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Gipsy Life - being an account of our Gipsies and their children
by George Smith
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Transcribed from the 1880 Haughton and Co. edition by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org

[Picture: Book cover]

[Picture: Frontispiece: Among the Gipsy children]



GIPSY LIFE:

BEING AN ACCOUNT

OF

OUR GIPSIES AND THEIR CHILDREN.

WITH SUGGESTIONS FOR THEIR IMPROVEMENT.

BY GEORGE SMITH, OF COALVILLE.

* * * * *

LONDON: HAUGHTON & CO., 10, PATERNOSTER ROW.

* * * * *

[All Rights Reserved.]

* * * * *

1880.

I give my warmest thanks to W. H. OVEREND, Esq., for the block forming the Frontispiece, which he has kindly presented to me on the condition that the picture occupies the position it does in this book; and also to the proprietor of the Illustrated London News for the blocks to help forward my work, the pictures of which appeared in his journal in November and December of last year and January in the present year, as found herein on pages 42, 48, 66, 76, 96, 108, 118, 122, 174, 192, 236, 283.

I must at the same time express my heart-felt thanks to the manager and proprietors of the Graphic for the blocks forming the illustrations on pages 1, 132, 170, 222, 228, 248, 272, 277, and which appeared in their journal on March 13th in the present year, and which they have kindly presented to me to help forward my object, connected with which sketches, at the kind request of the Editor, I wrote the article.

W. H. OVEREND, Esq., was the artist for the sketches in the Illustrated London News, and HERBERT JOHNSON, Esq., was the artist for the sketches in the Graphic.

I also tender my warmest thanks to the Press generally for the help rendered to me during the crusade so far, without which I should have done but little.



TO THE MOST HONOURABLE THE PEERS AND MEMBERS OF THE HIGH COURT OF PARLIAMENT.

I have taken the liberty of humbly dedicating this work to you, the object of which is not to tickle the critical ears of ethnologists and philologists, but to touch the hearts of my countrymen on behalf of the poor Gipsy women and children and other roadside Arabs flitting about in our midst, in such a way as to command attention to these neglected, dark, marshy spots of human life, whose seedlings have been running wild among us during the last three centuries, spreading their poisonous influence abroad, not only detrimental to the growth of Christianity and the spread of civilisation, but to the present and eternal welfare of the children; and, what I ask for is, that the hand of the Schoolmaster may be extended towards the children; and that the vans and other temporary and movable abodes in which they live may be brought under the eye and influence of the Sanitary Inspector.

Very respectfully yours, GEORGE SMITH, Of Coalville.

April 30th, 1880.



INDEX.

Part I.

RAMBLES IN GIPSYDOM.

PAGE

Origin of the Gipsies and their Names 1 Article in The Daily News 8 The Travels of the Gipsies 9 Acts of Parliament relating to the Gipsies 16 Article in The Edinburgh Review 23 ,, The Saturday Review 25 Professor Bott on the Gipsies 29 The Changars of India 32 The Doms of India 33 The Sanseeas of India 35 The Nuts of India 36 Grellmann on the Gipsies 39 Gipsies of Notting Hill 40 Rev. Charles Wesley 42 The Number of Gipsies 44

Part II.

COMMENCEMENT OF THE CRUSADE.

Work begun 48 Letter to The Standard and Daily Chronicle 51 Leading Article in The Standard 53 Correspondence in The Standard 59 Mr. Leland's Letter, &c., &c. 60 My Reply 66 Leicester Free Press 69 Article in The Derby Daily Telegraph 70 ,, The Figaro 73 Letter in The Daily News 75 Mr. Gorrie's Letter 78 My Reply 79 Leading Article in The Standard 82 May's Aldershot Advertiser 87 Article in Hand and Heart 90 Article in The Illustrated London News 91 Leading Article in The Daily News 92 Social Science Congress Paper 95 Article in Birmingham Daily Mail 102 ,, The Weekly Dispatch 106 ,, The Weekly Times 109 ,, The Croydon Chronicle 117 ,, Primitive Methodist 119 ,, Illustrated London News 121 ,, The Quiver 126 Letter in Daily News and Chronicle 127 Article in Christian World 129 ,, Sunday School Chronicle 132 ,, Unitarian Herald 134 ,, Weekly Times 135

Part III.

THE TREATMENT THE GIPSIES HAVE RECEIVED IN THIS COUNTRY.

The Social History of our Country 142 Acts of Parliament concerning the Gipsies 145 Treatment of the Gipsies in Scotland, Spain, and Denmark 150 Efforts put forth to improve their Condition 155 His Majesty George III. and the Dying Gipsy 161 Mr. Crabb at Southampton in 1827 164 Fiction and the Gipsies 166 Hubert Petalengro's Gipsy Trip to Norway 169 Esmeralda's Song 174 George Borrow's Travels in Spain 177 Romance and Poetry about the Gipsies 183 Dean Stanley's Prize Poem 190

Part IV.

GIPSY LIFE IN A VARIETY OF ASPECTS.

Persecution, Missionary Efforts, and Romance 192 The Gipsy Contrast and Punch 193 Gipsy Slang 195 Rees and Borrow's Description of the Gipsies 199 Leland among the Russian Gipsies 201 Burning a Russian Fortune-teller 203 A Welsh Gipsy's Letter 208 Ryley Bosvil and his Poetry: a Sad Example 213 My Visit to Canning Town Gipsies 220 Article in The Weekly Times 222 My Son's Visit to Barking Road 227 Mrs. Simpson, a Christian Gipsy 228

Part V.

THE SAD CONDITION OF THE GIPSIES, WITH SUGGESTIONS FOR THEIR IMPROVEMENT.

Gipsy Beauty and Songsters 237 Gipsy Poetry 239 Smart and Crofton 239 A Little Gipsy Girl's Letter 242 Scotch Gipsies 243 Gipsy Trickery 244 My Visit to the Gipsies at Kensal Green 248 Fortune-telling and other Sins 249 Wretched Condition of the Gipsies 254 Hungarian Gipsies 259 Visit to Cherry Island 260 The Cleanliness and Food of the Gipsies 262 A Gipsy Woman's Opinion upon Religion 264 Gipsy Faithfulness and Fidelity 264 A Visit to Hackney Marshes 266 Sickness among the Gipsies 270 A Gipsy Woman's Funeral 271 Gipsies and the Workhouse 274 Education of the Gipsy Children Sixty Years ago 274 Mission Work among the Gipsies 275 Gipsy Children upon Turnham Green and Wandsworth Common 276 Sad Condition of the Gipsy Children 277 The Hardships of the Gipsy Women 281 Efforts put forth in Hungary and other Countries 282 Things made by the Gipsies 284 Pity for the Gipsies 285 What the State has done for the Thugs 286 The Remedy 287 My Reasons for Government Interference 289



Illustrations.

PAGE

Frontispiece. Among the Gipsy Children.

A Gipsy Beauty 1 A Gentleman Gipsy's Tent and his dog "Grab" 42 A Gipsy's Home for Man and Wife and Six Children 48 Gipsies Camping among the Heath 66 Gipsy Quarters, Mary Place 76 A Farmer's Pig that does not like a Gipsy's Tent 96 Gipsies' Winter Quarters, Latimer Road 108 A Gipsy Tent for Two Men, their Wives, and Eleven 118 Children, and in which "Deliverance" was born A Gipsy Knife Grinder's Home 122 A Gipsy Girl Washing Clothes 132 A Respectable Gipsy and his Family "on the Road" 170 A Bachelor Gipsy's Bed-room 174 A Gipsy's Van, near Notting Hill 192 A Fortune-telling Gipsy enjoying her Pipe 222 Inside a Christian Gipsy's Van—Mrs. Simpson's 228 Inside a Gipsy Fortune-teller's Van 236 Gipsy Fortune tellers Cooking their Evening Meal 248 Outside a Christian Gipsy's Van 272 Four Little Gipsies sitting for the Artist 277 A Top Bed-room in a Gipsy's Van 281



[Picture: A Gipsy beauty who can neither read nor write]



Part I.—Rambles in Gipsydom.

