. The pith of this should be pierced out by an iron ramrod fitting the hole; and when the inside is made thoroughly smooth by rubbing the rod up and down, it is ready for use. The pellets are made with moistened tow—brown paper is a nasty thing to put into the mouth, and we shall never advise the use of it. When the pellet is prepared, it should be laid over the mouth of the gun in such a quantity as to require squeezing and plugging in. The first pellet should be driven through the gun to its other end; the second pellet is to be driven in, in a similar manner to the first, and then it is forced through the gun: the air between the pellets being incompressible beyond a certain point, forces out the lower pellet with a loud “pop;” hence the the term “Popgun,” which has been applied to them. Popgun-playing is not a very healthy exercise, the pressing of the rammer against the pit of the stomach frequently leading to derangement of that organ. To prevent this, the lad who plays at popgun should have a small round board slung over his neck by a string, hanging as low as the pit of his stomach, like a “conductor’s ticket,” against which he should press the handle of his ramrod when he fires off his popgun.


This trifling game is usually played by two boys. Each player places a pin on the table, and then endeavours to push one pin across the other with his finger-nail; should he succeed, both pins become his property. At starting, the pins must be placed head to head, and the players push alternately. Sometimes each player puts down two, three, or even more pins.


To play this amusing game, which is of German origin, it is necessary to be furnished with five cards, on which are painted the figures of a white horse, an inn, a bell, a hammer, and a bell and hammer; with eight little ivory cubes marked on one side only, six numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and the other two marked, one with a bell and the other with a hammer; with a box for throwing the dice, a hammer for disposing of the cards by auction, and a proportionate quantity of counters for the players. The cards, dice-box, and auctioneer’s hammer, are shown in the annexed illustration. Any youth who can draw may easily prepare the cards; the cubes may be procured from an ivory-worker’s and may be marked with ink. The game can be[85] played by as many persons as are present. The counters are to be distributed by one of the players who holds the office of cashier, their value having been previously determined upon by the players. This being done, twelve are to be deposited by each player in the pool. The cashier then disposes of the five cards separately to the highest bidders, the produce of which is also to be placed in the pool. The white horse is by far the most valuable card, and therefore fetches the highest price in counters. The inn ranks next, and is usually purchased by the most speculative player, as its value depends upon circumstances. The bell and the hammer generally fetch the same number of counters, these cards being equally valuable, and the card upon which both bell and hammer are painted fetches about half the number that is given for one of the single figures. The bidders are not bound to confine themselves to the number of counters dealt out to them at the beginning of the game; should they exceed it, they may pay the remainder of the debt by instalments out of their receipts in the course of the game.

Schimmel necessities

Each person is at liberty to purchase as many cards as he may think proper.

The dice are then to be thrown by the players alternately, beginning with the holder of the white horse, any one being allowed to dispose of his throw to the highest bidder. When all blanks are thrown, each of the players pays one to the holder of the white horse, and he pays one to the inn. If with the blanks the bell, or hammer, or the bell and hammer together are thrown, the possessor of the card so thrown pays one to the white horse.

When numbers accompany the bell, hammer, or bell and hammer, the cashier is to pay the counters, to the amount of numbers thrown, to the holder of such card, from the pool; but if numbers are thrown unaccompanied, the cashier then pays to the thrower.

When the pool is nearly empty there arises an advantage to the inn, for if a player throws a figure greater than the quantity contained[86] in the pool he pays the overplus to the inn; thus: suppose 4 are in the pool, if the players throws 10, he is to pay 6 to the inn; and if 2 are thrown, those 2 are paid to him from the pool, and so on till a figure is thrown which clears the pool, and so concludes the game.

If all blanks are thrown after the inn begins to receive, the players pay nothing, but the owner of the white horse pays one to the inn; and should the bell, &c. be thrown with the blanks, the holder of that card pays one to the inn; and if numbers accompany the bell, &c. the holder of that card must pay to the inn the number thrown above those remaining in the pool. Nuts are sometimes used as counters, and the players keep their winnings. Sometimes the cashier receives a halfpenny or a penny a dozen for the counters, and when the game is finished the receipts are divided among the players according to their winnings. Those who do not hold cards frequently find themselves richer at the close of the game than their speculative companions, whose winnings do not always exceed the price paid for their cards.


Spelicans are made of thin pieces of ivory cut into different forms, some being like spears, others saws, bearded hooks, &c.; of some of the patterns there are duplicates, whilst of others only one. Each pattern has a value assigned to it, the lowest being five, and the highest forty; the numbers do not run in regular succession—as five, six, seven, eight—but irregularly, as five, sixteen, twenty-five. Hooks, made of bone, are used pointers.

The game is played as follows:—One player should take up all the spelicans in a bundle, and holding them at a little height from the table, let them fall down in a confused heap on it; each player must then try alternately to take away a spelican from the heap without moving any of the others, and this it is generally very easy to accomplish at the first, for the top ones are mostly unconnected with the rest, but as the players proceed it requires some tact to jerk them out, with the help of the hook, made pointed for that purpose. The player who, at the entire removal of the heap, has the greatest number of spelicans, wins the game. Should any of the spelicans, while being removed shake the others, they must be put back into the heap again. It is usual in some places, instead of each player removing a spelican alternately, for one to continue lifting up the spelicans until he happens to shake one, when another player takes his turn until he in like manner fails, when another tries his fortune; and so the game continues, until all the spelicans are withdrawn.


Athletic Sports and Manly Exercises:



Various athletic sports



Picturesque scene with anglers


“When I was a mere schoolboy,
Ere yet I learnt my book,
I felt an itch for angling
In every little brook.
“An osier rod, some thread for line,
A crooked pin for hook;
And, thus equipp’d, I angled
In every little brook.
“Where sticklebacks and minnows
Each day I caught in store,
With stone-roaches and miller’s thumbs:—
These brooks afford no more.
“But I a little angler,
With crooked pin for hook,
Would shun each noisy wrangler,
To fish the little brook.”

What can be more delightful than angling? Not indeed so much on account of the fish we may catch, but for the pleasantness of the recreation itself, for the cool streams, the shady trees, the little sunny nooks, the tiny or gigantic cascades, the meandering rills, the still pools, “with sedges overhung;” the picturesque mill-wheels, the deep mill-ponds, “smooth sheeted by the flood;” and above all, for[90] the hair-breadth escapes, for the duckings, for the hazards, for the triumphs. We do not wonder at boys being fond of angling, it is almost an instinct with them, and has long been a favourite amusement with boys of all degrees, ages and constitutions. Therefore we shall be somewhat comprehensive in our notices of this interesting sport, that every boy who can bait a hook and hold a line may be an angler if he will.


First, however, let us say a word about fish in general, before we come to fish in particular. Fish or fishes are, to speak scientifically, a class of vertebrated animals (having a backbone) inhabiting the water; which breathe through the medium of that fluid by means of branchiæ or gills, instead of lungs; which swim by means of fins, and are mostly covered with scales. They are also generally furnished with a white membraneous bag close to the backbone, called the air bladder, by the dilatation or compression of which it is supposed they can rise or sink in the water at pleasure. All parts of their bodies seem to aid them in swimming in the water; their fins, their tails, and the undulation of their back-bones assist progression, and their whole structure is as much adapted for swimming as that of a bird is for flight.

The fins of fish consist of thin elastic membrane, supported by bony rays, and are denominated according to their position—dorsal on the back, pectoral on the breast, ventral near the vent, anal that between the vent and the tail, and caudal the tail fins. The dorsal and ventral fins appear to balance the fish, and the pectoral to push it forward; while the tail fins are the grand instruments of motion, and enable the creature to dart forward almost as rapidly as the bullet from a gun.

With regard to the senses of fishes, the eye holds the first place; but this is best adapted for seeing under water. Of the organ of hearing there is no outward sign. The organ of taste is thought to be very unsensitive, and the sense of touch but slightly developed. To preserve their own existence, and to transmit it to their posterity, seems to be their only enjoyment; they move forward in pursuit of whatever they can swallow, conquer, or enjoy, and their insatiable appetite impels them to encounter every danger, whilst to their rapacity there seems to be no bound. A single pike has been known to devour a hundred roach in three days. The fecundity of fish is prodigious. The number of eggs in the codfish often amounts to more than three millions; those of flounders are above a million, of the mackarel 500,000, of the sole 100,000, and of the lobster 20,000; but the sturgeon is far more productive than any of these, as it has been known to have more than twenty millions of eggs!

Without saying any more about “Fish in the abstract,” as the angler called his “catch,” when he returned without one, we must go to the art of “catching fish;” and the first thing to be attended[91] to is the necessary fishing apparatus, which may be increased to any extent; but the young angler would be wise to limit his stock as much as possible. We have fished many a hundred miles of water, and killed many a thousand of fish, with no better equipment than this:—One rod of about fourteen feet long, with three tops,—one stiff top, for bottom fishing and trolling, and two for fly-fishing. Two reels or winches, one holding a silk and hair line of thirty-five yards in length for fly-fishing, and the other holding a similar line, of forty yards, but much stronger, for bottom fishing, trolling, &c. One moderate-sized creel or fishing basket. One tin bait-box for worms or gentles; one tin live-bait can for carrying pike baits or minnows; and one strong bag for carrying ground-bait. A landing-net; some shoemaker’s wax in a piece of soft leather; a large clasp-knife; a pair of sharp-pointed scissors; a pocket-book, the centre filled with leaves of flannel to hold flies, and the remainder fitted up with gut, hooks, silk, baiting-needles, a pair of small pliers, split shot, floats, &c.

Fishing rods


The rod is a material article in the young angler’s catalogue, and much care should be taken to procure a good one. The fishing-tackle shops keep a great variety, made of bamboo cane, hazel, hickory, and other kinds of wood. Rods are of different lengths, some fitted as walking-canes, and others made to pack in canvass bags; the latter are preferred, because you may have them any length, and they are more true. Those made of bamboo cane are the best for general angling; but the rods made of the white cane much superior for fine fishing, particularly for roach, being very light in weight, but stiff.


In choosing a rod (not a school rod, for no one likes to choose that), observe that it is perfectly straight, when all the joints are put together and that it gradually tapers from the butt to the top, and is from twelve to sixteen feet long. A bad rod is likely to snap in striking a heavy fish. Rods fitted with several tops are at once the best and most convenient. Some anglers have one rod for trolling, another for barbel, perch, or other heavy fish, as well as one for[92] fly-fishing—which boys may have when they become men—but a thoroughly good rod will suit the juvenile for all purposes. We have now one with which we can fish for anything, from a bleak to a pike, by only changing the top and second joints.

A good trolling rod should be made of the choicest stout and well-seasoned bamboo cane, from fourteen to sixteen feet in length. When trolling with the gorge, or live-bait fishing, a long rod is necessary, to enable the angler to drop in his baited hook over high sedges, rushes, &c. as also when the water is bright, for he should then keep as far away from it as he can, which a long rod enables him to do while dipping, casting, or spinning his bait. If either a jack or pike see him, it is very rare indeed that he will take the bait; and again, with a long rod you will be able to drop your baited hook in some very likely place for jack or pike, such as a small hole, division, or clear place among a bed of weeds, in a river or any other water where there are any weeds.

There is some difference of opinion among anglers about the number of rings necessary for trolling rods: those who have their line on a thumb winder, or on a bank runner, seldom place more than two or three rings on their rod, and others have only one large ring at the top; but if a winch is used, there should be a ring to every joint including the butt; make each ring of double twist wire, fixed so as always to stand out, and nearly large enough to admit the top of your little finger; the top joint should have two rings, the top one nearly three times the size of the others; this prevents any obstruction of the line running, which is of material consequence. When not in use, rods should be kept nicely stowed in a moderately dry place, and they ought to be well scraped and revarnished every three years; should the joints become loose by shrinking, they should be slightly moistened. Should any accident befall a rod while fishing, and you should not have a spare top with you, your only remedy will be to splice your rod. To do this the ends of the broken pieces for about two inches must be laid parallel to each other, and then tightly bound together with waxed silk, or very strong yellow hempen twine.


Next to the rod the line is of the utmost importance. Good lines should be well twisted. The twisted lines should be made wholly of silk, or silk hair, but those made of gut are the strongest and best for young anglers; the twisted hair are the cheapest, and the single horsehair the finest. The young angler will find a line of about four yards in length the most useful. A single gut line, with a small porcupine float, is commonly useful for general fishing; the plaited silk lines are the best for trolling, and are less inclined to break or tangle than the twisted.



The line must be shotted, that the float may partially sink in the water; and in putting on the shots, place them all together within three inches of the bottom loop of the line; to which loop fix the loop of the hair or gut to which the hook is tied. When you make a line of silk, gut, or hair, remember it must be always finest at the bottom, where the hook is fastened, very gradually increasing in thickness to the top.


There are various kinds of floats, each adapted for different kinds of fishing. The principal are: 1. Tip-capped floats; 2. Cork floats; 3. Plugged floats. The tip-capped floats are made of several pieces of quills, or of reed for the middle, and ivory or tortoiseshell for the top and bottom, and narrow at each end, gradually increasing in circumference to the middle. They are superior to all others for angling in waters which are not very rapid, particularly in roach fishing, as the least movement or fine bite sinks them below the water. The tip-capped float is also best for pond fishing for carp and tench, as it requires but few shot to sink it, and consequently disturbs the water but little when cast. The young angler should note that the caps which fix the lines to the float are not rough at the edge, as this roughness chafes and weakens a fine line; should this be the case, he should smooth them before use. The best caps are made of gutta-percha.


Cork Floats are generally made of quills at the top, with a piece of cork, which is burned or bored in the middle to admit the quill, and then filed or ground down smooth and painted. The bottom is plugged with wood, and has a ring to let the line pass through. Cork floats are well calculated to fish in heavy or rapid streams, as they require a great many shot to sink them, which weight of shot prevents the baited hook from passing too rapidly over the bottom. Cork floats are made of various sizes and forms; instead of common quills, some introduce the quills of the porcupine, which make an excellent strong float. Except for live-bait fishing a tapering cork float is preferable to a round one.

Plugged Floats.—These kind of floats are the cheapest, and made of indifferent quills, some of them of one goose quill with a wooden plug at the bottom, from which they take their name: they are very apt to loosen by the plug coming out. They are often used by the[94] young angler, because they are cheap; but we may say in the words of the ancient Roman, “Bad is the best.”


A reel or winch is a most necessary addition to the rod and line, as it enables you to vary the length of your line at pleasure, and to play your fish. The best winches are those to fix in a groove on the rod, and are fastened with brass ferrules made for the purpose on the butt, because you can fasten such a winch to any sized joint.


There are three kinds of winches, check, multipliers, and plain: the multiplying winch is apt soon to get out of order, unless carefully and constantly oiled, and is otherwise the least efficient and most expensive of the three. I would recommend young anglers at first, to purchase a plain and strong winch, which will answer every purpose, and be much less expensive. A check winch is, however, the best.


Are mostly made of silk and horsehair, twisted or plaited together, but some are made entirely of silk. I prefer the latter, as it is less likely to twist, runs more freely, and is less likely to rot. The length of lines vary from fifteen to eighty yards; but for general purposes thirty or five-and-thirty yards is quite long enough. The line should always be unwound after a day’s fishing, as, if it is allowed to remain wet on the reel, it soon rots.


Hooks are to be bought at the angling shops, of all sizes, and suitable for the kind of fish to be caught. There are great controversies among adept anglers about hooks, which are sometimes as violent as those upon politics or religion. Some anglers prefer what are called the Limerick hooks, some the Kendal; while others again prefer the Kirby or Sneckbend. We are hooked to the Kirby, as we consider those to be by far the best for holding the fish—a most important particular. The hooks found most suitable for the following fish are these:



To bait a hook with a worm, use the following method: First enter the point of the hook close to the top of the worm’s head, and carry it carefully down to within a quarter of an inch of its tail; to do which you must gently squeeze or work up the worm with your left thumb and finger, while with your right you are gradually working the hook downwards. The small lively piece of the worm at the point of the hook moving about will entice the fish; but, mind, if too much of the worm hangs loose, though it may entice fish to nibble, yet they will seldom take the whole in their mouth, so as to enable the angler to hook them; on the contrary, he is frequently tantalized with a bite, and, when he strikes, finds part of his worm gone, and his fish too. Therefore, to bait a hook well with a worm is necessary to ensure hooking a fish when you strike; and it consists in drawing the worm without injuring it (use him as you would a friend, Walton says) quite over and up the shank of the hook, leaving only a small lively part of the tail below. If you bait with half a worm, prefer the tail end, and enter the point of the hook into the top part, and bring it down nearly to the end of the tail, leaving only a very small piece of it loose. If you bait with two worms on the same hook, draw the first up above the shank, while you put the second on in the same manner as directed with one worm, but enter the hook near the tail of the second worm; then draw the first one down on the second over the shank of the hook, and all will then be well covered, and the bait will be a very bon-bon for perch, chub, carp, barbel, and all large fish; but when angling for gudgeon, and other small fish, half a red worm is sufficient, and the tail end is best. If blood-worms are used, put on two or three, in doing which be tender, or you will burst them.


The principal baits are

  1. The Lob-worm.
  2. The Brandling.
  3. The Marsh-worm.
  4. The Tagtail.
  5. The Ash-grub.
  6. Cowdung Bait.
  7. Caterpillars.
  8. Cabbage-worms.
  9. Crab-tree-worms.
  10. Gentles.
  11. Cad-worms.
  12. Flag-worms.
  13. Grasshoppers.
  14. Wasp-grub.
  15. Cockchafers.
  16. Bread Paste.
  17. Cheese Paste.

1. Lob-worms are found in gardens or churchyards, late in the evening; they have a red head, a streak down the back, and a broad tail. This is a good worm for salmon, chub, trout, barbel, eels, and large perch.

2. Brandling is found in old dunghills, rotten earth or cow-dung, and the best in tanners’ bark. It is a good bait for any kind of fish.

3. The Marsh-worm is found in marshy grounds, or on the banks of rivers; and is a good bait for trout, perch, gudgeon, grayling, and bream.


4. The Tagtail is found in marly lands or meadows, after a shower; and is a good bait for trout when the water is muddy.

5. The Ash-grub is found in the bark of trees. It is a good bait for grayling, dace, roach, or chub.

6. Cowdung Bait is found under cowdung, from May to Michaelmas; and is good bait for grayling, dace, roach, or chub.

7. Caterpillars can be found on almost every tree or plant. Almost any small caterpillar will answer.

8. The Cabbage caterpillar is found on cabbages.

9. The Crabtree-worm can be taken by beating the branches of the crab-apple.

10. Gentles. These are bred in putrid meat—liver producing the best—or may generally be obtained from the butchers. They are an excellent bait for most kinds of fish.


11. Caddis is found in ditches, or on the sides of brooks. It is an excellent bait for trout, grayling, roach, dace, or chub.

12. Flag-worms are found among flags in old pits or ponds, and are good bait for grayling, tench, bream, carp, roach, and dace.

13. Grasshoppers are found in sun-burnt grass, and are good bait for chub, trout, and grayling.

14. Wasp-grubs are to be obtained from wasps’ nests, and are a good bait for most fish that will take gentles.[2]

[2] Wasp-grubs will keep better, and be easier to fit on the hook, if they are baked for half-an-hour.

15. Cockchafers are found humming round the bushes at about dusk on a summer evening, and everywhere, and sometimes in cowdung; are a capital bait for chub, though not for anything else.

16. White-bread Paste is prepared by dipping white bread in water (soaking and squeezing it in the corner of a pocket-handkerchief is[97] the best way), and then working it a little in the palm of the hand. It is a good bait for carp, tench, chub, or roach. Some add a little honey.

17. Cheese Paste is made with fresh cheese, worked up in the hand. It is a good bait for chub.

18. Ground Bait should be used in the spot about to be fished, and, if possible, the night before, and should be fresh. For carp, chub, roach, or dace, use white bread soaked in water, and mixed with bran, pollard, or meal. For barbel, chandler’s greaves, boiled and worked up into a ball with clay. Gentles may also be used as ground bait for any of the above.


First select the whitest pieces from those you have soaked, and put two or three of them upon your hook, or as much as will cover it from the bend to and over the point; these pieces should be put on the hook separately, one after the other—not a large piece doubled, as some slovenly boys will do, for then the hook is prevented from entering firmly the fish you may strike. These little particulars of baiting are of considerable advantage to young anglers, who ought to remember also that it is a bad practice to soak greaves in hot water, for it makes them rotten, and they in consequence soon fall off the hook.


To do this, the young angler should provide himself with a quantity of fresh moss. Wash out all the earth and squeeze it, but not too dry; then put it into a jar and squeeze it lightly down: throw in the worms upon it. The jar should be kept in a cool place in summer, and the moss changed once in three or four days. Gentles should be thrown into a mixture of damp sand or bran to scour them, and will be ready in two or three days.


Plummets are used by anglers for sounding the depth of a stream or hole. They are of two kinds, either the folding plummet, or the common plummet. The folding plummet, which is the better, is made of a slip of sheet lead, folded up; and this the young angler should never be without.



Is performed in the following manner: If a folding plummet, unfold about two inches of it, pass the hook over its side, and then fold the plummet up again: your hook is now secured from drawing away from the plummet. As success depends much in angling at a proper depth, the young angler should take due pains, and measure the depth accurately before he begins fishing. When the plumb-lead touches[98] the bottom, and the top of the float is even with the surface of the water, you will have the true depth.



The landing-hook or gaff is a large hook, which is sometimes barbed like a fish-hook, and sometimes plain, fastened to one end of a handle; this latter is occasionally composed of several pieces, which run one into another, like the slides of a telescope. A landing-net is a small net mounted on a iron ring, which is fastened, like the landing-hook, to the end of a handle or pole.


The clearing-line is made of several yards of strong small cord, to the end of which is fastened a heavy ring of lead or brass. If the hook should get fast in a heavy weed, post, or anything else, this ring is put over the butt of the rod, and suffered to slip down the line to the hook. The rod should be held in the right hand, the top pointing downwards, the clearing-line in the left, the ring falling on the hook, from its weight, generally clears the hook from what it may have struck against. If not, the angler should hold the rod firmly, and draw the line sideways, and break away. In this case, the angler seldom loses more than a hook, if he acts as above directed; but without the assistance of a clearing-line he frequently loses his float as well as his hook and line, and sometimes breaks his top joint. The brass clearing-rings are to be preferred, because they are jointed, and in consequence can be used when the angler has a winch in his rod, in which case the leaden ring could not be passed over the winch.


The drag is a piece of iron with three or four stout wire hooks without barbs, placed back to back, fastened to a strong cord line, and which is used to draw away weeds.


The bank-runner is mostly used in the day-time, when the angler is fishing for roach, barbel, &c. It is stuck in the bank, the bottom[99] being strong turned wood, sharpened for the purpose, with a winder at the top for the line, which should be from forty to sixty yards long, made of silk, thin cord, or plaited Dutch twine. But there should be a cork and bullet to the line, and the bait a dace or gudgeon, which should swim about mid-water.


This should be of an oblong form, and not round; bright inside, and brown out. In getting out the bait, never put your hand into the water, which frightens the fish, and, by heating the water, makes them sickly and dull; but make use of a small net, which is easily carried in the fish-kettle, by having a piece of the lid cut away in one corner.


This is an instrument with a forked top, about six inches long, made of iron, brass, or bone. Its use is to get the hook from a fish when swallowed; and in using it, the forked end is thrust down upon the swallowed hook with one hand, while the line is held tight with the other: pressure disgorges the hook, and it is then easily drawn out. In attempting to get a gorged hook from a fish without this instrument, you run a hazard of breaking the hook and hurting yourself. When the fish is hooked through the lip, the angler has only to hold the fish steadily in one hand, while with the other he carefully disengages the hook.


1. Never fish any water without leave from the proprietor, unless it be water that is free to all comers.

2. Never use unfair bait, or attempt to take fish in any but a fair and sportsmanlike manner.

3. Never start on a day’s fishing without first considering the wind, weather, and water.

4. Never let your shadow fall on the water.

5. Use the finest tackle of which your fishing will admit.

6. Never begin bottom fishing without first plumbing the depth.

7. Never intrude upon another fisherman’s water.

8. And always remember that nothing is lost by politeness.




The Salmon is the king of fresh-water fish. It is handsome in form, its head is small, its nose pointed, its back and sides grey, its belly silvery, and its flesh the well-known salmon colour. The male may generally be distinguished by its having the lower jaw more “hooked,” or turned up at the point, than the female; the head is also generally somewhat longer, in comparison to the rest of the body.


Salmon bite best from six till eleven in the forenoon, and from three in the afternoon until sunset, especially when there is a moderate breeze upon the water. The chief months to angle for them are March, April, May, and June. They are to be fished for with lob-worms, or in spinning with minnows, but a large artificial fly is the most killing bait. The rod, for a boy, should not be less than fifteen feet long, with a good running line, and the reel should contain at least fourscore yards. The hook must be large and long in the shank. Few of our young readers, however, will be able to go salmon fishing till they have reached maturity, and, therefore, to give detailed instructions as to the modes of capturing the fish would be superfluous.


This beautiful fish is much prized. Izaak Walton says of it, “It is more sharp-sighted than any hawk, and more watchful and timorous[101] than your high-mettled merlin is bold.” In its habits it is a very solitary and predacious fish.

The trout are found in lakes and rivers and minor streams, and are finest in appearance from the beginning of April to the end of July or middle of August: their principal spawning time is from November to January. The most brilliant and beautiful trout are generally found in streams that flow rapidly over rocky or chalky bottoms. They feed upon worms, minnows, and other small fish, but their favourite food consists of insects, flies, caterpillars, &c. upon which they thrive and fatten prodigiously.


In angling for the trout we must have a stout rod and running tackle. The principal baits for him are natural and artificial flies, minnows, and worms. The minnow is, perhaps, the most taking bait for large trout: it should be cast lightly on the water, and drawn trippingly against the current so as to spin. The angler must strike directly his bait is seized. The favourite haunts of the trout are scours, mill tails, eddies, pools, the roots of overhanging trees, and the “nethers” of bridges and weirs.


The mighty luce or pike, says Walton, is taken to be the tyrant, as the salmon is the king, of the fresh waters. His aspect is savage but by no means repulsive, and when in fine condition a large pike is altogether a grand-looking fish. His teeth are very sharp and very numerous, being upwards of seven hundred, and his voracious appetite is such that nothing comes amiss to him. He has been known to swallow the plummet, and the clay and bran balls of ground bait of the angler, and he will prey upon “rats and mice and such small deer,” with ducks, geese, and even swans, which he has been known[102] to pull under water. He often grows to an enormous size (no wonder), and has been taken upwards of ninety pounds in weight.

Pike are fond of dull, shady, and unfrequented waters, with a sandy, chalky, or clayey bottom, and are found among or near flags, bulrushes, or water docks. They seldom seek a very rapid stream, although weirs and mill-pools are often their favourite retreat in the early summer months—that is, in June and July, when they have recently spawned. In winter they retire into the depths, eddies, and waters little acted upon by the current.


The pike is in its prime during October and November, but is in season from June to February; the baits used for it are gudgeon, minnows, chub, and bleak, and should be about three or four inches in length. The rod should be strong; the line of dressed silk, at least sixty yards long, wound upon the winch already described. Hooks for trolling, called dead gorges, and other sorts for trolling, snap, &c. and fishing needles, are to be bought at every shop where fishing tackle is sold; in the choice of the first, let them not be too large, nor their temper injured by the lead on the shanks, nor the points stand too proud; and although usually sold on wire, it is recommended to cut off the wire about half an inch from the lead, and with a double silk, well waxed, fasten about a foot of good gimp to the wire, with a noose at the other end of the gimp large enough to admit the bait to pass through to hang it upon the line. The best baits are gudgeon and dace of a middling size; put the baiting needle in at the mouth and out at the middle of the tail, drawing the gimp and hook after it, fixing the point of the hook near the eye of the fish; tie the tail to the gimp, which will not only keep it in a proper position, but prevent the tail from catching against the weeds and roots in the water. Thus baited, the hook is to be fastened to the[103] line and dropped gently in the water near the sides of the river, across the water, or where it is likely pike resort; keep the bait in constant motion, sometimes letting it sink near the bottom and gradually raising it. When the bait is taken, let the pike have what line he chooses. It will be soon known when he has reached his hole, which he generally flies to, by his not drawing more. Allow him ten minutes for gorging the bait, wind up the line gently till you think it is nearly at its stretch, and then strike. Manage him with a gentle hand, keeping him, however, from roots and stumps, which he will try to fasten the line upon, till he is sufficiently tired, and a landing net can be used; but by no means, however apparently exhausted he may be, attempt to lift him out with the rod and line only.

Use of the baiting needle

In trolling, the bait hook should never be thrown too far; in small rivers the opposite bank may be fished with ease, though the violence of its falls upon the water in long throws soon spoils the bait by rubbing off its scales. In angling for pike always prefer a rough wind. If a pike goes slowly up a stream, after taking the bait, it is said to be the sign of a good fish.


Is one of the most delicious fish for eating, although small in size. It bites freely from the latter end of spring until autumn, in gloomy warm days, from an hour after sunrise to within the same space of its setting; and during the rest of the year, in the middle of the day, when it is warmest.

In angling for gudgeon the tackle must be very fine, a single hair or fine gut fine, a hook No. 8 or 9, a short rod and line, and a small tapering cork float. The gudgeon will take the small red-worm greedily, and blood-worms—the first is perhaps the best. A rake or the boat-hook should be kept frequently stirring the bottom. To the spot so stirred gudgeon assemble in shoals, expecting food from the discolouring of the water. They are apt to nibble at the bait; the angler ought not, therefore, to strike till the float goes well down.



Should any young angler desire a good day’s fishing for gudgeon, and a pleasant walk into the bargain, he should seek out some sequestered gravelly stream, and providing himself with a rake with a long handle, he may have sport till he is tired of it. He will find the fish scattered up and down every river in the shallows during the heat of summer, but in winter they get into deeper water. Gudgeon are to be fished for there with your hook always touching the ground.


The roach is a handsome fish either in or out of the water. It inhabits many of our deep still rivers, delighting most in quiet waters. It is gregarious, keeping in large shoals. It delights in gravelly, sandy, or a kind of slimy marl bottom, under a deep gentle running stream; in summer it often frequents shallows near the tails of fords, or lies under banks among weeds, under the shades of boughs, and at or opposite the mouth of a rivulet or brook, that empties itself into a large river. In winter the roach like to get into clear, deep, and still waters.

The tackle for roach must be fine and strong, a twelve-foot rod and a five-foot line, a porcupine float, and hooks No. 11 or 12. The bait, gentils, bread-paste, boiled wheat or red worms. The ground bait should be damp meal or bran, mixed with soaked bread or clay (the former best). In fishing for roach in ponds, chew and throw in white bread. The hook should be No. 6, and the bait either touch the bottom or lie within one inch of it. As many gentils should be put on the hook as will cover it, all but the barb. Strike directly the float goes down.

The season for roach fishing in the Thames begins about the latter[105] end of August and continues through the winter. To London Bridge and among the shipping below it, numbers of roach return in June and July, after having been up the river to spawn, and many of them are taken by means of a strong cord, to which is fastened a leaden weight, more or less, according to the strength of the current; a foot above this lead a twine twelve feet long is joined to the cord, and to this twine at convenient distances are tied a dozen hair links, with roach hooks at the ends; these are baited with white snails or periwinkles, the fisherman holds the cord in his hand, and easily feels the biting of the fish, which is a signal to pull up, and frequently five or six are taken at a haul.



Dace are gregarious—are great breeders—very lively—and during summer fond of playing near the surface. Their haunts are deep water, near the piles of bridges, where the stream is gentle, and has a sandy or clayey bottom. They like deep holes that are shaded by water-lily leaves, and under the foam caused by an eddy; in the warm months they are to be found in shoals on the shallows and gravels.

The baits for dace are red-worms, gentles, and small flies, natural or artificial, used as in fly-fishing for trout. In angling for dace with worms, maggots, &c. the tackle cannot be too fine, the float small, the hook No. 9, the shot a foot from it; by baiting the place with a few maggots before fishing, the diversion will be increased. If you angle in an eddy between two mill streams, and the water is only two or three feet deep, there will be a greater chance of success than where it is deeper; bait and strike as in roach fishing. The ground-bait may also be the same.

Fish for dace within three inches of the ground, especially where the ant fly is the bait under water. In fishing, take advantage if you[106] can of a still, warm, gloomy day, or go in a summer’s evening to a gravelly or sandy shallow, or tail end of a mill-stream, and as long as the light continues the dace will yield diversion.


“Perch feed on perch,” is an old maxim; the perch being the only one of all fresh-water fish that feeds on its own kind. His excuse is a prodigious appetite, like that of Saturn, who ate his own offspring. Notwithstanding this wicked propensity, the perch is a beautiful fish, the back and part of the sides being a deep green, marked with broad black bars, pointing downwards; the spaces between are golden, the belly white, and the fins tinged with scarlet. They vary greatly in size. The largest perch we ever caught weighed three pounds twelve ounces, and was taken with a roach bait near Richmond. Their general length is about ten or twelve inches.


Perch are found in ponds and in clear rivers with pebbly, clayey, or sandy bottoms. They are fond of water moderately deep, and frequent holes near to gentle streams where there is an eddy, the hollows under banks, among weeds and roots of trees, piles of bridges, or in ponds which are fed by a brook or rivulet. The perch is a bold biter in the summer, but scarcely ever in the winter. In the middle of a warm sunshiny day, you are sure to have him with a proper bait. In the winter he bites best in large quiet eddies, to which he retreats after the first heavy flood.

The baits for perch are various, as well as the manner of using them. Of worms, the best are brandlings, and red dunghill-worms, well scoured. The hook may be varied from No. 2 to 6, being well whipped to a strong silkworm gut, with a shot or two a foot from it. Put the point of the hook in at the head of the worm, out again a little lower than the middle, pushing it above the shank of the hook upon the gut; then put the point of the hook into the worm again the reverse way, and draw the head part down so as to cover the[107] hook entirely. This is the most enticing method that can be adopted in worm-fishing. Use a small cork float to keep the bait at six or twelve inches from the bottom, or sometimes about mid-water. In angling near the bottom, raise the bait very frequently from thence almost to the surface, letting it gradually fall again. Should a good shoal be met with, they are so greedy that sometimes they may be all caught.

Other baits for perch are cadbait and gentles; but the best and most enticing bait is a live minnow. If you find the fish shy, try not long in one spot. In baiting your hook with the minnow, fix your hook through his upper lip, and use a small reel with your rod. Your hook should be No. 5, fastened to a link of gut.


The grayling is a fish of elegant form; the back is of a dusky purple, the sides of a fine silvery grey, with the scales in long parallel rows or lines (from which the fish derives its name), marked with black spots, irregularly placed. It is rather a hog-backed fish; and, from the nose and belly touching the ground together, is supposed to feed mostly at the bottom. In length it seldom exceeds sixteen inches, but some have been caught upwards of five pounds in weight.


The haunts of the grayling are in rapid, clear streams, particularly such as flow through mountainous countries. They are usually taken in the same manner as the trout, and with similar baits. They do not bite freely till late in August, or early in September, and may be found at the tails of sharp streams and in deep water. They rise more boldly than the trout, and if missed several times will still pursue the bait. They will bite during the whole of the cold cloudy days; but the preferable time to look after them is between eight[108] and twelve o’clock in the morning, and from four in the afternoon till after sunset. Grasshoppers, wasp-grubs, maggots, and the artificial fly, are the most killing baits.


This fish takes its name from the shape of the head, not only in our own, but in other languages. The head and back are of a deep dusky green, the sides silvery. The tail is forked, and very black at the end, and altogether the chub is rather a handsome fish, although its flesh is not much in esteem.

The haunts of the chub are in rivers whose bottoms are of sand or clay, or which flow over a gravelly bottom, in deep holes, under hollow banks; in summer, particularly where shaded by trees, &c. they frequently float on the surface, and are sometimes found in streams and deep waters, where the currents are strong. In ponds fed by a rivulet they grow to a large size.


To fish for chub at the bottom, you should have a stout long rod, a strong line (and if you use a reel, you will be the better able to fish under bushes), with two yards or more of the best silkworm gut at bottom; a hook proportionate to the bait used; a swan-quill float; and the line so shotted, eight or ten inches from the hook, as to sink the float to a quarter of an inch above the surface. The same groundbait is to be used as for carp. The best baits are greaves, cheese paste, or the tail end of a well-scoured lob-worm. The cockchafer is also a very tempting bait, especially towards dusk: no float or shot are required for this.

After baiting your hook with a cockchafer, move it two or three times near the surface, as in the act of flying; then drop it in the water, tapping the rod gently, which will cause the appearance of its struggling to escape. This attracts the chub, who are so fond of this bait, that they will rise two or three at a time to seize it. But mind and be ready with your landing-net.


The chub will take a grub, wasps, maggots, paste of fine new bread worked in the hand, and tinged with vermilion, to make it look like salmon-roe; but the best bait for bottom or float-fishing for the chub is new Cheshire cheese, worked with the crumb of a new roll, or the pith from the backbone of an ox. In baiting with the cheese, put a round lump the size of a cherry on a large hook, so as to cover the bend, and some way up the shank; fish six inches from the bottom, or in cold weather the bait may lie on the ground. When there is a bite, the float will be drawn under water: strike immediately, and give him play, holding a tolerably tight line, to keep the fish clear from weeds and stumps.

The best time for fishing for chub is chiefly before sunrise to nine in the morning, and from four till after sunset in the summer; but, in winter, the middle of the day is best. In hot weather, the chub is to be fished for at or near the top of the water, and not deeper than midwater; and in cold weather, close to or near the bottom; and the main point in taking the fish is for the angler to keep himself out of sight. A very deadly way of killing chub, and certainly the most artistic method, is with the artificial fly, used as in trout fishing. Flies are made expressly for this purpose, and of these the best are red and black palmers, and the Marlow buzz.


Carp are esteemed among the richest fresh-water fish we have in the kingdom, and are as cunning as foxes. The angler, therefore, must be “wide awake” to catch him, and also as patient as a saint. He may, however, fish for him at any time in the day during warm weather. The bait may be either worms or paste. Of worms, the bluish marsh or meadow is the best; but a red-worm, not too big, will do: of paste, the best is made of bread and honey; and the spot intended should be well baited beforehand. In a large pond, to draw[110] them together, throw in either grains, or soaked bread worked up with meal or bran; follow this with a few of the small baits you intend to angle with.


Whilst you are fishing, chew a little bread, and throw it in about the place where your float swims. In fishing for carp in ponds, the bait and about half a foot of the gut nearest the hook should lie on the bottom; otherwise the carp will continually suck the bait off. When the carp has fairly taken the bait, you will perceive the float move steadily away or under water, then strike, and not till then. In this way, with due patience, you will prove a match for these crafty fish.


The tench is one of our most useful fresh-water fishes, for the ease with which it may be preserved, and the goodness of its flesh. It is very usual to breed it in ponds, but naturally, like many others of the carp tribe, it is generally found in lakes and still waters; its favourite haunts are in places well shaded with bushes or rushes. In standing waters, it lies under weeds, near sluices, and at pond-heads.


The best baits for tench are bread paste and red worms, but he usually prefers the latter. He feeds best in the three hot months. The worm should be put on the hook in the method directed for perch, but the hook itself should be of a somewhat smaller size. Use a light float and strong gut line, and let the bait swim within an inch or two of the bottom.


Is something like a perch in shape, but more bluff and bulky. He is found principally in slow, deep, quiet rivers, which have a loamy bottom. The spawning time is in April. The best baits for him are red-worms and brandlings. The places where he is to be had are[111] where the water is deep and still; and these places should be baited with some clay-balls, with which worms are mixed. Should the water be muddy, worms will do alone; but if clear, clay must be used to render it opaque before you fish. The fish will bite at any time of a warm summer’s day, when the sky is cloudy. In angling, use a No. 8 or 9 hook, with a quill float; and the moment you see the float disappear, strike.


The bream, at full growth, is a large and stately fish, and is oftentimes as fat as a hog. He is principally found in large ponds or in lakes, and in still rivers where the waters are deep and shaded by weeds; and may be taken throughout the latter part of summer and autumn.

The baits are many: paste made of white bread and honey, gentles, wasp-grubs, and brandlings; but much the best general bait is the tail end of a lob-worm. Use lob-worms, cut in pieces, brewers’ grains, or greaves, as groundbaits in the places where you intend to angle. Use a gut line, quill float, and hook the same as for perch. Sound the bottom, which should be eight or ten feet deep, and stand at least two yards from the bank from which you fish; the bait should just touch or trip along the bottom.


The flounder is a well-known flat-fish very common about our own coasts; and should any of our young friends be at the seaside, it is well that they should know how to take flounder. They are also found in rivers, at some distance from the sea. They may be taken in May, July, and August,—not in June, as that is their spawning[112] time. The best baits are red-worms and marsh-worms, on a No. 6 hook; and you should fish at the bottom.




Eels are denizens of the mud; but they are fond of clean not foul mud, and ought never to be sought after in filthy places. There are many modes of taking them: by rod and line, by dead line, by sniggling, by bobbing, and by spearing. When a rod is used, you should put a brandling or red-worm on a No. 8 hook; the bait should touch the bottom; and, when you have a “bite,” the float should be drawn quite under water before you strike.

Eel spear

The dead line is a line of whipcord, with hooks about two feet asunder, baited with lob-worms or small fish, and having a weight at the end. You should also have a bank-runner—a reel on a pin or stake stuck into the ground on the edge of the bank; the line and baits should be thrown in, and left for the eels to amuse themselves with,—looked to, and drawn up at your leisure.


In sniggling, a lob-worm is put upon a stout worsted needle; the line is on a winder; and the fish will be found near flood-gates, wharfings, bridges, piles, holes in the banks of rivers, ponds, and canals. The bait should be put into the lurking-places of the eel, by means of a stick with a forked head; and when the bait is taken, which will easily be known by the pull of the string, strike.

Bobbing for eels.—In this process long red-worms are strung on threads of worsted, until a bunch as large as the two fists is formed around a piece of lead. The whole is sunk to the bottom, or nearly so, then raised a little, then depressed, so as to induce the eels to bite. When this occurs, heave up without hurry. The number of eels taken in this way is often prodigious.

In spearing eels, the spearer usually goes into the mud in a pair of pants or mud pattens, pieces of square board fastened into the heel to prevent sinking. He takes an eel-spear in his hand, something like Neptune’s trident, and progs the mud all over, and the eels are caught between the forked blades of the spear. Great numbers of eels are taken in this way on the muddy ooze of salt or fresh-water rivers.


The stickleback is a dark-coloured little fish, found in ditches and ponds. They are best caught with a small hand-net, and are occasionally used as bait for perch. The minnow is very beautiful in appearance, being of a rose colour underneath, and may be taken with a worm and a No. 13 hook at any time of day; but more easily with a small hand-net. They are commonly found in little rivulets, rills, or small sandy streams, and are highly prized by the angler as baits for many kinds of fish.



The barbel is a bold, sturdy, handsome-looking fish, although its flesh is coarse to the eater; but he is a rare fellow for sport, and often affords great amusement as well as chagrin to the angler by his bolting off with the line by a “coup de barbel,” and breaking it with his tail. Izaak Walton says, that barbel “flock together like sheep.”

Barbel are to be found in the strongest runs of water. In summer, they love the shallowest and sharpest streams, and will lurk under weeds, and will root and dig in the sand like pigs. Sometimes he retires to deep and swift bridges, or to flood-gates or weirs, and will rest himself against piles or hollow places. In winter he gets into deep water.


In fishing for barbel in large streams, you should go out in a boat provided with greaves, gentles, and red-worms; and, before you begin fishing, you should throw in plenty of groundbait—such as soaked greaves, bran and clay made into small balls, maggots, or lob-worms. They may be angled for with a stout rod, strong running line, cork float, and No. 7 or 8 hook, baited with marshworms or greaves. The barbel being a sharp biter, strike the moment you feel a nibble. He may be caught from May to October all day, but best in the morning and evening. After he is struck he will frequently make a run, but you must play him gently; keep him clear of weeds, and try to get him into deep water; and when you have him, mind he does not bounce out of your hand and drop down the stream again.



Fishing with a fly may be practised either with the natural fly, usually called “dipping,” or with the artificial fly; in which latter case the sport is called “fly-fishing,” or sometimes “whipping.” Dipping requires a moderately long and stiff rod, of about twelve or thirteen feet. The line should not be above a yard in length from the end of the rod, but the reel should contain sufficient to play the fish if necessary. When the river is much overhung with bushes, it is a good plan to wind the line round the end of the top joint, leaving only a few inches dependent; and then, having thrust the rod through some small opening in the bushes, gradually to unwind the line by turning the rod in the hand, so as to drop the fly on the water in the most gentle manner. In this insidious way large fish are often taken with any of the flies which are in season and found at the time on the banks of the river which is fished, especially if they are only just coming out, and the fish are not yet satiated with them. It is quite needless to give a list of the natural flies which are likely to prove serviceable to the fisherman, because he has only to look for those which at the time are tempting the fish, and then to endeavour to find them on the banks, and at once to try their powers. In the case of chub, however, he will find grasshoppers and humble-bees more useful than any of the flies, and yet they are neither of them often seen upon the waters, and may be considered exceptional cases. The fish which will generally take the natural fly are grayling, trout, chub, and dace.


For this delightful sport, which captivates alike the sexagenarian and the schoolboy, rods and tackle of the finest quality are required. It is true, that a good workman will take fish even with a willow wand, but still he would do far better with a rod turned out by a good maker; and few young hands will be able to do much without a well-finished specimen of the art of rod-making. The rod should be strong, yet fine, and either of dressed silk, or silk and hair mixed. The lower portion, called the foot-length, is of gut, generally occupying about five or six feet of it, to which one, two, or three flies are attached, the one at the end being called a stretcher, and the others droppers.

The fly-fisher should be able to make his own flies, as there is a great advantage in being able to “do for oneself;” and it may sometimes happen that he may be out of a particular fly when far away from “fly shops.”


Feathers of various kinds; hairs of various kinds; very fine sewing silk; gold and silver twist. Of the first, the young fly-fisher must[116] provide himself with the feathers of the duck, cock, grouse, snipe, bittern, woodcock, partridge, landrail, starling, jay, golden plover, and peacock. Of the second, the fur from Tommy’s tail, from the skins of squirrels, moles, and water rats, camel’s hair, hare’s ear, fur from its neck, the yellow fur from the neck of the martin, mohairs of different shades, camlets, black horsehair, hog’s down dyed various colours. And with these, gimps, silks, and tinsel, a good pair of pliers, and a pair of fine-pointed scissors.

In making your fly, imitate as nearly as possible the natural fly you wish to represent; to do this properly, it will be well to dissect a natural fly, and to imitate its several parts, and then to reconstruct it with a reference to the whole. With a hook of the proper size, and a feather of the right colour, the fly-maker may now commence. His feather must be stripped down on each side, leaving just so much as will do for the wings at the fine end; a piece of fine gut, free from imperfection, and properly tested as to its strength; dubbing or hackle; and a piece of fine silk well waxed with shoemaker’s wax.

Let the essay be now made. Hold your hook in the left hand, wrap the silk round the bare hook two or three times, and put the finest end of the gut on the under side of the hook. If you are working for a tackle fly, begin at the band and work up to the head, after turning three or four times round the hook and gut; fasten on the tackle, and continue the winding of the silk until it reaches the end of the hook, then turn it back two or three times, to form the head. The dubbing must now be twisted round the silk, and wrapped upon the hook for nearly half the proposed length of the body; fasten it there by a single loop, that both hands may be at liberty to manage the tackle.

When sufficient of the feather is wound upon the hook, the remainder should be held under the thumb of the left hand, and the entangled fibres picked out with a needle. The silk and dubbing must now be twisted over the end of the tackle, until the body of the fly is of the length required, and then fastened. If gold or silver twist is used, the twist should be fastened to the lower end of the body before the dubbing is applied to the silk.

To make a winged fly, the same method must be observed in tying on the hook; then take the feather which is to form the wings, and place it even on the upper side of the shank, with the roots pointing towards the bend of the hook; fasten the feathers, by winding the silk over it, and cut the root end close with a pair of scissors, and divide the wings as equally as possible with a needle, passing the silk two or three times between them, to make them stand in a proper position; bring the silk down the shank of the hook the proposed length of the body, and fasten it, then apply the dubbing to the silk, and twist it towards the wings; fasten in the hackle for legs, and wind it neatly under the wings, so as to hide the ends of the cut fibres: the silk must be fastened above the wings—be careful of this.


It would be impossible for us, nor would it be very useful to the young fly-fisher, to give him directions for making every kind of fly. We may, however, throw out a few hints concerning the making of most of the flies in common use, and of the materials employed.

Green drake

1. The green drake or May fly.—This is one of the most killing trout flies, but it is seldom in the water for a longer period than three weeks. The time of its appearance varies in different rivers, but it generally rises about the last week in May, and continues for about three weeks. The wings are made of the light feathers of a grey drake, dyed a pale yellow-green colour, by being boiled for a minute or two in a decoction of green vitriol. The body is formed of amber-coloured mohair or silk ribbon, with dark green silk; the head of peacock’s harl, and the tail of three long hairs taken from a sable muff.

2. The black gnat.—The body of this fly is made of black ostrich harl, and the wings of a pale starling’s feather; it must be dressed short and thick. It is in use from the end of April till the end of May, and is a good killer when the water is low.

3. Hare’s ear.—The wings are made from the feather of a starling’s wing, the body from the fur of the hare’s ear, the legs of a ginger cock’s hackle.

4. Cock tail.—Wings of the light feather from a snipe’s wing, the body of yellow mohair.

5. Whirling dun.—Wings of a snipe’s feather, body of blue fur wrapped with yellow silk, and a blue cock’s hackle for legs; the tail of two hairs from a coloured muff.

6. Grey drake.—Wings of a dark grey feather of the mallard, the body of white silk, striped with dark silk, the head of a peacock’s harl, and the tail of three hairs from a sable muff.


7. Cowdung fly.—The wings of the feather of a landrail, the body of yellow camlet, mixed with a little brown bear-fur, and a ginger hackle for legs; the wings should be dressed flat.

8. Bee fly.—The body of thread of various colours, arranged in stripes of the following order:—black, white, light yellow, white, black, white; the legs of a black hackle; the wings from the feathers of a blue pigeon’s wing: the body must be dressed thick.

9. Red palmer.—The body of dark-red mohair, ribbed with gold twist, and wrapped with a red cock’s hackle.

10. Peacock palmer.—The body of a peacock’s harl, wrapped with a dusky-red cock’s hackle.

11. Kingdom fly.—Wings of a woodcock’s feather, the body of white silk, striped with green, and the legs of a red cock’s hackle.

12. White gnat.—The wings of a small white feather, the body of white silk, and the legs of a red cock’s hackle.

13. Blue dun.—The wings of a starling’s feather, the body of blue fur from a water rat, mixed with a little lemon-colour mohair; the tail is forked, and should be made of two fibres from the feather used for the wing.

14. Red ant.—The wings of a light starling’s feather, the body of peacock’s harl made thick at the tail, and a ginger hackle for legs.

15. Gold spinner.—Wings of a starling’s feather, body of orange silk, ribbed with gold twist, and the legs of a red hackle.

16. Great white moth.—Wings of a feather from the wing of a white owl, the body of white cotton, and a white cock’s hackle wrapped round the body.

17. Governor.—Wings of a woodcock’s feather, the body of a peacock’s harl, tied with orange silk.

18. March brown.—Wings of the dark mottled feather from the tail of a partridge, the body of fur from a hare’s ear, well mixed with a little yellow worsted, and a grizzled cock’s hackle for legs.

19. Stone fly.—Wings of a dusky-blue cock’s hackle, or a mottled feather from a hen pheasant, the body of dark-brown and yellow camlet mixed, and a grizzled hackle for legs; the wings should be flat.

20. Black silver palmer.—The body of black ostrich harl, ribbed with silver twist, and wrapped with black cock’s hackle.

21. Willow fly.—The wings of dark grizzled cock’s hackle, the body of blue squirrel’s fur, mixed with yellow mohair.

22. Yellow palmer.—The wings of white hackle, dyed yellow, the body of yellow silk.

23. Black palmer.—The body of black ostrich’s harl, wrapped with a black cock’s hackle.

24. Black palmer ribbed with gold.—The body of peacock’s harl, wrapped with a black cock’s hackle, and ribbed with gold twist.

25. Marlow Buzz or Cock-a-Boundhu.—This is one of the most killing flies known, and should never be off the line during the trout[119] season. The body of peacock’s harl, ribbed with gold twist, and a dark-red cock’s hackle over all.

26. The Grouse Hackle.—This is also a very killing fly, especially late in the evening, during June, July, and August. Body of brown fur, ribbed with gold twist, and a grouse hackle over all; hook No. 10.

The foregoing list comprises twenty-six of the most killing flies; and the following are the months in which they will be found to kill best.

February, red cowdung fly, blue dun; March, brown; April, black gnat, stone fly, gravel or spider fly, the green tail, brown, blue dun; May, green drake, grey drake, oak fly, hazel fly, little iron blue and yellow sally; June, hare’s ear, cock tail, whirling dun, marlow buzz, bee fly, kingdom fly, white gnat, blue gnat, blue dun, governor, fern fly; gold spinner; July, red ant, red spinner, yellow dun, coachman, fern fly; August, whirling blue, red spinner, pale yellow dun; September, willow fly, silver twisted blue, whirling blue.

It would of course be impossible, in a work of this description, to give a list of all the artificial flies used by experienced fishermen, but the above are a few of the most killing. For bleak, dace, roach, chub, &c. a piece of a maggot, or a small piece of white leather, should be placed at the end of the hook.

Having thus given the “order of flies,” natural and artificial, we may imagine the young fly-fisher, with rod in hand, proportionate to his strength and the breadth of the stream, ready to throw his fly; but let his rod and running tackle be in good order, and the idea of the coachman’s whip out of his mind. He is not to flog the water, but to tickle it. The novice should teach himself to handle the line, by beginning with it alone, (i. e. without flies or hook,) trying a short length first, and lengthening it gradually. In using the rod, it should be drawn vigorously back, though without a jerk, and thrown forward again when the line has reached its full extent behind. Take care in doing this, that the fly be not whipped off. When tolerably expert, put on one fly, and try awhile with that, adopting two or three when able to use them properly.

In fly-fishing keep as far from the water as possible, especially if fishing for trout. Let only the flies touch the water, and keep moving them gently and slowly on the surface. When a fish rises, let not a moment elapse before you strike, and do it sharply.

When you have two flies on your line, you must try to throw your line so that the bottom fly shall reach the water first; it must be done always as lightly as possible, so that it may resemble a natural fly settling upon the water. You must suffer the line to float gently down the stream, at the same time working it towards you.

The best time for angling with the fly is when there is a gentle breeze upon the water; south and west winds are to be preferred, when the water has been disturbed by heavy rains and is just resuming its natural colour, or when the day is dull and cloudy. The best[120] time, morning and evening. In cold weather the fish bite deeper, and you should then let the fly sink a little. Take care to have the wind in your back, and the sun in your face, if possible.

When you see a rise, throw your fly about half a yard above the fish’s nose, and let it fall down with the stream; watch it narrowly, and strike as the fish rises, giving him an “infinite little moment” to taste. When you have hooked, play your fish carefully, keeping up his head and running him down the stream, at the same time steering him towards you. If you see a fish rise at a natural fly, throw your bait a little before him, so that he may take it as “one of the number.”

To know what flies the fish are most likely to take, observe what natural flies are about the water, or on the grass, trees, or bushes in the vicinity of the river; and take that fly which is the most in abundance, either natural or artificial at your discretion.

Such are a few practical particulars concerning angling and fly-fishing, sufficient to enable any young angler to begin. For more abundant information we refer him to Mr. Stoddart and Mr. Stewart, for fly-fishing, Mr. Cholmondeley Pennell for pike-fishing, “Hewitt Wheatley” for grayling fishing, and Mr. Francis Francis for the various modes of bottom fishing.

Angling scene


Lady archers


“And he was clad in coat and pode of grene;
A shefe of pecocke arrows bryght and shene
Under his belt he bare, ful threftely.
Well coude he dresse his tackle yomanly.
His arrows drouped not with feathers lowe,
And in his hande he bare a myghty bowe.”—Chaucer.

