Title


[255]

VALLEY OF THE ARANYOS AT BARE
VALLEY OF THE ARANYOS AT BARE

CHAPTER IX.

THE SALT MINES AND GOLD MINES.

Horse Pair at Klausenburg. -- Moldavian Horses. -- Cholera in Klausenberg. -- Thorda. -- Valley of the Aranyos. -- Miklós and his Peccadilloes. -- A Transylvanian Invitation. -- The Wallaek Judge. -- Thoroczko. -- The Unitarian Clergyman. -- St. Qyörgy. -- A Transylvanian Widow. -- Peasants' Cottages. -- The Cholera. -- A Lady's Road. -- Thordai Hasadék. -- The Salt Mines of Szamos Ujvár. -- The Salt Tax. - -- Karlsburg. -- The Cathedral and krumme Peter. -- Wallack Charity. -- Zalatna. -- Abrud Bánya. -- The Gold Mines of Vörös Patak. -- Csetatie. -- Detonata. -- Return. -- College of Nagy Enyed. -- English Fund. -- System of Education.

THE reader must now allow me to pass over three quarters of a year, of which period I shall give him no further account than to say it was passed in [256] travelling through some parts of Greece and Turkey, and he must fancy me returned to Transylvania, determined to see the part of the country which the approach of winter had prevented me from visiting the year before. My brother had taken Mr. S------'s place as my companion; but, alas! Mr. H------ had left for England, and I was forced to content myself with such poor sketches as I could make myself of what most struck me in this tour.

When I came back to Klausenburg, it was just at the time of the horse-fair ; and a number of gay carriages were rolling about, making the whole place seem quite alive. This fair has only been established a few years, and it is as yet considered a matter of honour for the chief horse-breeders to send a number of their horses, if only to show them. A large circus has been enclosed 011 the outside of the town, in which the horses are trotted and galloped round, while the company, including a crowd of ladies, occupy a kind of stand erected at one end. As the most beautiful horses of the country are produced here, and as they are often ridden by their owners, it is a very animated scene. On the outside of the circus, the carriage horses are exhibited; and many were the smart teams of four long-tailed little horses, which whirled the light carriages round the circle.

In one corner we found a group of some hundred perfectly wild horses from Moldavia, not one of which had ever had a halter round his neck. [257] They were guarded by a set of men, if possible, even wilder-looking than themselves. Some of these horses were by no means deficient in good points ; and though they do not bear a high character here, the low price at which they were sold, -- eight or ten pounds the pair, -- tempted purchasers. To see the newly purchased horses separated from the herd was a great treat; it was one of the most clever feats of address and courage I almost ever witnessed. No sooner was the horse fixed on and pointed out, than one of the savage-looking tenders rushed into the herd, seized him by the ears and mane, and hung to him with all his strength. Alarmed at this treatment, the poor beast became furious, dashed about, kicked, reared, and put every artifice of horse ingenuity in force to get rid of his enemy. It was all in vain, there the fellow hung, -- now in the air, now on the ground, -- he still held to the head. No bulldog could pin his adversary more securely. Fatigued at last with his own exertions, the horse was quiet for a moment, when a rope with a slip-noose was thrown over his neck, on which three or four men pulled with all their might, till they dragged him out of the herd. Half dead from strangulation, fear, and fatigue, the poor creature was now bound tightly to his fellow, and the pair were led off. When they first felt themselves yoked as it were, there was generally one more struggle for liberty; but it was useless, they only exhausted each other's strength, and probably became sufficiently [258] tame in a few hours, to be harnessed to a waggon and driven home.

The gay aspect of Klausenburg, however, soon disappeared. It was the season of the harvest, and all good landlords had plenty to do at home. There was another reason also which called the better-intentioned into the country. The cholera was raging frightfully through almost every part of the land, and the peasantry, the chief sufferers, had no one from whom they could ask or expect aid and advice but their lords and ladies; and nobly, in many instances, did they perform their duties. Personal attendance even in some cases, and medicine and food in almost all, were liberally supplied. Of the numbers who perished during this attack it is impossible to give any account; I doubt even if it is known. In Klausenburg, for some time, the number of deaths amounted to from twenty to thirty a day; and before it ceased, probably not less than one-twentieth of its population was carried off. I have heard of some villages in which even a tenth perished. We were lodged just opposite one of the gates of the town which led to the great cemetery, and through which every corpse was carried out. From two o'clock, as long as daylight lasted, the funerals proceeded in one melancholy procession. It is the custom that every member of a trade should be followed by the whole of the corporation to which he belonged, and it is therefore scarcely a figure of [259] speech to say that all Klausenburg was engaged in this mournful task. A gipsy band is a necessary attendant on a Transylvanian funeral; and it is usually accompanied by the- voices of a hundred followers chanting a mass or singing a psalm as they marched along. The soldiers, too, suffered severely, and the fine military bands were generally heard three or four times every afternoon. These melancholy scenes, and the continual tolling of the great bell, rendered Klausenburg really more like a city of the dead than the living; and we were heartily glad when our preparations were made, and we could dissipate our gloomy thoughts by new scenes and new objects of interest.

In the little excursion which we made, and which did not occupy us more than a week, I think it will he best to follow my journal.

August 18th. -- Left Klausenburg and got to Thorda for dinner. Finding nothing very interesting, though there are said to be some remains of a Roman road in the neighbourhood, and the post-house is ornamented with some Roman bas-reliefs we engaged horses to take us on to Tboroczko, where we hear there are some iron-mines well worth seeing. We agreed to pay eight shillings a day for five horses, the coachman heing bound to maintain himself and steeds.

The road to Thoroczko was hilly, and in many places so bad that we could only advance at a [260] foot pace. A little before sunset, we arrived at the summit of a very high hill, from which we had a splendid view over a fine mountainous country, with crags and precipices on every side, and just below us the little village of Bare, and the Aran-yos winding along the valley. Across tho river was one of those curious covered wooden bridges, so common in Switzerland ; indeed, there was nothing but a snow mountain wanting to have made us fancy ourselves in the Cantons. As we were slowly descending the hill at the imminent hazard of our necks, with both wheels locked, and the servant hanging to the step to balance it, I began to make some inquiries as to the distance we had still to go before we arrived at Thorockzo, where we had been told there was a comfortable inn. I may add, in a parenthesis, that a comfortable inn in Transylvania means a dry room, clean straw, and a couple of roast chickens for supper. "Oh, I quite forgot," exclaimed Miklós, "to tell your grace that I have learnt at Thorda, that there is no inn at Thoroczko; but it is of no consequence, for the Countess T------lives there, and she would certainly be very glad to entertain you." It was of no use scolding -- though, like most angry men, I believe I forgot that in my anger -- for although this fellow had been in my service nearly a year, I had never been able to make him feel why I often preferred a poor dirty inn to a handsome mansion, and starved chickens to good fare. That any [261] motives of delicacy could make me hesitate to intrude on the hospitality of those with whom I was unacquainted, was an idea altogether so foreign to the habits and customs of Transylvania, where in fact such visits are not considered intrusions, that it was no wonder the poor fellow could not comprehend it.