The origin of the Gipsies, as to who they are; when they became regarded as a peculiar race of wandering, wastrel, ragamuffin vagabonds; the primary object they had in view in setting out upon their shuffling, skulking, sneaking, dark pilgrimage; whether they were driven at the point of the sword, or allured onwards by the love of gold, designing dark deeds of plunder, cruelty, and murder, or anxious to seek a haven of rest; the route by which they travelled, whether over hill and dale, by the side of the river and valley, skirting the edge of forest and dell, delighting in the jungle, or pitching their tent in the desert, following the shores of the ocean, or topping the mountains; whether they were Indians, Persians, Egyptians, Ishmaelites, Roumanians, Peruvians, Turks, Hungarians, Spaniards, or Bohemians; the end of their destination; their religious views—if any—their habits and modes of life have been during the last three or four centuries wrapped, surrounded, and encircled in mystery, according to some writers who have been studying the Gipsy character. They have been a theme upon which a "bookworm" could gloat, a chest of secret drawers into which the curious delight to pry, a difficult problem in Euclid for the mathematician to solve; and an unreadable book for the author. A conglomeration of languages for the scholar, a puzzle for the historian, and a subject for the novelist. These are points which it is not the object of this book to attempt to clear up and settle; all it aims at, as in the case of my "Cry of the Children from the Brick-yards of England," and "Our Canal Population," is, to tell "A Dark Chapter in the Annals of the Poor," little wanderers, houseless, homeless, and friendless in our midst. At the same time it will be necessary to take a glimpse at some of the leading features of the historical part of their lives in order to get, to some extent, a knowledge of the "little ones" whose pitiable case I have ventured to take in hand.

Paint the words "mystery" and "secrecy" upon any man's house, and you at once make him a riddle for the cunning, envious, and crafty to try to solve; and this has been the case with the Gipsies for generations, and the consequence has been, they have trotted out kings, queens, princes, bishops, nobles, ladies and gentlemen of all grades, wise men, fools, and fanatics, to fill their coffers, while they have been standing by laughing in their sleeves at the foolishness of the foolish.

In Spain they were banished by repeated edicts under the severest penalties. In Italy they were forbidden to remain more than two nights in the same place. In Germany they were shot down like wild beasts. In England during the reign of Elizabeth, it was felony, without the "benefit of the clergy," to be seen in their company. The State of Orleans decreed that they should be put to death with fire and sword—still they kept coming.

In the last century, however, a change has come over several of the European Governments. Maria Theresa in 1768, and Charles III. of Spain in 1783, took measures for the education of these poor outcasts in the habits of a civilised life with very encouraging results. The experiment is now being tried in Russia with signal success. The emancipation of the Wallachian Gipsies is a fact accomplished, and the best results are being achieved.

The Gipsies have various names assigned to them in different countries. The name of Bohemians was given to them by the French, probably on account of their coming to France from Bohemia. Some derive the word Bohemians from the old French word "Boem," signifying a sorcerer. The Germans gave them the name of "Ziegeuner," or wanderers. The Portuguese named them "Siganos." The Dutch called them "Heiden," or heathens. The Danes and Swedes, "Tartars." In Italy they are called "Zingari." In Turkey and the Levant, "Tschingenes." In Spain they are called "Gitanos." In Hungary and Transylvania, where they are very numerous, they are called "Pharaoh Nepek," or "Pharaoh's People." The notion of their being Egyptian is entirely erroneous—their appearance, manners, and language being totally different from those of either the Copts or Fellahs; there are many Gipsies now in Egypt, but they are looked upon as strangers.

Notwithstanding that edicts have been hurled against them, persecuted and hunted like vermin during the Middle Ages, still they kept coming. Later on, laws more merciful than in former times have taken a more humane view of them and been contented by classing them as "vagrants and scoundrels"—still they came. Magistrates, ministers, doctors, and lawyers have spit their spite at them—still they came; frowning looks, sour faces, buttoned-up pockets, poverty and starvation staring them in the face—still they came. Doors slammed in their faces, dogs set upon their heels, and ignorant babblers hooting at them—still they came; and the worst of it is they are reducing our own "riff-raff" to their level. The novelist has written about them; the preacher has preached against them; the drunkards have garbled them over in their mouths, and yelped out "Gipsy," and stuttered "scamp" in disgust; the swearer has sworn at them, and our "gutter-scum gentlemen" have told them to "stand off." These "Jack-o'-th'-Lantern," "Will-o'-th'-Wisp," "Boo-peep," "Moonshine Vagrants," "Ditchbank Sculks," "Hedgerow Rodneys," of whom there are not a few, are black spots upon our horizon, and are ever and anon flitting before our eyes. A motley crowd of half-naked savages, carrion eaters, dressed in rags, tatters, and shreds, usually called men, women, and children, some running, walking, loitering, traipsing, shouting, gaping, and staring; the women with children on their backs, and in their arms; old men and women tottering along "leaning upon their staffs;" hordes of children following in the rear; hulking men with lurcher dogs at their heels, sauntering along in idleness, spotting out their prey; donkeys loaded with sacks, mules with tents and sticks, and their vans and waggons carrying ill-gotten gain and plunder; and the question arises in the mind of those who take an interest in this singularly unfortunate race of beings: From whence came they? How have they travelled? By what routes did they travel? What is their condition, past and present? How are they to be dealt with in any efforts put forth to improve their condition? These are questions I shall in my feeble way endeavour to solve; at any rate, the two latter questions; the first questions can be dealt better with by abler hands than mine.

I would say, in the first place, that it is my decided conviction that the Gipsies were neither more nor less, before they set out upon their pilgrimage, than a pell-mell gathering of many thousands of low-caste, good for nothing, idle Indians from Hindustan—not ashamed to beg, with some amount of sentiment in their nature, as exhibited in their musical tendencies and love of gaudy colours, and except in rare instances, without any true religious motives or influences. It may be worth while to notice that I have come to the conclusion that they were originally from India by observing them entirely in the light given to me years ago of the different characters of human beings both in Asia, Europe, and Africa. Their habits, manners, and customs, to me, is a sufficient test, without calling in the aid of the philologist to decide the point of their originality. I may here remark that in order to get at the real condition of the Gipsies as they are at the present day in this country, and not to have my mind warped or biassed in any way, I purposely kept myself in ignorance upon the subject as to what various authors have said either for or against them until I had made my inquiries and the movement had been afloat for several months. The first work touching the Gipsy question I ever handled was presented to me by one of the authors—Mr. Crofton—at the close of my Social Science Congress paper read at Manchester last October, entitled "The Dialect of the English Gipsies," which work, without any disrespect to the authors—and I know they will overlook this want of respect—remained uncut for nearly two months. With further reference to their Indian origin, the following is an extract from "Hoyland's Historical Survey," in which the author says:—"The Gipsies have no writing peculiar to themselves in which to give a specimen of the construction of their dialect. Music is the only science in which the Gipsies participate in any considerable degree; they likewise compose, but it is after the manner of the Eastern people, extempore." Grellmann asserts that the Hindustan language has the greatest affinity with that of the Gipsies. He also infers from the following consideration that Gipsies are of the lowest class of Indians, namely, Parias, or, as they are called in Hindustan, Suders, and goes on to say that the whole great nation of Indians is known to be divided into four ranks, or stocks, which are called by a Portuguese name, Castes, each of which has its own particular sub-division. Of these castes, the Brahmins is the first; the second contains the Tschechterias, or Setreas; the third consists of the Beis, or Wazziers; the fourth is the caste of the above-mentioned Suders, who, upon the peninsula of Malabar, where their condition is the same as in Hindustan, are called Parias and Pariers. The first were appointed by Brahma to seek after knowledge, to give instruction, and to take care of religion. The second were to serve in war. The third were, as the Brahmins, to cultivate science, but particularly to attend to the breeding of cattle. The caste of the Suders was to be subservient to the Brahmins, the Tschechterias, and the Beis. These Suders, he goes on to say, are held in disdain, and they are considered infamous and unclean from their occupation, and they are abhorred because they eat flesh; the three other castes living entirely on vegetables. Baldeus says the Parias or Suders are a filthy people and wicked crew. It is related in the "Danish Mission Intelligencer," nobody can deny that the Parias are the dregs and refuse of all the Indians; they are thievish, and have wicked dispositions. Neuhof assures us, "the Parias are full of every kind of dishonesty; they do not consider lying and cheating to be sinful." The Gipsy's solicitude to conceal his language is also a striking Indian trait. Professor Pallas says of the Indians round Astracan, custom has rendered them to the greatest degree suspicious about their language. Salmon says that the nearest relations cohabit with each other; and as to education, their children grow up in the most shameful neglect, without either discipline or instruction. The missionary journal before quoted says with respect to matrimony among the Suders or Gipsies, "they act like beasts, and their children are brought up without restraint or information." "The Suders are fond of horses, so are the Gipsies." Grellmann goes on to say "that the Gipsies hunt after cattle which have died of distempers in order to feed on them, and when they can procure more of the flesh than is sufficient for one day's consumption, they dry it in the sun. Such is the constant custom with the Suders in India." "That the Gipsies and natives of Hindustan resemble each other in complexion and shape is undeniable. And what is asserted of the young Gipsy girls rambling about with their fathers, who are musicians, dancing with lascivious and indecent gesture to divert any person who is willing to give them a small gratuity for so acting, is likewise perfectly Indian." Sonneratt confirms this in the account he gives of the dancing girls of Surat. Fortune-telling is practised all over the East, but the peculiar kind professed by the Gipsies, viz., chiromancy, constantly referring to whether the parties shall be rich or poor, happy or unhappy in marriage, &c., is nowhere met with but in India. Sonneratt says:—"The Indian smith carries his tools, his shop, and his forge about with him, and works in any place where he can find employment. He has a stone instead of an anvil, and his whole apparatus is a pair of tongs, a hammer, a beetle, and a file. This is very much like Gipsy tinkers," &c. It is usual for Parias, or Suders, in India to have their huts outside the villages of other castes. This is one of the leading features of the Gipsies of this country. A visit to the outskirts of London, where the Gipsies encamp, will satisfy any one upon this point, viz., that our Gipsies are Indians. In isolated cases a strong religious feeling has manifested itself in certain persons of the Bunyan type of character and countenance—a strong frame, with large, square, massive forehead, such as Bunyan possessed; for it should be noted that John Bunyan was a Gipsy tinker, with not an improbable mixture of the blood of an Englishman in his veins, and, as a rule, persons of this mixture become powerful for good or evil. A case in point, viz., Mrs. Simpson and her family, has come under my own observation lately, which forcibly illustrates my meaning, both as regards the evil Mrs. Simpson did in the former part of her life, and for the last twenty years in her efforts to do good among persons of her class, and also among others, as she has travelled about the country. The exodus of the Gipsies from India may be set down, first, to famine, of which India, as we all know, suffers so much periodically; second, to the insatiable love of gold and plunder bound up in the nature of the Gipsies—the West, from an Indian point of view, is always looked upon as a land of gold, flowing with milk and honey; third, the hatred the Gipsies have for wars, and as in the years of 1408 and 1409, and many years previous to these dates, India experienced some terrible bloody conflicts, when hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children were butchered by the cruel monster Timur Beg in cold blood, and during the tenth and eleventh centuries by Mahmood the Demon, on purpose to make proselytes to the Mohammedan faith, it is only natural to suppose that under those circumstances the Gipsies would leave the country to escape the consequences following those calamities, over-populated as it was, numbering close upon 200,000,000 of human beings. {8} I am inclined to think that it would be hunger and starvation upon their heels that would be the propelling power to send them forward in quest of food. From Attock, Peshawur, Cabul, and Herat, they would tramp through Persia by Teheran, and enter the Euphrates Valley at Bagdad. From Calcutta, Madras, Seringapatam, Bangalore, Goa, Poonah, Hydrabad, Aurungabad, Nagpoor, Jabbulpoor, Benares, Allahabad, Surat, Simla, Delhi, Lahore, they would wander along to the mouth of the river Indus, and commence their journey at Hydrabad, and travelling by the shores of the Indian Ocean, stragglers coming in from Bunpore, Gombaroon, the commencement of the Persian Gulf, when they would travel by Bushino to Bassora. At this place they would begin to scatter themselves over some parts of Arabia, making their headquarters near Molah, Mecca, and other parts of the country, crossing over Suez, and getting into Egypt in large numbers. Others would take the Euphrates Valley route, which, by the way, is the route of the proposed railway to India. Tribes branching off at Kurnah, some to Bagdad, following the course of the river Tigris to Mosul and Diarbeker, and others would go to Jerusalem, Damuscus, and Antioch, till they arrived at Allepo and Alexandretta. Here may be considered the starting-point from which they spread over Asiatic Turkey in large numbers, till they arrived before Constantinople at the commencement of the fourteenth century.

