Victorian London - Publications - Social Investigation/Journalism - London Labour and the London Poor; 1851, 1861-2; Henry Mayhew


     These dealers were, more numerous, even when the metropolitan population was but half its present extent. I heard several causes assigned for this, -such as the higher rate of earnings of the labouring people at that time, as well as the smaller number of shopkeepers who deal in such cheap luxuries as penny pies, and the fewer places of cheap amusement, such as the "penny gaffs." These places, I was told, "run away with the young people's pennies," which were, at one period, expended in the streets.
      The class engaged in the manufacture, or in the sale, of these articles, are a more intelligent people than the generality of street-sellers. They have nearly all been mechanics who, from inability to procure employment at their several crafts -from dislike to an irksome and, perhaps, sedentary confinement -or from an overpowering desire "to be their own masters," have sought a livelihood in the streets. The purchase and sale of fish, fruit, or vegetables require no great training or deftness; but to make the dainties, in which street-people are critical, and to sell them at the lowest possible price, certainly requires some previous discipline to produce the skill to combine and the taste to please.
      I may here observe, that I found it common enough among these street-sellers to describe themselves and their fraternity not by their names or callings, but by the article in which they deal. This is sometimes ludicrous enough: "Is the man you're asking about a pickled whelk, sir?" was said to me. In answer to another inquiry, I was told, "Oh, yes, I know him -he's a sweet-stuff." Such ellipses, or abbreviations, are common in all mechanical or commercial callings.
      Men and women, and most especially boys, purchase their meals day after day in the streets. The coffee-stall supplies a warm breakfast; shell-fish of many kinds tempt to a luncheon; hot-eels or pea-soup, flanked by a potato "all hot," serve for a dinner; and cakes and tarts, or nuts and oranges, with many varieties of pastry, confectionary, and fruit, woo to indulgence in a dessert; while for supper there is a sandwich, a meat pudding, or a "trotter."
      The street provisions consist of cooked or prepared victuals, which may be divided into solids, pastry, confectionary, and drinkables.
      The "solids" however, of these three divisions, are such as only regular street-buyers consider to be sufficing for a substantial meal, for it will be seen that the comestibles accounted "good for dinner," are all of a dainty, rather than a solid character. Men whose lives, as I have before stated, are alternations of starvation and surfeit, love some easily-swallowed and comfortable food, better than the most approved substantiality of a dinner-table. I was told by a man, who was once foodless for thirty-eight hours, that in looking into the window of a cookshop -he longed far more for a basin of soup than for a cut from the boiled round, or the roasted ribs, of beef. He felt a gnawing rather than a ravenous desire, and some tasty semiliquid was the incessant object of his desires.
      The solids then, according to street estimation, consist of hot-eels, pickled whelks, oysters, sheep's-trotters, pea-soup, fried fish, ham-sandwiches, hot green peas, kidney puddings, boiled meat puddings, beef, mutton, kidney, and eel pies, and baked potatos. In each of these provisions the street poor find a mid-day or midnight meal.
      The pastry and confectionary which tempt the street eaters are tarts of rhubarb, currant, gooseberry, cherry, apple, damson, cranberry, and (so called) mince pies; plum dough and plum-cake; lard, currant, almond and many other varieties of cakes, as well as of tarts; gingerbread-nuts and heart-cakes; Chelsea buns; muffins and crumpets; "sweet stuff" includes the several kinds of rocks, sticks, lozenges, candies, and hard-bakes; the medicinal confectionary of cough-drops and horehound; and, lastly, the more novel and aristocratic luxury of street-ices; and strawberry cream, at 1d. a glass, (in Greenwich Park).
      The drinkables are tea, coffee, and cocoa; ginger-beer, lemonade, Persian sherbet, and some highly-coloured beverages which have no specific name, but are introduced to the public as "cooling" drinks; hot elder cordial or wine; peppermint water; curds and whey; water (as at Hampstead); rice milk; and milk in the parks.
      At different periods there have been attempts to introduce more substantial viands into the street provision trade, but all within these twenty years have been exceptional and unsuccessful. One man a few years back established a portable cook-shop in Leather-lane, cutting out portions of the joints to be carried away or eaten on the spot, at the buyer's option. But the speculation was a failure. Black puddings used to be sold, until a few years back, smoking from cans, not unlike potato cans, in such places as the New Cut; but the trade in these rather suspicious articles gradually disappeared.
      Mr. Albert Smith, who is an acute observer in all such matters, says, in a lively article on the Street Boys of London:
      "The kerb is his club, offering all the advantages of one of those institutions without any subscription or ballot. Had he a few pence, he might dine equally well as at Blackwall, and with the same variety of delicacies without going twenty yards from the pillars of St. Clement's churchyard. He might begin with a water souchée of eels, varying his first course with pickled whelks, cold fried flounders, or periwinkles. Whitebait, to be sure, he would find a difficulty in procuring, but as the more cunning gourmands do not believe these delicacies to be fish at all, but merely little bits of light pie-crust fried in grease; -and as moreover, the brown bread and butter is after all the grand attraction, -the boy might soon find a substitute. Then would come the potatos, apparently giving out so much steam that the can which contains them seems in momentary danger of blowing up; large, hot, mealy fellows, that prove how unfounded were the alarms of the bad-crop-ites; and he might next have a course of boiled feet of some animal or other, which he would be certain to find in front of the gin-shop. Cyder-cups perhaps he would not get; but there would be ` gingerbeer from the fountain, at 1d. per glass;' and instead of mulled claret, he could indulge in hot elder cordial; whilst for dessert he could calculate upon all the delicacies of the season, from the salads at the corner of Wych-street to the baked apples at Temple Bar. None of these things would cost more than a penny a piece; some of them would be under that sum; and since as at Verey's, and some other foreign restaurateurs, there is no objection to your dividing the "portions," the boy might, if he felt inclined to give a dinner to a friend, get off under 6d. There would be the digestive advantage too of moving leisurely about from one course to another; and, above all, there would be no fee to waiters." After alluding to the former glories of some of the streetstands, more especially of the kidney pudding establishments which displayed rude transparencies, one representing the courier of St. Petersburg riding six horses at once for a kidney pudding, Mr. Smith continues, -"But of all these eating-stands the chief favourite with the boy is the potato-can. They collect around it as they would do on 'Change, and there talk over local matters, or discuss the affairs of the adjacent cab-stand, in which they are at times joined by the waterman whom they respect, more so perhaps than the policeman; certainly more than they do the street-keeper, for him they especially delight to annoy, and they watch any of their fellows eating a potato, with a curiosity and an attention most remarkable, as if no two persons fed in the same manner, and they expected something strange or diverting to happen at every mouthful."
      A gentleman, who has taken an artist's interest in all connected with the streets, and has been familiar with their daily and nightly aspect from the commencement of the present century, considers that the great change is not so much in what has ceased to be sold, but in the introduction of fresh articles into street-traffic -such as pine-apples and Brazil-nuts, rhubarb and cucumbers, ham-sandwiches, ginger-beer, &c. The coffee-stall, he represents, has but superseded the saloop-stall (of which I have previously spoken); while the class of street-customers who supported the saloop-dealer now support the purveyor of coffee. The appearance of the two stalls, however, seen before dayoreak, with their respective customers, on a bleak winter's morning, was very different. Round the saloopstall was a group -hardly discernible at a little distance in the dimly-lighted streets -the prominent figures being of two callings now extinct -the climbing-boy and the old hackney-coachman.
      The little sweep would have his saloop smoking hot -and there was the common appliance of a charcoal grate -regaling himself with the savoury steam until the mess was cool enough for him to swallow; whilst he sought to relieve his naked feet from the numbing effects of the cold by standing now on the right foot and now on the left, and swinging the other to and fro, until a change of posture was necessitated; his white teeth the while gleamed from his sooty visage as he gleefully licked his lips at the warm and oily breakfast.
      The old hackney-coachman was wrapped up in a many-caped great coat, drab -when it left the tailor's hands some years before -but then worn and discoloured, and, perhaps, patched or tattered; its weight alone, however, communicated a sort of warmth to the wearer; his legs were closely and artistically "wisped" with haybands; and as he kept smiting his chest with his arms, "to keep the cold out," while his saloop was cooling, he would, in no very gentle terms, express his desire to add to its comforting influence the stimulant of a "flash of lightning," a "go of rum," or a "glass of max," -for so a dram of neat spirit was then called.
      The old watchman of that day, too, almost as heavily coated as the hackneyman, would sometimes partake of the street "Saloop-loop-loop! Sa-loop!" The woman of the town, in "looped and windowed raggedness," the outcast of the very lowest class, was at the saloop, as she is now and then at the coffee-stall, waiting until daylight drove her to her filthy lodging-house. But the climbing-boy has, happily, left no successor; the hackneyman has been succeeded by the jauntier cabman; and the taciturn old watchman by the lounging and trim policeman.
      Another class of street-sellers, no longer to be seen, were the "barrow-women." They sold fruit of all kinds, little else, in very clean white barrows, and their fruit was excellent, and purchased by the wealthier classes. They were, for the most part, Irish women, and some were remarkable for beauty. Their dress was usually a good chintz gown, the skirt being tidily tucked or pinned up behind, "in a way," said one informant, "now sometimes seen on the stage when correctness of costume is cared for." These women were prosperous in their calling, nor was there any imputation on their chastity, as the mothers were almost always wives.
      Concerning the bygone street-cries, I had also the following account from the personal observation of an able correspondent: -
      "First among the old `mnsical cries,' may be cited the `Tiddy Doll!' -immortalised by Hogarth -then comes the last person, who, with a fine bass voice, coaxed his customers to buy sweets with, `Quack, quack, quack, quack! Browns, browns, browns! have you got any mouldy browns?' There was a man, too, who sold tripe, &c., in this way, and to some purpose; he was as fine a man as ever stepped, and his deep rich voice would ring through a whole street, `Dog's-meat! cat's-meat! nice tripe! neat's feet! Come buy my trotters!' The last part would not have disgraced Lablache. He discovered a new way of pickling tripe -got on -made contracts for supplying the Navy during the war, and acquired a large property. One of our most successful artists is his grandson. Then there was that delight of our childhood - the eight o'clock `Hot spiced gingerbread! hot spiced gingerbread! buy my spiced gingerbread! sm-o-o-king hot!' " Another informant remembered a very popular character (among the boys), whose daily cry was: "Hot spiced gingerbread nuts, nuts, nuts! If one'll warm you, wha-at'll a pound do? -Wha-a-a-at'll a pound do?" Gingerbread was formerly in much greater demand than it is now.

