WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Lun

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Lun

Clowns.

One single word that strikes fear into the heart of people of all ages. But not all clowns are created equal. Way back in the early 16th Century, the Italians devised the Commedia dell’arte, which literally translates to “Comedy of Art” but in practice means “Comedy of the Professional.” These artistes were masters of the unwritten and improvised, the “Commedia” of their title referring not to the subject matter but instead to the way in which they performed. No dialogue was written down and memorized, although performance matter was discussed and choreographed in terms of characters, plot, and pace. Actors organized in groups of ten, called a company, with each performer specializing in a specific character or type of acting: the swashbuckling pirate, simpleton love-stricken swain, or the now-dreaded clown.

Troupes soon spread across Europe, and the style worked its way to England via France in the late 17th Century, likely with the return of Charles II, the Merrie Monarch. According to information posted at the Victoria & Albert Museum, stock characters like Harlequin, Columbine, Pantaloon and Clown developed into the English Harlequinade, while Pulcinella, developed into Mr Punch.

And added bonus to my research this week was the discovery of why Harley Quinn carries a bat as her weapon of choice: historical harlequins armed themselves with a “magic sword” called a “slapstick.” The more you know.

Trigger warning: the following images contain clowns. I’ll save the absolute creepiest for last (although Cruikshank’s subject is holding what looks like a knife, and he’s second in my exhibition).

Lun (noun)

Harlequin.

Harlequino (1670) by Maurice Sand, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequino (1670) by Maurice Sand, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Mr. Grimaldi as a Clown in Harlequin & Friar Bacon by George Cruikshank ca. 1779, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Mr. Grimaldi as a Clown in Harlequin & Friar Bacon by George Cruikshank ca. 1779, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Triumph of Harlequin by Felicita Tibaldi and Pierre Subleyras ca. 1750, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Triumph of Harlequin by Felicita Tibaldi and Pierre Subleyras ca. 1750, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequin and Columbine by Derby Porcelain Manufactory ca. 1755-1760, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequin and Columbine by Derby Porcelain Manufactory ca. 1755-1760, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequin ca. 18th Century, artist unknown, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequin ca. 18th Century, artist unknown, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Mr G. French as Harlequin published by J. Redington ca. early 19th Century, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Mr G. French as Harlequin published by J. Redington ca. early 19th Century, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Mr (Melbourn) Eller as Harlequin, artist unknown, published 17 February 1829, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Mr (Melbourn) Eller as Harlequin, artist unknown, published 17 February 1829, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequin Buff Melbourn Mellar in Harlequin & the Swan, artist unknown, ca. early 19th Century, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequin Buff Melbourn Mellar in Harlequin & the Swan, artist unknown, ca. early 19th Century, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequin & Mother Goose sheet music by W. Ware, 29 December 1806, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequin & Mother Goose sheet music by W. Ware, 29 December 1806, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequin Mother Goose by William West ca. 1811, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequin Mother Goose illustrations by William West ca. 1811 and performed at Covent Garden Theatre, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Harlequin and the Flying Chest by William Clarkson Stanfield (theatre design), Charles Hullmandel (printer), and W.S. Reynolds (artist) ca. 1823, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Lithographed key to “The Principal Objects in the Moving Diorama of the Plymouth Breakfwater in Harlequin and the Flying Chest by William Clarkson Stanfield (theatre design), Charles Hullmandel (printer), and W.S. Reynolds (artist) ca. 1823, Victoria & Albert Museum.

Winding up to a pitch the Automaton Scaramouch, -.or,- Harlequin Courier's Delight attributed to Theodore Lane, published by George Humphrey 17 February 1821, National Portrait Gallery.

Winding up to a pitch the Automaton Scaramouch, -.or,- Harlequin Courier’s Delight attributed to Theodore Lane, published by George Humphrey 17 February 1821, National Portrait Gallery.

Blowing up the Pic Nic's; - or - Harlequin Quixotte attacking the puppets by James Gillray, publishing by Hannah Humphrey 2 April 1802, National Portrait Gallery.

Blowing up the Pic Nic’s; – or – Harlequin Quixotte attacking the Puppets by James Gillray, publishing by Hannah Humphrey 2 April 1802, National Portrait Gallery.

And the pièce de ré·sis·tance:

Arlequin (Pantin) from Imagerie Pellerin.

Arlequin (Pantin) from Imagerie Pellerin. This one is so disturbing I couldn’t even find an artist or museum collection to claim it.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Pig Running

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Pig Running

In case the post-holiday and winter doldrums have taken root in your soul, here’s a bit of summertime entertainment to banish the blahs. But first, how did I pick this week’s word?

Glad you asked.

In true stream of consciousness form, this phrase came to me. I always watch and read Pride and Prejudice over the Christmas holiday. I have a lovely leather-bound copy to read, and I watch all the versions I have access to – the 1940 film (purely for Laurence Olivier, Greer Garson, and Edna Mae Oliver), the 1980 and 1995 miniseries, and the 2005 film. There’s a scene in the latter that is not taken from the book but completely fits the character and the action. That led me to wondering if it was an anachronistic inclusion or if such practices really occurred, which led me to research.

That’s how I roll.

Pig Running

A piece of game frequently practised at fairs, wakes, &c. A large pig, whose tail is cut short, and both soaped and greased, being turned out, is hunted by the young men and boys, and becomes the property of him who can catch and hold him by the tail, above the height of his head.

Actress Kelly Reilly as Caroline Bingley, Pride and Prejudice, 2005, Focus Features.

Actress Kelly Reilly as Caroline Bingley, Pride and Prejudice, 2005, Focus Features.

And yes, Virginia, they really chased pigs at fairs back in the day (and still do every summer at fairs all over the United States). The largest of these exhibitions was the one held in London – the Bartholomew Fair. It began by charter of King Henry I when he allowed the Prior of Smithfield to hold a market in September near St. Bartholomew hospital. It grew in popularity each year, eventually lengthening to fourteen days, and was the event to see exotic animals, wrestlers and strong men, acrobats, puppetry, musicians and dancers, and to buy all manner of food, drink, and textiles.

By the early 1800s, the fair had shortened to just four days in length, and authorities railed against the lewd behavior, bawdy entertainments, drunkenness, and general atmosphere of exhibitionism that accompanied the fair. Regency visitors would have witnessed all manner of shocking spectacles, including a full-blown pig running. But it was the theatrical performances that especially vexed the strait-laced; they were prohibited from the Fair in the early 1840s. By 1852, no shows were enacted and in 1855, the charter expired.

Bartholomew Fair by Thomas Rowlandson, published in Rudolph Ackermann's Microcosm of London, 1808-10, British Library.

Bartholomew Fair by Thomas Rowlandson, published in Rudolph Ackermann’s Microcosm of London, 1808-10, British Library.

I’ve blogged about the fair before here, and author Susana Ellis offers up a fine examination of it in her Romance of London Series: Bartholomew Fair. But I did find something new in my pokings and proddings of the internet. London Metropolitan Archives Artist in Residence Nick Field discusses the famous print of the fair as part of the LMA’s Streetlife London series. It’s broken into two parts, each less than five minutes. It’s a fascinating analysis of both the artwork and its subject.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Bleeding New

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Bleeding New

Happy New Year!

Or as Colonel Potter said on M*A*S*H: Here’s to the new year. May she be a damn sight better than the old one.

This week, I commemorate all things new, with the help of a few creations of my dear favorite, James Gillray.

New Morality; -or- the promis'd installment of the high-priest of the Theophilanthropes, with the homage of Leviathan and his suite by James Gillray, published by John Wright 1 August 1798, National Portrait Gallery.

New Morality; -or- the promis’d installment of the high-priest of the Theophilanthropes, with the homage of Leviathan and his suite by James Gillray, published by John Wright 1 August 1798, National Portrait Gallery.

Bleeding New

A metaphor borrowed from fish, which will not bleed when stale.

In other words, may 2017 remain fresh the whole year through . . . and never get glassy eyed or stink.

Charles James Fox (Design for the new gallery of busts and pictures) by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey 17 March 1792, National Portrait Gallery.

Charles James Fox (Design for the new gallery of busts and pictures — “and so far will I trust thee gentle Kate”) by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey 17 March 1792, National Portrait Gallery.

This is one of my favorite Gillray etchings. There is so much commentary, both subtle and blatant, that it’s a study to try to find it all. Gillray depicts the interior of a portrait gallery with busts of frowning Demosthenes against Æschines and Cicero against Cataline flanking Charles Fox. If you’ve ever seen The Madness of King George, actor Jim Carter (Mr. Carson of Downton Abbey) looks uncannily like Fox. Anyway, hanging on the wall above are two prints showing Catherine the Great of Russia; in Justice, she is about to stab a sultan, while in Moderation, she is throwing arms wide open to greedily embrace the Danubian Provinces (Moldavia, Bessarabia, and Wallachia). Note the strategic placement of the royal placard hanging above the bust of Fox: the crowned circle contains a noose and reads “Conjugal love [-] A cure for the Haemerroidical Cholic.” The whole creation is captioned, in five columns, with the following:

“The Grecian Orator of old,
“With scorn rejected Philip’s Laws,
“Indignant spurn’d at Foreign Gold,
“And triumph’d in his Country’s cause

A foe to every wild extreme,
‘Mid civil storms, the Roman Sage
Repress’d ambition’s lawless scheme
And check’d the madd’ning people’s rage,

Domestic Peace, external fame,
With Patriot zeal their Patrons sought
And Rome’s or Athen’s sacred name,
Inspird & govern’d every thought,

Who then, in this presumptuous hour,
Aspires to share th’ Athenian’s praise?
The tool confess’d of foreign pow’r,
The Æschines of modern days,

What chosen name to Tully’s joind
Is now announced to distant climes ?
Behold to lasting shame consign’d
The Cataline of later times.

Scientific Researches! New Discoveries in Pneumaticks! -or- an experimental lecture on the powers of air by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey 23 May 1802, National Portrait Gallery.

Scientific Researches! New Discoveries in PNEUMATICKS! -or- an Experimental Lecture on the Powers of Air by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey 23 May 1802, National Portrait Gallery.

How can you not love Gillray?! Insightful political commentary on the previous work, risqué and off-color humor in the next. This image may document an actual event said to have occurred at the Royal Institution of Great Britain during a lecture entitled New Discoveries in Pneumatics. Professor Thomas Young allegedly performed the depicted experiment on a fellow society member, Sir John Coxe Hippsley. Sir John was said to have inhaled nitrous oxide gas as Mr. Young held his nose, with the -er- end result. Chemist Humphrey Davy works the gas bellows with a decided look of satisfaction. Whether Gillray witnessed the event with the other luminaries in the audience (we see Count Rumford, William Sotheby, Frederica Augusta Locke, and Issac D’Israeli) is unknown. And unlikely.

It’s always good to start the New Year with a hearty laugh.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Blocked at Both Ends

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Blocked at Both Ends

Just like last week, we’re once again in the realm of gaming; specifically, cards. This post is a bit longer than my usual WOWs, but that’s because it will need to tide you over until 2017. The next two weeks will find me tucked away with my family making all things merry! I wish you warm cocoa, warm fires, and warm hearts this holiday season!

Blocked at Both Ends

Finished. The game is blocked at both ends; the game is ended.

There is an aphorism that I consider half-right: it is how you play the game . . . but it’s also fine to say winning is usually the hoped-for outcome. To wit: if you want to win at Regency parlor games, you’ve got to know how to play.

I first read about Regency card games in Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter. I knew nothing about the game, yet Heyer’s deft and focused touch kept the details interesting and understandable. I was never lost by the maneuvers and machinations.

So in case you need a new game to play whilst stuck indoors with too much food (and perhaps too much family) this holiday season, let’s learn the basics of play for some Regency parlor games.

Cassino (also, Casino; there is actually controversy about the spelling, according to Pagat)

Cassino made its first documented appearance in London at the end of the eighteenth century. The main objective of the game is to capture cards from a layout of face up cards on the table. A card is captured by playing a matching card from the player’s hand. It is also possible to capture several cards at once if their values add up to the value of the card played. Captured cards are held by the winner and scored at the end of the play. Two to four players make up each game.

Italian deck of cards for Cassino.

Italian deck of cards for Cassino.

Commerce (also, Thirty-One, Whisky Poker, and Bastard Brag)

I grew up playing this game (we played for M&Ms and Skittles and thought we were So. Cool.) so I’ll simply explain it like I play it. A game can have three to ten players; one deck of cards is used and Aces are high. Players contribute equal stakes to the pool, then receive three cards from the dealer. Three cards are then dealt face up on the table to form the “widow.” The dealer can swap out 1-2 of his cards with the widow to “make his hand.” Once the dealer is satisfied with his hand, players may look at their cards. There are usually as many rounds as there are players, and a fresh card is added to the “widow” at the beginning of each round. Once a player is satisfied with his cards, he knocks on the table; play stops once two players have knocked. Players then show their cards and the holder of the best combination receives the stakes deposited in the pool; the player with the worst hand puts in one counter called “Going Up.”

  • Tricon – three of a kind
  • Sequence – three cards of the same suit, in order
  • Flush – three cards of the same suit (the highest wins)
  • Pair – two similar cards (highest pair wins)
    Point – cards added up by their face value (Ace 11, Kings 10, etc.)

They all spent the evening together at Thorpe’s. Catherine was disturbed and out of spirits; but Isabella seemed to find a pool of commerce, in the fate of which she shared, by private partnership with Morland, a very good equivalent for the quiet and country air of an inn at Clifton.
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, Chapter 11

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds ¦ WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Blocked at Both Ends. Pictured, "Doings In A Hell."

Faro

This is the game your mother warned you about. It ruined smarter, better, and wealthier people than you. What began as the politest of card games in Italy and France under the name Basset became quite different when its ancestor was outlawed. Faro was the overwhelmingly tempting open secret of gaming halls and private card parties alike. A suit of cards was glued face-up, Ace to King, on an oval of green baize known as the board. The dealer was called theBbanker, and players were known as Punters. Punters laid stakes on one of the 13 cards on the board. Just to complicate the issue, Punters could also place side bets on multiple cards by laying their wagers between or on card edges. Bets ranged from one to one hundred guineas (or more) upon a single card. There are myriad rules on payout and further play that I will explain via the Seinfeld example: yada-yada-yada, the bank wins big and the gamblers lose.

Fun fact: after migrating to the United States in the mid-1800s, it swept that country with the speed of western expansion and the zeal of the gold rush. Criminal cases concerning faro were even argued all the way to the Supreme Court (United States v. Simms, 1803 and Ex parte Milburn, 1835). Mark Twain declared:

A dollar picked up in the road is more satisfaction to us than the 99 which we had to work for, and the money won at Faro or in the stock market snuggles into our hearts in the same way.

Faro's Daughters, or the Kenyonian blow up to Gamblers by Isaac Cruikshank, 16 May 1796, Digital Collections, Yale University Library.

Faro’s Daughters, or the Kenyonian blow up to Gamblers by Isaac Cruikshank, 16 May 1796, Digital Collections, Yale University Library. Ha! I see what you did their, Georgette Heyer.

Loo (also, Lanterloo)

A minimum of five players use all 52 cards. Each is dealt 3-5 cards (gamers choice) and after looking at their hand, they can drop out without charge or elect to stay in, paying to play. Committing to play requires the player to win at least one trick (thereby winning one-third or one-fifth of the total pool). Fail this, and pay a penalty amount equal to the whole pot – you’ve been “looed.” The pot carries forward and increases with each hand: great for the winner, potentially ruinous for the loser.

Loo in the Kitchin or High Life below Stairs by Isaac Cruikshank, published by Rudolph Ackermann 25 June 1799, Digital Collections, Yale University Library.

Loo in the Kitchin or High Life below Stairs by Isaac Cruikshank, published by Rudolph Ackermann 25 June 1799, Digital Collections, Yale University Library.

Piquet

Here’s the card game I’m determined to play this holiday. It seems so terribly refined yet cutthroat at the same time. I love that the English pronounce it “Picket” rather than the French “P.K.” Two players, 36 cards (Aces to Sixes), with each hand divided into five parts:

  • Blanks and Discards
  • Ruffs
  • Sequences
  • Sets
  • Tricks

The dealer is called the Younger while the player is called the Elder. Each player is dealt twelve cards, in groups of 2-4, depending on the part, with the remaining twelve cards lying in a stack between the opponents. The first player to score 100 is the winner. The rules on scoring for each part are lengthy but actually seem relatively straightforward. You can find a thorough explanation of them, with illustrations, at Historic Card Games.

Pope Joan

Something about the name of this game makes me feel like I’d be getting away with something sacrilegious if I were to play it. Or that I’m making light of something that could lead to my eternal damnation. Hmm.

Pope Joan is considered a Victorian card game because of its widespread popularity during that time, but we know it was played as early as 1732, courtesy the Oxford English Dictionary. Dickens even referred to it as an “old fashioned card party” in Chaper 6 of The Pickwick Papers.

Up to eight players may play, using a standard 52-card deck, but also a circular playing board resembling that of Roly-Poly or E-O. The board is divided into eight compartments: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Pope 9, Game, Intrigue (trump Queen + Jack), and Matrimony (trump King + Queen). Each player “dresses” each compartment with two counters, which could be anything from farthings to guineas. The object is to win counters by playing out cards corresponding to the labelled compartments on the board, and to be the first to run out of cards. The rules are again lengthy but manageable, and expertly explained by Dave Parlett at Historic Card Games.

Pope Joan board, courtesy Ruby Lane Antiques of River Oaks, Houston, TX.

