Mahmud's Slippers

VII. TURNU-MĂGURELE PARTIES While the three friends met, once or twice a week, and talked peacefully and wisely about matters of the soul, the town around them changed, in the readers of the export societies, the wheat in gold, received on land and water thousands of bottles with foreign wines and partied with fiddlers from dark till dawn. Nobody would have suspected that in the gay Turnu-Măgurele, behind the walls with tiled copings, three peoples and three religions fraternize so simply and innocently in the house of the Turk Ibraim.Another bountiful crop came over Teleorman county. In general, about ten-twelve years after the Romanian-Russian-Turk war, were years of great prosperity for our fields. They were as well the years of consolidating the newly made fortunes. Instead of the old gentry, gathered in a party without future and then in the opposition, there grew, in the dawn of the national independence, a dauntless bourgeoisie, unlived, greedy for upstartness and life, full of lusts and unleashed energies. The few gentry houses from the county vanished and were drowned in the flux of the marriages with the new rulers. The friends and supporters of Ion C. Brătianu – helped by the luck at Plevna and consecrated benefactors of the country through the heroism of the ones left in the ditches – built on top of the country the capitalist pyramid. The land agents, the land owners, the high officials, the lenders small and big helped the great statesman in his work of modernization, gathering great fortunes and celebrating the new times with parties, like in the old fairy tales.It was the time of great changes. The country entered and dashed, with a waterfall's speed, in the far and large as an abyss unknown of its existence. The shy towns of the Teleorman fields, watered by German and English gold, changed before one's noticing it. Turnu-Măgurele led an easy life and enjoyed itself like the old cities, scolded by the prophets of the Holy Scriptures. Folk music bands with fiddlers from all the gipsy resources that existed between the Carpathians and the Danube ran through Turnu. With these descendants of Iubal arrived, by boat and by the train which was inaugurated a few years before, the priestesses of debauch and of adventure. Singers, dancers, pseudo-Turks from Bucharest's brothels, waitresses and maids in the hotels showed themselves in Turnu with the emissaries of the export houses and with the first transports of Teleorman wheat.The carriages of the land owners climbed down to Turnu, drawn by four horses accompanied by the yells of the driver, by the crack of the whip and by blizzards of dust. The hotels and the inns couldn't face the number of guests, the vehicles and the drive animals. Down at the scaffolding, the tumult, the parties and the songs from the city were repeated, with increased brutality, popular and typical for the sailors, in front of the Danube, flickering and vast, and in front of Nicopolis, fallen under a sober Bulgarian ruling.1932

by Gala Galaction (1879-1961)