      Two of the condiments greatly relished by the chilled labourers and others who regale themselves on street luxuries, are "pea-soup" and "hot eels." Of these tradesmen there may be 500 now in the streets on a Saturday. As the two trades are frequently carried on by the same party, I shall treat of them together. The greatest number of these stands is in Old-street, St. Luke's, about twenty. In warm weather these street-cooks deal only in "hot eels" and whelks; as the whelk trade is sometimes an accompaniment of the others, for then the soup will not sell. These dealers are stationary, having stalls or stands in the street, and the savoury odour from them attracts more hungry-looking gazers and longers than does a cook-shop window. They seldom move about, but generally frequent the same place. A celebrated dealer of this class has a stand in Clare-street, Clare-market, opposite a cat's-meat shop; he has been heard to boast, that he wouldn't soil his hands at the business if he didn't get his 30s. a day, and his 2l. 10s. on a Saturday. Half this amount is considered to be about the truth. This person has mostly all the trade for hot eels in the Clare-market district. There is another "hot eel purveyor" at the end of Windmill-street, Tottenham-courtroad, that does a very good trade. It is thought that he makes about 5s. a day at the business, and about 10s. on Saturday. There was, before the removals, a man who came out about five every afternoon, standing in the New-cut, nearly opposite the Victoria Theatre, his "girl" always attending to the stall. He had two or three lamps with "hot eels" painted upon them, and a handsome stall. He was considered to make about 7s. a day by the sale of eels alone, but he dealt in fried fish and pickled whelks as well, and often had a pile of fried fish a foot high. Near the Bricklayers' Arms, at the junction of the Old and New Kent-roads, a hot-eel man dispenses what a juvenile customer assured me was "as spicy as any in London, as if there was gin in it." But the dealer in Clare-market does the largest trade of all in the hot-eel line. He is "the head man." On one Saturday he was known to sell 100lbs. of eels, and on most Saturdays he will get rid of his four "draughts" of eels (a draught being 20lbs.) He and his son are dressed in Jenny Lind hats, bound with blue velvet, and both dispense the provisions, while the daughter attends to wash the cups. "On a Sunday, anybody," said my informant, "would think him the first nobleman or squire in the land, to see him dressed in his white hat, with black crape round it, and his drab paletot and mother-o'-pearl buttons, and black kid gloves, with the fingers too long for him."
      I may add, that even the very poorest, who have only a halfpenny to spend, as well as those with better means, resort to the stylish stalls in preference to the others. The eels are all purchased at Billingsgate early in the morning. The parties themselves, or their sons or daughters, go to Billingsgate, and the watermen row them to the Dutch eel vessels moored off the market. The fare paid to the watermen is 1d. for every 10lbs. purchased and brought back in the boat, the passenger being gratis. These dealers generally trade on their own capital; but when some have been having "a flare up," and have "broke down for stock," to use the words of my informant, they borrow 1l., and pay it back in a week or a fortnight at the outside, and give 2s. for the loan of it. The money is usually borrowed of the barrow, truck, and basket-lenders. The amount of capital required for carrying on the business of course depends on the trade done; but even in a small way, the utensils cost 1l. They consist of one fish-kettle and one soup-kettle, holding upon an average three gallons each; besides these, five basins and five cups and ten spoons are required, also a washhand basin to wash the cups, basins, and spoons in, and a board and tressel on which the whole stand. In a large way, it requires from 3l. to 4l. to fit up a handsome stall. For this the party would have "two fine kettles," holding about four gallons each, and two patent cast-iron fireplaces (the 1l. outfit only admits of the bottoms of two tin saucepans being used as fireplaces, in which charcoal is always burning to keep the eels and soup hot; the whelks are always eaten cold). The crockery and spoons would be in no way superior. A small dealer requires, over and above this sum, 10s. to go to market with and purchase stock, and the large dealer about 30s. The Class of persons belonging to the business have either been bred to it, or taken to it through being out of work. Some have been disabled during their work, and have resorted to it to save themselves from the workhouse. The price of the hot eels is a halfpenny for five or seven pieces of fish, and three-parts of a cupfull of liquor. The charge for a half pint of pea-soup is a halfpenny, and the whelks are sold, according to the size, from a halfpenny each to three or four for the same sum. These are put out in saucers.
      The eels are Dutch, and are cleaned and washed, and cut in small pieces of from a half to an inch each. [The daughter of one of my informants was busily engaged, as I derived this information, in the cutting of the fish. She worked at a blood-stained board, with a pile of pieces on one side and a heap of entrails on the other.] The portions so cut are then boiled, and the liquor is thickened with flour and flavoured with chopped parsley and mixed spices. It is kept hot in the streets, and served out, as I have stated, in halfpenny cupfulls, with a small quantity of vinegar and pepper. The best purveyors add a little butter. The street-boys are extravagant in their use of vinegar.
      To dress a draught of eels takes three hours - to clean, cut them up, and cook them sufficiently; and the cost is now 5s. 2d. (much lower in the summer) for the draught (the 2d. being the expense of "shoring"), 8d. for 4 lb. of flour to thicken the liquor, 2d. for the parsley to flavour it, and 1s. 6d. for the vinegar, spices, and pepper (about three quarts of vinegar and two ounces of pepper). This quantity, when dressed and seasoned, will fetch in halfpennyworths from 15s. to 18s. The profit upon this would be from 7s. to 9s. 6d.; but the cost of the charcoal has to be deducted, as well as the salt used while cooking. These two items amount to about 5d.
      The pea-soup consists of split peas, celery, and beef bones. Five pints, at 3½d. a quart, are used to every three gallons; the bones cost 2d., carrots 1d., and celery ½d. -these cost 1s.d.; and the pepper, salt, and mint, to season it, about 2d. This, when served in halfpenny basinfulls, will fetch from 2s. 3d. to 2s. 4d., leaving 1s. 1d. profit. But from this the expenses of cooking must be taken; so that the clear gain upon three gallons comes to about 11d. In a large trade, three kettles, or twelve gallons, of pea-soup will be disposed of in the day, and about four draughts, or 80 lbs., of hot eels on every day but Saturday, -when the quantity of eels disposed of would be about five draughts, or 100 lbs. weight, and about 15 gallons of peasoup. Hence the profits of a good business in the hot-eel and pea-soup line united will be from 7l. to 7l. 10s. per week, or more. But there is only one man in London does this amount of business, or rather makes this amount of money. A small business will do about 15 lbs. of eels in the week, including Saturday, and about 12 gallons of soup. Sometimes credit is given for a halfpennyworth, or a pennyworth, at the outside; but very little is lost from bad debts. Boys who are partaking of the articles will occasionally say to the proprietor of the stall, "Well, master, they are nice; trust us another ha'p'orth, and I'll pay you when I comes again;" but they are seldom credited, for the stall-keepers know well they would never see them again. Very often the stock cooked is not disposed of, and then it is brought home and eaten by the family. The pea-soup will seldom keep a night, but what is left the family generally use for supper.
      The dealers go out about half-past ten in the morning, and remain out till about ten at night. Monday is the next best day to Saturday. The generality of the customers are boys from 12 to 16 years of age. Newsboys are very partial to hot eels -women prefer the pea-soup. Some of the boys will have as many as six halfpenny cupfulls consecutively on a Saturday night; and some women will have three halfpenny basinsfull of soup. Many persons in the cold weather prefer the hot soup to beer. On wet, raw, chilly days, the soup goes off better than usual, and in fine weather there is a greater demand for the hot eels. One dealer assured me that he once did serve two gentlemen's servants with twentyeight halfpenny cupfulls of hot eels one after another. One servant had sixteen, and the other twelve cupfulls, which they ate all at one standing; and one of these customers was so partial to hot eels, that he used to come twice a day every day for six months after that, and have eight cupfulls each day, four at noon and four in the evening. These two persons were the best customers my informant ever had. Servants, however, are not generally partial to the commodity. Hot eels are not usually taken for dinner, nor is pea-soup, but throughout the whole day, and just at the fancy of the passersby. There are no shops for the sale of these articles. The dealers keep no accounts of what their receipts and expenditure are.
      The best time of the year for the hot eels is from the middle of June to the end of August. On some days during that time a person in a small way of business will clear upon an average 1s. 6d. a day, on other days 1s.; on some days, during the month of August, as much as 2s. 6d. a day. Some cry out "Nice hot eels -nice hot eels!" or "Warm your hands and fill your bellies for a halfpenny." One man used to give his surplus eels, when he considered his sale completed on a night, to the poor creatures refused admission into a workhouse, lending them his charcoal fire for warmth, which was always returned to him. The poor creatures begged cinders, and carried the fire under a railway arch. The general rule, however, is for the dealer to be silent, and merely expose the articles for sale. "I likes better," said one man to me, "to touch up people's noses than their heyes or their hears." There are now in the trade almost more than can get a living at it, and their earnings are less than they were formerly. One party attributed this to the opening of a couple of penny-pie shops in his neighbourhood. Before then he could get 2s. 6d. a day clear, take one day with another; but since the establishment of the business in the penny-pie line he cannot take above 1s. 6d. a day clear. On the day the first of these pieshops opened, it made as much as 10 lbs., or half a draught of eels, difference to him. There was a band of music and an illumination at the pieshop, and it was impossible to stand against that. The fashionable dress of the trade is the "Jenny Lind" or "wide-awake" hat, with a broad black ribbon tied round it, and a white apron and sleeves. The dealers usually go to Hampton-court or Greenwich on a fine Sunday. They are partial to the pit of Astley's. One of them told his waterman at Billingsgate the other morning that "he and his good lady had been werry amused with the osses at Hashley's last night."


      "I was a coalheaver," said one of the class to me, as I sat in his attic up a close court, watching his wife "thicken the liquor;" "I was a-going along the plank, from one barge to another, when the swell of some steamers throwed the plank off the `horse,' and chucked me down, and broke my knee agin the side of the barge. Before that I was yarning upon an average my 20s. to 30s. a week. I was seven months and four days in King's College Hospital after this. I found they was a-doing me no good there, so I come out and went over to Bartholemy's Hospital. I was in there nineteen months altogether, and after that I was a month in Middlesex Hospital, and all on 'em turned me out oncurable. You see, the bone's decayed -four bits of bone have been taken from it. The doctor turned me out three times 'cause I wouldn't have it off. He asked my wife if she would give consent, but neither she nor my daughter would listen to it, so I was turned out on 'em all. How my family lived all this time it's hard to tell. My eldest boy did a little -got 3s. 6d. a week as an errand-boy, and my daughter was in service, and did a little for me; but that was all we had to live upon. There was six children on my hands, and however they did manage I can't say. After I came out of the hospital I applied to the parish, and was allowed 2s. 6d. a week and four loaves. But I was anxious to do something, so a master butcher, as I knowed, said he would get me `a pitch' (the right to fix a stall), if I thought I could sit at a stall and sell a few things. I told him I thought I could, and would be very thankful for it. Well, I had heard how the man up in the market was making a fortune at the hot-eel and pea-soup line. [A paviour as left his barrow and two shovels with me told me to-day, said the man, by way of parenthesis -`that he knowed for a fact he was clearing 6l. a week regular.'] So I thought I'd have a touch at the same thing. But you see, I never could rise money enough to get sufficient stock to make a do of it, and never shall, I expect -it don't seem like it, however. I ought to have 5s. to go to market with to-morrow, and I ain't got above 1s. 6d.; and what's that for stockmoney, I'd like to know? Well, as I was saying, the master butcher lent me 10s. to start in the line. He was the best friend I ever had. But I've never been able to do anything at it -not to say to get a living." "He can't carry anything now, sir," said his wife, as the old man strove to get the bellows to warm up the large kettle of pea-soup that was on the fire. "Aye, I can't go without my crutch. My daughter goes to Billingsgate for me. I've got nobody else; and she cuts up the eels. If it warn't for her I must give it up altogether, and go into the workhouse outright. I couldn't fetch 'em. I ought to have been out to-night by rights till ten, if I'd had anything to have sold. My wife can't do much; she's troubled with the rheumatics in her head and limbs." "Yes," said the old body, with a sigh, "I'm never well, and never shall be again, I know." "Would you accept on a drop of soup, sir?" asked the man; "you're very welcome, I can assure you. You'll find it very good, sir." I told him I had just dined, and the poor old fellow proceeded with his tale. "Last week I earned clear about 8s., and that's to keep six on us. I didn't pay no rent last week nor yet this, and I don't know when I shall again, if things goes on in this way. The week before there was a fast-day, and I didn't earn above 6s. that week, if I did that. My boy can't go to school. He's got no shoes nor nothing to go in. The girls go to the ragged-school, but we can't send them of a Sunday nowhere." "Other people can go," said one of the young girls nestling round the fire, and with a piece of sacking over her shoulders for a shawl -"them as has got things to go in; but mother don't like to let us go as we are." "She slips her mother's shoes on when she goes out. It would take 1l. to start me well. With that I could go to market, and buy my draught of eels a shilling cheaper, and I could afford to cut my pieces a little bigger; and people where they gets used well comes again -don't you see? I could have sold more eels if I'd had 'em to-day, and soup too. Why, there's four hours of about the best time to-night that I'm losing now 'cause I've nothing to sell. The man in the market can give more than we can. He gives what is called the lumping ha'p'orth -that is, seven or eight pieces; ah, that I daresay he does; indeed, some of the boys has told me he gives as many as eight pieces. And then the more eels you biles up, you see, the richer the liquor is, and in our little tin-pot way it's like biling up a great jint of meat in a hocean of water. In course we can't compete agin the man in the market, and so we're being ruined entirely. The boys very often comes and asks me if I've got a farden's-worth of heads. The woman at Broadway, they tells me, sells 'em at four a farden and a drop of liquor, but we chucks 'em away, there's nothing to eat on them; the boys though will eat anything."
      In the hot-eel trade are now 140 vendors, each selling 6 lb. of eels daily at their stands; 60 sell 40 lb. daily; and 100 are itinerant, selling 5 lb. nightly at the public-houses. The first mentioned take 2s. daily; the second 16s.; and the third 1s. 8d. This gives a street expenditure in the trade in hot eels of 19,448l. for the year.
      To start in this business a capital is required after this rate: -stall 6s.; basket 1s.; eel-kettle 3s. 6d.; jar 6d.; ladle 4d.; 12 cups 1s.; 12 spoons 1s.; stew-pan 2s.; chafing-dish 6d.; strainer 1s.; 8 cloths 2s. 8d.; a pair sleeves 4d.; apron 4d.; charcoal 2s. (4d. being an average daily consumption); ¼ cwt. coal 3½d.; ½ lb. butter (the weekly average) 4d.; 1 quartern flour 5d.; 4 oz. pepper 4d.; I quart vinegar 10d.; 1 lb. salt ½d.; 1 lb. candles for stall 6d.; parsley 3d.; stock-money 10s. In all 1l. 15s. In the course of a year the property which may be described as fixed, as in the stall, &c., and the expenditure daily occurring as for stock, butter, coal, according to the foregoing statement, amounts to 15,750l. The eels purchased for this trade at Billingsgate are 1,166,880 lb., costing, at 3d. per lb., 12,102l.
      In the pea-soup trade there are now one half of the whole number of the hot-eel vendors; of whom 100 will sell, each 4 gallons daily; and of the remaining 50 vendors, each will sell upon an average 10 gallons daily. The first mentioned take 3s. daily; and the last 7s. 6d. This gives a street expenditure of 4,050l. during the winter season of five months.
      To commence business in the street sale of pea-soup a capital is required after this rate: soup-kettle 4s.; peas 2s.; soup-ladle 6d.; pepper-box 1d.; mint-box 3d.; chafing-dish 6d.; 12 basons 1s.; 12 spoons 1s.; bones, celery, mint, carrots, and onions, 1s. 6d. In all 10s. 10d. The hot-eel trade being in conjunction with the pea-soup, the same stall, candles, towels, sleeves, and aprons, does for both, and the quantity of extra coal and charcoal; pepper and salt given in the summary of hot-eels serves in cooking, &c., both eels and pea-soup.


