Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

History of the Gipsies
Chapter V - Fife and Stirlingshire Gipsies

IN this account of the Gipsies in Fife, the horde which at one period resided at the village of Lochgellie are frequently referred to. But it is proper to premise that this noted band were not the only Gipsies in Fife. This populous county contained, at one time, a great number of nomadic Gipsies. The Falkland hills and the Falkland fairs were greatly frequented by them;

(In Oliver and Boyd's Scottish Tourist, (1852), page 181, occurs the following passage: "A singular set of vagrants existed long in Falkland, called Scrapies, who had no other visible means of existence than a horse or a cow. Their ostensible employment was the carriage of commodities to the adjoining villages, and in the intervals of work they turned out their cattle to graze on the Lomond HiIl. Their excursions at night were long and mysterious, for the pretended object of procuring coals, but they roamed with their little carts through the country-side, securing whatever they could Iift, and plundering fields in autumn. Whenever any enquiry was addressed to a Falkland Scrapie as to the support of his horse, the ready answer was, ' Ou, he gangs up the (Lomond) Hill, ye ken.' This is now prevented ; the Lomond is enclosed, and the Scrapies now manage their affairs on the road-sides."

The people mentioned in this extract are doubtless those to whom our author alludes. The reader will notice some resemblance between them and the tribe in the Pyrenees, as described at page 87.—Ed.)

and, not far from St. Andrews, some of the tribe had, within these fifty years, a small farm, containing about twenty acres of waste land, on which they had a small foundry, which the country people, on that account, called "Little Carron." As my materials for this chapter are chiefly derived from the LochgeIIie band, and their immediate connexions in other districts not far from Fife, their manners and customs are, on that account, brought more under review.

The village of Lochgellie was, at one time, a favourite resort of the Gipsies. The grounds in its immediate vicinity are exactly of that character upon which they seem to have fixed their permanent, or rather winter's residence, in a great many parts of Scotland. By the statistical account of the parish of Auchterderran, Lochgellie was almost inaccessible for nearly six months in the year. The bleak and heathy morasses, and rushy wastes, with which the village is surrounded, have a gloomy and melancholy aspect. The scenery and face of the adjoining country are very similar to those in the neighbourhood of Biggar, in Lanarkshire, and Middleton, in Midlothian, which were also, at that time, Gipsy stations. A little to the south of the spot where the Linlithgow band, at one period, had their quarters, the country becomes moory, bleak, and barren. The village of Kirk-Yetholm, at present full of Gipsies, is also situated upon the confines of a wild, pastoral tract, among the Cheviot hills. The Gipsies, in general, appear to have located themselves upon grounds of a flattish character, between the cultivated and uncultivated districts ; having, on one side, a fertile and populous country, and, on the other, a heathy, boggy, and barren waste, into which they could retire in times of danger.

In the statistical account of Auchterderran, just alluded to, is to be found the following notice of the Lochgellie Gipsies: "There are a few persons called Tinkers and Homers, half resident and half itinerant, who are feared and suspected by the community. Two of them were banished within these six years." This horde, at one time, consisted of four or five families of the names of Graham, Brown, Robertson, &c. The Jamiesons and Wilsons were also often seen at Lochgellie ; but such were the numbers that were coming and going about the village, that it was difficult to say who were residenters, and who were not. Some of them had feus from the proprietor of the estate of Lochgellie. They were dreaded for their depredations, and were well known to the country people, all over the shires of Fife, Kinross, Perth, Forfar, Kincardine and Aberdeen, by the name of the "Lochgellie band." The chiefs of this band were the Grahams, at the head of which was old Charles Graham, an uncommonly stout and fine-looking man. He was banished the kingdom for his many crimes. Charlie had been often in courts of justice, and on one occasion, when he appeared for some crime or other, the judge, in a surly manner, demanded of him, what had brought him there?—"The auld thing again, my lord, but nae proof," was the Tinkler's immediate reply. Ann Brown, one of his wives, and the chief female of the band, was also sentenced to banishment for fourteen years ; seven of which, however, she spent in the prison of Aberdeen. She remained altogether nine years at Botany Bay, married a Gipsy abroad, returned to Scotland, with more than a hundred pounds in cash, and now sells earthenware at St. Andrews. Being asked why she left Botany Bay, while making so much money there, she said," It was to let them see I could come back again." Young Charlie Graham, son and successor, as chief, to old Charlie, was hanged at Perth, about thirty years ago, for horse-stealing. The anecdotes which arc told of this singular man are numerous. When he was apprehended, a number of people assembled to look at him, as an object of wonder ; it being considered a tiling almost impossible to take him. His dog had discovered to the messengers the place of his concealment, having barked at them as they came near the spot. His feelings became irritated at the curiosity of the people, and he called out in great bitterness to the officers: "Let me free, and gie me a stick three feet lang, and I'll clear the knowe o' them." His feet and hands were so handsome and small, in proportion to the other parts of his athletic body, that neither irons nor hand-cuffs could be kept on his ankles or wrists; without injury to his person the gyves and manacles always slipped over his joints. He had a prepossessing countenance, an elegant figure, and much generosity of heart; and, notwithstanding all his tricks, was an extraordinary favourite with the public. Among the many tricks he played, it is related that he once, unobserved, in a grass park, converted a young colt into a gelding. He allowed the animal to remain for some time in the possession of the owner, and then stole it. He was immediately detected, and apprehended; but as the owner swore positively to the description of his horse, and Charlie's being a gelding, he got off clear. The man was amazed when he discovered the trick that had been played upon him, but when, where, and by whom done, he was entirely ignorant. Graham sold the animal to a third person, again stole it, and replaced it in the park of the original owner. He seemed to take great delight in stealing in this ingenious manner, trying how dexterously he could carry off the property of the astonished natives. He sometimes stole from wealthy individuals, and gave the booty to the indigent, although they were not Gipsies ; and so accustomed were the people, in some places, to his bloodless robberies, that some only put their spurs to their horses, calling out, as they passed him: "Ah ha, Charlie lad, ye hae missed your mark to—night!" A widow, with a large family, at whose house he had frequently been quartered, was in great distress for want of money to pay her rent. Graham lent her the amount required ; but as the factor was returning home with it in his pocket, Charlie robbed him, and, without loss of time, returned to the woman, and gave her a full discharge for the sum she had just borrowed from him.

He was asked, immediately before his execution, if he had ever performed any good action during his life, to recommend him to the mercy of his offended God. That of giving the widow and fatherless the money of which he immediately afterwards robbed the factor, was the only instance he adduced in his favour; thinking that thereby he had performed a virtuous deed. In the morning of the day on which he was to suffer, he sent a messenger to one of the magistrates, requesting a razor to take off his beard; at the same time, in a calm manner, desiring the person to tell the magistrate that, "unless his beard was shaven, he could appear before neither God nor man." A short time before he was taken out to the gallows, he was observed reclining very pensively and thoughtfully on a seat. All at once he started up, exclaiming, in a mournful tone of voice, "Oh, can ony o' ye read, sirs; will some o' ye read a psalm to me?" at the same time regretting much that he had not been taught to read. The fifty-first psalm was accordingly read to him, by a gentleman present, which soothed his feelings exceedingly, and gave him much ease and comfort. He was greatly agitated after ascending the platform—his knees knocking against each other; but just before he was cast off, his inveterate Gipsy feelings returned upon him with redoubled violence. He kicked from his feet both of his shoes, in sight of the spectators—to set at nought, as was supposed, some prophecy that he would die with them on; and addressed the assembled crowd in the following words: "I am this day to be married to the gallows-tree, by suffering in the manner of many of my ancestors; and I am extremely glad to see such a number of respectable people at my wedding." A number of the band attended his execution, and, when his body was returned to them, they all kissed it with great affection, and held the usual lyke-wake over it. His sweetheart, or widow, I am uncertain which, of the name of Wilson, his own cousin, put his corpse into hot lime, then buried it, and sat on his grave, in a state of intoxication, till it was rendered unfit for the use of the medical gentlemen; it having been reported that he was to be taken out of his grave for the purpose of dissection. This man boasted greatly, while under sentence of' death, of never having spilled human blood by committing murder.

Hugh Graham, brother to Charlie, above-mentioned, was stabbed with a knife by his own cousin, John Young, in Aberdeenshire. These powerful Gipsies never fell in with each other but a wrestling bout took place. Young generally came off victorious, but Graham, although worsted, would neither quit Young nor acknowledge his inferiority of strength. Young frequently desired Graham to keep out of his way, as his obstinate disposition would prove fatal to one of them some time or other. They, however, met again, when a desperate struggle ensued. Graham was the aggressor; he drew his knife to stab Young, who wrested it out of his hand, and stabbing him in the upper part of the stomach, close to the breast, laid his opponent dead at his feet. [Young was chased for nearly thirty miles, by Highlanders, on foot, and General Gordon of Cairnfield, and others, on horseback; and, as he was frequently in view, the affair much resembled a fox-hunt. The hounds were most of them game-keepers—an active race of men; and so exhausted were they, before the Gipsy was caught, that they were seen lying by the springs, lapping water with their tongues, like dogs.—Blackwood's Magazine.—Ed.] In this battle the Gipsy females, in their usual manner, took a conspicuous part, by assisting the combatants on either side.

Jenny Graham, sister of these Grahams, was kept by a gentleman as his mistress; but, although treated with affection, such was her attachment to her old wandering way of life, that she left her protector and his wealth, and rejoined her erratic associates in the gang. She was a remarkably handsome and good-looking woman, and, while she traversed the country, she frequently rode upon an ass, which was saddled and bridled. On these occasions, she was sometimes dressed in a blue riding-habit and a black beaver hat. It was generally supposed that the stolen articles of value belonging to the family were committed to the care of Jenny. Margaret Graham, another sister, is still living, and is a woman of uncommon bodily strength; so much so, that she is considered to be a good deal stronger than the generality of men. She was married to William Davidson, a Gipsy, at Wemyss. They have a large family, and sell earthenware through the country.

