The Puszta—its Extent and Formation.—Fertility.—Animals —A Sunset on the Plains.—The Mirage.—Puszta Village.— Horse-mills. — The Puszta Shepherd — his Morality.— The Bunda.—The Shepherd's Dog.—Debreczen —The Magyars — their Pride.—Contempt of other Nations—Idleness.—Excitability. — Dancing. — Music and Popular Poetry. — Selfrespect. —Love of Country.—Hospitality.—The Hungarian Hussars.—Manufactures of Debreczen.—Reformed College.- - Protestantism in Hungary.—Protestant Colleges.—College of Debreczen.—Review.—English Officers in the Austrian Service.—Water Melons.—Beggars.—The Szolga Biro of Szolnok.
As far as Tokay, our route had been ever among
smiling valleys and by lovely brooks; we had passed
under the shade of magnificent woods, or been
cheered by the prospect of cloud-capped mountains :
All that surface of country, from Pest to the borders of Transylvania, and from Belgrade to the vine-bearing hills of Hegyalja, is one vast plain, occupying a space of nearly five thousand square miles. If the geologist will cast his eyes over the map, and observe this plain, surrounded on every side by mountains, and covered with sand and alluvium—if he will then consider the Danube, and see how it spreads over the country, every day changing its course, cutting for itself new chan- nels, and sanding up its former ones, so as some- times to sweep away towns, and at others to leave such as were built on its banks some miles from them,86—I think he will agree with me, that the whole plain has been at different periods the bed of that river and its tributaries, the Theiss and Maros.87
86The Danube now rolls over the spot formerly occupied by the village of Apatin on the Lower Danube ; while, on the Upper, the castle of Steyereck, which formerly overhung the river, is now a mile and a half distant from it.
87Some are of opinion that the whole plain formed one large inland sea at an earlier period of the earth's history ; and it is highly probable. The limestone, similar to that of the Paris basin, which overlays the granite at Margarctha and in many parts of the Little Carpathians, appears to support this opinion. In different parts of the plain, particularly in the neighbourhood of the Theiss, fossil remains of the mammoth, elephant, and fossil deer have been discovered.
The soil of the Puszta, as might be anticipated
from its extent, and, l might add, from the nature of
the rocks from whose débris it has been formed, is
various in its nature and in its powers of production.
A considerable portion is a deep sand, easily worked,
and yielding fair crops in wet seasons ; a second,
found principally in the neighbourhood of the
Danube, Theiss, and Temes, is boggy, and much
deteriorated in value from the frequent inundations
to which it is subject, but capable of the greatest
improvement at little cost; and a third is a rich
black loam, the fertility of which is almost incre-
dible. When the reader reflects that this fruitful
plain is bounded on two sides by the largest river
in Europe, that it is traversed from north to south
by the Theiss, and that it communicates with Tran-
sylvania by the Maros, it is almost impossible to cal-
culate what a source of wealth it might prove to
the country. In any other part of the civilized world
we should see it teeming with habitations, and alive
with agricultural industry,—the envy of surrounding
princes, the granary of Europe. I-Iere, it is the
most thinly populated, the worst cultivated, and the
least accessible portion of the country. Various
causes have contributed to produce this effect. Most
of the inhabitants of the plains are 'Magyars, whose
The Puszta, however, is neither entirely without
inhabitants nor without cultivation. It has cities,
towns, and villages ; few and far between, it is true,
but generally large and populous where they do
occur. On the great road, or rather track, between
Tokay and Debreczen, a village occurs almost every
three or four hours ; but in some parts, for a whole
88Mr. Spencer, in his Circassia," speaks of these tumuli in Hungary, and considers them as sepulchral ; I am rather inclined to believe they are boundary marks between different villages, though some of them are of a larger size than might be thought necessary for such a purpose. They are common all over Ilun- gary, and are called Határ. It is possible that they may some- times have been intended as landmarks for travellers. These must not be confounded with the Römer Sckanzen, or Walls of the Agathyrsi,—long banks of earth traversing extensive districts, the uses of which are not well ascertained. In some parts of the plain large embankments of a recent date may be observed, in- tended to protect the cultivated land from the overflows of some river in the neighbourhood.
