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account is a curious illustration of the
state of the country. These simple and
timid corn-traders, all Moslems, are met on
the road by brokers employed by the
commercial agents, who examine the quality of
the grain during some halt in the mountains,
agree upon the price, and give the name of
the merchant for whom the bargain is made.
But when the train of twenty, thirty, or
forty waggons arrives in front of the stores,
the false merchant affects to examine the
lot anew, and often refuses to receive it, telling
the waggoners that too high a price has
been promised on an erroneous estimation of
the quality.

Then these poor Bulgarians knowing,
perhaps, that there is no great demand in the
market, or not being able, on account of the
lateness of the hour, to go in search of
another customer, in their simplicity accept
whatever is offered. But this is not the end
of their losses, for almost invariably a false
measure is used. This measure, called sinik,
is of wood, and made of thick planks. It is
first submitted to be examined and stamped
by the authorities, and then planed away
inside so as to contain two, or three okes
additional. Not content with this deception, it
is rare that, whilst the measuring is going on,
a quarrel does not arise between the
merchant and the Bulgarian; the latter
maintaining, for example, that nine siniks, and
not eight, have been emptied out; but the
measurer always takes part with the
merchant, and fiercely tells the Bulgarian to be
silent. There is no means of ascertaining
the truth, because the newly brought wheat
is emptied directly into the store upon piles
already commenced. After all this, the poor
fellows may consider themselves fortunate if
they are not paid in old Turkish gold pieces,
which are no longer current, or have been
worn almost to nothing, and which are passed
at a nominal value above that which they
would bear if new. It often happens that
these peasants are afterwards informed that
the money they have received is of no value,
and return to the merchants to have it
changed, but they are always repulsed with
contumely. "We have often," says M. Vr├ęto,
"observed these unhappy men complaining
with tears in their eyes of the fraud that has
been practised on them. In their despair
they sometimes go and lay their case before
the Pacha governor, who begins by making
them pay five per cent, as a tax, called, in
Turkish, Res-imo, exacted upon every sum
claimed through the medium of the Pacha or
the Kadi. It is the fear of being obliged to
make this outlay with no certainty of redress
that in general makes the timid Bulgarian
put up in silence with all the oppression
of the corn-agents." Many attempts have
been made to remedy this state of things, but
without success.

However, the Bulgarian peasants who
come to Varna appear still to make a
considerable profit, although not sufficient to bring
about that amelioration in the general state
of the country which fair commerce would
produce. They also gain a good deal by the
sale of excellent butter, which they bring
down in earthenware jars concealed amidst
their waggon-loads of wheat. It is not
explained why only Moslems carry on this
trade between the interior and the port.
Probably, as it is mentioned that they are
owners of the grain they bring down, they
purchase it in part from the Christian
peasants, who might not think it so safe for them
to undertake a long journey. At any rate, it
appears that, Moslems or not, the attendants
of the caravans are good quiet people, who
are no match for the cunning of semi-
civilisation. We happen to know that frauds of a
very similar kind are practised by the corn-
dealers of Alexandria, who bring down grain
from the upper country by the river and
canal. They are met by speculating brokers,
who purchase their cargoes at the regular
market price; but, instead of cash passing
between the buyer and seller, written agreements
are exchanged. If prices rise, well
and good; but if not, the unfortunate fellahs
find out that their papers are of no value,
because they are without the government
stamp; and, if they endeavoured to enforce
the bargain made, they expose themselves to
severe punishment.

These intimate details of how commerce
is carried on in the East cannot be without
interest to us, for this is the way in which
perhaps the materials of the bread we have
eaten this day have been obtained. It is
scarcely necessary to add, that at no distant
day the plains and valleys of Bulgaria,
which are in great part now uncultivated,
may prove to be among the most important
granaries of Europe. Of course the time
will come when prices will rise with the
advance of civilisation; so as to make it
worth the while of native cultivators to
bring their ground under tillage. Unless
checked by war, facilities of communication
will also create new markets for English
goods on both banks of the Danube, and
on the shores of the Black Sea.


The Manchester Free Library, of which,
in its first stages, we have treated more than
once, has just issued a report upon the subject
of its first year's doings. Its managing librarian,
Mr. Edward Edwardswho has spared
no pains in watching the results that have
come out of the actual working of the
institutionhas carefully set down all that was
worth noting. Manchester now has
experience to tell about, and by its experience the
other towns at present following the lead of
Manchester and Salford, of Liverpool, of