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in 1457, and again in 1481, by James IV. The bail used at this game was stuffed very hard with feathers. Strutt says that this game is much practised in the north of England; and Dr. Jamieson, that it is a common game in Scotland."
A GOOSE, whose neck is greased, being suspended by the legs to a cord tied to two trees or high posts, a number of men on horseback riding full speed attempt to pull off the head, which, if they accomplish, they win the goose. This has been practised in Derbyshire within the memory of persons now living. Douce says, his worthy friend Mr. Lumisden informed him that when young he remembered the sport of “riding the goose” at Edinburgh. A bar was placed across the road, to which a goose, whose neck had been previously greased, was tied. At this the candidates, as before mentioned, plucked. A print of this barbarous custom may be seen in the Trionfi, &c., della Venetia.2
In Newmarket; or an Essay on the Turf, 1771, ii. 174, we read: “In the northern part of England it is no unusual diversion to tie a rope across a street, and let it swing about the distance of ten yards from the ground. To the middle of this a living cock is tied by the legs. As he swings in the air, a set of young people ride one after another, full speed, under
See Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, p. 8; Jamieson's Etym. Dict. in voce. In the Gentleman's Magazine for February, 1795, p. 145, mention is made of shinty match, a game also peculiar to North Britain, something similar to the golf. Dr. Jamieson calls “shinty an inferior species of golf, generally played at by young people.” He adds, “in London this game is called hackie. It seems to be the same which is designed not in Gloucest.; the name being borrowed from the ball, which is made of a knotty piece of wood. Gl. Grose.” Etym. Dict. v. Shinty.
2 See also Menestrier, Traité des Tournois, p. 346. In Paullinus de Candore, p. 264, we read: “In Dania, tempore quadragesimali Belga rustici in insula Amack, anserem (candidum ego vidi), fune alligatum, inque sublimi pendentem, habent, ad quem citatis equis certatim properant, quique caput ei prius abruperit, victor evasit.”. Concerning the practice of swarming up a pole after a goose placed at top, see Sauval, Antiquités de Paris, ïi. 696.
the rope, and, rising in their stirrups, catch at the animal's head, which is close clipped and well soaped in order to elude the grasp. Now he who is able to keepe his seat in his saddle and his hold of the bird's head, so as to carry it off in his hand, bears away the palm, and becomes the noble hero of the day.”
HANDICAP. [1660, Sept. 18th. “To the Mitre Tavern in Wood Street, a house of the greatest note in London. Here some of us fell to handicap, a sport that I never knew before, which was very good.” Pepys's Diary, i. 135.)
HANDY-DANDY. BOYER, in his Dictionary, calls handy-dandy (a kind of play with the hands), “Sorte de jeu des mains. Ainsworth, in his Dictionary, renders handy-dandy by“ digitis micare; to move the fingers up and down very swiftly, the number of which, or several fingers were guessed at for the determining things in question, as they hit or mistook the number of fingers.” Douce thinks this is a mistake. Johnson says: “ Handy-dandy, a play in which children change hands and places : See how yon justice rails upon yon simple thief! Hark, in thine ear : change places, and, handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief?!” King Lear, iv. 6.
Malone seems to have given the best interpretation. “Handy-dandy,” he says, “is, I believe, a play among children, in which something is shaken between two hands, and then a guess is made in which hand it is retained. See Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598 : ‘Bazzicchiare, to shake between two hands; to play handy-dandy.'”
Cornelius Scriblerus, in forbidding certain sports to his son Martin till he is better informed of their antiquity, says: “ Neither cross and pile, nor ducks and drakes, are quite so
ancient as handy-dandy, though Macrobius and St. Augustine take notice of the first, and Minutius Foelix describes the latter; but handy-dandy is mentioned by Aristotle, Plato, and Aristophanes.” Pope's Works, vi. 115. He adds (ibid. p. 116): “The play which the Italians call cinque and the French mourre is extremely ancient; it was played by Hymen and Cupid at the marriage of Psyche, and termed by the Latins, digitis micare.”
