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CHAPTER XXIV.

NASZÓD.-LAW AND LAWLESSNESS.-A FESTIVAL.

WHILE at Bistritz, I made an excursion northwards to Naszód. Twenty years ago it took one whole day to get there ; now it is a drive of two hours. The country was covered with deep snow; so that for sleighing nothing could be better, and, with four light Hungarian horses, we rushed on at full speed across the smooth ground. The road leads over hills, whence, in a more genial season, the view must be delightful.

Naszód is a Roumain village, and you are therefore surprised, on entering it, to see well-built and even hand- some houses, some as pretty and substantial as any gentleman's residence. The reason is, that this place was formerly the seat of the staff of the second Wallack border regiment of infantry, and in these dwellings the different officers lived. But indeed, the whole village wears a totally different impress from any other Wallack place I had seen. The houses are all larger and better constructed, and the people too of a higher grade. A great many of them speak excellent German, and the bearing of the population shows what education might accomplish. For here, being on the " Border," or Grenze, all was under military discipline. There were good government schools, which the children were obliged to attend.*24_1 The result was shown in all you saw. Many of the inhabitants were dressed in less uncivilized fashion, wearing boots instead of the usual swathings round their feet and legs; and with several I had as pleasant a conversation as with a Saxon or Szekler peasant. The large school-house was burned in 1848, and still remains in its charred state. The border regiment has been dissolved; and out of the money which, according to some arrangement, was to be given to Naszód, a gymnasium has been founded, one class of which was open when I visited the place. A second would soon follow. Several Roumains were then studying at Vienna, mostly at the expense of Government, to qualify themselves as teachers in the new establishment. A favourite plan of the Naszód people is to build a church and have a bi,hop here; so that, in time, Naszód may become the principal seat of the Wallach or Fountain nation, and be for them what Hermanmstadt is to the Saxons, and Klausenburg to the Hungarians. There are different government offices here, filled by Roumains. I conversed with them as well as with the arch-priest of the Greek Church. These conversations interested me greatly; for they gave me an opportunity of seeing how intense the desire is, on the part of the nation, to acquire strength, power, and position, so as to take equal place with the other dwellers in the land. Against such striving nothing can be said; only, with them, the amor habendi is so great, that they are not very scrupulous as to their means of getting. The Government, too, probably in order to conciliate them, has granted request after request. Now the Emperor was petitioned for this, now for that; and the more that was given, the greater became the wish for more. First they claimed the houses where the officers had resided, then large tracts of forest, then certain moneys, and so on. For every claim they have "indisputable proofs of their right." One of their arguments is, that they were the original possessors of the land, with the same rights as the Saxons had. Of every gain, therefore, arising from industry or progress during six hundred years, they now claim a share. The Wallack considers the well-being of the Saxon, of whom lie is jealous, a wrong inflicted on himself. Elsewhere, a class or a race works its own way upward, and acquires property by degrees, by dint of perseverance. Not so the Roumains of Transylvania : they boldly assert that, six hundred years ago, their ancestors had possession of certain forests of endless extent, and therefore they claim them now. Thus, in Peschendorf, the wood, which, since time immemorial, has exclusively belonged to the Saxons, is now claimed in part by the pope of the Greek Church. In Laszlen too, the pope, in 1862, demanded that the Saxon commune should apportion him some land, the Church having none belonging to it. The fields were given; but they were not accepted, as the community, he said, ought first to make the ground arable, and then give it. During the revolution, they were inflamed by the no~ tion that, serfdom being at an end, they too would have castles and lands; and this whetted their appetite for possession. It was also a reason of their persecution of the nobles. Here we see clearly how dangerous it is to confer liberties, when the moral sense, which prevents men from misusing them, is wanting. When these are not co-existent, political emancipation has its perils. And they could not be so here; for these men passed at once from bondage to independence.

24_1 * The schools on the "Military Frontier" were e lablished by the Emperor Joseph 1I. in 1751, twelve years after the " Grenze" system had been adopted.

