« PoprzedniaDalej »
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 told him that he was a bachelor, but 5 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,' said 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 20 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.
I might here entertain my reader with historical re- 25 marks 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 30 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 5 taken in; which the master of the boat refused, because the lad had not quite money enough to 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 Io 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 15 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 years before. The parents after a long search for him, gave him up for 20 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 25 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 30 on the other hand was not a little delighted to see a
son return to him, whom he had given up for lost, with
such a strength of constitution, sharpness of understand
Here the printed story
ing, and skill of languages." 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 5 everything 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, with great reputation 10 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.
Ir 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, 5 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 10 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 to myself, and I hope to others. I 20 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 chase. My greatest difficulty in the country is to find sport, and in town to choose 5 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 10 inquisitive after my name and character; my love of solitude, taciturnity, and particular 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 15 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 conjurer; and some of them hearing of 20 the visit which I made to Moll White, will needs have it that Sir Roger has brought down a cunning man with him, 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. 25
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; and that he thinks the gentlemen of the country would do very well to make me 30 give some account of myself.