night-soil men love

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  • "London's underground market of scavenging had its own system of rank and privilege, and near the top were the night-soil men. Like the beloved chimney sweeps of Mary Poppins, the night-soil men worked as independent contractors at the very edge of the legitimate economy, though their labor was significantly more revolting than the foraging of mud-larks and toshers."
    —Steven Johnson, The Ghost Map (New York: Penguin, 2006), 8

    See also nightsoil, raker, and gong-fermor.

    October 1, 2008