A Chamber in the Dark-House at Billingsgate, and its Furniture Described. Of Billingsgate Market. Of Custom-House-Key, with the Character of a Land-waiter, and a Merchants Man. Pig-Hill describ’d. The Monument Survey’d. Observations upon the London-Quest. Wise-Acres-Hall, alias Gresham-Colledge, Described. The Character of a Peripatetick. Of a Member of the Royal Society. A Description of Bedlam. Remarks upon the Royal-Exchange, and the Costermongers at the Entrance. On the Merchants in their several Walks. Of a Graecian that sells Amber Necklaces. Honour and Glory, his Original. Of a Deformed Man, with a handsome Wife. Of the Lord Mayors Court, and the Office of Intelligence. A Description of the Exchange above Stairs; with Chaucers Character of a Sempstress.
WHen we had cool’d the Fever of our Brains with a plentiful Dose of that reviving Cordial, Sleep; and our wakeful Faculties having shaken off Morpheus’s Leaden Plummets from our drowsie Eye-lids (after a few Slug-a-Bed Yawnes and Lazy Stretches) we found, by the advancement of the Day, it was high time to make our Resurrection. Accordingly, with mutual resolutions, we started from Sluggards Paradice, the Bed; and collected our scatter’d Garments in order for Equipping.
When with abundance of Rubbing, Scrubbing, Washing and Combing, we had made our selves tolerable Figures to appear by Day light, we descended from our Snoaring-Kennel, so finely Perfum’d by the fusty Jackets of their Tarpaulin Guests, that it smelt as Odoriferously grateful, as a Suffolk-Cheese toasting over a Flaming Pitch-barrel. It’s walls being adorn’d with as many unsavory Finger-dabs as an Inns of Court Bog-house. The Ceiling Beautified, like a Soldiers Garrot, or a Counter Chamber, with Smutty Names and Bawdy Shadows, Sketch’d by unskilful hands with Candle-flame and Charcole. The Bed, ’tis true, was Feathers, but most of them large enough to make Pens or Tooth-Pickers. An Earthen Chamber-Pot as big as a three Gallon Steyn, Glaz’d o’er with Green, and looks as fine as any Temple Mug or Country Pudding-Pan.
Having turn’d our Back-sides upon these Cubicular Conveniencies, we crept, being Cold, to a new kindled smoaky Fire, where we fortified our Appetites against the Contagious Breaths of Funking Carmen, with a Penny-worth of burnt Bread soften’d in a Mug of Porters Guzzle, improv’d with a slice of Cheshire. This we gobbled up (being hasty to be gone) with as much Expedition as a Citizens Wife does an Islington Cheesecake, when Treated by her Husband. Then satisfied our TunA large beer or wine cask, also formerly used to describe the capacity of ships.-bellied Hostess, and left the Infernal Mansion to the sinful Sons of Darkness, there to practice their Iniquities.
We now turn’d down to the Thames-side, where the frightful roaring of the Bridge Water-falls so astonish’d my Eyes, and terrified my Ears, that, like Roger in his Mill, or the Inhabitants near the Cataracts of Nile, I could hear no Voice softer than a Speaking Trumpet, or the audible Organ of a Scolding Fish-Woman. After I had feasted my Intellects with the surprizing Novelty, we turn’d towards Billingsgate; where a parcel of Fellows came running upon us in a great fury, crying out (as I thought) Schollars, Schollars, will you have any Whores? Lord Bless me, said I to my Friend, What a wicked place is this, that a Man in a Black Coat cannot pass about his business without being ask’d in publick such an abominable Question? Hauling and Pulling him about by the Arms, as if they would force him to commit Fornication in spright of his Teeth: Notwithstanding I told ’em we wanted no Whores, nor would we have any, yet they would scarce be satisfied. My Friend laugh’d heartily at my innocent Mistake, and undeceiv’d my Ignorance; telling me they were Watermen, who distinguish’d themselves by the Titles of Oares and Scullers; which made me Blush at my Error, like a Bashful Lady that had drop’t her Garter, or a Modest Man who cripples his Jest by a forgetful Hesitation.
After we had loos’d our selves, with much difficulty, from the unparallel’d Insolency of Charon’s Progeny, we turn’d into a Crowd of Thumb-Ring’d Flat-caps, from the Age of Seven to Seventy, who sat Snarling and Grunting at one another, over their Sprats and Whitings, like a pack of Domestick Dogs over the Cook-maids kindness, or a parcel of hungry Sows at a Trough of Hogwash; every one looking as sharp as a stroling Fortune-teller; that I fear’d they would have pickt my Pocket with their Eyes, or have brought me under an ill-Tongue before I could have shot this dangerous Gulph, where the Angry Surges of a Tempestuous Tittle Tattle run Mountain high, dashing into my Ears on every side, that I was as glad when I had weather’d this Storm of Verbosity, as an Insolvent Creditor who has slip’d the Villanous gripes of a gang of Protection-Cursers.
