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To the Gold Coast for Gold by Richard F. Burton

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_A Personal Narrative_

BY Richard F. Burton AND Verney Lovett Cameron

In Two Volumes--Vol. I.





_'Much have I travelled in the realms of gold'_



The following extract from 'Wanderings in West Africa,' a book which I
wrote in 1862 and published (anonymously) in 1863, will best explain the
reasons which lately sent me to Western Africa:--

In several countries, for instance, Dinkira, Tueful, Wasa (Wassaw), and
especially Akim, the hill-region lying north of Accra, the people are
still active in digging gold. The pits, varying from two to three feet
in diameter, and from twelve to fifty deep (eighty feet is the extreme),
are often so near the roads that loss of life has been the
result. 'Shoring up' being little known, the miners are not unfrequently
buried alive. The stuff is drawn up by ropes in clay pots, or
calabashes, and thus a workman at the bottom widens the pit to a
pyriform shape; tunnelling, however, is unknown. The excavated earth is
carried down to be washed. Besides sinking these holes, they pan in the
beds of rivers, and in places collect quartz, which is roughly pounded.

They (the natives) often refuse to dig deeper than the chin, for fear of
the earth 'caving in;' and, quartz-crushing and the use of quicksilver
being unknown, they will not wash unless the gold 'show colour' to the
naked eye.

As we advance northwards from the Gold Coast the yield becomes

It is becoming evident that Africa will one day equal half-a-dozen

Will our grandsons believe in these times ... that this Ophir--that
this California, where every river is a Tmolus and a Pactolus, every
hillock is a gold-field--does not contain a cradle, a puddling-machine,
a quartz-crusher, a pound of mercury? That half the washings are wasted
because quicksilver is unknown? That whilst convict labour is
attainable, not a company has been formed, not a surveyor has been sent
out? I exclaim with Dominie Sampson--'Pro-di-gious!'

Western Africa was the first field that supplied the precious metal to
mediaeval Europe. The French claim to have imported it from Elmina as
early as A.D. 1382. In 1442 Goncales Baldeza returned from his second
voyage to the regions about Bojador, bringing with him the first gold.
Presently a company was formed for the purpose of carrying on the
gold-trade between Portugal and Africa. Its leading men were the
navigators Lanzarote and Gilianez, and Prince Henry 'the Navigator' did
not disdain to become a member. In 1471 Joao de Santarem and Pedro
Escobar reached a place on the Gold Coast to which, from the abundance
of gold found there, they gave the name of 'Sao Jorje da Mina,' the
present Elmina. After this a flood of gold poured into the lap of
Europe; and at last, cupidity having mastered terror of the Papal Bull,
which assigned to Portugal an exclusive right to the Eastern Hemisphere,
English, French, and Dutch adventurers hastened to share the spoils.

For long years my words fell upon flat ears. Presently the Ashanti war
of 1873-74 brought the subject before the public. The Protectorate was
overrun by British officers, and their reports and itineraries never
failed to contain, with a marvellous unanimity of iteration, the magic

The fraction of country, twenty-six miles of seaboard out of two
hundred, by a depth of sixty--in fact, the valley of the Ancobra
River--now (early 1882) contains five working companies. Upwards of
seventy concessions, to my knowledge, have been obtained from native
owners, and many more are spoken of. In fact, development has at length
begun, and the line of progress is clearly traced.

At Madeira I was joined (January 8, 1882) by Captain Cameron, R.N.,
C.B., &c. Our object was to explore the so-called Kong Mountains, which
of late years have become _quasi_-mythical. He came out admirably
equipped; nor was I less prepared. But inevitable business had delayed
us both, and we landed on the Gold Coast at the end of January instead
of early October. The hot-dry season had set in with a heat and a
drought unknown for years; the climate was exceptionally trying, and all
experts predicted early and violent rains. Finally, we found so much to
do upon the Ancobra River that we had no time for exploration. Geography
is good, but Gold is better.

In this joint book my energetic and hard-working friend and
fellow-traveller has described the five working mines which I was unable
to visit. He has also made an excellent route-survey of the country,
corrected by many and careful astronomical observations. It is curious
to compare his work with the sketches of previous observers, Jeekel,
Wyatt, Bonnat, and Dahse. To my companion's industry also are mainly due
our collections of natural history.

We are answerable only for our own, not for each other's statements. As
regards my part, I have described the Gold-land as minutely as possible,
despite the many and obvious disadvantages of the 'photographic style.'
Indeed, we travellers often find ourselves in a serious dilemma. If we
do not draw our landscapes somewhat in pre-Raphaelite fashion, they do
not impress the reader; if we do, critics tell us that they are
wearisome _longueurs,_ and that the half would be better than the
whole. The latter alternative must often be risked, especially in
writing about a country where many at home have friends and
relatives. Of course they desire to have as much detail about it as
possible; hence the reader will probably pardon my 'curiosity.'

The Appendix discusses at some length the various objections made to the
Gold Coast mines by the public, which suffers equally from the 'bull'
and the 'bear' and from the wild rumours set afloat by those not
interested in the speculation. I first dispose of the dangers menaced by
Ashanti invasions. The second number notices the threatened
labour-famine, and shows how immigration of Chinese, of coolies, and of
Zanzibar-men will, when wanted, supply not only the Gold Coast, but also
the whole of our unhappy West African stations, miscalled colonies,
which are now starving for lack of hands. The third briefly sketches the
history of the Gold-trade in the north-western section of the Dark
Continent, discusses the position and the connections of the auriferous
Kong Mountains, and suggests the easiest system of 'getting' the
precious metal. This is by shallow working, by washing, and by the
'hydraulicking' which I had studied in California. The earlier miners
have, it is believed, begun at the wrong end with deep workings, shafts,
and tunnels; with quartz-crushers, stamps, and heavy and expensive
machinery, when flumes and force-pumps would have cost less and brought
more. Our observations and deductions, drawn from a section of coast,
will apply if true, as I believe they are, to the whole region between
the Assini and the Volta Rivers.

I went to the Gold Coast with small expectations. I found the Wasa
(Wassaw) country, Ancobra section, far richer than the most glowing
descriptions had represented it. Gold and other metals are there in
abundance, and there are good signs of diamond, ruby, and sapphire.

Remains to be seen if England has still honesty and public spirit enough
to work this old-new California as it should be worked. I will answer
for its success if the workers will avoid over-exclusiveness, undue
jealousy and rivalry, stockjobbing, and the rings of 'guinea-pigs' and


















The glory of an explorer, I need hardly say, results not so much from
the extent, or the marvels of his explorations, as from the consequences
to which they lead. Judged by this test, my little list of discoveries
has not been unfavoured of fortune. Where two purblind fever-stricken
men plodded painfully through fetid swamp and fiery thorn-bush over the
Zanzibar-Tanganyika track, mission-houses and schools may now be
numbered by the dozen. Missionaries bring consuls, and consuls bring
commerce and colonisation. On the Gold Coast of Western Africa, whence
came the good old 'guinea,' not a washing-cradle, not a pound of
quicksilver was to be found in 1862; in 1882 five mining companies are
at work; and in 1892 there will be as many score.

I had long and curiously watched from afar the movement of the Golden
Land, our long-neglected El Dorado, before the opportunity of a revisit
presented itself. At last, in the autumn of 1881, Mr. James Irvine, of
Liverpool, formerly of the West African 'Oil-rivers,' and now a large
mine-owner in the Gulf of Guinea, proposed to me a tour with the object
of inspecting his concessions, and I proposed to myself a journey of
exploration inland. The Foreign Office liberally gave me leave to escape
the winter of Trieste, where the ferocious Bora (nor'-nor'-easter) wages
eternal war with the depressing and distressing Scirocco, or
south-easter. Some One marvelled aloud and said, 'You are certainly the
first that ever applied to seek health in the "genial and congenial
climate" of the West African Coast.' But then Some One had not realised
the horrors of January and February at the storm-beaten head of the ever
unquiet Adriatic.

Thus it happened that on November 18,1881, after many adieux and _au
revoirs,_ I found myself on board the Cunard s.s. _Demerara_
(Captain C. Jones), bound for 'Gib.' My wife was to accompany me as far
as Hungarian Fiume.

The Cunard route to 'Gib' is decidedly roundabout. We began with a run
to Venice, usually six hours from the Vice-Queen of the Adriatic: it was
prolonged to double by the thick and clinging mist-fog. The sea-city was
enjoying her usual lethargy of repose after the excitement of the
'geographical Carnival,' as we called the farcical Congress of last
September. She is essentially a summering place. Her winter is
miserable, neither city nor houses being built for any but the finest of
fine weather; her 'society'-season lasts only four months from
St. Stephen's Day; her traveller-seasons are spring and autumn. We found
all our friends either in bed with bad colds, or on the wing for England
and elsewhere; we inhaled a _quant. suff._ of choking vapour, even
in the comfortable Britannia Hotel; and, on the morning of the 23rd, we
awoke to find ourselves moored alongside of the new warehouses on the
new port of Hungarian, or rather Croatian, Fiume.

Fiume had made prodigious strides since I last saw her in 1878; and she
is gradually taking the wind out of the sails of her sister-rival. While
old Tergeste wastes time and trouble upon futile questions of policy,
and angry contrasts between Germans and Slavs, and Italians and
Triestines, Fiume looks to the main chance. The neat, clean, and
well-watered little harbour-city may be called a two-dinner-a-day place,
so profuse is her hospitality to strangers. Here, too, we once more
enjoyed her glorious outlook, the warm winter sun gilding the
snowy-silvery head of Monte Maggiore and raining light and life upon the
indigo-tinted waters of Fiume Bay. Next to Naples, I know nothing in
Europe more beautiful than this ill-named Quarnero. We saw a shot or so
of the far-famed Whitehead torpedo, which now makes twenty-one miles an
hour; and on Nov. 25 we began to run down the Gulf _en route_ for

It was a pleasure to emerge from the stern and gloomy Adriatic; and
nothing could be more lovely than the first evening amongst the Ionian
Islands. To port, backed by the bold heights of the Grecian sea-range,
lay the hoary mount, and the red cliffs, 780 feet high, of Sappho's
Leap, a never-forgotten memory. Starboard rose bleak Ithaca, fronting
the black mountain of Cephalonia, now bald and bare, but clothed with
dark forests till these were burnt down by some mischievous
malignant. Whatever of sterility deformed the scene lay robed under a
glory of colour painted with perfect beauty by the last smile of the
sun. Earth and air and sea showed every variety of the chromatic scale,
especially of rose-tints, from the tenderest morning blush of virgin
snow to the vinous evening flush upon the lowlands washed by the purple
wave. The pure translucent vault never ceased to shift its
chameleon-like hues, that ranged between the diaphanous azure of the
zenith and the faintest rainbow green, a border-land where blue and
yellow met and parted. The air felt soft and balmy; a holy calm was on
the face of creation; all looked delicious after the rude north, and we
acknowledged once more that life was worth living.

Patras also has greatly improved since I last saw her in 1872. The
malaria-swamps to the north and south of the town have been drained and
are being warped up: the 'never-failing succession of aguish fevers'
will presently fade out of the guide-books. A macadamised boulevard has
been built, and a breakwater is building. The once desert square,
'Georgios A',' has been planted with trees, which should be Eucalyptus;
and adorned with two French statues of bronze which harmonise admirably
with the surroundings. The thoroughfares are still Sloughs of Despond
after rain, and gridirons of St. Laurence in dusty summer; but there are
incipient symptoms of trottoirs. And throughout there is a disappearance
of the hovels which resembled Port Sa'id in her younger day, and a
notable substitution of tall solid houses.

All this has been brought about by 'fruit,' which in Patras means
currants; that is, 'Corinthian grapes.' The export this year is unusual,
110,000 tons, including the Morea and the Islands; and of this total
only 20,000 go to France for wine-making. It gives a surprising idea of
the Christmas plum-pudding manufacture. Patras also imports for all the
small adjacent places, inhabited by 'shaggy capotes.' And she will have
a fine time when that talented and energetic soldier, General Tuerr, whom
we last met at Venice, begins the 'piercing of the Isthmus.' _A
propos_ of which, one might suggest to Patras, with due respect, that
(politically speaking) 'honesty is the best policy.'

Being at Patras on St. Andrew's Day, with a Scotch demoiselle on board,
we could hardly but pilgrimage to the place of the Apostle's
martyrdom. Mrs. Wood kindly sent her daughters to do the honours.
Aghyos Andreas lies at the extreme south of the town on the system of
ruts, called a road, which conducts down-coast. The church is a long
yellow barn, fronting a cypress-grown cemetery, whose contents are being
transferred to the new extramural. A little finger of the holy man
reposes under a dwarf canopy in the south-eastern angle: his left arm is
preserved at Mount Athos in a silver reliquary, set with gems. Outside,
near the south-western corner, is the old well of Demeter (Ceres), which
has not lost its curative virtues by being baptised. You descend a dwarf
flight of brick steps to a mean shrine and portrait of the saint, and
remark the solid bases and the rude rubble arch of the pagan temple. A
fig-tree, under which the martyrdom took place, grew in the adjacent
court; it has long been cut down, probably for fuel.

