Hello, Hello 1991

‘Have you used the phone today?’ I asked my wife Laura, as I gently supped an early morning mango juice on our balcony overlooking Mombasa creek in Kenya.
‘No,’ she replied, ‘Why?’
‘Look over there,’ I said, ‘You see where our telephone line goes across the road and into that tree?’
She followed my pointing finger and we watched as a local chap started draping the lower branches with old plastic sheets and bits of corrugated iron. The tree was just outside our compound, and grew out of what once was the pavement; it was soon reminiscent of a Christmas tree decorated by a deranged Turner prize winner.
‘He’s moved into that tree,’ said Laura.
‘He’s moving a couple of goats in as well,’ I said, and we both watched as the real estate developer tethered his pets to the tree using our telephone line.
Telephone poles are a rarity in these parts as they make exceedingly good objects to run into when the brakes fail, allowing the vehicle to come to come to a stop, albeit a sudden one. The answer is to drape the line from tree to tree thus giving the telephone company workers the double advantage of being able to sell any new replacement poles to local charcoal burners and itinerant builders.
‘That’s it,’ said Laura, ‘That’s the end of our telephone again.’
By ‘again’ just about summed it up. It was a regular occurrence for one reason or another, ranging from floods, fire and monkeys. Getting back online again was always fun. If you didn’t look upon it as fun, you may as well book a straight jacket there and then. Dealing with any Governmental department here in Kenya was the same. Logic flies out of the window and so does any sense of common sense.
I arrived at the Kenya Telecom offices later that morning. An old colonial building that had served the Mombasa telephone subscribers for decades. It felt like walking back a few decades as well, as soon as you enter the reception area. This area is one to miss as it’s always crowded with customers, Africans, Arabs and Asians waving sheets of paper in various stages of agitation at the laid back clerks There were unofficial guides wanting to show anyone the attributes of the now wonderfully decrepit building for a few shillings, and a couple of security guards reading newspapers. Niftily avoiding the maelstrom surrounding the reception clerk’s desk, I mounted a staircase on the way to the Promised Land of mystifying East African beguilement.
And promises were all I was going to get, I knew that, it was a start though and in this land of illusions all I could expect. The shabby, corridors were full of files, sometimes up to the ceiling, probably I thought, holding the damn thing up in places. Glancing through opened doors into offices was much the same boxes and boxes of files stacked in every available place. Overhead, fans ground their way slowly around like arthritic mosquitoes, while their healthier cousins flew around biting anything that moved. Flimsy pieces of paper that had escaped from the filing system, perhaps twenty years ago, gently wafted around the building in humid air currents. Occasionally someone would catch one, read it idly and then send it on its interminable way to continue its gentle flight of fancy.
Eventually, I reached the office of Mr Umbungo who, I was informed, was the very chap to sort out my problems. The office was much like any other, no sign of technology, not even a phone for God’s sake, just stacks and stacks of files and a girl fast asleep under a table.
‘Ahem,’ I sort of coughed. She stirred, opened one eye, closed it and yawned. I moved a stack of newspapers off a chair and sat down. When she finally arose she seemed to go into a semi-trance while staring at an empty coca-cola bottle. This went on for some minutes and I was beginning to worry that she had somehow self-hypnotised herself and was going to suddenly pick up a stack of files and suffocate me with them. However all was well, she sat down and she smiled very sweetly in my direction and said, ‘Good morning, how are you?’
‘I’m very well thank you.’ I said.
‘And how is your family?’
‘They’re very well as well. How are you….’
This exchange of pleasantries regarding the wellbeing of families is a normal formality in Africa and if not brought, as diplomatically as possible to an end, can go on ad infinitum. It’s a precursor to the start of any business or meaningful discussion. The meaningful discussion, in this case, was whether I would like a drink? I suppressed the retort that a large Bloody Mary would indeed be welcome and told her that a coca-cola would be nice.
‘Frederick,’ she shouted, out of the door.
A young lad ambled in. ‘Go and fetch two cokes,’ she said, and turned to me, ‘Give him thirty shillings.’ I did as I was bid.
