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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

So utterly ignorant is he about Gipsies


The

blood once mixed, there is nothing to prevent a little more being added, and a little more, and so on. There are English Gipsy girls who have gone to work in factories in the Eastern States, and picked up husbands among the ordinary youths of these establishments. And what difference does it make? Is not the game in the Gipsy woman's own hands? Will she not bring up her children Gipsies, initiate them in all the mysteries of Gipsydom, and teach them the language? There is another married to an American farmer "down east." All that she has to do is simply to "tell her wonderful story," as the Gipsies express it. Jonathan must think that he has caged a queer kind of a bird in the English Gipsy woman. But will he say to his friends, or neighbours, that his wife is a Gipsy? Will the children tell that their mother, and, consequently, they themselves are Gipsies? No, indeed. Jonathan, however, will find her a very active, managing woman, who will always be a-stirring, and will not allow her "old man" to kindle the fires of a morning, milk his cows, or clean his boots, and, as far as she is concerned, will bring him lots of _chabos_.

Gipsies, however, do not like such marriages; still they take place. They are more apt to occur when they have attained to that degree of security in a community where no one knows them to be Gipsies, or when they have settled in a neighbourhood to which they had come strangers. The parents exercise more constraint over

their sons than daughters; they cannot bear the idea of a son taking a strange woman for a wife; for a strange woman is a snare unto the Gipsies. If a Scottish Gipsy lad shows a hankering after a stranger lass, the mother will soon "cut his comb," by asking him, "What would she say if she knew you to be a loon of a Gipsy? Take such or such a one (Gipsies) for a wife, if you want one." But it is different with the girls. If a Gipsy lass is determined to have the stranger for a husband, she has only to say, "Never mind, mother; it makes no earthly difference; I'll turn that fellow round my little finger; I'll take care of the children when I get them." I do not know how the settled Scottish Gipsies broach the subject of being Gipsies to the stranger son-in-law when he is introduced among them. I can imagine the girl, during the courtship, saying to herself, with reference to her intended, "I'll lead you captive, my pretty fellow!" And captive she does lead him, in more senses than one. Perhaps the subject is not broached to him till after she has borne him children; or, if he is any way soft, the mother, with a leering eye, will say to him at once, "Ah ha, lad, ye're among Gipsies now!" In such a case, the young man will be perfectly bewildered to know what it all means, so utterly ignorant is he about Gipsies; when, however, he comes to learn all about it, it will be _mum_ with him, as if his wife's friends had _burked_ him, or some "old Gipsy" had come along, and sworn him in on the point of a drawn dirk. It may be that the Gipsy never mentions the subject to her husband at all, for fear he should "take her life;" she can, at all events, trust her secret with her children.


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