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NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE.
No. XLIX.—JUNE, 1854. — Vol. IX.
PALACE OF THE KHANS OF THE CRIMEA. THE STEPPES, ODESSA, AND THE I attended with manifold evils. Weeds are of more CRIMEA.
rapid growth than corn, and the vices of a new W E passed a week very pleasantly at Buchar- form of life make themselves apparent earlier than W est, watching the many-colored tide of life its virtues. Bucharest has justly acquired the which flows through its broad streets. At first reputation of being the most licentious city in we could hardly persuade ourselves that we were | Europe. Gambling, in particular, is carried to not in Paris or Vienna. The French, if the worst an enormous extent. colonists, are the best pioneers of civilization in Few things strike one at first more than the the world. Farewell to the still life of the Orient profusion of equipages. No person of any prewhen its territories are invaded by Parisian cooks tensions ever walks. One must have a carriage and modistes. French modes, French manners, to cross the street. The fashion has partly arisen and above all, the French language, saluted us from the cheapness with which an equipage can every where. But the old customs and forms be maintained, and partly from the condition of have not surrendered without a struggle; they the streets, which are always knee deep in mud, still manifest themselves in picturesque contrast or choked with dust. The few where any attempt with their successors. In one corner of a splen- at paving has been made, are merely floored over did saloon fitted up like a Parisian drawing-room with logs and planks; they go by the name of grave bearded old Boyards, in long fur pelisses, ponti, or “ bridges," and are in reality uneven recline, calmly smoking the pipe of tranquillity ; bridges floating on rivers of filth. The public while the centre is occupied with gay groups at promenade, where the world of Bucharest shows tired in Parisian modes hardly three months old, itself most religiously every evening, is a drive whirling in the waltz, the polka, or the schot through a street, alternately choked with dust tische, or chatting of those infinite nothings of and buried in mud.“ Ici,” said a Frenchman to. society, for which the French language is the only me, “les jambes sont du lure ; les voitures, au vehicle. Servants in the rich half-oriental Al contraire, sont le nécessaire." It is quite true; banian costume bear about perfumed waters to nobody can afford to walk. One may lodge where bathe the hands of the visitors; or with native he will, but he must ride. grace replenish the bubbling narguilles of the The census shows a Jewish population of but sedate smokers. But every where it is evident about five thousand. We should have supposed that the new modes are gaining ground on the there were five times as many. They are omniold. With the present generation the race of the present. Go where you will, you are met by the old Wallach Boyards will become extinct. This broad-brimmed hat, rusty gabardine, and flowing transition is undoubtedly for the best, although beard of the Israelite, which announce to you
Vol. IX.-No. 49.-A
the presence of one who is ready to be your serv-trusively or importunately, but insinuatingly, perant. He is your slave waiting for orders; or sistently. You descend to your carriage, and he rather he is the slave of your purse. The pias- is at the door ; you turn the corner of a street, ters in your pocket are a magnet, a charm, which and before you have gone twenty paces you see binds him to you. You can scarcely touch one, his tall figure on your track, or starting up from even unconsciously, without bringing before you some nook in your front. You form a wish, and some of these haunting spirits, as the rubbing of he stands before you ready to execute it. If by Aladdin's lamp summoned its subject genii. A any chance you have employed him for the slightmost serviceable spirit is the Israelite at Bucha- est service, you have bound yourself to him durrest. He can speak to you in half a dozen lan- ing your stay guages, so that you must be as ignorant of all We luckily fell into the hands of old Mordecai, tongues, other than your own vernacular, as are who had pointed out to us the entrance to the the ministers whom we send to represent us at baths on our arrival. When we emerged from foreign courts, if he can not find some medium of the cavernous entrance, we saw him standing communication with you. Of English he is very within a few paces, his tall figure bent forward likely ignorant; but he speaks German and in an attitude of humility, which yet somehow French as a matter of course, and very likely seemed free from servility. Heaven knows Spanish and Italian, besides the dialects spoken whether he had loitered there all the while we in the city. He knows every body, every place, were passing through the Inferno, the Purgatoand every thing—and all that he has and is stands rio, and the Paradiso of a Turkish bath. He had at your disposal, for a very moderate sum—and wisely waited for his fee till after we had bathed, he will receive any amount of anger and contempt and had become comfortable and benevolent. In that you feel disposed to inflict, into the bargain. the beatitude of the moment we of course could If you feel disposed to add blows, he will avoid not avoid crossing his withered palm with a few them indeed if he can; but he does not dream of paras. He followed us all that day and the next, resenting them, or of ceasing to proffer his serv- as noiselessly and unobtrusively as our shadows, ices.
never addressing us, but still contriving to let us If he is yours you are none the less his, and know that he was at our service. He seemed to sooner or later he is sure to come into possession have an instinctive premonition whither we were of his own. The sooner you surrender the better going. We found him awaiting us at the Cathfor you. He haunts you like a shadow-not ob-edral gate, at the entrance of the Hall of Assem
GIPSY DOG-KILLERS. bly, by the foot of the ruined tower of Coltza, Israelite, who sat chinking his coin in a dingy which commemorates the occupation of the spot little shop. For a certain per centage he speedby the mad Swede, Charles XII. For two whole ily transmuted our good honest silver into the days we resisted the mute offers of his services ; brassy-looking small change of the place. A but he waited his time, and on the third morning couple of piasters placed in his palm speedily set it came.
