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Letter-writers and dealers in cigar-ends at Rome, 1864. Creator: Unknown

Letter-writers and dealers in cigar-ends at Rome, 1864. Creator: Unknown

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Letter-writers and dealers in cigar-ends at Rome, 1864. Creator: Unknown

Letter-writers and dealers in cigar-ends at Rome, 1864. Engraving from a sketch by M. Mariani....especially on Sundays after mass, motley groups station themselves near a dirty-looking man who is sheltered by a large and tolerably deteriorated umbrella. This man is the public letter-writer, and it is he who, for a few pence, compiles for such of the unfortunate Roman people as do not possess the art of writing, their epistles, petitions, requests, demands, claims, and supplications to their Eminences of the Paternal Government...[He] confidently relied upon to give his advice and the benefit of his long experience in the conversations and discussions that take place hurriedly between him and his plebeian customers on the subjects of their various misfortunes, to be duly recited and turned to graphic account in the poorly-paid document resulting from the consultation. Another peculiar kind of the trade in cigar-ends, or pieces of partly-smoked cigars picked up by enterprising descendants of Romulus, who pursue this "branch of commerce" in their perambulations. The secondhand merchandise finds a ready sale, and is either employed...for chewing, or for smoking in the small wooden pipes used by the modern Romans'. From "Illustrated London News", 1864

Media ID 38074203

© The Print Collector/Heritage Images

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