A Ramble over the Hills. – Beautiful Grotto. – Reminiscences of Gil Blas. – Journey resumed. – First Sight of Alcobaça. – Pompous Reception. – The Three Graces of Holiness. – Gloomy Church. – Sepulchral Chapel of Pedro the Just and Iñez. – Interrupted Reveries. – Enormous Kitchen. – Hospitable Preparations. – The Banquet Hall. – The Banquet. – Tiresome Minuets. – Ineffectual Offer. – Ceremonious "Good Nights."

7th June.

NOT long after daybreak, whilst all the dews of the morning were still waiting to be dried up, I took a ramble over the hills, and, on one of their level summits, discovered an irregular opening with rude steps leading down to a little cavern hewn out of a pumice rock, blessed with a tink- [32] ling spring, and mantled all over with the deliciously-scented flowers of the Lonicera tribe in wild luxuriant profusion, – exactly the sort of grotto described in Gil Blas as the resort of Algerine pirates. There I proposed reading my favourite pocket-companions Monteiro and Manoel Maria Bocage, in total solitude, and sharing the deep reveries of these intellectual and Cowley-like poets: but fate denied me the enjoyment of such dreamy happiness. The sober reality of proceeding on our expedition, and particularly of paying a visit to the Caldas, was enforced by my right reverend conductors.
Having a presentiment that the said Caldas were as hot as the suburbs at least of the infernal regions, I begged and intreated we might not stop at such a close, stifling, unpoetical place, but, after taking refreshment under our tent in the open country, make the best of our way boldly and resolutely to Alcobaça.
[33] "Impossible!" said the Grand Prior. "Possible!" exclaimed the Prior of St. Vincent. The vote of the latter carried it, and we got on three or four leagues at a good round pace; the bells of our mules sounding cheerily, and their drivers singing in chorus, to the surprise, if not delight, of my English grooms and attendants.
Thus far all had gone on, as to road, pretty tolerably; but we had scarcely left the Caldas in arrear about two miles on the right, before "the way was all before us where to choose;" no distinct track for such lumbering carriages as we were burthened with being visible. In attempting to advance, we stuck fast: both the mules and their drivers seemed so sincerely alarmed at the prospect before them, and reduced to such utter despair, that my right reverend fellow-travellers, who most fully sympathised in these not unfounded terrors, determined to call the posse comitatus to our aid. A messenger was despatched [34] for that purpose to a neighbouring village, of which I never suspected the existence, it being completely buried in a deep narrow ravine, not unlike one of those enormous ruts which many people fancy they have discovered in the moon. The messenger soon returned with a very efficient magistrate, and thirty or forty stout well-clothed peasants.
A village Hercules putting his shoulder to the wheel, we got out of this scrape; but it was only to fall into another, and so on from bad to worse till patience itself was exhausted. The day was wearing apace; we had not advanced upon our voyage of discovery at the rate of above three miles in two hours. The carriages laboured and rolled like vessels on a swelling sea after a storm. At length ropes were applied to steady them, deafening shouts of encouragement addressed to men and mules, and in an hour more we were approaching Alcobaça.
[35] The first sight of this regal monastery is very imposing; and the picturesque, well-wooded and well-watered village, out of the quiet bosom of which it appears to rise, relieves the mind from a sense of oppression the huge domineering bulk of the conventual buildings inspire.
We had no sooner hove in sight, and we loomed large, than a most tremendous ring of bells of extraordinary power announced our speedy arrival. A special aviso, or broad hint from the secretary of state, recommending these magnificent monks to receive the Grand Prior and his companions with peculiar graciousness, the whole community, including fathers, friars, and subordinates, at least four hundred strong, were drawn up in grand spiritual array on the vast platform before the monastery to bid us welcome. At their head the Abbot himself, in his costume of High Almoner of Portugal, advanced to give us a cordial embrace.
[36] It was quite delectable to witness with what cooings and comfortings the Lord Abbot of Alcobaça greeted his right reverend brethren of Aviz and St. Vincent's – turtle-doves were never more fondlesome, at least in outward appearance. Preceded by these three graces of holiness, I entered the spacious, massive, and somewhat austere Saxon-looking church. All was gloom, except where the perpetual lamps burning before the high altar diffused a light most solemn and religious - (inferior twinkles from side chapels and chantries are not worth mentioning). To this altar my high clerical conductors repaired, whilst the full harmonious tones of several stately organs, accompanied by the choir, proclaimed that they were in the act of adoring the real Presence.
Whilst these devout prostrations were performing, I lost not a moment in visiting the sepulchral chapel, where lie interred Pedro the Just and his beloved Iñez. [37] The light which reached this solemn recess of a most solemn edifice was so subdued and hazy, that I could hardly distinguish the elaborate sculpture of the tomb, which reminded me, both as to design and execution, of the Beauchamp monument at Warwick, so rich in fretwork and imagery.
