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Lavengro by George Henry Borrow

Here is your health in Rommany


The

man, who was in the midst of his pea-and-thimble process, no sooner heard the last word of the distich than he turned an alarmed look in the direction of where I stood; then, glancing around, and perceiving the constable, he slipped forthwith his pellet and thimbles into his pocket, and, lifting up his table, he cried to the people about him, 'Make way!' and with a motion with his head to me, as if to follow him, he darted off with a swiftness which the short, pursy constable could by no means rival; and whither he went, or what became of him, I know not, inasmuch as I turned away in another direction.

CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR

MR. PETULENGRO--ROMMANY RYE--LIL-WRITERS--ONE'S OWN HORN--LAWFULLY-EARNT MONEY--THE WOODED HILL--A FAVOURITE--SHOP WINDOW--MUCH WANTED

And as I wandered along the green, I drew near to a place where several men, with a cask beside them, sat carousing in the neighbourhood of a small tent. 'Here he comes,' said one of them, as I advanced, and standing up he raised his voice and sang:--

'Here the Gypsy gemman see, With his Roman jib and his rome and dree-- Rome and dree, rum and dry Rally round the Rommany Rye.'

It was Mr. Petulengro, who was here diverting himself with several of his comrades; they all received me with considerable frankness.

'Sit down, brother,' said Mr. Petulengro, 'and take a cup of good ale.'

I sat down. 'Your health, gentlemen,' said I, as I took the cup which Mr. Petulengro handed to me.

'Aukko tu pios adrey Rommanis. Here is your health in Rommany, brother,' said Mr. Petulengro; who, having refilled the cup, now emptied it at a draught.

'Your health in Rommany, brother,' said Tawno Chikno, to whom the cup came next.

'The Rommany Rye,' said a third.

'The Gypsy gentleman,' exclaimed a fourth, drinking.

And then they all sang in chorus:--

'Here the Gypsy gemman see, With his Roman jib and his rome and dree-- Rome and dree, rum and dry Rally round the Rommany Rye.'

'And now, brother,' said Mr. Petulengro, 'seeing that you have drunk and been drunken, you will perhaps tell us where you have been, and what about?'

'I have been in the Big City,' said I, 'writing lils.'

'How much money have you got in your pocket, brother?' said Mr. Petulengro.

'Eighteenpence,' said I; 'all I have in the world.'

'I have been in the Big City, too,' said Mr. Petulengro; 'but I have not written lils--I have fought in the ring--I have fifty pounds in my pocket--I have much more in the world. Brother, there is considerable difference between us.'

'I would rather be the lil-writer, after all,' said the tall, handsome black man; 'indeed, I would wish for nothing better.'


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