Thursday, 9 July 2009

Camellias in Portugal (Edward Hyams, 1960 )

My title this week is slightly fraudulent, for although I do indeed want to say something about camellias, it is really an excuse to write about the Portuguese gardens I have been looking at during the past few days. all public gardens, and all with camellias in flower, as indeed, the camellias in the West Country, not much less than a thousand miles further north, are, as to the earlies, in flower. Which is one more item of evidence that we have the best gardening climate in the world.

Because their delicate flowers can be kept at perfection for much longer by giving these shrubs the protection of glass, the myth that camellias are not hardy has been widely propagated. The fact is they are quite as hardy as the hardy rhododendrons, and incidentally, require the same kind of soil, although I doubt whether they are quite so implacably ‘calicifuge’. I have three specimens, two very small and one medium-sized and growing fast : all are on the north wall of the house, which delays their flowering, so that the flowers when they appear are not exposed to damage by morning sun after night frost. I noticed that even in Portugal persistent rain, although it was warm rain, browns the edges of the petals, especially of the white and pale rose varieties.

One of the best displays of camellias I have ever seen – as of rhododendrons – was at Heligan, in Cornwall, where plants of both these genera have attained tree size. But there is an avenue of tree-sized camellias as far east as Battle Abbey, in Sussex. Not for years, however, have I seen anything like the camellia garden of the Penha [Pena] palace near Sintra, in Portugal : I do not know its extent, but one can walk for a long time by winding, cobbled paths among coppices of camellias some of which are certainly twenty feet tall, and all of which are large, healthy and free-flowering. The flowers are every shade of rose-pink to deep crimson, and one or two of the shrubs flowered almost orange, while many were white. I saw no singles, which is a pity, for I think them even more beautiful than the doubles. In fact, I fancy that a real camellia specialist would criticise this lovely garden on the grounds that, although well kept like all the Portuguese gardens I saw, there have been few recent plantings of new and improved varieties, such as those produced from the Chinese species Camellia saluensis, and C. x williamsi. But this is carping: a garden must be considered as an integral work of art, not a botanical collection, and on those terms the Penha Palace camellia garden, with the sound of running water for ever in one’s ears, the hilly site, the interplantings of great New Zealand tree-ferns, rhododendrons, exotic conifers, araucarias, the splashes of golden yellow from the mimosa and other acacias – many of them large trees, growing beyond the camellia zone – and the way in which resting-places have been contrived at points which give one a view over the garden so that one can see the whole beauty of the camellias in flower, is one of the finest in the world.

In a sense, the Penha Palace garden is an English garden, in so far as it is laid out with consummate art to suggest nature. This is equally true of another remarkable garden, also very rich in camellias, not very far away – I think it was about a fifteen-minute drive, certainly not more – the garden of Monserrat [Monserrate]. But as it was, apparently, made by an Englishman (I had some difficulty in understanding the name as pronounced by my Portuguese driver, but I think it was Sir Herbert Cook), the Bodnant-like layout is not surprising. I use that comparison advisedly, for I was reminded of Bodnant by the extreme hilliness of the site, the maze-like wanderings of innumerable, well kept paths, the ubiquity of water, and the art with which species from the four corners of the earth had been combined to produce a natural landscape of tranquillising beauty which yet could never have happened in nature; that is, without the aid of a skilled artist-gardener.

Since I have compared Bodnant to Monserrat it should be said that Bodnant brings together more, and horticulturally more interesting, species. Monserrat is now Government property, and it is very well kept, but the hand of a master-gardener, breeding new hybrid shrubs and constantly planting the best new varieties, the hand, in short, of a Charles Puddle at Bodnant, is missing. But that having been said, this enormous Portuguese garden – where for an hour and a half after I was due out I still wandered, completely lost – is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Of the shrubs and trees, camellias, a very early cream and mauve rhododendron, acacias, including florists’ mimosa, mahonias in several species, and various prunus and pyrus ornamentals were in flower (January 20). The scent of the mimosa and the sound of water from streams and waterfalls filled the garden as a background to birdsong. Oh, yes, and magnolias, their vast heads of bllom standing out very handsomely against such strange garden-fellows as tree-ferns nine or ten feet tall and colossal agaves, and overtopped only by tall palms and eucalyptus trees.

Camellias, again, are a feature of the municipal gardening in Lisbon itself. Lisbon is a city of outstanding charm in two kinds : on the one hand, the old, very steep, winding and richly coloured streets of the ancient city – not so ancient, really since most of it was destroyed in the great earthquake which features in Voltaire’s Candide – and on the other, magnificent, broad double avenues, with two or four carriageways separated by gardens. In those gardens, those in the Avenida de la Libertad [Avenida da Liberdade], for example, I saw not only camellias in flower, but numerous annuals and perennials as different in kind as stocks and marigolds, and arum lily and Strelitzia regina, the latter with its strange orange and blue flowers like the head of a crane or heron. To the most remarkable of the gardens of Lisbon, however, I propose to devote a whole page – the covered, tropical garden called the ‘Estufa Fria’, at one end of the lovely Edward VII Park, is worth all that. Meanwhile, to return to camellias, in a more brass-tacks spirit for the benefit of gardeners who have never tried planting them, but might like to try now that the myth of their tenderness has been disposed of.

Edward Hyams
Originally published in the Illustrated London News,
February 20, 1960

Pleasure from Plants
London, Longmans, 1966
pp. 135-138

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Nouvelles annales des voyages, et des sciences géographiques

(Translated from Moyle Sherer “Recollections of the Peninsula” 1827)

