Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors]

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

[ocr errors][merged small]

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 conversa

i 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.

M. PETRONIEVITCH.

35.

tion 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.

CHAPTER IV.

Leave Widdin.— The Timok.—Enter Servia-Brza Pa

lanka.—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 customhouse officer. We were more than an hour in getting our equipage across the ferry, for the long

[merged small][ocr errors]

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

« PreviousContinue »