Title


[449] CHURCH OF KIRCHDRAUF.

CHAPTER XVI.

The Church of Kirchdrauf. —Cholera Troubles in Zips.—The Stadt-Hauptmann of Eperies.—Kaschau.—Austrian Officers.— Stephan's Dismissal.—Mines of Schmolnitz.—Cementwasser. —Gorman Settlers. — Rosenau. —Mustaches.— Castle of Murány.—Wesselényi's Wooing of Szécsi Maria.—Requisites for Travelling in Hungary.—Cavern of Aggtelek.—A Bivouac. —Miskolcz.—Tokay.—The Theiss.--The Wine of Tokay.

WE spent a couple of days very agreeably at M— in visiting the wonders of the neighbourhood. The old castle of Zips, the stronghold at times of some of the most formidable enemies of Austria,—Zápolya, Bethlen, Rákótzy, and Tököly, — is now a possession of the Csákys, but is fast falling to ruin. Some parts of it exhibit marks of considerable beauty ; and, what is rarely the case in Hungary, a pretty chapel is contained within its walls. At Kirchdrauf, not far from the castle of Zips, we visited a beautiful Gothic church, containing some interesting monuments, and belonging to the chapter of that place. In the sacristy were some gold sacramental cups, worked in a style that would not have discredited the chisel of Benvenuto [450] CHURCH OF KIRCHDRAUF. Cellini, and ornamented most richly with precious stones. The old beadle sighed as he showed them, for he said they were nothing to what had formerly been there ; "but the Emperor robbed "—yes, the irreverent old beadle, in his zeal for the honour of his church, called the Emperor's borrowing a robbery !—" all the best of them to bribe the Frenchmen to leave Vienna."

We visited one of the jovial Dom Herrn, who insisted on our tasting some of the church's Tokay, for these happy prebends have a vineyard on those blessed Hegyalla hills ; and excellent, as I can attest, is the fruit thereof, and very fit to comfort a Dona Herr's stomach in his old age.

We noticed in many parts of this county, but particularly in this neighbourhood, a great number of gibbets, from each of which several bodies were dangling. It appears that in 1831, when the cholera first broke out in Hungary, the Sclavack peasants of the north were fully persuaded they were poisoned by the nobles, to get rid of them ; and they in consequence rose in revolt, and committed the most dreadful excesses. The gentleman who related these circumstances to us, had been himself a sufferer. He was seized by the peasants of the village, among whom he had been, up to that moment, exceedingly popular; dragged from his house to the public street ; and there beaten for several successive hours, to make him confess where he had concealed the poison. At last, wearied with the [451] OUTRAGES IN THE ZIPS. trouble of inflicting blows, they carried him to the smithy, and applied hot ploughshares to his feet three different times. As the poor man, exhausted with this dreadful torture, and finding all his entreaties and explanations vain, fell back from weakness, and was apparently about to expire, those beautiful words of our dying Saviour escaped from his lips, "Lord, forgive them, for they know not what they do !"—as by a miracle, the savage rage of the peasantry was calmed. Struck at once with the innocence of the victim, and the enormity of their crime, they fled on every side, and concealed themselves from view. It was now four years since this had happened, and his wounds had healed only within the last month or two. In other parts of the county, scenes yet more dreadful occurred. It is pleasant, amid such horrors, to record an act of noble courage on the part of a poor peasant. The Lord Lieutenant, in attempting, without arms, to quiet the assembled crowd in a village not far from where we were staying, was struck from his horse by a stone, when the whole crowd fell upon him to accomplish his death. Fortunately, a poor shoemaker who saw his danger, rushed forward ; and throwing himself upon him, declared he would have the pleasure of murdering him himself; but at the same time whispered to the Count that he was in the hands of a friend. Protecting him in this way from the crowd, he imprisoned him in his own cottage till night secured his retreat. I need [452] CHOLERA RIOTS IN THE ZIPS. scarcely add, that Count Csaky rewarded the honest cobbler by a handsome pension for life.

In consequence of these riots, Stand Becht,— summary law, by which a man may be tried and executed on the spot where he is apprehended, without even having been put in prison, or allowed to make any preparation for his defence,—was proclaimed, and no less than fifty Sclavack peasants were hung and gibbeted in different parts of the county in consequence. Of course, the barbarism of the people, and the necessity of impressing a wholesome terror on their minds, is the plea urged in extenuation of this horrible exhibition. I leave the reader to decide whether the barbarism of the judges, and the necessity of satisfying their feelings of revenge, would not be nearer the truth. How far the desired effect has been produced may be guessed from the circumstance that, every New-year's day, each body receives a new dress from the relatives and friends of the deceased in the neighbouring villages.

I have frequently heard it repeated, and with the strongest assurance of its truth, that this rising was excited by Russian agents, in consequence of the sympathy and aid which the northern counties of Hungary afforded to Poland, and which even the highest Austrian authorities were supposed to have favoured. What credence should be attached to such a report, I know not. In countries where secrecy is the system of government, where the police [453] EPERIES. is responsible only to the minister, and where the press is stifled, rumour assumes an authority and importance quite unknown with us. Here, nothing is more easy than to spread a report, which, true or false, passes from mouth to mouth with the rapidity of lightning; the secrecy in which it is enveloped adding to its terrors, and rendering its refutation impossible.

