London Labour and the London Poor, volume 3
CONCERNING street musicians, they are of multifarious classes. As a general rule, they may almost be divided into the tolerable and the intolerable performers, some of them trust-
|ing to their skill in music for the reward for their exertions, others only making a , so that whatever money they obtain is given them merely as an inducement for them to depart. The well-known engraving by Hogarth, of "the enraged musician," is an illustration of the persecutions inflicted in olden times by this class of street performers; and in the illustrations by modern caricaturists we have had numerous proofs, that up to the present time the nuisance has not abated. Indeed, many of these people carry with them musical instruments, merely as a means of avoiding the officers of the Mendicity Society, or in some few cases as a signal of their coming to the persons in the neighbourhood, who are in the habit of giving them a small weekly pension.|
These are a more numerous class than any other of the street performers I have yet dealt with. The musicians are estimated at , and the ballad singers at .
The street musicians are of kinds, the skilful and the blind. The former obtain their money by the agreeableness of their performance, and the latter, in pity for their affliction rather than admiration of their harmony. The blind street musicians, it must be confessed, belong generally to the rudest class of performers. Music is not used by them as a means of pleasing, but rather as a mode of soliciting attention. Such individuals are known in the "profession" by the name of "pensioners;" they have their regular rounds to make, and particular houses at which to call on certain days of the week, and from which they generally obtain a "small trifle." They form, however, a most peculiar class of individuals. They are mostly well-known characters, and many of them have been performing in the streets of London for many years. They are also remarkable for the religious cast of their thoughts, and the comparative refinement of their tastes and feelings.