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CHAPTER XXVII.

KLAUSENBURG.

WHEN you leave Szamos Ujvár, the road passes straight over a plain, with little or nothing to relieve the mono- tony. A Hungarian village or two, a nobleman's mansion with the surrounding farm-buildings,-that is all, until the tall spire and the various towers of Klausenburg rise before you. The town takes you by surprise, entering it from the north; the main street is broad, with many stately buildings in it, and the square with the Catholic church in the centre, seems to belong to a larger town than Klausenburg really is. Though it has but 25,000 inhabitants, which is less than the population of Kronstadt, its general appearance makes it seem the more considerable town of the two. The capital of the Barzenland is neat and compact, the houses are none of them high; and owing to its position among the hills, which gives it such enviable beauty, there is no possibility of broad streets and an open square in the centre of the town, as is the case in Klausenburg. Here there is plenty of room and to spare, and it would seem as if the Saxon founders-liking spacious dwellings, and needing them probably for their families and servants--had determined to make use of it.

All the old buildings are essentially German in their architecture and arrangements. The ironwork before the windows, the balconies, railings, the spouts for the water running from the gutters of the roof,-each bears its own unmistakable impress; the hand and skill of the German handicraftsman is everywhere to be recognized. Those first settlers were evidently well to do in the world,-comfortable citizens, who, if they did not care for luxury, valued at its full a good substantial dwelling, giving evidence that its possessor was also a man of substance.

And that this was the case the old chronicles prove. But the Klausenburgers were therefore exposed all the more to the invasions of the enemy, who, though the town was surrounded by a strong wall, with massy gates and watch-towers, still continually broke in, to pillage, and lead the inhabitants into captivity. The Turks well knew that they would here find booty enough to repay them for their foray.

And though, from the year 1526, Transylvania was separated from Hungary, and paid tribute to the Porte for its protection, yet whenever a Turkish army passed through the country on its way to Hungary, or on returning thence, the opportunity for enriching themselves was irresistible, and the Infidels went home laden with the spoils of Klausenburg.*27_1

27_1* In old songs, Klausenburg is mentioned as "Kineses Kolasvár""the rich Klausenburg." In the sixteenth century, the trade for the Levant passed through Transylvania to Dantzig ; merchants not liking to send their merchandise up the Danube, for fear of the Turks.

In those unquiet times, when danger threatened, the Wallack population-a nomade race-took refuge in the mountains, driving with them, at a moment's notice, their herds, which constituted all their wealth ; as to their dwellings, they were rude huts, and in quitting these, nothing was left behind of any value. But with the Saxon it was otherwise ; his possessions were manifold, and not so easily transportable. He therefore remained to face the danger, and defend, if possible, his house and goods. In this way many fell by the sword, and many alive into the hands of the invader, who was off again as soon as the plunder had been collected; and so it came that at last the German element gradually disappeared, making way for another, which has maintained itself ever since.

The Hungarian inhabitants, not concentrated like the Saxons on one spot, were less exposed to these predatory attacks; many, too, sought refuge in the hill-country. The nobles, moreover, had their castles, to which they could retreat for safety; and the others, it may be supposed, in presence of the richer German artisan townspeople, would suffer little molestation for the sake of booty. But later, the departure of the Saxons on religious grounds, tended greatly to diminish the German population. The new anti-Trinitarian doctrines were to them as great an abomination as High Mass was to the Puritans. So, selling their land and possessions, and turning their backs on Klausenburg, they left it for ever (1540-60). A few remained, but these soon amalgamated with the surrounding mass, and in language, customs, and mode of thought, became to all intents and purposes thoroughly Hungarian. The change may be said to have been completed about 1680-90.*27_2 And yet it was not the town alone which, in this part of the province, had a German population : the neighbouring villages were all Saxon,-Thorda also, and so on, along the road to Hermannstadt.

27_2* Till 1848, however, certain handicrafts were followed exclusively by Germans, and the soapboilers, bakers, and coppersmiths of the town were all Saxons.

The town lies in a valley on the banks of the Szamos, and accordingly stretches itself from east to west in the direction of the vale. During the winter, it is the resort of all the Hungarian nobility of the country, Klausenburg being to Transylvania what Pesth is to Hungary. It is rather strange that in a land where the Hungarian element is so dominant as here, there should be no town of any size originally built by Hungarians ; but that the one which they look upon as their capital should be in reality a Saxon city. Something similar is characteristic of Pesth, which is the pride of Hungary. Here, by far the greater portion of the population is German; and, as you walk about, it is that language which you hear at every step ; indeed Pesth is essentially a German town.

The inn at which I stayed is well kept, but, as usual, there were all sorts of anomalies. The furniture of my room, for example, was of silk, but there was not a key to a single door or closet. " We have no keys." No jug was to be had for warm water. " We have no jug for warm water," was the answer to my request.

The casino is extremely handsome in its arrangements. The rooms arc spacious, and everything is in good style and has a gentlemanly air ; but in all such matters the Hungarian is different from his German neighbour. That same trim neatness and " style," which is found in his person, he imparts to what surrounds him. He cares for appearance, which the German does not.

An interesting part of the town is the old Burg. On this same spot, a stronghold stood in the time of the Dacians ; one of their kings, Decebold, was killed by the Romans (some say destroyed himself) close to the gate that guards the passage over the river. But Klausenburg has a greater name to boast of-it is the birthplace of King Matthew of Hungary. He was a Hunyadi, and one of the greatest men of his day in all Christendom.

The library contains a valuable collection of manuscripts relating to Transylvania,-original documents, private and public letters, decrees, etc. etc., collected by Count Joseph Kemeny.

In the museum*27_3 is a fine collection of coins given by Count Ladislaus Esterhazy, and Celtic bronze arms found in the country in a wonderful state of preservation. The most curious thing, to my mind, was a relic of the Roman inhabitants of the land. In 1855, while working the mine at Kirnyik, near Veres-patak, the men came upon an old shaft, which for hundreds of years had bean filled up and left as exhausted. The last living soul that had stood there was a Roman miner. From that day to the moment when the shaft was broken in upon anew, all had lain as that lonely worker had left it. On entering the spot and groping about with his lamp, the new explorer saw on the ground small tablets of wood. They formed the pocket-book of a Roman overseer, probably, who had dropped it there, or put it aside and forgot to fetch it again. These triptycha-tablets or note-book, consisting of three pieces- may be thus described. The three parts were formed by splitting a piece of pine-wood of about two inches thick, and the surface of each was not smooth, in order that when put together again they might fit the more exactly. Each piece was then slightly hollowed out, having, however, a margin all round, exactly like the frame of a common school slate. This margin protected the writing inside, for the deeper part was covered with a thin layer of wax and pitch, on which, with a style, the memoranda were written. The three tablets or leaves of the book were tied together by a string or thong, passed through a hole in the margin of each, making a compact

ROMAN TABLET FOUND AT VERES-PATAK
"ROMAN TABLET FOUND AT VERES-PATAK"
little book. The exterior, on both sides, was smooth, like a bound volume of the present day. I will now suppose such a triptychum to be still in use, and describe the other leaves, the first or outer one being loosened and re- moved. The second and third are face to face, bound together by a woollen thread passed three times round them, through two holes on the edges of the raised margin. This thread is not in the middle, but nearer the end of the tablet. On the outer surface of leaf No. 2 is a groove (the woollen thread lies in this), filled with yellow wax. As long as the triptychum was unopened, the seals impressed on this wax were unbroken. Seven seals generally were used, and beside each, on the smaller division of the cover, was the name of hint to whom the Real belonged. These individuals were the witnesses to the transaction recorded, the sureties or vouchers, and one of the contracting parties, generally the debtor. On the other larger side of the thread, which divides the tablet into two unequal parts, is the text of the document. It begins at top, and as there is not room for the whole, the remaining part is inscribed on the inside of that leaf which we have already loosened and taken off. But suppose we break the seals, and see what is in the two parts so closely fitted and tied together. Here is the document of which the other writing was a copy. In this way, a falsification of the contract was impossible. Should it have been attempted, it would be discovered as soon as, in presence of the authorities, the seals were broken and the text inside compared with that on the cover.

