Posted by: Democratic Thinker | July 15, 2014

Baron De Berenger: How to Protect Life—III

Natural Rights

 
In 1835 Charles Random de Berenger—owner of the Stadium Rifle Club outside of London—publishes the first self-protection book. Written in the manner of a series of letters from Lt. Col. Baron De Berenger to his son Augustus, letters III, VI, IX & XI treat the subject of crime.

Since alert precaution is no more a confirmation of fear, than foolhardiness is a proof of courage, you ought not to disregard the advice of sound sense, for it will not fail to tell you, that it is less difficult, and therefore more rational, to avert an attack, than it is to repair the errors of carelessness, be it even by bravely, nay, dashingly subduing a robber, whom you have thus and so foolishly attracted.


 

 

Helps and Hints
How To
Protect Life and Property:
With Instructions
in
Rifle and Pistol Shooting, &c.

—————

LETTER III.

 

PRECAUTIONS WHICH OUGHT TO BE ATTENDED TO IN WALKING THE STREETS OF GREAT CITIES.

 

YOUR last letter, my dear son, can only be answered properly by conveying, in several letters, the advice therein requested; accordingly, I intend to divide my instructions,

1st, into General Precautions, applicable to Walking the Streets of any great City, &c.

2dly, those to be observed when Travelling on the Highways and Roads; and,

3dly, the best Modes of Defending yourself against the Attacks which may be made on you in either of these Situations.

Bear in mind that thieves, of whatever class, always prefer to make their attacks, or even their preparations for such, when they can make sure of some advantage: to lessen such advantages, by every precaution on your part, ought therefore to be your first care.

Accordingly, and as they secure the advantage of chosing the time, and the mode of attack, and as their taking you by surprise is, with them, a leading reliance, so it is necessary that you should always be prepared for them; at any rate you should take care neither by negligence nor weakness to lay yourself open to their taking advantage, and which either of these faults may, and most likely will, invite. Since alert precaution is no more a confirmation of fear, than foolhardiness is a proof of courage, you ought not to disregard the advice of sound sense, for it will not fail to tell you, that it is less difficult, and therefore more rational, to avert an attack, than it is to repair the errors of carelessness, be it even by bravely, nay, dashingly subduing a robber, whom you have thus and so foolishly attracted.

Never therefore be off your guard, for vigilance is not fear!

If it should be a person’s misfortune to be under the influence of timidity, let him carefully conceal his alarm, for its display invariably accelerates the attacks of assailants; just as the shrinking from a cur encourages him to bite, where a bold and firm handling, instead of shrinking, generally overawes animals. Do we not see daily that even timid curs will venture to pursue timid persons; and that a horse, almost instantly, will discover and take advantage of an agitated or a nervous rider? As this proves that even animals probe our courage, to act accordingly, it cannot surprise us that the fear of capital punishment should cause a robber carefully to observe, and, in preference of all others, to select those persons whose apparent want of courage affords him a better chance of either success or escape.

To be courageous is enviable, whilst, on the other hand, to be able to conceal the absence of courage is useful.

Never walk with your hands in your pockets; move on carelessly, if in them you have anything of value, carefully avoid to betray anxiety by holding it, as if to guard it; nor should you feel occasionally, as if to satisfy yourself of its security, for these are the most certain ways whereby to attract the notice of thieves; for, not only observing everything, as they do, they are sure to conclude from your care that the stake is as much worth an attempt on their part, as it is worth your while so anxiously to preserve it; they will even judge from your dress and general conduct whether you are, what they call, “a good flat,” that is, a weak-minded person, likely to be operated upon successfully. I will detail two occurrences, because, in confirmation of the assertions to which just now I have drawn your attention.