Till now, the Roumains holding office were quite uneducated. At this moment, there is one who is president of a supreme court of law who never studied jurisprudence : he was once village schoolmaster, then officer, and was elected by his countrymen to his judicial post. But there are many such ; and no Roumain thinks himself unfitted for a similar place on account of inadequate knowledge; or, indeed, of any post, however high, that is offered him. The educated men among this nation may literally be numbered, so few are they.*24_2 Yet many of them are in authority; and what is so fatal is, that their own disregard of justice induces also among the people a want of respect for the law. Law has no authority anywhere, and people know it. It was an error, I think, to yield to the Roumains' demands. It has given them an undue sense of importance; and the favour they have received has led them to fancy themselves "a chosen people." They have a leader who is sagacious as he is cunning; and it is certain that there will be no rest to their exertions till they have obtained both property and power. Austria is wrong to rely on their fidelity, for there is no one bond that unites them to her. Though under her rule, they all, to a man, look towards Russia, whose Sovereign is the head of their Church. They have nothing to do with the West; it is in the East their hopes lie ; and in their minds is always a latent expectation that one day, by union, a numerous and mighty Roumain nation will be formed.

24_2* " Of the 900,000 Wallacks in Transylvania, I can count on my fingers the men of education-about 12.0 in all." Words of my informant; who, from his intercourse with the people, was qualified to judge correctly.

As no Hungarian will accept office, and as there are too few Saxons for the law-courts and other Government offices, Roumains are appointed to them. Of their partiality, insufficiency of knowledge, and illegal proceedings, there is hardly any one who, in these matters, has not his tale to tell. For this reason, people put up with an injury from the certainty that they will find no redress. Indeed, if I were to enter on the matter more fully, I might fill my volume with instances. The most direct evidence is insufficient to convict. I know a case of a Wallack having been observed in a courtyard at dusk, lurking about the barn. He was seen to go into the hayloft, and afterwards, on being perceived and followed, he took to flight, but was caught. Directly after, fire broke out on the very spot where he, and where he only, had or could have been. Yet the man was acquitted, his judge being of his own nation. The wood of a Hungarian nobleman was devastated by the Wallacks. He complained of it to his lawyer, who was instructed to get an order of prohibition. In May, the order came ; but no notice being taken of it, in December the last tree was cut down. In the April following nothing had yet been done; but as the wood was gone, the delay mattered little. Among sixty cases of complaint for stealing wood from the forest, there was not one conviction. If, however, the complaint be against the gentleman, then the verdict, which may be known beforehand, is carried out at once.

But thus it is always. On the part of these officers there is nothing but chicanery in one form or another. To speak plainly, there is perfect lawlessness in the land;*24_3 for whether there are no laws, or laws exist which are not carried out, the difference is not very great. It is only astonishing that there should be such personal safety everywhere, and so little violence committed.

24_3* In this expression of my opinion, Saxon professors and clergymen agreed. "It was perfectly true," they said, and gave me instances enough to prove it. Horse-stealers are offered money to restore the stolen animals, rather than prosecute; so little chance is there of getting back the property, even when found in the thief's possession.

I insert here a delectable history, by a Saxon pastor, every word of which being true, will serve as a picture of this state of things better than any description.

GEORGE MAFTÉ.

Who, it will be asked, is George Mafte ? Is he a philosopher, an inventor, an artist, or a hero?

