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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

So does the mind of the Gipsy woman to Gipsydom


we are told that Miss Fall, who married Sir John Anstruther, of Elie, baronet, was looked down upon by her husband's friends, and received no other name than Jenny Faa; and that she was indirectly twitted with being a Gipsy, by the rabble, while attending an election in which Sir John was a candidate. What real satisfaction could Jenny, or any other Gipsy, have for ordinary natives of the country, when she was conscious of being what she was, and how she was spoken of, by her husband's relatives and the public generally? She would take comfort in telling her "wonderful story" to her children, (for I presume she would have children,) who would sympathize with her; and in conversing with such of her own race as were near her, were it only her trusty domestics. It is the Gipsy woman who feels the prejudice that exists towards her race the most acutely; for she has the rearing of the children, and broods more over the history of her people. As the needle turns to the pole, so does the mind of the Gipsy woman to Gipsydom.

We are likewise told that this eminent Gipsy family were connected, by marriage, with the Footies, of Balgonie; the Coutts, afterwards bankers; Collector Whyte, of Kirkaldy, and Collector Melville, of Dunbar. We may assume, as a mathematical certainty, that Gipsydom, in a refined form, is in existence in the descendants of these families, particularly in such of them as were connected with this Gipsy family by the female side.[278]

style="text-align: justify;"> [278] Of the Gipsies at Moscow, the following is the substance of what Mr. Borrow says: "Those who have been accustomed to consider the Gipsy as a wandering outcast . . . . . . will be surprised to learn that, amongst the Gipsies of Moscow, there are not a few who inhabit stately houses, go abroad in elegant equipages, and are behind the higher order of Russians neither in appearance nor mental acquirements. . . . . The sums obtained by the Gipsy females, by the exercise of their art (singing in the choirs of Moscow,) enable them to support their relatives in affluence and luxury. Some are married to Russians; and no one who has visited Russia can but be aware that a lovely and accomplished countess, of the noble and numerous family of Tolstoy is, by birth, a Zigana, and was originally one of the principal attractions of a Romany choir at Moscow."

This short notice appears unsatisfactory, considering, as Mr. Borrow says, that one of his principal motives for visiting Moscow was to hold communication with the Gipsies. It might have occurred to him to enquire what relation the children of such marriages would bear to Gipsydom generally; that is, would they be initiated in the mysteries, and taught the language, and hold themselves to be Gipsies? It is evident, however, that the Gipsy-drilling process is going on among the Russian nobility.

A person who has never considered this subject, or any other cognate to it, may imagine that a Gipsy reproaches himself with his own blood. Pshaw! Where will you find a man, or a tribe of men, under the heavens, that will do that? It is not in human nature to do it. All men venerate their ancestors, whoever they have been. A Gipsy is, to an extraordinary degree, proud of his blood. "I have very little of the blood,

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