From my boyhood I was particularly delighted with caricatures, and, as I drew a little in that line myself, Rowlandson, Woodward, Bunbury, and Gillray, were the leading caterers to my appetite, (one, by the way, that I must caution you against cultivating with your own pencil, since it is by far more likely to alarm your friends than to increase them). Squiring some ladies one rainy morning on a shopping excursion, their carriage stopt at a lace warehouse, in Oxford street, very near to a famous caricature shop, then kept by Holland. My counsels, those of one scarcely twenty, I could not presume to proffer in a lace-shop, nor would they have curtailed the truly patient shop-man’s labours, for my young friends were as fickle as they were pretty, and by which scale you may set them down as extremely fickle; my assiduities thus indulged with a furlough, maugre my willing gallantry, I was tempted to solicit permission to indulge my taste by a short lounge into Mr. Holland’s shop. My eye was caught, just as I was about to open the door, by a print in the window, and, although I paused but very few seconds, I as quickly discovered that my pocket was likely to be minus of its cambric tenant; nimbly catching a young man’s hand in my pocket, I forcibly retained it there, he begging all the while to be forgiven, and in very strenuous but submissive terms. Foolishly, being rather what is called “upon good terms with myself,” I somewhat pompously demanded to know what he could possibly see in my face and manner to warrant his hopes of taking advantage of my folly! Hesitating a little, he replied, “If you will but forgive me, sir, I will candidly tell you, and it may save you loss hereafter. Why, as to that, your face, sir, it is well enough, but your wearing pumps and silk stockings on a rainy day, and in such muddy streets, made me make sure of having met in you with a good flat!” Most readily did I suffer him to depart, for my wounded pride to be thus censured by a pickpocket, made me all eagerness to explain to the tittering bystanders that my flat-like appearance was occasioned by my having quitted a carriage close at hand. You should know that in those days pantaloons and trousers were not worn, and that nankeen small clothes and silk stockings with shoes were much in vogue, nay, even for riding on horseback. Strange as you will think it, it was quite fashionable to wear silk stockings and shoes, with even leathern small clothes, made extremely tight. The then Marquis of Lorn, now His Grace of Argyle, always, and at that time especially, a gem of the first water, (as to fashions, and indeed in most matters of ton,) had the credit of the introduction of a style of riding dress that now-a-days would make all Hyde Park stare with wonder: such is the slavery of fashion! stimulating eager imitation and unmeasured ridicule in turn. Still I venture to advise obedience to fashion so long as your discrimination teaches you how to avoid extremes.

I will now proceed to the other illustration. On being asked, very many years ago, by a worthy old gentleman of my acquaintance, to accompany him into the city, where he had to leave bills of exchange for several hundred pounds, for acceptance, I offered to leave them for him, but his reply was, “No, thank you, the London pickpockets would soon ease a young gentleman, One giddily skipping along as you do, of what, with me, small as the amount is, must serve as whole years’ provision!” I bowed submission to my venerable friend, who, after carefully depositing his pocket book at the bottom of a deep OUTSIDE coat pocket, placed TWO pocket handkerchiefs over it, saying, with visible satisfaction, “now, if they try ME, I shall be too deep for them, for, at the worst, I shall lose but two handkerchiefs, one going, perhaps, and the other when returning.” The good old foreigner, for such he was, chuckled not a little at his ruse de guerre. On my offering him my arm, and on the pocket-book side, he declined it, because desirous of keeping that hand at liberty; and, as afterwards it turned out, for the purpose of feeling every twenty yards if his pocket-book was safe. Passing soon after through St. Martin’s court, Leicester square, we experienced some slight obstacle from persons that crowded a shop window, that of a printseller’s, &c. who lived in the narrow part of that great thorough-fare; this produced my endeavours to follow my respected veteran, but he commanded me to advance, that he might have less labour, although through a very moderate crowd: just as I prepared to obey, I perceived that, with both his hands, he caught at his hat, which was falling off. I said, in German, I fear you have lost one of your handkerchiefs just now; he felt, and the painful expression of his countenance told of a much greater evil, yet his pride would scarcely allow him to avow the fact, that, (marked as he must have been for his great anxiety,) he had in the space of only two to four seconds, that is, whilst withdrawing his hand from his pocket, to catch at his hat, which had, no doubt, been pushed purposely over his face, lost both his handkerchiefs and his pocket-book to boot! Although his mortification was great, it was only for a short time, for I hurried to the bankers to apprize them of the loss: these were called upon the very next day, by a fellow who impudently claimed a reward for having found the bills of exchange, not the pocket-book! that is, he “found” that the bills were of no use, wanting acceptance and endorsement; but had they been bank notes, my worthy old friend would have smarted severely for his ill-judged care and obstinacy: and so will you if ever you should allow either to betray you to the vigilance of rogues.

