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Thread: Beggars And Cheats.

  1. #1
    Dragon
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    Beggars And Cheats.

    Ladies and gentleman are warned to be particularly on the lookout for the following classes of unsavory, dangerous and undeserving sorts of individuals:

    Begging Letter-Writers

    Foremost among beggars, by right of pretention to blighted prospects and correct penmanship, stands the Begging-Letter Writer. He is the connecting link between mendicity and the observance of external respectability . . . .

    Decayed Gentleman

    The conversation of this class of mendicant is of former greatness, of acquaintance among the nobility and gentry of a particular county -- always a distant one from the scene of operations -- of hunting, races, balls, meets, appointments to the magistracy, lord-lieutenants, contested elections, and marriages in high life. The knowledge of the things of which he talks about so fluently is gleaned from files of old county newspapers. When at fault, or to use his own phrase "pounded", a ready wit, a deprecating shrug, and a few words, such as, 'Perhaps I am mistaken -- I used to visit a great deal there, and was introduced to so many who have forgotten me now -- my memory is failing, like everything else'-- extricate him from his difficulty and increase his capital of past prosperity and present poverty. The decayed gentleman is also a great authority on wines -- by right of a famous sample -- his father 'laid down' in eighteen eleven, 'the comet year, you know' and is not a little severe upon his past extravagance. He relishes in retrospection of the heavy losses he endured at Newmarket, Doncaster, and Epsom in 'fourty-two and three' and is pathetic on the subject of the death of William Scott. The cause of his ruin he attributes usually to a suit in the Court of Chancery, or the 'fatal and calamitous Encombured Irish Estates Bill.' He is a florid imposter and has a jaunty sonorous way of using his lean, threadbare, silk pocket- handercheif, that carries conviction even to the most eptical."

    The Broken-Down Tradesman

    The broken-down tradesman is a sort of retail dealer in the same description of article as the decayed gentleman. The unexpected breaking of fourteen of the most respectable banking- houses in New York, or the loss of the cargoes of two vessels in the late autumnal gales, or the suspension of payment of Haul, Strong, and Chates, 'joined and combined together with the present commercial crisis, has been the means of bringing him down to his deplorable situation,' as his letter runs. His references are mostly from churchwardens, bankers, and dissenting clergymen, and he carries about a ficitious set of books -- daybook, ledger, and petty cash book, containing entries of debts of large amounts, and a dazaling display of the neatest and most immaculate commercial cyphering.
    Dragon has a wife whose appearance in itself is a small income. She folds the hardest-working-looking set of hands across the cleanest of aprons, and curtseys with the humility of a pew-opener.
    The clothes of the worthy couple are shabby, but their persons and linen are rigorosly clean. Thier cheeks shine with yellow soap, as if they were rasped and bees-waxed every morining. The male imposter, when fleeing a victim, has the habit of washing his hands 'with invisible soap and imperceptable water' as though he were waiting a coustomer. The wedded pair -- and, generally, they are really married -- are of congenial dispositions and domestic turn of mind, and get drunk, and fight each other, or go half-price to the play according to their humor. It is usually jealousy that betrays them. The husband is unfaithful, and the wife 'peaches'; through her agency the police are put upon the track, and the broken-down tradesman is committed. In prison he professes extreme pentinence and has a turn for scriptural quotation, that stands him in good stead.

    Ashamed Beggars

    By the above title I mean those tall, lanthorn-jawed men, in seedy well-brushed clothes who, with a ticket on their breasts, on which a short but piteous tale is written in the most respectable of large-hand, and with a few boxes of lucifer matches in their hands, make no appeal by word of mouth, but invoke the charity of passers-by by meek glances and imploring looks-fellows who, having no talent for "patter" are gifted with great powers of facial pathos, and make expression of feature stand in lieu of vocal supplication . . . .

    The Swell Beggar

    A singular variety of this sort of mendicant used to be seen some years ago in the streets of Cambridge. He had been a gentlemen of property, and had studied at the colleges. Race- courses, billiard-table, and general gambling had reduced him to beggary; but he was too proud to ask alms He swept a crossing. His clothes -- he always wore evening dress -- were miserably ragged and shabby; his hat was a broken Gibus, but he managed to have good and fashionable boots; and his shirt collar, and wrist bands were changed every day. A white cambric handkerchief peeped from his coat tail pocket, and a gold eye-glass dangled from his neck. His hands were lady like; his nails well kept; and it impossible to look at him without a mingled feeling of pity and amusement.
    His plan of operations was to station himself at his crossing at the time the ladies of Cambridge were out shopping. His antics were curiously funny. Dangling his broom between his forefinger and thumb, as if it were a light umbrella or riding whip, he would arrive at stand, and look up to the sky to see what sort of weather might be expected. Then, tucking the broom beneath his arm he would take off his gloves, fold them together and put them into his coat pockets, sweep his crossing carefully, and when he had finished, look at it with admiration. When ladies crossed, he would remove his broken hat and smile with great benignity, displaying at the same time a fine set of teeth. On wet days his attentions to the fair sex knew no bounds. He would run before them and wipe away every little puddle in their path.
    On receiving a gratuity, which was generally in silver, he would remove his hat and bow gracefully and gratefully. When gentlemen walked over his crossing he would stop them and, holding his hat in the true mendicant fashion, request the loan of a shilling. With many, he was a regular pensioner. When a mechanic or poor looking person offered him a copper, he would take it, and smile his thanks with a patronising air, but he never took off his hat for less than sixpence. When he considered his day's work over, he would put on his gloves and, dangling his broom in his careless elegant way, trip home to his lodging. He never used a broom but once a day, and gave the old ones to his landlady. The undergraduates were kind to him, and encouraged his follies; but the college dons looked coldly on him, and when they passed him he would assume an expression of impertinent indifference as if he cut them. I never heard what became of him. When I last saw him he looked between forty and fifty years of age.

    Clean Family Beggar

    Clean Family Beggars are those who beg or sing in the streets, in numbers varying from four to seven. I need only particularise one "gang" or "party", as their appearance and method of begging will do as a sample of all others
    Beggars of this class group themselves artistically. A broken- down looking man, in the last stage of seediness, walks hand-in- hand with a palefaced, interesting little girl. His wife trudges on his other side, a baby in one arm; a child just able to walk steadies itself by the hand that is disengaged; two or three other children cling about the skirts of her gown, one occasionally detaching himself or herself-as a kind of rear or advanced guard from the main body-to cut off stragglers and pounce upon falling halfpence, or look piteously upon the face of a passer by. The clothing of the whole troop are in that state when seediness is dropping into rags; but their hands and face are perfectly clean- their skins literally shine-perhaps from the effect of plentiful use of soap, which they do not wash off before drying with a towel. The complexions of the smaller children, in particular, glitter like sandpaper, and their eyes are half closed, and their noses corrugated, as with constant and compulsory ablution. The baby is a wonderful specimen of washing and getting-up of ornamental linen. Altogether, the Clean Family Beggars form a most attractive picture for quiet and respectable streets, and "pose" themselves for the admiration of the thrifty matrons, who are their best supporters.

  2. #2
    SSS
    Registered User SSS's Avatar SSS is offline
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    u really expect me to read all that shite

  3. #3
    Registered User CARAMELSISTA's Avatar CARAMELSISTA is offline
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    be for real Dragon, I must sit down and read all ah this

  4. #4
    Registered User CARAMELSISTA's Avatar CARAMELSISTA is offline
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    Originally posted by SSS
    u really expect me to read all that shite

    hahahahhaha i know it was only me

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