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to air, especially on Sundays to shelter himself—has to side when the Christians are passing with the Hebrew, and the riot to Mass, great mountains of is suppressed. I never suspicious-looking feather-beds, accounts of Jew-baiting in the encased in grimy, red-and- countries which are infested by white striped covers. Whole them, and of the cruelties and bratteries of little Aarons and insults to which the unfortunate Abrahams, who invariably Hebrews are subjected, without after two years old, but some- thinking of an umbrella-mender times earlier, develop the noses with whom a benevolent lady and the expressions of their once remonstrated when she elders, are also airing at the saw him beating his wife in doors. Emphatically it is the the street. He paused : “You case with the Polish Jew that dinna ken what's gone afore,” “the days of his youth are the he said, and went on, unmoved. days of his ”_beauty, for with It is indeed difficult for us in the boys it seldom survives this country to realise what has babyhood; and although the “gone afore” such outbursts of quite young girls are often frenzied exasperation. pretty-very pretty—they are These usurers compass
the hardly grown-up before they ruin not only of the countrybegin to get coarse and heavy. people, gentle and simple, but
No Jew ever works in the of the foolish young officers and fields, —he only bargains, and soldiers in the garrison towns trades, and cheats. No Jew
on every hand, and yet their ever walks,—he drives with a riches seem to do them no good. swarthy bunch of his brethren The owner of a million florins in a cart drawn by a little horse, has his slippers as much down with bones protruding through at heel, and his house as devoid its skin in all directions, whom of comfort and grace, as if he were he beats viciously and starves to not worth a hundred kreutzers. within an inch of its life. He One of the joys-of the thougives you a sly, unfriendly sand joys of getting up into glance as he passes, as if he the mountains is that one seems would do you a mischief if he to leave the Jews behind. They dared, so different from the penetrate there too, no doubt, gleaming smile and hearty but they are not nearly so much “ Slavas ! ” of the country- en évidence as in the little towns people. He is shrewder than whose market-squares are one the peasant, and he gets the dusky cloud of kaftans. There better of him, cheats him, runs can be few more delightful exhim into debt, and grinds his periences in this world than face at every turn. Occasionally one which began for us at the long-suffering, but at last three one June morning, and maddened, flies rise in wrath which took us far up into the against the spiders; one or two blue Carpathians, and brought are beaten and killed, and then us home again on a raft, down the law – just within whose sixty merry miles of the rushletter every Jew knows how ing Czeremosz. The toloka was sparkling in its early freshness whitest, ruddiest Sunday garas we crossed it; and Peter's ments, and the bells of the little cock flapped his wings from his bronze churches were shaking perch above the crucifix, as if and tossing in the belfries as he were making ready to crow they called to mass. We stopped when the right moment came. once to bait at a little whiteThrough the sleepy little town washed roadside hostelry, and we bumped, pausing only for then the road wound on and a moment to embark the pleas- on, “ uphill all the way,” while ant and sympathetic Polish the higher peaks of the mounfriends who were to share our tains began to loom on us from adventures. We drove in an afar. Soon we reached the old black carriage, warranted Czeremosz river, and henceto stand the roughest roads, and forth our way lay alongside of a long cart of the country, both its current, where great deredecorated with green boughs, solict pine - stems were floating that one felt half like a wed- majestically down the stream, ding and half like a religious or lying stranded against the procession. At first the road banks. lay through a valley with a About noon we halted again, river-not yet the Czeremosz- at a country-house nestled in a far down below, and skirted hollow of the hills. Before it, with round, tree-clad hills. Oak at a little distance, flowed the and birch, still in their freshest river; behind, the ground rose summer beauty, mingled every- to rocky heights, where agile, where. Gradually, at long in- long-legged sheep were croptervals, pines began to appear; ping the short, crisp, sweet grass and as they grew more numer- among the boulders. The house ous the oaks grew fewer, and itself, low, whitewashed, and at last vanished altogether from surrounded by a brown wooden
Then the birches be- verandah, into which the upgan to yield, foot by foot, un- stairs sitting-rooms opened, was til presently there was only one embowered in trees-not bushes, to be seen now and then, like a trees—of lilac, of all different vivid flash of emerald, against shades, and just then in fullest the dusky background. Finally flower. From the verandah one they too disappeared, and the could put one's face in the sweet conquering pines took the whole pyramids and gather them in landscape into their keeping. generous posies.
