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  #1  
Old 02-13-2018, 08:32 AM
Callmebill Callmebill is offline
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Default London slums. Reminiscent of Millers Court

... and Mary Jane Kelly : 1880's - Clarence Rook :
I had unthinkingly neglected to adapt my dress in any way to the occasion, and in consequence was subjecting my friend to uneasiness and possible annoyance. I expressed my regret, and, buttoning my coat, started down the court as young Alf melted into the crowd. It was not a pretty court. The houses were low, with narrow doorways and windows that showed no glimmer of light. Heaps of garbage assailed the feet and the nose. Not a living soul was to be seen until I had nearly reached the other end, and could just discern the form of young Alf leaning against one of the posts at the exit of the court. Then suddenly two women in white aprons sprang into view from nowhere, gave a cry, and stood watching me from a doorway. “They took you for a split,” said young Alf, as we met at the end of the court. “I know’d they would. ‘Ello, Alice !”
A girl stood in the deep shadow of the corner house. Her head was covered by a shawl, and I could not see her face, but her figure showed youth and a certain grace.
“ ‘Ello!” she said, without moving.
“When you goin’ to get merried?” asked young Alf.
“When it comes,” replied the girl softly. The voice that falls like velvet on your ear and lingers in your memory is rare. Wendell Holmes says somewhere that he had heard but two perfect speaking voices, and one of them belonged to a German chambermaid. The softest and most thrilling voice I ever heard I encountered at the corner of one of the lowest slums in London.
Young Alf was apparently unaffected by it, for, having thus accorded the courtesy due to an acquaintance, he whipped round swiftly to me and said, “Where them women’s standing is where Pat Hooligan lived, ‘fore he was pinched.”
It stood no higher than the houses that elbowed it, and had nothing to distinguish it from its less notable neighbours. But if a Hooligan boy prayed at all, he would pray with his face toward that house half-way down Irish Court. “And next door this side,” continued young Alf, “that’s where me and my muvver kipped when I was a nipper.”
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:17 PM
Pcdunn Pcdunn is offline
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Interesting. I looked up Clarence Rook and found he is known for the "Hooligan Nights" series.

This article debates the likelihood that it was Victorian slum reportage, rather than Victorian fiction, but the author insisted it was rooted in fact. I think it seems like a mix of the two.

http://oxfordsociology.blogspot.com/...an-nights.html

I'm guessing something this old may be available at Project Gutenberg or something like it.
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Last edited by Pcdunn : 02-13-2018 at 10:18 PM. Reason: Correcting typo.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:39 PM
Ginger Ginger is offline
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"The Hooligan Nights" is a classic, and you really ought to read it, if you're at all interested in the Late Victorian demi-monde.

https://www.amazon.com/Hooligan-Nigh.../dp/B004Q3RHYO

Bizarrely, the verb "to nark (on someone)" makes its appearance here, in 1899, no less, meaning exactly what it does today. I'd always held the unexamined assumption, as I'm sure that most of my generation did, that it derived from the practice of calling a narcotics officer a "narc". It's much older than that.
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Old 02-17-2018, 06:33 PM
Callmebill Callmebill is offline
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I downloaded it free in pdf format. Well worth reading. It's a great period to study, so much is out of copyright!
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Old 02-18-2018, 03:10 PM
ChrisGeorge ChrisGeorge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginger View Post
"The Hooligan Nights" is a classic, and you really ought to read it, if you're at all interested in the Late Victorian demi-monde.

https://www.amazon.com/Hooligan-Nigh.../dp/B004Q3RHYO

Bizarrely, the verb "to nark (on someone)" makes its appearance here, in 1899, no less, meaning exactly what it does today. I'd always held the unexamined assumption, as I'm sure that most of my generation did, that it derived from the practice of calling a narcotics officer a "narc". It's much older than that.
Hi Ginger

As you discovered, the original meaning of the slag word "nark" as in "narking" on someone, had nothing whatever to do with drugs, although as you say the present-day presumption is that it does have a link to drugs.

Cheers

Chris
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:17 PM
Ginger Ginger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
Hi Ginger

As you discovered, the original meaning of the slag word "nark" as in "narking" on someone, had nothing whatever to do with drugs, although as you say the present-day presumption is that it does have a link to drugs.

Cheers

Chris
A learning moment for me, yeah.
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