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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Before he would face the Tinkler


by some called William, a brother of Alexander Brown, was run down by a party of the military and some messengers, near Dundee. He was carried to Perth, where he was tried, condemned and executed, to atone for the numerous crimes of which he was guilty. He was conveyed to Perth by water, in consequence of it being reported that the Gipsies of Fife, with the Grahams and Ogilvies at their head, were in motion to rescue him. He, also, was a man of great personal strength; and regretting, after being handcuffed, having allowed himself to be so easily taken, he, in wrath, drove the messengers before him with his feet, as if they had been children. While in the apartment of the prison called the condemned cell, or the cage, he freed himself from his irons, and by some means set on fire the damp straw on which he lay, with the design of making his escape in the confusion. Surprised at the building being on fire, and suspecting Brown to have been the cause of it, and that he was free from his chains, ramping like a lion in his den, no one, in the hurry, could be found with resolution enough to venture near him, till a sergeant of the forty-second regiment volunteered his services. Before he would face the Tinkler, however, he requested authority from the magistrates to defend himself with his broad-sword, and, in case the prisoner became desperate, to cut him down. This permission being obtained, the sergeant drew his sword, and, assisted by the jailer's daughter, unbarred the doors,
till he came to the cage, whence the prison was being filled with smoke. As he advanced to the door, he asked with a loud voice, "Who is there?" "The devil," vociferated the Gipsy, through fire and smoke. "I am also a devil, and of the black-watch," thundered back the intrepid Highlander. The resolute reply of the soldier sounded like a death knell to the artful Tinkler--he knew his man--it daunted him completely; for, after some threats from the sergeant, he quietly allowed himself to be again loaded with irons, and thoroughly secured in his cell, whence he did not stir till the day of his execution.

Lizzy Brown, by some called Snippy, a member of the same family, was a tall, stout woman, with features far from being disagreeable. She lost her nose in a battle, fought in the shire of Angus. In this rencounter, the Gipsies fought among themselves with highland dirks, exhibiting all the fury of hostile tribes of Bedouin Arabs of the desert. When this woman found that her nose was struck off, by the sweep of a dirk, she put her hand to the wound, and, as if little had befallen her, called out, in the heat of the scuffle, to those nearest her: "But, in the middle o' the meantime, where is my nose?" Poor Lizzy's tall figure was conspicuous among the tribe, owing to the want of that ornamental part of her face.

The Grahams of Lochgellie, the Wilsons of Raploch, near Stirling, and the Jamiesons, noticed under the head of Linlithgowshire Gipsies, were all, by the female side, immediately descended from old Charles Stewart, a Gipsy chief, at one period of no small consequence, among these hordes.[103] When I enquired if the Robertsons,

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