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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 about half an hour once in a twelvemonth. Sweethearts 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 handsome young jadęs 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 lines very diligently, 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 further 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 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 ache ; you ha’n’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 this 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.
I might here entertain my reader with historical remarks on this idle, profligate people, who infest all the countries of 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 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 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 those 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 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 the other hand, was not a little delighted to see a son return to him, whom he had given for lost, with such a strength of constitution, sharpness of understanding, and skill in 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 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 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.
Sir Roger in Town.
I was this morning surprised with a great knocking at the door, when my landlady's daughter came up to me and told me there was a man below desired to speak with me. Upon my asking her who it was, she told me it was a very grave elderly person, but that she did not know his name. I immediately went down to him, and found him to be the coachman of my worthy friend Sir Roger de Coverley. He told me that his master came to town last night, and would be glad to take a turn with me in Grays-Inn walks. As I was wondering in myself what had brought Sir Roger to town, not having lately received any letter from him, he told me that his master was come up to get a sight of Prince Eugene, and that he desired I would immediately meet him.
I was not a little pleased with the curiosity of the old knight, though I did not much wonder at it, having heard him say him more than once in private discourse, that he looked upon Prince Eugenio (for so the knight always calls him) to be a greater man than Scanderbeg.
I was no sooner come into Grays-Inn walks, but I heard my friend upon the terrace hemming twice or thrice to himself with great vigour, for he loves to clear his pipes in good air (to make use of his own phrase), and is not a little pleased with any one who