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Title: Our Little Hungarian Cousin
Author: Nixon-Roulet, Mary F., -1930
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Our Little Hungarian Cousin" ***

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by Linda Cantoni

[Transcriber's Note: Bold text is surrounded by =equal signs= and italic
text is surrounded by _underscores_.]

Our Little Hungarian Cousin


Little Cousin Series


Each volume illustrated with six or more full-page plates in tint.
Cloth, 12mo, with decorative cover, per volume, 60 cents



(unless otherwise indicated)

    =Our Little African Cousin=

    =Our Little Alaskan Cousin=
          By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet

    =Our Little Arabian Cousin=
          By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little Armenian Cousin=

    =Our Little Australian Cousin=
          By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet

    =Our Little Brazilian Cousin=
          By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet

    =Our Little Brown Cousin=

    =Our Little Canadian Cousin=
          By Elizabeth R. MacDonald

    =Our Little Chinese Cousin=
          By Isaac Taylor Headland

    =Our Little Cuban Cousin=

    =Our Little Dutch Cousin=
          By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little Egyptian Cousin=
          By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little English Cousin=
          By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little Eskimo Cousin=

    =Our Little French Cousin=
          By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little German Cousin=

    =Our Little Greek Cousin=
          By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet

    =Our Little Hawaiian Cousin=

    =Our Little Hindu Cousin=
          By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little Hungarian Cousin=
          By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet

    =Our Little Indian Cousin=

    =Our Little Irish Cousin=

    =Our Little Italian Cousin=

    =Our Little Japanese Cousin=

    =Our Little Jewish Cousin=

    =Our Little Korean Cousin=
          By H. Lee M. Pike

    =Our Little Mexican Cousin=
          By Edward C. Butler

    =Our Little Norwegian Cousin=

    =Our Little Panama Cousin=
          By H. Lee M. Pike

    =Our Little Persian Cousin=
          By E. C. Shedd

    =Our Little Philippine Cousin=

    =Our Little Porto Rican Cousin=

    =Our Little Russian Cousin=

    =Our Little Scotch Cousin=
          By Blanche McManus

    =Our Little Siamese Cousin=

    =Our Little Spanish Cousin=
          By Mary F. Nixon-Roulet

    =Our Little Swedish Cousin=
          By Claire M. Coburn

    =Our Little Swiss Cousin=

    =Our Little Turkish Cousin=


    New England Building,       Boston, Mass.

    [Illustration: "HE . . . QUICKLY BEGAN A LITTLE TUNE."

    (_See page 66._)]

    Our Little
    Hungarian Cousin

    Mary F. Nixon-Roulet

    Author of "_Our Little Spanish Cousin_," "_Our Little Alaskan
    Cousin_," "_Our Little Grecian Cousin_," "_Our Little
    Australian Cousin_," "_With a Pessimist
    in Spain_," "_God, the King, My
    Brother_," etc., etc.

    _Illustrated by_
    John Goss


    L. C. Page & Company

    _Copyright, 1909_

    _Entered at Stationers' Hall, London_
    _All rights reserved_
    _First Impression, October, 1909_

    _The Plimpton Press Norwood Mass. U. S. A._

    Philip Henry de Roulet


A PART of the great Austrian Empire, Hungary, is a kingdom in itself,
with its own laws and its own government. Through this land runs the
"beautiful blue Danube," with castles and towns upon its wooded banks;
on one side the mountains, on the other the Great Plains.

Here dwell many races with quaint customs and quainter costumes, and it
is of these people that you will read in OUR LITTLE HUNGARIAN COUSIN.


    CHAPTER                            PAGE
       I. WITH THE TZIGANES               1
      II. ALONG THE GYPSY TRAIL          11
     III. AT THE GULYAS' HUT             27
      IV. DESERTED!                      39
      VI. VILLAGE LIFE                   71
     VII. THE UNEXPECTED                 83
      IX. "OH, THE EYES OF MY MOTHER!"  123

List of Illustrations

        (_See page 66_)                            _Frontispiece_
  WASHING IN THE RIVER                                        59
  "FIRST CAME MARUSHKA"                                       92

Our Little Hungarian Cousin



BANDA BELA, the little Gypsy boy, had tramped all day through the hills,
until, footsore, weary, and discouraged, he was ready to throw himself
down to sleep. He was very hungry, too.

"I shall go to the next hilltop and perhaps there is a road, and some
passerby will throw me a crust. If not, I can feed upon my music and
sleep," he thought to himself, as he clambered through the bushes to the
top of the hill. There he stood, his old violin held tight in his
scrawny hand, his ragged little figure silhouetted against the sky.

Through the central part of Hungary flows in rippling beauty the great
river of the Danube. Near to Kecskés the river makes a sudden bend, the
hills grow sharper in outline, while to the south and west sweep the
great grass plains.

Before Banda Bela, like a soft green sea, the Magyar plain stretched
away until it joined the horizon in a dim line. Its green seas of grain
were cut only by the tall poplar trees which stood like sentinels
against the sky. Beside these was pitched a Gypsy camp, its few tents
and huts huddled together, looking dreary and forlorn in the dim
twilight. The little hovels were built of bricks and stones and a bit of
thatch, carelessly built to remain only until the wander spirit rose
again in their breasts and the Gypsies went forth to roam the green
velvet plain, or float down the Danube in their battered old boats,
lazily happy in the sun.

In front of the largest hut was the fire-pot, slung from a pole over a
fire of sticks burning brightly. The Gypsies were gathered about the
fire for their evening meal, and the scent of _goulash_ came from the
kettle. Banda Bela could hardly stand from faintness, but he raised his
violin to his wizened chin and struck a long chord. As the fine tone of
the old violin smote the night air, the Gypsies ceased talking and
looked up. Unconscious of their scrutiny, the boy played a _czardas_,
weird and strange. At first there was a cool, sad strain like the night
song of some bird, full of the gentle sadness of those without a home,
without friends, yet not without kindness; then the time changed, grew
quicker and quicker until it seemed as if the old violin danced itself,
so full of wild Gypsy melody were its strains. Fuller and fuller they
rose; the bow in the boy's fingers seeming to skim like a bird over the
strings. The music, full of wild longing, swelled until its voice rose
like the wild scream of some forest creature, then crashed to a full
stop. The violin dropped to the boy's side, his eyes closed, and he fell
heavily to the ground.

When Banda Bela opened his eyes he found himself lying upon the ground
beside the Gypsy fire, his head upon a bundle of rags. The first thing
his eyes fell upon was a little girl about six years old, who was trying
to put into his mouth a bit of bread soaked in gravy. The child was
dressed only in a calico frock, her head was uncovered, her hair, not
straight and black like that of the other children who swarmed about,
but light as corn silk, hung loosely about her face. Her skin was as
dark as sun and wind make the Tziganes, but the eyes which looked into
his with a gentle pity were large and deep and blue.

"Who are you?" he asked, half conscious.

"Marushka," she answered simply. "What is your name?"

"Banda Bela," he said faintly.

"Why do you play like the summer rain on the tent?" she demanded.

"Because the rain is from heaven on all the Tziganes, and it is good,
whether one lies snug within the tent or lifts the face to the drops
upon the heath."

"I like you, Banda Bela," said little Marushka. "Stay with us!"

"That is as your mother wills," said Banda Bela, sitting up.

"I have no mother, though her picture I wear always upon my breast," she
said. "But I will ask old Jarnik, for all he says the others do," and
she sped away to an old Gypsy, whose gray hair hung in matted locks upon
his shoulders. In a moment she was back again, skimming like a bird
across the grass.


"Jarnik says you are to eat, for hunger tells no true tale," she said.

"I am glad to eat, but I speak truth," said Banda Bela calmly.

He ate from the fire-pot hungrily, dipping the crust she gave him into
the stew and scooping up bits of meat and beans.

"I am filled," he said at length. "I will speak with Jarnik."

Marushka danced across the grass in front of him like a little
will-o'-the-wisp, her fair locks floating in the breeze, in the half
light her eyes shining like the stars which already twinkled in the
Hungarian sky.

The Gypsy dogs bayed at the moon, hanging like a crescent over the
crest of the hill and silvering all with its calm radiance. Millions of
fireflies flitted over the plain, and the scent of the ripened grain was
fresh upon the wind.

Banda Bela sniffed the rich, earthy smell, the kiss of the wind was kind
upon his brow; he was fed and warm.

"Life is sweet," he murmured. "In the Gypsy camp is brother kindness. If
they will have me, I will stay."

Old Jarnik had eyes like needles. They searched through Banda Bela with
a keen glance and seemed to pierce his heart.

"The Gypsy camp has welcome for the stranger," he said at length. "Will
you stay?"

"You ask me nothing," said Banda Bela, half surprised, half fearing, yet
raising brave eyes to the stern old face.

"I have nothing to ask," said old Jarnik. "All I wish to know you have
told me."

"But I have said nothing," said Banda Bela.

"Your face to me lies open as the summer sky. Its lines I scan. They
tell me of hunger, of weariness and loneliness, things of the wild.
Nothing is there of the city's evil. You may stay with us and know
hunger no longer. This one has asked for you," and the old man laid his
hand tenderly upon little Marushka's head. "You are hers, your only care
to see that no harm comes to these lint locks. The child is dear to me.
Will you stay?"

"I will stay," said Banda Bela, "and I will care for the child as for my
sister. But first I will speak, since I have nothing to keep locked."

"Speak, then," said the old man. Though his face was stern, almost
fierce, there was a gentle dignity about him and the boy's heart warmed
to him.

"Of myself I will tell you all I know," he said. "I am Banda Bela, son
of Šafařik, dead with my mother. When the camp fell with the great red
sickness[1] I alone escaped. Then was I ten years old. Now I am
fourteen. Since then I have wandered, playing for a crust, eating
seldom, sleeping beneath the stars, my clothes the gift of passing
kindness. Only my violin I kept safe, for my father had said it held
always life within its strings. 'Not only food, boy,' he said, 'but joy
and comfort and thoughts of things which count for more than bread.' So
I lived with it, my only friend. Now I have two more, you--" he flashed
a swift glance at the old man, "and this little one. I will serve you

"You are welcome," said old Jarnik, simply. "Now, go to sleep."

Little Marushka, who had been listening to all that had been said,
slipped her hand in his and led him away to the boys' tent. She did not
walk, but holding one foot in her hand, she hopped along like a gay
little bird, chattering merrily.

"I like you, Banda Bela, you shall stay."


[1] Smallpox.



BANDA BELA found life in the Gypsy camp quiet, but not unpleasant. He
had a place to sleep and food to eat. Jarnik was good to him and
Marushka his devoted friend. Rosa, a young and very pretty Gypsy girl,
was kind to the waif, and the rest of the tribe paid no attention to
him. What was one ragged boy, more or less, to them? The camp fairly
swarmed with them.

Since the Tziganes had crossed the mountains from India many hundred
years ago, they had wandered about Hungary, and the Gypsies to whom
Banda Bela had come were of the _Gletecore_, or wandering Gypsies, a
better race than the _Kortoran_ who dwell in mud huts or caves near the

The _Gletecore_ are never still. They wander from one end of Hungary to
the other, playing their music, begging, stealing, sometimes carving
little utensils out of wood, or tinkering for the living which seems to
come to them easily, perhaps because they want but little.

There was little that Banda Bela could do, but he waited upon old
Jarnik, ran errands, watched Marushka, and caught many a fine fish from
the river for the fire-pot. The Danube was full of fish, delicious in

Always the little boy could make music, and his violin charmed many an
hour for him, while Marushka, ever following at his heels like a little
dog, learned to love his music scarcely less than he did.

One morning Marushka wakened Banda Bela by calling loudly:

"Banda Bela! Come! The sun is up. Stepan has come back, and they move
the camp to-day!"