Instead of allowing your tailor to make OUTSIDE pockets to your morning frocks or coats, order him to place them INSIDE; and the addition of a breast pocket, large enough to admit a moderate sized pocket-book is also desirable, as your buttoning up will increase its security in particular situations, and indeed that of the other pockets, more or less; nevertheless, you must not rely upon being secure, even then, for pickpockets are as crafty as they are nimble.

Avoid every unnecessary display of money, since no solid excuse can be offered for so dangerous an act of carelessness, or so pitiful a gratification of little-minded vanity. This practice is but too common with persons of weak intellect, or with perfect novices; and if, instead of being the result of thoughtlessness, their aim is to impress others with an idea of their consequence, it counteracts the very effect they endeavour to promote, for, just as every thinking observer concludes that the being the owner of a horse, or the master of a servant, must be something quite new with a person who more frequently than others introduces “my horse” or “my servant” into his conversation; so, to him, it cannot fail to become a confirmation that the possession of large sums must either be unusual or of recent date, with persons who so sillily can expose themselves to additional risks, by thus inviting and provoking the ingenuity of sharpers and thieves of every description.

Not only may such ostentation be visited with the punishment of a heavy loss, but, instead of experiencing sympathy in such a case, the mortification of being bantered and laughed at, for smarting under a rod of your own making, will certainly follow.

Numerous, frightfully numerous, are the instances of MURDERS committed in Great Britain and abroad, and under no other instigation but that caused by the inconsiderate display of much cash, or of the boast of possessing it; and for which reason it is more prudent to keep even your own servants in ignorance, upon such points, than to caution them against divulging, since mere and innocent swagger on their part, or intoxication, may produce calamitous results, that may throw whole families into mourning and extreme consternation.

The BANK, BANKING HOUSES, ARMY AND NAVY AGENTS, or similar places which you may have occasion to frequent for the purpose of receiving money, should always be left in a more rational way than is pursued by many on leaving bankers’ doors, and where you may see persons cramming handfuls of bank notes into pocket-books, in the very doorway even, or deposit cash bags about their dress as they walk along the street. When you have to receive money at such places, seek a position at the counter, as remote from the door as possible, there to count your money, and stow away your cash or pocket-book before you open the door. Where the sum is large, or the receiver is a stranger to the ways of London, to have a coach in readiness at the door is by far the wisest course. Similar precautions are applicable where you have to pay accounts at fashionable warehouses, &c.; for there, as well as at bankers’ windows, nay, even those of pastry-cooks, pickpockets or their scouts, disguised as beggars, servants, &c. are constantly on the look out, although less so since the police system has been perfected. Where you can settle your account in a counting house or a back shop it is always to be preferred.

The approaches to the BANK about the time that dividends are paid, the coffee houses, and even the shops and auction-rooms contiguous, swarm with a set of thieves and swindlers, seen there, and at these periods only, called “DIVIDEND HUNTERS,” whose object is, by all manner of ways, (and some really of a serviceable and therefore ingratiating nature,) to endeavour to draw you into conversation, into joining meals, or into joint purchases, or billiard or backgammon play for wine or money, or into betting upon political events, and by thousands of other schemes: they will speak of each other as persons of the highest respectability, and of great mercantile consequence; and these amiable communications they will whisper into your ear, if so foolish you are as to let them familiarize so much, to find at last that you might, with much the same kind of safety, have permitted a boa constrictor to coil itself about you; wherefore a stern, yet inoffensive, repulse is the only safe alternative, if necessity, in any way, should bring you in contact with persons at such times and places. Many of them are gentlemanly in their manners and address, and most are respectable in their appearance; but you are as sure to suffer in some way or other if you encourage them, as in a lower sphere of life any one will be sure to repent the folly of placing confidence in those fellows who, although so frequently exposed, nevertheless, succeed daily in paying themselves for the lessons they give to simpletons how to wrap up and safely stow away their money. There is very little difference between the characters and pursuits of these parties, for they differ in appearance only!