He is none of these; and yet, if you will, lie is all four; but with especial reference to an art much cultivated in this country,-that of horse-stealing. A biography of the man would fill a volume; and, after all, a far more fitting memorial would be a cross-beam with a pendent noose. But a few sketches taken from every-day life will give a notion of his spirit, and of our want of it. Mafte's cradle was rocked in Palos, a place noted throughout the land. Romances and ballads formed his lullaby ; and in them the deeds of his prototypes were chanted, which seem to have awakened in the child's mind an undefined longing for possessing, cost-free, the best horses in the neighbourhood. His youth was passed in Meeburg, and as there was no public school, friends and relations took care of his education, amid gave hint privatec instruction. His favourite study, pursued diligently day and night, was conveyancing; that is to say, conveying the studs of others into his own possession. It is not too much to as- sert, that the number of horses thus appropriated amounts to at least one hundred. A few more or less mattered little to him ; we therefore will not be scrupulously particular. He was, in reality, head thief of the Sclriissburg district: this was his domain. However, occasionally, when impelled by necessity, he extended. his activity be- yond the border, and encroached on the territory of his cullczeguec. If he were caught, they would get away again without asking leave of his gaolers; and was the terror of thousands, rich and poor, for miles around. They all longed to see him with a rope about his neck; but they all loaded him with attentions, and rendered him every possible service. Thus after his escape from the Schässburg House of Correction, he lived two whole years among us, though the police came to the village regularly every week to seek for him; for the herdsmen, who look after the horses, took him in winter into their cottages, and collected bread and corn for him among the villagers, and whatever else he wanted ; and every demand was complied with, because it was for Ilafte, for who would refuse him ? In summer, he lived day and night on the hills with the flocks, and had meat and drink, and tobacco, gratis, to his heart's content; and at night when, as is the custom, six of the villagers went out, so that the herdsmen might slumber as peacefully by night as they did by day, the opportunity was excellent for a chat with Mafte. Sometimes lie disappeared for a week, just to keep his hand in, and for fear of forgetting his art; and then lie came back again in good-humour to his friendly protectors, among whom, to judge by his looks, he felt comfortable and at his ease. He strolled up and down the streets, a tall strong figure, nodding a friendly goodday to the gendarmes, who were out looking for him, but did not know him.

And as he acted like the wolf who commits no ravages in the neighbourhood of the place where he has his lair, and did none of us any harm (three times only last summer he forgot himself), we, on our side, left him unmo- lested. Another reason was, that we had all possible respect for his art; and when the gendarmes asked us, "Have you not seen Mafte?" we answered, "No; how should we have seen Mafte ? Is lie, then, here?"

His faithful spouse helped to solace him, and came daily to visit him. As from us he always got cold food, she generally cooked for him a warm meal; but to do that, wood is necessary ; and the people of Meeburg, which was where Maftés wife lived, had none. At such times he would come to us in the village, and with a friendly salute would say, "Uncle George, lend me your cart; I will bring it back again right honestly; my poor wife has no wood." And so, one neighbour lent him a cart, another his horses and a whip, and a third the harness. And, thus furnished, off he drove into our woods,-into our own woods, for which we have so many taxes to pay,-and, filling the cart, carried off the load to his cottage at Meeburg. It is true, he returned the borrowed horse and cart in the most honourable manner; and when he thanked us for them, we said, " Oh, don't talk of thanks, Mafte ; we were most happy to oblige you." There is no denying that while we said so, we clenched our fist unseen, and inwardly wished him hanged. But, of course, this did no good; moreover it was not chivalrous. But why, it will be said, did nobody arrest him? The truth was, no one liked to be the first, or to risk, in case of a failure, having all his horses stolen. Well, then, some may answer, you might have betrayed him to the gendarmes. It is all very well to say that, but walls have ears; and woe to the informer, if Mafte or his band should find him out. Or, it may be argued, the clergyman or the Hann (the head man in the village) might surely have had the courage to do so; but if he had, the parishioners would have said, "Have Ave a parson or a Hann to bring sorrow on our heads ?" And if the gaolers in Schässburg or Szamos-Ujvár had not held him fast, great would be the damage he would do the parish; and parson and Hann would have had a far worse life of it than Mafte. It is true, if the whole village had gone forth to arrest him, there would have been an end of the matter; and he would neither have stolen our horses, nor burnt down half the village.

But it was not with us only that Mafte was so well off; elsewhere also he met with a friendly reception. Once, in winter, after he had stolen five horses,-it was difficult to say which was the handsomest of the lot, he passed through Radeln, and stopping before the window of my cousin called out, " Make haste, uncle, and bring a florin's worth of tobacco; I can't get off." And my cousin answered, "Of course, Mafte, right willingly; in the twinkling of an eye you shall have it." And when my cousin, out of pure fear of the rascal, said, "Won't you come in and rest a little?" Mafte answered, "Not now ; another time; before dawn I must be in Esik. I've not a moment to lose; for there are people on my track."