Banda Bela sprang to his feet and hurried out of the tent. Already there
were signs of stir in the camp. Stepan, a young Gypsy chief, was
standing beside the cart which was being loaded with camp utensils.
Banda Bela had not seen him before, for the chief had been away from the
band ever since the boy came.

Stepan was six feet tall; part of his coal-black hair was braided into a
tight knob over his forehead, the rest hung down in matted, oily locks
upon his shoulders. In his mouth was a long Weixel-wood pipe, and he
wore a loose, white, cotton shirt gathered around the neck, and baggy
white trousers. He was very handsome and his copper-coloured skin shone
as if it was polished. All about him swarmed children and dogs, while
the older Gypsies were packing up the camp effects and loading them into
the two or three carts, which patient horses stood ready to draw.

"Eat quickly," cried Marushka. "There is but a crust left, I saved it
for you. We go on the road to-day, and hunger will gnaw your stomach
before we camp again." Banda Bela took the food, ate it hurriedly, and
ran up to Stepan.

"Let me help," he said briefly.

"Who are you and what can you do?" the young chief looked him over

"I am Banda Bela. I can make music with my violin, swing an adze, cut
bowls from wood, drive a horse, row a boat, catch fish, do as I am bid,
and keep my tongue silent," he said.

"If you can do the last two things you have already learned much," said
Stepan. "Go and help Jarnik load, for he is old and feels himself

Banda Bela nodded and went over to where the old man was loading one of
the carts. He helped as best he could and soon the wagons were loaded
and the camp deserted. The Gypsies had taken the road. It was a
beautiful day. The wind blew cool and free from the river, which swept
along at the foot of wooded heights, gleaming like glass in the morning
sun. Ducks splashed in the water, and now and then Banda Bela saw the
waters boil and bubble. Something black would flash above the surface,
there would be a splash and a swirl of waters, and the radiating ripples
reached the shore as a great fish would spring into the air, flash in
the sunlight, and sink into the waters again.

Steamers passed down the stream on their way to Buda-Pest, or towing
huge barges filled with the peasants' teams and wagons, loaded with
grain to be ground at the quaint water mills, built on piles out in the
stream where the current was so strong as to turn the huge wheels
quickly and grind the grain, raised on the great plains of the south. To
the north the mountains rose blue and beautiful. The boy saw all. His
eyes shone; his cheek was flushed.

"Good is the Gypsy trail," he said to himself. "Sun, light, and wind,
all free, and I am with mine own people. Life is sweet."

All day long the carts rumbled along. When the sun was high overhead the
Gypsies rested beside the river. Banda Bela caught some fish, and Rosa
cooked them for supper.

Next day they turned from the river and travelled over the plains. There
was no shade. To the right stretched great fields of maize and flax.
The dust was white and fine, and so hot it seemed almost to prick their
faces like needles. It rose in white clouds around the carts and
followed them in whirling columns.

In front of them from time to time other clouds of dust arose, which,
upon nearing, they discovered to be peasant carts, driven with four or
six horses, for the peasants in this part of Hungary are rich and
prosperous. The soil is fertile and yields wonderful crops, though for
ninety years it has had no rest, but the peasants are not tempted to
laziness by the ease with which things grow. They begin their day's work
at three o'clock in the morning and work until eight or nine at night,
eating their luncheon and supper in the fields.

Banda Bela saw many of them, fine, tall fellows, working easily and
well, but in his heart he was glad that he did not have to toil under
the hot sun.

Shepherds were seated here and there in the fields, looking like small
huts, for they wore queer conical _bundas_ which covered them from their
necks to their knees. These sheepskin coats are worn both winter and
summer, for the shepherds say they keep out heat as well as cold.

The shepherds must watch the flocks by day and night, and when the
weather is wet they sleep sitting on small round stools to keep them
from the damp ground. Toward dark the Gypsy band halted by the roadside,
near to a group of shepherds' huts. Here they were to stop for the night
and Banda Bela was glad, for his legs ached with fatigue. He had walked
nearly all day except for a short time when Marushka had asked to have
him ride in the cart and play for her.

The shepherds greeted the Tziganes kindly. Jews and Armenians the
Hungarians dislike, but for the Gypsies there is a fellow feeling, for
all Hungarians love music and nearly all Tziganes have music at their
fingers' ends and in their velvet voices.

The Gypsies pitched their tents and Banda Bela stole aside from the camp
to play his beloved violin. He tuned it and then gently ran his bow up
and down the strings and began a soft little melody. It was like the
crooning song of a young mother to her child. The boy was a genius,
playing with wonderful correctness and with a love for music which
showed in every note he sounded. The shepherds paused in preparing their
evening meal and listened. When he ceased playing they called to him,
"If you will play more you may eat with us."

"I will play gladly, and gladly will I eat," he answered, showing in a
gleaming smile his teeth, even and white as a puppy's. In the pockets of
the shepherds' coats were stored all manner of good things, bacon, black
bread, and wine, even _slivowitz_, the wonderfully good Hungarian
brandy, which Banda Bela had tasted only once in his life, but which the
Gypsies make to perfection.

The shepherds' camp had a one-roomed, straw-thatched hut, which they
used as a storehouse for their coats and extra food supplies. A great
well was in front of the hut. It had a huge beam of wood with a
cross-piece at the top and from this hung a bucket. The boy drew up a
bucketful of the water and found it deliciously cold.

Near the camp was the shepherds' cooking hut, made of reeds tied
together and with a hole in the top for the escape of the smoke. The
hut looked like a corn shock with a door in one side. This door was open
and Banda Bela saw a fire burning brightly, a pot hung over the embers,
and a smell of _kasa_ arose, as a tall shepherd tossed the meal and
bacon into a kind of cake.

Marushka had strayed away from the Gypsies and now stood beside Banda
Bela shyly watching the cooking in silence. She was a quiet little
thing, with her golden hair unlike the bold, black-eyed little Gypsy
children who rolled around the ground, half clad, snatching food from
the pot and gnawing bones like hungry dogs.

"Who is this child?" asked one of the shepherds. "She is no Gypsy. What
is your name, child?"

"I am Marushka," she answered sweetly. "Who are you?"

"I am a shepherd," he said, smiling at her.

"Do you tend sheep all day?" she demanded.

"No, once I was one of the _juhasz_,[2] but now I am past that. I am one
of the _gulyas_,[3] and in another year I shall be among the

"Where are your oxen?" asked Marushka.

"There in the plain," he said, pointing to what looked like a great,
still, white sea some distance away. As he spoke the sea seemed to break
into waves, first rippling, then stormy, as the oxen rose to their feet,
many of them tossing their heads in the air and bellowing loudly. They
were immense creatures, perfectly white and very beautiful, with great
dark eyes and intelligent faces.

"There are my children," said the shepherd. "But I am afraid there is a
wind storm coming, for they show fear only of storm or fire." He
watched the herd for a few moments, but though they snuffed the air they
finally settled down quietly to rest again.

"Let us eat," said the shepherd. "Perhaps the storm has passed over."

How good the _kasa_ tasted. The little Tziganes had never eaten it
before, and they enjoyed it thoroughly.

The sun was sinking in the west, and the yellow fields of grain were
gleaming as if tipped with gold. Dusk deepened, stars peeped out of the
violet heavens. Here and there leaped sudden flame, as some shepherd,
feeling lonely, signalled thus to a friend across the plain. Mists rose
white and ghost-like; the land seemed turned to silver. The tired
children turned to seek their camp to sleep when--

"Lie down!" cried one of the shepherds. "Lie flat on your faces and do
not stir! A storm comes!" So urgent was the call that Banda Bela dropped
at once flat upon the grass, grasping Marushka's hand and pulling her
down beside him.

"Don't be afraid," he said. "Only lie still and the storm will pass
above us." She lay like a little frightened bird, trembling and
quivering, but saying nothing. The great wind broke over them with a
swirl as of fierce waters. It whistled and screamed, blowing with it a
fine white dust, then as quickly as it had come it passed, and all was
still. Banda Bela raised his head and looked around him. The wind had
died down as suddenly as it had sprung up and the plain was so still
that not even the grasses stirred. Their shepherd friends rose from the
ground where they too had thrown themselves, and one of them called to
the children to come back.

"Are you safe?" he asked.

"Oh, yes," said Banda Bela.

"I was frightened, but Banda Bela held my hand," said little Marushka.
"Now I am very thirsty."

"The dust and wind always cause great thirst," said the herder. "But no
one need be thirsty in the 'Land of a Thousand Springs!' Here is water
cool and fresh in the great well, and a little sweet, white wine. Drink
and then run quickly away to sleep, for it is late for small men and

"What are those giant things which stand so dark against the sky? They
frighten me," cried Marushka, as she clung to Banda Bela and looked
behind the shepherds' huts.

"Only mighty haystacks, little one. Enough hay is there to last twenty
regiments of soldiers fifty years, so that our cattle need never go
hungry. Go now. To-morrow you camp here and I will show you many

"Would that those children were mine," he said to himself as the two ran
away to the camp. "The boy I like, he is clean and straight, and his
music stirs my soul; but the little girl reaches my very heart."


[2] Swine-herd.

[3] Ox-herd.

[4] Horse-herd.



FROM the Gypsy camp came sounds of wailing. Loud and long the howls
arose and Banda Bela sprang from the ground where he had spent the
night, to see what was the trouble. He found a group of Gypsies gathered
around the door of one of the tents, the women seated on the ground,
rocking back and forth, wailing, while the men stood in stolid silence.
Then Marushka stole timidly to his side and whispered, "Oh, Banda Bela,
old Jarnik is dead. He died in the night." The child's eyes were red
with weeping. "They did not know it till the morning. Poor old Jarnik!
He was so good and kind!"

Banda Bela looked anxious. Waif and stray that he was he had grown
quickly to know his friends from his enemies. Jarnik had been his
friend. Now that he was gone would the other Gypsies befriend him? The
lonely boy had learned to love little Marushka and hated the thought of
leaving her, but he felt that without Jarnik he would not long be
welcome in the Gypsy camp. Silently he took the child by the hand and
led her away from the wailing crowd of Gypsies.

"We can do no good there, little one," he said. "Come with me. I have a
bit of bread from yesterday." Marushka's sobs grew less as he seated her
by the roadside and gave her bits of bread to eat.

"Do not cry, little one," he said gently. "Jarnik was old and tired and
now he is resting. You must be all mine to care for now. I shall ask
Stepan to give you to me." He thought over the last talk he had had
with Jarnik.

"Take care of the little one," the old man had said. "She has no one
here in all the tribe. She is not a Gypsy, Banda Bela. We found her one
day beneath a tall poplar tree beside the road, far, far from here. She
could scarcely speak, only lisp her name, ask for 'Mother,' and scold of
'bad Yda.' She was dressed in pretty white clothes and we knew she was
the child of rich persons. My daughter had just lost her baby and she
begged for the child, so we took her with us. The Gypsies say she will
bring bad luck to the tribe, for people say she is stolen, so you must
care well for her. There are those in the tribe who wish her ill."

Banda Bela remembered this, and thought how he could protect the little
girl from harm. Childlike, her tears soon dry, Maruskha prattled about
the sunshine and the sky. As they sat, a huge cloud of dust came down
the road. Nearing them, it showed a peasant cart drawn by five fine
horses, and in it sat a large peasant woman, broad-bosomed and kindly
faced. She smiled as the children stared up at her, and the cart rumbled
on and stopped at the shepherds' huts.

Attracted by the gay harness of the horses, the children wandered toward

"Good morning, little folk," called out their friend of the night
before. "Come and eat again with me. Here is my wife come to spend a few
days with me. She has good things in her pockets." Marushka went up to
the peasant woman and looked into her face and then climbed into her
lap. "I like you," she said, and the woman's arm went around her.

