For the Right

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Beschreibung des Verlags

Let the reader's imagination carry him eastward. Let him suppose he were travelling at railway speed between Lemberg and Czernowitz, in a south-easterly direction, towards the sedgy shores of the river Pruth and the beech forests of the Bukowina, and the scenery to his left will appear changeless. His eye for miles will rest on a boundless plain, of which the seasons can influence the colouring only, but never a feature of the landscape. White and dazzling in the winter, it rises to something of a yellow brightness in the summer, wearing a neutral tint both in the autumn and spring. But on his right-hand each turn of the wheel will disclose a new picture to his eyes. He is fast approaching the towering heights of the Carpathians. Mere phantoms at first, they assume shape and substance like gathering clouds on the horizon, the mountain chain with deepening contours advancing through the violet and purple vapours of distance. And if the traveller now were able to fix his gaze a while on the monotonous plain, with its grey cottages, its poverty-stricken fields, and dreary heathlands, his would be a grand surprise in turning once more to the right. The heights have closed in--giants they, proud and solemn in fir-clad majesty. The wind, sweeping along the mountain-sides, is laden with the odours of pinewood; the air is filled with the roar of cataracts dashing through the gullies and foaming along the rocky channel by the side of the railway cutting; and athwart the narrow bands of azure, which seem the bluer for the deep-rent glens beneath, may be seen wheeling the bloodthirsty kite of the Carpathians. The very heart of the mountain chain, silent and beautiful, lies open to view. A moment only, and it will have vanished. The railroad, starting off in a sharp curve to the east, leaves nothing to the beholder but to the right and to the left the self-same monotonous plain. A sudden bend of the lawless Pruth had rendered it necessary for the line to cut the landscape at the very point where mountain and plain stand facing each other--abrupt and unblending--like hatred and love in the heart of man.

The spot in question--half-way between Colomea, the hill-crowned capital of the district, and Zablotow, a poor Jewish townlet of the plain--is within the parish boundary of Zulawce, a village not, however, visible from the railway, its cottages, a couple of miles beyond, covering an eastern slope of the magnificent mountain range. The thatched dwellings are as poor as anywhere in that part of Galicia, not even the church or the manor house commanding any attention. But all the more charming is the neighbourhood. Approaching the village from the Pruth, you reach its first outlying cottages without the effort of climbing, but by the time you have ascended to the farthermost dwellings you have a splendid lowland landscape at your feet--spreading fields of gold, verdant woods and heath-covered tracts, skirted by the Pruth as with a broad silver ribbon, the glittering rivulet of the Czerniawa winding between. And your eye will carry you farther still, to the natural horizon, northward. But the eastern view is altogether different, and incomparably bewitching, the gloriously wooded hill-country of the Bukowina rising gradually, terrace upon terrace, from the deep-sunk valley of the Czeremosz. Indeed, this prospect, as seen from the village, is wondrously grand, a succession of gigantic steps, as it were, leading from earth toward heaven, the highest mountain-tops melting away in the ethereal blue. To the west and south the view is bounded by the "Welyki Lys," a gigantic mountain forest which separates Galicia from Hungary--dark and dreary, and unutterably monotonous. Nowhere in the lower Carpathians is there a spot to equal Zulawce for Nature's variety, looking upon the village as a centre.

Belletristik und Literatur
28. März
Library of Alexandria

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