Sleeping out and down and out in Dickens’ day, as told by Sam Weller.
‘It runs in the family, I b’lieve, sir,’ replied Mr. Weller. ‘My father’s wery much in that line now. If my mother-in-law blows him up, he whistles. She flies in a passion, and breaks his pipe; he steps out, and gets another. Then she screams wery loud, and falls into ‘sterics; and he smokes wery comfortably till she comes to agin. That’s philosophy, Sir, ain’t it?’
‘A very good substitute for it, at all events,’ replied Mr. Pickwick, laughing. ‘It must have been of great service to you, in the course of your rambling life, Sam.’
‘Service, sir,’ exclaimed Sam. ‘You may say that. Arter I run away from the carrier, and afore I took up with the vaginer, I had unfurnished lodgin’s for a fortnight.’
‘Unfurnished lodgings?’ said Mr. Pickwick.
‘Yes—the dry arches of Waterloo Bridge. Fine sleeping-place—vithin ten minutes’ walk of all the public offices—only if there is any objection to it, it is that the sitivation’s rayther too airy. I see some queer sights there.’
‘Ah, I suppose you did,’ said Mr. Pickwick, with an air of considerable interest.
‘Sights, sir,’ resumed Mr. Weller, ‘as ‘ud penetrate your benevolent heart, and come out on the other side. You don’t see the reg’lar wagrants there; trust ’em, they knows better than that. Young beggars, male and female, as hasn’t made a rise in their profession, takes up their quarters there sometimes; but it’s generally the worn-out, starving, houseless creeturs as roll themselves in the dark corners o’ them lonesome places—poor creeturs as ain’t up to the twopenny rope.’
‘And pray, Sam, what is the twopenny rope?’ inquired Mr. Pickwick.
‘The twopenny rope, sir,’ replied Mr. Weller, ‘is just a cheap lodgin’ house, where the beds is twopence a night.’
‘What do they call a bed a rope for?’ said Mr. Pickwick.
‘Bless your innocence, sir, that ain’t it,’ replied Sam. ‘Ven the lady and gen’l’m’n as keeps the hot-el first begun business, they used to make the beds on the floor; but this wouldn’t do at no price, ‘cos instead o’ taking a moderate twopenn’orth o’ sleep, the lodgers used to lie there half the day. So now they has two ropes, ’bout six foot apart, and three from the floor, which goes right down the room; and the beds are made of slips of coarse sacking, stretched across ’em.’
‘Well,’ said Mr. Pickwick.
‘Well,’ said Mr. Weller, ‘the adwantage o’ the plan’s hobvious. At six o’clock every mornin’ they lets go the ropes at one end, and down falls the lodgers. Consequence is, that being thoroughly waked, they get up wery quietly, and walk away! ‘
From The Pickwick Papers  by Charles Dickens