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How win at Speculation


In the evening it was found, according to the predetermination of Mrs Grant and her sister, that after making up the whist-table there would remain sufficient for a round game, and everybody being as perfectly complying and without a choice as on such occasions they always are, speculation was decided on almost as soon as whist; and Lady Bertram soon found herself in the critical situation of being applied to for her own choice between the games, and being required either to draw a card for whist or not.

 

Mansfield Park

How to Play Speculation

Deck: 52 card deck with Aces high

Players: 2 to 9

Object: To be the holder of the highest trump at the end of a round.

Preliminaries:Each player contributes to the pot. The dealer deals three cards to each player, face down. She turns up the next card in the deck to determine trump.

English playing cards from about 1750
Play: If the trump card is an Ace, the dealer takes the pot. If the trump card is a King, Queen or Jack, the dealer offers it for sale to the highest bidder. Players may check their cards to decide whether they wish to bid. The dealer may choose whether she wishes to accept the bid. If she does, the payment is made and the card passed to the buyer.
All cards are now turned face up, and the holder of the highest trump takes the pot.

If the faced up trump is a card with a number, the card is put up for bid, however the players may not look at their hands before deciding to bid. Whether it is sold or not, it is left face up on the table. If the card is sold, the buyer does not turn up her cards until a higher trump is turned. The player on the dealer’s left now turns up her top card. This continues in rotation to the left until a higher trump than the one face up is discovered. If a better trump shows, it may be offered for sale by its holder, who has the right to decide whether or not to accept the bid. The rest of the face down cards are turned up, one by one, until a higher trump is exposed. A higher trump may also be offered for sale. The player holding the highest trump at the end of the game wins the pot.

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Instructions on The Game of Loo

On Playing the game of Loo

How to Play the Game of Loo


“On entering the drawing-room she found the whole party at loo, and was immediately invited to join them; but making her sister the excuse, said she would amuse herself for the short time she could stay below with a book.”
Pride and Prejudice

For the game of loo you will need:

Deck: 52 card deck with Aces High
Players: 5-8 best, up to 17 possible
Object: To take tricks and earn a share of the pot.
Preliminaries: Dealer places three chips in the pot. She deals three cards to each player, face down.

The first round in the game of loo differs from other rounds. This round is called Simple Pool. Every player must play the hand she is dealt, which is called a “bold stand.” The player to the dealer’s left leads a card. The other players must play the suit led and must play a card of a higher denomination, if possible. If she has no card of the suit led, she discards any card she chooses. The trick is taken by the player who plays the highest card in the suit led. However, if one player has been unable to follow suit, the dealer turns up the top card on the deck to determine trump. If one or more cards in the trump suit has been played, the highest trump takes the trick. The person who takes the trick leads the next play. When the three tricks have been played, any player who has won a trick takes a share of the pot, one third for each trick taken. Any player who has not taken a trick in the round is “looed” and must place three chips in the pot.

Play: The following rounds are called Double Pool. The deal passes to the left. The new dealer places three chips in the pot. She deals three cards to each player and to an extra hand, which is called a “miss” or a “widow.” Then she turns up the top card in the remaining deck to determine the trump. Each player, starting at the dealer’s left, must declare whether she will play the hand dealt, withdraw from playing the round, or trade her cards for the miss. Once a player has taken the miss, it is no longer available, so subsequent players can only play or pass. If all but one player have passed and the player has not taken the miss, the dealer may choose to play her own hand and have a chance to win part of the pot, or she may choose to defend the miss. If she defends the miss, she does not take any winnings from the pot. The amount won by the miss remains in the pot for the next round. Play during rounds of Double Pool must begin with the player the left of the dealer leading her highest trump, if she has a trump. The person who takes a trick must lead the trick with a trump or the highest card she holds in another suit, if she has no trump cards. The winners of the tricks in Double Pool divide the pot according to the percentage of tricks taken.

***

If you enjoyed this article on the game of loo, you might like our Jane Austen playing cards.

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How to Dance Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot

 

To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love
-Pride and Prejudice

Many English Country Dances, like American contra dances, are danced to a pair of phrases of music played AABB — i.e. the first phrase is played twice, and then the second twice. In contrast, the generally accepted version of Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot–a version usually attributed to Pat Shaw–has the structure AAB. This is the version given here.

When Cecil Sharp interpreted this dance for modern consumption, he decided he could not get all the instructions to fit into so little music, so he published a dance to fit AABB. Cecil Sharp’s version is also widely known, and is given in Palmer’s Pocket Playford.* This dance was originally printed in Playford’s Dancing Master in 1695.

