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in Scotland, but they are neither multiplying so fast as was expected, nor is the success of those already established so great, as to warrant a belief that these institutions will ultimately prove of much advantage to the country. Some how or other, the lower ranks, in general, entertain a strong though mistaken aversion to saving banks; and whether this proceeds from a desire to keep their savings out of the sight of their employers, who almost in every case have assumed the management of these banks,—or whether they have an idea that the circumstance of having money in the bank at one time, will afterwards be a bar to their receiving parochial relief at a future period, cannot well be determined. But one thing is certain, that these establishments are not generally viewed in such a favourable light as they merit; nay more, it is highly probable that the greater part of the money invested in these banks had previously been lodged with private persons, and only transferred because a higher interest was allowed in the one case than was received in the other.
ANECDOTES OF THE FIFE GYPSIES.
I Again approach the precincts of your respectable Miscellany, the present repository of detached pieces of Scottish gypsey history, with a quantity of fresh materials on that subject, in continuation of what I have already deposited within your columns relative to these hapless tribes,
Charlie Brown, one of the principal members of the Lochgellie band, was killed in a desperate fight at the Raploch, near Stirling. A number of gypsey boys, belonging to several gangs in the south, obtained a considerable quantity of plunder at a Perth fair, and had, in the division of the spoil, some how or other imposed upon the Lochgellie gypsies and their associates. Charlie Graham, mentioned in my first communication, and this Charlie Brown, went south in pursuit of these young depredators, for the purpose of compelling them to give up their ill-gotten booty to those to whom, by the gypsey 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 a considerable time, with equal success on both sides, Graham, from some unknown cause, fled in a cowardly manner, and left his near relation, Brown, alone, to contend with the youths in the best way he could, The boys now began to press hard upon Brown, and became the assailants in their turn. He defended himself long and manfully with his bludgeon, displaying much art in the use of his weapon, in warding off the lighter strokes of the boys, which came pouring in upon him like hail from all quarters. At length, however, he was forced to give way, although very few of the blows reached his person. On taking a step backwards, retreating with front towards his assailants, his foot struck an old feal dyke, when he fell with his back to the ground. The enraged boys, like tigers, now sprang in upon him; and, without shewing the least mercy, forthwith despatched him upon the spot, by literally beating out his brains with their bludgeons.
Brown's coat was brought home to Lochgellie by some of his friends, with its collar and shoulders besmeared all over with blood and brains, with large quantities of the hair of his head sticking among 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 rouse the clan to future vengeance. My informant, a man about fifty years of age, with others, saw this dreadful relique of Brown, in the very same state in which it is here described. He was uncertain, or rather seemed unwilling to tell, whether the laws of the country had ever taken cognizance of this affair.
Lizzie Brown, a tall stout woman, with features far from being disagreeable, lost her nose in a dreadful battle fought in the shire of Mearns.* In this rencounter they fought with Highland dirks, exhibiting all the
• Whether this woman ever resided at Lochgellie or not, I am uncertain, as there were several families of this name in different quarters.
fury and tumult of a conflict of hostile tribes of wild Bedouin Arabs of the desert When this woman found that her nose was struck off her face by the sweep of a dirk, she put her hand to the wound, which was streaming with blood, and, as if little had befallen her, called out, in the heat of the scuffle, to those who were nearest to her, "but in the middle o' the mean time, where is my nose?" Poor Lizzie's tall figure was conspicuous among the tribe, owing to the want of that ornamental part of her face. Her visage had somewhat the resemblance of a sun-dial without its cock.
Great numbers of young gypsies at one period crossed the Forth from the south, for the purpose of stealing and robbing at fairs in the north of Scotland. It appears that these people assembled from various quarters, and formed extensive combinations for general plunderings at fairs. The slightest act of injustice committed among themselves, in dividing the booty thus collected at a general pillage of the combined bands, caused a fierce and desperate battle instantly to commence on the spot. I am assured by a gypsey, that a number of their internal quarrels arose from jealousy, or supposed injustice, at these divisions of their spcil. A gypsey is quite alive to a sense of justice among his own tribe, however numerous his acts of robbery and injustice may be which he commits upon the public at large.
