Title


[153]

CHAPTER VI.

ROUTE TO KLAUSENBURG.

Valley of Hatszeg. -- Wallack Gallantry. -- Transylvanian Travelling. -- Arrival at Vayda Hunyad. -- The Gipsy Girl. -- Hunyadi János. -- Castle of Hunyad. -- The painted Tower. -- A Deputation. -- A Rogue found out. -- Deva. -- Valley of the Maros. -- H----- taken for a Spy. -- Visit to the Mines of Nagy Ag. -- Politeness from a Stranger. -- Transylvania Post-office. -- Sandstone of the Felek.

IT was on a cloudy wet day that we turned our backs on Várhely, so that although we crossed the entire valley, or rather plain of Hátszeg, we saw but little of its beauty; occasionally a bright sunbeam burst out, and gave us a glimpse of its glories, but it passed too soon to allow us to appreciate or enjoy them. We had been warned that the roads in this neighbourhood were bad, but we found them worse even than we had expected, and yet this is the shortest and most direct route from Transylvania to the Danube. From the state, however, in which the road is kept, often so as to be dangerous, and at times even impassable, the one by [154] Deva and Lugos, though much longer, is used in preference.

It must be very bad weather indeed which the traveller, in a new country, cannot turn to account if he will; in the present instance the wet muddy road afforded us an opportunity of witnessing a striking example of Wallack gallantry and Wallack modesty. A stout peasant, wrapped up in his guba of thick white cloth, was riding very composedly through the wet, for it could not hurt him, -- while his wife was trotting in the mud by his side, her clothes -- proh pudor ! -- gathered up to her hips to keep them out of the dirt. This mode of disposing of their dress is exceedingly common among the Wallack women, and it is not without some astonishment that the stranger sees half a dozen of them prepare in this manner to cross a brook, which they do without the least feeling of shame.

The town of Hátszeg had no attractions to detain us, and we started next morning for Hunyad, which we were assured we should reach in two hours. The first part of the road was bad, and we began to doubt if we should arrive so soon as we expected. The horses and driver we had engaged from the neighbourhood of Karansebes, to take us as far as we required -- for in this part of Transylvania, the peasantry are so poor that they have few horses, and use cither oxen or buffaloes for agricultural purposes -- were evidently unequal to the task. I wished much to persuade our coachman [155] to let me take a relay of oxen, but he declared his horses were capable of anything, and would not hear of help. The first hill beyond Hátszeg occupied us an hour, for the road was nothing more than soft tenacious clay, good enough perhaps in dry weather, but now almost impassable. Fortunately we were not without cause for consolation ; for on getting out of the carriage to walk, and looking hack, our eyes fell on such a scene as I do not think the world can equal in loveliness. The plain from Várhely to Hátszeg, yellow with the over-ripe maize, traversed by half a dozen streams, broken In-low hills, and sprinkled over with cottages and country-houses, lay stretched out at our feet, its mountain boundaries rising through the clouds. which hung on their sides, and disclosing their summits, whitened by the first fall of the autumn snow, and all heightened by the magic lights and shades of a fitful sky, formed a picture of most exquisite beauty.