      The trade in whelks is one of which the costermongers have the undisputed monopoly. The wholesale business is all transacted in Billingsgate, where this shell-fish is bought by the measure (a double peck or gallon), half-measure, or wash. A wash is four measures, and is the most advantageous mode of purchase; "It's so much cheaper by taking that quantity," I was told, "it's as good as having a half-measure in." An average price for the year may be 4s. the wash; "But I've given 21s. for three wash," said one costermonger, and he waxed indignant as he spoke, "one Saturday, when there was a great stock in too, just because there was a fair coming on on Monday, and the whelkmen, who are the biggest rogues in Billingsgate, always have the price up then, and hinder a poor man doing good -they've a great knack of that." A wash weighs about 60 lbs. On rare occasions it has been as low as 2s. 6d., and even 1s. 6d.
      About one-half of the whelks are sold alive (wholesale), and the other half "cooked" (boiled), some of the salesmen having " convenience for cooking" near the market; but they are all brought to London alive, "or what should be alive." When bought alive, which ensures a better quality, I was told -for "whelks 'll boil after they're dead and gone, you see, sir, as if they was alive and hungry" - the costermonger boils them in the largest saucepan at his command for about ten minutes, and then leaves them until they cool. "They never kicks as they boils, like lobsters or crabs," said one whelk dealer, "they takes it quiet. A missionary cove said to me, `Why don't you kill them first? it's murder.' They doesn't suffer; I've suffered more with a toothach than the whole of a measure of whelks has in a boiling, that I'm clear upon." The boiling is generally the work of the women. The next process is to place them in a tub, throw boiling water over them, and stir them up for ten or fifteen minutes with a broom-handle. If the quantity be a wash, two broom-handles, usually wielded by the man and his wife, are employed. This is both to clean them and "to make them come out easier to be wormed." The "worming" is equivalent to the removing of the beard of an oyster or mussel. The whelks are wormed one by one. The operator cuts into the fish, rapidly draws out the "worm," and pushes the severed parts together, which closes. The small whelks are not wormed, "because it's not reckoned necessary, and they're sold to poor lads and such like, that's not particular; but nearly all the women, and a good many of the boys, are very particular. They think the worm's poison." The whelks are next shaken in a tub, in cold water, and are then ready for sale. The same process, after the mere boiling, is observed, when the whelks are bought "cooked."
      Some whelk-sellers, who wish to display a superior article, engage children for a few halfpence to rub the shell of every whelk, so that it looks clean and even bright.
      I find a difficulty, common in the course of this inquiry, of ascertaining precisely the number of whelk-sellers, because the sale is often carried on simultaneously with that of other things, (stewed eels, for instance,) and because it is common for costermongers to sell whelks on a Saturday night only, both at stalls and "round to the public-houses," but only when they are cheap at Billingsgate. On a Saturday night there may be 300 whelk-sellers in the streets, nearly half at stalls, and half, or more, "working the public-houses." But of this number it must be understood that perhaps the wife is at the stall while the husband is on a round, and some whelks are sent out by a man having an extra stock. This, therefore, reduces the number of independent dealers, but not the actual number of sellers. On all other nights there may be half the number engaged in this traffic, in the streets regularly all the year; and more than half on a Monday, as regards the public-house business, in which little is done between Monday and Saturday nights. But a man will, in some instances, work the publichouses every night (the wife tending the stall), and the more assiduously if the weather be bad or foggy, when a public-house custom is the best. A fair week's earnings in whelks, "when a man's known," is 1l. a bad week is from 5s. to 8s. I am assured that bad weeks are "as plenty as good, at least, the year round;" and thus the average to the street whelk-sellers, in whelks alone, is about 13s. when the trade is carried on daily and regularly, and 5s. a week by those who occasionally resort to it; and as the occasional hands are the more numerous, the average may be struck at 7s.
      The whelks are sold at the stalls at two, three, four, six, and eight a penny, according to size. Four is an average pennyworth for good whelks; the six a penny are small, and the eight a penny very small. The principal place for their sale is in Old-street, City-road. The other principal places are the street-markets, which I have before particularised. The whelks are sold in saucers, generally small and white, and of common ware, and are contained in jars, ready to be "shelled" into any saucer that may have been emptied. Sometimes a small pyramid of shells, surmounted by a candle protected by a shade, attracts the regard of the passer-by. The man doing the best business in London was to be found, before the removals of which I have spoken, in Lambeth-walk, but he has now no fixed locality. His profits, I am informed, were regularly 3l. a week; but out of this he had to pay for the assistance of two or sometimes three persons, in washing his whelks, boiling them, &c.; besides that, his wife was as busy as himself. To the quality and cleanliness of his whelks he was very attentive, and would sell no mediocre article if better could be bought. "He deserved all he earned, sir," said another street-dealer to me; "why, in Old-street now they'll have the old original saucers, miserable things, such as they had fifty years back; but the man we're talking of, about two years ago, brought in very pretty plates, quite enterprising things, and they answered well. His example's spreading, but it's slowly." The whelks are eaten with vinegar and pepper.
      For sale in the public-houses, the whelks are most frequently carried in jars, and transferred in a saucer to the consumer. "There's often a good sale," said a man familiar with the business, "when a public room's filled. People drinking there always want to eat. They buy whelks, not to fill themselves, but for a relish. A man that's used to the trade will often get off inferior sorts to the lushingtons; he'll have them to rights. Whelks is all the same, good, bad, or middling, when a man's drinking, if they're well seasoned with pepper and vinegar.
    Oh yes; any whelk-man will take in a drunken fellow, and he will do it all the same, if he's made up his mind to, get drunk hisself that very night."
      The trade is carried on by the regular costers, but of the present number of whelk-sellers, about twenty have been mechanics or servants. The whelk-trade is an evening trade, commencing generally about six, summer and winter, or an hour earlier in winter.
      The capital required to start in the whelkbusiness is: stall, 2s. 6d.; saucers, vinegar-bottle, jar, pepper-castor, and small watering-pan (used only in dusty weather), 2s. 6d.; a pair of stilts (supports for the stall), 1s. 6d.; stock-money, 5s.; pepper and vinegar, 6d., or 12s. in all. If the trade be commenced in a round basket, for public-house sale, 7s. or 8s. only is required, but it is a hazardous experiment for a person unpractised in street business.


        An intelligent man gave me the following account. He had been connected with streettrading from his youth up, and is now about thirty:
      "The chief customers for whelks, sir, are working people and poor people, and they prefer them to oysters; I do myself, and I think they're not so much eaten because they're not fashionable like oysters. But I've sold them to first-rate public-houses, and to doctors' shops - more than other shops, I don't know why -and to private houses. Masters have sent out their servant-maids to me for three or four penn'orths for supper. I've offered the maids a whelk, but they won't eat them in the street; I dare say they're afraid their young men may be about, and might think they wasn't ladies if they eat whelks in the street. Boys are the best customers for `small,' but if you don't look sharp, you'll be done out of three-ha'porth of vinegar to a ha'porth of whelks. I can't make out why they like it so. They're particular enough in their way. If the whelks are thin, as they will be sometimes, the lads will say, `What a lot of snails you've gathered to-night!' If they're plump and fine, then they'll say, `Fat' uns tonight -stunners!' Some people eat whelks for an appetite; they give me one, and more in summer than winter. The women of the town are good customers, at least they are in the Cut and Shoreditch, for I know both. If they have five-penn'orth, when they're treated perhaps, there's always sixpence. They come on the sly sometimes, by themselves, and make what's a meal, I'm satisfied, on whelks, and they'll want credit sometimes. I've given trust to a woman of that sort as far as 2s. 6d. I've lost very little by them; I don't know how much altogether. I keep no account, but carry any credit in my head. Those women's good pay, take it altogether, for they know how hard it is to get a crust, and have a feeling for a poor man, if they haven't for a rich one -that's my opinion, sir. Costermongers in a good time are capital customers; they'll buy five or six penn'orths at a time. The dust's a great injury to the trade in summer time; it dries the whelks up, and they look old. I wish whelks were cheaper at Billingsgate, and I could do more business; and I could do more if I could sell a few minutes after twelve on a Saturday night, when people must leave the public-house. I have sold three wash of a Saturday night, and cleared 15s. on them. I one week made 3l., but I had a few stewed eels to help, -that is, I cleared 2l., and had a pound's worth over on the Saturday night, and sent them to be sold - and they were sold -at Battersea on the Sunday; I never went there myself. I've had twenty people round my stall at one time on a Saturday. Perhaps my earnings on that (and other odd things) may come to 1l. a week, or hardly so much, the year round. I can't say exactly. The shells are no use. Boys have asked me for them `to make sea-shells of,' they say -to hold them to their ears when they're big, and there's a sound like the sea rolling. Gentlemen have sometimes told me to keep a dozen dozen or twenty dozen, for borders to a garden. I make no charge for them -just what a gentleman may please to give.
      The information given shows an outlay of 5,250l. yearly for street whelks, and as the return I have cited shows the money spent in whelks at Billingsgate to be 2,500l., the number of whelks being 4,950,000, the account is correct, as the coster's usual "half-profits" make up the sum expended.


   Among the cooked food which has for many years formed a portion of the street trade is fried fish. The sellers are about 350, as a maximum and 250 as a minimum, 300 being an average number. The reason of the variation in number is, that on a Saturday night, and occasionally on other nights, especially on Mondays, stall-keepers sell fried fish, and not as an ordinary article of their trade. Some men, too, resort to the trade for a time, when they cannot be employed in any way more profitable or suitable to them. The dealers in this article are, for the most part, old men and boys, though there may be 30 or 40 women who sell it, but only 3 or 4 girls, and they are the daughters of the men in the business as the women are the wives. Among the fried-fish sellers there are not half a dozen Irish people, although fish is so especial a part of the diet of the poor Irish. The men in the calling have been, as regards the great majority, mechanics or servants; none, I was told, had been fishmongers, or their assistants.
      The fish fried by street dealers is known as "plaice dabs" and "sole dabs," which are merely plaice and soles, "dab" being a common word for any flat fish. The fish which supplies upwards of one half the quantity fried for the streets is plaice; the other fishes used are soles, haddocks, whitings, flounders, and herrings, but very sparingly indeed as regards herrings. Soles are used in as large a quantity as the other kinds mentioned altogether. On my inquiry as to the precise quantity of each description fried, the answer from the traders was uniform: "I can't say, sir. I buy whatever's cheapest." The fish is bought at Billingsgate, but some of the street dealers obtain another and even a cheaper commodity than at that great mart. This supply is known in the trade as "friers," and consists of the overplus of a fishmonger's stock, of what he has not sold overnight, and does not care to offer for sale on the following morning, and therefore vends it to the costermongers, whose customers are chiefly among the poor. The friers are sometimes half, and sometimes more than half, of the wholesale price in Billingsgate. Many of the friers are good, but some, I was told, "in any thing like muggy or close weather were very queer fish, very queer indeed," and they are consequently fried with a most liberal allowance of oil, "which will conceal anything."
      The fish to be fried is first washed and gutted; the fins, head, and tail are then cut off, and the trunk is dipped in flour and water, so that in frying, oil being always used, the skin will not be scorched by the, perhaps, too violent action of the fire, but merely browned. Pale rape oil is generally used. The sellers, however, are often twitted with using lamp oil, even when it is dearer than that devoted to the purpose. The fish is cooked in ordinary fryingpans. One tradesman in Cripplegate, formerly a costermonger, has on his premises a commodious oven which he had built for the frying, or rather baking, of fish. He supplies the small shopkeepers who deal in the article (although some prepare it themselves), and sells his fish retail also, but the street-sellers buy little of him, as they are nearly all "their own cooks." Some of the "illegitimates," however, lay in their stock by purchase of the tradesman in question. The fish is cut into portions before it is fried, and the frying occupies about ten minutes. The quantity prepared together is from six to twenty portions, according to the size of the pans; four dozen portions, or "pieces," as the street people call them, require a quart of oil.
      The fried fish-sellers live in some out of the way alley, and not unfrequently in garrets; for among even the poorest class there are great objections to their being fellow-lodgers, on account of the odour from the frying. Even when the fish is fresh (as it most frequently is), and the oil pure, the odour is rank. In one place I visited, which was, moreover, admirable for cleanliness, it was very rank. The cooks, however, whether husbands or wives -for the women often attend to the pan -when they hear of this disagreeable rankness, answer that it may be so, many people say so; but for their parts they cannot smell it at all. The garments of the fried-fish sellers are more strongly impregnated with the smell of fish than were those of any "wet" or other fish-sellers whom I met with. Their residences are in some of the labyrinths of courts and alleys that run from Gray's-inn-lane to Leather-lane, and similar places between Fetter and Chancerylanes. They are to be found, too, in the courts running from Cow-cross, Smithfield; and from Turnmill-street and Ray-street, Clerkenwell; also, in the alleys about Bishopsgate-street and the Kingsland-road, and some in the halfruinous buildings near the Southwark and Borough-roads. None, or very few, of those who are their own cooks, reside at a greater distance than three miles from Billingsgate. A gin-drinking neighbourhood, one coster said, suits best, "for people hasn't their smell so correct there."
      The sale is both on rounds and at stalls, the itinerants being twice as numerous as the stationary. The round is usually from public-house to public-house, in populous neighbourhoods. The itinerants generally confine themselves to the trade in fried fish, but the stall-keepers always sell other articles, generally fish of some kind, along with it. The sale in the publichouses is the greatest.
      At the neighbouring races and fairs there is a great sale of fried fish. At last Epsom races, I was told, there were at least fifty purveyors of that dainty from London, half of them perhaps being costermongers, who speculated in it merely for the occasion, preparing it themselves. Three men joined in one speculation, expending 8l. in fish, and did well, selling at the usual profit of cent. per cent, but with the drawback of considerable expenses. Their customers at the races and fairs are the boys who hold horses or brush clothes, or who sell oranges or nuts, or push at roundabouts, and the costers who are there on business. At Epsom races there was plenty of bread, I was informed, to be picked up on the ground; it had been flung from the carriages after luncheon, and this, with a piece of fish, supplied a meal or "a relish" to hundreds.
      In the public-houses, a slice of bread, 16 or 32 being cut from a quartern loaf -as they are whole or half slices -is sold or offered with the fish for a penny. The cry of the seller is, "fish and bread, a penny." Sometimes for an extrasized piece, with bread, 2d. is obtained, but very seldom, and sometimes two pieces are given for 1½d. At the stalls bread is rarely sold with the edible in question.
      For the itinerant trade, a neatly painted wooden tray, slung by a leathern strap from the neck, is used: the tray is papered over generally with clean newspapers, and on the paper is spread the shapeless brown lumps of fish. Parsley is often strewn over them, and a saltbox is placed at the discretion of the customer. The trays contain from two to five dozen pieces.
      I understand that no one has a trade greatly in advance of his fellows. The whole body complain of their earnings being far less than was the case four or five years back.
      The itinerant fried fish-sellers, when pursuing their avocation, wear generally a jacket of cloth or fustian buttoned round them, but the rest of their attire is hidden by the white sleeves and apron some wear, or by the black calico sleeves and dark woollen aprons worn by others.
      The capital required to start properly in the business is: -frying-pan 2s. (second-hand 9d.); tray 2s. 6d. (second-hand 8d.); salt-box 6d. (second-hand 1d.); and stock-money 5s. -in all 10s. A man has gone into the trade, however, with 1s., which he expended in fish and oil, borrowed a frying-pan, borrowed an old teaboard, and so started on his venture.

