Thomas Dekker.

The guls hornbook : and The belman of London in two parts online

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These Walking Moris travell from Country to ^^r'
Countrie, making laces (upon staves) and small jj^Q^^-g"
purses, and now and then white vallance for
beds : Subtile queanes they are, hard-harted,
light-fingerd, cunning in dissembling, and danger-
ous to be met if any Rufler or Roague bee in
their company. They feare neither God nor
good lawes, but onely are kept in aw by the
Upright-men, who often times spoyle them of
all they have, which to prevent, the Walking
Marts use this pollicy, they leave their money
(sometime five shillings, / sometimes ten
shillings) in severall shires, with some honest
farmers wife or others whom they know they
may trust, and when they travell that way
againe, at halfe yeares end, or a quarters, fetch
it to serve their turnes : but dare never goe in
good clothes, least the Upright-men either strip
them into rags, or else starke naked, as they use
to doe.

An Autem Mart, is a woman married, (for
Autem in the Beggers language is a Church :)
these Morts seldom keepe with their husbands,
but are from them sometimes a moneth or two,
yet never walke they without a man in their
company, and boyes and girles at their heeles of
ten or twelve yeares old, whome they imploy at
windowes of houses in the night time, or earely in
the mornings, to pilfer away any thing that is
worth the carying away, (which in their tongue)
they call Nilling of the Ken. These Autem
Morts walke with wallets on their shoulders, &


Female Slates (or sheetes) at their backes, in which they
pedlars ^gg ^.^ |jg^ Their husbands commonly are
Rufflers, Upright-men, or Wilde Rogues, and their
companions of the same breede.

There is another Parrot, (in this Bird-cage)
whose feathers are more sleeke, and tongue more
smooth than the rest ; and she is called A Bawdy
basket : These Baivdy baskets are women that
walke with baskets or capcases on their armes,
wherein they have laces, pinnes, needles, white
inckle, tape, round white silke gerdels, and such
like : these will buy Conny Skinnes, and in the
meane time steale linnen or pewter : they are
faire - spoken, and will seldome sweare whilst
they are selling their waires ; but will lye with
any man that hath a mind to their commodities.
The Upright-men and These hold such league
together, that whatsoever they have is common
to them both, and oftentimes will they with
money relieve one another.

The selfe same IVuce is taken betweene the
Upright men and the Demaunders of Glymmer,
that is to say, those who travell up and downe
with licenses to begge, because their houses have
been consumed with fire, for Glymmer (in canting)
signifies fire. These Glymmering Morts are so
tender hearted, that they shed teares if they make
but mention of their losses, and tel a lamentable
story how the fire destroyed their barnes, stables,
&c., all that they speake being meere lyes : they
likewise carrie wallets at their backes, and are
onely attended upon and defended / by the Up-
right-men, who never walke along with them
through any towne, but keepe aloofe.


And these (quoth the Hostesse of the Beggers) The
are all or the cheefest (both Hee-D'fvels and ^^""^^
Shee-Dhels) that daunce in this large circle. I Kp ^
have brought you acquainted with their names, in London
their natures, their tradings, and their trafficke ;
if you have a desire to know more of them,
you shall find whole congregations of them, at
Saint Quint ens. The three-Cranes in the Fintry,
Saint Tybs and at Knapsburie, which foure
places are foure several! barnes within one mile
compasse neere London, being but Nick-names
given to them by the Upright-men : In those
Innes doe they lodge every night ; in those doe
Upright'tnen lie with Morts^ and turne Dels into
Doxyes (that is to say, ravish young wenches)
whilst the Rogue is glad to stand at Reversion
and to take the others leavings. In Middlesex
likewise stand foure other Harbours for them,
namely. Draw the pudding out of thejire, (which
is in the parish of Harrow on the Hill.) ; The
Crosse Keyes, (which is in Cranford parish,)
Saint Julians, (which is in Thistleworth parish.)
And the house of Pitty in Northall Parish. The
Kinges Barne neere Darford, and Ketbrooke neere
Blackheath, are likewise houses of good receite
for them : In all Shires have they such Innes as
these ; and in all of them and these recited, shall
you find sometimes 40. Upright-men together in-
gendring beggers with their M.orts. No sinne
but is here committed without shame. Adultery
is common amongst them, Incest but laughed at.
Sodomy made a jest : At these Havens do they
cast anchor boldly, because none are by to barre
their entrance ; yea those that are owners of


The these Barnes and Back-houses, dare not but give

hostess welcome to these Unruly Guests ; for if they
ends her , , , , , , -^ . ' , ^

recital ^^"^"^"^ ^^^ ^"^7 would at one time or other set
fire of their houses, or by blody and treacherous
practises take away their lives. For this cause
sir, (quoth shee) am I glad to looke smilingly
upon them, and to play the Hostes, because my
abiding stands so farre from company, yet I protest
(quoth shee) I hate the sight of them, as know-
ing them to be hell - hounds, and have made
discovery of their divelish conditions, because you
may teach others how to avoide them : And
howsoever you may be drawen peradventure to
publish these abuses to the world (sayd shee)
yet I pray conceale my name, the publishing of
which may cost me my life.

