THE COMB-MAKERS

Wonderful weatherproof tents

That they had good sturdy carts and wonderful weatherproof tents. Their carts (tcdigas) are gaily painted troughs, on the back-boards of that are circles containing some naively executed image, a bunch of flowers, or a rearing horse, and at all sides are iron steps linked with splash-boards over the 4 wheels. The trough, or physique, rests in a cradle on the 2 axles, however isn’t hooked up to them rigidly, the axles themselves being linked collectively by a central beam, a technique of development which supplies nice flexibility, and allows the automobile, though springless, to journey the worst roads with out catastrophe. The tents are product of goat’s-hair material, laborious, tough, and really thick : they’re costly, for an acceptable piece prices eight napoleons. The material is supported partly by the taliga itself, which it covers and protects, and partly by a framework of poles. Of those there are 5, in addition to the pole of the taliga, which makes the sixth—two poles morticed to type the entrance triangde ; the skinny back-post (beli) resting on the bottom, and steadied by insertion by way of the step of the waggon ; the horizontal ridge-pole (berand) ; and two different horizontal poles, one in every of them the driving pole of the waggon, which relaxation on the taliga behind the tent, and are tied to the entrance poles half-way between their intersection and the bottom. The cart thus stands throughout the tent to which it varieties the again, and the material is pegged out via goat’s-hair cords hooked up at common intervals, in order that the sting is about six inches from the earth. Such a tent, in contrast with the dwellings of the Zagundzhis, was a palace.

The tribe had come to Varna with a view to work on the harvest, the place the lads anticipated to earn about two francs a day; however their ostensible technique of livelihood was making combs, a occupation wherein they confirmed nice dexterity. They purchased the horns of cattle, lower them into brief cylinders which they break up longitudinally and flattened by warmth and strain, formed the piece, smoothed it with a rasp and polished it with ashes; then they lower the tooth with sudden regularity via two hand-saws, one positive, and the opposite coarse, and completed the comb with just a little crude ornament in double strains by rocking the handle-end of a file throughout the floor of the horn. A person may produce thirty combs a day, however their earnings had been in all probability restricted relatively by the quantity they might promote than by the quantity they might make.

A lot I discovered by two visits to their picturesquely located camp close to Indzhe-Kioi, just a little village about three miles from Varna, and I discovered additionally that their Rumanian Romani, owing to my earlier expertise with an analogous dialect, was way more simply intelligible than the dialects fashioned below Turkish and Bulgarian affect that I had heard in Osman’s mahala. My beneficial first impression was confirmed on the second go to, when the comb-makers entertained the Vice-Consul and myself with foods and drinks, and gossiped pleasantly, if not with the inconsequent liglit-heartedness of the Zagundzhis; and, later within the night, they received my coronary heart utterly when, with out remark, they raised the side-cloth of the tent so that all may admire a lovely sundown. I made a decision that these fashions of Gypsy propriety can be most fascinating travelling companions, and, seeing that with their assist it will be straightforward to evade the difficulties brought on by Osman’s prohibition, I misplaced no time, however broached the topic without delay, and made preparations for escape.

 

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