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The Play-Party in Indiana. 53
Boys I think then I'll take you miss, you miss, you miss,
I think then I'll take you miss, Tis a ma tas a ma tee,24
b. The boys form in line and lock arms. The girls do the same, facing the line of the boys but about six steps from them. At 1, the boys advance with prancing gait toward the girls; at 2, they recede and at 3, advance again; at 4, receding to their former position. The girls then advance and recede from the boys keeping the same time. Stanzas 5 and 6 are dramatic in expression. During the second line of the last stanza each boy takes the arm of one of the girls and skips away with her.25
c.-d. This is very widely known. Mrs. Gomme (Traditional Games, vol. II, pp. 233-48) gives thirty British versions.26 Mr. Newell (Games and Songs, pp. 47-50) prints three American versions. As an American game it is known in New England, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, California and Indiana, also in eastern Canada and probably elsewhere.
Mrs. Gomme calls attention to a number of features of the game which mark it as being very old. She writes as follows:27 "In this game ... we have, I believe, a distinct survival or remembrance of the tribal marriage—marriage at a period when it was the custom for men of a clan to seek wives from the girls of another
clan, both clans belonging to one tribe.....It will be seen that
there is no mention of 'love' in the game, nor is there any individual courtship between boy and girl. The marriage formula does not appear, nor is there any sign that 'ceremony' or 'sanction' to conclude the marriage was necessary, nor does kissing occur in the game." Further, "There is little doubt that this refrain (with a rancy, tancy tay) represents an old tribal war cry, from which 'slogans' or family 'cries' were derived." She points out that the
24 "With a ransy tansee tee," is quite as commonly known as this line. We played the game also with the ending—
The fairest one that I can see, that I can see, that I can see.
The fairest one that I can see, is pretty Miss----------come walk with me.
25 At this point there are several variations in playing the game and these add much to its attractiveness. In choosing partners, one boy may choose and take his girl back with him in the duke-line then all advance again the second time, when another boy chooses a wife. Finally, all four boys and the three girls advance, at which time the fourth boy chooses the last girl.
26 The Misses Fuller of Shropshire, England, played this at the Little Theatre, Chicago, March 1914, as one of *iie games thev had learned when children.
27 Trad. Games, vol. II, p. 253.