صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

even the appearance of an encampment was preserved. Hence, also, this nation of husbandmen and soldiers have not built a single city, for, with the exception of Buda, the capital of the nobility, all these agglomerations of ten, twenty, and thirty thousand men, which you meet with on the Hungarian territory, are in point of fact nothing more than villages. They consist, just as a hamlet of the smallest importance would do, of wide sandy streets, where a hundred horses gallop at their ease; only there are many such streets. Debrecsin, with a population of sixty thousand souls, is composed in a great measure of small houses regularly whitewashed, and constructed in the form of tents; so that, notwithstanding the elegant shops of some foreign merchants, it is a genuine Hungarian village.

The Magyar peasants, to use a Hungarian expression, wear a shirt with full flaunting sleeves, reaching only to the bottom of the chest, and on rising shows the back tanned by the sun. From the waist downwards, they have wide linen trousers called gagya, fringed at the bottom, and below that the boot appears. The gagya are confined by a strap or handkerchief in such a manner as to compress the bowels and give great fulness to the chest. Over the shoulder there is thrown a sheep skin bunda. The head is covered with a black bonnet (suveg) shaped like a shako, or with a broad brimmed hat, such as is worn by the peasants of Auvergne in France. Wealthy farmers and gentlemen of small fortune roll the gagya about their legs, and wear under them embroidered cloth pantaloons, which are inserted in Hessian boots. They put on the dolman also, and wear a pelisse. From this dress we derive the elegant uniform of the hussars, the strap being changed into a rich belt, and the bunda transformed into the rich pelisse embroidered with gold lace.

The bunda or pelisse hangs down almost to the ground. It is lined with sheepskin. The outside leather has flowers embroidered on it. The oldest ornament of this dress is a lambskin placed under the collar, with the legs extended and the tail hanging down. The woolly lining does not stop at the bottom of the pelisse, but is tucked up on the leather, and forms a border above a foot in depth and fastened with buttons. When the peasant lies down on the ground, he unbuttons this border and thus covers his feet. In some districts, instead of the pelisse, thick cloaks of white cloth are worn. The sleeves, which are allowed to hang loose, are sewed at the end, and serve for pockets.

The linen coat has been brought from the east, and was adopted by the Huns as early as the fifth century. It is an excellent dress for farm-labourers, particularly during the excessive beats of Hungarian summers. The pelisse, which a peasant invariably takes with him on leaving the house, defends him against the pernicious chills of the evenings, and against the rigour of winter. In other respects, this large garment suits the taste of its wearer, for the Hungarian horseman must not be confined in his movements any more than he could dispense with plenty of space and air in the streets of his village.

If historians are to be believed, the Magyars originally wore their hair plaited and ornamented with fillets. The Sarmatian custom of shaving the head, which was introduced by the Polish kings, has ceased altogether with the sway of Austria. Then the Hungarians resumed the braiding of their hair, and let it hang in long plaits-a custom which the hussars that were called into France by Louis XIV. continued even after it had disappeared in Hungary. At the present day some have the hair cut round on the neck, others leave it floating over their shoulders. When these are asked why they allow their hair to grow so long, they say: 'God gave it-why cut it P' The women as well as the men wear black or red boots. They wear also a short petticoat, coloured stomacher, &c., and small sheepskin pelisse. Their hair, which young women wear in a single plait falling down over the back, gathered up on the crown of the head when they are married. Hence the saying 'A' konty parantsol (The plait of hair rules the house),' applied to an imperious

woman. It is a proverb, nevertheless, that hardly receives any application; for the Magyar peasant exercises an authority in his own family which none dare dispute. His hut and the plot of ground about it form what he proudly calls my property,' were it no more than a dozen feet square. He calls his wife and children' my people;' and the wife, on her part, when speaking of her husband, calls him my lord,' nor does she ever talk familiarly to him. The Magyar peasant's house is whitewashed at certain seasons of the year-a practice still retained by the Hungarian tribes of the Caucasus. According to eastern custom the outer wall has no opening in it; it rarely happens that even a small window looks out upon the street. The seats are made of wood, and always very high. Two or three children, already booted and spurred, play beside the hearth.

At the age of four years the child is placed on horseback. With his little hand, he seizes the animal's mane, and no sooner does he feel firmly seated than he scruples not to excite it with his voice. The first day that he gallops without falling, his father says to him seriously: Ember vagy (Thou art a man),' on hearing which the boy feels himself a cubit taller, and so he grows up with the idea that he is a man and a Hungarian, two titles that both impose responsibility. As a man he is called to the honour of being a cavalry-man and of bearing arms; as a Hungarian he will remember that he is superior to all others, and that he must not degrade himself. That feeling of pride which glowed in his forefathers has remained to this day with all the results of conquest, and it gives him a consciousness of his worth and dignity. If you would convince yourself of this, you have only to mark his language. The word 'honour (betsület),' is often in his mouth. All he does is 'betsületes (worthy of a man of honour).'

After having driven you at the gallop for a whole stage, don't suppose he will ask you for drink-money. He looses his horses, politely takes off his cap, and, in his figurative language, wishes you a good journey. You must call him back to give him the money he has earned, and, little as it may be that you give him, he will never complain, that would not be betsületes, and he leaves it to the Sclavonian to hold out his hand, who, in fact, discharges that duty uncommonly well. Among the ideas comprised in the Magyar peasant's notion of honour, is that of being neither greedy of money like the German, nor lazy like the Wallachian. He labours honourably as a man who has a household depending on him. He takes to the village the grain his wife is to make bread of, and the hemp out of which she is to weave his garments. In the evening, after having done all justice to the labours of the day, he smokes at his cottage-door, stroking his moustaches.

Though absolute master in his own house, not the less is he kind in his treatment of those whom he calls his people. Like all brave men, he is gentle. Never does he maltreat his wife-never does he confine her to painful labours. She knows that in him she has a stay and protector, and she receives from him the tenderest appellations, such as my rose, my star.' The Magyar tongue, abounding like all those of Asia in metaphors, is full of such expressions, and comprises, besides, a great many polished forms of address for neighbours, friends, and guests. If you stop at any of their villages, you will see one of the inhabitants-that one before whose house you place yourself-advance towards you, doff his hat, and make you an offer of his hospitality; on your leaving him he will by way of thanks make you a speech, in which he will call down all the blessings of heaven upon you-all this with prodigious ease, and with a dignity quite peculiar to the eastern nations.

The men of this privileged race have a natural nobleness which puts them on a level with any stranger whatever that happens to speak to them. They have a reserved mode of address which one is surprised to find in uncultivated persons: a gross jest never enters their head. Nature has endowed them with a natural eloquence which

leads them to give a lively expression to their sentiments; and, whether they give utterance to mirth or anger, the words come with a fine deep music from their mouths. Whether they welcome a friend or curse a foe, they are never at a loss for similes and epithets, for the most polished phrases or the most energetic words. No doubt, they are wonderfully aided in this by their language, which, while poetical and melodious, is not the less capable of expressing the most masculine sentiments. Some of its terminations that mark the plural, give it, at times, a rough character, while, from its abounding in vowels, it is ordinarily remarkable for its softness. Just according to the feelings he wants to express, the Hungarian employs at will a harsh or a harmonious language.

spoke a full-grown man. Thinking of the songs I had
just been hearing, I begged he would let me have any that
he knew. In answer to my request, he merely turned
on the saddle without discontinuing the gallop, and, with-
out saying a word, gave me a look. I ought to have un-
derstood what this meant; that look was as much as to
say, that a man who had any self-respect would not make
an exhibition of himself before a stranger, as if he were a
wandering Bohemian. But my French silliness and my
curiosity made me forget myself. I risked making the !
request a second time, upon which he turned a second
time, gave me a steady look for a few instants, and then
muttered, 'Am I drunk?'