‘Mr Umbungo will be here very soon,’ she said.
I was used to this very soon nonsense ‘Very soon’ in Africa means anytime within the next six hours. I settled down to wait.
Mr Umbungo arrived at about half past eleven and we exchanged the usual pleasantries vis a vis the well-being of our respective families, Frederick was again summoned, and I bought him a coca cola.
‘You say there is a man building a dwelling on your land?’ he said, after I had, I thought, described the exact nature of the problem.
‘No I suppose the council owns the tree,’ I said.
‘But you are in the wrong department,’ he replied.
‘No,’ I said, ‘the telephone wire that connects my phone to your exchange has been used by this man to tether his goats. He has cut the wire from the tree that was being used as a telephone pole.’
‘We do not use trees,’ he said.
I would have gone to the window at this stage and pointed out any number of trees, bushes and old broken down lamp posts, come to that being used to convey wires to the exchange, if the window hadn’t been blocked by old files. Anyway, that wasn’t the way to deal with African logic, I knew what he wanted and he knew that I knew.
‘I will have to pay a visit and assess the situation,’ he added. ‘If what you say is true then this man will be in serious trouble. You can collect me in the morning’.
A time was set for three o’ clock the next morning, which meant in real time anytime after nine. Time starts at daybreak for Kenyans and finishes at sunrise which makes life complicated for those of us who don’t realise there is a completely different time scale out here. It doesn’t matter much though; time is a very flexible element in any case and has no meaning.
We were ready for Mr Umbungo the next morning. The outcome, we knew, rested on cost, cost to us that is. Kenya society runs on bribery and corruption, a facet that any outsider should do well to remember. It’s all done very nicely and generally without threats or menace, it’s just a way of life. We were old hands at the bribery game so anything of value that denoted wealth was hidden and I used Laura’s old Toyota Starlet to fetch him. He arrived at ten, which wasn’t too bad.
Mr Umbungo expected at least a Toyota Landcruiser for a start and his expectation of the amount of bribe dropped a few points. It dropped a further few when he realised I hadn’t got a driver and drove him to our home myself. We lived in an old colonial style of apartment, three stories up without a lift which must have depressed him even more. A mineral water on the balcony was the first port of call, served by Laura who had told the maid to make herself scarce. By the time he had looked around and found no swimming pool, no computer and not even a TV, never mind a satellite dish he was about as despondent as it’s possible to get. It was obvious that we had done it well as we watched his face drop as the bribery expectation duly dropped to a very low rung.
The three of us watched the goat herd enlarging his home to accommodate, no doubt, a wife or two and various offsprings. If past experience was any guide we would expect him to have added another two or three rooms by the end of the week and then rent them out.
‘This man must be removed and your line restored,’ said Mr Umbungo.
‘Yes,’ I said, waiting for the opening salvo in negotiations.
‘I have a very sick mother,’ said Mr Umbungo, which is quite a common opening ploy; it could have been sick wife, child or anything. We expected it but had to go through the paraphernalia because it was the African way. To offer an out and out bribe meant a loss of face for him, and anyway it was a form of wheeling and dealing which is well set in the African psyche.
‘Oh I am sorry,’ said Laura. She was far better at this sort of thing than I was.
‘Yes,’ he said, ‘and the school fees are due now.’
‘Well,’ said Laura, ‘Maybe a little donation towards…’
‘That would be most useful. It means I can devote all my time to your telephone line rather than having to spend all day taking my mother backwards and forwards to hospital.’
A one thousand shilling note was pocketed and with the promise that all his family’s prayers would be directed in our direction for the foreseeable future, Mr Umbungo got up to leave.
I drove him into Mombasa and on returning Laura gave me a knowing look, ‘Honour done on both sides I think,’ she said. As one thousand shillings would buy you a couple of big Macs and fries back home, I agreed. I remounted the satellite antenna, the computer terminal and waited for our driver to come back with the Landcruiser that he’d taken for servicing.
‘I expect the phone will be back on within a week,’ Laura said, uncovering the washing machine and dishwasher. ‘Where did you drop Mr Umbungo?’
‘Oh, outside the Indian Ocean Beach Club.’

