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Thomas Middleton’s The Inner-Temple Masque, or Masque of Heroes features a scene in which a farcical “will of Christmas” is read, which contains allusions to several games that were current at the time.A

The will is read aloud while Plum interjects:

The last WILL and TESTAMENT of KERSMAS,i.e., Christmas Irreuocable. Read;

IN primis I giue and bequeath to my second Sonne In, and In; his perpetuall Lodging i’the Kingsbench, and his Ordinarie out of the Basket.

Plum. A sweete allowance for a second brother.

Item, I giue to my yongest Sonnes Gleeke and Priministe, the full consuming of Nights and Dayes, and Wiues and Children, together with one secret gift, that is, neuer to giue ouer, while they haue a pennie.

Plum. And if e’re they doe, Ile be hanged.

For the possession of all my Lands, Mannors, Mannor-houses, I leaue them full and wholly to my eldest Sonne, Noddie, whom during his minoritie, I commit to the custodie of a paire of Knaues and one and thirtie?

Plum. There's Knaues enow a conscience to coozen one Foole.

Item, I giue to my eldest Daughter, Tickle mee quickly, and to her sister my Ladies Hole, free leaue to shift for themselues, either in Court, City, or Country.

Plum. We thanke him heartily.

Item, I leaue to their old Aunt, my Sow h'as Pigd, a Litter of Curtizans to breede vp for Shroue-tide.

Plum. They wil be good ware in Lent, when flesh is forbid by Proclamation.

Item, I giue to my Nephew Gambols,This is possibly a reference to Ben Jonson’s Christmas, His Masque (1616), where ten children of Christmas are named, “Gamboll” amongst them. commonly cald by the name of Kersmas Gambols, all my Cattle, Horse and Mare, but let him shooe 'em himselfe.

Plum. I ha' seene him shooe the Mare fortie times ouer.

Also, I bequeath to my Coozen-Germane Wassel-Bowle, borne of Dutch Parents, the Priuiledge of a free Denizen, that is, to be drunke with Scotch-Ale, or English-Beere: and lastly, I haue giuen by word of mouth, to poore Blind man Buffe, a flap with a Foxetayle.

The games listed are:

In, and In
a dice game: In and In
a predecessor of cribbage
One and Thirtie
Tickle Mee Quickly
a card game
My Ladies Hole
a card game: My Lady’s Hole
My Sow Has Pigd
a card game: My Sow (Has) Pigged
Shooe the Mare
a physical game: Shoe the Mare
Blind Man Buffe


  1. (). ⁨⁩. Iohn Brovvne⁩: London.


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