Front Cover
 Title Page
 Front Matter
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 The purlieus of Water Street after...
 The amateur beggar
 After the gambling and panel...
 A visit to Davy Jones's locker
 The bogus doctor
 The amateur curb-stone singer
 Life on the Erie canal
 Night and morning in the tombs
 The model coster-monger
 Down in a coal-mine
 Life in a circus
 A ride on an engine
 A night in an underground...
 The spirit-medium
 Painting à la mode
 The poor prisoner
 The life of a tramp
 The beggars' banquet
 "Been to the mines, sir?"
 The peep-show man
 Up and down Mont Blanc

Title: mysteries and miseries of the great metropolis
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075024/00001
 Material Information
Title: mysteries and miseries of the great metropolis
Physical Description: Book
Creator: Pember, Arthur.
Publisher: D. Appleton,
Publication Date: 1874
Copyright Date: 1874
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00075024
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: afl8412 - LTUF
06907824 - OCLC
001121538 - AlephBibNum

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
    Front Matter
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
    List of Illustrations
        Page viii
    The purlieus of Water Street after dark
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    The amateur beggar
        Page 30
        Page 30a
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
    After the gambling and panel houses
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 70a
    A visit to Davy Jones's locker
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
    The bogus doctor
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
    The amateur curb-stone singer
        Page 100
        Page 100a
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 118a
    Life on the Erie canal
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
    Night and morning in the tombs
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 180a
    The model coster-monger
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
    Down in a coal-mine
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
    Life in a circus
        Page 218
        Page 218a
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
    A ride on an engine
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 250a
    A night in an underground lodging-house
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
    The spirit-medium
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
    Painting à la mode
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 298a
    The poor prisoner
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 326a
    The life of a tramp
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
        Page 337
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
        Page 345
        Page 346
        Page 347
        Page 348
        Page 349
        Page 350
    The beggars' banquet
        Page 351
        Page 352
        Page 353
        Page 354
        Page 355
        Page 356
        Page 357
        Page 358
        Page 359
        Page 360
        Page 361
        Page 362
        Page 363
        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 366
        Page 367
        Page 368
        Page 369
        Page 370
        Page 371
        Page 372
        Page 373
        Page 374
        Page 375
        Page 376
        Page 377
    "Been to the mines, sir?"
        Page 378
        Page 379
        Page 379
        Page 380
        Page 381
        Page 382
        Page 383
        Page 384
        Page 385
        Page 386
        Page 387
        Page 388
        Page 389
        Page 390
        Page 391
        Page 392
        Page 393
        Page 394
        Page 395
        Page 396
        Page 397
        Page 398
    The peep-show man
        Page 399
        Page 400
        Page 401
        Page 402
        Page 403
        Page 404
        Page 405
        Page 406
        Page 407
        Page 408
        Page 409
        Page 410
        Page 410a
    Up and down Mont Blanc
        Page 411
        Page 412
        Page 413
        Page 414
        Page 415
        Page 416
        Page 417
        Page 418
        Page 419
        Page 420
        Page 421
        Page 422
        Page 423
        Page 424
        Page 425
        Page 426
        Page 427
        Page 428
        Page 429
        Page 430
        Page 431
        Page 432
        Page 433
        Page 434
        Page 435
        Page 436
        Page 437
        Page 438
        Page 439
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        Page 441
        Page 442
        Page 443
        Page 444
        Page 445
        Page 446
        Page 447
        Page 448
        Page 449
        Page 450
        Page 451
        Page 452
        Page 453
        Page 454
        Page 455
        Page 456
        Page 457
        Page 458
        Page 459
        Page 460
        Page 461
        Page 462
        Page 463
        Page 464
Full Text

j L4








BY "A. P.,"


549 & 551 BROADWAY.

ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, by
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Wasllngton.


MORE than one class of persons, I am inclined to
think, will be apt to consider that an ordinary sense
of propriety should lead me to apologize for publish-
ing, for the benefit of one half the world, some of my
varied experiences while investigating how the other
half lives.
There are the gamblers, prison-jailers, and keepers
of disreputable houses, for instance, who will strongly
object to having the light of day shed o'er their pecul-
iar and very elastic mode of earning a living. Thieves,
tramps, beggars, and curb-stone singers, too, are not
likely to rub their hands gleefully at the expose of their
little devices for subsisting on the charity or at the
expense of others.
Again, there is that multitudinous class who love
to isolate themselves in their own individuality and
its immediate aristocratic surroundings. No, indeed!
Their luxurious firesides are not to be contrasted


with the so-called accommodations of the cold, damp,
cellar lodging-house. They do not know and they do
not care to know any thing about the thousand repul-
sive or soul-saddening scenes which are daily, hourly,
momentarily, being enacted almost within a stone's-
throw of their studiously built-up throne of selfish ease
and content!
And, then, there are those of the dolce far niente
disposition, who will quickly exclaim, "Write him
down an ass for undergoing such very unpleasant ex-
periences;" much in the same spirit which influenced
a deaf old lady who sat in the front row of seats in the
Peabody Institute at Salem, Massachusetts, one even-
ing, when I was relating my adventures Up and Down
Mont Blanc," and who exclaimed aloud to her daugh-
ter at the conclusion of the first part-that is, when we
had reached the summit of the mountain: Well, now,
he don't look such a fool! "
But to none such as these, should they happen to
be remembered among my readers, do I propose to
offer any thing in the way of the amended honorable.
How could they possibly expect an apology from so
hybrid an individual as an Amateur Vagabond? No!
These sketches were not written for them. I respect-
fully dedicate them to those who, with broader views,
are willing and desirous to know something of those


various phases of existence, of which their occupations,
their associations, or the even tenor of their far-off lives,
inevitably or naturally, keep them in ignorance.
That I have submitted to many inconveniences-
nay, that I have undergone privations and faced dan-
gers, while pursuing my adventures as an Amateur
Vagabond, I have only a too lively remembrance. But,
how could I possibly pen sketches from real life, had I
not been ready to do so? My sole aim has been to
describe scenes of grave or gay interest which I have
actually witnessed, odd situations in which I have
found myself placed, and petites comedies or dramas in
which I have positively taken a part. I have carefully
avoided putting on finishing touches of imaginative
coloring or even the very thinnest coat of varnish;
being convinced that a plain, unvarnished tale is, after
all, the most interesting. Such as my sketches are, I
commend them to the reader in his or her spells of
good-nature, simply pleading for faith in their honesty
and truth.
"A. P."










STRING 'EM UP ............ .. 179





























... Frontispiece.

. 80


. 100

. 118

. . 181


. 251

. . . 299

. 827


. . . 411




WHEN is a man not a man ? When is a woman
not a woman ?
When they dwell in Water Street, New York.
This is a novel answer to a very old conundrum;
but, unlike its predecessors, it is intended by no means
to be a facetious one; on the contrary, it is intended
to convey a sad truth in plain, sober language. To
those of my readers who may be inclined to dispute
this proposition, I say: Go and see these places, study
the phases of human, or rather inhuman, life to be
witnessed any and every day in the purlieus of Water
Street, and then conscientiously say whether you think
it possible for a man to remain a man, or for a woman
to remain a woman, when subjected to the evil influ.
ences of that infamous locality.


The neighborhood of Water Street is about the
most notorious in the metropolis for deeds of violence,
flagrant vice, and scenes of debauchery. It abounds
in lodging-houses for sailors, liquor-stores of the low-
est class without number, dance-houses and concert-
saloons (at the very thought of which poor Decency
hides her eyes in agony), and various other low places
of amusement. Brothels of the worst description
swarm in all directions; the wretched, half-drunken,
shameless inmates being permitted by the police to
flaunt their sin and finery and ply their hateful trade
openly by day or night, without let or hinderance.
The mixture and recklessness of vice, the unblushing
effrontery with which it is carried on, the barefaced
employment of loose women to entrap sailors, and the
apparent carelessness or interestedness of the authori-
ties in not suppressing these resorts, is a standing dis-
grace to the city of New York. The infamous proprie-
tors of these dance and sailors' lodging-houses seem to
consider that a staff of prostitutes is a necessary part
of their stock in trade; a stock, if any thing, more
remunerative than the sale of their villainous whisky.
At night the quarrels, fights, and noisy disturbances,
make the darkness hideous, and are of such frequency
that none can hope for a night's rest until they have
been inured by habit to the ways and doings of this
terrestrial pandemonium. Fights and desperate en-
counters among intoxicated men and women occur
night after night and are looked upon as a regular part


of the twenty-four hours' programme. Sailors, canal-
men, dockmen, and landsmen, are continually fighting
about the women who are attachdes to these establish-
ments, and it is only too common to see the most desper-
ate encounters between the women themselves, who be-
come perfect demons under such circumstances, and to
see the lookers-on encourage the combatants instead of
separating them. These wretched creatures have ar-
rived at such a pass that they are actually compelled to
madden themselves with drink in order to become suffi-
ciently immoral and disgusting. The use of deadly
weapons, too, is so common that murder provokes no
sentiment of horror among the denizens of Water Street,
but only excites in them a morbid curiosity to see the
murderer as he is hurried off to jail by the police-if
they know him, to shake him by the hand, and, if pos-
sible, to catch a glimpse of the murdered man.
And, if they have homes, what are they ? The men,
too often confirmed drunkards, and consequently con-
tinually out of work and unable to support their fami-
lies honestly; the women-oh, horrible thought! earn-
ing the wages of sin with the consent of their hus-
bands; the children literally brought up in the gutter;
clothes, furniture, bedding, all gone to the pawnshop;
the whole family huddled together at night on a dirty
husk or straw mattress, or on the bare boards in one
ill-built, badly-ventilated, and filthy room, where any
pretense at decency is impossible. What is the inevi-
table result ? The men and women only care for their


daily allowance of rum, no matter how obtained; the
boys are all thieves at ten years of age; at fourteen,
the girls are all prostitutes.
In such a neighborhood it is not to be expected
that any person of respectability will reside; so, with
the exception of a few professional men, such as doctors
and others, whose ties confine them to the spot, these
disciples of vice and immorality have it all to them-
selves. How many men have been fortunately kept
from the commission of sin and crime by the want of
opportunity! But, in this spot, that devil, opportunity,
is ready made to hand !
One night, I walked into the Oak-Street Station-
house, and asked the captain of the Fourth Precinct to
allow one of his detectives to escort me through these
terrible slums. The captain received me most cour-
teously, and immediately told off an experienced man to
accompany and protect me; a man," he said, "whose
especial duty it is to look after these dens of vice and
immorality, and who will show you some sights that
will make your hair stand on end. Though," he add-
ed, "things have improved a little of late, in conse-
quence of the business (what a business!) "being so
blown upon."
I was treated to a spice of Water-Street life while
awaiting in the station-house the few preparations the
detective thought it necessary to make. The inspector
on duty was hearing a charge brought by a fine-looking
young sailor of the United States Navy against a


boarding-house crimp for assault. It appeared that the
crimp had been endeavoring to fleece the sailor, and,
finding that his rapacious demands were not likely to
be complied with, had coolly knocked him down and
then brutally stamped his left eye out with the heel of
his boot. At this moment a poorly-clad, wretched-
looking woman entered the station-house, and, in ner-
vous, agitated tones, charged her husband, who she
asserted had a considerable sum of money about him,
with refusing to give her the means of obtaining the
necessaries of life. After much mutual recrimination,
the inspector ordered the man to be searched. This
was done most rigidly, but nothing was found in his
many mysteriously-placed pockets. On unlacing his
boots, however, one hundred dollars in bills was un-
earthed from one and one hundred and ten dollars in
gold from the other.
But the detective was now ready, and, wishing the
captain Good-evening," I started to do the slums of
Water Street after dark, and study that abyss of degra-
dation into which it is possible for poor humanity to
fall. As we left the station-house, I inquired of the
detective whether this neighborhood was more densely
populated than other parts of the city. I soon received
an affirmative answer of the most practical kind; for
we were close to the entrances of two perfect hives of
humanity in Cherry Street, known as Single and Double
Alleys. Each of these alleys is a single tenement-
house. Single Alley, so called because it has only one


face, is capable of holding (not accommodating) about
seventy families; Double Alley, which has two faces
and two entrances, will hold almost one hundred and for-
ty families. Many of these families, which average five
in number, take in lodgers and boarders. On this occa-
sion a tolerable degree of peace and quietness reigned
throughout these dark and dingy buildings, but they
are often the theatre of most fearful scenes. These two
enormous tenement-houses are only about seven or
eight feet apart; consequently, when a drunken fight
takes place between its inhabitants and the police, it is
a very serious affair. Even in the winter, the odors
from its gutters are any thing but pleasant; what must
they then be in the summer-time!'
At the corner of Cherry and Water Streets, we met
a veteran female candidate for admission into the Ine-
briate Asylum. She was at least fifty-five years of age,
and bore on her face all the marks of forty years' war
with whisky. Her face was bespattered with mud,
her hair streamed in all directions, her tattered bonnet
hung down on her back-only prevented from falling
by the twisted knot in which the strings had become
entangled; shoeless, stockingless, she hung with one
arm lovingly entwined round the lamp-post, the other'
was solemnly. beating time to her maudlin music. She
was evidently the imaginary victim of misplaced attach-

Two years ago the authorities compelled the owners of these tene-
ment-houses to shut them up for a while and render them more fit for hu-
man habitation.


