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hair and not ungraceful cloaks or mantles year, the gipsy's kitchen and workshop hanging from their shoulders; the women are in the open air. Almost every child with figured jackets and oddly broidered has stored away somewhere in his memskirts.
ory a picture of these aspects of gipsy As we approached Giurgevo, the coun life. Three pieces of wood are fastened try became still more barren. The unfor- together in the form of a triangle, and tunate peasants have seen their harvest from the point where they unite is susso many times pillaged, and their fields pended the iron pot which contains the devastated, that the land is a desert for food of the family. On ordinary days this nearly thirty miles from the Danube. consists of a handful of beans or corn ;
We stopped but once on our route, and but on festival occasions they add a joint that was to indulge myself with a view of meat, from which numerous fies have of a group of Bohemians who were at made many a good meal before them, as work in the open air, sheltered only by a it hung at the door of the butcher's shop. thicket of trees. At all seasons of the After this repast, of which they dispose
with their fingers, they lay themselves ed from these bondmen are prospering and down to sleep beside the expiring embers, multiplying ; those belonging to the bayperfectly regardless of the inclemencies ards or nobles are the only slaves now in of the weather. Their robust frames are the Principalities, and many of these are scarcely sensible of them.
preparing to emancipate them; meanwhile My previous letters have made some they are objects of traffic like cattle, with allusion to this singular people who are fixed prices for a farmer, a blacksmith, known in the Principalities under the name &c. of Tsiganes. They were formerly in a The number of Bohemian families in state of slavery, but in 1844 Prince Moldo-Wallachia has been estimated at Sturda presented a project for their free- about thirty-five thousand; only a few dom, which was enthusiastically received thousands of these lead a regularly laboby the Chamber of Deputies. His plan rious life. The monotony of civilization, gave freedom to all Tsiganes belonging to its quiet and peaceful occupations, do not the state and clergy. The colonies form- | harmonize with their wild untutored na
They recognize no legal authority and well-arranged, their chests full, and but that of their Bulibassa, who is solemn- their forms squarely and powerfully built. ly chosen in the open air, and after his The women are frightfully ugly, or strikelection is carried about upon the arms of ingly handsome. They decay very early his subjects, as the kings of France were At thirty they are infirm and decrepit. borne on the shield in the olden time. The dress of those who make any preThe power of this chief is unlimited; his tensions to costume, consists of a kind tribunal is the place of supreme justice, of hooded cloak, a white vail which where all questions are decided, and from envelops the head and falls over the whose sentences there is no appeal. The shoulders, and an untranslatable garment head of every family pays an annual tri- called the scourteika, composed of sheepbute to support the majesty of his rank. skin, fitted to the form, leaving only the Like a good prince, he is accessible to the throat, arms, and legs in freedom. Coververy lowest of his subjects, with whom it ings for the feet are seldom worn, and is true there is little inequality, and like never consist of anything more than santhem he leads a nomadic life. Royalty, dals, partly of tow or wool, and of old however, has its prerogatives even among leather. They are passionately fond of the gipsies, and the Bulibassa travels only ear-rings, necklaces and bracelets, and all on horseback ; his robes, though in tatters, similar trinkets ; they are by no means are of the royal hue-purple ; he wears fastidious as to the material or workmancolored boots and a long beard. Instead ship of their finery. of the mace or sceptre, the useless insig. In winter the Tsiganes withdraw to nia of monarchical authority, our wander- their subterranean abodes, which are in ing prince is armed with a whip, which universal use both in cities and in the administers summary justice to offenders, country. Their skill in the construction in his own powerful hands.
of these underground habitations is quite The gipsies of Moldo-Wallachia are remarkable. But a few hours are occutall, robust, and muscular. Their skins pied in the selection of a situation, the are black as ebony, or bronzed, by their excavation of the earth, and the erection constant exposure, to the darkest coppery of the hut above it. The simple materials hue ; their hair is thick and crisp, their for their winter habitations are furnished eyes full and brilliant, their teeth white by the grass ana mud of the country, with
the addition of the canes and wood from elsewhere. They manifest a superstithe neighboring thickets. Their house- tious regard for whatever is useful, and hold goods generally consist of a small like their wagons, their tents, and their iron anvil, hammers, pincers, tongs, &c., forges. They have their children hapan iron pot, a calabash, a pair of scissors, tized as often as they can find any one poniards, pipes, and whatever useless who will bestow a gift at the ceremony, trumpery their masters may have thrown and this seems to be the only idea which aside. One might easily believe himself they attach to this beautiful initiatory rite in South America, or in the steppes of of the Church. A couple can marry Senegal, while viewing these ebony-hued themselves at fifteen or sixteen, by breakgroups beneath the shelter of their straw- ing the twig of a tree between them, withthatched mud hovels. When a gipsy out any other ceremonial. The children wearies of one locality, or when the mire are left to themselves as soon as they can of his abode accumulates in such a man- walk, and beg their bread, entirely destiner as to drive him from it, he shoulders tute of clothing. : Great numbers of them his baggage and establishes himself in a are deformed, and I doubt if the most denew position. It is unnecessary to ask graded savages would surmise the expermission, or to tell where he goes; it planation.' : Yet it is nevertheless an unbeing well understood that he will never doubted fact, that the wretched parents place himself beyond the summons of his make use of their helpless offspring as.inmaster.
