Jean Nicolas Bouilly.

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them, " no man cared for their souls." We dis-
covered that they lived in different parts of Eu-
rope, Asia, and Africa, but that there were none
in America^ Once they were accustomed to con-
sider some aged man and woman amongst them
as their king and qdeen ; but this distinction has
of late years been lost. A book has been pub-
lished of the life of one of their kings; but I
have not read that, as my sister did not wish I
should. I read aloud to her " Holyland's Survey
of the Gipseys," which is very interesting, and
gives an account of the many foreign words in
their language, as well as of their habits and
manners. When you think in what a state of ig-
norance these creatures are, you will be surprised
to hear how many kind dispositions are apparent
in their character.*

You know that the inhabitants of heathen
countries leave the aged to perish, and they are
even so cruel as to sacrifice their own children.
But though many persons suppose the gipseys to
have come from the very countries where this
wickedness is practised, they are remarkable for
the tenderness they exercise towards the old,
sick, or blind, amongst them.

* See "The Gipseys' Advocate," by Rev. J. Crabb.


Parents and children are also devotedly attach-
ed to each other.* It is said that when they first
appeared in Europe, in the fifteenth century, they
were quite black ; and even now they are easily
distinguished from all other people by their com-

A singular fact is recorded of them, which is
worthy the attention of young ladies at school,
who are sometimes heard complaining of the
letters they have to write home. Very few of
these poor gipseys can either read or write, " Yet
a regular and frequent correspondence " (says one
who is well acquainted with all their customs)
"is kept up between the ^members of families
who have had the least advantage of the sort ;
and others correspond through the kindness of
friends who write for them. Numerous are the
letters they receive from their relatives in New
South Wales, to which colony hundreds of them
have been transported. These letters are usually
left at one particular post-office, in the districts
where the gipseys travel ; and should such letters
not be called for, during a long period, they are
kept by the postmaster, who is sure they will be

* See " The Gipseys' Advocate," by Rev. J. Crabb.


was my astonishment, to find in her the one
whose predictions had occasioned me so much
unhappiness! She did not recognize me, for I
was grown taller, and my appearance was altered
in the past year.

She had still the same scrutinizing look, and
peculiar gaze, as formerly ; but there was at the
same time, a subdued expression of countenance,
which showed that she was now under the influ-
ence of new and more holy principles.

My sister entered into conversation with her
on her former mode of life, and soon asked her if
ever she pretended to tell fortunes.

" Ah, madam," she replied, " to my sorrow, I
did it has been a heavy load at my heart since
I began to know the true way." She was then
questioned as to the motives which had induced
her to forsake this wicked practice, and the ans-
wers received were very satisfactory indeed. It
Appeared that she had frequented an Adult School
till she learned to read in the Testament ; that
she was a constant attendant on public worship,
and was deeply impressed with the importance of

* Facts. See "The Gipseys' Advocate,"


We inquired how she had been able to foretelf
future events? and she said, that she was in the
practice of making minute inquiries in every
place where she remained any time, as to the cir-
cumstances, character, &c. of the inhabitants.
Through servants she often gained intelligence
which they little suspected how she meant to
employ ; and persons in general were so secret in
their applications to her, that she did not fear
they would betray what she said, and thus dis-
cover the source of her information.

Then my sister pointed to me, and asked if she
had any knowledge of that young lady ? She
looked at me a few minutes, and then all the facts
seemed brought to her remembrance. They
served to corroborate what she had previously
stated. It appeared that when I was at a distance
talking with the gipsey children, my school com-
panions were concerting a plot to induce me to
have my fortune told ; the gipsey cunningly asked
some questions about me, which Miss Pike had
fully answered ; and the result was, as you have
heard. Thus you see, there was no real knowl-
edge of future events, but the pretence of it was
a dreadful falsehood, of which she now bitterly


claimed sooner or later. A gipsey will travel any
distance to obtain a letter, and never is heard to
complain of the expense of postage." *

The accounts which we read of the cruelties
practised against the gipseys, under pretence of
justice, and their sufferings in consequence, is
very affecting. My sister said she was quite ,
convinced that tyranny and oppression would
never succeed in driving them from the country,
and that kindness and love only could reform

