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 Aiphonso 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 halfcrazed Poet and his doleful tragedy. - Senhor Agostinho in the character of Donna Iñez de Castro. - Favouritism, and its reward.


9th June.

A DELIGHTFUL morning sun was shining in all its splendour, when I awoke, and ran to the balcony, to look at the garden and wild hills, and to ask myself ten times over, whether the form I had seen, [75] and the voice I had heard, were real or imaginary. I had scarcely dressed, and was preparing to sally forth, when a distinct tap at my door, gentle but imperative, startled me.
The door opened, and the Prior of Batalha stood before me. "You were disturbed, I fear," said he, "in the dead of the night, by a wailful voice, loudly proclaiming severe impending judgments. I heard it also, and I shuddered, as I always do when I hear it. Do not, however, imagine that it proceeds from another world. The being who uttered these dire sounds is still upon the earth, a member of our convent - an exemplary, a most holy man - a scion of one of our greatest families, and a near relative of the Duke of Aveiro, of whose dreadful, agonizing fate you must have heard. He was then in the pride of youth and comeliness, gay as sunshine, volatile as you now appear to be. He had accompanied the devoted duke to a sump- [76] tuous ball given by your nation to our high nobility: - at the very moment when splendour, triumph, and merriment were at their highest pitch, the executioners of Pombal's decrees, soldiers and ruffians, pounced down upon their prey; he too was of the number arrested - he too was thrown into a deep, cold dungeon: his life was spared; and, in the course of years and events, the slender, lovely youth, now become a wasted, care-worn man, emerged to sorrow and loneliness.
"The blood of his dearest relatives seemed sprinkled upon every object that met his eyes; he never passed Belem without fancying he beheld, as in a sort of frightful dream, the scaffold, the wheels on which those he best loved had expired in torture. The current of his young, hot blood was frozen; he felt benumbed and paralysed; the world, the court, had no charms for him; there was for him no longer warmth in the sun, or smiles on the human coun- [77] tenance: a stranger to love or fear, or any interest on this side the grave, he gave up his entire soul to prayer; and, to follow that sacred occupation with greater intenseness, renounced every prospect of worldly comfort or greatness, and embraced our order.
"Full eight-and-twenty years has he remained within these walls, so deeply impressed with the conviction of the Duke of Aveiro's innocence, the atrocious falsehood of that pretended conspiracy, and the consequent unjust tyrannical expulsion of the order of St. Ignatius, that he believes - and the belief of so pure and so devout a man is always venerable - that the horrors now perpetrating in France are the direct consequence of that event, and certain of being brought home to Portugal; which kingdom he declares is foredoomed to desolation, and its royal house to punishments worse than death.
”He seldom speaks; he loathes conver- [78] sation, he spurns news of any kind, he shrinks from strangers; he is constant at his duty in the choir - most severe in his fasts, vigils, and devout observances; he pays me canonical obedience - nothing more: he is a living grave, a walking sepulchre. I dread to see or hear him; for every time he crosses my path, beyond the immediate precincts of our basilica, he makes a dead pause, and repeats the same terrible words you heard last night, with an astounding earnestness, as if commissioned by God himself to deliver them. And, do you know, my lord stranger, there are moments of my existence, when I firmly believe he speaks the words of prophetic truth: and who, indeed, can reflect upon the unheard-of crimes committing in France - the massacres, the desecrations, the frantic blasphemies, and not believe them? Yes, the arm of an avenging God is stretched out - and the weight of impending judgment is most terrible.
[79] "But what am I saying ? - why should I fill your youthful bosom with such apprehensions? I came here to pray your forgiveness for last night's annoyance; which would not have taken place, had not the bustle of our preparations to receive your illustrious and revered companions, the Lord Priors, in the best manner our humble means afford, impeded such precautions as might have induced our reverend brother to forego, for once, his dreary nocturnal walk. I have tried by persuasion to prevent it several times before. To have absolutely forbidden it, would have been harsh - nay, cruel - he gasps so piteously for air: besides, it might have been impious to do so. I have taken opinions in chapter upon this matter, which unanimously strengthen my conviction that the spirit of the Most High moves within him; nor dare we impede its utterance."
