« السابقةمتابعة »
who in other respects pursue European fashions, we here and there saw one with her hair tied flat behind with a riband. The female peasants round Lisbon come to town in a red jacket and a black pointed velvet cap.
Murphy, who in his Travels in Portugal has many very just remarks, is truly ridiculous in others. He says, for instance, fruit-women wear pointed caps, though he might, however, have easily convinced himself of the contrary. Having also, perhaps, once seen some servants playing at cards while waiting for their masters, be sets this down as a general characteristic; but, with his permission, I have also once seen the sanje in London. On Sunday, he says, that the hair-dressers go about with their swords and chapeaux-bras; this also may have happened once, but is by no means customary. Fires seldom happen in Lisbon; but in the winter of 1798-9 they occurred very often, and a house was burnt down in which a young girl lost her life. 'He says much in favour of the common people, and praises the great politeness of the Portugueze; adding, that they' constantly give the right hand to strangers in walking. Just the contrary: it is singular that, in direct opposition to the customs of other nations, the Portugueze through politeness give every one the left hand. His knowledge of the language cannot be great, for he says a Portugueze Dever fails to say, “ I am dying with desire to see you;" which he translates, with a violation of all grammar, Borro com suudades de o ver *.
What is said in praise of this nation by Murphy and other writers is very just; but what they say against them is not unfrequently exaggerated. They who would judge of the nation by Lisbon run the risk of committing frequent errors; for this city is a rendezvous for all the Vagabonds of the whole kingdom, and a great part of the foreigners of the lower ranks are also the scum of their nations. I know that these last are sometimes very docile, and easily fall into the custom of hiring themselves as banditti ; for I know certainly of serious proposals of this kind being made. But I must confess that, notwithstanding the numbers of bad people among the lower classes, and the unworthy manner in which foreigners often act toward the inhabitants, examples are
not wanting of true and disinterested hospitality among the common people. Round Lisbon and in the villages, however, the true Portugueze character not unfrequently again appears, to which I have already borne testimony of my full approbation.
Both the higher and lower classes are very fond of a profusion of compliments, which flow in a torrent froin every mouth. A common peasant meeting another takes off his hat quite low down, holds him a long while by the hand, inquires after his health and that of his family, and does not fail to add, I am at your commands, and your humble servant (estou a seus ordens, seu criado). This is not a remark taken from a single instance, for I have heard it extremely often from ass-drivers, and others of similar classes. The Portugneze language indeed, even in the mouths of the common people, has naturally something well-bred and elegant; nur do they ever use oaths and indecent expressions, like the English, French, and Spanish low execrations, though the lowest classes ivdeed sometimes mention the devil. - All the Portugueze are naturally talkative, and sometimes very insipid. The rich are said to conceal a false heart beneath a profusion of polite expressions. I have nothing to say in defence of the higher classes; they are as inferior to the Spaniards as the common people excel them. The want of science and taste, which perhaps arises from the total want,of works of art in this country; a government which never had wisdom or opportunity to bring into action the pobler passions of mankind; the constant and oppressive neighbourhood of the English, who justly feel their superiority ;, and the total decay of literature; are, I conceive, the chief causes why the Portuguéze nobles are formed of worse materials than any European nobility.
The male sex are not handsome; and a tall man is rarely seen, the generality being short, fat, and squaremade. Their features are also seldom regular, turnedup poses and projecting lips being so cominon as to suggest an idea of a mixture with negroes. The difference between the Spaniards and the Portugueze is extremely striking, the latter being fat, the former meagre, the noses of the latter turned up, those of the former arched downward, so that they only agree in their yellow complexions and black eyes of the fair sex, the author of the New Picture of Lisbon, who was a Frenchman, and his German editor at Leipzig, Tilesius, differ; the former Vol. IV.
praising, and the latter censuring them. In fact, they have the same defects as the other sex, being of too low a stature and inclined to corpulency; but their countenances are expressive, and their manners animated and friendly; which, with very fine eyes, long and uncommonly strong hair, very white teeth, full breasts, and extremely beautiful feet, form, in my opinion, a charming assemblage, and compensate other irregularities. Although in Lisbon, as in every other great city, there is no scarcity of courtesans, and though, as their doors stand open, every one may enter, yet they are far less importunate than in London, or the Palais Royal at Paris ; but the description of them in the New Picture of Lisbon, though in some respects true, is on the whole exaggerated. But to return to ladies of condition. Those softer graces which adorn the beauties of the north are rarely seen in Portugal; and perhaps they might as ill become the fire of Portugueze eyes as a burning climate can give them birth. Great beauties, however, may be seen in Lisbon, particularly when the slender northern shape and the white fine skin of those climates are united with the advantages of the south, producing as it were the most beautiful work of nature.
