They are connected and identified with the people of the
villages and the peasantry generally; the numerous bands have an
understanding with each other, and with people of various conditions in
all parts of the country. They know all that is going on; a gens
d'armes cannot stir without their being aware of it. They have their
spies and emissaries in every direction; they lurk about towns,
villages, inns, - mingle in every crowd, pervade every place of resort.
I should not be surprised," said he, "if some one should be supervising
us at this moment."
The fair Venetian looked round fearfully and turned pale.
"One peculiarity of the Italian banditti" continued the improvvisatore,
"is that they wear a kind of uniform, or rather costume, which
designates their profession. This is probably done to take away from
its skulking lawless character, and to give it something of a military
air in the eyes of the common people; or perhaps to catch by outward
dash and show the fancies of the young men of the villages. These
dresses or costumes are often rich and fanciful. Some wear jackets and
breeches of bright colors, richly embroidered; broad belts of cloth; or
sashes of silk net; broad, high-crowned hats, decorated with feathers
of variously-colored ribbands, and silk nets for the hair.
"Many of the robbers are peasants who follow ordinary occupations in
the villages for a part of the year, and take to the mountains for the