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

Bee, Jon

1828

BURGLARS.

 

Beggars and tinkers are, properly enough, suspected of contributing to burglaries; but then, those people work for themselves, and seldom carry off great amounts. When a large robbery of this kind is contemplated, the rogues employ other agents to examine the premises, to ascertain when the stronger part of the family may be from home; and they cannot better obtain this desirable information than by means of those travelling tradespeople before enumerated. These will annoy the family with

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rudeness; place their feet inside the door, to prevent its shutting; refuse to take no for an answer, and grumble or threaten, by certain ferocious indications, or give cause of uneasiness to females,-who should then ring the door-bell.

The perpetrators of house-robberies, not only put in practice the foregoing means of making entry upon premises to rob them, but avail themselves as often of the information to be obtained from servants of every degree, as to what premises are worth entering by force, as also the times when it may be effected with greatest facility and safety, and whereabout the more valuable property is deposited, with other precious particulars, that are sometimes communicated with a guilty participation; at others, not so. When premises have been burglariously robbed, in a surprising manner, or to great amounts, unreflecting people affect to wonder how the entry has been accomplished; simply imagining that the villains may have selected the particular house, on the spur of the moment, after walking about with the implements of house-breaking, crow-bar, jemmy, dark-lantern, skeleton-keys, the means of procuring light, &c. &c. for a day or two, let us suppose: whereas, no conclusion more fallacious any man of sense could ever arrive at, whatever the premises might be whence he drew his deduction. He might as well imagine that body-snatchers, who disturb the mansions of the dead, took their chance of

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finding any body at home; although it must be pretty evident, upon reflection, that neither could succeed in their depredations, without previously reconnoitring the spot, and lulling the vigilance of the guard, or procuring his absence by administering to his cupidity or supplying his wants.

But the better to introduce the several points that bear upon the crime of subtracting the property of their employers, by servants and others, we may safely be allowed to look into the morality and private life of the great bulk of Londoners, use our best endeavours to fathom the motives to some nefarious actions, aud to assign causes for others, if not the reasons for their recurrence. After getting over, rather than completing, this rapid excursion, we shall return to the subjects set down at the head of this chapter, and to finish the sketches imperfectly touched upon in the preceding pages.

Come we next to enter into the privacies of domestic life, where these militate against the comfort or well-being of the heads of families. Of course, the reader will imagine with us, that the master of a family should be an upright person, to say the least of him; moral let him be, and religious, too, if that mode of conducting the duties of social life please him best; but neither the one or the other is indispensable to our present mode of considering the subject in

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hand, though his mistaken zeal in imposing his own uprightness, his morals, or his religion upon his neighbours, most certainly comes within our purview, if it do not call for reprobation. (ubi, page 7.) Among other subjects fit for the grave consideration of every citizen, one thing is sufficiently clear: if the head of a house be not himself exemplary in his conduct, he may look in vain for regularity among his domestics, deference from his assistants in trade, or due respect from his co-tradesmen and neighbour-gentry. The ban against gross impropriety is raised against their equals in no higher rank in society than those, nor then always, when the transgressors be rich in lucre as they are poor in good works: the haut ton, on the contrary, rather caressing, if they do not patronise deviations from morals in their caste, that do not bring the perpetrators immediately within the provisions of a maledictory statute, or the adverse meaning of common law, if the offence can be commuted with money; because the lower grades cannot follow them thus far, in making pecuniary compensations, that seldom expiate guilt or cause inconvenience to the perpetrators.

But let the deviations from moral rectitude of a housekeeper be what they may, no reason can be offered why he should be disrobed of his property, by the unlicensed appropriations of servants and making-free inmates; even though he be a thief himself, or more harmfully

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engaged in fencing others' thefts, these are not sufficient warranty for breaking into his house while he is at church, or throwing brickbats at his windows whilst he is trying to sleep in peace with all mankind; for, in either case, the roguishly inclined need do no more than give their victim a bad name, and then commit their crimes with unseared consciences; as we do frequently find such unfaithful persons console themselves with a set off of accusations, though this be but the venial offence of his not being so observant of religious attendances as the thief himself, or he repeat the tenth-time-refuted lie of some adverse party, whose impertinence is cruelty itself. Yet do many Christian bodies thus console themselves with carrying on a petty warfare against the goods and chattels of their neighbours, because these may bear a bad character; that is to say,

bad

according to the opinion of the givers. For example, is decried as unworthy the rights of ownership, and from that moment, his property may justly be invaded; the irregular quack is denounced for an impostor, by the regular admissus of the

Guinea-trade;

and the Socinian damned by single authority of the evangelical; thenceforward, the half-honest deem themselves authorised in purloining the stray chattels of the obnoxious party, and the confirmed rogue persuades himself that he merely fulfils a moral duty in enforcing his discomforts. Perhaps 'tis only in fun, that all the

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neighbours send all the match-venders and china-hawkers to

knock at the green door,

because 'tis that of a needy author; but then the rude boys, belonging to those considerate neighbours, lean over his garden-wall and pluck his grapes; whilst one, more funny than the rest, runs away with his only laying hen; and on a day that he has dodged the poor scribe into Paternoster-row, in search of a patron, the same faunist carries the joke so far as to break open his premises, and runs off funnily with certain select articles adapted to the magazine of a

dealer in marine stores,

with a few that are

of no use to any body but the owner;

nor to him either, or they would not have been thus lying by him, but before the public. With these, the jocose rogue lights his mother's fire or his own cigar, and, as either smokes heavenward, safely despises the man that nobody speaks well of, principally on account of violent suspicions the robbed person lies under, of being already poor, or otherwise generally obnoxious.

Servant girls, given to purloining frippery articles from their mistresses, as soon as they get over the self-reproaches of a first essay, stifle all future compunctious visitings, by imagining my lady has more than she deserves, nor can the inquiring Abigail make out by what right her employer possesses so many fine things. Shopmen, with more reason, violently desire to share in the sharp tricks and contri-

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vances of their masters to cheat the public, in which they have borne a main part, either as to short weight and scanty measure, deterioration of the articles sold, or steady unblushing asseverations that all his

trade-lies

are true as holy writ. And, truly, they have good reason on their side to expect a coparceny with their principals; for, as the noblest females undressed are no longer angels in the sight of their waiting women, any more than a hero is such in the estimation of his valet; neither is the knavish shopkeeper aught but a base knave, according to the best means of judging within the scope of his servants' capacity. Besides, does not the employed run the same risk of detection as his employer, and has he not already incurred the self-accusing obloquy of having acted amiss? What then remains to be done, when his accomplice-master refuses or withholds all participation in the benefits arising from their joint fraudful exertions ?-what, but to help himself ? Not but that the crimes ofservants, with very many shades of guilt, some without one rascally apology, are coming before the public daily, in which not even want is offered in excuse; but generally the extravagance of the accused is found to have actuated him to the perpetration of his first offence, and buoyed up his hopes from that moment to the final upshot of complete detection. But, however begun, by what means soever continued, that servant, man or woman, who is in the habit of

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robbing an employer, is ever the most garrulous, impertinent, or saucy in his particular employ; if with some talent, though that may consist only of conversational elegance becoming his station (vulgo ); or, may be, he is clever in

making sale

of goods, quick as a hawk, sharp as a razor, pugnacious in defence of his master's property, suffering none to rob with impunity, but himself,--still he will be exceeding talkative, accusatory of others, commanding in tone and manner, and if watched, or removed to a department of the concern where he can no longer carry on his operations with impunity, he will kick and fling and threaten to quit, or, if an apprentice, will actually take to his heels and

run away.