     The man who gave me the following information was well-looking, and might be about 45 or 50. He was poorly dressed, but his old brown surtout fitted him close and well, was jauntily buttoned up to his black satin stock, worn, but of good quality; and, altogether, he had what is understood among a class as "a betterly appearance about him." His statement, as well as those of the other vendors of provisions, is curious in its details of public-house vagaries. -
      "I've been in the trade," he said, "seventeen years. Before that, I was a gentleman's servant, and I married a servant-maid, and we had a family, and, on that account, couldn't, either of us, get a situation, though we'd good characters. I was out of employ for seven or eight months, and things was beginning to go to the pawn for a living; but at last, when I gave up any hope of getting into a gentleman's service, I raised 10s., and determined to try something else. I was persuaded, by a friend who kept a beer-shop, to sell oysters at his door. I took his advice, and went to Billingsgate for the first time in my life, and bought a peck of oysters for 2s. 6d. I was dressed respectable then -nothing like the mess and dirt I'm in now" [I may observe, that there was no dirt about him]; "and so the salesman laid it on, but I gave him all he asked. I know a deal better now. I'd never been used to open oysters, and I couldn't do it. I cut my fingers with the knife slipping all over them, and had to hire a man to open for me, or the blood from my cut fingers would have run upon the oysters. For all that, I cleared 2s. 6d. on that peck, and I soon got up to the trade, and did well; till, in two or three months, the season got over, and I was advised, by the same friend, to try fried fish. That suited me. I've lived in good families, where there was first-rate men-cooks, and I know what good cooking means. I bought a dozen plaice; I forget what I gave for them, but they were dearer then than now. For all that, I took between 11s. and 12s. the first night -it was Saturday -that I started; and I stuck to it, and took from 7s. to 10s. every night, with more, of course, on Saturday, and it was half of it profit then. I cleared a good mechanic's earnings at that time -30s. a week and more. Soon after, I was told that, if agreeable, my wife could have a stall with fried fish, opposite a wine-vaults just opened, and she made nearly half as much as I did on my rounds. I served the public-houses, and soon got known. With some landlords I had the privilege of the parlour, and tap-room, and bar, when other tradesmen have been kept out. The landlords will say to me still: `You can go in, Fishy.' Somehow, I got the name of `Fishy' then, and I've kept it ever since. There was hospitality in those days. I've gone into a room in a public-house, used by mechanics, and one of them has said: `I'll stand fish round, gentlemen;' and I've supplied fifteen penn'orths. Perhaps he was a stranger, such a sort of customer, that wanted to be agreeable. Now, it's more likely I hear: `Jack, lend us a penny to buy a bit of fried;' and then Jack says: `You be d -d! here, lass, let's have another pint.' The insults and difficulties I've had in the public-house trade is dreadful. I once sold 16d. worth to three rough-looking fellows I'd never seen before, and they seemed hearty, and asked me to drink with them, so I took a pull; but they wouldn't pay me when I asked, and I waited a goodish bit before I did ask. I thought, at first, it was their fun, but I waited from four to seven, and I found it was no fun. I felt upset, and ran out and told the policeman, but he said it was only a debt, and he couldn't interfere. So I ran to the station, but the head man there said the same, and told me I should hand over the fish with one hand, and hold out the other hand for my money. So I went back to the public-house, and asked for my money -and there was some mechanics that knew me there then -but I got nothing but ` -you's!' and one of 'em used most dreadful language. At last, one of the mechanics said: `Muzzle him, Fishy, if he won't pay.' He was far bigger than me, him that was one in debt; but my spirit was up, and I let go at him and gave him a bloody nose, and the next hit I knocked him backwards, I'm sure I don't know how, on to a table; but I fell on him, and he clutched me by the coatcollar -I was respectable dressed then -and half smothered me. He tore the back of my coat, too, and I went home like Jim Crow. The potman and the others parted us, and they made the man give me 1s., and the waiter paid me the other 4d., and said he'd take his chance to get it -but he never got it. Another time I went into a bar, and there was a ball in the house, and one of the ball gents came down and gave my basket a kick without ever a word, and started the fish; and in a scuffle -he was a little fellow, but my master -I had this finger put out of joint -you can see that, sir, still -and was in the hospital a week from an injury to my leg; the tiblin bone was hurt, the doctors said" [the tibia.] "I've had my tray kicked over for a lark in a public-house, and a scramble for my fish, and all gone, and no help and no money for me. The landlords always prevent such things, when they can, and interfere for a poor man; but then it's done sudden, and over in an instant. That sort of thing wasn't the worst. I once had some powdery stuff flung sudden over me at a parlour door. My fish fell off, for I jumped, because I felt blinded, and what became of them I don't know; but I aimed at once for home - it was very late -and had to feel my way almost like a blind man. I can't tell what I suffered. I found it was something black, for I kept rubbing my face with my apron, and could just tell it came away black. I let myself in with my latch, and my wife was in bed, and I told her to get up and look at my face and get some water, and she thought I was joking, as she was half asleep; but when she got up and got a light, and a glass, she screamed, and said I looked such a shiny image; and so I did, as well as I could see, for it was black lead -such as they use for grates -that was flung on me. I washed it off, but it wasn't easy, and my face was sore days after. I had a respectable coat on then, too, which was greatly spoiled, and no remedy at all. I don't know who did it to me. I heard some one say: `You're served out beautiful' Its men that calls themselves gentlemen that does such things. I know the style of them then - it was eight or ten years ago; they'd heard of Lord -,and his goings on. That way it's better now, but worse, far, in the way of getting a living. I dare say, if I had dressed in rough corderoys, I shouldn't have been larked at so much, because they might have thought I was a regular coster, and a fighter; but I don't like that sort of thing -I like to be decent and respectable, if I can.
      "I've been in the `fried' trade ever since, except about three months that I tried the sandwiches. I didn't do so well in them, but it was a far easier trade; no carrying heavy weights all the way from Billingsgate: but I went back to the fried. Why now, sir, a good week with me -and I've only myself in the trade now" [he was a widower] -"is to earn 12s., a poor week is 9s.; and there's as many of one as of the other. I'm known to sell the best of fish, and to cook it in the best style. I think half of us, take it round and round for a year, may earn as much as I do, and the other half about half as much. I think so. I might have saved money, but for a family. I've only one at home with me now, and he really is a good lad. My customers are public-house people that want a relish or a sort of supper with their beer, not so much to drinkers. I sell to tradesmen, too; 4d. worth for tea or supper. Some of them send to my place, for I'm known. The Great Exhibition can't be any difference to me. I've a regular round. I used to sell a good deal to women of the town, but I don't now. They haven't the money, I believe. Where I took 10s. of them, eight or ten years ago, I now take only 6d. They may go for other sorts of relishes now; I can't say. The worst of my trade is, that people must have as big penn'orths when fish is dear as when its cheap. I never sold a piece of fish to an Italian boy in my life, though they're Catholics. Indeed, I never saw an Italian boy spend a halfpenny in the streets on anything."
      A working-man told me that he often bought fried fish, and accounted it a good to men like himself. He was fond of fried fish to his supper; he couldn't buy half so cheap as the streetsellers, perhaps not a quarter; and, if he could, it would cost him 1d. for dripping to fry the fish in, and he got it ready, and well fried, and generally good, for 1d.
      Subsequent inquiries satisfied me that my informant was correct as to his calculations of his fellows' earnings, judging from his own. The price of plaice at Billingsgate is from ½d. to 2d. each, according to size (the fried fish purveyors never calculate by the weight), ¾d. being a fair average. A plaice costing 1d. will now be fried into four pieces, each 1d.; but the addition of bread, cost of oil, &c., reduces the "fried" peoples' profits to rather less than cent. per cent. Soles and the other fish are, moreover, 30 per cent. dearer than plaice. As 150 sellers make as much weekly as my informant, and the other 150 half that amount, we have an average yearly earning of 27l. 6s. in one case, and of 13l. 13s. in the other. Taking only 20l. a year as a medium earning, and adding 90 per cent for profit, the outlay on the fried fish supplied by London street-sellers is 11,400l.

      The sale of sheep's trotters, as a regular streettrade, is confined to London, Liverpool, Newcastle-on-Tyne, and a few more of our greater towns. The "trotter," as it is commonly called, is the boiled foot of the sheep. None of my readers can have formed any commensurate notion of the extent of the sale in London, and to some readers the very existence of such a comestible may be unknown. The great supply now required is readily attained. The wholesale trade is now in the hands of one fellmongering firm, though until within these twenty months or so there were two, and the feet are cut off the sheep-skins by the salesmen in the skin-market, in Bermondsey, and conveyed to the fellmonger's premises in carts and in trucks.
      Sheep's trotters, one of my informants could remember, were sold in the streets fifty years ago, but in such small quantities that it could hardly be called a trade. Instead of being prepared wholesale as at present, and then sold out to the retailers, the trotters were then prepared by the individual retailers, or by small traders in tripe and cow-heel. Twenty-five years ago nearly all the sheep's trotters were "lined and prepared," when the skin came into the hands of the fellmonger, for the glue and size makers. Twenty years ago only about one twentieth of the trotters now prepared for eating were devoted to the same purpose; and it was not until about fifteen years back that the trade began to reach its present magnitude; and for the last twelve years it has been about stationary, but there were never more sold than last year.
      From fifteen to twenty years ago glue and size, owing principally to improved modes of manufacture, became cheaper, so that it paid the fellmonger better to dispose of the trotters as an article "cooked" for the poor, than to the glueboiler.
      The process of cookery is carried on rapidly at the fellmonger's in question. The feet are first scalded for about half an hour. After that from ten to fifteen boys are employed in scooping out the hoofs, which are sold for manure or to manufacturers of Prussian blue, which is extensively used by painters. Women are then employed, forty being an average number, "to scrape the hair off," -for hair it is called - quickly, but softly, so that the skin should not be injured, and after that the trotters are boiled for about four hours, and they are then ready for market.
      The proprietor of this establishment, after he had obligingly given me the information I required, invited me to walk round his premises unaccompanied, and observe how the business was conducted. The premises are extensive, and are situated, as are nearly all branches of the great trade connected with hides and skins, in Bermondsey. The trotter business is kept distinct from the general fellmongering. Within a long shed are five coppers, each containing, on an average, 250 "sets," a set being the complement of the sheep's feet, four. Two of these coppers, on my visit, were devoted to the scalding, and three to the boiling of the trotters. They looked like what one might imagine to be witches' big caldrons; seething, hissing, boiling, and throwing forth a steam not peculiarly grateful to the nostrils of the uninitiated. Thus there are, weekly, "cooking" in one form or other, the feet of 20,000 sheep for the consumption of the poorer classes, or as a relish for those whose stomachs crave after edibles of this description. At one extremity of this shed are the boys, who work in a place open at the side, but the flues and fires make all parts sufficiently warm. The women have a place to themselves on the opposite side of the yard. The room where they work has forms running along its sides, and each woman has a sort of bench in front of her seat, on which she scrapes the trotters. One of the best of these workwomen can scrape 150 sets, or 600 feet in a day, but the average of the work is 500 sets a week, including women and girls. I saw no girls but what seemed above seventeen or eighteen, and none of the women were old. They were exceedingly merry, laughing and chatting, and appearing to consider that a listener was not of primary consequence, as they talked pretty much altogether. I saw none but what were decently dressed, some were good-looking, and none seemed sickly.
      In this establishment are prepared, weekly, 20,000 sets, or 80,000 feet; a yearly average of 4,160,000 trotters, or the feet of 1,040,000 sheep. Of this quantity the street-folk buy seveneighths; 3,640,000 trotters yearly, or 70,000 weekly. The number of sheep trotter-sellers may be taken at 300, which gives an average of nearly sixty sets a week per individual.
      The wholesale price, at the "trotter yard," is five a penny, which gives an outlay by the street-sellers of 3,031l. 11s. yearly.
      But this is not the whole of the trade. Lamb's trotters are also prepared, but only to one-twentieth of the quantity of sheep's trotters, and that for only three months of the year. These are all sold to the street-sellers. The lamb's foot is usually left appended to the leg and shoulder of lamb. It is weighed with the joint, but the butcher's man or boy will say to the purchaser: "Do you want the foot?" As the answer is usually in the negative, it is at once cut off and forms a "perquisite." There are some half dozen men, journeymen butchers not fully employed, who collect these feet, prepare and sell them to the street-people, but as the lamb's feet are very seldom as fresh as those of the sheep carried direct from the skin market to -so to speak -the great trotter kitchen, the demand for "lamb's" falls off yearly. Last year the sale may be taken at about 14,000 sets, selling, wholesale, at about 46l., the same price as the sheep.
      The sellers of trotters, who are stationary at publichouse and theatre doors, and at street corners, and itinerant, but itinerant chiefly from one public house to another are a wretchedly poor class. Three fourths of them are elderly women and children, the great majority being Irish people, and there are more boys than girls in the trade. The capital required to start in the business is very small. A hand basket of the larger size costs 1s. 9d., but smaller or second-hand only 1s., and the white cotton cloth on which the trotters are displayed costs 4d. or 6d.; stock-money need not exceed 1s., so that 3s. is all that is required. This is one reason, I heard from several trotter-sellers, why the business is over-peopled.

