Monday, 3 August 2009

De Visme's Quinta at Bemfica in 1851

After proceeding for a little time—lam not sure exactly where it was, but not very far from Lisbon— we passed a new "quinta" of a fantastical nobleman, who seemed to fancy something in the Chinese- pagoda style would be a pleasant abode. He revelled, however, in luxuriant gardens. Then we came to the rambling, scrambling village of Bemfica. This place is rather a favourite resort of the Portuguese nobility ; it is pleasantly enough embosomed in groves of orange-trees and cork woods, and must be an agreeable place of abode during the summer months. The hedge-rows in this neighbourhood are commonly formed of fhe aloe and Indian fig. Here resides, or resided, the Princess Isabel Maria, aunt of the reigning queen, and regent before the arrival of her brother, Dom Miguel, from Vienna.
The Infanta's noble palace is built at a little distance from the thoroughfare, on the left side: it is reported to contain a good museum of natural curiosities, and to possess some very rare botanical specimens. It is adorned by two splendid cedars, two very fine American pepper-trees, some Japanese trees, and a small grove of magnolias. Near this stands a Dominican church and convent: the latter has been sold, and turned unceremoniously into a manufactory; but the church is still retained for the purpose of religious worship.

Stuart-Wortley' p. 105

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