I listened with profound seriousness to this remarkable communication; - the [80] Prior read in my countenance that I did so, and was well pleased. Leading the way, he conducted me to a large shady apartment, in which the plash of a neighbouring fountain was distinctly heard. In the centre of this lofty and curiously-groined vaulted hall, resting on a smooth Indian mat, an ample table was spread out with viands and fruits, and liquors cooled in snow. The two Prelates, with the monks deputed from Alcobaça to attend them, were sitting round it. They received me with looks that bespoke the utmost kindness, and at the same time suppressed curiosity; but not a word was breathed of the occurrence of last night, - with which, however, I have not the smallest doubt they were perfectly well acquainted.
I cannot say our repast was lively or convivial; a mysterious gloom seemed brooding over us, and to penetrate the very atmosphere - and yet that atmosphere [81] was all loveliness. A sky of intense azure, tempered by fleecy clouds, discovered itself between the tracery of innumerable arches; the summer airs (aure estive) fanned us as we sat; the fountain bubbled on; the perfume of orange and citron flowers was wafted to us from an orchard not far off: but, in spite of all these soft appliances, we remained silent and abstracted.
A sacristan, who came to announce that high mass was on the point of celebration, interrupted our reveries. We all rose up - a solemn grace was said, and the Prior of Batalha taking me most benignantly by the hand, the prelates and their attendants followed. We advanced in procession through courts and cloisters and porches, all constructed with admirable skill, of a beautiful grey stone, approaching in fineness of texture and apparent durability to marble. Young boys of dusky complexions, in long white tunics and with shaven heads, were busily [82] employed dispelling every particle of dust. A stork and a flamingo seemed to keep most amicable company with them, following them wherever they went, and reminding me strongly of Egypt and the rites of Isis.
We passed the refectory, a plain solid building, with a pierced parapet of the purest Gothic design and most precise execution, and traversing a garden-court divided into compartments, where grew the orange trees whose fragrance we had enjoyed, shading the fountain by whose murmurs we had been lulled, passed through a sculptured gateway into an irregular open space before the grand western façade of the great church - grand indeed - the portal full fifty feet in height, surmounted by a window of perforated marble of nearly the same lofty dimensions, deep as a cavern, and enriched with canopies and imagery in a style that would have done honour to [83] William of Wykeham, some of whose disciples or co-disciples in the train of the founder's consort, Philippa of Lancaster, had probably designed it.
As soon as we drew near, the valves of a huge oaken door were thrown open, and we entered the nave, which reminded me of Winchester in form of arches and mouldings, and of Amiens in loftiness. There is a greater plainness in the walls, less panelling, and fewer intersections in the vaulted roof; but the utmost richness of hue, at this time of day at least, was not wanting. No tapestry, however rich - no painting, however vivid, could equal the gorgeousness of tint, the splendour of the golden and ruby light which streamed forth from the long series of stained windows: it played flickering about in all directions, on pavement and on roof, casting over every object myriads of glowing mellow shadows ever in undulating motion, like the reflection of [84] branches swayed to and fro by the breeze. We all partook of these gorgeous tints - the white monastic garments of my conductors seemed as it were embroidered with the brightest flowers of paradise, and our whole procession kept advancing invested with celestial colours.
Mass began as soon as the high prelatic powers had taken their stations. It was celebrated with no particular pomp, no glittering splendour; but the countenance and gestures of the officiating priests were characterised by a profound religious awe. The voices of the monks, clear but deep-toned, rose pealing through vast and echoing spaces. The chant was grave and simple - its austerity mitigated in some parts by the treble of very young choristers. These sweet and innocent sounds found their way to my heart - they recalled to my memory our own beautiful cathedral service, and - I wept! My companions, too, appeared unusually [85] affected; their thoughts still dwelling, no doubt, on that prophetic voice which never failed to impress its hearers with a sensation of mysterious dread.
It was in this tone of mind, so well calculated to nourish solemn and melancholy impressions, that we visited the mausoleum where lie extended on their cold sepulchres the effigies of John the First, and the generous-hearted, noble-minded Philippa; linked hand in hand in death as fondly they were in life. This tomb is placed in the centre of the chapel.
