Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

of Caricature 
and Gratefque 
all, although, as he faid he did fo, and they could only judge by their 
hearing, they imagined that they had the coin, and each thought that it 
was in the keeping of one of his companions. Thus, when the time of 
paying came, and the money Was not forthcoming, in the common belief 
that one of the three had received the bezant and intended to keep it 
and cheat the others, they quarrelled violently, and from abufe foon 
came to blows. The landlord, drawn to the fpot by the uproar, and 
informed of the {late of the cafe, accufed the three blind men of a 
confpiracy to cheat him, and demanded payment with great threats. 
The clerk of Paris, who had followed them to the inn, and taken his 
lodging there in order to witnek the refult, delivered the blind men by 
an equally ingenious trick which he plays upon the landlord and the 
prieit of the parifh. 
Some of thefe Ptories have for their fubject tricks played among 
thieves. In one printed by Meon (i. 124), we have the ilory of a rich 
but {imple villan, or countryman, named Brifaut, who is robbed at 
market by a cunning fharper, and feverely corrected by his wife for his 
careletfnefs. Robbery, both by force and by tleight of hand and craft, 
prevailed to an extraordinary degree during the middle ages. The plot 
of the fabliau of Barat and Haimet, by Jean de Boves (Barbazan, iv. 233), 
turns upon a trial of {kill among three robbers to determine who {hall 
commit the cleverelt  of thievery, and the refult is, at leatl, an 
extremely amufing ttory. It may be mentioned as an example of the 
numerous [lories which the jougleurs -certainly obtained from the Eail, 
that the well-known {lory of the Hunchback in the "Arabian Nights" 
appears among them in two or three dilferent forms. 
The focial vices of the middle ages, their general licentioufnefs, the 
prevalence of injullice and extortion, are very fully expofed to view in 
thefe competitions, in which no clafs of fociety is (pared. The villan, or 
peafant, is always treated very contemptuoufly; he formed the clafs from 
which the jougleur received leait benefit. But the aritiocracy, the great 
barons, the lords of the foil, come in for their full {hare of fatire, and they 
no doubt enjoyed the ridiculous piotures of their own order. I will not 
venture to introduce the reader to female life in the baronial cattle, as it 


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