free ebooks

A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

They would continue Gipsies forever


[266] To thoroughly understand how a Gipsy, with fair hair and blue eyes, can be as much a Gipsy as one with black, may be termed "passing the _pons assinorum_ of the Gipsy question." Once over the bridge, and there are no difficulties to be encountered on the journey, unless it be to understand that a Gipsy can be a Gipsy without living in a tent or being a rogue.

Let us now consider the destiny of such European-like Gipsies. Suppose a female of this description marries a native in settled life, which both of them follow. She brings the children up as Gipsies, in the way described. The children are apt to become ultra Gipsies. If they, in their turn, marry natives, they do the same with their children; so that, if the same system were always followed, they would continue Gipsies forever. For all that is necessary to perpetuate the tribe, is simply for the Gipsies to know who they are, and the prejudice that exists toward the race of which they are a part; to say nothing of the innate associations connected with their origin and descent. Such a phenomenon may be fitly compared to the action of an auger; with this difference, that the auger may lose its edge, but the Gipsy will drill his way through generations of the ordinary natives, and, at the end, come out as sharp as ever; all the circumstances attending the two races being exactly the same at the end as at the beginning. In this way, let their blood be mixed as it may, let even

their blood-relationship outside of their body be what it may, the Gipsies still remain, in their private associations, a distinct people, into whatever sphere of human action they may enter; although, in point of blood, appearance, occupation, character, and religion, they may have drifted the breadth of a hemisphere from the stakes and tent of the original Gipsy.

There can surely be no great difficulty in comprehending so simple an idea as this. Here we have a foreign race introduced amongst us, which has been proscribed, legally as well as socially. To escape the effects of this double proscription, the people have hidden the fact of their belonging to the race, although they have clung to it with an ardour worthy of universal admiration. The proscription is toward the name and race as such, that is, the blood; and is not general, but absolute; none having ever been received into society as Gipsies. For this reason, every Gipsy, every one who has Gipsy blood in his veins, applies the proscription to himself. On the other hand, he has his own descent--the Gipsy descent; and, as I have already said, he has naturally as little desire to wish a different descent, as he has to have a different sex. As Finns do not wish to have been born Englishmen, or Englishmen Finns, so Gipsies are perfectly satisfied with their descent, nay, extremely proud of it. They would not change it, if they could, for any consideration. When Gipsies, therefore, marry natives, they do not only willingly bring up their children as Gipsies, but by every moral influence they are forced to do it, and cling to each other. In this way has the race been absolutely cut off from that of the ordinary natives; all intercourse between the two, unless on the part of the _bush_ Gipsy, in the way of dealings, having been of a clandestine nature, on the side of the Gipsy, or, in other words, _incog._ How melancholy it is to think that such a state of things exists in the British Islands!

The Gipsy, born of a Gipsy mother and a native father, does, therefore, most naturally, and, I may say, invariably, follow the Gipsy connexion; the simplest impulse of manhood compels him to do it. Being born, or becoming a member of settled society, he joins in the ordinary amusements or occupations of his fellow-creatures of both races; which he does the more readily when he feels conscious of the incognito which he bears. But he has been brought up from his mother's knee a Gipsy; he knows nothing else; his associations with his relatives have been Gipsy; and he has in his veins that which the white damns, and, he doubts not, would damn in him, were he to know of it. He has, moreover, the words and signs of the Gipsy race; he is brought in contact with the Gipsy race; he perceives that his feelings are reciprocated by them, and that both have the same reserve and timidity for "outsiders." He does not reason abstractly what he is _not_, but instinctively holds that he is "one of them;" that he has in his mind, his heart, and his blood, that which the common native has not, and which makes him a _chabo_, that is, a Gipsy.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us