If it be a female who is placed under those unhappy circumstances, her running away will occur with some fellow or other; but, of either sex, the fact of secretly robbing may be calculated upon paper, by taking an estimate of the expenses incurred by the suspected person, principally in clothes, sometimes in junkettingparties of pleasure, play goings, chaise driving, horse exercises, and drunkenness. Much thoughtfulness overspreads the countenance of the private thief, if he be capable of reflection, and has an inclination for reading; if some latent sparks of religious feeling, or compunction, come over his mind, he becomes melancholic or outrageous, according to his temperament. Indeed, persons suffering under secret

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troubles of whatever nature, will usually comport themselves after a similar manner. Ill- requited love or misplaced affection, as well as the consciousness of guilt or self-revilings of sinfulness, and the damning proof of exercising a losing trade, or any other viperous entwinement of the soul's best purposes, show their corroding existence by the same line of conduct, that is otherwise inexplicable to the ordinary observer.

Female servants of every description may fairly be suspected of a desire to appropriate to themselves house-keeping necessaries, though I have chosen to begin with

servant girls ;

for that is the condition in which they themselves begin life, creeping upwards with their years to the higher posts of guiding some particular department of a large household, if they do not entirely control those of less extensive families. Much of this pilfering is considered by them as perquisites, the domestic

cheeseparings and candles ends

of their offices; and where the establishment is of sufficient munificence, they do not amiss to remove the parings and ends out of sight by any means, when the cheese and the candles come to that pass; but unhappily, they do not always wait until the consummation of the articles desiderated, but often commit acts of violence upon the untouched virgin purity of their employers' property, ere toll has been taken by the right owner. Then again, if the tradesman who supplies those

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articles allows the servant (woman or man) a per centage upon the articles supplied, according to the prevalent practice, this excellent mode of making sudden riddance by wholesale cuts both ways, like a two-edged sword. Butlers, cooks, housekeepers of high and distinguished families, take toll of all these tradespeople upon paying their bills, which varies greatly in proportion to the carelessness or supineness of their principals. About ten per cent. satisfies the greater number at their entre upon their offices, respectively; but fifteen per cent. and thence to twenty per cent. is neither an uncommon draw-back, nor undeserved requital for the trouble of recommendation, and the great industry necessary to

make away

with goods sufficient to make it worth while for both parties to do business together. By this species of arrangement, the man-cook, whose stipulated privilege is

to order every thing used in the kitchen,

the butler, who has the like privilege over the drinkables, and the valet de chambre, or own man, who regulates, first, the tailors, and, secondly, the old-clothes-men, with the coachman, who studies horse-flesh and new harness, saddles and carriage-wheels, add to their already well-weighed salaries, incomes of £400, £300, £200, and £100 a-year, according to situation and circumstances, their own consciences or their employers' means, advancement in the state, or increase of estate. For, be it known, whenever a chief justice, or a chan-

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cellor of any degree, a marquis or a (noli me) bishop receives his new distinction, his domestics seek to partake in the honours of the house, by sharing its profits-each in his several avocation, and thereby advancing the honour, state, and dignity of their employer. All this would be very well, and happens much after the course of all human events, and the due pursuit of trade in a rich commercial metropolis, in particular; but the privilege of perquisites descends to the servants employed by much lower orders in society than the gentry, or even the mere squirearchy of the surrounding districts; and to some who cannot conveniently bear its effects, though they violently desire to maintain their station in society, by means of tolerable equipages supported on economic principles. In this respect, the example of the haut ton servants is found materially dis-serviceable to the middling classes of gentry, by infusing spendthrift notions, and teaching wayward tricks of raising the ways and means for its support, to the domestics of these latter; which induce these economists to take in dudgeon the coalition of their tradespeople and servants, they look upon the per centage as fraudful, and waste as a crime against the giver of all good; they appeal irascibly to the laws for protection in the punishment of the offenders, and herein seek to avoid the ruin that assuredly follows a lavish expenditure in house-keeping. In this consists

