November 28th.-The season in Cintra is over ; the air is growing too cool for comfort without fires ; the streets do not dry readily after a shower ; the heavy mists drive up from the sea and becloud the hill-tops ; and although the foliage still adorns most of the forests the trees have lost their luxuriance, and one is obliged to recognize the approach of a feeble winter, without frosts to glisten, and snowdrifts to beautify, and that fascinating music of the
. . . rushing of the blast, Which through the snowy valley flies.”
The alternative of Cintra is Lisbon, and as Lisbon is all Portuguese, so is Cintra. To the most charming watering-place in the world strangers do not come ; in the most picturesque city in Europe, with a genial climate and beautiful scenery and capacious harbor and convenient location, travellers and merchants and pleasure-seekers do not congregate. The dwellers in this region go to Cintra in summer and to Lisbon in winter. And so to-morrow we go to Lisbon.
To leave Cintra with nothing more than an allusion to its hills and vales and forests and palaces and quintas and views, is not sufficient to one who has passed many summer months there and has become familiar with all its charming characteristics, its nature and art. The grandeur of the Rock of Lisbon, standing out from the level shores of Portugal, a towering, ragged cliff, torn and embrowned by storms and driving surfs, split into fragments and burrowed by the beating ocean into caves, has been the sailors’ landmark for many a thousand years, a dark and gloomy witness of the splendid achievements and sad disasters of the land to which it belongs. And this is the beginning of the rocky serra, stretching from the seaside far inland, known as Cintra. Nature has commenced her imposing work in moderate proportions at the seaside, and has increased in magnitude and grandeur as she has passed on, until she has reached the great conical peaks crowned with boulders, and the deep vales which sunlight hardly reaches, and in wild beauty the monument stands pointing to the vast forces which toiled at the creation. That this strange pile is an upheaval of the primary rocks through strata of limestone and sandstone there is no doubtat least in the mind of the unscientific believer. The dip of the strata, the presence of solid granite boulders in loose sandstone, the half-solidified heaps of drift, the abrupt precipice, the ragged slopes,all tell of those great convulsions which brought into existence the features of the earth’s surface ; and crowning the peaks, piled one above another, preserved in their places by their immovable weight, some lying sidelong and some perched on end, an accumulation of boulders, thousands of tons in weight, brought along and gently deposited in that arctic period of the earth’s history when the seas and the zones were wrought into their present places. The work of the glacial period is visible in all its grandeur. Ice and the earthquake have done here their perfect work.
Cintra has borne an important part in the history of Portugal, not so much on account of the active force it has displayed in the great and critical events of the kingdom, as on account of the retreat it has furnished those who have been engaged in great scenes enacted during centuries of labor and conflict. When Lisbon was made the headquarters of the Carthaginian legions in the wars against Rome and her supremacy in the Iberian Peninsula, Cintra was a favorite resort for the conquerers. And when the Roman eagles had again perched on the Lusitanian hills, the charms of Cintra were counted among the sweetest rewards of the victorious leaders. The Goths followed with their wild love of nature, their independent spirit, their love of liberty, and for two hundred years the Visigoth kings scaled the heights and rested in the valleys of Cintra until the followers of Mahomet subdued and ravaged the country they had taken by surprise and conquered by treachery, and had inaugurated three centuries of conflict between themselves and the Christian possessors of the soil, in which Charlemagne took a hand, and at the close of which the first Christian monarch of Portugal, Dom Affonso Henriques, was seated on the throne, and crushed a fierce and bloody Moorish rebellion. It was from the mountains of Cintra that this monarch discovered the great fleet of English, French, and Flemings who were on their way to the Holy Land to redeem the Holy Sepulchre, and whom he induced to join him in relieving Lisbon from Moorish rule. And it was to Cintra that he repaired to rejoice over that great victory in which 200,000 Moors fell in one day, on the spot occupied by the church ” Nossa Senhora dos Martyres ” in Lisbon. In Cintra the Moorish kings had built their Alhambra, and when in 1385, more than two hundred years after this great siege, Lisbon was made the head of the Christian government, this Moorish palace became the favorite residence of the Portuguese monarchs ; and here, in 1889, the American Minister was received by Dom Luis I., who had resorted hither in search of health but a few weeks before he died at Cascaes. From the time when Dom John I. dedicated this ancient building to the royal service of Christian Portugal, Cintra has been most intimately connected with the great events of the kingdom. From her heights where Affonso Henriques saw the approaching fleet of the Crusaders, Dom Manoel saw nearly five hundred years later the fleet of Vasco de Gama returning from his great voyage of discovery in the East Indies. Here Dom Sebastian held his council of noblemen who decided in 1578 in favor of the fatal expedition to Africa in which kings and nobles perished and the power of Portugal was broken. And as years rolled on and Affonso VI. perished in miserable confinement, and the heart of John de Castro had been sent home from India to be buried at Pena Verde, and great enterprises had been organized and great wars fought out, the time arrived when the courage of Wellington was displayed on the battle-field, and his wisdom was manifest in the convention at Cintra, which terminated in the withdrawal of the French troops from the Peninsula, where but for English valor and English sagacity they might have gained a foothold not easily broken.