En deux heures de marche assez lente, un cabriolet conduit de Lisbonne à Quéluz, petite ville auprès de laquelle la reine a un palais d'été. Le pays que l'on traverse n'offre rien de remarquable, excepté des champs entourés de haies d'agave qui sont d'une dimension prodigieuse et d'une beauté extraordinaire. Ces plantes sont entremêlées d'opuntia ou figuiers d'Inde, dont l'aspect n'a rien d'agréable.
Le palais de Quéluz n'est pas beau, la' décoration des appartemens n'étant ni élégante ni magnifique ; il y a quelques jolies glaces, mais l'ameublement est antique et en mauvais état. Le jardin correspond au caractère du palais; il est symétrique et d'un goût baroque; les arbres, les haies, les bordures sont taillés au ciseau dans toutes les formes possibles. Des statues massives, des bustes défigurés et des fontaines mal dessinées complètent le tableau.
En moins de trois heures nous arrivâmes à Cintra. A mesure que l'on approche de cette ville, le paysage est vraiment enchanteur. La variété et la belle végétation des bois qui tapissent le flanc de la montagne, dont la tête s'élève au-dessus de la ville, la teinte brune éclatante ou plutôt dorée des mousses qui couvrent, sa -surface près de sa crête, et les rochers nus, grisâtres et raboteux qui couronnent ses cimes les plus élevées, forment un tableau qui ne peut être dessiné avec fidélité que par le crayon d'un artiste ou la plume d'un poète. La ville, quoique:très-élevée, est beaucoup au-dessous du haut de la montagne, et à l'entour tout est beau, ombragé et tranquille. L'écorce blanche, sillonnée, et la forme fantastique du liège au feuillage pâle , la verdure foncée de l'olivier, le vert éclatant et les fruits dorés des orangers, les vignes en treillis, le géranium sauvage, toutes ces plantes se réunissent pour donner à l'aspect de la nature un agrément qui, pour l'œil d'un habitant du Nord , a un charme nouveau et irrésistible. Nous ne tardâmes pas à quitter notre auberge; et, montés sur des ânes, nous gagnâmes le couvent qui est situé près du sommet de la montagne de Cintra. On peut rêver dans la posture qui fait plaisir sur un bât couvert d'un drap vert ; car il est réellement surprenant de voir avec quelle agilité et quelle sûreté ces animaux mènent leurs cavaliers par des sentiers rocailleux , inégaux, escarpés et dangereux.
Un moine nous reçut à la porte du couvent et nous conduisit 'partout. C'est un édifice peu [190] remarquable ; mais sa position est incomparable pour sa singularité et sa hardiesse. Ce monastère est entièrement séparé du peste du monde; de là, l'œil peut tantôt se promener à perte de vue sur l'immensité de l'Océan atlantique , tantôt se reposer sur de jolies vallées, ou sûr des ravines «ombres qui sont beaucoup plus bas. L'oreille aussi peut saisir d'un côté le son rauque de la tempête qui commence, ou écouter d'un autre ces voix douces et agréables qui annoncent les occupations rustiques elle bonheur des champs.
Si un homme, à l'âge de cinquante ans, se trouvoit seul dans le monde, sans femme, sans parens, sans amis, il pourroit se retirer dans cette demeure pour y terminer ses jours. Quand la mort emporte les objets de nos affections, où chercher des consolations ? Ce n'est pas quand l'âge a commencé à nous faire éprouver ses atteintes que l'on peut espérer d'inspirer de la tendresse ou de serrer de nouveau les liens de l'amitié. Oui, je me dis qu'il est des positions dans la vie où le calme d'un monastère écarté apporteroit de la consolation à une âme blessée. Plût au ciel que les cloîtres ne fussent remplis que de semblables enfans de l'infortune !
A peu de distance de ce couvent, sur une autre éminence très-âpre, s'élève un ancien château bâti par les Maures, qui n'a rien de remarquable que d'avoir été habité par ce peuple. J'y restai un [191] quart d'heure ; mon imagination me le représentoit peuplé de ses défenseurs musulmans. Je regardois le magnifique spectacle qui m'entouroit, et je me disois qu'eux aussi avoient contemplé l'Océan, et que leurs yeux s'étoient reposés sur les prairies verdoyantes et sur les bosquets sombres qui, en ce moment, étoient étalés devant moi. Il y a du plaisir à associer ainsi des idées de choses différentes, et à pouvoir en quelque sorte faire revivre les objets et les images autour- de soi, plaisir que tous les hommes Oût senti ; et que j'essaierois en vain de définir, mais duquel découle en grande partie le charme' des voyages.
Dans une autre partie de ces montagnes, et dans une situation moins aérienne, il y a un couvent bâti au milieu de rochers sauvages et romantiques ; c'est une véritable curiosité : murs , portes, meubles, tout est en liège. De pauvres et humbles Franciscains l'habitent ; ils ont un jardin et une petite orangerie ; ils nous présentèrent des fruits avec beaucoup de politesse, et pâturent très-reconnoissans de la bagatelle que nous leur donnâmes.
Nos chevaux nous conduisirent de là, par un sentier très-agréable, à la Quinta de Coularès, si célèbre par ses vins délicieux. La vallée est superbe : dans une partie, il y a' une maison bâtie, vingt ans auparavant, par un Anglois, possesseur d'une grande fortune. Cette demeure,. entouré [192] de tout ce qui peut en faire un séjour digne d'envie, est dans un état complet de désolation et de ruine. Cet homme opulent l'avoit arrangée avec une magnificence digne d'un prince ; mais les richesses ne peuvent fermer l'accès au chagrin, au mécontentement, aux maladies, à la honte. Quelques-uns de ces hôtes incommodes le chassèrent de ce manoir voluptueux ; ensuite les vents et les pluies du ciel, comme pour se jouer des vains projets de bonheur formés par les hommes, ont presque détruit ce temple merveilleux du plaisir.
A notre retour a l'auberge de Cintra, nous trouvâmes un bon dîner préparé et servi à l'angloise. Du vin de Coularès , bien rafraîchi et ressemblant beaucoup au vin de Bordeaux, ne lais-soit rien à désirer aux gourmets. Fatigués, mais enchantés de notre journée, nous nous retirâmes dans des chambres bien meublées, et où les lits étoient excellens.
Le lendemain, je me levai de bonne heure et je visitai le palais : c'est un bâtiment très-ancien et fort curieux. On reconnoît, à des signes évidens, qu'il a été bâti sur cet emplacement avec les matériaux d'un édifice maure.
Tous les appartemens sont pavés en grands carreaux rouges, et ornés d'une sorte de figures blanches très-dégradées par le temps. Dans une pièce on montre aux étrangers un sentier tracé par les [193] pas précipités et inquiets d'un roi qui, il y a près de cent cinquante ans, fut enfermé pendant quinze ans dansée château. Durant ce temps, Alphonse VI continua de porter le vain titre de roi, tandis que Pierre, son frère cadet, beau, actif, entreprenant, portoit le sceptre du Portugal, après avoir épousé la femme qui avoit été mariée au prince détrôné. Les historiens s'accordent à représenter Alphonse comme un prince aussi foible de corps que d'esprit : j'espère, pour la cause de l'humanité , que ce rapport est vrai ; mais, dans les pays où la liberté civile et religieuse est refusée au sujet, la vérité est souvent torturée d'une manière étrange.
Je ne pouvois me décider à partir de Cintra sans visiter la belle maison de campagne du marquis de Marialva. J'en fus très-satisfait : c'est un magnifique séjour. Un appartement me frappa par son élégance ; il étoit tapissé en beau satin blanc, avec des bordures et des corniches en or; tout l'ameublement éloit également en blanc et en or; il y avoit aussi de grandes dalles de marbre d'une beauté extraordinaire.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Narrative of a Voyage to Madeira

Narrative of a Voyage to Madeira, Teneriffe and Along the Shores of the Meditteranean
W. R. Wilde
Dublin 1844

The immense suburbs through which we passed, showed Lisbon to be a city of much larger size than from the sea we should be inclined to suspect. The roads, paved with enormous blocks of limestone, are execrable; the carriages have no springs, and are worse appointed than the vilest London cab. Shade of M'Adam! had you been qualified for purgatory, you surely would have been sent to jolt out your period on the Cintra road. The seats of the nobility in the neighbourhood of Lisbon are little better than English farm-houses, with one exception, the delightful residence of the Baron Quintilla, a great friend of the queen, who has every thing about him fitted up in English style. The country along the road presents the greatest sameness; its brown aspect, without a single spot to relieve the eye, renders the drive of fifteen miles for the most part uninteresting and monotonous. Not a hedge-row is to be seen, and but a few vines and dingy olives, with the agave or American aloe, which grows in great luxuriance, bordering the roads and enclosures. The country appears to be but thinly populated, and the only objects in the landscape are the water-towers, and numerous small aqueducts, all running towards the valley of Alcantara. As we approached Cintra, the air became much cooler, and that noble mountain concentrated all our admiration, its rugged outline being exhibited in the sharpest relief against a back-ground of the most gorgeous purple, which marked the setting glories of the god of day.

While yet some miles from our journey's end, our sorry nags got blown, and the sable postillion regaled them with bread steeped in wine ; and then remounting, plied whip and spur with an energy that would have awakened the spirit of Dick Martin, had it been in the neighbourhood; but all in vain. He again dismounted, and, coolly unharnessing each poor brute separately, belaboured him on the road side with a huge club which he carried in the boot for the purpose. Again they were put to, and blacky practising every refinement upon the art of " touching upon the raw," and occasionally strengthening his meagre carcase with a pull at the wine flask, and his more meagre soul by an appeal to the saints, and a variety of crossings, he at length brought us late in the evening to Cintra. If possible, see this place by moonlight, as by day the barrenness of the surrounding country detracts greatly from the beauty of the scene. The bold mountain scenery—the lemon and orange groves—the waving rows of cane, with their nodding, plume-like tops—the beautiful and picturesque village itself—the old Moorish castle on the hills above, crowned by the Penha convent, and the lofty domes of the royal palace beneath—make this the most attractive spot in Portugal.