struments of revenge in their mutual When summer approaches, they throw quarrels. The father seizes one by the off their miserable garments, retaining heels, the mother arms herself with anonly what is absolutely necessary, and other, and a spirited combat ensues, form themselves into bands, which repair victory or peace is proclaimed. to the cities and villages in search of em- But we are at Giurgevo, and I bid a ployment. They are generally success- willing adieu to these degraded people. ful, for they are skillful and ingenious Their origin, their destiny, and their presworkmen, incredible as it may appear. ent purpose in the economy of the world
When a Tsigane wishes to marry, he are alike mysterious. The “business of must select his bride from among the Egypt,” (alias stealing,) which engages so slaves of his master. When the consent much of their time, is a befitting phrase for of the latter is obtained, he tells his future a race who are shrouded in more than father-in-law that he is pleased with his Egyptian darkness. daughter, and wishes to marry her. The By the treaty of 1829, Giurgevo, which paternal relative questions the young as- was formerly a Turkish fortress, became pirant for matrimony respecting his age, a Wallachian outpost. Its ancient posoccupation, and earnings; for though a sessors, however, destroyed its walls at fellow-bondman of the same owner, he the time of its abandonment, and it is now may be in utter ignorance even of his per- an odd medley of ruins and modern con
The lover most probably replies that structions. The new residences in the he is a blacksmith, that he is eighteen Danubian quarter have somewhat of a years of
age, and that he earns about European air ; at a further distance from twenty paras a day. The amiable couple the river is a high tower in the midst of then conclude the arrangement with an open circular place, surrounded with smoking and drinking, and separate with shops, cafes, and hotels, where the travan embrace. The next day the gipsy eler can be supplied with sherbet for his gallant conducts his bride, in presence of supper, and a billiard-table for his bed. their maternal relations, to the hut which | The inhabitants are estimated at about he bas constructed for her. They have twenty thousand, and their principal occua family repast, at the conclusion of which pation seems to consist in smoking the the most aged person of the tribe conse- chiboque, extended at full length upon crates the marriage by a few words pro- small strips of carpet. The women smoke nounced over the young couple, and the all day also, but they occupy themselves ceremony is finished.
at the same time with their distaffs. The gipsies of the Danubian Principali- The dogs, however, make up for the inties are utterly destitute of any religious habitants ; like a well-known Scripture sentiment, whatever may be true of them I character, they are incessantly going to
and fro in the earth, seeking what they almost the very day of its appearance in
different countries can be predicted with The quarantine regulations are very certainty. At Alexandria it is at its strict at Giurgevo. The Wallachians are height from November to June ; at Cairo, firm believers in the contagious character from February to June ; at Constantinoof the plague, of which they have a mortal ple, from July to January. The latitude terror. Each principality has its sanitary and position of a country, stagnant waters, committee, whose business it is to preserve bad cultivation, and various other causes, the public health and maintain quarantine. have much to do in modifying its intensiEvery station has a director, an interpre- ty. Notwithstanding the frequent comter, and a male and female physician. munication between Egypt, Nubia, and The time of detention is graduated from Arabia, it is well known that the two latfour to twenty-four days. Upon the ar- ter countries have never been visited with rival of a vessel, the passengers are con- the terrible pestilence which devastates ducted into a fumigated apartment, where the former. It is not a little singular that they are stripped of their clothing, and un- the plague was unknown during the highless they have taken the precaution to est period of prosperity in Egypt, which send on a change of raiment twenty-four commenced about fourteen hundred years hours previously, they are invested in before Christ, and lasted till about the loose trowsers, dressing-gown, and slip- third century of our era, when the practice pers, furnished by government for the pur- of embalming ceased. From this time it pose, and conducted to the chambers des- has reappeared every year with fatal and tined for their use during their imprison- unerring regularity. Though not an inevment. Merchandise is also subjected to itable attendant upon barbarism, it certainvarious processes. Some are simply im- ly flies before the march of civilization. mersed in water, others are fumigated But let me dismiss this dismal subject with muriatic acid, or exposed to the air for my more agreeable voyaging preparafor a certain number of days, according to tions upon the glorious Danube, for it is the material of which they are composed by this river and the Black Sea that I proMixed cotton and woolen fabrics must be ceed to Constantinople. Some years since, regarded as especially dangerous, for they in going from Baden-Baden to Schaffeuse gain admittance to the country only after by the Black Forest, I stopped for a night thirty and often forty-two days of quaran- at Donaueschingen, a little village whose tine. The foreign journals which reach only boast is, that it possesses the source their destination might be supposed, from of the Danube. I arose early the next their odor, to come straight from the lit- morning and went to the palace of Prince tle imp who figures so largely in printing Furstenberg. In a corner of the garden, offices; but this peculiarity is explained as between the walls of the palace and the proceeding from the sulphurous fumes in church, they showed me a little round which they are hung for six hours. Money basin, surrounded with an iron balustrade, and jewels are rinsed in vinegar.
