Every-Day Book
vol II date    /    index  


July 4.

St. Ulric, or Udalric. St. Odo, Abp. of Canterbury, 10th Cent. St. Sisoes, or Sisoy, A.D. 429. St. Bertha, 8th Cent. St. Finbar, of Crimlen. St. Bolean, disciple of St. Patrick.

St. Ulric.

He was son of count Hucbald, one of the first dukes of higher Germany. He became bishop of Augsburg, and rebuilt the celebrated cathedral there, in 962, dedicating it to St. Afra, patroness of that city, and died eighty years old, in 973, on ashes laid in the form of a cross upon a floor. Customs peculiar to this day are related in these verses:—

St. Huldryche.

Wheresoeuer Huldryche hath his place,
    the people there brings in
Both carpes, and pykes, and mullets fat,
    his fauour here to win.
Amid the church there sitteth one,
    and to the aultar nie,
That selleth fish, and so good cheepe,
    that euery man bay buie:
Nor any thing he loseth here,
    bestowing thus his paine,
For when it hath beene offred once,
    'tis brought him all againe.
That twise or thrise he selles the same
    vngodlinesse such gaine
Doth still bring in, and plentiously
    the kitchin doth maintaine.
Whence comes this same religion newe?
    what kind of God is this
Same Huldryche here, that so desires,
    and so delightes in fish?* [1]


Copper Day Lily. Hemerocallis fulva.
Dedicated to St. Ulric.

The London Barrow-woman.

See! cherries here, ere cherries yet abound,
With thread so white in tempting posies ty'd,
Scatt'ring like blooming maid their glances round
With pamper'd look draw little eyes aside,
And must be bought.


This is cherry season, but it is not to me as cherry seasons were. I like a great deal that is, but I have an affection for what was. By-gone days seem to have been more fair than these; and I cannot help trying to

"catch the manners dying as they fall."

I have lived through the extremity of one age, into the beginning of another, and I believe a better; yet the former has been too much detracted: every thing new is not, therefore, good; nor was every thing old, bad. When I was a boy, I speak of just after the French revolution broke out, my admiration and taste were pure and natural, and one of my favourites at all times, and in cherry-time especially, was the London barrow-woman. There are no barrow-women now. They are quite "gone out," or, rather, they have been "put down," and by many they are not even missed. Look around; there is not one to be seen.

In those days there were women on the earth; finely grown, every way well-proportioned, handsome, and in stature like Mrs. Siddons. I speak of London women. Let not the ladies of the metropolis conceive offence, if I maintain that some of their mothers, and more among their grandmothers, were taller and more robust than they. That they are otherwise may not be in their eyes a misfortune; should they, however, think it so, "their schools are more in fault than they." Be that as it may, I am merely stating a fact. They have declined in personal elevation, as they have increased in moral elevation.

At that time lived the London barrow-woman:—

Her hair loose curl'd, the rest tuck'd up between
Her neatly frill'd mob-cap, was scarcely seen;
A black chip-hat, peculiarly her own,
With ribbon puff'd around the small flat crown
Pinn'd to her head-dress, gave her blooming face
A jaunty openness and winning grace.


On her legs were "women's blacks," or, in dry sunny weather, as at this season, stockings of white cotton, with black high-heeled shoes, and a pair of bright sparkling buckles; tight lacing distended her hips, which were further enlarged by her flowered cotton or chintz gown being drawn through the pocket-holes to balloon out behind, and display a quilted glazed petticoat of black or pink stuff, terminating about four inches above the ancles; she wore on her bosom, which was not so confined as to injure its fullness, a light gauze or muslin kerchief. This was her full dress, as she rolled through the street, and cried—

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

"Green and ripe gooseberries! amberberries! ripe amber-berries?" "Currants! rare ripe currants!" ending, as she began, with cherries:—

"Cherries a ha'penny a stick!
Come and pick! come and pick
Cherries! big as plums!
Who comes? who comes?"

Each side of her well-laden barrow was dressed nearly halfway along with a row of sticks having cherries tied on them. To assist in retailing her other fruit, there lay before her a "full alehouse measure" of clean pewter, and a pair of shining brass scales, with thick turn-over rims, and leaden weights, for the "real black-hearts" that dyed the white cloth they lay on with purple stains. If she had an infant, she was sometimes met with it, at a particular spot, for her to suckle. She was then a study for a painter. Her hearty caresses of her child, while she hastily sat down on the arm of her barrow, and bared her bountiful bosom to give it nourishment; the frolic with which she tickled it; the tenderness with which she looked into its young, up-turned eyes, while the bland fluid overflowed its laughing mouth; her smothering kisses upon its crowing lips after its nurture; and her loud affectionate "God bless it!" when it was carried away, were indescribably beautiful.