At Eperies we met with almost the only instance of serious annoyance and incivility which occurred during the whole of our journey through Hungary ; and this is the more remarkable, as a somewhat similar adventure, attended with much more disagreeable consequences, happened to our country-man Townson, nearly half a century before, somewhere in the same neighbourhood. While in a public room of the inn, we observed a number of persons passing and repassing before the window, and occasionally coming into the room, evidently with no other object than that of satisfying an ill-mannered curiosity. Our carriage was subjected to a similar inspection ; and old Stephan grew very angry at the impertinent questions with which he was pestered. In short, all Krfihwinkel was in arms to know who and what we were : and I have no doubt a number of the Eperies wise-heads had set us down for spies, although for what object any one should give himself the trouble of spying at Eperies it would be difficult to conceive.

Just as we sat down to table, in marched an [454] IMPERTINENT STADT-HAUPTMANN orderly and demanded our passports; but as I had been assured such demands were never made in Hungary, and as, in the present instance, I knew it to be merely an act of impertinence, I declined to comply. Nothing more occurred till we were ready to start, the horses harnessed, and we about to get into the carriage ; when a sulky-looking fellow, said to be the Stadt-Hauptmann, ordered out a guard of hussars, commanded them to take out the horses, and, if resisted, to effect it by force. There were now collected a considerable number of the gentlemen of the place, the greater part of whom seemed heartily ashamed of the conduct of their magistrate, and excused him by saying that he had orders to arrest some Polish refugees, and he did not know that we might not be the suspected persons. All this was pure nonsense ; but, as we had no desire to remain at Eperies till some of our friends could testify to our identity, we were obliged to unpack our boxes and to search for the luckless passport, for it had not been seen till that moment since we first entered the country. As I presented the passport,—of which, by the by, the Stadt-Hauptmann could not read one word, I could not resist the pleasure of disburthening myself of some of those disagreeable feelings which this act of official81 insolence had engendered ; and

81It must be recollected that the magistrates of towns are not freely elected, like those of counties : indeed, in many instances, they deserve to be considered in no higher light than as policemen of Vienna.
[455] KASCHAU. having properly abused the great man, to the no small delight of his fellow-townsmen, we shook off the dust from our feet as a testimony against Eperies, and so departed.

The country through which we passed before arriving at Kaschau, is, like most of the north of Hungary, poor and cold, when compared with the south. Hemp and flax are cultivated in large quantities, and the clothing of the people is made almost entirely from these materials.

Kaschau itself, a town of thirteen thousand inhabitants, is decidedly one of the very prettiest places I know anywhere. In winter its gaiety is said to rival that of Pest ; for, owing to the distance of the northern counties from the metropolis, Kaschau assumes the importance of a second capital, and is much resorted to by the nobles as a winter residence. All the usual consequences of the diffusion of wealth are visible here ; handsome houses, well-stocked shops, a good casino, a theatre, and pleasant promenades, are among the outward signs. The greatest ornament of Kaschau, however, is its cathedral. It was begun as early as 1324 by St. Elizabeth, Queen of Hungary, and was brought to its present state by Mathias Corvinus. It is in a chaste Gothic style; in some parts, particularly the west front, exhibiting rich fret-work of great elegance and purity.

In the evening we strolled into the theatre, where a company of Germans were giving Fra [456] AUSTRIAN OFFICERS. Diavolo very tolerably ; though the noise kept up by a party of officers, prevented a great part of it from being heard. This offensive manifestation of imagined superiority forcibly recalled the character given of these gentry in a wicked little book, " Die Ungarn wie sic sind." " They look down on the citizens, who not only feed them, but in the hour of danger, when matters can no longer be arranged by a well-stuffed white uniform, devote their properties and lives for their father-land as well as themselves ; they talk great of pretty girls, horses, and the service, in coffee-houses and inns; boast of true, or, in case of need, of fancied tonnes fortunes ; kick up rows (macken s1ecktakel) in the theatre ; play well at billiards; reason about things they do not understand ; criticise their superior officers, and swear they could arrange everything better from winning a battle to ruling a kingdom."

Witty, however, as this description is, and applicable as in my choler I thought it to the garrison of Kaschau, I am not so unjust as to apply it to the whole body of Austrian officers. Like most other officers, they are apt, I believe, to mistake the swagger of the barrack for the easy manner of good society ; but I have generally found them polite, and much less afflicted with the affectations of puppyism than most others of their class. That there is no great sympathy between them and the Hungarians, is beyond a doubt ; they are for the most part [457] STEPHAN'S DISCHARGE. foreigners—Italians and Germans—who are hated by the Hungarians, and who return that hatred with unconcealed contempt. Among themselves, however, I know no army where there is more kind-heartedness, more good-temper, united to devotion for the service, than in the Austrian army. The pay is miserably small, the uniform simple, the discipline strict, and advancement very slow; yet the Austrian officer is proud of the service, and considers it decidedly superior to every other profession.

