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CHAPTER XXVI.

DÉÉS.-SZAMOS UJVÁR TO KLAUSENBURG.

A PROOF of the infrequency of travellers in Transylvania was afforded me by the fact that the presence of a simple tourist like myself was everywhere a subject for speculation. On arriving at DÉÉS (Hungarian town), I found that people knew beforehand I was coming, even more surely than I did myself. " I have heard of him," said one, to the obliging Hungarian whose guest I was; "he is, I know, travelling for the `Times."' I thought it a duty I owed that power, to deny that it had so unworthy a servant.

There is a good-sized and well-arranged Klein Kinder Bewahr Anstalt*26_1 here, built entirely out of funds raised by the Hungarian population; partly by amateur concerts, fancy fairs, and voluntary contributions. The activity of the Hungarian, when the interest of his own nation is concerned, is most praiseworthy. He bestirs himself, and is ready to make any sacrifice. The inhabitants of DÉÉS are anxious to have a "Real Schule," *26_2 and, with some assistance from Government, would be able to carry out their plan. A town that has already done so much for itself, with regard to the elementary schools, merits to have its wishes heard. There are but three Real Schulen in the province, at Hermannstadt, Kronstadt, and Schässburg. Klausenburg has also, a long time, petitioned for such a school, but in vain. Not only a town of so much importance as Klausenburg has a right to such institution, but, for the province generally, its establishment would be beneficial. The knowledge taught at the Real Schule is just what is wanting in Transylvania, and which would conduce more than anything else to the welfare of the land.

26_1* This is an establishment where very little children, too young as yet for school, are sent to be taken care of, during the absence of their parents from home. In summer, they play in a garden adjoining the building, under the care of the matron. In the rooms are large coloured pictures, and various alphabets on the walls, so that some of the bigger ones among the children learn their letters, and to spell, and to name different objects and animals. Thus they acquire some knowledge while they are amused. They learn, too, obedience, and to behave properly. In the morning they come to the house, and go home to dinner, and come again afterwards. For those parents whose employment takes them from home, such institutions are real blessings. It would be an admirable thing to introduce them to England, as companion establishments to the ragged schools.

26_2* The Gymnasium prepares for the university, and gives general knowledge. The Real Schulen are preparatory for technical employments and mercantile life. They are a union of the commercial and the polytechnic school.

The town-hall is a handsome modern building. There is a Franciscan convent here, and I was rather surprised to find in it women-cooks. On the hill above the town is a tower, where it is said the seven first comers from Scythia opened their veins, and swore, in blood, mutual fidelity. The men, of course, were heathens ; and, fainting as they were for want of water, they said, " If there be really a God, water must come from the ground to save us." The tradition is, that a rill gushed forth, and the seven chiefs became Christians. In the town is still to be seen the kitchen of an old building, where, in the middle of the seventeenth century, a feast was cooked for Prince George Riikotzi. He announced his coming to the authorities, and sent them 5 florins schein=2 florins, with orders to prepare " a princely meal," and " to be thrifty of the money."

Szamos UJVÁR, which was my next station, is an Armenian town, built in 1700. The streets are regular and broad, and the houses stand separate, with a large court before them. A verandah generally runs round the win- dows of the ground-floor, which is always raised from the ground five or six steps. The church is a handsome building, and here the "Titian" is, to which I have already alluded.

The Armenians came from Moldavia to Transylvania in 1672, and settled at the foot of the mountains in the Szekler land and in (yergyo. To Moldavia they came from the Crimea, where they had been one hundred years. They left their country during the Crusades. They are all under the Roman Catholic bishop in Karlsburg. The priests are allowed to marry, but do not; in the East they do. They have two languages,-the popular (Volks) idiom, and the Schrift Sprache, or written tongue. The sermons are preached in the former, but the ritual is always in the language of the scribes. Hospitality, I was told, is a characteristic of the Armenians, and a love of card-playing too. The women have the reputation of being very beautiful; but I am sorry to say I had no opportunity of judging if they are so or not.

In Szamos Ujvár is a very large prison, where those condemned for a longer term than one year are confined. There is room in it for 740 individuals. The dormitories are large and well ventilated. A row of beds, on camp bedsteads, was in. the middle and on the sides of each. The chief malefactors arc on the third floor. All the rooms were open, with the men standing in them dawdling about, going up and down stairs, or at work in the court. The whole place did not give you the impression of a prison,-so much personal liberty did all the individuals seem to enjoy; they were cheerful, too, and in good condition. A great number-perhaps the greater- had irons on their legs, and this was the sole sight that indicated coercion. Indeed, of all the prisons I have seen- and I have visited many-none has so little of that monotonous melancholy, that dreary cheerlessness, that de- pressing air, which makes you always feel " I can't get out," as this one at Szamos Ujvär. For every creed there was a church and religious instructor. The hospital was the only part of the establishment to be found fault with this, which should be the best, is the worst ventilated. There are, too, iron stoves in the rooms, which are de- cidedly objectionable.

One man I spoke to, who was there for forgery, acknowledged his guilt, and seemed most contrite. The greater number of malefactors always maintain they are innocent, and that the crime they are punished for, if brought home to them, was accidental. One, who had killed his mother, said to me, " I only pushed her, and she unfortunately fell into the water-butt, and was drowned." A man in the hospital, in a helpless state, was there for having murdered his stepmother, sister, and her baby.

In December, 1864, there were 619 prisoners here; of these 194 were Hungarians or Szeklers, 349 Roumains, 22 Saxons, 40 gipsies, and 14 of other nationalities.