Of animated nature, however, there is no lack ; the constant hum of insects, the screams of birds of prey, and the lowing of cattle, constantly re- minded us during the day that the Puszta is no desert. Sometimes vast herds of cattle, contain- ing many hundred head, may be observed in the distance, looking like so many regiments of soldiers ; for, whether by accident or intention I know not, but they are commonly formed into a long loose line of three or four deep ; and in this order they feed, marching slowly forwards. When the sun is pouring his hottest beams upon the plain, so that the sands seem to dance with the glowing heat, it is inter- esting to watch the poor sheep, and to observe the manner in which Nature teaches them to supply the place of the shady wood. The whole flock ceases from feeding, and collects into a close circle, where each places his head in the shade formed by the body of his neighbour, and thus they protect them- selves from a danger which might otherwise be fatal. Herds of horses, of one or two hundred each, are no uncommon feature in the landscape.
The quantity of large falcons which scour the
Puszta may account for the small number of other
birds we observed. I have sometimes seen a dozen
of them at a time, wheeling round and round over
our heads, and screaming out their harsh cries, till
every living thing tremblingly sought shelter i-t its
most hidden retreat. Sometimes, too, a solitary
heron might be detected wading about itt the salt
In sandy districts the carless marmot90 is a con- stant source of amusement. This pretty little ani- mal, which is about the size and colour of a squirrel, is exceedingly frequent here. Never more than a few yards from its hole, it is almost impossible to get a shot at it ; for the moment it is alarmed, it runs to the mouth of its burrow, where, if it observes the slightest movement on the part of the intruder, it drops down till he is out of shot, when it may again be seen running about as gay as ever. They are said to be good eating, and are often caught by the shepherds, by pouring water into their burrows.
The feeling of solitude which a vast plain im- presses on the imagination, is to me more solemn than that produced by the boundless ocean, or the trackless forest : nor is this sentiment ever so strongly felt as during the short moments of twilight which follow the setting of the sun. It is just as the bright orb has disappeared below the level of the horizon ; while yet some red tints, like glow- worm traces, mark the pathway he has followed ;
89In many parts of the Puszta there are soda lakes, which dry up in summer, and leave the earth incrusted with soda, which is collected, and re-forms, every three or four days from May to October. It is reckoned that 50,000 cwts. might be collected annually if care were taken.
90I think this is the earth squirrel of some writers,—the spa-mop/tile of F. Cuvier.
I would not for the world have destroyed the illusion of the first sunset I witnessed ün the Puszta of Hungary. The close of clay found us far from any human habitation, alone in this desert of luxuriance; without a mark that man had esta- blished his dominion there, save the wheel-marks which guided us on our way, and the shepherds' wells which are sparingly scattered over the whole plain. I have seen the sun set behind the moun- tains of the Rhine as I lay on the tributary Neckar's banks, and the dark bold towers of Heidelberg stood gloriously out against the deep red sky ;—as the ripple of the lagoons kissed the prow of the light gondola, I have seen his last rays throw their golden tints over the magnificence of fallen Venice ;--I have watched the god of day as he sank to rest behind the gorgeous splendour of St. Peter's;—yet never with so strong a feeling of his majesty and power, as when alone on the Puszta of Hungary !
