Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Cub of the Panther: A Hunter Legend of the ''Old North State'' >> Chapter Nine: The Chinquapin Hunt >> Page 92

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Novel (Romance) | The University of Arkansas Press | 1997
Transcription 92 THE CUB OF THE PANTHER
the knout, when Jake escapes punishment, by giving some laughable or
ridiculous excuse for his grinning; which is always made to inculpate
other parties, each of whom is required to respond in turn; and thus
the ball of fun is kept in motion, particularly as each person, and Jake
in especial takes care to hint at the secret preferences of the young
women or the young men, and probably to reveal some of the pleasant
little privileges, which, during the day, the parties have indulged in. The
play is quite susceptible of various uses in the Court of Cupid.
There is also the game of "the thimble," and the Old English play of
"Biddy, Biddy hold fast." One of the party takes a thimble, or a gold ring,
and affects to pass it into all hands, singing or saying as he goes the
"Biddy, Biddy hold fast,
You shall have the ring at last;
Ring or thimble, hold it strong,
If you'd keep the `House-band' long."
or last line according to sex.
"If you'd keep the Housewife long!"
And the opening line, addressing the male;
"Bully, master, hold you fast, &c."
The ring, though supposed to be given to each, is really left in one
hand only, and this hand, at the preference of the giver, either with the
view to fun or affection. Each party is charged with its possession, and,
in all cases of erroneous guessing, each deposits a pawn, which is
redeemable only after the legitimate fashion, with a kiss!
"Tired of my Company!" Such is the title given to another of these
games. The parties sit in pairs. The lady yawns, and declares that she is
tired of her companion. The Master of Ceremonies accordingly whips
him away with a knotted handkerchief, and the lady declares who shall
take his place. The expelled person seeks a new companion. His fate is
pitied. Other ladies yawn and tire of their companions, and the sport
of the thing lies in the confusion which follows change, and the oppor-
tunity which is given not only for social variety, but for the final exhi-
bitions of the preferences of the several parties. Love, Courtship and
Marriage, are all paramount objects in the conception and arrange-
ment of these games.
Some of these plays are accompanied with ballads and songs which
have no apparent connection with the game. Here is a fragment which
we have heard sung, on one of these occasions, which would seem to
refer to the expedition of Montgomery and Arnold against Quebec in
the American Revolution.