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be instead of a feather, a fox tail hanging down, a long stick with ribbands streaming, and the like; yet for all their seeming madness, they have wit enough to steal as they go.”
The Whip Jacks have left us a specimen of their fraternity: they were counterfeit mariners, whose conversations were plentifully embellished with sea terms, and falsehoods of their dangers in the exercise of their profession. Instead of securing their arms and legs close to their bodie and wrapping them in bandages (as the modern Whip Jack is in the habit of doing, to excite compassion for the loss of limbs and severe wounds), the antients merely pretended they had lost their all by shipwreck, and were reduced to beg their way to a sea-port, if in the country; or to some remote one, if in London. Mumpers — The
- The persons thus termed are described as being of both sexes : they were not solicitors for food, but money and cloaths. “ The male Mumper, in the times of the late Usurpation, was cloathed in an old torn cassock, begirt with a girdle, with a black cap, and a white one peeping out underneath.” With a formal and studied countenance, he stole up to a gentleman, and whispered him softly in the ear, that he was a poor sequestered parson, with a wife and many children. At other times, they would assume the habit of a decayed gentleman, and beg as if they had been ruined by their attachment to the
Royal cause. Sometimes the Mumper appeared “ with an apron before him, and a cap on his head, and begs in the nature of a broken tradesman, who, having been a long time sick, hath spent all his reinaining stock, and so weak he cannot work.” The females of this class of miscreants generally attacked the ladies, and in a manner suited to make an impression on their finer feelings.
“ Dommerars are such who counterfeit themselves dumb, and have a notable art to roll their tongues up into the roof of their mouth, that you would verily believe their tongues were cut out; and to make you have the stronger belief thereof, they will gape and shew you where it was done, clapping in a sharp stick, and, touching the tongue, make it bleed — and then the ignorant dispute it no farther.”
“ Patricos are the Strolling Priests : every hedge is their parish, and every wandering rogue their parishioner. The service he saith is the marrying of couples, without the Gospel, or Book of Common Prayer, the solemnity whereof is thus: the parties to be married find out a dead horse, or any other beast, and, standing one on the one side and the other on the other, the Patrico bids them live together till death them part; and, so shaking hands, the wedding is ended.”
The Gamester of 1674 is thus described in an anonymous little volume intituled the “Complete
Gamester," written with a moral intention and much ability. “ Some say he was born with cards in his hands; others that he will die so; but certainly it is all his life, and, whether he sleeps or wakes, he thinks of nothing else. He speaks the language of the game he plays at, better than the language of his country, and can less endure a solecism in that, than this. He knows no judge but the groom-porter, no law but that of the game —at which he is so expert, all appeal to him as subordinate judge to the supreme ones.
He loves winter more than summer, because it affords more gamesters; and Christmas more than any other time, because there is more gaming then. He gives more willingly to the butler than to the poor’s-box, and is never more religious than when he prays
win. “ He imagines he is at play when he is at church; he takes his prayer-book for a pack of cards, and thinks he is shuffling when he turns over the leaves. This man will play like Nero when the city is on fire, or like Archimedes when it is sacking, rather than interrupt his game.
If play hath reduced him to poverty, then he is like one drowning, who fastens upon any thing next at hand. Amongst other of his shipwrecks, he hath happily lost shame, and this want supplies him. No man puts his brain to more use than he; for his life is a daily invention, and each meal a new stratagem; and, like a fly,
will boldly sup at every man's cup. He will offer you a quart of sack, out of his joy to see you ; and, in requital of this courtesy, you can do no less than pay for it. His borrowings are like subsidies, each man a shilling or twó, as he can well dispend; which they lend him not with the hope to be repaid, but that he will come no more. Men shun him, at length, as they do an infec-. tion; and having done with the aye, as: his cloaths to him, hung on as long as he could, atlast drops off.”
The same author describes an ordinary * of the above period in glowing colours, and prɔceeds: “ These rooks can do little harm in the day-time at an ordinary, being forced to play upon the square; although now and then they make an advantage, when the box-keeper goes with him; and then the knave and rascal will violate his trust for profit, and lend him (when
* A small book, published in 1974, mentiors an ordinary in these words ; from which it will be found, that the ordinary of that time was but little different from those of the present day, in one particular : “An ordinary is a handsome house, where every day, about the hour of twelve, a good dinner is prepared, by way of ordinary, composed of variety of dishes in season, well dressed, with all other accommodations fit for that purpose ; whereby many gentlemen of great estates and good repute make this place their resort, who after dinner play awhile for recreation, both moderately, and commonly without deserving reproof."
he sees good) a tickler shall do his business; but if discovered, the box-keeper ought to be soundly kicked for his pains. Such practices, and sometimes the box-keeper's connivances, are so much 'used of late, that there is nothing near that fair play in an ordinary as formerly. The day being shut in, you may properly compare this place to those countries which lie far in the North, where it is as clear at midnight as at noon day; and though it is a house of sin, yet you cannot call it a house of darkness; for the candles never go out till morning, unless the sudden fury of a losing gamester makes them extinct. This is the time (when ravenous beasts usually seek their prey) wherein comes shoals of Huffs, Hectors, Setters, Gilts, Pads, Biters, Divers, Lifters, Filers, Budgies, Droppers, Cross-biters, &c. and these may all pass under the general and common appellation of Rooks. And in this particular an ordinary serves as a nursery for Tyburn; for if any one will put himself to the trouble of observation, he shall find that there is seldom a year wherein there are not some of this gang hung as precious jewels in the ear of Tyburn. Look back, and you will find a great many gone already : God knows how many are to follow! Thesc Rooks are in continual motion, walking from one table to another, till they can discover some inexperienced young gentleman, cashier, or apprentice, that is come to this school