free ebooks

A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

As the Gipsies separate into classes


[282] In expatiating on the subject of the Gipsy race always being the Gipsy race, I have had it remarked to me: "Suppose Gipsies should not mention to their children the fact of their being Gipsies." In that case, I replied, the children, especially if, for the most part, of white blood, would simply not be Gipsies; they would, of course, have some of "the blood," but they would not be Gipsies if they had no knowledge of the fact. But to suppose that Gipsies should not learn that they are Gipsies, on account of their parents not telling them of it, is to presume that they had no other relatives. Their being Gipsies is constantly talked of among themselves; so that, if Gipsy children should not hear their "wonderful story" from their parents, they would readily enough hear it from their other relatives. This is assuming, however, that the Gipsy mind can act otherwise than the Gipsy mind; which it cannot.

It sometimes happens, as the Gipsies separate into classes, like all other races or communities of men, that a great deal of jealousy is stirred up in the minds of the poorer members of the tribe, on account of their being shunned by the wealthier kind. They are then apt to say that the exclusive members have _left_ the tribe; which, with them, is an undefined and confused idea, at the best, principally on account of their limited powers of reflection, and the subject never being alluded to by the others.

This jealousy sometimes leads them to dog these straggling sheep, so that, as far as lies in their power, they will not allow them to leave, as they imagine, the Gipsy fold. [See second note at page 532.]

What were the Hungarians, at one time, and what are they now? Pritchard says of them: "The Hungarians laid aside the habits of rude and savage hunters, far below the condition of the nomadic hordes, for the manners of civilized life. In the course of a thousand years, they have become a handsome people, of fine stature, regular European features, and have the complexion prevalent in that tract of Europe where they dwell." Now the Gipsies have been in Scotland at least three hundred and fifty years; and what with the mixture of native blood, (which, at least, helped to remove the prejudice against the man's appearance, and, consequently, gave him a larger and freer scope of action;) the hard laws of necessity, and the being tossed about by society, like pebbles on the seashore; the influences of civilization, education, and the grace of God itself; by such means as these, some of the Scottish Gipsies have risen to a respectable, even eminent, position in life. But some people may say: "These are not Gipsies; they have little of the blood in them." That is nothing. Ask themselves what they are, and, if they are at all candid, they will reply that they are Gipsies. "No doubt," they say, "we have fair, or red, or black, hair, (as the case may be;) we know nothing about that; but we know that we _are_ Gipsies; that is all." There is as much difference between such a high-class Gipsy and a poor Gipsian, as there is between a Scottish judge and the judge's fourth cousin, who makes his living by clipping dogs' ears. The principle of progression, the passing through one phase of history into another, while the race maintains its identity, holds good with the Gipsies, as well as with any other people.

Take a Gipsy in his original state, and we can find nothing really _vulgar_ about him. What is popularly understood to be Gipsy life may be considered low life, by people who do not overmuch discriminate in such matters; but view it after its kind, and it is not really low; for a Gipsy is naturally polite and well mannered. He does not consider himself as belonging to the same race as the native,


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