from which gushed a spring of the clearest Absurd as these precautions seem, the water. A question might be raised with Wallachians assert that they have several the princes of Furstenberg and the inhabtimes owed their escape from the pestilence itants of Donaueschingen respecting their to strict observance of them. In 1838, claims to the nativity of the most beautifrom ninety to a hundred persons died ful river in Europe, because other streams daily from the plague for several weeks in which contribute to the Danube claim the Routschouk, which is a city of consider- same distinction ; but I looked upon these able importance on the opposite shore of sparkling waters with enthusiasm, and I the Danube, while not a single case oc- resolved at some future day to become betcurred in Giurgevo. Many of the pecu- ter acquainted with the noble river. And liarities, however, which the wild imagin- now as I stood upon the banks at Giuration and ignorance of the East ascribe to gevo, recalling the great cities past which mysterious or superhuman influences, are its proud waves had rolled, and the streams easily explained by physical causes. The which poured their tribute waters into its first and most numerous victims of the bosom, the magnificent river seemed to plague are always from the most degraded become a personality to my mind, and its and suffering classes. The month, and steady progress from Donaueschingen to
the Black Sea became a sublime march, established between Vienna and Constanagainst which cities and mountains contend- tinople. I cannot say much for the aced in vain. Sometimes it was turned to the commodations of the one in which I took east and anon to the cold north, but the deep passage. My obstinate determination to current bore on firmly and resistlessly to be good-natured, and my destination, alone its termination. Before its mission and its prevented me from grumbling at the imdestiny the great powers of Europe faded positions practiced upon these boats ; but I into insignificance. The thunder of Ro- shall not weary you with the details of the man legions had mingled with its murmurs; annoyances I experienced. dynasties had flourished and become ex- A few miles from Giurgevo we passed tinct; autocrats and emperors had strutted Silistria, the capital of Bulgaria. It contheir brief hour, and moldered into dust, tains the remains of fortifications erected while the mighty river had rolled on in its by the Greek emperors against the barsilent grandeur. From its obscure birth- barians ; but it immortalized itself by its place in the Black Forest to the Black famous siege in 1829, when twelve thouSea, into which it pours its wealth of sand men held its feeble defenses during waters, its course is more than two thou- nine months against fifty thousand Russand miles. The everlasting Alps are the sians. Though it fell into the hands of guardians of its way. The Bohemian the besiegers after this glorious resistand Tyrolian Alps give a new impulse ance, it remained in their power only until toward its final destiny—the East. This 1835.* is the mission of the Danube-to unite Above Silistria the Danube becomes so Europe to the East. It is to enrich the large, that when near one bank the oppocontinent of civilization with hundreds of site shore is scarcely visible. The scenery miles of coast, and nothing multiplies the is by no means interesting in this region, resources of a country like an extended the shores being barren and desolate. A line of coast. It has always been easy few islands covered with willows vary the for islands to be rich and powerful. The aspect of the river, which has the proporDanube is the great channel of communitions of a lake in this part of its course. cation between the three great European No living creature was seen during many powers of Russia, Austria, and Turkey. miles of our passage save a few storks, Several smaller states are hanging upon who regarded our steamboat with a rethese, whose future is to be determined by signed contemplative expression. My only the Danube. Nations are waiting upon amusement amid the annoying inconveniits shores for resurrection and life. What ences which surrounded me was in watchwill become of it? What will it accom- ing the leeches with which the deck was plish? Or rather, what will be done with encumbered. They are quite an importit ?
ant article of commerce in Bulgaria ; one But I fear I have been rhapsodizing. of the passengers who was engaged in the I must not now assume to be political, for traffic told me that he employed more the turns in the political wheel far outrun than a hundred persons, without reckoning the postal regulations, and by the time you those whose delightful business it is to get word from me of amicable negotiations, catch them in the marshes. Several hunfields may have been lost and won. Steam dred weight were on board our vessel ; itself is not sufficiently rapid to transport some were packed in small tubs half filled the varying intelligence respecting the with clay and mud, while others were present and expected arrangements of the secured in soft linen bags. Every evenexcited nations. The steamer which con- ing after sunset they had a bath in an enveys me to Constantinople floats upon the ormous basin, which was brought on deck Danube, and I hail its noise and bluster as for the purpose. It is impossible to ima pledge of the civilization and commerce agine a more disgusting spectacle than which the mighty stream is to bear on its this squirming mass, two or three feet in bosom in a not distant future. Steam extent, and more than a foot in depth. navigation of the Danube was commenced Humboldt's battery of serpents in the valin 1828. An Austrian company, com- ley of the Amazon, thongh more terrific, posed of the highest dignitaries of the government, soon obtained a monopoly of
• Our readers are familiar with the late and the stream, and in 1836 a regular line was glorious defense of this city.