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IMMEDIATELY around Saasz Regen, are slopes covered with oak and vines, and from the hilltop a view is afforded of the pleasing Vale of the Maros or Mieresch, as well as of the Görgeny valley. In the distance, as usual, appear mountain summits ; but, before long, the landscape grows bare, and instead of woods, ploughed fields alone are seen.

Some miles further on, a spot is reached where the road descends precipitously, and you look down on a largo market-town with broad streets, trim houses, and a handsome fortified church. It is Teckendorf;*23_1-and, as you take a bird's-eye view of the place, you for the hundredth time wonder anew at what the diligence, thrift, and order of these German colonists have enabled them to accomplish. It is not their towns which so much astonish you; it is the large flourishing town-like villages that take you by surprise. The people here speak a dialect varying from that of the so-called Saxon land : also in the Burzenland, the district around Kronstadt. This proves the different origin of the various settlers, who, long as it is since they left their former home, still retain in their speech the peculiarities which distinguished it on their arrival here, several hundred years ago.

23_1 * Teckendorf, like Saasz Regen, Klausenburg, and some other Saxon places, was prevented from joining and forming a part of the Saxon nation. This was in the fifteenth century. They fell under the authority of the nobles, and, serfs as the inhabitants became, it is quite astonishing to observe how their old rights as free men still seemed to hang about them, and, like a leaven, to penetrate their whole being, preserving them from utter degradation. At that period the market-town was, during the season of the great fairs, declared by the noble to whom it belonged a free sanctuary for all criminals.

And now comes Dürrbach (Saxon), with its verandahs before the houses, where the villagers sit of an afternoon on holidays ; and Galacz (Wallack), with its ruined Gothic church, where, originally, a congregation that has now entirely disappeared, prayed in their Saxon tongue ; and further on is another church, Mönchsdorf or Harina, one of the most interesting in the whole country on account of its architecture. It is, in its way, a unique specimen of the Romanesque style in Transylvania. The fasar7e is a gable, as high as the two square towers which stand on either side. Nearly everywhere else the attempt to complete both towers has failed, but here the handsome edifice (it is sixty feet long and forty feet broad) stands in the perfected state in which the architect designed it. It dates from the thirteenth century.*23_2

Five steps led formerly to the portal, but two only remain. The decorative parts of the portal have disappeared, for, being of alabaster, the people scraped them away as a remedy for ague. The interior is a three-aisled basilica, divided by pillars with carved capitals. The middle aisle ends in a semicircular vaulted apse; that at the termination of each side-aisle is a mere niche.

23_2* The cathedral of Novara (eleventh century) has also two very similar towers in front, but much further apart than in the church of Harina. The facade is, as here, nearly as high as the towers themselves, but in design shows a change towards a new style. The towers in each contain the germ of one of the peculiar features in the church architecture of the time, -the open gallery immediately under the roof.

CHURCH AT MOÖCHSDORF.
"CHURCH AT MOÖCHSDORF."

Near Bistritz, I passed a large Saxon village, Heidendorf, nearly the whole of which was in ruins, having been burnt down just before. The fire had begun at one end, when the wind was blowing from that quarter, and had it not soon after suddenly veered, not a house would have been left standing. It is here the excellent wine, before spoken of, grows.

The whole district is full of salt and salt springs ; not a village but has one of the latter, and the mineral extends eastwards till the hard Jura limestone and trachyte set a limit to its appearance.

