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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Measured themselves in a room in Kinross


and grief, that book and money

were gone. The person from whom he bought the horse commenced at once to abuse him as an impostor, for he not only would not believe his tale, but would not trust him for a moment. Under these distressing circumstances, he sought out Ann Jamieson, or Annie McDonald, after her husband's name, for he knew well enough where his money had gone to, and the sovereign influence which Ann exercised over her tribe. Being well acquainted with her, from having often met her in his father's house, he went up to her, and putting his hand gently on her shoulder, in a kind and familiar manner, and with a long face, told her of his misfortune, and begged her friendly assistance to help him out of the difficulty, laying much stress on the horse-dealer charging him with an attempt to impose on him. "Some o' my laddies will hae seen it, Davie; I'll enquire," was her immediate reply. She then took him to a public-house, called for brandy, saw him seated, and desired him to drink. Taking the marks of the pocket-book, she entered the fair, and, after various doublings and windings among the crowd, proceeded to her temporary depot of stolen goods. In about half an hour she returned, with the book and all its contents. The cash, bills, and papers which it contained, were in the same parts of the book in which the owner had placed them. This affair was transacted in as cool and business-like a manner as if Annie and her "laddies" had been following any of the honest callings in ordinary life. Indeed,
no example, however severe, no punishment, however awful, seems to have had any beneficial effect upon the minds of these Gipsies, or their friends who frequented the surrounding parts of the country, for they continued to follow the ways of their race, in spite of the sanguinary laws of the country. A continuation of their history, up to a period, is little better than a melancholy narrative of a series of imprisonments, banishments, and executions.

Ann Jamieson's two nephews, Charles and James Jamieson, who rode alongside of their father and uncle to the place of their execution, eating rolls, as if nothing unusual was about to befall them, and who had witnessed their miserable end, in 1770, were themselves executed in 1786 for robbing the Kinross mail. It was their intention to have committed the deed upon the highway, for, the night before the robbery, their mother, Euphan Graham, to prevent detection, insisted upon the post-boy being put to death, to which bloody proposition her sons would not consent. It was then agreed that they should secure their prize in the stable yard of an inn in the town, where the post-boy usually stopped. The two highwaymen were traced to a small house near Stirling, in which they made a desperate resistance. One of them attempted to ascend the chimney, to effect his escape; but, failing in that, they attacked the officers, and tore at them with their teeth, after having struck furiously at them with a knife. But they were overpowered, and secured in irons. Two females were in their company at the time, on whom some of the money was found, most artfully concealed about their persons. So illiterate were these two men that, in crossing the Forth at Kincardine, they presented a twenty-pound note, to be changed, instead of a twenty-shilling one. According to Baron Hume, the trial of these two Gipsies took place on the 18th December, 1786. They were assisted in the robbery by other members of their band, including women and children. Their mother was said to have been transported for the part which she took in the affair; while another member of the gang was below the age at which criminals can be tried and punished in this country. The two brothers, before they committed the crime, measured themselves in a room in Kinross, kept by a Mary Barclay, and marked their heights on the wall. The one stood six feet two inches, and the other five feet four inches.[95]


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