TO THE GOLD COAST FOR GOLD
A Personal Narrative
BY Richard F. Burton AND Verney Lovett Cameron
In Two Volumes—Vol. I.
TO OUR EXCELLENT FRIEND
(OF LIVERPOOL, F.R.G.S, F.S.A, &C.)
WE INSCRIBE THESE PAGES AS A TOKEN OF OUR APPRECIATION AND ADMIRATION FOR HIS COURAGE AND ENERGY IN OPENING AND WORKING THE GOLDEN LANDS OF WESTERN AFRICA
'Much have I travelled in the realms of gold'
The following extract from 'Wanderings in West Africa,' a book which I wrote in 1862 and published (anonymously) in 1863, will best explain the reasons which lately sent me to Western Africa:—
In several countries, for instance, Dinkira, Tueful, Wasa (Wassaw), and especially Akim, the hill-region lying north of Accra, the people are still active in digging gold. The pits, varying from two to three feet in diameter, and from twelve to fifty deep (eighty feet is the extreme), are often so near the roads that loss of life has been the result. 'Shoring up' being little known, the miners are not unfrequently buried alive. The stuff is drawn up by ropes in clay pots, or calabashes, and thus a workman at the bottom widens the pit to a pyriform shape; tunnelling, however, is unknown. The excavated earth is carried down to be washed. Besides sinking these holes, they pan in the beds of rivers, and in places collect quartz, which is roughly pounded.
They (the natives) often refuse to dig deeper than the chin, for fear of the earth 'caving in;' and, quartz-crushing and the use of quicksilver being unknown, they will not wash unless the gold 'show colour' to the naked eye.
As we advance northwards from the Gold Coast the yield becomes richer....
It is becoming evident that Africa will one day equal half-a-dozen Californias....
Will our grandsons believe in these times ... that this Ophir—that this California, where every river is a Tmolus and a Pactolus, every hillock is a gold-field—does not contain a cradle, a puddling-machine, a quartz-crusher, a pound of mercury? That half the washings are wasted because quicksilver is unknown? That whilst convict labour is attainable, not a company has been formed, not a surveyor has been sent out? I exclaim with Dominie Sampson—'Pro-di-gious!'
Western Africa was the first field that supplied the precious metal to mediaeval Europe. The French claim to have imported it from Elmina as early as A.D. 1382. In 1442 Goncales Baldeza returned from his second voyage to the regions about Bojador, bringing with him the first gold. Presently a company was formed for the purpose of carrying on the gold-trade between Portugal and Africa. Its leading men were the navigators Lanzarote and Gilianez, and Prince Henry 'the Navigator' did not disdain to become a member. In 1471 Joao de Santarem and Pedro Escobar reached a place on the Gold Coast to which, from the abundance of gold found there, they gave the name of 'Sao Jorje da Mina,' the present Elmina. After this a flood of gold poured into the lap of Europe; and at last, cupidity having mastered terror of the Papal Bull, which assigned to Portugal an exclusive right to the Eastern Hemisphere, English, French, and Dutch adventurers hastened to share the spoils.
For long years my words fell upon flat ears. Presently the Ashanti war of 1873-74 brought the subject before the public. The Protectorate was overrun by British officers, and their reports and itineraries never failed to contain, with a marvellous unanimity of iteration, the magic word—Gold.
The fraction of country, twenty-six miles of seaboard out of two hundred, by a depth of sixty—in fact, the valley of the Ancobra River—now (early 1882) contains five working companies. Upwards of seventy concessions, to my knowledge, have been obtained from native owners, and many more are spoken of. In fact, development has at length begun, and the line of progress is clearly traced.
At Madeira I was joined (January 8, 1882) by Captain Cameron, R.N., C.B., &c. Our object was to explore the so-called Kong Mountains, which of late years have become quasi-mythical. He came out admirably equipped; nor was I less prepared. But inevitable business had delayed us both, and we landed on the Gold Coast at the end of January instead of early October. The hot-dry season had set in with a heat and a drought unknown for years; the climate was exceptionally trying, and all experts predicted early and violent rains. Finally, we found so much to do upon the Ancobra River that we had no time for exploration. Geography is good, but Gold is better.
In this joint book my energetic and hard-working friend and fellow-traveller has described the five working mines which I was unable to visit. He has also made an excellent route-survey of the country, corrected by many and careful astronomical observations. It is curious to compare his work with the sketches of previous observers, Jeekel, Wyatt, Bonnat, and Dahse. To my companion's industry also are mainly due our collections of natural history.
We are answerable only for our own, not for each other's statements. As regards my part, I have described the Gold-land as minutely as possible, despite the many and obvious disadvantages of the 'photographic style.' Indeed, we travellers often find ourselves in a serious dilemma. If we do not draw our landscapes somewhat in pre-Raphaelite fashion, they do not impress the reader; if we do, critics tell us that they are wearisome longueurs, and that the half would be better than the whole. The latter alternative must often be risked, especially in writing about a country where many at home have friends and relatives. Of course they desire to have as much detail about it as possible; hence the reader will probably pardon my 'curiosity.'
The Appendix discusses at some length the various objections made to the Gold Coast mines by the public, which suffers equally from the 'bull' and the 'bear' and from the wild rumours set afloat by those not interested in the speculation. I first dispose of the dangers menaced by Ashanti invasions. The second number notices the threatened labour-famine, and shows how immigration of Chinese, of coolies, and of Zanzibar-men will, when wanted, supply not only the Gold Coast, but also the whole of our unhappy West African stations, miscalled colonies, which are now starving for lack of hands. The third briefly sketches the history of the Gold-trade in the north-western section of the Dark Continent, discusses the position and the connections of the auriferous Kong Mountains, and suggests the easiest system of 'getting' the precious metal. This is by shallow working, by washing, and by the 'hydraulicking' which I had studied in California. The earlier miners have, it is believed, begun at the wrong end with deep workings, shafts, and tunnels; with quartz-crushers, stamps, and heavy and expensive machinery, when flumes and force-pumps would have cost less and brought more. Our observations and deductions, drawn from a section of coast, will apply if true, as I believe they are, to the whole region between the Assini and the Volta Rivers.
I went to the Gold Coast with small expectations. I found the Wasa (Wassaw) country, Ancobra section, far richer than the most glowing descriptions had represented it. Gold and other metals are there in abundance, and there are good signs of diamond, ruby, and sapphire.
Remains to be seen if England has still honesty and public spirit enough to work this old-new California as it should be worked. I will answer for its success if the workers will avoid over-exclusiveness, undue jealousy and rivalry, stockjobbing, and the rings of 'guinea-pigs' and 'guinea-worms.'
RICHARD F. BURTON.
CONTENTS OF THE FIRST VOLUME.
I. PRELIMINARY: TRIESTE TO LISBON
II. FROM LISBON TO MADEIRA
III. A FORTNIGHT AT MADEIRA
IV. MADEIRA (continued)—CHRISTMAS—SMALL INDUSTRIES—WINE—DEPARTURE FOR TENERIFE
V. TO TENERIFE, LA LAGUNA, AND OROTAVA
VI. THE ROUTINE ASCENT OF MOUNT ATLAS, THE 'PIKE' OF TENERIFE
VII. THE SPANISH ACCOUNT OF THE REPULSE OF NELSON FROM SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE
VIII. TO GRAND CANARY—LAS PALMAS, THE CAPITAL
IX. THE COCHINEAL—THE 'GALLO'—CANARY 'SACK'—ADIEU TO THE CANARIES
X. THE RUINED RIVER—PORT AND THE TATTERED FLAG
XI. SIERRA LEONE: THE CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
TO THE GOLD COAST FOR GOLD.
PRELIMINARY: TRIESTE TO LISBON.
The glory of an explorer, I need hardly say, results not so much from the extent, or the marvels of his explorations, as from the consequences to which they lead. Judged by this test, my little list of discoveries has not been unfavoured of fortune. Where two purblind fever-stricken men plodded painfully through fetid swamp and fiery thorn-bush over the Zanzibar-Tanganyika track, mission-houses and schools may now be numbered by the dozen. Missionaries bring consuls, and consuls bring commerce and colonisation. On the Gold Coast of Western Africa, whence came the good old 'guinea,' not a washing-cradle, not a pound of quicksilver was to be found in 1862; in 1882 five mining companies are at work; and in 1892 there will be as many score.
I had long and curiously watched from afar the movement of the Golden Land, our long-neglected El Dorado, before the opportunity of a revisit presented itself. At last, in the autumn of 1881, Mr. James Irvine, of Liverpool, formerly of the West African 'Oil-rivers,' and now a large mine-owner in the Gulf of Guinea, proposed to me a tour with the object of inspecting his concessions, and I proposed to myself a journey of exploration inland. The Foreign Office liberally gave me leave to escape the winter of Trieste, where the ferocious Bora (nor'-nor'-easter) wages eternal war with the depressing and distressing Scirocco, or south-easter. Some One marvelled aloud and said, 'You are certainly the first that ever applied to seek health in the "genial and congenial climate" of the West African Coast.' But then Some One had not realised the horrors of January and February at the storm-beaten head of the ever unquiet Adriatic.
Thus it happened that on November 18,1881, after many adieux and au revoirs, I found myself on board the Cunard s.s. Demerara (Captain C. Jones), bound for 'Gib.' My wife was to accompany me as far as Hungarian Fiume.