As the seasons changed, so her wares varied. With the "rolling year," she rolled round to us its successive fruits; but cherry-time was the meridian of her glory. Her clear and confident cry was then listened for, in the distance, with as much anxiety to hear it, as the proclamation of a herald, in the full authority of office, was awaited in ancient times. "What can keep the barrow-woman so long?— Surely she has not gone another way!—Hush! there she is; I hear her!" These were tokens of her importance in the neighbourhood she circled; and good housewives and servant girls came to the doors, with basins and dishes, to await her approach, and make their purchases of fruit for their pies and puddings. As she slowly trundled her barrow along the pavement, what doating looks were cast upon its delicacies by boys with ever-ready appetites! How he who had nothing to lay envied him who a halfpenny entitled to a perplexing choice amidst the tempting variety! If currants were fixed on, the questions was mooted, "Which are best—red or white?" If cherries—"white-hearts, or blacks?" If gooseberries—"red or yellow?" Sometimes the decision as to the comparative merits of colour was negatived by a sudden impulsive preference for "the other sort," or "something else;" and not seldom, after these deliberations, and being "served," arose doubts and regrets, and an application to be allowed to change "these" for "them," and perhaps the last choice was, in the end, the least satisfactory. Indecisiveness is not peculiar to childhood; "men are but children of a larger growth," and ther "conduct of the understanding" is nearly the same.

Mr. George Cruikshank, whose pencil is distinguished by power of decision in every character he sketches, and whose close observation of passing manners is unrivalled by any artist of the day, has sketched the barrow-woman for the Every-Day Book, from his own recollection of her, aided somewhat by my own. It is engraved on wood by Mr. Henry White, and placed at the head of this article.

Before barrow-women quite "went out," the poor things were sadly used. If they stopped to rest, or pitched their seat of custom where customers were likely to pass, street-keepers, authorized by orders unauthorized by law, drove them off, or beadles overthrew their fruit into the road. At last, an act of parliament made it penal to roll a wheel or keep a stand for the sale of any articles upon the pavement; and barrow-women and fruitstalls were "put down."

Fruit Stalls.

These daily purveyors to the refreshment of passengers in hot weather are not wholly extinct; a few, very few, still exist by mere sufferance—no more. Upon recollection of their number, and the grateful abundance heaped upon them, I could almost exclaim, in the words of the old Scotch-woman's epitaph—

"Such desolation in my time has been
I have an end of all perfection seen!"

Ah! what a goodly sight was Holborn-hill in "my time." Then there was a comely row of fruit-stalls, skirting the edge of the pavement from opposite the steps of St. Andrew's church to the corner of Shoe-lane. The fruit stood on tables covered with white cloths, and placed end to end, in one long line. In autumn, it was a lovely sight. The pears and apples were neatly piled in "ha'p'orths," for there were then no pennyworths; "a pen'orth" would have been more than sufficient for moderate eating at one time. First, of the pears, came the "ripe Kat'er'nes;" these were succeeded by "fine Windsors," and "real bergamys." Apples "came in" with "green codlins;" then followed "golden rennets," "golden pippins," and "ripe nonpareils." These were the common street-fruits. Such "goldee pippins" as were then sold, three and four for a halfpenny, are now worth pence a piece, and the true "golden rennet" can only be heard of at great fruiterers. The decrease in the growth of this delightful apple is one of the "signs of the times!"

The finest apples in Covent-garden market come from Kent. Growers in that county, by leaving only a few branches upon the tree, produce the most delicious kinds, of a surprisingly large size. For these they demand and obtain very high prices; but instead of London in general being supplied, as it was formerly, with the best apples, little else is seen except swine-feed, or French, or American apples. The importations of this fruit are very large, and under the almost total disappearance of some of our finest sorts, very thankful we are to get inferior ones of foreign growth. Really good English apples are scarcely within the purchase of persons of moderate means.

"Women's Blacks."

This is the name of the common black worsted stockings, formerly an article of extensive consumption; they are now little made, because little worn. One of the greatest wholesale dealers in "women's blacks," in a manufacturing town, was celebrated for the largeness of his stock; his means enabled him to purchase all that were offered to him for sale, and it was his favourite article. He was an old-fashioned man, and while the servant-maids were leaving them off, he was unconscious of the change, because he could not believe it; he insisted it was impossible that household work could be done in "white cottons." Offers of quantities were made to him at reduced prices, which he bought; his immense capital became locked up in his favourite "women's blacks;" whenever their price in the market lowered, he could not make his mind up to be quite low enough; his warehouses were filled with them; when he determined to sell, the demand had wholly ceased; he could effect no sales; and, become bankrupt, he literally died of a broken heart—from an excassive [sic] and unrequited attachment to "women's blacks."


Notes [all notes are Hone's unless otherwise indicated]:

1. Naogeorgus by Googe. [return]