« הקודםהמשך »
Messiah. There are no less than six organs of great size, power, and tone. No tawdry decoration, no tinsel-clad saint, not one bit of gilding, and not a trace of the eternal pottery-ware, is to be seen, to mar the effect of its chaste and classic beauties. With one exception, all the altars have been stripped of their costly furniture; and although the massive candelabra still remain, they no longer throw their wavy light over the scene. One dim and solitary lamp burned before the only altar still in use ; and gloom and desolation have settled within those walls, where once the proud display of monkish superstition was wont to flourish, when the mitred abbot, with four hundred priests, and even royalty itself, assisted at the ceremonial. With a lingering step, and many a longing look thrown back, did I leave this marble-studded hall.
From the chapel we passed into the sacristy, and were thence conducted through corridors of immense length, lined on both sides by cells, to the kitchen, which was fitted out on a scale of magnitude and convenience apparently ill-suited to the abstemious habits professed by its late inmates.
In the great dining-hall the seats and table-frames were of Brazil wood, supporting marble slabs. Dozens of these corridors and winding passages were passed in succession, and on ascending an immense staircase, we were ushered into the library, with the exception of the chapel, the place of greatest interest here. It is one of the largest in Europe ; of fine proportions, and lighted from the top; the books are in good preservation, and mostly on old divinity and jurisprudence, with, however, some antique and very valuable editions of the Scriptures in Arabic and other oriental dialects. It is clean, and well aired; but the present librarian could afford us but little information, not being able to read himself! The whole of this vast assemblage of literature, the accumulation of centuries, is about to be removed to a library erecting at Lisbon, and designed to hold the books of all the monastic establishments in the kingdom.
From thence we proceeded to the flat roof, where alone we could judge of the prodigious extent of the building, and there our wonder ceased at its holding 10,000 men. The convent forms a grand square, intersected in the centre by rows of chambers of a lesser height. In the midst are fountains, gardens, and parterres ; and behind, the immense park of Mafra, formerly filled with deer and other game, stretches down to the sea. There is a very fine
peal of bells in each turret, worked by a barrel connected with the clock-machinery, but this being out of order, they do not now chime as usual.
Here we had an exhibition of an attempt made by one of our navy officers to signalize himself in a way that adds but little to his credit. A flag-lieutenant of one of our men-of-war, having contrived to mount above the clock, bedaubed his name and that of his ship with black paint on the polished marble !
The clergy are forbidden entrance to this place, as well as to the cathedral at Belem ; all, except one old monk, who being the most ancient of its late occupants, is permitted to go once a day to celebrate mass in the chapel. We found him, bent with age, sitting on the steps waiting for his hour of admission.
We had bespoke dinner at the village inn, and the following bill of fare will give some notion of the state of the culinary art at present in the country parts of Portugal. While waiting for the keys of the convent, we had been attracted by the solicitude of a clocking hen for her young progeny. On our sitting down to dinner, we discovered that our soup was composed of the bony carcase of the sexagenarian hen we had so lately admired; our hunger would, however, have made even this palatable, but for the quantity of vinegar and aniseed it contained. This course was then removed by half a dozen chickens, the skeleton progeny of their deceased mother. Being utterly disgusted and unable to touch these, our attendant buoyed us up with the hope of a second course ; it came, and consisted of roast pork, stuffed with garlic and aniseed, and garnished with coarse brown sugar. The wine and brandy were also strongly tinctured with that abominable Portuguese luxury, aniseed. In short, this, with garlic and Dutch tiles, are to be smelt, felt, and seen, wherever one journeys throughout the length and breadth of the land.
To increase our discomfort, the carriages we had ordered from Lisbon did not arrive, and to think of sleeping here was any thing but cheering. The evening approaching, we were obliged to remount our jaded mules, and set forward on the road to Cintra, but fortunately we met the carriages at Penado.
The road from this to Lisbon is rather picturesque, being more wooded and diversified with hill and dale ; and the orange groves, particularly near the beautiful village of Bella Vista, are
very luxuriant. The water is supplied to these plantations from the different aqueducts, by means of a rude Persian wheel, of large dimensions, turned by bullocks, which raises the water in earthen jars fixed to the periphery, and discharges their contents into troughs which branch off to the root of each tree. This is, in all probability, a remnant of the Moorish times.
I was, I confess, disappointed with the city of Lisbon, and much more so with its climate, which was to us very trying, owing to the great transition from heat in the sunshine to cold in the shade. The intense glare and dazzling brightness reflected from the white houses are exceedingly annoying to the sight, and apt to produce head-ache. There is altogether a suffocating feeling in the air, that is particularly distressing, even to a person in health, how much more so must it be to an invalid. I know of few diseases relievable by the air of Lisbon, principally on account of its variability. During the past summer, the thermometer was frequently 92° in the shade on board some of our vessels in the river, and the next day it would sink to 73o. So marked is the difference here between shade and sunshine, that you have a perfectly different atmosphere on both sides of your house, or on the opposite sides of a street—a complete Russiau bath. The average maximum daily heat is now 75o.
