صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

which affords a resting-place to a few seeds of mosses and grasses, and occasionally to the white and yellow-flowered saxifrage. From the height of the banks, these deep green lanes are in cool shadow even in the hottest days. Their tops are fringed with the graceful feathery leaves of the fern, intermixed with briars and evergreen shrubs; and, on looking up, you see a strip of sky through the foliage of the young Spanish chestnut trees which meet over your head, or through that of the light and airy poplar. The green lichen, which so completely covers these banks, is only found in abundance where there are both shade and moisture: broader lanes are either partially covered by mosses, ferns and grasses, or are entirely bare, showing the clean white, grey, or yellow pumice, of which they are composed; but, however bare their sides may be, their tops afford, by decomposition, a luxuriant soil, covered with bushes and shrubs, and often edged by trees. The rain easily undermines these banks, and every here and there a slip has taken place, carrying down masses of shrubs and soil into the path beneath, which are rarely interfered with if they only partially obstruct the way; and the shrubs continuing to grow, the

[blocks in formation]

lane becomes broken and still more picturesque, and the ass and his driver contentedly wind round them.

[graphic][merged small]

Wednesday, July 3.-Bathed, breakfasted, and rode to Povoaçao a village, on the coast. After passing the boiling springs, and fording a pleasant shallow stream, which brawls through a wooded



valley of its own, we began to climb the steep side of the mountains forming the south-eastern boundary of the Valley of the Furnas. The path was rough, precipitous, and winding: and it was nearly an hour before we gained the summit, and halted there to turn and look at the scene behind us. This point, being the highest boundary of the valley, affords the finest and most extensive view of the Furnas and of the surrounding mountains. From the other heights, the hills encircling the Furnas valley form the horizon line, but here still higher and more distant ridges are discovered; and the valley, which appears more deeply bedded and compact, seems also more obviously a circular crater. Before us,

in the distance, was the blue calm ocean,-looking as if its deep azure had been partly faded by the sun, with a valley stretching down to it between two mountain chains, which, as they opened to the sea, met at the opposite extremity in an oval sweep. Their sides were not so steep as those of the Furnas, but sloped gradually. Some parts were cleared and cultivated; but the greater portion was thickly covered with bushes of heath, intermixed with bay trees, the bilberry, and the mountain grape, which bears tufts



of delicate waxy flowers, tipped with crimson and shaped like those of the arbutus. The more level land at the bottom of the valley is cultivated, and divided into fields.

Our path lay along the ridge of hills or mountains which formed the boundary of one side of this valley. It was a wild lane among the evergreens, descending gently until we approached the coast, with here and there an ass and his selfsolaced, easy-hearted rider, to enliven the quietude of the place. On the other side of the ridge, near the coast, was a deep ravine, covered on one side by a large wood of chestnut trees, now in full leaf and beauty.

The outskirts of the village are long and straggling; but the cottages of the poor are neatly built and plastered, with the least appearance of poverty about them of any similar ones we have yet seen in St. Michael's. The principal part of the town is immediately on the coast; there is, of course, a conspicuous church, the immediate adjuncts of which are a few glass-windowed houses of two stories, a small fort, a road with a strong terrace wall facing the sea, and a little bay free from rocks, with a beach of large pebbles, which, as the waves recede, are rolled down



with a sharp clattering sound. Many boats were drawn up on the beach, and near them stacks of wood (the bare poles of what were a short time since luxuriant evergreens) were standing ready for exportation to the principal town.

We bathed in the sea; the water was warm and pleasant, and, when once out of the surf, nothing could be more agreeable; but these Atlantic waves, when you get into shallow water, drive you about imperiously, and if you are not accustomed to them, so as to make use of them, they roll you over the pebbles, and turn you on your back with a giant's strength.

Out of the water the heat of the sun was unbearable and this being a place without shade, the difference of temperature between the Furnas and the coast was painfully apparent. We spied some huge masses of volcanic rock at a distance, but the sun was so high that they cast no shadows. On examination, however, the face of one, which slightly sloped inwards, made a shady nook, and after long exposure to a roasting sun, the cool delight of this shadow of a great rock, joined to a pleasant sea-breeze, repaid the toilsome walk to reach it. A herd of fine young cattle, driven down to the water side by several harum-scarum

« السابقةمتابعة »