However, it is a long lane that has no turning ; and Mafte, the dread of the whole country round, has been taken at last. He had stolen six horses from a man at Kaisd, and, soon after, two gendarmes laid hold of him, and delivered him to the prison authorities.

The greater number of crimes come under the head of theft, and were, in one year, 55 per cent. of the whole number. Those committed against the person ("grievous bodily harm") were 491 in a population of 2,074,202; and if there were besides, 253 murders, these were, in most cases, to be attributed to private hatred, revenge, and sudden passion, called forth by the effect of intoxicating drink. What I mean to say is, that public safety is great; and that the traveller or peaceable dweller in the land need nowhere be in fear of violence.*24_4 The lawlessness of which I speak regards observance of the rights of others, especially as they relate to landed property; observance, too, of a judgment pronounced by a court of law. No Wallack troubles his head about it if contrary to his interest to do so; and, somehow or other, there is no one to compel him. Under the much-decried system of Bach, justice, so every one, without exception, told me, was surer and more speedy. While it existed, all abused it. Now I everywhere heard the wish expressed, that it might be introduced again, being far preferable to the present state of things. The great complaint at that time was, that men ignorant of the country were sent as civil officers : Italians, Bohemians,*24_5 Tyrolese, etc. But, at all events, law was administered,. and speedily. This, even the Hungarians acknowledge. But at present, as the Saxons confess, the very appellation "a court of justice" is a mockery. "Law," so Lord Chief Justice Wilde has admirably defined it, "is justice administered with method." But here, there is not even method in the disregard of its behests.

24_4* On entering the country, I carried a revolver under my coat ; but after a time, there seemed to me something so ridiculous in doing so, that I put it in my trunk. Throughout the province there is perfect safety. There is not more in Germany, France, or England.

24_5* Of only one among these nationalities-of the Gallicians-did I-hear a decided complaint : it was, that they stole.

The first thing for Government to do is, with a firm hand to carry out the law. There is no hope for the people until this is done. I know that the present is a transition state, and every step is beset with difficulties; as soon as a change takes place they start up on all sides, the very ground even seeming to bring them forth. All parties then come forward to demand that their special rights shall be recognized : antiquated privileges are claimed, local laws put forth as paramount, distinctions founded on mutual jealousy upheld, and all is insisted on with the same uncompromising resolve, as though on each petty circumstance depended the welfare of the realm. And should a single one be disregarded, should the special be merged in the general, and the interests of a part be made subservient to the good of the whole, an implacable enemy is at once made, and a cry raised Government treachery, its tyranny and oppression.*24_6 Unfortunately this cry is echoed in other lands, giving rise to misconceptions and false estimates,-a result from which the misled suffer quite as much as the misjudged. For it cannot be indifferent whether or not we judge fairly the acts, and character, and political development of an ally, or a people who may become so,-the difficulties which may retard progress, and the spirit of progress, which is its strength. Indeed, unless we thoroughly understand the difference of race, and all its thousand bearings and manifold influences, it is utterly impossible to appreciate the difficulty of Austria.

24_6* Kossuth at once perceived that if he began by considering separate interests lie would never get on. He saw that there must be a central point, and general, not special laws. And therefore, in 1848, lie declared that the special views and wishes of Transylvania could not possibly be taken account of; they must be subordinate to the interests of Hungary.

But even good laws are of little avail among men to whom law, in itself, is unintelligible. The man of honour is bound by the law of honour ; but he in whom the feeling is wanting would laugh, and naturally so, at the notion of your binding him by an impalpable thing. There is something, therefore, which must precede, and is even more necessary than, a just law, viz. that the population be educated up to it.

Till this be the case,-till a man have a correct idea of right, of me um and mecum for example,-it is of little good talking to him of what is lawless or illegal. You must modify your acts like your code, according to those who are to be dealt with.

And it was a clear view of the anarchy that reigned with regard to right, and law, and justice, that made one of the most distinguished Hungarian noblemen say to me, "Nothing is to be done here-positively nothing-unless for a time we have an absolute government for all : for all ranks, for all the nations. Then, afterwards, a constitution is possible ; but at present there is such a confusion of ideas as to rights, and property, and justice, that anything like order is impossible."

The Wallack of to-day requires firm and strict rule. Officers who have had them in their regiments told me that in the Italian campaign of 1858 and 1859 they behaved well. The regiment Kulatz drove back the Zouaves they flung stones at them, and then charged. "But as soon as tJw discipline is lax, they commit excesses, and are good ji r nothing." A lesson, this, for those in authority. The Wallack must be forced to succumb to law,-to learn that law is his master; then he would do well. He is also improvident, being too indolent, to think beyond the hour. For " wise economy is not a natural instinct, but the growth of reflection. Prodigality is much more natural to man. Thus the savage is the greatest spendthrift, for lie has no forethought, no to-morrow, and lives only for the day or the hour."*24_7

"In brisk times they enjoy a sort of riotous profusion, but after a few weeks they are found plunged in misery. Intemperance prevails to a large extent, good wages are squandered, there is little care for the morrow. Their very creed-and after their sort they are a curiously devotional people-often degenerates into fanatical fatalism."t-j-24_8 This is the picture given of the English working classes by the `Quarterly Review' and Mr. Chambers, and it accords exactly with my experience of the Wallack. But these people may be changed. If we read the reports of those labouring in London and the provinces in the noble work of raising the working-classes, and in reforming the non-workers, there is no need to despair of anything; for more uncultivated than those men are, or more sunk in mere animal existence, no human creatures can possibly be.

24_7* ` Quarterly Review,' vol. eviii. P. 98.

24_8-j-t Ibid.

By the introduction of village banks for the smallest savings, by incitement to obtain instruction, by making them feel the advantage of a less indolent life,-the Wallacks might be raised out of their present state. There would be every chance of success ; for the nation has grown ambitious, and the people are not intractable, -on the contrary. The only difficulty might perhaps be the opposition of the Church. That the Roumains are sensible of the value of education, and distinguish between imperfect and better teaching, is proved by sending their children, though it costs them more, to the Saxon schools in preference to their own.

The sudden enfranchisement of the serfs was certainly anything but a blessing.*24_9 These were not in a fit state for self-guidance, and when they had full liberty did not know what to do with it. Here it came on them like a blow. In Hungary the people were better prepared for it. We in England are far too much accustomed to judge other countries and their institutions by an English standard, and to condemn arrangements unlike our own, without considering their origin or fittingness for certain conditions of a land and people. "Leibeigenschaft," or vassalage, was here a mode of payment not in money. Certain service was done in return for certain benefits conferred. Such a state of things has always existed, and still exists, where primitive habits and modes of life are found.*24_10 It would startle the reader perhaps to be told that serfdom still existed in Great Britain ; yet what we read of in the Rev. Dr. Gilly's work greatly resembles it. The border peasantry, he tells us, are very different from those in the south. The hind is hired by the year, and his hut is found him by the employer. He is paid in kind; his cow is kept (fed) by the master; carriage for his coals is provided; wool, too, for the women to spin, is supplied. In sickness, his allowance continues. Each hind is bound to find the master the labour of a wonaan or a boy. There is independence and plenty in their coarse, rough, primitive life.t-j-24_11

24_9 * Be it observed, I say the sudden enfranchisement. And if in a former Chapter (p. 284) the continued state of serfdom in the land is spoken of as one reason of the backwardness of agriculture, this has nothing to do with the personal treatment of such dwellers on an estate. Here there was in reality something patriarchal in the relative position of these and the lord of the manor,-a position not at all unnatural in an early state of society. That the Saxons who were not free should emancipate themselves, was desirable, as they were, by their origin, unfitted for, being beyond, such state. They had been thrown back into it by a concatenation of eircumstances, and it was natural that they who had once been free men, as soon as they stripped off imposed duties and feudal service (see p. 359), should expand like a flower in the fresh air of liberty. What is good for one may not be good for another. The grown-up man is invigorated by a draught of wine ; to the infant it is poison.