Straggling Gipsies no doubt found their way westward prior to the wars of Timur Beg, and in this view I am supported by the fact that two of our own countrymen—Fitz-Simeon and Hugh the Illuminator, holy friars—on their pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1322, called at Crete, and there found some Gipsies—I am inclined to think only a few sent out as a kind of advance-guard or feeler, adopting the plan they have done subsequently in peopling Europe and England during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Brand, in his observations in "Popular Antiquities," is of opinion also that the Gipsies fled from Hindustan when Timur Beg ravaged India with a view of making Mohammedans of the heathens, and it is calculated that during his deeds of blood he butchered 500,000 Indians. Some writers suppose that the Gipsies, in order to escape the sword of this human monster, came into Europe through Egypt, and on this account were called English Gipsies.

In a paper read by Colonel Herriot before the Royal Asiatic Society, he says that the Gipsies, or Indians—called by some Suders, by others Naths or Benia, the first signifying rogue, the second dancer or tumbler—are to be met in large numbers in that part of Hindustan which is watered by the Ganges, as well as the Malwa, Gujerat, and the Deccan.

The religious crusades to the Holy Land commenced in the year 1095 and lasted to 1270. It was during the latter part of the time of the Crusades, and prior to the commencement of the wars by Timur Beg, that the Gipsies flocked by hundreds of thousands to Asiatic Turkey. While the rich merchants and princes were trying to outvie each other in their costly equipages, grandeur, and display of gold in their pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and the tremendous death-struggles between Christianity, Idolatry, and Mohammedism, the Gipsies were busily engaged in singing songs and plundering, and in this work they were encouraged by the Persians as they passed through their territory. The Persians have always been friendly to these wandering, loafing Indians, for we find that during the wars of India by Timur Beg, and other monsters previous, they were harbouring 20,000 of these poor low-caste and outcast Indians; and, in fact, the same thing may be said of the other countries they passed through on their way westward, for we do not read of their being persecuted in these countries to anything like the extent they have been in Europe. This, no doubt, arises from the affinity there is between the Indian, Persian, and Gipsy races, and the dislike the Europeans have towards idlers, loafers, liars, and thieves; and especially is this so in England. Gipsy life may find favour in the East, but in the West the system cannot thrive. A real Englishman hates the man who will not work, scorns the man who would tell him a lie, and would give the thief who puts his hands into his pocket the cat-o'-nine-tails most unmercifully. The persecutions of the Gipsies in this country from time to time has been brought about, to a great extent, by themselves. John Bull dislikes keeping the idle, bastard children of other nations. He readily protects all those who tread upon English soil, but in return for this kindness he expects them, like bees, to be all workers. Drones, ragamuffins, and rodneys cannot grumble if they get kicked out of the hive. If 20,000 Englishmen were to tramp all over India, Turkey, Persia, Hungary, Spain, America, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, South Africa, Germany, or France, in bands of from, say two to fifty men, women, and children, in a most wretched; miserable condition, doing little else but fiddling upon the national conscience and sympathies, blood-sucking the hardworking population, and frittering their time away in idleness, pilfering, and filth, I expect, and justly so, the inhabitants would begin to "kick," and the place would no doubt get rather warm for Mr. John Bull and his motley flock. If the Gipsies, and others of the same class in this country, will begin to "buckle-to," and set themselves out for real hard work, instead of cadging from door to door, they will find, notwithstanding they are called Gipsies, John Bull extending to them the hand of brotherhood and sympathy, and the days of persecution passed.

