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[NOTE: These sample chapters are currently just plain text from the work in question. They do not include the formatting, footnotes, or illustrations (where appropriate) of the actual, published books. I hope to get more representative samples up here eventually, but these will have to do for now.]
The Curber, which the common people call the Hooker, is he that with a Curb (as they term it) or hook, do pull out of a window any loose linen cloth, apparel, or else any other household stuff whatsoever, which stolen parcels they in their Art call snappings. To the performance of this law there be required only two persons, the Curber and the Warp. The Curber his office is to spy in the day time fit places where his trade may be practiced at night, and coming to any window if it be open, then he has his purpose; if shut, then growing into the nature of the black Art has his trickers, which are engines of Iron so cunningly wrought that he will cut a bar of Iron in two with them so easily that scarcely shall the standers by hear him. Then, when he has the window open and spies any fat snappings worth the Curbing, then straight he sets the Warp to watch, who has a long cloak to cover whatsoever he gets, then does the other thrust in a long hook some nine foot in length (which he calls a Curb) that has at the end a crook with three tines turned contrary so that it is impossible to miss if there be any snappings abroad.
Now this long hook they call a Curb, and because you shall not wonder how they carry it for being espied, know this that it is made with joints like an angle rod, and can be conveyed into the form of a truncheon & worn in the hand like a walking staff, until they come to their purpose and then they let it out at the length and hook or curb whatsoever is loose and within the reach, and then he conveys it to the Warp, and from thence (as they like) their snappings goes to the Broker or to the Bawd, and there they have as ready money for it as Merchants have for their ware in the Exchange.
Beside, there is a Diver, which is in the very nature of a Curber, for as he puts in a hook, so the other puts in at the window some little figging boy who plays his part notably, and perhaps the youth is so well instructed that he is a scholar in the black Art, and can pick a lock if it be not too cross-warded, and deliver to the Diver what snappings he finds in the chamber.
Thus you hear what the Curber does and the Diver, and what inconvenience grows to many by their base villainies. Therefore do I wish all men servants and maids, to be careful for their Master's commodities, and to leave no loose ends abroad, especially in chambers where windows open to the street, lest the Curber take them as snappings and convey them to the cozening Broker. Let this suffice, and now I will recreate your wits with a merry Tale or two.
It fortuned of late that a Curber & his Warp went walking in the dead of the night to spy out some window open for their purpose, & by chance came by a Noble man's house about London and saw the window of the Porter's lodge open, and looking in, spied fat snappings and bade his Warp watch carefully for there would be purchase, & with that took his Curb and thrust it into the chamber, and the Porter lying in his bed was awake & saw all, and so was his bedfellow that was a yeoman of the wine seller.
The Porter stole out of his bed to mark what would be done, and the first snapping the Curber lit on was his Livery coat. As he was drawing it to the window, the Porter easily lifted it off and so the Curber drew his hook in vain. The while his bedfellow stole out of the chamber and raised up two or three more and went about to take them.
But still the rogue he plied his business and lighted on a gown that he used to sit in at the Porter's lodge, and warily drew it, but when it came at the window, the Porter drew it off so lightly that the hooker perceived it not. Then when he saw his Curb would take no hold, he swore and chafed and told the Warp he had hold of two good snaps and yet missed them both and that the fault was in his Curb. Then he fell to sharping and hammering of the hook to make it keep better hold, and in again he thrusts it and lights upon a pair of buff hose, but when he had drawn them to the window the Porter took them off again, which made the Curber almost mad, & swore he thought the devil was abroad tonight he had such hard fortune.
"Nay," says the yeoman of the seller, "there is three abroad, and we are come to fetch you and your hooks to hell." So they apprehended these base rogues & carried them into the Porter's lodge and made that their prison. In the morning a crew of Gentlemen in the house sat for Judges (in that they would not trouble their Lord with such filthy Caterpillars) and by them they were found guilty, and condemned to abide forty blows apiece with a bastinado, which they had solemnly paid, and so went away without any further damage.
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