Under a row of arches on the right, fretted and pinnacled and crocketed in the best style of Gothic at its best period, lie, sleeping the last sleep, their justly renowned progeny, the Regent Pedro Duke of Coimbra, whose wise administration of government, during the minority of his nephew and son-in-law Alfonso the Fifth, rendered Portugal so [86] prosperous, and whose death, by the vilest treachery, on the field of Alfarubeira, was the fatal consequence of bitter feud and civil jealousies; the Infante, Dom John, a man of pure and blameless life; Fernando, whose protracted captivity in Africa was a long agony, endured with the resigned and pious fortitude of a Christian martyr; and Henry, to whom his country is beholden for those triumphant maritime discoveries, the result of his scientific researches unwearyingly pursued in calm and studious retirement.
All these princes, in whom the high bearing of their intrepid father, and the exemplary virtues and strong sense of their mother, the grand-daughter of our Edward the Third, were united, repose, after their toils and suffering, in this secluded chapel, which looks indeed a place of rest and holy quietude; the light, equably diffused, forms as it were a tranquil atmosphere, such as might be imagined worthy to sur- [87] round the predestined to happiness in a future world.
I withdrew from the contemplation of these tombs with reluctance; every object in the chapel which contains them being so pure in taste, so harmonious in colour; every armorial device, every mottoed lambel, so tersely and correctly sculptured, associated also so closely with historical and English recollections - the garter, the leopards, the fleur-de-lis, "from haughty Gallia torn;" the Plantagenet cast of the whole chamber conveyed home to my bosom a feeling so interesting, so congenial, that I could hardly persuade myself to move away, though my reverend conductors began to show evident signs of impatience.
The Prior of St. Vincent's observed to me, that as my Lord High Almoner expected us back to dinner, and had set his heart upon an omelette à la provençale, which he eagerly desired might be tossed [88] up by my divine (as he was pleased to call him) French cook, we had no time to lose. We were therefore hurried unmercifully through the royal cloisters, a glorious square of nearly two hundred feet, surrounded by most beautifully-proportioned arches, filled up with a tracery as quaint as any of the ornaments of Roslin chapel, but infinitely more elegant: it is impossible to praise too warmly their tasteful and delicate ramifications.
I could not fail observing the admirable order in which every - the minutest nook and corner of this truly regal monastery is preserved: not a weed in any crevice, not a lichen on any stone, not a stain on the warm-coloured apparently marble walls, not a floating cress on the unsullied waters of the numerous fountains. The ventilation of all these spaces was most admirable; it was a luxury to breathe the temperate delicious air, blowing over the fresh herbs and flowers, which filled the com- [89] partments of a parterre in the centre of the cloister, from which you ascend by a few expansive steps to the chapter-house, a square of seventy feet, and the most strikingly beautiful apartment I ever beheld. The graceful arching of the roof, unsupported by console or column, is unequalled; it seems suspended by magic; indeed, human means failed twice in constructing this bold unembarrassed space. Perseverance, and the animating encouragement of the sovereign founder, at length conquered every difficulty, and the work remains to this hour secure and perfect.
This stately hail, though appropriated to the official resort of the living, is also a consecrated abode of the dead. On a raised platform in the centre, covered with rich palls, are placed the tombs of Alfonso the Fifth, and his grandson, a gallant, blooming youth, torn from life, and his newly-married consort, the Infanta of [90] Castile, and its fairest flower, at the early age of seventeen: with him expired the best hopes of Portugal, and of his father, the great John the Second.
My conductors, a great deal less affected than myself, would not allow me even one moment to ruminate and moralize upon vicissitudes and bereavements - they quite urged me along; and, to aid their active intentions, a tide of monks, sacristans, novices, seminarists, and the Lord knows who beside, appeared all of a sudden flowing forth from every cell and cloister: they had been all congregated, it seems, to do us honour and bid us adieu. The Prior, with his hands crossed on his breast, made me a low obeisance, and then opening his arms, gave me a cordial embrace.