The skill of the English in archery was always very great. Our ancestors used the bow for a double purpose: in time of war, it was a far more dreadful instrument of destruction than our present soldier’s musket; while in the “piping times of peace,” it became an object of amusement. The victories the English obtained over their enemies in times of war were many, and what the world calls glorious; and they stand upon record in our history, where the young reader may peruse them with interest and advantage.


The Anglo-Saxons and the Danes were certainly well acquainted with the use of the bow, which they used, not so much for war purposes,[122] as in the sports of the field. But it is well known that the Normans used the bow as a military weapon, and under their government the practice of archery was not only much improved, but generally diffused throughout the kingdom. The long-bow was an instrument of Norman introduction, and there seems good reason to believe that the arbalist, or cross-bow, was used by these sturdy invaders.



The use of the English long-bow arrived at the highest perfection in the reign of Edward III.; and, notwithstanding the introduction of fire-arms, continued for a long time after to be successfully cultivated. Cressy, Poictiers, Agincourt, and many other victories, were obtained by its use; and Sir John Fortescue writes, “That mighte of the realme of Englande standyth upon her archers,”—as it will now upon our riflemen or sharpshooters, when our army shall get the right kind of gun.


Shooting a bird with a cross-bow

The cross-bow, or arbalist, was a popular weapon with the Etolians, and was introduced into England in the thirteenth century. The arrows shot from it were called “guorrels.” It was fastened upon a stock, and discharged by means of a catch or trigger, which probably gave rise to the lock on the modern musket. One historian informs us, that Richard the First was wounded by an arrow from a bow of this kind; and also, that the English cross-bow was used chiefly at sieges of fortified places, and on ship-board in battles upon the sea. It was, however, used in recreation, and acquired great reputation among the citizens of London, who had “butts” in various places for the practice of this kind of archery; as at Newington Butts, Brentford Butts, and other spots, which still retain the name of Butts: and in the reign of Edward IV. an act passed, which directed[123] that butts should be in every township, where the inhabitants should shoot on every feast-day, under a penalty of a halfpenny when they shall omit the exercise.

Cross-bow butt


Mr. Grose informs us that an archer could shoot six arrows in the time necessary to charge and discharge a musket; and even in modern days, a practised bowman has been known to shoot twelve arrows in a minute into a circle not larger than the circumference of a man’s hat, at a distance of forty yards. Of the power of the bow, and of the distance it will carry, some remarkable anecdotes are told. Xenophon mentions an Arcadian, whose head was shot through by a Carduchian archer. Stuart mentions a random shot of a Turk, which he found to be 584 yards; and Mr. Strutt saw the Turkish ambassador shoot 480 yards in the old archery-ground in London. An old author speaks of a Turkish bow, the arrow of which was known to pierce a steel target two inches thick. In the journal of King Edward VI., it is mentioned that 100 archers of the king’s guard shot at an inch board, and that some of the arrows passed through this, and into another board behind it, although the wood was extremely solid and firm. William de Brensia relates that a Welshman having directed an arrow at a horse-soldier of his, who was clad in armour, and had his leathern coat under it, the arrow, beside piercing the man through the hip, struck also through the saddle, and mortally wounded the horse on which he sat. Another Welsh soldier having shot an arrow at one of his horsemen, who was covered with strong armour, the shaft penetrated through his thigh, and fixed in the saddle; but what is most remarkable is, that as the horseman drew his bridle aside, in order to turn round, he received another arrow in the opposite thigh, which passing through it, he was firmly fixed to the saddle on both sides. Mr. Barrington, in the “Archæologiæ,” relates a tradition that one Leigh, an attorney (it must have been a barrister), shot an arrow a mile in three flights; and Carew, speaking[124] of the Cornish archers two centuries back, says that the butts for long shooting were placed 480 yards apart. Such, my good friends, are the feats you may emulate with the bow.



The length of the bow varied, but was usually the height of the bearer, as the Act of Edward IV. commands every man to have a bow his own height. The arrows were of different weights and sizes; the lighter sort, for long ranges, about two feet three inches; while the heavy were a cloth yard in length. The heads had various shapes, among which the broad arrow extended in width to nearly four inches to the extremity of the wings. Of these, 24 in a sheaf were put into a quiver, and, in action, about 12 in the girdle. They were trimmed with three goose-quill feathers each, and when the archers shot in volley, the quantity of arrows in the air was compared by Froissart to a fall of snow. The farthest range of arrows was estimated at eleven score yards. The archers, in order of battle, generally carried, beside the bow, axe, and target, a stake pointed at both ends. They formed in open ranks, in files eight deep. When on the point of engaging, they advanced a few paces beyond the intended line, and fixed their stakes, inclined towards the enemy, in the ground. They then stepped backward, and from behind these chevaux-de-frise dealt forth their destructive arrows; and when the enemy were thrown into confusion, they sallied, and with small battle-axes and swords completed the defeat.


The marks usually shot at by the archers for pastime were “butts,” “prickes,” and “rovers.” The “butt” was a level mark, made by placing a target on a slope of a hill or bank of earth, and required a strong arrow. The “pricke” was a “mark of compass,” but always of one distance, and had some emblem on a pole for shooting at; and to this mark strong swift arrows of one flight, with a middling size feather, were best suited. The “rover” was a mark of uncertain length, and often an arrow shot forth from[125] a bow. Other marks were used, as the standard, the target, hazel-wands, rose-garlands, and the popinjay, which was an artificial parrot or peacock, or sometimes the common cock, set upon a post or pole, as seen in the engraving.



Roger Ascham, who was well versed in the subject of archery, says that it was necessary for the archer to have a bracer, or close sleeve, to lace upon the left arm; and to this was added a shooting-glove for the protection of the fingers. The bow was to be made of elm, ash, or yew; the bow-string to be composed of good hemp, flax, or silk; the arrows were to be made of oak, hornbeam, or birch. The feathers from a goose, and especially of a grey goose, he thought preferable to any for the pluming of an arrow.


Ascham says: “First take care of a graceful attitude.” The archer should stand fairly and upright with his body, his left foot at a convenient distance from his right, holding the bow by its middle, with his left arm stretched out, and with the first three fingers and the thumb of his right hand on the lower part of the arrow affixed to the string of the bow. The notch of the arrow to rest between the fore-finger and the middle finger of the right hand. The arrow, in drawing the bow, was to be elevated to the right ear. The shaft of the arrow below the feathers to be rested on the knuckle of the fore-finger of the left hand. The arrow was to be drawn to the head, and not held too long in that situation, but neatly and smartly discharged. Among the requisites necessary to constitute a good archer are, a clear sight steadily directed to the mark,—a proper judgment of distances, to determine the length of the ground. He ought also to know how to take advantage of a side-wind, and to be well acquainted with what compass his arrows would take in their flight. “Courage,” he says also, “is an indispensable requisite; as he who shoots with the least trepidation is sure to shoot badly.”


Notwithstanding the great advantages of archery in ancient days, somehow or other it began to decline even at the time of its zenith; so that, from time to time, acts of parliament were made to compel the citizens of London, and other towns, to practise it. Some of our monarchs made sumptuous archery entertainments. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, a grand shooting-match was held in London of all the archers in the surrounding districts; and these meeting at the appointed time, with their different companies, proceeded in a pompous march from Merchant Tailors’ Hall, numbering 3,000 archers, sumptuously apparelled, every man having a long-bow and four arrows; 940 of them had gold chains about their necks. This splendid company was attended by 4,000 whifflers and bellmen. The queen met[126] them in Smithfield, and presided at their sports. But still the art continued to decline, and, with the increase of other warlike weapons, became at last almost extinct. Within these few years, however, it has again become a somewhat favourite exercise, near London, and in various parts of the country. In Scotland, the “Royal Company of Archers”—the Queen’s body-guard for Scotland—comprises many of the Scottish nobility, and King George IV. recognised it. It now comprises about 500 members, who meet weekly, and at certain seasons contend for several annual prizes.

Convinced as we are that the practice of archery possesses, in point of health, all the advantages of field sports, without their cruelty to animals, and demoralizing oppression to our fellow-creatures, we strongly recommend it to our juvenile friends. It is an exercise adapted to every age and every degree of strength; and especially adapted to young ladies, whose sedentary occupations,—rendered still more injurious by the pestiferous Berlin wool,—disposes them to disease and consumption. I do not wish to sing the praises of the art to their full extent, but I wish to see it universally cultivated, and should hail with pleasure the time when it can be again said, as with Statius, “Pudor est nescere sagittas.”


Proceeding now to the modern practice of the art, we must first begin with


The Bow may be made of the yew-tree, laburnum, thorn, or acacia, and is generally formed of two pieces of wood joined together, the back piece being of a different wood to the front, and the grain reversed. It is of great importance to secure a good bow. We would not, therefore, advise the young archer to make one, but to buy one at a good archery shop, where they may be had at all prices. Upon making a purchase, he should examine the bow well, to observe whether it be well set in all its parts, of an elegant cut or shape, and free from flaws, knots, or cracks. He should look well at the ends, and to those points on which the bow-string is fixed, which ought to be tipped with horn. The proper length of a bow for a youth is about five feet. The flat or outward part of a bow is called its back, and the inward part its belly; and in stringing it the young archer should be particularly careful to keep the belly inwards, or the bow will break.


The string of the bow should be made of hemp, and whipped with sewing silk at that part of it which receives the arrow, marked C in the annexed plan. The thickness of the string should depend upon the length of the bow, and should never be too thin for its[127] powers, as the snapping of a string sometimes causes the snapping of the bow. The young archer should never use a string in the least out of order, and should avoid cat-gut strings especially. A bow five feet long, when bent, should have a string about five inches from the centre. This will be a guide in stringing the bow. The young archer should take great pride in the care of his bow, especially of the string, and look carefully, after every day’s shooting, at the “whipping” of the string, and at the wearing points, repairing the least defect. He ought also to place his bow in an oil-skin case, lined with baize; and when put away for the season it should be well rubbed with oil, and polished. He should also have always two or three spare strings in readiness, in case the one in use may fly.

Plan of bow


The young archer must be very careful in performing this feat, or he will fail in the attempt; to do so safely, he must take the bow in his right hand by the handle, the flat part towards him; then let his arm rest against his side, then put the lower end of the bow against the inside of the right foot, bring his left foot forward, and place the centre of the left wrist on the upper level of the bow below the loop of the string, the fore-finger knuckle on one edge of the bow, and the top of the thumb upon the other; then up with the bow and loop it. This feat, however, can be best learned by seeing another expert person perform it. In unstringing the bow, the short horn should be placed on the ground against the right foot, the middle of the bow grasped in the right hand, and the left wrist placed on the upper horn, so that the fore-finger may unloop the string when the bow is brought down, as in the manner of stringing it.



Arrows are generally made of some white wood, such as ash, deal, or the wood of the orbele poplar, and are sometimes varnished. They are both blunt and sharp. The sharp ones are for target shooting, the blunt ones principally for roving; they also vary as regards length, some being long, and some short. In purchasing them, the principal thing to be attended to is, that they are perfectly straight, well made, and that the plumes are securely fitted. There should be three on each arrow; one, which is of a darker colour than the rest, is called the cock plume, and in shooting should be placed uppermost. The length and weight of the arrows should be in proportion to the size of the bow. The[128] nicks of arrows should be cased with horn, and they should fit the string exactly.



The quiver is used to contain the arrows, and is usually made of wood, or tin, or leather, those made of the latter material being the most serviceable and convenient to wear. It should be long enough to contain the arrows up to the feather, without bruising or crushing the plumes, which ought always to be kept perfectly straight and unruffled. The quiver in shooting is not carried, but the arrows are placed in a pouch attached to the belt.




The Tassel is usually made of green worsted, and is used by the archer for the purpose of cleansing the arrow from dirt after being taken from the ground. It is usually suspended on the left side of the archer.


The Brace is of leather, and is buckled on the arm to save it from being hurt by the string upon the discharge of the arrow. It ought[129] to be very smooth on its surface, so as to offer no impediment to the bow-string.

The Belt is made of leather, and is buckled round the waist. It has fastened to it a pouch, for the temporary reception of the arrows in shooting.


The Shooting Glove is made of cow-hide, or horse ball leather. It has places or stalls for three fingers only, with a wrist strap to fasten it on. Its use is to protect the fingers from the action of the string, and in selecting it the young archer should be careful that the finger stalls are neither too long nor too short for the hand.



The Grease Box hangs usually by the side of the tassel, and contains a small portion of grease composed of suet and bees-wax well compounded. This is used for rubbing on the fingers of the shooting glove, and is indispensable to the archer.


Targets are made with plaited straw bands, wound round a centre, and sewn together. Over this body is placed a facing of canvass, the ground of which is painted white; upon the white are painted four circles, and a gold centre called the bull’s eye. The first circle close to the eye is red; the next white, called the inner white; the third black; and the fourth white, called the outer white; while the outside verge, called the petticoat of the target, is painted green.


A certain value in shooting is given to each circle of the target, which is thus computed: Outer white 1; Black 3; Inner white 5; Red 7, and the Gold Eye 9.

There are usually two targets in an archery field, placed at certain distances from each other, which shortens the labour of walking; for[130] if one target only be used, a great deal of time is lost in going from the shooting mark to the target to fetch the arrows, and in returning to the spot again.

The prizes usually shot for in archery matches are gold and silver medals, silver cups, silver arrows, silver gilt bugles, prize bows and arrows. There are generally two prizes given; the first for the shots nearest the gold centre, the second for the number of shots put into the target, according to their value.

A person is usually appointed to register the shots at the targets, who has a card similar to the form given below, by which he takes an account of the hits as they are made.

Smith 2 3 7 3 11 26 100
Jones 1 6 5 8 7 27 107
Brown 3 4 9 7 18 41 139

The markings are usually made by the marker with a pin, holes being less liable to obliteration than pencil marks.


Are usually made of pieces of turf piled one upon another, and laid one upon the other in the following shape. They are usually about six feet high and four feet broad at the face, upon which a circular piece of thin white pasteboard, about six inches in diameter, is affixed with pegs. Butts are generally placed in the field in sets of four, so as not to stand in the way of each other. And when shot at, the arrows placed in the pasteboard mark are alone reckoned, and those who here place the greatest number of shots are the winners of the prize.




The ancient directions for drawing the bow, or rather the arrow, have been already given. The archer having placed himself opposite to the target, with his face a little inclined to the right, should swing himself slightly round, so that his eye and the target are in an exact line. He should stand quite upright, his left foot slightly in advance. Holding the bow horizontally in his left hand, he should draw an arrow from his pouch and carry it under the string and over the left side of the bow. The fore-finger of the left hand now holds the arrow secure on the wooden part of the bow at its centre, while the right hand fixes the nick of the arrow on the string, where it is held fast between the first and second fingers, the cock feather being uppermost. The fore-finger of the left hand may now be removed from[131] the arrow, and the centre of the bow grasped tightly. The bow is now raised gradually by the left hand, at the same time that the string is pulled by the right; and when the arrow is drawn about two-thirds of its length, the neck of it should be brought close to the right ear and the aim should be taken. The aim should be taken quickly, and the string loosened freely from the fingers with a peculiar touch, which no books can teach, and which nothing but experience and skill can give. In long shots the right hand must be lowered, and the arrow sent so as to form a greater curve in its flight. The archer should look at his mark, not at his shaft, and when he has shot should retreat to the leftward, and take his position behind the person with whom he is shooting.


This is principally engaged in for the purpose of ascertaining the greatest distance to which the arrows can be sent by the respective shooters. It requires no skill in aiming, but much care in drawing the arrow, as nothing is more likely to fracture the bow than flight shooting. The archer who sends his arrows to the greatest distance is the winner.


In clout shooting the target is only a small piece of white pasteboard attached to a stick about five feet from the ground, and placed at a distance of from 120 to 150 yards. In it seven makes the game, and all arrows that fall within two bows’ length of the foot of the stick are marked in counting.


So called from the shooters roving from place to place, over field, heath, moor, common, finding their marks in trees, posts, bushes, &c. The distances constantly varying, give to young archers a great deal of practice; besides which, the variety of the scenery, and the various incidents that occur in a day’s roving, are often highly interesting and exciting. By roving the eye gets a habit of measuring distances, and the hand and arm strength for the bow. Blunt-headed arrows are the best for roving, of which about a dozen ought to be carried by each archer. Sharp arrows would imbed themselves too deeply in trees to be easily extracted. In a roving party, arrows that reach within five bows’ length of the mark tell, and those which are nearest cut the others out. Each archer measures with his own bow. The number of the game is often nine, but generally twelve.



1. In commencing archery never begin with a stiff bow, but select one adapted to your strength, and change this for a stronger from time to time.

2. Never shoot with another person’s bow.

3. Never put an arrow in the string when any one stands between you and the target, or you may shoot out an eye.

4. Never talk, jibe, or jest at the time of shooting.

5. Always study to take a graceful attitude in shooting, or in moving about the field.

6. Never draw a bow near another person; as, should it snap, the danger will be greater to him than yourself.

7. Never let your bow-string get untwisted or ravelled by neglect.

8. Never exhibit impatience at the tardy efforts of your compeers, or chagrin at your own failures.

9. Never shoot alone if you can help it, as it leads to negligence and indifference.

Evaluating the shots



We will first give briefly some of the reasons why we have determined to mention this branch of the manly exercises. Firstly, we do so because we have a great personal esteem for the art, though none can be more sternly opposed to its abuse. Secondly, because it affords one of the finest exercises in the world, employing every limb and every muscle in the body, giving at the same time readiness of hand and quickness of eye, while it tests and improves the patience and endurance. And, thirdly, because every one likes to know how to use the weapons which Nature has given him, and will contrive to acquire the desired knowledge whenever he can find an opportunity. All Englishmen, and therefore all English boys, are proud of their natural weapon, and compare it with the knife, the loaded stick, the knuckleduster, and the pistol of other nations. The principle of fair play and justice is strongly developed in an English breast, and in nothing is the principle so thoroughly carried out as in boxing. No unfair advantage is allowed to either side, no striking upon the vital parts of the body is permitted, and the use of the foot, tooth, or nail is forbidden under the severest penalties. Even in the very prize ring, where men are trained for the express purpose of hitting each other with the utmost force of which human arms are capable, there is little harm done, and in a few days both combatants look as if nothing had happened to them. It is not so even in a wrestling county, or in some few parts of our own land where men fight like brute beasts, and use their best endeavours to maim or blind their adversaries for life. A well-known American writer has expressed, in his own humorous language, the astonishment which he felt at witnessing a short “turn up” at an English cattle-fair. The grave propriety of the affair, and the admirable order in which it was conducted, struck him with profound admiration, as contrasted with the “inglorious and inevitable Yankee clinches, followed by a general mêlée,” which in popular language is termed a “free fight,” and in which every one attacks every one else with any weapons and in any manner.

Before proceeding to our genuine English Boxing, we must just mention the French “savate,” of which we have heard so much of late. We have seen it practised and taught in the salles d’armes, and for it, as a system for boxing, we have the profoundest contempt;[134] as also for that execrable French custom of striking upwards with the knee when at close quarters—an atrocity for which we should like to see a man soundly horsewhipped on the spot.

Now, the savate simply consists in this. You make a feint, as if to strike in the usual manner, and then, instead of striking with the fist, you kick with the foot. Or, when your antagonist is pressing you sharply, you send the point of your toe into his chest, and stop him. Or, you retreat from him, suddenly turn round, and kick at him backwards—of course being quite unable to tell where the blow will alight, and possibly inflicting an injury the effects of which will be felt for life.

Those who are practised in this manœuvre will employ it with wonderful skill. They will hit you on the nose or on the forehead without the least apparent effort, and with the greatest certainty; they will fling you back from your advance with stunning force, and the effect of the lash-out is terrific. Indeed, if the object of boxing be to use all means of offence and defence, the savate is indispensable.

Having many opportunities of visiting several schools of arms, we carefully considered this system, which was then totally unknown to us; and after watching it well for some time, during our residence in Paris, we came to the conclusion that the savate is useful enough in case you are attacked by ruffianly fellows, whom you must needs maim, lest they should maim you; and that by the combined use of the savate and a stick, or even the fist, a man may knock over a couple of assailants simultaneously and effectually.

And if a Frenchman who uses the savate were opposed to an Englishman who never heard of it, the probability is that the former would win, because the latter would lay himself open to a mode of attack which he had always been taught to consider unfair and unmanly. But we do not believe that it would be of the slightest value against any one who knew that his antagonist would employ it, and think that the person attempting to use it would find himself hurled to the ground, and probably discover that his leg was violently sprained. So much for the savate.

It is not easy to teach any branch of the science of arms in a book, and boxing is perhaps as difficult to be learned from books as fencing. Still, something can be done even through the medium of ink and paper; and the reader can, at all events, learn to avoid the errors to which a total novice is subject.

The first and most important point is the position in which the boxer stands.

This is not very dissimilar to that of a left-handed fencer, except that the right arm, instead of being raised, is brought across the body, so that it defends the pit of the stomach (technically called the “mark”), and only leaves a very small portion of the chest open to a blow. The left arm is rather higher than if it held a foil, and[135] the elbow is kept well to the side. This latter point is most important, as it is impossible to hit straight from the shoulder if the elbow should project from the side.

The weight of the body rests mostly on the right leg, so that the boxer can step backwards or forwards, while still keeping his side to the adversary. If you stand opposite a good sparrer in boxing attitude, you will be surprised to find how well guarded he is, and how difficult it is to hit him, even if he neither moves nor attempts to return the blow. His left hand keeps you well away from him, and his right is ready either to stop or throw off your blow.

Boxer in standing position

It will be seen from the foregoing description, as well as by reference to the illustration, that a right-handed boxer stands with his left side towards the opponent, uses his left hand for the chief part of the hitting, and reserves the right for stopping, parrying, or returning blows when at close quarters, or what is technically called a “rally.”


Practise this attitude before a glass. You will soon see if you lay yourself open, and will learn to stand in a correct position. Advance and retreat also before the glass, and so make sure that you do not expose some weak point while so doing. I met a French gentleman who had made himself really a creditable boxer, merely by practising before his mirror; and after a few days of practical work with the gloves he became quite a formidable antagonist.


Another important point is the making up of the fist—not such a simple matter as it seems. The fingers must be clenched tightly, and the thumb doubled down outside them, so that when presented towards your antagonist he can see no part of it projecting over the fingers. This can also be practised at the glass. If the hand be rightly held, it will be seen that the knuckles form a kind of arch, of which the middle knuckle is the keystone. It is with this knuckle that you strike; and be sure to clench the hand with all your power[137] as you deliver the stroke; otherwise you will run a sad risk of dislocating either a finger or a thumb.

The position of the head is of no small importance. On no account bear forwards, as is the way of muffs, but keep it lightly thrown back, and never take your eye off that of your opponent. Greenhorns always lower the head, and rush at their antagonist with their arms flying about like the sails of a windmill; and the natural consequence is, that their opponent quickly steps aside, lets them pass, and knocks them neatly over by a blow on the temple, which they cannot possibly see or guard.

Having got our attitude and doubled our fist, we now learn to strike. Deliver your blow straight and from the shoulder, not merely with the arm. Put all your body into the stroke, and aid it with the spring of the right foot against the ground. Thus you add to the blow the force of a kick, and the stroke comes with such terrific force that I have seen a tall man lifted fairly off the ground and deposited on his back by a straight shoulder-hit, even though the two were merely sparring with the gloves.

Never draw back your hand before you strike, as that tells your opponent what you are contemplating. Your stroke should flash out like the lightning, without warning and straight to the mark. You cannot strike too rapidly, and you cannot recover yourself too quickly. Practise this repeatedly before a glass, and note the length of your reach, for in a knowledge of distance lies half the art of boxing. As a general rule, if you can get your left toe on a level with your antagonist’s heel, you have your proper distance. This rule, however, is necessarily variable, as in the case of the contest to which allusion has just been made, where one party could reach a full foot beyond the other, and had, in consequence, the advantage of twelve inches of space at his disposal.

Now that we have practised the left hand and arm, let us turn to the right. Except when striking, you need not trouble yourself to close the fist very tightly, but may let the hand lie in an easy and unconstrained position across the chest, ready for use in any direction that may be required.

The chief use of the right hand and arm are for parrying and stopping, which are thus achieved:

If your opponent delivers a blow at the face or upper part of the chest, and you find yourself in a good position, do not retreat from it, but fling your right arm sharply outwards and upwards, catching the opponent’s arm by the wrist, and throwing it out of the direction in which it was aimed. The effect of the parry is very powerful, as it mostly lays open the antagonist’s head, and gives opportunity for a smart return blow with the left hand; it is then near the opponent’s head, and has only a short distance to traverse. This return blow is technically called the “counter,” and is usually very effective, as it takes effect just at the moment when the antagonist is expecting[138] his own blow to strike, and turns the tables on him after a rather discouraging fashion.

Practise this also before the glass, parrying an imaginary blow from the opponent, and simultaneously shooting your own left hand against the spot where your antagonist’s head ought to be. I have often found that a quick double blow when countering is very embarrassing, and gives an opportunity of stepping in and planting your right hand after your left with enormous effect.

Stopping is performed in another manner, and must often be used where the parry is impracticable. For example, if your antagonist strikes at the body the parry cannot be accomplished, and you must either get away, stop, or take the blow in hopes of retaliation. In stopping you receive the blow on your arm, and thereby break its force, while, unless your opponent is possessed of herculean strength, the arm scarcely feels the stroke, yielding before the assault and acting like the cotton bales that have saved many a ship from the enemy’s cannon.

If you are fortunate enough to find a good boxer, get him to give you a few lessons in the practical department of the art, and in all cases be careful to keep your temper. I know that few things are more annoying than when you have made a telling plan of attack, and are just about to begin its execution, to be checked by a short dab on the nose, which makes your eyes water and the lids blink, and forces you to act on the defensive for the next few minutes, while the tears are streaming down your cheeks, and you cannot use a handkerchief by reason of the gloves.

Remember that there are two golden rules for a boxer, namely, hit straight and keep your temper. Fail in either of these requisites, and you will probably come off second best; fail in both, and you will certainly do so. Listen to an account of a battle where strength and weight and anger were overmatched by skill and coolness:—“As the assailant rushed in he ran a prominent feature of his face against a fist which was travelling in another direction, and immediately after struck the knuckles of the young man’s other fist a severe blow with the part of his person known as the epigastrium to one branch of science, and the bread-basket to another. This second round closed the battle.”

So we say again, keep your temper and hit straight. You see a circular blow takes more time to deliver than a straight one, and if your opponent swings his arm round at you, while you dart out your own fist at him, your blow will have taken effect long before his clumsy circumgyratory attempt has completed its journey.

Let me here offer another piece of advice. Do not buy cheap gloves. You may get them at a saving of half-a-crown or so, but you will soon wish that you had expended the money in obtaining a better pair. Gloves require the best horsehair, arranged after a peculiar fashion, in order to give them the mixed softness and[139] elasticity which they require. Inferior gloves soon become hard and knotty, the stuffing gets thin in some places, especially just in those very parts where it is most required. The consequence is, that the gloves become practically useless, and the blows are nearly as severe as if struck with the bare hand.

Remember that, although we strongly approve of boxing, it is not to be understood that we want every one to be fighting. We very much approve of fencing and single-stick, but we certainly have no wish that every one who learns to use the foil or the single-stick in mimic combat should want to try his rapier or his broadsword in deadly fight.

As a mere exercise it stands supreme; but it is even something beyond an exercise. It shows that superior strength and height and weight are powerless before superior skill, and that a small boy who knows how to box will certainly conquer a big one who is ignorant of the art. We say again, we do not recommend fighting; but still it is good to know how to stand up in one’s own defence, and we heartily wish that when we went to school some kind friend had taught us the rudiments of the art.

The brutal bully of a school never holds his own when he meets with an antagonist who is skilful in the use of his hands, and is forced to confess that his brute strength and cruel nature are useless in such a contest. We once saw a school bully get his deserts in a charming manner. He had fallen upon (of course) a much smaller boy, and was chasing him down a passage between a double row of forms. Suddenly his victim turned round, and delivered a right-and-left blow on the chin of his tormentor, astonishing him in no slight degree. The bully pressed on, thinking to annihilate his impertinent antagonist, but could not do so on account of the narrowness of the passage. As he pressed forward the bold little fellow retreated backwards, step by step, popping in his blows sharp and quick, and stepping back just as those of his persecutor were delivered. The bully never guarded a single blow or succeeded in hitting one, and by the time that they had made their way through the defile he was obliged to confess himself beaten, and was deposed for ever from the despotic throne which he had so long disgraced.


Man in canoe with sails


Despite the assertion of even so great an authority as Mr. Macgregor, whose name has now become a household word, canoeing is an amusement that must necessarily involve a considerable amount of danger, and ought to be indulged in by no one who has not, according to the Eton phrase, passed in swimming. Whether or not it is a very comfortable means of locomotion is purely a matter of personal feeling; but in face of the fact that the Canoe Club now numbers upwards of a hundred members, and that the boat-builders have had extensive orders for canoes, it is only fair to suppose that those who venture enjoy the new mode of locomotion. There is one circumstance that will, no doubt, obtain for canoes great favour, especially with young people, and that is, their cheapness. Messrs. Searle at Lambeth, Simmons at Putney, or Wheeler at Richmond, will build a good stout travelling canoe, after the fashion of the Rob Roy, for 15l.; which price includes mast, sails, apron, paddles, and all necessaries. Any respectable boatbuilder would no doubt do the same, when he is once provided with the necessary instructions, which, I need scarcely add, it is essential should be carried out to the letter, for the slightest deviation from the recognised standard might cause the most disagreeable results. The following points are the most important.


In having a canoe built, it is a matter of considerable moment, that in certain portions of its framework it should be constructed for and peculiarly adapted to the particular person who is going to use it. The length of the foot decides the height the canoe should be from keel to deck; the length of the legs the space required for the “well;” while the weight, of course, decides the displacement that is to be accounted for, and must be taken into consideration at the same time as the amount of luggage that it is proposed to carry. Oak is the best wood that can be used, with the top streak of mahogany and the deck of fine cedar. These were the materials of the Rob Roy, and as her weight with all her fittings was only 71 lbs., it would be unreasonable to want one lighter; indeed, for anything like knocking about flimsy canoes are utterly and entirely useless, and only aggravate the labour of paddling. The length over all should be 14 feet; beam, 26 inches; depth, from top of deck to bottom of keel, 12 inches, though towards the gunwale this is reduced to 812; inches. The well should be 32 inches long and 20 broad, and protected by a combing of oak half an inch in height. If your canoe is intended for travelling purposes, the beam should be 6 inches abaft midships; so that when stores, provisions, sails, and so on, are stowed away forward, it brings the craft to very nearly an even keel. Otherwise, it should only be 1 foot abaft midships. The boards that compose the floor, and on which you have to sit, resting your back against the backboard, are about two feet long, and are fitted so that the knees just touch the combing, while the heels are against the footboard on the keel, thus obviating the discomfort that would follow on having to keep the legs stretched out straight at full length. As I take it for granted that no one would think of going to the expense of having a canoe built without securing the services of some one who could supply him with the many minor details that it would be impossible to give here, I shall not enter more minutely into any of the less important matters, but would add, that a comfortable backboard, after the following pattern, goes a long way to lightening the labour of paddling. It should be made of two strips of oak, 18 inches long, 212; inches wide, arched by two crosspieces, one of which should be grooved, so as to rest on the combing, and work after the fashion of a hinge, it being fastened thereon by a stout cord. The result is that the muscles down the back are supported and rested while the spine is left free. The greatest possible care should be taken in selecting the apron, which is too often left to the last moment and chosen in a hurry. Being intended to prevent the water making its way over the deck into the well, and at the same time to avoid being fastened in any way likely to impede the canoeist in case of an upset, it may readily be understood that it requires nice discrimination and handiwork. It should fit close to him—in short, he should be measured for it as for a coat. Mr. Macgregor has invented a new apron, the receipt for which may[142] be easily obtained, as well as any other particulars, at Messrs. Searle’s at Lambeth.

I should recommend the novice in canoeing to rest content with propelling himself by the aid of his paddle for a while—in fact, until he is thoroughly at home in his craft and the way to manœuvre her. Spruce-fir is the best wood of which to have it made, as it combines lightness and durability, two qualities that can be readily appreciated after a day’s locomotion. The action, though it need not be violent, except in currents and so on, is very fatiguing, owing to the motion the body takes from side to side. At the same time, practice will prove to the novice that he requires to move but very little from one side to the other. There can of course be no harm in having a mast fitted to your canoe, and as soon as you feel capable of the risk, set it up, hoist your sail, and be prepared to capsize. This latter alternative is only added by way of warning. With caution nothing of the sort need happen, for the stiffness of canoes under sail in a strong wind and heavy weather has been satisfactorily proved on more than one occasion. Messrs. Silver and Co. of Bishopsgate Street, make the sails according to a regulation pattern that has been supplied them, while the boom, yard, and woven cord can best be obtained at Mr. Farlow’s, the fishing-tackle maker’s, in the Strand. I have thought it advisable to give these names, as they are recommended by Mr. Macgregor himself, who speaks in their favour with that best of all good reasons for doing so, namely, that he has found their wares satisfactory. In conclusion, I am bound to add that I am under much obligation to him for the information he has afforded me concerning this pleasant and novel form of aquatic amusement.

Cricket match


Cricket match


“Come on, lads! come on: come on, one and all:
Now shoulder the bat, and spin up the ball.
Take the field like young Trojans; your prowess essay:
While the batsman cries, Ready, the bowler says, Play:
Then run like wild deer pursued by the hounds,
And ground your bat proudly just over the bounds.”—Cunningham.

The game of cricket is the noblest of English pastimes. It combines athletic power, grace, quickness of eye and of hand, nimbleness of leg, and scientific skill. It is played by high and low, rich and poor, man and boy; and there is no game, either native or foreign, can compete with it for manliness, fairness, and healthfulness. Every one should learn to play it, and all should begin early. How it originated, or who evolved its beautiful laws and regulations, it is now difficult to discover. We have nothing like it among the sports of the Greeks and Romans, and we can only trace it to an old English pastime in the reign of Edward III., called “club-ball.” Strutt, in his “Pastimes of the People of England,” gives the following engravings, representing two specimens of club-ball: the first from a MS. in the Bodleian Library, dated 1344,—and exhibits a female figure in the act of throwing a ball to a man, who elevates his bat to strike it. The next specimen of ball, taken from a drawing more ancient than the former, i. e. a genealogical roll of kings of England[144] to the time of Henry III., in the Royal Library, presents two players only; and he who is possessed of the bat holds the ball also, which he either threw into the air, and struck with his bat as it descended, or cast forcibly upon the ground, and beat it away when it rebounded. But we should be rather inclined to trace the game of cricket to trap-ball, which was, no doubt, an improvement upon the early games played with the bat and ball. This may be traced as far back as the fourteenth century, and a curious specimen of the manner in which it was then played is given in a beautiful MS. in the possession of Francis Douce, Esq. Here are only two players; but the game then consisted of six or eight of a side, and the size of the bat indicates the holder to have possessed no great judgment in striking the ball. There was another game, called “stool-ball,” from which some have supposed cricket to have been derived; but there is no evidence in favour of this position, and it seems rather more reasonable to look upon it as a modification of “trap-ball” than any other game.

Club-ball, 1344
Medieval ball game



The regulation size of the bat, called by Felix the mighty sceptre of delight, is 38 inches in length, of which 25 inches are taken up by the pod, or, according to the more modern term, the blade, and 13 by the handle.

No bats are made longer than this, although, of course, they are allowed to be of various smaller proportions, in order to suite the height of the player.

Cricket bat

We must strongly impress on all young players the great importance of using a bat in proportion to their strength. If they use a very heavy bat, they will not be able to move it quickly enough to play the ball properly, and are apt, in consequence, to get into a sluggish style of play, which is almost sure to stick to them all their lives. A very light bat is equally injurious: the batsman sees an easy ball approach, plays hard at it, when, instead of going right over the head of long-on, it drops an easy catch into mid-wicket’s hands, in consequence of there not being enough driving power in the bat to send it further.

Cricket ball


The present style of ball, with the exception of some very slight modifications, seems to have been in use since cricket assumed anything like its present form. According to the rules of the present day, it must not be more than 9 inches in circumference, and must not weigh more than 534 or less than 514 ounces. Match balls are always treble-seamed, and are sold at the average price of 7s. 6d. But for ordinary practice, a double-seamed ball, at about 6s., will be found quite good enough, and will answer just as well as the more expensive article.


The stumps have undergone more change during the last hundred and fifty years than any of the accessories to cricket.

At first they were two in number and only 12 inches high. A third stump, 2 feet in length, was laid across them, although, with the exception of being knocked down by the bowler, it was similar in no respect to the bails of the present day, as the wicket-keeper was[146] obliged, in order to stump a person, to place the ball in a large hole dug between the two stumps.

Cricket stumps

In the year 1780 the width between the two stumps was decreased to 6 inches. It was also at this time that a bail was introduced, for it is almost impossible to dignify the transverse stump, 2 feet long, which was in use till this date, by that appellation. In 1781 a third stump was added, and the height of the wickets increased to 22 inches. The addition of a stump was mainly owing to the fact, that Lumpy, a celebrated bowler of that day, sent the ball almost three times running between the two stumps. This was thought so unfair for the bowler, that it was resolved to increase the number of stumps in order to give him a better chance.

In 1814 we find that the wickets were increased in height to 26 inches, and in width to 8 inches, and in 1817 another inch was added to their length. This, with the exception of dividing the bail into two equal parts, is the last change that has taken place.


Since the introduction of round-hand bowling, pads or guards have come into vogue, and at the present time it is really a dangerous feat to play without them. The first notion of a leg-guard was two thin boards placed anglewise on the right shin. Since that time improvements have been effected in them at various times, until they have arrived at their present state of excellence.


The leg-guard itself is now so well-known as to render any description of it needless; but as there are two or three fastenings in use, it will perhaps be as well to state what they are, and also which is the best. The first consists of three sets of tape, one round the ancle and two round the knee. These naturally take a great deal of time to fasten properly, and if one breaks, the pad is rendered useless for some time. The next is three pieces of elastic, with a catch which fastens almost instantaneously; but in course of time it loses its elasticity, and the pad dangles on one leg in a loose and awkward[147] manner. The third, and in our opinion the best fastening, is two sets of straps, with holes pierced at very slight intervals. The player can then have his pad as tight as he pleases, without the chance of the fastenings breaking or becoming loose, as in the case of the other two. There are several other guards, such as elbow and private-guards; but they are scarcely ever used.

Batting gloves


These are now made with the palm cut clear away, thus enabling the batsman to hold the bat in a much firmer manner than he could[148] were the palm of his hand covered by the glove. As will be seen by referring to the accompanying cut, the india-rubber is placed differently on the two hands. This difference will be more particularly noticed on the two thumbs. The left one, as it is always behind the handle of the bat, requires no guard; but the back of the left hand being in front of the bowler, is covered with a semicircle of india-rubber, while the strips of the india-rubber on the fingers are much longer than those on the right hand. It may be urged by those who object to the use of batting gloves, that the ball is likely to fly off them and give a catch. This, although true, very rarely happens, and besides, if the ball came with enough force to fly into the air off the glove, is it not very probable that, without a glove to shield them, the fingers would be broken by the same collision?

Wicket keeping gloves


These might be more appropriately termed gauntlets, for they are much longer than the ordinary gloves, and entirely cover the wrist. Thanks to the suggestions of the best wicket-keepers of the day, they have now been greatly improved, and have padding only in those parts where it can possibly be required. It is absurd to try to keep wicket well without wearing these gauntlets; therefore let no young cricketer be fool-hardy enough to attempt the feat. As the right and left hand gloves are precisely the same, the artist has drawn one glove in two positions, in order to show the front and back of it.


The following are the laws which govern the game everywhere. They have been recently revised by the Marylebone Club, usually considered the highest authority in the game.


1. The Ball must weigh not less than 512 ounces, nor more than 534 ounces. It must measure not less than 9 inches, nor more than 914 inches, in circumference. At the beginning of each innings either party may call for a new ball.

[It is, however, not customary to have a new ball at the beginning of each innings. One a match is usually considered sufficient.]

2. The Bat must not exceed 414 inches in the widest part; it must not be more than 38 inches in length.

3. The Stumps must be 3 in number, 27 inches out of the ground; the bails 8 inches in length; the stumps of equal and of sufficient thickness to prevent the ball from passing through.

4. The Bowling Crease must be in a line with the stumps; 6 feet 8 inches in length; the stumps in the centre; with a return crease at each end towards the bowler, at right angles.

5. The Popping Crease must be 4 feet from the wicket, and parallel to it, unlimited in length, but not shorter than the bowling crease; unlimited in length, so that the batsman may keep out of the way of the ball when it is thrown in.

6. The wickets must be pitched opposite to each other by the umpires, at the distance of 22 yards.

7. It shall not be lawful for either party during a match, without the consent of the other, to alter the ground by rolling, watering, covering, mowing, or beating, except at the commencement of each innings, when the ground shall be swept and rolled, unless the side next going in object to it. This rule is not meant to prevent the striker from beating the ground with his bat near to the spot where he stands during the innings, nor to prevent the bowler from filling up holes with sawdust, &c. when the ground is wet.

8. After rain the wickets may be changed with the consent of both parties.

9. The Bowler shall deliver the ball with one foot on the ground behind the bowling crease, and within the return crease, and shall bowl four balls before he change wickets, which he shall be permitted to do only once in the same innings.

[In a one day’s match six balls are usually allowed as an over.]

10. The ball must be bowled; if thrown or jerked, the umpire shall call “no ball.”

11. He may require the striker at the wicket from which he is bowling to stand on that side of it which he may direct.

12. If the bowler shall toss the ball over the striker’s head, or bowl it so wide that in the opinion of the umpire it shall not be fairly within the reach of the batsman, he shall adjudge one run to the party receiving the innings without an appeal, which shall be put down to the score of wide balls; such balls shall not be reckoned as one of the four or six balls: but if the batsman shall by any means bring himself within reach of the ball, the run shall not be scored.


13. If the bowler deliver a “no ball” or a “wide ball,” the striker shall be allowed as many runs as he can get, and he shall not be put out except by running out. In the event of no run being obtained by any other means, then one run shall be added to the score of “no balls” or “wide balls,” as the case may be. All runs obtained for “wide balls” to be scored to “wide balls.” If the ball shall first touch any part of the striker’s dress or person (except his hands), the umpire shall call “leg bye.”

[If, however, the batsman runs two byes from a wide or a no ball, they are scored as two wides only. Many young players are in the habit of running a single bye off a wide ball, without ever thinking that they endanger their wicket without the slightest possible chance of advantage to themselves.]

14. At the beginning of each innings the umpire shall call “play;” from that time to the end of each innings no trial ball shall be allowed to any bowler.

[This rule is very seldom enforced, as a new bowler is almost invariably allowed a trial ball, though not on the wicket.]

15. The Striker is Out if either of the bails be struck off, or if a stump be bowled out of the ground;

16. Or, if the ball, from a stroke of the bat or hand, but not the wrist, be held before it touches the ground, although it be hugged to the body of the catcher;

17. Or, if in striking, or at any other time while the ball shall be in play, both his feet shall be over the popping-crease, and his wicket put down, except his bat be grounded within it;

18. Or, if in striking at the ball, he hit down his wicket;

19. Or, if under pretence of running or otherwise, either of the strikers prevent a ball from being caught, the striker of the ball is out;

20. Or, if the ball be struck, and he wilfully strike it again;

[This does not prevent the batsman from hitting the ball off his wicket when it glides in from not being blocked with sufficient force.]

21. Or, if in running the wicket be struck down by a throw, or by the hand or arm (with ball in hand), before his bat (in hand) or some part of his person be grounded over the popping-crease. But if both the bails be off, a stump must be struck out of the ground;

22. Or, if any part of the striker’s dress knock down the wicket;

23. Or, if the striker touch or take up the ball while at play, unless at the request of the opposite party;

24. Or, if with any part of his person he stop the ball, which in the opinion of the umpire at the bowler’s wicket shall have been pitched in a straight line from it to the striker’s wicket, and would have hit it.

[On the 15th of April, 1863, the M. C. C. altered this rule as follows:—“Or, if the ball hit any part of his person which in the opinion of the umpire at the bowler’s wicket shall have been placed in a straight line from it to the striker’s wicket.” But at their next meeting, discovering that their former[151] proceedings were informal, they cancelled their new rule; so that the law remains as before.

It is almost impossible for a round-arm bowler, unless he bowl over the wicket, to pitch the ball in a straight line.]

25. If the players have crossed each other, he that runs for the wicket which is put down is out.

26. A ball being caught, no runs shall be reckoned.

27. A striker being run out, that run which he and his partner were attempting shall not be reckoned.

28. If a lost ball be called, the striker shall be allowed six runs; but if more than six shall have been run before “lost ball” shall have been called, then the striker shall have all which have been run.

29. After the ball shall have been finally settled in the wicket-keeper’s or bowler’s hand, it shall be considered dead; but when the bowler is about to deliver the ball, if the striker at his wicket go outside the popping-crease before such actual delivery, the said bowler may put him out, unless (with reference to the 21st law) his bat in hand, or some part of his person, be within the popping-crease.

30. The striker shall not retire from his wicket and return to it to complete his innings after another has been in, without the consent of the opposite party.

31. No substitute shall in any case be allowed to stand out, or run between wickets for another person, without the consent of the opposite party; and in case any person shall be allowed to run for another, the striker shall be out, if either he or his substitute be off the ground in manner mentioned in laws 17 and 21, while the ball is in play.

32. In all cases where a substitute shall be allowed, the consent of the opposite party shall also be obtained as to the person to act as substitute, and the place in the field which he shall take.

33. If any fieldsman stop the ball with his bat, the ball shall be considered dead, and the opposite party shall add five runs to their score; if any be run, they shall have five in all.

34. The ball having been hit, the striker may guard his wicket with his bat, or with any part of his body except his hands; that the 23rd law may not be infringed.

35. The wicket-keeper shall not take the ball for the purpose of stumping until it has passed the wicket; he shall not move until the ball be out of the bowler’s hand; he shall not by any noise incommode the striker; and if any part of his person be over or before the wicket, although the ball hit it, the striker shall not be out.

36. The umpires are the sole judges of fair or unfair play; and all disputes shall be determined by them, each at his own wicket; but in case of a catch, which the umpire at the wicket bowled from cannot see sufficiently to decide upon, he may apply to the other umpire, whose opinion shall be conclusive.


37. The umpires in all matches shall pitch fair wickets; and the parties shall toss up for choice of innings. The umpires shall change wickets after each party has had one innings.

38. They shall allow two minutes for each striker to come in, and ten minutes between each innings. When the umpire shall call “play,” the party refusing to play shall lose the match.

39. They are not to order a striker out unless appealed to by the adversaries;

40. But if one of the bowler’s feet be not on the ground behind the bowling-crease, and within the return-crease, when he shall deliver the ball, the umpire at his wicket, unasked, must call “no ball.”

41. If either the strikers run a short run, the umpire must call “one short.”

[The run is of course not scored.]

42. No umpire shall be allowed to bet.

43. No umpire is to be changed during a match, without the consent of both parties, except in case of violation of the 42nd law; then either party may dismiss the transgressor.

44. After the delivery of four or six balls the umpire must call “over,” but not until the ball shall be finally settled in the wicket-keeper’s or bowler’s hand; the ball shall then be considered dead; nevertheless, if an idea be entertained that either of the strikers is out, a question may be put previously to, but not after, the delivery of the next ball.

45. The umpire must take especial care to call “no ball” instantly upon delivery; “wide ball” as soon as it shall pass the striker.

46. The players who go in second shall follow their innings, if they have obtained eighty runs less than their antagonists, except in all matches limited to only one day’s play, when the number shall be limited to sixty instead of eighty.

47. When one of the strikers shall have been put out, the use of the bat shall not be allowed to any person until the next striker shall come in.

Note.—The Committee of the Marylebone Club think it desirable that, previously to the commencement of a match, one of each side should be declared the manager of it; and that the new laws with respect to substitutes may be carried out in a spirit of fairness and mutual concession, it is their wish that such substitutes be allowed in all reasonable cases, and that the umpire should inquire if it is done with the consent of the manager of the opposite side.

Complaints having been made that it is the practice of some players when at the wicket to make holes in the ground for a footing, the Committee are of opinion that the umpires should be empowered to prevent it.


1. When there shall be less than five players on a side, bounds shall be placed 22 yards each in a line from the off and leg-stump.

2. The ball must be hit before the bounds to entitle the striker to a run, which run cannot be obtained unless he touch the bowling-stump[153] or crease in a line with his bat, or some part of his person, or go beyond them, returning to the popping-crease, as at double wicket, according to the 21st law.

3. When the striker shall hit the ball, one of his feet must be on the ground, and behind the popping-crease, otherwise the umpire shall call “no hit.”

4. When there shall be less than five players on a side, neither byes nor overthrows shall be allowed, nor shall the striker be caught out behind the wicket, nor stumped out.

5. The fieldsman must return the ball so that it shall cross the play between the wicket and the bowling-stump, or between the bowling-stump and the bounds; the striker may run till the ball be so returned.

6. After the striker shall have made one run, if he starts again he must touch the bowling-stump, and turn before the ball cross the play, to entitle him to another.

7. The striker shall be entitled to three runs for lost ball, and the same number for ball stopped with bat, with reference to the 28th and 33rd laws of double wicket.

8. When there shall be more than four players on a side, there shall be no bounds. All hits, byes, and overthrows shall then be allowed.

9. The bowler is subject to the same laws as at double wicket.

10. Not more than one minute shall be allowed between each ball.


The first point to be considered in batting is the sort of bat to be used. Many young cricketers cramp their play by using a bat much too heavy for them. Now, it stands to reason that one should be able to have a complete mastery over the weapon one wields. A bat weighing about two pounds will be found quite heavy enough for most schoolboys. It may, however, be urged that the heaviest bats drive the farthest, and that many of the old-fashioned players made some of their famous hits with them; but it must also be borne in mind that those were the days of underhand bowling, and that at the present time cutting and leg-hitting, in consequence of the swift round-arm bowling, are infinitely more prevalent than forward drives, and that in many cases the position of field-on is done away with altogether. Therefore let us beg young players to use a light bat, one that feels almost as a whip in their hands, and one with which they can play back as quickly as is necessitated by the speed of the bowling.

And now a few words with regard to guard. Of course, in many instances, the distance from the wickets depends considerably upon the pace and pitch of the bowling, but as a rule the safest guard is about four inches from the popping-crease. This block not only gives you a better chance of stopping shooters, but also enables you[154] to play forward better, since you can cover more ground than if your block were nearer the wicket. A leg hit can also be made sooner, and consequently squarer, and with a good long block there is less chance of hitting your wicket in playing back, and more chance of stopping a full-pitched ball before it touches the ground.

The left foot should be at right angle to the wickets, and the other parallel with them. Free hitters keep their hands at the upper part of the handle of the bat, whilst some players, who have a reputation for steadiness, hold it with the hands three or four inches apart. The former position enables a player to hit much sooner, and also to have a much longer reach. The advantages of the position are readily discovered when there is a chance of a cut or a leg-hit.

The batsman should stand quite erect, endeavouring to make the most of his height. Before the ball is delivered, the bat should be raised, with the full face presented to the bowler, and covering as much of the wicket as possible.

The moment the bowler is about to deliver the ball, raise your bat slightly from the block, keeping it almost straight to him. If you hold it, as some players do, still on the block-hole until the ball approaches, you are almost sure to be too late for the ball; and although, if it be straight, you may keep it off your wicket, yet it is a hundred chances to one that you will miss all the leg balls, or those which come to the off-side.

Play, too, as low as possible. It is much better to hit a ball well along the ground for two, than to send one high into the air, although you get four or five for it. Sooner or later you will lose your wicket, for the ball is sure at some time to be caught by long-on or long-off.

Assuming that the player has taken up his position at the wicket, we must now fully impress upon him the importance of not being in a hurry to score. In fact, nothing is so injurious as making runs in the first over. The best maxim to be observed is, play steadily until you can understand the bowling. It is astonishing how much confidence you gain after you have played a dozen balls or so. Then, when you have, as it were, taken the measure of your opponent, lunge out, as soon as you get a chance, and show the field your favourite drive, and prepare to make a score.

In writing the last sentence, we are reminded of the many mishaps and even serious accidents that have occurred on the cricket-field in consequence of the careless manner in which some players run. They rush between the wickets, watching the course of the ball rather than the wicket towards which they are going; occasionally they run too far and lose time, or else do not run far enough and lose runs; or, what is even worse, a collision takes place between the two batsmen, and one is run out, if not seriously injured by the bat or body of his comrade. The simplest plan, therefore, is always to run on the right side, to keep the bat in the right hand, and to watch the wicket towards which you are running.


It has often been remarked that the most difficult balls to play are shooters, and those that are well pitched up and just take the bail off. Indeed, some shooters are almost sure to take a wicket; the moment, therefore, that a ball shoots, drop the bat back close to the stumps, and chop down upon the ball. Stopping a shooter is always a sign of good play, and often at Lord’s produces more applause than a hit which scores two or three runs. Some players, like Parr and Carpenter, can stop shooters so well, that although they only chop down upon them, yet the force of the stroke often drives the ball far enough to obtain a run.

How happens it that so many players miss the cut, although they attempt this stroke at almost every ball that rises to the off? As a rule, young players hit too soon, and if they touch the ball, in most cases they give either point or cover-point an easy catch; others hit in time, but play with a horizontal bat, the face of which is presented to the bowler. The ball then rises in many instances either to slip or long-slip, with the usual result. In cutting, the batsman should wait until the ball has almost passed the wicket, and then drop down upon it, with the face of the bat almost towards the ground. This keeps the ball down and drives it in the direction required. In cutting, the left foot acts as a pivot, and the right foot is drawn back. The advantage of taking a long block is here shown, as occasionally this leg knocks down the wicket; and if the block is near the stumps, they are easily struck by the bat itself.

In leg-hitting, on the contrary, the right acts as a pivot, and the left is thrown forwards. The sooner the hit is made the squarer the ball goes, and, as a rule, the greater distance also. Since then, in swift bowling, long-on is generally done away with, a leg ball that is hit in front of long leg is safe to obtain more runs than if hit much behind the wicket.

A very common habit among young players is to strike at wide balls. Many and many a time have we seen a batsman rush out to a wide off-ball, and send it into point’s or cover’s hands, thus depriving himself of his innings and his side of a run. Before we conclude this somewhat desultory chapter, we must urge upon everybody the importance of wearing both gloves and leg-guards when playing against swift bowling. The many dangerous accidents that have happened in consequence of the legs and hands having no protection, should induce every person to guard himself as much as possible. One can stand up to the wicket much better, and have far more confidence, when one knows that a blow from the ball upon the legs is likely to produce no ill effect. The absence of pads causes many players to run away from the ball, and if the ball turns, the off-stump in most cases will soon be prostrate.

Be careful, too, in running, that you ground your bat on the popping-crease. Nothing is so tantalizing to a player as to lose a run[156] through the carelessness of his companion, who in his excitement runs an inch or so short of the proper distance.

The moment the ball has left the bowler at your wicket, walk a yard or two; you may by this means steal many a run that it would be impossible to obtain if you were at your own wicket when the ball was hit.

Never, if you can possibly avoid it, hit a ball on the wrong side. How disgusting it is to see a big awkward player swipe a ball right round to the off-side which he should have drawn or played to mid-wicket on!


Do not run away from the ball. If you do, you can never get a good leg hit; besides, you naturally expose your wicket, and if the ball turns in (as it often will do), you will find it almost impossible to be back in time to save your off-stump.


As a rule, play forward whenever you can; but be sure you don’t run out of your ground to hit unless you feel perfectly confident of your success.

Waiting for the ball is always a dangerous experiment, and will often result in your playing back so far that you upset your own wickets when in the act of achieving a most scientific cut.

Be careful to keep one foot steadily planted within the popping-crease; it is sometimes impossible to help being bowled or caught, but the worst player in the world can always prevent the wicket-keeper stumping him.

Mind, too, that the bat ought to strike the ball, and not the ball the bat.

Be always cautious of straight balls, however tempting they may appear. Remember that if you miss them, you are safe to lose your wicket; therefore always treat them with the respect that they deserve.

Balls, too, that come about five inches above the bails should generally be allowed to pass, for unless you are well skilled in the art of hitting down, you are sure to give a catch.

