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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

And I know of a Scottish Gipsy


In Spain, as we have seen, a Gipsy taught her language to her son from a MS. I doubt not there are MS. if not printed, vocabularies of the Gipsy language among the tribe in Scotland, as well as in other countries.

Scottish Gipsies! I now appeal to you as men. Am I not right, in asserting, that there is nothing you hold more dear than your Egyptian descent, signs, and language? And nothing you more dread than such becoming known to your fellow-men around you? Do you not read, with the greatest interest, any and everything printed, which comes in your way, about the Gipsies, and say, that you thank God all that is a thousand miles away from you? Whence this inconsistency? Ah! I understand it well. Shall the prejudice of mankind towards the name of Gipsy drive you from the position which you occupy? Can it drive you from it? No, it cannot. The Gipsies, you know, are a people; a "mixed multitude," no doubt, but still a people. You know you are Gipsies, for your parents before you were Gipsies, and, consequently, that you cannot be anything but Gipsies. What effect, then, has the prejudice against the race upon you? Does it not sometimes appear to you as if, figuratively speaking, it would put a dagger into your hands against the rest of your species, should they discover that you belonged to the tribe? Or that it would lead you to immediately "take to your beds," or depart, bed and baggage, to parts unknown? But then, Gipsies, what can you

do? The thought of it makes you feel as if you were sheep. Some of you may be bold enough to face a lion in the flesh; but who so bold as to own to the world that he is a Gipsy? There is just one of the higher class that I know of, and he was a noble specimen of a man, a credit to human nature itself. Although _you_ might shrink from such a step, would you not like, and cannot you induce, _some one_ to take it? Take my word for it, respectable Scottish Gipsies, the thing that frightens you is, after all, a bug-bear--a scare-crow. But, failing some of you "coming out," would you not rather that the world should now know that much of the history of the Gipsy race, as to show that it was no necessary disparagement in any of you to be a Gipsy? Would you not rather that a Gipsy _might_ pass, anywhere, for a _gentleman_, as he _does_ now, everywhere, for a _vagabond_; and that you and your children might, if they liked, show their true colours, than, as at present, go everywhere _incog_, and carry within them that secret which they are as afraid of being divulged to the world, as if you and all your kin were conspirators and murderers? The secret being out, the incognito of your race goes for nothing. Come then, Scottish Gipsy, make a clean breast of it, like a man. Which of you will exclaim,

"Thus from the grave I'll rise, and save my love; Draw all your swords, and quick as lightning move! When I rush on, sure none will dare to stay; 'Tis love commands, and glory leads the way!"

Will none of you move? Ah! Gipsies, you are "great hens," and no wonder.

American Gipsies, descendants of the real old British stock! I make the same appeal to you. Let the world know how you are getting on, in this land of "liberty and equality;" and whether any of your race are senators, congressmen, and what not. I have heard of a Gipsy, a sheriff in the State of Pennsylvania; and I know of a Scottish Gipsy, who was lately returned a member of the Legislature of the State of New York.


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