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Journey to Shabatz.—Resemblance of Manners to those of
the Middle Ages. — Palesh. - A Servian Bride.- Blind Minstrel.-Gypsies.-Macadamized Road.
The immediate object of my first journey was Shabatz, the second town in Servia, which is situated further up the Save than Belgrade, and is thus close upon the frontier of Bosnią. We consequently had the river on our right hand all the way. After five hours' travelling, the mountains, which hung back as long as we were in the vicinity of Belgrade, now approached, and draped in forest green, looked down on the winding Save and the pinguid flats of the Slavonian frontier. Just before the sun set, we wound by a circuitous
road to an eminence which projected promontory. like into the river's course. Three rude crosses were planted on a steep, not unworthy the columnar harmony of Grecian marble.
When it was quite dark, we arrived at the Colubara, and passed the ferry which, during the long Servian revolution, was always considered a post of importance, as commanding a communication between Shabatz and the capital. An old man accompanied us, who was returning to his native place on the frontiers of Bosnia, having gone to welcome Wucics and Petronievitch. He amused me by asking me “ if the king of my country lived in a strong castle?" I answered, “No, we have a queen, whose strength is in the love of all her subjects.” Indeed, it is impossible to travel in the interior of Turkey without having the mind perpetually carried back to the middle ages by a thousand quaint remarks and circumstances, inseparable from the moral and political constitution of a half civilized and quasifederal empire. For, in nearly all the mountainous parts of Turkey, the power of the government is
almost nominal, and even up to a very recent period the position of the Déré Beys savoured strongly of feudalism.
We arrived at Palesh, the khan of which looked like a new coffee-shop in a Turkish bazaar, and I thought that we should have a sorry night's quarters; but mine host, leading the way with a candle up a ladder, and though a trap-door, put us into a clean newly-carpeted room, and in an hour the boy entered with Turkish wash-hand apparatus; and after ablution the khan keeper produced supper, consisting of soup, which contained so much lemon juice, that, without a wry face, I could scarcely eat it-boiled lamb, from which the soup had been made, and then a stew of the same with Tomata sauce. A bed was then spread out on the floor à la turque, which was rather hard; but as the sheets were snowy white, I reckoned myself very lucky.
I must say that there is a degree of cleanliness within doors, which I had been led to consider as somewhat foreign to the habits of Slaavic populations. The lady of the Austrian consul-general
in Belgrade told me that she was struck with the propriety of the dwellings of the poor, as contrasted with those in Galicia, where she had resided for many years; and every traveller in Germany is struck with the difference which exists between the villages of Bohemia and those in Saxony, and other adjacent German provinces.
From Palesh we started with fine weather for Skela, through a beautifully wooded park, some fields being here and there inclosed with wattling. Skela is a new ferry on the Save, to facilitate the communication with Austria.
Near here are redoubts, where Kara Georg, the father of the reigning prince, held out during the disasters of 1813, until all the women and children were transferred in safety to the Austrian territory. Here we met a very pretty girl, who, in answer to the salute of my fellow-travellers, bent herself almost to the earth. On asking the reason, I was told that she was a bride, whom custom compels, for a stated period, to make this humble reverence.
We then came to the Skela, and seeing a large
house within an enclosure, I asked what it was, and was told that it was the reconciliation-house, (primiritelnj sud,) a court of first instance, in which cases are decided by the village elders, without expense to the litigants, and beyond which suits are seldom carried to the higher courts. There is throughout all the interior of Servia a stout opposition to the nascent lawyer class in Belgrade. I have been more than once amused on hearing an advocate, greedy of practice, style this laudable economy and patriarchal simplicity—“Avarice and aversion from civilization.” As it began to rain we entered a tavern, and ordered a fowl to be roasted, as the soup and stews of yester-even were not to my taste. A booby, with idiocy marked on his countenance, was lounging about the door, and when our mid-day meal was done I ordered the man to give him a glass of slivovitsa, as plum brandy is called. He then came forward, trembling, as if about to receive sentence of death, and taking off his greasy fez, said, “I drink to our prince Kara Georgovich, and to the progress and enlightenment of the nation." I looked with