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the difference between the appropriation and sale of a great man's edible property by his servants, and the remorseless augmentation of his tradebills by adding thereto their privileged per centages, which are both clearly robberies, though seldom punished, because little valued; as are similar subtractions from the property of the middling classes, who are less able to bear these privations, if they do not prove actually ruinous to the sufferers. Hence the asperity with which this class of people pursue purloiners of every description, even although they may not feel the necessity of deterring others by example. Truly enough has it been said:

He who is robbed not knowing what is stolen, he is not robbed at all ;

but, he who is robbed requiring what is lost for his support, why he is robbed indeed. Besides all this, the property of a tradesman, and his stock in trade, in particular, lies open to depredation more than the goods and chattels, the cash and valuables of persons not in trade: and what renders this consideration additionally recommendable to notice, the lesser tradesman, shopkeeper, or manufacturer, is more exposed to thefts than the greater ones, by reason of the necessity he is under of exposing his goods to allure customers, which the larger dealer feels unnecessary, or despises, according to the cumbency of his purse, or balance in his bankers' books. The subtraction of a loaf of bread, a lump of bacon, or a scrap of meat from the well-laid-out stall, by the unfed prowler,

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ought to occasion no evil words between the parties-offender and offended; 'tis the forced tribute which the losers owe to the hungry man, and they even seem to have concurred in it, by laying out an assortment for his choice. In such cases bad betide the man that would attempt to mar the wretch in taking his supper; but the case is altered quite, when the arrant thief employs his art in taking goods of any sort, however exposed at the doors or windows of such minor tradesmen. When the articles stolen may be too bulky for immediate use, or only convertible into money; when they consist of niceties or tit bits, as confectionary or oysters, no good reason can be found for treating the theft as less than felony, or the offender with any less audience than the quarter sessions. I once saw a set of fellows carry off a tub of oysters, from the corner of St. John's Street, facing Smithfield, and afterwards had ocular demonstration that they were all hungry as hounds; but then, the character of the party, the nature of the thing stolen, and its amount, all tended to stamp the deed as one of the worst character. Strangely perverse, or intimidated, the loser declined to follow his tub, as he might have done.

Retail Shops, that are allowed to continue the only gangway into the dwelling after business hours and of Sundays, are thus exposed to purloinment, and scarcely ever escape. Young folks of either sex, who may have the

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charge of

answering the door,

or of airing themselves at it of an evening, or on Sundays, usually contract new acquaintances, who naturally admire the articles sold within, and consequently obtain some without purchase. Whatever this may be, the practice is likely to continue and increase, if it does not engender a wish to extend itself to a much more decisive depredation.

With this end in view, servant women sometimes find themselves addressed by designing knaves, as sweethearts, who carry on the farce of courtship and matrimony-if they do not perpetrate wedlock itself, with the express intention of consummating the more daring crime of burglary-scarcely content with the slow process of privately stealing.

Warehousemen, as those traders are denominated who sell piece goods, stockings, lace, and the like, leave their premises extremely insecure, in general; the result has been that many of them have found their warehouses completely stripped in the course of one night each. Most of those warehouses that were so entered were parts of large houses, subdivided among several, their owners residing prettily, according to modern custom, at the outskirts of Town, in

country house

lodgings. Opportunity like this ought not to be overlooked by thorough-paced thieves; nor is it. A recent case of two such single-room warehouses in Wood-street being cleared on the same night-

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May , and that of a tailor and draper, in Finch-lane, in ; both occurred on Sunday evenings; and, indeed, this appears to be a favourite point of time for such enterprises, the further mode of procedure being much the same in every case-so far as subsequent inquiry could instruct us; for very seldom does it happen this precise offence has been fully discovered and punished, on account of the persons engaged in such extensive robberies being at the top of their or rogues of respectability. Their mode of operating is no secret:-the thieves, having well ascertained, by previous survey, the habits of the neighbours and persons upon the spot-their uprisings and down lying, the going on and off of the watchmen, together with the mode of fastening the outer door, they then open their way in by skeleton keys, usually on Sunday evenings, previous to the watch going on duty. Being well housed, they procure refreshments and a candle, and amuse themselves with packing up in sacks the whole stock generally, and rest content until morning that the watchmen go off their beats. A coach is then called from the stand, where a

game hackney-man

has previously stationed himself for the purpose; or he drives to a spot hard by, or boldly up to the door of the house, and the job is soon accomplished. On a late occasion, however, in Blackfriars-road, (,) the watchman, in his way home to bed, after his dis-

