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quietness, and system with which these cutters
were emptied, and their cargoes taken to the
stalls, could not be exceeded.

This office is performed by fellowship-
porters. Being responsible individuals, they
prevent fraud. Formerly a set of scamps,
called laggers, ' conveyed ' the fish; but they
used to drop some of the best sort softly into
the stream, and pick them up at low water.
An idea may be formed of the profits of their
dishonesty, from the fact that laggers offered
seven shillings a day to be employed, instead
of demanding the wages of labour. When a
salesman had one or two hundred turbots
consigned to him, a lagger would give the
hint to an accomplice, who would quickly
substitute several small fish for the same
number of the largest size; a species of fraud
which the salesman had it not in his power to
detect, as the tally was not deficient.

At that time an immense number of bad
fish was condemned every morning by the
superintendent. There was an understanding
between the consignees and salesmen that
when the market was well supplied, any
overplus should be kept back in store boats
at Gravesend, and not brought to market till
the supply was diminished, and the price
raised. This dishonest mode of ' regulating '
the market caused a great many stale fish
to be brought to it; hence the quantity
condemned. Now, however, the celerity with
which fish can be conveyed prevents any
such practice, and of late years the superintendent
has only had occasion to condemn in
rare instances.

Every possible expedient and appliance is
now resorted to, to bring fish to market
fresh. As we have a minute or two to
wait on the Billingsgate punt before the
market opens, let us trace the history of a
fish from the sea to the salesman's stall.
Suppose him to be a turbot hauled with a
hundred other captives early on Monday afternoon
on board one of the Barking fishing fleet
moored on a bank some twenty miles off
Dover. He is no sooner taken on board than
he is trans-shipped immediately with
thousands of his flat companions in a row-boat into
a clipper, which is being fast filled from other
vessels of the fleet. When her cargo is
complete, she sets sail for the mouth of the Thames,
and on entering it is met by a tug steamer,
which tows her up to Billingsgate early on
Tuesday morning, bringing our turbot alive
for he has been put into a tank in the hold
of the clipper. He is sold as soon as landed,
and finds his way to table in the neighbourhood
of the Mansion House or Belgrave Square
some four-and-twenty hours after he has been
sporting in the sea, not less than a hundred
and fifty miles off.

Enormous accessions in the supply of fish
to the London market have been effected,
first by the employment of clippers as carrier-
boats, (instead of each fishing-boat bringing
its own cargo as formerly,) and secondly, by
the use of steam-tugs for towing the transit-
craft up the river. In the old time a south-
westerly wind deprived all London of fish.
While it prevailed the boats, which usually
took shelter in Holy or East Haven on the
Essex shore, waited for a change of wind, till
the fish became odoriferous. The cargo was
then thrown overboard, and the boats
returned on another fishing voyage.

The Thames was, at that time, the only
highway by which fish was brought to
Billingsgate; but the old losses and delays are
again obviated by another source of
acceleration. Our turbot is brought at waggon
pace compared with the more perishable
mackerel. The Eddystone lighthouse is at least
two hundred and fifty miles from Thames
Street. Between it and the Plymouth Breakwater
lie some hundreds of fishing boats,
plying their trawl-nets. A shoal of mackerel,
the superficies of which may be measured by
the mile, find their way among them, and
several thousands dart into the nets. They
are captured, hauled on board, shovelled into
a clipper, and while she stands briskly in
for shore, busy hands on board are packing
the fish in baskets. Thousands of these
baskets are landed in time for the mail train,
rattle their way per railroad to Paddington,
and by seven o'clock on the following morning
that is, in sixteen hours after they were
rejoicing in the ' ocean wave 'are in a London
fishmonger's taxed-cart on their road to
the gridiron or fish-kettle, as the taste of
the customer dictates.

No distance appears too great from which
to bring fish to Billingsgate. Packed in long
boxes, both by rail and river, between layers
of ice, salmon come daily in enormous
quantities from the remotest rivers of Ireland, of
Scotland, and even from Norway. So
considerable an item is ice in the fishmonger's
trade, that a large proprietor at Barking has an
ice-well capable of stowing eight hundred tons.
Another in the same line of business has
actually contracted with the Surrey Canal
Company for all the ice generated on their waters!

As we cogitate concerning these 'great
facts ' on the dumb-barge, and while the baskets
and boxes are being systematically landed, it
strikes five. A bellthe only noisy appurtenance
of Billingsgatestunningly announces
that the market is open. The landing of
fish proceeds somewhat faster, and
fishmongers, from all parts of London, and from
many parts of the provincesfrom Oxford,
Cambridge, Reading, Windsor, &c.—group
themselves round the stalls of such salesmen
as appear to have the choicest fish. These are
rapidly sold by (Dutch) auction; and taken to
the buyers' carts outside the market.

Nothing can exceed the gentlemanly
manner in which the auction is conducted,
except the mode of doing business at Christie
and Manson's. Before the commencement, the
salesman, with his flannel apron protecting
his almost fashionable attire from scaly

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