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Between dawn and sunrise next day commiserating fleas and worse ran no
we cast anchor in a fairy cove, beneath a lordly fort of antiquity, bigger than our biggest castle. Now all crumbles fast to decay, with creepers rampant on the bastions, and giant figs crowning the ancient keep.
After touching at several other native settlements-last and prettiest of which was Angria-with precious islets set like emeralds on a sapphire sea, we skirted a coast of beetling crags and plains of palm, and came to Panjim, and anchored there. Panjim is, indeed, neither more nor less than Nova Goa, and the nearest place to where all the great churches lie. Thus, though our steamer was bound for Marmugäo, a little farther on, I came out of her at Panjim, with my bag, and my pillow, and all that was mine. The douaniers, though twirling their moustachios with an air of high authority, were magnificently kind, laying hand on heart with bows of obeisance, and let ting my bag pass in unsearched. Now that bag contained a bottle of improper spirits, which had kept me in a little simmer of fidget all along.
Our Scotch steward, told to empty three parts out and then fill up with water, had emptied only about one part out, so that, for purpose of temperate draught, his mixture was useless. Nevertheless, the bottle itself had come in handy. For, as the saint of old made his pillow of stone, so made I the bygone night, my pillow of that whiskey bottle. Well corked, and wrapped in trousers, it had raised my head and given me rest.
The inn at Panjim is the most wretched place of entertainment on the face of this habitable globe: a cowhouse and goat-shed below, a den of tnieves and vermin above. So black was the look of all about that, tired as I was, I concluded at once there must be no sleep. All bolts and locks had been cut adrift from both pair of the folding-doors which gave access to my Icrib, while in the roof above was a trap door, with chinks of light, and "mean whites" affecting to snore. Oppressed by fear that I might, peradventure, be lulled to rest, and drop off unawares,
bly to my succor, in generous emulation, and the night before approaching the shrine of St. Francis Xavier was one of as strict vigil as any poor penitent need wish to keep. The heat was stifling-not a breath of air, no punkah, and right pleasant the Angelus sounded in my ear, heralding the break of day. My vigil done, I rose with the sun, slew beasts of darkness, now in hot retreat to crannies of the scantling, had chota hazri, and scrambling into a prehistoric vehicle, started for the famous chapel two leagues out. Old Goa, where this chapel with the cathedral and the convents and churches alı are, was decimated by fever and cholera in (I think) 1695. After that visitation the survivors shifted their quarters, and built this city of Nova Goa, which its very self looks old to-day, and shows signs of collapse.
The six-mile drive out to old Goa is the prettiest far I have ever taken in the lowlands of India. Deep arms of bluest church-crowned islets, frontage of palm and mango, plumes of waving cane, with many a wayside cross and station. These are the things which catch the eye, as you move along the way. And they are all backed by most noble views of the Great Western
Ghât of Hindoostan.
Crossing a bridge of quaint device, the traveller comes on a causeway nine thousand feet long, bordering the sluggish Mandovi. A broad lagoon and paddy fields lie to his right, with waterbuffaloes wallowing in the fœtid mud. These things (with divers stenches) safely passed, comes a gentle ascent into the village of Ribandar: a village of which a pretty account may be had From in Dryden's life of our Saint. Ribandar onward to Goa, the "Rome of the East," our traveller's way is cast in twilight groves, with glorious peeps to seaward. Very pleasant birds cheer him with song, as he wends his pious way. Hard by the woods which fringe that road, stands a pillar of stone, black with age. In cruel days of savagedom gone by, they amputated the hands of such as wrote false news,
and laid them on this pillar. Blest are the penny-a-liners of this nineteenth century, that the days of that bloody pillar are past.
