THE COMB-MAKERS

Wonderful weatherproof tents

They’d good sturdy carts and glorious 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 either side 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 building which supplies nice flexibility, and allows the automobile, though springless, to journey the worst roads with out catastrophe. The tents are fabricated from goat’s-hair material, arduous, tough, and really thick : they’re costly, for an appropriate piece prices eight napoleons. The fabric is supported partly by the taliga itself, which it covers and protects, and partly by a framework of poles. Of those there are 5, apart from the pole of the taliga, which makes the sixth—two poles morticed to kind the entrance triangde ; the skinny back-post (beli) resting on the bottom, and steadied by insertion by the step of the waggon ; the horizontal ridge-pole (berand) ; and two different horizontal poles, certainly one of them the driving pole of the waggon, which relaxation on the taliga in the back of 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 fabric 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 as a way 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 by which they confirmed nice dexterity. They purchased the horns of cattle, reduce them into quick cylinders which they break up longitudinally and flattened by warmth and stress, formed the piece, smoothed it with a rasp and polished it with ashes; then they reduce the tooth with surprising regularity via two hand-saws, one effective, and the opposite coarse, and completed the comb with a little bit crude ornament in double traces by rocking the handle-end of a file throughout the floor of the horn. A person might produce thirty combs a day, however their earnings had been in all probability restricted moderately by the quantity they may promote than by the quantity they may make.

A lot I realized by two visits to their picturesquely located camp close to Indzhe-Kioi, a little bit village about three miles from Varna, and I discovered additionally that their Rumanian Romani, owing to my earlier expertise with an identical dialect, was much more simply intelligible than the dialects fashioned beneath 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 fully when, with out remark, they raised the side-cloth of the tent so that all would possibly admire a fantastic sundown. I made a decision that these fashions of Gypsy propriety could be most fascinating travelling companions, and, seeing that with their assist it might 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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