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shakes the gigantic trees that crack like reeds. any money for it. But it was at night and dur“ The chirping of the birds, the cry of the wild ing storms that the spirit of music always seemed beasts—in a word, all those sweet, grave, or im- to be strongest on the Arabs, and then amid posing voices that animate the wilderness are so roaring of wild waters and thundering, and in many musical lessons which he easily remem- dense darkness, the rolling of the drum, and the bers.” In illustration of this, the missionary de- strange, bewildering ballads never ceased. It was scribes the singing of a Chippewa chief, and its the very counterpart, in all respects, of the Chipwild inspiration, in a manner which vividly illus- pewa storm-song. trates all music of the class of which I write. After the first gypsy lyric there came anoth
“It was,” he says, “ during one of those long er, to which the Captain especially directed my winter nights, so monotonous and so wearisome attention as being what Sam Petulengro calls in the woods. We were in a wigwam, which af- “reg'lar Rommany.” It was I rakli adro o lolo forded us but miserable shelter from the inclem- gad—“The girl in the red chemise”-as well as ency of the season. The storm raged without; I can recall his words, a very sweet song with a the tempest roared in the open country; the wind simple but spirited chorus, and as the sympablew with violence, and whistled through the fis- thetic electricity of excitement seized the persures of the cabin ; the rain fell in torrents, and formers we were all in a minute "going down prevented us from continuing our route. Our the rapids in a spring freshet." host was an Indian, with sparkling and intel- "Bagan tu rya, bagan!" ("Sing, sir-sing!") ligent eyes, clad with a certain elegance, and cried my handsome neighbor, with her black gypwrapped majestically in a large fur cloak. Seat- sy eyes sparkling fire.“ Jines bagan eto-eto ed close to the fire, which cast a reddish gleam latcho Romanes" (" You can sing that—it's real through the interior of his wigwam, he felt him- Rommany"). It was evident that she and all self all at once seized with an irresistible desire were singing with thorough enjoyment, and with to imitate the convulsions of nature, and to sing a full and realizing consciousness of gypsyism, his impressions. So, taking hold of a drum being greatly stimulated by my presence and which hung near his bed, he beat a slight rolling, sympathy. I felt that the gypsies were taking resembling the distant sounds of an approaching unusual pains to please the Rommany Rye from storm, then, raising his voice to a shrill treble, the dur' tem, or far country, and they had atwhich he knew how to soften when he pleased, tained the acme of success by being thoroughly he imitated the whistling of the air, the creaking delighted with themselves, which is all that can of the branches dashing against one another, and be hoped for in art, where the aim is pleasure the particular noise produced by dead leaves and not criticism. when accumulated in compact masses on the There was a pause in the performance, but ground. By degrees the rollings of the drum none in the chattering of the young ladies, and became more frequent and louder, the chants during this a curious little incident occurred. more sonorous and shrill, and at last our Indian Wishing to know if my pretty friend could unshrieked, howled, and roared in a most frightful derstand an English gypsy lyric, I sang in an manner; he struggled and struck his instrument undertone a ballad, taken from George Borwith extraordinary rapidity; it was a real tem- row's “ Lavengro,” and which begins with these pest, to which nothing was wanting, not even the words: distant howling of the dogs, nor the bellowing
“Pende Romani chai ke laki dye; of the affrighted buffaloes.”
Miri diri dye, mi shom kāmeli.'" I have observed the same musical inspiration of a storm upon Arabs, who during their singing I never knew whether this was really an old also accompanied themselves on a drum. I once gypsy poem or one written by Mr. Borrow. Once spent two weeks in a Mediterranean steamboat, when I repeated it to old Henry James as he sat on board of which were more than two hundred making baskets, I was silenced by being told : pilgrims, for the greater part wild Bedouins, go- “That ain't no real gypsy gilli. That's one of ing to Mecca. They had a minstrel who sang the kind made up by gentlemen and ladies.” and played on the darabuka, or earthenware However, as soon as I repeated it, the Russian drum, and he was aided by another with a sim- gypsy girl cried eagerly, “ I know that song," and ple nai, or reed-whistle, the same orchestra, in actually sang me a ballad which was essentially fact, which is in universal use among all Red In- the same, in which a damsel describes her fall, dians. To these performers the pilgrims listened owing to a Gajo (Gorgio, a Gentile—not gypsy) with indescribable pleasure, and I soon found lover, and her final expulsion from the tent. It that they regarded me favorably because I did was adapted to a very pretty melody, and as soon the same, being, of course, the only Frank on as she had sung it, sotto voce, my pretty friend board who paid any attention to the singing—or exclaimed to another girl, “ Only think, the rye from America knows that song !” Now, as many tury, but that those of England must have gone centuries must have passed since the English and directly from this part of the world to Great BritRussian gypsies parted from the parent stock, the ain, for, although they had many Slavic words, preservation of this song is very remarkable, and such as krallis (king) and shuba, there were no its antiquity must be very great. I did not take French terms, and very few traces of German or it down, but any resident in St. Petersburg can, Italian, in our dialect. I observed that the men if so inclined, do so among the gypsies at Dorat, all understood the geographical allusions which I and verify my statement.
made, knowing apparently where India, Persia, Then there was a pretty dance of a modified and Egypt were situated—a remarkable contrast Oriental character by one of the damsels. For to our own English “travelers,” one of whom this, as for the singing, the only musical instru- once informed me that he would like to go "on ment used was a guitar, which had seven strings the road " in America, “ because you know, sir, tuned in Spanish fashion, and was rather weak as America lays along into France, we could get in tone. I wished it had been a powerful Panor- our French baskets cheaper there." mo, which would have exactly suited the timbre I found on inquiry that the Russian gypsies of these voices. The gypsies were honestly in- profess Christianity; but, as the religion of the terested in all I could tell them about their kind Greek Church, as I saw it, appears to be practiin other lands; while the girls were profession-cally something very little better than fetich-worally desirous to hear more Anglo-Rommany ship, I can not exalt them as models of evansongs, and were particularly pleased with one by gelical piety. They are, however, according to a Miss Janet Tuckey, beginning with the words: popular proverb, not far from godliness in being “Me shom akonyo,' gildas yoi,
very clean in their persons, and not only did they Men būti ruzhior,
appear so to me, but I was assured by several
Russians that, as regarded these singing gypsies,
it was invariably the case. As for morality in
gypsy girls, their principles are very peculiar. Not Though we “got on " after a manner in our a whisper of scandal attaches to these Russian Rommany dialects, I was often obliged to have Rommany women as regards transient amours. recourse to my friend the General to translate But if a wealthy Russian gentleman falls in love long sentences into Russian, especially when with one, and will have and hold her permanentsome sand-bar of a verb or some log of a noun ly, or for a durable connection, he may take her impeded the current of our conversation. Final- to his home if she likes him, but must pay monthly, a formal request was made by the Captain, ly a sum into the gypsy treasury, for these people that I would, as one deep beyond all their expe- apparently form an artel, or society-union, like rience in Rommany matters, kindly tell them all other classes of Russians, It may be sugwhat kind of people they really were, and whence gested, as an explanation of this apparent inconthey came. With this demand I cheerfully com- gruity, that gypsies all the world over regard plied, every word being listened to with breath- steady cohabitation, or agreement, as marriage, less interest. So I told them what I knew or binding themselves, as it were, by Gandharbahad conjectured relative to their Indian origin, vivaha, as the saint married Vasantasena, which how their fathers had wandered forth through is an old Sanskrit way of wedding. And let me Persia, how their travels could be traced by the remark that, if one tenth of what I heard in RusPersian, Greek, or Roumanian words in the lan- sia about “morals” in the highest or lowest or guage, how in 1417 a band of them appeared in any other class be true, the gypsies of that counEurope, led by a few men of great diplomatic try are shining lights and brilliant exemplars of skill, who, by crafty dealing, obtained from the morality to all by whom they are surrounded. Pope, the Emperor of Germany, and all the kings Let me also add that never on any occasion did of Europe, except that of England, permission to I hear or see among them anything in the slightwander for fifty years as pilgrims, declaring that est degree improper or unrefined. I knew very they had been Christians, but, having become well that I could if I chose talk to such naïve renegades, the King of Hungary had imposed a people about subjects which would shock an penance on them of half a century's exile. Then English lady, and, as the reader may remember, I informed them that precisely the same story I did quote Mr. Borrow's song which he has not had been told by them to the rulers in Syria and translated. But a European girl who would have Egypt, only that in the Mohammedan countries endured allusions to tabooed subjects would have they pretended to be good followers of Islam. I at all times shown vulgarity or coarseness, while said there was reason to believe that some of these Russian Rommany girls were invariably their people had been in Poland and the other ladylike. It is true that the St. Petersburg party Slavonic countries ever since the eleventh cen- had a dissipated air; three or four of them looked like second-class French or Italian theatrical ar- overhead, church-spires tipped with great intistes, and I should not be astonished to learn verted golden turnips in the distance, and this that very late hours and champagne were famil- on a night when the frost seemed almost to iar to them as cigarettes, or that their flirtations scream in its intensity, is as much of a sensation among their own people were neither faint nor in the suburbs of Moscow as it could be out on few nor far between. But their conduct in my the steppes. A few wolves, more or less, make presence was irreproachable. Those of Moscow, no difference—and even wolves come sometimes in fact, had not even the apparent defects of within three hours' walk of the Kremlin. Et ego their St. Petersburg sisters and brothers, and inter lupos—I too have been among wolves in when among them it always seemed to me as if my time, by night, and thought nothing of such I were simply with nice gentle creoles or Cu- rides compared to the one I had when I went bans, the gypsy manner being tamed down to the gypsying from Moscow. Spanish level, their great black eyes and their In half an hour Vassili brought me to a house guitars increasing the resemblance.