Running the Gauntlet in Mogadishu.

Running the Gauntlet in Mogadishu.
A newspaper article I wrote in January 1993 for the Cape Times in South Africa.

A burst of small-arms fire. I turned Fleetwood Mac down a bit and waited for the answering shell to explode. It burst through Christine McVie’s Songbird. Cape Town’s Sea Point on a bad Saturday night had nothing on downtown Mogadishu in Somalia, East Africa.

The M.V. Esbjerg was a ship chartered by Red Cross and built nearly thirty years ago. Tied loosely against the dock wall she’s jumpy, just like the crew. We just wanted to get the hell out. Up to three times a month, we would bring relief supplies to war-torn Somalia from Mombasa. Rice, beans, cooking oil, medical supplies as well as a hundred cases of beer for the Red Cross workers. They deserved it. Mostly, though, the beer goes in bribes to the local and devout Moslem local mafia Moslem port authority who are corrupt beyond compare. They extort money from the local workforce in return for work permits and then control and supervise the looting with rifle butts.

Then, of course, there are the Red Cross workers. They are shot regularly and if still alive taken to hospital by friends. The doctors and nurses live and work under appalling conditions. The ship’s medical locker is opened and morphine, bandages and various pills are sent. The hospital has no supplies; they were looted a long time ago.

The Somalian women, old before their time, come down to the ship carrying babies when it gets dark. They come to sift through the dirt and dust for grains of rice that are left on the quayside after the ship has discharged its cargo. Never mind the probability of rape or indiscriminate shooting, it’s worth the gamble.

The bodies that float past the ship once or twice a day causes a fit of frenzy. The body is dragged out and stripped of whatever clothing remains. These garments are sold to the highest bidder in the marketplace. The bullet holes are taken for granted.

The marketplace includes the ship. Traders line the vessel’s side, selling looted luxury cars, fax machines, video cameras, watches, freezers and microwave ovens. The temptation to buy is high but an hour later a boy of ten could hold you up with an AK47 and demand it back. You don’t argue.

I look out of my porthole and watch one of the many armed militia masquerading as port officials shooting their rifles. The direction of aim varies according to the amount of alcohol drunk or ‘dagga’ smoked. They have one thing in common, these trigger happy brigands, not uniform or age, not really any allegiance to any particular warlord or military unit. Just regular flip-flops on their feet. Boys of ten are deemed old enough- if they are big enough to carry an AK47 for looting and killing.

An Arab dhow crept into the harbour a few days ago to take away Arab refugees. Men women and children crowded on board. The vessel was shelled and the bows were blown off. Those who lived jumped overboard and tried to swim to safety. Safety to them was the shark infested sea. None made it- they were all shot before they got half way across the harbour.

Perhaps it would have done some good to have had a United Nations observer on our ship. Mixing with American captain Chris Ross, Pakistani Mate Hussain and a crew from all over Africa. I was the Chief Engineer, a Brit now living in Cape Town.
The Red Cross boys and girls on the ground in Somalia are magnificent. Don’t ask them, though, what they think of all the armchair opinion that spouts from so-called ‘”do gooders”. Don’t ask what they think of African politics and don’t even think of asking them what the solutions are. It’s unprintable.


As the Language of the Community of Gipseys is very expressive, and different from all others, we think we shall gratify the curious by publishing a specimen of it.

* * * * *

ABRAM, naked, without clothes, or scarce enough to cover the nakedness.

Ambi-dexter, one that goes snacks in gaming with both parties; also a lawyer that takes fees of a plaintiff and defendant at once.

Alel-Wackets, blows given on the palm of the hand with a twisted handkerchief, instead of a ferula; a jocular punishment among seamen, who sometimes play at cards for wackets, the loser suffering as many strokes as he has lost games.

Abram Cove, among thieves, signifies a naked or poor man; also a lusty strong rogue.

Adam, Tiler, a pickpocket’s associate, who receives the stolen goods.

Air and Exercise. He has had air and exercise, i.e., has been whipped at the cart’s tail; or, as it is generally expressed, at the cart’s arse.

Alls, the Five Alls is a country sign, representing five human figures, each having a motto under him. The first is a king in his regalia; his motto, I govern all: the second a bishop in his pontificals; motto, I pray for all: third, a lawyer in his gown; motto, I plead for all: fourth, a soldier in his regimentals, fully accoutred; with the motto, I fight for all: and the fifth, a poor countryman with his scythe and rake; motto, I pay for all.

Amen Curler, a parish clerk.

Anodyne Necklace, a halter.

Arch Rogue, or Dimber Damber Upright Man, the chief of a gang of gipseys.

Arch Doxy, signifies the same in rank among the female canters or gipseys.

Ard, hot.

Autumn Mort, a married woman; also a female beggar with several children, hired to excite charity.

Autumn, a church; also married.

Autumn bawler, a preacher.

Autumn cacklers or prick-ears, dissenters of whatever denomination.

