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The Bible in Spain by George Borrow

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Transcribed from the 1908 Cassell and Company edition by David
Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk.



It is very seldom that the preface of a work is read; indeed, of
late years, most books have been sent into the world without any.
I deem it, however, advisable to write a preface, and to this I
humbly call the attention of the courteous reader, as its perusal
will not a little tend to the proper understanding and appreciation
of these volumes.

The work now offered to the public, and which is styled The Bible
in Spain, consists of a narrative of what occurred to me during a
residence in that country, to which I was sent by the Bible
Society, as its agent for the purpose of printing and circulating
the Scriptures. It comprehends, however, certain journeys and
adventures in Portugal, and leaves me at last in "the land of the
Corahai," to which region, after having undergone considerable
buffeting in Spain, I found it expedient to retire for a season.

It is very probable that had I visited Spain from mere curiosity,
or with a view of passing a year or two agreeably, I should never
have attempted to give any detailed account of my proceedings, or
of what I heard and saw. I am no tourist, no writer of books of
travels; but I went there on a somewhat remarkable errand, which
necessarily led me into strange situations and positions, involved
me in difficulties and perplexities, and brought me into contact
with people of all descriptions and grades; so that, upon the
whole, I flatter myself that a narrative of such a pilgrimage may
not be wholly uninteresting to the public, more especially as the
subject is not trite; for though various books have been published
about Spain, I believe that the present is the only one in
existence which treats of missionary labour in that country.

Many things, it is true, will be found in the following volume
which have little connexion with religion or religious enterprise;
I offer, however, no apology for introducing them. I was, as I may
say, from first to last adrift in Spain, the land of old renown,
the land of wonder and mystery, with better opportunities of
becoming acquainted with its strange secrets and peculiarities than
perhaps ever yet were afforded to any individual, certainly to a
foreigner; and if in many instances I have introduced scenes and
characters perhaps unprecedented in a work of this description, I
have only to observe, that, during my sojourn in Spain, I was so
unavoidably mixed up with such, that I could scarcely have given a
faithful narrative of what befell me had I not brought them forward
in the manner which I have done.

It is worthy of remark that, called suddenly and unexpectedly "to
undertake the adventure of Spain," I was not altogether unprepared
for such an enterprise. In the daydreams of my boyhood, Spain
always bore a considerable share, and I took a particular interest
in her, without any presentiment that I should at a future time be
called upon to take a part, however humble, in her strange dramas;
which interest, at a very early period, led me to acquire her noble
language, and to make myself acquainted with her literature
(scarcely worthy of the language), her history and traditions; so
that when I entered Spain for the first time I felt more at home
than I should otherwise have done.

In Spain I passed five years, which, if not the most eventful,
were, I have no hesitation in saying, the most happy years of my
existence. Of Spain, at the present time, now that the daydream
has vanished, never, alas! to return, I entertain the warmest
admiration: she is the most magnificent country in the world,
probably the most fertile, and certainly with the finest climate.
Whether her children are worthy of their mother, is another
question, which I shall not attempt to answer; but content myself
with observing, that, amongst much that is lamentable and
reprehensible, I have found much that is noble and to be admired;
much stern heroic virtue; much savage and horrible crime; of low
vulgar vice very little, at least amongst the great body of the
Spanish nation, with which my mission lay; for it will be as well
here to observe, that I advance no claim to an intimate
acquaintance with the Spanish nobility, from whom I kept as remote
as circumstances would permit me; en revanche, however, I have had
the honour to live on familiar terms with the peasants, shepherds,
and muleteers of Spain, whose bread and bacalao I have eaten; who
always treated me with kindness and courtesy, and to whom I have
not unfrequently been indebted for shelter and protection.

"The generous bearing of Francisco Gonzales, and the high deeds of
Ruy Diaz the Cid, are still sung amongst the fastnesses of the
Sierra Morena." {0}

I believe that no stronger argument can be brought forward in proof
of the natural vigour and resources of Spain, and the sterling
character of her population, than the fact that, at the present
day, she is still a powerful and unexhausted country, and her
children still, to a certain extent, a high-minded and great
people. Yes, notwithstanding the misrule of the brutal and sensual
Austrian, the doting Bourbon, and, above all, the spiritual tyranny
of the court of Rome, Spain can still maintain her own, fight her
own combat, and Spaniards are not yet fanatic slaves and crouching
beggars. This is saying much, very much: she has undergone far
more than Naples had ever to bear, and yet the fate of Naples has
not been hers. There is still valour in Astruria; generosity in
Aragon; probity in Old Castile; and the peasant women of La Mancha
can still afford to place a silver fork and a snowy napkin beside
the plate of their guest. Yes, in spite of Austrian, Bourbon, and
Rome, there is still a wide gulf between Spain and Naples.

Strange as it may sound, Spain is not a fanatic country. I know
something about her, and declare that she is not, nor has ever
been; Spain never changes. It is true that, for nearly two
centuries, she was the she-butcher, La Verduga, of malignant Rome;
the chosen instrument for carrying into effect the atrocious
projects of that power; yet fanaticism was not the spring which
impelled her to the work of butchery; another feeling, in her the
predominant one, was worked upon--her fatal pride. It was by
humouring her pride that she was induced to waste her precious
blood and treasure in the Low Country wars, to launch the Armada,
and to many other equally insane actions. Love of Rome had ever
slight influence over her policy; but flattered by the title of
Gonfaloniera of the Vicar of Jesus, and eager to prove herself not
unworthy of the same, she shut her eyes and rushed upon her own
destruction with the cry of "Charge, Spain."

But the arms of Spain became powerless abroad, and she retired
within herself. She ceased to be the tool of the vengeance and
cruelty of Rome. She was not cast aside, however. No! though she
could no longer wield the sword with success against the Lutherans,
she might still be turned to some account. She had still gold and
silver, and she was still the land of the vine and olive. Ceasing
to be the butcher, she became the banker of Rome; and the poor
Spaniards, who always esteem it a privilege to pay another person's
reckoning, were for a long time happy in being permitted to
minister to the grasping cupidity of Rome, who during the last
century, probably extracted from Spain more treasure than from all
the rest of Christendom.

But wars came into the land. Napoleon and his fierce Franks
invaded Spain; plunder and devastation ensued, the effects of which
will probably be felt for ages. Spain could no longer pay pence to
Peter so freely as of yore, and from that period she became
contemptible in the eyes of Rome, who has no respect for a nation,
save so far as it can minister to her cruelty or avarice. The
Spaniard was still willing to pay, as far as his means would allow,
but he was soon given to understand that he was a degraded being,--
a barbarian; nay, a beggar. Now, you may draw the last cuarto from
a Spaniard, provided you will concede to him the title of cavalier,
and rich man, for the old leaven still works as powerfully as in
the time of the first Philip; but you must never hint that he is
poor, or that his blood is inferior to your own. And the old
peasant, on being informed in what slight estimation he was held,
replied, "If I am a beast, a barbarian, and a beggar withal, I am
sorry for it; but as there is no remedy, I shall spend these four
bushels of barley, which I had reserved to alleviate the misery of
the holy father, in procuring bull spectacles, and other convenient
diversions, for the queen my wife, and the young princes my
children. Beggar! carajo! The water of my village is better than
the wine of Rome."

I see that in a late pastoral letter directed to the Spaniards, the
father of Rome complains bitterly of the treatment which he has
received in Spain at the hands of naughty men. "My cathedrals are
let down," he says, "my priests are insulted, and the revenues of
my bishops are curtailed." He consoles himself, however, with the
idea that this is the effect of the malice of a few, and that the
generality of the nation love him, especially the peasantry, the
innocent peasantry, who shed tears when they think of the
sufferings of their pope and their religion. Undeceive yourself,
Batuschca, undeceive yourself! Spain was ready to fight for you so
long as she could increase her own glory by doing so; but she took
no pleasure in losing battle after battle on your account. She had
no objection to pay money into your coffers in the shape of alms,
expecting, however, that the same would be received with the
gratitude and humility which becomes those who accept charity.
Finding, however, that you were neither humble nor grateful;
suspecting, moreover, that you held Austria in higher esteem than
herself, even as a banker, she shrugged up her shoulders, and
uttered a sentence somewhat similar to that which I have already
put into the mouth of one of her children, "These four bushels of
barley," etc.

It is truly surprising what little interest the great body of the
Spanish nation took in the late struggle, and yet it has been
called, by some who ought to know better, a war of religion and
principle. It was generally supposed that Biscay was the
stronghold of Carlism, and that the inhabitants were fanatically
attached to their religion, which they apprehended was in danger.
The truth is, that the Basques cared nothing for Carlos or Rome,
and merely took up arms to defend certain rights and privileges of
their own. For the dwarfish brother of Ferdinand they always
exhibited supreme contempt, which his character, a compound of
imbecility, cowardice, and cruelty, well merited. If they made use
of his name, it was merely as a cri de guerre. Much the same may
be said with respect to his Spanish partisans, at least those who
appeared in the field for him. These, however, were of a widely
different character from the Basques, who were brave soldiers and
honest men. The Spanish armies of Don Carlos were composed
entirely of thieves and assassins, chiefly Valencians and
Manchegans, who, marshalled under two cut-throats, Cabrera and
Palillos, took advantage of the distracted state of the country to
plunder and massacre the honest part of the community. With
respect to the Queen Regent Christina, of whom the less said the
better, the reins of government fell into her hands on the decease
of her husband, and with them the command of the soldiery. The
respectable part of the Spanish nation, and more especially the
honourable and toilworn peasantry, loathed and execrated both
factions. Oft when I was sharing at nightfall the frugal fare of
the villager of Old or New Castile, on hearing the distant shot of
the Christino soldier or Carlist bandit, he would invoke curses on
the heads of the two pretenders, not forgetting the holy father and
the goddess of Rome, Maria Santissima. Then, with the tiger energy
of the Spaniard when roused, he would start up and exclaim:
"Vamos, Don Jorge, to the plain, to the plain! I wish to enlist
with you, and to learn the law of the English. To the plain,
therefore, to the plain to-morrow, to circulate the gospel of

Amongst the peasantry of Spain I found my sturdiest supporters:
and yet the holy father supposes that the Spanish labourers are
friends and lovers of his. Undeceive yourself, Batuschca!

But to return to the present work: it is devoted to an account of
what befell me in Spain whilst engaged in distributing the
Scripture. With respect to my poor labours, I wish here to
observe, that I accomplished but very little, and that I lay claim
to no brilliant successes and triumphs; indeed I was sent into
Spain more to explore the country, and to ascertain how far the
minds of the people were prepared to receive the truths of
Christianity, than for any other object; I obtained, however,
through the assistance of kind friends, permission from the Spanish
government to print an edition of the sacred volume at Madrid,
which I subsequently circulated in that capital and in the

During my sojourn in Spain, there were others who wrought good
service in the Gospel cause, and of whose efforts it were unjust to
be silent in a work of this description. Base is the heart which
would refuse merit its meed, and, however insignificant may be the
value of any eulogium which can flow from a pen like mine, I cannot
refrain from mentioning with respect and esteem a few names
connected with Gospel enterprise. A zealous Irish gentleman, of
the name of Graydon, exerted himself with indefatigable diligence
in diffusing the light of Scripture in the province of Catalonia,
and along the southern shores of Spain; whilst two missionaries
from Gibraltar, Messrs. Rule and Lyon, during one entire year,
preached Evangelic truth in a Church at Cadiz. So much success
attended the efforts of these two last brave disciples of the
immortal Wesley, that there is every reason for supposing that, had
they not been silenced and eventually banished from the country by
the pseudo-liberal faction of the Moderados, not only Cadiz, but
the greater part of Andalusia, would by this time have confessed
the pure doctrines of the Gospel, and have discarded for ever the
last relics of popish superstition.

