« ZurückWeiter »
ON GIPSIES IN GENERAL.
S I was Yesterday riding out in the Fields with
my Friend Sir ROGER, we saw at a little Distance from us a Troop of Gipsies. Upon the first Dis. covery of them, my Friend was in some doubt whe. ther he should not exert the Justice of the Peace upon such a Band of Lawless Vagrants; but not having his Clerk with him, who is a necessary Counsellor on these Occasions, and fearing that his Poultry might fare the worse for it, he let the Thought drop: But at the same time gave me a particular Account of the Mischiefs they do in the Country, in stealing People's Goods and spoiling their Servants. If a stray Piece of Linen hangs upon an Hedge, says Sir Roger, they are sure to have it; if the Hog loses his Way in the Fields, it is ten to one but he becom their Prey ; our Geese cannot live in Peace for them;
if a Man prosecutes them with Severity, his Henroost is sure to pay for it: They generally straggle into these Parts about this Time of the Year; and set the Heads of our Servant-Maids so agog for Husbands, that we do not expect to have any Business done as it should be whilst they are in the Country. I have an honest Dairy-maid who crosses their Ilands with a Piece of Silver every Summer, and never fails being promised the handsomest young Fellow in the Parish for her pains. Your Friend the Butler has been Fool enough to be seduced by them; and, though he is sure to lose a Knife, a Fork, or a Spoon every time his Fortune is told him, generally shuts himself up
in the Pantry with an old Gipsy for above half an Hour once in a Twelvemonth. Sweet-hearts are the things they live upon, which they bestow very plentifully upon all those that apply themselves to them. You see now and then some handsom
among them: The Sluts have very often white Teeth and black Eyes.
Sir Roger observing that I listened with great Attention to his Account of a People who were so entirely new to me, told me, That if I would they should tell us our Fortunes. As I was very well pleased with the Knight's Proposal, we rid up and communicated our Hands to them. A Cassandra of
the Crew, after having examined my
dili. gently, told me, That I loved a pretty Maid in a Corner, that I was a good Woman's Man, with some other Particulars which I do not think proper to relate. My Friend Sir Roger alighted from his Horse, and exposing his Palm to two or three that stood by him, they crumpled it into all Shapes, and diligently scanned every Wrinkle that could be made in it; when one of them, who was older and more Sun-burnt than the rest, told him, That he had a Widow in his Line of Life: Upon which the Knight cried, Go, go, you are an idle Baggage ; and at the same time smiled upon me. The Gipsy finding he was not displeased in his Heart, told him, after a farther Inquiry into his Hand, that his True-love was constant, and that she should dream of him to-night: My old Friend cried Pish, and bid her go on. The Gipsy old him that he was a Bachelor, but would not be so long; and that he was dearer to somebody than he thought: The Knight still repeated She was an idle Baggage, and bid her go on. Ah Master, says the Gipsy, that roguish Leer of yours makes a pretty Woman's Heart ake; you han't that simper about the Mouth for nothing The uncouth Gibberish with which all this was uttered like the Darkness of an Oracle, made us the more attentive to it. To be
short, The Knight left the Money with her that he had crossed her Hand with, and got up again on his Horse.
As we were riding away, Sir Roger told me, that he knew several sensible People who believed these Gipsies now and then foretold very strange things ; and for half an Hour together appeared more jocund than ordinary. In the Height of his Good-humour, meeting a common Beggar upon the Road who was no Conjurer, as he went to relieve him he found his Pocket was picked : That being a Kind of Palmistry at which this Race of Vermin are very dexterous.
A SUMMONS TO LONDON.
Ipsa rursum concedite Sylvæ. VIRG.
is usual for a Man who loves Country Sports to preserve the Game in his own Grounds, and divert himself upon those that belong to his Neighbour. My Friend Sir Roger generally goes two or three Miles from his House, and gets into the Frontiers of his Estate, before he beats about in search of a Hare or Partridge, on purpose to spare his own Fields, where he is always sure of finding Diversion when the worst comes to the worst. · By this Means the Breed about his House has time to increase and multiply, besides that the Sport is the more agreeable where the Game is the harder to come at, and where it does not lie so thick as to produce any Perplexity or Confusion in the Pursuit. For these Reasons the Country Gentleman, like the Fox, seldom preys near his own Home.
In the same manner I have made a Month's Excursion out of the Town, which is the great Field of