A Woman's Journey Round the World
by Ida Pfeiffer
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

A WOMAN'S JOURNEY ROUND THE WORLD, from Vienna to Brazil, Chili, Tahiti, China, Hindostan, Persia, and Asia Minor.


An unabridged translation from the German.


I have been called, in many of the public journals, a "professed tourist;" but I am sorry to say that I have no title to the appellation in its usual sense. On the one hand I possess too little wit and humour to render my writings amusing; and, on the other, too little knowledge to judge rightly of what I have gone through. The only gift to which I can lay claim is that of narrating in a simple manner the different scenes in which I have played a part, and the different objects I have beheld; if I ever pronounce an opinion, I do so merely on my own personal experience.

Many will perhaps believe that I undertook so long a journey from vanity. I can only say in answer to this—whoever thinks so should make such a trip himself, in order to gain the conviction, that nothing but a natural wish for travel, a boundless desire of acquiring knowledge, could ever enable a person to overcome the hardships, privations, and dangers to which I have been exposed.

In exactly the same manner as the artist feels an invincible desire to paint, and the poet to give free course to his thoughts, so was I hurried away with an unconquerable wish to see the world. In my youth I dreamed of travelling—in my old age I find amusement in reflecting on what I have beheld.

The public received very favourably my plain unvarnished account of "A Voyage to the Holy Land, and to Iceland and Scandinavia." Emboldened by their kindness, I once more step forward with the journal of my last and most considerable voyage, and I shall feel content if the narration of my adventures procures for my readers only a portion of the immense fund of pleasure derived from the voyage by


Vienna, March 16, 1850.

With the hope that we may forward the views of the authoress, and be the means of exciting the public attention to her position and wants, we append the following statement by Mr. A. Petermann, which appeared in the Athenaeum of the 6th of December, 1851:

"Madame Pfeiffer came to London last April, with the intention of undertaking a fresh journey; her love of travelling appearing not only unabated, but even augmented by the success of her journey round the world. She had planned, as her fourth undertaking, a journey to some of those portions of the globe which she had not yet visited—namely, Australia and the islands of the Asiatic Archipelago; intending to proceed thither by the usual route round the Cape. Her purpose was, however, changed while in London. The recently discovered Lake Ngami, in Southern Africa, and the interesting region to the north, towards the equator—the reflection how successfully she had travelled among savage tribes, where armed men hesitated to penetrate, how well she had borne alike the cold of Iceland and the heat of Babylonia—and lastly, the suggestion that she might be destined to raise the veil from some of the totally unknown portions of the interior of Africa—made her determine on stopping at the Cape, and trying to proceed thence, if possible, northwards into the equatorial regions of the African Continent.

"Madame Pfeiffer left for the Cape, on the 22nd of May last, in a sailing vessel—her usual mode of travelling by sea, steamboats being too expensive. She arrived safely at Cape Town on the 11th of August, as I learned from a letter which I received from her last week, dated the 20th of August. From that letter the following are extracts:—

"'The impression which this place (Cape Town) made on me, was not an agreeable one. The mountains surrounding the town are bare, the town itself (London being still fresh in my recollection) resembles a village. The houses are of only one story, with terraces instead of roofs. From the deck of the vessel a single tree was visible, standing on a hill. In short, on my arrival I was at once much disappointed, and this disappointment rather increases than otherwise. In the town the European mode of living is entirely prevalent—more so than in any other place abroad that I have seen. I have made a good many inquiries as to travelling into the interior; and have been, throughout, assured that the natives are everywhere kindly disposed to travellers, and that as a woman I should be able to penetrate much farther than a man,—and I have been strongly advised to undertake a journey as far as the unknown lakes, and even beyond. Still, with all these splendid prospects and hopes, I fear I shall travel less in this country than in any other. Here, the first thing you are told is, that you must purchase waggons, oxen, horses, asses,—hire expensive guides, etc., etc. How far should I reach in this way with my 100 pounds sterling? I will give you an example of the charges in this country:—for the carriage of my little luggage to my lodgings I had to pay 10s. 6d.! I had previously landed in what I thought the most expensive places in the world—London, Calcutta, Canton, etc.—had everywhere a much greater distance to go from the vessel to my lodgings, and nowhere had I paid half of what they charged me here. Board and lodging I have also found very dear. Fortunately, I have been very kindly received into the house of Mr. Thaewitzer, the Hamburgh consul, where I live, very agreeably, but do not much advance the object which brought me here. I shall, in the course of the month, undertake a short journey with some Dutch boers to Klein Williams; and I fear that this will form the beginning and the end of my travels in this country.'

"From these extracts it will be seen that the resolute lady has at her command but very slender means for the performance of her journeys. The sum of 100 pounds, which was granted to her by the Austrian government, forms the whole of her funds. Private resources she has none. It took her twenty years to save enough money to perform her first journey!—namely, that to the Holy Land. While in London, she received scarcely any encouragement; and her works were not appreciated by the public, or indeed known, till she had left this country. It is to be regretted that the want of a little pecuniary assistance should deter the enterprising lady from carrying out her projected journey in Southern Africa. Though not a scientific traveller, she is a faithful recorder of what she sees and hears; and she is prepared to note the bearings and distances of the journey, make meteorological observations, and keep a careful diary—so that the results of her projected journey would perhaps be of as much interest as those of other travellers of greater pretensions."




























On the first of May, 1846, I left Vienna, and, with the exception of slight stoppages at Prague, Dresden, and Leipsic, proceeded directly to Hamburgh, there to embark for the Brazils. In Prague I had the pleasure of meeting Count Berchthold, who had accompanied me during a portion of my journey in the East. He informed me that he should like to be my companion in the voyage to the Brazils, and I promised to wait for him in Hamburgh.

I had a second most interesting meeting on the steamer from Prague to Dresden, namely, with the widow of Professor Mikan. In the year 1817, this lady had, on the occasion of the marriage of the Austrian Princess Leopaldine with Don Pedro I., followed her husband to the Brazils, and afterwards made with him a scientific journey into the interior of the country.

I had often heard this lady's name mentioned, and my joy at making her personal acquaintance was very great. In the kindest and most amiable manner she communicated to me the results of her long experience, and added advice and rules of conduct, which proved afterwards highly useful.

I arrived in Hamburgh on the 12th of May; and, as early as the 13th, might have embarked on board a fine fast-sailing brig, which, besides, was christened the "Ida," like myself. With a heavy heart I saw this fine vessel set sail. I was obliged to remain behind, as I had promised my travelling companion to await his arrival. Week after week elapsed, with nothing but the fact of my staying with my relatives to lighten the dreariness of suspense; at last, about the middle of June, the Count came, and shortly afterwards we found a vessel—a Danish brig, the "Caroline," Captain Bock, bound for Rio Janeiro.

I had now before me a long voyage, which could not be made under two months at the least, and which, possibly, might last three or four. Luckily I had already lived for a considerable period on board sailing vessels during my former travels, and was therefore acquainted with their arrangements, which are very different from those of steamers. On board a steamer everything is agreeable and luxurious; the vessel pursues her rapid course independent of the wind, and the passengers enjoy good and fresh provisions, spacious cabins, and excellent society.

In sailing vessels all this is very different, as, with the exception of the large East Indiamen, they are not fitted up for passengers. In them the cargo is looked upon as the principal thing, and in the eyes of the crew passengers are a troublesome addition, whose comfort is generally very little studied. The captain is the only person who takes any interest in them, since a third or even the half of the passage-money falls to his share.

The space, too, is so confined, that you can hardly turn yourself round in the sleeping cabins, while it is quite impossible to stand upright in the berths. Besides this, the motion of a sailing vessel is much stronger than that of a steamer; on the latter, however, many affirm that the eternal vibration, and the disagreeable odour of the oil and coals, are totally insupportable. For my own part, I never found this to be the case; it certainly is unpleasant, but much easier to bear than the many inconveniences always existing on board a sailing vessel. The passenger is there a complete slave to every whim or caprice of the captain, who is an absolute sovereign and holds uncontrolled sway over everything. Even the food depends upon his generosity, and although it is generally not absolutely bad, in the best instances, it is not equal to that on board a steamer.

The following form the ordinary diet: tea and coffee without milk, bacon and junk, soup made with pease or cabbage, potatoes, hard dumplings, salted cod, and ship-biscuit. On rare occasions, ham, eggs, fish, pancakes, or even skinny fowls, are served out. It is very seldom, in small ships, that bread can be procured.

To render the living more palatable, especially on a long voyage, passengers would do well to take with them a few additions to the ship's fare. The most suitable are: portable soup and captain's biscuit—both of which should be kept in tin canisters to preserve them from mouldiness and insects—a good quantity of eggs, which, when the vessel is bound for a southern climate, should first be dipped in strong lime-water or packed in coal-dust; rice, potatoes, sugar, butter, and all the ingredients for making sangaree and potato-salad, the former being very strengthening and the latter very cooling. I would strongly recommend those who have children with them to take a goat as well.

