During the Victorian Era something strange began to happen in England, it suddenly became popular for adults to show extreme emotions in public. As a result places like art salons, theatres, etc. became popular hangouts so that men and woman could start crying openly at the beauty of the art.
At the same time extreme poverty was rampant and thieves had the opportunity to become folk heroes (although if they were caught they were still hanged). One thief became so popular that the most famous boxer at the time asked to, and was granted the right to share his last drink with him before he went to the gallows.
The public art shows and balls came together with the rampant crime to form the Spruce Prigs.
The spruce prigs were a group of young thieves who were trained in manners so that they would work as footman and valets for the very wealthy in London, or even pass themselves off as upper class in order to attend balls, operas, art galleries, poetry readings, plays and other events with the richest marks.
So what you have here is an amusing situation in which people are weeping, or laughing outrageously just to make a public spectacle of themselves, all will well trained thieves take advantage of this to steal from them, or perhaps to spy on them if you want to lend a more serious bent to this story and have the Spruce Prigs part of a rebellion.
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