I have already referred to the interesting history which gathers around the convents and castles and palaces of Cintrathe Royal Palace, the Moorish Castle, the Marialva Palace the Setiaes of today, the Pena Verde of John de Castro, the Cork Convent of the hermit Honorius, the Pena Longa. But this is not all of Cintra. The gardens planted along the hill-sides and in the valleys are filled with beauty. Even the streets and paths which lead to them are bordered with geraniums and wild roses, and the beds and hedges are filled with plants and shrubs which blossom almost every month in the year. The garden of the Saldanha Villa, that of the Pena Palace, that above the Chamiço Villa, and the bosky dells of Pena Verde and the Posoes Quinta, and the warm little plateaus of the Regeleira and the Prince’s villa, where the Brazilian pine grows tall and the palm spreads out in great luxuriance, and the sunny corners where the groves of orange and lemon blossom and bear fruit continually, are full of beauty both of nature and art. The streets which wind through them and mount the highest peaks, bounded on either hand by solid walls of rough stones and a cemented surface which only the Portuguese know how to build, are of themselves picturesque, and tempt one to many a long and exhausting stroll. There are vineyards everywhere, clinging to the rocky sides of the cliffs, and planted many feet deep in the sand, where their roots may reach the hidden springs. And from the mountain tops flow innumerable rivulets, stealing their way beneath the surface, and filling the stone cisterns which are built along the highways for the toiling animals, and alongside of the high garden walls for the irrigation of the trees and plants and crops, adorning the slopes, and cooling and refreshing the soil, while the driving mists cover the surface of the land with a living green.
It was a combination of beauty and natural luxuriance which gave Cintra its attractions in the early days, and made it the resort of the distinguished men who founded the greatness of Portugal, and which still draws men unto it. And the centre of these charms has long been found in Montserrate, an elevated spot from which the beauty of the landscape towards the sea is seen, and whose background is made up of the luxuriant hillsides which are crowned by the rugged and rocky peaks. From Montserrate can be seen the finest view of land and sea and forest and mountain in all the Iberian Peninsula. It once belonged to the De Castro family, and on its ridge stood the chapel of the Lady of Montserrate, until in 1750 or there-abouts the Brazilian merchant De Visme removed it and built a house on the spot, which when half finished Beckford leased and completed,Beckford, whom Byron in most uneuphonious phrase calls ” England’s wealthiest son,” and who wrote the wild and extravagant and voluptuous and cruel pages of Vathek. This strolling voluptuary, who derived a vast income for years from ancestral sugar plantations in St. Domingo, led a gay life in the fragile building which he constructed, for a few years, and then left it to fall into decay. His stable and stone cow-sheds still remain ; and from a height which overlooks the uneven land, his cascade, which is a gentle waterfall in summer and a roaring torrent in winter, still tells of his taste and skill. All else is changed ; and the palace and garden which now constitute the beauty of the place, and which have no counterpart, have added greatly to the modern fame of Cintra.
Even in decay Montserrate was attractive ; and when in 1851 Sir Francis Cook purchased the estate on account of its horticultural capacity as well as on account of the beauty of the scenery, he recognized how much nature had done to give him a fit locality for his palace and his plants. When he took it, the slopes from the little plateau where the house stands were covered with orange groves and cornfields. The agricultural features were removed and tree-planting began. In a little more than thirty years the garden has been perfected. The climate and soil in that small territory vary almost as much as the latitudes, and furnish a genial home for the plants of the temperate belt and the tropics. The lawn, always well watered by irrigation and always green, slopes from the palace to the valley below, and while it is crowned with pines and chest-nuts, nourishes the palm at its foot. The setting of the hillside picture is a sturdy cork-forest which re-minds one of the weird woods in Dorè’s fantastic landscapes. Beneath the trees the laurustinus, broom, scrub oak, ivy, periwinkle, Solomon’s seal, and bracken flourish luxuriantly. The trees themselves are remarkable. As you stand on the terrace and turn your eye to the left a Thunia Lobbii over eighty feet high commands your attention, and behind this stand a tall Matrosideros robusta and a wide-spreading Eugenia latifolia of great height. Far down the slope stands a group of giant araucarias, overtopped, tall as they are, by the most luxuriant specimens of the eucalyptus. Along the brookside are callas, bamboos, the papyrus, and strelitzias in all their impressive beauty ; and in their midst a huge Capressus macrocarpa spreads out like an ancient oak.
Along a path leading round a pretty waterfall is an immense variety of plants. There may be found great araucarias, and the Eryobotrya Japonica spreading its branches thirty-three yards in circuit. Descending the steps to the walk leading to the falls and going along the other side of the ravine may be seen the foliage of high palms, the finest collection in the world. Beneath the wall on the left are the Clianthus Puniceus, the Fuschia licacina, a rare and beautiful plant unknown to northern collections. The most prominent of the palms here are the Sabal umbraculifera, a tree six feet in circumference, and the immense Trachycarpus Fortunii, both fine specimens of these rare plants. 0n the right side is an Araucaria excelsa seventy feet high and eight feet in the circumference of the stem. At this point is a large reservoir for irrigation, covered with creepers and maiden-hair ferns, while back of them a group of camellias show their gorgeous flowers, paths with ferns above and around lead up to the chief falls, and the Nile’s White Lily adorns the banks of the stream. Lower down the stream the ferns increase and a fern-girt archway, surmounted by yuccas and aloes spans the path. Returning to the walk whence we diverged to see the valley of the tree-ferns, we cross the bridge and pass through an avenue of dicksonias to the ruined Chapel of Our Lady, which was removed from the site of the palace and is embowered in trees, ivy and roses, which cover its roof, while within reposes an ancient Etruscan sarcophagus. The view of the palace from this point up the lawn is very fine. Roses clamber over the trees in great profusion, and along the walls are trees and shrubs remarkable for grace and beauty.
This division of the garden is called ” Mexico.” Here you pass down the steps under an archway of Marèchal Niel roses, through groups of camellias, arcades of trees, with rhododendrons and agaves, banks of yuccas, Goa cypresses, and New Zealand dracænas. The brook discloses itself from time to time through a thick undergrowth of arbutus, heather, periwinkle, and fox-glove. An arbor of laurels shelters you for a moment. Down the stream grow palms, New Zealand flax, bamboos, and fabianas. Passing groves of oranges and lemons the brook glides on and empties into the Varzeu.
The south sloping lawn at the threshold of the Palacio is bounded by ” Mexico,” which is situated on a minor ridge, and sheltered an the west by a group of pine trees. Delicate palms, such as Phoenix retinata, Psychosperma Aexandra, Cocos plumosa and Weddeliana, the Houra Belmorana, the Rhopaloshylis, are planted here ; and you go thence directly into a dense growth of Yucca Parmentica and Agave Crimea, Nesembryanthemums and Gazanias fill up all the spaces. Aloes and yuccas abound in” Mexico,” as well as date palms, and many tender plants seldom grown in the open air except in the tropics. Here we find Dracena Dracos, large cacti, Dasylarlon acrotrichium, Opuntias echinium, Eucharis grandiflora, Dracaena Sheppardii, Bonapartea Funcea, Poinsettia pulcherrima, and Vresia glaucophyllas. The hillside above is covered with cedars, Eucalypti, and cork-trees.
I have given this elaborate list of plants, which ends here, hardly expecting it to be read. But I think they ought to be recorded ; and I am sure it will be as interesting to other horticulturists as it was to the English gardener who furnished it for public use.
The Palacio Montserrate is as attractive and interesting as the garden. The original building was erected, as I have said, about 1750, fell into decay, and was leased and repaired by Beckford, who occupied it three or four years, and then abandoned it to fate and the weather. It was closed in 1775 ; and Byron walked the ruined halls in 181o. The present style of the building, as erected by Sir Francis Cook, who commenced the restoration in 1857, is Venetian, with a Moorish type introduced. It stands on a narrow plateau, and commands the finest view, near and remote, to be found in Cintra.
The palace is two hundred feet long, with a beautiful circular vestibule, finished in native marbles, at the front entrance ; and with a handsome side entrance, opening out upon a charming view of the garden, and the heavily wooded. hills beyond. A tastefully enclosed terrace surrounds the entire building. From the front vestibule a hall extends to a fine music room in the rear, and is divided midway by a tasteful court, in which a marble fountain is playing. The walls of the hall are finished in beautiful tracery, copied after the Alhambra, and worked with the most delicate taste and skill. The pillars of the hall are wrought from, colored marbles of great beauty found on the estate and in other parts of Cintra. The numerous niches along the sides of the hall are occupied by a series of classic statues, and the lofty ceiling is finished in most graceful designs.
On the left, as the hall is entered, is the library, a room thirty feet long by twenty wide and nineteen feet high, finished in walnut, with a door in high repoussé work, representing Diana in the chase, taken from an Italian palace. The library contains four thousand volumes of standard works on biography, history, poetry, and theology, in Portuguese, French, and Spanish. In the room are a model of the statue of Marcus Aurelius, in Rome ; a model, also, of the Column of Vespasian, in yellow Antico marble ; Cinque Cento bronzes, and Indian arms captured by the Viceroy of India at the taking of Delhi ; antique busts of the Roman emperors ; and swords from Delhi, taken after the capture by Lord Canning. An immense library-table occupies the centre of the room ; and the windows open on the great sloping lawn at the side of the palace.
Opposite the library, and of the same size, is the dining-room, whose walls are hung with pictures by the old masters ; and on each side of whose massive fireplace stands a life-size Venetian figure of a heavy Ethiopian slave, holding in his hands a basket for fruit. A handsome model of Pompey’s Pillar, in bronze and black marble, ten feet high, stands against one wall ; while the opposite wall is adorned with a Russian group, in marble, representing the triumphs of Alexander the Great.
The north drawing-room, corresponding in size with the library and the dining-room, is filled with Portuguese carved cabinets ; cabinets inlaid with ivory from Goa ; a beautiful Bombay carved table of teak wood ; a collection of Chinese and Japanese vases; bowls and caskets of copper, enamelled ; a fine Algerine onyx table, and large Nankin vases. By the side of one of the finest cabinets sits Genesche, in porcelain, the ruling god of India, ugly, squat, and great.
The south drawing-room contains many specimens of Chinese and Japanese works of art, among which may be seen a highly wrought ebony circular table of great beauty and antiquity, teak-wood chairs and sofas, rare cabinets of Portuguese and Italian workmanship, and many vases of Oriental shape and color.
The end opposite the entrance is occupied by a music room of fine acoustic proportions, and beautifully decorated. It is circular in shape ; and around the walls are niches filled with statues, between which are marble pillars supporting a tastefully decorated ceiling tapering up to a dome of white and gold, and having at its base for each arch a head of the muses in marble. A grand piano from the Austrian Exposition, a marble group of ” The Listeners,” carved Indian furniture, dainty jardinières of teak-wood from Goa, and rare vases complete the outfit of the room.
A side-hall, opening out of the circular fountain-court, contains the main staircase of the palace, and is ornamented with a Cinque Cento copy of the Nile from the statue in Rome, most beautiful Flemish tapestries, and a most imposing old Arabic Bilha for holding oil,a vase of perfect proportions and coloring.
From this hall you pass into a small room filled with a miscellaneous collection of ecclesiastical relics, and lamps of ancient Portuguese manufacture ; a fine old copy of St. Anthony in alabaster, once the property of Mr. Beckford, and purchased by Sir Francis in London ; an alabaster relievo from an oratory ; crucifixes in silver ; chalices, and a very old enamelled processional cross. On the wall hangs a beautiful Italian wood-carving of Christ bearing the cross, with a large ivory and pearl cross hanging over it. An inlaid cabinet from Goa, a table inlaid with mother-of-pearl, a Custodio of silver gilt, and heavy Venetian inlaid chairs make up the furniture and ornaments of this curious and tasteful room.
This is Montserrate, where Sir Francis and Lady Cook reside a very few months each year, which is one of the great attractions of Cintra, and from a visit to which the Emperor of Brazil has just returned to the Braganza filled with admiration.
Among the remarkable spots in Cintra is a cave or den dug out among boulders, cut out of rock, floored by the primary foundations of the earth, and roofed with artificial tiles. The entrance is a space between two enormous stones, so low that you must stoop on entering. The rooms are small and dismal, enclosed by walls into which the great swollen forms of buried boulders are set here and there, and whose ceilings are composed of a wild mixture of rude art and rugged nature. All is stone,cold, dark, gloomy, dismal, disgusting. When you have crept through the stony entrance, which you approach across a small, rough grass-plot and reach by a few rude stone steps, you find yourself in a contracted hall, dimly lighted, from which you can pass through low doors into an apartment containing twenty cells for monks, each cell being only five feet square. A little church, with an altar adorned with blue tiles and a recess in which a devout figure kneels in prayer, offers you a gloomy consolation. A sacristy of similar construction contains a figure in plaster,I suppose of Christ in his agonyand a mouldy wall. A gloomy refectory, along which is placed a rough stone slab for a table, with a wooden seat each side, backed by the stone wall, and affording about eight inches of depth to the seat, the width to be governed by the size of the sitting and feasting monk, constitutes the dining-room. The ad-joining kitchen is supplied with little stone braziers and charcoal furnaces, and is not supplied with closets and presses, so far as I could discover. In a small court-yard are a few more little furnaces ranged round a narrow stone penthouse, just about large enough for a single stew or perhaps a savory broil. All this is lined with cork-barkrooms, cells, seats, and church, to counteract the dampness of the earth and stone. The means of heating are not apparent, and the usual provisions for cleanliness are gone if they ever existed. This strange combination of the wildest and rudest nature and a crazy freak of art is situated on a bleak, rough tract, at the top of a serra, where one of the rugged places is spread out, and has become a hard, uneven, wind-swept plain, from which you can look down upon the peaceful valley fifteen hundred feet below.
This stony structure is called the Cork Convent, from its lining. It might be called the Rocky Monastery, from its exterior ; and the Insane Asylum, from its history and purpose. It was projected by Dom John de Castro, as I have already said, and was erected by his son after his death in the sixteenth century, and after his victorious career as the great captain and founder of the power of Portugal in the East. He died amidst the scene of his conquests, pious and penniless, in the arms of St. Francis Xavier, who, as he closed the eyes of his illustrious friend, said : ” The Viceroy of India is dying so poor that he has not wherewith to buy a fowl.” The great Viceroy declared on his deathbed, if bed he had, that he laid out his last shilling in relieving the wants of his soldiers ; and when his coffers were opened there was found in them the sum of one vintema little more than one penny. His courage and ability had founded a great empire, and had enabled a nation to erect churches and monasteries and universities, and to sweep the high seas with the great fleets of her commerce. He had founded the most enterprising kingdom of the century, and knew the power of man in securing great wealth and culture and empire. The great authors of Spain and Portugal were his contemporaries, probably his friends and admirersCervantes, Lope de Vega, Santa Theresa, Carcitasso, in Spain ; Camoens, Miranda, Ferreira, in Portugal ; Tasso and Machiavel and Ariosto in Italy. Out of the great wealth he poured into his country grew the gorgeous architecture of the church in his day. He had palaces, friends, power, a great history.
It would not be easy in our day to understand that spirit of humiliation, that recognition of the need of penance, that religious ecstasy which drove him from the society of the great into poverty and seclusion, and led him to provide for the erection of this gloomy cell. The occupants were twenty reformed Franciscan monks, who spent their time in the most abject degradation of the flesh in their search after the elevation of the spirit. A cold and gloomy cell by day and the most uncomfortable couch by night constituted the arrangement of their home. The isolation was depressing. Neither picture, nor library, nor family circle was theirs. Not far from the cavern which had been converted into an ecclesiastical institution, you are led by a short and narrow path and a flight of irregular stone steps into a hole partly roofed by an enormous stone, to all appearances the den of a wild beast, in which the hermit Honorius passed the last sixteen years of his long life. In this damp and filthy spot this ” holy man ” retired at night to his couch of leaves and his stone pillow, after his days of praise and worship, to which he was constantly devoted. To lie prone was impossible. He curled himself up in his narrow quarters like a hibernating bear. He lived to be ninty-six years old, and on a stone in front of his cave his brethren inscribed :
Hic Honorius Vitam Finivit, Et Ideo cum Deo in Coelo revivit Obiit Anno Domini, 1596.
And Byron wrote of him :
“Deep in yon cave Honorius long did dwell, In hope to merit heaven by making earth a hell.”
Perhaps this long tale of heroism and self-sacrifice and fanaticism, as we call it, does not interest us, as does the tale of the Mayflower and the starving and freezing winter at Plymouth. But we should never tire of contemplating such events in man’s history, representing, as they do, the courage and determination by which great deeds are accomplished and great lessons taught. Honorius and his fellow-monks represent a spirit which finds expression in our day in remorse, penitence, and regret. Had John de Castro, with his proud spirit and his religious enthusiasm, taken the place of the great Puritan leader, he would have found no need of dens and caves of the earth in which to purify his soul. His daily life would have furnished him an opportunity for self-sacrifice, which he could not find in the splendors of the empire he had enriched and the nobility he had clothed with power. What he would have done in our day and country God only knowsunless he had betaken himself to an alms-house or a reformatory institution.
I rambled about Cintra examining all its beautiful places. I drove to Cascaes and saw again the superb sea-view, a palace and a fortification combined, great turreted walls, beautiful terraces, a sea-washed cave so deep, dark, and dismal that it is called ” The Mouth of Hell “in Portuguese tongue, ” Boca d’ Inferno.”