ment to some gay Lothario. Sublimely innocent of the
original tune, she chanted to a sort of low dirge the
well-known old French ballad, They Marched through
the Town with their Banners so gay." As we passed
her, she had just reached the chorus, and was declaim-
ing with drunken emphasis, "An' she capshn wish
she whishkers cor a shly glanshe o' me." Poor cap-
tain I He little knew of the devoted love so ardently
burning for him in that rum-sodden bosom. As she
stood there, the gaslight throwing a ghastly glare on
her face, she looked for all the world like one of the
witches in "Macbeth." Leaving this poor victim of
whisky, we passed along Water Street, and, opening the
door of one of the more quiet-looking houses, we found
ourselves in the presence of Tommy Hadden-a little,
sharp-faced man, with a restless, wandering eye. He
was seated at his business-desk, absorbed, as he told us,
in calculating how much he could afford to give for a
house of a similar character to his own, which is now for
sale a little higher up the street. Tommy is a decided
money-maker, and prides himself considerably on his
financial abilities. Unless his looks very much belie
him, he is certainly one of the. hardest and worst of the
Water-Street notorieties. His occupation consists in
boarding sailors, which implies fleecing them; and in
providing captains of ships with a man or two, when
they are unable to make up their full complement of
sailors, which means shanghaieing them. His plan of
operations is this: One of the numerous runners he


employs contrives to fasten himself on some unsuspect-
ing fellow, of course a stranger, who is the worse for
liquor, and, good-naturedly proposing to stand him a
drink, lands him "with a gentle air of accident" at
Tommy Hadden's. The poor fellow's drink is drugged,
he soon becomes insensible, and is quietly put away up.
stairs till a convenient opportunity arises for smuggling
him on board ship. The victim on coming to his senses
finds to his horror and amazement that he is at sea, out
of sight of land, and that he has no alternative but to
work before the mast on a voyage to China or Aus-
tralia. By the time the return-voyage is ended, it often
happens that men have become reconciled to, or have
even learned to like, their new mode of life, and, after a
run ashore and spending all their money in Water
Street, they will ship themselves of their own accord
for another voyage.' While talking to Hadden at his
door, we suddenly heard piercing screams coming from
a neighboring alley. Our detective, placing his hand
to.his ear, listened for one moment to catch the exact
direction from which the screams came. This way,
sir, this way," he exclaimed; and we started at a run.
A minute afterward we were quietly watching a regu-
lar, good street-fight. Four or five sailors, half a dozen
Irish laborers, and five or six women, were having a
lively time of it-men and women indiscriminately
fighting, kicking, biting, tearing out one another's hair
'Tommy Hadden is now serving out a sentence Qf ten years in the
State-prison, for shanghaieing a sailor.


by handful, shouting, yelling, cursing, and using the
most filthy imprecations. Odd bits of garbage, stones,
and brickbats were flying in all directions, and in the
thick of the fight were two unfortunate officers, who
were using their clubs pretty freely, though not unne-
cessarily so. A powerfully-built, muscular she-devil
(she would have done for one pf Bulwer's female gla-
diators in The Last Days of Poppeii ") had got an un-
happy man's head in chancery, and was administering
some fearful blows with a large iron cooking-ladle; the
man's wife had the fingers of both hands wound in his
assailant's hair, and clung to her with the tenacity of a
bull-dog. One of the Irishme had a sailor on the
ground. With one hand he clutched the poor fellow's
hair, and repeatedly dashed his head on the pavement,
his other hand was firmly gripped in the sailor's teeth.
This scene went on for a minute or two, when suddenly,
without a moment's warning, all simultaneously com-
menced a furious onslaught on the policemen, to whose
assistance, at the risk of broken heads, we were on the
point of going, when, fortunately for us, a posse of po-
lice arrived, and at once the fight was o'er, the battle
done." The combatants were all marched off to the
station-house, a long file of bleeding heads and disfig-
ured faces, all indignantly remonstrating against being
taken into custody for so innocent an amusement as the
breaking of one another's heads
Returning into Water Street, we entered one of the
notorious sailors' dance-houses; a dirty, dingy, miserable-


looking place, though brilliantly lighted. At the inevi-
table bar stood eight or ten men, whose physiognomy at
once told us they were thieves. The air of suspicion
with which they viewed us and their evident discom-
fort, as long as I and the detective remained in the place,
confirmed this impression. Passing into the dancing-
room, which is separated from the bar by a partition,
we found. ourselves in a motley assemblage, composed
of two or three sailors, a few canal-men, eight or ten
slangy-looking lads, from fourteen to twenty years
of age, a select assortment of jail-birds, a candy-and-
apple seller, and about a dozen of the fattest, coarsest,
most brutal-looking women, with one solitary scraggy
one, dressed as ballet-girls. These women, who were
of all ages, from five-and-twenty to forty, the greater
part of them old, were grandly parading about, or fond-
ling their unlucky admirers on the benches which ran
round the walls. Their costume was of the slightest
description possible. A dress which, taking the waist-
band as a starting-point, reached about half way to the
knees and half-way to the shoulders, made of cotton
or some similar material and of a brilliant color, a few
tawdry glass beads strung round the neck, a gaudily-
embroidered Scotch bonnet, ornamented with feathers,
tinseled flowers, and other gewgaws, a pair of dirty
white or tartan stockings, and Broadway boots with
very high heels, comprised all the toilet of which they
boasted. I ventured to remark to the proprietor of the
place that their dresses were rather scant, adding as a


scape-goat, for such a cold night. "Oh, they've got
enough for the purposes of decency," he replied. Poor
Decency! how she would blush to hear her name men-
tioned in such. a 'den! Of course, smoking, chewing,
and bad whisky, were in full force. The proprietor,
who was also band-master, then took his seat in the
little orchestra, which comprised a violin, a banjo, and
a tambourine, and calling out, "Now, young ladies, a
quadrille, if you please," led off a few bars of prelude.
The quadrille was gone through, with a good many airs
and graces on the part of the ladies and a good deal of
ludicrous buffoonery on the part of the men. The qua-
drille was followed by a series of Irish jigs, and then by
the polka.. However amusing it may be personally, it is
certainly an ungraceful exhibition to see two drunken
sailors pirouetting together or two men waltzing with
one woman. Sailors, however, do not much affect round
dances; they prefer the "shuffles." Their awkward
sea-legged strides are scarcely suitable to the polka or
the valse, though happily the ladies' dresses are not
long enough to run the risk of being trodden on. One
sailor, who stood up near us, facetiously asked his part.
ner why she didn't wear straps," and then slapping
on the shoulder the solitary scraggy-looking one, who
had very long thin legs, in a way that aroused her mod-
est indignation, addressed her as old number eleven."
Our detective here called up one of the girls, whose
manner and language perfectly astonished me. She
said she had been there seven years, that she was a girl


of good family, and very well educated; that her mother
was a widow lady of independent means, and resided
in Scotland. She told us that she got into trouble when
young, and was obliged to run away from home to hide
her disgrace. She added: Thank God, my poor mother
knows nothing about me; it would kill her if she did;
she believes me to be dead. Ah, sir, you do not know
what a number of girls in this neighborhood are well
educated and of good family. There are many that can
speak two or three languages, who could at one time
play beautifully upon the harp and piano and sing
operatic music, but, having once got into this mode of
life, they cannot shake it off. There's many and many a
girl in these houses whose parents live in style up-town."
The next place we entered was a boarding as well
as a dance-house. The bar and dancing arrangements
are pretty much' alike in all of them. In this house
the landlord came forward and expressed the great
pleasure it would give him to show us the sleeping-
rooms, the internal arrangements of which, he assured
us, were elegant in the extreme. They were ranged
round the sides of a square room, into which all the
doors opened, and gave us the idea of a good-sized
prison-cell. Though necessarily very badly ventilated,
they were well whitewashed and the bedding and linen
really looked clean and nice. For the use of one of
these "charming little apartments," as the landlord
termed them, the charge is three dollars, but this sum
includes breakfast in the morning and sundry other


privileges. In the next house we visited, the proprietor
came up to us and with a jaunty air asked us if we
would like to see Punch and Judy. The drama of
Punch and Judy, as now exhibited in the streets, is a sad
enough degeneration from its original-the sacred play
of Pontius cum Judceis of the dark ages-but this par-
ticular form of it was unusually vulgar and degraded,
and I should hope peculiar to this place. The faithless
Mr. Punch was supposed to have been dragged into the
divorce courts by the exasperated Judy, and a mock
trial took place. The whole exhibition was of the
most disgusting and filthy description.
We entered house after house of this character in
Cherry, James, and Water Streets, but there is very lit-
tle difference in them-they are all equally low and
brutal. We counted no fewer than twenty-seven Sail-
ors' Retreats," as they are called, in Water Street alone.
We also visited some of the bucket-shops which are
everywhere to be found in the Fourth Ward. At the
bucket-shop a man gets a tumbler or bucket of stuff
containing every fiery stimulant but whisky, though
whisky it is professed to be, for five cents. Its inflam-
matory influences soon produce the most intense thirst,
and the poor fellows drink till they get into a state of
beastly intoxication, when they are remorselessly turned
out into the gutter.
John Allen, once the most notorious sailors' dance-
house keeper in the ward, is now out of the business,
and the lower part of his old house is used as a mis-


sion-house. He has become very dogged, sullen, and
silent. He is disappointed with the turn affairs have
taken, and is angry with himself and with all his neigh-
bors. His old business has been entirely ruined, partly
by exposure and partly by his attempt to play off the
missionary by his pretended conversion. Between these
two stools John Allen's dance-house has fallen to the
ground. He is said, however, to have saved a great
deal of money out of his infamous business; quite
enough to keep him very comfortably for the remainder
of his days. He is a tall, powerfully-built man, about
thirty-five years of age, but with a hang-dog, brutal
cast of countenance. He was unable to ask us into his
house, as his wife was drunk, and when in that condi-
tion she is always very quarrelsome. Every one in the
street abuses John Allen, and expresses a pious wish
that he may go to the devil as soon as possible, or any-
where else, so long as he takes himself off; so said
Mr. Tommy Hadden. They seem to think that as long
as The Wickedest Man in New York remains among
them, so long will the agitation against their infamous
mode of earning a living continue; but that, if Allen
could be got out of the way, the outcry against them
would soon cease. Allen, without intending to do so,
has certainly done more to injure the business of these
"Sailors' Retreats" than all the missionaries put to-
gether. He has, fortunately for the poor sailors, opened
their eyes to the frauds practiced upon them, taught
them to be more careful of their own interests, and


made them more shy than formerly of going to these
places. His neighbors feel this, and they bless him
But, in spite of the indirect aid thus rendered them
by Allen, I do not gather that the missionaries have
met with that bountiful harvest which so heavy a crop
of sinners warranted them in anticipating. I think
their imperfect success is simply due to one great and
all-important oversight. They try to Christianize be-
fore they have humanized those whom they desire to
draw under their influence. This results in two ways !
They either repel, or they manufacture hypocrites.
Their real penitents are few and far between. They
go too much on the sudden-call system-the trump-
et-call to repentance, and seem to think that it is per-
fectly natural that men and women can, under an
impulse of suddenly-awakened conscience, kneel down
and pray to God-a Being of whom they absolutely
know nothing as to His powers, attributes, mercy, and
justice. I went one day to one of these missionary
prayer-meetings, not in any carping spirit; and what I
saw and heard there confirmed me in my previously
conceived impressions of their futility as at present car-
ried on. The meeting was composed of some fifteen or
twenty gray-haired and bald-headed gentlemen, a few
young women, of the stereotyped Water-Street class,
with a mass of chignon or plaited hair, outrageously
greased for the occasion (these were said to be peni.
SJohn Allen is since dead.


tents), some few very ragged-looking of the older vic-
tims of whisky, with heavy shawls over their heads,
about an equal number of men of the same stamp, and
some dozen nondescript victims of curiosity, who sat
in the back rows of seats or stood near the entrance-
door. Those notorieties of Water Street, John Allen,
Tommy Hadden, and jovial old Kit Burn, were con-
spicuous by their absence. When I entered, the meet-
ing was specially engaged in considering the case of a
sailor, who had put in an appearance, under the idea
that the mission-house was a place where he could sign
the temperance pledge before starting on his voyage.
But prayers, not pledges, were the order of the day.
One of the speakers informed the unlucky sailor of this
fact, called him a wicked sinner (probably only too
true), and many other unpleasant names, and conclud-
ed by inviting the meeting to pray for this would-be
penitent marine limb of Satan. This, however, was
more than the sailor was prepared to stand. He soon
showed signs of hauling in his cable, and, making full
sail for the door, he endeavored to cut and run. But
these missionary gentlemen were not inclined to be
balked of such an opportunity, and the sailor was
compelled to remain while a holy-minded brother of-
fered up on his behalf what a subsequent speaker char-
acterized as "his de-ear bre-other's most be-eautiful
pre-ayer." The groans of saintly agony which the
"de-ear bre-other" interpolated between every few
words, chorused as they were by the meeting, prevent-


ed my catching much of his supplication, but I was
considerably struck on hearing him address the Saviour
as "Sweet Sir." The effect of his fervid eloquence, too,
was greatly marred by the frequent Lors" and
" Amens" which came from all parts of the room, I
presume by way of applause, without any apparent
concert. The sailor was at last allowed to depart,
when the chief prayer-master arose and requested any
fellow-sinners who may specially desire to be prayed
for" to stand up; but," he added, "before this exhi-
bition (!) takes place, I would like to say a few words."
The pious gentleman said his few words," the fellow-
sinners" were duly prayed for, amid many groanings
and much general agitation and palpitation of smitten
bosoms, the doxology was most inharmoniously dirged,
and the meeting was over. Now, it is asserted in Wa-
ter Street that every penitent who attends these prayer-
meetings receives so much for so doing, and that they
invariably spend the money in rum. I certainly saw
some of them go straight from the mission-house to
the liquor-saloons. Would it not be better, then, to
spend the same amount of money in erecting sailors'
homes, working men's clubs, and Magdalen institu-
tions ? These missionaries are actuated by the best of
intentions; but they make the fatal mistake of suppos-
ing that poor humanity can be as easily transplanted as
a pear-tree, or quietly repotted like a scarlet geranium.
But to return to my explorations of the Purlieus
of Water Street After Dark.


