Viennese Reports of Hungary.—Presburg.—Castle.—Inhabitants. —Members of the Diet.—Dinner Party.—Youth of Hungary. —Theben. —Theatre.—Promenade.—Booksellers.—Journals.

IT was about the middle of June, 1835, that we shook the dust of Vienna from our feet, and bent our steps towards the confines of Hungary. Full of the hope of adventure, with which the idea of entering a country familiar only in history or romance fills even older heads than ours, we had been for some days impatient at the dull delays of the Austrian police, and were commensurately rejoiced at their termination, and the actual commencement of our journey.


The reader would certainly laugh, as I have often done since, did I tell him one half the foolish tales the good Viennese told us of the country we were about to visit. No roads! no inns! no police! we must sleep on the ground, eat where we could, and be ready to defend our purses and our lives at every moment ! In full credence of these reports, we provided ourselves most plentifully with arms, which were carefully loaded, and placed ready for immediate use; for as we heard that nothing but fighting would carry us through, we determined to put the best face we could on the matter. It may, however, ease the reader's mind to know that no occasion to shoot anything more formidable than a partridge or a hare ever presented itself; and that we finished our journey with the full conviction, that travelling in Hungary was just as safe as travelling in England.

Why or wherefore, I know not, but nothing can exceed the horror with which a true Austrian regards both Hungary and its inhabitants. I have sometimes suspected that the bugbear with which a Vienna mother frightens her squaller to sleep, must be an Hungarian bugbear ; for in no other way can I account for the inbred and absurd fear which they entertain for such near neighbours. It is true, the Hungarians do sometimes talk about liberty, constitutional rights, and other such terrible things, to which no well-disposed ears should ever be open, and to which the ears of the Viennese are religiously closed. Worthy people! How satisfied [3] OF HUNGARY. must the old emperor, der gute Franzel, have been with you ! When a certain professor once remonstrated with him on the censorship of the press, and represented it as the certain means of checking the genius of his people, he was answered : "I don't want learned subjects—I want good subjects." As regards the first part of his wish no man had more reason to be contented than the late Emperor of Austria; for a more unintellectual, eating and drinking, dancing and music-loving people do not exist, than the good people of Vienna. As long as they can eat gebackene Hendel at the Spell, or dance in the Augarten, and listen to the immortal Strauss, as he stamps and fiddles before the best waltz band in Europe, so long will they willingly close their ears to all such wicked discourses; and, despite the speculations of philosophers or the harangues of patriots, nothing will ever induce them to desire a change.

Our party consisted, beside myself, of my friend Mr. S___ , and Mr. H___ ; the latter, a young artist, to whom the reader is indebted for the cuts with which this work is embellished. Of ourselves I need say nothing more, as our personality will have little place in our travels. We were provided with a good strong carriage from Brandmeyer's; a preliminary to a journey through Hungary, without which I should recommend no one to attempt it, at least for pleasure. An Italian servant, who had accompanied me through Italy, I was obliged to dismiss; for lie was not only useless [4] PASSPORTS. from his ignorance of the languages of the country, but an absolute encumbrance from his unfitness to put up with the various inconveniences to which an Hungarian traveller is subject. An Hungarian was soon found to supply his place.

In this guise, after a few hours' posting on the dusty road between Vienna and Presburg, we approached the boundary of Hungary. I proffered my passport, as usual, to the guard who opened the barrier ; but it was declined with a polite bow, and an assurance that I was in Hungary and had no longer need of it. I appeal to those who have travelled in Italy and Germany for sympathy with my delight at being once more free from the annoyance of passports, a system of impediment to the honest traveller, and of protection to the rogue. An efficient police does not require it — a bad one is only rendered more inefficient by its fancied security. My heart beat more gaily in its prison, my blood flowed more freely through my veins, as I blessed the land where some trace of personal liberty still existed. As we approached Presburg, the huge square castle came in sight ; and before long, we were crossing the bridge of boats over the Danube and entering the town.

