Servia, Youngest Member of the European Family: or, A Residence in Belgrade and Travels in the Highlands and Woodlands of the Interior, during the years 1843 and 1844.















"Les hommes croient en général connaître suffisamment l'Empire Ottoman pour peu qu'ils aient lu l'énorme compilation que le savant M. de Hammer a publiée ... mais en dehors de ce mouvement central il y a la vie intérieure de province, dont le tableau tout entier reste à faire."











The narrative and descriptive portion of this work speaks for itself. In the historical part I have consulted with advantage Von Engel's "History of Servia," Ranké's "Servian Revolution," Possart's "Servia," and Ami Boué's "Turquie d'Europe," but took the precaution of submitting the facts selected to the censorship of those on the spot best able to test their accuracy. For this service, I owe a debt of acknowledgment to M. Hadschitch, the framer of the Servian code; M. Marinovitch, Secretary of the Senate; and Professor John Shafarik, whose lectures on Slaavic history, literature, and antiquities, have obtained unanimous applause.




Leave Beyrout.—Camp afloat.—Rhodes.—The shores of the Mediterranean suitable for the cultivation of the arts.—A Moslem of the new school.—American Presbyterian clergyman.—A Mexican senator.—A sermon for sailors.—Smyrna.—Buyukdéré.—Sir Stratford Canning.—Embark for Bulgaria.     1
Varna.—Contrast of Northern and Southern provinces of Turkey.—Roustchouk.—Conversation with Deftendar.—The Danube.—A Bulgarian interior.—A dandy of the Lower Danube.—Depart for Widdin.     15
River steaming.—Arrival at Widdin.—Jew.—Comfortless khan.—Wretched appearance of Widdin.—Hussein Pasha.—M. Petronievitch.—Steam balloon.     29
Leave Widdin.—The Timok.—Enter Servia.—Brza Palanka.—The Iron Gates.—Old and New Orsova.—Wallachian Matron.—Semlin.—A conversation on language.     36
Description of Belgrade.—Fortifications.—Street and street population.—Cathedral.—Large square.—Coffee-house.—Deserted villa.—Baths.     45
Europeanization of Belgrade.—Lighting and paving.—Interior of the fortress.—Turkish Pasha.—Turkish quarter.—Turkish population.—Panorama of Belgrade.—Dinner party given by the prince.     53
Return to Servia.—The Danube.—Semlin.—Wucics and Petronievitch.—Cathedral solemnity.—Subscription ball.     65
Holman, the blind traveller.—Milutinovich, the poet.—Bulgarian legend.—Tableau de genre.—Departure for the interior.     74
Journey to Shabatz.—Resemblance of manners to those of the middle ages.—Palesh.—A Servian bride.—Blind minstrel.—Gipsies.—Macadamized roads.     83
Shabatz.—A provincial chancery.—Servian collector.—Description of his house.—Country barber.—Turkish quarter.—Self-taught priest.—A provincial dinner.—Native soirée.     93
Kaimak.—History of a renegade.—A bishop's house.—Progress of education.—Portrait of Milosh.—Bosnia and the Bosnians.—Moslem fanaticism.—Death of the collector.     108
The banat of Matchva.—Losnitza.—Feuds on the frontier.—Enter the back-woods.—Convent of Tronosha.—Greek festival.—Congregation of peasantry.—Rustic finery.     125
Romantic sylvan scenery.—Patriarchal simplicity of manners.—Krupena.—Sokol.—Its extraordinary position.—Wretched town.—Alpine scenery.—Cool reception.—Valley of the Rogatschitza.     140
The Drina.—Liubovia.—Quarantine station.—Derlatcha.—A Servian beauty.—A lunatic priest.—Sorry quarters.—Murder by brigands.     152
Arrival at Ushitza.—Wretched street.—Excellent khan.—Turkish vayvode.—A Persian dervish.—Relations of Moslems and Christians.—Visit the castle.—Bird's eye view.     162
Poshega.—The river Morava.—Arrival at Csatsak.—A Viennese doctor.—Project to ascend the Kopaunik.—Visit the bishop.—Ancient cathedral church.—Greek mass.—Karanovatz.—Emigrant priest.—Albanian disorders.—Salt mines.     174
Coronation church of the ancient kings of Servia.—Enter the Highlands.—Valley of the Ybar.—First view of the High Balkan.—Convent of Studenitza.—Byzantine Architecture.—Phlegmatic monk.—Servian frontier.—New quarantine.—Russian major.     186
Cross the Bosniac frontier.—Gipsy encampment.—Novibazar described.—Rough reception.—Precipitate departure.—Fanaticism.     197
Ascent of the Kopaunik.—Grand prospect.—Descent of the Kopaunik.—Bruss.—Involuntary bigamy.—Conversation on the Servian character.—Krushevatz.—Relics of monarchy.     207
Formation of the Servian monarchy.—Contest between the Latin and Greek Churches.—Stephen Dushan.—A great warrior.—Results of his victories.—Kucs Lasar.—Invasion of Amurath.—Battle of Kossovo.—Death of Lasar and Amurath.—Fall of the Servian monarchy.—General observations.     219
A battue missed.—Proceed to Alexinatz.—Foreign-Office courier.—Bulgarian frontier.—Gipsy Suregee.—Tiupria.—New bridge and macadamized roads.     229
Visit to Ravanitza.—Jovial party.—Servian and Austrian jurisdiction.—Convent described.—Eagles reversed.—Bulgarian festivities.     240
Manasia.—Has preserved its middle-age character.—Robinson Crusoe.—Wonderful echo.—Kindness of the people.—Svilainitza.—Posharevatz.—Baby giantess.     246
Rich soil.—Mysterious waters.—Treaty of Passarovitz.—The castle of Semendria.—Relics of the antique.—The Brankovitch family.—Panesova.—Morrison's pills.     255
Personal appearance of the Servians.—Their moral character.—Peculiarity of manners.—Christmas festivities.—Easter.—The Dodola.     264
Town life.—The public offices.—Manners half-oriental half-European.—Merchants and tradesmen.—Turkish population.—Porters.—Barbers.—Cafés.—Public writer.     272
Poetry.—Journalism.—The fine arts.—The Lyceum.—Mineralogical cabinet.—Museum.—Servian Education.     279
Preparations for departure.—Impressions of the East.—Prince Alexander.—The palace.—Kara Georg.     285
A memoir of Kara Georg.     290
Milosh Obrenovitch.     300
The prince.—The government.—The senate.—The minister for foreign affairs.—The minister of the interior.—Courts of justice.—Finances.     309
Agriculture and commerce.     320
The foreign agents.     325
Improvements in Vienna.—Palladian style.—Music.—Theatres.—Sir Robert Gordon.—Prince Metternich.—Armen ball.—Dancing.—Strauss.—Austrian policy.     330
Concluding observations on Austria and her prospects.     341









Leave Beyrout.—Camp afloat.—Rhodes.—The shores of the Mediterranean suitable for the cultivation of the arts.—A Moslem of the new school.—American Presbyterian clergyman.—A Mexican senator.—A sermon for sailors.—Smyrna.—Buyukdéré.—Sir Stratford Canning.—Embark for Bulgaria.


I have been four years in the East, and feel that I have had quite enough of it for the present. Notwithstanding the azure skies, bubbling fountains, Mosaic pavements, and fragrant narghilés, I begin to feel symptoms of ennui, and a thirst for European life, sharp air, and a good appetite, a blazing fire, well-lighted rooms, female society, good music, and the piquant vaudevilles of [2]my ancient friends, Scribe, Bayard, and Melesville.

At length I stand on the pier of Beyrout, while my luggage is being embarked for the Austrian steamer lying in the roads, which, in the Levantine slang, has lighted her chibouque, and is polluting yon white promontory, clear cut in the azure horizon, with a thick black cloud of Wallsend.

I bade a hurried adieu to my friends, and went on board. The quarter-deck, which retained its awning day and night, was divided into two compartments, one of which was reserved for the promenade of the cabin passengers, the other for the bivouac of the Turks, who retained their camp habits with amusing minuteness, making the larboard quarter a vast tent afloat, with its rolled up beds, quilts, counterpanes, washing gear, and all sorts of water-cans, coffee-pots, and chibouques, with stores of bread, cheese, fruit, and other provisions for the voyage. In the East, a family cannot move without its household paraphernalia, but then it requires a slight addition of furniture and utensils to settle [3]for years in a strange place. The settlement of a European family requires a thousand et ceteras and months of installation, but then it is set in motion for the new world with a few portmanteaus and travelling bags.

Two days and a half of steaming brought us to Rhodes.

An enchanter has waved his wand! in reading of the wondrous world of the ancients, one feels a desire to get a peep at Rome before its destruction by barbarian hordes. A leap backwards of half this period is what one seems to make at Rhodes, a perfectly preserved city and fortress of the middle ages. Here has been none of the Vandalism of Vauban, Cohorn, and those mechanical-pated fellows, who, with their Dutch dyke-looking parapets, made such havoc of donjons and picturesque turrets in Europe. Here is every variety of mediæval battlement; so perfect is the illusion, that one wonders the waiter's horn should be mute, and the walls devoid of bowman, knight, and squire.

Two more delightful days of steaming among [4]the Greek Islands now followed. The heat was moderate, the motion gentle, the sea was liquid lapis lazuli, and the hundred-tinted islets around us, wrought their accustomed spell. Surely there is something in climate which creates permanent abodes of art! The Mediterranean, with its hydrographical configuration, excluding from its great peninsulas the extremes of heat and cold, seems destined to nourish the most exquisite sentiment of the Beautiful. Those brilliant or softly graduated tints invite the palette, and the cultivation of the graces of the mind, shining with its æsthetic ray through lineaments thorough-bred from generation to generation, invites the sculptor to transfer to marble, grace of contour and elevation of expression. But let us not envy the balmy South. The Germanic or northern element, if less susceptible of the beautiful is more masculine, better balanced, less in extremes. It was this element that struck down the Roman empire, that peoples America and Australia, and rules India; that exhausted worlds, and then created new.

The most prominent individual of the native [5]division of passengers, was Arif Effendi, a pious Moslem of the new school, who had a great horror of brandy; first, because it was made from wine; and secondly, because his own favourite beverage was Jamaica rum; for, as Peter Parley says, "Of late years, many improvements have taken place among the Mussulmans, who show a disposition to adopt the best things of their more enlightened neighbours." We had a great deal of conversation during the voyage, for he professed to have a great admiration of England, and a great dislike of France; probably all owing to the fact of rum coming from Jamaica, and brandy and wine from Cognac and Bordeaux.

Another individual was a still richer character: an American Presbyterian clergyman, with furi-bond dilated nostril and a terrific frown.

"You must lose Canada," said he to me one day, abruptly, "ay, and Bermuda into the bargain."

"I think you had better round off your acquisitions with a few odd West India Islands."

"We have stomach enough for that too."


"I hear you have been to Jerusalem."

"Yes; I went to recover my voice, which I lost; for I have one of the largest congregations in Boston."

"But, my good friend, you breathe nothing but war and conquest."

"The fact is, war is as unavoidable as thunder and lightning; the atmosphere must be cleared from time to time."

"Were you ever a soldier?"

"No; I was in the American navy. Many a day I was after John Bull on the shores of Newfoundland."

"After John Bull?"

"Yes, Sir, sweating after him: I delight in energy; give me the man who will shoulder a millstone, if need be."

"The capture of Canada, Bermuda, and a few odd West India Islands, would certainly give scope for your energy. This would be taking the bull by the horns."

"Swinging him by the tail, say I."

The burlesque vigour of his illustrations some[7]times ran to anti-climax. One day, he talked of something (if I recollect right, the electric telegraph), moving with the rapidity of a flash of lightning, with a pair of spurs clapped into it.

In spite of all this ultra-national bluster, we found him to be a very good sort of man, having nothing of the bear but the skin, and in the test of the quarantine arrangements, the least selfish of the party.

Another passenger was an elderly Mexican senator, who was the essence of politeness of the good old school. Every morning he stood smiling, hat in hand, while he inquired how each of us had slept. I shall never forget the cholera-like contortion of horror he displayed, when the clerical militant (poking his fun at him), declared that Texas was within the natural boundary of the State, and that some morning they would make a breakfast of the whole question.

One day he passed from politics to religion. "I am fond of fun," said he, "I think it is the sign of a clear conscience. My life has been spent among sailors. I have begun with [8]many a blue jacket hail-fellow-well-met in my own rough way, and have ended in weaning him from wicked courses. None of your gloomy religion for me. When I see a man whose religion makes him melancholy, and averse from gaiety, I tell him his god must be my devil."

The originality of this gentleman's intellect and manners, led me subsequently to make further inquiry; and I find one of his sermons reported by a recent traveller, who, after stating that his oratory made a deep impression on the congregation of the Sailors' chapel in Boston, who sat with their eyes, ears, and mouths open, as if spell-bound in listening to him, thus continues: "He describes a ship at sea, bound for the port of Heaven, when the man at the head sung out, 'Rocks ahead!' 'Port the helm,' cried the mate. 'Ay, ay, sir,' was the answer; the ship obeyed, and stood upon a tack. But in two minutes more, the lead indicated a shoal. The man on the out-look sung out, 'Sandbreaks and breakers ahead!' The captain was now called, and the mate gave his opinion; but sail where they could, [9]the lead and the eye showed nothing but dangers all around,—sand banks, coral reefs, sunken rocks, and dangerous coasts. The chart showed them clearly enough where the port of Heaven lay; there was no doubt about its latitude and longitude: but they all sung out, that it was impossible to reach it; there was no fair way to get to it. My friends, it was the devil who blew up that sand-bank, and sunk those rocks, and set the coral insects to work; his object was to prevent that ship from ever getting to Heaven, to wreck it on its way, and to make prize of the whole crew for slaves for ever. But just as every soul was seized with consternation, and almost in despair, a tight little schooner hove in sight; she was cruizing about, with one Jesus, a pilot, on board. The captain hailed him, and he answered that he knew a fair way to the port in question. He pointed out to them an opening in the rocks, which the largest ship might beat through, with a channel so deep, that the lead could never reach to the bottom, and the passage was land-locked the whole way, so that the wind might veer round to every [10]point in the compass, and blow hurricanes from them all, and yet it could never raise a dangerous sea in that channel. What did the crew of that distressed ship do, when Jesus showed them his chart, and gave them all the bearings? They laughed at him, and threw his chart back in his face. He find a channel where they could not! Impossible; and on they sailed in their own course, and everyone of them perished."

At Smyrna, I signalized my return to the land of the Franks, by ordering a beef-steak, and a bottle of porter, and bespeaking the paper from a gentleman in drab leggings, who had come from Manchester to look after the affairs of a commercial house, in which he or his employers were involved. He wondered that a hotel in the Ottoman empire should be so unlike one in Europe, and asked me, "If the inns down in the country were as good as this."

As for Constantinople, I refer all readers to the industry and accuracy of Mr. White, who might justly have terminated his volumes with the Oriental epistolary phrase, "What more can I [11]write?" Mr. White is not a mere sentence balancer, but belongs to the guild of bonâ fide Oriental travellers.

In summer, all Pera is on the Bosphorus: so I jumped into a caique, and rowed up to Buyukdéré. On the threshold of the villa of the British embassy, I met A——, the prince of attachés, who led me to a beautiful little kiosk, on the extremity of a garden, and there installed me in his fairy abode of four small rooms, which embraced a view like that of Isola Bella on Lake Maggiore; here books, the piano, the narghilé, and the parterre of flowers, relieved the drudgery of his Eastern diplomacy. Lord N——, Mr. H——, and Mr. T——, the other attachés, lived in a house at the other end of the garden.

I here spent a week of delightful repose. The mornings were occupied ad libitum, the gentlemen of the embassy being overwhelmed with business. At four o'clock dinner was usually served in the airy vestibule of the embassy villa, and with the occasional accession of other members of the diplomatic corps we usually [12]formed a large party. A couple of hours before sunset a caique, which from its size might have been the galley of a doge, was in waiting, and Lady C—— sometimes took us to a favourite wooded hill or bower-grown creek in the Paradise-like environs, while a small musical party in the evening terminated each day. One of the attachés of the Russian embassy, M. F——, is the favorite dilettante of Buyukdéré; he has one of the finest voices I ever heard, and frequently reminded me of the easy humour and sonorous profundity of Lablache.

Before embarking the reader on the Black Sea, I cannot forbear a single remark on the distinguished individual who has so long and so worthily represented Great Britain at the Ottoman Porte.

Sir. Stratford Canning is certainly unpopular with the extreme fanatical party, and with all those economists who are for killing the goose to get at the golden eggs; but the real interests of the Turkish nation never had a firmer support.

The chief difficulty in the case of this race is [13]the impossibility of fusion with others. While they decrease in number, the Rayahs increase in wealth, in numbers, and in intelligence.

The Russians are the Orientals of Europe, but St. Petersburg is a German town, German industry corrects the old Muscovite sloth and cunning. The immigrant strangers rise to the highest offices, for the crown employs them as a counterpoise on the old nobility; as burgher incorporations were used by the kings of three centuries ago.

No similar process is possible with Moslems: one course therefore remains open for those who wish to see the Ottoman Empire upheld; a strenuous insistance on the Porte treating the Rayah population with justice and moderation. The interests of humanity, and the real and true interests of the Ottoman Empire, are in this case identical. Guided by this sound principle, which completely reconciles the policy of Great Britain with the highest maxims of political morality, Sir. Stratford Canning has pursued his career with an all-sifting intelligence, a [14]vigour of character and judgment, an indifference to temporary repulses, and a sacrifice of personal popularity, which has called forth the respect and involuntary admiration of parties the most opposed to his views.

I embarked on board a steamer, skirted the western coast of the Black Sea, and landed on the following morning in Varna.



Varna.—Contrast of Northern And Southern Provinces of Turkey.—Roustchouk.—Conversation with Deftendar.—The Danube.—A Bulgarian interior.—A dandy of the Lower Danube.—Depart for Widdin.


All hail, Bulgaria! No sooner had I secured my quarters and deposited my baggage, than I sought the main street, in order to catch the delightfully keen impression which a new region stamps on the mind.

How different are the features of Slaavic Turkey, from those of the Arabic provinces in which I so long resided. The flat roofs, the measured pace of the camel, the half-naked negro, the uncouth Bedouin, the cloudless heavens, the [16]tawny earth, and the meagre apology for turf, are exchanged for ricketty wooden houses with coarse tiling, laid in such a way as to eschew the monotony of straight lines; strings of primitive waggons drawn by buffaloes, and driven by Bulgarians with black woolly caps, real genuine grass growing on the downs outside the walls, and a rattling blast from the Black Sea, more welcome than all the balmy spices of Arabia, for it reminded me that I was once more in Europe, and must befit my costume to her ruder airs. This was indeed the north of the Balkan, and I must needs pull out my pea-jacket. How I relished those winds, waves, clouds, and grey skies! They reminded me of English nature and Dutch art. The Nore, the Downs, the Frith of Forth, and sundry dormant Backhuysens, re-awoke to my fancy.

The moral interest too was different. In Egypt or Syria, where whole cycles of civilization lie entombed, we interrogate the past; here in Bulgaria the past is nothing, and we vainly interrogate the future.

The interior of Varna has a very fair bazaar; [17]not covered as in Constantinople and other large towns, but well furnished. The private dwellings are generally miserable. The town suffered so severely in the Russian war of 1828, that it has never recovered its former prosperity. It has also been twice nearly all burnt since then; so that, notwithstanding its historical, military, and commercial importance, it has at present little more than 20,000 inhabitants. The walls of the town underwent a thorough repair in the spring and summer of 1843.

The majority of the inhabitants are Turks, and even the native Bulgarians here speak Turkish better than their own language. One Bulgarian here told me that he could not speak the national language. Now in the west of Bulgaria, on the borders of Servia, the Turks speak Bulgarian better than Turkish.

From Varna to Roustchouk is three days' journey, the latter half of the road being agreeably diversified with wood, corn, and pasture; and many of the fields inclosed. Just at sunset, I found myself on the ridge of the last undulation [18]of the slope of Bulgaria, and again greeted the ever-noble valley of the Danube. Roustchouk lay before me hitherward, and beyond the river, the rich flat lands of Wallachia stretched away to the north.

As I approached the town, I perceived it to be a fortress of vast extent; but as it is commanded from the heights from which I was descending, it appeared to want strength if approached from the south. The ramparts were built with great solidity, but rusty, old, dismounted cannon, obliterated embrasures, and palisades rotten from exposure to the weather, showed that to stand a siege it must undergo a considerable repair. The aspect of the place did not improve as we rumbled down the street, lined with houses one story high, and here and there a little mosque, with a shabby wooden minaret crowned with conical tin tops like the extinguishers of candles.

I put up at the khan. My room was without furniture; but, being lately white-washed, and duly swept out under my own superintendence, and laid with the best mat in the khan, on which I [19]placed my bed and carpets, the addition of a couple of rush-bottomed chairs and a deal table, made it habitable, which was all I desired, as I intended to stay only a few days. I was supplied with a most miserable dinner; and, to my horror, the stewed meat was sprinkled with cinnamon. The wine was bad, and the water still worse, for there are no springs at Roustchouk, and they use Danube water, filtered through a jar of a porous sandstone found in the neighbourhood. A jar of this kind stands in every house, but even when filtered in this way it is far from good.

On hearing that the Deftendar spoke English perfectly, and had long resided in England, I felt a curiosity to see him, and accordingly presented myself at the Konak, and was shown to the divan of the Deftendar. I pulled aside a pendent curtain, and entered a room of large dimensions, faded decorations, and a broad red divan, the cushions of which were considerably the worse for wear. Such was the bureau of the Deftendar Effendi, who sat surrounded with papers, and the implements of writing. He was a man apparently of [20]fifty-five years of age, slightly inclining to corpulence, with a very short neck, surmounted by large features, coarsely chiselled; but not devoid of a certain intelligence in his eye, and dignity in general effect. He spoke English with a correct accent, but slowly, occasionally stopping to remember a word; thus showing that his English was not imperfect from want of knowledge, but rusty from want of practice. He was an Egyptian Turk, and had been for eight years the commercial agent of Mohammed Ali at Malta, and had, moreover, visited the principal countries of Europe.

I then took a series of short and rapid whiffs of my pipe while I bethought me of the best manner of treating the subject of my visit, and then said, "that few orientals could draw a distinction between politics and geography; but that with a man of his calibre and experience, I was safe from misinterpretation—that I was collecting the materials for a work on the Danubian provinces, and that for any information which he might give me, consistently with the exigencies of his official position, [21]I should feel much indebted, as I thought I was least likely to be misunderstood by stating clearly the object of my journey to the authorities, while information derived from the fountain-head was the most valuable."

The Deftendar, after commending my openness, said, "I suspect that you will find very little to remark in the pashalic of Silistria. It is an agricultural country, and the majority of the inhabitants are Turks. The Rayahs are very peaceable, and pay very few taxes, considering the agricultural wealth of the country. You may rest assured that there is not a province of the Ottoman empire, which is better governed than the pashalic of Silistria. Now and then, a rude Turk appropriates to himself a Bulgarian girl; but the government cannot be responsible for these individual excesses. We have no malcontents within the province; hut there are a few Hetarist scoundrels at Braila, who wish to disturb the tranquillity of Bulgaria: but the Wallachian government has taken measures to prevent them from carrying their projects into execution." [22]After some further conversation, on indifferent topics, I took my leave.

The succeeding days were devoted to a general reconnaissance of the place; but I must say that Roustchouk, although capital of the pashalic of Silistria, and containing thirty or forty thousand inhabitants, pleased me less than any town of its size that I had seen in the East. The streets are dirty and badly paved, without a single good bazaar or café to kill time in, or a single respectable edifice of any description to look at. The redeeming resource was the promenade on the banks of the Danube, which has here attained almost its full volume, and uniting the waters of Alp, Carpathian, and Balkan, rushes impatiently to the Euxine.

At length the day of departure came. The attendant had just removed the tumbler of coffee, tossing the fragments of toast into the court-yard, an operation which appeared to have a magnetic effect on the bills of the poultry; and then, with his accustomed impropriety, placed the plate as a basis to my hookah, telling me that [23]F——, a Bulgarian Christian, wished to speak with me.

"Let him walk in," said I, as I took the first delightful whiff; and F——, darkening the window that looked out on the verandah, gave me a fugitive look of recognition, and then entering and making his salutation in a kindly hearty manner, asked me to eat my mid-day meal with him.

"Indeed," quoth I, "I accept your invitation. I have not gone to pay my visit to the Bey, because I remain here too short a time to need his good offices; but I am anxious to make the acquaintance of the people,—so I am your guest."

When the hour arrived, I adjusted the tassel of my fez, put on my great coat, and proceeded to the Christian quarter; where, after various turnings and windings, I at length arrived at a high wooden gateway, new and unpainted.

An uncouth tuning of fiddles, the odour of savoury fare, and a hearty laugh from within, told me that I had no further to go; for all these gates are so like each other, one never knows a house [24]till after close observation. On entering I passed over a plat of grass, and piercing a wooden tenement by a dark passage, found myself in a three-sided court, where several persons were sitting on rush-bottomed chairs.

F—— came forward, took both my hands in his, and then presented me to the company. On being seated, I exchanged salutations, and then looked round, and perceived that the three sides of the court were composed of rambling wooden tenements; the fourth was a little garden in which a few flowers were cultivated.

The elders sat, the youngers stood at a distance;—so respectful is youth to age in all this eastern world. The first figure in the former group was the father of our host; the acrid humours of extreme age had crimsoned his eye-lids, and his head shook from side to side, as he attempted to rise to salute me, but I held him to his seat. The wife of our host was a model of fragile delicate beauty. Her nose, mouth, and chin, were exquisitely chiselled, and her skin was smooth and white as alabaster; but the eye-lid [25]drooped; the eye hung fire, and under each orb the skin was slightly blue, but so blending with the paleness of the rest of the face, as rather to give distinctness to the character of beauty, than to detract from the general effect. Her second child hung on her left arm, and a certain graceful negligence in the plaits of her hair and the arrangement of her bosom, showed that the cares of the young mother had superseded the nicety of the coquette.

The only other person in the company worthy of remark, was a Frank. His surtout was of cloth of second or third quality, but profusely braided. His stock appeared to strangle him, and a diamond breast-pin was stuck in a shirt of texture one degree removed from sail-cloth. His blood, as I afterwards learned, was so crossed by Greek, Tsinsar, and Wallachian varieties, that it would have puzzled the united genealogists of Europe to tell his breed; and his language was a mangled subdivision of that dialect which passes for French in the fashionable centres of the Grecaille.


Exquisite. "Quangt êtes vous venie, Monsieur?"

Author. "Il y a huit jours."

Exquisite (looking at a large ring on his fore finger). "Ce sont de bons diables dans ce pays-ci; mais tout est un po barbare."

"Assez barbare," said I, as I saw that the exquisite's nails were in the deepest possible mourning.

Exquisite. "Avez vous éte à Boukarest?"

Author. "Non—pas encore."

Exquisite. "Ah je wous assire que Boukarest est maintenant comme Paris et Londres;"

Author. "Avez-vous vu Paris et Londres?"

Exquisite. "Non—mais Boukarest vaut cent fois Galatz et Braila."

During this colloquy, the gipsy music was playing; the first fiddle was really not bad: and the nonchalant rogue-humour of his countenance did not belie his alliance to that large family, which has produced "so many blackguards, but never a single blockhead."

Dinner was now announced. F——'s wife, [27]relieved of her child, acted as first waitress. The fare consisted mostly of varieties of fowl, with a pilaff of rice, in the Turkish manner, all decidedly good; but the wine rather sweet and muddy. When I asked for a glass of water, it was handed me in a little bowl of silver, which mine hostess had just dashed into a jar of filtered lymph. Dinner concluded, the party rose, each crossing himself, and reciting a short formula of prayer; meanwhile a youthful relation of the house stood with the washing-basin and soap turret poised on his left hand, while with the right he poured on my hands water from a slender-spouted tin ewer. Behind him stood the hostess holding a clean towel with a tiny web of silver thread running across its extremities, and on my right stood the ex-diners with sleeves tucked up, all in a row, waiting their turn at the wash-hand basin.

After smoking a chibouque, I took my leave; for I had promised to spend the afternoon in the house of a Swiss, who, along with the agent of the steam-boat company and a third individual, [28]made up the sum total of the resident Franko-Levantines in Roustchouk.

A gun fired in the evening warned me that the steamer had arrived; and, anxious to push on for Servia, I embarked forthwith.



River Steaming.—Arrival at Widdin—Jew.—Comfortless Khan.—Wretched appearance of Widdin.—Hussein Pasha.—M. Petronievitch.—Steam Balloon.


River steaming is, according to my notions, the best of all sorts of locomotion. Steam at sea makes you sick, and the voyage is generally over before you have gained your sea legs and your land appetite. In mail or stage you have no sickness and see the country, but you are squeezed sideways by helpless corpulence, and in front cooped into uneasiness by two pairs of egotistical knees and toes. As for locomotives, tunnels, cuts, and viaducts—this is not travelling to see the country, but arrival without seeing it. [30]This eighth wonder of the world, so admirably adapted for business, is the despair of picturesque tourists, as well as post-horse, chaise, and gig letters. Our cathedral towns, instead of being distinguished from afar by their cloud-capt towers, are only recognizable at their respective stations by the pyramids of gooseberry tarts and ham sandwiches being at one place at the lower, and at another at the upper, end of an apartment marked "refreshment room." Now in river steaming you walk the deck, if the weather and the scenery be good; if the reverse, you lounge below; read, write, or play; and then the meals are arranged with Germanic ingenuity for killing time and the digestive organs.

On the second day the boat arrived at Widdin, and the agent of the steam packet company, an old Jew, came on board. I stepped across the plank and accompanied him to a large white house opposite the landing-place. On entering, I saw a group of Israel's children in the midst of a deadly combat of sale and purchase, bawling at the top of their voices in most villainous Cas[31]tilian; all were filthy and shabbily dressed. The agent having mentioned who I was to the group, a broad-lipped young man with a German mütze surmounting his oriental costume, stepped forward with a confident air, and in a thick guttural voice addressed me in an unknown tongue. I looked about for an answer, when the agent told me in Turkish that he spoke English.

Jew. "You English gentleman, sir, and not know English."

Author. "I have to apologize for not recognizing the accents of my native country."

Jew. "Bring goods wid you, sir?"

Author. "No, I am not a merchant. Pray can you get me a lodging?"

Jew. "Get you as mush room you like, sir."

Author. "Have you been in England?"

Jew. "Been in London, Amsterdam, and Hamburgh."

We now arrived at the wide folding gates of the khan, which to be sure had abundance of space for travellers, but the misery and filth of every apartment disgusted me. One had broken [32]windows, another a broken floor, a third was covered with half an inch of dust, and the weather outside was cold and rainy; so I shrugged up my shoulders and asked to be conducted to another khan. There I was somewhat better off, for I got into a new room leading out of a café where the charcoal burned freely and warmed the apartment. When the room was washed out I thought myself fortunate, so dreary and deserted had the other khan appeared to me.

I now took a walk through the bazaars, but found the place altogether miserable, being somewhat less village-like than Roustchouk. Lying so nicely on the bank of the Danube, which here makes such beautiful curves, and marked on the map with capital letters, it ought (such was my notion) to be a place having at least one well-built and well-stocked bazaar, a handsome seraglio, and some good-looking mosques. Nothing of the sort. The Konak or palace of the Pasha is an old barrack. The seraglio of the famous Passavan Oglou is in ruins, and the only decent looking house in the place is the new office of the [33]Steam Navigation Company, which is on the Danube.

Being Ramadan, I could not see the pasha during the day; but in the evening, M. Petronievitch, the exiled leader of the Servian National party, introduced me to Hussein Pasha, the once terrible destroyer of the Janissaries. This celebrated character appeared to be verging on eighty, and, afflicted with gout, was sitting in the corner of the divan at his ease, in the old Turkish ample costume. The white beard, the dress of the pasha, the rich but faded carpet which covered the floor, the roof of elaborate but dingy wooden arabesque, were all in perfect keeping, and the dubious light of two thick wax candles rising two or three feet from the floor, but seemed to bring out the picture, which carried me back, a generation at least, to the pashas of the old school. Hussein smoked a narghilé of dark red Bohemian cut crystal. M. Petronievitch and myself were supplied with pipes which were more profusely mounted with diamonds, than any I had ever before smoked; for Hussein Pasha is beyond all [34]comparison the wealthiest man in the Ottoman empire.

After talking over the last news from Constantinople, he asked me what I thought of the projected steam balloon, which, from its being of a marvellous nature, appears to have caused a great deal of talk among the Turks. I expressed little faith in its success; on which he ordered an attendant to bring him a drawing of a locomotive balloon steered by flags and all sorts of fancies. "Will not this revolutionize the globe?" said the pasha; to which I replied, "C'est le premier pas qui coûte; there is no doubt of an aërial voyage to India if they get over the first quarter of a mile."[1]

I returned to sup with M. Petronievitch at his house, and we had a great deal of conversation relative to the history, laws, manners, customs, and politics of Servia; but as I subsequently obtained accurate notions of that country by personal observation, it is not necessary on the present occasion to return to our conversation.



[1] Hussein Pasha has since retired from Widdin, where he made the greater part of his fortune, for he was engaged in immense agricultural and commercial speculations; he was succeeded by Mustapha Nourri Pasha, formerly private secretary to Sultan Mahommud, who has also made a large fortune, as merchant and ship-owner.



Leave Widdin.—The Timok.—Enter Servia.—Brza Palanka.—The Iron Gates.—Old and New Orsova.—Wallachian Matron.—Semlin.—A Conversation on Language.

I left Widdin for the Servian frontier, in a car of the country, with a couple of horses, the ground being gently undulated, but the mountains to the south were at a considerable distance. On our right, agreeable glimpses of the Danube presented themselves from time to time. In six hours we arrived at the Timok, the river that separates Servia from Bulgaria. The only habitation in the place was a log-house for the Turkish custom-house officer. We were more than an hour in getting our equipage across the ferry, for the long [37]drought had so reduced the water, that the boat was unable to meet the usual landing-place by at least four feet of steep embankment; in vain did the horses attempt to mount the acclivity; every spring was followed by a relapse, and at last one horse sunk jammed in between the ferry boat and the bank; so that we were obliged to loose the harness, send the horses on shore, and drag the dirty car as we best could up the half dried muddy slope. At last we succeeded, and a smart trot along the Danube brought us to the Servian lazaretto, which was a new symmetrical building, the promenade of which, on the Danube, showed an attempt at a sort of pleasure-ground.

I entered at sunset, and next morning on showing my tongue to the doctor, and paying a fee of one piastre (twopence) was free, and again put myself in motion. Lofty mountains seemed to rise to the west, and the cultivated plain now became broken into small ridges, partly covered with forest trees. The ploughing oxen now became rarer; but herds of swine, grubbing at acorns and the roots of bushes, showed that I was chang[38]ing the scene, and making the acquaintance not only of a new country, but of a new people. The peasants, instead of having woolly caps and frieze clothes as in Bulgaria, all wore the red fez, and were dressed mostly in blue cloth; some of those in the villages wore black glazed caps; and in general the race appeared to be physically stronger and nobler than that which I had left. The Bulgarians seemed to be a set of silent serfs, deserving (when not roused by some unusual circumstance) rather the name of machines than of men: these Servian fellows seemed lazier, but all possessed a manliness of address and demeanour, which cannot be discovered in the Bulgarian.

Brza Palanka, at which we now arrived, is the only Danubian port which the Servians possess, below the Iron Gates; consequently, the only one which is in uninterrupted communication with Galatz and the sea. A small Sicilian vessel, laden with salt, passed into the Black Sea, and actually ascended the Danube to this point, which is within a few hours of the Hungarian frontier. As we approached the Iron Gates, the valley became a [39]mere gorge, with barely room for the road, and fumbling through a cavernous fortification, we soon came in sight of the Austro-Hungarian frontier.