Although neither this particular dance nor the duple minor formation it is in were being used in Jane Austen’s day, the dance is a very ‘cinegenic’ dance. I’m not here giving the Cecil Sharp version which has a longer B part dance sequence to fill out a repeated B part (even though the original clearly says play the second strain but once). I’m here giving a closer-to-original Dancing Master (1695-1728) version. This is the sequence they dance in the movie Emma, but in that movie they dance the sequence just once then go into a snowballing cast off. P&P2 has the same non-Sharp B part as given below and used in Emma (with the dramtaic up and back) but for the A part has everyone r.h. turn, l.h. back, then 1s cross, cast, cross back up. I suspect this change from the original was probably inspired by the need for a more dramatic face-to-face beginning to a dance that was to be the vehicle for a ‘battle’ between the two protaganists, without giving away altogether a dance which offers the lovely, camera-confronting, film-effective, 4-in-line (with Darcy and Elizabeth ‘trapped’ side-by-side in the middle) up and back figure.**

A Maggot when referred to in country dancing means An extravagant notion; a whim.

Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot as danced in P&P2

A1

The first Man crosses over and goess back to back with the 2nd Woman.

Then the 1st woman crosses over and goes back to back with the 2nd Man at the same time (in short, 1s cross right shoulder to other side- possibly giving right hands momentarily, then after a bow to 2s below, do-si-do-ing with 2s below)

A2

Then meet and turn Shoulder over right shoulder with 6 steps (2 bars) then the 1st man turns the 2nd Woman with his right hand, and 1st Woman turns the 2nd Man with her right hand at the same time in 12 steps (4 bars), then 1st Couple take left hands and turn into their own places with 6 steps (2 bars)

B

The 1st couple cross over into the 2nd couple’s place by pulling on left hand, passing left shoulder and casting down on opposite side while 2s meet partner and lead up, and go back to back with their Partner while 2s cast out with 6 steps onto outside end, then all four lead up hands abrest with 2 steps and a rise, then back with 2 steps and a rise, then 1st man and Woman cross (Woman in front) as they lead up and go the partial Figure through; and cast off into the 2nd couple’s place while 2s meet partner again and lead up.

 

**Information from Earthly Delights and The Hawaiian Contra Dance Page.

Mister Beveridge’s Maggot appears on Popular English Country Dances of the 17th & 18th Centuries by the Claremont Country Dance Band and is also part of a medley on the CD English Country Dances from Playford’s Dancing Master by the Broadside Band.

Sheet Music for this song can be found on the Republic of Pemberley’s website in Easy and Complex formats.

 

*Thanks to Hugh Stewart of the Round, in Cambridge, for this information.

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Rhymes with Rose

The Austen Family was known to be witty and loved the opportunity to engage in word play. Here are the results from various family members when challenged to write a poem that “Rhymed with Rose”.

Mrs. Austen

This morning I ‘woke from a quiet repose,

I first rubb’d my eyes & I next blew my nose.

With my Stockings & Shoes I then cover’d my toes

And proceeded to put on the rest of my Cloathes.

This was finish’d in less than an hour I suppose;

I emply’d myself next in repairing my hose

‘Twas a work of necessity, not what I chose;

Of my sock I’d much rather have knit twenty Rows.–

My work being done, I looked through the windows

And with pleasure beheld all the Bucks & the Does,

The Cows & the Bullocks, the Wethers & Ewes.–

To the Lib’ry each mourn, all the Family goes,

So I went with the rest, though I felt rather froze.

My flesh is much warmer, my blood freer flows

When I work in the garden with rakes & with hoes.

And now I beleive I must come to a close,

For I find I grow stupid e’en while I compose;

If I write any longer my verse will be prose.

Miss Cassandra Austen

Love, they say is like a Rose;

I’m sure tis like the wind that blows,

For not a human creature knows

How it comes or where it goes.

It is the cause of many woes,

It swells the eyes & reds the nose,

And very often changes those

Who once were friends to bitter foes.

But let us now the scene transpose

And think no more of tears & throes.

Why may we not as well suppose

A smiling face the Urchin shows?

And when with joy: the Bosom glows,

And when the heart has full repose,

‘Tis Mutual Love the gift bestows.–

Mrs Elizabeth Austen

(wife of Edward Austen Knight)

Never before did I quarrel with a Rose

Till now that I am told some lines to compose,

Of which I shall have little idea Go knows!–

But since that the Task is assign’d me by those

To whom Love, Affection & Gratitude owes

A ready compliance, I feign would dispose

And call befriend me the Muse who bestows

The gift of Peotry both on Friends & Foes.–

My warmest acknowledgements are due to those

Who watched near my Ebd & soothed me to repose

Who pitied my sufferings & shared my woes,

And by their sympathy relieved my sorrows.

May I as long as the Blood in my veins flows

Feel the warmth of Love which now in my heart glows,

And may I sink into a refreshing Doze

When I lie my head on my welcome pillows.