The first hill conquered, we descended to the village of Szilvás, a collection of poor huts, apparently shut out from the world by the hills which surround it on every side. Up the steepest of these hills our road now lay. In vain the horses exerted themselves, -- they were quite tired out. As we passed through the village, S------ had observed some oxen in a yard, and for these we now sent. But their Wallack owner saw our need, and would only let us have them on paying an exorbitant sum, [156] and that, too, before they left his yard. There was no help; the money was paid, and the four oxen were harnessed to the four horses. These beasts, however, seemed to know the place, and most resolutely declined drawing in the right direction, and not all the flogging and pushing of the drivers could prevent them from dragging us back into the village. The peasant, however, waa as cunning as the oxen, and he determined to deceive them by going another way, and, by crossing the ploughed fields, escape that part of the road. So far all went well; but we again reached the road, and now both horses and oxen stood stock still; they seemed to have come to a mutual agreement to draw no further. As for flogging and shouting, there was no lack of either, for there were five of us, and we all united voices and hands in the labour. The beasts only kicked. Again we sent off for aid, and comforted ourselves in the mean time with the spare fare -- some hard-boiled eggs and well garlicked salami -- which our prog-basket afforded. After about an hour's waiting without any appearance of the arrival of fresh relay -- travelling in Transylvania demandeth much patience -- a merry-looking fellow, with a strong arm and long whip, came singing by, and inquired the reason of our untimely halt. No sooner did he hear that want of power, not want of will, detained us, than angry, apparently at the unreasonable conduct of the cattle -- with whom I am by no means sure he had not, like the [157] Irish whisperer, some secret intelligence -- he gave a few such persuading flourishes of his long whip, that off set both oxen and horses, nor did they stop their gallop till they reached the top of the mountain.

While we waited there for the servant's return we had leisure to enjoy the extensive panorama spread out before us -- plains, valleys, rivers, and wooded mountains, backed by still higher mountains rising over each other, as far as the eye could reach. The valleys of Hátszcg and Hunyad, the plain before Várhely, the hill of Deva, with its ruined castle, lay all before us; beyond them stretched out the Iron-Door Pass, the often-mentioned mountains of Wallachia, and the gold bearing peaks round Szalatna. We could plainly perceive too the course of the river Strehl, now formed into a respectable stream by the union of the many brooks of the valley of Hátszeg, and which had cut itself a passage through the rocks to the Maros. It is in this direction that the road between Hátszeg and Deva ought to pass. I feel convinced that the Roman road took this course, and as soon as ever this part of Transylvania receives its fair share of attention, -- -it is now by far the most uncultivated and savage, -- a great commercial road will undoubtedly unite, in this direction, Transylvania with the Danube.

Before we reached Hunyad, II------, who had been left at Várhely in hopes of getting some [158] views of the valley, which, however, the cloudy weather prevented, overtook us in a light waggon of the country, with which he had galloped over difficulties our heavier carriage had stuck fast in. It was quite dark when we stopped before some house where the sound of music led us to suppose we had found an inn. We were mistaken, however, and while the servant was making inquiries, and receiving answers which lie could not understand, as to the whereabouts of the hostelry, a gipsy girl came out of the house, and hearing the nature of our difficulty, at once took the arrangement of the matter on herself. At a single bound she threw herself into H------'s waggon, seated herself beside him, and giving her orders to the peasant, desired him to drive through the river up the steep bank and along the deep road: -- we being left to follow them to the inn as best we could. Before we arrived, our gipsy guide had roused the whole house, got the keys of the chambers, unlocked the rooms, and while we were yet joking II------on his adventure, the heroine of it had already lit the fires, mended the cracked stoves,21 got the carriage unloaded, laid the cloth, and was cooking the supper, ere it [159] was yet ordered. Everything was so quickly done, that it had an air of conjuration about it. It was strange to find one whom, five minutes before, we had never even seen, already our guide, our hostess, our cook, our factotum. Nor was the interest lessened when we had time to observe our mysterious friend. Lila was a pretty gipsy girl of about sixteen, with features more regular than those of her tribe commonly are, but with all a gipsy's cunning flattery on her tongue. She was [160] rather fancifully dressed, for over the Wallack shirt she had a bodice of scarlet cloth, embroidered with black. The coloured fillet over her forehead was ornamented with a gay bow in front, and behind each ear was a nosegay of the brightest flowers. Her rich brown hair, parted in front, fell in a profusion of clustering curls on her neck, and hung down the back in the long-braided band of maidenhood. She spoke alternately Wallack, Magyar, and German, as she in turns scolded, directed, and coaxed. Before we ceased wondering at so pleasant an apparition, a good supper was smoking on the table, and the pretty gipsy by her laughing and talking almost persuaded us that we were supping on ambrosia, while she played the gentle Hebe to our godships. We could never understand the mystery which seemed to belong to Lila's movements. They told us she was a gipsy of the neighbourhood, who often came into the town, and who was allowed to be about the house as much as she pleased. She had no occupation there, yet she had done everything. The gipsies are generally such rogues that they are scarcely permitted to enter any house, yet everything was perfectly secure with her.

