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some little trifle on the wicket (not too much, not too little), which, in addition to his pay, he is to have as often as he knocks it down. It is astonishing what good effect this little inducement will have with him as well as with yourself.
In taking leave of this part of my subject, I have only to say, that all these matters of equipment are to be obtained in the best possible style from Mr. Dark, of Lord's Cricket Ground, Marylebone ; and of Mr. W. Caldecourt, Townsend Road, Marylebone, of whom also may be had the Catapulta, price 111. 11s. complete with the latest improvements.
The play's the thing !-SHAKSPEARE.
T requires nerve of no ordinary character to possess yourself of sufficient self-command to walk from amidst the assembled
thousands of Cricketing cognoscenti, and advance singly to the
od post made vacant by the destructive influence of the enemy's fire. It is, however, for you now to summon up all presence of mind; and as you walk before the wondering speculations of the congregated critics, bear in mind this useful hint, “ to be composed;" satisfied to defend. You will find the realization of this little suggestion of immense value. Defend until the excitement of your important position in the game shall subside. After playing one or two overs with “comparative” firmness, your sight will become curiously and quickly accustomed to perform the astounding duties which it has to encounter.
Astounding is a term not half powerful enough to describe the electrical rapidity with which the eye communicates to the nerves, and the nerves to the muscles the word of command. The marvellously rapid judgment of the eye, and the extraordinary quick response whereon to calculate to a nicety where and when the convexity of the cricket-ball shall be met by the convex surface of the bat, to be laid dead at the feet, or to be driven forth, swimming through the “field,” baffling all attempts to arrest its winged flight, is what may be termed quick decision. And before we shall touch upon the
delicious consequents of this quick decision, we must prove the efficacy of that position, or attitude, which shall to the greatest degree facilitate the operation of this “ quick decision.”
I feel some delicacy in insisting upon this part of my preamble ; for, in so doing, I shall be obliged to argue against many attitudes which have been adopted by some of the best batsmen of the old and of the modern times.
All persons, Cricketers or not, will agree with me, I think, that a man standing (as a soldier does with his musket) bolt upright, cannot jump off the ground without bending the knees; and the more they are bent, the higher will be the jump. Observe the first position in Fencing, “ En garde!” How beautifully every limb of the body is prepared for action! The knees are bent, and the body, well balanced, is prepared either to be thrown forward in the instant of straightening the hinder leg, or thrown backward upon straightening the knee of the leg in advance. I strongly recommend that you practise this lounge with the bat, just as the fencing-master orders you
“ En garde,” “Lounge !” “ En garde,” “ Lounge!" And often, when on the full extent of this action, hold the bat firmly, so that it does not move from its perpendicularity, and walk in front of it to see if your lounge be perfectly carried out. Another good way of practising this lounge is to do it before a long looking-glass.
It is only a curious fact, but you will observe, by the figures in the following Plate, that the attitude of “ En garde”of the left-handed swordsman, is the attitude of “ Play” for the right-handed batsman; and, vice versá, the attitude of “ Play” of the left-handed batsman is the “ En garde” of the right-handed swordsman. I have found it a good plan, the moment the bowler begins to advance, to raise the blade of the bat about half a foot from the ground, keeping it well before the wicket, so as to screen it as much as possible from the eye
of the bowler. From analogy to the first position in fencing, and from experience, which is one of the greatest tests of truth, I venture to assert, that no attitude will be found so convenient, or so well suited for action, as that which we recommend by the bending of both knees.
I do not argue that runs cannot be obtained, or that much good play