Autumn divers, church pickpockets; but often used for churchwardens, overseers of the poor, sidesmen, and others, who manage the poor’s money.

Autumn jet, a parson.

Babes in the Wood, criminals in the stocks.

Back’d, dead.

Badge Coves, parish pensioners.

Balsam, money.

Bam, a jocular imposition, the same as humbug.

Bandog, a bailiff, or his followers; a sergeant, or his yeomen; also a fierce mastiff.

Bandero, a widow’s mourning peak; also a musical instrument.

Baptised, rum, brandy, or any other spirits that have been lowered with water.

Barker, a salesman’s servant that walks before the shop, and cries, coats, gowns, &c., what d’ye buy?

Barking irons, pistols, from their explosion resembling the barking of a dog.

Barnacles, a good job, or a snack easily got; also, the irons worn by felons in gaols.

Barrel Fever, he died of the barrel fever; he killed himself by drinking.

Battner, an ox.

Bawbee, a halfpenny.

Baudrons, a cat.

Beak, a justice of the peace, or magistrate.

Beard splitter, a whoremaster, or a beadle.

Beater cases, boots.

Bellows, the lungs.

Belly cheat, an apron.

Bill of sale, a widow’s weeds.

Bing, to go, bing avast; get you gone. Binged avast in a darkmans; stole away in the night. Bing we to Rumvilck; shall we go to London.

Bingo, brandy, or other spirituous liquor.

Bingo boy, a dram drinker.

Bingo mort, a female dram drinker.

Bingowaste, get you hence.

Black fly, the greatest drawback on the farmer is the black fly, i.e. the parson.

Bleating rig, sheep-stealing.

Blind harpers, beggars counterfeiting blindness, playing on fiddles, &c.

Black box, a lawyer.

Black Indies, Newcastle, from whence the coals are brought.

Black spy, the devil.

Blind cheek, the breech.

Blowen, a whore.

Bluffer, an innkeeper, or victualler.

Boarding school, Bridewell, Newgate, or any other prison, or house of correction.

Bob, a shoplifter’s assistant, or one that receives and carries off stolen goods.

Bob ken, or a Brownmanken, a well furnished house.

Bone, to apprehend, seize, or arrest.

Bone box, the mouth.

Bone Darkmans, a good night.

Bone setter, a hard-trotting horse.

Booby hutch, a one-horse chaise, noddy, buggy, or leathern bottle.

Borde, a shilling.

Bouncing cheat, a bottle.

Bracket face, ugly, ill-favoured.

Brown George, an ammunition loaf.

Buck’s face, a cuckold.

Bufe, a dog.

Butt’s eye, a crown, or five shilling piece.

Bung, a purse, pocket, or fob.

Bur, a hanger-on, a dependant.

Bum bailiff, a sheriff’s officer who arrests debtors; so called perhaps from following his prey, and being at their bums, or as the vulgar phrase is, hard at their a—s. Blackstone says it is a corruption of bound bailiff, from their being obliged to give bond for their good behaviour.

Bum brusher, a schoolmaster.

Bus-napper, a constable.

Bus-napper’s kenchin, a watchman.

Bye-blow, a bastard.

Calle, a cloak or gown.

Cank, dumb.

Canniken, the plague.

Cap, to swear.

Captain Queernabs, a fellow in poor clothes.

Caravan, a good round sum of money about a man.

Case, a house, shop, or warehouse.

Cassun, cheese.

Caster, a cloak.

Calfskin fiddle, a drum. To smack calfskin; to kiss the book in taking the oath. It is held by the St. Giles’s casuists, that by kissing one’s own thumb instead of smacking calfskin, the guilt of taking a false oath is avoided.

Canticle, a parish clerk.

Canting, preaching with a whining affected tone, perhaps a corruption of chaunting; some derive it from Andrew Cant, a famous Scotch preacher, who used that whining manner of expression. Also, a kind of gibberish used by thieves and gipseys, called, likewise, pedlar’s French.

Catamaran, an old scraggy woman; from a kind of float, made of spars and yards lashed together, for saving shipwrecked persons.

Catch Club, a member of the catch club; a bum bailiff.

Chanticleer, a cock.

Charactered, or Lettered, burnt in the hand. They have palmed the character upon him, they have burned him in the hand.

Charm, a picklock.

Chates, the gallows.

Chats, lice.

Chanter culls, grub-street writers, who compose songs and carrols for ballad singers.

