Remarks upon the Salt-Peter-House near Islington. On Head-Dressers Shops. A Description of the Widdow’s Coffee-House, with its Furniture and Guests. Of a couple of Jilts. Of Flogging Cullies. Of a Child found in a Basket, and a Constables Learned Speech on that Occasion. Of the City Waits. Of the City Black-Guards. A Description of a Constables going the Rounds. On the Dark-House at Billingsgate; with the Diverting Conversation of the Fish-Women, Seamen, and others. Of an Exchange-Commodity-Broker; and what Fortunes he had at his Disposal.
ACording to the Wisdom of our Fore-fathers, we have carefully taken the Old Gentleman by the Fore-Lock; for tho’ we thought it Ten a Clock when we left the Blessings of dear Hymen’s Palace, yet, by the Night, it prov’d but the Misers Bed-time. The Modest Hour of Nine being just Proclaim’d by Times Oracle from every Steeple; and the Joyful Alarm of Bow-Bell call’d the weary Apprentices from their Work to their Paring-shovels, to Unhich their Folded Shutters, and Button up their Lying Sanctuaries, their Shops, till the next Morning; wherein there are more Untruths asserted in one Day, than False Oaths taken in Westminster-Hall in a whole Term. Their Masters having more Canting Reservations to indemnify their Consciences from the Danger of Des Desceitfulceitful
ceitful Protestations, than an Old Strumpet, or a Plot Evidence; being more afraid of Breaking, than they are of Damning; for indeed that Trader thinks he has made but an Ill-Market, that cannot save himself.
The Streets were all adorn’d with dazling Lights whose bright reflect so glitter’d in my Eyes, that I could see nothing but themselves. Thus walk’d amaz’d, like a wandering Soul in its Pilgrimage to Heaven, when it passes thro’ the Spangled Regions.
My Ears were so Serenaded on every side, with the Grave Musick of sundry Passing Bells, the ratling of Coaches, and the Melancholy Ditties of Hot Bak’d Wardens and Pippins, that had I had as many Eyes as Argos, and as many Ears as Fame, they would have been all confounded, for nothing could I see but Light, and nothing hear but Noise.
We had not walk’d the usual distance between a Church and an Ale-house, but some Odoriferous Civit BoxCivit: civet, from the anal glands of the civet cat, is used in making perfume. Seventeenth-century dictionaries defined it as “a sweet substance like musk,” said to be the dung of a hyena or some other beast. perfum’d the Air, and saluted our Nostrils with so refreshing a Nosegay, that I thought the whole City (Edenborough like) had been overflow’d with an Inundation of Surreverence.Surreverence (Sir Reverence): human feces. By and by came thundering by us a rumbling Engine in the Dark, which I took for a Dead-mongers Waggon, laden with a Stinking Corps, by reason of long keeping, driving Post-haste to the next Church-Yard, in order for Interrment: But was soon undeceiv’d by my Friend, who told me ’twas a Gold-findersGold-finder: one who cleans out and scavenges dung and urine from outhouses, also called a “dung farmer” or “jakes farmer,” “tom turd man,” or “night man,” because the work is carried on in the night. Caravan, carrying Treasure to their Land-Bank by the Salt-Peter Houses.Saltpeter (potassium nitrate): made from soil composted with manure, urine, liquid from cess-pools and drains, and other organic matter. Saltpeter was used medicinally and in the making of gunpowder. The Projectors of which Notable design (says my Friend) have at no small expence, discover’d the Fallacy of an old Proverb, and can (by your leave Sir) by sound Reason and true Experience deny Shitten Luck to be good Luck. For after two or three Thousand Pounds disbursment, to turn a T—d into Gunpowder, they foundtheir