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RUSSIANS, TURKS, AND BULGARIANS.

III. THE BULGARIANS.

I have found it impossible to avoid saying a good deal of the Bulgarians when writing under the preceding heading, and so much are the two subjects intermingled that in writing under the present heading I cannot hope wholly to exclude reference to the Turks. It must be understood that as I have never been across the Balkans, my observations in the character of a witness must be held as applying exclusively to the Bulgarians between that range and the Danube within the region of the Russian occupation. Nor must it be forgotten that this country is Bulgaria proper, where the Bulgarian race is purest: the Roumelian Bulgarians are affected, whether for good or evil, by a considerable miscellaneous intermixture of other races.

An outspoken Russian of my acquaintance, after a large campaigning experience of them, gave it as his belief regarding the north-Balkan Bulgarians that they must either be the result of a temporary lapse in the creative vigilance, or that they must be accepted as a refutation of the Darwinian theory of the survival of the fittest. My Russian friend had doubtless good cause of disgust for the Bulgarians, but I venture to regard his expressions as rather too strong. My experience of the Bulgarians, indeed, is that they have fewer of the attributes calculated to kindle sympathetic regard and beget genial interest than any other race of whose character I have had opportunities of judging. But they have some good points, more especially the rural Bulgarians. They have prospered by reason of sedulous industry practised to some extent at least under arduous conditions, and this is an unquestionable merit. Their prosperity has indeed been used as an argument why the Turks, whose bent is far from being so keenly towards industry, and who accordingly do not display evidences of so great material prosperity, should therefore cease to be the master people. It is not for me to combat this or any other argument, but I may venture to suggest that if a maximum of prosperity is to be regarded as the criterion, we Britons must retire en masse into private life in favor of the Jewish element in our midst. It tells doubtless in favor of the Bulgarian that he is in name a Christian; although his "evidences of Christianity," so far as I have cognizance of them, consist chiefly in his piously crossing himself in starting to drive a vehicle for the hire of which he has charged double a liberally reasonable sum, after having profusely invoked the name of the Saviour to corroborate his asseverations that the price he asks is ruinously low. He cannot be denied a certain candor, which sometimes has a cynical flavor in it, as when he coolly tells a Russian, who in the character of his "deliverer" is remonstrating against his withholding of supplies or his extortionate charges for them, that "the Turk was good enough for him, and that he didn't want deliverance." The Bulgarian is singularly adaptive. He realized his "deliverance" with extreme promptitude of perception, resulting in bumptious arrogance. He drove his oxcart with nonchalant obstinacy in the only practicable rut, and grinned affably when your carriage-springs were broken in scrambling out of it to pass him. In the towns he held the crown of the causeway; in the country regions near the forepost lines he sees it to be expedient to pursue the career of a double spy and a double traitor.

In the preceding section I have spoken at length of his material prosperity prior to the arrival of the "deliverers." The two races — Turk and Bulgarian — dwelt apart; and the Bulgarian, as he drove his wainload of bearded wheat, or his herd of plump cattle and fertile brood mares down the slope to his white cottage among its cornstacks bowered among the trees by the fountain, must often have smiled grimly as his eye caught the barer farmyards and the scantier comfort of the Turkish quarter, and the ramshackle hovels among the scrappy tobacco-plots of the Circassian squatters on or beyond the outskirts of the village. The Bulgarian kept the village shop, and the Turk, when he came for his necessaries, had to sniff the hated odor of pork sausages. The village swarmed with Christian pigs, free to roam into the Turkish quarter till chevied by Moslem dogs. If in the towns and large villages the Bulgarian ear had to put up with the call of the muezzin from the minaret of a mosque, the Osmanli were fain to tolerate the clangor of the bells from the glittering towers of floridly ornate Christian churches. For every mosque in Bulgaria there are at least three churches. Draw near to Sistova from what direction you will, the sparkle of the metallic covering of the towers of churches, imposing in all the showy garishness of Byzantine architecture, first meets the eye. From the Russian batteries on the blood-stained height of Radisovo you discern where lies Plevna nestling among the foliage, not by the slender white minarets, but by the glit-