One man told Mayhew he knew crabs came out of the sea, which he'd never seen. He believed it to be salt and owned by the Billingsgate men (that is the great wholesale fish market by the Thames). As for the moon, he worked by moonlight sometimes though the best pitches were in the busiest streets from where the moon couldn't be seen. How far away was it? He had seen it higher than St Paul's. The sun must be nearer because it's warmer. One is like the fire in a tap-room, the other like gaslight. God? He made heaven and earth, he knew. He didn't know if He'd made the sea. Ask them in Billingsgate. Jesus? Our Redeemer? 'I wish he'd redeem my Sunday togs from the pawn shop.' Yet they had a back slang word for both moon and parson?

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Last modified 23 January 2007