An additional charm is given to the scene by the ivy-clad walls, covered at top by amarylles and crimson geraninms, which flourish here in the greatest profusion and brilliancy, and by the huge evergreen oaks and cork-trees, (on which grows a beautiful parasitic fern,) intertwined with vines that spread their graceful festoons from branch to branch. There is a handsome prome-[46] nade, surrounded by rows of elms and tulip trees; at the lower end are the houses of two nobles, with their odious pink fronts and ugly busts. It was in one of those " the Convention" was signed. Our fare at the English hotel, and the Port and Col- lares, were very passable; I wish I could say as much for the beds, which were of flock, lumpy, uncomfortable, and tenanted by myriads of bugs.

The morning after our arrival we procured donkeys to ascend the heights. The road winds in a zigzag course up the steep, which, though most precipitous, our little animals climbed in safety. As we ascended, the scene beneath gradually disclosed itself. Cintra, its detached houses, the church and palace, rising out of the rich foliage of vines and elms, and, still further down the ravine, the numerous groves of orange and olive trees, watered by rills of the purest crystal, collected from the neighbouring heights—and the mountain itself, bold, rugged, and composed of blocks of granite boulders, with scarcely a blade of any thing green between—all added to the grandeur of our prospect. The outer wall of the ancient Moorish castle surrounds one of the secondary heights, and as it creeps from rock to rock, is guarded at short intervals by round or square towers, many of which are perched on enormous blocks of granite ; while the inner wall above, looks as if cast round the neck of the peak, like a collar, and the summit is crowned by the square black walls of the Morisco Fortalice, within which are the remains of an ancient bath and mosque. It must have been a place of great strength ; but there is nothing in the shape of inscription to declare the origin or the founder.

We continued our way to the Penha convent, which tops the highest pinnacle of the range; and in its eyrie-like position, looks like one of those small turrets that jut out from the walls of our ancient castles. With much difficulty we urged our donkeys up the steep ascent on which the convent stands ; the massive gate had fallen from its hinges—the grass had grown over the well-paved yard—the garden fence had been long since demolished, and the nettle and the hemlock had choked up its walls and parterres. No burly friar came to bid us welcome—no lay-brother ran to hold our donkeys—and although it was the Sabbath morning, silence and desolation reigned throughout.

The only disturbers of its solitude were a few jackdaws, that [47] cawed and fluttered round the chimney-tops, scared at our loud knocking, which reverberated through the building, and some straggling sheep, whose tinkling bells we heard as they leaped over the garden-wall at our approach. All else was silent, upon a day when these rocks and valleys so often rung with " the toll of the summoning bell," and the surrounding peasantry in their gay attire filled its courts, or knelt before its altar; for now, wretchedness, ruin, and decay have taken up their abode, where for so many years peculiar sanctity was believed to dwell. Our uproar for admission at last appeared to wake its only inmate, a wretched old woman, who admitted us, after a reconnoitring glance through one of the side windows. In the outer court stands the entrance to the church, the chief object of attraction here ; it is a square porch, supported on four pillars of singular twisted rope-work, with knobs between, from which springs a light and elegantly- groined roof; but on the top of this portico they have stuck a contemptible little spire, covered with the eternal Dutch tile, that quite spoils the architectural effect.

The chapel itself is small; the doorway is an old round arch, deeply groined, and of exquisite workmanship, and the altar, which reaches to the roof, is looked upon as a piece of most elaborate art. All is going fast to ruin, even the figures of saints and virgins that still stand upon the altar are losing their tinselled finery, which is now falling to rags, and the tabernacle or shrine was thrown into a corner, and is mouldering to decay. The monks themselves have been all driven hence, and the whole pile, amongst the cloisters and arcades of which many beautiful specimens of Moorish architecture are to be found, wears an aspect of loneliness that lends its saddening influence even to the casual visitor.

The view from the Penha is most extensive; beyond Cintra, and the wooded heights of Collares, all inland appears a brown, barren waste, as far as the eye can reach ; but seaward, the prospect is glorious. The Tagus, from above Lisbon, is traceable to the ocean; while, to the north, the tall towers of Mafra rise high above the horizon, and close the view.

In our ride over the mountains we passed the Cork convent, a most romantic spot, and so hidden among the rocks, that you see nothing of it till you get between two large blocks of stone that form the entrance. Inside, it is completely covered with the [48] rough bark of the cork tree ; the simple friars had decorated the altar, opposite the entrance, with pieces of china, broken plates, shells, and bits of coral from the coast, not inaptly resembling a baby-house ; but it too is abandoned to neglect and to the ruthless hand of time. Its community consisted of only two or three capuchins, the last remaining of whom, taking the strong hint afforded by the treatment of his brethren of De Penha, decamped with the plate and the little treasure belonging to his house. In the garden we found a full-sized figure of our Saviour lying on its face, imbedded in the soft earth, and the crown of thorns, that had bound its brow, in one of the adjoining walks! A few short years, nay, almost months ago, this figure was held to be one of the most sacred in Portugal, and none of the neighbouring peasantry went to their daily work without paying their devotions to it. What then shall we say for the religion of such a land ? Religion there is none ; infidelity has usurped the place of ignorance and blind devotion, and now stalks naked throughout the length and breadth of the Peninsula, but more particularly in Portugal. By the present constitution, no male religious houses are permitted; all priestly orders have been abolished—the monks and friars have been driven from their princely establishments to live upon the sum of one and sixpence a-day, and their estates and large revenues confiscated to the crown. What the French Revolution commenced, and Napoleon carried on, Don Pedro, and the glimmering of enlightenment now breaking on this land, have completed. It is in contemplation to do away with the different nunneries; but it is to be hoped that ample provision will be made for the helpless inmates, before such a measure is adopted; and I have no doubt but that it is one which will be hailed with the truest gratitude by every signorita in Portugal.

The parochial clergy, the only ones permitted here, have little influence over the people ; and it is a singular fact, that so far from assisting the monks, when driven from their homes, the peasantry refused them the necessaries of life, or even the shelter of a cottage roof; and this to men before whom they had so lately knelt, and who exercised over them a spiritual tyranny neither tolerated nor known in any other country. What, it may be asked, has become of such a large body of men, who had no trade, and are prohibited from following their profession ? It is not to be expected that persons like these, reared in luxury, and living on the [49] bucks of Mafra and the wines of Collares, could support themselves on two pistarines a day; and it cannot be said of them, as of the unjust steward, that by their liberality they made for themselves " friends of the mammon of unrighteousness." Most of them have left Portugal; many will be found under the banners of Don Carlos, having exchanged the church quiescent for the church militant; and not a few in Great Britain, perhaps within the walls of Stoneyhurst, or Clongowes.

We returned through Collares, a deserted village, its fountains dry, and Quint as uninhabited, the present state of politics making their noble owners exiles. We rested ourselves at a cool wineshop, and enjoyed a glass of the light claret which takes its name from this place. It is a thin, rough wine, agreeable in flavour, and weak enough to be drunk in tumblers—the vin ordinaire of this part of the country.

We took the lower road on our return, and enjoyed the magnificent view of the scenery along the wooded sides of the mountains through which we passed. With the exception of the lovely lemon and orange groves, the foliage of Portugal has not the green and refreshing tint of that of England, nor can it boast the glowing, mellow hues of our autumnal landscapes, as all the green has a rusty, brownish appearance, like that of the dingy olive. Quantities of those picturesque and noble trees, the stone pine, grow upon the heights, and their seed is much used as food by the poorer classes, whose children collect the cones, and beat them with mallets till the seed drops out; these are boiled soft, pounded in mortars, and used as beans are in other countries.