"Poor little dirty thing!" she exclaimed. "I wish I had her at home,
Emeric, I would wash and dress her in some of Irma's clothes and she
would be as pretty as a wild rose."

"I wash my face every morning," said Marushka, pouting a little. "The
other Gypsy children never do." Her dress was open at the neck and
showed her little white throat, about which was a string, and the
shepherd's wife took hold of it.

"Is it a charm you wear, little one?" she asked.

"No, that is my mother's picture," said Marushka, pulling out of her
dress a little silver medal.

"Let me see it." The shepherd's wife examined the bit of silver.
"Emeric!" she called to her husband in excited tones. "See here! This is
no Gypsy child! Beneath her dress her skin is white--her hair is
gold--her eyes are like the sky, and around her neck she wears the
medal of Our Lady. She is of Christian parents. She must have been
stolen by those thieving Gypsies. What do you know of Marushka?" she
demanded, turning to Banda Bela, but the boy only shook his head.

"I have been with the band only a few weeks," he said. "Old Jarnik told
me that they found the child deserted by the roadside and took care of

"A likely story," sniffed the woman. "I shall go and see this Jarnik!"

"But he cannot answer--" began Banda Bela, when the good woman

"Not answer! Boy! there is no man, be he Gypsy or Christian, who will
not answer me!" The shepherd nodded his head reminiscently.

"Jarnik won't," said Marushka. "He's dead!"

"Dead!" The woman was a little disconcerted.

"He died during the night," said Banda Bela. "There is great wailing for
him now. We came away because nobody wanted us around. They will wail
all day."

"Eat with us again, children," said the kind-hearted shepherd. "Your
cheeks are the cheeks of famine. You are hungry, both eat! and the boy
can make music for us. There will be time enough to question the Gypsies

Before the herder's hut a bough with several short branches protruding
from it had been thrust into the ground, and upon these cooking pots had
been hung. Soon _goulash_ was simmering in the pot, and _kasa_ was
tossed together. The peasant's wife had brought bread and fine cheese,
and curious-looking things which the children had never seen before.

"These are potatoes," said she. "They are new things to eat in this part
of the country. The Government wants to encourage the people to earn
their living from the earth. So it has made a study of all that can be
raised in the country. Hungary produces grapes, maize, wheat, cereals,
hemp, hops, and all manner of vegetables, and the State helps the people
to raise crops in every way that it can. About five years ago the head
of the Department of Agriculture decided that the people should be
taught to raise potatoes, which are cheap vegetables and very
nourishing. Arrangements were made with three large farms at Bars,
Nyitra, and Szepes, to raise potatoes from seeds sent them by the
Department. The next season these potatoes were distributed for seed to
smaller farmers, with the condition that they in turn distribute
potatoes for seed to other farmers. In this way nearly everyone soon was
raising potatoes.

"Sit and eat," said she, and the children feasted royally. There was
white wine to drink, but Marushka had buffalo's milk, cool and sweet.
The little girl's face was smiling and she looked bright and happy.

Then Banda Bela played his very best, for the kindness had won his

"Can you sing, boy? Have you music in your throat as well as in your
fingers?" asked the shepherd's wife.

"I sing a little, yes," he answered. "I will sing to you the 'Yellow
Cockchafer,' which Czuika Panna sang to Ràkoczi."[5]

[Illustration: Music]

    Cserebogár sarga cserebogár
    Nem Kérdem én töled mi Korlesz nyár
    Ast sem Kérdem sokáig élek e?
    Csak azt mond meg rozsámé leszek e?

    "Little Cockchafer, golden fellow,
     I ask thee not when comes the summer time,
     Nor do I ask how long shall life be mine.
     I ask thee but to tell me
     When I my love's shall be."

The boy's voice was sweet and true, and he sang the little song
prettily, but so mournfully that tears streamed down the broad, red face
of the peasant woman.

"Why do you sing to break one's heart?" she demanded, and Banda Bela

"I sang it but as my mother sang when she was here."

"She is dead, then?"

"She and my father, my brothers and sisters. I have no one left." The
boy's face clouded.

"Me you have," said Marushka, with a funny little pout.

"I must go to my herd now," said the shepherd. "Come back to-night and
we shall give you your supper for another song."

They reached the shepherd's hut that evening to find his wife awaiting
him, but he did not come. He was far away with his herd. As it grew dark
his wife gave the children bread and milk and bade them hurry to bed.

"It is late for little children like you," she said. "To-morrow we will
see you again. To-day I asked about you at the camp and got but black
looks in answer."

Banda Bela hurried Marushka away, fearing a scolding, for he had not
meant to stay away all day, but when he reached the camp it was dark and
still. The fire was nearly out under the fire-pot, the tent flaps were
closed. He dared not waken any one, but Dushka, an old Gypsy woman with
an evil face, looked out from her tent.

"Oh, it is you, is it?" she said. "Well, there is no food left, but
drink this and you will sleep," and she gave each of the children a mug
of dark liquid. It tasted bitter but they drank obediently. Then the old
woman took Marushka into her tent while Banda Bela threw himself down
under a poplar tree near the fire embers, and was soon fast asleep.


[5] A famous Hungarian patriot.



BANDA BELA slept heavily through the night. He dreamed in a confused way
that he heard the Gypsies talking and one of them said, "She brings ill
luck. Men ask of her white locks. The boy is well enough, though one
more to feed. But the other brings ill fortune to the band." Another
said, "No ill will come to them." Then he dreamed no more, but slept a
dead and heavy sleep. He was awakened by a hand upon his shoulder. Some
one shook him and he started to his feet to see the shepherd bending
over him.

"What is it?" asked Banda Bela.

"Where is your camp and where is the little girl?" demanded the

Banda Bela looked around him in amazement. Of the Gypsy camp there was
not a trace left, save that dead embers lay where once the fire-pot had
been. Tents, carts, horses, Gypsies,--all had vanished from the face of
the earth as completely as if they had never been there.

"They have gone and left me!" cried Banda Bela. "Marushka! Where is

"Banda Bela!" called a faint voice behind him, and he turned quickly to
see the little girl sitting under a great poplar tree, rubbing her eyes
stupidly. He ran to her and the shepherd caught her in his arms.

"What happened in the tent last night?" asked Banda Bela.

"Rosa took me on her lap and cried," said Marushka, "then I went to
sleep; but why am I here and where is Rosa?"

"During the night my wife awoke and heard faint sounds of stirring
about outside the tent and muffled horses' hoofs. One of the horse herd
is missing, many things are taken from the cook hut, and the Gypsies are
gone. I do not know why we did not hear them more plainly when they
passed," said the shepherd.

"They always tie up their horses' feet in rags when they travel at
night," said Banda Bela. "Now they may be many miles from here. No one
knows where, for they always cover their tracks. Don't cry, Marushka,
I'll take care of you."

"You are but a child yourself," said the shepherd. "Come to my hut and
eat and then we shall see what is to be done."

Marushka dried her tears and followed Banda Bela. In silence the two
children ate the bread and milk the shepherd's wife prepared for them.
Then Banda Bela said:

"Stay here, Marushka. I am going to the cross-roads to see if they have
left a sign for us, but I do not think it at all likely."

"What sign would they leave?" asked the shepherd.

"When they go and wish their friends to follow they leave at each
cross-road a twig pointing in the direction they have gone. For fear one
would think it but a stray twig they cross it with another, and the
Gypsy always watches for the crossed branches when following a trail."

"You may look, but you will find no crossed branches at the
cross-roads," said the peasant, as Banda Bela ran off. The peasant and
his wife talked together in low tones. Soon the boy came back and shook
his head mournfully.

"They have left no trail," he said. "They left us behind on purpose."

"The draught they gave you was drugged," said the shepherd. "Tell me,
Banda Bela, what will you do?"

"I must take Marushka and go to the city," said the boy. "By walking
slowly and often carrying her we can do it. In the city I can play in
the streets and earn bread for both."

"But do you like the city? It is noisy and dirty. You will not be free
as on the wild," said the peasant's wife.

"I shall like it not at all," said the boy. "But there is nothing else."

"If Marushka will come and live with me I will care for her as my
child," said the shepherd's wife. "She shall have clean clothes and
plenty to eat and a garden with flowers. Will you come, little one?"

Marushka looked up into the kind face and smiled. "I will come if Banda
Bela may come also," she said. The shepherd laughed.

"I told you, Irma, it was useless to take the one without the other.
Take both. Banda Bela will serve you well, of that I am sure."

"That I will," said the boy heartily. "Only take care of Marushka and
sometimes let me play my music and I will do all that you tell me."

"In this world one can but try," said the shepherd's wife, "then see if
good or evil come. I have not the heart to leave these two waifs to
starve on this great plain. Come, Emeric, the horses! It will be night
before I reach home and there will be much to do."

Almost before the children knew it they found themselves seated beside
the shepherd's wife as the cart was whirled along in the opposite
direction from which they had come.

They passed country carts made of a huge pine beam with a pair of small
wheels at either end. Gay parties of peasants were seated on the pole,
the feet braced against a smaller pole.

"What queer-looking people," said Marushka.

"They are not Magyars," said Banda Bela.

"How did you know that?" asked Aszszony Semeyer.

"My father told me many things of Hungary as we travelled together,"
said the boy. "He told me all the history of how the country first
belonged to the Magyars. I remember it almost in the very words he told

"What did he say?" demanded Aszszony Semeyer.

"'Many hundreds of years ago the Hungarian people,' he said," began
Banda Bela, "'were shepherds who tended their flocks upon the plains of
Scythia. The story is that Nimrod, son of Japhet and Enet, his wife,
went into the land of Havila, where Enet had two sons, Hunyar and
Magyar. These grew up to be strong and to love the chase. One day, as
they hunted, they heard sounds of music. These they followed, and came
to the hut of the 'Children of the Bush,' where there were two daughters
of the king, singing beautifully.

"'Hunyar and Magyar married these two sisters, and their lands were not
enough. Westward they moved, from the children of Hunyar coming the
Huns, from Magyar's children, the Magyars.

"'They conquered many peoples, but left to each its customs. All were
ruled under one chief. So that is why we have so many different peoples

"You know more than I do, Banda Bela," said Aszszony Semeyer.

"My father used to tell me many stories and legends, but I never
remembered them very well."

"Marushka, you will be very tired before you reach the village. Curl up
on the seat and perhaps you can take a nap."

"Yes, Aszszony," Marushka said obediently, and she and Banda were very

It was a long drive, but at last the cart rattled down the street of a
large village and drew up in front of a white house. Marushka was
already asleep and had to be carried into the house. Banda Bela stumbled
along after the shepherd's wife and, though with his eyes half shut,
obediently ate the bread and milk she put before him. Then he found
himself on the kitchen floor before a huge tub of water, with a cake of
soap and a large towel.

"Strip! Scrub!" commanded Aszszony Semeyer. "Scrub till you are clean
from head to foot, then dry yourself, and I will bring you some clothes.
You will never see these again." She picked up a brass tongs from the
huge fireplace and with them carried the boy's rags out of the room, her
nose fairly curling at the corners with disgust.

Banda Bela did his best. The water was cold, for Hungarians enjoy cold
baths, and at the first plunge his teeth chattered. But after a while he
rather enjoyed it and scrubbed himself till his dark skin glowed
freshly, in spots, it is true, yet he thought it quite wonderful. Not so
Aszszony Semeyer. She entered the kitchen, red and flushed with her
labours in scouring Marushka.