More immediately connected with the Bible Society and myself, I am
most happy to take this opportunity of speaking of Luis de Usoz y
Rio, the scion of an ancient and honourable family of Old Castile,
my coadjutor whilst editing the Spanish New Testament at Madrid.
Throughout my residence in Spain, I experienced every mark of
friendship from this gentleman, who, during the periods of my
absence in the provinces, and my numerous and long journeys,
cheerfully supplied my place at Madrid, and exerted himself to the
utmost in forwarding the views of the Bible Society, influenced by
no other motive than a hope that its efforts would eventually
contribute to the peace, happiness, and civilisation of his native

In conclusion, I beg leave to state that I am fully aware of the
various faults and inaccuracies of the present work. It is founded
on certain journals which I kept during my stay in Spain, and
numerous letters written to my friends in England, which they had
subsequently the kindness to restore: the greater part, however,
consisting of descriptions of scenery, sketches of character, etc.,
has been supplied from memory. In various instances I have omitted
the names of places, which I have either forgotten, or of whose
orthography I am uncertain. The work, as it at present exists, was
written in a solitary hamlet in a remote part of England, where I
had neither books to consult, nor friends of whose opinion or
advice I could occasionally avail myself, and under all the
disadvantages which arise from enfeebled health; I have, however,
on a recent occasion, experienced too much of the lenity and
generosity of the public, both of Britain and America, to shrink
from again exposing myself to its gaze, and trust that, if in the
present volumes it finds but little to admire, it will give me
credit for good spirit, and for setting down nought in malice.

Nov. 26, 1842.


Man Overboard--The Tagus--Foreign Languages--Gesticulation--Streets
of Lisbon--The Aqueduct--Bible tolerated in Portugal--Cintra--Don
Sebastian--John de Castro--Conversation with a Priest--Colhares--
Mafra--Its Palace--The Schoolmaster--The Portuguese--Their
Ignorance of Scripture--Rural Priesthood--The Alemtejo.

On the morning of the tenth of November, 1835, I found myself off
the coast of Galicia, whose lofty mountains, gilded by the rising
sun, presented a magnificent appearance. I was bound for Lisbon;
we passed Cape Finisterre, and standing farther out to sea,
speedily lost sight of land. On the morning of the eleventh the
sea was very rough, and a remarkable circumstance occurred. I was
on the forecastle, discoursing with two of the sailors: one of
them, who had but just left his hammock, said, "I have had a
strange dream, which I do not much like, for," continued he,
pointing up to the mast, "I dreamt that I fell into the sea from
the cross-trees." He was heard to say this by several of the crew
besides myself. A moment after, the captain of the vessel
perceiving that the squall was increasing, ordered the topsails to
be taken in, whereupon this man with several others instantly ran
aloft; the yard was in the act of being hauled down, when a sudden
gust of wind whirled it round with violence, and a man was struck
down from the cross-trees into the sea, which was working like
yeast below. In a short time he emerged; I saw his head on the
crest of a billow, and instantly recognised in the unfortunate man
the sailor who a few moments before had related his dream. I shall
never forget the look of agony he cast whilst the steamer hurried
past him. The alarm was given, and everything was in confusion; it
was two minutes at least before the vessel was stopped, by which
time the man was a considerable way astern; I still, however, kept
my eye upon him, and could see that he was struggling gallantly
with the waves. A boat was at length lowered, but the rudder was
unfortunately not at hand, and only two oars could be procured,
with which the men could make but little progress in so rough a
sea. They did their best, however, and had arrived within ten
yards of the man, who still struggled for his life, when I lost
sight of him, and the men on their return said that they saw him
below the water, at glimpses, sinking deeper and deeper, his arms
stretched out and his body apparently stiff, but that they found it
impossible to save him; presently after, the sea, as if satisfied
with the prey which it had acquired, became comparatively calm.
The poor fellow who perished in this singular manner was a fine
young man of twenty-seven, the only son of a widowed mother; he was
the best sailor on board, and was beloved by all who were
acquainted with him. This event occurred on the eleventh of
November, 1835; the vessel was the London Merchant steamship.
Truly wonderful are the ways of Providence!

That same night we entered the Tagus, and dropped anchor before the
old tower of Belem; early the next morning we weighed, and,
proceeding onward about a league, we again anchored at a short
distance from the Caesodre, or principal quay of Lisbon. Here we
lay for some hours beside the enormous black hulk of the Rainha
Nao, a man-of-war, which in old times so captivated the eye of
Nelson, that he would fain have procured it for his native country.
She was, long subsequently, the admiral's ship of the Miguelite
squadron, and had been captured by the gallant Napier about three
years previous to the time of which I am speaking.

The Rainha Nao is said to have caused him more trouble than all the
other vessels of the enemy; and some assert that, had the others
defended themselves with half the fury which the old vixen queen
displayed, the result of the battle which decided the fate of
Portugal would have been widely different.

I found disembarkation at Lisbon to be a matter of considerable
vexation; the custom-house officers were exceedingly uncivil, and
examined every article of my little baggage with most provocating

My first impression on landing in the Peninsula was by no means a
favourable one; and I had scarcely pressed the soil one hour before
I heartily wished myself back in Russia, a country which I had
quitted about one month previous, and where I had left cherished
friends and warm affections.

After having submitted to much ill-usage and robbery at the custom-
house, I proceeded in quest of a lodging, and at last found one,
but dirty and expensive. The next day I hired a servant, a
Portuguese, it being my invariable custom on arriving in a country
to avail myself of the services of a native; chiefly with the view
of perfecting myself in the language; and being already acquainted
with most of the principal languages and dialects of the east and
the west, I am soon able to make myself quite intelligible to the
inhabitants. In about a fortnight I found myself conversing in
Portuguese with considerable fluency.

Those who wish to make themselves understood by a foreigner in his
own language, should speak with much noise and vociferation,
opening their mouths wide. Is it surprising that the English are,
in general, the worst linguists in the world, seeing that they
pursue a system diametrically opposite? For example, when they
attempt to speak Spanish, the most sonorous tongue in existence,
they scarcely open their lips, and putting their hands in their
pockets, fumble lazily, instead of applying them to the
indispensable office of gesticulation. Well may the poor Spaniards

Lisbon is a huge ruinous city, still exhibiting in almost every
direction the vestiges of that terrific visitation of God, the
earthquake which shattered it some eighty years ago. It stands on
seven hills, the loftiest of which is occupied by the castle of
Saint George, which is the boldest and most prominent object to the
eye, whilst surveying the city from the Tagus. The most frequented
and busy parts of the city are those comprised within the valley to
the north of this elevation.

Here you find the Plaza of the Inquisition, the principal square in
Lisbon, from which run parallel towards the river three or four
streets, amongst which are those of the gold and silver, so
designated from being inhabited by smiths cunning in the working of
those metals; they are upon the whole very magnificent; the houses
are huge and as high as castles; immense pillars defend the
causeway at intervals, producing, however, rather a cumbrous
effect. These streets are quite level, and are well paved, in
which respect they differ from all the others in Lisbon. The most
singular street, however, of all is that of the Alemcrin, or
Rosemary, which debouches on the Caesodre. It is very precipitous,
and is occupied on either side by the palaces of the principal
Portuguese nobility, massive and frowning, but grand and
picturesque, edifices, with here and there a hanging garden,
overlooking the streets at a great height.

With all its ruin and desolation, Lisbon is unquestionably the most
remarkable city in the Peninsula, and, perhaps, in the south of
Europe. It is not my intention to enter into minute details
concerning it; I shall content myself with remarking, that it is
quite as much deserving the attention of the artist as even Rome
itself. True it is that though it abounds with churches it has no
gigantic cathedral, like St. Peter's, to attract the eye and fill
it with wonder, yet I boldly say that there is no monument of man's
labour and skill, pertaining either to ancient or modern Rome, for
whatever purpose designed, which can rival the water-works of
Lisbon; I mean the stupendous aqueduct whose principal arches cross
the valley to the north-east of Lisbon, and which discharges its
little runnel of cool and delicious water into the rocky cistern
within that beautiful edifice called the Mother of the Waters, from
whence all Lisbon is supplied with the crystal lymph, though the
source is seven leagues distant. Let travellers devote one entire
morning to inspecting the Arcos and the Mai das Agoas, after which
they may repair to the English church and cemetery, Pere-la-chaise
in miniature, where, if they be of England, they may well be
excused if they kiss the cold tomb, as I did, of the author of
Amelia, the most singular genius which their island ever produced,
whose works it has long been the fashion to abuse in public and to
read in secret. In the same cemetery rest the mortal remains of
Doddridge, another English author of a different stamp, but justly
admired and esteemed. I had not intended, on disembarking, to
remain long in Lisbon, nor indeed in Portugal; my destination was
Spain, whither I shortly proposed to direct my steps, it being the
intention of the Bible Society to attempt to commence operations in
that country, the object of which should be the distribution of the
Word of God, for Spain had hitherto been a region barred against
the admission of the Bible; not so Portugal, where, since the
revolution, the Bible had been permitted both to be introduced and
circulated. Little, however, had been accomplished; therefore,
finding myself in the country, I determined, if possible, to effect
something in the way of distribution, but first of all to make
myself acquainted as to how far the people were disposed to receive
the Bible, and whether the state of education in general would
permit them to turn it to much account. I had plenty of Bibles and
Testaments at my disposal, but could the people read them, or would
they? A friend of the Society to whom I was recommended was absent
from Lisbon at the period of my arrival; this I regretted, as he
could have afforded me several useful hints. In order, however,
that no time might be lost, I determined not to wait for his
arrival, but at once proceed to gather the best information I could
upon those points to which I have already alluded. I determined to
commence my researches at some slight distance from Lisbon, being
well aware of the erroneous ideas that I must form of the
Portuguese in general, should I judge of their character and
opinions from what I saw and heard in a city so much subjected to
foreign intercourse.

My first excursion was to Cintra. If there be any place in the
world entitled to the appellation of an enchanted region, it is
surely Cintra; Tivoli is a beautiful and picturesque place, but it
quickly fades from the mind of those who have seen the Portuguese
Paradise. When speaking of Cintra, it must not for a moment be
supposed that nothing more is meant than the little town or city;
by Cintra must be understood the entire region, town, palace,
quintas, forests, crags, Moorish ruin, which suddenly burst on the
view on rounding the side of a bleak, savage, and sterile-looking
mountain. Nothing is more sullen and uninviting than the south-
western aspect of the stony wall which, on the side of Lisbon,
seems to shield Cintra from the eye of the world, but the other
side is a mingled scene of fairy beauty, artificial elegance,
savage grandeur, domes, turrets, enormous trees, flowers and
waterfalls, such as is met with nowhere else beneath the sun. Oh!
there are strange and wonderful objects at Cintra, and strange and
wonderful recollections attached to them. The ruin on that lofty
peak, and which covers part of the side of that precipitous steep,
was once the principal stronghold of the Lusitanian Moors, and
thither, long after they had disappeared, at a particular moon of
every year, were wont to repair wild santons of Maugrabie, to pray
at the tomb of a famous Sidi, who slumbers amongst the rocks. That
grey palace witnessed the assemblage of the last cortes held by the
boy king Sebastian, ere he departed on his romantic expedition
against the Moors, who so well avenged their insulted faith and
country at Alcazarquibir, and in that low shady quinta, embowered
amongst those tall alcornoques, once dwelt John de Castro, the
strange old viceroy of Goa, who pawned the hairs of his dead son's
beard to raise money to repair the ruined wall of a fortress
threatened by the heathen of Ind; those crumbling stones which
stand before the portal, deeply graven, not with "runes," but
things equally dark, Sanscrit rhymes from the Vedas, were brought
by him from Goa, the most brilliant scene of his glory, before
Portugal had become a base kingdom; and down that dingle, on an
abrupt rocky promontory, stand the ruined halls of the English
Millionaire, who there nursed the wayward fancies of a mind as
wild, rich, and variegated as the scenes around. Yes, wonderful
are the objects which meet the eye at Cintra, and wonderful are the
recollections attached to them.