From Kaschau to Schmolnitz nothing of much interest occurred, save an outbreak of poor Stephan's failing, which obliged me to part with him on the spot. At Metzenseif, where we stayed for dinner, it was unluckily fast-day, and nothing could be got to eat save a few hard-boiled eggs ; and whether from the consequent want of a good foundation for his usual quantum, or whether he had been tempted to an excess, I know not, but we had not travelled far before the old soldier manifested strong symptoms of intoxication, and got into a violent quarrel with the coachman. In vain did I endeavour to check hire ; he seemed to have lost all command of himself, and became so insolent and unruly that I was obliged to discharge him next day, though very much to my sorrow. He had excellent qualities, and was besides an original ; but the chance of a scene like this in any private house where we might have been staying, was too much to encounter.

[458] SCHMOLNITZ.

At Schmölnitz we were again in a mining district, and I was glad to avail myself of an opportunity I had missed at Neusohl, of seeing the process of extracting copper from the cementwasser,— water containing a solution of sulphate of copper. The director of the mines, Berg-Talk, appointed an intelligent young practicant to show me all I desired.

The copper is extracted from the cementwasser by making it pass slowly over inclined wooden troughs, in the whole two hundred and twelve yards in length. These are thickly strewed over with pieces of iron ; by which means the sulphuric acid is attracted from the copper, and combines with the iron, forming a soluble sulphate of iron ; while the copper, nearly pure, is deposited in a soft state. It is then scraped off the plates of iron, and sent to be roasted. I did not visit the mines, for it was Saturday evening, and almost all the men had left off work for the week.

The district of Schmölnitz, which includes several mines in its neighbourhood, produces annually twelve thousand centners of copper, of which one thousand are said to be obtained from the cementwasser. I find in my note-book thirty thousand marks of silver set down as the produce of Schmidnitz; but I feel convinced it is enormously above the real amount, though I have no means at hand of correcting it. Three thousand is much more probably the true quantity. The amalgamation pro- [459] SCHMOLNITZ. cess is employed here, and is managed in the following manner :—The ore, after being exposed to a slow roasting, is ground down to an impalpable powder, when it is mixed with quicksilver in large wooden barrels, furnished with copper balls, which are kept turning round for twenty-four hours. During this time the silver unites with the mercury, and forms an amalgam, which is then separated from the earthy matter, and afterwards exposed to heat in closed vessels, by which the mercury is driven off. Two per cent. of quicksilver is lost.

There are said to be several mines of quicksilver worked in this district; but, as I did not hear of them till I had left the place, I cannot state the quantity produced, or the manner of working them ; I fancy, however, they are unimportant, and chiefly in the hands of private individuals. The iron mines of this neighbourhood, particularly those of Count Andrásy, are among the best in Hungary. Antimony and lead are also obtained in the Schmülnitz district.

Schmolnitz itself is the prettiest of the mining towns we had yet seen, and the neat and respectable appearance of the people bore evidence of their German origin. On the Sunday morning, as we were preparing to leave, the streets were crowded with well-dressed miners coming from church ; the women still retaining their German costume, though the men were all in hussar jackets, and booted and spurred as well as the [460] GERMAN SETTLERS OF SCHMOLNITZ. best Magyar in the country. One pretty girl H___ requested to stand to him a few minutes while he made a sketch ; to which she assented, with a modesty and grace which would have clone credit to a drawing-room. The only part of her

GERMAN SETTLERS OF SCHMOLNITZ
GERMAN SETTLERS OF SCHMOLNITZ

dress which was Hungarian were the yellow kneeboots, almost entirely concealed by the length of her gown. It is curious with what pertinacity the peasant women in every part of Hungary retain the costume of their ancestors. A sentiment of shame is attached to a change, especially to any imitation of the higher classes. " It may be very well for a lady to put on such foreign fashions if she likes, but an honest Hungarian peasant girl should wear the same clothes as her grandmother wore before her."

[461] ROUTE TO ROSENAU.

It had become a matter of urgent necessity to supply the place of old Stephan ; for we were just on the borders of that part of the country where the Sclavacks and Magyars meet, and where the German language is almost unknown. Fortunately a young miner, who spoke all three languages, was persuaded to accompany us as far as Pest, on condition that his fellow-workmen, with whom he had some contract, would let him off. After waiting some time to allow these arrangements to be effected, our miner appeared, dressed in a very neat dark - blue hussar uniform, his boots well cleaned, his mustache freshly stiffened, and with his broad-brimmed hat in hand ready to do good service. The wages that had tempted him from his home were two shillings a-day.

Our road led us through a finely wooded district, till we arrived on the summit of a hill, below which a beautiful country was spread out before us. It took us two hours to descend this hill, over a road left bad on purpose, I presume, to ease the horses in holding back ; for, without this aid, it would be scarcely possible to sustain the weight of a carriage for so long a time. We passed an old castle belonging to Count AndríLsy, still habitable, but spoilt by modern repairs; and, soon after, a village of the same gentleman's, with which no fault could be found. Nowhere had I seen more neat, nay, handsome cottages, provided as they were with large windows and pretty gardens; and the whole [462] THE SKETCHES LOST. looking so neat, and their inhabitants so prosperous. that I could not help envying the man who could say, " This happiness is my work !"