John Young, who stabbed his cousin, Hugh Graham, was one of seven sons, and though above five feet ten inches in height, his mother used to call him "the dwarf o' a' my bairns." He was condemned and hanged at Aberdeen for the murder. He wrote a good hand, and the country-people were far from being displeased with his society, while lie was employed in repairing their pots and pans in the way of his calling. Sarah Graham, his mother, was of the highest Tinkler mettle. She lost a forefinger in a Gipsy fray. Peter Young, another son of Sarah's, was also hanged at Edinburgh, after breaking a number of prisons in which he was confined. He is spoken of as a singular man. Such was his generosity of character, that he always exerted himself to the utmost to set his fellow-prisoners free, although they happened not to be in the same apartment of the prison. The life of this man was published about the time of his execution. When any one asked old John Young where his sons were, his reply was, "They are all hanged." They were seven in number, and it was certainly a fearful end of a whole family. The following is an extract of a letter addressed to Mr. Blackwood, from Aberdeen, relative to Peter Young: "It is said, in your far-famed magazine, that Peter Young, brother to John Young, the Gipsy, likewise suffered at Aberdeen. It is true that he received sentence to die there, but the prison and all the irons the persons were able to load him with, somehow or other, were found insufficient to prevent him from making his escape. After he had repeatedly broken loose, and had been as often retaken, the magistrates at last resolved that he should be effectually secured ; and, for that purpose, ordered a great iron chain to be provided, and Peter to be fast bound in it. As the jailer was making everything, as he thought, most secure, Peter, with a sigh, gazed on him, and said, 'Ay, ay, I winna come out now till I come out at the door;' making him believe that he would not be able to make his escape again, nor come out till the day fixed for his execution. But the great iron chain, bolts and bars, were all alike unable to withstand his skill and strength : he came out, within a few nights, at the ' door,' along with such of his fellow-prisoners as were inclined to avail themselves of the 'catch;' but he was afterwards taken, and conveyed to Edinburgh, and there made to suffer the penalty which his crimes deserved.—D. C."

[Our author says that the Life of Peter Young was published. The following particulars, quoted in an account of the Gipsies, in the sixteenth volume of Chambers' Miscellany, are prohably taken from that source:

"Peter was Captain of a band well known in the north of Scotland, where his exploits are told to this day. Possessed of great strength of body, and very uncommon abilities, he was a fine specimen of his race, though he retained all their lawless propensities. He was proud, passionate, revengeful, a great poacher, and an absolute despot, although a tolerably just one, over his gang, maintaining his authority with an oak stick, the principal sufferers from which were his numerous wives."—"He esteemed himself to he a very honourable man, and the keepers of the different public-houses in the country seem to have thought that, to a certain extent, he was so. tie never asked for trust as long as he had a halfpenny in his pocket. At the different inns which he used to frequent, he was seldom or never denied anything. If he pledged his word that he would pay his bill the next time he came that way, he punctually performed his promise."

"Peter's work was that of a very miscellaneous nature. It comprehended the profession of a blacksmith, in all its varieties, a tin-smith, and brazier. His original business was to mend pots, pans, kettles, &c, of every description, and this he did with great neatness and ingenuity. Having an uncommon turn for mechanics, he at last cleaned and repaired clocks and watches. He could also engrave on wood or metal; so also could his brother John; hut where they learned any of these arts I never heard. Peter was very handy about all sorts of carpenter work, and occasionally amused himself, when the fancy seized him, in executing some pieces of curious cabinet work that required neatness of hand. lie was particularly famous in making fishing-rods, and in the art of fishing he was surpassed by few."

Immediately before one of the days fixed for his execution, he seized the jailer, and, upon the threat of instant death, compelled him to lie on his back, as one dead, till he had set at liberty every one in the prison, himself being the last to leave the building. After travelling twenty-four miles, he went to sleep in the snow, and was apprehended by a company of sportsmen, whose dogs had made a dead set at him. On being taken to the gallows, one of the crowd cried: " Peter, deny you are the man !"—which he did, declaring that his name was John Anderson, and wondered what the people wanted with him. And there being none present who could identify him, although he was well known in Aberdeen, he managed to get off clear.—Ed.]

Charles Brown, one of the principal members of the Loehgellie band, was killed in a desperate fight at Raploch, near Stirling. A number of Gipsy boys, belonging to several gangs in the south, obtained a considerable quantity of plunder, at a fair in Perth, and had, in the division of the spoil, somehow or another, imposed on the Lochgellie tribe, and their associates. Charles Graham, already mentioned, and Charles Brown, went south in pursuit of the young depredators, for the purpose of compelling them to give up their ill-gotten booty to those to whom, by the Gipsy regulations, it of right belonged. After an arduous chase, the boys were overtaken near Stirling, when a furious battle immediately commenced. Both parties were armed with bludgeons. After having fought for a considerable time, with equal success on both sides, Graham, from some unknown cause, fled, leaving his near relation, Brown, to contend alone with the youths, in the best way he could. The boys now became the assailants, and began to press hard upon Brown, who defended himself long and manfully with his bludgeon, displaying much art in the use of his weapon, in warding off the lighter blows of his opponents, which came in upon him from all quarters. At length he was forced to give way, although very few of the blows reached his person. On retreating, with his front to his assailants, his foot struck upon an old feal dyke, when he fell to the ground. The enraged youths now sprang in upon him, like tigers, and, without showing him the least mercy, dispatched him on the spot, by literally beating out his brains with their bludgeons. Brown's coat was brought home to Lochgellie, by some of his wife's friends, with the collar and shoulders besmeared all over with blood and brains, with quantities of his hair sticking in the gore. It was preserved for some time in this shocking condition by his wife, and exhibited as a proof that her husband had not fled, as well as to arouse the clan to vengeance. My informant, a man about fifty years of age, with others, saw this dreadful relique of Brown, in the very state in which it is now described.

Alexander Brown, another member of the Lochgellie band, happened, on one occasion, to be in need of butcher meat, for his tribe. He had observed, grazing in a field, in the county of Linlithgow, a bullock that had, by some accident, lost about three-fourths of its tail. He procured a tail of a skin of the same colour as that of the animal, and, in an ingenious manner, made it fast to the remaining part of its tail. Disguised in this way, he drove off his booty ; but after shipping the beast at the Queens-ferry, on his way to the north, a servant, who had been dispatched in quest of the depredator, overtook him as he was stepping into the boat. An altercation immediately commenced about the ox. The countryman said he could swear to the identity of the animal in Brown's possession, were it not for its long tail; and was proceeding to examine it narrowly, to satisfy himself on that particular, when the ready-witted Gipsy, ever fertile in expedients to extricate himself from difficulties, took his knife out of his pocket, and, in view of all present, cut off the tail above the juncture, drawing blood instantly ; and, throwing it into the sea, called out to the pursuer, with some warmth: "Swear to the ox now, and be---------to ye." The countryman said not another word, but returned home, while the Tinkler proceeded on his journey with his prize.

[Besides getting themselves out of scrapes in such an adroit manner, the Scotch Gipsies have been known to serve a friend, -when innocently placed in a position of danger. It happened once that Billy Marshall, the Gipsy chief in Gallowayshire, attacked and robbed the laird of Bargally, and in the tussle lost his cap. A respectable farmer, passing by, some time afterwards, picked up the cap, and put it on his head. The laird, with his mind confused by the robbery and the darkness combined, accused the farmer oi the crime; and it would have gone hard with him at the trial, had not Billy come to his rescue. He seized the cap, in the open court, and, putting it on his head, addressed the laird: "Look at me, sir, and tell me, by the oath you have sworn, am not I the man that robbed you?'—"'By beaven! ynn are the very man."—"You see what sort of memory this gentleman has," exclaimed the Gipsy; "he swears to the bonnet, whatever features are under it. If you, yourself, my lord, will pnt it on your head, he will be willing to swear that your lordship was the person who robbed him," The farmer was unanimously acquitted.

Notwithstanding Billy's courage in "taking care of the living," an anecdote is related of his having been frightened almost out of his wits, under very ludicrous circumstances. He and his gang had long held possession of a cavern in Gallowayshire, where they usually deposited their plunder and sometimes resided, secure from the officers of the law. Two Highland pipers, strangers to the country, happened to enter it, to rest themselves during the night. They perceived, at once, the character of its absent inhabitants ; and they were not long within it, before they were alarmed by the voices of a numerous band advancing to its entrance. The pipers, expecting nothing but death from the ruthless Gipsies, had the presence of mind to strike up a pibroch, with tremendous fury; at the terrific reception of which—the yelling of the bag-pipes issuing from the bowels of tho earth—Billy and his gang precipitately fled, as before a blast from the infernal regions, and never afterwards dared to visit their favourite haunt. The pipers, ns might naturally be expected, carried off, in the morning, the spoils of the redoubted Gipsies.—Sir Walter Scott.—Ed.]

But this Gipsy was not always so fortunate as he was on this occasion. Being once apprehended near Dumblane, it was the intention of the messengers to carry him direct to Perth, but they were under the necessity of lodging him in the nearest prison for the night. Brown was no sooner in custody than he began to meditate his escape. He requested, as a favour, that the officers would sit up all night with him, in a public-house, instead of a prison, promising them as much meat and drink, for their indulgence and trouble, as they should desire. His request having been granted, four or five officers were placed in and about the room in which he was confined, as a guard on his person, being aware of the desperate character they had to deal with. He took care to ply them well with the bottle; and early next morning, before setting out, he desired, one of them to put up the window a little, to cool the apartment. After walking several times across the room, the Gipsy, all at once, threw himself out of the window, which was a considerable height from the ground. The hue and cry was at his heels in an instant; and as some of the messengers were gaining on him, he boldly faced about, drew forth, from below his coat, a dagger, which he brandished in the air, and threatened death to the first who should approach him. He was, on this occasion, suffered to make his escape, as none had the courage to advance upon him.