honest Mordecai's eyes rolling with an expression “ Major,” said I to my companion, “ I must get of benediction, as though he were imploring upon two or three dollars' worth of piasters and paras.” us the good offices of all his forefathers, down to We had both assumed the military rank which the time of the princely Abraham. we had attained in the militia at home; and per. For the remaining four days of our stay at Buhaps we had brevetted ourselves to two or three charest we yielded ourselves wholly to his direcgrades above those that strictly belonged to us— tion; and to do him justice, he proved himself a a wise precaution in Russia, where all rank is most unexceptionable cicerone. Under his guidmilitary.
ance we ventured to discard our carriage, and to “Ya, wohl, Oberst,” replied Brown, who was penetrate the muddy suburbs where the poor fond of airing his German vocabulary, which was Wallachs who go on foot, and do not wear Pano very protracted operation.
risian coats, eat their Indian porridge and drink Scarcely had the words passed his lips when I their fiery plum brandy, as their forefathers had heard a guttural voice at my elbow, in broken yet done before them. We peered into the squalid quite intelligible Teutonic:
huts where generations of keen-eyed gipsies herd " Erlauben mir, Thro Ex'ln'sch, gefäll’gscht, together, in rags and filth, under which not unIhro an ein'n Wechschl’r weisch’n ?”:—which in frequently were disguised forms and features of corresponding English might run something thus: wonderful beauty, with those delicate hands which “ Vill his Exshelensh pleash let me show him to speak of their Hindoo origin. an Exshanger ?"
Among the most characteristic sights present“Ya, wohl—Very well,” replied Brown, proud ed in the suburbs was the manner in which the of having made himself understood by a foreign- destruction of the superabundance of the lean and er, as I nodded assent; and our bearded friend wolfish dogs common to all the East is effected. took possession of us. He led us to a brother A stout gipsy drags along behind him the carcass
of a dog just killed; not far behind follows an- | The level green plains were speedily transformed other, armed with a huge club, with his eyes bent into a marsh, where our wheels sank up to the upon the ground, puffing away at a long pipe, as axles. though quite unconscious of the proceedings of Of the three days' journey through the rain, his confederate. From every lane and alley, out all my recollections are mingled into a confused of every hole and corner, from behind every hill-mass. I must have dozed nearly all the while. ock and heap of rubbish, rush out the acquaint- I remember that we passed two or three gangs ances and friends of the dead hero. Old veterans of wandering gipsies encamped under their ragged scarred with a hundred wounds abandon the half- black tents. Through the thick smoke we could gnawed bone or mutilated cat which their prow- catch glimpses of half-clad figures of both sexes ess has secured, and rush barking and yelling and all ages, crouched around smouldering fires around their enemy; young aspirants join in the made of half sodden weeds and brambles, glaring cry and pursuit, and a wailing arises like that at us from under their matted locks. I remember which went up from the Dardan gates when, as also passing two or three caravans of the great Homer sings, the “ divine Achilles” dragged his wagons of the steppes, with their long trains of slain foe around the walls of Troy. The dragger oxen laboriously making their way through the of the slain pursues his steady way, followed by mire. One, I think, had given up in despair; his imperturbable compeer. The canine throng, the cattle had been turned loose to graze, and the gathering courage from numbers and their own drivers were smoking around a fire under a sort cries, press nearer and nearer. The leader at of awning stretched between two wagons. length comes within reach of the bludgeon of the Now and then I was aroused from my doze by hindmost gipsy. Swift as lightning, and inevit- an extra jolt as we plunged into a ditch, or by the able as fate, it descends upon his skull; a smoth-redoubled cries of our postillions as they franticered howl, and another canine shade is sent to ally urged their tired horses up some steep bank, bear company with the slain Hector. The throng and found myself and my companion sitting in scatter affrighted, only to be gathered again at the damp straw, our shoulders braced together, the next turning. At evening the pair of gipsies clutching mechanically the rough sides of the proceed to the magistrate to render an account vehicle. of the day's slaughter, and receive the stipulated. The post-stations where we exchanged horses price per head.
were solitary huts of clay and reeds, standing in At length the day for our departure arrived. green oceans of herbage. Close by was an open In the gray morning our old caroussi lumbered inclosure, in which a troop of horses stood closely up to the door, with its long file of shaggy ponies. huddled together, with the rain streaming down Early as it was, old Mordecai was there, with his their shining sides. Half mechanically we showhead bowed in his usual humble attitude. A few ed our tickets to the captain of the post, without coins presscd rather than flung into his lean hand, alighting, while the exchange of horses was made; brought up a look of gratitude that would have then dropped the expected bacchis into the hand been cheap at tenfold the sum. His face wore a of the expectant official as he returned our ticket. look of proud humility as he pressed his hand to I suppose the amount was satisfactory, for I have his breast with that Oriental grace and dignity a dim recollection of always hearing a "mestge which befitted his lofty lineage rather than his currint," as the postillions, vaulting into their humble fortunes. Poor old Mordecai, I fear it wet saddles, sent forth their long piercing cry, was but seldom that the few piasters he so pa- flourishing their whips with superhuman vigor. tiently earned were not embittered with curses Now and then we were aware that we were and blows.