The population of Patras still affords a fine study of the 'dirty
picturesque,' with clothes mostly home-made; sheepskin cloaks;
fustanellas or kilts, which contain a whole piece of calico; red
leggings, and the rudest of sandals; Turkish caps, and an occasional
pistol-belt. The Palikar still struts about in all his old bravery; and
the _bourgeois_ humbly imitates the dingy garb of Southern
Italy. The people have no taste for music, no regard for art, no respect
for antiquities, except for just as much as these will bring. They own
two, and only two, objects in life: firstly, to make money, and
secondly, to keep and not to spend it. But this dark picture has a
bright side. No race that I know is so greedy of education; the small
boys, instead of wending unwillingly to school, crowd the doors before
they are opened. Where this exceptional feeling is universal we may hope
for much.

The last evening at Patras showed us a beautiful view of what is here
called Parnassus (Parnasso), the tall bluff mountain up the Gulf, whose
snows at sunset glowed like a balass ruby. We left the Morea at 2
A.M. (December 2), and covered the fifty-two miles to Zante before
breakfast. There is, and ever has been, something peculiarly sympathetic
to me in the 'flower of the Levant.' 'Eh! 'tis a bonny, bonny place,'
repeatedly ejaculated our demoiselle. The city lies at the foot of the
grey cliffs, whose northern prolongation extends to the Akroteri, or
Lighthouse Point. A fine quay, the Strada Marina, has been opened during
the last six years along the northern sea-front, where the arcades
suggest those of Chester. It is being prolonged southwards to the old
quarantine-ground and the modern prison, which rests upon the skirts of
the remarkable Skopo, the Prospect Mountain, 1,489 feet high. This
feature, which first shows itself to mariners approaching Zakynthos from
north or from south, has a saddle-back sky-line, with a knob of
limestone shaped like a Turkish pommel and sheltering its monastery,
Panaghia of Skopo, alias Our Lady of the Look-out. Below it appears
another and a similar outcrop near a white patch which has suggested
marble-quarrying; and the northern flank is dotted with farmhouses and
villas. The dwarf breakwater, so easily prolonged over the shallows, has
not been improved; but at its base rises a brand-new opera-house, big
enough for a first-rate city. Similarly at Barletta they raised a loan
to build a mole and they built a theatre. Unlike Patras, Zante long had
the advantage of Italian and then of English rule; and the citizens care
for music more than for transformation-scenes. The Palikar element also
is notably absent; and the soldiers are in uniform, not in half-uniform
and half-brigand attire. I missed the British flag once so conspicuous
upon the southern round tower of the castle, where in days, or rather
nights, of old I had spent not a few jolly hours; but I heard with
pleasure that it is proposed to make a _haute-ville_ of the now
deserted and crumbling triangle, a _Sommerfrisch_ where the
parboiled citizens of Athens will find a splendid prospect and a cooling

Mr. E. Barff kindly accompanied us in the usual drive 'round the
Wrekin,' for which we may here read the 'wreck.' We set out along the
sea-flank of the Castle hill. This formation, once a regular hog's-back,
has been split by weather about the middle; and its southern end has
been shaken down by earthquakes, and carved by wind and rain into
precipices and pinnacles of crumbling sandstone, which form the 'Grey
Cliffs.' Having heard at Patras the worst accounts of Zante since it
passed under Greek rule, I was not a little surprised by the excellent
condition of the roads and the general look of prosperity.

Turning to the right we entered Mr. Barff's garden-house, where the
grounds were bright and beautiful with balsam and mignonette, dahlias
and cyclamens, chrysanthemums and oleanders, jasmine and double-violets,
orange-blossoms, and a perfect Gulistan of roses, roses of York and
Lancaster, white, pink, and purple, yellow and green--a perfumed spring
in dreary December. Laden with bouquets we again threaded the
olive-grounds, whose huge trunks are truly patriarchal, and saw basking
in the sun old Eumaeus, the Swine-King, waiting upon his black and
bristly herd. The glimpse led to a characteristic tale. A wealthy Greek
merchant in London had made the most liberal offers to his brother, a
shepherd in the hills of Cephalonia; the latter returned his very best
thanks, but declared himself perfectly happy and unwilling to tempt
fortune by change of condition to England. Greece, it is evident, has
not ceased to breed 'wise men.'

We returned, _via_ the landward flank of the hog's-back, along the
fine plain ('O Kampos') bounded west by the range called after Mount
Meriy, the apex, rising 3,274 feet. Anglo-Zantiots fondly compare its
outline with the Jura's. The look of the rich lowlands, 'the vale,' as
our charts call it, suggested a river-valley, but river there is
none. Every nook and corner was under cultivation, and each
country-house had its chapel and its drying-ground for 'fruit,' level
yards now hidden under large-leaved daisies and wild flowers. We passed
through the Graetani village, whose tenants bear a bad name, and saw
none of the pretty faces for which Zante is famed. The sex was dressed
in dark jackets and petticoats _a l'italienne_; and the elders were
apparently employed in gathering 'bitter herbs,' dandelion and the wild
endive. Verily this is a frugal race.

The drive ended with passing up the Strada Larga, the inner High Street,
running parallel with the Marina. After Turkish fashion, trades flock
together, shoemakers to the south and vegetable-vendors to the
north. There are two good specimens of Venetian palazzetti, one
fantastic, the other classical; and there is a rough pavement, which is
still wanting in Patras. A visit to the silk-shop of Garafuglia
Papaiouanou was obligatory: here the golden-hued threads reminded me of
the Indian Tussur-moth. Also _de rigueur_ was the purchase of nougat
and raki, the local mandorlato and mastache, almond-cake and

Zante appears to me an excellent home for a large family with a small
income. A single man lives at the best hotel (Nazionale) for forty-five
francs per week. A country-house with nine bedrooms, cellarage,
stabling, dog-house, orangery, and large garden, is to be had for
25_l._ a year. Fowls cost less than a franc; turkeys, if you do not
buy them from a shipchandler, two francs and a half. The strong and
sherry-flavoured white wine of Zante rarely exceeds three shillings the
gallon, sixpence a bottle. And other necessaries in the same proportion.

But, oh that St. Dionysius, patron saint of Zante, would teach his
_proteges_ a little of that old Persian wisdom which abhorred a lie
and its concomitants, cheating and mean trickery! The _Esmeralda_,
after two days and one night at Zante, was charged 15_l._, for
pilotage, when the captain piloted himself; for church, where there is
no parson; and for harbour dues where there is no harbour. It is almost
incredible that so sharp-witted a race can also be so short-sighted; so
wise about pennies, so foolish about pounds.

On Saturday we left Zante in the teeth of a fresh but purely local
north-easter, which whistled through the gear and hurled the spray high
up Cape Skinari. The result was, as the poet sings--

That peculiar up-and-down motion
Which belongs to the treacherous ocean.

Not without regret I saw the last of the memorious old castle and of
Skopo the picturesque. We ran along the western shore of Cephalonia, the
isle of three hundred villages: anyone passing this coast at once
understands how Greece produced so many and such excellent seamen. The
island was a charming spectacle, with its two culminations, Maraviglia
(3,311 ft.) and Elato (5,246 ft.), both capped by purple cloud; its
fertile slopes and its fissured bight, Argostoli Bay, running deep into
the land.

We fondly expected to pass the Messina Straits by daylight, and to cast
another glance upon old Etna, Scylla and Charybdis, the Liparis and
Stromboli. And all looked well, as about noon we were abreast of Cape
Spartivento, the 'Split-wind' which divides the mild northers and
southers of the Straits from the raw Boras and rotting Sciroccos of the
Adriatic. But presently a signal for succour was hoisted by a marvellous
old tub, a sailer-made-steamer, sans boats, sans gunwales; a something
whose dirt and general dilapidation suggested the Flying Dutchman. I
almost expected to see her drop out of form and crumble into dust as our
boys boarded her. The _America_, of Barletta, bound from Brindisi
to Genoa, had hurt her boilers. We hauled in her cable--these gentry
must never be trusted with a chance of slipping loose--and tugged her
into Messina, thereby losing a valuable day.

The famous Straits were almost a replica of Ionian Island scenery: the
shores of the Mediterranean, limestone and sandstone, with here and
there a volcanic patch, continually repeat themselves. After passing the
barren heel of the Boot and its stony big toe, the wady-streaked shores
become populous and well cultivated, while railway trains on either
side, island and continent, toss their snowy plumes in the pride of
civilisation. The ruined castles on the crags and the new villages on
the lowlands told their own story of Turkish and Algerine piracy, now
doomed to the limbo of things that were. In the evening we were safely
anchored within the zancle (sickle) of Messina-port, whose depth of
water and circular shape have suggested an old crater flooded. It was
Sunday, and we were greeted with the familiar sounds, the ringing of
cracked bells, the screaming of harsh, hoarse voices, a military band
and detached musical performances. The classical facade of the Marina,
through whose nineteen archways and upper parallelograms you catch a
vista of dark narrow wynd, contrasts curiously with Catania: the former
is a 'dicky,' a front hiding something unclean; while the latter is laid
out in Eastern style, where, for the best of reasons, the marble palace
hides behind a wall of mud. The only new features I noted were a metal
fish-market, engineer art which contrasts marvellously with the Ionic
pilasters and the solid ashlar of the 'dicky;' and, at the root of the
sickle, a new custom-house of six detached boxes, reddest-roofed and
whitest-walled, built to copy children's toy cottages. Croatian Fiume
would blush to own them. Of the general impurity of the town and of the
_bouquet de Messine_ the less said the better.

As we made fast to the Marina our tobacco was temporarily sealed after
the usual mean Italian fashion. Next morning an absurd old person, in a
broad red baldrick, came on board and counted noses, to ascertain that
we had not brought the dreaded small-pox from the Ionian Islands. After
being graciously and liberally allowed to land, we were visited by the
local chapmen, whose goods appeared rather mixed--polished cowhorns and
mildewed figs, dolls in costume and corrosive oranges; by the normal
musical barber, who imitates at a humble distance bird and beast; and by
the vendor of binoculars, who asks forty francs and who takes ten. The
captain noted his protest at the Consulate, and claimed by way of
_sauvetage 200l_. The owners offered 200 lire--punds Scots. Briefly,
noon had struck before we passed out of the noise and the smells of

Our good deed had cost us dear. A wet scirocco had replaced the bright
norther and saddened all the view. Passing the tide-rip Charybdis, a
meeting of currents, which called only for another hand at the wheel;
and the castled crag of naughty Scylla, whose town has grown
prodigiously, we bade adieu to the 'tower of Pelorus.' Then we shaped
our course for the Islands of AEolus, or the Winds, and the Lipari
archipelago, all volcanic cones whose outlines were misty as Ossian's
spectres. And we plodded through the dreary dull-grey scene of drizzling

Till, when all veiled sank in darkling air,
Naught but the welkin and the wave was there.

Next morning showed us to port the Cone of Maritimo: it outlies Marsala,
whose wine caused the blinding of Polyphemus, and since that time has
brought on many an attack of liver. The world then became to us
_pontus et aer_. Days and nights were equally uneventful; the diary
tells only of quiet seas under the lee of Sardinia and of the Balearics,
ghostly glimpses of the North African coast and the steady setting in of
the normal wester, the indraught of 'the Straits.'

On Friday (November 9) the weather broke and deluged us with rain. At
Gibraltar the downpour lasted twenty-four hours. We found ourselves at
anchor before midnight with a very low barometer, which suggested
unpleasantries. Next morning we sighted the deep blue waters of the Bay,
and the shallow brown waters of the Bayside crested with foam by a
furious norther, that had powdered the far Ronda highlands with
snow. Before noon, however, the gale had abated and allowed me to
transfer myself and African outfit on board the _Fez_ (Capt. Hay),
Moroccan Steamship Company, trading to North Africa. This was a
godsend: there is no regular line between Gibraltar and Lisbon, and one
might easily be delayed for a week.

The few hours' halt allowed me time to call upon my old friend,
M. Dautez, a Belgian artist. Apparently he is the only person in the
place who cares for science. He has made extensive collections. He owns
twenty-four coins from Carteia, whereas Florez (Medallas, Madrid, 1773)
shows a total of only thirty-three. Amongst his antiquities there is a
charming statuette of Minerva, a bronze miniature admirably finished. He
has collected the rock fauna, especially the molluscs, fossil and
modern. He is preparing an album of the Flora Calpensis. His birds'
nests were lately sold to an Englishman. All these objects, of immense
local interest, were offered by him at the lowest possible rate to the
Military Library, but who is there to understand their value? I wonder
how many Englishmen on the Rock know that they are within easy ride of
the harbour which named the 'Ships of Tarshish'? Tartessus, which was
Carteia, although certain German geographers would, against the general
voice of antiquity, make the former the country and the latter the city,
lay on both sides of the little Guadarranque stream, generally called
First River; and the row of tumuli on the left bank probably denotes the
site of the famous docks. I was anxious to open diggings in 1872, but
permission was not forthcoming: now, however, they say that the Duke of
Medina Sidonia would offer no objections.

Gib, though barbarous in matters of science, is civilised as regards
'business.' It was a treat to see steamer after steamer puff in, load up
with blue peter at the fore, and start off after a few hours which would
have been days at Patras, Zante, and Messina. Here men work with a will,
as a walk from the Convent to the Old Mole, the Mersa or water-port of a
Moroccan town, amply proves. The uniforms are neat and natty--they were
the reverse five years ago--and it is a pleasure to look upon the fresh
faces of English girls still unstained by unconsumed carbon. And the
authorities have had the good sense to preserve the old Moorish town of
Tarik and his successors, the triangle of walls with the tall tower-like
mosque for apex, and the base facing the bay.