"You are not clean, no! I will show you--" and she caught up a
scrubbing brush. Banda Bela gasped. He would not cry. He was too big a
boy for that, but he felt as if he were being ironed with a red-hot
iron. Arms, legs, and back,--all were attacked so fiercely that he
wondered if there would be any skin left. Half an hour she worked, then
wiped him dry and said:

"Now you look like a tame Christian! You are not really clean, it will
take many scrubbings to make you that--and more to keep you so--but the
worst is done." She cut his wild locks close to his head and surveyed
her work proudly.

"Not such a bad-looking boy," she said to herself. "Now for a night
shirt and bed." She threw over his head an old cotton shirt and led him
up to the attic. "Sleep here," she said, pointing to a clean little bed
in one corner. "Rest well and to-morrow we shall see what we can do."

"Where is Marushka?" asked Banda Bela.

"Asleep long ago. You shall see her in the morning," and the boy slept.

The sun woke him early and he lay for a few moments looking about the
little room. It was high under the eaves, from which hung long strings
of bright red peppers, drying for the winter's use. The morning sun
glanced on them and turned them to tongues of fire. From the little
window Banda Bela saw down the village street, across the green fields
where sparkled rippling brooks, away to the hills. His heart gave a
great leap. He had not slept in a room before in all his life. He felt
stifled. There was his home, the free, glad _föld_, he would fly away
while yet he could! He sprang from his bed, but where were his rags?
Beside his bed was a clean white suit, whole and neat, though patched
and mended, and as he paused he heard a voice cry out from below:

"Where is my Banda Bela? I cannot eat my _reggeli_[6] without Banda

"I must stay with Marushka," he said to himself, and with a sigh he
hurriedly put on the white suit, and ran downstairs. Aszszony Semeyer
was in the kitchen.

"Good morning," she said. "One would not know you for the same boy.
Marushka is in the garden feeding the geese. Run you and help her," and
she pointed to the back of the house, where a little garden was gay with
flowers, herbs, and shrubs.

Banda Bela went to find his little charge, but saw only four or five
geese and a little peasant girl throwing them handfuls of corn. She was
a cute little thing, dressed in a blue skirt, a white waist, and an
apron with gaily embroidered stripes. One plait of fair hair hung down
her back, while another plait was coiled around her head, pressed low on
her brow like a coronet. The child's back was turned toward Banda Bela,
and he was about to ask her if she had seen Marushka, when she turned
and saw him, and then ran to him, crying,

"Oh, Banda Bela! How nice you look! At first I did not know you, but
your eyes are always the same! Haven't I a pretty dress? The shepherd's
wife gave it to me. It belonged to her little girl who is dead! Is she
not good to us, Banda Bela?"

The boy's sense of gratitude was lively, but the memory of the fearful
scrubbing he had received was equally strong within him, and he said:

"She is very good, yes--but, Marushka, did she scrub you last night?"

"Oh, yes, very hard, but I like the feel of myself this morning. Don't I
look nice?"

"I should never have known you, and you certainly look nice. I hope you
will be happy here."

"Oh, I am very happy," she said, brightly. "Of course I could not be if
you were not here, but if you stay with me I shall like it very much.
You will stay always, won't you?"

Banda Bela looked across the tiny little garden to the sweep of blue
hills beyond the town. They glistened with dew in the morning sun. How
fair they looked! But the child's sweet eyes were upon him wistfully and
he could not resist their pleading, though the _föld_ and air and sky
all called to him and claimed him as their own. He knew how hard it
would be for a _Gletecore_ to resist the call of the wander spirit, but
to Marushka he said:

"I shall stay with you as long as you need me," and Marushka smiled

"I shall always need you," she said. "So always I shall have you. Now
come and see the geese," and she led him to see the white-feathered
creatures with whom she had already made friends. There were two big
black hairy pigs beside, and from their pen these grunted cheerfully at
the children as Aszszony Semeyer called them in to breakfast.


[6] Breakfast.



THE village of Harom-Szölöhoz lies on the edge of the plain, where the
rolling lands sweep toward the hills and those in turn to the mountains.

Many of the men of the village were sheep or cattle herders, as Emeric
Semeyer, living with their herds and seldom returning home save for high
days and holidays. Others dwelt in the villages and worked in the grain
fields, while still others worked in the salt mines each year for some
months at least, for the salt mines of Hungary are famous the world
over, and employ many labourers.

It was a pleasant little village. In the centre was an open space
around which was clustered the church, with the town house and the
larger houses. All the cottages were white-washed, and had gray-shingled
roofs. Some of them had gay little flower gardens and a few had trees
planted by the doorway. Their shade is not needed, for though the sun is
hot, there is always the _szöhördo_ to sit in. This is a seat placed
under the eaves which always overhang at one side of the roof. Here
often the firewood is stacked and one log serves as a seat upon which
the old people may sit and gossip, protected alike from sun and rain.

Upon the doorway of Aszszony Semeyer's house were carved some tulips, a
pattern much used in Hungary. In the porch of the house dried _kukurut_
and paprika hung in long ribbons to dry. The front door opened into the
kitchen where the soup pot simmered upon the huge brick stove. Many of
the cottages in this part of Hungary have but one room, but Aszszony
Semeyer was rich and she had two rooms and a loft above. She kept the
house wonderfully clean, yet she always seemed to have plenty of time to
sit at the window and embroider _varrotas_. The _varrotas_ are Hungarian
embroideries worked with red and black and blue threads upon linen cloth
the colour of pale ochre. The thread and linen is woven by the women,
and in nearly every cottage in the village some one may be seen seated
at the window spinning, weaving, or embroidering.

Aszszony Semeyer's father had been one of the _beres_[7] employed by the
_Tablabiro_,[8] and he had been able to leave his daughter, for he had
no sons, a cottage and some money, so that she was better off than many
of the village people. This did not keep her from working hard, for all
Magyars are industrious and hard working. She did not intend that any
one under her care should be idle; and Banda Bela found that he and
Marushka must work if they were to eat.

[Illustration: WASHING IN THE RIVER]

"Now then, my sugars," she said to them, "we shall see what there is for
you to do! Some work there must be for one and the other. But a square
pane will not fit a round window, so we must give you something that you
can do out of doors. You, Banda Bela, shall go to help the swine-herd,
and Marushka shall be goose girl."

"Oh, I should like that!" cried Marushka. "I think the geese are so
funny and I like to see them eat."

"You shall learn to embroider, and, as you sit on the meadow watching
the geese, you can place many stitches. When you marry you will have
whole chests full of embroideries, like any well brought up maiden.
Otherwise you will be shamed before your husband's people.

"Banda Bela, you shall go with the swine-herd. That will keep you out of
doors, and you will like that, I am sure."

"I will try," said Banda Bela. "But I have never worked."

"Quite time you learned, then," said the good woman. "We will start in
the morning. To-day you and Marushka may go about the village and make
yourselves at home. You will find much to interest you. Come back when
the big bell of the church rings. That will be dinner time."

"Oh, Banda Bela, see those people jumping up and down in the river!"
said Marushka. "What are they doing?"

"Washing, I think," said Banda Bela. "See, they take a dress or an
apron and put it in the stream and tread on it, stamping it against the
stones until the dirt all comes out, then they rinse it out and put it
in their wooden trays and take another piece and wash it."

"I thought the wooden trays were cradles for babies," said Marushka.
"The Gypsies use them for that."

"Yes, but I have seen them used for many things," said Banda Bela. "The
peasants carry goods to market in them; in the city the baker boys use
them to carry bread, washwomen use them, and cooks use them to cut up
meat for _goulash_ or to chop _paprika_ in."

"Banda Bela, we're coming to such a crowded place,--what are all those
people doing?" asked Marushka, pointing to a street which was crowded to
overflowing with peasants, their white costumes and gay aprons and
jackets flashing about like bright birds in the sunlight.

"It must be a market day," said the boy. "I have often seen the village
markets when I was travelling with my father. It might be fair time, and
that is great fun! Let us go and see, Marushka. They have lots of pretty
things in the stalls."

The two children ran down the street, which was filled with carts,
covered with gay-coloured cloths, the horses having been taken out and
stabled elsewhere.

Stalls had been built up and down the sides of the street and these were
filled with fruit, melons, embroidery, clothes, and wonderful crockery.
Plates and jugs in gay colours and artistic designs have been made by
the peasants in this part of Hungary for hundreds of years, and in the
cottages one can see, hung along the walls under the rafters, jugs,
cups, and platters of great beauty. No peasant would part with his
family china, as he would feel disgraced unless he could display it up
on his walls.

Ox carts lumbered down the streets, the huge horns of the oxen
frightening Marushka. Boys with huge hats, loose white shirts, and
trousers above the ankles, bare-footed girls and girls in top boots, men
and women, geese, pigs, horses, and cows, all crowded into the square,
where were the church with its white spire and golden cross, the
magistrate's house, and the inn named "Harom Szölöhoz" as its three
bunches of grapes above the door showed.

"Banda Bela," said Marushka, "what are those women sitting behind those
red and yellow pots for? They look so funny with the great flat hats on
their heads."

"They are cooking," said Banda Bela. "I have seen these village fairs
when I used to travel with my father. In the bottom of those pots is
burning charcoal upon which a dish is set. In the dish they cook all
kinds of things, frying meat in bacon fat, making _goulash_ and anything
else a customer may want."

"Isn't that funny!" said Marushka, whose idea of cookery was the Gypsy
fire-pot over a fire of sticks. "What lovely frocks the girls wear! I
like those boots with the bright red tops, too,--I wish I had some," and
she looked down discontentedly at her ten little bare toes. Banda Bela
laughed at her.

"You're a funny little bit of a Marushka," he said. "Yesterday you
hadn't a frock to your name, only a little rag of a shirt, and you were
all dirty and your hair had never been combed. Now you have a pretty
dress and an embroidered apron, and hair like a high-born princess, yet
you are not satisfied, but must have top boots! They would pinch and
hurt your feet terribly and cramp your toes so that you couldn't wiggle
them at all. After you had worn boots awhile your toes would get so
stiff that you couldn't use them as fingers as we do. People who always
wear boots cannot even pick up anything with their toes. If they want a
stick or anything that has fallen to the ground they have to bend the
back and stoop to pick it up with the fingers."

Marushka looked thoughtful for a moment, her little toes curling and
wriggling as she dug them into the sand, then she said:

"But the boots are so pretty, Banda Bela, I would like them!" The boy

"You will have to have them someway, little sister," he said. "And one
of those bright little jackets, too, since you so much like to be
dressed up like a fine bird."

"Why do some of the women wear jackets and some not, and some of them
such queer things on their heads?" asked Marushka.

"This fair brings people from all around and there are many kinds of
people in Hungary," he said. "Those tall straight men with faces all
shaved except for the waxed moustache are Magyars, while the fair-haired
fellows who look as if they didn't care about their clothes and slouch
around are called Slövaks. The girls who wear those long, embroidered,
white robes, sandals on their feet and black kerchiefs on their heads,
are Roumanians. The Magyar girls wear gold-embroidered aprons, big white
sleeves and zouave jackets, and the boots you like so much."

"I am a Magyar," said Marushka, tossing her head proudly. "All but the

"High-born Princess, boots you shall have," laughed Banda Bela. "But
how?" He knit his brows, as they stopped at a stall where boots were
displayed for sale. "I know!" he cried, while Marushka looked longingly
at the boots. "I shall play for them."

His violin was under his arm, and he raised it to his chin, tuned it
softly, and quickly began a little tune. Hungarians love music and it
was but a moment before a crowd gathered around. He played a gay little
song, "_Nezz roysám a szemembe_," one of the old Magyar love songs in
which a lover implores his sweetheart to look into his eyes and read
there that for him she shines like a star in the blue of heaven, and
when he had finished everyone cried for more. This time he whisked into
a dance tune and feet patted in time to the music and faces were fairly
wreathed in smiles. When he stopped with a gay flourish, everybody
cried, "More, boy, more!" and Banda Bela smiled happily as one in the
crowd tossed him a _krajczar_.[9] He took off his cap and passed it
around among the crowd. Many a _krajczar_ fell into it and one silver
piece came from a Magyar officer, a tall fine-looking man with a sad
face, who stood on the edge of the crowd.