But it is time I introduced this same Miklós to the better acquaintance of the reader, for a traveller who is ignorant of the vulgar tongue of a country in which he travels, is so dependent on his servant, that the character of the latter has often more influence on his adventures than even his own. After dismissing old Stephan, T had taken a man who turned out so great a rogue that I was obliged to get rid of him as soon as I arrived in Klausenburg the first time; and here some friend found Miklós for me to supply his place. Miklós was a stout good-looking little fellow of about twenty, who spoke Hungarian and Wallack perfectly, and knew as much German as enabled him to get through a message, which had been twice repeated to him, with only two or three blunders. His greatest merits were his desire to travel, and his constant good-humour in all the difficulties attendant on it. If anything was to be drawn out of an ill-tempered landlady, or a rigid-looking custom-house officer was to be softened, Miklós was pretty sure to manage the affair. Then he could make a bed, cook a dinner, cut hair, mend clothes, sleep on the ground, [262]

fast for a week, and bargain with a Jew. If the carriage stuck in the mud and we required additional assistance to get it out again, he was the first to mount a horse and gallop off without bridle or saddle to the next village, and it was hard if he came back without having obtained his object. If the coachman could not drive his team or had an unruly leader, Miklós mounted as postilion or took the reins, and drove as if he had been bred a Jehu. These were all valuable qualities; but then the fellow was careless; made endless mistakes, which no scolding could teach him to avoid for more than twenty-four hours; and had, moreover, a shocking habit of making love to every woman he came near. He got deep into the affections of a lady's maid at Pest, attracted the attentions of a Greek widow in Constantinople, promised marriage to a Wallachian girl at Bucharest, and was besieged by a host of inamoratas in Klausenburg, Some may fancy that all these were no matters of mine, but I assure them they are mistaken, for independently of the annoyance of complaints from masters and mammas, love-making occupies much time which might be better employed; besides that, leaving every place one enters with a Dido desolata delaying the start is by no means agreeable. Notwithstanding his peccadilloes, however, Miklós was a good servant, and I must say I was sorry when I left the country and was obliged to part with him -- especially when I saw him neglect to take [263] up his money, and blubber like a great child at leaving me.

The valley of the Aranyos and the little village of Bare which we had now reached, looked so inviting, that I was much tempted to make a better acquaintance with it, and accordingly desired Miklós to see if it was not possible to get a room in some peasant's cottage for the night. The judge immediately offered us beds in his house, and promised ns some supper too if we would stay; an offer I was glad to accept in spite of Miklós's contemptuous expression when he found it was a Wallack under whose roof we were to rest.

While they were making all possible preparations in the cottage, we scrambled along the craggy banks of the river for a considerable distance up the valley. Some mines in the neighbouring mountains gave food to an iron hammer which was plying its noisy restless task, disturbing the whole vale with its melancholy song.

However Miklós may have sneered, the Wallack judge's cottage was by no means so bad. Besides the room in which the whole family lived, and the entrance where they cooked, -- -both of which were certainly very filthy, -- there was another room, which, if it had no other floor than the hardened clay, and no other wall than the baked mud, was yet dry and tolerably clean. It contained two beds, very short and very hard, and, all around, were hung rude earthen jugs and pots, and in one [264] favoured corner was a cluster of pictures of hideous saints, after the most orthodox models of the Creek church. But the pride of the family consisted in a long row of not less than twenty aprons, besides a number of shirts, ostentatiously displayed along one side of the room. The aprons were such as are commonly worn by the Wallack women; but of a finer wool, and of beautiful colours. The shirts were of coarse linen, but prettily embroidered with blue at the wrists and neck. The whole of this treasure was the produce of the housewife's own hands.

As we were examining these arrangements, while Miklós was disposing some new pieces of homespun linen in the guise he thought most likely to make us fancy them a table-cloth and napkins, a clattering of horses' hoofs was heard to cease at the door, and he was presently called out to speak to some stranger. When he returned, it was to announce that a servant of the Countess T------was.just come to say that his mistress had heard of our visit to Thoroczko, and would expect us to take beds at her house. Here was a pretty affair ! The carriage unpacked, the horses in tlte stable, and we expected some miles off! However, it was now too late to think of going further, and besides, I had taken a fancy to the Wallack's cottage. The beds too were made, a wax-light robbed from the carnage -- these people were too poor to have candles of any kind -- threw a cheerful light over the room, [265] everything was put in order, and I fancied it looked very comfortable; in addition to which, the cloth, such as it was, was laid, and the smell of roasting was far from disagreeable to men who had not eaten since mid-day, so that there was nothing to be done but send a very polite message with an excuse for not coming, on account of the lateness of the hour, and a promise to do ourselves the honour of paying a visit the next day.

I know not whether it was the difficult mastication of the fibrous old cock which now smoked upon the table, or some other cause, which called up certain doubts in my mind as to the correctness of the message which had just been delivered; but certain it is they did arise, and I forthwith questioned Miklós as to whether he had learnt how the Countess could have heard of our coming, as we knew she herself had but just returned to Tho-roczko from another part of the country. "Why," said Miklós, making more than his usual number of blunders in German, as he answered, "the fact is, the Countess does not know of it yet, but she soon will; the servant who had been to Klausenburg on business, had heard there of your Grace's arrival in this part of the country, and so he thought of course you would visit his lady, and he hastened home to tell them of your coming; but as he found we were stopping here, ho told your Grace that they already were expecting you, that lie might not have to come back again to say so." And thus, [266] on the servant's invitation, I had coolly sent to say I should visit a lady to whom I had no introduction, and whom, though I knew by name, I had never seen in my life. Oh! I could Lave broken the rascal's head for his blunder! but he was evidently unconscious of any fault, and thought, I have no doubt, that both he and the other servant were a couple of very clever fellows.

19th. -- Rose early, got a sketch of the bridge and river, and started for Thoroczko, where we arrived before ten. It is a pretty little town, cleaner and with better houses than one generally sees. Its inhabitants are all Magyars and Unitarians. A friend in Klausenburg had given us a letter to the Unitarian clergyman, as the person best able to give us information of anything worth seeing in the neighbourhood, and we drove straight to his house. He was out attending a sick parishioner; but his wife received us, and insisted on sending to inform him of our coming.

In the mean time we entered his modest dwelling, which, except in being rather larger, and having the kitchen and servant's room separated from the dwelling-rooms, differed little from those of his peasant neighbours. Its interior, however, bespoke his superiority. The two little rooms of which it consisted were crowded with book-shelves. Here they groaned under quartos of Latin theology there they displayed probably all the best works in Hungarian literature, -- and no great number [267] either -- while, in another part, belles lettres and natural history flourished in mis-shapen tomes from the German press. Some fine minerals from the neighbourhood which were scattered about, and a number of little drawers, which I am sure contained specimens, declared our priest a natural philosopher. While we were making these observations, a stout, middle-aged man, with a mild expression of countenance, long black hair hanging down his back, and dressed in an Hungarian coat and knee-boots, made his appearance; and by a long complimentary speech in Latin, proclaimed himself our host. Before he was half through his address, I interrupted him, and petitioned for German; but he declared off on the score of inability, and we were accordingly forced to carry on a medley discourse of Latin and German, as we best could.

We found the immediate object of our visit, the iron mines, were in a very bad state, and scarcely worth the trouble of seeing. The clergyman told us of several natural curiosities in the mountains near; but they demanded a day or two at least to visit them, and we determined therefore, after paying our self-proffered visit to the Countess, who, our friend assured us, was a "nobilissima et generosissima dama," to return to Thorda. We were not allowed to leave, however, without visiting the Unitarian church; a large, and rather handsome building for the size of the town. The object to which our attention was more immediately drawn, [268] however, was the organ; it was a recent acquisition, and was exhibited, I thought, with no small feeling of clerical pride.

After all, the Countess T------ did not live at Thoroczko, and we were therefore obliged to penetrate some miles further into this beautiful valley before we reached St. Cyorgy, the place of her residence. Nothing can be more secluded than this valley, nothing more lovely. On one side it is bounded by precipitous cliffs, on the very summit of which we could perceive some ruins of an old castle, on the other are wooded hills, and in the middle a pretty stream and rich meadows and corn-fields.