We left Gibraltar at 5 P.M. on Saturday (December 10), giving a wide
berth to the hated Pearl Rock, which skippers would remove by force of
arms. Seen from east or west Gib has an outline of its own. The
Britisher, whose pride it is, sees the 'lion of England who has laid his
paw upon the key of the Mediterranean,' and compares it with the king of
beasts, sejant, the tail being Europa Point. The Spaniards, to whom it
is an eyesore, liken it to a shrouded corpse, the outlined head lying to
the north, and declare, truly enough, that to them it is a dead body.

The norther presently changed to the rainy south-wester, the builder of
the Moroccan 'bars' and the scourge of the coast fringing North-west
Africa, Rolling set in with the usual liveliness. Events were not
eventful. The first midnight found us off Cape Trafalgar, and the second
off St. Vincent. At 4 P.M. (December 12), we saw the light of Espichel
(_Promontorium Barbaricum_), the last that shines upon the voyager
bound Brazilwards. Before nightfall we had left Buzio lighthouse to
starboard. We then ran up the northern passage in charge of a lagging
pilot; and, as the lamps were lighting, we found ourselves comfortably
berthed off that pretty toy, Belem Tower.

Next morning broke upon a lovely view: no wonder that the Tagus is the
pride of Portuguese bards. The _Rosicler_, or rosy dawn-light, was
that of a May morning--the May of poetry, not of meteorology--and the
upper windows of distant Lisbon were all ablaze with the unrisen sun. It
was a picture for the loveliest colours, not for 'word-painting;' and
the whole scene was classical as picturesque. We may justly say of it,
'Nullum sine nomine saxum.' Far over the rising hills of the north bank
rose shaggy Cintra, 'the most blessed spot in the habitable globe,' with
its memorious convent and its Moorish castle. The nearer heights were
studded with the oldest-fashioned windmills, when the newest are found
even in the Canaries; a single crest bore its baker's dozen, mostly
decapitated by steam. Advancing we remarked the glorious Belem
monastery, defiled by its ignoble modern ruin to the west; the new
hippodrome crowning the grassy slope; the Bed House of Belem, now being
brightened up for Royal residence during the Exhibition of 1882; the
Memoria and the Ajuda Palace, more unfinished, if possible, than
ever. As we approached the bulk of the city the marking objects were the
cypressed Prazeres Cemetery; the red Necessidades Palace, and the
Estrella, whose dome and domelets, built to mimic St. Peter's, look only
like hen and chickens. Then in due time came the Carmo Church, still
unrepaired since 1755; Blackhorse Square, still bare of trees; the
Government offices, still propped to prevent a tumble-down, and the old
Custom House, still a bilious yellow; the vast barrack-like pile of
S. Vicente, the historic _Se_ or cathedral with dumpy towers; the
black Castle of Sao Jorge, so hardly wrung from the gallant Moors, and
the huge Santa Engracia, apparently ever to be a ruin.

I spent a pleasant week at Lisbon, and had a fair opportunity of
measuring what progress she has made during the last sixteen years. We
have no longer to wander up and down disconsolate

Mid many things unsightly to strange ee.

If the beggars remain, the excessive dirt and the vagrant dogs have
disappeared. The Tagus has a fine embankment; but the land side is
occupied by mean warehouses. The sewers, like those of Trieste, still
want a _cloaca maxama_, a general conduit of masonry running along
the quay down-stream. The Rocio has been planted with mean trees,
greatly to the disgust of the average Lusitanian, who hates such
sun-excluding vegetation like a backwoodsman; yet the Quintella
squarelet shows what fine use may be made of cactus and pandanus, aloes
and palms, not to mention the ugly and useful eucalyptus. The
thoroughfares are far cleaner than they were; and Lisbon is now
surrounded by good roads. The new houses are built with some respect for
architectonic effect of light and shade: such fine old streets as the
Rua Augusta offend the eye by facades flat as cards with rows of pips
for windows. Finally, a new park is being laid out to the north of the
Passeio Publico.

Having always found 'Olisipo' exceptionally hospitable and pleasant, I
look forward to the days when she will be connected with Paris by direct
railway. Her hotels are first-rate; her prices are not excessive; her
winter climate is delightful, and she is the centre of most charming
excursions. The capital has thrown off much of her old lethargy. Her
Geographical Society is doing hard and honest work; she has nobly
expiated the national crime by becoming a 'Camonian' city; and she
indulges freely in exhibitions. One, of Ornamental Art, was about to be
opened when I last saw her, and it extended deep into the next spring.



My allotted week in Lisbon came to an end only too soon: in the society
of friends, and in the Camonian room (Bibliotheca Nacional), which
contains nearly 300 volumes, I should greatly have enjoyed a month. The
s.s. _Luso_ (Captain Silva), of the 'Empresa Insulana,' one of the
very few Portuguese steamers, announced her departure for December 20;
and I found myself on board early in the morning, with a small but
highly select escort to give me God-speed.

Unfortunately the 'May weather' had made way for the _cacimbas_
(mists) of a rainy sou'-wester. The bar broke and roared at us; Cintra,
the apex of Lisbon's extinct volcano and the Mountain of the (Sun and)
Moon, hid her beautiful head, and even the Rock of Lisbon disdained the
normal display of sturdy flank. Then set in a _brise carabinee_,
which lasted during our voyage of 525 miles, and the _Luso_,
rolling like a moribund whale, proved so lively that most of the
fourteen passengers took refuge in their berths. A few who resisted the
sea-fiend's assaults found no cause of complaint: the captain and
officers were exceedingly civil and obliging, and food and wines were
good and not costly.

From Madeira the _Luso_ makes, once a month, the tour of the
Azores, touching at each island--a great convenience--and returning in
ten days.

Early on Thursday, the 22nd, the lumpy, churning sea began to subside,
and the invisible balm seduced all the sufferers to the
quarter-deck. They were wild to sight Madeira as children to see the
rising of the pantomime-curtain. There was not much to gaze at; but what
will not attract man's stare at sea?--a gull, a turtle, a flying fish!
By the by, Captain Tuckey, of the Congo Expedition, remarked the
'extraordinary absence of sea-birds in the vicinity of Madeira and the
Canaries:' they have since learned the way thither. Porto Santo appeared
as a purple lump of three knobs, a manner of 'gizzard island,' backed by
a deeper gloom of clouds--Madeira. Then it lit up with a pale glimmer as
of snow, the effect of the sun glancing upon the thin greens of the
northern flank; and, lastly, it broke into two masses--northern and
southern--of peaks and precipices connected by a strip of lowland.

It is generally held that the discovery of the Madeiran group (1418-19)
was the first marking feature of the century which circumnavigated
Africa, and that Porto Santo was 'invented 'by the Portuguese before
Madeira. The popular account, however, goes lame. For instance, the
story that tried and sturdy soldiers and seamen were deterred from
advancing a few miles, and were driven back to Portugal by the 'thick
impenetrable darkness which was guarded by a strange noise,' and by
anile fancies about the 'Mouth of Hell' and 'Cipango,' reads like mere
stuff and nonsense. Again, great are the difficulties in determining the
nationality of the explorers, and settling the conflicting claims of the
French, Genoese, Portuguese, Spanish, English, and Arabs. History, and
perhaps an aptitude for claiming, have assigned the honour exclusively
to Lusitania: and every guide-book tells the same old tale. But I have
lived long enough to have seen how history is written; and the discovery
was, at best, a mere re-discovery, as we learn from Pliny (vi. 36),
whose 'insulae purpurariae' cannot be confounded [Footnote: Mr. Major,
however, would identify the Purple Islands with Oanarian Fuerteventura
and Lanzarote, both possibly Continental.] with the Fortunate Islands,
or Canaries. The 'Gaetulian dye' of King Juba in the Augustan age is
not known. Its origin has been found in the orchilla still growing upon
the Desertas; but this again appears unlikely enough. Ptolemy (iv. 1,16)
also mentions 'Erythia,' the Red Isle--'red,' possibly, for the same
reason; and Plutarch (in Suet.) may allude to the Madeiran group when he
relates of the Fortunate Islands: 'They are two, separated only by a
narrow channel, and at a distance of 400 leagues (read 320 miles) from
the African coast.'

The Jesuit, Antonio Cordeyro, [Footnote: _Historia insulana das Ilhas
a Portugal sugoytas_, pp. 61-96. Lisbon, 1717.] who borrows from the
learned and trustworthy Dr. Gaspar Fructuoso, [Footnote: _As Saudades
da Terra_, lib. i. ch. iii, _Historia das Ilhas, &c_. This
lettered and conscientious chronicler, the first who wrote upon the
Portuguese islands, was born (A.D. 1522) at Ponta Delgada (Thin Point)
of St. Michael, Azores. He led a life of holiness and good works,
composed his history in 1590, left many 'sons of his soul,' as he called
his books, and died in his natal place, A.D. 1591. The Madeiran portion
of the two huge folios (some 4,000 pages of MS.) has been printed at
Funchal, with copious notes by Dr. A. Rodrigues de Azevedo, Professor of
Literature, &c., at the National Lyceum; and a copy was kindly lent to
me, during the author's absence in Lisbon, by Governor Viscount de Villa
Mendo.] declares in 1590: 'The first discoverers of the Porto Santo
Island, many say, were those Frenchmen and Castilians (Spaniards) who
went forth from Castile to conquer the Canaries; these, when either
outward or homeward bound, came upon the said island, and, for that they
found it uninhabited and small, they abandoned it; but as they had
weathered a storm and saved themselves there, they named it Port Holy.'
Fructuoso (i. 5) expressly asserts that the Portuguese sailed from
Lisbon in June 1419 for 'the Isle of Porto Sancto'(in 32 deg. N. lat.),
which two years before had been discovered by some Castilian ships
making the Canaries, the latter having been occupied a short time
previously by the French; wherefore the pilot took that route.' The
Jesuit chronicler continues to relate that after the formally proclaimed
annexation of the Canaries by the Normans and Castilians (A.D. 1402-18),
Prince Henry, the Navigator, despatched from Lagos, in 1417, an
expedition to explore Cape Bojador, the 'gorbellied.' The three ships
were worked by the Italian master-seaman Bertholomeu Palestrello or
Palestro, commonly called Perestrello. The soldiers, corresponding to
our marines, were commanded by the 'sweet warman,' Joao Goncales da
Camara, nicknamed 'O Zargo,' the Cyclops, not the squint-eyed;
[Footnote: Curious to say, Messieurs White and Johnson, the writers of
the excellent guide-book, will translate the word 'squint-eyed:' they
might have seen the portrait in Government House.] his companion was
Tristao Vaz Teyxeyra, called in honour 'the Tristam.' Azurara,
[Footnote: _Chronica do Descobrimento de Guine._ By Gomes Eannes de
Azurara, written between A.D. 1452-53, and quoted by Prof. Azevedo,
Notes, p. 830.] a contemporary, sends the 'two noble squires,' Zarco and
Tristam, 'who in bad weather were guided by God to the isle now called
Porto Sancto' (June 1419). They returned home (marvellous to relate)
without touching at Madeira, only twenty-three miles distant; and next
year (1420) Prince Henry commissioned Palestrello also.

The Spaniards prefer to believe that after Jehan de Bethencourt's attack
upon the Canaries (A.D. 1403), his soldier Lancelot, who named Lanzarote
Island, touched at Porto Santo in 1417; and presently, sailing to the
south-west, discovered Madeira. This appears reasonable enough.

Patriotic Barbot (1700), in company with the mariner Villault de
Belfons, Pere Labat, and Ernest de Freville, [Footnote: _Memoire sur
le Commerce Maritime de Rouen._] claims the honour for France.
According to that 'chief factor for the African Company,' the
merchants of Dieppe first traded to West Africa for cardamoms and
ivory. This was during the reign of Charles V., and between 1364 and
1430, or half a century before the Portuguese. Their chief stations were
Goree of Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Cape Mount, the Kru or Liberian
coast, then called 'of Grain,' from the 'Guinea grains' or Malaguetta
pepper (_Amomum granum Paradisi_), and, lastly, the Gold
Coast. Here they founded 'Petit Paris' upon the Baie de France, at
'Serrelionne;' 'Petit Dieppe,' at the mouth of the St. John's River,
near Grand Bassa, south of Monrovia; and 'Cestro' [Footnote: Now
generally called Grand Sestros, and popularly derived from the
Portuguese _cestos_--pepper.] or 'Sestro Paris,' where, three
centuries afterwards, the natives retained a few words of French. Hence
Admiral Bouet-Willaumez explains the Great and Little 'Boutoo' of our
charts by _butteau_, from _butte_, the old Norman word still
preserved in the great western prairies.

Barbot resumes that in 1383 the Rouen traders, combining with the Dieppe
men, sent upon an exploring voyage three ships, one of which, _La
Vierge_, ran down coast as far as where Commenda (Komenda or Komani)
and Elmina now stand. At the latter place they built a fort and factory
just one century before it was occupied by the Portuguese. The Frenchman
declares that one of the Elmina castles was called Bastion de France,
and 'on it are still to be seen some old arithmetical numbers, which are
_anno_ 13' (i.e. 1383); 'the rest being defaced by weather.' This
first factory was afterwards incorporated with the modern building; and
in 1387 it was enlarged with the addition of a chapel to lodge more than
ten or twelve men, the original garrison.

