Starting up,she flung the bulrush aside which she had hitherto held in her hand,and,seizing the kettle,she looked at it for a moment,and then began a kind of dance,flourishing the kettle over her head the while,and singing-'The Rommany chi And the Rommany chal Shall jaw tasaulor To drab the bawlor,And dook the gry Of the farming rye.
Good-bye,brother,I must be going.'
'Good-bye,sister;why do you sing that wicked song?'
'Wicked song,hey,brother!you don't understand the song!'
'Ha,ha!gypsy daughter,'said I,starting up and clapping my hands,'I don't understand Rommany,don't I?You shall see;here's the answer to your gillie-'The Rommany chi And the Rommany chal,Love Luripen And dukkeripen,And hokkeripen,And every pen But Lachipen And tatchipen.'
The girl,who had given a slight start when I began,remained for some time after I had concluded the song standing motionless as a statue,with the kettle in her hand.At length she came towards me,and stared me full in the face.'Gray,tall,and talks Rommany,'said she to herself.In her countenance there was an expression which I had not seen before-an expression which struck me as being composed of fear,curiosity,and the deepest hate.It was momentary,however,and was succeeded by one smiling,frank,and open.'Ha,ha,brother,'said she,'well,I like you all the better for talking Rommany;it is a sweet language,isn't it?
especially as you sing it.How did you pick it up?But you picked it up upon the roads,no doubt?Ha,it was funny in you to pretend not to know it,and you so flush with it all the time;it was not kind in you,however,to frighten the poor person's child so by screaming out,but it was kind in you to give the rikkeni kekaubi to the child of the poor person.She will be grateful to you;she will bring you her little dog to show you,her pretty juggal;the poor person's child will come and see you again;you are not going away to-day,I hope,or to-morrow,pretty brother,gray-haired brother-you are not going away to-morrow,I hope?'
'Nor the next day,'said I,'only to take a stroll to see if I can sell a kettle;good-bye,little sister,Rommany sister,dingy sister.'
'Good-bye,tall brother,'said the girl,as she departed,singing 'The Rommany chi,'etc.
'There's something about that girl that I don't understand,'said Ito myself;'something mysterious.However,it is nothing to me,she knows not who I am,and if she did,what then?'
Late that evening as I sat on the shaft of my cart in deep meditation,with my arms folded,I thought I heard a rustling in the bushes over against me.I turned my eyes in that direction,but saw nothing.'Some bird,'said I;'an owl,perhaps';and once more I fell into meditation;my mind wandered from one thing to another-musing now on the structure of the Roman tongue-now on the rise and fall of the Persian power-and now on the powers vested in recorders at quarter-sessions.I was thinking what a fine thing it must be to be a recorder of the peace,when,lifting up my eyes,I saw right opposite,not a culprit at the bar,but,staring at me through a gap in the bush,a face wild and strange,half covered with gray hair;I only saw it a moment,the next it had disappeared.
George Henry Borrow