Now, suffer me to state a case which I have just seen opposite my house.
About 10 o'clock I heard from my drawingroom a very lively conversation going on
over the way. I observed the guardian constable of the night leisurely leaning
against the area railing, and engaged in rattling talk and laughter with two
servants, who were in the diningroom of the house which he thus favoured with a
monopoly of his attention. Presently he stepped down the area steps, and
received from the window, by the hand of his loving and loquacious nymph, a
handful of cake or other food, which he then and there proceeded to demolish,
pursuing meanwhile his interesting gossip for a very long time. He then went
away down the street for two or three minutes, and returned to his post, where
he stayed, occupied as before, till a quarter to 11. At the suggestion of
prudence, or for the benefit of his digestion, he then took another stroll. This
time it was of longer duration, for he did not return till close upon 11
o'clock. Again he resumed his delightful conversation . . .
A proceeding more thoroughly cool and impudent than all this was I never had the fortune to witness. The upshot is, that this policeman's duties have tonight been limited to one spot during a space of time which, in the aggregate, could not have been less (and may have been more) than an entire hour; and not only this, but he was for that period amusing himself with loud and offensive effrontery, very unworthy of a respectable street.
Now, Sir, this is pretty clear evidence as to how it comes to pass that policemen are so hard to be found now-a-days when wanted. Each one seems to have his own peculiar Chloe of the kitchen on his own peculiar beat - (perhaps, I should rather say in every other street of it) - and instead of looking forward to his turn of duty as a matter of toil and unrest, it must be that he sighs for it as his hour of loving colloquy and pleasant food.
from a letter to The Times, July 16, 1852
PITY THE SORROWS OF THE POOR POLICE
"LOR, SOOSAN! HOW'S A FELLER TO EAT MEAT SUCH WEATHER AS THIS. NOW, A BIT O'PICKLED SALMON AND COWCUMBER, OR A LOBSTER SALID MIGHT DO."
Punch, Jul.-Dec. 1852