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charge, spoiled the sport of a set of those burglars, who had packed up the whole stock of a shoemaker, and the coach drove off towards the bridge as hard as the horses could go, whilst the rogues escaped. Another shoemaker, at the corner of Oxendon-street, Coventry-street, lost the whole of his stock by similar means, a year before; and, what must have been particularly cruel to the sufferer, we heard, from on dit, that he had robbed himself, the liars. And in troth, so complete is the clearance, and effected with so much silent celerity withal, that none imagine aught but magic or collusion could have accomplished the ready metamorphosis-especially in those cases where the houses were at all partially inhabited. The same infernal charge as that sustained by the shoemaker, was formerly, i.e. twenty five years since, flung at a silk-mercer, in Paternoster-row, facing of Pannier-alley, whose stock walked off at the same short warning. The house of Mr. Barry, in the Minories, was also inhabited by the family, when all the stock of silk mercery was stolen, about the year . But the carrying off the whole stock of woollen-drapery goods at the warehouse next to Sambrookcourt, Basinghall-street, was the heaviestjob of its kind that occurs to my recollection at this moment; it was also remarkable for consisting of a great quantity of blue broad-cloths, which gave the thieves an opportunity for dressing themselves in a kind of uniform, viz.-blue

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coat, and blue pantaloons, a taste that has not yet entirely departed from among them, by a great deal.

Porters, carmen, and other underlings, when left to themselves, most frequently find the temptation too great for their moral rectitude, so they should never be relied upon implicitly, without many years of trial, and numerous tests of their honesty. I do not mean that cruel test which some foolish heads of families play off upon their servants, of leaving some glittering article open to purloinment, or pretending to forget to take the key or keys of their money, which they may have previously counted; but the performance of some well specified task, or series of deliveries, afterwards ascertaining that his instructions have been accurately followed, and without equivocation. When it so happens that one of this class of persons is entrusted with the payment or receipt of small sums, and his account of the transactions is enveloped in over much jobation, in assumed stupidity, in impertinent answers, or he drop his money on the ground, shuffle it from pocket to pocket, and otherwise evince confusion of purpose, he has most assuredly been at no good: drunkenness on such an occasion is decisive of his dishonesty; 'tis ever the cloak or the solace of his misdeeds.

Many, however, preserve their temper and respectful demeanour during a long series of years, and a few within recollection were the

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patterns of decent behaviour during long services, as was conspicuously the conduct of Flannigan, who received the distinguishing appellation of Mister, from every Paddy, but, being transported for stealing brass wire from his employers-the ironmongers near Guildhall, was found to have carried on the practice to a great extent for many years. He was, likewise, exemplary in the fulfilment of his religious duties, confessing often, and going to mass regularly; so were the knot of Porters, who had a depot of almost every article of commerce, in Handcourt, Thames-street, that proved they practised exchanges of goods with many persons more than their own acknowledged number, (nine of them,) who were never brought to justice. They lived expensively, were remarkable for wearing top-boots-one of them being a leather thief, at Curtis's, in Well-street, Cripplegate-and the Irishman just named being further notorious for the sugar-candy accompaniment that always attended his every footstep in his Sunday visits to chapel, and in his rounds to those numerous customers whom he supplied withstolen goods. The Hand-court people were also exemplarily strict in their religious observances: by the way, this species of cloak for their misdeeds is not a deception confined to London and its environs; for I find, at the moment of this sheet going to press, that a father and two sons, (Heyworth by name,) j ust now executed in Lancashire, for numerous foot-pad rob-

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beries, accompanied by sad cruelties, died as they had lived, good methodists-not by works, but by faith. With the like claims to uncommon sanctity, a millwright, in good employ for many years, in the neighbourhood of Wells, in Somersetshire, is ascertained to have committed burglaries out of number, including sacrilege, with grand larceny, and he finally attempted murder: he remains for trial.