Our army of attendants, mules, horses, and carriages, were all in waiting, ready drawn up at the same portal by which we had entered the night before. A grand interchange of salutations having taken [91] place, we departed, the fatal voice, I verily believe, sounding in the ears of most of us - it certainly did in mine.
To dissipate impressions which hung heavily upon me, I asked permission of my illustrious companions to mount my horse, and to leave them to the ease and comfort of their capacious chaise; they of course returning by Aljubarota, and I by a short cut, over some of the wildest be-pined, and be-rosemaryed, and be-lavendered country I ever met with. Franchi, who was perfectly well acquainted with this wilderness, steered my course through all its mazes and straggling paths of sand and turf, alternately, bordered by the gum-cistus in full flaring flower, so strongly scented as almost to command me to go to sleep.
Dr. Ehrhart had taken his departure several hours before, charged with the important mission of conveying my culinary artist, the incomparable Monsieur Simon, [92] to the longing arms of My Lord High Almoner; and, above all, by a vehement impulse to visit the infirmary of the convent, which he had been told contained an unusual number of patients, many of whom were afflicted with unusual disorders. This was attraction for him in an irresistible shape, and he most gladly left Batalha, and all its historical glories, (tombs, altars, and chapels, finished or unfinished,) to enjoy it.
I cannot describe in too glowing colours the increased jubilation with which I had the glory of being received by my Lord Abbot upon my return; for not only did he pass the threshold of his majestic portals to bid me welcome, but his principal confidant and factotum, the Sub-Prior, (whose strongly marked features were quite in the style of some of the finest studies of Masaccio,) assisted me to dismount, and condescendingly held my stirrup. From all these redoubled atten- [93] tions, I plainly perceived that the wind had changed in my favour several points since yesterday: and what do you think had produced this agreeable alteration? - the omelette à la provençale.
"Oh, my dear, most excellent stranger!" (my name for the time being had totally escaped him,) exclaimed his right reverence, "what a treasure you possess in that admirable artist - o grande Simaõ! he has had the kindness to cast a new light over my stoves, - he is liberality itself; for, instead of locking up his knowledge, he has diffused it throughout my whole kitchen. Here -" continued he, pulling out some scrawls which Franchi had translated from the original French into very aboriginal Portuguese - "Here are receipts, with marginal notes and illustrations, I mean to preserve, as carefully as I would a string of pearls, till my last hour. But, is it true, is it possible, you can be meditating to leave us so [94] soon? Some bird of evil note whispered in my ear that you were determined to leave us to-morrow morning. Let me conjure you not to think of it: one day more, at least, do I pray and beseech you to bestow on us. My revered lords the Priors of Aviz and St. Vincent's have consented to comply with my request, subject to your approval - Oh do not refuse them and me!"
"Whatever your right reverence and my illustrious friends so earnestly desire cannot meet on my part with the slightest impediment," answered I with a reverential obeisance.
"Now then," rejoined the Prior, clapping his hands in ecstasy, "we shall have that famous dish the admirable Simon promised me, - a macedoine, worthy of Alexander the Great; most happy, most grateful do I feel myself. But time is on the wing - let us profit whilst we can. I see you wish to refresh yourself by a [95] change of dress in your own apartment: be it so - but don't be long; dinner shall be on table the moment you are ready; and you know, good becomes bad, in the case of dishes at least, if we wait a second beyond the auspicious time."
Such logic was irresistible; I made all the haste required, and we sat down, I can truly say, to one of the most delicious banquets ever vouchsafed a mortal on this side Mahomet's paradise. The macedoine was perfection, the ortolans and quails lumps of celestial fatness, and the sautés and bechamels beyond praise; and a certain truffle cream so exquisite, that my Lord Abbot forestalled the usual grace at the termination of repasts, most piously to give thanks for it.
