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Thursday, May 30, 1850
There are still a few of the class of Street Performers, connected with those
indulging in feats of strength or sleight-of-hand, that remain to be treated of.
They are the street Clowns, the street 'Billy Barlows,' and the players of the
drum and pipes, all of whom appear to be esse~itial parts of every street
exhibition. I shall begin with the Street Clown.
The one whom I saw was a melancholy-looking man, with the sunken eyes and other characteristics of semi-starvation. His mouth was wide, and over his face were lines and wrinkles, telling of paint and premature age. I saw him performing in the street with a "school" of acrobats soon after I had been questioning him; and the readiness and business-like way with which he resumed his professional buffoonery was not a little remarkable. The tale he told was more pathetic than comic, and proved that the life of a street clown is perhaps the most wretched of all existences. Jest as he may in the street, his life is literally no joke at home:
"I have been a Clown for sixteen years," he said, "having lived totally by it for that time. I was left motherless at two years of age, and my father died when I was nine. He was a carman, and his master took me as a stable boy, and I stayed with him until he failed in business. I was then left destitute again, and got employed as a supernumerary at Astley's, at is. a night; now the pay's less at some theatres. I was a "super" some time, and got an insight into theatrical life. I got acquainted, too, with singing people, and could sing a good song, and came out at last on my own account in the streets in the Jim Crow line. My necessities forced me into a public line, which I'm far from liking. I'd pull trucks at 1s. a day rather than get 12s. a week at my business. I've tried to get out of the line. I've got a friend to advertise for me for any situation as groom. I've tried to get into the police, and I've tried other things, but somehow there seems an impossibility to get quit of the street business. Many times I have to play the Clown, and all kinds of buffoonery, with a very heavy heart. I have travelled very much, too, but I never did over well in the profession. At races I may have made 10s. for two or three days, but that was only occasional; and what is 10s. to keep a wife and family on, for a month may be? I have three children, one now only eight weeks old. You can't imagine, sir, what a curse the street business often becomes, with its insults and starvations. The day before my wife was confined, I jumped and laboured all day - a wet day too - and I earned 1s. 3d. and returned, after jumping Jim Crow - I'm known as Sambo - to a home without a bit of coal, and with only half-a-quartern loaf in it. I know it was 1s. 3d., for I keep a sort of log of my earnings and my expenses - here it is. It is what I've earned as clown, or the funnyman, with a party of acrobats since the beginning of this year. (He showed me this log as he called it, which was kept in small figures, on paper folded up as economically as possible. His latest weekly earnings were - 12s. 6d., 1s. 10d., 7s. 7d., 2s. 5d., 3s. 11 ½d., 7s. 7½d., 7s. 9¼d., 6s. 4½d., 10s. 10½d., 9s. 7d., 6s. 1½d., 15s. 6¼d., 6s. 5d., 4s. 2d., 12s. 10¼d., 15s. 5½d., 14s. 4d. Against this there was the set-off of what the poor man had to expend for his dinner, &c., when out playing the clown, as he was away from home and could not dine with his family. The cyphers intimate the weeks when there was no such expense: 0, 0, 0, 0, 2s. 2½d., 3s. 9¼d., 4s. 2d., 4s. 5d., 5s. 8¼d., 5s. 11 ¼d., 4s. 10½d., 2s. 8¾d., 3s. 7¾d., 3s. 4¼d., 6s. 5 ¼d., 4s. 6¾d., 4s. 3d. The above gives an average of 8s. 6½d. a week as the earnings, while, if the expenses be deducted, not quite 6s. remained for wife, family, and all expenses at home.) "I dare say," continued the man, "that no persons think more of their dignity than persons in my way of life. I would rather starve than ask for parochial relief. Many a time I've gone to my labour without breaking my fast, and played clown until I could raise a dinner. I have to make jokes as clown, and could fill a volume with all I know." (He told me several of his jests; they were all of the most venerable kind, e.g. "A horse has ten legs: he was two fore legs and two hind ones. Two fores are eight, and two makes ten." The others were equally ancient, as "Why is the city of Rome" (he would have it Rome) "like a candle-wick? Because it's in the midst of Greece." "Old and young are both of one age: your son at twenty is young, and your horse at twenty is old; and so old and young are the same.") "The dress," he continued, "that I wear in the streets consists of red striped cotton stockings, with full trunks, which are striped red and dotted red and black. The body, which is dotted like the trunks, fits tight, like a woman's gown, and has full sleeves and frills. The wig or scalp is made of horsehair, which is sown on to a white cap, and is in the shape of a cock's comb. My face is painted with dried white lead. I grease my skin first, and then dab the white paint on (flake white is too dear for us street clowns). After that I colour my cheeks and mouth with vermillion. I never dress at home. We all dress at public-houses. In the street where I lodge only a very few know what I do for my living. I and my wife both strive to keep the business a secret from our neighbours. My wife does a little washing when able, and often works eight hours for sixpence. I go out at eight in the morning, and return at dark. My children hardly know what I do. They see my dresses lying about, but that is all. My eldest is a girl of thirteen. She has seen me dressed at Stepney Fair, where she brought me my tea (I live near there). She laughs when she sees me in my clown's dress, and wants to stay with me; but I would rather see her lay dead before me (and I had two dead in my place at one time, last Whitsun Monday was a twelvemonth) than she should ever belong to my profession." (I could see the tears start to the man's eyes as he said this.) "Frequently, when I am playing the fool in the street, I feel very sad at heart. I can't help thinking of the bare cupboard at home; but what's that to the world? I've often and often been at home all day, when it's been wet, with no food at all, either to give my children or take myself, and have gone out at night to the public-houses, to sing a comic song and play the fool for a meal - you can imagine with what feeling for the part, sir - and when I've come home I've called my children up from their beds, to share the loaf I had brought back with me. I know three or four more clowns, as miserable and bad off as myself. The way in which our profession is ruined is by the stragglers or outsiders, who are often men that are good tradesmen. They take to the clowns' business only at holiday or fair time, when there is a little money to be picked up at it, and after that they go back to their own trades; so that you see we, who are obliged to continue at it the year through, are deprived of even the little bit of luck that we should otherwise have. I know only of another regular street clown in London beside myself. Some schools of acrobats, to be sure, will have a comic character of some kind or other to keep the pitch up - that is, to amuse the people while the money is being collected; but these, in general, are not regular clowns. They are mostly dressed and got up for the occasion. They certainly don't do anything else except the street comic business, but they are not pantomimists by profession. The street clowns generally go out with dancers and tumblers. There are some street clowns, to be seen with the Jacks in the Greens, but they are mostly sweeps, who have hired their dress for the two of three days, as the case may be. I think there are three regular clowns in the metropolis, and one of these is not a professional: he never smelt the sawdust, I know, sir. I dare say there are as many as twenty other clowns strolling throughout the country. The most that I have known have been shoemakers before taking to the business. When I go out as a street clown, the first thing I do is a comic medley dance, and then after that I crack a few jokes, and that is the whole of my entertainment. The first part of the medley dance is called the Good St. Anthony (I was the first that ever danced the Polka in the street) then I do a waltz, and wind up with a hornpipe. After that I go through a little burlesque business. I fan myself, and one of the school asks me whether I am out of breath. I answer, No, the breath's out of me.' The leading questions for the jokes are all regularly prepared and understood beforehand. The old jokes always go the best with our audiences. The older the better for the streets. I know, indeed, of nothing new in the joking way; but even if there was, and it was in any way deep, it would not do for the public thoroughfares. I have read a great deal of "Punch," but the jokes are nearly all too high there; indeed, I can't say I think very much of them myself. The principal way in which I've got my jokes up is through associating with other clowns. We don't make our jokes ourselves; in fact, I never know one who did. I must own that the street clowns like a little drop of spirits, and occasionally a good deal. They are in a measure obligated to it. I can't fancy a clown being funny on table beer, and I never in all my life knew one who was a teetotaller. I think such a person would be a curious character indeed. Most of the street clowns die in the workhouses. In their old age they are generally very wretched and poverty- stricken. I can't say what I expect will be the end of me. I daren't think of it, sir." A few minutes afterwards I saw this man dressed as Jim Crow, with his face blacked, dancing and singing in the street as if he was the lightest-hearted fellow in all London.
"Billy Barlow" is another supposed comic character that usually accompanies either the street dancers or acrobats in their peregrinations. The dress consists of a cocked hat and red feather, a soldier's coat (generally a sergeant's, with sash), white trousers with the bottoms tucked into Wellington boots, a large tin eye-glass, and an old broken and ragged umbrella. The nose and cheeks are coloured bright red with vermillion. The "comic business" consists of the songs of the "Merry month of May," and "Billy Barlow," together with a few old conundrums and jokes, and sometimes ("where the halfpence are very plentiful") a "comic dance." The following statement concerning this peculiar means of obtaining a living, I had from a man whom I had seen performing in the streets, dressed up for the part, but who came to me so thoroughly altered in appearance that I could hardly recognize him. In plain clothes he had almost a respectable appearance, and was remarkably clean and neat in his attire. Altogether, in his undress, he might have been mistaken for a better kind of mechanic. There was a humorous expression, however, about his mouth, and a tendency to grimace, that told the professional buffoon. "I go about now as Billy Barlow," he said; "the character of Billy Barlow was originally played at the races by a man who is dead. He was about ten years at the street business doing nothing else than Billy Barlow in the public thoroughfares, and at fairs and races. He might have made a fortune had he took care on it, sir, but he was a great drunkard, and spent all he got in gin. He died seven years ago - where most of the street performers ends their days - in the workhouse. He was formerly a potman at some public-house, and got discharged, and then took to singing comic songs about the streets and fairs. The song of Billy Barlow (which was very popular then) was among the lot that he sung, and that gave his name. He used to sing, too, the song of 'I hope I don't intrude;' and for that he dressed up as Paul Pry, which is the reason of the old umbrella, the eye-glass, and the white trowsers tucked into the boots being part of the costume at present. Another of his songs was the 'Merry month of May, or follow the drum;' and for that he put on the soldier's coat and cocked hat and feather which we wears to this day. After this he was called 'General Barlow.' When he died one or two took to the same kerackter, and they died in the workhouse - like us all. Two months ago I thought I'd take to it myself, as there was a vacancy in the purfession. I have been for thirty years at the street business, off and on. I am 50 now. I was a muffin and biscuit baker by trade, but, like the rest on us, I got fond of a roving life. My father was a tailor by trade, but took to being a supernumerary at Covent-garden Theayter, where my uncle was a performer, and when I was nine years old I played the part of the child in Pizarro, and after that I was one of the devils what danced round my uncle in Mother Goose. When I was fourteen years old my uncle apprenticed me to the muffin business, and I stuck to it for five years, but when I was out of my time I made up my mind to cut it and take to performing. First I played clown at a booth, for I had always a taste for the comic, after I had played the devil and danced round my uncle in the Covent-garden pantomime. Some time after that I took to play the drum and pipes, and since then I have been chiefly performing as musicianer to different street exhibitions. When business is bad in the winter or wet weather, I make sweetmeats and go about the streets and sell them. I never made muffins since I left the business - you see I've no stove nor shop for that - and never had the means of raising them. Sweetmeats takes little capital - toffy, brandy-balls, and Albert rock isn't expensive to get up. Besides, I'm known well among the children in the streets, and they likes to patronize the purfession for sweetmeats, even though they won't give nothing while you're a performing. I've done much the same since I took to the Billy Barlow as I did before at the street business. We all share alike, and that's what I did as the drum and pipes. I never dress at home: my wife (I'm a married man) knows the part I play. She came to see me once, and laughed at me fit to bust. The landlord nor the fellow lodgers where I live - I have a room to myself - aint aware of what I do. I sneaks my things out, and dresses at a public-house. It costs us a pot for dressing and a pot for undressing. We has the use of the tap-room for that. I'm like the rest of the world at home - or rather, more serious, maybe - though, thank God, I don't want for food; things is cheap enough now; and if I can't get a living at the buffoonery business, why I tries sweetmeats, and between the two I do manage to grub on somehow, and that's more than many of my purfession can do. My pardner (a street dancer who he brought with him) must either dance or starve; and there's plenty like him in the streets of London. I only know of one other Barlow but me in the business, and he's only taken to it after me. Some jokes an't fit for ladies to listen to, but wot I says is the best approved jokes - such as has been fashionable for many years, and can't give no offence to no one. I say to the musician 'Well, master, can you tell me why are the Thames Tunnel and Hungerford Suspension Bridge like two joints badly done?' He'll say, 'No, Mr. Barlow,' and then I give him the answer: 'Because one is over-done and the other is under-done.' Then I raise my umbrella, saying, 'I think I'm purwided agaist the weather,' and as the umbrella is all torn and slit, it raises a laugh. Some days I get 6s. or 7s. as my share; sometimes not a quarter of the money. Perhaps I may average full 18s. a week in the summer, or more, but not a pound. In the winter, if there's a subsistence, that's all. Joking is not natural to me, and I'm a steady man; it's only in the way of business, and I leave it on one side when I've got my private apparel on. I never think of my public character if I can help it until I get my show dress on, and I'm glad to get it off at night, and then I think of my home and children, and I struggle hard for them, and feel disgust oft enough at having been a Tom Fool to street fools."
A stout, reddish-faced man, who was familiar with all kinds of exhibitions, and had the coaxing, deferential manner of many persons who ply for money in the streets, gave me an account of what he called "his experience" as the "drum and pipes" :
"I have played the pandean pipes and the drum for thirty years to street exhibitions of all kinds. I was a smith when a boy, serving seven years apprenticeship; but after that I married a young woman that I fell in love with, in the music line. She played a hurdy-gurdy in the streets; so I bought pandean pipes, as I was always fond of practising music, and I joined her. Times for street musicianers were good then, but I was foolish. I'm aware of that now; but I wasn't particularly partial to hard work; besides, I could make more as a street musicianer. When I first started, my wife and I joined a Fantoccini; it did well. My wife and I made from 9s. to 10s. a day. We had half the profits. At that time the public exhibitions were different to what they are now. Gentlemen's houses were good then, but now the profession's sunk to street corners. Bear-dancing was in vogue then, and clock-work on the round board; and Jack-i'-the-Green was in all his glory every May, thirty years ago. Things is now very dead indeed. In the old times, only sweeps were allowed to take part with the Jack; they were very particular at that time; all were sweeps but the musicianers. Now it's anybody's money, when there's any money. Every sweep then showed his plate when performing. My Lady was anybody at all likely that they got hold of; she was generally a watercress seller, or something in the public way. My Lady had 2s. 6d. a day and her keep, for three days, that was the general hire. The boys, who were climbing-boys, had 1s., or 6d., or what the master gave them; and they generally went to the play of a night, after washing themselves in course. I had 6s. a day and a good dinner, shoulder of mutton, or something prime, and enough to drink. My Lord and the other characters shared and shared alike. They had taken, to my knowledge, £5 on the 1st of May. This year, one set, with two My Ladies, took £3 the first day. The master of the lot was a teetotaller, but the others drank as they liked. He turned teetotaller because drink always led him into trouble. The dress of the Jack is real ivy tied round hoops. The sweeps gather the ivy in the country and make the dresses at their homes. My Lord's and the other dresses are generally kept by the sweeps. My Lord's dress costs a mere trifle at the second-hand clothes shop, but it's gold-papered and ornamented up to the mark required. What I may call war tunes, such as 'The White Cockade,' 'The Downfall of Paris' (I've been asked for that five or six times a day - I don't remember the composer), 'Bonaparte's March,' and 'The Duke of York's March,' were in vogue in the old times. So was 'Scots wha hae' (very much), and 'Off she goes.' Now new tunes come up every day. I play waltzes and pokers now chiefly. They're not to compare to the old tunes; it's like playing at musicianers, lots of the tunes now-a-days. I've played with Michael, the Italy bear. I played the fife and tabor with him. The tabor was a little drum about the size of my cap, and it was tapped with a little stick. There are no tabors about now. I made my 7s. or 8s. a day with Michael. He spoke broken English. A dromedary was about then, but I knew nothing of that or the people; they was all foreigners together. Swinging monkeys were in vogue at that time as well. I was with them, with Antonio, of Saffron-hill. He was the original of the swinging monkeys twenty years ago. They swing from a rope just like slack-wire dancers. Antonio made money, and went back to his own country. He sold his monkeys - there was three of them, and small animals they were - for £70, to another foreigner; but I don't know what became of them. Coarse jokes pleased people long ago wot don't now; people get more enlightened, and think more of chapel and church instead of amusements. My trade is a bad one now. Take the year through, I may make 12s. a week, or not so much; say 10s. I go out sometimes playing single - that's by myself - on the drum and pipes; but it's thought nothing of, for I'm not a German. It's the same at Brighton as in London; brass bands is all the go when they've Germans to play them. The Germans will work at 2s. a day at any fair, when an Englishman will expect 6s. The foreigners ruin this country, for they have far more privileges than the English. The Germans pull the bells and knock at the doors for money, which an Englishman has hardly face for. I'm now with a Fantoccini - figures from Canton brought over by a seaman. I can't form an exact notion of how many men there are in town who are musicianers to the street exhibitions, besides the exhibition's own people - I should say about 100. I don't think that they are more drunken than other people, but they're liable to get top-heavy at times. None that I know live with women of the town. They live in lodgings, and not in lodging-houses - oh! no, no, we're not come to that yet. Some of them succeeded their fathers as street musicianers; others took it up casalty-like by having learned different instruments; none that I know were ever theatrical performers. All the men I know in my line would object, I am sure, to hard work, if it was with confinement along with it. We can never stand being confined to work after having been used to the freedom of the streets. None of us save money; it goes either in a lump, if we get a lump, or in dribs and drabs, which is the way it mostly comes to us. I've known several in my way who have died in St. Giles's workhouse. In old age or sickness, we've nothing but the parish to look to. The newest thing I know is the singing dogs.' I was with that as musician, and it answers pretty well amongst the quality. The dogs is three Tobies to a Punch and Judy show, and they sing - that is, they make a noise; it's really a howl; but they keep time with Mr. Punch as he sings."
The next class of Mountebanks or Street Performers, or Showmen, are those who go about with animals trained to perform certain feats. These street performances consist of several kins, viz., those of dancing dogs, performing monkeys - both of which are generally conducted by foreigners - and trained birds and mice. I shall conclude the present Letter with a specimen of each class.
First, of the trained birds and mice:
A stout, acute-looking man, whom I found in a decently furnished room with his wife, gave me an account of this kind of street exhibition:
"I perform," said he, "with birds and mice, in the open air, if needful. I was brought up to juggling by my family and friends, but colds and heats brought on rheumatism, and I left juggling for another branch of the profession; but I juggle a little still. My birds are nearly all canaries, a score of them sometimes - sometimes less. I have names for them all. I have Mr. and Mrs. Caudle, dressed quite in character; they quarrel at times, and that's self-taught with them. Mrs. Caudle is not noisy, and is quite amusing; they ride out in a chariot drawn by another bird, a goldfinch mule. I give him any name that comes into my head - the goldfinch harnesses himself to a little wire harness. Mr. and Mrs. Caudle and the mule is very much admired by people of taste. Then I have Marshal Ney in full uniform, and he fires a cannon to keep up the character. I can't say that he's bolder than others. I have a little canary called The Trumpeter, who jumps on to a trumpet when I sound it, and remains there until I've done sounding. Another canary goes up a pole, as if climbing for a leg of mutton, or any prize at the top, as they do at fairs, and when he gets to the top he answers me. He climbs fair, toe and heel, no props to help him along. These are the principal birds, and they all play by the word of command, and with the greatest satisfaction and ease to themselves. I use two things to train them - kindness and patience; and neither of these two things must be stinted. The grand difficulty is to get them to perform in the open air without flying away, when they've no tie upon them, as one may say. I lost one by its taking flight at Ramsgate, and another at Margate. They don't and can't do anything to teach one another; not in the least; every bird is on its own account; seeing another bird do a trick is no good whatever. I teach them all myself, beginning with them from the nest. I breed most of them myself. To teach them to sing at the word of command is very difficult. I whistle to the bird to make it sing, and then when it sings I feed, and pet, and fondle it, until it gets to sing without my whistling, understanding my motions. Harshness wouldn't educate any bird whatsomever. I pursue the same system all through. The bird used to jump to be fed on the trumpet, and got used to the sound. To train Marshal Ney to fire his cannon, I put the cannon first like a perch for the bird to fly to for his food; it's fired by stuff attached to the touch-hole that explodes when touched. The bird's generally frightened before he gets used to gunpowder, and flutters into the body of the cage, but after a few times he don't mind it. I train mice too, and my mice fetch and carry like dogs, and, three of the little things dance the tight-rope on their hind legs, with balance-poles in their mouths. They are hard to train, but I have a secret way, found out by myself, to educate them properly. They require great care, and are, if anything, tenderer than the birds. I have no particular names for the mice; they are all fancy mice, white or coloured. I've known four or five in my way in London. It's all a lottery what I get. For the open-air performance, the West-end may be the best, but there's little difference. I have been ill seven months, and am just starting again. Then I can't work in the air in bad weather. I call 21s. a very good week's work, and to that every day must be fine - 10s. 6d. is nearer the mark, as an average for the year. An order to play at a private house may be extra; they give what they please. My birds come with a whistle, and come with a call, and come with a goodwill, or they won't do at all - for me. The police don't meddle with me, or nothing to notice. A good many of my birds and mice die before they reach any perfection - another expense and loss of time in my business. Town or country is pretty much the same to me, take it altogether. The watering-places are best in the country perhaps, for it's there people go for pleasure. I don't know any best place; if I did, I'd stick to it. Ladies and children are my best friends generally." The performance of the birds and mice, above described, is very clever. "Mr. and Mrs. Caudle" are dressed in red and blue cloaks, trimmed with silver lace and spangles; while Mr. Caudle, with an utter disregard of propriety, is adorned with a cocked hat.
I received the following narrative from the old man who has been so long known about the streets of London with a troop of performing dogs. He was especially picturesque in his appearance. His hair, which was grizzled rather than grey, was parted down the middle, and hung long and straight over his shoulders. He was dressed in a coachman's blue great coat, with many capes. His left hand was in a sling, made out of a dirty cotton pocket handkerchief; and in his other he held a stock, by means of which he could just manage to hobble along. He was very ill, and very poor, not having been out with his dogs for nearly two months. He appeared to speak in great pain. The civility, if not politeness, of his manner threw an air of refinement about him that struck me the more forcibly from its contrast to the manners of the English belonging to the same class. He began:
"I have de dansing dogs for de street - now I have noting else. I have tree dogs, von is called Finette, anoder von Favorite, that is her nomme, and de udder von Ozore. Ah," he said with a shrug of the shoulders, in answer to my inquiry as to what the dog did, "On dance, on valtz, on jomp a de stick, and troo de hoop - non, nothing else. Sometime I had de four dogs - I did lose devon. Ah, she had beaucoup d'esprit - plenty of vit you say - she did jomp a de hoop better dan all. Her nomme was Taborine. Taborine - she is dead dare is longtime. All ma dogs have des habillements - de dress, and de leetel hat. Dey have a leetel jackette in divers couleures en etoffe - some de red, and some de green, some de bleu. Dare hats is de rouge et noir - red and black, wid a leetel plume - fedder you say. Dare is some ten or eleven year I have been in dis country. I come from Italie - Italie! Oui, monsieur, oui. I did live in a little ville trente miglia, dirty miles de Parma. Je travaille dan le campagne. I vork out in de countree, je ne scais comment vous appellez le campagne. There is no commairce in de montagne. I am come in dis country here - I have leetel business to come. I thought to gaigner ma vie - to gain my life - wid ma leetel dogs in dis countree. I have dem déjà when I am come here from Parma. J'en avait dix. I did have de ten dogs. Je les ai porte - I have carried all de ten from Italie. I did learn, yes - yes, de dogs to danse in ma own countree. It did make de cold in de montagne in vinter, and I had not no work dere, and I must look for to gain my life some oder place. Apres ~a I have instruit ma dogs to danse. Ils learn to danse, I play de moosic, and dey do jomp. Non, non! pas de tout! I did not never beat ma dogs; dare is a way to learn de dogs widout no vip. Premierement yen I cam come here I have gained a leetel monnaie - plus que now - beaucoup d'avantage - plenty more. I am left ma logement - my lodging, you say - at nine hours in de morning, and I am stay avay vid ma dogs till seven or eight hours in de evening. Oh, I cannot count how many time de leetel dogs have danse in de day - twenty - dirty - forty - peut-être - all depend. Sometime I vould gain de tree shilling, sometime de couple, sometime not nothing - all depend. Ven it did did make bad time I could not york - de lectel dogs could not danse. I could not gain my life den. If it make cold, de dogs are ill - like tout le monde. I did pay plenty for de nourriture of de dogs. Sometime dey did get du pain (de bread) in de street - sometime I give dem de meat, and make de soup for dem. Ma dogs danse comme les chiens, mais dey valtz comme les dames, and dey stand on dare back legs like des gentilhommes. After I come here to dis countree two day, I am terreeble malade. I am gone to hospital - to Sante Bartolomé - the veek before the Jour de Noel (Christmas-day). In dat moment dere I have de flevre. I have rested in l'hopital quatre semaine - four veek. Ma dogs vere at liberté all de time. Von compagnon of mine have promised me to take de care of ma dogs, and he have lose dem all - tout les dix. After dat I have bought tree oder dogs - one espanol, anoder qu'on appelle grifon,' and de oder was de dog ordinaire - non! non! not one pull-dog' - he no good. I must have one month, or six semaine, to instruite ma dogs. I have rested in a logement Italien at Saffron-hill, yen I am come here to London. Dare vas not much vant of Italians dare. It vas tout plein - quite full of étrangers. All come dare - dey are come from France, from Germany, from Italy. I have paid two shillan par semaine each veek - only peur le lit - for de bed. Every von make de kitchen for himself. Vot number dare vas dare, you say? Sometime dere vas twenty person dare, and sometime dere vas dirty persons in de logement - sometime more dan dat. It vas a very petite maison. Dare vas von dozen beds, dat is all; and two sleep demselves in each bed. Sometimes, yen dere arrive plenty, dey sleep demselves tree in von bed, but ordinairement dere vas only two. Dey vas all musicians dare - on play de organ - de piano - de guitar - de flute - yes dare vas some vot played it - and de viol too. De great part vas Italians. Some of dem have des monkeys, de oders des mice, white, and des pigs d'Indes (guinea pigs), and encore oders have des dolls vid de two heads, and des puppets vot danse vit de foot on de board. Des animals are in an apartment apart vit de moosek. Dare vas sometime tree monkeys, von dozen of mice, five or six pigs d'Indes, and ma dogs altogether, vid de moosek by demselves. Dare is all de actors vot vas there. Ma tree dogs gained me sometime two shillan, sometime von shillan, and sometime I vould rest on my feet all day and not gain two sous. Sometime de boys would ensoolt ma dogs vid de stones. Dare is long time I am rested in London. Dare is short time I vas in de campagne - de countree here - not much. London is better dan de campagne for ma dogs - dare is always de world in London - de city is large. Yes I am always rested at Saffron-hill for ten, eleven, years. I am malade at present - since the 15th of Mars. In ma arms, ma legs, ma tighs, I have de douleur. I have plenty of pains to march. Ma dogs are in de logement now. It is since the 15th of Mars dat I have not vent out vid ma dogs - yes, since de 15th of Mars I have net done no york. Since dat time I have not pay no money for ma logement - it is due encore. Non, non. I have not gained ma life since the 15th of Mars. Plenty of time I have been vitout noting to eat. Des Italiens at de logement have give to me de pieces of bread and bouilli. Ah, it is very miserable to be poor like me. I have sixty and dirteen years. I cannot march now but with plenty of pains. Von doctor have give to me a letter for to present to de poor-house. He did give me my medicine for noting - grattis. He is obliged. He is de doctor of de paroisse. He is very brave and honest man dat doctor dare. At de poorhouse dey have give to me a bread and six sous on Friday of de week dat is passed, and told to me to come de Vednesday next. But I am arrive dare too late, and dey give to me noting, and tell to me to come de Vednesday next encore. Ma dogs dey march now in de street, and eat someting dare. Oh, ma God non! dey eat noting but vot dey find in de street yen it makes good times; but yen it makes bad times, dey have noting at all, poor dogs. Ven I have it dey have it - but yen dare is noting for me to eat dare is noting for dem, and dey must go out in de street and get de nourriture for demselves. Des infants vot know ma dogs will give to dem to eat sometime. Oh yes, if I had de means I would return to Italie - ma countree. But I have not no silver, and not no legs to walk. Vat can I do? Oh yes, I am very sick at present. All my limbs have great douleur - oh yes, oh yes, plenty of pain."
An Italian, who went about with Trained monkeys, furnished me with the following account. He had a peculiar boorish, and yet good-tempered, expression, especially when he laughed, which he did continually. He was dressed in a brown ragged cloth jacket, a long loose dirty drab waistcoat, with two or three brass buttons, and broad ribbed corduroy trousers. Round his neck was a plaid handkerchief. His shoes were of the extreme "strong men's kind, and grey with dust and long want of blacking. He wore the Savoyard broad-brimmed felt hat, and, with it on his head, had a very picturesque appearance. The shadow of the brim falling on the upper part of his brown face, gave him an almost Murillo-like look. There was, however, an odour about him (half monkey, half dirt) that was far from agreeable, and which pervaded the apartment in which he sat.