And now a word or two with regard to the three leg hits—the draw, the forward, and the backward leg hit.

When a ball seems pitched at the leg stump, hold your bat straight, as it were, for a block; but the moment the bat meets the ball, turn the face of it a trifle round towards you, and the ball will then slip off between your legs and the stumps. This is called the draw.

This play, however, requires a great deal of practice, and should very rarely be attempted by inexperienced players.

The forward leg hit is made in the following manner:—When a ball is pitched rather wide on the near side, advance the left foot in front of the wicket, turn half round, and hit down upon the ball as hard as you can.

When the ball is pitched inside the near stump, step back with the right foot, and with an upright bat play it off the wicket. The ball will fly rapidly along the ground, and usually between leg and long-stop.

Recollect, the sooner you hit at a leg ball the squarer it goes.

The cut is the most difficult of all, and can only be accomplished when the ball rises a little wide of the off-bail. Even then you are very likely to play either too soon or too late at it, and it is very rare indeed that a player makes a really good legitimate cut.

When you see the ball about to rise a foot away from off-bail, draw the right leg backwards, and, with a horizontal bat, give the ball something between a pat and a push, between point and short-slip.

This is very far from being a scientific definition of this delightful stroke; but I think, from the plain manner in which I have stated it, that it will be more likely to be understood.



The technical names for the various balls the batsman is likely to receive are—the full pitch, the tice, the hop, the half volley, the ground ball, and the shooter.

Leg balls and balls to cut we have already explained.

At first sight, a full pitch would seem one of the easiest balls to play; but in reality it is not; and many a good batsman, who could play any number of well-pitched balls, has lost his wicket by playing rashly or across a toss. Again, if hit carelessly, it is almost sure to be caught by one of the long-fields; and often, when the batsman tries to play it down, it hits the top of his bat, and goes into long-stop’s hands. The best plan (if you are not very tall), when you think it is too high to take your wicket, is to leave it alone altogether; but when you feel persuaded that if you miss the ball it will take the stumps, either play it down, or else hit it where there is no field.

The tice is almost a full pitch. If you have a long reach, go in and play it forward; if not, however, keep your bat down and block[159] it. Running in is generally a bad habit, as it is sure to engender a loose style of play.

The long hop, if straight, should be played very carefully, and with an upright bat. Those batsmen who have, as it is called, “got their eye in,” can usually strike at one with impunity; but as the ball is liable to twist every time it reaches the ground, the young player should be very careful in striking at it.

A half volley is a ball which rises well from the pitch. Catches are, however, often the result of hitting right at a half volley.

A ground ball is perhaps better known among our young friends as a sneak. If played at with a high bat, the wicket is almost sure to fall. The best plan is to keep the bat well down, and play forward at it. If the bat is kept in a straight line with the ball, you cannot miss it, and often by playing it forward you can send it past the bowler.

A shooter is the most difficult ball to play, and if not treated with proper respect, is sure to take the wicket. The moment the ball shoots, play back, dropping the bat down on it within an inch of the stumps. You are by this means very likely to keep it off your wicket, but do not try to hit it. Left-hand bowling generally turns in from the off; therefore play forward at it.


Although not of so interesting a character as batting and bowling, yet fielding is in itself of too much importance to be overlooked, or even carelessly practised, by anybody who desires to become a cricketer. Many a match has been lost by loose fielding, and instances without number have occurred of a man who, after being missed before he has made a run, has sent his score up to fifty before receiving his dismissal. It is astonishing how many runs may be saved by careful fielding. Hits which at first seem good for four, only obtain one through good fielding, and that even a sharp run.

Quick fielding should be practised by the tyro, before either of the other two departments of the game. As soon as a boy gets a ball in his hand, he tries to catch it, or to get a companion to throw it to him; and thus before he even knows how to handle a bat, many a boy has in him the elements of a good field. As, however, the fascination of batting grows upon him, he cares less for the other parts of the game; and thus it happens that although we have many gentlemen cricketers who bat just as well as professionals, yet the latter obtain the mastery through their superior bowling and fielding, which they are obliged to practise as often as batting, in order to obtain the reputation of good players. I have, however, heard it stated that no finer fielding can be seen than that shown in the University match. This is generally admitted; but it must be borne in mind that the University match is played by young men whose ages vary from twenty to five-and-twenty, whereas most of the players are[160] over thirty, and some rapidly approaching to forty, an age at which the bones are not so lissom as those that have just arrived at man’s estate.

As a proof of this I may cite the Gentlemen and Players’ match at Lord’s, a contest (if such it can be called) which is only worth seeing on account of the excellent bowling and fielding of the professional players. It is satisfactory to know that it is the opinion of most judges of the game, that as long as the gentlemen persist in practising batting only, they will scarcely have a chance against the players.

No advice, however, will produce the same good upon a young player in the matter of fielding as watching a match in which some of the best players take part. In this he should bear well in mind the manner in which the ball is stopped and thrown to the wicket-keeper.

Supposing that our cricketer can stop and catch a ball pretty well, the next point for him to study is to throw it in carefully. How many men that should have been run out save their wickets through the bad throwing of a field, who, either through hurry or nervousness, pitches the ball over the wicket-keeper’s head, or sends it in so much along the ground as to render the picking up of it sharply by the wicket-keeper a matter of impossibility! The best plan is to throw in a catch to the top of the bails. A long hop occasionally meets with success; but if the ground is bumpy, and the ball is thrown in from a distance, it is very possible that it will go over the man’s head.

One of the most prominent failings of a young eleven is the careless manner in which they back up. Overthrows in a professional eleven are almost a matter of impossibility, for if the ball passes one field there is almost sure to be another behind him to stay its progress; whereas, in some clubs, if there is one man to back up the wicket-keeper, the ball is considered safe, and as he generally stands within a few yards of the wicket, he usually misses the ball if it passes the amateur Lockyer. If, however, it is expedient to throw the ball to the bowler, and he does not wish to hurt his fingers, an overthrow is sure to follow, for long-on or long-off scarcely ever thinks it his duty to stand behind the bowler’s wicket when the ball is thrown in. Overthrows in themselves are not only annoying, because they are obtained through no merit of the batsman, but because they always produce a merciless laugh from the spectators, and occasionally epithets of a not very complimentary character. It is therefore the captain’s bounden duty to make his eleven back up well, and not to consider the ball safe unless two or three people are behind the wicket at which it is thrown.

One naturally imagines that the wicket-keeper’s hands get occasionally damaged from the sharp throwing to which he is subjected. Whatever he would do without his thick gauntlets, it is unpleasant[161] to imagine. Care should on all occasions, therefore, be taken to save his hands, and when the batsmen are not running, there is no need to throw the ball as hard as possible at him. The long-stop, who returns the ball to the wicket-keeper oftener than any other field, should send it in gently when there is no run, and the wicket-keeper ought, in throwing it to the bowler, to toss it as quietly as he can, in order not to deaden the fingers of that important functionary.

Whilst writing about bowler and wicket-keeper, we cannot allow the opportunity to pass of requesting all players to obey with the utmost fidelity any order given to them in the field. The wicket-keeper can, by raising his hand, change the positions of the field unknown to the batsman, who, hitting a ball to a place which he thinks is not covered, and finding it suddenly stopped, sees that he must play more carefully in future.

Two of the most important positions in the field are the mid-wickets and cover-point, and no player, unless he is a safe catch, and can return the ball sharply, should ever be placed there. It has been computed that mid-wicket runs more out than any other field. Anybody who has seen R. Daft in this place will be surprised at the rapidity with which he picks up the ball and sends it in. The space that a good cover-point can command is really astonishing. Players seeing that the ball has passed point feel sure that it is safe for one, whereas, if cover runs in and sends it in well to the wicket-keeper, one of the batsmen will probably have “run out” to his name.

Long-stop should on no account be too close to the wicket. If he takes a position where he feels sure he can stop one run, he will do much more service than nearer the stumps. Not only will he be able to stop some balls which might have gone over his head, but he may stay the progress of many leg-hits and slipped balls, besides standing a better chance of a catch.

Catching comes so naturally that we need say little about it. The chief point to be remembered is to keep the hands well together. Occasionally one sees—in catching—the ball slip through a man’s hands altogether. At other times the ball lodges in the hands for an instant, and then drops to the ground, because the arms were not drawn back with the ball, but held out to meet it. In catching, the arms should always be drawn back as the ball comes, as this lessens the force with which the ball strikes the hands. A good plan, but one which, however, requires much practice, is to pat the ball up as it comes, and then to catch it. It is evident that when the ball has thus been sent up, it descends much more slowly than when it comes direct from the bat.

Even, however, if, in spite of advice and practice, one of the field is unfortunate enough to miss a catch, the captain should not allow any unfeeling remarks to be made. The anguish of the unfortunate player is quite deep enough without being aggravated by growls and[162] sneers from comrades who may perhaps do the same thing in a few minutes.

The captain should also do all he can to prevent talking in the field. It is time to do that when a wicket falls, but very unlike a true cricketer to endeavour to attract the field’s attention just as the bowler is about to deliver the ball.


We have read in a manual of Cricket that there are four styles of bowling, and Felix, we believe, in his excellent work on the Bat, states that there are five modes, all of which are in general use. For the present purpose, however, we think it will be sufficient if we confine our remarks to two styles,

1. Round-arm Bowling.

2. Underhand Bowling.

The former is an innovation upon the latter, and, like all improvements, met with a great deal of opposition at first, since it was more difficult to play, and made the innings shorter. Now, however, the batting seems to have obtained as much mastery over the round-arm bowling as before it had over the underhand, and it is even probable that in a few years a new style will be introduced, in order to decrease the inordinate length which innings assume now-a-days.

The following hints apply to the round-arm bowling:

The ball should be held with the fingers across the seams, as this occasionally makes the ball twist, and renders the defence of the batsman a matter of more difficulty. Many bowlers, however, can never get what is technically called “a twist on,” whereas others, after an hour’s practice, can manage to make the ball twist in any direction they please.

It is also important to take a run of a few yards, increasing the distance in proportion to the pace. This allows the bowler to get his arm into swing, and increases the impetus with which the ball is delivered.

The bowler should always stand with his body well towards the other wicket. We have seen a man run almost round the wicket and deliver the ball without looking at the stumps he is supposed to aim at. Long practice had enabled him to bowl pretty well, but the absurdity of his position was so apparent that it provoked a laugh from all who saw it.

It must not be imagined, however, that a bowler should always deliver the same style of ball. Many a wicket (paradoxical as it may seem) falls from a ball that is not straight. A batsman who has had a hit to leg for four, becomes at once anxious to get another. Very often, if a bowler pitches the ball in a different manner, the batsman endeavours to give another specimen of his favourite hit, and equally often loses his wicket. Practise, therefore, change of[163] pace and pitch, as catches are almost sure at some time to be the result.

Nyren, one of the earliest writers on Cricket, speaks of this plan in the following manner:—

“When it is difficult to part two batsmen, and either of them has a favourite hit, I have often succeeded in getting him out by opening the field where his hit is placed, at the same time hinting to the bowler to give him a different style of ball. This, with the opening of the field, has tempted him to plant his favourite hit, and in his anxiety to do so he has not unfrequently committed an error fatal to him.”

In writing of round-arm bowling let us recommend young bowlers to practise bowling over the wicket in preference to what is usually termed round or outside it. The former plan is the only mode that necessitates straight bowling, since, from the position of the arm, the ball may be straight all the way, whereas, in the latter, the ball must come in from the leg side. Again, it will be recollected that in the late discussion about leg before wicket, many of the best judges gave it as their opinion that the batsman could not be given out l. b. w. unless the ball was delivered over the wicket. To these advantages may be added the fact that a much better view of the opponent’s stumps can be obtained, and that the distance is also shorter than from the outside of the wicket.

Among the most common faults of young players may be cited a habit of not pitching the ball far enough. This is mainly owing to a want of power in the arms, but still a little careful practice will considerably assist the player. Those nice specimens of bowling known as bailers, when the bail is knocked off, can only be obtained by a ball that is well pitched up. Shooters, also, are the result of balls that touch the ground near the wicket. We may also add that a ball that is pitched short is easy to play, since it can be seen well, and its coming in contact with the ground deadens its force and checks its speed.

Another practice which is often condemned is a habit of bowling fast. Now, it is a great mistake to imagine that fast bowling is the most difficult to play, as may be ascertained by the fact that our fastest bowlers by no means take the most wickets, excepting Jackson, whose bowling, however, is not so successful now as it was at one time. Fast bowling does not so readily allow accuracy of pitch as a slower style; besides, a fast bowler soon gets tired, then bowls loosely, and then gets taken off. Those tips (for they are nothing else) to the slips for four or five, are more the result of the bowler than the batsman. Let us, therefore, earnestly recommend young bowlers to begin bowling slowly, and to increase their pace as they grow older and stronger. Many a promising bowler has been irretrievably spoilt by beginning to bowl too fast for his strength, and finding in a short time that he has no style at all, and that the fruit[164] of his labour is principally found in the number of byes scored off him.

Particular care must also be taken to avoid bowling over the shoulder. It is a pity that there is not some more stringent rule than at present exists with regard to law 10, although in such a case the most successful bowlers would find their occupation gone; besides, as the no-balling of a bowler by an umpire usually causes the greatest unpleasantness in a match, spoiling the amicable feeling which almost invariably exists in the cricket-field, it is much better to avoid the head and front of the offending, by practising the best means to prevent the arm getting over the shoulder. We recollect at school a big sturdy fellow, who, not content with bowling over his shoulder, delivered the ball always as fast as he could. His bowling, however, (as might be expected) was so loose that his services were never called into requisition at a match; but at practice he occasionally handled the ball, much to the dread of the batsman he opposed. One day he was bowling against the present writer in his usual headstrong style, and actually sent a ball over the wicket-keeper’s head into long-stop’s hands. This naturally frightened us, as we thought it just possible that the next might hit us on the chest. A narrow escape we had, for the very next was pitched so high, that, had we not quickly dropped on the ground, it would have hit us on the head with such force as probably to stop cricket with us for ever.

Our remarks on underhand bowling, or slows, must necessarily be brief. That good slows are effective, particularly against county twenty-twos, is proved by the analysis of R. C. Tinley’s bowling, and the destructive power of Mr. V. E. Walker’s slows is well known to most of those who have played against him.

It is often a good plan to begin with a fast bowler at one end and slows at the other. The change of pace and delivery is very puzzling to the batsman, who is compelled to play the two styles on a different plan. If, however, a slow bowler is hit about much, he should be changed at once, as the hits from slows generally add up quicker than those from round-arm.

If change of pitch is advantageous in the swift bowling, it is the very soul of slows. Full pitches, leg balls, off balls, shooters, all styles and forms, should be allowed full play. The bowler, too, must dodge about, and make himself an extra field, going wherever he imagines the ball will be hit. In writing about slows we cannot pass unmentioned the great advantage derived from making a ball twist in from the leg. It is always understood that the leg stump is the hardest to defend, and consequently the best to attack.

A slow ball is pitched a little wide of the leg, the batsman runs away from his guard, and, in his imagination, sees the ball hit to square leg for four. In reality, however, he finds his off-stump knocked down by this same leg ball at which, in his ignorance, he[165] struck too soon, and therefore saw it hit his stump before he could be back to stop it.

The positions of the field may be varied according to the opinion of the bowler.



The duties of the wicket-keeper are to stop the balls when missed by the striker, to stump him when off his ground, and to catch the ball, and knock the wickets down before the striker, when running, can ground his bat over the popping-crease. Since the introduction of fast bowling this position has become the most dangerous in the field, and a wicket-keeper seldom gets through a match without receiving some bruises. He should always wear pads and gloves. Some people recommend a guard for the abdomen, but this is scarcely ever used.

The wicket-keeper should, if possible, be captain of his eleven. As he is behind the striker, he can by a motion of his hand move any of the field closer or further, unknown to the batsman. This naturally requires great tact, and is often the means of saving many a run, or of getting a wicket.


He should stand in a somewhat stooping position, his left leg well forward and his hands close together, while his eyes should watch every movement of the ball. He should be very cautious about taking leg balls, as, if he gets too near, he is likely to receive a blow from the batsman.

As soon as the ball is thrown to him from the long-stop, he ought to advance two or three yards (provided, in the meantime, the batsmen are not running), and send it gently into the bowler’s hands.

The moment a hit is made, he should stand on that side of the wicket farthest from the ball, and wait quietly till it is thrown in. The ball should be thrown in by one pitch, and not in long hops, as is often the case among bad players. Above all, he should knock the wicket down as seldom as possible, but content himself with striking a bail off when he thinks the batsman is out of his ground.


Stands behind the wicket-keeper, in order to prevent byes.

He must be careful not to be too far away from the wicket, or else clever players are apt to steal a bye before the ball has reached him. The moment he gets the ball, he should return it sharply into the wicket-keeper’s hands, and scarcely ever throw it over to the bowler. He should assist in backing up short slip, and also endeavour to save runs on the leg side. When slows are put on in a match, the long-stop is usually changed to a position about twelve yards behind the bowler’s head.


Stands in a direct line with the popping-crease, at a distance of about twelve yards on the off-side, for fast bowling. The faster the bowling, the sharper he should stand. He should commence at first at the distance we have just mentioned, and approach when he sees the player about to strike. A sharp point may often stop a hard hit to cover-point. This position is, however, rather dangerous in fast bowling, and, at the same time, one of the most important. For slow bowling, he should come in to about five yards, and stand at a more acute angle than when the delivery is very swift.


Stands a few yards behind the wicket on the off-side. As this position does not entail much running, it is usually allotted to the bowlers. The balls come in very sharply when the bowling is swift, and the person occupying this position has to watch the ball very attentively, or he stands a very good chance of receiving it in his face. It is also his duty to back up the wicket-keeper, and to take his place at the wicket when that functionary runs after the ball.



Stands some distance behind point, to prevent a second run. The sharper the bowling is, the squarer he should stand. He must also be particular in backing up, as he can prevent many an overthrow.


Performs the same duties, and occupies the same position, with regard to slip as the last-mentioned field does to point. He should, when he can, back up long-stop and save a second run.


Stands deep on the on-side. When the bowling is very swift, he can take the place of mid-wicket on, as a ball in such a case is seldom hit fair, either on the on or off side. He must be a good catch, a good thrower, and very swift on his legs.


Occupies the same position as long-on at the other side of the wicket.


Stands about the same distance behind the wicket on the on-side as long-on does before it. He must possess a quick eye and great agility. Leg-hits, after touching the ground, usually turn off in quite a different direction from what one would expect. Leg should therefore try to get them before they pitch, or else be careful in running to meet them.


Stand halfway between the long-fields and the striker’s wicket. As many catches come to these parts of the field, they should be very sharp and active, and try to prevent the ball going past them.


In very swift bowling the long-on often takes this position. He stands between point and short-slip, in a direct line with the bowling-crease, at a distance of about twelve yards.

And now, having given the functions of the fieldsmen, we propose to show, by diagrams, their positions with regard to fast and slow bowling.


Diagram I.—Fast Round-arm Bowling.
Diagram of cricket play

S. Striker; 1. The Bowler; 2. Wicket-Keeper; 3. Long-Stop; 4. Short-Slip; 5. Point; 6. Long-Slip; 7. Mid-Wicket on; 8. Long-off; 9. Cover-Point; 10. Third Man up; 11. Long-Leg; U. Umpire.

Diagram II.—Medium Pace Round-arm Bowling.
Diagram of cricket play

S. Striker; 1. Bowler; 2. Wicket-Keeper; 3. Long-Stop; 4. Short-Slip; 5. Point; 6. Long-Slip; 7. Long-on; 8. Long-off; 9. Cover-Point; 10. Mid-Wicket on; 11. Leg; U. Umpire.


Diagram III.—Slow Underhand Bowling.
Diagram of cricket play

1. Bowler; 2. Wicket-Keeper; 3. Leg; 4. Short-Slip. 5. Point; 6. Extra Long-on; 7. Long-on; 8. Long-off; 9. Mid-Wicket off; 10. Mid-Wicket on; 11. Square-Leg; S. Striker. U. Umpire.

As in very swift bowling the ball is often hit to the off, it will be seen that in Diagram I. we have placed no less than six out of the eleven on that side. Mid-wicket on and long-off should be a little nearer the bowler, and long-slip nearer the long-stop, than represented in the illustration.

In Diagram II. third man up is made mid-wicket on, while cover-point comes in nearer than when the bowling was very fast.

In Diagram III., as the bowling is slow, no long-stop is required; he is therefore sent as an additional field behind the bowler. Short-slip stands in very close to the wickets.




Croquet mallet

The mallet, of which in a Croquet set there are eight, varies in length from 32 to 39 inches. The handle is thin and round, and is fastened into the head somewhat in the manner of an ordinary mallet used for knocking in tent pegs. The head slightly resembles in shape a dice-box, inasmuch as it is narrower in the centre than at the ends. The mallet is the active agent in the game, just as the bat is at cricket; and as the mallet is always in the hands of the striker, care should be taken that it is well planed. Towards the top of the handle a few circular lines may be cut with advantage, as they give a firmer hold to the hand. At the bottom of the handle is usually painted a colour, or a number of lines, corresponding to the marks on one of the balls. Such an arrangement, although not absolutely necessary—since a player can use any mallet without interfering with the game—is of advantage in according to each player the same coloured mallet as his ball; and were the mallets uncoloured, disputes would probably arise about one which was a greater favourite than the others. Some people prefer to have the colour of all the balls painted on their mallets. This is a very good plan if one is in the habit of playing with inattentive people, who will not recollect when it is their turn to play. As the hard surface of the end of the mallet-head coming sharply in contact[171] with a ball often cracks, chips, or breaks it in two pieces, it has been suggested that a piece of wash-leather should be let in at each end of the head, in order to deaden the force of the stroke. We do not, however, recommend the adoption of this plan, as it is very expensive, and the wash-leather is not only likely to be soon torn, but in the course of the game may come out altogether; besides, a Croquet-ball can always be replaced for a trifling sum, and, if played with carefully, ought to last twelve months at least.


Croquet balls

The balls are eight in number, and are generally painted different colours—blue, pink, black, yellow, brown, orange, red, green. The size varies from 3 inches to 3⅝ inches in diameter. The balls of some of the better Croquet games are not entirely covered with paint, but adorned simply by a band of paint, about half an inch in width, or with lines of blue and red, varying from one to four in number, as in the illustration. Balls coloured thus are, however, not so easily distinguishable as those which are painted all over.


The hoops, ten in number, are made of iron. They are about 16 inches high, and 12 inches wide; although these dimensions are not of much importance. In some games the hoops are of bronze, or else are painted a golden colour. Usually, however, they are of a black, iron tint. The set with which we generally play is painted white. This plan is in many respects advantageous, for as the shades of evening close round the players the contrast between the grass and the hoops becomes less vivid, and consequently in the excitement of the game a player occasionally tumbles over a hoop, and probably hurts his legs; when, however, the hoops are painted[172] white, the play can be continued to a late hour without the chance of such a casualty as the breaking of one’s shins against the iron hoops.


The posts, two in number, should be from 24 to 36 inches high. One end must be sharpened into a point, in order to allow it to stick well in the ground. One is called the starting, the other the turning post. The top half is, in the cheaper sets, divided into eight divisions, each of which is painted according to the colours of the ball. Thus, beginning from the top, we trace the divisions into the following order:

  1. Blue.
  2. Pink.
  3. Black.
  4. Yellow.
  5. Brown.
  6. Orange.
  7. Green.
  8. Red.

The order of the colours acts as a guide to the players; and since those on each side play alternately, it follows that in a game of eight, the dark balls—blue, black, brown, and green—are matched against the light balls—pink, yellow, orange, and red. The advantage of this arrangement is plainly manifest, since, during the game, the players, without referring to the peg, will know that the light colours play alternately with the dark. We admit, however, that opinion may be divided about the lightness of red as a colour; and we therefore hope that the Croquet-makers will change it into white, which is not likely to be confounded with the yellow, for the latter, in consequence of being in more frequent use, is sure to become dark in much shorter time than the former. Some, however, as in the illustration, have red and blue divisions, marked from one to four, to correspond with the number of rings painted on the balls.


A set of Croquet-clips—little pieces of tin, coloured according to the colours of the balls, in order to slip over the hoops, and thus show the hoop through which the player has next to pass—has been lately introduced. We do not, however, recommend the use of them, as they are liable to cause much confusion, and certainly give a great deal of trouble to those players who adopt them.



A gentleman has invented a marking-board, on which is placed the position of each player after his stroke is made; but as this requires an umpire to mark the positions of the balls, we do not think the plan worth adoption.


In some games a very narrow hoop—scarcely wide enough for the ball to pass through—has been introduced under the name of tunnel. It certainly adds to the complication of the game.

Cage with bell

Is another novelty, formed by placing two hoops across each other, and fastening a bell at the point of intersection, which has to be struck by the ball passing through.


Croquet stand

Is one of the best of the recent inventions in Croquet, and is to be recommended as a great improvement over the unwieldy box, which contains usually a Croquet set, and which is generally so badly arranged that a quarter of an hour is occupied in taking out the Croquet implements, and about double that time in replacing them after the game is over.


Sides are chosen in the usual manner, the captain of one side taking the first ball and the captain of the other the second; while the remaining balls are given to the other players in the order in which they are chosen. Eight persons can play at this game, but any smaller number will do equally well. If only six or four play, the same number of balls must be used; but if two play, the game is improved by each player taking two balls and playing them alternately as usual. If there be an odd number of players—either three, five, or seven—the players play against each other, or else one person takes[175] two balls and plays for each side. It has been suggested that to amuse a large party two games should go on at once, through the same hoops, one side to begin at the starting-post and the other at the turning-post. The confusion, however, caused by the balls getting in each other’s way would quite spoil all chance of good play.

Assuming that each player has a ball and a mallet, that the hoops are arranged in either of the three positions given on pages 177, 178, 179, 180, we now come to the mode of playing the game. The object is to drive the balls through all the hoops, in the direction indicated by the dotted lines on the diagrams, and to strike the two posts. The side all of whose members succeed in performing this feat first wins the game.

Now, although this is the chief object of the game, yet the act from which it derives its title, to wit “Croquet,” is of much greater importance than would at first be imagined. If a player hit with his ball any of the others, he is allowed to place his own against the ball he has struck, and setting his foot upon his own ball, he hits it with the mallet, and the force of the blow drives the opponent’s ball a considerable distance in the direction towards which the mallet is directed. As the player is allowed to croquet either friend or foe, it is evident that he can do a great deal of damage or service, according to his inclination, since he is at liberty to drive the ball in any direction he pleases. (See Rules of the Croquet, page 182.) It must, however, be borne in mind that no player can croquet or be croqued until he has been through the first hoop.

The holder of the first ball, placing his ball a mallet’s length in any direction from the starting-post, endeavours by striking it with the end of his mallet to drive it through the first hoop. If he succeeds, he continues his turn, and attempts to send the ball through the second hoop, and then through the third; for driving the ball through a hoop or croquing another ball imparts the privilege of an additional stroke. When he has finished, the second goes on, and the other players follow in the order in which the balls are marked upon the post. Till a player has gone through the first hoop he is not allowed to have an extra turn, if his ball hit that of another. In a short time is palpably shown the great advantage of the croquet. Often when a player has his ball in a good position in front of a hoop, another will hit it and drive it to the other end of the croquet-ground, compelling the croqued ball to take two or three turns before it can regain its former position. Occasionally two or three balls lie close to each other, and one is struck by a ball which was some distance off. The striker is now allowed to place his ball by the side of the one he has struck, and then, after croquing it, is almost sure of hitting the two others, since his last stroke has brought him very near to them.

The player who reaches the turning-post first has great advantages for a time, for as soon as he touches it he commences his return journey, and meeting the other players on their road to the farthest[176] point of their voyage, he is able to croquet them and considerably impede their progress. While writing about the turning-post, we cannot refrain from calling attention to a strange rule which appears in a recently-issued manual of Croquet. In this work it is stated that on touching the post the striker discontinues playing, and is not allowed for the act the same privilege that he obtains for passing through a hoop. This regulation is, we think, so unfair that we cannot allow this work to go to press without taking the opportunity of recording our protest against the adoption of the rule in question. It must be evident to anybody who knows anything about the game that it is a more difficult task to strike the post than to pass through a hoop. Now, touching the post is a point in the game, for it is one of the stations that everybody must pass on the journey; and as for each other point, such as passing a hoop or croquing, the player is allowed an additional turn, surely it stands to reason that the same advantage should be accorded to a player who performs the feat of striking the turning-post. Captain Mayne Reid and all the other writers on Croquet (with one exception) agree with us in the view we have taken on this subject, to which we have at some length drawn attention, in the hope that the author of the obnoxious rule will think fit to make the necessary alteration.

When a player has passed through all the hoops, he becomes what is called in the technical language of Croquet a Rover, and is privileged to rove about over the ground croquing his friends and foes (see page 185). It is therefore obvious that a good player can prove, when thus situated, of immense advantage to his side, and should on no account hit the starting or winning post till all on his side have passed through the last hoop (see page 191). Good players, however, generally content themselves with passing through all the hoops but two, as it often happens that if a Rover is tiresome his adversaries unite in their efforts to drive his ball against the starting-post, and thus kill him. This, of course, they cannot do until he has passed through all the hoops. The excitement towards the end of the game is almost inconceivable; each stroke is watched with the keenest interest. Gradually one by one the players hit the post, until perhaps only two remain, and now occurs an opportunity for skilful play. If the two opponents are good players, they afford a rare treat to the bystanders. The object of each is first to hit the post, and, failing in that, to keep as far off his adversary as he can. Both endeavour, at the same time drawing nearer to the great object in view, to keep the post between their own and the other ball. At length one plays at the post, misses it, and sends his ball near his adversary, who first hits it, next croquets it away, and then strikes the post, while all his side wave their mallets aloft, and loudly shout “Victory!”


Diagram No. 1

Diagram No. 1.—This position, which is the simplest of those we have drawn, is the one which we recommend all young players to adopt. The space between the hoops and between the hoops and the posts should be about six feet, although it can be varied in proportion to the capabilities of the different players. The course of the ball is indicated by the dotted lines, and the arrows show the direction in which at starting the ball should travel. Although it may appear rather a simple matter to go through the two first hoops by one straight stroke, yet the unfortunate player will soon find out his mistake by experience, and that, in attempting to pass through the hoops, “Slow and sure” is the best maxim to adopt.


Diagram No. 2

Diagram No. 2.—In this, the second, diagram it will be seen that the two centre side hoops are done away with, and that one is placed in the centre of the game instead: but although in the play we now require one hoop less than in the former diagram, yet the player will have to pass through the same number of hoops as before, since he travels twice through the hoop in the centre—once on his way to the turning-post, and once on his return. This position is necessarily not so simple as the last one, for now all chance of going through the three side hoops in one turn is done away with, and few players will be able to make the passage in less than three turns.


Diagram No. 3

Diagram No. 3.—In this the same number of hoops is used as in the first diagram, but the hoops numbered respectively 4 and 9, instead of being placed parallel to the others, are now at right-angles to them: thus, in playing from 3 to 4, one has to keep to the right of the second ring, and then to pass through it from the outside of the game—a much more difficult arrangement than either of the other positions we have described. As the player’s knowledge of Croquet increases, many other positions will suggest themselves; but those we have printed are the simplest, and are the diagrams in general use at the present time.


Diagram No. 4

Diagram No. 4.—In this diagram the cage is introduced; otherwise it is nearly the same as Diagram No. 2.


The reader is now requested to give his attention to the following Rules, which we believe will be found to meet all the requisites of the game.



1. At the commencement of the game the ball is to be placed a mallet’s length from the starting-post in any direction, and the player endeavours to drive it through the first hoop.

[As the distance between the first post and the first hoop depends so much upon the size of the Croquet-ground, the first rule may be altered to suit the convenience of the players; but if the length is less than a mallet, the player will probably strike the post with his own mallet.]

2. In striking the ball, the player must stand on one side of the ball, and not behind it.

3. In striking, the mallet must be about an inch from the ground, and must not be pushed along it when the stroke is made, except when the distance between the ball and some other object is too small to admit the mallet lengthwise.

[Some players wish only one hand to be used in striking. Most of the large sets, however, are too heavy to allow this rule to be generally carried out.]

4. The ball must be struck with an end of the mallet, and not by the side.


5. The balls are to be played in the order in which they are marked upon the post.

6. If any player play out of his turn, he finishes the stroke; but for the violation of the last rule he is deprived of the next turn.

[It may perhaps be suggested that a player, seeing a good opportunity for some effective stroke, would purposely play out of his turn. This we doubt; for not only would the deprivation of his next turn do him a great deal of damage, but the chances are that one of the other players would stop him before he had commenced the stroke.]

7. If a player play with a wrong ball, he has to replace the ball and lose his next turn.

[This penalty is not enforced against a player if the error be not discovered before the arrival of his second turn.]

8. If a player by a stroke of his mallet drives his ball through the next hoop in the order of his course, he is allowed to continue his stroke.


9. A player may in one stroke drive his ball through more than one hoop.

10. If a ball, in going through a hoop, strike another ball, the player can either continue his stroke at the next hoop, or else croquet the ball that is struck; but he is not allowed two turns for passing through a hoop, and then hitting a ball.

11. If a ball strike another ball, and then pass through a hoop, the player can either croquet or continue his stroke, and has not to pass through the same hoop again.

[From this rule the reader may infer, that if a ball go through its hoop either by striking another ball or by hitting the sides of the hoop, it is considered to have passed the hoop.

It has been suggested that a ball is dead directly it croquets another, and that therefore any stroke it makes after that is of no avail; but as this not only does away with Rule 11, but prevents any player croquing two balls in one stroke, we cannot adopt it.]

12. If a ball, instead of playing at its hoop, play at a ball on the other side of the hoop, and consequently have to be moved by the hand through its own hoop in order to croquet, it is not considered to have gone through the hoop, but must return to the proper side of the hoop in the ordinary manner.

13. A ball is not through a hoop if the handle of the mallet when laid across the two sides of the hoop from whence the ball came touches the ball without moving the hoop.

14. If a player strike a ball which he cannot croquet, and by that stroke go through a hoop, the last stroke holds good, and he has another turn.

15. If a ball, when croqued through its hoop in a wrong direction, roll back through the hoop, it has not to pass through the same hoop in the same direction again.


[When the game of Croquet first came into fashion, there was only one mode of the croquet, which was that usually known as the tight croquet. Since then other forms, known as the loose and slipping croquet, have come into fashion, and have met with so much favour that it is impossible to deny their claims to our attention. In the tight croquet the player must keep his foot upon his own ball, and is not allowed to move it while he makes the stroke; but in the loose croquet he need not even put his foot on his own ball at all, and is able consequently to drive not only his adversary’s ball, but also his own, in any direction he pleases. The adoption of this plan, even although it lengthens and complicates the game, affords so much pleasure to the players themselves, that it is becoming universally adopted. Some writers, however, insist that to rovers only should the privilege of the loose croquet be accorded; whilst others, on the other hand, would allow the privilege only to those who are not rovers.[183] In fact, so much is to be said on each side, that the better plan is to allow the players to choose which of these courses they think fit to adopt. In some places, in addition to the loose croquet, a practice prevails which is usually known by the term “taking two off.” Thus if a player croquet a ball, he is allowed to drive his own ball in any direction he pleases, without touching the croqued ball. After this he has another stroke, so that he is enabled to get close to any ball on the ground. This plan seems to us so highly objectionable, and so thoroughly subversive of all good play, that we must decline to recommend it. It should also be known that many of our correspondents object to loose croquet altogether, on the ground that it tends greatly to prolong the turns, and thus spoils the game, as people, grown tired of waiting, lose all interest in it, and forget when their turn comes to play. What expressions more common on the ground than “Whose turn is it now?”]

16. A player is allowed the privilege of croquing whenever his ball strikes another, except when by doing so he makes the ball that is struck hit the winning-post, if it have passed through the hoops.

17. In the tight croquet the player must keep his foot firmly upon his own ball, and if the stroke move it the ball must afterwards be brought back to the position it occupied before it was struck.

[Some writers insist that if the croqueur’s ball slip, he loses his turn. This arrangement is too absurd to be tolerated for an instant.]

18. No ball can croquet, or be croqued, until it has passed through the first hoop.

[It has been the custom to allow a player to take up his ball, and play, when his turn comes, from the starting-post again, if he misses the first hoop. This plan, however, has nothing to recommend it. It would enable a player who wished to play last to do so at ease by intentionally missing the hoop, and is obviously so unfair that we have no wish to adopt it.]

19. No ball (except a rover) can croquet the same ball twice, until it (the croqueur) has passed through a hoop or touched the post since its first croquet.

[If, however, the croqueur be a rover, he cannot croquet the same ball twice in one turn. In either case, however, he is at liberty to strike the same ball twice, but this act does not allow him the privilege of a fresh stroke.]

20. A croquet need not necessarily be a distinct stroke. If the striking ball in its passage hit either a post or a hoop, and then cannon upon a ball, the privilege holds good; and if, also, one ball strike two or more others, each of these is croqued in the order in which they were struck; but the striker has only one additional stroke when he has croqued the lot, and not one for each ball he has struck.

21. As the moving of the croquing ball in the tight croquet is of itself illegal, it stands to reason that if this ball during the stroke[184] slip and touch another ball, the player has not the right to claim the privilege of the croquet.

[In the loose croquet a player may by his croquing stroke drive his own ball through a hoop.]


22. A player, after striking a ball, is not necessarily compelled to croquet it, but is allowed to play in any direction he pleases.

[It must, however, be understood that he must play from the place where his ball is, and not, since he abnegates the privilege of it, as after a croquet, from a position touching the ball he has struck.]

23. If a player hit a rover, and by the blow force the other ball against the winning-post, he cannot croquet the ball, as it is plainly[185] dead; he however retains the privilege of another turn. As the ball is dead, it must be moved at once.

24. If a player in the act of croquing do not move the croqued ball at least 6 inches, he is at liberty to take the stroke over again.

[Of course the croqued ball must be placed in the position it occupied before it was struck.]

25. If a ball go through a hoop and then croquet a ball, both strokes count.

26. If a player croquet a ball illegally, both balls must be restored to their former positions.

27. If a ball hit two or more balls by one stroke, and croquet one, it is forced to croquet all it has struck, and is not allowed to croquet one and leave the others alone.


Some writers give certain privileges for passing two hoops at a time, and for striking the posts—such as placing the ball a mallet’s length in any direction from its original position. This plan, however, is very irregular, and affords too great an advantage to one player to be adopted.

28. Striking the posts enables the player to have a fresh turn, and is in all respects equivalent to passing a hoop.

29. A player who, having gone through all the hoops, strikes the winning-post, is dead; and being out of the game, is not allowed to have a fresh turn.

30. If either of the posts be struck by a ball that is driven thither by a croquing or croqued ball, or in passing through the next hoop to it in the right direction, the stroke holds good.

31. If a ball be moved by a player when it should not have been touched, it must be restored to its former position, even if the stroke have sent it against a post or through a hoop.

32. If any ball (or balls) be struck by the ball moved, as in the last rule, it must be at once replaced in its former position.

33. If a ball, in the tight croquet, slip from under the feet and strike the turning-post, the stroke does not count.

[By the same rule, if a player in croquing strike the winning-post, the stroke does not count.]

34. If a ball be hit off the ground on a gravel-walk or a flower-bed, it is to be placed at once 12 inches at right-angles from the limit of the boundary.


35. As a rover has passed through all the hoops, he is not allowed to croquet the same ball twice in one turn.

36. A rover has only the right to play a second time when he croquets another ball.

37. A ball is dead as soon as it has passed through all the hoops and struck the two posts.


38. A rover who hits another ball, and then the post, is dead, and cannot take another turn.

[A rover who croquets another ball against the post is according to Rule 23 allowed another turn; but if a rover, in croquing a ball, lets his ball slip against the post, he is dead according to the principles of loose croquet.]

39. The game is finished when all the players on one side have gone through all the hoops and struck the two posts.

40. A match is the best of three games.

41. A tournament is the best of three matches.


It is almost impossible (as the reader will already have perceived) to overestimate the great importance that “the croquet” bears upon the game. A player who devotes all his efforts to pass through the hoops will find himself soon left behind by those who look upon that department of the game as merely subservient to the more fascinating task of driving away a foe, or of helping a friend; and this fact becomes more and more patent when the number of players is six or eight. True, when only two play, if one gets a good start, it is a somewhat difficult matter for the other player to stay his progress; and as this inevitably takes away half the interest of the game, we recommend a pair of players to use a couple of balls, since by so doing one can assist the other, and develop the croquet to great advantage; but then, again, it is not expedient to devote the whole of one’s energies to produce a collision between two balls. The player’s first rule should be to pass through a hoop; if, however, he sees an equal chance of passing through it after he has gone out of his route to drive an adverse player away, he should at all times make use of the croquet; for it must be remembered that keeping an enemy back is almost equivalent to making progress, and that the game cannot be lost as long as a foe’s ball is behind one’s own. The art of the tight croquet consists in placing the striking ball in juxtaposition to that ball which has been croqued, and then, setting the left foot upon his own ball, the striker hits it sharply with his mallet, and consequently the other ball is driven by the power of the stroke to a distance in proportion to the force with which the ball was struck. In the loose croquet, however, the player need not place his foot upon the ball at all, but by adopting the following stroke can drive the two balls forward in the same direction, or by hitting his own ball with a slanting mallet can drive the balls away at an angle to each other. The purpose of this feat is either to aid a friend or to do damage to an enemy. A friend can by croquing send a partner through the hoop he wishes to pass, or else drive an enemy—who[187] has obtained a good position, and who feels certain of going through a hoop at his next turn—exactly in the opposite direction to that in which he wishes to travel. In order, however, to make this stroke very effective, great care must be taken with regard to the way in which the ball is driven. Many thoughtless players think nothing of driving a foe close to a friend, or, in the hopes of assisting their side, send a friend in the immediate neighbourhood of a foe—thus improving the position of the adverse side, and damaging that of their own. The difference that a few thoughtful players make to a side is wonderful. Whilst others hit their balls about without ever thinking that at his next turn a foe will probably croquet them, the careful players, anticipating the positions of the other bails, place themselves in a position from which, when their next turn comes, they can either go through a hoop, or croquet the ball of a more careless player. Thus, if foe B is behind a hoop through which A has to pass, but requires two turns for the passage, it would be very absurd if A were to place himself close to B, in the hope of passing through next time, since B would be sure to croquet him, and place him in even a worse position than he occupies in the illustration. A should content himself by playing to C, for B would not go so far out of his way to croquet him, and then A could go through the ring the next time he plays.

Example play

If A is at the side of a hoop through which he cannot possibly[188] pass in one turn, he should play behind the ring to the spot marked B, and not in a line marked A C, or else he would probably go either too far or not far enough, and be forced to accomplish in three turns what, if he had gone to B, he could probably have done in two.

Example play
Example play


Suppose B to be placed in front of the fourth hoop (see Positions of Hoops, Diagram No. 2), and A, whose turn it is, to be behind No. 2;—many players would just go through No. 2, and then quietly drop down to No. 3, in the hope of passing through at the next turn. A thoughtful player, however, would, by driving his ball sharply through hoop No. 2, obtain a position close to B, and next, taking a second turn for going through the hoop, would be able to croquet B, and drive him a long way off his hoop, and then return to a good position behind No. 3.

The following position will show one of the advantages of the loose croquet. It is the turn of the ball C to play, and he has to go through the hoop e in the direction e A. In his present position it is impossible for him to go through the hoop at one turn. If, however, he croquets D, and then indulges in the loose croquet, he can drive his own ball to B, and send the other to A. He can then pass through the hoop, and can croquet D again at the spot A.

Example play

We have mentioned this problem more as an example for young players than because it is a recognised rule. Many such plans, equally advantageous to follow, will readily present themselves to players in the course of the game, and in no more forcible manner can they show their good play than by disregarding the passage of a hoop in order to croquet a foe and thus spoil his position. It can be easily understood that a player who, by passing through all the hoops, obtains the title of “Rover,” and may therefore rove wherever he pleases, has far more power than one whose flight is fettered by being compelled to pass through the little iron hoops that dot the Croquet-ground. He can either keep close to a laggard friend, and aid him by the croquet, or he can take up a position a little in advance[190] of a forward foe, and delay his progress in a very unpleasant manner. Suppose that A has just passed through the last hoop but two, and that B, a rover, has taken up a position close to the hoop, in such a manner that a portion of it intervenes between him and A. If, then,[191] the latter play near the hoop, B is sure to croquet him and drive him away. He is therefore compelled to keep some distance off the hoop until a friend comes to aid him, unless a change in his position allows him to croquet B, which, if the latter is a good player, is not likely to occur. Now, having shown how a rover can worry a foe, let us demonstrate how he can aid a friend. A is close to the hoop through which he has to pass, and B, a rover of his own side, is in a line with him. If B hit A, he will probably drive him off his hoop and spoil his turn; but if B play to C, a spot halfway between the two hoops, A can go through his hoop, croquet B at C, drive him to D, and then go through the next hoop, croquet B at D (for he has been through a hoop since he last croqued him), drive him to the other side of the next hoop, and so on. A rover playing with another ball can be of more help to him than hindrance to a foe; and as it is more important to get the balls of one’s own side forward than to delay those of a foe, the former plan should, when feasible, be adopted. Thus it will be seen that a good rover is of the greatest service to the side, and that the sooner he is placed hors de combat the better for the opposite side. The rovers on the other side should therefore do all they can to make the rover’s ball hit the post by croquing it against it, if possible; for although if all on his side hit the post before those on the other side the game is won, yet when the best player, being dead, is able to render no further assistance, the game often goes against that side. This plan, however, must be adopted with the greatest precaution and care, and on no account whatever should a bad player be thus disposed of, since the mere fact of keeping him in the game is of the highest importance, as his services are of little avail to his own side, who cannot win as long as one of their party remains in the game. With these few desultory hints we conclude this article, which all beginners should study carefully, and (we hope) with advantage.

Example play
Example play


Two boys driving a horse drawn carriage


“The rash boy Phaeton his proud chariot drove
Till he was smitten by almighty Jove:
Take heed, young driver, while you like him boast,
You are not ‘spilled’ against an ugly post.”—Swift.


Our young friends ought to know, not only how to ride, but also how to drive. From the very earliest times, horse and chariot races were considered the noblest of sports, and Apollo is represented as driving the chariot of the sun. The four horses were typical of the four seasons of the year. Four horses driven abreast was common also to the Olympic games, and the Hippodrome was the scene of chariot races in which even a greater number was sometimes used.

It was, indeed, an imposing sight to see the Hippodromic course at the time of one of these chariot festivals. The place set apart for the contest was about a mile in length. Over a bar that ran across the entrance of the lists was placed a brazen dolphin, and upon an altar in the middle of the barrier stood an eagle of the same metal. By means of a machine, put in motion by the president of the games, the eagle suddenly sprang up into the air with its wings extended, so as to be seen by all spectators; and at the same moment the dolphin sank to the ground, which was a signal for the cars to arrange themselves in order for the race. Besides the statue of Hippodamia, and the table on which were placed the crowns and palm-branches, there were several images and altars in the course, particularly[193] that of the genius Taraxippus, who, as his name imports, was said to inspire the horses with a secret terror, which was increased by the shrill clangour of the trumpets placed near the boundary, and the deafening shouts and outcries of the multitude.

While the chariots were ranged in line ready to start, the horses, whose ardour it was difficult to restrain, attracted all eyes by their beauty, as well as for the victories which some of them had already gained. Pindar speaks of no less than forty chariots engaged at one and the same time. If we recollect that they had to run twelve times the length of the Hippodrome, in going and returning, and to steer round a pillar or goal erected near each extremity, we may imagine what confusion must have ensued when, upon the signal trumpet being sounded, they started amid a cloud of dust, crossing and jostling each other, and rushing forward with such rapidity that the eye could scarcely follow them. At one of the boundaries a narrow pass was left only for the chariots, which often baffled the skill of the expertest driver; and there were upwards of twenty turnings to make round the two pillars; so that at almost every moment some accident happened, calculated to excite the pity or insulting laughter of the assembly. In such a number of chariots at full speed, pushing for precedence in turning round the columns, on which victory often depended, some were sure to be dashed to pieces, covering the course with their fragments, and adding to the dangers of the race. As it was, moreover, exceedingly difficult for the charioteer, in his unsteady two-wheeled car, to retain his standing attitude, many were thrown out, when the masterless horses plunged wildly about the Hippodrome, overturning others who had, perhaps, previously escaped every danger, and thought themselves sure of winning. To increase the confusion, and thereby afford better opportunities for the display of skill and courage, there was reason to believe that some artifice was employed for the express purpose of frightening the horses when they reached the statue of Taraxippus. So great sometimes was their consternation, that, no longer regarding the rein, the whip, or the voice of their master, they broke loose, or overturned the chariot, and wounded the driver.

Such is the ancient description given by a Greek writer of the chariot races of the Hippodrome. We have no coach racing now-a-days, except omnibus racing in the streets: not a great deal of “coaching.” Now and then, indeed, we see the “Brighton four-horse,” and start with wonder at the sight. But still there are necessities for private driving, more important at the present than at any former period; and we hold driving to be not only a necessary, but an indispensable accomplishment to every young gentleman.


A horse fully equipped in harness, attached to a dennet or stanhope, is one of the most beautiful things to look at in the world:[194] few boys are trusted to drive a pair; nor have they physical power for the task. We will therefore confine our attention chiefly to single harness, adding only a short description of the various kinds of carriages in common use. If, however, the youthful charioteer can drive a single horse well, he will find no difficulty in controlling a pair, provided their mouths are sufficiently tender for his strength to manage. The horse is here represented harnessed to a light dennet-gig.


May be either a full-sized harness horse, or a galloway, or a pony; the two last being the best fitted for juvenile driving.

Harnessed horse


In every case, is composed of the same parts, which consist of three essential divisions: 1st, the driving, or guiding part; 2d, the drawing part; and 3d, that for holding up the shafts. The driving part comprises the bridle and reins. The bridle is made up of a front piece (1), a head piece (2), two cheek pieces and winkers (3), a nose band (4), and a throat lash (5). The cheek pieces are buckled to the bit (6) by means of leather loops, called billets, as also are the driving-reins (7), and the bearing-rein, which is attached to a separate bit called the bridoon (a plain snaffle), and then is hooked to the pad-hook. This is now very generally dispensed with, as shown in the cut at the head of this article; but for young drivers it is often desirable when they have not strength to check the fall of a horse. The drawing parts consist of a padded oval ring fitted to the shoulders, and called the collar (10), sometimes replaced by a padded strap across the chest called the breast-strap. On the collar are fastened two iron bars called hames (12), by means of a strap at the top and bottom (8-11), and these hames have a ring in the[195] upper part for the reins to pass through, called the hame terret (9); and nearer the lower part, a strong arm of iron covered with a coating of brass, silver, or leather, which receives in its eye the tug of the trace (13.) The trace (17) is a long and strong strap of double leather, stitched, which runs from the collar to the drawing bar, and may be lengthened or shortened by a buckle. The part for holding the gig up consists of a pad or saddle, which is buckled on to the horse by the belly-band (16), and from which the shaft is suspended by the back-band and shaft-tug. It is prevented from slipping forward by the crupper, which is slipped over the tail. Besides these parts, some horses have in addition a breechen (18-19) which holds the shafts back in going down hill; and when they are addicted to kicking, a strap is buckled over their hips to the shaft which is called a kicking-strap.

Cabriolet carriage



The Dennet-gig, as represented in the last page, is the most common form for a two-wheeled carriage; but there are also the Stanhope, the Cabriolet, as here shown, the Tilbury, and the Dog-cart. The various open four-wheeled carriages are the Britzschka,[196] Barouche, and Phaeton; and of closed four-wheeled carriages there are the Brougham and Clarence on elliptic springs, and the chariot and family coach with c springs. When these two last are made to open, they are called the Landaulet and Landau.




Before driving, it is necessary that the horse or pony should be “put to,” which is effected as follows: 1st, slip the shafts through the tugs, or, if there are hooks, drop them down into them; 2d, put the traces on to the drawing-bar, either hooking them on, or else slipping them on to the eyes, and being careful to place the leather stops in these, to prevent the trace coming off; 3d, buckle the belly-band sufficiently tight; and 4th, buckle the kicking-strap, or breechen, if either is used. After this, the reins are taken from the terrets, where they were previously placed, and the horse is ready.


In driving, the reins are held differently from the mode already described as used in riding, the fore-finger being first placed between[197] them, and then both the reins are grasped by all the other fingers, and the near-side rein is also held firmly against the fore-finger by means of the thumb. In this way, on an emergency, the near or left rein may be pulled by itself, by holding it firmly with the thumb, and suffering the other, or off rein, to slip through the fingers, or vice versâ. The most usual way is to pull the left rein with the left hand, and the right with the right hand, by hooking one or two fingers over it while held firmly in the left. In this manner, with the whip also held in the right hand, the horse is guided or stopped. The young driver should take care and keep his feet well before him, with his knees as straight and firm as possible, so that in case of a fall of the horse he may not be thrown forwards out of the vehicle he is driving. He should also sit square to his work, with his elbow held easily to his side, and his left thumb pointing to his horse’s head, by which, as in riding, his elbow is pretty sure to be properly placed. The bit should not be too firmly pulled against, but a light and “give and take” kind of handling is the best, by which the horse is allowed freedom of action, and yet is checked if he makes a mistake. In meeting other vehicles, the rule is to keep to your left, and in passing them, to leave them also on your left. This should be rigidly adhered to for fear of the accidents which would otherwise constantly happen.

Proper way to hold the reins

In reference to driving in America, nothing better can be given than the rules of the English school for driving. In America the rule governing the side to pass another rider on is the reverse of the English rule. In America the law is “drive to the right.” In England it is to the left. The former appears to us to be the “right” one.




Fencing is the art of using the small-sword or rapier. The small-sword has a straight blade, about thirty-two inches in length, outside the guard, and is fashioned for thrusting only. Although it is an art of the greatest antiquity, very great improvements have been made in it during the last half-century, chiefly by French masters, who excel those of all other countries. This has been attributed to various causes; by some to the agility and acknowledged power of rapid physical action possessed by this nation; by others, to their natural vivacity and mental quickness. In my opinion, however, a more direct and powerful cause may be traced in the great encouragement and universal patronage which it has ever received from every grade of a chivalrous and military people. Every regiment has its maître d’armes, and every barrack its fencing-school. Indeed, in so important a light was the proper teaching of this art held, that one of the French kings (Louis XIV.) granted letters-patent to twenty eminent masters, who alone were permitted to teach in Paris. When a vacancy occurred, no interest and no favour could enable a candidate to obtain this privilege: he had to fence in public with six of these chosen masters; and if by any of them he was beaten by two distinct hits, he was considered unqualified to teach in the capital.[199] Independent of its value as the scientific use of the sword,—the gentleman’s weapon of defence, par excellence,—fencing stands unrivalled as an exercise; and it is in this sense that it will now be treated. The most eminent physicians which this country have produced have all, in the most earnest manner, recommended it to the attention of the young. Thus, Dr. Clive says:

“Muscular exertion is essential in perfecting the form of the body, and those exercises which require the exercise of the greatest number of muscles are the most conducive to this end. Fencing causes more muscles to act at the same time than most other exercises. It promotes the expansion of the chest, and improves respiration, whereby the functions of the most important organs of the body are more perfectly performed.”

Sir Anthony Carlisle uses similar language:

“According to my judgment, the exercise of fencing tends to promote bodily health, and the development of athletic powers. It is likewise apparent, that the attitudes and exertions of fencing are conducive to the manly forms and muscular energies of the human figure.”

Again, Sir Everard Home, in still stronger terms:

“Of all the different modes in which the body can be exercised, there is none, in my judgment, that is capable of giving strength and velocity, as well as precision, to the action of all the voluntary muscles of the body in an equal degree as the practice of fencing, and none more conducive to bodily health.”

I shall give one more extract from another physician of equal eminence, Dr. Babbington:

“I am of opinion that, in addition to the amusement which this exercise (fencing) affords, it is particularly calculated to excite in young persons a greater degree of energy and circumspection than they might otherwise possess; and it is obvious that, in respect of health, that mode of exertion is superior to all others, which, while it gives motion and activity to every part of the body, produces at the same time corresponding interest in the mind.”