And what Laurence Oliphant tells us about the Circassian girls sent to Constantinople, shows us how unlike the truth certain matters often really are when viewed from a distance.$24_12

24_10* It was so in England in the reign of Mary, and later. " The peasant was bound by the tenure of his holding, to aid in cutting, carting, and housing his lord's hay and corn, to repair his bridges, and to mend his roads." ('Old Roads and New Roads.')

24_11-j-t ` Quarterly Review.'

24_12$ "A Circassian young lady anticipates with as much relish the time when she shall arrive at a marketable age, as an English young lady does the prospect of her first London season. But we have prevented the possibility of their forming any more brilliant alliances, which made the young ladies of Circassia the envy of Turkeydom. The effect is, in fact, very much the same as that which an Act of Parliament would have in this country, forbidding any squire's daughter to marry out of her own parish,- thus limiting her choice to the curate, the doctor, and the attorney ; and the result will be, in all probability, anything but beneficial to the morality of the community." Very different this from our notions of the slavery from which we wanted to rescue them !

Throughout Transylvania every one spoke of Bem with respect; Saxons,*24_13 Hungarians, nobles, and peasants; there was but one opinion about the man. Till he came, the war was but one of pillage and extermination. He introduced order and maintained authority. At Hermannstadt he had thirteen Szeklers-his own men-shot on the spot, for having dared to plunder. All the Saxons say how much they owe him.

24_13* "Ein prüchtiger Kerl!" said a Saxon (opponent) when speaking of him to me.

It was by Naszód that a Russian corps d'armee entered Transylvania. On the plain just outside the village the troops encamped, and not a man was allowed to come in. The inhabitants still spoke of the discipline that was maintained ; and in other parts of the province I heard the same. The Hungarians even, whom the Russians came to oppose, praised the urbane manner in which they carried out their orders. Up the steep wooded hillsides,-so the people told me,-the Cossacks rode, or rather flew, on their little horses of the Steppe. They said it was marvellous to see them scouring over the ridge, looking out, lest the foe might be near and make a sudden attack.

The price of wood here, even now, is something fabulous. An acquaintance at Naszód bought two pine- trees, between thirty and forty feet long, for eighty kreutzers. At Déés two such pines, each thirty-six feet long, and brought from Rodna, which is more than two days' journey, often fetched two florins; or a man fells a klafter of wood, for which he pays twenty-eight kreutzers, and takes it to Déés, where he sells it for seventy kreutzers.*24_14 The want of ready money is so great in Transylvania, that I was often told, people would before long introduce a system of exchange. At Naszód this has already come to pass. There is the Jew walking about on market-day, with fox and marten skins on his arm ; he has just given so much cloth for them ; and he will presently dispose of something that tempts a villager for a fowl or two, and a certain quantity of maize. And yonder is a pig for sale, and corn, and carpenter's work, and jackets of fur, and lambskin caps. The vendors, however, will not carry even paper-notes home with them, but their sledges will be filled with household stock, and wearing-apparel, etc., taken in exchange.

24_14* It was, I think, at Sz. Reen that a gentleman told me he had bought an oak trunk 5 fathoms long and 20 inches square, for #2. 10s.; and one 15 feet long and 2 1/2 feet square at each end, for £2. Another said he could remember having purchased oaks 5 feet in diameter for 3fl. schein, or 1fl. 12 kr.

At an inn of Bistritz I bad once to wait so long for change out of a florin that I went away without it ; such was the difficulty to get together a few ten-kreutzer notes.