In 1670 Ogilvy [Footnote: London: Printed by Tho. Johnson for the
author, and to be had at his house in White Fryers, MDCLXX.] notes: 'The
castle (Elmina) was judged to be an Antient Building from several marks
of Antiquity about it; as first by a decay'd Battery, which the
_Dutch_ repaired some years ago, retaining the name of _the
French Battery_, because it seems to have been built by the
_French_; who, as the Inhabitants say, before the coming of the
_Portugals_ harbour'd there. The _Dutch_ when they won it,
found the numerical Figures of the year thirteen hundred; but were not
able to make anything of the two following Characters. In a small place
within also, may be seen a Writing carved in Stone between two old
Pillars, but so impair'd and worn out by the weather that it is not
legible.' At Groree, too, similar remains were reported.

The adventurers, it is said, carried on a good trade till 1430-90, when
the civil wars distracting France left her without stomach for distant
adventure; and in 1452 Portugal walked over the course. M. d'Avezac, who
found Porto Santo in a French map of the fourteenth century, [Footnote:
_Bulletin de la Societe de Geographie_, cinquieme serie, tome
v. p. 260. Also 'Iles de l'Afrique,' in the _Univers._ Paris,
1868.] seems inclined to take the part of 'quelques precurseurs
meconnus contre les pretentions trop exclusives des decouvreurs

Barbot's details are circumstantial, but they have not been confirmed by
contemporary evidence or by local tradition. The Portuguese indignantly
deny the whole, and M. Valdez in his 'Complete Maritime Handbook'
[Footnote: _Six Years of a Traveller's Life in Western Africa._
London, Hurst & Blackett, 1861.] alludes contemptuously to 'Norman
pirates.' They point out that Diego d'Azembuja, the chief captain, sent
in 1481 to found Sao Jorje da Mina, our 'Elmina Castle,' saw no traces
of previous occupation. But had he done so, would he have dared to
publish the fact? Professor Azevedo relies upon the silence of Azurara,
Barros, and Camoens concerning the French, the Spaniards, and the
English in the person of Robert a Machim. But this is also at best a
negative argument: the 'Livy of Portugal' never mentions the great
mathematician, Martin Behaim, who accompanied Diego Cam to his discovery
of the Congo. In those days fair play was not a jewel.

The truth is that it would be as easy to name the discoverer of
gunpowder or steam-power as to find the first circumnavigator of the
African continent. I have no difficulty in believing that the
Phoenicians and Carthaginians were capable of making the voyage. They
were followed to West Africa in early days, according to El-Idrisi and
Ibn. el-Wardi, by the Arabs. The former (late eleventh century) relates
that an Arab expedition sailed from Lisbon, shortly after the eighth
century, and named Madeira and Porto Santo the 'Islands El-Ghanam and
Rakah.' However that may be, the first Portuguese occupants found
neither men nor ruins nor large quadrupeds upon any of the group.

The English accident of hitting upon Madeira, and the romantic tale of
Master Robert a Machim, or Machin, or Macham, and Mistress Anne d'Arfet,
or Darby, or Dorset, which would have suited Camoens, and which I have
told elsewhere, [Footnote: Wanderings in West Africa, vol. i,
p. 17. Chapter II., 'A Day at Madeira,' was written after my second and
before my third visit.] and need not repeat, was probably an 'ingenious
account' invented for politico-international ends or to flatter Dom
Enrique, a Britisher by the distaff-side. It is told with a thousand
variants, and ignored by the learned Fructuoso. According to the
apocryphal manuscript of Francisco Alcoforado, the squire who
accompanied the Zargo, this elopement took place in the earlier days of
Edward III. (A.D. 1327-77). The historian Antonio Galvao fixes upon
September 1344, the date generally accepted. Thus the interval between
Machim's death and the Zargo's discovery would be seventy-four years;
and--_pace_ Mr. Major--the Castilian pilot, Juan Damores (de
Amores), popularly called Morales, could _not_ have met the remnant
of the Bristol crew in their Moroccan prison, and could _not_ have
told the tale to the Portuguese explorers.

M. d'Avezac (_loc. cit._ p. 116) supports the claims of the
Genoese, quoting the charts and portulans of the fourteenth century in
which appear Italian names, as _Insule dello Legname_ (of wood,
materia, Madeira), _Porto Sancto, Insule Deserte_, and _Insule
Selvaggie_. Mr. R. H. Major replies that these Italian navigators
were commandants of expeditions fitted out by the Portuguese; and that
this practice dated from 1341, when two ships officered by Genoese, with
crews of [footnote: Amongst the 'ridiculous little blots, which are
"nuts" to the old resident,' I must confess to killing Robert Machim in
1334 instead of 1344; 'Collegio' was also translated 'College' instead
of 'Jesuit Church.'] Italians, Castilians, and _Hispani_ (Spanish
and Portuguese), were seat to explore the Canaries.

'Holy Port' began badly. The first governor, Perestrello, fled from the
progeny of his own she-rabbit. This imprudence was also committed at
Deserta Grande; and, presently, the cats introduced by way of cure ran
wild. A grass-clad rock in the Fiume Gulf can tell the same tale: sheep
and lambs were effectually eaten out by rabbits and cats. It will be
remembered that Columbus married Philippa, third daughter of the
navigator Perestrello, lived as a mapper with his father-in-law, and
thence travelled, between 1470 and 1484, to Guinea, where he found that
the equatorial regions are not uninhabitable by reason of the heat. He
inherited the old seaman's papers, and thus arose the legend of his
learning from a castaway pilot the way to the New World. [Footnote:
Fructuoso writes that in 1486 Columbus gave food and shelter to the crew
of a shattered Biscayan ship; the pilot dying bequeathed to him papers,
charts and valuable observations made on the Western Ocean.]

Long years rolled by before Porto Santo learnt to bear the vine, to
breed large herds of small cattle, and to produce cereals whose yield is
said to have been 60 to 1. Meanwhile it cut down for bowls, mortars, and
canoes, as the Guanches did for shields, its thin forest of 'Dragons.'
The Dragoeiro (_Dracaena Draco_ Linn., _Palma canariensis_
Tourn.), which an Irish traveller called a 'dragon-palm,' owed its
vulgar name to the fancy that the fruit contained the perfect figure of
a standing dragon with gaping mouth and long neck, spiny back and
crocodile's tail. It is a quaint tree of which any ingenious carpenter
could make a model. The young trunk is somewhat like that of the
_Oreodoxa regia_, or an asparagus immensely magnified; but it
frequently grows larger above than below. At first it bears only
bristly, ensiform leaves, four feet long by one to three inches broad,
and sharp-pointed, crowning the head like a giant broom. Then it puts
forth gouty fingers, generally five, standing stiffly up and still
capped by the thick yucca-like tufts. Lastly the digitations grow to
enormous arms, sometimes eighteen feet in girth, of light and porous,
soft and spongy wood. The tree then resembles the baobab or calabash,
the elephant or hippopotamus of the vegetable kingdom.

Amongst the minor uses of this 'Dragon,' the sweet yellowish berries
called _masainhas_ were famous for fattening pigs. The splinters
made tooth-picks which, dipped in the juice, secured health for human
gums. But the great virtue resided in the _Sanguis Draconis_, the
'Indian Cinnabaris' of Pliny, [Footnote: _N.H._ xxxiii. 38.] who
holds it to be the sanies of the dragon mixed with the blood of the
dying elephant. The same semi-mystical name is given to the sap by the
Arab pharmists: in the Middle Ages this strong astringent resin was a
sovereign cure for all complaints; now it is used chiefly for
varnishes. The gum forms great gouts like blood where the bark is
wounded or fissured: at first it is soft as that of the cherry, but it
hardens by exposure to a dry red lump somewhat like 'mummy.' It has no
special taste: when burnt the smell is faintly balsamic. The produce was
collected in canes, and hence the commercial name 'Dragon's blood in

Mr. P. Barker Webb believed the Dragoeiro to be a species peculiar to
the Madeiras and Canaries. But its chief point of interest is its
extending through Morocco as far as Arabo-African Socotra, and through
the Khamiesberg Range of Southern Africa, where it is called the
Kokerboom. As it is utterly African, like the hippopotamus, the zebra,
and the giraffe, we must account, by transplantation from Socotra, for
the D. Draco seen by Cruttenden in the mountains behind Dhofar and on
the hills of El-Yemen. [Footnote: _Journ. R. Geogr. Soc._ p. 279,
vol. viii. of 1838.] The line of growth, like the coffee-shrub and the
copal-tree, suggests a connection across the Dark Continent: thus the
similar flora of Fernando Po Peak, of Camarones volcano, and of the
highlands of Abyssinia seems to prove a latitudinal range traversing the
equatorial regions, where the glacial epoch banished for ever the
hardier plants from the lower levels. When Humboldt determined it to be
a purely Indian growth, he seems to have confounded the true 'dragon'
with a palm or some other tree supplying the blood. It was a 'dazzling
theory,' but unsound: the few specimens in Indus-land, 'its real
country,' are comparatively young, and are known to have been imported.

The endogenous monster, indigenous to the Elysian Fields, is to the
surrounding vegetation what the cockatrice is to the cock, the wyvern to
the python. I should say 'was,' for all the replants at Madeira and the
Canaries are modern, and resemble only big toothsticks. But 'dragons'
proper have existed, and perhaps memories of these portents long
lingered in the brain of protohistoric man. Even if they had been
altogether fabulous, the fanciful Hellenic mind would easily have
created them. The Dragoeiro with its boa-like bole, its silvery,
light-glancing skin, and its scars stained with red blood, growing in a
wild garden of glowing red-yellow oranges, would easily become the fiery
saurian guarding the golden apples of the Hesperides.

Porto Santo and Madeira, though near neighbours, are contrasts in most
respects. The former has yellow sands and brackish water, full of
magnesia and lime, which blacken the front teeth; the latter sweet water
and black shingles. The islet is exceedingly dry, the island damp as
Devonshire. Holy Port prefers wheeled conveyances: Wood-and-Fennel-land
_corsas_ or sledges, everywhere save on the New Road. Finally, the
wines of the northern mite are comparatively light and acidulous; of the
southern, luscious and heady.

Both scraps of ground are of kindred although disputed
origin. Classicists [Footnote: Plato, _Timaeus_, ii. 517. His
'fruit with a hard rind, affording meat, drink, and ointment,' is
evidently the cocoanut. The cause of the lost empire and the identity of
its site with the Dolphin's Ridge and the shallows noted by
H.M.S. _Challenger_, have been ably pleaded in _Atlantis_, &c.,
by Ignatius Donnelly (London, Sampson Low, 1882).] find in these sons of
Vulcan, the _debris_ of Platonic Atlantis, a drowned continent, a
'Kingdom of Nowhere,' which some cataclysm whelmed beneath the waters,
leaving, for all evidence, three shattered groups of outcrops, like the
Channel Islands, fragments of a lost empire, the 'bones of a wasted
body.' Geologists, noting that volcanoes almost always fringe mainlands,
believe them destined, together with the Cape Verdes, to rampart in
future ages the Dark Continent with a Ghaut-chain higher than the
Andes. Other theorists hold to a recent connection of the Madeiras with
Mount Atlas, although the former rise from a narrow oceanic trough some
13,000 to 15,000 feet deep. Others again join them to Southern Europe
and to Northern America. The old Portuguese and certain modern realists
make them a continuation of the Serra de Monchique in the Algarves, even
as the Azores prolong Cintra; and this opinion is somewhat justified by
the flora, which resembles in many points the tertiary and extinct
growths of Europe. [Footnote: Such is the opinion of M. Pegot-Ogier in
_The Fortunate Islands_, translated by Frances Locock (London,
Bentleys, 1871). Moquet set the example in 1601 by including Madeira
also in the 'Elysian Fields and Earthly Paradise' of the ancients.]

Porto Santo was till lately distinguished only for pride, poverty, and
purity of blood. Her soil, according to the old chroniclers, has never
been polluted, like Sao Thome and other colonies, by convicts, Jews, or
other 'infected peoples.' She was populated by Portuguese 'noble and
taintless'--Palestrellos, Calacas, Pinas, Vieyras, Rabacaes, Crastos,
Nunes, Pestanas, and Concellos. And yet not a little scandal was caused
by Holiport when the 'Prophet Fernando' and the 'Prophetess Philippa'
(Nunes), 'instigated by the demon and the deceitfulness of mankind,'
induced the ecclesiastics to introduce into the introit, with the names
of St. Peter and St. Paul, the 'Blessed Prophet Fernando.' The tale of
murder is told with holy horror by Dr. Gaspar Fructuoso, and the
islanders are still nicknamed 'prophetas.' Foreigners, however, who
have lately visited them, speak highly of their simple primitive ways.