which I entered. A “ proud porter," a vast creaThe indescribably wild and thrilling character ture in uniform suggestive of embassies and of gypsy music is thoroughly appreciated by the kings' palaces, relieved me of my shuba, and I Russians, who pay very high prices for Rommany found my way into a very large and high hall, performances. From five to eight or ten pounds brilliantly lighted as if for a thousand guests, sterling is usually given to a dozen gypsies for while the only occupants were four couples singing an hour or two to a special party, and “spooning " sans gêne, one in each corner, and this is sometimes repeated twice or thrice of an a small party of men and girls drinking in the evening. “A Russian gentleman, when he is in middle. I called a waiter; he spoke nothing but funds," said the clerk of the Slavansky Bazaar in Russian, and Russian is of all languages the most Moscow to me, “will make nothing of giving the useless to him who only speaks it "a little.” A Zigani a hundred-ruble note," the ruble rating at little Arabic, or even a little Chippewa, I have half a crown. The result is, that good singers found of great service, but a fair vocabulary and among these lucky Rommanies are well to do, weeks of study of the grammar are of no avail and lead soft lives, for Russia.
in a country where even men of gentlemanly ap
pearance turn away with childish impatience the MOSCOW.
instant they detect the foreigner, resolving ap
parently that they can not and will not underI HAD no friends in Moscow to direct me stand him. In matters like this the ordinary where to find gypsies en famille, and the in- Russian is more impatient and less intelligent quiries which I made of chance acquaintances than any Oriental or even Red Indian. The resimply convinced me that the world at large sult of my interview with the waiter was that we was as ignorant of their ways as it was preju- were soon involved in the completest misunderdiced against them. At last the good-natured standing on the subject of gypsies. The quesold porter of our hotel told me in his rough Bal- tion was settled by reference to a fat and fair tic German how to meet these mysterious min- damsel, one of the “spoons" already referred to, strels to advantage. “You must take a sleigh," who spoke German. She explained to me that he said, “and go out to Petrovka. That is a as it was Christmas eve no gypsies would be place in the country where there are grand cafés there or at any other caft. This was disapat considerable distances one from the other. Pay pointing. I called Vassili
, and he drove on to the driver three rubles for four hours. Enter a another "garden,” deeply buried in snow. café, call for something to drink, listen to the When I entered the rooms at this place, I gypsies singing, and, when they pass round a perceived at a glance that matters had mended. plate, put some money in it. That's all.” This There were the hum of many voices, the perfume was explicit, and at ten o'clock in the evening I of much tea and many papiross or cigarettes, hired a sleigh and went.
with a prompt sense of society and of enjoyment. If the cold which I had experienced in the I was dazzled at first by the glare of the lights, General's troika in St. Petersburg might be com- and could distinguish nothing unless it was that pared to a moderate rheumatism, that which I the numerous company regarded me with utter encountered in the sleigh outside the walls of amazement; for it was an “off night " when Moscow on Christmas eve, 1876, was like a no business was expected—few were there save fierce gout. The ride was in all conscience “professionals” and their friends—and I was Russian enough to have its ending among gyp- manifestly an unexpected intruder on Bohemia. sies, Tartars, or Cossacks. To go at a head- As luck would have it, that which I believed was long pace over the creaking snow behind an the one worst night in the year to find the gypsy istvostshik, named Vassili, the round cold moon minstrels proved to be the exceptional occasion when they only were assembled, and I had hit these, and then three or four circles of gypsies of upon it. All of this struck me pleasantly enough different ages and tints standing up surrounded as I looked around, for I knew that at a touch us all. In the outer ring were several fast-lookthe spell would be broken, and with one word I ing and pretty Russian or German blonde girls, should have the warmest welcome from all. I whose mission it is, I believe, to dance—and flirt had literally not one speaking acquaintance with
-—with visitors, and a few gentlemanly-looking in a thousand miles, and yet here was a room Russians-vieux garçons—evidently of the kind crowded with gay and festive strangers, whom who are at home behind the scenes, and who the slightest utterance would convert into friends. knew where to come to enjoy themselves. Al
I was not disappointed. Seeking for a be- together there must have been about fifty presginning, I saw a young man of gentlemanly ap- ent, and I soon observed that every word I utpearance, well dressed, and with a mild and tered was promptly repeated, while every eye amiable air. Speaking to him in German, I was fixed on me. asked the very needless question if there were I could converse in Rommany with the guiany gypsies present.