One thing is remarkable concerning the Gipsies—we never hear of their being actually engaged in warfare. They left India for Asiatic Turkey before the great and terrible wars broke out during the fourteenth century, and before the great religious wars concerning the Mohammedan faith in Turkey, during the fourteenth century, they fled to Western Europe. Thus it will be seen that they "would sooner run a mile than fight a minute." The idea of cold steel in open day frightens them out of their wits. Whenever a war is about to take place in the country in which they are located they will begin to make themselves scarce; and, on the other hand, they will not visit a country where war is going on till after it is over, and then, vulture-like, they swoop down upon the prey. This feature is one of their leading characteristics; with some honourable exceptions, they are always looked upon as long-sighted, dark, deep, designing specimens of fallen humanity. For a number of years prior to the capture of Constantinople by Mohammed II. in 1453 the Gipsies had commenced to wend their way to various parts of Europe. The 200,000 Gipsies who had emigrated to Wallachia and Moldavia, their favourite spot and stronghold, saw what was brewing, and had begun to divide themselves into small bands. A band of 300 of these wanderers, calling themselves Secani, appeared in 1417 at Luneburg, and in 1418 at Basil and Bern in Switzerland. Some were seen at Augsberg on November 1, 1418. Near to Paris there were to be seen numbers of Gipsies in 1424, 1426, and 1427; but it is not likely they remained long in Paris. Later on we find them at Arnheim in 1429, and at Metz in 1430, Erfurt in 1432, and in Bavaria in 1433. The reason they appeared at these places at those particular times, was, no doubt, owing to the internal troubles of France; for it was during 1429 that Joan of Arc raised the siege of Orleans. The Gipsies appearing in small bands in various parts of the Continent at this particular time were, no doubt, as Mr. Groom says in his article in the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," sent forward by the main body of Gipsies left behind in Asiatic and European Turkey, to spy out the land whither they were anxious to bend their ways; for it was in the year 1438, fifteen years before the terrible struggle by the Mohammedans for Constantinople, that the great exodus of Gipsies from Wallachia, Roumania, and Moldavia, for the golden cities of the West commenced. From the period of 1427 to 1514, a space of about eighty-seven years—except spies—they were content to remain on the Continent without visiting our shores; probably from two causes—first, their dislike to crossing the water; second, the unsettled state of our own country during this period. For it should be remembered that the Wars of the Roses commenced in 1455, Richard III. was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field, and in 1513 the Battle of Flodden took place in Scotland, in which the Scots were defeated. The first appearance of the Gipsies in large numbers in Great Britain was in Scotland in 1514, the year after the Battle of Flodden. Another remarkable coincidence connected with their appearance in this country came out during my inquiries; but whether there is any foundation for it further than it is an idea floating in my brain I have not yet been able to ascertain, as nothing is mentioned of it in any of the writings I have perused. It seems reasonable to suppose that the Gipsies, would retain and hand down some of their pleasant, as well as some of the bitter, recollections of India, which, no doubt, would at this time be mentioned to persons high in position—it should be noted that the Gipsies at this time were favourably received at certain head-quarters amongst merchants and princes—for we find that within fourteen years after the landing of the Indians upon our shores attempts were made to reach India by the North-east and North-west passages, which proved a disastrous affair. Then, again, in 1579 Sir F. Drake's expedition set out for India. In 1589 the Levant Company made a land expedition, and in all probability followed the track by which the Gipsies travelled from India to the Holy Land in the fourteenth century, by the Euphrates valley and Persian Gulf.

Towards the end of the year 1417, in the Hanseatic towns on the Baltic coast and at the mouth of the Elbe, there appeared before the gates of Luneburg, and later on at Hamburg, Lubeck, Wirmar, Rostock, and Stralsuna, a herd of swarthy and strange specimens of humanity, uncouth in form, hideous in complexion, and their whole exterior shadowed forth the lowest depths of poverty and degradation. A cloak made of the fragments of oriental finery was generally used to disguise the filth and tattered garments of their slight remaining apparel. The women and young children travelled in rude carts drawn by asses or mules; the men trudged alongside, casting fierce and suspicious glances on those they met, thief-like, from underneath their low, projecting foreheads and eyebrows; the elder children, unkempt and half-clad, swarmed in every direction, calling with shrill cries and monkey-like faces and grimaces to the passers-by to their feats of jugglery, craft, and deception. Forsaking the Baltic provinces the dusky band then sought a more friendly refuge in central Germany—and it was quite time they had begun to make a move, for their deeds of darkness had oozed out, and a number of them paid the penalty upon the gallows, and the rest scampered off to Meissen, Leipsic, and Herse. At these places they were not long in letting the inhabitants know, by their depredations, witchcraft, devilry, and other abominations, the class of people they had in their midst, and the result was their speedy banishment from Germany; and in 1418, after wandering about for a few months only, they turned their steps towards Switzerland, reaching Zurich on August 1st, and encamped during six days before the town, exciting much sympathy by their pious tale and sorrowful appearance. In Switzerland the inhabitants were more gullible, and the soft parts of their nature were easily getatable, and the consequence was the Gipsies made a good thing of it for the space of four years. Soon after leaving Zurich, according to Dr. Mikliosch, the wanderers divided their forces. One detachment crossed the Botzberg and created quite a panic amongst the peaceable inhabitants of Sisteron, who, fearing and imagining all sorts of evils from these satanic-looking people, fed them with a hundred loaves, and induced them, for the good of their health, to make themselves miserably less. We next hear of them in Italy, in 1422. After leaving Asiatic Turkey, and in their wanderings through Russia and Germany, the Asiatic, sanctimonious, religious halo, borrowed from their idolatrous form and notions of the worship of God in the East, had suffered much from exposure to the civilising and Christianising influences of the West; and the result was their leaders decided to make a pilgrimage to Rome to regain, under the cloak of religion, some of the self-imagined lost prestige; and in this they were, at any rate, for a time, successful. On the 11th day of July, 1422, a leader of the Gipsies, named Duke Andrew, arrived at Bologna, with men, women and children, fully one hundred persons, carrying with them, as they alleged, a decree signed by the King of Hungary, permitting them, owing to their return to the Christian faith—stating at the same time that 4,000 had been re-baptised—to rob without penalty or hindrance wherever they travelled during seven years. Here these long-faced, pious hypocrites were in clover, as a reward for their professed re-embracing Christianity. After the expiration of this term they told the open-mouthed inhabitants, as a kind of sweetener, that they were to present themselves to the Pope, and then return to India—aye, with the spoils of their lying campaign, gained by robbing and plundering all they came in contact with. The result of their deceitful, lying expedition to Rome was all they could wish, and they received a fresh passport from . the Pope, asking for alms from his faithful flock on behalf of these wretches, who have been figuring before western nations of the world—sometimes as kings, counts, martyrs, prophets, witches, thieves, liars, and murderers; sometimes laying their misfortunes at the door of the King of Egypt, the Sultan of Turkey, religious persecution in India, the King of Hungary, and a thousand other Gorgios since them. Sometimes they would appear as renegade Christians, converted heathens, Roman Catholics, in fact, they have been everything to everybody; and, so long as the "grist was coming to the mill," it did not matter how or by whom it came.

By an ordinance of the State of Orleans in the year 1560 it was enjoined that all those impostors and vagabonds who go tramping about under the name of Bohemians and Egyptians should quit the kingdom, on penalty of the galleys. Upon this they dispersed into lesser companies, and spread themselves over Europe. They were expelled from Spain in 1591. The first time we hear of them in England in the public records was in the year 1530, when they were described by the statute 22 Hen. VIII., cap. 10, as "an outlandish people calling themselves Egyptians. Using no craft nor seat of merchandise, who have come into this realm and gone from shire to shire, and place to place, in great company, and used great subtile, crafty means to deceive the people, bearing them in hand, that they by palmistry could tell men's and women's fortunes, and so many times by craft and subtilty have deceived the people of their money, and also have committed many heinous felonies and robberies. Wherefore they are directed to avoid the realm, and not to return under pain of imprisonment and forfeiture of their goods and chattels; and upon their trials for any felony which they may have committed they shall not be entitled to a jury de medietate linguae." As if the above enactment was not sufficiently strong to prevent these wretched people multiplying in our midst and carrying on their abominable practices, it was afterwards enacted by statutes 1 and 2 Ph., and in c. 4 and 5 Eliz., cap. 20, "that if any such person shall be imported into this kingdom, the importer shall forfeit 40 pounds. And if the Egyptians themselves remain one month in this kingdom, or if any person being fourteen years old (whether natural-born subject or stranger), which hath been seen or found in the fellowship of such Egyptians, or which hath disguised him or herself like them, shall remain in the same one month, or if several times it is felony, without the benefit of the clergy."

Sir Matthew Hale informs us that at the Suffolk Assizes no less than thirteen Gipsies were executed upon these statutes a few years before the Restoration. But to the honour of our national humanity—which at the time of these executions could only have been in name and not in reality, for those were the days of bull-fighting, bear-baiting, and like sports, the practice of which in those dark ages was thought to be the highest pitch of culture and refinement—no more instances of this kind were thrown into the balance, for the public conscience had become somewhat awakened; the days of enlightenment had begun to dawn, for by statute 23, George III., cap. 51, it was enacted that the Act of Eliz., cap. 20, is repealed; and the statute 17 George II., cap. 5, regards them under the denomination of "rogues and vagabonds;" and such is the title given to them at the present day by the law of the land—"Rogues and Vagabonds."

Borrow, in page 10 of his "Bible in Spain," says: "Shortly after their first arrival in England, which is upwards of three centuries since, a dreadful persecution was raised against them, the aim of which was their utter extermination—the being a Gipsy was esteemed a crime worthy of death, and the gibbets of England groaned and creaked beneath the weight of Gipsy carcases, and the miserable survivors were literally obliged to creep into the earth in order to preserve their lives. But these days passed by; their persecutors became weary of persecuting them; they showed their heads from the caves where they had hidden themselves; they ventured forth increased in numbers, and each tribe or family choosing a particular circuit, they fairly divided the land amongst them.

"In England the male Gipsies are all dealers in horses [this is not exactly the case with the Gipsies of the present day], and sometimes employ their time in mending the tin and copper utensils of the peasantry; the females tell fortunes. They generally pitch their tents in the vicinity of a village or small town, by the roadside, under the shelter of the hedges and trees. The climate of England is well known to be favourable to beauty, and in no part of the world is the appearance of the Gipsies so prepossessing as in that country. Their complexion is dark, but not disagreeably so; their faces are oval, their features regular, their foreheads rather low, and their hands and feet small.

"The crimes of which these people were originally accused were various, but the principal were theft, sorcery, and causing disease among the cattle; and there is every reason for supposing that in none of these points they were altogether guiltless.

"With respect to sorcery, a thing in itself impossible, not only the English Gipsies, but the whole race, have ever professed it; therefore, whatever misery they may have suffered on that account they may be considered as having called it down upon their own heads.

"Dabbling in sorcery is in some degree the province of the female Gipsy. She affects to tell the future, and to prepare philters by means of which love can be awakened in any individual towards any particular object; and such is the credulity of the human race, even in the more enlightened countries, that the profits arising from their practices are great. The following is a case in point:—Two females, neighbours and friends, were tried some years since in England for the murder of their husbands. It appeared that they were in love with the same individual, and had conjointly, at various times, paid sums of money to a Gipsy woman to work charms to captivate his affection. Whatever little effect the charm might produce, they were successful in their principal object, for the person in question carried on for some time a criminal intercourse with both. The matter came to the knowledge of the husbands, who, taking means to break off this connection, were respectively poisoned by their wives. Till the moment of conviction these wretched females betrayed neither emotion nor fear; but then their consternation was indescribable, when they afterwards confessed that the Gipsy who had visited them in prison had promised to shield them from conviction by means of her art.

"Poisoning cattle is exercised by them in two ways: by one, they merely cause disease in the animals, with the view of receiving money for curing them upon offering their services. The poison is generally administered by powders cast at night into the mangers of the animals. This way is only practised upon the larger cattle, such as horses and cows. By the other, which they practise chiefly on swine, speedy death is almost invariably produced, the drug administered being of a highly intoxicating nature, and affecting the brain. Then they apply at the house or farm where the disaster has occurred for the carcase of the animal, which is generally given them without suspicion, and then they feast on the flesh, which is not injured by the poison, it only affecting the head."

In looking at the subject from a plain, practical, common-sense point of view—divested of "opinions," "surmises," "technicalities," "similarities," certain ethnological false shadows and philological mystifications, the little glow-worm in the hedge-bottom on a dark night, which our great minds have been running after for generations, and "natural consequences," "objects sought," and "certain results"—we shall find that the same thing has happened to the Gipsies, or Indians, centuries ago, that has happened to all nations at one time or other. There can be no doubt but that terrible internal struggles took place, and hundreds of thousands of the inhabitants were butchered in cold blood, in India, during the tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries; there can be no question, also, that the 200,000,000 inhabitants, in this over-populated country, would suffer, in various forms, the direst consequences of war, famine, and bloodshed; and, it is more than probable, that hundreds of thousands of the idle, low-caste Indians, too lazy to work, too cowardly to fight in open day, with no honourable ambition or true religious instincts in their nature, other than to aspire to the position similar to bands of Nihilists, Communists, Socialists, or Fenians of the present day, would emigrate to Wallachia, Roumania, or Moldavia, which countries, at that day, were looked upon as England is at the present time. The Gipsies, many centuries ago, as now, did not believe in yokes being placed round their necks. The fact of 200,000 of these emigrants, about whom, after all, there is not much mystery, emigrating to Wallachia in such large numbers, proves to my mind that there was a greater power behind them and before them than is usually supposed to be the case, and than that attending wandering minstrels, impelling them forward. Mohammedism, soldiers, and death would not be looked upon by the Gipsies as pleasant companions. By fleeing for their lives they escaped death, and Wallachia was to the Gipsies, for some time, what America has been to the Fenians—an ark of safety and the land of Nod. Many of the Gipsies themselves imagine that they are the descendants of Ishmael, from the simple fact that it was decreed by God, they say, that his descendants should wander about in tents, and they were to be against everybody, and everybody against them. This erroneous impression wants removing, or the Gipsies will never rise in position.

In no country in the world is there so much caste feeling, devilish jealousy, and diabolical revenge manifested as in India. These are true types and traits of Indian character, especially of the lower orders and those who have lost caste; the Turks, Arabs, Egyptians, Roumanians, Hungarians, and Spaniards sink into insignificance when compared with the Afghans, Hindus, and other inhabitants of some of the worst parts of India. Any one observing the Gipsies closely, as I have been trying to do for some time, outside their mystery boxes, with their thin, flimsy veil of romance and superstitious turn of their faces, will soon discover their Indian character. Of course their intermixture with Circassians and other nations, in the course of their travels from India, during five or six centuries, till the time they arrived at our doors, has brought, and is still bringing, to the surface the blighted flowers of humanity, whose ancestral tree derived its nourishment from the soil of Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Roumania, Wallachia, Moldavia, Spain, Hungary, Norway, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, as the muddy stream of Gipsyism has been winding its way for ages through various parts of the world; and, I am sorry to say, this little dark stream has been casting forth an unpleasant odour and a horrible stench in our midst, which has so long been fed and augmented by the dregs of English society from Sunday-schools and the hearthstones of pious parents. The different nationalities to be seen among the Gipsies, in their camps and tents, may be looked upon as so many bastard off-shoots from the main trunk of the trees that have been met with in their wanderings.

In no part of the globe, owing principally to our isolation, is the old Gipsy character losing itself among the street-gutter rabble as in our own; notwithstanding this mixture of blood and races, the diabolical Indian elements are easily recognisable in their wigwams. Then, again, their Indian origin can be traced in many of their social habits; among others, they squat upon the ground differently to the Turk, Arab, and other nationalities, who are pointed to by some writers as being the ancestors of the Gipsies. Their tramping over the hills and plains of India, and exposure to all the changes of the climate, has no doubt fitted them, physically, for the kind of life they are leading in various parts of the world. To-day Gipsies are to be found in almost every part of the civilised countries, between the frozen regions of Siberia and the burning sands of Africa, squatting about in their tents. The treatment of the women and children by the men corresponds exactly with the treatment the women and children are receiving at the hands of the low-caste Indians. The Arabian women, the Turkish women, and Egyptian women, may be said to be queens when set up in comparison with the poor Gipsy woman in this country. In Turkey, Arabia, Egypt, and some other Eastern nations, the women are kept in the background; but among the low-caste Indians and Gipsies the women are brought to the front divested of the modesty of those nations who claim to be the primogenitors of the Gipsy tribes and races. Among the lower orders of Indians, from whom the Gipsies are the outcome, most extraordinary types of characters and countenances are to be seen. Any one visiting the Gipsy wigwams of the present day will soon discover the relationship.

In early life, as among the Indians, some of the girls are pretty and interesting, but with exposure, cruelty, immorality, debauchery, idle and loose habits, the pretty, dark-eyed girl soon becomes the coarse, vulgar woman, with the last trace of virtue blown to the winds. If any one with but little keen sense of observation will peep into a Gipsy's tent when the man is making pegs and skewers, and contrast him with the low-caste Indian potter at his wheel and the carpenter at his bench—all squatting upon the ground—he will not be long in coming to the conclusion that they are all pretty much of the same family.

Ethnologists and philologists may find certain words used by the Gipsies to correspond with the Indian language, and this adds another proof to those I have already adduced; but, to my mind, this, after the lapse of so many centuries, considering all the changes that have taken place since the Gipsies emigrated, is not the most convincing argument, any more than our forms of letters, the outcome of hieroglyphics, prove that we were once Egyptians. No doubt, there are a certain few words used by all nations which, if their roots and derivations were thoroughly looked into, a similarity would be found in them. As America, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa have been fields for emigrants from China and Europe during the last century, so, in like manner, Europe was the field for certain low-caste poor emigrants from India during the two preceding centuries, with this difference—the emigrants from India to Europe were idlers, loafers who sought to make their fortunes among the Europeans by practising, without work, the most subtle arts of double-dealing, lying, deception, thieving, and dishonesty, and the fate that attends individuals following out such a course as this has attended the Gipsies in all their wanderings; the consequence has been, the Gipsy emigrants, after their first introduction to the various countries, have, by their actions, disgusted those whom they wished to cheat and rob, hence the treatment they have received. This cannot be said of the emigrant from England to America and our own or other colonies. An English emigrant, on account of his open conduct, straightforward character, and industry, has been always respected. In any country an English emigrant enters, owing to his industrious habits, an improvement takes place. In the country where an Indian emigrant of the Gipsy tribe enters the tendency is the reverse of this, so far as their influence is concerned—downward to the ground and to the dogs they go. In these two cases the difference between civilisation and Christianity and heathenism comes out to a marked degree.

In a leading article in the Edinburgh Review, July, 1878, upon the origin and wanderings of the Gipsies, the following appears:—"We next encounter them in Corfu, probably before 1346, since there is good reason to believe them to be indicated under the name of homines vageniti in a document emanating from the Empress Catharine of Valois, who died in that year; certainly, about 1370, when they were settled upon a fief recognised as the feudum Acinganorum by the Venetians, who, in 1386, succeeded to the right of the House of Valois in the island. This fief continued to subsist under the lordship of the Barons de Abitabulo and of the House of Prosalendi down to the abolition of feudalism in Corfu in the beginning of the present century. There remain to be noted two important pieces of evidence relating to this period. The first is contained in a charter of Miracco I., Waiwode of Wallachia, dated 1387, renewing a grant of forty 'tents' of Gipsies, made by his uncle, Ladislaus, to the monastery of St. Anthony of Vodici. Ladislaus began to reign in 1398. The second consists in the confirmation accorded in 1398 by the Venetian governor of Nanplion of the privileges extended by his predecessors to the Acingani dwelling in that district. Thus we find Gipsies wandering through Crete in 1322, settled in Corfu from 1346, enslaved in Wallachia about 1370, protected in the Peloponnesus before 1398. Nor is there is any reason to believe that their arrival in those countries was a recent one."

Niebuhr, in his travels through Arabia, met with hordes of these strolling Gipsies in the warm district of Yemen, and M. Sauer in like manner found them established in the frozen regions of Siberia. His account of them, published in 1802, shows the Gipsy to be the same in Northern Russia as with us in England. He describes them as follows:—"I was surprised at the appearance of detached families throughout the Government of Tobolsk, and upon inquiry I learned that several roving companies of these people had strolled into the city of Tobolsk." The governor thought of establishing a colony of them, but they were too cunning for the simple Siberian peasant. He placed them on a footing with the peasants, and allotted a portion of land for cultivation with a view of making them useful members of society. They rejected houses even in this severe climate, and preferred open tents or sheds. In Hungary and Transylvania they dwell in tents during the summer, and for their winter quarters make holes ten or twelve feet deep in the earth. The women, one writer says, "deal in old clothes, prostitution, wanton dances, and fortune-telling, and are indolent beggars and thieves. They have few disorders except the measles and small-pox, and weaknesses in their eyes caused by the smoke. Their physic is saffron put into their soup, with bleeding." In Hungary, as with other nations, they have no sense of religion, though with their usual cunning and hypocrisy they profess the established faith of every country in which they live.

The following is an article taken from the Saturday Review, December 13th, 1879:—"It has been repeated until the remark has become accepted as a sort of truism that the Gipsies are a mysterious race, and that nothing is known of their origin. And a few years ago this was true; but within those years so much has been discovered that at present there is really no more mystery attached to the beginning of those nomads than is peculiar to many other peoples. What these discoveries or grounds of belief are we shall proceed to give briefly, our limits not permitting the detailed citation of authorities. First, then, there appears to be every reason for believing with Captain Richard Burton that the Jats of North-Western India furnished so large a proportion of the emigrants or exiles who, from the tenth century, went out of India westward, that there is very little risk in assuming it as an hypothesis, at least, that they formed the Hauptstamm of the Gipsies of Europe. What other elements entered into these, with whom we are all familiar, will be considered presently. These Gipsies came from India, where caste is established and callings are hereditary even among out-castes. It is not assuming too much to suppose that, as they evinced a marked aptitude for certain pursuits and an inveterate attachment to certain habits, their ancestors had in these respects resembled them for ages. These pursuits and habits were, that:—They were tinkers, smiths, and farriers. They dealt in horses, and were naturally familiar with them. They were without religion. They were unscrupulous thieves. Their women were fortune-tellers, especially by chiromancy. They ate without scruple animals which had died a natural death, being especially fond of the pig, which, when it has thus been 'butchered by God,' is still regarded even by the most prosperous Gipsies in England as a delicacy. They flayed animals, carried corpses, and showed such aptness for these and similar detested callings that in several European countries they long monopolised them. They made and sold mats, baskets, and small articles of wood. They have shown great skill as dancers, musicians, singers, acrobats; and it is a rule almost without exception that there is hardly a travelling company of such performers, or a theatre in Europe or America, in which there is not at least one person with some Romany blood. Their hair remains black to advanced age, and they retain it longer than do Europeans or ordinary Orientals. They speak an Aryan tongue, which agrees in the main with that of the Jats, but which contains words gathered from other Indian sources. Admitting these as the peculiar pursuits of the race, the next step should be to consider what are the principal nomadic tribes of Gipsies in India and Persia, and how far their occupations agree with those of the Romany of Europe. That the Jats probably supplied the main stock has been admitted. This was a bold race of North-Western India which at one time had such power as to obtain important victories over the caliphs. They were broken and dispersed in the eleventh century by Mahmoud, many thousands of them wandering to the West. They were without religion, 'of the horse, horsey,' and notorious thieves. In this they agree with the European Gipsy. But they are not habitual eaters of mullo balor, or 'dead pork;' they do not devour everything like dogs. We cannot ascertain that the Jat is specially a musician, a dancer, a mat and basket-maker, a rope-dancer, a bear-leader, or a pedlar. We do not know whether they are peculiar in India among the Indians for keeping their hair unchanged to old age, as do pure-blood English Gipsies. All of these things are, however, markedly characteristic of certain different kinds of wanderers, or Gipsies, in India. From this we conclude—hypothetically—that the Jat warriors were supplemented by other tribes.

"Next to the word Rom itself, the most interesting in Romany is Zingan, or Tchenkan, which is used in twenty or thirty different forms by the people of every country, except England, to indicate the Gipsy. An incredible amount of far-fetched erudition has been wasted in pursuing this philological ignis-fatuus. That there are leather-working and saddle-working Gipsies in Persia who call themselves Zingan is a fair basis for an origin of the word; but then there are Tchangar Gipsies of Jat affinity in the Punjab. Wonderful it is that in this war of words no philologist has paid any attention to what the Gipsies themselves say about it. What they do say is sufficiently interesting, as it is told in the form of a legend which is intrinsically curious and probably ancient. It is given as follows in 'The People of Turkey,' by a Consul's Daughter and Wife, edited by Mr. Stanley Lane Poole, London, 1878:—

"'Although the Gipsies are not persecuted in Turkey, the antipathy and disdain felt for them evinces itself in many ways, and appears to be founded upon a strange legend current in the country. This legend says that when the Gipsy nation were driven out of their country and arrived at Mekran, they constructed a wonderful machine to which a wheel was attached.' From the context of this imperfectly told story, it would appear as if the Gipsies could not travel further until this wheel should revolve:—'Nobody appeared to be able to turn it, till in the midst of their vain efforts some evil spirit presented himself under the disguise of a sage, and informed the chief, whose name was Chen, that the wheel would be made to turn only when he had married his sister Guin. The chief accepted the advice, the wheel turned round, and the name of the tribe after this incident became that of the combined names of the brother and sister, Chenguin, the appellation of all the Gipsies of Turkey at the present day.' The legend goes on to state that, in consequence of this unnatural marriage, the Gipsies were cursed and condemned by a Mohammedan saint to wander for ever on the face of the earth. The real meaning of the myth—for myth it is—is very apparent. Chen is a Romany word, generally pronounced Chone, meaning the moon, while Guin is almost universally rendered Gan or Kan. Kan is given by George Borrow as meaning sun, and we have ourselves heard English Gipsies call it kan, although kam is usually assumed to be right. Chen-kan means, therefore, moon-sun. And it may be remarked in this connection that the Roumanian Gipsies have a wild legend stating that the sun was a youth who, having fallen in love with his own sister, was condemned as the sun to wander for ever in pursuit of her turned into the moon. A similar legend exists in Greenland and the island of Borneo, and it was known to the old Irish. It was very natural that the Gipsies, observing that the sun and moon were always apparently wandering, should have identified their own nomadic life with that of these luminaries. It may be objected by those to whom the term 'solar myth' is as a red rag that this story, to prove anything, must first be proved itself. This will probably not be far to seek. If it can be found among any of the wanderers in India, it may well be accepted, until something better turns up, as the possible origin of the greatly disputed Zingan. It is quite as plausible as Dr. Mikliosch's derivation from the Acingani—[Greek text]—'an unclean, heretical Christian sect, who dwelt in Phrygia and Lycaonia from the seventh till the eleventh century.' The mention of Mekran indicates clearly that the moon-sun story came from India before the Romany could have obtained any Greek name. And if the Romany call themselves Jengan, or Chenkan, or Zin-gan, in the East, it is extremely unlikely that they ever received such a name from the Gorgios in Europe."