Just as I was giving way to the affecting reveries which such an object could not fail of exciting in a bosom the least susceptible of romantic impressions, in came the Grand Priors hand in hand, all three together. "To the kitchen," said they in perfect unison, – "to the kitchen, and that immediately; you will then judge whether we have been wanting in zeal to regale you.”
Such a summons, so conveyed, was irresistible; the three prelates led the way to, I verily believe, the most distinguished temple of gluttony in all Europe. What Glastonbury may have been in its palmy [38] state, I cannot answer; but my eyes never beheld in any modern convent of France, Italy, or Germany, such an enormous space dedicated to culinary purposes. Through the centre of the immense and nobly-groined hall, not less than sixty feet in diameter, ran a brisk rivulet of the clearest water, flowing through pierced wooden reservoirs, containing every sort and size of the finest river-fish. On one side, loads of game and venison were heaped up; on the other, vegetables and fruit in endless variety. Beyond a long line of stoves extended a row of ovens, and close to them hillocks of wheaten flour whiter than snow, rocks of sugar, jars of the purest oil, and pastry in vast abundance, which a numerous tribe of lay brothers and their attendants were rolling out and puffing up into an hundred different shapes, singing all the while as blithely as larks in a corn-field.
My servants, and those of their reve- [39] rend excellencies the two Priors, were standing by in the full glee of witnessing these hospitable preparations, as well pleased, and as much flushed, as if they had been just returned from assisting at the marriage at Cana in Galilee. "There," said the Lord Abbot, – "we shall not starve: God's bounties are great, it is fit we should enjoy them." – (By the bye, I thought this allegro, contrasted with the penseroso of scarecrow convents, quite delightful.) – "An hour hence supper will be ready," continued the Lord Abbot, "in the meanwhile, let me conduct you to your apartment; it has only bare walls, for we learnt of your arrival too late this morning to put up our fine hangings."
I found the apartment, which was composed of an ante-room, saloon, and bedchamber, lofty and rather pleasant. Though the walls were naked, the ceiling was gilt and painted, the floor spread with Persian carpets of the finest texture, [40] and the tables in rich velvet petticoats, decked out with superb ewers and basins of chased silver, and towels bordered with point-lace of a curious antique pattern, – a strange mixture of simplicity and magnificence. I had my own bed pitched in one of the spacious alcoves, to the apparent surprise, if not displeasure, of the monk appointed to give me attendance. However, I made myself very comfortable; took a foot-bath as serenely as if I had been at Abraham's tent-door, and waited in a perfect refreshing calm till three thundering knocks at the outward portal announced the Abbot himself coming to lead me to the banquet-hall.
We passed through a succession of cloisters and galleries, which the shades of evening rendered dimly visible, till we entered a saloon, superb indeed, covered with pictures, and lighted up by a profusion of wax tapers in sconces of silver. Right in the centre of this stately room [41] stood a most ample table, covered with fringed embroidered linen, and round it four ponderous fauteuils for the guest and the three prelates; so we formed a very comfortable partie quarrée.
The banquet itself consisted of not only the most excellent, usual fare, but rarities and delicacies of past seasons and distant countries; exquisite sausages, potted lampreys, strange messes from the Brazils, and others still stranger from China (edible birds' nests and sharks' fins), dressed after the latest mode of Macao by a Chinese lay brother. Confectionery and fruits were out of the question here; they awaited us in an adjoining still more spacious and sumptuous apartment, to which we retired from the effluvia of viands and sauces.
In this apartment we found Franchi and the Grand Prior of Aviz's secretary, the Prior of St. Vincent's acolyte, and ten or twelve principal personages of the neighbourhood, most eager to enjoy a [42] stare at the stranger whom their lordly abbot delighted to honour. The table being removed, four good-looking novices, lads of fifteen or sixteen, demure even to primness, came in, bearing cassolettes of Goa filigree, steaming with a fragrant vapour of Calambac, the finest quality of wood of aloes.
This pleasing ceremony performed, the saloon was cleared out as if for dancing. I flattered myself we were going to be favoured with a bolero, fandango, or perhaps the fofa itself, – a dance as decent as the ballets exhibited for the recreation of Muley Liezit, his most exemplary Marocchese majesty. A crowd of clarionet and guitar players, dressed in silk dominoes like the serenaders in Italian burlettas, followed by a posse of young monks and young gentlemen in secular dresses as stiff as buckram, began an endless succession of the most decorous and tiresome minuts I ever witnessed, ten times longer, and alas! ten [43] times less ridiculous, than even the long minuet at Bath.
Tired to death of remaining motionless, and desirous of exhibiting something a little out of the common way, I gently hinted a wish to dance, and that I should have no objection were one of the three right reverend Priors to take me out. It would not do – they kept their state. Yawning piteously, I longed for the hour when it should become lawful to retire to bed; which I did right gladly when the blessed hour came, after good-nighting, and being good-nighted with another round of ceremony.


