Up the spout. At the pawn-broker's. In allusion to the “spout” up which brokers send the articles ticketed. When redeemed they return
down the spout—i.e. from the store-room to the shop.
“As for spoons, forks, and jewellery, they are not taken so readily
to the smelting-pot, but to well-known places where there is a pipe
[spout] which your lordships may have seen in a pawnbroker's shop. The
thief taps, the pipe is lifted up, and in the course of a minute a band
comes out, covered with a glove, takes up the article, and gives out
the money for it.” —Lord Shaftesbury: The Times, March 1st,
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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