Translator Frye presents a comprehensive introduction to two short comic novels written in sixteenth and seventeenth century Spain about young men of low social class living by their wits
in Castile, a region mostly peopled by peasant farmers with the largest city Toledo.
The industry of Doyce, who himself confesses to a prejudice "against speculation" (Dickens  1985, 736), is a far cry from that of the speculators who, like Clennam himself and Pancks, pin all on dubious get-rich quick formulas in emulation of the Merdles of this world who attain the lifestyle and kudos of the idle rich through swindling and fraud, living by their wits
like card-sharpers at "play-tables," as Gowan suspects Blandois/Rigaud of doing ( 1985, 542); and if the wit of Merdle, Gowan and Blandois/Rigaud is Vesalius' ingenio in an utterly debased form, Doyce's ingenuity is one aspect of that same faculty transformed in the alembic of history into engineering inventiveness.
In many ways, Auron's story is similar to those of humans facing adversity and living by their wits
. He's captured, escapes, lives with wolves, makes other odd alliances and grows up.
Living by their wits
, they are the ultimate risk-takers.
Tham's people move quickly, living by their wits
in a region so connected to the world that a national language would get in the way.
With gambling rooms come crooks and other men living by their wits
, who are undesirable citizens.
Perhaps the best of his novels, The Lonely Londoners (1956) describes apparently naive immigrants living by their wits
in a hostile city.