Sir John Sinclair, Dr. Pemberton, &c., speak in terms equally recommendatory.

To avoid all danger in the lessons and practice, foils are substituted for real swords. Strong wire masks are worn on the face, a well-padded glove on the hand, and the upper part of the body, at which alone the thrusts are aimed, is protected by a strong jacket, the right side and collar of which should be of leather.

The first movement a beginner has to learn is the manner of placing himself in the position called


It is from this position that all movements are made, whether offensive or defensive. Let the beginner be placed with his knees[200] straight, his feet at right angles, heel to heel; the right foot, right side, and face directed to the master. The body must be held upright and firm, the arms hanging down by the side, but easily and without constraint; the left hand holding the foil a few inches beneath its guard. Next let him bring the right hand across the body, and seize the foil-handle; by a second movement, bring the foil above the head, the hands separating as they ascend, until both arms be nearly extended upwards and outwards. Here pause. This may be called the first position of the Guard.

These movements should be frequently practised, as they accustom the arms to move independently of the body, flatten the joints of the shoulders, and give prominence to the chest.

Second position

To arrive at the second position of the Guard, the right arm, with the foil, is brought down to the front, until the right elbow is a little above and in advance of the waist; the fore-arm and foil sloping upwards; the point of the foil being the height of the upper part of the face; then, by a second movement, the learner must sink down, separating the knees, and stepping forward with the right foot fourteen or sixteen inches; for, of course, the guard of a tall man will be wider than that of a short one. However, his own comfort in the position will direct him as to the distance; and the general rule is, that the knee of the left leg will jut over the toes of the left foot, and the right leg from ankle to knee be perpendicular. It is in this position that he will receive all attacks from an adversary, and from this position will all his own attacks be made. Also in this position will he


upon an adversary, when beyond hitting distance. The step in the advance is usually about that of the width of the Guard, although of[201] course this would vary with circumstances. The step is made by advancing the right foot the distance I have named; and on its reaching the ground, the left foot is brought up, and takes its place. To


the reverse of the above movement is made. The left foot takes the lead, stepping to the rear about as far as the right had stepped to the front; the right occupying its place on its taking up its new position. The next movement,


is a very important movement, and is rather difficult to make properly, and fatiguing to practise. Indeed, the first movements in fencing are the most trying to the learner; and he must not be discouraged if he fails to do them correctly at first—practice only will give him this power. The Longe is that extension of body which accompanies every attack, and is thus made: The right arm is extended straight from the shoulder, the arm and blade being on the same level; by a second movement, the right foot is raised from the ground, and a step made forward, about eighteen inches in length, while the left remains firmly planted in its place. At the instant that this step is made, the left hand is allowed to fall within a few inches of the left thigh, and the left knee is stiffened back until the leg is perfectly straight.


The thigh of the right leg will now be in a position nearly horizontal; from the knee downwards, perpendicular. Having executed the Longe, the next movement to be made is


that is, to return from the position of the Longe to that of the Guard,[202] and is thus effected: The left arm is nimbly thrown up to its place, the right arm drawn in, and the left knee re-bent. These movements must be made at the same time, as it is their united action that enables a person to recover from so extended a position as the Longe quick enough to avoid a thrust if his own attack has failed.

These movements must be frequently practised before any others are attempted—the Guard, the Advance, the Retreat, the Longe, and the Recover; and when the learner has attained some proficiency in them, he may begin the more delicate movements of attack and defence. Of these I will now speak.


It is customary for adversaries, on coming to the Guard, to Engage, or to join blades, on what is called the inside, that is, the right side; although there are occasions on which it is advisable to engage on the outside, or on the left; otherwise called the Quarte or Tierce sides.

Two men thus opposed to each other will at once perceive that there are two lines of attack open to them, i. e. the line inside and the line outside the blade—these, and no more. But these may be, and in fencing are, subdivided into inside above the hand, and inside under the hand, and the same subdivision for outside. This gives four lines of attack—or, to speak more simply, gives four openings through which an adversary may be assailed. Now, to protect each of these assailable points, are four defensive movements, called


Each opening has its own parade or defence, and each parade will guard its own opening, and, strictly speaking, no other. The opening inside above the hand is defended by two parades.


As its name imports, the first and most natural parade is that of[203] Prime. The action of drawing the sword from its sheath is almost exactly the movement made use of in the parade of Prime.

In this parade, the hand is raised as high as the forehead, so that the fencer can see his opponent’s face under his wrist. The blade of the foil is almost horizontal, but the point is rather lowered towards the ground. As this parade will throw the right side of the body open to the adversary’s sword, it is good play to disengage from left to right, and deliver a rapid thrust at the adversary, in order to anticipate him before he can bring his own sword round for another thrust. His point will be thrown far out of line, so that he is behind-hand in point of time.

This is a very useful parade for fencers of short stature, as they can sometimes get in their blade under their adversary’s arm, after they have parried his thrust.

The other parade is that of


It is thus formed. On the approach of the point of an adversary’s blade (and how these approaches are made I will presently explain), the right hand is moved a few inches—three or four will be enough—across the body on the inside; the hand being neither depressed nor raised, and the foil being kept on the same slope as in the Guard. This guards the body on the inside above the hand, but (and here comes an important law in fencing) the very movement which has guarded the body on one side has exposed it on the other: this is the case with all the simple parades.


Suppose, now, that the exposed part outside above the hand were assailed, then the defence for it is the parade of


It is formed by turning the hand with the nails downwards, and[204] crossing to the opposite side some six or eight inches; the hand and point at the same elevation as before: this will guard this opening. If, however, the attack had been made under instead of over the hand, then the proper parade would have been Seconde.


There is another method of parrying, called Quarte, over the arm, which is executed by making almost the same parade as in Tierce, with this exception—first, the hand is retained in its original position, with the nails upwards; and, secondly, the point is not raised above the eye of the adversary.


It is rather more delicate than tierce, but wants its power and energy. The Ripostes, or reply thrusts, are made, as they would have been had the parade been that of Tierce.




is formed by turning the hand in the same position in which it was turned for Tierce, but the point of the foil slopes as much downwards as in Tierce it did upwards; the direction and distance for the hand to traverse being the same. Again, had the attack been delivered at none of these, but at the inside under the hand, then the proper parade would have been



which, as its name expresses, is a half-circle, described by a sweep of the blade traversing the under line. Next comes the parade of



In this parade the hand is held as in Quarte; the hilt of the foil is kept lower than that of the opponent; the blade is almost horizontal, the point being only slightly lower than the hilt, and directed towards the body of the adversary.


Octave is extremely useful when the fencer misses his parade of Demi-cercle, as there is but a short distance for the point to traverse, and it generally meets the blade of the adversary before the point can be properly fixed. Moreover, it brings the point so near the adversary’s body, that he will not venture to make another thrust until he has removed the foil.

Thus I have enumerated, and partly explained, the forms and uses of these four parades: they are called Simple Parades, to distinguish them from another set of defensive movements, called


I have said and shown that a man standing foil in hand, in the position of the guard, is exposed in four distinct places to thrusts from an adversary within longing distance. I have also shown that he has a defence for each of these exposed places; but if a man has but one defence for each assailable part, then his adversary, knowing beforehand what the defence must be, would be prepared beforehand to deceive him. But if he has a reserve—if he has a second defence for each part, then the adversary cannot tell what the defence will be, until his attack, false or real, is begun.

To meet this contingency, a second series of defences have been devised, which are of an entirely different nature from the Simple Parades.


Again, as each of the simple parades is framed to guard only one opening, it was found desirable that the contre-parades should be of a more comprehensive character. They are therefore devised so that each is capable of protecting the entire front. It is evident that this object could not be attained without the sacrifice of quickness, because a larger space must be traversed, and therefore more time is occupied with a contre than a simple parade.

To know one contre-parade is virtually to know all, as they are all formed on the same plan. They are all full circles in the position of hand and direction of foil of the different simple parades; or more clearly speaking, each simple parade has a contre-parade; there are, therefore, four simple and four contre-parades, which may be thus arranged:

Quarte Contre de Quarte.
Tierce Contre de Tierce.
Seconde Contre de Seconde.
Demi-cercle Contre de Cercle.

I have said that a contre-parade is a full circle in the position of hand and direction of blade of its simple; thus, contre de quarte is made by retaining the hand in the position of quarte, while the foil describes a circle descending on the inside, and returning by the outside to the place of its departure. So with all the others, the foil following the direction of the simple parade, of which it is the contre. These complete the entire system of defences.

I now come to movements of an opposite nature, namely, the


and shall begin with the most simple of them. I will again suppose two adversaries standing, en guard, within longing distance of each other: now the most simple movement that the attacking party could make would be,


to the outside or inside, according to his line of engagement. I have, in describing the longe, in effect described the straight thrust; it is but a longe in a straight line, taking care, however, to feel firmly the adversary’s blade, but taking care also not to press or lean on it during the delivering of the thrust.

Next in character comes


This attack is made by dropping the point of the foil beneath the adversary’s blade, and raising it on the opposite side, at the same time, rising with the arm fully extended; on the completion of the extension the longe is made and the thrust delivered.



is but a double disengagement, the first being but a feint or false attack, to induce the adversary to form a parade to cover the part threatened, for the covering of one part of the body exposes the opposite: the second disengagement is made to take advantage of this exposure. The arm is extended halfway on the first, and then wholly on the second, to be immediately followed by the longe.


This is another variety of attack. Supposing the adversary’s blade to be firmly joined to yours, when you wished to deliver a straight thrust, there would then be danger of your falling upon his point. This danger is avoided by giving a slight beat on his blade the instant preceding your extension of arm, of course to be followed en suite by the longe.

The companion attack to this attack is


The beat here takes the character of the first disengagement in one-two, i. e. becomes a feint, and is intended to induce the adversary to return to the place he occupied when the beat was made. You then immediately pass to the opposite side of his blade in the manner described in the disengagement.

It will be seen that all these movements pass under the adversary’s blade. However, there are certain situations in the assault, as a fencing bout is called, when an adversary is more assailable over the point than under the blade; for this purpose there is what the French call the coupé sur point, or


It is thus made: By the action of the hand, and without drawing it back at all, the foil is raised and brought down on the opposite side of the adversary’s blade, the arm being extended during its fall to the horizontal position, on attaining which the longe is delivered.


is on the same principle as the one-two and the beat and disengagement. On the adversary opposing the first movement (the cut) with a parade, the second movement (the disengagement) is made to the opposite side, to be followed of course by the longe; the extension of the arm being divided between the two movements.

These attacks are called simple attacks, because they may be parried by one or more simple parades, according to the number of movements in the attack. In fact, every attack can be parried, and every parade can be deceived: it is the additional movement last made which hits or guards.


Thus, you threaten by a disengagement to the outside; your adversary bars your way effectually by the parade of tierce; you make a second disengagement to the inside, which is now exposed from the very fact of the outside being guarded (for both lines of attack cannot be guarded at the same time), thus converting your attack into one-two; but if your adversary parries quarte on your second movement, your attack would be warded off. This can be carried much further, but the above will, I think, be sufficient to explain the nature of simple parades and attacks.

To deceive a contre-parade, a separate movement, called a doublé, or


has been invented; it is very simple in principle, and admirably answers the purpose. For instance, if you were to threaten your adversary by a disengagement to the outside, and if, instead of tierce, he parried contre de quarte, the double is then made by your making a second disengagement to the same side as the first, for it will be found that his contre de quarte has replaced the blades in the positions they occupied previous to your disengagement. You will then have an opening, and may finish the attack by the longe.

As all the contre-parades are on the same plan and principle, so are all the doubles. Of course, it is understood that you will make all the movements of the double en suite, and without allowing your adversary’s blade to overtake yours.


The foregoing movements having been well practised in the lesson, the next step is that of all feints and all parades, and may be practised either with a master or fellow-pupil. The practice consists of one pupil standing on the defensive entirely, while another assumes the offensive, and attacks him with all the feints of which he is master, the other, of course, defending with all his parades. It is excellent practice, as it accustoms the pupil to think for himself gradually, he having thus but one set of movements to think about. He is therefore enabled to make them boldly, without having to encounter unknown movements from his adversary.

It also enables him to see the extent of his resources, both for attack and defence. When he can both attack and defend with some presence of mind, he may then begin


that is, he may encounter an adversary, to attack or defend as occasion presents. He is then left to his own resources entirely. The following



given by a very eminent fencer and excellent teacher, cannot fail to be of use:

“Do not put yourself on the position of the guard within the reach of your adversary’s thrust, especially at the time of drawing your sword.

“If you are much inferior make no long assaults.

“Do nothing that is useless; every movement should tend to your advantage.

“Let your movements be made as much within the line of your adversary’s body as possible.

“Endeavour both to discover your adversary’s designs, and to conceal your own.

“Two skilful men, acting together, fight more with their heads than their hands.

“The smaller you can make the movements with your foil, the quicker will your point arrive at your adversary’s body.

“Do not endeavour to give many thrusts on the longe, thus running the risk of receiving one in the interim.

“If your adversary drops his foil by accident, or in consequence of a smart parade of yours, you should immediately pick it up, and present it to him politely.

“Always join blades (if possible) previously to another attack, after a hit is given.”


The principal distinction between the broadsword and the rapier is, that the latter is formed only for thrusting, while the former is adapted for cutting also. Indeed, those who use the broadsword are, in my opinion, too apt to neglect the use of the point, and to give their attention almost exclusively to the cuts.

The first lesson in the sword exercise is necessarily to know how to stand. The learner should be instructed to perform the different movements by word of command, remembering to consider the first parts of the word as a caution, and not to stir until the last syllable is uttered. At the last syllable, the movement should be performed smartly. In giving the word, the instructor always makes a slight pause, in order to give his pupils time to remember what they must do. For example, the words Draw Swords, is given thus, Draw . . . . . Swords—the word swords being spoken smartly, in order that the movement may correspond.



First Position.—Make the target[3] about fourteen inches in diameter, and place it on the wall, having its centre about four feet from the ground. Draw a perpendicular line from the spot at the bottom of the target to the ground, and continue it on the floor, in order to ensure the proper position of the heels. The learner stands perfectly upright opposite the target, with his right side towards it, his heels close together, his right toe pointing to the target, and his left foot at right angles with the left. His arms must be clasped behind his back, his right palm supporting the left elbow, and his left hand grasping the right arm just above the elbow. In this position, he must bend both knees and sink down as far as possible. This will not be very far at first, but he will soon sink down quite easily. See accompanying figure (1).

[3] For target, see next page.

First position

Fig. 1.

Second position

Fig. 2.

First position

Fig. 1.

Second position

Fig. 2.

Second Position.—This is accomplished by placing the right foot smartly in front, about sixteen or fourteen inches before the left. See (2). He must accustom himself to balance himself so perfectly on his left foot, that he can place the right either before or behind it, without losing his balance.

Third Position.—The third position must then be learned. This consists in stepping well forward with the right foot, until the left knee is quite straight, and the right knee exactly perpendicularly placed over the right foot. Great care must be taken to keep the heels exactly in the same line, and the body perfectly upright. See Figure (3).


Third position

Fig. 3.

These preliminaries having been settled, the learner stands upright before the target, as in (1). A sword is then put into his hand, and the target is explained as follows:



The interior lines represent the cuts. Cut one being directed from No. 1 diagonally through the target, coming out at 4. Cut two is the same, only from left to right. Three is made upwards diagonally, and four is the same, only in the opposite direction. Cut five is horizontally through the target, from right to left, and six from left to right.[213] Cut seven is perpendicularly downwards. Care must be taken that the cuts are fairly given with the edge.

The swords drawn on the target represent the guards. The seventh guard ought, however, not to be made directly across, but must have the point directly rather forwards and downwards, as a cut 7 glides off the blade, and can be instantly answered either by a thrust or by cut 1.

The two dark circles represent the places where the thrusts take effect.

Starting posture

The learner begins by taking the sword in his right hand, having its edge toward the target and its back resting on his shoulder. His right arm is bent at right angles, and the elbow against his side. The left hand must rest upon the hip, the thumb being to the rear. At the word



Cut 1.—The young swordsman extends his right arm, and makes the cut clear through the target. When the point has cleared the target, continue the sweep of the sword, and by a turn of the wrist bring it with its back on the left shoulder, its edge towards the left. The arm is then ready for

Cut 2.—Bring the sword from 2 to 3, continue the movement of the sword, and turn the wrist so that the point is below the right hip and the edge towards the ground.

Cut 3.—Cut through the target diagonally, bringing the sword from No. 3 to No. 2, and bring the sword onwards, so that it rests with the edge downwards, and point below the left hip. At

Cut 4.—Cut from 4 to 1, and bring the sword round until its point is over the right shoulder, and its edge well to the right.


Cut 5.—At the word Five, make a horizontal cut from 5 to 6, and sweep the sword round until it rests on the left shoulder, with its edge to the left, and its point well over the shoulder.

Cut 6.—Cut horizontally through the target, from 6 to 5, and bring the sword over the head, with its edge upwards, and its point hanging over the back. From this position,

Cut 7.—Make a downward stroke until the sword reaches the centre of the target. Arrest it there, and remain with the arm extended, waiting for the word


First Point.—Draw back the sword, until the right wrist is against the right temple, the edge of the sword being upwards. Make a slight pause, and then thrust smartly forward towards the centre of the target, raising the right wrist as high as No. 1, and pressing the left shoulder well back.





Second Point.—Turn the wrist round to the left, so that the edge comes upwards, draw the hand back until it rests on the breast, and give the point forwards, to the centre of the target, raising the hand as before.

Third Point.—Give the handle of the sword a slight twist in the hand to the right, so that the edge again comes uppermost, and the guard rests against the back of the hand. Draw back the hand until it rests against the right hip, and deliver it forwards towards the spot at the bottom of the target, raising the wrist as high as the spot in the centre. The object in raising the wrist is to deceive the eye of the opponent, who will be more likely to notice the position of your wrist than of your point. In all the thrusts, the left shoulder[215] should be rather brought forward before the point is given, and pressed well back while it is being delivered.



Wait after the third point has been delivered for the word

Defend.—At this word draw up the hand smartly, and form the first guard. Make the other guards in succession as they are named, while the instructor proves their accuracy by giving the corresponding cuts. The guards must be learned from the target, by placing the sword in exactly the same position as those delineated. The guards are these:

  1. First guard.
  2. Second.
  3. Third.
  4. Fourth.
  5. Fifth.
  6. Sixth.
  7. Seventh.

The two spots H and I mark the places towards which the points are made, H for the first and second point, I for the third.


The parry or parade of a thrust is executed with the back of the sword. The firmest way of parrying is to hold the sword perpendicular, with its edge to the right and its hilt about the height of and close to the right shoulder; then, by sweeping the sword round from left to right, any thrust within its sweep is thrown wide of the body.

The parry is executed with the wrist and not with the arm, which must not move.



When the pupil is acquainted with both cuts and guards, he should learn the hanging guard, a most useful position, as it keeps the body well hidden under the sword, and at the same time leaves the sword in a good position to strike or thrust.

It is accomplished in the following way. Step out to the second position, as in Figure 2, raise the arm until the hand is just over the right foot, and as high as the head. The edge of the sword is upwards, and the point is directed downwards and towards the left. The left shoulder is pressed rather forward, and the neck and chest drawn inward.

In this position, the swordsman is in a position to receive or make an attack as he may think fit. It is rather fatiguing at first, owing to the unaccustomed position of the arm and head, but the fatigue is soon overcome, and then it will be found that there is no attitude which gives equal advantages.


There are two other modes of standing on guard, each possessing their peculiar advantages. These are, the inside and outside guard. The inside guard is made as follows:


Stand in the second position, having the wrist of the right hand nearly as low as the waist, the hand being exactly over the right foot. The point of the sword is raised as high as the eyes, and the edge is turned inwards, as will be seen from the accompanying engraving.




The outside guard is formed in the same manner as the inside, with the exception that the edge of the sword is turned well outwards.


To get to the hanging guard, the words are given as follows:—inside guard—outside guard—guard.


The swordsman having learned thus far, is taught to combine the[218] three movements of striking, thrusting, and guarding, by the following exercise:

  1. Inside Guard.
  2. Outside Guard.
  3. Guard.
  4. Cut One.
  5. First Guard.
  6. Cut Two.
  7. Second Guard.
  8. Cut Three.
  9. Third Guard.
  10. Cut Four.
  11. Fourth Guard.
  12. Cut Five.
  13. Fifth Guard.
  14. Cut Six.
  15. Sixth Guard.
  16. Cut Seven.
  17. Seventh Guard.
  18. First Point. [Prepare for the point in First Position.] Two. [Thrust in Third Position.]
  19. Second Point. [Prepare for it in First Position.] Two. [Thrust in Third Position.]
  20. Third Point. [Prepare.] Two. [Thrust.]
  21. Parry. [Prepare to parry in First Position.] Two. [Parry.]
  22. Guard.

The young swordsman must remember that in this, as in all the exercises, the cuts and points must be given in the third position, as in the accompanying illustration, which shows the swordsman just as he has delivered the seventh cut, and is waiting for the next word before he resumes the first position.


The guards, on the contrary, are given in the first position, as is seen in the figure on p. 219, which illustrates the seventh guard.

These exercises are always learned with the single-stick, or basket-hilted cudgel, in order to avoid the dangers which would be inevitable if the sword were used. But as the single-stick is only an imitation of the sword, I will give the method of getting the sword out of the sheath into any position required.


The first word of command is draw swords. At the word draw, seize the sheath just below the hilt, with the left hand, and raise the hilt as high as the hip, at the same time grasping the hilt with the right hand, turning the edge of the sword to the rear, and drawing it partially from the sheath, to ensure its easy removal.



At the word swords, draw the blade smartly out of the scabbard, throwing the point upwards, at the full extent of the arm, the edge being still to the rear.


The wrist is now smartly lowered until it is level with the chin, the blade upright, and the edge to the left. This is the position of recover swords. The elbow must be kept close to the body, as in the cut.



The wrist is now sharply lowered until the arm hangs at its full length, the wrist being in the line with the hip, the edge of the sword to the front, and its back resting in the hollow of the shoulder, the fingers lightly holding the hilt. The left hand hangs at the side until the word inside guard, when it is placed on the left hip.


At the word swords, raise the right hand smartly, until it forms a right angle at the elbow.


At the word, raise the blade until it is perpendicular, move the hilt to the hollow of the left shoulder, drop the point of the sword into the scabbard (which has been grasped by the left hand and slightly raised,)[220] at the same time turning the edge to the rear. Pause an instant, and send the sword smartly into the sheath, removing both hands as the hilt strikes against the mouth of the scabbard: drop them to the side, with the palms outwards, and stand in the first position.


There are many exercises with the broadsword, called Practices. I have given one of them, which is to be practised alone; but when the pupil has attained some confidence in the use of his weapon, he must be placed opposite another pupil, and they must go through them, each taking the attack and defence in turn.

The young swordsman must be provided with a very stout wire mask, which defends the face and part of the neck, and which should be worked in a kind of helmet above, to guard against the disastrous consequences of receiving the seventh guard. No practices, loose or otherwise, should be permitted without the masks, as neither party would be able to cut or thrust with proper confidence.


This is very useful in teaching the point and parry, as well as giving steadiness on the feet. Two boys are placed opposite each other, at just such a distance, that when perfectly erect they can touch the hilt of their adversary’s sword with the point of their own.

The one who gives the first point is called Front Rank, (there may be a dozen in each rank, each having tried the distance to his right by extending his sword,) and the one who gives first parry is called Rear Rank.

Guard.   Hanging Guard.   Hanging Guard.
Third Point.   Prepare to give Third Point.   Prepare to Parry.
Point. -   Give Third Point, and when parried
spring back to First Position, and
prepare to parry.
  - Parry Third Point, and prepare to give
Third Point.
Point. -   Parry Third Point, and prepare for
Third Point.
  - Give Third Point, and prepare to
Point, &c. &c.

This should be continued until both are weary. Both swordsmen should learn to do it more rapidly every time they practise. Next time of going through it, front rank and rear rank change places, as they must do in all the practices.

Guard. Hanging Guard. Hanging Guard.
Leg. Cut Four. Cut Seven.
Inside Guard. Inside Guard. Inside Guard.
Leg. Cut Six [at Leg]. Cut Six [at Neck].
Outside Guard. Outside Guard. Outside Guard.
Leg. Cut Five [at Leg]. Cut Five [at Neck].
Guard. Hanging Guard. Hanging Guard.
Slope Swords. Slope Swords. Slope Swords.

In this and the other practices, the cuts must be delivered in the[221] third position, and the guards in the first. In the third and fourth practices, the cuts must be given lightly, as many of them are not intended to be guarded, but merely to show the powers of the sword in various positions.

Guard. Hanging Guard. Hanging Guard.
Head. Seventh Cut. Seventh Guard.
Head. Seventh Guard. Cut Seven.
Leg. Fourth Cut. Seventh Guard.
Leg. Seventh Guard. Fourth Cut.
Head. Seventh Cut. Seventh Guard.
Head. Seventh Guard. Seventh Cut.
Guard. Hanging Guard. Hanging Guard.
Slope Swords. Slope Swords. Slope Swords.

In this and the preceding exercise, the power of shifting the leg is shown. If two swordsmen attack each other, and No. 1 strikes at the leg of No. 2, it will be better for No. 2 not to oppose the cut by the third or fourth guard, but to draw back the leg smartly, and cut six or seven at the adversary’s head or neck.

In loose play, as it is called, i. e. when two parties engage with swords without following any word of command, but strike and guard as they can, both players stand in the second position, because they can either advance or retreat as they choose, and can longe out to the third position for a thrust or a cut, or spring up to the first position for a guard with equal ease.

It is often a kind of trap, to put the right leg more forward than usual, in order to induce the adversary to make a cut at it. When he does so, the leg is drawn back, the stroke passes harmless, and the deceived striker gets the stick of his opponent on his head or shoulders.

We now come to a very complicated exercise, called the

Draw Swords. Draw Swords. Draw Swords.
Inside Guard. Inside Guard. Inside Guard.
Outside Guard. Outside Guard. Outside Guard.
Guard. Hanging Guard. Hanging Guard.
Head. Seventh Cut. Seventh Guard.
Head. Seventh Guard. Seventh Cut.
Arm. Second Cut [at Arm]. Second Guard.
Head. Seventh Guard. Seventh Cut.
Head. Seventh Cut. Seventh Guard.
Arm. Second Guard. Second Cut [at Arm].
Head. Seventh Cut. Seventh Guard.
Head. Seventh Guard. Seventh Cut.
Right Side. Sixth Cut. Sixth Guard.
Head. Seventh Guard. Seventh Cut.
Head. Seventh Cut. Seventh Guard.
Right Side. Sixth Guard. Sixth Cut.
Guard. Hanging Guard. Hanging Guard.

This practice is capital exercise, and looks very imposing. All these practices ought to be so familiar, that the words of command are not needed, the only word required being First, Second, or Third Practices, as the case may be.


I remember once, that two of my pupils had attained such a mastery of their weapons, that we used often to go through the practices with real swords. On one occasion, we were acting a charade, and my eldest pupil and myself were enacting the part of two distinguished foreigners (country unknown) who were to get up a fight. So we began by a little quarrel, and finally drew our swords and set hard to work at the fifth practice, which we could do with extreme rapidity, and without the use of words of command. The spectators were horrified, and the ladies greatly alarmed; for there seems to be no particular order in that practice, and an inexperienced eye would certainly fancy that the combatants were in earnest.


The half of the sword blade next the hilt is called the “fort,” because it is the strongest place on which the cut of an adversary can be received. Always parry and guard with the fort of your sword, as, if you try to guard a cut with the “feeble,” which is the remaining half of the blade, your guard will be forced, and the cut take effect.


The drawing cut is made best with a curved sword, and is executed by placing the edge of the sword on the object, and drawing it over it until it is severed. A good large mangel worzel is capital practice. Place the root loose on a table, stand at arm’s length from it, lay the edge of the sword lightly on it, and slice the root by repeatedly drawing the sword over it. This is very difficult, although it looks easy enough, and is sure to jar the arm from the wrist to the shoulder the first time or two, while the sword glides off as if the root were cased in polished steel. However, a little practice will soon overcome the difficulty. This cut is much in use among the Sikhs.


Never look at your own sword, but watch the eye and sword wrist of your opponent.

Remember that the great point in this exercise, as in fencing, is to gain time. Endeavour, therefore, to advance your point nearer your adversary than his is to you.

Begin the assault out of distance, so that neither party can complain of being taken by surprise.

If the two parties exchange a cut or a thrust at the same moment, the one who gave his cut or thrust in the third position is victorious.

When a cut or thrust is made, the one who receives it passes his sword, i. e. stick, into his left hand, and his opponent comes to inside guard.

Always spring back to the second position after delivering a cut or thrust.

Keep the line of direction carefully, or you will leave an open space for the adversary to get his sword into.

Last and most important, Don’t lose your temper.


Fives playing field


It is impossible to play at this excellent game unless there be a high wall, free from abutments, and a smooth, dry, paved ground before it. When this can be procured, a line is drawn on the wall, about 38 inches from the ground; another line is drawn on the ground, about 10 feet from the wall, A; and two others are drawn on each side as boundaries, B C. The instruments used in the play are a ball of tightly-sewn leather and a fives-bat. It has a long handle, and an oval bowl of wood. The ball is hard, rebounding, small, and white. The game may be played by two or four people; in the last case, two on each side. The method of play is as follows:—The game may be played either single-handed or with partners. When it is played with partners, the players toss up for innings. The first player takes the ball, and strikes it against the wall with his bat above the line on the wall, and so that it may fall without the line on the ground. The other then strikes it, and the players continue to hit it against the wall, either before it comes to the ground or at the first bounce, until one of them missing it, or driving it out of bounds, or beneath the wall-line, loses or goes out. Of course the ball may fall anywhere within the side boundaries, after being once struck up by the player who is in. The game is usually fifteen, but is sometimes extended to twenty-five. The game above described is that known as bat-fives, and differs little from the game of rackets, except that it may be played in any open court, and that a differently-shaped bat and a larger ball are employed. Fives was originally played with the hand, instead of a racket, and in the fourteenth century was called Hand Tennis in England, and in France, Palm Play. It is said to have obtained the name of Fives, from ten of the Earl of Hertford’s servants having played before Queen Elizabeth, five of a[224] side; but more probably on account of the five fingers of the hand. This game of “hand-fives” is the one ordinarily played by boys, and known technically as “fives.” The ball is hit against the wall entirely by the hand, and no bat of any description is used. The game may be played by two or more people, and is usually fifteen. Players with tender hands usually play with an ordinary kid or padded glove, either of which is quite admissible. There are variations of the game at different schools, owing to peculiarities in the shape of the courts. At Eton, for instance, a buttress of the chapel abuts into the court, and the Eton courts at Oxford are made on a similar plan. But the game as ordinarily played is that as described above.


Uncertain as to the date of its origin, there is no English game which is at once so popular and about which so much difference of opinion exists. All agree as to its manly character, its capabilities for endurance, activity, hardihood, and strategical skill, but there are very few who agree entirely as to the rules by which the game should be played.

In ancient records there is no mention of the game before the reign of Edward III.; and at that period it seems to have been so popular that by royal edict it was put down, as being antagonistic to the royal amusement of archery. But that it flourished, and flourished considerably, beyond that date, there is no doubt. In many market-towns of England and Scotland, and notably in that of Kingston-on-Thames, all business is suspended on Shrove Tuesday, and a great game of foot-ball is played in the market-place. All is officially conducted, and the mayor is honoured with the privilege of “kick-off.”

It would seem a pity at first sight that there is no authority like that of the Marylebone Club to revise the laws of foot-ball and insist upon their being observed in all places where the game is played. Foot-ball as now constituted is not, and cannot be, a national game. There are hardly two schools in England that agree in its first principles, and that are not continually wrangling and disputing as to how the game should be played. To touch the ball with the hands is in some eyes a heresy, and in others an uncommon virtue. Some schools advocate running with the ball, while others consider such licence as antagonistic to the proper principles and well-being of the game. And, indeed, looking round at the various head-quarters of foot-ball in England, it really does seem a difficult matter to reconcile the games as now played so as to suit all tastes. Rugby and Eton foot-ball can hardly be looked upon as the same game.



We have one set of people advocating the employment of only eleven, or at most twenty, players on a side, and another maintaining that a hundred or so on a side matters little. We have one school playing the game against a brick wall, another using boundaries of canvas, another dashing the ball about in narrow cloisters, and another marshalling a little army of players, with regularly organized back and forward players, reserve forces, vanguard, scouts, runners, all of whom have their direct influence on the fate and fortunes of the game.

The great essentials for foot-ball are pluck, endurance, and good temper. Half the disputes at foot-ball which are ascribed to “hacking” and “shinning” would not have occurred had good temper been observed. No one “hacks” or “shins” wilfully, except he loses his temper; and a player in foot-ball, as in other games, who cannot keep his temper is unfit in every way to enjoy the game. As a match at foot-ball is now made, two parties, containing any number of competitors, take the field, and, having tossed up for sides, stand between two goals, placed at a distance of some eighty yards apart. The party that loses the toss has the privilege of “kick-off.” The goal is marked by two upright poles, driven into the ground about ten yards apart. The ball, which used formerly to be made of a blown bladder, is now made of an inflated vulcanized india-rubber case, inclosed again in a case of laced and well-sewn leather. The object of each party is to drive the ball through the goal of their antagonists. The skill of the players is best employed in attacking and defending the goals.

In the game of football the fewer the rules, and the simpler those rules are, the better. The great “bone of contention” with lovers of the game is, as to whether players should be allowed to touch the ball with their hands or not. Eton and Westminster players will be arguing for ever that the game is foot-ball, and not hand-ball; while Rugbæans, on the other hand, will contend that without the use of the hands as well as the feet the game is robbed of one of its principal charms. In the following rules a medium course is advocated, as, while nothing looks so bad as to see a lazy or inactive player, who does not care to follow the ball, playing fives with it whenever it comes within his reach, it would be equally absurd to stop a player who catches the ball fairly either on the full or first bound from running a yard or so with it in his hands, in order to allow him to get up the necessary impetus for a strong drop-kick. With regard also to “off-side,” it is essentially necessary that some clear and definite rules should be laid down. What can possibly look worse than to see a player, again one of those who are too indolent to “follow up” the ball, coolly stand in the middle of the course, or, worse still, at the very door of his neighbour’s goal, waiting until the ball is kicked up to him, in order that he, fresh and full of wind as he is, may follow it in to the goal? It is hoped that the[226] following rules may give general satisfaction, and prevent disputes and obstacles:

1. A goal may be obtained by a fair full kick or drop-kick off the hand, provided the ball goes over the bar which runs between the goal-posts; or a goal may be obtained by a fair foot-ball “bulley,” which sends the ball through all obstacles anywhere between the posts.

2. The foot-ball course must be marked by side boundaries. When the ball is kicked outside these boundaries, a player of either side may kick it into the course again in a straight line from where it went out.

3. A player who shall not have been behind the last player on his own side who kicked the ball shall be considered “off his side.”

4. No player who shall be “off his side” shall be allowed to kick the ball until it shall have touched one of the opposite side, when he becomes on his side again, and may join in the game.

5. A player who obtains a fair catch of the ball, either full or on the first bound, may take a short run, in order to obtain a “drop-kick,” or may kick it at once full off his hands.

6. Any player of the opposite side may use his best endeavours to prevent a drop or full kick after a fair catch.

7. No “holding” must be allowed at any period of the game.

8. No “shinning” or “hacking” is to be allowed.

9. At the commencement of the game the captains of each side shall determine mutually how long the game is to last.

10. At the end of the time, no matter in what position the game is, one of the captains shall cry “no game,” and the game shall immediately cease.


Golf club

Golfing is played with a club and ball. The club is from three to four feet long, according to the height and length of arm of the player. It is curved and massive towards the end, to give strength and weight. This knob is formed for strength from some very tough wood, as beech, and as it curves and proceeds upwards is planed off, so as to adapt itself to the handle, to which it is partly glued and tightly corded down. A want of due attention to these particulars in the making of it will render the head liable to split and fly off by either a very hard or indirect stroke. The face of the club is further secured by a piece of hard bone, and occasionally of ivory, at least half an inch thick. It is also loaded with from four to six ounces of lead, according to the will of the player. The handle is usually bound with cord, list, or velvet, at the pleasure of the owner. It is, however, to be remembered, that the form of the club, the materials of which it is made, and the numbers taken to the golfing ground, vary considerably, according to the circumstances and habits of the[227] players, the attendant cad or caddie having usually many varieties, to suit every peculiarity under which the ball may be placed; for in many clubs it can never be touched by the hand until holed.

The golf ball is about the size of an egg, and is made very hard. It is composed of stout leather, which, having been previously soaked in boiling water, allows of its being first very firmly sewed, and then turned inside out, leaving a small opening only, by which it is very forcibly stuffed with feathers. The leather being yet wet, it contracts into a ball of the dimensions stated, but never gets circular, as that used in the game of cricket. It is afterwards painted over with several coats of white paint; in doing which it is requisite that the lead used should be very pure and exceedingly well ground down, as well as that each coat laid on should be perfectly dry and hard before another is applied.

The game is played by two or more persons, so that there be an equal number on each side; but only two balls are used, one belonging to each party, each party also striking in turn: but if the last striker does not drive his ball as far as that of his opponent, one of his party must then strike one, or perhaps two more, and the game is thus marked by calling out one, two, or three more, as the case may be. If more than two are playing, the same person does not strike twice in succession: a miss is considered one. The party who puts the ball into the hole in the fewest strokes wins the game.

The grounds used for this sport vary in different parts of Scotland. Some are nearly square, in which case a hole is made in each corner; but if it be irregular in figure, it is not uncommon to place one at each angle, so that the party shall traverse the whole surface, and finish at the spot from whence he started; a quarter of a mile being usually allowed between each hole. Besides the stick, or club, already described, there are others, usually carried by an attendant for each party. These are called, by way of distinction, putters—of which, however, there are several sorts, one being short, stiff, and heavy, similar in figure, but longer on the head, for making a steady and direct stroke when near the hole. Another, formed of iron, instead of wood, is used for making a hit at a ball when very unfavourably placed, as in a rut, where the common club would be in danger of breaking. When a ball falls into a hole or rut, from which it is impossible to strike it out, the party is allowed, by a special agreement, in some clubs, to take it out with his hand, and throw it up in a line with the spot, which is accounted as one, and he then strikes from where it chances to rest; but, as already observed, this indulgence does not extend to every Golfing Society.


Various gymanstics exercises



The study of Gymnastics is of the utmost importance to young persons, as its object is to call into exercise, and to train to perfection, all the corporeal or bodily powers. It is the education of the limbs, joints, and muscles; and includes not only the systematic training of these, but also assists the sciences of riding, driving, wrestling, rowing, sailing, skating, swimming, &c.

In the following gymnastic exercises we have determined to introduce only those more simple and useful feats which may be said to make up the “Alphabet of the Science,” and all the individual and progressive exercises are susceptible of being everywhere introduced. They may be performed in very small spaces, and require no particular preparation, expense, or place. By attention to the directions any pupil between the ages of twelve and sixteen may train and exercise himself, and a number of other children younger than himself; and this excellent study may thus become a source of amusement and delight.




The first gymnasium is said to have been established at Sparta, and some years afterwards at Athens. In the former city the exercises partook of a rude military character; but among the Athenians, who were always disposed to mingle the elements of the beautiful in whatever they undertook, gymnastics were refined, and the Gymnasia became temples of the Graces. In each there was a place called Palæstra, in which wrestling, boxing, running, leaping, throwing the discus, and other exercises of the kind were taught. Gymnastics were afterwards divided into two principal branches—the Palæstræ, taking its name from the Palæstra, and the Orchestræ. The former embraced the whole class of athletic exercises; the latter dancing, and the art of gesticulation and declamation.

The Gymnasia were spacious edifices, surrounded by gardens and a sacred grove. Their principal parts were: 1. The Portices, furnished with seats and side buildings, where the youths met to converse. 2. The Ephebeion, that part of the edifice where the youth alone exercised. 3. The Apodyterion, or undressing room to the Conisterium, or small court in which was kept the yellow kind of sand sprinkled by the wrestlers over their bodies after being anointed with the aroma, or oil tempered with wax. 5. The Palæstra properly was the place for wrestling. 6. The Sphæristerium, where the game of ball was played. 7. Aliterium, where the wrestlers anointed themselves with oil. 8. The Area or great court, where running, leaping, and pitching the quoit were performed. 9. The Xysta, open walks in which the youths exercised themselves in running. 10. The Balanea, or baths. Behind the Xysta lay the Stadium, which, as its name imports, was the eighth of a mile in length; and in this were performed all sorts of exercises, in the presence of large numbers of persons and the chiefs of the state.

To all these branches of gymnastics the Grecian youth applied themselves with peculiar eagerness, and on quitting the schools devoted to them a particular portion of their time, since they regarded them as a preparation for victory in the Olympic and other games, and as the best possible means for promoting health and ripening the physical powers; nor could anything be better adapted for those whose heroism was liberty, and whose first great aims were to be good citizens and the defenders of their country.

The Romans never made gymnastics a national matter, but considered them merely as preparatory to the military service; and, though forming a part of the exhibitions at festivals, they were practised only by a particular class trained for brutal entertainments, at which large bets were laid by the spectators, as is still the custom on our own racecourse: but when all the acquisitions of the human intellect were lost in the utter corruption of the Roman empire and the irruptions of wandering nations, the gymnastic art perished.



The commencement of tournaments during the Dark Ages in some degree revived athletic exercises; but the invention of gunpowder, the use of the small sword, the rifle, and scientific tactics, by which battles were gained more by skill than force, kept down the training of the body for athletic feats. But in the last century, when men broke loose from the yoke of authority, and education began to be studied, it was found that physical education had been forgotten. Salzmann, a German clergyman, invented a system of physical exercises, principally confined to running, leaping, swimming, climbing, and balancing; and at the commencement of the present century a German of the name of Volker established the first gymnasium in London, while Captain Clias, a Swiss, established one in the Royal Military Asylum; and since then many of the best schools and colleges have a gymnasium attached to their establishments.

It generally happens that the pupils of a gymnasium, after a time, lose their interest in the exercises. The reason of this appears to be that little or no difference is made in the exercises of different ages, and it is natural that an exercise repeated for years should become wearisome. Gymnastics, therefore, when they are taught, should be divided into two courses. In the first course we would include walking and pedestrian excursions, elementary exercises of various tests, running, leaping in height, in length, in depth, leaping with a pole (in length and height), vaulting, balancing, exercises on the single and parallel bars, climbing, throwing, dragging, pushing, lifting, carrying, wrestling, jumping (1. with the hoop; 2. with the rope), exercises with the dumb bells, various gymnastic feats or games; and, lastly, swimming, skating, fencing, riding on horseback, rowing, &c.

Gymnastic exercises may be begun by a boy of about eight years of age, or may be commenced at any age; but in all cases he should begin gently, and proceed gradually, without any abrupt transitions. They should be commenced before breakfast in the morning, or before dinner or supper; but never immediately after meals: and the pupil should be very careful, after becoming heated by exercises, of draughts or cold, and especially refrain from lying on the damp ground, or from standing without his coat or other garments; and rigidly guard against the dangerous practice of drinking cold water, which, in many instances, has been known to produce immediate death.


In all gymnastic exercises walking, running, and jumping deserve the preference, because they are the most natural movements of man, and those which he has most frequent occasion to use. This exercise, within the reach of everybody, ought to be placed among the number[231] of those which are direct conservators of health, and which have the most important beneficial effects upon our mental and moral economy. Walking provokes appetite, assists digestion, accelerates the circulation, brings the fluids to the skin, strengthens the memory, and gives cheerfulness to the mind, and in fatiguing the limbs gives repose to the senses and the brain.

It might be supposed that every one knows how to walk: not so, however; some persons crawl, some hobble, some shuffle along. Few have the graceful noble movement that ought to belong to progression, or, however well formed, preserve a really erect position and an air of becoming confidence and dignity. To teach walking—that is to say, to teach young persons to walk properly—we should advise a class of them to unite, that they may be able to teach themselves, which they may readily do if they follow the instructions given below.

A company of boys being formed, the eldest, or the one best adapted to the task, should act as captain, and at the word of command, “Fall in,” all the boys are to advance on the same line, preserving between each the distance of about an arm’s length. At the word “Dress” each boy places his right hand on the left shoulder of the next, extending his arm at full length, and turning his head to the right. At the word “Attention” the arms fall down by the side, and the head returns to the first position. The captain should now place his little regiment in the following manner:—1. The head up. 2. The shoulders back. 3. The body erect. 4. The stomach in. 5. The knees straight, the heels on the same line. 6. The toes turned very slightly outwards. The captain now stands before his men, and advancing his left foot, his knee straight, and his toe inclined towards the ground, he counts one, two, placing his boot on the ground, the toe before the heel; he then directs his pupils to obey him, and to follow his motions, and says, “March,” when each foot is advanced simultaneously, till he gives the word “Halt.” He then makes them advance, wheel to the right and left, in slow time, quick time, always observing the position of the body, and requiring that they move all together.


This movement is preparatory to running and jumping. The boys being in line, the word “On tip-toes” is given: each boy places his hands on his sides, and waits for the word, “Rise;” when they all gently raise themselves on their toes, joining their heels together, and keeping the knees straight, remain in this position till the word “Rest” is given, when they fall back slightly on their heels, their hands at the same time falling down by their sides. Proceeding in this manner through a few courses, with such changes as may present themselves, the pupils will soon acquire a habit of[232] graceful walking, of the highest importance to every one who studies a gentlemanly bearing.


Running is both useful and natural; it favours the development of the chest, dilates the lungs, and, when moderate, is a highly salutary exercise. To run fast and gracefully one should as it were graze the ground with the feet, by keeping the legs as straight as possible whilst moving them forward. During the course the upper part of the body is inclined a little forward, the arms are as it were glued to the sides, and turned in at the point of the hips, the hands shut, and the nails turned inwards. The faults in running are swinging the arms, raising the legs too high behind, taking too large strides, bending the knees too much, and in not properly managing their wind. In all running exercises the young should begin gradually, and never run themselves out of breath at any time. By careful practice a boy may soon acquire the power of running a mile in ten minutes; this is called moderate running: in what is called prompt running a thousand yards in two minutes is thought very good work, and in quick running 600 yards in a minute is considered good. The first distance that children, from eight to ten years of age, may be made to run is about 200 yards; the second, for those more advanced, 300 yards; and the third, for adults, 400 yards. It is however most essential, that in running boys should not over-tax their strength or “wind.” We are not all constituted alike, and a boy who could last for 200 yards or so might injure himself considerably by racing for a mile.


Of all the corporeal exercises jumping is one of the most useful; and during our lives very many instances occur of a good jump having done us essential service. To jump with grace and assurance one should always fall on the toes, taking care especially to bend the knees on the hips: the upper part of the body should be inclined forwards, and the arms extended towards the ground. The hands should serve to break the fall when jumping from a great height. In jumping we should hold the breath and never alight on the heels. Boys should exercise themselves in jumping, by jumping in length, and jumping from a height, with attention to the above cautions. They may make progressive exercises in length by varying the distance from time to time, and in height by jumping from a flight of stairs or steps, increasing a step at a time: they will soon be able to jump in length three yards, and from a height six feet, without injury.



Leaping is somewhat different to what is called jumping, as the object is to pass over an obstacle; and, as in jumping, it is of great importance to draw in the breath, while the hands should be shut, the arms pendent, to operate after the manner of a fly-wheel or pendulum. It may be practised by a leaping stand, which can be easily made of two sticks or stakes sunk in the ground, in which little catches are made at various distances, on which an even piece may be laid, that may readily be knocked over, so as to offer no resistance to the jumper, and injure him by an ugly fall.

The principal exercises in leaping are:—1. The high leap without a run. 2. The high leap with a run. 3. The long leap without a run. 4. And the long leap with a run. In the first of these the legs and feet are closed, the knees are bent till the calves nearly touch the thighs, and the arms are thrown in the direction of the leap, which increases the impulse. This leap may be practised at the following progressive heights,—eighteen inches, twenty-four inches, thirty-two inches, forty-eight inches, which last is perhaps what few lads would attain.

The high leap with a run.—The run should never exceed twelve paces, the distance between the point of springing and the obstacle to leap over to be about three-fifths the height of the obstacle from the ground; and in making it the leaper should go fairly and straightly over without veering to the side, and descend on the ball of the foot just beyond the toes. The heights that may be cleared by the running leap vary from three to six feet. A good leaper of sixteen years old ought to leap four feet six inches, and an extraordinarily good leaper five feet. Adults well trained will leap six, and some have been known to leap seven feet.

The long leap without a run.—The long leap may be marked out from four to eight feet, according to the agility and strength of the leaper; and the object to be cleared, a small block of wood, which should in this kind of leap be never more than six inches high, placed midway. In leaping the body is bent forward, the feet are closed, the arms first sway forwards, then backwards, and then forwards at the moment of taking the leap. In this kind of leap ten or twelve feet is considered good work.

The long leap with a run.—The run should be on firm level ground. The body should be inclined forward, and the run consist of about twelve paces, a small block of wood, as before, being placed mid distance in the leap. The spring should be principally on the right foot, and the arms should be thrown forwards at the time of the leap. In descending, if the leap be a very long one, the leaper should descend principally upon his toes; if the leap be not very long, he may descend on the balls of the toes. The leap is considered good if fifteen feet be cleared, but twenty may be done by a good leaper, and one or two individuals have fairly reached twenty-three feet.


Vaulting.—Vaulting is performed by springing over some stationary body, such as a gate or bar, by the aid of the hands, which bear upon it. To perform it, the vaulter may approach the bar with a slight run, and placing his hands upon it, heave himself up and throw his legs obliquely over it. The legs should be kept close together: while the body is in suspension over the bar, the right hand supports and guides it, while the left is free. The vaulter may commence this exercise with a bar or a stile three feet high, and extend it gradually to six feet.

Leaping with a Pole.—A great variety of leaps may be practised with a pole, which should be of a sufficient length, and shod at one end with iron, so as to take hold of the ground. The leaper should grasp with his right hand that part of the pole a little below the level of his head, and with his left that part of it just below the level of his hips; he should then make a slight run, and, placing the pole on the ground, take a spring forward, and swing himself slightly round, so that when he alights the fall may be brought towards the place from which he rose.

The pole is also employed in both long and deep leaps. In both of these the mode of holding the pole is similar; but in leaping from a height the pole should be grasped at the level of the knee, and then the leaper, with a slight circular swing, should descend on the balls of his toes.


This should be firmly fixed at an angle of thirty degrees. The climber should seize both sides with his hands, and place his feet in the middle on the soles. This will teach him to hold firm by his hands, and to cling with his feet. As the climber gets used to this exercise, the angle of the board may be increased. The young gymnast can ascend when the plank is perfectly perpendicular. A pole may be mounted in the same manner.


The pole should be about nine inches in diameter, and firmly fixed in the ground in a perpendicular position. In mounting, the pole is to be grasped firmly with both hands, the right above the left. The legs are alternately to grasp the pole in the ascent by means of the great toe, which is turned towards the pole. In descending, the friction is to be thrown on the inner part of the thighs, and the hands are left comparatively free.

Climbing the mast is similar to climbing the pole; but in this exercise the climber is unable to grasp it with his hands, but holds it in his arms: the position of the legs is the same as for the pole.



In climbing the rope, it is firmly grasped by the hands, which are placed one above the other, and so moved alternately. The heels are crossed over the rope, which is held fast by their pressure, the body being supported principally by them. In the sailor’s method the rope passes from the hands round the inside of the thigh, under the knee-joint, over the outside of the leg, and across the instep. But the enterprising gymnast will not be satisfied until he can climb the rope by his hands only, allowing the rest of his body to hang freely suspended.


In climbing trees the hands, and feet, and knees, are all to be used; but the climber should never forget that it is to the hands that he has to trust. He should carefully look upwards and select the branches for his hands, and the knobs and other excrescences of the trees for his feet. He should also mark the best openings for the advance of his body. He should also be particularly cautious in laying hold of withered branches, or those that have suffered decay at their junction with the body of the tree, in consequence of the growth of moss, or through the effects of wet. In descending, he should be more cautious than in ascending, and hold fast by his hands. He should rarely slide down by a branch to the ground, as distances are very ill-calculated from the branches of a tree.


The valuable and invigorating apparatus which is called the Giant Stride in some places, and the Flying Steps in others, is to be found in many schools where an inclosed open-air playground can be secured. Excepting on a few occasions, or when the charm of novelty induces the boys to exercise, it is seldom in much favour, and is usually seen idle, with the ironwork rusting, the beam rotting, and the ropes yielding to exposure.

In fact, it really seems as if the masters and teachers were doing their best to weaken their apparatus, and to cause a severe accident whenever it breaks down, as such is always the case, sooner or later. The rusty iron gives way to a harder pull than usual, the ropes snap, or the upright post breaks off level with the ground, and falls with dreadful force. We knew of a boy being killed by such an accident, and in consequence the parents of the other pupils laid the blame on the Giant Stride itself, instead of on those who allowed it to get into such a state of decay.

Boys, too, soon get tired of it; they take hold of the ropes, run round a few times, and then leave it, naturally, seeing no interest in such a proceeding. But in reality the Giant Stride is a most[236] useful article in the muscular education, as it exercises at the same time the arms and legs, is capital for the lungs, and strengthens those invaluable muscles about the loins which we so sadly neglect, and by reason of whose weakness many dangerous injuries occur to young and old.

There is something most fascinating in the exercises that can be achieved on this apparatus; the gymnast seems to be almost endowed with wings, and in his aërial course hardly touches the ground with his toes, flying, like feathered Mercury, through the air, and literally basking in the pure element. The common posture of holding the bars close to the breast, and then running round the post, is radically false, and deprives the Giant Stride of all its use, and the greater part of its pleasure. Being ourselves ardent advocates of this instrument as affording an amount of healthy exercise not to be obtained by any other means, we gladly take this opportunity of describing the manufacture and capabilities of the Giant Stride.

Having fixed upon a suitable spot of level ground, well laid with gravel, and carefully drained, dig a hole at least seven feet in depth, and fill about eighteen inches with stones about the size of the fist, or, to use a homely but expressive simile, as if a sack of potatoes had been emptied into it. Pound and press the stones well down, and then pour rough gravel upon them until you have made the surface tolerably level. The object of these stones is to prevent the water from accumulating round the post and rotting it.

Now for the post. This should be at least twenty feet long, so as to leave about fifteen feet projecting when set upright in the hole. The butt should be left very large, as is done with ordinary wooden gate-posts, and the whole affair ought to be made of thoroughly seasoned wood. Unless this is the case, it is sure to rot, and then down it comes some day, when least expected. Triangular steps should be nailed upon opposite sides, like those on railway signal-posts, as otherwise the daily task of removing and replacing the ropes will be very irksome.

Materials for Giant Stride

Get a blacksmith to make a stout iron pin, such as is shown at a, having a projecting shoulder, to prevent it from entering too far into the wood. He should also make a strong iron collar to put over the top of the pole, as is seen at b, where the pin is also shown fixed. The last piece of blacksmith’s work is an iron disc, having a cap or thimble in the middle, which is intended to receive the iron pin, and to enable the disc to spin round freely. Four holes are[237] bored through the edge of the disc, as seen at c. Purchase four iron S hooks, and the same number of swivels, and good store of well-made half-inch rope, and the machine may then be set up.

First char carefully the whole of the butt that is to enter the ground, and for about six inches above, in order to prevent the wood from being injured by wet. Place it upright in the hole, testing it by a plumb-line tied to the top, and fill in the hole with earth, pounding it down firmly with a heavy rammer. You cannot be too careful about this process, and the apparatus should not be used until the earth has had time to settle. While waiting for this operation, cut the rope into appropriate lengths, and fasten one end of each rope to a swivel, and the other to the centre of a stout bâton of elm or oak wood, about eighteen inches long. Unless you are very sure of your powers of splicing ropes and making “eyes,” let the ropemaker do this for you, as it is a most important operation, and involves the security of the gymnast in no slight degree. It is necessary to have swivels, as the ropes would otherwise become so twisted as to lose their freedom of play, or even to weaken their structure. These preparations being completed, mount the post by the steps, taking the cap with you, grease the pin well with an end of tallow-candle, and slip the cap upon it, taking care to spin it well in order to assure yourself that all is right. Hang the swivels to the circular plate by means of the S hooks, one curve of which passes through the hole in the plate, and the other through the loop in the swivel.