"Who are you, boy, and why do you play? Do you need money?" asked the

"Not for myself, Your Gracious Highness, but the little one wishes
red-topped boots and also a jacket," said the boy simply.

"These of course she must have," said the officer, with a smile which
lighted up his sad face. "Where is this little sister of yours? At home
with her mother?"

"No, Most High-Born Baron," said Banda Bela. "The mother I have not, but
Aszszony Semeyer is very kind to us, and Marushka is here with me. That
little maid by the cooking stall."

"She is a fair little maid, of course she must have her boots," said the
officer. "But you have earned them, for your music is like wine to empty
hearts. What is your name, boy, and where do you live?"

"My name is Banda Bela, Most Gracious Baron. I live since yesterday at
the house of Emeric Semeyer. My father was Gergeley Banda, the musician,
now dead."

"I have often seen and heard your father in Buda-Pest," said the officer
kindly, laying his hand on the boy's shoulder. "You will play as well as
he did if you keep on."

Banda Bela's eyes shone.

"That would please me more than anything else in all the world," he
said. "I think now I have enough for Marushka's boots, so I need not
play more, save one thing for the pleasure of those who have paid me. I
will play a song of my fathers," and he played a gentle little melody,
with a sad, haunting strain running through it, which brought tears to
the eyes.

"Boy, you are a genius! What is that?" asked the baron when he had

"It is called the 'Lost One,'" said Banda Bela. "The little song running
through it is of a child who has been lost from home. The words are:

    "The hills are so blue,
     The sun so warm,
     The wind of the moor so soft and so kind!
     Oh, the eyes of my mother,
     The warmth of her breast,
     The breath of her kiss on my cheek, alas!"

The officer put a whole silver dollar in the boy's hand and turned away
without a word, and Banda Bela wondered as he saw tears in the stern

Then Marushka got her boots and her jacket and Banda Bela bought some
new strings for his violin, and a little box of sugar jelly which he
took to Aszszony Semeyer, and to her also he gave the store of
_krajczar_ left after his purchases had been made.


[7] Labourers employed by the year.

[8] Lord of the estate.

[9] Small coin.



BANDA BELA found life with the pigs rather quiet in spite of the noise
his four-footed friends made, but he soon learned to know all the pigs
by name and to like them, dirty as they were, but he never grew fond of
them as Marushka did of the village geese. These followed her like a
great white army, as she led them beside the river. They seemed to
understand every word she said and would squawk in answer to her call,
and come with flapping wings across the field, whenever she spoke to

So, too, would the storks who nested in the eaves of the houses, and it
was a funny sight to see the long-legged, top-heavy birds stalking
around after Marushka, until she gave them bits of her black bread, when
they would spread their great wings and fly off contentedly to their
nestlings in the eaves.

Marushka's hours at home were quite as busy as those she spent with the
geese, for Aszszony Semeyer was a noted housekeeper and did not intend
that any little girl under her care should grow up without learning to
do housework. Marushka learned to embroider, to sew, to mend, to clean
the floors and to cook. She was an apt pupil and it was not long before
she could cook even _turoscsusza_ as well as her teacher. _Turoscsusza_
is not easy to make. First one mixes a paste of rye and barley meal,
stirred up with salt and water. This is rolled out thin and cut into
little squares which are dropped quickly into boiling water, then taken
out, drained and put into a hot frying pan, with some curds and fried
bacon, and cooked over a hot fire. It takes practice to know just how
long it must be cooked to make it to perfection, and Marushka felt very
much encouraged when Aszszony Semeyer said to her at last:

"You can make it just as well as I can, child." The little girl knew
that no higher compliment could be paid her.

At Christmas time she learned to make the hazel-nut cakes which are so
deliciously good, and she and Banda Bela enjoyed the Christmas tree, the
first they had ever seen, and which is found in every peasant household
in Hungary. In the poorer cottages it is often but a little fir branch
decorated with bits of coloured tissue paper and a few candles, but
Aszszony Semeyer had a large tree, with all sorts of decorations and
presents for the children, who got up at five o'clock to see them,
though Marushka was very sleepy, for she had stayed up for the midnight
Mass on Christmas Eve. Banda Bela had first helped Aszszony Semeyer
"strew the straw," one of the quaint Christmas customs in this part of
Hungary, where the peasants strew fresh straw upon the floor and sit
upon it to insure their hens laying plenty of eggs during the coming
year. He also made up the "plenty brush," taking an onion for Aszszony
Semeyer, Marushka, and himself, with little bundles of hay and barley
ears tied with scarlet ribbon and laid upon the table. This will be sure
to bring plenty of onions, hay, and barley to the house during the year.

In order to keep off fire Banda Bela and Marushka had each taken some
beans on a plate and raced all around the _szvoba_,[10] touching the
wall with the plate, and they had given the pigs and the geese bits of
salt to bring them good luck.

Thus the winter passed busily and pleasantly for the two children. They
lived on simple but hearty fare. For breakfast there was _czibere_, made
by steeping black bread in water for three weeks until it soured, and
making this into soup by adding beaten eggs and sheep's milk. For dinner
they had often _goulash_ or _turoscsusza_ with vegetables or bread.

Marushka learned also to boil soap, to make candles, dry prunes, and
smoke sausages. She helped to cure the hams, crying bitterly over the
death of Banda Bela's little piggies. She churned and made cheese, much
of which was stored up for winter use, as were also many of the
vegetables from the little garden, which Banda Bela weeded and cared

Both children helped to make the _slivovitza_, or plum brandy, of which
every Hungarian household must have some, and which is very good to

Right after Easter the children were invited to a wedding, and as Banda
Bela was to play for the _czardas_, Marushka was delighted.

One of the neighbours, just at the end of the village, had several
_élado leanyök_,[11] called this because in Hungary a bridegroom must
pay his father-in-law a good price if he wishes a wife. Sometimes a
peasant pays only twenty florins for his wife, but sometimes he has to
pay as much as two hundred florins.

The day before Irma's marriage, Lajos, the best man, came to the door of
Aszszony Semeyer's cottage. Bowing and taking off his hat, he said:

"Most humbly do I beg your pardon for my intrusion under your roof, but
I am deputed to politely invite you and your family to partake of a
morsel of food and drink a glass of wine, and to dance a measure
thereafter on the occasion of the wedding feast of the seed that has
grown up under their wings. Please bring with you knives, forks, and

Aszszony Semeyer accepted the invitation, and as Sömögyi Irma was a
Slövak girl, the marriage ceremonies were very different from those
which a Magyar maiden would have had.

The Slövak wedding is all arranged for by the best man. Of course the
young people have been lovers for some time and have plighted their
troth through the window on a moonlight night, but no one is supposed to
know about that. The lover and his friend, who is called the _staro
sta_, on a Saturday night go to the door of the lady's cottage and say:

"Good friends, we have lost our way. In the king's behalf we seek a
star." At this the girl hastily leaves the room and the _staro sta_

"Behold! There is the star for which we seek. May we go and seek her? We
have flowers with us to deck her, flowers fair as those which Adam bound
upon the brow of Eve in the Garden."

"I will call her back," says the bride's father, and the girl returns to
smilingly accept the _staro sta's_ flowers, and his offer of marriage
for his friend. The flowers are distributed, speeches are made, and
everybody drinks the health of the betrothed pair in _slivovitza_,
binding their hands together with a handkerchief.

The night before the wedding there is a cake dance, when the _czardas_
is danced, the wedding cake is displayed, and everybody cries, laughs,
and puts a bit of money into a plate to help toward the wedding
expenses, for the wedding feast must last two days, and it costs a great
deal of money.

Irma's feast was very fine, for her father was village magistrate and
could afford to make her marriage quite a social event. Even the
High-Born Baron and Baroness from the great house came, and Marushka was
delighted to see them, for she had heard the little peasant girls tell
how kind the Baron was, and how beautiful his wife.

The High-Born Baron danced the _czardas_ with the bride and the
High-Born Baroness trod the measures with the bridegroom, and Marushka
could hardly keep her eyes off the Baroness. Her eyes were soft and
brown, her teeth white as little pearls, her complexion a soft olive
with rose-hued cheeks, her hair blue-black, soft and fine, waving about
her face and piled high with roses at each side above her ears. Her
dress was of brocaded silk, the bodice trimmed with pearls, the large
sleeves filmy with laces almost as fine as those she might have worn to
court. Hungarian women love fine clothes and dress beautifully and the
High-Born Baroness wished to pay honor to Sömögyi Vazul, for he had
served the Baron's house and his father's before him.

The Baron wore his handsomest uniform, top boots, embroidered coat and
magnificent cloak, trimmed in gold braid and buttons, and it was a proud
moment in Irma's life when he put his hand upon her elbow and led her
out to dance the quaint dance of the Hungarians, with its slow movement
gradually growing faster and faster until it ends in a regular whirl.

Banda Bela played his best and the _czardas_ of Irma's wedding was long
talked of in the village as the most beautiful which had ever been
danced. Then the High-Born Baron spoke to his wife and she smiled and
nodded her head and asked Banda Bela if he could play the accompaniment
to any of the folk-songs.

"Yes, Your Graciousness," he answered, "to any one of them."

"Then I will sing for you," said the Baroness, and a rustle of
expectancy went round the _'szvoba_, for it was well known in the
village that the High-Born Graciousness was a famous singer and had
often been asked to sing to the King. She sang the little folk-song
which every Hungarian knows.

    "How late the summer stars arise!
     My love for thee was late in rising too.
     But what of that, or aught, to me?
     Why is thy glance so icy cold?
     My heart burns hot with love for thee!"

Her voice was tender and sad like that of all the Magyar women, and
Marushka thought she had never heard anything so beautiful as the song
to which Banda Bela's notes added a perfect accompaniment.

Then the wedding cakes were passed about, and the little girl had her
full share. Banda Bela rejoiced in the present of a silver piece from
the Baron.

"Who is this child?" demanded the Baroness, attracted by Marushka's fair
hair amidst the dark-haired little Magyars and Slövaks.

"A little one adopted by Aszszony Semeyer," replied the magistrate, "as
is also the Gypsy boy who played for you."

"She does not look like a Gypsy child," said the Baroness, knitting her
brows a little. "She reminds me of some one I have seen--" as Marushka
smiled up at her and made her a quaint little peasant's courtesy with
more than peasant's grace.



[10] Room.

[11] Salable daughters.



ASZSZONY SEMEYER'S brother-in-law had a large vineyard and, when it came
time for the vintage, the good woman drove the children over to her
brother's farm. The grapes grew in long lines up and down the hillside
where the sun was strongest. White carts, drawn by white oxen, were
driven by white-frocked peasants. All were decked with grape leaves, all
had eaten golden grapes until they could eat no more, for the great
bunches of rich, yellow grapes are free to all at vintage time. From
these golden grapes is made the amber-hued "Riesling," and the children
enjoyed very much helping to tread the grapes, for the wine is made in
the old-fashioned way, the grapes being cast into huge vats and trod
upon with the feet till the juice is entirely pressed out. The peasants
dance gaily up and down upon the grapes, tossing their arms above their
heads and making great pleasure of their work.

After the long, happy, sunny day the white cart of Aszszony Semeyer
joined the line of carts which wound along from the vineyard, filled
with gay toilers. At her brother's farm they stayed all night, for the
vintage dance upon the grass under the golden glow of the harvest moon
was too fair a sight to miss.