We drove at once to the chateau, where wo were received as expected guests, our horses taken out, and ourselves set down to lunch, as a matter of course. The Countess T------was a lady of the old school, possessing all that easy dignity of manner which, when united to a warm heart, forms the perfection of the social character; and, though now in the decline of life, exhibiting a regularity and delicacy of features, which told she must have been a beauty in her younger days -- nor was their tale belied by the image of those days which, for us was reproduced in the person of her daughter. The servant had not been mistaken ; for it was certain that his mistress expected not only that we, but that all other gentlemen who travelled through her secluded valley should [269] visit her on their way. Any idea of leaving before dinner was scarcely allowed utterance. "As a widow," said the Countess, "my forenoons are pretty well occupied, for in Transylvania, we must be farmers, miners, doctors, and I know not what else beside. I leave you free, therefore, till the hour of dinner, when I shall expect the pleasure of seeing you again. See," she added, "the bouquet my steward lias brought me this morning; it is composed of the heaviest ears of corn he has been able to find this season, and I assure you no hothouse flowers could be half so agreeable to me."

The Countess Julia observed, that perhaps as strangers, we might feel interested in visiting the cottages of some of the peasants; and added that if we did not fear the cholera, which had unfortunately made its appearance in the village, she should be happy to show us some. Of course wo were delighted to accept the offer. "St. György," she added, "is, I believe, one of the richest villages in Transylvania; and for the credit of my country, I am therefore, the more anxious you should see it. The peasants are Magyars, and mostly of the Unitarian belief."

The cottages were of one story, and built on the same general plan as all the others we had seen; but in many cases they were larger, and the farmyards seemed more plentifully stocked. One house into which we were taken, might [270] have been held up as a pattern of cleanliness and order in any country. Round the best room hung a prodigious quantity of fine bed-linen, beautifully embroidered on the edges, in different colours. "This is the handiwork of the unmarried girls, and is intended as their dower: and hard enough they work at it," smilingly added our fair informant, "for they cannot get husbands, till, by such works as these, they have given good proofs of their industry and talent." The daughter of the house was easily persuaded to put on her Sunday costume, which was as rich as embroidery and ribbons could make it. The St. György girls are said to have the handsomest dresses of any village in the district. What a pity it is, that all these beautiful costumes, and the honest pride and self-esteem they give rise to, must disappear, as soon as the cheap wares of Manchester, or some other cotton capital, gain entrance to these valleys, and drive household manufactures from the field ! If real civilization, founded on improved institutions and an enlightened system of education, do not accompany the introduction of luxuries produced by machinery, they may become a curse instead of a blessing to a people. It is difficult to find for the uneducated peasant-woman an occupation more befitting her powers of mind and body, more consistent with her duties of mother and housekeeper, than is afforded by the simple processes of spinning and [271] weaving. If this is taken away, and the means of applying herself to higher and more difficult objects are not afforded, she has little left by idleness, or the coarse degrading labours of the field.

The owner of this house, though a simple peasant, was said to be possessed of more than a thousand pounds. The only advantage he had enjoyed above his fellows, was in being freed from the seigneurial labour-dues for some service rendered to the late Count, -- industry and sobriety had done the rest. The only book I could see in the house, was a large Hungarian Bible, richly bound and fastened with a pair of heavy brass clasps.

We had time enough before dinner to wander about the village, and climb a conical hill, at a little distance from it, on which stand the picturesque ruings of the Castle of St. György. We had a find view form this point, over the whole valley. Further than we had yet traversed, we could observe an exit from it by means of a vast cleft in the limestone rocks which otherwise bounded it on every side. One looking back over the road we had come, we saw more clearly the few walls of the summit of those stupendous cliffs, which mark where the old castle of Thoroczko formerly stood. It would require at least two hours' good climbing to reach it from the valley. It was formerly always the lot -- I cannot call it privilege -- of the eldest songs of the family of Thoroczko to inhabit this [272] mountain nest; while the younger were allowed to choose some less ambitious dwelling in the valley.

"You have visted St. György at a very unfortunately moment," said the Countess when we returned; "the cholera, which set in only two dats ago, has assumed a very serious aspect to-day. Since yesterday no less than four deaths have been reported to me, and I fear we must expect many more." For these persons we found the Countess was the sole physicial, her house their dispensary, and sometimes even their hospital, for she had hd several of them brought there, that they might be better attended to. Several times, during dinner, her daughter was obliged to leave the table to send off medicines for some new patient who claimed her aid. In this she was assisted by the steward and clergyman, who seemed both to take an active interest in the fate of the poor sufferers. During the short time we remained, five more deaths were reported.

In returning to Thorda, the Countess proposed that we should take a nearer road than that by which we had come. "It is rather a rough on," she added; "but it is the one I always take myself, and I do not supposed that, for young men like you, its little dangers will be any objection." After many adieus and kind invitations to renew our visit at a more favourable moment, we at least started. Our new route led us almost immediately [273] from the village, up the sides of a high and steep mountain, after having mastered which, we were promised a continual descent. As we turned round to take a last look at the scene we were leaving, we witnessed one of those beautifule effects which none but the dwellers in mountain lands can ever behold. A storm came roaring up the vally below us, throwing everything into deep shade, except the castle on the hill, which caught a glean of sunshine, and stood out in bright relief against the black mountains behind it. We paid, however, dearly for the treat: by a suddent weer of the wind, the storm seemed to quit the valley; and clinding to the side of the mountain, followered our footsteps, overtook us, and beat with such force on the horses that they turned roung and refused to move any further. Flogging made no impression on them, they only kicked and backed, -- and they had choser for that operation a ridge of the mountain, from whence one might have slipped into immortality, almost before one was aware of it.

Our only remedy was to sit still while Miklós mounted one of the horses, and went back to beg the Countess would lend us some oxen to drag us up the rest of the mountain. A peasant, however, who was at work at some distance, and saw our difficulty, took his horses out of the plough; and harnessing them before ours, got us at last to the [274] top. So much time had been lost, that it very soon became dark, and we found ourselves in a bad and dangerous road, which it was impossible to traverse faster than at a foot pace. Miklós was obliged to take the lamps and walk on before, which we held the carriage from falling over. We were not only every moment in danger of overturning, by of losing the carriage at the bottom of a ravine whence it would have been impossible to recover it. Instead of four hours, we occupied eight in this short cut, but we were too well contented to have escaped with whole skins, to grumble at the loss of time. Such roads my suit Transylvanian ladies, by Heaven preserve all English gentlement from them! -- A steeple-chase is safe in comparison.

20th. -- Projected a visit this morning to the Thordai Hasadék, a mountain cleft, of the same kind as that we saw at a distance yesterday from St. György, but said to be much larger. In traversing the few miles which separate the Hasadék from Thorda, we passed over a part of the Prat de Trajan, over Decebalus. Though Transylvanian antiquaries place the scene of the action more to the east, and nearer the banks of the Maros, than our route led us, I am inclined to think they must be in error; for we observed a great number of tumuli in this direction, of a size and form which render it exceeding probably that they were intended to commemorate the death of the heroes who fell [275] on that occasion. I am not aware that any of them have been opened, or that any tradition exists as to their origin.

After about an hour's drive we arrived at the entrance to the Hasadék. We descended into a little valley in the form of a semicircle, which surrounds the opening of the cleft, and is inhabited by a few poor Wallacks and their cows; and scrambling over some broken rocks, entered this extraordinary place.

Let the reader imagine a chain of low mountains, twenty files long, cut transversely through to a level with the valleys they divide, and he will have some idea of the Thordai Hasadék. In no place (I should think) is the cleft more than twenty yards wide at the bottom, though it increases somewhat towards the top. As might be supposed, the sides of it are as precipitous as anything can be imagined. A small stream which rises form some springs in the semicircular valley, makes its way amond the broken rocks of the cleft, and passes out at the other side. It so nearly occupies the whole of the space left between rocks, that we had to cross it at least twenty times in order to find dry footing; somethings we have to pick our way for a considerable distance along the stepping-stones place by the peasants in its bed, and once to climb the rocks at the imminent hazard of slipping into the pool below.