Having thus happily quitted the stink of Sprats, and the untuneable Clamours of the Wrangling Society, we pass’d round the Dock, where some Salt Water Slaves, according to their well-bred Custom, were pelting of Sons of Whores at one another, about the Birth of their Oyster-Boats. One unhappily being acquainted how to touch the other in his tenderest part, gaulAn ancient region covering much of western Europe, including France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and parts of Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and northern Italy.’d his impatient Adversary with the provoking Name of Cuckold; which intollerable Indignity so fermented the Choler of the little Snail-catcher, that he resolved to show himself a Champion in defence of his Wife’s Virtues; and leaping into the others Boat, there, like a true-bred Cock, made a vigorous assault upon his Enemies Dunghill. But a sad disaster attended the poor Combatants, for in their Scuffle they fell Over-board: But the Tide being half spent, the Water was not high enough to cool their Courage; for notwithstanding, they maintain’d an Amphibious Fight, and Battell’d, like Ducks and Drakes, in two Elements at once, till the Cuckold had bravely subdued his Antagonist, and made his poor Victim (half Drown’d, and half Knock’d o’th’ Head) Publickly acknowledge the unspotted Reputation of the Victor’s Dutchess; who at the end of the Fray, having receiv’d Intelligence of her Lord and Master’s Engagement, came down to the Dock-side, Crown’d with an Oyster-Basket, and there with an audible Voice, set up a passionate Justification of her own Honesty, to the great Diversion of the whole Auditory. Her LeviathanA ground-breaking book, written by Thomas Hobbes and published in 1651. In it he argues for a reciprocal relationship between obedience (from the people) and protection (by the state), so this work is considered one of the first works of social contract theory. With Hobbes arguing from this…-Shape was a good testimony of her Vertues, for had our first She-Parent been but half so Homely, the Devil would have been Damn’d nine times deeper into the Infernal Abyss, before he would have Robb’d her of her Innocency, or frustrated Adam in the Blessing of his Help-Mate. From thence we mov’d on to a stately Fabrick, before which a parcel of Robust Mortals were as busie as so many Flies upon a Cow turd; some running about in Circular Jimcracks, like so many Turnspits labouring in their Jack-wheels; others so deeply engag’d in hooping of Casks, as if they were taking all imaginable care that every Tub should stand upon its own bottom. Many Scales at work, and abundance of Eagle-Ey’d Vermin hovering about ’em, that I thought at first Justice might have resided there, (till my Friend told me No,no,) and these were her Agents, Balancing the Miseries against the Sins of the Nation. Prethee, Friend, said I, What is that Grizly Bacchanalian, with a Pen twisted in his Hair, whose Face looks as if it cost as much the Dying as would have set up a Topping Vintner? Says my Friend, he’s one of those Cormorants called a Land-Waiter: His Business is to take care no Body cheats the King but himself. His Post is honestly worth a Hundred a Year; but with the help of an open Hand, and a close Mouth, he can (without Burthen to his Conscience) make it worth thrice the Money. What is he in the long WhigA member of the reforming and constitutional party that sought the supremacy of Parliament over the monarchy. The party was succeeded by the Liberal Party in the nineteenth century., with his Fox-skin Muff upon his Button, and his Pocket Book in his hand? Why he (replies my School-fellow) is a Beau, Prentice to some topping Merchant; and is taking the weight of his Masters Goods, that he is not wrong’d in the Customs. He is very careful no Body cheats him abroad, and his Master is forc’d to be as watchful Mr. Finikin does not Injure him at home: For a Flattering Companion, or a Jilting Mistress, will at any time make him dip his Fingers in the Cash, to treat them with a New-Play, or solace them with a Bottle.
Pray, says my Friend, take Notice of that Gentleman in the Camlet-Cloak, he will tell you from his own Experience, that any Man may grow Rich from Humility and Industry; and that ’tis nothing but Pride and Laziness that begets Poverty and Misfortune. When he came first to Town he had but three Pence in the World, which he Prudently laid out in a new Broom, that might Sweep clean, which he very dexterously apply’d with his utmost Labour, to the Dirty Wharf, without bidding from any Body; but had Sense enough to consider it belong’d to somebody, who would at least give him thanks, if not recompence his Trouble. The Master of the Wharf happening to espy him at his Task, gave him some small encouragement to continue his cleanliness, which he practiced daily with as a Younger Brother in the Courtship of a Fortune, till he had gain’d his end, and curry’d favour with the Merchant, who lent him his assistance by degrees, which the other improving, is now become a Man of a great Estate, and considerable Authority: But if any poor Man ask him for an Alms, he tells him there are Riches buried in the Dirt; and good Fortune in a Broom; and if he will Sweep as he was forc’d to do, he may come in time to be Lord Mayor of London; To which, a cross old Mumper reply’d, If you had not got more by Knavery and Usury, than ever you did by your Honesty and Industry, you might have been Apprentic’d to your Broom till this time, and never have been made a Freeman.
I now enquir’d of my Friend what they call’d this busie Spot, he told me ’twas the Custom-House, and in that stately Edifice the Commissioners sat, about whom I ask’d some Questions, but found my Friend too shie to give me satisfaction; saying, If I tell you the Truth, I’m a Fool to my self; if False, unjust to my Friend; and make you become a Lyar to the World; I shall therefore, instead of what you expect, give a Proverbial Caution, viz. They are a parcel of Edge-Tools, with whom there is no Jesting; and he that attempts to Eat Fire to please a Crowd, if he finds cause to complain he has Burnt his Mouth, maketh himself but a Laughing-Stock.
By the Advice of my Companion, we turn’d back till we came to a place call’d Pig-Hill, which resembling the Steep Descent down which the Devil drove his Hogs to a Bad-Market, I suppose it is therefore honour’d with the aforesaid Title; in regard to which, they are always in a condition of turning the Stomach of a Jew, or Poisoning a Scotchman; and can satisfie an Epicurian Appetite, or save a Lady’s Longing, with Pig or Pork, in any Hour of the Day, or any Day in the Year: the Cooks, according to report, keeping many Spaniel Bitches, as Wet Nurses, for the due Suckling of their Sows Babbies; which adds, they say, such a Sweetness to their Flesh, that they Eat as fine as any Puppy-Dog, and all such Persons who are admirers of this Luxurious Food, may the whole Winter have it there ready Drest, without the Danger of Fly-Sauce, which is more than in Summer I’m able to promise you: All the Elements contribute to their Cooking of every Squeaker they dress; he is first scalded in Water, then dry’d in the Air, and half bak’d in the Sun; then Roasted by the Fire, afterwards dissected by a Cholerick Executioner, and his Quarters dispos’d on to several Gates of hungry Citizens, where Teeth are the Port-Cullies, as if the poor Pig had been convicted of a Plot, and died a Traytor.
