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CHAPTER XVIII.

ACROSS THE CARPATHIANS.

SOUTH of Kronstadt, the plain stretches away to the foot of the Carpathians, which here form a barrier and shut in the land. A short drive from Rosenau brought me to the castle of Terzburg, built on a rock rising just where the mountains on either side slope down and meet as if to barricade the way.*18_1 Nothing can be more romantic than the fortress ; its position among the solitary rocks, its construction and seeming inaccessibility, make it the very ideal of such sort of dwelling. It might have been the abode of some robber knight, or of Blue Beard, who from the windows high up over the perpendicular rock saw and defied the knights scouring across the plain riding amain to save their.sister's life. A path up the rocks leads to the entrance, which is gained by mounting

18_1* Just as the Rothen Thurm pass was the way by which the hordes invaded the cultivated plains around Hermannstadt, by this mountain defile the wild foe came pouring down over the Burzenland. The Rothen Thurm was held by the Hermannstadt citizens, and in 1651 the ancient rights of the Kronstädter to Terzburg were recognized anew, and the fort was given up to them to hold, with nine villages pertaining to it. They placed in command a Hungarian warder. Twelve horsemen were always ready to protect travellers crossing the mountains, and in time of need nobles and citizens sought and found here protection.

an outer. wooden stair, and crossing a trap-door or drawbridge in the flooring. Within are narrow passages and galleries, strange nooks and zigzag stairs, and dark corners irresistibly attractive, and in the thick wall was a low prison where no ray could ever enter. In one of the rooms I found Bulwer Lytton's ` Ernest Maltravers' on the table, and a portrait of Fräulein Seebach hung on the wall. When the Teutonic knights who once held this fortress were gone, the German colonists' united together as " Brothers of the Hermannstadt District," and the land teemed with fertility and population. It was like a garden. At that time none but Saxons were settlers on it ; now Szeklers and Roumains are here in. preponderating numbers. But what the Saxon villages still are may be judged of by the fact, that there are some with 3363, 3829, 3837, and 8215 inhabitants.

At Terzburg, all are herdsmen. There are some hundreds here who do not even know the use of a plough. The greatest part of the year they are on the mountains, which are limestone, where, 7000 feet high, grass grows luxuriantly. If in winter they find no pasture in Wallachia, they go on to Bulgaria. They have no Spanish sheep, and care rather for the quantity than the quality of the wool; a finer breed would bring in far greater profit.

There I got horses to ride to a cave at the foot of the Butschetsch, where some Greek monks dwell. On the like occasions, I would advise travellers always to look to the stirrups before starting, for the two are never of equal length, nor of the same material or shape; and as they are fixed in some inexplicable way with rope or a thong, it is difficult, when once off, to make them comfortable. It was noon by the time all was ready, and as it looked cloudy, the warder of the castle seemed not to like our having so late to pass the mountain-chain. But with a tra_ veller's obstinacy we went. For awhile we kept in a long, narrow valley, with a village extending for miles on either side. Some houses were beside the mountain stream, others upon the hills; they were scattered in all directions. Here, shut out from the world and all intercourse with others, the Wallack population is in the lowest state of civilized existence. The road is the stony bed of the stream; further on is the wild, dark forest, and the sole instrument that could serve to raise the minds of the forlorn inhabitants is a pope, not one degree above themselves, who daily practises with them the most abject superstition.

Mounting a steep path, we passed through magnificent beech forests, and then came to the region of firs. Beyond were stone and torn embankments, and uprooted trees, and all the havoc and desolation of such mountain heights. The mists rolled below us and above, but every now and then was a gap torn in them, and we could look down into deep valleys, and on winding streams, and villages at the foot of steep hills. Then presently the jagged summits of the Carpathians rose before us in a sudden glory of light-white and illumined by a sun we could not see, and behind them was a firmament intensely blue. Then all disappeared again, and we were wrapped in cloud. Soon there was a whirl round the mountain-top, and a commotion ; the air grew more transparent, and another mighty peak rose into sight; and so I had a series of dissolving views for my delectation on my ride.

There is a guard-house before reaching the saddle of the mountain, but on the Wallachian side are only the ruins of dwellings-a picture of misery.