Having now seen every thing worthy the notice of a passing traveller, in and about Lisbon, and the wind favouring, we sailed down the Tagus on the evening of the 19th, and next day stood out to sea, shaping our course to Madeira.
CHAPTER II I.
Voyage to Madeira-Arrival at Funchal-Avalanche--Hurricane in 1842-Boats--Our resi
dence-Sleighs—Wine Carriers-Beauty of the Vegetation-Hill Scenery-Zoology-Costumes and appearances of the Madeiranese-Aspect of the country-Botany-Scenery at the Brazen Head-Recession of the Sea--A German Botanist-A Drag Anchor-Steepness of the roads Horses and Burriqueiros-Palanquins-Cama de Lobos-Moonlight Views in the Mountains - The Day Breeze-Jardin da Serra-Tea Plantation-View of the Coural das FreirasIts Descent-Regions of Vegetation-Magnificent Scenery-Climate of the Island-Accommodation-Application to invalids--Diseases improved by it-Time to visit it-Effects of Vegetation-Equability of Temperature-Insular Position-Weather tables-Class of Patients benefitted-Consumption-Dr. Heineken-Duties--Means of Going out-English MerchantsWines--Reading-room-Discovery of the Island—Story of the Lady Anna—The Cedar Cross -Nuns of Santa Clara-Feather Flowers-Maria Clementina-A Grave-yard Scene.
OCTOBER 23rd. We made the island of Porto Santo. Our voyage
from Lisbon was barren of adventure of any kind, and little occurred to relieve the monotony, except the occasional visit of a Mother Carey's Chicken, which disproved the oft-repeated assertion, that they are to be seen only in boisterous weather. Yesterday evening, while yet ninety miles from land, a few butterflies fluttered about us, and came on board. The powers of flight of those beautiful ephemerides are truly wonderful, when we consider the span of their short lives—many living but for a day.
In the morning we got a view of the south-east end of the island of Madeira, consisting of a number of disjointed crags, broken cliffs, and tall isolated rocks, spreading out to sea with their spire-like tops, and washed by the breakers, the spray of which, glittering in the sunbeams, formed a multitude and a variety of the most beautiful miniature rainbows. Here, the rocks form natural arches; there, jut out into rude battlements, or flying buttresses, and assume, in many places, the appearance of some half-submerged cathedral, with its turrets and pinnacles rising above the crystal wave.
FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE ISLAND.
The breeze freshens, and our course is laid along the southern side of the island; the coast becomes higher, and the enormous columns of basalt look like pedestals supporting this beautiful spot above the ocean. Over these, in many places, the cliffs rise with a perpendicular face of several hundred feet; their tops clothed by the pine and the laurel, and the alternate layers of red tufa and dark-coloured scoriæ being visible at a great distance. On passing a high cliff called the Brazen Head, one of the town batteries, the Loo Rock, crowned by its fort and telegraph, came into sight. Numbers of vessels of various sizes and of all nations rock on the heavy swell in the open roadstead ; we steered into the midst of them, and anchored early in the day before Funchal, the capital of the island.
I had often heard and read of the beauty of this charming spot, but it far surpassed all idea 1 had ever formed of it from description. The town, which is embosomed in limes and orange groves, coffee plantations, wide-spreading bananas, and thousands of the rarest plants and exotics, runs along the edge of an open roadstead, forming but a shallow indentation in the line of coast. The hills rise in terraces behind the town to a height of several hundred feet, clothed with vines and the most luxuriant vegetation; and studded with the lovely Quintas or private residences of the inhabitants. While still in the roads a striking object catches the eye of the traveller, the Mount Church ; a large white building, that stands surrounded by some of the finest vinhaticos and chesnut trees, at an immense height above the town. Above this, the mountains rise still higher, clothed with never-failing verdure, beautified by cascades and waterfalls, and their sides torn into deep ravines and gloomy gorges, which vary the landscape by their deep black shades, alternating with the brightness of the surrounding foliage. Over all, the bald tops of the Torrinhas and Pico Grande rise many thousand feet above the valley of the Coural das Freiras, or Madeirian Switzerland; and on their barren blistered summits proclaim the volcanic nature and origin of the island.
While we were waiting for a boat to come off, the greatest consternation appeared suddenly excited on shore ; the people shouting and running in all directions; presently the water in the bay became muddy, and we found that it arose from one of the mountain torrents sweeping suddenly down the dry bed of the river. No rain had fallen here, but a cloud was caught on the