In Unknown Portugal

To the experienced and weary sightseer, as well as to the Innocent Abroad, there lies a peculiar charm in the untrodden ways; indeed, perhaps even more so, for to the Innocent Abroad every way is yet untrodden, every country a fairyland, every journey a magic carpet that transports one at the wishing. But to one who knows his continental tour, who has weathered the delights of Paris, basked in and survived the associations of Italy, and lived down the sombre pleasures of England, the untrodden ways are peculiarly “desirous to be in.” And of such are the ways of Portugal.

Poor, proud, sunken Portugal ! It is difficult for us to realize that she was ever an intrepid nation; and there is something distinctly pathetic in the manner in which a present-day Portuguese will revert several centuries in his pride of patriotic achievement. Vasco da Gama was Portugal’s: and Camoen. There can be no doubt that she has been great. Let her people derive from the fact such solace as they may. Yet, in spite of this natural national feeling and the many evidences of past glory still existing throughout the land, the Portuguese, with a very few exceptions, have no true appreciation of their ancient treasures. When questioned about anything archaeological or historical, they invariably say that it is muito antigo (very ancient), apparently quite satisfied, themselves, with such vague assurance.

Garcia de Resende, the Portuguese chronicler of the reign of D. João II, said that he compiled his general Cancionero in order to preserve poems, trovas, and romances which were in danger of being lost, “like so many other things in Portugal.” Would that more of his countrymen had done likewise ! Sir Richard Burton struck the same note when, traveling in Portugal in 1866, he observed, “There is still much to do in identifying the Moslem remains of Portugal as well as of Spain.”

This is only too true, not alone of the Moslem remains, but also of the Roman and Gothic antiquities, the literature, the music, the art, the prehistoric remains. The treasures of ancient Portugal are to-day in a chaotic condition, little known to the world at large or appreciated by the Portuguese; and perhaps it is for this very reason, however deplorable in itself, that the untrodden ways of Portugal afford a keen pleasure alike to the jaded traveler and to the Innocent Abroad.


There stands a little white town, dignified and gracious, on the top of a hill which is like a natural fortification rising almost abruptly from a sea of rolling grainfields marked now and again with long lines of shaggy eucalyptus trees, a deserted convent, or the brandishing lateen sails of a stout windmill on some lower eminence.

It is Evora, a city of about eleven thousand inhabitants, a capital alemtejana, or ancient capital of the province of Alemtejo in the south of Portugal (part of the Roman province of Lusitania), to be reached to-day by train from Lisbon, through low-lying lands of cork-tree groves. The serenity that rests upon it like a hand of benediction could result only from the combination of a wonderful urbanity of climate with an inborn human consciousness of having seen the world in the making; of standing by, and observing, and weighing, and thereby attaining a poise of outlook with regard to all matters, both human and divine. For Evora, in her own way, is an epitome of the centuries. She rests on her laurels. Because of her memories she is tranquil. And yet she does not altogether sleep, as do so many of the old-world cities. Perhaps she reveals the inner beauties of her being only to those who love her. Sheer good fortune is it, then, to be among that number; so, as I was carried across the rolling lands that reminded me half of the western prairies of North America and half of traditionary desert wastes, — possibly a child’s picture-book memories of the African Sahara, — I rejoiced in that I was to be reckoned one of the chosen few of “those who know.”

People had told me that I should not like Alemtejo. Why they thought this, I had no means of ascertaining; but I always held a secret belief that they none of them had any idea what they were talking about. Alemtejo was muito arido (very arid) they had said, — parched, flat, colorless. Northern Portugal was the only part of the kingdom worth considering. No assertion or contradiction had been mine, for I was then in the outer darkness of ignorance; but it is the fashion for the Portuguese to decry the south of their country and to glorify the north. Furthermore, prairies can be wonderfully beautiful! Now the time had come for me to see with my very own New York eyes what Alemtejo was really like; to make my own judgments; to form my own conclusions about beauties and relative values. And, as is not infrequently the case in this old world of contrary human nature, Alemtejo seemed to me very lovable.

Down, down, down, the whole province dips to the borders of Spain in gentle, sweeping curves that would delight the eye of an artist. What the Portuguese and — even more particularly — the English of Portugal condemn as arid, flat and colorless, seemed wonderful great masses of golden browns and olives, sky-lines of rapturous curvings, wellsprings of vision. The rock of the fortress of Palmella to the south looked like a veritable fairy-tale. In files, in groups, or in solitary stateliness, in the laps of the earth hollows, on the slight prairie crests, or along the almost imperceptible slopes, were the stone pines with their flat, outspreading tops, the very sight of which suggests by association scenes from the Scriptures. In time the train, puffing and rolling like a happy porpoise in a high sea, plunged me among interminable groves of cork-trees. It was the first glimpse I had ever had of cork-trees, and they reminded me of great elderberry blossoms when they are drooping with the richness of their own freight. Cork-cutting was in process, it being the month of June, so that many a tree was of a scalped, cinnamon color, while others were of their outer intact gray.

After a morning of this sort of thing — I had left Lisbon at half past eight — the toy train pulled into the remote little station of the city of Evora (or Ebora as the old form of the word is), and deposited me in the midst of a gesticulating crew of porters and peasants. One of these personalities quickly detached itself from its fellows and took possession of my bag, leading me with a considering and protecting care through the human wilderness out into the highway. The station bell, like the dinner bell of a Catskill Mountain boarding-house, gave the signal for departure, and the friendly little train moved off toward Spain.

“Would the senhora walk, or go to the hotel in a carro?”

The senhora decided that she would walk, if the distance were not too great. Nothing with even the faintest semblance to a hotel could be seen. But, on my guide’s assurance that it was not far away, we started forth.

The Hotel Eborense is very like other Portuguese hotels, I found, only rather cleaner. Indeed, I grew very fond of the spot later on,—it became so inextricable a part of the blessed Eborense memories. My arrival, this first time, was somewhat chaotic, and the worthy landlord was rather startled by the sudden and quite unheralded appearance of an American senhora, traveling alone, and demanding board and lodging in hopeless Portuguese. It certainly was an episode entirely outside the usual run of his experiences. But he rose nobly to the exigencies of the occasion, and I was soon housed and fed. The window of my little room overlooked a most serene and orderly garden enclosed by high white walls, — a view that came to symbolize for me the quintessence of rest.

A letter of introduction to a canon of the cathedral, from his cousin, a friend of mine, I sent to him by a servant. Not only was I anxious to avail myself of the immediate privileges that, it would command, but I felt a ridiculous desire to instate myself to a certain degree in the eyes of mine host of the Hotel Eborense. The canon was a person of undoubted standing in the community.

He appeared at the hotel in quick response to my card and letter of introduction. Indeed, he came before I had finished my four o’clock dinner, and was accompanied by a friend of his — a Spaniard — who was considered to be proficient in the English language. They sat down at the table with me and had coffee, and were very friendly and delightful. The canon himself was certainly one of the dearest of men; most kindly, and sympathetic to the degree where he could sympathize with enthusiasm; just on general human grounds, without in the least feeling the necessity of understanding particular enthusiasms. A round, plump, cleanly man, in whose deep, keen eyes — with their occasional sparkle of humor — was written a bitter heart history that I afterwards came to know about. His manner was simplicity itself. He wore the canonical red stockings and red waistband outside his black cassock, and a hard, black, glossy bowler hat, with a wide curly brim, over the edge of which bobbed two fascinating green tassels.

