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An Accursed Race
Elizabeth Gaskell

Page 1 of 31


We have our prejudices in England.  Or, if that assertion offends any
of my readers, I will modify it: we have had our prejudices in
England.  We have tortured Jews; we have burnt Catholics and
Protestants, to say nothing of a few witches and wizards.  We have
satirized Puritans, and we have dressed-up Guys.  But, after all, I
do not think we have been so bad as our Continental friends.  To be
sure, our insular position has kept us free, to a certain degree,
from the inroads of alien races; who, driven from one land of refuge,
steal into another equally unwilling to receive them; and where, for
long centuries, their presence is barely endured, and no pains is
taken to conceal the repugnance which the natives of "pure blood"
experience towards them. 

There yet remains a remnant of the miserable people called Cagots in
the valleys of the Pyrenees; in the Landes near Bourdeaux; and,
stretching up on the west side of France, their numbers become larger
in Lower Brittany.  Even now, the origin of these families is a word

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