Title


[255] EXCURSION TO FURED.

CHAPTER X.

FURED AND THE BALATON.

Excursion to Füred.—Inn at Márton Vásár.—Houses underground. — Style of Travelling. — Stuhlweissenburg. — Veszprim.— Minaret.— Bishop.— Treading out the corn.— Fured — our Reception — Theatre.—The Balaton. — Dinner Party. — Soirée.— Hungarian Beauty. — Ball.— Waltzing. — H___'s Adventures at Tihany. — Supper at the Restaurant's— its Consequences.—Serenade.—Gipsy Band.—Four-in-hand Driving. — Tihany. - Monastery. — Fossils. — Tradition of the Peasants.- Second Ball.— The Polonaise.— The Hungarian Dance.—Return.

ABOUT eighty miles south of Pest, on the shores of the Balaton, there is a pretty little bathing-place called hired ; which is worth the stranger's visiting, as well for the beauty of the neighbouring scenery, as for the pleasant and sociable society which commonly assembles there.

As the weather was fine, and nothing was going on .of particular interest at Pest, we determined to avail ourselves of it ; and, making our arrangements accordingly for a few days' excursion, started for Fured.

The road as far as Stuhlweissenburg, which [256] HOUSES UNDER GROUND. terminated our first day's journey, contains little of interest, except a good house and pretty park of Count Brunswick's at Marton Vásár, where we stopped to dine. Márton Vásár is rather a favourable specimen of a Hungarian village, and the inn bore marks of a thriving commerce; and, as a specimen of its class, T may as well describe it. It is a long one-storied house, forming two sides of a court-yard, and, besides the kitchen and landlord's room, contains a large drinking-room for the peasants, and two strangers' rooms. The latter have boarded floors, thickly strewn over with sand ; and are furnished each with two beds, a table, and three or four wooden chairs. In half an hour we had a dinner of soup, bouilli, vegetables cooked in grease, roast fowls, and pancakes ; and such is the common fare and ordinary accommodations of the country inns of Hungary.

I was wrong in saying that there was nothing of interest save Count Brunswick's house ; for, a little further on, we observed several villages built under

HOUSES UNDER GROUND
HOUSES UNDER GROUND

ground, the roof being the only part of the houses visible. We examined some of these burrows, for such they literally are ; and found them mere holes [257] STUHLWEISSENBURG.—PALOTA. cut in the ground, roofed in with straw, and entered by a sloping path, frequently without any other opening than the doorway and chimney, and as filthy and miserable as can well be imagined. What may seem to render the fact more extraordinary is, that one of these villages, we were told, is inhabited entirely by noblemen ; that is, by men who possess a small portion of land, pay no taxes to Government, and are free from all seigneurial impositions. Let the reader keep this fact in mind ; for it serves to show that it is not the amount of taxation which renders men poor and miserable, but the absence of a knowledge and desire of something better, and of the industry and thousand virtues to which that knowledge gives birth. It is but fair to say that I never saw such houses in any other part of Hungary; though I believe, during the Turkish war, a great part of the country was reduced to a similar state.

Stuhlweissenburg, though formerly a Roman town, and a name of frequent occurrence in Hungarian history, contains nothing remarkable. The palace of the bishop, and some of the buildings connected with it, are handsome ; but the streets are badly paved, and the whole town disagreeably placed in the centre of a huge bog.

The next morning we passed through Palota, and while we were waiting for fresh horses walked round the ruins of the old castle, which a Count Zichy—one of the fifty-two Counts Zichy of Hungary—has had the good taste to repair and render habitable.

[258] VESZPRIM AND ITS BISHOP.

At Veszprim, the seat of another bishop, we stayed long enough to visit the handsome episcopal palace, which crowns a steep hill that formerly bore one of the most important fortresses of Hungary. This was for a long time in the possession of the Turks ; and contains a memorial of their residence, the more interesting from its rarity. One slender minaret, erected by the Turks above an old Gothic tower, still retains its elegant proportions. It now serves as a watch-tower against fire : where the Muezzim daily called the faithful Moslem to his spiritual duties, a watchman now warns his Christian brethren of danger to their worldly goods.