The garden, It was a Greek feast-day, so too, was a wilderness of delight. there were
to be It was full of weeds, and the met, as one sees them on week- frames were tumbling to pieces ; days, stride - legged on little but there were winding paths horses, spinning, among great shaded by apple-trees, and tall piles of cruses and water-cans, white Narcissus poeticus in which are made of pine-laths plenty, and a riot of lily of the in the mountains and carried valley; and the rose-trees, which down to be sold in the towns. showed evidences of tender care Everybody was in freshest, amid their rather casual sur
roundings, were bristling with you are being waited on at table buds.
by a man-servant in regulation A traveller in Spain has re- canonicals, it need not surprise cently given an almost incred- you to see a wash-stand, or even ible account of the inhospitality a bed, in the dining-room. of the Spaniards. Poland is After we had strolled in the certainly a more encouraging garden and filled our hands with country to explore. Here, on flowers, and before we climbed the contrary, it is the hospitality again into our green - bowered one meets that is wellnigh in- waggons, were refreshed credible. We were a party of with a collation — something six, with four horses and two that is neither breakfast nor men, and yet it seemed all but lunch, but midway between the a foregone conclusion that we two. Such collations should stay, at least until next known in our own land in the day, and our declining to do so days of “ the incomparable a real, heartfelt grievance. It Jane.” Elizabeth Bennet parwas nothing, our hostess as- took of one when she visited sured A few evenings Darcy at Pemberley, under the before, her daughter, when
when wing of Uncle and Aunt Garwalking in the garden, had diner; Fanny Price, after her descried three carriages ap- long drive from Mansfield Park proaching. They arrived, and to the home of Mr Rushworth, debouched eighteen people, of was a guest at another. But course to stay the night. “And it may be questioned whether although my cook was away, either Elizabeth or Fanny had doing his military service, and more delicious morsels offered I had only a girl to help me, I to them than they would have gave them supper in three- had in Poland. Rose-jam, inquarters of an hour !
sinuated between layers of exIt follows, naturally, the houses traordinarily light pastry, has not being large, that Polish and left a fragrant memory behind British ideas as to the amount it; and there is a kind of sheepof accommodation and privacy milk cheese, slightly acid and required by the individual are a of the consistency of thick little at variance. On such an
cream, of which Poland keeps occasion as this the ladies double the happy secret. up very tight indeed, while the The stranger who does not gentlemen are contented to lie know the language of the down in rows in the hay-loft or country has a restful sense of the sitting-rooms. The distinc- ease and irresponsibility. In tion between sitting-rooms and Galicia people politely begin by bedrooms is also not so hard talking French or German for and fast as with us: the rooms your benefit; but whenever the communicate by folding-doors, conversation becomes animated, which in the daytime stand and it is usually very animated, constantly open, and although it lapses into Polish.
It is a
1 See • Blackwood's Magazine' for September 1898.
pleasant language to listen to, of twenty as guide, and the and when one hardly under way in which he helped us at stands one word in a thousand, rough places, always ready but it is easy to credit every speaker never officious, the courteouswith a pretty wit.
And yet, ness with which he entered into in spite of all the vivacity, there our enjoyment, and by sheer is a vein of sadness which runs sympathy divined the meaning for ever just below the surface. of our exclamations, showed “ Wring a clod of earth in your how absolute naturalness and hands,” they tell you, “any- the best of breeding are often where in all our land, and blood synonymous. Once, as a condrips out.” The Poles are home- script, he had been for a few sick exiles who yet dwell in their months in the plains. Then his own country, passionate nation- father died, and he was allowed alists who no longer a to come back to his mother. nation, and the remembrance He did not like the plainsand the humiliation of it are never wished to see them again. never far away.