I boated to the Holy Port in 1862, when Messieurs Blandy's steamship
_Falcon_ was not in existence. And now as the _Luso_ steamed
along shore, no external change appeared. A bird's-eye view of the islet
suggests a _podao_ or Madeiran billhook, about six miles by
three. The tool's broken point is the Ilha da Cima, facing to
north-east, a contorted pile which resembles a magnified cinder. The
handle is the Ilheu Baixo, to the south; and the blade is the tract of
yellow sandy lowlands--the sole specimen of its sort in the
Madeiras--connecting the extremities. Three tall cones at once disclose
vulcanism; the Pico de Facho, or Beacon Peak (1,660 feet), the Pico de
Anna Ferreira (910 feet), and the sugarloaf Pico de Castello (1,447
feet). The latter rises immediately north of the single town, and its
head still shows in white points the ruins of the fort which more than
once saved the population from the 'Moors.' The lower levels are
terraced, as usual in this archipelago, and the valleys are green with
vines and cereals. The little white _Villa Baleira_ is grouped
around its whiter church, and dotted with dark vegetation, trees, and
houses, straggling off into open country. Here lodge the greater part of
the islanders, now nearly 1,750 souls. The population is far too
thick. But the law of Portugal has, till lately, forbidden emigration to
the islanders unless a substitute for military service be provided; the
force consists of only 250 men, and the term of service is three years;
yet a _remplacant_ costs upwards of 50_l_. Every emigrant was,
therefore, an energetic stowaway, who landed at Honolulu or Demerara
without shoes and stockings, and returned in a few years with pounds
sterling enough to purchase an estate and a pardon. Half-a-dozen boats,
some of them neat little feluccas with three masts, are drawn up on the
beach: there is not much fishing; the vine-disease has raged, and the
staple export consists of maize in some quantities; of _cantaria,_
a grey trachyte which works more freely than the brown or black basalt,
and of an impure limestone from Ilheu Baixo, the only _calcaire_
used in Funchal. This rock is apparently an elevated coral-reef: it also
produces moulds of sea-shells, delicately traced and embedded in blocks
of apparently unbroken limestone. Of late a fine vein of manganese has
been found in the northern or mountainous part of the island: specimens
shown to me by Mr. J. Blandy appeared remarkably rich.

Under the lee of Porto Santo we enjoyed a dry deck and a foretaste of
the soft and sensuous Madeiran 'Embate,' the wester opposed to the
Leste, Harmattan, Khammasin, or Scirocco, the dry wind which brings
wet. [Footnote: The popular proverb is, 'A Leste never dies thirsty.']
Then we rolled over the twenty-five geographical miles separating us
from our destination. Familiar sites greeted my eyes: here the 'Isle of
Wood' projects a dwarf tail composed of stony vertebrae: seen upon the
map it looks like the thin handle of a broad chopper. The outermost or
extreme east is the Ilha de Fora, where the A.S.S. _Forerunner_ and
the L. and H. _Newton_ came to grief: a small light, one of the
many on this shore, now warns the careless skipper; but apparently
nothing is easier than to lose ships upon the safest coasts. Inside it
is the Ponta de Sao Lourenco, where the Zargo, when startled, called
upon his patron Saint of the Gridiron; others say it was named after his
good ship. It has now a lighthouse and a telegraph-station. [Footnote:
The line runs all along the southern shore as far as the Ponta do Pargo
(of the 'braise-fish,' _Pargus vulgaris_), the extreme west. At
Funchal the cable lands north of Fort Sao Thiago Minor, where ships are
requested not to anchor. It is used chiefly for signalling arrivals from
north and south; and there is talk of extending it to the Porto da Cruz,
a bay on the north-eastern side. It would be of great advantage to
Madeira if steamers could here land their mails when prevented from
touching at Funchal by the south winds, which often last a
week. Accordingly a breakwater has been proposed, and Messieurs Blandy
are taking interest in the improvement.] The innermost of this sharp
line of serrated basaltic outliers is the Pedra do Furado, which
Englishmen call the Arch-Rock.

The substantial works of the Goncalo-Machico highway, the
telegraph-posts, and the yellow-green lines of sugar-cane, were the only
changes I could detect in Eastern Madeira. Nothing more charming than
the variety and contrast of colours after the rusty-brown raiment which
Southern Europe dons in mid-December. Even the barren, arid, and
windswept eastern slopes glowed bright with the volcanic muds locally
called laterites, and the foliated beds of saibros and macapes,
decomposed tufas oxidised red and yellow. As we drew nearer to Funchal,
which looks like a giant _plate-bande_, tilted up at an angle of
40 deg., we were startled by the verdure of every shade and tint; the
yellow-green of the sugar and common cane (_Arundo sagittata_), of
the light-leaved aloe, banana, and hibiscus; the dark orange, myrtle,
and holm-oak; the gloomy cypress, and the dull laurels and bay-trees,
while waving palms, growing close to stiff pines and junipers (_Oedro
da Serra_), showed the contrast and communion of north and south.

Lines of plane-trees, with foliage now blighted yellow and bright green
in February, define the embouchures of the three grim black ravines
radiating from the upper heights, and broadening out as they approach
the bay. The rounded grassy hill-heads setting off the horizontal
curtains of dry stone, 'horticultural fortifications' which guard the
slopes, and which rise to a height of 3,000 feet; the lower monticules
and parasitic craters, Signal Hill, Race-course Hill, Sao Martinho and
Santo Antonio, telling the tale of throes perhaps to be renewed; the
stern basaltic cliff-walls supporting the island and prolonged in black
jags through the glassy azure of the transparent sea; the gigantic
headlands forming abutments for the upper arch; the chequered lights and
shades and the wavy play of sunshine and cloudlet flitting over the face
of earth; the gay tenements habited in white and yellow, red, green,
and, not unfrequently, blue; the houses built after the model of
cigar-boxes set on edge, with towers, belvederes, and gazebos so tall
that no one ascends them, and with flat roofs bearing rooms of glass,
sparkling like mirrors where they catch the eye of day; the toy-forts,
such as the Fortaleza do Pico de Sao Joao, built by the Spaniards, an
upper work which a single ironclad would blow to powder with a
broadside; the mariner's landmark, 2,000 feet high, Nossa Senhora do
Monte, white-framed in brown-black and backed by its feathery pines,
distance-dwarfed to mere shrubs, where the snow-winds sport; the
cloud-cap, a wool-pack, iris-tinted by the many-hued western sky, and
the soft sweet breath of the _serre-chaude_ below, profusely
scented with flower and fruit, all combined to form an _ensemble_
whose first sight Northern travellers long remember. Here everyone
quotes, and so will I:--

Hic ver assiduum atque alienis mensibus aestas.

Though it be midwinter, the land is gorgeous with blossoms; with glowing
rose, fuchsia, and geranium; with snowy datura, jasmine, belladonna,
stephanotis, lily, and camelia; with golden bignonia and grevillea; with
purple passion-creeper; with scarlet coral and poinciana; with blue
_jacaranda_ (rosewood), solanum and lavender; and with
sight-dazzling bougainvillea of five varieties, in mauve, pink, and
orange sheets. Nor have the upper heights been wholly bared. The
mountain-flanks are still bushy and tufty with broom, gorse, and furze;
with myrtle, bilberry and whortleberry; with laurels; with heaths 20
feet high, and with the imported pine.

We spin round fantastic Garajao, [Footnote: Not the meaningless Garajao,
as travellers will write it.] the wart-nosed cliff of 'terns' or
'sea-swallows' (_Sterna hirundo_), by the northern barbarian
termed, from its ruddy tints, Brazen Head. Here opens the well-known
view perpetuated by every photographer--first the blue bay, then the
sheet of white houses gradually rising in the distance. We anchor in the
open roadstead fronting the Fennel-field ('Funchal'), concerning which
the Spaniard spitefully says--

Donde crece la escola
Nace el asno que la roya.


Wheresoe'er the fennel grows
Lives the ass that loves to browse.]

And there, straight before us, lies the city, softly couched against the
hill-side that faces the southern sea, and enjoying her 'kayf' in the
sinking sun. Her lower zone, though in the Temperates, is sub-tropical:
Tuscany is found in the mid-heights, while it is Scotland in the bleak
wolds about Pico Ruivo (6,100 feet) and the Pauel (Moorland) da Serra. I
now see some change since 1865. East of the yellow-washed, brown-bound
fort of Sao Thiago Minor, the island patron, rises a huge white pile, or
rather piles, the Lazaretto, with its three-arched bridge spanning the
Wady Goncalo Ayres. The fears of the people forbid its being used,
although separated from them by a mile of open space. This over-caution
at Madeira, as at Tenerife, often causes great inconvenience to foreign
residents; moreover, it is directly opposed to treaty. There is a neat
group, meat-market, abattoir, and fish-market--where there is ne'er a
flat fish save those who buy--near those dreariest of academic groves,
the Praca Academica, at the east end proper, or what an Anglo-Indian
would term the 'native town.' Here we see the joint mouth of the
torrent-beds Santa Luzia and Joao Gomes which has more than once deluged
Funchal. Timid Funchalites are expecting another flood: the first was in
1803, the second in 1842, and thus they suspect a cycle of forty
years. [Footnote: The guide-books make every twenty-fifth year a season
of unusual rain, the last being 1879-80.] The lately repaired Se
(cathedral) in the heart of the mass is conspicuous for its steeple of
_azulejos_, or varnished tiles, and for the ruddy painting of the
black basaltic facade, contrasting less violently with the huge
splotches of whitewash, the magpie-suit in which the church-architecture
of the Madeiras and the Canaries delights. The Sao Francisco convent,
with its skull-lined walls, and the foundations of its proposed
successor, the law courts, have disappeared from the space adjoining the
main square; this chief promenade, the Praca da Constituicao, is grown
with large magnolias, vinhaticos, or native mahogany (_Persea
Indica_), and til-trees (_Oreodaphne foetens_), and has been
supplemented by the dwarf flower-garden (Jardim Novo) lately opened to
the west. The latter, I regret to say, caused the death of many noble
old trees, including a fine palm; but Portuguese, let me repeat, have
scant sympathy with such growth. The waste ground now belonging to the
city will be laid out as a large public garden with fountains and
band-stands. Finally, that soundly abused 'Tower of Babel,' _alias_
'Benger's Folly,' built in 1796, has in the evening of its days been
utilised by conversion into a signal-tower. So far so good.

But the stump of _caes_, or jetty, which was dashed to pieces more
than a score of years ago, remains as it was; The landing-place calls
loudly for a T-headed pier of concrete blocks, or a gangway supported
upon wooden piles and metal pilasters: one does not remark the want in
fine weather; one does bitterly on bad days. There has been no attempt
to make a port or even a _debarcadere_ by connecting the basaltic
lump Loo (Ilheu) Fort with the Pontinha, the curved scorpion's tail of
rock and masonry, Messieurs Blandy's coal stores, to the west. Big ships
must still roll at anchor in a dangerous open roadstead far off shore;
and, during wet weather, ladies, well drenched by the surf, must be
landed with the aid of a crane in what should be the inner harbour. The
broken-down circus near Reid's is to become a theatre, but whence the
money is to come no one knows. The leper hospital cannot afford to make
up more than nine or ten beds. The jail is in its old disgraceful state,
and sadly wants reform: here the minimum of punishment would suffice; I
never saw the true criminal face, and many of the knick-knacks bought in
Madeira are the work of these starving wretches. The Funchal Club gives
periodically a subscription ball, 'to ameliorate, if possible, the
condition of the prisoners at the Funchal jail'--asking strangers, in
fact, to do the work of Government. The Praca da Rainha, a dwarf walk
facing the huge yellow Government House, alias Palacio de Sao Lourenco,
has been grown with mulberries intended for sericulture. Unfortunately,
whatever may here be done by one party (the 'ins') is sure to be undone
when the 'outs' become 'ins.' There has been no change in the 'Palace,'
except that the quaint portraits of one-eyed Zargo, who has left many
descendants in the island, and of the earlier Captains-General,
dignitaries who were at once civil and military, have been sent to the
Lisbon Exhibition. The queer old views of Machim's landing and of
Funchal Bay still amuse visitors. Daily observations for meteorology are
here taken at 9 A.M. and 3 and 9 P.M.; the observatory standing eighty
feet above sea-level.

As our anchor rattles downwards, two excise boats with the national flag
take up their stations to starboard and port; and the boatmen are
carefully watched with telescopes from the shore. The wiser Spaniards
have made Santa Cruz, Tenerife, a free port. The health-officer
presently gives us _pratique_, and we welcome the good 'monopolist,'
Mr. William Reid, and his son. The former, an Ayrshire
man, has made himself proprietor of the four chief hostelries. Yates's
or Hollway's in the _Entrada da Cidade_, or short avenue running
north from the landing-place, has become a quasi-ruinous
telegraph-station. Reid's has blossomed into the 'Royal Edinburgh;' it
is rather a tavern than an hotel, admitting the 'casuals' from passing
steamers and men who are not welcome elsewhere. One of these, who called
himself a writer for the press, and who waxed insultingly drunk, made
our hours bitter; but the owner has a satisfactory and sovereign way of
dealing with such brutes. Miles's has become the Carmo, and Schlaff's
the 'German.' The fourth, Santa Clara, retains her maiden name; the
establishment is somewhat _collet monte_, but I know none in Europe
more comfortable. There are many others of the second rank; and the
Hotel Central, with its cafe-billiard and estaminet at the
city-entrance, is a good institution which might be made better.

