Green’s Dictionary of Slang

darkmans n.

[SE dark + -mans sfx]

1. (UK Und., also darkman, darkum) the night.

[UK]R. Copland Hye way to the Spyttel House Eiii: I now, ynow; with bousy coune maund nace / Toure the patryng coue in the darkman cace.
[UK]Harman Caveat for Common Cursetours in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 84: the darkemans, the nyght.
[UK]Groundworke of Conny-catching A2: I couched in a hogshead in a Skipper this darkmans.
[UK]Dekker Lanthorne and Candle-Light Ch. 1: Enough – with bowsy Coue maund Nace, / Tour the Patring Coue in the Darkeman Case.
[UK]Middleton & Dekker Roaring Girle V i : My dainty wilde del, with all whom I’le tumble this next darkmans in the strommel.
[UK]J. Taylor Crabtree Lectures 191: Mort. Ile tell thee queere Cove, thou must [...] lib in the Strummel, al the darkmans, and budge a beake in the light mans.
[UK]R. Brome Jovial Crew II i: Make a retreat into the Skipper; / And couch a Hogs-head, till the dark man’s past.
[UK]T. Randolph Hey for Honesty III i: Darkmans for pannum Should the grand Ruffian come to mill me, I Would scorn to shuffle from my poverty.
[Ire]Head Eng. Rogue I 46: Bien Darkmans then, Bouse, Mort, and Ken, / The bien Coves bings awast.
[Ire] ‘A Wenches complaint for . . . her lusty Rogue’ Head Canting Academy (1674) 17: When the Darkmans have been wet / Thou the Crackmans down did beat / For Glymmar whilst a quacking cheat / Or Tib o’th Buttery was our meat.
[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68c: Canting Terms used by Beggars, Vagabonds, Cheaters, Cripples and Bedlams. [...] Darkmans, the Night.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]‘Maunder’s Praise of His Strowling Mort’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 33: Couch a hogshead with me then, / And in the darkmans clip and kiss.
[UK]J. Shirley Triumph of Wit 194: Five Rum-padders are rubbed in the Darkman out of the Whit [Five Highway-men got away in the night out of Newgate].
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 204: Darkmans, the night.
[UK] ‘Retoure My Dear Dell’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 44: Each darkmans I pass in an old shady grove.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 105: They betook to a barn not far off, where they couched a Hogshead in the Darkman’s, and went to Sleep.
[UK]Canting Academy, or the Pedlar’s-French Dict. 112: Its Six Pence a Night, Its Sice a Darkum.
[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict. 18: Night or Evening – Darkman.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[Scot](con. 18C) Sir W. Scott Guy Mannering (1999) 148: Men were men then, and fought other in the open field, and there was nae milling in the darkmans.
[UK]Lytton Pelham III 291: Ah, Bess, my covess, strike me blind if my sees don’t tout your bingo muns in spite of the darkmans.
[UK] ‘The Beak and Trap to Roost are Gone’ Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 49: Noon lays us in a planket crib / And darkmans is our day.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK] Punch ‘Dear Bill, This Stone-Jug’ 31 Jan. n.p.: In the dayrooms the cuffins we queers at our ease, / And at Darkmans we run the rig just as we please.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Victoria (Melbourne) 21 Feb. 2/1: ‘Blindman’s Holiday’ means night [...] —‘Darkman’s’ is the same.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US]Trumble ‘On the Trail’ Sl. Dict. (1890) 42: No, Jim, I only piked into Grassville with a dimber-damber, who couldn’t pad the hoof for a single darkman’s without his bloss to keep him from getting poggy.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 23: Darkman, the night.
[US]Sun (NY) 10 July 29/4: Here is a genuine letter written in thieves’ slang, recently found by the English police [...] Meet me at net to darkmans in blloming slum near the old padding ken to get off the swag.
[Scot]A. McCormick Tinkler-Gypsies of Galloway 104: The following words appear to be still in use in one form or another amongst Galwegian tinkler-gypsies – Millin’ in the darkmans – Murder by night.

2. (UK Und.) a covered ‘dark’ lantern.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, The Ring, The Chase, etc.

In compounds

darkmans budge (n.) [budge n.1 (1)]

(UK Und.) a thief’s accomplice, who climbs into a house through a window and opens a door to admit the rest of the gang.

[Ire]Head Canting Academy (2nd edn) n.p.: You Darkman-budge, will you fence your hog with me, at the next Boozing Ken: That is, d’ye hear you House-creeper, will you spend your shilling with me, at the next Alehous.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Darkmans-budge, c. a House-creeper, one that slides into a House in the dusk, to let in more Rogues to rob.
[UK]J. Shirley Triumph of Wit 194: You Darkman-budge, will you fence your Hog at the next Boozen-ken [Night-budge will you spend your Shilling at the next Ale-house].
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 207: [as cit. 1707].
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: darkmans-Budge a House-creeper, one that slides into a House in the Dusk, to let in more Rogues to rob. The Sixty-first Order of Rogues.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. n.p.: darkmans-Budge one that slides into a House in the Dark, to let in more Rogues to rob.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Darkman’s budge, one that slides into a house in the dark of the evening, and hides himself, in order to let some of the gang in at night to rob it.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK](con. 1715) W.H. Ainsworth Jack Sheppard (1917) 86: A couple of flash songs [...] entitled ‘The Thief Catcher’s Prophecy’ and ‘Life and Death of the Darkman’s Budge’.