The town of Veszprim is chiefly supported by trade, but not of a very high class. It contains few good houses, but has less appearance of absolute poverty about it than almost any town I know. A. party of the better sort of country people, whom we fell in with in this neighbourhood, gave us but a bad character of the bishop and chapter of Veszprim as landlords. They complained sadly of their oppression, and said that the peasants of the church were worse off even than the peasants of the nobles, for the masters of the former had no permanent interest in their welfare, but tried to grasp as much as they could during the short period of their enjoyment. A young girl of about eighteen years of age, one of the party, observed rather caustically, " Ack Gott ! Hungarian priests are not worse than any other priests ; they are all tyrants when they have [259] TREADING OUT THE COIN. the power to be so." It is curious that, round the room of the village inn where this conversation occurred, were hung the portraits of Lord John Russell, Stanley, Burdett, and Count Széchenyi.

As we pursued our journey, early as it was in the year, we had several opportunities of remarking the old custom of treading out the corn by oxen or horses, so often and so beautifully alluded to in sacred history. It is commonly performed in the open field where the corn is cut. A flat piece of ground is prepared, by paring and beating till it is quite hard, for the " threshing-floor ;" the corn is then strewn over it; and a boy with a long whip stands in the centre, and drives the animals round the ring till the whole is sufficiently cleaned. It is still considered in Hungary the part of a miser " to muzzle the ox that treaded' out the corn." I cannot explain the pleasurable feeling produced by an actual illustration of this kind, simple as it is, of images which have been familiar to the mind from our earliest infancy, but of which we have never felt half the force or beauty till actually before our eyes.

It was near evening as we came in view of the Balaton ; and, if not grand, its shores have sufficient hill and wood, as seen from this point, to give them all the character of pretty lake scenery. Mired is a bathing-place which has come into vogue only within the last few years ; and, except for the huge Húrnithischeu Hams, and a few other less pretending [260] FURED. buildings, it is yet as near a state of nature as the most romantic could desire. The Horvathischen Haus is a large hotel, or rather lodging-house, which has been built by Mr. Horváth, the owner of the place; and, except the rooms reserved for his family, is let out to visitors at a very moderate rate.

We drove up directly to this hotel, and inquired if we could be admitted; but a very positive " No !"

FURED
FURED

was returned by the porter, with the pleasant addition, " that he did not think there was a single room to be had in the whole place." While a search was being made for rooms among the halfdozen houses which constitute Füred, all the idlers of the place began to collect round the carriage to stare at the Englishmen, whom our servant had [261] OUR RECEPTION. not failed to announce the roofless strangers to be. At the same time, a number of very bright eyes were observed peeping through the jalousies of the hotel, tantalizing us with the desire to stay, as every refusal of our applications for a resting-place made us fear we must return. The crowd of gentlemen grew every moment thicker; and as I have a particular dislike to being stared at, I began to return as uncivil looks as possible to what I thought the ill-mannered curiosity of these people. But I was soon undeceived, for it appeared that they were only at a loss in what language to address us; and, before long, one of them came up, and, speaking to us in French, very politely offered his services to aid us in our difficulties. The ice once broken, Hungarian frankness made us at home with the whole party in a few seconds. A lodging was soon found, the present occupants having been persuaded to change them in our favour. A little female curiosity was, I believe, after all, our best friend ; for, as I afterwards heard, the Countess B declared that three Englishmen at a country bathing-place, and the first who had ever been there, were too great a catch to be lost so easily ; she, therefore, insisted that rooms should be found ; and found they were accordingly.

While we were waiting till our quarters were prepared for us, we were subjected to the " question" as unmercifully as any poor victims of the inquisition ever were. A thousand odd queries as to [262] THE THEATRE. our names, titles, country, and objects, did we reply to, and, I am proud to say, with great good humour too—maugre our English breeding ; for we saw that the inquirers had no other wish than to be polite and friendly, albeit the manner of it had somewhat startled us at first.

As our visitors disappeared, to scatter far and wide the news they had been so industriously collecting, we were left alone to discuss a late dinner, and laugh over the adventures of our arrival, which offered so pleasant a prospect for the rest of our visit. We were not doomed to rest long in quiet, however; for, almost before we could change our dusty dresses, it was time for the theatre, where we were promised a still nearer view of all those bright eyes which had so sparkled from behind the jalousies. Nor were we disappointed: a perfect galaxy of beauty seemed to have descended on that little theatre, and amply compensated for the horrors of what was called an opera. It was an Hungarian piece, taken from some scene of Hungarian history, to which was badly adapted the music of an indifferent German opera; the whole murdered in a most melancholy manner. A. severe headach soon drove me back to my own room ; but S remained, and was introduced to a number of the notables, with whom he came back in perfect ecstasies. Mr. Horváth invited us to meet a party at his house to dinner the next day.

