Portugal and the Portuguese


IT was a fine night in March, the moon at the full, when I was called to see the Berlengas, a group of rocky islets off the coast of Portugal, crowned by a lighthouse and a fort. The steamer passed between these and the mainland. Soon after the day began to break, and the rising sun revealed a coast bold and rugged, gradually rising to the stupendous grandeur of the Rock of Lisbon and the jagged, isolated, and at that distance seemingly barren range of Cintra. A bit of an old Moorish fortress near the water blended well with the russet of the slopes, the iron grimness of the coast, and the turquoise blue of the sea. As we rounded the point which opened to us the entrance to the mouth of the Tagus, we came upon a fleet of fishing craft of the most extraordinary form and rig now existing. But it was startling, indeed, on further inspection of what seemed so novel a model, to find in these fishing boats evidence of the former Roman dominion in Portugal: they differ in no material particular from the galleys engraved on old Roman coins. The bar was propitious, although some fine rollers flashed close on the right as we entered the harbor, passing the yellow battlements of Cascaes, and gliding up the river by the picturesque Castle of Belem and the magnificent Jeronymite Convent close to it; before us the blue and yellow waters of the Tagus seemed to stretch illimitably, while a long succession of hills on the left were covered with the white walls of Lisbon, imperially situated, and doubling its beauty, as it were, by reflection on the glassy surface of the fullfed but tranquil river. Less beautiful than Naples, less enchanting than Constantinople, Lisbon is still sufficiently effective as seen from the water, especially from Barreiro, on the opposite side of the river, which here expands to the size of a lake. What Lisbon really lacks to complete the attractiveness of its situation is more verdure in the environs, and more towers and spires to relieve the sameness of so many roofs. The great earthquake overthrew many churches, and they have not been rebuilt.

There are no wharves: all ships load and discharge their cargoes in lighters, giving employment to a large number of picturesque boats; the lateen-sail is very common, and a variety of brilliant colors and designs embellish the boats. A system of wharves has, however, been planned, and the contract undertaken by an enterprising Englishman, who will add another to the many benefits which Portugal now owes to British skill. The chief landing-place is at the Praça de Commercio, called also Black Horse Square. Imposing and extensive government buildings form three sides of a vast quadrangle, including covered arcades. On the north side, opposite the landing, with its fine steps of marble, is a noble triumphal arch over the entrance to the Rua Augusta. It is surmounted by a colossal group representing Glory with outstretched arms crowning Genius and Valor. The height of the structure to the laurel on the head of the central figure is one hundred and twenty-nine feet. In the centre of the square is a bronze equestrian statue of Dom Jozé I. In the face of the pedestal is a bronze medallion of the Marquis of Pombal. To these two men, sovereign and prime minister, especially the latter, the city owes its rapid and elegant restoration after the great earthquake of 1755, which in a few moments demolished seventeen thousand houses and swept sixty thousand people into eternity. The city at present consists of the old and new quarters, the former chiefly on the lofty hill crowned by the fort St. George, the original site of the capital of the Moors. The old streets are curiously narrow, steep, and winding. The new quarter covers the ground most shaken by the earthquake, and is laid out with considerable regularity and a rather tedious uniformity in the style of the buildings, which are constructed with an inner frame of wood as a precaution against earthquakes. The excessive steepness of many of the streets affords charming glimpses of city and port; and by moonlight the elegant marble palaces of the nobility, towering one above the other in the white light, give an effect of peculiar beauty. By eight or nine o’clock at night quiet reigns in every quarter and the streets are almost deserted. But they are quite safe. Time was when the streets of Lisbon had a very bad reputation, when the dirk was used in many a dark corner, and foreigners were waylaid, robbed, and murdered. But matters are now wonderfully improved. Three distinct police organizations, one of them military, preserve the peace of the city. All night infantry patrol the streets by twos, giving the impression of a city under martial law, and on the occasion of great festas mounted cuirassiers guard the public order. Lisbon was also notorious, within the memory of many now living, for the almost incredible filth of its streets, said to have been the worst in this respect on the continent. But no city is now more clean in its thoroughfares. Of the many curious street sights which attract the attention of the stranger, the oddest appeared to me the quaint carts drawn by oxen or cows, and the fish women and girls with their black felt hats, blue kirtles, bare feet, massive gold ear-rings, and rich brown complexions and piercing black eyes, streaming into the city every morning from Belem with baskets of white, lustrous fish. Lighting crickets are sold at retail in cages two or three inches square, and boys are everywhere hawking about quarters, eighths, or tenths of a lottery ticket. “ Tomorrow the wheel goes round ” is an every-day notice on the doors in certain streets. The traffic in lottery tickets is permitted by law; indeed, certain charitable institutions are sustained in this manner. The hearse one sees at funeral processions is in form like the carriages of the early part of the last century, the driver riding on one of the mules. The vehicle is of vivid scarlet, profusely gilded, and surmounted by a crest. The priest sits inside on the way to the grave-yard, and the coffin rests upon an iron frame directly in front, where the driver’s seat would otherwise be, and is entirely unprotected from sunshine or rain except by a cloth adorned with gold thread.