The ropes should be just so long that when they hang loosely along the pole the cross-bar should be two feet from the ground. As, however, new ropes stretch in a wonderful manner, it is needful to allow considerably for this property.

One thing more is needed, and then the whole apparatus will be complete.

Measure the greatest distance which can be reached by the feet of any one swinging round by the ropes, and about one yard beyond that line erect a slender pole nearly as high as the central post, having pegs driven at intervals of four inches. This is intended to aid the learner in leaping, and the mode by which this object is accomplished is seen in fig. 1.

Leaping from pole

Fig. 1.

Having now everything ready, we first look to all the fastenings, a precaution which must never be neglected; see that the pin and swivels are well greased, take the cross-bar of one rope in both hands, and retire from the post as far as the outstretched arms will permit. Of course, if there are four performers, each takes his stand exactly opposite his neighbour. It is better not to exercise alone, on account of the unequal strain on the post; and it is evident that the opposite players should be as nearly as possible of similar weights, so as to balance each other in their course. It may easily be imagined that the strain upon the base of the post is enormous,[238] there being a leverage of fifteen feet, and that some precautions are necessary to prevent injury.

Keeping our right sides to the post, and the rope tightly stretched, we begin to run, throwing as much weight as possible on the rope, and as little as possible on the feet. As the pace increases, the feet are taken off the ground, and touch it at longer intervals, until, when at full speed, they only come to the ground occasionally, just sufficient to maintain the impetus.

Having kept up this speed as long as is agreeable, we slacken the pace gradually, and stop. Next time we take care to run the contrary way, keeping the left side towards the pole. This is done to exercise equally the muscular system on both sides of the body; and to save time and space, we will say, once for all, that when any feat is described, it must be accomplished in either direction with equal ease.

We will now explain the method of leaping, one of the most exciting of all these exercises.

Set the string to quite a low elevation,—say two feet from the ground,—stand with your back to it, the cross-bar in your hands, and run quickly round. When you come about one quarter of the distance, try to fling yourself into the air, not by jumping with the legs, but by letting the whole weight depend on the rope, so that[239] the centrifugal force takes you off your feet. As you touch the ground, take about three long steps, and at the third step hurl yourself again off the ground, with the body straight, and the feet extended well behind, and the impetus will carry you over the string, and land you neatly on the other side. You will soon learn to increase the height of the jump, until you can pass over the string at an elevation of ten feet with perfect certainty.

Another very pretty, though not so dashing, a feat is to spin round on your own axis as you run round the course. At first it is needful to manage this cautiously, as a slip of the foot is sure to disturb your balance, and send you ignominiously scraping your way over the gravel in a derogatory and rather painful position. When, however, you have mastered this art, you can go round revolving the whole time, keeping your legs straight, feet together, and toes pointed.

There are many modifications of these exercises which I should right well like to describe; but as our space is limited, we must content ourselves with two more. At the same time I may say, that if any of the readers of this book succeed in achieving them, they will bid fair to attain no mean position in the gymnastic art.

Describing circles

Fig. 2.

In the first of these exercises the performer never moves hand or foot, but holds himself straight, stiff, and immovable as an Egyptian statue, and in the course of his progress round the central post his feet describe a series of circles, or rather spirals, while his hands merely move in a circle, and serve as the axis on which the body revolves. This feat is not very easily made intelligible, but with the help of two diagrams we hope that our readers will comprehend it. Fig. 2 shows the method of commencing it. The performer grasps the cross-bar in both hands at the full stretch of his arms, holds himself quite straight and stiff, points his toes, and then falls forward, as shown in the engraving. If he has the strength and nerve to hold himself quite stiff, though his face comes rather near the ground, the whole body swings off the ground, the hands being the pivot, and the feet take the course denoted by the dotted line, the hands retaining their position. It is possible, by dint of practice, to manage so as to make the entire circuit of the pole in four such revolutions, and the course of the performer is shown by the accompanying[240] diagram (fig. 3), where the dark circle in the centre represents the pole, the dotted line is the course taken by the hands, and the continuous line the course of the feet.

Course of performer

Fig. 3.

This is a most elegant and graceful performance, and never fails to elicit the admiration and applause of the bystanders. There seem to be no means of propulsion, and the performer appears, to an uninitiated spectator, to be impelled by a simple act of volition.

The last is the most daring and difficult of all the feats, being nothing less than passing over the string with the head downwards and the feet in the air. This need not be attempted by any but a tolerable gymnast, and is achieved by running at the string in the manner already described, and just as the body is rising in the swing drawing the hands smartly to the breast, throwing the feet into the air, and clasping the rope between them. It is a most dashing feat, and generally takes spectators entirely by surprise.

We should well have liked a longer disquisition on a favourite subject, but must now take our leave, merely assuring the reader that the few exercises which we have described are the keys to the thorough mastery of the Giant Stride.

As a last caution, let us recommend that the ropes should be taken down every evening and put in a dry spot, as they are liable to be much weakened if permitted to hang in the open air. In wet weather the same precaution should be taken.



These are two pieces of wood, from six to eight feet in length, and about four inches square, the edges rounded. For lads, they are fixed at about eighteen inches apart, and supported by two round standards, firmly fixed in the ground, from three to four feet high, according to the stature of the boys.

Balancing.—Being placed between the bars and in the centre, put your hands right and left on the bars at the same time. After a little jump upwards, preserve your equilibrium on both wrists, the legs close; this is called the first position. Then communicate to your body a gentle movement of balancing from behind, forwards, and continue this for several times, the body moving as it were upon a pivot. This should be practised until the body swings freely backwards and forwards.


To bring both legs over.—From the first position, after a little movement of balancing, bring both legs, close and at once, over one of the bars forwards, without touching it or moving your hands from the place. The same ought to be made backwards, from right to left.

Both legs over

To jump out.—After having communicated to the body a movement of balance, the moment at which the legs are raised over the bars, jump backwards over the right without touching it with the feet or waist; then perform the same jump forwards. By the vaulting jump you may easily come between the bars, and also bring your body over both without touching them otherwise than with your hands.

Rise and sink down

To rise and sink down.—Being in equilibrium in the middle of the bars, place the legs backwards, the heels close to the upper part of the thigh. From this position, come gently down, till the elbows nearly meet behind the back, then rise up gently without any impulse or touching the ground with your feet.

To kiss the bar behind the hands.—In the same position as before, bring the body gently down between the bars without touching the ground with your knees; kiss the bar behind each hand alternately, and then rise up in the first position.

Jumping on the Bars.—Keep the knees straight and jump along the bars backward and forward. Afterwards, do the same with the fingers turned inside. These will be learned easier, if the young gymnast tries them first with bent knees.


Walking on the bars


Walking on the Bars.—Walk on the hands to the end and back again. In walking backwards, take care to keep the elbows straight, or you will come down. When this is done with ease, do the same, only keep your fingers inside the bars.

Hanging in L shape


L.—Sit on the ground between the bars; take hold of the bars with your hands and raise your body still in the sitting position, and stay there as long as you can. When that is learned, jump along the bars in the same attitude. Keep your knees straight, and don’t mind if your limbs ache a little.

Arm swing

The Arm Swing.—Rest the fore arms on the bars, and swing. When tired of swinging, let the body hang straight, and then rise on the hands. Not easy at first, but soon done with practice.

The Roll.—Rest on the fore arms, swing backward, and turn completely over, catching the bars under the arms. It looks difficult, but is easy enough, only wanting a little nerve.

The Janus.—Sit astride the bars, having your hands rather behind. Now raise the feet, swing through the bars, and come up astride on the other side. Your arms will then be twisted, and your face will be looking in the opposite direction. Swing boldly, or the shins will be knocked against the bars.

The sausage

The Sausage.—Kneel on the bars. Stretch the hands as far forward as possible, and hitch the toes over the bars behind, at the same time stretching them backwards as far as possible. Now let the body sink between the bars, being supported by the hands and insteps. Now rise again. Difficult, but soon learnt.

Standing up on bar

To stand on a bar.—Sit astride one of the bars. Place the heel of the right foot on the bar, hitching the left instep under it. Draw yourself up by means[243] of the left instep. Take care of your balance. This is a very useful accomplishment, and may possibly stand the gymnast in good stead.

The Drop.—Stand on the bars with each foot over one of the posts. Spring slightly into the air, put the feet together, and come down stiff, catching yourself by your hands. This should be done over the posts, as the bars might be broken, were the weight of the faller to come in the middle.


The Spring.—Swing at one end, and with a sudden impulse leap to the other on your hands. Take care of the balance of the body, or you will come on your back between the bars.

Barber's curl

The Barber’s Curl.—Hang on one end of the bars as in the L. Keep the knees straight, and turn over slowly, not letting the feet come to the ground. Stay there while you count ten, and come back the same way.


Let two strong upright posts be firmly fastened into the ground, about six feet apart, and let a wooden bar be strongly mortised into their tops. The bar should be made of white deal, about two inches and a half in diameter. The bar must have no knot in it, or it will break. It should be so high from the ground that a spring is required to reach it with the hands. The surface of the bar should be free from all roughnesses, but not polished.

The Grasp.—The fingers should be hooked over the pole, keeping the thumb on the same side as the fingers. Hang as long as possible, first with both hands, then with each hand by turns.—See p. 244.

The Walk.—Hang by the hands, and walk by them from one end of the pole to the other, backwards and forwards. Do not slip. Do it first with both hands on the same side of the pole, afterwards with a hand at each side.—See p. 244.






Breasting the Bar.—Hang by the hands, and draw up the body slowly until the chest touches the bar. Practise this as often as possible—knees straight.

Kicking the bar

Kicking the Bar.—Hang by the hands and draw up the feet very slowly until the instep touches the pole. Do it several times. Difficult at first, but soon learned. Do not kick about, or jerk yourself upward, or you may strain yourself.


Swinging.—Hang by the hands and swing backwards and forwards. Practise this until your heels are considerably above your head each way. After a while, let go of the pole as you swing back, and catch it again as you come down. An inch or two at first is enough, but do not be satisfied until the hands can have a space of eight or ten inches between themselves and the bar.

Sitting on the bar

To sit on the Bar.—Hang by the hands, and pass one of your feet through them, hitching your knee over the bar. Then give a good[245] swing backwards, and come up sitting on the bar with one leg. Now draw the other leg over, and do not tumble off.

Circling the Bar.—Hang by the hands, and curl the body gently over the bar. If it is too difficult, stop for a minute or two, try something else, and after an interval try it again. It will be soon learned.

The true Lover’s Knot.—Grasp the bar; pass the left knee through the right arm, so as to let the knee rest in the elbow; pass the right knee over the instep of the left foot; let go with the left hand, and with it grasp the right foot. You will now be suspended by the right hand, and will be packed up in a remarkably small space. Take care of the right wrist, or you will spin round and twist off.





Passing through the Arms.—Hang by the hands, and bring the feet between them, permitting them to pass through until they can nearly touch the ground; now return in the same way. This cannot be done properly without practising, as the muscles of the shoulder blades must be capable of great relaxation, together with great power.




The Grasshopper.—Sit on the pole, grasping it with the fingers to the front. Slide gradually off, until the small of the back rests against the pole, while the arms are elevated at the elbows like a grasshopper’s legs. Now draw yourself up again.

Hanging by the legs.—This is easy enough, and a capital preservative[246] against determination of the blood to the brain. First practise it with both legs over the pole; then take off the left leg and hitch it over the right instep; then learn to hang by one leg only, while you try to carry a weight in your hands. When you are perfect and confident, sit on the pole, and drop off backwards, catching yourself by the legs. This must be done with a fall like a plummet, or the body will swing, and probably unhitch the legs from the pole.


The Arm-chair.—Hang on the bar by the arms just below the elbows, keeping the elbows firmly pressed to the side. The hands should be lower than the bar, to counteract the swing of the body.


Hanging by the feet.—Hang by the hands, and curl up the body, until the insteps are well hitched over the bar. Let go the hands cautiously, and permit the body to hang at full length. The best way to reach the bar again is to seize one of your legs, and pull yourself up by it.

To leave the Bar.—Never get on the bar or leave it in a clumsy manner; there should be art about everything. To leave the bar effectively is well worth practising. Here are six modes:

1. Sit on the bar; drop and hang by the legs, at the same time giving the body a swing forwards which will loosen the hold of the legs. Alight on the hands, and get gently on the feet. This is rather a brilliant finish, and not so difficult as it appears.

2. Sit on the bar, place both hands on one side, and vault over.

3. Sit astride, place both hands on the bar in front, bring up both feet, at the same time springing upright; run along the bar and jump off the end, or slide down the post if it is too high to jump.

4. Hang by the hands, draw up the body until the chest touches the bar; spring off backwards by the force of the arms.

5. Hang by the hands, and swing completely round once, letting the impetus hurl you forward. Take care to cross the feet and come down on the toes.

6. If you are tired and cannot perform any of these things, merely hang by the hands, and come round through them, but never merely loose the pole.


There is not a more graceful or more interesting series of exercises than those performed on the Wooden Horse. They are very useful[247] also, as they give exceeding pliancy to the limbs, and teach the gymnast how to take advantage of the weight of each member. They have also the advantage of requiring some daring, and a spirited lad will always surpass at these exercises.

The horse is made of a great cylinder of wood mounted on four legs, which are firmly fastened into the ground—their ends should be charred as was directed for the Giant Stride.

Nearer one end than the other a piece of stout rough leather is firmly nailed, to represent the saddle, and two curved pieces of wood bound the saddle and represent the pommels. The hind pommel should be nearly half an inch higher than the other. They may be covered with leather also.

On the off side of the horse a pit about a foot deep and four feet square should be dug and filled with sawdust, while on the near side the paving should be either very fine gravel, or, if possible, sand.

There should be several horses, adapted to the different sizes of boys who are to practise on them. When a boy can place his chin on a level with the saddle, he should change to a higher horse, as the top of the saddle ought to be on a level with the nose of the gymnast.

Mounting.—Stand by the horse, place one hand on each pommel, spring up, so that the body is supported by the hands, while the legs rest lightly against the horse. Keep the body upright and knees straight. Down and up again several times. Always come down on the toes.

Mounting the horse

Now do the same thing; but, in springing up, throw out the right leg until it is nearly at right angles with the body, then the left. Afterwards spread both legs as widely as possible.

When this can be done with ease, spring up as before, rest a moment, then throw the right leg easily over the saddle, removing the right hand, and there you are.

Dismounting.—Put the left hand on the fore pommel, right hand on the saddle, spring off and come to the ground, keeping your right hand still on the saddle. Be sure in all these exercises to come down on the toes.

Sitting on the horse

Sustaining the body.—1. Spring up as in mounting, and throw the body away from the horse, bringing it back again without coming to the ground.

2. Mount, and putting both hands on the front pommel, raise the body as high as you can. Don’t be afraid of going too high.

3. Do the same, but swing the body backwards and forwards. Hard work, but capital exercise.

4. Do the same, and slap the soles of your shoes together.


Knee practice.—1. Put your hands on the pommels, spring up, and lodge your right knee on the saddle. Down, and then the left knee. Then both knees. Practise these well.

2. Hands on pommels, leap up and touch the saddle with both toes.





3. Kneel on the saddle with both knees; now lean well forward and jump off. Very easy, but requires confidence.

Swinging practice.—1. Sit behind the saddle, put the left hand on the front pommel, and the right hand on the other. Raise the body and swing round the horse, seating yourself on his neck, before the saddle. Change hands, and swing round until you regain your former position.

Swinging practice
Boy on horse

2. Put both hands on the front pommel, raise the body, and suddenly swing boldly upwards, turning round and crossing the legs, so that you will sit on the saddle with your face to the tail. Keep the hands in their places, and swing back again in the same manner.

Miscellaneous Exercises.—Hands on pommels, spring up and put the right leg through the arms, letting the left hang straight. Withdraw the right leg, and spring up again, using the left leg, and letting the right hang down.

Hands on pommels, spring up, and seat yourself like a lady behind the saddle; spring down to the ground, and seat yourself in a similar manner before the saddle.


Hands on pommels, spring up, cross your feet, pass them through the hands, and come to the ground on the opposite side.

Boy on horse

Take a short run, place the hands on the pommels, and vault completely over the horse, keeping the knees straight.

Boy on horse

Sit behind the saddle, put both hands on the hind pommel, and throw yourself off over the horse’s tail.

Hands on pommels, spring up, make the body into an L, let the feet pass through the hands and rest suspended without touching the saddle. Knees quite straight.

Boy on horse

A good one for a finish.—Take a run, put both hands on the very top of the pommels, and throw yourself over in a regular somerset. That is not bad, but you can do better after the somerset has been well learned.

Boy on horse

Throw the somerset as before, only do not let go the hands. You will now be standing with your back to the horse, the spine considerably bent, and your arms thrown over your head. Wait so for a few seconds, and then with a powerful effort throw yourself back again, so as to come on the ground on the same side of the horse from which you started. This is really difficult, as it requires practice, strength, and confidence, but it looks so well that it is worth learning. The writer of these few instructions has often astonished the natives with it, and has lately repeated it after two years’ absence from any gymnasium.


Let no one despise this exercise. It is worth learning, if only as a preservation against sea sickness. If any one can stand a twenty-feet[250] swing for half-an-hour, the sea may toss its worst, for he will come off unscathed. Now, I do not mean to say that merely sitting on a board and getting swung by some one else is any great object: far from it. But there are some very graceful exercises to be managed on the swing. Here are some:

1. The way to get into the swing is as follows:—Take one rope in each hand, just above the seat; walk backwards until the ropes are freely stretched. Now run sharply forwards, letting the hands glide up the ropes as far as possible, and the instant that you feel a check, grasp the rope tightly, and spring into the seat standing. When there, work easily up by alternately bending and straightening the knees. (See 1.)

Starting the swing

Fig. 1.

2. When in good swing, slip the feet off the seat (which should not be more than four inches wide); let the hands slide down the ropes, and come down sitting. To recover the standing position, reach upwards with the hands as high as possible, and draw yourself upwards as the swing is going forwards, when the seat will place itself exactly under your feet.

3. Now for some feats.

Let the swing go very gently. Place both hands at the level of the shoulders, and suddenly extend them, keeping the arms straight. Take care, as there will be a violent vibration, and you will be shot out of the swing before you know where you are. Practise it first while the swing is still, but do not be satisfied until you can do it while in strong swing, and without closing the hands, merely letting the palms rest against the ropes. (See 2.)

Extending the hands

Fig. 2.

Swing still. Stand up on the seat, and grasp the rope with the hands as low as possible, without bending the body or the knees. Now lean forward, making your hands the pivot, and do not be astonished at finding your heels in the air, and your head downward. To recover yourself, the body must be bent a little. (See 3.)

Feat number 3

Fig. 3.

Stand sideways on the seat, grasp one rope with both hands leaning your back against the other, taking care to have the rope well between the shoulder blades. Put the inner centre of the left foot against the opposite rope, and fix the right foot in the same manner against the left heel. Now let go both hands, and lean well backwards, when you will be exactly balanced. When you are secure with a quiet swing, practise it while the swing[251] is moving, until you can lie securely against the rope while you are moving freely. The balance is entirely kept by the shoulder blades against the rope, and the arms must be folded in order to throw the shoulder blades well back. If the gymnast gets alarmed, and puts his hands out to save himself, the rope slips off his back, and out he goes. (See 4.)

Boy on swing Boy on swing Boy on swing
Fig. 4. Fig. 5. Fig. 6.
Boy on swing

Fig. 4.

Boy on swing

Fig. 5.

Boy on swing

Fig. 6.

While the swing is working, suddenly hang out at one side, supporting yourself by one hand on the rope, and one foot on the seat. Practise this on both sides. (See 5.)

Seize the left rope with both hands, press the feet firmly against the ropes where they join the seat, and fall out forwards. The ropes will now cross, and when the swing is in full operation, the curves described are most elegant. To recover the ordinary position, wait until the swing is going backwards, and a powerful twist of the body will uncross the ropes, when the right hand should take hold of the right rope and steady the swing. (See 6.)

When the swing is in motion, grasp the ropes as tight as possible, and raise the feet until they are high in air between the ropes. Take care of the balance in the back swing, as, if the body is suffered to bend backwards, the hands will hardly bear the strain. Now slide slowly and carefully down the ropes until the head rests on the footboard.

To make a telling exit from the swing, two ways may be adopted. First way:—Get the swing into a firm, steady movement, sit down, and bring both hands inside the ropes; and just as the swing has passed its centre, strike the seat away with the hands and you will shoot forward several yards. Take care to come down on the toes, and to lean well backwards as you leave the swing, as the impetus will bring you upright as you touch the ground. (See 7.)

Exit from the swing

Fig. 7.


The second method is, to seat yourself in the same manner, and as the swing crosses its centre backwards, lean well forwards and strike away the seat. You will then be hurled backwards, and if your balance is good, will come to the ground in a very elegant attitude. Be sure to lean well forward, cross the feet, clasp the hands, and come down on the toes. (See 8.)

Second exit from swing

Fig. 8.

Great care must be taken to lean well backwards if you shoot out forwards, and well forwards as you shoot backwards, or in the one case you will come with your nose on the ground, and in the other you will find the back of your head rather damaged. So practise with gentle swings at first, and then increase. I have often done it with the swing at full speed, and in one instance in a public gymnasium, I shot so far forward that the spot was marked by a row of iron nails driven into the floor.

In a volume of this nature, it is impossible to give more than a comparatively slight sketch of any subject. I am sure, however, that if the reader will master even these short instructions in gymnastic exercises, he will be able to realize that great blessing, the sound body, in which only a sound mind can reside. His trained eye will be accustomed to measure instinctively any obstacle in his way, and the training of his body will enable him to put forth the full power of his muscles to overcome the obstacle. Danger will lose half its perils to him who thus knows how to meet it. A strong rope will be as safe as a staircase to him; it will be perfectly indifferent to him whether his head or his heels be uppermost, and he will be enabled by the presence of mind which such studies engender to think out calmly modes of escape from danger which would instantly overwhelm those whose bodies are uninstructed.

But even to pass by the question of utility, it is a duty of man to preserve his body in health, and to develop its powers. Every man would think himself wrong to neglect the mind; surely then, every man ought no less to think it wrong to neglect the body, which is made by the same mighty Hand that implanted the mind within it. Indeed, the neglected body is sure to injure the mind, and therefore those who improve their bodies are at the same time improving their minds.

I know one young man, who owes all his health, and probably his life, to gymnastic exercise. From his earliest childhood he was always ailing, and through the whole of his childhood was never suffered to sleep unwatched. When he entered upon manhood, the childish illness changed into annual fevers, which held their sway until he had been for some time at one of the Universities.

His medical attendant advised him to take regular exercise, and recommended the study of gymnastics. He rapidly improved in health and strength, his fever has not attacked him for eight or nine years, and he actually led the gymnasium for a whole year.


Were I to have the charge of a school, I should consider the gymnasium as part of the regular school discipline, and take care that the boys were exercised as carefully in their bodily as their mental powers.


Javelin target

This play is very interesting, and gives strength to the arm, and exactness to the eye. In playing it, a square target must be procured, made of thick wood, about four feet in diameter, and on which should be marked concentral circles, the same as those of a target in archery. This should be well supported behind by two stout back pieces, resting in the ground, so as to prevent the target from being easily overturned. The circles may be several in number; the centre should be black, and about six inches in diameter, and count ten; the second circle should be red, and should count five; and the third should be light blue, and count three. The other parts of the target to count as may be agreed. The javelins should consist of poles of ash or fir, about an inch and half in diameter, and should be five feet six inches in length. They should have a spike in one end, which should be surrounded with a rim of iron; the spike should be about two inches long, thick, and strong, so as to enable it to become fixed in the target without splitting it. The game may be played by any number of boys, and is commenced as follows:

One player takes a javelin in his right hand, and walking to a distance from the target, previously agreed upon by the players, he poises his javelin, by holding it in the hollow of his hand, between the ball of the thumb and the fleshy part at the side, and his elbow is at the same time bent, and his arm elevated so that his hand is a little above his ear, the javelin being at the same time nicely balanced with the smaller fingers, touching it so as to direct its course; it is then launched forward at the target, and, if properly poised, directed and thrown, will go to it in a direct line. The point at which it strikes the target is then marked, and then the other players follow in the same way for twelve times in succession: the person who scores the most marks being the victor.

Throwing the javelin

The javelin will fly better and straighter if a rotatory movement is communicated to it by a slight pull of the little finger as it leaves the hand. When some skill has been obtained in darting, blunt javelins with padded ends should be procured, and the players should accustom[254] themselves to avoid, parry, or catch a javelin thrown at them. When they can do so with certainty, they may storm a fort. The best fort is a hedge with gaps. The players divide into two parties, one defending and the other attacking. Each player should be furnished with three javelins at least, well padded and nicely balanced. The art of catching and returning a javelin is exceedingly useful in this game. We well remember an occasion when, on storming a fort, one of our opponents, whose frame was larger than his soul, had prudently retired into the background until all our spears were exhausted, but, on seeing us weaponless, he with great courage ran up to the hedge and hurled his spear, as we were running forward to pick up a fallen lance. The moment he had thrown the javelin he ran away as fast as he could, but was overtaken by his own weapon, which took him in the rear, and toppled him over in beautiful style. We have only known one accident at this game, and that was caused by the impetuosity of one of the garrison, who on seeing an enemy crawling up through the gap, and finding himself without a spear, snatched up a bow that was lying near, and made a thrust at him, which sent the sharp horn tip of the bow through his under lip.


Should the intending gymnast possess a strongly-built barn or outhouse, which is large enough to permit the trapeze to have fair play, and strong enough to endure the stress of the swinging weight, the ropes can be suspended from a beam, either belonging to the building or inserted for the express purpose, and resting at each end on strong brackets. But as such buildings are very seldom to be obtained, we here give a sketch of a plan invented, we believe, by Messrs. Snoxell, the well-known furnishers of gymnasia. Although its structure may appear to be light and flimsy, it is in reality possessed of strength which renders a fracture impossible, and is indeed far more fitted to resist the enormous strain which is laid upon it, than if it were made of massive beams morticed.

Construction of trapeze

In the first place the upright poles (a) do not pass into the ground, but are supported upon stone slabs, so there is no fear of that terrible enemy of the gymnasium—rotting wood, which silently decays and suddenly snaps off level with the surface of the ground. The cross piece (b) is affixed to the uprights by a simple cap, bent at right angles, as is seen at f. The cross piece is permanently secured into the cap, but the uprights can be slipped in and out without difficulty. At c may be seen four slender wire ropes, the upper ends of which are fastened to the uprights, and the lower ends are furnished with hooks. These hooks are intended to be slipped into the staples (e), which are firmly secured into the ground, just as the old bull-rings were fixed. At d are seen the tightening screws, which are simply turned by hand, and shorten the wire ropes just as the connecting screws of a railway train draw the carriages together.


The apparatus is so perfectly simple that it can be set up or taken down by two boys in five minutes, or by one boy in rather a longer period. The process is as follows:

The uprights are slipped into the caps, and the hooks at the ends of the wire ropes or stays are hitched into the staples of one side, say at e. The uprights are then reared, and their bases set on the stones. The hooks of the opposite stays are then hitched into the staples at e e, and the screws at d turned until the stays are quite tight and the uprights are perfectly perpendicular.

It seems rather a complicated process to read about, but it is remarkably simple when reduced to action. We have mounted and dismounted one of these ingenious contrivances in a wonderfully short space of time, and without any assistance.

For practising the feat of passing through the air from one trapeze to another a double set of apparatus is required; but for most useful purposes one set is sufficient. The ropes by which the bar is suspended must be thoroughly stretched before they are attached to the bar, or there will be no certainty in the swing. Few persons who have not had practical experience on this subject would imagine how[256] greatly the length of a rope is increased by the process of stretching, and how absolutely necessary is this precaution.

The ropes are passed at each end over an iron eye, the upper one of which is hitched over a hook on the cross bar, and the other receives the hook which suspends the bar. On looking at the illustration the reader will notice these hooks just above the bar. They are useful, because, when needed, a pair of rings can be substituted for the bar, and permit certain variations in the performances, Still, their presence or absence is quite optional, and the only remark that need be made is, that they should be furnished with springs like the fastening of a breguet chain, so as to guard against the possibility of slipping. The bar itself must be very heavy, or otherwise it will not have sufficient weight to keep the cords at full stretch, and in consequence will not swing truly. Those which were employed by Leotard were iron, with a mere shell of wood, so as to give a pleasant hold for the hands, and we have seen them made of iron, coated with leather. The last point that needs notice is the perch or stand from which the performer launches himself. This may be fixed at any convenient elevation, and its centre should exactly coincide with the centre of the bar. Having now the apparatus ready, let us commence the performance.

Set the bar swinging boldly; ascend the perch quickly, and seize the bar in both hands. Wait for a moment, until the ropes are fully stretched, and then launch yourself for a swing. Now there are two ways of doing everything—a right and a wrong way; and the present instance affords no exception to the rule. The wrong way—and the usual way—is to fall forwards from the perch. Now this is quite wrong; and if you act in such a manner you will bungle your sway, and will not retain sufficient impetus to enable you to return to the perch.

The right mode of starting is as follows: Stand as seen in the accompanying illustration—the spine well bent backwards, the body tolerably stiff, and leaning well against the heavy bar. Now draw yourself up gently by the arms, as if you were trying to lift your chin above the bar, and you will find yourself started without any trouble. Keep the back still bent, and as you descend allow the arms gradually to assume a perfectly straight position. You will then swing out fairly and boldly, and by the least possible sway at the end of the swing will retain sufficient impetus to enable you to resume your stand on the perch.

Starting the swing

Even in this there is an art. If you merely allow yourself to swing back as you swing forward, you will be disagreeably reminded of your error, by hitting the back of the leg smartly against the edge of the perch. In order to avoid this misfortune, draw up the legs sharply just before you reach the end of the return swing, and you will find them come down on the perch with perfect ease.

If you are using the rings instead of the bar, you can vary this[257] part of the performance by turning round in the air, and crossing the ropes so that you alight on the perch with your back towards the trapèze, though it is necessary to give a sharp twist as your foot touches the perch, and so to turn in the direction in which you started.

Take notice that the arms are always at full length during the swing, and that the illustrations which represent the performer swinging with bent arms are entirely erroneous. There is another fault into which the artists mostly fall. Thinking that they are obtaining pictorial effect, they represent the ropes which sustain the bar as forming an angle with the arms of the performer, whereas the arms, body, and ropes are, or ought to be, all in the same line.

The real attitude in the trapèze is given in the accompanying illustration, wherein it will be seen that the ropes, the arms, and the body are all in the same line; and, indeed, a little reflection will prove that they must be so. Note the position and action, or rather[258] the non-action of the body, and be careful to imitate it. During the swing, let the body and limbs hang at full length, and be sure to keep the feet nearly together, and the toes pointed. The illustrations are all wrong in this respect. They always will show the performer in an attitude which the draughtsman is pleased to think a graceful one; but it is inexpressibly graceless and ridiculous in the eyes of a gymnast.

Proper attitude in swinging

When you have accomplished the swing and return satisfactorily, you may advance another step. Swing off as usual; and, when you have reached the extremity of the swing, you will find yourself balanced for a moment motionless, the attraction of gravitation being balanced by the impetus of the swing. Just at this important point, shift your hold on the bar, and change sides, as you would do if the bar were hanging quietly.

You will then face the spot whence you started, and in landing on the perch you must be careful to give yourself a twist as you place your feet on the perch, and with a slight exertion of the arms you will draw yourself upright without difficulty, and without running[259] the risk of falling off the perch again—a frequent and ignominious misfortune.

It will now be time to practise the descent from the swinging trapèze to the ground. Begin by sitting on the bar, grasping it with the hands, and falling off backwards, taking care to come to the ground with pointed toes and crossed feet. The reason of this precaution is that, if the feet are crossed, the knees are separated, and that when the body yields—as it must do when it touches the earth—there is no danger of hitting the chin against the knee, and thereby receiving a momentary shock to the brain by the teeth striking together.

When you can manage the “fall-back,” as it is called, with tolerable ease and certainty, seize the bar with the hands, set it swinging, keeping your face to the perch, and when you are nearly at the full extent of the swing loosen your hold, and allow yourself to come to the ground. Be very careful to point the toes, as has already been described, and continue the practice until you can stand on the perch, launch yourself backwards, and fly off at the highest point of the swing.

Always leave the bar while you are swinging backwards, because the attitude of the body is then such as to insure your coming to the ground in the correct position; whereas, if you do so while swinging forward, you are nearly certain to overbalance yourself, and either fall on your nose, or go staggering along in a very ignominious style.

The next process is to start as usual, raise yourself in a sitting position on the bar, and ask some one to remove the perch. Fall back as before, only, instead of coming on the ground, hang by the legs, and accustom yourself to swing in this attitude. When you can accomplish that feat without difficulty, and feel no nervousness at your strange position, remove one leg from the bar and hang by the other. Practise this with both feet. It is not nearly so difficult as it looks, and is an important feat to perform, because it gives such perfect presence of mind.

The next feat looks positively awful, but, as usual in gymnastic performances, is perfectly easy, requiring no skill at all and only a little courage. Sit on the bar when it is still, and do the “fall-back.” But, instead of allowing the feet to pass between the ropes, spread the legs as far apart as possible, and bend up the feet rigidly. The consequence is, that the insteps hitch in the ropes, slide down them, and the body becomes suspended by the feet, which are firmly hitched between the ropes and the bar, as seen in the accompanying illustration.

Hanging by the feet

If you possess a second trapèze, you may now proceed to the beautiful series of performances which are achieved upon them.

Let them at first be set moderately near each other, so that when the bar of the first trapèze is at full swing, it passes within a yard or[260] four feet of the second. Start off as usual, and just as you are well on the rise, after passing through the upright, loose your hold of the bar, and you will pass through the air towards the second bar which you catch rapidly.

If you perform the feat nicely, you will have so much impetus to spare that you will be carried along on the second bar, and may either attempt to return or quietly drop to the ground at the end of the swing. If you prefer the latter course, be sure to turn through your arms and come down on your toes.

You will find that the return to the perch, simple as it looks, is by far the most difficult feat that has yet been mentioned. Make but the least mistake and failure is certain. If you do not catch the bar exactly at the right moment, you lose your impetus, and if you do not seize it exactly in the right place you do not swing truly between the uprights, and consequently cannot land on the spot at which you aim.

The method of performing this feat is as follows: Swing off the perch, pass to the second bar, and while at the full extent of the[261] swing, change sides, and give yourself a slight impulse with the feet. You will now meet the first bar swinging towards you, and if you can seize it just at the right moment, you will find yourself with sufficient impetus to reach the perch. If not, swing once more, give yourself a hearty impulse with the legs and try it again. Failure is certain at first, but after a little practice the feat becomes easy.

Here we must protest against the totally erroneous ideas of artists respecting the attitude of the body while the performer passes from one bar to another. We think that without an exception they all represent him as shooting horizontally through the air, with his hands stretched out, and with one leg bent and the other straight. Now, if any one will watch a performer on the trapèze, he will see that the attitude is nearly perpendicular, and that any other position is really absurd and impracticable.

Proper attitude in jumping from bar to bar

In the accompanying illustration, we have given a sketch of the real attitude of the performer, wherein it will be seen that the body is nearly perpendicular, and that the arms are kept bent, with the hands close to the shoulders, ready to be darted out in a moment when the trapèze swings within distance.


We are the more particular in giving these illustrations, because they are needed in order to correct the very false notions which are prevalent respecting this beautiful exercise. Parents especially are apt to form their judgments from the illustrations which are seen upon advertising bills and in illustrated journals, and thinking that the exercise must be attended with great danger, do not like to give their permission for their sons to learn it.

Let our readers be assured that there is no more danger in this beautiful exercise than in jumping over a chair—perhaps not quite so much—while the manner in which it develops the muscular powers of the arms, shoulders, and loins, is unapproachable by any other system.

One caution is, however, needful. Take care that every loop and splice be perfectly secure, look over the whole of the apparatus daily, and never venture upon the trapèze until you have ascertained that nothing is likely to give way. If you perceive the slightest feeling of insecurity, the whole enjoyment of the exercise is lost, and no benefit can be expected from it.


The book.—Fix a book between the toes of the feet, and, by a jerk, throw it over the head.

The chalk line.—Draw a line with chalk on the floor; against this place the toes of both feet; then kneel down, and rise up again without leaving the line, or using the hands.

Stepping through.—Take a small piece of cane about a foot long, and holding it between the hands, leap through it. Afterwards take a tobacco-pipe, and perform the same feat without breaking; after this, join the hands together, and leap through them, which is not very difficult of accomplishment.

Armless.—Lying upon the back with the arms across the chest, the attempt must be made to rise on the feet again.

Hop against the wall.—Stand with one toe close against the wall, about two feet from the ground, and turn the other over it, without removing the toe from the wall.

Stoop if you can.—One boy having placed his heels against the wall, another must place near his toes a shilling, and tell him he may have it if he can pick it up. This he will find to be impossible for him to do while his heels touch the wall, as there is no room for his back to balance the other parts of his body.

The spring from the wall.—Placing yourself at a proper distance from the wall with your face opposite to it, throw yourself forward until you support yourself by one hand. Then spring back into your former position. Begin this feat at a short distance from the wall, and increase the distance by degrees. The “athlete” will, in a short time, be able to stand at nearly the length of his body from the wall. This feat is sometimes called the palm spring, but the palm has really[263] nothing to do with it. The thumb spring is similar, but dangerous, and many have sprained their thumbs in attempting it.

Spring from the wall

The long reach.—This is a somewhat difficult feat, and requires great caution in its performance. A line is chalked on the floor, at which the toes must be placed, and from which they are not to remove. The left hand is then to be thrown forward in a long reach until the body descends upon it, without any part touching the floor in its descent; the right hand is now to be stretched out as far forward as possible, and with a piece of chalk, a mark is made on the floor at its fullest extent, the body being sustained by the left hand during the operation. The boy should now recover the upright position on his legs, by springing back from the left hand without touching the floor in any way. The length reached, and the perfection with which the body recovers itself, distinguishes the winner of the game.

Long reach

The stooping stretch.—In this feat a line is drawn on the floor, at which the outer edge of the left foot is placed, and behind this, at a short distance, the right heel. Taking a piece of chalk in the left hand, the youngster passes it between the legs, and under the bend of the left knee, chalking the floor with it as far forward as he can. He then recovers his position without moving his feet from the line at which they had been fixed.

Stooping stretch

The chair feat.—Place three chairs in the situation indicated in the cut (p. 264), and lay down upon them, the head resting on one, the heels upon another, and the lower part of the body on the third or middle chair, which should be much lighter than the others. Then, by stiffening the body and limbs, and throwing up the chest into a state[264] of rigidity, it will not be difficult for a boy to remove the middle chair, and to pass it quite over on the other side of him.

Chair feat

The poker feat.—Take a common poker and hold it the lower end downwards, in the manner shown in the cut, i. e. by the fingers, thumb, and ball of the palm. Then, by the mere motion of the fingers and thumb, and the fulcrum of the palm, work the poker upwards till you raise it through the whole length to that part of it which goes into the fire. This trick depends mainly upon the strength of the muscles of the hand and fingers, combined with a certain knack to be acquired by practice.

How to hold the poker

The stick feat, or from hand to mouth.—Take a piece of stick of the length of the fore arm, measuring from the elbow to the end of the middle finger. Hold it in the hand horizontally before you, the knuckles being down and the nails upwards, and the elbow being on a line with the hand. Then raise the left end of the stick from the breast to the mouth, without any other movement of the hand than the arm at the wrist. This is a difficult feat, but may be easily acquired by practice.

Stick feat

Walking on stilts.—Among the Swiss, and in several districts in the South of France, walking on stilts is not only an amusing, but a[265] useful practice, as by means of these crane-like legs men and women transform themselves into the order of “Waders,” emulating the long-legged storks and herons, and can cross over marshes and flooded grounds without wetting their feet. Stilts are easily made, being nothing but a pair of poles, with a wooden step at the sides for the feet to stand on. The poles are kept in their proper place by the hands. A little practice will soon render a youth “easy on his stilts,” and they may be made an amusing and healthy exercise.

Stilt walking


In all the general principles, hockey bears a great resemblance to foot-ball, the game consisting in driving a ball through a goal. The ball, however, is of much smaller dimensions, even where a ball, and not a bung, is used; and it is impelled, not by the foot, but by certain sticks, or clubs, called hockeys, or hookeys, because the end with which the ball is struck is more or less hooked.

The shape and dimensions of the hockey-stick are entirely arbitrary, being left to the peculiar taste of the owners. Some like their hockeys to be sharply hooked, while others prefer them merely bent over at the end. Some players like a very thick, heavy stick, which can be put down in front of the ball in order to neutralize the blows of the opposite side, while others can play best with a slight and springy weapon, that can be used with one hand, and is employed to tap the ball away just as an opponent is about to strike, and to coax it, as it were, towards the goal through the mass of adverse sticks.

Different hockey-sticks

The four sticks shown in the engraving are very good samples of the forms best adapted for use. Fig. 1 is much in favour with some players, and is therefore given; but for our own part we never could play to our satisfaction with it, the large and deep curve deceiving the eye and causing the player to let the ball pass through the hook, besides running the risk of entanglement in the opponent’s stick.

Fig. 2 is usually a favourite, but the angle of the head with the handle is arranged according to the fancy of the player. Some like the head to be made of horn, backed with lead like a golf-stick; but this formation is hardly necessary, costing a rather large sum, and not conveying correspondent advantages.

Fig. 3 is a queer and eccentric form, which is not suitable to every[266] player on account of its weight and generally large proportions. We have, however, seen it employed with extraordinary effect by a player who was accustomed to drive his opponents into a state of considerable excitement by his faculty of stopping the ball with this overgrown weapon, and then planting it so firmly that all the opposing sticks could not get at the ball in spite of their battering. In this way he would save many a game that had well-nigh been given up as hopeless, and by thus checking the ball on its way to the goal, would give time for his own side to come up and turn the tables. The great hooked end of this club was bound with very strong iron wire.

The same player was equally successful with a stick the exact reverse of the preceding, and represented as fig. 4. This was a very slight ashen stick, with a small, but rather heavy head, so that when shaken it would bend and spring like whalebone. This little stick was used for darting among the struggles and clatter of contending weapons, and giving the ball just a wee pat now and then at critical moments, so as to edge it a little nearer the goal, and at the same time to knock it away just as the blow of the opponent descended.

Hockey ball

The ball used for this game is sometimes an ordinary cask bung. As this would speedily be knocked to pieces, it is generally quilted with string, as shown in the illustration, for the better preserving its integrity. Sooner or later, however, it goes to pieces, for the string is sure to be cut or worn through, and the cork soon gives way. Balls, too, are apt to get their jackets knocked off, and if struck hard will sometimes fly in the face of a player, who cannot avoid it at so short a distance, and do no small damage. A hollow india-rubber ball is very good; but the best that we have yet seen, was a common globular india-rubber bottle, such as can be procured at any stationer’s, with the neck cut off, and partly filled up by leaving a strip of the neck and securing it by the proper varnish.

It made a capital ball. Nothing could hurt it, and it could hurt no one. We have had it driven into our face at two yards’ distance, and felt little the worse for it five minutes afterwards. It would not roll very far by itself, but required to be edged carefully by the sticks; it never could get cut against flints, or spoiled by thorns or splinters; it was big enough to be easily seen if knocked into a ditch or over a hedge, and if struck into water it would not sink but come to the surface at once, bobbing about as if to draw attention to its presence. It remained in constant action for two years to our knowledge, had been employed for several seasons before we made its acquaintance, and for aught we know may be in use now. In fact, if it were only kept out of the way of a fire or an ostrich, we know nothing that would hurt the ball except burning or swallowing. Even in the latter case we fancy that the ostrich would be the sufferer rather than the ball.


Having now described the instruments, we will proceed to the method of playing the game.

As has already been mentioned, this game is in principle similar to foot-ball. Two goals are set up, at a convenient distance from and exactly opposite to each other, as in foot-ball. The same goals indeed will answer as for that game, only the cross pole should be lashed to the uprights at a much lower elevation, say three feet six inches or four feet from the ground, and the uprights should be within six feet of each other. Very good and simple goals can be made by taking long osiers, willow branches or brambles, pointing the two ends, bending them over and sticking the pointed extremities into the earth, so as to make an arch. A peg is driven exactly half-way between the goals, goal-lines are drawn as at foot-ball, and the ground is then laid out.

The players, having previously chosen their sides, arrange themselves between the goals, facing each other, and always having their left sides towards the enemy’s goal and their right towards their own. The ball is then thrown in the air, so as to fall on or near the wooden peg, and each party try with their sticks to drive it through the goal of the enemy.

The rules of this fine game are few and simple.

1. The game is won by the ball passing through the enemy’s goal.

2. The ball must be struck through the goal with the stick, not thrown or kicked.

3. Each player shall strike from right to left, and any player infringing this rule is liable to the penalty of a blow on the shins from any of the opposite side.

4. Each player shall remain on his own side, and if he crosses to that of the opponents is liable to the same penalty.

5. No player shall raise the head of his stick higher than his shoulder, on pain of the same penalty.

6. The ball may be stopped with the stick, or with any part of the person, provided that the intervening player is on his own side.

7. If the ball be kicked or thrown through the goal, or if struck beyond the goal-lines, it is to be fetched by the junior player of the side who struck the last blow, and gently thrown towards the centre peg.

8. Any player wilfully striking another, except when inflicting the penalty contained in rules 3, 4, and 5, is immediately to be excluded from the game.

By means of these rules, the game of hockey is shorn of the danger consequent on the loose and unrestrained play that is sometimes seen, the sticks brandished in all directions, and the two sides so intermixed that it is hardly possible to discriminate between them. Many a person has been seriously damaged by such undisciplined play, and teeth have been struck out, or even eyes lost in the contest. By strict adherence, however, to the above rules, there is no fear of[268] incurring any injuries, and this really fine game is rendered as safe as it is exciting.

As a general rule, a good player seldom if ever strikes the ball with any violence, but keeps it well in hand, trundling it along rather than knocking it forcibly, and endeavouring, if he finds it likely to pass out of his control, to strike it gently towards another of his own side, who may keep it in its course towards the enemy’s goal.

A bad player, on the contrary, rushes about without any definite purpose, shouts continually at the top of his voice, brandishes his stick to the danger of other persons’ eyes and the detriment of his own hands, which are sure to be painfully blistered in half an hour, and exhausts his strength and breath so early in the game, that he fails just at the critical moment, and sees the ball driven past him without being able to check it.

As a parting word of advice, let us recommend to our readers to play this game as quietly as they can contrive to do, and as a golden rule, always to keep the head of the hockey-stick close to the ground.

Above all, keep your temper intact, and don’t lose it even if one of your own side should make some stupid mistake, and lose you a winning game. Take especial care to keep strictly to the rules, and if your opponent should break them and render himself liable to the penalty, be merciful to his shins, and inflict the punishment as a warning to deter from future transgression, and not as a spiteful opportunity for giving a blow which cannot be returned.


This game is not easily played without what is called a racket ground, which consists of a large space of ground, a parallelogram, of not less than fifty yards long, by twenty-five broad. Where such an advantage presents itself, the game may be easily attempted. Sometimes the high dead wall of a garden may be made into a racket wall, by fixing up some boards and net-work along the top, supposing there is space enough below, when the game may be played in a small way. The wall should be painted black, and the ground be divided into four equal divisions, which should be distinctly marked either by chipping a groove in it by a spade, or by chalk. It is very essential, however, that the flooring of the court should be paved. These divisions are, two close to the wall, as A and B, and two in front of them, as C and D, which divisions are occupied by those who play the game. The wall should be marked by a broad line of white paint at forty-two inches from the ground, and above this line every ball must strike. The ball is, according to law, only to weigh[269] one ounce, and is either white, or made so from time to time by dipping into a bag of chalk, that it may be the better seen against the black wall by the players. The ball is made of pure white and tightly-sewn leather. The bat used to propel the ball is of a legal make, and its lower end of a spoon form, over which is placed a strong net-work of silk-wire, or catgut. The bat is called a racket.

Lay-out of racket-ground

How the game is played.—Rackets is a very simple game, and may be played either by two or more players. When it is played by four persons, one stands in each of the compartments, A, B, C, D; those near the wall being called in-hand, and those furthest from it out-hand players. When two play, each player takes two of the divisions, and the one who takes the A first from the wall is called in-hand player, and the other out-hand player. Having determined by lot who is to begin the game, the in-hand player nearest the wall strikes his ball against it; if it strikes under the line, goes over the wall, does not rebound into the out-hand spaces, or goes beyond the racket ground, the striker is out, and the out-hand player takes his place; but if the player is more successful, and the ball rebounds into the out-hand spaces, and hopping from the ground is sent back to the wall again, to rebound into one of the in spaces, the game goes on. In a close-court game the “server” who serves the ball properly above the line but not accurately into his adversary’s court is allowed three trials before his “hand” is out. The play of the game is, that the in-player should send the ball in such a manner against the wall that, on its rebound, the opposite party, or player, shall be able to pick it up or hit it. Whenever this happens, he who struck the ball counts one point, or an ace, and the play is continued until one player or party scores eleven, or, as is sometimes and now more frequently played, fifteen.

This capital game, so conducive to health and affording such excellent exercise, may be played either in an open court—that is, a court with only one wall, against which the game is played—or in a closed court which is surrounded by four walls. Sometimes a compromise is made by the employment of the ordinary high front wall, and a smaller back wall, omitting the side walls altogether. The closed court game is the best and far the most scientific, but the great expense necessary for erecting a proper court compels many to content themselves with an ordinary old-fashioned open court game, for there seems little doubt that the open court game is the oldest and the one which in old days was held in highest favour.


Man and lady riding


“Fleet as the wind, he shoots along the plain,
And knows no check, nor heeds the curbing rein;
His fiery eyeballs, formidably bright,
Dart a fierce glory, and a glowing light;
Proud with excess of life he paws the ground,
Tears up the turf, and spurns the sand around.”—Blacklock.

A boy on horseback is a king on his throne; he feels more than “boy” the moment he gets astride of anything in the shape of a nag. Boys have an instinct for riding, an impulse they cannot resist, like the instinct for eating, breathing or moving. In his earliest days, in the very “boyhood of being,” “Ride a-cock horse to Banbury Cross” is a ditty of infinite delight, and long before the days of corderoys the equestrian exercise of “Grandfather’s Stick” affords him “joy ineffable.” Then comes the noble game of Hippas, or the wooden “Bucephalus,” on which he feels greater than Alexander; and last, though very little, yet still not least, the “pet Shetland,” which adds to the bliss of being mounted, a positive progressive locomotion, and the “greater than Alexander” is made greater still. Considering, therefore, that all boys love riding, it is for us to tell them how they may “mount the fiery Pegasus,” and ride with elegance and safety,

“To witch the world with noble horsemanship.”
Boys riding ponies




The horse is one of the most beautiful and graceful animals in nature, and perhaps the most useful to man, though in this respect it would be difficult to say which of the four or five domesticated quadrupeds bears the palm. During life, the horse and the dog would each contest the point; while in relative value after death, the bullock, sheep, and swine, are fairly entitled to an equal share with them. But there is something very captivating in the appearance of the horse, whether used for the purposes of war, or for racing, or for hunting, or road-work; and in all these several capacities the readers of this book may possibly admire him, though it is chiefly as the riding-horse, or hack, that he usually attracts their notice.

In the animal kingdom, the horse belongs to the division Vertebrata, and class Mammalia, he having a back-bone composed of vertebræ, and his young being suckled. His broad and undivided hoof places him among the ungulata; and lastly, his teeth are as follows, viz. six front teeth, above and below, called “nippers;” two canine in each jaw, called “tusks;” and the remainder, consisting of grinders, having flat surfaces opposed to each other, with rough ridges on them, by which the grass, hay, and corn are rubbed or ground down to a fine pulp, adapted to the stomach. These teeth are moved or rolled on each other by a peculiar action of the muscles of the jaw, so as to aid the process.


By means of the gradual wearing down of the front teeth, or nippers, the age of the horse may be known. Each of the nippers has a hollow in its upper surface, which is very deep and black when the tooth first rises above the gum, and is gradually effaced by the friction caused by the cropping of the grass, or by biting at the manger, or other kinds of rubbing; but as these vary a good deal according to circumstances, so the precise degree of wearing away will also be liable to fluctuations; and the rules laid down only approximate to the truth, without positive accuracy as to a few months. There are also two sets of teeth; a milk set, which first rise, beginning at once after birth, and a permanent set, which replace the milk-teeth as they fall out. The milk-teeth come up two at a time, but all are up by the end of the first year. The permanent teeth, also, make their appearance by twos, the first pair showing themselves in the place of the two middle milk-teeth in the third year, and being generally level with the other milk-teeth by the end of the fourth year, by which time the next pair have fallen out, and the permanent teeth have shown themselves in their places. At five years of age the horse has lost all his nippers, and his corner permanent teeth have nearly completed their growth. The tusks[272] are also above the gums. The centre nippers are now much worn, and the next are becoming slightly so. At six years old the “mark” in the centre nippers is quite gone; at seven years of age this disappears from the next pair, and at eight from the corner nippers; after which, none but a professed judge is likely to make out the age of the horse by an inspection of his mouth; and, indeed, at all times the tyro is liable to be deceived by the frauds of the low horse-dealer, who cuts off the top of the teeth, and then scoops out a hollow with a gouge; after which a hot iron gives the black surface which in the natural state is presented to the eye. This trick is called “bishoping.”


The natural paces of the horse are the walk, trot, and the gallop; to them are added by man the canter, and sometimes the amble and the run. In the walk, each leg is taken up and put down separately, one after the other, the print of the hind foot in good walkers generally extending a few inches beyond that of the fore foot. The order in which the feet touch the ground is as follows: 1st, the off fore foot; 2d, the near hind foot; 3d, the near fore foot; and 4th, the off hind foot.

Horse with rider: standing still
Horse with rider: galop
Horse with rider: trot

The gallop consists of a succession of leaps, during a great part of which all the feet are off the ground. As the feet come to the ground they strike it in regular succession; but the exact order will depend upon the lead, which may be either with the off or near fore leg. When in action and the horse is leading with the off fore foot[273] (which if well broken he would do), the off hind and near fore feet touch the ground simultaneously next the near hind foot, and lastly, the off fore foot which he leads with. In the trot, the two legs of opposite sides are moved exactly together, and touch the ground at the same moment; whilst in the amble the two legs of each side move together, and the horse is supported for the instant upon the half of his usual and regular foundation. To counteract this deficiency[274] in the centre of gravity, the body is balanced from side to side in a waddling manner.


The left side is called the “near side,” the right the “off.” Four inches make “a hand.” The upper part of the horse’s neck is called his “crest;” the bony ridge in front of the saddle the “withers,” the part between the saddle and the tail the “croup;” the bony points, one on each side the bosom, the “shoulder points;” and the line between these and the back of the withers, corresponding with the shoulder blade, is the “line of the shoulder.” The body between the hip and shoulder line is called the “middle piece.” In the fore legs, the two divisions are called the “arm” and “cannon;” above which is the “elbow-joint,” and between them the “knee-joint.” In the hind leg, the two parts are called the “thigh” and “cannon;” and the joints are the “stifle” and “hock.” Below these, in both the hind and fore legs, are the upper and lower “pasterns,” then the “coronet,” or ring between the leg and foot, and lastly, “the hoof.”


It is a common observation of the horseman that the horse can go in all forms; and this is borne out by the fact, that he does occasionally do so; but nevertheless, it is well known, that among a large number it will be found that those whose form is most in accordance with the shape considered the best by good judges, will turn out the best movers. In technical language, the horse whose “points” are the best will be the best horse. These points are considered to be: a neat head well set on a lean wiry neck, the latter with a very gentle curve, whose convexity looks upwards (the opposite form to this makes the “ewe neck”); moderately high withers; a sloping shoulder, wide in the blade, which should be well furnished with muscles; strong muscular loins; a croup not too straight nor too drooping, with the tail set on with an elegant sweep; ribs well rounded, and carried back near to the hips, so as to make the horse what is called “well ribbed;” circumference or girth of good dimensions, indicating plenty of “bellows’ room;” thighs and arms muscular; hocks and knees bony and large, without being diseased; cannon bones large and flat, with the suspensory ligament and tendon large, strong, and clearly defined; fetlock joints strong, but not round and inflamed. The eye should be full, clear, and free from specks; and the ears should be moderately small and erect; the feet should be round, and not contracted at the heels, with a well-formed frog.