It was on the second morning of our journey,
and as we opened our eyes after a troubled doze,
Such are some of the more striking pictures pre-
sented by the plains ; but there are others of a more
cheerful and social character. I have already said
the Puszta villages are large ; they sometimes con-
tain several thousand inhabitants. Nothing can
be more simple or uniform than the plan on which
they are built. One long, straight, and most pre-
posterously wide street generally forms the whole
village ; or it may be that this street is traversed at
right angles by another equally long, straight, and
wide. Smaller streets are rare; but, when they do
occur, it is pretty certain they are all parallel or at
right angles with each other. All the cottages are
built on the same plan; a gable-end with two small
windows, shaded by acacias or walnuts, faces the
In the neighbourhood of the villages a certain portion of the land is cultivated,—perhaps one-tenth of the whole ; and produces rich crops of Kukurutz, or Indian corn, wheat, hemp, flax, tobacco, and wine. The gathering in of these products occupies the scanty population without intermission from the beginning of summer to the end of autumn. Our route did not lead us through the richest part of the plains ; but I do not remember ever to have seen the kukurutz looking better than here. It was just the middle of September, and every hand was occupied in the harvest. Waggon-loads of the bright yellow cones, drawn by the large white oxen, were passed at every step. And what a trial of patience it was to pass those waggons ! There the peasant sits quite composedly in the front of his load, probably fast asleep, and often half drunk : until you are close to him, he will not hear you, shout as you may ; and when at last he does condescend to be aware of your presence, and com- mences vociferating to his four oxen, and plying his whip at the same time to induce them to cede the only part of the road on which your carriage can pass, the time taken by the beasts to comprehend the full force of their master's argument, and the sort of consultation they seem to hold as to whether they shall obey it or not, is sufficient to exhaust the patience of the most patient of men.
The part of the plains left for pasture is occu-
pied during the summer months, as we have seen,
Almost all the inhabitants of the plains, except
some few German colonists, are true Magyars ; and
nothing is so well adapted to their disposition
as the half-slothful, half-adventurous life of a
Julian, or Puszta shepherd. IIis dress is the loose
linen drawers, and short shirt descending scarcely
below the breast, and is sometimes surmounted by
the gaily embroidered waistcoat or jacket. IIis feet
are protected by long boots or sandals ; and his
head by a bat of more than quaker proportions,
below which hang two broad plaits of hair. The
But the Bunda deserves a more special notice;
for in the whole annals of tailoring no garment
ever existed better adapted to its purpose, and
therefore more worthy of all eulogy, than the Hun-
garian Bunda. It is made in the form of a close
cloak without collar, and is composed of the skins
of the long-woolled Hungarian sheep, which un-
dergo some slight process of cleaning, but by no
means sufficient to prevent them retaining an odour
not of the most aromatic kind. The wool is left
perfectly in its natural state. The leather side is
often very prettily ornamented : the seams are sewed
with various-coloured leather cords, bouquets of
flowers are worked in silk on the sides and borders,
and a black lamb's-skin from Transylvania adorns
the upper part of the back in the form of a cape.
To the Puszta shepherd the Bunda is his house, his
bed, his all. Rarely in the hottest day of summer,
But the heart of that man is even more curious
than his outward coverture. IIe has a system of
morality peculiar to himself. I know not why, but
nomadic habits seem to confuse ideas of property
most strangely in the heads of those accustomed
to them : nomadic nations are always thieves ; and
the Magyar Juhász, more than half nomadic, is cer-
tainly .more than half a rogue. Not that he would
break into a house, or that you or I, gentle reader,
need have the least fear in his society : but there are
certain persons and things which he considers fair
game, whenever he can meet with them.
I remember a friend regretting that he could not show us his head-shepherd, who, he said, was a remarkably fine fellow, and well worthy of being sketched as a model of his class.
" When will poor Janos return ?" inquired the Count of his steward ; " I should like the English- men to see him."
" In about six months," was the reply.
I asked the cause of this long absence.
" Why, I believe he robbed and beat a Jew, and they have adjudged him twelve months' imprison- ment for it."
" Of course you will not receive such a man into your service again ?"
"_____ teremtelte ! Why not ?" rejoined the Count. " He was the best shepherd I had, and esteemed quite a Solomon among his fellows for the wisdom and justice with which he settled their disputes. He was the shepherds' arbitrator for miles round. As for Jews and German Hand- werksburschen, János always regarded them as fern nature, to be robbed and beaten by every honest Magyar whenever he could meet with them. IIe protested that, had he killed the Jew, the punish- ment had been too severe ; for there was not a pretty girl in the whole country round but had borne him a child, any one of whom was worth a dozen Jews !"
In fact, robbery is a part of the shepherd's
duty ; and according to his dexterity in preventing
It would be unjust to quit the subject of the
Puszta shepherd without making due and honour-
able mention of his constant companion and friend,
the Jukdsz-kutya, — the Hungarian shepherd-dog.
