Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 135.pdf/665

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656

ERICA

vendor, in the presence of witnesses, half the purchase-money, and a trifle to keep the pony well till I should send for it in a couple of days. The transaction occurred in the man's own house; he was no horse-coper, but everything around him indicated that he was a respectable citizen. Two days later I sent my servant for the pony. On his way he met the citizen riding the beast. My servant hailed him, whereupon he immediately wheeled about and gallopped off to parts unknown. My servant, and subsequently myself, visited his residence, where his sister, who was his housekeeper, smiled blandly upon us, and declared herself ignorant whither he had gone or when he would return. I made a formal complaint in writing to a Bulgarian official in the police-office indicated as the right man to whom to complain, but never again saw either citizen, pony, or money. The complaint died a natural death.

Let me say a few words of what was virtually the civil war between the Turks and Bulgarians, which fringed the edges of General Gourko's operations across the Balkans. I speak, it is true, from hearsay evidence, but there could be no better nor more direct hearsay evidence. The Bulgarians begged arms of the Russians, and received them; then, hot with the fell memories of last year, and conscious that Russians were with and for them, they fell on the Turks with the most ruthless reprisals. I anticipate with interest the publication of his experiences by Mr. Rose, the correspondent of the Scotsman, who accompanied General Gourko's advance, and in whose way fell frequent opportunities of witnessing the conduct of armed Bulgarians. Be it understood I am not blaming them for what they did. I neither praise any one nor blame any one. But this I say, that all the Turks are reported as having done on their reoccupation of the districts, the Turkish grip on which was temporarily let go by reason of Gourko's raid, is on credible evidence not one whit more barbarous than was the conduct of the Bulgarians towards the Turks when Gourko's star was in the ascendant. The barbarian has acted like a savage in his reprisals; the Christian acted equally like a savage in what were virtually his reprisals for what happened a year previously. The one "terror" has but followed on the other. Apologists for the proven barbarity of the Bulgarians — men who acknowledge that they saw them driven away with horror by Russian officers from their work of slaughtering Turkish wounded, over whom an advancing Russian column had passed — advance the plea, ad culpum minuendam, that the Bulgarians have at least not ravished. There is told a different tale in the sad spectacle of the four Jewish ladies, sisters, now forlornly resident in the house of a merchant banker in Bucharest of their own faith — outraged by God knows what ruffiandom of uncounted Bulgarians in sight of their own father as he lay dying murdered in his own house in Carlovo.

I ought to say that what I have incorporated in the foregoing article has been gathered by me piecemeal with constant assiduity, by dint of personal investigation and questioning. I have tried never to let an opportunity slip of getting even a scrap or a sidelight of information. My medium of questioning was my servant, a Servian of whose truthfulness I have had long experience, and who spoke Bulgarian with the fluency of a native, and Turkish and Russian very fairly. I may add that, as a Serb, he was a bitter Turko-phobe, and that all his sympathies were with the Bulgarians. Archd. Forbes.




ERICA.[1]

TRANSLATED FOR THE LIVING AGE FROM THE GERMAN OF

FRAU VON INGERSLEBEN.

VI.

MOODS.

The storm was followed by very bad weather, which for several days prevented Erica from taking a walk; but, to her mother's astonishment, she bore her imprisonment very patiently, and sat at the window for hours with her work or a book, gazing at the muddy road, on which nothing was to be seen except now and then some unfortunate wayfarer, wading slowly through the morass. She sometimes laughed gayly, nay, a little mischievously, when the ample light robe of a lady, or the polished boots of a gentleman, by no means suited to such a road and such weather, offered a very unlovely spectacle. The laugh was followed by some roguish remark, which keenly and somewhat pitilessly exposed the ridiculous side of the sight; but directly after the brown eyes gazed dreamily at the raindrops dripping from the trees, or the clouds that swept swiftly athwart the sky, and the lips,

  1. Copyright 1877, by Littell & Gay.