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A History of the Gipsies by Walter Simson

Robertson had never heard before


Mr. Borrow says of the Spanish Gipsies, that there is nothing in the dress of either sex differing from that of the other inhabitants. The same may be said of the Scottish tribes, and even of those in England.--ED.

[105] _Gaberlunzie-man_--The beggar-man with the ragged apparel.

[106] The unabashed hardihood of the Gipsies, in the face of suspicion, or even of open conviction, is not less characteristic than the facility with which they commit crimes, or their address in concealing them. A Gipsy of note, (known by the title of the "Earl of Hell") was, about twenty years ago, tried for a theft of a considerable sum of money at a Dalkeith market. The proof seemed to the judge fully sufficient, but the jury rendered a verdict of "not proven." On dismissing the prisoner from the bar, the judge informed him, in his own characteristic language, "That he had rubbit shouthers wi' the gallows that morning;" and warned him not again to appear there with a similar body of proof against him as it seemed scarcely possible he should meet with another jury who would construe it as favourably. His counsel tendered him a similar advice. The Gipsy, however, replied, to the great entertainment of all around, "That he was proven an innocent man, and that naebody had ony right to use siccan language to him."--_Blackwood's Magazine._--ED.

Another very singular

Gipsy, of the name of Jamie Robertson, a near relation of the Lochgellie tribe, resided at Menstry, at the foot of the Ochil hills. James was an excellent musician, and was in great request at fairs and country weddings. Although characterized by a dissoluteness of manners, and professed roguery, this man, when trusted, was strictly honest. A decent man in the neighbourhood, of the name of Robert Gray, many a time lent him sums of money, to purchase large ox horns and other articles, in the east of Fife, which he always repaid on the very day he promised, with the greatest correctness and civility. The following anecdote will show the zeal with which he would resent an insult which he conceived to be offered to his friend: In one of his excursions through Fife, he happened to be lying on the ground, basking himself in the sun, while baiting his ass, on the roadside, when a countryman, an entire stranger to him, came past, singing, in lightness of heart, the song of "Auld Robin Gray," which, unfortunately for the man, Robertson had never heard before. On the unconscious stranger coming to the words "Auld Robin Gray was a kind man to me," the hot-blooded Gipsy started to his feet, and, with a volley of oaths, felled him with his bludgeon to the ground; repeating his blows in the most violent manner, and telling him, "Auld Robin Gray was a kind man to him indeed, but it was not for him to make a song on Robin for that." In short, he nearly put the innocent man to death, in the heat of his passion, for satirizing, as he thought, his friend in a scurrilous song. It was an invariable custom with Robertson, whenever he passed Robert Gray's house, even were it at the dead hour of night, to draw out his "bread winner," and give him a few of his best airs, in gratitude for his kindness.


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