The shepherd-dog is commonly white, sometimes
inclining to a reddish-brown, and about the size
of our Newfoundland dogs. IIis sharp nose, short
erect ears, shaggy coat, and bushy tail, give him
much the appearance of a wolf; indeed, so great
is the resemblance, that I have known an Hun-
garian gentleman mistake a wolf for one of his
own dogs. Except to their masters, they are so
savage that it is unsafe for a stranger to enter the
court-yard of an Hungarian cottage without arms.
I speak from experience; for as I was walking
through the yard of a post-house, where some of
these dogs were lying about, apparently asleep, one
It was not till towards the close of the second day that we arrived at Debreczen ; for some rain had fallen, and we could only advance at a foot pace. Debreezen, the capital of the plains, contains a population of fifty thousand inhabitants. It well de- serves the name of " the largest village in Europe," given it by some traveller; for its wide, unpaved streets, its one-storied houses, and the absence of all roads in its neighbourhood, render it very unlike what a European associates with the name of town. In rainy weather the whole street becomes one liquid mass of mud, so that officers quartered on one side the street are obliged to mount their horses and ride across to dinner on the other. Instead of a causeway, they have adopted the expedient of a single wooden plank ; and it is a great amusement of the people, whenever they meet the soldiers (Polish lancers, whom they hate) on this narrow path, to push them off into the sea of mire below.
It is in Debreezen and its neighbourhood that
The pride of the Magyar, which is one of his
strongest traits, leads him to look down on every
other nation by which he is surrounded with
sovereign contempt. All foreigners are either
Schwab (German), or Tall* (Italian) ; and it is
difficult to imagine the supercilious air with which
the Magyar peasant pronounces those two words.
As for his more immediate neighbours, it is worse
still : for the most miserable Paraszt-ember (poor-
man, peasant) of Debreczen would scorn alliance
or intercourse with the richest Wallack in the
country. 1 remember the Baroness W___ tell-
ing nie, that, as she was going to Debreczen some
years ago with vorspaun, she was accompanied
by her footman, who happened to be a Wallack ;
and, in speaking to her, he was overheard by the
Magyar coachman using that language. The pea-
sant made no observation at the time, but, as they
approached the town, he pulled up, and desired the
footman to get down ; assuring the lady at the same
time that he meant no disrespect to her, but that it
was quite impossible that he, a Magyar, should en-
dure the disgrace of driving a Wallack into Debrec-
zen. Entreaties and threats were alike vain ; the
The Magyar is accused of being lazy; and if by that is meant that be has not the Englishman's love of work for its own sake, I believe the charge is merited. A Magyar never moves when he can sit still, and never walks when he can ride. Even riding on horseback seems too much trouble for him ; for he generally puts four horses into his little waggon, and in that state makes his excursions to the next village, or to the market-town. This want of energy is attended, too, with a want of perseverance. The Hungarian is easily disap- pointed and discouraged if an enterprise does not succeed at the first attempt.
The Magyar character has a singular mixture of
habitual passiveness and melancholy, mixed up with
great susceptibility to excitement. The Magyar's
It is wonderful how completely he has imparted
his own character to his national music. Nothing
can be more sad awl plaintive than the commence-
ment of many of the Ilungarian airs. One of the
most strongly characteristic of these is the Rákótzy,
a march of the times of the revolutions of the Rá-
kótzys, whose name it bears. As often happens with
a revolutionary air, it has now become the national
air of the country ; and great is the honour of the
gipsy fiddler who can play the Rákótzy with the
true spirit. I could never help fancying it the wail-
ing over some recent defeat, mixed with reproaches
to the listless or cowardly for their want of pa-
triotism. When the quick movement comes too,
it seems as if the warrior bard had changed his
tone to one of encouragement,—as if he would
lead on his audience to enthusiasm, and from en-
thusiasm to rapid energetic action, perhaps to wild
excess. I give the notes as they have been sent to
me ; but I fear sadly that, in the hands of more
civilized musicians, they will want much of that
Though scarcely ever musicians themselves, and though, as an art, music is at a very low ebb in the country, yet the Magyars are said to be exceed- ingly susceptible to its influence. The sister art of poetry is, and always has been, much cultivated and esteemed. The (lance, of which we have already spoken, when practised by the peasantry, is com- monly accompanied by the recitation of verses, often composed for the occasion, and adapted to some simple national melody. Mr. I3rasai, of Klan- senburg, has kindly furnished me with several of these airs, as taken down from the peasants them- selves; and I think they are sufficiently charac- teristic to be given here. I have added a very literal translation of the words ; partly because I should make but an indifferent versifier, and partly because I think in this form they are most certain to retain their original characteristics.