Professor Bott, in his "Die Zigeuner in Europa und Asien," speaks of the Gipsies or Lury as follows:—"In the great Persian epic, the 'Shah-Nameh'—in 'Book of Kings,' Firdusi—relates an historical tradition to the following effect. About the year 420 A.D., Behram Gur, a wise and beneficent ruler of the Sassanian dynasty, finding that his poorer subjects languished for lack of recreation, bethought himself of some means by which to divert their spirits amid the oppressive cares of a laborious life. For this purpose he sent an embassy to Shankal, King of Canaj and Maharajah of India, with whom he had entered into a strict bond of amity, requesting him to select from among his subjects and transmit to the dominions of his Persian ally such persons as could by their arts help to lighten the burden of existence, and lend a charm to the monotony of toil. The result was the importation of twelve thousand minstrels, male and female, to whom the king assigned certain lands, as well as an ample supply of corn and cattle, to the end that, living independently, they might provide his people with gratuitous amusement. But at the end of one year they were found to have neglected agricultural operations, to have wasted their seed corn, and to be thus destitute of all means of subsistence. Then Behram Gur, being angry, commanded them to take their asses and instruments, and roam through the country, earning a livelihood by their songs. The poet concludes as follows:—'The Lury, agreeably to this mandate, now wander about the world in search of employment, associating with dogs and wolves, and thieving on the road, by day and by night.'" These words were penned nearly nine centuries ago, and correctly describe the condition of one of the wandering tribes of Persia at the present day, and they have been identified by some travellers as members of the Gipsy family.

Dr. Von Bott goes on to say this:—"The tradition of the importation of the Lury from India is related by no less than five Persian or Arab writers: first, about the year 940 by Hamza, an Arab historian, born at Ispahan; next, as we have seen, by Firdusi; in the year 1126 by the author of the 'Modjmel-al-Yevaryk;' in the fifteenth century by Mirkhoud, the historian of the Sassanides. The transplanted musicians are called by Hamza Zuth, and in some manuscripts of Mirkhoud's history the same name occurs, written, according to the Indian orthography, Djatt. These words are undistinguishable when pronounced, and, in fact, may be looked upon as phonetically equivalent, the Arabic z being the legitimate representative of the Indian dj. Now Zuth or Zatt, as it is indifferently written, is one of the designations of the Syrian Gipsies, and Djatt is the tribal appellative of the ancient Indian race still widely diffused throughout the Punjab and Beloochistan. Thus we find that the modern Lury, who may, without fear of error, be classed as Persian Gipsies, derive a traditional origin from certain Indian minstrels called by an Arab author of the tenth century Zuth, and by a Persian historian of the fifteenth, Djatt, a name claimed, on the one hand by the Gipsies frequenting the neighbourhood of Damascus, and on the other by a people dwelling in the valley of the Indus." The Djatts were averse to religious speculation, and rejected all sectarian observances; the Hindu was mystical and meditative, and a slave to the superstitions of caste. From a remote period there were Djatt settlements along the shores of the Persian Gulf, plainly indicating the route by which the Gipsies travelled westward from India, as I have before intimated, rather than endure the life of an Indian slave under the Mohammedan task-masters. Liberty! liberty! free and wild as partridges, with no disposition to earn their bread by the sweat of the brow, ran through their nature like an electric wire, which the chirp of a hedge-sparrow in spring-time would bring into action, and cause them to bound like wild asses to the lanes, commons, and moors. They have always refused to submit to the Mohammedan faith: in fact, the Djatts have accepted neither Brahma nor Budda, and have never adopted any national religion whatever. The church of the Gipsies, according to a popular saying in Hungary, "was built of bacon, and long ago eaten by the dogs." Captain Richard F. Burton wrote in 1849, in his work called the "Sindh, and the Races that Inhabit the Valley of the Indus:"—"It seems probable, from the appearance and other peculiarities of the race, that the Djatts are connected by consanguinity with that singular race, the Gipsies." Some writers have endeavoured to prove that the Gipsies were formerly Egyptians; but, from several causes, they have never been able to show conclusively that such was the case. The wandering Gipsies in Egypt, at the present day, are not looked upon by the Egyptians as in any way related to them. Then, again, others have tried to prove that the Gipsies are the descendants of Hagar; but this argument falls to the ground simply because the connecting links have not been found. The two main reasons alleged by Mr. Groom and those who try to establish this theory are, first, that the Ishmaelites are wanderers; second, that they are smiths, or workers in iron and brass. The Mohammedans claim Ishmael as their father, and certainly they would be in a better position to judge upon this point eleven centuries ago then we possibly can be at this late date. And so, in like manner, where it is alleged that the Gipsies sprang from, Roumania, Wallachia, Moldavia, Spain, and Hungary.

The following are specimens of Indian characters, taken from "The People of India," prepared under the authority of the Indian Government, and edited by Dr. Forbes Watson, M.A., and Sir John William Kaye, F.R.S. In speaking of the Changars, they say that these Indians have an unenviable character for thieving and general dishonesty, and form one of the large class of unsettled wanderers which, inadmissible to Hinduism and unconverted to the Mohammedan faith, lives on in a miserable condition of life as outcasts from the more civilised communities. Changars are, in general, petty thieves and pickpockets, and have no settled vocation. They object to continuous labour. The women make baskets, beg, pilfer, or sift and grind corn. They have no settled places of residence, and live in small blanket or mat tents, or temporary sheds outside villages. They are professedly Hindus and worshippers of Deree or Bhowanee, but they make offerings at Mohammedan shrines. They have private ceremonies, separate from those of any professed faith, which are connected with the aboriginal belief that still lingers among the descendants of the most ancient tribes of India, and is chiefly a propitiation of malignant demons and malicious sprites. They marry exclusively among themselves, and polygamy is common. In appearance, both men and women are repulsively mean and wretched; the features of the women in particular being very ugly, and of a strong aboriginal type. The Changars are one of the most miserable and useless of the wandering tribes of the upper provinces. They feed, as it were, on the garbage left by others, never changing, never improving, never advancing in the social rank, scale, or utility—outcast and foul parasites from the earliest ages, and they so remain. The Changars, like other vagrants, are of dissolute habits, indulging freely in intoxicating liquors, and smoking ganjia, or cured hemp leaves, to a great extent. Their food can hardly be particularised, and is usually of the meanest description; occasionally, however, there are assemblies of the caste, when sheep are killed and eaten; and at marriages and other domestic occurrences feasts are provided, which usually end in foul orgies. In the clothes and person the Changars are decidedly unclean, and indeed, in most respects the repulsiveness of the tribes can hardly be exceeded.

The Doms are a race of Gipsies found from Central India to the far Northern frontier, where a portion of their early ancestry appear as the Domarr, and are supposed to be pre-Aryan. In "The People of India," we are told that the appearance and modes of life of the Doms indicate a marked difference from those who surround them (in Behar). The Hindus admit their claim to antiquity. Their designation in the Shastras is Sopuckh, meaning dog-eater. They are wanderers, they make baskets and mats, and are inveterate drinkers of spirits, spending all their earnings on it. They have almost a monopoly as to burning corpses and handling all dead bodies. They eat all animals which have died a natural death, and are particularly fond of pork of this description. "Notwithstanding profligate habits, many of them attain the age of eighty or ninety; and it is not till sixty or sixty-five that their hair begins to get white." The Domarr are a mountain race, nomads, shepherds, and robbers. Travellers speak of them as "Gipsies." A specimen which we have of their language would, with the exception of one word, which is probably an error of the transcriber, be intelligible to any English Gipsy, and be called pure Romany. Finally, the ordinary Dom calls himself a Dom, his wife a Domni, and the being a Dom, or the collective Gipsydom, Domnipana. D in Hindustani is found as r in English Gipsy speech—e.g., doi, a wooden spoon, is known in Europe as roi. Now in common Romany we have, even in London:—

Rom A Gipsy. Romni A Gipsy wife. Romnipen Gipsydom.

Of this word rom we shall more to say. It may be observed that there are in the Indian Dom certain distinctly-marked and degrading features, characteristic of the European Gipsy, which are out of keeping with the habits of warriors, and of a daring Aryan race which withstood the caliphs. Grubbing in filth as if by instinct, handling corpses, making baskets, eating carrion, living for drunkenness, does not agree with anything we can learn of the Jats. Yet the European Gipsies are all this, and at the same time 'horsey' like the Jats. Is it not extremely probable that during the "out-wandering" the Dom communicated his name and habits to his fellow-emigrants?

The marked musical talent characteristic of the Slavonian and other European Gipsies appears to link them with the Luri of Persia. These are distinctly Gipsies; that is to say, they are wanderers, thieves, fortune-tellers, and minstrels. The Shah-Nameh of Firdusi tells us that about the year 420 A.D., Shankal, the Maharajah of India, sent to Behram Gour, a ruler of the Sassanian dynasty in Persia, ten thousand minstrels, male and female, called Luri. Though lands were allotted to them, with corn and cattle, they became from the beginning irreclaimable vagabonds. Of their descendants, as they now exist, Sir Henry Pottinger says:—

"They bear a marked affinity to the Gipsies of Europe." ["Travels in Beloochistan and Scinde," p. 153.] "They speak a dialect peculiar to themselves, have a king to each troupe, and are notorious for kidnapping and pilfering. Their principal pastimes are drinking, dancing, and music. . . . They are invariably attended by half a dozen of bears and monkeys that are broken in to perform all manner of grotesque tricks. In each company there are always two or three members who profess . . . modes of divining which procure them a ready admission into every society." This account, especially with the mention of trained bears and monkeys, identifies them with the Ricinari, or bear-leading Gipsies of Syria (also called Nuri), Turkey, and Roumania. A party of these lately came to England. We have seen these Syrian Ricinari in Egypt. They are unquestionably Gipsies, and it is probable that many of them accompanied the early migration of Jats and Doms.

The following is the description of another low-caste, wandering tribe of Indians, taken from "The People of India," called "Sanseeas," vagrants of no particular creed, and make their head-quarters near Delhi. The editor, speaking of this tribe, says that they have been vagrants from the earliest periods of Indian history. They may have accompanied Aryan immigrants or invaders, or they may have risen out of aboriginal tribes; but whatever their origin, they have not altered in any respect, and continue to prey upon its population as they have ever done, and will continue to do as long as they are in existence, unless they are forcibly restrained by our Government and converted, as the Thugs have been, into useful members of society.

They are essentially outcasts, admitted to no other caste fellowship, ministered to by no priests, without any ostensible calling or profession, totally ignorant of everything but their hereditary crime, and with no settled place of residence whatever; they wander as they please over the land, assuming any disguise they may need, and for ever preying upon the people. When they are not engaged in acts of crime, they are beggars, assuming various religious forms, or affecting the most abject poverty. The women and children have the true whine of the professional mendicant, as they frequent thronged bazaars, receiving charity and stealing what they can. They sell mock baubles in some instances, but only as a cloak to other enterprises, and as a pretence of an honest calling. The men are clever at assuming disguises; and being often intelligent and even polite in their demeanour, can become religious devotees, travelling merchants, or whatever they need to further their ends. They are perfectly unscrupulous and very daring in their proceedings. The Sanseeas are not only Thugs and Dacoits, but kidnappers of children, and in particular of female children, who are readily sold even at very tender ages to be brought up as household slaves, or to be educated by professional classes for the purpose of prostitution. These crimes are the peculiar offence of the women members of the tribe. Generally a few families in company wander over the whole of Northern India, but are also found in the Deccan, sometimes by themselves, sometimes in association with Khimjurs, or a class of Dacoits, called Mooltanes. It is, perhaps, a difficult question for Government to deal with, but it is not impossible, as the Thugs have been employed in useful and profitable arts, and thus reclaimed from pursuits in which they have never known in regard to others the same instincts of humanity which exist among ourselves. Sanseeas have as many wives and concubines as they can support. Some of the women are good-looking, but with all classes, women and men, exists an appearance of suspicion in their features which is repulsive. They are, as a class, in a condition of miserable poverty, living from hand to mouth, idle, disreputable, restless, without any settled homes, and for the most part without even habitations. They have no distinct language of their own, but speak a dialect of Rajpootana, which is disguised by slang or argot terms of their own that is unintelligible to other classes. In "The People of India" mention is made of another class of wandering Indians, called Nuts, or Naths, who correspond to the European Gipsy tribes, and like these, have no settled home. They are constant thieves. The men are clever as acrobats. The women attend their performances, and sing or play on native drums or tambourines. The Nuts do not mix with or intermarry with other tribes. They live for the most part in tents made of black blanket stuff, and move from village to village through all parts of the country. They are as a marked race, and generally distrusted wherever they go.

They are musicians, dancers, conjurers, acrobats, fortune-tellers, blacksmiths, robbers, and dwellers in tents. They eat everything, except garlic. There are also in India the Banjari, who are spoken of by travellers as "Gipsies." They are travelling merchants or pedlars. Among all of these wanderers there is a current slang of the roads, as in England. This slang extends even into Persia. Each tribe has its own, but the general name for it is Rom.

It has never been pointed out, however, that there is in Northern and Central India a distinct tribe, which is regarded even by the Nats and Doms and Jats themselves, as peculiarly and distinctly Gipsy. "We have met," says one writer, "in London with a poor Mohammedan Hindu of Calcutta. This man had in his youth lived with these wanderers, and been, in fact, one of them. He had also, as is common with intelligent Mohammedans, written his autobiography, embodying in it a vocabulary of the Indian Gipsy language. This MS. had unfortunately been burned by his English wife, who informed the writer that she had done so 'because she was tired of seeing a book lying about which she could not understand.' With the assistance of an eminent Oriental scholar who is perfectly familiar with both Hindustani and Romany, this man was carefully examined. He declared that these were the real Gipsies of India, 'like English Gipsies here.' 'People in India called them Trablus or Syrians, a misapplied word, derived from a town in Syria, which in turn bears the Arabic name for Tripoli. But they were, as he was certain, pure Hindus, and not Syrian Gipsies. They had a peculiar language, and called both this tongue and themselves Rom. In it bread was called Manro.' Manro is all over Europe the Gipsy word for bread. In English Romany it is softened into maro or morro. Captain Burton has since informed us that manro is the Afghan word for bread; but this our ex-Gipsy did not know. He merely said that he did not know it in any Indian dialect except that of the Rom, and that Rom was the general slang of the road, derived, as he supposed, from the Trablus."

These are, then, the very Gipsies of Gipsies in India. They are thieves, fortune-tellers, and vagrants. But whether they have or had any connection with the migration to the West we cannot establish. Their language and their name would seem to indicate it; but then it must be borne in mind that the word Rom, like Dom, is one of wide dissemination, Dom being a Syrian Gipsy word for the race. And the very great majority of even English Gipsy words are Hindu, with an admixture of Persian, and not belonging to a slang of any kind. As in India, churi is a knife, nak, the nose, balia, hairs, and so on, with others which would be among the first to be furnished with slang equivalents. And yet these very Gipsies are Rom, and the wife is a Romni, and they use words which are not Hindu in common with European Gipsies. It is therefore not improbable that in these Trablus, so called through popular ignorance, as they are called Tartars in Egypt and Germany, we have a portion at least of the real stock. It is to be desired that some resident in India would investigate the Trablus.

Grellmann in his German treatise on Gipsies, says:—"They are lively, uncommonly loquacious and chattering, fickle in the extreme, consequently inconstant in their pursuits, faithless to everybody, even their own kith and kin, void of the least emotion of gratitude, frequently rewarding benefits with the most insidious malice. Fear makes them slavishly compliant when under subjection, but having nothing to apprehend, like other timorous people, they are cruel. Desire of revenge often causes them to take the most desperate resolutions. To such a degree of violence is their fury sometimes excited, that a mother has been known in the excess of passion to take her small infant by the feet, and therewith strike the object of her anger. They are so addicted to drinking as to sacrifice what is most necessary to them that they may feast their palates with ardent spirits. Nothing can exceed the unrestrained depravity of manners existing among them. Unchecked by any idea of shame they give way to every libidinous desire. The mother endeavours by the most scandalous arts to train up her daughter for an offering to sensuality, and she is scarcely grown up before she becomes the seducer of others. Laziness is so prevalent among them that were they to subsist by their own labour only, they would hardly have bread for two of the seven days in the week. This indolence increases their propensity to stealing and cheating. They seek to avail themselves of every opportunity to satisfy their lawless desires. Their universal bad character, therefore, for fickleness, infidelity, ingratitude, revenge, malice, rage, depravity, laziness, knavery, thievishness, and cunning, though not deficient in capacity and cleverness, renders them people of no use in society. The boys will run like wild things after carrion, let it stink ever so much, and where a mortality happens among the cattle, there these wretched creatures are to be found in the greatest numbers."

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