New Orsova, one of the few remaining retreats of the Turks in Servia, is built on an island, and with its frail houses of yawning rafters looks very old. Old Orsova, opposite which we now arrived, looked quite new, and bore the true German type of formal white-washed houses, and high sharp ridged roofs, which called up forthwith the image of a dining-hall, where, punctually as the village-clock strikes the hour of twelve, a fair-haired, fat, red-faced landlord, serves up the soup, the rindfleisch, the zuspeise, and all the other dishes of the holy Roman empire to the Platz Major, the Haupt-zoll-amt director, the Kanzlei director, the Concepist, the Protocollist, and hoc genus omne.

After a night passed in the quarantine, I removed to the inn, and punctually as the clock struck half past twelve, the very party my imagination conjured up, assembled to discuss the mehlspeise in the stencilled parlour of the Hirsch.


Favoured by the most beautiful weather, I started in a sort of calêche for Dreucova. The excellent new macadamized road was as smooth as a bowling-green, and only a lively companion was wanting to complete the exhilaration of my spirits.

My fair fellow-traveller was an enormously stout Wallachian matron, on her way to Vienna, to see her daughter, who was then receiving her education at a boarding-school. I spoke no Wallachian, she spoke nothing but Wallachian; so our conversation was carried on by my attempting to make myself understood alternately by the Italian, and the Spanish forms of Latin.

"Una bella Campagna," said I, as we drove out Orsova.

"Bella, bella?" said the lady, evidently puzzled.

So I said, "Hermosa."

"Ah! formosa; formosa prate," repeated the lady, evidently understanding that I meant a fine country.

"Deunde venut?" Whence have you come?


"Constantinopolis;" and so on we went, supposing that we understood each other, she supplying me with new forms of bastard Latin words, and adding with a smile, Romani, or Wallachian, as the language and people of Wallachia are called by themselves. It is worthy of remark, that the Wallachians and a small people in Switzerland, are the only descendants of the Romans, that still designate their language as that of the ancient mistress of the world.

As I rolled along, the fascinations of nature got the better of my gallantry; the discourse flagged, and then dropped, for I found myself in the midst of the noblest river scenery I had ever beheld, certainly far surpassing that of the Rhine, and Upper Danube. To the gloom and grandeur of natural portals, formed of lofty precipitous rocks, succeeds the open smiling valley, the verdant meadows, and the distant wooded hills, with all the soft and varied hues of autumn. Here we appear to be driving up the avenues of an English park; yonder, where the mountain sinks sheer into the river, the road must find its way along [42]an open gallery, with a roof weighing millions of tons, projecting from the mountain above.

After sunset we arrived at Dreucova, and next morning went on board the steamer, which conveyed me up the Danube to Semlin. The lower town of Semlin is, from the exhalations on the banks of the river, frightfully insalubrious, but the cemetery enjoys a high and airy situation. The people in the town die off with great rapidity; but, to compensate for this, the dead are said to be in a highly satisfactory state of preservation. The inns here, once so bad, have greatly improved; but mine host, zum Golden Löwen, on my recent visits, always managed to give a very good dinner, including two sorts of savoury game. I recollect on a former visit, going to another inn, and found in the dining-room an individual, whose ruddy nose, and good-humoured nerveless smile, denoted a fondness for the juice of the grape, and seitel after seitel disappeared with rapidity. By-the-bye, old father Danube is as well entitled to be represented with a perriwig of grapes as his brother the Rhine. Hungary in [43]general, has a right merry bacchanalian climate. Schiller or Symian wine is in the same parallel of latitude as Claret, Oedenburger as Burgundy, and a line run westwards from Tokay would almost touch the vineyards of Champagne. Csaplovich remarks in his quaint way, that the four principal wines of Hungary are cultivated by the four principal nations in it. That is to say, the Slavonians cultivate the Schiller, Germans the Oedenburger and Ruster, Magyars and Wallachians the Menesher. Good Schiller is the best Syrmian wine. But I must return from this digression to the guest of the Adler. On hearing that I was an Englishman, he expressed a wish to hear as much of England as possible, and appeared thunderstruck, when I told him that London had nearly two millions of inhabitants, being four hundred thousand more than the population of the whole of the Banat. This individual had of course learned five languages with his mother's milk, and therefore thought that the inhabitants of such a country as England must know ten at least. When I told him that the majority of the people in England [44]knew nothing but English, he said, somewhat contemptuously, "O! you told me the fair side of the English character: but you did not tell me that the people was so ignorant." He then good-humouredly warned me against practising on his credulity. I pointed out how unnecessary other languages were for England itself; but that all languages could be learned in London.

"Can Wallachian be learned in London?"

"I have my doubts about Wallachian, but"—

"Can Magyar be learned in London?"

"I suspect not."

"Can Servian be learnt in London?"

"I confess, I don't think that any body in London teaches Servian; but"—

"There again, you travellers are always making statements unfounded on fact. I have mentioned three leading languages, and nobody in your city knows anything about them."



Description of Belgrade.—Fortifications.—Streets and Street Population.—Cathedral.—Large Square.—Coffe-house.—Deserted Villa.—Baths.


Through the courtesy and attention of Mr. Consul-general Fonblanque and the numerous friends of M. Petronievitch, I was, in the course of a few days, as familiar with all the principal objects and individuals in Belgrade, as if I had resided months in the city.

The fare of a boat from Semlin to Belgrade by Austrian rowers is five zwanzigers, or about 3s. 6d. English; and the time occupied is half an hour, that is to say, twenty minutes for the descent of the Danube, and about ten minutes for the ascent [46]of the Save. On arrival at the low point of land at the confluence, we perceived the distinct line of the two rivers, the Danube faithfully retaining its brown, muddy character, while the Save is much clearer. We now had a much closer view of the fortress opposite. Large embrasures, slightly elevated above the water's edge, were intended for guns of great calibre; but above, a gallimaufry of grass-grown and moss-covered fortifications were crowned by ricketty, red-tiled houses, and looking very unlike the magnificent towers in the last scene of the Siege of Belgrade, at Drury Lane. Just within the banks of the Save were some of the large boats which trade on the river; the new ones as curiously carved, painted, and even gilded, as some of those one sees at Dort and Rotterdam. They have no deck—for a ridge of rafters covers the goods, and the boatmen move about on ledges at the gunwale.

The fortress of Belgrade, jutting out exactly at the point of confluence of the rivers, has the town behind it. The Servian, or principal quarter, slopes down to the Save; the Turkish quarter [47]to the Danube. I might compare Belgrade to a sea-turtle, the head of which is represented by the fortress, the back of the neck by the esplanade or Kalai Meidan, the right flank by the Turkish quarter, the left by the Servian, and the ridge of the back by the street running from the esplanade to the gate of Constantinople.

We landed at the left side of our imaginary turtle, or at the quay of the Servian quarter, which runs along the Save. The sloping bank was paved with stones; and above was a large edifice with an arcade, one end of which served as the custom-house, the other as the Austrian consulate.

The population was diversified. Shabby old Turks were selling fruit; and boatmen, both Moslem and Christian—the former with turbans, the latter with short fez's—were waiting for a fare. To the left was a Turkish guard-house, at a gate leading to the esplanade, with as smart a row of burnished muskets as one could expect. All within this gate is under the jurisdiction of the Turkish Pasha of the fortress; all without the gate [48]in question, is under the government of the Servian Prefect of Belgrade.

We now turned into a curious old street, built quite in the Turkish fashion, and composed of rafters knocked carelessly together, and looking as if the first strong gust of wind would send them smack over the water into Hungary without the formality of a quarantine; but many of the shops were smartly garnished with clothes, haberdashery, and trinkets, mostly from Bohemia and Moravia; and in some I saw large blocks of rock-salt.

Notwithstanding the rigmarole construction of the quarter on the water's edge, (save and except at the custom-house,) it is the most busy quarter in the town: here are the places of business of the principal merchants in the place. This class is generally of the Tsinsar nation, as the descendants of the Roman colonists in Macedonia are called; their language is a corrupt Latin, and resembles the Wallachian dialect very closely.

We now ascended by a steep street to the upper town. The most prominent object in the [49]first open space we came to is the cathedral, a new and large but tasteless structure, with a profusely gilt bell-tower, in the Russian manner; and the walls of the interior are covered with large paintings of no merit. But one must not be too critical: a kindling of intellectual energy ever seems, in most countries, to precede excellence in the imitative arts, which latter, too often survives the ruins of those ruder and nobler qualities which assure the vigorous existence of states or provinces.

In the centre of the town is an open square, which forms a sort of line of demarcation between the crescent and the cross. On the one side, several large and good houses have been constructed by the wealthiest senators, in the German manner, with flaring new white walls and bright green shutter-blinds. On the other side is a mosque, and dead old garden walls, with walnut trees and Levantine roofs peeping up behind them. Look on this picture, and you have the type of all domestic architecture lying between you and the snow-fenced huts of Lap[50]land; cast your eyes over the way, and imagination wings lightly to the sweet south with its myrtles, citrons, marbled steeps and fragrance-bearing gales.

Beside the mosque is the new Turkish coffee-house, which is kept by an Arab by nation and a Moslem by religion, but born at Lucknow. One day, in asking for the mullah of the mosque, who had gone to Bosnia, I entered into conversation with him; but on learning that I was an Englishman he fought shy, being, like most Indian Moslems when travelling in Turkey, ashamed of their sovereign being a protected ally of a Frank government.

I now entered the region of gardens and villas, which, previous to the revolution of Kara Georg, was occupied principally by Turks. Passing down a shady lane my attention was arrested by a rotten moss-grown garden door, at the sight of which memory leaped backwards for four or five years. Here I had spent a happy forenoon with Colonel H——, and the physician of the former Pasha, an old Hanoverian, who, as surgeon [51]to a British regiment had gone through all the fatigues of the Peninsular war. I pushed open the door, and there, completely secluded from the bustle of the town, and the view of the stranger, grew the vegetation as luxuriant as ever, relieving with its dark green frame the clear white of the numerous domes and minarets of the Turkish quarter, and the broad-bosomed Danube which filled up the centre of the picture; but the house and stable, which had resounded with the good-humoured laugh of the master, and the neighing of the well-fed little stud (for horse-flesh was the weak side of our Esculapius), were tenantless, ruinous, and silent. The doctor had died in the interval at Widdin, in the service of Hussein Pasha. I mechanically withdrew, abstracted from external nature by the "memory of joys that were past, pleasant and mournful to the soul."

I then took a Turkish bath; but the inferiority of those in Belgrade to similar luxuries in Constantinople, Damascus, and Cairo, was strikingly apparent on entering. The edifice and the furniture were of the commonest description. The [52]floors of the interior of brick instead of marble, and the plaster and the cement of the walls in a most defective state. The atmosphere in the drying room was so cold from the want of proper windows and doors, that I was afraid lest I should catch a catarrh. The Oriental bath, when paved with fine grained marbles, and well appointed in the departments of linen, sherbet, and narghilé, is a great luxury; but the bath at Belgrade was altogether detestable. In the midst of the drying business a violent dispute broke out between the proprietor and an Arnaout, whom the former styled a cokoshary, or hen-eater, another term for a robber; for when lawless Arnaouts arrive in a village, after eating up half the contents of the poultry-yard, they demand a tribute in the shape of compensation for the wear and tear of their teeth while consuming the provisions they have forcibly exacted.



Europeanization of Belgrade.—Lighting and Paving.—Interior of the Fortress—Turkish Pasha.—Turkish Quarter.—Turkish Population.—Panorama of Belgrade—Dinner party given by the Prince.


The melancholy I experienced in surveying the numerous traces of desolation in Turkey was soon effaced at Belgrade. Here all was life and activity. It was at the period of my first visit, in 1839, quite an oriental town; but now the haughty parvenu spire of the cathedral throws into the shade the minarets of the mosques, graceful even in decay. Many of the bazaar-shops have been fronted and glazed. The oriental dress has become much rarer; and houses [54]several stories high, in the German fashion, are springing up everywhere. But in two important particulars Belgrade is as oriental as if it were situated on the Tigris or Barrada—lighting and paving. It is impossible in wet weather to pay a couple of visits without coming home up to the ankles in mud; and at night all locomotion without a lantern is impossible. Belgrade, from its elevation, could be most easily lighted with gas, and at a very small expense; as even if there be no coal in Servia, there is abundance of it at Moldava, which is on the Danube between Belgrade and Orsova; that is to say, considerably above the Iron Gates. I make this remark, not so much to reproach my Servian friends with backwardness, but to stimulate them to all easily practicable improvements.

One day I accompanied M. de Fonblanque on a visit to the Pasha in the citadel, which we reached by crossing the glacis or neck of land that connects the castle with the town. This place forms the pleasantest evening lounge in the vicinity of Belgrade; for on the one side is an [55]extensive view of the Turkish town, and the Danube wending its way down to Semendria; on the other is the Save, its steep bank piled with street upon street, and the hills beyond them sloping away to the Bosniac frontier.

The ramparts are in good condition; and the first object that strikes a stranger on entering, are six iron spikes, on which, in the time of the first revolution, the heads of Servians used to be stuck. Milosh once saved his own head from this elevation by his characteristic astuteness. During his alliance with the Turks in 1814, (or 1815,) he had large pecuniary transactions with the Pasha, for he was the medium through whom the people paid their tribute. Five heads grinned from five spikes as he entered the castle, and he comprehended that the sixth was reserved for him; the last head set up being that of Glavash, a leader, who, like himself, was then supporting the government: so he immediately took care to make the Pasha understand that he was about to set out on a tour in the country, to raise some money for the vizierial strong-box. "Peh eiu," [56]said Soliman Pasha, thinking to catch him next time, and get the money at the same time; so Milosh was allowed to depart; but knowing that if he returned spike the sixth would not wait long for its head, he at once raised the district of Rudnick, and ended the terrible war which had been begun under much less favourable auspices, by the more valiant but less astute Kara Georg.

We passed a second draw-bridge, and found ourselves in the interior of the fortress. A large square was formed by ruinous buildings. Extensive barracks were windowless and tenantless, but the mosque and the Pasha's Konak were in good order. We were ushered into an audience-room of great extent, with a low carved roof and some old-fashioned furniture, the divan being in the corner, and the windows looking over the precipice to the Danube below. Hafiz Pasha, the same who commanded at the battle of Nezib, was about fifty-five, and a gentleman in air and manner, with a grey beard. In course of conversation he told me that he was a Circassian. He asked me about my travels: and with reference to Syria [57]said, "Land operations through Kurdistan against Mehemet Ali were absurd. I suggested an attack by sea, while a land force should make a diversion by Antioch, but I was opposed." After the usual pipes and coffee we took our leave.

Hafiz Pasha's political relations are necessarily of a very restricted character, as he rules only the few Turks remaining in Servia; that is to say, a few thousands in Belgrade and Ushitza, a few hundreds in Shabatz Sokol and the island of Orsova. He represents the suzerainety of the Porte over the Christian population, without having any thing to do with the details of administration. His income, like that of other mushirs or pashas of three tails, is 8000l. per annum. Hafiz Pasha, if not a successful general, was at all events a brave and honourable man, and his character for justice made him highly respected. One of his predecessors, who was at Belgrade on my first visit there in 1839, was a man of another stamp,—the notorious Youssouf Pasha, who sold Varna during the Russian war. The [58]re-employment of such an individual is a characteristic illustration of Eastern manners.

As my first stay at Belgrade extended to between two and three months, I saw a good deal of Hafiz Pasha, who has a great taste for geography, and seemed to be always studying at the maps. He seemed to think that nothing would be so useful to Turkey as good roads, made to run from the principal ports of Asia Minor up to the dépôts of the interior, so as to connect Sivas, Tokat, Angora, Konieh, Kaiserieh, &c. with Samsoun, Tersoos, and other ports. He wittily reversed the proverb "El rafyk söm el taryk" (companionship makes secure roads) by saying, "el taryk söm el rafyk" (good roads increase passenger traffic).

At the Bairam reception, the Pasha wore his great nishau of diamonds. Prince Alexander wore a blue uniform with gold epaulettes, and an aigrette of brilliants in his fez. His predecessor, Michael, on such occasions, wore a cocked hat, which used to give offence, as the fez is considered by the Turks indispensable to a recognition of the suzerainety of the Porte.


Being Bairam, I was induced to saunter into the Turkish quarter of the town, where all wore the handsome holyday dresses of the old fashion, being mostly of crimson cloth, edged with gold lace. My cicerone, a Servian, pointed out those shops belonging to the sultan, still marked with the letter f, intended, I suppose, for mulk or imperial property. We then turned to the left, and came into a singular looking street, composed of the ruins of ornamented houses in the imposing, but too elaborate style of architecture, which was in vogue in Vienna, during the life of Charles the Sixth, and which was a corruption of the style de Louis Quatorze. These buildings were half-way up concealed from view by common old bazaar shops. This was the "Lange Gasse," or main street of the German town during the Austrian occupation of twenty-two years, from 1717 to 1739. Most of these houses were built with great solidity, and many still have the stucco ornaments that distinguish this style. The walls of the palace of Prince Eugene are still standing complete, but the court-yard is filled up with [60]rubbish, at least six feet high, and what were formerly the rooms of the ground-floor have become almost cellars. The edifice is called to this day, "Princeps Konak." This mixture of the coarse, but picturesque features of oriental life, with the dilapidated stateliness of palaces in the style of the full-bottom-wigged Vanbrughs of Austria, has the oddest effect imaginable.

The Turks remaining in Belgrade have mostly sunk into poverty, and occupy themselves principally with water-carrying, wood-splitting, &c. The better class latterly kept up their position, by making good sales of houses and shops; for building ground is now in some situations very expensive. Mr. Fonblanque pays 100£. sterling per annum for his rooms, which is a great deal, compared with the rates of house-rent in Hungary just over the water.

One day, I ascended the spire of the cathedral, in order to have a view of the city and environs. Belgrade, containing only 35,000 inhabitants, cannot boast of looking very like a metropolis; but the environs contain the materials of a good pan[61]orama. Looking westward, we see the winding its way from the woods of Topshider; the Servian shore is abrupt, the Austrian flat, and subject to inundation; the prospect on the north-west being closed in by the dim dark line of the Frusca Gora, or "Wooded Mountain," which forms the backbone of Slavonia, and is the high wooded region between the Save and the Drave. Northwards, are the spires of Semlin, rising up from the Danube, which here resumes its easterly course; while south and east stretch the Turkish quarter, which I have been describing.

There are no formal levees or receptions at the palace of Prince Alexander, except on his own fête day. Once or twice a year he entertains at dinner the Pasha, the ministers, and the foreign consuls-general. In the winter, the prince gives one or two balls.

One of the former species of entertainments took place during my stay, and I received the prince's invitation. At the appointed day, I found the avenue to the residence thronged with people Who were listening to the band that played [62]in the court-yard; and on arriving fit the top of the stairs, was led by an officer in a blue uniform, who seemed to direct the ceremonies of the day, into the saloon, in which I had, on my arrival in Belgrade, paid my respects to the prince, which might be pronounced the fac simile of the drawing-room of a Hungarian nobleman; the parquet was inlaid and polished, the chairs and sofas covered with crimson and white satin damask, which is an unusual luxury in these regions, the roof admirably painted in subdued colours, in the best Vienna style. High white porcelain urn-like stoves heated the suite of rooms.

The company had that picturesque variety of character and costume which every traveller delights in. The prince, a muscular middle sized dark complexioned man, of about thirty-five, with a serious composed air, wore a plain blue military uniform. The princess and her dames de compagnie wore the graceful native Servian costume. The Pasha wore the Nizam dress, and the Nishan Iftihar; Baron Lieven, the Russian Commissioner, in the uniform of a general, glittered with innu[63]merable orders; Colonel Philippovich, a man of distinguished talents, represented Austria. The archbishop, in his black velvet cap, a large enamelled cross hanging by a massive gold chain from his neck, sat in stately isolation; and the six feet four inches high Garashanin, minister of the interior, conversed with Stojan Simitch, the president of the senate, one of the few Servians in high office, who retains his old Turkish costume, and has a frame that reminds one of the Farnese Hercules. Then what a medley of languages; Servian, German, Russian, Turkish, and French, all in full buzz!

We proceeded to the dining-room, where the cuisine was in every respect in the German manner. When the dessert appeared, the prince rose with a creaming glass of champagne in his hand, and proposed the health of the sultan, acknowledged by the pasha; and then, after a short pause, the health of Czar Nicolay Paulovitch, acknowledged by Baron Lieven; then came the health of other crowned heads. Baron Lieven now rose and proposed the health of the Prince. [64]The Pasha and the Princess were toasted in turn; and then M. Wastchenko, the Russian consul general rose, and in animated terms, drank to the prosperity of Servia. The entertainment, which commenced at one o'clock, was prolonged to an advanced period of the afternoon, and closed with coffee, liqueurs, and chibouques in the drawing-room; the princess and the ladies having previously withdrawn to the private apartments.

My time during the rest of the year was taken up with political, statistical, and historical inquiries, the results of which will be found condensed at the termination of the narrative part of this work.



Return to Servia.—The Danube.—Semlin.—Wucics and Petronievitch.—Cathedral Solemnity.—Subscription Ball.


After an absence of six months in England, I returned to the Danube. Vienna and Pesth offered no attractions in the month of August, and I felt impatient to put in execution my long cherished project of travelling through the most romantic woodlands of Servia. Suppose me then at the first streak of dawn, in the beginning of August, 1844, hurrying after the large wheelbarrow which carries the luggage of the temporary guests of the Queen of England at Pesth to the steamer lying just below the long bridge of boats that con[66]nects the quiet sombre bureaucratic Ofen with the noisy, bustling, movement-loving new city, which has sprung up as it were by enchantment on the opposite side of the water. I step on board—the signal is given for starting—the lofty and crimson-peaked Bloxberg—the vine-clad hill that produces the fiery Ofener wine, and the long and graceful quay, form, as it were, a fine peristrephic panorama, as the vessel wheels round, and, prow downwards, commences her voyage for the vast and curious East, while the Danubian tourist bids a dizzy farewell to this last snug little centre of European civilization. We hurry downwards towards the frontiers of Turkey, but nature smiles not,—We have on our left the dreary steppe of central Hungary, and on our right the low distant hills of Baranya. Alas! this is not the Danube of Passau, and Lintz, and Mölk, and Theben. But now the Drave pours her broad waters into the great artery. The right shore soon becomes somewhat bolder, and agreeably wooded hills enliven the prospect. This little mountain chain is the celebrated Frusca Gora, [67]the stronghold of the Servian language, literature, and nationality on the Austrian aide of the Save.

A few days after my arrival, Wucics and Petronievitch, the two pillars of the party of Kara Georgevitch, the reigning prince, and the opponents of the ousted Obrenovitch family, returned from banishment in consequence of communications that had passed between the British and Russian governments. Great preparations were made to receive the popular favourites.

One morning I was attracted to the window, and saw an immense flock of sheep slowly paraded along, their heads being decorated with ribbons, followed by oxen, with large citrons stuck on the tips of their horns.

One vender of shawls and carpets had covered all the front of his shop with his gaudy wares, in order to do honour to the patriots, and at the same time to attract the attention of purchasers.

The tolling of the cathedral bell announced the approach of the procession, which was preceded [68]by a long train of rustic cavaliers, noble, vigorous-looking men. Standing at the balcony, we missed the sight of the heroes of the day, who had gone round by other streets. We, therefore, went to the cathedral, where all the principal persons in Servia were assembled. One old man, with grey, filmy, lack-lustre eyes, pendant jaws, and white beard, was pointed out to me as a centenarian witness of this national manifestation.

The grand screen, which in the Greek churches veils the sanctuary from the vulgar gaze, was hung with rich silks, and on a raised platform, covered with carpets, stood the archbishop, a dignified high-priest-looking figure, with crosier in hand, surrounded by his deacons in superbly embroidered robes. The huzzas of the populace grew louder as the procession approached the cathedral, a loud and prolonged buzz of excited attention accompanied the opening of the grand central portal, and Wucics and Petronievitch, grey with the dust with which the immense cavalcade had besprinkled them, came forward, kissed [69]the cross and gospels, which the archbishop presented to them, and, kneeling down, returned thanks for their safe restoration. On regaining their legs, the archbishop advanced to the edge of the platform, and began a discourse describing the grief the nation had experienced at their departure, the universal joy for their return, and the hope that they would ever keep peace and union in view in all matters of state, and that in their duties to the state they must never forget their responsibility to the Most High.

Wucics, dressed in the coarse frieze jacket and boots of a Servian peasant, heard with a reverential inclination of the head the elegantly polished discourse of the gold-bedizened prelate, but nought relaxed one single muscle of that adamantine visage; the finer but more luminous features of Petronievitch were evidently under the control of a less powerful will. At certain passages of the discourse, his intelligent eye was moistened with tears. Two deacons then prayed suc[70]cessively for the Sultan, the Emperor of Russia, and the prince.

And now uprose from every tongue, and every heart, a hymn for the longevity of Wucics and Petronievitch. "The solemn song for many days" is the expressive title of this sublime chant. This hymn is so old that its origin is lost in the obscure dawn of Christianity in the East, and so massive, so nobly simple, as to be beyond the ravages of time, and the caprices of convention.

The procession then returned, the band playing the Wucics march, to the houses of the two heroes of the day.

We dined; and just as dessert appeared the whiz of a rocket announced the commencement of fire-works. As most of us had seen the splendid bouquet of rockets, which, during the fêtes of July, amuse the Parisians, we entertained slender expectations of being pleased with an illumination at Belgrade. On going out, however, the scene proved highly interesting. In the grand square [71]were two columns à la Vicentina, covered with lamps. One side of the square was illuminated with the word Wucics, and the other with the word Avram in colossal letters. At a later period of the evening the downs were covered with fires roasting innumerable sheep and oxen, a custom which seems in all countries to accompany popular rejoicing.

I had never seen a Servian full-dress ball, but the arrival of Wucics and Petronievitch procured me the opportunity of witnessing an entertainment of this description. The principal apartment in the new Konak, built by prince Michael, was the ball-room, which, by eight o'clock, was filled, as the phrase goes, by all "the rank and fashion" of Belgrade. Senators of the old school, in their benishes and shalwars, and senators of the new school in pantaloons and stiff cravats. As Servia has become, morally speaking, Europe's youngest daughter, this is all very well: but I must ever think that in the article of dress this innovation is not an improvement. I hope that the ladies of Servia will never reject their graceful national [72]costume for the shifting modes and compressed waists of European capitals.

No head-dress, that I have seen in the Levant, is better calculated to set off beauty than that of the ladies of Servia. From a small Greek fez they suspend a gold tassel, which contrasts with the black and glossy hair, which is laid smooth and flat down the temple. Even now, while I write, memory piques me with the graceful toss of the head, and the rustle of the yellow satin gown of the sister of the princess, who was admitted to be the handsomest woman in the room, and with her tunic of crimson velvet embroidered in gold, and faced with sable, would have been, in her strictly indigenous costume, the queen of any fancy ball in old Europe.

Wucics and Petronievitch were of course received with shouts and clapping of hands, and took the seats prepared for them at the upper end of the hall. The Servian national dance was then performed, being a species of cotillion in alternate quick and slow movements.

I need not repeat the other events of the even[73]ing; how forms and features were passed in review; how the jewelled, smooth-skinned, doll-like beauties usurped the admiration of the minute, and how the indefinably sympathetic air of less pretentious belles prolonged their magnetic sway to the close of the night.



Holman, the Blind Traveller.—Milutinovich, the Poet.—Bulgarian Legend.—Tableau de genre.—Departure for the Interior.


Belgrade, unlike other towns on the Danube, is much less visited by Europeans, since the introduction of steam navigation, than it was previously. Servia used to be the porte cochère of the East; and most travellers, both before and since the lively Lady Mary Wortley Montague, took the high road to Constantinople by Belgrade, Sofia, Philippopoli, and Adrianople. No mere tourist would now-a-days think of undertaking the fatiguing ride across European Turkey, when he can whizz past Widdin and Roustchouk, and even cut off the grand tongue at the mouth of the [75]Danube, by going in an omnibus from Czernovoda to Kustendgi; consequently the arrival of an English traveller from the interior, is a somewhat rare occurrence.

One day I was going out at the gateway, and saw a strange figure, with a long white beard and a Spanish cap, mounted on a sorry horse, and at once recognized it to be that of Holman, the blind traveller.

"How do you do, Mr. Holman?" said I.

"I know that voice well."

"I last saw you in Aleppo," said I; and he at once named me.

I then got him off his horse, and into quarters.

This singular individual had just come through the most dangerous parts of Bosnia in perfect safety; a feat which a blind man can perform more easily than one who enjoys the most perfect vision; for all compassionate and assist a fellow-creature in this deplorable plight.

Next day I took Mr. Holman through the town, and described to him the lions of Belgrade; and taking a walk on the esplanade, I turned his face [76]to the cardinal points of the compass, successively explaining the objects lying in each direction, and, after answering a few of his cross questions, the blind traveller seemed to know as much of Belgrade as was possible for a person in his condition.

He related to me, that since our meeting at Aleppo, he had visited Damascus and other eastern cities; and at length, after sundry adventures, had arrived on the Adriatic, and visited the Vladika of Montenegro, who had given him a good reception. He then proceeded through Herzegovina and Bosnia to Seraievo, where he passed three days, and he informed me that from Seraievo to the frontiers of Servia was nearly all forest, with here and there the skeletons of robbers hung up in chains.

Mr. Holman subsequently went, as I understood, to Wallachia and Transylvania.

Having delayed my departure for the interior, in order to witness the national festivities, nothing remained but the purgatory of preparation, the squabbling about the hire of horses, the purchase [77]of odds and ends for convenience on the road, for no such thing as a canteen is to be had at Belgrade. Some persons recommended my hiring a Turkish Araba; but as this is practicable only on the regularly constructed roads, I should have lost the sight of the most picturesque regions, or been compelled to take my chance of getting horses, and leaving my baggage behind. To avoid this inconvenience, I resolved to perform the whole journey on horseback.

The government showed me every attention, and orders were sent by the minister of the interior to all governors, vice-governors, and employés, enjoining them to furnish me with every assistance, and communicate whatever information I might desire; to which, as the reader will see in the sequel, the fullest effect was given by those individuals.

On the day of departure, a tap was heard at the door, and enter Holman to bid me good-bye. Another tap at the door, and enter Milutinovich, who is the best of the living poets of Servia, and has been sometimes called the Ossian of the [78]Balkan. As for his other pseudonyme, "the Homer of a hundred sieges," that must have been invented by Mr. George Robins, the Demosthenes of "one hundred rostra." The reading public in Servia is not yet large enough to enable a man of letters to live solely by his works; so our bard has a situation in the ministry of public instruction. One of the most remarkable compositions of Milutinovich is an address to a young surgeon, who, to relieve the poet from difficulties, expended in the printing of his poems a sum which he had destined for his own support at a university, in order to obtain his degree.

Now, it may not be generally known that one of the oldest legends of Bulgaria is that of "Poor Lasar," which runs somewhat thus:—

"The day departed, and the stranger came, as the moon rose on the silver snow. 'Welcome,' said the poor Lasar to the stranger; 'Luibitza, light the faggot, and prepare the supper.'

"Luibitza answered: 'The forest is wide, and the lighted faggot burns bright, but where is the supper? Have we not fasted since yesterday?'


"Shame and confusion smote the heart of poor Lasar.

"'Art thou a Bulgarian,' said the stranger, 'and settest not food before thy guest?'

"Poor Lasar looked in the cupboard, and looked in the garret, nor crumb, nor onion, were found in either. Shame and confusion smote the heart of poor Lasar.

"'Here is fat and fair flesh,' said the stranger, pointing to Janko, the curly-haired boy. Luibitza shrieked and fell. 'Never,' said Lasar, 'shall it be said that a Bulgarian was wanting to his guest,' He seized a hatchet, and Janko was slaughtered as a lamb. Ah, who can describe the supper of the stranger!

"Lasar fell into a deep sleep, and at midnight he heard the stranger cry aloud, 'Arise, Lasar, for I am the Lord thy God; the hospitality of Bulgaria is untarnished. Thy son Janko is restored to life, and thy stores are filled.'

"Long lived the rich Lasar, the fair Luibitza, and the curly-haired Janko."


Milutinovich, in his address to the youthful surgeon, compares his transcendent generosity to the sacrifice made by Lasar in the wild and distasteful legend I have here given.

I introduced the poet and the traveller to each other, and explained their respective merits and peculiarities. Poor old Milutinovich, who looked on his own journey to Montenegro as a memorable feat, was awe-struck when I mentioned the innumerable countries in the four quarters of the world which had been visited by the blind traveller. He immediately recollected of having read an account of him in the Augsburg Gazette, and with a reverential simplicity begged me to convey to him his desire to kiss, his beard. Holman consented with a smile, and Milutinovich, advancing as if he were about to worship a deity, lifted the peak of white hairs from the beard of the aged stranger, pressed them to his lips, and prayed aloud that he might return to his home in safety.

In old Europe, Milutinovich would have been [81]called an actor; but his deportment, if it had the originality, had also the childish simplicity of nature.

When the hour of departure arrived, I descended to the court yard, which would have furnished good materials for a tableau de genre, a lofty, well built, German-looking house, rising on three sides, surrounded a most rudely paved court, which was inclosed on the fourth by a stable and hay-loft, not one-third the height of the rest. Various mustachioed far niente looking figures, wrapped cap-à-pie in dressing gowns, lolled out of the first floor corridor, and smoked their chibouques with unusual activity, while the ground floor was occupied by German washer-women and their soap-suds; three of the arcades being festooned with shirts and drawers hung up to dry, and stockings, with apertures at the toes and heels for the free circulation of the air. Loud exclamations, and the sound of the click of balls, proceeded from the large archway, on which a cafe opened. In the midst of the yard stood our horses, which, with their heavily padded [82]and high cantelled Turkish saddles, somewhat à la Wouvermans, were held by Fonblanque's robust Pandour in his crimson jacket and white fustanella. My man Paul gave a smack of the whip, and off we cantered for the highlands and woodlands of Servia.



Journey to Shabatz.—Resemblance of Manners to those of the Middle Ages.—Palesh.—A Servian Bride.—Blind Minstrel.—Gypsies.—Macadamized Road.


The immediate object of my first journey was Shabatz; the second town in Servia, which is situated further up the Save than Belgrade, and is thus close upon the frontier of Bosnia. We consequently had the river on our right hand all the way. After five hours' travelling, the mountains, which hung back as long as we were in the vicinity of Belgrade, now approached, and draped in forest green, looked down on the winding Save and the pinguid flats of the Slavonian frontier. Just before the sun set, we wound by a circuitous [84]road to an eminence which, projected promontory-like into the river's course. Three rude crosses were planted on a steep, not unworthy the columnar harmony of Grecian marble.

When it was quite dark, we arrived at the Colubara, and passed the ferry which, during the long Servian revolution, was always considered a post of importance, as commanding a communication between Shabatz and the capital. An old man accompanied us, who was returning to his native place on the frontiers of Bosnia, having gone to welcome Wucics and Petronievitch. He amused me by asking me "if the king of my country lived in a strong castle?" I answered, "No, we have a queen, whose strength is in the love of all her subjects." Indeed, it is impossible to travel in the interior of Turkey without having the mind perpetually carried back to the middle ages by a thousand quaint remarks and circumstances, inseparable from the moral and political constitution of a half civilized and quasi-federal empire. For, in nearly all the mountainous parts of Turkey, the power of the government is [85]almost nominal, and even up to a very recent period the position of the Déré Beys savoured strongly of feudalism.

We arrived at Palesh, the khan of which looked like a new coffee-shop in a Turkish bazaar, and I thought that we should have a sorry night's quarters; but mine host, leading the way with a candle up a ladder, and though a trap-door, put us into a clean newly-carpeted room, and in an hour the boy entered with Turkish wash-hand apparatus; and after ablution the khan keeper produced supper, consisting of soup, which contained so much lemon juice, that, without a wry face, I could scarcely eat it—boiled lamb, from which the soup had been made, and then a stew of the same with Tomata sauce. A bed was then spread out on the floor à la turque, which was rather hard; but as the sheets were snowy white, I reckoned myself very lucky.