With these two eager and courteous men as guides, I proceeded, during the next couple of days, to see the beauties of the monastery of Nossa Senhora do Espinheiro, now being restored; the Manuelinho cloister doorway in the courtyard of the Collegio de Loyos, and the wonderful azulejos, or blue and white tiles, of its chapel walls; the rare old library that is richest in manuscripts of all the Portuguese libraries; the museum of valuable Roman antiquities that have been discovered throughout the provinces of Alemtejo and Algave; and the curiously repulsive yet interesting Chapel of Bones in the crypt of the Church of San Vicente. My particular quest, however, was that of dolmens and other prehistoric remains; and my first forthgoing on the gentle hobby of dolmens was on the afternoon of a peculiarly tranquil day. The Portuguese custom is to dine at four, and this leaves the long, delectable, beautiful time of the lingering day unbroken in its possibilities for enjoyment. One does not have to return from a glorious tramp in the woods, or hurry a lazy drive, or break in upon a twilight confidence, to go and dress for dinner. The inner man is satisfied, disposed of; and the time of psychological communion is supreme.

I meditated on the wisdom of the Portuguese dinner hour as we bowled along over the level and well-trodden road through the country toward the east of the city. The canon shared wuth me the back seat of the red-paneled, canonical carriage, and his friend, Senhor Ricardo, sat facing us. We were bound for the Outeiro das Vinhas, where, they assured me, was one of the best-preserved dolmens of Alemtejo. Our road was one of the many ribbon-like ramifications from the city across the rolling prairie land, bordered all along on either side with ancient and extremely shaggy eucalyptus trees. The dolmen itself is in a low and regular plain near Degebe, six kilometres east of Evora. Nothing indicates an accumulation of earth, or artificial monte. There are six large stones still erect, and two fallen ones, besides the mesa or table rock. In places they are so worn as to have the appearance of wood; indeed, many a piece of petrified wood has not so much the appearance of wood as has this sheer rock.

Leaving the carriage in the road, we picked our way across the stubble fields to this lonely and grim relic. My companions were visibly impressed, although they had seen the dolmen many times before; and I — well, I felt that at last I was in touch with primitive man, was shorn entirely of our modern, up-to-date, work-a-day world. Had I been alone I should have knelt beside it in the sandy soil. Like all dolmens it opened toward the east, — the place of the sun-god’s birth, and the memory came back to me of Borrow’s description of what he calls a Druid stone on “the Hill of Winds,” in The Bible in Spain. This was at Arroyolos, to the northwest of Evora. Ever since that childish time, when his picture laid a firm hold upon my “ imagination all compact” — the “noble city of Evora” and its environs had become my Mecca. For once, then, a dream was realized! We were silent, we three, the Spanish grandee, the Portuguese priest, and I. As we turned away and left the age-old monument to its lonely vicissitudes, the long shadows, like creeping fingers, reached across the fields and road, and the cathedral chimes were borne to us through the silent evening. A regular African jungle of chimes it was, such as I have never heard anything like elsewhere.

Passing through the Moorish Quarter, we reëntered the city by the halfruined gateway in the rua de D. Isabel, famous as the scene of the surprise and capture of the Moors by the Gothic knight Geraldo. With fine flourishes and much hissing and whipping we flashed through the sleepy town, for our coachman was greatly impressed by the importance of the expedition. Even yet Evora is the most Moorish of Portuguese cities. The streets — particularly in the Moorish Quarter — are very narrow; many events and traditions are commemorated in the Moorish names, and there is often there that vibrant consciousness of human beings unseen, yet near at hand, so characteristic of Moorish seclusion.

A communion with Evora’s hilltop is not easily to be forgotten. Its crest is the crown of her labors, for there, within reach of one eye-sweep, — almost side by side, — are the wonderful remains of the Roman Temple to Diana, beside the great Catholic cathedral. Near by is the Palace of the Inquisition, Evora having been the first Holy Office in Portugal; and down an adjacent street is the house where Vasco da Gama lived after his discovery of India. Until quite recent years this house was decorated on the oustide walls with figures of Indians and Indian animals and plants, and there were also some gildings said to have been made from gold that Gama brought from India. The Temple of Diana is the most beautiful of the many fine Roman remains in Portugal. The disposition of its columns is in the same proportion as those of the temples of Antonio and Faustina at Rome. They are of granite, the capitals (pure Corinthian) and the bases being of white marble.