The Cunard route to 'Gib' is decidedly roundabout. We began with a run to Venice, usually six hours from the Vice-Queen of the Adriatic: it was prolonged to double by the thick and clinging mist-fog. The sea-city was enjoying her usual lethargy of repose after the excitement of the 'geographical Carnival,' as we called the farcical Congress of last September. She is essentially a summering place. Her winter is miserable, neither city nor houses being built for any but the finest of fine weather; her 'society'-season lasts only four months from St. Stephen's Day; her traveller-seasons are spring and autumn. We found all our friends either in bed with bad colds, or on the wing for England and elsewhere; we inhaled a quant. suff. of choking vapour, even in the comfortable Britannia Hotel; and, on the morning of the 23rd, we awoke to find ourselves moored alongside of the new warehouses on the new port of Hungarian, or rather Croatian, Fiume.
Fiume had made prodigious strides since I last saw her in 1878; and she is gradually taking the wind out of the sails of her sister-rival. While old Tergeste wastes time and trouble upon futile questions of policy, and angry contrasts between Germans and Slavs, and Italians and Triestines, Fiume looks to the main chance. The neat, clean, and well-watered little harbour-city may be called a two-dinner-a-day place, so profuse is her hospitality to strangers. Here, too, we once more enjoyed her glorious outlook, the warm winter sun gilding the snowy-silvery head of Monte Maggiore and raining light and life upon the indigo-tinted waters of Fiume Bay. Next to Naples, I know nothing in Europe more beautiful than this ill-named Quarnero. We saw a shot or so of the far-famed Whitehead torpedo, which now makes twenty-one miles an hour; and on Nov. 25 we began to run down the Gulf en route for Patras.
It was a pleasure to emerge from the stern and gloomy Adriatic; and nothing could be more lovely than the first evening amongst the Ionian Islands. To port, backed by the bold heights of the Grecian sea-range, lay the hoary mount, and the red cliffs, 780 feet high, of Sappho's Leap, a never-forgotten memory. Starboard rose bleak Ithaca, fronting the black mountain of Cephalonia, now bald and bare, but clothed with dark forests till these were burnt down by some mischievous malignant. Whatever of sterility deformed the scene lay robed under a glory of colour painted with perfect beauty by the last smile of the sun. Earth and air and sea showed every variety of the chromatic scale, especially of rose-tints, from the tenderest morning blush of virgin snow to the vinous evening flush upon the lowlands washed by the purple wave. The pure translucent vault never ceased to shift its chameleon-like hues, that ranged between the diaphanous azure of the zenith and the faintest rainbow green, a border-land where blue and yellow met and parted. The air felt soft and balmy; a holy calm was on the face of creation; all looked delicious after the rude north, and we acknowledged once more that life was worth living.
Patras also has greatly improved since I last saw her in 1872. The malaria-swamps to the north and south of the town have been drained and are being warped up: the 'never-failing succession of aguish fevers' will presently fade out of the guide-books. A macadamised boulevard has been built, and a breakwater is building. The once desert square, 'Georgios A',' has been planted with trees, which should be Eucalyptus; and adorned with two French statues of bronze which harmonise admirably with the surroundings. The thoroughfares are still Sloughs of Despond after rain, and gridirons of St. Laurence in dusty summer; but there are incipient symptoms of trottoirs. And throughout there is a disappearance of the hovels which resembled Port Sa'id in her younger day, and a notable substitution of tall solid houses.
All this has been brought about by 'fruit,' which in Patras means currants; that is, 'Corinthian grapes.' The export this year is unusual, 110,000 tons, including the Morea and the Islands; and of this total only 20,000 go to France for wine-making. It gives a surprising idea of the Christmas plum-pudding manufacture. Patras also imports for all the small adjacent places, inhabited by 'shaggy capotes.' And she will have a fine time when that talented and energetic soldier, General Tuerr, whom we last met at Venice, begins the 'piercing of the Isthmus.' A propos of which, one might suggest to Patras, with due respect, that (politically speaking) 'honesty is the best policy.'
Being at Patras on St. Andrew's Day, with a Scotch demoiselle on board, we could hardly but pilgrimage to the place of the Apostle's martyrdom. Mrs. Wood kindly sent her daughters to do the honours. Aghyos Andreas lies at the extreme south of the town on the system of ruts, called a road, which conducts down-coast. The church is a long yellow barn, fronting a cypress-grown cemetery, whose contents are being transferred to the new extramural. A little finger of the holy man reposes under a dwarf canopy in the south-eastern angle: his left arm is preserved at Mount Athos in a silver reliquary, set with gems. Outside, near the south-western corner, is the old well of Demeter (Ceres), which has not lost its curative virtues by being baptised. You descend a dwarf flight of brick steps to a mean shrine and portrait of the saint, and remark the solid bases and the rude rubble arch of the pagan temple. A fig-tree, under which the martyrdom took place, grew in the adjacent court; it has long been cut down, probably for fuel.
The population of Patras still affords a fine study of the 'dirty picturesque,' with clothes mostly home-made; sheepskin cloaks; fustanellas or kilts, which contain a whole piece of calico; red leggings, and the rudest of sandals; Turkish caps, and an occasional pistol-belt. The Palikar still struts about in all his old bravery; and the bourgeois humbly imitates the dingy garb of Southern Italy. The people have no taste for music, no regard for art, no respect for antiquities, except for just as much as these will bring. They own two, and only two, objects in life: firstly, to make money, and secondly, to keep and not to spend it. But this dark picture has a bright side. No race that I know is so greedy of education; the small boys, instead of wending unwillingly to school, crowd the doors before they are opened. Where this exceptional feeling is universal we may hope for much.
The last evening at Patras showed us a beautiful view of what is here called Parnassus (Parnasso), the tall bluff mountain up the Gulf, whose snows at sunset glowed like a balass ruby. We left the Morea at 2 A.M. (December 2), and covered the fifty-two miles to Zante before breakfast. There is, and ever has been, something peculiarly sympathetic to me in the 'flower of the Levant.' 'Eh! 'tis a bonny, bonny place,' repeatedly ejaculated our demoiselle. The city lies at the foot of the grey cliffs, whose northern prolongation extends to the Akroteri, or Lighthouse Point. A fine quay, the Strada Marina, has been opened during the last six years along the northern sea-front, where the arcades suggest those of Chester. It is being prolonged southwards to the old quarantine-ground and the modern prison, which rests upon the skirts of the remarkable Skopo, the Prospect Mountain, 1,489 feet high. This feature, which first shows itself to mariners approaching Zakynthos from north or from south, has a saddle-back sky-line, with a knob of limestone shaped like a Turkish pommel and sheltering its monastery, Panaghia of Skopo, alias Our Lady of the Look-out. Below it appears another and a similar outcrop near a white patch which has suggested marble-quarrying; and the northern flank is dotted with farmhouses and villas. The dwarf breakwater, so easily prolonged over the shallows, has not been improved; but at its base rises a brand-new opera-house, big enough for a first-rate city. Similarly at Barletta they raised a loan to build a mole and they built a theatre. Unlike Patras, Zante long had the advantage of Italian and then of English rule; and the citizens care for music more than for transformation-scenes. The Palikar element also is notably absent; and the soldiers are in uniform, not in half-uniform and half-brigand attire. I missed the British flag once so conspicuous upon the southern round tower of the castle, where in days, or rather nights, of old I had spent not a few jolly hours; but I heard with pleasure that it is proposed to make a haute-ville of the now deserted and crumbling triangle, a Sommerfrisch where the parboiled citizens of Athens will find a splendid prospect and a cooling sea-breeze.
Mr. E. Barff kindly accompanied us in the usual drive 'round the Wrekin,' for which we may here read the 'wreck.' We set out along the sea-flank of the Castle hill. This formation, once a regular hog's-back, has been split by weather about the middle; and its southern end has been shaken down by earthquakes, and carved by wind and rain into precipices and pinnacles of crumbling sandstone, which form the 'Grey Cliffs.' Having heard at Patras the worst accounts of Zante since it passed under Greek rule, I was not a little surprised by the excellent condition of the roads and the general look of prosperity.
Turning to the right we entered Mr. Barff's garden-house, where the grounds were bright and beautiful with balsam and mignonette, dahlias and cyclamens, chrysanthemums and oleanders, jasmine and double-violets, orange-blossoms, and a perfect Gulistan of roses, roses of York and Lancaster, white, pink, and purple, yellow and green—a perfumed spring in dreary December. Laden with bouquets we again threaded the olive-grounds, whose huge trunks are truly patriarchal, and saw basking in the sun old Eumaeus, the Swine-King, waiting upon his black and bristly herd. The glimpse led to a characteristic tale. A wealthy Greek merchant in London had made the most liberal offers to his brother, a shepherd in the hills of Cephalonia; the latter returned his very best thanks, but declared himself perfectly happy and unwilling to tempt fortune by change of condition to England. Greece, it is evident, has not ceased to breed 'wise men.'
We returned, via the landward flank of the hog's-back, along the fine plain ('O Kampos') bounded west by the range called after Mount Meriy, the apex, rising 3,274 feet. Anglo-Zantiots fondly compare its outline with the Jura's. The look of the rich lowlands, 'the vale,' as our charts call it, suggested a river-valley, but river there is none. Every nook and corner was under cultivation, and each country-house had its chapel and its drying-ground for 'fruit,' level yards now hidden under large-leaved daisies and wild flowers. We passed through the Graetani village, whose tenants bear a bad name, and saw none of the pretty faces for which Zante is famed. The sex was dressed in dark jackets and petticoats a l'italienne; and the elders were apparently employed in gathering 'bitter herbs,' dandelion and the wild endive. Verily this is a frugal race.
