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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

But leaves him a Gipsy notwithstanding


That

numbers of our Gipsies attend the church, and publicly profess Christianity, and get their children baptized, is certain; and that many of the male heads of principal families have the appearance and reputation of great honesty of character, is also certain. Yet their wives and other members of their families are, in general, little better than professed thieves; and are secretly countenanced and encouraged in their practices by many of those very chief males, who designedly keep up an outward show of integrity, for the purpose of deception, and of affording their plundering friends protection. When the head of the family is believed to be an honest man, it excites a feeling of sympathy for his tribe on his account, and it enables him to step forward, with more freedom, to protect his kindred, when they happen to get into scrapes. I am convinced, could the fact be ascertained, that many of the offenders who are daily brought before our courts of justice are Gipsies, though their external appearance does not indicate them to be of that race.

With regard to the education of our Scottish Gipsies, I am convinced that very few of them receive any education at all; except some of those among the superior classes, who have property in houses, and permanent residences. A Gipsy, of some property, who gave one of her sons a good education, declared that the young man was entirely spoiled.[249] It appears, however, that the males of the Yetholm colony received

such an education as is commonly given to the working classes; but it is supposed there is scarcely such a thing as a female Gipsy who has been educated. There are, however, instances to the contrary; and I know one female at least, who can handle her pen with some dexterity.[250]

[249] It it well to notice the fact, that by giving a Gipsy child a good education, it became "entirely spoiled." It would be well if we could "spoil" all the Gipsies. A thoroughly spoiled Gipsy makes a very good man, but leaves him a Gipsy notwithstanding. A "thorough Gipsy" has two meanings; one strongly attached to the tribe, and its _original habits_, or one without these original habits. There are a good many "spoiled" Gipsies, male and female, in Scotland.--ED.

[250] The education and acquirements of the Spanish Gipsies, according to Mr. Borrow, are, on the whole, not inferior to those of the lower classes of the Spaniards; some of the young _men_ being able to read and write in a manner by no means contemptible; but such never occurs among the females. Neglecting females, in the matter of education, is quite in keeping with the Oriental origin of the Gipsies. The same feature is observable among the Jews; and the Talmud bears heavily upon Jewish women. Every Jew says, in his morning prayer, "Blessed art thou, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who hast not made me a woman!" And the woman returns thanks for having been "created according to God's will."--ED.


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