I must say that there is a degree of cleanliness within doors, which I had been led to consider as somewhat foreign to the habits of Slaavic populations. The lady of the Austrian consul-general [86]in Belgrade told me that she was struck with the propriety of the dwellings of the poor, as contrasted with those in Galicia, where she had resided for many years; and every traveller in Germany is struck with the difference which exists between the villages of Bohemia and those in Saxony, and other adjacent German provinces.

From Palesh we started with fine weather for Skela, through a beautifully wooded park, some fields being here and there inclosed with wattling. Skela is a new ferry on the Save, to facilitate the communication with Austria.

Near here are redoubts, where Kara Georg, the father of the reigning prince, held out during the disasters of 1813, until all the women and children were transferred in safety to the Austrian territory. Here we met a very pretty girl, who, in answer to the salute of my fellow-travellers, bent herself almost to the earth. On asking the reason, I was told that she was a bride, whom custom compels, for a stated period, to make this humble reverence.

We then came to the Skela, and seeing a large [87]house within an enclosure, I asked what it was, and was told that it was the reconciliation-house, (primiritelnj sud,) a court of first instance, in which cases are decided by the village elders, without expense to the litigants, and beyond which suits are seldom carried to the higher courts. There is throughout all the interior of Servia a stout opposition to the nascent lawyer class in Belgrade. I have been more than once amused on hearing an advocate, greedy of practice, style this laudable economy and patriarchal simplicity—"Avarice and aversion from civilization." As it began to rain we entered a tavern, and ordered a fowl to be roasted, as the soup and stews of yester-even were not to my taste. A booby, with idiocy marked on his countenance, was lounging about the door, and when our mid-day meal was done I ordered the man to give him a glass of slivovitsa, as plum brandy is called. He then came forward, trembling, as if about to receive sentence of death, and taking off his greasy fez, said, "I drink to our prince Kara Georgovich, and to the progress and enlightenment of the nation." I looked with [88]astonishment at the torn, wretched habiliments of this idiot swineherd. He was too stupid to entertain these sentiments himself; but this trifling circumstance was the feather which indicated how the wind blew. The Servians are by no means a nation of talkers; they are a serious people; and if the determination to rise were not in the minds of the people, it would not be on the lips of the baboon-visaged oaf of an insignificant hamlet.

The rain now began to pour in torrents, so to make the most of it, we ordered another magnum of strong red wine, and procured from the neighbourhood a blind fiddler, who had acquired a local reputation. His instrument, the favourite one of Servia, is styled a goosely, being a testudo-formed viol; no doubt a relic of the antique, for the Servian monarchy derived all its arts from the Greeks of the Lower Empire. But the musical entertainment, in spite of the magnum of wine, and the jovial challenges of our fellow traveller from the Drina, threw me into a species of melancholy. The voice of the minstrel, and the tone of the instrument, were soft and melodious, but so pro[89]foundly plaintive as to be painful. The song described the struggle of Osman Bairactar with Michael, a Servian chief, and, as it was explained to me, called up successive images of a war of extermination, with its pyramids of ghastly trunkless heads, and fields of charcoal, to mark the site of some peaceful village, amid the blaze of which its inhabitants had wandered to an eternal home in the snows and trackless woods of the Balkan. When I looked out of the tavern window the dense vapours and torrents of rain did not elevate my spirits; and when I cast my eyes on the minstrel I saw a peasant, whose robust frame might have supported a large family, reduced by the privation of sight, to waste his best years in strumming on a monotonous viol for a few piastres.

I flung him a gratuity, and begged him to desist.

After musing an hour, I again ordered the horses, although it still rained, and set forth, the road being close to the river, at one part of which a fleet of decked boats were moored. I perceived [90]that they were all navigated by Bosniac Moslems, one of whom, smoking his pipe under cover, wore the green turban of a Shereef; they were all loaded with raw produce, intended for sale at Belgrade or Semlin.

The rain increasing, we took shelter in a wretched khan, with a mud floor, and a fire of logs blazing in the centre, the smoke escaping as it best could by the front and back doors. Gipsies and Servian peasants sat round it in a large circle; the former being at once recognizable, not only from their darker skins, but from their traits being finer than those of the Servian peasantry. The gipsies fought bravely against the Turks under Kara Georg, and are now for the most part settled, although politically separated from the rest of the community, and living under their own responsible head; but, as in other countries, they prefer horse dealing and smith's work to other trades.

As there was no chance of the storm abating, I resolved to pass the night here on discovering that there was a separate room, which our host [91]said he occasionally unlocked, for the better order of travellers: but as there was no bed, I had recourse to my carpet and pillow, for the expense of Uebergewicht had deterred me from bringing a canteen and camp bed from England.

Next morning, on waking, the sweet chirp of a bird, gently echoed in the adjoining woods, announced that the storm had ceased, and nature resumed her wonted calm. On arising, I went to the door, and the unclouded effulgence of dawn bursting through the dripping boughs and rain-bespangled leaves, seemed to realize the golden tree of the garden of the Abbassides. The road from this point to Shabatz was one continuous avenue of stately oaks—nature's noblest order of sylvan architecture; at some places, gently rising to views of the winding Save, with sun, sky, and freshening breeze to quicken the sensations, or falling into the dell, where the stream darkly pellucid, murmured under the sombre foliage.

The road, as we approached Shabatz, proved to [92]be macadamized in a certain fashion: a deep trench was dug on each side; stakes about a foot and a half high, interlaced with wicker-work, were stuck into the ground within the trench, and the road was then filled up with gravel.



Shabatz.—A Provincial Chancery.—Servian Collector.—Description of his House.—Country Barber.—Turkish Quarter.—Self-taught Priest.—A Provincial Dinner.—Native Soirée.


I entered Shabatz by a wide street, paved in some places with wood. The bazaars are all open, and Shabatz looks like a good town in Bulgaria. I saw very few shops with glazed fronts and counters in the European manner.

I alighted at the principal khan, which had attached to it just such a café and billiard table as one sees in country towns in Hungary. How odd! to see the Servians, who here all wear the old Turkish costume, except the turban—immersed [94]in the tactics of carambolage, skipping most gaily and un-orientally around the table, then balancing themselves on one leg, enveloped in enormous inexpressibles, bending low, and cocking the eye to catch the choicest bits.

Surrendering our horses to the care of the khan keeper, I proceeded to the konak, or government house, to present my letters. This proved to be a large building, in the style of Constantinople, which, with its line of bow windows, and kiosk-fashioned rooms, surmounted with projecting roofs, might have passed muster on the Bosphorus.

On entering, I was ushered into the office of the collector, to await his arrival, and, at a first glance, might have supposed myself in a formal Austrian kanzley.

There were the flat desks, the strong boxes, and the shelves of coarse foolscap; but a pile of long chibouques, and a young man, with a slight Northumbrian burr, and Servian dress, showed that I was on the right bank of the Save.

The collector now made his appearance, a [95]roundly-built, serious, burgomaster-looking personage, who appeared as if one of Vander Helst's portraits had stepped out of the canvass, so closely does the present Servian dress resemble that of Holland, in the seventeenth century, in all but the hat.

Having read the letter, he cleared his throat with a loud hem, and then said with great deliberation, "Gospody Ilia Garashanin informs me that having seen many countries, you also wish to see Servia, and that I am to show you whatever you desire to see, and obey whatever you choose to command; and now you are my guest while you remain here. Go you, Simo, to the khan," continued the collector, addressing a tall momk or pandour, who, armed to the teeth, stood with his hands crossed at the door, "and get the gentleman's baggage taken to my house.—I hope," added he, "you will be pleased with Shabatz; but you must not be critical, for we are still a rude people."

Author. "Childhood must precede manhood; that is the order of nature."


Collector. "Ay, ay, our birth was slow, and painful; Servia, as you say, is yet a child."

Author. "Yes, but a stout, chubby, healthy child."

A gleam of satisfaction produced a thaw of the collector's ice-bound visage, and, descending to the street, I accompanied him until we arrived at a house two stories high, which we entered by a wide new wooden gate, and then mounting a staircase, scrupulously clean, were shown into his principal room, which was surrounded by a divan à la Turque; but it had no carpet, so we went straight in with our boots on. A German chest of drawers was in one corner; the walls were plain white-washed, and so was a stove about six feet high; the only ornament of the room was a small snake moulding in the centre of the roof. Some oak chairs were ranged along the lower end of the room, and a table stood in the middle, covered with a German linen cloth, representing Pesth and Ofen; the Bloxberg being thrice as lofty as the reality, the genius of the artist having set it in the clouds. The steamer had a prow [97]like a Roman galley, a stern like a royal yacht, and even the steam from the chimney described graceful volutes, with academic observance of the line of beauty.

"We are still somewhat rude and un-European in Shabatz," said Gospody Ninitch, for such was the name in which the collector rejoiced.

"Indeed," quoth I, sitting at my ease on the divan, "there is no room for criticism. The Turks now-a-days take some things from Europe; but Europe might do worse than adopt the divan more extensively; for, believe me, to an arriving traveller it is the greatest of all luxuries."

Here the servants entered with chibouques. "I certainly think," said he, "that no one would smoke a cigar who could smoke a chibouque."

"And no man would sit on an oak chair who could sit on a divan:" so the Gospody smiled and transferred his ample person to the still ampler divan.

The barber now entered; for in the hurry of departure I had forgotten part of my toilette apparatus: but it was evident that I was the first [98]Frank who had ever been under his razor; for when his operations were finished, he seized my comb, and began to comb my whiskers backwards, as if they had formed part of a Mussulman's beard. When I thought I was done with him, I resumed the conversation, but was speedily interrupted by something like a loud box on the ear, and, turning round my head, perceived that the cause of this sensation was the barber having, in his finishing touch, stuck an ivory ear-pick against my tympanum; but, calling for a wash-hand basin, I begged to be relieved from all further ministrations; so putting half a zwanziger on the face of the round pocket mirror which he proffered to me, he departed with a "S'Bogom," or, "God be with you."

The collector now accompanied me on a walk through the Servian town, and emerging on a wide space, we discovered the fortress of Shabatz, which is the quarter in which the remaining Turks live, presenting a line of irregular trenches, of battered appearance, scarcely raised above the level of the surrounding country. The space be[99]tween the town and the fortress is called the Shabatzko Polje, and in the time of the civil war was the scene of fierce combats. When the Save overflows in spring, it is generally under water.

Crossing a ruinous wooden bridge over a wet ditch, we saw a rusty unserviceable brass cannon, which vain-gloriously assumed the prerogative of commanding the entrance. To the left, a citadel of four bastions, connected by a curtain, was all but a ruin.

As we entered, a café, with bare walls and a few shabby Turks smoking in it, completed, along with the dirty street, a picture characteristic of the fallen fortunes of Islam in Servia.

"There comes the cadi," said the collector, and I looked out for at least one individual with turban of fine texture, decent robes, and venerable appearance; but a man of gigantic stature, and rude aspect, wearing a grey peasant's turban, welcomed us with undignified cordiality. We followed him down the street, and sometimes crossing the mud on pieces of wood, sometimes [100]"putting one's foot in it," we reached a savage-looking timber kiosk, and, mounting a ladder, seated ourselves on the window ledge.

There flowed the Save in all its peaceful smoothness; looking out of the window, I perceived that the high rampart, on which the kiosk was constructed, was built at a distance of thirty or forty yards from the water, and that the intervening space was covered with boats, hauled up high and dry, and animated with the process of building and repairing the barges employed in the river trade. The kiosk, in which we were sitting, was a species of café, and it being Ramadan time, we were presented with sherbet by a kahwagi, who, to judge by his look, was a eunuch. I was afterwards told that the Turks remaining in the fortified town are so poor, that they had not a decent room to show me into.

A Turk, about fifty years of age, now entered. His habiliments were somewhere between decent and shabby genteel, and his voice and manners had that distinguished gentleness which wins—because it feels—its way. This was the Disdar [101]Aga, the last relic of the wealthy Turks of the place: for before the Servian revolution Shabatz had its twenty thousand Osmanlis; and a tract of gardens on the other side of the Polje, was pointed out as having been covered with the villas of the wealthy, which were subsequently burnt down.

Our conversation was restricted to a few general observations, as other persons were present, but the Disdar Aga promised to call on me on the following day. I was asked if I had been in Seraievo.[2] I answered in the negative, but added, "I have heard so much of Seraievo, that I desire ardently to see it. But I am afraid of the Haiducks."[3]

[102]Cadi. "And not without reason; for Seraievo, with its delicious gardens, must be seen in summer. In winter the roads are free from haiducks, because they cannot hold out in the snow; but then Seraievo, having lost the verdure and foliage of its environs, ceases to be attractive, except in its bazaars, for they are without an equal."

Author. "I always thought that the finest bazaar of Turkey in Europe, was that of Adrianople."

Cadi. "Ay, but not equal to Seraievo; when you see the Bosniacs, in their cleanly apparel and splendid arms walking down the bazaar, you might think yourself in the serai of a sultan; then all the esnafs are in their divisions like regiments of Nizam."

The Disdar Aga now accompanied me to the gate, and bidding me farewell, with graceful urbanity, re-entered the bastioned miniature citadel in which he lived almost alone. The history of this individual is singular: his family was cut to pieces in the dreadful scenes of 1806; and, when a mere boy, he found himself a prisoner in the Servian [103]camp. Being thus without protectors, he was adopted by Luka Lasarevitch, the valiant lieutenant of Kara Georg, and baptized as a Christian with the name of John, but having been reclaimed by the Turks on the re-conquest of Servia in 1813, he returned to the faith of his fathers.

We now returned into the town, and there sat the same Luka Lasarevitch, now a merchant and town councillor, at the door of his warehouse, an octogenarian, with thirteen wounds on his body.

Going home, I asked the collector if the Aga and Luka were still friends. "To this very day," said he, "notwithstanding the difference of religion, the Aga looks upon Luka as his father, and Luka looks upon the Aga as his son." To those who have lived in other parts of Turkey this account must appear very curious. I found that the Aga was as highly respected by the Christians as by the Turks, for his strictly honourable character.

We now paid a visit to the Arch-priest, Iowan Paulovitch, a self-taught ecclesiastic: the room in which he received us was filled with books, mostly [104]Servian; but I perceived among them German translations. On asking him if he had heard any thing of English literature, he showed me translations into German of Shakspeare, Young's Night Thoughts, and a novel of Bulwer. The Greek secular clergy marry; and in the course of conversation it came out that his son was one of the young Servians sent by the government to study mining-engineering, at Schemnitz, in Hungary. The Church of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, in which he officiates, was built in 1828. I remarked that it had only a wooden bell tower, which had been afterwards erected in the church yard; no belfry existing in the building itself. The reason of this is, that, up to the period mentioned, the Servians were unaccustomed to have bells sounded.

Our host provided most ample fare for supper, preceded by a glass of slivovitsa. We began with soup, rendered slightly acid with lemon juice, then came fowl, stewed with turnips and sugar. This was followed by pudding of almonds, raisins, and pancake. Roast capon brought up the rear. [105]A white wine of the country was served during supper, but along with dessert we had a good red wine of Negotin, served in Bohemian coloured glasses. I have been thus minute on the subject of food, for the dinners I ate at Belgrade I do not count as Servian, having been all in the German fashion.

The wife of the collector sat at dinner, but at the foot of the table; a position characteristic of that of women in Servia—midway between the graceful precedence of Europe and the contemptuous exclusion of the East.

After hand-washing, we returned to the divan, and while pipes and coffee were handed round, a noise in the court yard denoted a visiter, and a middle-aged man, with embroidered clothes, and silver-mounted pistols in his girdle, entered. This was the Natchalnik, or local governor, who had come from his own village, two hours off, to pay his visit; he was accompanied by the two captains under his command, one of whom was a military dandy. His ample girdle was richly embroidered, out of which projected silver-mounted old [106]fashioned pistols. His crimson shaksheers were also richly embroidered, and the corner of a gilt flowered cambric pocket handkerchief showed itself at his breast. His companion wore a different aspect, with large features, dusky in tint as those of a gipsy, and dressed in plain coarse blue clothes. He was presented to me as a man who had grown from boyhood to manhood to the tune of the whistling bullets of Kara Georg and his Turkish opponents. After the usual salutations, the Natchalnik began—

"We have heard that Gospody Wellington has received from the English nation an estate for his distinguished services."

Author. "That is true; but the presentation took place a great many years ago."

Natch. "What is the age of Gospody Wellington?"

Author. "About seventy-five. He was born in 1769, the year in which Napoleon and Mohammed Ali first saw the light."

This seemed to awaken the interest of the party.

[107]The roughly-clad trooper drew in his chair, and leaning his elbow on his knees, opened wide a pair of expectant eyes; the Natchalnik, after a long puff of his pipe, said, with some magisterial decision, "That was a moment when nature had her sleeves tucked up. I think our Kara Georg must also have been born about that time."

Natch. "Is Gospody Wellington still in service?"

Author. "Yes; he is commander-in-chief."

Natch. "Well, God grant that his sons, and his sons' sons, may render as great services to the nation."

Our conversation was prolonged to a late hour in the evening, in which a variety of anecdotes were related of the ingenious methods employed by Milosh to fill his coffers as rapidly as possible.

Mine host, taking a candle, then led me to my bedroom, a small carpeted apartment, with a German bed; the coverlet was of green satin, quilted, and the sheets were clean and fragrant; and I observed, that they were striped with an alternate fine and coarse woof.


[2] The capital of Bosnia, a large and beautiful city, which is often called the Damascus of the North.

[3] In this part of Turkey in Europe robbers, as well as rebels, are called Haiducks: like the caterans of the Highlands of Scotland, they were merely held to be persons at war with the authority: and in the Servian revolution, patriots, rebels, and robbers, were confounded in the common term of Haiducks.



Kaimak.—History of a Renegade.—A Bishop's house.—Progress of Education.—Portrait of Milosh.—Bosnia and the Bosniacs.—Moslem Fanaticism.—Death of the Collector.


The fatigues of travelling procured me a sound sleep. I rose refreshed, and proceeded into the divan. The hostess then came forward, and before I could perceive, or prevent her object, she kissed my hand. "Kako se spavali; Dobro?"—"How have you slept? I hope you are refreshed," and other kindly inquiries followed on, while she took from the hand of an attendant a silver salver, on which was a glass of slivovitsa, a plate of rose marmalade, and a large Bohemian cut crystal globular goblet of water, the contents of which, [109]along with a chibouque, were the prelude to breakfast, which consisted of coffee and toast, and instead of milk we had rich boiled kaimak, as Turkish clotted cream is called.

I have always been surprised to find that this undoubted luxury, which is to be found in every town in Turkey, should be unknown throughout the greater part of Europe. After comfortably smoking another chibouque, and chatting about Shabatz and the Shabatzians, the collector informed me that the time was come for returning the visit of the Natchalnik, and paying that of the Bishop.

The Natchalnik received us in the Konak of Gospody Iefrem, the brother of Milosh, and our interview was in no respect different from a usual Turkish visit. We then descended to the street; the sun an hour before its meridian shone brightly, but the centre of the broad street was very muddy, from the late rain; so we picked our steps with some care, until we arrived in the vicinity of the bridge, when I perceived the eunuch-looking coffee-keeper navigating the slough, ac[110]companied by a Mussulman in a red checked shawl turban.—"Here is a man that wishes to make your acquaintance," said Eunuch-face.—"I heard you were paying visits yesterday in the Turkish quarter," said the strange figure, saluting me. I returned the salute, and addressed him in Arabic; he answered in a strong Egyptian accent. However, as the depth of the surrounding mud, and the glare of the sun, rendered a further colloquy somewhat inconvenient, we postponed our meeting until the evening. On our way to the Bishop, I asked the collector what that man was doing there.

Collector. "His history is a singular one. You yesterday saw a Turk, who was baptized, and then returned to Islamism. This is a Servian, who turned Turk thirty years ago, and now wishes to be a Christian again. He has passed most of that time in the distant parts of Turkey, and has children grown up and settled there. He has come to me secretly, and declares his desire to be a Christian again; but he is afraid the Turks will kill him."


Author. "Has he been long here?"

Collector. "Two months. He went first into the Turkish town; and having incurred their suspicions, he left them, and has now taken up his quarters in the khan, with a couple of horses and a servant."

Author. "What does he do?"

Collector. "He pretends to be a doctor, and cures the people; but he generally exacts a considerable sum before prescribing, and he has had disputes with people who say that they are not healed so quickly as they expect."

Author. "Do you think he is sincere in wishing to be a Christian again?"

Collector. "God knows. What can one think of a man who has changed his religion, but that no dependence can be placed on him? The Turks are shy of him."

We had now arrived at the house of the Bishop, and were shown into a well-carpeted room, in the old Turkish style, with the roof gilded and painted in dark colours, and an un-artistlike panorama of Constantinople running round the [112]cornice. I seated myself on an old-fashioned, wide, comfortable divan, with richly embroidered, but somewhat faded cushions, and, throwing off my shoes, tucked my legs comfortably under me.

"This house," said the collector, "is a relic of old Shabatz; most of the other houses of this class were burnt down. You see no German furniture here; tell me whether you prefer the Turkish style, or the European."

Author. "In warm weather give me a room of this kind, where the sun is excluded, and where one can loll at ease, and smoke a narghilé; but in winter I like to see a blazing fire, and to hear the music of a tea-urn."

The Bishop now entered, and we advanced to the door to meet him. I bowed low, and the rest of the company kissed his hand; he was a middle sized man, of about sixty, but frail from long-continued ill health, dressed in a furred pelisse, a dark blue body robe, and Greek ecclesiastical cap of velvet, while from a chain hung round his neck was suspended the gold cross, distinctive [113]of his rank. The usual refreshments of coffee, sweetmeats, &c. were brought in, not by servants, but by ecclesiastical novices.

Bishop. "I think I have seen you before?"

Author. "Indeed, you have: I met your reverence at the house of Gospody Ilia in Belgrade."

Bishop. "Ay, ay," (trying to recollect;) "my memory sometimes fails me since my illness. Did you stay long at Belgrade?"

Author. "I remained to witness the cathedral service for the return of Wucics and Petronievitch. I assure you I was struck with the solemnity of the scene, and the deportment of the archbishop. As I do not understand enough of Servian, his speech was translated to me word for word, and it seems to me that he has the four requisites of an orator,—a commanding presence, a pleasing voice, good thoughts, and good language."

We then talked of education, on which the Bishop said, "The civil and ecclesiastical authorities go hand in hand in the work. When I was [114]a young man, a great proportion of the youth could neither read nor write: thanks to our system of national education, in a few years the peasantry will all read. In the towns the sons of those inhabitants who are in easy circumstances, are all learning German, history, and other branches preparatory to the course of the Gymnasium of Belgrade, which is the germ of a university."

Author. "I hope it will prosper; the Slaavs of the middle ages did much for science."[4]

Bishop. "I assure you times are greatly changed with us; the general desire for education surprises and delights me."

We now took our leave of the Bishop, and on our way homewards called at a house which contained portraits of Kara Georg, Milosh, Michael, Alexander, and other personages who have figured in Servian history. I was much amused with that [115]of Milosh, which was painted in oil, altogether without chiaro scuro; but his decorations, button holes, and even a large mole on his cheek, were done with the most painful minuteness. In his left hand he held a scroll, on which was inscribed Ustav, or Constitution, his right hand was partly doubled à la finger post; it pointed significantly to the said scroll, the forefinger being adorned with a large diamond ring.

On arriving at the collector's house, I found the Aga awaiting me. This man inspired me with great interest. I looked upon him, residing in his lone tower, the last of a once wealthy and powerful race now steeped in poverty, as a sort of master of Ravenswood in a Wolf's crag. At first he was bland and ceremonious; but on learning that I had lived long in the interior of society in Damascus and Aleppo, and finding that the interest with which he inspired me was real and not assumed, he became expansive without lapsing into familiarity, and told me his sad tale, which I would place at the service of the gentle reader, could I forget the stronger allegiance I [116]owe to the unsolicited confidence of an unfortunate stranger.

When I spoke of the renegade, he pretended not to know whom I meant; but I saw, by a slight unconscious wink of his eye, that knowing him too well, he wished to see and hear no more of him. As he was rising to take leave, a step was heard creaking on the stairs, and on turning in the direction of the door, I saw the red and white checked turban of the renegade emerging from the banister; but no sooner did he perceive the Aga, than, turning round again, down went the red checked turban out of sight.

When the Aga was gone, the collector gave me a significant look, and, knocking the ashes out of his pipe into a plate on the floor, said, "Changed times, changed times, poor fellow; his salary is only 250 piastres a month, and his relations used to be little kings in Shabatz; but the other fellows in the Turkish quarter, although so wretchedly poor that they have scarcely bread to eat, are as proud and insolent as ever."

Author. "What is the reason of that?"


Collector. "Because they are so near the Bosniac frontier, where there is a large Moslem population. The Moslems of Shabatz pay no taxes, either to the Servian government or the sultan, for they are accounted Redif, or Militia, for which they receive a ducat a year from the sultan, as a returning fee. The Christian peasants here are very rich; some of them have ten and twenty thousand ducats buried under the earth; but these impoverished Bosniacs in the fortress are as proud and insolent as ever."

Author. "You say Bosniacs! Are they not Turks?"

Collector. "No, the only Turks here are the Aga and the Cadi; all the rest are Bosniacs, the descendants of men of our own race and language, who on the Turkish invasion accepted Islamism, but retained the language, and many Christian customs, such as saints' days, Christian names, and in most cases monogamy."

Author. "That is very curious; then, perhaps, as they are not full Moslems, they may be more tolerant of Christians."


Collector. "The very reverse. The Bosniac Christians are not half so well off as the Bulgarians, who have to deal with the real Turks. The arch-priest will be here to dinner, and he will be able to give you some account of the Bosniac Christians. But Bosnia is a beautiful country; how do you intend to proceed from here?"

Author. "I intend to go to Vallievo and Ushitza."

Collector. "He that leaves Servia without seeing Sokol, has seen nothing."

Author. "What is to be seen at Sokol?"

Collector. "The most wonderful place in the world, a perfect eagle's eyrie. A whole town and castle built on the capital of a column of rock."

Author. "But I did not contemplate going there; so I must change my route: I took no letters for that quarter."

Collector. "Leave all that to me; you will first go to Losnitza, on the banks of the Drina, and I will despatch a messenger to-night, apprising the authorities of your approach. When you have [119]seen Sokol, you will admit that it was worth the journey."

The renegade having seen the Aga clear off, now came to pay his visit, and the normal good-nature of the collector procured him a tolerant welcome. When we were left alone, the renegade began by abusing the Moslems in the fortress as a set of scoundrels. "I could not live an hour longer among such rascals," said he, "and I am now in the khan with my servant and a couple of horses, where you must come and see me. I will give you as good a pipe of Djebel tobacco as ever you smoked."

Author. "You must excuse me, I must set out on my travels to-morrow. You were in Egypt, I believe."

Renegade. "I was long there; my two sons, and a married daughter, are in Cairo to this day."

Author. "What do they do?"

Renegade. "My daughter is married, and I taught my sons all I know of medicine, and they practise it in the old way."


Author. "Where did you study?"

Renegade (tossing his head and smiling). "Here, and there, and everywhere. I am no Ilekim Bashi; but I have an ointment that heals all bruises and sores in an incredibly short space of time."

Me gave a most unsatisfactory account of his return to Turkey in Europe; first to Bosnia, or Herzegovina, where he was, or pretended to be, physician to Husreff Mehmed Pasha, and then to Seraievo. When we spoke of Hafiz Pasha, of Belgrade, he said, "I know him well, but he does not know me; I recollect him at Carpout and Diarbecr before the battle of Nisib, when he had thirty or forty pashas under him. He could shoot at a mark, or ride, with the youngest man in the army."

The collector now re-entered with the Natchalnik and his captains, and the renegade took his leave, I regretting that I had not seen more of him; for a true recital of his adventures must have made an amusing chapter.

"Here is the captain, who is to escort you to Ushitza," said the Natchalnik, pointing to a [121]muscular man at his left. "He will take you safe and sound."

Author. "I see he is a stout fellow. I would rather have him for a friend than meet him as an enemy. He has the face of an honest man, too."

Natchalnik. "I warrant you as safe in his custody, as if you were in that of Gospody Wellington."

Author. "You may rest assured that if I were in the custody of the Duke of Wellington, I should not reckon myself very safe. One of his offices is to take care of a tower, in which the Queen locks up traitorous subjects. Did you never hear of the Tower of London?"

Natchalnik. "No; all we know of London is the wonderful bridge that goes under the water, where an army can pass from one side to the other, while the fleet lies anchored over their heads."

The Natchalnik now bid me farewell, and I gave my rendezvous to the captain for next morning. During the discussion of dinner, the arch-priest [122]gave us an illustration of Bosniac fanaticism: A few months ago a church at Belina was about to be opened, which had been a full year in course of building, by virtue of a Firman of the Sultan; the Moslems murmuring, but doing nothing. When finished, the Bishop went to consecrate it; but two hours after sunset, an immense mob of Moslems, armed with pickaxes and shovels, rased it to the ground, having first taken the Cross and Gospels and thrown them into a latrina. The Bishop complained to the Mutsellim, who imprisoned one or two of them, exacted a fine, which he put in his own pocket, and let them out next day; the ruins of the Church remain in statu quo.

The collector now produced some famous wine, that had been eleven years in bottle. We were unusually merry, and fell into toasts and speeches. I felt as if I had been his intimate friend for years, for he had not one atom of Levantine "humbug" in his composition. Poor fellow, little did he think, that in a few short weeks from this period his blood would flow as freely as the wine which he poured into my cup.


Next morning, on awaking, all the house was in a bustle: the sun shone brightly on the green satin coverlet of my bed, and a tap at the door announced the collector, who entered in his dressing gown with the apparatus of brandy and sweetmeats, and joined his favourable augury to mine for the day's journey.

"You will have a rare journey," said the collector; "the country is a garden, the weather is clear, and neither hot nor cold. The nearer you get to Bosnia, the more beautiful is the landscape."

We each drank a thimbleful of slivovitsa, he to my prosperous journey, while I proposed health and long life to him; but, as the sequel showed, "l'homme propose, et Dieu dispose." After breakfast, I bade Madame Ninitch adieu, and descended to the court-yard, where two carriages of the collector awaited us, our horses being attached behind.

And now an eternal farewell to the worthy collector. At this time a conspiracy was organized by the Obrenowitch faction, through the emigrants [124]residing in Hungary. They secretly furnished themselves with thirty-four or thirty-five hussar uniforms at Pesth, bought horses, and having bribed the Austrian frontier guard, passed the Save with a trumpeter about a month after this period, and entering Shabatz, stated that a revolution had broken out at Belgrade, that prince Kara Georgevitch was murdered, and Michael proclaimed, with the support of the cabinets of Europe! The affrighted inhabitants knew not what to believe, and allowed the detachment to ride through the town. Arrived at the government-house, the collector issued from the porch, to ask what they wanted, and received for answer a pistol-shot, which stretched him dead on the spot. The soi-disant Austrian hussars subsequently attempted to raise the country, but, failing in this, were nearly all taken and executed.


[4] The first University in Europe was that of Prague. It was established some years before the University of Paris, if I recollect right.



The Banat of Matchva.—Losnitza.—Feuds on the Frontier.—Enter the Back-woods.—Convent of Tronosha.—Greek Festival.—Congregation of Peasantry.—Rustic Finery.


Through the richest land, forming part of the ancient banat of Matchva, which was in the earlier periods of Servian and Hungarian history so often a source of conflict and contention, we approached distant grey hills, which gradually rose from the horizon, and, losing their indistinctness, revealed a chain so charmingly accidented, that I quickened my pace, as if about to enter a fairy region. Thick turf covered the pasture lands; the old oak and the tender sapling diversified the [126]plain. Some clouds hung on the horizon, whose delicate lilac and fawn tints, forming a harmonizing contrast with the deep deep blue of the heavens, showed the transparency of the atmosphere, and brought healthful elevation of spirits. Even the brutes bespoke the harmony of creation; for, singular to say, we saw several crows perched on the backs of swine!

Towards evening, we entered a region of cottages among gardens inclosed by bushes, trees, and verdant fences, with the rural quiet and cleanliness of an English village in the last century, lighted up by an Italian sunset. Having crossed the little bridge, a pandour, who was sitting under the willows, rose, came forward, and, touching his hat, presented the Natchalnik's compliments, and said that he was instructed to conduct me to his house. Losnitza is situated on the last undulation of the Gutchevo range, as the mountains we had all day kept in view were called. So leaving the town on our left, we struck into a secluded path, which wound up the hill, and in ten minutes we dismounted at a house having the [127]air of a Turkish villa, which overlooked the surrounding country, and was entered by an enclosed court-yard with high walls.

The Natchalnik of Losnitza was a grey-headed tall gaunt figure, who spoke very little; but as the Bosniac frontier is subject to troubles he had been selected for his great personal courage, for he had served under Kara Georg from 1804.[5]

Natchalnik. "It is not an easy matter to keep things straight; the population on this side is all organized, so as to concentrate eight thousand men in a few hours. The Bosniacs are all armed; and as the two populations detest each other cordially, and are separated only by the Drina, the public tranquillity often incurs great danger: but whenever a crisis is at hand I mount my horse and [128]go to Mahmoud Pasha at Zwornik; and the affair is generally quietly settled with a cup of coffee."

Author. "Ay, ay; as the Arabs say, the burning of a little tobacco saves the burning of a great deal of powder. What is the population of Zwornik?"

Natchalnik. "About twelve or fifteen thousand; the place has fallen off; it had formerly between thirty and forty thousand souls."

Author. "Have you had any disputes lately?"

Natchalnik. "Why, yes; Great Zwornik is on the Bosniac side of the Drina; but Little Zwornik on the Servian side is also held by Moslems. Not long ago the men of Little Zwornik wished to extend their domain; but I planted six hundred men in a wood, and then rode down alone and warned them off. They treated me contemptuously; but as soon as they saw the six hundred men issuing from the wood they gave up the point: and Mahmoud Pasha admitted I was right; but he had been afraid to risk his popularity by preventive measures."


The selamlik of the Natchalnik was comfortably carpeted and fitted up, but no trace of European furniture was to be seen. The rooms of the collector at Shabatz still smacked of the vicinity to Austria; but here we were with the natives. Dinner was preceded by cheese, onions, and slivovitsa as a rinfresco, and our beds were improvised in the Turkish manner by mattresses, sheets, and coverlets, laid on the divans. May I never have a worse bed![6]

Next morning, on waking, I went into the kiosk to enjoy the cool fresh air, the incipient sunshine, and the noble prospect; the banat of Matchva which we had yesterday traversed, stretched away to the westward, an ocean of verdure and ripe yellow fruits.

"Where is the Drina?" said I to our host.

"Look downwards," said he; "you see that line of poplars and willows; there flows the Drina, hid from view: the steep gardens and wooded hills [130]that abruptly rise from the other bank are in Bosnia."

The town doctor now entered, a middle-aged man, who had been partly educated in Dalmatia, and consequently spoke Italian; he told us that his salary was £40 a year; and that in consequence of the extreme cheapness of provisions he managed to live as well in this place as he could on the Adriatic for treble the sum.

Other persons, mostly employés, now came to see us, and we descended to the town. The bazaar was open and paved with stone; but except its extreme cleanliness, it was not in the least different from those one sees in Bulgaria and other parts of Turkey in Europe. Up to 1835 many Turks lived in Losnitza; but at that time they all removed to Bosnia; the mosque still remains, and is used as a grain magazine. A mud fort crowns the eminence, having been thrown up during the wars of Kara Georg, and might still be serviceable in case of hostile operations.

Before going to Sokol the Natchalnik persuaded me to take a Highland ramble into the Gutchevo [131]range, and first visit Tronosha, a large convent three hours off in the woods, which was to be on the following day the rendezvous of all the surrounding peasantry, in their holyday dresses, in order to celebrate the festival of consecration.