It appeared as if we were now doomed to misfortune ; for no sooner had they begun to unpack the carriage at Rosenau, than we perceived that H___'s colour-box, and portfolio, which held all his sketches, and which were contained in a leathern pocket attached to the back of the carriage, were missing, the pocket having apparently worn itself off in consequence of the jolting over a bad road. The first thing to be done was to send back our miner on foot, to endeavour to find it ; and, if he should not succeed, to request the magistrates to aid him in his search, and to offer a reward at Schmölnitz for its recovery. Though late in the day, this plan was quickly arranged and at once put in execution ; and, as a day or two would be required before he could return, we determined to employ the time in visiting the castle of Mutiny, a short day's journey from Rosenau.

The Sclavack peasant whom the people of the inn had engaged to take us in his Leiter-wager, which we preferred, on account of the state of the roads, to our own carriage, instead of appearing at five o'clock, the appointed time, was not forthcoming at seven, though he had received a part of the money beforehand. In this dilemma I bethought me of the terror with which the peasants regard a Haiduk, and accordingly sent to request [463] MUSTACHES. that one of them might be despatched after the truant. I had hit on the right expedient ; for, in a quarter of an hour, up came the wagen at full gallop, with the Maiduk in it ; nor, when he presented himself to us with his smart uniform, rattling spurs, strong stick, and military swagger, set off by the most exaggerated pair of mustaches I had ever seen, was I much astonished at his success. He might have frightened a greater man than our peasant driver. I do not think I exaggerate when I say his mustaches were more than a foot long from tip to tip, as the ornithologists express it ; standing out on each side of his face as stiff, straight, and black as wax could make them. 1 have heard of several Hungarians who could twist their mustaches round their ears, but I believe this man might have tied his behind his head. This length of mustache is a matter of considerable pride to its possessor; the officers of a regiment of hussars have been known to allow extra pay to a soldier who was very remarkable in this way, to enable him to maintain his mustaches in wax. In no country of Europe is the mustache held in such respect as in Hungary; all, except the clergy,—masters and servants, professors and students, from the highest magnate to the lowest peasant,—cherish with vast affection this hirsute covering of the upper lip. We were even obliged to fall into the custom ; for so strongly is the idea of manhood and mustaches associated, that T remember a child exclaiming when she heard [464] OUR RECEPTION AT MURÁNY. that they were not worn in England, " Why, you must all look like great girls then !"

Our road led us through several pretty valleys, watered by clear brooks, and enlivened by the sound of iron-works, and the activity which industry always creates. As we approached Murány, we saw at a considerable distance a huge rock rise precipitously from the valley, which the peasant pointed out as the object of our visit, though we could scarcely perceive the remains of the castle, so small did they appear compared with the stupendous proportions of the rock itself. Just at the foot of the mountain lies the pretty little village of the same name, where a large inn with this inscription over the gateway, " Morantes gaudent Baccho," seemed to promise us good accommodation. We were surprised, therefore, on inquiring for rooms, not only to find that there were none for us, but to receive also very uncivil answers to our questions. We had forgotten that we were travelling in a peasant's waggon, and without a servant ; two things so very much below the dignity of an Hungarian gentleman, who always takes his servant with him, if it is only to fill his pipe, and strike a light for him, that the only wonder is they gave us an answer at all. Having at last obtained an unwilling promise that we should at least have some supper, and having found a guide to show us the way, we bent our steps towards the castle.

[465] CASTLE OF MURANY.

It required a good hour and a half's climb to gain the summit of that rock. Little now remains of the vast castle itself; except some of the outer walls, the casements, and a few broken towers, it is a complete ruin. We passed up the wide steps cut in the solid rock, and entered by a gateway well defended by double towers, the foundations of which are in the stone itself. The great area, which must contain many acres, was covered with grass, which had just been mown ; and in the centre stood a little summer-house, built for the accommodation of picnic parties. Far over distant mountains did the view extend ; nothing but rock and wood on every side, save where the impatient rivulet had cut its stony bed, and fertilized its little valley : and well could we believe our guide, as pointing out on every side favourite resorts of the wolf and bear, he exclaimed, "An excellent hunting country this ; in whiter we are never without wolves, and rarely a summer conies but two or three she-bears drop their cubs in these woods."