Cintra has long been the home or the summer resort of persons of rank, wealth, and distinctionthe De Castras of former days, the Saldanhas of more modern times. The estates are still largely held by persons of this description, and I shall not forget the courtesy of Sir Francis and Lady Cook, at our repeated visits to Montserrate, and in their liberal supply of plants and flowers for our room at the Lawrence ; or the welcome we found at the tennis-court of the Mascarhenas and at the house of the Rev. Mr. Pope, the English rector, and at the pretty cottage of Mr. Henry Nevill, the intelligent and attentive manager of Montserrate, all of whose residences cluster around the famous garden. To have enjoyed the cheerful and enlivening influence of Lady Petre and her judicious husband, the British minister ; and the English hospitality of Sir George and Lady Bonham ; and the warm reception of Monseigneur Vannutelli, the Pope’s nuncio, at his quinta, where he blessed you with his genial smile, and cheered you with his bright conversation, and showed you his crops and his cattle with pride, and warmed your heart with his choice port wine ; and the quick intelligence of Chevalier Cotta, the Secretary of the Italian Legation, and his brilliant wife and those fascinating little girls ; and courteous Rosty, the Austrian Secretary of Legation ; and the Brazilian Attaché, Senhor Coelho Gomes, with his graceful, entertaining, and accomplished wife, the beauty of Indiana ;to have enjoyed a social group of national representatives like these, I say, is not easily secured and not easily forgotten. The presence of the royal family, moreover, gave great quality to the society of the place during all the summer months, when the King was strong enough to be present at the brilliant reception given at the palace, and the Queen had not lost courage over his Majesty’s illness, and Dom Augusto drove up and down the hills with his fine four-mule team until he went away to die at the Necessidades, and the Prince Royal, Dom Carlos, and his beautiful Princess had their home in his charming villa, from which he stepped to the throne of his father. The horses were admirable and the mules as fine as mules can be, and the music of the palace band floated out on every evening-tide, and uniforms flashed in the streets, and for the first time in the history of Portugal the American Minister was received by the King in the Old Palace at Cintra, with all the pomp and circumstance of such occasions. It is a good deal of a place, and a good deal of a summer, and a good deal of a station, I suppose, which bring all this, and fine weather too, and all the charms of the scenery of that renowned serra.
But now a railroad runs from Lisbon to Cintra, and there is a bull-fight on Sunday afternoons, and the people flock out from the city for refreshment and recreation, and the place has changed from its former exclusiveness which was preserved by nearly twenty miles of a dreary road over a most uninteresting country, with rattling carriages and slow and stubborn horses and mules. And so Cintra now sees the other side of life. The creaking wine-carts are still drawn into town from Collares by stately oxen. Donkeys still struggle over the roads, hidden by huge panniers of fruit and vegetables and sheepskins, or weighted down by great piles of green pine wood, and the noise of the roaring driver with his eternal whip is heard in the street. The town has a busy and somewhat populous air. A great many talkative persons stand round in the market-place. A great many baskets of oranges and lemons, and turnips and apples, and a great many bundles of chickens and ducks struggling to be free, cover the side-walk in front of the market-house ; and a great many rural women conduct the trade, on which a jailful of criminals gaze from their grated windows on the opposite side of the street, starving in sight of such plenty, and begging alms in vain from the prosperous traders. The boys play bull-fight in the square. The shops, not very heavily stocked, are open with their narrow fronts and their shallow rooms. The donkey-drivers bellow at the little beasts, swear they are mole, lazy ; and give them a heavy dose of chibata, the switch. ” Nâo falla Portuguez ? ” says the carriage driver, who takes advantage of your ignorance to charge you what he pleases for his time-worn team. I heard a noisy alter-cation in the street between two dingy sons of Portugal when one shouted to the other, ” Ponha uma garrafa d’agua quente aospés,” which, being interpreted, means, ” Put a bottle of hot water to your feet” ; and undoubtedly takes the place of that rough American advice, ” Go home and put your head in soak,” as the last annihilating reflection in a fight. Every man, be he beggar or prince, shakes hands with every other man in Portugal ; every woman kisses every other woman on each cheek when they meet and part. On every holiday (and almost every day seems to be a holiday, more or less), the streets of Cintra are thronged by young men, not very well dressed, and old men, some of whom are very badly dressed. Drunkenness is very rare, and street fights so seldom occur that in a sojourn of five months I never saw one. Cintra on a holiday is a little like a New England town with a circus.
As Lisbon increases in wealth Cintra should become a summer resort for many of its prosperous citizens. Were it in the neighborhood of Paris, or London, or New York, or Boston, it would soon be built up with chateaus and villas, and more stately country residences, and would rank among the fashionable watering-places of the world. Its historic record gives it a peculiar charm for the student, the place given it in literature attracts the poet, the beauty of its scenery charms the lover of nature ; and the various capacity of its soil, warmed by a tropical sun and cooled by ocean breezes, makes it the genial home of the cultivator of fruits and flowers. I am confident the time will come when Lisbon and Cintra will be included in a European trip for health and pleasure by all who leave America hoping to find what they might find in Florida and California.
Sunday at Cintra is devoted to bull-fightsmild and gentle contests, when compared with the cruel and bloody encounters which are so popular in Spain. A Portuguese bull-fight resembles a Spanish bull-fight about as much as Gov. Banks’ famous Concord muster resembled the battle of Gettysburg. The amphitheatre in which the exhibition is held is a rude structure standing in the outskirts of the townthe first object which greets you as you approach Cintra on the rail-road from Lisbon, and capable of holding five thousand persons. The land around it is rough and uncultivated, and the gates and fences which enclose the space are dilapidated and decayed. The bulls which are to furnish the entertainment are a small, lively breed of black cattle, supplied by the surrounding country, and distinguished more for their activity and liveliness than for their majesty and savagery. There are picadores, and chubs, and banderileros, and matadores in abundance, all armed and equipped for their work. Small darts and spears abound, and the costume of the actors is as picturesque and varied as Portuguese coloring can make it. The amphitheatre is surrounded by a circular fence of planks about six feet high, to protect the audience against the frantic leaps of the terrified bulls, whose disposition to escape is not roused by any severe and bloody fight in which they are expected to engage, and whose activity is not weakened by any exhausting wounds they receive in the arena. They often overleap this barrier, to the confusion of the audience outside. Passages are opened into the arena for the entrance of the actors and their horses, and for the admission of the bulls, which are driven in singly from an outside enclosure, where they are confined until they are engaged in the conflict. The bulls are twelve in number and are expected to make twelve fights. A quiet audience assembles in an orderly manneramusing themselves after the fashion of a comic theatre. Opposite the main entrance is the royal box, an attractive and showy structure, constituting all the architectural beauty of the building. From the arena the seats rise in amphitheatre form, after the style of those imposing structures made famous by the butcheries of man and beast ” to make a Roman holiday.” It is a very quiet and orderly assembly, gathered for quite an innocent amusement. I looked for the flashing eyes, and the eager look, and the growing enthusiasm, and the blood-thirsty intensity which an audience assembled for a bloody bullfight is wont to exhibit. The fun consists in throwing coins or comfits, if the Portuguese enjoy this blessing, to attendants in the arena, or to some hero of a hundred bull-battles, who has withdrawn his honored and distinguished person from the contest. Waiting for a Portuguese bullfight to begin is a tedious business.
At last a signal is given, and a procession of picadores and matadores and banderileros enter, some mounted and some on foot, and proceed to pay their respects to the occupants of the royal box. A small door on the right is noisily opened, a bar is removed, and three or four men are seen urging and hurrying a lively bull into the surprising scenes of the arena. The bull enters with a hop, skip, and jump, evidently glad to escape the confinement of his narrow quarters and the clubs of his persecutors. The scene in the arena evidently astonishes him, and he pauses in the middle to survey the multitude about him. His repose is soon over, however, for before his vision floats many a red banner, darts and spears are thrust into his neck and shoulders, he is beset on every side by tormentors on horseback and on foot, and he affords great entertainment to the spectators by rushing wildly about, attacking every antagonistic object he meets. The affair is innocent enoughtormenting, without doubtbut not excessively cruel. No crippled horse is gored and disembowelled and killed. No picador astonishes a breathless audience. The sand of the arena is unstained with the blood of horse or bull or chulo. The bewildered bull pauses for a moment, the assailants withdraw for a space, and half a dozen mild and sedate oxen are driven into the arena, with whom the bull seeks companionship, and retires, to be followed by a new act with a new bull, until the twelve are exhausted. The audience retires quietly, having observed the character of the bull under difficulties ; the grave and stubborn bull, the wild and lively bull, the bold and fearless, the timid and cowardly,all in safe antagonism. We were most grateful that no one was hurt and if bullfights are to form a part of the national entertainments commend us to the Portuguese variety.