We throw a few coppers to the diving-boys, who are expert as the Somali
savages of Aden, and we quit our water prison in the three-keeled boats,

Magno telluris amore

'Tellus,' however, is represented at Funchal by chips and pebbles of
black basalt like petrified kidneys, stuck on edge, often upon a base of
bare rock. They are preferred to the slabs of Trieste and Northern
Italy, which here, with the sole exception of the short Rua de
Bettencourt, are confined to flights of steps. The surfaces are greased
by rags and are polished by the passage of 'cars' or coach-sleighs,
which irreverents call 'cow-carts;' these vehicles, evidently suggested
by the _corsa_, or common sleigh, consist of a black-curtained
carriage-body mounted on runners. The queer cobble-pavement, that
resembles the mosaics of clams and palm-nuts further south, has sundry
advantages. It is said to relieve the horses' back sinews; it is never
dusty; the heaviest rain flows off it at once; nor is it bad walking
when the kidney-stones are small. The black surface is sometimes
diapered with white pebbles, lime from Porto Santo. Very strange is the
glare of moonlight filtered through the foliage; the beams seem to fall
upon patches of iced water.

We had not even the formality of a visit to the Custom-house: our
unopened boxes were expected to pay only a small fee, besides the hire
of boat, porters, and sledges. A _cedula interina_, costing 200
reis (11_d_.), was the sole expense for a permit to reside. What a
contrast with London and Liverpool, where I have seen a uniform-case and
a cocked hat-box subjected to the 'perfect politeness' of certain
unpleasant officials: where collections of natural history are plundered
by paid thieves, [Footnote: When we last landed at Liverpool (May 22),
the top tray of my wife's trunk reached us empty, and some of the
choicest birds shot by Cameron and myself were stolen. Since the days of
Waterton the Liverpudlian custom-house has been a scandal and a national
disgrace.] and where I have been obliged to drop my solitary bottle of
Syrian raki!

I was hotelled at the 'Royal Edinburgh,' and enjoyed once more the
restful calm of a quasi-tropical night, broken only by the Christmas
twanging of the machete (which is to the guitar what kit is to fiddle);
by the clicking of the pebbles on the shore, and by the gentle murmuring
of the waves under the window.

NOTE.--The Madeiran Archipelago consists of five islands disposed in a
scalene triangle, whose points are Porto Santo (23 miles, north-east),
Madeira (west), and the three Desertas (11 miles, south-east). The Great
and Little Piton of the Selvagens, or Salvages (100 miles, south),
though belonging to Portugal and to the district of Funchal, are
geographically included in the Canarian group. Thus, probably, we may
explain the 'Aprositos,' or Inaccessible Island, which Ptolemy

[Footnote: The great Alexandrian is here (iv. 6, Sec.Sec. 33-4) sadly out of
his reckoning. He places the group of six islands adjacent to Libya many
degrees too far south (N. lat. 10 deg.-16 deg.), and assigns one meridian (0 deg. 0'
0") to Aprositos, Pluitana (Pluvialia? Hierro?), Caspeiria (Capraria?
Lanzarote?), and another and the same (1 deg. 0' 0") to Pintouaria (Nivaria?
Tenerife?), Hera (Junonia? Gomera?), and Canaria.]

includes in his Six Fortunates; and the Isle of SS. Borondon and
Maclovius the Welshman (St. Malo). The run from Lizard's Point is laid
down at 1,164 miles; from Lisbon, 535; from Cape Cantin, 320; from
Mogador (9 deg. 40' west long.), 380; and 260 from Santa Cruz, Tenerife. The
main island lies between N. lat. 32 deg. 49' 44" and 32 deg. 37' 18"; the
parallel is that of Egypt, of Upper India, of Nankin, and of
California. Its longitude is included within 16 deg. 39' 30" and 17 deg. 16' 38"
west of Greenwich. The extreme length is thus 37-1/2 (usually set down
as 33 to 54) miles; the breadth, 12-1/2 (popularly 15-16 1/2); the
circumference, 72; the coast-line, about 110; and the area, 240--nearly
the size of Huntingdonshire, a little smaller than the Isle of Man, and
a quarter larger than the Isle of Wight. Pico Ruivo, the apex of the
central volcanic ridge, rises 6,050-6,100 feet, with a slope of 1 in
3.75; the perpetual snow-line being here 11,500. Madeira is supposed to
tower from a narrow oceanic trough, ranging between 13,200 and 16,800
feet deep. Of 340 days, there are 263 of north-east winds, 8 of north, 7
of east, and 62 of west. The rainfall averages only 29.82 to 30.62
inches per annum. The over-humidity of the climate arises from its lying
in the Guinea Gulf Stream, which bends southward, about the Azores, from
its parent the great Gulf Stream, striking the Canaries and flowing
along the Guinea shore. (White and Johnson's Guide-Book, and 'Du Climat
de Madere,' &c., par A. C. Mourao-Pitta, Montpellier, 1859, the latter
ably pleading a special cause.)



I passed Christmas week at the 'Flower of the Wavy Field;' and, in the
society of old and new friends, found nothing of that sameness and
monotony against which so many, myself included, have whilom
declaimed. The truth is that most places breed _ennui_ for an idle
man. Nor is the climate of Madeira well made for sedentary purposes: it
is apter for one who loves to _flaner_, or, as Victor Hugo has it,
_errer songeant_.

Having once described Funchal at some length, I see no reason to repeat
the dose; and yet, as Miss Ellen M. Taylor's book shows,

[Footnote: _Madeira: its Scenery, and how to see it._ Stanford,
London, 1878. This is an acceptable volume, all the handbooks being out
of print. I reviewed it in the _Academy_ July 22, 1882.]

the subject, though old and well-worn, can still bear a successor to the
excellent White and Johnson handbook.

[Footnote: Mr. Johnson still survives; not so the well-known Madeiran
names Bewick, (Sir Frederick) Pollock, and Lowe (Rev, R. T.) The latter
was drowned in 1873, with his wife, in the s.s. _Liberia_, Captain
Lowry. The steamer went down in the Bay of Biscay, it is supposed from a
collision. I sailed with Captain Lowry (s.s. _Athenian_) in January
1863, when St. George's steeple was rocking over Liverpool: he was
nearly washed into the lee scuppers, and a quartermaster was swept
overboard during a bad squall. I found him an excellent seaman, and I
deeply regretted his death.]

As early as 1827 'The Rambler in Madeira' (Mr. Lyall) proclaimed the
theme utterly threadbare, in consequence of 'every traveller opening
his quarto (?) with a short notice of it;' and he proceeded at once to
indite a fair-sized octavo. Humboldt said something of the same sort in
his 'Personal Narrative,' and forthwith wrote the worst description of
the capital and the 'Pike' of Tenerife that any traveller has ever
written of any place. He confesses to having kept a meagre diary, not
intending to publish a mere book of travels, and drew his picture
probably from recollection and diminutive note-books.

I found Funchal open-hearted and open-handed as ever; and the pleasure
of my stay was marred only by two considerations, both purely
personal. Elysian fields and green countries do not agree with all
temperaments. Many men are perfectly and causelessly miserable in the
damp heats of Western India and the Brazil. We must in their case simply
reverse the Wordsworthian dictum,

Not melancholy--no, for it is green.

They are perfectly happy in the Arabian desert, and even in Tenerife,
where others feel as if living perpetually on the verge of high fever.

To this 'little misery' were added the displeasures of memory. Our last
long visit was in 1863, when the Conde de Farrobo ruled the land, and
when the late Lord Brownlow kept open house at the beautiful Vigia. I
need hardly say that we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves: the impressions of
that good old time were deep and durable.

Amongst other things, Governor Farrobo indulged his fair friends with a
display of the old _jogo de canas_, or running at the ring. The
Praca Academica had been rigged out to serve as a tilting-yard, with a
central alley of palisading and two 'stands,' grand and little. The
purpose was charitable, and the performers were circus-horses, mounted
by professionals and amateurs, who thus 'renowned it' before the public
and their _damas_. The circlet, hanging to a line, equalled the
diameter of a small boy's hat; and when the 'knight' succeeded in
bearing it off upon his pole, he rode up to be decorated by the hands of
a very charming person with a ribbon-_baudriere_ of Bath dimensions
and rainbow colours. Prizes were banal as medals after a modern war, and
perhaps for the same purpose--to prevent unchristian envy, hatred, and
malice. Almost any trooper in an Anglo-Indian cavalry regiment would
have done better; but then he would have couched his bamboo spear
properly and would have put out his horse to speed--an idea which seemed
to elude the Madeiran mind. The fete ended with a _surprise_ less
expensive than that with which the Parisian restaurant astonishes the
travelling Britisher. A paper chandelier was suspended between two
posts, of course to be knocked down, when out sprang an angry
hunch-backed dwarf, who abused and fiercely struck at all straight backs
within reach.

Madeira is celebrated for excursions, which, however, are enjoyable only
in finest weather. Their grand drawback is inordinate expense; you may
visit the whole seaboard of Morocco, and run to Tenerife and return for
the sum spent in a week of Madeiran travel. The following tour to the
north of the island was marked out for us by the late Mr. Bewick; his
readiness to oblige, his extensive local knowledge, and his high
scientific attainments caused his loss to be long felt in the Isle of
Wood. 'You make on the first day Santa Anna, on the opposite coast, a
six to eight hours' stage by horse or hammock, passing through the grand
scenery of the valleys Metade, Meiometade, and Ribeiro Frio.

[Footnote: Most of these places are given in _Views_ (26) _in the
Madeiras, &c._, by the Rev. James Bulwer. London, Rivington, 1829. He
also wrote _Rambles in Madeira and in Portugal in _1826.]

The next day takes you to Pico Ruivo, Rothhorn, Puy Rouge, or Red Peak,
the loftiest in the island, whose summit commands a view of a hundred
hills, and you again night at Santa Anna. The third stage is to the
rocky gorge of Sao Vicente, which abounds in opportunities for
neck-breaking. The next is a long day with a necessary guide to the
Pauel da Serra, the "Marsh of the Wold," and the night is passed at
Seixal, on the north-west coast, famous for its corniche-road. The
fifth day conducts you along-shore to Ponta Delgada, and the last leads
from this "Thin Point" through the Grand Curral back to Funchal.'

I mention this excursion that the traveller may carefully avoid it in
winter, especially when we attempted the first part, February being the
very worst month. After many days of glorious weather the temper of the
atmosphere gave way; the mercury fell to 28.5, and we were indulged with
a succession of squalls and storms, mists and rain. The elemental rage,
it is true, was that of your southern coquette, sharp, but short, and
broken by intervals of a loving relapse into caress. In the uplands and
on the northern coast, however, it shows the concentrated spleen and
gloom of a climate in high European latitudes.

We contented ourselves with the Caminho do Meio, the highway supposed to
bisect the island, and gradually rising to the Rocket Road (_Caminho
do Foguete_) with a pleasant slope of 23 deg., or 1 in 2 1/3. These roads
are heavy on the three h's--head, heart, and hand. We greatly enjoyed
the view from the famous Levada, the watercourse or leat-road of Santa
Luzia, with its scatter of noble _quintas_,

[Footnote: The country-house is called a _quinta_, or fifth,
because that is the proportion of produce paid by the tenant to the

St. Lucy's, St. Anne's, Quinta Davies, Palmeira, and Til. Nossa Senhora
do Monte, by Englishmen misnamed 'the Convent,' and its break-arm
slide-down, in basket-sleighs, is probably as well known, if not better
known, to the reader than St. Paul's, City. Here we found sundry
votaries prostrating themselves before a dark dwarf 'Lady' with jewelled
head and spangled jupe: not a few were crawling on their knees up the
cruel cobble-stones of the mount. On the right yawned the 'Little
Curral,' as our countrymen call the Curral das Romeiras (of the
Pilgrimesses); it is the head of the deluging torrent-bed, Joao
Gomes. Well worth seeing is this broken punch-bowl, with its wild steep
gap; and, if the traveller want a vertiginous walk, let him wend his way
along the mid-height of the huge tongue which protrudes itself from the
gorge to the valley-mouth.

Near the refuge-house called the Poizo, some 4,500 feet above sea-level,
a road to the right led us to Comacha, where stood Mr. Edward Hollway's
summer _quinta_. It occupies a ridge-crest of a transverse rib
projected southerly, or seawards, from the central range which, trending
east-west, forms the island dorsum. Hence its temperature is 60 deg. (F.)
when the conservatory upon the bay shows 72 deg.. Below it, 1,800 feet high,
and three miles north-east of the city, lies the Palheiro do Ferreiro
('blacksmith's straw-hut'), the property of the once wealthy Carvalhal
house. The name of these 'Lords of the Oak-ground' is locally
famous. Chronicles mention a certain Count Antonio who flourished, or
rather 'larked,' circa A.D. 1500. In those days the land bore giants and
heroes, and Madeiran blood had not been polluted by extensive
miscegenation with the negro. Anthony, who was feller than More of More
Hall, rode with ungirthed saddle over the most dangerous _achadas_
(ledges); a single buffet of this furious knight smashed a wild boar,
and he could lift his horse one palm off the ground by holding to a tree
branch. The estate has been wilfully wasted by certain of his
descendants. Comacha, famous for picnics, is a hamlet rich in seclusion
and fine air; it might be utilised by those who, like the novel-heroes
of Thackeray and Bulwer, deliberately sit down to vent themselves in a

Pico Ruivo was a distressing failure. We saw nothing save a Scotch mist,
which wetted us to the bones; and we shivered standing in a slush of
snow which would have been quite at home in Upper Norwood. On this
topmost peak were found roots of the Madeiran cedar (_Juniperus
Oxycedrus_), showing that at one time the whole island was well

We need not believe in the seven years' fire; but the contrast of the
southern coast with the northern, where the forests primaeval of
Lauraceae and Myrtaceae still linger, shows the same destructive process
which injured Ireland and ruined Iceland. The peculiarity of these
uplands, within certain limits, is that the young spring-verdure clothes
them before it appears in the lower and warmer levels. Here they catch a
sunshine untarnished by watery vapour.

