Living Picture of London, for 1828 and Stranger's Guide Through the Streets of the Metropolis

Bee, Jon

1828

THE in town by , although the intercourse with every part by this method has greatly increased of late, are much less than a sight of the hourly bustle of disembarkation, from steamers, and sailing vessels, and Gravesend boats, and coasters, would induce the casual observer to imagine. Neither do the strangers, who adopt this mode of reaching London, subject their property to that reckless species of depredation, which environs the less temerarious , and pursues him from the moment of his arrival in the surburbs, until he reach his , nor even then quits him entirely. Whereas, little danger, beyond the imposition of and , is to be

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feared along shore; the first mentioned adding a portion of abuse to their extortions, when opposed sturdily, and the latter kind of attendants enhancing their merits, and the price of their services inordinately at times; whilst the hackney-coachmen who may be called from the adjacent stands to carry the new comers to their final destinations, generally tack on a sixpence or two for trouble, extra luggage, and other undefined services, unless checked in their charges by the strangers' friends. Yet do watermen, porters, and hackneymen, plead in extenuation of their exactions, with some degree of reason, both precedent and example in every other trade and calling; they of the boats and wherries asserting, that the sousing overboard of their , and the loss of life that occasionally ensues their squabbles for customers, is not more disagreeable and destructive than the and its attendant consequences.

Much of the evil here complained of has been lately abated, but much remains to be done, and to be guarded against; yet nothing can be effectually achieved until run along the quay side and discharge their passengers over their bows and sterns, as practised by the Gravesend boats and others. Matters of this sort are better arranged at the h and , at the bottom of , where strangers also obtain ready and effectual protection after they get ashore; unless, indeed,

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some who are headstrong, and think to be saving, traverse long distances with heavy luggage, borne along on men's backs, or upon inadequate vehicles; but, although such persons thus expose themselves to entire disrobement of their property, intelligence of a robbery under those circumstances is quite a rarity. So is any purloining at the Tower-stairs and at astonishingly infrequent, notwithstanding the lots of queer, jumbo-looking characters that always hang about the latter, and often show a nose at the former. We owe this to the vigilance of the Thames-Police, I believe, who are exemplarily assiduous and faithful in the performance of their duty.

, or living guides, who know town, may be hired at any public-house, or lodginghouse, from London-bridge to Limehouse-hole, who act as Ciceroni to seamen mostly, showing them about to public places, particularly Newgate and the royal palaces, 's monument, and the Admiralty; but devil a bridge or the Horse-guards affords them any delight. Those men have been for the most part in the naval or merchants' service, are vulgarly intelligent, but not to be trusted, unless very well known, and recommended before setting out. Most of them a good deal, and if those they take in charge get

three sheets in the wind,

the guide will and serve himself with odds and ends, as small change, snacks in a doublescore reckoning, an umbrella, or a great coat.

, where coaches put up, and set down their passengers, on the contrary, are scenes of greatly variegated villainy. Smashing, robbery of parcels, some of exceeding great value, the cajoling of passengers into scrapes with game hackneymen, and other projects are still resorted to, and formerly was more extensively employed by the caddee, coachy, hanger-on, and more distinctly marked thief. If the travellers would be set down as they pass along, at some spot more conveniently situate near their friends' address, they had need look well after their luggage, and not only see that the whole is taken from the stage, but placed in the hackney-coach that is to carry them the remaining distance. Thieves of the most expert sort are always sneaking about at every such place, and those of the most finished education and gallant spirit attend the of stage-coaches, mails, and even waggons, at the White-horse-Cellar, Elephant and Castle, Basing-house, and such like places of last stoppage, in and out. Indeed, the little public houses generally on the outskirts of town, and always one or two near the places just named, as well as along shore, are frequented by a very ordinary and desperate set; all of whom are constantly upon the sharp , seeking.whom they may cheat, if they cannot rob; the innocent, the artless, and the unwary, are alike their prey, whom they seek to rob, to cajole into , or to the purchase goods, deceit-

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fully made up, provided such persons happen to stroll alone to such places in search of expected country folks who arrive on foot from their native villages. It would seem, that the very sight of a , either youkel or joskin, adds sharpness to their appetite for plunder, especially if he brings his wife with him, because she must necessarily embarrass his operations; a single thief will watch the movements of such a pair for hours together, or through an entire day; and I have known two go upon the same scent, though unknown to each other, and when an explanation took place they joined, cordially, in hunting down their prey, agreeing to divide the booty; he who obtained what he now calls

the swagg,

paying to his new pal an undefined share, which the thieves persist in calling their , though nothing can be more uncertain than such divisions. Five or six, sometimes, receive unequal parts of these though they may not have been

in it,

nor even know exactly how, or where, the robbery has been effected.

