Saturday, 7 February 2009

General Grant, 1878

Don Fernando talked to Grant about California and the Pacific coast, and said he should like to visit it, and finally gave him a warm invitation to visit his palace at Cintra, some fifteen miles from Lisbon. He gladly ac cepted it, for it is one of the sights especially worth see ing in Portugal, while the drive to it is delightful. The interior of the palace is not unlike that of many others, but the outside effect, and the view from the top are wonderful. It is built on the summit of a rocky, isolated hill, 3,000 feet high. From its base, the descent to the village is gradual, and passes all the way through exquis ite gardens. On the other side you look from the dizzy height, almost sheer clown to trees and rocks piled at the bottom in chaotic confusion. Beyond, the chasm slopes up green, rich fields, while beyond lie the Torres Vedras, and still farther is the blue sea, stretching away till it melts in the distant horizon. The Tagus winds at your feet toward the ocean, through forests and hills, while palaces, and fields, and gardens dot the landscape. Having feasted on this glorious landscape, Grant and his party mounted their donkeys, and rode through the woods and gardens, to Montserrat, where the Englishman, Beckford, built a magnificent chateau, but which is now owned by a wealthy English merchant named Cook. The grounds are unequaled, and the view from the chateau almost as fine as that from Cintra.

General left Philadelphia 17th May 1877, arriving in Liverpool 28th May. He was to make a world tour lasting over two years. He visited Spain and Portugal in the autumn of 1878.

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