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given. Yet this I think made them a little the more observant to me; for they would dispose themselves to one side of the room, that they might make way for me to walk on the other. And when I walked there, I had usually a book in my hand, on which I had mine eye, which made them think I did not heed what they said. By this means mine ear being attentive to them, I heard them relate one to another many of their roguish pranks.
One day as I was thus walking to and fro beside them, I heard them recounting one to another what feats they had done at pocketpicking and shop-lifting. Whereupon, turning short upon them, I asked them which of you all will undertake to pick my pocket ? They were not very forward to answer, but viewed me round. I wore a long gown, which was lapped over before, and tied about the middle, and had no pocket-holes in it.
When they had a while considered it, and I having taken another turn was coming up again to them, one of them said, Why, master, if you will promise not to prosecute us, we will show you à piece of our skill. Nay, hold there, said I, I won't so far encourage you in evil, as to promise not to prosecute; and away I turned again; having mine eye on my book, but mine ears to them. And in a while I heard them contriying how they would have done it. I, said one of them, would give him the budge, and before he can recover himself, you, said he to another of them, having your pen-knife ready, should
slit his gown, and then, said he, let Honeypot alone for the diving part. This Honeypot was a little boy, then in prison with them for picking a pocket, who, by his stature, did not seem to be above ten or a dozen years old, but for his dexterity at pocket-picking, was held to be one of the top of the trade. As for the budge, I had had it given me often in the street, but understood not the mean. ing of it till now: and now I found it was a jostle, enough to throw one almost upon his nose.
These are some of the common evils, which make the common side of Newgate, in measure a type of hell upon earth. But there was at that time, something of another nature, more particular and accidental, which was very offensive to me.
When we came first into Newgate, there lay in a little by-place like a closet, near the room where we were lodged, the quartered bodies of three men, who had been executed some days before, for a real or pretended plot; which was the ground, or at least pretext for that storm in the city, which had caused this imprisonment. The names of these three men were Philips, Tongue and Gibs; and the reason why their quarters lay so long there was, the relations were all that while petitioning to have leave to bury them; which at length with much ado was obtained for the quarters, but not for the heads, which were ordered to be set up in some parts of the city.
I saw the heads when they were brought up to be boiled.
The hangman brought them in a dirty dust-basket, out of some by-place; and setting them down amongst the felons, he and they made sport with them. They took them by the hair, flouting, jeering and laughing at them; and then giving them some ill names, boxed them on the ears and cheeks. Which done, the hangman put them into his kettle, and parboiled them with bay-salt and cummin-seed ; that to keep them from putrefaction, and this to keep off the fowls from seizing on them. The whole sight (as well that of the bloody quarters first, as this of the heads afterwards) was both frightful and loathsome ; and begat an abhorrence in my nature. Which as it had rendered my confinement there by much the more uneasy, so it made our removal from thence to Bridewell, even in that respect the more welcome.
Whither we now go.
For having, as I hinted before, made up our packs, and taken our leave of our Friends, whom we were to leave behind, we took our bundles on our shoulders, and walked two and two abreast, through the Old Baily into Fleet Street, and so to Old Bridewell. And it being about the middle of the afternoon, and the streets pretty full of people ; both the shopkeepers at their doors, and passengers in the way, would stop us, and ask us what we were, and whither we were going. And when we had told them we were prisoners, going from
one prison to another, from Newgate to Bride. well, What, said they, without a keeper ! No, said we, for our word, which we have given, is our keeper. Some thereupon would advise us not to go to prison, but to go home. But we told them, we could not do so; we could suffer for our testimony, but could not fly from it. I do not remember we had any abuse offered us, but were generally pitied by the people.
When we were come to Bridewell, we were not put up into the great room in which we had been before, but into a low room in another fair court, which had a pump in the middle of it. And here we were not shut up as before, but had the liberty of the court to walk in, and of the pump to wash or drink at. And indeed, we might have easily gone quite away if we would, there was a passage through the court into the street, but we were true and steady prisoners; and looked upon this liberty, arising from their confidence in us, to be a kind of parole upon us ; so that both conscience and honour stood now engaged for our true imprisonment.
Adjoining to this room wherein we were, was such another; both newly fitted up for work-houses, and accordingly furnished with very great blocks for beating hemp upon, and a lusty whipping-post there was in each. And it was said, that Richard Brown had ordered those blocks to be provided for the Quakers to work on ; resolving to try his
strength with us in that case ; but if that was his purpose, it was over-ruled, for we never had any work offered us, nor were we treated after the manner of those that are to be so used. Yet we set ourselves to work on them ; for, being very large, they served the tailors for shop-boards, and others wrought upon them, as they had occasion; and they served us very well for tables to eat on.
We had also besides this room, the use of our former chamber above, to go into when we thought fit: and thither sometimes I withdrew, when I found a desire for retirement and privacy, or had something on my mind to write, which could not so well be done in company. And indeed, about this time my spirit was more than ordinarily exercised ; though on very different subjects. For, on the one hand, the sense of the exceeding love and goodness of the LORD to me, in his gracious and tender dealings with me, did deeply affect my heart; and caused me to break forth in a song of thanksgiving and praise to him : And on the other hand, a sense of the profaneness, debaucheries, cruelties, and other horrid impieties of the age, fell heavy on me; and lay as a pressing weight upon my spirit. And this drew from me a close exprobration, which my mournful muse vented in some lines, to which I gave for a title, “Speculum Seculi.*"
* See No 1 of the Appendix,