We remained at home for another year, during
which time I entirely recovered, and my sister's
health was much improved. We then all went a
very pleasant journey along the southern coast,
stopping for a short time at different places, till
at last we reached the neighborhood of S ,
where we had some friends. We received a very
pressing invitation to stay there ; but papa was
obliged soon to return home, and mamma accom-
panied him ; they, however, acceded to the re-
quest of our friends, to leave me with my sister,
who was intending to pay a longer visit. I have
told you how good my sister was. She could

* Crabb's " Gipseys' Advocate."



never be long in a place without trying to be use-
ful, or to gain hints for the furtherance of her
benevolent plans. She requested our friends to
take her to some of their schools, that she might
see if there were any improvements which she
could adopt in her own.

They led us accordingly one morning to a
school for infants, with which we were delighted ;
but amidst nearly a hundred children, the objects
that we distinguished with the most interest, were
several little swarthy black-eyed creatures, whose
race could not be mistaken. " Where did you
get those gipseys ?" said my sister.

" Their mother has left her wandering life, &nd
is settled here," said Miss J ; " she has learned
a trade, and is a promising character." Upon
inquiry, we found that this was not the only in-
stance of improvement among the gipseys ; that
there was a society in S for their reformation,
and that many were partakers of its benefit.* I
need not tell you how glad we were, and how
anxious to see some of those who were reclaimed.
Miss J accordingly took us to the cottage of
the woman she had mentioned first, and what

* See The Gipseys' Advocate."


From this time, we frequently visited our gip-
sey friend, and she took us to several others, who,
like herself, were in settled abodes. The chief
of these was an old woman, whom she called
aunt; she had been long converted, and was an
eminent Christian, and for years had been praying
for her different relatives, that they might be con-
vinced of their sin, and brought to the Saviour.
She had been dreadfully persecuted by her own
tribe, and several times had nearly lost her life
among them, for the sake of Christ ; for whatever
might be the scorn with which she was treated,
she still continued to warn them to flee from the
wrath to come.

At the period we saw her, she was under the
protection of friends, who provided for her neces-
sities, and never suffered her to want. Her grat-
itude to them was unbounded; but what we par-
ticularly remarked, was her great concern for the
souls, not only of her own family and race, but of
all who approached her.

An instance of this is mentioned in a little
tract which has since been published respecting
her.* She visited the author of that tract one

* The " Aged Gipsey," p. 19, by the author of
"Visits to a Cottage in Scotland."


day, in considerable agitation; and when the
cause was inquired into, she replied, " My sister
and I have shed thousands of tears this morning,
in beseeching the Lord for these poor wanderers.
We passed the tents in our way to you; they
were blowing in the wind ; it seemed such a mel-
ancholy scene, and so heinous in the sight of God,
their souls posting the downward road, with no
more hope than the brute beasts, and huntel
about like hawks. They observed we had been
crying. ' What is the matter?' Looking round,
I said, ' Have I not reason? I am often crying
for you, about your precious souls, when you are
asleep, and not crying for yourselves.' "

I need not, however, tell you more about this
good old woman's history, as you may read a full
account of her in the tract.

While we were at S , Sally (for that was the
name of my first gipsey acquaintance) was very
ill. 1 believe her sickness was considered to be
owing to the great change of habits and manner
of living which ensued on her becoming a house-
dweller and sitting at her trade, which was that
of shoe binding. We visited her several times,
and thought she could not recover. On my sister
inquiring into her state of mind, she answered,


in her peculiar manner, " O ma'am ! once I had
a great load here," laying her hand on her heart,
" but now it is taken away, it was my sin, but the
Lord has blotted it out with the blood of Christ."
Being asked if she was happy? she said " Yes,
she was happy now, and ready to die in a mo-
ment, if it were not for leaving the poor children,
but, however, she knew that God would be their
father." *

The profession she made was not without its
fruits. I remember on one occasion she had pur-
sued some of her former friends, who had perse-
cuted and even stolen goods from her ; so much
spite is always shown by the gipseys to those who
leave their community. After following these
wanderers over hedges and ditches, she at last
came up with them. The natural violence of her
characterising well known, serious mischief
might hav^^een reasonably apprehended ; but
when asked what she did on the occasion, she
said, with tears, "I forgave them !" t

The disorder which threatened her life, yielded
to medicine and the great strength of her consti-
tution ; and we had the pleasure of seeing her in
a measure recovered before we left S .