Presburg is prettily situated along the banks of the Danube; and, for a town of its size, offers a greater number of handsome buildings than are often seen. Our first object after making our arrangements as comfortably as possible at the Goldene Sonne, was [5] PRESBURG. to visit the castle. A large square mass of building without architectural ornament, and little relieved by the ill-proportioned towers which protrude themselves from each corner, cannot in itself have much to interest the lover of the picturesque ; but from the esplanade before it, a magnificent view opened on us. As far as the eye can reach into Hungary, extends a vast wooded plain, through which the gigantic Danube spreads itself wild and uncontrolled. Sometimes dividing into several branches, nearly as wide as the parent stream, it forms large islands of several miles in extent ; then collecting its scattered forces, it moves forward in one vast mass of irresistible power, till division again impairs its strength. At our feet lay Presburg itself, and we could distinguish the remains of the gates and walls which marked its former boundaries; these, however, it has long outgrown, and its straggling extremities reminded us of the school-boy's arms and legs, which the garments of an earlier age would in vain restrain within their narrow limits.

Of historical association, the castle had little to interest us; indeed, in its present form, it has existed scarcely one hundred years. As late as 1811, it still served as a fortress and barrack for troops, but being unprovided both with wood and water, except what was carried there upon the backs of its occupants, it struck the Italian regiment, by whom it was then held, how very ill it was adapted to the purposes it served. They were just employed in [6] PRESBURG. laying in a store of wood, when the idea, equally patriotic and philanthropic, came into their heads of setting fire to the castle, and thus ridding the country of a bad fortress, and saving themselves and their successors from any further trouble in carrying wood and water to such an unreasonable height. So strongly did the idea seize upon their imaginations, that it was no sooner conceived than put in execution, and its blackened walls still stand a monument to the wit and laziness of the Italian soldiery.

As for sights, few places have less of them than Presburg. In the great church we could discover nothing of interest save a bronze font of elegant workmanship, bearing the date of 1409. The object pointed out with the greatest care to the stranger's notice, is an insignificant elevation on the banks of the Danube, called the Konigsberg. It is to this spot that the King of Hungary, at his coronation, clothed in the very dress formerly worn by St. Stephen, and bearing the apostolic crown on his head, rides up his charger; and striking the sword of state to the four quarters of the world, swears to defend the country from enemies on every side.1

The delivery of letters of introduction, and the consequent formation of acquaintance, cost us but little time, for everywhere we were received with a

1In Mr. Spencer's work on Circassia, it may be observed, that a similar ceremony is performed by a Circassian prince, who is sent to receive and conduct home his brother's bride ; an interesting fact when connected with the Hungarian claim to a Caucasian origin.
[7] INHABITANTS OF HUNGARY. kindness which at once forbade us to consider ourselves strangers. The hospitality of the Hungarians is almost proverbial, and, I doubt not, that every foreigner feels its welcome influence; but I am inclined to think that the name of Englishman was not without its recommendation in our favour. I must not, however, anticipate : future events, I think, will prove that I am right.

It was a constant source of amusement for us, during the first days of our arrival, to watch the groups of peasants collected under the windows of the hotel. The neighbourhood of Presburg is chiefly occupied by Sclavacks and Germans, two of the many distinct races by which Hungary is peopled. The reader must not imagine that he is about to visit one people on entering Hungary, but rather a collection of many races, united by geographical position and other circumstances into one nation, but which still preserve all their original peculiarities of language, dress, religion, and manners. The Magyars,2 or Hungarians proper, the dominant race, and to whom the land may be said to belong, do not amount to more than three millions and a half out of the ten millions at which the whole population is estimated. The Sclavacks may be reckoned at two millions; other members of the Sclavish race, but differing in religion and dialect, at two and a half; the rest of the population being made up

2It may be as well to remark at once, that the word Magyar should be pronounced Mőd-yőr.
[8] RELIGIONS OF HUNGARY. of Wallacks, Jews, Germans, Gipsies, &c. There is scarcely less difference of religion than of origin in this motley population. The Catholics are pre dominant, as well in number as in power; but the two sects of Protestants, the Lutherans and Calvinists, and the members of the Greek Church, both united and non-united, are numerous, and enjoy nearly the same rights as the Catholics. The Jews are tolerated on the payment of a tax, but cannot exercise any political functions.