The town of Cintra contains about eight hundred inhabitants. The
morning subsequent to my arrival, as I was about to ascend the
mountain for the purpose of examining the Moorish ruins, I observed
a person advancing towards me whom I judged by his dress to be an
ecclesiastic; he was in fact one of the three priests of the place.
I instantly accosted him, and had no reason to regret doing so; I
found him affable and communicative.

After praising the beauty of the surrounding scenery, I made some
inquiry as to the state of education amongst the people under his
care. He answered, that he was sorry to say that they were in a
state of great ignorance, very few of the common people being able
either to read or write; that with respect to schools, there was
but one in the place, where four or five children were taught the
alphabet, but that even this was at present closed; he informed me,
however, that there was a school at Colhares, about a league
distant. Amongst other things, he said that nothing more surprised
him than to see Englishmen, the most learned and intelligent people
in the world, visiting a place like Cintra, where there was no
literature, science, nor anything of utility (coisa que presta). I
suspect that there was some covert satire in the last speech of the
worthy priest; I was, however, Jesuit enough to appear to receive
it as a high compliment, and, taking off my hat, departed with an
infinity of bows.

That same day I visited Colhares, a romantic village on the side of
the mountain of Cintra, to the north-west. Seeing some peasants
collected round a smithy, I inquired about the school, whereupon
one of the men instantly conducted me thither. I went upstairs
into a small apartment, where I found the master with about a dozen
pupils standing in a row; I saw but one stool in the room, and to
that, after having embraced me, he conducted me with great
civility. After some discourse, he showed me the books which he
used for the instruction of the children; they were spelling books,
much of the same kind as those used in the village schools in
England. Upon my asking him whether it was his practice to place
the Scriptures in the hands of the children, he informed me that
long before they had acquired sufficient intelligence to understand
them they were removed by their parents, in order that they might
assist in the labours of the field, and that the parents in general
were by no means solicitous that their children should learn
anything, as they considered the time occupied in learning as so
much squandered away. He said, that though the schools were
nominally supported by the government, it was rarely that the
schoolmasters could obtain their salaries, on which account many
had of late resigned their employments. He told me that he had a
copy of the New Testament in his possession, which I desired to
see, but on examining it I discovered that it was only the epistles
by Pereira, with copious notes. I asked him whether he considered
that there was harm in reading the Scriptures without notes: he
replied that there was certainly no harm in it, but that simple
people, without the help of notes, could derive but little benefit
from Scripture, as the greatest part would be unintelligible to
them; whereupon I shook hands with him, and on departing said that
there was no part of Scripture so difficult to understand as those
very notes which were intended to elucidate it, and that it would
never have been written if not calculated of itself to illume the
minds of all classes of mankind.

In a day or two I made an excursion to Mafra, distant about three
leagues from Cintra; the principal part of the way lay over steep
hills, somewhat dangerous for horses; however, I reached the place
in safety.

Mafra is a large village in the neighbourhood of an immense
building, intended to serve as a convent and palace, and which is
built somewhat after the fashion of the Escurial. In this edifice
exists the finest library in Portugal, containing books on all
sciences and in all languages, and well suited to the size and
grandeur of the edifice which contains it. There were no monks,
however, to take care of it, as in former times; they had been
driven forth, some to beg their bread, some to serve under the
banners of Don Carlos, in Spain, and many, as I was informed, to
prowl about as banditti. I found the place abandoned to two or
three menials, and exhibiting an aspect of solitude and desolation
truly appalling. Whilst I was viewing the cloisters, a fine
intelligent-looking lad came up and asked (I suppose in the hope of
obtaining a trifle) whether I would permit him to show me the
village church, which he informed me was well worth seeing; I said
no, but added, that it he would show me the village school I should
feel much obliged to him. He looked at me with astonishment, and
assured me that there was nothing to be seen at the school, which
did not contain more than half a dozen boys, and that he himself
was one of the number. On my telling him, however, that he should
show me no other place, he at length unwillingly attended me. On
the way I learned from him that the schoolmaster was one of the
friars who had lately been expelled from the convent, that he was a
very learned man, and spoke French and Greek. We passed a stone
cross, and the boy bent his head and crossed himself with much
devotion. I mention this circumstance, as it was the first
instance of the kind which I had observed amongst the Portuguese
since my arrival. When near the house where the schoolmaster
resided, he pointed it out to me, and then hid himself behind a
wall, where he awaited my return.

On stepping over the threshold I was confronted by a short stout
man, between sixty and seventy years of age, dressed in a blue
jerkin and grey trousers, without shirt or waistcoat; he looked at
me sternly, and enquired in the French language what was my
pleasure. I apologised for intruding upon him, and stated that,
being informed he occupied the situation of schoolmaster, I had
come to pay my respects to him and to beg permission to ask a few
questions respecting the seminary. He answered that whoever told
me he was a schoolmaster lied, for that he was a friar of the
convent and nothing else. "It is not then true," said I, "that all
the convents have been broken up and the monks dismissed?" "Yes,
yes," said he with a sigh, "it is true; it is but too true." He
then was silent for a minute, and his better nature overcoming his
angry feelings, he produced a snuff-box and offered it to me. The
snuff-box is the olive-branch of the Portuguese, and he who wishes
to be on good terms with them must never refuse to dip his finger
and thumb into it when offered. I took therefore a huge pinch,
though I detest the dust, and we were soon on the best possible
terms. He was eager to obtain news, especially from Lisbon and
Spain. I told him that the officers of the troops at Lisbon had,
the day before I left that place, gone in a body to the queen and
insisted upon her either receiving their swords or dismissing her
ministers; whereupon he rubbed his hands and said that he was sure
matters would not remain tranquil at Lisbon. On my saying,
however, that I thought the affairs of Don Carlos were on the
decline (this was shortly after the death of Zumalacarregui), he
frowned, and cried that it could not possibly be, for that God was
too just to suffer it. I felt for the poor man who had been driven
out of his home in the noble convent close by, and from a state of
affluence and comfort reduced in his old age to indigence and
misery, for his present dwelling scarcely seemed to contain an
article of furniture. I tried twice or thrice to induce him to
converse about the school, but he either avoided the subject or
said shortly that he knew nothing about it. On my leaving him, the
boy came from his hiding-place and rejoined me; he said that he had
hidden himself through fear of his master's knowing that he had
brought me to him, for that he was unwilling that any stranger
should know that he was a schoolmaster.

I asked the boy whether he or his parents were acquainted with the
Scripture and ever read it; he did not, however, seem to understand
me. I must here observe that the boy was fifteen years of age,
that he was in many respects very intelligent, and had some
knowledge of the Latin language; nevertheless he knew not the
Scripture even by name, and I have no doubt, from what I
subsequently observed, that at least two-thirds of his countrymen
are on that important point no wiser than himself. At the doors of
village inns, at the hearths of the rustics, in the fields where
they labour, at the stone fountains by the wayside where they water
their cattle, I have questioned the lower class of the children of
Portugal about the Scripture, the Bible, the Old and New Testament,
and in no one instance have they known what I was alluding to, or
could return me a rational answer, though on all other matters
their replies were sensible enough; indeed, nothing surprised me
more than the free and unembarrassed manner in which the Portuguese
peasantry sustain a conversation, and the purity of the language in
which they express their thoughts, and yet few of them can read or
write; whereas the peasantry of England, whose education is in
general much superior, are in their conversation coarse and dull
almost to brutality, and absurdly ungrammatical in their language,
though the English tongue is upon the whole more simple in its
structure than the Portuguese.

On my return to Lisbon I found our friend -, who received me very
kindly. The next ten days were exceedingly rainy, which prevented
me from making any excursions into the country: during this time I
saw our friend frequently, and had long conversations with him
concerning the best means of distributing the gospel. He thought
we could do no better for the present than put part of our stock
into the hands of the booksellers of Lisbon, and at the same time
employ colporteurs to hawk the books about the streets, receiving a
certain profit off every copy they sold. This plan was agreed upon
and forthwith put in practice, and with some success. I had
thought of sending colporteurs into the neighbouring villages, but
to this our friend objected. He thought the attempt dangerous, as
it was very possible that the rural priesthood, who still possessed
much influence in their own districts, and who were for the most
part decided enemies to the spread of the gospel, might cause the
men employed to be assassinated or ill-treated.

I determined, however, ere leaving Portugal, to establish depots of
Bibles in one or two of the provincial towns. I wished to visit
the Alemtejo, which I had heard was a very benighted region. The
Alemtejo means the province beyond the Tagus. This province is not
beautiful and picturesque, like most other parts of Portugal:
there are few hills and mountains, the greater part consists of
heaths broken by knolls, and gloomy dingles, and forests of stunted
pine; these places are infested with banditti. The principal city
is Evora, one of the most ancient in Portugal, and formerly the
seat of a branch of the Inquisition, yet more cruel and baneful
than the terrible one of Lisbon. Evora lies about sixty miles from
Lisbon, and to Evora I determined on going with twenty Testaments
and two Bibles. How I fared there will presently be seen.


Boatmen of the Tagus--Dangers of the Stream--Aldea Gallega--The
Hostelry--Robbers--Sabocha--Adventure of a Muleteer--Estalagem de
Ladroes--Don Geronimo--Vendas Novas--Royal Residence--Swine of the
Alemtejo--Monto Moro--Swayne Vonved--Singular Goatherd--Children of
the Fields--Infidels and Sadducees.

On the afternoon of the sixth of December I set out for Evora,
accompanied by my servant. I had been informed that the tide would
serve for the regular passage-boats, or felouks, as they are
called, at about four o'clock, but on reaching the side of the
Tagus opposite to Aldea Gallega, between which place and Lisbon the
boats ply, I found that the tide would not permit them to start
before eight o'clock. Had I waited for them I should have probably
landed at Aldea Gallega about midnight, and I felt little
inclination to make my entree in the Alemtejo at that hour;
therefore, as I saw small boats which can push off at any time
lying near in abundance, I determined upon hiring one of them for
the passage, though the expense would be thus considerably
increased. I soon agreed with a wild-looking lad, who told me that
he was in part owner of one of the boats, to take me over. I was
not aware of the danger in crossing the Tagus at its broadest part,
which is opposite Aldea Gallega, at any time, but especially at
close of day in the winter season, or I should certainly not have
ventured. The lad and his comrade, a miserable looking object,
whose only clothing, notwithstanding the season, was a tattered
jerkin and trousers, rowed until we had advanced about half a mile
from the land; they then set up a large sail, and the lad, who
seemed to direct everything and to be the principal, took the helm
and steered. The evening was now setting in; the sun was not far
from its bourne in the horizon, the air was very cold, the wind was
rising, and the waves of the noble Tagus began to be crested with
foam. I told the boy that it was scarcely possible for the boat to
carry so much sail without upsetting, upon which he laughed, and
began to gabble in a most incoherent manner. He had the most harsh
and rapid articulation that has ever come under my observation in
any human being; it was the scream of the hyena blended with the
bark of the terrier, though it was by no means an index of his
disposition, which I soon found to be light, merry, and anything
but malevolent, for when I, in order to show him that I cared
little about him, began to hum "Eu que sou Contrabandista," he
laughed heartily and said, clapping me on the shoulder, that he
would not drown us if he could help it. The other poor fellow
seemed by no means averse to go to the bottom; he sat at the fore
part of the boat looking the image of famine, and only smiled when
the waters broke over the weather side and soaked his scanty
habiliments. In a little time I had made up my mind that our last
hour was come; the wind was getting higher, the short dangerous
waves were more foamy, the boat was frequently on its beam, and the
water came over the lee side in torrents; but still the wild lad at
the helm held on laughing and chattering, and occasionally yelling
out part of the Miguelite air, "Quando el Rey chegou" the singing
of which in Lisbon is imprisonment.