21 The common stoves are made of tiles of coarse earthenware, the separate parts being united together by clay, which of course requires constant reparation, especially at the commencement of winter. The vessel of water which Dr. Arnot observed on the stoves on the Continent, and which he supposes to be placed there to supply moisture to the atmosphere, is intended to absorb the bad smell which a stove often emits.

LILA
LILA

Our first duty at Hunyad, after taking breakfast, which Lila, dressed more gaily than before, had prepared for us, was to visit the old castle, as it is historically interesting, having been built by the greatest man Transylvania ever produced, Hunyadi János, the Governor of Hungary and father of Mathias Corvinus. [161] Tradition assigns to Hunyadi a descent from Sigismund, King of Hungary. The tale runs thus : --

As Sigismund was passing through Transylvania, on his way to subdue his rebel vassal, the Woiwode of Wallachia, chance threw in liis way a beautiful Wallack girl, Elizabeth Marsinai, the pride of the valley of Hátszeg. Without disclosing his rank the gay monarch triumphed over the affections of the simple peasant, and as he left her to prosecute his wars, he gave her his signet ring, with the injunction, that when the fruit of their love should see the light, she should carry it to the King, in Buda, who on recognising the ring would be sure to treat her and her child with kindness.

The following year, as Elizabeth and the infant made their progress towards the distant capital, the young mother, overcome by fatigue, fell asleep under the shade of a tree. The child in the mean time played with the ring, which hung like an amulet round his neck. A mischievous daw, who watched the infant's sports, at last hopped from liis perch to join the play, and seizing the bauble in his beak, flew off with the prize. Awakened by the child's cries, Elizabeth saw with horror all her hopes of greatness dependent on the humour of a wicked wilful bird. Her brother, her companion and protector in this long journey, was fortunately a keen sportsman ; and, as he heard her wailing, an arrow from his bow laid the cause of her sorrows at her feet. The ring recovered, the little party joyfully [162] resumed their way, and when they reached their destination, and recounted their adventures, the delighted monarch could not sufficiently testify his pleasure. He at once bestowed on his son the name of Hunyadi, and presented him with the town of Hunyail, and sixty surrounding villages. The surname of Corvinus, later adopted, with the arms, a crow and ring, were assumed in memory of the events of this journey. Szonakos, the village which gave birth to Elizabeth, was declared tax-free for ever; a right which it still enjoys.

The name of Hunyadi was destined to eclipse even that of his royal father. Brought up amidst the wars, to which the state of the times and the increasing boldness and power of the Turks gave rise, Hunyadi found himself called on at an early age to protect the district over which he had been placed from the inroads of the barbarians. In the reign of Sigismund the Turks had ventured, for the first time, across the boundaries of Hungary, and already had the southern parts of Transylvania been rendered scarcely habitable, so frequent and so fierce liad their attacks become. After the death of Albert, and before Iris successor was determined on, Hunyadi gained a series of glorious victories over the Moslems, following them through Wallachia, across the Danube into Bulgaria, and obliging them to yield up possession of the fortresses of Servia and Bosnia, thus placing all these countries under the vassalage of Hungary. By the support chiefly [163] of Hunyadi, now strengthened by his victories, Ladislaus V. was secured on the throne, and his first act was to give peace to the kingdom, by a truce with the Turks, most solemnly ratified for a period of ten years. To this treaty Ilunyadi was a party, nor can any sophistry release him from the disgrace of having broken his word when, only a few days after, the Pope's legate, by that miserable sophism of the church, that faith is not to be held with infidels, persuaded him to violate a solemn engagement, and, unprovoked, recommence the war against the Moslems. The treachery was, however, fearfully punished before Varna -- the false king killed, his army destroyed, and Hunyadi himself, flying and at last imprisoned, was just retribution for the crime.