27_3 * This building stands on an eminence just outside the town, and from the balcony the best view of the town and neighbourhood is obtained. It is a pretty villa in the midst of large pleasure-grounds, and the whole was presented by its possessor, Count Emerich Miko, to the town, in order to form a museum.

The following are the only specimens known to exist:--

  1. The copy of a protocol relating to the dissolution of a burial club in the year of the City 919, A.D. 167. Preserved in the National Museum at Pesth.
  2. An agreement about the sale of a boy, A.D. 142. At Blasendorf, in Transylvania.
  3. An agreement about the sale of a girl six years of age, A.D. 139. At Pesth.
  4. A bond for 60 denarii, A.D. 162. At Pesth.*27_4
  5. An agreement about the sale of a share in a house, A.D. 159. At Pesth.
  6. A bond written in Greek, but in exact accordance with Roman law. In the Bathyány Library at Karlsburg.
  7. A bond for 140 denarii, A.D. 162.
  8. An agreement about work, A.D. 164.
  9. An agreement nearly illegible, A.D. 131. These are at Klausenburg, and have been edited by Professor Finály.
  10. Not yet edited, in possession Blasendorf.

27_4 * A facsimile of this was published and edited by Professor Finály, of Klausenburg, to whom I am greatly indebted for his excellent explanation of these triptycha, of their inscriptions, and all relating to the forms observed in the contracts of the period. To him also I owe the facsimile I am able to give here.

Guarded from the atmosphere, and locked up as they were in the very heart of the mountain, the wood of these tablets has been preserved from decay.

When discovered, they were obtained possession of by aJew dealer, who imitated them with wonderful accuracy, and then offered a genuine and a false one to the British Museum for sale. The tablets being unique, they excited great interest, and were minutely examined by competent persons. The result was that one tablet was discovered to be counterfeit; and certainty having been arrived at on this point, a degree of distrust was naturally felt as to the other, though the proofs of forgery were not discernible. They were refused. Afterwards, their possessor sent them to the most celebrated archaeologists, who recognized their great value, at the same time that they discarded the imitation. The tablets were accordingly purchased, and are the only specimens of a similar object in existence. The price asked of the British Museum was #100, which would have been willingly given, but for the suspicion raised by the detection of the counterfeit.

I had the pleasure of meeting here some Hungarian Professors, men of great attainments and erudition, and I owe to them much valuable information ; their calm and enlightened views giving their opinions a decided value. The theatre is pretty, and the acting and the opera good. .The gaieties of Klausenburg now are nothing to what they used to be, when the nobles had wealth and spent it in profusion; but at parties you still see an elegance of -toilette and arrangement which shows how splendid such festivals must formerly have been.

of a professor at

A few days after my arrival at Klausenburg, I received an invitation to a party, and thus had an opportunity of meeting many of the Hungarians residing in the town. I knew few persons, and it was not without a certain mis- giving, on account of my isolated position, that I drove to the house. But how unnecessary were such presenti- ments ! Not for a moment did I feel a stranger among strangers ; for those with whom I had the slightest ac- quaintance came to welcome me, and there was always found some circumstance or other as connecting link be- tween us. Now room was made that I might join the conversation of this group, and now a new-comer could discover that an acquaintance of his abroad was also a friend of mine. With the most delicate tact it was ma- naged I should never be alone, but this was done so gracefully that one less keenly alive than myself to such acts, would not have observed the intention. To me this seemed hospitality in the most delicate form.

I may allude here to the national costume which some ladies wore. The headdress of a married woman consists of an elongated cap of gold-stuff or of silver, fastened at the back of the head and enclosing the hair. It is, in its construction, not unlike a Glengarry cap ; the sides standing upright, while the intermediate part forms a broad flat surface ; round the top, and coming forward over the crown and towards the forehead, is a rich entanglement of network of gold, and gold thread, sometimes formed into flowers. It is fastened with large pins, the heads of which, as broad as a shilling, rise conically with two or three tiers of pearls, garnets, and emeralds set in enamel. Sometimes from under it a gauzy veil hangs low down behind; but this, I believe, belongs rather to the full dress. When seen in profile, this head-gear looks particularly handsome ; the broad sides of the cap giving & commanding air.

GYPSY DWELLINGS NEAR KLAUSENBERG
"GYPSY DWELLINGS NEAR KLAUSENBERG"

The velvet or silk bodice, like the Bavarian "Mieder," is laced crosswise in front; the sleeves are short and puffed at the shoulder, trimmed according to taste with lace, or lappets-I think that is the "artistic" term,-and an apron of delicately embroidered muslin, or rare black or white lace.

Every one knows that the Hungarian women are beautiful, but what struck me was, that among those I saw here, there was no marked type which gave a countenance its distinguishing nationality. There were many with dark hair, and eyes nearly as dark ; but there were others fair as a young English girl, and with features, too, characteristic of England.

Julius Weber says, "You may distinguish a Hungarian from a German by the way in which lie carries his head, and looks about him like his horse." Of the former it has been justly remarked, that he is the transition between the inhabitant of the West and the Oriental, but without Oriental indolence. He is brave, patriotic, chivalrous, and fond of pomp. The Hungarian is clean-limbed, and his marked features are a small foot and well-shaped-leg.

Immediately outside the town rises a little hill, which, viewed from the end of the street, presents the very strangest appearance. It is full of dwellings partly burrowed in the earth, with a door-post in front and a lintel, and a small window at the side; or on a bit of rocky ground, like a shelf, a hut is raised, and, as you come downwards from above, it is well to take care you do not step on the roof or enter the dwelling by the chimney. The drawing, though taken from a photograph made on purpose, does not give the strange fantastic air of the reality. As I wandered about on the slippery paths, the whole place grew alive with human beings emerging from scarce-seen doors, like rabbits from their burrows.*27_5

27_5 * In Granada, the gipsty- quarter, Montagna San Miguel, resembles exactly this mound at Klatisenburg.

This was a favourite resort of Borrow, when in Klausenburg. He used daily to pay his friends the gipsies a visit, for which attention they, as it would seem, mulcted him regularly of his silk pocket-handkerchiefs. " This is my last," he said one day to an acquaintance of mine, on starting for his accustomed walk, "they have had all the rest."

As I drove along the road, one of the children followed me a great distance, keeping up with my waggon, and performing all sorts of evolutions.

ROAD SCENE, TRANSYLVANIA.
"ROAD SCENE, TRANSYLVANIA."

Borrow has a crotchet in his head about the continence of gipsy women. This notion seems to be a hobby of his, and he therefore maintains it, though notoriously incorrect.

The generous readiness with which the Hungarians always come forward to aid their countrymen, or to contribute to any national undertaking, is really exemplary. The sums collected by them in aid of the starving people in Hungary were astonishing ; and while I was in Transylvania many landed proprietors agreed to take a certain number of the emigrant families and lodge and feed them through the winter. Everywhere a helping hand was extended towards them. And with what sympathy assistance was rendered ! There is, too, in Klausenburg, a society of ladies for visiting needy families in their homes, and bringing them the help required. It is excellently managed, under the presidency of a lady, whose talent for organization and bringing a plan into good working order is something rare. She has her staff of lady-visitors, who regularly report what they have done and seen, and receive from her fresh instructions. I should not think it was easy to keep such a corps in order and up to the mark, but my Lady President does so, and does it well.

It more than once occurred to me that the account Thackeray has given of country life in Virginia ('The Virginians,' chapters iii. and iv.) resembles exactly that which formerly existed here among the great Hungarian landowners.

" The gentry of Virginia dwelt on their great lands after a fashion almost patriarchal. For its rough cultivation, each estate had a multitude of servants, who were subject to the command of the master. The land yielded them food,-live-stock and game .... Their hospitality was boundless. No stranger was ever sent away from their gates. The gentry received one another, and travelled to each other's houses, in a state almost feudal." " The establishments of the gentry were little villages, in which they and their vassals dwelt.... Many of these (the neighbours) were rather needy potentates, living plentifully but in the roughest fashion, having numerous domestics, whose liveries were often ragged; keeping open houses, and turning away no stranger from their gates ; proud, idle, fond of all sorts of field sports, as be- came gentlemen of good lineage."

But all is changed now. In town, the decline in the fortunes of the nobility is less perceptible ; it is, however, often strikingly visible in their country-houses and households. That which it is not absolutely necessary to repair is left in its damaged and decaying state ; and often what is mended is done so ill that it shows poverty of means even more plainly than the previous broken condition intended to be repaired. It is the discrepancy between the planning of the whole and the execution and detail which makes you most sensible of a deficiency. The house is large and of handsome proportions, and in it are out-buildings which tell of goodly possessions and numerous dependants. Before the mansion are the arrangements of a fair garden, but weeds cover the flowerbeds, the walks are broken up, shrubs straggle in all directions, the pipes of the fountain are stopped up, and you think of the precincts of the Haunted House which Hood has so minutely described. There is disorder everywhere, and signs of poverty,-of poverty, at least, for an establishment so planned. The windows and doors of the out-houses are damaged ; the mason and plasterer are sadly wanted. You enter the dwelling-house, and at each step the same is visible. In the rooms are some of the elegancies of life, and beside them rents, and dearth, and incompleteness. There is silver on the table, and the covering of your chair has holes. All this pains you -you, the Englishman, who are accustomed to neatness, and to prefer earthenware and tidiness to plate and disorder. And you are so pained, because your host is such a gallant gentleman, so chivalrously courteous, so generously hospitable. His bearing, too, so independent and manly, has a charm for you. The faded splendour in no wise disconcerts him; he is unconscious of it, or he seems so. But it disconcerts you, and you are sorry. You feel sorry too,-with a different, more tender regret, -for that gentle lady who, quite unwittingly, has been delighting you with her grace, and her natural, sweet womanly ways; so graceful, too, in the very imperfection of her German speech, which she utters so very prettily.

But in that other mansion it is worse. The facade is imposing, the dimensions of the whole building are large, and it was built evidently with regard to state and the exercise of hospitality. But how neglect shows everywhere ! You drive up to the grand staircase, where, in the large doors and windows, many a pane is wanting. The cocks and hens are walking up the staircase, and now dash against the glass in fright at your approach. In the sitting- room of the master of the lordly house, dilapidation stares you in the face. The wall is discoloured by damp ; the stucco has fallen away and been partly replaced. The same in your large handsome bedroom. The paint is gone in broad horrid-looking patches ; the veneering of the bedstead and the table has peeled off in parts. Even the leg of one of the tolerable-looking armchairs is broken, and is lying on the rickety chest of drawers, deficient in handles. If you open the casement, you scratch your finger with the iron, because the knob of the bolt is wanting. The chair is lop-sided, one castor being gone; the furniture is partly costly and partly common : nowhere is there harmony. It is a disheartening sight : there seems to be no fitting appliance for anything. And in the garden the wicket is off its hinges, the steps to the little summer-house are in ruin, the flower-stand of the lady of the mansion is rickety with decay. Wood is being chopped on the lawn in front of the house ; and you can hardly tell where the garden ends and the farmyard begins. All this could, of course, be changed, for money is not necessary for maintaining a certain order.

But it is not so everywhere. I could name a mansion which might vie with any establishment in England for good arrangement and superlative cleanness. The rooms, the corridors, the court, are absolutely spotless. The servants are neat in their dress, and clean in person; the service rendered in a fitting manner. The greatest order prevails throughout ; there is a time and place for everything. There is no luxury, no superfluous elegance ; but in every room, and every article in it, is the very perfection of neatness.

In all your relations with the Hungarian nobility, you are sensible that the device " Noblesse oblige " is not forgotten by them.*27_6 Thought is taken for your plans and wishes, and it is done so naturally and with such evident pleasure to him who is making the arrangement, that you are quite prevented from feeling any embarrassment on account of trouble you may occasion. And should your host be himself unable to do for you all he would wish, his friend or neighbour is taken into requisition on your behalf, and the way in which the demand is answered by him, shows that what he does for you is not considered a favour, but looked on as a matter of course.

27_6* And in no relation does this show more favourably-to their honour be it said-than in that existing between themselves and their tutors and governesses. It is marked by kindness and respect. The demeaning treatment which a governess so often receives in England would be an im- possibility here. People would be ashamed to behave so, and very justly.

I spoke above of certain objects which ill agree with the other household arrangements in juxtaposition with them. But these things-handsome articles of furniture, plate, etc.-have not been brought for show. Your host is too thoroughly a gentleman for such vulgar pride. What you see are the remains of a former time, when his income was abundant, and when he was able to command all the luxuries of life.

In Klausenburg I found several ladies who spoke English perfectly well, and our authors were the favourites. A bookseller showed me a copy of Schiller and Goethe on his shelves, which had stood there unsold for five years ; but in that time he had disposed of twelve copies of Shakspeare and Byron. Of works not Hungarian, the greater number of books bought are French, and the reprints of British authors. Now although Hungarian literature has made considerable progress of late,-more works having appeared in the last ten years than in the preceding fifty,- it still cannot supply the place of that which Germany offers in such rich abundance. German is a language that associates the Hungarians with the civilized world,-the language of a literature that has remodified Europe. This ignoring of a neighbouring literature is part of a system, and does not arise from an imperfect acquaintance with the language in which it is written; for every Hungarian of education speaks German well. It is like the present strict adherence to the national costume on the part of the men, a demonstration of political feeling rather than anything else.*27_7

27_7 * This demonstration exists only since the revolution. Formerly it was different. " To us strangers, French was the language in which we were commonly addressed, but amongst themselves German was universally used." (Paget, 1839.) The same with dress. " I suppose I ought to describe this ball ; but what points am I to seize on, by which to distinguish it from a ball anywhere else ? There is not a dress or a costume of any kind that differs a particle from those of London or Paris." (Paget, 1839.)

Hungarian literature flourished in Transylvania, and from the period of the Reformation produced more good fruit than in Hungary itself. And it may be accounted for in this wise: --Transylvania had its own prince, and was thoroughly independent, both which circumstances fostered the development of a national life and national feeling. This existed in a lesser degree in Hungary. Indeed, it is asserted that, but for the freedom of thought and action predominating in Transylvania, when the acceptance of the new doctrine was general, the religious movement in the sister country would have been utterly crushed. The persecuted fled here; and Transylvania soon became the home of some of the best and great Hungarian men of learning. The Reformation, too, in- dependent of its tenets and its enlightening mental influence, did this for literature : books were now written in the language of the country, which before were composed in Latin. They were thus open to all, and a taste for literature was soon diffused over the land.

Some persons deny that the Saxon clergy or professors are in any respect of higher standing than the Hungarian men of science or letters. But others-themselves Hungarian professors-acknowledged to me that the superiority was on the side of the Germans. And it is natural that it should be so : the Hungarian clergy are badly paid ; some have two, three, four, or five hundred florins a year, and are consequently unable to purchase books and obtain the same advantages as their Saxon colleagues.*27_8 Moreover, they do not study in Germany like the others, or, if so, only for two years.

27_8* The (Hungarian Calvinist) Protestant church will not receive pay from the State, as by doing so it is thought its freedom might be circumscribed.

Indeed, as I have attempted to show, the culture of the Saxon clergy in Transylvania is quite remarkable. And how ready they are to impart knowledge for knowledge' sake ! They do so, as the Hungarian renders hospitality; each gives of what he has. And whatever may be the shortcomings of the Germans, here or at home, it is useless to think of denying the paramount influence they have exercised, and still do exercise, on the progress of knowledge. And no people have more profited by it than their Hungarian neighbours : their sons go to Berlin, Jena, and Göttingen universities, and, at home, they have for them German tutors and governesses. But they cannot bear to acknowledge the benefit; there is too much bitterness for that. One is reminded by it of the feeling existing between the English and French in Canada. At Quebec the inimicality is strikingly perceptible. There the two races do not blend, nor here either.




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