My little bony nag carried me admirably, through deep snow and over smooth rocks, where it seemed impossible a horse could find a footing. He never lagged, though we had been scrambling up and down for six hours. At last, towards nightfall, we descend, and reach a deep, narrow vale, through which a considerable stream is rushing; we follow its banks. The shores approach each other more and more ; the roar of falling waters grows louder; there is a dampness in the air, and an unpleasant chill. But it cannot be otherwise, for at noon only can the sun here penetrate with a vertical ray. A wooden fence gives token of human neighbourhood, and there, too, stands a sign that has been so unhesitatingly employed to sanction sin and wickedness, to cover so much stupidity,-the poor misused Cross. We wind along a path beside the damp rock, and suddenly turn into a vast cave, sixty or seventy feet high, in the perpendicular wall of stone. The atmosphere is dank, and it is more fitted to be a den for bears than the dwelling-place of men. Yet here, in this mountain gorge, shut in on all sides, face to face with the dripping rocks, with no sight to exalt the soul and raise it up to God, some Wallack priests have taken up their abode. On a height, however great the solitude, are sights to cheer and to make the heart rejoice; and it is intelligible that some minds may feel a special joy in communing thus alone with their Maker. There is the large expanse of sky, the pure refreshing air, the glory of rising and setting suns : but here are none of these. The very air is cavernous, and the overwhelming rocks depressing. The natures of the inhabitants accord with the place. They are abjectly ignorant, and live on alms ; their sole occupation is to perform certain ceremonies, and to collect food. The head priest can read and write, but I doubt if the others can. My guide told me he knew one of them well ; he had been a robber, and had at the time two children at Terzburg. To be safe he had come here, for the yen-darmes dare not follow him to the sanctuary, and having brought some ducats to the superior, he had consecrated him, and the fellow was now a priest. On our arrival they were all in the chapel, which extends along the front of the cave; singing their ritual. On either side of the cavern are small block-houses, where they live ; we went into that of the chief priest, who hastened to put the room in order and make me up a bed, while I prepared some tea. I told my guide to ask him what made him come here to live ; but he replied, " I'll take good care not to do that." At midnight, there was a noise of a wooden hammer struck on a board; this was the priest going round the church, with a clapper ; it lasted nearly an hour. Then came chanting in the chapel, which made a lugubrious sound, and again the wooden clapper in another rhythm.*18_2

I left betimes in the morning, glad to get away from so unhumanizing a place. The men told me that on the sides of the Butschetsch they often saw bear,; and that the year before, they met one in the morning walking into the cavern, and pelted him out again with stones.

As we went on, the mists grew thicker in the valley, and soon came sweeping upwards. I now thought of the warder's counsel. We hastened on, for it was no joke to be surrounded here by their impenetrable clouds. Once

18_2* These monks, or "Kaluger " as they are called in Roumanian, follow the rules of St. Basil. Four times a day the "Toaka," or clapper, calls them to prayers. This is a small board about 5 feet long and 3 inches broad, on which the youngest of the monks, carrying the Toaka in his left hand, strikes with a wooden hammer, walking the while round and round the church. Before starting he strikes three blows, with his face turned to the east, then he kneels three times, repeats a short prayer, and then begins his peregrinations, hammering all the time on the board. When over, the three blows, genuflexions, etc., are repeated.

lie unfilled; a great part of the most productive land being devoted to pasture. Cattle-keeping accords with the indolence of the Wallack ; he lies down on the hillside, and remains thus for hours, doing nothing but watching the herd. This inactivity, this hereditary indolence is incompatible with agriculture. All his field labour is confined to sowing a patch of maize, which supplies him abundantly with meal for his mamaliga ; he has absolutely no wants, and can even do without bread.

There is, however, no reason why the Wallacks, if properly encouraged, should not become an agricultural, in- stead of the pastoral people which they hitherto were. We find that by wise measures such change has been effected among the Caffres, and they have acquired habits of industry unknown to them before. How industrious the women are has been already said. If such a conversion could be brought about with those South African people, the Wallacks will surely allow the possibility of the same being done with them. The failure of the potato crop forced the Irish into new habits; and some event may also occur to modify the tastes of this originally nomade people.

As long as the dwellers in the land were in a state of vassalage, they had little interest in cultivating their fields, or in making them produce more than sufficed for bare existence. Serfdom is at an end ; but the state of things engendered by it still exists, and its evil influence with regard to husbandry will only gradually die out.

The rotation system has been introduced here within the last fifteen years, and still is but partially followed. The ordinary plan is to plough a field one year and let it lie fallow the next. One year the cattle are driven out on one side of the road, and the next year on the other. Where this system exists a change is difficult, for as the cattle graze over the half of the land lying untitled, it would be necessary for him who should have ploughed and sown his particular field, to fence it round, in order to keep off the herd. Each sows what his neighbour sows, in order that the whole harvest may take place at the same time. Were it not so, one would be wanting to bring home his ripe crop over a neighbour's field, where a future crop was still growing ; and this would never do.