The drive ended with passing up the Strada Larga, the inner High Street, running parallel with the Marina. After Turkish fashion, trades flock together, shoemakers to the south and vegetable-vendors to the north. There are two good specimens of Venetian palazzetti, one fantastic, the other classical; and there is a rough pavement, which is still wanting in Patras. A visit to the silk-shop of Garafuglia Papaiouanou was obligatory: here the golden-hued threads reminded me of the Indian Tussur-moth. Also de rigueur was the purchase of nougat and raki, the local mandorlato and mastache, almond-cake and grape-spirit.
Zante appears to me an excellent home for a large family with a small income. A single man lives at the best hotel (Nazionale) for forty-five francs per week. A country-house with nine bedrooms, cellarage, stabling, dog-house, orangery, and large garden, is to be had for 25l. a year. Fowls cost less than a franc; turkeys, if you do not buy them from a shipchandler, two francs and a half. The strong and sherry-flavoured white wine of Zante rarely exceeds three shillings the gallon, sixpence a bottle. And other necessaries in the same proportion.
But, oh that St. Dionysius, patron saint of Zante, would teach his proteges a little of that old Persian wisdom which abhorred a lie and its concomitants, cheating and mean trickery! The Esmeralda, after two days and one night at Zante, was charged 15l., for pilotage, when the captain piloted himself; for church, where there is no parson; and for harbour dues where there is no harbour. It is almost incredible that so sharp-witted a race can also be so short-sighted; so wise about pennies, so foolish about pounds.
On Saturday we left Zante in the teeth of a fresh but purely local north-easter, which whistled through the gear and hurled the spray high up Cape Skinari. The result was, as the poet sings—
That peculiar up-and-down motion Which belongs to the treacherous ocean.
Not without regret I saw the last of the memorious old castle and of Skopo the picturesque. We ran along the western shore of Cephalonia, the isle of three hundred villages: anyone passing this coast at once understands how Greece produced so many and such excellent seamen. The island was a charming spectacle, with its two culminations, Maraviglia (3,311 ft.) and Elato (5,246 ft.), both capped by purple cloud; its fertile slopes and its fissured bight, Argostoli Bay, running deep into the land.
We fondly expected to pass the Messina Straits by daylight, and to cast another glance upon old Etna, Scylla and Charybdis, the Liparis and Stromboli. And all looked well, as about noon we were abreast of Cape Spartivento, the 'Split-wind' which divides the mild northers and southers of the Straits from the raw Boras and rotting Sciroccos of the Adriatic. But presently a signal for succour was hoisted by a marvellous old tub, a sailer-made-steamer, sans boats, sans gunwales; a something whose dirt and general dilapidation suggested the Flying Dutchman. I almost expected to see her drop out of form and crumble into dust as our boys boarded her. The America, of Barletta, bound from Brindisi to Genoa, had hurt her boilers. We hauled in her cable—these gentry must never be trusted with a chance of slipping loose—and tugged her into Messina, thereby losing a valuable day.
The famous Straits were almost a replica of Ionian Island scenery: the shores of the Mediterranean, limestone and sandstone, with here and there a volcanic patch, continually repeat themselves. After passing the barren heel of the Boot and its stony big toe, the wady-streaked shores become populous and well cultivated, while railway trains on either side, island and continent, toss their snowy plumes in the pride of civilisation. The ruined castles on the crags and the new villages on the lowlands told their own story of Turkish and Algerine piracy, now doomed to the limbo of things that were. In the evening we were safely anchored within the zancle (sickle) of Messina-port, whose depth of water and circular shape have suggested an old crater flooded. It was Sunday, and we were greeted with the familiar sounds, the ringing of cracked bells, the screaming of harsh, hoarse voices, a military band and detached musical performances. The classical facade of the Marina, through whose nineteen archways and upper parallelograms you catch a vista of dark narrow wynd, contrasts curiously with Catania: the former is a 'dicky,' a front hiding something unclean; while the latter is laid out in Eastern style, where, for the best of reasons, the marble palace hides behind a wall of mud. The only new features I noted were a metal fish-market, engineer art which contrasts marvellously with the Ionic pilasters and the solid ashlar of the 'dicky;' and, at the root of the sickle, a new custom-house of six detached boxes, reddest-roofed and whitest-walled, built to copy children's toy cottages. Croatian Fiume would blush to own them. Of the general impurity of the town and of the bouquet de Messine the less said the better.
As we made fast to the Marina our tobacco was temporarily sealed after the usual mean Italian fashion. Next morning an absurd old person, in a broad red baldrick, came on board and counted noses, to ascertain that we had not brought the dreaded small-pox from the Ionian Islands. After being graciously and liberally allowed to land, we were visited by the local chapmen, whose goods appeared rather mixed—polished cowhorns and mildewed figs, dolls in costume and corrosive oranges; by the normal musical barber, who imitates at a humble distance bird and beast; and by the vendor of binoculars, who asks forty francs and who takes ten. The captain noted his protest at the Consulate, and claimed by way of sauvetage 200l. The owners offered 200 lire—punds Scots. Briefly, noon had struck before we passed out of the noise and the smells of Messina.
Our good deed had cost us dear. A wet scirocco had replaced the bright norther and saddened all the view. Passing the tide-rip Charybdis, a meeting of currents, which called only for another hand at the wheel; and the castled crag of naughty Scylla, whose town has grown prodigiously, we bade adieu to the 'tower of Pelorus.' Then we shaped our course for the Islands of AEolus, or the Winds, and the Lipari archipelago, all volcanic cones whose outlines were misty as Ossian's spectres. And we plodded through the dreary dull-grey scene of drizzling scirocco—
Till, when all veiled sank in darkling air, Naught but the welkin and the wave was there.
Next morning showed us to port the Cone of Maritimo: it outlies Marsala, whose wine caused the blinding of Polyphemus, and since that time has brought on many an attack of liver. The world then became to us pontus et aer. Days and nights were equally uneventful; the diary tells only of quiet seas under the lee of Sardinia and of the Balearics, ghostly glimpses of the North African coast and the steady setting in of the normal wester, the indraught of 'the Straits.'
On Friday (November 9) the weather broke and deluged us with rain. At Gibraltar the downpour lasted twenty-four hours. We found ourselves at anchor before midnight with a very low barometer, which suggested unpleasantries. Next morning we sighted the deep blue waters of the Bay, and the shallow brown waters of the Bayside crested with foam by a furious norther, that had powdered the far Ronda highlands with snow. Before noon, however, the gale had abated and allowed me to transfer myself and African outfit on board the Fez (Capt. Hay), Moroccan Steamship Company, trading to North Africa. This was a godsend: there is no regular line between Gibraltar and Lisbon, and one might easily be delayed for a week.
The few hours' halt allowed me time to call upon my old friend, M. Dautez, a Belgian artist. Apparently he is the only person in the place who cares for science. He has made extensive collections. He owns twenty-four coins from Carteia, whereas Florez (Medallas, Madrid, 1773) shows a total of only thirty-three. Amongst his antiquities there is a charming statuette of Minerva, a bronze miniature admirably finished. He has collected the rock fauna, especially the molluscs, fossil and modern. He is preparing an album of the Flora Calpensis. His birds' nests were lately sold to an Englishman. All these objects, of immense local interest, were offered by him at the lowest possible rate to the Military Library, but who is there to understand their value? I wonder how many Englishmen on the Rock know that they are within easy ride of the harbour which named the 'Ships of Tarshish'? Tartessus, which was Carteia, although certain German geographers would, against the general voice of antiquity, make the former the country and the latter the city, lay on both sides of the little Guadarranque stream, generally called First River; and the row of tumuli on the left bank probably denotes the site of the famous docks. I was anxious to open diggings in 1872, but permission was not forthcoming: now, however, they say that the Duke of Medina Sidonia would offer no objections.
Gib, though barbarous in matters of science, is civilised as regards 'business.' It was a treat to see steamer after steamer puff in, load up with blue peter at the fore, and start off after a few hours which would have been days at Patras, Zante, and Messina. Here men work with a will, as a walk from the Convent to the Old Mole, the Mersa or water-port of a Moroccan town, amply proves. The uniforms are neat and natty—they were the reverse five years ago—and it is a pleasure to look upon the fresh faces of English girls still unstained by unconsumed carbon. And the authorities have had the good sense to preserve the old Moorish town of Tarik and his successors, the triangle of walls with the tall tower-like mosque for apex, and the base facing the bay.
We left Gibraltar at 5 P.M. on Saturday (December 10), giving a wide berth to the hated Pearl Rock, which skippers would remove by force of arms. Seen from east or west Gib has an outline of its own. The Britisher, whose pride it is, sees the 'lion of England who has laid his paw upon the key of the Mediterranean,' and compares it with the king of beasts, sejant, the tail being Europa Point. The Spaniards, to whom it is an eyesore, liken it to a shrouded corpse, the outlined head lying to the north, and declare, truly enough, that to them it is a dead body.
The norther presently changed to the rainy south-wester, the builder of the Moroccan 'bars' and the scourge of the coast fringing North-west Africa, Rolling set in with the usual liveliness. Events were not eventful. The first midnight found us off Cape Trafalgar, and the second off St. Vincent. At 4 P.M. (December 12), we saw the light of Espichel (Promontorium Barbaricum), the last that shines upon the voyager bound Brazilwards. Before nightfall we had left Buzio lighthouse to starboard. We then ran up the northern passage in charge of a lagging pilot; and, as the lamps were lighting, we found ourselves comfortably berthed off that pretty toy, Belem Tower.
Next morning broke upon a lovely view: no wonder that the Tagus is the pride of Portuguese bards. The Rosicler, or rosy dawn-light, was that of a May morning—the May of poetry, not of meteorology—and the upper windows of distant Lisbon were all ablaze with the unrisen sun. It was a picture for the loveliest colours, not for 'word-painting;' and the whole scene was classical as picturesque. We may justly say of it, 'Nullum sine nomine saxum.' Far over the rising hills of the north bank rose shaggy Cintra, 'the most blessed spot in the habitable globe,' with its memorious convent and its Moorish castle. The nearer heights were studded with the oldest-fashioned windmills, when the newest are found even in the Canaries; a single crest bore its baker's dozen, mostly decapitated by steam. Advancing we remarked the glorious Belem monastery, defiled by its ignoble modern ruin to the west; the new hippodrome crowning the grassy slope; the Bed House of Belem, now being brightened up for Royal residence during the Exhibition of 1882; the Memoria and the Ajuda Palace, more unfinished, if possible, than ever. As we approached the bulk of the city the marking objects were the cypressed Prazeres Cemetery; the red Necessidades Palace, and the Estrella, whose dome and domelets, built to mimic St. Peter's, look only like hen and chickens. Then in due time came the Carmo Church, still unrepaired since 1755; Blackhorse Square, still bare of trees; the Government offices, still propped to prevent a tumble-down, and the old Custom House, still a bilious yellow; the vast barrack-like pile of S. Vicente, the historic Se or cathedral with dumpy towers; the black Castle of Sao Jorge, so hardly wrung from the gallant Moors, and the huge Santa Engracia, apparently ever to be a ruin.
I spent a pleasant week at Lisbon, and had a fair opportunity of measuring what progress she has made during the last sixteen years. We have no longer to wander up and down disconsolate
Mid many things unsightly to strange ee.
If the beggars remain, the excessive dirt and the vagrant dogs have disappeared. The Tagus has a fine embankment; but the land side is occupied by mean warehouses. The sewers, like those of Trieste, still want a cloaca maxama, a general conduit of masonry running along the quay down-stream. The Rocio has been planted with mean trees, greatly to the disgust of the average Lusitanian, who hates such sun-excluding vegetation like a backwoodsman; yet the Quintella squarelet shows what fine use may be made of cactus and pandanus, aloes and palms, not to mention the ugly and useful eucalyptus. The thoroughfares are far cleaner than they were; and Lisbon is now surrounded by good roads. The new houses are built with some respect for architectonic effect of light and shade: such fine old streets as the Rua Augusta offend the eye by facades flat as cards with rows of pips for windows. Finally, a new park is being laid out to the north of the Passeio Publico.
Having always found 'Olisipo' exceptionally hospitable and pleasant, I look forward to the days when she will be connected with Paris by direct railway. Her hotels are first-rate; her prices are not excessive; her winter climate is delightful, and she is the centre of most charming excursions. The capital has thrown off much of her old lethargy. Her Geographical Society is doing hard and honest work; she has nobly expiated the national crime by becoming a 'Camonian' city; and she indulges freely in exhibitions. One, of Ornamental Art, was about to be opened when I last saw her, and it extended deep into the next spring.
FROM LISBON TO MADEIRA.
My allotted week in Lisbon came to an end only too soon: in the society of friends, and in the Camonian room (Bibliotheca Nacional), which contains nearly 300 volumes, I should greatly have enjoyed a month. The s.s. Luso (Captain Silva), of the 'Empresa Insulana,' one of the very few Portuguese steamers, announced her departure for December 20; and I found myself on board early in the morning, with a small but highly select escort to give me God-speed.
Unfortunately the 'May weather' had made way for the cacimbas (mists) of a rainy sou'-wester. The bar broke and roared at us; Cintra, the apex of Lisbon's extinct volcano and the Mountain of the (Sun and) Moon, hid her beautiful head, and even the Rock of Lisbon disdained the normal display of sturdy flank. Then set in a brise carabinee, which lasted during our voyage of 525 miles, and the Luso, rolling like a moribund whale, proved so lively that most of the fourteen passengers took refuge in their berths. A few who resisted the sea-fiend's assaults found no cause of complaint: the captain and officers were exceedingly civil and obliging, and food and wines were good and not costly.
From Madeira the Luso makes, once a month, the tour of the Azores, touching at each island—a great convenience—and returning in ten days.
Early on Thursday, the 22nd, the lumpy, churning sea began to subside, and the invisible balm seduced all the sufferers to the quarter-deck. They were wild to sight Madeira as children to see the rising of the pantomime-curtain. There was not much to gaze at; but what will not attract man's stare at sea?—a gull, a turtle, a flying fish! By the by, Captain Tuckey, of the Congo Expedition, remarked the 'extraordinary absence of sea-birds in the vicinity of Madeira and the Canaries:' they have since learned the way thither. Porto Santo appeared as a purple lump of three knobs, a manner of 'gizzard island,' backed by a deeper gloom of clouds—Madeira. Then it lit up with a pale glimmer as of snow, the effect of the sun glancing upon the thin greens of the northern flank; and, lastly, it broke into two masses—northern and southern—of peaks and precipices connected by a strip of lowland.
It is generally held that the discovery of the Madeiran group (1418-19) was the first marking feature of the century which circumnavigated Africa, and that Porto Santo was 'invented 'by the Portuguese before Madeira. The popular account, however, goes lame. For instance, the story that tried and sturdy soldiers and seamen were deterred from advancing a few miles, and were driven back to Portugal by the 'thick impenetrable darkness which was guarded by a strange noise,' and by anile fancies about the 'Mouth of Hell' and 'Cipango,' reads like mere stuff and nonsense. Again, great are the difficulties in determining the nationality of the explorers, and settling the conflicting claims of the French, Genoese, Portuguese, Spanish, English, and Arabs. History, and perhaps an aptitude for claiming, have assigned the honour exclusively to Lusitania: and every guide-book tells the same old tale. But I have lived long enough to have seen how history is written; and the discovery was, at best, a mere re-discovery, as we learn from Pliny (vi. 36), whose 'insulae purpurariae' cannot be confounded [Footnote: Mr. Major, however, would identify the Purple Islands with Oanarian Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, both possibly Continental.] with the Fortunate Islands, or Canaries. The 'Gaetulian dye' of King Juba in the Augustan age is not known. Its origin has been found in the orchilla still growing upon the Desertas; but this again appears unlikely enough. Ptolemy (iv. 1,16) also mentions 'Erythia,' the Red Isle—'red,' possibly, for the same reason; and Plutarch (in Suet.) may allude to the Madeiran group when he relates of the Fortunate Islands: 'They are two, separated only by a narrow channel, and at a distance of 400 leagues (read 320 miles) from the African coast.'
The Jesuit, Antonio Cordeyro, [Footnote: Historia insulana das Ilhas a Portugal sugoytas, pp. 61-96. Lisbon, 1717.] who borrows from the learned and trustworthy Dr. Gaspar Fructuoso, [Footnote: As Saudades da Terra, lib. i. ch. iii, Historia das Ilhas, &c. This lettered and conscientious chronicler, the first who wrote upon the Portuguese islands, was born (A.D. 1522) at Ponta Delgada (Thin Point) of St. Michael, Azores. He led a life of holiness and good works, composed his history in 1590, left many 'sons of his soul,' as he called his books, and died in his natal place, A.D. 1591. The Madeiran portion of the two huge folios (some 4,000 pages of MS.) has been printed at Funchal, with copious notes by Dr. A. Rodrigues de Azevedo, Professor of Literature, &c., at the National Lyceum; and a copy was kindly lent to me, during the author's absence in Lisbon, by Governor Viscount de Villa Mendo.] declares in 1590: 'The first discoverers of the Porto Santo Island, many say, were those Frenchmen and Castilians (Spaniards) who went forth from Castile to conquer the Canaries; these, when either outward or homeward bound, came upon the said island, and, for that they found it uninhabited and small, they abandoned it; but as they had weathered a storm and saved themselves there, they named it Port Holy.' Fructuoso (i. 5) expressly asserts that the Portuguese sailed from Lisbon in June 1419 for 'the Isle of Porto Sancto'(in 32 deg. N. lat.), which two years before had been discovered by some Castilian ships making the Canaries, the latter having been occupied a short time previously by the French; wherefore the pilot took that route.' The Jesuit chronicler continues to relate that after the formally proclaimed annexation of the Canaries by the Normans and Castilians (A.D. 1402-18), Prince Henry, the Navigator, despatched from Lagos, in 1417, an expedition to explore Cape Bojador, the 'gorbellied.' The three ships were worked by the Italian master-seaman Bertholomeu Palestrello or Palestro, commonly called Perestrello. The soldiers, corresponding to our marines, were commanded by the 'sweet warman,' Joao Goncales da Camara, nicknamed 'O Zargo,' the Cyclops, not the squint-eyed; [Footnote: Curious to say, Messieurs White and Johnson, the writers of the excellent guide-book, will translate the word 'squint-eyed:' they might have seen the portrait in Government House.] his companion was Tristao Vaz Teyxeyra, called in honour 'the Tristam.' Azurara, [Footnote: Chronica do Descobrimento de Guine. By Gomes Eannes de Azurara, written between A.D. 1452-53, and quoted by Prof. Azevedo, Notes, p. 830.] a contemporary, sends the 'two noble squires,' Zarco and Tristam, 'who in bad weather were guided by God to the isle now called Porto Sancto' (June 1419). They returned home (marvellous to relate) without touching at Madeira, only twenty-three miles distant; and next year (1420) Prince Henry commissioned Palestrello also.
The Spaniards prefer to believe that after Jehan de Bethencourt's attack upon the Canaries (A.D. 1403), his soldier Lancelot, who named Lanzarote Island, touched at Porto Santo in 1417; and presently, sailing to the south-west, discovered Madeira. This appears reasonable enough.
