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Art. I.-Traits and Traditions of Portugal. Collected during
a Residence in that Country. By Miss Pardoe. 2 vols. Lon
don: Saunders and Otley, 1833. It is only by that delicate ingenuity, which is so peculiar to the female mind, that such a novel combination, as is presented in the work before us, could be contrived or accomplished. The "Traits and Traditions” of Miss Pardoe form the title of a very singular and very effective union of the very best properties which we seek For in books of travels on the one hand, and in works of imagination on the other. The compound of the two has been perfected with so much skill and address, that, after the fashion of some of those chemical conjunctions, of which men of science give us the description, the book seems to possess a sort of peculiar virtue that cannot be easily traced to either of its ingredients. In short, whilst the curious inquirer into human manners and customs will find much to excite his interest in these volumes, an abundance of entertainment will be received from them by those who are only to be pleased by the charms of narrative.
In the early part of the year 1827, a detachment of English troops, under the command of Sir W. Clinton, sailed on an expedition to Portugal. Miss Pardoe accompanied her father, one of the officers, in the voyage, and appears to have made a very timely resolution, after she arrived at Lisbon, of making a record of the events which she should witness during her residence in Portugal. A considerable proficiency in the language of the country enabled her to make a very unusual progress in her intercourse with the inhabitants; and this circumstance, together with the additional facilities for observation afforded by her sex, secured to her advantages such as few strangers can expect to carry with them into foreign countries. Miss Pardoe sets out with a very lively account of the Belem district of Lisbon, and carefully notes one of the first of the lions which she beheld in the streets, and which turns out to be the Infanta Regent with her two sisters and a lady of the court, driving in one of the royal carriages. The
VOL. II. (1833) NO. IV.
vehicle was a four-wheeled one, painted a dull, tawny red, the panels bordered with wreaths of flowers: three of the wheels were of the same colour, the fourth had apparently just "effected an exchange" from another carriage, and was not yet provided with its new uniform; the hammer-cloth was of faded silk damask, which had once been crimson, the postillions who rode the mules, of which there were four, wore large cloaks of coarse cloth, and cocked hats; and the animals themselves were caparisoned with a gorgeous mixture of crimson velvet and worsted lace: the outrider carried before him a footstool, which fitted to the front of his saddle, and which was covered with threadbare velvet; and the breeching of his mule was of brown canvas, worked with stars of coloured worsted, and fringed with the same costly ma. terial.
Pigs and dogs are as numerous in Lisbon as the latter are said to be in Constantinople. Hydrophobia she declares to be unknown in the Portuguese capital, à piece of good fortune which she seems to attribute to the practice of the tradesmen of the metropolis, who place vessels of water at their shop doors during all the hot months. A notice of some of the modes of burial employed in Lisbon follows, the interest of which is soon lost however in the biographical details of a Benedictine monk, who had been once a profligate. From minor subjects Miss Pardoe is at length led to some notices of Don Miguel, who landed in Portugal almost immediately after the British troops. The disembarkation of the usurper she states to have been as pretty a farce as she ever witnessed; and, in her description of this event, there are many striking circumstances that must be regarded as curious in relation to what has since occurred. It seems that Don Miguel found it necessary to attempt to avoid the people in his reaching the shore, and for this purpose he gave out that he would disembark at Belem Stairs—then at the Arsenal at Lisbon--then at Fort St. Julien; the fact being simply, that, quite conscious of the feeling which existed towards him throughout the capital, he was, through fear, anxious to keep his “ loving subjects” in ignorance of his actual intentions as long as possible, in order that they might be in some degree dispersed by following their own ideas as to the expediency and probability of these three several points of disembarkation being ultimately decided upon. The scheme in some slight measure answered the purpose. Miguel, when he came on shore, was met by the Infanta and proceeded in his carriage, attended by a royal train to the palace, where he remained closeted with the Queen nearly all night. On leaving her Majesty, he went to the apartment of his aya (nurse), to whom he had always been much attached; he found her busied in stewing a chicken in an earthen panella (pipkin), which he immediately appropriated to his own use; nor did he partake of any food save what was prepared by this woman, who is devoted to him, until
his own domestics were landed. So great was the fear which he entertained of poison, that he always caused the water that was served to him to be tasted by one or more persons before he would put it to his lips. His detestation of the English was excessive; and he had been in Lisbon but a few days when he told his aya, that there was only one thing worth mention in England, and that was, proh pudor!-the gin!
The two next chapters are occupied each with a legend, connected with some of the remarkable localities of Lisbon; but though they present some very striking features of interest, we prefer following Miss Pardoe, whilst she traces the manners and habits of the Portuguese. One of the first excursions which she performed outside Lisbon happened to direct her over a road which had been constructed on the M'Adam principle. The mention of this subject reminds her of some of the feats of Sir John Milley Doyle, in his character of reformer in that city; for he endeavoured, she says, with all his heart, to make the Portuguese understand the meaning of the word “comfort,” or to establish some synonymous term; and succeeded, with some difficulty, in persuading the government to allow him to make a very excellent road from Lisbon to Cintra—the Richmond of Portugal but unfortunately for his speculation, he also built a turnpike house, and a toll of some farthing and a half English was demanded for the passage of every horse or carriage, travelling by the, calcada real (a royal highway); he might as well have attempted to initiate a Cherokee Indian into the mysteries of a cabriolet. Il Senhor could not comprehend the utility of paying at so exorbitant a rate for the poor gratification of accomplishing a journey without endangering his limbs; and consequently preferred making a circuit of some three or four miles " bush, and scaur," to parting from his meia vintem (half-vintem), so very unnecessarily.