Wandering along Water Street, the detective turned
the handle of the door, of a small liquor-store, saying,'
"We'll just look in here a moment, sir." We accord-
ingly walked in. Its only occupants were, the propri-
etor, who was sitting fast asleep by the stove, and a
small boy. By dint of much shaking, the small boy
managed to awaken his master, saying, Gentlemen, sir,
gentlemen." The master quickly roused himself, and I
was somewhat formally introduced to Mr. Christopher
Burn of the Sportsman's Hall. "And so this portly,
jovial, pock-marked, sodden-faced looking man is Kit
Burn, of whom we have lately heard so much," I mut-
tered to myself. Mr. Burn honored me with a shake
of his hand, and, in answer to inquiries after his health,
replied that he was Nicely, thank you, sir," and imme-
diately added, What will you take, gentlemen ?" The
detective suggested a glass of ale, and a glass of ale was
drawn. Mr. Burn was politeness itself, but very se-
vere on "them parsons." Going the round, eh, sir ?
Well, I'm very glad you ain't got no parsons with you.
I'm full agin them parsons, sir. Somehow I don't find
parson-sauce a good relish to a rare beefsteak. Slip-
pery, sir, very," and Mr. Burn emphatically shrugged
his shoulders. "Downy lot, sir, very," and Mr. Burn
winked his eye. Lord love yer, sir they like a glass
with a stick in it, every bit as much as you or I do,"
and Mr. Burn looked contemptuous. "But I never
throws a chance away, sir; so I says to the parsons,
says I: Gentlemen, where's the rhino ? Let's finger the


bills. No money, no prayers, gentlemen;' that's what
I says. Well, sir, they paid me a whole month's
rent in advance, but they only used the pit a fort-
night. But then, you see, sir, that's their business,
not mine." Here Mr. Burn could scarcely control his
merriment; but it gradually subsided in a series of
Mr. Burn does not like John Allen and Tommy
Hadden. He declared his opinion that they were both
" regular bad 'uns." You see, sir," said he," they thor-
oughly sweat a poor man, and make believe they don't.
Well, now, sir, maybe I sell a man a drink of bad
whisky, but, then, he knows that when he buys it; so
that's fair and straight bisness-ain't it, gentlemen ? "
Mr. Burn then politely offered to escort us to "The
Pit," where there was a leetle purp of five months,"
as Mr. Burn termed a rough, sandy-haired terrier, play-
ing with a rat. He's only a lamer, gentlemen," he
remarked, in an apologetic tone; "but he'll kill in a
week-I do believe he will." How fondly Mr. Burn
gazed on that leetle purp "! How he eyed him with
the air of a connoisseur! He then called our attention
to the tiers of seats for the spectators of rat and canine
contests, which he informed us would accommodate five
hundred persons, though we were at a loss to conceive
how the unlucky occupants of the top row could possi-
bly sit there, the seat being only about thirty inches
from the roof. He knew, he said, that four hundred
and seventy-five gents were present when the black-


and-tan" (now stuffed and ornamenting the window)
" killed three hundred under the hour, sir." And, with
a look of pride, Mr. Burn added, And he did it easy,
But the thought of past scenes, and days gone by,
never to return, rendered the portly Mr. Burn pathetic.
"Ah sir," he sighed, them days is gone. My kind
friend Mr. Bergh has ruined my buisness. But they
are warmint, and nobody can't persuade me they're not."
At the bare idea of rats not being vermin, Mr. Burn
became greatly excited. But they are warmint," he
repeated, and Mr. Bergh knows it, too; and what's
more, he won't try the law. Why ? Because he knows
he'd be beat, sir; that's why. But it ain't no use me a
talking' sir. I only lose my temper. .But I can't abear
to see people a-meddlin' with what they don't under-
stand." Mr. Burn very kindly offered to "turn off a
dozen or two for our amusement, at ten cents apiece,
gentlemen;" but this we politely declined. He in-
sisted, however, on our taking another glass of ale, for
which having paid, I wished Mr. Burn good-evening,
again had the honor of shaking hands with him, and
took my leave, he giving me a most pressing invitation
to step in and see me again."
Kit Burn is certainly an original character. That
his business is a disreputable one no one will attempt
to deny, and that his views of Christianity may not
be all that the missionaries could wish, may be an
equally self-evident proposition; still, Burn is a good


neighbor and a kind friend, and he will not allow
thieves and cracksmen a chance in his house, but turns
them out at once. He ought not, then, to be placed in
the same category as such men as John Allen and
Tommy Hadden; for, as he himself expressed it to me,
" cruelty to warmint, if it is cruelty, sir, surely ain't the
same as the cruelty to humans carried on up the street,
sir. But because I think rats is' warmint, sir, and the
parsons don't, they pray for me every day at the meet-
in'-house at twelve o'clock. But not by name, sir!
No, poor Kit Burn comes in in the general ketalogue of
wicked, unrepentin' sinners." Mr. Burn's face, as he
gave vent to this piece of irony, was a study for a
painter, and his little round eyes fairly danced with
delight as he recounted to us how near he come to
gett'n one on 'em tight once."
To describe with truth and sufficient force those
dens in cellars which are termed underground lodging-
houses, requires the artist's brush rather than the pen.
No words can convey an adequate impression of their
utter wretchedness; for it is the accumulation of little
details of misery which renders these sleeping-places so
horribly repulsive to any one accustomed to a civilized
mode of life.
Imagine yourself descending through a sort of trap-
door entrance into an underground cellar, only seven
or eight feet high and often less. Its dingy walls and
blackened ceiling dimly lit up by the filthy kerosene
night-lamp which the old hag, who is proprietress, holds


over her head to enable you to look around. At first
you can see but little, but becoming accustomed to the
gloom, you find that you are standing in a perfect maze
of beds. Go with me through one of these cellar
lodging-houses which particularly struck me. Ranged
round the room, as closely packed as possible, with
a narrow open space down the middle, are thirteen
filthily-dirty beds, all full. Look at the one near-
est you. It contains an elderly man and a woman
of at least five-and-twenty years of age. The old hag,
who is inclined to be communicative, tells you that
they are father and daughter. You shudder and
pass on. In the next bed lies a fine, handsome looking
laboring-man of forty, his brawny arms stretched out
at right angles on the dirty bundle which does duty for
a pillow, the head of a sleeping boy resting on each
arm. Neither the father nor his boys have any other
covering on them than the bedclothes. He is awake,
and, in a tone of voice which implies a certain feeling
of shame at being seen in such a den, he informs you
that he once had a comfortable home of his own. But
my wife, sir, took to drinking; she sold my little bits
of furniture one after another; then all my clothes,
with the exception of what I had on; and, finally, she
stole my tools-and here I am. But, fortunately for
me she died, the 30th of last month." And, with a
sigh, he added-" Ah! sir, she was a bad woman! "
Beyond this poor fellow are three strapping young
men, all sleeping heavily. And then there is another


shocking sight-a man, his Wife, and their, grown-up
son, fast asleep in the same bed. But why continue
this dreadful tale of misery and unnatural degradation ?
It is the same sad story all around the room, and all
around the neighborhood-men, women, and children,
many of them in a state of nudity, sleeping indiscrimi-
nately together.
We visited place after place, cellar after cellar, with
infatuated persistence, hoping that we might at least
find some few rather better than the rest. But it was
not so, and in one of these dens human misery seemed.
to have reached its climax. As we entered the door of
this particular cellar, a low, thin wail struck my ear. I
turned quickly to the detective, saying, Surely that
is the cry of a new-born baby. "Yes, sir," said the
woman who lighted us in, an unusually well-spoken
Irishwoman, at the same time pointing to a figure on a
bed in the farther corner of the room, that poor woman
has just been confined, not ten minutes ago." "Good
God !" I exclaimed, in such a scene as this ?" "Well,
sir," she replied, "poor folks can't afford to be as per-
tickler as Fifth Avenue." And that's true, sir," quietly
observed the poor creature of whom we were speaking.
We hurried away.
In one of these wretched dens, a young Irishwoman,
who was sleeping 'near the entrance, suddenly sprang
out of bed, and, planting herself in the door-way, made
a grab at me with tiger-like ferocity, at the same time
pouring out a torrent of abuse against us for coming in.


Her whole demeanor showed that she was quite capable
of mischief. Without taking the slightest notice of the
infuriated Irishwoman, my detective turned to the pro-
prietress and quietly remarked, "If there is the slight-
est disturbance, I shall report this house to the sergeant."
In an instant the landlady and her husband were busy
pacifying the angry woman, imploring her not to get
them into trouble. She soon retired sullenly to bed,
scowling fearfully at us during the few moments we re-
mained. The detective's professional instinct told him
that, had he attempted to pacify this fierce woman, she
would in all probability have become still more violent;
he knew that these lodging-house keepers are in the hab-
it of exercising considerable influence over their lodgers.
As we emerged from one of these places, our atten-
tion was arrested by the sound of many footsteps, rap-
idly approaching. As we stepped off the pavement to
allow the crowd to pass, we were shocked to see that
they were carrying the apparently lifeless body of a
woman. We stopped one of the crowd to ask what
was the matter. Oh, only a woman poisoned herself;
they're taking her to the hospital." And away our in-
formant hurried, vexed to think that, by stopping to
answer our inquiry, his fascinated gaze upon this poor
creature of misery had been for a moment interrupted.
" Only a woman poisoned herself." -Only a poor human
being, who, tired of battling with a life of sorrow, una-
ble any longer to make head against her sea of troubles,
had thought by self-destruction to put an end to them.


While thinking over this scene, a perfect mass of mud
and tatters, with a baby in her arms, came up and told
a piteous tale of starvation and distress; how she had
once had a home of her own; how her husband had
been ill for some months; how this one misfortune had
been the sole cause of their present condition. The
woman's eye and chattering jaw told their own sad
tale; she showed no apparent signs of being a drunkard,
in fact her whole demeanor seemed to substantiate her
statement. I asked her where she lodged. She replied
that she lived in one of the underground cellars. "Let
me see your husband," I said. We followed her into a
hovel in every way similar to those we had already
visited, and a pitiable sight met our eyes. On one of
those filthy beds lay a poor, emaciated fellow, who
looked as though death would claim him in a few hours.
"My friend," said I to the woman, if I give you some
money, will you promise me not to spend a cent of it in
drink?" She simply replied, I will." I took a dollar-
bill from my pocket and placed it in her hand. She
looked at it, she stared at it, she clutched it, and ejaculat-
ing "My God!" with fearful emphasis, rushed up the
steps into the street without offering any thanks. Her
poor husband, in weak tones, apologized for her strange
behavior, saying, We haven't seen the sight of so much
money for weeks." This was certainly the most touch-
ing and heart-rending scene we witnessed in our wander-
ings that night. That dollar was, I feel sure, well spent.
"I think, sir," said the officer, "you ought to see


one of the swell-thieves' cribs, if we can manage it." I
particularly wished to do so, and we started to visit the
monarch, the go-between and patron of the light-fingered
ones of the neighborhood. My guide told me that we
must exercise great caution, as we should be viewed
with the utmost suspicion, and might find ourselves in
. hot water without a moment's warning. We descend-
ed a staircase into what was apparently a better-class
oyster saloon, when a smart, well-dressed, intelligent-
looking man came hurriedly forward to meet us. I was
introduced to him with all the customary formalities of
society. He received me with studied politeness, in-
quired particularly after the state of my health, and,
asking us what we would take, produced a bottle, and
a box of the most magnificent cigars. As we were not
allowed to pay for these little luxuries, I presume they
cost him nothing. Seated at a round table were four-
teen really well-dressed, gentlemanly-looking men; they
would have passed anywhere in society, so far as regards
their personal appearance. These men are among the
most expert thieves in the whole country-so clever,
so careful in all their little arrangements that the police,
though morally certain of their character, have never
yet been able to bring any thing home to them. Their
purloining transactions are carried on entirely through
the agency of their tools. They were all talking, and
talking loudly; but so peculiar was their idiom that
they were quite unintelligible to me, though it occurred
to me afterward that a good deal of this might have


been assumed, by way of blinding me as to what they
were really talking about. We remained for about ten
minutes, conversing with the host on various topics, and
smoking his imported Havanas, when a sign from the
officer, who had held a moment's whispered conversa-
tion with our entertainer, warned us that our presence
was no longer desirable. We, therefore, politely wished .
the King of the Cracksmen "Good-evening," and had
the satisfaction of hearing the click of the lock and the
grating of the bolts of the door the instant we were
On gaining the pavement at the top of the staircase,
the detective said to me: "I guess you made him feel a
kinder sick by going down there; he knows you well."
I was immensely astounded and somewhat chagrined to
find that this gentleman claimed a quasi acquaintance
with me. How on earth can he know me ?" I in-
quired. Oh, he's seen you coming out of one of the
newspaper offices, and he makes it his business never to
forget a face he has once seen. That's what he was
quietly asking me about; he thinks you have visited
his house for the purpose of showing him up in the
papers, and he says, if you do, you are a marked man."
So much for Mr. Reddy the Blacksmith."
Three minutes' walk down a by-street brought us
to another oyster and supper saloon, though this one
was reputed to be of. a respectable character. This is
the favorite resort of those maimed soldiers who gain
a subsistence, and apparently a pretty good one, by


grinding organs at the corners of the streets. There
were about a dozen of them present on this occasion,
most of them fine, smart-looking young fellows, though
I do not think there was a perfect set of limbs among
the whole lot. Many were enjoying an excellent sup-
per of beefsteak and fried potatoes. Those who had
only one arm being able, by a sort of juggler's action,
to eat just as fast and as easily as those who had two.
I am told that these men sometimes earn as much as
two and a half or three dollars a day and that they
would be much disconcerted if the government should
suddenly determine to take proper care of them. Some
of them are said to employ an assistant to attract the
contributions of charitable passers-by. The assistant
receives every morning three five-cent pieces from each
man. He goes round once in the morning, and once in
the afternoon, dropping one of the five-cent pieces at
each visit into the little wooden box on the top of the
organ as ostentatiously as he can. The third piece he
keeps for himself. The force of example generally '
leads several others to do the same, and the decoy
walks unconcernedly on. This outlay of two and a half
cents often brings in a quarter of a dollar, and some-
times more.
Leaving the soldiers to finish their supper in peace,
we entered a fighting-crib. We arrived at an unfortu-
nate moment. It was rather late in the evening even
for the pugilistic gentry, and the discussion of the
arrest of Edward O'Baldwin, the Irish Giant, some-


how or other was a very heated one. Why or where-
fore I cannot divine, for all were agreed that it was a
monstrous invasion of the rights of the private citizen.
Unaware of the arrest, and knowing nothing about the
giant and his prize-fight, I nevertheless soon found my.
self drinking the giant's health and inveighing in un-
measured terms, against the law, the judges, and Judge
Dowling in particular. Suddenly, every man let drive
from the shoulder at his nearest neighbor. I have
never before or since witnessed any thing like it.
They seemed to go off like a pyrotechnical set piece.
A couple of bounds over the prostrate forms of those
gladiators, who found that it was easy enough to go
down but not so easy to get up again, brought me to
the door and to the side of the detective. "Unless
you want to see any more free fighting, we'd better get
out of this," he said; once them fellows begin, they'll
be at it time and again, till the police comes and locks
some of 'em up." I told him that I had had quite
enough of it and that I was only too anxious to get
out, glad that I had fared no worse than to have my
hat smashed.
As it was now long after midnight, I determined
to bring my excursion to a close. I thought that I had
seen enough of the Purlieus of Water Street After
Dark for one night; certainly enough to convince me
that it is morally impossible for men to be men, or
women to be women, that is, in the proper sense of the
word, when they dwell in Water Street. A. P."


LOST any thing, boss ? "
I started as though a dozen of Professor Tyndall's
electric batteries had been discharged through me sim-
ultaneously and confronted a specimen, of the purest
water, of the Celtic race. He was gracefully indulging
in the undeniable luxury of a short clay pipe, as he
leaned his elbow on the gate-way of the family pig-stye,
and was regarding my movements with an excess of
curiosity which might possibly, I thought, change by
a self-converting process into hostility.
No, I had lost nothing; and yet I felt very much
like a detected sneak-thief as I nervously replied in the
negative to the inquiry of the squatter lord of the
rocky domain on whose premises I was trespassing.
I thought you was a-lookin' for sutthin," rejoined
the Irish-self-appointed lord of the manor.
Looking for something! I had been prowling in
search of something for nearly two hours among the'
shanties, the children, the goats, the cows, and the dirty
ducks and geese, which seem to love to congregate
around the boundaries of the Central Park. I fully be.
lieve that I had explored Rag-Town from end to end, I


(Portrait of character. from a photograph by Gurney.)


had been stared at by idJe men (for it was Sunday,
and clean shirt-sleeves were the order of the day); I
had been thoroughly appraised by slatternly women;
I-had been followed by goats and unwashed, unkempt,
stockingless children, and growled at by curs; but this
tout-a-fait naturalized citizen was the only being who
had so far verbally expressed any curiosity to learn what
brought me there. He certainly, at first, mistook me for
a poultry-stealer or a detective police-officer, for, in the
words of the old rhyme:
"He eyed me up, he eyed me down,
As though I owned one-half the town."
Endeavoring to assume an air of supreme indiffer-
ence, I pursued my search, and, shortly afterward, much
to my joy, lighted on the very thing I was seeking for
-an old worn-out and discarded boot. I clutched it
with all the eagerness of a diamond-digger; and, stuf-
fing it into the pocket of my overcoat, I retraced my
steps, muttering to myself, "It don't match very well;
but, perhaps, so much the better." My Irish friend
had evidently been all along watching my every move-
ment, either from a feeling of suspicion or of insatiable
curiosity. For, as I again passed his tumble-down
wooden castle, he turned his head slowly, and, after a
lavish expectoration, remarked to his next-door neigh-
bor, Bedad, that man's as mad as the divil." Had he
really been aware of my intentions, it is probable that
he would have rendered his adjectives in the superla-
tive degree, and much more forcibly.


The fact is, like Don Quixote, the spirit of adven-
ture was strong upon me. But, unlike Don Quixote, I
had no faithful Sancho Panza to perform my bidding
in the way of making preparations. Nor have I any
Cervantes to chronicle my deeds. Unlike Philip
Slingsby-" Slingsby of the manly chest"-I had not
invoked any one:
"Come be the Homer of the battle which I go to wage to-day."

For the simple reason that I had determined to sing of
my adventures myself, at my leisure. But they were far
from heroic. I was only going begging, and I wanted
another worn-out boot to complete my outfit in true pro-
fessional style. I had one that I had purloined from
an ash-barrel on Third Avenue. I had also a hat that I
had picked up from a gutter in my neighborhood; and
I had purchased an old pair of pantaloons and a frock-
coat, which had once been black, but had faded into a
green-brown shade of color, from having swung for
many months in the eddying gusts which played round
an old-clothes store in Avenue B, after they had been
discarded by their original owner.
In this regal apparel I proposed to enter into com-
petition with the aristocracy of beggardom for the char-
itable sympathies of the well-dressed and gold-scatter-
ing promenaders on Broadway. Belisarius, with his
" da obolum," was to be a fool to me! Louis Philippe,
begging for centimes at the corner of the Rue de la
Paix, as his enemies were so fond of picturing him-


faites 'aumones au dernier des nois rois-should be an
innocent compared with the imposture on the purse.
strings of the public which I proposed to perpetrate.
Dim visions of founding an asylum for aged beggars out
of the profits of my day's work floated airily through
my brain; and, lost in the pleasurable contemplation
of my adventure, regarding with the eye of an artist
my worn-out boots and tattered apparel as they lay,
ready to be donned, upon a chair before me, I believe
that, for the moment, begging, as a means of gaining a
livelihood, almost rose to the dignity of.a profession in
my eyes.
Putting my begging-costume into a satchel, on the
following day I sought the rooms of a theatrical friend
who had promised to aid me as a valet de chambre for
the occasion, and, judging from my awkwardness when I
began to array myself, I don't know what I should have
done without him. He was also to use his green-room
knowledge in toning down my rather exuberant appear-
ance of health. This he did to perfection. My eyes
soon looked as though they were going on an exploring
expedition into the interior of my head, and, generally,
I looked woefully haggard, especially as I had not
shaved for five days. Altogether, I presented an ap-
pearance that would have caused the heart of an under-
taker to bound with joy at the prospect of coming busi-
But here came our first dilemma. How reconcile
those haggard features with a figure somewhat inclined


to portliness ? There is no help for it but to strap
you in, old fellow," observed my friend of the foot-
lights; "you would never do without." So I was
strapped in; and for seven long mortal hours I endured
all the agonies of tight lacing. Yes! I can truthfully
vouch for the discomforts and evils of this feminine foi-
ble. It took my ribs several hours to expand back
again into their normal curves.
Then came another trouble. We arrived at the con-
clusion that my coat looked too neat and tidy, although
old, for a beggar. We proceeded at once to remedy
this fault. We slit one sleeve for about eight inches
over the elbow and sewed a piece of old blue cloth, as
a patch, over the shoulder. We then spread the coat
out on the floor and sprinkled it all over with water,
previous to beating the street door-mat over it. We
rubbed the dust well into the web of the cloth, dried
the coat before the fire, and, after beating off the worst
of the dust, we had as shabby a coat as any professional
beggar need desire. What a thing it is to know the
tricks of -your trade! The pantaloons were also im-
proved by being put through pretty much the same pro-
cess, and then we cut a piece about two inches square
from the toe of one of the boots, putting a piece of dirty
rag in the opening. I quickly arrayed myself, stuck
some diachylon plaster on my forehead, wound some
bandages of rags around my head and left hand, put on
my hat, and, taking an old stick on which to lean trem-
blingly when opportunity offered, I stepped into the


street from the kitchen entrance. I believe that I was
as well-got-up a beggar as ever imposed on the charity
of a generous public.
My first impression on gaining the street was that
every one was staring at me; whereas, in all probability,
I was totally unnoticed. At one moment I was half
inclined to turn back and give up the adventure, when,
fortunately, I caught sight of an acquaintance coming
down the street. Here," thought I, is an opportunity
to test my disguise without any chance" of annoyance
should the fraud be discovered." As he passed me I
begged of him in a feigned voice. He looked me full.
in the face, muttered something about being sorry that
he had no pennies in his pocket, and went on in blissful
ignorance as to my identity. This rencontre at once in-
spired me with confidence, and I started up University
Place, on my way to Union Square.
Business soon came to me, as it does to all others
who seek it with a will At the corner of Union
Square and Fourteenth Street, a nice, kind-hearted-
looking old lady, in deep mourning, gave me two cents.
This was my first haul My prospects were decidedly
brightening, and the dread of going through the tight-
lacing business and facing the fresh, nipping air to no
purpose, passed away. For, let me tell you, my scanty
clothing any thing but tended to keep up a desirable
circulation of the blood! Moreover, my throat was all
bare in front.' My costume, too, was generally very un-
comfortable. It any thing but fitted me; and I felt as


awkward as Sam Weller felt, or ought to have felt,
when he first donned Mr. Pickwick's livery.
I turned down Fourteenth Street, and wended my
painful way to Fifth Avenue with trembling steps.
Near Eighteenth Street two young ladies caught me up.
I turned, and at once saw that I had an opportunity.
The one nearest to me had an earnest, Madonna-looking
face of considerable beauty. Her eye was tender and
sympathetic, and I begged her to listen to me a mo-
ment.. I told' her a long story of how I had been crip-
pled by an accident, and how I had just been dis-
charged from Bellevue Hospital, after a sojourn of six
weeks in that house of woe and suffering; that I was
still very weak and unable to work, and that I had no
money to buy any thing to eat. She eyed me with
a kindly gaze for a moment, took her purse out of
her pocket, and handed me ten cents. She did more.
She gave me a very useful warning. For, as they passed
on, she remarked to her companion, in sufficiently loud
tones for me to hear: "I think that must be a deserv-
ing case: didn't you notice how well the poor man
talked ?" Ah! too well," thought I to myself. "That
may pass muster with unsophisticated young ladies of
sympathetic tendencies, but it won't do for the world in
general. I must correct that."
A gentleman standing under the portico of the
Fifth-Avenue Hotel gave me a five-cent piece, much to
the disgust of a middle-aged gentleman who was talk-
ing to him and who declared his conviction that all


beggars are frauds. I gave him a look of pained, in-
dignant remonstrance and resumed my mendicant jour-
neyings. Between Twenty-third Street and Thirty-
fourth Street, I met with very little success and fancied
that I was eyed with particular suspicion by the officer
on the beat. But, at the corner of Thirty-fourth Street,
I begged of two elderly ladies, who were apparently wait-
ing for a car. One of them gave me three and the other
two cents. I then passed down Thirty-fourth Street to
Broadway and turned once more in the direction of
the Fifth-Avenue Hotel, but I only picked up two or
three single cents on the way. But I was approaching
a better cruising-ground for beggars! Between Twen-
ty-third Street and Seventeenth Street, only six blocks,
I got nineteen cents; a very elegantly-dressed young
lady contributing five, and a sporting-looking gentle-
man, who was lounging in the door-way of Jerry
Thomas's saloon, three of them. I crossed over to
Union Square and sat down on the edge of the basin
of the fountain. From my pocket I drew a very stale
crust of bread and commenced to nibble it, at the same
time taking off my ragged hat and placing it on my
knee. I tried my utmost to look the hungry beggar
who said: Kind sir, I've had nothing to eat since yes-
terday, and to-morrow'll be the third day." This was a
great card I A lady, who was accompanied by two little
girls, quietly and unostentatiously dropped a ten-cent
stamp into my hat, without saying a word. However,
I saw a park-officer approaching me, and, fearing that


he might have seen the lady's action and might, in con-
sequence, be hard-hearted enough to interfere with me,
I determined to take time by the forelock and not stand
upon the order of my going. So I pocketed my crust,
put on my hat, and struck for the Bowery.
I did the Bowery thoroughly, from Cooper Institute
to Canal Street, shivering all the while with cold-not
artificially but naturally. I spent about an hour there,
realizing altogether about twenty-three cents. I then
took Canal Street, but all my efforts were unrewarded.
In despair I went into the reading-room of the Bran-
dreth House, at the corner of Canal Street and Broad-
way, and begged successfully of the only two gentle-
men who occupied it. One of them at first refused to
give me any thing. He was a hard, starch-visaged
man; but, when he saw his neighbor hand me a five-
cent piece, either his heart relented or he became
ashamed of himself, for he followed the example as I
passed him to leave the room. From the Brandreth
House I worked down Canal Street, and along Carmine
Street to Sixth Avenue. Sixth Avenue is not by any
means a to-be-despised begging-walk. I passed up the
west side as far as Thirty-fourth Street, and back again
on the east side. At the corner of Thirteenth Street,
an old lady seemed wonderfully touched by my piteous
tale and raised the thermometer of my expectations up
to fever-heat; but she only gave me one cent.
I retraced my steps once more through Carmine and
Canal Streets to Broadway. My little store of pennies


having received a very satisfactory increase, I was con-
gratulating myself on the success of my enterprise, when
I experienced a scare which nearly brought my heart
into my mouth. It almost made me long for a Californian
earthquake-that the pavement would open and swal.
lowme up. I had been standing at the corner of Canal
Street for two or three minutes, when I was almost
startled out of my propriety on hearing a gruff voice
say behind me, "Come, get along." There was no
need to tell me that it was a gentleman in blue. I
knew that instinctively. But the officer walked for a
few paces by my side as I hobbled away; and he told
a lie almost every step he took. He said he knew me
well-lie number one; that I was an old hand at the
business-lie number two: that I'd been at it ever
since I last came from the Island-lie number three;
and that I was a first-class fraud. This last charge was
about true. He parted with me after threatening to
"take me in and have me sent up if he caught me
begging again. Some of the passers-by eyed me indig-
nantly, others sneered and jeered, but one old lady ex-
pressed her opinion that the police are very hard on
beggars. She, however, did not offer me any thing to
assuage my wounded sensibility.
Near the St. Nicholas Hotel I saw a lady vainly en-
deavoring to close the door of her carriage. I stepped
forward and closed it for her; for which act of polite-
ness she condescendingly handed me a penny. At the
corner of Prince Street I encountered the editor of one


of the oldest newspapers in New York; a gentleman
with whom I am well acquainted. I begged of him,
gave two or three very sepulchral coughs, and implored
him to listen for a moment to my story. He stepped
aside with me, and I poured into his sympathetic ear my
Bellevue Hospital tale. He listened very gravely and
expressed his surprise that Mr. Brennan, the Warden,
who, he very properly said, bore a high reputation for
kindness toward all the inmates of the hospital, should
allow one of them to be discharged in the condition in
which I then was. It was "far too cold a day," he said,
" for a sick man to be wandering about the streets." He.
put a twenty-five cent stamp into my hand, gave me his
office address, and said that, if I would call there at
eleven o'clock the next morning, he would give me a let-
ter to Mr. Brennan, asking him to take me in again for
a while. I called at the editorial sanctum of my friend
at the appointed hour next day, when the following
conversation ensued, after an exchange of the custom-
ary salutations:
I have called to pay you the twenty-five cents I
borrowed of you yesterday."
Of me! Why, I did not see you yesterday."
"Oh, yes, you did. I met you on Broadway."
No, sir; I say you did not. Why, your wits must
have been wool-gathering."
"Why, this is the identical twenty-five-cent stamp
which you handed to me."
Well; where does the joke come in ?"