When in full dress, Brown wore a hat richly ornamented and trimmed with beautiful gold lace, which was then fashionable among the first ranks in Scotland, particularly among the officers of the army. His coat was made of superfine cloth, of a light green colour, long in the tails, and having one row of buttons at the breast. His shirt, of the finest quality, was ruffled at hands and breast, with a black stock and buckle round the neck. He also wore a pair of handsome boots, with silver-plated spurs, all in -the fashion of the day. Below his garments he carried a large knife, and in the shaft or butt-end of his large whip, a small spear, or dagger, was concealed. His brother-in-law, Wilson, was frequently dressed in a similar garb, and both rode the best horses in the country. Having the appearance of gentlemen in their habits, and assuming the manners of such, which they imitated to a wonderful degree, few persons took these men for Gipsies. Like many of their race, they are represented as having been very handsome, tall, and stout-made men, with agreeable and manly countenances. Among the numerous thefts and robberies which they committed in their day, they were never known to have taken a sixpence from people of an inferior class, but, on the contrary, rather to have assisted the poor classes in their pecuniary matters, with a generous liberality, not at all to be looked for from men of their singular habits and manner of life. The following particulars are descriptive of the manner and style in which some of the Gipsies of rank, at one time, traversed this country.

Within these forty-five years, Mr. McRitchie, already alluded to, happened to be in a smithy, in the neighbourhood of Carlisle, getting the shoes of his riding-horse roughened on a frosty day, to enable him to proceed on his journey, when a gentleman called for a like purpose. The animal on which he was mounted was a handsome blood-horse, which was saddled and bridled in a superior manner. He was himself dressed in superfine clothes, with a riding-whip in his hand; was booted and spurred, with saddle-bags behind him; and had, altogether, man and horse, the equipment and appearance of a smart English mercantile traveller, riding in the way of his business. There being several horses in the smithy, he, in a haughty and consequential manner, enquired of the smith, very particularly, whose turn it was first; indicating a strong desire to be first served, although he was the last that had entered the smithy. This bold assurance made my acquaintance take a steady look at the intrusive stranger, whom he surveyed from head to foot. And what was his astonishment when he found the mighty gentleman to be no other than Sandie Brown, the Tinkler's son, from the neighbourhood of Crieff; whom he had often seen strolling through the country in a troop of Gipsies, and frequently in his father's house, at the North Queensferry. He could scarcely believe his eyes, so to prevent any disagreeable mistake, politely asked the "gentleman" if his name was not Brown; observing that he thought he had seen him somewhere before. The surprised Tinkler hesitated considerably at the unexpected question, and, after having put some queries on his part, answered that "he would not deny himself—his name was really Brown." He had, in all likelihood, been travelling under a borrowed name, a practice very common with the Gipsies. When he found himself detected, yet seeing no danger to be apprehended from the accidental meeting, he very shrewdly showed great marks of kindness to his acquaintance. Being now quite free from embarrassment, he, in a short time, began to display, as is the Gipsy custom, extraordinary feats of bodily strength, by twisting with his hands strong pieces of iron; taking bets regarding his power in these practices, with those who would wager with him. Before parting with my friend, Brown very kindly insisted upon treating him with a bottle of any kind of liquor he would choose to drink. At some sequestered station of his tribe, on his way home, the equestrian Tinkler would unmask himself—dispose of his horse, pack up his fine clothes, and assume his ragged coat, leathern apron, and budget—before he would venture among the people of the country, who were acquainted with his real character. Here we see a haughty, overbearing, highway robber, clothed in excellent apparel, and mounted on a good steed, metamorphose himself, in an instant, into a poor, wandering, beggarly, and pitiful Gipsy.

This Alexander Brown, and his brother-in-law, Wilson, carried on conjointly a considerable trade in horse-stealing between Scotland and England. The horses which were stolen in the South were brought to Scotland, and sold there; those stolen in Scotland were, on the other hand, disposed of in the South by English Gipsies. The crime of horsestealing has brought a great many of these wanderers to an untimely end on the gallows. Brown was at last hanged at Edinburgh, to expiate the many crimes he had, from time to time, committed. It is said that his brother-in-law, Wilson, was hanged along with him on the same day, having been also guilty of a number of crimes. Brown was taken in a wood in Rannach, having been surprised and overpowered by a party of Highlanders, raised for the purpose of apprehending him, and dispersing his band, who lay in the wood in which he was captured. He thought to evade them by clapping close to the ground, like a wild animal. Upon being seized, a furious scuffle ensued; and during the violent tossing and struggling which took place, while they were securing this sturdy wanderer, he took hold of the bare thigh of one of the Highlanders, and bit it most cruelly. Martha, the mother of Brown, and the mother-in-law of Wilson, was apprehended in the act of stealing a pair of sheets while attending their execution.

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

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

The Grahams of Lochgellie, the Wilsons of Raploch, near Stirling, and the Jamiesons, noticed under the head of Linlithgowshire Gipsies, were all, by the female side, immediately descended from old Charles Stewart, a Gipsy chief, at one period of no small consequence among these hordes. [It is interesting to notice that the three criminals who gave occasion to the Porteous mob, in 1736, were named Stewart, Wilson and Robertson. They were doubtless Gipsies of the above mentioned clans. Their crimes and modes of escape were quite in keeping with the character of the Gipsies.—En.] When I enquired if the Robertsons, who lived, at one time, at Menstry, were related to the Lochgellie band, the answer which I received was: "The Tinklers are a' sib"—meaning that they are all connected with one another by the ties of blood, and considered as one family. This is a most powerful bond of union among these desperate clans, which almost bids defiance to the breaking up of their strongly cemented society. Old Charles Stewart was described to me as a stout, good-looking man, with a fair complexion ; and I was informed that he lived to a great age. He affirmed, wherever he went, that he was a descendant of the royal Stewarts of Scotland. His descendants still assert that they are sprung from the royal race of Scotland. In support of this pretension, Stewart, in the year 1774, at a wedding, in the parish of Corstorphine, actually wore a large cocked hat, decorated with a beautiful plume of white feathers, in imitation of the white cockade of the Pretender. On this occasion, he wore a short coat, philabeg and purse, and tartan hose. He sometimes wore a piece of brass, as a star, on his left breast, with a cudgel in his hand. Such ridiculous attire corresponds exactly with the taste and ideas of a Gipsy.

[Grellmann, in giving an account of the attire of the poorer kind of Hungarian Gipsies, says: We are not to suppose however that they are indifferent about dress; on the contrary, they love fine clothes to an extravagant degree. Whenever an opportunity offers of acquiring a good coat, either by gift, purchase, or theft, the Gipsy immediately bestirs himself to become master of it. Possessed of the prize, he puts it on directly, without considering in the least whether it suits the rest of his apparel. If his dirty shirt had holes in it as big as a barn door, or his breeches so out of condition that any one might, at the first glance, perceive their antiquity; were he unprovided with shoes and stockings, or a covering for hia head; none of these defects would prevent his strutting about in a laced coat, feeling himself of still greater consequence in case it happened to be a red one. They are particularly fond of clothes which have been worn by people of distinction, and will hardly ever deign to put on a boor's coat. They will rather go half naked, or wrap themselves up in a sack, than condescend to wear a foreign garb. Green is a favourite colour with the Gipsies, but scarlet is held in great esteem among them. It ia the same with the Hungarian female Gipsies. In Spain, they hang all sorts of trumpery ia their ears, and baubles around their necks.

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.—En.]

These pretensions of Stewart are exactly of a piece with the usual Gipsy policy of making the people believe that they are descended from families of rank and influence in the country. At the same time, it cannot be denied that some of our Scottish kings, especially James V, the "Gaberlunzie-man,"  were far from being scrupulous or fastidious in their vague amours. As old Charles Stewart was, on one occasion, crossing the Forth, at Queensferry, chained to his son-in-law, Wilson, in charge of messengers, he, with considerable shame in his countenance, observed David McRitchie, whose father, as already mentioned, kept a first-rate inn at the north-side, and in which the Tinkler had frequently regaled himself with his merry companions. Stewart called McRitchie to him, and, taking five shillings out of his pocket, said to him, "Hae, Davie, there's five shillings to drink my health, man; I'll laugh at them a!" He did laugh at them all, for nothing could be proved against him and he was immediately set at liberty. It was, as Charles Graham said—"The auld thing again, but nae proof."

[The unabashed hardihood of the Gipsies, in the face of suspicion, or rjven 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 reudered a verdict of " not proven." On dismissing the prisoner from the bar, the judge informed him, in his own characteristic language, "That he had rubhit shouthers wi' the gallows that morning;" and warued him not again to appear therewith 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 siccau language to him."—Blackwood's Magazine,]

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.

Robertson's wife, a daughter of Martha, whose son and son-in-law, Brown and Wilson, were executed, as already mentioned, was sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay ; but, owing to her advanced years, it was not thought worth the expense and trouble of sending her over seas, and she was set at liberty. Her grandson, Joyce Robertson, would also have been transported, if not hanged, but for the assistance of some of his clan rescuing him from Stirling jail. So coolly and deliberately did he go about his operations, in breaking out of the prison, that he took along with him his oatmeal bag, and a favourite bird, in a cage, with which he had amused himself during his solitary confinement. The following anecdote of this audacious Gipsy, which was told to me by an inhabitant of Stirling, who was well acquainted with the parties, is, I believe, unequalled in the history of robberies : While Robertson was lying in jail, an old man, for what purpose is not mentioned, went to the prison window, to speak to him through the iron stauncheons. Joyce, putting forth his hand, took hold of the unsuspecting man by the breast of his coat, and drew him close up to the iron bars of the window; then thrusting out his other hand, and pointing a glittering knife at his heart, threatened him with instant death, if he did not deliver him the money he had on him. The poor man, completely intimidated, handed into the prison all the money he had; but had it returned, on the jailer being informed of the extraordinary transaction. [The "game" of such a Gipsy may he fitly compared to that of sparrow-hawk. This bird has been known, while held in the hand, after being wounded, to seize, when presented to it, a sparrow with each claw, and a third with its beak.—Ed.] After escaping from confinement, this Gipsy stole a watch from a house at Alva, but had hardly got it into his possession before he was discovered, and had the inhabitants of the village in pursuit of him. A man, of the name of Dawson, met him in his flight, and, astonished at seeing the crowd at his heels, enquired, impatiently, what was the matter. "They are all running after me, and you will soon run too,'' replied the Tinkler, without shortening his step. He took to Tullibody plantations, but was apprehended, and had the watch taken from him.

