Roumanian Peasants Selling Flowers and Fruit
Even the hissing of frying fat in the numerous cook-shops seemed hushed for the time; the vender of kukurutz (green corn on the ear) slept in a shadow; and the Bulgarian bozaji, selling slightly fermented maize beer, alone broke the drowsy silence with his mournful cries.
I have observed a great number if open-air stalls, which are placed either under mat coverings, or simply under large umbrellas made of dried palm-leaves. I have seen most picturesque groups standing around these stalls drinking soup, or eating boiled rice with chopsticks, or perhaps taking cakes or other light refreshment.
Many a six pence is picked up in New-York, by the sale of this delicious fruit. They are brought to market in small baskets, which hold nearly a pint, and sell from 4 to 15 cents a basket. You may see men, women, and children, some with long poles, one in each hand, strung full of these little baskets of strawberries, travelling up and down the streets of New-York, crying as above.
From midsummer, till late in the autumn, our ears during the evenings are saluted with this cry. The corn is plucked while green, and brought to our markets fro mthe surrounding country, in great quantities. It is boiled in the husk, and carried about the streets in pails and large bowls, with a little salt, and sold from a penny to two pence an ear.
In the summer time, you may see persons in carts, and others with hand-barrows, having a load of the above articles, that they cry along the streets, and sell to those families who live a distance from the markets.
What a vast garden it would ake to raise vegetables enough for all the inhabitants of New-York! Long Island can be considered the garden of New-York: the produce brought to this city daily is very great.
This Sand is brought from the sea shore in vessels, principally from Rockaway Beach, Long-Island. It is loaded into carts, and carried about the streets of New-York, and sold for about 12 1/2 cents per bushel. Almost every little girl or boy, knows that it is put on newly scrubbed floors, to preserve them clean and pleasant.
In the sprint, we have the above cry along our streets, by children and women, who buy them of the gardeners, and for one cent a bunch profit, will trudge along the streets of New-York, with a large long basket hanging on their arm, full of radishes. They sell six radishes to a bunch, and sixpence will buy one to six of these bunches. They are esteemed en excellent relish at tea, and afford business for children most of the summer season.
Great quantities of Potatoes of different kinds, are carried about the streets of New-York, for sale. None make so much noise as those people who cry the Sweet Carolinas. These are held in high esteem by most persons, and one can buy them ready boiled and roasted at the cook-shops. They are of an oblong form, of many sizes, and when boiled,taste much like a roast chestnut. The sell from 75 cents to 1 dollar per bushel.
At the corners of our principal streets, and at the ferries, we may see men, with long baskets on their arms, full of fine yellow oranges, offering them for sale to the passengers fro from 3 to 6 cents a piece. Many a one find their way to the girls and boys in the country, who always esteem them a fine present.
They grow in the West-Indies, and the Floridas, and may be had in New-York at all seasons.
This wholesome beverage, is carried all round the city by men in carts, wagons and very large tin kettles. The cows are pastured on the Island of New-York,some along the New-Jersey shore, and large droves on Long-Island. Milk sells from 4 to 6 cents per quart, delivered at our doors every morning in the winter season and twice a day in summer.
To sell matches, is the employment of women and children, who make a few pence honestly, by splitting pine or cedar sticks, or procuring a long thin shaving, the ends of which they dip in brimstone, which when touched by a spark, will blaze directly. Though a small matter, it is a great convenience to house-keepers.
This is a very humble business, but it is not to be despised on that account.
This man may be seen with a iron ring, on which are strung a great many old keys, of various sizes, going about the streets of New-York, soliciting cusom in the way we observe in the picture. He has with him different tools, and is ready to repair Locks, or fit Keys where they may be broken or lost - What a pity is is, people are not all honest, then we should have no occasion either for locks, keys, bars or bolts.
In the summer months, when it is not lawful to sell Oysters in New-York, we have clams in abundance, brought to our doors, by people, in carts. THe price is from 25 to 62 1/2 cents per hundred. They catch them principally on the shores of Long-Island, and Shrewbury River.
