My Country by Marie Queen of Rumania
SECTION 14


In towns the gipsies are used as masons. One finds them in groups wherever a house is being built, men, women, and children bringing with them their nameless disorder and their picturesque filth.

Of an evening, the work being done, they will prepare their supper, when, seated round the steaming pot, their many-coloured rags become radiant beneath the rays of the setting sun.

Often a mangy donkey is attached not far off, and in a basket, amidst a medley of metal pots of all sizes and shapes, lies a sleeping infant wrapped in a torn cloth.

The donkey patiently bears his burden, flicking away the flies with his meagre tail.

In the month of lilies handsome gipsy-girls will wander through the streets, carrying wooden vessels filled with snow-white flowers, the purity of the lilies strangely in contrast with their sun-tanned faces. In long, fragrant bunches they sell these flowers to the passers-by. At every corner one meets them, either crouching in picturesque attitudes on the pavement or standing upright beneath the shadowy angle of a roof, beautiful creatures with dark faces readily breaking into smiles that make their black eyes glisten and their white teeth flash.

Figures full of unconscious pride, visages at which one must look and always look again . . . for they contain all the mystery of the many roads their feet have left behind!