Friday, February 4, 2011

Re: Cant

While trying not to sleep, I've been reading The Book of Cant, the book I picked up at the library last week. It's a dictionary for the Thieves' cant, a secret language used by thieves and rogues from way back when.

Reading through it, however, some definitions seem to stick out at me. I found these scattered throughout the book. See if you can pick up a theme:

* Old Mister Gaunt -- see: the Skinny Bastard.
* Branched Men -- those touched by Old Mister Gaunt.
* Hatchet Men -- those who work for Old Mister Gaunt without being touched.
* Dance -- to die. "He danced in the fire started by that Skinny Bastard."
* Blackbook -- a journal, often kept by those who see the Skinny Bastard or run from him.
* Legmen -- those who run from Old Mister Gaunt.
* Nemo -- those crazy enough to fight against Old Mister Gaunt.
* Sleight -- how the Skinny Bastard travels. "He sleighted through the streets, always appearing wherever we looked."
* The Skinny Bastard -- see: Old Mister Gaunt

This book was published some forty years ago. The Thieves' cant is over five hundred years old.

I wish I could say I was surprised.

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