But though there might be little money in the village, there was mirth enough, and cheerfulness,-and perhaps, after all, these are the more desirable. It was the time of a church festival, and the faces of all the lads and lasses wore a holiday look. The girls were dressed in their best, and the youths went round to the different houses to fetch them to the dance. Those who came to invite carried a white wand in their hand ; this was the rule. The dancing went on in the street of the village, in the open air, and though the cold was intense, they !--A FESTIVAL. 407--> kept it up for hours by moonlight, on the hard snow; and the girls had nothing on but the shift and the bright- coloured kratinsa ; for when the dance began they took off their thick frieze or sheepskin jacket, putting it on again till the next dance recommenced. The youths, too, were in their shirt-sleeves. Nor had the girls anything on their heads but flowers ; and the dance was not of that animated description to warm those who shared in it. How they bore the cold-for the temperature was arctic -I cannot understand. The first part of the dance was little more than a step forwards and then a step backwards ; but the second division of it had more life ; the lads then took their partners and twirled them round, as in the Czardas. They went on thus till five in the morning; for it was light as day. The next morning they danced before the dwellings of the chief authorities, having in the midst a miniature fir-tree with decorated branches and large cake in the middle, which they raised on high, from time to time, during certain figures of the dance. Later, they all assembled in different houses. The girls poured in, and seated themselves at table ; each brought something-bread, or a pile of cakes, etc., and those who were in service came with a present from their mistress. The youths stood in attendance, and as each gift was handed to them, and put aside for the supper later, one of them cried out, " Rejoice, here is this or that (naming the contribution), which So-and-so has brought !"

It was really a pretty scene, wild as some of the accessories were ; but the faces, and the colour, and the background made it very picturesque. Round the walls of the room were hung rows of pictures, and behind each, draping it, a snow-white towel or napkin tastefully festooned, with a bright red border of needlework. There again were the piles of white pillows, and beds embroidered in crimson or blue, and with every diversity of arabesque pattern ; and woollen home-woven carpets of brown and yellow or red and brown hung up, with a strip of white linen between them. In one house was the gipsy band, standing on a bench or table ; and seated beneath the cornice of pitchers, and those bright hangings, were the dark Italian-looking girls, with braided hair hanging down behind, and a bright ribbon at the end. Some had on a wreath of flowers, others only a single gay one stuck into the tress. They wore rows of coral round their neck, or artificial pearls, or coloured beads. Many had large black ones twined about the neck, and hanging low down over the white shift that covered the full bosom. Most of them had. only this covering of white linen from the shoulders to the waist, but some wore a red embroidered bodice, or a sheepskin jacket with tufts of silk and work in colours that rivalled a rainbow. A few had a kerchief on their head knotted carelessly,-purple, or yellow, or brown. Then round the waist came the red sash, and the kratinsa with its lively crimson resting on the snowy folds of the chemise, the sleeves of which were always large and with embroidered border, and tied up above the elbow with a black ribbon.

The youths poured out glasses of brandy, and presented them to the girls. They merely put it to their lips, and she to whom the glass was offered then rose, and swinging round the glass, and rocking her body to and fro, began to chant a couplet ; and so it went on from one to the other. Many sang a verse they knew by heart, but others improvised something for the occasion, as was evident from the shouts of laughter and the hearty applause which followed a well-adapted joke.

There was one girl especially, who was quite a genius in her way. She was not exactly pretty, but she had sparkling eyes and a clever mouth, and her whole expression +old of intelligence. She was called on repeatedly, and verse after verse was improvised by her, now .containing some lover's conceit, and very frequently a sly allusion to a person present. As often as appeal was made to her, a sly smile played round her mouth ; with one arm akimbo she swayed backwards and forwards for awhile, as if thinking what to say, and the bright arch look told at once when it was found. Then she burst forth in a rather harsh key, but with a wild poetic fire. The verses were in rhyme, for, as in Italian, the predominance of the vowel terminations made it no very difficult matter to compose a couplet. There is a certain formula to be observed ; every such impromptu must begin with the words "Green leaf of a flower," and then comes the story.*24_15 The following are verses sung by this village Sappho :--

24_15* This is like the so-called "Leberreime" in German, which must always begin with " Die Leber ist vom Hecht," etc. Itwould not be uninteresting to compare this custom of couplet-singing among the Roumains with what is said about "Schnadahüpfln" in my ` Chamois Hunting in the Mountains of Bavaria,' p. 435, second edition.