I will notice another principal Gipsy, closely connected by blood with the Fife bands, and of that rank that entitled him to issue tokens to the members of his tribe. The name of this chief was Charles Wilson, and his place of residence, at one time, was Taploch, close by Stirling castle, where he possessed some heritable property in houses. He was a stout, athletic, good-looking man, fully six feet in stature, and of a fair complexion; and was, in general, handsomely dressed, frequently displaying a gold watch, with many seals attached to its chain. In his appearance he was respectable, very polite in his manners, and had, altogether, little or nothing about him which, at first sight, or to the general public, indicated him to be a Gipsy. But, nevertheless, I was-assured by one of the tribe, who was well acquainted with him, that he spoke the language, and observed all the customs, and followed the practices of the Gipsies.

He was a pretty extensive horse-dealer, having at times in his possession numbers of the best bred horses in the country. He most commonly bought and sold hunters, and such as were suitable for cavalry; and for some of his horses he received upwards of a hundred guineas apiece. In his dealings he always paid cash for his purchases, but accepted bills from his customers of respectability. Many a one purchased horses of him; and he was taken notice of by many respectable people in the neighbourhood; but the community in general looked upon him, and his people, with suspicion and fear, and were by no means fond of quarrelling with any of his vindictive fraternity. When any of his customers required a horse from him, and told him that the matter was left wholly to himself, as regards price, but to provide an animal suitable for the purpose required, no man in Scotland would act with greater honour than Charles Wilson. He would then fit his employer completely, and charge for the horse exactly what the price should be. To this manner of dealing he was very averse, and endeavoured to avoid it as ranch as possible. It is said he was never known to deceive any one in his transactions, when entire confidence was placed in him. But, on the other hand, when any tried to make a bargain with him, without any reference to himself, but trusting wholly to their own judgment, he would take three prices for his horses, if he could obtain them, and cheat them, if it was in his power. It is said his people stole horses in Ireland, and sent them to him, to dispose of in Scotland. On one occasion his gang stole and sold in Edinburgh, Stirling and Dumbarton a grey stallion, three different times in one week. Wilson himself was almost always mounted on a blood-horse of the highest mettle.

At one time, Charles Wilson travelled the country with a horse and cart, vending articles which his gang plundered from shops in Glasgow and other places. He had an associate who kept a regular shop, and when Wilson happened to be questioned about his merchandise, he always had fictitious bills of particulars, invoices and receipts, ready to show that the goods were lawfully purchased from his merchant, who was no other than his friend and associate. As Charles was chief of his tribe, he received the title of captain, to distinguish him from the meaner sort of his race. Like others of his rank among the Gipsies, he generally had a, numerous gang of youths in fairs, plundering for him in all directions, among the heedless and unthinking crowd. But he always managed matters with such art and address that, however much he might be suspected, no evidence could ever be found to show that he acted a part in such transactions. It was well understood, however, that Charlie, as he was commonly called, divided the contents of many a purse with his band; all the plundered articles being in fact brought to him for distribution.

This chief, as I have already mentioned, issued tokens to the members of his own tribe; a part of the polity of the Gipsies which will be fully described in the following chapter. But, besides these regular Gipsy tokens, he, like many of his nation, gave tokens of protection to his particular friends of the community at large. The following is one instance, among many, of this curious practice among the Gipsies. I received the particulars from the individual himself who obtained the token or passport from Wilson. My informant, Mr. Buchanan, a retired officer of the Excise, chanced, in his youth, to be in a fair at Skirling, in Peeblesshire, when an acquaintance of his, of the name of John Smith, of Carnwath Mill, received, in a tent, fifty pounds for horses -which he had sold in the market. Wilson, who was acquainted with both parties, was in the tent at the time, and saw the latter receive the money. On leaving the tent, Smith mentioned to his friend that he was afraid of being robbed in going home, as "Wilson knew he had money in his possession. Mr. Buchanan, being well acquainted with Wilson, went to him in the fair, and told him the plain facts; that Smith and himself were to travel with money on their persons, and that they were apprehensive of being robbed of it, on their way home. The Gipsy, after hesitating for a moment, gave Buchanan a pen-knife, which he was to show to the first person who should offer to molest them; at the same time enjoining him to keep the affair quite private. After my informant and his friend had travelled a considerable distance on their way home, they observed, at a little distance before them, a number of Tinklers—men and women—fighting together on the side of the road. One of the females came forward to the travellers, and urged them vehemently to assist her husband, who, she said, was like to be murdered by others who had fallen upon him on the highway. My friend knew quite well that all the fighting was a farce, got up for the purpose of robbing him and his companion, the moment they interfered with the combatants in their feigned quarrel. Instead of giving the woman the assistance she asked, he privately and very quietly, as if he wished nobody to see it, showed her Wilson's knife in his hand, when she immediately exclaimed, "You are our friends," and called, at the same moment, to those engaged in the scuffle, in words to the same effect. Both the travellers now passed on, but, on looking behind them, they observed that the squabble had entirely ceased. The pen-knife was returned to Wilson the day following.

I may give, in this place, another instance of these tokens being granted by the Gipsies to their particular favourites of the community. The particulars were given to me by the individual with whom the incident occurred; and the Gipsy mentioned I have myself seen and spoken to : A------A------, a small farmer, who resided in the west of Fife, happened to be at one of the Falkland fairs, where, in the evening, he fell in with old Andrew Steedman, a Gipsy horse-dealer from Lochgellie, with whom he was well acquainted. They entered a public-house in Falkland to have a dram together, before leaving the fair, and after some conversation had passed, on various subjects, Steedman observed to his acquaintance that it would be late in the night before he could reach his home, and that he might be exposed to some clanger on the road ; but he would give him his snuff-box, to present and offer a snuff to the first person who should offer to molest him. My informant, possessed of the Gipsy's snuff-box, mounted his horse, and left his acquaintance and Falkland behind for his home. He had not proceeded far on his journey, before a man in the dark seized the bridle of his horse, and ordered him to stop; without, however, enforcing his command to surrender in that determined tone and manner common to highwaymen with those they intend to rob. The farmer at once recognized the robber to be no other than young Charles Graham, one of the Lochgellie Tinklers, whom he personally knew. Instead of delivering him his purse, he held out to him the snuff-box, as if nothing had happened, and, offering him a pinch, asked him if he was going to Lochgellie to-night. A sort of parley now ensued, the farmer feeling confident in the strength of his protection, and Graham confounded at being recognized by an acquaintance whom he was about to rob, and who, moreover, was in possession of a Gipsy token. At first a dry conversation ensued, similar to that between persons unacquainted with each other when they happen to meet; but Graham, recovering his self-possession, soon became very frank and kind, and insisted on the farmer accompanying him to a public-house on the road-side, where he would treat him to a dram. The farmer, a stout, athletic man, and no coward, complied with the Gipsy's invitation without hesitation. While drinking their liquor, Graham took up the snuff-box, and examined it all over very attentively, by the light of the candle, and returned it, without making a single remark, relative either to the untoward occurrence or the snuff-box itself. The farmer was equally silent as to what had taken place ; but he could not help noticing the particular manner in which the Gipsy examined the token. They drank q hearty dram together, and parted the best of friends; the farmer for his home, and Graham, as he supposed, for the highway, to exercise his calling. Graham, about this period, resided in a house belonging to Steedman, in Lochgellie.

Instances occurred of individuals, who happened to he plundered, applying to Charles Wilson for his assistance to recover their property. The particulars of the following case are in the words of a friend who gave me the anecdote : "A boy, having received his hard-earned fee, at the end of a term, set out for Stirling to purchase some clothes for himself. On the road he was accosted by two men, who conversed with and accompanied him to Stirling. The lad proceeded accordingly to fit himself in a shop with a new suit, but, to his utter disappointment and grief, his small penny-fee was gone. The merchant questioned him about the road he had come, and whether he had been in company with any one on the way or otherwise. Upon the appearance of his companions being described, the shop-keeper suspected they might have picked his pocket unobserved. As a last resource, the boy was advised to call upon Charlie Wilson, and relate to him the particulars of his misfortune; which he accordingly did. Charles heard his story to the end, and desired him to call next day, when he might be able to give him some information relative to his loss. The young lad kept the appointment, and, to his great joy, the Tinkler chief paid him down every farthing of his lost money; but at the same time told him to ask no questions."

This Gipsy chief died within these thirty-five years in his own house, on the castle-hill at Stirling, whither he had removed from Raploch. It is stated that, for a considerable time before his death, he relinquished his former practices, and died in full communion with the church. [In the "Monthly Visitor," for February, 1856, will be found an account of the conversion of one of this Gipsy clan, of the name of Jeanie Wilson. The tract is very appropriately headed, "A lily among thorns."—Ed.] He was, about the latter end of his life, reduced to considerable poverty, and was under the necessity of betaking himself to his original occupation of making horn spoons for a subsistence. In the days of his prosperity, Charles was considered a very kind-hearted and generous man to the poor; and it seldom happened that poverty and distress were not relieved by him, when application was made to him by the needy. Although many of the more original kind of Gipsies have a respectable appearance, and may possess a little money, during the prime of life, yet the most of them, in their old age, are in a condition of poverty and misery.

Charles Wilson had a family of very handsome daughters, one of whom was considered a perfect beauty. She did not travel the country, like the rest of her family, but remained at home, and acted as her father's housekeeper; and, when any of the tribe visited him, they always addressed her by the title of "my lady," (raunie,) and otherwise treated her with great respect. This beautiful girl was, about the year 1795, kept as a mistress by an adjutant of a Scotch regiment of fencible cavalry. She was frequently seen as handsomely and fashionably attired as the first females in Stirling; and some of the troopers were not displeased to see their adjutant's mistress equal in appearance to the highest dames in the town. But Wilson's daughters were all frequently dressed in a very superior manner, and could not have been taken for Gipsies.

