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THE Ghetto is for the Jews, and the Fanal
for the Greek merchants, the Cannebière for
the Marseilles boatmen, and the Montagne
Sainte Géneviève for the rag-pickers. Holywell
Street is for the old clothes vendors,
Chancery Lane for the lawyers, and Fifth
Avenue for the upper Ten Thousand, and
GIBBET STREET is for the thieves. They reside
there, when in town.

It is an ugly name for a street, and an
uglier thing that the street should be a den of
robbers; butwith the slightest veil of the
imaginatively picturesque so as to wound
nobody's sensitive feelingsit exists. Gibbet
Street and the thievesthe thieves and
Gibbet Streetare as manifest and apparent
as the sun at noonday. Gibbet Street is just
round the corner. It is only five minutes
walk from the office of Household Words.
It is within the precincts of the police
station and the police courts of Bow Street.
It is within an easy walk of the wealthy
Strand; with its banking houses, churches,
and Exeter Hall. It is not far from the
only National Theatre now left to us,
where her Majesty's servants are
supposed to hold the mirror up to nature
nightly; and "veluti in speculum" might be
written with more advantage over the entrance
to Gibbet Street, than over the
proscenium of the playhouse; for vice and its
image are in view there at any hour of the
day or night: a comfortable sight to see.
Gibbet Street is contiguous to where the
lawyers have their chambers, and the high
Courts of Equity their sittings; and a bencher
from Lincoln's Inn might stroll into Gibbet
Street in the spare ten minutes before the Hall
dinner, and see what nice work is being cut out
for the Central Criminal Court there; while
an inhabitant of Gibbet Street, too lazy to
thieve that day, might wander into the Inn,
and see the Lord High Chancellor sitting, all
alive, in his court, and saying that he will
take time to consider that little matter which
has been under consideration a trifle less
than seventeen years. A merry spectacle
to view. The Queen herself comes within
bowshot of Gibbet Street many times
during the fashionable season, when it
pleases her to listen to the warblings of her
Royal Italian Opera singers, now to warble
no longer in that locality. The tips of
the blinkers of her satin-skinned horses
were seen from Gibbet Street; the ragged
young thieves scampered from it to stare
at her emblazoned coaches; and, if one
of the etherial footmentranscendant being
in the laced coat, large cocked hat, bouquets
and golden gartershad but run the risk
of a stray splash or two of mud on his silk
stocking, or a stray onion at his
powdered head, or a passing violence to his
refined nose, he might have spent an odd
quarter-hour with great profit to himself
in Gibbet Street: better, surely, than
bemusing himself with beer at the public-
house in Bow Street. He would have
seen many things. Been eased, probably,
of his gold-headed stick, his handkerchief,
his aiguillettes, and his buttons with the
crown on them; and, on his return, he
might have told the sergeant flunkey, or the
yeoman footpage, or the esquire shoeblack,
or the gentleman stable-boy, of the curious
places he had visited. The Lord Great
Chamberlain might hear of it eventually. It might
come to the ears of Majesty at last. For the
first time, I wonder? Is anything of Gibbet
Street and its forlorn population known in
palatial Pimlico?  Perchance: for hard by
that palace, too, there are streets full of dens,
and dens full of thieves. Do not Hulk
Street and Handcuff Row, and Dartmoor
Terrace and the Great Ticket-of-Leave
Broadway, all abut upon Victoria Street,
Westminster; and is not that within sight
of the upper windows of the palace of

It is plain to me that a thief must live
somewhere. He is a man like the rest of us. His
head has a cranium, an os frontis, a cerebellum,
and an occiput, although it be covered by a fur
cap, and decorated with Newgate "aggerwators,"
instead of a shovel hat or a velvet cap
with pearls and strawberry leaves. He is a
ragged, deboshed, vicious, depraved, forsaken,
hopeless vagabond; but he has a heart, and
liver, and lungs: he feels the summer's sun and
the winter's ice. If you prick him, he bleeds;
if you beat him, he cries out; if you hang him,
he chokes; if you tickle him, he laughs.
He requires rest, food, shelternot that I say
he deserves them, but he must have themas