During our short trip and others subsequent many a little village showed
us the Madeiran peasant pure and simple. Both sexes are distressingly
plain; I saw only one pretty girl amongst them. Froggy faces, dark
skins, and wiry hair are the rule; the reason being that in the good old
days a gentleman would own some eighty slaves. [Footnote: As early as
1552 the total of African imports amounted to 2,700.] But they are an
industrious and reproductive race.

[Footnote: The following note of the census of 1878 was given to me by
my kind colleague, Mr. Consul Hayward:--

Habitations Males Females Total
Madeira.............28,522 62,900 67,367 130,267
Porto Santo......... 435 874 874 1,748

_No. of Persons who can read and write._

Males Females Total
Madeira..............................4,454 4,286 8,740
Porto Santo.......................... 77 34 111

_No. of Persons who can read but not write._

Males Females Total
Madeira.......1,659 2,272 3,931
Porto Santo... 42 60 102

Miss Taylor (_Madeira_, p. 58) reduces to 33,000--evidently a
misprint--this population about four times as dense as that of

Many Madeirans highly distinguished themselves in the Dutch-Brazilian
wars, especially the 'Castriota Lusitano.' His name is unknown; he
changed it when he left his islet home, the townlet Santa Cruz. These
islanders were the model 'navvies' of the age before steam: Albuquerque
applied for Madeirans when he formed the barbarous project of diverting
the Nile to the Red Sea. Their descendants are beggars from the cradle;
but they beg with a good grace, and not with a curse or an insult like
the European 'asker' when refused: moreover, the mendicant pest is not
now over-prevalent. In the towns they cheat and pilfer; they gamble in
the streets; they drink hard on Saturdays and Sundays, and at times they
murder one another. Liquor is cheap; a bottle of _aguardente_ or
_caxaca_ (new raw rum) costs only fivepence, and the second
distillation ninepence. I heard of one assault upon an English girl, but
strangers are mostly safe amongst them. Their extreme civility,
docility, and good temper, except when spoilt by foreigners, makes it a
pleasure to deal with them. They touch their hats with a frank smile,
not the Spanish scowl near Gibraltar, or of Santa Cruz, Tenerife. The
men are comparatively noiseless; a bawling voice startles you like a
pistol-shot. I rarely heard a crying child or a scolding woman offering
'eau benite a la Xantippe;' even the cocks and hens tied to old shoes
cackle with reserve. The climate tames everything from Dom to
donkey. Except in January and February it is still, intensely still--the
very leaves seem to hang motionless. This softness shows itself
especially in the language, which has none of the abruptness of European
Portuguese. The sound is a drawling singsong; the articulation is
peculiar, and the vocabulary is in some points confined to the Island.

The country people, an active, agile, unmuscular race, mostly preserve
the old national dress. Some men still wear, and both sexes once wore,
the ridiculous _carapuca_, or funnel-cap with a rat-tail for a
tassel. The rest of the toilet consists of homespun cottons, shirts and
knickerbockers, with buff shoes or boots broad-soled and heelless. The
traveller who prefers walking should always use this _chaussure_,
and the 'little girl in topboots' is still a standing joke. The women
affect parti-coloured petticoats of home-made baize or woollen stuff,
dyed blue, scarlet, brown, or orange; a scalloped cape of the same
material bound with some contrasting hue; and a white or coloured
head-kerchief, sometimes topped by the _carapuca_, but rarely by
the vulgar 'billycock' of the Canaries. In the villages crimson shawls
and capes are general, and they cover the head like mantillas.

The peasant's cot is of the simplest, and those in the plantations
suggest African huts. Even the best houses, except when copied from the
English, are scantily furnished; and little beyond a roof is absolutely
wanted. The home of the _cazeiro_, or peasant tenant practically
irremovable, is whitewashed and thatched, the straw forming a crest
along the ridge. It covers only one room, converted by a curtain into
'but' and 'ben.' A parental bed, a rickety table, and two or three
stools or settles compose the necessaries; the ornaments are the saints
hanging to the walls, and for windows there are shutters with a sliding
panel. The feeding apparatus consists of a kind of quern for grinding
corn, especially maize,

[Foonote: The word is of doubtful origin, generally derived from the
Haytian _mahiz_. But in northern Europe _mayse_ (Irish _maise_)
bread, and the Old High German _maz_ (Hind. _mans_) means meat]

which, however, is now too dear for general use; sundry vegetable
baskets, and an iron pot for boiling fish and porridge, arums
(_Inhame_), and koko (_Colocasia esculenta_). They have some
peculiar dishes, such as the _bolo de mel_, a ginger cake eaten at
Christmas, and the famous _carne de vinho e alhos_ (meat of wine
and garlic). The latter is made by marinating pork in vinegar with
garlic and the herb called _oragao_ (origanum, or wild marjoram);
it is eaten broiled, and even Englishmen learn to appreciate a dish
which is said to _conversar_. The stewed fowl with rice is also
national. As everywhere in Portugal, _bacalhao_,

[Footnote: Brevoort derives the word from _baculus_, the stick
which keeps the fish open; others from the German _boloh_, fish. In
1498 Seb. Cabot speaks of 'great fishes which the natives call
Baccalaos.' He thus makes the word 'Indian;' whereas Dr. Kohl, when
noticing the cod-fisheries of Europe, declares that in Germany it is
Backljau. Mr. O. Crawford (_Portugal, Old and New._ London:
C. Kegan Paul, 1880) rightly notes that 'bacalhao' applies equally to
the fresh fish and the dried fish.]

or dried cod-fish, cooked with garlic or onions, is deservedly a
favourite: it contains more nourishment than beef. There is superior
originality amongst the _doces_ (sweetmeats) for which Madeira was
once world-famous; and in the _queques_ (cakes), such as
lagrimas-cakes, cocoanut-cakes, and _rabanadas_, the Moorish
'rabanat,' slabs of wheat bread soaked in milk, fried in olive oil, and
spread with honey. The drink is water, or, at best, _agua-pe_, the
last straining of the grape. Many peasants, who use no stimulant during
the day, will drink on first rising a dram _para espantar o Diabo_
(to frighten the Devil), as do the Congoese _paramatar o bicho_ (to
kill the worm).

Here cleanliness is _not_ next to godliness. People bathe only in
hot weather--the rule of man and the lower mammalia. A quick and
intelligent race they are, like the Spaniards and Bedawi Arabs, a
contradiction in religious matters: the Madeiran believes in little or
nothing, yet he hates a _Calvinista_ like the very fiend. They have
lost, as the census shows, something of their extreme ignorance, and
have abated their worst superstitions since the expulsion of the Jesuits
by Pombal (1759), and the reforms of 1820, 1828, and 1835. In the latter
year Dom Pedro suppressed monkeries and nunneries by disallowing masses,
and by pensioning the holy tenantry with 9 dols. per mensem, afterwards,
reduced to 5 dols. In 1863 the bishop, Dom Patricio Xavier de Moura, did
his best to abolish the pretty _refocaria_ (the hearth-lighter),
who, as Griraldus hath it, extinguished more virtue than she lit fires;
and now the rectory is seldom gladdened by the presence of noisy little
nephews and nieces. The popular morals, using the word in its limited
sense, were peculiar. The number of _espostos que nao se sabe quem,
sao seus pais_ (fatherless foundlings) outnumbered those born _de
legitimo matrimonio_; and few of the gudewives prided themselves upon
absolute fidelity. This flaw, which in England would poison all domestic
affection, was not looked upon in a serious light by the islandry. The
priesthood used to lament the degeneracy of the age and sigh for the
fine times of _foros e fogos_, the rights and fires of an
_auto-da-fe_. The shepherds have now learned to move with the times
and to secure the respect of their sheep. Imagine being directed to
Paradise by a reverend man who gravely asks you where and what Hanover

Another important change is being brought about by the emigrant. During
the last few years the old rule has been relaxed, and whole families
have wandered abroad in search of fortune. Few Madeirans in these days
ship for the Brazil, once the land of their predilection. They prefer
Cape Town, Honolulu, the Antilles, and especially Demerara; and now the
'Demerarista' holds the position of the 'Brasileiro' in Portugal and the
'Indio' or 'Indiano' of the Canaries: in time he will buy up half the

In 1862 we hired rowing and sailing boats to visit the southern coast
east and west of Funchal. For the last twelvemonth Mr. Blandy's
steam-tug _Falcao_ has carried travellers to and fro: it is a great
convenience to the lazy sightseer, who cares only to view the outside of
things, and here the outsides are the only things worth viewing.

We will begin with the western trip to Pauel do Mar, affording a grand
prospect of basaltic pillars and geological dykes, and of the three
features--rocky, sylvan, and floral. Steaming by the mouth of the wady
or ravine Sao Joao, whose decayed toy forts, S. Lazaro and the
palace-battery, are still cumbered with rusty cannon, we pass under the
cliff upon whose brow stand some of the best buildings. These are the
Princess Dona Maria Amelia's _Hospicio_, or Consumptive Hospital,
built on Mr. Lamb's plans and now under management of the French
_soeurs_, whose gull wings are conspicuous at Funchal; the Asylo,
or Poor-house, opened in 1847 for the tempering of mendicancy; and
facing it, in unpleasant proximity, the Portuguese cemetery, decorated
as to its entrance with sundry skulls and cross-bones, and showing its
tall cypresses to the bay. Here comes the Quinta (Comtesse) Lambert,
once occupied by Queen Adelaide. The owner doubled the rent;
consequently _Las Angustias_ (the Agonies), as it was called from
an old chapel, has been unrented for the last two years. A small
pleasaunce overhanging a perpendicular cliff, and commanding a glorious
view, shows the Quinta da Vigia, lately bought by Mr. Hollway for
8,000_l_., and let at 500_l_. to 1,000_l_, a year. Nothing more
charming than its grounds, which attracted H.I.M. of Austria, and
now the charming Countess Tyszkiewicz. Landward it faces the Rua
da Imperatriz, which leads to the 'Loo Fields.'

The study of basaltic pillars at once begins: Loo Fort is partly built
upon them. Beyond Vigia cliff we pass in succession three jagged
island-rocks, called 'gurgulhos,' or black-beetles (_curculio_),
which, like the opposite foreshore, admirably show the formation. As a
rule the columns are quadrangular; I saw but few pentagons and
hexagons. We cast a look at a spouter of circular shape, the Forja, and
the Forno, a funnel-formed blowing-rock. The cliff is pierced with a
multitude of caves, large and small, and their regular arches look as if
the ejected matter, as happens with lava, had cooled and solidified
above, while still flowing out in a fiery torrent below. Mostly,
however, they are the work of wind and water.

Then comes the old Gurgulho Fort--a dwarf square, partly thatched and
converted into a private dwelling. It lies below Signal Hill, with its
dwarf ruined tower, a lumpy parasitic crater whose western slopes have
been ruined by disforesting. Between the two runs the New Road, which
owes its being to the grape-famine of 1852. It is the 'Rotten Row' of
Funchal, where horses tread the earth instead of skating and sliding
over the greased pebbles; and where fair amazons charge upon you like
Indian irregular cavalry. Five miles long, it is the only level line of
any extent in Madeira, and it wants but one thing--prolongation. The
lion in the path, however, is Cape Girao, which would cost a treasure to
'tunnel' or to cut into a corniche.

The next feature is the Ponta da Cruz, a fantastic slice of detached
basalt. Here, at the southernmost point of the island, the Descobridores
planted a cross, and every boatman doffs his cap to its little iron
descendant. Beyond it comes the Praia Formosa, a long line of shingle
washed down by a deep ravine. All these brooks have the same origin, and
their extent increases the importance of the wady. In 1566 the French
pirates under De Montluc, miscalled heretics (_hereges Ugnotas_)
landed here, as, indeed, every enemy should. The colour of 'Fair Reach'
is ashen grey, scolloped with cinder-black where the creamy foam breaks:
for beauty it wants only golden sands, and for use a few bathing

The next notable feature is the Ribeira dos Soccorridos ('River of the
Rescued'), where two of the Zargo's lads were with difficulty saved from
the violent stream then flowing. It is now provided with a long
bridge-causeway of three arches, approached by a chapel, Nossa Senhora
das Victorias, whose tiled and pillared porch reminds one of
Istria. This bed is the drain of the Grand Curral, called by the people
'Das Freiras,' because the holy women here took refuge from the
plundering French 'Lutherans.' The favourite picnic-ground is reached in
three hours from Funchal by two roads, both winding amongst the
pap-shaped hillocks which denote parasitic cones, and both abutting upon
the ravine-side, east and west. The latter, skirting the Pico dos Bodes
(of he-goats), a tall cone seen from near Funchal, and sentinelling the
great gap, is the joy-for-ever of midshipmites. To the horror of the
burriqueiro, or syce, they gallop hired screws, high-heeled as their
grandams, over paths at which an English stag would look twice; and for
a dollar they secure as much chance of a broken limb, if not of 'going
to pot with a young lady' (Captain Basil Hall's phrase), as reasonable
beings can expect.