Supreme command given to two distinguished Prelates to visit the Monasteries of Alcobaça and Batalha, and a royal wish expressed that the Author should accompany them. - Preparations in high style for the Journey. - The general Rendezvous. - Departure. - Nossa Senhora de Luz. - Lumiares. - Domain of the Monks of St. Vincent. - Reception there


A Morning Walk. - Boundless Orchards of Orange and Apricot. The River Trancaô. - Magnificent Bay-tree. - A Fishing-party. - Happy Inclosure. - An Afternoon Ramble to the Palace of the Patriarch, and its immense Parterre. - Musical contest between Frogs and Nightingales


Curious Conversation with an Ex-missionary from China. -Wonders of the Imperial Gardens. - Strange Belief of the Emperor of China


A first-rate Blessing. - The Duke d'Alafoens' Chateau. - The great Highway to the Caldas.- Extensive Fertility. - Cadafaiz. - Boundless Vineyard. - Eggs of the Sun. - A calm Retirement. - Peaceful State of Portugal compared to other parts of the Continent


A Ramble over the Hills. - Beautiful Grotto.- Reminiscences of Gil Blas. - Journey resumed. - First Sight of Alcobaça. - Pompous Reception. - The Three Graces of Holiness. - Gloomy Church. - Sepulchral Chapel of Pedro the Just and Iñez. - Interrupted Reveries. - Enormous Kitchen. - Hospitable Preparations. - The Banquet Hall. - The Banquet. - Tiresome Minuets. - Ineffectual Offer. - Ceremonious "Good Nights"


Endless Corridors and a grim-looking Hall. - Portrait of St. Thomas à Becket. - Ancient Cloister. - Venerable Orangetrees. - Sepulchral Inscriptions. - The Refectory. - Solemn Summons to Breakfast. - Sights. - Gorgeous Sacristy. Antiquities. - Precious Specimen of Early Art. - Hour of Siesta. - A Noon-day Ramble. - Silence and Solitude. - Mysterious Lane. – Irresistible Somnolency of my Conductor. - An unseen Songstress. - A Surprise. - Donna Francisca, her Mother and Confessor. - The World of Alcobaça awakened. - Return to the Monastery, - Departure for Batalha. - The Field of Aijubarota. - Solitary Vale. - Reception at Batalha. - Enormous Supper. - Ecstasies of an old Monk. - His sentimental Mishap. - Night Scene. - Awful Denunciations


