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´╗┐Title: The Canadian Curler's Manual
Author: Bicket, James
Language: English
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                              THE
                        CANADIAN CURLER'S
                             MANUAL;


                     AN ACCOUNT OF CURLING,

                          AS PRACTISED

                           IN CANADA:

            WITH REMARKS ON THE HISTORY OF THE GAME.


             "When winter muffles up his cloak,
              And binds the mire like a rock,
              THEN to the loch the Curlers flock
                              Wi' gleesome speed."
                                                BURNS.


                        BY JAMES BICKET,
            SECRETARY TO THE TORONTO CURLING CLUB.


                            TORONTO:

PUBLISHED AT THE OFFICE OF THE BRITISH COLONIST, FOR THE TORONTO
           CURLING CLUB; SOLD ALSO BY HENRY ROWBELL.


                      HUGH SCOBIE, PRINTER.

                              1840.



This reprint has been made possible
through the kindness of Mr. Thomas Rennie,
who loaned the original for the purpose.



CONTENTS.

PART I.

                                                   Page
Description of Curling                                9

Stones                                               10

The Rink                                             12

Playing                                              13

Sweeping                                             14

The Game                                             15

Toronto Rules of Curling                             20

Glossary, or Explanation of Curling Terms            23


PART II.

Early History of Curling                             29

Curling in Scotland                                  31

Curling in Canada                                    34

Constitution of the Toronto Club                     38



                            TO THE

                           PRESIDENT,

                   VICE-PRESIDENTS, MANAGERS,

                              AND

                            MEMBERS

                            OF THE

                     TORONTO CURLING CLUB,

                          THIS MANUAL

               IS MOST RESPECTFULLY INSCRIBED,

                     BY THEIR DEVOTED

                          HUMBLE SERVANT,

                                    THE AUTHOR.



PREFACE


This little pamphlet has been produced at the request of the TORONTO
CURLING CLUB. The original object in its publication was simply to
furnish the Members with a copy of the Constitution of the Club, and of
the laws which they observe in playing. The design is now extended, so
as to embrace a general description of Curling, with a brief history of
the Game; and by thus making it to be understood, by those who have
never seen it played, or who may have been only occasional spectators,
to induce a more general participation in this most healthful and
exhilarating amusement.

It is gratifying to observe the success of the efforts which have been
made in this country, during the last few years, to promote and
encourage the Game. It is now becoming, and must become, a favorite in
Canada. It is admirably adapted to this climate, where the winter is
generally cold enough to ensure good ice, and seldom so severe as to
render the exercise unpleasant. Being played in the open air, during a
season when few out-of-door recreations can be enjoyed, it is well
calculated to counteract the enfeebling influence of confinement to our
close and heated winter houses. Many objections which may be brought
against other sports, are not applicable to this. It calls up none of
the low and degrading passions of our nature. Notwithstanding the
intense interest which Curlers may feel in a well contested match, no
betting ever takes place among them; the excitement arising from
gambling, therefore, is altogether removed from the rink. Intoxication
on the ice is also unknown among good players. The nice equilibrium of
body and the firmness of nerve, essential to scientific Curling, would
disappear on the first symptom of such a state. But the Game is
sufficiently interesting without any extraneous stimulant. While it
imparts vigour to every limb, and every muscle, it engages the attention
and awakens the judgment; and thus brings into healthful excitement
those powers of the body and of the mind, the due exercise of which the
Creator has allied with pleasure.

In the observations which will be found on the early history of Curling,
a liberal use has been made of a small but valuable work on the subject,
published anonymously, in Kilmarnock, in 1828. To the same authority the
writer is indebted for the derivation of several of the words to be
found in the Glossary, and it is only doing the Compilers of the work
referred to, an act of justice, which they can have no wish should be
omitted, to state, that they have availed of "Doctor Jamieson's
Dictionary," "Brewster's Encyclopedia," and an "Account of Curling, by a
Member of the Duddingstone Society." These, unfortunately, are not at
present accessible to the writer. During the present year, he ordered
from Edinburgh such publications on the Game, as could be found; but was
disappointed on learning, that several excellent Treatises which he
expected to receive, are now out of print--the only works which his
Correspondent could procure, being the "Annual of the Grand Caledonian
Curling Club" and the "Rules of Curling, by Pretostes."

The writer has affixed his name to this work--conceiving that from his
official connection with the Toronto Curling Club, since its
establishment, this may lend some weight to the opinions, and some
authority to the statements therein contained.