This dignity in the Hungarians perfectly harmonises What is remarkable, this language which resembles with their physiognomy, which bespeaks their Asiatic the Turkish, has no provincial dialects (patois). The origin. Large and brawny, they have the purely oricountry villager speaks it as purely as the magnate, nay, ental type, aquiline nose, black moustaches, full face, and more purely, for he does not, like the latter, know the a clear brow. Their step is at once calm and firm, and languages of the West, and does not alter the poetical and their gestures, owing to this very gravity, are never wantfigurative character of the national idiom. Where a Ger- ing in dignity. One must see the Hungarian when on his man word, answering to some new idea, has been intro- way to the next market with his produce to dispose of. duced into the language, the magnate will pronounce it Mounted on his favourite horse, or seated in front of a as it is written at Vienna, but the peasant will be careful little low waggon, with four wheels all of one size, he drives to slip a few vowels into the foreign expression in order four horses that run like the wind, calling to each of them to soften it. The peasant ceased not to speak the Mag- by their names. He has a provender-basket attached to yar, even when the nobility, led off momentarily by the the side of the waggon, and at half distance gives them fascinations of Maria Theresa, began to despise that idiom. out their pittance. Should a mare happen to be one of As for speaking Latin, that has never been adopted, ex- the four, the foal is led out and trots at large at its mocept by procurators and persons connected with the church. ther's side, with a small bell at its neck. The driver gives Still, in conversation, the Hungarian nobles sometimes everybody he meets the usual greeting, with a look at once avail themselves of Latin expressions. For example, in kind, intelligent, and dignified. saluting, a magnate is sometimes addressed Domine illustrissime, and a clergyman, Domino spectabile. At other times, a Latin word is coupled with a Hungarian, as in holding out a hand to a friend: Servus barátom. A noble lady, when suffering from a severe illness, happened to pronounce in the midst of her sufferings the name of God. She spoke German. How would you have God to understand you?' said the woman in attendance, since you speak in a foreign tongue!'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

It is to make an improper use of words to speak of a Magyar 'peasant,' as I have called villages what the geographies call towns and cities. Here I give the name of peasants to men who live the lives of common husbandmen, yet who are designed by the government administration as gentlemen, which is very different. This calls for some explanation. In taking possession of the soil, the Hungarians made the former inhabitants their slaves. These, at the present day, are emancipated and free, but they especially form the class of peasants-that of the no- |. Įbility being composed in great measure of Hungarians. In fact, each soldier of the conquering army was noble, as a consequence of the conquest itself. The men of certain | tribes subjected themselves particularly to the king, and received lands from him as free tenants. A certain number of warriors lost their nobility in consequence of having incurred penalties that degraded them; but many others remained independent and noble, and yet cultivated their fields themselves. This rustic nobility has been faithfully transmitted from father to son, and one meets with thousands of villagers in the country that are equally privileged as the king. It is they that repair by hundreds, sometimes by thousands, to the elections, at the time of the convocation of the diet, and that discuss, in their rustic costumes, the votes they are to prescribe to their representatives.

The Magyar peasant's kindness to his guest, even when he is a foreigner, is carried to a great length. Thus, remember that, happening once to be in a shop at De. brecsin, I began to talk with an old woman of this class, who was making purchases. Perceiving that I was a foreigner, she asked me if my mother country was at a great distance; if my family were lamenting my absence; if I often thought with regret of my native land; then, seeing that I was in mourning, she spoke some words of comfort to me, and did not leave me without bestowing her blessing. I confess, I parted from her not without considerable emotion. For the rest, I have more than once admired the high tone of thought and feeling shown by these men under the sole inspirations of their own nature. The Hungarian peasant is sober in words and never descends to familiarity; but he is frank and true, and, if he once recognise in you a friend, he will open his heart to you with sincerity. You will then be struck with certain sentences that will escape from him, with certain thoughts which he will put into words, without for a moment doubting that he has powerfully interested you, and it will be easy for you in return to awaken lively emotions in him. And this, because the nation has noble susceptibilities which are drawn out at once by an elevated sentiment or a generous idea.

The dignity of the Magyar peasant is that of the people of the East. He has the gravity of a Turk; and nothing short of his dancing to the sound of the national music, or of his having drunk a little of his country's excellent wines, can tempt him to indulge in noisy mirth. And yet this gravity of temperament hardly can be said to belong to him till after marriage, when he has become the head of a house. When young and unmarried, he is full of vivacity and fun. I happened one day to have for postilion a lad of fiteen, whose sallies of mirth were delightful. He sang national songs all the way. At the next stage, he was succeeded by a peasant, whose long moustaches be

One day, one of these gentlemen happened to have a complaint to make to a magnate in his neighbourhood, and so taking his hat off, he held it in his hand while stating his case. The nobleman begged him to put it on, it being a piercing cold day. 'Not at all,' said the other; I know the respect I owe you.' 'How, now,' rejoined the magnate, with a smile, and he was a man of some wit; are we two not equal, both of us noble?' 'No doubt; but I am a plain gentleman, and you are a great lord.' I can't be greater than you, for our privileges are the same. I am only rich.' All true.' So that you bow to my purse?' Indeed, you are in the right; you are rich and I am not so; there is no other difference,' and so he replaced his hat on his head with an air of pride.

Among the Hungarians, it is the Germans and the Jews who go from place to place, that are the merchants, innkeepers, and mechanics. As these don't quit their native seats without excellent reasons, and mean to leave the country as soon as they have made enough of money, they don't make probity an imperative rule of life.


the reputation they have. Once I found that I had left at an inn a ring that I particularly valued. The post-boy took off one of the horses, gallopped off, and soon returned with the lost ring. I asked him how he had gone about the finding of it. There was nobody but peasants in the inn,' he replied, so, as I saw it was not on the table where you had left it, I said to the landlord, who pretended to wonder where it could be, You are the only German here, is you, then, who have taken the ring.'"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The greed and cunning of the foreigners who inundate the country, are excessively disgusting to the Magyar, and he would think himself dishonoured by being anything but a husbandman, a shepherd, or a soldier. He has a deep respect for the ground, and tills it with a feeling of pride. As a shepherd, he will spend whole months away from home there you see him, wrapt up in his huge white cloak, and seated in Tartar fashion by the wayside, his eye gazing on the immensity of the steppes, passing what may be called emphatically the contemplative life. Little as he likes the Austrian government-for he calls his sovereign' the German emperor,' as if he spoke of a foreigner-the Magyar willingly becomes a soldier, for in that he obeys his warlike instincts.

Sometimes the sound of military music suddenly bursts out in a village. Hussars, dressed in their elegant uniform, are seen going through a dance, the zest of which is enhanced by their striking their spurs together. The peasant runs to see this gay affair. His eyes follow the dancers, he watches every position, every gesture; the music and the clashing of the sabres excite his feelings intensely. He becomes fascinated and almost beside himself, quits the circle of those that are looking on, strikes his spurs, and mingles with the hussars. He is supplied with a sabre: he takes a shako set off with a waving plume; and in the intoxication of the moment, he has put the mark of a cross, or subscribed his name to some mischievous piece of writing that has been presented to him for that purpose. And now, wont he have in his turn fine arms and a good horse? and wont he, too, be able to come one day in a brilliant uniform to dance before the girls of his native village? Alas, the delusion does not last long. Once a soldier of the German emperor, he is subjected to a discipline which he never dreamt of. But has he not, at least, the fine horse his imagination had pictured to him? Why, for the most part of his time, he is enrolled in the infantry, and his only consolation is, that he wears the boots and tight embroidered pantaloons which distinguish the Hungarian regiments from the German. He is sent off to Lombardy or Bohemia, under the command of an Austrian officer, and in his distant separation from home, as he muses on the pleasant life be has abandoned, and which still rises up before him in all the poetry of his recollections, he looks back with regret on aldott Magyarorsag (blessed Hungary). On his return, when, after long years of exile, he treads for the first time again his beloved land, he throws himself on the ground and kisses it.

The Hungarian soldier is fearless under fire. Like the Frenchman, he is better for attack than defence; it is on horseback that he likes best to fight. With what enthusiasm he did take up arms and march against the Turks under the shadow of the national banners! All Christendom lies under everlasting obligations to this heroic people, which was once its firmest rampart. As the advanced guard of the West, it drove back the tide of Mussulman invasion, which would otherwise have overwhelmed the civilisation of which we are now so proud. It was in vain that the Osmanlis, reminding the Hungarians of their common descent, invited them to share the partition of the world-these Christian Turks never proved wanting to the task they had imposed on themselves, and they went so far even as to carry their defiance of Islamism into the plains of Varna. Notwithstanding that Europe, in whose cause they spent their energies, has too often abandoned them, this noble people has not the less retained those ideas of generous self-devotion which animated them in many a desperate battle, and the day per

haps is not far off when, seizing again the sword of John Huniades, they will fight in our van against a new barbarism. Now that the Russian empire, like some huge colossus, rears itself over against a great part of our continent, those would need have courage who lie under the shadow it projects in looking it boldly in the face; and it is not without profound emotion that we recall the words which we have heard in Hungary. An author belonging to that country, Barthelemy of Szemere, lately exclaimed, The Magyars who defended Christendom against the Osmanlis who were their own brothers, are ready to defend the liberty of Europe against Muscovite tyranny. The Hungarian people will, then, have twice served the cause of humanity: if not in saving it as a hero, at least in suffering for it as its saviour. . . . Possibly,' he adds, 'fate has already marked in the chain of the Carpathian mountains the Thermopyle where our little nation, whether victorious or the victims of the giant, will swell into importance in history, by victory or by death.'

