From a poster for Charles Frohman’s dramatic production, The Hand of Destiny by Pierre Decourcelle, 1896

Why Did “Thieves’ Cant” Carry an Unshakeable Allure?

If thieves’ cant—a language known only to criminals—was the Devil’s cabinet, bourgeois society couldn’t help but peep inside.

A Complicated Man: John Baylor’s Letters to His Family

How could John Baylor have done such terrible thing and simultaneously be so effusively affectionate in his letters home?