THE COMB-MAKERS

Glorious weatherproof tents

They’d good robust 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 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 just isn’t connected to them rigidly, the axles themselves being linked collectively by a central beam, a technique of development which provides nice flexibility, and allows the automobile, though springless, to journey the worst roads with out catastrophe. The tents are product of goat’s-hair fabric, laborious, 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, moreover 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 means 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 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 inside the tent to which it kinds the again, and the material is pegged out by the use of goat’s-hair cords connected 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 career through which 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 enamel with sudden regularity by the use of two hand-saws, one wonderful, and the opposite coarse, and completed the comb with a bit of crude ornament in double strains by rocking the handle-end of a file throughout the floor of the horn. A person might produce thirty combs a day, however their income have been most likely restricted quite by the quantity they may promote than by the quantity they may make.

A lot I discovered by two visits to their picturesquely located camp close to Indzhe-Kioi, a bit of 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 shaped 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 food and drinks, and gossiped pleasantly, if not with the inconsequent liglit-heartedness of the Zagundzhis; and, later within the night, they gained my coronary heart fully when, with out remark, they raised the side-cloth of the tent so that all may admire a wonderful 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 simple to evade the difficulties attributable to Osman’s prohibition, I misplaced no time, however broached the topic directly, and made preparations for escape.

 

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