All persons below the `rank` of an esquire were excluded from the justs and the tournaments; but the celebration of these pastimes attracted the common mind in a very powerful manner, and led to the institution of sports, that bore at least some resemblance to them: tilting at the quintain was generally practised at a very early period, and justing upon the ice by the young Londoners. The early inclination to join in such kind of pastimes is strongly indicated by the two boys represented here: the place of the horse is supplied by a long switch, and that of a lance by another. The original delineation occurs in a beautiful MS. book of prayers, written in the fourteenth century.
A crowd of boys running in such shoes [wooden] over the hard paved roads makes a great clattering. On Sunday the wooden shoes of men and boys are usually fresh whitened; if their owners enter a house, they leave the shoes outside the door. I am sure you cannot guess what little Dutch boys do with old wooden shoes. They make capital little fishing boats out of them, which they sail on the canal. The real big fishing boats are really shaped very much like shoes too.
Girl reading a story to her doll
Kitten and puppy playing with a basket of apples
A Kitten playing (or sleeping)
Girl pushing a little girl along in a sled
Little girl swinging on a swing attached to a tree
Little girl standing in a puddle at the beach while lots of other children play in the background
Seven little children are all pointing at one little girl
Two little girls blowing bubbles in the garden
Street Tumblers playing Kangura in Tokio
The man who sells the gold-fish, with fan-like tails as long as their bodies, has also turtles. These boys at last settle that of all the pretty things they have seen they would best like to spend their money on a young turtle. For their pet rabbits and mice died, but turtles, they say, are painted on fans and screens and boxes because turtles live for ten thousand years.
The boys in the picture must be playing with the puppies of a large dog, to judge from their big paws. There are a great many large dogs in the streets of Tokio; some are very tame, and will let children comb their hair and ornament them and pull them about. These dogs do not wear collars, as do our pet dogs, but a wooden label bearing the owner's name is hung round their necks.
The tops the lads are playing with in this picture are not quite the same shape as our tops, but they spin very well. Some men are so clever at making spinning-tops run along strings, throwing them up into the air and catching them with a tobacco-pipe, that they earn a living by exhibiting their skill.
Some of the tops are formed of short pieces of bamboo with a wooden peg put through them, and the hole cut in the side makes them have a fine hum as the air rushes in whilst they spin.
The two little boys are playing at snowball. These lads enjoy a fall of snow, and still better than snowballing they like making a snowman with a charcoal ball for each eye and a streak of charcoal for his mouth. The shoes which they usually wear out of doors are better for a snowy day than your boots, for their feet do not sink into the snow, unless it is deep. These shoes are of wood, and make a boy seem to be about three inches taller than he really is. The shoe, you see, has not laces or buttons, but is kept on the foot by that thong which passes between the first and second toe. The thong is made of grass, and covered with strong paper, or with white or colored calico. The boy in the check dress wears his shoes without socks, but you see the other boy has socks on.
After the heavy autumn rains have filled the roads with big puddles, it is great fun, this boy thinks, to walk about on stilts. His stilts are of bamboo wood, and he calls them "Heron-legs," after the long-legged snowy herons that strut about in the wet rice-fields. When he struts about on them, he wedges the upright between his big and second toe as if the stilt was like his shoes. He has a good view of his two friends who are wrestling, and probably making hideous noises like wild animals as they try to throw one another.