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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

But was prevented by an armed Gipsy


[38] Great allowance ought to be made for the conduct of these Gipsies. Even at the present day, a Gipsy, in many parts of Germany, is not allowed to enter a town; nor will the inhabitants permit him to live in the street in which they dwell. He has therefore to go somewhere, and live in some way or other. In speaking of the Gipsies, people never take these circumstances into account. The Gipsies alluded to in the text seem to have been very cruelly treated, in the first place, by the authorities.--ED.

"The other assistant of Emerander made his escape. But the principal was not so fortunate. When the Gipsies had wrought their wicked pleasure on Hempel, they compelled the landlord of the little inn to bring them a flagon of brandy, in which they mingled a charge of gunpowder and three pinches of salt; and each, partaking of this singular beverage, took a solemn oath that they would stand by each other until they had cut thongs, as they expressed it, out of the fleshman's hide. The Great Gallant at the same time distributed to them, out of a little box, billets, which each was directed to swallow, and which were supposed to render them invulnerable.

"Thus inflamed and encouraged, the whole route, amounting to fifty well armed men, besides women armed with clubs and axes, set off with horrid screams to a neighbouring hamlet, called Glazhutte, in which the object of their resentment sought refuge.

They took military possession of the streets, posting sentinels to prevent interruption or attack from the alarmed inhabitants. Their leaders then presented themselves before the inn, and demanded that Emerander should be delivered up to them. When the innkeeper endeavoured to elude their demand, they forced their way into the house, and finding the unhappy object of pursuit concealed in a garret, Hemperla and others fired their muskets at him, then tore his clothes from his body, and precipitated him down the staircase, where he was dispatched with many wounds.

"Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the village began to take to arms; and one of them attempted to ring the alarm-bell, but was prevented by an armed Gipsy, stationed for that purpose. At length their bloody work being ended, the Gipsies assembled and retreated out of the town, with shouts of triumph, exclaiming that the fleshman was slain, displaying their spoils and hands stained with blood, and headed by the Great Gallant, riding on the horse of the murdered officer.

"I shall select from the volume another instance of this people's cruelty still more detestable, since even vengeance or hostility could not be alleged for its stimulating cause, as in the foregoing narrative. A country clergyman, named Heinsius, the pastor of a village called Dorsdorff, who had the misfortune to be accounted a man of some wealth, was the subject of this tragedy.

"Hemperla, already mentioned, with a band of ten Gipsies, and a villain named Essper George, who had joined himself with them, though not of their nation by birth, beset the house of the unfortunate minister, with a resolution to break in and possess themselves of his money; and if interrupted by the peasants, to fire upon them, and repel force by force. With this desperate intention, they surrounded the parsonage-house at midnight; and their leader, Hemperla, having cut a hole through the cover of the sink or gutter, endeavoured to creep into the house through that passage, holding in his hand a lighted torch made of straw. The daughter of the parson chanced, however, to be up, and in the kitchen, at this late hour, by which fortunate circumstance she escaped the fate of her father and mother. When the Gipsy saw there was a person in the kitchen, he drew himself back out of the gutter, and ordered his gang to force the door, regarding the noise which accompanied this violence as little as if the place had been situated in a wilderness, instead of a populous hamlet. Others of the gang were posted at the windows of the house, to prevent the escape of the inmates. Nevertheless, the young woman, already mentioned, let herself down from a window which had escaped their notice, and ran to seek assistance for her parents.


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