May 28, 2012

Victorian Indoor Pastimes

written by Rosa Morgan
Gentle Readers,
Herein follows the promised post for whiling away the hours indoors. I hope you will find it amusing and applicable to your situation. Let's begin with darts. This challenging pursuit originated in Medieval times when soldiers threw arrows or crossbow bolts at upturned wine barrels. It proceeded to tree cross sections and is now found at every respectable pub, but the homeowner can also share the fun in the privacy of their own domicile. The gentleman's back parlor after port and cigars is the most advantageous location, and imported French missiles with split turkey feathers are preferred.

Scrap-booking is a hobby enjoyed by young and old. Flowers, angels, and kittens are popular motifs, but men should not despair, for military and naval themes are equally engaging.

There are far too many delightful card games to list here, however, the following standards are ones that every host should be well versed in. Whist, derived from the older game Ruff and Honours, is a deceptively simple game for beginners, but decidedly complex for the advanced player. Two-handed Bezique is quite fun and enjoyed by the likes of writers, Wilkie Collins and Christina Rossetti. Faro has become extremely popular out West with the Gold Rush prospectors.

Backgammon can be a lively diversion, especially at country house weekend parties, though the gambling aspect may be objected to by the overly religious.

Chess is for the cerebral inclined and not recommended for large gatherings. The first tournament was held in London in 1851 and
won by the brilliant German chess master, Adolf Anderssen.

Draughts is another game of skill that can be played by the youngest members of the family.

Whatever your choice of folly, I hope you and your friends and family will share the hours of camaraderie in joyful abandon.

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