As regards wine, passengers should take especial care to ask the captain whether this is included in the passage-money, otherwise it will have to be purchased from him at a very high rate.

There are also other objects which must not be forgotten, and above all a mattress, bolster, and counterpane, as the berths are generally unfurnished. These can be purchased very cheaply in any seaport town.

Besides this, it is likewise advisable to take a stock of coloured linen. The office of washerwoman is filled by a sailor, so that it may easily be imagined that the linen does not return from the wash in the best possible condition.

When the sailors are employed in shifting the sails, great care must be taken to avoid injury by the falling of any of the ropes. But all these inconveniences are comparatively trifling; the greatest amount of annoyance begins towards the end of the voyage. The captain's mistress is his ship. At sea he allows her to wear an easy neglige, but in port she must appear in full dress. Not a sign of the long voyage, of the storms, of the glowing heat she has suffered, must be visible. Then begins an incessant hammering, planing, and sawing; every flaw, every crack or injury is made good, and, to wind up, the whole vessel is painted afresh. The worst of all, however, is the hammering when the cracks in the deck are being repaired and filled up with pitch. This is almost unbearable.

But enough of annoyances. I have described them merely to prepare, in some degree, those who have never been to sea. Persons residing in sea-port towns do not, perhaps, stand in need of this, for they hear these matters mentioned every day; but such is not the case with us poor souls, who have lived all our lives in inland cities. Very often we hardly know how a steamer or a sailing vessel looks, much less the mode of life on board them. I speak from experience, and know too well what I myself suffered on my first voyage, simply because, not having been warned beforehand, I took nothing with me save a small stock of linen and clothes.

At present I will proceed with the progress of my voyage. We embarked on the evening of the 28th of June, and weighed anchor before daybreak of the 29th. The voyage did not commence in any very encouraging manner; we had very little, in fact almost no wind at all, and compared to us every pedestrian appeared to be running a race: we made the nine miles to Blankenese in seven hours.

Luckily the slow rate at which we proceeded was not so disagreeable, as, at first, for a considerable period we beheld the magnificent port, and afterwards could admire, on the Holstein side, the beautiful country houses of the rich Hamburghers, situated upon charming eminences and surrounded by lovely gardens. The opposite side, belonging to Hanover, is as flat and monotonous as the other is beautiful. About here the Elbe, in many places, is from three to four miles broad.

Before reaching Blankenese the ships take in their stock of water from the Elbe. This water, although of a dirty and thick appearance, is said to possess the valuable quality of resisting putridity for years.

We did not reach Gluckstadt (37 miles from Hamburgh) before the morning of the 30th. As there was not now a breath of wind, we were entirely at the mercy of the stream, and began drifting back. The captain, therefore, ordered the men to cast anchor, and profited by the leisure thus forced upon him to have the chests and boxes made fast on the deck and in the hold. We idlers had permission granted us to land and visit the town, in which, however, we found but little to admire.

There were eight passengers on board. The four cabin places were taken by Count B—, myself, and two young people who hoped to make their fortune sooner in the Brazils than in Europe. The price of a passage in the first cabin was 100 dollars (20 pounds 16s. 8d.), and in the steerage 50 dollars (10 pounds 8s. 4d.).

In the steerage, besides two worthy tradesmen, was a poor old woman who was going, in compliance with the wish of her only son, who had settled in the Brazils, to join him there, and a married woman whose husband had been working as a tailor for the last six years in Rio Janeiro. People soon become acquainted on board ship, and generally endeavour to agree as well as possible, in order to render the monotony of a long voyage at all supportable.

On the 1st of July we again set sail in rather stormy weather. We made a few miles, but were soon obliged to cast anchor once more. The Elbe is here so wide, that we could hardly see its banks, and the swell so strong, that sea-sickness began to manifest itself among our company. On the 2nd of July, we again attempted to weigh anchor, but with no better success than the day before. Towards evening we saw some dolphins, called also tummler, or tumblers, as well as several gulls, which announced to us that we were fast nearing the sea.

A great many vessels passed quickly by us. Ah! they could turn to account the storm and wind which swelled out their sails, and drove them rapidly towards the neighbouring port. We grudged them their good fortune; and perhaps we had to thank this specimen of Christian love on our part, that on the 3rd of July, we had not got further than Cuxhaven, seventy-four miles from Hamburgh.

The 4th of July was a beautifully fine day, for those who could remain quietly on shore; but for those on board ship it was bad enough, as there was not the slightest breath of wind stirring. To get rid of our lamentations, the captain launched out in praises of the charming little town, and had us conveyed to land. We visited the town, as well as the bathing establishment and the lighthouse, and afterwards actually proceeded as far as a place called the "Bush," where, as we were told, we should find a great abundance of strawberries. After wandering about, over fields and meadows, for a good hour in the glowing heat, we found the Bush, it is true, but instead of strawberries, discovered only frogs and adders there.

We now proceeded into the scanty wood, where we saw about twenty tents erected. A bustling landlord came up, and offering us some glasses of bad milk, said that every year a fair is held in the Bush for three weeks, or rather, on three successive Sundays, for during the week days the booths are closed. The landlady also came tripping towards us, and invited us, in a very friendly manner, to spend the next Sunday with them. She assured us that we should "amuse ourselves charmingly;" that we elder members of the company should find entertainment in the wonderful performances of the tumblers and jugglers, and the younger gentlemen find spruce young girls for partners in the dance.

We expressed ourselves much pleased at this invitation, promised to be sure to come, and then extended our walk to Ritzebuttel, where we admired a small castle and a miniature park.

5th July. Nothing is so changeable as the weather: yesterday we were revelling in sunshine, and today we were surrounded by a thick, dark fog; and yet this, bad as it was, we found more agreeable than the fine weather of the day before, for a slight breeze sprang up, and at nine o'clock in the morning, we heard the rattling of the capstan, as the anchor was being weighed. In consequence of this, the young people were obliged to give up the idea of an excursion to the Bush, and defer all dancing with pretty girls until their arrival in another hemisphere, for it was fated that they should not set foot in Europe again.

The transition from the Elbe to the North Sea is scarcely perceptible, as the Elbe is not divided into different channels, but is eight or ten miles broad at its mouth. It almost forms a small sea of itself, and has even the green hue of one. We were, consequently, very much surprised, on hearing the captain exclaim, in a joyful tone, "We are out of the river at last." We imagined that we had long since been sailing upon the wide ocean.

In the afternoon, we bore in sight of the island of Heligoland, which belongs to the English, and presented really a magical appearance, as it rose out from the sea. It is a barren, colossal rock; and had I not learned, from one of the newest works on geography, that it was peopled by about 2,500 souls, I should have supposed the whole island to have been uninhabited. On three sides, the cliffs rise so precipitously from the waves, that all access is impossible.

We sailed by the place at a considerable distance, and saw only the towers of the church and lighthouse, in addition to the so-called "Monk," a solitary, perpendicular rock, that is separated from the main body, between which and it there sparkles a small strip of sea.

The inhabitants are very poor. The only sources of their livelihood are fishing and bathing visitors. A great number of the latter come every year, as the bathing, on account of the extraordinary swell, is reckoned extremely efficacious. Unfortunately, great fears are entertained that this watering-place cannot exist much longer, as every year the island decreases in size, from the continual falling away of large masses of rock, so that some day the whole place may disappear into the sea.

From the 5th to the 10th of July, we had continued stormy and cold weather, with a heavy sea, and great rolling of the ship. All we poor "land-lubbers" were suffering from sea sickness. We first entered the British Channel, also called "La Manche" (420 miles from Cuxhaven) in the night of the 10-11th.

We awaited with impatience the rising of the sun, which would display to our gaze two of the mightiest powers in Europe. Luckily, the day was fine and clear, and the two kingdoms lay before us, in such magnificence and proximity, that the beholder was almost inclined to believe that a sister people inhabited both countries.

On the coast of England, we saw the North Foreland, the Castle of Sandown, and the town of Deal, stretching out at the foot of the cliffs, which extend for many miles, and are about 150 feet high. Further on, we came in sight of the South Foreland; and lastly, the ancient castle of Dover, that sits right bravely enthroned upon an eminence, and overlooks the surrounding country, far and wide. The town itself lies upon the sea-shore.

Opposite Dover, at the narrowest part of the channel, we distinguished, on the French coast, Cape Grisnez, where Napoleon erected a small building, in order, it is said, to be at least able to see England; and, further on, the obelisk raised in memory of the camp at Boulogne, by Napoleon, but completed under Louis Philippe.