The stream was against us, but the wind was in our favour, and we
sprang along at a wonderful rate, and I saw that our only chance of
escape was in speedily passing the farther bank of the Tagus where
the bight or bay at the extremity of which stands Aldea Gallega
commences, for we should not then have to battle with the waves of
the stream, which the adverse wind lashed into fury. It was the
will of the Almighty to permit us speedily to gain this shelter,
but not before the boat was nearly filled with water, and we were
all wet to the skin. At about seven o'clock in the evening we
reached Aldea Gallega, shivering with cold and in a most deplorable

Aldea Gallega, or the Galician Village (for the two words are
Spanish, and have that signification), it a place containing, I
should think, about four thousand inhabitants. It was pitchy dark
when we landed, but rockets soon began to fly about in all
directions, illuming the air far and wide. As we passed along the
dirty unpaved street which leads to the Largo, or square in which
the inn is situated, a horrible uproar of drums and voices assailed
our ears. On inquiring the cause of all this bustle, I was
informed that it was the eve of the Conception of the Virgin.

As it was not the custom of the people at the inn to furnish
provisions for the guests, I wandered about in search of food; and
at last seeing some soldiers eating and drinking in a species of
wine-house, I went in and asked the people to let me have some
supper, and in a short time they furnished me with a tolerable
meal, for which, however, they charged three crowns.

Having engaged with a person for mules to carry us to Evora, which
were to be ready at five next morning, I soon retired to bed, my
servant sleeping in the same apartment, which was the only one in
the house vacant. I closed not my eyes during the whole night.
Beneath us was a stable, in which some almocreves, or carriers,
slept with their mules; at our back, in the yard, was a pigsty.
How could I sleep? The hogs grunted, the mules screamed, and the
almocreves snored most horribly. I heard the village clock strike
the hours until midnight, and from midnight till four in the
morning, when I sprang up and began to dress, and despatched my
servant to hasten the man with the mules, for I was heartily tired
of the place and wanted to leave it. An old man, bony and hale,
accompanied by a barefooted lad, brought the beasts, which were
tolerably good. He was the proprietor of them, and intended, with
the lad, who was his nephew, to accompany us to Evora.

When we started, the moon was shining brightly, and the morning was
piercingly cold. We soon entered on a sandy hollow way, emerging
from which we passed by a strange-looking and large edifice,
standing on a high bleak sand-hill on our left. We were speedily
overtaken by five or six men on horseback, riding at a rapid pace,
each with a long gun slung at his saddle, the muzzle depending
about two feet below the horse's belly. I inquired of the old man
what was the reason of this warlike array. He answered, that the
roads were very bad (meaning that they abounded with robbers), and
that they went armed in this manner for their defence; they soon
turned off to the right towards Palmella.

We reached a sandy plain studded with stunted pine; the road was
little more than a footpath, and as we proceeded, the trees
thickened and became a wood, which extended for two leagues, with
clear spaces at intervals, in which herds of cattle and sheep were
feeding; the bells attached to their necks were ringing lowly and
monotonously. The sun was just beginning to show itself; but the
morning was misty and dreary, which, together with the aspect of
desolation which the country exhibited, had an unfavourable effect
on my spirits. I got down and walked, entering into conversation
with the old man. He seemed to have but one theme, "the robbers,"
and the atrocities they were in the habit of practising in the very
spots we were passing. The tales he told were truly horrible, and
to avoid them I mounted again, and rode on considerably in front.

In about an hour and a half we emerged from the forest, and entered
upon a savage, wild, broken ground, covered with mato, or
brushwood. The mules stopped to drink at a shallow pool, and on
looking to the right I saw a ruined wall. This, the guide informed
me, was the remains of Vendas Velhas, or the Old Inn, formerly the
haunt of the celebrated robber Sabocha. This Sabocha, it seems,
had, some sixteen years ago, a band of about forty ruffians at his
command, who infested these wilds, and supported themselves by
plunder. For a considerable time Sabocha pursued his atrocious
trade unsuspected, and many an unfortunate traveller was murdered
in the dead of night at the solitary inn by the wood-side, which he
kept; indeed, a more fit situation for plunder and murder I never
saw. The gang were in the habit of watering their horses at the
pool, and perhaps of washing therein their hands stained with the
blood of their victims; the lieutenant of the troop was the brother
of Sabocha, a fellow of great strength and ferocity, particularly
famous for the skill he possessed in darting a long knife, with
which he was in the habit of transfixing his opponents. Sabocha's
connection with the gang at length became known, and he fled, with
the greater part of his associates, across the Tagus to the
northern provinces. Himself and his brothers eventually lost their
lives on the road to Coimbra, in an engagement with the military.
His house was razed by order of the government.

The ruins are still frequently visited by banditti, who eat and
drink amidst them, and look out for prey, as the place commands a
view of the road. The old man assured me, that about two months
previous, on returning to Aldea Gallega with his mules from
accompanying some travellers, he had been knocked down, stripped
naked, and all his money taken from him, by a fellow whom he
believed came from this murderers' nest. He said that he was an
exceedingly powerful young man, with immense moustaches and
whiskers, and was armed with an espingarda, or musket. About ten
days subsequently he saw the robber at Vendas Novas, where we
should pass the night. The fellow on recognising him took him
aside, and, with horrid imprecations, threatened that he should
never be permitted to return home if he attempted to discover him;
he therefore held his peace, as there was little to be gained and
everything to be risked in apprehending him, as he would have been
speedily set at liberty for want of evidence to criminate him, and
then he would not have failed to have had his revenge, or would
have been anticipated therein by his comrades.

I dismounted and went up to the place, and saw the vestiges of a
fire and a broken bottle. The sons of plunder had been there very
lately. I left a New Testament and some tracts amongst the ruins,
and hastened away.

The sun had dispelled the mists and was beaming very hot; we rode
on for about an hour, when I heard the neighing of a horse in our
rear, and our guide said there was a party of horsemen behind; our
mules were good, and they did not overtake us for at least twenty
minutes. The headmost rider was a gentleman in a fashionable
travelling dress; a little way behind were an officer, two
soldiers, and a boy in livery. I heard the principal horseman, on
overtaking my servant, inquiring who I was, and whether French or
English. He was told I was an English gentleman, travelling. He
then asked whether I understood Portuguese; the man said I
understood it, but he believed that I spoke French and Italian
better. The gentleman then spurred on his horse and accosted me,
not in Portuguese, nor in French or Italian, but in the purest
English that I ever heard spoken by a foreigner; it had, indeed,
nothing of foreign accent or pronunciation in it; and had I not
known, by the countenance of the speaker, that he was no
Englishman, (for there is a peculiarity in the countenance, as
everybody knows, which, though it cannot be described, is sure to
betray the Englishman), I should have concluded that I was in
company with a countryman. We continued discoursing until we
arrived at Pegoens.

Pegoens consists of about two or three houses and an inn; there is
likewise a species of barrack, where half a dozen soldiers are
stationed. In the whole of Portugal there is no place of worse
reputation, and the inn is nick-named Estalagem de Ladroes, or the
hostelry of thieves; for it is there that the banditti of the
wilderness, which extends around it on every side for leagues, are
in the habit of coming and spending the money, the fruits of their
criminal daring; there they dance and sing, eat fricasseed rabbits
and olives, and drink the muddy but strong wine of the Alemtejo.
An enormous fire, fed by the trunk of a cork tree, was blazing in a
niche on the left hand on entering the spacious kitchen. Close by
it, seething, were several large jars, which emitted no
disagreeable odour, and reminded me that I had not broken my fast,
although it was now nearly one o'clock, and I had ridden five
leagues. Several wild-looking men, who if they were not banditti
might easily be mistaken for such, were seated on logs about the
fire. I asked them some unimportant questions, to which they
replied with readiness and civility, and one of them, who said he
could read, accepted a tract which I offered him.

My new friend, who had been bespeaking dinner, or rather breakfast,
now, with great civility, invited me to partake of it, and at the
same time introduced me to the officer who accompanied him, and who
was his brother, and also spoke English, though not so well as
himself. I found I had become acquainted with Don Geronimo Joze
D'Azveto, secretary to the government at Evora; his brother
belonged to a regiment of hussars, whose headquarters were at
Evora, but which had outlying parties along the road,--for example,
the place where we were stopping.

Rabbits at Pegoens seem to be a standard article of food, being
produced in abundance on the moors around. We had one fried, the
gravy of which was delicious, and afterwards a roasted one, which
was brought up on a dish entire; the hostess, having first washed
her hands, proceeded to tear the animal to pieces, which having
accomplished, she poured over the fragments a sweet sauce. I ate
heartily of both dishes, particularly of the last; owing, perhaps,
to the novel and curious manner in which it was served up.
Excellent figs, from the Algarves, and apples concluded our repast,
which we ate in a little side room with a mud floor, which sent
such a piercing chill into my system, as prevented me from deriving
that pleasure from my fare and my agreeable companions that I
should have otherwise experienced.

Don Geronimo had been educated in England, in which country he
passed his boyhood, which in a certain degree accounted for his
proficiency in the English language, the idiom and pronunciation of
which can only be acquired by residing in the country at that
period of one's life. He had also fled thither shortly after the
usurpation of the throne of Portugal by Don Miguel, and from thence
had departed to the Brazils, where he had devoted himself to the
service of Don Pedro, and had followed him in the expedition which
terminated in the downfall of the usurper and the establishment of
the constitutional government in Portugal. Our conversation rolled
chiefly on literary and political subjects, and my acquaintance
with the writings of the most celebrated authors of Portugal was
hailed with surprise and delight; for nothing is more gratifying to
a Portuguese than to observe a foreigner taking an interest in the
literature of his nation, of which, in many respects, he is justly

At about two o'clock we were once more in the saddle, and pursued
our way in company through a country exactly resembling that which
we had previously been traversing, rugged and broken, with here and
there a clump of pines. The afternoon was exceedingly fine, and
the bright rays of the sun relieved the desolation of the scene.
Having advanced about two leagues, we caught sight of a large
edifice towering majestically in the distance, which I learnt was a
royal palace standing at the farther extremity of Vendas Novas, the
village in which we were to pass the night; it was considerably
more than a league from us, yet, seen through the clear transparent
atmosphere of Portugal it appeared much nearer.

Before reaching it we passed by a stone cross, on the pedestal of
which was an inscription commemorating a horrible murder of a
native of Lisbon, which had occurred on that spot; it looked
ancient, and was covered with moss, and the greater part of the
inscription was illegible, at least it was to me, who could not
bestow much time on its deciphering. Having arrived at Vendas
Novas, and bespoken supper, my new friend and myself strolled forth
to view the palace; it was built by the late king of Portugal, and
presents little that is remarkable in its exterior; it is a long
edifice with wings, and is only two stories high, though it can be
seen afar off, from being situated on elevated ground; it has
fifteen windows in the upper, and twelve in the lower story, with a
paltry-looking door, something like that of a barn, to which you
ascend by one single step; the interior corresponds with the
exterior, offering nothing which can gratify curiosity, if we
except the kitchens, which are indeed magnificent, and so large
that food enough might be cooked in them, at one time, to serve as
a repast for all the inhabitants of the Alemtejo.

