may be told to “run the gauntlet” or “to go through purgatory,” both of which have specific penalties attached to them by Dorset players; or to sing in one corner of the room, cry in another, laugh in another, and dance in another. Sometimes the task imposed is either something which is apparently impossible to perform, such as being told “to bite an inch off the poker,” or “to put yourself through the key-hole,” or else it is designed to make the victim ridiculous, as when he is made to lie on his back on the floor and say:
“Here I he,
The length of a looby,
The breadth of a booby,
And three parts of a blockhead.”
There are many ways and means suggested by which the forfeits may be redeemed, and much amusement is frequently caused before the forfeited articles can be reclaimed. The game is often kept up with spirit for several hours.
A favourite form which the game of forfeits will sometimes take is that of making persons in turn repeat in their proper order various lines of a jingle or rhyme, when, if it were not correctly rendered, a forfeit was claimed.
The following is an example:
One of the company who knows the game (all being seated round the fire) commences by saying:
And this having gone the circuit of the company, he or she begins the second round with:
“Not Ragged-and-tough, but Huckem-a-buff,
First cousin to Ragged-and-tough.”
This being duly honoured, he or she begins again:
“Not Ragged-and-tough, nor Huckem-a-buff, first cousin to Ragged- and-tough, but Miss Grizzle, maiden-aunt to Huckem-a-buff, firstcousin to Ragged-and-tough.”
- See Shropshire Folklore, p. 527.