The cathedral is a curious result of Roman and Gothic architecture. The Gothic predominates, and is of the earliest form introduced into Portugal, almost without ornament and influenced in its pillars and capitals by the Roman Byzantine,— the style sometimes spoken of as the Mosarabe. Of the two towers that guard the western entrance, the southern one is old and very fine; the northern one is more modern and inferior in design and proportion. The interior of the building is brown stone mortared with white, the whole effect being unexpectedly beautiful. The north transept chapel has a finely carved white stone façade, simple in every line, direct to a certain degree of severity, and — as a result of its character — with a peculiarly upright effect in its entire bearing. The dome, too, is very fine, almost flower-like in its airy perfection. The clustered groins have about them a peculiar lightness, what might be fancifully called movement, a sense of grace in strength. It is not a large dome, in fact it is a small one, yet the culmination of extended heights, like the gathering together of the diverging lines of the whole into one hand, gives the impression of size.

As we swung into complete view of the crowned hilltop, the canon of the Roman Catholic faith said, in his carefully chosen English and with a gentle inclusive wave of one hand toward the cathedral, the Temple of Diana, and the direction from which we had just come,

“It is the same God!”

And this exactly expressed what we all of us were feeling, — the fundamental sense of divinity among all races of mankind.

I lingered in my window very late that night — indeed, until the beginning of day — gazing out into the starlight. A number of the town boys, with their guitarras, were serenading some dusky beauty not far away; and nothing could have been more in keeping with the scene than those rhythmical swaying fados which, quite likely, had their origin in the camp songs of the Roman soldiers. The boys were indefatigable, and made music the whole night through, until the gently blended dawn just before the sun appeared, when the whole atmosphere became a smoky gray with dim pinks, out of which sounded the clear sweet bugle call from the fort, and the awakening birds. In the cool air I watched the steadily growing light of the sun-god cross the sea of prairie lands that were like the desert stretching toward its kindred of the far east.


It was my great desire to see more, at this time, of the dolmenic remains of Alemtejo, particularly the one with a window. Spanish dolmens not infrequently have windows, it seems, but there is only one of the kind in Portugal. The region of Algave, the uttermost southern province, also attracted me. In Greek literature Algave has the designation of Cyneticum, and the inhabitants are called the Cynetes or Cunetes, from which doubtless comes the name of Cape Cuneus, spoken of by Pliny and known now as Cape de Santa Maria. This is the cape which, as Ferguson noted, Strabo mentioned as having dolmens; in fact, many stone implements and arrowheads very similar to those found in the west of North America, both hewn and polished, have been found throughout Algave. I could do nothing, however, — my time being limited,—but journey northward.

Porto — or Oporto, as the corrupt English form has it nowadays — is the most modern and progressive of Portuguese cities. Between it and Lisbon there is an incessant rivalry, and has been for centuries. I visited the principal places of interest there: the museum, where there is an exceptionally complete collection of Moorish tiles and several sarcophagi of Roman, and, presumably, preChristian times; I went to the place near the present bridge, where formerly was the bridge of boats by which Wellington crossed to be entertained in the big white house at a high point just beyond the walls of the ruined convent, and across from which also is the tower that Wellington used as his stronghold; and I saw the remains of a Moorish castle at the entrance of a ravine outside the city, where the superstition yet lingers that a Moira Encantada (enchanted Mooress) haunts the spot.

My most important accomplishment in Porto, however, was the purchasing of a cheap parasol — a gray cotton parasol it was, with a guinea-hen-speckled border. This may not seem to have any direct connection with dolmens or with memories of Portugal; but it has, in a sort of way, because it really saved my life when I was making the ascent of the Citania Hill, and so might almost be considered my chiefest Portuguese memory! The broiling sun glared down at me all the way, as though possessed with a frenzied desire to shrivel me off the earth entirely and at once; but — the gray cotton sunshade intervened. This, however, is anticipating events.