This class of depredators upon the property of their employers are numerous beyond conception, generally much emboldened by long impunity, and some of them contrive to amass property enough to enter upon business on their own account, in a manner very edifying to the close observer of passing events. If they oppose their old employers in trade, and by their continued machinations, complete the ruin they began, we clearly perceive the task is incomplete, until they have also blackened the character of him they once served out, in order that his enemies may fix on some certain cause for his losses, and not join his friends in perversely attributing his ruin to the dishonesty of servants. These are no idle speculations: I have proved the facts in all their bearings; and could put my hand upon forty living instances, at any time; some in two's and three's, who have thus battened under the same roof.

said I, to one whom I had formerly caught robbing his employer;

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I added significantly. As he looked confused, another youth answered for him; - I rejoined; though I might have added, that he ought not to have forgotten seven years of unceasing kindness, instruction, and frequent forgiveness, that ultimately made a man of him, as of all his fellow apprentices. Forgiveness, however, or lenity, as we call it when the investigation has been submitted to a jury, is often thrown away upon the individual, and always operates to the disadvantage of the grantor himself. Some years ago, early in the morning, I noticed a fellow take an armfull of books, from the shelves of his employer, in Stationers' Court, and followed him to a pawnbroker's, in Brydges-street; but although he was found to have practised the same kind of robbery to a good extent, yet the master thought proper to relent, and the offender went at large. By way of requital, the culprit stigmatised his master's character, and shortly afterwards informed against him, upon some penal statute, whereby he pocketed a portion of the fines. In the year , one Dunn, a confidential clerk, or assistant, to certain silk mercers, in Compton-street, Soho, was condemned to death for privately robbing his employers of goods in a large amount; but, as

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frequently happens with kind-hearted people, they were so ill-advised as to interpose between justice and the convict: he escaped the severity of extreme punishment, and, next year, his successor, in the same situation, Powell, by name, robbed the same persons to a much larger amount, and was executed, 22d November, . Had execution followed upon the first convict, 'tis more than probable the second would have been saved; impunity to any flagrant offender being a great encourager of crime in others.

Burglaries from without may be prevented, by demonstrations of vigilance and of unceasing watchfulness, whatever the real fact may be. For a lone house, the bare exhibition of a musket near a window, always effects some good; firing it off, nightly, much more. If the inmates have the character of being sportsmen, and good shot, this sort of proficiency offers no encouragement to any neighbourly inquiring burglar; for no burglary of any extent, is undertaken, as I remarked higher up (page 222), unless the party has previously reconnoitred the premises, and made some inquiries as to the number, quality, and habitudes of the people within. If the females can be brought to fire off small pistol-charges, the achievement of so much, or a little more, would add greatly to the security of the mansion, when the men might be abroad, asleep, or youthful and spiritless. A yard dog is indispensable to such an appurtenance; but

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he will stand in need of instruction in his duty, to render his good qualities fully available, and prevent any misbehaviour to friends, into which uneducated dogs are most likely to fall. His ferocity may be augmented by frequent alarms at night, by feeding him on raw meat and horseflesh, by mounting a bug-a-boo on the wall or railing, and ringing the alarum-bell. In neighbourhoods much infested with burglars, the employment of a large bell, in front of the house, is found signally serviceable in the repression of these, and of thieves of every denomination: its sound might be rendered familiar to all the neighbourhood within hearing; and these three defences may be brought to act in unison-the bell, the fire-arms, and the dog, by all three being set at the same time, every evening; the dog being called upon, as soon as the piece has been fired, the bell struck once or twice, and the animal set loose from his chain, to

