milk-walk (1872)

Barnhart barnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Fri Sep 21 15:20:25 UTC 2007

While perusing the Historical NYT for _gadget_, I came across the
following quote from March 17, 1872, p 4, in an article titled “The
Beggar’s Banquet.”

There they are, all seated in their places, waiting for the master of the
feast, and wiling away the time by exchanging cherry but generally slangy
salutations.  “Sal, old gal, how goes it?”  “How’s the milk-walk, Jerry?”
(Milk-walk is the slang for begging district.)  “Music (benevolence of the
public) in tune to-day, Cully?”  “What’s the price of gold?”
“Organ-grinding lively?”  “Earned house and lot to-day?” and a dozen
inquiries of similar import were made and responded to in the same strain.

The term milk-walk is unfamiliar to me.  I did not find it in the few
slang dictionaries at hand.  Is anyone familiar with it or have further


barnhart at

The American Dialect Society -

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