"Many ways to get a living!" some might think, when the broom-dealers are seen going about the streets, with a load of Brooms and Brushes, crying aloud. These useful articles, so much prized by the nice house-wife, are made of Broom-corn whisk, chiefly; and sell from 12 1/2 to 18 3/4 cents each. Those made by the people called Shakers, are much the neatest and best, and will command from 6 to 10 cents more.
There are several men in New-York, who go about with a wheel-barrow, on which is a grind-stone, rigged in such a way as to be easily turned with the foo while the hands apply scissors or a knife to the stone. Another may be seen with his machine slung on his back, and when a customer hails, he will quickly set his grindstone in motion. They strike a bell, as they walk along,as a sign to those who may wish any knives or scissors ground.
Bread Seller in the streets of Cairo
Shoe peddler in the Bazaar
In so arbitrary a government as that of China, it would scarcely be supposed that the press should be free; that is to say, that every one who chooses it may follow the profession of a printer or a bookseller without any previous licence, or without submitting the works he may print or expose for sale to any censor appointed by government; but then he must take his chance to suffer in his person all the consequences that may result from the impression that may be made on the minds of the civil officers as to the tendency of the work. A libel against the government, an immoral or indecent book, would subject both printer and publisher to certain punishment both in his person and purse.
There is little more to be observed of the present engraving than this: that whatever wares, goods, or merchandize are exposed to sale in the open air, which in the open plains, as well in the broad streets of cities, is very much the case, the vender and the articles themselves are, during the summer months, protected from the rays of the sun by a large umbrella, which is generally square, like that in the print. Some hundreds of similar stands and umbrellas were displayed on a plain near the spot where the embassy disembarked, within the mouth of the Pei-ho; the little booths, if they may be so termed, being generally well stored with sweet-meats and sliced water-melons laid upon ice. The poorest peasant in China carries an umbrella, either to defend him against the rays of the sun, or heavy rains.
The Chinese merchants and tradesmen are most expert and ready reckoners; but they perform all arithmetical operations mechanically, by means of a table divided into two compartments, through which pass iron wires; and on these wires are strung in one compartment five, and in the other two, moveable balls. The principle is something of the same kind as that of the abacus of the Romans, and is with some little variation still made use of in Russia. It has been observed, that in weighing several thousand chests of tea, or bales of goods, at Canton, the Chinese accountant can invariably name the sum total long before the European can cast up his account.
Almost every necessary of life, and many articles that are not of that description, are carried about the streets for sale, and the invariable mode of bearing burthens of this kind is in baskets or boxes suspended from the two extremities of a bamboo lath, swung across the back part of the shoulder. If a Chinese should only have one basket to carry, he is sure to get a log of wood, or a large stone to counterpoise it at the opposite end, thus preferring to carry a double weight rather than place it on the head, or the shoulder, or across the arm. The Chinese are in appearance far from exhibiting any signs of great muscular powers, but in lifting, or carrying a load, they are probably not excelled by the porters even of Ireland.
The very general use of tobacco throughout the whole extensive empire of China, and the still more extensive regions of Tartary, would seem to contradict the commonly received opinion, that this herb is indigenous only in America. One can hardly suppose that the Chinese, who are so remarkably averse from the introduction of any thing novel, would, in the course of three centuries, have brought the custom of smoking into universal use; yet so it is; men of all ranks and all ages; women, whatever their condition in life may be, and children even of both sexes of eight or ten years of age, are furnished with the necessary apparatus for smoking tobacco. In walking the streets, in almost all the occupations of life, the tobacco pipe is seldom out of the mouth.
The practice of smoking tobacco is not more common, at least in the southern provinces of China, than that of chewing the areca nut, mixed with chunam, or lime made of shells, and wrapped up in a leaf of the betel pepper. Indeed this compound masticatory is in universal use throughout all India, the Oriental Islands, Cochin-china, and Tonquin. In addition to the little purse which every Chinese wears suspended from his belt as an appendage to his tobacco pipe and to hold the ingredients for smoking, whether tobacco, or opium, or both, he generally carries another to contain areca nuts broken into small fragments: the other materials, the betel leaf, and chunam are to be met with in every little eating shop, and on almost every stall in the bazar, or market, and are among the most common articles carried about the streets for sale.