Morning. - The Prior of Batalha. - His Account of the Nocturnal Wanderer. - A Procession. - Grand Façade of the Great Church. - The Nave. - Effect of the golden and ruby light from the windows. - Singularly devout celebration of High Mass. - Mausoleum of John the First and Philippa. - Royal Tombs. - The Royal Cloisters. - Perfect Preservation of this regal Monastery. - Beautiful Chapter-house. - Tombs of Alphonso the Fifth and his Grandson. - Tide of Monks, Sacristans, Novices, &c. - Our Departure. - Wild Road. - Redoubled kindness of my Reception by the Lord Abbot, and why. - Dr. Ehrhart's visit to the Infirmary, and surgical raptures. - A half-crazed Poet and his doleful tragedy. - Senhor Agostinho in the character of Donna Iñez de Castro. - Favouritism, and its reward


Too much of a good thing. - My longing for a Ramble. -Sage resolves. - A Gallop. - Pure and elastic Atmosphere. - Expansive Plain. - Banks of the River. - Majestic Basilica of Batalha. - Ghost-like Anglers. - Retrospections. -The Conventual Bells. - Conversation with the Prior. - A frugal Collation. - Romantic Fancies. - The Dead Stork and his Mourner. - Mausoleum of Don Emanuel. - Perverse Architecture. - Departure from Batalha. - Twilight. - Return to Alcobaça


Lamentations on our Departure, and on the loss of Monsieur Simon. - Mysterious Conference. - A sullen Adieu. - Liveliness of the Prior of St. Vincent's. - Pleasant Surprise. -Vast and dreary Plain. - A consequential Equerry. - An Invitation. - The Bird-Queen. - Fairy Landscape. - The Mansion. - The great Lady's Nephews. - Reception by her Excellency. - Her attendant Hags. - The great Lady's questions about England and dismal ideas of London. - The Cuckoo. - Imitations. - Dismay of her Sublime Ladyship and her Hags. - Our Departure from the bird-ridden Dominions. - Cultivated Plain. - Happy Peasantry, and their gratitude to the Monks of the Royal Convent. - Their different feelings towards the great Lady. - Female Peasants bearing Offerings to our Lady of Nazarè. - Sea View. - Pedraneira. - Banquet of Fish. - Endless Ravine. - Alfagiraõ. - Arrival at the Caldas. - Sickly Population. - Reception of Dr. Ehrhart. - His Visit to the Invalids, and contempt of the Medical Treatment of the place. - A determined Bore. - His Disaster


Knavish Provedore. - Leave the Caldas. - Obidos. - Aboriginal-looking hamlet. - Exquisite Atmosphere. - Pastoral Hymns to St. Anthony. - Bonfires on the Eve of his Festival. - Reception at Cadafaiz. - Delightful change


Excursion to a Franciscan Convent. - A Miracle. - Country resembling Palestine.-Innumerable Assemblage of Peasants. - Their sincere Devotion. - Sublime Sight. - Observations of the Prior of Aviz. - The Benediction. - Ancient Portuguese Hymn. -Its grand effect on the present occasion. - Perilous descent from the Mountain. - A Mandate from the Prince. - Evening. - Music and a Morisco Dance


Dreary expanse of Country between Cadafaiz and Queluz. - Arrival at the Palace. - Court Lumber. - Observations of the Marquis of Anjeja relative to the Prince-Regent. - Promised Promised Audience of his Royal Highness. - Visit to the forbidden Gardens. - Surprise of an African Gardener. - A Pavilion. - Night-scene. - Preparations for a Fête. - The Infanta's Nymph-like Attendants. - The young Marquis of Marialva. - Interview with her Royal Highness. - A Race. - A Dance. - The Prince's Summons. - Conversation with him. - Character of that Sovereign. - Baneful influence of his despotic Consort. - Unhappy Aspirants to Court Benefits. - Private Conference with the Marquis. - The Prince-Regent's Afflictions. - His Vision. - Anjeja's urgent Request. - Terrible Cries from the Queen. - Their effect on me. - My Departure from the Palace