Bistritz is prettily situated on the plain, just where a range of hills, covered with orchards and beech- groves, rise beside it. It has nothing of that medieval look which distinguishes Hermannstadt or Schässburg ; the streets are straight and broad, and nearly every building is of modern date, the place having suffered repeatedly by fire. From 1836 to 1850, there were five conflagrations, by which three hundred and twenty-five houses were destroyed. But in former days Bistritz suffered other fearful calamities,-sieges, oppression, hunger, and pestilence. Its neighbourhood to the frontier exposed it to the devastations of the Mongols and Tartars : the foe before the walls, and famine and disease within, carried off, in 1602, in the twenty days' siege, 13,000 of the inhabitants. The town was also heavily taxed by friends and allies. Some of the detail gives a picture of the time. In the war of 1564, between Transylvania and the Austrian crown, the Bistritzer had to furnish a contingent of 3000 men, armed with arquebuses. The war contribution for that year was 30,000 florins, besides 200 horses, though shortly before, 200 horses had been sent with wine to the camp. Hardly had they arrived, when an order came for 20,000 horseshoes-" Mit Negel, mitt all," to quote the words of the old chronicle (with nails and all). The Saxons were, too, obliged to furnish powder, which they disliked most of all, as they wanted it themselves to defend their own homes; but, still they sent 400 cwt., and meal and wine. One of the authorities is afraid of greater calamities, and would fain avert them, for he begs the chief magistrate to provide "the 100 Kufen (= 5000 Eimer) of wine, by next Monday, to send them to Klau- senburg, in order not again to get into a difficulty." The clergy were, besides, obliged to maintain four waggons, horsed, in the field, and provide for them and the drivers as long as they were on duty. The supplies were also to be carried to the camp ; and when the citizens arrived there, they and their cattle were often detained for months ; their fields meanwhile lying untilled. And all this, beside the usual taxes, which were inexorably levied. But they were a money-making people, those Saxons, and more enterprising and daring than they are now. So some went out with full waggons, notwithstanding the peril, and sold their wine and wares to the camp folk ; and got home safely with their money. And just as we did in the war with Russia, so some Bistritzer found it a good speculation to sell necessaries to the enemy; they furnished the Austrians with food, at which, the King's representative, Michael Csaky, complained loudly. It seems, however, the venture was not made only for gain, but from sympathy with Austria and the Christian cause; for there is a letter, still extant, of Daum, to the town-councillors of Bistritz, expressing the wish that God " den Sieg den Cristen verlayen woll " (may give the Christians the vic- tory). He forgot that on the side of the Turks 3000 Saxons were also fighting. But they feared and hated their Turkish allies.

Every event connected with the town, shows how thriving it must have been. It was a great mart for Eastern traffic ; handicraft flourished, and the schools, as at this day, repaid, by their excellence, the fostering care bestowed upon them. Though one-third of the inhabitants was carried off by the plague in 1554, yet in 1560 they set about building their large church, and soon after ordered an instrument for it, of the Polish organ-builder, Jacob Leidens. There was no lack of energy or money then. Then, too, there must have been good order and discipline, or those burghers could never have weathered so many storms. The law was upheld and implicitly obeyed. Had it not been, there would have been an end of communal existence. Unfortunately the state of things throughout the country is changed now, and, though the law commands, there is no enforcing of the law. Thus in Bistritz, in order to prevent all being destroyed, as hitherto, when a fire broke out, it was enacted that every new house, outbuildings excepted, should be of stone. The expediency of the law was obvious ; but it was sometimes evaded. A Wallack builds a house of wood. This being forbidden on account of the common danger it involved, the magistrates determines to pull it down. The offender goes to the Gubernium, and here, the majority being of his own nation, the order for demolition is cancelled, and the house remains. After much difficulty, judgment is at last obtained, from a higher tribunal, to have it pulled down.

There is one feature peculiar to their mother-country, which the Saxons have not yet lost, notwithstanding their separation from it. It is an inclination for " den alten Zopf," as the Germans call it,-an innate love for anti- quated formalities : while pertinaciously adhering to the letter of " a right," they are unmindful of more important matters. On Saxon ground, for example, the mills belong to the town; and, as in all cases of monopoly, they are good for nothing. It was proposed that the town should let them for a term of years ; the competition of the lessees, each of whom would change the worn-out stones, that the work might be done better, ensuring good flour to the citizens; but, jealous of the right that was exclusively theirs, the authorities would not cede it, even for a time. " Our forefathers always held it directly, and we dare not give it up." And the same with the inns.

It is quite inconceivable how abuses will creep in, where, from the general conduct of the individuals, we should not believe them to be possible. In a Saxon village, to the west of Bistritz, the custom prevails, that the peasants-from the chief authority down to the lowest in the parish-drive their cattle out at -night to pasture, and, as may be supposed, on their neighbours' fields. It seems to be considered no disgrace to be caught in this act of delinquency, the practice being general. At the end of the year, a calculation is made of the number of cows, etc., found on certain persons' fields, and of the quantity of corn, maize, grass, etc., to be restored. But as each has a claim on the others, what is due to one generally balances what lie would have to pay the other. The ad- judication is made by the village chief officer, but as he does not enforce his judgment, nothing comes of it usually, even when a fine has to be paid.

Any animal found grazing alone is subject to penalty, as there exists a law forbidding this. And the reason is, that if it were permitted for cattle to graze separately, there must be some one on the different fields to prevent their encroachments, whilst, if together, they are under the care of the herdsman, who is answerable for where. they go, and prevents a trespass on seed-fields or growing crops.