On looking round us in the morning, we found [263] THE BALATON. we were just on the reedy shore of the lake, which offers nothing but low hills on the other side ; and, on this, not a tree or a rock, still less a grassy bank, to render it passable. At some little distance to the south, however, the peninsula of Tihany is a very striking and beautiful object ; and the monastery and its church look well on the summit of the hill. H___ soon set off to see if he could get a sketch of it ; and we determined not to leave without paying it a visit.

The Balaton, or Platten See, extends for fifty miles, nearly north-east and south-west ; its breadth is nowhere more than eight or nine miles, and in some places scarcely one ; its medium depth is about six fathoms. Nearly opposite Fared it opens into the river Sic', which communicates with the Danube, but is not navigable. It is difficult for an Englishman to imagine a fine inland lake of this kind, totally useless for the purposes of commerce or pleasure. I believe there is not a single trading barge, and certainly not one sailing-boat on the whole lake ! There never was a people who had less natural disposition to navigation than the Hungarians. Their rivers and lakes seem to be of more use to them when frozen than when fluid ; for, on observing to a gentleman of this neighbourhood how extraordinary it was that they did not use the lake as a means of communication, " Oh ! " he exclaimed, " we do in winter; we drive from one end to the other of it, as if it were a road."

[264] THE DINNER.

The supply of fish from the Balaton seems almost without a limit, and is very various in kind. A great part of it is sent to the markets of Pest and Vienna. The Fogas (Peres lucioperca) is said to be found only in the Balaton, and its peculiar structure has rendered it well-known to the learned.42 The delicacy of its flavour, and the firmness of its texture, constitute it perhaps the best freshwater fish in Europe. The craw-fish of the Balaton, which in size is more like a small lobster than the poor little things which our brooks produce, is equally sought after as a delicacy by the gourmand.

Our dinner was as good and gay as the wellknown hospitality and good-humour of the host could make it. As usual in Hungary, it was at two o'clock ; and as usual, also, profuse in quantity, and excellent in quality. The ceremony of bowing, and among relations of kissing, on retiring to the drawing-room, was a novelty to us, of which we could not well understand the rationale. I imagine it must be the substitute for the Turkish "May your food be healthy to you ! " I believe it is common in many parts of Germany ; for I remember seeing a whole party of gentlemen kiss each other after a dinner party in Berlin, to my no small horror. By the by, kissing among men is almost as rare in Hungary as with us.

We separated at an early hour, and were invited

42Csaplovics says it is found also in the Nile, and in some parts of Siberia.
[265] HUNGARIAN BEAUTY. to return at five o'clock and join a réunian of all the most distinguished persons at Füred in Mr. Horvath's drawing-room. Soon after the hour appointed, we found a party of sixty or seventy persons assembled, among whom there was certainly a greater number of pretty women than I ever saw in any other society of the same extent. The Hungarian ladies are handsome,—that is beyond a doubt; but here was a galaxy of beauty, extraordinary even for Hungary. To tell my readers their names would be of no service, and to describe woman's beauty is next to impossible ; so I believe I must leave it to the best of painters —their own imaginations. I may venture to say, however, that the characteristics of Hungarian beauty are, a large full eye, very dark hair, with a fair complexion ; features of little regularity, perhaps, but delicately formed, especially the mouth and chin, which have very rarely that heavy, coarse outline which adheres so pertinaciously to the Saxon race. But there was one blonde among them, whom I cannot pass over; she was of exquisite loveliness, and most rare beauty; her features were perfectly regular, her blue eyes full of sweetness and expression, and her complexion one of the purest conceivable. The Countess DI was the only person who ever recalled to my memory the head of the Cenci : can T say more? It was long before I would ask an introduction to her; I watched every delicate play of the fea- [266] THE SOIRÉE. tures, every subdued smile which hovered round the lips, and left my imagination to interpret them as it would, ere I destroyed the illusion by the common-places of a drawing-room conversation. But ill-nature had its place at Füred, as well as elsewhere; and an envious brunette whispered that the object of my fanciful attentions had actually been out for two whole winters, and was, moreover, rather addicted to flirting, — information which, though I did not believe one word of it, brought my day-dream to a sudden termination.