Some of the cliffs in the valley are truly magnificient. [276]

BAYLUKA CAVERN A
BAYLUKA CAVERN ENTRANCE

In one place they rise from the very base, in a perpendicular line to the summit, and height I will not venture to guess. About midway through the Hasadék, and at some height up the side of the cliff, there is a remarkable cavern called the Bayluka. A steep pathway leads up to the entrance, which is dended by a double wall, with ramparts and holes for musketry. The cave itself is large, and arched liek a vast Gothic hall, and is capable of containing a hundred persons. Beyond the first chamber it divides into several smaller ones, which we could not penetrate far into, for want of lights. It is extraordinary that opposite the Bayluka, on the other side the cleft, there is a second cavern, of which that natural extrance is exactly like the first. This is interesting; because it probves that they were once joined together, and taht it was only by some violent convulsion that they were torn [277] asunder. The stratum is a compact limestone, as far as I observed, without fossils.

BAYLUKA CAVERN B
ANOTHER ENTRANCE OF THE BAYLUKA CAVERN

The first of these caverns was formerly the favourite stronghold of a celebrated Transylvanian robber, Bay, from whom it takes its name. A number of popular stories exist about this Bay, though I was not able to collect any of much interest; but if he was half the hero he is represented, it must have required a brave man to attack him in his mountain fortress.

We traversed the cleft completely to the other end, and I should say, the distance is from two to three miles. At one point, where the brook filled up the whole valley, and the rocks came down close to the water's edge, we met a gay party of peasant lads and lasses in their holiday clothes, apparently going to some merry-making in the next valley. The lads tripped lightly over the rocks, where we could hardly find footing, and many were the jokes and jeers they cast at the girls, when they sat down to take off their sandals preparatory to wading the brook, which they preferred to the exposure their modesty feared from climbing the rock. A curious phenomenon we observed at the far end of the valley, -- a natural arch formed in the rock, with an arched roof and window, so much like the work of the Gothic architect, that it is no wonder the peasantry should have christened it the chapel. I must not forget that the superstitious attribute the whole cleft to a prayer of St. Ladislaus, who entreated that [278] the mountain might open, and save him from the heathens. If it is so, I can only say we are indebted to the saint for one of the most beautiful scenes of rocky grandeur I know.

On our return to Thorda we started for Maros Ujvár, a small village about twelve miles off, where are the chief salt-mines of Transylvania, which we reached late in the evening.

21st. -- We sent to request permission to enter the mines, and received a polite answer, that we had only to present ourselves, and one of the officers would feel great pleasure in conducting us over them.

The chief part of the salt-mines of Maros Ujvár, is formed by three vast subterranean chambers. As they were not using the buckets, we were obliged to descend by the staircase. Before we had reached six feet from the surface, the salt was already perceptible. After passing some new workings which we shall understand better when we have described the principal ones, we descended to the lower workings.

We entered at one end of a vast hall -- two hundred and seventy feet long by one hundred and eighty wide, and two hundred and ten high, -- with a Gothic arched roof, dimly lighted by the candles of the miners. At the opposite end to that by which we entered, was a huge portal, reaching nearly to the top of the chamber, and affording entrance to a second, and that again to a third hall [279] of equal extent with the first. On a signal being given, a sudden blaze burst forth in each of these chambers, and lighted up the whole space with a brilliant illumination. It was the grandest sight I had ever beheld. The walls were of solid rock-salt, which, if not so dazzling as writers are generally pleased to describe it, was extremely beautiful from the variety of its colours. It resembled highly polished white marble veined with brown, the colours running in broad wavy lines.

The size of these halls, the effect of the light, the grandeur and extreme simplicity of the form, with the exquisite purity of the material, impressed me with a feeling of their architectural beauty, beyond that of almost any object of art I know. No words can express the intense enjoyment with which I regarded them.

As soon as we could sober down sufficiently to listen to the details of our conductor, he pointed out the whole floor of the chamber covered with workmen employed in detaching and shaping vast masses of the salt rock preparatory to its ascent. It is cut by means of sharp hammers into long blocks of about one foot in diameter, which are afterwards broken, up into masses, weighing from fifty-eight to fifty-nine pounds each, and in this form it is brought to market. The accuracy with which they can measure the weight is extraordinary. After shaping his block above and on the sides, the miner calls to two or three of his [280] neighbours to aid him in detaching its base from the rock. This is effected by repeated blows of very heavy hammers on the upper surface, the most exact time and equality of force being maintained. This is the severest part of their labour, but it lasts only a few minutes at a time.

The number of workmen employed here is about three hundred. Among these are Magyars, Wallacks and Germans. The Magyars are said to work the hardest, but also to drink the hardest. I believe the tales one so often hears of men being born and dying in mines without ever having seen the light is pure fiction; it certainly is not the case anywhere in Hungary, and least of all here. The miners begin their work at three o'clock in the morning and leave it at eleven, and the average rate of wages for eight hours' labour is about ten pence. In such large spaces the air could scarcely be otherwise than good, and the temperature is always the same -- 13° of Reaumur -- summer and winter. The employment is far from unhealthy, and even children often apply themselves to it very young.

Some of the new workings, which are higher than those we have described, are laid out for the same kind of chambers. In one part a hole has been cut through the roof of the first great hall, and as we looked into the vast abyss, innumerable lights seemed dancing below, and figures flitting round them, while the clear ring of many hammers [281] faintly reached the ear. The poet who would describe a descent to Erebus, might envy me that sight.

The quantity of salt annually produced from these mines is six hundred thousand centners, all of which, with the exception of about thirty thousand used in the neighbourhood, is sent to Hungary.42 In this calculation I believe the dust salt, or broken particles produced by the hammering, is not included. Many thousand centners of this salt are thrown into the river every year. For each of the masses of fifty-eight pounds which we have mentioned above, the miner receives two and a half kreutzers (twopence). With all the expenses, however, the centner is delivered at the pit's mouth, for about twenty-four kreutzers c. m., or tenpence. It is sold in Transylvania at three florins and a half, or seven shillings, the centner. The greater part, however, is sent by the Maros to Szegedin, at an expense of about tenpence more each centner. It is sold there at seven guldens and a half, or fifteen shillings, the centner!

42 The east of Transylvania is supplied from mines in the Szekler land, which we shall visit later, and the North of Hungary chiefly from Velicska and the Marmaros. Tn a small work on Transylvania, published by M. Lebrecht, in 1804, the amount of salt furnished by Transylvania, is stated at above a million centners. The price was then one fifteenth of what it is at present. The population has increased and the consumption fallen off. la not the elevation of price the cause?

There has been so much complaint against this [282] price of salt in the Diet, that we must say a few-words more about it.

A monopoly of the sale of salt is one of the Royal privileges, acknowledged as such by the nation, and enjoyed by the Crown for a long succession of years. It can hardly be supposed, however, that the right of the Crown can extend to raising the price of one of the first necessaries of life to any amount it may think fit; for this would be the admission of an indefinite and irresponsible right of taxation on all classes. To go no farther back than 1800, the price of salt was at half a florin (one shilling) per centner. The long and exhausting wars, which brought on two national bankruptcies within a few years of each other, were an excuse for raising this price to three florins and a half in Transylvania, and seven and a half in Hungary. Even during the continuance of the war, complaints enough were heard against this augmentation, and since that time they have become every year more angry and more just. Now there are several reasons which render the continuance of this exorbitant burthen peculiarly injudicious. First of all it has a bad reputation. The gabelle has been so often the cry by which a revolutionary leader has excited the passions of a mob, -- it is so closely associated with recollections which all prudent statesmen would avoid awakening, that one cannot help wondering it should be continued. And then, hitherto, the Hungarians [283] have entertained a notion that their cattle could not live without a large admixture of salt with their food ; but they are beginning to find out that this is an error, and to see that although the cattle like salt and will eat coarser food with it than they would without, it is neither necessary to keep them in health nor to feed them; and if such a discovery spreads very far, it will cause a greater loss to the revenue than the diminution of two-thirds of the price of the salt, for the quantity used by men is small in proportion to that given. to the cattle.

But the most extraordinary part of the affair is, that the Government incurs this obloquy, and runs the chance of this loss, all to no purpose. The whole line of frontier, from the Adriatic to the boundaries of Russia, is beautifully adapted for smuggling; and bulky as salt is, I can assure the reader it is smuggled in along the whole of this frontier. If I am asked from whom T have obtained this information, I can only answer from some of the Government salt officers in Hungary, who told me that they themselves bought their salt from the smugglers ! If any Austrian official doubts the extent to which this traffic is carried on, let him compare the returns from the frontier counties with those from the interior, in proportion to their population, and he will hardly doubt the fact.

I have been shown the salt smugglers' paths on the frontiers of Wallachia, where they often come [284] over with whole troops of laden horses. I have heard from the county magistrates, that it was ridiculous to attempt to oppose them; that they had the sympathy of the peasantry with them, and were not only able to bribe the border guard, but that they came in such numbers, and so well armed, that they did not dare even to make a show of resisting them. I doubt if there is one great proprietor in the south of Hungary, who uses Government salt, except in such quantity as decency requires to blind officers who do not wish to sec. In that part of Hungary, bordering on Transylvania, the more ten-der-conscicnced declare they would not use Turkish salt on any account; but I found that that was because it was cheaper to smuggle it from Trans-sylvania, where it is only half the price it is in Hungary. "Oh!" they exclaimed, when charged with this peccadillo, "we buy the Emperor's salt, at any rate ; we don't go to those rascally Turks for it:" -- absolutely priding themselves on their loyalty, when compared with the sinnings of their neighbours.

And, then, what has become of the paternal anxiety to keep out the plague, which led to the establishment of such a vast and perpetual cordon as that of the borderers? It is certain, that not a day terminates in which men with bags of salt do not pass from one country to the other, without any intervention of quarantine, or process of purification. For the maintenance of a paltry tax, the [285] health of all Europe is constantly exposed to an invasion of the plague !

The foreign trade, of course, is entirely lost by the increase of price; and Wallachia, Moldavia, and Servia, which formerly drew their salt from Hungary, now, as we have seen, return the compliment.

22nd. -- Karlsburg. We arrived here last night, after a pleasant drive along the rich and beautiful valley of the Maros. Every day these valleys of Transylvania gain on one's affections. They are so green, so smiling, so varied in their beauties, that it is impossible not to love them.

Our host, we find is a character. Krumme (lame) Peter, as he is called, is a noble; and, besides the privileges of his order, he is one of those happy mortals who have achieved the right to say and do whatsoever seemeth them good to whomsoever they please. Though his inn is by no means the best, and although he allows no one to find fault, everybody goes to it for the sake of Krumme Peter. It is amusing to see how quietly he assumes an equality with the proudest Count or Baron of the state ; how he discusses their families, their fortunes, their opinions, and what sharp home truths he sometimes tells under that air of half-dignity, half-buffoonery, he commonly puts on. And then, Krumme Peter, keeps a table which might content a bishop, and he does the honours of it, too, with a feeling of the importance of the duty; and, after all, he [286] charges you so little, that you begin yourself to doubt whether you have not been his guest rather than his customer.

Karlsburg is formed by two distinct towns, the one, a long, ill-built, straggling village, occupying the plain; the other, a handsome fortress, containing many good buildings and neatly laid out, situated on the hill above. We reached the fortress by a winding road, defended by walls, into which were built a number of Roman statues, and tablets bearing inscriptions. These are remains of the Roman Colonia Apulensis, which occupied the site of Karlsburg. Within the fortress is a museum, in which still more interesting antiquities of the same period are preserved. Colonia seems to have been the mining capital of the Romans in Dacia, the seat of the Collegium Aurariarum, and the residence of the Procurator or chief officer of the gold mines.

The present fortress is of no greater age than the time of Charles the VI. (1715), whose name it bears. As a fortress, nothing can be worse placed; it is ill supplied with water, and commanded by the neighbouring hills. It is said to have been built after a plan of Prince Eugene's ; and, if I mistake not, it is not the only bad fortification I have heard attributed to him.

In the centre of the fortress is a fine cathedral, built in fulfilment of a vow to St. Michael, made by Hunyadi Janós, in the battle of St. Imré. I [287] think it was in this battle that the order had been given to the Turkish army to seek out and destroy Hunyadi, who was distinguished by his white plume and brilliant armour. This news having been reported to the Hungarians, Kemény, one of the officers of Hunyadi, assumed the armour of his chief, and nobly devoted himself to a certain death, to save his country the loss of her greatest general. The cathedral, which is small, is in a style half Gothic, half Byzantine, characteristic enough of the age and history of its erection. The exterior is heavy, and the ornaments, which are in the barbarous taste of the Byzantine school, are far from relieving it. The interior, however, is in a more bold and pure Gothic style; and the tracery on the capitals of some of the long slender pillars, is as graceful and light as anything in York.

For a long time, this cathedral was the favourite burying-place of the princes of Transylvania. The tombs of Hunyadi, and his beheaded son Ladislaus, and another of his family, though much injured, are still interesting. The figures of the knights, which resemble those we so often see in our own churches, decorate the top of each sarcophagus. That of Hunyadi is represented as clothed in a flowing mantle, beneath which is a tight surcoat, fastened round the waist by a cord, and which, falling back from the legs, displays the tight pantaloons, resembling those worn at the present day. [288] The two other figures are of a later date, and arc of much ruder workmanship. They are both in armour, but with waists more ridiculously pinched in, than even a Paris milliner would venture on. Still further, we found the tomb of Isabella, and her son, John Sigmund Zápolya. It was this princess who introduced from Poland, her native country, the doctrines of Unitarianism into Transylvania, and who likewise granted equal rights and privileges to the four churches, which still constitute the established religions of the country. This monument is in white marble, of a considerable size, and ornamented with bas-reliefs, interesting as illustrating the costume and mode of warfare of that age. We find cannon and heavy arquebuses already in use, although the horsemen are completely encased in armour. The chivalry of Transylvania is seen advancing in battle array, each knight bearing on his spear not only his banner, but a kind of tuft, something like the horse tails of a Turkish Pasha. Under the great porch, we observed, on one side, a slab to the memory of George Rákótzy I., and on the opposite side was the pedestal of another, of which the slab had been removed. It is said, that in 1716, when the Catholics again obtained possession of the cathedral -- . for it had served in turn for Catholic, Unitarian, and Calvinist -- they bad the pitiful bigotry to destroy the monument of Bethlen Gábor, which formerly stood there. The verger denied all cognizance of the matter, but confessed he knew nothing [289] of any such monument; and I must say, this vacant place looks very much as if the allegation were true. I could not help smiling at the pious horror the verger seemed to have of Protestant persecution, when he said, that during the time the Protestants possessed the church, they only allowed the Catholics the use of the porch, which was fitted up as an oratory; but he forgot to eay that the Catholics did not leave the Protestants even that poor privilege, but turned them out altogether.

