Outlaws and Highwaymen

Passage from The Blacke Bookes Messenger, by Robert Greene
Robert Green, The Blacke Bookes Messenger and ‘Cuthbert Conny-catcher’, The Defence of Conny-catching, ed. G. B. Harrison, Bodley Head Quartos (London, John Lane The Bodley Head, 1924), p. 13


Now sir, let me boast of myself a little, in that I came to the credite of a high Lawyer,1 and with my sword freebooted abroad in the country like a Caualier on horsebacke, wherein I did excell for subtlety: For I had first for my selfe an artificiall haire, and a beard so naturally made, that I could talke, dine, and sup in it, and yet it should neuer bee spied. I will tell you there rests no greater villany than in this practise, for I haue robbed a man in the morning, and come to the same Inne and bayted, yea and dyned with him the same day, and for my horse that he might not be knowne I coulde ride him one part of the day like a goodly Gelding with a large tayle hanging to his feetlockes, and the other part of the day I could make him a Cut, for I had an artificiall taile so cunningly counterfeited, that the Ostler when hee drest him could not perceiue it.2 By these pollicies I little cared for Hues and Cries but straight with disguising myselfe, would outslip them all, and as for my Cloake it was Tarmosind (as they doe tearme it) made with two outsides that I could turne it how I list, for howsoeuer I wore it the right side still seemed to be outward ...

Robert Greene


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