Since the domination of Austria, the Hungarian soldier serves the cause of interests that are foreign to him; still, in face of an enemy, he makes it a point of honour to fight with courage. Thus, in the wars that marked the commencement of this century, the Hungarians distinguished themselves by achievements which were in spired by a magnificent burst of courage. Among a thousand that might be mentioned, there are two that now occur to me. Prince Lichtenstein has raised a mausoleum in the park he has near Vienna, to five hussars who once saved his life. He was on the point of being taken prisoner, when these horsemen, wheeling right about, placed themselves in the direct path of the enemy's light horse, and were killed. After a hot day's fighting on the borders of Switzerland, the Imperialists were giving away before the troops of the French republic. General Kienmayer, followed by an escort of Hungarian hussars, was at the point of falling into the hands of the French grenadiers. Finding himself surrounded on all sides, he galloped off to a deep river, and, setting the example to those who followed him, he precipitated himself from a height of sixty feet. All the Hungarians followed him. This was so dashing an exploit, that a burst of admiration broke from the French column: Don't fire at these brave fellows!' and the muskets were no sooner levelled than raised again.

The proverb runs: 'Lora termett a' Magyar ('the Hungarian is born a horseman,'-literally, 'on horseback'); and never was proverb more true. The people of that nation may be said to pass their lives on horseback, and they don't look on a man as a man at all, if he is not a horseman. The horses of the country, of the Tartar race, are small and lean; they seem to have nothing but breath in them, and are incredibly fleet. Without being shod, without a bit, with no better harness than a cord which goes round the breast, they strike the ground impatiently with their hoofs. No sooner do they hear the né with which every Hungarian horseman begins to talk to his horses, than off they set, tossing up their heads and shaking their ears every time their master speaks to them. He rarely strikes them, but contents himself with describing a continual circle with his whip, which he makes turn slowly round above him.

The herds of horses that people the steppes, live at all times in the open air. They are under the care of the tsikós, that is, of the boldest riders that exist. The animal rema.as for several years in a half wild state, until the day arrives for its being broken. One morning, the tsikos, who knows his stud as well as other men know their families, says to himself that he will break such a horse which he sees. He goes up to him, talking to uim, and making a motion with his hand as if about to caress him. The animal looks askance at the man. Its long mane is bristled with briars that it has picked up in the meadows. Its nostrils are distended the moment it feels a hand upon his neck. It is restless as if conscious of danger, and is about to start off. But the tsikós has pushed down his bonnet; he has clenched his teeth by

protruding the under jaw in such a manner as to push up his pipe, and he finds himself all at once on the horse just as it is about to dart off. Then begins a terrible struggle betwixt the beast and its rider. Terrified and confounded, the horse makes desperate efforts to rid itself of its load. It rears, and plunges, and makes springs like those of a tiger. The tsikos from time to time discharges magnificent puffs of tobacco smoke, while waiting till the animal he bestrides is to have done. It throws itself on the ground, but the moment it reaches the earth, the rider withdraws his legs, stands bolt upright, and the horse in rising bears him still. At last, off it sets like the wind, resolved to escape from this troublesome burden, and expends its remaining strength in running. This was just what the man was waiting for. He looks at the sun, marks the course that the horse takes across the naked steppe, and allows himself to be carried off. When the horse yields it falls; the rider puts a bit into its mouth which he had brought with him. lets it regain some strength, and then leads it back subdued.


The tsikis is a young laughing fellow, robust, active, and vigorous. He knows by heart the legends, traditions, and stories about banditti. He is the man to explain to you the mirage. You think you see a river there ?' says he, don't deceive yourself; it is the fairy of the south a' Delibaba, that wants to laugh at people's expense. Nevertheless,' he adds, this she can't do without God's leave, and how does God give her leave? And so he discusses the case theologically. He never dreams of any better kind of life than his own. His horses neigh about him; the steppe stretches out infinitely to his eyes; he asks for nothing more in the world. When the storm growls, he turns his pelisse on the side the rain comes from. On coming to a spring he drinks, using his cap for a glass. A gourd, replenished with generous wine, and called a kulats, is attached to the back of his saddle. Plastered over with wax in Tartar fashion, and covered with foal-skin, the kulats is something national, and has inspired the Hungarian poet Csokonai with verses worthy of Anacreon. The spurs of the tsikos are always bright and sonorous. To his whip, the handle of which is very short, while the thong is of a length beyond all measure, he attaches leather rosettes of all colours, and flowers are embroidered with silk on the leather purse in which he keeps his tobacco.

I happened one evening, in an out-of-the-way village, to fall in with some tsikós who were drinking together. They were seated on their heels around a candlestick placed on the ground. The landlord, an old fox-looking Jew, came in only when he had to take away the empty bottles and replace them with others. Conversation became more and more animated among the drinkers. From time to time they sang popular airs, such as one hears on the banks of the Theiss; at times, too, the singing was interrupted by an interchange of sallies of wit, which was kept up with great spirit. One of them had once gone as far as within a short distance of Buda and had seen moun

[ocr errors]

and magnificence of architecture, is truly a royal structure. The latter part of this compound Auckland, i.e. the territory of oaks, bears reference to the noble park, in which, in conformity with the notion of regal state, the pa lace is embosomed. Though the bishop's power has in modern times been much curtailed, he is still ex-offiero lord-lieutenant of the county, and he retains the appoint ment of the high-sheriff. Durham county had another name per eminentiam, also derived from the circumstance of its bishop of old exercising in his palace and court all!! the power, pomp, and ceremony of a sovereign prince, viz., the Palatinate. This term has its origin in the Palatine Mount, one of the seven hills of Rome, on which was | proudly reared the imperial palace of the Caesars, which is also the source of the word palace itself. The county | has its name from the Town Durham; and here it is! worthy of particular notice and remembrance, that when the county and the county-town are cognominal, the town uniformly imparts its name to the county, and never, vicc | versa, does the county do so to the town. The county! stands always to the town in the relation of a patronymic noun to its primitive or parent. A critical scrutiny of the shires of Great Britain and Ireland will fully establish this remark to be founded on a fact, not more curious in itself than important, as throwing some new light on the radical constitution of the territorial divisions of these kingdoms -a subject which has been obscured, and disfigured, and ¦' thereby disparaged by ignorant conjecture and rash hypothesis, as will be shown in proper time and place. Meanwhile, we proceed to remark that Durham is compounded from British dour, water, and ham, the Danish form of the Eng. home, Scot. hame, Ger. heim; and consequently it signifies the home, or habitation, or house on the water, i.e., the river Wear, the appellative being used here, and not the proper noun, which is more commonly the case. Often so humble and homely is the original of many proud and splendid cities! Dour or dur may be taken as a CelticScythic root, because it is found largely incorporated in the geographical vocabulary of those races who have descended from the Celto-Scythic colonies. For example, Cæsar, lib. iii. cap. 2. describing the situation of Octodurus, an Alpine hamlet, says- Quam hic in duas partes fumine divideretur,' i.e., this village was bisected by a river or dour. Again, there are two rivers Doro in Italy tributaries of the Po; in France there are the Adour, the Dordogne. i.e., the deep water, equivalent to Devon, Eden, Danube, Don, Doon, Tyne, Dwina, &c.; and the Durance, equivalent to our Derwent, i.e., the wan water; finally, there is in Spain and Portugal the majestic Douro, with its tributary the Duraton; all, be it observed, situate in districts invaded, and colonised densely by these martial migratory hordes,

'Which the populous North

Pour'd ever from her frozen loins, to pass
Rhine, or the Danaw, when her barbarous sons
Came, like a deluge, on the South, and spread
Beneath Gibraltar to the Lybian sands.'

tains. He tried to make the rest understand the impres- Durham is always latinised Dunelmum, and the county sion that had been made upon him by these gigantic or bishoprick Dunelmensis ager, which is a correct edition walls. They had weighed upon his chest, and he had fled of a name which it once rejoiced in, viz., Dunelm, or Dunfrom them as one would flee from a prison. Teremtette! holme, i.e., the hill, earth, or on or surrounded by the God preserve me from going there! I should be smother-holme, i.e., fenny ground along a river, viz., of the Wear. ed,' said the rest.

