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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

In the old house of Yetholm we've sat at the board


"It is meet we remember him; never again Will such foot as old Will's kick a ball o'er the plain, Or such hand as his, warm with the warmth of the soul, Bid us welcome to Yetholm, to bicker and bowl. Oh, the voice that could make the air tremble and ring With the great-hearted gladness becoming a king, Is silent, is silent; oh, wail for the day When Death took the Border King, brave Willie Faa.

"No dark Jeddart prison e'er closed upon him, The last lord of Egypt ne'er wore gyve on limb. Though his grey locks were crownless, the light of his eye Was kingly--his bearing majestic and high. Though his hand held no sceptre, the stranger can tell That the full bowl of welcome became it as well; The fisher or rambler, by river or brae, Ne'er from old Willie's hallan went empty away.

"In the old house of Yetholm we've sat at the board, The guest, highly honoured, of Egypt's old lord, And mark'd his eye glisten as oft as he told Of his feats on the Border, his prowess of old. It is meet, when that dark eye in death hath grown dim, That we sing a last strain in remembrance of him. The fame of the Gipsy hath faded away With the breath from the brave heart of gallant Will Faa."

[167] Will Faa had a brother, a house-carpenter, in New York, who survived him a few years. He was considered a

fine old man by those who knew him. He left a family in an humble, but respectable, way of doing. The Scottish Gipsy throne was occupied by another family of Gipsies, in consequence of this family being "forth of Scotland." There are a great many Faas, under one name or other, scattered over the world.--ED.

CHAPTER VIII.

MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE CEREMONIES.

The Gipsies in Scotland are all married at a very early age. I do not recollect ever having seen or heard of them, male or female, being unmarried, after they were twenty years old. There are few instances of bastard children among them; indeed, they declare that their children are all born in wedlock.[168] I know, however, of one instance to the contrary; and of the Gipsy being dreadfully punished for seducing a young girl of his own tribe.

[168] There is one word in the Gipsy language to which is attached more importance than to any other thing whatever--_Lacha_--the corporeal chastity of woman; the loss of which she is, from childhood, taught to dread. To ensure its preservation, the mother will have occasion to the _Dicle_--a kind of drapery which she ties around the daughter; and which is never removed, but continually inspected, till the day of marriage; but not for fear of the "stranger" or the "white blood." A girl is generally betrothed at fourteen, and never married till two years afterward. Betrothal is invariable. But the parties are never permitted, previous to marriage, to have any intimate associations together.--_Borrow on the Spanish Gipsies._--ED.


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