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To the Gold Coast for Gold by Richard F. Burton

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penny and to go round the ships.

We anchored and screamed abominably off Santa Cruz, the capital of its
'comarca.' The townlet lies on the left of a large ravine, whose upper
bed contains the Madre d'Agoa, or water-reservoir. The settlement,
fronted by its line of trees, the Alameda, and by its broad beach
strewed with boats, consists of white, red, and yellow houses, one-,
two-, and three-storied; of a white-steepled church and of a new
market-place. East of it, and facing south, lies the large house of 'the
Squire' (Mr. H. B. Blandy), a villa whose feet are washed by the waves;
the garden shows the lovely union, here common, of pine and palm. The
latter, however, promises much and performs little, refusing, like the
olive, to bear ripe fruit. Beyond the Squire's is the hotel, approached
by a shady avenue: it is the most comfortable in the island after the
four of Funchal.

[Footnote: There are only two other country inns, both on the northern
coast. The first is at Santa Anna, some 20 miles north-north-east of the
capital; the second at Sao Vicente, to the north-west. All three are
kept by natives of Madeira. Unless you write to warn the owners that you
are coming, the first will be a 'banyan-day,' the second comfortable
enough. This must be expected; it is the Istrian 'Citta Nuova, chi porta

Santa Cruz has a regular spring-season; and the few residents of the
capital frequent it to enjoy the sea-breeze, which to-day (April 23)
blows a trifle too fresh.

We then pass the Ponta da Queimada, whose layers of basalt are deeply
caverned, and we open the Bay of Machico. The site, a broad, green and
riant valley, with a high background, is softer and gayer than that of
Funchal. It has been well sketched in 'Views in the Madeiras,' and by
the Norwegian artist Johan F. Eckersberg in folio, with letterpress by
Mr. Johnson of the guide-book. The 'Falcon' anchors close to the
landing-stairs, under a grim, grey old fort, O Desembarcadouro,
originally a tower, and now apparently a dwelling-place. The
_debarcadere_ has the usual lamp and the three iron chains intended
to prevent accidents.

The prosperous little fishing-village, formerly the capital of
_the_ Tristam, lies as usual upon a wady, the S. Gonsales, and
consists of a beach, an Alameda, a church with a square tower, and some
good houses. Twenty years ago the people had almost forgotten a story
which named the settlement; and the impromptu cicerone carried strangers
who sought the scene of Machim's death to the Quinta de Santa Anna,

[Footnote: Here Mr. White made some of his meteorological
observations. VOL. I.]

well situated upon a land-tongue up the valley; to the parish church,
which was in a state of chronic repair, and in fact to every place but
the right. The latter is now supposed to be the little _Ermida_
(chapel) _de N. S. da Visitacao._ with its long steps and
wall-belfry on the beach and the left jaw of the wady: it is a mere
humbug, for the original building was washed away by the flood of
1803. In those days, too, visitors vainly asked for the 'remains of
Machim's cross, collected and deposited here by Robert Page, 1825.' Now
a piece of it is shown in frame. About 1863 I was told that a member of
the family, whose name, it is said, still survives about Bristol, wished
to mark the site by a monument--decidedly encouraging to

From Machico Bay we see the Fora and other eastern outliers which form
the Madeiran hatchet-handle. Some enthusiasts prolong the trip to what
is called the 'Fossil-bed,' whose mere agglomerations of calcareous
matter are not fossils at all. The sail, however, gives fine views of
the 'Deserters' (_Desertas_), beginning with the 'Ship Rock,' a
stack or needle mistaken in fogs for a craft under sail. Next to it lies
the Ilheu Chao, the Northern or Table Deserta, not unlike Alderney or a
Perigord pie. Deserta Grande has midway precipices 2,000 feet high,
bisected by a lateral valley, where the chief landing is. Finally, Cu de
Bugio (as Cordeyro terms it) is in plan a long thin strip, and in
elevation a miniature of its big brother, with the additions of sundry
jags and peaks.

The group is too windy for cereals, but it grows spontaneously orchil
and barilla (_Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum_), burnt for soda. Few
strangers visit it, and many old residents have never attempted the
excursion. It is not, however, unknown to sportsmen, who land--with
leave--upon the main island and shoot the handsome 'Deserta petrels,'
the _cagarras_ (_Puffinus major_, or sheerwater), the rabbits,
the goats that have now run wild, and possibly a seal. A poisonous
spider is here noticed by the guide-books, and the sea supplies the
edible _pulvo (octopus)_ and the dreaded _urgamanta_. This
huge ray (?) enwraps the swimmer in its mighty double flaps and drags
him to the bottom, paralysing him by the wet shroud and the dreadful
stare of its hideous eyes.



The Christmas of 1881 at Madeira could by no means be called gay. The
foreign colony was hospitable, as usual, with dinners, dances, and
Christmas trees. But amongst the people festivities seemed to consist
chiefly of promenading one's best clothes about the military band and
firing royal salutes, not to speak of pistols and squibs. The noise
reminded me of Natal amongst the Cairene Greeks; here, as in the Brazil,
if you give a boy a copper he expends it not on lollipops, but on
fireworks. We wished one another _boas entradas_, the 'buon'
principio' of Italy, and remembered the procession of seventeen years
ago. The life-sized figures, coarsely carved in wood and dressed in real
clothes, were St. Francis, St. Antonio de Noto, a negro (Madeiran
Catholics recognise no 'aristocracy of the skin'); a couple of married
saints (for even matrimony may be sanctified), SS. Bono and Luzia, with
half a dozen others. The several platforms, carried by the brotherhoods
in purple copes, were preceded by the clergy with banners and crosses
and were followed by soldiers. The latter then consisted of a battalion
of _cacadores_, 480 to 500 men, raised in the island and commanded
by a colonel entitled 'Military Governor.' They are small, dark figures
compared with the burly Portuguese artillerymen stationed at the Loo
Fort and Sao Thiago Battery, and they are armed with old English

Behind the Tree of Penitence and the crosses of the orders came an Ecce
Homo and a bit of the 'true Cross' shaded by a canopy. The peasantry,
who crowded into town--they do so no longer--knelt to kiss whatever was
kissable, and dodged up and down the back streets to gain
opportunities. Even the higher ranks were afoot; they used to acquire in
infancy a relish for these mild amusements. And one thing is to be noted
in favour of the processions; the taste of town-decoration was
excellent, and the combinations of floral colours were admirable.
Perhaps there is too much of nosegay in Madeira, making us
remember the line--

Posthume, non bene olet qui bane semper olet.

I went to the Jesuit church to hear the _predica_, or sermon. The
preacher does not part his hair 'amidships,' or display cambric and
diamond-rings, yet his manner is none the less _manieree_. For him
and his order, in Portugal as in Spain, the strictest minutiae of
demeanour and deportment are laid down. The body should be borne
upright, but not stuck up, and when the congregation is addressed the
chest is slightly advanced. The dorsal region must never face the
Sacrament; this would be turning one's back, as it were, upon the
Deity. The elbow may not rest upon the cushion. The head, held erect,
but not haughtily, should move upon the atlas gently and suavely,
avoiding 'lightness' and undue vivacity. The lips must not smile; but,
when occasion calls for it, they may display a saintly joy. The eyebrows
must not be raised too high towards the hair-roots; nor should one be
elevated while the other is depressed. The voice should be at times
_tremolando_, and the tone periodically 'sing-song.' Finally, the
eyes are ordered to wander indiscriminately, and with all pudicity, over
the whole flock, and never to be fixed upon a pretty lamb.

Our countrymen are not over-popular in Portugal or in Madeira; such
mortal insults as those offered by Byron, to name only the corypheus,
will rankle and can never be forgotten. In this island strangers,
especially Englishmen, have a bad practice of not calling upon the two
governors, civil and military. The former, Visconde de Villa Mendo, is
exceptional; he likes England and the English. As a rule the highest
classes mix well with strangers; not so the _medio ceto_ who, under
a constitutional _regime_, rule the roast. Men with small fixed
incomes have little to thank us for; we make things dear, and we benefit
only the working men. Bourgeois exactions have driven both French ships
and American whalers to Tenerife; and many of them would do the same
with the English and German residents and visitors of Funchal. Not a few
have noble and historic names, whose owners are fallen into extreme
poverty. Professor Azevedo's book is also a _nobiliaire de
Madere_. The last generation used to be remarkably prim and precise,
in dress as in language and manner. They never spoke of 'hogs' or
'horns,' and they wore the skimpy waistcoats and the regulation whiskers
of Wellington's day. The fair sex appeared only at 'functions,' at
church, and at the Sunday promenade in the Place. The moderns dress
better than their parents, who affected the most violent colours, an
exceedingly pink pink upon a remarkably green green; and the shape of
the garment was an obsolete caricature of London and Paris. They no
longer assume the peculiar waddle, looking as if the lower limbs were
unequal to the weight of the upper story; but the walk never equals that
of the Spanish woman. This applies to Portugal as well. The strong
points, here as in the Peninsula, are velvety black eyes and blue-black
hair dressed _a la Diane_. It is still the fashion, as at Lisbon,
to look somewhat _boudeuse_ when abroad, by way of hint that man
must not expect too much; yet these cross faces at home or with
intimates are those of _bonnes enfants_. Lastly, the dark
complexions and the irregular features do not contrast well with the
charming faces and figures of Tenerife, who mingle the beauty of
Guanchedom with that of Spain and Ireland.

The list of public amusements at Funchal is not extensive. Years ago the
theatre was converted into a grain-store, and now it is a
wine-store. The circus of lumber has been transferred from under the
Peak Fort to near the sea; it mostly lacks men and horses. The Germans
have a tolerable lending library; and the public _bibliotheca_ in
the Town House, near the Jesuit church, is rich in old volumes, mostly
collected from religious houses. In 1851 the books numbered 1,800; now
they may be 2,000; kept neat and clean in two rooms of the fine solid
old building. Of course the collection is somewhat mixed, Fox's
'Martyrs' and the 'Lives of the Saints' standing peacefully near the
'Encyclopedie' and Voltaire. A catalogue can hardly be expected.

There are three Masonic lodges and two Portuguese clubs, one good, the
other not; and the former (Club Funchalense), well lodged in a house
belonging to Viscountess Torre Bella, gives some twice or three times a
year very enjoyable balls. The Cafe Central, with _estaminet_ and
French billiard-table, is much frequented by the youth of the town, but
not by residents. The great institution is the club called the 'English
Rooms,' which has been removed from over a shop in the Aljube to
Viscondessa de Torre Bella's house in the Rua da Alfandega. The British
Consulate is under the same roof, and next door is Messieurs Blandy's
ubiquitous 'Steamer Agency.' The roomy and comfortable quarters, with a
fine covered balcony looking out upon the sea, are open to both
sexes. The collection of books is old; but the sum of 100_l_. laid
out on works of reference would bring it fairly up to the level of the
average English country-club. Strangers' names were hospitably put down
by any proprietary member as guests and visitors if they did not outstay
the fortnight; otherwise they became subscribers. But crowding was the
result, and the term has been reduced to three days: a month's
subscription, however, costs only 10_s_. 6_d_. The doors close
at 7.30 P.M.: I used to think this an old-world custom kept up by the
veteran hands; but in an invalid place perhaps it is wisely done.

The principal _passetemps_ at Madeira consists of eating, drinking,
and smoking; it is the life of a horse in a loose box, where the animal
eats _pour passer le temps_. After early tea and toast there is
breakfast a la fourchette_ at nine; an equally heavy lunch, or rather
an early dinner (No. 1), appears at 1 to 2 P.M.; afternoon tea follows,
and a second dinner at 6 to 7. Residents and invalids suppress tiffin
and dine at 2 to 3 P.M. In fact, as on board ship, people eat because
they have nothing else to do; and English life does not admit of the
sensible French hours--_dejeuner a la fourchette_ at 11 A.M. and
dinner after sunset.

The first walk through Funchal shows that it has not improved during the
last score of years, and to be stationary in these days is equivalent to
being retrograde. It received two heavy blows--in 1852 the vine-disease;
and, since that time, a gradual decline of reputation as a
sanatorium. Yet it may, I think, look for a better future when the Land
Bill Law system, extending to England and Scotland, will cover the
continent with colonies of British _rentiers_ who rejoice in large
families and small incomes. Moreover, Anglo-African officials are
gradually learning that it is best to leave their 'wives and wees' at
Madeira; and the coming mines of the Gold Coast will greatly add to the
numbers. For the economist Funchal and its environs present peculiar
advantages. The dearness of coin appears in the cheapness of houses and
premises. Estates which cost 5,000_l_. to 15,000_l_. a generation
ago have been sold to 'Demerarists' for one-tenth that
sum. 'Palmeira,' for instance, was built for 42,000_l_., and was
bought for 4,000_l_. A family can live quietly, even keeping
ponies, for 500_l_. per annum; and it is something to find a place
four to seven days' sail from England inhabitable, to a certain extent
all the year round. The mean annual temperature is 67.3 degrees; that of
summer varies from 70 degrees to 85 degrees, and in winter it rarely
falls below 50 degrees to 60 degrees. The range, which is the most
important consideration, averages 9 degrees, with extremes of 5 degrees
to 35 degrees. The moist heat is admirably adapted for old age, and I
doubt not that it greatly prolongs life. Youth, English youth, cannot
thrive in this subtropical air; there are certain advantages for
education at Funchal; but children are sent north, as from Anglo-India,
to be reared. Otherwise they will grow up yellow and languid, without
energy or industry, and with no object in life but to live.

