Amusements and Sports,
page 7 of 12
The night never impeded these travellers, for the atmosphere was so pure and serene, and the snow so reflected the moon and star-light, that the nights exceeded the days in beauty.”
William Livingstone, when he was twenty-one years old, wrote in 1744 of a “waffle-frolic,” which was an amusement then in vogue:—
“We had the wafel-frolic at Miss Walton’s talked of before your departure. The feast as usual was preceded by cards, and the company so numerous that they filled two tables; after a few games, a magnificent supper appeared in grand order and decorum, but for my own part I was not a little grieved that so luxurious a feast should come under the name of a wafel-frolic, because if this be the case I must expect but a few wafel-frolics for the future; the frolic was closed up with ten sunburnt virgins lately come from Columbus’s Newfoundland, besides a play of my own invention which I have not room enough to describe at present. However, kissing constitutes a great part of its entertainment.”
Kissing seemed to constitute a great part of the entertainment at evening parties everywhere at that time.
As soon as the English obtained control of New York, they established English sports and pastimes, among them fox-hunting. Long Island afforded good sport. During the autumn three days’ hunting was permitted at Flatbush; in other towns the chase was stolen fun. A woman-satirist, with a spirited pen, had her fling in rhyme at fox-hunting. Here are a few of her lines:—
“A fox is killed by twenty men,
That fox perhaps had killed a hen.
A gallant art no doubt is here,
All wicked foxes ought to fear,
When twenty dogs and twenty men
Can kill a fox that killed a hen.”
Fox-hunting was never very congenial, apparently, to those of Dutch descent and Dutch characteristics; nor was cock-fighting, the prevalence of which I have noted in the preceding chapter. Occasionally we hear of the cruel sport of bull-baiting, though not till the latter half of the eighteenth century. In 1763 the keeper of the DeLancey Arms on the Bowery Lane gave a bull-baiting. Brooklyn was specially favored in that respect during the Revolution, when the British officers took charge of and enjoyed the barbarism, and Landlord Loosely of the King’s Head Tavern helped in the arrangements and advertising.