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so it seemed, never would give over cheering, while the minority, concentrated on the right, kept up a fire of counter-éljens for the clerical champion.
The confusion and noise was so great that we on the platform could scarcely hear our own voices, while the crowd of electors below seemed to have a suspicion that things were not going on quite right, and that the only way to remedy matters was to redouble their demonstrations of enthusiasm, which they did with a will. Meanwhile a gentleman below began to converse with the pro-president above, who could not well hear what he had to say, because, as he expressed it, the "plebs” made so much noise. Indeed after he had himself two or three times in vain attempted to address the crowd, and had made all sorts of gestures to induce them to be quiet, he began to lose patience visibly. In such a confusion a novice like myself may be pardoned for not having a very clear idca of what was going on. But I understood so much as that the clerical party did not intend to be content with the decision which the pro-president had given, although it was obvious to more senses than one that the vast majority of the crowd was against them. The younger men on the platform, who were all partizans, began to murmur audibly “impudence,” “ ridiculous;” the clericals, however, as events turned out, knew what they were about.
But suddenly another less pleasing turn was given to the drama. I ought ere this to have mentioned what I had heard on my arrival at G—, that the military had been called upon to lend their assistance in maintaining order at T-- As I passed through the day before and when I came in this morning, I had observed several white-coated cuirassiers hanging about the cottage doors. Still I had been told that, though it was an excellent precautionary measure, no occasion would arise for their interference. I myself did not see any occasion at the present moment, but those in command, it appears, thought otherwise. In fact the gentleman down in the street who had spoken to the pro-president on the platform turned out to be the magistratethe provisional (provisorisch) magistrate, of course, not the constitutionally elected one-of the hundred, who is known in the Latin, Hungarian, and German languages respectively as judex nobilium (colloquially jullium), szolga-biró, stuhlrichter. Donbtless, the appearance of the military was the subject on which they had conferred.
At any rate from whatever cause, or in obedience to whatever commands, on came the cuirassiers with swords drawn and their captain at the head of them. They first manæuvred so as to get between the minority and the majority, and then steadily drove the latter from their position in front of the platform. The peasants retired slowly indeed, but still they retired, before this armed intervention. But many of them pressed still closer to the front of the cellar, and with loud cries, and indignant gestures, implored the intervention of the “gentlemen.” Especially conspicuous in so doing was a village schoolmaster, who had just before been foremost in shouting eljen himself and in instigating his fellows to do the same. The indignation on his broad, jocund visage wore almost an expression of anguish, an expression in which the pathetic bordered on the ludicrous. Certainly at the time I only felt an indignant sympathy, as did several unofficial persons on the platform, who exclaimed bitterly, “Constitutional freedom !” As, however, no evil consequences followed all this pother, I cannot now help smiling when I remember that look of intense, despairing earnestness. Some of us went so far as to call out to the soldiery in German (for the officer in command did not understand Hungarian), “Enough, enough.” But fate and the cuirassiers were alike inexorable, and they did not leave off backing and stamping about, now this way, now that, till the mass of dark-coated voters were crammed away on the left side of the platform, between which and the ranks of the troopers an open space was now left. The peasantry wisely restrained the manifestations of their discontent to yells and maledictions, which seemed to produce on the cuirassiers even less effect than on the beasts they rode. Their curses were, however, not so obstreperous as their former enthusiasm, so that I had now leisure to turn round, and see what was going on on the platform.
When the “deputation” had seen the decided character of the majority, they had for a moment indulged the hope that they would not have to go through the wearisome drudgery of the poll; and now that they found the clerical party determined to go on, their irritation was proportional to their disappointment. I found them trying to “ capacitate” a tall, gaunt priest, but finding their efforts ineffectual they said, “Well, then, reverend Sir, please let us see Tour ten voters.” The priest descended into the crowd, and after a pause of a few minutes returned with his light-blue jackets. Before taking down their names, the vice-president began to read them a lecture on their unreasonable obstinacy, which-naturally enoughFas listened to in sullen silence, as an unwarrantable interference with their electoral rights. Seven out of the ten were from the village of R-, two were from another village, and the tenth from a third. Their names being taken down, the “deputation,” &c., adjourned to an empty cottage belonging to an attorney of the town, which had been placed at their disposal for the day.
When they left I lingered yet a little while on the platform to study the aspects of the crowd. Many ladies and peasant women tame up thither to enjoy the spectacle. Just then a young gentleman came, bringing with him a peasant in a light-blue jacket. The latter, after looking to the right and left, exclaimed “ Certainly, sir, four times as many.” In answer to my inquiries, I was informed that the man was from the above-mentioned village of RT. There the great majority were in favour of the clerical party, but about fifteen or sixteen electors had pledged themselves to the liberals. An evening or two before election day, a faction-fight broke out in the public-house, and the clericals, having the superiority in numbers, gained a complete victory; it was, in fact, a double one, for being equally strong in fighting and swearing, they knocked down and disabled half their opponents over-night, and the next morning got the rest of them locked up as having been the aggressors. By good luck, the peasant I now saw before me and his son had been absent from the village the night of the row, and thus they two were the only liberal voters from their village who could come and record their votes.
The slow process of recording individual votes was tiresome, not merely for the members of the “ deputation,” but for all concerned. But the Hungarian peasant is a sort of man who generally contrives to make himself at home anywhere, and is not put out by little inconveniences. When he travels from home he always carries a sort of wallet, wrought in diverse colours, slung over one shoulder. This contains a lump of his dark bread, made of a mixture of wheat and rye, and his smoked bacon, which he eats raw.
For this purpose he is always provided with a large pocket clasp-knife. Two of the popular epithets applied to the genuine Magyar are szalonnás (bacony) and bicskás (provided with a pocket-knife). When several go together, and are likely to be away some time, they carry besides a large wooden bottle, in the shape of a flat spheroid, capable of containing some quarts of wine or brandy. This is stopped with a wooden plug, which screws into the neck, and is then carried, like the wallet, slung by a leathern strap over one shoulder. As the day, although cold, was fine and dry, and the gipsy band played with that unflagging perseverance and spirit of which only a gipsy band is capable, and the village furnished partners, the voters took to discussing their luncheons, and then either dancing themselves or criticising those who did; whilst above all was heard the song, “There is nothing sweeter than honey,” &c., repeated over and over again.
While the “plebs” were thus amusing themselves in the fresh, clear air, their superiors were hard at work in the cottage, which served as a polling-booth. As it had two doors communicating between the courtyard and the first and last room of a suite of three, it was very well adapted for the purpose to which it was now put. In the first and second rooms, which were almost quite bare of furniture, having only a table and a couple of benches between them, clustered the peasants whose turn to vote had nearly come. Besides them there were generally to be scen one or two persons of somewhat superior appearance, and no doubt a good deal of “capacitation” went on there, the means employed being, I am afraid, not always pure logic or unassisted rhetoric. In the third room, which was warmed by a vast stove reaching to the rafters, and covered with green earthenware, round a large four-cornered table of plain, unpainted wood, sat the “gentlemen.” Besides the “deputation' there must be present at the taking of the votes two representatives of each candidate to watch the proceedings in his behalf; and, as the law requires publicity, other persons were also present. As is the case with our law courts, in theory everybody might enter, but in practice the small space of the room did not admit of a large number of spectators. The representatives of the liberal candidate were two attorneys; while the interests of the clerical candidate were looked after by the land agent of one of the estates belonging to the chapter, and the parish priest of the village of R-, a tall, goodlooking young man, who left the work to be done for the most part by his secular coadjutor. And here I must observe that not only these gentlemen “serve,” without any remuneration or compensation, but the members of the “ deputation” do so likewise. In fact, they have to pay out of their own pockets the expenses which they may incur in the performance of their duties.
The villages were called over in alphabetical order. As each village came up in its turn, the “ deputation” began by calling in to their assistance its “judge,” in order that he might identify to their satisfaction each individual elector from his commune. For this purpose he was kept standing behind the chairs of the pro-president and vice-president while the electors from his village passed through a corner of the room, in at one door and out at the other. His assistance was, indeed, often needed, for the peasantry in Hungary, as in some other countries, are rather limited in their supply of Christian and family names. As the representatives of either side were on the look-out to prevent fraud, the objection was often made against a voter that the same man, or rather, that some one in his name, had already voted. In such cases no one could explain so readily or clearly as the “judge” that the voter present was kis Szabó Mihály, Michael Taylor the little, while the former man was nagy Szabó Mihály, Michael Taylor the big, and that it was all right. As the villages were called over in alphabetical order, so also were the names of the individual voters in each village. As each answered the call and came into the room in which the deputation sat, asked first his own name, and then for whom he voted. The vote was then recorded in a sort of double-entry system. While the Dotary set it down in one of two lists, according as he voted for one or the other party, the vice-president made a mark against the name copy
of the register, indicative of his having voted, and how.
As long as the voters came in in the alphabetical order in which they were called, the work of recording their votes, though slow and toilsome, was comparatively unirritating. But it continually happened that as they were recording the votes of the village of E— an elector, say Barna József (Joseph Brown), did not answer to his name when called over by the vice-president. It was echoed through the two anterooms and the courtyard into the streets by officious peasants, but in vain. Joseph had strayed away from the array of his fellow villagers, and was now courting, or dancing, or drinking, or peradventure cheapening a horse. There was no doubt as to whether he had come or not, as the “judge” of the village was there to state that he had joined the procession (kortes) which left E— that morning. The process of recording votes went on without him, when, suddenly, as they are taking down the votes of the hamlet of M-in he comes.
in he comes. As it is pretty well known on which side he will vote, the representatives of that side require that his name be put down. With this the registries have to be turned over till it is ascertained that such a name from such a place had been wanting. At this point the representatives of the opposite side interfere, and suggest a doubt as to his being the very Barna József or not. “ Where is the judge of E?" Now he is not to be
‘' found; and some delay occurs before the little imbroglio is settled to the satisfaction of all parties—a delay which makes the stentorian voice of the vice-president louder and harsher, and the patient notary, lighting a fresh cigar, discovers the air of the room is very close. After dinner these irregularities occur so often that the “ deputation determine to go straight on in regular order, and to postpone all such voters as did not answer when called, until the end of the poll ; thus leaving it to the whips of either party to keep their men together if they could.
There was a good deal of variety in the way in which the votes were given. The vice-president to whose conservative opinions I have before alluded, would have it that the “noblemen ” votes in a more manly, self-confident manner than the peasants. I must say that I could not myself see it. But, then, I was one of the uninitiated. The only way in which I could guess that the elector before me was a “nobleman” was when his clothes were especially old and patched, and his appearance afforded other indications of poverty ; for I then thought, “Surely this man can have no other qualification for the franchise than an hereditary one.”
I was standing by the side of the parish priest of R—, while a whole village, many of whom presented such an appearance, were voting one after the other for the liberal candidate. “I suppose, sir,” said I to him, “that these men are 'noble.' .“ So it seems," answered he, with a smile. These “nobles” gave their votes with the alacrity