Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

a polite invitation to dinner for the following day. There is much similarity in the style of dinners throughout Germany; and it has some points of peculiar excellence. The table is generally round or oval, so that each guest has the means of intercouse with the whole party even when it is large. It is covered, for the greater part, with a tasteful display of sweets or fruits ; two places only being left near the middle, for the more substantial dishes. Each person is provided with a black bottle of light wine, and every cover (even at a table d'hôte) is furnished with a napkin and silver forks. The first dishes which occupy the vacant spaces are always soups ; they are quickly removed to the side tables, and distributed by the servants. In the mean time, the next dish is placed upon the table, taken off, carved, and carried round to the guests in precisely the same manner; and so on, till every thing has been served. The plates are carefully changed; but the knives and forks very generally remain through the greater part of the dinner, or, at best, are only wiped and returned.' The dishes are so numerous, and the variety so great, that, as every body eats a little of every thing, they seldom take twice of the same. The succession of luxuries is not exactly the same as with

An Englishman is somewhat surprised to see a joint of meat followed by a fish, or a savoury dish usurp the place of one that was sweet. To conclude the ceremony, each servant takes one of the sweetmeat ornaments of the table and carries it to all the guests.

While the sweetmeats are served, a few glasses of superior wine are handed round, and then the whole company rise and adjourn to another apartment, where coffee is served. As the owner of the mansion intended passing the evening at home, many of the guests remained, among whom were Dr. Walker, and his pupil, and M. M.

Various were the amusements of the evening; some of them struck Edward with astonishment, particularly that called, acting riddles, which is performed in the following

A certain portion of the company retire into an adjoining room, where they concert together how best to represent by action the different syllables which compose a word, and then the meaning of the whole word. They presently return, and, carrying on their preconcerted action, require the company to resolve their riddle. Thus, for instance, on one occasion the word which was determined.

us.

manner.

upon was Jumeaux. Some of the actors coming from their retirement, began to squeeze a lemon into a glass, calling the attention of the company very particularly to it by their action, thus representing Ju. Others came forwards imitating the various maladies and misfortunes of life, thus acting the syllable meaux. Then, finally töttered into the circle two Prussian generals, neither less than six feet in height, dressed in sheets and leading-strings, as an emblem of Jumeaux.

This, perhaps, was not the most ridiculous amusement, plays were performed by children, while the grown up ladies and gentlemen played cross questions and crooked answers, or stood in a circle, and holding a cord in their hands, passed a ring from one to another, imposing it on some one of the party to discover in whose possession it was to be found.

M. M. was so very anxious that our travellers should accompany him into Hungary, and pressed the subject so much, that the Doctor's objections vanished at his and Edwards entreaties, and leaving Colin at Vienna, they set off for a short tour in that country.

a

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

TIIe appearance of Hungary and the peasants, as our travellers entered it from Presburg, was far from prepossessing. The plain is unenlivened by trees, unintersected by hedges, and but very thinly inhabited, a waste of arable land badly cultivated, and yielding indifferent crops to proprietors, who are scarcely conscious of the extent of property they possess. Their appearance bespeaks no fostering care from the superior, no independent respect, yielded with free satisfaction from the inferior. It is easy to perceive that a stimulus is wanting to invention, and that stimulus is, liberty. No one peasant has proceeded in the arts of life and civilization a step further than his neighbour. When they had seen one, they had seen all. From the same little hat, covered with oil, falls the same matted long black hair, negligently plaited, or tied in knots; and over the same dirty

[ocr errors]

$

jacket and trowsers, is wrapped on each a cloak of coarse woollen, cloth, or sheep-skin still retaining its wool. For whether it be winter or summer, week.day or Sabbath, the Sclavonian of this district never lays aside his cloak, or is seen but in heavy boots. Their instruments of agriculture are throughout the same ; and in all their habitations is observed a perfeet uniformity of design. A wide muddy road separates two rows of cottages, which constitute a village. From amongst them there is no possibility of selecting the best or the worst; they are absolutely uniform. In some villages the cottages present their ends; in others, their sides to the road; but there is seldom this variety in the same village. The interior of the cottage is, in general, divided into three small rooms on the ground floor, and a little space in the roof destined for lumber. The roof is commonly covered with a very thick thatch, the walls are whitewashed, and pierced towards the road by two small windows. The cottages are usually placed a few yards distant from each other. The intervening space, defended by a rail and gate, or a hedge of wicker-work towards the road, forms the farm-yard, which runs back some way, and contains a shed or out-house, for the cattle. Such is the out. ward appearance of the peasant and his habitation.

Being curious to examine the interior of their houses, they were gratified by their friend. They were surprised to find, that men, so negligent of their personal appearance, should enjoy in their houses so much comfort and good order. The door opens in the side of the house into the middle room, or kitchen, in which is an oven, constructed: of clay, well calculated for baking bread, and various iinplements for household purposes, which generally occupy this apartment fully. On each side of the room is a door, communicating on one hand with the family dormitory, in which are the two windows that look into the road. This chamber is usually small, but well arranged; the beds in good order, piled upon each other, to be spread out on the floor at night, and the walls covered with a multiplicity of pictures and images of our Saviour, together with dishes, plates, and vessels of coarse earthen ware. The other door from the kitchen leads to the store-room, the repository of the greater part of the peasant's riches, consisting of bags of grain of various kinds, both for consumption and for seed; bladders of tallow, sausages, and other articles of

[ocr errors]

provision, in quantities which it would astonish us to find in an English cottage. We must, however, keep in mind, that the harvest of the Hungarian peasant anticipates the income of the whole year; and, from the circumstances in which he is placed, he should rather be compared with our farmer than our labourer. The yards or folds between the houses are usually much neglected, and are the dirty receptacles of a thousand uncleanly objects. Light carts and ploughs, with which the owner performs his stated labour, his meagre cattle, a loose rudely formed heap of hay, and half a dozen ragged children, stand there in mixed confusion; over which three or four noble dogs, of a peculiar breed, resembling in some degree the Newfoundland dog, keep faithful watch.

From Urineny the trio proceeded to the gold and silver mines at Schemnitz and Kremnitz, where they noticed the various docimastic processes employed to obtain the metals from their ores. The prevalent rock is a tender claystone porphyry, in some places passing into grunstein ; the summits of the hills being all composed of this grunstein. The district productive of the precious metals, is about five or six square miles in extent, and contains five great parallel veins, running east and west, and dipping at an angle of eighty degrees, In these veins, consisting chiefly of felspar, varying from sixty to one hundred and twenty feet in thickness, and connected with each other by small and irregular branches, is found the metallic ore, forming veins from ten to four inches in thickness, and druses lined with crystals of the metal, quartz, and calcareous spar. The great vein of stephani-schacht is remarkable, as diminishing in width as it approaches the surface, which is considered by the miners as an exception to the general rule.

There are twelve great mines in this district, all of which find an outlet for their water at a depth of twelve hundred feet, by one adit, the length of which is estimated at twelve miles. The veins have, however, been wrought to the depth of eighteen hundred feet; and from these deeper galleries the water is raised by a most ingenious machine, invented by Höll, the chief engineer of the imperial mines. A stream of water, procured from reservoirs in the high valleys, falls through a perpendicular iron pipe, two hundred and seventy feet in length, which, being then bent at a right angle, conducts it into the lower extremity of a large cylinder, in which there is an air-tight piston. The water entering the

[ocr errors]

cylinder, raises the piston to the top, and escapes by a valve which then opens; while, at the same time, the communication between the cylinder and the vertical pipe is interrupted. The piston redescends by its own weight; the water is again allowed to enter the cylinder, and an alternate motion is thus established. To the piston rod are attached two beams bearing the rods of pumps, which raise the water by successive stages from the deepest parts of the mine. There are three of these machines, each of which raises 1790 cubic feet of water, from a depth of six hundred feet, in an hour. The water employed in working the machine makes its escape by the same adit with that which it has raised.

Upon passing one day an encampment of gypsies, Dr. Walker was led to make some enquiries of M. M. respecting them.

M. M.-“ Of the origin of this singular race of beings, whose manners and varied history have attracted so much attention all over Europe, various have been the opinions. They are, perhaps, more common in Hungary than in any other country, where they are denominated cygani, czygani, or tzygany, and exhibit the same general features, physical and moral, by which they are characterized in England. Their essential identity seems to be distinctly ascertained under various modifications and names in several of the countries of Europe—the Gitanos of Spain, the Bohemians of France, the Zingari or Cingari of Italy, the Zigueners of Transylvania, the Tinklers of Scotland, &c. It is apparently more constituted by the mode of living, kind of employments, peculiarities of complexion, countenance and form, dispositions, propensities, and habits, than by the language used by them. But this latter is, in some respects, a more decided evidence of their derivation from one origin.

“ The identity of this people, in the different countries of Europe, is so obvious, from a comparison of their manners, that on this alone we might rest our conviction of their common origin. Their peculiar cast of countenance, their complexion, their gay and cheerful turn of mind, their bodily agility, are all distinctly marked, and specifically mentioned by different travellers who have met with them in distant regions. But the great confirmation and completion of the argument lies in the similarity of their lan

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »