The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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GAME OF CROQUBT,                                  521
Croquet.—This outdoor pastime is of comparatively modern crea­tion, and is every day becoming more in vogue. It may be played by persons of all ages and of either sex; but it is especially adapted to ladies and young persons, as it demands but trifling personal execu­tion, while it affords delightful and health-giving sport. The grounds upon which croquet is played, is preferably a grass plot of an oblong form; but an ordinary lawn or expanse of even both will answer the purpose, so long as it is of sufficient extent for the operations of the game. The implements for playing croquet, are the balls, the mallets, the striking and turning pegs, the croquet clips or mark­ers, the hoops or arches.
Arrangement of the hoops.—As much of the interest of this game depends upon the arrangement of the hoops, it is expected that they should be fixed in the ground on definite principles. In the first place, the starting peg is driven in at one end of the ground, and the turning peg driven in at the other extremity. From each of these pegs a space of twelve feet intervenes; here a hoop is fixed; an­other space of ten feet intervenes, when a second hop is fixed;- a space of eight feet then succeeds, and at this point is formed what may be termed the base, on each side of which, at a distance of twenty feet and succeeding each other at intervals of ten feet, three hoops are driven in. By this arrangement, a square is formed, the starting peg leading into its centre, and the turning peg leading from it. When the ground is small, the distance may be contracted proportionally. Other arrangements of the hoops may be made at the discretion of the players, but the first-named plan will be found best worthy of adoption, as it affords the most excellent apportunities for the dis­play of address and skill.
The game consists in striking the balls from the starting peg, through the several hoops, to the peg at the opposite extremity. The balls are then driven back again to the starting peg.
The game may be played by any number of persons not exceeding eight. A larger number protracts the intervals between the several turns, and thereby renders the game tedious. The most eligible number is four. If two only play, each player should take two balls, and when as many as eight play, there should be two sides or sets.
In playing the game, each player takes a mallet, ball, and croquet clip of the same color or number, the clip being used to indicate the hoop at which, in his turn, he aims. The division into sides, choice of balls, mallets, etc., is determined by the players among themselves.