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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

200 of the Cingari came to his native town


"The

following is an article to be found in the Vienna Gazette, from a Captain Szekely, who was thinking of searching for (the origin of) the Gipsies, and their language, in the East Indies: In the year 1763, on the 6th of November, a printer, whose name was Stephen Pap Szathmar Nemethi, came to see me. Talking upon various subjects, we at last fell upon that of the Gipsies; and my guest related to me the following anecdote, from the mouth of a preacher of the Reformed Church, Stephen Vali, at Almasch. When the said Vali studied at the University of Leyden, he was intimately acquainted with some young Malabars, of whom three are obliged constantly to study there; nor can they return home till relieved by three others. Having observed that their native language bore a great affinity to that spoken by the Gipsies, he availed himself of the opportunity to note down from themselves upwards of one thousand words, together with their significations. After Vali was returned from the University, he informed himself of the Raber Gipsies, concerning the meaning of his Malabar words, which they explained without trouble or hesitation."[216]

[216] "The opinion, that the Gipsies came originally from India, seems to have been very early entertained, although it was again soon forgotten, or silently relinquished. Hieronymus Foroliviensis, in the nineteenth volume of Muratori, says, that on the 7th day of August, A. D. 1422, 200 of the Cingari came to his

native town, and remained there two days, on their way to Rome, and that some of them said that they came from India, '_et ut audivi aliqui dicebant quod erant de India_;' and the account which Munster gives of what he gathered from one of the Cingari, in 1524, seems to prove that an impression existed amongst them of their having come from that country."--_Bright._--ED.

None of the Scottish Gipsy words have as yet, I believe, been collated with the Hindostanee, the supposed mother tongue of the Gipsies.[217] I showed my list to a gentleman lately from India, who, at first sight, pointed out, from among several hundred words and sentences scattered through these pages, about thirty-nine which very closely resembled Hindostanee. But in ascertaining the origin of the Gipsies, the traveller, Dr. Bright, thinks it would be desirable to procure some of the speech of the lowest classes in India, and compare it with the Gipsy, as spoken in Europe; for the purpose of showing, more correctly, the affinity of the two languages. He supposes, as I understand him, that the terms used by the despised and unlettered Gipsies would probably resemble more closely the vulgar idiom of the lowest castes in India, than the Hindostanee spoken by the higher ranks, or that which is to be found in books. The following facts show that Dr. Bright's conjectures are not far from the truth.

[217] Mr. Baird's Missionary Report contained a collation of the Scottish Gipsy with Hindostanee, but that appeared considerably after what our author has said was written.--ED.

I had occasion at one time to be on board of a vessel lying in the harbour of Limekilns, Fifeshire, where I observed a black man, acting as cook, of the name of John Lobbs, about twenty-five years of age, and a native of Bombay, who could neither read nor write any language whatever. He stated that he was now a Christian, and had been baptized by the name of John. He had been absent from India three years, as cabin boy, in several British vessels, and spoke English well. He appeared to be of a low caste in his native land, but sharpened by his contact with Europeans. Recollecting Dr. Bright's hint, it occurred to me that this Hindoo's vulgar dialect might resemble the language of our Scottish Gipsies. I repeated to him about one hundred and eighty Gipsy words and expressions. The greater part were familiar to his ear, but many of them that meant one thing in Gipsy, had quite a different signification in his speech. I shall, however, give the following Gipsy words, with the corresponding words of Lobb's language, and the English opposite.[218]


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