After the death of the king, Hunyadi was appointed Governor of Hungary, during the minority of Ladislaus VI., and though at the head of a powerful army, and surrounded by a large party, he never attempted to grasp a higher power than that which the assembled people had delegated to him. When at the age of thirteen the king was placed upon the throne by the machinations of Hunyadi's sworn foes -- no great man had worse ones, -- he at once gave up his power into the feeble hands which coulrl scarcely have wrested it from him. The feelings of the country, however, were so strongly with him, tbathe was appointed captain-general of the kingdom, and loaded with honours and endowments.

The Turks had now taken Constantinople, and all [164] Europe was roused against them. Crusades were preached ; the Monk Capistran, roused Christendom from its lethargy; and Hunyadi, aided by the practised troops from Germany, again took the field. His last campaign was his most brilliant one. After a contest of three successive days, Belgrade fell into his hands, and the Infidel hordes were pursued by the victorious Christians almost to the gates of Constantinople. But their Emperor had little time to enjoy his victory, for in a few days disease consumed a life which so many wars had left untouched. But for Hunyadi János it is exceedingly probable that the Turks would have swept over the whole of Europe, as so many of their Eastern predecessors in invasion had already done, and instead of being only on the outskirts as they now are, we might have seen them established in its very centre. Their career of victory was, however, checked, their thoughts of eon-quest turned in another direction, and although, when weaker hands than those of Hunyadi guided the reins of government, they did gain a temporary footing in Hungary, yet the confidence inspired by his victories enabled the Magyars to make head against them, and finally to expel them from the land.

CASTLE OF VAYDA HUNYAD
CASTLE OF VAYDA HUNYAD

The castle of Vayda22 Hunyad is finely situated on a bold precipitous limestone-cliff, washed on three sides by two small rivers, the Cserna and [165] Zalasd, which meet at this point. On the opposite side of the Zalasd, rises another rock of the same height, which slopes gradually down to the town, and is fortified. From this second rock the castle is approached by a long wooden bridge, at a dizzy height above the stream and road below. The end of the bridge nearest the castle, by a simple contrivance, is made to rise and fill up the portal of the watch-tower, which it closes like a door. This is the simplest drawbridge and gate, as well as the most effectual, I ever saw, and, it is still in constant use. There is no pulley or chain employed; it is so balanced that it can be raised by placing the foot on the opposite end, the weight of the body [166] being sufficient to turn the scale and to raise the huge mass in the air. The part of the castle on the right of the entrance ia that built by Hunyadi, that on the left was repaired, and in part built by a Count Bethlen, at a later date. The wall on the right is almost unbroken by windows, except near the top, where a singularly elegant Gothic balcony runs along its whole length, forming a succession of windows fitted for the lighting of a long hall or gallery.

22 It is called Vayda (Woiwode, or Governor) Hunyad, from the rank of the person to whom it gave its name, and to distinguish it from Bánffy Hunyad, a town in another part of Transylvania.

On crossing the bridge, one of the officers of the iron-works -- for the castle now serves as a depot for the Government iron obtained from the mines in the neighbourhood -- very politely offered to conduct us over it. The interior forms an irregularly shaped court, of which the solid rock constitutes the pavement, and is completely surrounded, by the buildings of the castle. A gallery runs round three sides of this court, and most of the windows open upon it. Wo entered by a Gothic door on the right, and found ourselves in a large room, extending along the whole of one side of the castle divided by pillars in the centre, and supporting a number of arches, on which rests the groined ceiling. On the capital of one of the pillars, a scroll, picturesquely disposed, bears the following inscription in Gothic characters : --

"Hoc opus fecit fieri magnificus Johannes Huniades Regni Hungariæ Gubernator Ano Dni 1452."