Patriotic Barbot (1700), in company with the mariner Villault de Belfons, Pere Labat, and Ernest de Freville, [Footnote: Memoire sur le Commerce Maritime de Rouen.] claims the honour for France. According to that 'chief factor for the African Company,' the merchants of Dieppe first traded to West Africa for cardamoms and ivory. This was during the reign of Charles V., and between 1364 and 1430, or half a century before the Portuguese. Their chief stations were Goree of Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Cape Mount, the Kru or Liberian coast, then called 'of Grain,' from the 'Guinea grains' or Malaguetta pepper (Amomum granum Paradisi), and, lastly, the Gold Coast. Here they founded 'Petit Paris' upon the Baie de France, at 'Serrelionne;' 'Petit Dieppe,' at the mouth of the St. John's River, near Grand Bassa, south of Monrovia; and 'Cestro' [Footnote: Now generally called Grand Sestros, and popularly derived from the Portuguese cestos—pepper.] or 'Sestro Paris,' where, three centuries afterwards, the natives retained a few words of French. Hence Admiral Bouet-Willaumez explains the Great and Little 'Boutoo' of our charts by butteau, from butte, the old Norman word still preserved in the great western prairies.
Barbot resumes that in 1383 the Rouen traders, combining with the Dieppe men, sent upon an exploring voyage three ships, one of which, La Vierge, ran down coast as far as where Commenda (Komenda or Komani) and Elmina now stand. At the latter place they built a fort and factory just one century before it was occupied by the Portuguese. The Frenchman declares that one of the Elmina castles was called Bastion de France, and 'on it are still to be seen some old arithmetical numbers, which are anno 13' (i.e. 1383); 'the rest being defaced by weather.' This first factory was afterwards incorporated with the modern building; and in 1387 it was enlarged with the addition of a chapel to lodge more than ten or twelve men, the original garrison.
In 1670 Ogilvy [Footnote: London: Printed by Tho. Johnson for the author, and to be had at his house in White Fryers, MDCLXX.] notes: 'The castle (Elmina) was judged to be an Antient Building from several marks of Antiquity about it; as first by a decay'd Battery, which the Dutch repaired some years ago, retaining the name of the French Battery, because it seems to have been built by the French; who, as the Inhabitants say, before the coming of the Portugals harbour'd there. The Dutch when they won it, found the numerical Figures of the year thirteen hundred; but were not able to make anything of the two following Characters. In a small place within also, may be seen a Writing carved in Stone between two old Pillars, but so impair'd and worn out by the weather that it is not legible.' At Groree, too, similar remains were reported.
The adventurers, it is said, carried on a good trade till 1430-90, when the civil wars distracting France left her without stomach for distant adventure; and in 1452 Portugal walked over the course. M. d'Avezac, who found Porto Santo in a French map of the fourteenth century, [Footnote: Bulletin de la Societe de Geographie, cinquieme serie, tome v. p. 260. Also 'Iles de l'Afrique,' in the Univers. Paris, 1868.] seems inclined to take the part of 'quelques precurseurs meconnus contre les pretentions trop exclusives des decouvreurs officiels.'
Barbot's details are circumstantial, but they have not been confirmed by contemporary evidence or by local tradition. The Portuguese indignantly deny the whole, and M. Valdez in his 'Complete Maritime Handbook' [Footnote: Six Years of a Traveller's Life in Western Africa. London, Hurst & Blackett, 1861.] alludes contemptuously to 'Norman pirates.' They point out that Diego d'Azembuja, the chief captain, sent in 1481 to found Sao Jorje da Mina, our 'Elmina Castle,' saw no traces of previous occupation. But had he done so, would he have dared to publish the fact? Professor Azevedo relies upon the silence of Azurara, Barros, and Camoens concerning the French, the Spaniards, and the English in the person of Robert a Machim. But this is also at best a negative argument: the 'Livy of Portugal' never mentions the great mathematician, Martin Behaim, who accompanied Diego Cam to his discovery of the Congo. In those days fair play was not a jewel.
The truth is that it would be as easy to name the discoverer of gunpowder or steam-power as to find the first circumnavigator of the African continent. I have no difficulty in believing that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians were capable of making the voyage. They were followed to West Africa in early days, according to El-Idrisi and Ibn. el-Wardi, by the Arabs. The former (late eleventh century) relates that an Arab expedition sailed from Lisbon, shortly after the eighth century, and named Madeira and Porto Santo the 'Islands El-Ghanam and Rakah.' However that may be, the first Portuguese occupants found neither men nor ruins nor large quadrupeds upon any of the group.
The English accident of hitting upon Madeira, and the romantic tale of Master Robert a Machim, or Machin, or Macham, and Mistress Anne d'Arfet, or Darby, or Dorset, which would have suited Camoens, and which I have told elsewhere, [Footnote: Wanderings in West Africa, vol. i, p. 17. Chapter II., 'A Day at Madeira,' was written after my second and before my third visit.] and need not repeat, was probably an 'ingenious account' invented for politico-international ends or to flatter Dom Enrique, a Britisher by the distaff-side. It is told with a thousand variants, and ignored by the learned Fructuoso. According to the apocryphal manuscript of Francisco Alcoforado, the squire who accompanied the Zargo, this elopement took place in the earlier days of Edward III. (A.D. 1327-77). The historian Antonio Galvao fixes upon September 1344, the date generally accepted. Thus the interval between Machim's death and the Zargo's discovery would be seventy-four years; and—pace Mr. Major—the Castilian pilot, Juan Damores (de Amores), popularly called Morales, could not have met the remnant of the Bristol crew in their Moroccan prison, and could not have told the tale to the Portuguese explorers.
M. d'Avezac (loc. cit. p. 116) supports the claims of the Genoese, quoting the charts and portulans of the fourteenth century in which appear Italian names, as Insule dello Legname (of wood, materia, Madeira), Porto Sancto, Insule Deserte, and Insule Selvaggie. Mr. R. H. Major replies that these Italian navigators were commandants of expeditions fitted out by the Portuguese; and that this practice dated from 1341, when two ships officered by Genoese, with crews of [footnote: Amongst the 'ridiculous little blots, which are "nuts" to the old resident,' I must confess to killing Robert Machim in 1334 instead of 1344; 'Collegio' was also translated 'College' instead of 'Jesuit Church.'] Italians, Castilians, and Hispani (Spanish and Portuguese), were seat to explore the Canaries.
'Holy Port' began badly. The first governor, Perestrello, fled from the progeny of his own she-rabbit. This imprudence was also committed at Deserta Grande; and, presently, the cats introduced by way of cure ran wild. A grass-clad rock in the Fiume Gulf can tell the same tale: sheep and lambs were effectually eaten out by rabbits and cats. It will be remembered that Columbus married Philippa, third daughter of the navigator Perestrello, lived as a mapper with his father-in-law, and thence travelled, between 1470 and 1484, to Guinea, where he found that the equatorial regions are not uninhabitable by reason of the heat. He inherited the old seaman's papers, and thus arose the legend of his learning from a castaway pilot the way to the New World. [Footnote: Fructuoso writes that in 1486 Columbus gave food and shelter to the crew of a shattered Biscayan ship; the pilot dying bequeathed to him papers, charts and valuable observations made on the Western Ocean.]
Long years rolled by before Porto Santo learnt to bear the vine, to breed large herds of small cattle, and to produce cereals whose yield is said to have been 60 to 1. Meanwhile it cut down for bowls, mortars, and canoes, as the Guanches did for shields, its thin forest of 'Dragons.' The Dragoeiro (Dracaena Draco Linn., Palma canariensis Tourn.), which an Irish traveller called a 'dragon-palm,' owed its vulgar name to the fancy that the fruit contained the perfect figure of a standing dragon with gaping mouth and long neck, spiny back and crocodile's tail. It is a quaint tree of which any ingenious carpenter could make a model. The young trunk is somewhat like that of the Oreodoxa regia, or an asparagus immensely magnified; but it frequently grows larger above than below. At first it bears only bristly, ensiform leaves, four feet long by one to three inches broad, and sharp-pointed, crowning the head like a giant broom. Then it puts forth gouty fingers, generally five, standing stiffly up and still capped by the thick yucca-like tufts. Lastly the digitations grow to enormous arms, sometimes eighteen feet in girth, of light and porous, soft and spongy wood. The tree then resembles the baobab or calabash, the elephant or hippopotamus of the vegetable kingdom.
Amongst the minor uses of this 'Dragon,' the sweet yellowish berries called masainhas were famous for fattening pigs. The splinters made tooth-picks which, dipped in the juice, secured health for human gums. But the great virtue resided in the Sanguis Draconis, the 'Indian Cinnabaris' of Pliny, [Footnote: N.H. xxxiii. 38.] who holds it to be the sanies of the dragon mixed with the blood of the dying elephant. The same semi-mystical name is given to the sap by the Arab pharmists: in the Middle Ages this strong astringent resin was a sovereign cure for all complaints; now it is used chiefly for varnishes. The gum forms great gouts like blood where the bark is wounded or fissured: at first it is soft as that of the cherry, but it hardens by exposure to a dry red lump somewhat like 'mummy.' It has no special taste: when burnt the smell is faintly balsamic. The produce was collected in canes, and hence the commercial name 'Dragon's blood in reeds.'
Mr. P. Barker Webb believed the Dragoeiro to be a species peculiar to the Madeiras and Canaries. But its chief point of interest is its extending through Morocco as far as Arabo-African Socotra, and through the Khamiesberg Range of Southern Africa, where it is called the Kokerboom. As it is utterly African, like the hippopotamus, the zebra, and the giraffe, we must account, by transplantation from Socotra, for the D. Draco seen by Cruttenden in the mountains behind Dhofar and on the hills of El-Yemen. [Footnote: Journ. R. Geogr. Soc. p. 279, vol. viii. of 1838.] The line of growth, like the coffee-shrub and the copal-tree, suggests a connection across the Dark Continent: thus the similar flora of Fernando Po Peak, of Camarones volcano, and of the highlands of Abyssinia seems to prove a latitudinal range traversing the equatorial regions, where the glacial epoch banished for ever the hardier plants from the lower levels. When Humboldt determined it to be a purely Indian growth, he seems to have confounded the true 'dragon' with a palm or some other tree supplying the blood. It was a 'dazzling theory,' but unsound: the few specimens in Indus-land, 'its real country,' are comparatively young, and are known to have been imported.
The endogenous monster, indigenous to the Elysian Fields, is to the surrounding vegetation what the cockatrice is to the cock, the wyvern to the python. I should say 'was,' for all the replants at Madeira and the Canaries are modern, and resemble only big toothsticks. But 'dragons' proper have existed, and perhaps memories of these portents long lingered in the brain of protohistoric man. Even if they had been altogether fabulous, the fanciful Hellenic mind would easily have created them. The Dragoeiro with its boa-like bole, its silvery, light-glancing skin, and its scars stained with red blood, growing in a wild garden of glowing red-yellow oranges, would easily become the fiery saurian guarding the golden apples of the Hesperides.
Porto Santo and Madeira, though near neighbours, are contrasts in most respects. The former has yellow sands and brackish water, full of magnesia and lime, which blacken the front teeth; the latter sweet water and black shingles. The islet is exceedingly dry, the island damp as Devonshire. Holy Port prefers wheeled conveyances: Wood-and-Fennel-land corsas or sledges, everywhere save on the New Road. Finally, the wines of the northern mite are comparatively light and acidulous; of the southern, luscious and heady.
Both scraps of ground are of kindred although disputed origin. Classicists [Footnote: Plato, Timaeus, ii. 517. His 'fruit with a hard rind, affording meat, drink, and ointment,' is evidently the cocoanut. The cause of the lost empire and the identity of its site with the Dolphin's Ridge and the shallows noted by H.M.S. Challenger, have been ably pleaded in Atlantis, &c., by Ignatius Donnelly (London, Sampson Low, 1882).] find in these sons of Vulcan, the debris of Platonic Atlantis, a drowned continent, a 'Kingdom of Nowhere,' which some cataclysm whelmed beneath the waters, leaving, for all evidence, three shattered groups of outcrops, like the Channel Islands, fragments of a lost empire, the 'bones of a wasted body.' Geologists, noting that volcanoes almost always fringe mainlands, believe them destined, together with the Cape Verdes, to rampart in future ages the Dark Continent with a Ghaut-chain higher than the Andes. Other theorists hold to a recent connection of the Madeiras with Mount Atlas, although the former rise from a narrow oceanic trough some 13,000 to 15,000 feet deep. Others again join them to Southern Europe and to Northern America. The old Portuguese and certain modern realists make them a continuation of the Serra de Monchique in the Algarves, even as the Azores prolong Cintra; and this opinion is somewhat justified by the flora, which resembles in many points the tertiary and extinct growths of Europe. [Footnote: Such is the opinion of M. Pegot-Ogier in The Fortunate Islands, translated by Frances Locock (London, Bentleys, 1871). Moquet set the example in 1601 by including Madeira also in the 'Elysian Fields and Earthly Paradise' of the ancients.]
Porto Santo was till lately distinguished only for pride, poverty, and purity of blood. Her soil, according to the old chroniclers, has never been polluted, like Sao Thome and other colonies, by convicts, Jews, or other 'infected peoples.' She was populated by Portuguese 'noble and taintless'—Palestrellos, Calacas, Pinas, Vieyras, Rabacaes, Crastos, Nunes, Pestanas, and Concellos. And yet not a little scandal was caused by Holiport when the 'Prophet Fernando' and the 'Prophetess Philippa' (Nunes), 'instigated by the demon and the deceitfulness of mankind,' induced the ecclesiastics to introduce into the introit, with the names of St. Peter and St. Paul, the 'Blessed Prophet Fernando.' The tale of murder is told with holy horror by Dr. Gaspar Fructuoso, and the islanders are still nicknamed 'prophetas.' Foreigners, however, who have lately visited them, speak highly of their simple primitive ways.
I boated to the Holy Port in 1862, when Messieurs Blandy's steamship Falcon was not in existence. And now as the Luso steamed along shore, no external change appeared. A bird's-eye view of the islet suggests a podao or Madeiran billhook, about six miles by three. The tool's broken point is the Ilha da Cima, facing to north-east, a contorted pile which resembles a magnified cinder. The handle is the Ilheu Baixo, to the south; and the blade is the tract of yellow sandy lowlands—the sole specimen of its sort in the Madeiras—connecting the extremities. Three tall cones at once disclose vulcanism; the Pico de Facho, or Beacon Peak (1,660 feet), the Pico de Anna Ferreira (910 feet), and the sugarloaf Pico de Castello (1,447 feet). The latter rises immediately north of the single town, and its head still shows in white points the ruins of the fort which more than once saved the population from the 'Moors.' The lower levels are terraced, as usual in this archipelago, and the valleys are green with vines and cereals. The little white Villa Baleira is grouped around its whiter church, and dotted with dark vegetation, trees, and houses, straggling off into open country. Here lodge the greater part of the islanders, now nearly 1,750 souls. The population is far too thick. But the law of Portugal has, till lately, forbidden emigration to the islanders unless a substitute for military service be provided; the force consists of only 250 men, and the term of service is three years; yet a remplacant costs upwards of 50l. Every emigrant was, therefore, an energetic stowaway, who landed at Honolulu or Demerara without shoes and stockings, and returned in a few years with pounds sterling enough to purchase an estate and a pardon. Half-a-dozen boats, some of them neat little feluccas with three masts, are drawn up on the beach: there is not much fishing; the vine-disease has raged, and the staple export consists of maize in some quantities; of cantaria, a grey trachyte which works more freely than the brown or black basalt, and of an impure limestone from Ilheu Baixo, the only calcaire used in Funchal. This rock is apparently an elevated coral-reef: it also produces moulds of sea-shells, delicately traced and embedded in blocks of apparently unbroken limestone. Of late a fine vein of manganese has been found in the northern or mountainous part of the island: specimens shown to me by Mr. J. Blandy appeared remarkably rich.
Under the lee of Porto Santo we enjoyed a dry deck and a foretaste of the soft and sensuous Madeiran 'Embate,' the wester opposed to the Leste, Harmattan, Khammasin, or Scirocco, the dry wind which brings wet. [Footnote: The popular proverb is, 'A Leste never dies thirsty.'] Then we rolled over the twenty-five geographical miles separating us from our destination. Familiar sites greeted my eyes: here the 'Isle of Wood' projects a dwarf tail composed of stony vertebrae: seen upon the map it looks like the thin handle of a broad chopper. The outermost or extreme east is the Ilha de Fora, where the A.S.S. Forerunner and the L. and H. Newton came to grief: a small light, one of the many on this shore, now warns the careless skipper; but apparently nothing is easier than to lose ships upon the safest coasts. Inside it is the Ponta de Sao Lourenco, where the Zargo, when startled, called upon his patron Saint of the Gridiron; others say it was named after his good ship. It has now a lighthouse and a telegraph-station. [Footnote: The line runs all along the southern shore as far as the Ponta do Pargo (of the 'braise-fish,' Pargus vulgaris), the extreme west. At Funchal the cable lands north of Fort Sao Thiago Minor, where ships are requested not to anchor. It is used chiefly for signalling arrivals from north and south; and there is talk of extending it to the Porto da Cruz, a bay on the north-eastern side. It would be of great advantage to Madeira if steamers could here land their mails when prevented from touching at Funchal by the south winds, which often last a week. Accordingly a breakwater has been proposed, and Messieurs Blandy are taking interest in the improvement.] The innermost of this sharp line of serrated basaltic outliers is the Pedra do Furado, which Englishmen call the Arch-Rock.
The substantial works of the Goncalo-Machico highway, the telegraph-posts, and the yellow-green lines of sugar-cane, were the only changes I could detect in Eastern Madeira. Nothing more charming than the variety and contrast of colours after the rusty-brown raiment which Southern Europe dons in mid-December. Even the barren, arid, and windswept eastern slopes glowed bright with the volcanic muds locally called laterites, and the foliated beds of saibros and macapes, decomposed tufas oxidised red and yellow. As we drew nearer to Funchal, which looks like a giant plate-bande, tilted up at an angle of 40 deg., we were startled by the verdure of every shade and tint; the yellow-green of the sugar and common cane (Arundo sagittata), of the light-leaved aloe, banana, and hibiscus; the dark orange, myrtle, and holm-oak; the gloomy cypress, and the dull laurels and bay-trees, while waving palms, growing close to stiff pines and junipers (Oedro da Serra), showed the contrast and communion of north and south.