The Transylvanian mint, where all the gold found in Transylvania is coined, stands near the cathedral. We were allowed to walk in and examine it without difficulty. We found them at work with some new presses made by an Englishman in Vienna; they spoke of them in high terms, and they were certainly very superior to those we had seen at Kremnitz. The average monthly coinage I have seen stated at 100,000 florins (10,000l sterling). This is probably about correct, for I find the whole amount of gold said to be produced in Transylvania, estimated at 2500 marks (the mark, 36l. 12s.) or 91,500l.; of silver, 500 marks, (mark, 2l. 10s.) or 12,500l.; together 104,000l. Great complaints are made by private speculators in mines, against the facilities afforded by the mint to gold robbers. In an article of so much value, it is almost impossible to prevent the common miners from stealing when occasions otter ; but good police regulations, which would prevent jewellers from [290] purchasing raw metal, and strict observance on the part of the mint, to receive it only from persona who can have obtained it honestly, -- and that is easily known, for every mining adventurer must possess a permission from the Crown -- would do much to check the practice. Here, on the contrary, every grain is eagerly grasped at by the mint under the absurd and mischievous notion which we have often had to notice, that it might otherwise be sold out of the country, and so impoverish the land. Tims we see a government establishment from pure ignorance of the simplest principles of political economy, labouring to demoralize those whom it ought, and whom I believe it wishes only to benefit.

On quitting Karlsburg, for the mines of Zalathna, we left the valley of the Maros, and with it, to all appearance, the habitable world itself. A secluded valley cut out of the hard rock by the little river Ompoly, whose banks we followed, brought us at last however to our journey's end. It was a sultry day, and five long hours did it take us to accomplish the task. Not that we had anything to complain of; the valley was often pretty, and every now and then a curious rock, which seemed, as it were, to have started from the side of the mountain, gave occupation to our thoughts in attempting to account for the manner of its formation. And a still more pleasant theme for musing, -- for it was on the kindliness of the heart of man, -- did we discover in a custom of this secluded valley. Under the cool [291] shade of a large spreading tree by the road side, and just high enough to place it out of the reach of cattle, we noticed a small wooden frame, something like that often seen in Catholic countries, containing the image of a favourite saint. Instead of a saint, however, in this one there was a large pitcher, such as the peasants commonly use for carrying water. Opposite this tree our peasant driver deliberately pulled up his horses, and getting off the box, took down the pitcher from its niche, and, after first offering it to us, indulged in a long and hearty draught of the pure fresh water it contained. To the Transylvanian peasant, under a Transylvanian sun, a great quantity of water is an absolute necessary. Of that we had been often made aware, for our coachmen constantly stopped the carriage without thinking it at all necessary to ask permission whenever they saw a well, or a clear stream, to quench their thirst; we had often, too, seen the peasant woman, as she carried home her full pitcher from the well, offer it to the passing traveller without a moment's hesitation, though it cost her the trouble of returning some distance to refill it. But here, where no friendly spring was nigh, some neighbouring peasant family had undertaken to supply the deficiency by erecting this little structure, and providing it with a constant supply of fresh water. How many a weary traveller hail gained fresh strength from the bounty of this unknown hand ! "I was thirsty, and ye gave me [292] drink;" -- never were the words of our Saviour more beautifully illustrated; never was charity performed in a more Christian spirit.

23rd -- At Zalathua itself, there was little to be seen beyond the smelting houses, which differed in no essential points from tbose we had seen before. At some distance further up into the mountains, in the neighbourhood of Vörös Patak, we bad heard that there were some extraordinary mines, and, somewhere in the same direction a basaltic mountain of very wonderful proportions. So having speut a good part of the morning in providing a guide and saddle horses, -- for we were told it was impossible to make the excursion in a carriage, -- we ate an early dinner and started. Besides ourselves and the Wallack guide, we set Miklós between a couple of carpet bags, on a fourth horse, that he might serve as interpreter and general provider. Our immediate destination was Abrud Bánya, where we were promised beds and a supper.

For the first two hours the road led us along a thickly wooded valley, where our horses had some difficulty to find a footing among the loose stones with which it was filled. No solitude could be more complete; during the whole time not a soul crossed our path. Just at tbe point where we were to leave this valley, and cross the mountain, about half the distance to Abrud Banya, we came suddenly on a comfortable-looking little inn, [293] with half a dozen carriages and a number of servants standing before the door. A more unexpected apparition could scarcely have presented itself in the back woods of America.

We had hardly passed the door before some of the servants came running after us with their masters' salutations, requesting to know who we were, and where we were going, and offering us. at the same time, their company on the road. The first part of the matter I had no hesitation in satisfying, hut the latter was more than I could undertake. I know that I was wrong, -- I am perfectly aware that a traveller who undertakes to amuse or instruct others by his travels, is in duty bound to suffer all manner of annoyances; to go "poking bis nose" -- as a certain minister for foreign affairs expresses it when his protection is asked for an. enterprise of difficulty and danger -- into all manner of disagreeables, where he has any hope of extracting amusement or information; and from these gentlemen I have no doubt I might have obtained much, for they were the great mining notabilities from the whole country round -- the Berg Raths and Berg Inspectors, and I know not who else beside,' -- who had been solemnly admitting a new member into their body, of course over a good dinner, that forming a part of all solemn ceremonies all over the world. I know, therefore, how much I have failed, and I impose this confession on myself as a punishment for my backsliding; but [294] really I had not the courage to go through the ordeal of answering all their questions about ourselves, our objects, and our travels ; of listening to all their remarks thereon, and, above all, of suffering their hospitality -- for there are moments when well-meant but rude hospitality inflicts much suffering. In fact I must have been out of temper, for all T could bring my politeness to do, was to answer their queries, that they might not take us for spies, or what not, and apologize, on the plea of a coming Ktorm, for not delaying longer on the way.

As we passed the mountain, we had occasion again to wonder at the strange passion the middle classes here seem to have for travelling in carriages in preference to horseback or on foot. The road was frightful; in many places it was positively dangerous, and everywhere rough enough to dislocate the best-set bones; yet we met a young man of not more than twenty, sitting out all this in a waggon without springs, and smoking his meerschaum just as composedly as if he had been enjoying himself exceedingly.

When we had reached the other side of the mountain, and had again descended into a valley, we found ourselves in the midst of mining operations on every side. Not a little stream but was employed in moving crushing-mills and washing ore. Most of those we remarked were working gold ores, which prevail over the whole of this district; but some also those of mercury, which [295] occurs in the form of cinnabar. I was sorry not to have an opportunity of seeing the process by which the mercury is extracted from the cinnabar; but I could not make out even where it is carried on.

Abrud Bánya, which we reached before sunset, is a little metropolis in its way, and, like many of the mining towns, astonishes the stranger by an exhibition of wealth and luxury which he little expects to find in the midst of the wildest natural scenery. Many of the houses are large, and really handsomely built. Some have owed their origin to persons whom a lucky mining adventure has made suddenly rich, others to the officers of Government who, some how or other, manage to live well, and acquire wealth in spite of their paltry salaries: -- I leave the explanation of this interesting mystery to the penetration of their employers.

24th -- We got off this morning at an early hour, in hopes of reaclling Zalathna before night, but the accounts of the distance as well as of what we have to see, are so various and contradictory, that it seems highly probable we may have to bivouac somewhere in the mountains. Our first point was the mines of Vörös Patak, the Csetátie or fortress, as it is called. For the first hour we kept along a good road, constructed for the conveyance of the ores from Vörös Patak to Ahrud Bánya, where they are smelted. The country was a succession of mountains as far as the eye could reach, for the most part [296] covered with wood, or pasture. We noticed several, however, the lower portions of which were conical, wliilc their summits offered a singular appearance of a small table-land supported by bare cliffs. At a distance they looked like rocky islands, standing out from a stormy ocean. From their white appearance, I suspect them to be limestone.