"No joke at all. There is your money, with
Wait a minute. Will I" (calling out to his son in
the next room).
"Yes, sir."
Did you ever see me under the influence of liquor ?"
No, father; never."
"Then,' A. P.'" said my friend, again turning to me,
"you must have been drunk yourself. There, take
back your money."
At least," I put in, you'll give me the letter to
Warden Brennan which you promised me ? "
I never saw a man's face assume so thoroughly per-
plexed a look in my life. He stared at me in blank
astonishment for several seconds, till at last the thing
began to dawn upon him, and he burst out into a
hearty laugh. He tried hard to bribe me to say noth-
ing about it, by offering to stand a bottle of champagne
on those conditions. But St. Anthony came to my as-
sistance, and I was proof against his alluring tempta-
But I must return to my begging-walk on Broadway,
where the cold was rapidly becoming something more
than I could stand. As I saw my face reflected in a
shop-window, I saw, also, that my nose was as red as a
piece of raw beef and that my cheeks had assumed a
sort of washed-out plum-color. I felt that it was ab-
solutely necessary to do something toward restoring my
circulation, and I determined that, at the first opportuni-


ty I could get, I would have a good strong hot whisky-
punch. Of course, this was not to be thought of on
Broadway, but I thought I might venture it in the
Bowery. I therefore crossed Broadway, and went
down Houston Street to carry out my intention. But,
no sooner had I reached the Bowery than I caught
sight of a very charitable-looking gentleman, who had
all the air of being a minister. I at once tackled him,
and succeeded so well in working on his feelings as to
draw from him five cents. I thanked him and passed
on. A few doors down I reached a liquor-saloon. But
here I encountered an unforeseen difficulty. No sooner
had I stepped inside the door, than the bar-tender, wav-
ing his hand at me, called out: Come, get out of this.
There's nothing here."
"But I want a drink," I remonstrated.
"Yes, so does a good many others; come, get out,"
retorted the bar-tender.
I saw at once the difficulty with him. He thought
I was a dead beat," and wanted a drink for nothing.
So I stepped up to the bar and told him that I was will-
ing to pay for a drink.
"Let's see yer stamps, then," he rejoined, evidently
still suspicious.
I immediately produced ten cents, and he proceeded
to compound for me a glassful of the most villainous
stuff that ever passed down my throat. However, it
had the effect of making the blood tingle in my half-
frozen toes and fingers.


But, oh, horror of horrors! As I closed the door
of the saloon behind me on returning to the street,
there, evidently waiting for me, stood my ministerial
friend, who had just before given me five cents. All
kindly expression had left his face, and he was most in-
dignant. He called me a cheat and an impostor, de-
clared that I ought to be punished, that he had half
suspected me at the time he gave me the money (I had
told him that I wanted it to buy bread with), and that
he had turned and followed me, with the view of
watching my further proceedings. In my confusion I
stammered out something about the coldness of the
weather. But he was too angry and indignant to lis-
ten to any such arguments-especially such patent ex-
cuses-and I began to feel no little alarm at my situa-
tion when he announced his intention of having me
arrested by the first officer who came along. I had no
idea, however, of patiently waiting till an officer did
come along, and I started off up Houston Street at a
pace that was totally inconsistent with my apparently
shattered condition. To my annoyance, on looking back,
I discovered that the gentleman was following me. 'I
hurried on all the faster. But, luckily for me,' he gave
up the chase at the end of the first block, for when I
again looked round he was retracing his steps to the
Bowery. I breathed more freely; and, gradually reas-
suming my slow and limping gait, I emerged once more
on Broadway, and crossed over to the other side.
The sidewalk was thronged, and I began steadily


but cautiously to ply my fraudulent vocation once
more. I walked slowly up, confining my attentions
principally to those ladies who were looking into shop-
windows. This was the most successful hour of the
day. Before I reached Union Square I had increased
my stock of funds by thirty-two cents. Along the
Broadway side of Union Square I took nothing. But
from the northwest corner of the square up to Twenty-
third Street I again reaped a bountiful harvest, and a
little more between the Hoffman House and Thirty-
fourth Street. From that point I struck across to
Fourth Avenue, but Fourth Avenue is far from being a
good begging-district. I did not take a single cent all
the way down to Tenth Street. There were no loungers
about. Every one I passed seemed to be in a despe-
rate hurry, either to get home or to reach the Harlem
But by this time it was seven o'clock, and a few spits
of snow were beginning to fall, so I determined to seek
the lodgings of my theatrical friend. I had had, too,
quite enough of amateur begging. As soon as I had
had a good wash, and had assumed my ordinary cloth-
ing, I lit a cigar and sat down to talk over the events
of the day with my friend. He was astonished at my
success. For, when we came to turn out the pockets
of my begging pantaloons, we found no less than $2.33
as the result of my day's labors, and to this sum must
he added the ten cents which I had expended in the
Bowery liquor-saloon for that hot whisky-punch which


came so near to getting me into trouble. This was
not bad business for less than seven hours' work!
Certainly the most successful begging-walks, as far
as my experience goes, are between Bleecker and Four-
teenth Streets, and Seventeenth and Twenty-third
Streets. In some cases a party of three ladies will each
give a trifle. The porticoes of the principal hotels, too,
are generally good for five or ten cents. Elderly,
respectable ladies and young girls from eighteen to five-
and-twenty years of age seem to be much more willing
to give away small sums in the streets than gentlemen
or fashionably-dressed middle-aged ladies. I can only
say that I found it so in my one solitary experience of
begging. Begging. in bar-rooms up-town appears to be
useless (the begging fraternity have long given it up),
though in the business quarters of the city it is consid-
ered to be a very profitable branch of the profession.
I must confess that my personal experiences in beg-
ging have vastly increased my sympathy for beggars.
The hardships of such a life must be fearful, especially
in the depth of winter. And I do not hesitate to say
that, though professional begging is a most unmanly
if not dishonest means of making a living, the profes-
sional beggar earns every cent he gets. It would re-
quire a large sum to tempt me again to tramp the
streets as an Amateur Beggar. "A. P."


No street of this great metropolis, however fashion-
able, not one of the avenues where the Rlite of New-
York society loves to congregate, can boast that it is
free from gambling-houses and houses of prostitution.
How many gambling-houses there are and what is the
amount of money annually lost and won in them, it is
impossible to say; but certain statistics, carefully col-
lected by trustworthy men from trustworthy sources,
disclose the startling fact that there are nearly 9,000
prostitutes in New-York City; that over $10,000,000
is invested in houses of assignation and prostitution, and
that the annual income of the keepers of them is over
$8,000,000 a year. There is every grade of both of these
classes of houses, and their business is carried on with an
openness and a freedom from interference on the part of
the police which is perfectly astounding. Among the
worst and the most dangerous of bad resorts are, un-
doubtedly, the common gambling-houses where they
play keno, and the houses of prostitution known as
panel-houses; for it is in these places that young men,


in committing one sin, are led into the commission of
another. In them they are ruthlessly robbed, and only
too frequently are tempted to rob others to make good
their loss. There are the most stringent laws against
these establishments, but they are seldom carried out.
In fact, it is openly asserted by numbers, who profess to
know, that the police regularly receive sums of money
not to report these houses to the authorities.
Such was the state of the case constantly being
dinned into my ear, till I had heard so much of the
rascalities committed by the proprietors of these places
that I determined to see for myself and to make some
personal investigations about them and the way in
which they carry on their infamous business. Securing
the cooperation of an able short-hand reporter, I set to
work. and spent night after night in making as careful
and strict an investigation as circumstances would per-
mit. At all events, when I retired from the field, we
had in our possession a collection of notes which em-
body some startling information on the subject and
which, excluding some matters which it is impossible
to present in any shape fit for publication, but which
are at the service of the police authorities-that is, if
they be really unaware of what is going on under their
noses-I give to the world as a warning to young men,
of the great risks they run in being persuaded to enter
such places, either by artful strangers or dissolute ac-
quaintances. The reader will please note that all the
gambling and panel houses of which I write, are in the


immediate vicinity of police headquarters, and should,
therefore, be far easier for the police, than for me to
discover. But I beg, also, to assure the reader that
there is no magic circle drawn round that particular
quarter of the city-a circle, inside which it is danger-
ous to tread and outside which vicious appetites may
be indulged with impunity. No such thing! These
infamous dens of robbery are to be met with in every
ward of the city; the only difference being that, whereas
in some precincts they seem to be allowed every license,
in others they are sharply looked after as soon as they
are discovered.
I determined to strike at once into Mercer Street,
the heart of the panel-house district of the Eighth Ward,
and where a man, known as the King of the Badger-
Pullers, holds his regal sway in more than one house of
this class. This man has followed this infamous mode
of making money since the bounty business came to an
end in 1865. He then opened a panel-house in the
eighth precinct, but was driven out of it by Captain
Mills. Migrating to the Fourteenth Ward, he was, for
a time, very successful in his robberies. But Captain
Walsh at last arrested him, his pimps, and his girls,
and they were all shipped off to Blackwell's Island for
change of air. On gaining his release, this scoundrel
betook himself to his old business and has now no less
than five houses in full blast, and has acquired his very
unenviable title in consequence. He is reported to
be worth at least $150,000. Two years ago he was


a candidate for the office of assistant alderman on the
Democratic ticket; an office for which he had a very
good show of election, as he is captain of a very strong
political organization, to which all the leading Tam-
many Hall politicians belong, including the present
police-captain of the precinct in which he runs his
Having received information as to the number of
one of this man's houses in Mercer Street,' I deter-.
mined, one evening, to watch it, and to take particular
note of all persons entering or leaving; "a little pri-
vate detective business," as my short-hand reporter put
it. We were of necessity very cautious in our move-
ments, walking about like other passers-by, whenever
the policeman hove in sight. The officer on duty wore_
the number 477 on his cap. Apparently his beat lay
between No. 130 Mercer Street, and the corner of Hous-
ton Street, a distance of about three hundred feet, though
it is possible that he neglected the other part of-his beat.
Certain it is that he passed the greater part of the even-
ing on that part of the sidewalk immediately opposite
the house No. -, and on one occasion he left his post
and entered the house, remaining there for nearly ten
minutes. On leaving the house he remained standing

The numbers of houses have been left blank, as the character of their
inmates may have changed, as may also the ownership of the houses, since
this article was written three years ago. The names of the proprietors have
also been suppressed, as some are supposed to be -dead, and some have left
the city.


at the corner of Houston Street nearly all the time till
he was relieved at midnight.
Soon after the officer had taken up his corner posi-
tion, a stout, plainly-dressed man approached him, and
entered into conversation. My reporter immediately
went after them, leaving me to watch the house, and,
unknown to them, overheard their conversation. The
man was explaining to the officer that he had been
robbed at the house No. the night before, and was
asking what he could do to recover his money or bring
the thieves to justice. The officer recommended him to
stand on Broadway in the daytime, and when he saw
the girl who had inveigled him into the house, to point
her out to the nearest policeman, who would be bound
to arrest her; then to go with the policeman to the sta-
tion-house to prefer a complaint, and afterward to the
Police Court to testify against her. This course the
man seemed unwilling to pursue, and he went away
without announcing what his intention might be.
Now, this officer knew two facts: first, that these
panel-house girls never walk Broadway in the day-
time; and, secondly, that when a good haul has been
made, the girl is sent away for two or three days. He
might be said to know with equal certainty that the
man would not be willing to appear in a Police Court
as the prosecutor in such a case.
On the man taking his departure, the reporter
quietly entered into conversation with the officer, as
though he had only just sauntered up; but, after they


had been talking together for two or three minutes, a
runner from the panel-house went up to the policeman
and told him he wanted to speak to him a moment.
The two, who were evidently well acquainted, crossed
together to the upper corner of the street, the officer
telling the reporter he would be back. in a minute.
Not caring to remain, the reporter rejoined me. I had
been quietly watching the house from behind a pile
of bricks, like a cat after a mouse, for two very respect-
able-looking men had entered it, about ten minutes
before, in company with women. The men shortly af-
ter came out and proceeded up the street. We fol-
lowed them at a convenient distance. Once out of
sight of the officer, we hurried up to them, and, ad-
dressing them, I inquired if they knew the character
of the house they had just left and if they had lost
any thing. One seemed ready and willing to tell their
experience; the other, the younger of the two (both
had passed middle age) tried to get his companion
away and to prevent his saying any thing. He was
very much excited, apparently not knowing what to
do, and, from the few remarks which escaped him, it
was evident that he had been robbed. He said in an
agitated voice: They will hear from me in less than
ten minutes." The two gentlemen then passed up
Hopston Street to Broadway, we again following them.
At the corner of Prince Street they met an officer, to
whom they detailed their grievances, and from whom,
by a ruse, we afterward learned all about the affair.


They had been robbed of a considerable sum of money.
Returning to Mercer Street, we overheard a man in
angry altercation with a woman who had just left the
panel-house. G-d d-n you," exclaimed the man;
" you've got every d-d dollar I had in the world, and
you may go to h-1 now !"
These scenes were not confined to Mercer Street
alone, but were witnessed in other parts of the purlieus
of that same Eighth Ward; and all night long there
was constant communication between the officers on
duty and the lovers," so called, of the women, and
the runners of these infamous dens.
With a view of testing the audacity of these run-
ners," or ropers-in," I took the bull by the horns and
accosted one of them; and, assuming a drunken gait
and a country dialect, I innocently inquired the way to
the Bowery. I received the politest of answers, and,
hiccoughing out "thank 'ee," staggered away in the di-
rection pointed out. After having gone a few yards I
deliberately ran against a lamp-post, which gave me the
opportunity of turning my head for a moment, td see
if my unsuspecting friend was taking any steps with a
view to roping me in. One glance was sufficient.
There was the runner, standing by the house and di-
recting the attention of two of his women toward
me. Two minutes afterward they were on either side
of me, endeavoring to beguile me into. entering the
house. I, however,. renewed my inquiries for the Bow-
ery, and was told to go to h-1.