I don't quite see my way to write lucidly of Goa, and be perspicuous; it is none so easy to describe a city which is houseless. I find a shrewd forecast of its present estate, in an old author: "Wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged." A fair account of Goa, as far as it goes: I wish it had gone further, and saved me pains. But, take York; you, who know York. Thrust yourselves back into the sixteenth century. Conceive "bluff King Hal" (as you love to call that impious monster of lust) to have razed, not convents and abbeys, but the city wall, and every house of lay habitation. So best, perhaps, may you catch some faint glimpse of old Goa. For, of that ancient metropolis, there is nothing now left but its grand cathedral, with a remnant of churches, chapels, convents and monasteries. Of the two which stand last in my list, most are fast falling into roofless disrepair; and the remainder are all but untenanted. I went over one-a building grander than Magdalen or New-a magnificent solitude, with tapestries frayed and tattered, and the very saints looking sorrowful, and nodding to their fall. The sight of them filled me with profound pity. I suppose the Age of Faith really is gone forever. I suppose the goddess of reason (with her twin of trade) reigns supreme to-day.
At the great western gate of Bom Jesus, alighting from my bone-shaker, I stepped quickly into the dim religious light within doors. What I there saw it is not in me to say. I trusted all to photographs, and the photographs are not forthcoming. Besides, the man who goes on an errand of pilgrimage, is not so wide awake to outward
and visible signs as your curious globetrotter or Cook-conducted tourist. Suffice it to say, the splendid propriety of all around was far in excess of what I had been led to look for. The priest, to whose guidance I committed myself, had neither French nor English. Hence, Latin (not quite sterling) was the currency of our exchange. He was a gracious father, and seeing me come so far, had the miraculous relic exposed for my veneration and homage. In their treasure-house (which is itself a church), they brought forth, from carved chests of camphor wood and coffers of dressed cedar, the priceless vessels and vestments with which the piety of Catholic kings and queens has enriched this famous shrine.
After that which had brought me there was accomplished, I came away out of this church and explored: going first to a convent, in front of which stands the finest frangipani tree I ever The ground beneath was white as driven snow with fallen flowers, and That vast the air, for roods, luscious. conventual pile seemed full of echoes of the past and present emptiness. Cells had their doors broken off, or swinging loose and ant-eaten on broken hinge. The chapel, though rich in altars and ancient treasures, was disheartening for want of care. The refectory had fallen tiles and rubbish crumbling on its inlaid floor. Just three spiritless black nuns giggled faintly through a grille at the simplicity of a white, who had come all that way to buy a rosary.
Near this convent is the palace of the Inquisition: once of surpassing splendor, now a tree-grown labyrinth of ruins. All about are other religious houses, now suppressed and dismantled. The good people of Bombay will tell you that, in the autos-da-fé of Goa, one hundred and twenty-one persons were burned alive between the years 1600 As a matter of fact, out of and 1773. those one hundred and twenty-one persons, sixty-four were burned in effigy; while, of the rest, most were mercifully strangled before coming to the fire. James the First, during his not long reign, burned more hapless wretches
for impossible witchcrafts and sorceries, than ever the Holy Office burned for apostasy. But then, our British Solomon was a popular Protestant, while the grand Inquisitors were unpopular papists. However, two blacks don't make a white: nor have I one single wish to whitewash the Spanish Inquisition.
I merely wish to remark (in a spirit of utter meekness) that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander also.
It was well to high noon ere I got back from my round of church-going. All the citizens of Nova Goa were asleep when I re-entered their silent city. Protected by daylight, I, too, fell on my bed, and slept. The previous night, when sitting in the garden of King Domingo, a youth of Quillimane had accosted me; and his acquaintance enhanced the great joy of this, my too brief, stay in Goa. He had been sent, by his father on the Zambesi, for a year's schooling to St. Joseph's College at Bangalore, and had got a smattering of English there. Not unnaturally, he was glad of a chance to air his accomplishment; and most naturally, I was glad of a body to speak my mother tongue with.
In the cool of this Friday evening, my gentle guide led me to the statue of that famous lord and conqueror, Don Alfonso Albuquerque, and to whatever else seemed best worth the showing.
“Lusiad,” and extolling the fancy of his countrymen.
Strolling leisurely at eventide on the sea wall of Goa, and thus discoursing of poetry, pictures, and the blessed saints, the great Angelus bell, once the warning bell of their Pharos, boomed solemnly through the twilight. All who were sitting, rose; all who were walking, stood still: and, for the space of an Ave, perfect hush reigned around. Then we resumed our walk, saluting the first we met with a Buona Notte and raised cap. Such is invariably their civil mode and the strict etiquette of the hour.