They stayed, too, for the nut-gathering. Hungarian hazel nuts are
celebrated the world over, and the nutting was as much a fête as had
been the vintage. This was the last frolic of the year, and the children
went back to Harom Szölöhoz to work hard all winter. Banda Bela still
helped the swine-herd, but Marushka was no longer a goose girl.
Aszszony Semeyer had grown very fond of the little girl and spent long
hours teaching her to sew and embroider. Many salt tears little Marushka
shed over her _Himmelbelt_, or marriage bed-cover. Every girl in Hungary
is supposed to have a fine linen bedspread embroidered ready to take to
her home when she is married. It takes many months to make one of them,
and Marushka's was to be a very elaborate one.

The linen was coarse, but spun from their own flax by Aszszony Semeyer
herself. In design Marushka's _Himmelbelt_ was wonderful. The edge was
to be heavily embroidered in colours, and in one corner was Marushka's
name, a space being left for the day of the wedding. In the centre was a
wedding hymn which was embroidered in gay letters, and began:

    "Blessed by the Saints and God above I'll be
     If I do wed the man who loveth me;
     Then may my home be full of peace and rest,
     And I with goodly sons and daughters blest!"

Marushka worked over it for hours and grew to fairly hate the thought of

"I shall never, never marry," she sobbed. "I shall never finish this
horrid old _Himmelbelt_ and I suppose I can't be married without it."

Banda Bela sympathized with her and often played for her while she
worked. Through the long winter the children learned to read and write,
for all children are compelled to go to school in Hungary, and the
Gypsies are the only ones who escape the school room.

Marushka learned very fast. Her mind worked far more quickly than did
Banda Bela's, though he was so much older. There was nothing which
Marushka did not want to know all about; earth, air, sky, water, sun,
wind, people,--all were interesting to her.

"The wind, Banda Bela, whence comes it?" she would ask.

"It is the breath of God," the boy would answer.

"And the sun?"

"It is God's kindness."

"But the storms, with the flashing lightning and the terrible thunder?"

"It is the wrath of Isten, the flash of his eye, the sound of his

"But I like to know what _makes_ the things," said Marushka. "It is not
enough to say that everything is God. I know He is back of everything.
Aszszony Semeyer told me that, but I want to know the _how_ of what He

"I think we cannot always do just what we like," said Banda Bela calmly.
"I have found that out many times, so it is best not to fret about
things but to live each day by itself." At this philosophy Marushka

One afternoon in the summer the children asked for permission to go to
the woods, and Aszszony Semeyer answered them:

"Yes, my pigeons, go; the sky is fair and you have both been good
children of late,--go, but return early."

They had a happy afternoon playing together upon the hills which were so
blue with forget-me-nots that one could hardly see where the hilltops
met the sky. Marushka made a wreath of them and Banda Bela crowned her,
twining long festoons of the flowers around her neck and waist, until
she looked like a little flower fairy. They wandered homeward as the sun
was setting, past the great house on the hill, and Maruskha said:

"I wonder if the High-Born Baron and his gracious lady will soon be
coming home? In the village they say that they always come at this time
of the year. Do you remember how beautiful the High-Born Baroness looked
at Irma's wedding?"

"She was beautiful and kind, and sang like a nightingale," said Banda
Bela. "Come, Marushka, we must hurry, or Aszszony Semeyer will scold us
for being late!"

As they neared the village they heard a noise and a strange scene met
their gaze! A yoke of white oxen blocked the way; several black and
brown cattle had slipped their halters and were running aimlessly about
tossing their horns; seventeen hairy pigs ran hither and thither,
squealing loudly, and all the geese in town seemed to be turned loose,
flapping their wings and squawking at the top of their voices. Children
were dashing around, shouting and screaming, in their efforts to catch
the different animals, while the grown people, scarcely less disturbed,
tried in vain to silence the din.

"They are frightened by the machine of the High-Born Baron, Marushka,"
said Banda Bela. "See, there it is at the end of the street. I have seen
these queer cars in Buda-Pest, but none has ever been in this little
village before, so it is no wonder that everyone is afraid. There, the
men have the cattle quiet, but the geese and the pigs are as bad as

"Let us run and lead them out, Banda Bela," cried Marushka. "You can
make the pigs follow you and I can quiet the geese. It is too bad to
have the homecoming of their High-Born Graciousnesses spoiled by these
stupids!" Marushka dashed into the throng of geese calling to them in
soft little tones. They recognized her at once and stopped their
fluttering as she called them by the names she had given them when she
was goose girl and they all flocked about her. Then she sang a queer
little crooning song, and they followed her down the street as she
walked toward the goose green, not knowing how else to get them out of
the way.

Banda Bela meantime was having an amusing time with his friends the
pigs. They were all squealing so loudly that they could scarcely hear
his voice, so he bethought himself of his music and began to play. It
was but a few moments before the piggies heard and stopped to listen.
Banda Bela had played much when he was watching the pigs on the moor,
and his violin told them of the fair green meadow where they found such
good things to eat, and of the river's brink with its great pools of
black slime in which to wallow. They stopped their mad dashing about and
gathered around the boy, and he, too, turned and led them from the

It was a funny sight, this village procession. First came Marushka in
her little peasant's costume, decked with her wreath and garlands of
forget-me-nots, and followed by her snow-white geese. Next, Banda Bela,
playing his violin and escorting his pigs, while last of all came the
motor car of the High-Born Baron, the Baron looking amused, the Baroness
in spasms of laughter.

"Oh, Léon," she cried. "Could our friends who drive on the Os
Budavara[12] see us now! Such a procession! That child who leads is the
most beautiful little creature and so unconscious, and the boy's playing
is wonderful."

[Illustration: "FIRST CAME MARUSHKA"]

"They must be the Gypsy children Aszszony Semeyer adopted. We saw them
when we were here last year," replied her husband. "What a story this
would make for the club! We must give these children a florin for their
timely aid."

But the children, unconscious of this pleasant prospect, led their
respective friends back into the village by another way, so that it was
not until the next day that the "High-Born" ones had a chance to see
them, and this time in an even more exciting adventure than that of the
village procession. It was the motor car again which caused the trouble.

Marushka and Banda Bela had been sent on an errand to a farm not far
from the village and were walking homeward in the twilight. Down the
road came a peasant's cart just as from the opposite direction came the
"honk-honk" of the Baron's motor. Such a sight had never appeared to
the horses before in all their lives. They reared up on their hind legs,
pawing the air wildly as the driver tried to turn them aside to let the
motor pass. A woman and a baby sat in the cart, and, as the horses
became unmanageable and overturned the cart into the ditch, the woman
was thrown out and the baby rolled from her arms right in front of the
motor. The mechanician had tried to stop his car, but there was
something wrong with the brake and he could not stop all at once.
Marushka saw the baby. If there was one thing she loved more than
another it was a baby. She saw its danger and in a second she dashed
across the road, snatched up the little one and ran up the other side of
the road just as the motor passed over the spot where the baby had

"Marushka," cried Banda Bela as he ran around the motor. "Are you

"Brave child!" cried the Baron, who sprang from his car and hurried to
the group of frightened peasants. "Are you injured?"

"Not at all, Most Noble Baron," said Marushka, not forgetting to make
her courtesy, though it was not easy with the baby in her arms.

The child's mother had by this time picked herself out of the ditch and
rushed over to where Maruskha stood, the baby still in her arms and
cooing delightedly as he looked into the child's sweet face, his tiny
hand clutching the silver medal which always hung about Marushka's neck.
The mother snatched the baby to her breast and, seating herself by the
roadside, she felt all over its little body to see if it was hurt.

"You have this brave little girl to thank that your baby was not
killed," said the Baron. The woman turned to Marushka.

"I thank you for--" she began, stopped abruptly, and then stared at the
little girl with an expression of amazement. "Child, who are you?" she

"Marushka," said the little girl simply. The woman put her hand to her

"It is her image," she muttered. "Her very self!"

The Baroness had alighted from the motor and came up in time to hear the
woman's words.

"Whose image?" she demanded sharply.

The woman changed colour and put her baby down on the grass.

"The little girl looks like a child I saw in America," she stammered,
her face flushing.

"Was she an American child?" demanded the Baroness.

"Oh, yes, Your Graciousness," said the woman hastily. "Of course, she
was an American child."

"Now I know that you are speaking falsely," said the Baroness. "This
little one looks like no American child who was ever born. Léon,"
turning to her husband, "is this one of your peasants?" Then she added
in a tone too low to be heard by anyone but her husband, "I know that
she can tell something about this little girl. Question her."

The Baron turned to the woman and said:

"This little girl saved your baby's life. Should you not do her some

"What could I do for her, Your High-Born Graciousness?" the woman asked.

"That I leave to your good heart." The Baron had not dwelt upon his
estates and managed his peasants for years without knowing peasant
character. Threats would not move this woman, that he saw in a moment.

"She is a Gypsy child," the woman said sullenly.

Banda Bela spoke suddenly, for he had come close and heard what was

"That she is not! She is Magyar. Deserted by the roadside, she was cared
for by Gypsy folk. Does she look like a Gypsy? Would a Gypsy child wear
a Christian medal upon her breast?" The boy's tone was sharp. Marushka
heard nothing. She was playing with the baby.

The woman looked from Marushka to the baby, then at the Baron,
hesitating. "Let me see your pretty medal, child," she said at length,
and Marushka untied the string and put the medal in the woman's hand.

"I used to think it was my mother, but now I know it is Our Lady," said
Marushka gently. The woman looked at it for a moment, then gave it back
to the little girl and stood for a moment thinking.

"High-Born Baron," she said at last, "I will speak. Those it might harm
are dead. The little girl who saved my baby I will gladly serve, but I
will speak alone to the ears of the Baron and his gracious lady."

"Very well," said the Baron as he led the woman aside.

"Škultéty Yda is my name, Your Graciousness," she said. "I was
foster-sister to a high-born lady in the Province in which lies
Buda-Pest. I loved my mistress and after her marriage I went with her to
the home of her husband, a country place on the Danube. There I met
Hödza Ludevit, who wished to marry me and take me to America, for which
he had long saved the money. He hated all nobles and most of all the
High-Born Count, because the Count had once struck him with his riding
whip. Then the Countess' little daughter came and I loved her so dearly
that I said that I would never part from her. Ludevit waited for me two
years, then he grew angry and said, 'To America I will go with or
without you.' Then he stole the little baby and sent me word that he
would return her only on condition that I go at once to America with
him. To save the little golden-haired baby I followed him beyond the sea
to America. He swore to me that he had returned little Marushka to her

"The Count traced us to America thinking we might have taken the child
with us, and then I learned that the baby had never been sent home. My
wicked husband had left it by the roadside and what had become of it no
one knew. It turned my heart toward my husband into stone. Now he is
dead and I have brought my own baby home, but my family are all dead and
I have no place to go. These people were kind to me on the ship, so I
came to them, hoping to find work to care for my baby, since all my
money was spent in the coming home. This little girl who saved my baby I
know to be the daughter of my dear mistress." She stopped.

"How do you know it?" demanded the Baroness.

"Your High-Born Graciousness, she is her image. There is the same
corn-coloured hair, the same blue eyes, the same flushed cheek, the same
proud mouth, the same sweet voice."

"What was the name of your lady?" interrupted the baroness, who had been
looking fixedly at Marushka, knitting her brows. "The child has always
reminded me of someone; who it is I cannot think."

"The foster sister whom I loved was the Countess Maria Andrássy."

"I see it," cried the Baroness. "The child is her image, Léon. I have
her picture at the castle. You will see at once the resemblance. I have
not seen Maria since we left school. Her husband we see often at Court.
I had heard that Maria had lost her child and that since she had never
left her country home. I supposed the child was dead. This little
Marushka must be Maria Andrássy."