The confusion with regard to laws and rights, found in different parts of the province, is something quite appalling. Some Saxon villages have their own "politische Verwaltung," being in a " Comitat " or county, and the management of their finances is also according to the Hungarian system ; while the common law is that of the Saxon nation. Others, again, "unterthänige Gemeinden," or subject to a feudal lord, had county (Hungarian) law. There were some Saxon villages where the succession of property was regulated by Hungarian law, others again where it was mixed, that is, partly Hungarian and partly Saxon. Many of the Hungarian towns have their own distinct laws ; for every " freie Gemeinde "-free community-had the right to make laws for itself, and if not cancelled by being in opposition to the law of the land, these were acknowledged as statutes. It was thus in Thorda, Klausenburg, Ddds, Maros-Väsärhely, KdzdiVäsärhely,-all had and have their separate laws. These divergencies are very troublesome in carrying on a lawsuit; sometimes, too, the laws of the town are withheld from the opposite party, as in a case I know of. The counsel for a client tried in vain, for six months, to get sight of a copy of the Dells laws, being always put off on one plea or another. He lost his suit. Later he obtained them, instituted a new suit, and won it.

Neither the Hungarian nor the. Saxon could, by the law of the land, receive new regulations "by patent." When, therefore, in the great county assemblies, a Government authority promulgated an order, it was laid aside as rejected, and simply not acted upon.

Among the Saxons, when the village clergyman dies, his successor is elected, by the village, from among the curates doing duty in the neighbouring town. He is generally known to them from having preached in their church, on various occasions, when their own clergyman was ill, or when, perhaps, he was called upon to do so for some other reason. The names of seven candidates for the vacant living are distributed on aa printed paper, and those men, forming what we should call the vestry, set their mark against that curate's name whom they have decided to elect. The paper is then sent to the new vicar, with the keys of the church. On a certain day, some short time after this, he proceeds to the village to inspect his new living, to come to an understanding with his parishioners on various matters, and fix definitely how and when certain services, which he requires of them, are to be rendered. Before proceeding to his new living, he gives a dinner to his friends, the neighbouring clergy, and to the elders and vestry of his new parish, on which occasion the arrangement entered into between the two parties receives a final solemn ratification.

Such a festival took place while I was in Bistritz, and the same desire, which was everywhere shown, to make me thoroughly acquainted with the institutions, manners and customs of the country, was also manifested on this occasion ; I was invited to be present at the dinner, which was to be given on the following day.

The guests, consisting of clergymen, professors, and members of the municipality, had all arrived, when the deputation from the village made its appearance. At their head was a tall man, dressed, like the rest, in the coarse white serge jacket and the white sheepskin waistcoat of the Saxon peasantry. His hair, not too long, fell back to the nape ; his countenance was grave, there was a seriousness, I may almost say a solemnity in his expression, as he advanced towards his pastor and began his speech in the dialect of his mother-country. He related how, having to choose a new pastoral guide, they had looked about, and after mature reflection their choice had fallen on him ; that they rejoiced to have found one so worthy of their confidence, and the whole parish anticipated his coming among them with gladness, in the certainty that in him they would find a wise teacher and a safe guide. He hoped that the new clergyman would feel happy among them, and promised that nothing should be wanting on the part of the parishioners to strengthen the bonds of unity, which he trusted would always exist between the two.

The man spoke with a calm dignity, which was quite imposing. His delivery was good, nor did he once hesitate or have to seek for a word. He was not flurried at appearing before so large an assembly, and was as self- possessed as the most practised speaker could have been. One of the clergymen replied, and very courteously re- marked, that as a foreign guest was present, the deputation must allow him to waive the custom of addressing them in their dialect. They all understood High German, and he would answer them in that language. In his reply, he compared the present contract to a marriage, and therefore, that there might be no misunderstanding, he once more, before the final word was spoken, called on the parties-whom he addressed as bridegroom and bride -to say if they were heartily willing to be united. Then, after receiving from each one his assent, he required them to seal, as it were, their affirmation, by giving each other the hand. The newly-elected clergyman, still holding in his the hand of the elder of the village, addressed to him a few words, and welcomed him and his fellows as his honoured guests. A glass of wine was then poured for each-the Viss-Trank,*23_3 as it is called-and the official part of the proceedings was, with this act, considered as finished.

23_3* Viss-Trank, an abbreviation of Gewiss-Trank-the act which made the bargain " gewiss " or certain. Among the ancient Germans, this act of pledging each other in wine was customary when a contract was entered into. It sealed the bargain, and gave the mere verbal promise the value of a bond.

