At a loss for a new rainy day activity? Need to work on your dating skills? Try this parlor game from the 1820s…
The set, which arrived in its original box, includes forty hand-colored cards depicting men and women. The twenty cards picturing men each contain a member of a different profession and a rhyming, nineteenth-century, pick-up line. The cards featuring women contain various polite (and not-so-polite) rejections, along with a few acceptances. Presumably, players could match different cards to form various comic, romantic scenarios, thus practicing for their own courtships.
Included in the images below are examples of six different cards. (I’ve added some punctuation for clarification.)
Soldier: With sword, gorget, and sash, can you love Captain Flash?
Woman: Upon my word, you graceless Elf, I’ll keep that answer to myself.
Man: Reading improves the mind they say. Are you fond of Reading, pray?
Woman: How provoking you are thus to torment me so. But I’ll give you my answer – it is certainly No.
Man: The Bee is a pattern to all in this Life. Can you be a good & industrious Wife?
Woman: Well that’s very civil, I thank you for this. And I’ll be as civil; I answer Sir, Yes.
More playing cards can be found in the James Edward Whitney collection.
*EC8.A100.820p. Purchased with the Melvin R. Seiden Houghton Library Book Fund for Music. Images may not be reproduced without permission.