On leaving the road, which would have conducted us to the bottom of the valley in which lies Vörös Patak, we turned along the back of the mountain, and in about half an hour arrived at the Csetátie, Mike, or little fortress. This hill is so called from the appearance of a ruined fortress, -- or rather of a honeycomb, bored through and through on every side, -- which it presents. The most unlearned of my readers are probably aware that in the generality of mines, the metalliferous ores are found in veins which traverse the mountains in various directions, and that it is the duty of the miner to pursue these wherever they may go, removing only so much of the surrounding matter as is necessary to enable him to carry on his operations ; here, on the contrary, the whole mountain mass contains gold and it is, in consequence, cut away somewhat as we often see stone in a common quarry, and in this form it is conveyed to the crushing-mills, and broken up. Sometimes it is found too in a nest, or bunch, that is, a small extent containing much more ore than the surrounding mass. Formerly, however, it possessed veins too, of wonderful richness, [297] and these the early miners have pursued and exhausted, and it is to the open mouths of these old levels, and to the peculiar operations carried on at the present time, that it owes its remarkable appearance.43

43 I strongly recommend the careful study of this mountain and district, to those interested in the inquiry, as to the origin and causes of metalliferous veins.

The Csetátie Mare (the great fortress), on the other side of the mountain, is still more curious. The whole top of the mountain has fallen in, and produced a kind of vast hall, open above, in the very heart of the mountain itself. From the side of the mountain we entered an old level, large enough for laden horses to pass through -- something like a covered way into a fortress -- and in a short time arrived at a large circular space completely walled in by solid rock. Above us was a wide opening, -- something like what the crater of a volcano may seem to Vulcan's friends as they amuse themselves below -- and round about a number of open passages of every size and shape. These openings were the remains of former workings, and they were highly illustrative of the history of mining in Transylvania. There were small passages scarcely large enough for the body of a man, which I am inclined to refer to the efforts of the barbarians both before and after the conquest of Dacia; then there were the stately chiselled levels of the Roman workmen, and here and there marks of where the fire had done its [298] work; and again the more careless traces of the modern Wallack's labours. It is probable that the greater part of this space had been exhausted before the top fell in ; and from the appearance of the masses which still encumber it, I should imagine it to have been a mere shell. Some of the old Roman levels, which we followed deeper into the mountain to see the present Workings, are really splendid. I think it is no exaggeration to say that a carriage and pair might drive along them.

It is a curious fact in the history of labour that there are no large capitals employed in working these mines; they are entirely in the hands of poor peasants, who work them either singly or in small associations of two or three persons. When the mountain was richer, Government found it worth while to work on its own account; but since it has become poorer, none but the peasants, it is said, can get a good profit out of it. Accordingly, when a peasant makes an application for a grant of so many square yards of mountain it is never refused him, unless it interferes with the workings of some of his neighbours. The working we visited was carried on by a father, two sons, and their mother. The father bored, blasted, and filled the panniers, while one son sometimes aided him, sometimes drove the horse from the mine to the crushing-mill. Here the other son and the mother were engaged, or sometimes the mother alone. In other cases the same hands dig the ore, transport it to the [299] river, dress it, wash it, and finally convey it to Abrud Bánya. It is scarcely necessary to say, with such a system, that all these processes are carried on in the rudest possible manner. As we looked from the top of this mountain into the valley below, I think we must have seen not less than five hundred crushing-mills and washing-floors within the space of a couple of English miles. They consisted of a single small wheel, generally deficient in half its buckets, which moves three crushing-poles, none of which go equally, and one of which is generally wanting, or broken. As the crushed stuff falls down, it is carried by the water over a single board, and the small residue it leaves is collected, and without further dressing, transported to the'smelt-ing-house. In spite of the excessive rudeness of these mechanical processes, and the loss they occasion, the peasants manage to get rich by them. Vörös Patak is said to abound with houses loaded with every luxury the ignorant Wallack peasant can think of. It is impossible to attribute this to any other cause than the stimulus which interest excites and the discoveries which the number of minds directed to one object, and so stimulated, are constantly producing. Of course, in these circumstances a vast amount of inquisitive research and speculative energy is necessarily called into action ; and although those who employ it are verv ignorant and very poor, and not very industrious, they can make a profit where scientific knowledge, [300] unlimited capital, and well-directed division of labour, confess themselves unable to compete with advantage. This is, perhaps, one of the strongest facts in favour of individual energy against associated capital and its concomitant advantages, of any I know.

I must not forget that in passing between the two Csetáties, we observed a peasant carefully scraping up the soil from the little path we followed,44 and depositing it in a basket beside him, much in the same way as we see the children collect manure on our high roads, -- but with this difference, that the Transylvanian obtained gold ready made to his hand, while our own countrymen only acquire a means of aiding industry in its acquisition. I dare say everybody has heard of streets paved with gold; but I must confess I had always believed it a romance; here, however, it was a serious reality. In fact, the road was formed of stones from the nearest rock, which we already know contains gold, and as it had been raining during the night, it was no wonder that the water should have washed away the lighter particles which had been crushed to dust under the feet of the passers, and left the heavier ore glittering in the sun behind.

44Pliny describes nearly the same scene in his day.

After we had satisfied ourselves with admiration at the extraordinary phenomena of the Csetátie, and listened to the clattering of the five hundred mills of Vörös Patak, we again took to our horses [301] and pursued a hilly road, which was to lead us to the basaltic mountain. Our route lay over the same kind of green mountains we had seen the whole of the day, and was only varied by our stumbling every now and then on some strange little mining settlement which had buried itself in a hidden nook, or perched itself on a mountain top, as the object of its search might have dictated. We met a fat and jolly-looking Wallack peasant in the course of the morning, whom our guide pointed out to us as possessing more gold than any count or baron in the country. He was riding beside a waggon drawn by bullocks, in which sat his servant dressed just like himself. The guide could give us no idea of the amount of his wealth, which he said was so much that the man could not count it himself. The only approximation to a fixed sum we could obtain, was, that he received a whole waggon-load of ducats from the Karlsburg mint every two months, in return for the gold he sent there. Whatever may be the troubles riches bring in their train, they certainly had not as yet affected our Wallack, for he was one of the merriest-looking peasants I ever saw.

DETONATA
DETONATA ROCK

After about a two hours' ride we emerged from a wood of dark pines, and found ourselves in presence of the Detonata (thunderbolt), a basaltic rock of about two hundred feet in height, crowning the top of a mountain ; and though exceedingly curious, far less wonderful than we had been led to expect, or [302] than those who had never seen anything of the kind before believed it to be. It is composed of columns, some of which are nearly perpendicular and others horizontal. I observed no less than five different inclinations in these pillars. They are most irregularly formed and much smaller than those of Fingal's Cave, indeed, they can bear no comparison with the latter. Some of these columns have a slanting direction, and have been fancied by the peasants to have some resemblance to a fiddle, whence it is also called the Black Stone Fiddle (Piatra Csityera Nyagra}. The name Detonata, [303] by which it is commonly known, is not uninteresting, as it is accompanied by the belief that this rock has been produced by some sudden convulsion attended with the noise of thunder. It must be remembered that this tradition is found among the Dacians, the oldest inhabitants of the country ; and if it can be supposed to have its foundation in fact, I believe it would be the only instance in which we have any evidence of the production of a columnar basaltic rock, since this globe has been inhabited by man.

While we were climbing the back of these rocks, and Miklós was spreading out the contents of our prog basket under the shade of the pines, the guide had disappeard in search of a frozen spring near the base of the mountain, in hopes of procuring some ice to cool our wine. He returned, however, empty-handed, for it had formed so compact a mass that he could not detach any of it without a hatchet. Our ride, however, had furnished us with a good apology for such luxuries, and stretched out on a soft bed of moss, we managed to do credit to our meal even without iced wine. It was already four o'clock before we could leave the Detonata, and we had still another mine to visit and a long journey before us ere we could reach Zelathna. Our horses wcro refreshed, however, by their food and rest, and we again mounted and pushed on.

