London Labour and the London Poor, volume 3
Guy Fawkes (Man).
"I"M in the crock"ry line, going about with a basket and changing jugs, and glass, and things, for clothes and that; but for the last years I have, every , gone out with a guy. It"s a good job for the time, for what little we lay out on the guy we don"t miss, and the money comes in all of a lump at the last. While it lasts there"s money to be made by it. I used always to take the guy about for days; but this last year I took him about for .
I was year old when I went out with a guy. It was seeing others about with "em, and being out of work at the time, and having nothing to sell, I and another chap we knocked up between us, and we found it go on pretty well, so we kept on at it. The I took out was a very firstrater, for we"d got it up as well as we could to draw people"s attention. I said, "It ain"t no good doing as the others do, we must have a tip-topper." It represented Guy Fawkes in black velvet. It was about feet high, and he was standing upright, with matches in hand and lantern in the other. I show"d this round Clerkenwell and . It was the big "un as was ever brought out. There had been paper ones as big, but ne"er a dressed up in the style mine was. I had a donkey and cart, and we placed it against some cross-rails and some bits of wood to keep him steady. He stood firm because he had poles up his legs, and being lashed round the body holding him firm to the posts —like a rock. We done better the time we went out than we do lately. The guy must have cost a sovereign. He had a trunk-hose and white legs, which we made out of a pair of white drawers, for fleshings and yellow boots, which I bought in . We took over with him, which was pretty fair, and just put us on again, for November is a bad time for most street trades, and getting a few shillings all at once makes it all right till Christmas.
A pal of mine, of the name of Smith, was the as ever brought out a big . His wasn"t a regular dressed--up , but only with a paper apron to hang down the front and bows, and such-like. He put it on a chair, and had boys to carry it on their shoulders. He was the , too, as introduced clowns to dance about. I see him do well, and that"s why I took mine in hand.
The year they was chalking "No Popery" all about the walls I had , dressed up in a long black garment, with a red cross on his bosom. I"m sure I don"t know what it meant, but they told me it would be popular. I had only figure, with bows, and that tidiwated all about him. As we went along everybody shouted out "No Popery!" Everybody did. He had a large brimmed hat with a low crown in, and a wax mask. I always had wax ones. I"ve got at home now I"ve had for year. It cost twoand-. It"s a very good-looking face but rather sly, with a great horse-hair beard. Most of the boys make their"n devils, and as ugly as they can, but that wouldn"t do for Christians like as I represent mine to be.
year I had Nicholas and his adviser. That was the Emperor of Russia in big topboots and white breeches, and a green coat on. I gave him a good bit of mustachios— a little extra. He had a Russian helmet hat on, with a pair of eagles on the top. It was I bought. I bought it cheap, for I only gave a shilling for it. I was offered or for it afterwards, but I found it answer my purpose to keep. I had it dressed up this year. The other figure was the devil. I made him of green tinsel paper cut out like scale armour, and pasted on to his legs to make it stick tight. He had a devil"s mask on, and I made him a pair of horns out of his head. Over them was a banner. I was told what to do to make the banner, for I had the letters writ out , and then I cut "em out of tinsel paper and stuck them on to glazed calico. On this banner was these words:—
That took immensely, for the people said "That is wery well." It was the time the war was on. I dare say I took between and that time. There was of us rowed in with it, so we got a few shillings a-piece.
"The best I ever had was the trial of Guy Fawkes. There was figures, and they was drawn about in a horse and cart. There was Guy Fawkes, and soldiers had hold of him, and there was the king sitting in a chair in front. The king was in a scarlet
|velvet cloak, sitting in an old arm-chair, papered over to make it look decent. There was green and blue paper hanging over the arms to hide the ragged parts of it. The king"s cloak cost sevenpence a-yard, and there was of these yards. He had a gilt paper crown and a long black wig made out of some rope. His trunks was black and crimson, and he had blue stockings and red boots. I made him up out of my own head, and not from pictures. It was just as I thought would be the best way to get it up, out of my own head. I"ve seed the picture of Guy Fawkes, because I"ve got a book of it at home. I never was no scholar, not in the least. The soldiers had a breastplate of white steel paper, and baggy kneebreeches, and top boots. They had a big pipe each, with a top cut out of tin. Their helmets was the same as in the pictures, of steel paper, and a kind of a dish-cover shape, with a peak in front and behind. Guy was dressed the same kind as he was this year, with a black velvet dress and red cloak, and red boots turning over at top, with lace sewed on. I never made any of my figures frightful. I get "em as near as I can to the life like.
I reckon that show was the best as I ever had about. I done very well with it. They said it was a very good sight, and well got up. I dare say it cost me, with thing and another, pretty nigh to get up. There was of us to shove, me and my brother. I know I had a sovereign to myself when it was over, besides a little bit of merrymaking.
This year I had the apprehension of Guy Fawkes by Lord Suffolk and Monteagle. I"ve followed up the hist"ry as close as I can. Next year I shall have him being burnt, with a lot of faggits and things about him. This year the figures cost about getting up. Fawkes was dressed in his old costume of black velvet and red boots. I bought some black velvet breeches in , and I gave for the pair. They was old theatrical breeches. Their lordships was dressed in gold scale-armour like, of cut-out paper pasted on, and their legs imitated steel. They had -corner cock"d hats, with white feathers in. I always buy fierce-looking masks with frowns, but of them this year was a smiling — Lord Monteagle, I think. I took the figures as near as I can form from a picture I saw of Guy Fawkes being apprehended. I placed them figures in a horse and cart, and piled them up on apple-chests to the level of the cart, so they showed all, their feet and all. I bind the chests with a piece of tablecover cloth. The day we went out we took , and the we took , and the last day we took We did so well the day because we went into the country, about Tottenham and Edmonton. They never witnessed such a thing down them parts. The drummer what I had with me was a blind man, and well known down there. They call him Friday, because he goes there every Friday, so what they usually gave him we had. Our horse was blind, so we was obliged to have to lead him in front and another to lead the blind drummer behind. We paid the drummer for the days. We paid for days , and the most of it came in, and we all went shares. It was a pony more than a horse. I think we got about a a-piece clear, when we was done on the Friday night. It took me weeks getting up in my leisure time. There was the Russian bear in front. He wore a monkey dress, the same as in the pantomimes, and that did just as well for a bear. I painted his face as near as I could get it, to make it look frightful.