Nova Goa might at all times stand for Irving's "Sleepy Hollow." It has neither gas nor ice, nor telegraph nor train; nor yet any disturbing element of trade whatsoever. During the monsoon no steamer comes nigh hand it: the rage of waters sets full upon its bar, and dams communication back. The amusements of the place are few. A military band plays on Sundays and Thursdays, and the people dance excessively; but you will search in vain for café, theatre, or restaurant. Pilgrimages and splendid pomps of Catholic ritual make the sum total of Goa's mild dissipation. To-day, indeed, weddings and balls are superadded, with a great show of masks; for the carnival is close at hand, and Lent looms dark behind.
My Mozambique guide conveyed me to a balustrade giving on the lagoon; He and there we sat, smoking cigarettes in the starlight, and watching the merry revels within doors. A ball at Goa lasts two nights: the first is for dancing, the last for supper. A dinner to beggars is its prelude; for fear the beggars should turn saucy, and throw stones. Food lubricates their insides, and mollifies their manners. Every lower window of Goa is, without exception, of laminated shells; an extraordinary fact, and one which it demands implicit faith in the narrator to credit. Each pane is about three inches square, set in stout framework of native wood, the windows themselves being bigger than ordinary house doors. All within, of course, is
He would gladly have been my cicerone throughout the day but had had his lessons to mind in the Lycée. spoke highly and gratefully of his masters there; and, on my addressing him in my best Frenchified Latin (where English failed), informed me that, with "every scholar both at the Lycée and in the church seminaries, Latin is compulsory; a piece of information which made the unscientific heart within me to leap for joy. He was a devout youth and a pure, this young man of Quillimane; receiving as truths (for he was of a generous mind and no coward) the sweet tales and legends he had learned at his mother's knee. Moreover, perhaps consequently, he was of singular refinement and a dainty intelligence; speaking lovingly of Camoens and his
twilight gloom; nor may any outsider guess what goes on there. But the windows of this house of revelry were out, for coolness sake; and also, perhaps, that the youth of Goa might delight itself in the nimble action of the dancers.
Shortly before midnight I left PanJim by the Shastri: going on board her in good time, to get things made straight on the upper deck for a muchneeded sleep, when she should have cast off and stood out to sea. But those evil beasts, which had found me such good eating ashore, must surely have sent out cards to all the élite of their Goan friends for a final banquet in my honor. When nobody seemed looking, I stole aft, stripped all my things off, and turning them inside out, banged them frantically against the taffrail. Even so, however, some few of the diners-out clung manfully to those fluttering rags; and, with appetites whetted by danger, and spirits unimpaired by loss of friends, returned lustily to the feast, when I had returned to my clothes. Thanks to the polité attention of these unbidden guests I was kept awake till after six bells in the middle watch (3 A. M.): and a strongminded steward shaking me up for coffee at sunrise, I can scarcely be accused of having overslept myself. Surely my visit to the shrine of St. Francis had not been without its manifest miracle of grace; for never once did I curse those accursed beasts, not even in my heart!
All next day we kept putting into lovely creeks and inlets, each with its enormous fort of crumbling ruin. Those famous forts and Genoese towers in the Dardanelles and Bosphorus are mere pigmies set side by side with these of the Malabar coast of India. At night the stars were unspeakably brilliant. From all the greater of such as rode low, came rays of steady light across the oily sea to kiss our vessel's side.
From 9 P.M. I slept till nearly 11 P.M., when the cries of a lusty child woke me up. This abominable black roared the night away with such unflagging zeal that all hope of further
sleep had to be given up, and I passed the time as best I could, pacing up and down, smoking, and watching the lightning. If I could once have come to close quarters with that young person, she should have had handsome reason for her squalls. As it was, she had none. It was neither pain nor grief which bade her moan, but simply that she was (like Kirke White) "all alone." Restless in a novel situation and vexed at the inattention of her slumbering family, this pernicious imp had evidently said, in its desperately wicked heart, "If I can't sleep myself, I'll take devilish good care nobody else shall." And nobly it kept its word; fulfilling a bad intention to the letter! I got pretty close up once, but bodies packed so tight that I could find no interstice of deck, defrauded me of my revenge, when all but within reach. Thus, though I saw the little fiend well enough-stark naked, but for a woman's poke bonnet on; and squirming like an eel above her prostrate kith and kin-I might by no means come at her, not even with the sharp ferule of my stick.