The wind being unfavourable, we were obliged, during the night, to tack in the neighbourhood of Dover. The great darkness which covered both land and sea rendered this maneuvre a very dangerous one; firstly, on account of the proximity of the coast; and, secondly, on account of the number of vessels passing up and down the channel. To avoid a collision, we hung out a lantern on the foremast, while, from time to time, a torch was lighted, and held over the side, and the bell frequently kept sounding: all very alarming occurrences to a person unused to the sea.

For fourteen days were we prisoners in the 360 miles of the Channel, remaining very often two or three days, as if spell-bound, in the same place, while we were frequently obliged to cruise for whole days to make merely a few miles; and near Start we were overtaken by a tolerably violent storm. During the night I was suddenly called upon deck. I imagined that some misfortune had happened, and hastily throwing a few clothes on, hurried up—to enjoy the astonishing spectacle of a "sea-fire." In the wake of the vessel I behold a streak of fire so strong that it would have been easy to read by its light; the water round the ship looked like a glowing stream of lava, and every wave, as it rose up, threw out sparks of fire. The track of the fish was surrounded by dazzling inimitable brilliancy, and far and wide everything was one dazzling coruscation.

This extraordinary illumination of the sea is of very unfrequent occurrence, and rarely happens after long-continued, violent storms. The captain told me that he had never yet beheld the sea so lighted up. For my part, I shall never forget the sight.

A second, and hardly less beautiful, spectacle came under our observation at another time, when, after a storm, the clouds, gilt by the rays of the sun, were reflected as in a mirror on the bosom of the sea. They glittered and shone with an intensity of colour which surpassed even those of the rainbow.

We had full leisure to contemplate Eddystone Lighthouse, which is the most celebrated building of the kind in Europe, as we were cruising about for two days in sight of it. Its height, and the boldness and strength with which it is built, are truly wonderful; but still more wonderful is its position upon a dangerous reef, situated ten miles from the coast; at a distance, it seems to be founded in the sea itself.

We often sailed so near the coast of Cornwall, that not only could we plainly perceive every village, but even the people in the streets and in the open country. The land is hilly and luxuriant, and appears carefully cultivated.

During the whole time of our cruising in the Channel, the temperature was cold and raw, the thermometer seldom being higher than 65 to 75 degrees Fah.

At last, on the 24th of July, we came to the end of the Channel, and attained the open sea; the wind was tolerably favourable, and on the 2nd of August we were off Gibraltar, where we were becalmed for twenty-four hours. The captain threw several pieces of white crockeryware, as well as a number of large bones overboard, to show how beautifully green such objects appeared as they slowly sank down beneath the sea; of course this can only be seen in a perfect calm.

In the evening we were greatly delighted by numbers of moluscae shining through the water; they looked exactly like so many floating stars, about the size of a man's hand; even by day we could perceive them beneath the waves. They are of a brownish red, and in form resemble a toadstool; many had a thick pedicle, somewhat fimbriated on the under part; others, instead of the pedicle, had a number of threads hanging down from them.

4th August. This was the first day that it was announced by the heat that we were in a southern latitude; but, as was also the case the following day, the clear dark blue sky that generally overarches the Mediterranean in such exceeding loveliness, was still wanting. We found, however, some slight compensation for this in the rising and setting of the sun, as these were often accompanied by unusual forms and colours of the clouds.

We were now off Morocco, and were fortunate enough today to perceive a great number of bonitos. Every one on board bestirred himself, and on every side fish hooks were cast overboard; unluckily only one bonito allowed himself to be entrapped by our friendly invitations; he made a dart at the bait, and his good-natured confidence procured us a fresh meal, of which we had long been deprived.

On the 5th of August we saw land for the first time for twelve days. The sun was rising as the little island of Porto Santo greeted our sight. It is formed of peaked mountains, which, by their shape, betray their volcanic origin. A few miles in advance of the island stands the beautiful Falcon Rock, like a sentinel upon the look-out. We sailed past Madeira (23 miles from Porto Santo) the same day, but unluckily at such a distance that we could only perceive the long mountain chains by which the island is intersected. Near Madeira lie the rocky Deserta Islands, which are reckoned as forming part of Africa.

Near these islands we passed a vessel running under reefed sails before the wind, whence the captain concluded that she was a cruiser looking after slavers.

On the 6th of August we beheld, for the first time, flying fish, but at such a distance that we could scarcely distinguish them.

On the 7th of August we neared the Canary Isles, but unfortunately, on account of the thick fog, we could not see them. We now caught the trade wind, that blows from the east, and is anxiously desired by all sailors.

In the night of the 9-10th we entered the tropics. We were now in daily expectation of greater heat and a clearer sky, but met with neither. The atmosphere was dull and hazy, and even in our own raw fatherland the sky could not have been so overcast, except upon some days in November. Every evening the clouds were piled upon one another in such a way that we were continually expecting to see a water-spout; it was generally not before midnight that the heavens would gradually clear up, and allow us to admire the beautiful and dazzling constellations of the South.

The captain told us that this was the fourteenth voyage he had made to the Brazils, during which time he had always found the heat very easily borne, and had never seen the sky otherwise than dull and lowering. He said that this was occasioned by the damp, unhealthy coast of Guinea, the ill effects of which were perceptible much further than where we then were, although the distance between us was 350 miles.

In the tropics the quick transition from day to night is already very perceptible; 35 or 40 minutes after the setting of the sun the deepest darkness reigns around. The difference in the length of day and night decreases more and more the nearer you approach the Equator. At the Equator itself the day and night are of equal duration.

All the 14th and 15th of August we sailed parallel with the Cape de Verde Islands, from which we were not more than 23 miles distant, but which, on account of the hazy state of the weather, we could not see.

During this period we used to be much amused by small flocks of flying-fish, which very often rose from the water so near the ship's side that we were enabled to examine them minutely. They are generally of the size and colour of a herring; their side fins, however, are longer and broader, and they have the power of spreading and closing them like little wings. They raise themselves about twelve or fifteen feet above the water, and then, after flying more than a distance of a hundred feet, dive down again for a moment beneath the waves, to recommence directly afterwards: this occurs most frequently when they are pursued by bonitos or other foes. When they were flying at some distance from the ship they really looked like elegant birds. We very frequently saw the bonitos also, who were pursuing them, endeavour to raise themselves above the water, but they seldom succeeded in raising more than their head.

It is very difficult to catch one of these little denizens of the air, as they are to be secured neither by nets or hooks; but sometimes the wind will drive them, during the night, upon the deck, where they are discovered, in the morning, dead, not having sufficient strength to raise themselves from dry places; in this way I obtained a few specimens.

Today, August 15th, we enjoyed a most interesting sight. We happened, exactly at 12 o'clock, to be in the sun's zenith, and the sunbeams fell so perpendicularly that every object was perfectly shadowless. We put books, chairs, ourselves in the sun, and were highly delighted with this unusual kind of amusement. Luckily we had chanced to be at the right spot at the right time; had we, at the same hour, been only one degree nearer or one degree further, we should have lost the entire sight; when we saw it we were 14 degrees 6' (a minute is equal to a nautical mile).

All observations with the sextant {9} were out of the question until we were once more some degrees from the zenith.

17th August. Shoals of tunny-fish, (fish four and five feet long, and belonging to the dolphin tribe,) were seen tumbling about the ship. A harpoon was quickly procured, and one of the sailors sent out with it on the bowsprit; but whether he had bad luck, or was unskilled in the art of harpooning, he missed his mark. The most wonderful part of the story, though, was that all the fish disappeared as if by magic, and did not appear again for some days; it seemed as if they had whispered and warned each other of the threatened danger.

All the oftener, however, did we see another inhabitant of the sea, namely, that beautiful mollusca, the physolida, called by the sailors Portugiesisches Segel-schiff; (Portuguese sailing-ship.) When floating upon the surface of the sea, with its long crest, which it can elevate or depress at pleasure, it really resembles a delicate tiny little sailing vessel. I was very desirous of catching one of these little creatures, but this could only be effected by means of a net, which I had not got, nor had I either needle or twine to make one. Necessity, however, is the mother of invention; so I manufactured a knitting needle of wood, unravelled some thick string, and in a few hours possessed a net. Very soon afterwards a mollusca had been captured, and placed in a tub filled with sea water. The little creature's body is about six inches long and two inches high; the crest extends over the whole of the back, and in the middle, where it is highest, measures about an inch and a half. Both the crest and body are transparent, and appear as if tinged with rose colour; from the belly, which is violet, are suspended a number of threads or arms of the same colour.

I hung the little thing up to dry at the stern, outside the ship; some of the threads reached down into the water (a depth of at least twelve feet), but most of them fell off. After the animal was dead, the crest remained erect, and the body perfectly filled out, but the beautiful rose colour gradually changed to white.