But by this time the officer No. 477, whom we had
been compelled to pass many times (for, during the even-
ing, we had investigated several such scenes as I have
described), had evidently become more than suspicious.
It was necessary, therefore, to beat a retreat for a short
time, till the relief should come on at twelve o'clock.
Back again in Mercer Street once more, we found officer
No. 474 on the beat. On passing him he viewed us
with considerable suspicion. He had evidently been
warned of our proceedings by the retiring patrolman.
Encountering us a little later-we were standing under
a lamp for the purpose of catching his number-the
officer approached us, and, addressing himself to me,
said in a surly tone:
"Young man, I want to know your business."
S"Surely you have no right to ask that question," I
I want to know your business, and if you're gen-
tlemen you'll tell me. If not, I shall take you in," re-
joined this energetic guardian of the peace.
The inquiries were put by the officer in the most of-
fensive and rough manner. 'We civilly but firmly re-
fused to answer them, and were immediately arrested
on the suspicion of being in Mercer Street with intent
to commit a burglary. We at once prepared to accom-
pany the officer, who, on our way to the station-house,
several times insulted us by repeatedly saying that we
were no gentlemen, and remarking that many burgla-
ries were committed in New York. On one of his


prisoners (!), my reporter, who had some legal knowl-
edge, remarking that an officer had no right to insult
any one he might arrest, the officer replied, surlily:
"Why shouldn't you be insulted as well as anybody
else ? It would be d-d difficult to insult the likes of
On arriving at the station-house, the officer made
his charge, we gave our names, addresses, ages, and oc-
cupations, and had not the reporter fortunately had his
credentials from his office in his pocket (the sergeant
refused to credit our verbal statements), we certainly
would have passed the night in the station-house, as we
persistently refused to mention the business we had in
hand. The consternation and confusion of the officer,
on finding the identity of at least one of us vouched
for, were amusing to a degree. He was at once sum-
maiily dismissed to his post by the sergeant, much in
the way that Mayor Nupkins dismissed the chopfallen
Grummer after Mr. Pickwick had explained the situa-
tion. The sergeant then courteously bowed us out,
giving us lights for our cigars from a corner of his
newspaper, and politely holding the door open as we
passed into the street.
Now, the charge upon which this officer arrested us
was his suspicion that we were in Mercer Street with
intent to commit a burglary. When at the station-
house the only evidence that he could bring forward to
substantiate that charge was, that he had passed us
two or three times on his beat and that, on the last oc-


casion of his passing us, they stood under the gas-
lamp to try and see my number as I passed." Will
any intelligent police-officer for one moment suppose
that two would-be burglars would deliberately place
themselves under a gas-lamp to catch the number of the
passing officer on the beat ? Will any intelligent reader
not more than suspect that officer of having a special
and personal reason for arresting us ? Will he not feel
convinced that he had such a reason ?
With regard to the insolence of the officer while
making and after having made the arrest, it is only ne-
cessary to quote two of the rules from the Manual of the
Metropolitan Police force:
Rule 447 says: Members of the Department must
be civil and respectful 'to their officers, to each other,
and to all other persons, on all occasions." The last
clause of Rule 517, relative to arrests, is still more em-
phatic on this point. It says: "It is the duty of a
policeman to keep his prisoner safely, but he has no
right to use unnecessary violence, and he must not
even use such language as would be calculated to pro-
voke or exasperate them, for such conduct tends to
create resistance in the prisoners and a hostile feeling
among the by-standers toward the policeman."
These two rules the officer manifestly broke while
indulging in the, to men of his class, great luxury of, as
he thought, putting two gentlemen to annoyance and
inconvenience. But he was doomed to disappointment.
I was far from being inconvenienced or annoyed. On


the contrary, I was much obliged to him for taking us
in." Our arrest was a decided incident in our adven-
ture; and, as for our names and addresses being printed
in the official calendar of arrests next day, we cared
nothing in the first place, and no one ever reads that
highly-interesting public document, in the second.
But I was not content with the results of my inves-
tigations thus far. It did not appear to me that I had
got at the pith and marrow of the thing; nor did it
appear to me that I could do so unless I could contrive
to get behind the scenes, for the pith and marrow of
the thing is the ease with which the robbing in a panel-
house must be accomplished in order to be accom-
plished at all. To get behind the scenes, then, was a
consummation of the matter which I determined should
be compassed at all reasonable risk, and we at once set
to work to that end.
After the exercise for many days of the most delicate
and, I flatter myself, skillful diplomacy, we succeeded in
worming ourselves into the confidence of the keepers of
one of these houses. Through the assistance of a private
detective, we discovered a panel-house, the proprietor
of which was anxious to retire from the neighborhood.
He had taken a house in Twenty-seventh Street, and
did not think he could run two. We soon secured an
interview with him, with the ostensible purpose of
taking the house off his hands, and on two occasions
we passed some time.in his private apartments and act-
ually succeeded in witnessing the whole operation of


panel-thieving. We carefully inspected all the arrange-
ments and contrivances of the house, with which we
expressed our entire satisfaction, and we were as much
behind the scenes as the conjurer's assistant or a the-
atrical machinist at Niblo's Garden. We soon came to
the conclusion that no possible precaution on the part
of men entering such houses can prevent their being
robbed. At each visit we passed an hour in the pri.
vate room from which the keeper of the house operates,
through the panel-door, on the pockets of his victims.
On our first gaining admission to the house, the propri-
etor proceeded to show us over it, criticising, with pro-
fessional pride, its various arrangements as he went
along. "Perfect! They haven't a chance, sir he
would constantly remark, and then he would chuckle
and rub his hands together with delight at the thought
of the ease with which he robbed his victims. This
man was apparently about thirty years of age, strongly
built, good looking, and well dressed. He certainly
did not look like a panel-thief. His assistant was a
thin, spare man, some five years older. He moved
about with the soft tread and ever-watchful glance of
a cat, and with a nervous quickness which at once pro-
claimed him a skillful operator. He also seemed to en-
joy showing the house. The description of the ground-
floor will suffice.
The back-room, in which the panel-worker waits
his opportunity, is almost unfurnished, containing only
a lounge, two or three common chairs, and a small


stove. The door of this room opens on to a private
staircase, which leads down to the back basement and
into an underground passage, which communicates
with the street by a cellar-door. The front-room is a
very comfortably-furnished apartment, about 18x20,
with a large fire burning in an open grate, and sepa-
rated from the back-room by folding-doors. The room-
door leading into the entrance-passage is close to these
doors, and can apparently be fastened by a large slid-
ing'bolt. This bolt is a false one. The head of the bed,
unusually high, is placed edgewise .against the wall,
to face the windows, with a couch behind it, just clear
of the entrance-door. Thus, the victim, when in bed,
can neither see the door by which he entered nor the
folding-doors. Against the folding-doors, covering the
ordinary opening, stands a heavy, marble-topped wash-
stand. A large, ponderous looking-glass hangs imme-
diately over it, and two chairs ire placed on either
side. Between the windows there is a dressing-table,
also with a chair on either side. The folding-doors ap-
parently cannot be opened because of the wash-stand
and looking-glass and two big bolts. But this is not
so. The left-hand door, instead of being hung on
hinges from the ordinary casing, has its hinges on the
other door, in the centre of the room, and is kept
closed by a large, common wooden button-bolt on the
other side, in the room in which the panel-thief is con-
Having thoroughly inspected the house, we re-


turned to the back-room, and, with well-assumed ease,
and having been posted by the detective in panel-
house slang, we threw ourselves on the lounge, lit
cigars, and opened a desultory conversation with our
"Staked the captain ?"
"No. We're on the break-up."
"Staked the beat ?"
"Heavy ?"
"Five dollars a night."
For the information of the uninitiated, I will ex-
plain the meaning of this conversation: the thieves had
not bribed the captain of the precinct, preferring to run
the risk of .being broken up, but they paid the patrol-
men five dollars a night.
At this moment steps were heard in the passage;
the gas was hastily turned down, and all kept breath-
less silence. An elderly man entered the front-room
with' a woman, and immediately all eyes were eagerly
watching through the little peep-holes bored through
the wall and doors, and into which pegs are inserted
the moment the eye is withdrawn, to prevent the light
showing through. The sucker," however, as the vic-
tim is termed, became alarmed at something, and began
to parley with his companion. I have been into two
houses already, this evening, and have been 'rapped
out' of each," he said, "for what reason I don't know.
But, if I'm to be rapped out again, I won't stay."


"That sucker," whispered the proprietor to his as-
sistant, has been beat out of his money, and hasn't
found it out yet. Don't let him squeal here. Rap him
out at once."
The elderly gentleman was accordingly rapped out,
and all again assumed their seats and cigars. At this
moment the assistant discovered that the panel creaked
a little, and suggested more grease on the hinges.
Oh," replied the head, that won't be noticed by
the sucker if the girl does her part well."
The assistant was about to say something more,
when he was seized with a fit of coughing. When it
had subsided he laughingly remarked: "It's very
strange, but when there's a sucker in that front-room I
couldn't cough to save my life." The conversation then
turned on the number of girls and their lovers who
are connected with the house. The rent and other
matters were then discussed, and we were beginning to
wonder what we could say or do next, when the negro
servant, who had been out on an errand, came back in
a hurry, and whispered that one of the girls had just
passed the house with a sucker.
She's that new girl who only came to-night," said
the proprietor to his assistant. You had better hop
out and work them in. She probably don't know the
house in the dark."
The assistant kicked off his list slippers, drew on
his boots, and was in the act of putting on his coat,
when the noise of the opening of the street-door ar-


rested his preparations, the gas was again hurriedly
turned down, smoking was forbidden, and the peep-
holes again resorted to. A German, about thirty years
of age, entered the room with a dark-haired, flashily-
dressed woman, who immediately requested him to
bolt the door. This he did, but he might have saved
himself the trouble, for the door was no more closed
then than it was before. These bolts are very ingeni-
ous. The catch on the jamb of the door, into which
the bolt slides, has three false screw-heads in it. In
reality, it is not attached to the door-casing at all, but
is fastened to the body of the bolt by an unseen plate.
Consequently, when the door is opened, the catch goes
forward with the remainder of the bolt. This, of
course, was not noticed by the man, as the gas was
not turned up by the woman till after the door was
closed. While the man was bolting the door, the
woman hurried to the dressing-table, and hastily laid
her hat on one chair and her cloak on the other. This
action compelled the man to place his clothes on the
couch or on one of the chairs by the folding-doors.
Unless this arrangement is carried out, no robbery can
be consummated. When all was ready, one of the op-
erators scratched lightly on the door with his finger-
nail, to warn the woman he was about to enter the
room. The next moment the button was slipped, the
man boldly opened the door wide, removed the chair
out of his way, and glided rapidly to the other chair,
on which the man's clothes lay. At this moment the


woman redoubled her fascinations, for the purpose
of distracting the attention of her victim, in which
purpose she was eminently successful. The work of
going through the man's pockets and what is techni-
cally known as weeding" his pocket-book, was quick-
ly over, the chair was quietly replaced, the panel-door
closed, and the thief appeared with a roll of bills in
his hand. The whole thing was done in from twenty
to twenty-five seconds. Immediately after the closing
of the door, the second man went outside, and, knock.
ing on the passage-door of the bedroom, said, in a loud
"Jenny, here's Joe; hurry up."
"My God exclaimed the girl, jumping up, you
must get away as fast as you can. That's my lover.
He's dreadful jealous, and would shoot you as soon as
look at you! "
It is needless to say that the victim required no
pressing to do as required. He jumped into his clothes
as fast as possible, only too glad to get out of the way
before the appearance of the imaginary terrible lover,
and apparently without the slightest notion that he
had been robbed. The panel-men had a good laugh, in
which, as a matter of course, we joined; and then,
thinking we had seen all we wanted to see, we soon
after took our leave, promising to return the following
evening to talk business. We were to pay them nine
hundred dollars for the balance of their lease.'
The reader may judge of the risk we ran while in this den from a re-


In the panel-houses, where the victims are compara-
tively few, the robberies are on a great scale; in the
low gambling-houses, where the victims flock in hun-
dreds of a night, the robberies are not individually so
large. Still they are just as disastrous in their conse-
quences, perhaps more so, for the gamblers belong to a
much poorer class, and only too many of them are mere
lads. Here, in New York, keno is the low-class gam-
bler's great passion; and there is no lack of place and
opportunity for his indulging it. In the busiest part
of Broadway, in the neighborhood of several theatres
and other prominent places of amusement, this game
of keno is carried on with unblushing effrontery, a
pair of swing folding-doors being generally the only
means of shutting them out from the public gaze. On
entering, which can be done without questions of any
sort, the visitor finds himself in a long, brilliantly-
lighted hall, through which innumerable small round
tables, on which lie keno-cards and piles of common
tailor's buttons, are distributed. Five or six chairs are
placed around each table, and, by seven or eight o'clock
in the evening, they are nearly all occupied, and the
game is in full operation. Frequently from two to three
hundred men and lads are assembled in the largest of
mark made by the keeper of it when he read this article: If I'd known
who that- was when he was in my place, he'd have gone
out of it in a deal packing-case with two or three hundred weight of coal
around him and been dumped into the East River I Our private detec-
tive was present in the bar-room which this thief patronizes when he thus
unbosomed himself.


these saloons. On a raised and inclosed platform stand
the managers of the concern. One of them sells tickets"
(ivory checks as large as a silver dollar, with black half-
moons on their centres). The other attends to the urn "
and the tally." The urn is an elaborately-carved affair,
with a top that unscrews to let in the "keno-balls"
(ivory halls inscribed with numbers) in bulk," and a
bottom that contains a spring slide to let them out sin-
gly. Behind the man who swings the urn is a tally-
board hanging against the wall. It is pierced with
holes, and under each hole is a number.
The first step toward a game consists in the selec-
tion by the players of one or more cards from those
lying on the several tables. As the game is apparently
one of chance, there is no opportunity for the exercise
of ingenuity in this selection, yet some very curious
scenes occur at this stage of the proceeding. Each card
contains one large red number in the centre and fifteen
small black numbers on straight horizontal lines.
These numbers do not line" perpendicularly. Dur-
ing this selection, the visitor hears various exclama-
tions from the motley crowd at the adjacent tables.
" I will try my same old cards. I won fifty dollars on
them last week." D-n that card I there's no luck in
it at all." Say, stranger, there's no luck at this
table." Well, perhaps I'll bring luck." "Well, here
goes for old 129! If I don't hit this time, I'm dead
beat." "I believe the only way to make a strike now-
adays is to take a club and knock some on the


head with it." A principal theme of conversation is
the big strikes that lucky men have made during
previous nights. An enthusiastic stutterer approaches
the table: "D-d-did you hear about Bill S-s-Simp-
kins's hit last night ? Then in the case of each new-
comer those present go over all the particulars of recent
delightful and encouraging incidents. "Yes," says one,
"he got a five-ball keno-second premium-two hun-
dred and fifty dollars-near broke the shop;
stopped the game for twenty minutes. He didn't get
his money till this morning."
Each of the gamblers has to pay twenty-five cents
for every card he selects from those lying about before
the play begins; so the cash-boys go from table to
table, and as each one pays for a card in. money or
with one of the ivory checks already purchased, the
cash boy or man shouts out the red number of the card,
and the urn-swinger puts in a peg under that number
on a tally-board. There is no time lost. As fast as
one collector of cash and checks has shouted the num-
ber of the cards taken at one table, a voice from
another part of the room begins a similar song. The
urn-swinger repeats each number as he puts in the peg.
Meanwhile an alert negro has deposited in the urn a
quantity of "keno-balls," that are numbered to corre-
spond with some of the little black numbers on the
cards. The tally-pegs are then counted, and, as each
represents twenty-five cents, their sum shows the value
of the pool" that is in the urn.


Presently the urn-swinger cries out, Fourteen dol-
lars in the urn I or "Forty dollars in the urn Who-
ever gets keno, takes the pool." At once, all bend
studiously over their cards. Round swings the urn,
with a great clatter of the balls, and round again.
Then the click of the spring is heard at the bottom, as
the operator pushes in the slide and lets out a ball.
All listen eagerly, for some one may fail to obtain five
hundred dollars-the highest premium-by failing to
hear the announcement of some number. As the fig-
ures on each ball are called from the platform, each
player eagerly scans his cards, to see if that number is
to be found on them. If it is, he places a black button
over it. Sometimes twenty players in the room will
thus cover a single number.
The most absorbing interest in the game occurs
when the operator of the urn is calling his first ten fig-
ures: for any one who can cover five figures, in one
line, on one of his cards, before ten balls are called,
gets, not only the pool, but the highest premium-five
hundred dollars. Therefore, players, who find them-
selves getting three or four buttons on a line within
the first half-dozen calls, are in a fever of excitement.
There are other premiums ranging from twenty-five to
two hundred and fifty dollars; but the game is so ad-
justed that they are seldom won. Yet there appear
to be but few muttered complaints of cheating on the
part of the gamesters. As some one of them gets the
pool every game, or they think they do, they feel that


it's a pretty square thing." So they plod along with
their buttons, after the stage of premium excitement is
passed, and, as one and another gets three and four on
a line, he and his near neighbors begin to take a new
interest in the affair, for no matter how many numbers
are called, he who first gets five on a line takes the
pool, and "that is some comfort," especially if many are
playing, for, in that case, the pool is sometimes fifty or
sixty dollars, minus the ten per cent. commission which
goes to the keeper of the game. So, at last, while they
are all solemnly poring over their cards, some one who
has, at the calling of the last figure, got his comple-
ment of five, shouts Keno !" and he is the winner.
"What number?" says the earnest urn-worker. The
number of the card being found to correspond with one
of the pegged tally-numbers, an attendant reads out
the five covered numbers of this winning card, and, if
they are found to correspond to five of the balls just
taken from the urn, its operator shouts: "Keno is cor-
rect; No. takes the pool."
Such is the game which appears to exercise so great
a fascination alike over the politician, the banker's
clerk, the burglar, the pickpocket, gray-haired men and
youths, those having plenty of money and those who
go to stake the dollar they have borrowed for the
purpose though, perhaps, ostensibly to pay their
week's washing-bill, and so get their clean shirts out of
pawn-all crowd in expectant and eager for the fray.
Some few leave with triumph in their eye; the bulk


of them with a sorry, downcast look. These last sim-
ply think that they have lost their money. They have
been robbed, and don't know it. That the proprietors
of these keno-hells would never be content with the
profit arising to them out of what is left from the ten
per cent. off the pools, after paying expenses, I felt
morally certain. Moreover, I don't believe in the hon-
est gambler being a very widely-propagated animal.
After going the round of the principal keno-houses, I
was convinced that I was right, and I determined, if
possible, to discover how the cheating is done in a
game apparently so fairly carried out.
I, therefore, very carefully watched the play, while,
to avoid suspicion, I from time to time took a hand in
the game. A few nights of watchfulness brought me
the key to the system, and I was astonished at the im-
pudent simplicity of the robbery. I presume its sim-
plicity is the source of its success. Gamblers look out
for something more elaborate. On the third evening,
at a table near me, there sat a man with fair hair and
mustache, no beard or side-whiskers, dressed in pea-
jacket, fur cap, and light-colored pantaloons. A large
Masonic ring, with solitaires to match, also attracted
my attention. I had particularly noticed him, as he
had called Keno," and had received his winnings from
the clerk or waiter. Soon after, two other men sat
down at the same table, and, after the termination of
the next round, the fair-haired winner sought a table
which was unoccupied on the other side of the room.


All, with the one exception of myself, were too intent
on their cards and buttons to notice him; but, to my
infinite surprise, he soon called Keno" again. Again
the clerk called his numbers and paid him the money.
On receiving his winnings, he quietly sauntered out of
the room. Determined to see the thing out, I changed
my position, but was still puzzled.
Half an hour later, .a gentleman with long, black
hair and mustache, high silk-hat, light overcoat, and
black pantaloons, dropped into a chair in front of the
only vacant table, which was close to the one at which
I sat. My attention was soon after naturally concen-
trated on him by his calling "Keno." The usual forms
having been complied with and the money paid to him,
the man in question coolly stroked his mustache, and,
in so doing, displayed a peculiar masonic ring and soli-
taires to match. In an instant I recognized him in spite
of his changed dress, his wig, and dyed mustache, as
the man who had, half an hour before, twice called
" Keno." I was so startled that I almost lost my pres-
ence of mind. I was on the point of springing to my
feet and denouncing the cheat, when I recollected the
danger of doing so. Controlling my excitement, I
bought cards, and, though appearing absorbed in the
game, cautiously watched my man in disguise. As the
numbers drawn from the urn were called in the game,
I concealed my hands under the table, and wrote the
numbers down with a pencil on my shirt-cuff. Noth-
ing occurred till the third game, when the disguised


gentleman again cried "Keno !" A waiter called the
numbers of his card, to which the clerk at the desk
quickly replied, Correct." Not one of the numbers
on the card corresponded with the numbers on my shirt-
cuf. The following is the fac-simile of the card which
purported to win. I have it in my possession now;
for, after the cheat had left the table, I quietly put it in
the pocket of my overcoat. The number 92 is printed
in large red figures in the centre, over the other figures:

12 26 80 51 79
8 86 44 62 83
18 22 58 68 76

Here, then, was the reading of the mystery. The
proprietors allow the players to win a few pools dur-
ing the evening, and occasionally, pour encourager les
autres, a premium; but the majority of the pools are
won by their own paid agents. I am very glad that I
was enabled to detect the fraud. The great popularity
of this game is founded on the belief that it is fairly
and squarely played. Some advantage will at least be
gained if the votaries of keno are undeceived on this
point. Such knowledge will, I trust, lead many to es-
chew it in future. If, too, the details which I have given
about the panel-house system should imbue even only
a few young men with a wholesome dread of entering
houses of prostitution, I shall be amply repaid for my
labors. Self-protection is not a very high motive for
avoiding vicious places of resort; but it is better that
than none at all "A. P."


(Portrait of character, from a photograph by Gurney.)


SHOTuLD any reader of these sketches have a linger-
ing fondness for the traditions of his childhood that
there are mermaids in New-York Bay, truth compels
me to dispel it, inconoclast as he may deem me. The
other day I invaded the supposed realms of the mer-
maids, at the risk of furnishing a whole household of
them with a week's provisions, or being forever detained
a prisoner at the bottom of the briny deep by some
young lady of the sea, who wears oyster-shells and
mussels by way of ornament and combs her hair with
a piece of reef-coral, because she happened to fall in love
with me. And I can quote Hans Christian Andersen
as an authority that sea-maids have been known to be-
come enamoured of the inhabitants of terra firma.
One of the most charming of his "Stories for the
Household is that of the little sea-princess, who saved
the life of a prince from the dry land and then fell
in love with him, to her own ultimate destruction, for
she was converted into sea-foam. But the danger I ran
did not amount to much-to be exact, it amounted to
nothing. I can vouch for the fact that there are no


mermaids in New-York Bay, at least not in that part
of it which I explored. If any one will take the
trouble to follow my example, and go see for himself,
I think he will agree with me that the bottom of New-
York Bay is about the last place in the oceanic world
which the mermaids would be likely to select for their
marine residence; that is, if they were proper-minded
The part of the bay in which I took my under-water
stroll, was that off the Battery, where the mighty
currents of the Hudson and East Rivers expand into
the open bay, bringing with them a rare and unique
collection, consisting of dead cats and dogs, the sewage
of the east and west sides of New York, the refuse of the
Fulton, Washington, and other markets, and a variety
of other interesting materials and ingredients, too un-
savory to dwell upon and too numerous to recapitu-
late. And yet the fish seem to disport themselves in
that neighborhood with more or less satisfaction to
themselves, and the youthful aristocracy of the tene-
ment-houses in the adjacent wards appear to enjoy their
summer evening tumble into the water as much as
though it were as pure as Croton itself. I confess that
the opportunity I had of making an ocular analysis
of the water would debar me from taking a plunge in
it, unless I was very hard up for a wash.
It was a balmy, summery-spring morning in the
month of April, when the writer might have been seen
lying at full length, his head resting on a coil of rope


for a pillow, on the deck of a sloop which lay securely
anchored fore and aft at the spot I have indicated.
The world was hardly yet astir, for it was but seven
o'clock in the morning. But, with all his apparent
laziness, he watched with an eager intentness all the
movements of the divers as they prepared themselves
for their day's work beneath the slowly-heaving waters,
increasing, as they did, in volume every moment, as the
ocean hurled back its Atlantic forces against the river's
stream-for he was for the nonce their visitor and their
pupil. He was himself ambitious of treading the un-
beaten, though not altogether unexplored, paths of the
sea-king's home, and of gaining some insight into the
life and experiences of a professional transactor of
"business in great waters."
I had so far ingratiated myself with the divers as to
gain their consent to my putting on their diving-dress,
and going down for a few minutes to the bottom of the
bay, in order to gratify my curiosity as to the sensa-
tions of artificial existence and the appearance of things
in general down in the hidden depths. I was burning
with an insatiable desire to investigate the contents of
Mr. Davy Jones's Locker, and my desire was about to
be gratified.
I had been studying the men and thinking of their
strange occupation till I had fallen into an abstracted
reverie, and I was almost startled when-" Now, sir, if
you really mean to go down, we're ready*for you,"
roused me in a moment, and, springing up, I said: Of


course I do; I'm ready, too." I was ready with a ven-
Never did human ingenuity invent any thing which
renders one so thoroughly ludicrous to behold as a
diver's dress. No, not ludicrous, but horrible; for
there is, in the appearance of a dressed diver, a good
deal that is very suggestive of a wretched criminal
standing under the gallows, and about to be launched
into eternity. The association of ideas is considerably
strengthened by the air-tube which enters the helmet,
looking, for all the world, like the rope dangling from
the beam.
One of the divers kindly lent me his paraphernalia
and also aided me in putting it on. After removing
my own clothing, I put on an immensely thick and
heavy knitted woolen shirt, drawers, and stockings.
Over these I had to put on a garment which was by
no means easy to struggle into. It was a water-proof
dress of one thickness of India-rubber between two
thicknesses of canvas, and comprising jacket, panta-
loons, and stockings, all in one. My boots were a
stout, rough pair, with sixteen pounds of lead attached
to the soles. At the wrists the sleeves had a brass
band inserted, and the tops of the water-proof gloves
had a similar band, which just fitted outside the one
on the sleeves. By means of screws these two bands
were jammed so tightly together that it was impossible
for any wAter to force its way in. Similar bands, held
together by twelve bolts and nuts, attached the brass


collar to the top of the water-proof dress. Into this
collar the head-piece or helmet is inserted, and is fixed
in its place by a quarter-turn screw. The helmet is
made of brass and looks like an inverted round pitcher,
without a handle. It has a small window on either side,
between the eye and ear, and a round glass in front
of the face, which screws in and out like the lenses of
a telescope. The air is forced into the helmet by a com-
mon suction air-pump, from which it escapes through a
small valve governed by a spiral spring. Thus, fresh
streams of compressed air are constantly passing in
through the tube and out through the valve. The
helmet and collar weigh twenty-five pounds. The
best part of one hundred pounds of lead, fastened
round the chest, completed my outfit, and I was ready
to make my call on any one I might find at the bottom
of the bay.
What an indigestible morsel I should make for a
shark, with all this lead about me !" was my reflection
as I stepped over the side of the vessel and slowly de-
scended the short ladder hanging from the gunwale.
Gradually I slid into the water and was soon immersed.
" My God what is that ?" I thought, as I disappeared
below the surface. It felt as though some one had run
an iron rod clean through my head from one ear to the
other. The next moment the same sensation passed
through both eyes to the back of the head. The pain
increased as I went down, till at last I felt as though I
had a red-hot gridiron in my brain. As I went down


and down, it seemed as though my cranium must ex-
plode, like an engine-boiler, and that the drums of my
ears would certainly burst. I was on the point of pull-
ing the signal-rope to be hauled up, when my feet
touched the bottom. I stood perfectly still for a while,
and the pressure on the brain from the compressed air
soon began to decrease. In a minute it had so far gone
off that I gave up any idea of signaling to the divers
above that I wanted to come up. But faint sounds of
music seemed to strike my ear, as of some one humming
in an undertone. It was no mermaid on a dolphin's
back, uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath that
the rude sea grew civil at her song." It was simply a
rather severe attack of that detestable and very com-
monplace annoyance-singing in the ear.
I was, however, much surprised at the enormous
pressure of the water on my body and limbs; some-
thing far beyond any thing that one experiences in
swimming. The apparent difficulty of keeping my
feet on the ground, too, struck me as being rather ex-
traordinary, considering that I was so heavily weighted.
I stooped down to touch the bottom with my hand, in
order to feel what I was standing on, when up went
my feet. I had the greatest difficulty in regaining
them. This was afterward explained to me by the
divers. It arose from a very simple cause. The air in-
troduced into the helmet forces its way down into the
clothing, and inflates it to some extent. This inflation
is, of course, greater about the legs, where the diving.


dress does not fit so closely as it does about the body.
The air pressure is necessarily very great fifteen
pounds to the square inch for every foot descended be-
low the surface-and it seems to carry on a continual
warfare with the outside pressure of the water. About
a month ago, a diver who was working in the North
River, off Sixty-first Street, was forced off his feet by
the ballooning of the legs of his dress, and his legs
went up in the water above his head. He appears to
have lost his presence of mind, for, when his comrades
hauled him up, they found that he had cut the air-tube
with his knife. Poor fellow, he paid for this foolish
action with his life.
But the thing of all others which astonished me
most was the total inability to see any thing at the bot-
tom. I could not even see my hand when I put it be-
fore the glass window in the helmet. I was grievously
disappointed; for I had fully anticipated being able to
give a pen-picture of the bottom of the sea, to describe
the astonishment of the fishes on seeing me, and inter-
view any dead bodies or skeletons I might come across.
And my friends the mermaids, too Had they been
around, they might have played all sorts of tricks with
me without my being able to discover their where-
abouts. I should have been like the luckless one who
is blindfolded, turned round three times in the middle
of the room, and then told to catch who he may, in a
game of blind-man's-buff.
Two or three times I fancied that a small fish


touched me; but I am inclined to think that this was
only imaginary; probably some eddy in the water, or
a bit of floating sea-weed, or something else. The only
thing I really encountered was the rough angle of a
stone. I started as though a shark were after me, and
any thing but blessed the spring-freshets which had
rendered the water so thick and muddy as to envelop
the bottom in all the darkness of the land of Egypt.
But there was no help for it. I could no more pierce
the darkness of the dense water than Mr. Weller could
" see through a flight of stairs and a deal-door." I was
at first inclined to think that the inability to see was
the result of disorganization of the optic nerve, caused
by the great pressure on the brain. But I could not
see better when the pressure began to decrease, nor
could I when I had become tolerably comfortable.
I found the temperature no colder than it was when
I left the deck of the sloop; but this may be accounted
for by the thickness of the clothing I wore, and by the
fact that the water did not come in contact with the
pores of the skin. After I had been down some min-
utes, "groping blindly in the darkness," I became
aware of a pain in the lower part of the abdomen,
caused by the great pressure of the water. In two or
three minutes this pain became so intense that, having
assured myself that there was nothing to be seen, and
nothing to do but to walk blindly about, I tugged at
the signal-rope, and telegraphed to the divers that I
wished to be drawn up. I shot up through the water


much faster than I had gone down, and, as I clambered
up the ladder, the tender immediately unscrewed the
glass mouth-piece and admitted the natural air. What
a long breath I drew It seemed to me that I had never
before properly appreciated the luxuries of pure oxy-
gen. And what a relief too, it was to get out of that
heavy brass helmet! Let any one imagine himself
wearing a hat weighing twenty-five pounds while en-
during the agonies of a splitting headache, and he may
gain some slight conception of the discomforts of a
diver's helmet. However, I was soon once more ar-
rayed in the costume of the nineteenth century, and de-
tailing to my curious listeners my experience as an ama-
teur diver.
One of them, who has been engaged in the business
over twenty years, told me that he had expected me to
signal to come up before I reached the bottom. Why,
sir," he said, we have many a strong young chap come
to us, meaning to earn his living at diving. They go
down, and directly they get below the surface the
blood gushes out from their nose and mouth. They
don't take long in signalling to come up, you may bet
your life on that."
I asked him the cause of the pressure on the brain.
He replied that it was in consequence of the ex-
treme density of the compressed air. "The deeper
you go the worse it is," he said. I've been down as
low as a hundred and twenty-five feet. But you can't
work much at that depth; they can't force air enough


down to you. It's just as difficult to force air down
to a great depth as it is to force water up to a great
"What is the greatest depth that a diver has been
known to go down ?" I asked.
"Well, in the lakes you can't go lower than a hun-
dred and fifty feet. But I have heard of a man in
England who went down a hundred and fifty-six feet.
You see, at that depth, you can breathe out much more
easily than you can breathe in. This makes it very
difficult to keep the lungs full of air, and produces a
short, quick, almost gasping, for breath. Any work
would exhaust a man in a minute or two down there.
In twenty feet of water a man can go down and work
four hours at a stretch. Four hours is a day's work for
a diver. There is a great difference between summer
and winter. In summer the air has to be pumped
through ice-cylinders. Divers earn good wages-the
best of them ten dollars a day; but it ain't much pay
when you take into consideration the work they do.
It tells on them in time; it affects their lungs and hear-
ing. I am myself very deaf at times. And, if a man
has got any thing wrong with his heart, he'll soon kill
himself. One never seems to get accustomed to it. If
I stay off for a month or so, I feel all the pressure in
the head I felt the first time I went down. The only
natural-born divers I ever met are the natives of Hono-
lulu. They dive without a dress-just catch hold of a
big stone, hold on tight to it, and let it carry them


down, head first. They think nothing of going down
four or five fathoms. They will dive and steal the cop-
per from piles or the bottoms of tenders, The water's
very clear out there, you know. At Midway Island,
half-way between China and San Francisco, I could see
the diver at work at least twenty-four feet down. No,
the natives of Honolulu beat all others at diving. I
once saw one of their naked divers go down in thirty
fathoms of water, and bend a line round the lost an-
chor of a man-of-war. But that was, of course, quite
an exceptional case."
All the divers had stories to tell of hair-breadth
escapes in searching wrecks, and from suffocation.
They seem to have traveled in all parts of the world;
the demand for theit services being greater than the
supply of good divers. I found them exceedingly in-
telligent men, but all looking forward to the time when
they could take contracts for themselves, and employ
other divers to do the work, instead of having to go
down themselves. I think they are right. Diving is
far from a pleasant occupation. Personally, I would
rather sweep a crossing than go in for diving as a means
of earning a living.
"A. P."


THE terrible tragedies lately enacted by certain so-
called physicians in this city, or, at least, under their
direction or with their connivance, have directed pub-
lic attention to the very pertinent inquiry, Who and
what are these men, and whence do they get their di-
plomas and their licenses to practise? One of these
miserable wretches, Jacob Rosenzweig-the man who,
for the sake of a few dollars, sent the unfortunate
Alice Augusta Bowlsby to an untimely grave and
thereby plunged two respectable families into the
direst distress-has asserted, since he has been in pris-
on, that he held a diploma from the Eclectic Medical
College of Philadelphia. On the wall of one of the
rooms of his house, on Second Avenue, there hung,
framed and glazed, what certainly purported to be a
diploma from that institution. Among his papers now
in the hands of the police, is one, written in Latin,
beginning, UTniversitatis Americane apucd Philidel-
phiam," and addressed to Jacob Rosenzweig. For a
long time past this college has had an evil reputation
for trafficking in diplomas with any unqualified persons


who are willing to pay an exorbitant fee if no ques-
tions are asked; and, at the time of the Bowlsby
tragedy, the fact was generally commented on by the
press, especially in Philadelphia. In reply to these
comments the college authorities addressed the follow-
ing letter to the Philadelphia Morning Post. It is
copied verbatim :

Editor Morning Post
Having my attention called to an article in your Editorial Col-
umn of your Paper of the first inst in regard to Rozenberg the
Abortionist being a graduate of the eclectic College 514 Pine
this is a gross error and a stigma on the College as no man by
that name was ever entered on the Books of this College as a ma-
triculand and furthermore the Party has not a Diploma from this
School Respectfully yours
Prof of Anatomy R W DE BeUST M D
514 Pine Street.

Certain points cannot escape the attention of the
careful reader of this letter. 1. Professor De Beust de-
nies that a man named Rozenberg either graduated or
received a diploma from his college, but he says nothing
of a man named Rosenzweig. 2. He acknowledges by
implication that the granting of diplomas to unquali-
fled persons would be a stigma on the college." 3.
His concluding sentence is a virtual admission that the
college does grant diplomas to others than its own
graduates. Moreover, the letter itself does not give
the impression of having been written by a man as
highly educated as a professor of anatomy in any medi-
cal college ought to be. The M.orning Post replied, edi-


torially, to the first part of the professor's letter in an
article which concluded as follows:

As we did not assert that Rozenberg had received a diploma
from Buchanan's college, but that it is reported Rosenzweig had
procured such a document from the Pine-Street "College," we are
not yet inclined to withdraw the sentence so objectionable to Mr.
De Beust. His communication is faithfully given, the original
copy being as faithfully preserved. We will not say that Mr. De
Beust, the "Professor of Anatomy" at the Eclectic College, has
attempted to deceive the community through our columns, but we
must insist on having proof that Rosenzweig did not receive his
diploma from the same institution.

No reply has as yet been received from the college
to the very proper and just demand of the Philadel-
phia Post. There is, therefore, presumptive evidence
that no exonerative reply can be given. Nevertheless,
the charge of granting medical diplomas to unworthy
persons is not so conclusively broughtohome to the col-
lege by the default as might be deemed desirable, and
I determined to sift the matter to the bottom, and, if
possible, to produce direct and unimpeachable evidence.
With this object in view, I addressed the following let-
ter to the secretary of the college in question, writing
under an assumed name, and making suitable arrange-
ments for receiving a reply without awakening suspi-
cion as to the source whence the letter proceeded:
STREET, WILLIAMSBURGH, N. Y., September 18, 1871.
To the Secretary of the Eclectic Medical College, Philadelphia.
DEAn Sm: For two years I studied medicine in England-not
long enough to entitle me to a diploma. I have been profession-
ally engaged here for the last year, and now feel worthy of a diplo-
ma. I am told that your college is willing to grant diplomas in


such cases, on payment of fees, to respectable applicants who can-
not afford the time for a new course and examination. Will you
kindly inform me if such is the case, and, if so, what steps I must
take to obtain the diploma? Also be kind enough to inform me
what the fees amount to. I trust they are not very high.
I am, yours respectfully, JAMES BROWN.

By return of post an answer was received, which at
once, to a great extent, committed the college authori-
ties. It was their obvious duty to have handed
" James Brown's" letter to the police, but their reply,
printed below, shows at a glance that they were willing
to negotiate. It is written on the official paper of the
college, and signed by Professor John Buchanan, one
of the leading members of the faculty:

&ptember 14, 1871. 1
DEAR Sm: Please call at 263 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, New
York, on Dr. Bowlsby.
Your letter has been sent to him, and he will attend to it.
I am, respectfully yours,

I allowed some days to elapse before I took any
action on Professor Buchanan's communication. I then
wrote, as directed, to Dr. Bowlsby (ominous name!),
hoping to elicit something more directly compromising
from that worthy.
The following is my letter to Dr. Bowlsby:

STREET, WT.LIAMBUBGH, September 22, 1871.
MY DEAR SIR: In answer to my application for a diploma to
the Eclectic Medical College of Philadelphia, Professor John Bu-


chanan has requested me to communicate with you. This I should
have done some days ago had I not been unexpectedly called out
of town. I assume from Dr. Buchanan's letter that, under the spe-
cial circumstances detailed in my letter to the college authorities,
the diploma will be granted. If you will kindly inform me of the
amount of the fees, I will at once forward them to you or to the
college, as you may direct. I must apologize for not calling upon
you, but my absence for some days has thrown considerable extra
work on my hands. I am, yours respectfully,
Dr. BowLsBB, No. 268 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn.

At noon on the following Monday, Dr. Bowlsby
called at the address I had given and inquired for
"Dr." Brown. I had taken the precaution of giving
instructions as to what should be done in such an even.
tuality. He was glibly told that Dr. Brown was at
his office in New York, and would not return till even-
ing. "Ah," exclaimed this trafficker in permits to
commit murder, already sniffing at the scent of the
crisp greenbacks I was to pay him for one of his devil's
licenses; I wrote this letter to him on Saturday
night, but found that I was too late for the post.
Will you be good enough to hand it to him when he
comes home ? "
He left the following communication for me:
BBooxLy, Sebtember 23. 18'71.
DEAR SIR: Yours received, and contents noted. If the college
can be satisfied of your legal qualifications, the faculty will confer
the degree upon you for one hundred dollars.
I will endeavor to call on you Monday, about twelve o'clock
at noon, and talk the matter over with you. Yours, very sincerely,
W. IH BOWLSBY, M. D., No. 263 Myrtle Avenue.
To Dr. J. BROWN.


This letter of Dr. Bowlsby's was also written on
the official paper of the college, precisely similar to that
on which Professor Buchanan replied to my application
for a diploma. It will be noted, too, that both of these
men addressed their replies to "Dr." James Brown,
though both of them had only too good reason to
know that I had never passed my examination and
was, consequently, not entitled to the title of doctor.
A few minutes after having left the above letter,
Dr. Bowlsby again rang the bell and begged that I
would "call upon him at my earliest convenience."
He was evidently anxious to secure, as soon as possi-
ble, James Brown's one hundred dollars for his thirty-
dollar diploma-thirty dollars being the regular fee,
according to the college prospectus.
The sentence in Dr. Bowlsby's letter, if the col-
lege can be satisfied of your legal qualifications," natu-
rally rendered me a little cautious, though I did not
anticipate much trouble on the score of qualifications.
Nevertheless, in order to be on the safe side, I traveled
around and at last secured the services of a young
medical student, who had been through a part only of
the necessary course of instruction in medicine and
surgery, to represent me, alias James Brown, in the
forthcoming examination before Dr. Bowlsby. This
student, according to the sworn affidavits of himself
and his instructors, which affidavits are in safe keeping,
"cannot possibly be and is not competent to pass such
an examination as would entitle him to a diploma."

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