No. 17 of European Notes.
May 1, 1870
Steamer Orient, en route for Vienna.
A curious May Day. Rose late-had the usual cup of coffee & biscuit. Then read up in "L'Orient" (most admirable of Guide Books) the last two or three nations through which we have passed. Then read Byron, wrote a letter or two-breakfasted at eleven or twelve o'clock & dined at seven P.M.-a most absurd division of time. The only event of the day worthy of record was the touching of our steamer at Widdin a Turkish town in Bulgaria & five minutes later our crossing to Kalafat a Wallachian village nearly opposite. It was the most sudden transition I ever saw, the most striking antithesis being afforded by the aspects of human life in the two towns. In the first-the veiled women broad as long, by reason of their wind-puffed outer garments, in the second a picturesque costume European in its general features, but brightened in color & leaving the limbs free & figure distinctly outlined-in as striking contrast to the baggy outline of the Turkish women as was the free step & erect figure of the Wallachians with the heavy, waddling gait of their encumbered Moslem sisters across the water. In Widdin, the women standing apart, in a menial attitude, the foreground occupied by thier lords in red fez, sashed waist & voluminous trousers;-in Kalafat men & women were dancing in a group equally pleasing & picturesque,-around a May pole, possibly, I could not discover as to that, but it is not unlikely. At Widdin the women in their place apart & the men & boys who had climbed upon a huge coal-heap to stare at us, squatted as is the Moslem custom-I wonder if their frequent