Lines of plane-trees, with foliage now blighted yellow and bright green in February, define the embouchures of the three grim black ravines radiating from the upper heights, and broadening out as they approach the bay. The rounded grassy hill-heads setting off the horizontal curtains of dry stone, 'horticultural fortifications' which guard the slopes, and which rise to a height of 3,000 feet; the lower monticules and parasitic craters, Signal Hill, Race-course Hill, Sao Martinho and Santo Antonio, telling the tale of throes perhaps to be renewed; the stern basaltic cliff-walls supporting the island and prolonged in black jags through the glassy azure of the transparent sea; the gigantic headlands forming abutments for the upper arch; the chequered lights and shades and the wavy play of sunshine and cloudlet flitting over the face of earth; the gay tenements habited in white and yellow, red, green, and, not unfrequently, blue; the houses built after the model of cigar-boxes set on edge, with towers, belvederes, and gazebos so tall that no one ascends them, and with flat roofs bearing rooms of glass, sparkling like mirrors where they catch the eye of day; the toy-forts, such as the Fortaleza do Pico de Sao Joao, built by the Spaniards, an upper work which a single ironclad would blow to powder with a broadside; the mariner's landmark, 2,000 feet high, Nossa Senhora do Monte, white-framed in brown-black and backed by its feathery pines, distance-dwarfed to mere shrubs, where the snow-winds sport; the cloud-cap, a wool-pack, iris-tinted by the many-hued western sky, and the soft sweet breath of the serre-chaude below, profusely scented with flower and fruit, all combined to form an ensemble whose first sight Northern travellers long remember. Here everyone quotes, and so will I:—
Hic ver assiduum atque alienis mensibus aestas.
Though it be midwinter, the land is gorgeous with blossoms; with glowing rose, fuchsia, and geranium; with snowy datura, jasmine, belladonna, stephanotis, lily, and camelia; with golden bignonia and grevillea; with purple passion-creeper; with scarlet coral and poinciana; with blue jacaranda (rosewood), solanum and lavender; and with sight-dazzling bougainvillea of five varieties, in mauve, pink, and orange sheets. Nor have the upper heights been wholly bared. The mountain-flanks are still bushy and tufty with broom, gorse, and furze; with myrtle, bilberry and whortleberry; with laurels; with heaths 20 feet high, and with the imported pine.
We spin round fantastic Garajao, [Footnote: Not the meaningless Garajao, as travellers will write it.] the wart-nosed cliff of 'terns' or 'sea-swallows' (Sterna hirundo), by the northern barbarian termed, from its ruddy tints, Brazen Head. Here opens the well-known view perpetuated by every photographer—first the blue bay, then the sheet of white houses gradually rising in the distance. We anchor in the open roadstead fronting the Fennel-field ('Funchal'), concerning which the Spaniard spitefully says—
Donde crece la escola Nace el asno que la roya.
Wheresoe'er the fennel grows Lives the ass that loves to browse.]
And there, straight before us, lies the city, softly couched against the hill-side that faces the southern sea, and enjoying her 'kayf' in the sinking sun. Her lower zone, though in the Temperates, is sub-tropical: Tuscany is found in the mid-heights, while it is Scotland in the bleak wolds about Pico Ruivo (6,100 feet) and the Pauel (Moorland) da Serra. I now see some change since 1865. East of the yellow-washed, brown-bound fort of Sao Thiago Minor, the island patron, rises a huge white pile, or rather piles, the Lazaretto, with its three-arched bridge spanning the Wady Goncalo Ayres. The fears of the people forbid its being used, although separated from them by a mile of open space. This over-caution at Madeira, as at Tenerife, often causes great inconvenience to foreign residents; moreover, it is directly opposed to treaty. There is a neat group, meat-market, abattoir, and fish-market—where there is ne'er a flat fish save those who buy—near those dreariest of academic groves, the Praca Academica, at the east end proper, or what an Anglo-Indian would term the 'native town.' Here we see the joint mouth of the torrent-beds Santa Luzia and Joao Gomes which has more than once deluged Funchal. Timid Funchalites are expecting another flood: the first was in 1803, the second in 1842, and thus they suspect a cycle of forty years. [Footnote: The guide-books make every twenty-fifth year a season of unusual rain, the last being 1879-80.] The lately repaired Se (cathedral) in the heart of the mass is conspicuous for its steeple of azulejos, or varnished tiles, and for the ruddy painting of the black basaltic facade, contrasting less violently with the huge splotches of whitewash, the magpie-suit in which the church-architecture of the Madeiras and the Canaries delights. The Sao Francisco convent, with its skull-lined walls, and the foundations of its proposed successor, the law courts, have disappeared from the space adjoining the main square; this chief promenade, the Praca da Constituicao, is grown with large magnolias, vinhaticos, or native mahogany (Persea Indica), and til-trees (Oreodaphne foetens), and has been supplemented by the dwarf flower-garden (Jardim Novo) lately opened to the west. The latter, I regret to say, caused the death of many noble old trees, including a fine palm; but Portuguese, let me repeat, have scant sympathy with such growth. The waste ground now belonging to the city will be laid out as a large public garden with fountains and band-stands. Finally, that soundly abused 'Tower of Babel,' alias 'Benger's Folly,' built in 1796, has in the evening of its days been utilised by conversion into a signal-tower. So far so good.
But the stump of caes, or jetty, which was dashed to pieces more than a score of years ago, remains as it was; The landing-place calls loudly for a T-headed pier of concrete blocks, or a gangway supported upon wooden piles and metal pilasters: one does not remark the want in fine weather; one does bitterly on bad days. There has been no attempt to make a port or even a debarcadere by connecting the basaltic lump Loo (Ilheu) Fort with the Pontinha, the curved scorpion's tail of rock and masonry, Messieurs Blandy's coal stores, to the west. Big ships must still roll at anchor in a dangerous open roadstead far off shore; and, during wet weather, ladies, well drenched by the surf, must be landed with the aid of a crane in what should be the inner harbour. The broken-down circus near Reid's is to become a theatre, but whence the money is to come no one knows. The leper hospital cannot afford to make up more than nine or ten beds. The jail is in its old disgraceful state, and sadly wants reform: here the minimum of punishment would suffice; I never saw the true criminal face, and many of the knick-knacks bought in Madeira are the work of these starving wretches. The Funchal Club gives periodically a subscription ball, 'to ameliorate, if possible, the condition of the prisoners at the Funchal jail'—asking strangers, in fact, to do the work of Government. The Praca da Rainha, a dwarf walk facing the huge yellow Government House, alias Palacio de Sao Lourenco, has been grown with mulberries intended for sericulture. Unfortunately, whatever may here be done by one party (the 'ins') is sure to be undone when the 'outs' become 'ins.' There has been no change in the 'Palace,' except that the quaint portraits of one-eyed Zargo, who has left many descendants in the island, and of the earlier Captains-General, dignitaries who were at once civil and military, have been sent to the Lisbon Exhibition. The queer old views of Machim's landing and of Funchal Bay still amuse visitors. Daily observations for meteorology are here taken at 9 A.M. and 3 and 9 P.M.; the observatory standing eighty feet above sea-level.
As our anchor rattles downwards, two excise boats with the national flag take up their stations to starboard and port; and the boatmen are carefully watched with telescopes from the shore. The wiser Spaniards have made Santa Cruz, Tenerife, a free port. The health-officer presently gives us pratique, and we welcome the good 'monopolist,' Mr. William Reid, and his son. The former, an Ayrshire man, has made himself proprietor of the four chief hostelries. Yates's or Hollway's in the Entrada da Cidade, or short avenue running north from the landing-place, has become a quasi-ruinous telegraph-station. Reid's has blossomed into the 'Royal Edinburgh;' it is rather a tavern than an hotel, admitting the 'casuals' from passing steamers and men who are not welcome elsewhere. One of these, who called himself a writer for the press, and who waxed insultingly drunk, made our hours bitter; but the owner has a satisfactory and sovereign way of dealing with such brutes. Miles's has become the Carmo, and Schlaff's the 'German.' The fourth, Santa Clara, retains her maiden name; the establishment is somewhat collet monte, but I know none in Europe more comfortable. There are many others of the second rank; and the Hotel Central, with its cafe-billiard and estaminet at the city-entrance, is a good institution which might be made better.
We throw a few coppers to the diving-boys, who are expert as the Somali savages of Aden, and we quit our water prison in the three-keeled boats,
Magno telluris amore Egressi
'Tellus,' however, is represented at Funchal by chips and pebbles of black basalt like petrified kidneys, stuck on edge, often upon a base of bare rock. They are preferred to the slabs of Trieste and Northern Italy, which here, with the sole exception of the short Rua de Bettencourt, are confined to flights of steps. The surfaces are greased by rags and are polished by the passage of 'cars' or coach-sleighs, which irreverents call 'cow-carts;' these vehicles, evidently suggested by the corsa, or common sleigh, consist of a black-curtained carriage-body mounted on runners. The queer cobble-pavement, that resembles the mosaics of clams and palm-nuts further south, has sundry advantages. It is said to relieve the horses' back sinews; it is never dusty; the heaviest rain flows off it at once; nor is it bad walking when the kidney-stones are small. The black surface is sometimes diapered with white pebbles, lime from Porto Santo. Very strange is the glare of moonlight filtered through the foliage; the beams seem to fall upon patches of iced water.
We had not even the formality of a visit to the Custom-house: our unopened boxes were expected to pay only a small fee, besides the hire of boat, porters, and sledges. A cedula interina, costing 200 reis (11d.), was the sole expense for a permit to reside. What a contrast with London and Liverpool, where I have seen a uniform-case and a cocked hat-box subjected to the 'perfect politeness' of certain unpleasant officials: where collections of natural history are plundered by paid thieves, [Footnote: When we last landed at Liverpool (May 22), the top tray of my wife's trunk reached us empty, and some of the choicest birds shot by Cameron and myself were stolen. Since the days of Waterton the Liverpudlian custom-house has been a scandal and a national disgrace.] and where I have been obliged to drop my solitary bottle of Syrian raki!
I was hotelled at the 'Royal Edinburgh,' and enjoyed once more the restful calm of a quasi-tropical night, broken only by the Christmas twanging of the machete (which is to the guitar what kit is to fiddle); by the clicking of the pebbles on the shore, and by the gentle murmuring of the waves under the window.