The dinner was about half over, when in came Dr. Ehrhart in high spirits, rubbing his hands with triumphant glee, and talking to himself, as he was often wont, in the purest Alsatian. He had passed a couple [96] of hours in the infirmary, and had visited all its closets of vials and gallipots. The drugs were not such (he informed us) either in quantity or quality as he could warmly commend; but the stock of maladies, to the alleviation of which they were destined, most ample. He had found a pretty sprinkling of complicated cases, some highly curious, and, no doubt, piquant: one in particular, an ulcer of tremendous size, exhibited every freak dame Nature was capable of playing upon such an occasion, - suppuration in one corner, callosity in another. He spoke of it in raptures, and regretted our stay was too limited to allow his committing to paper an exact delineation of this magnificent object in all its glow of colouring. He spoke handsomely also of the compound fracture of somebody's left leg. But when he came to the description of a sweet, simpie perennial sore (simplex immunditiis), which had continued during a series of [97] years to ebb and flow as regularly as the ocean, his enthusiasm knew no bounds. He said it was a most singular case - a beautiful case; a case so remarkable, so unprecedented, that he was determined all Europe should ring of it from side to side. He would throw his thoughts upon it into a dissertation of the length of at least sixty pages that he would - and dedicate it to his native university. Then, bursting forth into a torrent of Latin, rendered unintelligible to all but the frequenters of Strasbourg or Colmar by the most villanous Alsatian twang, addressed himself point-blank to my Lord Abbot.
His right reverence, by no means pleased at being roused from the joys of the table by such an appeal and upon such a subject, very coolly replied, ”that he made it a rule never to speak or hear the Latin language out of the choir, if he could possibly help it." This so palpable a rebuff silenced the good doctor, who had recourse [98] to copious libations of generous wine to dispel the disappointment it occasioned for he saw plainly that neither the fierce ulcer nor the gentle sore would meet with that attention from the supreme disposer of all things at Alcobaça, he was convinced they deserved so richly.
Notwithstanding the plastic effects of good cheer and flowing cups, my inestimable physician continued growling in an under tone during the whole remainder of our repast. And now the fulness of time for removing from the banquet-hall to the adjoining saloon being come, we repaired to another table, where all the delights of fruit and confectionary awaited us. Observing a good deal of whispering and message-sending between the Priors and their confidential attendants going forward, accompanied by nods and winks, I thought something particular for our special amusement was in contemplation; [99] nor was I deceived: the agreeable little mystery was soon cleared up by the entrance of a tall, hook-nosed, sallow-complexioned personage, in a tarnished court suit; who advanced with measured strides, beating with one hand a slow and solemn tattoo upon a roll of parchment which he carried in the other.
I could not conceive what patent or document was about to be unfolded, when the personage giving the parchment a quick twirl with his bird-claw-like fingers, it displayed itself in the shape of a theatrical bill, engrossed in large characters flaming with vermilion and gold. On this scroll I read most distinctly that - this night, by the grace of God and the especial permission of the Abbot of Alcobaça, High Almoner of Portugal, &c. &c. &c. would be enacted the excruciating tragedy of Donna Inez de Castro, and the cruel murder of that lovely lady and her [100] two innocent royal infants, represented on the stage: the part of Donna Inez by Senhor Agostinho Jose.
"The murder of the two royal infants!" exclaimed I; "what means this? We know too well, alas! how the Lady Inez was disposed of; but her two sweet babes escaped from the fangs of the tyrant - did they not, my good Lord Abbot ?"
" To be sure they did," replied his right reverence: "but this fine drama is not the production of one of our national bards; - an Italian gentleman, who has done us the honour of partaking of our hospitality for several years, and acquired in perfection our language, is the author; and, being a stranger, cannot be expected to feel so acutely for those precious infants as we Portuguese do: he therefore asked my leave to have them murdered, in order to add to the effect of the catastrophe. Rather than thwart a person of such transcendent abilities, and my very par- [101] ticular friend, I consented. He had half a mind to make them fall by their mother's own poniard in a fit of frenzy: but I could not allow of that; it would have been stretching a little too far - don't you think so?"
