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26

DEPARTURE FROM VIENNA.

santry:—Urbarium.—Exactions from serfs.—Poor nobles. - Revenue. - Villes franches. - Expression of public opinion.—Anecdote.

The first object on the road to Presburg that arrests the eye, after quitting the busy haunts of men in the great capital of Austria, is the burial-ground on the right-hand side, so full, so overflowing with sepulchral monuments, that, at a short distance, they present only a confused mass of masonry.

The cemetery looks like a city; and so, indeed, it is; a city of the dead ; more peopled than the neighbouring metropolis; the receptacle of its successive generations.

Our road lay over a flat, sandy country, devoid of every object of interest; and the phlegmatic German who officiated as coachman, with a characteristic blue apron like that of an English butcher, refused to urge his horses beyond the pace to which they were habituated, between a walk and a trot. At the half-way village, we amused ourselves during a halt by examining the clumsy machinery of our dragchain, and the mode of fastening the horses. Instead of a neat iron shoe, a large piece of wood, three feet in length, was supported by a heavy chain, which required a second contrivance to keep it from dangling on the ground.

HAINBURGHER BERG.

27

The third horse was tackled in a manner no less strange.

Abreast of the other two, his traces were fastened to a cross-bar, half of which extended beyond the side of the carriage, while its centre was attached by means of a long stick to one of the hind wheels. From this, therefore, he pulled at a great mechanical disadvantage, compelling the other outside horse to labor hard to preserve the carriage in its right direction.

After travelling eight hours without seeing a hillock, we came to some little mounds called Hainburgher Berg, which, rising gently and gradually out of the plains, form the commencement of the great chain of Carpathian mountains encircling Hungary. Beyond these, the country improves in appearance; and a few noblemen's houses are scattered over the plain ; but each is isolated and desolate, as if dropped from the clouds.

A short drive brought us to the village of Wolfsthal, the boundary of Austria and Hungary, which is still invested with all the formalities of a frontier, though the kingdoms have been long united. Over the door of the douane the arms of the two countries figure in co-equal size and dignity, each in the centre of a double-headed eagle, with crowns on his

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FRONTIER OF AUSTRIA AND HUNGARY.

heads, a globe in one talon, and a sword and sceptre in the other. The inscription on the Hungarian side is in Latin, the language of business throughout the country, and that in which our passports were visés by the Hungarian consul in Vienna. Round the door of the custom-house six or seven peasants were sitting, clothed with a kind of coarse white blanketing, like the dress of the Himalayan Tartars; some with hats like coalheavers; others with little caps turned up with fur, and ornamented with a feather.

Near this spot is the town of Petronelle, the ancient Carnuntum, where Marcus Aurelius wrote his Opera Philosophica; and a little beyond it, the road is raised with much labor for about four miles over a swampy marsh, and defended with a rampart of immense stones. Hence the traveller obtains the first view of Presburg. The castle, burnt some years ago, still retains its exterior wall; nor does it appear from a distance that this is but a skeleton. It stands on the top of a hill overlooking the town, the Danube, and the surrounding country; and, with its four octagonal turrets, forms a beautiful object in the landscape.

Presburg is entered from Vienna by a pont volant, or bridge of boats, a kind of structure

KOËNIGSBERG. -POSON.

29 very common on the Danube. This is about two hundred and eighty yards in length, having rails streaked with red and white, instead of black and yellow, the colors of Austria. On the bank of the river, just opposite the bridge, is a little mound furnished with a double flight of steps. It seems as if made for a band of musicians, but it is designated by the highsounding title of Koënigsberg, or King's Mountain ; and ancient usage requires that every king of Hungary, after his coronation, shall ascend this hillock, on which he swears to maintain the constitution in violate.

The capital of Hungary, called by the natives Poson and by the Romans Posonium, contains a population of about twenty thousand, of whom seven thousand are Jews; who, as in most other towns of the continent, have a distinct quarter allotted to them. Here they are separated from the rest of the inhabitants by a large iron gate, which, being close under the fort, is known by the name of Schlossberg. The wretchedness of the Old Jewry of Presburg is equalled only by the reputed degeneracy and profligacy of its occupants, against whom public prejudice is so strong, and the opinion of their talent for thieving or amassing is such, that, curiously enough, they are pro

30

THE PRINCIPAL CHURCII.

hibited from residing nearer than Presburg to the gold mines of Cremnitz.

The principal church contains little that is remarkable in point of architecture. Over the altar is a fine statue by Donner, representing St. Martin in the act of cutting his cloak in half with a sword, to give a portion to an aged beggar. On the left is a silver coffin, containing the body of St. John, bishop of Alex. andria, with the following inscription, which is interesting, as it shows on what slender foundation some of the miracles of the Romish church are based. “ S. Johannis Eleemosynarii, Episcopi Alexandrini corpus integrum Regi Matthiæ Corvino transmissum fuit Constanti. nopoli a Cæsare Turcarum. In Capella regia Budæ asservatum miraculis coruscavit. Ævi illius scriptor Pelibartus in Pomerio id testatur, et post hunc Surius xxiii Februarii.” The year is not inserted. The inscription goes on to state that the body was carried to the valley of Tall near Presburg, the date being again omitted; and that, on the day of Pentecost 1530, by command of the emperor Ferdinand the First, it was brought to Presburg, where, in 1632, by the piety of Cardinal Peter Pazmany it was deposited in a silver coffin. Another piece of sculpture represents the busts of three

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