and , when setting down their fares in the streets, as before alluded to, often appear to me as if they, too, would pander to the designs of prowling thieves, by the utter carelessness with which they leave the luggage exposed to the wide world on some such occasions. replied one of those coachmen to me, upon my remonstra-

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ting with him, that a party of three, whom he had set down in Aldersgate-street some two hours before, had most assuredly lost one of their trunks there but for my looking on, and the attempts of two thieves, and , to carry it off; for all three had turned their backs upon their luggage to chaffer with coachy about giving him

a shilling for himself,

among the party; in which munificent way, it seems, they had generously rewarded the care and attention of other coachmen further down the road. The party thus came up to town with a good character at their tails, which, doubtless, accompanied them to the house of their sojournment, and plagued them during every hour of it; for the hackneyman, who was, hereupon, called off the stand to

take up,

received

the office

from the stagecoachman, that he had a scaly set to deal with, a recommendation to favour he would be sure to make the best use of, and convey it to the (say) at the place of their destination. The northern coaches are not alone noted for bringing up such,

penny-wise and pound-foolish

passengers, as those whose case I have cited; all other parts of the kingdom produce examples of those who

take care of pence, and leave pounds to take care of themselves,

to such an extreme, that they find strange volunteers, at times, in helping the old saw to disprove its own wisdom.

The particular coachman I have alluded to

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did not quite merit the disadvantageous opinion which I had formed of him, and certainly entertained of his character for the space (as I have said) of two hours; for I had followed him to his inn, and place of , and eyed him over, and touted his goings on for a long time before I upon him, as above. But in the next degree to the crime of pandering to the designs of prowlers, this coachman certainly did the attempt, and knew that he was throwing a booty in their way. Had those well-known thieves effected their intentions-and I almost lament my stagging them-this very coachman might possibly (I thought) have been found at their haunt in the evening, taking a quiet glass of ale at the bar, with the real intention of applying for his share of the booty-or . A continued service of six or seven years down to the present moment, and

nothing broke that cannot be mended,

is good , but no , that he is

all correct

as a biddy.

For we who live up and down with an eye to such facts, feel a dozen such cases flitting across the recollection, of much longer services on the box terminating with the Old Bailey , and many more but little short of it. Little was never suspected from the moment he first mounted the box to the one in which he left it to become a book-keeper, when the small packet was from the Cross Keys last year; and respecting the many lost

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bankers' parcels of the period just passed, it is no argument to say that the conductors of the unfortunate vehicles have not got rich by the ; for the booty, though large, was so divided and subdivided among many, that not more than two or three the swagg to any sensible amount. Do we not see the Crowther, the Ally Sanders, the Tom Clarke, just in the same state as when that rig first began? Then again, why was not a description published of the persons of the more than suspected passengers per the robbed mails? However, on these subjects I shall dilate in the sequel. As a set-off for this potent argument as to the unchanged condition of the suspected persons, we may adduce that of a most flourishing coachproprietor of the present day, whom we recollect, a few years since, a buyer of any goods from any body, not void of of-! in ; but do not mean to infer that

once a rogue always a rogue

is applicable to the present case, nor that has to amend his ways; very far from it. Even that chief of sinners, , might have reformed, though the chances were always against such a consummation of his fencing career.

But we shall come to speak more of those characters-the conductors of our coaches, a few pages further down, and of another great proprietor, who formerly and with the proprietors, employers of a former

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day, but now so thoroughly reformed as to sit in the of representatives of the city parliament. Meantime, be it recollected our stranger requires our paternal care.

is the first depredation to which strangers are exposed upon in London, and consists in passing bad money, or pretending that you yourself have paid base coin to , who unblushingly insists upon your exchanging his base stuff for good money. The practice is not so rife these latter years as before the issue of the present coinage, but an inundation of false pieces, at times, occasions the evil to break out afresh most extensively, and we then hear of deluded poor persons detected in passing false half crowns, shillings, and sixpences, who suffer the law, without the chance of escape. But the reproach that the original offenders, coiners and by wholesale, elude punishment no longer holds good, since the detection and execution of the family of coiners, the branch at , one very substantial manufacturer at , and other minor scions of the destructive deceit elsewhere.

Without particularising any one description of characters at the inns, who would be more likely than another to practise this particular species of cheatery, I shall be justified in saying -coachmen, guards, clerks, and waiters, to be themselves imposed upon; and although not guilty, are, neverthe-

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20 less, likely to pass bad money. The original evil of its introduction to the yards arises with certain fellows, who always hover about, assuming to be extremely to the proprietors, in procuring them customers from other inns, for which service they demand a shilling, or two shillings, according to the value of the fare they . They acquire the name of from all the people of the yard, when spoken of , with some such feeling as ministers of state speak of spies, deserters, and informers to the life. Others of these hangers-on, job or sell certain articles, , pretending to smuggle, if not really so, and are thus well prepared for disseminating base money, as for robbing, purloining, and others to the more extensive subtraction of bankers' parcels, and other such fearful practices. According to the phrase, nothing seems to be too hot or too heavy for them.

Indeed, the great number and variety of depredators about those inns, would lead the casual observer to conclude, that rogues of every species had gathered together, and were tolerated to despoil him of his property. On this topic, an indignant writer, of the last age, thus strongly commences his satire.-

London! the needy villains' genial home, The

Common shore

of

Paris

and of

Rome

, With eager thirst, by Folly or by Fate, Sucks in the dregs of each corrupted state. Forgive my transports on a theme like this, I cannot bear a French metropolis.

extends to the publishing and setting forth, as good, base imitations of Bank of England notes, another of those offences which has considerably abated since I formerly wrote on this subject; so much is this the fact, that for some time the philanthropist pleased himself with the dream that the Bank prosecutor's hands were stayed, and his occupation gone. But re-issued, and the wreck of life again commenced. One of the tribe of useful men, named , was brought up to Hatton-garden office, , charged with passing bad notes, at the with two Necks, Lad-lane. One of the clerks from this establishment stated that To this information Mr. , of the Bank, added, that The culprit had a very youthful appearance, but doubtless had long deserved his hard fate, if any offender ever did forfeit life justly for this crime against commerce. His successor in the post of , , who still sticks to it, have seen

passing his evenings,

pleasantly, for months together, in company of street-thieves, whom he, doubtless,

put up

to the place where, and manner of committing robberies-so his wife often told the party: he had the nick

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name of whence I infer, he would do a little in fencing the stolen property. Yet Tom does not get fat on it.

But a more striking case of a is that of , who for many years hung about the , at the corner of , and was also a

general dealer,

i. e. bought goods of any body, upon the sly, and smuggled bandanas to a good extent. ! Every body knew him, he was a noticeable body, and if people did not notice him, why he noticed them, by hallooing after them,

if he might take the liberty to wish one good night,

or good morning, or any other good-for-nothing wish. was esteemed rich, and demanded the right of shaking folks by the hand, whom he might observe passing daily, to and fro, out of the city. Yet was hanged for the same offence, to the great astonishment and edification of all porters, waiters, and helpers, in that quarter of town. He preceded by above a year; and smashed in as well as or , as he usually flashed it for Bank-looking paper. With him, half-crowns were , and shillings

smooth whites,

now no longer.

More cases are unnecessary; and, although, not happening so frequently any where, yet is the practice continued. Then, let me ask, how can the honester part of those who are engaged about inns and yards avoid coming in

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contact, and partaking in the corruption, while they are daily in the habit of seeing so many others actively employed in such nefarious transactions, and sometimes becoming the unwilling instruments of their designs 1 To what extent this particular crime may be carried, with such means at their disposal, only remains to be guessed at, since there is no probability of coming at any thing like an accurate calculation; and the number of years the grosser offenders are suffered to carry on their trade , operates as an incitement to the yet uncontaminated to join in speculating their necks againt a few pounds of lucre, and the gratifications attendant upon the brief enjoyment of a . That they have

more money than they know what to do with

is a common saying regarding those waiters, clerks, caddees, &c. about inn-yards, any sceptical reader may prove, by attending two or three evenings at , or other adjacent gin shop, where he shall find them vieing with each other, as to which shall spend most money, in playing at cards, &c. Poor was a melancholy instance how far this recklessness of this order of people may be influenced by example, though he was cut off too soon after his misfortunes to be driven upon positively dishonest courses.

Not only must the be upon his guard against , but he should also be prepared to meet with and defeat the less subtle

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depredators, who would purloin his boxes, or other property on his way to the place of his final destination. As soon as a coach enters an innyard, it is usually beset by persons who either expect friends to arrive by it, or they do, together with a few of those idle fellows, before described as hanging about constantly; and they all contribute to lull suspicion asleep, by an apparent independence of each others' movements, the veriest thief among them taking the least notice of the objects to be plundered. He receives for this purpose from another, who having watched the moment of , and given , moves off to the outer gate, or farther off, to assist in the escape, or obstruct pursuit. The usual plan is, when the passengers' things lie about confusedly, some waiting to be taken into the booking-office, some making way towards the tavern, others for a hackney-coach, and one or two not knowing whither they would go, nor making inquiry for a place of shelter from sun or snow, from wind and rain, until they find none in company but themselves and the sharpers; then the latter become officious, offering their services, either of information or help. This some among them will usually perform, with as much faithfulness as good looking after will compel, but always making a good deal of fuss, by moving the about, new tying them and exchanging a few words with the most active thief, to keep him in counte-

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nance, and further his ultimate views. This latter, assuming much simplicity, then asks unmeaning questions, or makes an impudent remark, to prove himself quite at his ease with the helpers or, perhaps, with one of the passengers, as if familiar and well known to each other; then turning about with a smile (always ) he takes up some box or package before the owners' face, if need be, which he pretends to carry towards the house, or to the scales, as the case may happen, where such articles should be taken, still keeping near to and talking some one, if he do not bawl aloud, as if announcing his

coming, coming,

or giving a command, as

Fakenham, Faken-ham, Buckenham, here, in half an hour, I tell ye. Vhy don't you attend to the lady and call her a coach !

Meanwhile, casting his eyes about, to ascertain that the coast is clear of officers and stagging coves, he bolts off in double quick time, takes fairly to his heels, and making a double turn round two corners, according to the direction of his companion stationed outside, and in less than two minutes he is ascertained to have been seen running in a quite contrary direction to that by which he started off.

Scarcely ever does it happen that a pursuit is set up, the party robbed being either at the boldness of the manoeuvre, or more commonly believing that the lost article has made its way to the proper part of the

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26 premises. But should any join in the chase, upon this or any similar occasion, some of the com-rogues run against the foremost, , knock out their wind, , or fight away at the head and pit of the stomach, which they know how to reach after a feint or two; some of these accomplices also carry a , or knife.

The whatever their objects of gain may be, as they fill no stated post, obtain no salary by week or day, and are originally unknown to any accredited person about the premises, farther than as messengers to coachmen, to waiters and clerks, helpers to ostlers, or attendants upon the , and, finally, as caddees, may ever be considered as very ready tools in the hands of more designing, more practised thieves; though they, themselves, be not already tainted characters, ere they adopt the degrading employ of understrappers to underlings, and submit to the beck and command of exceeding rude, if not coarse, elewents of civilized life. must be a paradise of compared to this, unless the sufferers find consolation in performing any duty with pleasure, however penible it may be, if the employment but bring them . In this respect, they are not outdone by the groom who lay on a dungheap all night, that he might see a certain horse go out in the morning; nor by gentlemen of the turf, who lose their health by night watching, during spring, the exercises of three-year olds, that are entered

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to run races in the summer. Indeed, if we were to drive the investigation to its utmost, we should find that mankind are the same in every age and every clime, differing only as to circumstance, situation, and refinement. The Arab sleeps with his horse, and will part with his mares at no price, whatever; whilst in the settlements of the , whoever rides a mare gets hooted through the streets. On the Steppes of the fools are mad enough to eat horse flesh of the worst description, whilst in England we give the best to our canine, until they run mad; and then for remedy we

dip them in the ocean,

as Yorick would the wig, until the curl becomes extinct with life, for there is no other cure.

To the practices and necessities of the coachmen and guards' , we owe the increasing number and fresh supply of hangers-on, whose first business has been the performing fetch-and-carry services for those . They have, it is well known, the tolerated privilege of taking up and setting down odds and ends on , much in the way of the 's carrier servants. That they abuse it, is not within my purpose to assert; but that they bring articles that require secrecy is not to be denied; this begets the necessity of having confidants ready to hand off the packages; and the persons so engaged the inn-yards, until the horn, or Kohler, or keyed bugle, announces the ap-

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proach of their employer. When the latter brings nothing that requires his aid, the attendant finds his services dispensed with, for the present, and he to any other employer, or offers himself to whoever may require such help. When this may be the conveyance of luggage for passengers, in what does he differ from the fellow whom we described just now as running off with it? Why, truly, that he has delivered his charge faithfully, and when he goes next to his station an old arrant thief, who at the same yard, puts into his head the facility with which he might convert

the things

to his own use, and no made about it at all. But, little occasion had he for this hint, probably; for long, long, ere this, has he heard of having been

missed from the yard,

the enumeration of which made his mouth water, and caused his mother to exclaim when he told her of it , and called forth a longing bleat from his sisters at the comment on the beauty of each article, and made his 's eyes to glisten as she why, the man is half a rogue already who has no barrier betwixt him and such enticements; how much less so is a half-grown youth, of whom this genus of thief is composed, for the most part ?

And when, at length, our hitherto honest youth begins to for himself, while the

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passengers alight, as before described, do the coach-conductors, his employers, find themselves in a condition to check him? He, who is to their misdoings, fears no check from a quarter on which he has the means of retorting so severely, aye, and of retaliating too. Can he forget, so soon, with what assiduity he hung about the tap-room, day after day, to hand off what might be dropped in there, either of contraband, or of country produce, that he hears is never intended to be paid for ? How many score times has he not stood at the end of some avenue, or corner of the gateway, to catch hold, with an energetic adroitness only known to , of whatever might be dropped from the coach-tail, with a view to the coach-proprietors, the , the right owners, or, with less guilt, the game squirearchy ? Reciprocity thus begets fellow feeling.

For the purpose of facilitating those operations, almost every guard has a particular adapted to each kind of service, known and recognised by those of his acquaintance to whom the intelligence of his approach may be considered precious; to which end the recent improvements upon their wind instruments afford great facilities, and some among them, it must be confessed, execute many excellent airs, under the instructions of a of the ,-a very big chap, of Little Britain, with small eyes and large mouth, a capacious chest, and a voice that, if it anywise resemble

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his instruments, is admirably calculated to bid

be quiet,

and lull the southwester to rest. Even before

the march of intellect

soothed the breast of with music, this recognition of sounds upon the old was very common. Many years ago, I have sat down at the , in , when several coaches were expected, and oft, incontinently, did , the landlord, remark, In a few minutes, with other such notices, showing his great familiarity with the tunes played by the respective performers. From the , I journeyed to him with the , seven times, at least, latterly; and there, again, was the same observation of mine verified. And lo ! I journeyed once more, afar off, and heard the horns, and the shout In this manner giving facility to the concealment of illgotten articles of life, to say no more. This particular pig, I found the bringer

did not know when he should pay for:

it might weigh nine stone, was divided into fore and hind quarters, contrary to the usual practice with , and came without a head, as many do. We cannot be too particular in depositions of this nature.

Probably, in the preceding paragraph, I committed an error in mentioning but feeling too stiff upon the subject to ,

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and being too proud to , I must : nor am I the only person in London, by many, who having done wrong, at one hour (or page) of his eventful history, in the next page repented, and would amend it, . At the time it was written, I had my attention fixed upon the traffic carried on in , of French produce from the southern coast, and of handkerchiefs, from every quarter where these could be landed. No it is true, was ever derived by imposition of a tax upon the article; they were altogether, and afforded no , so no fraud could be charged upon the act of smuggling it; but all descriptions of foreign silk goods were seized, whenever met with, sold at the Custom-house sales, and the produce carried to credit of accompt; and the idea of smuggling is so placed in contraposition with the public revenue, that the lapse would be very likely to occur to a writer of more accuracy than Jon Bee pretends to be. But the particular anecdote, which superinduced that charge against the , may as well be told, as matter of historical illustration: it does not stand alone, and should the present administration make room for the old bigotry in commercial polity to return, as seems not at all impossible, then may trade receive anew its old prohibitory shackles, and smuggling recommence with ruinous vigour, to the discomfiture of ,

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and starvation of and other localities.

In the year , the coach brought up one hundred and twenty pieces of handkerchiefs, weekly, forty in a bundle, which gives the weight of each package, at thirty-nine pounds, nearly. No one could imagine how such an article could come from that quarter; nor is it our present business or inclination to inquire; but apprehend, that a very large lot had been sent thither, coastwise, from London. This fun lasted some time; and I thought it pleasant to see of the coach-conductor scamper away with the square bundle, of a morning, usually from the corner of Little Britain, but not always depositing the load at the same place. What is more (as matter of history, still) I bought a bundle of these from , the agent, whom his friends dubbed " knight of the long stomach," from his gastronomic properties; but I never saw the principal person, and the price paid was a little more than two pounds the piece. Under existing circumstances, great precautions seemed necessary, but whether as to my cheque for the amount, or my fidelity in another respect, is uncertain; but they compelled me to stop dinner, amidst a set, at one Sukey's, a widow woman, apparently, until all the goods then in the dining-room had changed

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owners, and vanished from the premises. In fact, the Custom-house people did search there next day, .

From all this exposure, the reader must be aware, that persons so employed are not trustworthy with his luggage, and that he would do well to see after it with his own eyes; for, if he permit one of those officious to meddle with it, no opportunity will slip by unimproved, though the coachman and guard stand near him the while. These men are not checks sufficiently strong upon the rogue, since he is himself to so many of their tricks, such as

shouldering,

and , and " ringing the changes," that they dare not interfere.