"We must have proofs," said the Baron.

"Behold the medal upon the child's neck," said Yda. "It is one her
mother placed there. I myself scratched with a needle the child's
initials 'M. A.' the same as her mother's. The letters are still there;
and if that is not enough there is on the child's neck the same red
mark as when she was born. It is up under her hair and her mother would
know it at once."

"The only way is for her mother to see her and she will know. This Gypsy
boy may be able to supply some missing links. We shall ask him," said
the Baron. When Banda Bela was called he told simply all that he knew
about Marushka and all that old Jarnik had told him.

"There is no harm coming to her, is there?" he asked anxiously, and the
Baroness said kindly:

"No, my boy, no harm at all, and perhaps much good, for we think that we
have found her people." Banda Bela's face clouded. "That would make you
sad?" she asked.

"Yes and no, Your Graciousness," he answered. "It would take my heart
away to lose Marushka for whom I have cared these years as my sister,
but I know so well the sadness of having no mother. If she can find her
mother, I shall rejoice."

"Something good shall be found for you, too, my lad." The Baroness
smiled at him, but he replied simply:

"I thank Your High-Born Graciousness. I shall still have my music."

The Baroness flashed a quick glance at him. "I understand you, boy;
nothing can take that away from one who loves it. Now take the little
one home, and to-morrow we shall come to see Aszszony Semeyer about her.
In the meantime, say not one word to the little girl for fear she be
disappointed if we have made a mistake."

"Yes, Your High-Born Graciousness," and Banda Bela led Marushka away,
playing as they went down the hill the little song of his father.

    "The hills are so blue,
     The sun so warm,
     The wind of the moor so soft and so kind!
     Oh, the eyes of my mother,
     The warmth of her breast,
     The breath of her kiss on my cheek, alas!"


[12] Celebrated drive in Buda-Pest.



MARUSHKA was so excited that she scarce knew how to contain herself. The
Baroness had come to see Aszszony Semeyer and had talked long with her.
Then she had called Marushka and the little girl saw that Aszszony
Semeyer had been crying.

"Marushka," the Baroness said. "Will you come with me and make a
journey? I want to take you in the motor to Buda-Pest."

"The High-Born Baroness is very good," said Marushka, her eyes shining.
"I should like to go very much, but not if Aszszony Semeyer does not
wish it."

"Good child," said Aszszony Semeyer, "I do wish it."

"Then why do you cry?"

"There are many things to make old people cry," said the peasant woman.
"I am certainly not crying because the High-Born Graciousness wishes to
honour you with so pleasant a journey--(that is the truth, for it is the
fear that she will not come back that forces the tears from my eyes,"
she added to herself).

"Aszszony Semeyer will have Banda Bela," said the Baroness. Marushka
opened her eyes very wide.

"Oh, no, Your Graciousness, because Banda Bela must go wherever I go. If
he stays at home, then I must stay, too."

"Such a child!" exclaimed Aszszony Semeyer. "She has always been like
this about Banda Bela. The two will not be separated."

"In that case we shall have to take Banda Bela also," said the Baroness,
and Marushka clapped her hands with glee.

"That will be nice," she exclaimed. "I shall love to see the city and
all the beautiful palaces, and I shall bring you a present, Aszszony
Semeyer, but I will not go unless you wish me to."

"I do wish it, dear child, but do not forget your old aunt," for so she
had taught the children to call her.

So it was decided that they should start the next week when the Baron's
business would have been attended to.

Part of Marushka's journey was to be taken in the motor, and, as she had
never ridden in one before, she was very much excited as they set out on
a bright day in August. She wanted to sit beside Banda Bela with the
driver, but the Baroness said, "No, it would not be proper for a little
girl." So she had to be satisfied with sitting between the Baron and
Baroness on the back seat.

Up hill and down dale they rode. The road at times was so poor that the
wheels wedged in the ruts and all had to get out while the driver pushed
from behind.

They ate their luncheon at a ruined castle which had once been a
beautiful country place. It belonged to a friend of the Baron but had
been deserted for many years. Beyond it lay a corn-coloured plain and
blue hills, and on top of one of the hills gleamed the white walls of a

"Near here are some famous marble quarries," said the Baroness. "They
are finer even than the ones at Carrara in Italy, which are celebrated
all over the world. There is so much marble around here that it is
cheaper than wood. See there! even the walls of that pig-pen are of
marble. Yonder is a peasant's hut with a marble railing around the
garden. Even the roads are mended with it, and the quarries in the
hillsides have hardly been touched yet. Some day someone will be made
very rich if they will open up this industry, and it will keep many of
our people from going to America."

"Why do they go to America?" asked Marushka. "And where is America? It
cannot be so nice as Magyarland."

"Well, little one, it is as nice to Americans, but when our Hungarian
people go there they always come back. Sometimes the Slövaks remain, but
never the Magyars. They go there and work and save. Then they send for
their families, and they too work and save, and at last they all come
home. There is a story told of the last war in Hungary. Two Magyar
peasants had gone to America and worked in the far west. One day in a
lonely cabin on the plains they found an old newspaper and read that
there was war in Hungary. They put together all their money, saved and
scrimped, ate little and worked hard, until they got enough to go home.
They reached Hungary before the fighting was over and begged to be sent
at once to the front, to have a chance to serve their country before the
war was over."

"But how do people know about America?" asked Marushka.

"There are agents of the steamship companies who go from village to
village trying to get the people to emigrate," said the Baroness. "They
tell them that in America one finds gold rolling about in the streets
and that there everyone is free and equal. Our people believe it and go
there. Many of those who go are bad and discontented or lazy here at
home. When they get to America and find that gold does not roll in the
streets and that they must work for it if they want it, they are more
discontented than ever, and the people of America think that Hungarians
are lazy and good for nothing. When they come home they talk in the
villages of the grand things they did in America and make the people
here discontented and unhappy."

"Why don't the people ask them, if America was so nice, why did they not
stay there?" asked Marushka, and the Baroness smiled.

"Those of us who have estates to take care of wish they would," she
said. "The returned emigrant is one of the problems of Hungary."

"Why are there so many beggars?" asked Marushka. "I never saw one in
Harom Szölöhoz."

"That is a prosperous village with a kind over-lord," said the
Baroness. "But there are so many beggars in Hungary that they have
formed themselves into a kind of union. In some towns there is a beggar
chief who is as much a king in his way as is His Majesty the Emperor.
The chief has the right to say just where each beggar may beg and on
what days they may beg in certain places. The beggars never go to each
other's begging places, and if anyone does, the other beggars tell the
police about him and he is driven out of town.

"In some provinces the very old and sick people are sent to live with
the richest householders. Of course no one would ever refuse to have
them, for alms asked in the name of Christ can never be refused, and as
our gracious Emperor has said, 'Sorrow and suffering have their
privileges as well as rank.'"

"He must be a very good Emperor," said Marushka. "It seems to me that
you are a very wonderful lady and that you know everything. It is
interesting to know all about these things. When I grow up I am going to
know all about Magyarland."


The journey in the train was even more exciting for the children than
that in the motor, and they enjoyed very much hearing about the various
places through which they passed.

When they reached Buda-Pest, Marushka was dumbfounded, for she had never
imagined anything so beautiful. The train rolled into the huge station,
with its immense steel shed and glass roof, upon which the sun beat like
moulten fire. The children followed the Baroness through the gate and
into the carriage, which rattled away so quickly that it swayed from
side to side, for in Hungary people are proud of their fine horses
and always drive as fast as they can.

Marushka caught glimpses of broad, well-paved streets and large,
handsome buildings, as the Baroness pointed out the opera house,
theatres, churches, museums, and the superb houses of parliament built
upon the banks of the Danube.

"Across the river you see Buda," said the Baroness. "In old times Buda
was very old-fashioned, but in the last twenty years the royal palace
has been built and many other costly buildings, and soon it will be as
handsome as Pest. The improvements within the last ten years are
wonderful. The streets are clean and neat, no ugly signs are permitted
upon the houses, no refuse on the streets, and the citizens vie with
each other in trying to make that side of the river as beautiful as
this. The Emperor takes great interest in the enterprise."

"You speak about the Emperor sometimes," said Marushka. "And other times
about the King. Who is the King?"

"The same as the Emperor," replied the Baroness. "You see, Austria and
Hungary have been united under one government, and the King of Hungary
is Emperor of Austria. There were many wars fought before this
arrangement was made, and all the different peoples of the empire agreed
to live peaceably together."

"How long has Hungary had a king?" asked Marushka.

"Oh, for years and years," said the Baroness. "It was about the twelfth
century when the _Aranybulla_[13] was made, which gave to the nobles the
right to rebel if the king did not live up to the constitution. See!
There are the barracks and the soldiers drilling. The country boys who
come up to be trained are sometimes so stupid that they don't know
their right foot from the left. So the sergeant ties a wisp of hay on
the right foot and a wisp of straw on the left. Instead of saying,
right-left, to teach them to march, he says _szelma-szalma_. Isn't it

"What is that building by the river?" asked Marushka. "The one with the
little turrets and the tower before which the geese are swinging?"

"That, my little goose girl, is the Agricultural Building, and should
you go inside you would find specimens of every kind of food raised in
Hungary. But here we are at the hotel where we shall spend the night.
You must have some supper and then hurry to bed, for to-morrow is the
fête day of St. Stephen, and all must be up early to see the

Marushka was so sleepy the next day that she could only yawn and rub
her eyes when the maid called her at five o'clock to dress for the fête.

The twentieth of August, the feast of St. Stephen, is the greatest fête
of the year in Hungary.

Marushka and Banda Bela were very much excited over it, for they had
often heard of the fête but had never supposed they would have the good
fortune to see it.

"Come, children," the Baroness said as they hastily ate their breakfast.
"We must hurry away. Hear the bells and the cannon! Every church in the
city is ringing its chimes. We must be in the Palace Square by seven or
we will miss some of the sights."

"I think the High-Born Baron and his Gracious Lady are the finest sights
we shall see," whispered Banda Bela to Marushka, and the Baroness caught
the words and smiled at him. There was a subtle sympathy between these
two, the high and the lowly, the Magyar noblewoman and the Gypsy boy, a
sympathy born, perhaps, of the love of music which swayed them both.

Marushka felt wonderfully fine as their carriage rolled into the Palace
Square, where the procession in honour of St. Stephen was forming. It
was a gorgeous sight, for all were dressed in their gayest attire, and
officers, soldiers, prelates, and guard of honour from the palace made a
continual line of conflicting hues.

While the procession was passing Marushka almost held her breath, then,
as the golden radiance of colour flashing in the sunlight streamed past,
she clapped her hands in glee, and cried:

"Oh, your Gracious High-Bornness! Isn't it splendid! How glad I am that
St. Stephen is the Magyar saint and that I am a Magyar!" The child's
eyes were shining, her cheeks flushed, her hair a golden coronet in the
sunshine, and she looked like a beautiful little princess.

At the sound of her voice an officer in uniform, who was passing, turned
and looked into the child's face, then glanced from her to the Baroness,
who waved her hand in greeting. He doffed his cap and then came to the

"Good morning, Count. It is long since I have seen you in Buda-Pest. Are
you not marching to-day?" the Baroness said.

"No, Madame." The officer had a kind face, but it seemed very sad to
Marushka. She thought she had seen him before, but did not remember
where until Banda Bela whispered that it was the officer who had given
them money for Marushka's top boots at the fair.

"I was on duty at the palace this morning, but am returning home at
once. My wife is not very well," he said.

"It is long since I have seen her. Will she receive me if I drive out to
your home?" the Baroness asked.

