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TOWARDS DEMOCRACY: PART 4. A TRADE, by                     Poet's Biography
First Line: In a little stinking shop, hardly seven feet square
Last Line: "with my wife now. She's a regular bad 'un!"
Subject(s): London; Markets; Trade; Supermarkets

IN a little stinking shop, hardly seven feet square—
Just one room in a London back street, where nearly every room lodges a
With two or three little paraffin stoves in, and bowls and pots horribly
steaming, for dyeing gloves—
A man, some forty years old, burly and well-brained but broken down and
bloated with drink, plying a trade.
"Do you see?" he says, "I buy these white evening kids, what have been cast
off, from the slop-dealers, at so much a score. Then I gets a woman to mend 'em
and put buttons on, and then I dyes 'em black, in these 'ere pots.
[As good as new, d'you see? See how they shine when they're got up—and
the black'll never come orf.]
Then I goes out into the markets—Leather Lane and the street-markets I
mean—and sells them at sixpence a pair.
[Yes, and I mean to get a stamp and stamp 'em inside; then they'll be
just like new.]
O it aint so bad in mild weather, but when it's like this, cold and rainy,
folk won't stop to buy nothing, they won't.'

And there were the gloves, shriveled, black, and hanging in rows on
stretched strings, like the corpses of weasels and moles strung by gamekeepers
in the woods;
And there was the filthy suffocating odor of the den and the chemicals, and
the intelligent eye of the man wavering in slavery to his protruding lower lip.
"Lor!" he said, "I often stay here at nights as well as days. I don't live
with my wife now. She's a regular bad 'un!"

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