TORONTO, 30th NOVEMBER, 1840.



PART I.


CURLING.--Is a Game played upon the ice, by sliding stones, made for the
purpose, from one point to another. In some respects it resembles
Bowling, but with these differences, that the stones are slidden upon
the ice, not rolled--neither are they made like Bowls, to curve on their
passage; the points, also, to which the stones are played are
stationary, whereas in Bowling the Jack is moveable; and in Curling, the
ice in the path of the stone may be polished by sweeping--and thus the
players may compensate for the want of force with which a stone may have
been thrown.

Pennant, in his "Tour through Scotland" gives the following rough
description of the Game:--"Of all the sports in those parts, that of
Curling is the favorite. It is an amusement of the winter, and played
upon the ice, by sliding from one mark to another, great stones of 40 to
70 lbs. weight, of a hemispherical form, with a wooden or iron handle at
top. The object of the player is to lay his stone as near the mark as
possible, to guard that of his partner which has been well laid before,
or to strike off that of his antagonist." Such is a brief outline of
that Game, a fuller description of which is attempted in the following
pages.

       *     *     *     *     *

STONES.--These are made of granite, or of any other stone which is hard,
free from sand, and not liable to break. They are cut into a spherical
form, flattened at top and bottom, and the angles rounded off and
polished, particularly that at the sole. The handle is inserted in the
top. Though they must all be made circular, the proportion of the
diameter to the thickness varies in different districts; some being made
more and some less than twice as wide as they are thick. The Grand
Caledonian Curling Club has lately suggested the following scale--the
first attempt that has been made to regulate the proportions of Curling
Stones--and which for the sake of uniformity, it is hoped, will be
adopted, viz:--

    "When the weight is under

    35 lbs. imp., the height not to be more than 4-1/4 inches.
    38 lbs.                                      4-1/2 inches.
    41 lbs.                                      4-3/4 inches.
    44 lbs.                                      5     inches.
    47 lbs.                                      5-1/4 inches.
    50 lbs.                                      5-1/2 inches.

    "Whatever be the diameter or weight, the height ought never to
    exceed 6-1/8 inches, nor be less than 4-1/4 inches--None ought to be
    allowed in a set game of greater diameter than 12 inches, nor of a
    greater weight than 50 lbs. imperial."

Stones are sometimes so finished as to slide on either of the flattened
surfaces, one of which in such cases, is made slightly concave, and on
this side the stone is played when the ice is hard and keen; the other,
a little convex, being used when the ice is soft and dull.

In some parts of Canada, where suitable stone cannot readily be
procured, iron or wood has been substituted. At Quebec and Montreal,
castings of iron, in the shape of Curling Stones, are played with--the
intensity of the cold there, rendering the stones liable to break on
striking against one another. Iron is used also by the Curlers of
Dundas, in the Gore District; and at Guelph, where the Game has some
ardent admirers, they play with blocks of hard wood. At Toronto, and the
Curling localities in the neighborhood, stones only have been used; part
having been imported from Scotland, and others having been made by the
stone-cutter to the Club, from blocks of excellent quality picked up by
him on the land in the vicinity. Several of the stones imported to
Toronto have been made from Ailsa Craig, which, it appears, has long
been known as an excellent material for the purpose; one of those now
referred to having been played with by the father of the present owner,
at least sixty years ago.

       *     *     *     *     *

THE RINK.--The ice on which the game is played is called the Rink. This
should be a sheet of fifty yards in length and four yards in width;
perfectly free from every inequality. At the distance of four yards from
each end of the rink, and in the middle crosswise, a circular hole is
made, about an inch in diameter and the same in depth, called the "tee."
Round the tee two or more circular lines are drawn, the largest having a
diameter of about five feet, the others smaller and at intermediate
distances. The space within the largest circle is called the "brough."
The use of the circular lines is to shew, while the game is being
played, the comparative nearness of the stones to the tee; actual
measurement not being allowed until all the stones have been played to
one end of the rink. A line is also drawn across the tee, at right
angles with the rink lengthwise, and extending to the outermost circle,
the use of which will be shewn in the remarks relating to sweeping. At
the distance of seven yards from each of the tees a line is drawn across
the rink, called the "hog-score," and stones which on being played do
not pass this score are called "hogs" and lose for that time the chance
of counting, being distanced or thrown off the rink.