Besides the several kinds of horses suitable for grown people, those for boys are the galloway, the cob, and the pony. The first of[275] these may be considered either a small horse or a large pony, and is usually about fourteen hands high; and though strong and capable of carrying weight, yet of a moderately light and active make. He is so called from the district where he was originally bred in large numbers. The cob is a thick and very strong pony, or galloway, frequently made to look still more so by cutting his tail and mane short, called “hogging” them, thus

Hogged pony with trimmed tail and mane

Correctly speaking, a pony is understood to be under thirteen hands in height, a galloway between thirteen and fourteen and a half, anything over that a horse.

Many ponies are now bred almost of pure Arabian blood, and they are well suited for lads who have mastered the early difficulties connected with keeping the seat under all ordinary circumstances; but as they are generally very high-spirited, they are scarcely suited for the beginner, and he had better content himself with an animal of more plebeian pedigree and sluggish temperament.


Required by the young amateur, are either a pad or saddle, according to his age, together with a bridle and a whip or stick. Spurs are seldom desirable for any but the accomplished rider, as they are apt to irritate the pony if not used with discretion, and it is rather difficult to put an old head upon young shoulders. If the learner is very young, a pad which is made without any tree affords a better hold for the knees than a regular saddle, and will also enable him to ride without stirrups, which feat he will hardly manage on an ordinary smooth saddle. The stirrups are of the following form, but are often, for boys, made much lighter. They ought always to be[276] used with strong stirrup leathers, and these should be attached to the saddle by spring-bars, which release the stirrups in case of the leg being entangled in them after a fall. The groom should always remove the leathers after the ride, and replace them on the opposite side of the saddle, by which means their tendency to hang as shown at (a), is rectified, and they assume the position indicated by the one marked (b), both representing the left, or near, side.


The bridle is either a single or a double-reined one, according to the mouth of the pony ridden. A single-reined bridle is usually a snaffle, it being very improper to allow any one to ride with a curb alone, unless he has very steady and light hands. The snaffle bit is merely a jointed bar of iron (5 5) in the accompanying sketch, but when used alone it has a light cross-bar as well as the ring there shown, in order to prevent the bit being pulled through the mouth. This, however, in the double-reined bridle is omitted, since it would interfere with the action of the curb. Snaffles are either smooth or twisted, and are made of all sizes, the smallest being only adapted for occasional use, and not for the hands of the learner, who should have a large smooth one. The curb-bit consists of three parts; the mouthpiece (1), which usually has a bend in it called the port, for the purpose of pressing against the roof of the mouth; secondly, of the cheek-piece (2), which has a ring (3) at the lower end for the attachment of the rein, and another at the upper end for the head-piece of the bridle; and thirdly, the curb-chain (4). This chain is pressed against the outside of the lower jaw, by the upper arm of the curb used as a lever, and it should be hooked up sufficiently tight to act upon it by pulling the rein, whilst at the same time it should be loose enough to prevent its fretting the jaw. This delicacy of adjustment requires some little practice, and the young rider should always ask his teacher to show him the proper mode of applying the curb-chain. Sometimes[277] a martingale is needed, in order to keep the pony’s head down, but generally the young rider is better without it, if he will keep his hands well down, and avoid all jerking of the mouth.


Boy mounting horse

The rider, even at the earliest age, should first examine the girths and the bridle, and see if they are properly adjusted; for though when leaving home he may be able to depend upon a steady and experienced groom, yet, after putting up at strange stables, he is liable to be led into an accident by careless servants, and therefore it is better to get into the habit of always inspecting these essentials to safety and comfort. If there is an attendant groom, he should hold the rein with his right hand, standing by the off shoulder of the horse, so as with his left hand to hold the stirrup iron for the rider’s right foot as he throws it over the horse’s back. The next thing to be done is for the rider to stand at the shoulder of the pony with his left side towards that part. He then lays hold of the reins with his left hand, drawing them up so short as to feel the mouth, and at the same time twisting a lock of the mane in his fingers so as to steady the hand. Next, the left foot is placed in the stirrup when the accompanying attitude is presented, exactly as here shown. At this moment a spring is given from the right foot, the right hand reaches the cantle of the saddle, and the body is raised till the right leg is brought up to the level of the left, when the slightest imaginable pause is made, and then the right leg is thrown over the back of the pony, keeping the toe down and heel elevated, or with the spur on mischief may happen, while the right hand leaves its hold, and the body falls into its position in the centre of the saddle; after which, the right foot has only to be placed in the stirrup to complete the act of mounting.



Boy dismounting

Is exactly the reverse of the last process, and requires, first, the reins to be shortened and held in the left hand with a lock of the mane; secondly, the right leg is taken out of the stirrup, and is thrown over the back of the horse until it is brought down to the level of the other leg. After this, if the pony is of a small size, suitable to that of the rider, the body is gently lowered to the ground, and the left leg is liberated from the stirrup; but if the horse is too high for this, the foot is taken out of the stirrup by raising the body by means of the hands on the pommel and cantle of the saddle, and then the body is lowered to the ground by their assistance.

Proper way to hold single rein


Is of great importance to the comfort of the rider, and also to his appearance, for unless they are held properly, the body is sure to be[279] awkwardly balanced. When the single rein is used, the best position is to place the middle, ring, and little fingers between the two reins, and then to turn both over the fore-finger, where they are tightly held by the thumb. In all cases the thumb ought to point towards the horse’s ears, by which the elbow is sure to be kept in its place close to the side, and a good command of the reins is insured. If a double-reined bridle is employed, the middle finger separates the two snaffle reins, and the little one those attached to the curb, all being turned over the fore-finger, and firmly held by the thumb. In both cases the ends of the reins are turned over the left, or near, side of the pony’s shoulder. When it is intended to turn the horse to the left, it is only necessary to raise the thumb towards the chest of the rider; and on the contrary, when the desire is to turn him to the right, the little finger is turned downwards and backwards towards the fork. In many well-broken ponies the mere moving of the whole hand to the right or left is sufficient, which, by pressing the reins against the neck, indicates the wish of the rider, and is promptly responded to by the handy pony. This action, however, is objected to by some good horsemen, though, in my opinion, most erroneously, as it is capable of being made highly effective in practice.

Proper way to hold double reins


Should always be square to the front, without either shoulder being in advance; the loins moderately arched inwards without stiffness; the elbows close to the side, but held easily; the knees placed upon the padded part of the flat in front of the stirrup-leathers; toes turned very slightly outwards, and the foot resting on the stirrup, the inside of which should be opposite the ball of the great toe, and the outside corresponding with the little toe. In hunting, however, it may be placed “home,” that is, with the stirrup close to the instep. The heel should be well lowered as far as possible beneath the level of the toe, which gives a firm seat. But the great point is to obtain a good grasp of the saddle by the knees, which should be always ready to lay hold like a vice, without however constantly tiring the muscles by such an effort. The left hand is now to be[280] held very slightly above the pommel of the saddle, and the right easily by the side of it, with the whip held in a slanting position, as at page 273, in which however both hands are much too high above the withers. In order to show the effect of an incorrect mode of holding the reins, the rider has only to place his hands with the knuckles in a horizontal position, and the elbow is sure to be turned out in a most awkward manner.


Is effected by the reins, heels, voice, and whip, variously used according to his disposition and temper. Some require only the most gentle usage, which in fact is almost always the most efficacious, especially by young people, for whom the horse and dog seem to have an especial affection, and to be always more ready to obey them than might be expected, when their want of strength to enforce their wishes is considered. The young rider will therefore generally find it to his own interest, as well as that of the noble animal he bestrides, to use his whip and heel as little as possible, and to effect his object solely by his voice and the gentlest pressure of the bit. In this way the most high-couraged horses are kept in order by young lads in the racing stables, and the amateur will do well to follow their example. It is astonishing how fond horses and dogs are of being talked to by their juvenile masters, and it is right to gratify their love of society by so doing on all occasions. The reins serve, as already explained, to turn to the right or left, or by drawing tight to stop the horse, and on the contrary, by relaxing them to cause him to proceed, aided if necessary by the voice, heel, or whip. When it is desired that the right leg should lead in the canter or gallop, the left rein is pulled and the left leg pressed against the flank, by which means the body of the pony is made to present the right side obliquely forwards, and by consequence the right leg leads off. On the other hand, if it is wished to lead with the left leg, or to change from the right, the right rein is pulled, the right leg pressed to the side, and then the left shoulder looks forwards and the left leg leads off.


When it is wished to make the pony walk, he must be quieted down by soothing him with the voice if he has been excited by the gallop or trot; and then, by sitting very quietly in the saddle, and loosing the reins as much as will allow the head to nod in unison with the action of the body and legs, the walk is generally at once fallen into, and there is no farther difficulty except to prevent a stumble. A tight rein is not desirable in this pace, since it prevents that liberty of action which is required, and leads to a short walk, or very often a jog-trot; and yet there should be such a gentle hold, or[281] preparation for a hold rather, as will suffice to check the mouth in case of a mistake. This is a very difficult art to acquire, and is only learnt by long practice; but as few ponies fall at this pace, great liberty may generally be allowed to their mouths. Besides this, little is necessary, more than to sit steadily, but not stiffly, in the saddle, and not to sway about more than is sufficient to avoid the appearance of having swallowed a poker.


Are effected by rather different methods, but both require a very steady hand, and a quiet treatment. In order to cause the pony to trot, the reins are taken rather short in the hand, and the mouth is held somewhat firmly, but taking great care not to jerk it. The animal is then slightly stimulated by the voice, and the body, if necessary, rises from the saddle, as in the trot, so as to indicate what is wanted. This seldom fails to effect the purpose, and the horse at once breaks into a trot; or, if very irritable, he may be compelled to do so by laying hold of an ear and twisting it, to avoid which he drops his head, and trots as a natural consequence. The canter is also an acquired pace, and for its due performance a curb-bridle is required. In order to make the pony begin this pace, the left rein is pulled, and the rider’s left leg pressed against the side, by which the horse’s right leg is made to lead off, this being the most usual, and certainly the most comfortable “lead” for the rider. The hands must make a very gentle and steady pull on the curb-rein, and the body generally must be very quiet in the saddle, whilst, at the same[282] time, a very gentle stimulus is given by the voice, which must be repeated at short intervals, or the canter will be changed to a trot, or walk, both of which are preferred to it by most ponies and horses. Young riders should avoid cantering long upon one leg, as it leads to inflammation of the joints, and they should either change the lead or alter the pace to a trot or walk.

Causing the pony to trot


Requires little instruction, practice being the main agent in effecting a good seat during this pace. The seat is either close to the saddle, with the body inclining backwards (p. 275), or standing in the stirrups, in which position the knees and calves only touch the saddle, and the body is bent forwards over the withers (p. 273). It should be the endeavour of the rider, while he bends his shoulders forwards, to throw his loins well back, so as to avoid straining the horse’s fore-quarters, by bearing too much weight upon them. This is done by the hold of the knees on the saddle, and by keeping the feet back, also by rounding the loins backwards, and thus throwing the centre of gravity as far as possible behind the stirrup leathers. The object of standing in the stirrups is to save the horse when at his full gallop, as in racing, or in hunting, when he is going over ploughed ground or up hill. In either of these cases, this attitude allows the horse to exert himself without feeling the weight of the rider impede his movements more than can be avoided.


Is only an extra exertion added to the ordinary spring of the gallop, the attitude being exactly the same. It is best learnt by beginning with small ditches, which the rider is soon able to clear without difficulty. He may next try sheep-hurdles, or very low stiles; but the latter being strong and firmly fixed, are dangerous to the rider, unless the pony is very sure of clearing them. A leaping-bar, if procurable, should always be adopted in preference to either, as a fall over it is not attended with any bad consequences. The groom should place it at the lowest notch, and the pony then may be suffered to clear it at a moderate gallop; after which, if the young rider is able to sit pretty closely, he may be indulged with a higher notch, and gradually it may be raised until the limits of the pony’s powers are reached. In riding at a bar, the learner should lay hold of a snaffle-rein in each hand, taking care to keep them close together, by the right rein being held also in the left hand. The pony is then to be urged to a smart canter or hand gallop, and held straight to the bar in this way, so that he is obliged to leap; or if disliking the act, being urged by the whip down the shoulder, or the spur, or the groom’s voice and whip behind. Young riders, however, should never be put upon a bad or reluctant leaper, but should be taught upon one which is fond of the amusement. At the moment of rising into the air for the leap the[283] reins are relaxed, but should not be left quite loose; while the pony is in the air the body becomes upright, and as he descends it leans well back, until, after a high leap, it almost touches the croup. During this period the reins should be suffered to remain nearly loose, the hand barely feeling the mouth; but as the pony reaches the ground a stronger hold is taken, in order to guard against a mistake, which might require the aid of the rider to prevent a fall. It is not that he can keep the animal up, but that he checks him, and makes him exert himself in a double degree. There are various kinds of leaping; as the flying leap, the standing leap, the leap in hand, &c. The flying leap is merely one taken at a fast pace, and when the rider can maintain a good seat in the gallop, it is the easiest of all to sit. The standing leap is effected from a state of quiescence, and is much more difficult to sit, because the horse rises and falls more suddenly and abruptly. Between the two is the slow or steady leap, which is only effected safely by the clever hunter or well-broken pony; but when perfect it is almost as smooth as a rocking-horse. This is the mode in which the young rider should be taught to leap. Leaping in hand is necessary for most ponies in the hunting field, which would otherwise never be able to compete with full-sized hunters in the way they do. The young hunter, when he meets with a gate or other strong fence, which he knows is too much for the powers of his pony, at once gets off and leads him over by the rein; and when well taught, these little creatures will often tilt themselves over high timber, &c. in a marvellously clever manner, so that I have known them in this[284] way obtain a good place in long and severe runs. If, therefore, my readers are allowed to partake in this exciting sport during their Christmas holidays, they should teach their ponies to leap in hand, or they will be sure to be thrown out.

Pony and rider jumping a fence


The chief vices which are met with among ponies are—1st, Obstinate Stopping; 2d, Stumbling from Carelessness; 3d, Rearing; 4th, Kicking; 5th, Shying; and 6th, Running Away.

Obstinate stopping

Obstinate Stopping, which in its worst forms is called “jibbing,” is a very troublesome vice, and even in the saddle is sometimes attended with danger, whilst in driving it is so to a dreadful degree.

The rider should never attempt to force his pony forward with the whip or spur, which only aggravates the bad-tempered brute; but should patiently sit quiet in the saddle, and keep his temper, until the pony chooses to move forward again. In this way sometimes very vicious animals are cured when they find that their stable is not the sooner reached by their device; on the other hand, if the whip is used, the pony, especially if of Welsh breed, is very apt to lie down and roll his rider in the dirt, or even sometimes to bolt into a river, or pond, and leave him in danger of his life. My young friends will therefore remember my advice when being mounted upon an obstinate pony, and having lost their tempers, they have proceeded to use their whips, and are bemired or half drowned in consequence.

Stumbling is more a defect of conformation than a vice; but nevertheless, it greatly depends upon a want of spirit to keep up a steady action of the fore legs. It often happens that a pony trots along for[285] a mile or two safely enough; but after going that distance he becomes lazy and careless, and trips with one foot and then with the other, a sure prelude to such a fall as the following, which would be a very bad one, and sufficient to cut both knees to the bone, and to cause serious damage to the rider. The only way to avoid such accidents is to keep the pony at a steady pace, fast enough to keep him alive, but not enough so to tire him. Loose stones and broken ground should be avoided, and a careful hold should be kept upon the mouth, without being so tight as to gag it. When a stumble actually takes place, the body should be well thrown back and the mouth forcibly jerked, so as to make the pony exert himself to keep his legs. An unsafe animal of this kind is, however, wholly unfit for young riders, and they should never be allowed to ride one.

Stumbling pony with rider

Rearing is a very dangerous vice, and not very common among ponies after they are once broken in. If the rider should, however, be placed upon a rearer, he should be careful to avoid hanging upon the bit when he rises in the air, but on the contrary should loose the reins entirely, and clasp the neck, if the pony should rise very high in the air. The accompanying sketch shows this vice in a very trifling degree, and in such a case the seat thus represented is sufficiently forward to prevent accidents.

Rearing pony

The rider will, however, observe that the reins are quite loose. It often happens that this vice is produced by too tight and severe a curb in a tender mouth, and that upon changing the bit, or letting out the curb chain, the tendency to rise is entirely gone. Whenever, therefore, the young rider finds his pony inclined to rear, let him look[286] well to his bit, and at once drop the curb rein if he has one. If, however, he has only a snaffle, he may rest assured that it is a regular habit, and at once make up his mind either to battle with it or to change his pony.

Kicking pony

Kicking is much more common among ponies than rearing, and very many of these little animals are given to practise it. It is[287] perhaps partly owing to the teasing of their young masters that it is so common; but whatever the cause, there can be no doubt that it is too prevalent among them. Sometimes it exists as a regular attempt to unhorse the rider, which is a very troublesome habit, and one very difficult to break, because it so often succeeds that the pony is tempted to try again. When this vice is met with, the rider should do all in his power to keep his pony’s head up, by jerking the bit, and at the same time he should sit well back, with his feet well forwards, with heels down, and trust to his knees in holding on. When kicking is only the result of high spirits and “freshness,” the best remedy is a smart gallop, which soon stops all these pranks, and makes the most riotous animal quiet.

Shying is also very common among ponies, and in them is often the result of cunning, which leads them to pretend a greater degree of shyness than they really possess. The best mode of treatment is to take as little notice as possible of the shying, but carefully to make the pony pass the object at which he is looking, without regarding how this is effected. The whip should seldom be used at all, and never after the object is passed.

Bolting, or Running Away, is often the result of want of exercise, but sometimes it is a systematic vice. A powerful bit and a steady seat, with good hands, are the best means of grappling with this habit, which is sometimes a very dangerous one. If the pony really runs away, the rider should not pull dead at his mouth, but should relax his hold for a short time, and then take a sharp pull, which is often effectual. A good gallop until he is tired will often cure a runaway for the rest of his life. There are a variety of bits intended expressly to counteract this vice, such as the Hanoverian Pelham, the curb with a high port, &c.; but nothing is perfectly effectual where there is a determination to run away. A nose-band has lately been invented for the purpose, which answers better than anything hitherto brought out; it consists of a long nose-band which crosses behind the jaw and then hooks on to the bit in the same way as the ordinary curb-chain. When the rein is pulled hard, this nose-band is drawn tight round the jaw, by which the mouth is closed, and the port is pressed strongly against the roof of the mouth, causing a great degree of pain, sufficient to stop most horses. This powerful remedy, which has been named the Bucephalus nose-band, should not lightly be used; but in the case of a runaway horse, or pony, it is the only really efficacious one.


Rowing scene


“A boat, a boat, is the toy for me,
To rollic about in on river and sea;
To be a child of the breeze and the gale,
And like a wild bird on the deep to sail,
This is the life for me!”—Procter.


The sea service is the glory of Old England, notwithstanding all the glorious land service of ancient and modern days. A country having nearly ten thousand miles of sea-coast, with numerous ports, harbours, estuaries, river mouths, and capacious bays, must ever be a maritime nation, and look for its supremacy to the sea—to her sons being amphibious; and nothing is better calculated to develop the inherent instinct for sea duties than the amusements of boating, of rowing, of sailing, and other aquatic sports. Every young gentleman in England should know how to manage a boat, and to sail a cutter; and it will be our duty to initiate him into the methods of doing so.

The origin of ships must be traced to the ark of Noah; but this was not a sailing or a rowing vessel, but simply a large floating house or receptacle for Noah and his family, and the various types of animated nature. The first navigators were the Phœnicians, who[289] sailed in various seas. They were succeeded by the ships of Carthage, Egypt, Venice, Genoa, Holland, and Portugal. The Saxons under Alfred, and the Danes under Canute, had formidable navies. Alfred, who ascended the throne in 872, commenced the first English fleet in person, and is said to have suggested a variety of improvements in the structure, as well as greatly to have increased the size of the vessels, some of the largest of which carried sixty oars. After the death of Alfred, the naval power of England seems to have lain dormant; and this, no doubt, tempted the Norman invasion in 1066, under William the Bastard, who sailed for the coast of England with a fleet of 900 vessels; and so sensible was he of the importance of the naval service, that he gave certain privileges to certain towns on the sea-coast, which were from their number called the Cinque Ports. Richard I. fitted out large fleets; and his successor, John, asserted the exclusive right of the English nation to the dominion of the seas. The reign of Edward I. was also distinguished for successes at sea. Henry VII., on gaining the throne, in 1485, put the navy into a respectable condition; and a large ship, called the “Great Harry,” which may properly be termed the first ship of the British navy, was built at a cost of 14,000l. The discovery of America, about the period of the accession of Henry VIII., gave a new stimulus to our navy, and many ships were then built of large tonnage, some of a thousand tons. But Queen Elizabeth, deeply impressed with the maxim, that “whosoever commands the sea, commands the trade of the world,” and that “whosoever commands the trade, commands the riches of the world,” and consequently the world itself, so encouraged and restored the marine, that she may be called the “Restorer of the naval power of England;” and, in a few years after, the invasion of the Spanish Armada put our naval power to the proof. Charles I., the great and courageous Cromwell, and even the pleasure-loving Charles II., were all impressed with the great advantages of a formidable navy; and in the reign of Anne, fifty-two French ships, containing more than 3,000 guns, were captured. And during the reign of George III. the naval superiority was placed by a series of glorious successes beyond all dispute; and it is to be hoped that the reign of our beloved Queen Victoria, who is herself a sailor, and full of every generous aspiration that belongs to a British Tar, will, notwithstanding the “mistakes of the Admiralty,” prove that England still retains the sovereignty of the ocean, and on that element she will defy the world.


The Egyptian vessels are the earliest of which any well-authenticated graphic illustration has been preserved. We here give a view of one of their earliest sailing vessels. The celebrated Egyptian vessel called the “Isis” is said to have been in length 180 feet, in[290] breadth 45 feet, and in height, from the upper edge of the deck to the bottom of the well, 43 feet. The well-known ship of Hiero, king of Syracuse, was nearly 400 tons burden.

Ancient Egyptian sailing vessel


Ancient Roman ship

They were in length about 125 feet, and in breadth 10 feet. Their first requisite was swiftness, and no part of the side was left vacant where an oar could be put out; hence they had often three banks of oars, one above the other. In most ancient ships, there was placed at the prow an image called “the sign.” The part of the vessel that cut the water was called the “goose.” At the stern, which generally resembled a shield, was set or some way delineated a representation of the deity to whose tutelary favour the ship was committed, and to which daily prayer and sacrifice were offered. War ships were chiefly rowed with oars, that they might be able to tack about. The first long ships were rowed with fifty oars, but afterwards a larger number was used. In the more perfect condition of ancient navigation, there were some ships that had as many as five tiers of oars, and three hundred rowers. Two large holes at the prow of the vessel, occasionally used for oars, were called the ship’s “eyes;” and a wooden projection at the prow, covered with brass, was called a “beak;” and pieces of wood placed on each side of the prow of a vessel, to ward off the force of the enemy’s beak, were called the ship’s “ears.” Over these vessels were certain raised platforms, and on their forecastles were towers on which the soldiers stood, whose shields were[291] usually hung upon the railings which begirt the ship. The sides of the prow were called “cheeks.” The anchors at first used were often large stones, or even bags of sand; afterwards, however, the ancient ships carried anchors with one, two, and four flukes. The larger anchor was called the “sacred anchor,” and reserved for the most trying occasions. Among the ancients, ships were usually termed “horses,” which explains many ancient fables. The elder Pliny, for instance, tells us of a boy who was carried by water some miles every day on the back of a dolphin to school; the vessel, in all probability, having a dolphin at the prow. Arion, the famous musician of Lesbos, having made great wealth in foreign parts by his profession, was returning home by ship, when the sailors resolved to kill him, and seize upon his riches. Playing once again, at his last request, a favourite tune, he leaped into the sea. A dolphin, attracted by his melody, received him safely on its back, and carried him again to the coast where Periander lived. Arion, doubtless, escaped by a boat, the fore-part of which consisted of a dolphin.

Having thus given the young reader a notion of ancient boats and ships, we shall now proceed to make him acquainted with the modern practices of rowing, boating, sailing, &c.


A Boat is properly a vessel propelled by oars. In a more extensive sense the word is applied to other small vessels, which differ in construction and name, according to the services in which they are employed. Thus they are light or strong, sharp or flat-bottomed, open or decked, according as they are intended for swiftness or burden, deep or shallow water, &c.

The Barge is a long, light, narrow boat, employed in harbours, and unfit for sea. The Long Boat is the largest boat belonging to a ship, generally furnished with two sails, and is employed for cruising short distances, bringing the cargo and bales on board, &c.

The Launch is more flat-bottomed than the long boat, which it has generally superseded. The Pinnace resembles the barge, but is smaller. The Cutters of a ship are broader and deeper than the barge or pinnace, and are employed in carrying light articles, single passengers, &c. on board.

Yawls are used for similar purposes to the barge and pinnace. A Gig is a long, narrow boat, used for expedition, and rowed with six or eight oars. The Jolly Boat is smaller than a yawl, and is used for going on shore. A merchant ship seldom has more than two boats,—a long boat and a yawl.

A Wherry is a light, sharp boat, used in a river or harbour for transporting passengers. A Punt is a flat-bottomed boat, chiefly used for fishing on a fresh water river. A Skiff is a small sharp-nosed boat, used in rivers. A Dingy is a very small stiff boat used by yachts. A Yacht is a pleasure sailing-boat. A Lugger is a boat[292] which is furnished with sails of a peculiar cut. A Funny is a small light boat used in river rowing, and made with her bow and stern nearly alike.


Sketch showing the parts of a rowing boat

Rowing boats consist of the bows (1); the stem, or entrance (2); the stern (8), where are the rudder and the lines for steering; the rowlocks (3), for giving purchase to the oars; and the thwarts, or seats (4). At the bottom are the foot-boards (5), which are easily removed, in order to bail out any water which may leak into the boat. Besides these parts there is a board placed across the boat for the feet of the rower, called a stretcher. The whole boat is composed of one or more planks, called streaks, nailed upon a light oak framework, called the timbers, or ribs; and the upper streak, upon which the rowlocks are placed, is called the wale-streak. Boats with two rowlocks opposite each other are called sculling boats, and are propelled by a pair of light oars called sculls, the art being called “sculling.” When a boat is fitted with a pair of rowlocks not opposite each other, it is called a pair-oared boat. If with two in the middle opposite each other, and two others, one before and the other behind, but not opposite each other, it is called a randan. When a boat has four rowlocks, none of which are opposite one another, it is called a four-oared boat, and so on up to ten oars, which is the utmost limit in common use for any kind of boat but the pleasure barge, which sometimes has twenty-four oars, as in the City barges of London. The rowlock nearest the bow is called the bow rowlock, or No. 1; the next No. 2, and so on; and the oars used in them receive the same number, the one nearest the stern being called the “stroke oar.” The rowlocks in river and sea boats are somewhat different in shape though identical in principle, both consisting of a square space of about the breadth of a man’s hand, and both lying on the wale-streak; but in river boats being generally bounded before and behind by a flat piece of oak or ash called, respectively, the thowl-pin and stopper; whilst in sea boats they are merely common round wooden pins dropped into holes made in the wale-streak, but still receiving the same names. The thowl-pin is for the purpose of pulling the oar against, whilst the stopper prevents the oar from slipping forwards when the rower is pushing it in that direction after the stroke.



Parts of an oar

A scull is a small oar used with one hand, and requiring a pair, as in the case of oars, one being placed in the rowlock on each side the boat, and the pair being used by one person with his right and left hands. Oars are used by both hands, and a pair-oared boat consequently requires two oarsmen; a four-oared boat four, and so on. Both sculls and oars consist of the same parts, except that the handle of the oar is made long enough for both hands, as at (b). In every case there is a rounded handle (a b), a loom, square in form, and extending from the handle to the button, or about one-third of the length of the oar; and beyond the button is the blade, which is first nearly round, and then gradually widens, until it assumes the form best adapted for laying hold of the water, which is now found to be broad rather than long, as was formerly thought to be desirable. The button is a piece of leather nailed on to prevent the oar from slipping through the rowlock, but only used in river rowing, as it is not adapted for the rough work which is often met with in sea rowing.


This is necessarily less elegant than river rowing, because of the rough nature of the element on which the exercise is pursued. The oar must be held firmly in the hands, the inside hand being placed at (b), and the outside at (a), and both hands grasping the oar between the thumbs and fingers. The whole art consists in the crew moving backwards and forwards together, called “swinging,” and laying hold of the water as well as they can, taking care to avoid pulling in the air with great force when there is a trough or interval between two waves, and on the other hand equally avoiding a heavy wave, which has a tendency to dash the oar out of the hand. All this requires practice in the rowers, and also in the steersman, called the coxswain, who should watch for the high waves, and warn his men when a heavy one is coming. He should also take care to cross the roll of the sea as much as possible, so as to avoid being struck on the side of the boat called “the counter,” which would either swamp her, or else knock the oars out of the rowlocks. In this kind of rowing, the “feathering” of the oar, to be presently described, is not attempted, on account of the roughness of the water, but it merely is pulled steadily, but strongly, backwards, and is then pushed forwards in the rowlocks.


The art of river rowing is capable of a high degree of elegance, and few sights are more pleasing to a lover of graceful forms than[294] that of a crew of fine lads, or young men, rowing well together and in good style. To do this requires great practice, and attention to a few essential points, which I will here endeavour to describe.


The rower should, as far as possible, take some good oarsman for his model, and endeavour to imitate him in every respect, which is the only mode of acquiring a good style. Description is useful in putting the learner in the way of acquiring what is to be taught, but it is not all-sufficient for the purpose. In the first place, the learner should place himself square on the seat, with his feet straight before him, and the toes slightly turned out. The knees may either be kept together, in the Newcastle or Clasper style, or separated considerably, as practised generally in England, the latter being in my opinion the better mode, as it allows the body to come more forward over the knees. The feet are to be placed firmly against the stretcher, which is to be let out or shortened, to suit the length of the individual; and one foot may be placed in the strap which is generally attached to the stretcher in modern boats. The oar is then taken in hand, raising it by the handle, and then either at once placing it in the rowlock, or else first dropping it flat on the water, and then raising the handle it may gently be lowered to its place. The outside hand is placed upon the handle at (a), with the thumb as well as the fingers above it, while the other hand firmly grasps it lower down at (b), keeping the nut towards the person. The arms are now quickly thrust forward till they are quite straight at the elbows, after which the back follows them by bending forward at the hips, carefully avoiding any roundness of the shoulders. When the hands have reached their full stretch they are raised, and the blade quietly and neatly dropped into the water; immediately after which, and with the water just covering the blade, the body is brought back with a graceful yet powerful action, till it reaches a part a little behind the perpendicular of the back of the seat, when the hands are brought back to the ribs, the elbows gliding close by the hips; and at the last moment, as the hand touches the rib, the wrist of the inside hand is depressed, the knuckles being at the same time brought against the chest, and the oar is made to rotate in the rowlock, which is called “feathering” it, and by which it is brought cleanly out of the water. The next action is to push the oar rapidly forward again, first however restoring it to its original position in the rowlock, which is effected by raising the wrist, and then darting the arms forward till the elbows are quite straight, which brings the rower to where we started from in the description. In “backing water” the reverse of these actions takes place. The oar is first reversed in the rowlock, and then it is pushed through the water with as much power as is needed, and pulled through the air. When the oars on one side are pulled, and those on the other are backed,[295] the boat is made to turn on its own water. “Holding water” is effected by the oars being held in the position of backing without moving them.


1st. To straighten the arms before bending the body forward; 2d, to drop the oar cleanly into the water; 3d, to draw it straight through at the same depth; 4th, to feather neatly, and without bringing the oar out before doing so; 5th, to use the back and shoulders freely, keeping the arms as straight as possible; and 6th, to keep the eyes fixed upon the rower before them, avoiding looking out of the boat, by which means the body is almost sure to swing backwards and forwards in a straight line.


Every boat without a rudder is manœuvred in the water, either by pulling both sides alike, in which case it progresses in a straight line, or by reversing the action of the oars, equally on both sides, pushing them through the water instead of pulling them, and called backing water, when the boat recedes; or by pulling one side only, on which the boat describes a segment of a circle, which is made smaller by pulling one oar, and backing the other. By means of a rudder the boat is made to take a certain course, independent of the rowers, called “steering,” the chief art in which consists in keeping the rudder as still as possible, by holding the lines “taut,” and avoiding pulling them from one side to the other more than is absolutely necessary. Some steersmen think it necessary to swing backwards and forwards with a great effort, but this is quite useless, and the more still they keep the better. Every coxswain should know the course of the stream or tide; and when meeting other boats he should, if he is going down stream, give them the side nearest the shore, so as to allow them the advantage of the slack water, which is quite prejudicial to him. When a crew are steered by a competent coxswain, they ought to be perfectly obedient to his commands, rowing exactly as he tells them. His orders are communicated by the following words, viz. when desiring his crew to row he says, “Pull all;” or if wishing any one oar to be pulled, he says “Pull bow,” or “Pull, No. 3,” or 4, &c. as the case may be. If they are to stop rowing, he says “Easy all,” or for any one oar, “Easy bow,” or No. 2. The same kind of order is conveyed when “backing” or “holding water” is desired; the only variation, as before, being between confining his order to any one or more oars, or extending it to all. In this way all the evolutions practicable on the water are managed, and the coxswain has complete control over the boat, being able to cause her to be rowed slowly or quickly, or to be stopped, backed, or turned on her own centre.



Is of the utmost importance to the success of a boat when she is manned by a crew; and they should all endeavour to attain the same style as the “stroke-oar,” who should be the best in the boat, and as free from faults as possible. In a four or eight-oared boat, every one of the crew would do well to imitate his stroke by rowing with him occasionally in a pair-oared boat, or else, if this is not practicable, by pulling behind a waterman who rows in the same style as the stroke-oar. In this way an uniform kind of rowing is attained, and the boat is propelled equally by all at the same time. The great object is for all to lay hold of the water at the same moment, and pull their oars through it and out with the same power and at the same time; this is called “keeping stroke.” “Keeping time” means, all “feathering” the oar together, by which the peculiar click of the oars in the rowlocks is made exactly at the same instant. When this is not done precisely together, the “time” is defective, and the ear at once detects the error; but even when the “time” is ever so good, the want of keeping stroke is fatal to the speed of any boat, however good the individuals may be.


Do not be over anxious to avoid “catching crabs,” which is an event likely to occur in early practice; and should it happen, throw the oar quickly upwards out of the rowlock, and no mischief will ensue. The young rower should be at once shown how to free his oar in this way, and then he may pull with that freedom from restraint which is necessary to produce a good style. Do not stand on the seats, or lean out of the boat, and never attempt any practical jokes on the water, as it is a dangerous element to trifle with.

Rowing boat


Picturesque scene with several sailing boats


“The tar’s a jolly tar, that can hand, reef and steer,
That can nimbly cast-off and belay;
Who in darkest of nights finds each halliard and gear,
And dead reckoning knows well, and leeway:
But the tar to please me must more jolly be,
He must laugh at the waves as they roar.”—Dibdin.

It would be very difficult to trace to its origin the art of sailing. Perhaps the curled leaf passing over the water, with one end erect, might have given to observant man the first notion of a sail. It has been supposed that the Nautila, Argonaut, or sailor-fish, was suggestive of the first sailing-vessel; but long before the Argonaut had been noticed, sails of some kind or other had no doubt been common. A man could not stand in the simplest boat without perceiving that the wind exerted a power upon him and his boat; and therefore the idea of a sail must have been identical with the first launching of the rudest boat. The science of sailing, however, has grown up gradually through a succession of ages, and has now reached a perfection of which the ancients had no idea.

We will first speak of the various kinds of vessels, which are distinguished principally by the number of masts, and the number and shape of their sails.

A Sloop is properly a vessel with one mast, having her sails, with the exception of her topsails, set in the plane of her length, which is technically called “set fore and aft.” Her topsail is a square sail,[298] rigged at right angles to the plane of her length. The bowsprit is generally elevated from the bows, inclining slightly to the deck. The term “sloop” is now usually applied to a man-of-war, ship-rigged, and carrying less than 18 guns.

Sailing ship

A Cutter differs from a sloop in being without a square sail, and in having her bowsprit horizontal; her mast at the same time “raking” aft. Her topsail is fore and aft, and triangular in shape.

A Brig is a square-rigged vessel, with two masts.

Sailing ship


A Schooner is a two-masted vessel, with fore and aft topsails, which are called gaff-topsails. Sometimes she has a square fore-topsail and top-gallantsail.

Sailing ship

A Brigantine is something between a schooner and a brig, and is worked either with oars (called sweeps) or sails.

Dutch type of sailing ship



A Dutch Galleot is rigged like a schooner, but of a broader and more Chinese build, her bottom being nearly flat.

A Billy-boy is rigged sometimes like a sloop, and sometimes like a schooner; but her bottom is nearly flat, and she draws but little water.

A Smack is a small vessel with one mast like a cutter, used principally for fishing.

A Canoe is a boat used by savages, usually made of a trunk of a tree, hollowed.

Mediterranean Felucca

A Felucca has two triangular sails, is used in the Mediterranean, and is particularly swift. It can also use oars in calm weather.

Chinese junk

A Junk is a Chinese vessel, used either for war or merchandise, is built very heavily.


A Proa is used by the natives of the Ladrone Islands, and is remarkable for its swiftness and sailing close to the wind. The lee-side is quite straight, and the weather-side is convex, like a common boat. Both head and stern are equally sharp; and in working her there is no necessity to tack or turn at any time. Besides this peculiarity of construction, the proa has on her lee-side what is called an “out-rigger,” which is made of two poles, extending about 10 feet from her side, having at their extremity a piece of solid wood. This prevents her from having any lee-way. She will sail with a good wind twenty miles an hour.

Sailing ship

The natives of the Society Islands use a canoe, averaging in length from ten to forty feet. It is made of a trunk of a tree, hollowed out; and is just wide enough for a person to sit down. It will carry from one to as many as thirty persons. It also has an outrigger, like a proa. When a native leaves one island to go to another, he joins two large canoes together, and builds on them a small hut, which will hold all his family. This is the most convenient way to travel in a canoe, for it is difficult to see anything but one’s knees when sitting down in the ordinary manner. These canoes carry a square sail in the fore-part.

We will now speak of the vessels we have most to do with—viz. yachts.


Speed, safety, and accommodation are the three first qualities of a yacht. She ought to be pleasing to the eye when afloat, of such a breadth as to carry her canvass with ease, and at the same time so[302] sharp in her bow and well-shapen astern as to displace her weight of water smoothly and gradually, while she leaves it in the same way.


Yachts are of various kinds, according to their size. If more than eighty tons burden, the schooner is most suitable; for, as the spars are more numerous, they are proportionally lighter. The schooner, as has been before observed, has two masts—the foremast and mainmast; the one bearing the sail called the boom-foresail, and the other a mainsail. She has two or more headsails, called staysail, fore-staysail, and jib. Her topsails are either square or fore and aft.

The Cutter has one mast and four sails—viz. mainsail, maintopsail, foresail, and jib. Some smaller craft have larger jibs, and no foresail.

The Dandy-rigged Yacht differs from a cutter, in having no boom for her mainsail, which can consequently be brailed up by a rope passing round it. She has a mizen-mast standing in the stern, which sets a sail called a mizen, and which is stretched on a horizontal spar, projecting over the stern. This style of rig is more safe for a yacht, as the boom in ordinary cutters is liable to sweep persons overboard; and the sail can be taken in quicker by brailing it up than by lowering it down.

Sailing yacht

The Hatteener has only two sails, a fore and a main sail, of a triangular shape. Each has a spar standing from the deck to the peak of the sail, and a boom at the bottom, like a cutter. This rig, from setting more canvass abaft, is well adapted for narrow waters.

Suitable rig for young sailors
Iron bowsprit

One of the most handy rigs for a young sailor is a triangular mainsail[303] and foresail rig, on a good-sized open boat. She should be at least twenty feet long, and five feet on her beam. The foresail is carried over the stem for about a foot, by means of an iron bowsprit, which ships and unships on the nose of the boat. Her mainsail has a spar reaching from the lower part of the mast to the upper corner of the sail; a rope is fastened in the middle of this spar, and passes through a block on the mast, by which the sail is hoisted. The advantages of this rig are, that it can be easily managed, while under it the boat is much safer than under most other kinds of rig; for, should a squall arise, the yachtsman has only to let fly his foresheet and put his helm alee, and the boat will right immediately. With this rig, a boat stands very well to windward, and may be easily brought about.


But the vessel with which we have most to do in our directions for sailing is the Cutter Yacht, which stands closer to the wind than any other kind of European boat; and of which we propose, in the first instance, to give a general description.


The first step in the construction of the hull is laying down the keel or backbone of the vessel; which is done by fixing a strong piece of wood, generally oak, upon blocks, that the rest of the timber may be securely added; the stem is then joined to the fore-post, nearly at right angles, slanting a little forward as it ascends; and the stern-post to its after or hinder part, sloping upwards and backwards. The[304] timbers and ribs are next cut out of solid wood, and placed transversely on the keel, their width varying according to the lines of a plan previously drawn out,—being, of course, farthest apart at the beam; these, as well as the planks of larger craft, are made to bend into the required shape by being steamed and bolted in while hot. The skeleton being completed, her planks are then secured by copper or iron nails to the timbers, and riveted. The deck is made of narrow planks, running fore and aft. From the level of the deck, her sides are raised by upright timbers, called “stancheons,” cased over by the bulwarks, and surmounted by a rail called the “gunwale.” Some yachts are only half-decked, the after-part being left open and fitted with seats; but, in order to prevent the water from getting in, a portion of deck, called water-ways, is left at each side; which opposes a further barrier by its terminating on the inner edge in a high crest or combing. The stepping the mast requires great care, since the good or bad sailing of the boat depends very greatly upon it. If we divide the length of a good yacht into three parts, the point at which the foremost part joins the middle part will be the widest part, and there will be nearly the place for the cutter’s mast. But the American builders have departed from this rule in the construction of their celebrated yacht, “The America,” whose model, after all the study and ingenuity that have been applied to yacht-building, seems to resemble the simple yet beautiful model which nature has given us in the duck. The bow of this vessel rises very gradually for some distance along the keel, like the breast of the duck; and, further imitating the same model, her beam or widest part is abaft, or further back than the centre. This superior vessel will sail nearly four points[305] off the wind, and will probably work an entire change in the present style of yacht-building. We have now glanced at all the principal parts of the hull, except that all-important part, the rudder; which swings by a hinge from the stern-post, and is moved by a handle fixed to its upper part, bearing the name of “a tiller,” and which is used to steer the boat. Before proceeding with our instructions for sailing a yacht, it will be necessary to describe the action of the rudder; as the art of steering is the nicest and most important branch of seamanship.

Superior yacht 'The America'

The rudder is a flat board, with a pole rising up on the side, which is fastened to the vessel; on the top of which is fixed the tiller. In large vessels, there are two ropes fastened to the tiller, which are carried through blocks on each side of the vessel; then brought back through blocks fastened on the mizenmast, and passed round a wheel, by which means a greater command is obtained over the rudder. When the tiller is moved to the right (starboard), the rudder, of course, is forced in the water to the left (port). As the vessel moves on, the water presses against the rudder on the port side, and thus forces her stern to the starboard side, and her bow to the port. When the tiller is moved to the left, it of course produces a contrary effect. If the ship is moving backwards, then, by moving the tiller to the right, the bow is also turned to the right; for the water presses against the rudder behind it on the left side, and thus pushes the stern to the left. In steering, care must be taken not to steer too much,—that is, not to move the rudder too violently or more than is necessary,—as this materially stops her way.

Cutter with ropes and spars numbered


We here present the young yachtsman with a cutter at anchor, with her ropes and spars numbered; and which ought to be thoroughly known, as well as the uses to which they are applied in sailing a yacht:



The Mast (8) is a spar set nearly upright, inclining a little aft, to support yards and sails. In a yacht, it is kept in its place by two shrouds on each side, made of strong rope, and fastened to the sides of the vessel.

The Bowsprit (6) is a spar carried out from the forepart of a yacht, secured at its inner end between two strong posts piercing the deck, called “the bitts.” It is kept in its place by the bobstay (7), which is fastened to the stem, and by a shroud on each side secured to the bow.

The Boom (15) is that spar which sets out the mainsail below, and is attached at one end to the mast by a swivel cable, called the “goose-neck,” and is eased off or hauled in at the other by the mainsheet (24), which is a rope passing from the end of the boom through a block on the side of the vessel.

The Gaff (14) sets out the mainsail above, and slides up and down the mast by means of a crescent end, which embraces it. The sides of this curve are called “horns.”

The Topmast (9) stands above the mast, and is made to slide up and down. On it a topsail (i. e. a gaff-topsail) is set in light winds; but both sail and mast are generally lowered in squally weather. It[307] is kept steady by a backstay (17) on each side of the foretopmast-stay. The latter is brought down to the bowsprit.


Ropes.—There are various ropes to hoist and lower sails, called haulyards (pronounced halliards). There are also other ropes of great importance, especially those called the sheets, which are to haul in the sails, and make them stand to the wind. In a yacht, the mainsail has sometimes a sheet each side; and sometimes only one sheet reeved through double blocks, which travel on an iron rod, called “a horse,” from side to side. The jib has two sheets, the starboard and port (right and left). The foresail has the same, except in some instances, when it has but one sheet working on a traveller, like the mainsail. The topsail has only one, which is rove through a sheave at the end of the gaff and a block at the throat of the gaff, and then down to a cleat or fastening place on the deck. Signal[308] haulyards are for hauling up the colours, and pass through a small sheave, in the truck (10), at the end of the topmast. The ensign haulyards are reeved through a small block at the peak end, and lead down to the boom. The other ropes on board a yacht are for the support of the spars, and are called “standing rigging,” while those used for the sails are called “running rigging.”



If the reader has paid attention to our instructions, he ought now to be pretty well conversant with build, rigging, spars, and sails of a yacht; the next thing, therefore, is to explain the actual practical sailing of a yacht. The number of hands must depend on the tonnage of the boat and the number of sails. It is best to have a steersman, and one hand for each sail. Our yacht is now lying at anchor, or moorings, which consists of a chain and buoy, fastened to a heavy anchor sunk in the bed of the river. Having got on board, by means of the little boat called a “dingy,” we first unloose the fore and mainsail, and forestaysail; haul out the jib on the bowsprit, ready for hoisting; hoist the colours, with the name of the yacht or club to which she belongs, to the gaff-end; and stand by to hoist the canvass. We will suppose it just past high water, the yacht swinging ebb, and the wind up stream; we shall, therefore, have tide with us, and the wind against us. We now hoist the throat and peak halliards, till the former is well up block to block; then, by hauling at the peak-halliards till the after part of the sail is taut (tight), the mainsail is set, and she swings head to wind. The next thing is to hoist the forestaysail and the jib, which must be well purchased up, and the sheet well hauled in, before we can get her on the wind, i. e. sail close up to the wind. The ropes must now be coiled up, and hung on the cleat belonging to each. Our canvass being now up, we may cast off, slack out the mainsail, haul in jibsheet on the contrary tack to which we intend to sail, and we are under weigh.

We have already told the reader that “starboard” means right, and “port” means left. Formerly, the word “larboard” was used for left; but, owing to the similarity between the two words starboard and larboard, the word port was substituted for the latter. A boat is said to be on the starboard tack, when the wind is blowing from the starboard side; the port side is then called the lee side, and the starboard the weather side. She is on the port tack when the wind blows from the port side, which is then called the weather side, and the starboard the lee side. When in steering she is brought nearer the wind, she is said to “luff;” and when further from it, to “bear away.” When the helm is put so as to cause the boat to luff, the helm is “put up;” when it causes the boat to bear away, it is “put down,” or a-lee.

Proceeding to our cruise, we must haul the jib-sheet well in, put the helm up, and sail close to the wind; as, the wind being against us, we shall have to “beat up,” that is, sail in a zigzag direction. In[309] sailing close to the wind, we must always take care not to sail too close, but always keep the canvass quite full. Upon the skill of the steersman, mainly depend the motions of the boat; he must endeavour to attain the happy medium of keeping the boat close to the wind, and yet not allowing the canvass to shake. The practised yachtsman feels with his helm every variation of the wind, and meets it with a turn to port or starboard; but the young sailor would do well to watch the colour at the masthead, and, by keeping it in a line with the gaff, he will not steer very wildly. We are now getting near the opposite bank from whence we started, and must therefore tack. If the boat is quick in stays (i. e. will go round quickly), and the bottom is not muddy, and is deep enough for the boat, we may go pretty close to the bank before we tack; but if she is a slow tub, we must begin in good time. First, we must see that all the canvass is quite full; then the mainsail must be hauled to the middle of the boat, or amidships, and the helm put gradually down. When she is head to wind, let fly the jibsheet; if she is on the starboard tack, haul in the port foresheet taut, which is called backing the foresail; the wind, by blowing on the foresail, assists the boat round. When she begins to fill on the other tack, cast off the port (now the weather) foresheet, and haul in the leesheet and also the jibsheet, and trim the mainsail (i. e. let go, or haul in, the mainsheet), according to the direction of the wind. If when the boat is in stays, or head to wind, she moves neither way, put the helm amidships; if she moves back, put the helm the contrary way to what you had it before, resuming its former position when she moves on again. When the wind gets more on our beam (i. e. blows directly across us), we may slack out the canvass a little; the more aft it blows, so much more we must square our sails. There is a heavy cloud in the wind’s eye, that admonishes us that a squall is brewing, and the dark ripple of the water to windward tells us that it will soon be here. Keep her well full, that as the squall strikes her she may have good way on; and luff into the wind as soon as the squall begins: and if she does not right at once, let go jib and foresheets; if that fails, cast off the mainsheet, and send a hand to stand by the fore and jib halliards, which must be let go when the squall becomes violent. We must now reef the mainsail; to effect this, allow plenty of room for driving to leeward; set taut the “topping-lift,” a rope which hoists up the end of the boom; lower the halliards; hook at the end of the boom an earring which is higher up in the sail, and tie up the reef-points; then, having set up our mainsail, hoisted a smaller jib, and drawn in the foresheet, we are under sail again.

We must take care always to observe the rules of sailing, when meeting with another yacht. Whichever boat is running free must make way for one close hauled; for a boat when close hauled cannot conveniently alter her course, but when she is running free she is always able to move to which side she pleases. As we get into wider water, we shall find more swell, that impedes the boat to windward;[310] but, if the waves be long enough, there is a way of easing her over them, by putting down the helm slightly, just before the highest of them strikes her bow; thus, by stopping the boat’s way, she strikes the sea with less violence.


Our destination outward bound being in sight, we must prepare to bring up. The anchor must be got on deck; the cable passed through the hawsehole, and shackled or fastened to the anchor, with its stock made ready and secured; then suspended over the bowsprit shrouds, and made ready to let go. Lower the head-sails, put down the helm till she is head to wind, and when she is fairly stopped we may drop the anchor.


The mainsail may now be triced up, with the peak lowered, and with the helm to one quarter or the other, according as the tide sets; we may then hope to lie securely as long as we choose.


In getting under weigh once more, first haul the cable short; get all the canvass ready to set up; weigh anchor, and, as the wind is fair, set the head sails first and the mainsail afterwards; the peak should not be too high in running, nor the back of the mainsail fast, but raised slightly to let the wind into the head sails. The tide is now against us; we must, therefore, keep out of the strength of it as much as possible.


In rounding the next point we shall jib, or jibe, one of the most difficult manœuvres in sailing; for in doing so there is danger of broaching-to, so as to run on shore; of being swept overboard by the boom as it passes from side to side; and of carrying away or snapping the boom itself. To avoid these mischances, give the shore a wide berth; take in the mainsheet, keeping its coils clear for running out; trice up the tack of the mainsail, and if the breeze is strong, lower the peak; you may then put your helm to the opposite side to which the boom swings, and, on the instant the mainsail has traversed to the other side, change your helm to the reverse and meet her;—this prevents the broaching-to which would otherwise occur.


We are still against the tide, and our moorings are in sight. To bring her up handsomely calls for more skill than even handling her well. Our object now must be to lay her still at the moorings from whence we started, and at the same time to have enough way to reach them. In our present case it will be best to round her to about an[311] hundred yards short of the moorings, and, when head to wind, lower the mainsail, leaving the head sails standing—this with putting up the helm will bring her head round again—then take in the jib, and, if she has way enough, the foresail also; and with the opposing tide we may steer our craft so steadily to the buoy as to take it on board with ease.

Having informed the young sailor of what is necessary to be done on board, we will now impress on his mind a few useful nautical terms and maxims, which may lead to the preservation of life and limb.


Compass with thirty-two points of direction

The ancients, whose only guides over the trackless waters were the heavenly bodies, so often obscured by clouds, could not venture far from shore. It is the compass which has enabled us to steer boldly across the deep. The directive power of the loadstone has been long known to the Chinese, and it was brought over to Europe about the year 1260. The communication of the magnetic power to steel and suspending it on a pivot, is undoubtedly an European invention. The compass is composed of a magnetic needle suspended freely on a pivot, and supporting a card marked with the thirty-two points of direction into which the horizon is divided, and which are thence called the points of the compass. The needle always points nearly north, and the direction of the boat may be easily seen by looking at the card. The whole apparatus on board a ship is enclosed in a box with a glass cover, to allow the card to be seen without being disturbed by the wind. This box is also sometimes suspended, to prevent the needle being affected by the motion of the vessel. The whole is then placed at the binnacle, in sight of the helmsman. In the inside of that part of the compass-box which is directly in a line with the bow, is a clear[312] black stroke, called the lubber line, which the helmsman uses to keep his course; that is, he must always keep the point of the card which indicates her course pointing at the lubber line. Every young yachtsman must learn to box the compass; that is, to repeat all its points in order.


1. Never leave anything in the gangway, and keep the decks clear.

2. Coil up all ropes; and have a place for everything, and everything in its place.

3. Take care that in tacking or jibing the boom does not knock you overboard.

4. Stand clear of ropes’ ends and blocks flying about, when you are tacking, and the sails shaking.

5. Keep a good look out ahead, and also for squalls, which may generally be observed to windward.

6. Always obey the orders of the steersman promptly.

7. Keep all your standing rigging taut.

8. When the boat is on the wind, sit on the weather side.

9. Should the boat capsize, keep yourself clear of the rigging, and swim ashore.

The young yachtsman should on no account attempt to take command of a boat till he is thoroughly experienced, and should never go in one without having at least one experienced hand on board; he should also always have his eyes open to what is going on, and be ever ready to lend assistance with the greatest promptitude. Quickness and agility are the characteristics of a sailor; without these, numerous would be the losses at sea. The casting off or belaying a rope quickly, is often attended with the most important consequences, in which the losing or saving of life may be concerned; and we would therefore advise all who are emulous of being sailors, to be attentive to their duties, quick in their evolutions, and steady in all their doings.


Aback, the situation of the sails when the wind presses their surfaces against the mast.

Abaft, towards the stern; e.g., abaft the mainmast, behind the mainmast.

About, on the other tack; going about, tacking.

Abreast, alongside of.

Adrift, broken from moorings.

Afloat, on the surface of the water.

Ahead, in the direction of the vessel’s head.

Amidships, in the middle of the vessel.

Apeak, when the cable is hove taut, so as to bring the vessel nearly over the anchor.

Astern, in the direction of her stern.

Avast, an order to stop.


Athwart, across—as “thwart hawse.”

Backstays, ropes running from topmast and top-gallantmast to her sides.

Ballast, heavy materials placed in the bottom of the boat, to bring her low in the water.

Beacon, a post or buoy placed over a shallow bank, to warn vessels.

Bearings, the widest part of the vessel below the upper deck. The bearings of an object is its direction according to the points of the compass.

Belay, to; to make a rope fast.

Bend, to; is to make a sail fast to the yard, or a cable to the anchor.

Berth, the place where the vessel lies; a man’s sleeping place on board.

Bulwarks, the woodworks of a vessel above deck; also the wooden partition between cabins.

Bunting, the woollen stuff of which ships’ colours are made.

Buoy, a floating cask or piece of wood.