As we walk’d up the Hill, as Lazily as an ArtilleryLarge guns used in warfare, or referring to the group that uses those guns. Captain before his Company upon a Lord-Mayors day, or a Paul’s Labourer up a Ladder with a Hod of Mortar, we peep’d in at a Gateway, where we saw three or four Blades well drest, with Hawkes Countenances, attended with half a Dozen Ragamuffinly Fellows, showing Poverty in their Rags, and Despair in their Faces, mixt with a parcel of young Wild Striplings like Run-away Prentices: I could not forbear enquiring of my Friend about this Ill-favour’d multitude, patch’d up of such awkward Figures, that it would have puzzled a Moor-Fields Artist, well Read in Physiognomy, to have discover’d their Dispositions by their Looks.
That House, says my Friend, which they there are entering, is an Office where Servants for the Plantations, bind themselves to be miserable as long as they Live, without an especial ProvidenceGod or another spiritual entity's protective care and direction. prevents it, &c. Those fine Fellows who look like Foot-men upon a Holy-day, crept into cast Suits of their Masters, that want Gentility in their Deportments answerable to their Apparel, are Kidnappers, who walk the Change, and other parts of the Town, in order to seduce People, who want Services, and Young Fools crost in Love, and under an uneasiness of mind, to go beyond Seas, getting so much a head of Masters of Ships, and Merchants who go over, for every Wretch they trapan into this Misery. Those Young Rakes and Tatterdemallions you see so Lovingly hearded, are drawn by their Fair Promises to Sell themselves into Slavery, and the Kidnappers are the Rogues that run away with the Money.
Now, says my Friend, I’ll show you a Towering Edifice, erected thro’ the Wisdom and Honesty of the City; as a very high Memorandum of it’s being laid low, either by a Judgment from Heaven for Sins of the People, or by the Treachery of the Papists, according to the Inscription of the Monument; who I suppose is as Ignorant of the matter as my self; for that was neither Built then, nor I Born: so I believe we are equally as able to tell the Truth of the Story, as a Quack Astrologer is by the assistance of the Signs and Planets, what was the Name of Moses’s Great Grand-Father, or how many Quarts of Water went to the Worlds drowning. You’ll be mightily pleas’d with the Loftiness of this slender Column, for it’s very height was the first thing that ever occasioned wry Necks in England, by the Peoples staring at the Top on’t. To the Glory of the City, and the Everlasting Reputation of the worthy Projectors of this high and mighty Babel; it was more savingly than honestly Built, by the poor Orphans Money; many of them since having beg’d their Bread; and the Charitable Elders of the City have given them a Stone. Look ye now, you may see it; pray view it, and give me your Opinion.
What is it of no use but only to Gaze at? Yes, yes, says my Friend; Astrologers go often to the Top on’t, when they have a mind to play the Pimp, and see Mars and Venus in Conjunction; tho’ the chief use of it is for the improvement of Vintners Boys and Drawers, who come every Week to exercise their Supporters, and learn the Tavern-Trip by running up to the Balcony, and down again, which fixes them in a Nimble step, and makes them rare Light-heeld Emissaries in a Months Practice. Do you observe the Carving, which contains the King and his Brother’s Picture? They were cut by an Eminent Artist, and are looked upon by a great many Impartial Judges to be a couple of extraordinary good figures. Pray what think you? I know you have some Judgement in Proportion.
Why truly, said I, they are the only Grace and Ornament of the whole Building; but ’tis a thousand pities the Stones formed into so Noble Order, should be so basely purchas’d, to the ruin of so many thousand Fatherless and Widdows; but I suppose it was Politically done, to fix such a Testimonial of their Loyalty upon a Structure so unjustly rais’d, that the one might in some measure wash away the Stain of the other; and to prevent the high flown Loyalists to reflect upon their Treachery to the poor Orphans, since they may pretend (tho’ they cheated ’em of their Money) ’twas with a pious design of setting up the Kings Picture, in reverence to his Person, who all the World knows they had a wonderful respect for; and in honour to the City, which, to be sure, was as dear to them as their Lives and Fortunes. Tho’ I have heard their chief drift in this memorable Undertaking was, to get Estates to themselves without mistrust; that they might enjoy them without molestation.
As you say, this Edifice, as well as some others, was projected as a Memorandum of the Fire, or an Ornament to the City; but to give those corrupted Magistrates who had the Power in their Hands, the opportunity of putting Two Thousand Pound into their own Pockets, whilst they paid one towards the Building. I must confess all that I think can be spoke in Praise of it, is, ’Tis a Monument to the City’s shame, the Orphans Grief, the Protestants Pride, and the Papists ScandalAn event or action that causes public outrage, or the outrage caused by that event or action.; and only serves as a high-crown’d Hat, to cover the Head of the old Fellow that shows it.
