free ebooks

A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

A Scottish Gipsy has the blood


It is perfectly evident that the world, outside of Gipsydom, has to be initiated in the subject of the Gipsies, as in the first principles of a science, or as a child is instructed in its alphabet. And yet, the above-mentioned writer takes upon himself to chide Mr. Borrow, in the matter of the Gipsies.

It is better, however, to compare the Gipsy tribe in Scotland, at the present day, to an ordinary clan in the olden time; although the comparison falls far short of the idea. We know perfectly well what it was to have been a member of this or that clan. Sir Walter Scott knew well that he was one of the Buccleuch clan, and a descendant of _Auld Beardie_; so that he could readily say that he was a Scott. Wherein, then, consists the difficulty in understanding what a Scottish Gipsy is? Is it not simply that he is "one of them;" a descendant of that foreign race of which we have such notice in the treaty of 1540, between James V. and John Faw, the then head of the Scottish Gipsy tribe? A Scottish Gipsy has the blood, the words, and the signs, of these men, and as naturally holds himself to be "one of them," as a native Scotchman holds himself to be one of his father's children. How, then, can a "change of habits" prevent a man from being his father's son? How could a "change of habits" make a McGregor anything but a McGregor? How could the effects of any just and liberal law towards the McGregors lead to the decrease, and final extinction,

of the McGregors? Every man, every family, every clan, and every people, are continually "changing their habits," but still remain the same people. It would be a treat to have a treatise from Mr. Borrow upon the Gipsy race "dying out," by "changing its habits," or by the acts of any government, or by ideas of "gentility."

I have already alluded to a resemblance between the position of the Gipsy race, at the present day, and that of the English and American races. Does any one say that the English race is not a race? Or that the American is not a race? And yet the latter is a compost of everything that migrates from the Old World. But take some families, and we will find that they are almost pure English, in descent, and hold themselves to be actually such. But ask them if they are English, and they will readily answer: "_English?_ No, siree!" The same principle holds still more with the Gipsy race. It is not a question of country against country, or government against government, separated by an ocean; but the difference proceeds from a prejudice, as broad and deep as the ocean, that exists between two races--the native, and that of such recent introduction--dwelling in the same community.

I have explained the effect which the mixing of native blood with Gipsy has upon the Gipsy race, showing that it only modifies its appearance, and facilitates its passing into settled and respectable life. I will now substantiate the principle from what is daily observed among the native race itself. Take any native family--one of the Scotts, for example. Let us commence with a family, tracing its origin to a Scott, in the year 1600, and imagine that, in its descent, every representative of the name married a wife of another family, or clan, having no Scotts' blood in her veins. In the seventh descent, there would be only one one-hundred and twenty-eighth part of the original Scott in the last representative of the family. Would not the last Scott be a Scott? The world recognizes him to be a Scott; he holds himself to be a Scott--"every inch a Scott;" and doubtless he is a Scott, as much as his ancestor who existed in the year 1600. What difficulty can there, therefore, be, in understanding how a man can be a Gipsy, whose blood is mixed, even "dreadfully mixed," as the English Gipsies express it? Gipsies are Gipsies, let their blood be mixed as much as it may; whether the introduction of the native blood may have come into the family through the male or the female line.


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