Friday, January 24, 2014

Stranded Indoors and Bored? Beggar My Neighbor!

Oh, but it's cold and snowy in many parts of the country!  Here, we're back to our usual bleak, gray winter days, when it seems the sun is never going to shine again.  Winter in nineteenth century England could be as dreary, keeping ladies and gentlemen indoors for days at a time.  While some braved the cold to make calls, others languished at home with family members.  One of the ways to pass the time was playing cards and parlor games.  We've talked about whist and consequences. But there was another, rather all-or-nothing card game that could get, well, a bit tense, if you had the wrong frame of mind.

Beggar My Neighbor.

According to expert Barry Rigal, author of Card Games for Dummies, Second Edition, the game could also be called Beat Your Neighbor Out of Doors and Strip Jack Naked.  Sounds friendly, doesn't it?  This was a game played at a "round table" as opposed to the four-sided whist table for more serious players.  Up to six people could join the game.  One player dealt the cards as evenly as possible among the group.  The other players didn't take up a hand, but squared up his or her cards, face down, on the table.

The player at the left of the dealer turned over the top card on the individual pile.  If it was a numbered card, play would continue on to the next player.  If it was a face card or an ace, the next player had to turn over a certain number of cards--four for an ace, three for a king, two for a queen, and one for a jack.  If none of those cards was a face card or ace, the first player took away all the cards facing up.  If one of them was a face card, the play progressed to the next player, who had to do the same thing.  The player who ended up with all the cards won.

As you can imagine, play could get a little boisterous.  If you've ever played the modern game of Uno with cutthroat intensity, you will understand.  Me, I advocate Patience.

The game.  Patience was another name for solitaire in nineteenth century England.  When it comes to Beggar My Neighbor, I'm an all-or-nothing kind of gal.

And if you are looking for something interesting to do in the cold, allow me to draw your attention to the new gadget to the upper left on the blog.  I was under the impression that "followers" to the blog received our posts via e-mail.  I have lately been informed that such is not the case.  Therefore, Marissa and I have added an e-mail subscription option to the blog.  Put your e-mail address in the box, and Feedburner will send you all our posts from NineteenTeen.  I've signed up myself, just to see how it all works.  I do not believe we have access to your e-mail address or any other information about you, but I will let you know if I discover otherwise.  Given that it's taken me nearly seven years to figure out that we don't have an e-mail subscription, I can say with confidence that your e-mail addresses will be safe from me for some time to come.  :

Now where are those cards?


Helena said...

I've always called solitaire Patience! We used ti play this game or one very like it, and I think we called it Strip Jack Naked (one of the names you mention). It's a good game to play when you have a mix of ages and abilities (as in a family!).

Regina Scott said...

Now that's cool, Helena! I bet it is a good game to play with family. My sons used to play "full-contact" Spoons. They'd hide the spoons all over the house, and when someone was ready to choose one, they'd throw back the chairs and dive down the hallway in search of one, sometimes wrestling each other along the way. I have a patched hole in my wall to prove it. :-)