The Grand Curral is the central vent of a volcano originally submarine,
and, like the Peak of Tenerife, of the age miocene. Fossils of that
epoch have been found upon the crater-walls of both. Subsequent
movements capped it with subaerial lavas and conglomerates; and wind and
weather, causing constant degradation, deepened the bowl and almost
obliterated signs of igneous action. This is general throughout Madeira;
the only craters still noticed by guide-books are the Lagos (Lake) de
Santo Antonio da Serra, east of Funchal and west of Machico, 500 feet
across by 150 deep; and, secondly, the Fanal to the north-west, about
5,000 feet above sea-level. The Curral floor, smooth and bald, is cut by
a silvery line of unsunned rivulet which at times must swell to a
torrent; and little white cots like egg-shells are scattered around the
normal parish-church, Nossa Senhora do Livramento. The basin-walls, some
2,000 feet high and pinnacled by the loftiest peaks in the island, are
profusely dyked and thickly and darkly forested; and in the bright blue
air, flecked with woolpack, Manta, the buzzard, and frequent kestrels
pass to and fro like flies.

Beyond the Soccorridos lies the charming valley of Camara dos Lobos,
popularly Cama di Lobos,

[Footnote: It is placed west instead of east of Cape Girao in the
_Conoise Handbook of Madeira_, by the Rev. J. M. Rendell. London:
Kegan Paul and Co., 1881.]

the lair of the sea-wolves, or seals. With its vivid lines of
sugar-cane, its terraces, its fine remains of forest vegetation, and its
distances of golden lights, of glazed blue half-lights, and of purple
shades, it looks like a stage-rake, a _decor de theatre_.
Tunny-fishing, wine-making, and sugar-boiling have made it,
from a 'miserable place,' a wealthy townlet whose tall white houses
would not disgrace a city; two manufactories show their craft by heaps
of _bagasse_, or trash; and the deep shingly bay, defended by a
_gurgulho_ of basaltic pillars, is covered with piscator's gear and
with gaily painted green boats. 'Seal's Lair' was the model district of
wine-production, like its neighbour on the north-western upland,
Campanario, famous for its huge Spanish chestnut: both were, however,
wasted by the oidium of 1852. In 1863 it partially recovered, under the
free use of sulphur; but now it has been ravaged by the more dangerous
phylloxera, which is spreading far faster than Mr. Henry Vizetelly

[Footnote: _Facts about Port and Madeira_, by Henry Vizetelly, who
visited the island in 1877. The papers first appeared in the (old
original) Pall Mall Gazette (August 26-September 4,1877), and then were
published in a volume by Ward and Lock, 1880]

The only cure of this pest known to Madeira is the troublesome and
expensive process practised by a veteran oenologist, Mr. Leacock.

He bares every vine-root, paints it with turpentine and resin, and
carefully manures the plant to restore its stamina. Mr. Taylor, of
Funchal, has successfully defended the vines about his town-house by the
simple tonic of compost. But the Lobos people have, methinks, done
wisely to uproot the infected plant wholesale: indeed, from this point
to the furthest west we hardly saw a vine-stock. They have supplied its
place with garden-stuff, an article which always finds a ready sale. The
island is annually visited by at least 500 English ships, and there is a
steady demand for 'green meat.' I am not aware that beet-root, one of
the best antiscorbutics, has been extensively tried.

Off Cama di Lobos is the best tunny-fishing. It is practised quite
differently from the Mediterranean style; here the labyrinth of nets is
supplanted by the line of 300 fathoms. At night the bright fires on
board the fishing-canoes make travellers suspect that spears, grains, or
harpoons are used. This, however, is not the case; line-fishing is
universal, and the lights serve mostly for signals.

From Cama di Lobos the huge hill-shoulder to the west, whose face, Cabo
Girao, must be ascended by a rough, steep incline. Far easier to view
the scene from a boat. Cape 'Turn Again' is the furthest occidental
point reached by the far-famed exploration of O Zargo. The profile
suggests it to be the northern half of a dome once regular and complete,
but cut in two, as a cake might be, by time and the elements. It has the
name of being the 'highest sea-wall in the world' (1,934 feet); if so,
little Madeira can boast her 'unicum.' Beaching the summit, you either
stand up regardant or you peer couchant, as your nerves incline, down a
height whose merit is to be peculiarly high. Facetious picnickers roll
over the edge-rocks which may kill the unfortunates gathering
grass--dreadful trade!--upon the dizzy ledges. There are also quarrymen
who extract _cantaria_-slabs for sills and copings from the four
square apertures which look afar like mortice-holes; and a fine marbled
stone, white, blue, and ruddy, has been taken from this part of the
cliff-face. Finally, there is a little knot of tiny huts which sticks
like a wasp-nest to the very foot of the huge wall.

Seen from the deep indigo-blue water, that turns leek-green in the
shallows, Cape Girao ('they turn') is a grand study of volcanic
dykes. They are of all sizes, from a rope to a cable multiplied a
thousandfold; and they stand out in boldest dado-relief where the soft
background of tufa, or laterite, has been crumbled away by rain and
storm-blast. Some writers have described them as ramifying like a tree
and its branches, and crossing and interlacing like the ties of a
building; as if sundry volcanic vents had a common centre below. I saw
nothing of this kind. The dykes of light grey material, sometimes
hollowed out and converted into gutters by falling water, appeared to
have been shot up in distinct lines, and the only crossing was where a
slip or a fault occurred.

A front view of Cape Girao shows that it is supported on either side,
east and west, by buttresses of a darker rock: the eastern dip at an
angle of 45 deg., the western range between 20 deg. above and 40 deg. below. The
great central upheaval seems to have pushed its way through these older
strata, once straight, now inclined. The layers of the more modern
formation--lavas and scoriae--are horizontal; sheets of sub-columnar,
compact basalt have been spread upon and have crushed down to
paper-thickness their beds of bright red tufa, here and there white with
a saline effervescence. Of such distinct superimpositions we counted in
one place five; there may have been many more. All are altered soils, as
is shown by remains of trees and decayed vegetation.

Beyond Cabo Girao the scenery is grand enough, but monotonous in the
extreme. The island is girt by a sea-wall, more or less perpendicular;
from this coping there is a gentle upslope, the marvellous terracing for
cultivation being carried up to the mountain-tops. The lower levels are
everywhere dotted with white farmhouses and brown villages. The colours
of the wall are the grey of basalt, the purple of volcanic
conglomerates, and the bright reds and yellows of tufas. Here and there,
however, a thread of water pouring from the summit, or bursting from the
flank, fills a cavity which it has worn and turned for itself; and from
this reservoir the industrious peasant has diverted sufficient to
irrigate his dwarf terraced plots of cane, bananas, yams, or other
vegetables; not a drop of the precious fluid is wasted, and beds are
laid out wherever the vivifying influence can extend. The water-race
down the wall is shown by mosses and lichens, pellitories, and
rock-plants; curtains and hangers; slides, shrubs, and weepers of the
most vivid green, which give life and beauty to the sternest stone.

The only breaks in this regular coast-wall are the spines and spurs
protruding seawards; the caverns in which the surges break and roar, and
the _ribeiras_ or ravines whose heads are far inland, and whose
lines show grey second distances and blue third distances. At their
mouths lie the sea-beaches and the settlements: the latter, with their
towered churches and their large whitewashed houses, look more like
detached bits of city than our notion of villages. Other places are
built upon heaps of _debris_ washed down from the heights, which
hold out no promise of not falling again. The huts scattered amidst the
cultivation remind one of nothing but Africa. In some places, too, a
soft layer of tufa has been hollowed for man's abode, suggesting, like
the caves, a fine old smuggling-trade. As many as eight doors may be
counted side by side. In other places a rock-ledge, or even a detached
boulder, has been converted into a house by masonry-walls. We shall
seldom see these savageries on the eastern coast of the island.

The seafaring settlements are connected with the interior by breakneck
paths and by rude steps, slippery with green moss. The people seem to
delight in standing, like wild goats, upon the dizziest of 'jumpy'
peaks; we see boys perched like birds upon impossible places, and men
walking along precipice-faces apparently pathless. The villages are
joined to one another by roads which attempt to follow the sea-line; the
chasms are spanned by the flimsiest wooden bridges, and the cliff is
tunnelled or cut into a _corniche_.

After disembarking passengers at Ponta d'Agua and Ribeira Nova we passed
the great landslip of 1805, Lugar do Baixo. The heap of ruins has long
been greened over. The cause was evidently a waterfall which now
descends freely; it must have undermined the cliff, which in time would
give way. So in the Brazil they use water instead of blasting powder: a
trench is dug behind the slice of highland to be removed; this is filled
by the rains and the pressure of the column throws the rock bodily
down. We shall find this cheap contrivance useful when 'hydraulicking'
the auriferous clays of the Gold Coast.

Then we came to Ponta do Sol, the only remarkable site on the trip,
famous for bodice-making and infamous for elephantiasis. Here a huge
column of curiously contorted basalt has been connected by a solid
high-arched causeway with the cliff, which is equally remarkable,
showing a central boss of stone with lines radiating quaquaversally.
There are outer steps and an inner flight leading under
a blind archway, the latter supplied with a crane. The landing in the
_levadia_, or surf, is abominable and a life-boat waits accidents
outside. It works with the heavy Madeiran oars, square near the grip and
provided with a board into whose hole the pin fits. The townlet, capital
of the 'comarca,' fronted by its little Alameda and a strip of beach
upon which I should prefer to debark, shows a tall factory-chimney,
noting the sugar-works of Wilhabram Bros. There is a still larger
establishment at the Serra d'Agoa in the Arco [Footnote: _Arco_
(bow, arch) is locally applied to a ridge or to the district bounded by
it.] da Calheta (Arch of the Creeklet), a property of the Visconde de
Calcada. The guide-books mention iron pyrites and specular iron in small
quantities behind Ponta do Sol.

Passing the deep ravine, Ribeiro Fundo, and the Ponta da Galera, with
its rooky spur, we sighted Jardim do Mar, a village on a mound of
_debris_ with black walls of dry stone defending the terraces from
surf and spray. The furthest point, where we halted half an hour, is
'Pauel do Mar' (Swamp of the Sea), apparently a misnomer. It is the port
of the Fajaa da Ovelha (Ewe's landslip), whose white tenements we see
perched on the _estreito_, or tall horizon-slope. The large
harbour-town is backed by a waterfall which may prove disastrous to it;
its lands were formerly famous for the high-priced _malvasia
Candida_--Candia malmsey.

The day had been delightful, 'June weather' in fickle April. The sea was
smooth as glass, and the skies, sunny in the morning and starry at
night, were canopied during the day by clouds banking up from the
south-east. The western wind blew crisp and cold. This phase of climate
often lasts till the end of June, and renders early summer endurable at
Madeira. The steam-tug was more punctual going than coming. She left
Funchal at 9 A.M., reached Pauel do Mar at half-past twelve, covering
some twenty-one direct knots; and returned to her moorings, crowded with
passengers, at half-past five, instead of half-past four. My companion,
M. Dahse, and I agreed that the coast was well worth seeing.

It would hardly be fair to leave Madeira without a visit to Machico, the
scene of Machim's apocryphal death. The realists derive the name from
Algarvan Monchique. I have made it on foot, on horseback, and by boat,
but never so comfortably as when on board the steam-tug
_Falcao_. Garajao, whose ruddy rocks of volcanic tufa, embedding
bits of lava, probably entitled it 'Brazenhead,' is worth inspecting
from the sea. Possibly the classic term 'Purple Islands' may have arisen
from the fiery red hue of the volcanic cliffs seen at the sunset
hour. Like Girao, the middle block of Tern Point is horizontally
stratified, while the western abutment slopes to the water. Eastward,
however, there has been immense degradation; half the dome has been
shaken down and washed away; while a succession of upheavals and
earthquakes has contorted the strata in the strangest manner. Seen from
Funchal, the profile of Garajao is that of an elephant's head, the
mahaut sitting behind it in the shape of a red-brown boss, the expanded
head of a double dyke seaming the tufas of the eastern face. We
distinguish on the brow two 'dragons,' puny descendants of the
aboriginal monsters. Beyond Garajao the shore falls flat, and the upland
soil is red as that of Devonshire. It is broken by the Ponta da
Oliveira, where there is ne'er an olive-tree, and by the grim ravine of
Porto de Canico o Bispo, the 'bishop' being a basaltic pillar with mitre
and pontifical robes sitting in a cave of the same material. I find a
better _episkopos_ at Ponta da Atalaia, 'Sentinel Point.' Head,
profile, and shoulders are well defined; the hands rest upon the knees,
and the plaited folds of the dress are well expressed by the basaltic
columns of the central upheaval. Beyond Porto Novo do Cal, with its old
fort and its limekiln, is the chapel of Sao Pedro, famous for its
_romeiro_, 'pattern' or pilgrimage for St. Peter's Day. June 29 is
kept even at Funchal by water-excursions; it is homage enough to pay a

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