We did not think that the gentlemen, or at least the generality of them, appeared to equal advantage in the drawing-room with the ladies ; or perhaps we were not equally willing to do them credit.. Many of them looked shy and awkward, huddled together in groups in corners and door-ways, and seemed little inclined to mix in conversation with the ladies.

We could not help smiling at the stiffness of some young officers, who entered the room very much as if they were still at drill. Their uniform, a white coat, as short as possible in the tail, as much padded as possible in the breast, and unrelieved by epaulette or embroidery, and trowsers so tight that they seemed in constant danger of suffocating the unhappy wearers, did not form the most becoming costume in the world. When three or four figures so attired marched into the centre of the drawing-room, drew themselves up to "atten- [267] THE BALL. tion," and, striking both heels together so as to make their spurs ring, bobbed their heads forwards, faced to the left and bobbed again, then to the right and bobbed again, thinking when they bad performed these evolutions that they had practised the most approved art and style of entering a room, Heraclitus himself could not but have smiled at the picture. With the aid of tea, cards, coffee, and small talk, the soirée continued till nine o'clock, when it was declared time to adjourn to a ball in the public rooms.

These rooms were those commonly occupied by the restaurateur of the place, and it was for his benefit the ball was given. The society was more mixed, and bore an air of far less elegance than that of Mr. Horváth's drawing-room; in fact, there were two or three coteries here, and we were lucky enough to have been taken up by the best. The waltz and galopade were when we arrived in full activity, in spite of the heat of a July evening. I never saw a people more decidedly fond of dancing. No introduction to the ladies is required, the first partner who offers is accepted ; they whirl two or three times round the room, and then the gentlemen set their ladies down, and away with others: scarce a word seems to be exchanged ; dancing is the object, and they never lose sight of it.

Except the dancers, the gentlemen stand in the middle of the room, while the ladies sit in a row all round. The sexes, except for the purpose of dan- [268] WALTZING. cing, seem as rigidly separated as in the Protestant churches here; the ladies are even left to promenade the rooms alone, and I believe it was looked upon as sadly heterodox when we offered our arms to accompany the ladies with whom we were speaking. Some of the men were uncouth enough, not in dress only, but in manner. I saw one man, who evidently considered himself an élégant, actually combing his hair over the lap of a beautiful girl he was talking to.

The style of waltzing practised by some of the ladies rather astonished our unaccustomed eyes. Strauss, and his waltzes, have introduced a quickness into the dance quite foreign to its origin, and not only destructive of all elegance, but very often of all decency too, for it requires an approximation of the persons far from reserved, at least in appearance. To make the matter still worse, some of the ladies laid their heads very unceremoniously on their cavaliers' shoulders, and sank with such an abandon into their arms, as they yielded to the giddy fascination of the dance, that, I must confess, my prudery was considerably shocked ! It is but fair to add, that many of the dowagers declared against the propriety of such tricks, and that not one of the young ladies we had met previously was guilty of them. The society of a bathing-place is rarely too select; and there was as much variety here as could be desired by the most liberal in such matters.

We made the acquaintance of some Italian offi- [269] ADVENTURES AT TIHANY. cers this evening, pleasant and very well informed men. They said they were well received by the Hungarian gentry in whose neighbourhood they lived, and were not regarded with any of that jealous suspicion under which their German comrades suffer.