18th August. Today we had a heavy thunder-storm, for which we were very grateful, as it cooled the air considerably. Between 1 and 2 degrees, or 3 degrees North latitude, frequent changes in the weather are very common. For instance, on the morning of the 20th we were overtaken by a strong wind, which lashed up the sea to a great height, and continued until evening, when it gave way to a tropical shower, which we at home should call a perfect water-spout. The deck was instantaneously transformed into a lake, while at the same time the wind had so completely fallen that even the rudder enjoyed a holiday.

This rain cost me a night's rest, for when I went to take possession of my berth, I found the bed-clothes drenched through and through, and was fain to content myself with a wooden bench for a couch.

On the 27th of August we got beyond these hostile latitudes, and were received by the anxiously desired south-east trade wind, which hurried us quickly on our voyage.

We were now very near the Equator, and, like all other travellers, wished very much to see the celebrated constellations of the south. I myself was most interested in the Southern Cross; and, as I could not find it among the stars, I begged the captain to point it out to me. Both he and the first mate, however, said that they had never heard of it, and the second mate was the only one to whom it did not appear entirely unknown. With his help, we really did discover in the spangled firmament four stars, which had something of the form of a somewhat crooked cross, but were certainly not remarkable in themselves, nor did they excite the least enthusiasm amongst us. A most magnificent spectacle was, on the contrary, formed by Orion, Jupiter, and Venus; the latter, indeed, shone so brilliantly that her gleams formed a silver furrow across the waves.

The great frequency of falling stars is another fact that I cannot corroborate. They are, perhaps, more frequent than in cold climates, but are far from being as common as is said: and as for their size, I saw only one which surpassed ours; and this appeared about three times as large as an ordinary star.

For some days also we had now seen the Cape, or Magellan's Clouds, and also the so-called Black Cloud. The first are bright, and, like the Milky Way, are formed of numberless small stars, invisible to the naked eye; the latter presents a black appearance, and is said to be produced by the absence of all stars whatever from this part of the heavens.

All these different signs prepared us for the most interesting moment of our voyage—namely, passing the line.

On the 29th of August, at 10 o'clock P.M., we saluted the southern hemisphere for the first time. A feeling nearly allied to pride excited every one, but more especially those who crossed the line for the first time. We shook each other by the hand, and congratulated one another mutually, as if we had done some great and heroic deed. One of the passengers had brought with him a bottle or two of champagne to celebrate the event: the corks sprang gaily in the air, and with a joyful "huzza," the health of the new hemisphere was drunk.

No festivities took place among the crew. This is at present the case in most vessels, as such amusements seldom end without drunkenness and disorder. The sailors, however, could not let the cabin-boy, who passed the line for the first time, go quite scot- free; so he was well christened in a few buckets of salt water.

Long before passing the line, we passengers had frequently spoken of all the sufferings and tortures we should be subjected to at the Equator. Every one had read or heard something exceedingly horrible, which he duly communicated to all the rest. One expected headache or colic; a second had pictured to himself the sailors falling down from exhaustion; a third dreaded such a fearful degree of heat, that it would not only melt the pitch, {11} but would so dry up the ship, that nothing but continual throwing water over it could prevent its catching fire; while a fourth feared that all the provisions would be spoilt, and ourselves nearly starved to death.

For my own part, I had already congratulated myself on the tragical stories I should be able to present to my readers; I beheld them shedding tears at the narration of the sufferings we had experienced, and I already appeared to myself half a martyr. Alas! I was sadly deceived. We all remained in perfectly good health; not a sailor sank exhausted; the ship did not catch fire; and the provisions were not spoilt—they were just as bad as before.

3rd September. From 2 to 3 degrees South latitude the wind is very irregular, and frequently excessively violent. Today we passed the 8 degrees South latitude, without seeing land, which put the captain in the best of humours. He explained to us, that if we had seen land, we should have been obliged to retrace our course almost to the line, because the current sets in with such violence towards the land, that the voyage could only be made at a proper distance.

7th September. Between 10 and 20 degrees South latitude we again met with very peculiar prevalent winds. They are called vamperos; and oblige the sailor to be always on his guard, as they spring up very suddenly, and are often extremely violent. We were overtaken by one during the night, but, luckily, it was not of the worst kind. In a few hours it had entirely passed over, but the sea did not become calm again for a considerable time.

On the 9th and 11th of September, we encountered some short gusts of the vamperos, the most violent being the last.

12th and 13th of September. The first was termed by the captain merely "a stiffish breeze;" but the second was entered in the log {12} as "a storm." The stiffish breeze cost us one sail; the storm, two. During the time it lasted, the sea ran so high, that it was with the greatest difficulty we could eat. With one hand we were obliged to grasp the plate, and at the same time to hold fast on to the table, while, with the other, we managed, with considerable difficulty, to convey the food to our mouth. At night, I was obliged to "stow" myself firmly in my berth with my cloaks and dresses, to protect my body from being bruised black and blue.

On the morning of the 13th, I was on deck at break of day. The helmsman led me to the side of the vessel, and told me to hold my head overboard, and inhale the air. I breathed a most beautiful perfume of flowers. I looked round in astonishment, and imagined that I must already be able to see the land: it was, however, still far distant, the soft perfume being merely drifted to us by the wind. It was very remarkable that inside the ship this perfume was not at all perceptible.

The sea itself was covered with innumerable dead butterflies and moths, which had been carried out to sea by the storm. Two pretty little birds, quite exhausted by their long flight, were resting upon one of the yards.

For us, who, during two months and a half, had seen nothing but sky and water, all these things were most satisfactory; and we looked out anxiously for Cape Frio, which we were very near. The horizon, however, was lowering and hazy, and the sun had not force enough to tear the murky veil asunder. We looked forward with joy to the next morning, but during the night were overtaken by another storm, which lasted until 2 o'clock. The ship's course was changed, and she was driven as far as possible into the open sea; so that, in the end, we were glad enough to reach, the next day, the same position we had occupied the morning before.

Today we caught no glimpse of land; but a few gulls and albatrosses from Cape Frio warned us that we were near it, and afforded us some little amusement. They swam close up to the ship's side, and eagerly swallowed every morsel of bread or meat that was thrown to them. The sailors tried to catch some with a hook and line, and were fortunate enough to succeed. They were placed upon the deck, and, to my great surprise, I perceived that they were unable to raise themselves from it. If we touched them, they merely dragged themselves, with great difficulty, a few paces further, although they could rise very easily from the surface of the water, and fly extremely high.

One of the gentlemen was exceedingly anxious to kill and stuff one of them, but the superstition of the sailors was opposed to this. They said that if birds were killed on board ship, their death would be followed by long calms. We yielded to their wishes and restored the little creatures to the air and waves, their native elements.

This was another proof that superstition is still deep-rooted in the minds of sailors. Of this we had afterwards many other instances. The captain, for example, was always very averse to the passengers amusing themselves with cards or any other game of chance; in another vessel, as I was informed, no one was allowed to write on Sunday, etc. Empty casks or logs of wood were also very frequently thrown overboard during a calm—probably as sacrifices to the deities of the winds.

On the morning of the 16th of September we at last had the good fortune to perceive the mountains before Rio Janeiro, and soon singled out the Sugarloaf. At 2 o'clock, P.M., we entered the bay and port of Rio Janeiro.

Immediately at the entrance of the bay are several conical rocks, some of which, like the Sugarloaf, rise singly from the sea, while others are joined at the base, and are almost inaccessible. {13} Between these "ocean mountains," if I may be allowed the expression, are seen the most remarkably beautiful views; now extraordinary ravines, then some charmingly situated quarter of the town, presently the open sea, and the moment after some delightful bay. From the bay itself, at the end of which the capital is built, rise masses of rock, serving as foundations to different fortifications. On some of these eminences are chapels and fortresses. Ships are obliged to pass as near as possible to one of the largest of the latter, namely, Santa Cruz, in order that their papers may be examined.

From this fortress, to the right, stretches the beautiful mountain range of the Serados-Orgoas, which, in conjunction with other mountains and hills, fringes a lovely bay, on the shores of which lie the little town of Praya-grande, some few villages and detached farmhouses.

At the extremity of the principal bay, stands Rio Janeiro, surrounded by a tolerably high chain of mountains (among which is the Corcovado, 2,100 feet high), behind which, more inland, is the Organ Mountain, which owes its name to its many gigantic peaks placed upright one against the other like the pipes of an organ. The highest peak is 5,000 feet high.

One portion of the town is concealed by the Telegraph Mountain, and several hills, on which, besides the Telegraph, there is a monastery of Capuchin monks and other smaller buildings. Of the town itself are seen several rows of houses and open squares, the Great Hospital, the Monasteries of St. Luzia and Moro do Castello, the Convent of St. Bento, the fine Church of St. Candelaria, and some portions of the really magnificent aqueduct. Close to the sea is the Public Garden (passeo publico) of the town, which, from its fine palm trees, and elegant stone gallery, with two summer-houses, forms a striking object. To the left, upon eminences, stand some isolated churches and monasteries, such as St. Gloria, St. Theresa, etc. Near these are the Praya Flamingo and Botafogo, large villages with beautiful villas, pretty buildings, and gardens, which stretch far away until lost in the neighbourhood of the Sugarloaf, and thus close this most wonderful panorama. In addition to all this, the many vessels, partly in the harbour before the town, partly anchored in the different bays, the rich and luxuriant vegetation, and the foreign and novel appearance of the whole, help to form a picture, of whose beauties my pen, unfortunately, can never convey an adequate idea.

It rarely happens that a person is so lucky as to enjoy, immediately on his arrival, so beautiful and extensive a view as fell to my lot; fogs, clouds, or a hazy state of the atmosphere, very often conceal certain portions, and thus disturb the wonderful impression of the whole. Whenever this is the case, I would advise every one, who intends stopping any time in Rio Janeiro, to take a boat, on a perfectly clear day, as far as Santa Cruz, in order to behold this peculiarly beautiful prospect.

It was almost dark before we reached the place of anchorage. We were first obliged to stop at Santa Cruz to have the ship's papers examined, and then appear before an officer, who took from us our passports and sealed letters; then before a surgeon, who inspected us to see that we had not brought the plague or yellow fever; and lastly, before another officer, who took possession of different packets and boxes, and assigned us the spot to anchor in.

It was now too late for us to land, and the captain alone proceeded on shore. We, however, remained for a long time on deck, contemplating the magnificent picture before us, until both land and sea lay shrouded in night.

With a light heart did we all retire to rest; the goal of our long voyage had been attained without any misfortune worthy of being mentioned. A cruel piece of intelligence was in store for the poor tailor's wife alone; but the good captain did not break it to her today, in order to let her enjoy an undisturbed night's rest. As soon as the tailor heard that his wife was really on her passage out, he ran off with a negress, and left nought behind but—debts.

The poor woman had given up a sure means of subsistence in her native land (she supported herself by cleaning lace and ladies' apparel), and had devoted her little savings to pay the expenses of her voyage, and all to find herself deserted and helpless in a strange hemisphere. {14}

From Hamburgh to Rio Janeiro is about 8,750 miles.



I remained in Rio Janeiro above two months, exclusive of the time devoted to my different excursions into the interior of the country; it is very far from my intention, however, to tire the reader with a regular catalogue of every trifling and ordinary occurrence. I shall content myself with describing the most striking features in the town, and likewise in the manners and customs of the inhabitants, according to the opportunities I possessed during my stay to form an opinion of them. I shall then give an account of my various excursions in an Appendix, and afterwards resume the thread of my journal.

It was on the morning of the 17th of September that, after the lapse of nearly two months and a half, I first set foot upon dry land. The captain himself accompanied the passengers on shore, after having earnestly advised each one separately to be sure and smuggle nothing, more especially sealed letters. "In no part of the world," he assured us, "were the Custom-house officers so strict, and the penalties so heavy."

On coming in sight of the guard ship, we began to feel quite frightened from this description, and made up our minds that we should be examined from top to toe. The captain begged permission to accompany us on shore; this was immediately granted, and the whole ceremony was completed. During the entire period that we lived on board the ship, and were continually going and coming to and from the town, we never were subjected to any search; it was only when we took chests and boxes with us that we were obliged to proceed to the Custom-house, where all effects are strictly examined, and a heavy duty levied upon merchandise, books, etc., etc.

We landed at the Praya dos Mineiros, a disgusting and dirty sort of square, inhabited by a few dozen blacks, equally disgusting and dirty, who were squatted on the ground, and praising at the top of their voices the fruits and sweetmeats which they were offering for sale. Thence we proceeded directly into the principal street (Rua Direita), whose only beauty consists in its breadth. It contains several public buildings, such as the Post-office, the Custom-house, the Exchange, the Guard-house, etc.; all of which, however, are so insignificant in appearance, that any one would pass them by unnoticed, if there were not always a number of people loitering before them.

At the end of this street stands the Imperial Palace, a commonplace, large building, exactly resembling a private house, without the least pretensions to taste or architectural beauty. The square before it (Largo do Paco), whose only ornament, a plain fountain, is extremely dirty, and serves at night as a sleeping place for a number of poor free negroes, who, on getting up in the morning, perform the various duties of their toilet in public with the most supreme indifference. A part of the square is walled off and employed as a market for fish, fruit, vegetables, and poultry.

Of the remaining streets the Rua Misericorda and the Rua Ouvidor are the most interesting. The latter contains the finest and largest shops; but we must not expect the magnificent establishments we behold in the cities of Europe—in fact, we meet with little that is beautiful or costly. The flower-shops were the only objects of particular attraction for me. In these shops are exposed for sale the most lovely artificial flowers, made of birds' feathers, fishes' scales, and beetles' wings.

Of the squares, the finest is the Largo do Rocio; the largest, the Largo St. Anna. In the first, which is always kept tolerably clean, stand the Opera-house, the Government-house, the Police-office, etc. This, too, is the starting-place for most of the omnibuses, which traverse the town in all directions.

The last-named square is the dirtiest in the whole town. On crossing it for the first time, I perceived lying about me half putrid cats and dogs—and even a mule in the same state. The only ornament of this square is a fountain, and I almost think I should prefer it if the fountain were, in this case, taken away; for, as soft water is not very abundant in Rio Janeiro, the washerwoman's noble art pitches its tent wherever it finds any, and most willingly of all when, at the same time, it meets with a good drying ground. The consequence is, that in the Largo St. Anna there is always such an amount of washing and drying, of squalling and screaming, that you are glad to get away as quickly as possible.

There is nothing remarkable in the appearance of the churches, either inside or out. The Church and Cloister of St. Bento and the Church of St. Candelaria are the most deceptive; from a distance they have a very imposing look.

The houses are built in the European fashion, but are small and insignificant; most of them have only a ground-floor or single story,—two stories are rarely met with. Neither are there any terraces and verandahs adorned with elegant trellis-work and flowers, as there are in other warm countries. Ugly little balconies hang from the walls, while clumsy wooden shutters close up the windows, and prevent the smallest sunbeam from penetrating into the rooms, where everything is enveloped in almost perfect darkness. This, however, is a matter of the greatest indifference to the Brazilian ladies, who certainly never over-fatigue themselves with reading or working.

The town offers, therefore, very little in the way of squares, streets, and buildings, which, for a stranger, can prove in the least attractive; while the people that he meets are truly shocking— nearly all being negroes and negresses, with flat, ugly noses, thick lips, and short woolly hair. They are, too, generally half naked, with only a few miserable rags on their backs, or else they are thrust into the worn-out European-cut clothes of their masters. To every four or five blacks may be reckoned a mulatto, and it is only here and there that a white man is to be seen.

This horrible picture is rendered still more revolting by the frequent bodily infirmities which everywhere meet the eye: among these elephantiasis, causing horrible club-feet, is especially conspicuous; there is, too, no scarcity of persons afflicted with blindness and other ills. Even the cats and dogs, that run about the gutters in great numbers, partake of the universal ugliness: most of them are covered with the mange, or are full of wounds and sores. I should like to be endowed with the magic power of transporting hither every traveller who starts back with affright from the lanes of Constantinople, and asserts that the sight of the interior of this city destroys the effect produced by it when viewed at a distance.

It is true that the interior of Constantinople is exceedingly dirty, and that the number of small houses, the narrow streets, the unevenness of the pavement, the filthy dogs, etc., do not strike the beholder as excessively picturesque; but then he soon comes upon some magnificent edifice of the time of the Moors or Romans, some wondrous mosque or majestic palace, and can continue his walk through endless cemeteries and forests of dreamy cypresses. He steps aside before a pasha or priest of high rank, who rides by on his noble steed, surrounded by a brilliant retinue; he encounters Turks in splendid costumes, and Turkish women with eyes that flash through their veils like fire; he beholds Persians with their high caps, Arabs with their nobly-formed features, dervises in fools'- caps and plaited petticoats like women, and, now and then, some carriage, beautifully painted and gilt, drawn by superbly caparisoned oxen. All these different objects fully make up for whatever amount of dirtiness may occasionally be met with. In Rio Janeiro, however, there is nothing that can in any way amuse, or atone for the horrible and disgusting sights which everywhere meet the eye.

It was not until I had been here several weeks that I became somewhat accustomed to the appearance of the negroes and mulattoes. I then discovered many very pretty figures among the young negresses, and handsome, expressive countenances among the somewhat dark-complexioned Brazilian and Portuguese women; the men seem, as regards beauty, to be less favoured.

The bustle in the streets is far less than what I had been led to expect from the many descriptions I had heard, and is certainly not to be compared to that at Naples or Messina. The greatest amount of noise is made by those negroes who carry burdens, and especially by such as convey the sacks full of coffee on board the different vessels; they strike up a monotonous sort of song, to the tune of which they keep step, but which sounds very disagreeable. It possesses, however, one advantage; it warns the foot passenger, and affords him time to get out of the way.

In the Brazils, every kind of dirty or hard work, whether in doors or out, is performed by the blacks, who here, in fact, replace the lower classes. Many, however, learn trades, and frequently are to be compared to the most skilful Europeans. I have seen blacks in the most elegant workshops, making wearing apparel, shoes, tapestry, gold or silver articles, and met many a nattily dressed negro maiden working at the finest ladies' dresses, or the most delicate embroidery. I often thought I must be dreaming when I beheld these poor creatures, whom I had pictured to myself as roaming free through their native forests, exercising such occupations in shops and rooms! Yet they do not appear to feel it as much as might be supposed—they were always merry, and joking over their work.

Among the so-called educated class of the place, there are many who, in spite of all the proofs of mechanical skill, as well as general intelligence which the blacks often display, persist in asserting that they are so far inferior to the whites in mental power, that they can only be looked upon as a link between the monkey tribe and the human race. I allow that they are somewhat behind the whites in intellectual culture; but I believe that this is not because they are deficient in understanding, but because their education is totally neglected. No schools are erected for them, no instruction given them—in a word, not the least thing is done to develop the capabilities of their minds. As was the case in old despotic countries, their minds are purposely kept enchained; for, were they once to awake from their present condition, the consequences to the whites might be fearful. They are four times as numerous as the latter, and if they ever become conscious of this superiority, the whites might probably be placed in the position that the unhappy blacks have hitherto occupied.

But I am losing myself in conjectures and reasonings which may, perhaps, become the pen of a learned man, but certainly not mine, since I assuredly do not possess the necessary amount of education to decide upon such questions; my object is merely to give a plain description of what I have seen.

Although the number of slaves in the Brazils is very great, there is nowhere such a thing as a slave-market. The importation of them is publicly prohibited, yet thousands are smuggled in every year, and disposed of in some underhand manner, which every one knows, and every one employs. It is true, that English ships are constantly cruising off the coasts of Brazil and Africa, but even if a slaver happen to fall into their hands, the poor blacks, I was told, were no more free than if they had come to the Brazils. They are all transported to the English colonies, where, at the expiration of ten years, they are supposed to be set at liberty. But during this period, their owners allow the greater number to die—of course, in the returns only—and the poor slaves remain slaves still; but I repeat that I only know this from hearsay.

After all, slaves are far from being as badly off as many Europeans imagine. In the Brazils they are generally pretty well treated; they are not overworked, their food is good and nutritious, and the punishments are neither particularly frequent nor heavy. The crime of running away is the only one which is visited with great rigour. Besides a severe beating, they have fetters placed round their neck and feet; these they have to wear for a considerable period. Another manner of punishment consists in making them wear a tin mask, which is fastened with a lock behind. This is the mode of punishment adopted for those who drink, or are in the habit of eating earth or lime. During my long stay in the Brazils, I only saw one negro who had got on a mask of this description. I very much doubt whether, on the whole, the lot of these slaves is not less wretched than that of the peasants of Russia, Poland, or Egypt, who are not called slaves.

I was one day very much amused at being asked to stand godmother to a negro, which I did, although I was not present at either baptism or confirmation. There is a certain custom here, that when a slave has done anything for which he expects to be punished, he endeavours to fly to some friend of his owner, and obtain a note, asking for the remission of his punishment. The writer of such a letter has the title of godfather bestowed on him, and it would be accounted an act of the greatest impoliteness not to grant the godfather's request. In this way, I myself was fortunate enough to save a slave from punishment.

The town is tolerably well lighted, and the lighting is continued to a considerable distance, on all sides, beyond the town itself; this measure was introduced on account of the great number of blacks. No slave dare be seen in the streets later than 9 o'clock in the evening, without having a pass from his master, certifying that he is going on business for him. If a slave is ever caught without a pass, he is immediately conveyed to the House of Correction, where his head is shaved, and he himself obliged to remain until his master buys his freedom for four or five milreis. (8s. 8d., or 10s. 10d.) In consequence of this regulation, the streets may be traversed with safety at any hour of the night.

One of the most disagreeable things in Rio Janeiro is the total absence of sewers. In a heavy shower, every street becomes a regular stream, which it is impossible to pass on foot; in order to traverse them, it is requisite to be carried over by negroes. At such times, all intercourse generally ceases, the streets are deserted, parties are put off, and even the payment of bills of exchange deferred. It is very seldom that people will hire a carriage, for it is an absurd custom here, to pay as much for a short drive, as if the carriage were required for the whole day; in both cases the charge is six milreis (13s.) The carriages are half- covered ones, with seats for two, and are drawn by a pair of mules, on one of which the driver rides. Carriages and horses like the English are very seldom to be met with.

As regards the arts and sciences, I may mention the Academy of Fine Arts, the Museum, Theatre, etc. In the Academy of Fine Arts is something of everything, and not much of anything—a few figures and busts, most in plaster, a few architectural plans and pencil drawings, and a collection of very old oil paintings. It really seemed to me as if some private picture gallery had been carefully weeded of all the rubbish in it, which had then been put here out of the way. Most of the oil paintings are so injured, that it is scarcely possible to make out what they are intended to represent, which, after all, is no great loss. The only thing respectable about them is their venerable antiquity. A startling contrast is produced by the copies of them made by the students. If the colours in the old pictures are faded, in the modern ones they blaze with a superfluity of vividness; red, yellow, green, etc., are there in all their force; such a thing as mixing, softening, or blending them, has evidently never been thought of. Even at the present moment, I really am at a loss to determine whether the worthy students intended to found a new school for colouring, or whether they merely desired to make up in the copies for the damage time had done the originals.

There were as many blacks and mulattoes among the students as whites, but the number of them altogether was inconsiderable.

Music, especially singing and the pianoforte, is almost in a more degraded position than painting. In every family the young ladies play and sing; but of tact, style, arrangement, time, etc., the innocent creatures have not the remotest idea, so that the easiest and most taking melodies are often not recognisable. The sacred music is a shade better, although even the arrangements of the Imperial Chapel itself are susceptible of many improvements. The military bands are certainly the best, and these are generally composed of negroes and mulattoes.

The exterior of the Opera-house does not promise anything very beautiful or astonishing, and the stranger is, consequently, much surprised to find, on entering, a large and magnificent house with a deep stage. I should say it could contain more than 2,000 persons. There are four tiers of spacious boxes rising one above the other, the balustrades of which, formed of delicately-wrought iron trellis- work, give the theatre a very tasty appearance. The pit is only for men. I was present at a tolerably good representation, by an Italian company, of the opera of Lucrezia Borgia; the scenery and costumes are not amiss.

If, however, I was agreeably surprised by my visit to the theatre, I experienced quite a contrary feeling on going to the Museum. In a land so richly and luxuriously endowed by Nature, I expected an equally rich and magnificent museum, and found a number of very fine rooms, it is true, which one day or other may be filled, but which at present are empty. The collection of birds, which is the most complete of all, is really fine; that of the minerals is very defective; and those of the quadrupeds and insects poor in the extreme. The objects which most excited my curiosity, were the heads of four savages, in excellent preservation; two of them belonged to the Malay, and two to the New Zealand tribes. The latter especially I could not sufficiently contemplate, completely covered as they were with tattooing of the most beautiful and elegant design, and so well preserved that they seemed only to have just ceased to live.

During the period of my stay in Rio Janeiro, the rooms of the Museum were undergoing repairs, and a new classification of the different objects was also talked of. In consequence of this, the building was not open to the public, and I have to thank the kindness of Herr Riedl, the director, for allowing me to view it. He acted himself as my guide; and, like me, regretted that in a country where the formation of a rich museum would be so easy a task, so little had been done.

I likewise visited the studio of the sculptor Petrich, a native of Dresden, who came over at the unsolicited command of the court, to execute a statue of the emperor in Carrara marble. The emperor is represented the size of life, in a standing position, and arrayed in his imperial robes, with the ermine cloak thrown over his shoulder. The head is strikingly like, and the whole figure worked out of the stone with great artistic skill. I believe this statue was destined for some public building.

I was fortunate enough during my stay in Rio Janeiro to witness several different public festivals.

The first was on the 21st of September, in the Church of St. Cruz, on the occasion of celebrating the anniversary of the patron saint of the country. Early in the morning several hundred soldiers were drawn up before the church, with an excellent band, which played a number of lively airs. Between ten and eleven, the military and civil officers began gradually to arrive, the subordinate ones, as I was told, coming first. On their entrance into the church, a brownish-red silk cloak, which concealed the whole of the uniform, was presented to each. Every time that another of a higher rank appeared, all those already in the church rose from their seats, and advancing towards the new comer as far as the church door, accompanied him respectfully to his place. The emperor and his wife arrived the last of all. The emperor is extremely young—not quite one and twenty—but six feet tall, and very corpulent; his features are those of the Hapsburg-Lothering family. The empress, a Neapolitan princess, is small and slim, and forms a strange contrast when standing beside the athletic figure of her husband.

High mass, which was listened to with great reverence by every one, began immediately after the entrance of the court, and after this was concluded the imperial pair proceeded to their carriage, presenting the crowd, who were waiting in the church, their hands to kiss as they went along. This mark of distinction was bestowed not only on the officers and officials of superior rank, but on every one who pressed forward to obtain it.

A second, and more brilliant festival occurred on the 19th of October; it was the emperor's birth-day, and was celebrated by high mass in the Imperial Chapel. This chapel is situated near the Imperial Palace, to which it is connected by means of a covered gallery. Besides the imperial family, all the general officers, as well as the first officials of the state, were present at the mass, but in full uniform, without the ugly silk cloaks. Surrounding all was a row of Lancers (the body-guard). It is impossible for any but an eye-witness to form an idea of the richness and profusion of the gold embroidery, the splendid epaulets, and beautifully set orders, etc., displayed on the occasion, and I hardly believe that anything approaching it could be seen at any European court.

During high mass, the foreign ambassadors, and the ladies and gentlemen admitted to court, assembled in the palace, where, on the emperor's return, every one was admitted to kiss his hand.

The ambassadors, however, took no part in this proceeding, but merely made a simple bow.

This edifying ceremony could easily be seen from the square, as the windows are very near the ground, and were also open. On such occasions continual salutes are fired from the imperial ships, and sometimes from others in the harbour.

On the 2nd of November I saw a festival of another description— namely, a religious one. During this and the following days, old and young proceed from one church to another, to pray for the souls of the departed.

They have a singular custom here of not burying all their dead in the church-yard, many bodies being placed, at an additional expense, in the church itself. For this purpose, there are, in every church, particular chambers, with catacombs formed in the walls. The corpse is strewed with lime, and laid in a catacomb of this description, where, after a lapse of eight or ten months, the flesh is completely eaten away. The bones are then taken out, cleaned by boiling, and collected in an urn, on which is engraved the name, birth-day, etc., of the deceased. These urns are afterwards set up in the passages of the church, or sometimes even taken home by the relations.

On All-souls' day, the walls of the chambers are hung with black cloth, gold lace, and other ornaments, and the urns are richly decorated with flowers and ribbons, and are lighted up by a great number of tapers in silver candelabra and chandeliers, placed upon high stands. From an early hour in the morning until noon, the women and young girls begin praying very fervently for the souls of their deceased relations, and the young gentlemen, who are quite as curious as those in Europe, go to see the young girls pray.

Females on this day are dressed in mourning, and often wear, to the great disgust of the curious young gentlemen before mentioned, a black veil over their head and face. No one, by the way, is allowed to wear a bonnet at any festival of the church.

But the most brilliant of the public festivals I saw here, was the christening of the imperial princess, which took place on the 15th of November, in the Imperial Chapel, which is connected with the palace.

Towards 3 o'clock in the afternoon a number of troops were drawn up in the court-yard of the palace, the guards were distributed in the corridors and the church, while the bands played a series of pleasing melodies, frequently repeating the National Anthem, which the late emperor, Peter I., is said to have composed. Equipage after equipage began to roll up to the palace, and set down the most brilliantly attired company of both sexes.

At 4 o'clock the procession began to leave the palace. First, came the court band, clothed in red velvet, and followed by three heralds, in old Spanish costume, magnificently decorated hats and feathers, and black velvet suits. Next walked the officers of the law, and the authorities of every rank, chamberlains, court physicians, senators, deputies, generals, and ecclesiastics, privy councillors and secretaries; and, lastly, after this long line of different personages, came the lord steward of the young princess, whom he bore upon a magnificent white velvet cushion, edged with gold lace. Immediately behind him followed the emperor, and the little princess's nurse, surrounded by the principal nobles and ladies of the court. On passing through the triumphal arch of the gallery, and coming before the pallium of the church, the emperor took his little daughter {23a} into his own arms, and presented her to the people; an act which pleased me exceedingly, and which I considered extremely appropriate.

The empress, with her ladies, had likewise already arrived in the church through the inner corridors, and the ceremony commenced forthwith. The instant the princess was baptized, the event was announced to the whole town by salvos of artillery, volleys of musketry, and the discharge of rockets. {23b} At the conclusion of the ceremony, which lasted above an hour, the procession returned in the same order in which it had arrived, and the chapel was then opened to the people. I was curious enough to enter with the rest, and, I must own, I was quite surprised at the magnificence and taste with which the building was decorated. The walls were covered with silk and velvet hangings, ornamented with gold fringe, while rich carpets were spread underfoot. On large tables, in the middle of the nave, were displayed the most valuable specimens of the church plate, gold and silver vases, immense dishes, plates, and goblets, artistically engraved, and ornamented with embossed or open work; while magnificent vessels of crystal, containing the most beautiful flowers, and massive candelabra, with innumerable lights, sparkled in the midst. On a separate table, near the high altar, were all the costly vessels and furniture which had been employed at the christening; and, in one of the side chapels, the princess's cradle, covered with white satin, and ornamented with gold lace. In the evening, the town, or rather, the public buildings, were illuminated. The proprietors of private houses are not required to light up; and they either avail themselves of their privilege, or at most, hang out a few lanterns—a fact which will be readily understood, when it is known that such illuminations last for six or eight days. The public buildings, on the contrary, are covered from top to bottom with countless lamps, which look exactly like a sea of fire.

The most original and really amusing fetes to celebrate the christening of the princess, were those given on several evenings in some of the barracks: even the emperor himself made his appearance there for a few moments on different occasions. They were also the only fetes I saw here which were not mixed up with religious solemnities. The sole actors in them were the soldiers themselves, of whom the handsomest and most active had previously been selected, and exercised in the various evolutions and dances. The most brilliant of these fetes took place in the barracks of the Rua Barbone. A semicircular and very tasty gallery was erected in the spacious court-yard, and in the middle of the gallery were busts of the imperial couple. This gallery was set apart for the ladies invited, who made their appearance as if dressed for the most splendid ball: at the entrance of the court-yard they were received by the officers, and conducted to their places. Before the gallery stood the stage, and at each side of the latter were ranged rows of seats for the less fashionable females; beyond these seats was standing-room for the men.

At eight o'clock the band commenced playing, and shortly afterwards the representation began. The soldiers appeared, dressed in various costumes, as Highlanders, Poles, Spaniards, etc.; nor was there any scarcity of danseuses, who, of course, were likewise private soldiers. What pleased me most was, that both the dress and behaviour of the military young ladies were highly becoming. I had expected at least some little exaggeration, or at best no very elegant spectacle; and was therefore greatly astonished, not only with the correctness of the dances and evolutions, but also with the perfect propriety with which the whole affair was conducted.

The last fete that I saw took place on the 2nd of December, in celebration of the emperor's birth-day. After high mass, the different dignitaries again waited on the emperor, to offer their congratulations, and were admitted to the honour of kissing his hand, etc. The imperial couple then placed themselves at a window of the palace, while the troops defiled before them, with their bands playing the most lively airs. It would be difficult to find better dressed soldiers than those here: every private might easily be mistaken for a lieutenant, or at least a non-commissioned officer; but unluckily, their bearing, size, and colour, are greatly out of keeping with the splendour of their uniform—a mere boy of fourteen standing next to a full-grown, well-made man, a white coming after a black, and so on.

The men are pressed into the service; the time of serving is from four to six years.

I had heard and read a great deal in Europe of the natural magnificence and luxury of the Brazils—of the ever clear and smiling sky, and the extraordinary charm of the continual spring; but though it is true that the vegetation is perhaps richer, and the fruitfulness of the soil more luxuriant and vigorous than in any other part of the world, and that every one who desires to see the working of nature in its greatest force and incessant activity, must come to Brazil; still it must not be thought that all is good and beautiful, and that there is nothing which will not weaken the magical effect of the first impression.

Although every one begins by praising the continual verdure and the uninterrupted splendour of spring met with in this country, he is, in the end, but too willing to allow, that even this, in time, loses its charm. A little winter would be preferable, as the reawakening of nature, the resuscitation of the slumbering plants, the return of the sweet perfume of spring, enchants us all the more, simply because during a short period we have been deprived of it.

