Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 387 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.
are of daily occurrence; many of the gipsies do not even know their own language; and their number is rapidly diminishing.  Intellectually they are talented, but lazy.  Many of the men, and still more of the women, are very handsome.  Although every gradation of shade is to be found amongst their faces, pretty much as one sees in the negro race in the United States, the features of the Roumanian gipsies are generally well-formed Indo-European.  Nothing is more striking than to see two women pass each other, or walking side by side:  the one a Roumanian, fair, florid, and blue-eyed, the other a gipsy with a skin as black as a sloe, jet-black hair, and black eyes, and yet the features similar in both cases, and each woman in her way handsome.[38]

Many stories have been related concerning the gipsies, and their character has often been invested with romance; but we cannot afford them more space, and we are loth to give any to another class of beings whom one sees in Roumania, namely, the self-mutilated sect of Lipovans, well known to persons who are, or rather were formerly, acquainted with Russia, out of which country they were driven when they took up their abode in Roumania.  They are chiefly hackney-carriage drivers, and wear the Russian dress, consisting of a long cloth coat bound at the waist by a belt, and a round peaked cap.  We were informed that the police are making efforts to get hold of the leaders of this sect, which is undoubtedly a blot upon the civilisation of any country in which its members are to be found.

[Footnote 35:  Raicewich gives a similar account of them in 1789.]

[Footnote 36:  Wilkinson, pp. 168-176.]

[Footnote 37:  ’Und da sie ein sehr schoener Volksstamm sind, und andrerseits die uebrige Bevoelkerung sie darchans nicht zurueckstoesst, so sicht nichts entgegen dass sie in einer ziemlich nahen Zukunft mit der Masse der roumaenischen Bevoelkerung verschmelzen.’—­Petermann’s Mittheilungen, Ergaenzungsheft 4, 8. 12.  Gotha:  J. Perthes.]

[Footnote 38:  There are two types of gipsies, the one Indo-European, the other of an African cast.]


The Roumanians are very fond of bright colours, and one of the peculiarities which strike the visitor to Bucarest is the hues of the women’s dresses, sometimes, but not always, as tasteful as they are brilliant.  Another feature is the love of the pictorial art in connection with the advertisements of tradespeople.  Amongst many examples of this, in various vocations, is the frequent recurrence of signboards, representing a lady reposing in her bed after an interesting event, whilst the nurse (who thus advertises her profession) is holding up a beautiful infant in her arms for the admiration of its parent and the general public.  The amusements of the working classes, and for that matter of all classes, are by no means of the highest order.  The Roumanians

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Roumania Past and Present from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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