Esoteric London

No. 395: Gordon House Road, NW5

Posted in Crime and Punishment, Eating places, Public Art by esotericlondon on September 2, 2011

Shack Cafe, Gorden House Road, London, NW5. Photo © Roger Dean 2011

Dickens’s Dictionary of London – Charles Dickens (Jr.), 1879:

Greenhorns, Tricks on. — These are too numerous to mention, for they comprise all the snares that human ingenuity can set for credulity. To avoid them there is but one maxim—be on your guard. There is the confidence trick, wherein two con federates obtain possession of the greenhorn’s purse, ostensibly for a few minutes, “just to show his confidence” in one of them, who has previously entrusted him with his purse, filled probably with fictitious notes on “ The Bank of Elegance,” or some other imaginary name, the alleged proceeds of a legacy which he is anxious to divide with his new found friend, from charitable motives. These confidence-trick people lurk about Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, the Zoological Gardens, and other places visited by strangers. They sometimes spend days in the company of a dupe before they put his credulity to a test. Then there is the ring dropping trick, by which a dupe is induced to buy a worthless ring, but purporting to be a diamond, by a man who pretends to find it just in front of the dupe, but alleges he has neither time nor inclination to seek a better market. The three-card trick, and other tricks with cards, practised often in railway trains, may cost an innocent man, who is so foolish as to play with strangers, all he possesses. The painted bird trick, whereby a worthless sparrow is passed off as a valuable piping bullfinch or canary, ensnares many ladies.

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