« PreviousContinue »
war of liberation, seven of our houses' 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
| Houses or horses ; my notes having been written with rapidity, the word is indistinct.
GANG OF CONVICTS.
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.
Visit to Ravanitza.—Jovial party.–Servian and Austrian
jnrisdiction. — 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.
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
THE HYMN “FOR MANY YEARS."
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;