“Tickets” the Card-Dealer
Image by LSE Library
From ‘Street Life in London’, 1877, by John Thomson and Adolphe Smith. This chapter tells of the life of a man nicknamed "Tickets":
"About this time "Tickets" made the acquaintance of a Frenchman who possessed considerable skill as a sign-painter; and the two forthwith entered into partnership. The one paints, the other undertook to travel. "Tickets " is the traveller. From morning t ill night he wanders about, looking into the windows of small shops, till he discovers a ticket of dingy appearance, stained in colour, dog’s eared, bent, and altogether disreputable. With eagle eye all these defects are discerned, and "Tickets" enters boldly into the shop, to press on the tradesman the advisability of purchasing a new ticket. He undertakes to supply a precise copy of the old and worn announcement on a better piece of cardboard, freshly painted, or, perhaps, more elaborately ornamented.
He hopes that the number of his customers will gradually increase, and that he will be able to save on his earnings. Then, like a true Frenchman, he will return to France, and purchase the goodwill of some small shop. In the meanwhile he observes the strictest economy. He never drinks. His bed costs him two shillings a week. His breakfast consists of cocoa and bread , and butter, the former being more nutritious than tea. For dinner he generally consumes a pennyworth of potatoes, with a herring or a haddock and a cup of tea, while his supper consists of bread and cheese to the value of twopence. I t is only on days of exceptional good fortune that he indulges in a little meat."
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