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A History of the Cries of London by Hindley

And a pig vons for ze lady Puy a Proom

Ah, well-a-day! it hath passed away, With my holiday pence and my holiday play-- I wonder if I could listen again, As I listened then, to that old man's strain-- All of a row--"Young lambs to sell."


Round and sound, Two-pence a pound. Cherries, rare ripe cherries!

Cherries a ha'penny a stick Come and pick! come and pick! Cherries big as plums! who comes, who comes.]

The late George Cruikshank, whose pencil was ever distinguished by power of decision in every character he sketched, and whose close observation of passing men and manners was unrivalled by any artist of his day, contributed the "London Barrow-woman" to the pages of Hone's _Every-Day Book_ in 1826 from his own recollection of her.

[Illustration: BUY A BROOM.

These poor "Buy-a-Broom girls" exactly dress now, As Hollar etch'd such girls two cent'ries ago; All formal and stiff, with legs, only at ease-- Yet, pray, judge for yourself; and don't if you please,

* * * * *

But ask for the print, at old print shops--they'll show it, And look at it, "with your own eyes," and you'll _know_ it.]


a Broom? was formerly a very popular London-cry, when it was usually rendered thus:--"_Puy a Proom, puy a prooms? a leetle von for ze papy, and a pig vons for ze lady: Puy a Proom_." Fifty years ago Madame Vestris charmed the town by her singing and displaying her legs as a _Buy-a-Broom Girl_.

Buy a broom, buy a broom, Large broom, small broom, No lady should e'er be without one, &c.

But time and fashion has _swept_ both the brooms and the girls from our shores.--Madame Vestris lies head-to-head with Charles Mathews in Kensal Green Cemetery. _Tempus omnia revelat._


Old Maids, your custom I invites, Fork out, and don't be shabby, And don't begrudge a bit of lights Or liver for your Tabby.

Hark! how the Pusses make a rout-- To buy you can't refuse; So may you never be without The _music_ of their _mews_.

Here's famous meat--all lean, no fat-- No better in Great Britain; Come, buy a penn'orth for your Cat-- A happ'orth for your Kitten.

Come all my barrow for a bob! Some charity diskivir; For faith, it ar'n't an easy job To _live_ by selling _liver_.

Who'll buy? who'll buy of Catsmeat-Nan! I've bawl'd till I am sick; But ready money is my plan; I never gives no tick.

I've got no customers as yet-- In wain is my appeal-- And not to buy a single bit Is werry ungenteel!]


Every morning as true as the clock--the quiet of "Our Village Green" is broken by a peculiar and suggestive cry. We do not hear it yet ourselves, but Pincher, our black and tan terrier dog, and Smut, our black and white cat, have both caught the well-known accents, and each with natural characteristic--the one wagging his tail, the other with a stiff perpendicular [dorsel appendage] sidles towards the door, demanding as plainly as possible, to be let out. Yes, it is "Our Dandy Cats' and Dogs' Meat Man," with his "_Ca' me-e-et--dogs' me yet--Ca' or do-args-me-a-yet, me a-t--me-yett!!!_" that fills the morning air, and arouses exactly seven dogs of various kinds, and exactly thirty-one responsive feline voices--there is a cat to every house on "Our Village Green"--and causes thirty-one aspiring cat's-tails to point to the zenith. We do not know how it is, but the Cat's-meat man is the most unerring and punctual of all those peripatetic functionaries who undertake to cater for the public. The baker, the butcher, the grocer, the butterman, the fishmonger, and the coster, occasionally forget your necessities, or omit to call for your orders--the cat's-meat man never!

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