Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/239

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(Quoted from Dr. Jamieson by Nares.) The resemblance of this game to the modern "I Spy!" is evident.

Base was a rustic game also known by the name of Prison Base and Prison Bars, and gave rise to the common expression meaning to challenge, namely, bidding a base. It was played as follows: "The performance of this pastime requires two parties of equal number, each of them having a base or home to themselves, at a distance of about twenty yards. The players then on either side, taking hold of hands, extend themselves in length, and opposite to each other, as far as they conveniently can, always remembering that one of them must touch the base. When any one of them quits the hand of his fellow and runs into the field, which is called giving the chase, he is immediately followed by one of his opponents. He is again followed by another from the former side, and he by a second opponent, and so on alternately until as many are out as choose to run, everyone pursuing the man he first followed, and no other; and if he overtake him near enough to touch him, his party claims one towards the game, and both return home. Then they run forth again and again in like manner till the number is completed that decides the victory. This