The proportions of this room are at present destroyed, by a partition which cuts off a part of it [167] for the convenience of the Government officers, who use it as a counting-house. The rest of the space is occupied by hars of iron. It is probable that this part formed the Ritter Saal, though they assured us it was on the story above. This, however, we found divided into three or four very handsome rooms, which arc said to have been fitted up for and used by the Emperor Francis, some years since. From these rooms glass doors open to the Gothic balcony T before spoke of, which is divided into several compartments by solid walls, forming the most lovely little boudoirs imaginable. The opposite side of the court is occupied by some of the officers, as a dwelling, and a very handsome one it makes. It is kept in very good order; indeed the whole building seems in good repair, and nothing can be more elegant than the drawing-rooms which the huge round-towers form, nothing more beautiful than the views presented from their windows.

About the largest tower there is something mysterious, for to all appearance it is a solid mass of masonry; nor could our guide give any further account of it. Attempts had been made, he said, to penetrate it, but nothing had been discovered; it was found solid throughout. The exterior of this tower is still painted, as tradition reports it has been ever since its erection. It is in black and white, disposed chequerwise, and looks as ugly as possible. I have noticed in speaking of Arva, that the ancient castles of Hungary were mostly painted outwardly; [168] at the present time Hunyad is the only one, perhaps, in which the custom is maintained. I have observed, however, other buildings painted in Hungary even at the present day. At Lugos, the Greek church is ornamented in this way. If I mistake not, private houses, in some old towns, still have their walls painted ; but the best example, if I may be allowed to anticipate, is in the old court-house and prison of Klausenburg. This building is covered over with allegorical designs, and is divided into compartments bearing wise Latin inscriptions, in reference to the purposes of the building, and the duties of its occupants. I am not aware that this custom ever prevailed in England, or in any other part of the Continent except Hungary, with respect to the outer walls of castles, common as it is in the inclosed courts and porticos of Italy. I know of no instance in which the manner called fresco has been employed in Hungary; those T have seen were all in common oil colours.

We were a little surprised on our return to the inn, to receive a request, through our servant, that we should accept a complimentary visit from some of the inhabitants of the town, as we were the first Englishmen who were known to have passed through Hunyad. It would have been difficult to refuse this proffered civility, however little inclination we might feel to play the part assigned us, and we therefore ordered in as many chairs as our miserable room could contain, and turning the beds [169] into sofas, we sat in due state to receive the delegates of Vayda Hunyad to our noble selves, -- the wandering representatives of the United kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The servant opened the door with considerable ceremony, and announced the names, titles and occupations of four as fat little burgesses as could be found in any snug country town of our own island. The spokesman of the party, the fattest and most important person, was the doctor, who expressed in a very complimentary speech, in German, the pleasure they had in seeing Englishmen, members of a constitutional country, and Protestants like themselves, in their town, and as we were the first who had ever so far honoured it, they could not omit the opportunity, et cetera, et cetera. Of course we could only express our deep sense of the compliment paid us, our admiration of the country, and our conviction, that as the facilities of travelling became more general, the beauties of Transylvania would attract many of our countrymen to visit them. Thereupon Tokay and biscuits were handed round, and a parley commenced, consisting principally of questions on their side, apparently arranged by previous concert, and propounded by the doctor, which were answered on our part as we were able. They consisted chiefly of inquiries relative to points in English law and government, which had puzzled them -- no wonder, for they sometimes puzzle even their own authors -- in reading the journals, and in regard to the appearance and character of [170] public men whose acts or speeches had interested them. This was another proof of the consideration our dear native land enjoyed among strangers, and we were delighted to satisfy to the beat of our power an interest 90 flattering to England, and so useful to other constitutional countries. In teaching the world that a peaceable reform, obtained by moral arms alone, is more effectual than the most brilliant revolution, England has done more for the liberties of mankind than all the nations of ancient or modern times.

