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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Makes the Gipsy only a Gipsy nominally

[299] I leave out of view various scattered nations in Asia.

The writer alluded to compares the history of the Jews, since the dispersion, to the following phenomenon: "A mighty river, having plunged, from a mountain height, into the depths of the ocean, and been separated into its component drops, and thus scattered to the ends of the world, and blown about, by all winds, during almost eighteen centuries, is still capable of being disunited from the waters of the ocean; its minutest drops, never having been assimilated to any other, are still distinct, unchanged, and ready to be gathered." Such language cannot be applied to the Jews; for the philosophy of their existence, to-day, is so very simple in its nature, as to have escaped the observation of mankind. I will give it further on in this Disquisition. The language in question is somewhat applicable to the Gipsies, for they have become _worked into_ all other nations, in regard to blood and language, and are "still distinct and unchanged," as to their being Gipsies, whatever their habits may be; and, although there is no occasion for them to be "gathered," they would yet, outwardly or inwardly, heartily respond to any call addressed to them.[300]

[300] It is interesting to hear the Gipsies speak of their race "taking of" this or the other race. Said an English Gipsy, to me, with reference to some Gipsies of whom we were speaking: "They take of the


There is, as I have already said, no real outward difference between many settled and educated Scottish Gipsies and ordinary natives; for such Gipsies are as likely to have fair hair and blue eyes, as black. Their characters and occupations may be the same; they may have intimate associations together; may be engaged in business as partners; may even be cousins, nay, half-brothers. But let them, on separate occasions, enter a company of Gipsies, and the reception shown to them will mark the difference in the two individuals. The difference between two such Scotchmen, (for they really are both Scotch,) the reader may remark, makes the Gipsy only a Gipsy nominally, which, outwardly, he is; but he is still a Gipsy, although, in point of colour, character, or condition, not one of the old stock; for he has "the blood," and has been reared and instructed as a Gipsy. But such a Gipsy is not fond of entering a company of Gipsies, strangers to him, unless introduced by a friend in whom he has confidence, for he is afraid of being known to be a Gipsy. He is more apt to visit some of the more original kind of the race, where he is not known. On sitting down beside them, with a friendly air, they will be sure to treat him kindly, not knowing but that they may be entertaining a Gipsy unawares; for such original Gipsies, believing that "the blood" is to be found well up in life, feel very curious when they meet with such a person. If he "lets out" an idea in regard to the race, and expresses a kindly feeling towards "the blood," the suspicions of his friends are at once excited, so that, if he, in an equivocal manner, remarks that he is "_not_ one of them," hesitates, stammers, and protests that he really is not one of them, they will as readily swear that he _is_ one of them; for well does the blackguard Gipsy, (as the world calls him,) know the delicacy of such settled and educated Gipsies in owning the blood. There is less suspicion shown, on such occasions, when the settled Gipsy is Scotch, and the _bush_ Gipsy English; and particularly so should the occasion be in America; for, when they meet in America, away from the peculiar relations under which they have been reared, and where they can "breathe," as they express it, the respective classes are not so suspicious of each other.

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