NOTE.—The Madeiran Archipelago consists of five islands disposed in a scalene triangle, whose points are Porto Santo (23 miles, north-east), Madeira (west), and the three Desertas (11 miles, south-east). The Great and Little Piton of the Selvagens, or Salvages (100 miles, south), though belonging to Portugal and to the district of Funchal, are geographically included in the Canarian group. Thus, probably, we may explain the 'Aprositos,' or Inaccessible Island, which Ptolemy
[Footnote: The great Alexandrian is here (iv. 6, Sec.Sec. 33-4) sadly out of his reckoning. He places the group of six islands adjacent to Libya many degrees too far south (N. lat. 10 deg.-16 deg.), and assigns one meridian (0 deg. 0' 0") to Aprositos, Pluitana (Pluvialia? Hierro?), Caspeiria (Capraria? Lanzarote?), and another and the same (1 deg. 0' 0") to Pintouaria (Nivaria? Tenerife?), Hera (Junonia? Gomera?), and Canaria.]
includes in his Six Fortunates; and the Isle of SS. Borondon and Maclovius the Welshman (St. Malo). The run from Lizard's Point is laid down at 1,164 miles; from Lisbon, 535; from Cape Cantin, 320; from Mogador (9 deg. 40' west long.), 380; and 260 from Santa Cruz, Tenerife. The main island lies between N. lat. 32 deg. 49' 44" and 32 deg. 37' 18"; the parallel is that of Egypt, of Upper India, of Nankin, and of California. Its longitude is included within 16 deg. 39' 30" and 17 deg. 16' 38" west of Greenwich. The extreme length is thus 37-1/2 (usually set down as 33 to 54) miles; the breadth, 12-1/2 (popularly 15-16 1/2); the circumference, 72; the coast-line, about 110; and the area, 240—nearly the size of Huntingdonshire, a little smaller than the Isle of Man, and a quarter larger than the Isle of Wight. Pico Ruivo, the apex of the central volcanic ridge, rises 6,050-6,100 feet, with a slope of 1 in 3.75; the perpetual snow-line being here 11,500. Madeira is supposed to tower from a narrow oceanic trough, ranging between 13,200 and 16,800 feet deep. Of 340 days, there are 263 of north-east winds, 8 of north, 7 of east, and 62 of west. The rainfall averages only 29.82 to 30.62 inches per annum. The over-humidity of the climate arises from its lying in the Guinea Gulf Stream, which bends southward, about the Azores, from its parent the great Gulf Stream, striking the Canaries and flowing along the Guinea shore. (White and Johnson's Guide-Book, and 'Du Climat de Madere,' &c., par A. C. Mourao-Pitta, Montpellier, 1859, the latter ably pleading a special cause.)
A FORTNIGHT AT MADEIRA.
I passed Christmas week at the 'Flower of the Wavy Field;' and, in the society of old and new friends, found nothing of that sameness and monotony against which so many, myself included, have whilom declaimed. The truth is that most places breed ennui for an idle man. Nor is the climate of Madeira well made for sedentary purposes: it is apter for one who loves to flaner, or, as Victor Hugo has it, errer songeant.
Having once described Funchal at some length, I see no reason to repeat the dose; and yet, as Miss Ellen M. Taylor's book shows,
[Footnote: Madeira: its Scenery, and how to see it. Stanford, London, 1878. This is an acceptable volume, all the handbooks being out of print. I reviewed it in the Academy July 22, 1882.]
the subject, though old and well-worn, can still bear a successor to the excellent White and Johnson handbook.
[Footnote: Mr. Johnson still survives; not so the well-known Madeiran names Bewick, (Sir Frederick) Pollock, and Lowe (Rev, R. T.) The latter was drowned in 1873, with his wife, in the s.s. Liberia, Captain Lowry. The steamer went down in the Bay of Biscay, it is supposed from a collision. I sailed with Captain Lowry (s.s. Athenian) in January 1863, when St. George's steeple was rocking over Liverpool: he was nearly washed into the lee scuppers, and a quartermaster was swept overboard during a bad squall. I found him an excellent seaman, and I deeply regretted his death.]
As early as 1827 'The Rambler in Madeira' (Mr. Lyall) proclaimed the theme utterly threadbare, in consequence of 'every traveller opening his quarto (?) with a short notice of it;' and he proceeded at once to indite a fair-sized octavo. Humboldt said something of the same sort in his 'Personal Narrative,' and forthwith wrote the worst description of the capital and the 'Pike' of Tenerife that any traveller has ever written of any place. He confesses to having kept a meagre diary, not intending to publish a mere book of travels, and drew his picture probably from recollection and diminutive note-books.
I found Funchal open-hearted and open-handed as ever; and the pleasure of my stay was marred only by two considerations, both purely personal. Elysian fields and green countries do not agree with all temperaments. Many men are perfectly and causelessly miserable in the damp heats of Western India and the Brazil. We must in their case simply reverse the Wordsworthian dictum,
Not melancholy—no, for it is green.
They are perfectly happy in the Arabian desert, and even in Tenerife, where others feel as if living perpetually on the verge of high fever.
To this 'little misery' were added the displeasures of memory. Our last long visit was in 1863, when the Conde de Farrobo ruled the land, and when the late Lord Brownlow kept open house at the beautiful Vigia. I need hardly say that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves: the impressions of that good old time were deep and durable.
Amongst other things, Governor Farrobo indulged his fair friends with a display of the old jogo de canas, or running at the ring. The Praca Academica had been rigged out to serve as a tilting-yard, with a central alley of palisading and two 'stands,' grand and little. The purpose was charitable, and the performers were circus-horses, mounted by professionals and amateurs, who thus 'renowned it' before the public and their damas. The circlet, hanging to a line, equalled the diameter of a small boy's hat; and when the 'knight' succeeded in bearing it off upon his pole, he rode up to be decorated by the hands of a very charming person with a ribbon-baudriere of Bath dimensions and rainbow colours. Prizes were banal as medals after a modern war, and perhaps for the same purpose—to prevent unchristian envy, hatred, and malice. Almost any trooper in an Anglo-Indian cavalry regiment would have done better; but then he would have couched his bamboo spear properly and would have put out his horse to speed—an idea which seemed to elude the Madeiran mind. The fete ended with a surprise less expensive than that with which the Parisian restaurant astonishes the travelling Britisher. A paper chandelier was suspended between two posts, of course to be knocked down, when out sprang an angry hunch-backed dwarf, who abused and fiercely struck at all straight backs within reach.
Madeira is celebrated for excursions, which, however, are enjoyable only in finest weather. Their grand drawback is inordinate expense; you may visit the whole seaboard of Morocco, and run to Tenerife and return for the sum spent in a week of Madeiran travel. The following tour to the north of the island was marked out for us by the late Mr. Bewick; his readiness to oblige, his extensive local knowledge, and his high scientific attainments caused his loss to be long felt in the Isle of Wood. 'You make on the first day Santa Anna, on the opposite coast, a six to eight hours' stage by horse or hammock, passing through the grand scenery of the valleys Metade, Meiometade, and Ribeiro Frio.
[Footnote: Most of these places are given in Views (26) in the Madeiras, &c., by the Rev. James Bulwer. London, Rivington, 1829. He also wrote Rambles in Madeira and in Portugal in 1826.]
The next day takes you to Pico Ruivo, Rothhorn, Puy Rouge, or Red Peak, the loftiest in the island, whose summit commands a view of a hundred hills, and you again night at Santa Anna. The third stage is to the rocky gorge of Sao Vicente, which abounds in opportunities for neck-breaking. The next is a long day with a necessary guide to the Pauel da Serra, the "Marsh of the Wold," and the night is passed at Seixal, on the north-west coast, famous for its corniche-road. The fifth day conducts you along-shore to Ponta Delgada, and the last leads from this "Thin Point" through the Grand Curral back to Funchal.'
I mention this excursion that the traveller may carefully avoid it in winter, especially when we attempted the first part, February being the very worst month. After many days of glorious weather the temper of the atmosphere gave way; the mercury fell to 28.5, and we were indulged with a succession of squalls and storms, mists and rain. The elemental rage, it is true, was that of your southern coquette, sharp, but short, and broken by intervals of a loving relapse into caress. In the uplands and on the northern coast, however, it shows the concentrated spleen and gloom of a climate in high European latitudes.
We contented ourselves with the Caminho do Meio, the highway supposed to bisect the island, and gradually rising to the Rocket Road (Caminho do Foguete) with a pleasant slope of 23 deg., or 1 in 2 1/3. These roads are heavy on the three h's—head, heart, and hand. We greatly enjoyed the view from the famous Levada, the watercourse or leat-road of Santa Luzia, with its scatter of noble quintas,
[Footnote: The country-house is called a quinta, or fifth, because that is the proportion of produce paid by the tenant to the proprietor.]
St. Lucy's, St. Anne's, Quinta Davies, Palmeira, and Til. Nossa Senhora do Monte, by Englishmen misnamed 'the Convent,' and its break-arm slide-down, in basket-sleighs, is probably as well known, if not better known, to the reader than St. Paul's, City. Here we found sundry votaries prostrating themselves before a dark dwarf 'Lady' with jewelled head and spangled jupe: not a few were crawling on their knees up the cruel cobble-stones of the mount. On the right yawned the 'Little Curral,' as our countrymen call the Curral das Romeiras (of the Pilgrimesses); it is the head of the deluging torrent-bed, Joao Gomes. Well worth seeing is this broken punch-bowl, with its wild steep gap; and, if the traveller want a vertiginous walk, let him wend his way along the mid-height of the huge tongue which protrudes itself from the gorge to the valley-mouth.