Instead of sauntering along town or its suburbs, adopt (unfashionable as it is,) a brisk and active pace; especially if you have anything of great value about you. Thieves are as much baulked as puzzled by activity, as they are deterred by the probability of a spirited resistance; and which latter, from an active person, is more to be expected than from a loiterer, since confidence and decision are allied to activity.

Always avoid crowds, whether occasioned by persons taken ill, or quarrelling, or fighting: four times out of five they are mere pretences, resorted to, to facilitate the plunder of the unwary votaries to curiosity.

Never stand long at shop-windows, those of print or booksellers especially, as your attention is more absorbed by the displays of the two latter, and as the crowds, about print-sellers especially, are generally great; but, when you feel desirous of inspecting any, above all things refrain from giving to pickpockets the signal of your having a valuable watch, or plenty of cash, or bank-notes, &c. about you, by sillily keeping your hand anxiously on the part where either are deposited. The present fashion of wearing flat watches in the waistcoat pocket, with guard chains, is much better than that of wearing watches in the fob; but when the latter mode is preferred, a watch-chain instead of a ribbon, with a good guard-chain besides, should be worn: the, now unfashionable, watch ribbons used greatly to befriend pickpockets, for, to obtain possession of rich appendages, one clip of a pair of sharp scissors sufficed. The guard-chains, particularly those in gold, are generally too slight, and, were it not for the buttoning up of coats, their value would become an additional temptation for a snatch: good steel watch-guards afford excellent protection to large watches, such as are only fit for the fob, but such a guard should be long enough to allow the watch to descend to the very bottom of the fob, for there it baulks much more than when it is shorter; that is, provided it is of sufficient strength to resist a jerk, wherefore it should be formed of double instead of single rings; and the pendant of the watch should also be strong and solid. I found the utility of both these precautions not long ago, for, although walking nimbly near Charing Cross one evening, a snatch at my watch was made, and so violently, that, not only pulling me forward, the chain being round my neck, it broke one of the double rings of the steel guard-chain, the other ring but just saving the watch, and which was actually in the fellow’s hand. I lost no time however in arresting his further violence, not only by snatching my watch with my left hand out of his, but by rewarding him, at the same time, with a straight forward “facer” with my right; a moment’s hesitation might, besides the loss of my watch, have turned the tables against me: for, not only pulling hard all the while, he was about either to spring at or strike me. A dandified watch-guard must have given way, and one of silk would have been cut by so determined as well as so expert an artist, one however who quickly changed his plan, for he favoured me with a specimen of his speed, to be soon lost among the coaches on the stand.

Avoid all DRUNKEN or ROMPING FELLOWS whom you may see rolling or scampering towards you in the streets: more frequently than otherwise these means are assumed for the purpose of jostling and robbing persons, or to bespatter them with mud for sport or robbery, just as opportunity may favour the latter. A young friend of mine assured me that he was imposed upon, although a shrewd observer, in the following way: meeting a romping and noisy party of five or six very decently dressed young men, most of them tipsy to appearance; they, pretending to throw at each other, covered him with mud before he could cross the street: some abused the rest, and one even offered to fight them, “for using the gentleman so shamefully ill,” whilst the others were particularly anxious to make amends by busily wiping my friend’s clothes with their handkerchiefs, and especially his face, for he was nearly blinded with mud, all the while apologizing in terms of respectful regret, expressed in decent language. My liberal and good-tempered friend, finding these lads as sorry as attentive, and unwilling that a fight should grow out of his misfortune, did all he could to appease the anger of his defenders; and what with the wiping, sponging, and rubbing down, and the being tugged about, some of the young fellows forcing their names and addresses upon him all the while, as well as their apologies, the cards being those of decent tradesmen, he had so much to do and to think of, that he never thought of his pockets. They entreated, nay insisted, upon his going into a public-house, close by, to wash his face, and “to be made decent, with more comfort” than could be done in the street; and, as it were, “killing him with kindness,” they pushed him in before them, at the same time calling out to those behind, “Stop, Dick and Tom, you must not go; come in!” leaving the house suddenly with such calls, as if to bring them in, but also leaving my young friend solus, and minus too! of everything his pocket had contained but a few minutes previously. “Knowing” as my friend was considered to be, he declared that the whole was acted so cleverly, that he scarcely could believe even the evidence which his empty pockets so confirmingly presented. The cards of course were those of honest persons, but strangers to the whole of the parties, and to the transaction.

It may so happen that such gangs, in rioting along, may come so suddenly upon you, that you may not have time to avoid them; in such a case, rather than to shrink with anything like symptoms of fear from them, your better way is, suddenly, and with firm yet calm looks, to dart among them, {not to take the wall, however!) to pass through them perseveringly, that is, pushing with firmness and judgment all those away who may attempt to jostle you in such a progress. However, avoid to strike unless you are struck, but push on firmly, and even roughly if it be requisite. Such a resolute sample of your determination will take them by surprise, and so unhinge the whole plan: should any of them be abusive, do not deign to notice it in any manner, but walk on briskly till you meet some police constable; your stopping short thereupon, will soon enable you to ascertain whether they are persons really aggrieved by your roughness, or whether, instead, they are disappointed rogues and ruffians only: the latter will scamper off in double quick time, and the former, if following you up reproachingly, you may readily appease by saying, that it was owing to their own manner and impropriety that they brought suspicion upon themselves, such as caused measures of self-protection to be resorted to on your part.

Never pull out your watch to satisfy any inquirer, but tell him the time from guess, continuing your walk all the while: besides the risk of having a watch snatched from you, and which is not unfrequently practised, your holding it prevents your using that hand if you should be attacked, and which the inquirer may contemplate.

If asked questions about the road, or any street, or the name of any resident, or if any gay lady should try to force her conversation on you, either turn a deaf ear to the party, or, to fair inquiries, reply carelessly and briefly, as if in a hurry or behind time: improper importunities avert sternly, even roughly, yet not offensively, and, in each of these cases, always without halting! Large parcels have been placed in gentlemen’s hands, with a request to indulge the bearer, who professed to be “no scholar,” by reading the address to him; and whilst the condescending gentleman was puzzled how to make out for the homely-looking porter some ill-written address, his pockets were emptied, either by the porter himself, shielded by the parcel, or by his allies. For many reasons, of which the following alone is a sufficient one, never let FAIR STRANGERS, who may accost you in the streets, under pretended acquaintance, or other excuses, lay hold of your arm: shake them off with a bow, and the assurance that they are mistaken, and cross the road directly; nay, as these LADIES very frequently “hunt in couples,” they may endeavour to honour you by attempts to take you between them, by each seizing upon one of your arms; if so, you cannot give them a better proof of your becoming sensibility of their kindness than by adopting their very ideas; I mean by thinking even AS THEY do just then, that is,—of your pockets! nor should you content yourself with thinking of them, for you cannot avert too nimbly all the favours about to be conferred upon you, be it by these charmers themselves, or by some less elegant confederate, male or female, close at hand; and who, if a male, may (at night especially,) bully, perhaps maltreat, you, for having presumed to intrude yourself (as will be maintained by all,) upon ladies to whom he may claim a close and endearing alliance; and in this pretended husband, father, or brother, you may behold some coarse ruffian-looking fellow, of prize-fighting make and shape,—one whose confident manner will betray the reliance which pervades his mind, that his peculiar “je ne sai quoi” will impress you with such unfeigned respect, as to paralyse all remonstrances on your part, even if a barefaced removal of your purse, pocket-book, or watch, should have been discovered by you in good time, so as to be actually engaged in endeavours to obtain restitution.

Much easier is it to advise you HOW to keep out, than to get out, of SUCH a scrape! at any rate, should your endeavours prove successful, (and which is subject to doubt,) exposure and degradation will inseparably be yours.

“DUFFERS,” as an impudent set of vagabonds are called, are also carefully to be avoided. They mysteriously offer for sale “smuggled” valuable shawls, or lace, or indeed any article liable to a heavy duty, or watches and trinkets, yet for very trifling prices, under pretence of wanting money, or of being overstocked. Never listen to them one moment, sternly bid them go about their business, and insist upon it too, in the hearing of passengers; for, at the best, and if you could be so mean as to buy of them, their goods, instead of being smuggled, are of British manufacture, showily, but defectively, got up, and purposely to deceive; even gold watches, very splendid and good to appearance, are hawked in that sort of way, and also otherwise, to be offered for ten pounds and more, although intrinsically they are not worth one pound: gold chains, jewels, and other trinkets, &c, all are extolled as wonderful bargains, really to seem such, yet to be but worthless trash! I should not have mentioned these cheats, any more than I shall dilate as to RING DROPPERS, convinced as I am that you never can forget yourself so far as to enter into any treaties with either, were it not that I feel it necessary to warn you against greater dangers from the former; for I have known an instance where a gentleman, (who had been followed by a duffer a considerable way at dusk,) on coming to some obscure and dark alley, and after being urged to go into it, the more privately to look at his goods, was seized suddenly by the collar, and forcibly dragged up it some paces by the duffer, only to escape (no one can tell what catastrophe), by nimbly applying a sharp cut with his stick at the shins of this daring and really powerful dealer and chapman, and who, obedient to this forcible and well-timed hint, had so completely smuggled himself away, that, although searched for immediately, for the gentleman had called for aid, no trace could be discovered of his escape, and which probably had been effected into some house, into which it may have been the duffer’s intention to have forced the gentleman, although he had declined repeatedly to have any dealings with him.

I remember seeing the following account in the papers: a weatherbeaten-looking man, not only by seaman’s attire, but by his attitude and language proving himself to be a blunt Jack tar, was seen hurrying along Tower-hill, as if to rid himself of a Hebrew old clothesman; the latter eagerly and repeatedly calling out, “Veil, I vill give nine pounds; von’t you take dat?” The sailor swearing and abusing him in reply. Moses at last offered guineas, and solemnly declared that he should be a loser by the bargain, for he could never get the ten pounds for the gold watch which the sailor had offered at that price: after a good deal of abuse in exchange for importuning language, the sailor entered a shop to buy something, and “to get rid of the infernal thief of a Jew at the same time,” as he said; but Moses opened the door, and kept teasing till the shopkeeper not only desired him to leave, but was leading him to the door, when the Jew whispered that if the shopkeeper could buy the watch, he, the Jew, would give him ten pounds for it. The sailor had the watch carelessly in his hand, swearing that the rascally Jew should not have it at nine guineas, for, although wanting money, he sooner would sell it to a Christian for eight guineas. To curtail the story, the tradesman paid eight guineas to the sailor for a gold watch, that, splendid to appearance, was not worth above thirty shillings! and the sailor in reality was a disguised Jew duffer, and the confederate of the old clothesman! facts that were established before an investigating magistrate.