Up here the pine-trees are Another couple of hours' driv- the only begetters of bread and ing brought us to the little employment. They are cut far forest-town where we were to up in the mountains and floated, spend the night. We had two as rafts, away down the river gaunt, whitewashed rooms in to the Black Sea. Thence the the small hostelry, with red wood goes to divers corners of geraniums in the windows, and the earth—much of it, they told little else beyond clean white us, to Egypt.
us, to Egypt. One cannot but beds in every corner. It has wonder if the pines are never been ascertained whether homesick—if they weary of the we dined in our bed-room or scorching sands, and long for slept in the dining-room, but the free, fresh air of the mounwe managed to do both very tains. The men, the woodsatisfactorily. The place is cutters and the raftsmen, when hardly a town at all
, hardly forced to go to serve their time even a village, only a few houses in the army, suffer from homescattered on a hillside above the sickness so despairingly, so overriver, with bronze church poweringly, that though they and a sort of easy-going tavern know they are only exiles for a opposite our little inn to give limited time, many of them it consistency. There
commit suicide rather than live crowds of feast-day folk about, through these three years. in from the valleys round, The raft on which we laughing, talking, flirting, as barked next morning differed people do everywhere. But only from its fellows in having people everywhere are not so benches and footstools of roughhandsome, nor dressed in such hewn · planks made ready for faultless taste, nor have they our use : it was adorned, too, such admirable manners, with a forest of little pines, those mountaineers. We took a which, as a secondary considscrambly walk with an Adonis eration, shaded our seats. Poles
have a natural love of decora- changing pictures are left betion, and on the slightest pro- hind, and others spread themvocation, sacred or secular, they selves out before us at every and their churches and their moment. Sometimes we seem houses and their rafts break to be in a lake hemmed in by out into leafy exultation. It is tree - clad banks and with no a 'pretty habit, and easily sheds view beyond, and then another a joyous, light-hearted “youth bend, and we see far back to on the prow and pleasure at the where the great mountains rise helm” kind of feeling upon the behind, while far in front the air. The raft itself consisted of silvery links of the stream are some twenty-three huge pine- waiting, spread out like a shinstems, lashed together by pine- ing road before us. Someropes made of small trees twisted times for miles there seemed round wooden pegs, and with no human life, not even cattle a great rough oar in front and or sheep, and then one listened one behind to steer with. The and listened till could narrow ends of the trees
guess first, of course, so that the raft
“ The secret which the mountains kept, is slightly wedge-shaped, while
The river never told ; another raft, and sometimes another beyond that, are lashed and then again a cow and a on behind.
girl, a crucifix, a flashing minOf all the modes of locomo- aret, a group of huts, and all tion a happy wanderer can ex- the drama of humanity, for ever perience, this is surely far and old, for ever new, opened again away the most delicious. A like an eternal story-book. gondola comes nearest to it; The guiding of a raft is as but that, if even more luxurious, much a fine art as driving a lacks the element of excitement. London hansom, and looks as The great raft rushes along with easy, when done by a mastera light and buoyant motion, hand. The men do nothing borne by the merry current. else from boyhood, and they The swift swish of the water know every inch of the river, is in your ears, the rare, sweet, every rock
in her piney, flower - scented air fans Twice or three times a-week your face. The river broadens they go down the stream, out before you, wide and peace- walking back across the mounful, then suddenly narrows again tains by paths known only to to a deep, dark gorge; then a themselves. Up beyond our rampart guarded by frowning highest point the river is often pines seems to stretch right the only road, and sometimes across from bank to bank to a funeral, with flowers and bar our way; but with a bound tapers and priest in rich-hued and a rush the river sweeps robes, may be seen descending us with it round the corner,
on a raft. Where the river shaving the rock by an inch, is not available they have to and we are out on the open come
on horseback, the coffin stream again. A thousand suspended in a great cloth, of