When we got home from the ball, H___ had not returned from Tihany, and we concluded that he had availed himself of the hospitality of the monastery ; but his hungry look, and call for breakfast, as he awoke us the following morning, were pretty good proofs that he had not tasted of the church's fare. It appears the holy brothers have been so much tormented by curious visitors from Füred, that, for the last year or two, they have closed their doors against all corners. Luckily, a poor carpenter took pity on H___'s melancholy situation, and shared with him his meagre dinner. As evening drew on, however, H___ had discovered some very picturesque peasants, whom he persuaded to sit to him ; and quite forgetting, in his delight, that the sun will set, and daylight pass away, he found himself without shelter in a dark night, and at some miles from Füred, without having once thought where he was to lay his head. The friendly carpenter came to his aid a second time, and offered him the best shelter his cottage could afford. It was a very poor one, but there was no choice, and H gladly accepted the offer. When they reached the door, the wife and children were already asleep. A bed, however, was soon got [270] BATHING. ready, and H___ groped his way to it, as well as he could, in the dark, for the people were too poor to indulge in the luxury of candles. He was soon convinced that he was not alone. A coughing on one side, cries on the other, a cackling and rustling of feathers above, and a butting of horns below, continued at intervals throughout the night, and afforded him abundant matter for speculation as to who and what his fellow-lodgers were ; but it was not till morning broke that he became aware he had been sleeping in close proximity with two women, half a dozen children, a lien and chickens, and a great billygoat ! In fact, the good Samaritan had left his own chamber, and with it, wife, maid, and all its other occupants, to the mercy of the stranger whom he had taken under his roof. A bit of black bread and a little goat's milk was all the poor man could offer him for breakfast, but any recompence was firmly though respectfully refused.

A stroll on the promenade between the hours of ten and eleven o'clock, which capricious fashion has fixed upon as the only proper time for that exercise at Füred, and a swim in the lake, served to pass the morning. The baths are wooden sheds extending into the lake, and open towards the water ; we were forbidden, however, to transgress beyond the rail, because, by so doing, we might have seen into all the other sheds, and the Baroness -- was still in one of them. We were determined on a swim, however ; so, waiting very quietly till this lady—a [271] A PUBLIC SUPPER. sour-looking old dowager, by the by—was gone, we climbed the barrier, and indulged in a swim in the open lake. They say the water is salt, and that it ebbs and flows with the sea ; but we were not able to perceive either the one or the other.

Some visits, a stroll in the pleasant woods, the theatre and a public supper at the restaurateur's, finished the evening; the supper, however, must not pass without a word or two. In order to support the restaurant, it was determined that all the ladies, instead of supping in their own apartments, should adjourn to this place at least once a week ; and this happened to be the night. A number of persons were already there, but to our no small astonishment, in two distinct parties,—the ladies at one end of the room, and the gentlemen at the other. Supposing that this was some national custom, I believe the fear of offending would have banished us in like manner, much as it was against our inclinations, had not a little hint from Madame set us at liberty, by informing us that it was only because the gentlemen found their own society more agreeable than that of the ladies, that they congregated together.

Before the ladies had finished supper the gentlemen had already begun their pipes, and the whole room was soon in a cloud of smoke. As soon as the music struck up, a scene of such riot commenced,-some were dancing, some singing, others smoking and applauding,—that I was heartily glad [272] AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN OPINIONS. when the Countess B declared it was no longer to be borne, and left the room, followed by the whole party of ladies.

Many of these ladies, though Hungarians, were inhabitants of Vienna, and it so happened that I had a short time previously expressed my astonishment that they did not prefer their own capital to that of a country which they affected to look down upon. This was too good an opportunity of running down Hungarian society, and excusing their desertion of their own capital, to be lost : " Such," said the Countess, "are the scenes Hungarian ladies must submit to if they will frequent Hungarian society ; and yet you are astonished that we should seek a more civilized circle, even though it be in the capital of Austria!" I urged, though I must confess the scenes of the past hour had rendered my pleading but very feeble, " That their own absence was probably the cause of much of this rudeness ; that it was always the privilege of woman to civilize our coarser sex ; and that it only depended on themselves to banish smoking and such abominations from their drawing-rooms whenever they pleased." Don't believe anything of the kind," she answered; " such men easily find consolation for the want of our society, and they prefer their pipes to our drawing-rooms at any time; and, besides, the woman who should attempt such a thing would be exposed to neglect and insult of every kind." " But surely in the capital—" The capital is [273] OF HUNGARIAN SOCIETY. worse than anywhere else. The society there is in a most deplorable state ; the excesses of the young men render it unsafe even to walk the streets : be assured, no one would live at Pest who could afford to live anywhere else in the world."