The great earthquake — many of sufficient violence, but less appalling than that of the last century, have visited Lisbon — destroyed a large number of the most interesting edifices, yet enough remain to attract the attention of the ecclesiologist and man of taste. Few of them, however, have escaped the architectural folly of the seventeenth century, when, with almost incredible absurdity, even men like Sir Christopher Wren completed or restored buildings of pure Gothic in the Italian style. The effect in Portugal has been to mar very nearly every valuable church edifice. The Sè or cathedral church of Lisbon has suffered in this way: the exterior is Gothic of a hoar antiquity, the interior is Italian. In the rear of the chancel is a stone seat from which the early kings of Portugal administered justice. The cloisters, which might have been handsome once, have been entirely bricked up. The relics of St. Vincent are preserved in one of the chapels, translated to this place by King Alfonso Henriques from Cape St. Vincent, where they had been piously protected by two ravens of unusual intelligence, doubtless lineally descended from the ravens which fed Elijah. When the bones of the saint were brought to Lisbon the aforesaid ravens accompanied the ship. The least that could be done in recognition of the services of these estimable birds was to extend to them the hospitality of the city, and a cage was prepared for them in the cloisters of the cathedral. But in thus entertaining them it was forgotten to give them also the freedom of the city, and the cage had iron bars. Ever since two ravens have been kept in this cage, and until within a very short time the sacristan assured visitors that the birds exhibited were the identical ravens which came to Lisbon six centuries ago.

Farther up the hill, behind the Sè, is the church of St. Vincent, purely Italian throughout. The dusky hall adjoining the sacristy is the depository: the registries of births, marriages, and deaths are kept in dingy, yellow piles shoved into innumerable pigeon-holes, covered with unmeasured dust, and quite open to the public, as it seemed to us. But the object that chiefly attracts the wanderer to St. Vincent’s is the Chapel of the Kings, attached to the southeast corner. The chapel is simply but elegantly finished with black and white marbles, executed under the direction of Dom Fernando, late king consort and father of the reigning king. He is a man of excellent architectural tastes, and Portugal, among many other benefits for which she is indebted to him, owes a large debt of gratitude for the care he has given to the restoration of some of her finest edifices, always entirely in the spirit of the original work. In this funereal chapel are preserved the remains of all the sovereigns of the house of Braganza, and their families, in chests or coffins covered with black velvet embroidered with gold, and ranged in order of date upon a marble platform which runs along each side of the chapel. The founder of the house of Braganza is in a tomb at one end. In the centre are two cenotaphs, on one of which the coffin of the late king is laid, to remain there until his successor shall in turn be carried to the same place. On the other cenotaph permanently repose the relics of Dom Pedro IV., who was emperor of Brazil, and was also proclaimed king of Portugal, but resigned in favor of his daughter, Donna Maria da Gloria. He died at the early age of thirty-six, but not before he had shown himself to be one of the most remarkable men of the century, — as regent overthrowing the usurper Dom Miguel, breaking the power of the clerical party, abolishing convents, giving Portugal a constitutional government, and once more placing her on a firm footing among the nations after the disasters attending and succeeding the Napoleonic invasion of the peninsula. It cannot be said of the Portuguese that they are unmindful of their great men and benefactors. Statues and monuments commemorative of their heroes and noted men are common, and Dom Pedro IV. has his share both of bronze statues and of public places bearing his venerated name.

But the building best worth seeing in Lisbon, and the only one claiming the attention of those whose stay is limited, is the Jeronymite church and convent of Belem, the Portuguese for Bethlehem. One may reach it by the horse-railroad, called the American tramway, and provided with cars from New York. Several of these railways are laid in Lisbon, Coimbra, and Oporto, and are much patronized. The church is built upon piles near the river, which formerly washed its base, on the site of the chapel in which Vasco da Gama and his adventurous crew passed the night previous to sailing on the expedition which resulted in the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope, and was erected by Dom Manoel the Fortunate, in commemoration of that enterprise. This able sovereign evidently agreed with the opinion of the Portuguese chronicler, who devoted six closely printed folio pages to an elaborate argument regarding the question whether Jonah went around the Cape of Good Hope in the whale’s belly, and concluded that if he did the fact ought not to be permitted to detract from the just merits of Vasco da Gama. The building is constructed of a finely-grained limestone, which is capable of being carved as delicately as Carrara marble and takes a rich golden tint after exposure for several centuries. Most of the public buildings of Portugal, both ancient and modern, are of this material. It is doubtful whether there is any other structure in existence which so distinctly indicates mental conditions, so clearly interprets the subjective by the objective. The three phases of art culture, of early prejudices and education, of later principles operating on a mind prepared by a transient civilization to be impressed by them, are all as clearly laid before us on the stones of Belem as if analyzed and traced out by a Hamilton or a Kant. The Portuguese architect and Dom Manoel, a monarch of undeniable architectural tastes, were first familiarized with the Gothic, but the supremacy of the noblest architecture the world has seen was already on the wane. Innumerable Moorish associations imbued them with a love for the Saracenic, the influences of which on Portuguese architecture up to the fifteenth century are everywhere more or less evident. At a later period the rising but more artificial glory of the Italian or Renaissance was also felt by them and interpreted by the Italian architect who assisted in the plan, together with a suspicion of the peculiar and bizarre style of the temples of India, then just discovered by Portuguese navigators. One who is conversant with architecture will readily detect all these phases in the church of Belem, without including the choir, added at a later age and quite out of harmony with the rest of the building. The style of the windows and doors is flamboyant Gothic, but the square outlines of the exterior, with two Saracenic domes at the western end, overthrown by the earthquake, and one of which has been rebuilt, are more like those of a mosque. The nave is entered by a superb door in the western end, and one even more beautiful and elaborate on the south side, divided in the centre by a shaft, on which is a statue, in armor, of the Infante Henriques, the chief promoter of the maritime discoveries of his country. The archway of the door is decorated with thirty statues of kings and saints. All the ornamental tracery is purely Pompeian or Italian carved on Gothic forms. The combination is at first sight very rich, but the incongruity of the two after a while disturbs the fancy. The roofs of the nave and transept were of flamboyant Gothic, but so flat that they fell in when the staging was first removed. They were rebuilt after the same design, and the scaffolding was removed by criminals who were promised their freedom in return. The transept is sustained only by two shafts, the nave by four, sixty-six feet in height. These columns are slender and exceedingly ornate, in the same style as the doors. Their form, and the way in which they meet the vaulting of the roof, suggests the palm, and is decidedly Indian. The central arch of the nave is Moorish. The groining of the roof is so admirably designed as to give the effect of extreme lightness to a mass of stone so solid that it withstood the great earthquake. In the sacristy, which is beautifully vaulted and ribbed, some ancient sacerdotal vestments are shown, of massive velvet and gold. The cloisters are of rare beauty; but the peculiarities of the Manoelite architecture, as we shall call it, are still more evident here. The general outlines are Portuguese flamboyant Gothic, the details are Roman. But they are full of poetic feeling, and might prove satisfactory to one who has not seen Alcobaça and Batalha, with which Belem is not to be compared. In the church of Belem Gothic art makes its last protest against the pagan art which for over three centuries has rendered architecture cold and merely intellectual materialism, instead of the warm effusion of a rapt imagination quickened by the fervor of heart enthusiasm, a living form of utterance for the deepest emotions of the soul.

The specimens of the arts of design at Lisbon worthy attention are scarce. There is a gallery of paintings at the old convent of San Francisco that contains some works attributed to Gran Vasco, which are quite striking, although indicating the struggles of a mind which never acquired full power of expression. Like most of the old Portuguese paintings, they are on panels, and the boards have gradually shrunk, leaving cracks across the picture. Gran Vasco, or Vasco Fernandez, is a semimythical character of whom rather less is known than of Shakespeare; many works are attributed to him which in style are either earlier or later than his time, and some critics even go so far as to doubt whether any painting actually known to be by him exists. But there are paintings attributed to him at Viseu, two or three at Lisbon, two or three at Evora and other places, — of some of which the writer can speak from personal observation, — which, like the Homeric poems, bear too strong an impress of one great individual mind to be the work of different hands. At the vast, unfinished palace of Ajuda, occupied by the reigning family, is a collection of ancient masters said to be very good; it is open to the public on certain days, but there is so much else distinctively national to be seen that I did not find time to visit it.

One of the national sights is the bullfight. The idea is general that such a spectacle is peculiarly Spanish; this is to a degree untrue, for not only is the sport common in Portugal, but it is in many respects quite unlike and superior to the bull-fighting of Spain. In that country the horses are miserable, untrained hacks, brought into the arena blindfold to be slaughtered, and the chief part of the amusement is to shed the most blood possible, with little science and the utmost cruelty to both bulls and horses, of which sometimes twenty-five or thirty will be slain in one afternoon. The Portuguese, while yielding to none of the Latin nations in physical courage, are naturally more humane. The bulls are often very fine animals, but by law their horns are wrapped with felt, and it is impossible for them to gore a horse, although they may give him some hard hits. The horse, on the other hand, is generally very valuable and admirably trained, and goes into the fight with his eyes open. No weapon more severe than a small barbed pike is used, which rarely penetrates much below the hide, but suffices to arouse the mettle of a spirited bull. These pikes are planted in his neck by the man on horseback, or by the footmen, as he lowers his head to attack. A very dangerous exploit is to sit in a chair directly opposite the gate from which the bull is to rush, and plant two pikes in his neck before rising. Should the bull fail to make directly for the picador with lowered horns the man is lost. Another trick full of danger is literally to take the bull by the horns, as he lowers his head; as soon as this is done the rest of the performers rush on the bull, and by main force drag him off the man. Two men were killed in one afternoon’s sport, when I was in Lisbon, by having their spines broken when in the act of seizing the bull between the horns. The arena is surrounded by rows of seats, rising tier above tier; the last one is divided into boxes and roofed. As no curtain is drawn over the arena, half of the miniature wooden coliseum is open to the full blaze of the sun, and the tickets are sold accordingly for the shady and the sunny sides. Punctuality is not observed: the dense mass of spectators have about an hour to gaze at each other, flirt, fling nutshells, shout, bawl, hiss, and stamp their feet. When the excitement and suspense have reached their limit, which is apparently timed in order to bring the audience to the proper pitch, a trumpet sounds. Silence and breathless expectation succeed. The horse, with ears erect, half-startled eyes, and every nerve and muscle tense, awaits the crisis; the picadors, in gay uniforms, with their queues braided and bound each into a little ball on the back of the head, are in their respective positions, a lance in either hand. Every eye is turned on the entrance; the sliding door slips up, and, as if sent out of a catapult, forth rushes a magnificent bull, his eyes blazing, and fury in the poise of his tremendous head and neck. Half an instant he pauses and takes a hurried survey of the scene, and then makes a fearful lunge at the white horse awaiting him on the opposite side of the arena. The rider adroitly backs his steed and plunges a lance into the neck of the bull. Maddened by the pain the bull chases horse and rider around the arena; he gains on them; he is just on the point of goring the horse; the excitement exceeds language; at this critical instant an agile picador contrives to thrust another dart into the bull and diverts his attention. Every one again breathes freely. I saw the bull once give the horse a tremendous blow in the belly which, notwithstanding the horns were blunted with felt, at once became scarlet. When the bull becomes wearied out or cowed, as often happens when he finds his neck completely fringed with javelins, and is unable to retaliate in a manner commensurate with his rage, a number of oxen are driven in; the bull runs up to them for sympathy, and readily follows them out of the arena. At intervals during the sport the picadors come forward and salute the audience, holding out their hats for coppers, which are rained down plentifully if the sport has been exciting and skillfully conducted.

