FIFTH DAY.
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."
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-  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.
 "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  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.
 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.
 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.  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  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-  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,  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  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  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 
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.