* Facts; hitherto unpublished. t A fact.


1 could telJ you much more about the gipseys.
but I had rather refer you to the books which
have been written on the subject, which you will
see. I will conclude by reading you some letters,,
which rny sister received from " the aged gipsey,"
who attached herself strongly to us during our
stay.* The first (which was dictated to a young
lady) is as follows:


" As you wished me to write to you, I can tell
you it gives me such a joy at my heart to think
that you should remember such an unworthy
wretch as me ; and it gives me great consolation
to think I have such a kind friend. I hope you
will never forget me at the throne of grace. I
never shall forget you, and my most earnest prayer
to God for you is, that your soul may be kept ;
and whilst you are teaching others, that your own
soul may be watered by divine grace. In the
midst of all my troubles, I can give God the glory
that I can say ' thy will be done.' I hope you are
able to cast your whole body, soul, and spirit on
him who careth for you. I hope you will be

* These letters are literally copied, and have never
before been published.



much, much in prayer . for 'tis prayer that is the
life of the soul, and prayer removes the huge
mountains of every difficulty, while passing thro'
the vale of this life ; and I hope, my dear Miss

that you will cast your bread upon the

waters, and that it may be found after many
days. I hope and pray the Lord that I may see
you once more in this life ; but if it is not his
will, we shall meet in another world where part-
ing is at an end. I have found that the Lord has
stirred up many kind friends for me, and has not
left me alone to the words of the world. I pray
God that you may be as a burning and a shining
light among those whom you are with, and cry
aloud and spare not; that you may neglect no
opportunity of doing good where God has placed
you. No more at present- from your (I hope I
may say, though so very unworthy) well-wisher;
for you know I can do nothing but pray for you,
which I do constantly. L. N."


" I humbly thank God for his great mercy in
preserving you safe on your journey, and giving


you the desire of sending to such an unworthy
worm as I am. It gives me great consolation
that you are still hungering and thirsting after
this great salvation. You desired I should pray
for you. I can say, if I should cease praying for
you, or any of my kind friends, I should cease
praying for myself. It gives me great consolation
to think that you have such a great desire to seek
Heaven, not to rest satisfied till Christ is found
in you, the hope of glory. My bodily strength is
weak, so that I cannot exert myself so as to sat-
isfy my own conscience ; but the desire of my
heart is, not to live one week after I can be of no
use. I may say, above all creatures on earth, I
have the greatest reason to be thankful, when I
take a view of the mercies of the Lord towards
me, both temporal and spiritual. My heart seems
as though it would burst, for fear it should not be
filled with gratitude to him and his dear children,
for their great kindness to me. I pray God to
give you strength and power, and endue you with
a spirit of prayer, to pray for poor unworthy me ;
and that if we never meet together on earth no
more, may we meet in the kingdom of Heaven,
and be found with those who have washed their
robes, and made them white in the blood of the


Lamb, where we shall be found singing of that
song, which none can sing but the redeemed.

" My dear Miss, I find many difficulties; I
can say that my graces have been tried very hard ;
but 1 do find the promise stands sure: ' My grace
is sufficient for thee.' And now I pray God Al-
mighty to make you useful, and preserve you spot-
less and blameless, and keep you till the day of
his coming.

" Your loving L. N."

^ tcr ss 1 (^

THE young Milkmaid, the little Jane,

A pleasant life she leads,
All underneath the lofty shade,

And in the flow'ry meads ;
Though but a simple cottage-girl,

And poor as poor may be,
She trips it o'er the daisied turf

In innocence and glee.