I do not claim any great poetical merit for the
words; but I think it so great an advantage to
allow a people to speak for themselves, and to tell
us their own feelings and thoughts in their own
way, that I have overlooked the rudeness, and at
The first is evidently a dialogue between two lovers ; and it gives no bad idea of the part the woman is expected to play in the domestic economy of the Hungarian peasants, and of what those qualities are which she herself considers the most attractive.
The lover speaks :
Szeretném szántani Hat őkröt hajtani Hagalambom jöne, Az ekét tartani Hagalambom jöne, Az ekét tartani.
I should like in the plough, Six oxen to drive, If my dove would come, To hold the plough.
I should like in a sledge Four horses to drive, If my rose would come, To hold up the sledge.
His mistress answers :
Though on Saturday I soak it, And on Sunday I wash it, Yet to my dove I'll give a clean shirt.
Of flour I begged the loan, Butter for money I bought, Yet for my dove A cake did I bake.
The lover. I love you, my dove, As well as new bread ; I sigh for you A hundred thousand times a day.
The mistress. I love you, I love you ; But tell it to none, Till on the church stones We are sworn to be one.
The lover. Why should I love If I hoped not to marry you, If we could not meet there Where I so much desire?
In the two next, the air of rakish carelessness after disappointment, is very characteristic of the Magyar. IIe is too proud to show his feeling, and would fain laugh at care to hide his real sorrow.
Egy szem búza két szem rozs Felontottem járja most Felöntöttem jarja most. Ha azt érem jovendöben Taraj didum daj Vetek a' szathmári földben Taraj didum daj, Vetek árpát vetek kolest Taraj didum daj, Ketten aratjukle kedves Taraj didum daj.
Érik mara Beszterczei piros szilva Enyim leszel kedves Babam két bét mulva Erik a küszméte Szelidebb a szoke Erik a vadalma Hamisabb a barna.
The next is a very popular song, and contains an allusion to the " Mill which grinds sorrow," as well as to several other popular proverbs and super- stitions, some of which I think are common in England. It will be observed that in this, as in most other of these songs, there is rarely much connection between the different verses.
Kis Komárom, nagy Koniárom, be szép leany ez a' harom, Be szeretem az egyiket, harom kozul a' szebbiket, Kis Komárom, nagy Komárom.
Jaj be szennyes a' kendöje Talán nincsen szeretoje Adja ide hogy mossamki Ugy sem szeret engem senki.
I have not received the music of the last song; but the words are so characteristic of the pride and independence of the wealthy Magyar peasant, that I give them as they are.
91A great number of "Hungarian popular songs," have been translated and published by llr. Bowring in his " Poetry of the Magyars," 1830.
Few people have more legends in song than the Álagyars ; and I have heard that it is a common custom for the young girls of a village to collect in circles round the winter's fire, with their spindles in their hands, and in turns sing the legendary history of their native land, as they have learnt it from their mothers. Great is the honour paid on these occasions to the best story-teller of the party ; and it is not uncommon for the young men, who are privileged to hover round that poetic circle, and oven to obtain a kiss for every time they can pick up the purposely dropped spindle, to choose their wives according to their excellence in the bardic art.
The Magyar peasant has a strong feeling of self- respect, at times bordering perhaps on foolish pride. It is very rarely he will consent to exhibit himself as an actor, and in consequence the country is filled with German players, Bohemian riders, and gipsy musicians ; for, however much he may dislike amusing others, he has not the least objection that others should amuse him. To all this is united a sense of personal decency, and a fastidious deli- cacy in certain matters, scarcely to be found amongst any other people.