When my Friend had thus oblig’d me with a full Prospect of our Metropolitan May-Pole, we turn’d up Grace-Church-Street, in order for Gresham-Colledge, where we met a Fellow in a Gown, with a piece of Prodigality, call’d a Mace, upon his Shoulder; and another, like one of Justice’s Sumpter-Horses, laden with Scales, Weights and Measures; a third Arm’d like a Round-headed Cuckold, marching to Horn-Fair, with a Pick-Ax. These advanced in the Front, Attended with a Troop of Loyterers in Gowns, who Hobbled after, with as much Formality as a parcel of Gossips at a Christening, to the Parish Church, behind Mother Grope, and her fine Mantle. They had match’d themselves together with abundance of Discretion; mix’d Fat and Lean like so many Scotch Runts in Smithfield Market, amongst the like number of Lincolnshire-Oxen, that I thought it a lively representation of Pharoah’s Dream, appearing to me as a true EmblemA heraldic device or symbol that forms the badge of a nation, organisation, or family. of Plenty and Famine: For one part of them look’d as if they had half eat up the other. By and by, they pitch’d down a Triangular Device, with as many Legs as Tyburn; and began of a sudden to be all as busie as so many Sheriffs Men at an Execution. I enquir’d of my Friend how these Mortals were Dignified or Distinguish’d, and what was the weighty Affair they were so pryingly Engaged in? He told me these were a part of the worthy Members of the Quest, whose Business was to Inspect Weights and Measures, taking care that every Shop-keepers Yard be of the Standard length, whilst the Wife (sitting behind the Counter) laughs in her Sleeve all the time they’re Measuring. Also to give warning for the mending of Pavements, and removing all Nusances under the Penalty of a Fine. Their Meeting is generally at a Hall, except they have a Quest-House, from whence they go to Church to Prayers, and return back to be Drunk. They detect very few People in their Faults, for they Honestly take care not to injure their Neighbours, but inform them when they shall walk their Rounds, that they may remove their false Weights and Measures out of the way; and have larger ready to produce to conceal their Roguery. The Inhabitants of every Precinct are oblig’d to give ’em their Company at Dinner; where he that does not behave himself Generously, and purchase his Security at the expence of half a piece, shall be surely return’d upon the Jury the next Impannel. They have an old Custom of Brewing Spic’d-Ale; and he that does not take care to send his Wife a Jug-ful, runs the hazard by his Negligence, of raising an evil Spirit in his Family, that no Conjurer can lay in a Fortnight. They have as many several Offices amongst ’em, as are in a Noble-mans Family, viz.Foreman, Controuler, Treasurer, Steward, Butler, &c. They have a Groat a House from each Inhabitant, besides their Fines, with which they Feast their ingurgitating Stomachs with luxurious Excesses. The Questmens Generosity and the Aldermans Humility are commonly equal: The Quest contribute in every Ward, thro’ Benevolence, their Crowns a piece, to give his Worship a Collation answerable to his Dignity.
From thence we pass’d without any thing remarkable, till we came to Wise-Acres-Hall, more commonly call’d Gresham-Colledge, which we entr’d as gravely as a couple of Eleemosinary Smoakers in M—u’s Shop, or a couple of sanctified Harlots into B—s Meeting-house; we step’d thro’ a little Brick Court, and then came into a Spacious Quadrangle, where, in a Melancholy Cloister, we saw a Peripatetick walking, ruminating, as I suppose, upon his Entities, Essences, and Occult Qualities, or else upon the Philosophers-stone; looking as if he very much wanted it; his steps he measur’d out with that Exactness and Deliberation, that, I believe, had just such a Number fail’d by bringing him to the end of the Cloister, he would have been in a great Passion with his Legs; during his perambulation, his Eyes were fix’d upon the Pavement, from whence I conjecture, he could see as well into a Mill-Stone as another; all the time we observ’d him, he took great care to follow his Nose, fearing, I suppose, if he had turned his Guide towards either Shoulder, he should have lost his way, and having wandred upon some other Stones out of that direct line to which he had confin’d his walk: His Countenance was Mathematical, having as many Lines and Angles in his Face, as you shall find in Euclid’s Elements; and look’d as if he had fed upon nothing but Cursus Mathematicus for a Fortnight; he seem’d to scorn the use of Gloves as much as Diogenesdid his Dish, crossing his Arms over his Breast, and warming his Hands under his Armpits, his Lips quak’d as if he’d had an Ague in his Mouth; which tremulous motion I conceiv’d was occasion’d by his Soliloquies, to which we left him. My Friend conducted me up a pair of Stairs, to the Elaboratory-keeper’s Apartment, and desir’d him to oblige us with a Sight of the Rarities; who very courteously granted us the Liberty; opening his Ware-House of Egyptian Mummies, old musty Skeletons, and other antiquated Trumpery: The first thing he thought most worthy of our Notice, was the Magnet, with which he show’d some notable Experiments, it made a Paper of Steel-Filings prick up themselves one up upon the back of another, that they stood pointing like the Bristles of a Hedge-hog; and gave such Life and Merriment to a parcel of Needles, they danc’d the Hay, by the Motion of the Stone, as if the Devil were in ’em; the next things he presented to our view were a parcel of Shell-Flies almost as big as Lobsters, arm’d with Beaks as big as those of Jack-daws: Then he commended to our Observation that wonderful Curiosity the Unicorns Horn; made as I suppose, by an Ingenious Turner, of the Tusks of an Elephant; it is of an excellent Virtue; and, by report of those that know nothing of the matter, will expel Poison beyond the Mountebanks Orvieton: Then he carry’d us to another part of the Room, where was an Aviary of Dead Birds, Collected from the Extream parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America; amongst which were an East-India Owl, a West-India Bat, and a Bird of Paradise; the last being Beautified with variety of Colours, having no discernable Body, but all Feathers; Feeding when alive, upon nothing but Air, and tho’ ’tis as big as a Parrot, ’tis as light as a Cobweb; it is reported by the Sage Philosophers of this Society, That a Feather of this Fowl, carry’d about you, is an Infallible security against all Evil Temptation; for which Reason they have pretty well pick’d it, to carry home Presents of it to their Wives and Daughters. Then he usher’d us among sundry sort of Serpents, as the Noy, Pelonga, Rattle-Snake, Alligator, Crocadile, &c. That looking round me, I thought my self hem’d in amongst a Legion of Devils: When we had taken a survey of these Pincushion Monsters, we turn’d towards the Skeleton of Men, Women, and Monkeys, Birds, Beasts, and Fishes; Abortives put up in Pickle, and abundance of other Memorandums of Mortality; that they looked as Ghostly as the Picture of Michael Angelo’s Resurrection; as if they had Collected their scatter’d Bones into their Original Order, and were about to March in search after the rest of the Appurtenances.
When we had taken this short view of the Wonders of the World, and had crost the hand of our Raree-show Interpreter with a piece of Silver, who, like the crooked Oratour to the Abby-Tombs, made a notable Harangue upon every Bauble in this Store-House, glutted with the Sight of those Rusty Reliques, and Philosophical Toys, we determin’d to steer our Course towards Bedlam; so remov’d from Maggot-mongers-Hall, to survey Madmans-Colledge. In the mid-way, between both, my Friend bid me take Notice of a Man, who was Shuffling along in as much haste as a Scrivener to make a Will, or a poor Quack to a Rich Patient; that Man, says he, That walks like a Mercury, as if he had Wings to his Heels, is a Topping Vertuosa, and a Member of the Royal Society; he is by his Profession a Labourer to a Physician, but has made himself, by a curious inspection into Mysteries of Universality, a Jack of all Trades, and is thought by the Learned, to be as knowing a Philomat as he that has peep’d seven Years into a Pitch-Barrel; he’s a wonderful Artist at the cleansing of a foul Stomach, or the sweeping of a Gut; and was one of the chief Promoters of Mens Ease, who brought that savory Receptacle, call’d a Close-Stool, to its true Perfection; he publishes a Weekly Paper for the Improvement of Trade and Husbandry; wherein, for the benefit of the Publick, he has inserted the most choice Receipts for the making of Pancakes, Fritters, Puddings, Dumplins, also to make Porridge or Thick-milk, that ever were extant; he likewise thro’ his Wisdom and Generosity, has taught the World, at the expence of half a Crown to sweeten a Dozen of Glass-Bottles, which you may buy new for two Shillings; also how at thirty Shillings charge we may improve an Acre of Land not Valluable at one ShillingOld British currency, before it went decimal. There were 20 shillings in a pound (£), and 12 pennies (d) in a shilling., to be worth twenty; amongst the rest, he is a Joyner of Sexes, and will Learnedly prove, upon such Occasions, That Generation was the main end of our Creation; what ever Match he makes, he seldom fails of his double Reward; that is, to get Money on one side, and Curses on t’other; for he is a Man of that Conscience and Consideration, that he generally takes care to couple those who are worth Money, to such who want it.
Thus we prattled away our time, till we came in Sight of a Noble Pile of Building, which diverted us from our former discourse, and gave my Friend the Occasion of asking me my Thoughts of this Magnificent Edifice: I told him, I conceiv’d it to be my Lord Mayors Palace, for I could not imagine so stately a Structure could be design’d for any Quality inferior; he smil’d at my Innocent Conjecture, and inform’d me this was Bedlam, an Hospital for Mad-folks: In truth, said I, I think they were Mad that Built so costly a Colledge for such a Crack-brain’d Society; adding, It was pitty so fine a Being should not be possessed by such who had a Sense of their Happiness; sure, said I, it was a Mad Age when this was Rais’d, and the chief of the City were in a great danger of losing their Senses, so contriv’d it the more Noble for their own Reception; or they would never have flung away so much Money to so foolish a purpose: You must consider, says my Friend, this stands upon the same Foundation as the Monument, and the Fortunes of a great many poor Wretches lies Buried in this Ostentatious piece of Vanity; and this, like the other, is but a Monument of the Cities Shame and Dishonour, instead of it’s Glory; come let us take a walk in, and view it’s inside.
Accordingly we were admitted in thro’ an Iron-Gate, within which sat a Brawny Cerberus, of an Indico-colour, leaning upon a Money-box; we turned in thro’ another Iron-Barricado, where we heard such a rattling of Chains, drumming of Doors, Ranting, Hollowing, Singing, and Running, that I could think of nothing but Don Quevedo’s Vision, where the Damn’d broke loose, and put Hell in an Uproar. The first whimsie-headed Wretch of this Lunatick Family, that we observ’d, was a merry Fellow in a Straw-Cap, who was talking to himself after this manner, That he had an Army of Eagles at his Command; then claping his hand upon his Head, Swore by his Crown of Moon-shine, he would Battel all the Stars in the Skies but he would have some Clarret: In this interim, came a Gentleman to stare at him with a Red-face: No wonder, said his Aereal Majesty, Clarret is so scarce; look there’s a Rogue carry’s more in his Nose, than I, that am Prince of the Air, have had in my Belly this Twelvemonth. If you are Prince of the Air, said I, Why don’t you Command the Man in the Moon to give you some? To which he reply’d, The Man in the Moon’s a sorry Rascal; I sent to him for a dozen Bottles but t’other day, and he swore by his Bush, his Cellar had been dry this Sixmonths; but I’ll be even with the Rogue, I expect a Cloud Laden with Claret to be sent me by the Sun every day; and if a Spoonful of Lees would save him from Choaking, the Old Drunken Whores-Bird should not have a Drop.
We then mov’d on till we found another remarkable Figure worth our observing, who was peeping thro’ his Wicket, eating of Bread and Cheese, talking all the while like a Carrier at his Supper, chewing his Words with his Victuals, all that he spoke being in Praise of Bread and Cheese; Bread was good with Cheese, and Cheese was good with Bread, and Bread and Cheese was good together; and abundance of such stuff; to which my Friend and I, with others, stood Listening; at last he Counterfeits a Sneeze, and shot such a mouthful of Bread and Cheese amongst us, that every Spectator had some share of his Kindness, which made us retreat; he calling after us Masters, Masters; some went back to hear what he had to say, and he had provided them a plentiful Bowl of Piss, which he cast very Successfully amongst them, crying in a Laugh, I never give Victuals, but I give Drink, and you’re Wellcome Gentlemen.
The next unhappy Object amongst this Shatter-Brain’d Fraternity, was a Scholar of St. John’s Colledge in Cambridge, who was possess’d with Melancholy, but very inoffensive, and had the Liberty of the Gallery; this was a very Musical Man, which is thought to be one great Occasion of his Distemper: My Friend walk’d up to him, and introduc’d some talk, to divert himself with a few of his Frensical Extravagancies. Another Lunatick in his Intervals, who had Liberty of ranging the House, Catches hold of my School-fellows Arm, and express’d himself after this manner, Do’st thou know, Friend, what thou art doing? Why thou art talking to a Madman, a Fiddling fellow, who had so many Crotchets in his Head, that he crack’d his Brains about his thorow Bases. Prithee, says my Companion, What was the Occasion of Thy Distemper? To which he answer’d, I am under this Confinement for the Noble Sins of Drinking and Whoring; and if thou hast not a care, it will bring thee into the same Condition.
We peep’d into another Room, which smelt as strong of Chamber-Lie, as a Bottle of Sal Armoniac, where a Fellow was got as hard at word, as if he’d been treading Mortar: What is it, Friend, said I, thou art taking all this Pains about? He answer’d me thus, still continuing in Action, I am trampling down Conscience under my Feet, least he should rise up and fly in my Face; Have a care he does not fright thee, for he looks like the Devil; and is as fierce as a Lion, but that I keep him Muzzled; therefore get thee gone, or I will set him upon thee. Then fell a clapping his Hands, and cry’d Halloo, halloo, halloo, halloo, halloo; and thus we left him Raving.
Another was holding forth with as much vehemence against Kingly Government, as a Brother of Common-wealth DoctrineThe set of beliefs upheld by a religion or political party., rails against Plurality of Livings: I told him he deserv’d to be Hang’d for talking of Treason. Now, says he, You’re a Fool, we Madman have as much Priviledge of Speaking our minds, within these Walls, as an Ignorant DictatorA ruler with total power over a country., when he Spews out his Nonsense to the whole Parish. Prithee come and live here, and you may talk what you will, and no body will call you in Question for it: Truth is Persecuted every where abroad, and flies hither for Sanctuary, where she sits as safe as a Knave in a Church, or a Whore in a Nunnery. I can use her as I please, and that’s more than you dare do. I can tell Great Men such bold Truths as they don’t love to hear, without the danger of a Whipping Post, and that you can’t do: For if ever you see a Madman Hang’d for speaking Truth, or a Lawyer whip’d for Lying, I’ll be bound to prove my Cap a Wheel-Barrow.
We then took a walk into the Womens Apartment to see what whimsicalGiven to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behaviour, or given to whimsy and fanciful notions. Figaries their wandering Fancies would have them to entertain us withal.
The first that we look’d upon, stood stradling with her Back against the wall, crying Come, John come; your Master’s gone to Change. I believe the poor Fool’s afraid of Forfeiting his Indentures. Did you ever see the like? Why, sure you won’t serve your Mistress so, John, will you? Hark, hark, run you Rogue, your Master’s come back to Shop. Yes, you shall have a Wife you old Rogue, with seven hundred Pounds, and be married Six Years, and not get a Child. Fye for shame, out upon’t! A Husband for a Woman, a Husband for the Devil! Hang you, Rot you, Sink you, Confound you. And thus at last she run raving on into the highest degree of Madness.
Another was talking very merrily, at her Peeping Hole, to a Crowd of Auditors most of them young Wenches. A foolish Girl, amongst the rest, ask’d the Madwoman how old she was? Who reply’d, She was old enough to have Hair where the other had none.
Which made the Young Creature betake her self to her Heels to avoid the Mockery of the rest. In this Interim came by a Beauish Blade, with his Wig very much Powder’d, Look, look, cries Bess of Bedlam, yonder goes a Prodigal Puppy, an Extravagant Rascal, that has got more Flower in his Wig, than my poor Mother has in her Meal-Tub to make a Pudding with-all.
The next poor Object that happen’d under our Observation, was a Meager Old Gray Headed Wretch, who look’d as wild as an Angry Cat, and all her Tone was, The Wind is— blow Devil, blow; the Wind is— Blow, Devil, blow; a Seaman who was a staring at her, and listening to what she said, must needs be inquisitive how the Wind sat, asking her, Where is the Wind Mother? She hastily replying, The Wind’s in my A—s: Blow, Fool, Blow: Being so pleas’d she had sold him a Bargain, that she fell into an extravagant Fit of laughter, in which we left her.
Having pretty well tir’d our selves with the Frantick Humours and Rambling Ejaculations of the Mad-Folks, we took a turn, to make some few Remarks upon the Looseness of the Spectators, amongst whom we observ’d abundance of Intriguing; Mistresses we found were to be had of all Ranks, Qualities, Colours, Prices and Sizes; from the Velvet Scarf, to the Scotch-plad Petticoat; Commodities of all sorts went off, for there wanted not a suitable Jack to every Jill. Every fresh comer was soon engaged in an Amour, tho’ they came in Single they went out by Pairs; ’tis a new Whetstone’s Park, now the old ones Plough’d up, where a Sports-man at any Hour in the Day may meet with Game for his purpose; ’tis as great a conveniency to London, as the Long Cellar to Amsterdam; where any Stranger may purchase a PurgeA removal of something, in biological terms often of something from the body, or in political terms an often violent removal of a group of people. for his Reins, at a small expence, and may have a Pox by chance flung into the bargain; All that I can say of it, is this, ’Tis an Alms-House for Madmen, a Showing Room for Whores, a sure Market for Leachers, a dry Walk for Loiterers.
We needed now no Clock to give the Hour of the Day; our Stomachs, as true as those of the Change, went One; and after redeeming our Liberties from this Piss-burn’d Prison, at the Expence of two-pence, we were led by our Appetites into a Cook’s Shop; and when we had refresh’d Nature with a necessary supply of what she most coveted, we march’d towards the Royal Exchange, to which Traders were trotting in as much haste, as Lawyers to Westminster, or Butchers to Smithfield.
The Pillars at the entrance of the Front Porticum, were adorn’d with sundry Memorandums of Old Age, and Infirmity, under which stood here and there a Jack in a Box, like a Parson in a Pulpit, selling Cures for your Corns, Glass-Eyes for the Blind, Ivory Teeth for Broken Mouths, and Spectacles for the weak-sighted; the Passage to the Gate being lin’d with Hawkers, Gardeners, Mandrake-sellers, and Porters; after we Crowded a little way amongst this Miscellaneous Multitude, we came to a Pippin Mongers Stall, Surmounted with a Chymists Shop; where Drops, Elixirs, Cordials, and Balsams had justly the Preheminence of Apples, Chesnuts, Pears and Oranges; the former being Rank’d in as much order upon Shelves, as the Works of the Holy-Fathers in a Bishops Library; and the latter being Marshall’d with as much exactness as an Army ready to engage; here is drawn up several Regiments of Kentish Pippins, next some Squadrons of Pearmains, joyn’d to a Brigade of Small-Nuts, with a few Troops of Booncritons, all form’d into a BattalionA military unit, typically consisting of between 300 and 800 soldiers.; the Wings compos’d of Oranges, Lemons, Pomegranates, Dry’d-Plumbs, and Medlars; the Decade of these lower gross Bodies drawn over the Helm, are fitted by the help of Ginger, Nutmeg, and Liquorish, to stand upon the upper Shelf, under a Saleable Title, to Cozen Madmen and Fools out of their Health and their Money; and to let you know its truly prepar’d, it is made by him who may write himself Physician, Chymist, Apothecary, Confectioner, and Costermonger.
We then proceeded and went on to the Change, turn’d to the Right, and Jostled in amongst a parcel of Swarthy Buggerantoes, Preternatural Fornicators, as my Friend call’d them, who would Ogle a Handsome Young Man with as much Lust, as a True-bred English Whoremaster would gaze upon a Beautiful Virgin. Advertisements hung as thick round the Pillars of each Walk, as Bells about the Legs of a Morris-Dancer, and an Incessant Buz, like the Murmurs of the distant Ocean, as a Diapason to our Talk, like a Drone to a Bagpipe. The Wainscote was adorn’d with Quacks Bills, instead of Pictures; never an Emperick in the Town, but had his Name in a Lacquer’d Frame, containing a fair Invitation for a Fool and his Money to be soon parted; thus he that wants a dry Rogue for himself, or a Wet-Nurse for a Child, may be furnish’d here at a Minutes warning. After we had squeez’d our selves thro’ a Crowd of Bumfirking-Italians, we fell into a throng of strait-lac’d Monsters in Fur, and Thrum-Caps, with huge Logger-Heads, EffeminateA man having characteristics typically regarded as feminine/belonging to a woman. Wastes, and Buttocks like a FlandersThe modern area of northern Belgium and historically a territory in the Low Countries.-Mare, with Slovenly Mein, Swinish Looks, whose upper Lips were gracefully adorn’d with T—d-colour’d Whiskers, these, with their Gloves under their Arms, and their Hands in their Pockets, were Grunting to each other, like Hogs at their Pease; these, my Friend told me, were the Water-Rats of Europe, who Love no Body but themselves, & Fatten upon the Spoils, & Build their own Welfare upon the Ruin of their Neighbours.
We had no sooner Jostled thro’ this Cluster of CommonwealthThe countries once part of the British Empire; the interregnum in Britain; or the welfare of the public.’s Men, but we were got amongst a parcel of Lank-Hair’d Formalists, in Flat Crown’d Hats, and short Cloaks, walking with as much State and Gravity as a Snail o’er the Leaf of a Cabbage, with a Box of Tobacco-Dust in one hand, and the other employ’d in charging their Nostrils, from whence it drops into the Mustachoes, which are always as full of Snush as a Beaus Wig full of Powder, every Sentence they spoke was grac’d with a Shrug of the Shoulders; and every Step they took, was perform’d with as much leisure as a Cock strides; these, my Friend told me, were Spaniards; says he, you may know them by the Smell, for they Stink as strong of Garlick as a Polonian Sausage.
These were confus’dly Jumbled among People of sundry Nations, as our Neighbouring Anticks, the French; who talk more with their Heads and Hands, than with their Tongues; who commonly Speak first, and Think afterwards; step a Minuet as they walk, and sit as Graceful on an Exchange-Bench, as if in a great Saddle; their Bodies always Dance to their Tongues, and are so great Lovers of Action, that they were ready to wound every Pillar with their Canes, as they pass’d by, either in Ters, Cart, or Sacoon.
There likewise was the Lords Vagabonds the Jews, who were so accurs’d for their Infidelity, that they are generally the richest People in all Nations where they Dwell; these, like the Spaniards, were such great Consumers of the Wicked Weed in Snush, that their upper Lips look’d as if they excreated thro’ their Nostrils, and had forgot to use Bumfodder. These, says my Friend, are the Hawks of Mankind, the Spies of the Universe, the only Trade-Polititians, subtle Knaves and great Merchants.
Here were also a few Amber-Necklace Sellers, as my Friend call’d them; Men with Fur Caps, Long-Gowns, and grave Countenances, seeming Wise in their Carriage; retaining something of the old Grecian Grandure in the comely Deportment; among who there was one very handsome young Fellow, which my Companion bid me take particular Notice on; for, says he, that Spark in the Red-Gown was very Familiar with some of our Sweet lip’d Ladies of the City, and was very much Admir’d and Courted by several topping Benefactresses at this end of the Town, to receive their Favours; till the Fool, Proud of his Happiness, must needs boast of their Kindnesses to the Disreputation of his Humble Servants; that they all discarded him with such hatred and contempt, That he is now become the Scorn and Ridicule of every Woman in the City.
Pray, said I, what Tall Sober-look’d Gentleman is that, in so grave a dress, in the Long Black Wig, and formal Hat, that stands as level in the Brim as a Pot-lid, he seems to be wonderfully Reverenc’d by a great many much Finer than himself? That Man, says my Friend, is the greatest Merchant we have in England; and those Fellows that keep a Stern, and now and then come upon his Quarter with their Top-Sails lower’d, are Commanders of Ships, who are Soliciting for Employment, and he that plies him so close, they call Honour and Glory, who lately bore Command in the Service; he was originally a poor Fisherman, but did a very Notable Exploit, by the help of his Man Jack, that recommended him to a Commission; but either for want of Discretion or Honesty, is turn’d out; and I suppose rather than return to his Nets, he is willing to enter into Merchants Service.
The next Walk we went into, were a parcel of Swords-Men in Twisted Wigs, and Lac’d Hats, with broad Faces, and flattish Noses, saluting one another commonly by the Title of Captain; but look’d as if they had been a great while out of Commission, for most of them were out of Repair; some like Gentlemen without Estates, and others like Foot Men out of Places, many of them picking their Teeth, often plucking out large Tobacco Boxes to cram a wad in their Mouths, as if most of their Food was Minc’d-Meat.
The other sort were a kind of Lean Carrionly Creatures, with Reddish Hair, and freckly Faces, being very much given to Scratching and Shrugging, as if they held Lousiness no Shame, and the Itch no Scandal; stooping a little in the Shoulders, as if their Backs had been us’d to a Pedlars-Pack; amongst them was a poor Parson, who came to the wrong place to look for a Benefice; these I found were a Compound of Scotch and Irish, who look’d as if they rather came to Seek for Business, than Dispatch any.
We now were come to the Back Gate of the Change; on the East-side of which, sat a parcel of Women, some looking like Jilts who wanted Cullies, and others like Servants who wanted Places.
We past by them, and Squeez’d amongst Coasters and English Traders, who were as busie in Out-witting one another, as if Plain-Dealing was a Crime, and Cozenage a Vertue.
Take Notice, says my Companion, of that Camel-back’d Spark, he is dignified with the Title of my Lord, and has as many Maggots in his Head, as there are holes in a Cullender, tho’ the Rickets have crush’d him into that lump of Deformity, he has the Happiness, or Curse, I know not whether, to have a very handsome Woman to his Wife, whose prevailing Glances, have tempted such Custom to his Shop, that he can afford to spend three or four Hundred Pounds a Year in a Tavern, without doing himself a prejudice, which she very generously allows him to do out of her gettings, as some Censorious People are apt to imagine, as a gratuity for his Toleration for her Liberty of Conscience; she is never without a Shop-full of Admirers, whom she Poisons with her Eyes, and bubbles as she pleases; give her her due, she’s as Beautiful as an Angel, but as Subtile as the Devil; as Curteous as a Curtesan; but sharp as a Needle; very Free, but very Jiltish; very Inviting, yet some say very Vertuous.
Now, says my Friend, we are got amongst the Plantation-Traders. This may be called Kidnappers Walk; for a great many of these Jamaicans and Barbadians, with their Kitchen-stuff Countenance, are looking as sharp for Servants, as a Gang of Pickpockets for BootyValuable stolen goods, especially those seized in war.; but we have given these their Characters already in the Trip to Jamaica, therefore we shall speak but little of them here; I’ll warrant you if they knew the Author was among them, they’d hussle him about, as the Whigs would a Jacobite at the Election of a Lord-Mayor; or the QuakersMembers of a Protestant sect that moved away from the established Church of England in the seventeenth century. a Drunken Ranter that should disturb ’em at their Meeting.
Pray said I, what is’the meaning of that Inscription in Golden Capitals over the Passage, My Lord Mayors Court? My Friend reply’d, That was the Nest of City-Cormorants, who, by saving a little out of many Mens Estates, raise great ones to themselves; by which means they teach Fools Wit, and bring Litigious Knaves to Repentance.
Within that Entry is an Office of Intelligence, pretending to help Servants to Places, and Masters to Servants; they have a knack of Bubbling silly Wenches out of their Money; who loiter hereabouts upon this expectancy, till they are pick’d up by the Plantation Kidnappers, and Spirited away into a State of Misery and Whoredom.
Now, says my Friend, let us walk on the middle of the Change, and view the Statue; this, says he, is the Figure of King Charles II. and those are Stock-jobbers, who are hovering about him, and are by report a pack of as great Knaves as ever he had in his Dominions; the rest are a mix’d Multitude of all Nations, and not worth describing. Now I’ll conduct you up Stairs, to take a view of the Fair Ladies and so adjourn to the Tavern, and refresh our selves with a Bottle.
Accordingly we went up, where Women sat in their Pinfolds, begging of Custom, with such Amorous Looks, and Affable Tones, that I could not but fancy they had as much mind to dispose of themselves, as the Commodities they deal in: My Ears on both sides were so baited with Fine Linnens, Sir, and Gloves and Ribbons, Sir, that I had a Milliner’s and a Sempstress’s Shop in my Head for a Week after: Well, says my Friend, what do you think of all these pretty Ladies? I answer’d, I thought of them as I did of the Sex; I suppos’d they were all ready to obey the Laws of Nature, and answer the end of their Creation. Says he, This Place is a Nursery for Wives, the Merchants Seraglio; for most that you see here, come under Chaucers Character of a Sempstress, and so we’ll leave them.
She keeps a Shop for Countenance, And S— for Mountenance.