I could answer nothing, for I had seen but little of the country, and was talking with those who ought to have known it well; and we returned to our rooms with no favourable opinion of Hungarian society. The reader will be able to judge for himself, I trust, ere we part, how far such opinions were just : but I may as well warn him that many of the persons by whom this scene was acted were country squires, neither the highest nor most polished of their order; and that the persons from whom these remarks proceeded were absentees, totally ignorant of Pest, and anxious to find excuses for neglecting what is now beginning to be considered a duty,—a residence in the country from whence they derive their immense revenues. I have felt myself bound to relate this incident, because it did occur; but I should be unjust did I not say that it contrasted strongly with the manners we observed in every other society we entered, and that it required nothing less than the most rooted prejudice to draw from it the conclusions just related.

We were talking over these matters, and refilling our meerschaums for the last pipe,—mind, I am far from objecting to a pipe in its proper place,—when a wild burst of music came from the shores of the [274] CZIGÁNY BAND. Balaton, and awoke the midnight echoes of the lake to most harmonious sounds. It was a serenade, which some of the heroes of the supper-room had offéred—we hope in contrition—to the offended fair. Nothing could be finer or more soothing than those soft notes, now swelling on the breeze, now dying away over the waters of the lake ; and we trust they may have obtained pardon for the sinners.

It would be ungrateful, while lauding the music, were we to keep silence as to those who made it. The Mired band was really a very good one, and it surprised us not a little to hear that it was composed entirely of gipsies ; yes, that same thieving, lying, music-loving race, of whom we so often see a stray member in our own villages scraping a jig on a three-stringed fiddle, is found here, too, and busy in the same idleness. But instead of strumming at village wakes with country bumpkins for their auditors, we found them here in stately festivals, ministering to the pleasures of the nobles of the land ; and, instead of a crazy fiddle, a well-conditioned orchestra might have been formed out of the gipsy band.

The leader was not the least remarkable of the party, for, though not more than fourteen years of age, he was a most accomplished violinist. He had studied for some months under Strauss in Vienna, and had received high commendations from his master; but what Strauss certainly had not intended to teach, though it was no slight clement of his pupil's success, was a most perfect imitation of those [275] FOUR-IN-HAND. extraordinary movements by which the body of the great waltz-player seems convulsed during his performance, and which our little Czigany took off so admirably as to keep his audience in a roar of laughter. I have seen the gipsies—Czigány, as the Hungarians called them—as actors also, and they are not very much worse than the generality of strolling players in other lands.

A great bustle was heard next morning in the quiet streets of Mired ; horns were sounding, horses neighing, and wheels rattling to and fro at an unaccustomed rate. It appeared that all this was in preparation for a driving party. There were not less than twenty fours-in-hand here, and the greater part of them were on this day to turn out. But, oh ! what erroneous ideas are conveyed by words. Twenty fours-in-hand ! Glorious reminiscences of the palmy clays of the old club torment one's fancy at the very sound ; alas ! the sight of them was quite enough to banish any such visions. The common Hungarian four-in-hand is a low britchska, or caléche, ill painted, ill cleaned, and drawn by four long-tailed horses about fourteen hands and a half high, with thin legs, bare bones, and devoid of any one point of beauty.

The harness, though of the worst quality and in the worst state, is often ornamented with ribbons, and has generally long thongs of leather hanging loosely from the head, shoulders, and croup, as low as the knees. The reins are all mixed together in [276] COACHMEN AND DRIVING. what appeared to us a most incomprehensible jumble, and those of the fore-horse are often fixed to the wheelers ; yet, in spite of these disadvantages, they drive at full gallop, and turn very suddenly and very adroitly. The whole secret lies in the whip, and the horses commonly bear very evident marks of their drivers' skill in its application.

When a first-rate Hungarian coachman starts for a drive, before he takes up his master he blows a horn, flogs his horses well into spirits, gallops them half a dozen times round the court, throws them on their haunches, and, when he has worked them into a foam, dashes up to the door at full speed, to the applause and admiration of surrounding Jehus. The dress of the coachman—of course I speak of the servants — was singular enough to our eyes : he generally wears a dirty hussar uniform,—the jacket off, however, in summer, and hanging over one shoulder,—hessian boots, and spurs, with a broad-brimmed low-crowned hat ornamented with a bunch of flowers or feathers.

Except for this driving party, I do not remember to have seen the gentlemen at Fured engaged in any one amusement, save that of lounging about in groups and smoking their meerschaums. The pipe is rarely out of their mouths, and appears to supply the place of those athletic exercises in which we so much delight.

An excursion to Tihany was planned for this evening. After a drive of two or three miles along the [277] MONASTERY OF TIHANY. shore of the lake, we crossed a small stream which separates Tihany from the main land, making it in fact an island. We passed the remains of some ancient fortifications as we ascended the hill to the monastery. This monastery, one of the earliest Christian establishments in Hungary, was founded by King Andreas I. in 1057, in remembrance of the defeat of the Germans, a year or two previously, in this neighbourhood. Only a very small part of what at present exists can be referred to an earlier date than last century ; and it is now so concealed by whitewash, that it has no claim to interest on the score of antiquity.

We were shown over it, though with a sulky and distrustful air ; but there was nothing to excite a remark in its long cold passages and simple church. The views from the windows over the lake are fine ; the kitchen was large, and seemed well supplied ; and among the cooks were the prettiest peasant girls we had seen in the whole country round.

A number of children came out from the cottages, and brought us handfuls of a fossil which is found in great quantities at the foot of the limestone rock on which the monastery stands. Beudant says they are broken shells of an oyster common in the Jura lime ; I dare not dispute the matter on my own responsibility,43 but I cannot help doubting it.

43Mr. Sowerby, to whom a specimen has been shown, says that, as far as he can judge from such a fragment, he thinks it a part of a mytilus, to a fresh-water species of which it certainly bears a strong resemblance.
[278] TIHANY.

The peasants have a way of their own to account for them ; they call them " goats' hoofs," to which they have a most extraordinary resemblance, and attribute their origin to the reign of King Bela.

TIHANY FOSSILS
TIHANY FOSSILS

When Hungary, they say, was so sadly ravaged by the Tartars in the olden times, the King was obliged to cross the Danube for safety, and was at last driven to take refuge, with all his flocks and herds, in the island of Tihany. The Tartars, however, followed him so closely that he could not remain even there ; and, finding it impossible to secure his goats, he determined at any rate, that the enemy should not have them, so he drove them all into the lake and drowned them. In time their hoofs turned to stone, and a great many of them have been washed up on the shore, from that day to this, but without diminishing their numbers.

Round the greater part of Tihany the limestone rocks present a craggy cliff to the lake, while in the interior the surface is formed like the crater of a volcano, the centre of which is occupied by a small lake. I thought too I perceived traces of volcanic action in some of the rocks, and I should [279] HUNGARIAN DANCE. have liked much to have made further researches ; but the ladies were waiting, and between geology and gallantry, of course, there could be no hesitation.

Another ball, given by two gentlemen, concluded our visit to Füred. It differed little from the former, except that the company was more select, and the supper much better. It was opened by a polonaise, a solemn kind of promenade, in which every one is expected to take part. Each gentleman, touching the ends of a lady's fingers, marches with her to slow music for two or three minutes, and then, yielding her to the gentleman before him, takes the partner of the one behind ; and so on in turn with the whole party, so that in time every gentleman has danced with every lady. To men short of conversation it is a most convenient arrangement. I tried the effect of making the same observation — of course a very brilliant one — to every passing lady, and amused myself with watching the different answers it produced.

We had an opportunity this evening of seeing the Hungarian national dance very well performed. A lady and gentleman stand up, and dance opposite each other : the gentleman commences a variety of contortions, gradually increasing from calm to wild, jumping about in all manner of forms, and making innumerable steps; while the lady seems to keep up a sort of running accompaniment, very modest in its gestures, and always retiring as her [280] DEPARTURE FROM FURED. partner advances. The dance becomes quicker and quicker as it goes on, till at last the gentleman seizes his partner in his arms, whirls her round and round, quits her, again seizes her, and, again whirling round, at last conducts her to a seat quite exhausted with fatigue. To me it seems the most pantomimic of any dance I know ; it is impossible not to see the courtship of the lover, the coy reserve of the maiden, the gradual yielding of her reserve, the final triumph of love, and the wild joy it excites, in the various movements of the dance. I cannot say it is an elegant dance; but it is full of expression, and requires no slight agility to perform it well.

We remained at the ball till day-light was peeping through the shutters, when the horses were announced as in waiting. We then bade adieu to the kind and hospitable friends we had met, drank bumpers of Champagne to the toasts some of the wilder spirits insisted on proposing, and started at last amidst a flourish of music, which they had brought out to do honour to our departure. Our journey back to Pest produced nothing worth recording.

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