The Magyar has a passionate love of country,
united to a conviction that no one is so happy and
prosperous as himself. The Swiss does not feel a
more devoted attachment to his mountains than the
Magyar to his plains. Csaplovics tells us that a
The " truth in wine" has long been proverbial, and it is nowhere better exemplified than in the Magyar. No sooner does the fear of ridicule for- sake him than he is seized with an irresistible desire to weep over the miseries of his father-land. With high and low, the reign of Corvinus, when Hungary was respected abroad and the peasant protected at home, is the imaginary golden age to which they all refer. Not a mother wails more bitterly over her lost child than the wine-softened Magyar over the fallen glories of the Hunia.
The language and the religion are two important
points of nationality with the Magyar. IIe believes
that he alone has the true faith—Calvinistie—which
lie knows only by the name of May jars vallás ; and
that his is the only language understood in heaven,
and therefore the only one to be used in prayer.
A poor peasant nurse—they are said to be the best
nurses in the world—sitting by the bedside of the
Countess D—, heard her utter in the excess of
pain the common German exclamation, "Ack Gott !
ach Gott !"—" Ah, my lady," observed the poor
Magyar, "God forgive me! but how can you ex-
Hospitality is a virtue of the Magyar, as well as of every other inhabitant of Hungary ; and, though it is the fashion to consider it rather a necessity of uncivilized life than a quality of polished society, it is nevertheless the parent of a thousand kindly feelings both in the host and guest, which leave their impress in the general character, and which are but ill replaced by the cold egotistical for- malities substituted for it in the intercourse of what is called, par excellence, the world.
In the upper classes the personal pride of the Hungarian character is apt to create jealousies against any one whose superior talent may have placed him above his fellows in public esteem ; and there are few countries in which a great man makes more personal enemies, and has to combat more petty annoyances, than in Hungary.
It is scarcely necessary to say, that, with such dispositions, the Magyar is strongly inclined to conservatism ; he hates new-fangled notions and foreign fashions ; lie always considers it a sufficient condemnation to say, " Not even my grandfather ever heard of such a thing !"
As soldiers, the Hungarians have the reputation
of making the best light troops in Europe. The
hussar is a smart active fellow, a little vain of his
own appearance, and passionately fond of his horse,
for whose accommodation he never hesitates to
Debreczen is celebrated in Hungary as well for its great fairs as for its manufactures, which, if rude, are adapted to the wants of the people. This is the great mart for the produce of the north and cast of Hungary,—cattle, horses, bacon, tobacco, wine, wax, honey, flax, &c.; and a great part of the small traders of Transylvania supply themselves from hence with colonial produce, and the showy fineries of Vienna. No less than twenty-five thou- sand of the I3undas I have so much eulogised are prepared here every year, and expedited to every part of the country. The true IIungarían pipe too is another produce of Debreczen; and a curious aflúir it is, with its short stick and long thin bowl. There is also a large manufactory of soap here, in which the soda collected in the neighbouring dry lakes is chiefly used.
At one end of the over-wide chief street—full
twice as wide as any street in London—and con-
trasting ill with the one-storied houses which stand
on either side, towers the Reformed Church and
College of Debreczen ; for Debreczen is not only
the capital of Magyarism, but the capital of Cal-
vinism also in Hungary. The Protestants of Hun-
gary are divided into two classes : the Lutherans,
I have often had occasion to notice the civil wars
which occupy so prominent a place in I-Iungarian his-
tory ; and, as might be expected, no sooner did the
Reformed doctrines gain a footing than—whether
from sincere belief, or only from a political calcu-
lation of the chiefs I know not,—religious differ-
ences entered largely into the causes of dispute.