By the term of “SWELL MOB” thieves are designated, who, dressing extremely well, add all sorts of violence to their skill in picking pockets; they generally go out in large parties, and they effect their object by surrounding any person they intend to rob; crowding and pressing round him in so violent a way, as to render him perfectly helpless, by such modes as forcing his arms upwards, or confining them downwards close to his body, under excessive pressure, or by jostling him, to empty his pockets all the while, and with less dexterity than impudence: the most audacious neither sparing blows nor any violence likely to obtain the property of their victim; and which, having secured, they pass so rapidly into different hands, that the actual invaders of pockets emptied thus, will often set at defiance those who declare themselves robbed by them. All sorts of characters are assumed to extricate any of their party when taken into custody: some fashionably dressed thieves vouching for the culprit’s character and honour as that of a perfect gentleman, &c., one utterly incapable of such acts; not unfrequently to rescue him by force, if art cannot secure his liberation. These daring thieves (daring only because relying upon their usual superiority as to numbers,) are to be seen near any place to which the public resorts much, be it in the furtherance of either business or pleasure; and the best advice I can offer is, to avoid them by any and every means you possibly can, although in a subsequent Letter, treating on the best Modes of Resistance, I will instruct you as to the readiest way of encountering and defeating the attacks of swell mobs also; yet, as I have said before, the better way is to avoid them if possible.

They practise, among other tricks, the stale but very annoying one of pushing your hat over your face, to make you catch at it with both your hands; the same as pickpockets in a crowd will tickle a person’s ear with a feather, to make him remove his hands from some place he seeks to protect, thereupon to close upon you so as to prevent your getting your arms below your chest again; as, in that attitude, they not only can empty your pockets more securely, but as it deprives you also of the power of making room for yourself with your arms and elbows. Some strike, or violently press upon, the top of your hat, in order to drive it right over your eyes, for similar ends; nay, others have been known deliberately to seize the front brim of a person’s hat, to pull it over his eyes, whilst a diamond pin or valuable broach was to be torn from his shirt, or his gold watch-guard, &c. snatched away; for they will even unbutton a person’s coat to effect all this; others pinion a person’s arms from behind, under any pretence, mostly that of saving themselves from falling or from being trodden under foot by a crowd, (one, however, of their own making all the while ;) in fact, their modes are endless, and all more or less violent, wherefore the utmost precaution whilst approaching any great assemblage is necessary; and it is safest to avoid all narrow passes, where they can hem their victims in with more effect; nay, open situations even should be selected cautiously.

WANTON ASSAULTS, either to gratify vulgar insolence, or to lead to a quarrel, perhaps to facilitate robbery, are practised mostly under the guile of assumed intoxication. When you see a fellow staggering towards you, whether really drunk or pretending inebriety, give him all the room you can; take no notice of anything he may say or do, nor stop even to look, but proceed on as if you had not even seen him. Should he endeavour to save himself from falling by an attempt to seize hold of you, (a common trick with thieves,) slip cleverly from his grasp; his mariner of saving himself thereupon will soon show you that he knows perfectly well what he is about.

PERSONS RUNNING along the streets with speed, more commonly wilfully than otherwise, will encounter you with a great shock: not only may you avert this, but even visit it upon the aggressor, by nimbly moving forward the point of that shoulder which is nearest to him to receive the shock, and by throwing all your weight to support that point; to be effected by a sudden but firm inclination of your body that way, and rather forward; doing it neatly, and just at the very time when he is about to come in contact with you, will warrant your confidently looking for him in the kennel, unless he is a person very much heavier than yourself; it is more easy still, if he has just turned a corner, a mode generally adopted by rogues after having reconnoitred your approach.

MOCK AUCTIONS. I must also caution you against these barefaced robberies, as now so common about London. They are readily known from being mostly perfectly open to the street, and by the auctioneer fixing his attention on you immediately on your entry,—and by whatever articles examined by you being immediately “put up” for sale; for these gentlemen rarely (if ever) have any catalogues.

The company, mostly composed of “puffers” or sham bidders, to ingratiate themselves with you, will caution you against particular lots, that they may either extol others, or persuade you to join them in buying lots “too large for them,” as they pretend.

THESEAuctioneers,” selling their own wretched articles, showily vamped up for the purpose of cheating, on finding you to stay any time without bidding, to rid themselves of you, will sell “the last lot,” thereupon to CLEAR their shop; but, if you pass again ten minutes after, you will find them as busily at work as ever. To annoy them, you need but enter again.

(Continued in LETTER VI.)

A tip o’the hat to The Art of Manliness.

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