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Previous to commencing this Treatise, the Author was not aware of the existence of any other on the same subject, except a very small one published in Belfast, and which he saw many years ago. Wishing to see it again lately, he caused it to be enquired for, but failed to obtain a copy, which circumstance decided him on endeavouring to fill the vacancy.
Since commencing, however, he has fallen in with articles upon skating, in “ Blaine's Encyclopædia of Rural Sports," “Walker's Manly Exercises,” and “Captain Clias's Gymnastics."
These are good enough as far as they go, but not sufficiently complete to supersede the want of a more comprehensive work. The same may be said of Captain Jones' Treatise, published in the last century, and which, though devoted solely to this elegant accomplishment, is erroneous in many respects, and deficient in others. The backward circles seem not to have
been known then, for only in his last paragraph does he hint at such a possibility, where he mentions, as newly discovered," the “heart-shaped” figure, corresponding to our figure 3. Moreover, the book was written in the days of cocked hats and minuets, when every act of life was a sample of cold, studied, and acted formality, and it is therefore too punctilious about attitudes to suit the ideas of the present day. For the illustrations, the Author is indebted to this old work, and he adopted them because the ancient costume seemed better suited for the representation.
It is not without considerable diffidence that the Author has
ventured upon his task, and with something of the feeling of insecurity with which a young skater might attempt a “Double 3.” It may be said to him, “Surely you, who pre"sume to criticise and instruct, must be a first-rate performer “yourself, or at all events have a high estimate of your own
doings,” but the sequitur is not conclusive. "Non omnibus “adire Corinthum,” every one can't win the Corinthian games; yet no doubt, many a good Greek who failed, could criticise and admire, possibly even instruct. In the same way, many a one knows good music who cannot play, and the best teachers are often indifferent vocalists. So, Reader, it is with the Author in skating, and so it may be with you, in spite of your best efforts; but practice will do much, especially when right directed, as he hopes to direct you. And for the rest, you have probably observed in your course through life, that skating is not the only line in which high precept does not ensure lofty practice.
To see really good skating, is the best teaching; but, as a general rule, that is only to be seen in the large cities, where the greater field of emulation has produced it. Country skaters, from never seeing it, are not even aware of what can
be done on skates.
To spread the better knowledge of this graceful, healthful, and exhilerating accomplishment, is the aim of the present treatise; and the Author hopes, that if he has succeeded in giving lucid descriptions of the various movements, and practical directions for the easiest mode of attaining them, his work will be acceptable to his Readers, as well as satisfactory to their respectful well-wisher,
CHAPTER I. — INTRODUCTORY.
SPORTS AND PASTIMES IN GENERAL,
Angling, Cricket, Archery, Horse Racing, Swimming, Yacht
ing, Golf, Bowling, Quoits, Shooting, Salmon-fishing, Deerstalking, Falconry, Hunting, Coursing, Curling.
As every time has its peculiar occupations and duties, so, likewise, has every season its appropriate sports and pastimes.
In the first flush of Spring, when Nature seems to breathe a new life over the lethargic Earth, and each manifold phase of being responds to the new-born influences pulsating within it, man shares in the general joy. As soon
as the season turns, and “Winter, slumbering in the open air,
“ Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring,” from the din and turmoil of pent-up cities, he longs once more for the pure breath of heaven—for the hills, and the woods, and the streams.
“Whanne that Aprile, with his shoures sote,