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The Zincali, an account of the Gypsies of Spain

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Pages: 220

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: George Henry Borrow

Excerpt from book: CHAPTER II Having already stated to the reader at what period and by what means these wanderers introduced themselves into Spain, we shall now say something concerning their manner of life. It would appear that, for many years after their arrival in the Peninsula, their manners and habits underwent no change : they were wanderers, in the strictest sense of the word, and lived much in the same way as their brethren exist in the present day in England, Russia, and Bessarabia, with the exception perhaps of being more reckless, mischievous, and having less respect for the laws: it is true that their superiority in wickedness in these points may have been more the effect of the moral state of the country in which they were, than of any other operating cause. Arriving in Spain with a predisposition to every species of crime and villainy, they were not likely to be improved or reclaimed by the example of the people with whom they were about to mix: nor was it probable that they would entertain much respect for laws which, from time immemorial, have principally served, not to protect the honest and useful members of society, but to enrich those entrusted with the administration of them. Thus, ifthey came thieves, it is not probable that they would become ashamed of the title of thief in Spain, where the officers of justice were ever willing to shield an offender on receiving the largest portion of the booty obtained. If on their arrival they held the lives of others in very low estimation, could it be expected that they would become gentle as lambs in a land where blood had its price, and the shedder was seldom executed unless he was poor and friendless, and unable to cram with ounces of yellow gold the greedy hands of the pursuers of blood,—the alguazil and escribano? therefore,...  

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