Cabin, the after part of the vessel in which the officers live.

Capstan, a machine placed perpendicularly on deck, round which the cable is passed, in order to hoist the anchor. It is moved round with bars of wood stuck into it, which are called handspikes or capstanbars.

Cathead, large pieces of wood over the bow, having sheaves within them, by which the anchor is hoisted or lowered.

Cleat, pieces of wood on which ropes are belayed.

Combings, raised woodwork round the hatches, to prevent the water going down to the hold.

Companion, ladder leading down to the state cabins.

Davits, rods of timber or iron, with sheaves or blocks at their ends, projecting over a vessel’s side or stern, to hoist boats up to.

Draught, the depth of water which a vessel requires to float her.

Feather, to; to lift the blade of the oar horizontally as it comes out of the water.

Fenders, pieces of wood or rope hanging over the side of a boat, to keep it from chafing.

Fathom, six feet.

Flat, a sheet is said to be hauled flat, when it is hauled down close.

Fore and Aft, lengthwise with the vessel.

Forecastle, the part of the vessel before the foremast.

Foul Anchor, when the cable has a turn round the anchor.

Gaff, a spar to which the head of a fore and aft sail is bent.

Gage, depth of water in a vessel—this water is called “bilge water.”

Gangway, that part of a vessel’s side through which people pass in and out of the vessel.

Gaskets, pieces of rope or plaited stuff, used to fasten the sail to the yard when it is furled.

Give way, to; to row more forcibly.


Grapnel, a small anchor with several claws, generally four, used to secure boats.

Gunwale, (pron. Gun’el,) the upper rail of a boat or vessel.

Gybe, or Jibe, to; to shift over the boom of a fore-and-aft sail.

Halliards, ropes used for hoisting or lowering yards and sails.

Hatchway, an opening of the deck.

Hatches, the coverings of hatchways.

Hawser, a large rope.

Helm, the steering apparatus.

Hold water, to; to stop the progress of a boat, by keeping the oars in the water.

Jib, a triangular headsail.

Jib-boom, a spar rigged out beyond the bowsprit.

Jurymast, a temporary mast rigged in the place of a lost one.

Lee Board, a board fitted to the lee side of flat-bottomed boats, to prevent their drifting to leeward.

Log, a journal of the proceedings of a vessel; also a line with a triangular piece of board, called the log ship, which is cast overboard to ascertain the ship’s rate of sailing.

Luff, to; to steer the boat nearer the wind.

Lurch, the sudden rolling of a vessel to one side.

Marling-spike, an iron pin sharpened at one end, to separate the strands of a rope.

Martingale, or Dolphin-striker, a short perpendicular spar under the bowsprit’s end.

Miss stays, to fail going about.

Oakum, pieces of yarn picked to pieces, used for caulking.

Overhaul, to; when a rope is passed through two blocks, in order to make a tackle, the rope which is hauled on is called the fall; if one of the blocks gets loose, the act of hauling on the rope between the blocks, in order to separate them, is called overhauling.

Painter, a rope attached to the bow of a boat.

Pendant, a long narrow flag at the mast-head.

Quarter, that part of the vessel between the stern and the main chains.

Ratlines (pron. Rat’lin’s,) ropes fastened across the shrouds, like the steps of a ladder.

Scud, to; to drive along before a gale with no sail, or only enough to keep her ahead of the sea. Also, low thin clouds flying swiftly before the wind.

Spanker, or Driver, the after sail of a ship or bark. It is fore and aft sail set with a boom and gaff.

Splice, to; to join two ropes together by entwining their strands; a rope is generally formed of three strands twisted together.

Spring, to; to split a mast.

Stays, large ropes leading from the masthead forward.

Staysail, a sail hoisted on a stay.


Steerage, the part of the between decks just before the after cabin.

Stretcher, pieces of wood placed across a boat’s bottom for the rowers to put their feet against.

Surge, large swelling waves breaking over rocks.

Taut, tight.

Throat, the inner edge of the gaff which embraces the mast.

Unbend, to; to untie.

Unmoor, to; to heave up one anchor, or to unfasten the ship from her moorings.

Vane, a piece of bunting flying at the masthead to show the direction of the wind.

Waist, the part of the upper deck between the quarterdeck and forecastle.

Wake, the path that a ship leaves behind her in the water.

Wear, to; to come round on the other side of the wind without backing.

Diagram showing directions of vessel and wind

Let A B be the vessel, G the direction of the wind; A B is sailing in the direction B C, and wants to change her course to A D; if she tacks, she traverses the direction C H D; if she wears, she goes off from the wind in the direction C E D.

Black ship against black sky


Picturesque ice skating scene


Skating is one of the finest gymnastic exercises, by which man, as Klopstock says, “like the Homeric gods, strides with winged feet over the sea transmuted into solid ground.” It is one of the healthiest exercises, bringing the body into action by a great variety of motions. The art is mentioned in the Edda, written eight hundred years ago, in which the god Uller is represented as distinguished by beauty, arrows, and skates.

Colour engraving of picturesque ice skating amusement


It is not known at what period skating was introduced into England, but there are indications of it in the thirteenth century, for Fitz Stephen, in his History of London, says, that it was in that time customary, when the ice was sufficiently strong, for the young citizens of London to fasten the leg-bones of animals under the[317] soles of the feet by tying them round the ancles, and then taking a pole shod with iron into their hands, they pushed themselves forward by striking it against the ice, and moved with a celerity equal to a bird flying through the air or an arrow from a cross-bow.

Fitz Stephen describes another kind of diversion on the ice in these words, which may be acceptable to the young reader. He says: “Others make a seat of ice as large as a millstone, and having placed one of their companions on it, they draw him along, when it sometimes happens that moving in slippery places they all fall down together, which is rare sport, provided no harm be engendered.” Ibral mentions, that in his time it was customary to use sledges, which being extended from the centre by means of a strong rope, those who are seated on them are moved round with great rapidity.

The use of the modern skate is supposed to have been brought from Holland, and for many years skating has been exercised with much elegance in England and in Scotland. Somehow or other, we do not of late years have those severe frosts which enable the skater to practise his art with vigour; but there is now a skating club in London who anticipate trips to Holland during the winter months, where the art may be practised in all its perfection.

In early days we were “prodigiously,” as Dominie Sampson would say, fond of the sport. Our first attempts were made during the great frost in 1813-14, which lasted eleven weeks, and during which time there was a fair on the Thames, and skating was practised in a most delightful manner. One of the finest and most beautiful skaters of that period was Robert Fergusson, a Scotchman, who had been a “gentleman of means,” in the early part of his life, but having shot, horsed, tandem’d, dog’d, and skated away his substance, was so reduced as to become a teacher of his favourite art, and near the water works of old London Bridge, on the west side, he pitched his tent during the frost, inviting “gentlemen,” who could afford a “crown” to become his pupils in the art of “Land flying,” as he termed it. He boasted of having taught the Prince of Wales, and he sported the three ostrich feathers and “Ich dien” over his canvas. To him in youthful ardour we repaired, and the substance of his teachings we subjoin for the special benefit of our young friends.

The first maxim of Fergusson to his pupils was, “Throw fear to the dogs;” the next, “Put on your skates securely;” and the third, “Keep your balance:” and premising this as a “start,” I shall now describe the various kinds of skates, and the methods of using them.


There are various kinds of skates. Some, such as the Dutch skates, are very large and somewhat cumbersome, but very safe for those who skate with heavy loads on their shoulders, as they do in Holland, Denmark, and Russia. In these the iron often projects above six inches from the wood, and curls up towards the shin-bone above[318] a foot, that the skater may glide the more easily over the hillocks of snow common to large expanses of ice.

Foot with skate

Some skates are what are called fluted, that is, they have a groove running along the centre of the iron, which are the best for beginners, as they take a better hold of the ice. The plain skates have no such groove, and are better adapted for those who have partially acquired the art, as with them the utmost velocity and elegance of movement may be performed.[4]

[4] Fluted skates, however, are dangerous for any but those of light weight, as the cut ice is apt to “ball” in the groove, and so to throw the wearer, if he leans on one side.

The iron of the skate, which lies under the foot, is called its blade; this varies in different kinds of skates, and the practised professor of skating will choose a high or a low bladed skate, according to the nature of the ice; but the beginner should never use a skate whose blade is more than three quarters of an inch in depth and a quarter of an inch in breadth, for when the blades are deeper than this, the balance of the body is not so easily preserved, and the ancles are liable to be sprained or twisted.


In putting on the skate, the “youngster” should kneel on one knee and fasten the skate on the foot of the other leg. If he should have a high laced boot, called in the eastern counties a “high-low,” he will find such an excellent support to the whole machinery. Or if he can provide himself with a “skate boot,” in which the skate and shoe are all of a piece, he will do better. Such skates were invented in the great frost about seven years ago, but just as they were coming in the frost went out; but they can still be procured. At all events, the skater should bear in mind that the skate must be fastened securely and firmly to the foot, by being well fastened to the heel and sole of the boot by means of the screw and points, and well, but not clumsily, strapped round the ancle, exactly so tight as to confine the foot without hurting it or impeding the motions of the ancle joints. There is a new skate now in use by the London Skating Club,[319] called the elastic skate, or spring skate, in which a spring is introduced at the bottom of the foot, which keeps it fast in every part. Skates are also now made of gutta percha, and these are well worthy the notice of the young skater.


Young skater

Having risen to the perpendicular, the learner should first ascertain, by moving his feet about on the ice, whether the skates are firmly and comfortably fixed on his feet. He should then walk a little on them, supporting himself by a light pole about six feet in length, having an iron spike at its end. Having in this manner got a little used to the feel of the skate on his foot, he should then endeavour to throw away all fear and strike out slowly with the right foot, leaning on the inside edge of the skate, and making the pressure greatest at that part of the skate opposite the ball of the great toe, at the same time bending slightly forward. When the skate has moved about a yard forward in this manner, the left foot should be brought to the ice in precisely similar manner. The figure represents the skater starting and proceeding on the inside edge.


Having practised on the inside edge for some days, to get used to the skates, the learner may afterwards attempt the “outside edge,” which is nothing more than throwing themselves upon the outer edge of the skate, and making the balance of the body bend to that side which will necessarily enable them to form a semicircle. In this much assistance will be derived by placing a bag of lead shot in the pocket next to the foot employed in making the outside stroke, which will produce an artificial poise of the body at first very useful. At the commencement of the outside stroke the knee of the employed leg should be a little bent, and gradually brought to a rectilineal position when the stroke is completed. The best method of getting to the “outside edge” is to form the circle inwards—say with the right foot and with considerable force; in the course of this, place the left foot down in front of the right, and lean powerfully on the outside of the left heel. A little practice and confidence in his balance will enable the student to lift his right foot, and hang it behind while he proceeds to cut outside with his left foot. Let him then stop, and begin the inward circle with the left foot, and slip down the outer edge of the right heel in the same way.

The young skater has now learned to balance himself, and can venture to strike out at once to the right, on the heel of the right[320] foot, keeping the left suspended behind, with its toe closely pointed to the heel of the right. As he advances, the left must be brought past the inside of the right with a slight jerk; this slight jerk produces an opposing balancing motion of the body; the right foot then quickly poises, first on the outside of the heel, and then on the inside of its toe, and by placing the left foot down before it, and striking outside to the left, giving at the same time a slight push with the inside of the right toe, he passes from right to left. Having learned this much, the skater will proceed to change from left to right, and then from right to left again, without any trouble. To skate “outside edge” properly, the toe of the suspended foot must be pointed close to the ice behind the other, and kept there until the foot be regained, when it must be brought sharply round to the change. The skater must keep himself erect, leaning most on the heel.

This mode of skating having been acquired, an endless variety of figures, devices, and modes of movement may be practised; such as “the roll,” the figure of 3, of 6, or of 8, “the spread-eagle,” “the mercury,” “the backward outside edge,” “the circle,” “the waltz,” “the minuet,” “the pirouette,” “the quadrille,” &c.

The first step towards figure skating is the


which is performed in the manner already prescribed in the directions on the “outside edge.” To perform it gracefully, the skater should bring his left shoulder forward, throw his right arm back, look over that shoulder, and boldly incline his body to that side, proceeding alternately, with ease, grace, and deliberation. When he wishes to stop, he should bring both his feet together, and stop gradually; or he may stop suddenly, by pressing on the heels of his skates, taking care not to throw his toes up too much, or he will cut “all-fours.”


is so called from the motion being used in Holland by the travelling and trading classes in their common avocation. The figures it presents on the ice are small segments of very large circles; which enables the skater to diverge but very slightly from the right line of his course, and consequently accelerates his progress.

Diagram of the Dutch roll



Diagram of figure of eight

This is composed by merely finishing the great circles, of which the above segments form a part. To produce it, when the skater comes to the finish of the stroke on the right foot, he should throw the left quite across it, which will make him bear hard on the outside of the right skate, from which he must immediately strike. By completing the circle in this manner on each leg, the figure subjoined is performed.


Diagram of figure of three

This is performed principally on the inside edge backwards. The head of the 3 is formed of half a small circle on the heel of the outside edge; but when the circle is nearly completed, the skater leans suddenly forward, and rests on the same toe inside, and a backward motion is produced, which develops the tail of the 3. The right legged figure is that of the 3 in its natural position, and the figure made by the left leg is the same figure reversed; as per example. In these evolutions, the motion is not, strictly speaking, backwards, but rather sideways, as his face and body are always in the direction of his motions.


By the “back roll,” as it is termed, the skater moves from one foot to the other alternately. His face is turned towards the left shoulder. The inside of the left skate bears on the ice, and the skater immediately strikes from it to the outside back of the other, by pressing it into the ice as forcibly as he can at the toe. The “back cross roll” is performed in a similar manner, the stroke being from the outside, instead of the inside of the skate.

Combinations of figure skating elements

The above motions combine the elements of skating, and having acquired these, the learner may perform an infinite variety of movements, such as “the cornua ammonis,” “the Dutch maze,” “the fish,” “the kite,” “the true lovers’ knot,” &c.; with any other devices his imagination may suggest. He may also engage in the quadrille[322] or waltz, and exhibit his person in every variety of graceful form, at the same time that he exercises every muscle of the body.


1. Let your dress fit closely, but at the same time be of sufficient ease to ensure freedom of motion. Neither skirts to coats nor full trowsers should be worn.

2. Let flannel be worn next the skin by the delicate, and an extra under-garment by the robust. Let the chest be well defended against the cold. A piece of brown paper laid between the waistcoat and shirt is one of the best chest protectors.

3. Be careful in venturing upon the ice, unless it be sufficiently strong to bear the weight of the number that flock to it; and watch for the increase of numbers, that you may retire before danger ensues.

4. Avoid rough and very smooth ice, and look carefully out for obstructions thereon; such as small twigs of trees, stones, or “hobbles;” as well as for rotten ice, cracks where the ice has risen higher on one side than the other, or holes. Should you suddenly come upon rotten ice, do not stop, but pass over it as rapidly as possible. Should you fall down upon it, roll lengthwise towards the firmer part, without attempting to stand or walk upon it.

5. Should the skater fall into a hole, he should extend his pole or stick across it, and hold on to it till assistance arrives: should he have no stick, he may extend his arms horizontally across the edges of the ice, till a rope can be thrown to him.

6. After an unlucky immersion in the water, the unfortunate skater should immediately take off his skates, and, if able, run home as quickly as he can. He should then pull off all his wet clothes, take a tablespoonful of brandy in a glass of hot water, rub himself thoroughly with dry towels, and go to bed.

Skating scene



What can be jollier or more enjoyable than sliding for an hour upon a crisp wintry morning, when the snow is lying three inches deep on the ground? You may say what you please about the pleasures of skating, but if you talk for an hour you’ll never convince us that there’s more fun in it than in sliding. We confess we gaze with admiration at a man twisting about on the ice like a teetotum on a ricketty tea-tray, and that when, like a crab, he goes backwards or waltzes round on one foot, while the other is gracefully poised in the air, we feel a pleasure in looking at him; but then, after watching a party of skaters for a short time, we begin to wonder how it is that they all look so solemn, as if each man were engaged on such an important task that he could not speak a word to his neighbour, and then we come to the conclusion that there is more display than real jolly pleasure in skating, and that the highly-trained skater goes through his evolutions rather in the hope of affording satisfaction to the spectators than of deriving enjoyment himself, for we defy any jolly-tempered fellow to feel jovial on a winter morning in company without laughing and shouting with glee at any person he comes across.

Therefore, when on turning from the mystic movements of a troup of skaters to a party of sliders, we hear them laugh and shout at each other, “now, then, keep the pot boiling,” and other choice sentences, and when we see a broad grin of pleasure plainly depicted on their rosy faces, we cannot but think that the enjoyment of sliding shows itself in a far more demonstrative manner than skating, and that more pleasure is derived from looking at a crowd of merry urchins going gaily down a slide than in seeing quadrilles danced, or names cut on the ice, by a band of skilled pâtineurs.

We also like sliding on account of its simplicity. All that its devotees require is a good sharp frost. What care they for ice? The hobnails in London boys’ boots soon produce a shiny slippery surface, and in a short time a respectable slide is made out of the drippings from a water-can, which a servant may have filled at the pump the day before.

There are, we are sure, few English lads who do not know how to slide. It seems to come as a matter of course to most boys; but still, lest there be some benighted youth to whom the pleasures of the slide are still unknown, we must insert a few hints on the subject.


Take a sharp run of about ten yards, and as soon as you feel that you are upon the slide, push the sole of the left foot as far along as you can, making the weight of the body rest almost upon it. You will then slide away, the right foot following without any effort on your part. We say advisedly do not push your foot until you feel well upon the slide, for if you are not very careful about this point you will endeavour to slide on that part of the earth which is not slippery, and although the momentum may impel you as far as the slippery portion, yet your progress will not be very great, as the force which was required to carry you along the whole length of the slide is partly wasted by the resistance which, at the start-off, the hard earth offers to your foot. Then, we have seen many boys in their first attempts to slide, place the heel upon the slide before the toe. The consequence is that they either fall over, or else only slip along a few yards, for a moment’s reflection will show that much greater force can be exerted by pushing the sole along than is exerted when the heel takes its place, and in the latter case, instead of the weight of the body assisting one’s progress, it probably causes the youthful tyro to fall backwards upon Mother Earth, and to wonder how it happens that he does not get on so well at first as other boys.

And now surmising that the slider is proficient in the first rudiments of the art, let us enumerate a few of the feats which a slider may perform while on the glassy track.

Foremost amongst these stands the postman’s knock, in which a boy slides upon one foot only, while with the other he gives double taps quickly upon the ice, in imitation of the noise made by the red-coated messenger at our street doors. This, however, should not be attempted until the performer is well on the slide, or the result will probably be that he’ll measure his length upon the ground. This is also known as “knocking at the cobbler’s door.”

Then comes the “carambole,” which consists in the slider sinking down two or three times during his journey, and rising as he reaches its termination; unless, however, he is very careful the weight of his body will drag him down altogether, and he will continue his journey on another portion of his frame, rather than on his feet. But the best accomplishment to be performed on a slide is the game known as “turnpikes.” Two stones or bricks are placed on the slide, with sufficient distance between them for a boy’s foot to pass through. The turnpike, thus roughly made, is to be kept by one of the party. Off start the sliders, taking care to pass through the pike, without displacing or even touching its walls. Woe betide the unlucky wight whose foot infringes this rule! He is instantly turned off the slide, and has to wait until some other incautious player commits a like offence, and is thus compelled to take his place.

Such are a few of the feats performed by adepts in this graceful art. Most lads, however, will be able to invent many more for themselves, and numerous are the sports that can be indulged in.

Boys swimming


Picturesque scene of boys swimming


Swimming is the most useful of all athletic accomplishments, as by it human life is frequently saved which might have been sacrificed. It is also useful in the development of muscular strength, as well as highly beneficial to the nervous system, and repairs the vital functions when falling into decline. In places near the sea or rivers, to know how to swim is an indispensable accomplishment. The ancients, particularly the Greeks, held the art in such high estimation as to bestow rewards upon the most perfect swimmers.

From the little familiarity with immersion in water which the inhabitants of our over-grown towns and cities possess, a very great proportion of the English population are but little acquainted with the art of swimming, and with the mode in which they should conduct themselves when risk of drowning presents itself. The English, above all other persons, should be good swimmers, exposed as they are by their insular situation, and commercial pursuits, and disposition to visit other lands, so frequently to perils by sea; yet, while most towns on the Continent abound in baths and swimming-schools, in British towns they are still few in number.

Most animals have a natural aptitude for swimming, not found in man; for they will at once swim when even first thrown into the[326] water; but it must be noticed that the motions they then employ much more resemble their ordinary movements of progression than those made use of by men under similar circumstances.

The children of many uncivilized nations, especially in warm climates, frequent the water from an early age, and seem almost to swim by instinct. The remarkable powers of endurance, agility, and strength manifested while in the water by many individuals of savage tribes are well known,—powers which often enable them to come off victorious in struggles with some of the fiercest inhabitants of those rivers and coasts.

The art of swimming is by no means difficult of attainment, and several authors have supplied directions to facilitate its acquisition. Above all things, self-confidence (not rashness leading into danger) is required; and, when this is possessed, all difficulty soon ceases. Dr. Franklin, himself an expert swimmer, recommends that at first a familiarity with the buoyant power of water should be gained; and to acquire this, he directs the learner, after advancing into the water breast high, to turn round, so as to bring his face to the shore: he is then to let an egg fall in the water, which, being white, will be seen at the bottom. His object must now be, by diving down with his eyes open, to reach and bring up the egg. He will easily perceive that there is no danger in this experiment, as the water gets shallower, of course, towards the shore, and because whenever he likes, by depressing his feet, he can raise his head again above water.

The thing that will most strike beginners will be the great difficulty they experience in forcing themselves through the water to reach the egg, in consequence of the great resistance the water itself offers to their progress: and this is indeed the practical lesson derivable from the experiment; for the learner becomes aware of the very great sustaining or supporting power of water, and hence has confidence. This sustaining power of water is shown under many circumstances: thus, a stone which on land requires two men to remove it, might in water be easily carried by one. A man might walk without harm on broken glass in deep water, because his weight is supported by the water. This knowledge of fluid support constitutes the groundwork of all efforts in swimming, or in self-preservation from drowning.

Should a person accidentally fall into the water, provided he retained his presence of mind, a knowledge of the above facts would save him probably from a “watery grave.” The body being but very slightly heavier than the volume of water it displaces, will, with a very slight motion of the hands under water, float. When the chest is thoroughly inflated with air, it is lighter than water, and floats naturally, having half the head above water; so that the person exposed to danger has only to turn upon his back, in order that that half, consisting of his face, with the mouth and nostrils, be above the water line.

But to float thus upon the water, the greatest care must be taken[327] not to elevate the arms or other parts above its surface; and it is in remembering this caution, that presence of mind in the time of dangers confers so much benefit; for, in the moment of terror, a person thrown into the water almost instinctively stretches out his hands aloft to grasp at some object, thereby depriving himself of a means of proceeding which would frequently keep him afloat until succour arrived. By elevating any part of the body in this way, we remove it from the support afforded by the water, and thus render sinking inevitable.

Dr. Arnot, in allusion to this subject, says that many persons are drowned who might be saved, for the following reasons:

1. From their believing that their constant exertions are necessary to preserve the body from sinking, and their hence assuming the position of a swimmer, with the face downwards, in which the whole head must be kept out of the water, in order to enable them to breathe; whereas, when lying on the back, only the face need be above the water.

2. From the groundless fear that water entering by the ears may drown as if it entered by the mouth or nose, and their employing exertions to prevent this.

3. The keeping of the hands above water, already alluded to.

4. Neglecting to take the opportunity of the intervals of the waves passing over the head, to renew the air in their chest by an inspiration.

5. Their not knowing the importance of keeping the chest as full of air as possible, which has nearly the same effect as tying a bladder full of air around the neck would have.

But although floating in water is sufficient to preserve from immediate danger, this will not alone enable us to swim. To swim, does not mean simply to float, but to progress; and progression by this means depends, like the flight of birds, upon the law in Mechanics of every action being followed by a corresponding reaction, but in an opposite direction; and thus, as the reaction of the air compressed by the downward action of the bird’s wing, causes it to mount aloft in proportion to the force it communicates by that motion; so the backward stroke communicated by the simultaneous movement of the hands and feet of the swimmer, causes his forward progress in the water. When once familiarised with the support derived from the water itself, he soon learns to make the stroke correctly, especially if aided and supported by some more experienced friend,—a far better assistant than corks and bladders.


It is presumed that most young lads who go to bathe will take the opportunity of learning to swim. In crowded cities there are but few places in which the youngster can learn the art; but in the[328] country there are many rivers, ponds, canals, or lakes, where both bathing and swimming may be indulged in without annoyance. The best kind of place for bathing is on a shelving gravelly shore, on which the water gradually deepens, and where no awkward sweep of current may take the bather off his legs. The spot should also be free from holes, weeds, and hard stones; and a muddy bottom is to be avoided by all means. Should the banks of such a spot be shaded by a few trees, and should there be close by an open space for a run on the grass after the bathe, so much the better; and the young learner will then have the chief inducement to venture the sudden dip or head-long plunge.

The best time of the day for bathing or swimming is either before breakfast, between the hours of six and eight in the summer-time, or between eleven and twelve o’clock in the forenoon. Delicate persons should not bathe early in the morning; and it would be always well to munch a biscuit before early bathing at all times. No one should ever think of entering the water on a full stomach, or immediately after dinner, and never when over-heated and exhausted by fatigue. He should also avoid entering it when cold, or with a headache. Before bathing, it is best to take a moderate walk of about a mile, and, while the system is in a glow, to undress quickly and plunge in. It is bad to walk till you get hot, then to sit down and cool, and afterwards to enter the water; many have lost their lives by this. It is also very wrong to enter the water during rain, as the clothes are often wetted or damp, which gives the bather cold.


Having stripped the body, the bather should select the best place on the bank for going down to the stream; and then, proceeding cautiously but quickly, wade up to his breasts, turn his head to the shore, and dip. He then technically, as the boys say, gets his pinch over. Should he not be man enough to proceed in this way, he should, as soon as he gets his feet wet, splash some water over his head, and go into the water more gradually, and try the rapid rush and dip when he gets bolder. He must not attempt to swim or strike out till he can master the feat of going into the water up to his arm-pits, and till he feels himself confident and void of timidity.


Many aids have been used for the benefit of young swimmers: corks and bladders fastened under the arms are the common ones; but they offer dangerous temptations for bathers to go out of their depth, and then should cramp, cold, or any other accident occur, the event may be fatal. Besides, these aids often slip about from one place to the other. We remember, in our younger days, of the “corks” slipping to the hips, and of seeing a young friend, now an old man, suspended in the water with his head downwards; while[329] collapsing of bladders and of air-jackets is by no means uncommon. The best aid to a young swimmer is a judicious friend, himself a good swimmer, who will hold up his head, when he strikes off, by the “tip of the finger to the tip of the chin,” and who at the same time will show him how to strike off, and how to manage his hands and feet. It is not a bad plan to put out a spar from a boat, to which a rope is attached, which the young learner may make use of by affixing it to a belt round his body under his arms, which will afford him support while he learns to strike his legs in the water. The rope may also be held in the hand of a friend, by the side of the boat, and the learner may strike off hands and feet as the boat proceeds. The plank is a dangerous aid, from its tendency to slip about, and to take the swimmer out of his depth; and, although it has many advantages, is very unsafe. The safest plan of all is, as we have before stated, for the learner to advance gradually up to his arm-pits in the water, and then, turning about, to strike slowly out towards the shore, taking care to keep his legs well up from the bottom. Rigid perseverance in this course will in a very short time enable the youngster to feel himself afloat, and moving at “all fours,”—a delight equal to that experienced by the child who first feels that he can walk from chair to chair.


Proper swimming position

In striking off, the learner, having turned himself to the shore, as before recommended, should fall towards the water gently, keeping his head and neck perfectly upright, his breast advancing forward, his chest inflated; then, withdrawing the legs from the bottom, and stretching them out, strike the arms forward in unison with the legs. The back can scarcely be too much hollowed, or the head too much thrown back, as those who do otherwise will swim with their feet too near the surface, instead of allowing them to be about a foot-and-half deep in the water. The hands should be placed just in front of the breast, the fingers pointing forward and kept close together, with the[330] thumbs to the edge of the fore-fingers: the hands must be made rather concave on the inside, though not so much as to diminish the size. In the stroke of the hands, they should be carried forward to the utmost extent, taking care that they do not touch the surface of the water; they should next be swept to the side, at a distance from, but as low as, the hips; and should then be drawn up again, by bringing the arms towards the side, bending the elbows upwards and the wrists downwards, so as to let the hands hang down while the arms are raising them to the first attitude.


The legs, which should be moved alternately with the hands, must be drawn up with the knees inwards, and the soles of the feet inclined outwards; and they should then be thrown backwards, as widely apart from each other as possible. These motions of the hands and legs may be practised out of the water; and whilst exercising the legs, which can only be done one at a time, the learner may rest one hand on the back of a chair to steady himself, while he moves the opposite leg. When in the water, the learner must take care to draw in his breath at the instant that his hands, descending to his hips, cause his head to rise above the surface of the water; and he should exhale his breath at the moment his body is propelled forward through the action of the legs. If he does not attend precisely to these rules, he must invariably have a downward motion, and, as the boys say, swim furthest where it is deepest.


Boy plunging into the water

There are two kinds of plunging; that belonging to shallow, and that belonging to deep water. In shallow-water plunging, the learner should fling himself as far forward as possible into the stream at a very oblique angle; and when he touches the water, he should raise his head, keep his back hollow, and stretch his hands forward. In the deep-water plunge, his body is to descend at a greater angle; his[331] arms are to be stretched out, his hands closed and pointed, and his body bent, so that his nose almost touches his toes.

Preparing for the deep-water plunge

Diving is one of the greatest amusements connected with swimming. There are many kinds; the two most common and easiest and necessary modes of going below the surface, are

  1. The feet-foremost jump.
  2. The head-foremost jump.

In the first, the legs, arms, and head are to be kept perfectly rigid and stiff. The pupil must not allow fear, or the strange sensation felt in the bowels in leaping from considerable heights, to induce him to spread the arms or legs, or to bend his body.

In the second mode, or head-foremost plunge,—which is the safest mode for persons who are heavily built about the chest and shoulders, if they have to enter the water from heights,—the head is drawn down upon the chest, the arms stretched forward, and hands closed to a point; and as soon as the swimmer feels that he has left the bank, his knees, which till then were bent, are to be stiffened. The diver must avoid striking on the belly—the general consequence of fear; and turning over so as to come down on his back or side—the consequence of pushing with the feet. When he has gone as deep as he wishes, the arms are to be raised and pressed downwards.


When under the water, the swimmer may either move in the usual way, or keep his hands stretched before him, which will enable him to cut the water more easily, and greatly relieve his chest. If he observes that he approaches too near the surface of the water, he must press the palms of his hands upwards. If he wishes to dive to the bottom, he must turn the palms of his hands upwards, striking with them repeatedly and rapidly whilst the feet are reposing; and when he has obtained a perpendicular position, he should stretch out his hands like feelers, and make the usual movement with his feet,[332] then he will descend with great rapidity to the bottom. It is well to accustom the eyes to open themselves under the water, at least in those beds of water that admit the light, as it will enable the swimmer to ascertain the depth of water he is in.


In this, the body is turned either on the left or right side, while the feet perform their usual motions. The arm from under the shoulder stretches itself out quickly, at the same time that the feet are striking. The other arm strikes at the same time with the impelling of the feet. The hand of the latter arm begins its stroke on a level with the head. While the hand is again brought forward in a flat position, and the feet are contracted, the stretched-out hand is, while working, drawn back towards the breast, but not so much impelling as sustaining. As swimming on the side presents to the water a smaller surface than on the waist, when rapidity is required, the former is often preferable to the latter.


Swimming on the back

This is twofold: 1. In the direction of the feet. The body is placed in a horizontal position, the feet are stretched out stiffly, and the heels and toes are kept in contact; then the body is to be somewhat curved at the seat, the hands are to be stretched flatly forward over the body, and, slowly striking in small circles, the loins are somewhat drawn up at each stroke. 2. In the direction of the head. The body is placed horizontally, but somewhat curved in the seat, the head in its natural position, the arms are kept close to the body, with the elbows inclined inwards, and the hands describe small circles from the back to the front, at about a foot-and-half from the hips. These modes serve to exercise and strengthen the arms in an extraordinary degree without in the least fatiguing the breast.



The body is laid horizontally on the back, the head is bent backwards as much as possible, the arms are stretched out over the head in the direction of the body, the feet are left to their natural position; if they sink, the loins must be kept as low as possible. In this position, the person, who is specifically lighter than water, remains, and may float at pleasure. The lungs should be kept inflated, that the breast may be distended and the circumference of the body augmented. In order not to sink while in the act of taking breath, which the greater specific weight of the body would effect, the breath must be quickly expelled, and as quickly drawn in again, and then retained as long as possible; for, as the back is in a flat position, the sinking, on account of the resistance of the water, does not take place so rapidly but the quick respiration will restore the equilibrium before the water reaches the nose.


This is a perpendicular position of the swimmer, and is of great use to enable him to save a person from drowning. It is in general thought to be extremely difficult, but it is very easy. There are two ways of performing the action: in the first the hands are compressed against the hips, and the feet describe their usual circle; the other mode consists in not contracting both legs at the same time, but one after the other, so that while the one remains contracted the other describes a circle. In this mode, however, the legs must not be stretched out, but the thighs are placed in a distended position, and curved as if in a half-sitting posture.


Boy pulling himself out of the water

The swimmer lays himself flat upon his waist, draws his feet as close as possible under the body, stretches his hands forwards, and, with both feet and hands beating the water violently at the same time, raises himself out of the water. In this manner one may succeed in[334] throwing oneself out of the water as high as the hips. This exercise is very useful, for saving oneself by catching a rope or any other object that hangs from above the surface of the water, or from any perpendicular height.


Swimming on the back

In this the swimmer turns upon his back in the water by the combined motion of the arm and leg, and extending his body, his head being in a line with it, so that the back and upper part of the head may be immersed, while the face and breast are out of the water. The hands should be placed on the thighs straight down, and the legs moved as in forward swimming, taking care that the knees do not rise above the surface in striking them out. Sometimes the hands are used after the motion of a wing or fan, by which a slight progression is also made at the same time that the surface of the body is well lifted out of the water.


In the thrust the swimmer lies horizontally upon his waist, and makes the common motions in swimming. He then simply stretches one arm forwards, as in swimming on the side, but remains lying upon the waist, and, in a widely described circle, he carries the other hand, which is working under the breast, towards the hip. As soon as the arm has completed this motion, it is lifted from the water in a stretched position, and thrown forward in the greatest horizontal level, and is then sunk with the hand flat into the water; while the swimmer thus stretches forth the arm, he, with the other hand stretched as wide as possible, describes a small circle in order to sustain the body; after this he brings his hand in a largely described circle rapidly to the hip, lifts the arm out of the water, and thrusts it forward. During the describing of the larger circle the feet make their movements. To make the thrust beautifully, a considerable degree of practice is required. This mode of swimming is useful where a great degree of rapidity is required for a short distance.



In the performance of this the arm is thrust forwards, backwards, and again forwards without dipping into the water; in the meantime the stretched-forth arm describes two circles before it begins the larger one.


Swimming doggy-style

In this motion each hand and foot is used alternately as a dog uses them when swimming, as the term implies. The hands are alternately drawn towards the chin in a compressed form, and then expanded and slightly hollowed, with fingers close, and as they strike the water the feet are likewise drawn towards the belly, and struck backwards with a kind of kick. This mode of swimming is of use to relieve the swimmer from time to time when going a distance.


The swimmer lays himself on his back and contracts himself so that the knees are brought almost to the chin, and while one of the hands keeps the equilibrium by describing circles, the other continues working. Thus the body is kept turning round more or less rapidly.


In the forward wheel the hands are put as far backwards as possible, and so pressed against the water that the head is impelled under the surface, and the feet, by a pressure of the hands in a contrary direction, are rapidly flung above the head, which in this manner is rapidly brought again to the surface.

In the backward wheel the swimmer lies upon his back, he contracts himself, the hands, stretched forward as far as possible, describe rapidly small circles, the feet rise, and as the point of equilibrium has been brought as near as possible to the feet, the head sinks and the feet are thrown over.



The learner to do this swims on one side, keeps his feet somewhat deeply sunk, while the arm which in the meantime ought to work is kept quiet—and might even be taken out of the water. It is a good practice of strength to carry, first under and then over the water, a weight of four or eight pounds.


Hand-over-hand swimming

In this process, the right hand is lifted out of the water from behind, swung forwards through the air with a kind of circular sweep to the extent of its reach forward, then dropped into the water edgeways, and immediately turned, with the palm a little hollowed, downwards, the body being at the same time thrown a little on one side, and the right leg struck out backwards to its full extent. The hand descends towards the thigh, and then passes upwards through the water in a kind of curve towards the surface. The left hand and leg perform a similar movement alternately with the right, and the measure of progression attained by these combined similar movements is very considerable.


Balancing vertically in the water

When the swimmer has obtained ease and confidence in the water, he will find many things easy which before he deemed impossible. Balancing is one of these. To perform it he has only, when out of his depth, to fall gently back with his chin elevated to a line passing exactly[337] through the centre of his body from the chin to the toes, then, folding his arms and remaining perfectly motionless, he may suspend himself perpendicularly: but if he should extend his arms backwards, and pass them gradually beyond his head, his toes, tips of his knees, abdomen, and part of his chest, with the whole of his face will appear, and he will be balanced and float horizontally without the slightest motion.

Balancing horizontally in the water


The cramp generally proceeds from acidity of the bowels, arising from a bad state of the stomach, or from the effects of the cold water on the muscular system. Some persons are very subject to it on slight occasions, and such persons will do well never to go out of their depth. But should a tolerable swimmer be seized with the cramp, he should not be frightened, but the moment the cramp is felt in the foot or leg, strike out that foot or leg with the heel elongated, and the toes drawn upwards towards the shin-bone, never minding any little pain it may occasion, as he need not fear breaking a bone, muscle, or tendon. Should this not succeed, he should throw himself on his back, and float quietly, and paddle himself gently to the shore. He may also swim with his hands like a dog, and practise any of the motions of the upper part of the body for keeping his head above water till assistance arrives.


Above all things the good swimmer should be anxious to save life, and to rescue those who are in danger, without himself becoming the victim, as it often happens. The following rules are highly important to be observed. The swimmer must avoid approaching the drowning person in front, in order that he may not be grasped by him; for whatever a drowning person seizes, he holds with convulsive force, and it is no easy matter to get disentangled from his grasp; therefore he should seize him from behind, and let go of him immediately[338] if the other turns towards him. His best way is to impel him before him to the shore, or to draw him behind; if the space to be passed be too great, he should seize him by the foot and drag him, turning him on his back. If the drowning person should seize him, there is no alternative for the swimmer than to drop him at once to the bottom of the water, and there to wrestle with his antagonist; the drowning man, by a kind of instinct to regain the surface, when drawn down to the bottom, usually quits his prey, particularly if the diver attacks him there with all his power.

For two swimmers the labour is easier, because they can mutually relieve each other. If the drowning person has still some presence of mind remaining, they will then seize him one under one arm, and the other under the other, and without any great effort in treading water, bring him along with his head above water, while they enjoin him to keep himself stretched out and as much as possible without motion.


1. The Float.—In this sport one swimmer lays himself horizontally on the back, with the feet stretched out, the hands pressed close to the body, and the head raised forward. The other swimmer takes hold of him by the extremity of the feet, and, swimming with one hand, impels him forward. The first remains motionless.

2. The Plank.—One swimmer lays himself horizontally as before, another lays hold of him with both his hands, immediately above the ancle, and pulls him obliquely into the water, while he extends himself and impels himself forward; thus both the swimmers drop rapidly the one over the other.

3. The Pickaback Spring.—One swimmer treads the water, the other swims near him behind, places his hands upon the shoulders of the first, and presses him down. He then leaves his hold, and puts his feet upon his shoulders, and, flinging himself out of the water, pushes the first towards the bottom. Now he treads water, and the first performs the part of the second, and so on.

4. The Shove.—Two swimmers place themselves horizontally on their backs, the legs are strongly extended, and the soles of the feet bear against each other; each impels forward with all his power, and he who succeeds in pushing back the other is the conqueror.

5. The Wrestle.—Two swimmers place themselves opposite to each other, tread water and hold their right hands in the air; the question is, who shall first force his opponent under the water by pressure. Only the head of the adversary is to be touched, and that only by pressure.


This system has been introduced into many of the naval and military colleges on the Continent, and has for its distinguishing characteristic the swimming in an upright position. The first object[339] is to teach the pupil how to float in an upright posture. He is taught the use of his legs and arms for balancing the body in water, and then to imitate as much as possible the movement of the limbs upon land. He then pays great attention to the movements of the head, the smallest inclination of which on either side instantly operates on the whole body. He next learns the method of using his arms and legs; and for this purpose is directed to stretch his arms laterally on each side, and then, by placing one foot forward and the other backward, he is enabled to float easily and progress slowly. The same circular sweep of the hands and the action of the legs are next practised, and the feet should be struck downwards and a little forwards, when the movement of the arms is the reverse of the old methods of swimming. The young swimmer who has gone through the various courses laid down by us, will easily comprehend the principle of Bernardi’s system, and as easily carry it out if he will take the trouble. It is much less fatiguing than the old plan, and can be carried on for a longer period, and is of invaluable service to troops who may have to cross rivers or dykes, and to all who may be exposed to the various accidents of flood and field.


The best of all methods for teaching swimming is that originally introduced by General Pfuel into the Prussian swimming-schools. By this method a person may be made a very good swimmer in a very short time. The apparatus for teaching consists of a hempen girdle five inches in width, of a rope from five to six fathoms in length, of a pole eight feet long, and a horizontal rail fixed about three-and-a-half feet above the platform, on which the teacher stands, to rest the pole on.

The depth of the water in the place chosen for swimming should, if possible, be not less than eight feet, and the clearest and calmest water should be selected. The pupil wears drawers, fastened by a band above the hips and covering about half the thighs. He is now placed near the horizontal rail, his hands resting upon it, while the teacher shows him the motion which he will have to make with his legs in the water. This he does by guiding the motion of one leg while the pupil rests, on the other. This motion we shall explain presently.

The swimming girdle, about five inches wide, is now placed round the pupil’s breast, so that its upper edge rests on the chest, without getting tight. The teacher takes the rope, which is fastened to the ring of the girdle, in his hand, and directs the pupil to leap into the water, keeping the legs straight and close together, and the arms close to the body, and, what is very important, to breathe out through the nose as soon as his head rises above the water, instead of breathing in first, as every man naturally does after a suspension of breath. The object of this is to prevent the water from getting into the throat,[340] which produces an unpleasant feeling of choking and headache. This expiration soon becomes perfectly natural to the swimmers.

The pupil is next invited to leap. He is drawn up immediately by the rope, pulled to the ladder, and allowed to gain confidence gradually. The rope is now fastened by a noose to the end of the pole, the other end of it being kept in the hand of the teacher; the pole is rested on the horizontal rail, and the pupil stretches himself horizontally on the water, where he remains, supported by the pole. Next the arms are extended stiffly forward, the hands clasped, the chin touches the water; the legs are also stiffly stretched out, the heels being together, the feet turned out, and the toes drawn up. This horizontal position is important, and must be executed correctly. No limb is permitted to be relaxed.

The movement of the limbs is now taught; that of the legs is taught first. The teacher first says, loudly and slowly, “One;” when the legs are slowly drawn under the body; at the same time the knees are separated to the greatest possible distance, the spine is bent downwards, and the toe kept outwards. The teacher then says briskly, “Two;” upon which the legs are stiffly stretched out with a moderate degree of quickness, while the heels are separated, and the legs describe the widest possible angle, the toes being contracted and kept outwards. The teacher then says quickly, “Three;” upon which the legs, with the knees held stiffly, are quickly brought together, and thus the original position is again obtained.

The point at which the motions “two” and “three” join are the most important, because it is the object to receive as large and compact a wedge of water between the legs as possible; so that when the legs are brought together their action upon this wedge may urge the body forward. In ordinary cases of swimming, the hands are not used to propel, but merely to assist in keeping on the surface. By degrees, therefore, “two” and “three” are counted in quick succession, and the pupil is taught to extend the legs as widely as possible. After some time, what was done under the heads “two” and “three” is done when “two” is called out. When the teacher sees that the pupil is able to propel himself with ease, which he frequently acquires the power of doing in the first lesson, and that he performs the motions already mentioned with regularity, he teaches the motions of the hands, which must not be allowed to sink, as they are much disposed to do while the motion of the legs is practised.

The motion of the hands consists of two parts. When the teacher says “One,” the hands, which were held with the palms together, are opened, laid horizontally an inch or two under water, and the arms are extended till they form an angle of 90°; then the elbow is bent, and the hands are brought up to the chin, having described an arch downward and upward; the lower part of the thumb touches the chin, the palms being together. When the teacher says “Two,” the arms are quickly stretched forward, and thus the original horizontal position is[341] regained. The legs remain stiffly extended during the motion of the hands. If the motion of the hands is carefully and correctly performed, the legs and arms are moved together; so that while the teacher says “One,” the pupil performs the first motion of the hands and legs; when he says “Two,” the second and third motions of the feet, and the second of the hands.

As soon as the teacher perceives that the pupil begins to support himself, he slackens the rope a little, and instantly straightens it if the pupil is about to sink. When the pupil can swim about ten strokes in succession, he is released from the pole, but not from the rope. When he can swim about fifty strokes, he is released from the rope too; but the teacher remains near him with a long pole until he can swim 150 strokes in succession, so that, should he sink, the pole is immediately held out to him. After this he may swim in the area of the school, under the superintendence of the teacher, until he proves that he can swim half-an-hour in succession, so that, should he sink, the pole is immediately held out to him; he is then considered fit to be left to himself.

Such are the outlines of the German plan of swimming; and, much as we dislike the German educational quackery, we are still obliged to confess that schools for swimming might be, and ought to be, established in this country in unison with the above system. No well-conducted boarding-school ought to be without a swimming-school; and the hints above given will be exceedingly useful to the swimmer who has to teach himself, as well as to the gymnastic tutor who has to teach others the art; and we conclude by earnestly recommending the accomplishment of swimming to our young readers.

Prussian way of teaching swimming showing apparatus



It is impossible that any one can indulge to any extent either in pedestrianism or rowing without going into some sort of training, however slight it may be. Before either can be thoroughly enjoyed, it is essential that the body should be brought into condition, and the constitution prepared for the severe tests to which it is sure to be put. Until this has been satisfactorily accomplished (and it cannot be done without much perseverance and self-denial) success at regattas or in athletic sports is quite out of the question, and the most serious results will attend any attempt to take part in such proceedings. Courage and determination to win a race, whether on land or water, are qualities very much to be admired, yet they are entirely after considerations; the first and chief endeavour must be to reduce the superfluous fat without weakening the system, to secure soundness in wind and limb—in short, thoroughly to prepare the body, so that it may be equal to the emergencies that may hereafter present themselves.

Training should not, however, be begun hastily. Before it is commenced, care should be taken to get the stomach into condition for the dieting it will have to undergo. These preliminary proceedings will be more or less prolonged, according to the habits of life of the patient. If a boy has been given to drinking large quantities of beer, eating indigestible things, or smoking, he does not commence under such favourable circumstances as those who have not so indulged themselves. Probably he has injured his digestion and interfered, however slightly, with his liver; a state of things that he can readily appreciate by the restlessness of his night’s rest, and a furred tongue, and unpleasant taste in his mouth in the morning. The first thing he must do is gradually to lessen his quantity of beer daily, till he can leave it off altogether if necessary, to eschew the pastry-cook’s and fruiterer’s, and consign his pipe to the dust-hole. When once he has made up his mind to go in for a system of training, he should commence by taking a mild aperient dose, such as some salts and senna, or a rhubarb pill, the latter followed in the morning, if necessary, by a black dose. He must avoid going to the extreme, and purging himself too violently—the medicine is solely intended to clear the stomach preparatory to its new treatment—and having gone thus far he may, without any fear, put himself upon the diet which shall presently be set out. He who has been wise enough to satisfy himself with very little beer, and still less of raspberry[343] puff or unripe greengages, and has refrained altogether from tobacco, which to young people is simply poison, may, unless of weak or sickly constitution, begin to train without any preliminary preparations. If his heart and soul are really in the contest for which he desires to get himself into condition, and he possesses a small amount of strength of mind, he will soon become accustomed to the daily routine of food and exercise. It is no use beginning, and then yielding to the temptation for this or that nice thing; when once the ordeal has been commenced, it must be carried out strictly and accurately, or it may as well be abandoned altogether. For the desired state of body can only be arrived at by one means, namely, a large amount of self-denial and close adherence to the prescribed diet.

There is of course some slight difference in the systems of training to be pursued for rowing and pedestrianism; at the same time, in the chief and important points precisely the same course has to be taken. If a boy has a walking or running race in view, he must remember this, that he has to suit his daily exercise according to the distance of the competition in which he is going to take part. For short races he need do little more than keep his digestion and wind in good order, taking care to have say a couple of hours’ good exercise in the course of the day. We would here venture to correct a grave mistake made very often by young runners, who think that by continual practising and “spurting” they learn to improve their pace. They can adopt no better means for defeating their own end than this, as it will tend far more to diminish their pace than to improve it. On the other hand, if they have a long course of several miles to get over, speed is not so much a matter of importance as endurance, and this latter quality can only be obtained by accustoming the body to long and severe exercise. For young persons, however, it is extremely injudicious to attempt too great distances, and we would advise that two miles, and no more, be made the outside limit. Longer spins than this are seldom, if ever, tried in ordinary amateur races.

Accordingly as the match that is to be contested is in running or walking, so must the day’s exercise be regulated. Avoid, if for the former, taking too much running practice, and that never for a greater distance than that of the race in which you are to take part. Good sharp, brisk walking is more serviceable than anything else in getting the body into order. And now, presuming that a boy is in sound health, with good lungs and no unpleasant thumpings about his heart, let us see how he should regulate his training. Six o’clock to get out of bed and commence the day. No one who intends to train himself really seriously will wish to lie longer. Then a cold tub with a big sponge and lots of water, followed by a severe rubbing with a rough Turkish towel, that leaves you all a-glow. Dress as quickly as you can, and go out for half an hour’s walk, or run, as you feel inclined. Be sure, however, not to fatigue yourself, and see that you come in to breakfast, say at half-past seven, with a good[344] appetite. Those who can eat porridge will find it a capital thing to commence breakfast with, followed by the lean portion of a broiled chop or steak, with bread at least two days old. Tea we believe to be undesirable, and a pint of really sound bitter beer will be found to agree much better.

There is no need to bind yourself down to a stipulated quantity of food; eat what you feel to require, and no more. After breakfast get as much rest as you can, say for a couple of hours; then take yourself off for a couple of hours’ walking or running, getting back to dinner by about two o’clock. The programme for this meal is simple enough: a joint of roast meat, either mutton or beef, a potato, and sometimes a little cauliflower, or brocoli, just to make a change, bread as before, and another pint of bitter beer. The liquids are the things in which the strictest care must be taken, and the daily quantity regulated. Poultry is sometimes introduced, but we hardly think it good—in fact, as far as you can, stick to the good plain joint, or chop, or steak, with bread and beer, and you will be astonished how you will find your condition improved. After dinner rest again for two or three hours, and then about six o’clock take yourself off for another hour’s exercise, on your return from which you will no doubt be fully prepared with an appetite for supper. This meal should always be a light one, as it is bad at all times, and especially in training, to go to bed on a full stomach. Unless you feel you absolutely require it, do not take any meat; otherwise, a chop is the least objectionable, and a half-pint of beer. Never, under any circumstances, exceed three pints of beer a day. Butter, spices, peppers, and sauces should on no account be taken, and, as we said before, so we again repeat, smoking must be abjured. If the directions given are followed out, defeat will not be occasioned through any error in the system of preparation.

Assortment of sports equipment


Scientific Pursuits:




Acoustics is the science relating to sound and hearing. Sound is heard when any shock or impulse is given to the air, or to any other body which is in contact directly or indirectly with the ear.


Noises are made by the cracks of whips, the beating of hammers, the creak of a file or saw, or the hubbub of a multitude. But when a bell is struck, the bow of a violin drawn across the strings, or the wetted finger turned round a musical glass, we have what are properly called sounds.


Sounds are propagated on all bodies much after the manner that waves are in water, with a velocity of 1,142 feet in a second. Sounds in liquids and in solids are more rapid than in air. Two stones rubbed together may be heard in water at half a mile; solid bodies convey sounds to great distances, and pipes may be made to convey the voice over every part of the house.


Take a long piece of wood, such as the handle of a hair broom, and placing a watch at one end, apply your ear to the other, and the tickings will be distinctly heard.


Touch a bell when it is sounding, and the noise ceases; the same may be done to a musical string with the same results. Hold a musical pitch-fork to the lips, when it is made to sound, and a quivering motion will be felt from its vibrations. These experiments show that sound is produced by the quick motions and vibrations of different bodies.


Cover the mouth of a wine glass, having a foot-stalk, with a thin sheet of membrane, over which scatter a layer of fine sand. The vibrations excited in the air by the sound of a musical instrument, held within a few inches of the membrane, will cause the sand on its surface to form regular lines and figures with astonishing celerity, which vary with the sound produced.



This instrument consists of a long narrow box of very thin deal, about six inches deep, with a circle in the middle of the upper side of an inch and a half in diameter, in which are to be drilled small holes. On this side seven, ten, or more strings of very fine catgut are stretched over bridges at each end like the bridges of a fiddle, and screwed up or relaxed with screw pins. The strings must all be tuned to one and the same note,[5] and the instrument should be placed in a window partly open, in which the width is exactly equal to the length of the harp, with the sash just raised to give the air admission. When the air blows upon these strings with different degrees of force, it will excite different tones of sound. Sometimes the blast brings out all the tones in full concert, and sometimes it sinks them to the softest murmurs.

[5] D is a good note for it. The upper string may be tuned to the upper D, and the two lower to the lower D and D D. The “harmonics” are the sounds produced.

A colossal imitation of the instrument just described was invented at Milan in 1786, by the Abbate Gattoni. He stretched seven strong iron wires, tuned to the notes of the gamut, from the top of a tower sixty feet high, to the house of a Signor Moscate, who was interested in the success of the experiment; and this apparatus, called the “giant’s harp,” in blowing weather yielded lengthened peals of harmonious music. In a storm this music was heard at a greater distance.


Construction of the 'Invisible Girl'

The facility with which the voice circulates through tubes was known to the ancients, and no doubt has afforded the priests of all religions means of deception to the ignorant and credulous. But of late days the light of science dispels all such wicked deceptions. A very clever machine was produced at Paris several years ago, and afterwards exhibited in London under the name of the “Invisible Girl,” since the apparatus was so constructed that the voice of a female at a distance was heard as if it originated from a hollow globe, not more than a foot in diameter. It consisted of a wooden frame something like a tent bedstead, formed by four pillars a a a a, connected by upper cross rails b b, and similar rails below, while it terminated above in four bent wires c c, proceeding at right angles of the frame, and meeting in a central point. The hollow copper ball[349] d, with four trumpets t t, crossing from it at right angles, hung in the centre of the frame, being connected with the wires alone by four narrow ribbons r r. The questions were proposed close to the open mouth of one of these trumpets, and the reply was returned from the same orifice. The means used in the deception were as follow: a pipe or tube was attached to one of the hollow pillars, and carried into another apartment, in which a female was placed; and this tube having been carried up the leg or pillar of the instrument to the cross-rails, had an aperture exactly opposite two of the trumpet mouths; so that what was spoken was immediately answered through a very simple mode of communication.


This is an art by no means very difficult of acquirement, if the young reader will take the pains. It is produced by a reflection of sound within the mouth, the voice being brought to the lowest possible place in the larynx. When the art is acquired by practice, the voice may be made to appear as if coming from any part of a room, from up a chimney, or from the depths of a cellar. The celebrated Dr. Wolcott, better known as Peter Pindar, used to amuse his friends in a remarkable manner with this art. He would represent his landlady as demanding payment of her rent, and hold a colloquy with her, which would at last rise to terms of reproach and fury, and end by a noise as if the landlady had been kicked down stairs. The marvellous powers of Matthews, Le Lagg, Alexander, and, lastly, Mr. Love, are familiar to most persons. To learn the art, the young practitioner must have the power of enunciating well, and that without motion of the lips,—of disguising the voice, so as to imitate other sounds,—and of adapting the degree to the apparent source of the sound. By practice this art is attainable by any person whose organs of speech are completely and fully developed.

