drop’d Half-Crown, a Gilded-Ring, or Rug and Leather, till we came to a Heathenish part of the Town, distinguish’d, as we found by Enquiry, with the applicable Title of Knock-Varges, adjoining to a Savory place, which, in Ridicule of Fragrant Fumes that arise from the Musty Rotten Rags, and Burnt old Shoes, is call’d by the sweet Name of Rosemary Lane; where such a Numberless Congregation of Ill-favoured Maukins were gather’d together with their Hand-Baskets, that we thought a Fleet of French Protestants had been just Arriv’d, and were newly come on Shore with Bag and Baggage, to implore the Charity of English well disposed Christians, to shelter them from the terrible Persecution of Rags, Lice and Poverty: But, upon a true Inquisition into the meaning of this Tatter’d Multitude, being Assembled in this Surprising manner, we were inform’d by a little Draggle-Tail Flat-Cap, it was Rag-Fair, held every Day from between two and three of the Clock in the Afternoon till Night; where all the Ragg-pickers in Town, and such as swop Earthen Ware for Old Apparel, also the Cryers of Old Satin, Taffaty or Velvet, have Recourse to Sell their Commodities, to Cow-Cross Merchants, Long-Lane Sharpers, and other Brokers, who were as busie in Raking into their Dunghills of old Shreds and Patches, and examining their Wardrobes of decayed Coats, Breeches, Gowns and Petticoats, as so many Cocks upon a Pile of Horse-dung, scraping about the Filth to find out an Oat worth picking; or like a Parsons Hog, on a Monday Morning, routing about a Church-yard to find a S-nce worth snapping at.
The adjacent Magistrates, we were inform’d, had us’d the utmost of their endeavours to suppress their Meeting, but to no purpose; for their Number bids defiance to all Molestation, and their Impudence and Poverty are such, that they fear neither Goal nor Pun-ishment
Punishmentishment. You may here see the very Scum of the Kingdom in a Body, consisting of more Ragged Regiments, than ever, I believe, was Muster’d together gether at any other Rendezvous since the Worlds Creation. It’s a rare place for a Miser to lay his Letchery at a small Expence; for Two-pence will go as far here in Womans Flesh, as half a Crown at Madam Quarles, and with much less danger of Repenting his Bargain. It’s a very Healthful part of the Town to Cure Lazy People of the Yellow Jaundice, for Body-Lice are so Plenty that I dare engage they may have them without buying. It’s a good Market for Country Farmers to buy their Scare-Crows at; for let them but Bargain with the Rag-Women to dress ’em up some Maukins in imitation of themselves, and they need not fear but fright the Birds out of their Cornt and Hogs out of their Pease-field; for, I observ’d, every Dog that came by, scour’d thro’ ’em with as much expedition, as an Offending Soldier that runs the Gantlet thro’ a Regiment. Some of them, who, by many Years Industry, having Conquer’d the Difficulties of this World, and rais’d themselves to the Prodigal pitch of Twenty Shillings before hand, were crept into little Huts and Holes, about as big as a Dog-Kennel, and Lorded it over the Poor Street-sitting Vagabonds, like a Country Justice of Peace over his Poor Neighbours. The Women that cry Pancakes, and the Girls that cry Diddle, Diddle, Dumplins ho, were wonderful busie amongst ’em; and several little Ale-Houses are already crept in amongst ’em, to ease ’em of their Pence as fast as they can raise ’em by the Sale of their Commodities: The Flesh of the Inhabitants, as well as the Market-People, look’d of such a dingy Complection, as if Dame Nature had mix’d Kennel Dirt with her Clay, as Bricklayers do with their Mortar, to make it bind the faster; or else, as if fresh Water was as scarce in their Neighbourhood as ’tis in Antego. AllStrangers