The food of poor sweep-boys mostly came from the larders of those for whom they swept chimneys; the oldest would tell the youngest which was the best to ask for, the right moment, and the right person. "Now, Jim, mang (beg) the splorger or the rum mort (mistress) for a cant (piece) of panam and spreadham (butter), panam and fe (meat), or cas (cheese)." Now if the mistress had heard the plain English she would have known the master had told the boy what to ask for, whereas she thought it came spontaneous from the boy, and her compassion was the more excited. If there were no grub forthcoming, some coppers must be tried for - a meg, a halfpenny; a win, a penny; twopence, a thrum; threepence; a si, a sixpence; a jug, a shilling; a kewtar, a sovereign. If it happened there was tender-hearted mistress, or rum mort in slang, the sweep-boy would be told in cant to mang for a pair of stamps (shoes), then stockings, or any old tuggery, versus clothes, to keep the poor bare feet warm, but with not the slightest chance of his ever wearing them. They would be sold at the first second-hand clothes shop, or the rag and snoatcher (bone) man would buy them.
Many other cant words there are relating to the trade. A chimney-sweep was a feiker, and, strange to say, the words feik and feikment stood for those things which had no cant name. The sooty cloth was a tuggy, the scraper a deacon, the brush a switch, the soot was called queer, the horse was a prod, the cart a drag, rain was parney, a field a puv, a fire a glim, a door a gigar; water, lag; potatoes, spuds; servant, a dolly, and deiking for looking . A stick was a cosh, a knife a chif, eyes were ogles, and the face a mug, a house a ken, a barn or hovel to sleep in a crib, a cap a cadie. Thus it may be gathered from this vocabulary that the poor sweep-boy was more or less an outlaw, certainly an outcast, whose desperate needs of food and shelter made him keen, and likely to employ the slang he was taught and the sharpest methods to preserve his existence. Here I relate a specimen:-
The master and boy had been sweeping the kitchen chimney at an old lady's house, and when they had finished the servant told them there were no broken victuals to be given them, whereat they were much disappointed and out of temper, so on leaving they purposely annoyed the great watch-dog, kept chained to his kennel, to such a degree that the old lady came to the front door to see what caused the uproar. Then the boy was directly put up to mang for panem and fe. "Oh, but," said the lady, "your master should provide you with food." "Yes, ma'am," said the boy, "but he's got none." The artful master, perceiving the lady obdurate, he, standing a few paces off, plied the lad with urgent slang. "Mang, kiddie, mang, come away from the good lady; mang, kiddie, mang, don't tease the good lady; mang, kiddy-ma, mang-mang-mang." And in the end the twain prevailed, and the lady ordered the servant to give them the tardy supply.
George Elson, Last of the Climbing Boys, 1900