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1810c.1 "Poisoned Ball" Appears in French Book of Games
The rules for "Poisoned Ball" are described in a French book of boy's games: "In a court, or in a large square space, four points are marked: one for the home base, the others for bases which must be touched by the runners in succession, etc."
To See the Text: David Block carries a three-paragraph translation of text in Appendix 7, page 279, of Baseball Before We Knew It.
David notes that the French text does not say directly that a bat is used in this game; the palm may have been used to "repel" the ball.
Les Jeux des Jeunes Garcons [Paris, c.1810]. Per Robert Henderson. Note: David Block's Baseball Before We Knew It, at page 186-187, dates this book at 1815, some of the doubt perhaps arising from the fact that the earliest [undated?] extant copy is a fourth edition.
We have one other reference to poisoned ball, from about three decades later. See item 1850c.8.
This game has similarity to base ball; could a French-speaking digger take a few moments to sort out whether more is known about the rules, origins, and fate of the game?
1827.4 Poisoned Ball Listed in French Manual of Games
Celnart, Elizabeth, Manuel complet des jeux de societe (Complete manual of social games) [Paris, Roret], per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 192. The material on "la balle empoisonee" is reported as "virtually identical" to that of the 1810 Les Jeux des juenes garcons, above at 1810.
Does this manual cover other safe-haven games? Other batting games? Other games with plugging?
1855.25 Text Perceives Rounders and Cricket, in Everyday French Conversations
An 1855 French conversation text consistently translates "balle au camp" as "rounders." It also translates "crosse" to "cricket."
A double is seen in "deux camps," as "En voila une bonne! Deux camps pour celle-la" is translated as "That is a good one! Two bases for that."
W. Chapman, Every-Day French Talk (J. B. Bateman, London, 1855), pages 16, 20, 21. Accessed 2/11/10 via Google Books search <"chapman teacher" "french talk" 1855>. The English titles for the translated passages are The Playground and Returning From School.
It is unclear whether the original poems are the English versions or the French versions; if the latter, it seems plausible that these safe-haven games were known in France.
Would a French person agree that "balle au camp" is rounders by another name? Should we researcher thus chase after that game too? Perhaps a French speaker among us could seek la verite from le Google on this?
1856.10 French Work Describes Poisoned Ball and La Balle au Baton
Beleze, Par G., Jeux des adolescents [Paris, L. Hachette et Cie], This author's portrayal of balle empoisonee is seen as similar to its earlier coverage up to 40 years before; its major variant involves two teams who exchange places regularly, outs are recorded by means of caught flies and runners plugged between bases, and four or five bases comprise the infield. Hitters, however, used their bare hands as bats. Block sees the second game, la balle au baton, as a scrub game played without teams. The ball was put in play by fungo hits with a bat, and was reported to be most often seen in Normandie, where it was known as teque or theque.
per David Block, Baseball Before We Knew It, page 217.
The game of Grand Theque [big stick] is explored in "Les Jeux de plein air. La Grand Theque," la Revue des Sportes, Dec. 12, 1888, and in "un tres ancien jeu normand. La Teque," le viquet (1994). These French language sources claim that Teque is related to Rounders and Baseball, and also claim that Teque/Rounders is the predecessor game to baseball. See the Origins Committee Newsletter, May 2021, for more. [ba]
Is it significant that this book features games for adolescents, not younger children?
Answer: the articles cited in the comment make clear that Grand Theque, at least, was played by adults as well as children. [ba]