HEADS AND TAILS. This sport is undoubtedly alluded to in Macrobius, Saturn. lib. i. c. 7. “Cum pueri denarios in sublime jactantes, capita aut navia, lusu teste vetustatis exclamant.”
To run the hoop ; an ancient marine custom. Four or more boys, having their left hands tied fast to an iron hoop, and each of them a rope, called a nettle, in their right, being naked to the waist, wait the signal to begin; this being made by a stroke with a cat-of-nipe-tails, given by the boatswain to one of the boys, he strikes the one before him, and every one does the same. At first the blows are but gently administered ; but each, irritated by the strokes from the boy behind him, at length lays it on in earnest. This was anciently practised when a ship was wind-bound.
HOT COCKLES. FONE boy sits down, and another, who is blindfolded, kneels and lays his head on his knee, placing at the same time his open hand on his own back. He then cries, “ Hot cockles, bot.” Another then strikes his open hand, and the sitting boy asks who strikes. If the boy guessed wrongly, he made a forfeit, but if rightly, he was released. This sport is mentioned as follows by Gay :
“ As at hot-cockles once I laid me down,
I felt the weighty hand of many a clown ;
Quick rose and read soft nuischief in her eye.” A humorous writer in the Gent. Mag. for Feb. 1738, says: “Hot cockles and more sacks to the mill were certainly in vented in the highest times of ignorance and superstition, when the Jaity were hoodwinked, and a parcel of monks were saddling their backs and bastinadoeing them.”
Cornelius Scriblerus says: “The chytrindra described by Julius Pollux is certainly not our hot-cockle ; for that was by pinching, and not by striking : though there are good authors who affirm the rathapygismus to be yet nearer the modern hot-cockles. My son Martin may use either of them indifferently, they being equally antique.” Pope's Works, vi. 116.
HUNT THE SLIPPER. This game is noticed by Mr. Rogers in the Pleasures of Memory, 1. 35:
“ 'Twas here we chas'd the slipper by its sound."
An old game, similar to backgammon, but more complicated. It is thus alluded to in Hall's Horæ Vacivæ, 1646 : “ The inconstancy of Irish fitly represents the changeablenesse of humane occurrences, since it ever stands so fickle that one malignant throw can quite ruine a never so well-built game. Art hath here a great sway, by reason if one cannot well stand the first assault, hee may safely retire back to an after game.”
KISSING THE POST. BAGFORD, in his Letter relating to the Antiquities of London, printed in the first vol. of Leland's Collectanea, 1770, and dated Feb. 1, 1714—15, p. lxxvi, says: “ This brings to my mind another ancient custom, that hath been omitted of late years. It seems that, in former times, the porters that ply'd at Billingsgate used civilly to intreat and desire every man that passed that way to salute a post that stood there in a vacant place. If he refused to do this, they forthwith laid hold of him, and by main force bouped his **** against the post; but, if he quietly submitted to kiss the same, and paid down sixpence, then they gave him a name, and chose some one of the gang for his godfather. I believe this was done in memory of some old image that formerly stood there, perhaps of Belius, or Belin.” He adds: “Somewhat of the like post, or rather stump, was near St. Paul's, and is at this day call'd St. Paul's stump.”
It is the duty of the Rector of St. Mary-at-Hill, in which parish Billingsgate is situated, to preach a sermon every year on the first Sunday after Midsummer day, before the Society of Fellowship Porters, exhorting them to be charitable towards their old decayed brethren, and “to bear one another's burthens.”
The stump spoken of by Bagford is probably alluded to in Good Newes and Bad Newes, by S. R., 1022, where the author, speaking of a countryman who had been to see the sights of London, mentions
“ The water-workes, huge Paul's, old Charing Crosse,
(“A GAME played by boys; easier to play than to describe. Three small holes are made in the ground, triangularly, about twenty feet apart, to mark the position of as many boys, who each holds a small stick, about two feet long. Three other