Madeira has at once gained credit for comfort and has lost reputation as
a sanatorium, a subject upon which fashion is peculiarly fickle. During
the last century the Faculty sent its incurables to Lisbon and
Montpellier despite the _mistral_ and the fatal _vent de
bise_. The latter town then lodged some 300 English families of
invalids, presently reduced to a few economists and wine-merchants.
Succeeded Nice and Pisa, one of the most wearying and relaxing
of 'sick bays;' and Pau in the Pyrenees, of which the native
Bearnais said that the year has eight months of winter and four of
inferno. Madeira then rose in the world, and a host of medical residents
sounded her praises, till Mentone was written up and proved a powerful
rival. And the climate of the hot-damp category was found to suit,
mainly if not only, that tubercular cachexy and those, bronchial
affections and lung-lesions in which the viscus would suffer from the
over-excitement of an exceedingly dry air like the light invigorating
medium of Tenerife or Thebes. Lastly, when phthisis was determined to be
a disease of debility, of anaemia, of organic exhaustion, and of
defective nutrition, cases fitted for Madeira were greatly limited. Here
instruments deceive us as to humidity. The exceeding dampness is shown
by the rusting of iron and the tarnishing of steel almost as effectually
as upon the West African coast. Yet Mr. Vivian's observations, assuming
100 to be saturation, made Torquay 76 and Funchal 73. [Footnote: Others
make the mean humidity of Funchal 76, and remark that in the healthiest
and most pleasant climates the figures range between 70 and
80]. Moreover it was found out that consumption, as well as intermittent
fevers, are common on the island, so common, indeed, as to require an
especial hospital for the poorer classes, although the people declare
them to have been imported by the stranger. I may here observe that
while amongst all the nations of Southern Europe great precautions are
taken against the contagion of true phthisis, English medicos seem to
ignore it. A Pisan housekeeper will even repaper the rooms after the
death of a consumptive patient. At Funchal sufferers in every stage of
the disease live in the same house and even in the same rooms.

Then came the discovery that for consumptives dry cold is a medium
superior to damp heat. Invalids were sent to the Tyrol, to the Engadine,
to Canada, and even to Iceland, where phthisis is absolutely unknown,
and where a diet of oleaginous fish is like feeding upon cod-liver or
shark-liver oil. The air as well as the diet proved a tonic, and
patients escaped the frequent cough, catarrh, influenza, and neuralgia
which are so troublesome at Funchal. Here, too, the invalid must be
accompanied by a 'prudent and watchful friend,' or friends, and the
companions will surely suffer. I know few climates so bad and none worse
for those fecund causes of suffering in Europe, liver-affections
('mucous fevers'), diarrhoeas, and dysenteries; for nervous complaints,
tic douloureux, and neuralgia, or for rheumatism and lumbago. Asthma is
one of the disorders which shows the most peculiar forms, and must be
treated in the most various ways: here some sufferers are benefitted,
others are not. Madeira is reputedly dangerous also for typhoid
affections, for paralysis, and for apoplexy. There is still another
change to come. The valley north of the beautiful and ever maligned
'Dead Sea' of Palestine, where the old Knights Templar had their
sugar-mills and indigo-manufactories, has peculiar merits. Lying some
1,350 feet below the Mediterranean, it enables a man to live with a
quarter of a lung: you may run till your legs fail with fatigue, but you
can no more get out of breath than you can sink in the saline waters of
Lake Asphaltites. When a railway from Jafa to Jerusalem shall civilise
the 'Holy Land,' I expect great things from the sites about the Jordan

After the 'gadding vine' had disappeared the people returned to their
old amours, the sugar-cane, whose five loaves, disposed crosswise, gave
the island her heraldic cognisance. Madeira first cultivated sugar in
the western hemisphere and passed it on to the New World. Yet the cane
was always worked under difficulties. Space is limited: the upper
extreme of cultivation on the southern side may be estimated at 1,000
feet. The crop exhausts the soil; the plant requires water, and it
demands what it can rarely obtain in quantity--manure. Again, machinery
is expensive and adventure is small. Jamaica and her slave-labour soon
reduced the mills from one hundred and fifty to three, and now five. My
hospitable friend, Mr. William Hinton, is the only islander who works
sugar successfully at the _Torreao_. The large rival mill with the
tall regulation smoke-stack near the left mouth of the Ribeira de Sao'
Joao, though inscribed 'Omnia vincit improbus labor,' and though
provided with the most expensive modern appliances, is understood not to
be a success for the Companhia Fabril d'Assucar.

Here sugar-working in the present day requires for bare existence high
protective duties. The Government, however, has had the common sense,
and the Madeirans patriotic feeling enough, to defend their industry
from certain ruinous vagaries, by taxing imported growths 80 reis
(4_d_.) per kilo. A hard-grit free-trader would abolish this
abomination and ruin half the island. And here I would remark that in
England the world has seen for the first time a wealthy and commercial,
a great and generous nation proclaim, and take pride in proclaiming, the
most immoral doctrine. 'Free Trade,' so called, I presume, because it is
practically the reverse of free or fair trade, openly abjures public
spirit and the chief obligation of the citizen--to think of his
neighbour as well as himself, and not to let charity end, as it often
begins, at home. 'Buy cheap and sell dear' is the law delivered by its
prophets, the whole duty of 'the merchant and the man.' When its
theorists ask me the favourite question, 'Would you not buy in the
cheapest market?' I reply, 'Yes, but my idea of cheapness is not yours:
I want the best, no matter what its price, because it will prove
cheapest in the end.' How long these Free-trade fads and fooleries will
last no one can say; but they can hardly endure till that millennium
when the world accepts the doctrine, and when Free Trade becomes free
trade and fair trade.

As regards _petite industrie_ in Madeira, there is a considerable
traffic in 'products of native industry,' sold to steamer-passengers.
The list gives jewellery and marquetry or inlaid woodwork;
feather-flowers, straw hats, lace and embroidery, the latter an
important item; boots and shoes of unblackened leather; sweetmeats,
especially guava-cheese; wax-fruits, soap-berry bracelets, and 'Job's
tears;' costumes in wood and clay; basketry, and the well-known wicker
chairs, tables, and sofas. The cooperage is admirable; I have nowhere
seen better-made casks. The handsomest shops, as we might expect, are
the apothecaries'; and, here, as elsewhere, they thrive by charging a
sixpence for what cost them a halfpenny.

An enterprising Englishman lately imported sheep from home. The native
mutton was described in 1842 as 'strong in flavour and lean in
condition;' in fact, very little superior to that of Trieste. Now it is
remarkably good, and will be better. Silk, I have said, has not been
fairly tried, and the same is the case with ginger. Cotton suffered
terribly from the worm. Chinchona propagated from cuttings, not from the
seed, did well. Dr. Grabham [Footnote: _The Climate and Resources of
Madeira_. By Michael C. Grabham, M.D., F.R.G.S., F.R.C.P. London;
Churchill, 1870.] tells us that the coffee-berry ripens and yields a
beverage locally thought superior to that of the imported kinds. It has
become almost extinct in consequence of protracted blights: the island
air is far too damp. Tea did not succeed. [Footnote: Page 189, _Du
Climat de Madere, etc_., par C. A. Mourao Pitta, Montpellier, 1859.]
Cochineal also proved a failure. The true Mexican cactus (_Opuntia
Tuna_) was brought to supplant the tree-like and lean-leafed native
growth; but there is too much wind and rain for the insects, and the
people prefer to eat the figs or 'prickly pears.' Bananas grow well, and
a large quantity is now exported for the English market. But the climate
does not agree with European fruits and vegetables; strawberries and
French beans are equally flavourless. I remarked the same in the
glorious valley of the Lower Congo: it must result from some telluric or
atmospheric condition which we cannot yet appreciate.

Tobacco has been tried with some success, though the results do not
equal those of the Canaries; there, however, the atmosphere is too dry,
here it is not. The _estanco_ (monopoly) and the chronic debt to
those who farm the import-tax long compelled the public to pay dear for
a poor article. Home-growth was forbidden till late years; now it is
encouraged, and rate-payers contribute a small additional sum. Hitherto,
however, results have not been over-favourable, because, I believe, the
tobacco-beds have been unhappily placed. Rich valley-soils and
sea-slopes, as at Cuban Vuelta de Abajo and Syrian Latakia, are the
proper habitats of the 'holy herb.' Here it is planted in the high dry
grounds about the 'Peak Fort' and the uplands east of the city. Manure
also is rare and dear, and so is water, which, by the by, is sadly
wasted in Madeira for want of reservoirs. Consequently the peasants
smoke tobacco from the Azores.

The Casa Funchalense, north of the Cathedral, is the chief depot for
island-growths. It sells 'Escuros' (dark brands) of 20 reis, or
1_d_., and 50 reis, according to size. The 'Claros,' which seem to
be the same leaf steamed, fetch from 40 to 100 reis. A small half-ounce
of very weak and poor-flavoured pipe-tobacco also is worth 1_d_.

An influential planter, Senhor Joao de Salles Caldeira, kindly sent to
Mr. John Blandy some specimens of his nicotiana for me to test in
Africa. The leaf-tobaccos, all grown between 1879 and 1881, at Magdalena
in the parish of St. Antonio, were of three kinds. The Havano was far
too short for the trade; the Bahiano, also dark, was longer; and the
so-called 'North-American' was still longer, light-coloured and well
tied in prick-shape. The negro verdict was, 'Left, a lilly he be foine,'
meaning they want but little to be excellent. The Gold Coast prefers
yellow Virginia, whose invoice price is 7_d_. per lb. The traders
are now introducing Kentucky, which, landed from Yankee ships, costs
6_d_. But, here as elsewhere, it is difficult to bring about any
such change.

There were two qualities of Madeiran _charutos_ (cigars): one long
Claro which smoked very mild, and a short Escuro, which tasted a trifle
bitter. The blacks complained that they were too new; and I should rank
them with the average produce of Brazilian Bahia. A papered
_cigarilha_, clad in an outer leaf of tobacco, was exceptionally
good. The _cigarros_ (cigarettes), neatly bound in bundles of
twenty-five, were of three kinds, _fortes_ (strong),
_entre-fortes_, and _fracos_ (mild). All were excellent and
full of flavour; they did not sicken during the voyage, and I should
rank them with the far-famed Braganca of the Brazil.

The most successful of these small speculations is that of
Mr. E. Hollway. Assisted by an able gardener from Saint Michael, Azores,
where the pineapple made a little fortune for Ponta Delgada, he has
converted Mount Pleasant, his father's house and grounds on the Caminho
do Meio, into one huge pinery. The Madeiran sun does all the work of
English fires and flues; but the glass must be whitewashed; otherwise,
being badly made, with bubbles and flaws, it would burn holes in the
plants. The best temperature for the hot-houses is about 90 deg. F.: it will
rise after midday to 140 deg., and fall at night to 65 deg.. The species
preferred are, in order of merit, the Cayena, the black Jamaica, and the
Brazilian Abacaxi. The largest of Mr. Hollway's produce weighed 20
lbs.--pumpkin size. Those of 12 lbs. and 15 lbs. are common, but the
market prefers 8 lbs. His highest price was 2_l_., and he easily
obtains from 10_s_. to 15_s_. In one greenhouse we saw 2,500
plants potted and bedded; the total numbers more than double that
figure. The proprietor has a steam-saw, makes his own boxes, and packs
his pines with dry leaves of maize and plantain. He is also cultivating
a dwarf banana, too short to be wind-wrung. His ground will grow
anything: the wild asparagus, which in Istria rises knee-high, here
becomes a tall woody shrub.

And now of the wine which once delighted the world, and which has not
yet become 'food for the antiquary.' To begin with, a few dates and
figures are necessary. In 1852, that terrible year for France, the
Oidium fungus attacked the vine, and soon reduced to 2,000 the normal
yearly production of 20,000 and even 22,000 pipes.

[Footnote: Between 1792 and 1827 the yearly average was 20,000.
In 1813 it was 22,000.
" 1814 " 14,000.
" 1816 " 15,000.

In 1816 it was 12,000.
" 1818 " 18,000.
" 1825 " 14,000.

It then decreased to an average of 7,000 till the oidium-year
(Miss E. M, Taylor, p. 74).]

The finest growths suffered first, as animals of the highest blood
succumb the soonest to epidemics. When I wrote in 1863 the grape was
being replanted, chiefly the white _verdelho_, the Tuscan
_verdea_. In 1873 the devastating Phylloxera appeared, and before
1881 it had ruined two of the finest southern districts. The following
numerals show the rapid decline of yield:--6,000 pipes in 1878, 5,000 in
1879, 3,000 in 1880, and 2,000 in 1881. There are still in store some
30,000 pipes, each=92 gallons (forty-five dozen); and a single firm,
Messrs. Blandy Brothers, own 3,000. Mr. Charles R. Blandy, the late head
of the house, bought up all the _must_ grown since 1863; but he did
not care to sell. This did much harm to the trade, by baulking the
demand and by teaching the public to do without it. His two surviving
sons have worked hard and advertised on a large scale; they issue a
yearly circular, and the result is improved enquiry. Till late years the
world was not aware that the Madeiran vine has again produced Madeira
wine; and a Dutch admiral, amongst others, was surprised to hear that
all was not made at Cettes. I give below Messrs. Blandy's trade-prices,
to which some 20 per cent, must be added for retail.

[Footnote: Sound light medium Madeiras from 26s. to 32s. per dozen,
packed and delivered in London; light, golden, delicate, 36_s_.;
tawny Tinta, also called 'Madeira Burgundy,' a red wine mixing well with
water, 40_s_.; fine old dry Verdelho, 48_s_.; rich soft old
Bual, not unlike Amontillado, 54_s_.; very fine dry old Sercial
(the Riesling grape), 56_s_.; and the same for highly-flavoured
soft old Malmsey, 'Malvasia Candida,' corrupted from 'Candia' because
supposed to have been imported from that island in 1445. 'Grand Old Oama
de Lobos' is worth 70_s_., and the best Old Preserve wine
86_s_. For wines very old in bottle there are special quotations.]

The lowest price free on board is 23_l_, and the values rise from
40_l_. at four years old to 1OO_l_. at ten years old.

'Madeira' was most popular in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries,
especially at the Court of Francois I. Shakespeare in 'Henry IV.' makes
drouthy Jack sell his soul on Good Friday for a cup of Madeira and a
cold capon's leg. Mr. H. Vizetelly, whose professional work should be
read by all who would master the subject, marvels why and how this
'magnificent wine' went out of fashion. The causes are many, all easy to
trace. Men not yet very old remember the day when England had no _vino
de pasto_ fit to be drunk at meals; when they found only ports,
sherries, and loaded clarets; and when they sighed in vain for light
Rhine or Bordeaux growths, good _ordinaire_ being to drink what
bread is to food.

[Footnote: This, however, is a mere individual opinion. I have lately
read a book recommending strong and well-brandied wines as preventing
the crave for pure alcohol.]

Now, however, the national taste has changed; the supply of Madeira not
sufficing for the demand, the class called _boticarios_
(apothecaries) brought rivals into the market; and extensive imitation's
with apples, loquats (Japanese medlars), and other frauds, brandied to
make the stuff keep, plastered or doctored with Paris-plaster to correct
over-acidity, and coloured and sweetened with burnt sugar and with
boiled 'must' (_mosto_) to mock the Madeira flavour, gave the
island-produce a bad name. Again, the revolution in the wine-trade of
1860-61 brought with it certain Continental ideas. In France a glass of
Madeira follows soup, and in Austria it is drunk in liqueur-glasses like

[Footnote: 'Madeira' is the island modification of the Cyprus and the
Candia (?) grape. 'Tokay' comes from the Languedoc muscatel, and
'Constantia' from Burgundy, like most of the Rhine-wines.]

The island wine must change once more to suit public taste. At present
it ships at the average strength of 18 deg.-25 deg. per cent, of 'proof spirit,'
which consists of alcohol and water in equal proportions. For that
purpose each pipe is dosed with a gallon or two of Porto Santo or Sao
Vicente brandy. This can do no harm; the addition is homogeneous and
chemically combines with the grape-juice; but when potato-spirit and
cane-rum are substituted for alcohol distilled from wine, the result is
bad. The vintage is rarely ripened by time, whose unrivalled work is
imperfectly done in the _estufa_ or flue-stove, the old fumarium,
or in the _sertio_ (apotheca), an attic whose glass roofing admits
the sun. The voyage to the East Indies was a clumsy contrivance for the
same purpose; and now the merchants are beginning to destroy the germs
of fermentation not by mere heat, but by the strainer extensively used
in Jerez. The press shown to me was one of Messrs. Johnson and Co.,
which passes the liquor through eighteen thick cottons supported by iron
plates. It might be worth while to apply electricity in the form used to
destroy fusel-oil. Lastly, the wine made for the market is a brand or a
blend, not a 'vintage-wine.' At any of the _armazems_, or stores,
you can taste the wines of '70, '75, '76, and so forth, of A 1 quality;
and you can learn their place as well as their date of birth. But these
are mixed when wine of a particular kind is required and the produce
becomes artificial. What is now wanted is a thin light wine, red or
white, with the Madeira flavour, and this will be the drink of the
future. The now-forgotten _tisane de Madere_ and the 'rain-water
Madeira,' made for the American markets, a soft, delicate, and
straw-coloured beverage, must be the models.

I sampled the new wines carefully; and, with due remembrance of the
peaches in 'Gil Blas,' I came to the conclusion that they are no longer
what they were. The wine is tainted with sulphur in its odorous union
with hydrogen. It is unduly saccharine, fermenting irregularly and
insufficiently. For years the plant has constantly been treated against
oidium with antiseptics, which destroy the spores and germ-growths; and
we can hardly expect a first-rate yield from a chronically-diseased
stock. Still the drink is rich and highly flavoured; and, under many
circumstances, it answers better than any kind of sherry. No more
satisfactory refreshment on a small scale than a biscuit and a glass of
Bual. Moreover, the palate requires variety, and here finds it in a
harmless form. But as a daily drink Madeira should be avoided: even in
the island I should prefer French Bordeaux, not English claret, with an
occasional change to Burgundy. Meanwhile, 'London particular' is a fact,
and the supply will probably exceed the demand of the present

I also carefully sampled the wines of the north coast, which had not, as
in Funchal, been subjected to doctoring by stove, by spirits, and by
blend. They are lighter than the southern; but, if unbrandied, some soon
turn sour, and others by keeping get strong and heady. The proportion of
alcoholism is peremptorily determined by climate--that is, the
comparative ratio of sun and rain. In Europe, for instance, light wines
cannot be produced without 'liquor,' as the trade calls _aqua
pura_, by latitudes lower than Germany and Southern France. When heat
greatly exceeds moisture, the wines may be mild to mouth and nose, yet
they are exceedingly potent; witness the _vino d'oro_ of the

At Funchal I also tasted a very neat wine, a _vin de pays_ with the
island flavour and not old enough to become spirituous. If the vine be
again grown in these parts, its produce will be drunk in England under
some such form. But Madeira has at last found her 'manifest destiny:'
she will be an orchard to Northern Europe and (like the England of the
future) a kitchen-garden to the West African Coast, especially the Gold

My sojourn at the Isle of Wood and its 'lotus-eating' (which means
double dinners) came to an end on Sunday, January 8, the
s.s. _Senegal_ Captain W. L. Keene, bringing my long-expected
friend Cameron, of African fame. The last day passed pleasantly enough
in introducing him to various admirers; and we ate at Santa Clara a
final dinner, perfectly conscious that we were not likely to see its
like for many a month. We were followed to the beach by a choice band of
well-wishers--Baron Adelin de Vercour, Colonel H. W. Keays Young, and
Dr. Struthers--who determined upon accompanying us to Tenerife. The
night was black as it well could be, and the white surf rattled the
clicking pebbles, as we climbed into the shore-boat with broad
cheek-pieces, and were pulled off shipwards. On board we found
Mr. William Reid, junior, who had carefully lodged our numerous
impediments; and, at 10 P.M., we weighed for Tenerife.

I must not leave the Isle of Wood, which has so often given me
hospitality, without expressing a hearty wish that the Portuguese
'Government,' now rhyming with 'impediment,' will do its duty by
her. The Canaries and their free ports, which are different from 'free
trade,' have set the best example; and they have made great progress
while the Madeiras have stood still, or rather have retrograded. The
Funchal custom-house is a pest; the import charges are so excessive that
visitors never import, and for landing a single parcel the ship must pay
high port-charges where no port exists. The population is heavily taxed,
and would willingly 'pronounce' if it could only find a head. The
produce, instead of being spent upon the island, is transmitted to
Lisbon: surely a portion of it might be diverted from bureaucratic
pockets and converted into an emigration fund. It is sad to think that a
single stroke of the Ministerial pen would set all right and give new
life to the lovely island, and yet that the pen remains idle.

And a parting word of praise for Madeira. Whatever the traveller from
Europe may think of this quasi-tropical Tyrol, those homeward-bound from
Asia and Africa will pronounce her a Paradise. They will enjoy good
hotels, comfortable _tables d'hote_, and beef that does not
resemble horseflesh or unsalted junk. Nor is there any better place
wherein to rest and recruit after hard service in the tropics. Moreover,
at the end of a month spent in perfect repose the visitor will look
forward with a manner of dismay to the plunge into excited civilised

But Madeira is not 'played out;' _au contraire_, she is one of
those 'obligatory points' for commerce which cannot but prosper as the
world progresses. The increasing traffic of the West African coast will
make men resort to her for comforts and luxuries, for climate and
repose. And when the Gold Mines shall be worked as they should be this
island may fairly look forward to catch many a drop of the golden

The following interesting table, given to me by M. d'Oliveira, clerk of
the English Rooms, shows what movement is already the rule of Funchal.


Vessels of War

Nationality Sailing/Steamers
Frigates Corvettes Schooners/Transports -/Gunboats
American -/1 1/1 -/- -/-
Argentine -/- -/- -/- -/-
Austrian -/- -/- -/- -/-
Belgian -/- -/- -/- -/-
Brazilian -/- -/- -/- -/-
British -/6 -/3 1/10 -/7
Danish -/- -/1 -/- -/-
Dutch -/- -/2 -/- -/1
French 2/2 -/- -/1 -/1
German -/3 -/3 -/- -/-
Italian -/- -/1 -/- -/-
Norwegian -/- -/1 -/- -/-
Portuguese -/- -/- -/- -/2
Russian -/- -/- -/- -/-
Spanish -/- -/- -/- -/-
Swedish -/- -/1 -/- -/-
Totals: 2/12 1/13 1/11 -/11

Pleasure Vessels

Nationality Steam Yachts
American - -
Argentine - -
Austrian - -
Belgian - -
Brazilian - -
British 2 4
Danish - -
Dutch - -
French - -
German - -
Italian - -
Norwegian - -
Portuguese - -
Russian - -
Spanish - -
Swedish - -

Totals: 2 4

Merchant Vessels

Nationality Steamers Ships Barques Barquantines Brigs

American - - 3 - -
Argentine 1 - - - -
Austrian - 1 2 - -
Belgian 26 - - - -
Brazilian 3 - - - -
British 439 1 9 20 9
Danish - - - - 1
Dutch 1 - - - -
French - - 3 - -
German 8 - 16 - 2
Italian - - - - -
Norwegian - - 5 1 1
Portuguese 48 - 3 - -
Russian - - 2 - -
Spanish - - 2 - -
Swedish - - 2 - -

Totals: 526 2 43 21 13



When I left, in 1865, the western coast of the Dark Continent, its
transit and traffic were monopolised by the A(frican) S(team) S(hip)
Company, a monthly line established in 1852, mainly by the late
Macgregor Laird. In 1869 Messieurs Elder, Dempster, and Co., of Glasgow,
started the B(ritish) and A(frican) to divide the spoils. The junior
numbers nineteen keel, including two being built. It could easily 'eat
up' the decrepit senior, which is now known as the A(frican)
S(tarvation) S(teamers); but this process would produce serious
competition. Both lines sail from Liverpool on alternate Saturdays, and
make Funchal, with their normal unpunctuality, between Fridays and
Sundays. This is dreary slow compared with the four days' fast running
of the 'Union S. S. C.' and the comfortable 'Castle Line,' alias the
Cape steamers.

The B. and A. s.s. _Senegal_ is a fair specimen of the modern West
African trader 'improved:' unfortunately the improvements affect the
shareholders' pockets rather than the passengers' persons. The
sleeping-berths are better, but the roomy, well-lighted, comfortable old
saloon, sadly shorn of its fair proportions, has become the upper story
of a store-room. The unfortunate stewards must catch fever by frequent
diving into the close and sultry mine of solids and fluids under
floor. There being no baggage-compartment, boxes and bags are stowed
away in the after part, unduly curtailing light and air; the stern
lockers, once such pleasant sleeping-sofas, and their fixed tables are
of no use to anything besides baskets and barrels. Here the surgeon,
who, if anyone, should have a cabin by way of dispensary, must lodge his
medicine-chest. Amongst minor grievances the main cabin is washed every
night, breeding a manner of malaria. The ice intended for passengers is
either sold or preserved for those who ship most cargo. Per contra, the
cook is good, the table is plentiful, the wines not over bad, the
stewards civil, and the officers companionable.

Both lines, however, are distinctly traders. They bind themselves to no
time; they are often a week late, and they touch wherever demand calls
them. The freight-charges are exorbitant, three pounds for fine goods
and a minimum of thirty-six shillings, when fifteen per ton would
pay. The White Star Line, therefore, threatens _concurrence_. Let
us also hope that when the Gold Mines prosper we shall have our special
steamers, where the passenger will be more prized than the puncheon of
palm-oil. But future rivals must have a care; they will encounter a
somewhat unscrupulous opposition; and they had better ship American
crews, at any rate not Liverpudlians.

The night and the next day were spent at sea in a truly delicious
climate, which seemed to wax softer and serener as we advanced. Here the
moon, whose hue is golden, not silvern, has a regular dawn before
rising, and an afterglow to her setting; and Venus casts a broad cestus
of glimmering light upon the purple sea. Mount Atlas, alias the Pike of
Teyde, gradually upreared his giant statue, two and a half miles high:
travellers speak of seeing him from Madeira, a distance of some 260
(dir. geog.) miles; but this would be possible only were both termini
15,000 feet in altitude. The limit of sight for terrestrial objects
under the most favourable conditions does not exceed 210 miles. Yet here
it is not difficult to explain the impossible distances, 200 miles
instead of 120, at which, they say, the cone has been sighted: mirage or
refraction accounts for what the earth's convexity disallows.

We first see a low and regular wall of cloud-bank whose coping bears
here and there bulges of white, cottony cloud. Then a regular pyramid,
at this season white as snow, shows its gnomon-like point, impaling the
cumuli. Hour by hour the outlines grow clearer, till at last the
terminal cone looks somewhat like a thimble upon a pillow--the
_cumbre_, or lofty foundation of pumice-plains. But the aspect
everywhere varies according as you approach the island from north,
south, east, or west.

The evening of January 9 showed us right abeam a splendid display of the
Zodiacal Light, whose pyramid suggested the glow of a hemisphere on
fire. The triangle, slightly spherical, measured at its base 22 degrees
to 24 degrees and rose to within 6" of Jupiter. The reflection in the
water was perfect and lit up with startling distinctness the whole
eastern horizon.

At 7 A.M. next morning, after running past the Anaga knuckle-bone--and
very bony it is--of the Tenerife _gigot_, we cast anchor in the Bay
of Santa Cruz, took boat, and hurried ashore. In the early times of the
A.S.S. halts at the several stations often lasted three days. Business
is now done in the same number of hours; and the captain informs you
that 'up goes the anchor' the moment his last bale or bag comes on
board. This trading economy of time, again, is an improvement more
satisfactory to the passenger than to the traveller and sightseer who
may wish to see the world.

Brusque was the contrast between the vivid verdure of Sylvania, the Isle
of Wood, and the grim nudity of north-eastern Tenerife; brusquer still
the stationary condition of the former compared with the signs, of
progress everywhere evident in the latter. Spain, under the influence of
anticlerical laws and a spell of republicanism, has awoke from her sleep
of ages, and we note the effects of her revival even in these
colonies. A brand-new red fort has been added to La Ciudadela at the
northern suburb, whence a mole is proposed to meet the southern branch
and form a basin. Then comes the triangular city whose hypothenuse,
fronting east, is on the sea; its chief fault is having been laid out on
too small a scale. At the still-building pier, which projects some 500
yards from the central mass of fort and _cuadras_ (insulae or
house-blocks), I noticed a considerable growth of buildings, especially
the Marineria and other offices connected with the free port. The old
pink 'castle' San Cristobal (Christopher), still cumbers the jetty-root;
but the least sentimental can hardly expect the lieges to level so
historic a building: it is the site of Alonso Fernandez de Lugo's first
tower, and where his disembarkation on May 3, 1493, gave its Christian
name 'Holy Cross' to the Guanche 'Anasa.' Meanwhile the Rambleta de
Ravenal, dated 1861, a garden, formerly dusty, glary, and dreary as the
old Florian of Malta, now bears lovers' seats, a goodly growth of planes
and tamarinds, a statue, a fountain, and generally a gypsy-like
family. By its side runs a tramway for transporting the huge blocks of
concrete intended to prolong the pier. The inner town also shows a new
palace, a new hospital, and a host of improvements.

Landing at Santa Cruz, a long dull line of glaring masonry, smokeless
and shadeless, was to me intensely saddening. A score of years had
carried off all my friends. Kindly Mrs. Nugent, called 'the Admiral,'
and her amiable daughter are in the English burial-ground; the
hospitable Mr. Consul Grattan had also faded from the land of the
living. The French Consul, M. Berthelot, who published [Footnote:
_Histoire naturelle des Iles Canaries_, par MM. P. Barker Webb et
Sabin Berthelot, ouvrage publie sous les auspices de M. Guizot, Ministre
de l'Instruction Publique, Paris, 1839. Seven folio vols., with maps,
plans, and sketches, all regardless of expense.] by favour of the late
Mr. Webb, went to the many in 1880. One of the brothers Richardson had
died; the other had subsided into a clerk, and the Fonda Ingleza had
become the British Consulate. The new hotel kept by Senor Camacho and
his English wife appeared comfortable enough, but it had none of those
associations which make the old familiar inn a kind of home. _En
revanche_, however, I met Mr. Consul Dundas, my successor at the port
of Santos, whence so few have escaped with life; and his wife, the
daughter of an Anglo-Brazilian friend.

Between 1860 and 1865 I spent many a week in Tenerife, and here I am
tempted to transcribe a few extracts from my voluminous notes upon
various subjects, especially the Guanche population and the ascent of
the Pike. A brief history of the unhappy Berber-speaking goatherds who,
after being butchered to make sport for certain unoccupied gentlemen,
have been raised by their assailants to kings and heroes rivalling the
demi-gods of Greece and Rome, and the melancholy destruction of the
race, have been noticed in a previous volume. [Footnote: Yol. i. chap,
ii., _Wanderings in West Africa_. The _modorra_, lethargy or
melancholia, which killed so many of those Numidian islanders suggests
the pining of a wild bird prisoned in a cage.] I here confine myself to
the contents of my note-book upon the Guanche collections in the island.

One fine morning my wife and I set out in a venerable carriage for San
Cristobal de la Laguna. The Camino de los Coches, a fine modern highway
in corkscrew fashion from Santa Cruz to Orotava, was begun, by the grace
of General Ortega, who died smoking in the face of the firing party, and
ended between 1862 and 1868. This section, eight kilometres long,
occupies at least one hour and a half, zigzagging some 2,000 feet up a
steep slope which its predecessor uncompromisingly breasted. Here stood
the villa of Peter Pindar (Dr. Walcott), who hymned the fleas of
Tenerife: I would back those of Tiberias. The land is arid, being
exposed to the full force of the torrid northeast trade. Its principal
produce is the cactus (_coccinellifera_), a fantastic monster with
fat oval leaves and apparently destitute of aught beyond thorns and
prickles. Here and there a string of small and rather mangy camels, each
carrying some 500 lbs., paced _par monts et par vaux_, and gave a
Bedawi touch to the scene: they were introduced from Africa by De
Bethencourt, surnamed the Great. We remarked the barrenness of the
bronze-coloured Banda del Sur, whose wealth is in cochineal and
'dripstones,' or filters of porous lava. Here few save the hardiest
plants can live, the spiny, gummy, and succulent cactus and thistles,
aloes and figs. The arborescent tabayba (_Euphorbia canariensis_),
locally called 'cardon,' is compared by some with the 'chandelier' of
the Cape, bristling with wax tapers: the Guanches used it extensively
for narcotising fish. This 'milk plant,' with its acrid, viscid, and
virulent juice, and a small remedial shrub growing by its side, probably
gave rise to the island fable of the twin fountains; one killed the
traveller by a kind of _risus Sardonicus_, unless he used the other
by way of cure. A scatter of crosses, which are impaled against every
wall and which rise from every eminence; a ruined fort here and there; a
long zigzag for wheels, not over-macadamised, with an older short cut
for hoofs, and the Puente de Zurita over the Barranco Santo, an old
bridge made new, led to the _cuesta_, or crest, which looks down
upon the Vega de la Laguna, the native Aguere.

The 'noble and ancient city' San Cristobal de la Laguna was founded on
June 26, 1495, St. Christopher's Day, by De Lugo, who lies buried in the
San Miguel side-chapel of La Concepcion de la Victorias. The site is an
ancient lava-current, the successor of a far older crater, originally
submarine. The latest sub-aerial fire-stream, a broad band flowing from
north to south--we have ascended it by the coach-road--and garnished
with small parasitic craters, affords a bed and basis to the
capital-port, Santa Cruz. After rains the lake reappears in mud and
mire; and upon the lip where the town is built the north-east and the
south-west winds contend for mastery, shedding abundant tears. Yet the
old French chronicler says of the site, 'Je ne croy pas qu'il y eu ait
en tout le monde aucune autre de plus plaisante.' The mean annual
temperature is 62 deg. 51' (F.), and the sensation is of cold: the altitude
being 1,740 feet. Hence, like Orotava, it escaped the yellow fever which
in October 1862 had slain its 616 victims.

[Footnote: The list of epidemics at Santa Cruz is rather formidable,
_e.g._ 1621 and 1628, _peste_ (plague); 1810 and 1862, yellow
Jack; 1814, whooping cough, scarlatina, and measles; 1816-16, small-pox
(2,000 victims); 1826, cough and scarlet ferer; 1847, fatal dysentery;
and 1861-62, cholera (7,000 to 12,000 deaths).]

La Laguna offers an extensive study of medieval baronial houses, of
colonial churches, of _ermitas_, or chapels, of altars, and of
convents now deserted, but once swarming with Franciscans and Augustines
and Dominicans and Jesuits. These establishments must have been very
rich, for, here as elsewhere,

Dieu prodigue ses biens
A ceux qui font voeu d'etre siens.

St. Augustine, with its short black belfry, shows a Christus Vinctus of
the Seville school, and the institute or college in the ex-monastery
contains a library of valuable old books. The Concepcion boasts a
picture of St. John which in 1648 sweated for forty days. [Footnote:
Evidently a survival of the classic _aera sudantia_. Mrs. Murray
notices the 'miracle' at full length (ii. 76).] The black and white
cathedral, bristling with cannon-like gargoyles, a common architectural
feature in these regions, still owns the fine pulpit of Carrara marble
sent from Genoa in 1767. The _chef d'oeuvre_ then cost 200_l._;
now it would be cheap at five times that price. In the sacristy
are the usual rich vestments and other clerical curios. The
Ermita de San Cristobal, built upon an historic site, is denoted as
usual by a giant Charon bearing a small infant. There is a Carriera or
Corso (High Street) mostly empty, also the great deserted Plaza del
Adelantado, of the conqueror Lugo. The arms of the latter, with his
lance and banner, are shown at the Ayuntamiento, or town-house; I do not
admire his commercial motto--

Quien lanza sabe tener,
Ella le da de comer.

Whose lance can wield
Daily bread 'twill yield.]

Conquering must not be named in the same breath as 'bread-winning.'
There, too, is the scutheon of Tenerife, given to it in 1510; Michael
the Archangel, a favourite with the invader, stands unroasted upon the
fire-vomiting Nivarian peak, and this grand vision of the guarded mount
gave rise to satiric lines by Vieira:--

Miguel, Angel Miguel, sobre esta altura
Te puso el Rey Fernando y Tenerife;
Para ser del asufre y nieve fria
Guardia, administrador y almoxarife.

Michael, archangel Michael, on this brow
Throned thee King Ferdinand and Tenerife;
To be of sulphur grough and frigid snow
Administrator, guard, and reeve-in-chief.]

The deserted streets were long lines with an unclean central
gutter. Some of the stone houses were tall, grand, solid, and stately;
such are the pavilion of the Counts of Salazar, the huge, heavy abode of
the Marquesses de Nava, and the mansions of the Villanuevas del
Pardo. But yellow fever had driven away half of the population--10,000
souls, who could easily be 20,000--and had barricaded the houses to the
curious stranger. Most of them, faced and porticoed with florid pillars,
were mere dickies opening upon nothing, and only the huge armorial
bearings showed that they had ever been owned. Mixed with these
'palaces.' were 'cat-faced cottages' and pauper, mildewed tenements,
whose rusty iron-work, tattered planks, and broken windows gave them a
truly dreary and dismal appearance. The sole noticeable movement was a
tendency to gravitate in the roofs. The principal growth, favoured by
the vapour-laden air, was of grass in the thoroughfares, of moss on the
walls, and of the 'fat weed' upon the tiles. The horse-leek
(_sempervivum urbium_), brought from Madeira, was first described
by the 'gifted Swede' Professor Smith, who died on the Congo
River. Finally, though the streets are wide and regular, and the large
town is well aired by four squares, the whole aspect was strongly
suggestive of the _cocineros_ (cooks), as the citizens of the
capital are called by the sons of the capital-port. They retort by
terming their rival brethren _chicharreros_, or fishers of the
_chicharro_ (horse-mackerel, _Caranx Cuvieri_.)

From La Laguna we passed forward to Tacoronte, the 'Garden of the
Guanches,' and inspected the little museum of the late D. Sebastian
Casilda, collected by his father, a merchant-captain de long
_cours_. It was a chaos of curiosities ranging from China to
Peru. Amongst them, however, were four entire mummies, including one
from Grand Canary. Thus we can correct M. Berthelot, who follows others
in asserting that only the Guanches of Tenerife mummified their
dead. The oldest description of this embalming is by a 'judicious and
ingenious man who had lived twenty years in the island as a physitian
and merchant.' It was inserted by Dr. Thomas Sprat in the 'Transactions
of the Royal Society,' London, and was republished in John Ogilby's
enormous folio [Footnote: The 'physitian' was Dr. Eden, an Englishman
who visited Tenerife in 1662.--Bohn's _Humboldtr_, i. 66] yclept
'Africa.' The merchant 'set out from Guimar, a Town for the most part
inhabited by such as derive themselves from the Antient
_Guanchios_, in the company of some of them, to view their Caves
and the corps buried in them (a favour they seldom or never permit to
any, having the Corps of their Ancestors in great veneration, and
likewise being extremely against any molestation of the Dead); but he
had done many Eleemosynary Cures amongst them, for they are very poor
(yet the poorest think themselves too good to Marry with the best
_Spaniard_), which endeared him to them exceedingly. Otherwise it
is death for any Stranger to visit these Caves and Bodies. The Corps are
sew'd up in Goatskins with Thongs of the same, with very great
curiosity, particularly in the incomparable exactness and evenness of
the Seams; and the skins are made close and fit to the Corps, which for
the most part are entire, the Eyes clos'd, Hair on their heads, Ears,
Nose, Teeth, Lips, and Beards, all perfect, onely discolour'd and a
little shrivell'd. He saw about three or four hundred in several Caves,
some of them standing, others lying upon Beds of Wood, so hardened by an
art they had (which the Spaniards call _curay_, to cure a piece of
Wood) that no iron can pierce or hurt it.[Footnote: The same writer
tells that they had earthen pots so hard that they could not be
broken. I have heard of similar articles amongst the barbarous races
east of Dalmatia.] These Bodies are very light, as if made of straw; and
in some broken Bodies he observ'd the Nerves and Tendons, and also the
String of the Veins and Arteries very distinctly. By the relation of one
of the most antient of this island, they had a particular Tribe that had
this art onely among themselves, and kept it as a thing sacred and not
to be communicated to the Vulgar. These mixt not themselves with the
rest of the Inhabitants, nor marry'd out of their own Tribe, and were
also their Priests and Ministers of Religion. But when the
_Spaniards_ conquer'd the place, most of them were destroy'd and
the art perisht with them, onely they held some Traditions yet of a few
Ingredients that were us'd in this business; they took Butter (some say
they mixed Bear's-grease with it) which they kept for that purpose in
the Skins; wherein they boyl'd certain Herbs, first a kind of wild
Lavender, which grows there in great quantities upon the Rocks;
secondly, an Herb call'd _Lara_, of a very gummy and glutinous
consistence, which now grows there under the tops of the Mountains;
thirdly, a kind of _cyclamen_, or sow-bread; fourthly, wild Sage,
which grows plentifully upon this island. These with others, bruised and
boyl'd up into Butter, rendered it a perfect Balsom. This prepar'd, they
first unbowel the Corps (and in the poorer sort, to save Charges, took
out the Brain behind): after the Body was thus order'd, they had in
readiness a _lixivium_ made of the Bark of Pine-Trees, wherewith
they washt the Body, drying it in the Sun in Summer and in the Winter in
a Stove, repeating this very often: Afterward they began their unction
both without and within, drying it as before; this they continu'd till
the Balsom had penetrated into the whole Habit, and the Muscle in all
parts appear'd through the contracted Skin, and the Body became
exceeding light: then they sew'd them up in Goat-skins. The Antients
say, that they have above twenty Caves of their Kings and great
Personages with their whole Families, yet unknown to any but themselves,
and which they will never discover.' Lastly, the 'physitian' declares
that 'bodies are found in the caves of the _Grand Canaries_, in
Sacks, quite consumed, and not as these in Teneriff.'

This assertion is somewhat doubtful; apparently the practice was common
to the archipelago. It at once suggests Egypt; and, possibly, at one
time, extended clean across the Dark Continent. So Dr. Barth [Footnote:
_Travels_, &c., vol. iv. pp. 426-7.] tells us that when the chief
Sonni Ali died in Grurma, 'his sons, who accompanied him on the
expedition, took out his entrails and filled his inside with honey, in
order that it might be preserved from putrefaction.' Many tribes in
South America and New Zealand, as well as in Africa, preserved the
corpse or portions of it by baking, and similar rude devices. According
to some authorities, the Gruanche _menceys_ (kinglets or chiefs)
were boxed, Egyptian fashion, in coffins; but few are found, because the
superstitious Christian islanders destroy the contents of every

In the Casilda collection I observed the hard features, broad brows,
square faces, and _flavos crines_ described by old writers. Two
showed traces of tongue and eyes (which often were blue), proving that
the softer and more perishable parts were not removed. There were
specimens of the dry and liquid balsam. Of the twenty-six skulls six
were from Grand Canary. All were markedly of the type called Caucasian,
and some belonged to exceptionally tall men. The shape was
dolichocephalic, with sides rather flat than rounded; the perceptive
region was well developed, and the reflective, as usual amongst savages
and barbarians, was comparatively poor. The facial region appeared
unusually large.

The industrial implements were coarse needles and fish-hooks of
sheep-bone. The domestic _supellex_ consisted of wooden ladles
coarsely cut, and of rude pottery, red and yellow, generally without
handles, round-shaped and adorned with scratches. None of these
_ganigos_, or crocks, were painted like those of Grand Canary. They
used also small basaltic querns of two pieces to grind the _gofio_,
[Footnote: The _gofio_ was composed of ripe barley, toasted,
pounded, and kneaded to a kind of porridge in leathern bags like Turkish
tobacco-pouches. The object was to save the teeth, of which the Guanches
were particularly careful.] or parched grain. The articles of dress were
grass-cloth, thick as matting, and _tamarcos_, or smock-frocks, of
poorly tanned goatskins. They had also rough cords of palm-fibre, and
they seem to have preferred plaiting to weaving; yet New Zealand flax
and aloes grow abundantly. Their _mahones_ correspond with Indian
moccasins, and they made sugar-loaf caps of skins. The bases of shells,
ground down to the thickness of a crown-piece, and showing spiral
depressions, were probably the _viongwa_, necklaces still worn in
the Lake Regions of Central Africa. The beads were of many kinds; some
horn cylinders bulging in the centre, and measuring 1.25 inch long;
others of flattened clay like the American wampum or the ornaments of
the Fernando Po tribes; and others flattened discs, also baked, almost
identical with those found upon African mummies--in Peru they were used
to record dates and events. A few were of reddish agate, a material not
found in the island; these resembled bits of thick pipe-stem, varying
from half an inch to an inch in length. Perhaps they were copies of the
mysterious Popo-bead found upon the Slave Coast and in inner Africa.

The Gruanches were doomed never to reach the age of metal. Their
civilisation corresponded with that of the Chinese in the days of
Fo-hi. [Footnote: Abel Remusat tells us that of the two hundred
primitive Chinese 'hieroglyphs' none showed a knowledge of metal.] The
chief weapons were small triangles of close-grained basalt and
_iztli_ (obsidian flakes) for _tabonas,_ or knives, both being
without handles. They carried rude clubs and _banot,_ or barbed
spears of pine-wood with fire-charred points. The _garrotes_
(pikes) had heads like two flattened semicircles, a shape preserved
amongst negroes to the present day. Our old author tells us that the
people would 'leap from rock to rock, sometimes making ten Fathoms deep
at one Leap, in this manner: First they _tertiate_ their Lances,
which are about the bigness of a Half-Pike, and aim with the Point at
any piece of a Rock upon which they intend to light, sometimes not half
a Foot broad; in leaping off they clap their Feet close to the Lance,
and so carry their bodies in the Air: the Point of the Lance comes first
to the place, which breaks the force of their fall; then they slide
gently down by the Staff and pitch with their Feet on the very place
they first design'd; and so from Rock to Rock till they come to the
bottom: but their Novices sometimes break their necks in the learning.'

I observed more civilisation in articles from the other islands,
especially from the eastern, nearer the African continent. In 1834
Fuerteventura yielded, from a depth of six feet, a dwarfish image of a
woman with prominent bosom and dressed in the native way: it appeared
almost Chinese. A pot of black clay from Palmas showed superior
construction. Here, too, in 1762 a cavern produced a basalt plate, upon
which are circular scrawls, which support the assertions of old writers
as regards the islanders not being wholly ignorant of letters. I could
trace no similarity to the peculiar Berber characters, and held them to
be mere ornamentation. The so-called 'Seals of the Kings' were dark
stones, probably used for painting the skin; they bore parallelograms
enclosed within one another, diaper-work and gridirons of raised
lines. In fact, the Guanches of Tenerife were unalphabetic.

Hierro (Ferro), the Barranco de los Balos (Grand Canary), Fuerteventura,
and other items of the Fortunates have produced some undoubted
inscriptions. They are compared by M. Berthelot with the signs engraved
upon the cave-entrance of La Piedra Escrita in the Sierra Morena of
Andalusia; with those printed by General Faidherbe in his work on the
Numidic or Lybian epigraphs; with the 'Thugga inscription,' Tunis; and
with the rock-gravings of the Sahara, attributed to the ancient Tawarik
or Tifinegs. Dr. Gran-Bassas (El Museo Canario), who finds a notable
likeness between them and the 'Egyptian characters (cursive or demotic),
Phenician and Hebrew,' notes that they are engraved in vertical series.
Dr. Verneau, of the Academy, Paris, suggests that some of these epigraphs
are alphabetic, while others are hieroglyphic. [Footnote: _El Museo
Canario_, No. 40, Oct. 22, 1881.] Colonel H. W. Keays-Young kindly copied
for me, with great care, a painting in the Tacoronte museum. It
represents a couple of Guanche inscriptions, apparently hieroglyphic,
found (1762) in the cave of Belmaco, Isle of Palma, by the ancients called
Benahoave. They are inscribed upon two basaltic stones.



I also inspected the collection of a well-known lawyer, Dr. Francisco
Maria de Leon. Of the three Guanche skulls one was of African solidity,
with the sutures almost obliterated: it was the model of a soldier's
head, thick and heavy. The mass of mummy-balsam had been tested, without
other result than finding a large proportion of dragon's blood. In the
fourteenth century Grand Canary sent to Europe at one venture two
hundred doubloons' worth of this drug.

By the kindness of the Governor I was permitted to inspect four Guanche
mummies, discovered (June 1862) in the jurisdiction of Candelaria.
Awaiting exportation to Spain, they had been temporarily
coffined upon a damp ground-floor, where the cockroaches respected
nothing, not even a Guanehe. I was accompanied by Dr. Angel
M. Yzquierdo, of Cadiz, physician to the hospital, and we jotted down as

No. 1, a male of moderate size, wanted the head and upper limbs, while
the trunk was reduced to a skeleton. The characteristic signs were
Caucasian and not negro; nor was there any appearance of the Jewish
rite. The lower right leg, foot, and toe-nails were well preserved; the
left was a mere bone, wanting tarsus and metatarsus. The stomach was
full of dried fragments of herbs (_Ohenopodium_, &c.), and the
epidermis was easily reduced to powder. In this case, as in the other
three, the mortuary skins were coarsely sewn with the hair inside: it is
a mistake to say that the work was 'like that of a glove.'

No. 2 was large-statured and complete; the framework and the form of the
pelvis were masculine. The skin adhered to the cranium except behind,
where the bone protruded, probably the effect of long resting upon the
ground. Near the right temporal was another break in the skin, which
here appeared much decayed. All the teeth were present, but they were
not particularly white nor good. The left forearm and hand were wanting,
and the right was imperfect; the lower limbs were well preserved even to
the toe-nails.

No. 3, also of large size, resembled No. 2; the upper limbs were
complete, and the lower wanted only the toes of the left foot. The lower
jaw was absent, and the upper had no teeth. An oval depression, about an
inch in its greater diameter, lay above the right orbit. If this be a
bullet-mark, the mummy may date from before the final conquest and
submission in A.D. 1496. But it may also have resulted from some
accident, like a fall, or from the blow of a stone, a weapon which the
Guanches used most skilfully. Mr. Sprat, confirmed by Glas, affirms that
they 'throw Stones with a force almost as great as that of a Bullet, and
now use Stones in all their fights as they did antiently.'

No. 4, much smaller than the two former, was the best preserved. The
shape of the skull and pelvis suggested a female; the arms also were
crossed in front over the body, whereas in the male mummy they were laid
straight. The legs were covered with skin; the hands were remarkably
well preserved, and the nails were darker than other parts. The tongue,
in all four, was absent, having probably decayed.

These crania were distinctly oval. The facial angle, well opened, and
ranging from 80 deg. to 85 deg., counterbalanced the great development of the
face, which showed an animal type. A little hair remained, coloured
ruddy-chestnut and straight, not woolly. The entrails had disappeared,
and the abdominal walls not existing, it was impossible to detect the
incisions by which the tanno-balsamic substances, noted by Bory de
Saint-Vincent and many others, were introduced. The method appears
uncertain. It is generally believed that after removing the entrails
through an irregular cut made with the _tabona_, or obsidian
(knife), the operators, who, as in Egypt, were of the lowest caste,
injected a corrosive fluid. They then filled the cavities with the
balsam described above; dried the corpse; and, after, fifteen to twenty
days, sewed it up in tanned goatskins. Such appears to have been the
case with the mummies under consideration.

The catacombs, inviolable except to the sacrilegious, were numerous in
the rockiest and least accessible parts of the island. Mr. Addison found
them in the Canadas del Pico, 7,700 feet above sea-level. [Footnote:
Tenerife: 'An Ascent of the Peak and Sketch of the Island,' by Robert
Edward Alison. _Quarterly Journal of Science_, Jan. 1806.] Hence it
has been remarked of the Guanches that, after a century of fighting,
nothing remained of them but their mummies. The sharp saying is rather
terse than true.

The Guanches were barbarians, not savages. De Bethencourt's two
chaplains, speaking in their chronicle of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura,
tell us 'there are many villages and houses, with numerous inhabitants.'
The ruins still found in the Isles are called 'casas hondas' ("deep
houses"); because a central excavation was surrounded by a low wall. The
castle of Zonzamas was built of large stones without lime. In Port
Arguineguin (Grand Canary) the explorers sent by Alfonso IV. (1341) came
upon 300 to 400 tenements roofed with valuable wood, and so clean inside
that they seemed stuccoed. They encircled a larger building, probably
the residence of the chief. But the Tenerifans used only caves.

The want of canoes and other navigating appliances in Guanche-land by no
means proves that the emigration took place when the Canaries formed
part of the Continent. The same was the case with the Australians, the
Tasmanians, and the New Zealanders. The Guanches, at the same time, were
admirable swimmers, easily able to cross the strait, nine miles wide,
separating Lanzarote from La Graciosa. They could even kill fish with
sticks when in the water. The fattening of girls before marriage was,
and is still, a Moroccan, not an Arab custom. The rude feudalism much
resembled that of the Bedawi chiefs. George Glas, [Footnote: _The
History of the Discovery and Conquest of the Canary Islands_,
&c. 4to. London, 1764. I have given some notices of the unfortunate
'master mariner' in _Wanderings in West Africa_, vol. i. p. 79] or
rather Abreu Galindo, his author, says of their marriages, 'None of the
Canarians had more than one wife, and the wife one husband, contrary to
what misinformed authors affirm.' The general belief is that at the time
of the conquest polyandry prevailed amongst the tribes. It may have
originated from their rude community of goods, and probably it became a
local practice in order to limit population. Possibly, too, it was
confined to the noble and the priestly orders.

