E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
You carry a rope in your pocket (French). Said of a person very lucky at cards, from the superstition that a bit of rope with which a man has been hanged, carried in the pocket, secures luck at cards.
You have no occupation? said the Bench, inquiringly, to a vagabond at the bar. Beg your worships pardon, was the rejoinder: I deal in bits of halter for the use of gentlemen as plays.The Times (French correspondent).