tarist, and without much difficulty, but with the “ You wish to hear them sing?” he inquired. charming, heedless young ladies I had as much
"I do not. I only want to talk with one— trouble to talk as with their sisters in St. Peterswith any one."
burg. The young gentleman already referred to, He appeared to be astonished, but pointing to whom in my fancy I promptly gave the Offento a handsome, slender young lady, a very dark bachian name of Prince Paul, translated whenbrunette, elegantly attired in black silk, said: ever there was a misunderstanding, and in a few “ There is one."
minutes we were all intimate. Miss Sarsha, who I stepped across to the girl, who rose to meet had a slight cast in one of her wild black eyes, me. I said nothing for a few seconds, but looked which added something to the gypsiness and at her intently, and then asked:
roguery of her smiles, and who wore in a ring a " Rakessa tu Romanes, miri pen?” (“Do large diamond, which seemed as if it might be you talk Rommany, my sister ?”)
the right eye in the wrong place, was what is She gave one deep, long glance of utter as- called an earnest young lady, with plenty to say tonishment, drew one long breath, and, with a and great energy wherewith to say it. What cry of delight and wonder, said:
with her eyes, her diamond, her smiles, and her “ Romanichal!"
tongue, she constituted altogether a fine speciThat word awoke the entire company, and men of irrepressible fireworks, and Prince Paul with it they found out who the intruder was. had enough to do in facilitating conversation. “Then might you hear them cry aloud, “The There was no end to his politeness, but it was an Moringer is here!'” for I beg to feel like the impossible task for him now and then promptly long-lost lord returned, so warm was my wel- to carry over a long sentence from German to come. They flocked around me; they cried aloud Russian, and he would give it up like an invinciin Rommany, and one good-natured, smiling man, ble conundrum, with the patient smile and headwho looked like a German gypsy, mounting a wag and hand-wave of an amiable Dundreary. chair, waved a guitar by its neck high in the air Yet I began to surmise a mystery even in him. as a signal of discovery to those at a distance, re- More than once he inadvertently betrayed a peating rapidly :
knowledge of Rommany, though he invariably “ Av'akai, ava’kai, Romanichal!" ("Come spoke of his friends around in a patronizing manhere—here's a gypsy!")
ner as “these gypsies." This was very odd, And hey came, dark and light, great and for in appearance he was a Gorgio of the Gorgios, small, and got round me and shook hands, and and did not seem, despite any talent for lanheld to my arms, and asked where I came from, guages which he might possess, likely to trouble and how I did, and if it wasn't jolly, and what himself to acquire Rommany while Russian would I take to drink, and said how glad they would answer every purpose of conversation. were to see me; and when conversation flagged All of this was, however, explained to me afterfor an instant, somebody said to his next neigh- ward. bor, with an air of wisdom, "American Rom- Prince Paul again asked me if I had come out many,” and everybody repeated it with delight. to hear a concert. I said, “No-that I had simThen it occurred to the guitarist and the young ply come out to see my brothers and sisters and lady that we had better sit down. So my first talk with them, just as I hoped they would come acquaintance and discoverer, whose name was to see me if I were in my own country." This Liubasha, was placed, in right of preěmption, at speech produced a most favorable impression, my right hand, the belle des belles, Miss Sarsha, and there was, in a quiet way, a little private conat my left, a sprinkling of damsels all around versation among the leaders, after which Prince
Paul said to me, in a very pleasant manner, that England or Germany, on entering a tent-gypsy " these gypsies," being delighted at the visit from encampment, is to be polite to “ the old woman. the gentleman from a distant country, would like Unless you can win her good opinion you had to offer me a song in token of welcome. To this better be gone. The Russian city Roms have I answered, with many thanks, that such kind- apparently no such fancies. On the road, howness was more than I had expected, for I was ever, life is patriarchal, and the grandmother is a well aware of the great value of such a compli- power to be feared. As a fortune-teller she is a ment from singers whose fame had reached me witch, ever at warfare with the police world; she even in America. It was evident that my grain has a bitter tongue, and is quick to wrath. This of a reply did not fall upon stony ground, for I was not the style or fashion of the old gypsy never was among people who seemed to be so singer ; but, as soon as I saw the puri babali quickly impressed by any act of politeness, how- dye, I requested that she would shake hands with ever trifling. A bow, a squeeze of the hand, a me, and by the impression which this created I smile, or a glance, would gratify them, and this saw that the Rommany of the city had not lost gratification their lively black eyes expressed in all the feelings of the road. the most unmistakable manner.
