'Sixty-five years,child-an inconsiderable number.My mother was a hundred and one-a considerable age-when she died,yet she had not one gray hair,and not more than six wrinkles-an inconsiderable number.'
'She had no griefs,bebee?'
'Plenty,child,but not like mine.'
'Not quite so hard to bear,bebee?'
'No,child;my head wanders when I think of them.After the death of my husband,who came to his end untimeously,I went to live with a daughter of mine,married out among certain Romans who walk about the eastern counties,and with whom for some time I found a home and pleasant society,for they lived right Romanly,which gave my heart considerable satisfaction,who am a Roman born,and hope to die so.When I say right Romanly,I mean that they kept to themselves,and were not much given to blabbing about their private matters in promiscuous company.Well,things went on in this way for some time,when one day my son-in-law brings home a young gorgio of singular and outrageous ugliness,and,without much preamble,says to me and mine,"This is my pal,ain't he a beauty?
fall down and worship him.""Hold,"said I,"I for one will never consent to such foolishness."'
'That was right,bebee,I think I should have done the same.'
'I think you would,child;but what was the profit of it?The whole party makes an almighty of this gorgio,lets him into their ways,says prayers of his making,till things come to such a pass that my own daughter says to me,"I shall buy myself a veil and fan,and treat myself to a play and sacrament.""Don't,"says I;says she,"I should like for once in my life to be courtesied to as a Christian gentlewoman."'
'Very foolish of her,bebee.'
'Wasn't it,child?Where was I?At the fan and sacrament;with a heavy heart I put seven score miles between us,came back to the hairy ones,and found them over-given to gorgious companions;said I,"Foolish manners is catching;all this comes of that there gorgio."Answers the child Leonora,"Take comfort,bebee;I hate the gorgios as much as you do."'
'And I say so again,bebee,as much or more.'
'Time flows on,I engage in many matters,in most miscarry.Am sent to prison;says I to myself,I am become foolish.Am turned out of prison,and go back to the hairy ones,who receive me not over courteously;says I,for their unkindness,and my own foolishness,all the thanks to that gorgio.Answers to me the child,"I wish I could set eyes upon him,bebee."'
'I did so,bebee;go on.'
'"How shall I know him,bebee?'says the child."Young and gray,tall,and speaks Romanly."Runs to me the child,and says,"I've found him,bebee.""Where,child?"says I."Come with me,bebee,"says the child."That's he,"says I,as I looked at my gentleman through the hedge.'
'Ha,ha!bebee,and here he lies,poisoned like a hog.'
'You have taken drows,sir,'said Mrs.Herne;'do you hear,sir?
drows;tip him a stave,child,of the song of poison.'
And thereupon the girl clapped her hands,and sang-'The Rommany churl And the Rommany girl To-morrow shall hie To poison the sty,And bewitch on the mead The farmer's steed.'
'Do you hear that,sir?'said Mrs.Herne;'the child has tipped you a stave of the song of poison:that is,she has sung it Christianly,though perhaps you would like to hear it Romanly;you were always fond of what was Roman.Tip it him Romanly,child.'
'He has heard it Romanly already,bebee;'twas by that I found him out,as I told you.'
'Halloo,sir,are you sleeping?you have taken drows;the gentleman makes no answer.God give me patience!'
'And what if he doesn't,bebee;isn't he poisoned like a hog?
Gentleman,indeed!why call him gentleman?if he ever was one he's broke,and is now a tinker,a worker of blue metal.'
'That's his way,child,to-day a tinker,to-morrow something else;and as for being drabbed,I don't know what to say about it.'
'Not drabbed!what do you mean,bebee?but look there,bebee;ha,ha,look at the gentleman's motions.'
'He is sick,child,sure enough.Ho,ho!sir,you have taken drows;what,another throe!writhe,sir,writhe;the hog died by the drow of gypsies;I saw him stretched at evening.That's yourself,sir.There is no hope,sir,no help,you have taken drow;shall I tell you your fortune,sir,your dukkerin?God bless you,pretty gentleman,much trouble will you have to suffer,and much water to cross;but never mind,pretty gentleman,you shall be fortunate at the end,and those who hate shall take off their hats to you.'
'Hey,bebee!'cried the girl;'what is this?what do you mean?you have blessed the gorgio!'
'Blessed him!no,sure;what did I say?Oh,I remember,I'm mad;well,I can't help it,I said what the dukkerin dook told me;woe's me,he'll get up yet.'
George Henry Borrow