       *     *     *     *     *

PLAYING.--When the player is about to throw his stones, he places
himself at one end of the rink, rests his right foot in a notch, or
"hack" made in the ice,[1] and in such a relation to the tee that when
he delivers his stone it must pass over it. He is directed by one of the
players of his own party, styled the "skip" who stands at or near the
tee to which the stone is to be played, and who usually makes use of his
broom to indicate the point to which, or the line along which, he wishes
the stone to be played. Should the stone be delivered with the proper
degree of strength, and in the direction pointed out to the player by
the skip, it will either rest at the spot required, or receiving, as the
skip intended, a new direction by coming in contact with some other
stone, will effect the desired purpose. The player on delivering his
stone raises it off the ice, and swinging it once behind him to acquire
a proper _impetus_, and to make surer of his aim, keeping his eye, at
the same time, steadily fixed on the broom of the skip, or on any stone,
or other object towards or against which he may be desired to play,
throws it in that direction. The stone reaching the ice on its sole
about two feet in front of the player--his body naturally following the
same direction until the stone be fairly delivered.

[1: Other contrivances than the hack are used in some places to prevent
the foot of the player from slipping. Sometimes a thin board is laid on
the ice, on which he places both his feet. At Toronto, the hack is
considered the best, and although the Club has "crampits" for the
benefit of those accustomed to them, they are required only by
strangers or novices, experience demonstrating their uselessness.]

       *     *     *     *     *

SWEEPING.--For the purpose of Sweeping, every player is furnished with a
broom, by means of which the ice may sometimes be so polished that a
stone may reach the tee, which, without sweeping, could not have passed
the hog score. When a stone, therefore, in its progress up the rink
appears to the skip to have been thrown with insufficient force, he
directs his party to sweep the ice in its path. The party opposed to
that whose stone is coming up is not allowed to sweep in front of the
line drawn across the brough, but may sweep behind it, so as to let the
stone, if it should pass the tee, go far enough beyond it, to lose the
chance of counting.

The brooms used in Scotland are usually made of "broom," sometimes of
birch twigs, and occasionally of heather, as one or other may be found
most convenient to the place of playing. In Canada, "corn brooms" which
have been used for domestic purposes a sufficient length of time to be
stripped of the knotty parts which might break off and obstruct the
progress of the stone, have been found to be the best. Some Curlers in
Scarboro', near Toronto, who have immigrated from Lanarkshire, have
imported stocks of the genuine Scotch broom, which, under their
cultivation, thrives so well as to promise to supersede the use of every
other material.

       *     *     *     *     *

THE GAME.--The usual mode of playing the game is with 16 stones on a
rink. This number is sufficient to impart interest to the playing, and
more would towards the end of the head, crowd the ice. Sometimes these
are played by four players on each side, playing two stones each, which
mode may be preferable when a few only are exercising for practice; but
in such case the sweeping, which--unless the ice be very keen--is
essential to success, can never be properly attended to, as the skip and
player being sufficiently occupied in their own departments, only two
brooms can be effectively employed at the same time. The most
interesting game, therefore, is where there are sixteen players on a
rink, with one stone each, eight players on each side; and a game so
played is now to be described.

The parties determine by lot which is to "have the ice" or in other
words, which is to play the first stone. It is doubtful whether it be an
advantage to win the ice, as the party who loses this plays the last
stone--the most important in determining the result of the head. The
side who wins the end plays the first stone on the end following.

The skip of the party who is to play first, stationing himself on that
tee towards which the stones are to be thrown, directs the player who is
to "lead" or play the first stone, on his side. When this stone is
played the skip of the opposite party takes the same post, pointing out
to his first player how he wishes his stone to be played. Each side
plays one stone alternately, and the object of each successive player is
to draw nearer the tee than any of his opponents, to strike out their
winning shots, or to guard the winners of his own party. The earlier
stages of the end therefore appear simple enough; but after the first
eight or ten stones have been played, especially when they have been
played well, the game becomes more intricate and more interesting. One
party may have a stone covering the tee, apparently guarded on every
side, and impregnable to attack, the stones of their opponents having
only strengthened its position; yet some stone which, either from a
_ruse_ on the part of the director, or from being badly played, has
rested near the edge of the rink and seems to be lost for that end, may
furnish a point to which another stone may be slidden, and receiving
thence a new direction may reach the winner, and removing it from the
tee, become itself the winning stone.