Miss Pardoe continued her excursions and appears to have visited a considerable number of interesting places in the neighbourhood of Lisbon. At Rio Mayor, a pretty little town, she found that the English were very popular with the inhabitants, in consequence of a regiment of our soldiers having been stationed there for some time during the war. They took up their abode at the house of a priest, with whose brother Miss Pardoe's father had been formerly billetted. It was curiously perched on the summit of a pile of rock, and looked like an eagle's nest: the view from his windows was very fine, but it was really toilsome to clamber
up the ascent after a visit to the town. The old man received them with open arms, and gave them all he had to give-house-room. He was warm-hearted, generous, cheerful, and kindly: and decidedly a very superior person for a Portuguese priest; a fact of which he was fully conscious. They were his guests for two days, and he seemed delighted at the opportunity of displaying his erudition :
his conversational exertions were unceasing, and truly his garruefforts wore a garb of motley
ey sufficiently perplexing !nislqzs Miss Pardoe recounts the details of a legend, the particulars of which she received from her hospitable host, entitled the “ Fidalgo's Daughter." The e next stage which the party visited was Carvalhos, a place which was accidentally rendered interesting to her by an occurrence which involved some of her acquaintance in no small degree of danger. It appears that Carvalhos was once visited by some English paymasters, who were returning from valhos for the night. They took up their quarters at the estralagem (a wine-house), of which the host was a hearty, corpulent, bright-eyed fellow, who seemed to have no object or ambition in life beyond that of securing the comfort of his guests. With the assistance of his wife, this landlord provided a capital supper for his hungry guests, who, after passing a very comfortable evening, betook themselves to rest. The precaution of placing sentinels round the inn was very properly adopted by the paymasters; and they had reason to be satisfied with this act of foresight, for about an hour after midnight an alarm was given by one of the sentries. He had heard a long shrill whistle not far from his post, which had been answered from the wood: then a third, and a fourth in short, he knew not how many; until the sounds of these midnight signals had died away in the distance. Nor was this all: he had seen dark figures moving about among the trees, in the vicinity of the estralagem; and had distinctly distinguished one tall fellow, wrapped closely in his capa, gliding away in the direction of the Leiria road. All this was uncomfortahle enough to men who were in possession of a considerable sum of money, and a very inconsiderable guard—there was no time to be lost; and accordingly mine host was summoned to rise. Very little delay took place before he made his appearance, as the toilette of the Portuguese peasantry is no elaborate process when they leave their beds; for as they almost invariably lie down on their mats precisely as they have appeared during the previous day, without displacing any part of their dress, they have merely to shake themselves, indulge in a yawn or two, and they are ready to enter on the duties of the next day. Such was the case with the portly estalajadeiro (innkeeper), who stood barrete (cap) in hand, before the travellers, five minutes after they had summoned him. In no very courtly terms did they receive him ; every energetic epithet in their slender vocabulary of Portuguese was lavishly bestowed on him; they insisted that he must know of the proceedings without, and declared they saw very clearly that violence was intended towards them. The host stood quite unmoved, quietly twirling his barrete, and glancing from one to the other, as each addressed him in turn. When, however, yielding to their indignation, they
at length vowed vengeance against him if he did not immediately explain the suspicious appearances vouched for by the sentinels, a slight smile, rather pity than scorn, was perceptible on his lip; and it was not until they declared they would instantly leave his house and proceed on their journey, that the hitherto imperturbable estalajadeiro condescended to mix in the conversation; he said little even then, but that little was sufficiently to the purpose to change the outcry of the travellers into the low murmur of a spent storm, and to determine them to stay where they were, at alle
events, until day-break.
The landlord, however, next day informed the paymasters, that they ought not to travel except in the day-light, for otherwise they were sure to meet with highwaymen. It afterwards turned out that this very landlord was the lieutenant of the band; and it was remarkable, that, whilst by profession a plunderer, he still, as a host, never betrayed the confidence of his guests. Before quitting this subject, so important to travellers, Miss Pardoe lays down that, in the event of travellers, unattended by any guard, being desirous to prosecute their journey without an encounter with some of these free-woodsmen, it is necessary for them to procure their cejas (post-chaises), or mules, from particular individuals in Lisbon, or the towns on the road; for the driver of the carriage, or the coreiro (courier), who rides the second mule, is invariably in correspondence with the band, if it should even chance that he be not a member of it; the spies, who are in ambush by the road side, know the signal of their comrade, and do not leave their lurking-places: and while the traveller continues under the charge of this man, he is as safe as though he were seated at his own hearth, unless he should be personally, obnoxious to any individual of the band-thus praciically illustrating the old adage of “honour among thieves."
After leaving Carvalhos, Miss Pardoe with two of her party turned off the road for the purpose of visiting the far-famed monastery of Batalha, of which she gives a very elaborate and graphic account. This vast edifice was built by John I. to commemorate a victory over the Spaniards. Miss Pardoe, whilst examining some beautiful specimens of art which adorned the altar, in the shape of angels made of cork, and admirably well gilded, was struck with the intelligence which she received from the guide, that two of the angels were clandestinely abstracted by some English visitors. One of the curious objects noticed by Miss Pardoe in this place was the extensive rent in the roof of the chapel, caused by the great earthquake of Lisbon. The chapter-hall seems to be also an object of much curiosity; for though very wide and lofty, yet the roof is supported only by the external walls, no pillars or columns being seen in its interior. They have a singular tradition attached to this noble building: twice it was built, and roofed in ; and twice, when the scaffolding