At one time England and Holland supported the
Protestant insurgents in Hungary : now they were
at the very gates of Vienna itself, and religious
liberty seemed on the point of being firmly estab-
lished ; and now, delivered over to the persecutions
of their bitterest enemies, the whole party seemed
on the point of utter annihilation. In the reign
of Leopold the First, nothing that falsehood and
treachery could effect for their destruction was left
untried ; and in spite of the treaties of Vienna
(1606), and of Linz (1647), in which their liberties
had been solemnly guaranteed, it was not till Maria
Theresa, in her hour of need, had experienced good
proofs of their loyalty, that their existence was
fairly acknowledged, and the right of private wor-
ship, though still under many degrading restric-
The ProtestantsY of the Reformed faith have the best institutions for education of any of the estab- lished religions in Hungary. The chief of these is the College of Debreczen, which was founded in 1792, and contains a library of twenty thousand volumes. T subjoin some remarks on these schools from Csaplovics,92 in which the reader may perhaps perceive the origin of some curious scholastic cus- toms, of which the traces remain in our univer- sities at the present day. " Besides the elementary schools (Triviulschulen), of which there is one in every parish, the Reformed have many well-managed
92Gemiilde von Ungarn, vol. i.
"Those called Togati are such as intend to dedi- cate themselves to the church or to teaching. They have a peculiar black gown, Toga; and a black belt, something like that of the Catholic priests, which they put on to attend church and lectures. The Togati have their lodgings in the college free, about six shillings allowed for candles during the year, and from one or two metzen93 of wheat for bread. Every one has his meals cooked where he likes, which are afterwards brought to his cell by the fags (dies tbaren Schulknaben). Each pays for his own firing. The greatest privilege of the Togati is the right to receive a regular diploma from the college, called a Patens, and duly signed by the rector, empowering them to visit the Reformed parishes far and near on all the great feasts,—as Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide,—where they preach a sermon, and receive a present in money in return, generally from one pound to five. On these occasions a strong Mendicans—a student of an in- ferior class (our sizar)—carries after the Deák Ur (Mr. Latin), who marches as Legatus before, a mighty
93The metzen is about one bushel and three quarters Winchester measure.
As might be expected, the villages containing the mansions of rich Protestant nobles are the most frequented. One old lady used to receive twelve of these Togati every feast ; and, after enter- taining them hospitably, sent each away with a present of one hundred florins (41.) in money, and a bag filled with hams, sausages, corn, and other provisions for the quarter.
Csaplovics continues : " The twelve first of the Togati are called Primarii, or .Turati. Their duty is to observe the conduct of the rest of the students, to see that they keep the college laws, and to point out any irregularities they may discover. In order to have a more strict watch over the students, they have the right to visit the rooms during the night ; on which account no student's door can be locked. Into this college police only those are admitted who have been from six to nine years Togati, who have finished their studies with credit, and who have distinguished themselves by their good con- duct. They are subjected, previously to admission among the Primarii, to the strictest examination, and then take an oath in public to fulfil their duties conscientiously."
The first Primarius is called Senior, and acts as
steward of the college, for which he receives 401.
a year ; the second is called Contrascriba, and is
the attorney-general of the community ; while the
" To the class of the non-Togati belong all those who intend to devote themselves to politics—or anything else or nothing else—and are called Pub- likusok (PuGlici). The course of study for this class extends only to four years."
" The lesser students form nine classes, the lowest of which are supplied with teachers chosen from among the Togati.
" The fee for instruction —Z)idactrum — is ac- cording to the wealth of the student : the poorest pay Gs. yearly ; those in more easy circumstances, 12s.; and the richest, 18s. The Togati, who act as private lecturers and tutors, receive from the students, according to their circumstances, from one ducat to many for their instructions ; and it is from this source chiefly that the industrious Togati derive their incomes. The number of the Togati and other students, following the higher branches of science, amounted in 1818, in Debreczen, to five hundred and twenty;94 in S<íros Patak, of Togati alone, to three hundred and sixty-three ; and in Pápa to one hundred and ten : of greater and lesser students in Sáros Patak, the total number was fourteen hundred and twenty."
Though the students of Debreczen have the repu- tation of being rather rough in manner and un- polished in appearance, they are generally staunch
94The whole number at Debreczen is upwards of two thousand.
