FOURTH DAY.
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.
AT length it pleased heaven to inspire the Grand Prior with sufficient
resolution to proceed; the last dregs of excuses for loitering being
exhausted. The air had become much cooler; and the sun being overcast,
we experienced a first-rate blessing that of travelling under
a canopy of clouds, which had the kindness not to disperse till we passed
Al Priate, a chateau belonging to the Duke d'Alafoens.
This sumptuous abode, with pompous  high roofs, and courts, and
avenues, as Frenchified as their illustrious master, is placed in a
valley which would have been pleasant enough had any other trees except
the pale leaden-coloured olive happened to predominate.
After jolting along in rather a convulsive manner for about a league,
and receiving many a pinch from my alarmed and nervous companion, we
emerged from a chaos of ruts and sandbanks into the great highway which
leads to the Caldas through Alhandra, Povos, and Villa Franca.
All these places, not unpleasantly situated on the banks of the Tagus,
have quintas, palaces, and fidalgos, as well as their betters; but the
country which surrounds them is pretty nearly as flat, and as rich in
ditches, sluices, and other means of irrigation, as the environs of
Antwerp itself. Her most faithful majesty sometimes resorting to the
Caldas, the road is kept in tolerable repair.
 At every league, pedestals with vases upon them meet the eye; and
at no very distant intervals, architectural fountains, which have not
yet entirely forgotten the purpose for which they were erected, and
still contrive to dribble out a scanty and turbid stream.
As we approached Carregado, scenes of boundless plenty began to expand
themselves; unlimited fields of Turkish corn, fine barley, and black
Sicilian wheat, the ears bending to the ground with their weight.
We now abandoned the high road in order to reach Cadafaiz, another ample
domain under the government of our hospitable friend, where we arrived
late in the afternoon. There we found ourselves in a most comfortable
antiquated mansion, perfectly cool and clean; the floors neatly matted,
the tables covered with the finest white linen, and, in bright clear
caraffes of Venetian glass, the most  beautiful carnations I ever
met with, even at Genoa in the Durazzo Gardens.
The wide latticed windows of the apartment allotted to me commanded
the view of a boundless vineyard in full luxuriant leaf, divided by
long broad tracts of thyme and camomile, admirably well kept and nicely
weeded. From this immense sea of green leaves rose a number of plum,
pear, orange, and apricot trees; the latter procured by the monks directly
from Damascus, and bearing, as I can testify, that most delicious fruit
of its kind called "eggs of the sun" by the Persians;
even insects and worms seem to respect it, for no trace could I discover
of their having preyed on its smooth glowing rind and surrounding foliage.
Beyond these truly Hesperian orchards, very lofty hills swell into the
most picturesque forms, varied by ledges of rock, and completely inclose
this calm retirement; wild healthful spots of delicate herbage, 
which the goats and sheep, whose bells I heard tinkling in the distance,
are scarcely more partial to than myself.
How often, contrasting my present situation with the horrid disturbed
state of almost every part of the Continent, did I bless the hour when
my steps were directed to Portugal! As I sat in the nook of my retired
window, I looked with complacency on a roof which sheltered no scheming
hypocrites, on tables, on which perhaps no newspaper had ever been thrown,
and on neat white pillows, guiltless of propping up the heads of those
assassins of real prosperity political adventurers. The very
air which kept playing around my temples seemed to breathe contentment;
it was genially warm, not oppressive, and brought with it the intermingled
fragrance of mountain herbs and native flowers.