Dudder

or dudsman , a person who formerly travelled the country as a pedlar, selling gown-pieces, silk waistcoats, &c., to countrymen. In selling a waistcoat-piece, which cost him perhaps five shillings, for thirty shillings or two pounds, he would show great fear of the revenue officer, and beg the purchasing clodhopper to kneel down in a puddle of water, crook his arm, and swear that it might never become straight if he told an exciseman, or even his own wife. The term and practice are nearly obsolete. In Liverpool, however, and at the East-end of London, men dressed up as sailors, with pretended silk handkerchiefs and cigars “only just smuggled from the Indies,” are still to be plentifully found.