More Parlor Games

In the late 19th century, people were known to gather in each other's houses, and play games. Not necessasrily drinking games, mind you. Or even, as it were, gambling games. But rather games of decorous titillation, so to speak. These games continue to serve as a major source of inspiration for my "Pointless Games collection." A website called "Victoria's Past" offers yet another excellent taste of wit and wisdom of this quaint social delicacy.

Here is a morsel to whet your endlessly playworthy appetite:
Proverbs is a game of a more intellectual character. In this, one person volunteers, or is chosen by the company, to leave the room, and in his or her absence a proverb is fixed upon by the remaining party. The person outside is then called in, and the first person whom he addresses with any remark or inquiry, is bound to reply to him with an answer in which the first word of the proverb is introduced. The second person to whom he goes must reply in such a way as to bring in the second word; and so on, until the proverb has been repeated. He is then informed that he need not proceed further, and is left to guess the proverb chosen. If he fails in three attempts, he must again retire, and his ingenuity is tried by the selection and repetition of another proverb. Any one making an answer in which the right word in turn is not introduced, pays the penalty of a forfeit, and the company are, therefore, on the watch to see that each person addressed duly performs the part. The great art of the game is in so wrapping up the word in the course of the reply as to make it difficult to the guesser to discover the proverb which was chosen. Some proverbs are far, more easy of detection than others, from the forcible or peculiar words comprised in them, or the difficulty which the answerers find in concealing the words which fall to them in rotation. "Still waters run deep" may be taken as an example of the class difficult of concealment, for "waters" and " deep" are awkward words to introduce, and will easily connect themselves in the mind of the guesser, who is on the watch for his clue. "Where there's a will there's a way" is more capable of disguise, but "will" and "way" will reveal themselves to a person quick of apprehension. None of the proverbs chosen should consist of very many words, or the guessing may become tedious. When the proverb is detected, the guesser is entitled to claim that some one else shall take his place, and may, if he pleases, select for that purpose the person whose insufficient disguise of the allotted word gave him his first clue. Or he may name any one else in the company for the purpose. If the guesser tries his skill two or three times without success, he may claim relief from his office, and some one else may be appointed. In this, as in all other games, it must be remembered that when weariness on any side commences, amusement is at an end; and where there are symptoms of a game reaching that point, it should be relinquished for another.

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