The theatres and operas of Lisbon offer nothing striking, unless it be the very poor quality of the singing, which would be hissed sometimes were it not for the presence of the king and queen. The mise en scène is, however, often excellent and the acting by no means bad. Dom Luis, who may be often seen at the opera, is a very respectable man of a German cast of countenance. He has a good share of common sense; he also has a turn for painting, to which he devotes some attention, and he continues his liking for marine affairs, his profession before he mounted the throne being the navy. The unusual good sense which characterizes the administration of Dom Luis, as well as that of his lamented brother, Pedro V., the late king, is shown in the increasing religious toleration allowed, — priests can leave the church and marry, — the jealousy shown of all clerical interference with civil affairs, the judicious management of the finances, which make a better exhibit each succeeding year, and a general effort to develop the resources of the country, proved by the construction of nearly four thousand miles of most admirable macadamized roads within the last few years, and the extension of railroads, partly under government control. Those who return from Brazil are bringing much wealth into the country, and banks are springing up everywhere. But in nothing is the sound judgment of Dom Luis, his cabinet and legislature, better shown than in the astonishing liberty which is allowed to the press. Except in London, there is in all probability no city in Europe where greater freedom of utterance is permitted than in Lisbon. The language used by the papers regarding the church, for example, if once repeated by the press of Madrid, or even Paris, would be punished in a manner never to be forgotten, if, indeed, the unhappy editor were permitted to survive such rashness. There is a paper published at Lisbon which to this day acknowledges only the son of Miguel the usurper as lawful king, under the title of Dom Miguel II. His birthday is always celebrated in large types and with flaming editorials, while the king in esse is never mentioned by his title, but only as the man who now governs. That the administration permits such license is no evidence of lack of spirit on the part of the people, who are capable of intense feeling. The 1st of December is always celebrated with immense enthusiasm: it is the anniversary of the day when the people, in 1640, rose and overthrew the tyranny of the Spanish power, usurped by Philip II. after the death of Dom Sebastian at the battle of Alcazarquivir. There is no love wasted between the two peoples: the Portuguese cannot forget the Spanish yoke; the Spaniards cannot forget that from the famous battle of Aljubarratta down to the war of independence the Portuguese have beaten them in almost every battle, and once carried the Portuguese standard into Madrid itself. It is a mistake, also, to suppose that the Portuguese language is so very inferior to the Spanish: it is, to say the least, as yet an open question. The Portuguese has many delicate modes of expressing shades of thought quite peculiar to itself, and is in reality more nearly like the ancient Latin than any of the cognate tongues. The orthography is, however, not yet quite settled: the same word, and that, perhaps, a proper noun, may be spelled in different ways. Camoens is also written Camões; Guimaraens is written Guimarães and Guimaranes. Nearly one thousand Moorish or Arabic words are in constant use. Nor are these the only signs of the former Saracenic dominion in Lusitania. The cuisine is quite Oriental; a dish of rice resembling pilaff is invariably the second course at dinner. The people have an Eastern relish for sweets, and excellent preserves are common when everything else, perhaps, is barely eatable. The coffee is generally good: the tea, of which the Portuguese are very fond, is always good. The clapping of hands in lieu of the ringing of a bell is quite Oriental. It is by no means uncommon to meet men of remarkable personal beauty who are of unquestionable Morisco descent. The politeness of the Portuguese seems also borrowed in part from the Oriental, although it so often springs apparently from kindliness of nature that I am inclined to consider it an original trait of the Portuguese character. No people I have met have struck me as so unaffectedly polite, so full of unselfish courtesy in the ordinary dealings of life, so gracious and hospitable, as the Portuguese. This politeness extends from the lowest to the highest, and pervades the whole nation. As regards other social traits, it may be said that the Portuguese lose nothing in comparison with other Latin races on the score of modesty and morals. There are certain Saxon notions of propriety which do not enter into Latin minds, and therefore should not be expected of them. The Portuguese are warm-hearted, and there seems to be considerable domestic unity and affection among them. Marriage is rather more the result of love than the mere matter of business or convenance too common in France and Italy. It is a noteworthy fact that the Portuguese women are inferior to the men in physical beauty. The difference is more marked in the upper than in the lower classes; perhaps the type, dark and semi-Oriental, requires the picturesque costume of the peasantry to do it the justice which it certainly does not receive from the fashions of Paris.