, among coachmen and guards, is that species of cheating their employers in which they take the and pocket them, generally of such passengers as they overtake on the road, or who come across the country to the main road, and are not put down in the ; but it not unfrequently happens, that they take passengers throughout the whole line of their route, even when the proprietors have scarcely one inside for themselves, to pay for horsekeep, turnpikes, and wear and tear of coaches. Some years since, a disappointed old character frequently amused the lookers-on at Lad-lane, by charging a certain there, with shouldering to a great excess, stating particularly one instance when they were together, the same coach, of six in-

34

side passengers were put down upon the waybill; exclaimed , " and when I wanted to give the proprietors only , by way of decency, what does the , but collars me for my pains, and calls me all the b -- that he could lay his tongue to; and, now, when I only shouldered of his, what does my gentleman, but gives me for it." By the way, by stage-coaches, should always take care to see themselves , as in cases of accident, or loss, they cannot recover damages against the proprietors without it; besides that, the paying a driver a is like buying stolen goods, and encouraging servants to rob their employers.

and , whom I have designated, in one word,

conductors,

from the French, though there is nothing in France like them, or their horses, or their vehicles, vary a good deal in character; yet one distinguishing vein runs through the entire genus: they are opinionated to excess, regarding , , and , incontrollable while on the road, and, whether or , not a among the whole generation of jarveys is to be met with; and, notwithstanding what has been said, are honest men, as times go; many of them of strict character, and some become proprietors, and then, whatever may have happened,

defy the world to say black is the white of my eye.

But inexperienced persons

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may as well be told, that whoever vaunts his honesty over-much is ill to be entrusted with property; neither is that cockney a man of sterling ability who constantly brings all his parts into play, as we too often notice, in all the concerns of ; the desire to appear

chief muck of the crib,

pervades all classes, from the stable door to the bench and pictured room, over which Gog and Magog stand sentry. So, whichever among the is the most talkative, garrulous, or impudent, is ever the least honest; hard, evil, and flippant words, being meant to cover correspondent bad acts: the same remark applies forcibly to all employed persons, as well as out, great and small, rich and poor, individually, or in the great .

Complaints against the of stagecoaches, to be just, should divide them into two or more classes, one of which stands aloof from any imputation of dishonesty-if all might not originally so stand, until accident or a wrong course of evil ways render the second set more than suspect. But the practices of just described, doing the on the , out of articles of life, which they bring up to to dispose of, the dealing in contraband goods, and a number of other out-of-the-way methods of adopted by this class, to say nothing of the expressed wish to appear over cunning, bring many of them to

take care of things

for which no immediate

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owner is at hand, much too readily. And every moralist knows, that the feelings once blunted by any illegal pursuit, or degrading occupation, leaves their owner open to the fascinations or the dishonour of another species of villany, and then another, until, at length, the quality of the crime is no longer an object of consideration, or its extent cause of solicitude, unless it be for the means of concealment. and of game, for example, though, in itself, no more a crime than breathing the fresh air, or dealing in game cocks, or any other provender, nevertheless, infuses into the mind a notion of transgressing a highly penal statute, and leaves an impress on the of his having deserved ill of his fellow men, whom he shuns lest their prying eyes review every action of his life too scrupulously even for perfect man to bear, to say nothing of the contaminated and self-accusing. Whether for this, or any other venial offence, we may observe that whenever a coach , either guard or actual driver, (for one of the qualifications of a is, that he, himself, be of upon emergency,) so accused, is once put off a coach, he never recovers his station again, but becomes a cast off ripp, and never handles the reins again but as mounted cadger over the stones, or, at farthest,

takes a pair of plates

for coach or chariot, or a single number for a .

Coach proprietors are exceedingly careful

37

whom they put upon their coach-boxes, and the mail-guards are for the very least offence that includes stain of character. Poor old , who drove the north country mail for eleven years, has been off the nearly three years, only because a sixpenny parcel was missing, ; and, though it was, subsequently, recovered, and found its way to the right owner, he is not likely to be put on again by the same parties. The celebrated was many years a mail-guard from to , but was through female intemperance, and is succeeded by a tradesman, retired down from Newgate-market, who fell enamoured of a , who spent the best years of a long life on the coach, for an alleged act of shouldering the whole lot. Young , young , and half-a-score darling youths of worthy fathers, lost their coaches through sexual improprieties, and now drive over the stones, or take hard over bad roads and during inclement seasons, . But the pen tires in quoting cases in proof of adversities and dark shades of character. He who wields it for the public good, would conduct his cause extremely ill if he did not adduce, at least, one case out of the many that crowd his memory, of a direct contrary tendency to the foregoing.

In the winter of , by the merest chance in the world, a gentleman, who was about to

38

reward a stage-coachman for restoring a lost package, containing one hundred and forty pounds in money, stumbled against ;at least the sum was so stated by , of the , , where the transaction took place, and where the coachman, a very remarkably stout, well-built, six-foot west countryman, awaited the appointment to receive . Ten pounds were paid him, with thanks; and I had the curiosity, according to my fashion, to bestow an hour on ascertaining how he would behave upon the occasion towards a crowd of coachmen there assembled, as is usual. His conduct was that of a stoic: he regained his chair, took his grog charily, and the fact of this payment, which had transpired at the bar, would have remained unknown to the company probably, but for another circumstance, though perfectly dissimilar, that had recently occurred on the .

