The English Gipsies and Their Language eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 247 pages of information about The English Gipsies and Their Language.

A few years ago an article on the Rommany language appeared in the “Atlantic Magazine” (Boston, U.S., America), in which the writer declared that Gipsy has very little affinity with Hindustani, but a great deal with Bohemian or Chech—­in fact, he maintained, if I remember right, that a Chech and a Rom could understand one another in either of their respective tongues.  I once devoted my time for several months to unintermitted study of Chech, and consequently do not speak in entire ignorance when I declare that true Rommany contains scores of Hindu words to one of Bohemian. {133}

CHAPTER IX.  MISCELLANEA.

Gipsies and Cats.—­“Christians.”—­Christians not “Hanimals.”—­Green, Red, and Yellow.—­The Evil Eye.—­Models and Morals.—­Punji and Sponge-cake.—­Troubles with a Gipsy Teacher.—­Pilferin’ and Bilberin’.—­Khapana and Hopper.—­Hoppera-glasses.—­The little wooden Bear.—­Huckeny Ponkee, Hanky Panky, Hocus-pocus, and Hokkeny Baro.—­Burning a Gipsy Witch alive in America.—­Daniel in the Lions’ Den.—­Gipsy Life in Summer.—­The Gavengroes.—­The Gipsy’s Story of Pitch-and-Toss.—­“You didn’t fight your Stockings off?”—­The guileless and venerable Gipsy.—­The Gipsy Professor of Rommany and the Police.—­His Delicacy of Feeling.—­The old Gipsy and the beautiful Italian Models.—­The Admired of the Police.—­Honesty strangely illustrated.—­Gipsies willing or unwilling to communicate Rommany.—­Romance and Eccentricity of Gipsy Life and Manners.—­The Gipsy Grandmother and her Family.—­A fine Frolic interrupted.—­The Gipsy Gentleman from America.—­No such Language as Rommany.—­Hedgehogs.—­The Witch Element in Gipsy Life.—­Jackdaws and Dogs.—­Their Uses.—­Lurchers and Poachers.—­A Gipsy Camp.—­The Ancient Henry.—­I am mistaken for a Magistrate or Policeman.—­Gipsies of Three Grades.—­The Slangs.—­Jim and the Twigs.—­Beer rained from Heaven.—­Fortune-telling.—­A golden Opportunity to live at my Ease.—­Petulamengro.—­I hear of a New York Friend.—­The Professor’s Legend of the Olive-leaf and the Dove, “A wery tidy little Story.”—­The Story of Samson as given by a Gipsy.—­The great Prize-fighter who was hocussed by a Fancy Girl.—­The Judgment Day.—­Passing away in Sleep or Dream to God.—­A Gipsy on Ghosts.—­Dogs which can kill Ghosts.—­Twisted-legged Stealing.—­How to keep Dogs away from a Place.—­Gipsies avoid Unions.—­A Gipsy Advertisement in the “Times.”—­A Gipsy Poetess and a Rommany Song.

It would be a difficult matter to decide whether the superstitions and odd fancies entertained by the Gipsies in England are derived from the English peasantry, were brought from India, or picked up on the way.  This must be left for ethnologists more industrious and better informed than myself to decide.  In any case, the possible common Aryan source will tend to obscure the truth, just as it often does the derivation of Rommany words.  But nothing can detract from the inexpressibly quaint spirit of Gipsy originality in which these odd credos are expressed, or surpass the strangeness of the reasons given for them.  If the spirit of the goblin and elfin lingers anywhere on earth, it is among the Rommany.

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The English Gipsies and Their Language from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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