Recollecting the stretches I had often met with at home in historical novelswitness Miss Lee's "Recess" and many others - I made no objection, and turning to the bard, who was standing by wrapt into future murders, praised his sublime efforts in the tragic vein - the terribile via - in the most glowing terms I could muster. Animated by these grateful eulogies, he vociferated with dreadful vehemence, "Let me but live a few years longer, and I will be the death of half the regal personages in the Portuguese history, after my own fashion and no other. I will slay them magnificently on the battlefield, though they died in their brocaded beds with all their courtiers puling [102] around them; I will sink them in the ocean, though they expired on dry land; their agonies in the act of drowning shall be horrible; - nay, more, I will call upon the Prince of the Morning, upon Lucifer himself, to bear them away for some secret sin or compact, though the prayers of the church had been exhausted to avert such a direful calamity."
I thought this was a stretch with a vengeance: the Abbot, I plainly saw by his countenance, was of the same opinion; but, giving his ample shoulders a kind commiserating shrug, (for the bard was a special favourite,) contented himself with whispering to me -" Sta doëdo - sta doëdo; the man's mad - all poets are."
The Grand Prior of Aviz, who seemed to have no doubt of the truth of this observation in the present instance, looked at the bard with an expression of alarm that was almost ludicrous, and shrinking back in his chair, exclaimed piteously - [103] "What, Donna Inez and her children butchered upon the stage? I shall never be able to stand this; my eyes would become fountains, and we have had weeping enough lately," (alluding perhaps to the liquefaction scene of last night:) "tragedies of so deep a dye as this we are promised, affect my nerves in the most painful manner." So saying, he retired without further ceremony, accompanied by two reverend fathers, dignitaries of the convent, who professed the same clerical aversion to scenes of bloodshed.
As soon as they had departed to a quiet game of voltaretè in their own snug quarters, the Lord Abbot, observing it was growing late, (for we had passed a most unconscionable time at table,) invited me to repair, under his Sub-Prior's guidance, to a theatre which had been temporarily fitted up in the most distant part of this immense edifice, of the extent of which, as well as of the endless variety of its [104] cloistered galleries, cells, chapels, and chambers, I had not till this moment an adequate idea. Our peregrinations, therefore, were none of the shortest or least intricate. We passed through several galleries but feebly lighted, disturbing, I fear, the devotions of some aged monks, who were putting up their orisons before a lugubrious image of our Lady of the Seven Dolours, placed under a most sumptuously fringed and furbelowed canopy of purple velvet.
Farther on, another vast corridor branched off to that part of the convent allotted to scholars and novices. Not a few of these gentle youths were pursuing the study of the Jew's harp, and twanging away most proficiently. All these scudded off upon our approach, - the whole party had been at high romps, I suspect, from their flushed and blowzy appearance, wishing us, I dare say, in purgatory, or [105] a worse place, for having intruded upon their recreations.
Advancing with due gravity, the valves of a lofty architectural door, with a pompous inscription on the pediment in golden characters, were unfolded, and we entered an extraordinarily spacious, coved saloon, which appeared to have been assigned to holier purposes, for there was an organ in a recess on one side of it. Across the whole end of this apartment was extended an immense green curtain, with the insignia of the convent emblazoned upon it in vivid colours; the centre of the saloon was occupied, as might have been expected, with many a row of polished oaken benches; but what I did not expect was an assemblage of more than one hundred venerable fathers, sitting in solemn ranks, as if they had been assisting at an ecumenical council, some wiping their spectacles, and some telling their [106] beads. An effluvia, neither of jasmine nor roses - in short, that species of high conventual frowziness which monastic habits and garments are not a little apt to engender, affected my lay nerves most disagreeably.
The Prior of St. Vincent's, perceiving the uneasy curl up of my nose, whispered his neighbour, who whispered a second, who whispered a third, and presently a most grateful vapour of fragrant herbs and burnt lavender filled the room. Through its medium appeared descending from a portal, by a flight of most spacious steps, the Lord Abbot himself in grand costume. He insisted, with a positiveness which I could not avoid obeying, that I should take his abbatial chair next the orchestra, and placed himself on another equally ponderous, conceding the one on my right hand to the Prior of St. Vincent's.
We were no sooner settled, than half-a-dozen sharp-toned fiddles, a growling [107] bass, two overgrown mandolines, (lutes I suppose I ought to style them), and a pair of flutes most nauseously tweedled upon by two wanton-looking, blear-eyed young monks, who it would be charitable to suppose had caught cold at some midnight choral service, struck up a most singular and original species of antiquated overture. It was full of jerking passages in the style of "Les Folies d'Espagne," and ended with a fugue that was catch-who-can in perfection.