After some time our visitors took their leave, and we prepared to continue our journey, but a difficulty arose which we had not expected. The bill which the landlord presented to us for the very slender accommodation received, was so exorbitant, that it was impossible to overlook such gross imposition. Suspecting that our servant was a rogue, I declined his service as an interpreter on this occasion, and a stranger kindly offered his assistance. It was well I had recourse to this precaution, for I found the rascal had been carousing all night with a party he had accidentally met, and that he had desired the landlord to put the wine, -- I forget how many quarts each, -- down to our account. On this exposure, and on being subjected to some little abuse by the landlady for certain other offences, the fellow seized a knife and advanced towards the woman with a threat to murder her if she repeated her words. Luckily I caught sight of the knife and obliged him to relinquish [171] it, but I shall not easily forget his appearance at that moment. He was a strong-built man with an expression of countenance much resembling a wolf, and he had become excited to the utmost fury by the discovery. He was red and foaming with rage when 1 threatened to strike him to the ground (for I Jim fortunately a strong man), if he did not relinquish the knife, but in an instant, with a power over himself I never saw equalled, he bowed low, and in his usual humble voice replied, "Certainly, if my master commands it." I need hardly say that I got rid of him as soon as possible, for I hold that no rogue is so dangerous as one who can command himself. On a former occasion my suspicions had been raised against him from finding my pistols unloaded and stuffed with dirt; a precaution which I have no doubt he had adopted in case of detection in any roguery.

As we got into the carriage, Lila was there to bid us adieu. Her beauty, her good-humour, and her happy way of rendering herself useful, made us quite sorry to part with her, and I believe S------did propose to equip her "en jocké" and take her with us; but S------ is a wild fellow! I know nothing can be more ridiculous than to fancy a gipsy sentimental, and yet, in spite of ridicule, I would swear I saw a tear glisten in the poor girl's eye as we drove off. A few kind words are rarely lost even on a gipsy.

At Deva, our next station, we spent, or rather misspent, a couple of days; for placing ourselves under the guidance of a young gentleman who [172] offered to show us the lions of the neighbourhood, we saw only what he thought lions and not what we should have selected as such.

About ten miles from Deva, there are some of the richest gold mines in Transylvania, those of Nagy Ág and Szekerem, and to these he promised to conduct us. With great difficulty wo got to the foot of the mountain, over almost impassable roads, whore we found oxen ready to drag us up tho nearly perpendicular rock, and several peasants in attendance to hold the carriage from falling over. We had often occasion to wonder at the dislike the Hungarian seems to have to walking, but from imitation we fell into their customs, sitting still in our carriage to be slowly dragged through and over places which we could have surmounted much more easily and quickly on foot. Once at the mines, we were conducted along a new railway adit, which I of course imagined would conduct us to the workings ; but, alas! it will only get there some years hence, for it is yet unfinished, and in the mean time we were obliged to content ourselves with the ride on the railroad for our trouble, it being declared too late to see the other works when we got back. Our guide assured us that many ladies and gentlemen came to see the railway, but nobody thought of going into the mines, so that he had no idea we could have wished such a thing.

The quantity of gold and silver obtained here, though less than formerly, is still considerable ; not [173]

less than one hundred and fifty marks of gold, and seven hundred and fifty of silver, per annum. These mines are peculiarly interesting to the mineralogist as being the richest in tellurium of any in Europe; indeed it was here that metal was first discovered. I afterwards saw a specimen of pure gold from Szckerem, in the form of a tree, -- I think mineralogists call it tree-gold. It was two inches high, standing quite out from the matrix, and was most beautifully branched and foliated.

Deva, situated on the banks of the Maros, is worth visiting, were it only for the view from the old castle. On the very point of a rock, which rises above the little town, stand the ruins of a fortress, said to have been begun by the Romans, though it was probably used for such purpose ever since the country was inhabited. It is now, however, a very small ruin, although a number of walls and turrets on different parts of the hill show the extent the castle once had. It has lately been repaired in a tasteless manner, and now serves as a watch-tower for a few frontier soldiers.