I spoke of Waramoff's beautiful song of the So we had the song, wild and wonderful like “Krasneya Sarafan," which Miss Sarsha began at all of its kind, given with all that delightful once to warble. The characteristic of Russian abandon which attains perfection only among gypsy-girl voices is a peculiarly delicate metallic gypsies. I had enjoyed the singing in St. Peters- tone-like that of the two silver bells of the Towburg, but there was a laisser aller, a completely er of Ivan Velikoi when heard from afar—yet algay spirit, in this Christmas-eve gypsy party irways marked with fineness and strength. This is Moscow which was much more “whirling away." sometimes startling in the wilder effects, but it is For at Dorot the gypsies had been on exhibition; always agreeable. These Moscow gypsy girls here at Petrovka they were frolicking en famille have a great name in their art, and it was round with a favored guest—a Rommany Rye from a the shoulders of one of them-for aught I know far land to astonish and delight—and he took it may have been Sarsha's great-grandmothergood care to let them feel that they were achiev- that Catalani threw the cashmere shawl which ing a splendid success, for I declared many times had been given to her by the Pope, as “to the that it was būtsi shūkdr, or very beautiful. Then best singer in the world.” “It is not mine by I called for tea and lemon, and after that the gyp- right,” said the generous Italian ; "it belongs to sies sang for their own amusement, Miss Sarsha, the gypsy." as the incarnation of fun and jollity, taking the The gypsies were desirous of learning somelead, and making me join in. Then the crowd thing about the songs of their kindred in distant made way, and in the space appeared a very lands, and, though no singer, I did my best to pretty little girl in the graceful old gypsy Oriental please them, the guitarist easily improvising acdress. This child danced charmingly indeed, in companiments, while the girls joined in. As all a style strikingly like that of the Almeh of Egypt, were in a gay mood, faults were easily excused, but without any of the erotic expressions which and the airs were much liked—Miss Tuckey's abound in Eastern pantomime. This little Rom- lyrics, set by Virginia Gabriel
, being even more many girl was to me enchanting, being altogether admired in Moscow than in St. Petersburg, aprounaffected and graceful. It was evident that her pos of which I may mention that, when I afdancing, like the singing of her elder sisters, was terward visited the gypsy family in their own not an art which had been drilled in by instruc- home, the first request from Sarsha was, “ Eto tion. They had fallen into it in infancy, and per- gilyo rya!” (“ That song, sir "), referring to fected themselves by such continual practice, “Rommany," which has been heard at several that what they did was as natural as walking or concerts in London. And so, after much discustalking. When the dancing was over, I begged sion of the affairs of Egypt, I took my leave that the little girl would come to me, and, kissing amid a chorus of kind farewells. Then Vassili, her tiny gypsy hand, I said, “ Spassibo tute kam- loudly called for, reappeared from some nook li, eto hi būtsi shükdr” (“Thank you, dear; that with his elegantly frosted horse, and in a few is very pretty "), with which the rest were evident- minutes we were dashing homeward. Cold ! it ly pleased. I had observed among the singers, was as severe as in western New York or Minat a little distance, a very remarkable and rather nesota, where the thermometer for many days handsome old woman—a good study for an artist every winter sinks lower than in St. Petersburg, —and she, as I also noticed, had sung with a but where there are no such incredible precaupowerful and clear voice. “She is our grand- tions taken as in the land of double windows mother,” said one of the girls. Now, as every cemented down, and fur-lined shubas. It is restudent of gypsies knows, the first thing to do in markable that the gypsies, who are Hindoos by