A great hindrance to good husbandry is the division of the allotments into endless little strips of land, scattered about in all directions, far apart. I have seen the survey of several parishes, made on purpose to determine the boundaries of each individual's possessions; and it looked much as this page would do, if between each line of type a line were drawn, indicating a separate field belonging to another possessor. Perhaps the first line, fifteenth, and the thirtieth, might be the estate of one and the same man, each strip being a mile or two from the other. This wide separation of the fields is also one reason why they are not manured; it would take too much time. Some are so far apart that not more than two loads could be brought to them in a day.*18_3

They do not perceive the loss of time occasioned by this systematic separation, or, if they do, find any possible disadvantage counterbalanced by the probability that if a hailstorm come, it will not destroy every field a man may have. This is the reason why they prefer such dispersion. "But, if you fear the hail, why not insure your fields ?" is what I always asked them. However, they do not as yet see the advantage of such a system sufficiently

18_3* With the APallacks it is generally laziness which prevents them from dunging their plots of ground. At a village in the Kokel they sell manure rather than take the trouble to use it, and twenty-five cart-loads are given for one of firewood, the purchaser fetching it himself.

clearly to make their profit of it ; and yet it is the very nature of the Saxons to associate for mutual assist- ance,-to combine together, in order that all may render help should the individual member suffer. In Heltau an insurance society has been formed by the inhabitants among themselves, and nothing can be better than the statutes or the working of the plan. The good example will, it is to be hoped, be followed by others.

But, despite the partiality for the old system, a change has at last begun. Several of the Hungarian noblemen, who are energetically and at great sacrifices doing more for agriculture than any of the population, have with great difficulty succeeded in getting their estates into a more compact form. For this purpose, the parish or parishes to be new modelled must first be surveyed, and every plot of ground, no matter how small, accurately laid down. The whole is then subdivided according to the quality of the soil, and marked 1, 2, 3, or 4. By this means arrangements can be come to where, in order to comm ass an estate, as the term is, a field of one man is handed over to a neighbour, and a piece of one of the latter, lying a good way off, taken in exchange. Thus, for an acre of very good land, No. 1, two acres, which are only half as good, of No. 2, are given. The quality of the fields is determined by a jury, so that by such arrangement no injustice is done. As it is not always possible to manage that all the strips of land of each parishioner shall be close together, and the fields no longer scattered, any arrangement to this effect, if desired, is made afterwards by private contract, and a plot of ground here or there bought or exchanged. From 1851 to 1856 the Government tried to carry out this commassing system, but the Szeklers resisted. In one place, in the north, the house of the surveyor, who was sent to make the measurements, was burnt down. " The change may be all very well," the people said, " but we won't have it." The survey was, in some instances, obliged to be obtained by force, exactly as in England, when Stephenson was taking his levels for a new line of railroad. There the landed proprietors, high and low, opposed him and drove him off their fields with pitchforks, and it was only by coming before dawn or by moonlight, that he could circumvent those who looked on the new system of locomotion as " a curse to the country." They are parallel cases, and show how poor human nature remains, under all conditions, true to itself. Very few years ago, Sir Astley Cooper told Stephenson his railway scheme was "preposterous and absurd," and "if this sort of thing be allowed to go on, you will in a very few years destroy the noblesse." While I write, the important sewage question meets with quite as much senseless opposition in enlightened England, as the Szeklers have shown to a change which is plainly advantageous for them. Let us modify therefore the severity of our judgment. Much as the peasantry opposed this change at first, they are glad of it now, wherever it has been carried out, its advantages being so obvious. To the large proprietor they are very great. He now can erect farm-buildings at a central point, and have field labour and other work carried on under proper inspection, which before was impossible. The improved system of farming which the Hungarian gentry are intro ducing and superintending themselves, is doing much good, and by the force of example will gradually effect a general improvement. They are, too, improving the breed of sheep, and doing what was never thought of be fore, fattening cattle. It is time they did so, for beef in Transylvania is so bad as to be dear at any price. The Saxons will, it is to be hoped, give up some of their old prejudices, and adopt the improvements their active Hungarian neighbours are introducing into husbandry.

The number of agricultural machines now used in Transylvania is, I learned on good authority, greater than in Hungary.

