Monday, February 2, 2015

The Scourge of Whiskey and Loose Women at Memphis- Part 2: "Habitues of Wapping and Shadwell"

Continuing with George Cadman's letter to his wife.  I kind of have to wonder why he wrote his wife about this particular thing.  It couldn't have settled her worries for her husband.

"One [company] got all its men in the Block (military prison) but three.  Our men were not quite as bad as that that, but the biggest part was drunk, in fact drunkenness was the order of the day, so you may form some idea of what the camp was like and with some Hundreds of the most Abandoned women in the world to add to this evil influence, I thought the habitues of Wapping and Shadwell were bad enough, but the Harpies of this place beat them all hollow."

Okay, I wasn't sure what he exactly meant by "habitues of Wapping and Shadwell" so looked them up even though I had a definite idea of what George Cadman was referring to.

The dictionary said "Wap" originally meant a hit or blow.  In slang between 1560-1730, it meant to copulate (usually used in reference to women.

Wikipedia said that Wapping is a district in East London, England, located by the Thames River whose proximity :"has given it a strong maritime character."  Many of the original buildings of Wapping were destroyed when the London Docks were built and many more during the Battle of Britain in World War II.

Let's see, what two things might attract a sailor after a long sea voyage.




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