Happening to cross the Forth at Queensferry, and having heard that numbers of these wanderers crossed at that passage, I obtained the following curious facts at the village on the Fife side. This public ferry draws, as it were, to a focus, a great part of the population of the country, where are to be seen, passing and re-passing, all the numerous intermediate degrees of rank in the community, from the mighty duke of stately step and lordly port, down to the outcast vagabond gypsey, fluttering in rags, and flying from justice.
About fifty years since, Tam Gordon, noticed in my last communication, with his band of young gypsies, called the "gitlie-wheesels," and sometimes the "kitlie-wheesh," attended most of the fairs in the counties north of the Forth. He often rode upon a shelty himself, and was dressed in
a handsome suit, not at all to be known for a gypsey, except by those who were acquainted with him. Tain's gillies were all young lads, from about twelve to thirty years of age. To avoid observation, they generally crossed the Forth in small parties of twos and threes, as well as in single individuals. Very few persons, however, knew from whence any of these stragglers came. One of the principal secrets of these banditti is, to tell no person from whence they come, or with whom they are connected. They seldom returned by the passage at which they crossed northward. They were in general well dressed; some of them wore green coats, and, like their captain, not to be known for gypsies. Individuals among them pretended to deal a little in horses. They all had cudgels in their hands; and, I believe, had they been searched, a sharp penknife, of the keenest metal, would have been found in the pocket of each man. These knives were employed in cutting out pocket-books and purses of the people in the fairs, when they could not manage the business by slight of hand. With these knives they also appear to have fought in close combat.
Every one of these gypsies put up at a certain public-house in North Queensferry, at that time well known in the neighbourhood for its good cheer, being much frequented by most classes of society. In this house, in 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 individuals of these daring gypsey depredators have frequently been seen sitting at their breakfast, with Captain Gordon at their head, acknowledged as their commander. They ate and drank of the best in the house, and paid most handsomely. I believe they were the best customers the landlord had. They were perfectly inoffensive, and remarkably civil. They troubled or stole from none of the persons about the inn, nor those who lodged in the house while they were within doors, or in the immediate neighbourhood. Any thing in the premises could have been trusted with these gypsey gillies. In this house, at these meetings, they sometimes conversed in the gypsey language, of which the domestics about the inn understood not one word, except the slang expression of Captain Grose,—" milling the fob." Gordon at times paid the reckoning for the whole, and transacted any other business with the landlord When the gypsey company was mixed with females, which was commonly the case, each individual then paid his own share of the expenses incurred. Some of the females wore brown mantles— had baskets below their arms, vending, in the market, small articles of sale.
These young gypsies, male and female, appear to have been the flower of bands collected and employed in a general forage at a fair. When any of their chiefs happened to remain in this public-house all night, they behaved very genteelly. They paid the chambermaid, waiter, and the person who cleaned their shoes* with more liberality than the travellers for mercantile houses generally pay these attendants. Tarn Gordon assumed very considerable consequence at this place. He frequently hired small boats, and visited the islands in the Forth, and adjacent coasts, like a gentleman on pleasure. On one occasion he paid no less than one guinea, besides as much brandy and bread and cheese as the boatmen, who were three in number, could take, for rowing him to Inchcolm, a distance only of four miles. The female gypsies, on visiting their friends in the dead of winter, often hired horses at North Queensferry, and rode with no small pride and pomp to Lochgellie. Sometimes two females would ride upon one horse. I know a very decent man, about ninety years old, who has rode himself to Lochgellie, with a female behind him, accompanied by other two females mounted en anotner of his own horses, riding with much glee and spirit by his side. These females not only paid more than the common hire, but they also treated the owners of the horses with as much meat and drink as they would take, over and above their bargain. The male gypsies also hired horsist at this village, with which they rode to markets in the north. So well did the gypsies
* At small inns, one female generally performed all these duties.
t About 1763, there were at North Queensferry one post-chaise and twelve hacks. At Pettycur there were about forty hacks.
pay their freights and other expenses at this passage, that the boatmen gave them the endearing appellation of "our frien's." The old man already mentioned tells me, that he has frequently seen these sailors, with a significant smile on their harsh weatherbeaten countenance, shake the gypsies heartily by the hand, and wish them "a good market," as they landed them on the north shore, in their way to pick pockets at fairs.
The most of these facts are derived from the landlord's son of the inn already mentioned, who is a man about seventy years of age. He told me the following characteristic anecdote of himself and the gypsies:
He happened to be at a fair in Dunfermline, where he purchased a horse. He put his hand to his side-pocket for his pocket-book to pay for his bargain, but, to his astonishment and grief, pocket-hook and all his cash were gone. The man from whom he had just bought the horse was not disposed to trust him. He was therefore, in his distressing situation, obliged to have recourse to the gypsies. Ann M 'Donald, wife of Captain M'Donald, chief of the Linlithgowshire gypsies, was in the fair. He knew her power and authority among the tribe. She had often been in his father's house, and knew him well. He told her, with a very long and melancholy face, that he had lost his pocket-book, bills, and money, to the amount of £7. Putting his hand upon her shoulder, in a kind and familiar manner, he requested her friendly advice and assistance in his afflicting circumstances. "Some o' our laudies will hae seen it, Davie,—I will inquire," was the immediate answer which he received from Annie. That he might not trace her doublings and windings, she took him into a publichouse, called for brandy, saw him seated, took the marks of the pocketbook, went out to the crowd in the street, and, in about half-an-hour thereafter, returned from her temporary depot of stolen articles, with the pocket-book and all its contents. The cash, bills, and other papers, were in the same part of the book in which he had placed them. Probably in the throng the villains had not got time to see what it contained.
This curious affair was transacted in a cool and business-like manner, a» if Ann had been conscious that her "Uudies" had committed no crime whatever in robbing this man, and that they had been merely exercising their ordinary vocation.
The following particulars, derived from the same source, will shew the nature of the business which a gypsey captain has on his hands at a general plunder at a fair.
One Campbell, a farmer, while he was on his way to a fair in Perth, fell in with M'Donald, of whom I made mention before. Being unacquainted with the character of his fellow traveller, the simple farmer, during his conversation, told him, that he had just as much money in his pocket as would purchase one horse for his fourhorse plough, having other three at home. M'Donald heard all this with patience, till he came to a solitary part of the road, when he demanded the cash from the astonished farmer. The poor simple man had no alternative, and immediately produced his purse to this shark of a gypsey. However, before parting with him, he desired the farmer to call to-morrow, the fair day, at a certain house in Perth, where he would find a person who might be of service to him.
Campbell promised to do this, and accordingly called at the time appointed, when he was, tohis surprise, ushered into a room, where M'Donald was sitting with a large bowlof smoking toddy on the table before him. The farmer was invited, in a frank and hearty manner, to sit down and partake of the toddy. He had scarcely got time, however, to swallow one glass, when he was relieved from his suspense, and agreeably surprised, by the gyphey returning to him every farthing of the money he had taken from him the day before. Being well pleased at recovering his cash, and the gypsy pressing him to drink, his spirits became a little elevated, and now having some confidence in M'Donald, he was in no hurry to be gone. During the short time he remained with him, he observed as good a9 four or five purses and pocket-books brought into theroomby gypsey boys. After delivering their respective booty to their chief, they returned immediately to the street to commit fresh depredations on the multitude in the fair. The chief was in fact a man of considerable business, having a number of youths fcrretting Vol. III.
for him in the market, who were going out and coming in to him constantly.
About sixty years since, one of these gillies stole it black colt in the east of Fife, and carried it direct to a fair in Perth, where he exchanged it for a white horse, with money to boot, belonging to a Highlandman dressed in a green kilt. The Highlander, however, had not long put his fine colt into a stable, when word was brought him that it was gone. Suspecting the gypsey for the theft, and having received positive information of the fact, the sturdy Gael, in great wrath, pursued him like a staunch hound on the warm foot of reynard, till he overtook him at a house on the north side of Kinross. The thief was taking some refreshment, when the Higlilandman, in a storm of broken English, burst into the apartment upon him. The polished gypsey instantly sprang to his feet, threw his arms about the foaming Celt, embraced and hugged him in the eastern manner, overpowering him with expressions of feigned joy at seeing him again. This subtile and cunning behaviour quite exasperated the fiery mountaineer. Now almost suffocated with wrath, he shook the gypsey from his person with contempt and disdain, exclaiming, "pheugh! cot tamn her kisses; where pe ta cowt?"—This Celt, with the green philabeg, was not to be imposed upon by deceitful embraces, nor mollified in his resentment by forced entreaties. He had messengers at his back, and the gypsey's feet were accordingly laid in Cupar prison for his audacity." He would in all probability expiate his crime on the scaffold.