I found the climate and the air exceedingly oppressive; and the heat, although at that period hardly above 86 degrees in the shade, very weakening. During the warm months, which last from the end of December to May, the heat rises in the shade to 99 degrees, and in the sun to above 122 degrees. In Egypt, I bore a greater amount of heat with far greater ease; a circumstance which may perhaps be accounted for by the fact, that the climate is there drier, while here there is always an immense degree of moisture. Fogs and mists are very common; the hills and eminences, nay, even whole tracts of country, are often enveloped in impenetrable gloom, and the whole atmosphere loaded with damp vapours.

In the month of November I was seriously indisposed for a considerable period. I suffered, especially in the town, from an oppressive feeling of fatigue and weakness; and to the kindness and friendship of Herr Geiger, the Secretary to the Austrian Consulate, and his wife, who took me with them into the country, and showed me the greatest attention, do I alone owe my recovery. I ascribed my illness altogether to the unusual dampness of the atmosphere.

The most agreeable season is said to be the winter (from June to October); that, with a temperature of from 63 to 72 degrees, is mostly dry and clear. This period is generally selected by the inhabitants for travelling. During the summer, violent thunder- storms are of frequent occurrence: I myself only saw three during my stay in the Brazils, all of which were over in an hour and a half. The lightning was almost incessant, and spread like a sheet of fire over the greater portion of the horizon; the thunder, on the other hand, was inconsiderable.

Clear, cloudless days (from 16th September to 9th December) were so rare, that I really could have counted them; and I am at a loss to understand how so many travellers have spoken of the ever beautiful, smiling, and blue sky of the Brazils. This must be true of some other portion of the year.

A fine evening and long twilight is another source of enjoyment which may be said to be unknown: at sunset every one hastens home, as it is immediately followed by darkness and damp.

In the height of summer the sun sets at about a quarter past 6, and all the rest of the year at 6 o'clock; twenty or thirty minutes afterwards, night sets in.

The mosquitoes, ants, baraten, and sand-fleas are another source of annoyance; many a night have I been obliged to sit up, tormented and tortured by the bite of these insects. It is hardly possible to protect provisions from the attacks of the baraten and ants. The latter, in fact, often appear in long trains of immeasureable length, pursuing their course over every obstacle which stands in the way. During my stay in the country at Herr Geiger's, I beheld a swarm of this description traverse a portion of the house. It was really most interesting to see what a regular line they formed; nothing could make them deviate from the direction they had first determined on. Madame Geiger told me that she was one night awoke by a horrible itching; she sprang immediately out of bed, and beheld a swarm of ants of the above description pass over her bed. There is no remedy for this; the end of the procession, which often lasts four or six hours, must be waited for with patience. Provisions are to some extent protected from them, by placing the legs of the tables and presses in plates filled with water. Clothes and linen are laid in tightly-fitting tin canisters, to protect them, not only from the ants, but also from the baraten and the damp.

The worst plague of all, however, are the sand-fleas, which attach themselves to one's toes, underneath the nails, or sometimes to the soles of the feet. The moment a person feels an itching in these parts he must immediately look at the place; if he sees a small black point surrounded by a small white ring, the former is the flea, and the latter the eggs which it has laid in the flesh. The first thing done is to loosen the skin all round as far as the white ring is visible; the whole deposit is then extracted, and a little snuff strewed in the empty space. The best plan is to call in the first black you may happen to see, as they all perform this operation very skilfully.

As regards the natural products of the Brazils, a great many of the most necessary articles are wanting in the list. It is true that there are sugar and coffee, but no corn, no potatoes, and none of our delicious varieties of fruit. The flour of manioc, which is mixed up with the other materials of which the dishes are composed, supplies the place of bread, but is far from being so nutritious and strengthening, while the different kinds of sweet-tasting roots are certainly not to be compared to our potatoes. The only fruit, which are really excellent, are the oranges, bananas and mangoes. Their celebrated pine-apples are neither very fragrant nor remarkably sweet; I certainly have eaten much finer flavoured ones that had been grown in a European hot-house. The other kinds of fruit are not worth mentioning. Lastly, with the two very necessary articles of consumption, milk and meat, the former is very watery, and the latter very dry.

On instituting a comparison between the Brazils and Europe, both with respect to the impression produced by the whole, as also to the separate advantages and disadvantages of each, we shall, perhaps, at first find the scale incline towards the former country, but only to turn ultimately with greater certainty in favour of the latter.

The Brazils is, perhaps, the most interesting country in the world for travellers; but for a place of permanent residence I should most decidedly prefer Europe.

I saw too little of the manners and customs of the country to be qualified to pronounce judgment upon them, and I shall therefore, on this head, confine myself to a few remarks. The manners seem, on the whole, to differ but little from those of Europe. The present possessors of the country, as is well known, derive their descent from Portugal, and the Brazilians might very aptly be termed "Europeans translated into Americans;" and it is very natural, that in this "translation" many peculiarities have been lost, while others have stood forth in greater relief. The strongest feature in the character of the European-American is the greed for gold; this often becomes a passion, and transforms the most faint-hearted white into a hero, for it certainly requires the courage of one to live alone, as planter, on a plantation with perhaps some hundred slaves, far removed from all assistance, and with the prospect of being irrevocably lost in the event of any revolt.

This grasping feeling is not confined to the men alone; it is found among the women as well, and is greatly encouraged by a common custom here, agreeably to which, a husband never assigns his wife so much for pin-money, but, according to his means, makes her a present of one or more male or female slaves, whom she can dispose of as she chooses. She generally has them taught how to cook, sew, embroider, or even instructed in some trade, and then lets them out, by the day, week, or month, {27} to people who possess no slaves of their own; or she lets them take in washing at home, or employs them in the manufacture of various ornamental objects, fine pastry, etc, which she sends them out to sell. The money for these things belongs to her, and is generally spent in dress and amusement.

In the case of tradesmen, and professional men, the wife is always paid for whatever assistance she may lend her husband in his business.

Morality, unfortunately, is not very general in the Brazils; one cause of this may be traced to the manner in which the children are first brought up. They are confided entirely to the care of blacks. Negresses suckle them when they are infants, their nurses are negresses, their attendants are negresses—and I have often seen girls of eight or ten years of age taken to school, or any other place, by young negroes. The sensuality of the blacks is too well known for us to be surprised, with such a state of things, at the general and early demoralization. In no other place did I ever behold so many children with such pale and worn faces as in the streets of Rio Janeiro. The second cause of immorality here is, without doubt, the want of religion. The Brazils are thoroughly Catholic—perhaps there are no countries save Spain and Italy, that can be compared to them. Almost every day there is some procession, service, or church-festival; but these are attended merely for the sake of amusement, while the true religious feeling is entirely wanting.

We may also ascribe to this deep demoralization and want of religion the frequent occurrence of murders, committed not for the sake of robbery or theft, but from motives of revenge and hatred. The murderer either commits the deed himself, or has it perpetrated by one of his slaves, who is ready to lend himself for the purpose, in consideration of a mere trifle. The discovery of the crime need cause the assassin no anxiety, provided he is rich; for in this country everything, I was assured, can be arranged or achieved with money. I saw several men in Rio Janeiro who had, according to report, committed either themselves, or by the means of others, not one, but several murders, and yet they not only enjoyed perfect liberty, but were received in every society.

In conclusion, I beg leave to address a few words to those of my countrymen who think of leaving their native land, to seek their fortune on the distant coast of Brazil—a few words which I could desire to see as far spread and as well known as possible.

There are people in Europe not a whit better than the African slave- dealers, and such people are those who delude poor wretches with exaggerated accounts of the richness of America and her beautiful territories, of the over-abundance of the products of the soil, and the lack of hands to take advantage of them. These people, however, care little about the poor dupes; their object is to freight the vessels belonging to them, and to effect this they take from their deluded victim the last penny he possesses.

During my stay here, several vessels arrived with unfortunate emigrants of this description; the government had not sent for them, and therefore would afford them no relief; money they had none, and, consequently, could not purchase land, neither could they find employment in working on the plantations, as no one will engage Europeans for this purpose, because, being unused to the warm climate, they would soon succumb beneath the work. The unhappy wretches had thus no resource left; they were obliged to beg about the town, and, in the end, were fain to content themselves with the most miserable occupations. A different fate awaits those who are sent for by the Brazilian government to cultivate the land or colonize the country: these persons receive a piece of uncleared ground, with provisions and other help; but if they come over without any money at all, even their lot is no enviable one. Want, hunger, and sickness destroy most of them, and but a very small number succeed, by unceasing activity and an iron constitution, in gaining a better means of livelihood than what they left behind them in their native land. Those only who exercise some trade find speedy employment and an easy competency; but even this will, in all probability, soon be otherwise, for great numbers are pouring in ever year, and latterly the negroes themselves have been, and are still being, more frequently taught every kind of trade.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12     Next Part
Home - Random Browse