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A TRIP FROM ST. PETERSBURGH TO
The sight of any object upon these dreary
and desolate wastes is as interesting as CONSTANTINOPLE.
the appearance of a sail at sea; the horiPASSAGE TO BUCHAREST-TRAVELING POST IN TIIE
zon has all the monotonous sameness of PRINCIPALITIES-KHANG-LIFE IN THE MAHALAB OF that of the ocean. BUCHAREST-CITY LIFE-A FEAST-TIE GLORIES OF It was a repetition of my Russian posting, THE WALLACULAN BATU.
and you may imagine the weariness with T HAVE at last reached Bucharest; which I was hurried over these distances,
the journey from Jassi, over the mo- nearly as destitute of all signs of animal notonous plains which separate the two life as of vegetation and of relieving incapitals, was more wearying than I can equalities of surface. The villages are possibly describe. If one could only for- very few, and entirely unlike any picture get his troubles in slumber during the your imagination would draw from the entire route, it would be a relief; but it word. Here a few miserable hovels, would require a Rip Van Winkle sleep to partly underground and built of clay and produce insensibility to the jerks and straw, are dignified with the name of a plunges of eight or ten horses, driven at village, though on account of the pastoral their utmost speed, by postillions whose habits of the people, and the uncertain shouts and cries are enough to wake the government of the country, it is not undead. I made many efforts to isolates frequent for whole towns composed of myself in a world of thought, less noisy these perishable and valueless structures, and disturbed, while sweeping over the to disappear entirely from one spot and dreary sameness of the way; but the rise up in another many miles distant. hurrahs of the driver, or a frequent as- Indeed, a town or village is no more a
effectually ended my meditations. The longitude in these provinces, than the only incident which varied the journey locality of a flock of birds. America, was our arrival at the posts where we itself, is rivaled in the facility with which change horses. Nothing could be more cities are created here out of the smallest primitive than these same post stations.capital. A collection of wooden houses The cabins consisted only of branches of | immediately becomes a city; if a few of trees, and the stables were of the same them are brick or plastered with lime, it is material: the horses were never found in a chief place of the district or perhaps a the latter, however, as they had the good bishopric. sense to prefer the grass of the surround- After my wearying and painful journey, ing plains. Upon reaching the post, two you may imagine my dismay upon arriving men on horseback drive at full gallop into at Bucharest, to find that there were aba herd of thirty or forty grazing animals, solutely no hotels or even public-houses which, thus disturbed, are driven in al in the place. There are some vast buildstraight line, like a squadron of cavalry, ings or caravansaries, designated as the with loud cries and whip-crackings, toward / red khan or the yellow khan, in which the waiting vehicle; the necessary number straw takes the place of furniture; tumbled are forthwith attached to it, and as we start upon this in picturesque confusion are off in triumph, the whole remaining troop found Wallachians, Moldavians, Hunagain betake themselves, neighing and garians, Transylvanians, Germans, Alkicking their feet into the air, to their banians, Turks, and Greeks. The scene, green pastures.
with its contrasts and clamors, would The level and mountainous regions of afford the very best suggestions for an the Principalities are entirely distinct, | Ostade or Teniers. and unfortunately for me, with my passion The hospitality of the inhabitants is, for mountains, the three hundred miles | however, proverbial; the yellow khan, which separate Jassi from Bucharest especially, is a kind of ambush, where any were entirely through the dead plains; respectable traveler may be seized and which, notwithstanding the rapidity of the carried to some private residence to be horses, seemed to stretch themselves made comfortable; the generous-hearted further and further, as we passed over citizens disputing with each other for the them. An entire day's journey is fre- possession of the guest. I was fortunately quently unrelieved by a hill or even a tree. | furnished with letters of introduction,
which immediately procured me an agree- | Two or three white houses with Persian able asylum in the Mahala de la Stella. blinds stand opposite the church. Every
The suburbs of Bucharest are distin- body seemed on the best terms in this guished by the name of Mahalas-a num- | miniature world. Two or three times a ber of crooked little streets, quite without week I saw from my windows one of the the noise and bustle of the city, are ter- | neighboring houses brilliantly illuminated, minated by a fence, a wall, or a hedge, and servants with lanterns conducting the behind which are partially concealed rural beauties of the mahala, in their ordinary residences, charmingly situated in the sur- attire, toward its cheerfully lighted rooms. rounding trees, or overgrown with vines This kind of enlarged family life was quite and clematis. A white church, with its charming to me. After a short residence assemblage of towers terminating in Indian in my new abode, I was so fortunate as to pagodas, stands at the end of the Mahala | obtain an invitation to one of these social de la Stella. It is surrounded with acacias, reunions. Several of the matrons of the while near it is the residence of the bishop. neighborhood were seated in graceful and
picturesque positions upon the red divan which extended round the apartment, forming a suitable background for the tableau of girls who were present. Their animation seemed a little intimidated upon my entrance, but after a few moments their timidity vanished, and they were quite regardless of my presence. I found that dancing was the chief amusement of the evening, and it was at once proceeded with in the simple style of the country, accompanied with music on the violin and the pipes of Pan. The women of Bucharest are proverbialJy beautiful, and those of our quarter did not detract from the established reputation of their countrywomen. Some of the names struck me as pretty and melodious. Among them I remember Maritza, Paraskeva, Lianka, Zinka, &c. The graceful national costume, although rapidly falling into disuse, especially with the young people, and indeed never seen in what is called society, was frequently worn on these occasions, slightly modified. On Sundays,
YOUNG GIRL OF THE MAHALA DE LA STELLA, also, I was often struck with its picturesque beauty, as I saw the l as Indians, with their large black eyes set fresh and smiling faces of those whom it in blue enamel. The national dishes of adorned, coming forth from the white preserved citron, and a delicate preparachurch in the midst of the flowering aca- tion of roses, were served in primitive and cias. I leave it for your readers to decide national style. Two vases were filled with if any fashion plate compares with this them, from which each guest helped himgraceful attire of one of our belles of the self to as much as he wished, with a spoon, Mahala de la Stella.
which was then passed to his neighbor. The apartment which had drawn me The other tray had a large glass bowl, into its magic circle was quite simply containing the pure water of the Dimhofurnished. The illumination which had witza, from which all drank as in the days struck me as so brilliant, was produced of the patriarchs. As my turn came, a by four large candlesticks reflected in four lady smilingly repeated one of the poetical mirrors of highly polished steel, with the proverbs of the country, respecting this addition of a handsome three-branched pretty and beloved river. It is very mulamp. Two young Bohemians soon en- sical in the original, but the translation tered with refreshments; they were brown must suffice: “Sweet Dimhowitza, who
drinks of thy waters shall leave thee no more jengthened account of them in a more.” It must be powerful water indeed future letter. if it stops my vagabondizings!
But I must emerge from the charming I was much struck with the grace and seclusion of the Mahala, and again “ begin beauty of many of the Bohemian'or gipsy at the beginning,” like an orthodox travchildren. Two little figures whom I fre-eler, with some information respecting my quently saw filling their donitzas with present resting-place—the “ City of Joy," water at the fountain, seemed to me to as its inhabitants like to distinguish it. possess all the quiet grace and repose of Bucharest is nearly two hundred miles the antique, as they balanced the weight from the Black Sea, a little more than of their jars with their extended hands fifty from the Danube, and three hundred clasped together. The Bohemians, or from Jassi. It lies on a vast plain, with gipsies, are scattered everywhere through a gentle inclination toward the Dimbothe Principalities. I shall give you a witza, which passes directly through the