      From one woman, who, I am assured, may be taken as a fair type of the better class of trotter-sellers -some of the women being sottish and addicted to penn'orths of gin beyond their means -I had the following statement. I found her in the top room of a lofty house in Clerkenwell. She was washing when I called, and her son, a crippled boy of 16, with his crutch by his side, was cleaning knives, which he had done for many months for a family in the neighbourhood, who paid for his labour in what the mother pronounced better than money -broken victuals, because they were of such good, wholesome quality. The room, which is of a good size, had its red-brown plaster walls, stained in parts with damp, but a great portion was covered with the cheap engravings "given away with No. 6" (or any other number) of some periodical "of thrilling interest;" while the narrow mantel-shelf was almost covered with pot figures of dumpy men, red-breeched and bluecoated, and similar ornaments. I have often noted such attempts to subdue, as it were, the grimness of poverty, by the poor who had "seen better days." The mother was tall and spare, and the boy had that look of premature sedateness, his face being of a sickly hue, common to those of quiet dispositions, who have been afflicted from their childhood: -
      "I'm the widow of a sawyer, sir," said Mrs. -, with a very slight brogue, for she was an Irishwoman, "and I've been a widow 18 long years. I'm 54, I believe, but that 18 years seems longer than all the rest of my life together. My husband earned hardly ever less than 30s. a week, sometimes 3l., and I didn't know what pinching was. But I was left destitute with four young children, and had to bring them up as well as I could, by what I could make by washing and charing, and a hard fight it was. One of my children went for a soldier, one's dead, another's married, and that's the youngest there. Ah! poor fellow, what he's gone through! He's had 18 abscesses, one after another, and he has been four times in Bartholomew's. There's only God above to help him when I'm gone. My health broke six years ago, and I couldn't do hard work in washing, and I took to trotter selling, because one of my neighbours was in that way, and told me how to go about it. My son sells trotters too; he always sits at the corner of this street. I go from one public-house to another, and sometimes stand at the door, or sit inside, because I'm known and have leave. But I can't either sit, or stand, or walk long at a time, I'm so rheumatic. No, sir, I can't say I was ever badly insulted in a public-house; but I only go to those I know. Others may be different. We depend mostly on trotters, but I have a shilling and my meat, for charing, a day in every week. I've tried 'winks and whelks too, 'cause I thought they might be more in my pocket than trotters, but they don't suit a poor woman that's begun a street-trade when she's not very young. And the trotters can be carried on with so little money. It's not so long ago that I've sold threepenn'orth of trotters -that is, him and me has - pretty early in the evening; I'd bought them at Mr. -'s, in Bermondsey, in the afternoon, for we can buy three penn'orth, and I walked there again -perhaps it's four miles there and back -and bought another 3d. worth. The first three-pence was all I could rise. It's a long weary way for me to walk, but some walk from Poplar and Limehouse. If I lay out 2s. on the Saturday -there's 15 sets for 1s., that's 60 trotters -they'll carry us on to Monday night, and sometimes, if they'll keep, to Tuesday night. Sometimes I could sell half-a-crown's worth in less time. I have to go to Bermondsey three or four times a week. The trade was far better six years ago, though trotters were dearer then, only 13 sets 1s., then 14, now 15. For some very few, that's very fine and very big, I get a penny a piece; for some I get 1½d. for two; the most's ½d. each; some's four for 1½d.; and some I have to throw into the dust-hole. The two of us earns 5s. a week on trotters, not more, I'm sure. I sell to people in the public-houses; some of them may be rather the worse for drink, but not so many; regular drunkards buys nothing but drink. I've sold them too to steady, respectable gentlemen, that's been passing in the street, who put them in their pockets for supper. My rent's 1s. a week."
      I then had some conversation with the poor lad. He'd had many a bitter night, he told me, from half-past five to twelve, for he knew there was no breakfast for his mother and him if he couldn't sell some trotters. He had a cry sometimes. He didn't know any good it did him, but he couldn't help it. The boys gathered round him sometimes, and teased him, and snatched at his crutch; and the policeman said that he must make him "move on," as he encouraged the boys about him. He didn't like the boys any more than they were fond of the policemen. He had often sad thoughts as he sat with his trotters before him, when he didn't cry; he wondered if ever he would be better off; but what could he do? He could read, but not write; he liked to read very well when he had anything to read. His mother and he never missed mass.
      Another old woman, very poorly, but rather tidily dressed, gave me the following account, which shows a little of public-house custom: -
      "I've seen better days, sir, I have indeed; I don't like to talk about that, but now I'm only a poor sheep's trotter seller, and I've been one a good many years. I don't know how long, and I don't like to think about it. It's shocking bad trade, and such insults as we have to put up with. I serve some public-houses, and I stand sometimes at a playhouse-door. I make 3s. or 3s. 6d. a week, and in a very good week 4s., but, then, I sometimes make only 2s. I'm infirm now, God help me! and I can do nothing else. Another old woman and me has a room between us, at 1s. 4d. a week. Mother's the best name I'm called in a public-house, and it ain't a respectable name. `Here, mother, give us one of your b -trotters,' is often said to me. One customer sometimes says: `The stuff'll choke me, but that's as good as the Union.' He ain't a bad man, though. He sometimes treats me. He'll bait my trotters, but that's his larking way, and then he'll say:
     `A pennorth o'gin, 'll make your old body spin.'
      It's his own poetry, he says. I don't know what he is, but he's often drunk, poor fellow. Women's far worse to please than men. I've known a woman buy a trotter, put her teeth into it, and then say it wasn't good, and return it. It wasn't paid for when she did so, and because I grumbled, I was abused by her, as if I'd been a Turk. The landlord interfered, and he said, said he, `I'll not have this poor woman insulted; she's here for the convenience of them as requires trotters, and she's a well-conducted woman, and I'll not have her insulted,' he says, says he, lofty and like a gentleman, sir. `Why, who's insulting the old b -h?' says the woman, says she. `Why, you are,' says the landlord, says he, `and you ought to pay her for her trotter, or how is she to live?' `What the b -h -ll do I care how she lives,' says the woman, `its nothing to me, and I won't pay her.' `Then I will,' says the landlord, says he, `here's 6d.,' and he wouldn't take the change. After that I soon sold all my trotters, and some gave me double price, when the landlord showed himself such a gentleman, and I went out and bought nine trotters more, another woman's stock, that she was dreading she couldn't sell, and I got through them in no time. It was the best trotter night I ever had. She wasn't a woman of the town as used me so. I have had worse sauce from modest women, as they called themselves, than from the women of the town, for plenty of them knows what poverty is, and is civiler, poor things -yes, I'm sure of that, though it's a shocking life - O, shocking! I never go to the playhouse-door but on a fine night. Young men treats their sweethearts to a trotter, for a relish, with a drop of beer between the acts. Wet nights is the best for public-houses. `They're not salt enough,' has been said to me, oft enough, `they don't make a man thirsty.' It'll come to the workhouse with me before long, and, perhaps, all the better. It's warm in the public-house, and that draws me to sell my trotters there sometimes. I live on fish and bread a good deal."
      The returns I collected show that there is expended yearly in London streets on trotters, calculating their sale, retail, at ½d. each, 6,500l., but though the regular price is ½d., some trotters are sold at four for 1½d., very few higher than ½d., and some are kept until they are unsaleable, so that the amount may be estimated at 6,000l., a receipt of 7s. 6d. weekly, per individual seller, rather more than one-half of which sum is profit.

      The baked potato trade, in the way it is at present carried on, has not been known more than fifteen years in the streets. Before that, potatoes were sometimes roasted as chestnuts are now, but only on a small scale. The trade is more profitable than that in fruit, but continues for but six months of the year.
      The potatoes, for street-consumption, are bought of the greengrocers, at the rate of 5s. 6d. the cwt. They are usually a large-sized "fruit," running about two or three to the pound. The kind generally bought is what are called the "French Regent's." French potatoes are greatly used now, as they are cheaper than the English. The potatoes are picked, and those of a large size, and with a rough skin, selected from the others, because they are the mealiest. A waxy potato shrivels in the baking. There are usually from 280 to 300 potatoes in the cwt.; these are cleaned by the huckster, and, when dried, taken in baskets, about a quarter cwt. at a time, to the baker's, to be cooked. They are baked in large tins, and require an hour and a half to do them well. The charge for baking is 9d. the cwt., the baker usually finding the tins. They are taken home from the bakehouse in a basket, with a yard and a half of green baize in which they are covered up, and so protected from the cold. The huckster then places them in his can, which consists of a tin with a half-lid; it stands on four legs, and has a large handle to it, while an iron firepot is suspended immediately beneath the vessel which is used for holding the potatoes. Directly over the fire-pot is a boiler for hot water. This is concealed within the vessel, and serves to keep the potatoes always hot. Outside the vessel where the potatoes are kept is, at one end, a small compartment for butter and salt, and at the other end another compartment for fresh charcoal. Above the boiler, and beside the lid, is a small pipe for carrying off the steam. These potato-cans are sometimes brightly polished, sometimes painted red, and occasionally brass-mounted. Some of the handsomest are all brass, and some are highly ornamented with brass-mountings. Great pride is taken in the cans. The baked-potato man usually devotes half an hour to polishing them up, and they are mostly kept as bright as silver. The handsomest potato-can is now in Shoreditch. It cost ten guineas, and is of brass mounted with German silver. There are three lamps attached to it, with coloured glass, and of a style to accord with that of the machine; each lamp cost 5s. The expense of an ordinary can, tin and brass-mounted, is about 50s. They are mostly made by a tinman in the Ratcliffehighway. The usual places for these cans to stand are the principal thoroughfares and streetmarkets. It is considered by one who has been many years at the business, that there are, taking those who have regular stands and those who are travelling with their cans on their arm, at least two hundred individuals engaged in the trade in London. There are three at the bottom of Farringdon-street, two in Smithfield, and three in Tottenham-court-road (the two places last named are said to be the best `pitches' in all London), two in Leather-lane, one on Holborn-hill, one at King's-cross, three at the Brill, Somers-town, three in the Newcut, three in Covent-garden (this is considered to be on market-days the second-best pitch), two at the Elephant and Castle, one at Westminster-bridge, two at the top of Edgewareroad, one in St. Martin's-lane, one in Newportmarket, two at the upper end of Oxford-street, one in Clare-market, two in Regent-street, one in Newgate-market, two at the Angel, Islington, three at Shoreditch church, four about Rosemary-lane, two at Whitechapel, two near Spitalfields-market, and more than double the above number wandering about London. Some of the cans have names -as the "Royal Union Jack" (engraved in a brass plate), the "Royal George," the "Prince of Wales," the "Original Baked Potatoes," and the "Old Original Baked Potatoes."
      The business begins about the middle of August and continues to the latter end of April, or as soon as the potatoes get to any size, - until they are pronounced `bad.' The season, upon an average, lasts about half the year, and depends much upon the weather. If it is cold and frosty, the trade is brisker than in wet weather; indeed then little is doing. The best hours for business are from half-past ten in the morning till two in the afternoon, and from five in the evening till eleven or twelve at night. The night trade is considered the best. In cold weather the potatoes are frequently bought to warm the hands. Indeed, an eminent divine classed them, in a public speech, among the best of modern improvements, it being a cheap luxury to the poor wayfarer, who was benumbed in the night by cold, and an excellent medium for diffusing warmth into the system, by being held in the gloved hand. Some buy them in the morning for lunch and some for dinner. A newsvender, who had to take a hasty meal in his shop, told me he was "always glad to hear the bakedpotato cry, as it made a dinner of what was only a snack without it." The best time at night, is about nine, when the potatoes are purchased for supper.
      The customers consist of all classes. Many gentlefolks buy them in the street, and take them home for supper in their pockets; but the working classes are the greatest purchasers. Many boys and girls lay out a halfpenny in a baked potato. Irishmen are particularly fond of them, but they are the worst customers, I am told, as they want the largest potatoes in the can. Women buy a great number of those sold. Some take them home, and some eat them in the street. Three baked potatoes are as much as will satisfy the stoutest appetite. One potato dealer in Smithfield is said to sell about 2½ cwt. of potatoes on a market-day; or, in other words, from 900 to 1,000 potatoes, and to take upwards of 2l. One informant told me that he himself had often sold 1½ cwt. of a day, and taken 1l. in halfpence. I am informed, that upon an average, taking the good stands with the bad ones throughout London, there are about 1 cwt. of potatoes sold by each baked-potato man -and there are 200 of these throughout the metropolis -making the total quantity of baked potatoes consumed every day 10 tons. The money spent upon these comes to within a few shillings of 125l. (calculating 300 potatoes to the cwt., and each of those potatoes to be sold at a halfpenny). Hence, there are 60 tons of baked potatoes eaten in London streets, and 750l. spent upon them every week during the season. Saturdays and Mondays are the best days for the sale of baked potatoes in those parts of London that are not near the markets; but in those in the vicinity of Clare, Newport, Covent-garden, Newgate, Smithfield, and other markets, the trade is briskest on the marketdays. The baked-potato men are many of them broken-down tradesmen. Many are labourers who find a difficulty of obtaining employment in the winter time; some are costermongers; some have been artisans; indeed, there are some of all classes among them.
      After the baked potato season is over, the generality of the hucksters take to selling strawberries, raspberries, or anything in season. Some go to labouring work. One of my informants, who had been a bricklayer's labourer, said that after the season he always looked out for work among the bricklayers, and this kept him employed until the baked potato season came round again.
      "When I first took to it," he said, "I was very badly off. My master had no employment for me, and my brother was ill, and so was my wife's sister, and I had no way of keeping 'em, or myself either. The labouring men are mostly out of work in the winter time, so I spoke to a friend of mine, and he told me how he managed every winter, and advised me to do the same. I took to it, and have stuck to it ever since. The trade was much better then. I could buy a hundred-weight of potatoes for 1s. 9d. to 2s. 3d., and there were fewer to sell them. We generally use to a cwt. of potatoes three-quarters of a pound of butter -tenpenny salt butter is what we buy -a pennyworth of salt, a pennyworth of pepper, and five pennyworth of charcoal. This, with the baking, 9d., brings the expenses to just upon 7s. 6d. per cwt., and for this our receipts will be 12s. 6d., thus leaving about 5s. per cwt. profit." Hence the average profits of the trade are about 30s. a week -"and more to some," said my informant. A man in Smithfieldmarket, I am credibly informed, clears at the least 3l. a week. On the Friday he has a fresh basket of hot potatoes brought to him from the baker's every quarter of an hour. Such is his custom that he has not even time to take money. and his wife stands by his side to do so.
      Another potato-vender who shifted his can, he said, "from a public-house where the tap dined at twelve," to another half-a-mile off, where it "dined at one, and so did the parlour," and afterwards to any place he deemed best, gave me the following account of his customers: -
      "Such a day as this, sir [Jan. 24], when the fog's like a cloud come down, people looks very shy at my taties, very; they've been more suspicious ever since the taty rot. I thought I should never have rekivered it; never, not the rot. I sell most to mechanics -I was a grocer's porter myself before I was a baked taty -for their dinners, and they're on for good shops where I serves the taps and parlours, and pays me without grumbling, like gentlemen. Gentlemen does grumble though, for I've sold to them at private houses when they've held the door half open as they've called me -aye, and ladies too -and they've said, `Is that all for 2d.?' If it 'd been a peck they'd have said the same, I know. Some customers is very pleasant with me, and says I'm a blessing. One always says he'll give me a ton of taties when his ship comes home, 'cause he can always have a hot murphy to his cold saveloy, when tin's short. He's a harness-maker, and the railways has injured him. There's Union-street and there's Pearl-row, and there's Market-street, now, -they're all off the Borough-road -if I go there at ten at night or so, I can sell 3s. worth, perhaps, 'cause they know me, and I have another baked taty to help there sometimes. They're women that's not reckoned the best in the world that buys there, but they pay me. I know why I got my name up. I had luck to have good fruit when the rot was about, and they got to know me. I only go twice or thrice a week, for it's two miles from my regular places. I've trusted them sometimes. They've said to me, as modest as could be, `Do give me credit, and 'pon my word you shall be paid; there's a dear!' I am paid mostly. Little shopkeepers is fair customers, but I do best for the taps and the parlours. Perhaps I make 12s. or 15s. a week -I hardly know, for I've only myself and keep no 'count -for the season; money goes one can't tell how, and 'specially if you drinks a drop, as I do sometimes. Foggy weather drives me to it, I'm so worritted; that is, now and then, you'll mind, sir."
      There are, at present, 300 vendors of hot baked potatoes getting their living in the streets of London, each of whom sell, upon an average, ¾ cwt. of potatoes daily. The average takings of each vendor is 6s. a day; and the receipts of the whole number throughout the season (which lasts from the latter end of September till March inclusive), a period of 6 months, is 14,000l.
      A capital is required to start in this trade as, follows: -can, 2l.; knife, 3d.; stock-money, 8s.; charge for baking 100 potatoes, 1s.; charcoal, 4d.; butter, 2d.; salt, 1d., and pepper, 1d.; altogether, 2l. 9s. 11d. The can and knife is the only property described as fixed, stock-money, &c., being daily occurring, amounts to 75l. during the season.

      These two appellations are, or have been, used somewhat confusedly in the meat trade. Thirty, or forty, or fifty years ago -for each term was mentioned to me -the butcher in question was a man who went "trotting" on his small horse to the mere distant suburbs to sell meat. This was when the suburbs, in any direction, were "not built up to" as they are now, and the appearance of the trotting butcher might be hailed as saving a walk of a mile, or a mile and a half, to a butcher's shop, for only tradesmen of a smaller capital then opened butcher's shops in the remoter suburbs. For a suburban butcher to send round "for orders" at that period would have occupied too much time, for a distance must be traversed; and to have gone, or sent, on horseback, would have entailed the keeping or hiring of a horse, which was in those days an expensive matter. One butcher who told me that he had known the trade, man and boy, for nearly fifty years, said: "As to `trotting,' a small man couldn't so well do it, for if 20l. was offered for a tidy horse in the war time it would most likely be said, `I'll get more for it in the cavaldry -for it was often called cavaldry then -there's better plunder there.' (Plunder, I may explain, is a common word in the horse trade to express profit.) So it wasn't so easy to get a horse." The trotting butchers were then men sent or going out from the more frequented parts to supply the suburbs, but in many cases only when a tradesman was "hung up" with meat. They carried from 20 to 100 lb. of meat generally in one basket, resting on the pommel of the saddle, and attached by a long leathern strap to the person of the "trotter." The trade, however, was irregular and, considering the expenses, little remunerative; neither was it extensive, but what might be the extent I could not ascertain. There then sprung up the class of butchers -or rather the class became greatly multiplied -who sent their boys or men on fast trotting horses to take orders from the dwellers in the suburbs, and even in the streets, not suburbs, which were away from the shop thoroughfares, and afterwards to deliver the orders -still travelling on horseback -at the customer's door. This system still continues, but to nothing like its former extent, and as it does not pertain especially to the street-trade I need not dwell upon it at present, nor on the competition that sprung up as to "trotting butcher's ponies," -in the "matching" of which "against time" sporting men have taken great interest.
      Of "trotting" butchers, keeping their own horses, there are now none, but there are still, I am told, about six of the class who contrive, by hiring, or more frequently borrowing, horses of some friendly butcher, to live by trotting. These men are all known, and all call upon known customers -often those whom they have served in their prosperity, for the trotting butcher is a "reduced" man -and are not likely to be succeeded by any in the same line, or - as I heard it called -"ride" of business. These traders not subsisting exactly upon street traffic, or on any adventure depending upon door by door, or street by street, commerce, but upon a connection remaining from their having been in business on their own accounts, need no further mention.
      The present class of street-traders in raw meat are known to the trade as "hawking" butchers, and they are as thoroughly streetsellers as are the game and poultry "hawkers." Their number, I am assured, is never less than 150, and sometimes 200 or even 250. They have all been butchers, or journeymen butchers, and are broken down in the one case, or unable to obtain work in the other. They then "watch the turn of the markets," as small meat "jobbers," and -as on the Stock Exchange -"invest," when they account the market at the lowest. The meat so purchased is hawked in a large basket carried on the shoulders, if of a weight too great to be sustained in a basket on the arm. The sale is confined almost entirely to public-houses, and those at no great distance from the great meat marts of Newgate, Leadenhall, and Whitechapel. The hawkers do not go to the suburbs. Their principal trade is in pork and veal, -for those joints weigh lighter, and present a larger surface in comparison with the weight, than do beef or mutton. The same may be said of lamb; but of that they do not buy one quarter so much as of pork or veal.
      The hawking butcher bought his meat last year at from 2½d. to 5½d. the pound, according to kind and quality. He seldom gave 6d., even years ago, when meat was dearer; for it is difficult -I was told by one of these hawkers -to get more than 6d. per lb. from chance customers, no matter what the market price. "If I ask 7½d. or 7d.," he said, "I'm sure of one answer -`Nonsense!' I never goes no higher nor 6d.' " Sometimes -and especially if he can command credit for two or three days -the hawking butcher will buy the whole carcass of a sheep. If he reside near the market, he may "cut it up" in his own room; but he can generally find the necessary accommodation at some friendly butcher's block. If the weather be "bad for keeping," he will dispose of a portion of the carcass to his brother-hawkers; if cold, he will persevere in hawking the whole himself. He usually, however, buys only a hind or forequarter of mutton, or other meat, except beef, which he buys by the joint, and more sparingly than he buys any other animal food. The hawker generally has his joints weighed before he starts, and can remember the exact pounds and ounces of each, but the purchasers generally weigh them before payment; or, as one hawker expressed it, "They goes to the scales before they come to the tin."
      Many of these hawkers drink hard, and, being often men of robust constitution, until the approach of age, can live "hard," -as regards lodging, especially. One hawker I heard of slept in a slaughter-house, on the bare but clean floor, for nearly two years: "But that was seven years ago, and no butcher would allow it now."


      A middle-aged man, the front of his head being nearly bald, and the few hairs there were to be seen shining strongly and lying tflat, as if rubbed with suet or dripping, gave me the following account. He was dressed in the usual blue garb of the butcher: -
      "I've hawked, sir -well, perhaps for fifteen years. My father was a journeyman butcher, and I helped him, and so grew up to it. I never had to call regular work, and made it out with hawking. Perhaps I've hawked, take it altogether, nearly three quarters of every year. The other times I've had a turn at slaughtering. But I haven't slaughtered for these three or four years; I've had turns as a butcher's porter, and wish I had more, as it's sure browns, if it's only 1s. 6d. a day: but there's often a bit of cuttings. I sell most pork of anything in autumn and winter, and most mutton in summer; but the summer isn't much more than half as good as the winter for my trade. When I slaughtered I had 3s. for an ox, 4d. for a sheep, and 1s. for a pig. Calves is slaughtered by the master's people generally. Well, I dare say it is cruel the way they slaughter calves; you would think it so, no doubt. I believe they slaughter cheaper now. If I buy cheap -and on a very hot day and a slow market, I have bought a fore, aye, and a hind, quarter of mutton, about two and a half stone each (8 lbs. to the stone), at 2d. a pound; but that's only very, very seldom -when I buy cheap sir, I aim at 2d. a pound over what I give, if not so cheap at 1d., and then its low to my customers. But I cut up the meat, you see, myself, and I carry it. I sell eight times as much to public-houses and eating-houses as anywhere else; most to the publics if they've ordinaries, and a deal for the publics' families' eating, 'cause a landlord knows I wouldn't deceive him, -and there's a part of it taken out in drink, of course, and landlords is good judges. Trade was far better years back. I've heard my father and his pals talk about a hawking butcher that twenty years ago was imprisoned falsely, and got a honest lawyer to bring his haction, and had 150l. damages for false imprisonment. It was in the Lord Mayor's Court of Equity, I've heard. It was a wrong arrest. I don't understand the particulars of it, but it's true; and the damages was for loss of time and trade. I'm no lawyer myself; not a bit. I have sold the like of a loin of mutton, when it was small, in a tap-room, to make chops for the people there. They'll cook chops and steaks for a pint of beer, at a public; that is, you must order a pint -but I've sold it very seldom. When mutton was dearer it was easier to sell it that way, for I sold cheap; and at one public the mechanics - I hardly know just what they was, something about building -used to gather there at one o'clock and wait for Giblets'; so they called me there. I live a good bit on the cuttings of the meat I hawk, or I chop a meal off if I can manage or afford it, or my wife -(I've only a wife and she earns never less than 2s. a week in washing for a master butcher -I wish I was a master butcher, -and that covers the rent) - my wife makes it into broth. Take it all the year round, I s'pose I sell three stun a day (24 lb.), and at 1d. a pound profit. Not a farthing more go round and round. I don't think the others, altogether, do as much, for I'm known to a many landlords. But some make 3s. and 4s. a day oft enough. I've made as much myself sometimes. We all aim at 1d. a pound profit, but have to take less in hot weather sometimes. Last year 4d. the pound has been a haverage price to me for all sorts."
      "Dead salesmen," as they are called -that is, the market salesmen of the meat sent so largely from Scotland and elsewhere, ready slaughtered -expressed to me their conviction that my informant's calculation was correct, and might be taken as an average; so did butchers. Thus, then, we find that the hawking butchers, taking their number at 150, sell 747,000 lbs. of meat, producing 12,450l. annually, one-fourth being profit; this gives an annual receipt of 83l. each, and an annual earning of 20l. 15s. The capital required to start in this trade is about 20s., which is uaually laid out as follows: -A basket for the shoulders, which costs 4s. 6d.; a leathern strap, 1s.; a basket for the arm, 2s. 6d.; a butcher's knife, 1s.; a steel, 1s. 6d.; a leather belt for the waist to which the knife is slung, 6d.; a chopper, 1s. 6d.; and a saw, 2s.; 6s. stock-money, though credit is sometimes given.

      The ham-sandwich-seller carries his sandwiches on a tray or flat basket, covered with a clean white cloth; he also wears a white apron, and white sleeves. His usual stand is at the doors of the theatres.
      The trade was unknown until eleven years ago, when a man who had been unsuccessful in keeping a coffee-shop in Westminster, found it necessary to look out for some mode of living, and he hit upon the plan of vending sandwiches, precisely in the present style, at the theatre doors. The attempt was successful; the man soon took 10s. a night, half of which was profit. He "attended" both the great theatres, and was "doing well;" but at five or six weeks' end, competitors appeared in the field, and increased rapidly, and so his sale was affected, people being regardless of his urging that he "was the original ham-sandwich." The capital required to start in the trade was small; a few pounds of ham, a proportion of loaves, and a little mustard was all that was required, and for this 10s. was ample. That sum, however, could not be commanded by many who were anxious to deal in sandwiches; and the man who commenced the trade supplied them at 6d. a dozen, the charge to the public being 1d. a-piece. Some of the men, however, murmured, because they thought that what they thus bought were not equal to those the wholesale sandwich-man offered for sale himself; and his wholesale trade fell off, until now, I am told, he has only two customers among street-sellers.
      Ham sandwiches are made from any part of the bacon which may be sufficiently lean, such as "the gammon," which now costs 4d. and 5d. the pound. It is sometimes, but very rarely, picked up at 3½d. When the trade was first started, 7d. a pound was paid for the ham, but the sandwiches are now much larger. To make three dozen a pound of meat is required, and four quartern loaves. The "ham" may cost 5d., the bread 1s. 8d. or 1s. 10d., and the mustard 1d. The proceeds for this would be 3s., but the trade is very precarious: little can be done in wet weather. If unsold, the sandwiches spoil, for the bread gets dry, and the ham loses its fresh colour; so that those who depend upon this trade are wretchedly poor. A first-rate week is to clear 10s.; a good week is put at 7s.; and a bad week at 3s. 6d. On some nights they do not sell a dozen sandwiches. There are halfpenny sandwiches, but these are only half the size of those at a penny.
      The persons carrying on this trade have been, for the most part, in some kind of service - errand-boys, pot-boys, foot-boys (or pages), or lads engaged about inns. Some few have been mechanics. Their average weekly earnings hardly exceed 5s., but some "get odd jobs" at other things.
      "There are now, sir, at the theatres this (the Strand) side the water, and at Ashley's, the Surrey, and the Vic., two dozen and nine sandwiches." So said one of the trade, who counted up his brethren for me. This man calculated also that at the Standard, the saloons, the concert-rooms, and at Limehouse, Mile-end, Bethnal-green-road, and elsewhere, there might be more than as many again as those "working" the theatres -or 70 in all. They are nearly all men, and no boys or girls are now in the trade. The number of these people, when the large theatres were open with the others, was about double what it is now.
      The information collected shows that the expenditure in ham-sandwiches, supplied by street-sellers, is 1,820l. yearly, and a consumption of 436,800 sandwiches.
      To start in the ham-sandwich street-trade requires 2s. for a basket, 2s. for kettle to boil ham in, 6d. for knife and fork, 2d. for mustardpot and spoon, 7d. for ½ cwt. of coals, 5s. for ham, 1s. 3d. for bread, 4d. for mustard, 9d. for basket, cloth, and apron, 4d. for over-sleeves - or a capital of 12s. 11d.