During the dinner, which lasted an immense time, toasts were drunk and numerous speeches made. What struck me particularly was the ease and fluency exhibited by all the speakers. I doubt very much, if in a small town in Germany, among a like number of similar individuals, the same skill and, in many instances, even eloquence would have been shown. This facility had, doubtless, its origin in the system of local self-government, which was one of the rights of the Saxons during seven hundred years. At their corporation meetings, there was as much discussion as at an assembly of the same kind in England, and hence, to speak in public was for centuries more familiar to the Saxon of Transylvania than it is to most private citizens, in the land of his ancestors, even at the present day. Yet still more striking to the stranger was the readiness and skill displayed by two of the peasant deputation, where, from the nature of the case, it was quite impossible there could have been any preparation. In a speech made by the clergyman at the head of the table, my presence there was alluded to so flatteringly and with such kindness and goodwill, that it was not well possible for me to remain silent. In my reply, among other things, I alluded to what I had observed in Transylvania, and hinted at the backward state of agriculture in the country, expressing, at the same time, a hope that when improvements were suggested by experienced men, prejudice and antiquated views might not withhold the peasant from listening to then, and introducing a more advantageous system.. Hardly had I sat down when he who had just greeted the clergyman rose, and referring to my observations, began to speak of seed-time and harvest in a clear, succinct style. Though I understood all he said, his aim was, I confess, not clear to me, until my neighbour remarked, " Oh, it's aa parable!" And in truth it was one. I, who had expected only a, plain, practical answer, had taken his words literally. He spoke of the seed which had been sown in good soil in January of that year, (I afterwards learned that the newly-elected clergyman had preached in the village in that month,) how it had sprung up, and eventually of the good harvest it had broiight them in their present choice. That husbandry had; after all, brought no such very bad result. The whole was most skilfully ad- justed, and was to the point throughout. He concluded by drinking his new pastor's health, and wishing him con- tent and happiness among his parishioners.

This man had once accompanied to Vienna a deputation from his native village, in order to lay before the Emperor a matter they all had at heart. He was chosen spokesman, and clearly and distinctly, without flurry or embarrassment, gave his Majesty an account of the point at issue. He is a simple peasant, and, he himself told me, was twenty-five years old when he learned to read and write.

And later, another peasant rose to reply to some rather sharp observations on the state of the village school. With great good humour he defended his little parish on the point at issue, and turned the matter so skilfully, that he undoubtedly obtained something very like a victory.

That festive company was a sight which would surely not be met with elsewhere. At one table was the peasant deputation, with their new pastor, and at the others the clergy and the authorities of the town and schools,all in good fellowship, and without a single circumstance that might indicate a difference in social rank. Towards the end, one of the younger clergymen, remembering the pleasant days of his student life, struck up a well known song. At his elbow was a rector, and in a moment the tones of his musical voice were heard joining in the chorus that was now formed by the reverend and lay company.

How that one Herr Pfarrer-young still in years as feeling-seemed to enjoy his leadership in that outburst of song !

In England this would, no doubt, be considered as a want of the decorum befitting a dignitary of the church ; yet I must say that it did not for a moment strike me as such; nor did it seem so to the village guests either, and they for certain would be critical. They listened to the fine old song with evident pleasure, and were far from being shocked because a pastor's voice was heard with a fuller volume than the rest. We are so accustomed in all we do to conventional form, that we can hardly disassociate its observance from our minds, whether with reference to ourselves or others. The more natural, therefore, the direction which an impulse is allowed to take, untrammeled by prescribed mode, the less it will accord with our notions on such matters.

Some days after the above festival, the newly elected clergyman, accompanied by the dean and several of his friends, proceeded to his parish. At the boundary he was met by the churchwardens, the married women, the youths and maidens in holiday attire, as well as the schoolchildren, who all came to welcome him. The village band played its best tunes, and thus the procession entered the village. There was afterwards service in the church, when the oath of fealty to the Emperor was administered to the pastor, and then the dean presented him to his congregation. He addressed them in a fitting speech, and, when all was over, talked with the school- children, to whom he gave a present of money, that they might have a holiday and festival according to their taste. The whole company I adjourned to the parish school, where the rooms were arranged and four tables laid out for dinner.

In some Saxon villages, the Protestant clergyman assembles his parishioners on certain evenings in winter, and gives them a lecture on, or rather explanation of, a subject generally interesting or specially so for them. The effect and the charm naturally depend on the individuality of the speaker, but, if done well, such mode of instruction cannot fail to be useful.