Instead of the curtains drawing up at the conclusion of this strange musical farrago, there was a tedious pause, and I had full time to look round on the audience. Not five monks off my fauteuil, I caught the evil eye of Donna Francisca's director, sitting apart from the rest of the assembly, and looking more terrifically glum than any saint I ever beheld on an Italian sign-post, or in a German prayer-book.
[108] I was trying to account for the delay of the performance, when sounds not unlike those which often proceed from a disturbed hen-roost became audible. Franchi's voice sounded predominant in this strange hubbub; and I found out afterwards that he had been fruitlessly attempting to persuade the Lady Inez (one of the most ungain hobbledehoys I ever met with) to abjure an enormous pair of jingling ear-rings, and to reduce a sweeping train he kept floundering over at every step, to the proportion of those in fashion amongst the tragedy queens of the Salitri theatre. Anything in the shape of metropolitan criticism wounded the awkward stripling's provincial amour-propre so deeply, that he threatened hysterics and an appeal to the Lord Abbot. This was conclusive; Franchi gave way, the Lady Inez retained her overflowing robes and her ear-rings, and the curtain rose.
Said his right reverence, whispering to [109] me over the arm of my ponderous chair, "If you had heard Agostinho's declamation only two months ago, you would have been enchanted - his tones were so touching, so pathetic: his voice is now a little broken down; but you, who have an ear, will soon discover that it is on the high road of becoming a grand baritone: and as for his action, I am convinced you will soon allow nothing was ever more sublime."
Just as I was on the point of replying to this warm encomium in a strain of correspondent eulogy, my Lord Abbot gently murmured, "Hush, hush! don't you hear the Lady Inez ?" I certainly did - and well I might, for a louder bellow was never given by the flower of any dairy. No cow bereaved of her last-dropped young one ever uttered sounds more doleful: they increased in depth and dismality, till the forlorn damsel, advancing to the lights on the stage, cried out, "Cru-él, cru-él !" ad- [110] dressing, I suppose, the phantom of her redoubted father-in-law, - "and wouldst thou slay my innocents? Hast thou discovered my peaceful retirement? Where fly - where run?" She then continued, in a flow of at least one hundred lines, to picture her agonising fears, her dire presentiments, her frightful dreams; and, with looks that were meant to tear our feelings to the last tatter, she thus described her most terrific vision:

On thy wan disk, O pale and ghastly moon!
I saw portray'd a vengeful countenance;
And whilst upon it I did wildly gaze,
Methought it wore the semblance of the King -
(Now gelid horror claim'd me for her own.)
I tried to fly - I fled, but all in vain,
The dreaded face pursued me.
If I turn'd back, 'twas there; if I advanced,
The stern, cold image seem'd to freeze my soul,
Changing the genial current of my blood
Into a substance more severe than stone.
Avaunt, my hapless babes! approach me not,
Lest by some fatal petrifying power
Your limbs be fix'd in durance.

[111] Donna Inez, by good luck, declaimed this magnificent piece of nonsense in a tolerably even key, and with really so just an emphasis, that the enraptured bard, laying aside his prompting-book, could not resist exclaiming, "What do you think of that?"-" E boa, e boa!" replied the Lord Abbot. And the whole assembly, both before and behind the scenes, re-echoed with one accord this favourable sentiment, and nothing but “E boa, e boa!" was heard from one end of the saloon to the other.
Such universal encouragement did not fail to produce its effect upon Donna Inez, - rather too much so; for the higher notes of her semi-soprano voice having regained the ascendant, she squalled out of all mercy. My sense of hearing is painfully acute, and I hardly know what I would not have given for cotton to stop my ears with. However, they had soon a respite, Heaven be praised! the second act being totally employed by the plots and [112] contrivances of the King and his counsellors, - quiet, chatty people, as loyal and complaisant as King Arthur's courtiers, Noodle, Doodle, and Foodle, in the incomparable tragedy of Tom Thumb.
In act the third, to my infinite astonishment, I found his majesty totally unacquainted with the little circumstance of Donna Inez having 'favoured his recreant son with a brace of children: he more than suspected espousals had taken place between them, but he little thought any fruits from the degrading match were in existence. Upon his prime counsellor's disclosing the fact, he asks with a perfidious coolness, "What are they like ?" "Doves, my dread lord," answers the counsellor with infinite suavity: to which the infuriated monarch replies with a voice of thunder,

“It matters not, I'll tear their felon hearts -

And with this horrid menace quits the [113] stage in a paroxysm of ungovernable fury, still repeating behind the scenes “Perish they shall!" which was repeated again and again from the top of a ladder, by an old dignified monk, a passionate lover of the drama, but who being decorously shy of appearing on the open boards, had taken the part of Echo, which he performed to admiration.
Act the fourth offered nothing very loud or remarkable; but in act the fifth, horror and terror were working up to the highest pitch; two determined assassins had been procured - their looks most murderous - the children ran off - the assassins pursued - shrill and bitter squeakings were heard at the farthest extremity of the stage, such as a desperate conflict between rats or mice often produces behind old walls or wainscotings. The audience appeared prodigiously affected; most of them stood up, stretching out their necks like a flock of alarmed turkeys. This dreadful [114] hurry-skurry ended by the first assassin's seizing the eldest infant by its beautiful hair, and tossing it apparently dead upon the stage. Three or four drops of pigeon's blood, squeezed out of some invisible receptacle, added a horrible appearance of reality to the foul deed.
It was now the other infant's turn to be murdered; and murdered it was, in a style that would not have disgraced one of Herod's best practitioners. The poor helpless innocent, who appeared to be most dreadfully frightened in right earnest, delivered its little dying speech with so much artlessness, that I was not surprised to see tears fall and hear sobs heave all around me. In short, affliction was almost exhausted to the last drop before Donna Inez was driven in, who, after calling to the sun, moon, and stars for vengeance, in accents at times most deep, at others most piercing, was immolated, by three distinct stabs of a poniard, upon the bodies of her children.
[115] The deed so completely done, his most revengeful majesty, gloomier than Dis, and looking more truculent than ever the King of Judea was supposed to have done, entered with royal and stately step - stood gloating a minute or two over the horrid spectacle, and then, with the hoarse note of a carrion crow, croaked forth, “I am satisfied." The curtain fell; and putting aside its folds with a withered hand trembling with agitation, out issued the bard himself to speak an epilogue in his own character. It was tiresome and pompous enough, God knows, and concluded with a tirade, not exactly à la Camoens, pretty nearly as follows:

Lord of the firmament, couldst thou blaze on,
Urging thy coursers through the plains of light,
And not start back, affrighted at the deed!
Moon, veil thy orb - be quench'd, ye conscious stars,
Never again to sparkle as before!

Every soul in the assembly seemed to stand aghast, imprecating vengeance on [116] the ruthless monarch, and feeling for the murdered innocents to their heart's core. Donna Inez was called for by my Lord Abbot, and embraced by his right reverence most blubberingly. The kindhearted Prior of St. Vincent's wept aloud, - I tried my best, though in a lower key, to imitate him; the Poet was lauded to the skies, and received from the fountainhead of all good within these precincts something more solid than praise - a richly embroidered purse, heavy and chinking, which he deposited in one of his lank pockets, after making a grateful profound genuflexion.
"And now," said my Lord Abbot, "let us dry our tears and go to supper; and in order to give merit its lust due, the Poet and Agostinho shall be of the party. "Why not?" said the Prior of St. Vincent's. "Why not?" echoed I, - “provided we have neither the king nor the murderers."
[117] As sunshine so frequently follows dark and drizzling weather, nothing could be more blithe or even frolicksome than our repast. The Grand Prior of Aviz, whom we found already placed near the hospitable board with his two card companions, talking over their game, congratulated himself warmly upon having escaped such a severe assault upon the pathetic feelings, and enjoyed the festivity of the moment without alloy. So we all did; and it was at a very late hour of one of the blandest summer nights I ever experienced that we retired to our apartments.


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