It happens in playing many games that forfeits are given. It puzzles some to know just what penalties to impose upon those unlucky persons who have given the forfeits. Again forfeits are made a game by themselves. A leader being chosen or secured by ballot, each player renders up some forfeit which must be redeemed.
Perhaps some may remember that in country places the penalties incurred were very silly, and kissing was frequently made a feature of the game. This is no only senseless, but actually discreditable, and we trust the practice has been entirely displaced by a less objectionable form of amusement.
In order to redeem forfeits the judge is placed in a chair, and then the leader takes a forfeit, and holding it over the judge’s head says:
“Most learned and august being,
It is said, ‘Damocles’ sword was hung by a hair’;
Thus thy judging without seeing
Shalt bring the sword of justice on man or maiden fair.”
The judge responds:
“Is it man or maid?
To judge without knowing I am afraid.”
The leader then says if it is a man:
“It is a man, and what shall he do
To win this forfeit again from you?”
The word maid is substituted for “man,” as the case requires. This is a little different from the usual wording, but it may perhaps lose nothing for a little originality.
The penalties may be as original as the judge is able to devise. I will suggest a few. An apple may be placed in a dish of water and the delinquent be told to pick it therefrom with his teeth. This will cause considerable merriment, as it is not an easy task, for the apple will bob about with every touch.
Another idea is to carve a face upon a potato; this is easily done and the carving will produce some merriment, as the corners of the mouth may be made to express a great deal. They may be turned up with pleasure, or drawn down with misery; the carver has his will in the matter, unless the judge stipulates otherwise.
Putting an egg in such a manner that a half bushel cannot be placed over it, is very simple when one knows how, but it may take a little thinking before it will be seen that an egg placed int he corner of a room cannot be covered by a half bushel measure. the same might be cone more safely with a potato, or an apple, if preferred.
Take you and double you and put you through a finger ring is an old trick. It is simple enough. The letter U and the letter W are written upon paper, and this is then passed through a ring.
Push a chair through a bracelet. This is not at all difficult. A bracelet is taken, the fingers are placed through it, and a chair is then pushed.
Putting one hand where the other cannot touch it will create merriment, as the victim places the hands in every conceivable position before putting one upon the elbow of the other arm, where the hands cannot touch each other.
Mark upon the wall the height of a man’s silk hat. This is not so easy as it seems, as distances are deceptive. If the one being judged fails in marking the correct height by more or less than an inch, he is told to leave the room, and come back with an additional arm. This is easy enough. He may come back with another person, with an arm chair, or with fire arms, etc., etc.
Marking a certain person’s height upon the wall may also be used as a judgment. This is also a little difficult, as, if the persons are sitting, it may not be so readily determined.
Giving the dimensions of the room in feet and inches is another ludicrous judgment, as there are very few who are accurate in their judgment in regard to distances.
Leaving the room on two legs and coming back with six is simple, as you may readily see that a chair or four-legged stool will enable the victim to meet the requirements.
Writing your own name in one letter will seem a little difficult, until you bethink yourself of making a large letter and then inscribing the name therein.
Blowing out a lighted candle with the eyes blindfolded is very funny, as the person who is to accomplish this feat is placed in front of the candle, then blindfolded, turned about twice, and then the proceedings begin. It will be sometime before the candle is extinguished, for the person will, in all probability, blow in every direction but the right one.
Another judgment of a similar nature is for two persons to be blind-folded, turned about twice and then told to shake hands with each other.
There will be some groping about before the object is accomplished. The fun will be increased if the two persons are placed in opposite corners of the room. Another idea is to walk straight across the room, when blind-folded. It seems almost impossible to take a bee line even when the aid of the eyes is allowed. This may be demonstrated by the foot-paths we see, for foot-paths are invariably crooked.
Kissing games destroy delicacy and are no longer in vogue among the well informed and the refined. A girl makes herself cheap who permits promiscuous kissing.
Rose Seelye Miller (1895, November). Thanksgiving evening amusements. The Ladies World, Vol. XVI(11), 18 Retrieved from http://victoriantimes.us/year-1895/thanksgiving-evening-amusements