Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Nine: The Chinquapin Hunt >> Page 91

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription THE CHINQUAPIN HUNT 91
He will take the fair fingers in his own. He will toy with the pink white
palms; he will press them; he will kiss them, and finally, upsetting their
contents, on the ground, there will be a scramble, in which, in amicable
contest, there will be other advantages taken by the exacting gallant. And
all these games of the Hunt encourage like privileges, and involve penal-
ties more or less grateful to both parties.
The scramble over, the damsel recovers herself, and with cheeks like
peonies will cry,
"Change the play, for the Bird's away!"
He answers
"Let the Bird fly, and change the play.""Chinq in my hand!" she cries; or,
"I have chinquapins to sell, sweet as any that there be."
He responds
"Will you Chinq-bird, sell, all your chinquapins to me?""Who shall I send 'em by?" she asks; or "Send your messenger
to me.
Upon which he calls for a third party. If the caller be a Gentleman,
he summons a lady if a Lady, she calls a Gentleman. This third per-
son is required to guess the number in the words
"I have chinquapins to sell,
How much tell me, measure well."
Should he or she fail in the guess, a kiss is the penalty, exacted of the
person called. This game affords a happy method, by which bashful
folks, who like each other, are brought more promptly and pleasantly
into contact. It is one of the steps in matchmaking.
"Even or odd," is another mode of guessing at play, by which it is
conjectured whether the parties love each other or not.
"Jake grinned at me!" is a sort of Dramatic entertainment. The party
gathers in a circle, to each member of which some nickname is given.
One of the party, who is called "JAKE" is placed in the centre of the circle.
"JAKE" is always chosen because of his superior humour, and his great
capacity for grinning! He must have great jaws and good humour. He is,
in fact, the clown of the Circus. One person stands behind him, armed
with a knotted handkerchief. He is the "Master of Ceremonies," and
interrogates his apprentices after this fashion:
Why," he asks the Baker,
"Why did you not your biscuits bake?""Why master, he grinned at me, that Jake!"
The master turns upon Jake accordingly, and is about to administer