« السابقةمتابعة »
boys, formed a lively
and still lazier ocean.
contrast to the lazy shore The urchins stripped stark
naked, and drove the herd, with long goads, into the sea, swimming after them, urging them into deep water, and jumping and riding on their backs as they swam towards the shore. The boys were quite at home in the water, and sported about like amphibious beings, now swimming round the cattle, catching hold of their horns, steering them by their tails, and turning them as they would, then jumping on their backs, like young Tritons. This was the only break in upon two or three hours' idleness, which the intense heat of the sun made necessary; but the time passed so quickly, that we congratulated ourselves on the tranquillizing effects of a six months' residence in the Azores.
The evening was cloudy and cool, making the ride home pleasant. From the heights, the view into the Valley of the Furnas had more of grandeur and magnificence, than in the full morning sun; for the clouds parted, so as to let two or three streams of light into the otherwise gloomy valley, whilst the mountains around and beyond were enveloped in a deep purple shadow.
July 4.-Although we are now in the dog-days
ACCOMMODATIONS FOR INVALIDS.
the heat in this valley among the mountains is not immoderate. To-day has been bright but not cloudless, (for the skies of these islands are probably never absolutely free from vapours,) and the heat of the middle of the day has been about 74°, tempered with pleasant draughts of air from the mountains, and without anything approaching to a feeling of oppression. But with all these advantages of climate and of mineral baths, there is considerable difficulty in advising invalids to come here. Those who have yachts could spend a summer at these baths with small inconvenience, because they could bring English comforts with them; but to people who have no yachts, the public accommodation which the valley affords would, if they were delicate invalids, or were healthy and fastidious, be insufficient. Persons who can put up with bare white-washed walls, chinky windows, and draughty doors, (where draughts are seldom undesirable,) would find the climate and baths weigh down all minor inconveniences. Metaphorically speaking, they can
live here for nothing.
The fuchsia is wild in this valley in many of the cottagers' hedges. In any state it is as graceful as any flower that grows, but it is of
surpassing beauty in a hedge, mingled with ferns and briars, box, elder, grass, and moss. The Azoreans call it "the Tears of Venus."
Beans are now ripe, and at every cottage door men and women and children are thrashing out heaps of the black pods with flails or sticks, or a group of women squat round piles of the broken seed-pods, picking out the beans from amongst them, and clattering them into a box, from which they are transferred to a sack. The villagers roast the fresh beans when dry, and eat them, and they are both sweet and pleasant. The bean itself is larger than ours, and great quantities are exported to Portugal.
July 5.-To-day, for the first time since I have been in these islands, I have seen two boys fighting; that is, pushing, scratching, and pulling hair. They had no notion of the use of the fist. The men generally war with a woman's weapon, the tongue, observing so much politeness, even at the climax of their rage, as to call each other
senhor;" but, in many cases, where two Englishmen would strip to fight, the Azoreans would use the knife. They occasionally fight with sticks, or rather long poles, requiring much dexterity in the management. When used in
PERFORMANCE OF MASS.
sport, the rencontre is much more graceful than our game of single-stick.
July 7.-Being Sunday, we have been to the performance of mass in the village. There was a great crowd of all the villagers and visitors, and much gossiping before and after prayers. The church is small; the walls clean and whitewashed, and the decorations of the altar mean and faded. Dull red and duller slate colour are the prevailing colours of the carved wooden altar. Two attenuated candles gleamed at one, a single taper at the other; and from the roof, a lamp, little better than a stable lantern, was suspended by a wooden pulley and coarse cord. The body of the chapel was strewed with fresh green rushes and filled with women, -the railed space before the altar and the part by the door being occupied by men and boys. The rich and the poor knelt down together, as if, indeed, "the Lord was the maker of them all." The wife and niece of the Baron, on their strip of gaudy carpet, knelt by the side of the poorest villagers.
At the ringing of a large bell, the men who had been chattering outside swarmed in and filled the end of the chapel; and the priest at the same moment strode up to the side altar in
PERFORMANCE OF MASS.
his white brocades. While pressing in, the men were grave or noisy, according as they were old or young. Two or three made free use of the holy-water in the stone basin at the door;sprinkling and splashing it by handfuls over those who could not get near for the press. But as soon as the service commenced all were perfectly quiet and serious in their demeanour, and continued to be so until it ended. curate who performed the service-a vulgar person without education, whose pronunciation of Latin might well have established the learned in their belief of "hocus-pocus" being the "hoc est corpus meum" of illiterate Romish priests, — muttered the prayers in somnolent tones, bowed and knelt, not without grace; and wound up his short duties by delivering a notice to his parishioners, having reference to some approaching election.
At the close of the service I was entertained by the serious politeness of two Azorean gentlemen, who had knelt before me during mass; and who, the moment that the last prayer was finished, and they stood upright, took up their hats and pocket-handkerchiefs, turned round and made the same kind of complimentary bow to