THE COMB-MAKERS

Glorious 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 related with splash-boards over the 4 wheels. The trough, or physique, rests in a cradle on the 2 axles, however isn’t connected to them rigidly, the axles themselves being related 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 made from goat’s-hair fabric, arduous, tough, and really thick : they’re costly, for an acceptable piece prices eight napoleons. The material 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 type 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 fabric is pegged out via 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 as a way to work on the harvest, the place the boys anticipated to earn about two francs a day; however their ostensible technique of livelihood was making combs, a career wherein 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 stress, formed the piece, smoothed it with a rasp and polished it with ashes; then they lower the tooth with surprising regularity via two hand-saws, one wonderful, and the opposite coarse, and completed the comb with a bit of crude ornament in double traces by rocking the handle-end of a file throughout the floor of the horn. A person may produce thirty combs a day, however their earnings have been in all probability restricted moderately by the quantity they might promote than by the quantity they might 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 identical dialect, was much more simply intelligible than the dialects fashioned 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 foods 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 utterly when, with out remark, they raised the side-cloth of the tent so that all may admire a lovely sundown. I made a decision that these fashions of Gypsy propriety can be most fascinating travelling companions, and, seeing that with their assist it could be simple to evade the difficulties brought on by Osman’s prohibition, I misplaced no time, however broached the topic directly, and made preparations for escape.

 

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