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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

'E'en the winsome gude man of Lochside


what money the farmer had about

him, and an urgent request that he would make her his purse-keeper, as the bairns, as she called her sons, would be soon home. The poor farmer made a virtue of necessity, told his story, and surrendered his gold to Jean's custody. She made him put a few shillings in his pocket; observing it would excite suspicion should he be found travelling altogether penniless. This arrangement being made, the farmer lay down on a sort of _shake-down_, as the Scotch call it, upon some straw; but, as is easily to be believed, slept not. About midnight the gang returned with various articles of plunder, and talked over their exploits, in language which made the farmer tremble. They were not long in discovering their guest, and demanded of Jean whom she had got there. 'E'en the winsome gude-man of Lochside, poor boy,' replied Jean; 'he's been at Newcastle, seeking siller to pay his rent, honest man, but deil-be-licket he's been able to gather in; and sae he's gaun e'en hame wi' a toom purse and a sair heart.' 'That may be, Jean,' replied one of the banditti, 'but we maun ripe his pouches a bit, and see if it be true or no.' Jean set up her throat in exclamation against this breach of hospitality, but without producing any change of their determination. The farmer soon heard their stifled whispers and light steps by his bed-side, and understood they were rummaging his clothes. When they found the money which the prudence of Jean Gordon had made him retain, they held a consultation if they should
take it or not; but the smallness of the booty, and the vehemence of Jean's remonstrances, determined them on the negative. They caroused, and went to rest. So soon as day dawned, Jean roused her guest, produced his horse, which she had accommodated behind the _hallan_, and guided him for some miles, till he was on the high-road to Lochside. She then restored his whole property, nor could his earnest entreaties prevail on her to accept so much as a single guinea.

"I have heard the old people at Jedburgh say that all Jean's sons were condemned to die there on the same day. It is said the jury were equally divided, but that a friend of justice, who had slept during the whole discussion, waked suddenly, and gave his vote for condemnation, in the emphatic words: 'Hang them a'.' Jean was present, and only said, 'The Lord help the innocent in a day like this.' Her own death was accompanied with circumstances of brutal outrage, of which poor Jean was, in many respects, wholly undeserving. Jean had, among other demerits, or merits, as you may choose to rank it, that of being a staunch Jacobite. She chanced to be at Carlisle, upon a fair or market day, soon after the year 1746, where she gave vent to her political partiality, to the great offence of the rabble in that city. Being zealous in their loyalty when there was no danger, in proportion to the tameness with which they had surrendered to the Highlanders, in 1745, they inflicted upon poor Jean Gordon no slighter penalty than that of ducking her to death in the Eden. It was an operation of some time, for Jean was a stout woman, and, struggling with her murderers, often got her head above water; and, while she had voice left, continued to exclaim, at such intervals, 'Charlie yet! Charlie yet!'


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