In fact, the town is almost environed by the Wear, whose bank here, softly embosomed in trees, or bristling with SHORT ETYMOLOGICAL NOTICES OF THE nature seems to have taken a lesson from her handmaid crags, makes a beautiful circular sweep, so regular that TOPOGRAPHY OF ENGLAND.


THE County of Durham has been termed per eminentiam, as the grammarians say, the bishoprick, i.e. the bishop's kingdom, to indicate the extraordinary powers and privileges formerly exercised and enjoyed by the bishop of the diocese. The names of some localities still bear testimony to the fact, such as Bishop's Auckland, Bishop-Wearmouth. The former, situate ten miles above Durham, on a high vinding bank of the Wear, is so denominated because it is he site of the episcopal summer palace, which, in style


When we first gazed admiringly on this curved promontory, crowned with its vast and august edifice-monument of ancient devotion and munificence-we were forcibly struck with the applicability of Cæsar's description to it of the peninsular town of Vescontio, now Besançon — Fiu

hardily advanced, as the reasons and causes of this constitution, in See, for instance, the inadequate, erroneous, and absurd theories, Cousin's Report on Public Instruction in Prussia, as translated by Sarah Austin. Explanatory notes, page 26. It is one of the crude eseducational spirit and bent of the age, that many a cobbler has do crescences, growing out of, yet happily only symptomatic of, the serted the stool and last, and invaded the desk and ferula.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

men Dubis, ut circino circumductum, pene totum oppidum cingit (the river Doubs, just as if it had been conducted round by a pair of compasses, girdles nearly the whole town).'-Gallic War, book i. chap. 38.

[ocr errors]

mountain tracts of Calabria-that country of revengeful and implacable brigands and determined bandits.

'I wish that we were still amongst the mountains of Uri or Unterwalden,' said Moncontour, in a half querulous tone, as he walked his wearied horse up a narrow broken pathway leading to the broad shoulder of a hill that sloped down upon a valley, where the black specks of trees were already becoming indistinct in the failing light.

Bah! the mountaineers of Italy are as noble as their Helvetian neighbours,' said the older and bolder Courier. We have hitherto met nothing but kindness and hospitality, and, believe me, we are riding towards comfort and a hearty welcome, even now.'

Ah, yes, my friend,' replied Moncontour, in a quiet tone, 'I know that you despise danger and laugh at fear. I know, also, your maxim-'It is well to think the best of human kind,' but you know that there are national loves and prejudices, and that the Calabrians have no penchant for the French.'

Durham county had of old yet another name of an ecclesiastical character. As the states of the Church in Italy, by virtue of the pope's being the reputed son of the fisherman of Galilee, are styled the pope's patrimony, so this county was anciently denominated St Cuthbert's patrimony, from St Cuthbert, a canonised saint, who was a native of it. Accordingly, when the cathedral was erected by Malcolm, surnamed Canmore, i. e., Big-head, king of Scots, in accordance with the notions of piety entertained by the men of those times, the monarch dedicated it to the tutelary saint of the country. We shall close this paper with a quotation from Paul Jovius's description of Britain, which, from its complimentary tone, cannot but be accept able to our readers in the bishoprick: 'Beyond York, towards Scotland, on the Eastern Ocean, and bordering on Northumberland, is the city of Durham, strong in its rich And my friend Moncontour does not seem to have an and valiant prelate, and celebrated for the sacred banner extraordinary good opinion of the Calabrians,' replied the of St Cuthbert. Upon occasion of any hostile irruption of liberal Courier, in a cheerful voice. But n'importe,' he conthe Scots, this banner, as the auspicious prelude of certain tinued, as he caught his friend by the arm, and pointed to victory, is solemnly displayed, and never yet has the event a light that began to twinkle through the deepening, thickof the fight falsified the hopes and pious faith of the Eng-coming shadows of evening. See yonder good taper, how lish. Immediately on beholding the sacred figure of the it casts its inviting joyous beams far out into the chambers saint, the enemy take to their heels.' Paul Jovius, as a of the night; it tells us that there is a chamber waiting restorer of polite letters, ranks second only to Buchanan for Moncontour and me, and a stall and fodder for our and Erasmus. He was styled, and not unjustly, the glory jaded horses. So allons, my boy, let us steer for yon of the Latin tongue; and whatever may be thought of mountain haven, and you will be taught to think better of the matter of the above passage, its language to the very the Calabrians.' letter is a most felicitous copy of the Roman historians, as they graphically pourtray the tumultuary invasions of the Gauls, pouring like a cataract over the Alps, and inundating Italy, when the red and green flags, as the signals of sudden and extraordinary danger, were solemnly displayed from the capitol, and Rome summoned all her sons to the defence of fatherland.

[blocks in formation]

'My old Bevis is weary, Courier,' replied the young man thus addressed; for I can tell you, the roads of Calabria are neither so smooth nor pleasant as those of La belle France; but I feel the influences of that north-easter, too, as well as you, and I see the old hills putting on their night-caps; so come along, and keep a sharp look out for an auberge, while I urge Bevis to his speed.'

Moncontour and Courier were young Frenchmen, who had just attained their majority, and who, on their advent to manhood, had set out alone to see the world. They had passed through the monde des les salons, and were familiar with all the phases of nature and high art as exhibited in a city; but this could not satisfy the romantic ardour of their curiosity, and so they had gone forth with scrip and staff to explore the wilds of nature, and behold them as creation had left them. They had roamed through the valleys of Switzerland, and had climbed the bold heights of the Tyrolean Alps; they had shared the hospitality of the mountain shepherds, and had bivouacked in the hut of the chamois hunter; they had joined in the gambols of the peasants, and played to them as they danced before the quaint old auberges that stood beyond the Swiss villages; and now they were travelling, at nightfall, upon one of the

Some years ago, a charter of this monarch was pretended to have been discovered, making over certain lands to his queen But the blundering forger spoilt the whole matter by inserting in the document the derisive term Canmore, which by no possibility could have been used by the monarch himself. The example affords a good proof

of the importance of a knowledge of etymology.

[ocr errors]

Invigorated with hope, and divested of the uncertainty of remaining in the mountains all night, Courier's steed pricked up its ears, and led the way boldly towards the light, and Moncontour, muttering imprecations upon the stones that impeded his path, followed as well as his charger could.

Peace be with you, friends!' said the bold and frank Courier, as he opened the door of a large hut, and stepped into the centre of the apartment, followed by his companion.

Welcome, strangers!' exclaimed the family, as they rose simultaneously from the supper table, at which they were seated, and made room for their unexpected guests.

You have been belated on these hills, friends,' said the oldest man of the group, in a harsh deep tone, and it is lucky that our light-house caught your eyes. It is no joke to have nothing but a rock for your pillow, and the mountain mist for a coverlet; but welcome; here is food, eat; and here is plenty of warmth on our hearth, share it freely.'

The old man stood nearly six feet high, and his frame was of most extraordinary breadth, and muscular proportions. A jacket of black velvet, plentifully covered with bell-like buttons, and small elothes, with coarse brown shoes and leggins, completed his costume, if we except a red shirt, which hung loosely over the band of his nether garments, and covered his manly chest. His complexion, naturally dark, seemed to have been smoked in the course of his trade of charcoal burning, until his eyes, beard, and skin, formed only three gradations of hue. His eye was bright, intelligent, and full of firmness; and his small compressed mouth, and bold open nostrils, showed that he was as prompt as brave. Three young men in nearly the same costume, and bearing a strong family likeness to each other, and to old Jacopo, had risen at the entrance of the strangers, and two beautiful young girls, and a bustling elderly matron, made up the interesting family group.

Courier was at home at once amongst this family of charcoal-burners; and, before ten minutes had elapsed, he had opened his portmanteau to present some trinkets to the mother and maidens, and to let Jacopo, Carlo, and Marco Fippi compare the workmanship of a French silver-mounted set of travelling utensils with the coarser and clumsier articles of the hills. The more saturnine Moncontour sat gloomy and cold, and did not seem to sympathise at all with the unreserved and frank deportment of his friend.

« السابقةمتابعة »