By / this tyme, the fumes of Ale which had
distempered her braines, and set her tongue a
going were dispersed ; so that both her lookes and
speech shewing that she did not now desemble :
but uttered these things unfainedly, 1 gave her
many thanks for her Discovery, councelled
her to change her discomfortable Lodgings and to
dwell in a place more inhabited, (which shee
promised to doe) and away I went. A thousand
cogitations kept mee company as I traveled alone
by my selfe : Sorry I was to heare that in those
places where Innocence and Simplicity should be
borne, so much, and such ugly Vilany should be
nourished, yet was I glad that I came to the
knowledge of their evils, because the dressing of
such wounds in a Commonwealth, is the curing
of them.

Looking therefore with more pearcing eyes


into the Country -life, I began to hate it worse The sins
than (before) I loved it, I fell to dispraise it of the
faster than ever I did commend it. For I found it country
full of care, and full of craft ; full of labour, and
yet full of penury ; I saw the poore husbandman
made a slave to the rich farmour ; the farmour
racked by his landlord : I saw that covetousnesse
made deere yeares when she had fullest barnes ;
and to cursse plentie for being liberal of her
blessings. I had heard of no sinne in the Cittie,
but I met it in the village ; nor any Fice in the
tradesman, which was not in the ploughman.
All places therefore being haunted with evill
Spirits, I forsooke the fieldes and the Moun-
taines, and took my journey backe againe to the
Citie, whose customes (both good and bad) I
desired to be acquainted with. It was my
fortune to travell so late, that the Moone had
clymed up to the very top of Midnight, before
I had enterance into the gates of the Cittie,
which made me make the more hast to my
lodging. But in my passage, I first heard (in
some good distance before me) the sound of a
bell, and then of a mans voice, both whose
tunes seemed at that dead houre of the night
verie doleful. On I hastened to know what
noyse it should be, and in the end found it to be
The Bell-man of London. The sound of his
Foice at the first put me in mind of the day of
Judgement; Men (me thought) starting out of
their sleepes, at the Ringing of his bell, as then
they are to rise from their graves at the call of a
trumpet: But when I approached neare unto
him, and beheld a man with a lanthorne and


The bell- candle in his hand, a long stafFe on his / necke,
man and and a dog at his tayle, I supposed verily, because
his work ^^^ Moone shon somewhat dimly, that the Man
in the Moone had lept downe from heaven and
(for hast) had left his bush of thornes behind
him. But these Imaginations vanishing, as fast
as they were begotten : I began to talke to my
Be/I-man, and to aske him, why with such a
Jangling, and balling, and beating at Mens
doores hee went about to waken either poore
men that were over-wearyed with labour, or sick
men that had most neede of rest ? hee made
answere unto me, that the Ringing of his Bellf
was not (like an Allarum in a towne of garrison,)
to fright the inhabitants, but rather it was
musick to charme them faster with sleepe : the
Beating at their doores assured those within that
no theeves were entred, nor that false servants
had wilfully or negligently suffered the doores
to stand open, to have their maisters robd ; and
that his crying out so loud, was but like the
shrill Good Morroiu of a Cock to put men (that
had wealth enough) in minde of the time how it
slydeth away, and to bid those that were full of
businesse to be watchfuU for their due houres
when they were to rise. He cald himselfe
therefore the Centinell of the Citty, the watch-
man for everie ward, the honest Spy that dis-
covered the prentizes of the night, and that as a
lanthorne in the poope of a Ship, was a guide or
comfort to sea-men in most pitchy darknesse, so
was his walking up and downe in the night time,
a prevention to the Citty oftentimes of much and
many daungerous fires. I lik'd well that thus


he praised himselfe, because in those praises lay -pj^g j^gji
the commendation of an honourable, civill, and man re-
pollitick government. And so farre delt I with lates his
him that in the end he brought me acquainted ^^cp^n-
with his office, as well as hee knew it himselfe, ^"^^^
and discovered unto me the properties of his
ivalkes, as how farre his boundes reached ; what
mad hobgoblins hee oftentimes encountred with,
what mischiefes he now and then prevented, what
knaveries he was now and then an eye witnesse
to, and to what secret villanies (brought to bed
in darknesse) he was compeld to be (though not
the midwife) yet a gossip, present at the labour
and deliverie. Of all which I having a longing
desire to get the true pictures, and perswading
him that he was bound by his place, by his
conscience, and by the lawes of common
humanity to lay open such plots as were so /
dangerous to the common wealth whereof he
was a member, he yeelded at the length to
discover ail that he knew : And for that purpose
not only caryed me home to his lodging where
he gave me the notes and names of sundry abuses
begotten in the dead of night. But also went up
and downe the Citty with me all the next day,
shewing me the very doores and signes at which
thev dwelt, and the very faces of those that were
the divells Factors in those lowe countrie com-
modities of hell. I learnt much by the Bell-
mans intelligence but more afterwards by my
owne observation and experience : what mer-
chandize I stored my selfe with by both the
Foiages here doe I unlade, and what profit so
ever arises by the trafficke of them, shall if you


Vice please be wholy yours. And for that the Lading
wears the ^^^g of sundry commodities, I will deliver them

^^virtue ^^^^^ ^° ^^^^^ severall parcells, as I received


Oj cheating Lawe,

All f^'tces maske themselves with the vizards of
Vertuc. they borrowe their names, the better
and more currantly to passe without suspition :
for murder will be called Manhood^ Dronhennesse
is now held to be Phisick, Impudence is Audacitie^
Ryot, good fellowship &c. So are these Villanies
(whose faces I meane to discover) paynted over
with fresh orient cullers, because their lookes
may be more pleasing, and lesse suspected to
have craft underneath them. And for that
purpose have their Knaveries gotten the names of
Arts or Lawes, as the Act of such a Thing or
such a law, not that they are institutions set
downe by law for the good of men, or of a
common-wealth ; but as the Law is grounded
upon Reason^ and hath Maximes of Justice, upon
which she buildeth all her Pollicies whereby
shee governs kingdomes. So these new-found
Laives of the Divels invention, are grounded
upon Mischiefe, and are nothing else but certaine
Acts and Rules, drawne into heads (in an
assembly of damned Wretches) for the utter
undoing of Men, and confusion of a Weak

Of all which Laives, the Highest in place, and
the Highest in perdition is the Cheating Law or
the Art of winning money by false dyce : Those


that practise this studie call themselves Cheators^ Cheaters
/ the dyce Cheaters^ and the money which they
purchase Cheates : borrowing the tearme from
our common Lawyers, with whome all such
casuals as fall to the Lord at the holding of his
Leetesy as IVaifes, Strayes, and such like, are sayd
to be Escheated to the Lords use and are called
Cheates. This sort of Gamesters, were at first a
few in number, (the Art being odious) they
were poore, (as being hated and driven from all
good mens company.) But now, there are so
many profest Cheators and so many that give
countenance to their occupation, that they might
make an armie sufficient to give the Turhe a
battaile : now are they not hungry thread bare
knaves, but gallants that russle in silkes, and are
whorryed through the streetes in Coaches, their
purses being full of crownes, and their fingers
being held up able to command the prowdest
Curtizan. Yea to such a ranckenes hath
custome brought this Vice, and to such a bold-
nesse, that in the most noble assemblies, at the
Best Ordinaries where your onely Gallants spend
afternoones, and in your most civill meetings of
Merchants, your welthiest Cittizens, if they fall
to play with dyce for any round summes of
money. It is now growne to a fashion to
have some one or other to take up the
Cheators weapons, and (without all respect of
honesty, friendship, or societie) to beate all

A Cheator playes his Maisters prize at 14.
severall weapons, and those weapons are


The Names of false Dyce,

The tools A Bale of bard sincke Deivces,

of the J 2ale of Flat sincke De-ujces.
cheater ^ ^^^^ ^j. j^^ ^.^^ ^^^^^

^ Bale of bard sice Aces.
A Bale of bard Cater- Treas,
A Bale of Flat Cater -Treas.
A Bale of Fullams.
A Bale of Tight Cramers.
A Bale of Langrets, contrary to the vantage.
A Bale of GordeSf ivith as many High nun as
Lozv men for Passage.
A Bale of Demies.

A Bale of Long Dyce for even and od.
A Bale of Bristles.
A Bale of Direct Contraries.