So strong a fortress, in the centre of a country so often the scene of civil war, could hardly have escaped sharing in the great events of those times ; and we accordingly find the name of Dlurítny frequently occurring in Hungarian history. At one time the Diet complains of it as a harbour for traitors and robbers ; at another, a solemn decree of the nation indicates it as the safe-guard of the kingdom, and appoints it as the place where the [466] CASTLE OF MURÁNY. sacred crown of St. Stephen should be deposited. During the religious wars, when Transylvania under the first George Míkotzy, aided by the Protestants of Germany and the Mohammedans of Turkey, waged almost constant war against the Catholic Emperor and King, the possession of Murány became a point of great importance. Fortune, who loves to play strange tricks, had at this eventful moment placed the fortress in the hands of a woman ; but, as if to make amends, it had endowed her with all the qualities of greatness to which our sex commonly lays claim. Szécsi Maria, the Lady of Murány, a young and beautiful widow, educated a strict Protestant, had little difficulty in choosing the party she should adopt ; and readily admitted a detachment of Rakotzy's troops to strengthen the garrison of her castle, but only on condition that she herself should retain the command. The king's forces, under the direction of EszterhAzy, easily drove the ill-disciplined forces of the Transylvanian leader from their conquests in the open country,—for they had extended their excursions nearly as far as Presburg ; but, as long as Murany protected their retreat, their entire subjection was almost hopeless. While therefore he continued his campaign in the plains, he was obliged to detach a strong body of troops under Wesselényi Ferencz to besiege the castle.

As Wesselényi drew up his troops before the fortress, and surveyed all its natural and artificial [467] THE SIEGE. defences, he almost despaired of effecting its reduction ; and, when he heard that Maria herself commanded the garrison, his despair was embittered almost to desperation by the thought, that his hard-earned laurels would now be tarnished by defeat at the hands of a woman. All the arts of war were expended in vain against the huge mountain fortress ; every attempt cost the blood of some of the king's best troops, and served only as amusement to the garrison. A protracted siege rarely improves the discipline of an army, and the news of victories on the side of the enemy were not wanting to discourage the besiegers. Time, too, now pressed ; and, as force was still evidently powerless against Murany, «Wesselényi at last determined to try what persuasion might effect on its cornmandress. Disguising himself in the dress of an inferior officer, the general appeared before the gates as bearer of a flag of truce to demand a parley with the mistress of the castle ; and cunningly did he talk of favourable conditions and royal rewards, but his opponent only laughed at his offers, as she had done at his threats.

A good general, however, always finds out some weak points in his enemy's defences; and perhaps the eyes of Maria had expressed no displeasure at the handsome face and manly figure of the envoy, nor probably were the beauty and courage of the commandress without their influence on Wesselényi's determination. Certain it is, that next day another [468] THE WOOING. trumpet summoned the garrison to a parley, and that this time the herald bore a letter offering the heart and hand of Wesselényi to his beautiful enemy, to whom he confessed the ruse he had practised, but vowed that love had taken ample revenge for his temerity.

Caught with the romance, but determined to test its sincerity, Maria answered that if the writer's courage equalled his boldness, and he was willing to pursue the fortune he tempted, he might find at midnight a ladder against the northern tower, in which a light would be burning, and where, if he came alone, he might hear further of his suit.

Wesselényi was too good a knight to refuse the bidding of a " ladye fayre," albeit somewhat of the most hazardous. At midnight, and alone, he left his camp ; and, gaining the summit of the rock, found the promised light in the northern tower. The ladder hung from an open window, and silently and cautiously did the lover gain the height : but no sooner had he sprung into the tower than he found himself suddenly seized from behind and dragged to the ground, while a body of armed men entered the chamber and bound him in chains. Blindfolded he was led forward he knew not whither, till a harsh voice commanding a halt, thus addressed the prisoner, " Sir Knight, strategy is fair in love as well as war ; you have delivered yourself into the power of your enemies, and it is for them to dispose of you as they choose ; but the com- [469] THE VICTORY. mandress of the castle is inclined to mercy, and, on condition of your deserting the cause of the king, she is willing not only to give you freedom, but to bestow herself and her vast possessions on you by marriage. In an hour I come to receive your answer,—acceptance or death !" Rude as was the trial where love and life pleaded against loyalty and duty, the soldier withstood it manfully; and, at the hour's conclusion, returned only a sullen answer, " Better die than betray!" Scarce had the words passed his lips when the bandage fell from his eyes ; Szécsi Maria stood before him in all her beauty, a smile played around her mouth, and, extending her hand to the astonished Wessclényi, she exclaimed, " Take it, noble Knight, and with it all I have, for thy constancy bath won my heart : keep but thy faith to me as well as thou hast done to thy king, and Maria will gladly acknowledge thee her conqueror."

Many are the versions of this history,—for it has been sung by Hungarian poets,82 spun out by German romancers, and told by every peasant to his child, from that day to this, — but all agree that Wesselényi gained the castle and the lady at the same time ; and our guide pointed out to us the northern tower by which, as lie assured us, the Knight entered the castle. It was where the rock is highest

82The most celebrated of these is the " Muranyi Venus" of Gyöngyösi, for which the poet was rewarded by Maria with the princely gift of a whole manor.
[470] CASTLE OF MURANY. and steepest ; and it was no faint heart that took such a path to gain his lady love. In the summerhouse is still preserved a tablet erected by Wesselényi to commemorate his victory.