The masculine sex of the little kingdom displays a truly feminine weakness for dress. To cut a figure on the praça of an evening in pantaloons that set off to the best advantage the nether limbs of the wearer, and to move and pose the person with studied effect, are apparently the chief end of being to the young coxcombs of Lisbon and Oporto. The gold lace sported by every one who can possibly find an excuse to put on a uniform would almost pay the national revenue. However, this little foible is set off by the skill shown in managing the superb steeds which often grace the esplanade. The Portuguese also make good sailors, — the best of all the Latin races, as the writer can testify from personal observation.

From Lisbon I went by rail to Coimbra. The line runs for some distance by the Tagus, which it leaves at the historical old town of Santarem. Immediately on passing the city limits, one finds one’s self in a flat, alluvial landscape rising towards the west and north: pasture lands feeding large numbers of horses and cattle, or rich fields irrigated by the water-wheels of the far East and covered with abundant harvests of grain, or scarlet, purple, and gold with the wild flowers which in spring grow with a luxuriance entirely unknown on the other side of the Atlantic. Ere long the road enters bits of woodland which grow denser as one proceeds northward, until forests of hoary olive, or of cork nearly as gray and picturesque in form, or of stone-pines, with here and there groups of stately cypresses, cover the undulating land and fade away into the distant heights crowned by Moorish turrets, or violet-hued ranges of mountains that blend with the exquisite azure of the sky. To say that the stone-pine, the olive, the cypress, and the vine flourish in Portugal is almost enough. The very names suggest whatever is most attractive to the artistic eye.

Travel on the Portuguese railways is judiciously contrived to aid the tourist who desires to see the country. The trains are mixto, generally including freight-cars. The national character being slow and not to be hurried, at each station enough time is allowed to load or discharge freight and permit the officials to light their cigarettes and flirt with the orange girls. This admirable arrangement also enables the stranger to look about him and gain a tolerable notion of the numerous picturesque little towns on the way. Between stations the trains are properly not permitted to run any risks from overdriving up or down the grades, and the various features of the landscape may be surveyed at leisure, the nominal time, including stoppages, being sixteen miles an hour. The thirdclass passengers lean their heads upon the window-sills and sleep, or exchange jokes with peasants in the fields. Accidents are of course unknown; collisions are out of the question; there are but two trains a day between Lisbon and Oporto, and only one to Evora and Setubal. To be sure much precious time, as time is reckoned in America, is lost on these roads; but after all it is the poetry of railway travel, and the only tolerable railroading I ever knew.

As I approached Coimbra the country became exceedingly beautiful, and when the famous old city appeared in view, crowning a steep hill with mediæval walls and the classic towers of the university, flanked by the nearer spurs of the Estrella range, and with the placid waters of the Mondego gliding slowly at its feet, it was easy to understand the enthusiasm which inspired the verse of Camoens and so many other Portuguese hards. The position of Coimbra is even more striking and lovely than that of Heidelberg. It was the capital for one or two centuries, and later became the seat of one of the most celebrated universities of Europe, which was still further reorganized and improved by the great Pombal. The university buildings cover the summit of the hill and present an effective appearance; the view from the balcony of the highest is one of the most remarkable in Portugal. The law school of Coimbra, is justly celebrated. The medical school is also gaining a good reputation for the attention given to the latest discoveries of science, and the character of the physicians educated there; the chairs of theology, mathematics, the humanities, and other branches, including music and art, are filled by able instructors. Lectures are given twice daily the greater part of the year. The number of students is nearly one thousand. They lodge in licensed boarding-houses and wear long black gowns, but nothing on the head, except sometimes the gorro, formerly used as a pouch, thrown lightly over the crown when the sun is very powerful. It is doubtful whether a body of young men more finely formed, more intelligent looking, more courteous, than the students: of Coimbra could be found elsewhere.

