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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

She would rather prefer a chabo


should there be any hard feelings towards a Gipsy for "taking in and burking" a native in this way? She does not propose--she only disposes of herself. She has no business to tell the other that she is a Gipsy. She does not consider herself a worse woman than he is a man, but, on the contrary, a better. She would rather prefer a _chabo_, but, somehow or other, she sacrifices her feelings, and takes the _gorgio_, "for better or worse." Or there may be considerable advantages to be derived from the connexion, so that she spreads her snares to secure them. Being a Gipsy, she has the whip-hand of the husband, for no consideration will induce him to divulge to any one the fact that his wife is a Gipsy--should she have told him; in which case she has such a hold upon him, as to have "turned him round her little finger" most effectually. "Married a Gipsy! it's no' possible!" "Ay, it is possible. There!" she will say, chattering her words, and, with her fingers, showing him the signs. He soon gets reconciled to the "better or worse" which _he_ has taken to his bosom, as well as to her "folk," and becomes strongly attached to them. The least thing that the Gipsy can then do is to tell her "wonderful story" to her children. It is not teaching them any damnable creed; it is only telling them who they are; so that they may acknowledge herself, her people, her blood, and the blood of the children themselves.

And how does the Gipsy woman bring up her children

in regard to her own race? She tells them her "wonderful story"--informs them who they are, and of the dreadful prejudice that exists against them, simply for being Gipsies. She then tells them about Pharaoh and Joseph in Egypt, terming her people, "Pharaoh's folk." In short, she dazzles the imagination of the children, from the moment they can comprehend the simplest idea. Then she teaches them her words, or language, as the "real Egyptian," and frightens and bewilders the youthful mind by telling them that they are subject to be hanged if they are known to be Gipsies, or to speak these words, or will be looked upon as wild beasts by those around them. She then informs the children how long the Gipsies have been in the country; how they lived in tents; how they were persecuted, banished, and hanged, merely for being Gipsies. She then tells them of her people being in every part of the world, whom they can recognize by the language and signs which she is teaching them; and that her race will everywhere be ready to shed their blood for them. She then dilates upon the benefits that arise from being a Gipsy--benefits negative as well as positive; for should they ever be set upon--garroted, for example--all that they will have to do will be to cry out some such expression as "_Biene rate, calo chabo_," (good-night, Gipsy, or black fellow,) when, if there is a Gipsy near them, he will protect them. The children will be fondled by her relatives, handed about and hugged as "little ducks of Gipsies." The granny, while sitting at the fireside, like a witch, performs no small part in the education of the children, making them fairly dance with excitement. In this manner do the children of Gipsies have the Gipsy soul literally breathed into them.[263]

[263] Mr. Offor, editor of a late edition of Bunyan's works, writes, in "Notes and Queries," thus: "I have avoided much intercourse with this class, fearing the fate of Mr. Hoyland, who, being a Quaker, was shot by one of Cupid's darts from a black-eyed Gipsy girl; and _J. S. may do well to be cautious_." Mr. Offor is not far wrong. A Gipsy girl can sometimes fascinate a "white fellow," as a snake can a bird--make him flutter, and particularly so, should the "little Gipsy" be met with in some such dress as black silks and a white polka. This much can be said of Gipsy women, which cannot be said of all women, that they know their places, and are not apt to _usurp_ the rights of the _rajahs_; they will even "work the nails off their fingers" to make them feel comfortable.

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