The Traditional Children's Games of England Scotland
& Ireland In Dictionary Form - Volume 2

With Tunes(sheet music), Singing-rhymes(lyrics), Methods Of Playing with diagrams and illustrations.

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76                 PRETTY LITTLE GIRL OF MINE
Loving together like sister and brother,
Now they are coupled to kiss together.
—Galloway, N.B. (J. G. Carter).
(V) This game is played in the same way in all the different variants I have given, except a slight addition in the Suffolk (Mrs. Haddon). A ring is formed by the children joining hands—one child stands in the centre. The ring dances or moves slowly round, singing the verses. The child in the centre kneels down when the words are sung, rises and chooses a partner from the ring, kisses her when so com­manded, and then takes a place in the ring, leaving the other child in the centre. In those cases where the marriage formula is not given, the kissing would probably be omitted.
(d) Of the twenty-four versions given there are not two alike, and this game is distinguished from all others by the singular diversity of its variants; although the original struc­ture of the verses has been preserved to some extent, they seem to have been the sport of the inventive faculty of each different set of players. Lines have been added, left out, and altered in every direction, and in the example from Hazelbury Bryan, in Dorsetshire (No. xxiii.), a portion of an old song or ballad has been added to the game rhyme. These alterations occur not only in different counties, but in the same counties, as may be seen by the Dorset, Hants, Staffordshire, and Northants examples. Mr. Carter says of the Galloway game that the kissing match sometimes degenerates into a spitting match, according to the temper of the parties concerned. In the Suffolk version (Mrs. Haddon), at the words " Lean across the water," the two in the centre lean over the arms of those forming the ring. These words and action are probably an addition. They belong to the " Rosy Apple, Lemon and Pear " game.
These peculiar characteristics of the game do not permit of much investigation into the.original words of the game-rhyme, but they serve to illustrate, in a very forcible manner, the exactly opposite characteristics of nearly all the other games, which preserve, in almost stereotyped fashion, the words of the rhymes. It appears most probable that the verses belonged







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