It is easy for an experienced eye to detect these differences at the first glance, though to us they were a puzzle which we were some time in unravelling. We soon became accustomed to the slow heavy look of the Sclavack peasants as they sauntered about in the sun, with all the lazy nonchalance of the lazzaroni of Naples.

Their women, too, were distinguishable from the white kerchief folded neatly over the head and neck, and the gay blue petticoat with its deep edge of bright red, as they encumbered the street with their baskets of fruit and vegetables. It was curious to see how unconcernedly the generality of them stood to be sketched. One old man, whom H___ caught as he was resting from his labour on his awkward long-handled spade, allowed a limb to be replaced in its former position, when accidentally moved, just as tranquilly as an artist's lay-figure would have done, though he did not seem to have the slightest idea of what was going on.



Another stout fellow, who had been persuaded to sit for his portrait, did not take the affair quite so easily. He grew very much alarmed when he saw the pencils and paper fairly at work, and at last burst into tears, and would fain have run away ; he was sure they were " writing him down," to send his description to the Emperor, that he might make a soldier of him. Probably, the poor fellow had run away and hid himself during the last levy of troops, and it may have been a bad conscience that now pricked him. The smart peasants in tight blue pantaloons, embroidered jackets, and broad hats, ornamented with artificial flowers, we found to be chiefly Germans, who had adopted the Hungarian costume.

As we were leaning out of the window, and amusing ourselves with the picturesque groups [10] NOBLES AND THEIR SERVANTS. formed by these curious figures, and their no less curious teams of four or six small lean horses, and light crazy waggons, a loud knock at the door interrupted our observations, and in marched a hussar in a very gay uniform, and making such martial music in the gingling of his sabre and spurs, that we could scarcely comprehend that he was merely a servant sent to announce the visit of his master, who was waiting below, to know if we were at home. In a few minutes, however, appeared the master himself; and if his servant had astonished us I leave the reader to guess what was the impression produced upon our minds by a tall very handsome man, dressed in the most becoming uniform of green and gold, with a mantle richly lined with fur hanging over his shoulders, and which he bore with a grace and elegance of manner rarely to be seen. It was the Baron V___, to whom we had a letter of introduction, and who had called in his uniform of Chamberlain on his way to the palace, to return our yesterday's visit. This was the first time we had ever seen the modern Hungarian costume, and it was impossible not to be struck with its beauty and elegance.

The luxury which many of the Hungarians display in the liveries, or uniforms of their servants, is far beyond anything of which we can form an idea. Almost every gentleman has a hussar fully armed and equipped as his valet de chambre, and some have all their footmen in the same dress. These uniforms are not unfrequently covered with gold or silver lace. [11] SOCIETY OF PRESBURG. It is startling to a foreigner to find himself served at table by a smart looking hussar, be-whiskered and be-spurred as fiercely as if he were handling a sabre instead of presenting a knife and fork.

We had soon a sufficient number of acquaintances to induce us to fix ourselves for some weeks at Presburg. The Diet also was sitting, and many of the most remarkable men of the country were in consequence congregated within the town. A great number of young men, too, either attached to the deputies as secretaries, or terminating their legal studies at the courts, were in Presburg, and gave us a good opportunity of becoming acquainted with the rising generation, the future hopes of Hungary.

