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The history of thieves is to be found either in that of romance or in the details of the history of cities. The latter have not come down to us from the ancient world, with some exceptions in the comic writers, immaterial to our present purpose, and in the loathsome rhetoric of Petronius. The finest thief in old history is the pirate who made that famous answer to Alexander, in which he said that the conqueror was only the mightier thief of the two. The story of the thieving architect in Herodotus, we will tell another time. We can call to mind no other thieves in the Greek and Latin writers (always excepting political ones) except some paltry fellows who stole napkins at dinner, and the robbers in Apuleius, the precursors of those in “Gil Blas.” When we come, however, to the times of the Arabians and of chivalry, they abound in all their glory, both great and small. Who among us does not know by heart the story of the neverto-be-forgotten “Forty Thieves,” with their treasure in the green wood, their anxious observer, their magical opening of the door, their captain, their concealment in the jars, and the scalding oil, that, as it were, extinguished them, groaning, one by one? Have we not all ridden backwards and forwards with them to the wood a hundred times ?-watched them, with fear and trembling, from the tree ?-sewn up, blind-folded, the four quarters of the dead body ?-and said, “Open, Sesame," to every door at school? May we ride with them again and again, or we shall lose our appetite for some of the best things in the world.

We pass over those interlopers in our English family, the Danes ; as well as Rollo the Norman, and other freebooters, who only wanted less need of robbery to become respectable conquerors. In fact, they did so, as they got on. We have also no particular worthy to select from among that host of petty chieftains who availed themselves of their knightly castles and privileges to commit all sorts of unchivalrous outrages. These are the giants of modern romance, and the Veglios, Malengins, and Pinabellos, of Pulci, Spenser, and Ariosto.

They survived in the petty states of Italy a long while ; gradually took a less solitary though hardly less ferocious shape among the fierce political partisans recorded by Dante; and at length became represented by the men of desperate fortunes, who make such a figure, between the gloomy and the gallant, in Mrs Radcliffe's “Mysteries of Udolpho.” The breaking up of the late kingdom of Italy, with its dependencies, has again revived them in some degree ; but not, we believe, in any shape above common robbery. The regular modern thief seems to make his appearance for the first time in the imaginary character of Brunello, as described by Boiardo and Ariosto. He is a fellow that steals every valuable that comes in his way. The way in which he robs Sacripant, king of Circassia, of his horse, has been ridiculed by Cervantes ; if indeed he did not rather repeat it with great zest; for his use of the theft is really not such a caricature as in Boiardo and his great follower. While Sancho is sitting lumpishly asleep upon the back of his friend Dapple, Gines de Passamonte, the famous thief, comes and gently withdraws the donkey from under him, leaving the somniculous squire propped up on the saddle with four sticks. His consternation on waking may be guessed. But in the Italian poets, the Circassian prince has only fallen into a deep meditation, when Brunello draws away his steed. Ariosto appears to have thought this extravagance a hazardous one, though he could not deny himself the pleasure of repeating it ; for he has made Sacripant blush when called upon to testify how the horse was stolen from him. (“ Orlando Furio.,"c. 27, st. 84.)

In the Italian novels and the old French tales are a variety of extremely amusing stories of thieves, all most probably founded on fact. We will give a specimen as we go, by way of making this article the completer. A doctor of laws in Bologna had become rich enough, by scraping money together, to indulge himself in a grand silver cup, which he sent home one day to his wife from the goldsmith’s. There were two sharping fellows prowling about that day in search of a prize ; and getting scent

of the cup, they laid their heads together to contrive how they might indulge themselves in it instead. One of them accordingly goes to a fishmongers, and buys a fine lamprey, which he takes to the doctor's wife, with her husband's compliments, and he would bring a company of his brother doctors with him to dinner, requesting in the meantime that she would send back the cup by the bearer, as he had forgotten to have his arms engraved upon it. The good lady, happy to obey all these pleasing impulses on the part of master doctor, takes in the fish, and sends out the cup, with equal satisfaction; and sets about getting the dinner ready. The doctor comes home at his usual hour, and, finding his dinner so much better than ordinary, asks with an air of wonder where was the necessity of going to that expense; upon which the wife, putting on an air of wonder in her turn, and proud of possessing the new cup, asks him where are all those brother doctors, whom he said he should bring with him. “What does the fool mean?” said the testy old gentleman. “Mean!” rejoined the wife ;, “what does this mean?” pointing to the fish. The doctor looked down with his old eyes at the lamprey. “God knows,” said he, “what it means. I am sure I don't know what it means, more than any other fish ; except that I shall have to pay a pretty sum for every mouthful you eat of it.” “Why, it was your own doing, husband,” said the wife; "and you will remember it, perhaps, when you recollect that the same man that brought me the fish was to take away the cup to have your name engraved upon it." At this the doctor started back, with his eyes as wide open as the fish's, exclaiming, “And you gave it him, did you ?” “To be sure I did,” returned the good housewife. The old doctor here began a passionate speech, which he suddenly broke off; and, after stamping up and down the room, and crying out that he was an undone advocate, ran quivering out into the street like one frantic, asking everybody if they had seen a man with a lamprey. The two rogues were walking all this time in the neighbourhood; and seeing the doctor set off, in his frantic fit,

