Literary Lapses

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Authors: Stephen Leacock
the indoor winter game, becomes rampant. It is there that the old euchre deck and the staring domino become fair and beautiful things; that the rattle of the Loto counter rejoices the heart, that the old riddle feels the sap stirring in its limbs again, and the amusing spilikin completes the mental ruin of the jaded guest. Then does the Jolly Maiden Aunt propound the query: What is the difference between an elephant and a silk hat? Or declare that her first is a vowel, her second a preposition, and her third an archipelago. It is to crown such a quiet evening, and to give the finishing stroke to those of the visitors who have not escaped early, with a fierce purpose of getting at the saloons before they have time to close, that the indoor game or family reservoir of fun is dragged from its long sleep. It is spread out upon the table. Its paper of directions is unfolded. Its cards, its counters, its pointers and its markers are distributed aroundthe table, and the visitor forces a look of reckless pleasure upon his face. Then the “few simple directions” are read aloud by the Jolly Aunt, instructing each player to challenge the player holding the golden letter corresponding to the digit next in order, to name a dead author beginning with X , failing which the player must declare himself in fault, and pay the forfeit of handing over to the Jolly Aunt his gold watch and all his money, or having a hot plate put down his neck.
    With a view to bringing some relief to the guests at entertainments of this kind, I have endeavoured to construct one or two little winter pastimes of a novel character. They are quite inexpensive, and as they need no background of higher arithmetic or ancient history, they are within reach of the humblest intellect. Here is one of them. It is called Indoor Football, or Football without a Ball.
    In this game any number of players, from fifteen to thirty, seat themselves in a heap on any one player, usually the player next to the dealer. They then challenge him to get up, while one player stands with a stop-watch in his hand and counts forty seconds. Should the first player fail to rise before forty seconds are counted, the player with the watch declares him suffocated. This is called a “Down” and counts one. The player who was the Down is then leant against the wall; his wind is supposed to be squeezed out. The player called the referee then blows a whistle and the players select another player and score a down off him. While the player is supposed to be down, all the rest must remain seated as before, and not rise from him until the referee by counting forty and blowing his whistle announces that in his opinion the other player is stifled. He is then leant against the wall beside the first player. When the whistle again blows the player nearest the referee strikes him behind the right ear. This is a “Touch,” and counts two.
    It is impossible, of course, to give all the rules in detail. I might add, however, that while it counts two to strike the referee, to kick him counts three. To break his arm or leg counts four, and to kill him outright is called Grand Slam and counts one game.
    Here is another little thing that I have worked out, which is superior to parlour games in that it combines their intense excitement with sound out-of-door exercise.
    It is easily comprehended, and can be played by any number of players, old and young. It requires no other apparatus than a trolley car of the ordinary type, a mile or two of track, and a few thousand volts of electricity. It is called:
    Â 
    The Suburban Trolley Car
    A Holiday Game for Old and Young
    Â 
    The chief part in the game is taken by two players who station themselves one at each end of the car, and who adopt some distinctive costumes to indicate that they are “it.” The other players occupy the body of the car, or take up their position at intervals along the track.
    The object of each player should be to enter

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