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" Green leaf of a flower.

" My love has eyes like blackberries, and eyebrows like the wing of a raven, and teeth like jewels. His face is like a rose that has been dipped in milk, and his figure is as if it had been turned by a turner [being so symmetrical], and drawn through a ring. His moustache is like ears of barley."

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" Green leaf of a flower.

" I passed by a hill, where the house of my lover stood, and I heard how his mother scolded him for his love to me. In that house nothing can prosper, in a house where such a mother is. I would not enter such a house, for though the outside is white, within is nothing but heartburning and discord. Nothing succeeds there-: the bread is not good; not even the salt is as it should be. Bring therefore no more flowers to lay before my door,-I don't want them; for I never would enter such a house."

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"Green leaf," etc. " I have a pretty mouth, a charming mouth ; but what good does that do me, if the mouth may not name him whom I love ? My mother guards me carefully, and hides me away ; but what good is that ? I shall still see him who loves me and have him at last."

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" Some one has told my mother of him whom I love, and betrayed me. Whoever it be, then may the Virgin not be propitious to his or her supplication. If a man, may he have no house, and no farm, and no flocks ! If a woman, may she be like corn that is not reaped, like a meadow that is not mown ! May she live alone, like a pearl that is unthreaded !" [not strung, and consequently not seen].

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"My mother locked me up in a chest, and locked it with a strong key, and piled on it a block of stone. But I broke through the lock and hurled away the stone, and my lover came to me and married me, and we went to my mother and begged her for her pardon. She gave us her pardon, and we now are happy."

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" I go to sleep at night and dream, but my thoughts, even in my dreams, are of my beloved."

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The following elicited shouts of laughter, for it evidently alluded to a clerk, whose passion for some bright- eyed girl was well known:--

"Green Green leaf," etc.

" My lover sits in the chancery, and with one eye he looks on his papers, and with the other he is looking out for me. With one hand he is writing protocols, and with the other he beckons to me ; but what he is scribbling is not good for much, for his thoughts are all with me. Let him come to me, and his sad thoughts will soon be put to flight."

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The girls sitting round the table, took their places, each according to her social position. In the corner sat the daughters of the house, next them, on either side, those highest in rank, and so on, with as much observance of etiquette as though they had been, not in a cottage, but at court. Later, the young people went away and made room for the elders-their parents,-each of whom also brought, picnic fashion, a contribution for the supper.

At Christmas, the waits go round here and sing before the windows. On Christmas Eve, there i.s a representa- tion of the events antecedent to the birth. A shepherd boy is seen on the ground asleep, when an angel comes, and, waking him, asks if lie does not know who is born. Then Herod is seen in a red mantle, with his secretary, and he sends out to look for the babe, but the messenger will not go. Herod threatens to murder him. "You may murder me," is the answer, "but Christ,-you miserable wretch!-you will not be able to get hold of." Later, the three wise men appear, and offer presents to the Child.

This is a sort of miracle play, and is quite like those extraordinary Scriptural representations, still given, every ten years, at Ober Ammergau, in Bavaria. The whole dialogue is in verse.

I met a boy, in the street, bare-headed, and, on inquiring the reason, was told that some one of his family must be dead. It is a mourning custom, and the relations go thus uncovered till after the funeral.

The fields about Naszód were formerly never manured; now the people begin to do so a little, it being found necessary for obtaining crops.

Not far from Naszód is a village, where all the inhabitants are " ennobled." And it happened thus :-Two hundred years ago, when the Tartar irruptions were so frequent, these villagers got tidings of the approach of the foe, and prepared to meet them. In a narrow pass, through which they would have to come, they had stones and trees ready to hurl down ; and, when the narrow defile was reached, the missiles came crashing down upon the barbarians. They were routed, and it was for this service that the whole village was made " adelig," which, of course, while it enfranchised the inhabitants, gave them rights and privileges which they had not before ; and, in consequence, you may see some barefooted girl coming along with a load of wood on her back, who is " Fräulein von" So-and-so, and has, moreover, undeniable claim to the distinction.




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