Her grandmamma, with whom she lives,

Has but her cow and cot ;
To feed that cow her sole support,

Of ground a scanty plot ;
But she dwells within her cottage lane,

Content, though poor and old,
For her darling grandchild, little Jane,

Is worth her weight in gold.


She's errand-girl and housemaid too,

Her comfort, help, and stay,
And when her grandmamma is ill,

The nurse's part can play ;
And if at times, a pensive shade

May overcast her brow,
'Tis prompted by the wish that she

Could milk, for her, the cow !

And when that happy time shall come,

She'll go with stool and pail,
As her poor grandmamma now goes,

Down to the grassy vale ;
And there, beside the hawthorn hedge,

Beneath the shady tree,
Mid sportive lambs, and singing birds,

A milkmaid she will be.

Meantime she takes her basin brown,

Of coarsest earthenware,
And brings away what little milk

The good old dame can spare :
The rest must to the town be borne,

And sold that they may live ;
For this one cow, and little more,

Fire, food, and clothes must give


But having these, they lack no more,

Trusting in Heaven above,
Contented in their humble cot,

They dwell in peace and love ;
The wild birds warbling in the trees,

The young lambs in their play,
Lead not a life more innocent,

Nor half so blest as they !


ABOUT two thousand years before the birth of
Christ, China was governed by the Emperor Yu,
who from a very humble station had been raised
to the throne, for the great service he had render-
ed his country in draining the morasses and
embanking the rivers, which had previously been
accustomed to overflow their channels, and inun-
date the neighboring plains. Yu proved a great
and a glorious sovereign, and his descendants
were for his sake much beloved by the people of
China. They continued to reign for several gen-
erations, till at length a traitor named Han-sou
rebelled against the Emperor Ti Siang, and,
having defeated and slain him and all his faith-
ful friends in a great battle, he marched to the
capital, and barbarously massacred every member
of the royal family, except the Empress Min,


who fled to an obscure village among the moun-
tains, where she gave birth to an infant prince,
whom she named Chao Rang.

This tender babe was now the sole descendant
of the revered line of Yu, and though he was
born in the lonely dwelling of a shepherd, his
fond mother trusted that she should one day be-
hold him seated on his father's throne, which
was now usurped by the cruel traitor Han-sou.
Chao Kang was a child of great beauty and ex-
traordinary abilities, and the Empress Min, being
herself a very accomplished princess, was enabled
to bestow on him the blessings of a good educa-
tion. She not only instructed him in all the
learning of which she was mistress, but taught
him many ingenious arts, such as were practised
by persons of high rank in those days, especially
that of painting in brilliant colors insects, birds,
flowers, and figures. Chao Kang soon acquired
such skill in these pleasing exercises, that he
presently excelled his royal mother in the force
and correctness of his delineations, and learned
to arrange his figures in groups, so as to illustrate
the most striking passages in the history of his
own country. His mother, the better to conceal
the quality of her royal son till such time as he


should be of age to claim his rightful inheritance,
caused him to keep the flocks of the old shepherd
Nan-hi, who called the princely boy his grandson;
but as it was well known that Nan-hi never had
a child, and the beauty and noble spirit of Chao
Rang attracted great attention, it began to be
whispered abroad that he was of the family of
the late sovereign.

These reports reached the ear of the jealous
Han-sou, and he having reason to suspect that
the Empress Min and her child were in existence,
sent persons to seize the boy, and bring him be-
fore him, dead or alive.

The imperial widow was informed of this by
a faithful friend in the capital, with whom she
still kept up a correspondence, and, bidding the
worthy shepherd Nan-hi a hasty farewell, she
withdrew with her son into the neighboring prov-
ince of duangtun, now called Canton, where, to
avoid all suspicion, she placed the royal youth as
under-cook in the kitchen of the great mandarin
Hum. This situation was not exactly to the taste
of Chao Kang ; but he submitted to the com-
mands of his mother with a good grace, and
endeavored to fulfil the duties of his new calling
with cheerfulness. His winning manners and


amiable disposition soon endeared him to every
person in the family of the mandarin ; but though
he was now engaged in menial offices, he did not
allow his mind to stoop beneath the true dignity
which the pursuits of learning and of virtue can
confer upon the humblest stations in society.
Chao Rang spent all his leisure time in study,
or else in decorating the garden pagodas with
painted flowers, birds, or groups of figures. These
were so superior to any thing that had yet been
executed by the Chinese painters, that they attract-
ed the attention of the only daughter of the man-
darin, a young lady of great beauty, and of so
amiable a disposition, that she was named Choo-
lan, from the sweet flower that scents the most
precious tea of China.