CASTLE OF MURANY
CASTLE OF MURANY

After the sudden, and perhaps violent death of Wesselényi, at the moment when he was about to head the insurgent nobles against the false Leopold, Murany was seized by the Crown, contrary to all law and all right. It was afterwards dismantled, and conferred, with the great estates attached to it, on the Judex Curia Kohári ; by marriage with the last of whose descendants it has come into the possession of a member of that luckiest of marrying families, the Coburgs.

[471] THE ADVANTAGE OF APPEARANCES.

As we returned from our ramble, we were not sorry to find that the landlord had formed more favourable notions of our importance ; for he not only offered us a good supper, but found us comfortable beds without further difficulty. His conduct towards us may serve as a lesson to future travellers not to attempt a journey in Hungary without all the due appliances of gentility. A good carriage, and a servant who speaks the language, are absolutely necessary : as for the Swiss fashion of travelling with a blouse and knapsack, I doubt much if the luckless bearer of such plebeian articles would not be beat out of the first village he came to. In fact, none but German Handwerksburschen or Jew pedlars are ever seen in such guise; and every honest Hungarian peasant thinks it an act of patriotism to beat and rob them whenever he has an opportunity.

In most countries a respectable appearance has its advantages ; but in none does it make more impression than in Hungary. I have heard it often said, that no one who travels in a certain style is ever likely to be robbed : nay, I remember Count B , whose notions of aristocratic privilege, it must be confessed, are not of the most modest order, declaring "that the robbery of a noble was a thing unheard of in Hungary; that he did not believe a man of pure blood could be robbed." I suppose we must conclude with Falstaff, that it is all instinct :—" Beware instinct: the lion will [472] INSTINCT AND HONOUR. not touch the true prince. Instinct is a great matter !" Nor, after all, is there anything so wonderful in it : honour among rogues is a proverb all over the world, and the appropriating to themselves what belongs to mankind, is the great privilege which the aristocracy in all ages have considered the peculiar glory of their order.

Great was our delight, on returning to Rosenau, to find the sketches all safe, and once more in our possession. They bad been found by a peasant on his road to market, and were readily returned, without having even been opened.

But we were doomed to new troubles. Our miner had come back, but not alone : a pretty little blue-eyed girl accompanied him, as he said, looking very sheepishly, " to help him to carry the book !" And just as we were starting, he felt suddenly so ill, that he was sure he could not hold out for a long journey. His sweetheart was evidently afraid of losing him if she let him stray so far away : and what a woman wills we knew it was no use opposing; so we even consented to give him his discharge at once. While yet hesitating as to what was to be done in this emergency, the waiter presented a little Polish boy, who spoke German, and who was on his way to Pest. The poor child was not more than fourteen years old, and had been sent out by his father, a schoolmaster in Gallicia, with nothing but a smattering of Latin and German, and a long Latin letter, re- [473] THE CAVERN OF AGGTELEK. commending him to God and the charitable, to aid him in seeking his fortune in the world. The poor fellow was so anxious to go, that, more for the sake of pleasing him, than with any hopes of his being useful,—though, had we not been leaving the country of the Sclavacks, his Polish would have helped us considerably, as the two languages have a great similarity,—I told him to mount the box and off we went.

Our horses' heads were now turned towards Aggtelek, a small village about twenty miles off, and remarkable for possessing one of the largest caverns in the world. Torches we had already provided, and guides were soon found to accompany us ; for, unlike Demenfalva, Aggtelek is well known, and is often visited by foreigners as well as by Hungarians. It is not necessary to give a minute account of what has already been often described. The cavern is formed in a lime-stone rock, like all others we know of, and extends to a great distance under ground. It is said to communicate with two small caverns83 which open at ten miles' distance from Aggtelek. In the vastness of its halls, the huge proportions of its columns, and the mysterious windings of its long passages, Aggtelek is superior to anything of the kind I have seen. In some places, too, it is of exquisite beauty. While H___ was making a sketch of the Tauz Saal (Ball-room),

83In these caverns there is said to be ice, as at Denieaihlva, though nothing of the kind is seen at Aggtelek.
[474] THE CAVERN OF AGGTELEK. where in summer the peasants sometimes hold their fetes, the guides conducted me to an offset from the great cavern, called the Garden of Paradise. For a full quarter of an hour we crept on our hands and knees ; sometimes wading through the small brook which makes its way out by this passage, sometimes sliding back over the slimy rocks, and sometimes squeezing through narrow crevices where there was scarcely room for the human body to pass. At last we once more stood upright ; we had reached the Garden, and well does it deserve the name of Paradise ; for anything more beautiful than the thousand fantastic forms—trees, fruits, waterfalls, serpents,—into which the stalactitic pillars have formed themselves, it is impossible to conceive.

As far as I can guess, we followed the great cavern for not less than two or three miles, and during the whole of our route we were presented with a constant succession of beauties, to all of which the imaginations of the peasants have appropriated names and likenesses. The guides could speak only a very few words of German, but among them were " Deutsche Hosen ; " and they did not fail to apply them with a look of most sovereign con- tempt to a curious formation of the stone which imitated with sufficient accuracy a pair of kneebreeches,—in the opinion of every true Magyar, the most ridiculous and despicable covering for humanity ever invented.