Pope Joan board, courtesy Ruby Lane Antiques of River Oaks, Houston, TX.

Pope Joan board detail, courtesy Ruby Lane Antiques of River Oaks, Houston, TX

Pope Joan board detail, courtesy Ruby Lane Antiques of River Oaks, Houston, TX

Speculation

All of the card game rule sites state “several” may play Speculation, so that could possibly mean as many as your table will seat. Honestly, play for this game is the simplest of all I’ve study so far. Each player begins the game with the same number of markers – fish – from which to ante at the beginning of each hand.

Fish markers for the game of Speculation. They are also called chips. I swear this is not my attempt at a bad pun.

Fish markers for the game of Speculation. They are also called chips. I swear this is not my attempt at a bad pun.

Players are each dealt three cards, face down; after all have cards, the dealer turns the next one face up to determine the trump suit. This card belongs to the dealer (if he turns over an Ace, he’s won, and play ends before it began). If it is a high enough trump, players may offer to buy it. Players then turn over their cards, one at a time in progression around the table from the dealer’s left. If a higher trump card is revealed, the possessor may sell or keep it, and any player may make him an offer. Players may also offer to buy or trade for any face-down cards, sight unseen, at any time.

All trading and auctioning is done in pursuit of acquiring the highest trump card. Cards rank from Ace high to 2 low. The game ends when all cards have been revealed or when somebody turns the Ace; the owner of the highest trump wins the pot.

Jane Austen wrote of Speculation in Mansfield Park:

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. She hesitated.
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Chapter 25

Speculation card deck.

Speculation card deck.

Vingt-et-un (also, Vingt-un, Twenty-One, or Pontoon)

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds ¦ WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Blocked at Both Ends. Pictured, Georgian gamblers.

Any number of people may play; a standard 52-card deck is used, although with six or more players, two decks would be combined. Money or markers are used for wagering. The value of the cards is the same as their pip, with face cards worth ten; the Ace can be worth one or eleven, player’s choice. The dealer gives each player two cards, and the player may hold with these or add as many as he wishes. The object of the game is to form a hand whose total value is at or near twenty-one, without going over.

Whist

Whist arose from the game Ruff and Honours – how great a name is that?! – as reported by Charles Cotton in The Compleat Gamester, 1674. It is a plain-trick game without bidding, with four players in fixed partnerships of two and seated across the table from each other; it is strictly forbidden for partners to “talk across the table” or remark on their cards or play in any way. Cards rank from Ace highest to Two lowest, with trumps determined by the final card laid down by the dealer after having dispensed the rest of the cards. He placed the trump card in the middle of the table and play then began to the dealer’s left. The first player may lead any card in his hand, with play proceeding clockwise order, following suit of the card led. A player with no card of that suit may discard (play a card of another suit) or play a trump. The trick is won by the highest card of the lead suit or by trump. The winner of the trick leads the next round, and play continues until all thirteen tricks are played. When finished, the score is recorded. Think Spades or Pinochle today.

Two-Penny Whist by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey 11 January 1796, National Portrait Gallery.

Two-Penny Whist by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey 11 January 1796, National Portrait Gallery.

In conclusion, for your further reading pleasure – and to get a glimpse into contemporaneous gambling – trek over to Susanna Ives‘s internet home to read a Sad Tale of Gambling Woe from 1804.

 

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds ¦ WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Blocked at Both Ends

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Elbow Shaker

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Elbow Shaker

In Flanders whilom was a company
Of younge folkes, that haunted folly,
As riot, hazard, stewes, and taverns;
Where as with lutes, harpes, and giterns,
They dance and play at dice both day and night,
And eat also, and drink over their might;
~Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, The Pardoner’s Tale

Dice – those tiny cubes upon which fortunes rise and fall – have been around for centuries. Cleromancy, or the act of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by the roll of dice, began some time in the late 1500s. It was only natural the progression from gambling with one’s future to chancing one’s blunt on the tumble of two cubes.

The Interior of Modern Hell; Vide the Cogged Dice by Isaac Robert Cruikshank, private collection.

The Interior of Modern Hell; Vide the Cogged Dice by Isaac Robert Cruikshank, private collection.

Elbow Shaker (noun)

A gamester, one who rattles Saint Hugh’s bones, i.e. the dice.

Chilon, that was a wise ambassador,
Was sent to Corinth with full great honor
From Lacedemon, to make alliance;
And when he came, it happen’d him, by chance,
That all the greatest that were of that land,
Y-playing atte hazard he them fand.
~Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, The Pardoner’s Tale

The Regency dicer’s game of choice was Hazard, which we know has been around since the 1300s as Geoffrey Chaucer writes of it in The Pardoner’s Tale from The Canterbury Tales. Hazard is simply a game of chance played with dice, from the old French hasart. Tellingly, by the 1540s, the word in English had come to mean a chance of loss, harm, or risk.

Look eke how to the King Demetrius
The King of Parthes, as the book saith us,
Sent him a pair of dice of gold in scorn,
For he had used hazard therebeforn:
For which he held his glory and renown
At no value or reputatioun.
Lordes may finden other manner play
Honest enough to drive the day away.
~Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, The Pardoner’s Tale

Kick-Up at the Hazard Table by Thomas Rowlandson, 1787-1790, private collection.

Kick-Up at the Hazard Table by Thomas Rowlandson, 1787-1790, private collection.

One of my favorite Regency era phrases is “at sixes and seven,” meaning everything is in utter chaos. After reading the rules of play for Hazard, I see how that phrase could derive from gaming. Kristen Koster does a fabulous job of explaining the ins and outs of “nicking and crabbing while throwing the bones” in her post A Regency Primer on How to Play Hazard.

Seven is my chance, and thine is cinque and trey…
~Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, The Pardoner’s Tale

I believe I’ll just stick with dice games more my speed and acuity level – Yahtzee and Farkle. Both of which are nearly contact sports in my family.

O cursed sin, full of all cursedness!
O trait’rous homicide! O wickedness!
O glutt’ny, luxury, and hazardry!
~Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, The Pardoner’s Tale

A Black Leg Detected Secreting Cards by Thomas Rowlandson, undated, Yale Center for British Art.

A Black Leg Detected Secreting Cards by Thomas Rowlandson, undated, Yale Center for British Art.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig

Rig (noun)

Fun, game, diversion, or trick.

This week’s word is all about diversion, so what better way to illustrate it than with a bit of . . . amusement? We’re in the throes of the holiday crush, so do have a bit of a break and have some enjoyment with this quiz!

(Bonus – Anyone catch the meaning of the graphic above? It’s the first game!)

Which Austen Heroine Are You?

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig.

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig.

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig.

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig.

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig.

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig.

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig.

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig.

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig.Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Rig.

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sheep’s Eyes

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sheep’s Eyes

Today is Dear Husband’s birthday, so he gets a WOW post with a slang term in his honor. Because I loves him. And because he does this (in a manly way, of course).

Sheep’s Eyes (noun)

Loving looks, attested from the 1520s. From the word sheepish (bashful). To cast sheep’s eyes at any thing means to look wishfully at it.

Interestingly enough, I found more portraits of men casting sheep’s eyes than women. Perhaps, as Lady Catherine accused Elizabeth Bennet, women’s:

“. . . arts and allurements may, in a moment of infatuation, have made him forget what he owes to himself and to all his family. You may have drawn him in.”
Pride and Prejudice, Volume 3, Chapter 14 (Chapter 56)

Cast those loving looks our way, gentlemen.

La Famille Gohin by Louis Léopold Boilly, 1787, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

La Famille Gohin by Louis Léopold Boilly, 1787, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

Couple with an Escaped Bird by Louis Léopold Boilly, unknown date, Musée de Louvre, Paris.

Couple with an Escaped Bird by Louis Léopold Boilly, unknown date, Musée de Louvre, Paris.

Fashion Plate Modes Parisiennes from La Nouveaute Journal, 1825.

Fashion Plate Modes Parisiennes from La Nouveaute Journal, 1825.

Fashion Plate 2 Modes Parisiennes from La Nouveaute Journal, 1825.

Fashion Plate 2 Modes Parisiennes from La Nouveaute Journal, 1825.

Stealing a Kiss by Pierre Outin (1840-1899).

Stealing a Kiss by Pierre Outin (1840-1899), unknown date.

Off for the Honeymoon by Frederick Morgan (1847-1927), unknown date, private collection.

Off for the Honeymoon by Frederick Morgan (1847-1927), unknown date, private collection.

The Courtship by Charles Green, 1878, Christie's.

The Courtship by Charles Green, 1878, Christie’s.

Admiration by Vittorio Reggianini, before 1938, detail.

Admiration by Vittorio Reggianini, before 1938, detail.

And my favorite of all sheep’s eyes pictures:

Obstinate Headstrong Girl author Renée Reynolds. WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Sheep's Eyes.