17th. We rose early in the morning and visited the far-famed palace of Cintra—an immense building in the Moorish style, presenting a confused jumble of courts and terraces, and although composed of innumerable apartments, possessing hardly one good room. All the pillars and window-frames are twisted and much covered with carving and fret-work—the latter completely spoiled, however, by their immense heavy green sashes. " The hall of swans," so called from having the likeness of that bird framed in every panel of the walls and ceiling, is of goodly size and proportion. To another may be given the name of " magpie-hall," in the domed roof of which each panel contains the representation of a magpie, holding in his claw a rose entwined in a ribbon, on which are the words "por ben," " for good." The story connected with [50] it is, that a certain king was discovered by his queen in this very room kissing one of the maids of honour, who held a magpie on her arm ; on seeing her majesty he exclaimed, " por ben," the Portuguese "honi soit." The queen withdrew; but on the king's leaving for Lisbon, a few days after, she had this room thus decorated against his return. A small chamber, tiled completely over, is shown as that in which Don Sebastian held his last council before his ill-fated African expedition. Our guide next conducted us to a small attic room, where, assuming a most rueful aspect, he informed us, that Don Alfonzo the VI. was imprisoned by his queen for upwards of nine years :—unfit to rule his kingdom or his wife. The whole of the flooring, except where his pallet stood, is worn by the footsteps of the poor captive. The only other object worth mentioning is what we may call " the hall of stags"—the panels in the walls and dome of this handsome apartment having each a stag painted in the centre, with a shield hung from its neck, on which are emblazoned the arms of some one of the nobility of Portugal, and bearing the crest between the horns. The devices of the princes of the blood-royal form the upper range ; and below, the wall represents a stag-hunt in blue tile. As the present poor queen is not now allowed to enjoy the sweets of this beautiful retreat, the whole has gone much out of repair, and the furniture is hardly fit for a plain English gentleman.

Most of the English residents have houses at Cintra. A pic-nic was got up to-day, to which we were kindly invited. The rendezvous was one of the Quintas a few miles distant, and thither we now bent our steps, accompanied by three " cheeping middies," that morning let loose from their wooden prisons in the Tagus. Our walk lay by Montserrat—formerly the princely mansion of Beckford; now mouldering in ruins. It was an exceedingly elegant and tasteful building, in the English style, but scarcely a vestige of its roof now remains ; and within its once highly decorated halls and costly chambers, the bramble, the thorn, and the thistle, flourish in undisturbed luxuriance. A few short years more, and a guide will have to lead the traveller to the spot where the eccentric author of Vathcc held his court. It is a most romantic spot, commanding in its prospect every beauty that Cintra and the surrounding country affords. The lofty, tree-clad mountains behind, the undulating cultivated plain before—in the dis- [51] tance, the illimitable sea—and around, long slopes of vineyards, with groves of the finest orange and lemon trees—force an exclamation of rapture, sadly qualified by regret at the utter destruction to which this most lovely of retreats is fast hastening. On the western turret still stands the flag-staff from which the silken banner of old England so often fluttered in the breeze ; it seemed conscious of the dignity it once possessed, and in defiance of the ruin going on around, was determined to " spin it out, and fight it to the last." One of the largest Tangerine orange trees in Portugal flourishes in the lawn, and clumps of magnificent arbutus, not to be surpassed by even those of our own dear Killarney, border the ravine that separates the demesne from the hills behind ; but scarcely a trace of the walks and pleasure-grounds now remains. Our picnic went off as well as meals of that comfortless description generally do ; dancing followed; and having seen the ladies safely mounted on their donkeys, we strolled quietly home by moonlight.

The principal society in this part of the country is English, as the present Portuguese aristocracy are either beggars or exiles; and the few who do not come under this description, decline society, from disgust at the unceremonious deprivation of the power and honours they had so long exclusively enjoyed. On this account strangers see little of Portuguese manners or society, and what they do see is generally at the houses of the English residents.

Next morning we bade adieu to Cintra, and turned our faces towards Mafra. The roads are so unfit for carriages that we were obliged to ride. We traversed a most barren and thinly populated country, still worse than any we had yet seen; it looks a perfect desert, except where an occasional lemon or orange grove creeps up the sides of a ravine, owing its existence to the fertilizing power of some neighbouring spring. The small village of Penado was the only collection of houses we met for the distance of twelve miles. The gorge in which this picturesque hamlet is situated, is spanned by an enormous bridge of blue limestone, taken from the neighbouring quarry—an inspection of the fossil shells of which will well repay the traveller's trouble. On the other side of the ravine the porphyritic limestone breaks out; but the principal rock in this part of the kingdom is the common grey marble, the strata of which appear above the surface in many places.

Through Spain and Portugal

Ernest Clifford Peixotto
New York, Scribner’s 1922

The Serra de Cintra, that purple silhouette that [87]we had first beheld from the ocean, is an exceedingly beautiful succession of hills in whose dimples nestle glens of surpassing loveliness. In them you might fancy yourself in some tropic land — in Guatemala, for example — for tree-ferns spread their umbrella- like fronds over cascades and splashing waters; laurestinas and daturas grow in rich profusion, while roses and ferns cover the huge oak and cork trees, and under your feet the petals of azaleas, magenta, pink and gray, mingle with rich camellias and magnolias to form a carpet soft and rich in color as the weave of a Persian loom. Such a vale is lovely Monserrate, the princely quinta laid out by Beckford, of Fonthill, centuries ago and still owned by an Englishman, Sir Francis Cook, who draws hisPortuguese title of Visconde therefrom.

I think I prefer, however, mysterious Penha Verde, once the home of Dom Joao de Castro, an honest man who died with but a single vintem in his coffers, though there had passed through his hands the untold wealth of India, of which he was governor for many years. All the reward he asked for his successful siege of Diu was the hill with the six trees, upon which the chapel now stands — a knoll over- [38] looking the lovely valley of Collares, and a vast expanse of glen and hillsides of dense pine woods mounting to rocky summits that touch the fleecy sea clouds. Penha Verde is a sad dark park, if you will, but filled with romantic charm — with mossy statues aligning green-carpeted pathways and, at unexpected corners, capillas and quaint fountains adorned with rare Talavera tiles depicting homely scenes of rustic beauty.

But Cintra's chief enchantment is the wonderful drive up the mountain to the two highest points in the range, one crowned by the old Moorish castle walls, hung in mid-air as it were, the other by the Palace of the Pena.

While the road is undoubtedly beautiful upon a sunny morning, with the pungent odor of the pines in your nostrils and glimpses at each turn over plain and valley as you mount ever higher and higher, I shall never forget it on a certain forenoon when the sky was gray and leaden. During the night the sea fog had driven in and blotted the hills from sight. We thought it would lift later, however, so called a coachman and started up.

First, the vapory clouds were well above our heads [39] but, as we mounted, the air freshened and the pines began to bend and their needles to hum in the gathering wind. Then all but the nearest objects vanished; then the vapors would lift again and dim silhouettes appear like prints on Japanese kakemonos: writhing tree-forms and great granite boulders. Each twist of the road brought us more completely into a realm of dreams, of goblin-shapes and grotesque outlines, until we turned at last through a gate, a green-coated official saluted us, and we strained up to a massive portal — a fantastic creation in the dim light like the entrance to an enchanted castle.

Here I sketched for a while until patches of blue opened above my head and flecks of sunshine darted through the trees. The areas of clear sky grew larger, and then, as if by the wand of a magician, the sun dispersed the cohorts of the fogs and mists and the noonday burst serene.