To suit their purposes of deception, in practising their pilfering habits, the female Gipsies, as well as the males, often changed their wearing apparel. Some of them have been seen in four different dresses in one fair day, varying from the appearance of a sturdy female beggar to that of a young, flirting wench, fantastically dressed, and throwing herself, a perfect lure, in the way of the hearty, ranting, half-intoxicated, and merry young farmers, for the sole purpose of stripping them of their money. [An old woman, whom I found occupying the house of Charles Wilson, at Raploch, in 1845, informed me that she had seen his wife in Jive different dresses, in one market-day. She was, at the time, a servant in a blacksmith's family in Stirling, who were great friends of Charles "Wilson; and every time Mrs. Wilson came into the smith's house, from her plundering in the market, this servant girl, then nine years old, cleaned her shoes for a fresh expedition in the crowd. When suspected, or even detected, in their practices, these female Gipsies, by such change of dress and character, easily escaped apprehension by the authorities.] The following is given as an instance of this sort of female deception:—On a fair-day, in the town of Kinross, a Brae-laird, [There are a number of small landed proprietors in the hilly parts of Kinross-shire; hence the appellation of Brae-laird.] in the same county, fell in with a Gipsy harpy of the above character, of the name of Wilson, one of Charles' daughters, it was understood. She had a fine person, an agreeable and prepossessing countenance, was handsomely dressed, and was, altogether, what one would pronounce a pretty girl. Her charms made a very sudden and deep impression on the susceptible laird; and as it was an easy matter, in those times, to make up acquaintance at these large and promiscuous gatherings, the enamoured rustic soon found means to introduce himself to the stranger lady. He treated her in a gallant manner, and engaged to pay his respects to her at her place of residence. It happened, however, that a number of Tinklers were, that very evening, apprehended in the fair, for picking pockets, and a great many purses were found in their custody. Proclamation was made by the authorities, that all those who had lost their money should appear at a place named, and identify their property. The Brae-laird, among others, missed his pocket-book and purse, and accordingly went to enquire after them. His purse was produced to him ; but greatly was he ashamed and mortified when the thief was also shown to him, lying in prison—the very person of his handsome and beautiful sweetheart, now metamorphosed into a common Tinkler wench. Whether he now provoked the ire of his dulcines, by harsh treatment, is not mentioned; but the woman sent, as it were, a dagger to his heart, by calling out before all present: "Ay, laird, ye're no sae kind to me noo, lad, as when ye treated me wi' wine in the forenoon." The man, confounded at his exposure, was glad to get out of her presence, and, rather than bear the cutting taunts of the Gipsy, fled from the place of investigation, leaving his money behind him. [It is interesting to notice such rencounters between these pretty, genteel-looking Gipsies and the ordinary natives. The denouement, in this instance, might have been a marriage, and the plantation of a colony of Gipsies among the Braes of Kinross-shire. The same taight have happened in the case of the other lady Wilson, with the adjutant of Stirling, or with one of his acquaintances.—Ed.]

It is almost needless to mention that the Stirlingshire Gipsies contributed their full proportion to the list of victims to the offended laws of the country. Although Charles Wilson, the chieftain of the horde, dexterously eluded justice himself, two of his brothers were executed within the memory of people still living. Another of his relatives, of the name of Gordon, also underwent the last penalty of the law, at Glasgow, where an acquaintance of mine saw him hanged. Wilson had a son who carried a box of jewelry through the country, and was suspected of having been concerned in robbing a bank, at, I believe, Dunkeld. Some of the descendants of this Stirlingshire tribe still roam up and down the kingdom, nearly in the old Gipsy manner; and several of them have their residence, when not on the tramp, in the town of Stirling.

The great distinguishing feature in the character of the Gipsies is an incurable propensity for theft and robbery, and taking openly and forcibly (sorning) whatever answers their purpose. A Gipsy, of about twenty-one years of age, stated to me that his forefathers considered it quite lawful, among themselves, to take from others, not of their own fraternity, any article they stood in need of. Casting his eyes around the inside of my house, he said: "For instance, were they to enter this room, they would carry off anything that could be of service to them, such as clothes, money, victuals, &c.:" "but," added he, "all this proceeded from ignorance; they are now quite changed in their manners." Another Gipsy, a man of about sixty years of age, informed me that the tribe have a complete and thorough hatred of the whole community, excepting those who shelter them, or treat them with kindness; and that a dexterous theft or robbery, committed on any of the natives among whom they travel, is looked upon as one of the most meritorious actions which a Gipsy can possibly perform.

But the Gipsies are by no means the only nation in the world that have considered theft reputable. In Sparta, under the celebrated law-giver Lycurgus, theft was also reputable. In Hugh Murray's account of an embassy from Portugal to the Emperor of Abyssinia, in 1620, we find the following curious passage relative to thieves in that part of the world: "As the embassy left the palace, a band of thieves carried off a number of valuable articles, while a servant who attempted to defend them was wounded in the leg. The ambassadors, enquiring the mode of obtaining redress for this outrage, were assured that these thieves formed a regular part of the court establishment, and that officers were appointed who levied a proportion of the articles stolen, for behoof his imperial majesty." In another part of Africa, there is a horde of Moors who go by the name of the tribe of thieves. This wandering, vagabond horde do not blush at adopting this odious denomination. Their chief is called chief of the tribe of thieves. In Hugh Murray's Asia, we have the following passage relative to the professed thieves in India.

"Nothing tends more to call in question the mildness of the Hindoo disposition than the vast scale of the practice of decoity. This term, though essentially synonymous with robbery, suggests, however, very different ideas. With us, robbers are daring and desperate outlaws, who hide themselves in the obscure corners of great cities, shunned and detested by all society. In India, they are regular and reputable persons, who have not only houses and families, but often landed property, and have much influence in the villages where they reside. This profession, like all others, is hereditary; and a father has been heard, from the gallows, carefully admonishing his son not to be deterred, "by his fate, from following the calling of his ancestors. They are very devout, and have placed themselves under the patronage of the goddess Kali, revered in Bengal above all other deities, and who is supposed to look with peculiar favour on achievements such as theirs. They are even recognized by the old Hindoo laws, which contain enactments for the protection of stolen goods, upon a due share being given to the magistrate. They seldom, however, commit depredations in their own village, or even in that immediately adjoining, but seek a distant one, where they have no tie to the inhabitants. They are formed into bands, with military organization, so that when a chief dies, there is always another ready to succeed him. They calculate that they have ten chances to one of never being brought to justice."

The old Hindoo law alluded to in the above passage is, I presume, the following enactment in the Gentoo Code, translated by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, page 146: "The mode of shares among robbers is this: If any thieves, by the command of the magistrate, and with his assistance, have committed depredations upon, and brought any booty from, another province, the magistrate shall receive a share of one-sixth of the whole; if they receive no command or assistance from the magistrate, they shall give the magistrate, in that case, one-tenth of his share; and of the remainder, their chief shall receive four shares : and whosoever among them is perfect master of his occupation, shall receive three shares; also whichever of them is remarkably strong and stout, shall receive two shares, and the rest shall receive each one share. If any one of the community of thieves happens to be taken, and should be released from the Cutchery, (court of justice), upon payment of a sum of money, all the thieves shall make good that sum by equal shares."—"In the Gentoo code containing this law, there are many severe enactments against theft and robbery of every description ; but these laws refer to domestic disturbers of their own countrymen, or violators of the first principles of society. The law which regulates these shares of robbers, refers only to such bold and hardy adventurers as sally forth to levy contributions in a foreign province."

Now our Gipsies are, in one point, exactly on a level with the adventurers here mentioned. They look upon themselves as being in a foreign land, and consider it fair game to rob, plunder, and cheat all and every one of the "strangers" among whom they travel. I am disposed to believe that there were also rules among the Gipsy bands for dividing their booty, something like the old Hindoo law alluded to.

[What is said here is, of course, applicable to a class, only, of the Gipsies. Our author need not have gone so very far away from home, for instances of theft and robbery being, under certain circumstances, deemed honourable. Both were, at one time, followed in Scotland, when all practised

"The good old rule, (ho simple plan, That they should take who havo the power, And they should keep who can."

See Disquisition on the Gipsies.—Ed.]

We find the following curious particulars mentioned of a tribe among the mountains in India, who are supposed to be the aborigines of Hindostan. They are called Kookies or Lunctas. "Next to personal valour, the accomplishment most esteemed in a warrior is superior address in stealing; and if a thief can convey, undiscovered, to his own house, his neighbour's property, it cannot afterwards be reclaimed ; nor, if detected in the act, is he otherwise punished than by exposure to the ridicule of the Porah, and being obliged to restore what he may have laid hold of." "It is a great recommendation in obtaining a wife, when a Kookie can say that his house is full of stolen articles."! There are several other tribes iu the world among whom theft and robbery are considered meritorious actions. It appears that among the Coords "no one is allowed to marry a wife till he has committed some great act of robbery or murder." In an account of Kamtschatka, it is mentioned that "among all these barbarous nations, excepting the Kamtschadales, theft is reputable, provided they do not steal in their own tribe, or if done with such art as to prevent discovery : on the other hand, it is punished very severely if discovered ; not for the theft, but for the want of address in the art of stealing. A Tsehukotskoe girl eannot be married before she has shown her dexterity in this way."*

Halhed, in apologizing for the Hindoo magistrate participating in the plunder of banditti, whieh applies equally well to the Gipsies, remarks that, "unjust as this behaviour may appear in the eye of equity, it bears the most genuine stamp of antiquity, and corresponds entirely with the manners of the early Grecians, at or before the period of the Trojan war, and of the western nations before their emersion from barbarism; a practice still kept up among the pirate States of Barbary, to its fullest extent by sea, and probably among many hordes of Tartars and Arabian banditti by land." It is proper to mention that the Gipsies seldom or never steal from one another; at least, I never could find out an instance of a theft having been committed by a Gipsy on one of his own tribe.

