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VIEW OF BELGRADE.
duct. — Scenery.-Mehadia.-Ruins.-Singular printing. -Mode of hanging gates.-Dress of Banatian peasants. - Baths.-Tradition regarding Hercules.
At a very early hour on the following morning we were summoned to return to the steamer, the captain having resolved to start at 5 A.M., though the voyage to Moldova was not expected to occupy more than eight hours. We weighed anchor with the promise of a fine day and, passing quickly the mouth of the Save which we had yesterday explored, found ourselves again under the walls of the once proud, but now fallen, Belgrade. The sun was in the act of rising; and the sky was gilded with the brightest orange hues deepening into the lovely color of the golden orb itself, but without its dazzling splendor. Just above, a few dark purple clouds were forming themselves into every conceivable shape, while here and there they opened to display a roseate, or brighter crimson, or some other indescribable and inimitable, tint. The moon was visible; and her crescent form, the emblem of Turkey, yet lingered over the city. The elegant minarets of the mosques, while pointing to the glorious sight above, still attracted our attention below, as they cast a magic beauty over a spot to which they yielded its single charm.
The castle of the pasha rising in the rear, with this architectural forest in the foreground, seemed like the dynasty it represents, decayed and ready to fall, yet proud and assuming ; now, indeed, weak and powerless, yet exulting in the ancient glories with which poetry and history invest it.
The Danube, enlarged to nearly three-quarters of a mile in width, winds its way, now between hills and now through a cultivated plain; at one time, separating into two and even three or four branches, forming islands of various sizes ; at another, collecting its straggling waters into one vast stream, and rolling them down slowly and majestically towards the sea. Pursuing a south-eastern course, it passes Semendria, the Aureus Mons of the Romans. The city, once designated by so lofty a name, is now no more. Another has been built on the site, and has fallen in its turn under the hand of time. Of this last all that survives is a curious triangular fort in ruins; twenty-three of whose towers are standing. One of the three sides fronts the water; and if repaired and properly garrisoned, its guns would command the navigation of the river : now it serves only as a token of the fleeting nature of all worldly grandeur, and as an indication of the
ARRIVAL AT MOLDOVA.
tottering state of the Mohammedan dynasty. Soon after passing this ruin, the Danube assumes a north-eastern direction, and divides to form the island of Ostrova, about twelve miles in length; after which a pretty curve in its course exposes to view the town of Palanka in Banat. Here the country is beautiful. On both sides low hills, covered with foliage or cultivated fields, line the banks; and plantations of vines and Indian corn bespeak the fertility of the soil. The rock is sandstone. Large Alights of wild ducks flew over our heads, migrating to their winter quarters; while some eagles, the first we saw, told how far we had wandered towards the countries familiar with this kingly race.
In two hours more we arrived at Moldova, where we were informed that the shallows and rocks would not allow the steamer to proceed further, and that a small English boat, commanded by a British sailor, would be ready to carry us on at four o'clock the following morning Here the danger of the Danube navigation commences, and the next sixty miles are those which have opposed so many difficulties to the establishment of a steam communication between Constantinople and Vienna. Before leaving our vessel, the passengers agreed
DESCRIPTION OF VILLAGE.
that it was due to the directors and to future travellers to enter in a book, kept for that purpose, their complaints as to mismanagement. These they classed under four heads : First, the intrusion of gentlemen into the ladies' apartment; Secondly, smoking in the cuddy ; Thirdly, the admission of “ second-class”
passengers to sit and dine in the first cabin; and Fourthly, shooting on deck, to the great alarm of the ladies.
As Moldova does not boast an inn, the travellers had no alternative but to sleep on board the steamer. We rambled, however, among the cottages, and were struck with the entire absence of paint. Not a single door, window, shutter, nor gate is painted. The peasants are too poor to bestow so much of ornament on their houses, which are limited to a ground-floor, and are roofed with wood, arranged in small pieces like tiles. A double row of mulberry trees, extending through the village, indicates that the silkworm is cherished as its ablest and most productive manufacturer. The inhabitants are a simple unsophisticated race, so little acquainted with the civilized modes of western Europe, that our captain, who resides among them, quaintly observed that we were in “ Barbary ;" while another
QUIT THE STEAMER.
man remarked that we were now " at the world's end.” A villager, who sold us a draught of milk, insisted on our sharing with bim some baked Indian corn and, forcing into our bands the rest of his frugal meal, he added, with true liberality, “ I have a few plums; you must accept them also.”
Within a quarter of an hour's walk are some mines which yield three hundred thousand pounds of copper annually, and give employment to many of the poor occupants of this and the neighbouring villages.
At four o'clock in the morning, the captain of the steamer weighed anchor to return to Semlin; and at 5 a.m. his late passengers went on board the little bark that was to convey them to Orschova, a voyage of fifty-four miles, usually in fine weather accomplished in a day. The boat drew twenty inches of water and carried a mast; but was not large enough to take the luggage, which was sent, with the heavy merchandise, by a flat-bottomed barge. It was covered, and admitted ten persons inside. Our party consisted of twelve, exclusive of eight boatmen and the pilot, or captain. The wind was contrary, and the rowers pulled as if they had never before held an oar; no two keeping time. The fact was, they were pea