William IV. was a man of very moderate abilities; but a certain simplicity and geniality of character had secured for him the regard and respect of the people, and had carried him through the revolutionary epoch of the Reform Bill with no great loss of popularity, even at a time when he was supposed to be unfriendly to the measure. For the last two years he had ceased to take any interest in the political tendencies of the day, while discharging the routine duties of his high office with conscientious regularity.
Distant View of Windsor Castle
But the unusually severe winter of 1819-20 induced the Duke and Duchess to visit Sidmouth, for the sake of the mild climate of Southern Devonshire. At Salisbury Cathedral, to which he made an excursion during the frosty weather, the Duke caught a slight cold, which, after his return to Sidmouth, became serious, owing, it would seem, to neglect and imprudence. According to the medical custom of those days, the patient was copiously bled, and not improbably owed his death to the exhaustion thus occasioned. He expired on the 23rd of January, 1820, in his fifty-third year; and so small were his means that he left the Duchess and the Princess totally devoid of maintenance. Such was the statement made long afterwards by Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, who was with his sister during the days of her trial and bereavement. Soon after the fatal event, the Prince accompanied the widowed lady to London, where addresses of condolence were voted by both Houses of Parliament. The address of the Commons was presented by Lords Morpeth and Clive, when the Duchess of Kent appeared with the infant Princess in her arms.
William Makepeace Thackery
A gypsy girl lights a gypsy mans cigarette
A Gypsy family washing in the river
A woman sawing wood
Ruins of castles crown almost every prominent summit, and the scenery grows wilder and more beautiful at every bend of the river. Kallenberg, Wildenstein, Wernwag, Falkenstein, and a half-score of other ruins, equally wonderful in situation, tempted us to sketch them, and we found the most delightful spots imaginable wherever we paused and exchanged the paddle for the pencil.
Women water carriers
At every available point of the crowded river-front washerwomen, with their petticoats wet to the waist, stood knee-deep in the stream, and accompanied their lively chatter with the vigorous tattoo of their active mallets. In the shadow of the houses near the landing great piles of watermelons were the centres of groups of all ages, every individual busy with the luscious, juicy fruit.
Just below Widdin, at the Bulgarian town of Arčer Palanka, the general course of the Danube changes from the south to the east; and to the town of Cernavoda, in the Dobrudscha, about 300 miles below, the river keeps the latter direction with few and slight deviations. The long, straight reaches were here enlivened by many sailing-vessels of the fifteenth-century type, with high ornate sterns, and single mast set midway between the bow and stern. Sometimes we met them gayly ploughing their way up-stream, with every bellying sail drawing full, and again we saw them dragged slowly against the current by a long line of patient Turkish sailors harnessed to a tow-rope; or else we came across them tied to the trees in some quiet spot awaiting a favorable wind, the decks covered with sleeping sailors, no man on watch.
Turkish Sailing Lotka, Sulina
The river life was mostly confined to the larger craft; very few small boats were seen, and almost no fishermen. The great clouds of canvas on the Turkish vessels gleamed above the trees behind the islands far in the perspective, and the black smoke of tow-boats with their trains of loaded lighters was a constant feature in the ever-changing landscape. Occasionally a huge flat-boat of the roughest build, piled high with a cargo of red and yellow earthen-ware, melons, sacks of charcoal, and other miscellaneous merchandise, floated down in the gentle current, steered by Turks in costumes of varied hue, the whole reflecting a mass of glowing color in the stream.
The Wienerthor, Hainburg
The Watch-tower, Theben
Showing the sketch-book to inhabitants of a town
The rapid current hurried us on, not against our will, and we only paused to watch the monks haymaking in the meadows, wearing a dress which looked like a compromise between the costumes of a washerwoman and a Cape Cod fisherman. They must have suffered in the hot sun, with their gowns of heavy woollen stuff, but they suffered in silence, and did not deign to answer our greetings or even to turn their eyes upon us.
Our afternoon cruise was not further remarkable except for the sight of various immense ferry-boats swinging across the stream attached to wire guys and bearing two great loads of hay, cattle and all, and for a visit to Ingolstadt, a military post of great importance and correspondingly unattractive aspect.
The Bell tower, Lauingen.
Spectators watching us set up camp
Roumanian Peasants Selling Flowers and Fruit
Roumanian Peasant Girl
Woman returning from market pushing a barrow with empty baskets
Woman standing in front of the Pump at Pöchlarn
Peasants of the Delta
Peasant Wagon, Hainburg
Peasant Girls Mowing
Peasant Girl, Thieben carrying a tall load on her back
Peasant Girl of the Black Forest
“Our Guard,” Servian Militia Camp
On the Tile-boat
Under other circumstances we would have spent a day or more at Riedlingen, where we found most interesting architecture along the river-front and saw a party of nuns at work in a hay-field. We had a little more social success with them than we did with their coreligionists, the monks at Beuron, for they turned their great, cool, flapping head-dresses in our direction, and actually seemed temporarily interested in our canoes, and in us as well.
Mosque in Silistria
In the late afternoon we floated out of the sweet air of the meadows into a stratum of effluvia from the tanneries of Tuttlingen, and but for the fact that the town claims as its hero Max Schneckenburger, the author of the words of “Die Wacht am Rhein” who was educated here in his youth, and for the more cogent reason of hunger, we probably should have paddled past the town without pausing longer than to admire some of its architectural features.
Loading Grain at Braila
In Sunday Dress, Monostorszég
Hungarian Girls at Bezdán
At the post-office, where we went to buy our first Hungarian stamps, the gossiping old postmaster and his wife—characters not unfamiliar in the rural offices in other countries—were so overwhelmed by the extent of our requirements and the number of our letters that the wheels of official machinery refused to work at all. After they had carefully read all the addresses, and had marvelled long at the range of our correspondence, we succeeded in communicating to their dazed senses the fact that we wanted to buy a stock of stamps of various denominations.
Dredging the Delta
Crossing the Weir—Rottenacker
Country Market-boat, Budapest
Bulgarian Fisherman Basket-making
Bulgarian Buffalo Cart
Even the hissing of frying fat in the numerous cook-shops seemed hushed for the time; the vender of kukurutz (green corn on the ear) slept in a shadow; and the Bulgarian bozaji, selling slightly fermented maize beer, alone broke the drowsy silence with his mournful cries.