The sign Salutation, from scriptural or sacred source, remains to be explained. Mr. Akerman suspects the original sign to have really represented the Salutation of the Virgin by the Angel—"Ave Maria, gratia plena"—a well-known legend on the jettons of the Middle Ages. The change of representation was properly accommodated to the times. The taverns at that period were the "gossiping shops" of the neighbourhood; and both Puritan and Churchman frequented them for the sake of hearing the news. The Puritans loved the good things of this world, and relished a cup of Canary, or Noll's nose lied, holding the maxim—
"Though the devil trepan
The Adamical man,
The saint stands uninfected."
Hence, perhaps, the Salutation of the Virgin was exchanged for the "booin' and scrapin'" scene (two men bowing and greeting), represented on a token which still exists, the tavern was celebrated in the days of Queen Elizabeth. In some old black-letter doggrel, entitled News from Bartholemew Fayre it is mentioned for wine:—
"There hath been great sale and utterance of wine,
Besides beere, and ale, and Ipocras fine;
In every country, region, and nation,
But chiefly in Billingsgate, at the Salutation."
The Flower-pot was originally part of a symbol of the Annunciation to the Virgin.
Club Life of London Vol. II