Very few of the members of the Diet keep house at Presburg, and, although they have now been nearly three years here, they have contented themselves with the lodgings afforded by the town; for whatever place has the honour of receiving the Diet, has the burden also of quartering its members gratis. We called on one of the magnates the other (lay, and found his habitation to consist of two very indifferent rooms, the outer serving for antechamber and servants' room, the inner, for his own bedroom and salon. On the outer door a rude likeness of a sabre was chalked up, as a sign that a member of the Diet lived there. The deputies mostly dine at one of the many restaurants of the town, where a very tolerable dinner may be had for about two shillings. If I may venture to speak of their [12] DINNER PARTY. appearance in general, from what I have observed in these places, and before I confuse myself with individual peculiarities, or become blinded by private friendship, I should say they are a fine manly body; composed in their demeanour, careless in matters of dress, and rather too regardless of those little elegances of manner which distinguish good society in the rest of Europe. Though rather rough, however, they have mostly something distingué in their bearing and general appearance.

One of the first dinner parties to which we were invited at Presburg, was at the house of Herr Von P___, and I must not hastily pass it over, for it introduced us to some trifling peculiarities in manner, which, although of such little importance in my eyes, that I seem to require an apology to myself for noticing them, are of a character so vastly interesting to that numerous class of English society, the gentry of the silver fork school, that I feel confident they would never pardon me were Ito omit them.

As is the custom, the invitation was verbal, and the hour two o'clock. The drawing-room into which we were ushered was a spacious uncarpeted room, with a well polished floor, on which, I am sorry to say, I observed more than one of the guests very unceremoniously expectorate. Uncarpeted rooms, it may be remarked, though bare to the eye, are pleasant enough in warm climates; indeed, in some houses, where English fashions predominate, I have seen small stools of wood introduced to protect the [13] DINNER PARTY. pretty feet of their mistresses from the heat of the carpet. It is not an uncommon thing for a second-rate French dandy to carry a little brosse d moustaches about him, and coolly to arrange those martial appendages in the street, or at the café; but I was a good deal surprised to see the exquisites of Presburg drawing well-proportioned hair-brushes from their pockets, and performing those operations usually confined in England to the dressing-room, in the presence of a party of ladies, and within the sacred precincts of the drawing-room. But these were trifles compared to the solecisms committed at the dinner table. One of the guests occupied a little spare time between the courses in scraping his nails with a table knife, talking at the same time to the lady next to him, while his vis-a-vis, was deliberately picking his teeth with a silver fork!

The dinner was most profuse; and, as is usual here, the dishes were carried round to every one in turn, the table being covered with the dessert. I can neither tell the number nor quality of all the courses, for it was quite impossible to cat of the half of them ; and many even of those I did taste were new to me. Hungarian cookery is generally savoury, but too greasy to be good. Some of the national dishes, however, are excellent ; but the stranger rarely finds them except in the peasant's cottage. The Hungarians, like ourselves, run after bad foreign fashions to the neglect of the good wholesome dishes of their forefathers.


We had abundance of Champagne and Bordeaux, and, as a rarity, some Hungarian wines. I say as a rarity, because in many houses, not a glass of anything but foreign wine can be obtained. Unfortunately, Hungarian wines are not only good but cheap, and that is enough to prove they cannot be fashionable. After dinner we adjourned to coffee, when pipes were introduced, without a word of remonstrance from the ladies, as if they were the common conclusion of a dinner party: at five o'clock we all left. In more fashionable houses (this was one of a rich country gentleman) the dinner is rather later; the spitting confined to a sanddish, set in the corner for that purpose; the cookery more decidedly French or German; the guests more stiff and correct, but, perhaps on that account, less agreeable ; and the smoking banished from the drawing-room to the sanctum of the host.3

I think I may say without exception, that of the young men whom I met at Presburg, there was not one who did not hold liberal opinions in politics. There are many peculiarities, however, in the present circumstances of Hungary, and the position of the nobles, to which class these young men belong, which render their liberalism, in some respects, very different from ours. Without any very accurate knowledge of the political or commercial position either of their own country or of that of their

3I do not allude to such houses as those of the Princess G___ , or the Baron O___, where the manners are European, not national.
[15] YOUTH OF HUNGARY. neighbours, they are fully persuaded that Austria is at the root of all the evils they suffer, and they consequently regard that power with fear and hatred. No radical in England can inveigh more violently against taxation than do the liberals of Hungary ; but they mix up their invective so strangely with the privileges of nobility, that it would be difficult to recognise anything like the same principle in their opposition to it. In fact they do not distinguish very clearly between the words right and privilege.

It is difficult even for the strongest conviction to overcome the habits and feelings of early education. I am sure these gentlemen are anxious for the freedom and education of the peasantry, and yet it often appeared to us that they spoke of them, and to them, as though they belonged to a different class of creation from themselves; in short, all of them are reformers, but many of them seem eminently impractical in their ideas of reform.

Not that I saw anything of that revolutionary spirit at which Austria seems so terribly alarmed, and which German strangers often attribute to the Hungarians, because they talk loudly and openly of matters which their neighbours dare not even whisper ; on the contrary, I believe there is among them a stronger feeling of loyalty to their king, and love for their institutions as they are, than is to be found in almost any other part of Europe. Among a considerable number, though equally liberal with [16] YOUTH OF HUNGARY. the more noisy, a tone of moderation prevails, which argues well for the future. These seem willing to obtain all that is possible, and make the most of that, leaving the desirable but unattainable for other times and more favourable circumstances.

Most of those we have met here, have been educated entirely in Hungary; indeed, have never been from home except for an occasional visit to Vienna. They all speak Hungarian and German, and some of them French and English. In manners they are more simple, perhaps less polished, than Englishmen of the same rank and age. In scholastic learning, at least as far as Latin is concerned, they are our equals, and our superiors in a minute knowledge of the laws of their own country ; for the Corpus Juris forms an essential part of every Hungarian gentleman's education. In general literary acquirements, in scientific information, in an acquaintance with the fine arts, and, above all, in a knowledge of the first principles even of political economy, I think they are our inferiors. There is a friendly warmth in their manner, an air of sincerity and frankness in all they say and do, and a total absence of affectation, which rendered their society truly agreeable to us. As for that fear of speaking out their minds, which the Englishman so often sees and regrets among other nations of the Continent, the Hungarians are quite as free from it as ourselves. They may be surrounded by spies and police, but they certainly take very little heed of them.


The amusements of Presburg, at least in the summer, when most of the ladies have retired to the country, are confined to the theatre, the arena, and the promenade in the Au. This latter is a large piece of ground, on the opposite side of the river to Presburg, formerly overflowed by the Danube, but which has been drained and planted in the English style, and now forms a really pretty park. I cannot say that the promenade is pleasant, at least to those with tender skins ; for the swarms of musquitoes with which we were covered whenever we attempted to walk there, quickly drove us away.

On the other side of Presburg, however, nothing can be more beautiful than the walks and rides among gentle hills, covered with orchards and vineyards, which extend for many miles towards the north and west. A few miles up the river lies the pretty village of Theben, with its romantic castle ; a common Sunday's resort for the good citizens of Presburg. As some of our Hungarian friends offered to accompany us to Theben, a party was made up, and we started on foot one fine morning to spend the day there. The weather was excessively hot, and it took us two hours, as we sauntered along the banks of the river—now stopping to examine the rocks, now to get a view of some beautiful bend of the Danube,—before we reached the village. We passed several stone quarries, from which a fine-grained granite is obtained for paving-stones, which are chiefly sent to Pest; and we were told [18] CASTLE OF THEBEN. that at a little distance excellent slates are found, which are used for house-tiles. Nothing can wear a more happy appearance than Theben ; the cottages look clean and comfortable, and the principal street is shaded by a fine avenue of walnut trees. The peasants are generally vine growers, holding their land of the Count Palffy, for which they pay a rent partly in money and partly in kind.


After ordering our dinner at a little inn near the river, we mounted the hill on which stand the ruins of the old castle. These are finely situated on a rock of black limestone, overlooking the Danube and the March, which unite their waters just under the crumbling walls. A castle of such strength as Theben once was, placed on the borders of two [19] LEGEND OF THEBEN. countries so often at war as Hungary and Austria, must have played an important part in the history of former times. The upper part of the castle is now a mere ruin ; its destruction is said to have been the effect of wanton mischief on the part of the French troops in 1809.

An interesting legend is connected with the slender tower still remaining perfect, and which hangs over the river, and commands the narrow passage cut in the rock beneath. A gay young knight, who dwelt in Theben many years ago, fell in love with one of the nuns of a neighbouring convent, carried her off, and made her his wife. To protect himself from the vengeance of the Church, whose rage this act of sacrilege had roused, he shut himself up in his strong castle, determined to defend his ladylove to the last extremity. Though unable to take the castle by force, the troops of the Church continued their blockade till starvation rendered it impossible to hold out longer. Unwilling to be separated from her he loved, and by whom his love was returned,—for the nun was no unwilling bride, —and too well acquainted with the character of his enemy to expect mercy or forgiveness,—the knight of Theben led his mistress along the narrow ledge of rock which connects the solitary tower with the castle, gained its narrow stair and ascended to the battlements. One moment the lovers, locked in each other's arms, were seen to linger on the precipice,—the next, and the Danube had buried in its [20] THEBEN. thick waters two as fond hearts as ever beat. If cruel bigotry forbade that they should live together, its power failed to separate them in death.

Having examined the castle, our party separated in pursuit of their different tastes and occupations. H___ sat down to get a view of the ruins ; Professor S___ shouldered his geological hammer, and set off for a fossiliferous rock4 in the neighbourhood; and I submitted myself to the guidance of young Count S___ and M___, the deputy for W___, who conducted me along the banks of the March to Schlosshof.

The imperial palace of Schlosshof is a large building, very plainly furnished, and remarkable only as having been formerly the residence of Prince Eugene, and more recently of the Duke de Itcichstadt. On our return wo found H___ with a sketch of the solitary tower, the professor with his bag stored with specimens, Prince H___ P___ , who had promised to spend the day with us, already arrived, and the whole party well prepared, though scarcely past mid-day, to do full justice to the roast fowls and pancakes, of which our dinner was composed.

4The geological character of these rocks is curious. The range of the little Carpathians, which runs north from this point, is composed of granite in which large gangs of mica slate, chlorite slate, lee. frequently occur. At Theben, a black limestone is seen mixed with slate and quartz which is not stratified, and bears strong marks of being an igneous production. At a little distance occurs a soft new limestone, containing fossils of mammalia, reptiles, and shells.
[21] THEATRE OF PRESBURG. A row down to Presburg in the evening in one of the clumsy boats, which serve for wherries on the Danube, concluded a very pleasant clay's excursion.

The theatre of Presburg is as essentially German as any of those at Vienna. Though the regular company is but indifferent, we were fortunate enough to be there at the same time with Madame Schroeder,5 the best tragic actress on the German stage. This lady is now far from young ; some say she is sixty years of age, though I can hardly believe it, for she seems still possessed of all her power : we saw her in Lady Macbeth, Medea, Schiller's Rraut von Messina, and other pieces, and I do not think it possible that the representation of strong passion can be more perfectly given than by Madame Schroeder. The scene in the Brant von Messina, in which she first sees her dead son, is perhaps the very finest piece of acting I ever saw.

Near the Au is an arena, or theatre in the open air, which, as the price of entrance is very low, and the gentlemen are allowed their pipes, is a fashionable lounge in the summer evenings. It requires all the attractions of the open air to render this place tolerable; for the pieces, half farce, half pantomime, are coarse and stupid in the extreme. I was struck by the observation of a sturdy patriot. near whom I happened to be standing, when some in

5Madame Schroeder, the tragic actress of Vienna, must not be confounded with her daughter Madame Schroeder Devrient, the well-known prima donna of Dresden.
[22] PROMENADE. decent innuendo drew from him a long puff of smoke and a "___ Teremtette," that "if the Government would occupy itself with restraining such exhibitions as these, which stultify and demoralize the spectators, and substitute something better for them, it might find plenty to do without instituting processes against every man who wishes to raise the people to the common rights and privileges of humanity."

As we returned from the arena, and were quietly discussing an ice, at one of the cafés on the public walk, our companions pointed out to us some of the most important personages then in Presburg, who were enjoying the cool evening air, after the feverish debates of the morning in the chambers. There they were, simple deputies, proud magnates, and stately bishops, passing and repassing under the pleasant shade of the acacias, as their names, titles, and dignities, were made known to us. The most part of them soon escaped our memories, for the public men of Hungary, as well as the affairs of the country, are so little known in England that almost every name was new to us. One person, however, particularly arrested our attention: he was a man of about the middle height, but formed in a Herculean mould. A large quantity of black hair and beard almost concealed his features, but a strongly marked nose, and a deeply sunk, yet most brilliant eye, were sufficient to indicate no ordinary character. It was the Baron Wesselényi Miklós, the leader of the ultra-liberal party, and then under [23] BOOKSELLERS. trial for high treason. 1 never saw a countenance more expressive of serious thought, high moral courage, and determined resolution. If there be any truth in physiognomy, the government will gain little by persecuting such a man as Baron Wesselényi. We were much struck with the respect with which every one seemed to regard him ; scarce a hat but was raised as he passed ; and among the young men it was easy to perceive looks of the deepest interest and admiration.

It was curious to listen to the different salutations of the promenaders. There was every variety, from the simple "wie gelt's" of the German trader, to the pompous "servus, domine spectabilis" of the Catholic priests. The Hungarian generally contents himself with a "servus, barátam ;" a mixture of Latin and Magyar, from which, though he makes the greatest efforts, he cannot quite escape. Among the churchmen, Latin is still sometimes the medium of conversation ; among the nobles, Magyar or German is most common ; and among the ladies, German or French. The trading classes, of course, speak the language of the people amongst whom they happen to be, but I believe all commercial correspondence is carried on in German.

I have often thought that a glance at the book-sellers' shops gives a more correct idea of the state of education in a country, than the most profound disquisitions on its schools and universities. If my notion is correct, Presburg ought to rank pretty [24] HUNGARIAN PERIODICALS. high in literary estimation ; for in a tour which we made one day through the warehouses of five or six of the chief booksellers, we were astonished at the number and excellence of the books they contained. They were not only rich in Hungarian and German works, but contained almost everything of any great merit published in London and Paris. A fair library, both of the French and English classics, might easily be formed in Presburg. Of the English standard works, we found editions of London, Paris, and Leipsic, but chiefly the latter. There appeared to be a great want of children's books, though Miss Edgeworth's "Moral Tales," and "The Boy's own Book," were among the few we observed.

It is but lately that the Hungarian publishers have ventured to undertake works in the Hungarian language, but they do so now with considerable boldness. Politics and political economy are the subjects of greatest interest to the Hungarians at the present moment, and therefore those most written on. Count Széchenyi's works are among the most popular. A " Penny Magazine" has been established, but I believe it has not answered so well as was anticipated. There are two political newspapers published at Presburg, which appear twice a week ; one in German, the " Presburger Zeitung; "and the other in Latin, the " Ephemeredes Posoniensis," chiefly supported by the Sclavack priesthood. In the latter of these I was much amused [25] HUNGARIAN PERIODICALS. to find one of Joseph Hume's pounds, shillings, and pence speeches translated into flowing Latin. Neither of these journals enjoys a very high reputation.

At Pest, there are two political journals, each accompanied by a sheet dedicated to literature and the arts; the best is the "Jelenkor" (Present Time), which is got up in a very creditable manner, and is said to be conducted with considerable talent. It has a circulation of four thousand. Count Széchenyi writes frequently in the literary sheet "Társalkodó " (Converser) of this paper. Besides these there are two literary periodicals, one monthly, and one quarterly; and also a journal of fashions, and a German paper published at Buda. The leaden hand of the censor, though less heavy here than at Vienna, weighs down the free expression of opinion in these journals, and is regarded by the Hungarians as a most unjust and oppressive imposition.

Chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Text Archive Home | Book Details | Table of Contents