The view extends, towards the west, along the beautiful valley of the Maros, and, to the east, as far as the blue mountains of Zalatna, which were tipped with the first fall of the autumn's snow. Lover as I am of rivers and valleys, I know few that I prefer to the Maros, and its vale. I shall have opportunity enough hereafter of describing the higher part of this river, for I afterwards traced it [174] nearly to its source, but of its downward course I may as well speak now, though I did not visit it till a later period.

The first part of the Maros valley, towards the borders of Hungary, is rich, well wooded, and occasionally ornamented with pretty country houses. At Dobra the road leaves it, and I know nothing more of it till some time after it has reached Hungary. Those, however, who are acquainted with the border district, describe it as wild to the last degree; -- the river bound in its channel by precipitous rocks, and the valley darkened by forests of the native oak which have never known the woodman's axe. At Kápolnás the valley widens considerably, and presents a scene of extraordinary loveliness. For perhaps fifteen miles in length, by three or four in width, extends a plain covered with white villages, and groaning under the richest crops of corn, surrounded on every side by mountains covered to their summits by forests of oak, and traversed in its whole extent by the river now grown wide and powerful.

There are few things in any country which have struck me as being more beautiful than this part of the valley of the Maros, but it is completely unknown even to Hungarians. The whole of it at present belongs to the Kammer; and as it is subject to frequent inundations, against which no precautions are taken, its inhabitants are doomed to much poverty and suffering. When sold, as it will [175] shortly be, it is to be hoped that private capital and enterprise will make it the elysiiim which Nature seems to have intended it should become.

How far steam navigation will succeed on the Maros, in its present state, is extremely doubtful, as it is a very wide and wayward stream, and in summer lias sometimes not more than two feet of water; but there is no doubt it might be made navigable, and probably it will be, as soon as increased population on its banks shall demand an outlet for their productions.

As H------ was too unwell to-day to climb the castle-hill on foot, and yet unwilling to leave without some memorial of the scene, a peasant was found who undertook to convey him to the summit in a leiter-wagen. Up accordingly he went, and just as he had placed himself comfortably to his work, a borderer from the castle, stepping cautiously as a cat about to seize a mouse, hastened towards him till he was stopped at a little distance by the driver. H------ had observed the man, but as the latter contented himself with holding a long and loud colloquy with the Wallack, and as H------ did not understand the language, he took no further notice of him, nor did the soldier offer any other molestation to the artist, than by keeping a very sharp eye on his movements, and never quitting the wagen till it arrived at the inn. Judge then of H------'s surprise, on coming down, to be congratulated at his [176] escape from imprisonment! The simple grenzer, persuaded tliat the ruins of Dova formed a most important fortress, had come to arrest the daring spy who was taking a plan of its defences, and was armed with a rope which he was just about to throw over H------Js arms when the peasant interposed, and with great difficulty persuaded him to delay the seizure till he had accompanied him to the village, and informed himself better on the subject. It was a very good joke when so well over, but it might have been otherwise ; to be suspected as a spy, bound, and in the hands of a very rude and ignorant soldiery, is a position by no means free from danger.

Nor was this the only adventure which befell our luckless friend at Deva. While quietly finishing his sketches in the inn, he observed an ill-conditioned fellow staring at him through the half-opened door, when, calling the servant, he desired him to inquire bis business. Upon this the ill-conditioned man became excessively abusive, declared that "H------ was a spy, a rogue, a German, or something still worse; that he saw things which he was sure were for no goou, and that he would denounce him to the authorities." The servant requested him to change his quarters, but be protested he was a Nemes Ember, and would stay where he liked, and do what he liked. As soon as the authorities heard of this affair they sent to beg we would excuse the brutality and ignorance of an individual who had [177] never seen more of the world than his native county, and who was notorious as one of the most troublesome fellows in it, assuring us at the same time that they had taken care that we should not be subject to any further molestation.

