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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Who was married to the only daughter of a Gitano count


from the Gipsies in that of

Queen Elizabeth, were doubtless _mixed_ Gipsies; whose relationship with the Gipsies proper, and isolation from the common natives, are very distinctly pointed out in the above extract from the law of Philip IV. Mr. Borrow expresses a great difficulty to understand who these people could be, _if not Gipsies_. How easy it is to get quit of the difficulty, by concluding that they were Gipsies whose blood, perhaps for the most part, was native; and who had been brought into the body in the manner explained in the Preface to this work, and more fully illustrated in this Disquisition. If Mr. Borrow found in Spain a half-pay captain, in the service of Donna Isabel, with _flaxen_ hair, a _thorough Gipsy_, who spoke Gipsy and Latin, with great fluency, and his cousin, Jara, in all probability another Gipsy, what difficulty can there be in believing, that the "foreign tinkers," or tinkers of any kind, now to be met with in Spain, are, like the same class in Great Britain and Ireland, Gipsies of mixed blood? Indeed, the young Spaniard, to whom I have alluded, informs me that the Gipsies in Spain are very much mixed. Mr. Borrow himself admits that the Gipsy blood in Spain has been mixed; for, in speaking of the old Gipsy counts, he says: "It was the counts who determined what individuals were to be admitted into the fellowship and privileges of the Gitanos. . . . . They (the Gipsies) were not to teach the language to any but those who, by birth or _inauguration_, belonged to that sect."
And he gives a case in point, in the bookseller of Logrono, who was married to the only daughter of a Gitano count; upon whose death, the daughter and son-in-law succeeded to the authority which he had exercised in the tribe. If the Gipsies in Spain were not mixed in point of blood, why should they have taken Mr. Borrow for a Gipsy, as he said they did? The persecutions to which the race in Spain were subjected were calculated to lead to a mixture of the blood, as in Scotland, for the reasons given in the Preface; but, perhaps, not to the same extent; as the Spanish Acts seem to have given the tribe an opportunity of escape, under the condition of settling, &c., &c., which would probably be complied with, nominally, for the time being; while the face of part of the country would afford a refuge till the storm had blown over. (See pages 71 and 114.)

It is very likely that the following people, described by Paget, in his travels in Central Europe, are mixed Gipsies. He says: "In almost every part of the Austrian dominions are to be found a kind of wandering tinkers, wire-workers, and menders of crockery, whose language appears to be that of the Sclaves, who travel about, and, at certain seasons, return to their own settlements, where the women and children remain during their absence." The wandering Rothwelsh, perhaps the same mentioned by Paget, may be mixed Gipsies. In the Encyclopaedia Britannica they are spoken of as "a vagabond people, in the south of Germany, who have sometimes been confounded with the Gipsies." The _appearance_ of such persons has nothing to do with their being, or not being, members of Gipsydom.[273]

[273] Paget says these tinkers leave their women and children at home when on their travels. That is not customary with the tribe, although it may be their habit in the Austrian dominions.


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