When we returned, the sun had already set ; but [475] A DIFFICULTY. the accommodations were so very indifferent at Aggtelek, that we determined to push oil a stage further that night. The Haiduk was ready with four horses ; but it was easy to see they had been at work all day, and that they were little inclined for further exercise. When we got about two miles from the village, and were just on the borders of a great forest where the roads were sadly cut up, this indisposition manifested itself in a still more positive manner, for they stood quite still ; nor could all the flogging, shouting, or even crying of the boy who drove us, — for the poor lad cried with passion at the disgrace, — incite them to any other movement than kicking at the carriage. It was certainly a disagreeable dilemma : it was just getting dark ; we knew nothing of the country, but we had heard at Vienna, that it was one of the worst parts of Hungary for robbers, and that it was not safe travelling without a guard of soldiers. Something, however, must be done ; and, requesting H-- not to let the boy take away the horses, I set off to get some assistance from Aggtelek. Having at last found the only man who knew anything of German, and having looked into every stable and ox-shed in the village, and having in consequence been attacked by some score furious dogs, from which nothing but a huge stick and a pistol saved me from suffering, I at last got four oxen, and returned again to the carriage. But here a new misfortune awaited me; the boy and the [476] A BIVOUAC. horses had somehow disappeared in the dark, and it was found impossible to apply the oxen harness to the carriage ; so that, after an other hour lost in disputes among the peasants, — for our happy ignorance of the language saved us from the possibility of taking part in them,—we saw them all return quietly to Aggtelek, leaving us to stick fast in the mud till next morning.

My philosophy is fortunately of that practical kind which always seeks consolation where a particle of it is to be found ; so, sending off' the boy with the peasants to see if anything eatable could be found in Aggtelek, we struck a light by the aid of flint and schwamm, as the jagers had taught us at Lomnitz, lighted our carriage-lamps, reloaded our fire-arms, placed them conveniently for use, routed out a couple of bottles of wine from some hidden part of our baggage, refilled our pipes, and indulged in the hopes of a substantial supper and a pleasant bivouac. In time the little Pole reappeared, accompanied by a stout peasant bearing two huge earthen pots filled with savoury viands, which, if not the most delicate, were just as eagerly devoured as if they had been so. The peasant made a large fire of dried wood which the neighbouring forest furnished in. abundance ; and, laying himself down by it, made us understand that he would spend the night there to guard us. Probably the gourd of wine which had been brought from the village, and which we had given up to him, was [477] MISKOLCZ. not without its influence on his decision. I am really sorry for the lovers of the marvellous, that have nothing more romantic to tell them than that we ate our supper, drank our wine, smoked our pipes, laughed over the adventures of the day, and slept so soundly, that six fresh horses were already harnessed to the carriage, and a dozen fine good-tempered peasants lifting at the wheels, before we opened our eyes the next morning, and wondered what it was all about. We reached Miskolcz the same night, and were glad to luxuriate in a good bed and a clean room,—comforts we had scarcely enjoyed since we left Kaschau.

The continual clanking of the prisoners' chains, which never ceased to ring in our ears so long as we tarried in Miskolcz, has left but a disagreeable impression of the place on our memories. It must require long habit before one can feel accustomed to the sight of chained prisoners performing the work at which in happier lands we have seen only free labourers employed. I have witnessed it in Germany and Italy, as well as in Hungary ; but I never could pass those melancholy strings of wretched beings without a feeling of shame that man should expose these moral diseases of his species to the gaze of the whole world, instead of covering them with the veil of secrecy and carefully administering to their cure.

We obtained a servant here who could speak Hungarian, and dismissed our little Pole with [478] TOKAY. money to enable him to reach Pest, and directions where to find us if he had need of assistance when he arrived there. As we could hear nothing of him afterwards, I am inclined to hope he found some service on the way.

A dreary route over a rich but flat and boggy country, intersected by innumerable small rivers, brought us to the foot of a low range of hills, which, stretching far away to the north, terminates towards the south near the little town of Tokay on the Theiss. Everybody has heard of imperial Tokay ; and here we were in the very midst of the vineyards where the King of Wines has established his throne.

Tokay is a small town, insignificant in itself, except as it is connected with the trade in wine. It is inhabited by a strangely mixed population,—Jews, Armenians, and Greeks, besides various members of the indigenous population of Hungary,—and contains churches of no less than six different religions. The Bodrog and the Theiss, which unite just above the town, form as fine a river for navigation as the merchant could desire ; and it is covered with large, heavy, decked boats, much like those seen on the Danube. As yet, no steam-boat has been established on the Theiss; but from the extreme richness of the productions of the surrounding country, the size and importance of many of the places on its banks, and, above all, from the exceedingly bad roads in its neighbourhood, there can be little doubt that the establishment of steam navigation will be un- [479] THE THEISS. dertaken before long. The depth, width, and the force of stream of the Theiss are as favourable as could be desired ; but it is objected that the windings of the river require to be cut off by canals. In some cases thirty or forty miles would be saved by a cut of three or four. Should the canal be formed between the Danube at Pest, and the Theiss at Szolnok, as is contemplated, this river will assume an importance far greater than is at present imagined. The slow muddy waters of the Theiss seem to suit the fish better than those of any other river in Hungary. It is said that, after an overflow, they have been left in such quantities as to be used for feeding the pigs and manuring the ground. The sturgeon of the Theiss, though smaller than that of the Danube, is remarkable for its fatness and delicate flavour.