There was nothing very remarkable in the mine we visited. It belonged to a private company, who [304] were just erecting one of those curious water engines which are peculiar I believe to Hungary. It consisted of a cylinder and piston, much like that of a steam-engine, but instead of the piston being moved by the expansive power of steam, it is pressed down by the weight of a vertical column of water which passes out at the bottom, where another stream is admitted which forces the piston up again. Its great advantage is in the vast power obtained by it from a very small quantity of water. Of course it can only be used where the fall is great. There were three hundred men employed in this mine. I have been told by the chief proprietor that the pay of the Hauer (cutter), -- the lowest order of workmen, answering to our tut workers, -- who is paid by the piece, amounts to about six or eight florins, c. m. (twelve or sixteen shillings) per month. They rarely work more than four or five days per week, and never more than eight hours per day. The Sprenger (blaster), and Hutleute (smelters), have fixed wages, varying from ten to twenty florins, c. m. (twenty to forty shillings) per month. My informant adds, "the double of this amount would not be too much if the stealing could be prevented ; but as things exist at present, that is impossible."

After a six hours' ride through woods and over mountains, at first illuminated by all the brilliancy of an autumn sunset, and then varied by the cold tints of the pale moon, we at last arrived at Zalathna; [305] and having given orders for an early start tomorrow, lay down to dream of gold mines and golden pavements, and waggon-loads of ducats, and I know not what beside.

Before I leave this curious district, however, and with it all further reference to mining matters, let me say a few words on the gold-washing, and gold-washers of Transylvania.

In some parts of Hungary, and in almost every part of Transylvania, but especially in that through which our wanderings have lately conducted us, a large quantity of gold is annually procured from the sand deposited by the rivers and brooks-There is scarcely a single river in Transylvania of which the sands do not contain more or less gold, but the most celebrated are the Aranyos (golden), the Maros, the Strigy, the Körös, and the Szamos. The gold is commonly found in the upper part of these streams, before the sand becomes mixed with mud from the richer lands of the valleys. There can be no doubt that the gold is derived from the decomposition of metalliferous rocks, from the attrition of detached masses, and sometimes, though more rarely, from the breaking up of a vein of ore itself, by means of running water. As it is mixed in very small quantities with other débris, it becomes only worth the search where it has been collected by the operation of natural causes in a greater proportionate quantity than that in which it originally existed -- in short, only when nature [306] has dressed and washed it. This occurs after a flood, at the elbows, or bends of rivers, where the water, surcharged with broken matter, which its unusual force has enabled it to bring down, flows slower and deposits the heavier particles, carrying the lighter further on. In such spots the gold-washers collect when the flood has abated; and taking up the sand in wooden shovels or scoops, they move it about in a small quantity of water till all but the metalliferous particles are washed away.

The gold occurs in various forms, from the most complete dust to pieces of the size of a pigeon's egg, though I need scarcely say the former is by far the most common. I believe the greater part of the gold obtained by the gold-washers is nearly pure, indeed, I am not aware that they attempt to gather it when mixed with other matter. I have no means of ascertaining the amount of gold washed in Transylvania. In the Banat I have seen it stated, that from 1813 to 1818, the proceeds amounted to two thousand one hundred and thirty-eight ducats.

This branch of industry is almost entirely in the hands of the gipsies. The Government grants a gipsy band the privilege of washing the sands of a certain brook, on condition of their paying a yearly rent, which is never less than three ducats in pure gold per head for every washer. A gipsy judge, or captain, settles this matter with the Government, and is answerable for the rest of [307] the tribe from whom he collects the whole of their earnings, and, after paying the tribute, re-divides it.

In returning to Klausenburg, we remained sometime at Nagy Enyed, where there is a large Protestant college, to visit Professor Szász, one of the most distinguised men in Transylvania, both in a literary and political point of view. Elected by the citizens of Enyed, to represent them at the Diet, Professor Szász, in spite of the prejudice felt by the aristocracy at this intrusion of a literary parvenu within their circle, gained so great a power by the accuracy and extent of his knowledge, so great an influence by the simplicity and uprightness of his character, and so willing an auditory from the brilliancy of his eloquence and the logical correctness of his arguments, that he soon became one of the most important leaders of the moderate opposition. Moderate as he was, however, Professor Szász has not escaped the anger of the Government ; and he, too, is under trial, on some trumpery charges, evidently got up purely to annoy and intimidate him. We found the Professor at his books in a braided military-looking coat, and sporting a pair of very imposing mustaches. His dress, however, was only the academical costume of Enyed, where both students and professors wear the national uniform. As for the mustaches, of late years all but the clergy have worn them; and I should not be surprised if they did so too before long. [308] After some conversation, in which the Professor explained to us the history and present state of the college of Enyed, he kindly offered to show us over it.

It appears to have been originally founded at Karlsburg, by Bethlen Gábor, for the education of the members of the Reformed Church, and to have been endowed by liim with very considerable estates. It was afterwards removed to Enyed, on the destruction of Karlsburg, by Apafy. During a period of temporary distress -- I forget the exact time -- when the college was in danger of perishing from the want of funds, a deputation was sent over by the Protestants of Transylvania, to request pecuniary aid from their brethren in England. The call was generously answered, and a fund was formed, which is still deposited in the Bank of England, and from which the college of Enyed receives an annual revenue of 1,OO0l. It is wonderful what a feeling of friendship, what a sentiment of brotherhood with England, this gift, though now completely forgotten among us, still maintains among the Transylvanian Protestants. The revenue derived from this source has been expended for some years past on the erection of a range of new buildings for the residence of the students, which, when finished, will make a very respectable appearance.

There are in all about one thousand students, of whom three hundred are Togati, or Déak; the rest, mere children. The course of study is divided [309] into three periods. The first is so arranged, that at the end of it those who are intended for the smaller trades shall have acquired a sufficient education to fit them for their avocations, while it lias served also as a foundation for a more extended course of education to the others. It includes religion, writing, arithmetic, book-keeping, geography, a little history, particularly that of their own country, with some notices of natural history, drawing, and singing.

The next division includes three more years, and is dedicated, in addition to a further developement of the preceding suhjccts, to Latin, Greek, and German; mathematics, belles lettres, rhetoric, and logic.

After those six years' preliminary study, the scholar becomes a Deák, and enters on what may be called a regular academical course, which lasts six years more. He has now, too, the privilege of becoming a tutor to the younger scholars. The first four years he must study mathematics, physics, chemistry, natural history, metaphysics, logic, aesthetics, natural law, ethics, physiology, history, laws and constitution of Transylvania, with its statistics, politics, &c. &c. The last two years, the student is allowed to choose his own course of study, -- I presume, to enable him to perfect himself in any speciality to which he may choose to dedicate himself. Tt is during this period, that the divinity students take their Hebrew and theology courses. [310] To teach all this knowledge, there are only eight professors, none of whom have more than 50l. a year. I need scarcely say, that there must be much that is very superficial, and, therefore, nearly useless, in a course of so much pretension, when the means are so slight for rendering it efficient.

Several students commonly live in the same room. In the junior classes, they pay some very small sum, I think a fee of four-shillings, on entering a new class; in the higher, the instruction is not only gratis, but they even receive assistance from the funds of the college.45

Professor Szász introduced us to one of his colleagues, Professor Herepei, who enjoys the highest reputation for pulpit eloquence of any clergyman of the Reformed Church in Transylvania. We had. proposed to visit the library and museum, but the curator was out of the way, and the key nowhere to be found. Neither the one nor the other is said to be in a very flourishing condition. The students and professors come together here much more than with us. They have a club, or casino, in the town, where they meet, and smoke, and read the journals together, without stiffness or restraint.

45 Besides Enyed, the Reformed Church in Transylvania has colleges in Klausenburg, Maros Vásárhely and Udvarhely, and Gymnasia in Zilah, Szásavaros, Décs, Kezdi Vásárhely, Thorda, and Salzburg.
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For general education, I believe Enyed stands higher than any other college in Transylvania. Its pupils are commonly supposed to receive a strong bias towards Liberalism during their academical residence. It is on this account, that Government has been making some attempts to interfere with the system of education among the Protestants ; but it has been resisted as illegal by the Consistory, and, I believe, with success.

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




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