Boy playing fiddle


Cartoon of man flying off with arm-powered wings



The art of sailing or navigating a body through the air is called aëronautics. In remote ages, Icarus is said to have risen so high in the air that the sun melted his wings, and he fell into the Ægean sea, and was drowned; and there is reason to believe, from some figures that have recently been discovered on Egyptian and Assyrian monuments, that the ancients possessed means of rising in the air with which we are not now acquainted.


The air-balloon, as now constructed, is a bag of silk of large dimensions, usually cut in gores, and is, when expanded by gas, of a pear-shape. It ascends in the atmosphere because its whole bulk is much lighter than the air would be in the space it occupies. It is, in fact, a vessel filled with a fluid which will float on another fluid lighter than itself.


The best shape for an air-balloon, or rather a gas-balloon, is that of a pegtop. And in preparing the gores proceed as follows: Get some close texture silk, and cut it into a form resembling a narrow pear with a very thin stalk. Fourteen of these pieces will be found to be the best number; and, of course, the breadths of each piece must be measured accordingly. When sewing them together, it will be of advantage to coat the parts that overlap with a layer of varnish, as this will save much trouble afterwards, and hold the silk firmer in its place during the stitching. The threads must be placed very regularly, or the balloon will be drawn out of shape, and it will be found useful if the gores are covered with an interior coating of varnish before they are finally sewn together. Take care not to have the varnish too thick. To the upper part of the balloon there should be a valve opening inwards, to which a string should be fastened, passing through a hole made in a small piece of wood fixed in the lower part of the balloon, so that the aeronaut may open the valve when he wishes to descend; and this should be imitated on a small scale, so that the young aëronaut may be perfectly familiar with the construction of a balloon. The gores are to be covered with a varnish of India-rubber dissolved in a mixture of turpentine and naphtha. Over the whole of the upper part should be a net-work, which should come down to the middle with various cords, proceeding from it to the circumference of a circle about two feet below the balloon. The circle may be made of wood, or of several pieces of slender cane bound together. The meshes should be small at top, against which part of the balloon the inflammable air exerts the greatest force, and increase in size as they recede from the top.


The car is made of wicker-work; it is usually covered with leather, and is well varnished or painted. It is suspended by ropes proceeding from the net which goes over the[352] balloon. Balloons of this kind cannot be made smaller than six feet in diameter, of oiled silk, as the weight of the material is too great for the air to buoy it up. They may be made smaller of thin slips of bladder, or other membrane glued together, or of thin gutta-percha cloth, which is now extensively used for this purpose; with this they may be made a foot in diameter, and will rise beautifully.


Procure a large stone bottle which will hold a gallon of water, into this put a pound of iron filings, or granulated zinc, with two quarts of water, and add to this by degrees one pint of sulphuric acid. Then take a tube, either of glass or metal, and introduce one end of it through a cork, which place in the bottle, then put the other end into the neck of the balloon, and the gas will rise into the body of it. When quite full withdraw the tube, and tie the neck of the balloon with strong cord very tightly. If freed it will now rise in the air.


Burner in balloon

Cut the gores, according to the forms already given, from well-woven tissue paper, paste the gores nicely together, and look well over the surface of the paper for any small hole or slit, over which paste a piece of paper, and let it dry. Pass a wire round the neck of the balloon, and have two cross pieces at its diameter a little bent, so that a piece of soft cotton dipped in spirits of wine may be laid on them. When all is prepared let some one hold the balloon from its top by means of a stick, while you dip the cotton in spirits of wine till it is thoroughly saturated, place it under the balloon and set fire to it, but be very careful you do not set fire to the balloon. When the air is sufficiently heated within, the balloon will indicate a desire to rise, and when it pulls very hard, let it go, and it will ascend to a great height in the air, and at night present a very beautiful appearance.



These are easily made by cutting a piece of paper in a circular form, and placing threads round the edges, which may be made to converge to a point, at which a cork may be placed as a balance. They ascend by the air getting under them, and are frequently blown to a great distance.

Collage of scientific activities



Children doing chemical experiments


In the eleventh century, and during the reign of King Henry the First, surnamed Beauclerk, or the fine scholar, there appeared for the first time in certain books, professing to teach the art making of gold, the words chemistry, chemist, derived from the Greek χημεία. Seven hundred years and more have passed away, and that which was only the pursuit of a shadow called alchemy, has resulted in the acquisition of a great and noble science, now and again called chemistry. When we go to the French Exposition, we shall doubtless pass by much that is worthy of notice, and bring away with us only a general impression of the wonders it contains. So it is with the great edifice Chemistry; we may, in these brief pages, peep in at the open door, but should we desire to go beyond the threshold, there are numerous guides, such as Roscoe, Wilson, and Fownes, who will conduct us through the mazes of the interior, and explain in elementary language the beautiful processes which have become so useful to mankind.


Chemistry is one of the most comprehensive of all the sciences, and at the same time one which comes home to us in the most ordinary of our daily avocations. Most of the arts of life are indebted to it for their very existence, and nearly all have been, from time to time, improved by the application of its principles.

Chemistry is, in fact, the science which treats of the composition of all material bodies, and of the means of forming them into new combinations, and reducing them to their ultimate elements, as they are termed, that is, bodies which we are unable to split up, as it were, or separate into other bodies. To take a common substance as an illustration; water, by a great number of processes, can be separated into two other substances, called oxygen and hydrogen, in the proportion by weight of 8 parts of the first to 1 of the second; but no power that we at present possess can separate the oxygen and hydrogen into any other bodies; they are therefore called ultimate elements, or undecomposable bodies.

Again, sulphate of magnesia (common Epsom salts) can be very easily separated into two other substances,—sulphuric acid and magnesia; and in this instance, both these substances can again be sub-divided—the acid into sulphur and oxygen, and the magnesia into a metallic body called magnesium and oxygen; but sulphur, oxygen, and magnesium are incapable of further division, and are therefore called ultimate elements.

These ultimate elements amount to 64 in number, according to the present state of our knowledge, and may be arranged in various ways; the simplest plan, perhaps, is dividing them into Non-metallic and Metallic elements.

The Non-metallic elements are:—1. Oxygen. 2. Hydrogen. 3. Nitrogen. 4. Chlorine. 5. Iodine. 6. Bromine. 7. Fluorine. 8. Carbon. 9. Sulphur. 10. Selenium. 11. Tellurium. 12. Silicon. 13. Boron. 14. Phosphorus. The last-named element is the connecting link with the metals through arsenic, which phosphorus closely resembles in its chemical properties.

The Metallic elements may be sub-divided into the metals of the alkalies, the metals of the alkaline earths, the metals of the earths, and the other metals sometimes called metals proper.

1st. The metallic bases of the alkalies:—potassium, sodium, lithium, ammonium, cæsium, rubidium.

2d. The metallic bases of the alkaline earths:—calcium, strontium, barium.

3d. The metallic bases of the earths:—aluminium, glucinum, zirconium, thorium, yttrium, erbium, cerium, lanthanum, didymium.

4th. The metals proper, the most important of which are:—platinum, gold, silver, mercury, copper, iron, tin, lead, nickel, zinc, bismuth, antimony, manganese, cobalt, arsenic.

Now, from these elementary bodies, united together in various proportions, is formed the infinite variety of substances around us,[355] whether animal, vegetable, or mineral; in fact, a few only are generally employed;—in the case of animals and vegetables, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, with occasionally some sulphur, calcium, phosphorus, and silicon, suffice for building up the beautiful forms of animated nature; while the fabric of our globe itself consists for the most part of the earths; silex, i. e. flint or crystal; lime, in the shape of chalk, marble, or limestone, such as our flagstones are composed of; slate and granite, which are compounds of aluminium, silica, and small quantities of oxide of iron, and sometimes a little potash, &c.; and through their masses are projected irregular streams—veins as they are termed—of the metals, either in a pure state, as is the case sometimes with gold, silver, platinum, mercury, and perhaps one or two others; or combined with one of the non-metallic elements, or with one another.

Late calculations have determined the composition of the earth’s solid crust in 100 parts by weight to be

Oxygen 44· 0 to 48· 7
Silicon 22· 8 36· 2
Aluminium 9 1
Iron 9 4
Calcium 6 9
Magnesium 7 1
Sodium 4 5
Potassium 7 1
  100·     100·  

All these combinations are effected by certain powers, termed forces; those which cause the union of the elements are called the forces of attraction; those causing their separation, the forces of repulsion.

The force of attraction when exerted between masses of matter, is termed gravitation; when it unites particles of matter of a similar kind and produces masses, it is called the attraction of cohesion; when the particles united are of a dissimilar character, it is then termed chemical or elective affinity. For example, the crystals of Epsom salts are formed from minute particles of the salt, united into a larger or smaller mass by the attraction of cohesion, while the elements of which each particle consists, namely, the sulphur, oxygen, and magnesium, are united by the attraction of chemical affinity.

Cohesion thus unites particles of a similar kind; chemical affinity, of a dissimilar nature. It is to cohesion that the existence of masses of matter is owing, and its power increases as the squares of the distances diminish, in an inverse ratio to the squares of the distances of the particles on which it acts.

The power exerted by cohesion may be exhibited in various ways.[356] This is one: Procure two discs of glass about three inches in diameter, their surfaces being ground extremely smooth; fix each into a square piece of wood, taking care that they are placed accurately in the centre; then put them together, by sliding their edges very carefully over each other, so as to avoid any air getting between them, and you will find a great force necessary to separate them. A hook should be fixed into the centre of each piece of wood, so that they may be suspended, and a weight hung to the lower one. It is almost impossible for any one to separate them by merely pulling them with both hands; a weight of many pounds is required for that purpose. In like manner two freshly-cut surfaces of caoutchouc will, on being squeezed together, cohere so perfectly, that it is difficult to tear them asunder, and it is in this way that tubes of caoutchouc may be rapidly prepared for experiments, where little or no pressure is exerted.

Chemical affinity is sometimes called elective, or the effect of choice, as if one substance exerted a kind of preference for another, and chose to be united to it rather than to that with which it was previously combined; thus, if you pour some vinegar, which is a weak acetic acid, upon some pearlash (a combination of potash and carbonic acid), or some carbonate of soda (a combination of the same acid with soda), a violent effervescence will take place, occasioned by the escape of the carbonic acid, displaced in consequence of the potash or soda preferring the acetic acid, and forming a compound called an acetate. Then, if some sulphuric acid be poured on this new compound, the acetic acid will in its turn be displaced by the greater attachment of either of the bases, as they are termed, for the sulphuric acid. Again, if into a solution of blue vitriol (a combination of sulphuric acid with oxide of copper) the bright blade of a knife be introduced, the knife will speedily be covered with a coat of copper, deposited in consequence of the acid preferring the iron, of which the knife is made, a quantity of it being dissolved in exact proportion to the quantity of copper deposited.

Drawing of silver- or lead-tree

It is on the same principle that a very beautiful preparation, called a silver-tree, or a lead-tree, may be formed thus:—Fill a wide bottle, capable of holding from half a pint to a pint, with a tolerably strong solution of nitrate of silver (lunar caustic), or acetate of lead, in pure distilled water; then attach a small piece of zinc by a string to the cork or stopper of the bottle, so that the zinc shall hang about the middle of the bottle, and set it by where it may be quite undisturbed; in a short time, brilliant plates of silver or lead, as the case may be, will be seen to collect around the piece of zinc, assuming more or[357] less of the crystalline form. This at first is a case of elective affinity; the acid with which the silver or lead was united prefers the zinc to either of those metals and in consequence discards them in order to attach the zinc to itself, subsequently a voltaic current is set up between the two metals, and the process will continue until almost the whole of the zinc is taken up, or nearly the whole of the silver or lead deposited.

Again, many animal and vegetable substances consist for the most part of carbon or charcoal, united with oxygen and hydrogen in the proportion which forms water. Now oil of vitriol (strong sulphuric acid) has so powerful an affinity, or so great a thirst for water, that it will abstract it from almost any body in which it exists; if you then pour some of this acid on a lump of sugar, or place a chip of wood in it, the sugar or wood will speedily become quite black, or be charred, as it is called, in consequence of the oxygen and hydrogen being removed by the sulphuric acid, and only the carbon, or charcoal, left.

When Cleopatra dissolved pearls of wondrous value in vinegar, she was exhibiting unwittingly an instance of chemical elective affinity; the pearl being simply carbonate of lime, which was decomposed by the greater affinity or fondness of lime for its new acquaintance (the acetic acid of the vinegar) than for the carbonic acid, with which it had been united all its life,—an example of inconstancy in strong contrast with the conduct of its owner, who chose death rather than become the mistress of her lover’s conqueror.


The three permanent gaseous elements are oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen.

The compound gases are very numerous, some being combustible, and others supporters of combustion.

Gases are for the most part transparent and colourless, with a few exceptions, and of course, like the air of the atmosphere, invisible. They are little affected by the attraction of cohesion, but rather, on the contrary, the particles composing them have a constant tendency to separate from each other, so that their force of expansion is only limited by the pressure under which they may be kept, and the temperature they may be exposed to. They have a tendency to penetrate each other, as it were; for instance, if you take a jar of heavy gas, such as carbonic gas, set it with its mouth upwards, then invert over it another jar containing hydrogen, a gas nearly twenty-two times lighter; in a very short time the two gases will have become thoroughly mixed, the heavy carbonic acid having risen, and the light hydrogen fallen, until the gases are thoroughly mixed, each jar containing an equal quantity of each gas.



This gas, so named from two Greek words signifying the maker of acid, was discovered by Dr. Priestly in 1774. He obtained it by heating the red oxide of mercury in a glass retort, when the gas escaped in considerable quantities. In the ensuing year Scheele obtained it by a variety of methods, and a few years afterwards Lavoisier discovered that it was contained in atmospheric air, where it exists in the proportion of about one-fifth, the remaining four-fifths being almost entirely nitrogen.

Oxygen gas may be obtained for the purpose of experiment, by heating to redness the black oxide of manganese in an iron bottle, to the mouth of which a flexible tube is attached to convey away the gas as fast as it is liberated from the manganese. The first portions should be allowed to escape, being mixed with the air in the tubes and bottle, and the remainder may be collected in a gasometer, or in glass jars inverted over water.

Another method to obtain the gas, and one to be used only in the absence of other ingredients, is to mix in a retort some of this same oxide of manganese with about half its weight of strong sulphuric acid, and apply heat to the retort, when the gas will come over in considerable quantities; the first portions must be allowed to escape as before.[6] If the gas is required very pure, a small quantity of the salt called chlorate of potassa may be heated in a retort, and oxygen gas will be evolved, and may be collected as before. If you have an iron bottle, the first mode is by far the cheapest, as the heat of a bright fire is sufficient for the operation, and a large quantity of gas is obtained in a short time from a very inexpensive material. The most rapid and convenient process of all is to heat a mixture of two parts chlorate of potash, and one of powdered black oxide of manganese, in a common clean oil flask, to which a cork and bent tube has been adapted. Care must be taken not to mistake sulphide of antimony for black oxide of manganese, as very serious accidents have arisen from this cause.

[6] Some boiling water should be added to the mass left in the retort directly the gas has ceased to come away, or it will adhere to the glass so firmly, that the retort will certainly be spoilt.

Oxygen is largely distributed over our globe, both in its uncombined state, and in union with other substances. Besides forming one-fifth of the atmosphere, it forms eight-ninths by weight of all the water in the ocean, rivers, and springs on the face of the whole earth. It also, in combination with various metals, forms the various earths and minerals of which the crust of the earth consists, so that it is the most abundant and widely distributed substance in nature, and in combination with other elements, forms nearly half the weight of the solid earth.

In its uncombined state it is a colourless gas, somewhat heavier[359] than atmospheric air, without taste or smell. It is a powerful supporter of combustion, and is absolutely necessary for the support of animal life, which cannot exist for any time without a free supply of this gas, which is constantly consumed in the act of breathing, and is replaced by an equivalent portion of carbonic acid gas. The want of oxygen is partly the cause of the oppression felt in crowded rooms, where the air cannot be renewed so fast as is required for the number of persons who are constantly consuming the oxygen; and if an animal be confined under a glass jar inverted over water, it will presently die, just for the same reason that burning tapers are extinguished under similar circumstances.

If a jet of this gas be thrown upon a piece of charcoal, sulphur, or almost any combustible body in a state of ignition, it will make it burn with great vividness and rapidity. For a complete series of experiments with oxygen see “The Boy’s Play-book of Science.”

Phosphorus in a jar of oxygen


But by far the most intense heat, and most brilliant light, may be produced by introducing a piece of phosphorus into a jar of oxygen. The phosphorus may be placed in a small copper cup, with a long handle of thick wire passing through a hole in a cork that fits the jar. The phosphorus must first be ignited; and, as soon as it is introduced into the oxygen, it gives out a light so brilliant that no eye can bear it, and the whole jar appears filled with an intensely luminous atmosphere. It is well to dilute the oxygen with about one-fourth part of common air to moderate the intense heat which is nearly certain to break the jar if pure oxygen is used.


If a piece of charcoal, which is pure carbon or nearly so, be ignited, and introduced into a jar containing oxygen or common atmospheric air, the product will be carbonic gas only, of which we shall speak presently. As most combustible bodies contain both carbon and hydrogen, the result of their combination is carbonic acid and water. This is the case with the gas used for illumination; and in order to prevent the water so produced from spoiling goods in shops, various plans have been devised for carrying off the water when in the state of steam. This is generally accomplished by suspending over the burners glass bells, communicating with tubes opening into the chimney, or passing outside the house.

To show that oxygen, or some equivalent, is necessary for the support[360] of combustion, fix two or three pieces of wax-taper on flat pieces of cork, and set them floating on water in a soup-plate, light them, and invert over them a glass jar; as they burn, the heat produced may perhaps at first expand the air so as to force a small quantity out of the jar, but the water will soon rise in the jar, and continue to do so until the tapers expire, when you will find that a considerable portion of the air has disappeared, and what remains will no longer support flame; that is, the oxygen has been converted partly into water, and partly into carbonic acid gas, by uniting with the carbon and hydrogen, of which the taper consists, and the remaining air is principally nitrogen, with some carbonic acid; the presence of the latter may be proved by decanting some of the remaining air into a bottle, and then shaking some lime-water with it, which will absorb the carbonic acid and form chalk, rendering the water quite turbid.


This gas is, as its name implies, the producer of nitre, or at least forms a portion of the nitric acid contained in nitre. It is rather lighter than atmospheric air, colourless, transparent, incapable of supporting animal life, on which account it is sometimes called azote—an objectionable name, as it is not a poison like many other gases, but destroys life only in the absence of oxygen. This gas extinguishes all burning bodies plunged into it, and does not itself burn. It exists largely in nature, for four-fifths of the atmosphere consists of nitrogen gas. It is also an important constituent of animal bodies, and is found in the vegetable world.

Nitrogen may be most easily obtained for experiment by setting fire to some phosphorus contained in a porcelain or metallic cup, placed under a gas jar full of air, and resting on the shelf of the pneumatic trough, or in a soup-plate filled with water.

Nitrogen combines in five different proportions with oxygen, producing five distinct chemical compounds, named respectively nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, nitric tri-oxide, nitric tetr-oxide, nitric pent-oxide, which last, united with water, forms nitric acid, now called hydric nitrate, as nitrous acid is termed hydric nitrite.

Inhaler and bottle for nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide gas is generally known by the name of “laughing gas,” from the jolly sensations experienced on inhaling it. It may be procured by distilling in a glass retort a salt called nitrate of ammonia, which yields the gas in considerable quantities, and it should be kept standing in jars over water for some hours before it is used. It should be transferred into a[361] silk air-tight bag, furnished with a stopcock and mouthpiece, from which the gas may be breathed; a little practice is required to do this easily, and more resolution to desist when the gas begins to produce its effects, as it appears to fascinate the experimenter, and actual force is often necessary to remove the bag from the mouth. The effects produced vary according to the temperament of the person inhaling it; they are, however, always of a highly pleasurable nature, muscular action being generally greatly exalted, compelling the individual to race round the apartment and execute leaps and pirouettes perfectly astounding. Some persons shout and sing, and I have seen one expend his superfluous animation in twisting his features into such ludicrous grimaces as would be the envy of the candidates at a grinning match, and beat them all out of the field. Sir H. Davy was the discoverer of this gas, and of its peculiar effects on the nervous system, and a full account of it may be found in his “Researches on Nitrous Oxide Gas.”

This gas is heavier than air, and supports combustion nearly as energetically as oxygen, as may be shown by introducing a piece of ignited phosphorus into a jar of this gas. It will not, however, support the life of small animals, such as mice, which introduced into it die very quickly.





The next compound of nitrogen with oxygen, when one proportion of nitrogen unites with two of oxygen, is termed nitric oxide gas. It may be easily procured by heating in a retort some copper turnings in dilute nitric acid. It is colourless and transparent, and has the property of combining with oxygen to form other compounds.


Into a jar of this gas standing over water pass some oxygen gas. The jar will be filled with red fumes, which will be rapidly absorbed by the water. If atmospheric air be used instead of oxygen, there will remain in the jar the nitrogen of the air, amounting to four-fifths of the air employed.


This gas is destructive to animal life, in consequence of its property of uniting with the oxygen in the lungs, and producing the highly corrosive nitrous acid gas. It will, however, support the combustion of a few substances, phosphorus for instance, provided it is sufficiently heated before being plunged into the gas.

We pass over the third and fourth compounds of nitrogen with oxygen, as they are not calculated for amusing experiments. Nitric acid is easily prepared on the small scale, by gradually heating equal parts by weight of nitric and sulphuric acid in a retort to which a receiver has been adapted. The receiver, which may be a clean oil flask, should be kept cool with wetted blotting paper.

Nitrogen combines with chlorine and iodine, forming detonating compounds, the former being so extremely dangerous that it will be better to pass it by.

The compound with iodine, called iodide of nitrogen, may very easily be made by pouring strong solution of ammonia (a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen) upon some iodine in a phial, shaking them well together, and after letting them stand for a few hours, pouring off the fluid; the black powder remaining in the phial is the explosive compound, the iodide of nitrogen. When dry, it is very apt to detonate spontaneously; it should therefore be shaken out of the phial while wet, and spread in very small quantities on separate pieces of blotting paper, which should be kept apart from each other. When thoroughly dry, the slightest touch with the point of a feather, shaking the paper on which it rests, or even opening too rapidly the door of a closet where it has been put to dry, will cause it to explode, producing a quantity of violet-coloured fumes. The explosion is somewhat violent, producing a sharp cracking noise; and the greatest care should be taken in experimenting with it.


As has been already mentioned, nitrogen is the principal constituent of the air of the atmosphere which surrounds our globe, extending to a height of about forty-five miles above it, and playing a most important part in the economy of nature, inorganic as well as organic.

This atmospheric air consists by volume of nearly four-fifths of nitrogen, and rather more than one-fifth of oxygen, viz. seventy-nine of the former to twenty-one of the latter, or twenty-three parts by weight of oxygen and seventy-seven of nitrogen; it generally contains also a variable proportion of the vapour of water, and a very small quantity of carbonic acid gas, being only about four volumes to 10,000 of air. Its constituent parts are easily separated, as it is a mechanical mixture and not a chemical compound, though the mixture by diffusion is so complete that chemists have not been able to ascertain any difference in the composition of air taken from all parts[363] of the world, and from different heights, up to the highest point which has to this time been attained.

The atmosphere presses on the surface of the globe, and every being on it, with a force of about fifteen pounds to every square inch of surface, but as it presses equally in all directions, upwards as well as downwards, its weight cannot be perceived unless the pressure be removed from one surface by some artificial means.

Atmospheric air contains, besides the oxygen and nitrogen, its principal constituents, a small proportion of carbonic acid gas, as has been mentioned, and this may be shown by filling a tube about half full of lime-water, and shaking it with the air contained in the other half, when it will become slightly turbid from the insoluble carbonate of lime formed.

When we consider that every living animal is constantly consuming oxygen, and replacing it by carbonic acid gas, and that all burning bodies, fires in our dwellings, furnaces, artificial lights of all kinds, act in the same way in abstracting the oxygen from the air, and replacing it by immense quantities of carbonic acid gas, which is a poison to all animals who breathe, or attempt to breathe it, we must wonder what becomes of this irrespirable gas, as it is found to exist in the air in quantities so minute, and by what means the oxygen is restored, and the air again made fit for respiration. This is effected by one of those laws which the wisdom of the Creator has impressed upon matter, by which one part of creation as it were balances another, and all proceeds in an endless circle of change. This carbonic acid, which is so poisonous to animal life, is the food of the vegetable world, plants having the power of taking up the carbonic acid into their pores; converting the carbon into their own substance, and rejecting the oxygen, which is again respired by animals, &c. In the same way, all animal refuse is the food of vegetables, and is used under the name of manures.

The atmosphere contains also a variable quantity of vapour of water, invisible as long as it is in the state of vapour, but it may be rendered obvious by bringing any very cold body into warm air, when the vapour will condense on the cold body in the form of small drops of water. A tumbler of fresh-pumped water brought into a crowded room, is almost immediately covered with moisture, and it may also be seen on bottles of wine which have been put into ice before coming to table. Fogs are occasioned by the condensation of vapour produced by mixing a current of warm air with a colder air. The banks of Newfoundland are notorious for dense fogs, occasioned by the warm air brought from the south by the great Gulf stream, mixing with the cold air from the Arctic regions, and thus precipitating the vapour in a visible form, rendering everything but itself invisible. The famous London fogs depend upon the same precipitation of the vapour of water, with the addition of the smoke from[364] the numerous sea-coal fires, which give it that interesting yellow tinge for which it is so remarkable.

Aqueous vapour appears to impart a transparency to air, and permits objects to be seen more distinctly in proportion to its quantity; hence, when distant hills appear nearer, and objects upon them more distinct than usual, rain may be expected, the air being fully charged with vapour ready to be deposited on the slightest cause.


India-rubber bag with hose

Hydrogen gas is the lightest substance known, being fifteen times lighter than atmospheric air. It is colourless and transparent, incapable of supporting combustion or respiration, but is itself combustible. Hydrogen, as its name implies (being derived from two Greek words, signifying the generator of water), is a constituent of water in the proportion of one-ninth by weight, and is always obtained by decomposing that fluid, by presenting to it some body to take up its other ingredient, oxygen, and so set the hydrogen at liberty. If the steam of water be passed through a red-hot gun barrel, containing iron filings, the water is decomposed, the iron taking the oxygen, and the hydrogen comes over in torrents; but as every one has not a gun barrel and furnace to heat it, the usual mode is to employ dilute sulphuric acid, and iron filings, or zinc, in small pieces, and it may be collected over water by means of a bent tube issuing from the bottle in which it is formed. It is so light that it was used to fill balloons before coal gas was to be had, and if you procure a light air-tight bag of silk, or thin membrane such as a turkey’s crop, and fill it with the gas, it will ascend rapidly, and dance about the ceiling of a room.


1. Attach a tobacco-pipe to a bladder filled with this gas, and blow some soap-bubbles with it; they will rise very rapidly, and if a lighted taper be applied to them they burn.

If you mix in a soda water bottle one-third of oxygen with two-thirds of hydrogen, and apply flame, the mixture will explode with a sharp report. Great care must be taken in all experiments with the mixed gases. To avoid danger the gases are placed in separate india-rubber bags, and are only brought together at the jet. This is[365] an expensive apparatus, and should only be used by experienced persons.

Lighted taper inside upside-down jar of hydrogen

2. If a jar of this gas be held with its mouth downwards, and a lighted taper passed up well into the jar, the taper will be extinguished, and the gas take fire, and burn quietly at the mouth of the jar; if mixed with oxygen or atmospheric air, it will explode.

Flask to create musical sounds

Hold over the jet of hydrogen issuing from a small tube, hollow cylinders of glass or earthenware, Florence flasks, or hollow glass balls, and musical sounds will be produced, which were supposed to depend on some peculiar property of hydrogen gas, until Mr. Faraday tried flame from coal gas, olefiant gas, and even the vapour of ether, when the sounds were still produced, and he attributed them to a continuous explosion, or series of explosions, produced by the union of oxygen with the hydrogen of the flames.


With oxygen, hydrogen unites to form the important compound water, which exists not only in the obvious form of oceans, rivers, lakes, rains, dews, &c. &c. but is found intimately combined with many substances, giving them some of their peculiar properties. Many crystals have a definite proportion of water combined with them, and on losing this water they lose their crystalline form. Many acids also cannot exist as acids without water. The slaking of lime depends upon the union of water with the lime, the dry powder resulting from the process being a hydrate of lime, the water having become solidified, and in passing from the fluid to the solid state gives out its latent caloric, producing the heat observed during[366] the process. When a large quantity of lime, a barge-load for instance, has got wetted by accident, the heat evolved has been sufficient to set fire to the barge.

At the temperature of 32° of Fahrenheit’s thermometer, water loses its fluid form, and becomes ice. As it solidifies, it starts into beautiful crystals, which unite and cross each other at determinate angles. Ice is lighter than the water on which it floats, forming a protection to the water beneath, and preventing it from being frozen so rapidly; else, if the ice were heavier than water, and consequently sank as soon as formed, each portion of water would be frozen in its turn, until rivers became solid throughout, and every living creature in them must be destroyed. Now, the temperature of the water under the ice is seldom much below 40°, and if care be taken to break holes at intervals to allow access to the air, the fish and other aquatic animals seldom suffer even in our coldest winters.

Although it is impossible to raise ice even one degree above 32° without thawing, it is not difficult to reduce water many degrees below that point without freezing it.

Decomposition of water by galvanism

In order to obtain both the constituents of water in a separate state, it must be decomposed by galvanism, each pole of a battery terminating in a separate tube containing water, when the result will be that at the positive pole oxygen gas will be evolved, and hydrogen at the negative, the latter being double the quantity of the former. Now, if you mix the gases thus obtained, introduce them into a vessel called a “Eudiometer,” and pass an electric spark through them from a Leyden phial, a sudden flash will be seen, and the gases will entirely disappear, being again converted into water. If you have a mercurial trough, and perform this experiment over mercury, the inside of the eudiometer will exhibit minute drops of water. Thus you have proved both by analysis and synthesis, that water consists of oxygen and hydrogen, in the proportion of one volume of the former to two of the latter.


Take some perfectly pure distilled water, filter it, surround it with a mixture of light snow, or powdered ice, and salt, taking care to keep it perfectly still, a thermometer having been previously placed in it. The mercury will gradually sink many degrees below the freezing point 32° (it has been reduced as low as 4°), the water still remaining fluid; when all at once, either from shaking the table, or[367] simply because the reduction can be carried no further, it suddenly starts into ice, and the thermometer jumps up at once to 32°, where it remains until the whole is frozen, when the temperature gradually sinks to that of the surrounding medium.

Now if you remove the glass of ice from the freezing mixture into the apartment, and watch the thermometer, you will find it gradually rise to 32°, and there remain until all the ice is melted, when it will gradually acquire the temperature of the room. The reason of this is, that the water in passing from the solid to the fluid form absorbs, and in passing from the fluid to the solid form gives out caloric, so maintaining the temperature at 32°, the point at which the change of form takes place, until it is completed.

Between the temperature of 32° and 212°, water exists in a fluid form, under ordinary circumstances; but at the latter point it assumes the form of vapour or steam, and acquires many of the properties of gases, being indefinitely expansible by heat, the force increasing as the temperature is raised, provided the steam be confined, until it becomes irresistible,—witness the frequent explosions of steam-engines even in this country; and in America, where the engines are worked at a high pressure, accidents are of daily occurrence.

The temperature at which water boils is modified by the pressure applied to it. Thus, as you ascend a mountain, and so pass through a portion of the atmosphere, water boils at a lower temperature, until at great heights it boils at so low a heat, that good tea cannot be made because it is impossible to heat the water sufficiently. Under the exhausted receiver of an air-pump, water boils at about 140°.


Another gaseous element, sometimes called a supporter of combustion, is named chlorine, from a Greek word signifying yellowish green.

This gas was formerly called “oxymuriatic acid,” being supposed to be a compound of oxygen and muriatic acid gases, until Sir H. Davy, in a series of masterly experiments carried on during the years 1808-9-10 and 11, proved that it contained no oxygen or muriatic acid, and that it was in fact a simple or undecompounded substance, and changed its name to chlorine, which name was, after some discussion, accepted by the scientific world, and is still in use.

This gas may be obtained for experiment, by gently heating in a retort a mixture of muriatic or hydrochloric acid, hydrochloride, as it is now called, with some black oxide of manganese: the muriatic acid, a compound of chlorine and hydrogen, is decomposed, and so is the oxide of manganese, giving out some of its oxygen, which takes the hydrogen from the muriatic acid to form water, while the chlorine[368] gas, with which the hydrogen had been united, is set at liberty, and may be collected in jars over water.

Apparatus to make chlorine gas

Chlorine gas is transparent, of a greenish yellow colour, has a peculiar disagreeable taste and smell, and if breathed even in small quantities, occasions a sensation of suffocation, of tightness in the chest, and violent coughing, attended with great prostration. I have been compelled to retire to bed from having upset a bottle containing some of this gas. It destroys most vegetable colours when moist, and is in fact the agent now universally employed for bleaching purposes.

It has also the power of combining with and destroying all noxious smells, and is invaluable as a purifier of foul rooms, and destroyer of infection. For these latter purposes it is used in combination with lime, either in substance or solution, under the name of “Chloride of Lime.”

Sir W. Burnett has lately discovered that the chloride of zinc answers the same purposes as the chloride of lime, and has the advantage of being itself destitute of smell, and his fluid is frequently substituted for the other.

Chlorine gas is a powerful supporter of combustion, many of the metals taking fire spontaneously when introduced in a fine state of division into the gas.


1. Into a jar of chlorine gas introduce a few sheets of copper leaf, sold under the name of Dutch foil, when it will burn with a dull red light.

2. If some metallic antimony in a state of powder be poured into a jar of this gas, it will take fire as it falls, and burn with a bright white light.

3. A small piece of the metal potassium may be introduced, and will also take fire.

4. A piece of phosphorus will also generally take fire spontaneously[369] when introduced into this gas. In all these cases direct compounds of the substances with chlorine are produced, called chlorides.

5. If a lighted taper be plunged quickly into the gas, it will continue to burn with a dull light, giving off a very large quantity of smoke, being in fact the carbon of the wax taper, with which the chlorine does not unite; while the other constituent of the taper, the hydrogen, forms muriatic acid by union with the chlorine.

6. This substance has the property of destroying most vegetable colours, and is used in large quantities for bleaching calico, linen, and the rags of which paper is made. It is a curious fact that it shows this property only when water is present, for if a piece of coloured cloth is introduced dry into a jar of the gas, also dry, no effect will be produced—wet the cloth, and reintroduce it, and in a very short time its colour will be discharged.

7. Introduce a quantity of the infusion of the common red cabbage, which is of a beautiful blue colour, into a jar of this gas, and it will instantly become nearly as pale as water, retaining a slight tinge of yellow. A solution of sulphate of indigo can always be obtained, and answers well for this experiment.


With chlorine, hydrogen forms a compound called muriatic, or hydrochloric acid gas. It cannot easily be formed by the direct union of its elements, but is procured from some compound in which it exists ready formed. Common salt (chloride of sodium) is generally employed; and when acted on by strong sulphuric acid (or oil of vitriol), the gas is disengaged in abundance. It must be collected over mercury, for water absorbs it, forming the liquid muriatic, or hydrochloric acid.

A lighted taper plunged into this gas is instantly extinguished. It is very dangerous to animal life if respired. It has the property of destroying animal effluvia, and was once employed to purify the cathedral of Dijon, which was so filled with putrid emanations from the bodies buried in it, that it had been closed for some time. It perfectly succeeded, but it is so destructive to all metallic substances that it is not used now, for the chlorides of lime and zinc have since been discovered to act more effectually than the muriatic acid gas, without its inconvenience.

The compounds of hydrogen with iodine are passed over.

With nitrogen, hydrogen unites and forms one of the most extraordinary compounds in the whole range of chemistry,—the gas called ammonia. This is the only gas possessing what are called alkaline properties; i. e. it changes the blue colour of certain vegetables to green, yellow to deep brown, and unites with the acids to form neutral compounds, just as the other alkalies, potash and soda, which are oxides of metals. It may be procured in abundance by heating the hydrochlorate of ammonia, or sal ammoniac, as it is usually[370] called, with quick-lime, which takes the hydrochloric acid, and sets free this remarkable gas. It must be received over mercury, as it is absorbed to almost any extent by water, forming the fluid sold as “spirits of hartshorn” in the shops.

This gas is colourless and transparent, lighter than atmospheric air, and will not support combustion; it has a very pungent but not disagreeable smell. Under certain circumstances it is combustible.


1. Take a bottle containing chlorine gas, and invert over its mouth another filled with ammoniacal gas; then if the bottles be held in the hand (guarded by a pair of gloves), and suddenly turned, so that the chlorine be uppermost, the two gases will unite so rapidly that a white flame fills the bottles for an instant.

2. Substitute for the chlorine of the last experiment a bottle of carbonic or hydrochloric acid gas; in either case the gases disappear, and a light white powder settles on the sides of the bottles, being the carbonate or hydrochlorate of ammonia, according to the acid used.

Carbonate of ammonia is the substance sold for “smelling salts;” and the hydrochlorate, or muriate of ammonia, is the salt called “sal ammoniac,” whence the alkaline gas was first obtained, and from which it got its name of ammonia. The salt itself was so called, because it was formerly brought from the deserts near the ruins of the temple of Jupiter Ammon.

This salt is, as has been shown, a compound of muriatic acid gas and ammoniacal gas, containing therefore only three simple elements—hydrogen, chlorine, and nitrogen, all gases, and known only in the gaseous state, its symbol being NH4C2; yet they by union form a solid body, resembling in all essential qualities the salts of potash and soda, which are oxides of known metals. Moreover, if some mercury be placed in a solution of this salt, and subjected to the action of galvanism, the negative pole being applied to the mercury, and the positive to the sal ammoniac, the mercury presently loses its fluidity, increases greatly in size, and in fact presents the same appearance as when it is mixed with some metal, forming what is called an “amalgam.” When the battery ceases to act, a succession of white films forms on the surface of the amalgam, and the mercury soon returns to its original state. How is this to be explained? Some chemists have supposed that there must be a base united to the mercury, and have named this hypothetical substance “ammonium,” to correspond to potassium and sodium, the bases of potash and soda, which resemble ammonia in so many properties. But what is this ammonium? and how is it formed? for hydrogen and nitrogen are simple elementary bodies. Are all metals compounds of gases? and are there but a few elements instead of the 64 now enumerated? This, however, is a difficult question, not fitted for discussion here.


Carbonate of ammonia may be obtained by mixing together powdered chalk (which is a carbonate of lime) and muriate of ammonia, and heating the mixture in close vessels, when the salt in question will rise in fumes, and be condensed in a mass in the upper part of the vessel. It is, however, so largely produced in other manufactures, particularly in gas-works, that there is no necessity to resort to the more expensive and direct method. It is the well-known “smelling salts.”

The only other salt of ammonia worth our notice here is the nitrate, from the destructive distillation of which is obtained the nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, already mentioned.


On the coasts of certain islands belonging to the Duke of Argyll, vast quantities of sea-weed are occasionally torn up from their ocean beds and deposited on the shores. This weed, after being partially dried by exposure to the sun and air, is burnt in a shallow pit; the ashes are then collected, and form the commercial raw material called kelp, from which iodine is procured by a gradual series of processes.


Iodine has a beautiful metallic lustre, with a bluish black colour, and should be kept in a well-stoppered bottle. A small quantity placed in a clear flask and heated, affords a magnificent violet vapour, which may be poured from the flask into another glass vessel, when it condenses again into crystalline plates. The colour of the vapour originates the name of this element, so called from the Greek ὶώδης, violet-coloured. If a little iodine be placed in contact with a thin slice of phosphorus, the latter takes fire almost immediately.


So called from the Greek βρόμος, a bad odour, is most intimately allied with chlorine and iodine; like these elements it belongs to the sea, and is a constituent of sea-water. Bromine is a very heavy fluid, and should be preserved by keeping it covered with water in a stoppered-bottle.

Experiments with liquid bromine are not recommended, as all the most interesting ones can be performed with the vapour, which is easily procured by letting fall a few drops of bromine into a warm dry bottle.


Pounded antimony sprinkled into the vapour takes fire immediately.

A thin slice of phosphorus placed in a deflagrating ladle and placed into the vapour of bromine ignites very quickly.

A solution of sulphate of indigo, or an infusion of red cabbage, are easily bleached by being shaken violently with the vapour of bromine.



In many parts of England, especially in Devonshire, Cornwall, and above all in Derbyshire, is found a very beautiful mineral, known by the name of Fluor Spar, Derbyshire Spar, and called by the miners Blue John, to distinguish it from another mineral found, in the same locality, called Black Jack. It occurs in very regular and frequently large crystals in the form of cubes, and occasionally in octoëdra. It is a compound of calcium with fluorine, and is very abundant in certain fossil bones. This element, in combination with hydrogen and called hydrofluoric acid, acts so energetically upon all substances containing silica, that it cannot be preserved in vessels of glass or porcelain—very few of the metals are capable of resisting its action, lead being nearly the only common metal possessed of this power. Gutta percha may also be employed for vessels to hold it.

This property of dissolving silica, has caused this acid to be used for engraving on glass.


Mix one part of powdered fluor-spar, quite pure, with two parts of oil of vitriol, in a saucer, and apply a gentle heat, when the acid will be disengaged in the form of vapour. Prepare a piece of glass after the manner of engraving on copper, by coating it with a thin covering of wax, placing a paper over the wax, and then drawing any design with a sharp-pointed instrument, when, on removing the paper, the wax-coating will be found to be removed wherever the instrument has passed over it. Now invert, this glass over the fumes of the acid for half an hour or so, and then heat the glass so as to soften the coating, and wipe it off; the design will then appear “bitten in” as the term is, that is, the acid will have dissolved the glass wherever it was not protected by the wax, and will exhibit the design indelibly fixed on the glass.

This acid requires the greatest care in handling, for it is extremely corrosive, producing very troublesome ulcers if it comes in contact with the skin; even the fumes will produce smarting if the skin is long exposed to them.


The next substance in our list of elementary bodies is named carbon.

The purest form of carbon is the precious stone called diamond, which consists entirely of carbon in a crystallized form. The French chemist Lavoisier was the first who proved the combustibility of the diamond; and Sir H. Davy found that when once set on fire it would continue to burn in oxygen gas air, and that the product of the combustion was carbonic acid gas, exactly equal in quantity to the gas produced by burning an equal weight of pure charcoal, the most common form of carbon.


Plumbago, or “black-lead,” as it is very improperly called, is also nearly pure carbon, a very small quantity of iron being united with it.

By far the greater part of all vegetable, and a very large portion of animal bodies consists of carbon; and in the state of carbonic acid in combination with lime and some other earths, it forms nearly the half of all the chalk, marble, and limestone of our hills; so that it is, in one shape or other, one of the most widely diffused bodies in nature.

Carbon forms two gaseous compounds with oxygen; the first, called carbonic oxide, is easily obtained by boiling oxalic acid with its own bulk of sulphuric acid, in a flask to which a cork and bent tube is attached. The gas comes over in large quantities, and must be collected in a gas jar, or the pneumatic trough. It is inflammable, and burns with a lambent blue flame.

The other compound, carbonic acid, is transparent, colourless, much heavier than atmospheric air, has an agreeable taste, has the power of irritating the mucous membrane of the nose, (as any one can tell who has drunk soda-water), without possessing any particular odour, is absorbed by water, does not support respiration, and extinguishes flame.

Carbonic acid gas may be obtained with the greatest facility by pouring some muriatic or sulphuric acid, diluted with about six parts of water, upon some pieces of marble or limestone in a bottle with a tube attached, when the gas comes over in torrents. It may be collected over water.



1. To show the great comparative weight of this gas, place a lighted taper at the bottom of a tall glass jar, then take a jar full of carbonic acid gas, and pour it as you would pour water into the jar containing the lighted taper; you will soon find the taper will be extinguished as effectually as if you had poured water on it, and the smoke of the taper will float on the surface of the gas in very beautiful wavy forms.

2. Heat a piece of the metal potassium in a metal spoon (platinum is best), and if introduced in a state of ignition into the gas, it will continue burning brilliantly, producing a quantity of dense smoke, which is the carbon from the carbonic acid, the potassium having seized the oxygen and being converted by it into potash.

3. If a mouse, bird, or other small animal, be placed in a jar of this gas, it becomes insensible almost immediately, but if speedily removed it will occasionally recover.

4. Shake up some water with some of this gas in a bottle; the greater part of the gas will be absorbed by the water,[374] which acquires a sparkling appearance and a pleasant sharp taste; with the addition of a little soda this becomes the well-known beverage called soda-water, so famous for removing the morning headaches caused by “that salmon” having disagreed at yesterday’s dinner.

It is the presence of this gas which renders it so dangerous to descend into deep wells, for by its great weight it collects at the bottom, and instantly suffocates any unfortunate person who incautiously subjects himself to it. Hence it is prudent always to let down a lighted candle before any one descends into a well, or other deep excavation, and if the candle is extinguished, it is necessary to throw down several pails of water, lime-water if possible, and again to try the candle, which must burn freely before it is safe for any one to descend.

It is this same gas under the name of “choke-damp,” which proves so dangerous to miners, particularly after an explosion of “fire-damp,” for it is the principal product of the explosion, and it is by no means an easy matter to dislodge it.

Carbonic acid gas has been condensed into the fluid form by causing it to be disengaged under great pressure; the fluid acid has the appearance of water. When the pressure is removed, as by allowing some of the fluid acid to escape from the vessel in which it has been condensed, it instantly reassumes the gaseous form, and in so doing absorbs so much latent caloric that a portion of the acid is actually solidified, and appears in the shape of snow, which may be collected and preserved for a short time. After a lecture by Mr. Addams before the Ashmolean Society of Oxford, I carried a kind of snowball of carbonic acid for a distance of 500 or 600 yards, and placed it in a saucer in a room. It evaporated very rapidly, and left no residue, not even a mark where it had lain. It was too cold to be touched by the naked hand without pain.

Carbonic acid and lime are mutually tests for each other. If a jar containing a little lime-water be put into a jar of this gas, it speedily becomes turbid, the gas uniting with the lime, and producing chalk (the carbonate of lime), which is insoluble in water.

This gas is produced in large quantities by the respiration of animals, as may be proved by respiring through a tube immersed in lime-water, when the water will be instantly rendered turbid from the formation of chalk.


To the combination of these elements in various proportions, and with the occasional addition of other substances, we are indebted for all, or nearly all, our means of obtaining light and heat. Coal, wood, spirit, oil, and all the varieties of fats, are composed principally of carbon and hydrogen, and may easily be converted into the gas with[375] which our houses and streets are lighted, which is nearly pure carburetted hydrogen.

The two chief definite gaseous compounds of these two elements are the light carburetted hydrogen, and the heavy carburetted hydrogen, or olefiant gas. The first is easily procured by stirring the bottom of stagnant water on a hot summer’s day, and collecting the bubbles in a bottle filled with water and inverted over the place where the bubbles rise. This gas burns with a yellowish flame, and when mixed with a certain proportion of air, or oxygen gas, explodes with great violence on the application of a flame. It is the much dreaded fire-damp generated so profusely in some coal-mines, and causing such fearful destruction to life and property when accidentally inflamed.

The other compound, the heavy carburetted hydrogen, forms part of the gas used for illumination; and, in fact, whatever substance is employed for artificial light, whether oil, tallow, wax, &c. &c. it is converted into this gas by heat, and then furnishes the light by its own combustion.

This gas has some very curious properties, and may be obtained nearly pure by mixing in a retort, very carefully, one part of spirits of wine and four of sulphuric acid. A lamp must be placed under the retort, when the gas will be speedily disengaged, and come over in great abundance; it may be collected over water.

This gas is transparent, colourless, will not support combustion, but is itself inflammable, burning with a brilliant white light, and being converted into carbonic acid and water. If mixed with three or four times its bulk of oxygen, or with common atmospheric air in much larger proportions, it explodes with great violence.

This gas is sometimes called “olefiant gas,” from the property it has of forming an oily substance when mixed with chlorine.



Into a jar standing over water half full of this gas, pass an equal quantity of chlorine gas. The gases will speedily unite and form an oily-looking liquid, which may be collected from the sides of the jar as it trickles down. By continually supplying the jar with the two gases as they combine, a considerable quantity of this substance may be collected. Care should be taken that the olefiant gas is rather in excess.

The substance produced is insoluble in water, with which it should be washed by shaking them together in a tube, and has a pleasant sweetish taste and aromatic smell, somewhat resembling ether.



The gas so universally employed for the purposes of illumination is a mixture of the carburetted and the bi-carburetted hydrogen, with minute portions of other gases scarcely worth mentioning. It is procured by submitting coals to a red heat in iron retorts, having a tube passing from one end, along which passes all the fluid and gaseous matter separated from the coal, namely, gas tar, ammoniacal liquor, and various gases, carburetted hydrogen, carbonic acid, sulphuretted hydrogen, &c. &c. The tar and ammoniacal liquor remain in the vessel in which the tubes from the retorts terminate, and the gaseous productions are conveyed through water and lime to separate the impurities; the remaining gas, now fit for use, passes into large iron vessels, called gasometers, inverted over water (like the jars in a pneumatic trough), whence it is sent through pipes and distributed where required. What remains in the retorts is called coke. It consists principally of charcoal, mixed with the earthy and metallic particles contained in the coal.


If you possess an iron bottle, fill it with powdered coal, and attach a flexible tube to it, and put it in the fire: as soon as it becomes red hot, large quantities of smoke will escape from the end of the tube, being the gas mixed with all its impurities. By passing it through water (if mixed with lime it will be better), the gas may be collected in jars standing over water, and submitted to experiment. If you do not possess a bottle, take a tobacco-pipe with a large bowl, (a “churchwarden” for example); fill the bowl with small coal, cover it with clay or putty, and when dry put it into the fire, and the gas will soon appear at the other end of the pipe, when it may be lighted, or the gas may be collected over water, as in the former experiment.

The light carburetted hydrogen contained in this gas is given off spontaneously in some coal-mines, and as it forms explosive mixtures with atmospheric air, the mines where it abounds could not be worked except at the greatest risk until about the beginning of the present century, when Sir H. Davy, while prosecuting some researches on the nature of flame, found that flame would not pass through metallic tubes, and he gradually reduced the length of the tubes, until he found fine iron wire gauze formed an effectual barrier against the passage of flame. He then thought that if the light in a lantern were surrounded with this gauze, it might safely be used in an inflammable atmosphere, where a naked light would instantly cause an explosion. Upon submitting the lamp to experiment, he found that by passing coal gas by degrees into a vessel in which one of his lamps was suspended, the flame first became much larger, and then was extinguished, the cylinder of gauze being filled with a pale flame, and though the gauze sometimes became red-hot, it did not ignite[377] the gas outside. As the supply of coal gas was diminished, the wick of the lamp was rekindled, and all went on as at first. A coil of platinum wire was afterwards suspended in the lamps, which becomes intensely heated by the burning gas, and gives out sufficient light to enable the miner to see to work. As long as the gauze is perfect it is almost impossible for the external air to be kindled by the wick of the lamp, but the miners are so careless that they will often remove the gauze to get a better light, to look for a tool, or some cause equally trivial, and many lives have been lost in consequence of such carelessness.

The effect of fine wire gauze in preventing the passage of flame may be shown by bringing a piece of the gauze gradually over the flame of a spirit-lamp, until it nearly touches the wick, when the flame will be nearly extinguished, but the vapour of the spirit passes through, and may be lighted on the upper side of the gauze, which will thus have a flame on either side, though totally unconnected with each other. The flame from a gas-burner will answer as well as the spirit-lamp.

Nearly all the fluids, and solids also, used for procuring artificial light, such as naphtha, various oils, tallow, wax, spermaceti, spirits of wine, ether, &c. &c. are compounds of carbon and hydrogen in different proportions, with the occasional addition of some other elements, especially oxygen and hydrogen, in the proportions to form water; as a general rule, those bodies containing the greatest proportion of carbon give the most light, though not necessarily the most heat.


The next body we have to notice is phosphorus, a most remarkable substance, procured from the earthy part of bones by a process not worth detailing here. It should be always kept under water, and the naked fingers should not be allowed even to touch it, for the smallest piece getting under the nail will inflame the first time the hand comes near the fire, and produce a sore very painful and difficult to heal. It should be cut under water by a knife or scissors, and removed with a pair of forceps. Its combustible properties have been frequently mentioned. It has also the property of shining in the dark, so that if you write on a wall with a solution of phosphorus in oil, the letters will appear luminous in the dark—there is no danger, excepting from the greasiness of the oil.

Of the compounds of phosphorus with oxygen we have nothing to do here, but it forms with hydrogen a very curious gaseous compound, which takes fire spontaneously on the contact of air, or almost any gas containing oxygen.


It may be procured in either of two ways, according to the purpose for which it is wanted. The simplest way is to put a lump or two[378] of phosphuret of lime into a saucer, about two inches in depth, containing some very diluted hydrochloric acid; bubbles of gas will speedily arise, and bursting on the surface of the fluid will burn with a slight explosion, and a circular wreath of smoke will rise into the atmosphere, enlarging as it rises, and wreathing itself round and round in the most elegant forms. Care must be taken that the phosphuret is fresh, and has been kept in a well-closed bottle, or the experiment will fail. The apartment must be free from draughts. If you desire to collect the gas, another method must be employed.

Retort and receptacle

Fill a small retort quite full, neck and all, of a solution of caustic potash, drop five or six pieces of phosphorus into it, place the finger on the end of the retort, and immerse it in a basin also containing a hot solution of potash, remove the finger, and on applying the heat of a lamp to the retort, the gas will soon be disengaged rapidly, and drive out the fluid in the retort; it then escapes into the air, when it inflames with the same appearances as before described. Or it may be collected in gas jars filled with the potash solution, and held over the mouth of the retort. The object in using hot solution of potash in the basin is, that when the gas ceases to be given off, and the heat of the lamp is withdrawn, the hot fluid may gradually fill the vacuum which will form in the retort, and so prevent its being broken.

This gas is transparent and invisible, like most other gases. It is very poisonous if inhaled. If kept for any time, it loses its property of spontaneous inflammation, and must therefore be made at the time it is required.


Sulphur, or brimstone, as it is frequently called, is sold in the form of sticks, or roll brimstone, or in fine powder called flowers of brimstone.

It is capable of showing electric phenomena when rubbed, giving out slight sparks, and first attracting and then repelling light bodies, such as small pieces of paper, &c. It is so bad a conductor of heat, that if grasped suddenly in a hot hand, it will crack and split into pieces just as glass does when suddenly heated or cooled—of course I am speaking of the roll brimstone. Water has no effect on it, as may be seen in the pans placed for pet dogs to drink out of, where[379] the same piece of brimstone lies for years entirely unaltered, though it is supposed to prevent the dogs from having the mange!

Sulphur is largely used in the arts, principally in the manufacture of gunpowder, and fireworks of various kinds.

It combines with hydrogen, and forms a gaseous compound called sulphuretted hydrogen, which is almost the most poisonous of all the gases. It fortunately has so abominable smell, that due notice is given of its presence. Rotten eggs, a dirty gun-barrel, cabbage water, putrid animal and vegetable matter, &c. are indebted to this gas for their inviting odour; and it is found in certain mineral springs, as at Harrogate, where the water contains a considerable quantity of this gas, and is found useful in many diseases of the skin. It is also given off in a gaseous form by some volcanoes.

This gas may be obtained by pouring dilute hydrochloric acid upon a metallic sulphuret, such as that called crude antimony, being a native sulphuret of that metal. The gas may be kept for a short time over water. It is colourless and transparent, inflammable, but quite irrespirable, a small bird dying instantly when placed in air containing only 11500th of this gas. Its most remarkable property perhaps is the effect it has on certain metallic oxides, and other metallic salts, blackening them instan