From this charming subject I am obliged to pass to the uncleanliness of the Portugueze. On leaving England and entering France every species of uncleanliness becomes greater and greater in proportion as we travel southward. The apartments grow constantly more dirty, the privies are more horrible, or totally disappear, and a host of vermin of all kinds swarm round the traveller in his sleep*. The removal of many of these inconveniences has been atteinpted in the new Gerinan and English inns at Lisbon; and in this respect that city is preferable to Madrid. It is necessary to speak of lice, because' too much has already been said of them by others; as that they serve the soldiers instead of cards : that they are commonly bitten between the teeth, &c. It is certain, however, that persons of condition are not ashamed openly to kill them, or suffer others to do it.
* This was always so. See Zeileri (tenerar. Hispan. p. 280, Lisboua. They (the extractor does not say who) lodged there with an Italian, and had tolerably good fare, but bąd wine, and were molested with so many feas, that, as the author says, they were almost in despair.
It is said that the wife of a minister of state does this not unfrequently at cards in very large companies. This indeed I did not see; but at Caldas in Gerez, a place resorted to for its warm baths, I saw the sister of the bishop and of the governor of Oporto, a charming young widow of an ancient noble family, in an afternoon, before her door, laying her head in the lap of her waiting woman to be loused; and I know for certain that young ladies, when they visit each other, reciprocally perforin this office by way of pastime.
THE TRADE OF BEGGING. NOTWITHSTANDING the enormous sums collected for the poor, notwithstanding the number of hospitals supported by voluntary contribution in the city and environs of London, there is no place where the feelings of hu. manity receive so many shocks. Every street, every alley presents some miserable object, covered with loathsome sores, blind, uutilated, or exposed almost naked to the keen wintry blast. Speak of this to any of the parish officers, and they will tell you these are all impostors, who, Faquir-like, practise voluntary austerities on themselves, in order to excite compassion, and procure money. Sure this very plea is a disgrace to our police, who ought in that case tu apprehend and punish them. Should their distress be real, it is the greatest inhumanity not to relieve them. .
How frequently in winter do we see a woman, with two or three half-starved infants hanging about her, apparently, dying with the rigours of the season !- If humanity will not instigate the parish officers to take cognizance of them, sound policy ought ; since these very children, thus educated, serve to carry on the succession of thieves and vagabonds.
That begging is a trade, and a very beneficial one, is well known; and it is said, that the community is under the regular government of a king or superior, who appoints to every one a particular district or walk, which walks are farmned out to inferior brethren at certain daily sums. It is also reported, that beggars impose tasks on their children or servants, assigning them the harvest of particular streets, estimating cach at a certain produce, for the amount of which they are bound to account, under
the penalty of a severe beating. A remarkable instance of this I learned from a person of credit, who overheard a beggar saying to a girl, whilst giving him some money, “ What is this for? Han't you been all about Bedford and Bloomsbury-squares ? I am sure, hussey, if Russelstreet alone was well begged, it would produce double this sum.” i
In this community, natural defects, or bodily misfortunes, are reckoned advantages and pre-eminences. A man who has lost one leg yields the pas to him who wants both; and he who has neither legs nor arms is nearly at the head of his profession, very extraordinary deficiencies excepted ;-an instance of which was given in a sailor, who had but one eye, one leg, and no arms. This man, asking in marriage the daughter of a celebrated blind man, was answered by her father--that he thanked him for the honour intended, which he should have accepted, had not his daughter received some overtures from a man who crawled with his hiuder parts in a porridge-pot.
It seems a tixed principle in beggars, never to do a day's work on any account, and rather to run away from a job half completed, than finish it to receive the stipulated hire.
I reinember an old justice, that lived in a village in the vicinity of London, who, from his knowledge of this principle, long contrived to have his fore-court and garden weeded gratis by itinerant beggars. As he had a handsome house near the road, it naturally drew the attention of the inumping fraternity. On their application for charity, he constantly asked the usual questions, “ Why don't you work ?" to which the usual reply was always made, “ So I would, God bless your worship, if I could get employment,” On this, musing a while, as if inclined by charity, he would set them to weed his court or garden, furnishing them with a hoe and wheelbarrow, and promising them a shilling when their job was completed. To work then they would go, with much seeming gratitude and alacrity. The justice stayed by them, or visited them from time to time till they had performed two thirds of their task; he then retired to a private corner or place of espial, in order to prevent their stealing his tools, and there waited for what constantly happened the moment he disappeared, which was the elopement of his workman, who, rather than complete the unfinished third of his work, chose to give up what