SHORT TOUR TO THE EAST
river ran strongly. I witnessed boats of no large size being towed up stream by the longest teams of men and horses that I have ever seen. I f my memory does not play tricks, I counted no less than ninety-six horses hauling a single boat. I drove as far as time allowed among the Carpathians towards Mehadia, a then secluded watering-place, in the company of two Hungarians, with one of whom-a Kaunitz-l had struck up a travelling friendship, and who told me much about Hungary.
The position of Belgrade was imposing. It was then in Turkish occupation, and the Turks still wore turbans. The town being in quarantine, we were not allowed to land. The flat shores of Wallachia were most uninteresting and looked fever-haunted. The only human life visible for miles together was that of an occasional coast-guardsman perched in a crow's nest on the top of a pole, to prevent smugglers from crossing the Danube unseen. At one place we cut through a shoal of water snakes crossing the river, with their heads out of water and their bodies wriggling horizontally. It was a sight upon which a horrible nightmare might have been founded.
At length we arrived at our journey's end, where light waggons awaited us, which were drawn across the open country. I walked the greater part of the distance, and so reached the Black Sea at Kustendji. The steamer started in threatening weather, and particularly rough seas ensued. We rolled so badly and so briskly that a square chest containing seamen's things, which stood on the deck, was toppled over. In the nlurnwg, the liistorI( it symplegiades were in
t, and certainly the superstitious Greeks might