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at him, as one that was surprised to hear such things in the country, which had never been so much as whispered in the town, Will stopped short in the thread of his discourse, and after dinner asked my friend Sir Roger in his ear, if he was sure that I was not a fanatic.
It gives me a serious concern to see such a spirit of dissension in the country; not only as it destroys virtue and common sense, and renders us in a manner barbarians towards one another,
but as it perpetuates our animosities, widens our breaches, and 10 transmits our present passions and prejudices to our posterity.
For my own part, I am sometimes afraid that I discover the seeds of a civil war in these our divisions; and therefore cannot but bewail, as in their first principles, the miseries and calamities of our children.-C.
No. 130. Gipsies ; Sir Roger and the Spectator have their fortunes told; anecdote of a boy stolen by gipsies.
Virg. Æn. vii. 748.
As 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 discovering of them, my friend was in some doubt , whether he should not exert the Justice of the peace upon such
a band of lawless vagrants; but not having his clerk with him, 20 who is a necessary counsellor on those 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 a hog loses his way in the fields, it is ten to one but he becomes 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 30 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 hands 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 10 all those that apply themselves to them. You see now and then
some handsome young jades 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 n of the crew, after having examined my lines very diligently, told me, that
I loved a pretty maid in a corner, that I was a good woman's 20 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 of them 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 elder 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 30 constant, and that she should dream of him to-night: my old
friend cried, 'Pish,' and bid her go on. The gipsy told him that he was a batchelor, but would not be so long; and that he was dearer to somebody than he thought; the knight still repeated that 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 40 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
conjuror, as he went to relieve him, he found his pocket
picked; that being a kind of palmistry at which this race of vermin are very dexterous.
I might here entertain my reader with historical remarks 10 on this idle profligate people, who infest all the countries in
Europe, and live in the midst of governments in a kind of commonwealth by themselves.
But instead of entering into observations of this nature, I shall fill the remaining part of my paper with a story which is still fresh in Holland, and was printed in one of our monthly accounts about twenty years ago. As the Trekschuyt, or the hackney boat", which carries passengers from Leyden to Amsterdam, was putting off, a boy running along the side of the canal desired to be taken in; which the master of
the boat refused, because the lad had not quite money enough to 20 pay the usual fare. An eminent merchant being pleased with the
looks of the boy, and secretly touched with compassion towards him, paid the money for him, and ordered him to be taken on board. Upon talking with him afterwards, he found that he could speak readily in three or four languages, and learned upon further examination that he had been stolen away when he was a child by a gipsy, and had rambled ever since with a gang of these strollers up and down several parts of Europe. It happened that the merchant, whose heart seems to have inclined towards
the boy by a secret kind of instinct, had himself lost a child some 30 years before. The parents after a long search for him, gave him
for drowned in one of the canals with which that country abounds; and the mother was so afflicted at the loss of a fine boy, who was her only son, that she died for grief of it. Upon laying together all particulars, and examining the several moles and marks by which the mother used to describe the child when he was first missing, the boy proved to be the son of the merchant whose heart had so unaccountably melted at the sight of him. The lad was very well pleased to find a father who was so
rich, and likely to leave him a good estate; the father on 40 the other hand was not a little delighted to see a son return
THE SPECTATOR'S GAME.
to him, whom he had given for lost, with such a strength of constitution, sharpness of understanding, and skill of languages.' Here the printed story leaves off, but if I may give credit to reports, our linguist, having received such extraordinary rudiments towards a good education, was afterwards trained up in every thing that becomes a gentleman; wearing off by little and little all the vicious habits and practices that he had been used to in the course of his peregrinations; nay, it is said, that he has
since been employed in foreign courts upon national business, 10 with great reputation to himself and honour to those who sent
him, and that he has visited several countries as a public minister, in which he formerly wandered as a gipsy.-C.
No. 131. Various opinions entertained of the Spectator in the country.
Virg. Ecl. x. 63. It is usual for a man who loves country sports to preserve the game on 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 20 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 town, which is the great field of game for sportsmen of my species, to try my fortune in the country, where I have started
several subjects, and hunted them down, with some pleasure 30 to myself, and I hope to others. I am here forced to use a great
deal of diligence before I can spring anything to my mind, whereas in town, whilst I am following one character, it is ten to one but I am crossed in my way by another, and put up such
a variety of odd creatures in both sexes, that they foil the scent of one another, and puzzle the chace. My greatest difficulty in the country is to find sport, and in town to choose it. In the mean time, as I have given a whole month's rest to the cities of London and Westminster, I promise myself abundance of new game upon my return thither.
It is indeed high time for me to leave the country, since I find the whole neighbourhood begin to grow very inquisitive after my
name and character; my love of solitude, taciturnity, and par10 ticular way of life, having raised a great curiosity in all these parts.
The notions which have been framed of me are various; some look upon me as very proud, some as very modest, and some as very melancholy. Will Wimble, as my friend the butler tells me, observing me very much alone, and extremely silent when I am in company, is afraid I have killed a man. The country people seem to suspect me for a conjuror; and some of them hearing of the visit which I made to Moll White, will needs have
it that Sir Roger has brought down a cunning man with him, 20 to cure the old woman, and free the country from her charms.
So that the character which I go under in part of the neighbourhood is what they here call a white witch 1.
A justice of peace, who lives about five miles off, and is not of Sir Roger's party, has, it seems, said twice or thrice at his table, that he wishes Sir Roger does not harbour a Jesuit in his house; that he thinks the gentlemen of the country would do very well to make me give some account of myself.
On the other side, some of Sir Roger's friends are afraid the old knight is imposed upon by a designing fellow, and as they 30 have heard that he converses very promiscuously when he is
in town, do not know but he has brought down with him some discarded Whig, that is sullen, and says nothing because he is out of place n.
Such is the variety of opinions which are here entertained of me, so that I pass among some for a disaffected person, and among others for a popish priest; among some for a wizard, and among others for a murderer; and all this for no other reason, that I can imagine, but because I do not hoot and hollow and
make a noise. It is true, my friend Sir Roger tells them that it 40 is my way, and that I am only a philosopher; but this will