All these young vagrants were regularly trained to theft and robbery from their infancy. This is part of the gypsey education. I have heard that this systematic training existed, not only among these strangers in general, but in particular bands, nay, even taught by certain old chief females, ever since I recollect of hearing any thing of these people. Several individuals have informed me, that the Lochgellie gypsies were exercised in the art of thieving, under the most rigid discipline. They have various
• The old man, before alluded to, wj« sitting in the apartment when he saw the gypsey embrace the Highlandmao. . C
ways in making themselves expert thieves. They frequently practise themselves by picking the pockets of one another. Sometimes a pair of' breeches were made fast to the end of a string, suspended from a high part of the tent, kiln, or out-house, in which they happened to be encamped. The children were set to work to try if they could, by slight of hand, abstract money from the pockets of the breeches, hanging in this position, without moving them. It is stated to me, that the Lochgellie horde used bells in this nefarious discipline, in the same way as we are informed the sharpers teach themselves to pick pockets in London. The children who were most expert in abstracting the cash in this manner, were rewarded with presents and applause; while, on the other hand, those who were awkward, and committed blunders by ringing the bell, or moving the breeches, were severely chastLxd by the superintendent of this gyps^y school.
After these youths were considered perfect in this slight of hand branch of their trade, a purse or other small object was laid down in an exposed part of the tent or camp, in view of all the horde. While the ordinary business of the gypsies was going forward, the children again commenced their operations, by exerting their ingenuity, and exercising their patience, in trying to carry off the purse without being perceived by any one of the family. If they were detected, they were again dreadfully beaten; but when they succeeded unnoticed, they were caressed and liberally rewarded.
As far as my information goes, this systematic training of the gypscy youth, was the duty of the chief females of the hands. These wanderers Seem to have had great authority over their children. Ann Brown of the Lochgellie tribe, could, by a single stamp with her foot, cause the children crouch to the ground, like trembling dogs under the rod of their angry master.
In some of these particular traits and practices, the gypsies resemble the ancient Spartans under the government of Lycurgus, the celebrated lawgiver; and we find, that, in some of the mountainous districts in India, a dexterous thief, at this day, is considered by the natives a character of
the first qualification among the males in the state. They are, in fact, not thought fit to enter into the matrimonial state, until they are thoroughly master of the art of thieving. W. S.
REMARKABLE INSTANCE Of SECOND SIGHT.
[The following interesting little Narrative was communicated to us by a gentleman (to whom we are under various obligations), who says, in his private letter, " Were I permitted to bring it forward, supported by all the evidences who could speak to its truth, it could be established as the best authenticated of any of those instances which have been given of the ' seer's prophetic sight.' But delicacy forbids me to corroborate its trudi by names, many connexions of the personages to whom the story relates being yet alive, who must still cherish to painful recollection of the fatal catastrophe." •editor.]
It is now, I believe, about eighty years ago, since a festive party of ladies were assembled in the great
hall of the baronial castle of ,
which is grandly situated in an unfrequented part of the country, in the northern extremity of the kingdom. It had then been for some time the scene of Highland hospitality and joy;
for Sir Charles and Lady D , two
young lovers lately made happy in the possession of each other, had come from the neighbourhood of the Scottish border, to spend some delightful weeks
as the guests of Lord K , the
brother, or uncle of the lady, for I forget in which of these degrees of relationship that nobleman stood towards her. The evening had closed, and the shrill sound of the bagpipe had already died away around the outer walls of the castle, having told to the clansmen that the feast was begun. Mirth held his jocund reign, and joyous smiles played on every youthful countenance that brightened the circle of the huge oaken table; whilst the heaped up faggots crackkd in the ample grate, shooting a cheerful glare amidst the groupe. Care and anxiety were alike banished, excepting from the thoughts of the lovely Lady D , who, though she
could not but participate in the general gladness her presence had created, yet felt even the temporary absence of all she now held dearest on earth. Sir