From Porto I took the train to Braga. It was a skittish little train, that stopped with sudden jerks or ambled along so slowly that it kept always going and yet almost stopping. But, “I dance to the tune that is played on the guitarra,” as the people of northern Portugal say; so one goes as the train goes. I spent the night here at the hotel Bom Jesus, set high among the mountains and overlooking other ranges and the beautiful valley in which rests the ancient town. It is lovely, yet rather artificially so; redeemed, perhaps, by a sweet unconsciousness of its artificiality. In the morning I departed in a low, rattle-trap sort of carriage for Guimarães, intending to make the side excursion from the village of Taypas to the excavated hillside of Citania.

My road, leading out of the big amphitheatre valley, was pretty, but sizzling hot. The country is a country of grapes. Not only are vineyards abundant, but nearly every wayside tree is wreathed in a thrifty grapevine, till the landscape really looks as if an entirely new variety of tree had come into being. My coachman — who proceeded to take an almost fatherly care of me — was greatly interested in the forthcoming crop of grapes; and I, to be frank, was greatly interested in the crop of stones that graced each hilltop! We had not gone far before we drew up in front of a wayside hostelry, where my coachman dropped off and secured unto himself a glass of refreshment. I asked for a lemonade, whereupon he assured me that it was no place for a senhora to drink; so I had to content myself with giving a penny to a beggar who had come up to the carriage step, and went on my way with a parched throat, as a concession to the local proprieties! We met a goodly number of creaking ox-carts, the oxen wearing on their necks high-standing wooden yoke-boards that are generally most beautifully carved. The designs of these primitive works of art are both curious and varied — the tops are often ornamented with rows of tufts of cow’s hair, and sometimes portions of the board are painted crudely like North American Indian work; but more often the wood is left in its natural color, and soon becomes very dark, polished by the natural forces of use and exposure.

We entered the little town of Taypas as though I were a duchess at the very least, and stopped to make inquiries for the Citania road. It left the village, we learned, past a wayside shrine of seven virgins who were being consumed in the flames of eternal damnation. This remains my most vivid remembrance of Taypas, where there are, I am told, some old Roman baths that I should like to have seen.

About two kilometres from Taypas we came to another stop, and my coachman told me that we had arrived. Two women came up from a nearby cottage, one of them with the largest pair of gold earrings in her ears that I have ever seen, — and the Portuguese women frequently wear very large ones. A man presently joined the consultation. It seemed that we were in the tiny hamlet of Breteiras and that I was now under the necessity of getting out of the carriage and climbing the Citania Hill, for which purpose a guide was indispensable. My coachman expressed laudable and profound regret that it was obligatory for him to remain with his horses. The general idea seemed to be that a boy could be found.

After some delay, one was procured from a neighboring field and came up to the carriage with deep wonder in his eyes. Having my need explained to him, he at last agreed to show me the way up the hill, and, after sundry instructions and cautions, we started on foot along a halfeffaced road that presently revealed itself as the bed of a dry brook. The first thing I did, when out of sight of the villagers and the coachman, was to stop and unbend my length upon the ground beside a spring of fresh water, and imbibe from it in nature’s own manner. My guide stoically watched me. He had, it soon appeared, a wholesome fear of my Portuguese, and withdrew like a sensitive plant before my attempts at conversation. I can’t say that I altogether blamed him, for all I could indulge in was a sort, of Spencerian pen language; but I felt that he might have given me a chance. We met two men in a clearing, chopping wood, and, with thoughts of brigands and Miss Stone in my mind, I trembled as I noticed that one of them was clad in a much worn black and red striped sweater of undoubted American make. The incongruity of it in that place amused me, of course. As the only time in my life that I had encountered rudeness from a Portuguese peasant was once when I met one who had lived in the States for some years, and had taken out papers as an American citizen, and had learned most of the evils and none of the good of the republic, I began to wonder what might happen. Nothing did, however. My guide’s stout stick, I felt, was for me, in a defensive way, even if he did n’t care for my conversation. Indeed, no notice was taken of our passing.