Coming up with his coach a few days before, it seems, one of the drivers present perceived a watch, with its appendages, . said he to the gentleman on the box; this the latter refused to do, at the same moment alighting, and picking it up. A squabble of words ensued for its possession, but eventually the right owner regained his property without in cash, and the driver waxed exceeding wroth on the present occasion, abused the honest west

39

countryman, (off the Exeter coach, a good way down,) insinuated that he was not uniformly honest, and eventually called him a fool for the pains he had taken to such a dollop of swag for only. The mode of explaining himself, as much as the matter of his argument against the west countryman, bore ample proof how he would have acted in that other affair of the , if his had not rescued it out of his claws.

and . The remarks just made as to blunted feelings and loss of , in offending coachmen, applies more forcibly to and hackney- coachdrivers, the latter of whom are the

turned-off characters

recently spoken of, whilst a few are

returned

lags

.

Of course, our stranger, any more than the long resident in town, will entrust no property to their care out of sight, seeing that it is scarcely safe while under the eyes of the owner. The and drivers chiefly come under the censure here bestowed with too much mildness; though hemmed in by the rules and regulations of magistrates, kept in order by special constables in the city, circumscribed in their aberrations by their numerous customers' denunciations, occasionally thrashed or thrashing their offended , and sustaining the merited frowns of aldermen, expense of law-suits, and prosecutions without end, yet does the same incontrollable conduct continue; bickerings and

40

abuse never cease, occur daily, and the danger incurred by passengers at every into or out of the city, is hourly experienced, publicly reprobated, and still remains without remedy as without hope of amelioration.

Let none imagine that too much attention has been bestowed upon the subject of stages, mails, coaches, and their , retainers, and followers. Taken altogether, they are of immense import to persons in active life, not only as mere but actually necessary to the purposes of intercourse as well as pleasure. has been mentioned; the passage to and from hourly exceeds calculation. At this place, in , three carriages were more than sufficient for the purposes of its inhabitants, and these might run twice a day; at present, however, in , seventy-coaches, running four or five times a day, find full employment; this includes a final turn to the right to , and on the left to ; both places, however, employ coaches that do not come under the description of s. Besides these, and the numerous stages that to places within a day's march per day, the number of stages to and from distant towns would stagger a foreigner with disbelief. At , according to , (p. 539,) whereas, at London, that number run to alone in summer, and come back the same day. An average of one hundred of the first

41

class of stages start from London daily throughout the year. Is it then to be wondered at that in so vast a number of persons, the originally fair character is sometimes found tripping, or that

holding the ribands in style

is ill calculated to work reformation in the already contaminated erring nature of man ?

Whenever a handkerchief, a shawl, gloves, or other small article, is left in the coach, the fact may be ascertained by any watching the movements of awhile, when he will be seen to take off his hat, and place it in the coach-bottom; then, holding the door tight behind him, he deposits the article in the poll of his hat, which he thereupon puts on his head, not to restore the goods, certainly, for when , he insists that the very next fare he took up must have taken away the article. Hence, the observer is justified in concluding that whatever coachman his coachdoor is at ; the hackneyman, on discharging his , keeps open his door to prevent his number from being seen; whilst the stage- coachman keeps his door tight against his back, the better to conceal what he is at. When any thing has been , the landlord of the , or the next barber's shop, poulterer's, or cobbler's stall, is the place to what is become of the lost things, generally speaking; but such persons seldom ; indeed, they durst not, lest they incur the split sconce, or some retaliation equally convincing.

Persons who may at any time be to what is passing on such occasions may place themselves in a condition to reveal the fact to the right owner, by making a memorandum of the number of the coach--its destination, colour, hour of occurrence, or other particulars, and communicating the same the next days, provided the owner should advertise or apply at the Hackney-coach-office. This may be considered as , by the rogues; but what man of strong mind cares for such fellows or their slangery when a benefit is to be conferred ?

Every one knows (and their employers feel the truth of it) that hackney-coachmen invariably share with their masters in large proportions. Those often find good prizes in their coaches, by people carelessly leaving their boxes or parcels behind, in the hurry to meet their friends; or, what is more general, those who take out their papers, money, pocket-book, &c. to look over in a hackney-coach, in order, as they think, to save time, too often leave some part behind them; or else, by the motion of the coach, these get jostled out of their hands, or off the seats. At no time has a hackneyman been known to restore to its rightful owner such things as may have been so left, 'at the earliest opportunity,' nor at all voluntarily, unless a reward is offered.