The director generally plays the last stone on his own side. The seventh
player is usually appointed to that position in the order of the game on
account of his being a correct and powerful player, so that he may,
when necessary, open up a path for the stone of the "hind hand."

When the stones are all played to one end of the rink, the game is
counted, and every stone which either party has nearer the tee than any
stone of their opponents, counts one shot or point; and such portion of
the game is styled an "end" or "head."

The number of shots in a game is variable, depending on agreement. The
Toronto Club usually play for 31, in a regular game; and in their
matches among themselves, or with the Scarboro' Curlers, when more than
one rink has been engaged, the practice has been, either to play to an
hour specified, or to stop before that hour should the aggregate shots
of either party on all the rinks collectively amount to thirty-one for
each rink. In Scotland, where the continuance of the curling season is
very precarious, all who have it in their power, play the whole of every
day while the ice will permit, and, consequently, the number of shots
played for is more uniform. At Toronto, where Curling may be practised
almost daily, fully three months in the year, the rink is resorted to
for one or two hours' recreation, and seven, thirteen, or twenty-one
shots are frequently fixed on as the game, according to the time
intended to be devoted to the exercise.

       *     *     *     *     *

LAWS OF THE GAME.--In every district of Scotland, and in almost every
club, some differences are to be found in the mode of conducting the
game. Little difficulty, however, is there experienced from the want of
written laws, the _lex non scripta_ of every parish or county being
perfectly understood where it is in force. Still in Edinburgh and a few
other places where Curlers from distant Clubs are likely to meet, it has
been found necessary to have their laws reduced to writing so that from
whatever part of the country the player might come, he could not be
ignorant of the rules by which his playing was to be governed. At
Toronto, the want of a written code of laws, was for a number of years,
felt to be inconvenient--few of the original Curlers having been
accustomed to play exactly according to the same system. It was,
therefore, one of the first objects of the Toronto Curling Club, after
its formation, to draw up a set of Rules, founded on the prevailing
practice in Scotland. The following, therefore, were agreed to--and
although not applicable to every case that may be conceived, they have
been found sufficient to decide, satisfactorily, every difficulty that
has occurred during the experience of four years; and have been
cheerfully agreed to by the Scarboro' Curlers, in their matches with
those of Toronto.

    1st.--The Rink to be forty-two yards from tee to tee,[2] unless
    otherwise agreed upon by the parties. When a game is begun the rink
    cannot be changed or altered unless by the consent of a majority of
    players, and it can be shortened only when it is apparent that a
    majority cannot play the length.

    2nd.--The hog score must be distant from the tee one-sixth part of
    the length of the rink. Every stone to be deemed a hog, the sole of
    which, when at rest, does not completely clear the score.

    3rd.--Every player to foot so that in delivering his stone, it shall
    pass over the tee.

    4th.--The order of playing adopted at the beginning must not be
    changed during a game.

    5th.--Curling-stones must be of a circular shape. No stone to be
    changed during a game,[3] unless it happen to be broken; and the
    largest fragment of such stone to count, without any necessity of
    playing with it more. If a stone roll or be upset, it must be placed
    upon its sole where it stops. Should the handle quit a stone in the
    delivery, the player must keep hold of it, otherwise he will not be
    entitled to replay the shot.

    6th.--The player may sweep his own stone the whole length of the
    rink; his party not to sweep until it has passed the first hog
    score, and his adversaries not to sweep until it has passed the
    tee--the sweeping to be always to a side.

    7th.--None of the players, on any account, to cross or go upon the
    middle of the rink.

    8th.--If, in sweeping or otherwise, a running stone is marred by any
    of the party to which it belongs, it must be put off the rink; if by
    any of the adverse party, it must be placed agreeably to the
    direction which was given to the player; and if it be marred by any
    other means, the player may take his shot again. Should a stone at
    rest be accidentally displaced, it must be put as near as possible
    in its former situation.

    9th.--Every player must be ready when his turn comes,[4] and must
    take only a reasonable time to play his shot--should he, by mistake,
    play with a wrong stone, it must be replaced where it stops, by the
    one which he ought to have played.

    10th.--A doubtful shot must be measured by a neutral person, whose
    determination shall be final.

    11th.--The skips alone shall direct the game. The players of the
    respective skips may offer them their advice, but cannot control
    their directions; nor is any person, except the skip, to address him
    who is about to play. Each skip may appoint one of his party to take
    charge for him, when he is about to play. Every player to follow the
    direction given to him.

    12th.--Should any question arise, the determination of which may not
    be provided for by the words and spirit of the preceding Rules, each
    party to choose one of their number, in order to determine it. If
    the two so chosen differ in opinion, they are to name an umpire,
    whose decision shall be final.

[2: The Grand Caledonian Curling Club recommend that rinks have
double tees at each end, the one at least two yards behind the other;
the whole four to be nearly as possible on the same line. The stones are
to be delivered from the outer tee and played towards the inner; this
saves the ice from being injured around the tee played up to.]

[3: With regard to double-soled stones, the Grand Caledonian
Curling Club has a law that the side commenced with shall not, under
forfeiture of the match, be changed during the progress of the game.]

[4: An excellent method of obviating the confusion which is
sometimes experienced in the early ends of a game, by players being
doubtful of their places is, that before commencing, the players on each
side of a rink should "fall in" in the order in which it is intended
they shall play, and "number off from right to left." The player who
makes a mistake after this has been done is fit neither for a Curler nor
a Soldier. This method has been practised at Toronto since the winter of
1837-38--when military terms and ideas were infused into every
department of life.]

When a few players are curling for practice, or recreation, some of the
above laws may not be rigidly enforced; but any relaxation should always
be noticed, so that there may be no difficulty in strictly adhering to
them when playing a Bonspiel, or set game.

       *     *     *     *     *

The preceding account has been, as far as practicable, divested of
technical terms, in order that it might be the more intelligible to the
uninitiated. Many of the words and phrases, however, used in Curling are
peculiar to the game--throwing light on its origin and history,--and it
would now be as difficult for Curlers to abolish the language of the
rink, as it would be for the gentlemen of certain learned professions,
to substitute the Queen's English for their most unclassical Latin. An
explanation of the following terms, which are in constant use, is
therefore indispensable in a work of this nature;

    _Angled Guard_--A stone which obliquely covers or guards one stone
        or more.

    _Bias_--An inclination in the ice, tending to lead a stone off the
        direction given to it by the player.

    _Block the ice_--See "fill the ice."

    _Boardhead_--See "brough."

    _Bonspel_, _bonspiel_, _bonspeel_--(French, _bon_, good, and Belgic,
        _spell_, a play--a good game; or Suio-Gothic, _bonne_, a
        husbandman; or Belgic, _bonne_, a village or district; because
        one district challenges another to play at this game.) A match
        at Curling between two opposite parties.

    _Break an egg on_--To strike one stone very gently with another.

    _Brough_--(Alemanic, _bruchus_, a camp, often circular). The space
        within the largest circle drawn round the tee.

    _Channel-stane_--A Curling stone is so named in the southern
        counties of Scotland, probably from stones found in streams
        having been first used for curling.

    _Chuckle to_--To make two or more inwicks up a port to a given
        stone.

    _Creep_--(Come creeping up the rink) the stones are said to creep
        when they are thrown with little force.

    _Curling_--(German, _kurzweillin_, to play for amusement; or
        Teutonic, _krullen_, _krollen_, SINUARE, to bend,--as the great
        art of the game is to make the stones _bend_, _twist_ (_quod
        vide_), CURL, towards the mark, when they cannot reach it in a
        straight line.) Sliding stones along the ice towards a mark.

    _Dead guard_--A stone which completely covers another, concealing it
        from the view of the next player, is a dead guard upon that
        other.

    _Deliver_--To throw the stone.

    _Director_--The same as "skip" or "skipper."

    _Draw a shot_--to play to a spot pointed out by the director, having
        no other stone to strike or rest upon.

    _Dour_, _drug_, _dull_--The state of the ice when the stone cannot
        easily be thrown the length of the rink.

    _End_--That portion of the game in which the stones are all played
        to one end of the rink.

    _Guard_--To lay a stone in a line before another; or the stone so
        laid.

    _Hack_, _or hatch_--(Icelandic, _hiaka_, or Suio-Gothic, _hacka_, a
        chop, cut, or crack), a cut in the ice, in which the player
        places his foot to prevent it from slipping as he delivers his
        stone.

    _Head_--See "End."

    _Hindhand_--He who plays the last stone on his side.

    _Hog Score_--The line drawn across the rink, about seven yards from
        the tee; stones which do not pass this are thrown aside.

