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Customs Of Costers

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A vrviter in the London Quiver says tliat tho costera aro now a large class. Though the coster's work is extremely ! hard and his proflts are precarions he J Uves for a goocl purpoae. When he speaks cí himself as "a general dealer," he! tneans that he trades in auything which ; enables him to turn an honeat penny. His ordinary mode of Ufe is even lower than is meant by living from hand to iuouth. When he turns out in the small j hours of the morning to look round the markets, he rnay not even know whether this traffic for the day will consist in fish, vegetables or fruit. He may take a hasty penny breakfast in the street and then go to Billingsgate with the idea of "loading up" with thefirst, only to find that everything is too dear, and then he raust hie away to Spitalfields or Covent Garden. When he thus arises with the lark, he cannot tell whether he will have "a good day" or a very poor one. The most despairing time of all is when the markets all round are too dear to allow of the barrow being "loaded up. " If the coster can clear 3 or 4 shiliings in the day, he will not be downhearted, and should he earn nothing, or even make a losa, he lo8ts at the matter as philosophically as one couid expect. There are shrewd business men among the costera who rise into thriving shopkeepers. The bank establishment for their own use teaches them te save, and the evening íor receiving deposits will be one of the liveliest of the week. The fact is also learned that there is strength in unity, so that the London Uuion of General Dealers in lts way exercises as farreaching an influence as a city guild. The' chairman might correctly have described himself in the words of one of his brethren, "I ain't a eddicated person, b-at I know wot's wot. " He proved this characteristic by rising into a thriving tradesman, having one or frwo shops, and when on one occasion his errand boy stole a box containing nearly 100 sovereigns the pólice would not believe that such a man had so much money to be stolen. The fact was as stated, however, and the "general dealer" still continued to make progress, while he was well known to Lord Shaftesbury, who publicly alluded to him as "My friend . " At first sight it may appear to be a humblo thing to be a leading spirit among such humble folk, but in a way there is ampie scope for administrative ability and enterprise.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News