"She will be glad to see you," he said, "though she sees but few since
her ill health."

"I shall drive out to-day with these little folk, to whom I am showing
the sights," said the Baroness.

The count's eyes fell upon Banda Bela, and he gave a quick smile.

"Why, this is the little genius who played the violin so wonderfully
well down at the village fair," he said; and Banda Bela smiled, well
pleased at being remembered.

"The little girl is yours?" he asked. The Baroness hesitated.

"No," she said. "She is not mine. She is the child of a friend of mine."
Marushka wondered what good Aszszony Semeyer would say to hear herself
spoken of as a friend of the Baroness, and, amused, she looked up at the
Count with a beaming smile. He started a little and then stared at her
fixedly, just as the Baroness with a hasty adieu bade the coachman drive

"Madame," he asked quickly, as the horses started. "Who is the friend
whose child this is?" The Baroness looked back at him over her shoulder.

"That I cannot tell you now," she said. "This afternoon at your castle I
will ask _you_ to tell _me_!"


[13] Hungarian Magna Charta.



"OH, High-Born Graciousness, what is that beautiful street we are
driving into?" asked Marushka, as they drove out in the afternoon, and
the coachman turned the horses into a magnificent avenue.

"This is Andrássy-ut, the famous boulevard, which leads to the park,"
replied the Baroness. "We are driving toward Os Budavará, the Park of
Buda-Pest, and it is one of the most beautiful sights in the world."

As she spoke they entered the park, and the children gazed in wonder at
its beauty. Swans floated on the miniature lakes; in the feathery green
woods bloomed exquisite Persian lilacs, children played on the green
grass beneath the willows or ran to and fro over the rustic bridges. On
the Corso the fashionables drove up and down in the smartest of
costumes, their turnouts as well appointed as any in Paris or London.
The men were many of them in uniform, the women, some of them with
slanting dark eyes almost like Japanese, were graceful and elegant.

"The skating fêtes held in the park in winter are the most beautiful
things you can imagine," said the Baroness. "The whole country is white
with snow. Frost is in the air, the blood tingles with the cold. Ice
kiosks are erected everywhere, and coloured lights are hung up until the
whole place seems like fairyland, and the skaters, dressed from top to
toe in furs, look like fairy people skimming over the ice."

"It must be beautiful," said Marushka.

"But what is that man playing?"

"The _taragato_, the old-fashioned Magyar clarinet," was the answer, and
the old instrument seemed to tell tales of warlike days, its deep tones
rolling out like the wind of the forest. A boy near by played an
impudent little _tilinka_ (flageolet), and Banda Bela said:

"That never sounded like real music to me; only the violin sings. It is
like the wind in the trees, the rustle of the grass on the moor, the
dash of the waves on the shore, the voice of the mother to her child."

"Banda Bela, you are poet as well as musician," said the Baroness. "You
shall never go back to Harom Szölöhoz to live. You shall stay with me. I
will sing to your music, and you shall study music till you are the
greatest violin player in all Hungary."

"When a Gypsy child comes into the world they say his mother lays him on
the ground and at one side places a purse and at the other a violin,"
said Banda Bela. "To one side or other the baby will turn his head. If
he turns to the purse he will be a thief, if he turns to the violin he
will earn his living by music. My mother said she would give me no
chance to choose ill, but an old woman near by laid forth both the purse
and the violin and I turned my head to the violin and reached for it
with my baby hand. When they placed the bow in my hand I grasped it so
tight they could scarce take it from me."

"Banda Bela," said Marushka, and her tone was pettish. "You like your
violin better than you do me!" The boy laughed.

"My violin has earned you many a supper, Little One; do not dislike

"Oh, Your Graciousness, what are those strange things?" cried Marushka.
"They are not automobiles, are they?"

"No, my child, they are the new steam thrashing machines which the
government has just bought, and is teaching the peasants to use instead
of the old-fashioned ways of thrashing. Now we are getting into the
country. See how beautifully the road winds along the Danube! Is it not
a wonderful river? There is a famous waltz called the 'Beautiful Blue
Danube' and the river is certainly as blue as the sky. See that queer
little cemetery among the hills. I have often wondered why some of the
gravestones in the village cemeteries had three feathers and coloured
ribbons on them."

"If you please, Your Graciousness," said Banda Bela, "I can tell you.
That is for the grave of a girl who has died after she was of an age to
be married, yet for whom no one had offered the buying money. Aszszony
Semeyer told me that."

"Aszszony Semeyer told me that every peasant kept a wooden shovel hung
upon the wall of his house with which to throw in the last shovelful of
earth upon his loved ones," said Marushka with a shudder. "Ugh! I didn't
like that."

"Very few people like to think about death," said the Baroness. "See
that thicket of prickly pears beside the road? Once when I was a little
girl and very, very naughty, I ran away from my nurse and to hide from
her I jumped over the wall and landed in just such a thicket as that. I
think the pears must be naughty, too, for they liked that little girl
and would not let her go. The thorns pricked her legs and tore her frock
and scratched her hands when she tried to get her skirts loose, until
she cried with pain and called '_Kerem jojoro ide_'[14] to her nurse."

"I did not think the Gracious Baroness was ever naughty," said Marushka.

"The Gracious Baroness was quite like other little girls, my dear," she
said, smiling. "Ah, I have a little twinge of toothache!" she exclaimed.

"That is too bad." Marushka was all sympathy. "Aszszony Semeyer says
that if you will always cut your finger nails on Friday you will never
have toothache."

"Is that so? Then I shall certainly try it," said the Baroness soberly.
"Do you see the gleam of white houses between the trees? Those are the
beautiful villas and castles of the Svabhegy, the hill overlooking the
Danube, and here live many of my very good friends.

"I am going to visit one of them for a little while and you must be
good, quiet children and sit in the carriage while I go in to make my
call. Then, perhaps, I will take you in for a few moments to see the
house, for it is a very beautiful one. See! here we are at the gate," as
the carriage turned into a beautifully ornamented gateway, above which
was carved the legend: _If you love God and your Country, enter; with
malice in your heart, go your way_.

The driveway wound through beautiful grounds, and through the trees were
seen glimpses of the Danube. The house itself was white and stood at the
crest of the hill overlooking the river.

"This place belongs to the Count Ándrassy," said the Baroness. "He has
also another place in the Aföld and is very wealthy. When my grandfather
went to visit his grandfather in the old days, they once took the
wheels from his carriage and tied them to the tops of the tallest poplar
trees on the estate to prevent his leaving. Another time they greased
the shafts with wolf fat, so that the horses would not allow themselves
to be harnessed up, for they are so afraid of the wolf smell. Still
another time they hid his trunks in the attic so that it was three
months before my grandfather finally got away.

"That was old-fashioned hospitality. Here we are at the door. Sit
quietly here and I will return," and the Baroness sprang down. There was
a swish of her silken skirts and the front door closed behind her.

The children chattered gaily to each other of all they had seen and
heard since they had left Harom Szölöhoz, and Marushka said:

"It seems so long since we have left the village, Banda Bela; somehow
it seems as if we would never go back."

"I think you never will." Banda Bela spoke a little sadly. "Were you
happy there, Little One?"

"Oh, yes," she said brightly. "I was happy with you and Aszszony
Semeyer. Only, when I saw other children with their mothers, there was
the ache right here--" she laid her hand on her heart.

"I know," said Banda Bela. "I have that always. Only when I play my
violin do I forget."

"But I cannot play the violin, nor can I do anything, only embroider
that horrible _Himmelbelt_," and Marushka pouted, while Banda Bela
laughed at her.

"Think how proud you will be some day to show that _Himmelbelt_ to your
husband," he said, but just then the Baroness and the Count came out of
the house together.

"What do you think?" the Baroness asked the Count.

"I think you are right, but Maria shall decide," he answered. "We will
say nothing to her and her heart will speak."

"Come in, children," said the Baroness, who looked strangely excited.
Her eyes shone and her cheeks were flushed, while the Count's face was
pale as death and he looked strangely at Marushka.

"Banda Bela," said the Baroness, "the Countess is not very well. She
loves music as you and I do, and I want you to come in and play for her.
She is very sad. Once she lost her dear little daughter, and you may
play some gentle little songs for her. It may give her pleasure. It is a
beautiful thing, Banda Bela, to give pleasure to those who are sad."

The Baroness chattered on as they entered the house. Marushka looked up
at the Count's face. Sad as it was she felt drawn toward him. She saw
him watching her closely and smiled up at him with the pretty, frank
smile which always lighted up her face so charmingly.

"High-Born Count," she said shyly, "I have to thank you for the first
present I ever received in all my life."

"What was that, Little One?" he asked.

"The top boots which Banda Bela bought for me at the fair at Harom
Szölöhoz. They were bought with the florin you gave to Banda Bela for
his playing. They were so nice!" She dimpled prettily.

"I am glad they gave you pleasure. Come, we will go in and hear Banda
Bela play," said the Count, holding out his hand. Marushka slipped her
hand into his and he led her into the house, entering by the large
hall, on the walls of which hung deer horns and wolf heads, while a huge
stuffed wolf stood at one end, holding a lamp in his paws. The Count was
a great sportsman and had shot many of these animals himself in the
forests of the Transylvania.

Banda Bela tuned his violin and then began to play. It seemed to
Marushka as if she had never before heard him play so beautifully. Many
things he played, all soft and dreamy, with a gentle, haunting sadness
through them, until at last he struck into a peculiar melody, a sort of
double harmony of joy and sorrow, which he had never played before.

"What is that, Banda Bela?" demanded the Baroness. "Who wrote it, what
are the words?"

"If you please, Your Graciousness"--the boy flushed, "it is but a Gypsy
song of sorrow. The words are but in my own heart."

"Strange boy," she thought, but at that moment the door opened and a
lady hastily entered the room. She was tall and very beautiful, with
great masses of corn-coloured hair and deep blue eyes, but her face had
a look of terrible sadness.

"Arpád!" she exclaimed. "What is this music? It makes me weep for my
lost one and I am nearly blind with weeping now." Her eyes, seeking her
husband's, fell upon Marushka, who during the music had been leaning
against the Count, his arm around her. The Countess' eyes travelled up
and down the little figure, then sought her husband's face with a sort
of eager, frightened questioning.

"Arpád!" she cried. "Arpád! Who is this child?"

"Maria, my dearest! I have brought her here that you may tell me who
she is," he said, trying to speak calmly.

She drew the little girl toward her and Marushka went willingly and
stood looking into the sweet face of the Countess.

"Such a likeness," whispered the Baroness. "They are as like as two

Then, all in a moment, the Countess gathered Marushka into her arms and
covered the child's face with kisses. "You are mine," she cried, tears
streaming down her face. "Mine! Arpád! I know it is our little daughter
come back to us after all these years. My heart tells me it is she!"

Marushka looked frightened for a moment, then she clung around her
mother's neck, and the Baroness quietly drew Banda Bela from the room.
From the hall the sound of the Gypsy boy's violin came as he played,
with all his soul in his touch, the song of his father:

    "The hills are so blue,
     The sun so warm,
     The wind of the moor so soft and so kind!
     Oh, the eyes of my mother,
     The warmth of her breast,
     The breath of her kiss on my cheek, alas!"



[14] "Come to me."


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       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

All spelling of Hungarian words retained as printed in the original text
with the exception of "sokáig" in the song on page 36. That had a
capital K in the middle which was changed to lower case. The rest are as
printed. Toward that end, text uses both "Ándrassy" and "Andrássy";
"Budavara" and "Budavará."

Page 30, "sherpherds" changed to "shepherds" (shepherds' huts)

Page 92, "litte" changed to "little" (beautiful little creature)

Page 108, "you" changed to "your" (your old aunt)

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Our Little Hungarian Cousin" ***

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