A Traveller’s (sic) Tuesday. Just a glimpse into life in a bender tent. Despite the glamorous view of life on the road depicted by the romantic English Gypsy Caravans, this is how most Roma lived in 19th Century Britain.
From a book published in 1880 about the Roma and some thoughts on how to “improve” their condition in Britain. He traces their history in Britain from their first recorded arrival in Scotland in 1514 and is an interesting and somewhat sympathetic read. Here are some images and a couple snatches of the writing.
“For the dance no music can be better than that of a Gipsy band; there is life and animation in it which carries you away. If you have danced to it yourself, especially in a czardas, then to hear the stirring tones without involuntarily springing up is, I assert, an absolute impossibility.” Poor, deluded mortals, I am afraid they will find—
“Nothing but leaves!
Sad memory weaves
No veil to hide the past;
And as we trace our weary way,
Counting each lost and misspent day,
Sadly we find at last,
Nothing but leaves!”
I was for the first ten minutes fully occupied in trying to keep a respectable distance from a number of dogs of all sizes and breeds, which had the usual appetite for fresh meat and tweed trowsering, and, at the same time, endeavouring in vain to find solid ground upon which to stand, for the place at the entrance and all round the tents was one regular mass of deep “slush.” It soon became known that my p. 228pockets were plentifully supplied with half-ounces of tobacco and sweets. These I soon disposed off, especially the latter, for there seemed no end to the little bare-footed children that could walk, and those that couldn’t were brought in turn by their sisters or brothers. I was invited to visit all the tents, but I could gain but little information beyond an account of the severe winter, bad state of trade, your visit in one of the black, dense fogs, &c.
To be quite honest, I’m mostly into this one for the images but for those interested, the book can be found online HERE.