A view in Rosemary Lane
This lane partakes of some of the characteristics of Petticoat-lane, but without its so strongly marked peculiarities. Rosemary-lane is wider and airier, the houses on each side are loftier (in several parts), and there is an approach to a gin palace, a thing unknown in Petticoat-lane: there is no room for such a structure there.
The Crippled Street Bird Seller
Street Seller of Birds Nests
“I am a seller of birds’-nesties, snakes, slow-worms, adders, ‘effets’—lizards is their common name—hedgehogs (for killing black beetles); frogs (for the French—they eats ’em); snails (for birds); that’s all I sell in the summer-time.
The Street Dog Seller
The live animals sold in the streets include beasts, birds, fish, and reptiles, all sold in the streets of London.
The Groundsel Man
“Chick-weed and Grun-sell!”
Fourteen or fifteen years ago, although seeds, generally, were fifteen to twenty per cent. dearer than they are now, there was twice the demand for them. An average price of good mignonette seed, he said, was now 1s. the quarter of a pound, and it was then 1s. 2d. to 1s. 6d. The shilling’s worth, is made, by the street-seller, into twenty or twenty-four pennyworths. An average price of parsley, and of the cheaper seeds, is less than half that of mignonette. Other seeds, again, are not sold to the street-people by the weight, but are made up in sixpenny and shilling packages. Their extreme lightness prevents their being weighed to a customer. Of this class are, the African marigold, the senecios (groundsel), and the china-aster; but of these compound flowers, the street-traders sell very few.
The life of the coster-girls is as severe as that of the boys. Between four and five in the morning they have to leave home for the markets, and sell in the streets until about nine. Those that have more kindly parents, return then to breakfast, but many are obliged to earn the morning’s meal for themselves. After breakfast, they generally remain in the streets until about ten o’clock at night; many having nothing during all that time but one meal of bread and butter and coffee, to enable them to support the fatigue of walking from street to street with the heavy basket on their heads. In the course of a day, some girls eat as much as a pound of bread, and very seldom get any meat, unless it be on a Sunday.
The Coster Boy and Girl Tossing the pieman
The itinerant trade in pies is one of the most ancient of the street callings of London. The meat pies are made of beef or mutton; the fish pies of eels; the fruit of apples, currants, gooseberries, plums, damsons, cherries, raspberries, or rhubarb, according to the season—and occasionally of mince-meat. A few years ago the street pie-trade was very profitable, but it has been almost destroyed by the “pie-shops,” and further, the few remaining street-dealers say “the people now haven’t the pennies to spare.” Summer fairs and races are the best places for the piemen.
To “toss the pieman” is a favourite pastime with costermongers boys and all that class; some of whom aspire to the repute of being gourmands, and are critical on the quality of the comestible. If the pieman win the toss, he receives 1d. without giving a pie; if he lose, he hands it over for nothing.
The Blind Boot-Lace Seller
The Baked Potato Man
“Baked ’taturs! All ’ot, all ’ot!”
The baked potato trade, in the way it is at present carried on, has not been known more than fifteen years in the streets. Before that, potatoes were sometimes roasted as chestnuts are now, but only on a small scale. The trade is more profitable than that in fruit, but continues for but six months of the year.
The Wallflower Girl
For the flowers of commoner or easier culture, the root-seller receives from 1d. to 3d. These are primroses, polyanthuses, cowslips (but in small quantities comparatively), daisies (single and double,—and single or wild, daisies were coming to be more asked for, each 1d.), small early wallflowers, candy-tufts, southernwood (called “lad’s love” or “old man” by some), and daffodils, (but daffodils were sometimes dearer than 3d.).
The Street Stationer
These street-sellers are a numerous body, and the majority of them show a greater degree of industry and energy than is common to many classes of street-folk. They have been for the most part connected with the paper, newspaper, or publishing trade, and some of them have “known better days.”
The Street Seller of Walking sticks
The trade is a summer and a Sunday trade. The best localities are the several parks, and the approaches to them,
The Street Seller of Nutmeg Graters
Many of those who have lost an arm, or a leg, or a hand, turn showmen, or become sellers of small metal articles, as knives or nutmeg-graters; and many who have been born cripples may be seen in the streets struggling for self-support. But all who are driven to the streets have not been physically disabled for labour. Some have been reduced from their position as tradesmen or shopmen; others, again, have been gentlemen’s servants and clerks; all, dragged down by a series of misfortunes, sometimes beyond their control, and sometimes brought about by their own imprudence or sluggishness
The Street Seller of Grease Removing composition
The persons engaged in this trade carry it on with a regular patter. One man’s street announcement is in the following words: “Here you have a composition to remove stains from silks, muslins, bombazeens, cords, or tabarets of any kind or colour. It will never injure nor fade the finest silk or satin, but restore it to its original colour. For grease on silks, &c., only rub the composition on dry, let it remain five minutes, then take a clothes’ brush and brush it off, and it will be found to have removed the stains. For grease in woollen cloths spread the composition on the place with a piece of woollen cloth and cold water; when dry rub it off, and it will remove the grease or stain. For pitch or tar use hot water instead of cold, as that prevents the nap coming off the cloth. Here it is. Squares of grease-removing composition, never known to fail, only 1d. each.”
The Street Seller of Dogs Collars
Two of the most profitable pitches for the sale of these articles are in the neighbourhood of the Old Swan Pier, off Thames-street, and at a corner of the Bank. Neither of these two traders confines his stock to dog-collars, though they constitute the most valuable portion of it. The one sells, in addition to his collars, key-rings, keys and chains, dog-whistles, stamps with letters engraved upon them, printer’s type, in which any name or initials may be set up, shaving-brushes, trowser-straps, razors, and a few other light articles.
The Street Seller of Crockery Ware
The goods are carried in baskets on the head, the men having pads on the cloth caps which they wear—or sometimes a padding of hay or wool inside the cap—while the women’s pads are worn outside their bonnets or caps, the bonnet being occasionally placed on the basket. The goods, though carried in baskets on the head to the locality of the traffic, are, whilst the traffic is going on, usually borne from house to house, or street to street, on the arm, or when in large baskets carried before them by the two hands.
The Street Rhubarb and Spice Seller
The Oyster StallThe trade in oysters is unquestionably one of the oldest with which the London—or rather the English—markets are connected; for oysters from Britain were a luxury in ancient Rome.
Oysters are now sold out of the smacks at Billingsgate, and a few at Hungerford. The more expensive kind such as the real Milton, are never bought by the costermongers, but they buy oysters of a “good middling quality.” At the commencement of the season these oysters are 14s. a “bushel,” but the measure contains from a bushel and a half to two bushels, as it is more or less heaped up. The general price, however, is 9s. or 10s., but they have been 16s. and 18s.
The Lucifer Match Girl
The lucifer-match boxes, the most frequent in the street-trade, are bought by the poor persons selling them in the streets, at the manufacturers, or at oil-shops, for a number of oilmen buy largely of the manufacturers, and can “supply the trade” at the same rate as the manufacturer. The price is 2¼d. the dozen boxes, each box containing 150 matches. Some of the boxes (German made) are round, and many used to be of tin, but these are rarely seen now. The prices are proportionate. The common price of a lucifer box in the streets is ½d., but many buyers, I am told, insist upon and obtain three a penny, which they do generally of some one who supplies them regularly. The trade is chiefly itinerant.
The London CostermongerThe number of costermongers,—that it is to say, of those street-sellers attending the London “green” and “fish markets,”—appears to be, from the best data at my command, now 30,000 men, women, and children.
The London Coffee Stall
The coffee-stall keepers generally stand at the corner of a street. In the fruit and meat markets there are usually two or three coffee-stalls, and one or two in the streets leading to them; in Covent-garden there are no less than four coffee-stalls. Indeed, the stalls abound in all the great thoroughfares, and the most in those not accounted “fashionable” and great “business” routes, but such as are frequented by working people, on their way to their day’s labour.
The Irish Street-seller
The fruit-sellers, meaning thereby those who deal principally in fruit in the season, are the more intelligent costermongers. The calculation as to what a bushel of apples, for instance, will make in half or quarter pecks, puzzles the more ignorant, and they buy “second-hand,” or of a middle-man, and consequently dearer. The Irish street-sellers do not meddle much with fruit, excepting a few of the very best class of them, and they “do well in it,” I was told, “they have such tongue.”