Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

corner of the room was a large strong chain ; and, at about a foot and a half from the ground, round the whole vault, were rings let into the wall. The prisoners, at night, having laid themselves upon the ground, the chain is put through the irons which confine the ancles of three of them, and is passed into a ring in the wall; it is then attached to three more, and is passed through a second ring, and continued in this way till the complete circuit of the room is made. The ends of the chain are fastened together by a padlock, by which the whole is secured.

16 Let us return to Vienna soon, Sir,” said Edward, as they quitted the dungeon, “ Every noble I see I shall consider tyrani, and shall never look at a peasant without thinking of the prison of Kesythely.”

“ Nor I,” said the Doctor, whose feelings were in unison with those of his pupil,“ We will quit it immediately; but all the nobility are not alike, though few are the exceptions. The Count Festitis has enfranchised his vassals.

“ Having purchased an estate in the Murakos, a tract of country between the Muhr and the Drave, he granted lands to the peasants at a fixed annual rent, a few only remaining on the common tenure of service. In these free villages, the value of land has risen to such a degree, that the owner of four acres is esteemed wealthy, and the population has increased from fifty families to six hundred. Although still subject to the government duties, and suffering from the effects of two bad seasons, and an inundation of the Drave, these peasants were, in 1814, striving cheerfully with the difficulties of their situation; while their neighbours, on the common footing, although each family possessed thirty acres, were reduced to subsist on the bounty of their lord. These free villages also afford an exception to the general dishonesty of the Hungarian peasantry; their household furniture is often exposed on the outside of the cottages, and does not even require the protection of the large dogs common in the rest of the country. As, however, on hereditary property, no arrangement made by the lord is binding on his successor, this amelioration cannot become general without an act of the Legislature.”

“What a country to live in !" exclaimed Edward. “Dear England,” continued the youth," and its laws, its juries, its habeas corpus,

and all its comforts. I am not tired of travel. ling, but home and England, will sometimes cross me. I should like of all things at this moment, to be peeping into a farmer's hall, where his labourers are assembled at a harvest home, drinking • a health to our good Maister, the founder of the feast.' Should you not, Sir ?" The Doctor smiled “ Why, yes, perhaps I should. But our Austrian friend, you forget him."

M. M. who had been greatly amused at Edward's remarks, begged he might be forgotten. “ I have no wish to interrupt my young friend's remarks, which do honour to his country, as well as his own heart. But do you really intend to quit Hungary ? if so, we must part, for I cannot return to Vienna just yet. But as I am going to the north, where the country is not so beautiful as in the south, I do not urge you to make any farther stay in a country which appears to have disturbed the peace of Edward.”

With regret our travellers look leave of M. M-and directing their steps towards Gratz on their way to Vienna, they arrived safely in that city to the great delight of Edward. Colin too expressed much pleasure at their return, and after staying one day in the Austrian capital, in order to make some arrangements with their banker, and to settle various little affairs which were postponed by their sudden excursion into Hungary, they resumed their journey, and following the course of the Danube, on the south side of that river, they at length arrived at Swrach, where they remained one night.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

SECTION V.

CAVES AND FOSSIL REMAINS.

« Of all the natural curiosities of Germany,” said Dr. Walker, " the immense number of fossil bones found in the mountains of the Hartz is most astonishing. That fossil on the chimney-piece, recals them to my recollection. The Hartz mountains form an irregular chain from the Weser, not far from its rise, to the vallies of the Oder. At one extremity of this long chain are Beaumon's cave and Schorfel's; and at the other are the caves in Hungary, which have been known from time immemorial. Between these two extremes, are the caves in Franconia, near Bayreuth ; the one called

)

Gayleureuth, is particularly rich in fossil remains. These caverns are of great extent; they are lined with stalactal concretions; and in these concretions near the bottom, and in the floor many bones are found. The bones are all nearly in the same state, detached, shattered, and broken ; a little lighter and less solid than bones in a natural state : they are very little decomposed, containing much gelatinous matter, and not at all petrified. There are about eleven or twelve of these caverns at Gayleureuth, all issuing from one another, the inner one is twenty-eight feet high, and about three and forty feet long. Here the prodigious quantity of animal earth, and of bones of every description, presents an apt image of a temple of death. The stalactites, from their icy touch and heavy groups, combine to give it an air of gloom which chills the human frame; and I do assure you, Edward, I was glad again to lay down and creep through an aperture only three feet wide and two high, in order to retrace my steps through these dismal caves of death.”

ÉDWARD." I have no wish to see them. It makes one shudder to hear of them. I am quite satisfied with your de. scription of them. Pray, Sir, what animals have these bones belonged to?"

DR WALKER. 66 Three-fourths of them are said to have belonged to two species of bears, which no longer exist. About half the remainder to the hyæna, some few to the tyger, or the lion ; others to the wolf or dog, the fox, the pole-cat, or to some species nearly allied to them. These caves do not contain the bones of any marine animal whatever, nor any thing that marks the presence of the sea. It cannot be doubted, therefore, that the animals to which they belonged, lived and died in the caverns where their bones re. main, for there is no appearance of any sudden overflowing of the waters of the ocean, by which they might have been driven to these caverns, and there perished. Carnivorous animals are solitary, both, from inclination and necessity; there is therefore no reason to suppose that any vast herds of them would be collected in these caves, unless compelled by some extraordinary change in the face of the country which they inhabited. May we not suppose that at some remote period, when the vast forests of Germany were gradually destroyed, either by fire or other means, that these animals might seek protection in the caverns of the Hartz mountains, and there prey upon each other till they became extinct, i

[ocr errors]

do not however presume to account for what has occupied the attention of so many of the curious; but this is one of those speculative subjects upon which we may be allowed, without presumption, to give an opinion."

A fire happening in the night of their arrival at Sivrach, not far distant from the inn where our travellers lodged, Dr. Walker observed, when it was extinguished,“ that affairs would have been conducted in a very different manner, had this melancholy event taken place at Pesth in Hungary.-When these frightful accidents take place in that town, certain citizens are appointed, who open the houses in which the public fire-engines are kept, and others who areto superintend the conducting them to the place. The barriers of the town are closed, and no stranger, or suspected person, is allowed to escape. The surgeons and priests are ordered to be at hand. No one but the Palatine and the BrigadeGeneral is suffered to approach the spot on horseback. The Stadtrichter and the Stadthaupman are distinguished by red and white hat-bands ; every magistrate wears a white one, and the commissioner of fires one of red and yellow. Every householder in the neighbourhood, and the streets leading to it, is forced, under a penalty of 25 florins, to light up

his house with lanterns, or with candles on the inside. The glaziers and the sculptors have to pay attention to this. The brewers, the millers, the coach-masters, and the hackneycoachmen, are bound to afford means of conveyance. The management of the fire-engines is committed to the coppersmithe, metal-founders, gun-makers, knife-grinders, and watch-makers. The supply of water, and the labour of the engines is entrusted to the locksmiths, braziers, wheelwrights, potters, coopers, butchers, hatters, farriers, and nail-smiths. For pumping water out of the Danube, the tanners, fishermen, millers, and boatmen ; for lifting water out of the wells, the well-sinkers, bakers, gardeners, and starch-makers, are summoned. The brush-makers, glovers, basket-makers, furriers, weavers, nailers, harness-makers, taylors, backlemakers, and shoe-makers, are to form the ranks for passing water in cans and buckets. Brewers, labourers, joiners, and rope-makers, are to bring the ladders and fire-hooks. But, above all, the chimney inspectors, the bricklayers, stonemasons, tilers, and carpenters, are called upon, under very heavy penalties, to attend and give assistance at all fires.The approval of the Stadtrichter, who is always accompanied with an official mason and carpenter, is requisite before any of the neighbouring houses are pulled down, to prevent the extension of the flames. No one is permitted to shut his doors, or refuse free access to the water in his house on such occasions, nor can he forbid any necessary communication from being opened through his walls or fences. The sick, the infirm, and children, are entrusted to the care of the apothecaries, surgeons, and shopkeepers. The preservation of furniture and valuables is committed to book-binders, chocolate-makers, sieve-makers, goldsmiths, map-stainers, engravers, painters, snuff-makers, watch-makers, paper-hangers, and sugar-bakers, The preservation of cattle is given to the swine and cattle-dealers, cow-keepers, &c. And, lastly, the masters of coffee houses and inns, and the barbers, are quietly to look about the whole city for thieves and pickpockets. No man is suffered to stand by at a fire idle, but, whatever be his situation, is called upon to render assistance. And thus the busy, picture is complete. How much more efficacious is the plan and labour of the firemen in London.”

* I agree with you, Sir,” said Edward, " they manage these things better in England.''

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

SECTION VI.

THE MINERALS, RIVERS, AND MOUNTAINS. BESIDES the productions, of her own immediate territory, Austria is particularly rich in those of Bohemia, Hungary, and part of Poland. In minerals, for instance.

", At Schmelnitz and Herrengrund, antimony; at Roienav, salt-petre, coal, salt, and alum, in different parts, natron or soda, in a lake near Kismanig, towards the frontier of Transylvania. Mineral springs are very numerous, Petroleum is likewise met with in Hungary. In Transylvania are the grey gold ore, the white gold ore, silver and copper. The streams both of this country and Hungary afford small quantities of gold; and Bobemia produces silver, gold, tin, copper, and lead.

« The mines at Kremnitz and Schemnitz, in Hungary, are probably the most remarkable in Europe. The former for gold, the latter for silver and other metals. The academy at Schenpitz, instituked for the study of mineralogy, is only rivalled by that of Freyburg in Saxony. It is remarkable that the rocks in these parts are of the same kind as

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »