water in my carafe, and was still thirsty. Towards morning I slept and was wakened by
the continuous knocking at my door, so I guess I must have been sleeping soundly
I had for breakfast more paprika, and a sort of porridge of maize flour which they said
was "mamaliga", and egg-plant stuffed with forcemeat, a very excellent dish, which they
call "impletata". (Mem., get recipe for this also.)
I had to hurry breakfast, for the train started a little before eight, or rather it ought to
have done so, for after rushing to the station at 7:30 I had to sit in the carriage for more
than an hour before we began to move.
It seems to me that the further east you go the more unpunctual are the trains. What
ought they to be in China?
All day long we seemed to dawdle through a country which was full of beauty of every
kind. Sometimes we saw little towns or castles on the top of steep hills such as we see
in old missals; sometimes we ran by rivers and streams which seemed from the wide
stony margin on each side of them to be subject ot great floods. It takes a lot of water,
and running strong, to sweep the outside edge of a river clear.
At every station there were groups of people, sometimes crowds, and in all sorts of
attire. Some of them were just like the peasants at home or those I saw coming through
France and Germany, with short jackets, and round hats, and home-made trousers; but
others were very picturesque.
The women looked pretty, except when you got near them, but they were very clumsy
about the waist. They had all full white sleeves of some kind or other, and most of them
had big belts with a lot of strips of something fluttering from them like the dresses in a
ballet, but of course there were petticoats under them. The strangest figures we saw
were the Slovaks, who were more barbarian than the rest, with their big cow-boy hats,
great baggy dirty-white trousers, white linen shirts, and enormous heavy leather belts,
nearly a foot wide, all studded over with brass nails. They wore high boots, with their
trousers tucked into them, and had long black hair and heavy black moustaches. They
are very picturesque, but do not look prepossessing. On the stage they would be set
down at once as some old Oriental band of brigands. They are, however, I am told, very
harmless and rather wanting in natural self-assertion.
It was on the dark side of twilight when we got to Bistritz, which is a very interesting old
place. Being practically on the frontier--for the Borgo Pass leads from it into Bukovina--
it has had a very stormy existence, and it certainly shows marks of it. Fifty years ago a
series of great fires took place, which made terrible havoc on five separate occasions.
At the very beginning of the seventeenth century it underwent a siege of three weeks
and lost 13,000 people, the casualties of war proper being assisted by famine and
Count Dracula had directed me to go to the Golden Krone Hotel, which I found, to my
great delight, to be thoroughly old-fashioned, for of course I wanted to see all I could of
the ways of the country.