    _How ice_--The ice in the middle of the rink, _hollowed_ by the
        friction of the stones; also called _white ice_.

    _Inring_, _inwick_--See "_Wicking_."

    _Keen_--The opposite of dour.

    _Leader_--He who plays first in order in his party.

    _Lie in the bosom of_--To play a stone so as gently to touch and lie
        before another.

    _Outwick_--See "_Wicking_."

    _Pat lid_--A Curling stone lying on the tee.

    _Port_--An opening between two stones, wide enough to admit another
        to be played through.

    _Rack_--A word used in some districts instead of rink.

    _Redd the ice_--(Icelandic, _rada_ ORDINARE, to put in order; also,
        to warn, to advise,) to clear the ice, or to break the guards
        with a stone strongly played, so as to expose the tee or the
        winner; to "ride" successfully.

    _Rest_--To draw to any object or point so as not to pass it.

    _Ride_--To throw a stone with great force towards one or more other
        stones, in order to remove them from their position.

    _Rink_--The ice on which the game is played.

    _Shot_--A stone played; in another sense, a stone which counts.

    _Skip_, _or skipper_--(Probably from Suio-Gothic, _skeppare_, a
        master), a director.

    _Tee_--(Icelandic, _tia_, to point out the place; or, Teutonic,
        _tygh-en_, to point to), the winning point to which the stones
        are played.

    _Twist_--To give to a stone, on its being delivered, a rotary
        motion, so that it revolves on its sole as it slides along the
        rink, and bends from the straight line, when the force with
        which it has been thrown is nearly exhausted.

    _Wicking_, _wick_, _inwick_--(Suio-Gothic, _wick_, a corner; or
        Teutonic, _wyck_, a turning), to make a stone take an oblique
        direction by striking another on the side.



PART II.

HISTORY OF CURLING


The early history of Curling is involved in such obscurity, that the
time even of the antiquarians might be better employed in eating Beef
and Greens, or in playing the Game, than in endeavoring to discover its
origin. Some of these gentlemen have, from the definition given of a
certain word in an old dictionary, come to the conclusion that Curling
was originally the game of quoits played upon the ice. Kilian, in his
Etymologica Teutonicae Linguoe, renders the Teutonic words "_kluyten_,"
"_kalluyten_," _ludere massis, sive globis glaciatis; certare discis in
aequore glaciato_. The term kluyte, or klyte, is still used in some
parts of Scotland, where it always signifies to "fall flat" or to fall
so that the broadest part of the falling body first comes in contact
with the ground; but it never has any reference to moving on a plane
surface. The words _ludere_ and _certare_ throw no light on the manner
in which the _globus_ or _discus_ was used. But until it can be shown
that they were moved upon the ice--not pitched through the air--it is
difficult to perceive the relation between "kluyten" and curling. As
soon as the stones were played by being slidden--if the antiquarians
could only determine the period of that event--a new game was
introduced, affording opportunities equal to those of the quoit for
muscular exercise, and a much wider field for the exercise of the
judgment.

The earliest notice of Curling which has been discovered is in Cambden's
Britannia, published in 1607. In it, Coppinsha, one of the Orkney
islands, is mentioned as famous for "excellent stones for the game
called Curling." This shows that it was then in considerable repute. In
the "Life of William Guthrie", who in the year 1644 was ordained
minister of Fenwick, in Ayrshire, it is stated that he was fond of the
innocent recreations which then prevailed, "among which was Curling." In
1684, the game is taken notice of in Fountainhall's Decisions.
Pennycuik, also in the seventeenth century, declares that

    "To curl on the ice doth greatly please,
     Being a manly Scottish exercise."

And he celebrates the game as calculated

    "To clear the brain, stir up the native heart,
     And give a gallant appetite for meat."


Ramsay has alluded to Curling. Burns, in "Tam Samson's Elegy" shows, in
few words that he himself understood the game. Grahame, the author of
the "Sabbath" has illumined the rink with the lustre of his own genius;
and Curling forms the subject of a beautiful part of "Fisher's Winter
Season."

Though the game has never been universal in Scotland, it has long been
practised in almost every county south of the Forth and the Clyde. The
shires of Ayr, Renfrew, Lanark and Dumfries are remarkable for their
attachment to Curling. It is played in Perthshire, the Countess of
Mansfield, being now patroness of the Scone and Perth Club; but we are
not aware of its having been, until lately, practised farther north. In
Aberdeen--that city of northern lights--it is unknown. The Editor of the
Aberdeen Herald, who is a native of a Curling district, laments in his
paper of 13th January, 1838--that all was then bound up in the icy
stillness of the season, and that in a place abounding with the material
for making admirable curling stones, and with arms strong enough to
wield them,

    "No friendly combatants contested the field."

The game was played near Inverness, in 1838, when Loch-na-Sanais (or the
whispering lake), with the picturesque hills of Tomnahurich and
Torvain, echoed, for the first time, to the booming of the stones over
the ice.

Curling has long been held in high estimation in Edinburgh. About the
beginning of last century "the magistrates marched in a body to the
North Loch, to spend the day in Curling. In going and returning they
were preceded by a band of music, playing appropriate airs." It was the
custom in Paisley, not many years ago, to send round the town drummer,
after two or three nights' hard frost, to proclaim to the inhabitants
where the Curlers should meet in the morning; and in the morning, should
the frost continue, hundreds might be seen--manufacturers, bailies,
weavers, and clergymen,--resorting promiscuously to the rendezvous; for
on the ice all are on a _level_--all ordinary distinctions in society
are, for the time, forgotten in the love of the game, and the noble and
the learned are there willing to be directed by the most skilful player,
though this should happen to be the humblest of their neighbors.

In some of the agricultural districts of Scotland, the extent of Curling
Clubs is regulated by the legal divisions of the country, being again
sub-divided among themselves into rinks, who always play together under
their respective skips;--the organization resembling in many respects
that of the Militia of Canada--and on the occasion of a contest with
another club, every man who, if in this country should be liable to
serve as a soldier, turns out willingly for the honour of his _corps_.
There, however, age procures no exemption from service. In the words of
Grahame,

    "When rival parishes and shrievedoms keep,
     On upland loch, the long expected tryst,
     To play their yearly bonspiel, AGED MEN,
     Smit with the eagerness of youth, ARE THERE,
     While love of conquest lights their beamless eyes,
     New nerves their arms and makes them young once more."

On 20th January, 1838, the parish of Lesmahagow, in Lanarkshire, met the
neighboring club of Avondale, on a sheet of ice, near Strathaven. Each
club consisted of twenty-one rinks of eight players, making the number
of players on each side one hundred and sixty-eight, so that three
hundred and thirty-six Curlers were engaged in the match. Such a
bonspiel as this may not take place every season, but this instance,
which is referred to, as being of recent occurrence, is sufficient to
shew the interest which in such districts is taken in the game, and,
also, the excellence of the organization which could bring so many
players together on a notice so short as that which can be given, where
the continuance of hard frost cannot be depended on.

It is now about twenty years since Curling was introduced to Canada, and
since that time the game has been regularly played at Quebec and
Montreal. The Clubs of those Cities, in imitation of their friends on
the other side of the Atlantic, have occasional contests with each
other. The match which they last had, came off in March of the present
year, and was played at both places on the same day--one-half of the
players from each City having proceeded to the other--so that the result
of the joint game could not be known at either place, until the parties
had time to communicate. A few years ago, the Bonspiel took place at
Three Rivers. The distance which, in those cases, the players had to
travel, sufficiently shows how warmly they are devoted to the game.

During the last winter, the officers stationed at some of the posts to
the south of Montreal, relieved the monotony of military duty, by
engaging in Curling. The game has been practised at Perth, in the
Bathurst District, although now fallen into disuse there. At Niagara, a
rink was formed four years ago, one gentleman having imported a
sufficient number of stones for their use, and great interest is now
taken in the sport. At Newmarket, about 30 miles to the north of
Toronto, there is a Curling Club, the minister, like many of his
brethren at home, being an active promoter of the game, and an exact and
skilful player. Curling is now also a favorite amusement at Dundas at
the head of Lake Ontario; at Guelph, in the new District of Wellington;
and at Fergus, in the township of Nicholl. There are also, many
first-rate players in Scarboro' who are always ready to measure their
strength, in numbers and skill, with those of Toronto, and both enjoy
the _certaminis gaudia_ in their annual bonspiel. They played at
Toronto, on 12th February last, with twenty-four players aside, when
their Excellencies the Governor General and the Lieutenant Governor were
spectators of the game.

The Fergus Club has been mentioned above, but is worthy of more
particular notice, being perhaps, the first which was regularly
organized in Upper Canada. The settlement of that neighborhood was begun
in 1834, and the gloom of the first winter was dispelled by the
introduction of the game. In the course of the winter following, the
Honourable Adam Fergusson, who is the principal proprietor and the
enlightened founder of the settlement, succeeded in forming the players
into a club, of which he was the first President, and which now numbers
upwards of thirty members. They play with blocks of hard wood, turned to
the proper shape, which they have found to answer the purpose, except
when the ice is dull. The experiment has been made of loading the blocks
with lead, in order that the size and weight may bear about the same
proportion to each other as in Curling stones, and this they consider a
decided improvement.

The example of the Curlers of Fergus, in constituting a club, ought to
be followed in every neighborhood where there are players sufficient for
one rink. The permanency of the game and opportunities of playing may
thus be secured in places where, without such arrangement, the greatest
difficulty might be experienced in bringing the players together.
Although the game has been played at Toronto, every winter, since 1829,
it was never enjoyed to the same extent as it has been since the
formation of the Club in 1836. By the judicious arrangement of the
managers, in appointing the hours of playing, and in having the ice
ready before the Curlers meet, the time which was formerly wasted in
preparations that may be performed by laborers, is now spent in the
game; and thus the recreation can be shared by many, who should
otherwise, by the nature of their occupations, be excluded from the
rink. Wherever, on this continent, Curling has been introduced and not
continued, its decline is attributable to the want of that system which
the proper organization of a club would ensure. Wherever Curlers have
been united, in the way now recommended, they have been enabled to
attract constant accessions to their numbers, and, by spreading
throughout their respective neighborhoods a love of the game, to
establish its permanency beyond the chance of decay.

Mr. John Graham, of New York, the best authority in the United States,
in every matter connected with Scottish nationality, as existing
there,--and who permits his name to be used on this occasion,--stated
during his recent visit to Toronto, that the game was sometimes played
at New York, but there being no Club, a special arrangement was always
necessary before any meeting on the ice could take place. If the New
York curlers were to unite, there can be no doubt that the game would
"go a-head" there, and that in a few winters hence, we should hear of
their having a bonspiel with their friends in Canada, either at Montreal
or Toronto.

A few plain rules are sufficient for the government of a Curling Club.
The following Constitution, which was agreed upon by the Toronto
Curlers, has been found to answer every purpose for which it was
intended. A few additional regulations have since been made, but these
are only of a local or temporary nature.



CONSTITUTION
OF THE
TORONTO CURLING CLUB


ARTICLE 1st.--The Office-bearers of the Club shall consist of a
President, two Vice-Presidents, four Managers, and a Secretary and
Treasurer, who, after the first election, shall be elected at the Annual
Meeting in December, to be called as provided in Article 5th.

ARTICLE 2nd.--Any person wishing to become a Member, may be proposed at
any regular Meeting of the Club, and if the proposal be seconded, the
election shall proceed, when the votes of a majority of three-fourths
of the Members present, and the payment of the Entrance Fee and of one
year's subscription, as provided in Article 3rd, shall be required for
the admission of the applicant.

ARTICLE 3rd.--In order to provide a Fund to meet necessary expenses,
Members shall pay on admission the sum of ---- as entrance fee, and also
the sum of ---- as their first year's subscription; and shall afterwards
pay such annual subscription as may be determined by the Club at the
Annual Meeting.

ARTICLE 4th.--The Committee shall draw up the Rules of the Game
according to the prevailing practice in Scotland; which Rules, when
entered on the Books of the Club and read at a regular Meeting, shall
regulate the playing, and shall be decisive in all disputes among the
Members; and may also, in case of playing with other Clubs, regulate the
match, unless objected to by such other Club.

ARTICLE 5th.--The Annual Meeting, when Office-bearers shall be elected,
shall be held on the first Tuesday of December; and regular Meetings
shall also be held on the first Tuesday in January, February and March
in every year, at such place as the President may appoint; to be
properly intimated to the Members; and occasional Meetings of the Club
may also be called by the President, whenever he may consider it
expedient.

ARTICLE 6th.--Members shall pay their annual subscription to the
Treasurer within one month after the amount of the same shall be
determined; and on failing to do so, they shall be considered as having
withdrawn from the Club.

ARTICLE 7th.--The Rules of the Club may be altered or new rules added,
with the consent of three-fourths of the Members present at any regular
Meeting; such alterations or additions having been proposed at the
regular Meeting preceding.





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