At the appointed hour our host appeared, having donned his best clothes, which were covered with gold embroidery. His sabre and pistols were no less rich and curious, and he mounted a horse worth at least sixty or seventy pounds sterling. Several other notables of Losnitza, similarly broidered and accoutred, and mounted on caracoling horses, accompanied us; and we formed a cavalcade that would have astonished even Mr. Batty.

Ascending rapidly, we were soon lost in the woods, catching only now and then a view of the golden plain through the dark green oaks and pines. For full three hours our brilliant little party dashed up hill and down dale, through the most majestic forests, delightful to the gaze but unrelieved by a patch of cultivation, and miserably profitless to the commonwealth, till we came to a height covered with loose rocks and pasture. [132]"There is Tronosha," said the Natchalnik, pulling up, and pointing to a tapering white spire and slender column of blue smoke that rose from a cul-de-sac formed by the opposite hills, which, like the woods we had traversed, wore such a shaggy and umbrageous drapery, that with a slight transposition, I could exclaim, "Si lupus essem, nollem alibi quam in Serviâ lupus esse!" A steep descent brought us to some meadows on which cows were grazing by the side of a rapid stream, and I felt the open apace a relief after the gloom of the endless forest.

Crossing the stream, we struck into the sylvan cul-de-sac, and arrived in a few minutes at an edifice with strong walls, towers, and posterns, that looked more like a secluded and fortified manor-house in the seventeenth century than a convent; for in more troubled times, such establishments, though tolerated by the old Turkish government, were often subject to the unwelcome visits of minor marauders.

A fine jolly old monk, with a powerful voice, welcomed the Natchalnik at the gate, and putting [133]his hand on his left breast, said to me, "Dobro doche Gospody!" (Welcome, master!)

We then, according to the custom of the country, went into the chapel, and, kneeling down, said our thanksgiving for safe arrival. I remarked, on taking a turn through the chapel and examining it minutely, that the pictures were all in the old Byzantine style—crimson-faced saints looking up to golden skies.

Crossing the court, I looked about me, and perceived that the cloister was a gallery, with wooden beams supporting the roof, running round three sides of the building, the basement being built in stone, at one part of which a hollowed tree shoved in an aperture formed a spout for a stream of clear cool water. The Igoumen, or superior, received us at the foot of the wooden staircase which ascended to the gallery. He was a sleek middle-aged man, with a new silk gown, and seemed out of his wits with delight at my arrival in this secluded spot, and taking me by the hand led me to a sort of seat of honour placed in a prominent part of the gallery, which seemed to [134]correspond with the makaá of Saracenic architecture.

No sooner had the Igoumen gone to superintend the arrangements of the evening, than a shabbily dressed filthy priest, of such sinister aspect, that, to use a common phrase, "his looks would have hanged him," now came up, and in a fulsome eulogy welcomed me to the convent. He related how he had been born in Syrmium, and had been thirteen years in Bosnia; but I suspected that some screw was loose, and on making inquiry found that he had been sent to this retired convent in consequence of incorrigible drunkenness. The Igoumen now returned, and gave the clerical Lumnacivagabundus such a look that he skulked off on the instant.

After coffee, sweetmeats, &c., we passed through the yard, and piercing the postern gate, unexpectedly came upon a most animated scene. A green glade that ran up to the foot of the hill, was covered with the preparations for the approaching festivities—wood was splitting, fires lighting, fifty or sixty sheep were spitted, pyramids of bread, [135]dishes of all sorts and sizes, and jars of wine in wicker baskets were mingled with throat-cut fowls, lying on the banks of the stream aide by side with pigs at their last squeak.

Dinner was served in the refectory to about twenty individuals, including the monks and our party. The Igoumen drank to the health of the prince, and then of Wucics and Petronievitch, declaring that thanks were due to God and those European powers who had brought about their return. The shabby priest, with the gallows look, then sang a song of his own composition, on their return. Not being able to understand it, I asked my neighbour what he thought of the song. "Why," said he, "the lay is worthy of the minstrel—doggrel and dissonance." Some old national songs were sung, and I again asked my neighbour for a criticism on the poetry. "That last song," said he, "is like a river that flows easily and naturally from one beautiful valley to another."

In the evening we went out, and the countless fires lighting up the lofty oaks had a most pleasing [136]effect. The sheep were by this time cut up, and lying in fragments, around which the supper parties were seated cross-legged. Other peasants danced slowly, in a circle, to the drone of the somniferous Servian bagpipe.

When I went to bed, the assembled peasantry were in the full tide of merriment, but without excess. The only person somewhat the worse of the bottle was the threadbare priest with the gallows look.

I fell asleep with a low confused murmur of droning bagpipes, jingling drinking cups, occasional laughter, and other noises. I dreamed, I know not what absurdities; suddenly a solemn swelling chorus of countless voices gently interrupted my slumbers—the room was filled with light, and the sun on high was beginning to begild an irregular parallelogram in the wainscot, when I started up, and hastily drew on some clothes. Going out to the makaá, I perceived yesterday's assembly of merry-making peasants quadrupled in number, and all dressed in their holiday costume, thickset on their knees down [137]the avenue to the church, and following a noble old hymn, I sprang out of the postern, and, helping myself with the grasp of trunks of trees, and bared roots and bushes, clambered up one of the sides of the hollow, and attaining a clear space, looked down with wonder and pleasure on the singular scene. The whole pit, of this theatre of verdure appeared covered with a carpet of white and crimson, for such were the prevailing colours of the rustic costumes. When I thought of the trackless solitude of the sylvan ridges round me, I seemed to witness one of the early communions of Christianity, in those ages when incense ascended to the Olympic deities in gorgeous temples, while praise to the true God rose from the haunts of the wolf, the lonely cavern, or the subterranean vault.

When church service was over I examined the dresses more minutely. The upper tunic of the women was a species of surtout of undyed cloth, bordered with a design of red cloth of a liner description. The stockings in colour and texture resembled those of Persia, but were generally em[138]broidered at the ankle with gold and silver thread. After the mid-day meal we descended, accompanied by the monks. The lately crowded court-yard was silent and empty. "What," said I, "all dispersed already?" The superior smiled, and said nothing. On going out of the gate, I paused in a state of slight emotion. The whole assembled peasantry were marshalled in two rows, and standing uncovered in solemn silence, so as to make a living avenue to the bridge.

The Igoumen then publicly expressed the pleasure my visit had given to the people, and in their name thanked me, and wished me a prosperous journey, repeating a phrase I had heard before: "God be praised that Servia has at length seen the day that strangers come from afar to see and know the people!"

I took off my fez, and said, "Do you know, Father Igoumen, what has given me the most pleasure in the course of my visit?"

Ig. "I can scarcely guess."

Author. "I have seen a large assembly of peasantry, and not a trace of poverty, vice, or misery; [139]the best proof that both the civil and ecclesiastical authorities do their duty."

The Igoumen, smiling with satisfaction, made a short speech to the people. I mounted my horse; the convent bells began to toll as I waved my hand to the assembly, and "Sretnj poot!" (a prosperous journey!) burst from a thousand tongues. The scene was so moving that I could scarcely refrain a tear. Clapping spurs to my horse I cantered over the bridge and gave him his will of the bridle till the steepness of the ascent compelled a slower pace.


[5] Servia is divided into seventeen provinces, each governed by a Natchalnik, whose duty it is to keep order and report to the minister of war and interior. He has of course no control over the legal courts of law attached to each provincial government; he has a Cashier and a Secretary, and each province is divided into Cantons (Sres), over each of which a captain rules. The average population of a province is 50,000 souls, and there are generally three Cantons in a province, which are governed by captains.

[6] Whether from the climate or superior cleanliness, there are certainly much fewer fleas in Servia than in Turkey; and I saw other vermin only once.



Romantic sylvan scenery.—Patriarchal simplicity of manners.—Krupena,—Sokol.—Its extraordinary position.—Wretched town.—Alpine scenery.—Cool reception.—Valley of the Rogatschitza.


Words fail me to describe the beauty of the road from Tronosha to Krupena. The heights and distances, without being alpine in reality, were sufficiently so to an eye unpractised in measuring scenery of the highest class; but in all the softer enchantments nature had revelled in prodigality. The gloom of the oak forest was relieved and broken by a hundred plantations of every variety of tree that the climate would bear, and every hue, from the sombre evergreen to the early suspicions of the yellow leaf of autumn. Even the tops of [141]the mountains were free from sterility, for they were capped with green as bright, with trees as lofty, and with pasture as rich, as that of the valleys below.

The people, too, were very different from the inhabitants of Belgrade, where political intrigue, and want of the confidence which sincerity inspires, paralyze social intercourse. But the men of the back-woods, neither poor nor barbarous, delighted me by the patriarchal simplicity of their manners, and the poetic originality of their language. Even in gayer moments I seemed to witness the sweet comedy of nature, in which man is ludicrous from his peculiarities, but "is not yet ridiculous from the affectations and assumptions of artificial life."

Half-way to Krupena we reposed at a brook, where the carpets were laid out and we smoked a pipe. A curious illustration occurred here of the abundance of wood in Servia. A boy, after leading a horse into the brook, tugged the halter and led the unwilling horse out of the stream again. "Let him drink, let him drink his fill," said a woman; [142]"if everything else must be paid with gold, at least wood and water cost nothing."

Mounting our horses again, we were met by six troopers bearing the compliments of the captain of Krupena, who was awaiting us with twenty-two or three irregular cavalry on an eminence. We both dismounted and-went through the ceremony of public complimenting, both evidently enjoying the fun; he the visit of an illustrious stranger, and I the formality of a military reception. I perceived in a moment that this captain, although a good fellow, was fond of a little fuss; so I took him by the hand, made a turn across the grass, cast a nonchalant look on his troop, and condescended to express my approbation of their martial bearing. True it is that they were men of rude and energetic aspect, very fairly mounted. After patronizing him with a little further chat and compliment we remounted; and I perceived Krupena at the distance of about a mile, in the middle of a little plain surrounded by gardens; but the neighbouring hills were here and there bare of vegetation.


Some of the troopers in front sang a sort of chorus, and now and then a fellow to show off his horse, would ride à la djereed, and instead of flinging a dart, would fire his pistols. Others joined us, and our party was swelled to a considerable cavalcade as we entered the village, where the peasants were drawn up in a row to receive me.

Their captain then led the way up the stairs of his house to a chardak, or wooden balcony, on which was a table laid out with flowers. The elders of the village now came separately, and had some conversation: the priest on entering laid a melon on the table, a usual method of showing civility in this part of the country. One of the attendant crowd was a man from Montenegro, who said he was a house-painter. He related that he was employed by Mahmoud Pasha, of Zwornik, to paint one of the rooms in his house; when he had half accomplished his task, the dispute about the domain of Little Zwornik arose, on which he and his companion, a German, were thrown into prison, being accused of being a [144]Servian captain in disguise. They were subsequently liberated, but shot at; the ball going through the leg of the narrator. This is another instance of the intense hatred the Servians and the Bosniac Moslems bear to each other. It must be remarked, that the Christians, in relating a tale, usually make the most of it.

The last dish of our dinner was a roast lamb, served on a large circular wooden board, the head being split in twain, and laid on the top of the pyramid of dismembered parts. We had another jovial evening, in which the wine-cup was plied freely, but not to an extravagant excess, and the usual toasts and speeches were drunk and made. Even in returning to rest, I had not yet done with the pleasing testimonies of welcome. On entering the bed-chamber, I found many fresh and fragrant flowers inserted in the chinks of the wainscot.

Krupena was originally exclusively a Moslem town, and a part of the old bazaar remains. The original inhabitants, who escaped the sword, went either to Sokol or into Bosnia. The hodgia, or [145]Moslem schoolmaster, being on some business at Krupena, came in the morning to see us. His dress was nearly all in white, and his legs bare from the knee. He told me that the Vayvode of Sokol had a curious mental malady. Having lately lost a son, a daughter, and a grandson, he could no longer smoke, for when his servant entered with a pipe, he imagined he saw his children burning in the tobacco.

During the whole day we toiled upwards, through woods and wilds of a character more rocky than that of the previous day, and on attaining the ridge of the Gutchevo range, I looked down with astonishment on Sokol, which, though lying at our feet, was yet perched on a lone fantastic crag, which exactly suited the description of the collector of Shabatz,—"a city and castle built on the capital of a column of rock." Beyond it was a range of mountains further in Bosnia; further on, another outline, and then another, and another. I at once felt that, as a tourist, I had broken fresh ground, that I was seeing scenes of grandeur unknown to the English public. It was long since I had sketched. I instinctively [146]seized my book, but threw it away in despair, and, yielding to the rapture of the moment, allowed my eyes to mount step after step of this enchanted Alpine ladder.

We now, by a narrow, steep, and winding path cut on the face of a precipice, descended to Sokol, and passing through a rotting wooden bazaar, entered a wretched khan, and ascending a sort of staircase, were shown into a room with dusty mustabahs; a greasy old cushion, with the flock protruding through its cover, was laid down for me, but I, with polite excuses, preferred the bare board to this odious flea-hive. The more I declined the cushion, the more pressing became the khan-keeper that I should carry away with me some reminiscence of Sokol. Finding that his upholstery was not appreciated, the khan-keeper went to the other end of the apartment, and began to make a fire for coffee; for this being Ramadan time, all the fires were out, and most of the people were asleep. Meanwhile the captain sent for the Disdar Aga. I offered to go into the citadel, and pay him a visit, but the captain said, "You have no idea how sensitive these people [147]are: even now they are forming all sorts of conjectures as to the object of your visit; we must, therefore, take them quietly in their own way, and do nothing to alarm them. In a few minutes the Disdar Aga will be here; you can then judge, by the temper he is in, of the length of your stay, and the extent to which you wish to carry your curiosity."

I admitted that the captain was speaking sense, and waited patiently till the Aga made his appearance.

Footsteps were heard on the staircase, and the Mutsellim entered,—a Turk, about forty-five years of age, who looked cross, as most men are when called from a sound sleep. His fez was round as a wool-bag, and looked as if he had stuffed a shawl into it before putting it on, and his face and eyes had something of the old Mongol or Tartar look. He was accompanied by a Bosniac, who was very proud and insolent in his demeanour. After the usual compliments, I said, "I have seen some countries and cities, but no place so curious as Sokol. I left Belgrade on a tour through the interior, not knowing of its existence. Other[148]wise I would have asked letters of Hafiz Pasha to you: for, intending to go to Nish, he gave me a letter to the Pasha there. But the people of this country having advised me not to miss the wonder of Servia, I have come, seduced by the account of its beauty, not doubting of your good reception of strangers:" on which I took out the letter of Hafiz Pasha, the direction of which he read, and then he said, in a husky voice which became his cross look,—

"I do not understand your speech; if you have seen Belgrade, you must find Sokol contemptible. As for your seeing the citadel, it is impossible; for the key is with the Disdar Aga, and he is asleep, and even if you were to get in, there is nothing to be seen."

After some further conversation, in the course of which I saw that it would be better not to attempt "to catch the Tartar," I restricted myself to taking a survey of the town. Continuing our walk in the same direction as that by which we entered, we completed the threading of the bazaar, which was truly abominable, and arrived at the gate of the citadel, which was open; so [149]that the story of the key and the slumbers of the Disdar Aga was all fudge. I looked in, but did not enter. There are no new works, and it is a castle such as those one sees on the Rhine; but its extraordinary position renders it impregnable in a country impracticable for artillery. Although blockaded in the time of the Revolution, and the Moslem garrison reduced to only seven men, it never was taken by the Servians; although Belgrade, Ushitza, and all the other castles, had fallen into their hands. Close to the castle is a mosque in wood, with a minaret of wood, although the finest stone imaginable is in abundance all around. The Mutsellim opened the door, and showed me the interior, with blank walls and a faded carpet, opposite the Moharrem. He would not allow me to go up the minaret, evidently afraid I would peep over into the castle.

Retracing our steps I perceived a needle-shaped rock that overlooked the abyss under the fortress, so taking off my boots, I scrambled up and attained the pinnacle; but the view was so fearful, that, afraid of getting dizzy, I turned to descend, [150]but found it a much more dangerous affair than the ascent; at length by the assistance of Paul I got down to the Mutsellim, who was sitting impatiently on a piece of rock, wondering at the unaccountable Englishman. I asked him what he supposed to be the height of the rock on which the citadel was built, above the level of the valley below.

"What do I know of engineering?" said he, taking me out of hearing: "I confess I do not understand your object. I hear that on the road you have been making inquiries as to the state of Bosnia: what interest can England have in raising disturbances in that country?"

"The same interest that she has in producing political disorder in one of the provinces of the moon. In some semi-barbarous provinces of Hungary, people confound political geography with political intrigue. In Aleppo, too, I recollect standing at the Bab-el-Nasr, attempting to spell out an inscription recording its erection, and I was grossly insulted and called a Mehendis (engineer); but you seem a man of more sense and discernment."

"Well, you are evidently not a chapkun. There [151]is nothing more to be seen in Sokol. Had it not been Ramadan we should have treated you better, be your intentions good or bad. I wish you a pleasant journey; and if you wish to arrive at Liubovia before night-fall the sooner you set out the better, for the roads are not safe after dark."

We now descended by paths like staircases cut in the rocks to the valley below. Paul dismounted in a fright from his horse, and led her down; but my long practice of riding in the Druse country had given me an easy indifference to roads that would have appalled me before my residence there. When we got a little way along the valley, I looked back, and the view from below was, in a different style, as remarkable as that from above. Sokol looked like a little castle of Edinburgh placed in the clouds, and a precipice on the other side of the valley presented a perpendicular stature of not less than five hundred feet.

A few hours' travelling through the narrow valley of the Bogatschitza brought us to the bank of the Drina, where, leaving the up-heaved monuments of a chaotic world, we bade adieu to the Tremendous, and again saluted the Beautiful.



The Drina.—Liubovia.—Quarantine Station.—Derlatcha.—A Servian beauty.—A lunatic priest.—Sorry quarters.—Murder by brigands.


The Save is the largest tributary of the Danube, and the Drina is the largest tributary of the Save, but it is not navigable; no river scenery, however, can possibly be prettier than that of the Drina; as in the case of the Upper Danube from Linz to Vienna, the river winds between precipitous banks tufted with wood, but it was tame after the thrilling enchantments of Sokol. At one place a Roman causeway ran along the river, and we were told that a Roman bridge crossed a tributary of the Drina in this neighbourhood, which to this day bears the name of Latinski Tiupria, or Latin bridge.


At Liubovia the hills receded, and the valley was about half a mile wide, consisting of fine meadow land with thinly scattered oaks, athwart which the evening sun poured its golden floods, suggesting pleasing images of abundance without effort. This part of Servia is a wilderness, if you will, so scant is it of inhabitants, so free from any thing like inclosures, or fields, farms, labourers, gardens, or gardeners; and yet it is, and looks a garden in one place, a trim English lawn and park in another: you almost say to yourself, "The man or house cannot be far off: what lovely and extensive grounds, where can the hall or castle be hid?"[7]

Liubovia is the quarantine station on the high road from Belgrade to Seraievo. A line of buildings, parlatorio, magazines, and lodging-houses, faced the river. The director would fain have me pass the night, but the captain of Derlatcha had received notice of our advent, and we were obliged to push on, and rested only for coffee and pipes. The director was a Servian from the Austrian side of the Danube, and spoke German. He told me that three thousand individuals per annum performed quarantine, passing from Bosnia to Sokol and Belgrade, and that the principal imports Were hides, chestnuts, zinc, and iron manufactures from the town of Seraievo. On the opposite bank of the river was a wooden Bosniac guard-house.

[154]Remounting our horses after sunset, we continued along the Drina, now dubiously illuminated by the chill pallor of the rising moon, while hill and dale resounded with the songs of our men. No sooner had one finished an old metrical legend of the days of Stephan the powerful and Lasar the good, than another began a lay of Kara Georg, the "William Tell" of these mountains. Sometimes when we came to a good echo the pistols were fired off; at one place the noise had aroused a peasant, who came running across the grass to the road crying out, "O good men, the night is advancing: go no further, but tarry with me: the stranger will have a plain supper and a hard [155]couch, but a hearty welcome." We thanked him for his proffer, but held on.

At about ten o'clock we entered a thick dark wood, and after an ascent of a quarter of an hour emerged upon a fine open lawn in front of a large house with lights gleaming in the windows. The ripple of the Drina was no longer audible, but we saw it at some distance below us, like a cuirass of polished steel. As we entered the inclosure we found the house in a bustle. The captain, a tall strong corpulent man of about forty years of age, came forward and welcomed me.

"I almost despaired of your coming to-night," said he; "for on this ticklish frontier it is always safer to terminate one's journey by sunset. The rogues pass so easily from one side of the water to the other, that it is difficult to clear the country of them."

He then led me into the house, and going through a passage, entered a square room of larger dimensions than is usual in the rural parts of Servia. A good Turkey carpet covered the upper part of the room, which was fenced round by cushions placed against the wall, but not raised [156]above the level of the floor. The wall of the lower end of the room had a row of strong wooden pegs, on which were hung the hereditary and holyday clothes of the family, for males and females. Furs, velvets, gold embroidery, and silver mounted Bosniac pistols, guns, and carbines elaborately ornamented.

The captain, who appeared to be a plain, simple, and somewhat jolly sort of man, now presented me to his wife, who came from the Austrian aide of the Save, and spoke German. She seemed, and indeed was, a trim methodical housewife, as the order of her domestic arrangements clearly showed. Another female, whom I afterwards learned to be the wife of an individual of the neighbourhood who was absent, attracted my attention. Her age was about four and twenty, when the lines of thinking begin to mingle with those of early youth. In fact, from her tint I saw that she would soon be passata: her features too were by no means classical or regular, and yet she had unquestionably some of that super-human charm which Raphael sometimes infused into his female figures, as in the St. Cecilia. As [157]I repeated and prolonged my gaze, I felt that I had seen no eyes in Belgrade like those of the beauty of the Drina, who reminded me of the highest characteristic of expression—"a spirit scarcely disguised enough in the flesh." The presence of a traveller from an unknown country seemed to fill her with delight; and her wonder was childish, as if I had come from some distant constellation in the firmament.

Next day, the father of the captain made his appearance. The same old man, whom I had met at Palesh, and who had asked me, "if the king of my country lived in a strong castle?" We dined at mid-day by fine weather, the windows of the principal apartments being thrown open, so as to have the view of the valley, which was here nearly as wide as at Liubovia, but with broken ground. For the first time since leaving Belgrade we dined, not at an European table, but squatted round a sofra, a foot high, in the Eastern manner, although we ate with knives and forks. The cookery was excellent; a dish of stewed lamb being worthy of any table in the world.

Our host, the captain, never having seen Ush[158]itza, offered to accompany me thither; so we started early in the afternoon, having the Drina still on our right, and Bosniac villages, from time to time visible, and pretty to look at, but I should hope somewhat cleaner than Sokol. On arrival at Bashevitza the elders of the village stood in a row to receive us close to the house of conciliation. I perceived a mosque near this place, and asked if it was employed for any purpose. "No," said the captain, "it is empty. The Turks prayed in it, after their own fashion, to that God who is theirs and ours; and the house of God should not be made a grain magazine, as in many other Turkish villages scattered throughout Servia." At this place a number of wild ducks were visible, perched on rocks in the Drina, but were very shy; only once did one of our men get within shot, which missed; his gun being an old Turkish one, like most of the arms in this country, which are sometimes as dangerous to the marksman as to the mark.

Towards evening we quitted the lovely Drina, which, a little higher up, is no longer the boundary between Servia and Bosnia, being entirely within [159]the latter frontier, and entered the vale of Rogatschitza, watered by a river of that name, which was crossed by an ancient Servian bridge, with pointed arches of admirable proportions. The village where we passed the night was newly settled, the main street being covered with turf, a sign that few houses or traffic exist here. The khan was a hovel; but while it was swept out, and prepared for us, I sat down with the captain on a shopboard, in the little bazaar, where coffee was served. A priest, with an emaciated visage, sore eyes, and a distracted look, came up, and wished me good evening, and began a lengthened tale of grievances. I asked the khan-keeper who he was, and received for answer that he was a Greek priest from Bosnia, who had hoarded some money, and had been squeezed by the Moslem tyrant of his village, which drove him mad. Confused ejaculations, mingled with sighs, fell from him, as if he supposed his story to be universally known.

"Sit down, good man," said I, "and tell me your tale, for I am a stranger, and never heard it before. Tell it me, beginning with the beginning, and ending with the end."


"Bogami Gospody," said the priest, wiping the copious tears, "I was once the happiest man in Bosnia; the sun never rose without my thanking God for having given me so much peace and happiness: but Ali Kiahya, where I lived, received information that I had money hid. One day his Momkes took me before him. My appeals for mercy and justice were useless. I was thrown down on my face, and received 617 strokes on my soles, praying for courage to hold out. At the 618th stroke my strength of mind and body failed, and I yielded up all my money, seven hundred dollars, to preserve my life. For a whole year I drank not a drop of wine, nothing but brandy, brandy, brandy."

Here the priest sobbed aloud. My heart was wrung, but I was in no condition to assist him; so I bade him be of good cheer, and look on his misfortune as a gloomy avenue to happier and brighter days.

We slept on hay, put under our carpets and pillows, this being the first time since leaving Belgrade that we did not sleep in sheets. We next day ascended the Rogatschitza river to its [161]source, and then, by a long ascent through pines and rocks, attained the parting of the waters.[8]

Leaving the basin of the Drina, we descended to that of the Morava by a steep road, until we came to beautifully rich meadows, which are called the Ushitkza Luka, or meadows, which are to this day a debatable ground for the Moslem inhabitants of Ushitza, and the Servian villages in the neighbourhood. From here to Ushitza the road is paved, but by whom we could not learn. The stones were not large enough to warrant the belief of its being a Roman causeway, and it is probably a relic of the Servian empire.


[7] On my return from Servia, I found that the author of Eothen had recorded a similar impression derived from the Tartar journey on the high road from Belgrade towards Constantinople: but the remark is much more applicable to the sylvan beauty of the interior of Servia.

[8] After seeing Ushitza, the captain, who accompanied me, returned to his family, at Derlatcha, and, I lament to say, that at this place he was attacked by the robbers, who, in summer, lurk in the thick woods on the two frontiers. The captain galloped off, but his two servants were killed on the spot.



Arrival at Ushitza.—Wretched streets.—Excellent Khan.—Turkish Vayvode.—A Persian Dervish.—Relations of Moslems and Christians.—Visit the Castle.—Bird's eye view.


Before entering Ushitza we had a fair prospect of it from a gentle eminence. A castle, in the style of the middle ages, mosque minarets, and a church spire, rose above other objects; each memorializing the three distinct periods of Servian history: the old feudal monarchy, the Turkish occupation, and the new principality. We entered the bazaars, which were rotting and ruinous, the air infected with the loathsome vapours of dung-hills, and their putrescent carcases, tanpits with green hides, horns, and offal: here and there a [163]hideous old rat showed its head at some crevice in the boards, to complete the picture of impurity and desolation.

Strange to say, after this ordeal we put up at an excellent khan, the best we had seen in Servia, being a mixture of the German Wirthshaus, and the Italian osteria, kept by a Dalmatian, who had lived twelve years at Scutari in Albania. His upper room was very neatly furnished and new carpeted.

In the afternoon we went to pay a visit to the Vayvode, who lived among gardens in the upper town, out of the stench of the bazaars. Arrived at the house we mounted a few ruined steps, and passing through a little garden fenced with wooden paling, were shown into a little carpeted kiosk, where coffee and pipes were presented, but not partaken of by the Turks present, it being still Ramadan. The Vayvode was an elderly man, with a white turban and a green benish, having weak eyes, and a alight hesitation in his speech; but civil and good-natured, without any of the absurd suspicions of the Mutsellim of Sokol. He at once granted me permission to see the castle, with the [164]remark, "Your seeing it can do us no good and no harm, Belgrade castle is like a bazaar, any one can go out and in that likes." In the course of conversation he told us that Ushitza is the principal remaining settlement of the Moslems in Servia; their number here amounting to three thousand five hundred, while there are only six hundred Servians, making altogether a population of somewhat more than four thousand souls. The Vayvode himself spoke Turkish on this occasion; but the usual language at Sokol is Bosniac (the same as Servian).

We now took our leave of the Vayvode, and continued ascending the same street, composed of low one-storied houses, covered with irregular tiles, and inclosed with high wooden palings to secure as much privacy as possible for the harems. The palings and gardens ceased; and on a terrace built on an open space stood a mosque, surrounded by a few trees; not cypresses, for the climate scarce allows of them, but those of the forests we had passed. The portico was shattered to fragments, and remained as it was at the close of the revolution. Close by, is a Turbieh or saint's [165]tomb, but nobody could tell me to whom or at what period it was erected.

Within a little inclosed garden I espied a strangely dressed figure, a dark-coloured Dervish, with long glossy black hair. He proved to be a Persian, who had travelled all over the East. Without the conical hat of his order, the Dervish would have made a fine study for a Neapolitan brigand; but his manners were easy, and his conversation plausible, like those of his countrymen, which form as wide a contrast to the silent hauteur of the Turk, and the rude fanaticism of the Bosniac, as can well be imagined. His servant, a withered baboon-looking little fellow, in the same dress, now made his appearance and presented coffee.

Author. "Who would have expected to see a Persian on the borders of Bosnia? You Dervishes are great travellers."

Dervish. "You Ingleez travel a great deal more; not content with Frengistan, you go to Hind, and Sind, and Yemen.[9] The first Englishman I ever [166]saw, was at Meshed, (south-east of the Caspian,) and now I meet you in Roumelly."

Author. "Do you intend to go back?"

Dervish. "I am in the hands of Allah Talaa. These good Bosniacs here have built me this house, and given me this garden. They love me, and I love them."

Author. "I am anxious to see the mosque, and mount the minaret if it be permitted, but I do not know the custom of the place. A Frank enters mosques in Constantinople, Cairo, and Aleppo."

Dervish. "You are mistaken; the mosques of Aleppo are shut to Franks."

Author. "Pardon me; Franks are excluded from the mosque of Zekerieh in Aleppo, but not from the Osmanieh, and the Adelieh."

Dervish. "There is the Muezzin; I dare say he will make no difficulty."

The Muezzin, anxious for his backshish, made no scruple; and now some Moslems entered, and kissed the hand of the Dervish. When the conversation became general, one of them told me, in a low tone, that he gave all that he got in charity, [167]and was much liked. The Dervish cut some flowers, and presented each of us with one.

The Muezzin now looked at his watch, and gave me a wink, expressive of the approach of the time for evening prayer; so I followed him into the church, which had bare white-washed walls with nothing to remark; and then taking my hand, he led me up the dark and dismal spiral staircase to the top of the minaret; on emerging on the balcony of which, we had a general view of the town and environs.

Ushitza lies in a narrow valley surrounded by mountains. The Dietina, a tributary of the Morava, traverses the town, and is crossed by two elegantly proportioned, but somewhat ruinous, bridges. The principal object in the landscape is the castle, built on a picturesque jagged eminence, separated from the precipitous mountains to the south only by a deep gully, through which the Dietina struggles into the valley. The stagnation of the art of war in Turkey has preserved it nearly as it must have been some centuries ago. In Europe, feudal castles are complete ruins; in a country such as this, where contests are of a [168]guerilla character, they are neglected, but neither destroyed nor totally abandoned. The centre space in the valley is occupied by the town itself, which shows great gaps; whole streets which stood here before the Servian revolution, have been turned into orchards. The general view is pleasing enough; for the castle, although not so picturesque as that of Sokol, affords fine materials for a picture; but the white-washed Servian church, the fac simile of everyone in Hungary, rather detracts from the external interest of the view.

In the evening the Vayvode sent a message by his pandour, to say that he would pay me a visit along with the Agas of the town, who, six in number, shortly afterwards came. It being now evening, they had no objection to smoke; and as they sat round the room they related wondrous things of Ushitza towards the close of the last century, which being the entre-pôt between Servia and Bosnia, had a great trade, and contained then twelve thousand houses, or about sixty thousand inhabitants; so I easily accounted for the gaps in the middle of the town. The Vayvode complained bitterly of the inconveniencies to which [169]the quarantine subjected them in restricting the free communication with the neighbouring province; but he admitted that the late substitution of a quarantine of twenty-four hours, for one of ten days as formerly, was a great alleviation; "but even this," added the Vayvode, "is a hindrance: when there was no quarantine, Ushitza was every Monday frequented by thousands of Bosniacs, whom even twenty-four hours' quarantine deter."

I asked him if the people understood Turkish or Arabic, and if preaching was held. He answered, that only he and a few of the Agas understood Turkish,—that the Mollah was a deeply-read man, who said the prayers in the mosque in Arabic, as is customary everywhere; but that there was no preaching, since the people only knew their prayers in Arabic, but could not understand a sermon, and spoke nothing but Bosniac. I think that somebody told me that Vaaz, or preaching, is held in the Bosniac language at Seraievo. But my memory fails me in certainty on this point.

After a pleasant chat of about an hour they [170]went away. Our beds were, as the ingenious Mr. Pepys says, "good, but lousy."

Next day, the Servian Natchalnik, who, on my arrival, had been absent at Topola with the prince, came to see me; he was a middle-aged man, with most perfect self-possession, polite without familiarity or effort to please; he had more of the manner of a Moslem grandee, than of a Christian subject of the Sultan.

Natchalnik. "Believe me, the people are much pleased that men of learning travel through the country; it is a sign that we are not forgotten in Europe; thank God and the European powers, that we are now making progress."

Author. "Servia is certainly making progress; there can be no spectacle more delightful to a rightly constituted mind, than that of a hopeful young nation approaching its puberty. You Servians are in a considerable minority here in Ushitza. I hope you live on good terms with the Moslems."

Natchalnik. "Yes, on tolerable terms; but the old ones, who remember the former abject position of the Christians, cannot reconcile themselves [171]to my riding on horseback through the bazaars, and get angry when the Servians sing in the woods, or five off muskets during a rejoicing."

The Vayvode now arrived with a large company of Moslems, and we proceeded on foot to see the castle, our road being mostly through those gardens, on which the old town stood, and following the side of the river, to the spot where the high banks almost close in, so as to form a gorge. We ascended a winding path, and entered the gate, which formed the outlet of a long, gloomy, and solidly built passage.

A group of armed militia men received us as we entered, and on regaining the daylight within the walls, we saw nothing but the usual spectacle of crumbling crenellated towers, abandoned houses, rotten planks, and unserviceable dismounted brass guns. The doujou, or keep, was built on a detached rock, connected by an old wooden bridge. The gate was strengthened with heavy nails, and closed by a couple of enormous old fashioned padlocks. The Vayvode gave us a hint not to ask a sight of the interior, by stating that it was only opened at the period of inspec[172]tion of the Imperial Commissioner. The bridge which overlooked the romantic gorge,—the rocks here rising precipitately from both sides of the Dietina,—seemed the favourite lounge of the garrison, for a little kiosk of rude planks had been knocked up; carpets were laid out; the Vayvode invited us to repose a little after our steep ascent; pipes and coffee were produced.

I remarked that the castle must have suffered severely in the revolution.

"This very place," said the Vayvode, "was the scene of the severest conflict. The Turks had twenty-one guns, and the Servians seven. So many were killed, that that bank was filled up with dead bodies."

"I remember it well," said a toothless, lisping old Turk, with bare brown legs, and large feet stuck in a pair of new red shining slippers: "that oval tower has not been opened for a long time. If any one were to go in, his head would be cut off by an invisible hangiar." I smiled, but was immediately assured by several by-standers that it was a positive fact! Our party, swelled by fresh additions, all well armed, that made us look like [173]a large body of Haiducks going on a marauding expedition, now issued by a gate in the castle, opposite to that by which I entered, and began to toil up the hill that overlooks Ushitza, in order to have a bird's-eye view of the whole town and valley. On our way up, the Natchalnik told me, that although long resident here, he had never seen the interior of the castle, and that I was the first Christian to whom its gates had been opened since the revolution.

The old Vayvode, notwithstanding his cumbrous robes, climbed as briskly as any of us to the detached fort on the peak of the hill, whence we looked down on Ushitza and all its environs; but I was disappointed in the prospect, the objects being too much below the level of the eye. The landscape was spotty. Ushitza, instead of appearing a town, looked like a straggling assemblage of cottages and gardens. The best view is that below the bridge, looking to the castle.


[9] This is a phrase, and had no relation to the occupation of Sind or Aden.



Poshega.—The river Morava.—Arrival at Csatsak.—A Viennese Doctor.—Project to ascend the Kopaunik.—Visit the Bishop.—Ancient Cathedral Church.—Greek Mass.—Karanovatz.—Emigrant Priest.—Albania Disorders.—Salt Mines.


On leaving Ushitza, the Natchalnik accompanied me with a cavalcade of twenty or thirty Christians, a few miles out of the town. The afternoon was beautiful; the road lay through hilly ground, and after two hours' riding, we saw Poshega in the middle of a wide level plain; after descending to which, we crossed the Scrapesh by an elegant bridge of sixteen arches, and entering the village, put up at a miserable khan, although Poshega is the embryo of a town symmetrically and geometrically laid out. Twelve years ago a [175]Turk wounded a Servian in the streets of Ushitza, in a quarrel about some trifling matter. The Servian pulled out a pistol, and shot the Turk dead on the spot. Both nations seized their arms, and rushing out of the houses, a bloody affray took place, several being left dead on the spot. The Servians, feeling their numerical inferiority, now transplanted themselves to the little hamlet of Poshega, which is in a finer plain than that of Ushitza; but the colony does not appear to prosper, for most of the Servians have since returned to Ushitza.

Poshega, from remnants of a nobler architecture, must have been a Roman colony. At the new church a stone is built into the wall, having the fragment of an inscription:—

A V I A.  G E N T

I L   F L AI   S P R

and various other stones are to be seen, one with a figure sculptured on it.

Continuing our way down the rich valley of the Morava, which is here several miles wide, and [176]might contain ten times the present population, we arrived at Csatsak, which proved to be as symmetrically laid out as Poshega. Csatsak is old and new, but the old Turkish town has disappeared, and the new Servian Csatsak is still a foetus. The plan on which all these new places are constructed, is simple, and consists of a circular or square market place, with bazaar shops in the Turkish manner, and straight streets diverging from them. I put up at the khan, and then went to the Natchalnik's house to deliver my letter. Going through green lanes, we at length stopped at a high wooden paling, over-topped with rose and other bushes. Entering, we found ourselves on a smooth carpet of turf, and opposite a pretty rural cottage, somewhat in the style of a citizen's villa in the environs of London. The Natchalnik was not at home, but was gracefully represented by his young wife, a fair specimen of the beauty of Csatsak; and presently the Deputy and the Judge came to see us. A dark complexioned, good-natured looking man, between thirty and forty, now entered, with an European air, German trowsers and waistcoat, [177]but a Turkish riding cloak. "There comes the doctor," said the lady, and the figure with the Turkish riding cloak thus announced himself:—

Doctor. "I' bin a' Wiener."

Author. "Gratulire: dass iss a' lustige Stadt."

Doctor. "Glaub'ns mir, lust'ger als Csatsak."

Author. "I' glaub's."

The Judge, a sedate, elderly, and slightly corpulent man, asked me what route I had pursued, and intended to pursue. I informed him of the particulars of my journey, and added that I intended to follow the valley of the Morava to its confluence with the Danube. "The good folks of Belgrade do not travel for their pleasure, and could give me little information; therefore, I have chalked out my route from the study of the map."

"You have gone out of your way to see Sokol," said he; "you may as well extend your tour to Novibazaar, and the Kopaunik. You are fond of maps: go to the peak of the Kopaunik, and you will see all Servia rolled out before you from Bosnia to Bulgaria, and from the Balkan to [178]the Danube; not a map, or a copy, but the original."

"The temptation is irresistible.—My mind is made up to follow your advice."

We now went in a body, and paid our visit to the Bishop of Csatsak, who lives in the finest house in the place; a large well-built villa, on a slight eminence within a grassy inclosure. The Bishop received us in an open kiosk, on the first floor, fitted all round with cushions, and commanding a fine view of the hills which inclose the plain of the Morava. The thick woods and the precipitous rocks, which impart rugged beauty to the valley of the Drina, are here unknown; the eye wanders over a rich yellow champaign, to hills which were too distant to present distinct details, but vaguely grey and beautiful in the transparent atmosphere of a Servian early autumn.

The Bishop was a fine specimen of the Church militant,—a stout fiery man of sixty, in full-furred robes, and a black velvet cap. His energetic denunciations of the lawless appropriations of Milosh, had for many years procured him the [179]enmity of that remarkable individual; but he was now in the full tide of popularity.

His questions referred principally to the state of parties in England, and I could not help thinking that his philosophy must have been something like that of the American parson in the quarantine at Smyrna, who thought that fierce combats and contests were as necessary to clear the moral atmosphere, as thunder and lightning to purify the visible heavens. We now took leave of the Bishop, and went homewards, for there had been several candidates for entertaining me; but I decided for the jovial doctor, who lived in the house that was formerly occupied by Jovan Obrenovitch, the youngest and favourite brother of Milosh.

Next morning, as early as six o'clock, I was aroused by the announcement that the Natchalnik had returned from the country, and was waiting to see me. On rising, I found him to be a plain, simple Servian of the old school; he informed me that this being a saint's day, the Bishop would not commence mass until I was arrived. "What?" thought I to myself, "does the Bishop [180]think that these obstreperous Britons are all of the Greek religion." The doctor thought that I should not go; "for," said he, "whoever wishes to exercise the virtue of patience may do so in a Greek mass or a Hungarian law-suit!" But the Natchalnik decided for going; and I, always ready to conform to the custom of the country, accompanied him.

The cathedral church was a most ancient edifice of Byzantine architecture, which had been first a church, and then a mosque, and then a church again. The honeycombs and stalactite ornaments in the corners, as well as a marble stone in the floor, adorned with geometrical arabesques, showed its services to Islamism. But the pictures of the Crucifixion, and the figures of the priests, reminded me that I was in a Christian temple.

The Bishop, in pontificalibus, was dressed in a crimson velvet and white satin dress, embroidered in gold, which had cost £300 at Vienna; and as he sat in his chair, with mitre on head, and crosier in hand, looked, with his white bushy beard, an imposing representative of spiritual authority. Sometimes he softened, and looked bland, as if [181]it would not have been beneath him to grant absolution to an emperor.

A priest was consecrated on the occasion; but the service was so long, (full two hours and a half,) that I was fatigued with the endless bowings and motions, and thought more than once of the benevolent wish of the doctor, to see me preserved from a Greek mass and a Hungarian law-suit; but the singing was good, simple, massive, and antique in colouring. At the close of the service, thin wax tapers were presented to the congregation, which each of them lighted. After which they advanced and kissed the Cross and Gospels, which were covered with most minute silver and gold filagree work.

The prolonged service had given me a good appetite; and when I returned to the doctor, he smiled, and said, "I am sure you are ready for your café au lait."

"I confess it was rather langweilig."

"Take my advice for the future, and steer clear of a Greek mass, or a Hungarian law-suit."

We now went to take farewell of the Bishop, whom we found, as yesterday, in the kiosk, with [182]a fresh set of fur robes, and looking as superb as ever, with a large and splendid ring on his forefinger.

"If you had not come during a fast," growled he, with as good-humoured a smile as could be expected from so formidable a personage, "I would have given you a dinner. The English, I know, fight well at sea; but I do not know if they like salt fish."

A story is related of this Bishop, that on the occasion of some former traveller rising to depart, he asked, "Are your pistols in good order?" On the traveller answering in the affirmative, the Bishop rejoined, "Well, now you may depart with my blessing!"

Csatsak, although the seat of a Bishop and a Natchalnik, is only a village, and is insignificant when one thinks of the magnificent plain in which it stands. At every step I made in this country I thought of the noble field which it offers for a system of colonization congenial to the feelings, and subservient to the interests of the present occupants.

We now journeyed to Karanovatz, where we [183]arrived after sunset, and proceeded in the dark up a paved street, till we saw on our left a café, with lights gleaming through the windows, and a crowd of people, some inside, some outside, sipping their coffee. An individual, who announced himself as the captain of Karanovatz, stepped forward, accompanied by others, and conducted me to his house. Scarcely had I sat down on his divan when two handmaidens entered, one of them bearing a large basin in her hand.

"My guest," said the captain, "you must be fatigued with your ride. This house is your's. Suppose yourself at home in the country beyond the sea."

"What," said I, looking to the handmaidens, "supper already! You have divined my arrival to a minute."

"Oh, no; we must put you at your ease before supper time; it is warm water."

"Nothing can be more welcome to a traveller." So the handmaidens advanced, and while one pulled off my socks, I lolling luxuriously on the divan, and smoking my pipe, the other washed my feet with water, tepid to a degree, and then [184]dried them. With these agreeable sensations still soothing me, coffee was brought by the lady of the house, on a very pretty service; and I could not help admitting that there was less roughing in Servian travel than I expected.

After supper, the pariah priest came in, a middle-aged man.

Author. "Do you remember the Turkish period at Karanovatz?"

Priest. "No; I came here only lately. My native place is Wuchitern, on the borders of a large lake in the High Balkan; but, in common with many of the Christian inhabitants, I was obliged to emigrate last year."

Author. "For what reason?"

Priest. "A horde of Albanians, from fifteen to twenty thousand in number, burst from the Pashalic of Scodra upon the peaceful inhabitants of the Pashalic of Vrania, committing the greatest horrors, burning down villages, and putting the inhabitants to the torture, in order to get money, and dishonouring all the handsomest women. The Porte sent a large force, disarmed the rascals, and sent the leaders to the galleys; but I and my [185]people find ourselves so well here that we feel little temptation to return."

The grand exploit in the life of our host was a caravan journey to Saloniki, where he had the satisfaction of seeing the sea, a circumstance which distinguished him, not only from the good folks of Karanovatz, but from most of his countrymen in general.

"People that live near the sea," said he, "get their salt cheap enough; but that is not the case in Servia. When Baron Herder made his exploration of the stones and mountains of Servia, he discovered salt in abundance somewhere near the Kopaunik; but Milosh, who at that time had the monopoly of the importation of Wallachian salt in his own hands, begged him to keep the place secret, for fear his own profits would suffer a diminution. Thus we must pay a large price for foreign salt, when we have plenty of it at our own doors."[10]

Next day, we walked about Caranovatz. It is symmetrically built like Csatsak, but better paved and cleaner.


[10] I have since heard that the Servian salt is to be worked.



Coronation Church of the ancient Kings of Servia.—Enter the Highlands.—Valley of the Ybar.—First view of the High Balkan.—Convent of Studenitza.—Byzantine Architecture.—Phlegmatic Monk.—Servian Frontier.—New Quarantine.—Russian Major.


We again started after mid-day, with the captain and his momkes, and, proceeding through meadows, arrived at Zhitchka Jicha. This is an ancient Servian convent, of Byzantine architecture, where seven kings of Servia were crowned, a door being broken into the wall for the entrance of each sovereign, and built up again on his departure. It is situated on a rising ground, just where the river Ybar enters the plain of Karanovatz. The environs are beautiful. The hills are of moderate [187]height, covered with verdure and foliage; only campaniles were wanting to the illusion of my being in Italy, somewhere about Verona or Vicenza, where the last picturesque undulations of the Alps meet the bountiful alluvia of the Po. Quitting the valley of the Morava, we struck southwards into the highlands. Here the scene changed; the valley of the Ybar became narrow, the vegetation scanty; and, at evening, we arrived at a tent made of thick matted branches of trees, which had been strewn for us with fresh hay. The elders of Magletch, a hamlet an hour off, came with an offer of their services, in case they were wanted.

The sun set; and a bright crackling fire of withered branches of pine, mingling its light with the rays of the moon in the clear chill of a September evening, threw a wild and unworldly pallor over the sterile scene of our bivouac, and the uncouth figures of the elders. They offered me a supper; but contenting myself with a roasted head of Indian corn, and rolling my cloak and pea jacket about me, I fell asleep: but felt so cold that, at two o'clock, I roused the encamp[188]ment, sounded to horse, and, in a few minutes, was again mounting the steep paths that lead to Studenitza.

Day gradually dawned, and the scene became wilder and wilder; not a chalet was to be seen, for the ruined castle of Magletch on its lone crag, betokened nothing of humanity. Tall cedars replaced the oak and the beech, the scanty herbage was covered with hoar-frost. The clear brooks murmured chillingly down the unshaded gullies, and a grand line of sterile peaks to the South, showed me that I was approaching the backbone of the Balkan. All on a sadden I found the path overlooking a valley, with a few cocks of hay on a narrow meadow; and another turn of the road showed me the lines of a Byzantine edifice with a graceful dome, sheltered in a wood from the chilling winter blasts of this highland region. Descending, and crossing the stream, we now proceeded up to the eminence on which the convent was placed, and I perceived thick walls and stout turrets, which bade a sturdy defiance to all hostile intentions, except such as might be supported by artillery.


On dismounting and entering the wicket, I found myself in an extensive court, one side of which was formed by a newly built crescent-shaped cloister; the other by a line of irregular out-houses with wooden stairs, chardacks and other picturesque but fragile appendages of Turkish domestic architecture.

Between these pigeon-holes and the new substantial, but mean-looking cloister, on the other side rose the church of polished white marble, a splendid specimen of pure Byzantine architecture, if I dare apply such an adjective to that fantastic middle manner, which succeeded to the style of the fourth century, and was subsequently re-cast by Christians and Moslems into what are called the Gothic and Saracenic.[11]


A fat, feeble-voiced, lymphatic-faced Superior, leaning on a long staff, received us; but the conversation was all on one side, for "Blagodarim," (I thank you,) was all that I could get out of him. After reposing a little in the parlour, I came out to view the church again, and expressed my pleasure at seeing so fair an edifice in the midst of such a wilderness.

The Superior slowly raised his eyebrows, looked first at the church, then at me, and relapsed into a frowning interrogative stupor; at last, suddenly rekindling as if he had comprehended my meaning, added "Blagodarim" (I thank you). A shrewd young man, from a village a few miles off, now came forward just as the Superior's courage pricked him on to ask if there were any convents in my country; "Very few," said I.

"But there are," said the young pert Servian, "a great many schools and colleges where useful sciences are taught to the young, and hospitals, where active physicians cure diseases."

[191]This was meant as a cut to the reverend Farniente. He looked blank, but evidently wanted the boldness and ingenuity to frame an answer to this redoubtable innovator. At last he gaped at me to help him out of the dilemma.

"I should be sorry," said I, "if any thing were to happen to this convent. It is a most interesting and beautiful monument of the ancient kingdom of Servia; I hope it will be preserved and honourably kept up to a late period."

"Blagodarim, (I am obliged to you,)" said the Superior, pleased at the Gordian knot being loosed, and then relapsed into his atrophy, without moving a muscle of his countenance.

I now examined the church; the details of the architecture showed that it had suffered severely from the Turks. The curiously twisted pillars of the outer door were sadly chipped, while noseless angels, and fearfully mutilated lions guarded the inner portal. Passing through a vestibule, we saw the remains of the font, which must have been magnificent; and covered with a cupola, the stumps of the white marble columns which support it are still visible; high on the wall is a [192]piece of sculpture, supposed to represent St. George.

Entering the church, I saw on the right the tomb of St. Simeon, the sainted king of Servia; beside it hung his banner with the half-moon on it, the insignium of the South Slavonic nation from the dawn of heraldry. Near the altar was the body of his son, St. Stephen, the patron saint of Servia. Those who accompanied us paid little attention to the architecture of the church, but burst into raptures at the sight of the carved wood of the screen, which had been most minutely and elaborately cut by Tsinsars, (as the Macedonian Latins are called to this day).

Close to the church is a chapel with the following inscription:

"I, Stephen Urosh, servant of God, great grandson of Saint Simeon and son of the great king Urosh, king of all the Servian lands and coasts, built this temple in honour of the holy and just Joachim and Anna, 1314. Whoever destroys this temple of Christ be accursed of God and of me a sinner."

Thirty-five churches in this district, mostly in [193]ruins, attest the piety of the Neman dynasty. The convent of Studenitza was built towards the end of the twelfth century, by the first of the dynasty. The old cloister of the convent was burnt down by the Turks. The new cloister was built in 1839. In fact it is a wonder that so fine a monument as the church should have been preserved at all.

There is a total want of arable land in this part of Servia, and the pasture is neither good nor abundant; but the Ybar is the most celebrated of all the streams of Servia for large quantities of trout.

Next day we continued our route direct South, through scenery of the same rugged and sterile description as that we had passed on the way hither. How different from the velvet verdure and woodland music of the Gutchevo and the Drina! At one place on the bank of the Ybar, there was room for only a led horse, by a passage cut in the rock. This place bears the name of Demir Kapu, or Iron Gate. In the evening we arrived at the frontier quarantine, called Raska, which is situated at two hours' distance from Novibazar.


In the midst of an amphitheatre of hills destitute of vegetation, which appeared low from the valley, although they must have been high enough above the level of the sea, was such a busy scene as one may find in the back settlements of Eastern Russia. Within an extensive inclosure of high palings was a heterogeneous mass of new buildings, some unfinished, and resounding with the saw, the plane, and the hatchet; others in possession of the employés in their uniforms; others again devoted to the safe keeping of the well-armed caravans, which bring their cordovans, oils, and cottons, from Saloniki, through Macedonia, and over the Balkan, to the gates of Belgrade.

On dismounting, the Director, a thin elderly man, with a modest and pleasing manner, told me in German that he was a native of the Austrian side of the Save, and had been attached to the quarantine at Semlin; that he had joined the quarantine service, with the permission of his government, and after having directed various other establishments, was now occupied in organizing this new point.


The traiteur of the quarantine gave us for dinner a very fair pillaff, as well as roast and boiled fowl; and going outside to our bench, in front of the finished buildings, I began to smoke. A slightly built and rather genteel-looking man, with a braided surtout, and a piece of ribbon at his button-hole, was sitting on the step of the next door, and wished me good evening in German. I asked him who he was, and he told me that he was a Pole, and had been a major in the Russian service, but was compelled to quit it in consequence of a duel.

I asked him if he was content with his present condition; and he answered, "Indeed, I am not; I am perfectly miserable, and sometimes think of returning to Russia, coûte qui coûte.—My salary is £20 sterling a year, and everything is dear here; for there is no village, but an artificial settlement; and I have neither books nor European society. I can hold out pretty well now, for the weather is fine; but I assure you that in winter, when the snow is on the ground, it exhausts my patience." We now took a turn down the inclosure to his house, which was the ground-floor of the guard-[196]house. Here was a bed on wooden boards, a single chair and table, without any other furniture.

The Director, obliging me, made up a bed for me in his own house, since the only resource at the traiteur's would have been my own carpet and pillow.


[11] Ingenious treaties have been written on the origin of the Gothic and Saracenic styles of architecture; but it seems to me impossible to contemplate many Byzantine edifices without feeling persuaded that this manner is the parent of both. Taking the Lower Empire for the point of departure, the Christian style spread north to the Baltic and westwards to the Atlantic. Saint Stephen's in Vienna, standing half way between Byzantium and Wisby, has a Byzantine façade and a Gothic tower. The Saracenic style followed the Moslem conquests round by the southern coasts of the Mediterranean to Morocco and Andaloss. Thus both the northern and the eastern styles met each other, first in Sicily and then in Spain, both having started from Constantinople.



Cross the Bosniac Frontier.—Gipsy Encampment.—Novibazar described.—Rough Reception.—Precipitate Departure.—Fanaticism.


Next day we were all afoot at an early hour, in order to pay a visit to Novibazar. In order to obviate the performance of quarantine on our return, I took an officer of the establishment, and a couple of men, with me, who in the Levant are called Guardiani; but here the German word Ueber-reiter, or over-rider, was adopted.

We continued along the river Raska for about an hour, and then descried a line of wooden palings going up hill and down dale, at right angles with the course we were holding. This was the frontier of the principality of Servia, and here [198]began the direct rule of the Sultan and the Pashalic of Bosnia. At the guard-house half a dozen Momkes, with old fashioned Albanian guns, presented arms.

After half an hour's riding, the valley became wider, and we passed through meadow lands, cultivated by Moslem Bosniacs in their white turbans; and two hours further, entered a fertile circular plain, about a mile and a half in diameter, surrounded by low hills, which had a chalky look, in the midst of which rose the minarets and bastions of the town and castle of Novibazar. Numerous gipsy tents covered the plain, and at one of them, a withered old gipsy woman, with white dishevelled hair hanging down on each side of her burnt umber face, cried out in a rage, "See how the Royal Servian people now-a-days have the audacity to enter Novibazar on horseback," alluding to the ancient custom of Christians not being permitted to ride on horseback in a town.[12]

On entering, I perceived the houses to be of a[199] most forbidding aspect, being built of mud, with only a base of bricks, extending about three feet from the ground. None of the windows were glazed; this being the first town of this part of Turkey in Europe that I had seen in such a plight. The over-rider stopped at a large stable-looking building, which was the khan of the place. Near the door were some bare wooden benches, on which some Moslems, including the khan-keeper, were reposing. The horses were foddered at the other extremity, and a fire burned in the middle of the floor, the smoke escaping by the doors. We now sent our letter to Youssouf Bey, the governor, but word was brought back that he was in the harem.

We now sallied forth to view the town. The castle, which occupies the centre, is on a slight eminence, and flanked with eight bastions; it contains no regular troops, but merely some redif, or militia. Besides one small well-built stone mosque, there is nothing else to remark in the place. Some of the bazaar shops seemed tolerably well furnished; but the place is, on the whole, [200]miserable and filthy in the extreme. The total number of mosques is seventeen.

The afternoon being now advanced, I went to call upon the Mutsellim. His konak was situated in a solitary street, close to the fields. Going through an archway, we found ourselves in the court of a house of two stories. The ground-floor was the prison, with small windows and grated wooden bars. Above was an open corridor, on which the apartments of the Bey opened. Two rusty, old fashioned cannons were in the middle of the court. Two wretched-looking men, and a woman, detained for theft, occupied one of the cells. They asked us if we knew where somebody, with an unpronounceable name, had gone. But not having had the honour of knowing any body of the light-fingered profession, we could give no satisfactory information on the subject.

The Momke, whom we had asked after the governor, now re-descended the rickety steps, and announced that the Bey was still asleep; so I walked out, but in the course of our ramble learned [201]that he was afraid to see us, on account of the fanatics in the town: for, from the immediate vicinity of this place to Servia, the inhabitants entertain a stronger hatred of Christians than is usual in the other parts of Turkey, where commerce, and the presence of Frank influences, cause appearances to be respected. But the people here recollected only of one party of Franks ever visiting the town.[13]

We now sauntered into the fields; and seeing the cemetery, which promised from its elevation to afford a good general view of the town, we ascended, and were sorry to see so really pleasing a situation abused by filth, indolence, and barbarism.

The castle was on the elevated centre of the town; and the town sloping on all aides down to the gardens, was as nearly as possible in the centre of the plain. When we had sufficiently examined the carved stone kaouks and turbans on the tomb stones, we re-descended towards the town. A savage-looking Bosniac now started up from behind a low outhouse, and trembling with rage and [202]fanaticism began to abuse us: "Giaours, kafirs, spies! I know what you have come for. Do you expect to see your cross planted some day on the castle?"

The old story, thought I to myself; the fellow takes me for a military engineer, exhausting the resources of my art in a plan for the reduction of the redoubtable fortress and city of Novibazar.

"Take care how you insult an honourable gentleman," said the over-rider; "we will complain to the Bey."

"What do we care for the Bey?" said the fellow, laughing in the exuberance of his impudence. I now stopped, looked him full in the face, and asked him coolly what he wanted.

"I will show you that when you get into the bazaar," and then he suddenly bolted down a lane out of sight.

A Christian, who had been hanging on at a short distance, came up and said—

"I advise you to take yourself out of the dust as quickly as possible. The whole town is in a state of alarm; and unless you are prepared for resistance, something serious may happen: for the [203]fellows here are all wild Arnaouts, and do not understand travelling Franks."

"Your advice is a good one; I am obliged to you for the hint, and I will attend to it."

Had there been a Pasha or consul in the place, I would have got the fellow punished for his insolence: but knowing that our small party was no match for armed fanatics, and that there was nothing more to be seen in the place, we avoided the bazaar, and went round by a side street, paid our khan bill,[14] and, mounting our horses, trotted rapidly out of the town, for fear of a stray shot; but the over-rider on getting clear of the suburbs instead of relaxing got into a gallop.

"Halt," cried I, "we are clear of the rascals, and fairly out of town;" and coming up to the eminence crowned with the Giurgeve Stupovi, on which was a church, said to have been built by Stephen Dushan the Powerful, I resolved to ascend, and got the over-rider to go so far; but some Bosniacs in a field warned us off with menacing gestures. The over-rider said, "For[204] God's sake let us go straight home. If I go back to Novibazar my life may be taken."

Not wishing to bring the poor fellow into trouble, I gave up the project, and returned to the quarantine.

Novibazar, which is about ten hours distant from the territory of Montenegro, and thrice that distance from Scutari, is, politically speaking, in the Pashalic of Bosnia. The Servian or Bosniac language here ceases to be the preponderating language, and the Albanian begins and stretches southward to Epirus. But through all the Pashalic of Scutari, Servian is much spoken.

Colonel Hodges, her Britannic Majesty's first consul-general in Servia, a gentleman of great activity and intelligence, from the laudable desire to procure the establishment of an entre-pôt for British manufactures in the interior, got a certain chieftain of a clan Vassoevitch, named British vice-consul at Novibazar. From this man's influence, there can be no doubt that had he stuck to trade he might have proved useful; but, inflated with vanity, he irritated the fana[205]ticism of the Bosniacs, by setting himself up as a little Christian potentate. As a necessary consequence, he was obliged to fly for his life, and his house was burned to the ground. The Vassoevitch clan have from time immemorial occupied certain mountains near Novibazar, and pretend, or pretended, to complete independence of the Porte, like the Montenegrines.

While I returned to the quarantine, and dismounted, the Director, to whom the over-rider related our adventure, came up laughing, and said, "What do you think of the rites of Novibazar hospitality?"

Author. "More honoured in the breach than in the observance, as our national poet would have said."

Director. "I know well enough what you mean."

By-stander. "The cause of the hatred of these fellows to you is, that they fear that some fine day they will be under Christian rule. We are pleased to see the like of you here. Our brethren on the other side may derive a glimmering hope of liberation from the circumstance."


Author. "My government is at present on the best terms with the Porte: the readiness with which such hopes arise in the minds of the people, is my motive for avoiding political conversations with Rayahs on those dangerous topics."


[12] Most of the gipsies here profess Islamism.

[13] I presume Messrs. Boué and party.

[14] The Austrian zwanziger goes here for only three piastres; in Servia it goes for five.



Ascent of the Kopaunik.—Grand Prospect.—Descent of the Kopaunik.—Bruss.—Involuntary Bigamy.—Conversation on the Servian character.—Krushevatz.—Relics of the Servian monarchy.


A middle-aged, showily dressed man, presented himself as the captain who was to conduct me to the top of the Kopaunik. His clerk was a fat, knock-kneed, lubberly-looking fellow, with a red face, a short neck, a low forehead, and bushy eyebrows and mustachios, as fair as those of a Norwegian; to add to his droll appearance, one of his eyes was bandaged up.

"As sure as I am alive, that fellow will go off in an apoplexy. What a figure! I would give [208]something to see that fellow climbing up the ladder of a steamer from a boat on a blowy day."

"Or dancing to the bagpipe," said Paul.

The sky was cloudy, and the captain seemed irresolute, whether to advise me to make the ascent or proceed to Banya. The plethoric one-eyed clerk, with more regard to his own comfort than my pleasure, was secretly persuading the captain that the expedition would end in a ducking to the skin, and, turning to me, said, "You, surely, do not intend to go up to day, Sir? Take the advice of those who know the country?"

"Nonsense," said I, "this is mere fog, which will clear away in an hour. If I do not ascend the Kopaunik now, I can never do so again."

Plethora then went away to get the director to lend his advice on the same side; and after much whispering he came back, and announced that my horse was unshod, and could not ascend the rocks. The director was amused with the clumsy bustle of this fellow to save himself a little exercise. I, at length, said to the doubting captain, "My good friend, an Englishman is like a Servian, [209]when he takes a resolution he does not change it. Pray order the horses."

We now crossed the Ybar, and ascending for hours through open pasture lands, arrived at some rocks interspersed with stunted ilex, where a lamb was roasting for our dinner. The meridian sun had long ere this pierced the clouds that overhung our departure, and the sight of the lamb completely irradiated the rubicund visage of the plethoric clerk. A low round table was set down on the grass, under the shade of a large boulder stone. An ilex growing from its interstices seemed to live on its wits, for not an ounce of soil was visible for its subsistence. Our ride gave us a sharp appetite, and we did due execution on the lamb. The clerk, fixing his eyes steadily on the piece he had singled out, tucked up his sleeves, as for a surgical operation, and bone after bone was picked, and thrown over the rock; and when all were satisfied, the clerk was evidently at the climacteric of his powers of mastication. After reposing a little, we again mounted horse.

A gentle wind skimmed the white straggling [210]clouds from the blue sky. Warmer and warmer grew the sunlit valleys; wider and wider grew the prospect as we ascended. Balkan after Balkan rose on the distant horizon. Ever and anon I paused and looked round with delight; but before reaching the summit I tantalized myself with a few hundred yards of ascent, to treasure the glories in store for the pause, the turn, and the view. When, at length, I stood on the highest peak; the prospect was literally gorgeous. Servia lay rolled out at my feet. There was the field of Kossovo, where Amurath defeated Lasar and entombed the ancient empire of Servia. I mused an instant on this great landmark of European history, and following the finger of an old peasant, who accompanied us, I looked eastwards, and saw Deligrad—the scene of one of the bloodiest fights that preceded the resurrection of Servia as a principality. The Morava glistened in its wide valley like a silver thread in a carpet of green, beyond which the dark mountains of Rudnik rose to the north, while the frontiers of Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, and Bulgaria walled in the prospect.


"Nogo Svet.—This is the whole world," said the peasant, who stood by me.

I myself thought, that if an artist wished for a landscape as the scene of Satan taking up our Saviour into a high mountain, he could find none more appropriate than this. The Kopaunik is not lofty; not much above six thousand English feet above the level of the sea. But it is so placed in the Servian basin, that the eye embraces the whole breadth from Bosnia to Bulgaria, and very nearly the whole length from Macedonia to Hungary.

I now thanked the captain for his trouble, bade him adieu, and, with a guide, descended the north eastern slope of the mountain. The declivity was rapid, but thick turf assured us a safe footing. Towards night-fall we entered a region interspersed with trees, and came to a miserable hamlet of shepherds, where we were fain to put up in a hut. This was the humblest habitation we had entered in Servia. It was built of logs of wood and wattling. A fire burned in the middle of the floor, the smoke of which, finding no vent but the [212]door, tried our eyes severely, and had covered the roof with a brilliant jet.

Hay being laid in a corner, my carpet and pillow were spread out on it; but sleep was impossible from the fleas. At length, the sheer fatigue of combating them threw me towards morning into a slumber; and on awaking, I looked up, and saw a couple of armed men crouching over the glowing embers of the fire. These were the Bolouk Bashi and Pandour, sent by the Natchalnik of Krushevatz, to conduct us to that town.

I now rose, and breakfasted on new milk, mingled with brandy and sugar, no bad substitute for better fare, and mounted horse.

We now descended the Grashevatzka river to Bruss, with low hills on each side, covered with grass, and partly wooded. Bruss is prettily situated on a rising ground, at the confluence of two tributaries of the Morava. It has a little bazaar opening on a lawn, where the captain of Zhupa had come to meet me. After coffee, we again mounted, and proceeded to Zhupa. Here the aspect of the country changed; the verdant [213]hills became chalky, and covered with vineyards, which, before the fall of the empire, were celebrated. To this day tradition points out a cedar and some vines, planted by Militza, the consort of Lasar.

The vine-dressers all stood in a row to receive us. A carpet had been placed under an oak, by the side of the river, and a round low table in the middle of it was soon covered with soup, sheeps' kidneys, and a fat capon, roasted to a minute, preceded by onions and cheese, as a rinfresco, and followed by choice grapes and clotted cream, as a dessert.

"I think," said I to the entertainer, as I shook the crumbs out of my napkin, and took the first whiff of my chibouque, "that if Stephan Dushan's chief cook were to rise from the grave, he could not give us better fare."

Captain. "God sends us good provender, good pasture, good flocks and herds, good corn and fruits, and wood and water. The land is rich; the climate is excellent; but we are often in political troubles."

Author. "These recent affairs are trifles, and [214]you are too young to recollect the revolution of Kara Georg."

Captain. "Yes, I am; but do you see that Bolouk Bashi who accompanied you hither; his history is a droll illustration of past times. Simo Slivovats is a brave soldier, but, although a Servian, has two wives."

Author. "Is he a Moslem?"

Captain. "Not at all. In the time of Kara Georg he was an active guerilla fighter, and took prisoner a Turk called Sidi Mengia, whose life he spared. In the year 1813, when Servia was temporarily re-conquered by the Turks, the same Sidi Mengia returned to Zhupa, and said, 'Where is the brave Servian who saved my life?' The Bolouk Bashi being found, he said to him, 'My friend, you deserve another wife for your generosity.' 'I cannot marry two wives,' said Simo; 'my religion forbids it.' But the handsomest woman in the country being sought out, Sidi Mengia sent a message to the priest of the place, ordering him to marry Simo to the young woman. The priest refused; but Sidi Mengia sent a second threatening message; so the priest married the couple. The [215]two wives live together to this day in the house of Simo at Zhupa. The archbishop, since the departure of the Turks, has repeatedly called on Simo to repudiate his second wife; but the principal obstacle is the first wife, who looks upon the second as a sort of sister: under these anomalous circumstances, Simo was under a sort of excommunication, until he made a fashion of repudiating the second wife, by the first adopting her as a sister."

The captain, who was an intelligent modest man, would fain have kept me till next day; but I felt anxious to get to Alexinatz; and on arrival at a hill called Vrbnitzkobrdo, the vale of the Morava again opened upon us in all its beauty and fertility, in the midst of which lay Krushevatz, which was the last metropolis of the Servian empire; and even now scarce can fancy picture to itself a nobler site for an internal capital. Situated half-way between the source and the mouth of the Morava, the plain has breadth enough for swelling zones of suburbs, suburban villas, gardens, fields, and villages.


It was far in the night when we arrived at Krushevatz. The Natchalnik was waiting with lanterns, and gave us a hearty welcome. As I went upstairs his wife kissed my hand, and I in sport wished to kiss her's; but the Natchalnik said, "We still hold to the old national custom, that the wife kisses the hand of a stranger." Our host was a fair-haired man, with small features and person, a brisk manner and sharp intelligence, but tempered by a slight spice of vanity. The tout ensemble reminded me of the Berlin character.

Natchalnik. "I am afraid that, happy as we are to receive such strangers as you, we are not sufficiently acquainted with the proper ceremonies to be used on the occasion."

Author. "The stranger must conform to the usage of the country, not the country to the standard of the stranger. I came here to see the Servians as they are in their own nature, and not in their imitations of Europe. In the East there is more ceremony than in the West; and if you go to Europe you will be surprised at the absence of ceremonious compliments there."


Natchalnik. "The people in the interior are a simple and uncorrupted race; their only monitor is nature."

Author. "That is true: the European who judges of the Servians by the intrigues of Belgrade, will form an unfavourable opinion of them; the mass of the nation, in spite of its faults, is sound. Many of the men at the head of affairs, such as Simitch, Garashanin, &c., are men of integrity; but in the second class at Belgrade, there is a great mixture of rogues."

