The decline of the Scoundrel, in fact, has been followed by the disappearance of chap-book and broadside. The Education Act, which made the cheap novel a necessity, destroyed at a blow the literature of the street. Since the highwayman wandered, fur-coated, into the City, the patterer has lost his occupation. Robbery and murder have degenerated into Chinese puzzles, whose solution is a pleasant irritant to the idle brain.
lowest bottle to listen to the solemn doggerel. `All you that in the condemn'd hole do lie,' groaned the Bellman of St. Sepulchre's in his duskiest voice, and they who held revel in the condemned hole prayed silence of their friends for the familiar cadences:
All you that in the condemn'd hole do lie, Prepare you, for to-morrow you shall die, Watch all and pray, the hour is drawing near, That you before th' Almighty must appear. Examine well yourselves, in time repent That you may not t' eternal flames be sent; And when St. Pulchre's bell to-morrow tolls, The Lord above have mercy on your souls. Past twelve o'clock!
Even if this warning voice struck a momentary terror into their offending souls, they were up betimes in the morning, eager to pay their final debt. Their journey from Newgate to Tyburn was a triumph, and their vanity was unabashed at the droning menaces of the Ordinary. At one point a chorus of maidens cast wreaths upon their way, or pinned nosegays in their coats, that they might n
I found this book to be overly wordy, and full of words that were in fashion a long time ago. It was of some interest if one is willing to wade through so much courtly verbiage. It may appeal to those who enjoy Shakespeare, though it is not quite that convoluted.