When Choo-lan inquired the name of the un-
known person who had so greatly embellished
her favorite retreats, the gardener told her it was
Chao Kang, the under-cook. The young lady
was lost in astonishment at this information, and
exclaimed, that a youth who was possessed of
such rare talents was worthy to be employed in a
more honorable vocation than the drudgery of a
kitchen. And as the great national festival, the
feast of lanterns, was near at hand, she requested


of the mandarin her father, that Chao Kang
might be permitted to paint her lantern, for all
the young people vied with each other on that
occasion, who should display the most superb
painted transparency of silk, or tissue paper, in
the form of a lantern, lighted up with wax tapers

The feast of lanterns is celebrated on the fif-
teenth day of the first month, at which time the
vast empire of China is illuminated from one end
to the other with these beautiful lanterns, which
are suspended from the roofs of every house,
affixed to the doors, or carried about the streets
on long poles in procession, to the extreme delight
of the people. Great fancy is shown with regard
to these lanterns; some are in the shape of fish
of various colors, and some are circular like the
moon, and others are formed to represent dragons
and other fabulous monsters, celebrated in the
Chinese mythology. It is said that not less than
two hundred millions of lanterns are annually
exhibited at this splendid national festival. There
is always great emulation among the higher or-
ders and wealthy families, who shall exhibit the
most magnificent lantern ; and some of them
have been valued at no less than two thousand


crowns each. Choo-lan was desirous of having
a lantern exquisitely painted with historical de-
signs, for her slaves, and the officers of her
father's household, to carry in procession through
the city ; and she promised to reward Chao Rang
with a chain of the purest gold for his neck, and
a bracelet of pearls from her own arm, if he
painted it to her satisfaction.

"The onlyj'reward I shall seek," replied the
disguised prince, " will be the happiness of pleas-
ing so kind a mistress."

The young lady repeated this courteous ans-
wer to her father ; and the wise mandarin observ-
ed, " that such delicate feelings savored not of
the employment of a turnspit ; and that from all
that had been reported to him of the wisdom,
learning, and graceful manners of the youth,
Chao Rang, he had little doubt of his being a
person of noble birth."

Instructed by his mother, Chao Rang painted
the story of his own misfortunes on the lantern
of the fair Choo-lan; beginning with the fatal
battle in which his royal father was defeated and
slain. Then was represented the massacre of
the imperial family, together with the escape and
flight of the Empress Min, who was afterwards


delineated with her infant son at her breast in the
hut of the shepherd Nanhi. The imperial crown
of China was shown as if suspended over the
infant's head, and the false traitor and usurper
Han -sou was represented seated on the throne,
which was in a tottering position, while he was
apparently giving orders to his officers for the
murder of this last descendant of the royal line
of Yu. Lastly, Chao Rang had delineated him-
self as engaged in his culinary occupation in the
kitchen of the mandarin Hum, with the crown of
China still suspended over him ; and his mother
in the habit of a widowed Empress, with clasped
hands, was seen imploring the succor of the man-
darin and his gentle daughter in behalf of her

When this lantern was finished and lighted up,
Choo-lan, full of delight, called her father to look
upon it, before it was exhibited to the gaze of
the assembled multitude. No sooner had the
mandarin examined the pictured history there
represented in such lively colors, than he uttered
an exclamation of astonishment, and, prostrating
himself before the young artist, he saluted him
as the royal descendant of the revered family of
the great Yu, and his sovereign, and called upon


his wondering daughter to follow his example,

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Online LibraryJean Nicolas BouillyThe juvenile scrap-book and youth's annual → online text (page 5 of 8)