      A young man gave me the following account. His look and manners were subdued; and, though his dress was old and worn, it was clean and unpatched: -
      "I hardly remember my father, sir," he said; "but I believe, if he'd lived, I should have been better off. My mother couldn't keep my brother and me -he's older than me -when we grew to be twelve or thirteen, and we had to shift for ourselves. She works at the stays, and now makes only 3s. a week, and we can't help her. I was first in place as a sort of errand-boy, then I was a stationer's boy, and then a news agent's boy. I wasn't wanted any longer, but left with a good character. My brother had gone into the sandwich trade -I hardly know what made him -and he advised me to be a ham sandwich-man, and so I started as one. At first, I made 10s., and 7s., and 8s. a week -that's seven years, or so -but things are worse now, and I make 3s. 6d. some weeks, and 5s. others, and 6s. is an out-and-outer. My rent's 2s. a week, but I haven't my own things. I am so sick of this life, I'd do anything to get out of it; but I don't see a way. Perhaps I might have been more careful when I was first in it; but, really, if you do make 10s. a week, you want shoes, or a shirt -so what is 10s. after all? I wish I had it now, though. I used to buy my sandwiches at 6d. a dozen, but I found that wouldn't do; and now I buy and boil the stuff, and make them myself. What did cost 6d., now only costs me 4d. or 4½d. I work the theatres this side of the water, chiefly the 'Lympic and the 'Delphi. The best theatre I ever had was the Garding, when it had two galleries, and was dramatic -the operas there wasn't the least good to me. The Lyceum was good, when it was Mr. Keeley's. I hardly know what sort my customers are, but they're those that go to theaytres: shopkeepers and clerks, I think. Gentlemen don't often buy of me. They have bought, though. Oh, no, they never give a farthing over; they're more likely to want seven for 6d. The women of the town buy of me, when it gets late, for themselves and their fancy men. They're liberal enough when they've money. They sometimes treat a poor fellow in a publichouse. In summer I'm often out 'till four in the morning, and then must lie in bed half next day. The 'Delphi was better than it is. I've taken 3s. at the first "turn out" (the leaving the theatre for a short time after the first piece), "but the turn-outs at the Garding was better than that. A penny pie-shop has spoiled us at the 'Delphi and at Ashley's. I go out between eight and nine in the evening. People often want more in my sandwiches, though I'm starving on them. `Oh,' they'll say, `you've been 'prenticed to Vauxhall, you have.' `They're 1s. there,' says I, `and no bigger. I haven't Vauxhall prices.' I stand by the night-houses when it's late -not the fashionables. Their customers would'nt look at me; but I've known women, that carried their heads very high, glad to get a sandwich afterwards. Six times I've been upset by drunken fellows, on purpose, I've no doubt, and lost all my stock. Once, a gent. kicked my basket into the dirt, and he was going off -for it was late -but some people by began to make remarks about using a poor fellow that way, so he paid for all, after he had them counted. I am so sick of this life, sir. I do dread the winter so. I've stood up to the ankles in snow till after midnight, and till I've wished I was snow myself, and could melt like it and have an end. I'd do anything to get away from this, but I can't. Passion Week's another dreadful time. It drives us to starve, just when we want to get up a little stock-money for Easter. I've been bilked by cabmen, who've taken a sandwich; but, instead of paying for it, have offered to fight me. There's no help. We're knocked about sadly by the police. Time's very heavy on my hands, sometimes, and that's where you feel it. I read a bit, if I can get anything to read, for I was at St. Clement's school; or I walk out to look for a job. On summer-days I sell a trotter or two. But mine's a wretched life, and so is most ham sandwich-men. I've no enjoyment of my youth, and no comfort.
      "Ah, sir! I live very poorly. A ha'porth or a penn'orth of cheap fish, which I cook myself, is one of my treats -either herrings or plaice -with a 'tatur, perhaps. Then there's a sort of meal, now and then, off the odds and ends of the ham, such as isn't quite viewy enough for the public, along with the odds and ends of the loaves. I can't boil a bit of greens with my ham, 'cause I'm afraid it might rather spoil the colour. I don't slice the ham till it's cold -it cuts easier, and is a better colour then, I think. I wash my aprons, and sleeves, and cloths myself, and iron them too. A man that sometimes makes only 3s. 6d. a week, and sometimes less, and must pay 2s. rent out of that, must look after every farthing. I've often walked eight miles to see if I could find ham a halfpenny a pound cheaper anywhere. If it was tainted, I know it would be flung in my face. If I was sick there's only the parish for me."

      The street-trade in bread is not so extensive as might be expected, from the universality of the consumption. It is confined to Petticoat-lane and the poorer districts in that neighbourhood. A person who has known the East-end of town for nearly fifty years, told me that as long as he could recollect, bread was sold in the streets, but not to the present extent. In 1812 and 1813, when bread was the dearest, there was very little sold in the streets. At that time, and until 1815, the Assize Acts, regulating the bread-trade, were in force, and had been in force in London since 1266. Previously to 1815 bakers were restricted, by these Acts, to the baking of three kinds of bread -wheaten, standard wheaten, and household. The wheaten was made of the best flour, the standard wheaten of the different kinds of flour mixed together, and the household of the coarser and commoner flour. In 1823, however, it was enacted that within the City of London and ten miles round, "it shall be lawful for the bakers to make and sell bread made of wheat, barley, rye, oats, buck-wheat, Indian-corn, peas, beans, rice, or potatoes, or any of them, along with common salt, pure-water, eggs, milk, barm-leaven, potato, or other yeast, and mixed in such proportions as they shall think fit." I mention this because my informant, as well as an old master baker with whom I conversed on the subject, remembered that every now and then, after 1823, but only for two or three years, some speculative trader, both in shops and in the streets, would endeavour to introduce an inferior, but still & wholesome, bread, to his customers, such as an admixture of barley with wheat-flour, but no one -as far as I could learn -persevered in the speculation for more than a week or so. Their attempts were not only unsuccessful but they met with abuse, from streetbuyers especially, for endeavouring to palm off "brown" bread as "good enough for poor people." One of my elder informants remembered his father telling him that in 1800 and 1801, George III. had set the example of eating brown bread at his one o'clock dinner, but he was sometimes assailed as he passed in his carriage, with the reproachful epithet of "Brown George." This feeling continues, for the poor people, and even the more intelligent working-men, if cockneys, have still a notion that only "white" bread is fit for consumption. Into the question of the relative nutrition of breads, I shall enter when I treat of the bakers.
      During a period of about four months in the summer, there are from twenty to thirty men daily selling stale bread. Of these only twelve sell it regularly every day of the year, and they trade chiefly on their own account. Of the others, some are sent out by their masters, receiving from 1s. to 2s. for their labour. Those who sell on their own account, go round to the bakers' shops about Stepney, Mile-end, and Whitechapel, and purchase the stale-bread on hand. It is sold to them at ½d., 1d. and 1½d. per quartern less than the retail shop price; but when the weather is very hot, and the bakers have a large quantity of stale-bread on hand, the street-sellers sometimes get the bread at 2d. a quartern less than the retail price. All the street-sellers of bread have been brought up as bakers. Some have resorted to the streettrade, I am told, when unable to procure work; others because it is a less toilsome, and sometimes a more profitable means of subsistence, than the labour of an operative baker. It is very rarely that any of the street-traders leave their calling to resume working as journeymen. Some of these traders have baskets containing the bread offered for street-sale; others have barrows, and one has a barrow resembling a costermonger's, with a long basket made to fit upon it. The dress of these vendors is a light coat of cloth or fustian; corduroy, fustian, or cloth trousers, and a cloth cap or a hat, the whole attire being, what is best understood as "dusty," ingrained as it is with flour.
      From one bread-seller, a middle-aged man, with the pale look and habitual stoop of a journeyman baker, I had the following account:
      "I've known the street-trade a few years; I can't say exactly how many. I was a journeyman baker before that, and can't say but what I had pretty regular employment; but then, sir, what an employment it is! So much nightwork, and the heat of the overn, with the close air, and sleeping on sacks at nights (for you can't leave the place), so that altogether it's a slave's life. A journeyman baker hasn't what can be called a home, for he's so much away at the oven; he'd better not be a married man, for if his wife isn't very careful there's talk, and there's unhappiness about nothing perhaps. I can't be thought to speak feelingly that way though, for I've been fortunate in a wife. But a journeyman baker's life drives him to drink, almost whether he will or not. A street life's not quite so bad. I was out of work two or three weeks, and I certainly lushed too much, and can't say as I tried very hard to get work, but I had a pound or two in hand, and then I began to think I'd try and sell stale bread in the streets, for it's a healthfuller trade than the other; so I started, and have been at it ever since, excepting when I work a few days, or weeks, for a master baker; but he's a relation, and I assist him when he's ill. My customers are all poor persons, -some in rags, and some as decent as their bad earnings 'll let them. No doubt about it, sir, there's poor women buy of me that's wives of mechanics working slop, and that's forced to live on stale bread. Where there's a family of children, stale bread goes so very much further. I think I sell to few but what has families, for a quartern's too much at a time for a single woman. I often hear my customers talk about their children, and say they must make haste, as the poor things are hungry, and they couldn't get them any bread sooner. O, it's a hard fight to live, all Spitalfields and Bethnalgreen way, for I know it all. There are first the journeyman bakers over-worked and fretted into drinking, a-making the bread, and there are the poor fellows in all sorts of trade overworked to get money to buy it. I've had women that looked as if they was `reduced,' come to me of an evening as soon as it was dusk, and buy stale bread, as if they was ashamed to be seen. Yes, I give credit. Some has a week's credit regular, and pays every Saturday night. I lose very little in trusting. I sometimes have bread over and sell it -rather than hold it over to next day -for half what it cost me. I have given it away to begging people, sooner than keep it to be too stale, and they would get something for it at a lodging-house. The lodging-house keepers never buy of me that I know of. They can buy far cheaper than I can -you understand, sir. Perhaps, altogether, I make about a guinea every week; wet weather and short days are against me. I don't sell more, I think, on a Saturday than on other nights. The nights are much of a muchness that way."
      The average quantity sold by each vendor during the summer months is 150 quarterns daily, usually at 4d., but occasionally at 3d. the quartern. One man informed me that he had sold in one day 350 quarterns, receiving 5l. 16s. 8d. for them.
      The number of men (for if there be women they are the men's wives) engaged daily throughout the year in the street-sale of bread is 12. These sell upon an average 100 quarterns each per day: taking every day in the year 1l. 12s. each (a few being sold at 3d.)
      Calculating then the four months' trade in summer at 150 quarterns per day per man, and reckoning 15 men so selling, and each receiving 45s. (thus allowing for the threepenny sale); and taking the receipts of the 12 regular traders at 1l. 12s. per day, we find nearly 9,000l. annually expended in the street purchase of 700,000 quartern loaves of bread. The profits of the sellers vary from 1l. to 2l. a week, according to the extent of their business.
      To start in this branch of the street-trade a capital is required according to the following rate: -Stock-money for bread, average 1l.; (largest amount required, 5l.; smallest, 10s.); a basket, 4s. 6d. Of those who are employed in the summer, one-half have baskets, and the other half bakers' barrows; while of those who attend the year through, 8 have baskets at 4s. 6d. each, 3 have barrows at 40s. each, and one a barrow and the long basket, before mentioned. The barrow costs 30s., and the basket 2l.

      The sale of hot green peas in the streets is of great antiquity, that is to say, if the cry of "hot peas-cod," recorded by Lydgate (and formerly alluded to), may be taken as having intimated the sale of the same article. In many parts of the country it is, or was, customary to have "Scaldings of peas," often held as a sort of rustic feast. The peas were not shelled, but boiled in the pod, and eaten by the pod being dipped in melted butter, with a little pepper, salt, and vinegar, and then drawn through the teeth to extract the peas, the pod being thrown away. The mention of peas-cod (or pea-shell) by Lydgate renders it probable that the " scalding" method was that then in use in the streets. None of the street-sellers, however, whom I saw, remembered the peas being vended in any other form than shelled and boiled as at present.
      The sellers of green peas have no stands, but carry a round or oval tin pot or pan, with a swing handle; the pan being wrapped round with a thick cloth, to retain the heat. The peas are served out with a ladle, and eaten by the customers, if eaten in the street, out of basins, provided with spoons, by the pea-man. Salt, vinegar, and pepper, are applied from the vendor's store, at the customer's discretion.
      There are now four men carrying on this trade. They wear no particular dress, "just what clothes we can get," said one of them. One, who has been in the trade twenty-five years, was formerly an inn-porter; the other three are ladies' shoemakers in the day-time, and peasellers in the evening, or at early morning, in any market. Their average sale is three gallons daily, with a receipt of 7s. per man. Seven gallons a day is accounted a large sale; but the largest of all is at Greenwich fair, when each pea-man will take 35s. in a day. Each vendor has his district. One takes Billingsgate, Rosemary-lane, and its vicinity; another, the Old Clothes Exchange, Bishopsgate, Shoreditch, and Bethnal-green; a third, Mile-end and Stepney; and a fourth, Ratcliffe-highway, Limehouse, and Poplar. Each man resides in his "round," for the convenience of boiling his peas, and introducing them to his customers "hot and hot."
      The peas used in this traffic are all the dried field pea, but dried green and whole, and not split, or prepared, as are the yellow peas for soup or puddings. They are purchased at the corn-chandlers' or the seed-shops, the price being 2s. the peck (or two gallons.) The peas are soaked before they are boiled, and swell considerably, so that one gallon of the dried peas makes rather more than two gallons of the boiled. The hot green peas are sold in halfpennyworths; a halfpennyworth being about a quarter of a pint. The cry of the sellers is, "Hot green peas! all hot, all hot! Here's your peas hot, hot, hot!"