Natchalnik. "I know the common people well: they are laborious, grateful, and obedient; they bear ill-usage for a time, but in the end get impatient, and are with difficulty appeased. When I or any other governor say to one of the people, 'Brother, this or that must be done,' he crosses his hands on his breast, and says, 'It shall be done;' but he takes particular notice of what I do, and whether I perform what is due on my part. If I fail, woe betide me. The Obrenovitch party forgot this; hence their fall."

Next day we went to look at the remains of Servian royalty. A shattered gateway and ruined [218]walls, are all that now remain of the once extensive palace of Knes Lasar Czar Serbski; but the chapel is as perfect as it was when it occupied the centre of the imperial quadrangle. It is a curious monument of the period, in a Byzantine sort of style; but not for a moment to be compared in beauty to the church of Studenitza. Above one of the doors is carved the double eagle, the insignium of empire. The great solidity of this edifice recommended it to the Turks as an arsenal; hence its careful preservation. The late Servian governor had the Vandalism to whitewash the exterior, so that at a distance it looks like a vulgar parish church. Within is a great deal of gilding and bad painting; pity that the late governor did not whitewash the inside instead of the out. The Natchalnik told me, that under the whitewash fine bricks were disposed in diamond figures between the stones. This antique principle of tesselation applied by the Byzantines to perpendicular walls, and occasionally adopted and varied ad infinitum by the Saracens, is magnificently illustrated in the upper exterior of the ducal palace of Venice.



Formation of the Servian Monarchy.—Contest between the Latin and Greek Churches.—Stephan Dushan.—A Great Warrior.—Results of his Victories.—Knes Lasar.—Invasion of Amurath.—Battle of Kossovo.—Death of Lasar and Amurath.—Fall of the Servian Monarchy.—General Observations.


I cannot present what I have to say on the feudal monarchy of Servia more appropriately than in connexion with the architectural monuments of the period.

The Servians, known in Europe from the seventh century, at which period they migrated from the Carpathians to the Danube, were in the twelfth century divided into petty states.

"Le premier Roi fut un soldat heureux."


Neman the First, who lived near the present Novibazar, first cemented these scattered principalities into a united monarchy. He assumed the double eagle as the insignium of his dignity, and considered the archangel Michael as the patron saint of his family. He was brave in battle, cunning in politics, and the convent of Studenitza is a splendid monument of his love of the arts. Here he died, and was buried in 1195.

Servia and Bosnia were, at this remote period, the debatable territory between the churches of Rome and Constantinople, so divided was opinion at that time even in Servia Proper, where now a Roman Catholic community is not to be found, that two out of the three sons of this prince were inclined to the Latin ritual.

Stephan, the son of Neman, ultimately held by the Greek Church, and was crowned by his brother Sava, Greek Archbishop of Servia. The Chronicles of Daniel tell that "he was led to the altar, anointed with oil, clad in purple, and the archbishop, placing the crown on his head, cried aloud three times, 'Long live Stephan the first crowned King and Autocrat of Servia,' on which [221]all the assembled magnates and people cried, 'nogo lieto!' (many years!)"

The Servian kingdom was gradually extended under his successors, and attained its climax under Stephan Dushan, surnamed the Powerful, who was, according to all contemporary accounts, of tall stature and a commanding kingly presence. He began his reign in the year 1336, and in the course of the four following years, overran nearly the whole of what is now called Turkey in Europe; and having besieged the Emperor Andronicus in Thessalonica, compelled him to cede Albania and Macedonia. Prisrend, in the former province, was selected as the capital; the pompous honorary charges and frivolous ceremonial of the Greek emperors were introduced at his court, and the short-lived national order of the Knights of St. Stephan was instituted by him in 1346.

He then turned his arms northwards, and defeated Louis of Hungary in several engagements. He was preparing to invade Thrace, and attempt the conquest of Constantinople, in 1356, with eighty thousand men, but death cut him off in the midst of his career.


The brilliant victories of Stephan Dushan were a misfortune to Christendom. They shattered the Greek empire, the last feeble bulwark of Europe, and paved the way for those ultimate successes of the Asiatic conquerors, which a timely union of strength might have prevented. Stephan Dushan was the little Napoleon of his day; he conquered, but did not consolidate: and his scourging wars were insufficiently balanced by the advantage of the code of laws to which he gave his name.

His son Urosh, being a weak and incapable prince, was murdered by one of the generals of the army, and thus ended the Neman dynasty, after having subsisted 212 years, and produced eight kings and two emperors. The crown now devolved on Knes, or Prince Lasar, a connexion of the house of Neman, who was crowned Czar, but is more generally called Knes Lasar. Of all the ancient rulers of the country, his memory is held the dearest by the Servians of the present day. He appears to have been a pious and generous prince, and at the same time to have been a brave but unsuccessful general.

Amurath, the Ottoman Sultan, who had already [223]taken all Roumelia, south of the Balkan, now resolved to pass these mountains, and invade Servia Proper; but, to make sure of success, secretly offered the crown to Wuk Brankovich, a Servian chief, as a reward for his treachery to Lasar.

Wuk caught at the bait, and when the armies were in sight of each other, accused Milosh Kobilich, the son-in-law of Lasar, of being a traitor. On the night before the battle, Lasar assembled all the knights and nobles to decide the matter between Wuk and Milosh. Lasar then took a silver cup of wine, handed it over to Milosh, and said, "Take this cup of wine from my hand and drink it." Milosh drank it, in token of his fidelity, and said, "Now there is no time for disputing. To-morrow I will prove that my accuser is a calumniator, and that I am a faithful subject of my prince and father-in-law."

Milosh then embraced the plan of assassinating Amurath in his tent, and taking with him two stout youths, secretly left the Servian camp, and presented himself at the Turkish lines, with his lance reversed, as a sign of desertion. Arrived at [224]the tent of Amurath, he knelt down, and, pretending to kiss the hand of the Sultan, drew forth his dagger, and stabbed him in the body, from which wound Amurath died. Hence the usage of the Ottomans not to permit strangers to approach the Sultan, otherwise than with their arms held by attendants.

The celebrated battle of Kossovo then took place. The wing commanded by Wuk gave way, he being the first to retreat. The division commanded by Lasar held fast for some time, and, at length, yielded to the superior force of the Turks. Lasar himself lost his life in the battle, and thus ended the Servian monarchy on the 15th of June, 1389.

The state of Servia, previous to its subjugation by the Turks, appears to have been strikingly analogous to that of the other feudal monarchies of Europe; the revenue being derived mostly from crown lands, the military service of the nobles being considered an equivalent for the tenure of their possessions. Society consisted of ecclesiastics, nobles, knights, gentlemen, and peasants. A citizen class seldom or never figures [225]on the scene. Its merchants were foreigners, Byzantines, Venetians, or Ragusans, and history speaks of no Bruges or Augsburg in Servia, Bosnia, or Albania.

The religion of the state was that of the oriental church; the secular head of which was not the patriarch of Constantinople; but, as is now the case in Russia, the emperor himself, assisted by a synod, at the head of which was the patriarch of Servia and its dependencies.

The first article of the code of Stephan Dushan runs thus: "Care must be taken of the Christian religion, the holy churches, the convents, and the ecclesiastics." And elsewhere, with reference to the Latin heresy, as it was called, "the Orthodox Czar" was bound to use the most vigorous means for its extirpation; those who resisted were to be put to death.

At the death of a noble, his arms belonged by right to the Czar; but his dresses, gold and silver plate, precious stones, and gilt girdles fell to his male children, whom failing, to the daughters. If a noble insulted another noble, he paid a fine; if a gentleman insulted a noble, he was flogged.


The laity were called "dressers in white:" hence one must conclude that light coloured dresses were used by the people, and black by the clergy. Beards were worn and held sacred: plucking the beard of a noble was punished by the loss of the right hand.

Rape was punished with cutting off the nose of the man; the girl received at the same time a third of the man's fortune, as a compensation. Seduction, if not followed by marriage, was expiated by a pound of gold, if the party were rich; half a pound of gold, if the party were in mediocre circumstances; and cutting off the nose if the party were poor.

If a woman's husband were absent at the wars, she must wait ten years for his return, or for news of him. If she got sure news of his death, she must wait a year before marrying again. Otherwise a second marriage was considered adultery.

Great protection was afforded to friendly merchants, who were mostly Venetians. All lords of manors were enjoined to give them hospitality, and were responsible for losses sustained by robbery within their jurisdiction. The lessees of the [227]gold and silver mines of Servia, as well as the workmen of the state mint, were also Venetians; and on looking through Professor Shafarik's collection, I found all the coins closely resembling in die those of Venice. Saint Stephan is seen giving to the king of the day the banner of Servia, in the same way as Saint Mark gives the banner of the republic of Venice to the Doge, as seen on the old coins of that state.

The process of embalming was carried to high perfection, for the mummy of the canonized Knes Lasar is to be seen to this day. I made a pilgrimage some years ago to Vrdnik, a retired monastery in the Frusca Gora, where his mummy is preserved with the most religious care, in the church, exposed to the atmosphere. It is, of course, shrunk, shrivelled, and of a dark brown colour, bedecked with an antique embroidered mantle, said to be the same worn at the battle of Kossovo. The fingers were covered with the most costly rings, no doubt since added.

It appears that the Roman practice of burning the dead, (probably preserved by the Tsinsars, the descendants of the colonists in Macedonia,) was [228]not uncommon, for any village in which such an act took place was subject to fine.

If there be Moslems in secret to this day in Andalusia, and if there were worshippers of Odin and Thor till lately on the shores of the Baltic, may not some secret votaries of Jupiter and Mars have lingered among the recesses of the Balkan, for centuries after Christianity had shed its light over Europe?

The Servian monarchy having terminated more than half a century before the invention of printing, and most of the manuscripts of the period having been destroyed, or dispersed during the long Turkish occupation, very little is known of the literature of this period except the annals of Servia, by Archbishop Daniel, the original manuscript of which is now in the Hiliendar monastery of Mount Athos. The language used was the old Slaavic, now a dead language, but used to this day as the vehicle of divine service in all Greco-Slaavic communities from the Adriatic to the utmost confines of Russia, and the parent of all the modern varieties of the Southern and Eastern Slaavic languages.



A Battue missed.—Proceed to Alexinatz.—Foreign-Office Courier.—Bulgarian frontier.—Gipsey Suregee.—Tiupria.—New bridge and macadamized road.


The Natchalnik was the Nimrod of his district, and had made arrangements to treat me to a grand hunt of bears and boars on the Jastrabatz, with a couple of hundred peasants to beat the woods; but the rain poured, the wind blew, my sport was spoiled, and I missed glorious materials for a Snyders in print. Thankful was I, however, that the element had spared me during the journey in the hills, and that we were in snug quarters during the bad weather. A day later I should have been caught in the peasant's chimneyless-hut at the foot of the Balkan, and then should have roughed it in earnest.


When the weather settled, I was again in motion, ascending that branch of the Morava which comes from Nissa. There was nothing to remark in this part of Servia, which proved to be the least interesting part of our route, being wanting as well in boldness of outline as in luxuriant vegetation.

On approaching a khan, at a short distance from Alexinatz, I perceived an individual whom I guessed to be the captain of the place, along with a Britannic-looking figure in a Polish frock. This was Captain W——, a queen's messenger of the new school.

While we were drinking a cup of coffee, a Turkish Bin Bashi came upon his way to Belgrade from the army of Roumelia at Kalkendel; he told us that the Pasha of Nish had gone with all his force to Procupli to disarm the Arnaouts. I very naturally took out the map to learn where Procupli was; on which the Bin Bashi asked me if I was a military engineer! "That boy will be the death of me!"—so nobody but military engineers are permitted to look at maps.

For a month I had seen or heard nothing of [231]Europe and Europeans except the doctor at Csatsak, and his sage maxims about Greek masses and Hungarian law-suits. I therefore made prize of the captain, who was an intelligent man, with an abundance of fresh political chit-chat, and odds and ends of scandal from Paddington to the Bank, and from Pall-mall to Parliament-street, brimful of extracts and essences of Athenæums, United-Services, and other hebdomadals. Formerly Foreign-Office messengers were the cast-off butlers and valets of secretaries of state. For some time back they have been taken from the half-pay list and the educated classes. One or two can boast of very fair literary attainments; and a man who once a year spends a few weeks in all the principal capitals of Europe, from Madrid to St. Petersburg and Constantinople, necessarily picks up a great knowledge of the world. The British messengers post out from London to Semlin, where they leave their carriages, ride across to Alexinatz on the Bulgarian frontier, whence the despatches are carried by a Tartar to Constantinople, viâ Philippopoli and Adrianople.

On arriving at Alexinatz, a good English dinner [232]awaited us at the konak of the queen's messenger. It seemed so odd, and yet was so very comfortable, to have roast beef, plum pudding, sherry, brown stout, Stilton cheese, and other insular groceries at the foot of the Balkan. There was, moreover, a small library, with which the temporary occupants of the konak killed the month's interval between arrival and departure.

Next day I visited the quarantine buildings with the inspector; they are all new, and erected in the Austrian manner. The number of those who purge their quarantine is about fourteen thousand individuals per annum, being mostly Bulgarians who wander into Servia at harvest time, and place at the disposal of the haughty, warlike, and somewhat indolent Servians their more humble and laborious services. A village of three hundred houses, a church, and a national school, have sprung up within the last few years at this point. The imports from Roumelia and Bulgaria are mostly Cordovan leather; the exports, Austrian manufactures, which pass through Servia.

When the new macadamized road from Belgrade [233]to this point is finished, there can be no doubt that the trade will increase. The possible effect of which is, that the British manufactures, which are sold at the fairs of Transbalkan Bulgaria, may be subject to greater competition. After spending a few days at Alexinatz, I started with post horses for Tiupria, as the horse I had ridden had been so severely galled, that I was obliged to send him to Belgrade.

Tiupria, being on the high road across Servia, has a large khan, at which I put up. I had observed armed guards at the entrance of the town, and felt at a loss to account for the cause. The rooms of the khan being uninhabitable, I sent Paul with my letter of introduction to the Natchalnik, and sat down in the khan kitchen, which was a parlour at the same time; an apartment, with a brick floor, one side of which was fitted up with a broad wooden bench (the bare boards being in every respect preferable in such cases to cushions, as one has a better chance of cleanliness).

The other side of the apartment was like a hedge alehouse in England, with a long table [234]and moveable benches. Several Servians sat here drinking coffee and smoking; others drinking wine. The Cahwagi was standing with his apron on, at a little charcoal furnace, stirring his small coffee-pot until the cream came. I ordered some wine for myself, as well as the Suregee, but the latter said, "I do not drink wine." I now looked him in the face, and saw that he was of a very dark complexion; for I had made the last stage after sunset, and had not remarked him.

Author. "Are you a Chingany (gipsy)?"

Gipsy. "Yes."

Author. "Now I recollect most of the gipsies here are Moslems; how do you show your adherence to Islamism?"

Gipsy. "I go regularly to mosque, and say my prayers."

Author. "What language do you speak?"

Gipsy. "In business Turkish or Servian; but with my family Chingany."

I now asked the Cahwagi the cause of the guards being posted in the streets; and he told me of the attempt at Shabatz, by disguised hussars, in which the worthy collector met his death. Paul [235]not returning, I felt impatient, and wondered what had become of him. At length he returned, and told me that he had been taken in the streets as a suspicious character, without a lantern, carried to the guard-house, and then to the house of the Natchalnik, to whom he presented the letter, and from whom he now returned, with a pandour, and a message to come immediately.

The Natchalnik met us half-way with the lanterns, and reproached me for not at once descending at his house. Being now fatigued, I soon went to bed in an apartment hung round with all sorts of arms. There were Albanian guns, Bosniac pistols, Vienna fowling-pieces, and all manner of Damascus and Khorassan blades.

Next morning, on awaking, I looked out at my window, and found myself in a species of kiosk, which hung over the Morava, now no longer a mountain stream, but a broad and almost navigable river. The lands on the opposite side were flat, but well cultivated, and two bridges, an old and a new one, spanned the river. Hence the name Tiupria, from the Turkish keupri (bridge,) [236]for here the high road from Belgrade to Constantinople crosses the Morava.

The Natchalnik, a tall, muscular, broad-shouldered man, now entered, and, saluting me like an old friend, asked me how I slept.

Author. "I thank you, never better in my life. My yesterday's ride gave me a sharp exercise, without excessive fatigue. I need not ask you how you are, for you are the picture of health and herculean strength."

Natchalnik. "I was strong in my day, but now and then nature tells me that I am considerably on the wrong side of my climacteric."

Author. "Pray tell me what is the reason of this accumulation of arms. I never slept with such ample means of defence within my reach,—quite an arsenal."

Natchalnik. "You have no doubt heard of the attempt of the Obrenovitch faction at Shabatz. We are under no apprehension of their doing any thing here; for they have no partizans: but I am an old soldier, and deem it prudent to take precautions, even when appearances [237]do not seem to demand them very imperiously. I wish the rascals would show face in this quarter, just to prevent our arms from getting rusty. Our greatest loss is that of Ninitch, the collector."

Author. "Poor follow. I knew him as well as any man can know another in a few days. He made a most favourable impression on me: it seems as it were but yesternight that I toasted him in a bumper, and wished him long life, which, like many other wishes of mine, was not destined to be fulfilled. How little we think of the frail plank that separates us from the ocean of eternity!"

Natchalnik. "I was once, myself, very near the other world, having entered as a volunteer in the Russian army that crossed the Balkan in 1828. I burned a mosque in defiance of the orders of Marshal Diebitch; the consequence was that I was tried by a court-martial, and condemned to be shot: but on putting in a petition, and stating that I had done so through ignorance, and in accomplishment of a vow of vengeance, my father and brother having been killed by the Turks in the [238]war of liberation, seven of our houses[15] having been burned at the same time, Marshal Diebitch on reading the petition pardoned me."

The doctor of the place now entered; a very little man with a pale complexion, and a black braided surtout. He informed me that he had been for many years a Surgeon in the Austrian navy. On my asking him how he liked that service, he answered, "Very well; for we rarely go out to the Mediterranean; our home-ports, Venice and Trieste, are agreeable, and our usual station in the Levant is Smyrna, which is equally pleasant. The Austrian vessels being generally frigates of moderate size, the officers live in a more friendly and comfortable way than if they were of heavier metal. But were I not a surgeon, I should prefer the wider sphere of distinction which colonial and trans-oceanic life and incident opens to the British naval officer; for I, myself, once made a voyage to the Brazils."

We now went to see the handsome new bridge in course of construction over the Morava. The [239]architect, a certain Baron Cordon, who had been bred a military engineer, happened to be there at the time, and obligingly explained the details. At every step I see the immense advantages which this country derives from its vicinity to Austria in a material point of view; and yet the Austrian and Servian governments seem perpetually involved in the most inexplicable squabbles. A gang of poor fellows who had been compromised in the unsuccessful attempts of last year by the Obrenovitch party, were working in chains, macadamizing the road.


[15] Houses or horses; my notes having been written with rapidity, the word is indistinct.



Visit to Ravanitza.—Jovial party.—Servian and Austrian jurisdiction.—Convent described.—Eagles reversed.—Bulgarian festivities.


The Natchalnik having got up a party, we proceeded in light cars of the country to Ravanitza, a convent two or three hours off in the mountains to the eastward. The country was gently undulating, cultivated, and mostly inclosed, the roads not bad, and the ensemble such as English landscapes were represented to be half a century ago. When we approached Ravanitza we were again lost in the forest. Ascending by the side of a mountain-rill, the woods opened, and the convent rose in an amphitheatre at the foot of an abrupt rocky mountain; a pleasing spot, but wanting the grandeur and beauty of the sites on the Bosniac frontier.

Ravanitza. Ravanitza.


The superior was a tall, polite, middle-aged man. "I expected you long ago," said he; "the Archbishop advised me of your arrival: but we thought something might have happened, or that you had missed us."

"I prolonged my tour," said I, "beyond the limits of my original project. The circumstance of this convent having been the burial-place of Knes Lasar, was a sufficient motive for my on no account missing a sight of it."

The superior now led us into the refectory, where a long table had been laid out for dinner, for with the number of Tiuprians, as well as the monks of this convent, and some from the neighbouring convent of Manasia, we mustered a very numerous and very gay party. The wine was excellent; and I could not help thinking with the jovial Abbot of Quimper:

"Quand nos joyeux verres
Se font dès le matin,
Tout le jour, mes frères,
Devient un festin."


By dint of interlarding my discourse with sundry apophthegms of Bacon, and stale paradoxes of Rochefoucaud, I passed current throughout Servia considerably above my real value; so after the usual toasts due to the powers that be, the superior proposed my health in a very long harangue. Before I had time to reply, the party broke into the beautiful hymn for longevity, which I had heard pealing in the cathedral of Belgrade for the return of Wucics and Petronievitch. I assured them that I was unworthy of such an honour, but could not help remarking that this hymn "for many years" immediately after the drinking of a health, was one of the most striking and beautiful customs I had noticed in Servia.

A very curious discussion arose after dinner, relative to the different footing of Servians in Austria, and Austrians in Servia. The former when in Austria, are under the Austrian law; the latter in Servia, under the jurisdiction of their own consul. Being appealed to, I explained that in former times the Ottoman Sultans easily permitted consular jurisdiction in Turkey, without stipulating corresponding privileges for their own subjects; [243]for Christendom, and particularly Austria, was considered Dar El Harb, or perpetually the seat of war, in which it was illegal for subjects of the Sultan to reside.

In the afternoon we made a survey of the convent and church, which were built by Knes Lasar, and surrounded by a wall and seven towers.

The church, like all the other edifices of this description, is Byzantine; but being built of stone, wants the refinement which shone in the sculptures and marbles of Studenitza. I remarked, however, that the cupolas were admirably proportioned and most harmoniously disposed. Before entering I looked above the door, and perceived that the double eagles carved there are reversed. Instead of having body to body, and wings and beaks pointed outwards, as in the arms of Austria and Russia, the bodies are separated, and beak looks inward to beak.

On entering we were shown the different vessels, one of which is a splendid cup, presented by Peter the Great, and several of the same description from the empress Catharine, some in gold, silver, and steel; others in gold, silver, and bronze.


The body of Knes Lasar, after having been for some time hid, was buried here in 1394, remained till 1684, at which period it was taken over to Virdnik in Syrmium, where it remains to this day.

In the cool of the evening the superior took me to a spring of clear delicious water, gushing from rocks environed with trees. A boy with a large crystal goblet, dashed it into the clear lymph, and presented it to me. The superior fell into eulogy of his favourite Valclusa, and I drank not only this but several glasses, with circumstantial criticisms on its excellence; so that the superior seemed delighted at my having rendered such ample justice to the water he so loudly praised, Entre nous,—the excellence of his wine, and the toasts that we had drunk to the health of innumerable loyal and virtuous individuals, rendered me a greater amateur of water-bibbing than usual.

After some time we returned, and saw a lamb roasting for supper in the open air; a hole being dug in the earth, chopped vine-twigs are burnt below it, the crimson glow of which soon roasts [245]the lamb, and imparts a particular fragrance to the flesh. After supper we went out in the mild dark evening to a mount, where a bonfire blazed and glared on the high square tower of the convent, and cushions were laid for chibouques and coffee. The not unpleasing drone of bagpipes resounded through the woods, and a number of Bulgarians executed their national dance in a circle, taking hold of each other's girdle, and keeping time with the greatest exactness.



Manasia—Has preserved its middle-age character.—Robinson Crusoe.—Wonderful Echo.—Kindness of the people.—Svilainitza.—Posharevatz.—Baby Giantess.


Next day, accompanied by the doctor, and a portion of the party of yesterday, we proceeded to the convent of Manasia, five hours off; our journey being mostly through forests, with the most wretched roads. Sometimes we had to cross streams of considerable depth; at other places the oaks, arching over head, almost excluded the light: at length, on doubling a precipitous promontory of rock, a wide open valley burst upon us, at the extremity of which we saw the donjons and crenellated towers of a perfect feudal castle surrounding and fencing in the domes of an [247]antique church. Again I say, that those who wish to see the castellated monuments of the middle ages just as they were left by the builders, must come to this country. With us in old Europe, they are either modernized or in ruins, and in many of them every tower and gate reflects the taste of a separate period; some edifices showing a grotesque progress from Gothic to Italian, and from Italian to Roman à la Louis Quinze: a succession which corresponds with the portraits within doors, which begin with coats of mail, or padded velvet, and end with bag-wigs and shoe-buckles. But here, at Manasia,

"The battle towers, the donjon keep,
The loophole grates, where captives weep.
The flanking walls that round it sweep,
In yellow lustre shone;"

and we were quietly carried back to the year of our Lord 1400; for this castle and church were built by Stephan, Despot of Servia, the son of Knes Lasar. Stephan, Instead of being "the Czar of all the Servian lands and coasts," became a mere hospodar, who must do as he was bid by his masters, the Turks.


Manasia being entirely secluded from the world, the monastic establishment was of a humbler and simpler nature than that of Ravanitza, and the monks, good honest men, but mere peasants in cowls.

After dinner, a strong broad-faced monk, whom I recognized as having been of the company at Ravanitza, called for a bumper, and began in a solemn matter-of-fact way, the following speech: "You are a great traveller in our eyes; for none of us ever went further than Syrmium. The greatest traveller of your country that we know of was that wonderful navigator, Robinson Crusoe, of York, who, poor man, met with many and great difficulties, but at length, by the blessing of God, was restored to his native country, his family, and his friends. We trust that the Almighty will guard over you, and that you will never, in the course of your voyages and travels, be thrown like him on a desert island; and now we drink your health, and long life to you." When the toast was drunk, I thanked the company, but added that from the revolutions in locomotion, I ran a far greater chance now-a-days of being [249]blown out of a steam-boat, or smashed to pieces on a railway.

From the rocks above Manasia is one of the most remarkable echoes I ever heard; at the distance of sixty or seventy yards from one of the towers the slightest whisper is rendered with the most amusing exactness.

From Manasia we went to Miliva, where the peasantry were standing in a row, by the side of a rustic tent, made of branches of trees. Grapes, roast fowl, &c. were laid out for us; but thanking them for their proffered hospitality, we passed on. From this place the road to Svilainitza is level, the country fertile, and more populous than we had seen any where else in Servia. At some places the villagers had prepared bouquets; at another place a school, of fifty or sixty children, was drawn up in the street, and sang a hymn of welcome.

At Svilainitza the people would not allow me to go any further; and we were conducted to the chateau of M. Ressavatz, the wealthiest man in Servia. This villa is the fac simile of the new ones in the banat of Temesvav, having the rooms [250]papered, a luxury in Servia, where the most of the rooms, even in good houses, are merely size-coloured.

Svilainitza is remarkable, as the only place in Servia where silk is cultivated to any extent, the Ressavatz family having paid especial attention to it. In fact, Svilainitza means the place of silk.

From Svilainitza, we next morning started for Posharevatz, or Passarovitz, by an excellent macadamized road, through a country richly cultivated and interspersed with lofty oaks. I arrived at mid-day, and was taken to the house of M. Tutsakovitch, the president of the court of appeal, who had expected us on the preceding evening. He was quite a man of the world, having studied jurisprudence in the Austrian Universities. The outer chamber, or hall of his house, was ranged with shining pewter plates in the olden manner, and his best room was furnished in the best German style.

In a few minutes M. Ressavatz, the Natchalnik, came, a serious but friendly man, with an eye that bespoke an expansive intellect.

"This part of Servia," said I, "is Ressavatz quà, [251]Ressavatz là. We last night slept at your brother's house, at Svilainitza, which is the only château I have seen in Servia; and to-day the rapid and agreeable journey I made hither was due to the macadamized road, which, I am told, you were the means of constructing."

The Natchalnik bowed, and the president said, "This road originated entirely with M. Ressavatz, who went through a world of trouble before he could get the peasantry of the intervening villages to lend their assistance. Great was the first opposition to the novelty; but now the people are all delighted at being able to drive in winter without sinking up to their horses' knees in mud."

We now proceeded to view the government buildings, which are all new, and in good order, being somewhat more extensive than those elsewhere; for Posharevatz, besides having ninety thousand inhabitants in its own nahie,[16] or government, is a sort of judicial capital for Eastern Servia.


The principal edifice is a barrack, but the regular troops were at this time all at Shabatz. The president showed me through the court of appeal. Most of the apartments were occupied with clerks, and fitted up with shelves for registers. The court of justice was an apartment larger than the rest, without a raised bench, having merely a long table, covered with a green cloth, at one end of which was a crucifix and Gospels, for the taking of oaths, and the seats for the president and assessors.

We then went to the billiard-room with the Natchalnik, and played a couple of games, both of which I lost, although the Natchalnik, from sheer politeness, played badly; and at sunset we returned to the president's house, where a large party was assembled to dinner. We then adjourned to the comfortable inner apartment, where, as the chill of autumn was beginning to creep over us, we found a blazing fire; and the president having made some punch, that showed profound acquaintance with the jurisprudence of conviviality, the best amateurs of Posharevatz sang their best songs, which [253]pleased me somewhat, for my ears had gradually been broken into the habits of the Servian muse. Being pressed myself to sing an English national song, I gratified their curiosity with "God save the Queen," and "Rule Britannia," explaining that these two songs contained the essence of English nationality: the one expressive of our unbounded loyalty, the other of our equally unbounded ocean dominion.

President. "You have been visiting the rocks and mountains of Servia; but there is a natural curiosity in this neighbourhood, which is much more wonderful. Have you heard of the baby giantess?"

Author. "Yes, I have. I was told that a child was six feet high, and a perfect woman."

President. "No, a child of two years and three months is as big as other children of six or seven years, and her womanhood such as is usual in girls of sixteen."

Author. "It is almost incredible."

President. "Well, you may convince yourself with your own eyes, before you leave this blessed town."


The Natchalnik then called a Momke, and gave orders for the child to be brought next day. At the appointed hour the father and mother came with the child. It was indeed a baby giantess, higher than its brother, who was six years of age. Its hands were thick and strong, the flesh plump, and the mammæ most prominently developed. Seeing the room filled with people, it began to cry, but its attention being diverted by a nodding mandarin of stucco provided for the purpose, the nurse enabled us to verify all the president had said. This phenomenon was born the 29th of June, 1842, old style, and the lunar influences were in operation on the tenth month after birth. I remarked to the president, that if the father had more avarice than decency, he might go to Europe, and return with his weight in gold.


[16] Nahie is a Turkish word, and meant "district." The original word means "direction," and is applied to winds, and the point of the compass.



Rich Soil.—Mysterious Waters.—Treaty of Passarovitz.—The Castle of Semendria—Relics of the Antique.—The Brankovitch Family.—Pancsova.—Morrison's Pills.


The soil at Posharevatz is remarkably rich, the greasy humus being from fifteen to twenty-five feet thick, and consequently able to nourish the noblest forest trees. In the Banat, which is the granary of the Austrian empire, trees grow well for fifteen, twenty, or twenty-five years, and then die away. The cause of this is, that the earth, although rich, is only from three to six feet thick, with sand or cold clay below; thus as soon as the roots descend to the substrata, in which they find [256]no nourishment, rottenness appears on the top branches, and gradually descends.

At Kruahevitza, not very far from Pasharevatz, is a cave, which is, I am told, entered with difficulty, into the basin of which water gradually flows at intervals, and then disappears, as the doctor of the place (a Saxon) told me, with an extraordinary noise resembling the molar rumble of railway travelling. This spring is called Potainitza, or the mysterious waters.

Posharevatz, miscalled Passarowitz, is historically remarkable, as the place where Prince Eugene, in 1718, after his brilliant victories of the previous year, including the capture of Belgrade, signed, with the Turks, the treaty which gave back to the house of Austria not only the whole of Hungary, but added great part of Servia and Little Wallachia, as far as the Aluta. With this period began the Austrian rule in Servia, and at this time the French fashioned Lange Gasse of Belgrade rose amid the "swelling domes and pointed minarets of the white eagle's nest."[17]


Several quaint incidents had recalled this period during my tour. For instance, at Manasia, I saw rudely engraven on the church wall,—

Wolfgang Zastoff,
Kaiserlicher Forst-Meister im Maidan.
Die 1 Aug. 1721.

Semendria is three hours' ride from Posharevatz; the road crosses the Morava, and everywhere the country is fertile, populous, and well cultivated. Innumerable massive turrets, mellowed by the sun of a clear autumn, and rising from wide rolling waters, announced my approach to the shores of the Danube. I seemed entering one of those fabled strong holds, with which the early Italian artists adorned their landscapes. If Semendria be not the most picturesque of the Servian castles of the elder period, it is certainly by far the most extensive of them. Nay, it is colossal. The rampart next the Danube has been shorn of its fair proportions, so as to make it suit the modern art of war. Looking at Semendria from one of the three land sides, you have a castle of Ercole di Ferrara; looking at it from [258]the water, you have the boulevard of a Van der Meulen.

The Natchalnik accompanied me in a visit to the fortress, protected from accident by a couple of soldiers; for the castle of Semendria is still, like that of Shabatz, in the hands of a few Turkish spahis and their families. The news from Shabatz having produced a alight ferment, we found several armed Moslems at the gate; but they did not allow the Servians to pass, with the exception of the Natchalnik and another man. "This is new," said he; "I never knew them to be so wary and suspicious before." We now found ourselves within the walls of the fortress. A shabby wooden café was opposite to us; a mosque of the same material rose with its worm-eaten carpentry to our right. The cadi, a pompous vulgar old man, now met us, and signified that we might as well repose at his chardak, but from inhospitality or fanaticism, gave us neither pipes nor coffee. His worship was so proud, that he scarcely deigned to speak. The Disdar Aga, a somewhat more approximative personage, now entered the tottering chardak, (the carpenters of Semendria seem to have emigrated [259]en masse,) and proffered himself as Cicerone of the castle.

Mean and abominable huts, with patches of garden ground filled up the space inclosed by the gorgeous ramparts and massive towers of Semendria. The further we walked the nobler appeared the last relic of the dotage of old feudal Servia. In one of the towers next the Danube is a sculptured Roman tombstone. One graceful figure points to a sarcophagus, close to which a female sits in tears; in a word, a remnant of the antique—of that harmony which dies not away, but swells on the finer organs of perception.

"Eski, Eski. Very old," said the Disdar Aga, who accompanied me.

"It is Roman," said I.

"Roumgi?" said he, thinking I meant Greek.

"No, Latinski," said a third, which is the name usually given to Roman remains.

As at Sokol and Ushitza, I was not permitted to enter the inner citadel;[18] so, returning to the [260]gate, where we were rejoined by the soldiers, we went to the fourth tower, on the left of the Stamboul Kapu, and looking up, we saw inserted and forming part of the wall, a large stone, on which was cut, in basso rilievo, a figure of Europa reposing on a bull. Here was no fragile grace, as in the other figure; a few simple lines bespoke the careless hardihood of antique art.

The castle of Semendria was built in 1432, by the Brankovitch, who succeeded the family of Knes Lasar as despots, or native rulers of Servia, under the Turks; and the construction of this enormous pile was permitted by their masters, under the pretext of the strengthening of Servia against the Hungarians. The last of these despots of Servia was George Brankovitch, the historian, who passed over to Austria, was raised to the dignity of a count; and after being kept many years as a state prisoner, suspected of secret correspondence with the Turks, died at Eger, in Bohemia, in 1711. The legitimate Brankovitch line is now extinct.[19]


Leaving the fortress, we returned to the Natchalnik's house. I was struck with the size, beauty, and flavour of the grapes here; I have nowhere tasted such delicious fruit of this description. "Groja Smederevsko" are celebrated through all Servia, and ought to make excellent wine.

The road from Semendria to Belgrade skirts the Danube, across which one sees the plains of the Banat and military frontier. The only place of any consequence on that side of the river is Pancsova, the sight of which reminded me of a conversation I had there some years ago.

