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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Grellmann on the Hungarian Gipsies


[246] A Gipsy possesses all the properties requisite to render him a fit agent to be employed in traitorous undertakings. Being necessitous, he is easily corrupted; and his misconceived ambition and pride persuade him that he thus becomes a person of consequence. He is, at the same time, too inconsiderate to reflect on danger; and, artful to the greatest decree, he works his way under the most difficult circumstances. Gipsies have not only served much in the capacity of spies, but their garb and manner of life have been assumed by military and other men for the same purpose.--_Grellmann on the Hungarian Gipsies._

Mr. Borrow gives a very interesting description of a meeting of two Gipsies, in a battle between the French and Spaniards, in the Peninsula, in Bonaparte's time. In the midst of a desperate battle--when everything was in confusion--sword to sword and bayonet to bayonet--a French soldier singled out one of the enemy, and, after a severe personal contest, got his knee on his breast, and was about to run his bayonet through him. His cap at this moment fell off, when his intended victim, catching his eye, cried, "_Zincali, Zincali!_" at which the other shuddered, relaxed his grasp, smote his forehead, and wept. He produced his flask, and poured wine into his brother Gipsy's mouth; and they both sat down on a knoll, while all were fighting around. "Let the dogs fight, and tear each other's throats,

till they are all destroyed: what matters it to us? They are not of our blood, and shall that be shed for them?"

What our author says of there being danger in employing Gipsies in time of war has little or no foundation; for the associations between those in the opposite ranks would be merely those of interest, friendship, assistance, and scenes like the one depicted by Mr. Borrow. The objection to Gipsies, on such occasions, is as applicable to Jews and Freemasons.--ED.

The Scottish Gipsies have ever been distinguished for their gratitude to those who treated them with civility and kindness, during their progress through the country. The particulars of the following instance of a Gipsy's gratitude are derived from a respectable farmer, to whom one of the tribe offered assistance in his pecuniary distress. I was well acquainted with both of them. The occurrence, which took place only about ten years ago, will show that gratitude is still a prominent feature in the character of the Scottish Gipsy.

The farmer became embarrassed in his circumstances, in the spring of the year, when an ill-natured creditor, for a small sum, put him in jail, with a design to extort payment of the debt from his relatives. The farmer had always allowed a Gipsy chief, of the name of ----, with his family, to take up his quarters on his premises, whenever the horde came to the neighbourhood. The Gipsy's horse received the same provender as the farmer's horses, and himself and family the same victuals


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