Victorian Parlor Games

As the days grow short and the weather cold, we here on the farm settle into the warm walls of our farm house and gather on blustery evening for old fashion fun Parlor Games. In genteel Victorian parlance, games were either lawn or parlor. Please remember that the ancestry of the Teutonic word "games" is rooted in the happy combination of amusement and companionship. Here is some round or parlor games selected from a standard, Late Victorian, British guidebook also published in New York-Cassells Book of In-Door Amusements.

Victorian Charades
Victorian Charades used short theatricals of audible dialogue to hide components of a word in separate acts and the complete word in the final act. Using words or phrases such as; artichoke, bookworm, catacomb, dovetail, earshot, footman, grandchild, homesick, intimate, joyful, knee deep, loophole, moonstruck, nightmare, outside, padlock, quicksand, ringleader, sweetmeat, toadstool, uproar, vampire, wedlock, and youthful. A pile of old clothes, shawls, hats, and objects like pipes and lanterns, was provided to inspire the improvisation.

Acting Proverbs
The company divides themselves into actors and spectators then reverse after the first round. It is helpful to provide a list of Proverbs or words as well as some props to aid the uninspired. The goal is to act out a proverb like "A rolling stone gathers no moss." Is a kind of Tableaux Vivant.

Is a jolly game of verbal nonsense. To begin underline the adjectives in some suitable paragraphs taken from books. Then have each guest list seven of their favorite adjectives. From this collection, substitute the underlined words from the book as the paragraphs are read aloud.

Ask your guests to write on pieces of paper their response to ten commands, each time folding over enough of the paper to cover what they have written, then passing the paper to the person on their right. The commands are:

    1. One or more adjectives;
    2. The name of a Gentleman;
    3. One or more adjectives;
    4. A Lady's name;
    5. Where the man and lady met;
    6. What he gave her;
    7. What he said to her;
    8. What she said to him;
    9. The consequences;
    10. What the world said about it.
After the last question, each guest reads aloud what is written on their paper.

Many believe the forfeits are greater fun than the games themselves, and that the best part of the evening begins when the forfeit time arrives. End the evening of parlor games by allowing each guest to draw a sealed envelope of forfeits.

Bite an inch off an umbrella.
Hold the umbrella an inch away from the mouth, take an imaginary bite.

Kiss the lady you love best with out anyone knowing it.
Kiss everyone but the lady you love best.

Sit upon the fire.
Write the Fire on a piece of paper and sit on it.

The German Band
Imaginary musical instruments are assigned to three or more of the company and upon these instruments they must perform the best they can.

Laugh in one corner of the room, sing in another, cry in another, and dance in another.

Kiss your own shadow
With a lighted candle, throw your shadow on the face of a friend, then kiss your friends face.

Make your will
Make legacies to every person in the room, leaving them something.

The Cats Concert
Assign three or four guests, three or four different songs that they must sing simultaneously.

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