The women of the lower classes are also quite noteworthy for being at once neat and picturesque, and for the extraordinary skill and grace they show in carrying on their heads water jars fashioned like those of ancient Attica. From early morn to dewy eve the procession of bare-footed, handsome, nut-brown girls passes to and from the fountain, always chatting and singing and holding the distaff, as if it were nothing at all to balance a large water jar on the head from childhood to old age. The chafariz, or fountain, with the idyllic scenes enacted around it, is one of the most Oriental and characteristic objects, and is to be found, with slight local differences, in every village and town of Portugal. The peasants, as far as my observation goes, are more cleanly than the average continental peasant, and are fully as effective from a pictorial point of view. Indeed, Portugal offers an art field entirely new and abounding in superb genre landscape and marine effects of every possible variety.

The Sé Velho, or former cathedral of Coimbra, is a venerable, battlemented Romanesque building of red granite, situated on a rock and approached by a net-work of narrow lanes, covered alleys, and stairways of extraordinary steepness. Its interior has suffered in the usual manner, but contains some interesting tombs, and the door-way is rich and in good preservation. This structure is historically interesting, because tradition says the Cid Campeador within its walls first girded on the sword Tizana, with which he captured Valencia. An event of undoubted history was the crowning of the master of Aviz in this church, after the famous battle of Ouriques. Under the title of João I. he became the first, king of Portugal. The church and convent of Santa Cruz are objects of great interest. The church, although erected by Dom Manoel, is of pure flamboyant Gothic, with the peculiar modifications common ih Portuguese Gothic. It has, however. Buffered from the Renaissance movement. The coro-alto is one of the most exquisite specimens of antique oakcarving in Europe. The most exuberant fancy found vent in the designs of the seventy-two gilded stalls, castles, scriptural groups, pigs and monkeys turning somersaults or playing on the violin, and the like, represented with delicate humor and consummate skill. If the Portuguese have shown little talent for painting, there, is, on the other hand, abundant evidence of their excellence in stone-cutting, wood-carving, and architecture. No better specimens exist than some of those in Portugal, and this national gift, if dormant, is not yet extinct, as is proved by the restorations conducted under the charge of Dom Fernando. I he cloisters of the convent of Santa Cruz were erected by Dom João III. They are in the best flamboyant style, and if they were anywhere but in Portugal would be famous.

Opposite Coimbra, near the banks of the Mondego, is the Quinta dos Lagrimas, or Garden of Tears, to those of romantic turn the most interesting spot in Portugal. Although slightly changed, the house is substantially the same as when occupied by Iñez de Castro five centuries ago. Her story, which forms one of the most singular episodes in modern history, is undoubtedly authentic. She was secretly married to Dom Pedro I., before he came to the throne, and her influence was so much feared, as she was of Spanish birth, that those opposed to Spain induced the king to allow her to be murdered. This was done while her three children were clinging to her knees, and while Dom Pedro was absent following the chase. When he came to the throne he caused the courtiers who had instigated and performed this deed of blood to be tortured to death. After this he ordered the skeleton of his beloved wife to be raised at midnight and placed in the cathedral on a throne at his side, and crowned in presence of the court, who then passed in solemn procession before their sovereigns, the living and the dead, and gave in their allegiance. Dom Pedro and Iñez de Castro were afterwards buried at Alcobaça, in two magnificent tombs erected under his direction. Under the hill, in the rear of the Quinta dos Lagrimas, is the fountain near which Iñez was murdered. It is a spring welling out of the rock. The stones over which the water bubbles are, in places, nearly of a crimson hue. Tradition, of course, attributes this to the stains of blood. A stone slab is inscribed with some beautiful stanzas from Camoens in allusion to this tragedy, and some noble cedars, undoubtedly of great antiquity, hymn a perpetual dirge over her fate.

S. G. W. Benjamin.