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barley-break THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN, iv. 3. 29. “It was played by six people (three of each sex), who were coupled by lot. A piece of ground was then chosen, and divided into three compartments, of which the middle one was called hell. It was the object of the couple condemned to this division, to catch the others, who advanced from the two extremities; in which case a change of situation took place, and hell was filled by the couple who were excluded by preoccupation from the other places: in this ‘catching,’ however, there was some difficulty, as, by the regulations of the game, the middle couple were not to separate before they had succeeded, while the others might break hands whenever they found themselves hard pressed. When all had been taken in turn, the last couple was said to be in hell, and the game ended.” note on Massinger's Works, vol. i. p. 104, ed. 1813. Such is Gifford's description of the old English manner of playing the game. On the Scottish mode of playing it (which is very different), see Jamieson'sEtymol. Dict. of the Scot. Lang. in“Barlabreikis, Barley-bracks.”

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