It will be seen, from the following details, that the sanguinary laws which have been, from time to time, promulgated all over Europe against the Gipsies, were not enacted to put down fanciful crimes, as an author of the present day seems, in his travels, to insinuate. To plunder the community with more safety to their persons, the Gipsies appear to have had a system of theft peculiar to themselves. Those of Lochgellie trained all their children to theft. Indeed, this has been the general practice with the tribe all over Scotland. Several individuals have mentioned to me that the Lochgellie band were exercised in the art of thieving under the most rigid discipline. They had various ways of making themselves expert thieves. They frequently practised themselves by picking the pockets of each other. Sometimes a pair of breeches were made fast to the end of a string, suspended from a high part of the tent, kiln, or outhouse in which they happened to be encamped. The children were set at work to try it they could, by sleight of hand, abstract money from the pockets of the breeches hanging in this position, without moving them. Sometimes they used bells in this discipline. The children who were most expert in abstracting the money in this manner, were rewarded with applause and presents ; while, on the other hand, those who proved awkward, by ringing the bell, or moving the breeches, were severely chastised. After the youths were considered perfect in this branch of their profession, a purse, or other small object, was laid down in an exposed part of the tent or camp, in view of all the family. While the ordinary business of the Gipsies was going forward, the children again commenced their operations, by exerting their ingenuity and exercising their patience, iu trying to carry off the purse without being perceived by any one present. If they were detected, they were again beaten; but if they succeeded unnoticed, they were caressed and liberally rewarded. As far as my information goes, this systematic training of the Gipsy youth was performed by the chief female of the bands. These women seem to have had great authority over their children. Ann Brown, of the Loch-gellie tribe, could, by a single stamp of her foot, cause the children to crouch to the ground, like trembling dogs under the lash of an angry master. The Gipsies, from these constant trainings, became exceedingly dexterous at picking pockets. The following instance of their extraordinary address in these practices, will show the effects of their careful training, as well as exhibit the natural ingenuity which they will display in compassing their ends.

A principal male Gipsy, of a very respectable appearance, whose name it is unnecessary to mention, happened, on a market day, to be drinking in a public-house, with several farmers with whom he was well acquainted. The party observed, from the window, a countryman purchase something at a stand in the market, and, after paying for it, thrust his purse into his watch-pocket, in the band of his breeches. One of the company remarked that it would be a very difficult matter to rob the cautious man of his purse, without being detected. The Gipsy immediately offered to bet two bottles of wine that he would rob the man of his purse, in the open and public market, without being perceived by him. The bet was taken, and the Gipsy proceeded about the difficult and delicate business. Going up to the unsuspecting man, he requested, as a particular favour, if he would ease the stock about his neck, which buckled behind—an article of dress at that time in fashion. The countryman most readily agreed to oblige the stranger gentleman—as he supposed him to be. The Gipsy, now stooping down, to allow his stock to be adjusted, placed his head against the countryman^ stomach, and, pressing it forward a little, he reached down one hand, under the pretence of adjusting his shoe, while the other was employed in extracting the farmer's purse. The purse was immediately brought into the company, and the cautious, unsuspecting countryman did not know of his loss, till he was sent for, and had his property returned to him.

The Gipsy youth, trained from infancy to plunder, in the manner described, were formed into companies or bands, with a captain at their head. These captains were generally the grown-up sons of the old chieftains, who, having been themselves leaders in their youth, endeavoured, in their old age, to support, outwardly, a pretty fair character, although under considerable suspicion. The captains were generally well dressed, and could not have been taken for Gipsies. The youths varied in age from ten to thirty years. They travelled to fairs singly, or at least never above two together, while their captains almost always rode on horse-back, but never in company with any of their men. [An old Gipsy told me that he had seen one of the principal chiefs, dressed like a gentleman, travelling in a post-chaise, for the purpose of attending fairs.] The band consisted of a great number of individuals, and in a fair several of these companies would be present; each company acting independent of the others, for behoof of its own members and chief. Each chief, on such occasions, had his own headquarters, to which his men repaired with their booty, as fast as they obtained it. Some of the chiefs, handsomely dressed, pretended to be busily employed in buying and selling horses, but were always ready to attend to the operations of their tribe, employed in plundering in the market. The purses were brought to the horse-dealer by the members of his band, who, to prevent being discovered, pretended to be buying horses from him, while communicating with him relative to their peculiar vocation. When a detection was likely to take place, the chief mounted a good horse, and rode off to a distant part of the country, previously made known to his men, with the whole of the booty in his custody. To this place the band, when all was quiet, repaired, and received their share of the plunder. They could communicate information to one another by signs, to say nothing of their language, which frequently enabled them to get the start of their pursuers. Like the fox, the dog, and the corbie, they frequently concealed their stolen articles in the earth. Parties of them would frequently commence sham fights in markets, to facilitate the picking of the pockets of the people, while crowded together to witness the scuffles.

Many of the male Gipsies used a piece of strong leather, like a sailmaker's palm, having a short piece of sharp steel, like the point of a surgeon's lancet, where the sailmaker has his thimble. The long sleeves of their coats concealed the instrument, and when they wished to cut a purse out of an arm-pocket, they stretched out the arm, and ran it flatly and gently along the cloth of the coat, opposite the pocket of the individual they wished to plunder. The female Gipsies wore, upon their forefingers, rings of a peculiar construction, yet nothing unusual in their appearance, excepting their very large size. On closing the hand, the pressure upon a spring sent forth, through an aperture or slit in the ring, a piece of sharp steel, something like the manner in which a bee thrusts out and withdraws its sting. With these ingenious instruments the female Gipsies cut the outside of the pockets of their victims, exactly as a glazier runs his diamond over a sheet of glass. The opening once made by the back of the forefinger, the hand, following, was easily introduced into the pocket. In the midst of a crowded fair, the dexterous Gipsies, with their nimble fingers, armed with these invisible instruments, cut the pocket-books and purses of the honest farmers, as if they had been robbed by magic. So skillful were the wife and one of the sisters of Charles Wilson, in the art of thieving, that although the loss of the pocket-book was, in some instances, immediately discovered, nothing was ever found upon their persons by which their guilt could be established. No instrument appeared in their possession with which the clothes of the plundered individuals could have been cut, as no one dreamt that the rings on their fingers contained tools so admirably adapted for such purposes.

The Gipsy chiefs in Scotland appear, at one time, to have received a share of the plundered articles in the same manner as those of the same rank received from their inferiors in Hungary. Grellmann says: " Whenever a complaint is made that any of their people have been guilty of theft, the Waywode (chief) not only orders a general search to be made in every tent or hut, and returns the stolen goods to the owner, if they can be found; but he punishes the thief, in presence of the complainant, with his whip. He does not, however, punish the aggressor from any regard to justice, but rather to quiet the plaintiff, and at the same time to make his people more wary in their thefts, as well as more dexterous in concealing their prey. These very materially concern him, since, by every discovery that is made, his income suffers, as the whole profit of his office arises from his share of the articles that are stolen. Every time any one brings in a booty, he is obliged to give information to the Arch-gipsy of his successful enterprise, then render a just account of what and how much he has stolen, in order that the proper division may be made. This is the situation in which a Gipsy looks on himself as bound to give a fair and true detail, though, in every other instance, he does not hesitate to perjure himself."

A shrewd and active magistrate, in the west of Fife, knew our Scottish Gipsy depredators so well, that he caused them all to be apprehended as they entered the fairs held in the town in which he resided ; and when the market, which lasted for several days, was over, the Gipsies were released from prison, with empty pockets and hungry bellies—most effectually baffled in their designs.

Great numbers of these Gipsy plunderers, at one time, crossed the Forth at the Queensferry, for the purpose of stealing and robbing at the fairs in the north of Scotland. They all travelled singly or in pairs. Very few persons knew whence they came, or with whom they were connected. They were, in general, well dressed, and could not have been taken for Gipsies. Every one put up at a public-house, at North Queensferry, kept by a Mr. McRitchie, already mentioned, an inn well known in the neighbourhood for its good fare, and much frequented by all classes of society. In this house, on the morning after a fair in Dunfermline, when their "business was all over, and themselves not alarmed by detection, or other scaring incidents, no fewer than fourteen of these plunderers have frequently been seen sitting at breakfast, with Captain Gordon, their commander, at their head. The landlord s son informed me that they ate and drank of the best in the house, and paid most handsomely for everything they called for. I believe they were among the best customers the landlord had. Gipsies, however, are by no means habitual drinkers, or tiplers; but when they do sit down, it is, in the phraseology of the sea, a complete blowout. About this public-house, these Gipsies were perfectly inoffensive, and remarkably civil to all connected with it. They troubled or stole from none of the people about the inn, nor from those who lodged in the house, while they were within doors, or in the immediate neighbourhood. Anything could have been trusted with them on these occasions. At these meetings, the landlord's son frequently heard them talking in the Gipsy language. Gordon, at times, paid the reckoning for the whole, and transacted any other business with the landlord; but, when the Gipsy company was intermixed with females, which was commonly the case, each individual paid his own share of the bill incurred. It was sometimes the practice with the young bands to leave their reckoning to be paid by their chiefs, who were not present, but who, perhaps next day, came riding up, and paid the expenses incurred by their men. I am informed that two chiefs, of the names of Wilson and Brown, often paid the expenses of their bands in this way. When any of these principal Gipsies happened to remain in the public-house all night, they behaved very genteelly. They paid the chambermaid, boots, and waiter with more liberality than was the custom with mercantile travellers generally. Captain Gordon, just mentioned, assumed very considerable consequence at this place. Frequently he hired boats and visited the islands in the Forth, and, adjacent coasts, like a gentleman of pleasure. On one occasion he paid no less than a guinea, with brandy and eatables ad libitum, to be rowed over to Inchcolm, a distance of four miles.

The female Gipsies from the south, on visiting their friends at Lochgellie, in the depth of winter, often hired horses at the North Queensferry, and rode, with no small pomp and pride, to the village. Sometimes two females would ride upon one horse. A very decent old man, of the name of Thomas Chalmers, a small farmer, informed me that he himself had rode to Lochgellie, with a female Gipsy behind him, accompanied by other two, mounted on another of his horses, riding with much spirit and glee by his side. Chalmers said that these women not only paid more than the common hire, but treated the owners of the horses with as much meat and drink as they could take. The male Gipsies also hired horses at this Ferry, with which they rode to markets in the north.

The young Gipsies, male and female, of whom I have spoken, appear to have been the flower of the different bands, collected and employed in a general plundering at the fairs in the north. So well did they pay their way at the village and passage alluded to, that the boatmen gave them the kindly name of "our frien's." These wanderers were all known at the village by the name of "Gillie Wheesels," or "Killie Wheesh," which, in the west of Fife, signified " the lads that take the purses." Old Thomas Chalmers informed me that he had frequently seen these sharks of boatmen shake these Gipsy thieves heartily by the hand, and, with a significant smile on their harsh, weather-beaten countenances, wish them a good market, as they landed them on the north side of the Forth, on their way to picking pockets at fairs.