passing a village, and in a more genial mood we Day was still struggling with night as we dash- might have paused to admire the rustic churches, ed through the muddy ponti into the broad marshy whose slender steeples rose in the leaden air steppe, whose unbroken green surface stretched above the quaint peaked roofs. One night we all around. That greensward must be now sadly slept upon a heap of steaming hay in the corner tracked by the wheels of the Russian artillery, of a leaky post-hut. The next night, darkness and reddened with the gore of the poor peasantry, had long set in as with infinite difficulty we forded slaughtered in a quarrel not their own. Musco- a muddy stream and toiled up a steep bank into vite or Moslem-fire or frying-pan: between two a village, where we found a hotel, with a watersuch alternatives the poor Wallachs have but a tight roof. This village was called Rimnik. sorry choice. As the sun arose we turned to Hard by was an old Turkish castle built of brick. take a last look at Bucharest, whose hundred Here, we were told, Suwarrow gained one of his spires, rising above the low banks of vapor, great victories, from which he received his title gleamed red in its level beams.
of Count, or Baron, or Prince, or something else, Noon found us fording a river, with an un- of Rimnik. It must have been just before the pronounceable name, whose turbid and swollen “ crowning mercy" of Ismail. Next day we current gave evidence that a storm had been rag- came to a river running through the centre of a ing to the north and east. Not long after we little village. This was Fokshani, the frontier came within view of a range of hills, their sum- town of Wallachia and Moldavia, one half belongmits wreathed with sullen black clouds. At length ing to each Principality. we came within range of the storm. The rain Wait long enough and the end will come. The came down in one long, heavy, continuous shower.close of our storm came at last. A bright sky
and windows of their shops, saluting our mud-stained ve-
ance, our hotel was deficient in sundry appliances of comfort, for which we would willingly have bartered any amount of display. For beds we had our choice between a billiard-table and a naked couch stuffed with straw. For sundry reasons connected with certain entomological researches which we instituted, I chose the
former, while Brown determined V V
to make trial of the latter. On comparing notes in the morning, it was agreed that I had made the wiser choice; the bites were worse than the bruises. I doubt whether the whole establishment
could boast of the luxury of a VILLAGE CHURCH, WALLACIMA.
pair of sheets; and the ordinary
appurtenances of ablution were greeted us upon our first morning in Moldavia, no more to be had than the philosopher's stone. and a warm sun dried the wet hay in which we The Moldavian capital lies but two short stages were seated, and sent comfort through our be- from the river Pruth, which for the last two-score numbed limbs. The country also began to assume years has formed the nominal boundary between a more interesting aspect. The line of the horizon the dominions of the Czar and the Sultan. For was broken by a range of rounded hills, and a so long a time the wave of Muscovite advance tree here and there relieved the monotony of the has been checked. With the wealth of the landscape. Still our progress was but slow, for Golden Horn and the sunny seas of the Ægean the whole country had been flooded, and the in full view; with Constantinople, the most plains were one morass, through which our spir- brilliant prize ever offered to ambition, almost ited little animals, who seemed aware that we under the guns of his navy at Sevastopol ; all had bestowed a liberal bacchis upon their riders, waiting apparently for him but to stretch out his could hardly drag our carriage.
hand and grasp them, Nicholas has suffered the Our course lay in a northeastern direction, eight-and-twenty years of his reign to glide away through a broad valley watered by the river Bir without clutching the tempting booty. No wonlat. There seemed to be no very definite road; der that it should gall him to think that he should the plain was tracked in every direction by wheel- be the first of his line who has failed to do someruts plowed deeply in the soft soil. They were thing toward the traditional policy of the empire. filled with water, and looked like miniature ca- In the ordinary course of nature his reign must nals. It was with a sensation of positive pleasure soon come to a close. It has been long and prosthat, on the second day after our entrance into perous, yet he has not advanced for an inch this Moldavia, we found ourselves ascending a long frontier of his dominions. No wonder that he sandy hill, with clumps of fine trees at intervals should wish to signalize the close of his reign by studding its slope. Arrived at its summit, we the conquest of the city of Constantine, and beheld at its opposite foot the spires and bright should glare defiance to the attempt of combined green roofs of Jassy, the capital of the Principal- Europe to wrest his prey from him. As far as ity. To the east arose a fine range of hills, af- he is concerned, it is now or never. If he sucfording a pleasant contrast with the wide steppe ceeds, his fame will eclipse even that of Peter which environs Bucharest.
| the Great. It is not a little singular that he reOf Jassy we saw but little. The water still linquished his hold upon European Turkey fivestood knee-deep in the streets through which we and-twenty years ago, when his forces had crossdrove. Jewish tradesmen flocked to the doorsed the Balkans, held Adrianople, and no ob