Jane Austen

Happy the lab’rer in his Sunday clothes!

In light-drab coat, smart waistcoat, well-darn’d hose,

And hat upon his head, to church he goes;

As oft, with conscious pride, he downward throws

A glance upon the ample cabbage rose

That, stuck in button-hole, regales his nose,

He envies not the gayest London beaux.

In church he takes his seat among the rows,

Pays to the place the reverence he owes,

Likes best the prayers whose meaning least he knows,

Lists to the sermon in a softening doze,

And rouses joyous at the welcome close.

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Bouts-Rime

Mrs. Cassandra Austen

The Austen family enjoyed word games. This particular game involved creating a verse based on a preset list of rhyming words (in this case: verse, sorow hearse, purse and tomorrow). It was very popular in France during the mid 1700’s, also known as the Age of Wit. These particular verses were written by Jane’s mother, Cassandra Austen and George Knight (Jane’s nephew) at Chawton in 1820. Try your hand at playing this game with a group of friends with your own list of words.

Why d’you ask me to scribble in verse

When my heart’s full of trouble and sorrow?

The cause I will briefly rehearse,

I’m in debt, with a sad empty purse,

And the bailiffs will seize me tomorrow.

C. A.

I’ve said it in prose, and I’ll say it in verse,

That riches bring comfort and poverty sorrow,

That it’s better to ride in a coach than a hearse,

That it’s better to fill than to empty your purse,

And to feast well to-day than to fast till to-morrow.

C.A.

To mutton I am not averse,

But veal I eat with sorrow,

So from my cradle to my hearse

For calves I’d never draw my purse

For lambs I would to-morrow.

G. K.

I hate your French tragedies written in verse,

They fill me with laughter, not sorrow;

What Racine has written, let Talma rehearse,

The notions I’ve formed he would never disperse,

Though he laboured from now till to-morrow.

G. K.

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Snapdragon

Snapdragon


“Christmas gambol: raisins and almonds being put into a bowl of brandy, and the candles extinguished, the spirit is set on fire, and the company scramble for the raisins.”

Francis Grose
Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811)


Snap-dragon (also known as Flap-dragon, Snapdragon, or Flapdragon) was a parlour game popular from about the 16th to 19th centuries. It was played during the winter, particularly on Christmas Eve. Brandy was heated and placed in a wide shallow bowl; raisins were placed in the brandy which was then set alight. Typically, lights were extinguished or dimmed to increase the eerie effect of the blue flames playing across the liquor. The aim of the game was to pluck the raisins out of the burning brandy and eat them, at the risk of being burnt. Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1755) describes it as “a play in which they catch raisins out of burning brandy and, extinguishing them by closing the mouth, eat them”. According to an eighteenth-century article in Richard Steele’s Tatler magazine, “the wantonness of the thing was to see each other look like a demon, as we burnt ourselves, and snatched out the fruit.” Snap-dragon was played in England and the United States, but there is insufficient evidence of the practice in Scotland, or other countries.

The liquid used in Snap-dragon was typically brandy, although similar flammable liquors could also be used. Traditionally, raisins were the treat to be snatched; William Sandys specifies Málaga raisins. Other treats, however, could also be used. Of these, almonds were the most common alternative or addition, but currants, candied fruit, figs, grapes, and plums also featured. Salt could also be sprinkled in the bowl. The low bowl was typically placed in the middle of a table to prevent damage from the inevitable splashes of burning brandy. In one variation a Christmas pudding is placed in the centre of the bowl with raisins around it.

Most sources describe Snap-dragon as a Christmas tradition, however Blain suggests that in the United States it was played at Halloween instead and Platt notes that

‘The game was one particular to Halloween or Christmas or Twelfth Night; I will not specify which, because in the first place I do not know, and in the second place if I were to make a mistake I would be held up to ridicule and all my statements overthrown”

There were several other traditions surrounding the game of Snap-dragon. Mary F. Blain describes the belief that the person who snatches the most treats out of the brandy will meet their true love within a year. In another tradition, one of the raisins contains a gold button and becomes ‘the lucky raisin’. The person who fishes the raisin out can claim a reward or boon of their choosing. In the short story Master Sandy’s Snapdragon by Elbridge S. Brooks, Snap-dragon is played in the royal household of James I of England. Young Prince Charles (later Charles I of England) catches the lucky raisin and, after much prevarication, asks for the freedom of Walter Raleigh.

According to Robert Chambers’ Book of Days (1879) the game was accompanied by a chant:
Here he comes with flaming bowl,
Don’t he mean to take his toll,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

Take care you don’t take too much,
Be not greedy in your clutch,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

With his blue and lapping tongue
Many of you will be stung,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

For he snaps at all that comes
Snatching at his feast of plums,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

But Old Christmas makes him come,
Though he looks so fee! fa! fum!
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

Don’t ‘ee fear him but be bold —
Out he goes his flames are cold,
Snip! Snap! Dragon!

The first reference to Snap-dragon explicitly as a parlour game is in Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1811): “Christmas gambol: raisins and almonds being put into a bowl of brandy, and the candles extinguished, the spirit is set on fire, and the company scramble for the raisins.”

By the mid-19th century Snap-dragon was firmly entrenched as a Christmas parlour game, and it is in this sense that it is referenced in 1836, in Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers and in 1861, in Anthony Trollope’s novel Orley Farm. Lewis Carroll, in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871) describes “A snap-dragon-fly. Its body is made of plum pudding, its wings of holly-leaves, and its head is a raisin burning in brandy.”


In the English play Lingua (1607) the practice is said to come from classical antiquity: “when Hercules had killed the flaming dragon of Hesperia with the apples of that orchard, he made this fiery meat; in memory whereof he named it Snapdragon.” Brooks’ Master Sandy’s Snapdragon suggests another mythical origin, relating the fire of snap-dragons to Saint George and the dragon.
Chambers suggests that it hearkens back to druidic fire-worship. According to the Oxford English Dictionary entry for flapdragon, “the original sense may have been identical with a dialectal sense of snapdragon, viz. a figure of a dragon’s head with snapping jaws, carried about by the mummers at Christmas; but of this there is no trace in our quot[ation]s”.

Michael Faraday, in his essay The Chemical History of a Candle (1860), suggested that the raisins in Snap-dragon act like miniature wicks. The concept is similar to that of burning brandy on top of Christmas puddings — the brandy is burning, but is not burning at a high enough temperature to consume the raisins. Nevertheless, children often burnt their hands or mouths playing this game, which may have led to the practice mostly dying out in the early 20th century.

Snapdragon is a dangerous game and should not be played without proper preparation and supervision. Some suggestions for safer play can be found here:
School of the Seasons.com.

Historical information supplied by Wikipedia

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Load and Fire a Regency Weapon

Load and Fire a Regency Weapon

The Baker rifle (officially known as the Infantry Rifle) was a flintlock rifle used by the Rifle regiments of the British Army during the Napoleonic Wars. It was the first standard-issue, British-made rifle accepted by the British armed forces.

The Baker Rifle was first produced in 1800 by Ezekiel Baker, a master gunsmith from Whitechapel. The British Army was still issuing the Infantry Rifle in the 1830s.

The musket was fairly accurate at medium distances, but not at long range. To increase the odds of a hit, massed ranks of 60-80 muskets were fired in a volley which increased the chances of some musket balls hitting the intended targets, whereas the accurate Baker rifle was used by skirmishers facing their opponents in pairs, sniping at the enemy from positions either in front of the main lines, or from hidden positions in heights overlooking battlefields.

The accuracy of the rifle in capable hands is most famously demonstrated by the action of Rifleman Thomas Plunkett (or Plunket) of the 1st Battalion, 95th Rifles, who shot French General Colbert at an unknown but long range (as much as 800 yards according to some sources) during the retreat to Corunna during the Peninsular War. He then shot one of the General’s aides, proving that the success of the first shot was not due to luck.

The rifle as originally manufactured was not expected to be accurate much beyond 200 yards; that Rifleman Plunkett and others were able to regularly hit targets at ranges considered to be beyond the rifle’s effective range speaks for both their marksmanship and the capabilities of the rifle.

The Baker rifle could not usually be reloaded as fast as a musket, as the slightly undersized lead balls had to be wrapped in patches of greased leather, or more commonly greased linen, so that they would more closely fit the lands of the rifling. The average time to reload is dependent on the level of training and experience of the user; twenty to thirty seconds is often given as normal for a proficient rifleman. Using a hand-measured powder charge for accurate long range shots could increase the load time to as much as a minute. In the course of the Napoleonic Wars, riflemen used paper patched and even bare rifle balls when shooting in a hurry in battle, with an increase in speed of loading, but with diminishing accuracy.

In 1799 Baron Francis de Rottenberg wrote the British Army

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Jane Austen Word Search

Victorian Jane
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PridePrejudiceSensibility

Emma

Mansfield

Park

Northanger

Abbey

Persuasion

Austen

ElizabethDarcyJane

Charles

Mary

Kitty

Lydia

Wickham

Bennet

Lucas

CaptainFrederickWentworth

Anne

Woodhouse

George

John

Knightley

Elton

Colonel

ElinorMarianneFanny

Price

Edmund

Bertram

Maria

Catherine

Henry

Tilney

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Created by Laura Boyle for Austentation.