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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Such a Gipsy is as much a Gipsy as before


It

is from such material that all kinds of settled Gipsies, at one time or other, have sprung. Such is the prejudice against the race, that, if they did not hide the fact of their being Gipsies from the ordinary natives, they would hardly have the "life of a dog" among them, because of their having sprung from a race which, in its original state, has been persecuted, and so much despised. By settling in life, and conforming with the ways of the rest of the community, they "cease to be Gipsies," in the estimation of the world; for the world imagines that, when the Gipsy conforms to its ways, there is an end of his being a Gipsy. Barring the "habits," such a Gipsy is as much a Gipsy as before, although he is one _incog_. The wonder is not that he and his descendants should be Gipsies; but the real wonder is, that they should not be Gipsies. Neither he nor his descendants have any choice in the matter. Does the settled Gipsy keep a crockery or tin establishment, or an inn, or follow any other occupation? Then his children cannot all follow the same calling; they must betake themselves to the various employments open to the community at large, and, their blood being mixed, they become lost to the general eye, amid the rest of the population. While this process is gradually going on, the Gipsy population which always remains in the tent--the hive from which the tribe swarms--attracts the attention of the public, and prevents it from thinking anything about the matter. In England, alone,
we may safely assume that the tented Gipsy population, about the commencement of this century, must have encreased at least four-fold by this time, while, to the eye of the public, it would appear that "the Gipsies are gradually decreasing, so that, by and by, they will become extinct."

The world, generally, has never even thought about this subject. When I have spoken to people promiscuously in regard to it, they have replied: "We suppose that the Gipsies, as they have settled in life, have got lost among the general population:" than which nothing can be more unfounded, as a matter of fact, or ridiculous, as a matter of theory. Imagine a German family settling in Scotland. The feeling of being Germans becomes lost in the first generation, who do not, perhaps, speak a word of German. There is no prejudice entertained for the family, but, on the contrary, much good-will and respect are shown it by its neighbours. The parents identify themselves with those surrounding them; the children, born in the country, become, or rather are, Scotch altogether; so that all that remains is the sense of a German extraction, which, but for the name of the family, would very soon be lost, or become a mere matter of tradition. In every other respect, the family, sooner or later, becomes lost amid the general population. In America, we daily see Germans getting mixed with, and lost among, Americans; but where is the evidence of such a process going on, or ever having taken place, in Great Britain, between the Gipsy and the native races? The prejudice which the ordinary natives have for the very name of Gipsy is sufficient proof that the Gipsy tribe has not been lost in any such manner. Still, it has not only got mixed, but "dreadfully mixed," with the native blood; but it has worked up the additional blood within itself, having thoroughly gipsyfied it. The original Gipsy blood may be compared to liquid in a vessel, into which native liquid has been put: the mixture has, as a natural consequence, lost, in a very great measure, its original colour; but, inasmuch as the most important element in the amalgamation has been _mind_, the result is, that, in its descent, it has remained, as before, Gipsy. Instead, therefore, of the Gipsies having become lost among the native population, a certain part of the native blood has been lost among them, greatly adding to the number of the body.


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