Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

Whether our host was blessed with a gentle Baba, and a numerous family, we had no opportunity of ascertaining, for during our visit we were not gladdened by the sight of one of those fair beings whose presence forms so great a charm in European society. Perhaps he was unwilling to introduce the handsome fascinating Gaul to his beloved helpmate; for, however singular it may appear, when we remember how distant these provinces are from the west of Europe, it is

universally believed by the inhabitants, that a French

man is the reverse of moral in his disposition and conduct: and it is as generally received and implicitly credited that the French nation are Pagans. This opinion originated in the revolutionary frenzy of 1793, and the lapse of half a century has not sufficed to remove the impression. We had a striking example of this as we sat down to our supper. The papa, who was seated by me, crossed himself, in which he was imitated by all present, with the exception of my friend and myself, who, following the habits of our countries, bowed with reverence, and thanked the Almighty Giver of all good. On seeing this, he turned sharply round, and remarked with all the naïveté of his countrymen, that he always thought the Ingleski believed in Christ. This led to a discussion, in which I had some difficulty to make the worthy priest understand that a man may firmly believe in the divine truths of Christianity without making an exhibition of his belief by refraining from certain articles of food, and practising certain signs

and ceremonies. I also explained to him, that although France at the epoch referred to had been guilty of many acts of impiety—that the monstrous doctrine then proclaimed never found an echo in the hearts of the people, and when the Reign of Terror was over, they publicly returned to the religion of their fathers.

Our evening's entertainment concluded by a popular song in praise of the Servian hero, Tzerni George, sung in chorus by the whole of the guests. I was indebted for a copy of it to the politeness of the kapitan, which we have endeavoured to render into English, as a proof of the state of feeling, and of the attachment the Servians entertain towards the memory of their hero.

When the tyrant Turk was lord
O'er Servia’s sons enslaved,
Who first unsheathed fair freedom's sword,
And Moslem vengeance braved'
Tzerni George Tzerni George'

Whose arm, victorious, led us on
To humble Othman's pride,
And when his task was done
Nobly for his country died ?
Our hero, Tzerni George

Should the oppressor dare again
Lay his yoke upon the free,
On the crimson battle-plain
Our rallying cry shall be,
The patriot, Tzerni George

Where'er the Servian people dwell,
Throughout their wide domain,
Each grateful tongue shall gladly tell
Of Turkish warriors slain,
By gallant Tzerni George.

The verdant fields shall bloom no more,
The last bright sun be set,
The deep blue sea forsake the shore,
E'er Servian hearts forget
Their glorious Tzerni George.

CHAPTER III.

Description of Servia—Wild aspect of its forests—Swine herds— Abundance of game—German traveller—Arrival at Jagodin— Singular costume of the peasantry—Improved aspect of the country—Industry of the inhabitants—Mount Jouor—Gipsy villages—Miseries of a traveller—Mountain han—A caravan bivouac-Arrival at Alexinitz—Increasing prosperity of the town—Customs and manners of the inhabitants—The quarantine and its abuses—English friends and hospitality.

EARLY in the morning, or as the poets say, when the dew-spangled grass glittered brightly beneath the first beams of the blushing morn, we mounted our horses, and to our great surprize, our host made his appearance, habited in his crimson shalwars, gaily embroidered jacket and belt full of pistols, accompanied by a pandour, bearing a small tray with glasses and raki, that we might enjoy together a parting glass. How like the stirrup-cup of our country.

About an hour's ride from Hassan-Pacha-Palanka we ascended a steep acclivity, when the country became more wild than any I had yet seen—the forests more dense. Gigantic oaks flung their wide-spreading branches above our heads in every direction—forming a canopy of foliage almost impervious to the light of day. There was a stillness and a solitude in the scene which affected the imagination ; the sound of our horses’ feet, the slightest noise, was echoed and re-echoed; we seemed to have left behind all trace of man and the feverish anxieties which occupy his attention. As we advanced, numerous flocks of starlings and wood-pigeons chattered and cooed in the branches of the trees, squirrels chased each other in playful security, and had it not been for an occasional glimpse of some stealthy lynx, or wild cat, in search of their prey, we might have fancied ourselves in some Arcadian land, where no living thing could receive injury or wrong. These scenes were occasionally varied by meeting with immense droves of pigs, grunting in chorus and turning up the earth in search of food. They were guarded by most primitive, but warlike-looking swineherds, clad in sheep-skin mantles, descending to their feet, and enormous turban like-caps of the same material, a band of red cloth confined the waist, in which they carried a brace of pistols and a hangiar, while over their shoulder was slung the long Arnout gun, inlaid with gold or silver, the trophy of some desperate foray with that heroic people. These warlike swineherds are frequently members of some patriarchal tribe, the joint owners of the vast herds, and the land over which they wander. They

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »