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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

The Irish Gipsies are allowed


[240] I know another instance of a Gipsy having a child in the open fields. It took place among the rushes on Stanhope-hangh, on the banks of the Tweed. In the forenoon, she was delivered of her child, without the assistance of a midwife, and in the afternoon the hardy Gipsy resumed her journey. The infant was a daughter, named Mary Baillie.

[When a Gipsy woman is confined, it is either in a miserable hut or in the open air, but always easily and fortunately. True Gipsy-like, for want of some vessel, a hole is dug in the ground, which is filled with cold water, and the new-born child is washed in it--_Grellmann, on the Hungarian Gipsies._ We may readily believe that a child coming into the world under the circumstances mentioned, would have some of the peculiarities of a wild duck. Mr. Hoyland says that "on the first introduction of a Gipsy child to school, he flew like a bird against the sides of its cage; but by a steady care, and the influence of the example of the other children, he soon became settled, and fell into the ranks." It pleases the Gipsies to know that their ancestors came into the world "like the deer in the forest," and, when put to school, "flew like a bird against the sides of its cage."--ED.]

[241] This invasion of Scotland by Irish Gipsies has, of late years, greatly altered the condition of the nomadic Scottish tribes; for this reason, that as Scotland,

no less than any other country, can support only a certain number of such people who "live on the road," so many of the Scottish Gipsies have been forced to betake themselves to other modes of making a living. To such an extent has this been the case, that Gipsies, speaking the Scottish dialect, are in some districts comparatively rarely to be met with, where they were formerly numerous. The same cause may even lead to the extinction of the Scottish Gipsies as wanderers; but as the descendants of the Irish Gipsies will acquire the Scottish vernacular in the second generation, (a remarkably short period among the Gipsies,) what will then pass for Scottish Gipsies will be Irish by descent. The Irish Gipsies are allowed, by their English brethren, to speak good Gipsy, but with a broad and vulgar accent; so that the language in Scotland will have a still better chance of being preserved.

England has likewise been invaded by these Irish swarms. The English Gipsies complain bitterly of them. "They have no law among them," they say; "they have fairly destroyed Scotland as a country to travel in; if they get a loan of anything from the country-people, to wrap themselves in, in the barn, at night, they will decamp with it in the morning. They have brought a disgrace upon the very name of Gipsy, in Scotland, and are heartily disliked by both English and Scotch." "There is a family of Irish Gipsies living across the road there, whom I would not be seen speaking to," said a superior English Gipsy; "I hate a Jew, and I dislike an Irish Gipsy." But English and Scottish Gipsies pull well together; and are on very friendly terms in America, and frequently visit each other. The English sympathise with the Scottish, under the wrongs they have experienced at the hands of the Irish, as well as on account of the persecutions they experienced in Scotland, so long after such had ceased in England.


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