free ebooks

A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

As Border chiefs were wont to do


accordingly returned without their money, and reported progress. I found that the landlord was right: my master said, with a smile, that it was unnecessary to send to them, after the previous notice from the baron-officer; it was enough if I had received the money, if offered. Their rent and feu duty was brought to the office in a few weeks. I need scarcely add that those persons all belonged to the tribe.

"Another instance of their licentious, independent spirit occurs to me. The family of Niddry always gave a decent annual remuneration to a baron-baillie, for the purpose of keeping good order within the barony of Town-Yetholm. The person whom I remember first in possession of that office was an old man, called Doctor Walker, from his being also the village surgeon; and from him I had the following anecdote:

"Between Yetholm and the Border farms, in Northumberland, there were formerly, as in most Border situations, some uncultivated lands, called the Plea-lands, or Debatable-lands, the pasturage of which was generally eaten up by the sorners and vagabonds, on both sides of the marches. Many years ago, Lord Tankerville and some others of the English Borderers made their request to Sir David Bennet, and the late Mr. Wauchope, of Niddry, that they would accompany them at a riding of the Plea-lands, who readily complied with their request. They were induced to this, as they understood that the Gipsies had taken

offence, on the supposition that they might be circumscribed in the pasturage for their shelties and asses, which they had held a long time, partly by stealth, and partly by violence.

"Both threats and entreaties were employed to keep them away; and, at last, Sir David obtained a promise from some of the heads of the gang, that none of them should show their faces on the occasion. They, however, got upon the hills, at a little distance, whence they could see everything that passed. At first they were very quiet. But when they saw the English court-book spread out, on a cushion, before the clerk, and apparently him taking in a line of direction, interfering with what they considered to be their privileged ground, it was with great difficulty that the most moderate of them could restrain the rest from running down and taking vengeance, even in sight of their own lord of the manor.

"They only abstained for a short time; and no sooner had Sir David and the other gentlemen taken leave of each other, in the most polite and friendly manner, as Border chiefs were wont to do, since Border feuds ceased, and had departed to a sufficient distance, than the clan, armed with bludgeons, pitchforks, and such other hostile weapons as they could find, rushed down in a body, and before the chiefs on either side had reached their home, there was neither English tenant, horse, cow nor sheep left upon the premises.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us