The towers on the town walls here were named after the guilds, whose business it was to defend them; and it was in remembrance of the old warlike times that the corporations, on days of great ceremony, had always a man or two in armour, as we still have in the procession on Lord Mayor's Day, and probably for the same reason. The Cutlers' guild was formerly very large,-sixty,members,-while now there are but two. The whole of Moldavia was furnished by them with cutlery, and they were sufficiently important to have their own polishing mill. Nowhere in Transylvania do the tradesmen like the removal of the old corporation restrictions on trade. They oppose it with passive resistance in every way ; and the Government, having no wish to raise up enemies, does not interfere; but the evil effects of the old system are apparent in many handicrafts, in shoemaking especially. At Saasz Regen, shoes are so bad and dear that cheaper and better ones can be obtained by sending for them to Vienna.*23_4

23_4* I have seen a pair of boots taken to the blacksmith's forge "to be 'hod," that is, to have the tips put on the heels, as the shoemaker either could not do this, or, what is more probable, was prohibited from doing it, in order not to infringe on the handicraft of another.

Now, with regard to leather, the system adopted would hardly be found out of Transylvania. Throughout the province leather is bad, but no one thinks of making it better. The raw hides, of which there are abundance in the land, as well as close by in Wallachia, salt, bark, and the gall-nuts required in tanning, are all sent out of the province, and the manufactured article is then brought back again to make the boots and shoes of the inhabitants. With wool it is the same. Vast quantities are produced in the country, yet all the finer cloths manufactured from Transylvanian wool are made elsewhere.

A leather factory is one of the speculations about the success of which there can be no doubt. It is an article in general demand, and a market could therefore be found for the produce, and not only in Transylvania, but in the adjoining lands.

Paper factories, if properly conducted, would pay well. Rags are to be had in plenty, and at the lowest price,- dirty rags, 3 florins per cwt. ; while the finer white ones cost from 5 to 7 florins per cwt. Resin, 2,', florins per cwt., and potash may be got for almost nothing. There is, at Borgö-Prund, to the north-east of Bistritz, such a factory, off which, with a small amount of capital, a most lucrative business might be made. Wallachia and Moldavia import a considerable quantity of the finer sort of paper; were such produced here-and there is no reason why it should not be-the stock required might all be furnished by Transylvania.*23_5

23_5* Formerly paper was exported hence to Moldavia, as long as the seat of government was at Jassy, but since its removal to Bucharest the im- portation has ceased. All this proves the fact on which I wish to lay particular stress : that, with more activity, good markets might be found in the neighbouring cauntries for many things which Transylvania could produce.

In the Czamos Valley, near Rodna, north-east of Bistritz, a fine quartz is found in abundance, as well as an earth, well-fitted for porcelain. Close to Bistritz are also good potters' clay and wood for fuel. At Thorda, too, is excellent earth for porcelain. In all Transylvania there are but two factories for earthenware, and in both it is very inferior. From Thorda, not only the whole province might be supplied, but Moldavia and the Levant.

The iron trade presents an excellent opportunity for the advantageous employment of capital. Close by, in Moldavia, there is no iron, and all that is used there comes from England. In Bucharest, the price is 7 florins per cwt, for cast iron, and from 10 to 12 florins per cwt, for forged iron. These figures show that business could be done here by a man with money and activity.*23_6

23_6* See also on this subject Chapter XXXV., " Toroszko."

There are large ironworks in the Valley of Hdtzeg, where their magnitude and the facility for obtaining good coal make them of importance. However, none of these undertakings are developed as they might be. In many there is a want of skill; in all, want of capital. Any one coming here, possessing both these, may command suc- cess.

Men expatriate themselves, and emigrate to America, or some take a sheep-farm at the Cape, or lead the life of a savage in Australia, separated from friends and even from hun inity, in the hope and for the sake of realizing a fortune in a certain number of years ; but here are opportunities without the many drawbacks attendant on the others ; without leaving Europe and enduring every possible privation. An enterprising man would here find a Virgin soil; and, like every virgin soil, it would yield him abundantly for his labour. There is as wide a field and as little competition as in the interior of Africa, where men find it worth their while to go and create a trade and a market for themselves. Were Trans ylvania further off, nit would probably not have been so long overlooked by our daring merchant pioneers ; or it may be that a greater charm is found in trafficking with a black king, seated under a red cotton umbrella as dais, than in building up one's fortune in a land where there is quite as much of novelty, but which is nearer home.




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