I climbed to the aerial terraces of the castle and there below lay the great province of Estremadura spread out like a map in every direction. What a sense of space, of vision without limit ! What exhilaration to stand in this proud eagle's nest and survey the unbroken stretch of land and sea ! [40]

Vast plains dotted with pink-roofed farms and villages stretched to the northward and to the eastward — to the spires of Mafra's convent as large as the Escorial; to the lines of Torres Vedras, where Wellington finally stopped the all-conquering march of the Napoleonic armies; to the faint blue mountains, one behind the other, that culminate at last in the Estrella, the Mountains of the Stars.

But the eye quickly turns from these and focuses upon the mouth of the Tagus, the source of Lisbon's beauty and of its wealth — its raison d'etre. This, too, is the high light of the picture, though the city itself half hides behind its hills. All lines lead to it: the glittering white roads drawn like ribbons over the green fields; the dazzling sickle of the white sand-bars that skirt the sea to the south; even the vessels that creep in and out from the broad blue Atlantic stretching forever to the westward.

And again I thought of all the mariners that had set out upon this treacherous sea, so many of them never to return, and of their comrades, who, even if they did survive, bronzed and grizzled by their buffets, came back stricken with strange tropical fevers. Yet others persevered, with the indomitable [41] spirit of their forebears, bringing home the first black men from Cabo Branco to work the fields of the Algarves, the spices and ivory from Guinea, and,finally, when the goal was reached, the wealth of Malabar and Burma to the gates of Lisbon. And yet in a single century after this golden age of achievement, sapped by corruption and enervated by its new-found wealth, the little Portuguese nation,shorn of its colonies, had sunk from its position as the wealthiest and proudest in Europe to be a mere province of Spain. This is the lesson that its history teaches: that not upon its wealth and commercial prosperity does the greatness of a nation depend so much as upon the high ideals and endeavors and the stout hearts and rugged sinews of its people.

Many times during our stay in Cintra did I walk these castle terraces, now, since the departure of the royal family, freely open to all, and always did I find new beauty in the changing moods of the picture.

Fair Lusitania : Castello da Peña


Lady Jackson
Jackson, Catherine Hannah Charlotte Elliott, lady, d. 1891
London, R. Bentley and Son

Chapter XIV


We had finished our breakfast of coffee, pão Hespanhol, fresh Cintra butter, strawberries, peaches, and figs, before the burrinhos had yet made their appearance. They had been ordered on our way, before entering the “Hospedaria Lawrence;" but the man who owned them of course concealed the fact that the animals were then in the market-place, and
had been employed since the early morning in carrying market produce to and fro. He, however, informed us of it as an excuse for the delay, forgetting that he had exacted much more than he was entitled to, on account of the greater extent than was usual, as he hinted, of the excursion we then proposed to make. But the donkeys were more honest than their owner. Evidently they had an inkling of what was before them, and not being disposed to carry us up to the Peña, they absolutely declined to be mounted. We dismissed them, but it cost them a flogging, poor brutes. Being provided with fresh ones, we set off on our expedition, at a trot.

Why one should be obliged to go jolting up the hill on donkeys I cannot conceive. The road is much [178] improved since I last climbed it, and is so good — for, though winding, the ascent is very gradual — that pony-carriages or donkey-chaises might be used. I very soon dismounted, and walked more than half the way up, using the donkey only at the steepest parts ; for the wretched old seat that did duty as a saddle could not be kept in its place, and I was obliged, therefore, to be ever on the qui vive to avoid getting an awkward

We were soon overtaken by a party of ten or twelve Spanish ladies and gentlemen, and exchanged vivas with them. Two of their number followed my example of walking, and were, they said, relieved by it. Truly, we had in some parts of the road a good depth of sand
to wade through ; still it was less fatiguing than jolting up the whole distance on donkey-back. We were more at liberty, too, to look about us than when engaged in checking the meanderings of our beasts, or urging them forward when it was their good pleasure to
stand still.

Some parts of the ascent are thickly shaded by lofty forest trees, and at intervals there are grottoes, and fountains with large drinking-troughs, and seats where weary pilgrims may rest a while under the waving branches of the graceful pepper-trees, and be not only
thankful but happy ; for, Cintra,

" Quem descançado a fresca sombra tua
Sonhou senão venturas ? "

Almeida Garret.

" Who, Cintra, e'er rested beneath thy shady bowers
Ajid dreamt of aught but happiness ? "

[179] On the right are the lofty and jagged mountain peaks; beneath them, that wondrous melange of massive grey stones, clusters of pines, hanging shrubs, sparkling waterfalls, and luxuriant vegetation, through which is traced the castellated wall leading to the Castello de Mouros. On the left, a vast stretch of undulating ground lies below, fertilized by many a
streamlet that has foamed down the mountain's side, and covered with a succession of gardens and orange groves — forming a picture less wildly romantic than the first, yet not yielding to it in poetic beauty.

A party of English lately from Cintra excused their want of admiration of its beauties by saying they were familiar with the scenery of the Isle of Wight. Doubtless the scenery of the little island is, in certain parts, bold and beautiful ; but it bears no resemblance to that of Cintra, whose rocky heights are far loftier and grander, and its vegetation far richer
and more varied. You might with as much propriety compare the view of London from Greenwich Park with that of Lisbon from Almada — as it has been compared by an extremely British John Bull, giving, of course, the preference to the Greenwich view. Pro-
bably both views are finer now than when the invidious comparison was made, for I read it in an old book of travels of 1816 or 1817.

Some persons, too, contend that Cintra owes to the enthusiasm of Byron and other modern poets its 'prestige for beauty. But it is more probable that it owes it to its beauty alone. Before Byron wrote, both Lisbon and Cintra were better known and more fre- [180] quently visited by the English than they are now, except perhaps by mercantile people; for it was then customary for consumptive persons to seek relief from their malady by wintering in Lisbon, and few probably extended their visit far enough into the spring without spending some time at Cintra. I have some letters written by a lady who was here with her daughters in 1791. She says : " While staying at this enchanting spot I have read Milton's ‘Paradise Lost,’ and have been much struck by his description of Paradise, from its resemblance to this place. It is, in fact, a description of Ointra, and the only one I ever read that at all does it justice." And in many respects this is true; for of Cintra it might truly be said —

" And overhead upgrew
Insuperable height of loftiest shade,
Cedar, and pine, and fir, and branching palm,
A sylvan scene ; and as the ranks ascend
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of stateliest view."

This and much more that follows may apply to Cintra ; but in the description of Eden there enters not that of the bold crags and cliffs of a rocky coast, and the view, so grand and sublime, of the boundless ocean.

Many pens have attempted to describe Cintra — I know of none but Beckford's that has succeeded in making its beauty felt; and he does not so much attempt to describe the place, as the effect of its spell-like loveliness on his sensitive and poetic temperament. He wrote of it between 1788 and 1794, and I can imagine that Cintra was even more lovely then than [181] now — at least it was more out of the reach of pleasure-seeking invaders. There were neither races nor bullfights, but probably there were fairies and wood-nymphs, or you might fancy so; for it is just that sort of enchanted and enchanting region where, if
anywhere, the existence of such beings may be believed in. The glowworms and fireflies that perhaps lighted the fairy revels still linger here. You may see them in the summer evenings, and as you saunter along the " Passeio dos Amores" — the Lovers' Walk — or
other shady grove. But not sauntering alone ; for the beauties of nature seem more beautiful still when a companion of sympathetic tastes shares with you in your delight in and admiration of them. There, as you listen to the warbling of the nightingales, while the moonbeams are peeping through the foliage, and the softest of zephyrs are stealing through it laden with the odours of the orange, the jasmine, and myrtle-blossoms, mingled with the perfume of roses and lavender and heliotrope and all other sweet things, you may
fancy, as you breathe this balmy atmosphere, that seems too pure, too ethereal for earth, that you have at least reached the threshold of Paradise.

