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[A GAME used in Gloucestershire, where the parties, ranged on opposite sides, with each a bat in their hands, endeavour to strike a ball to opposite goals. The game is called not, from the ball being made of a knotty piece of wood.]
PALL-MALL. In a most rare book, entitled the French Garden for English Ladies and Gentlewomen to walke in, 1621, in a dialogue, the lady says : “If one had paille-mails, it were good to play in this alley, for it is of a reasonable good length, straight, and even.” And a note in the margin informs us : “A paille-mal is a wooden hammer set to the end of a long staffe to strike a boule with, at which game noblemen and gentlemen in France doe play much.”
In Sir Robert Dallington's Method for Travell, showed by taking the view of France as it stood in the year of our Lord 1598, 4to. London, we read: “Among all the exercises of France, I prefere none before the palle-maille, both because it is a gentlemanlike sport, not violent, and yields good occasion and opportunity of discourse, as they walke from one marke to the other. I marvell among many more apish and foolish toys which we have brought out of France, that we have not brought this sport also into England.” See more of this game in Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, p. 82.
PEARIE. DR. JAMIESON defines Pearie, “that instrument of play used by boys in Scotland, which in England is called a pegtop.” It seems to have been named from its exact resemblance to a pear. The humming-top of England is in Scotland denominated a French pearie, probably as having been originally imported from France.
PICCADILLY, OR PICARDILY,
Is mentioned in Flecknoe's Epigrams, p. 90 :
“ And their lands to coyn they distil ye,
And then with the money
You see how they run ye
To loose it at piccadilly." There was also a species of ruff so called. In the Honestie of this Age, by Barnaby Rich, 1615, p. 25, is the following pas
“But he that some forty or fifty yeares sithens should have asked a pickadilly, I wonder who could have understood him, or could have told what a pickadilly had been, fish or flesh.”
PIGEON-HOLES. [“ A game like our modern bagatelle, where there was a machine with arches for the balls to run through, resembling the cavities made for pigeons in a dove-house.”—Halliwell's Dictionary, p. 622.
“In this quarter the commendable exercise of nine-pins, pigeon-holes, stool-ball, and barley-break are much practised, by reason Easter-holidays, Whitsun-holidays, and May-day fall in this quarter; besides the landlords holiday, which makes more mirth than any of the holidays aforesaid.” – Poor Robin, 1738.]
PRICKING AT THE BELT. A CHEATING game, also called Fast and Loose, of which the following is a description : “A leathern belt is made up into a number of intricate folds, and placed edgewise upon a table. One of the folds is made to resemble the middle of a girdle, so that whoever shall thrust a skewer into it would think he held it fast to the table : whereas, when he has so done, the
done, the person with whom he plays may take hold of both ends and draw it away.” It appears to have been a game much practised by the gipsies in the time of Shakespeare.
PRISON-BARS, OR PRISON-BASE. The game of “the Country Base” is mentioned by Shakespeare in Cymbeline. Also in the tragedy of Hoffman, 1632:
" I'll run a little course
At base, or barley-brake." Again, in the Antipodes, 1638:
“My men can run at base." Also, in the thirtieth song of Drayton's Polyolbion :
“At hood-wink, barley-brake, at tick, or prison-base." Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, v. 8:
“So ran they all as they had been at bace."
THE QUINTAIN. The quintain seems to have been used by most nations in Europe. See a very curious account of it in Menage, Diction. Etymol. de la Langue Françoise, in v. Quintain. See also Le Grand, Fabliaux et Contes, ii. 414; Du Cange, Glossar. ad Script. Lat. mediæ Ætatis; Pancirolli, Rer. mem. deperd. Comment. ii. 292, tit. xxi; Spelman Gloss. in v. Quintaen ; Watts's Glossary to Matt. Paris, v. Quintena ; Dugdale's Hist. Warwickshire, p. 166 ; Cowel's Law Dictionary ; Plott's Hist. of Oxfordshire, pp. 200, 201 ; and Archäologia, i. 303. A description of the military quintain which was used instead of tilting, may be seen in Pluvinel, L'Instruction du Roy sur l'Exercice de monter à Cheval, p. 217. A singular specimen of the quintain is mentioned in the C. de Tressani, Corps d'Extraits de Romans, iii. 30.
RACES. Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 231, says: “The English nobility take great delight in horse-races. The most famous are usually at Newmarket;
and there you are sure to see a great many persons of the first quality, and almost all the gentlemen of the neighbourhood. It is pretty common for them to lay wagers of two thousand pounds sterling upon one race.
I have seen a horse, that after having run twenty miles in fifty-five minutes, upon ground less even than that where the races are run at Newmarket, and won the wager for his master, would have been able to run anew without taking breath, if he that had lost durst have ventured again. There are also races run by men.”
In Hinde's Life of Master John Bruen, a Puritan of great celebrity, 1641, p. 104, the author recommends “unto many of our gentlemen, and to many of inferior rank, that they would make an exchange of their foot-races and horse-races,” &c.
A proclamation was issued by the Protector Cromwell, 8th April, 1658, "prohibiting horse-races in England and Wales for eight moneths."
DIVERSION OF THE RING. Misson, in his Travels in England, p. 126, speaking of Hyde Park, " at the end of one of the suburbs of London," says: “ Here the people of fashion take the diversion of the ring. In a pretty high place, which lies very open, they have surrounded à circumference of two or three hundred paces diameter, with a sorry kind of balustrade, or rather with poles placed upon stakes, but three foot from the ground; and the coaches drive round and round this. When they have turned for some time round one way, they face about and turn t'other : so rowls the world.”
RIDING AT THE RING.
In the Statistical Account of Scotland, xx. 433, parish of Dunkeld, Perthshire, we have an account of the diversion with this name. “ To prevent that intemperance," the writer says, “to which social meetings in such situations are sometimes prone, they spend the evening in some public competi
tion of dexterity or skill. Of these, riding at the ring (an amusement of ancient and warlike origin) is the chief. Two perpendicular posts are erected on this occasion, with a crossbeam, from which is suspended a small ring: the competitors are on horseback, each having a pointed rod in his band, and he who, at full gallop, passing betwixt the posts, carries away the ring on the rod, gains the prize.” This is undoubtedly a game of long standing. In the King of Denmarkes Welcome, 1606, the author, giving an account of the reception of Christian IV. in England that year, says: “On Monday, being the 4th day of August, it pleased our kings majestie himself in person, and the kings majestie of Denmarke likewise in person, and divers others of his estate, to runne at the ring in the tilt-yard at Greenwich, where the King of Denmarke approved to all judgements that majestie is never unaccompanied with vertue : for there, in the presence of all his beholders, he tooke the ring fower severall times, and would I thinke have done the like four score times, had he runne 80 many courses."
THERE appears by the following passage to have been an ancient game called ruffe : "A swaggerer is one that plays at ruffe, from whence he tooke the denomination of a ruffyn," &c., from Characters at the end of the House of Correction, or certaine Satyrical Epigrams, by J. H., Gent. 1619. It was a game at cards. See further notices in Halliwell's Dictionary,
In the Dedication to Michael Mumchance, we read : “making the divel to daunce in the bottome of your purses, and to turn your angels out of their houses like bad tenants." Ibid. “Novum, hassard, and swift-foot-passage," occur as games.