“ Master

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to the goldsmith's, and knowing that he who brought the lamprey had been well disguised, they began to ask one another, in the jollity of their triumph, what need there was for losing a good lamprey, because they had gained a cup. The other, therefore, went to the doctor's house, and, putting on a face of good news, told the wife that the cup was found. doctor,” said he,“ bade me come and tell you that it was but a joke of your old friend What's-his-name.” Castellani, I warrant me,” said the wife, with a face broad with delight. “The same," returned he. “Master doctor says that Signor Castellani, and the other gentlemen he spoke of, are waiting for you at the signor's house, where they purpose to laugh away the choler they so merrily raised with a good dinner and wine ; and to that end they have sent me for the lamprey.” “Take it in God's name," said the good woman; “I am heartily glad to see it go out of the house, and shall follow it myself speedily." So saying, she gave him the fine hot fish, with some sauce, between two dishes; and the knave, who felt already round the corner with glee, slid it under his cloak, and made the best of his way to his companion, who lifted up his hands and eyes at sight of him, and asked twenty questions in a breath, and chuckled, and slapped his thigh, and snapped his fingers for joy, to think what a pair of fools two rogues had to do with. Little did the poor despairing doctor, on his return home, guess what they were saying of him as he passed the wall of the house in which they were feasting Heyday!” cried the wife, smiling all abroad, as she saw him entering. What, art thou come to fetch me then, bone of my bone? Well, if this isn't the gallantest day I have seen many a year! It puts me in mind-it puts me in mind Here the chirping old lady was about to remind the doctor of the days of his youth, holding out her arms and raising her quivering voice, when (we shudder to relate) she received a considerable cuff on the left cheek. “You make me mad,” cried the doctor, “ with your eternal idiotical nonsense. What do you mean by coming to fetch you, and the gallantest

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day of your life? May the devil fetch you, and me, and that invisible fiend that stole the cup.” “What !” exclaimed the wife, suddenly changing her tone from a vociferous complaint which she had unthinkingly set up,“ did you send nobody, then, for the lamprey ?” Here the doctor cast his eyes upon the bereaved table, and, unable to bear the shame of this additional loss, however trivial, began tearing his hair and beard, and hopping about the room, giving his wife a new and scandalous epithet at every step, as if he was dancing to a catalogue of her imperfections. The story shook all the shoulders in Bologna for a month after.

As we find, by the length to which this article has already reached, that we should otherwise be obliged to compress our recollections of Spanish, French, and English thieves into a compass that would squeeze them into the merest dry notices, we will postpone them at once to our next number; and relate another story from the same Italian novelist that supplied our last. Our author is Massuccio of Salerno, a novelist who disputes with Bandelio the rank next in popularity to Boccaccio. We have not the original by us; and must be obliged to an English work for the groundwork of our story, as we have been to Paynter's “ Palace of Pleasure” for the one just related. But we take the liberty usual with the repeaters of these stories. We retain the incidents, but tell them in our own way, and imagine what might happen in the intervals.

Two Neapolitan sharpers, having robbed a Genoese merchant of his purse, make the best of their way to Sienna, where they arrive during the preaching of St Bernardin. One of them attends a sermon with an air of conspicuous modesty and devotion, and afterwards waits upon the preacher, and addresses him thus:-“Reverend father, you see before you a man, poor, indeed, but honest. I do not mean to boast. God knows, I have no reason. Who

upon earth has reason, unless it be one who will be the last to boast, like yourself, holy father ?" Here the saintly orator shook his head. “I do not mean," resumed

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