Making fast at the Carnac Bunder, just as the great glory of the day sprang from behind a lofty Ghât, I hailed a boat, and went aboard our own steamer. But for the fleas of Goa and the squalling brat of Shastri, I would have made a push for Baroda at once. As it was, want of sleep was turning to insomnia; and though I stayed quietly on board for two whole days, not one wink of sleep could I get by. hook or by crook.
bare. Possibly the trade might have recovered from this blow with the replanting of the vines, had not the Malagueños themselves chosen a delightfully characteristic way of fatally injuring
Finding they received larger orders than they could cope with, they ingenuously commenced shipping short weight, and exported eighteen pounds of raisins in boxes which, by rights, should contain twenty-two, and eighteen pounds of more or less rubbish at that. Naturally, this state of things could not last. Malaga fruit got a bad name in the world's markets, and simllar raisins began to be grown elsewhere. Denia (near Valencia), which previously only produced the common pudding raisin, took to growing the dessert fruit. Australia also started, and finally California became the worst competitor of all. So that, by the time the Malagueños came to the conclusion -based on experience, not on innate morality-that honesty is the best policy, they found that it was too late. The second reason for the decrease is the competition caused by the canning of fresh fruit in Canada and the United States. Raisins used to be nearly the only dessert obtainable in England in the early months of the year; now there are so many kinds of preserved fruit that they are all but forgotten.
For all that, the Malaga district is busy enough in autumn. Without describing the production of raisins too minutely, we may say that when the grapes-white, not black, as many people imagine-are ripe at the end of August or the beginning of September, they are spread out in the sun on the drying grounds (paseros) attached to each farm. The great question then is for them to get sufficient sunshine; if, as occasionally happens at that time of year, the sky is overcast, they have to be dried by means of ovens, to their very great detriment. Once sufficiently cured, they are packed in boxes, the loose raisins by themselves, the others according to the beauty and size of the bunches and the fruit. The finest are arranged in artificial bunches with the most exquisite skill, and a clever laborer can only prepare one or two of
these boxes in a day. From the farms they are transported on donkeys to the town, and there stored in warehouses, whence they are sold to the merchants for shipment abroad. Perhaps the most curious fact connected with them is that, beyond the shippers, nobody appears to make a penny out of the fruit. The farmer grows his crop at a steady deficit, the warehouseman in town has generally advanced more money to the farmer than he ever gets back; while the dealer, be it in England, America, or on the Continent, simply buys raisins because his customers for more profitable articles expect him to keep them in stock against an occasional order.
As may be imagined, many farmers have already abandoned raisins in despair. A worthy Colonial, who came to Malaga with a view to learning something about their cultivation, and applying his knowledge in Australia, was thereby led to write a pamphlet, showing how fine an opening was offered to English farmers in Spain. Land and vines were to be had for a song. All they had to do was to go south, apply their knowledge and superior intelligence to raisin growing, and after a few years return to England with their fortunes made. The pamphlet was cordially received by Foreign Office officials as wise as its author, and was immediately published by government. Fortunately, it attracted but little attention. Still, the writer is acquainted with one young Englishman who eagerly embraced the scheme, only to discover, on his arrival in Malaga, what every one there already knewnamely, that Spanish farmers understood more about raisins than he, the Englishman, would learn in a lifetime, and secondly, that wheat-growing in England meant a gold-mine compared to fruit-farming in Spain. So, wisely desisting from his project he took to growing vegetables for the English market instead, and was rewarded by dropping scarcely half the money he would have lost had he gone in for raisins.
This, considering the present state of agriculture in Spain, may be called a highly creditable result.