The following table, showing the nationality in juxtaposition, may be not without interest :--

AssasinationMurder w/robberyMurderHomicideGrievous injuryRobberyTheftBreach of faithSwindlingForgery of bank-notesOffences against public peaceIncendiarism
Hungarians and Szeklers 5 ... 39 6 7 10 98 2 3 8 1 9
Roumains 3 3 48 14 36 41 175 ... ... ... 8 18
Saxons 2 2 1 ... ... 10 ... 1 3 ... 2
Gipsies 2 2 2 2 1 6 27 ... ... ... ... ...

The greater number of offenders (187) belonged to the Oriental Greek Church, being that whose priesthood is the least educated. Of the Greek Church were 177.*26_3 I was told there was nothing distinctive in the behaviour of the inmates, except that the Hungarians and Szeklers yielded obedience only when forced. They were the most difficult to manage, and, as might be expected, the Germans were the most tractable. Of these, only 3 per cent. were locked up in the black hole for an hour or two as punishment ; while of the Hungarians and Szeklers 10 per cent. found their way thither. I spoke to a gipsy who had escaped, but had been brought back. He did not intend to go away, he said, he only wanted to go and see his friends, and, had they given him time, he would have returned. Of all the 600, it was to these wild children of nature alone that imprisonment seemed to be irksome. To the Wallack it is hardly a punishment : he is accustomed to a bed far worse than he gets here, and to eat badly ; and if he can önly lie still, it is indifferent to him where he is. Some of the men were following their trades, and I saw a watchmaker busy in a comfortable room, and as well off as if he had been at home.

26_3* It would be interesting to know the seasons when the greater number of acts of violence were committed by the Roumains. The author of `Eothen' observes, " The fasts of the Greek Church produce an ill effect on the character of the people, for they are not a mere farce, but are carried to such an extent as to bring about a real mortification of the flesh.. . The number of murders committed during Lent is greater, I am told, than at any other time of the year." The number of fast-days is very great; certainly more than half the three hundred and sixty-five. The weakening diet they necessitate may also have something to do with the indolence of the people.

The men rise at five in summer, and six in winter ; then go to prayers, and afterwards clean the rooms, fetch water, etc. Their rations of bread for the whole day are then distributed ; after which they work till halfpast eleven. Those who have learned a handicraft, work at it; the others are taught one by appointed masters; but if found incapable, they are employed in household duties. At one they re-commence work, which continues till five or half-past five o'clock in winter, and till halfpast six or seven o'clock in summer. All have one hour's walk daily.

Each man has 1 1/4 lb. of good bread a day, with soup and vegetables for dinner. Three times a week, 8 ounces of beef are given with the vegetables, instead of soup ; and the sick are treated as the physician prescribes.

One-third of what a man gains by his work is put aside in a savings-bank for him till his term has expired, when it is handed to him, with the interest. The other twothirds are retained, to help to pay the expenses of the establishment. Each prisoner costs the State about 37'-2 kreutzers (=ninepence) per day. The regulations as to seeing friends and receiving or sending letters are most humane. Great criminals are permitted to receive visits only once or twice a year; others, however, once or twice a month; and in the last month of incarceration, every man, without exception, may see his friends once each week. In case of important family matters, meetings are allowed oftener.

At any time, when there is a reason for it, a prisoner is allowed to write to his friends, and, if unable to write himself, an officer is appointed to do so for him. All letters received are opened by the inspector, and their contents imparted to the individual for whom they are intended. The letter, however, is not given him, but is deposited with his money till he leaves the gaol. Money, too, which may be sent him, is paid into the savings- bank in his name.

The establishment was shown me with the most obliging readiness, and every information asked for furnished at once. I was allowed to converse with the prisoners, and question them as much as I chose.

In the neighbourhood of Szamos UJVÁR, I found that executions on the inhabitants for arrear of taxes were very frequent. I met the officers performing their unpleasant duties. From them I learned that, formerly in the counties (Comitaten) were many not free peasants. When, in 1848, these suddenly obtained their enfranchisement, they were unable to comprehend or make proper use of their freedom, and grew lazy. They fancied, moreover, the time was coming when they would have no taxes to pay ; and consequently became improvident. Count Szechenyi, who was as great a man as lie was a good patriot, wished their enfranchisement to be gradual; for he knew the people, their wants, their character, and, above all, their imperfect mental culture. He wanted them to enfranchise themselves, but the noisier liberals carried the day.

Indeed, from all I heard in different parts of the province, it seemed evident that the ultra measures taken in the Hungarian revolution were contrary to the advice and the wishes of the better part of the nation. Kossuth, by the power of his oratory, collected round him a band of enthusiastic followers, and these bore all before them. As to himself, he was vain, and sought popularity ; and, before his authority was established, he was obliged to veer and tack on his course, in order to catch each propitious breath. A distinguished man of the Hungarian party told me that, when the Austrian Government asked for money and men for the war in Italy, the Diet decided to give both, and to act with Austria. Kossuth was appointed mouthpiece to express this intention. He began to speak, and, after a while, some one on the left hissed. Kossuth, fearful of compromising himself, immediately modified his speech, and ended by refusing the help which was to have been proffered,-refused that which his party had deputed him to concede.

Another Hungarian nobleman whom I met, had served under Kossuth as postmaster-general; but he never saw him. Kossuth ordered that all letters, public or private, containing money, should be sent to Debreczin. This the officer refused to do, saying it was robbery. Russian moneys lie agreed to forward, but private correspondence he would not touch.

At one time Kossuth wanted to offer the crown of Hungary to a Russian archduke, but was prevented.

Over and over again, I heard from the most opposite parties the same opinion about him, He was an orator, but no politician."




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