I passed the night with great comfort in a clean bed, remote from
all those noises so rife in a Portuguese inn, and the next morning
at six we again set out on our journey, which we hoped to terminate
before sunset, as Evora is but ten leagues from Vendas Novas. The
preceding morning had been cold, but the present one was far
colder, so much so, that just before sunrise I could no longer
support it on horseback, and therefore dismounting, ran and walked
until we reached a few houses at the termination of these desolate
moors. It was in one of these houses that the commissioners of Don
Pedro and Miguel met, and it was there agreed that the latter
should resign the crown in favour of Donna Maria, for Evora was the
last stronghold of the usurper, and the moors of the Alemtejo the
last area of the combats which so long agitated unhappy Portugal.
I therefore gazed on the miserable huts with considerable interest,
and did not fail to scatter in the neighbourhood several of the
precious little tracts with which, together with a small quantity
of Testaments, my carpet bag was provided.

The country began to improve; the savage heaths were left behind,
and we saw hills and dales, cork trees, and azinheiras, on the last
of which trees grows that kind of sweet acorn called bolotas, which
is pleasant as a chestnut, and which supplies in winter the
principal food on which the numerous swine of the Alemtejo subsist.
Gallant swine they are, with short legs and portly bodies of a
black or dark red colour; and for the excellence of their flesh I
can vouch, having frequently luxuriated upon it in the course of my
wanderings in this province; the lombo, or loin, when broiled on
the live embers, is delicious, especially when eaten with olives.

We were now in sight of Monte Moro, which, as the name denotes, was
once a fortress of the Moors; it is a high steep hill, on the
summit and sides of which are ruined walls and towers; at its
western side is a deep ravine or valley, through which a small
stream rushes, traversed by a stone bridge; farther down there is a
ford, over which we passed and ascended to the town, which,
commencing near the northern base, passes over the lower ridge
towards the north-east. The town is exceedingly picturesque, and
many of the houses are very ancient, and built in the Moorish
fashion. I wished much to examine the relics of Moorish sway on
the upper part of the mountain, but time pressed, and the short
period of our stay at this place did not permit me to gratify my

Monte Moro is the head of a range of hills which cross this part of
the Alemtejo, and from hence they fork east and south-east, towards
the former of which directions lies the direct road to Elvas,
Badajos, and Madrid; and towards the latter that to Evora. A
beautiful mountain, covered to the top with cork trees, is the
third of the chain which skirts the way in the direction of Elvas.
It is called Monte Almo; a brook brawls at its base, and as I
passed it the sun was shining gloriously on the green herbage on
which flocks of goats were feeding, with their bells ringing
merrily, so that the tout ensemble resembled a fairy scene; and
that nothing might be wanted to complete the picture, I here met a
man, a goatherd, beneath an azinheira, whose appearance recalled to
my mind the Brute Carle, mentioned in the Danish ballad of Swayne

"A wild swine on his shoulders he kept,
And upon his bosom a black bear slept;
And about his fingers with hair o'erhung,
The squirrel sported and weasel clung."

Upon the shoulder of the goatherd was a beast, which he told me was
a lontra, or otter, which he had lately caught in the neighbouring
brook; it had a string round its neck which was attached to his
arm. At his left side was a bag, from the top of which peered the
heads of two or three singular-looking animals, and at his right
was squatted the sullen cub of a wolf, which he was endeavouring to
tame; his whole appearance was to the last degree savage and wild.
After a little conversation such as those who meet on the road
frequently hold, I asked him if he could read, but he made me no
answer. I then inquired if he knew anything of God or Jesus
Christ; he looked me fixedly in the face for a moment, and then
turned his countenance towards the sun, which was beginning to sink
in the west, nodded to it, and then again looked fixedly upon me.
I believe that I understood the mute reply; which probably was,
that it was God who made that glorious light which illumes and
gladdens all creation; and gratified with that belief, I left him
and hastened after my companions, who were by this time a
considerable way in advance.

I have always found in the disposition of the children of the
fields a more determined tendency to religion and piety than
amongst the inhabitants of towns and cities, and the reason is
obvious, they are less acquainted with the works of man's hands
than with those of God; their occupations, too, which are simple,
and requiring less of ingenuity and skill than those which engage
the attention of the other portion of their fellow-creatures, are
less favourable to the engendering of self-conceit and sufficiency
so utterly at variance with that lowliness of spirit which
constitutes the best foundation of piety. The sneerers and
scoffers at religion do not spring from amongst the simple children
of nature, but are the excrescences of overwrought refinement, and
though their baneful influence has indeed penetrated to the country
and corrupted man there, the source and fountainhead was amongst
crowded houses, where nature is scarcely known. I am not one of
those who look for perfection amongst the rural population of any
country; perfection is not to be found amongst the children of the
fall, wherever their abodes may happen to be; but, until the heart
discredits the existence of a God, there is still hope for the soul
of the possessor, however stained with crime he may be, for even
Simon the magician was converted; but when the heart is once
steeled with infidelity, infidelity confirmed by carnal wisdom, an
exuberance of the grace of God is required to melt it, which is
seldom manifested; for we read in the blessed book that the
Pharisee and the wizard became receptacles of grace, but where is
there mention made of the conversion of the sneering Sadducee, and
is the modern infidel aught but a Sadducee of later date?

It was dark night before we reached Evora, and having taken leave
of my friends, who kindly requested me to consider their house my
home, I and my servant went to the Largo de San Francisco, in which
the muleteer informed me was the best hostelry of the town. We
rode into the kitchen, at the extreme end of which was the stable,
as is customary in Portugal. The house was kept by an aged gypsy-
like female and her daughter, a fine blooming girl about eighteen
years of age. The house was large; in the upper storey was a very
long room, like a granary, which extended nearly the whole length
of the house; the farther part was partitioned off and formed a
chamber tolerably comfortable but very cold, and the floor was of
tiles, as was also that of the large room in which the muleteers
were accustomed to sleep on the furniture of the mules. After
supper I went to bed, and having offered up my devotions to Him who
had protected me through a dangerous journey, I slept soundly till
the morning.


Shopkeeper at Evora--Spanish Contrabandistas--Lion and Unicorn--The
Fountain--Trust in the Almighty--Distribution of Tracts--Library at
Evora--Manuscript--The Bible as a Guide--The Infamous Mary--The Man
of Palmella--The Charm--The Monkish System--Sunday--Volney--An
Auto-Da-Fe--Men from Spain--Reading of a Tract--New Arrival--The
Herb Rosemary.

Evora is a small city, walled, but not regularly fortified, and
could not sustain a siege of a day. It has five gates; before that
to the south-west is the principal promenade of its inhabitants:
the fair on St. John's day is likewise held there; the houses are
in general very ancient, and many of them unoccupied. It contains
about five thousand inhabitants, though twice that number would be
by no means disproportionate to its size. The two principal
edifices are the See, or cathedral, and the convent of San
Francisco, in the square before the latter of which was situated
the posada where I had taken up my abode. A large barrack for
cavalry stands on the right-hand side, on entering the south-west
gate. To the south-east, at the distance of six leagues, is to be
seen a blue chain of hills, the highest of which is called Serra
Dorso; it is picturesquely beautiful, and contains within its
recesses wolves and wild boars in numbers. About a league and a
half on the other side of this hill is Estremos.

I passed the day succeeding my arrival principally in examining the
town and its environs, and, as I strolled about, entering into
conversation with various people that I met; several of these were
of the middle class, shopkeepers and professional men; they were
all Constitutionalists, or pretended to be so, but had very little
to say except a few commonplace remarks on the way of living of the
friars, their hypocrisy and laziness. I endeavoured to obtain some
information respecting the state of instruction in the place, and
from their answers was led to believe that it must be at the lowest
ebb, for it seemed that there was neither book-shop nor school.
When I spoke of religion, they exhibited the utmost apathy for the
subject, and making their bows left me as soon as possible.

Having a letter of introduction to a person who kept a shop in the
market-place, I went thither and delivered it to him as he stood
behind his counter. In the course of conversation, I found that he
had been much persecuted whilst the old system was in its vigour,
and that he entertained a hearty aversion for it. I told him that
the ignorance of the people in religious matters had served to
nurse that system, and that the surest way to prevent its return
was to enlighten their minds: I added that I had brought a small
stock of Bibles and Testaments to Evora, which I wished to leave
for sale in the hands of some respectable merchant, and that it he
were anxious to help to lay the axe to the root of superstition and
tyranny, he could not do so more effectually than by undertaking
the charge of these books. He declared his willingness to do so,
and I went away determined to entrust to him half of my stock. I
returned to the hostelry, and sat down on a log of wood on the
hearth within the immense chimney in the common apartment; two
surly looking men were on their knees on the stones; before them
was a large heap of pieces of old iron, brass, and copper; they
were assorting it, and stowing it away in various bags. They were
Spanish contrabandistas of the lowest class, and earned a miserable
livelihood by smuggling such rubbish from Portugal into Spain. Not
a word proceeded from their lips, and when I addressed them in
their native language, they returned no other answer than a kind of
growl. They looked as dirty and rusty as the iron in which they
trafficked; their four miserable donkeys were in the stable in the

The woman of the house and her daughter were exceedingly civil to
me, and coming near crouched down, asking various questions about
England. A man dressed somewhat like an English sailor, who sat on
the other side of the hearth confronting me, said, "I hate the
English, for they are not baptized, and have not the law," meaning
the law of God. I laughed, and told him that according to the law
of England, no one who was unbaptized could be buried in
consecrated ground; whereupon he said, "Then you are stricter than
we." He then said, "What is meant by the lion and the unicorn
which I saw the other day on the coat of arms over the door of the
English consul at St. Ubes?" I said they were the arms of England!
"Yes," he replied, "but what do they represent?" I said I did not
know. "Then," said he, "you do not know the secrets of your own
house." I said, "Suppose I were to tell you that they represent
the Lion of Bethlehem, and the horned monster of the flaming pit in
combat, as to which should obtain the mastery in England, what
would you say?" He replied, "I should say that you gave a fair
answer." This man and myself became great friends; he came from
Palmella, not far from St. Ubes; he had several mules and horses
with him, and dealt in corn and barley. I again walked out and
roamed in the environs of the town.

About half a mile from the southern wall is a stone fountain, where
the muleteers and other people who visit the town are accustomed to
water their horses. I sat down by it, and there I remained about
two hours, entering into conversation with every one who halted at
the fountain; and I will here observe, that during the time of my
sojourn at Evora, I repeated my visit every day, and remained there
the same time; and by following this plan, I believe that I spoke
to at least two hundred of the children of Portugal upon matters
relating to their eternal welfare. I found that very few of those
whom I addressed had received any species of literary education,
none of them had seen the Bible, and not more than half a dozen had
the slightest inkling of what the holy book consisted. I found
that most of them were bigoted Papists and Miguelites at heart. I
therefore, when they told me they were Christians, denied the
possibility of their being so, as they were ignorant of Christ and
His commandments, and placed their hope of salvation on outward
forms and superstitious observances, which were the invention of
Satan, who wished to keep them in darkness that at last they might
stumble into the pit which he had dug for them. I said repeatedly
that the Pope, whom they revered, was an arch deceiver, and the
head minister of Satan here on earth, and that the monks and
friars, whose absence they so deplored, and to whom they had been
accustomed to confess themselves, were his subordinate agents.
When called upon for proofs, I invariably cited the ignorance of my
auditors respecting the Scriptures, and said that if their
spiritual guides had been really ministers of Christ, they would
not have permitted their flocks to remain unacquainted with His

Since this occurred, I have been frequently surprised that I
experienced no insult and ill-treatment from the people, whose
superstitions I was thus attacking; but I really experienced none,
and am inclined to believe that the utter fearlessness which I
displayed, trusting in the Protection of the Almighty, may have
been the cause. When threatened by danger, the best policy is to
fix your eye steadily upon it, and it will in general vanish like
the morning mist before the sun; whereas, if you quail before it,
it is sure to become more imminent. I have fervent hope that the
words of my mouth sank deep into the hearts of some of my auditors,
as I observed many of them depart musing and pensive. I
occasionally distributed tracts amongst them; for although they
themselves were unable to turn them to much account, I thought that
by their means they might become of service at some future time,
and fall into the hands of others, to whom they might be of eternal
interest. Many a book which is abandoned to the waters is wafted
to some remote shore, and there proves a blessing and a comfort to
millions, who are ignorant from whence it came.