Cherubims, peevish children, because cherubim and seraphim continually do cry.

Cheat-the-devil, a dicky.

Chife, a knife, file, or saw.

Chosen Pells, highwaymen who rob in pairs, in the streets and squares of London; to prevent being followed by the sound of their horses’ shoes on the stones, they shoe them with leather.

Chuck farthing, a parish clerk.

Clank napper, a silver tankard.

Clickman Toad, a watch; also, an appellation for a West countryman, said to have arisen from the following—a West countryman, who had never seen a watch, found one on a heath near Pool, which, by the motion of the hand, and the noise of the wheels, he concluded to be a living creature of the toad kind; and, from its clicking, he named it a clickman toad.

Clowes, rogues.

Cloy, thief, robber, &c.

Cloyes, thieves, robbers, &c.

Cly, money; also, a pocket. He has filed a cly; he has picked a pocket.

Cold burning, a punishment inflicted by private soldiers, on their comrades, for any trifling offences of their mess laws; it is administered in the following manner—the prisoner is set against the wall, with the arm which is to be burned tied as high above his head as possible; the executioner then ascends a stool, and having a bottle of cold water, pours it slowly down the sleeve of the delinquent, patting him, and leading the water gently down his body, till it runs out at the bottom of his trowsers—this is repeated to the other arm, if he is sentenced to be burned in both.

Cloak, a silver tankard.

Coach wheel, or a fore coach wheel, half-a-crown; a hind coach wheel, a crown.

Cobblecotter, a turnkey.

Collar day, execution day.

Colquarron, a man’s neck.

Comefa, a shirt, or shift.

Commission, a shirt.

Comfortable impudence, a wife.

Cooler, a woman.

Costard, the head.

Court card, a gay fluttering coxcomb.

Cow’s baby, a calf.

Cow-handed, awkward, not dextrous.

Crab shells, shoes.

Cramp word, sentence of death passed on a criminal by a judge:—he has just undergone the cramp word; sentence has just been passed upon him.

Crew, a knot or gang: the canting crew are thus divided into twenty-three orders:—


1. Rufflers.

2. Upright Men.

3. Hookers, or Anglers.

4. Rogues.

5. Wild Rogues.

6. Priggers, or Prancers.

7. Pailliards.

8. Fraters.

9. Jarkmen, or Patricoes.

10. Fresh Water Mariner’s or Whip Jackets.

11. Drummerers.

12. Drunken Tinkers.

13. Swaddlers, or Pedlars.

14. Abrams.


1. Demanders for Glimmer or Fire.

2. Bawdy Baskets.

3. Morts.

4. Autumn Morts.

5. Walking Morts.

6. Doxies.

7. Delles.

8. Kinchin Morts.

9. Kinchin Coves.

Crookmans, hedges.

Coxy, a stupid fellow.

Crook, sixpence.

Croker, a groat, or fourpence.

Croppen, the tail of any thing.

Cucumbers, tailors.

Cuffin cove, a drunken fellow.

Cull, a fellow.

Cut his stick, run away.

Culp, a kick, or blow.

Cup hot, drunk.

Cursitors, petty fogging attornies.

Cussin, a man.

Darby, ready money.

Dace, twopence;—tip me a dace; lend me twopence.

Dag, a gun.

Damber, or Dimber, a rascal.

Dancers, stairs.

Darkmans, night.

Dash, a tavern drawer.

Dawbe, a bribe or reward for secret service.

Decus, a crown.

Degen, a sword.

Diddle, gin.

Diggers, spurs.

Dimber Damber, a top-man among the canting crew; also the chief rogue of the gang, or the greatest cheat.

Dimbermort, a pretty wench.

Doash, a cloak.

Dobin rig, stealing ribbons from haberdashers early in the morning, or late at night, generally practised by women in the disguise of maid-servants,

Doctor, milk and water, with a little rum and some nutmeg; also the name of a composition used by distillers, to make spirits appear stronger than they really are.

Doctors, loaded dice that will run but two or three chances—they put the doctors upon him; they cheated him with loaded dice.

Dodsey, a woman; perhaps a corruption of Doxey.

Downy cove, a smart fellow.

Drumbelow, a dull fellow.

Dunnikin, a necessary, or little-house.

Dunaker, a stealer of cows and calves.

Eriffs, rogues just initiated, and beginning to practise.

Eternity box, a coffin.

