Monday, January 4, 2016

Twelfth Night characters on paper

Instead of a bean or coin in a cake, picking a paper from a hat to decide the king, and the women selected from a reticule (or bag) for queen and other roles was a 'role playing' game for Twelfth Night celebrations.  The rules as described in Revel's Winter Evening Pastimes, 1825 and examples from the 'sheets' are shown below. Figure on left is probably a cook, from the sheet, also below. Past posts on 12th Night HERE

"Each individual is expected, for the rest of the night, to conform in speech and manners to the character which Fortune has assigned him. If persons address each other by any but their newly-assumed title, it may be made the subject of a forfeit. Miss Revel having conducted the sports of some extensive Christmas parties upon a novel principle, her mode is here submitted to consideration. Let the person who gives the entertainment make timely arrangements for drawing the characters.

Two lists should be made, containing the names of the visitors expected, one for the males, the other for the females; prepare a corresponding number of tickets, containing characters, to which are affixed' some doggrel rhymes or Hudibrastic lines appropriate to the subject: the slips of paper on which these are written must be numbered on the back, and all folded of one form. The ladies' characters, must be put in a reticule or bag; arid those for the gentlemen into a hat.

When the tea is concluded, a lady carries the hat for the men to draw, and a gentleman carries round the reticule for the females; the two tickets which remain after the general distribution, are to be appropriated by those who banded round the bag and the hat.

The conductor of the games next arranges the drawers precisely in the numerical order of their tickets, either in two opposite lines, or in a great circle; this being done, the King, who is always No. 1, commences to read his lines: No.2, Queen, replies by reciting those on her ticket; then follow the rest. Of course, it is essentially necessary to range the players in the order of their numbers, because they are contrived to elicit a reply, or contain pertinent allusions.

1. King.
Fate decrees me your King: grave and gay, wise and fools,
Must consent, for this night, to submit to my rules.
2. Queen.
I'm your Queen: good my liege, your confessor, may shrive you;
But for me, I'm resolved, if I can't lead I'll drive you.
3. Lord Spendthrift.
Blood, for money, Lord Spendthrift is ready to barter,
If some rich maid will purchase a Knight of the garter.
4. Molly Mumper.
Molly Mumper wants a husband: Baron, or Duke, she cares not which;
If you'll marry a beggar's heiress, she'll promise to make you rich.
Winter evening pastimes; or, The merry-maker's companion, by Rachel Revel (pseud.) London: 1825

Cook and the later whole sheet is from the London Illustrated News Jan. 8, 1881.  The second two sketches are from The Book of Christmas Thomas Kibble Hervey… Illustrations by R. Seymour.  London: 1836.  Two colored 'Twelfth Night' by Isaac Cruikshank, 1807 from the British Museum online collection, as is George Cruikshank's Tippy Grim.

©2016 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME

No comments:

Post a Comment