The next day, which was Friday, I called at the house of my friend
Don Geronimo Azveto. I did not find him there, but was directed to
the see, or episcopal palace, in an apartment of which I found him,
writing, with another gentleman, to whom he introduced me; it was
the governor of Evora, who welcomed me with every mark of kindness
and affability. After some discourse, we went out together to
examine an ancient edifice, which was reported to have served, in
bygone times, as a temple to Diana. Part of it was evidently of
Roman architecture, for there was no mistaking the beautiful light
pillars which supported a dome, under which the sacrifices to the
most captivating and poetical divinity of the heathen theocracy had
probably been made; but the original space between the pillars had
been filled up with rubbish of a modern date, and the rest of the
building was apparently of the architecture of the latter end of
the Middle Ages. It was situated at one end of the building which
had once been the seat of the Inquisition, and had served, before
the erection of the present see, as the residence of the bishop.

Within the see, where the governor now resides, is a superb
library, occupying an immense vaulted room, like the aisle of a
cathedral, and in a side apartment is a collection of paintings by
Portuguese artists, chiefly portraits, amongst which is that of Don
Sebastian. I sincerely hope it did not do him justice, for it
represents him in the shape of an awkward lad of about eighteen,
with a bloated booby face with staring eyes, and a ruff round a
short apoplectic neck.

I was shown several beautifully illuminated missals and other
manuscripts; but the one which most arrested my attention, I
scarcely need say why, was that which bore the following title:-

"Forma sive ordinatio Capelli illustrissimi et xianissimi principis
Henvici Sexti Regis Anglie et Francie am dm Hibernie descripta
serenissio principi Alfonso Regi Portugalie illustri per humilem
servitorem sm Willm. Sav. Decanu capelle supradicte."

It seemed a voice from the olden times of my dear native land!
This library and picture gallery had been formed by one of the
latter bishops, a person of much learning and piety.

In the evening I dined with Don Geronimo and his brother; the
latter soon left us to attend to his military duties. My friend
and myself had now much conversation of considerable interest; he
lamented the deplorable state of ignorance in which his countrymen
existed at present. He said that his friend the governor and
himself were endeavouring to establish a school in the vicinity,
and that they had made application to the government for the use of
an empty convent, called the Espinheiro, or thorn tree, at about a
league's distance, and that they had little doubt of their request
being complied with. I had before told him who I was, and after
expressing joy at the plan which he had in contemplation, I now
urged him in the most pressing manner to use all his influence to
make the knowledge of the Scripture the basis of the education
which the children were to receive, and added, that half the Bibles
and Testaments which I had brought with me to Evora were heartily
at his service; he instantly gave me his hand, said he accepted my
offer with the greatest pleasure, and would do all in his power to
forward my views, which were in many respects his own. I now told
him that I did not come to Portugal with the view of propagating
the dogmas of any particular sect, but with the hope of introducing
the Bible, which is the well-head of all that is useful and
conducive to the happiness of society,--that I cared not what
people called themselves, provided they followed the Bible as a
guide; for that where the Scriptures were read, neither priestcraft
nor tyranny could long exist, and instanced the case of my own
country, the cause of whose freedom and prosperity was the Bible,
and that only, as the last persecutor of this book, the bloody and
infamous Mary, was the last tyrant who had sat on the throne of
England. We did not part till the night was considerably advanced,
and the next morning I sent him the books, in the firm and
confident hope that a bright and glorious morning was about to rise
over the night which had so long cast its dreary shadows over the
regions of the Alemtejo.

The day after this interesting event, which was Saturday, I had
more conversation with the man from Palmella. I asked him if in
his journeys he had never been attacked by robbers; he answered no,
for that he generally travelled in company with others. "However,"
said he, "were I alone I should have little fear, for I am well
protected." I said that I supposed he carried arms with him. "No
other arms than this," said he, pulling out one of those long
desperate looking knives, of English manufacture, with which every
Portuguese peasant is usually furnished. This knife serves for
many purposes, and I should consider it a far more efficient weapon
than a dagger. "But," said he, "I do not place much confidence in
the knife." I then inquired in what rested his hope of protection.
"In this," said he: and unbuttoning his waistcoat, he showed me a
small bag, attached to his neck by a silken string. "In this bag
is an oracam, or prayer, written by a person of power, and as long
as I carry it about with me, no ill can befall me." Curiosity is
the leading feature of my character, and I instantly said, with
eagerness, that I should feel great pleasure in being permitted to
read the prayer. "Well," he replied, "you are my friend, and I
would do for you what I would for few others, I will show it you."
He then asked for my penknife, and having unripped the bag, took
out a large piece of paper closely folded up. I hurried to my
apartment and commenced the examination of it. It was scrawled
over in a very illegible hand, and was moreover much stained with
perspiration, so that I had considerable difficulty in making
myself master of its contents, but I at last accomplished the
following literal translation of the charm, which was written in
bad Portuguese, but which struck me at the time as being one of the
most remarkable compositions that had ever come to my knowledge.


"Just Judge and divine Son of the Virgin Maria, who wast born in
Bethlehem, a Nazarene, and wast crucified in the midst of all
Jewry, I beseech thee, O Lord, by thy sixth day, that the body of
me be not caught, nor put to death by the hands of justice at all;
peace be with you, the peace of Christ, may I receive peace, may
you receive peace, said God to his disciples. If the accursed
justice should distrust me, or have its eyes on me, in order to
take me or to rob me, may its eyes not see me, may its mouth not
speak to me, may it have ears which may not hear me, may it have
hands which may not seize me, may it have feet which may not
overtake me; for may I be armed with the arms of St. George,
covered with the cloak of Abraham, and shipped in the ark of Noah,
so that it can neither see me, nor hear me, nor draw the blood from
my body. I also adjure thee, O Lord, by those three blessed
crosses, by those three blessed chalices, by those three blessed
clergymen, by those three consecrated hosts, that thou give me that
sweet company which thou gavest to the Virgin Maria, from the gates
of Bethlehem to the portals of Jerusalem, that I may go and come
with pleasure and joy with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Virgin
Maria, the prolific yet nevertheless the eternal virgin."

The woman of the house and her daughter had similar bags attached
to their necks, containing charms, which, they said, prevented the
witches having power to harm them. The belief in witchcraft is
very prevalent amongst the peasantry of the Alemtejo, and I believe
of other provinces of Portugal. This is one of the relies of the
monkish system, the aim of which, in all countries where it has
existed, seems to have been to beset the minds of the people, that
they might be more easily misled. All these charms were
fabrications of the monks, who had sold them to their infatuated
confessants. The monks of the Greek and Syrian churches likewise
deal in this ware, which they know to be poison, but which they
would rather vend than the wholesome balm of the gospel, because it
brings them a large price, and fosters the delusion which enables
them to live a life of luxury.

The Sunday morning was fine, and the plain before the church of the
convent of San Francisco was crowded with people hastening to or
returning from the mass. After having performed my morning
devotion, and breakfasted, I went down to the kitchen; the girl
Geronima was seated by the fire. I inquired if she had heard mass?
She replied in the negative, and that she did not intend to hear
it. Upon my inquiring her motive for absenting herself, she
replied, that since the friars had been expelled from their
churches and convents she had ceased to attend mass, or to confess
herself; for that the government priests had no spiritual power,
and consequently she never troubled them. She said the friars were
holy men and charitable; for that every morning those of the
convent over the way fed forty poor persons with the relics of the
meals of the preceding day, but that now these people were allowed
to starve. I replied, that the friars, who lived on the fat of the
land, could well afford to bestow a few bones upon their poor, and
that their doing so was merely a part of their policy, by which
they hoped to secure to themselves friends in time of need. The
girl then observed, that as it was Sunday, I should perhaps like to
see some books, and without waiting for a reply she produced them.
They consisted principally of popular stories, with lives and
miracles of saints, but amongst them was a translation of Volney's
Ruins of Empires. I expressed a wish to know how she became
possessed of this book. She said that a young man, a great
Constitutionalist, had given it to her some months previous, and
had pressed her much to read it, for that it was one of the best
books in the world. I replied, that the author of it was an
emissary of Satan, and an enemy of Jesus Christ and the souls of
mankind; that it was written with the sole aim of bringing all
religion into contempt, and that it inculcated the doctrine that
there was no future state, nor reward for the righteous nor
punishment for the wicked. She made no reply, but going into
another room, returned with her apron full of dry sticks and
brushwood, all which she piled upon the fire, and produced a bright
blaze. She then took the book from my hand and placed it upon the
flaming pile; then sitting down, took her rosary out of her pocket
and told her beads till the volume was consumed. This was an auto
da fe in the best sense of the word.

On the Monday and Tuesday I paid my usual visits to the fountain,
and likewise rode about the neighbourhood on a mule, for the
purpose of circulating tracts. I dropped a great many in the
favourite walks of the people of Evora, as I felt rather dubious of
their accepting them had I proffered them with my own hand,
whereas, should they be observed lying on the ground, I thought
that curiosity might cause them to be picked up and examined. I
likewise, on the Tuesday evening, paid a farewell visit to my
friend Azveto, as it was my intention to leave Evora on the
Thursday following and return to Lisbon; in which view I had
engaged a calash of a man who informed me that he had served as a
soldier in the grande armee of Napoleon, and been present in the
Russian campaign. He looked the very image of a drunkard. His
face was covered with carbuncles, and his breath impregnated with
the fumes of strong waters. He wished much to converse with me in
French, in the speaking of which language it seemed he prided
himself, but I refused, and told him to speak the language of the
country, or I would hold no discourse with him.

Wednesday was stormy, with occasional rain. On coming down, I
found that my friend from Palmella had departed: but several
contrabandistas had arrived from Spain. They were mostly fine
fellows, and unlike the two I had seen the preceding week, who were
of much lower degree, were chatty and communicative; they spoke
their native language, and no other, and seemed to hold the
Portuguese in great contempt. The magnificent tones of the Spanish
sounded to great advantage amidst the shrill squeaking dialect of
Portugal. I was soon in deep conversation with them, and was much
pleased to find that all of them could read. I presented the
eldest, a man of about fifty years of age, with a tract in Spanish.
He examined it for some time with great attention; he then rose
from his seat, and going into the middle of the apartment, began
reading it aloud, slowly and emphatically; his companions gathered
around him, and every now and then expressed their approbation of
what they heard. The reader occasionally called upon me to explain
passages which, as they referred to particular texts of Scripture,
he did not exactly understand, for not one of the party had ever
seen either the Old or New Testament.

