Labouring Colons (Twelfth Century), after a Miniature in a Manuscript of the Ste. Chapelle, of the National Library of Paris.
At the onset, the slave only possessed his life, and this was but imperfectly guaranteed to him by the laws of charity; laws which, however, year by year became of greater power. He afterwards became colon, or labourer, working for himself under certain conditions and tenures, paying fines, or services, which, it is true, were often very extortionate.
The sewer-hunters are again distinct, and a far more intelligent and adventurous class; but they work in gangs. They must be familiar with the course of the tides, or they might be drowned at high water. They must have quick eyes too, not merely to descry the objects of their search, but to mark the points and bearings of the subterraneous roads they traverse; in a word, “to know their way underground.” There is, moreover, some spirit of daring in venturing into a dark, solitary sewer, the chart being only in the memory, and in braving the possibility of noxious vapours, and the by no means insignificant dangers of the rats infesting these places.
Convicts who have been sentenced to prison, but are released early under the ticket-to-leave experimental scheme.
Beggar playing the Fiddle, and his Wife accompanying him with the Bones.--From an old Engraving of the Seventeenth Century.
Woodcut in the "Cosmographie Universelle" of Munster: in folio, Basle, 1552.
From an Engraving by Callot.
We must not forget the protobianti (master rogues), who made no scruple of exciting compassion from their own comrades