As an incident in the lives of these Gipsies, I will give the following, which was witnessed by Chalmers: A Gillie of a Gipsy horse-couper -stole a black colt, in the east of Fife, and carried it direct to a fair in Perth, where he exchanged it for a white horse, belonging to a Highlander wearing a green kilt. The Highlander, however, had not long put the colt into the stable, before word was brought to him that it was gone. Suspecting the Gipsy of the theft, the sturdy Gael proceeded in search of him, and receiving positive information of the fact, he pursued him, like a staunch hound on the warm foot of reynard, till he overtook him in a house on the north side of Kinross. The Gipsy was taking some refreshment in the same room with Chalmers, when the Highlander, in a storm of broken Flnglish, burst into their presence. The astute and polished Gipsy instantly sprang to his feet, and, throwing his arms around the foaming Celt, embraced and hugged him in the eastern manner, overpowering him with expressions of joy at seeing him again. This quite exasperated the mountaineer: almost suffocated with rage, he shook the Gipsy from his person, with the utmost disdain, and demanded the colt he had stolen from him. Notwithstanding the deceitful embraces and forced entreaties of the Gipsy, he was, with the assistance of a messenger, at the back of the Highlander, safely lodged in the jail of Cupar.

Considering the great aptitude which the Gipsies have always shown for working in metals, it is not surprising that they should have resorted to coining, among their many expedients for circumventing and plundering the "strangers" among whom they sojourn. The following instance will illustrate the singular audacity which they can display in this branch of their profession: As an honest countryman, of much simplicity of character, of the name of W------0------, was journeying along the public road, a travelling Tinkler, whom he did not know, chanced to come up to him. After walking and conversing for some time, the courteous Gipsy, on arriving at a public-house, invited him to step in, and have a "tasting." They accordingly entered the house; and had no sooner finished one half mutchkin, than the liberal wanderer called for another; but when the reckoning came to be thought of, the countryman was surprised when his friend the Tinkler declared that he had not a coin in his possession. Unfortunately, the honest man happened also to be without a farthing in his pocket, and how they were to get out of the house, without paying the landlord, whom neither of them knew, puzzled him not a little. While meditating over their dilemma, the Gipsy, with his eyes rolling about in every direction, as is their wont, espied a pewter basin under a bed in the room. This was all he required. Bolting the door of the apartment, he opened his budget, and, taking out a pair of large shears, cut a piece from the side of the basin, and, putting it into his crucible on the fire, in no time, with his coining instruments, threw off several half-crowns, resembling good, sterling money. If the simple countryman was troubled at not being able to pay his reckoning, he was now terrified at being locked up with a man busily engaged in coining base money from an article stolen in the very apartment in which he was confined. He expected, every moment, some one to burst the door open, and apprehend them, while the Tinkler had all his coining apparatus about him. His companion, however, was not in the least disturbed, but deliberately finished his coin in a superior manner, and cutting the remainder of the basin into pieces, packed it into his wallet. Unlocking the door, he rang the bell, and tendered one of his half-crowns to his host, to pay his score, which was accepted without a suspicion. The Tinkler then offered his fellow-traveller part of his remaining coin; but the unsophisticated man, far from touching one of them, was only too glad to rid himself of so dangerous an acquaintance. The Gipsy, on his part, marched off, with his spirits elevated with liquor, and his pockets replenished with money, smiling at the simplicity and terror of the countryman.

However numerous the crimes which the Gipsies have committed, or the murders they have perpetrated in their own tribe, yet, in justice to them, I must say that only two instances have .come to my knowledge of their having put to death natives of Scotland who were not of their own fraternity. One of these instances was that of a man of the name of Adam Thomson, whom they murdered because he had encroached, it was said, upon one of their supposed privileges —that of gathering rags through the country. Amongst other acts of cruelty, they placed the poor man on a fire, in his own house. Two Gipsies were tried for the murder, but whether they were both executed, I do not know. The following particulars connected with this deed will show how exactly the Gipsies know the different routes and halting-places of each band, as they travel through the country. Indeed, I have been informed that the track which each horde is to take, the different stages, and the number of days they are to remain at each place, are all marked out and fixed upon in the spring, before they leave their winter residence. One of the Gipsies concerned in the murder of Thomson lay in prison, in one of the towns in the south of Scotland, for nearly twelve months, without having had any communication with his tribe. There was not sufficient evidence against him to justify his being brought to trial; nor would he give any information regarding the transaction. At last he changed his mind, and told the authorities they would find the murderer at a certain spot in the Highlands, on a certain day and hour of that day; but if he could not be found there, they were to proceed to another place, at twenty miles' distance, where they would be sure to find him.

The murderer was found at the place, and on the day, mentioned by the Gipsy. But, on entering the house, the constables could not discover him, although they knew he had been within its walls a few minutes before they approached it. A fire having been kindled in the house, a noise was heard in the chimney, which attracted the notice of the constables; and, on examination, they found the object of their search ; the heat and smoke having caused him to become restless in his place of concealment. He was secured, and some of the country-people were called upon to assist in carrying him to Edinburgh. The prisoner was bound into a cart with ropes, to prevent him making his escape ; the party in charge of him being aware of the desperate character of the man. Nothing particular occurred on the road, until after they had passed the town of Linlithgow, when, to their astonishment, they found a woman in the pangs of labour, in the open field. She called upon them either to bring her a midwife, or take her to one; a claim that could not be resisted. She was accordingly put into the cart, beside the prisoner, and driven with all speed to a place where a midwife could be procured. On arriving opposite a dell, full of trees and bushes, about the west-end of Kirkliston, the guards were confounded at seeing their prisoner, all at once, spring out of the cart, and, darting into the cover, vanish in an instant. Pursuit was immediately given, and, in the excitement, the unfortunate woman was left to her fate. In searching for the Gipsy, they met a gentleman shooting in the neighbourhood, who had observed a man hide himself among the bushes. On going to the spot, they found the criminal, lying like a fox in his hole. The sportsman, presenting his gun, threatened to blow out his brains, if he did not come out, and deliver himself up to the constables. On returning with him to the cart, his captors, to their astonishment, found that the woman in labour had also vanished. It is needless to add that she was a Gipsy, who had feigned being in travail, and, while in the cart, had cut the ropes with which the prisoner was bound, to enable him to make his escape.

The female Gipsies have had recourse to many expedients in their impositions on the public. The following is an instance, of a singular nature, that took place a good many years ago. When it is considered that the Gipsies, in their native country, [It is pretty certain that the Gipsies came from a warm country, for they have no words for frost or snow, as will be seen in my enquiry into the history of their language.] would not be encumbered with much wearing-apparel, but would go about in a state little short of nudity, the extreme indecency of such an action will appear somewhat lessened. The inhabitants of Winchburgh and neighbourhood were one day greatly astonished at beholding a female, with a child in her arms, walking along the road, as naked as when she was born. She stated to the country-people that she had just been plundered, and stripped of every article of her wearing-apparel, by a band of Tinklers, to whom she pointed, lying in a field hard by. She submitted her piteous condition to the humanity of the inhabitants, and craved any sort of garment to cover her nakedness. The state in which she was found left not the slightest doubt on the minds of the spectators as to the truth of her representations. Almost every female in the neighbourhood ran with some description of clothing to the unfortunate woman ; so that, in a short time, she was not Only comfortably clad, but had many articles of dress to spare. Shortly after, she left the town, and proceeded on her journey. But some one, observing her motions more closely than the rest, was astonished at seeing her go straight to the very Tinklers who, she said, had stripped her. Her appearance among her band convulsed them all with laughter, at the dexterous trick she had played upon the simple inhabitants.

The following anecdote, related to me of one of the well-attired female Gipsies, belonging to the Stirling horde, will illustrate the gratitude which the Scottish Gipsies have, on all occasions, shown to those who have rendered them acts of kindness and attention : A person, belonging to Stirling, had rendered himself obnoxious to the Gipsies, by giving information relative to one of the gang, of the name of Hamilton, whom he had observed picking a man's pocket of forty pounds in a fair at Doune. Hamilton was apprehended immediately after committing the theft, but none of the money was found upon him. The informer, however, was marked out for destruction by the band, for his officious conduct ; and they only waited a convenient opportunity to put their resolution into execution. Some time afterwards, the proscribed individual had occasion to go to a market at no great distance from Stirling, and while on his way to it, he observed, on the road before him, a female, in the attire of a lady, riding on horseback. On coming to a pond at the road-side, the horse suddenly made for the water, and threw down its head to drink. Not being prepared for the movement, the rider was thrown from her seat, with considerable violence, to the ground. The proscribed individual, observing the accident, ran forward to her assistance; but, being only slightly stunned, she was, with his help, safely placed in her seat again. She now thanked him for his kind and timely assistance, and informed him of the conspiracy that had been formed against him. She said it was particularly fortunate for him that such an accident had befallen her under the circumstances; for, in consequence of the information he had given about the pocket-picking at Doune, he was to have been way-laid and murdered; that very night having been fixed upon for carrying the resolution into effect. But, as he had shown her this kindness, she would endeavour to procure, from her people, a pardon for him, for the past. She then directed him to follow slowly, while she would proceed on, at a quick pace, and overtake some of her people, to whom she would relate her accident, and the circumstances attending it. She then informed him that if she waved her hand, upon his coming in sight of herself and her people, he was to retrace his steps homeward, there being then no mercy for him; but if she waved her handkerchief, he might advance without fear. To his heartfelt delight, on coming near the party, the signal of peace was given, when he immediately hastened forward to the spot. The band, who had been in deliberation upon his fate, informed him that the lady's intercession had prevailed with them to spare his life; and that now he might consider himself safe, provided he would take an oath, there and then, never again to give evidence against any of their people, or speak to any one about their practices, should he discover them. The person in question deemed it prudent, under all the circumstances of the case, to take the oath ; after which, nothing to his hurt, in cither purse or person, ever followed.

[Such interference with the Gipsies causes them much greater offence than if the informer was a principal in the transaction. To such people, their advice has always been: "Follow your nose, and let sleeping dogs lie." The following anecdote will illustrate the way in which they have revenged themselves, under circumstances different from the above:

Old Will, of Phaup, at the head of Ettrick, was wont to shelter them for many years. They asked nothing hut house-room, and grass for their horses ; and, though they sometimes remained for several days, he could have left every chest and press about the house open, with the certainty that nothing would bo missing; for, he said, "he aye ken'd fu' weel that the toad wad keep his ain hole clean." But it happened that he found one of the gang, through the trick of a neighbouring farmer, feeding six horses on the hest piece of grass on his farm, which he was keeping for winter fodder. A desperate combat followed, and ihe Gipsy was thrashed to his heart's content, and hunted out of the neighbourhood. A warfare of five years' duration ensued between Will and the Gipsies. They nearly ruined him, and, at the end of that period, he was glad to make up matters ģith his old friends, and shelter them as formerly. He said he could have held his own with them, had it not been for their warlockry; for nothing could he keep from them—they once found his purse, though he had made his wife bury it in the garden.—Blackwoorts Magazine. It is the afterclap that keeps the people off the Gipsies, and secures for them a sort of toleration wherever they go.—Ed.]

The lady, thus equipped, and possessed of so much influence, was the chief female- of the Gipsy band, to whom all the booty obtained at the fair was brought, at the house where she put up at for the day. It would seem that she was determined to save her friend at all events; for, had her band not complied with her wishes, the waving of her hand—the signal for him to make his escape—would have defeated their intentions for that time.

When occurrences of so grave and imposing a nature as the above are taken into consideration, the fear and awe with which the Gipsies have inspired the community are not to be wondered at.

The Gipsies at Lochgellie had a dance peculiar to themselves, during the performance of which they sung a song, in the Gipsy language, which they called a "croon." A Gipsy informed me that it was exactly like the one old Charles Stewart, and other Gipsies, used to perform, and which I will describe. At the wedding near Corstorphine, which Charles Stewart attended, as already mentioned, there were five or six female Gipsies in his train. On such occasions he did not allow males to accompany him. At some distance from the people at the wedding, but within hearing of the music, the females formed themselves into a ring, with Charles in the centre. Here, in the midst of the circle, he danced and capered in the most antic and ludicrous manner, sweeping his cudgel around his body in all directions, and moving with much grace and agility. Sometimes he danced round the outside of the circle. The females danced and courtesied to him, as he faced about and bowed to them. When they happened to go wrong, he put them to rights by a movement of his cudgel; for it was by the cudgel that all the turns and figures of the dance were regulated. A twirl dismissed the females ; a cut recalled them ; a sweep made them squat on the ground ; a twist again called them up, in an instant, to the dance. In short, Stewart distinctly spoke to his female dancers by means of his cudgel, commanding them to do whatever he pleased, without opening his mouth to one of them.

George Drummond, a Gipsy chief of an inferior gang in Fife, danced with his seraglio of females, amounting sometimes to half a dozen, in the same manner as Stewart, without the slightest variation, excepting that his gestures were, on some occasions, extremely lascivious. He threw himself into almost every attitude in which the human body can be placed, while his cudgel was flying about his person with great violence. All the movements of the dance were regulated by the measures of an indecent song, at the chorus of which the circular movements of Drummond's cudgel ceased ; when one of the females faced about to him, and joined him with her voice, the gestures of both being exceedingly obscene. Drummond's appearance, while dancing, has been described to me, by a gentleman who has often seen him performing, as exactly like what is called a "jumping-jack "— that is, a human figure, cut out of wood or paste-board, with which children often amuse themselves, by regulating its ludicrous movements by means of strings attached to various parts of it.

Dr. Clark, in his account of his travels through Russia, gives a description of a Gipsy dance in Moscow, which is, in all respects, very similar to that performed by Stewart and Drummond. These travels came into my hands some time after I had taken notes of the Scottish Gipsy dance. Napkins appear to have been used by the Russian Gipsies, where sticks were employed by our Scottish tribes. No mention, however, is made, by Dr. Clark, whether the females, in the dance at Moscow, were guided by signs with the napkins, in the manner in which Stewart and Drummond, hy their cudgels, directed their women in their dances. The eyes of the females were constantly fixed upon Stewart's cudgel. Dr. Clark is of opinion that the national dance in Russia, called the barina, is derived from the Gipsies ; and thinks it probable that our common hornpipe is taken from these wanderers. [If I am not mistaken. Col. Todd is of opinion that the Gipsies originally came from Cabool, in Afghanistan. I will here give a description of an Afghan dance, very like the Gipsy dance in Scotland. " The western Afghans are fond of a particular dance called Attum, or Ghoomboor, in which from fourteen to twenty people move, in strange attitudes, with shouting, clapping of hands, and snapping of fingers, in a circle, round a single person, who plays on an instrument in the centre."— Fraser's library.]

George Drummond was, in rank, quite inferior to the Lochgellie band, who called him a "beggar Tinkler," and seemed to despise him. He always travelled with a number of females in his company. These he married after the custom of the Gipsies, and divorced some of them over the body of a horse, sacrificed for the occasion; a description of both of which ceremonies will be given in another chapter. He chastised his women with his cudgel, without mercy, causing the blood to flow at every blow, and frequently knocked them senseless to the ground; while he would call out to them, " What the deevil are ye fighting at—can ye no' 'gree? I'm sure there's no' sae mony o' ye!" although, perhaps, four would be engaged in the scuffle. Such was this man's impudence and audacity, that he sometimes carried off the flesh out of the kail-pots of the farmers ; and so terrified were some of the inhabitants of Fife, at some of the Gipsy women who followed him, that, the moment they entered their doors, salt was thrown into the fire, to set at defiance the witchcraft which they believed they possessed. One female, called Dancing Tibby, was, in particular, an object of apprehension and suspicion. In Drummond's journeys through the country, when he came at night to a farmer's premises, where he intended to lodge, and found his place occupied by others of his gang, he, without hesitation, turned them out of their quarters, and took possession of their warm beds himself; letting them shift for themselves as they best might. This man lived till he was ninety years of age, and was, from his youth, impressed with a belief that he would die in the house in which he was born; although he had travelled a great part 6f the continent, and, while in the army, had been in various engagements. He fell sick when at some distance from the place of his nativity, but he hired a conveyance, and drove with haste to die on his favourite spot. To this house he was allowed admittance, where he closed his earthly career, in about forty-eight hours after his arrival. Like others of his tribe, Drummond, at times, gave tokens of protection to some of his particular friends, outside of the circle of his own fraternity.

James Robertson, a Gipsy closely related to the Lochgellie band, of whom I have already made mention, frequently danced, with his wife and numerous sisters, in a particular fashion, changing and regulating the figures of the dance by means of a bonnet; being, I believe, the same dance which I have attempted to describe as performed by others of the tribe in Scotland. When his wife and sisters got intoxicated, which was often the case, it was a wild and extravagant scene to behold those light-footed damsels, with loose and flowing hair, dancing, with great spirit, on the grass, in the open field, while James was, with all his "might and main," like the devil playing to the witches, in "Tam o' Shanter," keeping the bacchanalians in fierce and animated music. When like to flag in his exertions to please them with his fiddle, they have been heard calling loudly to him, like Maggie Lauder to Rob the Ranter, "Play up, Jamie Robertson; if ever we do weel, it will be a wonder;" being totally regardless of all sense of decorum and decency.

The Gipsies in Fife followed the same occupations, in all respects, as those in other parts of Scotland, and were also dexterous at all athletic exercises. They were exceedingly fond of cock-fighting, and, when the season came round for that amusement, many a good cock was missing from the farm-yards. The Lochgellie band considered begging a disgrace to their tribe. At times they were handsomely dressed, wearing silver buckles in their shoes, gold rings on their fingers, and gold and silver brooches in the bosoms of their ruffled shirts. They killed, at Martinmass, fat cattle for their winter's provisions, and lived on the best victuals the country could produce. It is, I believe, the common practice, among inferior Scotch traders, for those who receive money to treat the payer, or return a trifle of the payment, called a luck-penny: but, in opposition to this practice, the Lochgellie Gipsies always treated those to whom they paid money for what they purchased of them. They occasionally attended the church, and sometimes got their children baptized ; but when the clergyman refused them that privilege, they baptized them themselves. At their baptisms, they had great feastings and drinkings. Their favourite beverage, on such occasions, was oatmeal and whiskey, mixed. When intoxicated, they were sometimes very fond of arguing and expostulating with clergymen on points of morality. With regard to the internal government of the Lochgellie Gipsies, I can only find that they held consultations among themselves, relative to their affairs, and that the females had votes as well as the males, but that old Charles Graham had the casting vote; while, in his absence, his wife, Ann Brown, managed their concerns.

There is a strict division of property among the Gipsies; community of goods having no place among them. The heads of each family, although travelling in one band, manufacture and vend their own articles of merchandise, for the support of their own families. The following particulars are illustrative of this fact among the Gipsies :—A farmer in Fife, who would never allow them to kindle fires in his out-houses, had a band of them, of about twenty-five persons, quartered one night on his farm. Next morning, the chief female borrowed from the family a large copper caldron, used for the purposes of the dairy, with which she had requested permission to cook the breakfast of the horde upon the kitchen fire. This having been granted, each family produced a small linen bag, (not the beggar's wallet,) made of coarse materials, containing oatmeal; of which at least four were brought into the apartment. The female who prepared the repast went regularly over the bags, taking out the meal in proportion to the members of the families to which they respectively belonged, and repeated her visits in this manner till the porridge was ready to be served up.

I shall conclude my account of the Gipsies in Fife by mentioning the curious fact that, within these sixty years, a gentleman of considerable landed property, between the Forth and the Tay, abandoned his relatives, and travelled over the kingdom in the society of the Gipsies. He married one of the tribe, of the name of Ogilvie, who had two daughters to him. Sometimes he quartered, it is said, upon his own estate, disguised, of course, among the gang, to the great annoyance of his relatives, who were horrified at the idea of his becoming a Tinkler, and alarmed at the claims which he occasionally made upon the estate. His daughters travel the country, at the present day, as common Gipsies.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus