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136

GATES. —COSTUME.

The mode of hanging gates in the interior of the Banat is curious. They are made with the upper bar projecting very far behind, and piled with heavy wood; so that, when hung upon a stump, the point of which

passes through the bar, the gate is nearly balanced and swings upon the stump as its fulcrum. Some of the peasants wear leather coats, and cloaks lined with wool : and here we observed, for the first time on this frontier, the girdle, or waistband, worn by all Asiatics. A large sock of blanketing is sometimes brought over the ankle and allowed to hang down in loose folds on the foot, which is protected by a red boot made of fragrant Russia leather.

With their heads turned homewards, our little nags galloped as fast as we could wish, and faster than we had ever been carried by the heavy horses of Germany. They soon brought us to the turning which leads to the baths, and the drivers were ordered to take that road, but nothing would induce them to comply. They urged that it was too late in the evening; that the horses were fatigued; and that even now daylight would not last to carry us direct to our inn. They had reason on their side, and the result proved that they were correct; for it was dark long before our return.

HERCULESBAD. HOT SPRINGS.

137

In the vicinity of the baths, which are now quite a fashionable resort, there is a little village, consisting of about twenty good lodginghouses, and a large inn containing between one and two hundred bed-rooms, supported at the emperor's expense. The name given to the spot is Herculesbad, from a tradition that Hercules bathed in a dark cavern, access to which is by a small aperture not large enough to allow a man to enter erect. The natural spring which supplies the baths is impregnated with sulphuretted hydrogen gas, and the water, whose temperature is 45° of Reaumur, or 33° of Fahrenheit, is found to be beneficial in cutaneous and hypochondriacal cases. There is nothing very remarkable in the place itself; the beauty of the scenery in the neighbourhood is that which a traveller should not lose; and this we enjoyed as much as the unfavorable state of the weather permitted.

VOL. 1.

I

CHAPTER V.

VOYAGE ON THE DANUBE.

FROM ORSCHOVA IN

HUNGARY TO SCALA CLADOVA IN WALLACHIA.

Rural scene

Embarkation.—Neu Orschova.-Fort Elizabeth.—Customhouse.-Scenery.-Remains of Roman canal.

Porte de Fer.—Projected canal.-Fall of river.-Rapidity of current. Party land.

Costumes. - Quarantines.-Sibb. Kladosicza.—Delay of steamer.—Customs connected with sneezing.- Description of Scala Cladova.--Huts.-Feth Islam. Diminished interest of scenery. and repast.–Degraded condition of inhabitants. - Dress.

Postilions — Their howling. — Arrival at Tchernitz. Reception. -Sweetmeats. - Supper.- Wash-hand basin.

Town of Tchernitz. - Houses. — Posts of gates. — Chief street. - Dark complexion of inhabitants. — Beauty-spot.

Breakfast. — Governor.— Salary.— Anecdote. —Slaves.

Dinner. - Return to Scala Cladova. — National hospitality. — Cheapness of food. — Practice of burying money. -Etymology of name Wallachia. -— Mode of reckoning time. - Government. - Hospodar. - Former subjection to Porte.- Treaties of Bukharest and Adrianople.- Present influence of Russia.-Anecdote. - Religion.-First printing of Bible.-System of tyranny-Gipsies.—Their origin and names. - Tax in gold-dust. — Anecdotes. State of

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EMBARKATION AT ORSCHOVA.

139

morality in the two principalities. - Divorces. — Courts of law.— Power of Frank consuls. — Anecdote. — General aspect and productiveness of country. - Fertility of ancient Dacia. - Adoption by people of Roman name and language.—Mixture of Greek, Persian, and Italian words. – Examples.

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The following morning all the passengers started for Scala Cladova, twelve miles from Orschova, having embarked on a wide flatbottomed barge, the only sort of boat of the requisite size which can pass the ridge of rocks called by the appropriate name of Porte de Fer, because it effectually closes the navigation of the Danube. The morning was fine, and the exquisite scenery around glowed in all the loveliness with which the God of nature has invested it. The first object that attracted our attention was the fort of Neu Orschova, standing in the middle of the stream, two and a half miles below Orschova, and garrisoned by Turks, as are all the fortresses in Servia. Thus far, the islands in the river are held by Austria ; but the Porte retains possession of this as an outpost. We sailed on the Servian side, close under the windows of the governor's harem, and were able to perceive the nakedness of the land and the utter inefficiency of this fort in case of war, as it is out of

140

FORT ELIZABETH.-SCENERY.

repair and commanded by the neighbouring Hungarian hills : not so, however, the small castle called Fort Elizabeth, a little lower down, which is likewise in the hands of the Moslims; it is situate on the slope of the mountains, overhung and protected by their tops, and is furnished on all sides with embrasures for guns and musketry.

Near these, on the left, in a narrow valley terminating on the bank of the river, is the frontier custom-house of Hungary and Wallachia ; and from this point the Danube flows through territory tributary to Turkey, having Wallachia on one side and Servia on the other. Here a turn in the river opens a majestic view. On the right, a bold, barren peak of rock rises, like a gigantic pyramid, in the midst of luxuriantly clothed hills; beyond which a low arm of land, projecting towards a curve on the opposite bank and apparently bounding the water, causes it to assume the appearance of a lake; while the solemn murmur of distant breakers interrupts the silence of a scene where nature herself seems awed into stillness. This noise gradually increases with every hundred yards the vessel advances, till the terrific roar of the mighty element overcoming its natural enemies succeeds to tranquillity and

repose.

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