A hard, hot climb it was! And a most wonderful view all along as well as from the top, out over another amphitheatre valley like that of Braga, filled with the sudden hills and abrupt valleys so characteristic of northern Portugal. The heat was merciless, and there came into my mind the saying of the Good King Alfred of England: —

“ Thou, O Father,
Makest of summer
The long days
Very hot.”

But — I had the grey cotton sunshade, and what could one expect of a Portuguese July ? My guide strode ahead with a soft, regular, toed-in patter of his bare feet, which excited my admiration and which I vainly tried to emulate. Portuguese gentlemen always assume that a woman is a helpless crippled creature, to be waited on,hand and foot; but a Portuguese peasant has quite the contrary idea. To him a woman has the endurance and capacity of a mule; and my guide was quite surprised when I called a halt and sank, panting, by the roadside. I assured him that it was the heat merely, not the distance, that afflicted me. He seemed satisfied, admitting that it was warm. At last we came out into what had apparently been part of the main thoroughfare of the prehistoric towm. Beside it, for part of the distance, were portions of the ancient aqueduct, very small, and hewn out of the solid rock. All of this once buried city was built of dark granite: in some cases mere boulders of vastly varying sizes piled loosely together with earth; in others, stones of more uniform bulk laid with greater regularity; and, in case of some of the foundations and round towers, the great stones had been fashioned into regular shape and placed in a zig-zag on-end manner with some sort of mortar, — a construction which denotes not only the existence of implements for cutting and laying such stone work, but also a knowledge of geometrical figures and the science of building.

I asked my guide how many years it was since any excavations had been made there, and he told me twenty or thirty. There were grown men in the village, he said, who remembered seeing the work in progress when they were boys. The excavations that were made were under the direct supervision of Senhor Sarmento, a learned and poetic citizen of Guimarães. Until then, all of this wonderful place was buried with earth and deéris, except possibly the upper parts of the towers or castros. These are three in number. A venerable cork-tree has grown up within one of them, and a stone cross has been erected near by, as has also a tiny Roman Catholic chapel, to which the peasants make yearly pilgrimages.

Citania belongs to what is called the prohistoric period; that is, the prehistoric age immediately preceding the arrival of the Romans in the Spanish peninsula, after which there came about in many cases what Senhor J, Leite de Vasconcellos (the most authoritative Portuguese archaeologist) calls the Romanization of the castros. It is well known that when the Romans invaded the district which they afterwards called the province of Lusitania, they found many of these castros or fortified villages, — almost always on the tops of high hills and usually near mountain streams. On the Monte of Sabroso, almost directly opposite to Citania, is another such castro, where as yet no extensive excavations have been made, although Dr. Sarmento unearthed there several objects of bronze, among which was a bracelet of Celtic design and a small axe-head of polished stone.

I loitered as long as possible on the Citania Hill, taking photographs and measurements. Then I picked a few sprigs of purple heather that lived in the footsteps of prohistoric man, and we started down.


The treasures of Citania have been removed to the museum of Guimarães, now in process of erection by the Society of Sarmento. At present they occupy the old cloisters and courtyard at the back of the new building: tombstones, graven signs and symbols, disks of stone, stone tablets, and small stone figures.

At Guimarães I fell in with a particularly satisfactory guide, a lad of about eighteen, dirty and ragged, a bom rapaz who happened to remind me of one of my best friends at home. He took me to see the old castle where Affonso Henriques had lived, both as duke and king (for Guimarães saw the birth of the Portuguese monarchy); he showed me too the baptismal font of Affonso Henriques, the little Gothic memorial of Wamba the Goth, the ancient Camara or town hall, and the home of Dr. Sarmento. Portuguese of the lower classes are most courteous to strangers; more so than their so-called betters. They are curious, of course, and not infrequently amused by the ways of the “mad English " (no distinction ever being made between English and Americans), but they are always courteous. Furthermore, they have not yet discovered the process of emptying the sojourner’s pockets. Indeed, one gardener whom I came across down in Alemtejo goes on record for actually refusing a tip; and I made the journey from Porto to Bom Jesus, drove from Braga to Guimarães, with the extra distance and attention necessary to the ascent of the Citania Hill, and returned from Guimarães to Porto, paying in tips the magnificent sum of about two American dollars in penny and ten-cent doles. To the bom rapaz I gave half a dollar, which ensured me his complete protection until the train pulled out of the station. For me he utterly discarded his associates of a lifetime, and laid in wait for hours at the hotel entrance. When I appeared, he came toward me like a skipping faun. He smoked cigarettes incessantly, with a prosperous air that I knew my five hundred reis had procured for him. So boastful of me did he become, that he proclaimed abroad my largess, as a result of which one of his townsmen approached me diffidently at the station, to tell me in an entirely friendly and disinterested manner that I had given too much money to the bom rapaz for his services. Doubtless I had.

Not Solomon in all his glory, not William Beckford, who captured Portugal with his personality, his wealth, and his French cook, could have had a more triumphal progress through the countryside than I had from Braga through Guimarães. I was considered a female Crœsus of erratic but harmless methods; and, as whatever I did or wanted meant a little gain to some one of them, they humored me to the top of my bent. It is pleasing to feel like a goddess once in a while, and a rich one at that! But it is difficult to remain for any period on the pedestal. Fortunately, my time was extremely limited, and in the railway carriage — which I had entirely to myself — I underwent the necessary metamorphosis, reaching Porto an ordinary mortal once more — dusty and tired and hungry and humble of spirit.

Another interesting region in the north of Portugal is that extending from Vianna do Castello up to Gontinhães. Vianna do Castello is a very old city, and, on the heights called Santa Luzia de Britonia, are the ruins of other castros. Historians mention this region of Santa Luzia as being a somewhat extensive one, and tell of a northern castle as well as of a southern. The Santa Luzia of Vianna do Castello is undoubtedly the southern one; the one to the north is not so easily located. But it can be found, by careful questioning of the country people and local authorities. It is called to-day the Castro dos Mouros, and stands on the peak of Terrugen, that rises yet higher than the hillside of Matamça, where are the remains of the town of Cividade and the tradition of a great battle between the Moors and the Goths.

This part of the province of Minho is wrapped in dim traditions of battles. Where now stands the little chapel of San Braz, in its peaceful circle of venerable olive trees, there is said to have been a mighty conflict between the Romans and the Lusitanians; or, according to some, between the Lusitanians and the Moors. The Lusitanians called a battle azar, and unto the present time the valley in which stands the chapel of San Braz is called Balthazares, from Valle d’Azares.

Following the valley road — all this locality can be tramped over in a day — one comes to a garden where, behind massive stone walls, stands the beautiful dolmen of Gontinhães. While we do not need it to convince us that we are, indeed, upon historic ground, it is the final association; carrying us back into the remote ages before the Goths and the Moors fought, before the Romans and the Lusitanians fought, to a time when a primitive people were in possession of the fair and much desired land.

Yet, in spite of dolmens and Roman remains, the feeling of this northern province of Portugal is distinctively Gothic, and of the early kingdom — unlike Alemtejo, which is as distinctively prehistoric, Roman and Moorish. In spirit one dwells more with “the wolves of the north,” as St. Jerome called the Gothic and Vandal hordes; the fighting personality of Affonso Henriques; the prowess of the Cid, who was knighted in the mosque of the Portuguese town of Coimbra; the Crusaders; and the churchly records.

But all of fair, forgotten Portugal — old and new, north and south — inspires a memory of the line from one of Camoen’s least translatable sonnets:

“ Perpetua saudade da minha alma.”
(Perpetual home-sick longing of my soul.)