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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

The black Tinkler winna get ye


a child will become unruly, the father will often say, in the most serious manner, "Mother, that canna be our bairn--the Tinklers must have taken ours, and left theirs--are you sure that this is ours? Gie him back to the Gipsies again, and get our ain." The other children will look as bewildered, while the subject of remark will instantly stop crying, and look around for sympathy; but meeting nothing but suspicion in the faces of all, will instinctively flee to its mother, who as instinctively clasps it to her bosom, quieting its terrors, as a mother only can, with the lullaby,

"Hush nae, hush nae, dinna fret ye; The black Tinkler winna get ye."[10]

[10] The Gipsies frighten their children in the same manner, by saying that they will give them to the _Gorgio_.

And the result is, that it will remain a "good bairn" for a long time after. This feeling, drawn into the juvenile mind, as food enters into the growth of the body, acts like the influence of the stories of ghosts and hobgoblins, often so inconsiderately told to children, but differs from it in this respect, that what causes it is true, while its effects are always more or less permanent. It has had this effect upon our youth--in connection with the other habits of the people, so outlandish when compared with the ways of our own--that should they happen to go a little distance from home, on such expeditions

as boys are given to, and fall in with a Gipsy camp, a strange sensation of fear takes possession of them. The camp is generally found to be pitched in some little dell or nook, and so hidden from view as not to be noticed till the stranger is almost precipitated into its midst ere he is aware of it. What with the traditionary feeling toward the Gipsies, and the motley assemblage of wild looking men, and perhaps still wilder looking women, ragged little urchins, ferocious looking dogs, prepared for an assault with an instinct drawn from the character of their masters, and the droll appearance of so many _cuddies_ (asses,) startled in their browsing--animals that generally appear singly, but, when driven by Gipsies, come in battalions;--the boys, at first rivetted to the spot with terror, will slip away as quietly as possible till a little way off, and then run till they have either arrived at home, or come within the reach of a neighbourhood or people likely to protect them, although, it might be, the Gipsies had not even noticed them.[11] Curiosity is so strong in our youth, in such cases, as often to induce them to return to the spot, after being satisfied that the Gipsies have decamped for another district. They will then examine the debris of the encampment with a great degree of minuteness, wreaking their vengeance on what is left, by turning up with their feet the refuse of almost everything edible, particularly as regards the bones and feathers of fowl and game, and, if it happened to be near the sea, crab, limpet, and whelk shells, and heaps of tin clippings and horn scrapings. In after life, they will often think of and visit the scenes of such adventures. At other times, our youth, when rambling, will often make a detour of several miles, to avoid

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