Not only at the outskirts of our bills of mortality are those night defences of property and of life thus rendered efficacious, but in the more popular streets also, where neighbouring premises jostle and intersect each other in front, and flanks, and rear. In such cases, a small dog that will yapp a good deal, and can get away underneath furniture &c. is goodly desirable for alarming the inmates and bothering the thieves into a precipitate retreat; more especially if wire-communications be extended from

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night-bell, or bells, across passages, vulnerable windows, and other places of suspected access. With precautions such as these, or compounded out of them, has the writer of this article, for many years lived in the very disturbed district about Hackney-road and Hoxton, unmolested on his premises, though these are perilously situate in view of the West front of Haggerstone-church, some 400 yards off; and has even retired to rest in the middle of this winter, , with a tolerable large family, leaving the front-door unfastened of bolt, bar, lock, or latch, not even a skewer to keep out the dreaded

gang

and perdition: an accidental experiment, however, that is not intended for repetition. Even the watchmen, though civil to excess on minor occasions, placed entire reliance upon our own self-defence in this, and disturbed not

the willing door.

Burglaries from within-those committed by unfaithful inmates are easily distinguishable from those of the regular cracksmen, by the marks of violence upon the fastenings, inflicted by chissel or crow-bar, appearing on the inside; to say nothing of the little confusion those occasion in the goods, trunks, and safes, that may be broken open, compared to the confused operations of the latter. The one is uncertain whereabout the most valuable property is concealed, and breaks open more repositories than is necessary, the other pitches upon the right place at once: the latter is usually ob-

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servable also when any person within has been connected with the house-breaker without, in what is technically termed

a put-up robbery.

But these put-ups are neither requisite or necessary to the robber who can obtain a tolerable insight as to the situation of the property, the strength of the family at one period or its weakness at any other, by means of his trading, or otherwise gaining an insight of the premises, as the travelling Duffers in cloth, china, tea, &c. &c. before enumerated.

Of Duffers, I have recent cause to entertain a very disadvantageous opinion--not so much on account of their ferocious aspects, revolting manners, and the brutal life-contests in vogue at their native villages-as the total want of moral restraint exhibited in those cases where any have been implicated; and if they are very seldom discovered to have been either or to robberies, certain I am they form the most apt materials for both offices, either to give it or to take it, as the final adventure of Dick Bowers, before alluded to, sufficiently tells. But that re-seizure of the Irish-linen, in Regent-street, which the onelegged rogue deemed too good for the price paid for it, is paralleled in many of its points by a city occurrence.

A wholesale tradesman, one of a firm dealing very largely in this line, found himself much pestered to buy some muslin, linen, silk goods; Duffy even waited at a shop-door into which our

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friend had entered with the hope of inducing the downey rogue to retreat. remonstrated our friend Halberd, with a well-tongued duffer, at the top of Cheapside; for the fellow actually bought his goods at that gentleman's warehouse; doing business, however, with one of his partners he did not know the person he was addressing. But duffy was not to be denied; he pressed still stronger, and with such warm asseveration to the truth of his real India, that Mr. Halberd accompanied him to his receptacle in a neighbouring public-house, where he found one piece that was indeed real India, bargained for and bought it, amidst continued attempts to shuffle it between others, for the purpose of

ringing the changes,

as they term the nefarious act; then, having dashed down the money demanded with one hand, and seized the right piece of goods with the other, he made for the door with his prize, exulting no doubt over the duper duped. At this moment, another duffer, as genteel to look at as he was rough in tacto, ready at villainy and athletic in person, insisted that the identical muslin our friend had bought was his by previous purchase, and proceeded to assert the rights of ownership by violent seizure

vi et armis.