Facer, a bumper without lip room.

Families, rings.

Famms, hands.

Fastener, a warrant.

Fawney, a ring.

Feeder, a spoon:—to nab the feeder; to steal a spoon.

Fermerdy beggars, all those who have not the sham sores or clymes.

Ferret, a pawnbroker or tradesman, that sells goods to young spendthrifts upon trust, at excessive rates, and then hunts them without mercy, and often throws them into jail, where they perish for their debt.

Fidlam Ben, general thieves; called also St. Peter’s sons, having every finger a fish-hook.

Flag, a groat.

Flash, a periwig.

Flaybottomist, a bum-thrasher, or schoolmaster.

Flick, old-fashioned, or sly.

Flicker, a drinking-glass.

Flicking, to cut, cutting; as flick me some panea and cassan, cut me some bread and cheese.

Flute, the recorder of London, or any other town.

Flyers, shoes or boots.

Fogus, tobacco: tip me a gage of fogus; give me a pipe of tobacco.

Froglanders, Dutchmen.

Frummagemmed, choked, strangled, or hanged.

Furmen, aldermen.

Gaberlunzie, a beggar.

Gan, a mouth.

Gans, the lips.

Gage, a liquor pot, or a tobacco pipe.

George, a half-crown piece.

Gem, a fire.

Gentry cove, a gentleman.

Gibberish, the cant language of thieves and gipseys, called pedlars’s French, St. Giles’s Greek, and the Flash tongue: also the mystic language of Geber, used by chemists. Gibberish likewise means a sort of disguised language, formed by inserting any consonant between each syllable of an English word; in which case it is called the gibberish of the letter inserted; if f, it is the f gibberish; if g, the g gibberish; as in the sentence, How do you do? Howg dog youg dog?

Gigg, a nose: snitchell his gigg; fillip his nose: grunter’s gigg; a hog’s snout. Gigg is also a high one-horse chaise.

Gipseys, a set of wandering vagrants found in the country. When a fresh recruit is admitted into this fraternity, he is to take the following oath, administered by the principal maunder, after going through the annexed forms:—

First, a new name is given him, by which he is ever after to be called; then standing up in the middle of the assembly, and directing his face to the dimber damber, or principal man of the gang, he repeats the following oath, which is dictated to him by some experienced member of the fraternity:

I, Crank Cuffin, do swear to be a true brother, and that I will in all things obey the commands of the great tawney prince, and keep his council, and not divulge the secrets of my brethren.

I will never leave nor forsake the company, but observe and keep all the times of appointment, either by day or night in every place whatever.

I will not teach any one to cant, nor will I disclose any of our mysteries to them.

I will take my prince’s part against all that shall oppose him, or any of us, according to the utmost of my ability: nor will I suffer him, or any one belonging to us, to be abused by any strange abrams, rufflers, hookers, pailliards, swaddlers, Irish toyles, swigmen, whip jacks, jarkmen, bawdy baskets, domerars, clapper dogeons, patricoes, or curtails; but will defend him or them, as much as I can, against all other outliers whatever. I will not conceal aught I win out of libkins, or from the ruffmans, but I will preserve it for the use of the company. Lastly, I will cleave to my doxy-wap stiffly, and will bring her duds, margery praters, goblers, grunting cheats, or tibs of the buttery, or any thing else I can come at, as winnings for her wappings.

Gigger, a door.

Globe, pewter.

Glue-pot, a parson; from joining men and women together in matrimony.

Glaziers, eyes.

Glim, a dark lantern.

Glimfenders, hand-irons.

Glim, a candle.

Glimstick, a candlestick.

Gaoler’s coach, a hurdle.

Goose Riding: a goose, whose neck is greased, being suspended by the legs to a cord tied to two trees or high posts, a number of men on horseback, riding full speed, attempt to pull off the head; which if they effect, the goose is their prize. This has been practised in Derbyshire within the memory of persons now living.

Grannan gold, old hoarded coin.

Green bag, a lawyer.

Grig, a farthing.

Gropers, blind men.

Gutter-lane, the throat.

Hammer, a great lie, a rapper.

Halberhead, a silly foolish fellow.

Half nab, at a venture, unsight, unseen, hit or miss.

Half-borde sixpence.

Hams, breeches.

Hamlet, a high constable.

Hand-me-downs, second-hand clothes.

Hanktel, a silly fellow, a mere cod’s-head.

Hansan kelder, a jack in the box, the child in the womb, or a health to it.

Harman, a constable.

Harmanbeck, a beadle.

Hawk, a sharper.

Hazel gold, to beat any one with a stick.

Hearingcheats, ears.

Heaver, the breast.

Hell, the place where the tailors lay up their cabbage or remnants, which are sometimes very large.

Hempen widow, one whose husband was hanged.

Henfright, those commanders and officers who are absolutely swayed by their wives.

High tide, when the pocket is full of money.

Hocus, disguised in liquor, drunk.

Hodmendods, snails in their shells.

Hoggrubber, a close-fisted, narrow-minded, sneaking fellow.

Hop-merchant, a dancing-master.

Hum-box, a pulpit.

Humpty-dumpty, ale boiled with brandy.

Hums, persons at church.

Huskylour, a job, a guinea.

Iron doublet, a parson.

Itchland, Ireland.

Jackrum, a licence.

Jack Adams, a fool.

Jack-a-dandy, a little insignificant fellow.

Jack-in-a-box, a sharper or cheat.

Jack-at-a-pinch, a poor hackney parson.

Jacobites, sham or collar shirts.

Jack, a seal.

Jet, a lawyer

Ken, a house.

Kicks, breeches.

Kill devil, row.

Kinchin, a little child.

King’s pictures, money of any description.

Laced mutton, a woman.

Lag, last; lagging behind, to be hindmost.

Lage, water.

Lage duds, a buck of clothes.

Lambskin men, the judges of several courts.

Lansprisado, he that comes into company with only two-pence in his pocket.

Lantern. A dark lantern, the servant or agent that receives the bribe at court.

Libben, a private dwelling-house.

Libbege, a bed.

Lifter, a crutch.

Lightmans, the day, or day-break.

Line of the old author, a dram of brandy.

Little Barbary, Wapping.

Lop’d, run away; he lop’d up the dancers, he whipped up the dancers.

Loge, a watch.

Louse-trap, a comb.

Low tide, when there’s no money in a man’s pocket.

Lushy cove, a drunken man.

Maik, a halfpenny.

Mannikin, a dwarf or diminutive fellow.

Maunders, beggars.

Maundering breath, scolding.

Meggs, guineas.

Meet, to spend money.

Millclapper, a woman’s tongue.

Mist, a contraction of commission, signifying a shirt, smock or sheet.

Mishtopper, a coat or petticoat.

Moabites, sergeants, bailiffs, and their crew.

Moon-curser, a link-boy.

Mower, a cow.

Muck, money, wealth.

Muttonmonger, a lover of women.

Mutton in long coats, women; a leg of mutton in a silk stocking, a woman’s leg.

Nab, a hat, cap, or head; also a coxcomb.

Ne’er a face but his own, not a penny in his pocket.

Nim gimmer, a doctor, a surgeon, an apothecary.

Nubbing cheat, the gallows.

Nut-crackers, a pillory.

Oak, a rich man of good substance and credit.

Ogles, eyes.

Old flick a knowing fellow.

One in ten, a parson.

Pad-the-hoof, journeying on foot.

Panum, bread.

Panter, a heart.

Pantler, a butler.

Peaches, discovers, informs.

Peeper, a looking-glass.

Peter, a portmanteau, or cloak-bag.

Peg tandrums, as, gone to peg tandrums, dead.

Penance boards, a pillory.

Penthouse nab, a very broad-brimmed hat.

Periwinkle, a peruke or wig.

Philistines, sergeants, bailiffs, and their crew.

Porker, a sword.

Property, a mere tool or implement to serve a turn; a cat’s foot.

Prig, a thief.

Quail pipe, a woman’s tongue.

Queer cuffin, a justice of peace, also, a churl.

Rabbit suckers, young spendthrifts, taking goods on tick of pawnbrokers or tallymen, at excessive rates.

Rattling cove, a coachman.

Red rag, a tongue; your red rag will never lie still, your tongue will never be quiet.

Regraters, forestallers in markets.

Ribben, money.

Rotan, a coach, or wagon, or any thing that runs upon wheels, but principally a cart.

Royster, a rude roaring fellow.

Ruffin, the devil.

Ruffmans, the woods or bushes.

Rumbeck, a justice of peace.

Rumbo, a prison.

Rumboozling welts, bunches of grapes.

Rumboyled, sought after with a warrant.

Rum clank, a large silver tankard.

Rum degen, a silver-hilted or inlaid sword.

Rumdropper, a vintner.

Rum ogle’s, fine, bright, clear, piercing eyes.

Rum-strum, a long wig.

Rum-swag, full of riches.

Scab, a sixpence.

School butter, a whipping.

Sconce, to run in debt, to cheat.

Seeds, poor, moneyless, exhausted.

Setters, or setting-dogs, they that draw in bubbles for old gamesters to rook; also a sergeant’s yeoman, or bailiff’s follower; also an excise-officer.

Sharper, a swindler, a cheat.

Sharper’s tools, false dice.

Shot, clapped or poxed.

Shove the tumbler, whipped at the cart’s tail.

Skin-flint, a griping, sharping, close clown; also, the same as flat.

Smearer, a painter, or plasterer.

Smeller, a nose.

Smelling cheat, a nosegay; also an orchard, a garden.

Smiter, an arm.

Smug, a blacksmith, also neat and spruce.

Smite, to wipe or slap.

Snitch, to eye or see any body; the cub snitches, the man eyes or sees you.

Snout, a hogshead.

Sack, a pocket.

Shanks’s naigs, the feet.

Snacks, full share.

Son of prattlement, a lawyer.

Soul driver, a parson.

South-sea mountain, Geneva.

Sow’s baby, a pig.

Spanish money, fair words and compliments.

Spanks, money, gold or silver.

Specked wiper, a coloured handkerchief.

Spiritual flesh-broker, a parson.

Split fig, a grocer.

Splitter of causes, a lawyer.

Spoil pudding, a parson who makes his morning sermon too long.

Squeel, an informer.

Squirrish, foolish.

Stamps, legs.

Stampers, shoes, or carriers.

Stick flams, a pair of gloves.

Stoter, a heavy blow.

Strapper, a handsome woman.

Strommel, straw.

Strum, a periwig.

Stubble it, hold your tongue.

Suit and cloak, good store of brandy, or agreeable liquor.

Supouch, a hostess or landlady.

Swag, a shop.

Swell cove, a man with plenty of money.

Tagmans, a gown or cloak.

Tanner, a sixpence.

Tears of the tankard, drops of good liquor that falls aside.

Thrums, threepence.

Tickler, a knowing fellow.

Tile, a hat.

Tip of the buttery, a goose.

Tip, to give or lend.

Tip’s your flipper, give us a shake of your hand.

Toggery, clothes.

Top diver, a lover of women.

Topping cheat, the gallows.

Topping cove, the hangman.

Topt, to go out sharp, to be upon one’s guard.

To twig, to disengage, to sunder, to break off.

To twig the darbies, to knock of the irons.

Track, to go.

Trees, wins threepence.

Trib, a prison.

Trine, to hang, also Tyburn.

Troch, a drunkard.

Trooper, a half-crown.

Trundles, pease.

Tumbler, a cart.

Turkey merchant, driver of turkeys.

Vampers, stockings.

Velvet, a tongue.

To tip the velvet, to tongue a woman.

Vinegar, a cloak.

Wattles, ears.

Whack, a share.

Whids, words.

Whipshire, Yorkshire.

Whoball, a milkmaid.

Whisker, a great lie.

White wool, silver money.

Whibble, sad drink.

Whiddle, to tell or discover: he whiddles, he peaches: he whiddles the whole scrap, he discovers all he knows: the cull whiddled because they would not tip him a snack, the fellow peached because they would not give him a share: they whiddle beef and we must brush, they cry out thieves and we must make off.

Whinyard, a sword.

Whip off, to run away, to drink off greedily, to snatch: he whipped away from home, went to the alehouse, where he whipped off a full tankard, and coming back whipped off a fellow’s hat from his head.

White swelling, a woman big with child is said to have a white swelling.

Witcher, a silver bowl.

Wing, a penny.

Womblety cropt, the indisposition of a drunkard after a debauch in wine or other liquors.

Wooden Ruff, a pillory; he wore the wooden ruff, he stood in the pillory.

Word-pecker, one that plays with words, a punster.

Yam, to eat heartily, to stuff lustily.

Yarmouth-capon, a red herring.

Yarum, milk, or food made of milk.

Yellow George, a guinea.

Yelper, a town-crier; also one subject to complain or make a pitiful lamentation.

Znees, frost, or frozen.

Zneesy weather, frosty weather.