He continued reading for upwards of an hour, until he had finished
the tract; and, at its conclusion, the whole party were clamorous
for similar ones, with which I was happy to be able to supply them.

Most of these men spoke of priestcraft and the monkish system with
the utmost abhorrence, and said that they should prefer death to
submitting again to the yoke which had formerly galled their necks.
I questioned them very particularly respecting the opinion of their
neighbours and acquaintances on this point, and they assured me
that in their part of the Spanish frontier all were of the same
mind, and that they cared as little for the Pope and his monks as
they did for Don Carlos; for the latter was a dwarf (chicotito) and
a tyrant, and the others were plunderers and robbers. I told them
they must beware of confounding religion with priestcraft, and that
in their abhorrence of the latter they must not forget that there
is a God and a Christ to whom they must look for salvation, and
whose word it was incumbent upon them to study on every occasion;
whereupon they all expressed a devout belief in Christ and the

These men, though in many respects more enlightened than the
surrounding peasantry, were in others as much in the dark; they
believed in witchcraft and in the efficacy of particular charms.
The night was very stormy, and at about nine we heard a galloping
towards the door, and then a loud knocking; it was opened, and in
rushed a wild-looking man mounted on a donkey; he wore a ragged
jacket of sheepskin, called in Spanish zamarra, with breeches of
the same as far down as his knees; his legs were bare. Around his
sombrero, or shadowy hat, was tied a large quantity of the herb
which in English is called rosemary, in Spanish romero, and in the
rustic language of Portugal, alecrim; which last is a word of
Scandinavian origin (ellegren), signifying the elfin plant, and was
probably carried into the south by the Vandals. The man seemed
frantic with terror, and said that the witches had been pursuing
him and hovering over his head for the last two leagues. He came
from the Spanish frontier with meal and other articles; he said
that his wife was following him and would soon arrive, and in about
a quarter of an hour she made her appearance, dripping with rain,
and also mounted on a donkey.

I asked my friends the contrabandistas why he wore the rosemary in
his hat; whereupon they told me that it was good against witches
and the mischances on the road. I had no time to argue against
this superstition, for, as the chaise was to be ready at five the
next morning, I wished to make the most of the short time which I
could devote to sleep.


Vexatious Delays--Drunken Driver--The Murdered Mule--The
Lamentation--Adventure on the Heath--Fear of Darkness--Portuguese
Fidalgo--The Escort--Return to Lisbon.

I rose at four, and after having taken some refreshment, I
descended and found the strange man and his wife sleeping in the
chimney corner by the fire, which was still burning; they soon
awoke and began preparing their breakfast, which consisted of salt
sardinhas, broiled upon the embers. In the meantime the woman sang
snatches of the beautiful hymn, very common in Spain, which
commences thus:-

"Once of old upon a mountain, shepherds overcome with sleep,
Near to Bethlem's holy tower, kept at dead of night their sheep;
Round about the trunk they nodded of a huge ignited oak,
Whence the crackling flame ascending bright and clear the darkness

On hearing that I was about to depart, she said, "You shall have
some of my husband's rosemary, which will keep you from danger, and
prevent any misfortune occurring." I was foolish enough to permit
her to put some of it in my hat; and the man having by this time
arrived with his mules, I bade farewell to my friendly hostesses,
and entered the chaise with my servant.

I remarked at the time, that the mules which drew us were the
finest I had ever seen; the largest could be little short of
sixteen hands high; and the fellow told me in his bad French that
he loved them better than his wife and children. We turned round
the corner of the convent and proceeded down the street which leads
to the south-western gate. The driver now stopped before the door
of a large house, and having alighted, said that it was yet very
early, and that he was afraid to venture forth, as it was very
probable we should be robbed, and himself murdered, as the robbers
who resided in the town would be apprehensive of his discovering
them, but that the family who lived in this house were going to
Lisbon, and would depart in about a quarter of an hour, when we
might avail ourselves of an escort of soldiers which they would
take with them, and in their company we should run no danger. I
told him I had no fear, and commanded him to drive on; but he said
he would not, and left us in the street. We waited an hour, when
two carriages came to the door of the house, but it seems the
family were not yet ready, whereupon the coachman likewise got down
and went away. At the expiration of about half an hour the family
came out, and when their luggage had been arranged they called for
the coachman, but he was nowhere to be found. Search was made for
him, but ineffectually, and an hour more was spent before another
driver could be procured; but the escort had not yet made its
appearance, and it was not before a servant had been twice
despatched to the barracks that it arrived. At last everything was
ready, and they drove off.

All this time I had seen nothing of our own coachman, and I fully
expected that he had abandoned us altogether. In a few minutes I
saw him staggering up the street in a state of intoxication,
attempting to sing the Marseillois hymn. I said nothing to him,
but sat observing him. He stood for some time staring at the mules
and talking incoherent nonsense in French. At last he said, "I am
not so drunk but I can ride," and proceeded to lead his mules
towards the gate. When out of the town he made several ineffectual
attempts to mount the smallest mule which bore the saddle; he at
length succeeded, and instantly commenced spurring at a furious
rate down the road. We arrived at a place where a narrow rocky
path branched off, by taking which we should avoid a considerable
circuit round the city wall, which otherwise it would be necessary
to make before we could reach the road to Lisbon, which lay at the
north-east; he now said, "I shall take this path, for by so doing
we shall overtake the family in a minute"; so into the path we
went; it was scarcely wide enough to admit the carriage, and
exceedingly steep and broken; we proceeded; ascending and
descending, the wheels cracked, and the motion was so violent that
we were in danger of being cast out as from a sling. I saw that if
we remained in the carriage it must be broken in pieces, as our
weight must insure its destruction. I called to him in Portuguese
to stop, but he flogged and spurred the beasts the more. My man
now entreated me for God's sake to speak to him in French, for, if
anything would pacify him, that would. I did so, and entreated him
to let us dismount and walk, till we had cleared this dangerous
way. The result justified Antonio's anticipation. He instantly
stopped and said, "Sir, you are master, you have only to command
and I shall obey." We dismounted and walked on till we reached the
great road, when we once more seated ourselves.

The family were about a quarter of a mile in advance, and we were
no sooner reseated, than he lashed the mules into full gallop for
the purpose of overtaking it; his cloak had fallen from his
shoulder, and, in endeavouring to readjust it, he dropped the
string from his hand by which he guided the large mule, it became
entangled in the legs of the poor animal, which fell heavily on its
neck, it struggled for a moment, and then lay stretched across the
way, the shafts over its body. I was pitched forward into the
dirt, and the drunken driver fell upon the murdered mule.

I was in a great rage, and cried, "You drunken renegade, who are
ashamed to speak the language of your own country, you have broken
the staff of your existence, and may now starve." "Paciencia,"
said he, and began kicking the head of the mule, in order to make
it rise; but I pushed him down, and taking his knife, which had
fallen from his pocket, cut the bands by which it was attached to
the carriage, but life had fled, and the film of death had begun to
cover its eyes.

The fellow, in the recklessness of intoxication, seemed at first
disposed to make light of his loss, saying, "The mule is dead, it
was God's will that she should die, what more can be said?
Paciencia." Meanwhile, I despatched Antonio to the town for the
purpose of hiring mules, and, having taken my baggage from the
chaise, waited on the roadside until he should arrive.

The fumes of the liquor began now to depart from the fellow's
brain; he clasped his hands and exclaimed, "Blessed Virgin, what is
to become of me? How am I to support myself? Where am I to get
another mule! For my mule, my best mule is dead, she fell upon the
road, and died of a sudden! I have been in France, and in other
countries, and have seen beasts of all kinds, but such a mule as
that I have never seen; but she is dead--my mule is dead--she fell
upon the road and died of a sudden!" He continued in this strain
for a considerable time, and the burden of his lamentation was
always, "My mule is dead, she fell upon the road, and died of a
sudden." At length he took the collar from the creature's neck,
and put it upon the other, which with some difficulty he placed in
the shafts.

A beautiful boy of about thirteen now came from the direction of
the town, running along the road with the velocity of a hare: he
stopped before the dead mule and burst into tears: it was the
man's son, who had heard of the accident from Antonio. This was
too much for the poor fellow: he ran up to the boy, and said,
"Don't cry, our bread is gone, but it is God's will; the mule is
dead!" He then flung himself on the ground, uttering fearful
cries. "I could have borne my loss," said he, "but when I saw my
child cry, I became a fool." I gave him two or three crowns, and
added some words of comfort; assuring him I had no doubt that, if
he abandoned drink, the Almighty God would take compassion on him
and repair his loss. At length he became more composed, and
placing my baggage in the chaise, we returned to the town, where I
found two excellent riding mules awaiting my arrival at the inn. I
did not see the Spanish woman, or I should have told her of the
little efficacy of rosemary in this instance.

I have known several drunkards amongst the Portuguese, but, without
one exception, they have been individuals who, having travelled
abroad, like this fellow, have returned with a contempt for their
own country, and polluted with the worst vices of the lands which
they have visited.

I would strongly advise any of my countrymen who may chance to read
these lines, that, if their fate lead them into Spain or Portugal,
they avoid hiring as domestics, or being connected with,
individuals of the lower classes who speak any other language than
their own, as the probability is that they are heartless thieves
and drunkards. These gentry are invariably saying all they can in
dispraise of their native land; and it is my opinion, grounded upon
experience, that an individual who is capable of such baseness
would not hesitate at the perpetration of any villainy, for next to
the love of God, the love of country is the best preventive of
crime. He who is proud of his country, will be particularly
cautious not to do anything which is calculated to disgrace it.

We now journeyed towards Lisbon, and reached Monte Moro about two
o'clock. After taking such refreshment as the place afforded, we
pursued our way till we were within a quarter of a league of the
huts which stand on the edge of the savage wilderness we had before
crossed. Here we were overtaken by a horseman; he was a powerful,
middle-sized man, and was mounted on a noble Spanish horse. He had
a broad, slouching sombrero on his head, and wore a jerkin of blue
cloth, with large bosses of silver for buttons, and clasps of the
same metal; he had breeches of yellow leather, and immense
jackboots: at his saddle was slung a formidable gun. He inquired
if I intended to pass the night at Vendas Novas, and on my replying
in the affirmative, he said that he would avail himself of our
company. He now looked towards the sun, whose disk was rapidly
sinking beneath the horizon, and entreated us to spur on and make
the most of its light, for that the moor was a horrible place in
the dusk. He placed himself at our head, and we trotted briskly
on, the boy or muleteer who attended us running behind without
exhibiting the slightest symptom of fatigue.

We entered upon the moor, and had advanced about a mile when dark
night fell around us; we were in a wild path, with high brushwood
on either side, when the rider said that he could not confront the
darkness, and begged me to ride on before, and he would follow
after: I could hear him trembling. I asked the reason of his
terror, and he replied that at one time darkness was the same thing
to him as day, but that of late years he dreaded it, especially in
wild places. I complied with his request, but I was ignorant of
the way, and as I could scarcely see my hand, was continually going
wrong. This made the man impatient, and he again placed himself at
our head. We proceeded so for a considerable way, when he again
stopped, and said that the power of the darkness was too much for
him. His horse seemed to be infected with the same panic, for it
shook in every limb. I now told him to call on the name of the
Lord Jesus, who was able to turn the darkness into light, but he
gave a terrible shout, and, brandishing his gun aloft, discharged
it in the air. His horse sprang forward at full speed, and my
mule, which was one of the swiftest of its kind, took fright and
followed at the heels of the charger. Antonio and the boy were
left behind. On we flew like a whirlwind, the hoofs of the animals
illuming the path with the sparks of fire they struck from the
stones. I knew not whither we were going, but the dumb creatures
were acquainted with the way, and soon brought us to Vendas Novas,
where we were rejoined by our companions.

