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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

He chastised his women with his cudgel


Clark, in his account of his travels through Russia, gives a description of a Gipsy dance in Moscow, which is, in all respects, very similar to that performed by Stewart and Drummond. These travels came into my hands some time after I had taken notes of the Scottish Gipsy dance. Napkins appear to have been used by the Russian Gipsies, where sticks were employed by our Scottish tribes. No mention, however, is made, by Dr. Clark, whether the females, in the dance at Moscow, were guided by signs with the napkins, in the manner in which Stewart and Drummond, by their cudgels, directed their women in their dances. The eyes of the females were constantly fixed upon Stewart's cudgel. Dr. Clark is of opinion that the national dance in Russia, called the _barina_, is derived from the Gipsies; and thinks it probable that our common hornpipe is taken from these wanderers.[120]

[120] If I am not mistaken, Col. Todd is of opinion that the Gipsies originally came from Cabool, in Afghanistan. I will here give a description of an Afghan dance, very like the Gipsy dance in Scotland. "The western Afghans are fond of a particular dance called _Attum_, or _Ghoomboor_, in which from fourteen to twenty people move, in strange attitudes, with shouting, clapping of hands, and snapping of fingers, in a circle, round a single person, who plays on an instrument in the centre."--_Fraser's Library._

George Drummond was,

in rank, quite inferior to the Lochgellie band, who called him a "beggar Tinkler," and seemed to despise him. He always travelled with a number of females in his company. These he married after the custom of the Gipsies, and divorced some of them over the body of a horse, sacrificed for the occasion; a description of both of which ceremonies will be given in another chapter. He chastised his women with his cudgel, without mercy, causing the blood to flow at every blow, and frequently knocked them senseless to the ground; while he would call out to them, "What the deevil are ye fighting at--can ye no' 'gree? I'm sure there's no' sae mony o' ye!" although, perhaps, four would be engaged in the scuffle. Such was this man's impudence and audacity, that he sometimes carried off the flesh out of the kail-pots of the farmers; and so terrified were some of the inhabitants of Fife, at some of the Gipsy women who followed him, that, the moment they entered their doors, salt was thrown into the fire, to set at defiance the witchcraft which they believed they possessed. One female, called Dancing Tibby, was, in particular, an object of apprehension and suspicion. In Drummond's journeys through the country, when he came at night to a farmer's premises, where he intended to lodge, and found his place occupied by others of his gang, he, without hesitation, turned them out of their quarters, and took possession of their warm beds himself; letting them shift for themselves as they best might. This man lived till he was ninety years of age, and was, from his youth, impressed with a belief that he would die in the house in which he was born; although he had travelled a great part of the continent, and, while in the army, had been in various engagements. He fell sick when at some distance from the place of his nativity, but he hired a conveyance, and drove with haste to die on his favourite spot. To this house he was allowed admittance, where he closed his earthly career, in about forty-eight hours after his arrival. Like others of his tribe, Drummond, at times, gave tokens of protection to some of his particular friends, outside of the circle of his own fraternity.

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