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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

169 a gipsy multiplication table


The

brother of the female, who was pregnant, took upon himself the task of chastising the offender. With a knife in his hand, and at the dead hour of night, he went to the house of the seducer. The first thing he did was deliberately to sharpen his knife upon the stone posts of the door of the man's house; and then, in a gentle manner, tap at the door, to bring out his victim. The unsuspecting man came to the door, in his shirt, to see what was wanted; but the salutation he received was the knife thrust into his body, and the stabs repeated several times. The avenger of his sister's wrongs fled for a short while; the wounded Tinkler recovered, and, to repair the injury he had done, made the girl his wife. The occurrence took place in Mid-Lothian, about twenty years ago. The name of the woman was Baillie, and her husband, Tait.

I have not been able to discover any peculiarity in the manner of Gipsy courtships, except that a man, above sixty years of age, affirmed to me that it was the universal custom, among the tribe, not to give away in marriage the younger daughter before the elder. In order to have this information confirmed, I enquired of a female, herself one of eleven sisters,[169] if this custom really existed among her people. She was, at first, averse, evidently from fear, to answer my question directly, and even wished to conceal her descent. But, at last, seeing nothing to apprehend from speaking more freely, she said such was once the

custom; and that it had been the cause of many unhappy marriages. She said she had often heard the old people speaking about the law of not allowing the younger sister to be married before the elder. She, however, would not admit of the existence of the custom at the present day, but appeared quite well acquainted with it, and could have informed me fully of it, had she been disposed to speak on the subject.

[169] A GIPSY MULTIPLICATION TABLE.

+-------------+-------+----------+--+ | Births | Mar- | Births of| | |of Children. |riages.| Grand- | | | | | children.| 1| +-------------+-------+----------+--+--+ |1822, Oct. 1.| 1842 |1843, Jul.| 1| 2| | | | | +--+--+ |1824, Jan. 1.| 1844 |1844, Oct.| 1| 1| 3| | | | | | +--+--+ |1825, Apl. 1.| 1845 |1846, Jan.| 1| 1| 1| 4| | | | | | | +--+--+ |1826, Jul. 1.| 1846 |1847, Ap. | 1| 1| 1| 1| 5| | | | | | | | +--+--+ |1827, Oct. 1.| 1847 |1848, Jul | 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 6| | | | | | | | | +--+--+ |1829, Jan. 1.| 1849 |1849, Oct.| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 7| | | | | | | | | | +--+--+ |1830, Apl. 1.| 1850 |1851, Jan.| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 8| | | | | | | | | | | +--+--+ |1831, Jul. 1.| 1851 |1852, Ap. | 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 9| | | | | | | | | | | | +--+--+ |1832, Oct. 1.| 1852 |1853, Jul.| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1|10| | | | | | | | | | | | | +--+--+ |1834, Jan. 1.| 1854 |1854, Oct.| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1|11| | | | | | | | | | | | | | +--+--+ |1835, Apl. 1.| 1855 |1856, Jan.| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1|12| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | +--+ |1836, Jul. 1.| 1856 | | |..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|..|Total. +-------------+-------+----------+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+-----+ | 12| | |11|10| 9| 8| 7| 6| 5| 4| 3| 2| 1| 0| 78 | +-------------+-------+----------+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+--+-----+


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