Humboldt remarks, [Footnote: _Personal Narrative_, chap, i. p. 32,
Bohn's ed. London, 1852.] 'We find no example of this polyandry except
amongst the people of Thibet.' Yet he must have heard of the Nayr of
Malabar, if not of the Todas on the Nilagiri Hills. D. Agustin Millares
[Footnote: _Historia de la Gran Canaria_. Published at Las Palmas.]
explains the custom by 'men and women being born in almost equal
proportions,' the reverse being the fact. Equal proportions induce the
monogamic relation.

Learned M. d'Avezac derives 'Guanche' from Guansheri or Guanseri, a
Berber tribe described by El-Idrisi and Leo Africanus. This is better
than finding it in the Keltic _gwuwrn, gwen_, white. Older
authorities hold it a corruption of 'Vinchune,' the indigenous name of
the Nivarian race. Again, 'the inhabitants of Tenerife called themselves
Guan (the Berber Wan), one person, Chinet or Chinerf, Tenerife; so that
_Guanchinet_ meant a man of Tenerife, and was easily corrupted to
Guanche. Thus, too, Glas's 'Captain Artemis' was Guan-arteme, the one or
chief ruler. Vieira derives 'Tenerf' or'Chenerf' from the last king; and
old MSS. have 'Chenerife.' The popular voice says it is composed of
'Tener,' mountain or snow, and of 'ryfe,' snow or mountain. Pritchard
[Footnote: _Researches into the Physical History of Mankind_, book
iii. chap. ii.] applied the term Guanche to all the Canarian races, and
he is reproached for error by M. de Macedo, [Footnote: 'Ethnological
Remarks,' &c., by J. J. de Costa de Macedo, of Lisbon, _Royal
Geographical Society's Journal_, vol. ii. p. 172. _Wanderings in
West Africa_, i. 116, contains my objections to his theory.] who
would limit it to the Tenerifans. The same occurs in the Eev. Mr. Delany
[Footnote: _Notes of a Residence in the Canary Islands_,
&c. London, 1861.] and in Professor Piazzi Smyth, [Footnote: _An
Astronomer's Experiment_, p. 190. L. Reeve, London, 1868.] who speaks
of the 'Guanches of Grand Canary and Teneriffe.' According to popular
usage all were right, 'Guanche' being the local and general term for the
aborigines of the whole archipelago. But the scientific object that it
includes under the same name several different races.

The language is also a point of dispute: some opine that all the
islanders had one tongue, others that they were mutually unintelligible;
many that it was Berber (Numidian, Getulian, and Garamantan), a few that
it was less distinctly Semitic. The two chaplains of De Bethencourt
[Footnote: Bontier and Le Verrier, _Histoire de la premiere Decouverte
e Conquete des Canaries_. Bergeron, Paris, 1630.] noted its
resemblance with that of the 'Moors' of Barbary. Glas, who knew
something of Shilha, or Western Berber, made the same observation. But
the Genoese pilot Niccoloso di Recco during the expedition of A.D. 1344
collected the numerals, and two of these, _satti_ (7) and
_tamatti_ (8), are less near the original than the Berberan
_set_ and _tem_.

The catalogue of Abreu Galindo, who lived here in 1591 and printed his
history in 1632, preserves 122 words; Vieira only 107, and Bory de
Saint-Vincent [Footnote: _Essai sur les Iles fortunees_. Humboldt
has only five.] 148. Webb and Berthelot give 909. Of these 200 are
nouns, including 22 names of plants; 467 are placenames, and 242 are
proper names. Many are questionable. For instance, _sabor_
(council-place) is derived from _cabocer_, 'expression par laquelle
les negres de la Senegambie denotent la reunion de leurs chefs.'
[Footnote: Vol. i. part i. p. 223.] As all know, it is the corrupted
Portuguese _caboceiro_, a headman.

Continuing our way from Tacoronte we reached Sauzal, beyond which the
coach did not then run; the old road was out of condition, and the new
not in working order. We offered a dollar each for carrying our light
gear to sturdy men who were loitering and lying about the premises. They
shook their heads, wrapped their old blanket-cloaks around them, and
stretched themselves in the sun like dogs after a cold walk. I could
hardly wonder. What wants have they? A covering for warmth, porridge for
food, and, above all, the bright sun and pure air, higher luxuries and
better eudaemonics than purple and fine linen. At last some passing
muleteers relieved us of the difficulty.

The way was crowded with Laguneros, conspicuous in straw-hats; cloth
jackets, red waistcoats embroidered at the back; bright crimson sashes;
white knickerbockers, with black velveteen overalls, looking as if
'pointed' before and behind; brown hose or long leather gaiters
ornamented with colours, and untanned shoes. Despite the heat many wore
the Guanche cloak, a blanket (English) with a running string round the
neck. The women covered their graceful heads with a half-square of white
stuff, and deformed the coiffure by a hideous black billycock, an
unpleasant memory of Wales. Some hundreds of men, women, and children
were working on the road, and we were surprised by the beauty of the
race, its classical outlines, oval contours, straight profiles,
magnificent hair, and blue-grey eyes with black lashes. This is not the
result of Guanche blood, as a town on the south-western part of the
island presently showed me. Also an orderly of Guanche breed from the
parts about Arico, who had served for years at the palace, was pointed
out as a type. He stood six feet four, with proportional breadth; his
face was somewhat lozenge-shaped, his hair straight, black like a
Hindu's, and his tawny skin looked only a little darker than that of
Portuguese Algarves. The beauty of the islanders results from a mixture
of Irish blood. During the Catholic persecution before 1823 many fled
the Emerald Isle to Tenerife, and especially to Orotava. The women's
figures in youth are charming, tall, straight, and pliant as their own
pine-trees. All remark their graceful gait.

We passed through places famed in the days of the conquest--La Matanza,
the native Orantapata, where De Lugo's force was nearly annihilated. Now
it is the half-way station to Orotava; and here the _coche_ stops
for dinner, prices being regulated by Government. The single inn shows
the Pike, but not the subjacent valley. Then to Acentejo, the local
Roncesvalles, where the invaders were saved only by St. Michael; and
next to La Vitoria, where they avenged themselves. At Santa Ursula we
first saw the slopes of Orotava, the Guanche Tavro or Atanpalata; and on
the Cuesta de la Villa we were shown near its mark, a date-palm, the
cave that sheltered the patriot chief, unfortunate Bencomo. As the
fashionables came forth to walk and drive we passed the _calvario_
and the _place_ leading to the Villa Orotava, and found quarters in
the _fonda_ of D. Jose Gobea. The _sala_, or chief room, some
30 feet long, wanted only an Eastern divan round the walls; it was
easily converted into a tolerable place of bivouac, and here we resolved
to try country life for a while.

The first aspect of the Orotava Tempe was disappointing after Humboldt's
dictum, 'Voici ce qu'il y a de plus delicieux au monde.' But our
disappointment was the natural reaction of judgment from fancy to
reality, which often leads to a higher appreciation. At last we learned
why the Elysian [Footnote: In Arabic El-Lizzat, the Delight, or from the
old Egyptian _Aahlu_,] Fields, the Fortunate Islands, the Garden of
the Hesperides--where the sea is no longer navigable, and where Atlas
supports the firmament on a mountain conical as a cylinder; the land of
evening, of sunset, where Helios sinks into the sea, and where Night
bore the guardians of the golden apples--were such favourites with the
poets. And we came to love every feature of the place, from the snowy
Pike of Teyde flushing pink in the morning sun behind his lofty rampart,
to the Puerto, or lower town, whose three several reef-gates are outlaid
by creamy surf, and whose every shift of form and hue stands distinct in
the transparent and perfumed air. The intermediate slopes are clothed
with a vegetation partly African, partly European; and here Humboldt, at
the end of the last century, proposed to naturalise the chinchona.

La Villa lies some two miles and a half from and about 1,140 feet above
the Puerto; and the streets are paved and precipitous as any part of
Funchal. The population varied from 7,000 to 8,000 souls, whereas the
lower town had only 3,500. It contains a few fine houses with huge
hanging balconies and interior _patios_ (courts) which would
accommodate a regiment. They date from the 'gente muy caballerosa'
(knightly folk) of three centuries ago. The feminine population appeared
excessive, the reason being that some five per cent. of the youths go to
Havannah and after a few years return 'Indianos,' or 'Indios,' our old

At the Puerto we were most kindly received by the late British
Vice-Consul, Mr. Goodall, who died about the normal age, seventy-seven:
if this be safely passed man in Tenerife becomes a macrobian. All was
done for our comfort by the late Mr. Carpenter, who figures in the
'Astronomer's Experiment' as 'the interpreter.' Amongst the scanty
public diversions was the Opera. The Villa theatre occupied an ancient
church: the length of the building formed pit, boxes, and gallery; and
'La Sonnambula' descended exactly where the high altar had been. At the
Puerto an old monastery was chosen for 'La Traviata:' the latter was
realistic as Crabbe's poetry; even in bed the unfortunate 'Misled' one
could not do without a certain truncated cylinder of acajou. I sighed
for the Iberian 'Zarzuela,' that most charming _opera buffa_ which
takes its name from a 'pleasaunce' in the Pardo Palace near Madrid.

The hotel diet was peculiarly Spanish; already the stews and 'pilaffs'
(_pulaos_) of the East begin in embryo. The staple dish was the
_puchero_, or _cocido_, which antiquated travellers still call
'olla podrida' (pot-pourri). This _lesso_ or _bouilli_ consists
of soup, beef, bacon, and _garbanzos_ (chick-peas, or _Cicer
arietinium_) in one plate, and boiled potatoes and small gourds
(_bubangos_) in another. The condiments are mostly garlic
and saffron, preferred to mustard and chillies. The pastry, they tell
me, is excellent.

In those days the Great Dragon Tree had not yet lost its upper cone by
the dreadful storm of January 3, 1868; thus it had survived by two
centuries and a half the Garoe Laurel, or Arbol Santo, the miraculous
tree of Hierro (Ferro). It stood in the garden of the Marquez de Sauzal,
who would willingly have preserved it. But every traveller had his own
infallible recipe, and the proprietor contented himself with propping up
the lower limbs by poles. It stood upon a raised bank of masonry-work,
and the north-east side showed a huge cavity which had been stopped with
stone and lime. About half a century ago one-third came down, and in
1819 an arm was torn off and sent, I believe, to Kew. When we saw the
fragment it looked mostly like tinder, or touchwood, 'eld-gamall,'
stone-old, as the Icelanders say. Near it stood a pair of tall
cypresses, and at some distance a venerable palm-tree, which 'relates to
it,' according to Count Gabriel de Belcastel,

[Footnote: I quote from the Spanish translation, _Las Islas Canarias y
el Valle Orotava,_ a highly popular work contrasting wonderfully with
some of ours. The courteous Frenchman even promised that Morocco would
be the Algeria of the Canaries. His observations for temperature,
pressure, variation, hygrometry, and psychrometry of the Orotavan
climate, which he chose for health, are valuable. He starts with a
theory of the three conditions of salubrity--heat-and-cold, humidity,
and atmospheric change. The average annual mean of Orotava is 66.34
degrees (F.), that of Southern France in September; it never falls below
54.5 degrees nor rises above 73.88 degrees, nor exceeds 13.88 degrees in

'in the murmurs of the breeze the legends of races long disappeared.'

Naturalists modestly assigned to the old Dragon 5,000 to 10,000 years,
thus giving birth to fine reflections about its witnessing revolutions
which our planet underwent prior to the advent of man. So Adamson made
his calabash a contemporary of the Noachian Deluge, if that partial
cataclysm [Footnote: The ancient Egyptians, who ignored the Babylonian
Deluge, well knew that all cataclysms are local, not general,
catastrophes.] ever reached Africa. The Orotava relic certainly was an
old tree, prophetic withal, [Footnote: It was supposed infallibly to
predict weather and to regulate sowing-time. Thus if the southern side
flowered first drought was to be expected, and vice versa. Now the
peasant refers to San Isidro, patron of Orotava: he has only changed the
form of his superstition.] when De Lugo and the _conquistadores_
entered the valley in 1493 and said mass in its hollow. But that event
was only four centuries ago, and dates are ticklish things when derived
from the rings and wrinkles of little-studied vegetation. Already
Mr. Diston, in a letter to Professor Piazzi Smyth, [Footnote:
'Astronomical Experiment on the Peak of Tenerife,' _Philosoph.
Trans._, part ii. for 1858.] declared that a young 'dragon,'
which he had planted in 1818, became in 38 years so tall that
a ladder was required to reach the head. And let us observe that Nature,
though forbidden such style of progression by her _savans_,
sometimes does make a local _saltus_, especially in the change of
climates. Centuries ago, when the fires about Teyde were still alight,
and the lava-fields about Orotava were still burning, the rate of
draconian increase, under the influence of heat and moisture, might have
been treble or quadruple what it would now be.

[Footnote: The patriarch was no 'giant of the forest.' Its stature did
not exceed 60 feet. Humboldt made it only 45 French feet(= 47 ft. ll
ins. English) round the base. Dr. Wilde (_Narrative_, p. 40) blames
the measurer and gives about the same measurement, Professor Piazzi
Smyth, who in 1856 reproduced it in an abominable photo-stenograph,
reckons 48.5 feet at the level of the southern foot, 35.6 feet at 6 feet
above the ground, and 28.8 feet at 14.5 feet, where branches spring from
the rapidly narrowing conical trunk. The same are said to have been its
proportions in the days of the conquest. In 1866 Mr. Addison made it 60
feet tall, 35.5 feet at 6 feet from the ground, and 49.5 in
circumference at the base which he cleared. Mr. Barker Webb's sketch in
1830 was the best; but the tree afterwards greatly changed.
Mr. J. J. Williams made a neat drawing in boarding-school
style, with a background apparently borrowed from Richmond Hill.]

The Jardin de Aclimatacion, or Botanical Garden, mentioned by Humboldt

[Footnote: Page 59. It is regretable that his forecasts have
failed. Neither of the ohinohonas (_C. tanoifolia_ and _C.
oblongifolia_) has been naturalised in Southern Europe. Nor has
the Hill of Duragno yet sent us the 'protea, the psidium, the jambos,
the chirimoya of Peru, the sensitive plant, the heliconia, and several
beautiful species of glyoine from New Holland.']

as far back as 1799, still flourishes. It was founded in 1788-95 by an
able _savan_, the Marquis de Villanueva del Pardo (D. Alonso de
Nava y Grimon), who to a Government grant of 1,000_l_. added
4,000_l_. of his own, besides 400_l_. a year for an average
generation. The place is well chosen, for the Happy Valley combines the
flora of the north and the south, with a Nivaria of snow-land above it
and a semi-tropical temperature on the shores of the 'Chronian Sea.'



The trip was so far routine that we followed in the steps of all
previous travellers, and so far not routine that we made it in March,
when, according to all, the Mal Pais is impassable, and when furious
winds threaten to sweep away intruders like dry leaves.

[Footnote: The usual months are July and August. Captain Baudin, not
favourably mentioned by Humboldt, ascended in December 1797 with M. Le
Gros and the naturalists Advenier, Mauger, and Riedle. He rolled down
from half-way on the cone to the bottom of La Rambleta, and was stopped
only by a snow-covered lava-heap. Mr. Addison chose February, when he
'suffered more from enormous radiation than from cold.' He justifies his
choice (p. 22) by observing that 'the seasons above are much earlier
than they are below, consequently the latter part of the spring is the
best season to visit the Peak.' In October, at an elevation of 10,700
feet, he found the cold greater than it was in February. In July 1863 I
rode round the island, to the Cumbre pumice-plains, and by no means
enjoyed the southern ride. A place near Guimar showed me thirty-six
_barrancos_ (deep ravines) to be crossed within three leagues.]

The good folk of the Villa, indeed, declared that the Ingleza could
never reach even the Estancia de los Inglezes.

Our train was modest--a pair of nags with their attendants, and two
excellent sumpter-mules carrying provisions and blankets. The guide was
Manoel Reyes, who has already appeared in the 'Specialities of a
Residence Above the Clouds.' He is a small, wizen-faced man, quiet,
self-contained, and fond--exceedingly fond--of having his own way. By
dint of hard work we left the Fonda Gobea at 9 A.M. on March 23, with
loud cries of 'Mulo!' and 'Anda, caballo!' and 'So-o-o!' when the
bat-beasts indulged in a free fight.

Morning smiled upon our incept. Nothing could be lovelier than the
weather as we crossed the deluging Martinianez Fiumara; struck the
coast-road westward, and then, bending to the south-west, made for the
'Gate of Taoro,' a gap in the Canada-wall. From the higher level truly
charming was the aspect of Orotava: it was Funchal many times
improved. Beyond the terraced foreground of rich deep yellow clay,
growing potatoes, wheat, and the favourite _chochos_ (lupines),
with apple and chestnut trees, the latter of two kinds, and the lower
fields marked out by huge agaves, lay the Happy Valley. Its contrast of
vivid greens, of white _quintas_, of the two extinct volcanos
overlooking Orotava, and of the picturesque townlets facing the misty
blue sea, fringed with a ceaseless silvery surf by the _brisa_, or
north-east trade, the lord of these latitudes, had not a symptom of the
Madeiran monotony of verdure. Behind us towered high the snowy Pilon
(Sugar-loaf), whose every wave and fold were picked out by golden
sunlight, azure half-light, and purple shade.

As we advanced up the Camino de Chasna, a road only by name, the
_quintas_ were succeeded by brown-thatched huts, single or in
clumps. On the left, 3,400 feet above sea-level, stood the Pino del
Dornajito ('of the Little Trough'), one of the few survivors in this
once wealthy pine-ground. The magnificent old tree, which was full grown
in the days of the conquest, and which in the seventeenth century was a
favourite halting-point, suffered severely from the waterspout of
November 7, 1826; but still measured 130 feet long by 29 in girth. The
vegetation now changed. We began brushing through the arbutus
(_callicarpa_), the wild olive (_Olea excelsa_), the Canarian
oak, the daphne, the myrtle entwined with indigenous ivy (_Hedera
canariensis_); the cytisus, the bright green hypericum of three
species, thyme, gallworts, and arborescent and other ferns in numbers,
especially the hare's-foot and the peculiar _Asplenium canariense_,
the _Trichomanes canariensis_, and the _Davallia canariensis_;
the _brezo_ (_Erica aborea_ and _E. scoparia_), a heath
whose small white bells scented the air; and the luxuriant blackberry,
used to fortify the drystone walls. The dew-cloud now began to float
upwards from the sea in scarf-shape, only a few hundred feet thick; it
had hangings and fringes where it was caught by the rugged hill-flanks;
and above us globular masses, white as cotton bales, rolled over one
another. As in the drier regions of Africa the hardly risen sun made
itself felt.

At 10.20 A.M. we had passed out of the cultivated region to the Montijo,
or Monte Verde, the laurel-region. The 'wood' is the remains of a fine
forest accidentally fired by charcoal-burners; it is now a copse of
arborescent heath-worts, ilex (_I. Perado_), and _Faya_
(_Myrica Faya_), called the 'Portugal laurel,' some growing ten
feet high. We then entered upon rough ground, El Juradillo ('the
Hollow'); this small edition of the Mal Pais, leading to the Canadas, is
a mass of lava-beds and dry _barrancos_ (ravines) grooved and
sheeted by rushing torrents. The latter show the anatomy of the
land--tufas, lavas, conglomerates, trachytes, trachydolerites, and
basalts of various kinds. Most of the rocks are highly magnetic, and are
separated by thin layers of humus with carbonised plant-roots. Around
El Juradillo rises a scatter of _montanetas_, shaped like
half-buried eggs: originally parasitic cones, they evidently connect
with the main vent. About 1 P.M., after four hours' ride, we dismounted
at the Estancia de la Sierra (6,500 feet); it is a pumice-floor a few
feet broad, dotted with bush and almost surrounded by rocks that keep
off a wind now blowing cold and keen. Consequently, as broken pots and
bottles show, it is a favourite resting-place.

After halting an hour we rode up a slope whose obtuser talus showed that
we were reaching the far-famed platform, called Las Canadas del
Pico. The word, here meaning level ground, not, as usual, a canefield,
applies especially to the narrow outer rim of the hollow plain; a
bristling fortification of bluffs, pointing inwards, and often tilted to
quoins 300 feet high, with an extreme of 1,000. Trachyte and basalt,
with dykes like Cyclopean walls, are cut to jagged needles by the
furious north-easter. Around the foot, where it is not encumbered with
_debris_ like the base of an iceberg, a broad line of comminuted
pumice produces vegetation like a wady-growth in Somali Land. The
central bed allows no short cut across: it is a series of rubbish-heaps,
parasitic cones, walls, and lumps of red-black lavas, trachytes, and
phonolites reposing upon a deluge of frozen volcanic froth ejected by
early eruptions. The aspect was rejoicing as the Arabian desert: I would
willingly have spent six months in the purest of pure air.

These flats of pumice, 'stones of emptiness,' loose incoherent matter,
are the site of the first great crater. Tenerife is the type of a
three-storied volcano, as Stromboli is of one and Vesuvius of two
stages. The enormous diameter of this ancient feature is eight by seven
miles, with a circumference of twenty-three--greater even than
Hawaii--and here one feels that our earth was once a far sublimer
scene. Such forms belong to the earlier volcanic world, and astronomers
still suspect them in the moon. [Footnote: Las Canadas was shown to be a
volcanic crater in 1803 by Professor Cordier, the first scientific
visitor in modern days (_Lettre a Devilliers fils_), and in 1810 by
D. Francisco Escobar (_Estadistica_). They make the old vent ten
leagues round.] The altitude is 6,900 feet, nearly double the height of
Vesuvius (3,890 feet); and the lines sweep upwards towards the Pilon,
where they reach 8,950 feet.

The tints of Las Canadas, seen from above, are the tenderest yellow and
a brownish red, like the lightest coat of vegetation turning ruddy in
the sun. Where level, Las Canadas is a floor of rapilli and
pumice-fragments, none larger than a walnut, but growing bigger as they
approach the Pike. The colours are dun (_barriga de monja_),
golden-yellow, and brown burnt red like autumnal leaves. There is
marvellous colouring upon the bluffs and ridges of the rim--lamp-black
and brown-black, purple (light and dark), vermilion-red, and sombre hues
superficially stained ruddy by air-oxygen. The picture is made brighter
by the leek-green vegetation and by the overarching vault of glaring
blue. Nor are the forms less note-worthy. Long centuries of weathering
have worked the material into strange shapes--here a ruined wall, there
an old man with a Jesuit's cap; now a bear, then a giant python. It is
the oldest lava we have yet seen, except the bed of the Orotava
valley. The submarine origin is denoted by fossils found in the flank;
they are of Miocene age, like those common in Madeira, and they were
known as early as the days of Clavijo (1772).

Las Canadas is not wholly a 'dead creation;' the birds were more
numerous than on the plains. A powerful raptor, apparently an eagle with
black-barred wings, hung high in air amongst the swallows winging their
way northwards, and the Madeiran sparrow-hawk was never out of sight;
ravens, unscared by stone-throwing boys, flew over us unconcernedly,
while the bushes sheltered many blackbirds, the Canary-bird
(_Fringilla canaria_) showed its green belly and grey back and
wings, singing a note unknown to us; and an indigenous linnet
(_F. teydensis_), small and green-robed, hopped over the ground
tame as a wren. We saw nothing of the red-legged partridge or the
Tetraonidae, reported to be common.

The scattered growths were composed of the broomy _Codeso_ and
_Retama_. The former (_Adenocarpus frankenoides_), a leguminous
plant, showed only dense light-green leaves without flower,
and consequently without their heavy, cloying perfume. The woody stem
acts in these regions as the _doornboom_ of South Africa, the wild
sage of the western prairies, and the _shih_ (_absinthium_) of
the Arabian desert. The Arabic _Retama_, or Alpine broom
(_Cytisus fragrans_, Lam.; _Cyt. nubigenus_, Decan.; _Spartium
nubigenum_, Alton and Von Buch), is said to be peculiar
to Tenerife, where it is not found under one vertical mile of
height. Some travellers divide it into two species, _Spartium
monospermum_ and _S. nubigenum_. The bush, 9 to 10 feet tall by 7 to
15 inches diameter, is easily distinguished from the _Codeso_ by
its denser and deeper green. This pretty rounded growth, with its short
brown stem throwing out lateral branches which trail on the ground,
flavours meat, and might be naturalised in Europe. From June till August
it is covered with a profusion of white blossoms, making Las Canadas a
Hymettus, an apiarian heaven. It extends as far as the second cone, but
there it shrinks to a foot in height. We did not see the tree growing,
but we met a party of Chasna men, [Footnote: A romantic tale is told of
the origin of Chasna. In 1496, before the wars ended, one Pedro de
Bracamonte, a captain under De Lugo, captured a 'belle sauvage,' who
made her escape after a few days. He went about continually repeating,
'Vi la flor del valle' (I saw the valley flower), and died after three
months. His soldiers buried him and priests said masses for the soul of
this 'hot amorist.'] driving asses like onagers, laden with the gummy
wood of the _Tea_ or _Tiya_ pine (_P. canariensis_). The
valuable material, which resists damp and decay for centuries, and which
Decandolle declares would grow in Scotland, is rapidly disappearing from
the Pinals. The travellers carried cochineal-seed, for which their
village is famous, and a hive which might have been Abyssinian. It was a
hollow cylinder of palm-bole, closed with board at either end; in July
and August it is carried up the mountain, where the bees cannot destroy
the grapes. We searched in vain for M. Broussonet's white violet
(_V. teydensis_), [Footnote: Humboldt's five zones of vegetation on
the Pike are vines, laurels, pines, broom, and grasses (p. 116).
Mr. Addison modifies this scale to vines, laurels, pines and
junipers, mountain-brooms and pumice-plains, I should distribute the
heights as growing cochineal, potatoes, and cereals, chestnuts, pines,
heaths, grasses, and bare rock.] and for the lilac-coloured _Viola
cheiranthifolia_, akin to _V. decumbens_.

The average annual temperature of Las Canadas is that of N. latitude 53
degrees, Holland and Hanover; in fact, here it is the Pyrenees, and
below it Africa. The sun blazed from a desert of blue, and the waving
heat-reek rose trembling and quivering from the tawny sides of the
foregrounds. The clouds, whose volumes were disposed like the leaves of
a camellia, lay far down to the north-east, as if unable to face the
fires of day. And now the great trachytic dome, towering in the
translucent air, was the marking feature. Its angle, 35 to 42 degrees,
or double that of the lower levels, suggests distant doubts as to its
practicability, nor could we believe that it rises 3,243 feet above its
western base, Las Canadas. The summit, not including the terminal
Pilon--a comparatively dwarf cone [Footnote: There is a very bad sketch
of the Pike in Mr. Scrope's popular work on _Volcanoes_ (p. 5); the
eruptive chimney is far too regularly conical.]--is ribboned with
clinker, and streaked at this season with snow-lines radiating, like
wheel-spokes from a common centre. Here and there hang, at an impossible
angle, black lava-streams which were powerless to reach the plain: they
resembled nothing so much as the gutterings of a candle hardening on the
outside of its upright shaft. Evidently they had flowed down the slope
in a half fluid state, and had been broken by contraction when
cooling. In places, too, the surface was streaked with light yellow
patches, probably of sun-gilt _tosa_ or pumice.