These are the 14. divelish hookes, by which
the Cheater angles for other mens money ; hee
cares not in what river, hee makes no conscience
with what baite, so hee may have good draughts
to maintaine himselfe in riots, and his whore in
rich apparell, that's the white he shootes at.
Neither doth he let all these arrowes flie at one
marke, nor in all weathers. But some he
shootes in one game, some in another, and as he
findes what fooles are in his company, so does
he bestow his bolts. To set downe all the
Legierdemayne of this Handycraft, would perad-
venture instruct some ill-minded persons in that
villany, which is published onely to have others
shun it ; I will therefore shew you a few of
their jugling trickes (that are Graduates in the


Art) and by the shape of them, judge the rest, The use
for all are alike. j>f the

A Langret is a Dye, which simple men have ^"S^et
seldome heard of, and happily never seene (but
to their cost.) It is (to the eye of him that is
but a Novice) a Good and Square Die, yet it is
cut longer upon the Cater and Trea, then upon
any other point, and is for that cause called a
Langret : these Langrets are also called Bard
Cater Jreas, because in the running, the longer
end wil commonly (of his owne sway) draw
downewards, and turne eyther Sice, Sincke,
Deivce, or Ace upwardes on the board ; the
principall use of them is at Novum. For so
long as a paire of Bard Cater Treas, be walking,
so long can you cast neither 5. nor 9. unless it
be by great Chance, that the rooghnes of the
table, or some other stoppe force them to stay,
and to runne against their kind ; for without
Cater, Trea, 5. or 9. you know can never

Here some may imagine, that by this meanes
hee that hath the first Dyce in his hand, may
strip all that play at the table of their money ;
but this must be their helpe. An odde die
called a Flat Cater Trea, (and no other number)
is to be readie at hand, for granting the Trea
and Cater to be alwayes upon the one Dye, then is
there no Chance upon the other Dye but may
serve to make 5. or 9. and so cast forth and
loose all.

The Cheater therefore marketh well the Flat,
and bendeth a great part of his studie to learne
when he is abroad, for so long as that is stirring,


^ystiri^ he will never Cast at Much. The shift which
^o do^ ^ / cheater is driven to, in conveying the Flat in
and out, is a notable cunning, and in their Trade
is cald Foy sting : which is nothing else but a
sleight to carry Dice easily in the hand so often
as the Foister iisteth ; so that when either he or
his partner casteth the Dyce, the Flat comes not
abroad till he hath made a Great Hand, other-
wise the Flat is still sure to be One, unlesse the
Cheator of purpose suffers the silly Novices, with
whome hee playes, to cast in a hand or two to
give them courage and to live in hope ot

The damnable Oaths and Quarrels that waite
at the table of Gamesters, are occasion that many
men forbeare to venture money in those sports,
who otherwise would play ; the Cheator therforc
(being a cunning observer of all fashions) will
seldome sweare, (if he have gotten a Gull into
his company, whom he is loath to anger for feare
hee loose him,) and as seldome swagger, but
will rather put up an open wrong, then by a
foolish braule to breake off the company, and so
hinder himselfe and his consort of purchase :
But if hee sweare you would take him for a
puritane, for his oathes are. Of Honesty, of Troth,
by Saint Martin ^c. and take this note, that
when he sweares affirmatively, he meanes alwaies
the contrary. As for example, if I say unto
you when the Dyce come to your handes, 0/
Honesty cast at all, my meaning is, you shall
cast at the table, or else at very little . or if
when one being stript out of all his money, offer
to pawne a Ring or a Jewell, and I sweare by


Saint Martin I think it is fine gold, then doe I The
meane that it is pure copper, and so of the rest : cheater
He that is drawn in to venture his money, is cozen
(amongst this cursed brotherhood of Cheators)
tearmed a Cozen, and is handled so kindly, as if
he were a cozen indeede : if hee once set in a
foote, and that they fall to Hunt him, then all
the craft is to make the Conny sweate, that is to
say, so wisely to handle him, that he may have
a desire more and more to play and to keepe
company ; yet so warily to encrease this appetite
in him that hee Smoake not the Cheator, which
is, that hee smell not what knavery is bent
against him, and so slip the coller like a Hound,
and shake off the company for ever.

At the Taking up of a Co%en, the first Feny
that a Cheator gives him, is to learne before he
play what store of Bit he hath in his Bay, that is,
what money he hath in his purse, and whether
/ it be in Great cogges or Bmall^ that is, in gold
or silver, and at what game hee will soonest
stoope ; for that being knowne his humor is
fed, and he is choked with the meate he loves
best. For some that will not play a groate at
Novum, will loose a hundred pound at Hazard,
and he that will not lose a shilling at Dyce, will
play away his patrimony at Gardes ; for which
cause the Cheator furnisheth himselfe for all
voyages, but specially provides for Jine cheates,
and to atchive which with more ease, hee ac-
quaints himselfe with Dyce-makers, that worke
in corners, (Varlets they are that are Factors to
the divell, and for money will exchange their
soules in a bayle of Dyce.) These Dyce-makers


The arme the Cheator with the foresaid 14. weapons,
cheater s ^^^ ^j^^^ jg j^g ^ C hater compleate.

^ ^ One notable poUicy is (as a i^w/

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Online LibraryThomas DekkerThe guls hornbook : and The belman of London in two parts → online text (page 7 of 18)