      The most experienced man in the trade gave me the following account: -
      "Come the 25th of March, sir, and I shall have been 26 years in the business, for I started it on the 25th of March -it's a day easy for to remember, 'cause everybody knows it's quarterday -in 1825. I was a porter in coaching-inns before; but there was a mishap, and I had to drop it. I didn't leave 'cause I thought the pea line might be better, but because I must do something, and knew a man in the trade, and all about it. It was a capital trade then, and for a good many years after I was in it. Many a day I've taken a guinea, and, sometimes, 35s.; and I have taken two guineas at Greenwich Fair, but then I worked till one or two in the morning from eleven the day before. Money wasn't so scarce then. Oh, sir, as to what my profit was or is, I never tell. I wouldn't to my own wife; neither her that's living nor her that's dead." [A person present intimated that the secret might be safely confided to the dead wife, but the peaseller shook his head.] "Now, one day with another, except Sundays, when I don't work, I may take 7s. I always use the dried peas. They pay better than fresh garden-peas would at a groat a peck. People has asked for young green peas, but I've said that I didn't have them. Billingsgate's my best ground. I sell to the costers, and the roughs, and all the parties that has their dinners in the tap-rooms -they has a bit of steak, or a bit of cold meat they've brought with them. There's very little fish eat in Billingsgate, except, perhaps, at the ord'n'ries (ordinaries). I'm looked for as regular as dinner-time. The landlords tell me to give my customers plenty of pepper and salt, to make them thirsty. I go on board the Billingsgate ships, too, and sometimes sell 6d. worth to captain and crew. It's a treat, after a rough voyage. Oh, no, sir, I never go on board the Dutch eel-vessels. There's nothing to be got out of scaly fur'ners (foreigners.) I sell to the herring, and mackarel, and oysterboats when they're up. My great sale is in public-houses, but I sometimes sell 2d. or 3d. worth to private houses. I go out morning, noon, and night; and at night I go my round when people's having a bite of supper, perhaps, in the public-houses. I sell to the women of the town then. Yes, I give them credit. To-night, now (Saturday), I expect to receive 2s. 3d., or near on to it, that I've trusted them this week. They mostly pay me on a Saturday night. I lose very little by them. I'm knocked about in public-houses by the Billingsgate roughs, and I've been bilked by the prigs. I've known at least six people try my trade, and fail in it, and I was glad to see them broke. I sell twice as much in cold weather as in warm."
      I ascertained that my informant sold three times as much as the other dealers, who confine their trade principally to an evening round. Reckoning that the chief man of business sells 3 gallons a day (which, at 1d. the quarter-pint, would be 8s., my informant said 7s.), and that the other three together sell the same quantity, we find a street-expenditure on hot green peas of 250l. and a street consumption of 1870 gallons. The peas, costing 2s. the two gallons, are vended for 4s. or 5s., at the least, as they boil into more than double the quantity, and a gallon, retail, is 2s. 8d.; but the addition of vinegar, pepper, &c., may reduce the profit to cent. per cent., while there is the heaping up of every measure retail to reduce the profit. Thus, independent of any consideration as to the labour in boiling, &c. (generally done by the women), the principal man's profit is 21s. a week; that of the others 7s. each weekly.
      The capital required to start in the business is -can, 2s. 6d.; vinegar-bottle and pepper-box, 4d.; saucers and spoons, 6d.; stock-money, about 2s.; cloth to wrap over the peas, 4d. (a vendor wearing out a cloth in three months); or an average of 9s. or 10s.

      The supply of food for cats and dogs is far greater than may be generally thought. "Vy, sir," said one of the dealers to me, "can you tell me 'ow many people's in London?" On my replying, upwards of two millions; "I don't know nothing vatever," said my informant, "about millions, but I think there's a cat to every ten people, aye, and more than that; and so, sir, you can reckon." [I told him this gave a total of 200,000 cats in London; but the number of inhabited houses in the metropolis was 100,000 more than this, and though there was not a cat to every house, still, as many lodgers as well as householders kept cats, I added that I thought the total number of cats in London might be taken at the same number as the inhabited houses, or 300,000 in all.] "There's not near half so many dogs as cats. I must know, for they all knows me, and I sarves about 200 cats and 70 dogs. Mine's a middling trade, but some does far better. Some cats has a hap'orth a day, some every other day; werry few can afford a penn'orth, but times is inferior. Dogs is better pay when you've a connection among 'em."
      The cat and dogs'-meat dealers, or "carriers," as they call themselves, generally purchase the meat at the knackers' (horse-slaughterers') yards. There are upwards of twenty of such yards in London; three or four are in Whitechapel, one in Wandsworth, two in Cow-cross -one of the two last mentioned is the largest establishment in London -and there are two about Bermondsey. The proprietors of these yards purchase live and dead horses. They contract for them with large firms, such as brewers, coal-merchants, and large cab and 'bus yards, giving so much per head for their old live and dead horses through the year. The price varies from 2l. to 50s. the carcass. The knackers also have contractors in the country ( harnessmakers and others), who bring or send up to town for them the live and dead stock of those parts. The dead horses are brought to the yard -two or three upon one cart, and sometimes five. The live ones are tied to the tail of these carts, and behind the tail of each other. Occasionally a string of fourteen or fifteen are brought up, head to tail, at one time. The live horses are purchased merely for slaughtering. If among the lot bought there should chance to be one that is young, but in bad condition, it is placed in the stable, fed up, and then put into the knacker's carts, or sold by them, or let on hire. Occasionally a fine horse has been rescued from death in this manner. One person is known to have bought an animal for 15s., for which he afterwards got 150l. Frequently young horses that will not work in cabs -such as "jibs" -are sold to the horse-slaughterers as useless. They are kept in the yard, and after being well fed, often turn out good horses. The live horses are slaughtered by the persons called "knackers." These men get upon an average 4s. a day. They begin work at twelve at night, because some of the flesh is required to be boiled before six in the morning; indeed, a great part of the meat is delivered to the carriers before that hour. The horse to be slaughtered has his mane clipped as short as possible (on account of the hair, which is valuable). It is then blinded with a piece of old apron smothered in blood, so that it may not see the slaughterman when about to strike. A pole-axe is used, and a cane, to put an immediate end to the animal's sufferings. After the animal is slaughtered, the hide is taken off, and the flesh cut from the bones in large pieces. These pieces are termed, according to the part from which they are cut, hind-quarters, forequarters, cram-bones, throats, necks, briskets, backs, ribs, kidney pieces, hearts, tongues, liver and lights. The bones (called "racks" by the knackers) are chopped up and boiled, in order to extract the fat, which is used for greasing common harness, and the wheels of carts and drags, &c. The bones themselves are sold for manure. The pieces of flesh are thrown into large coppers or pans, about nine feet in diameter and four feet deep. Each of these pans will hold about three good-sized horses. Sometimes two large brewers' horses will fill them, and sometimes as many as four "poor" cab-horses may be put into them. The flesh is boiled about an hour and 20 minutes for a "killed" horse, and from two hours to two hours and 20 minutes for a dead horse (a horse dying from age or disease). The flesh, when boiled, is taken from the coppers, laid on the stones, and sprinkled with water to cool it. It is then weighed out in pieces of 112, 56, 28, 21, 14, 7, and 3½ lbs. weight. These are either taken round in a cart to the "carriers," or, at about five, the carriers call at the yard to purchase, and continue doing so till twelve in the day. The price is 14s. per cwt. in winter, and 16s. in summer. The tripe is served out at 12 lb. for 6d. All this is for cats and dogs. The carriers then take the meat round town, wherever their "walk" may lie. They sell it to the public at the rate of 2½d. per lb., and in small pieces, on skewers, at a farthing, a halfpenny, and a penny each. Some carriers will sell as much as a hundred-weight in a day, and about half a hundred-weight is the average quantity disposed of by the carriers in London. Some sell much eheaper than others. These dealers will frequently knock at the doors of persons whom they have seen served by another on the previous day, and show them that they can let them have a larger quantity of meat for the same money. The class of persons belonging to the business are mostly those who have been unable to obtain employment at their trade. Occasionally a person is bred to it, having been engaged as a lad by some carrier to go round with the barrow and assist him in his business. These boys will, after a time, find a "walk" for themselves, beginning first with a basket, and ultimately rising to a barrow. Many of the carriers give light weight to the extent of 2 oz. and 4 oz. in the pound. At one yard alone near upon 100 carriers purchase meat, and there are, upon an average, 150 horses slaughtered there every week. Each slaughter-house may be said to do, one with another, 60 horses per week throughout the year, which, reckoning the London slaughter-houses at 12, gives a total of 720 horses killed every week in the metropolis, or, in round numbers, 37,500 in the course of the year.
      The London cat and dogs'-meat carriers or sellers -nearly all men -number at the least 1,000.
      The slaughtermen are said to reap large fortunes very rapidly -indeed, the carriers say they coin the money. Many of them retire after a few years, and take large farms. One, after 12 years' business, retired with several thousand pounds, and has now three large farms. The carriers are men, women, and boys. Very few women do as well as the men at it. The carriers "are generally sad drunkards." Out of five hundred, it is said three hundred at least spend 1l. a head a week in drink. One party in the trade told me that he knew a carrier who would often spend 10s. in liquor at one sitting. The profit the carriers make upon the meat is at present only a penny per pound. In the summer time the profit per pound is reduced to a halfpenny, owing to the meat being dearer on account of its scarcity. The carriers give a great deal of credit -indeed, they take but little ready money. On some days they do not come home with more than 2s. One with a middling walk pays for his meat 7s. 6d. per day. For this he has half a hundred-weight. This produces him as much as 11s. 6d., so that his profit is 4s.; which, I am assured, is about a fair average of the earnings of the trade. One carrier is said to have amassed 1,000l. at the business. He usually sold from 1½ to 2 cwt. every morning, so that his profits were generally from 16s. to 1l. per day. But the trade is much worse now. There are so many at it, they say, that there is barely a living for any. A carrier assured me that he seldom went less than 30, and frequently 40 miles, through the streets every day. The best districts are among the houses of tradesmen, mechanics, and labourers. The coachmen in the mews at the back of the squares are very good customers. "The work lays thicker there," said my informant. Old maids are bad, though very plentiful, customers. They cheapen the carriers down so, that they can scarcely live at the business. "They will pay one halfpenny and owe another, and forget that after a day or two." The cats' meat dealers generally complain of their losses from bad debts. Their customers require credit frequently to the extent of 1l. "One party owes me 15s. now," said a carrier to me, "and many 10s.; in fact, very few people pay ready money for the meat."
      The carriers frequently serve as much as ten penny worths to one person in a day. One gentleman has as much as 4 lbs. of meat each morning for two Newfoundland dogs; and there was one woman -a black -who used to have as much as 16 pennyworth every day. This person used to get out on the roof of the house and throw it to the cats on the tiles. By this she brought so many stray cats round about the neighbourhood, that the parties in the vicinity complained; it was quite a nuisance. She would have the meat always brought to her before ten in the morning, or else she would send to a shop for it, and between ten and eleven in the morning the noise and cries of the hundreds of stray cats attracted to the spot was "terrible to hear." When the meat was thrown to the cats on the roof, the riot, and confusion, and fighting, was beyond description. "A beer-shop man," I was told, "was obliged to keep five or six dogs to drive the cats from his walls." There was also a mad woman in Islington, who used to have 14 lbs. of meat a day. The party who supplied her had his money often at 2l. and 3l. at a time. She had as many as thirty cats at times in her house. Every stray one that came she would take in and support. The stench was so great that she was obliged to be ejected. The best days for the cats' meat business are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. A double quantity of meat is sold on the Saturday; and on that day and Monday and Tuesday the weekly customers generally pay.
      "My father was a baker by trade," said a carrier to me, "but through an enlargement of the heart he was obliged to give up working at his trade; leaning over the trough increased his complaint so severely, that he used to fall down, and be obliged to be brought home. This made him take to the cats' and dogs' meat trade, and he brought me up to it. I do pretty comfortably. I have a very good business, having been all my life at it. If it wasn't for the bad debts I should do much better; but some of the people I trust leave the houses, and actually take in a double quantity of meat the day before. I suppose there is at the present moment as much as 20l. owing to me that I never expect to see a farthing of."
      The generality of the dealers wear a shiny hat, black plush waistcoat and sleeves, a blue apron, corduroy trousers, and a blue and white spotted handkerchief round their necks. Some, indeed, will wear two and three handkerchiefs round their necks, this being fashionable among them. A great many meet every Friday afternoon in the donkey-market, Smithfield, and retire to a public-house adjoining, to spend the evening.
      A "cats' meat carrier" who supplied me with information was more comfortably situated than any of the poorer classes that I have yet seen. He lived in the front room of a second floor, in an open and respectable quarter of the town, and his lodgings were the perfection of comfort and cleanliness in an humble sphere. It was late in the evening when I reached the house. I found the "carrier" and his family preparing for supper. In a large morocco leather easy chair sat the cats' meat carrier himself; his "blue apron and black shiny hat" had disappeared, and he wore a "dress" coat and a black satin waistcoat instead. His wife, who was a remarkably pretty woman, and of very attractive manners, wore a "Dolly Varden" cap, placed jauntily at the back of her head, and a drab merino dress. The room was cosily carpeted, and in one corner stood a mahogany "crib" with cane-work sides, in which one of the children was asleep. On the table was a clean white table-cloth, and the room was savoury with the steaks, and mashed potatoes that were cooking on the fire. Indeed, I have never yet seen greater comfort in the abodes of the poor. The cleanliness and wholesomeness of the apartment were the more striking from the unpleasant associations connected with the calling.
      It is believed by one who has been engaged at the business for 25 years, that there are from 900 to 1,000 horses, averaging 2 cwt. of meat each -little and big -boiled down every week; so that the quantity of cats' and dogs' meat used throughout London is about 200,000 lbs. per week, and this, sold at the rate of 2½d. per lb., gives 2,000l. a week for the money spent in cats' and dogs' meat, or upwards of 100,000l. a year, which is at the rate of 100l.-worth sold annually by each carrier. The profits of the carriers may be estimated at about 50l. each per annum.    The capital required to start in this business varies from 1l. to 2l. The stock-money needed is between 5s. and 10s. The barrow and basket, weights and scales, knife and steel, or blackstone, cost about 2l. when new, and from 15s. to 4s. second-hand.