The change which has come over these gentlemen is very striking. Formerly they neither cared for, nor visited their estates, except for hunting or pleasure. Their management was left to the agent, worthy or worthless, as the case might be. His chief task was to supply money for the expenses of the possessor; to show anything like a balance of receipts and expenditure was quite unknown. Hence boundless hospitality at home and a gay life at Vienna, Paris, or London, soon exhausted the annual revenue. In this way, nothing was or could be done for the amelioration of the estate, or for the condition of the tenants. Instead of caring for their property, or taking on themselves the duties of their station, they acted the part of the Irish absentees. They did nothing for the country, but gave a bad example of wastefulness and neglect ; yet they expected that their special interest, their position, and their wishes should be taken account of. They had given proof how unfit they were for the management of their own concerns, yet they wanted, now all was going wrong with them, which was in a great measure their own fault, to direct public business. The straits in which they were helped to irritate them; their enjoyments were curtailed as their embarrassments increased; the causes of complaint which they had were magnified, and all the evils which had come upon them were attributed wholly to the shortcomings of the Government ; whilst, had they themselves been properly active, many a grief would never have occurred. With no taste for regular employment, and cramped in their ac customed movements, their activity soon found scope in another direction, and the long-glimmering discontent blazed into a flame. Bodily and mentally, the Hungarian likes a stirring life, and is fitted for it. He likes, too, to play a part in the world of fashion or in the arena of politics, as circumstances may decide. To me it is quite clear how his want of order, his financial embarrassments, his impatience of all thraldom, combined with his quick, fiery, impulsive nature, and his susceptibility to any infringement of rights belonging to himself, conspired at last to bring about a feeling that there must be a change ; but if the Hungarian gentry had occupied themselves then as they are doing now, I feel sure there would not have been a revolution. They have, however, derived a lesson from adversity; they have been forced by it into new habits. In an admirable manner they are turning the teachings experience to account, and thus, as so often happens, "out of the confusion and outbreak of men's angry passions arises a better order of things." While they are benefiting themselves, they are raising the condition of the country at large. They are showing to their less active, plodding countrymen, what they ought to have done, and did not do. They are developing the resources which are before them, and are forcing attention to the long- neglected province. The good thus rendered is widespreading, and the whole population will be gainers by it. The same resolute perseverance, the same determination to overcome obstacles, which the Hungarians have shown in their campaigns and politics, they are displaying now in their efforts to raise agriculture, to promote traffic, and to open up new markets for the produce of the land.*18_4

18_4* Some gentlemen of Klausenburg were occupied, when I was there, with the formation of a more expeditious means of transport for goods than at present exists, by means of fly vans, like those of Pickford in England, or the Messagerie Generale in France. These were to ply between Gross- wardein and the larger towns of Transylvania, leaving on fixed days, and reaching their destination in a certain number of hours. The present un- certainty attending the arrival of goods is so great as to prevent all but the most necessary traffic. No one can tell, if a thing is ordered, when it may arrive; consequently it is not ordered at all. But if merchants could calculate with certainty the very day of its arrival, without fear of its being too late for the market, much more business would be done. Wishing to introduce certain Transylvanian manufacture into Bavaria, I induced a merchant to order the wares. He did so ; but the consignment was three months on the road, and arrived so much beyond the time for the Christmas market, that he lost by a speculation which could otherwise have brought him profit. "It is impossible to transact business with such people," he said, and gave up at once any further intercourse with Tran nia Thus one channel of comm sylva unication which might have led to good, was stopped as soon as opened; and it was because of the worthlessness of the existing system and its many attendant evils, that these gentlemen bestirred themselves. Though this has nothing to do with agriculture, I mention the circumstance as an additional proof how busied the Hungarian nobleman now is in carrying out generally useful improvements and reforms.

The hemp of the country is of super-excellent quality, and equals the best produce of Italy. Additional attention is now being turned to its preparation for the market, and it is confidently hoped, that when better known, its value will be generally recognized. On this subject the Honourable Julian Fane, in his report to Earl Russell (Blue Book, No. 3, 1860, p. 108), thus writes :-" That Hungarian hemp is excellent, is a fact generally admitted, and, from personal knowledge, I can state that some of it which reached her Majesty's dockyards during the war, gave the highest satisfaction. It is, like grain, a commodity of which the supply could be enormously increased." While the Crimean war lasted, we imported from Austrian territories 114,459 cwt., and from Russia only 943 cwt. ; but the war over, the quantity derived from Austria sank to 24,050 cwt., and that from Russia rose again to 602,272 cwt. As there is no reason why this supply from Austria should not have continued as in 1855, it is probable that a greater activity on the part of the Russian dealers pushed their less brisk competitors out of the, market.

Hops grow wild in such profusion that they are used for brewing. For 20 Austrian eimer (= 100 Transyl- vanian, or 250 English gallons) of beer, 20 lb. of wild hops are used, mixed with 6 lb. of a cultivated sort. The price of wild hops the cwt. is from 30 to 40 florins; that of the best Bohemian (Saatzer), which are equal to any in Europe, from 140 to 150 florins per cwt. Thus, we see that the cultivation of the plant would leave room for a good profit, supposing it were to thrive ; and, as it does so in a wild state, there can be no doubt it would succeed well under cultivation. In the Csik and the Vale of the Maros hops grow luxuriantly. There are several breweries in the province, a market would therefore be found for good produce ; and, were there better means of communication with the rest of the world, it would, if exported, be sure to find ready purchasers.

To show the condition of agriculture in Transylvania, I cannot do better than compare the results with those of English farming. In a village in the north of the province, containing 1400 souls, there are 7000 joch of ploughed land. They have, too, 8000 joch of forest. A wheat-field yields fivefold ; the field being manured every three years, and getting forty cartloads of dung per joch.

Near Torja, which I visited some weeks later, wheat, as I was told, yielded ninefold in 1863, but generally only five- or sixfold. Some fields there are manured every three, four, six, nine, or twelve years. A farmer, near Bath, tells me that " one bushel of wheat drilled in, produces on an average from 40 (the least) to 50 bushels. On middling soils, 28 bushels is the average." This is under the four-course system, superphosphate being used.*18_5

It is only since 1848 that the land in Transylvania has been manured. To drive the sheep or cows over the fields while lying fallow, was considered sufficient. The draining of many a dung-heap might be seen running into the brook. On one estate, which was sold, a large stock of manure had been left, the accumulation of years. A thousand excuses were made for not removing the nuisance. I know a case of a steward who ordered a field to be manured. By mistake of the labourers, the dung was scattered over a neighbour's field. He was very wroth, and ordered the men " to,take the filth away." Indeed, no care was taken for manure, and people thought themselves rather lucky if they could get rid of it, just as we think now with regard to our valuable sewage.

But after 1848, the remission of the forced labour, which the Hungarian peasant had previously performed for the lord of the manor, caused the latter an immense loss. The sacrifices, too, made in the revolution, greatly contributed to his present poverty. The Kossuth bank-notes were all burnt, and nothing was given for them. Then came a forced loan, and the heavy, badly-distributed taxation. Many also sold the money they were to have from Government before they received it, and of course at a loss; sold at 50 what in the market stood at 75. The proprietor, therefore, in order to obtain more from his land, began to manure it. Though the soil in Transylvania is

18_5* According to official returns and investigations, the clear profit of best land (first class) is 6 florins 50 kreutzers per joch, the lowest class only 20 kreutzers ; but if well cultivated, the first class would bring in a profit of 30 florins ; meadows, highest profit, 10 florins per joch ; least profit, 20 kreutzers. The lowest profit forests bring in is 1 kreutzer per joch, and of such there arc thousands of acres.

decidedly fruitful, it is not now what it was. " The ground has greatly lost in fertility, and the best ground no longer bears what it once did."*18_6 These are the words of one on whom I can rely: There are places where " for centuries " no manure has been used, and where maize has been planted every year.

The following numbers give the quantity of maize a piece of ground, 18 joch in extent, produced in six conse- cutive years. It had not been manured for at least thirty years :

In 1858 it yielded 938 viertel.
1859 1104 „
1860 763 „
1861 680 „
1862 916 „
1863 906

1 viertel = about 6 bushels English.

In passing through the Csik, my companion, a Hungarian landowner, showed me uplands where rye only grew, and, higher up, only oats. These slopes were never manured; on account of the difficulty of doing so. The crops were always excellent. In addition to good example, one way of teaching would be to disseminate among the peasantry plainly-written papers, in popular style, on matters relating to husbandry. In an excellent little book, called the ` Sächsische Hauskalender,' published at Kronstadt, this is sometimes done. Only make the Saxon comprehend that a change of system will bring him certain profit, and he will not long keep to his old ways. It is a pity that the Protestant clergy do not generally farm their land themselves. It is usual for them, in order to save

18_6* There are places where it is found that the land will no longer do without manure. Even the Banat (once under water,-Mare Album), and hitherto one of the most fruitful districts in Europe, is now showing signs of exhaustion.

trouble, to let the whole, and the lessee delivers one-third or one-half the harvest to the clergyman as farm rent. Were this not done, the pastor, being an enlightened man, might, on his own glebe, carry out various improvements. Thus, in every village, an opportunity would be afforded of proving to the peasantry, by ocular demonstration, the good results of certain innovations. An example, too, set by the " Herr Pfarrer " would always have weight.




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