We had been promised vorspann at five in the morning to take us on the next stage to Szásváros: but at ten, in spite of repeated demands, no horses had appeared, and we were obliged to order post-horses. In Transylvania, generally, it is extremely difficult to obtain vorspann; indeed, I believe it is not allowed to any one except the officers of the county or of the crown. On the other hand, the post is much better than in Hungary; and the principal roads are maintained in a state that ought to put many continental states to the blush. The cross roads, however, are in a most deplorable condition here; -- nothing can be worse. Count S------, I remember, said he travelled for six weeks in Transylvania, and was overturned six times.

As we approached Mühlenbach, where we meant to remain for the night, a heavy snow-storm warned us that winter was setting in, and induced us to change our intended route, and, instead of proceeding to Hermanstadt, to go directly to Klausenburg. The inn was so full, that they had no apartment to offer us but a very small room, where it \vas impossible to stow three beds; and we were preparing to encounter the night and storm on the road, when a gentleman, who had preceded us, sent to offer his [178] large room in exchange for our small one. As this was a person we had never seen, and who knew only that we were foreigners, and in difficulty, it is worth adducing, as one of the thousand proofs of the civilities we received merely in right of our character as strangers. This gentleman joined us in the evening, and proved to be a Szekler connected with the post-office. He was a very agreeable companion, from whom we received much information, which the reader will have the benefit of at the proper time and place. With respect to the department in which lie was employed, he assured us, that the reports so often repeated of letters being opened were entirely without foundation, as far at least as Hermanstadt was concerned; and, he believed, they were equally unfounded with respect to every other place in Hungary and Transylvania. As to what took place at Vienna, he knew only from hearsay.

As we returned next morning for a short distance on our road of the preceding evening, we found wo had passed over a plain of some extent, and called from its richness the Kenyer Mezö (bread-field), illustrious in Transylvanian history for a great victory gained over the Turks by one of their native princes, Báthori István, in 1479.

I shall say nothing more of our journey to Klausenburg, which occupied us two days, for we scarcely put our heads out of the carriages, so miserably cold and wet had it become; and, as we shall pass [170] over the same ground when we visit the mines of Zalatna, it is of no importance. As we reached the summit of the long hill, down which a winding road of two or three miles' descent leads to the capital, the sun was pleased to show himself ere he set over the now white mountains, and gave us a beautiful glimpse of the valley of the Szamos, with Klausenburg in the midst jufit below us. The Szamos is the second river in Transylvania in point of size, and flows through another of those valleys which give to this country the appearance of a mass of small mountains traversed in various directions by rivers, which have cut out for themselves watercourses from one hundred yards to a mile or two in width, occasionally, where a tributary stream lends its force, widening into small plains like those of Hátszeg, Kenyer Mezö, Három-szék, and Thorda. The principal roads are formed along these valleys, so that travelling in Transylvania presents a succession of beautiful scenes rarely to be met with in other lands.

A curious substitute has been found for curbstones to the bridges and dangerous places in the descent of the Felck hill. The stratum, a fine sandstone, has formed itself naturally, in some places, into nearly perfect globes of considerable size, -- -four-times that of a man's head, -- which are used as curb-stones, and which answer perfectly well for the purpose to which they have been applied. I observed one place on the road where these stones [180] were quarried, and it appeared that they were formed between two layers of the sand-stone, some of them assuming the cylindrical form ; but almost all more or less nodulated. We galloped down the Felek hill at a tremendous rate, chiefly, I believe, because the weak horses, and weaker harness, had not strength enough to hold back; nor did we feel ourselves safe till we whirled through one of the old-fashioned gates of Klausenburg, and were rattling over its rough pavement. The only tolerable inn within the walls was full, and we were fain to content ourselves with such accommodation as was furnished by the best of those in the suburbs.

VALLEY OF THE MAROS FROM DEVA CASTLE
VALLEY OF THE MAROS FROM DEVA CASTLE

Chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 P.S.




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