Sarah Waters' award-winning Victorian crime novel Fingersmith makes liberal use of period underworld slang. Indeed the title is such slang for a petty thief. Most of it is unfamiliar to the modern reader but easy to understand from the context.
My curiosity was piqued by the unfamiliar language and I started looking some of it up to find the derivation. One phrase, however, I can't source at all: "poke" to mean stolen goods.
For out from their coats and sleeves would come pocket-books, silk handkerchiefs, petticoats - whole suits of clothes, sometimes. 'This is quality stuff, this is' they would say, as they set it all out; and Mr Ibbs would rub his hands and look expectant. But then he would study their poke, and his face would fall.
The only relationship for this meaning I could find is that "poke" is an old-fashioned word for pocket, and most of the thievery in Fingersmith is pickpocketry.
n. Chiefly Southern US
A sack; a bag.
In-context use in the book, however, suggests the word means goods stolen by any means, not just picking pockets. And the US derivation makes it a stretch for Victorian London.
Can anyone confirm whether this meaning is genuine Victorian slang and where the author found this unfamiliar usage?