We were too early to enjoy any of the festivities of the vintage at Tokay, which call all the nobility of the neighbourhood together, and are generally kept up with balls and fetes for at least a fortnight. What the reader will perhaps think less pardonable is, that I can say nothing of the process of making the wine from personal observation ; but I have heard it so often described by persons themselves possessing vineyards,84 that I can probably give more

84I cannot guess how the notion so common in England, that all the Tokay vineyards belong to the Emperor, has arisen. It is so far from being the case, that by far the greater part is in the hands of private individuals, and the Emperor himself is often obliged to purchase his Tokay from others.
[480] MANNER OF MAKING accurate information about it than if I had myself witnessed it.

The whole of the Hegyalla mountains, extending along the banks of the Bodrog twenty miles north of Tokay, produce the Tokay wine. The finest sorts, however, are grown only in Tokay, Tartzal, Zombor, Tállya, DIád, Keresztur, and some few other villages ; the very finest only on a small hill, the Mézes-Male, in the parish of Tartzal. About Tokay, and I believe along the whole chain, the hills are composed of basalt and trachytic conglomerate, covered with a deep sandy soil. The grapes are of many different kinds, of which the Formint and Champagne are considered the best. The lateness of the vintage, which is not begun here till the 26th of October, when it is finished in other parts of the country, has considerable effect on the quality of the wine.

Three kinds of wine are made at Tokay,—the Essentz, the Ausbruch, and the Maslas, so called from the different modes of preparing them. From the length of time the grapes hang, a great number of them lose part of their juice, begin to wither, and become exceedingly sweet. These grapes, when gathered, are placed on wooden trays, and sorted one by one with the greatest care, only the finest being selected ; those which are too much withered, and those which are unripe, being alike rejected,. When it is wished to obtain the Essentz, these grapes are placed in a barrel with holes at the [481] THE TOKAY WINE. bottom, through which all the juice that flows, without any other pressure being applied than their own weight, is allowed to pass off;—and this it is which constitutes the Essentz. After the Essentz is extracted, or,—as happens most frequently—when none has been taken, the grapes are at once placed in a vat and gently pressed with the hand, a small quantity of good must, or new wine, obtained in the ordinary manner, being poured over them to increase the quantity and facilitate its flow ;—and the result of this process is the Ausbruch. To produce the Maslas, a large quantity of less choice must is poured over the same berries, which are now pressed as in making common wine. The Essentz can only be obtained in the very best years ; and, indeed it is only in favourable years that Ausbruch of a good quality is produced. The wine ought to have a fine, bright, topaz colour. The Essentz is sweet and luscious to the highest degree, and is esteemed rather as a curiosity than as pleasing to the palate ; but it is the Ausbruch on which the reputation of Tokay depends. It is a sweet, rich, but not cloying wine ; strong, full-bodied, but mild, bright and clear; and has a peculiar flavour of most exquisite delicacy. I have never tasted it in perfection but at private tables, and that only twice ; I could then have willingly confessed it the finest wine in the world. The Máslas is a much thinner wine, rather sweet, with a preponderating flavour of the dried grape. The product of the whole [482] TOKAY. Hegyalla vintage, in. an ordinarily favourable season, may amount to about two hundred and fifty thousand eimers ;85 of which not more than one quarter, and probably much less, is Ausbruch.

Tokay should not be drunk till it is some years old; and it is none the worse for twenty years' keeping in a good cellar. Even in Hungary I have known a ducat (ten shillings) given for a pint bottle of good old Tokay. For a fair wine, however, of three or four years old, four shillings the common bottle is a good price, and it may generally be obtained at that rate without difficulty. The expense of transport and duties comes, I think, to about two shillings the bottle more. Great care, however, should be taken in choosing a person to whom it may be safely confided. Two cases, which we intrusted to a merchant of Pest, arrived in England in a state of fermentation, with more than half the bottles broken, and the rest quite spoiled. We have every reason to believe that this arose from a portion of our wine being taken out and the bottles filled up with new wine ; and, though the evidence is not sufficiently strong to justify me in publishing the name of this person, it is more than enough to make inc caution any future traveller to be quite sure of his man before he ventures on giving such a commission. A society for " making known Hungarian wines " has lately been formed at Pest,

85The Eimer contains about as much as sixteen ordinary wine bottles.
[483] TOKAY. and in its cellars genuine wines, supplied by the growers themselves, may be obtained ; and Mr. Liedermann, a merchant and banker of Pest, who is connected with the society, will undertake to forward them.

TOKAY
TOKAY

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