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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Whenever Lady Anstruther entered the burghs


"Latterly, the late Robert and Charles Fall, who were cousins, kept separate establishments. Robert possessed the dwelling house now occupied by Lord Lauderdale; and Charles possessed one at the shore, (now the custom-house.) built on the spot where some old houses formerly stood, and was called 'Lousy Law.' It was in these old cot-houses that the Falls first took up their residence on coming to Dunbar. It appears the mother of the first of the Falls who came to Dunbar was a woman of much spirit and great activity. Old William Faa, the chief of the Gipsies at Yetholm, when in Lothian, never failed to visit the Dunbar family, as his relations. The Dunbar Falls were connected, by marriage, with the Anstruthers, Footies, of Balgonie, Coutts, now bankers, and with Collector Whyte, of the customs, at Kirkaldy, and Collector Melville, of the customs, at Dunbar."

The mercantile house of the Falls, at Dunbar, was so extensive as to have many connexions in the ports of the Baltic and Mediterranean, and supported so high a character that several of the best families in Scotland sent their sons to it, to be initiated in the mysteries of commerce. Amongst others who were bred merchants by the Falls, were Sir Francis Kinloch, and two sons of Sir John Anstruther. It appears that the Falls were most honourable men in all their transactions; and that the cause of the ruin of their eminent firm was the failure of some considerable mercantile

houses who were deeply indebted to them.

One of the Misses Fall was married to Sir John Anstruther, of Elie, baronet. It appears that this alliance with the family of Fall was not relished by the friends of Sir John, of his own class in society. The consequence was that Lady Anstruther was not so much respected, and did not receive those attentions from her neighbours, to which her rank, as Sir John's wife, gave her a title. The tradition of her Gipsy descent was fresh in the memories of those in the vicinity of her residence; and she frequently got no other name, or title, when spoken of, than "Jenny Faa." She was, however, a woman of great spirit and activity. Her likeness was taken, and, I believe, is still preserved by the family of Anstruther.[159]

[159] Speaking of a gentlemen in his autobiography, Dr. Alexander Carlyle, in 1744. says: "He had the celebrated Jenny Fall, (afterwards Lady Anstruther,) a coquette and a beauty, for months together in the house with him; and as his person and manners drew the marked attention of the ladies, he derived considerable improvement from the constant intercourse with this young lady and her companions, for she was lively and clever, no less than beautiful."--ED.

At a contested election, for a member of parliament, for the burghs in the east of Fife, in which Sir John was a candidate, his opponents thought to annoy him, and his active lady, by reference to the Gipsy origin of the latter. Whenever Lady Anstruther entered the burghs, during the canvass, the streets resounded with the old song of the "Gipsy Laddie." A female stepped up to her ladyship, and expressed her sorrow at the rabble singing the song in her presence. "Oh, never mind them," replied Lady Anstruther; "they are only repeating what they hear from their parents."[160] The following is the song alluded to:


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