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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Grellmann on the Hungarian Gipsies


Twenty-five years ago, there were many Gipsies to be found between Londonderry and Belfast, following the style of life described under the chapter of Tweed-dale and Clydesdale Gipsies. Their names were Docherty, McCurdy, McCloskey, McGuire, McKay, Holmes, Dinsmore, Morrow, Allan, Stewart, Lindsay, Cochrane, and Williamson. Some of these seem to have migrated from Scotland and the North of England.--ED.

But there are Irish Gipsies of a class much superior to the above, in Scotland. In 1836, a very respectable and wealthy master-tradesman informed me that the whole of the individuals employed in his manufactory, in Edinburgh, were Irish Gipsies.[242]

[242] In England, some of the Irish Gipsies send their children to learn trades. There are many of such Irish mechanic Gipsies in America. A short time ago, a company of them landed in New York, and proceeded on to Chicago. Their occupations, among others, were those of hatters and tailors.--ED.

The Gipsies do not appear to have been altogether free from the crime of destroying their offspring, when, by infirmities, they could not be carried along with them in their wanderings, and thereby became an encumbrance to them. It has, indeed, been often noticed that few, or no, deformed or sickly individuals are to be found among them.[243] The following appears to be an instance of something like the practice in

question. A family of Gipsies were in the habit of calling periodically, in their peregrinations over the country, at the house of a lady in Argyleshire. They frequently brought with them a daughter, who was ailing of some lingering disorder. The lady noticed the sickly child, and often spoke kindly to her parents about her condition. On one occasion, when the family arrived on her premises, she missed the child, and enquired what had become of her, and whether she had recovered. The father said his daughter was "a poor sickly thing, not worth carrying about with them," and that he had "made away with her." Whether any notice was taken of this murder, by the authorities, is not mentioned. The Gipsies, however, are generally noted for a remarkable attachment to their children.[244]

[243] They are neither overgrown giants nor diminutive dwarfs; and their limbs are formed in the justest proportions. Large bellies are as uncommon among them as humpbacks, blindness, or other corporeal defects.--_Grellmann on the Hungarian Gipsies._--ED.

[244] The _Ross-shire Advertiser_, for April, 1842, says: "Gipsy Recklessness.--Last week, two Gipsy women, who were begging through the country, each with a child on her back, having got intoxicated, took up their lodgings, for the night, in an old sawpit, in the parish of Logie-Easter. It is supposed that they forgot to take the children off their backs, when going to rest; for, in the morning, they were found to be both dead, having been smothered by their miserable mothers lying upon them through the night. One of the women, upon awakening in the morning, called to the other, 'that her baby was dead,' to which the reply was, 'that it could not be helped.' Having dug a hole, they procured some straw, rolled up the children in it, put them in the hole, and then filled it up with the earth."


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