"I have got monkey" he said, "but I mus'nt call in London - I goes out in countree. I was frightened to come here. I was frightened you give me months in prison. Some of my countrymen is very frightened what you do. Now sir, I never play de monkey in de town. I have been out vare dere is so many donkey up a-top at dat village - vot you call - I can't tell de name. Dey goes dere for pleasure - for pastime - yen it makes fine vether. Dere is two church and two large hotel - yes, I tink it is Blackheath - I goes dere sometime with my monkey. I have got only one monkey now - sometime I have got two. It is dressed - comme un soldat-rouge - like von soldier, vid a red jacket, and a Bonaparte's hat. My monkey only pull off his hat and take a de money. He used to ride a de dog, but dey stole a de dog - some of de tinkare, or man wid de ombrella going by, stole a him - dere is only tree months dat I got my monkey. It is my own; I gave dirty-five shilling for dis one I got. He did not know no tricks when he is come to me first. I did teash a him all he know. I teash him wid de kindness, do you see; I must look rough for tree or four time, but not to beat him, and den I look sweet upon him. If you beat him he can hardly stir about, he is afraid dat you go to hit him, you see. I mustn't feed him yen I am teashing him; sometimes I buy a haporth of nuts to give him after he has done vot I vant him to do. Dis one has not de force behind; he is weak in de back. Some monkey is like de children at de school; some is very hard to teash; and some lam de more quick, you see. Devon I had before dis von could do many tings. He had not much esprit - pas grande chose - but he could play de drom, de fiddle, too - ah, but he don't play de fiddle like de Christian you know, but like de monkey. He used to fight wid de sword - not exactly same as de Christian but like de monkey, too - much better. I beg you pardon to laugh, sir. He used to move his leg and jomp. I call it danse, but he could not do de Polka like de Christian - I have seen de Christian though wot can't danse more dan de monkey. I beg your pardon to laugh. I did play valtz to him on de organ. Non! he had not mush ear for de mooseek, but I force him to keep de time by de jerk of de string. He commence to valtz yell yen he die. He is dead de vinter dat is passed, at Sheltenham. He eat some red-ee pant. I put him in de cupboard to go and fetsh ma loaf-ee bread, and some tea; and yen I am come home, I find he have eatee de red-ee paint. He is dead, perhaps, seven or eight hours after he eatee de red-ee paint. I give him some castor oil, but no good. He die in great deal pain, poor fellow; I rather lose six pound dan lose my monkey. I did cry. I cry because I have no money to go and buy anoder monkey. Yes, I did love my monkey. I did love him for the sake of my life. I give de raisin, and bile dem for him. He have every ting he like. I am come her from Parma, about fourteen or fifteen year ago. I used to york in my countree. I used to go and look at de ship in de Montagnes; non! non! - pas des vasseaux - mais des moutons. I beg your pardon to laugh. De master did bring me up here. Dat master is gone to America now. He is come to me to tell me to come to Angleterre. He has tell me I make plenty money in dis country. Ah, I could get plenty money dat time in London, but now I get not mush. I york for myself at present. My master give me nine - ten shillan each veek, and my food and my lodging - yes, every ting, yen I am first come here. I used to go out wid de organ, a good von, and I did get two, tree, and more shillan for my master each day. It was shance work; sometime I did get noting at all. De organ was my master's. He had no von else but me wid him. We use to travel about togeder; and he took all de money. He had one German piano, and play de mooseek. I can't tell how mush he did make - he never tell to me; but I did sheat him sometime myself; sometime yen I take de two shillan I give him de eighteen pence - I beg your pardon to laugh. De man did bring up many Italians to dis country, but now it is difficult to get de passports for my countrymen. I was eighteen month wid my master; after dat I vent to farm house. I run away from my master; he gave me de slap a de face you know von time, so I don't like it and I run away. I beg your pardon to laugh. I used to do good many tings at de farm house; it was in Yorkshire. I used to look at de beast, and take a de vater. I don't get noting for my work, only for de sake of de belly I do it. I vas dere about tree year; dey behave to me very veIl; dey give me de clothes and all I vant. After dat I go to Liverpool and I meet some of my country men dare, and dey lend me de money to buy de monkey, and I teash him to danse, fight, and jomp, mush as I could, and I go wid my monkey about de country. Sometime I make tree shillan wid my monkey, sometime only sixpence, sometime noting at all. When it rain or snow I can't get noting. I gain peut-&re a doozan shillan a veek wid my monkey, sometime more, but not often. Dare is long time I have been in de environs of London, but I don't like to go in de streets here. I don't like to go to prison. Monkey is defended - defendu - vot you call, in London. But dare is many monkey in London still. Oh, non - not a doozan. Dare is not one doozan monkey vot play in Angleterre. I know dare is two monkey at Saffron-hill, and one go in London, but he do no harm. I don't know dat de monkey was train to go down de area and steal a de silver spoons out of de kishen. Dey would be great fool to tell dat, but every one must get a living de best dey can. Vot I tell you about de monkey lam frightened will hurt me. I tell you dey is defended in de streets, and dey take me up. I hope not. My monkey is very honest monkey, and get me de bread. I never was in prison, and I would not like to be. I play de mooseek, and please de people, and never steal noting - non, non; me no steal, nor my monkey too. De policemen never say nothing to me. I am not beggar, but artiste - everybody know dat - and my monkey he is artiste too. I beg your pardon to laugh."