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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Likewise suffered at Aberdeen


Graham, brother to Charlie, above-mentioned, was stabbed with a knife by his own cousin, John Young, in Aberdeenshire. These powerful Gipsies never fell in with each other but a wrestling bout took place. Young generally came off victorious, but Graham, although worsted, would neither quit Young nor acknowledge his inferiority of strength. Young frequently desired Graham to keep out of his way, as his obstinate disposition would prove fatal to one of them some time or other. They, however, met again, when a desperate struggle ensued. Graham was the aggressor; he drew his knife to stab Young, who wrested it out of his hand, and stabbing him in the upper part of the stomach, close to the breast, laid his opponent dead at his feet.[100] In this battle the Gipsy females, in their usual manner, took a conspicuous part, by assisting the combatants on either side.

[100] Young was chased for nearly thirty miles, by Highlanders, on foot, and General Gordon of Cairnfield, and others, on horseback; and, as he was frequently in view, the affair much resembled a fox-hunt. The hounds were most of them game-keepers--an active race of men; and so exhausted were they, before the Gipsy was caught, that they were seen lying by the springs, lapping water with their tongues, like dogs.--_Blackwood's Magazine._--ED.

Jenny Graham, sister of these Grahams, was kept by a gentleman as his mistress; but, although treated

with affection, such was her attachment to her old wandering way of life, that she left her protector and his wealth, and rejoined her erratic associates in the gang. She was a remarkably handsome and good-looking woman, and, while she traversed the country, she frequently rode upon an ass, which was saddled and bridled. On these occasions, she was sometimes dressed in a blue riding-habit and a black beaver hat. It was generally supposed that the stolen articles of value belonging to the family were committed to the care of Jenny. Margaret Graham, another sister, is still living, and is a woman of uncommon bodily strength; so much so, that she is considered to be a good deal stronger than the generality of men. She was married to William Davidson, a Gipsy, at Wemyss. They have a large family, and sell earthenware through the country.

John Young, who stabbed his cousin, Hugh Graham, was one of seven sons, and though above five feet ten inches in height, his mother used to call him "the dwarf o' a' my bairns." He was condemned and hanged at Aberdeen for the murder. He wrote a good hand, and the country-people were far from being displeased with his society, while he was employed in repairing their pots and pans in the way of his calling. Sarah Graham, his mother, was of the highest Tinkler mettle. She lost a forefinger in a Gipsy fray. Peter Young, another son of Sarah's, was also hanged at Edinburgh, after breaking a number of prisons in which he was confined. He is spoken of as a singular man. Such was his generosity of character, that he always exerted himself to the utmost to set his fellow-prisoners free, although they happened not to be in the same apartment of the prison. The life of this man was published about the time of his execution. When any one asked old John Young where his sons were, his reply was, "They are all hanged." They were seven in number, and it was certainly a fearful end of a whole family. The following is an extract of a letter addressed to Mr. Blackwood, from Aberdeen, relative to Peter Young: "It is said, in your far-famed magazine, that Peter Young, brother to John Young, the Gipsy, likewise suffered at _Aberdeen_. It is true that he received sentence to die there, but the prison and all the irons the persons were able to load him with, somehow or other, were found insufficient to prevent him from making his escape. After he had repeatedly broken loose, and had been as often retaken, the magistrates at last resolved that he should be effectually secured; and, for that purpose, ordered a great iron chain to be provided, and Peter to be fast bound in it. As the jailer was making everything, as he thought, most secure, Peter, with a sigh, gazed on him, and said, 'Ay, ay, I winna come out now till I come out at the door;' making him believe that he would not be able to make his escape again, nor come out till the day fixed for his execution. But the great iron chain, bolts and bars, were all alike unable to withstand his skill and strength: he came out, within a few nights, at the 'door,' along with such of his fellow-prisoners as were inclined to avail themselves of the 'catch;' but he was afterwards taken, and conveyed to Edinburgh, and there made to suffer the penalty which his crimes deserved.--D. C."[101]

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