The original spelling and capitalization of the original book published in 1732 have been retained.
WAYS and MEANS
for getting MONEY.
The various LURES, WILES, and ARTIFICES, practised by the Designing and Crafty upon the Weak and Unwary, are fully exposed.
Recommended to the serious Perusal of all ADVENTURERS and SHARERS in Bubble-Undertakings, the PURSUERS of Pennyworths, and Bargain-Buyers.
Chiefly collected from some Papers of the Ingenious Mr. JOHN THOMSON, scattered between Laurence-Pountney's-Hill and Dover.
Printed for J. ROBERTS, near the Oxford-Arms in Warwick-Lane: And sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster. 1732. (Price One Shilling.)
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TRICKS of the TOWN;
DIAMONDS cut DIAMONDS.
My Son get Money, said a wiser Man than you or I, honest Reader: That is the Precept; but he went no farther, leaving the Business of Committee Men, Ways and Means, &c. to the peculiar Turn of Thought, or Biass of Invention of every individual Money-Getter. Of all the Methods made use of to attain this great End, I believe it will be allow'd that he who gains his point the easiest way, is the wisest Person: For instance, I know there are Mines of Gold and Silver in Peru and Mexico; but when one considers at what a very inconvenient distance these are, and what Toils and Dangers must be undergone before an Ingot of either can be pocketed, what is to be done in the Case? We cannot go to them, and they will not come to us. In this plunge of Affairs, we resolve to pick it up by Shillings, Crowns, Guineas, Moidores, &c. at home.
That the one half of this great over-grown Metropolis knows but little how the other is truly supported, is a Maxim, I believe, older than the Walls themselves; that a considerable number of Persons are daily employed and kept in constant pay to go about damaging and destroying all manner of wearing Apparel, when they can find an Opportunity of doing it without any Inconveniences to themselves, is a Fact that will admit of no manner of Dispute. I have been inform'd, that if a Coachman or Carter can decently dash a Gentleman or a Lady that are richly dress'd, when they are walking the Streets, over their Head and Ears, and make due Proof of the Fact, there is not a Draper or Mercer within half a Mile of the Place where the Exploit was perform'd, but who will readily tip the Man a Shilling for his Trouble.
Every body knows, that when a Foot-Soldier was taken in the Court of Requests at Westminster, bedaubing a noble Lord's new Suit of Clothes upon his Back, with a composition of Powders that in a Week's time would have render'd them not worth the acceptance of his Valet de Chambre; the honest Man, upon a very strict Examination before a Magistrate, was at last brought, though with great reluctancy, to confess his receiving a Salary of Thirty Pounds per Ann. from certain Drapers, Taylors, and Scowrers, for those kinds of Services.
A few Weeks since I happen'd into a very large promiscuous Company of Gentlemen and Tradesmen, at a Tavern near the Royal-Exchange; I had not been seated amongst them a Quarter of an Hour, before a Waiter came to top the Candles, and let a Snuff fall upon the Sleeve of my Coat, which instantly burnt a great hole in the Cloth. All the Satisfaction I had, was in calling him careless Rascal, and his begging my pardon. This was soon follow'd by a great Glass of Wine one of the Company let fall upon the Table, which wetted three or four Peoples Clothes pretty heartily. By and by a full Flask was overset, which put half a dozen more of us into the same pickle; so that nothing was heard for some time, but, Sir, I am heartily sorry; I beg your pardon; Mischances will happen, but I hope it won't stain; and the like. We were all up from our Chairs, wiping and cleaning one another. We were no sooner got into order again, and begun to be merry, forgetting what was past, but Supper came to be set upon the Table; when the Cook, in handing a Dish of Fish over our Shoulders, let fall the Bason, with all the Sauce in it, upon half a score of us. We now were in a worse Condition than ever, and all got upon our Legs again in the utmost Confusion and Disorder; and with rumbling and tumbling about, a huge Pewter Piss-pot, with about half a dozen Gallons of Urine in it, was thrown down from its Stand. I got a Pocket full to my share, and there were few of the Company but what had their Dividends of it. Bless me, says I, sure never such a Series and Train of Disasters fell out so before. In short, I could stand it no longer, but paid my Shot, and came away with my Clothes in such a condition, that I had scarce ever seen the like, and was forc'd to give them away the next Morning. In a Day or two after, I was thoroughly satisfied with the real Cause of these Accidents, viz. that the House in which I had met with this Mischief, was entirely supported by Woollen Drapers, Taylors, and Button-sellers; and that we had got several of 'em that Night in our Company.
Women of Quality and Fashion will perhaps think themselves no ways liable to any of these Mischances; but I shall convince them, that howsoever secure they may imagine themselves to be from them by their Coaches and Chairs, and other Accommodations, they are yet to be come at by some People they are not well aware of. There are few Women of any Fashion, that make a tolerable Figure in the Beau Monde, but what have a continual clatter of Manteaumakers, Milliners, and Sempstresses about their Ears; besides Tire-Women, and Fortune-Tellers by Coffee-Grounds; together with a Train of Chamber-maids, and old Housekeepers, who have got married, and are permitted to visit the Families they once lived in. These, with a Croud of Midwives, Twelve-penny Lottery-Women, and other How d'ye do People, are for ever plaguing them with this new Fancy and Pattern, and recommending such and such Persons to their Custom for Teas, China, and Trumpery. And while a Story is telling of who's a going to be Married, who is brought to Bed, or who has Miscarried, down goes the Cup and Saucer, and the Tea all over her Ladyship's Petticoat; then do they curse their unlucky Hands, and beg ten thousand Pardons for the Mischance; and threaten to go to India, but they will match the Set, so as not to be distinguish'd by the nicest Judgment. The whole Suit of Clothes, perhaps, becomes the Perquisite of my Lady's Woman, and the Set of China is not to be match'd in the Kingdom. The Dealers soon get Intelligence of the Accident, from the Person by whose Hands it was done; and the Lady is teaz'd almost to death with People shewing her new Sets, new Patterns, and what not: and as soon as she has purchased, the Gossip, by whose dextrous Management the Traffick was brought about, not only begs and gets the damaged Set of China for herself, but moreover receives a Moiety out of the Shopkeeper's Profit who sold the new Set; as well as Poundage from the Mercer, for what he shall sell the Lady. I knew a Woman of Quality who was so strangely pester'd with this kind of Visitants, that she could never keep a clean Manteau to her Tail, nor a complete Set of China to her Tea-Table; and yet continued so incredulous, as not to be persuaded that there was any Art and Design in the Disasters that so frequently happen'd to her.
How many great Ladies have had their Gown-Tails cut from their Backsides at Balls and Operas, not so much for the sake of what Profit could be made of them, as has been apparent, but for the promoting of Trade and Commerce; and have return'd home in Jackets, like Dutch Burgomasters Wives, to their Families?
The Methods made use of to Gripe, Surfeit, Cholick, and otherwise disorder the Bodies of Children, as well as Persons of riper Years, in order to render them due Objects of Advice and Physick, I believe are obvious enough to every ingenious Person who is conversant with Families, and the Streets of London. What Person is there, of common Humanity amongst us, but must look with the utmost Grief and Concern upon that intolerable number of Wheel-barrows, Stands, and Benches, which are so industriously ranged and disposed thro' all the Streets, Lanes, and Alleys of the Town, retailing various Kinds of damaged and unwholesome Fruits to the Passengers? all which manifestly tend to destroy the Healths of those who are weak enough to purchase them, and oftentimes are the Cause of epidemical Diseases.
I hope none of my Readers will be so uncharitable as to suggest that there is a Combination amongst Quacks, Apothecaries or Druggists; for furnishing these moving Shopkeepers with Barrows, Baskets, Money to purchase unwholesome Fruit, or any other Necessaries and Conveniences for carrying on this dangerous Traffick with the middling People: but thus much must be said, that we generally find them posted at, or near the Doors and Shops of those Traders. And then, what a horrible Squall and Outcry is there, according to the Season, of Green Goosberries by the Gallon, Cherries by the Pound, Plumbs by the Hat-full, Cucumbers by the Dozen, and rare lumping Half-penny-worths of Pears, Pippins, and Pearmains, &c. The People are constantly complaining of Disorders they produce, but cannot refrain from them, because they are, as it were, thrust down their Throats in this manner; and when Advice is had, the Patient is rarely told that his Malady proceeded from the real Cause, but that Fruit is held to be good and cooling to the Blood at all Times and Seasons, and by all Countries and Constitutions. Thus the Patient repeats his Poison, the Prescriber his Fees, and the Apothecary his Potion. I once catch'd an Apothecary at the side of a Wheel-barrow enquiring of a dirty Hussey what Quantities of Goods she had disposed of for a Day or two; doubtless that he might thereby proportion the Quantity of his Medicines suitable to the Execution her Trash must have done amongst his Neighbours.
Another time I saw a Physician vouchsafe to descend from his Chariot to become an Advocate in the open Street for a Flat-Cap Retailer of Golden Rennets, who had caus'd a great Riot at a Door she was permitted to place her Barrow against, and pleaded as strenuously for her Continuance at it, as a Barrister would have done for a Fee of five Guineas; urging, among other Reasons, the Cruelty, and what an unchristian Action it would be in any one to obstruct a poor Wretch in procuring a small Livelihood in an honest industrious Way. This Argument had the more Weight with the People, because every one was surprized to hear so humane a Sentiment from a Practitioner in Physick.
Some Shopkeepers Wives being got together at a Merry-making, an Apothecary's Mortar-piece of the Company was complaining of the bad Situation her Husband's Affairs would have been in, if that it had not pleased G—d the Apricots, Plumbs and Nectarins had turned out vastly bad and plentiful this Year.
Sometimes when the Mischiefs arising from unwholesome Fruits are too apparent, and a general Outcry is raised by Nurses and Old Women against People's indulging themselves too freely in them; then Care is taken to conceal the Poison under little kind of Crusts in the nature of Pyes and Tarts: and besides what are sold in great Shops, itinerant Pastry-Cooks are dispersed all over the City and Suburbs to tempt liquorish Women and Children to become the Properties of an Apothecary's Shop.
Many there are, who would be inclined to think it something romantick, when I venture to assure them, that above an hundred Families in and about this City and Suburbs are actually supported and maintain'd by no other Means than those of stealing Dogs from the Doors and Houses of Persons of Quality and Condition; and that Children are actually put forth Apprentice for a certain Term of Years, and have Money given with them, to be instructed in this Art and Mystery.
We see, that when some of these innocent Animals are missing, what a Value is set upon them, by the round Sums offer'd by publick Advertisement. How many great Ladies are there, that would sooner be reconcil'd to the death of a Child, or a near Relation, than to that of a favourite Lap-Dog? And how often have we seen Families in deep Mourning on these sad Occasions? From Air to Air, and from Mineral to Mineral, have they been shifted upon the slightest Disorder. I have known a tip-top Physician sent for by an Express, and several Sets of Horses laid on the Road for him, to go with the utmost Expedition to visit a Lap-Dog that has been only ill of a sullen Fit, or so, in Yorkshire. A Woman of the first Quality, who, when all other Remedies fail'd her, found great Benefit by Walking, was obliged to give over that beneficial Exercise, for no other reason, forsooth, but that her favourite Dog could not keep pace with her, and what was found to be advantageous to her Constitution, was detrimental to his.
The Artificers who make a Livelihood by decoying these pretty Puppets away, for the sake of the Guineas and Half Guineas that are usually given for their recovery to the Owners, are fond to pay a close and diligent Attendance near the Doors of such Houses where they are held in the highest Estimation, and at the most proper Seasons. Four in the Afternoon is deem'd a good Hour for a Dog of Quality and Distinction: The dear pretty Soul has had a good Meal, and a thousand Kisses bestow'd on him; and my Lady, perhaps, has been too free with her Clary after Dinner, and so is gone to take a Nap. The Valet is kissing her Woman behind the Skreen in the Dining-Room: In the mean time, Jewel trips down stairs into the Hall, while the Porter is down in the Kitchen at a Horse-Laughter with the Footmen and Maids, and the Door committed to the Care of some drunken Chairman, or poor Fellow out of Place; and a poor-looking Creature is peeping in, under pretence of asking Charity. The Dog is instantly snapp'd up, and convey'd away under an old louzy Great-Coat, or a greasy Ridinghood, to some filthy Cellar or Garret. By and by my Lady wakes, and wants her Companion: 'Sdeath and Fireballs, the House is search'd from top to bottom, as tho' a Warrant for High-Treason was got into it. Mrs. Abigail has warning given her, and the Porter is turn'd out of doors. Every thing is in the greatest Confusion, and nothing but fear and sorrow appears upon every Countenance. The Footmen and Stablemen are dispatch'd, like Madmen, North, East, West, and South. The Trades-People, not immediately knowing the Occasion of this sudden Consternation, send from all Corners, and hope my Lord and Lady are well. Next Morning the Crier and the News-Papers go to work. My Lady sees no Company, forbears Plays and Operas, and every Room of the House looks as if a pestilential Distemper was raging in the Family.
Towards the close of the Evening, a Fellow in a Soldier's Coat, with the Dog very carefully wrapp'd up in one of the Lappets, is knocking at the Door. A Reprieve to a Malefactor the Morning of Execution, or the News of a rich Father's Death to an extravagant Heir, cannot be more welcome than two or three Yelps of the absent Animal shall be to all the Servants: Happy is that Servant who has the good fortune first to carry the glad Tidings to my Lady. The Fellow tells a long Story of his being at his Post in St. James's Park, and of his seeing the Dog under a Woman's Arm; and how he suspected her coming honestly by it, and what Fatigues and Difficulties he met with in wresting the poor Creature from her: How the Mob took part against him, and the risque he run of being sent to the Savoy; with twenty other Falsehoods, all which are greedily swallowed: Every Face, with Tears of Joy, standing with great Faith and Patience to hear his impudent Narration of the great Dangers that the poor little Creature and himself had escaped. The Thief receives the Reward, with perhaps a Guinea over, and goes away loaded with Applauses and Blessings, for restoring Peace and Tranquillity in the Family.
The Dogs that belong to private Families, and Shopkeepers, the proper time for setting them is generally soon after Seven in the Morning, when the Maid neglects her Entry and the Stairs for a Conversation with the Baker's Journeyman, or her Master's Prentice; and a general Tete-a-Tete of all the Mops and Brooms in the Neighbourhood is going forward; and a Sash Window, or a Street Door left carelesly open, whereby an opportunity is given for Tray to be trick'd out of House and Home by a bit of Meat, that is generally shewn him as a Bait for that purpose. Half a Guinea for bringing him home is repeated three or four times in the Advertisements, and then a Guinea once or twice more; so that about Forty Shillings must be expended, before the poor Fool shall be put into statu quo.
In the Evening, when the Ladies are going to make their Visits, their pretty Favourites are too apt to follow them from the Parlour to the Street Door; and if their Guardians and Trustees are not sufficiently upon the watch, a Person under pretence of wanting Alms, shall not only mump Money, but carry off their Ward into the bargain.
When Service is over at the Churches and Meeting-Houses on a Sunday, we find a great many Hands at work plying the Doors and Avenues; in hopes of picking up now and then one of these straggling Gentry: For there are very staunch Church-Folks, as well as rigid Presbyterians of this Species; and I have seen some of them, whose Zeal has transported them so far, as to render themselves liable to the Penalty of Twenty Pounds, in disturbing a Preacher by loudly snarling at him, when they have been pleased not to approve of his Countenance or Doctrine.
The Quakers may entertain a great many of them at their Habitations, but I believe, have few or none that can be truly said to be of their Persuasion; for I could never learn that any were ever affected with their Principles, and much less frequented their Places of Religious Worship.
Those honest City-Tradesmen and others, who so lovingly carry their Wives and Mistresses to the neighbouring Villages in Chaises to regale them on a Sunday, are seldom sensible of the great Inconveniences and Dangers they are exposed to: for besides the common Accidents of the Road, there are a Set of regular Rogues kept constantly in Pay to incommode them in their Passage; and these are the Drivers of what are called Waiting Jobbs, and other Hackney Travelling-Coaches with Sets of Horses, who are commissioned by their Masters to annoy, sink, and destroy all the single and double Horse-Chaises they can conveniently meet with, or overtake in their Way, without regard to the Lives or Limbs of the Persons who travel in them. What Havock these industrious Sons of Blood and Wounds have made within twenty Miles of London in the Compass of a Summer's Season, is best known by the Articles of Accidents in the common News-Papers: The miserable Shrieks of Women and Children not being sufficient to deter the Villains from doing what they call their Duty to their Masters; for besides their Daily or Weekly Wages, they have an extraordinary stated Allowance for every Chaise they can reverse, ditch, or bring by the Road, as the Term or Phrase is.
I heard a Fellow, who drove a hired Coach and four Horses, give a long Detail of a hard Chace he gave last Summer to a Two-Horse Chaise, which was going with a Gentleman and three Ladies to Windsor. He said he first came in view of the Chaise at Knights-Bridge, and there put on hard after it to Kensington; but that being drawn by a Pair of good Cattle, and the Gentleman in the Seat pretty expert at driving, they made the Town before him; and there stopping at a Tavern-Door to take a Glass of Wine, he halted also, and whistled for his Horses to stale: but the Chaise not yet coming on, he affected another Delay, by pretending that one of his Horses had taken up a Stone, and so dismounting, as if to search, lay by, till the Enemy had passed him; that then they kept a Trot on together to Turnham-Green, when the People suspecting his Design again, put on: that he then whipp'd after them for dear Blood, thinking to have done their Business between that Place and Brentford. But here he was again disappointed, for the two Horses still kept their Courage, till they came between Longford and Colnbrook, where he plainly perceived 'em begin to droop or knock up, and found he had then a sure Game on't. He went on leisurely after them, till both Parties came into a narrow Lane, where there was no Possibility of an Escape, when he gave his Horses a sudden Jerk, and came with such Violence upon the People, that he pull'd their Machine quite over. He said, the Cries of the Women were so loud that the B—ches might be heard to his Master's Yard in Piccadilly; that there being no-body near to assist the People, he got clear off with two or three blind old Women his Passengers some Miles beyond Maidenhead, safe both from Pursuit and Evidence.
I have been credibly informed, that many of the Coachmen and Postillions belonging to the Quality are seduced by the Masters of the Travelling-Coaches to involve themselves in the Guilt of this monstrous Enormity, and have certain Fees for dismounting Persons on single Horses, and over-turning Chaises, when it shall suit with their Convenience to do it with Safety, (that is, within the Verge of the Law;) and in case of an Action or Indictment, if the Master or Mistress will not stand by their Servant, and believe the Mischief was merely accidental, the Offender is then defended by a general Contribution from all the Stage-Coach Masters within the Bills of Mortality.
Those Hackney-Gentlemen who drive about the City and Suburbs of London, have by their over-grown Insolence obliged the Government to take notice of them, and make Laws for their Regulation; and as there are Commissioners for receiving the Tax they pay to the Publick, so those Commissioners have Power to hear and determine between the Drivers and their Passengers upon any Abuse that happens: and yet these ordinary Coachmen abate very little of their abusive Conduct, but not only impose in Price upon those that hire them, but refuse to go this or that way as they are call'd: whereas the Law obliges them to go wherever they are legally required, and at reasonable Hours. This Treatment, and the particular saucy impudent Behaviour of the Coachmen in demanding t'other Twelver or Tester above their Fare, has been the occasion of innumerable Quarrels, Fighting and Abuses; affronting Gentlemen; frighting and insulting Women; and such Rudenesses, that no civil Government will, or indeed ought to suffer; and above all, has been the occasion of the killing several Coachmen by Gentlemen that have been provoked by the villainous Tongues of those Fellows beyond the Extent of their Patience. Their intolerable Behaviour has rendered them so contemptible and odious in the Eyes of all Degrees of People whatever, that there is more Joy seen for one Hackney-Coachman's going to the Gallows, than for a Dozen Highway-men and Street-Robbers.
The Driver of a Hackney-Coach having the Misfortune to break a Leg and an Arm by a Fall from his Box, was rendred incapable of following that Business any longer; and therefore posted himself at the Corner of one of the principal Avenues leading to Covent-Garden with his Limbs bound up to the most advantageous Manner to move the Passengers to Commiseration. He told his deplorable Case to all, but all passed without Pity; and the Man must have inevitably perish'd, had it not come into his head to shift the Scene and his Situation. The Transition was easy, he whipt on a Leathern-Apron, and from a Coachman became a poor Joiner, with a Wife and four Children, that had broke his Limbs by a Fall from the Top of a House. Showers of Copper poured daily into his Hat, and in a few Years he became able to purchase many Figures, as well as Horses; and he is now Master of one of the most considerable Livery-Stables in London.
The next are the Watermen; and indeed the Insolence of these, though they are under some Limitations too, is yet such at this time, that it stands in greater need than any other of severe Laws, and those Laws being put in speedy execution. A few Months ago, one of these very People being Steers-man of a Passage-Boat between Queenhithe and Windsor, drowned fifteen People at one time; and when many of them begg'd of him to put them on Shore, or take down his Sails, he impudently mock'd them, ask'd some of the poor frighted Women, if they were afraid of going to the Devil; and bid them say their Prayers: then used a vulgar Water-Phrase which such Fellows have in their Mouths, Blow Devil, the more Wind the better Boat. A Man of a very considerable Substance perishing with the rest of the unfortunate Passengers, this Villain, who had saved himself by swimming, had the surprizing Impudence to go the next Morning to his Widow, who lived at Kingston upon Thames. The poor Woman, surrounded with a number of sorrowful Friends, was astonished to think what could be the occasion of the Fellow's coming to her; but thinking he was come to give some Account of her Husband's Body being found, at last she condescended to see him. After a scurvy Scrape or two, the Monster very modestly hoped his good Mistress would give him half a Crown to drink her Health, by way of Satisfaction for a Pair of Oars and a Sail he had lost the Night before, when he had drowned her Husband.
I have many times pass'd between London and Gravesend with these Fellows; when I have seen them, in spite of the shrieks and cries of the Women, and the persuasions of the Men-Passengers, and indeed, as if they were the more bold by how much the Passengers were the more afraid; I say, I have seen them run needless hazards, and go as it were within an Inch of Death, when they have been under no necessity of it: and if not in contempt of the Passengers, it has been in meer laziness, to avoid their rowing. And I have been sometimes oblig'd, especially when there have been more Men in the Boat of the same Mind, so that we have been strong enough for them, to threaten to cut their Throats, to make them hand their Sails, and keep under Shore, not to fright, as well as hazard the Lives of the Passengers, when there was no need of it. But I am satisfied, that the less frighted and timorous their Passengers are, the more cautious and careful the Watermen are, and the least apt to run into Danger. Whereas, if their Passengers appear frighted, then the Watermen grow saucy and audacious, show themselves venturous, and contemn the Dangers they are really expos'd to.
Set one Knave to catch another, is a proverbial Saying of great Antiquity and Repute in this Kingdom. Thus the vigilant Vintner, notwithstanding all his little Arts of base Brewings, abridging his Bottles, and connecting his Guests together, does not always reap the Fruits of his own Care and Industry. Few People being aware of the underhand Understandings and Petty-Partnerships these Sons of Benecarlo and Cyder have topp'd upon them; and the many other private Inconveniences that they, in the course of their Business, are subjected to. Now, to let my Readers into this great Arcanum or Secret, I must acquaint them, that nothing is more certain and frequent than for some of the principal Customers to a Tavern, to have a secret Allowance, by way of Drawback, of Six-pence or Seven-Pence, nay sometimes I have heard of Eight-pence, on every Bottle of Port-Wine that themselves shall drink, or cause to be drank in the House, and for which they have seemingly paid the full Price of two Shillings; and so are a sort of Vintners in Vizards, and Setters of Society. These are mostly sharping Shopkeepers, who, by being considerable Dealers, hold numbers of other inferiour Trades-people in a State of Dependency upon them; Officers of Parishes; old season'd Soakers, who by having serv'd an Age to Tippling, have contracted a boundless Acquaintance; House-Stewards; Clerks of Kitchens; Song-Singers; Horse-Racers; Valet de Chambres; Merry Story-Tellers, Attorneys and Sollicitors, with Legions of wrangling Clients always at their Elbows. Wherefore, as they have got the Lead upon a great part of Mankind, they are for ever establishing Clubs and Friendly-Societies at Taverns, and drawing to them every Soul they have any Dealings or Acquaintance with.
The young Fellows are mostly sure to be their Followers and Admirers, as esteeming it a great Favour to be admitted amongst their Seniors and Betters, thinking to learn to know the World and themselves. One constant Topick of Conversation, is the Civility of the People, the diligent Attendance, together with the Goodness of the Wines, and Cheapness of the Eatables; with a Side-wind Reflection on another House. And if at any time, when the Wine is complain'd of, it is answer'd with Peoples Palates are not at all times alike; my Landlord generally hath as good, or better, than any one in the Town. And oftentimes the poor innocent Bottle, or else the Cork, falls under a false and heavy Accusation.
In a Morning there is no passing thro' any part of the Town, without being Hemm'd and Yelp'd after by these Locusts from the Windows of Taverns, where they post themselves at the most convenient Views, to observe such Passengers as they have but the least knowledge of; and if a Person be in the greatest haste, going upon extraordinary Occasions, or not caring to vitiate his Palate before Dinner, and so attempts an Escape, then, like a Pack of Hounds, they join in full Cry after him, and the Landlord is detach'd upon his Dropsical Pedestals, or else a more nimble-footed Drawer is at your Heels, bawling out, Sir, Sir, 'tis your old Friend Mr. Swallow, who wants you upon particular Business.
The Sums which are expended daily by this Method, are realy surprizing. I knew a Clerk to a Vestry, a Half-pay Officer, a Chancery Sollicitor, and a broken Apothecary, that made a tolerable good Livelihood, by calling into a Tavern all their Friends that passed by the Window in this manner. Their Custom was to sit with a Quart of White-Port before them in a Morning; every Person they decoy'd into their Company for a Minute or two, never threw down less than his Six-pence, and few drank more than one Gill; and if two or three Glasses, he seldom came off with less than one Shilling. The Master of the House constantly provided them with a plain Dinner, gratis. All Dinner-time they kept their Room still, in full view of the Street, and so sate catching Gudgeons, (as they used to call it) from Morning till Night; when, besides amply filling their own Carcasses, and discharging the whole Reckoning, they seldom divided less than seven or eight Shillings a Man per Diem.
Some People, unacquainted with this Fellow-feeling at Taverns, often wonder how such a one does to hold it; that he spends a confounded deal of Money, is seldom out of a Tavern, and never in his Business: when, in reality, he is thus never out of his Business, and so helps to run away with the chief Profits of the House.
Nor are these all the Hardships many of the Vintners lie under; for besides, their Purses must too often stand a private Examination behind the Bar, when any of these sort of Customers Necessities shall require it.
'Tis such Dealings drive the poor Devils to all the little Shifts and Tricks imaginable. I went one day into a Tavern near Charing-Cross, to inquire after a Person whom I knew had once us'd the House: The Mistress being in the Bar, cry'd out, What an unfortunate thing it was, Mr. —— being that instant gone out of the House, and was surprized I did not meet him at the Door; but that he had left Word he expected a Gentleman to come to him, and would return immediately. I staid the sipping of two or three Half-pints, and begun to shew some uneasiness that he did not come according to her Expectation; when she again wonder'd at it, saying, it was just one of his Times of coming; for that he was a worthy good Gentleman, and constantly whetted four or five times in a Morning. At length, being out of all patience, I paid, and went to my Friend's House, about twenty Doors farther; where his Wife inform'd me, he had been gone about three Months before to Jamaica.
The Bankruptcies so frequently happening among the Sons of Bacchus, are doubtless to be attributed chiefly to such Leeches as I have been describing, lying so closely upon them; and then an innocent industrious Man is to be call'd forsworn Rogue, Villain, and what not; and to be told that he hath affected a Failure, to sink a dozen or fourteen Shillings in the Pound upon his Creditors, when, in reality, he hath not a single Shilling left in the World; and shall oftentimes be oblig'd to become a common Waiter to a more fortunate Fellow, and one perhaps too, that he once had thoughts of circumventing in his Business and Trade, by no other means, than a more humble and tractable Behaviour.
A Vintner, who has been look'd upon by all Mankind to have been a 20,000l. Man at least, hath died not worth Eighteen-pence; and then the poor Wretch has been worried to his Grave, with the Character of a private Whore-master or Gamester.
A few Years since Peter Dapper came into a naked and ruin'd Bawdy-House Tavern in the heart of the City; he resolv'd upon a thorough Reformation of its Customs and Manners, and when a Male and Female came in together, he order'd his Servants to shew them into the open Kitchen. He declar'd that he would make no difference or distinction in the Price of his Wines, but would be above-board with all Mankind. He redress'd the exorbitant Grievances of the Gridiron and the Spit, and protested his Heart and his Larder free and open to all that should vouchsafe to visit either. He invited all the single Mercers, Druggists, and Drapers, that lived within sight of his Bush, to eat a piece of Mutton with him every Day at Noon, and upon the removal of the Cloth, Peter proclaim'd a free general Indemnity and Oblivion for all the Mischief their Forks and Knives had done to two or three substantial Dishes that stood before them. By these, and other uncommon Acts of Generosity, he rais'd the Reputation of his House to a greater pitch than any other in the Neighbourhood, and reap'd the Fruits of his own Labours and Ingenuity. Peter, in a few Years, having laid hands on a good number of Acres, and got an Equipage about his Ears, has now very fairly turn'd his A—se upon all the Taverns in the Kingdom.
A certain great BANKER, whose Name it is altogether needless to mention, (the Fact being too well known to many Peoples Misfortune) having by some indiscreet Management greatly hurt his Reputation, and several Stories of a suspicious nature, tending to depreciate his Character, being whisper'd about; which coming in time to his knowledge, he thought of a notable Device to prevent the Consequences that generally ensue on those occasions to Persons in his way of Life. His first step was to order Glaziers and Painters to new-ornament his House in the most genteel manner. He next hurried to the Pool, and order'd in about a hundred Chaldrons of Coals, tho' it was the warm Season of the Year. These Circumstances seem'd to demonstrate a Continuance in his House, and for three or four Days together, when the People came either to draw, or bring their Cash, their was scarce a possibility of getting into the Shop, for a number of dirty Fellows who were incessantly carrying Sacks of Coals on their Backs to the Cellars. The Stratagem succeeded even beyond expectation; the Creditors Apprehensions clear'd up, and one ridicul'd another for their foolish and ill-grounded Fears. The Run that was begun to be made, not only ceased, but numbers of Strangers now thought fit to constitute him the Custode of their Fortunes; and the Man was look'd upon to be one of the most flourishing of his Business in the City, and his Credit equal to that of the Bank of England. This went on for about a Fortnight or three Weeks longer, when this pains-taking Tradesman thought fit to shut up his Shop, and rub off with 100,000l. of his Creditors Money to Antwerp.
Another time a young Fellow, with a pitiful Patrimony, open'd a LINNEN-DRAPER'S Shop in the heart of the City; his Stock was equal to his Fortune, and, like most raw unexperienc'd Persons, his Soul vastly bigger than both. Tho' he set out with great Ambition, he condescended to bow to all the Fair-Sex who pass'd his Door in Coaches or on Foot; his Success was humble, for he bowed to little purpose. Revolving Quarters, with Rent and Taxes, were his principal Customers. These, together with the apprehensions of his being soon named with other of his Majesty's loving Subjects in the London Gazette, gave him great Pain and Anxiety. One Morning he bless'd himself for a lucky Dog, having arose from his Pillow with the most happy Thought that had ever enter'd his Head. He call'd for Pen, Ink, and Paper, and enjoining his Journeyman Secrecy, went to his Compting-House, and drew up a Paper to the Effect following: viz. "Whereas there was, on the 10th Day of this Instant October, dropp'd in the Shop of Mr. Probity, Linnen-Draper, at the ...... in Cheapside, London, a green Silk Purse, in which was contain'd a large Rose Diamond Ring, a great number of pieces of Foreign Gold, together with sundry Notes, &c. of great value; whoever will apply to the said Mr. Probity, and prove their Property to the same, shall have it restor'd them, on paying only the Charge of this Advertisement."
This he caused to be printed in all the publick News-Papers, and although there was no such Purse lost, and consequently no Claim made, the Action was cry'd up through the Town as the most just and laudable that was ever done by a Citizen, and particularly by a young Beginner; some saying, How many were there in the World that would have been silent enough on such an occasion? And others, Ay, Ay; if it were not for some such honest People left amongst us, the World would never stand. Trade and Business now flow'd in so fast upon him, that he was scarce able to undergo the Fatigue of his Shop; which was constantly crouded with Women of all Ranks and Conditions, who, they said, were sure to meet with fairer Usage there, than in any other in the City. His barely averring, upon the Word of an honest Man, that the Goods in dispute lay him in more prime-cost than was bid him, would go further than the Oaths of a dozen Witnesses in Guild-hall; and when he was urged to say, as I'm a Christian, or, if one living Soul may believe another, it would satisfy the most Judicious and Thrifty, and remove from his Shop the worst of Goods at the most extravagant Prices.
The great Dealer in India Goods is to sell as much China, Silks, and Muslins, &c. as he can, by which he shall get what he proposes to be reasonable, according to the customary Profits of his Business. As to a Lady, what she would be at, is to please her Fancy, and buy cheaper by a Shilling or two in the Pound, than the Things she wants are commonly sold at. Upon the approach of her Chariot to one of these Magazines of Trifles, up steps a Gentleman-like Man, that has every thing clean and fashionable about him; who, in low obeisance, pays her homage; and as soon as her pleasure is known that she has a mind to come in, hands her into the Shop; where immediately he slips from her, and in half a Moment, with great Address, entrenches himself behind the Compter. Here facing her, with a profound Reverence and modish Phrase, he begs the favour of knowing her Commands. Let her say and dislike what she pleases, she can never be directly contradicted. She deals with a Man in whom consummate Patience is one of the Mysteries of his Trade; and whatever Trouble she creates, she is sure to hear nothing but the most obliging Language; and has always before her a chearful Countenance, where Joy and Respect seem to be blended with Good-Humour, and all together make up an artificial Serenity, more ingaging than untaught Nature is able to produce.
When two Persons are so well met, the Conversation must be very agreeable, as well as extremely mannerly, tho' they talk about Trifles. Whist she remains irresolute what to take, he seems to be the same in advising her, and is very cautious how to direct her Choice: but when once she has made it, and is fix'd, he immediately becomes positive that it is the best of the sort; extols her Fancy, and the more he looks upon it, the more he wonders he should not before have discovered the pre-eminence of it over any thing he has in his Shop. By Precept, Example, and great Application, he has learn'd and observ'd to slide into the inmost Recesses of the Soul, found the Capacity of his Customers, and discover'd their blind side unknown to them: By all which he is instructed in fifty other Stratagems, to make her overvalue her own Judgment; as well as the Commodity she would purchase. The greatest Advantage he has had over her, lies in the most material part of the Commerce between them, the Debate about the Price, which he knows to a Farthing, and she is wholly ignorant of: therefore he no where more egregiously imposes on her Understanding: and tho' here he has the liberty of telling what Lyes he pleases, as to the Prime-Cost, and the Money he has refused, yet he trusts not to them only; but attacking her Vanity, makes her believe the most incredible things in the World, concerning his own Weakness, and her superior Abilities. He had taken a Resolution, he says, never to part with that Piece or Set under such a Price, but she has the power of talking him out of his Goods beyond any body he ever sold to: He protests, that he loses by what she offers; but seeing that she has a fancy for it, and is resolv'd to give no more, rather than disoblige a Lady he has such an uncommon value for, he'll let her have it; and only begs, that another time she will not stand so hard with him. In the mean time the Buyer, who has a voluble Tongue, and imagines herself no Fool, is easily persuaded that she has a very winning way of Talking; and thinking it sufficient, for the sake of Good Breeding, to disown her Merit, and in some witty Repartee retort the Compliment, he makes her swallow very contentedly the substance of every thing he tells her. The upshot is, that with the satisfaction of having bought, as she thinks, according to her expectation, she has paid exactly the same Price as any body else would have done; and give much more than, rather than not have sold his Goods, he would have taken.
Those who have never minded an Accident that once happened to a spruce Mercer on Ludgate-Hill, have neglected a Scene of Life that is very entertaining. A genteel young Lady, very richly apparelled, made a full stop, in a Hackney-Coach, at the Door of this sharp-sighted Citizen; who, with his wonted Civility, conducted her into his Shop. After she had spent two or three Hours in tumbling over his Goods, and exclaiming against his frightful Prices, and after divers Doubts and Hesitations, she fix'd her Determination on Silks and Brocades to the value or amount of 100l. and then, with a handsome Apology for Women's seldom gadding abroad with such a Sum of Money in their Pockets, desires he would do her the honour to wait upon her, with the Goods, to her Husband's House, naming a very eminent Surgeon at St. James's. In the interim Dinner is gone up, and the Mercer invites his fair Customer to take a Family Morsel with him, before they went to St. James's. At Dinner many Excuses pass'd on the side of the Mercer and his Wife, for the indifferent Fare; and on the Lady's side as many Declarations, that all was mighty good and well; and faithfully promis'd, that if his Goods answer'd her expectation, she would never quit his Shop, but would also procure most of her Friends and Acquaintance to deal with him. She was seiz'd with a fainting Fit or two, with other pretty affected Symptoms of a breeding Lady, which led on a great deal of good humour upon the subject of Marriage. When Dinner was over, a Coach was call'd, the Lady and her Purchase were handed in with the greatest alacrity, and order'd to go to Mr. —— a Surgeon's. All the way, a great deal of obliging Discourse pass'd on both sides; and the Mercer, not a little proud of his pretty Customer, and the large Roll of Silk that lay in sight, took care to bow to all his Acquaintance as he pass'd along. When the Coach stopp'd, she very pertly ask'd the Servant that open'd the Door, if his Master was in the Surgery; and being answer'd he was, she says, take care, put that Parcel by carefully, and shew this Gentleman into the Parlour. In the mean time, herself went up to the Master, and addresses herself to the following purpose; viz. "That about two years since, her too indulgent Parents," naming a Family of good account in the Country, "had unfortunately married her to Mr. —— a Mercer on Ludgate-Hill; but that his Life, since their Marriage, had been so scandalous and dissolute, that, in short, he had not only ruin'd her Fortune, but she fear'd her Constitution, by his Conversation with Scrumpets; and that her Condition was such, she knew not what to do with herself, nor how to make her Case known to any living Creature." He was going directly to examine her, but that she desired he would desist, and talk first with Mr. ——, her Husband, naming the Mercer, who, she said, was below stairs waiting for that purpose. She begg'd not to be present, for she could scarce bear the sight of a Wretch who had used her so cruelly. She being withdrawn, the Surgeon went down stairs, and invited the Mercer into the Surgery; and began with asking, How he found himself? The Mercer answer'd, truly he could not boast of a large share of Health, but that he made a shift to rub on; but adds he, Sir, your Lady had a sudden Disorder this Day, as she was at Dinner at my House; then, with a Smile, we once thought we must have made her your Patient, by sending for you to her assistance. Zounds, says the Surgeon in a surprize, what, my Wife dine at your House! I knew she went into the City. Replies the Mercer, We had but a sorry Entertainment for her; however, she hath made herself amends in her Bargain; and then presents him with a Bill of Parcels for 100l. for Silks sold and delivered. The Surgeon, in a violent agony, rang the Bell for his Servants, bidding them run all over the City, and find their Mistress. Sir, says the Mercer, you need not give your self that trouble, to be sure she's in the House, for the Lady came with me in a Coach from the City. This put him into a greater fury; D—mn ye, Sir, your own pocky Slut, you mean; I'd have ye know, my Wife keeps no such Rascals company. To blows they went, and the Bones of the Skeletons rattled as fast in the Glasses, as those of the Combatants. A Constable was call'd, and charged with the Mercer, for endeavouring to defraud the Surgeon of 100l. by false Tokens and Pretences. And both the Men continued so hot and outrageous, and such Scurrilities pass'd between them, that the Mistake was vastly far from being clear'd up, and the Cheat set to rights. The Mercer was carried in Custody to a Tavern, in order to go before a Magistrate, cursing and reviling all the Surgeons as he went along; saying, if those were their Tricks, it was time to give over Trade; and what still vex'd him more, to have his poor innocent Wife call'd pocky B—ch, and himself all the debauch'd Villains into the Bargain. The Surgeon, on the other hand, cries out, A new piece of Villany, a Fellow brings a Whore, and a Bill of Parcels, to rob my House, and has withal the Impudence to boast of a Conversation he has truly had with my Wife in a Hackney-Coach. The Surgeon's Wife had been found over a Dish of Tea at a Relation's House in Crutched-Fryars, where she had dined, and had hurried home in such a manner, that the Horses stood in a dropping Sweat at the Door. Soon after comes the Mercer's Wife, almost frighted to death, accompanied with half her Relations, and finds a Mob of a thousand People about the House where her Husband was kept Prisoner. An Hour more past before the Fraud was discover'd by either Party, and the Affair set in a true light; when, upon enquiring, the Fair Cheat it seems had, so soon as the Mercer was invited out of the Room he was placed in, given the Servant half a Crown, and went off with the Silks, and it has not been known who she was to this day.
While the State-Lottery was Drawing at the Guild-hall in London, an Irishman stood amongst the Croud, meditating upon Ways and Means to procure a Meal's Meat; his Belly, it seems, having been a Bankrupt for many Days before. At length, hearing a Prize of 1000l. proclaimed, he fell into an Exstacy, crying out, the Ticket was his, which drew the Eyes of all the People present upon him: he ran up to the Hustings among the Managers, and for better Satisfaction, desired to be inform'd of the principal Clerks whether the Number he had heard in the Hall was entitled to the 1000l. Prize. They assured him it was, and gave him Joy on his Success. He told the Clerks and Proclaimers, that when the Wheels were clos'd, and the Day's Drawing concluded, he should be glad of their Company to eat a bit of something or other with him at a neighbouring Tavern. When the Lottery-Men had done their Business, they accordingly came, like so many Millers, powdering every one that brush'd against them to the Tavern, where the Spits, Boilers and Stew-pans were all a going Tantivy; the Master of the House sent privately to the Ringers, to tell them he had a Gentleman, his Guest, whom Fortune had favour'd in the Lottery, that if his Vanity was touch'd up with a Peal or two, he would warrant them a Pair of Pieces for the Complement. St. Lawrence's Bells were at it in an instant, and when the Ringers came to pay their Respects to his Honour, he order'd them three Guineas at the Bar. The Landlord, when he was paying the Money, was not a little proud of his own Foresight, saying, Gentlemen, did not I tell you how it would be?
Dinner was served up, when the Vintner and all his Servants were at their Stations, in close and diligent Attendance upon the Company. The Discourse turn'd chiefly upon the niggardly Dispositions of some, whom Fortune had favour'd in the same Manner, and the various Humours and Tempers of Mankind: what unaccountable Successes attended on some People, and the Misfortunes that others were visibly destin'd to. In the Evening, the Reckoning was call'd for, together with three or four peremptory Bottles: the Bill came to five Pounds; the Master of the Feast, perusing it, excepted to one of the Articles, as being an exorbitant Charge; and as he said, making a Property of Good-Nature. All the Company join'd with much Warmth in the Complaint; upon which, he said he would go down and give it the Landlord in his Bar. When he was got below Stairs, in a careless Manner, with a Pipe in his Mouth, and without his Hat; he saunter'd about for a Minute or two, and then found an Opportunity to slip away, leaving the Reck'ning to be paid by his Companions above stairs. The Master of the House had the more reason to be shock'd when he heard of the Imposture, because he had not only paid the three Guineas for the Steeple-Musick, but had lent him ten Guineas more out of his Pocket for pretended Exigencies. The Gentlemen could not afterwards pass through the Hall without being insulted; one unlucky Rogue bawling out, What was the Reck'ning at the Tavern? and another answering, FIVE POUNDS principal Money.
We have had instances of Jurymen, who have had their Pockets pick'd when they have been sitting upon Trials of Life and Death; and whilst a Prosecutor has been giving Evidence against one Rogue, another has at that very instant robb'd him of his Snuff-Box and Handkerchief.
There are eight Sessions of Oyer and Terminer and Jail-Delivery usually holden in London in a Year, many of which, through the great Number of Prisoners try'd, continue four or five Days successively; during which time, the Old-Bailey-Yard is crouded with an idle disorderly Crew of Persons of both Sexes, who have no other Business but to obstruct those who have any unwish'd for Avocation to the Place——In one Corner stands a Circle, compos'd of, perhaps, a Baker's-Boy, a Journeyman-Shoemaker, a Butcher's-'Prentice, and a Bailiff's-Follower, telling how it was; By what means such a Robber was taken; Who his Relations are; One boasting of being his near Neighbour; and another of an intimate Acquaintance with him, &c.——In another, a heap of Earthen-ware Women, with Straw Hats, and their black and blue Eyes and swoln Faces, lamenting the Fate of poor Bob, or Jemmy, hoping the L—d will deliver him out of the Hands of his Adversaries; meaning the Laws of his Country——In a third, is a row of Spittle-field Weavers, with the Lice passing in Review over their Shoulders, before two or three lazy Silver-button'd Alehouse Fellows at their Elbows; near whom, are four or five old Women, shaking their Heads at the Wickedness of the Times, and what a likely young Fellow pass'd just now to his Trial, wondering that Youth won't take warning, &c.——A Yard farther, two or three Grenadiers together, with a red-faced Serjeant or Corporal of the Foot Guards, ready to rap a Reputation for some offending Brother. These, together with two or three Dozen of Whores and Thieves from Rosemary-lane and St. Giles's, and a Company of idle Sailors from Wapping, resolve themselves into Committees of threes, fours, and fives, all over the Sessions-house-yard, and there debate on the Fates and Circumstances of the Criminals, till the latest Hour of the Court's sitting, be the Season ever so rigorous, or their Affairs at home ever so pressing. But sometimes, by the sudden and hasty turning in of a Coach, these Committees are all suspended, and squeez'd up against the Walls, or else oftentimes, through their being a little too verbose and vociferous; the Court, by their Officer upon the Leads, calls them to Peace and Order.
Nor are the Taverns, Ale-houses, and Brandy-shops in the Neighbourhood less fill'd with idle Spectators: for, besides the Prosecutors and their Witnesses, (which must necessarily attend) there are infinite Numbers of Watch-makers, Barbers, Poulterers, Engravers, and other Artizans and Handicraft Tradesmen, who have no other Business there, but to hearken to the Stories of the Newgate Solicitors and their Companions, and so neglecting their Callings and Families at home, sit tippling one half Pint after another, till they become as fuddled as a Beef-Eater at a Tavern on a Sunday Morning, and go home mightily edified with the particulars of a Trial for a Rape, or a Highway Robbery.
That Figure which the Sextons of Parishes has made in the World of late Years, is an evident Token of the flourishing State of the Worshipful Corporation of Corps-stealers. There seldom passes a Night, but we hear of some Defunct Plebeian eloping out of one Church-yard or other: nor are those of better Blood more secure, for all their Bolts and Barricadoes. This felonious Commodity, I am told, is sold by Weight, and that the Purchasers generally consider and weigh well what they are about, before they strike a Bargain. The Corpse of a plain Milk-Maid is said to fetch at least 7d. in the Pound more than that of a Countess; and, notwithstanding the highest feeding and fattening, a common Joiner's has had vastly the preference of a Major General's in the Market. But, however, this Calling is liable to many Hazards and Losses as well as others, for oftentimes the Dealers meet with Crosses, which they are oblig'd, though very unwillingly, to bear on their Backs.
I must say something to those People who have introduced a kind of Fraud of late Years, which now and then runs through the Town like a Contagion: It is call'd Auctioneering, or vending various kinds of Goods by way of Cant or Auction. Soon after a Man of any Note has obtained a Mors Janua Vitae against his Wife, and publish'd it over his Door, or a Woman has done the same thing by her Husband; a Gang of People, call'd Bughunters, take possession of the House, by displaying their Standard, a huge rotten Carpet, and wage War against all the good Housewives in the Town. Moor-fields and Knaves-acre are drain'd of their Lumber, and scarce a thirtieth Part of the deceased Person's real Furniture is on the Premisses. Next, a News-paper proclaims the Goods of Lady Good-for-nothing lately deceased, to be sold, or rather given away to such as shall take the trouble to fetch them. All the thrifty Ladies take the Hint, and away to the place of Auction; the Orator, or Mouth of the Sale, surrounded by his Puffs and Setters, shows away. One Fellow is professing his Astonishment at the low Prices the things go at, while a Hussey dress'd out for the Day, is bidding against a Woman of Quality, with no intention to buy, but to bring up those that are come thither for no other Purpose to a Price far beyond the real Value. A third Person in the same Circumstance pretends to raise a Dispute, and rails at the Rostrum in behalf of the Company, as a Disguise that he may either decoy or postpone, as occasion shall require. The Ladies return home mightily pleased and satisfied with their fine Pennyworths, and their Judgments are sure to be admired by their Women, and every poor dependant Cousin. The Auctioneers and their Setters retire to the next Tavern, where they drink their Healths, and join in a Chorus for getting rid of their crazy Furniture, &c. such that, perhaps, nothing but a Fire or an Execution besides could have moved out of their Shops.
A Set of gay young Fellows, who have been reduced by Play, and other common Accidents of the Town, have discover'd a Means of obtaining a Livelyhood within a Year past, that cannot but fail of meeting with the Approbation of the ingenious Mr. Roger Johnson: They dress exceeding well, and have a Chair attending them every Evening to such Taverns and Coffee-Houses as they have pitch'd upon in the Day, as most proper for the execution of their Designs. They enquire for one another, and People that they are sure not to meet with; and after taking out a fine Snuff-Box, and displaying a pretty Ring, with several other Airs, call for a Pint of Wine, if it be in a Tavern; and for a Glass of Arrack, be it in a Coffee-House, the Chairmen waiting the mean time in the Passage. After the Beau has turned himself about in the Glass, and asked a number of insignificant Questions, he desires Change for a Guinea, or perhaps some other large Piece of Gold, which he carelessly throws upon the Bar, and then leaps again towards the Glass or the Fire. Presently the Bar-keeper cries Laud, Sir, this is not a good one! The Man or Woman is answer'd by a Volley of Oaths, and the Words run vastly high, till the Chairmen, by peeping through the Windows, perceive their Master has the worst of the Dispute; and then come in bowing with their Heads as crooked as Dolphins, to know if his Honour has any Commands? The Place is all silent upon the appearance of the Fellows with their Straps; and a Customer, in kindness to the House, interferes in the Dispute, and bids the Bar-keeper not be too rash; for, to be sure, the Mistake must be in her: for, that a Gentleman of such an Appearance, and so attended, must certainly be in the right on't. The Fellow receives a good Piece for his bad one, and not content with that alone, insists upon their publick acknowledging their Error, and begging his Pardon for the Affront; to which the People readily comply, and away he is gone in his Chair, to serve as many more Houses as he can in the same manner.
There are at least thirty People that I have my Eye upon every Day who dress in Pig-tail Perriwigs and Velvet Breeches, and appear at Plays and Operas, that have not a Shilling in the World but what they get by these Practices.
A sober Citizen, who had been yoked about fourteen Years, and had several Children by his Wife, happen'd to have a Call to the Town of Northampton to transact some Business of Importance to his Family. In the course of his Life he had not exceeded the Bounds of Highgate or Greenwich, though some say he once ventured to make the Tour of Epsom; however, be that as it will, the dreadful Day for his Departure is come, his Will has been made in due Form, and his Affairs entirely settled before he undertook so tedious and hazardous a Journey. Had the poor Creature been going to Babylon or Damascus, the Wife could not have shed more Tears, and shewn more Grief than she did on the Occasion; she fainted several times, and the People, that were about her, had much ado to keep Life in her; all Endeavours to comfort her not availing, she remain'd inconsolable, telling them, It was fine Talking for those that had never felt the Pain of parting with a Husband. The last tender parting Kiss is given an hundred times over, and her Tears bring his Handkerchief out of his Pocket, in deep Sorrow to leave his dear Betty and his poor Babes. In a Flood of briny Tears he is beseeched not to fail writing by every Post, and every other Opportunity which shall offer: she promising faithfully not to omit doing the like on her part. At last he is mounted, and the Eyes of the whole Family continue upon him till his Horse and he are quite out of sight.
By that time he had reach'd the Town of Barnet, his Horse chanced to fall lame, and himself was so disorder'd, having not rid for many Years before, that he found himself altogether unable to proceed any further, and therefore waited till the Evening, when he got Passage in a Coach that was coming from the North to London. When he came into his Shop at about Twelve at Night, the first thing he met with was his 'Prentice with his Pockets largely stuffed out with Goods to the Value of Twenty Pounds, which he was going to sell for his own Benefit; the House-Maid and Nursery-Maid, with a jovial Company, had got an elegant Supper before them with some of his best Wines on the Table; the Journeyman and his Cook he found upon a Pack in the Warehouse in the most tender Embraces. Next, to his Wife's Chamber, that he found fast lock'd on the Inside, and for all his kicking and swearing for half an Hour together, he could not find Admittance. Presently the Street was in an Uproar with the Cry of Thieves! Thieves! a good-sized Animal being seen sliding by a white Sheet down from the Chamber-Window by a Watchman who had laid hands on him; and when he was brought into the House by a number of People with only his Breeches and Shoes on, he appeared to be an Attorney of Furnival's-Inn, who had been constantly employed in doing this Citizen's Business, and was now doing Business for his Wife.
A young Gentleman, that had made his Addresses for a long time to the only Daughter of a Widow-Lady, and every one looking upon the thing that it would one Day be a Match, they were permitted to be together frequently alone; to which Opportunity he joined those pressing and prevailing Importunities, that were too hard for a young innocent Creature to withstand. In a word, she granted all that was in her power to give, and surrendred at Discretion the last Favour. A Maid-Servant, who had kept a watchful Eye upon the Conduct of these two Lovers, as knowing by Experience what it was for a young Girl to be left alone with a pretty Fellow, peep'd thro' a Key-Hole, and saw them very fairly go sans Ceremony to bed together. The Maid having now pretty well secured her Game, steals privately up to her old Mistress's Chamber, and gave her an Account of the hopeful way her young Lady was in. The old Lady causes her Brother, who lodg'd in the House with her, and was a resolute Sea-Officer, to be call'd up, to give her his Advice and Assistance in so nice and critical a Conjuncture. The Captain, as well as his Sister, were warm'd with the highest Resentment for so horrid a Violation of the Laws of Honour and Hospitality; the one declared he would do the Business of the Man, and the other was resolv'd to turn her Daughter out into the Street, altho' it was more than Midnight. In this Disposition they both came to Miss's Chamber-Door, and demanded Entrance. It may be easy to imagine what an Interruption this sudden and unexpected Accident gave to the Joys of the amorous Couple, and the Terror that it laid them under. The young Fellow begg'd his dear Creature to recover her Surprize, to be directed by his Conduct, and follow the Example he should give her; which would extricate them both out of the Difficulty, into which their rash Loves had involv'd them. Both leap'd out of the Bed in their Shifts, and called out to the Assailants on the other side of the Chamber-Door, he bidding them to offer no farther Disturbance at their Peril, for that he would protect and defend his lawful Wife to the last Extremity; but that, if they had a mind to enter civilly, and hearken to Reason, he would not give them the trouble of breaking open the Door. The Words lawful Wife deeply affected the old Woman, who began to compose herself, upon hearing so comfortable an Expression; her Passion and Violence being abated, she cry'd Dear Molly, open the Door, 'tis none but your Uncle and my self. As soon as they enter'd, both the young People went on their Knees, and ask'd the old Lady Blessing; she could give them no Answer till she had given vent to her Tears, and then said, She had not been so unkind a Parent, but that she might have been acquainted with the Thing: but, since it was done, she wished them both well together, and intreated them to return into Bed again; for, that she could not bear to see them stand in that manner in the Cold. The Uncle saluted his Niece and Nephew, giving them his Compliments on their Nuptials, and then retired with his Sister. The young Folks soon got to Bed again. The Fellow lay till five in the Morning, and then found an Opportunity to get out of the House before the Family was stirring; so that when the good old Lady arose, she saw no more of her quondam Son-in-law.
A Man who keeps an Half-Crown or Twelve-penny Ordinary, looks not more for Money from his Customers, than a Footman does from every Guest that dines or sups with his Master; and I question whether the one does not often think a Shilling or Half a Crown, according to the Quality of the Person, his Due as much as the other. I have seen a decay'd Gentleman of as antient and honourable a Family as any in the Kingdom, sit in great pain at a Person of Quality's Table for want of Half a Crown in his Pocket to pay the Butler and Footman for his Dinner. And if a Person is known to fail in this respect, the next time he comes to the House, he is sure to have the Look which a Court Table-keeper bestows upon a hungry Poet or an Officer in Half-pay, who shall be invited by any Gentleman-Waiter to Dinner, fix'd on him all the time he is eating.
People in the middle Station of Life must pay as regularly for their Admission to the Persons of the Great, as those do who enter into beneficial Offices and Places. I have been informed, that there is affix'd up in several Ale-houses and other publick Places where Servants resort to at the other End of the Town, a List or Table of Fees to be taken by Noblemen's Porters, Footmen, and Valets de Chambre, for People's having Access to their Masters, viz.
For a Tradesman to be heard } l. s. d. viva voce, upon the Subject of a } 0 10 6 large Debt of a long standing, }
For a poor Clergyman supplicating } a Chaplainship, or any other } 0 5 0 Ecclesiastical Preferment. }
For a Poet to present a Dedication 0 2 6
For a Mercer or Draper to } exhibit a choice new Pattern. } 0 2 0
For a Person's obtaining the } Promise of a Place. } 0 5 0
For every Tradesman's Bill that } is suffered to lie upon the Table for } 0 1 0 my Lord and Lady's Perusal. }
For every paid-off Bill above Ten } Pounds } 0 10 0
If any Tradesman has been injuriously treated by the Steward or the House-keeper, who seldom stand high in the Esteem of these lower Domesticks, the Fees are then dispensed with, and they are admitted gratis, or more properly in forma Pauperis, because the Complaint may prove of such a nature, as to bring about a Change in the Ministry of the House, and be the Means of an insolent, haughty, over-bearing Spirit being dismiss'd the Family, and Te Deum sung in the Kitchen and the other lower Offices for a Revolution above-stairs.
A Man stone-blind may as soon attempt to view the Sun, as a Tradesman or a Pauper to attempt the sight of a Great Man without paying the above Dues; for my Lord shall at one time be very ill, and at another just gone out: one Day he is indisposed, and rested badly, and another Day better, but sees no Company; and have these constant regular Intermissions of Sickness and Health for three or four Months together.
Sometimes Credit has indeed been given in these Cases, but then they have known, and been pretty sure of their Men. A Gentleman, who had many times met with these Put-offs at the Door of a Nobleman, came one day to the Porter with two Half-Crown Pieces, chinking them from one Hand to the other, upon which his Lordship happened to be at home. Having got his Pass to him, and done his Business, he return'd thro' the Hall with the Money in his Pocket, smiling upon the Porter, who he had thus decently deceiv'd.
A Widow, who had once sold a Fan of Half a Guinea Price to a Person of Quality, the Porter refused to let her go out of the Door without paying her Fee, and kept her in durance. She desired to know his Demands; he told her, a Shilling: Upon this, she gave him a Crown, bidding him give her Change, which he did. It happen'd to be a Brass Piece, which he not perceiving, the Woman got out in haste, to avoid being detected; but when she came to look on her Money, she found the Fellow had given her four Leaden Shillings in the change of it.
The Duties of Tonnage and Poundage, which the Upper Servants, as they call themselves, have imposed upon Tradesmen who serve the Families that entertain them, are very far from being thought sufficient and satisfactory. For besides a Butcher, Poulterer, or Fishmonger's being at the constant beck of the Clerk to a Kitchin, or the Groom of a Chamber, to follow him to a Tavern in the Morning, and bring something that's pretty, to compose a Breakfast for two or three hungry Fellows out of Business, as he shall have in his Company, they must, I say, moreover learn the Art of Brewing, and keep constantly a Cup of good nappy Ale in their Houses, to entertain the Cook, and all the other Gentry of the Kitchen, when they shall please to make a Visit. A Tradesman must lend his Money, pass his Word, stand Bail for Arrests, and Sponsor at Christenings, and now and then be a Surety to the Parish for a Bastard Child. He must do all this, and a great deal more, or else every thing he furnishes shall be found fault with: They shall tell him what application has been made by others for the Custom, what pains they have taken to defeat it, and how often they are forc'd to stand in the Gap for him, when his Goods have been complain'd of, and his Discharge actually order'd.
A Coachmaker once assured me, that he seldom made a Coach or Chariot for any Person of great Quality, but that what with the chief of the Men-servants running after himself, and the Women-servants after his Wife, he has been put to such an Expence, as would have fairly bought a pair of Horses to have drawn the Equipage.
As many of our News-Papers are charged with playing Tricks with the Publick, I shall make bold to mention a few of them; and they are chiefly these, Falsity, Absurdity, and Trifling. We are frequently amused with the Lives and Actions of Persons that were never born; and with the Deaths of those that never liv'd; and large Estates devis'd by People that never enjoy'd them, nor indeed ever claim'd any Right so to do.
An Author, in the Morning, gives us an Account of the Death of a Person of Note and Eminence, whose Condition hath entitled him to a Place in his Paper; he tells us the Place, Day, Hour, and the Minute he expir'd, with a long detail of the Fortune and Merit he was possessed of. A Writer for the Evening enters his Caveat against some Particulars of the Fact, and declares his Brother hath had an ill Information; for that the Party did not depart at the Time mention'd in his Paper, and that himself only is in possession of the truth; and avers, that it happen'd above half an Hour after that Time, and at a different Place than what the other has reported it. The next Day a Third starts up, with a grievous Complaint of the Town's being impos'd upon, and triumphs in a more genuine and exact Account than either of 'em. He insists upon it, that he did not fairly leave the World till full fourteen Minutes and fifty nine Seconds after the time both the others have brought it down to; and moreover maintains, that the Demise in dispute happen'd at a Seat in the Country, and not at an House in the Town, as has been falsly publish'd in the other Papers.
They are now all together by the ears about settling of the Will, and disposing of the Estate. After a great deal of wrangling upon those Heads, they begin to consider that the Corpse must have Christian Burial; they turn their Thoughts to that Point, and begin to settle the Funeral. One Author is for its lying in State; another will not come into it, but declares for a private Interment. At last a Writer buries it in a most magnificent manner, in a Church some Miles distant from London; and his Antagonist performs the Funeral at another Church fifty Miles farther than that, and in a more decent way. Next a Paper gives us the Names of those that supported the Pall, together with who was the chief Mourner. This is so provoking to him who could not lay hold on this Intelligence in time, that he is resolv'd to be even with his Rival; so that the next News we hear, are the Heads of the Sermon that was preach'd at the Funeral.
The Friends and Acquaintance of the Deceas'd, that may be remote from the Town, and have nothing else to govern them but these Advices, believe the main of them; and notwithstanding their Perplexities and Variation, all credit the Death of their old Friend, and begin to descant on the Actions of his Life, some conjecturing what he must have died worth, and what a Man he might have been, was it not for such a Failing; and others, how long they had remembred and been acquainted with him, &c.
When the Story has gone this length, and begins to be old, and almost obliterated, the News-Paper that was most forward in publishing it, to the astonishment of all Mankind, cries out peccavi, and confesses how he was imposed on; acknowledges his Sorrow and Contrition, and heartily begs Pardon of the Publick, and the Person, whom he now maintains to be alive, and in good health; and says, that the Report of his Death, as publish'd in his, and OTHER PAPERS, is entirely false, groundless, and without any manner of Foundation.
There have been Instances of Women who have been frighten'd into Miscarriages, and some even to Death, at the unexpected Visits of their Friends, (whom, upon the Credit of the Papers) they have verily believed to have been as really dead as their great Grandmothers were. A Lady of Quality, that is become superannuated, is not to confine herself to Books of Devotion alone; People are not born for themselves only; no, no, as ancient as she is, she must yet do some Service to the Society. Says an Author, what, Shall her Grace fancy herself as hail at Fourscore as she was at Forty? Accordingly, he lends her his Hand, and she is led very dangerously ill into his Paper. The next Morning he is obliged to retract it, and so the Publick are Gainers two Paragraphs by it.
Nor shall a Lord Spiritual or Temporal, that has attain'd his Grand Climacterical Year, and yet remains in a good state of Mind and Body, lie idle, but must occasionally be extremely ill, attended by sundry Physicians, and given over; when a Dearth of Tales and Tidings shall cause a Chasm in the Paper. The Persons so mention'd, read these Relations themselves, and oftentimes with much pleasure, because they receive a real Benefit by 'em: for they divert the Spleen and Vapours, natural to old Age, and so prove a happy Means of preserving them alive, much longer than some People perhaps may care for.
A noble Lord, in a high Station, that is pretty far advanced in Years, never rises from his Bed, but asks, Am I in the Papers? For it has been an Observation made by most People, that his Name has been made use of for being greatly indispos'd; finely mended; dangerously relaps'd; in a fair way of Recovery; going to, and returning from the Country; and being sent for by Expresses to assist at Councils, that have not been held, and Boards that have not met, on Business of great Importance, constantly de Die in Diem, in one Paper or other, for several years together.
A Man may better venture to take a Purse from a Merchant upon Change, than a Judge to take an airing in his Coach, without being taken into Custody of a News-Writer for it. I have known them give such minute Accounts of the times of the Judges setting out for this Place and from that Place in their private Capacities, that some of them have actually suspended their Journeys, to prevent Highway-mens taking the Hint, and lying in ambush for them on the Roads.
I am told of a certain Great Man who hath been most grosly affronted and vilify'd by certain Papers from Week to Week, Month to Month, and from Year to Year, for a very long Series of Time; and who hath publickly declar'd, that nothing shall provoke him to depart from a Maxim which he has long laid down, viz. That 'tis better one Man be perpetually abus'd, than Thousands perish.
About Michaelmas, an Author has told us in Print, he was assured that Christmas-Day would be on the 25th of December following. If the Man has not been starv'd before the time, but surviv'd to St. Stephen's Day, and seen his wonderful Prediction happen and come to pass; 'tis pleasant to observe, how he glories and exults in his next Paper, telling us, It is agreeable to what was formerly publish'd in his, and in no other Paper; and sets a high value on his Judgment for anticipating his Brethren, the other Writers, who look like Fools at one another, to see themselves thus jockey'd out of so remarkable a piece of Intelligence.
One Day we are told of a Reform of the Army, and the next of a Promotion of General Officers. 'Tis merry enough to see a Colonel of a Regiment in a Coffee-House, reading a News-Paper, that informs him of a Gentleman being made Lieutenant-Colonel to a Company of Foot; and of a General of Horse being promoted to the Rank of Captain-Lieutenant in his own Regiment; of which the Papers extant have afforded us numberless Instances. We often read of some Duke, who is called eldest Son and Heir apparent to a Viscount or Baron, going to, or returning from his Travels.
A dignify'd Clergyman, who had given a few Sacks of Coals amongst some poor People in hard Weather, happen'd to come into Brown's Coffee-House in Spring-Garden, where some of the Gentlemen cry'd out, Doctor, you're in the Papers. The Gentleman seem'd to be greatly surprized at the thing: What impudent Rascal has made free with my Character? answers the Priest. Upon which one, with an audible Voice, read out the Paragraph, which contained nothing more than a fine Encomium on his Charity. The Doctor said, indeed there was some Truth in it; but then, how impertinent it was in any Fellow to make such a trifling Affair the Burden of his Paper. This gave occasion for various Reflections on the Papers in general. The Printer happen'd to be present, and heard himself, and others of his Fraternity abused, in this manner for some time. Several Gentlemen that were his Acquaintance, thought it far better to be silent, than to interfere in his favour, because that might tend to expose him to the Doctor's farther Clamour and Resentment. After the Divine had harangued the Company with a long Discourse upon the Insolence of Authors, Printers, and Publishers; the Printer pull'd out of his Pocket the Copy from which this injurious Article had been printed, and which appear'd, to the entire Satisfaction of every one present, to be the Doctor's own Hand-Writing. The Printer further declar'd, that he knew no more of the matter, than that his Servants, in his absence, receiv'd the usual Price of three Shillings and Six-pence, for its being inserted in his Paper.
The Tricks which have been put upon the weak and credulous part of Mankind during the Drawing of the late State-Lottery by letting out what were called Horses and Chances to Women and Children, are wonderful. There was a Gentlewoman, not far from St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-Street, who having the Misfortune to fall in with the Opinion of many, that the Tickets would still come down to Par, had therefore neglected to provide herself till the Premiums were got so high that she chose rather than purchase a Ticket, to put herself in Fortune's Way by Riding. Being recommended to the honestest Broker in the Alley, she got mounted upon a very odd Number, and one which had been successful in a former Lottery. She grew more familiar with Morning and Evening Prayers than ever. One day she fasted, another day feasted, and when a sturdy Beggar ask'd her Assistance, they were not put off with You're able to work, but were sure of Relief. Her Maids were treated as though they had been her nearest Relations, and her Children could do nothing to ruffle her Temper. In a word, she declared for nothing but Acts of Charity and Piety, and never had such a Harmony been seen before in the Family. If anyone knocked at the Door in haste, she grew pale, and was all over in a Trembling, expecting it to be the joyful News; and, by way of Precaution, she had spoke to a Surgeon to be ready upon a short Notice, because she intended to lose a few Ounces, to prevent the Consequence of a Surprize. She kept de die in diem renewing her Ticket, upon the Information of a little blind Office whither the Broker carried her, that it remain'd undrawn. Three Weeks past, and she could hear no Tales or Tidings of either of the Ten Thousands, notwithstanding the many thousand good things she vow'd to do, if Madam Fortune would but for once vouchsafe to become her humble Servant; resolving not to be discouraged, because her Dreams still assured that there was some good thing in store for her in the Wheel. She continued renewing her Ticket till the last Week of the Drawing, when being advised to consult the Register at the Lottery-Office in Whitehall, she had the sorrowful Satisfaction to find how she had been abused, the Ticket which she had hired for thirty-two Days at the different Prices the Horses bore, having been drawn a Blank the second day of the Lottery.