Touching each one with her handkerchief as she passes, she says, “Not you,” “not you,” “not you,” &c., &c., till the favoured individual is reached, when it is changed to “But you!” and his or her shoulder lightly touched at the same time. The first player then runs round the ring as fast as she can, pursued by the other, who, if a capture is effected (as is nearly always the case), is entitled to lead the first player back into the centre of the ring and claim a kiss. The first player then takes the other’s place in the ring, who in turn walks round the outside repeating the same formula.
(vii.)—Drop the Handkerchief.
A variant under this title, commenced in the same way as the last, is as follows :
“I wrote a letter to my love;
I carried water in my glove;
And by the way I dropped it—
I dropped it, I dropped it, I dropped it,” &c.
This is repeated until the handkerchief is stealthily dropped immediately behind one of the players, who should be on the alert to follow as quickly as possible the one who has dropped it, who at once increases her speed and endeavours to take the place left vacant by her pursuer. Should she be caught before she can succeed in doing this she is compelled to take the handkerchief a second time. But if, as it more usually happens, she is successful in accomplishing this, the pursuer in turn takes the handkerchief, and the game proceeds as before. (Symondsbury.)
In this last it will be noticed there is no kissing, and I am assured by several persons who are interested in Dorset Children’s Games that the indiscriminate kissing (that is, whether the girl pursued runs little or far, or, when overtaken, whether she objects or not) with which this game is ordinarily associated, as played now both in Dorset and in other counties, was not indigenous to our county, but is merely a pernicious after-growth or outcome of later days, which had its origin in the various excursion and holiday fêtes, which the facilities of rail-
- Conf. a Shropshire variant in Miss Burne’s book, p. 512.