At last we have climbed the hill, and without much fatigue, considering that we are a thousand mètres above the level of the sea. We enter a fine broad avenue, a vast leafy bower formed by the stately forest trees that unite their long branches overhead, and a few
paces bring us to the castellated Palace of the Rock — the Castello da Peña — the mountain home of the rei artista, Dom Pernando. [182] For a time we kept up with the Spanish party,
and had some snatches of conversation with two or three of them ; for Spaniards and Portuguese often converse together with perfect facility, each in his own language, yet each, in the pride of his distinct nationality, professing ignorance of the language of the other. These people were hoth lively and courteous. They suggested that we should make but one company of pilgrims ; for which suggestion, without acceding to it, we thanked them in the usual high-flown, complimentary, conventional style. Gradually we lagged behind, for we expected a member of the king's household to admit us to parts of the castle usually closed
to visitors when Dom Pernando is residing at Cintra. Just at this moment, also, a very wary eye is kept on all Spaniards visiting the palaces, churches, and public institutions; for the number of fires that occur every night in Lisbon rather increases than diminishes, and
as the cause of them is rarely discovered, they are attributed to the concealed emissaries of the Spanish revolutionists ; consequently the attendants at the public buildings have strict orders, as one of them informed me, never to leave a party of those “malditos
Hespanhoes” — cursed Spaniards — for one moment alone.

A drawbridge leads to the principal entrance of the castle. On the gates are the arms of Portugal and Saxony, and surmounting them is the figure of an armed knight with spear and shield, the latter bearing the arms of the Baron Echwege, under whose direction the engineering works pro- [183] jected here by the king, Dom Eernando, have been
carried out.

It is usual on entering the grounds to take a guide, to lead you through all the windings and turnings of this charming labyrinth of shrubberies and gardens. The donkeys are taken by their drivers to the other side of the castle, by a pathway cut round the mountain ; and on leaving the grounds by that side you find your monture waiting for you outside the gates. Two or three men presented themselves as guides, naming a large fee for their services, and protesting it was very little before even they were questioned about it. But there was a youthful guide among them, a tall, slim lad of about fourteen, in a dark blue woollen dress and red belt. He was barefooted, and stood apart silently and modestly, with his long red woollen cap in his hand, waiting the result of what must have seemed to lookers-on very like a quarrel between his older and rougher companions. But they were merely vehemently supporting each other's pretensions, and so that one of their number was engaged on his own terms they would have been well enough contented; for they share their gains, I believe, and are privileged to get as much as they can from visitors. I liked the
appearance of the boy guide. His dark, soft, gazelle eyes, intelligent face, and quiet manner formed a pleasant contrast to the noisy, raving men, and their “much ado about nothing.” My choice fell upon him as our conductor. The men shrugged their shoulders, and seemed to imply that he was an ignoramus. I thought him picturesque and sympathico. “O ! sim, [184] senhora, sim” he answered, when I inquired if he knew well all the ins and outs of the grounds. That was enough ; the stories and legends of the castle were already known to us — and besides, it is not always pleasant to be too much guided.

“And what shall we pay you ? “ I asked. " Whatever the senhora pleases," he almost whispered, glancing timidly at the men. But they heard him, and up went their shoulders again. This time it was in contemptuous pity for the poor young guide, whose simplicity
they, of course, thought we should take advantage of to the extent of a vintem or two.

It is scarcely possible, at least for my pen, to give an adequate idea of the varied beauty of the pleasure grounds of the Castello da Pena. Every rise and fall of the mountain summit has been turned to account, and the grandest views are obtained from different points — the plains and fertile valleys stretching for miles away ; the mountains of Alemtejo and Estramadura ; the Estrella, and other buildings on the heights of Lisbon ; and, most sublime of all, the bold cliffs and crags of the Cintra range, and, beyond them, the broad, boundless expanse of the Atlantic.

What glorious sunsets may be seen here ! There is nothing to interrupt the view, for the towers and turrets of this aerial abode rise high above the peaks of the mountain, and when the gloom of approaching night has overspread the valleys of Cintra, they still are tinged with the lingering golden gleams of the setting sun.

There are plots of verdure, green as the green hills [185] of Kent, and hedgerows of geraniums — a mass of pink, white, and violet blossoms — of itself a beautiful sight.
The gardens are most tastefully laid out, and kept in perfect order. North and south ; the torrid, frigid, and temperate zones, seem to have contributed their choicest flowers, shrubs, and trees for their adornment ; and when transplanted to this favoured spot they attain to a size and beauty unknown in their native soil.

Broad walks are cut in the soft parts of the rock, and little rills flow along the side of pathways densely shaded by the intertwined boughs of spreading trees, forming long cloistered avenues of foliage, impervious to the sun's fiercest rays, and pleasantly cool in the hottest season. Where the rills swell into rivulets they are crossed by pretty rustic bridges, or some graceful fountain is supplied by them. There are kiosques, pavilions, aviaries, and summer-houses, and seats placed to command some beautiful sea view or
landscape, or to afford shelter from the glare of sunlight while you rest beneath an archway of leaves and flowers.

As we passed along the winding path down to the greenhouse and the flower-beds called the Jardim de Madama — Madama being the Condessa d'Edla, the wife of Dom Fernando — a snake lay coiled up close to the edge of a small pooL Our guide sought for a stone to throw at it, but as soon as the creature espied us it darted into the water. It was full three feet in length, and finely mottled, but whether venomous or not I cannot say. It was not a familiar sight to the [186] boy, who was anxious to wait and watch lor its re-
appearance that we might endeavour to kill it. However, this was not sport to my fancy, so we wandered on, admiring by the way the tufts of flowers, so artistically scattered amongst mossy grey stones and projections of rock that they seem carelessly flung there by
the hand of nature.

Many bushes of white and tinted camellias flourish in these gardens, and other plants so rare in these latitudes that the specimens found here are the only known ones either in Portugal or Spain. The collection of greenhouse exotics is of surpassing beauty. The gardener who showed them, and who seemed to take great pride in them, was so much delighted with my reiterated “Bellissima ! bellissima!” that he gave me the history of several of his floral treasures, and promised me full particulars of his method of treating others when he should have, as he said, “ o mui grande prazer ” of seeing the senhora again. But I fear all
his horticultural erudition was thrown away upon me, for when I left his glass palace I remembered only the exquisite loveliness of his flowers.

Perhaps I need scarcely tell you that the magnificent Norman-Gothic castle, perched, as if by magic, on these lofty peaks, is partly constructed from the ruins of the old convent founded in 1503 by Dom Manoel, for the Jeronymite monks, and dedicated to
Nossa Senhora da Peiia — Our Lady of the Rock. While my companion, accompanied by the boy guide, went in quest of the cicerone who was to show us some part of the castle, I sat down on a stone tablet, under [187] the windows of one of the private apartments, and
heside some steps leading to an open door, over which was a projection of stone, carved in the most fanciful and capricious designs. Presently, I heard voices in conversation ; then snatches of song to a piano accompaniment. After a little of this preluding, a female
voice, of no great power, but sweet and thrilling and evidently well cultivated, sang an air of a somewhat tender, melancholy cast. On that spot, where all around was so Avell calculated to excite the imagination, the voice of the unseen songstress seemed to me as that of some enchanted or spell-hound inmate of the magic palace. Elowers bloomed at my side, and
before me a creeping plant, trained on plaited twigs or trellice-work, formed a wall of leaves. There were towers and turrets in sight, and a very monastic-looking archway — the sort of surroundings to induce a pleasant dreamy state of mind, and to favour indulgence in it for a brief moment. Suddenly the singing ceased. I heard it no more; and saw no one
until the return of my companions, when I learned that I had been listening to the singing and playing of the Condessa d'Edla and Dom Eernando, and that they had probably left the castle by some other door, as they were going down to the lakes to fish.

When the monastery was purchased by Dom Fernando from the person into whose possession it had come after the secularization of religious houses in Portugal, it was fast falling to ruin. But such portions of it as remained in a fair state of preservation or could
be repaired — such as parts of the outer wall and the [188] turrets — were retained and turned to account in the plan sketched out for the rebuilding and remodelling of the edifice. The high tower — from which, it is said, Dom Manoel used to watch for the return of the fleet of Vasco da Gama from the exploring expedition to India — had fallen in, and has been rebuilt; and there have been added square turrets and cupolas, castellated
walls, courts, and arched passages, a drawbridge and fosses.

The carvings which adorn every archway and entrance, every projecting window, and framework of the doors, both within and without, are most elaborate, elegant, and full of inventive fancy. The style of the furniture corresponds with that of the architecture.
The principal dining-room is of large size ; the centre is supported by pillars, and contains a large horse-shoe dining-table.

The castle terrace commands a prospect of great extent, but it is not so pleasing as the view from some other parts, the country being less fertile in that direction and very slightly undulated. It reminded me of the view from the terrace-walk at Saint Germain, which,
I think, is celebrated more for its extent than for beauty or diversity in the landscape.

Trom the terrace, a lofty flight of steps leads to the church and cloister, which are those of the old convent, and remain in their original state. They are small, but exceedingly interesting. We were urged to examine closely the beautiful sacrario of the high altar, and were led, or rather pulled, in between it and the altar table. I thought it an irreverent, if not a sacrilegious act. [189] However, it was a Roman Catholic's, not a Protestant's suggestion that led to it.

The sacrario is of transparent alabaster, beautifully sculptured in basso relievo. The subject is the Passion of our Saviour. It is designed with so much skill, and the workmanship is so delicate and highly finished, that, of its kind, this altar-piece is considered unequalled in the kingdom. It is supported by long garlands of flowers, carved from the same precious alabaster, and gracefully festooned on pillars of black porphyry. I was told that when a lamp is placed in it the effect is beautiful, and that sufficient light is emitted for the priest officiating at the altar to read by. It was made in Italy for Dom Joao the Third, the son
of Dom Manoel, and presented by him to the Peña convent in 1529. It is extraordinary that the French, who despoiled the convent of everything worth carrying away, did not contrive to remove this beautiful work of art.

There is a small painted window in the church, said to be of the same date. It represents Vasco da Gama on his knees before Dom Manoel, who holds before him, as if for his admiration, what looks something like a bird-cage, but is meant for a model of the Torre de
Belem. In the cloister is another small painted window, and two or three curious ancient pictures. The church and cloister now form the private chapel of the castle.

Returning to the terrace, I noticed the little Swiss farm in the plain below. It is called “the Chalet de Madama,” and is something in the style of the chalet [190] of the Petit Trianon. From the terrace we went down to the lakes. They are picturesquely pretty. Here and there on their banks are large drooping willows and immense bushes of fuchsia, planted close to the water's edge, and leaning forward with their bunches of pendent flowers lying on the surface of the lake. Here we again fell in with the Spanish party, whom we had not met with in our rambles through the pleasure grounds. They were waiting to see Dom
Fernando and his Condessa, who had not yet made their appearance ; but the little skiff, with the fishing tackle and all needful appurtenances, and the boatmen in charge, were in readiness for them.

We did not wait for the embarkation of the fishing party, but after strolling through some prettily laid out garden ground near the lakes, we took leave of our boy guide — he, I believe, as well satisfied with us as we had been with him — and, passing through some large iron gates, went on to the Castello de Mouros. It is on a lower eminence, not far from the Pena. There is but little to see there except the cistern, or vaulted Moorish bath, which I am told is forty-five feet in length and sixteen in breadth. The water that flows into it is
beautifully clear, and remains always at the same level. The outer wall of this castle has been repaired by the king, Dom Fernando, within whose princely domain it falls — a more enviable possession than that offered to him in the tottering throne of Spain. Various
animals, among them the stag, the gracefully -bounding gazelle, the horse, and the ox, enjoy themselves here in full liberty. There are also peacocks, a pair of small [191] ostriclies, swans, and gay-plumaged ducks. The ancient mosque still remains. Excavations, in connexion with the works then in progress, were made in it a few years ago, when several skeletons were found. Their bones were collected and buried beneath a half-moon shaped
stone, with a cross and a crescent as emblems, and the inscription, “ O que ficou junto, Deus separará,” to denote that it was unknown whether the bones there buried were those of Christians or Mohammedans. The stones are defaced by the scratchings and scrawlings of
such persons as have a mania for disfiguring places and objects they are permitted to see by placing their initials or names on them, and by inscribing sentences, pious or sublime, for the edification of less gifted individuals. It is to be hoped that the latter, at least, of
whatever nation, may see so eloquent " a sermon in," or on, "these stones," that they may be taught by it to abstain from the sin of using pencil or knife in further defacement of them.

There is a narrow pathway by which, if traversed on foot, you may, by a cross cut, get down from the Castello de Mouros to the town in a very short time. This path we proposed to descend, instead of then going on to the Pena Verde; for I had been thrown
once on the road by the abominable donkey, aided by the abominable saddle, and was resolved not to mount the brute again, at least for that day. The donkey-driver chose to look on this arrangement as a great affront to him and his donkeys. He entreated, he
expostulated ; said I was "very little damaged" — which
was very near the truth, for I was not damaged at [192] all; but his eloquence was not so persuasive as to induce me to take a long round for the sake of soothing his wounded feelings. And so we then and there parted company ; he in great dudgeon, and we much

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Associação Hortícola de Petrópolis

Construído nas oficinas de S.A de Saint-Sauver-Les Arras (1789) na França, e inaugurado em 2 de fevereiro de 1884, o Palácio de Cristal era formado por uma estrutura metálica e placas de vidro francês. Há um corpo central quadrado, conectado a dois outros retangulares, e há ainda dois outros semi-circulares, ligados ao corpo principal. O Palácio foi construído na mesma época em que estava sendo construída a Torre Eifel, e é um dos exemplos de como a Revolução Industrial influenciou os estilos arquitetônicos. O prédio, inspirado no Crystal Palace de Londres - idealizado e construído por Joseph Paxton para a exposição Industrial de 1851 - foi montado pelo engenheiro brasileiro Bonjean. No Brasil, foi a primeira construção pré-fabricada.
O Palácio foi um presente do Conde D'Eu à sua esposa, a Princesa Isabel, ligada à Associação Agrícola e Hortícola de Petrópolis (ou seja, inicialmente o prédio destinava-se a ser a sede da "Associação Hortícola e Agrícola de Petrópolis" formada pela alta aristocracia petropolitana). Foi ali, numa cerimônia realizada em abril de 1888, que a Princesa Isabel conferiu Títulos de Alforria aos 103 últimos escravos em Petrópolis
Mas a partir da Proclamação da República, este marco do Segundo Reinado acabou sendo utilizado para diversos fins. Com o fim da Associação Hortícola, foi vendido em leilão e transformado em cassino, depois garagem do Corpo de Bombeiros e ainda abrigou vítimas de tragédias que se abateram sobre a Cidade. Também serviu a objetivos mais nobres, mas nem sempre adequados a seu propósito original; sede de diversas associações literárias, de entidades ligadas à música, do Liceu de Artes e Ofícios de Petrópolis; clube de boliche e salão para bailes populares.A exploração de uma casa de jogos gerou veementes protestos na Câmara Municipal e levou à revogação do contrato em 1892. No final da década de 60, após pedidos do cidadão Guilherme Auler junto ao então Serviço do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional - Sphan, o Palácio de Cristal foi tombado. Passou a importante monumento e um dos mais conhecidos cartões postais de Petrópolis.
Ao longo dos anos o Palácio de Cristal acabou tendo parte de sua estrutura comprometida pela corrosão, seus lustres descaracterizados, os cristais destruídos durante uma tempestade e substituídos por vidros comuns; e os jardins, projeto do francês Auguste Glaziou, ganharam mais árvores que acabaram por esconder sua beleza e transparência.
Pela primeira vez em sua história o Palácio de Cristal está sendo restaurado. O trabalho durou quatro meses e consumiu aproximadamente R$ 800 mil em recursos, resultado de uma parceria realizada com orgãos da administração municipal, empresas privadas e o poder federal.Mas a restauração não foi tão simples assim. Antes de iniciada consumiu mais de 300 horas em pesquisas de como se fazer a recomposição da estrutura, que ao contrário do que se imaginava, não é de aço, mas sim de ferro pudlado, um de seus antecessores. Glaziou foi o homem responsável por traduzir, na parte externa, o conceito da concepção do Palácio de Cristal. Por isso imaginou-o em um local amplo onde sua simetria pudesse ser percebida de qualquer ângulo em que fosse visto. Daí idealizou jardins leves, com árvores de médio porte, flores e muita grama. Apenas algumas árvores grandes para produzirem sombra suficientemente aconchegante durante os passeios ou exposições. Dois pequenos lagos à margem da passagem central que leva do pórtico à porta principal, reproduzem o cuidado com a criação. Um gradil externo que protege os 7 mil metros quadrados do parque localizado na Praça Koblenz, completa o projeto deste francês também idealizador do Campo de Santana, na cidade do Rio de Janeiro.Fotos e documentos antigos contribuíram para que se chegasse o mais próximo possível do projeto original. Descobriu-se que o Palácio de Cristal possuía um pórtico. destruído entre 1938 e 1940, quando funcionou ali o Museu Histórico de Petrópolis, depois denominado Museu Imperial e transferido para o Palácio de Verão do Imperador D. Pedro II. E também que o Cruzeiro que marca a missa celebrada em comemoração ao primeiro ano da presença dos colonos alemães na Cidade, encontrava-se no local errado,sendo corrigida a sua posição.

Wimbledon Lodge - Murray Road

Between Nos. 4 and 5 lies Murray Road, built on the line of Margaret Hays (shown on the
1776 map) and Wimbledon Lodge (shown on the 1865 map). It was built in 1792
by Gerard de Visme for his daughter, the wife of the distinguished General, Hon. Sir Henry
Murray. Occupants included Lord Bathurst and the Rt. Hon. Ladies Ashburnham, and the
Murrays lived there from 1824 until the house was demolished in 1904 and the land sold to
The British Land Company [Norman-Smith, p.5]. According to Milward the house was
designed in the latest Greek Revival style:
The entrance gates were flanked by lodges, looking like small temples. The two-storied
house had round-headed windows on the ground floor and an elaborate pillared porch,
flanked by coad-stone lions…..Above the porch were statues, with others on a large pedestal
on the roof. The garden front was equally elaborate with a decorated balcony, supported by
large Greek caryatids. [Milward 1989 p.142]
In 1904 the estate was sold to the British Land Company, the house demolished and the land
divided into small plots. The original estate extended beyond the Ridgway, which is why
Murray Road extends from Southside as far as the escarpment above Worple Road.

Francis Masson 1741-1805

Francis Masson (August 1741 – 23 December 1805) was a Scottish botanist and gardener, and Kew Gardens’ first plant hunter.
Masson was born in Aberdeen. In the 1760s he went to work at Kew Gardens as an under-gardener. Masson was the first plant collector to be sent from Kew by the newly-appointed director Sir Joseph Banks. He sailed with James Cook on HMS Resolution to South Africa, landing in October 1772. He stayed until 1775 and sent back to England over 500 plant species. In 1776 he went to Madeira, Canary Islands, the Azores and the Antilles. In 1783 he collected plants in Portugal and in January 1786 returned to South Africa, remaining until March 1795.


Henry Raeburn - Lady Murray

MISS EMILY DE VISMES— LADY MURRAY. (Earl of Mansfield.) An admirable example of the artist's mature style, and one of his most charming portraits of women

Henry Raeburn, half-length portrait of Lady Murray is recorded in the collection of the Earls of Mansfield.

Vismes, Miss de (Lady Murray). Scottish International Exhibition, 1908. Earl of Mansfield.


PORTRAITS OF MAJOR-GENERAL THE HON. SIR HENRY AND LADY MURRAY. a pair, pencil and coloured washes, one signed and dated 1819 on the mount, one bears signature

each 113/4 in. by 8 1/2in. 30cm by 21.5cm.

The hon. Henry Murray (1784-1860), fourth son of the 2nd. Earl of Mansfield, began his military career in 1800. He first saw active service abroad in 1805 when he went with General Sir James Craig's expedition ...

Sotheby Sales Catalogue
18th July 1974

Gerard de Visme's Botanic Garden 1778

12 December 1778
Written by
Francis Masson
Addressed to
Carl Linnaeus the Younger

Emily de Visme

St. Cecilia
grav. W. Bond, 1795
photo Christie's
The eight year old Emily de Visme, later Lady Murray (1787-1873)
taken from the pastel drawing by John Russell (1745-1806) R.A. pinxit 1794
135 x 110
(See W. Murray, London, Christie's 25 VI 1904)
O. Ch. Gutskunst, London; Edmond Veil-Picard, Paris 1911. Eugène Fischhof, Paris, Georges Petit, Lair-Dubreuil & Baudoin, 14.XII.1971, Lot 85 repr., 140 gns. London, Southeby's, 18.VII.1974, Lot 80, 500 pounds) Exh.: Paris 1911, no 56. Lit.: Williamson 1894, p. 128, unidentified missing.
sale at Christies 25 June 1904 was of the estate of the sitter's daughter Miss Gertrude Louise Murray (1814-1904)
Emily died in 1873 aged 86 at Wimbledon (Kingston), Surrey Vol. 2a Page 146

Tetradenia riparia

Tetradenia riparia at Quinta do Palheiro, Funchal Madeira

Tetradenia riparia (Hochst.) Codd

Bothalia 14: 181. 1983.

Basionym :

Moschosma riparium Hochst.

Flora 28: 67. 1845.

n. sp. 331 Moschosma riparium Hochst. (Plectranthus riparius Hochst. in schedulis). Totum pubescentia patula tectum, foliis petiolatis, ovatis, serratis, versus basio cuneatis integerrimis, verticillis remotis, rarifloris, calycis pedicellum subaequantis dente supremo ovato paululum decurrente, ceteris angustis, infimis longioribus, staminibus corolla brevioribus. (Hochst.) -- Inter arundines ad fluvium Umlass River terrae Natalensis Decembri 1839 florit.

Flora, oder, Botanische Zeitung :welche Recensionen, Abhandlungen, Aufsätze, Neuigkeiten und Nachrichten, die Botanik betreffend, enthält /herausgegeben von der Königl. Botanischen Gesellschaft in Regensburg. Vol 28 (1845) p. 67

Better known as Iboza riparia

The natural habitat of Tetradenia riparia is along river banks, forest margins, dry wooded valleys and hillsides in areas where there is little frost. The natural distribution ranges from KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Province, Mpumalanga in South Africa to Swaziland, Namibia, Angola and northwards through tropical east Africa into Ethiopia.

This plant was previously classified under the genus Iboza, which was derived from its Zulu name and apparently this refers to the aromatic qualities of the plant. The Zulu people have many uses for the plant including the relief of chest complaints, stomach ache and malaria. Inhaling the scent of the crushed leaves apparently also relieves headaches.

Iboza riparia N.E. Br.

Male and female flowers borne on separate plants. There are at least two clones in cultivation in Portugal one with paler lilac flowers than the other. White and pink forms unknown. Easily propagated by cuttings.