The major of the town, after swallowing countless boxes of Morrison's pills, died in the belief that he had not begun to take them soon enough. The consumption of these drugs at that time almost surpassed belief. There was scarcely a sickly or hypochondriac person, from the Hill of Presburg to the Iron Gates, who had not taken large quantities of them. Being curious to know the cause of this extensive consumption, I asked for an explanation.

"You must know," said an individual, "that the Anglo-mania is nowhere stronger than in [262]this part of the world. Whatever comes from England, be it Congreve rockets, or vegetable pills, must needs be perfect. Dr. Morrison is indebted to his high office for the enormous consumption of his drugs. It is clear that the president of the British College must be a man in the enjoyment of the esteem of the government and the faculty of medicine; and his title is a passport to his pills in foreign countries."

I laughed heartily, and explained that the British College of Health, and the College of Physicians, were not identical.

The road from this point to Belgrade presents no particular interest. Half an hour from the city I crossed the celebrated trenches of Marshal Laudohn; and rumbling through a long cavernous gateway, called the Stamboul Kapousi, or gate of Constantinople, again found myself in Belgrade, thankful for the past, and congratulating myself on the circumstances of my trip. I had seen a state of patriarchal manners, the prominent features of which will be at no distant time rolled flat and smooth, by the pressure of old Europe, and the salient angles of which will disappear [263]through the agency of the hotel and the stagecoach, with its bevy of tourists, who, with greater facilities for seeing the beauties of nature, will arrive and depart, shrouded from the mass of the people, by the mercenaries that hang on the beaten tracks of the traveller.


[17] In Servian, Belgrade is called Beograd, "white city;"—poetically, "white eagle's nest."

[18] I think that a traveller ought to see all that he can; but, of course, has no right to feel surprised at being excluded from citadels.

[19] One of the representatives of the ancient imperial family is the Earl of Devon, for Urosh the Great married Helen of Courtenay.



Personal Appearance of the Servians.—Their Moral Character.—Peculiarities of Manners.—Christmas Festivities.—Easter.—The Dodola.


The Servians are a remarkably tall and robust race of men; in form and feature they bespeak strength of body and energy of mind: but one seldom sees that thorough-bred look, which, so frequently found in the poorest peasants of Italy and Greece, shows that the descendants of the most polite of the ancients, although disinherited of dominion, have not lost the corporeal attributes of nobility. But the women of Servia I think very pretty. In body they are not so well shaped as the Greek women; but their complexions are fine, the hair generally black and glossy, and [265]their head-dress particularly graceful. Not being addicted to the bath, like other eastern women, they prolong their beauty beyond the average climacteric; and their houses, with rooms opening on a court-yard and small garden, are favourable to health and beauty. They are not exposed to the elements as the men; nor are they cooped up within four walls, like many eastern women, without a sufficient circulation of air.

Through all the interior of Servia, the female is reckoned an inferior being, and fit only to be the plaything of youth and the nurse of old age. This peculiarity of manners has not sprung from the four centuries of Turkish occupation, but appears to have been inherent in old Slaavic manners, and such as we read of in Russia, a very few generations ago; but as the European standard is now rapidly adopted at Belgrade, there can be little doubt that it will thence, in the course of time, spread over all Servia.

The character of the Servian closely resembles that of the Scottish Highlander. He is brave in battle, highly hospitable; delights in simple and [266]plaintive music and poetry, his favourite instruments being the bagpipe and fiddle: but unlike the Greek be shows little aptitude for trade; and unlike the Bulgarian, he is very lazy in agricultural operations. All this corresponds with the Scottish Celtic character; and without absolute dishonesty, a certain low cunning in the prosecution of his material interests completes the parallel.

The old customs of Servia are rapidly disappearing under the pressure of laws and European institutions. Many of these could not have existed except in a society in which might made right. One of these was the vow of eternal brotherhood and friendship between two individuals; a treaty offensive and defensive, to assist each other in the difficult passages of life. This bond is considered sacred and indissoluble. Frequently remarkable instances of it are found in the wars of Kara Georg. But now that regular guarantees for the security of life and property exist, the custom appears to have fallen into desuetude. These confederacies in the dual state, [267]as in Servia, or multiple, as in the clan system of Scotland and Albania, are always strongest in turbulent times and regions.[20]

Another of the old customs of Servia was sufficiently characteristic of its lawless state. Abduction of females was common. Sometimes a young man would collect a party of his companions, break into a village, and carry off a maiden. To prevent re-capture they generally went into the woods, where the nuptial knot was tied by a priest nolens volens. Then commenced the negotiation for a reconciliation with the parents, which was generally successful; as in many instances the female had been the secret lover of the young man, and the other villagers used to add their persuasion, in order to bring about a pacific solution. But if the relations of the girl mode a legal affair of it, the young woman was asked if it was by her own will that she was taken away; and if she made the admission then a reconciliation took place: if not, those concerned in the [268]abduction were fined, Kara Georg put a stop to this by proclamation, punishing the author of an abduction with death, the priest with dismissal, and the assistants with the bastinado.

The Haiducks, or outlawed robbers, who during the first quarter of the present century infested the woods of Servia, resembled the Caterans of the Highlands of Scotland, being as much rebels as robbers, and imagined that in setting authority at defiance they were not acting dishonourably, but combating for a principle of independence. They robbed only the rich Moslems, and were often generous to the poor. Thus robbery and rebellion being confounded, the term Haiduck is not considered opprobrious; and several old Servians have confessed to me that they had been Haiducks in their youth, I am sure that the adventures of a Servian Rob Roy might form the materials of a stirring Romance. There are many Haiducks still in Bosnia, Herzegovina, and on the western Balkan; but the race in Servia is extinct, and plunder is the only object of the few robbers who now infest the woods in the west of Servia.


Such are the customs that have just disappeared; but many national peculiarities still remain. At Christmas, for instance, every peasant goes to the woods, and cuts down a young oak; as soon as he returns home, which is in the twilight; he says to the assembled family, "A happy Christmas eve to the house;" on which a male of the family scatters a little grain on the ground and answers, "God be gracious to you, our happy and honoured father." The housewife then lays the young oak on the fire, to which are thrown a few nuts and a little straw, and the evening ends in merriment.

Next day, after divine service, the family assemble around the dinner table, each bearing a lighted candle; and they say aloud, "Christ is born: let us honour Christ and his birth." The usual Christmas drink is hot wine mixed with honey. They have also the custom of First Foot. This personage is selected beforehand, under the idea that he will bring luck with him for the ensuing year. On entering the First Foot says, "Christ is born!" and receives for answer, "Yes, he is born!" while the First Foot scatters a few [270]grains of corn on the floor. He then advances and stirs up the wood on the fire, so that it crackles and emits sparks; on which the First Foot says, "As many sparks so many cattle, so many horses, so many goats, so many sheep, so many boars, so many bee hives, and so much luck and prosperity.'" He then throws a little money into the ashes, or hangs some hemp on the door; and Christmas ends with presents and festivities.

At Easter, they amuse themselves with the game of breaking hard-boiled eggs, having first examined those of an opponent to see that they are not filled with wax. From this time until Ascension day the common formula of greeting is "Christ has arisen!" to which answer is made, "Yes; he has truly arisen or ascended!" And on the second Monday after Easter the graves of dead relations are visited.

One of the most extraordinary customs of Servia is that of the Dodola. When a long drought has taken place, a handsome young woman is stripped, and so dressed up with grass, flowers, cabbage and other leaves, that her face is scarcely visible; she then, in company with several girls of [271]twelve or fifteen years of age, goes from house to house singing a song, the burden of which is a wish for rain. It is then the custom of the mistress of the house at which the Dodola is stopped to throw a little water on her. This custom used also to be kept up in the Servian districts of Hungary; but has been forbidden by the priests.


[20] The most perfect confederacy of this description is that of the Druses, which has stood the test of eight centuries, and in its secret organization is complete beyond any thing attained by freemasonry.



Town life.—The public offices.—Manners half-Oriental half-European.—Merchants and Tradesmen.—Turkish population.—Porters.—Barbers.—Cafés.—Public Writer.


On passing from the country to the town the politician views with interest the transitional state of society: but the student of manners finds nothing salient, picturesque, or remarkable; everything is verging to German routine. If you meet a young man in any department, and ask what he does; he tells you that he is a Concepist or Protocollist.

In the public offices, the paper is, as in Germany, atrociously coarse, being something like that with which parcels are wrapped up in England; and sand is used instead of blotting paper. They [273]commence business early in the morning, at eight o'clock, and go on till twelve, at which hour everybody goes to the mid-day meal. They commence again at four o'clock, and terminate at seven, which is the hour of supper. The reason of this is, that almost everybody takes a siesta.

The public offices throughout the interior of Servia are plain houses, with white-washed walls, deal desks, shelves, and presses, but having been recently built, have generally a respectable appearance. The Chancery of State and Senate house are also quite new constructions, close to the palace; but in the country, a Natchalnik transacts a great deal of business in his own house.

Servia contains within itself the forms of the East and the West, as separately and distinctly as possible. See a Natchalnik in the back woods squatted on his divan, with his enormous trowsers, smoking his pipe, and listening to the contents of a paper, which his secretary, crouching and kneeling on the carpet, reads to him, and you have the Bey, the Kaimacam, or the Mutsellim before you. See M. Petronievitch scribbling in [274]his cabinet, and you have the Fürstlicher Haus-Hof-Staats-und Conferenz-Minister of the meridian of Saxe or Hesse.

Servia being an agricultural country, and not possessing a sea-port, there does not exist an influential, mercantile, or capitalist class per se. Greeks, Jews, and Tsinsars, form a considerable proportion of those engaged in the foreign trade: it is to be remarked that most of this class are secret adherents of the Obrenovitch party, while the wealthy native Servians support Kara Georgevitch.

In Belgrade, the best tradesmen are Germans, or Servians, who have learned their business at Pesth; or Temeswar; but nearly all the retailers are Servians.

Having treated so fully the aspects and machinery of Oriental life, in my work on native society in Damascus and Aleppo, it is not necessary that I should say here any thing of Moslem manners and customs. The Turks in Belgrade are nearly all of a very poor class, and follow the humblest occupations. The river navigation causes many hands to be employed in boating; and it always [275]seemed to me that the proportion of the turbans on the river exceeded that of the Christian short fez. Most of the porters on the quay of Belgrade are Turks in their turbans, which gives the landing-place, on arrival from Semlin, a more Oriental look than the Moslem population of the town warrants. From the circumstance of trucks being nearly unknown in this country, these Turkish porters carry weights that would astonish an Englishman, and show great address in balancing and dividing heavy weights among them.

Most of the barbers in Belgrade are Turks, and have that superior dexterity which distinguishes their craft in the east. There are also Christian barbers; but the Moslems are in greater force. I never saw any Servian shave himself; nearly all resort to the barber. Even the Christian barbers, in imitation of the Oriental fashion, shave the straggling edges of the eyebrows, and with pincers tug out the small hairs of the nostrils.

The native cafés are nearly all kept by Moslems; one, as I have stated elsewhere, by an Arab, born [276]in Oude in India; another by a Jew, which is frequented by the children of Israel, and is very dirty. I once went in to smoke a narghilé, and see the place, but made my escape forthwith. Several Jews, who spoke Spanish to each other, were playing backgammon on a raised bench, and seemed to have in their furs and dresses that "malpropreté profonde et huileuse" which M. de Custine tells us characterizes the dirt of the north as contrasted with that of the southern nations. The café of the Indian, on the contrary, was perfectly clean and new.

Moslem boatmen, porters, barbers, &c. serve Christians and all and sundry. But in addition to these, there is a sort of bazaar in the Turkish quarter, occupied by tradespeople, who subsist almost exclusively by the wants of their co-religionists living in the quarter, as well as of the Turkish garrison in the fortress. The only one of this class who frequented me, was the public writer, who had several assistants; he was not a native of Belgrade, but a Bulgarian Turk from Ternovo. He drew up petitions to the Pasha in due form, and, moreover, engraved seals very [277]neatly. His assistants, when not engaged in either of these occupations, copied Korans for sale. His own handwriting was excellent, and he knew all the styles, Arab, Deewanee, Persian, Reka, &c. What keeps him mostly in my mind, was the delight with which he entered into, and illustrated, the proverbs at the end of M. Joubert's grammar, which the secretary of the Russian Consul-general had lent him. Some of the proverbs are so applicable to Oriental manners, that I hope the reader will excuse the digression.

"Kiss the hand thou hast not been able to cut."

"Hide thy friend's name from thine enemy."

"Eat and drink with thy friend; never buy and sell with him."

"This is a fast day, said the cat, seeing the liver she could not get at."

"Of three things one—Power, gold, or quit the town."

"The candle does not light its base."

"The orphan cuts his own navel-string," &c.

The rural population of Servia must necessarily advance slowly, but each five years, for a generation to come, will,—I have little doubt,—alter [278]the aspect of the town population, as much relatively as the five that are by-gone. Let the lines of railway now in progress from Belgium to Hungary be completed, and Belgrade may again become a stage in the high road to the East. A line by the valleys of the Morava and the Maritsa, with its large towns, Philippopoli and Adrianople, is certainly not more chimerical and absurd than many that are now projected. Who can doubt of its ultimate accomplishment, in spite of the alternate precipitancy and prostration of enterprise? Meanwhile imagination loses itself in attempting to picture the altered face of affairs in these secluded regions, when subjected to the operation of a revolution, which posterity will pronounce to be greater than those which made the fifteenth century the morning of the just terminated period of civilization.



Poetry.—Journalism.—The Fine Arts.—The Lyceum.—Mineralogical cabinet.—Museum.—Servian Education.


In the whole range of the Slaavic family there is no nation possessing so extensive a collection of excellent popular poetry. The romantic beauty of the region which they inhabit, the relics of a wild mythology, which, in its general features, has some resemblance to that of Greece and Scandinavia,—the adventurous character of the population, the vicissitudes of guerilla warfare, and a hundred picturesque incidents which are lost to the muses when war is carried on on a large scale by standing armies, are all given in a dialect, which, for musical sweetness, is to other Slavonic [280]tongues what the Italian is to the languages of Western Europe.[21]

The journalism of Servia began at Vienna; and a certain M. Davidovitch was for many years the interpreter of Europe to his less enlightened countrymen. The journal which he edited is now published at Pesth, and printed in Cyrillian letters. There were in 1843 two newspapers at Belgrade, the State Gazette and the Courier; but the latter has since been dropped, the editor having vainly attempted to get its circulation allowed in the Servian districts of Hungary. Many copies were smuggled over in boats, but it was an unremunerating speculation; and the editor, M. Simonovitch, who was bred a Hungarian advocate, is now professor of law in the Lyceum. Yankee hyperbole was nothing to the high flying of this gentleman. In one number, I recollect the passage, "These are the reasons why all the people of [281]Servia, young and old, rich and poor, danced and shouted for joy, when the Lord gave them as a Prince a son of the never-to-be-forgotten Kara Georg." A Croatian newspaper, containing often very interesting information on Bosnia, is published at Agram, the language being the same as the Servian, but printed in Roman instead of Cyrillian letters. The State Gazette of Belgrade gives the news of the interior and exterior, but avoids all reflections on the policy of Russia or Austria. An article, which I wrote on Servia for an English publication, was reproduced in a translation minus all the allusions to these two powers; and I think that, considering the dependent position of Servia, abstinence from such discussions is dictated by the soundest policy.

The "Golubitza," or Dove, a miscellany in prose and verse, neatly got up in imitation of the German Taschenbücher, and edited by M. Hadschitch, is the only annual in Servia. In imitation of more populous cities, Belgrade has also a "Literary Society," for the formation of a complete dictionary of the language, and the encouragement of popular literature. I could not [282]help smiling at the thirteenth statute of the society, which determines that the seal should represent an uncultivated field, with the rising sun shining on a monument, on which the arms of Servia are carved.

The fine arts are necessarily at a very low ebb in Servia. The useful being so imperfect, the ornamental scarcely exists at all. The pictures in the churches are mostly in the Byzantine manner, in which deep browns and dark reds are relieved with gilding, while the subjects are characterized by such extravagancies as one sees in the pictures of the early German painters, a school which undoubtedly took its rise from the importations of Byzantine pictures at Venice, and their expedition thence across the Alps. At present everything artistic in Servia bears a coarse German impress, such as for instance the pictures in the cathedral of Belgrade.

Thus has civilization performed one of her great evolutions. The light that set on the Thracian Bosphorus rose in the opposite direction from the land of the once barbarous Hermans, and now feebly re-illumines the modern Servia.


One of the most hopeful institutions of Belgrade is the Lyceum, or germ of a university, as they are proud to call it. One day I went to see it, along with Professor Shafarik, and looked over the mineralogical collection made in Servia, by Baron Herder, which included rich specimens of silver, copper, and lead ore, as well as marble, white as that of Carrara. The Studenitza marble is slightly grey, but takes a good polish. The coal specimens were imperfectly petrified, and of bad quality, the progress of ignition being very slow. Servia is otherwise rich in minerals; but it is lamentable to see such vast wealth dormant, since none of the mines are worked.

We then went to an apartment decorated like a little ball-room, which is what is called the cabinet of antiquities. A noble bronze head, tying on the German stove, in the corner of the room, a handsome Roman lamp and some antique coins, were all that could be shown of the ancient Moesia; but there is a fair collection of Byzantine and Servian coins, the latter struck in the Venetian manner, and resembling old sequins.

A parchment document, which extended to [284]twice the length of a man, was now unrolled, and proved to be a patent of Stephan Urosh, the father of Stephan Dushan, endowing the great convent of Dechani, in Albania. Another curiosity in the collection is the first banner of Kara Georg, which the Servians consider as a national relic. It is in red silk, and bears the emblem of the cross, with the inscription "Jesus Christ conquers."

We then went to the professor's room, which was furnished with the newest Russ, Bohemian, and other Slaavic publications, and after a short conversation visited the classes then sitting. The end of education in Servia being practical, prominence is given to geometry, natural philosophy, Slaavic history and literature, &c. Latin and Greek are admitted to have been the keys to polite literature, some two centuries and a half ago; but so many lofty and noble chambers having been opened since then, and routine having no existence in Servia, her youth are not destined to spend a quarter of a lifetime in the mere nurseries of humanity.


[21] To those who take an interest in this subject, I have great pleasure in recommending a perusal of "Servian Popular Poetry," (London, 1827,) translated by Dr. Bowring; but the introductory matter, having been written nearly twenty years ago, is, of course, far from being abreast of the present state of information on the subjects of which it treats.



Preparations for Departure.—Impressions of the East.—Prince Alexander.—The Palace.—Kara Georg.


The gloom of November now darkens the scene; the yellow leaves sweep round the groves of the Topshider, and an occasional blast from the Frusca Gora, ruffling the Danube with red turbid waves, bids me begone; so I take up pen to indite my last memoranda, and then for England ho!

Some pleasant parties were given by M. Fonblanque, and his colleagues; but although I have freely made Dutch pictures of the "natives," I do not feel at liberty to be equally circumstantial with the inexhaustible wit and good humour [286]of our hospitable Consul-general. I have preserved only a scrap of a conversation which passed at the dinner table of Colonel Danilefsky, the Russian agent, which shows the various impressions of Franks in the East.

A.B.C.D. discovered.

A. "Of all the places I have seen in the east, I certainly prefer Constantinople. Not so much for its beauty; since habit reconciles one to almost any scene. But because one can there command a greater number of those minor European comforts, which make up the aggregate of human happiness."

B. "I am not precisely of your way of thinking. I look back to my residence at Cairo with pleasure, and would like well enough to spend another winter there. The Turkish houses here are miserable barracks, cold in winter, and unprotected from the sun in summer."

C. "The word East is certainly more applicable to the Arab than the Turkish countries."

D. "I have seen only Constantinople, and think that it deserves all that Byron and Anastasius have said of it."


C. "I am afraid that A. has received his impressions of the East from Central Asia, which is a somewhat barbarous country."

A. "Pardonnez-moi. The valley of the Oxus is well cultivated, but the houses are none of the best."

B. "I give my voice for Cairo. It is a city full of curious details, as well in its architecture, as in its street population; to say nothing of its other resources—its pleasant promenades, and the occasional society of men of taste and letters—'mais il faut aimer la chaleur.'"

C. "Well, then, we will take the winter of Cairo; the spring of Damascus, and the summer of the Bosphorus."

M. Petronievitch took me to see the Prince, who has got into his new residence outside the Constantinople gate, which looks like one of the villas one sees in the environs of Vienna. In the centre of the parterre is a figure with a trident, which represents the Morava, the national river of Servia, and is in reality a Roman statue found near Grotzka. The usual allowance of sentries, sentry-boxes, and striped palisades stood at the [288]entrance, and we were shown into an apartment, half in the German, and half in the Oriental style. The divan cover was embroidered with gold thread.

The Prince now entered, and received me with an easy self-possession that showed no trace of the reserve and timidity which foreigners had remarked a year before.

"New honours ...
Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould
But with the aid of use."

Prince. "I expected to have seen you at Topola. We had a large assemblage of the peasantry, and an ecclesiastical festival, such as they are celebrated in Servia."

Author. "Your highness may rest assured that had I known that, I should not have failed to go. At Tronosha I saw a similar festival, and I am firmly convinced that no peasantry in Europe is freer from want."

Prince. "Every beginning is difficult; our principle must be, 'Endeavour and Progress.' Were you pleased with your tour?"

Author. "I think that your Highness has one of [289]the most romantic principalities in Europe. Without the grandeur of the Alps, Servia has more than the beauty of the Apennines."

Prince. "The country is beautiful, but I wish to see agriculture prosper."

Author. "I am happy to hear that: your highness's father had a great name as a soldier; I hope that your rule will be distinguished by rapid advancement in the arts of civilization; that you will be the Kara Georg of peace."

This led to a conversation relative to the late Kara Georg; and the prince rising, led me into another apartment, where the portrait of his father, the duplicate of one painted for the emperor Alexander, hung from the wall. He was represented in the Turkish dress, and wore his pistols in his girdle; the countenance expressed not only intelligence but a certain refinement, which one would scarcely expect in a warrior peasant: but all his contemporaries agree in representing him to have possessed an inherent superiority and nobility of nature, which in any station would have raised him above his equals.



A Memoir of Kara Georg.


The Turkish conquest was followed by the gradual dispersion or disappearance of the native nobility of Servia, the last of whom, the Brankovitch, lived as despots in the castle of Semendria, up to the beginning of the eighteenth century; so that at this moment scarcely a single representative of the old stock is to be found.[22]

The nobility of Bosnia, occupying the middle region between the sphere of the Eastern and Western churches, were in a state of religious indifference, although nominally Catholic; and in[291] order to preserve their lands and influence, accepted Islamism en masse; they and the Albanians being the only instances, in all the wars of the Moslems, of a European nobility embracing the Mohamedan faith in a body. Chance might have given the Bosniacs a leader of energy and military talents. In that case, these men, instead of now wearing turbans in their grim feudal castles, might, frizzed and perfumed, be waltzing in pumps; and Shakespear and Mozart might now be delighting the citizens assembled in the Theatre Royal Seraievo!

The period preceding the second siege of Vienna was the spring-tide of Islam conquest. After this event, in 1684, began the ebb. Hungary was lost to the Porte, and six years afterwards thirty-seven thousand Servian families emigrated into that kingdom; this first led the way to contact with the civilization of Germany: and in the attendance on the Austrian schools by the youth of the Servian nation during the eighteenth century, were sown the seeds of the now budding civilization of the principality.

Servia Proper, for a short time wrested from [292]the Porte by the victories of Prince Eugene, again became a part of the dominions of the Sultan. But a turbulent militia overawed the government and tyrannized over the Rayahs. Pasvan Oglou and his bands at Widdin were, at the end of last century, in open revolt against the Porte. Other chiefs had followed his example; and for the first time the Divan thought of associating Christian Rayahs with the spahis, to put down these rebels, who had organized a system which savoured more of brigandage than of government. They frequently used the holiday dresses of the peasants as horse-cloths, interrupted the divine service of the Christian Rayahs, and gratified their licentious appetites unrestrained.

The Dahis, as these brigand-chiefs were called, resolved to anticipate the approaching struggle by a massacre of the most influential Christians. This atrocious massacre was carried out with indescribable horrors. In the dead of the night a party of Dahis Cavasses would surround a house, drive open gates and doors with sledge-hammers; the awakened and affrighted inmates would rush to the windows, and seeing [293]the court-yard filled with armed men with dark lanterns, the shrieks of women and children were added to the confusion; and the unhappy father was often murdered with the half-naked females of his family clinging to his neck, but unable to save him. The rest of the population looked on with silent stupefaction: but Kara Georg, a peasant, born at Topola about the year 1767, getting timely information that his name was in the list of the doomed, fled into the woods, and gradually organized a formidable armed force.

His efforts were everywhere successful. In the name of the Porte he combated the Dahis, who had usurped local authority, in defiance of the Pasha of Belgrade. The Divan, little anticipating the ultimate issue of the struggle in Servia, was at first delighted at the success of Kara Georg; but soon saw with consternation that the rising of the Servian peasants grew into a formidable rebellion, and ordered the Pashas of Bosnia and Scodra to assemble all their disposable forces, and invade Servia. Between forty and fifty thousand Bosniacs burst into Servia on the west, in the [294]spring of 1806, cutting to pieces all who refused to receive Turkish authority.

Kara Georg undauntedly met the storm; with amazing rapidity he marched into the west of Servia, cut up in detail several detached bodies of Turks, being here much favoured by the broken ground, and put to death several village-elders who had submitted to them. The Turks then retired to Shabatz; and Kara Georg at the head of only seven thousand foot and two thousand horse, in all nine thousand men, took up a position at an hour's distance, and threw up trenches. The following is the account which Wuk Stephanovitch gives of this engagement.

"The Turks demanded the delivery of the Servian arms. The Servians answered, 'Come and take them.' On two successive mornings the Turks came out of Shabatz and stormed the breastwork which the Servians had thrown up, but without effect. They then sent this message to the Servians: 'You have held good for two days; but we will try it again with all our force, and then see whether we give up the country to [295]the Drina, or whether we drive you to Semendria.'

"In the night before the decisive battle (August, 1806,) Kara Georg sent his cavalry round into a wood, with orders to fall on the enemy's flank as soon as the first shot should be fired.

"To the infantry within the breastworks he gave orders that they should not fire until the Turks were so close that every shot might tell. By break of day the Seraskier with his whole army poured out of his camp at Shabatz, the bravest Beys of Bosnia bearing their banners in the van. The Servians waited patiently until they came close, and then opening fire did deadly execution. The standard-bearers fell, confusion ensued, and the Servian cavalry issuing from the wood at the same time that Kara Georg passed the breastworks at the head of the infantry, the defence was changed into an attack; and the rout of the Turks was complete. The Seraskier Kullin was killed, as well as Sinan Pasha, and several other chiefs. The rest of the Turkish army was cut up in the woods, and all the country as far as the Drina evacuated by them."


The Porte saw with astonishment the total failure of its schemes for the re-conquest of Servia, resolved to temporize, and agreed to allow them a local and national government with a reduction of tribute; but previous to the ratification of the agreement withdrew its consent to the fortresses going into the hands of Christian Rayahs; on which Kara Georg resolved to seize Belgrade by stratagem.

Before daybreak on the 12th of December, 1806, a Greek Albanian named Konda, who had been in the Turkish service, and knew Belgrade well, but now fought in the Christian ranks, accompanied by six Servians, passed the ditch and palisades that surrounded the city of Belgrade, at a point between two posts so as not to be seen, and proceeding to one of the gates, fell upon the guard, which defended itself well. Four of the Servians were killed; but the Turks being at length overpowered, Konda and the two remaining Servians broke open the gate with an axe, on which a corps of Servians rushed in. The Turks being attracted to this point, Kara Georg passed the ditch at another place with a large force.


After a sanguinary engagement in the streets, and the conflagration of many houses, the windows of which served as embrasures to the Turks, victory declared for the Christians, and the Turks took refuge in the citadel.

The Servians, now in possession of the town, resolved to starve the Turks out of the fortress; and having occupied a flat island at the confluence of the Save and the Danube, were enabled to intercept their provisions; on which the Pasha capitulated and embarked for Widdin.

The succeeding years were passed in the vicissitudes of a guerilla warfare, neither party obtaining any marked success; and an auxiliary corps of Russians assisted in preventing the Turks from making the re-conquest of Servia.

Baron, subsequently Marshal Diebitch, on a confidential mission from the Russian government in Servia during the years 1810, 1811, writes as follows:[23]

"George Petrovitch, to whom the Turks have [298]given the surname of Kara or Black, is an important character. His countenance shows a greatness of mind, which is not to be mistaken; and when we take into consideration the times, circumstances, and the impossibility of his having received an education, we must admit that he has a mind of a masculine and commanding order. The imputation of cruelty and bloodthirstiness appears to be unjust. When the country was without the shadow of a constitution, and when he commanded an unorganized and uncultivated nation, he was compelled to be severe; he dared not vacillate or relax his discipline: but now that there are courts of law, and legal forms, he hands every case over to the regular tribunals."

"He has very little to say for himself, and is rude in his manners; but his judgments in civil affairs are promptly and soundly formed, and to great address he joins unwearied industry. As a soldier, there is but one opinion of his talents, bravery, and enduring firmness."

Kara Georg was now a Russian lieutenant-general, and exercised an almost unlimited power in Servia; the revolution, after a struggle of eight [299]years, appeared to be successful, but the momentous events then passing in Europe, completely altered the aspect of affairs. Russia in 1812, on the approach of the countless legions of Napoleon, precipitately concluded the treaty of Bucharest, the eighth article of which formally assured a separate administration to the Servians.

Next year, however, was fatal to Kara Georg. In 1813, the vigour of the Ottoman empire, undivided by exertions for the prosecution of the Russian war, was now concentrated on the re-subjugation of Servia. A general panic seemed to seize the nation; and Kara Georg and his companions in arms sought a retreat on the Austrian territory, and thence passed into Wallachia. In 1814, three hundred Christians were impaled at Belgrade by the Pasha, and every valley in Servia presented the spectacle of infuriated Turkish spahis, avenging on the Servians the blood, exile, and confiscation of the ten preceding years.


[22] The last of the Brankovitch line wrote a history of Servia; but the most valuable portion of the matter is to be found in Raitch, a subsequent historical writer.

[23] The original is now in the possession of the Servian government, and I was permitted to peruse it; but although interesting, it is too long for insertion.



Milosh Obrenovitch.


At this period Milosh Obrenovitch appears prominently on the political tapis. He spent his youth in herding the famed swine of Servia; and during the revolution was employed by Kara Georg to watch the passes of the Balkan, lest the Servians should be taken aback by troops from Albania and Bosnia. He now saw that a favourable conjuncture had come for his advancement from the position of chieftain to that of chief; he therefore lost no time in making terms with the Turks, offering to collect the tribute, to serve them faithfully, and to aid them in the re-subjugation of the people: he was, therefore, loaded [301]with caresses by the Turks as a faithful subject of the Porte. His offers were at once accepted; and he now displayed singular activity in the extirpation of all the other popular chiefs, who still held out in the woods and fastnesses, and sent their heads to the Pasha; but the decapitation of Glavash, who was, like himself, supporting the government, showed that when he had accomplished the ends of Soliman Pasha, his own turn would come; he therefore employed the ruse described in page 55, made his escape, and, convinced that it was impossible ever to come to terms with Soliman Pasha, raised the standard of open revolt. The people, grown desperate through the ill-treatment of the spahis, who had returned, responded to his call, and rose in a body. The scenes of 1804-5-6, were about to be renewed; but the Porte quickly made up its mind to treat with Milosh, who behaved, during this campaign, with great bravery, and was generally successful. Milosh consequently came to Belgrade, made his submission, in the name of the nation, to Marashly Ali Pasha, the governor of Belgrade, and was reinstated as tribute-collector for the Porte; [302]and the war of mutual extermination was ended by the Turks retaining all the castles, as stipulated in the eighth article of the treaty of Bucharest.

Many of the chiefs, impatient at the speedy submission of Milosh, wished to fight the matter out, and Kara Georg, in order to give effect to their plans, landed in Servia. Milosh pretended to be friendly to his designs, but secretly betrayed his place of concealment to the governor, whose men broke into the cottage where he slept, and put him to death. Thus ended the brave and unfortunate Kara Georg, who was, no doubt, a rebel against his sovereign, the Sultan, and, according to Turkish law, deserving of death; but this base act of treachery, on the part of Milosh, who was not the less a rebel, is justly considered as a stain on his character.

M. Boué, who made the acquaintance of Milosh in 1836, gives a short account of him.

Milosh rose early to the sound of military music, and then went to his open gallery, where he smoked a pipe, and entered on the business of the day. Although able neither to read, write, nor [303]sign his name, he could dictate and correct despatches; and in the evening he caused the articles in the Journal des Débats, the Constitutionnel, and the Augsburg Gazette, to be translated to him.

The Belgrade chief of police[24] having offended Milosh by the boldness of his language, and having joined the detractors of the prince at a critical moment, although he owed everything to him, Milosh ordered his head to be struck off. Fortunately his brother Prince Ievren met the people charged with the bloody commission; he blamed them, and wished to hinder the deed: and knowing that the police director was already on his way to Belgrade from Posharevatz, where he had been staying, he asked the momkes to return another way, saying they had missed him. The police director thus arrived at Belgrade, was overwhelmed with reproaches by Milosh, and pardoned.

A young man having refused to marry one of his cast-off mistresses, he was enlisted in the army, but after some months submitted to his fate.


He used to raise to places, in the Turkish fashion, men who were unprepared by their studies for them. One of his cooks became a colonel. Another colonel had been a merry-andrew. Having once received a good medical advice from his butler, he told him that nature intended him for a doctor, and sent him to study medicine under Dr. Cunibert.

"When Milosh sent his meat to market, all other sales were stopped, until he had sold off his own at a higher price than that current, on the ground of the meat being better."

"The prince considered all land in Servia to belong to him, and perpetually wished to appropriate any property that seemed better than his own, fixing his own price, which was sometimes below the value, which the proprietor dared not refuse to take, whatever labour had been bestowed on it. At Kragujevatz, he prevented the completion of the house of M. Raditchevitch, because some statues of wood, and ornaments, which were not to be found in his own palace, were in the [305]plan. An almanack having been printed, with a portrait of his niece Auka, he caused all the copies to be given back by the subscribers, and the portraits cut out."

There can be no doubt, that, after the miserable end of Kara Georg, and the violent revolutionary wars, an unlimited dictatorship was the best regimen for the restoration of order. Milosh was, therefore, many years at the head of affairs of Servia before symptoms of opposition appeared. Allowances are certainly to be made for him; he had seen no government but the old Turkish régime, and had no notion of any other way of governing but by decapitation and confiscation. But this system, which was all very well for a prince of the fifteenth century, exhausted the patience of the new generation, many of whom were bred at the Austrian universities. Without seeking for democratic institutions, for which Servia is totally unfit, they loudly demanded written laws, which should remove life and property from the domain of individual caprice, and which, without affecting the suzerainty of the Porte, should bring Servia within the sphere of [306]European institutions. They murmured at Milosh making a colossal fortune out of the administration of the principality, while he rendered no account of his intromissions, either to the Sultan or to the people, and seized lands and houses merely because he took a fancy to them.[25] Hence arose the national party in Servia, which included nearly all the opulent and educated classes; which is not surprising, since his rule was so stringent that he would allow no carriage but his own to be seen in the streets of Belgrade: and, on his fall, so many orders were sent to the coach-makers of Pesth, that trade was brisk for all the summer.

The details of the debates of the period would exhaust the reader's patience. I shall, therefore, at once proceed to the summing up.


1st. In the nine years' revolt of Kara Georg nearly the whole sedentary Turkish population disappeared from Servia, and the Ottoman power became, according to their own expression, assassiz (foundationless).

2nd. The eighth article of the treaty of Bucharest, concluded by Russia with the Porte, which remained a dead letter, was followed by the fifth article in the treaty of Akerman, formally securing the Servians a separate administration.