By the way, the number of a hackney-coach should be always noted the moment it is (or ); and in so

calling

them, as

43

well as every word that is said to the coachman, a certain air of command or authority should be kept up. This holds them to their tethers; tells them they have no green-horn to deal with, and deters them from extorting too much for the fare. If a person, kindly or hesitatingly, gives his orders, the coachman and attendant- pass the word with a wink of the eye; or, if it be a lady, they protract the sound of to her;--thus, and

When a coach is called from the stand, the opens the door as it draws near you, in order to prevent the number, which hangs on it, from obtruding itself on your notice: at , the coachman, with the same view, keeps open the door whilst he gets paid, especially if there be a dispute; but, if he something left behind, he bangs the steps or the door, so as to make the horses move on a step or two; he then halloos at them with who-o-o; swears a good peal of oaths at them, to intimidate his customers, and then resumes the dispute, if convenient.

If a hackney-coachman be a smasher, or dealer in bad silver, he endeavours to set down his fares (by night) in a dark place, if possible, in total disregard of your orders, and generally quarrels with his horses, should he be obliged to take them by the heads,-which quarrel is sometimes meant to be addressed to his customers. He most frequently

throws off,

or

44

talks to his horses of he will say, while pretending to make the animals stand still; and if you supervent his attempts at smashing, he mounts his box, with the observation- but if you reply sharply, rebuking his impertinence, he does not hesitate to charge you with crime, by inuendo, as making a motion as if you had come from a prison; and adding, Such is a fair sample of the conduct of the far greater number of hackney-coachmen; whilst some have been known sadly to maltreat their fares, women as well as men, driving them about from place to place, in order to run up a large demand; though it must be allowed that they themselves often out of their just demands, by drunken, foolish, or mad persons, who know not whither to drive, nor what they are driving at. The part of the affair the hackneyman manages somewhat after this form-a bad shilling or two, or a halfcrown, is placed in the left hand between the fingers, or first finger and thumb, and the hand closed upon them: he has taken them from his pocket, and the operation is performed while he tries hard at the coach-door to let you out, or lets down the glass. Should

the fare

want change for a sovereign, the result is no longer

45

doubtful: three or four shillings, , But the chiefest ingenuity is, to persuade you that you yourself have tendered bad money to poor ; who, after turning your money over and over, and perhaps taking a trial upon the stones, declares they , and you must change them for good ones. If you appear tolerably and will he perhaps refuses these also, after having once more. This is called and then, lest the transaction may have been by some impertinent by-stander, or , he mounts his box, and drives away with the utmost precipitancy.

Mark! Whenever a hackney-coachman thus drives off in a great hurry, rely upon it something is the matter; in which case, he does not pull up at the coach-stand, but drives past it,

standing for no repairs,

as to the law in that case.

Every one should be apprized, the moment they arrive in town, or rather before they , of the absolute necessity there is of

taking down the number

of a hackney-coach as soon as it is called, agreeably to the advice before given. Servants ought to have this salutary precaution impressed on their minds when they are hired, and frequently afterwards, by way of exercise; as also that, whenever any company comes to the door of their masters in a hackney-coach, they should then, also, set down in their memories, if not in chalk, ink, or

46

pencil, what number it bears. For this purpose, let a slate hang behind the front door with a pencil pendant, and a hand ever ready to seize and use the end on't. If a reward were paid for extra vigilance when any thing might be recovered by those means, the effect would be to add to the general stimulus all over Town.

 
 
Footnotes:

[] 'LONG-SHORE ABUSES.

[] USEFUL MEN, THEIR TRICKS.

[] ILL-JUDGED PARSIMONY, ITS EFFECT.

[] COACHMAN SUSPECTED.

[] BANKERS' PARCELS.-FENCES.

[] SMASHERS AND COINERS.

[] CADDEES AND HANGERS-ON, SMASH.

[] CASE OF MEACOCK.

[] MODE OF ROBBING COACH PASSENGERS.

[] CONDITION OF THE HANGERS-ON;

[] ATTACHMENT TO HORSES.

[] PROGRESS OF CRIME-INCITEMENTS.

[] RECIPROCAL SERVICES-BUGLE HORN.

[] COACHES ANNOUNCED AS COMING.

[] SMUGGLED SILK GOODS.

[] CASE OF SMUGGLING.

[] SHOULDERING-WHAT.-FACT DISCLOSED.

[] BOOKING PLACES.-CONDUCTORS OF COACHES--CHARACTERISTICS OF GENUS.

[] POACHING.-DEGRADED COACHMEN.

[] COACHMEN FORFEIT THEIR SEATS.

[] FINE TRAIT: HONESTY REWARDED.

[] COACH RACES: DRIVERS INCONTROLLABLE.

[] INCREASE OF STAGE COACHES.

[] MANNER OF COACHMEN'S PROCEEDINGS.

[] JARVEY MANOEUVRES HIS HORSES TO SMASH: HOW PERFORMED.

[] PRECAUTIONS AS TO TAKING THE NUMBER