I thought this man was a coward, but I did him injustice, for
during the day he was as brave as a lion, and feared no one. About
five years since, he had overcome two robbers who had attacked him
on the moors, and, after tying their hands behind them, had
delivered them up to justice; but at night the rustling of a leaf
filled him with terror. I have known similar instances of the kind
in persons of otherwise extraordinary resolution. For myself, I
confess I am not a person of extraordinary resolution, but the
dangers of the night daunt me no more than those of midday. The
man in question was a farmer from Evora, and a person of
considerable wealth.

I found the inn at Vendas Novas thronged with people, and had some
difficulty in obtaining accommodation and refreshment. It was
occupied by the family of a certain Fidalgo, from Estremoz; he was
on the way to Lisbon, conveying a large sum of money, as was said--
probably the rents of his estates. He had with him a body guard of
four-and-twenty of his dependants, each armed with a rifle; they
consisted of his swineherds, shepherds, cowherds, and hunters, and
were commanded by two youths, his son and nephew, the latter of
whom was in regimentals; nevertheless, notwithstanding the number
of his troop, it appeared that the Fidalgo laboured under
considerable apprehension of being despoiled upon the waste which
lay between Vendas Novas and Pegoens, as he had just requested a
guard of four soldiers from the officer who commanded a detachment
stationed here: there were many females in his company, who, I was
told, were his illegitimate daughters--for he bore an infamous
moral character, and was represented to me as a staunch friend of
Don Miguel. It was not long before he came up to me and my new
acquaintance, as we sat by the kitchen fire: he was a tall man of
about sixty, but stooped much. His countenance was by no means
pleasing: he had a long hooked nose, small twinkling cunning eyes,
and, what I liked worst of all, a continual sneering smile, which I
firmly believe to be the index of a treacherous and malignant
heart. He addressed me in Spanish, which, as he resided not far
from the frontier, he spoke with fluency, but contrary to my usual
practice, I was reserved and silent.

On the following morning I rose at seven, and found that the party
from Estremoz had started several hours previously. I breakfasted
with my acquaintance of the preceding night, and we set out to
accomplish what remained of our journey. The sun had now arisen;
and all his fears had left him--he breathed defiance against all
the robbers of the Alemtejo. When we had advanced about a league,
the boy who attended us said he saw heads of men amongst the
brushwood. Our cavalier instantly seized his gun, and causing his
horse to make two or three lofty bounds, held it in one hand, the
muzzle pointed in the direction indicated, but the heads did not
again make their appearance, and it was probably but a false alarm.

We resumed our way, and the conversation turned, as might be
expected, upon robbers. My companion, who seemed to be acquainted
with every inch of ground over which we passed, had a legend to
tell of every dingle and every pine-clump. We reached a slight
eminence, on the top of which grew three stately pines: about half
a league farther on was another similar one: these two eminences
commanded a view of the road from Pegoens and Vendas Novas, so that
all people going and coming could be descried, whilst yet at a
distance. My friend told me that these heights were favourite
stations of robbers. Some two years since, a band of six mounted
banditti remained there three days, and plundered whomsoever
approached from either quarter: their horses, saddled and bridled,
stood picqueted at the foot of the trees, and two scouts, one for
each eminence, continually sat in the topmost branches and gave
notice of the approach of travellers: when at a proper distance
the robbers below sprang upon their horses, and putting them to
full gallop, made at their prey, shouting Rendete, Picaro! Rendete,
Picaro! (Surrender, scoundrel, surrender!) We, however, passed
unmolested, and, about a quarter of a mile before we reached
Pegoens, overtook the family of the Fidalgo.

Had they been conveying the wealth of Ind through the deserts of
Arabia, they could not have travelled with more precaution. The
nephew, with drawn sabre, rode in front; pistols at his holsters,
and the usual Spanish gun slung at his saddle. Behind him tramped
six men in a rank, with muskets shouldered, and each of them wore
at his girdle a hatchet, which was probably intended to cleave the
thieves to the brisket should they venture to come to close
quarters. There were six vehicles, two of them calashes, in which
latter rode the Fidalgo and his daughters; the others were covered
carts, and seemed to be filled with household furniture; each of
these vehicles had an armed rustic on either side; and the son, a
lad about sixteen, brought up the rear with a squad equal to that
of his cousin in the van. The soldiers, who by good fortune were
light horse, and admirably mounted, were galloping about in all
directions, for the purpose of driving the enemy from cover, should
they happen to be lurking in the neighbourhood.

I could not help thinking as I passed by, that this martial array
was very injudicious, for though it was calculated to awe
plunderers, it was likewise calculated to allure them, as it seemed
to hint that immense wealth was passing through their territories.
I do not know how the soldiers and rustics would have behaved in
case of an attack; but am inclined to believe that if three such
men as Richard Turpin had suddenly galloped forth from behind one
of the bush-covered knolls, neither the numbers nor resistance
opposed to them would have prevented them from bearing away the
contents of the strong box jingling in their saddlebags.

From this moment nothing worthy of relating occurred till our
arrival at Aldea Gallega, where we passed the night, and next
morning at three o'clock embarked in the passage-boat for Lisbon,
where we arrived at eight--and thus terminates my first wandering
in the Alemtejo.


The College--The Rector--Shibboleth--National Prejudices--Youthful
Sports--Jews of Lisbon--Bad Faith--Crime and Superstition--Strange

One afternoon Antonio said to me, "It has struck me, Senhor, that
your worship would like to see the college of the English--." "By
all means," I replied, "pray conduct me thither." So he led me
through various streets until we stopped before the gate of a large
building in one of the most elevated situations in Lisbon; upon our
ringing, a kind of porter presently made his appearance, and
demanded our business. Antonio explained it to him. He hesitated
for a moment; but presently, bidding us enter, conducted us to a
large gloomy-looking stone hall, where, begging us to be seated, he
left us. We were soon joined by a venerable personage, seemingly
about seventy, in a kind of flowing robe or surplice, with a
collegiate cap upon his head. Notwithstanding his age there was a
ruddy tinge upon his features, which were perfectly English.
Coming slowly up he addressed me in the English tongue, requesting
to know how he could serve me. I informed him that I was an
English traveller, and should be happy to be permitted to inspect
the college, provided it were customary to show it to strangers.
He informed me that there could be no objection to accede to my
request, but that I came at rather an unfortunate moment, it being
the hour of refection. I apologised, and was preparing to retire,
but he begged me to remain, as, in a few minutes, the refection
would be over, when the principals of the college would do
themselves the pleasure of waiting on me.

We sat down on the stone bench, when he commenced surveying me
attentively for some time, and then cast his eyes on Antonio.
"Whom have we here?" said he to the latter; "surely your features
are not unknown to me." "Probably not, your reverence," replied
Antonio, getting up and bowing most profoundly. "I lived in the
family of the Countess -, at Cintra, when your venerability was her
spiritual guide." "True, true," said the old gentleman, sighing,
"I remember you now. Ah, Antonio, things are strangely changed
since then. A new government--a new system--a new religion, I may
say." Then looking again at me, he demanded whither I was
journeying? "I am going to Spain," said I, "and have stopped at
Lisbon by the way." "Spain, Spain!" said the old man; "surely you
have chosen a strange time to visit Spain; there is much
bloodshedding in Spain at present, and violent wars and tumults."
"I consider the cause of Don Carlos as already crushed," I replied;
"he has lost the only general capable of leading his armies to
Madrid. Zumalacarregui, his Cid, has fallen." "Do not flatter
yourself; I beg your pardon, but do not think, young man, that the
Lord will permit the powers of darkness to triumph so easily; the
cause of Don Carlos is not lost; its success did not depend on the
life of a frail worm like him whom you have mentioned." We
continued in discourse some little time, when he arose, saying that
by this time he believed the refection was concluded.

He had scarcely left me five minutes when three individuals entered
the stone hall, and advanced slowly towards me;--the principals of
the college, said I to myself! and so indeed they were. The first
of these gentlemen, and to whom the other two appeared to pay
considerable deference, was a thin spare person, somewhat above the
middle height; his complexion was very pale, his features emaciated
but fine, his eyes dark and sparkling; he might be about fifty--the
other two were men in the prime of life. One was of rather low
stature; his features were dark, and wore that pinched and
mortified expression so frequently to be observed in the
countenance of the English -: the other was a bluff, ruddy, and
rather good-looking young man; all three were dressed alike in the
usual college cap and silk gown. Coming up, the eldest of the
three took me by the hand and thus addressed me in clear silvery

"Welcome, Sir, to our poor house; we are always happy to see in it
a countryman from our beloved native land; it will afford us
extreme satisfaction to show you over it; it is true that
satisfaction is considerably diminished by the reflection that it
possesses nothing worthy of the attention of a traveller; there is
nothing curious pertaining to it save perhaps its economy, and that
as we walk about we will explain to you. Permit us, first of all,
to introduce ourselves to you; I am rector of this poor English
house of refuge; this gentleman is our professor of humanity, and
this (pointing to the ruddy personage) is our professor of polite
learning, Hebrew, and Syriac."

Myself.--I humbly salute you all; excuse me if I inquire who was
the venerable gentleman who put himself to the inconvenience of
staying with me whilst I was awaiting your leisure.

Rector.--O! a most admirable personage, our almoner, our chaplain;
he came into this country before any of us were born, and here he
has continued ever since. Now let us ascend that we may show you
our poor house: but how is this, my dear Sir, how is it that I see
you standing uncovered in our cold damp hall?

Myself.--I can easily explain that to you; it is a custom which has
become quite natural to me. I am just arrived from Russia, where I
have spent some years. A Russian invariably takes off his hat
whenever he enters beneath a roof, whether it pertain to hut, shop,
or palace. To omit doing so would be considered as a mark of
brutality and barbarism, and for the following reason: in every
apartment of a Russian house there is a small picture of the Virgin
stuck up in a corner, just below the ceiling--the hat is taken off
out of respect to her.

Quick glances of intelligence were exchanged by the three
gentlemen. I had stumbled upon their shibboleth, and proclaimed
myself an Ephraimite, and not of Gilead. I have no doubt that up
to that moment they had considered me as one of themselves--a
member, and perhaps a priest, of their own ancient, grand, and
imposing religion, for such it is, I must confess--an error into
which it was natural that they should fall. What motives could a
Protestant have for intruding upon their privacy? What interest
could he take in inspecting the economy of their establishment? So
far, however, from relaxing in their attention after this
discovery, their politeness visibly increased, though, perhaps, a
scrutinizing observer might have detected a shade of less
cordiality in their manner.

Rector.--Beneath the ceiling in every apartment? I think I
understood you so. How delightful--how truly interesting; a
picture of the BLESSED Virgin beneath the ceiling in every
apartment of a Russian house! Truly, this intelligence is as
unexpected as it is delightful. I shall from this moment entertain
a much higher opinion of the Russians than hitherto--most truly an
example worthy of imitation. I wish sincerely that it was our own
practice to place an IMAGE of the BLESSED Virgin beneath the
ceiling in every corner of our houses. What say you, our professor
of humanity? What say you to the information so obligingly
communicated to us by this excellent gentleman?

Humanity Professor.--It is, indeed, most delightful, most cheering,
I may say; but I confess that I was not altogether unprepared for
it. The adoration of the Blessed Virgin is becoming every day more
extended in countries where it has hitherto been unknown or
forgotten. Dr. W-, when he passed through Lisbon, gave me some
most interesting details with respect to the labours of the
propaganda in India. Even England, our own beloved country. . . .

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