3rd. The consummate skill with which Milosh played his fast and loose game with the Porte, had the same consequences as the above, and ultimately led to

4th. The formal act of the Sultan constituting Servia a tributary principality to the Porte, in a Hatti Sherif, of the 22nd November, 1830.

5th. From this period, up to the end of 1838, was the hard struggle between Milosh, seeking for absolute power, supported by the peasantry of Rudnik, his native district, and the "Primates," as the heads of the national party are called, seeking for a habeas-corpus act and a legislative assembly.


Milosh was in 1838 forcibly expelled from Servia; and his son Michael having been likewise set aside in 1842, and the son of Kara Georg selected by the sublime Porte and the people of Servia, against the views of Russia, the long-debated "Servian Question" arose, which received a satisfactory solution by the return of Wucics and Petronievitch, the exiled supports of Kara Georgevitch, through the mediation of the Earl of Aberdeen.


[24] M, Boué, in giving this anecdote, calls him "Newspaper Editor:" this is a mistake.

[25] It is very true that the present Prince of Servia does not possess anything like the power which Milosh wielded; he cannot hang a man up at the first pear-tree: but it is a mistake on the part of the liberals of France and England, to suppose that the revolutions which expelled Milosh and Michael were democratic. There has been no turning upside down of the social pyramid; and in the absence of a hereditary aristocracy, the wealthiest and most influential persons in Servia, such as Ressavatz, Simitch, Garashanin, &c. support Alexander Kara Georgevitch.



The Prince.—The Government.—The Senate.—The Minister for Foreign Affairs.—The Minister of the Interior.—Courts of Justice.—Finances.


Kara Georgevitch means son of Kara Georg, his father's name having been Georg Petrovitch, or son of Peter; this manner of naming being common to all the southern Slaaves, except the Croats and Dalmatians. This is the opposite of the Arabic custom, which confers on a father the title of parent of his eldest son, as Abou-Selim, Abou-Hassan, &c. while his own name is dropped by his friends and family.

The Prince's household appointments are about £20,000 sterling, and, making allowance for the difference of provisions, servants' wages, horse [310]keep, &c. is equal to about £50,000 sterling in England, which is not a large sum for a principality of the size of Servia.

The senate consists of twenty-one individuals, four of whom are ministers. The senators are not elected by the people, but are named by the prince, and form an oligarchy composed of the wealthiest and most influential persons. They hold their offices for life; they must be at least thirty-five years, and possess landed property.

The presidency of the senate is an imaginary dignity; the duties of vice-president being performed by M. Stojan Simitch, the herculean figure I have described on my first visit to Belgrade; and it is allowed that he performs his duties with great sagacity, tact, and impartiality. He is a Servian of the old school, speaks Servian and Turkish, but no European language. The revolutions of this country have brought to power many men, like M. Simitch, of good natural talents, and defective education. The rising generation has more instruction, and has entered the career of material improvements; but I doubt if the present red tape routine will produce a race [311]having the shrewdness of their fathers. If these forms—the unavoidable accompaniments of a more advanced stage of society,—circumscribe the sphere of individual exertion, they possess, on the other hand, the advantage of rendering the recurrence of military dictatorship impossible.

M. Petronievitch, the present minister for foreign affairs, and director of the private chancery of the Prince, is unquestionably the most remarkable public character now in Servia. He passed some time in a commercial house at Trieste, which gave him a knowledge of Italian; and the bustle of a sea-port first enlarged his views. Nine years of his life were passed at Constantinople as a hostage for the Servian nation, guaranteeing the non-renewal of the revolt; no slight act of devotion, when one considers that the obligations of the contracting parties reposed rather on expediency than on moral principles. Here he made the acquaintance of all the leading personages at the Ottoman Porte, and learned colloquial Turkish in perfection. Petronievitch is astute by education and position, but he has a good heart and a capacious intellect, and his defects belong not to the [312]man, but to the man's education and circumstances. Although placable in his resentments, he is without the usual baser counterpart of such pliant characters, and has never shown himself deficient in moral courage. Most travellers trace in his countenance a resemblance to the busts and portraits of Fox. His moral character bears a miniature resemblance to that which history has ascribed to Macchiavelli.

In the course of a very tortuous political career, he has kept the advancement and civilization of Servia steadily in view, and has always shown himself regardless of sordid gain. He is one of the very few public men in Servia, in whom the Christian and Western love of community has triumphed over the Oriental allegiance to self, and this disinterestedness is, in spite of his defects, the secret of his popularity.

The commander of the military force is M. Wucics, who is also minister of the interior, a man of great personal courage; and although unacquainted with the tactics of European warfare, said to possess high capacity for the command of an irregular force. He possesses great energy [313]of character, and is free from the taint of venality; but he is at the same time somewhat proud and vindictive. His predecessor in the ministry of the interior was M. Ilia Garashanin, the rising man in Servia. Sound practical sense, and unimpeachable integrity, without a shade of intrigue, distinguish this senator. May Servia have many Garashanins!

The standing army is a mere skeleton. The reason of this is obvious. Servia forms part of one great empire, and adjoins two others; therefore, the largest disciplined force that she might bring into the field, in the event of hostilities, could make no impression for offensive objects; while for defensive purposes, the countless riflemen, taking advantage of the difficult nature of the country, are amply sufficient.

Let the Servians thank their stars that their army is a skeleton. Let all Europe rejoice that the pen is rapidly superseding the sword; that there now exists a council-board, to which strong and weak are equally amenable. May this diplomarchy ultimately compass the ends of the earth, [314]and every war be reckoned a civil war, an arch-high-treason against confederate hemispheres!

The portfolios of justice and finance are usually in the hands of men of business-habits, who mix little in politics.

The courts of law have something of the promptitude of oriental justice, without its flagrant venality. The salaries of the judges are small: for instance, the president of the appeal court at Belgrade has the miserable sum of £300 sterling per annum. M. Hadschitch, who framed the code of laws, has £700 sterling per annum.

The criminal code is founded on that of Austria. The civil code is a localized modification of the Code Napoléon. The first translation of the latter code was almost literal, and made without reference to the manners and historical antecedents of Servia: some of the blunders in it were laughable:—Hypothèque was translated as if it had been Apotheke, and made out to be a depôt of drugs! When the translator was asked for the reason of this extraordinary prominence of the drug depôt [315]subject, he accounted for it by the consummate skill attained by France in medicine and surgery!

A small lawyer party is beginning in Belgrade, but they are disliked by the people, who prefer short vivâ voce procedure, and dislike documents. It is remarked, that when a man is supposed to be in the right, he wishes to carry on his own suit; when he has a bad case, he resorts to a lawyer.

The ecclesiastical affairs of this department occupy a considerable portion of the minister's attention.

In consequence of the wars which Stephan Dushan, the Servian emperor, carried on against the Greeks in the fourteenth century, he made the archbishop of Servia independent of the patriarch of Constantinople, who, in turn, excommunicated Stephan and his nominee. This independence continued up to the year 1765, at which period, in consequence of the repeated encouragement given by the patriarchs of Servia to revolts against the Turkish authority, the nation was again subjected to the immediate spiritual juris[316]diction of Constantinople. Wuk Stephanovitch gives the following anecdote, illustrative of the abuses which existed in the selection of the superior clergy from this time, and up to the Servian revolution, all the charges being sold to the highest bidder, or given to courtiers, destitute of religion, and often of common morality.

In 1797, a Greek priest came to Orsova, complaining that he had not funds sufficient to enable him to arrive at his destination. A collection was made for him; but instead of going to the place he pretended to be bound for, he passed over to the island of New Orsova, and entered, in a military capacity, the service of the local governor, and became a petty chief of irregular Turkish troops. He then became a salt inspector; and the commandant wishing to get rid of him, asked what he could do for him; on which he begged to be made Archbishop of Belgrade! This modest request not being complied with, the Turkish commandant sent him to Sofia, with a recommendation to the Grand Vizier to appoint him to that see; but the vacancy had already been filled up by a priest of Nissa, who had been in[317]terpreter to the Vizier, and who no sooner seated himself, than he commenced a system of the most odious exactions.

In the time of Kara Georg, the Patriarchate of Constantinople was not recognized, and the Archbishop of Carlovitz in Hungary was looked up to as the spiritual head of the nation; but after the treaty of Adrianople, the Servian government, on paying a peppercorn tribute to the Patriarch of Constantinople, was admitted to have the exclusive direction of its ecclesiastical affairs. The Archbishop's salary is 800l. per annum, and that of his three Bishops about half as much.

The finances of Servia are in good condition. The income, according to a return made to me from the finance department, is in round numbers, eight hundred and eighty-seven thousand dollars, and the expenditure eight hundred and thirty thousand. The greater part of the revenue being produced by the poresa, which is paid by all heads of families, from the time of their marriage to their sixtieth year, and in fact, includes nearly all the adult population; for, as is the case in most eastern countries, nearly every man marries [318]early. The bachelors pay a separate tax. Some of the other items in the budget are curious: under the head of "Interest of a hundred thousand ducats lent by the government to the people at six per cent." we find a sum of fourteen thousand four hundred dollars. Not only has Servia no public debt, but she lends money. Interest is high in Servia; not because there is a want of capital, but because there are no means of investment. The consequence is that the immense savings of the peasantry are hoarded in the earth. A father of a family dies, or in extremis is speechless, and unable to reveal the spot; thus large sums are annually lost to Servia. The favourite speculation in the capital is the building of houses.

The largest gipsy colonies are to be found on this part of the Danube, in Servia, in Wallachia, and in the Banat. The tax on the gipsies in Servia amounts to more than six thousand dollars. They are under a separate jurisdiction, but have the choice of remaining nomade, or settling; in the latter case they are fiscally classed with the Servians. Some settled gipsies are peasants, but for the most part smiths. Both settled and [319]nomade gipsies, are alike remarkable for their musical talents. Having fought with great bravery during the war of emancipation, they are not so despised in Servia as in some other countries.

For produce of the state forests, appears the very insignificant sum of one hundred and twenty-five dollars. The interior of Servia being so thickly wooded, every Servian is allowed to cut as much timber as he likes. The last item in the budget sounds singularly enough: two thousand three hundred and forty-one dollars are set down as the produce of sales of stray cattle, which are first delivered up to the captain of the district, who makes the seizure publicly, and then hands them over to the judge for sale, if there be no claimant within a given time.



Agriculture and Commerce.


Upon the whole, it must be admitted, that the peasantry of Servia have drawn a high prize in the lottery of existence. Abject want and pauperism is nearly unknown. In fact, from the great abundance of excellent land, every man with ordinary industry can support his wife and family, and have a large surplus. The peasant has no landlord but the Sultan, who receives a fixed tribute from the Servian government, and does not interfere with the internal administration. The father of a family, after having contributed a maximum tax of six dollars per annum, is sole master of the surplus; so that in fact the taxes are almost nominal, and the rent a mere peppercorn; [321]the whole amounting on an average to about four shillings and sixpence per caput per annum.

A very small proportion of the whole soil of Servia is cultivated. Some say only one sixth, others only one eighth; and even the present mode of cultivation scarcely differs from that which prevails in other parts of Turkey. The reason is obvious: if the present production of Servia became insufficient for the subsistence of the population, they have only to take in waste lands; and improved processes of agriculture will remain unheeded, until the population begins to press on the limits of the means of subsistence; a consummation not likely to be brought about for many generations to come.

Although situated to the south of Hungary, the climate and productions are altogether northern. I never saw an olive-tree in Servia, although plentiful in the corresponding latitudes of France and Italy (43°—44° 50'); but both sorts of melons are abundant, although from want of cultivation not nearly so good as those of Hungary. The same may be said of all other fruits except the grapes of Semendria, which I believe are equal to any in [322]the world. The Servians seem to have in general very little taste for gardening, much less in fact than the Turks, in consequence perhaps of the unsurpassed beauty and luxuriance of nature. The fruit-tree which seems to be the most common in Servia is the plum, from which the ordinary brandy of the country is made. Almost every village has a plantation of this tree in its vicinity. Vegetables are tolerably abundant in some parts of the interior of Servia, but Belgrade is very badly supplied. There seems to be no kitchen gardens in the environs; at least I saw none. Most of the vegetables as well as milk come from Semlin.

The harvest in August is the period of merriment. All Servian peasants assist each other in getting in the grain as soon as it is ready, without fee or reward; the cultivator providing entertainment for his laborious guests. In the vale of the Lower Morava, where there is less pasture and more corn, this is not sufficient, and hired Bulgarians assist.

The innumerable swine which are reared in the vast forests of the interior, at no expense to the [323]inhabitants, are the great staple of Servian product and export. In districts where acorns abound, they fatten to an inconceivable size. They are first pushed swimming across the Save, as a substitute for quarantine, and then driven to Pesth and Vienna by easy stages; latterly large quantities have been sent up the Danube in boats towed by steam.

Another extensive trade in this part of the world is in leeches. Turkey in Europe, being for the most part uncultivated, is covered with ponds and marshes, where leeches are found in abundance. In consequence of the extensive use now made of these reptiles, in preference to the old practice of the lancet, the price has risen; and the European source being exhausted, Turkey swarms with Frenchmen engaged in this traffic. Semlin and Belgrade are the entre-pôts of this trade. They have a singular phraseology; and it is amusing to hear them talk of their "marchandises mortes." One company had established a series of relays and reservoirs, into which the leeches were deposited, refreshed, and again put in motion; as the journey for a great distance, without such refreshment, usually proves fatal.


The steam navigation on the Danube has been of incalculable benefit to Servia; it renders the principality accessible to the rest of Europe, and Europe easily accessible to Servia. The steam navigation of the Save has likewise given a degree of animation to these lower regions, which was little dreamt of a few years ago. The Save is the greatest of all the tributaries of the Danube, and is uninterruptedly navigable for steamers a distance of two hundred miles. This river is the natural canal for the connexion of Servia and the Banat with the Adriatic. It also offers to our summer tourists, on the completion of the Lombard-Venetian railway, an entirely new and agreeable route to the East. By railroad, from Milan to Venice; by steamer from thence to Trieste; by land to Sissek; and the rest of the way by the rapid descent of the Save and the Danube. By the latter route very few turnings and windings are necessary; for a straight line drawn from Milan to Kustendji on the Black Sea, the point of embarkation for Constantinople, almost touches Venice, Trieste, Belgrade, and the Danube.



The Foreign Agents.


So much for the native government. The foreign agents in Belgrade are few in number. The most prominent individual during my stay there was Baron Lieven, a Russian general, who had been sent there on a special mission by the emperor, to steer the policy of Russia out of the shoals of the Servian question.

On calling there with Mr. Fonblanque, I found a tall military-looking man, between forty and forty-five years of age. He entered at once, and without mystery, into the subject of his mission, and concluded by saying that "Servia owed her [326]political existence solely to Russia, which gave the latter a moral right of intervention over and above the stipulations of treaties, to which no other power could pretend." As the public is already familiar with the arguments pro and contra on this question, it is at present unnecessary to recur to them.

Baron Lieven had in the posture of affairs at that time a difficult part to play, inasmuch as a powerful party sought to throw off the protectorate of Russia. The baron, without possessing an intellect of the highest order, was a man of good sound judgment, and in his proceedings showed a great deal of frankness and military decision, qualities which attained his ends in all probability with greater success than if he had been endowed with that profound astuteness which we usually attribute to Russians. This was his fifth mission into the Turkish dominions; so that, although not possessing the language, he was yet well acquainted with the Turkish character and Eastern affairs in general. His previous mission had for its object to announce to the Sultan that, in accordance with the stipulations [327]of the treaty of the 15th of July, 1840, the military and naval forces of the Emperor of Russia were at the service of his Highness.

Baron Lieven was accompanied to Servia by his lady, a highly talented person, who spoke English admirably; and the evenings spent in his hospitable house were among the most agreeable reminiscences of my residence at Belgrade.

The stationary Russian consul-general was M. Wastchenko, a stout middle-aged gentleman, with the look of a well-conditioned alderman. M. Wastchenko had been originally in a commercial establishment at Odessa; but having acquired a knowledge of the Turkish language he was attached to the embassy at Constantinople, and subsequently nominated Russian consul at Belgrade, under the consul-general for the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia; but his services having been highly approved by Count Nesselrode, he was advanced to the rank and pay of consul-general. M. Wastchenko possesses in an eminent degree what Swift calls the aldermanly, but never to be over estimated quality, Discretion; he was considered generally a very [328]safe man. In fact, a sort of man who is a favourite with all chanceries; the quality of such a mind being rather to avoid complications than to excite admiration by activity in the pen or the tongue. M. Wastchenko was most thoroughly acquainted with everything, and every man, in Servia. He spoke the language fluently, and lived familiarly with the principal persons in Belgrade. He had never travelled in Europe, and, strange to say, had never been in St. Petersburg.

The present Russian consul-general in Servia is Colonel Danilefsky, who distinguished himself, when a mere youth, by high scientific attainments in military colleges of Russia, rose rapidly to a colonelcy, and was sent out on a mission to the khan of Khiva; the success of which ensured his promotion to the Servian consulate-general, an important position as regards the interests of Russia.

From the circumstance of there being three thousand Austrian subjects in Belgrade, the consul-general of that power has a mass of real consular business to transact, while the functions of the other agents are solely political. France [329]has generally an agent of good capacity in Servia, in consequence of the influence that the march of affairs in the principality might have on the general destinies of Turkey in Europe. Great Britain was represented by Mr. Consul-general Fonblanque, a gentleman whose conduct has been sharply criticized by those who suppose that the tactics of party in the East are like those in England, all fair and above-board: but let those gentlemen that sit at home at ease, experience a few of the rude tempestuous blasts which fall to the lot of individuals who speak and write truths unpalatable to those who will descend to any device to compass a political object, and they would sing another song.

I now take leave of Servia, wishing her Prince and her people every prosperity, and entertaining the hope that she will wisely limit all her future efforts to the cultivation of the arts of peace and civilization. From Belgrade I crossed to Semlin, whence I proceeded by steam to Vienna.



Vienna in 1844[26]

Improvements in Vienna.—Palladian style—Music.—Theatres.—Sir Robert Gordon.—Prince Metternich.—Armen Ball.—Dancing.—Strauss.—Austrian Policy.


Vienna has been more improved and embellished within the last few years than during the previous quarter of a century. The Graben and the Kohlmarket have been joined, and many old projecting houses have been taken down, and replaced by new tenements, with the façades put back, so as to facilitate the thoroughfare. Until very lately, almost every public building and [331]private palace in Vienna was in the Frenchified style of the last century, when each petty prince in Germany wished to have a miniature Versailles in his village capital. All the new edifices are in the Palladian style; which is suitable, not only to the climate, but to the narrow streets, where Greek architecture would be lost for want of space, and where the great height of the houses gives mass to this (the Palladian) style, without the necessity of any considerable perspective. The circumstance of many of the architects here being Italian, may probably, in some measure, account for the general adoption of this style. It is singular, that although Vienna possesses in St. Stephen's one of the most beautiful specimens of Gothic architecture, not a single edifice in this taste of recent date is to be seen, although a revival of it is noticeable in several other parts of Germany.

Music is one of the necessaries of existence in Vienna, and the internal consumption is apparently as great as ever: there is now-a-days no Mozart or Haydn to supply imperishable fabrics for the markets of the world; but the orchestras [332]are as good as ever. The Sinfonia-Eroica of Beethoven catching my eye in a programme, I failed not to renew my homage to this prince of sweet and glorious sounds, and was loyally indignant on hearing a fellow-countryman say, that, though rich in harmony, he was poor in melody. No; Beethoven's wealth is boundless; his riches embarrass him; he is the sultan of melody: while others dally with their beauties to satiety, he wanders from grace to grace, scarce pausing to enjoy. Is it possible to hear his symphonies without recognizing in them the germs of innumerable modern melodies, the precious metal which others beat out, wherewith to plate their baser compositions,—exhaustless materials for the use of his successors, like those noble temples which antiquity has raised in the East, to become, in the sequel, the quarries from which whole cities of lowlier dwellings are constructed?

At the Kärnthner Thor I heard the Huguenots admirably performed. Decorations excepted, I really thought it better done than at the Académie Royale. Meyerbeer's brilliant and original conceptions, in turning the chorus into an oral or[333]chestra, are better realized. A French vaudeville company performed on the alternate nights. Carl, the rich Jew manager of the Wieden, and proprietor of the Leopold-Stadt Theatre, is adding largely to his fortune, thanks to the rich and racy drolleries of Nestroz and Schulz, who are the Matthews and Liston of Vienna. The former of these excellent actors is certainly the most successful farce-writer in Germany. Without any of Raimund's sentimental-humorous dialogue, he has a far happier eye for character, and only the untranslatable dialect of Vienna has preserved him from foreign play-wrights.

Sir Robert Gordon, her Majesty's ambassador, whose unbounded and truly sumptuous hospitalities are worthy of his high position, did me the honour to take me to one of Princess Metternich's receptions, in the apartments of the chancery of state, one side of which is devoted to business, the other to the private residence of the minister. After passing through a vestibule on the first floor, paved with marble, we entered a well-lighted saloon of palatial altitude, at the [334]further end of which sat the youthful and fascinating princess, in conversation with M. Bailli de Tatischeff ex-ambassador of Russia.

There, almost blind and bent double with the weight of eighty years, sat the whilom profoundly sagacious diplomatist, whose accomplished manners and quick perception of character have procured him a European reputation. He quitted public business some years ago, but even in retirement Vienna had its attractions for him. There is an unaccountable fascination in a residence in this capital; those who live long in it become ipsis Vindobonensibus Vindobonensiores.

Prince Metternich, who was busy when we entered with a group, examining some views of Venice, received me with that quaker-like simplicity which forms the last polish of the perfect gentleman and man of the world; "les extrêmes se touchent," in manners as in literature: but for the riband of the Golden Fleece, which crossed his breast, there was nothing to remind me that I was conversing with the statesman, who, after the armistice of Plesswitz, held the destinies of all Europe in his hands. After some conversation, [335]the prince asked me to call upon him on a certain forenoon.

Most of the diplomatic corps were present, one of whom was the amiable and well-known Marshal Saldanha, who, a few years ago, played so prominent a part in the affairs of Portugal. The usual resources of whist and the tea-buffet changed the conversational circle, and at midnight there was a general movement to the Kleine Redouten Saal, where the Armen Ball had attracted so crowded an assemblage, that more than one archduchess had her share of elbowing. Strauss was in all his glory; the long-drawn impassioned breathings of Lanner having ceased for ever, the dulcet hilarity of his rival now reigns supreme; and his music, when directed by himself, still abounds in those exquisite little touches, that inspire hope like the breath of a May morning. Strange to say, the intoxicating waltz is gone out of vogue with the humbler classes of Vienna,—its natal soil. Quadrilles, mazurkas, and other exotics, are now danced by every "Stubenmäd'l" in Lerchenfeld, to the exclusion of the national dance.


On the third day after this, at the appointed hour, I waited upon Prince Metternich. In the outer antechamber an elderly well-conditioned red-faced usher, in loosely made clothes of fine black cloth, rose from a table, and on my announcing myself, said, "If you will go into that apartment, and take a seat, his Excellency will be disengaged in a short time." I now entered a large apartment, looking out on the little garden of the bastion: an officer, in a fresh new white Austrian uniform, stood motionless and pensive at one of the windows, waiting his turn with a most formidable roll of papers. The other individual in the room was a Hungarian, who moved about, sat down, and rose up, with the most restless impatience, twirled his mustachios, and kept up a most lively conversation with a caged parrot which stood on the table.

Two large pictures, hanging from the wall opposite the windows, were a full length portrait of the emperor in his robes, the other a picture of St. John Nepomuck, the patron saint of Bohemia, holding an olive branch in his hand. The apartment, although large, was very simply furnished, [337]but admirably decorated in subdued colours, in the Italian manner. A great improvement has lately taken place in internal decoration in Vienna, which corresponds with that of external architecture. A few years ago, most large apartments were fitted up in the style of Louis XV., which was worthy of the degenerate nobles and crapulous financiers for whom it was invented, and was, in fact, a sort of Byzantine of the boudoir, which succeeded the nobler and simpler manner of the age of Louis XIV., and tormenting every straight line into meretricious curves, ended with over-loading caricature itself.

I found Prince Metternich in his cabinet, surrounded with book-cases, filled mostly with works on history, statistics, and geography, and I hope I am not committing any indiscretion in saying that his conversation savoured more of the abstractions of history and political philosophy than that of any other practical statesman I had seen. I do not think that I am passing a dubious compliment, since M. Guizot, the most eminently practical of the statesmen of France, is at the same time the man who has most successfully [338]illustrated the effects of modifications of political institutions on the main current of human happiness.

It must be admitted that Prince Metternich has a profound acquaintance with the minutest sympathies and antipathies of all the European races; and this is the quality most needed in the direction of an empire which comprises not a nation, but a congregation of nations; not cohering through sympathy with each other, but kept together by the arts of statesmanship, and the bond of loyalty to the reigning house. The ethnographical map of Europe is as clear in his mind's eye as the boot of Italy, the hand of the Morea, and the shield of the Spanish peninsula in those of a physical geographer. It is not affirming too much to say that in many difficult questions in which the mezzo termine proposed by Austria has been acceded to by the other powers, the solution has been due as much to the sagacity of the individual, as to the less ambitious policy which generally characterizes Austria.

The last time I saw this distinguished individual [339]was in the month of November following, on my way to England, I venture to give a scrap of the conversation.

Mett. "The idea of Charlemagne was the formation of a vast state, comprising heterogeneous nations united under one head; but with all his genius he was unequal to the task of its accomplishment. Napoleon entertained the same plan with his confederation of the Rhine; but all such systems are ephemeral when power is centralized, and the minor states are looked upon as instruments, and not as principals. Austria is the only empire on record that has succeeded under those circumstances. The cabinet of Austria, when it seeks the solution of any internal question, invariably reverses the positions, and hypothetically puts itself in the position of the provincial interest under consideration. That is the secret of the prosperity of Austria."

Author. "I certainly have been often struck with the historical fact, that 1830 produced revolutions then and subsequently in France, Belgium, Poland, Spain, and innumerable smaller states; [340]while in Austria, with all its reputed combustible elements, not a single town or village revolted."

Mett. "That tangible fact speaks for itself."


[26] This chapter was written in Vienna in the beginning of 1844; but I did not wish to break the current of my observations on Servia by the record of my intervening journey to England.



Concluding Observations on Austria and her Prospects.


The heterogeneousness of the inhabitants of London and Paris is from the influx of foreigners; but the odd mixture of German, Italian, Slaavic, and I know not how many other races in Vienna, is almost all generated within the limits of the monarchy. Masses, rubbing against each other, get their asperities smoothed in the contact; but the characteristics of various nationalities remain in Vienna in considerable strength, and do not seem likely soon to disappear by any process of attrition. There goes the German—honest, good-natured, and laborious; the Hungarian—proud, insolent, lazy, hospitable, generous, and sincere; [342]and the plausible Slaav—his eye, twinkling with the prospect of seizing, by a knowledge of human nature, what others attain by slower means.

How curious again, is the meeting of nations that labour and enjoy! In Paris, the Germans and the English are more numerous than any other foreigners. The former toil, drudge, save their littles to make a meikle. The latter, whatever they may be at home, are, in Paris, generally loungers and consumers of the fruits of the earth. The Hungarian's errand in Vienna is to spend money: the Italian's to make it. The Hungarian, A.B., is one of the squirearchy of his country, whose name is legion, or a military man, whiling away his furlough amid the excitements of a gay capital. The Italian, C.D., is a painter, a sculptor, a musician, or an employé; and there is scarcely to be found an idle man among the twenty thousand of his fellow-countrymen, who inhabit the metropolis.

The Hungarian nobility, of the higher class, are, in appearance and habits, completely identified with their German brethren; but it is in the middle nobility that we recognize the swarthy [343]complexion, the haughty air and features, more or less of a Mongolian cast. The Hungarians and native Germans are mutually proud of each other, and mutually dislike each other. I never knew a Hungarian who was not in his heart pleased with the idea, that the King of Hungary was also an emperor, whose lands, broad and wide, occupied so large a space in the map of Europe; and I never knew an Austrian proper, who was not proud of Hungary and the Hungarians, in spite of all their defects. The Hungarian of the above description herds with his fellow-countrymen, and preserves, to the end of his stay, his character of foreigner; visits assiduously places of public resort, preferring the theatre and ball-room to the museum or picture-gallery.

Of all men living in Vienna, the Bohemians carry off the palm for acuteness and ingenuity. The relation of Bohemia to the Austrian empire has some resemblance to that of Scotland to the colonies of Britain, in the supply of mariners to the vessel of state. The population of Bohemia is a ninth part of that of the whole empire; but I dare say that a fourth of the bureaucracy of [344]Austria is Bohemian. To account for this, we must take into consideration the great number of men of sharp intellect, good education, and scanty fortune, that annually leave that country.

The population of Scotland is about a ninth of that of the United Kingdom. The Scot is well educated. He has less loose cash than his brother John Bull, and consequently prefers the sweets of office to the costly incense of the hustings and the senate. How few, comparatively speaking, of those who have made themselves illustrious in the imperial Parliament, from the Union to our own time, came from the north of the Tweed; but how the Malcolms, the Elphinstones, the Munros, and the Burns, crowd the records of Indian statesmanship!

The power that controls the political tendencies of Austria is that of the mass of the bureaucracy; consequently, looking at the proportion of Bohemian to other employés in the departments of public service, the influence exercised by this singularly sagacious people, over the destinies of the monarchy, may be duly appreciated. Count Kollowrath, the minister of the interior, and [345]Baron Kübeck, the minister of finance, are both Bohemians, and thus, next to the Chancellor of State, occupy the most important offices in the empire.

The Bohemians of the middling and poorer classes, have certainly less sincerity and straight-forwardness than their neighbours. An anecdote is related illustrative of the slyness of the Bohemians, compared with the simple honesty of the German, and the candid unscrupulousness of the Hungarian: "During the late war, three soldiers, of each of these three nations, met in the parlour of a French inn, over the chimney-piece of which hung a watch. When they had gone, the German said, 'That is a good watch; I wish I had bought it.' 'I am sorry I did not take it,' said the Hungarian. 'I have it in my pocket,' said the Bohemian."

The rising man in the empire is the Bohemian Baron Kübeck, who is thoroughly acquainted with every detail in the economical condition of Austria. The great object of this able financier is to cut down the expenses of the empire. No doubt that it would be unwise for Austria, an inland state, to [346]reduce her military expenses; but the viel-schreiberei might be diminished, and the pruning-hook might safety be applied to the bureaucracy; but a powerful under-current places this region beyond the power of Baron Kübeck. He is also a free-trader; but here again he meets with a powerful opposition: no sooner does he propose a modification of the tariff, than the saloons of the Archdukes are filled with manufacturers and monopolists, who draw such a terrific picture of the ruin which they pretend is to overwhelm them, that the government, true to its tradition of never doing any thing unpopular, of always avoiding collision with public opinion, and of protecting vested interests, even to the detriment of the real interest of the public, draws back; and the old jog-trot is maintained.

The mass of the aristocracy continues as usual without the slightest political influence, or the slightest taste for state affairs. The Count or Prince of thirty or forty thousand a year, is as contented with his chamberlain's key embroidered on his coat-skirt, as if he controlled the avenues to real power; but the silent operation of an import[347]ant change is visible in all the departments of the internal government of Austria. The national reforms of the Emperor Joseph were too abrupt and sweeping to be salutary. By good luck the reaction which they produced being co-incident with the first French Revolution, the firebrands which that great explosion scattered over all monarchical Europe, fell innocuous in Austria. The second French revolution rather retarded than accelerated useful reforms. Now that the fear of democracy recedes, an inclination for salutary changes shows itself everywhere. A desire for incorporations becomes stronger, and the government shows none of its quondam anxiety about public companies and institutions. The censorship has been greatly relaxed, and many liberal newspapers and periodicals, formerly excluded, are now frequently admitted. Any one who knew Austria some years ago, would be surprised to see the "Examiner," and "Constitutionnel" lying on the tables of the Clubs.

A desire for the revival of the provincial estates (Landstände), is entertained by many influential persons. These provincial parliaments existed up [348]to the time of the Emperor Joseph, who, with his rage for novelty, and his desire for despotic and centralized power, abolished them. The section of the aristocracy desirous for this revival is certainly small, but intelligent, and impatient for a sphere of activity. They have neither radical nor democratic principles; they admit that Austria, from the heterogeneous nature of her population, is not adapted for constitutional government; but maintain that the revival of municipal institutions is quite compatible with the present elements of the monarchy, and that the difficulties presented by the antagonist nationalities are best solved by allowing a development of provincial public life, restricted to the control of local affairs, and leaving the central government quite unfettered in its general foreign and domestic policy.

St. Marc Girardin remarks, with no less piquancy of language than accuracy of observation, that "no country is judged with less favour than Austria; and none troubles herself less about misrepresentation. Austria carries her repugnance to publicity so far as even to dislike eulogium. Praise often offends her as much as blame; for he that [351]applauds to-day may condemn to-morrow; to set one's self up for praise, is to set one's self up for discussion. Austria will have none of it, for her political worship is the religion of silence, and her worship of that goes almost to excess. Her schools are worthy of the highest admiration; we hear nothing about them. She is, after England, the first country in Europe for railways; and we hear nothing of them, except by a stray paragraph in the Augsburg Gazette."

The national railroad scheme of Austria is certainly the most splendid effort of the tout pour le peuple—rien par le peuple system that has been hitherto seen; the scheme is the first of its class: but its class is not the first, not the best in the abstract, but the best in an absolute country, where the spirit of association is scarcely in embryo. From Vienna to Cracow is now but a step. Prague and Dresden will shake hands with Vienna next year. If we look southwards, line upon line interpose themselves between Vienna and the Adriatic, but the great Sömmering has been pierced. The line to Trieste is open beyond Grätz, the Styrian capital. The Lombard-Venetian line proceeds rapidly, and [352]is to be joined to that of Trieste. In 1847, the traveller may go, without fail, from Milan to Stettin on the Baltic. But the most interesting line for us is that of Gallicia, in connexion with that of Silesia. If prolonged from Czernowitz to Galatz, along the dead flat of Moldavia, the Black Sea and the German Ocean will be joined; Samsoun and the Tigris will thus be, in all probability, at no distant day, on the high road to our Indian empire.

But to return to Austria; this spectacle of rapid material improvement, without popular commotion, and without the trumpets and alarm-bells of praise and blame, is satisfactory: but when we look to the reverse of the picture, and see the cumbrous debt, the frequent deficits, and the endless borrowing, we think the time has come for great financial reforms,—as Schiller hath it:—

"Warum denn nicht mit einem grossen Schritte anfangen, Da sie mit einem grossen Schritte doch enden müssen?"




Post 8vo, price 10s. 6d.




"Lebanon and its inhabitants, particularly the Druses, Damascus, and Aleppo, are his leading subjects. His statements, under the first of those heads, form by far the most valuable portion of the work, affording, as it does, information not elsewhere to be found respecting the social condition, the politics, and the state of religion in a highly interesting region, our knowledge of which has hitherto been of the slightest description. Next to this, in interest, is the account of Aleppo, which has been less visited by English travellers than Damascus; but even at Damascus, the information of this writer has considerable novelty, and embraces many points of interest arising from his leisurely sojourn, from his mixing more than other travellers with the native population, and from his ability to converse with them in their own language. Hence we have pictures more distinct in their outlines, facts more positive, and information more real than the passing traveller, ignorant of the local language, can be reasonably expected to exhibit ... makes larger additions to the common stock of information concerning Syria, than any work which could easily be named since 'Burckhardt's Travels in Syria' appeared."—Eclectic Review.

"Remarkably clever and entertaining."—Times.

"In many of the conversations and reports in this volume, there seems to us a reality, which European writing and discourse often want."—Spectator.

"I willingly testify to the fact of your having enjoyed facilities over all our modern travellers, for accurately describing the manners, customs, and statistics of Syria."—Letter of Mr. Consul-General Barker.

For a detailed analysis, see Athenæum, 24th Aug. 1844.