On our right, or to the north-north-east of the Pike, rose La Fortaleza,
_alias_ the Golliada del Cedro. The abrupt wall had salient and
re-entering angles, not unlike the Palisades of the Hudson River, with
intercalated strata and a smooth glacis at the base, except between the
east and north-west, where the periphery has been destroyed. It is
apparently basalt, as we may expect in the lower levels before reaching
the trachytic region. The other notable features were Monte Tigayga,
with its vertical cliff, trending northwards to the sea; the gap through
which the Orotava lava-bed burst the crater-margin; the Llano de Maja
('Manja' in Berthelot), a strip of Las Canadas, and the horizontally
striated Peak of Guajara (8,903 feet).

Riding over the 'pumice-beach of a once fiery sea,' whose glare and
other accidents suggested the desert between Cairo and Suez, we made our
way towards the Rastrojito. This 'Little Stubble' is a rounded heap of
pumice, a southern offset of the main mountain. On the left rose the
Montana Negra (Black Mountain) and the Lomo de la Nieve ('Snow Ridge),'
a dark mass of ribbed and broken lavas (8,970 feet), in which
summer-snow is stored. A little black kid, half wild, was skipping over
the rocks. Our men pursued it with the _garrotes_ (alpenstocks),
loudly shouting,' Tio Jose!': 'Uncle Joseph,' however, escaped, running
like a Guanche. Here it is allowed to shoot the animals on condition of
leaving a shilling with the skin. The latter is used in preparing the
national _gofio,_ the Guanche _ahoren,_ the _kuskusu_ of
north-western Africa, the _polenta,_ or daily bread, of the

Climbing the Rastrojito slopes, we sighted the Pedras Negras: these are
huge travelled rocks of basalt, jet-black, breaking with a conchoidal
fracture, and showing debris like onion-coats about their base. The
aspect was fantastic, resembling nothing so much as skulls 10 to 15 feet
high. They are doubtless the produce of the upper slopes, which by slow
degrees gravitated to the present pumice-beds.

The first step of the Pike is Las Canadas, whose glacis forms the
_Cumbre_, or pumice-plains (6,500 feet), the long dorsum, which
shows far out at sea. Bending abruptly to the east, we began to breast
the red pumice-bed leading to the Estancia de Abajo or de los
Inglezes. 'El es Inglez porque subio al Pico' ('he is English, because
he climbed the Pike'), say the people. This ramp, whose extreme angle is
26 degrees, bordered by thick bands of detached lava-rocks, is doubtless
the foundation-matter of the Pike. Hence the latter is picturesquely
termed 'Hijo de las Canadas.' [Footnote: Especially by D. Benigno
Carballo Wanguement in his work, _Las Afortunadas_ (Madrid, 1862),
a happy title borrowed from D. Francisco Escobar. Heyley
(_Cosmography_), quoted by Glas and Mrs. Murray, tells us of an
English ambassador who, deeming his own land the 'Fortunate Islands,'
protested against Pope Clement VI. so entitling the Canaries in a deed
of gift to D. Luis de la Cerda, the 'Disinherited' Conde de
Claramonte. The latter was deprived of the Crown of Castile by his
uncle, Sancho IV., and became the founder of the Medina Celi house.]

After a total climb and ride of six hours, we reached the 'English
station.' M. Eden (Aug. 13, 1715) [Footnote: Trans. Royal Soc. of
London, 1714-16.] calls it simply Stancha, and M. Borda 'Station des
Rochers.' Pere Feutree, a Frenchman who ascended in 1524, and wrote the
earliest scientific account, had baptised it Station de St. Francois de
Paul, and set up a cross. It is a shelf in the pumice-slope, 9,930 feet
high, and protected against the cold night-winds of the
north-north-east, the lower or polar current, by huge boulders of
obsidian, like gigantic sodawater-bottles. The routine traveller sleeps
upon this level a few hundred yards square, because the guides store
their fuel in an adjacent bed of black rocks. Humboldt miscalls the
station 'a kind of cavern;' and a little above it he nearly fell on the
slippery surface of the 'compact short-swarded turf' which he had left
4,000 feet below him.

The bat-mules were unpacked and fed; and a rough bed was made up under
the lea of the tallest rock, where a small _curral_ of dry stone
kept off the snow. This, as we noticed in Madeira, is not in flakes, nor
in hail-like globes: it consists of angular frozen lumps, and the
selvage becomes the hardest ice. Some have compared it with the Swiss
'firn,' snow stripped of fine crystals and granulated by time and
exposure. In March the greatest depth we saw in the gullies radiating
from the mountain-top was about three feet. But in the cold season all
must be white as a bride-cake; and fatal accidents occur in the Canada
drifts. Professor Piazzi Smyth characterises the elevated region as cold
enough at night, and stormy beyond measure in winter, when the
south-wester, or equatorial upper current, produces a fearful
climate. Yet the Pike summit lies some 300 feet below the snow-line
(12,500 feet).

The view was remarkable: we were in sight of eighty craters. At sunset
the haze cleared away from the horizon, which showed a straight
grey-blue line against a blushing sky of orange, carmine, pale pink, and
tender lilac, passing through faint green into the deep dark blue of the
zenith. In this _cumbre_, or upper region, the stars did not
surprise us by their brightness. At 6 P.M. the thermometer showed 32
degrees F.; the air was delightfully still and pure, [Footnote: We had
no opportunity of noticing what Mr. Addison remarks, the air becoming
sonorous and the sound of the sea changing from grave to acute after
sunset and during the night. He attributes this increased intensity to
additional moisture and an equability of temperature in the atmospheric
strata. Perhaps the silence of night may tend to exaggerate the
impression.] and Death mummifies, but does not decay.

A bright fire secured us against the piercing dry night-cold; and the
_arrieros_ began to sing like _capirotes_ [Footnote: The
_Capirote_ or _Tinto Negro_, a grey bird with black head
(_Sylvia atricapilla_), is also found in Madeira, and much
resembles the Eastern bulbul or Persian nightingale. It must be caged
when young, otherwise it refuses to sing, and fed upon potatos and bread
with milk, not grain. An enthusiast, following Humboldt (p. 87),
describes the 'joyous and melodious notes' of the bird as 'the purest
incense that can ascend to heaven.'] (bulbuls), sundry _seguidillas_,
and _El Tajaraste_. The music may be heard everywhere between Morocco
and Sind. It starts with the highest possible falsetto and gradually
falls like a wail, all in the minor _clef_.

We rose next morning with nipped feet and hands, which a cup of hot
coffee, 'with,' speedily corrected, and were _en route_ at 4.30
A.M. Formerly animals were left at the lower _estancia_; now they
are readily taken on to Alta Vista. My wife rode a sure-footed black
nag, I a mule which was perfect whilst the foot-long lever acting curb
lay loose on its neck. Returning, we were amazed at the places they had
passed during the moonless night.

Our path skirted the Estancia de los Alemanos, about 300 yards higher
than the English, and zig-zagged sharply up the pumice-slope. The talus
now narrowed; the side-walls of dark trachytic blocks pinching it in. At
this grisly hour they showed the quaintest figures--towers and
pinnacles, needles and tree-trunks, veiled nuns and monstrous
beasts. Amongst them were huge bombs of obsidian, and masses with
translucent, vitreous edges that cut like glass. Most of them contained
crystals of felspar and pyroxene.

After half an hour we reached the dwarf platform of Alta Vista, 700 feet
above the Estancia and 10,730, in round numbers, above sea-level. The
little shelf, measuring about 100 to 300 yards, at the head of the fork
where the north-eastern and the south-western lava-streams part, is
divided by a medial ledge. Here we saw the parent rock of the pumice
fragments, an outcrop of yellowish brown stone, like fractured and
hardened clay. The four-footed animals were sent back: one rides up but
not down such places.

Passing in the lower section the shell of a house where the Astronomer's

[Footnote: The author came out in 1856 to make experiments in
astronomical observations. Scientific men have usually a contempt for
language: we find the same in _Our Inheritanse_, &c. (Dalby & Co.,
London, 1877), where the poor modern hierogrammats are not highly
appreciated. But it is a serious blemish to find 'Montana Blanco,'
'Malpays,' 'Chahzorra' (for Chajorra), and 'Tiro del Guanches.' The
author also is wholly in error about Guanche mummification. He derides
(p. 329) the shivering and shaking of his Canarian guide under a cloudy
sky of 40 deg.F., when the sailor enjoyed it in their 'glorious strength of
Saxon (?) constitution.' But when the latter were oppressed and
discouraged by dry heat and vivid radiation, Manoel was active as a
chamois. Why should enduring cold and not heat be held as a test of

experiment had been tried, Guide Manoel pointed out the place where
stood the _tormentos_, as he called the instruments. Thence we
toiled afoot up the Mal Pais. This 'bad country' is contradictorily
described by travellers. Glas (A.D. 1761) makes it a sheet of rock
cracked cross-wise into cubes. Humboldt (1799) says, 'The lava, broken
into sharp pieces, leaves hollows in which we risked falling up to our
waists.' Von Buch (1815) mentions 'the sharp edges of glassy obsidian,
as dangerous as the blades of knives.' Wilde (1857) tamely paints the
scene as a 'magnified rough-cast.' Prof. Piazzi Smyth is, as usual,
exact, but he suggests more difficulty than the traveller finds. I saw
nothing beyond a succession of ridge-backs and shrinkage-crevasses,
disposed upon an acute angle. These ragged, angular, and mostly cuboidal
blocks, resembling the ice-pack of St. Lawrence River, have apparently
been borne down by subsequent lava-currents, which, however, lacked
impetus to reach the lower levels of Las Canadas.

Springing from boulder to boulder, an exhilarating exercise for a time,
over a 'surface of horrible roughness,' as Prof. Dana says of Hawaii, we
halted to examine the Cueva de Hielo, whose cross has long succumbed to
the wintry winds. The 'ice-house' in a region of fire occupies a little
platform like the ruined base of a Pompey's Pillar. This is the table
upon which the _neveros_ pack their stores of snow. The cave, a
mere hole in the trachytic lava, opens to the east with an entrance some
four feet wide. The general appearance was that of a large bubble in a
baked loaf. Inside we saw a low ceiling spiky with stalactites, possibly
icicles, and a coating of greenish ice upon the floor. A gutter leads
from the mouth, showing signs of water-wear, and the blocks of trachyte
are so loaded with glossy white felspar that I attempted to dust them
before sitting down.

Local tradition connects this ice-cave with the famous burial-cavern
near Ycod, on the northern coast; this would give a tunnel 8 miles long
and 11,040 feet high. Many declare that the meltings ebb and flow with
the sea-tide, and others recount that lead and lines of many fathoms
failed to touch bottom. We are told about the normal dog which fell in
and found its way to the shore through the cave of Ycod de los Vinos. In
the latter a M. Auber spent four hours without making much way; in parts
he came upon scatters of Guanche bones. Mr. Robert Edwards, of Santa
Cruz, recounted another native tradition--that before the eruption of
A.D. 1705 there was a run of water but no cave. Mr. Addison was let down
into it, and found three branches or lanes, the longest measuring 60-70
feet. What the _neveros_ call _el hombre de nieve_ (the
snow-man) proved to be a honeycombed mass of lava revetted with
ice-drippings. He judged the cave to be a crater of emission; and did
not see the smoke or steam issuing from it as reported by the

Professor P. Smyth goes, I think, a little too far in making this
contemptible feature compose such a quarrel as that between the English
eruptionist and the Continental upheavalist. Deciding a disputed point,
that elevation is a force and a method in nature, he explains the cave
by the explosion of gases, which blew off the surface of the dome, 'when
the heavy sections of the lava-roof, unsupported from below, fell
downward again, wedging into and against each other, so as nearly to
reform their previous figure.' But the unshattered state of the stones
and the rounded surfaces of the sides show no sign of explosion. The
upper _Piton_ is unfitted for retaining water, which must percolate
through its cinders, pumices, and loose matter into many a reservoir
formed by blowing-holes. Snow must also be drifted in and retain, the
cold. Moisture would be kept in the cavern by the low conducting power
of its walls; so Lyell found, on Etna, a bed of solid ice under a
lava-current. Possibly also this cave has a frozen substratum, like many
of the ice-pools in North America.

We then toiled up to another little _estancia_, a sheltered,
rock-girt hollow. The floor of snow, or rather frozen rain, was
sprinkled with red dust, and fronts the wind, with sharp icy points
rising at an angle of 45 deg.. Here, despite the penetrating cold, we
gravely seated ourselves to enjoy at ease the hardly won pleasures of
the sunrise. The pallid white gleam of dawn had grown redder, brighter
and richer. An orange flush, the first breaking of the beams faintly
reflected from above, made the sky, before a deep and velvety
black-blue, look like a gilt canopy based upon a rim of azure mist. The
brilliancy waxed golden and more golden still; the blending of the
colours became indescribably beautiful; and, lastly, the sun's upper
limb rose in brightest saffron above the dimmed and spurious horizon of
north-east cloud. The panorama below us emerged dimly and darkly from a
torrent of haze, whose waving convex lines, moving with a majestic calm,
wore the aspect of a deluge whelming the visible world. Martin the Great
might have borrowed an idea from this waste of waters, as it seemed to
be, heaving and breaking, surging and sweeping over the highest
mountain-tops. We saw nothing of the immense triangular gnomon projected
by the Pilon as far as Gomera Island, [Footnote: At sunset of July 10,
1863, I could trace it extending to Grand Canary, darkening the southern

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