Thus the question became quite

another man's matter,

the first duffer assuming the character of a candid moderator, and

allowing that the

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piece in dispute really did belong to the new claimant, and that the gentleman might choose any other piece besides for the same money.

exclaimed a third duffer; but the battle already raged, our friend having muzzled up the second, or finely-fledged duffer repeatedly, so that he had other fish to fry, in looking after his stray teeth, with a pair of nice black eyes and flowing jib. Astley Cooper never performed a successful operation in less time than our Halberd reduced this rank and file to a state of compound fracture, and left them to compose their affairs in the best manner they could. But his back was no sooner turned than the rogues turned the affair to good account amongst the people of the house, asserting that they had been seized upon by an officer of the revenue, and must sell the remainder of their smuggled importation in much haste. This they not only did, but day after day people flocked to Duke's Court to purchase

pieces of the real India from the gentlemen who had been so scandalously treated by the Excisemen,

as they observed. But the key to this piece of fatuity is found in the fact, that the people of Cockaigne

love to be in a secret,

to their very hearts; and whilst they meet to petition for acts of parliament, acts of common-council, and to make bye-laws and imposts to coerce their neighbours, themselves endeavour to break through loop-holes, and evade every act that is passed.

Not only do duffers keep watch for persons to pounce upon, at public houses, but itinerant venders, of very decent exterior, and shabby tradesmen, keep a good look out for dupes at such places, and draw from their pockets -the former from neat package or blue bag envelope-articles in which they deal, generally purporting these to have been smuggled.

A beautiful gold watch, French make, or an English, warranted Recordon, that goes excellently,

for a day or two; articles of jewellery with a surface of gold, thick as tissue, or none at all. Then again tea, in pounds and halfpounds, of the finest quality, at the top, which the bearer has this latter offer usually enlists the recommendatory voice of some parasite near, who hopes to dip his beak in the smoking glass; and after applying his olfactory to the herb, declares it equal to Twining's and superior to Antrobus,

A shade lower.-- then there are tickets for an excursion to the Nore, under the joint patronage of the Bull boxer and the fight reporter; cards of admission to

235

 

the European Museum; ditto to a concert and ball at the Merchant Tailors', or a dance at Mitchell's Rooms; tickets to the Tennis Court; and where they have been compressed so long, that his admirers never expect he will relax the screw: but that lasts for twelve months, twice repeated, to supply Thus it is,

 
 
Footnotes:

[] PRACTICES OF HOUSE-BREAKERS.

[] MORALITY OF PRIVATE LIFE,

[] IMPUGNED; ITS EFFECTS. HAUT TON.

[] AN EVIL NAME ATTRACTS ROGUES.

[] SERVANT GIRLS PURLOIN.

[] SHOPMEN SEDUCED BY MASTERS;

[] THEIR BEHAVIOUR AND PLEASURES.

[] SERVANTS' PERQUISITES AND PILFERINGS.

[] SERVANTS TAKE TOLL AND PER CENTAGE.

[] PERQUISITES OF SERVANTS, AND

[] PURLOINING TRADESMEN'S PROPERTY.

[] SMALL TRADESMEN PILFERED

[] BY FEMALE SERVANTS

[] WAREHOUES STRIPPED OF GOODS,

[] HOW DONE-BLUE CLOTH LIVERIES.

[] INTEGRITY OF PORTERS, AND CARMEN

[] TESTED: HAND-COURT GANG, RELIGIOUS.

[] PRIVATE THIEVES UNCRATEFUL; LENITY

[] ILL BESTOWED; CASES IN POINT.

[] PREVENTIVES OF BURGLARIES, FIRE-ARMS,

[] A DOG, AND NIGHT-BELLS; HOW SET.

[] CRACKSMEN AND PUT-UP ROBBERIES;

[] WALKING TRADESMEN, SURVEY PREMISES.

[] WALKING-DUFFERS, ADVENTURE WITH;

[] TOTAL DEFEAT OF THREE.

[] PUBLIC-HOUSE TRADERS, SHABBY

[] TRADESMEN; AND PETTY GAGS.