It happened, while we were at Debreczen, that
the regiment quartered in the neighbourhood was
united at that place for the annual manwuvres and
inspection ; and, as we were walking about the
town, we were not a little surprised to recognise
under the lancer's jacket and cap an English face,—
Captain B.—, whom we had known elsewhere.
So unexpected a meeting was pleasant enough for
both parties ; and we were happy to avail ourselves
of an offer from the colonel, whom we met at
supper, to join the review next morning. In all the
world no better place for a review can be found
than the Debreczeni Puszta, as this part of the
plain is called. The regiment was composed en-
tirely of Poles from Gallicia; a very rough-looking
set, whom we were told it is almost impossible
to keep clean and honest. The officers complain
much of their drunkenness, dishonesty, and turbu-
lence in quarters. In rank, however, they looked
The number of English officers in the Austrian
cavalry is not less, I believe, than two hundred—
more, probably, than in all the other foreign armies
of Europe. It is difficult to find sufficient motives
for this preference, unless it be accounted for by
the kind manner in which their brother officers
receive them, and by the cheapness of provisions in
most parts of the Austrian empire. The Govern-
ment, too, is said to regard Englishmen generally
On leaving Debreczen, we turned towards Pest
;- a long journey, occupying at this season of the year,
when the horses are generally engaged with the
harvest, not less than two days and nights. We
were frequently obliged to remain three, four, or
five hours waiting for horses before the Biro could
be awakened, and the Kis Biro sent to the pastures,
horses be caught, brought up to the village, fed, and
harnessed to the carriage. It is tedious work,
though it is not altogether without its advantages.
One morning as we were dozing over this weari-
some interval, and just as the sun began to show
his pleasant face at the far end of the village, we
were roused by a clattering of hoofs, tinkling of
We were now in the country of water-melons,
and just in the season. Although this delicious
fruit keeps but a very short time, and can only be
eaten fresh, it is an important article of cultivation
here. In addition to the number consumed by the
men, children, and pigs,—for the latter often come
in for their share before all is over,--a great number
is sent by the Theiss and Danube to Pest, Pres-
burg, and Vienna. At Pest, the September fair is
called the Melonen Mark, from the quantity of this
The wine of the plains is not, to my taste, to be compared to that of other parts of I-Iungary. It is strong, but it is deficient in that flavour which the mountain lends its grapes. The tobacco of the plains is also strong, but considered deficient in aroma.
Among the crops most common here, and most strange to the Englishman's eye, are those of sun- flowers and pumpkins ; the first cultivated for the oil they yield, the second used for fattening the pigs.
As we arrived towards evening on the outskirts
of the straggling town of Szolnok, we found the
bridge which we had to cross encumbered with a
crowd of aged and maimed, before each of whom
was a large heap of kukurutz. I have already
said it was the time of harvest ; and, as we slowly
followed the train of heavily-laden waggons, we
observed that every peasant, as he passed a beggar,
threw a yellow cone of kukurutz to this heap, and
received a poor man's blessing in return. With the
characteristic cunning of their class, they knew that
The mention of Szolnok reminds me of one of
the many instances of politeness we received from
persons to whom we were totally unknown. As we
stopped at the town-house, and sent in our assig-
nation for fresh horses, the Szolga-biro came out,
and, raising his little cap, assured us horses should
be procured as soon as possible. He was a good-
tempered-looking man, and was evidently so anxious
for a chat with the strangers that we did not like
to disappoint him. He knew from our assignation
that we were Englishmen ; and no sooner did he
learn from our conversation that we had taken the
trouble to examine the riches and beauties of his
native land, and found much to admire and respect,
both in the country and its institutions, than he
scarce knew how to express his joy. Never was
there a people more grateful for sympathy than the
Hungarians. IIe would not allow us to leave the
town till he had filled the carriage with the choicest
peaches, melons, and plums, from his own garden ;
not to mention a large loaf of Szolnok bread, which
he pronounced, and I believe he was right too, to be
the very best in Hungary. It is true, all this might
be nothing but the ell et of good-nature : and yet,
But it is high time to finish this chapter, for it was my intention to confine myself to the peculiarities of the Puszta, and 1( am wandering from it;—kindness to the stranger is common to every part of Hungary.
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