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A Historical Survey of the Customs, Habits, & Pres

With them would have died the belief in chiromancy


addition to the two professions before-mentioned, commonly followed by the men, some of them employ themselves as carpenters and turners; the former making watering troughs and chests; the latter turn, trenchers and dishes; make sieves, spoons, and other trifling articles, which they hawk about. Many of them, as well as the smiths, find constant employment in the houses of the better sort of people; for whom they work the year round. They are not paid in money, but beside other advantages find a certain subsistence.

Those who are not thus circumstanced, do not wait at home for customers, but with their implements in a sack thrown over their shoulders, seek business in the cities and villages. When any one calls, they throw down the bundle, and prepare the apparatus for work, before the door of their employer.

The Gypsies have a fixed dislike to agriculture; and had rather suffer hunger, or any privation, than follow the plough. Since the year 1768, the Empress Theresa has commanded that the Hungarian, and Transylvanian Gypsies should be instructed in husbandry; but these orders have been very little regarded. At this time there are so few of them farmers in those parts, that they are undeserving of notice. In Spain and other European countries, it would be difficult to find one who had ever made a furrow in his life.

Respecting fortune-telling, with which the female Gypsies

impose on people's credulity in every district and corner of Europe, the origin, of the imposition is not to be attributed to them: the cheat was known and practised in Europe before their arrival; being deeply rooted in the ignorance of the middle age. The science of divination here was said to be already brought to a greater degree of perfection than among them. Rules were invented to tell lies from the inspection of the hand, in which the poor Gypsies were accounted mere bunglers. They in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were esteemed supernumeraries; there being men of great learning, who not only read lectures in Colleges on the art of chiromancy; but wrote many books, vilifying these people, and endeavouring to spoil their market. But these wise men are no more; their knowledge is deposited in the dead archives of literature; and probably had there been no Gypsies, with them would have died the belief in chiromancy, as is the case with respect to astrology, necromancy, oneirocritica, and the other offspring of imbecile fancy.

We must not omit to mention the occupation of gold-washing, by which thousands of Gypsies, of both sexes, in the Banat, Transylvania, Wallachia, and Moldavia, procure a livelihood in summer; who, in winter, make trays and troughs, which they sell in an honest way.

It is not permitted for every one, without exception, to be a gold-washer; such only can follow the employment as have permission from the office of Mons, where a College was established by the Empress Theresa, in 1748. In the seventh article of instructions granted, the Gypsies were allowed the privilege of washing for gold, for which each person pays a tribute to Government.

The gold-washers in Transylvania and the Banat, pay four guilders annually in gold dust. The tribute collected in Wallachia and Moldavia does not go into the public treasury, but belongs to the Princesses for pin-money.

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