Agnes M Goodall.

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you to approach, they would seem to be motion-
ing you away both of which signs are entirely

They have also retained from the Moors a love
of coloured tiles for decorating their houses, and
even their churches, both inside and out. There
are many factories at Lisbon and Oporto w r here
these tiles are made, but they never now attain the
beauty of the old Moorish ones, which are still to
be seen here and there throughout the country.
It is a lost art.

But \ve have left our plough far behind, and are
coming to a few cottages and a small wayside inn.
A bush hangs over the door to show that wine is
sold, the time-honoured sign which was used long
ago in England, and from which the saying comes,
" Good wine needs no bush."

Outside, tied to rings fastened in the wall, stand
two or three donkeys, a pony, and a mule, all very
tired and dejected-looking, while lolling in the
doorway, or sitting on a bench inside, are their
masters, drinking the good red wine of the country,



Country Ways and Country Folk

of which they can buy a large bottle for the modest
sum of forty ries, or about twopence.

They are fond of a glass of wine, but you will
see little or no drunkenness, except occasionally on
a Sunday. Close to the inn is the old stone water-
ing-place, the fonte, as it is called, whence, out of the
mouth of a quaintly-carved stone head, a fresh stream
of water, cool and clear from the mountains, is ever
flowing. All over the country, wherever there are
a few houses together, and at the street corners in
the towns, may be seen these stone watering-places
and fountains, where the brightly-dressed peasant-
women fill their large earthenware jars, carrying
them away balanced on their heads, where the
lads and maidens wrangle good-humouredly over
whose turn it is next, where the children play and
dabble in the water, and the gossips meet to talk
over the latest scandal.

There is a small boy running about on sturdy,
bare brown legs, hands thrust deep into the pockets
of his ragged and patched little breeches, which
are kept up by the usual sash, worn by men and boys
alike, and wound round and round the waist. His
shirt is open at the neck, and on his head he wears
the cap of the country, a long worsted bag, drawn
well over the ears, and hanging almost to the

These caps are always either black, or bright

PO. 41 6


green with a scarlet stripe round the opening, and,
as we are soon to realize, serve many useful purposes,
as well as that of covering the head.

The little urchin, seeing we are strangers, comes
up to have a good look at us, and out of idle curiosity
we ask his name. He gives us a string of them,
which sounds fitting for a young prince Henriques
Quintino Rodrigues de Monserrate, the latter being
probably the name of the village he lives in. Finding
us less interesting than he had hoped, our small
friend proceeds to remove his cap and to play with
something at the bottom of it, which he exhibits
with great pride to another child who has come out
of one of the cottages. He eventually pulls it out,
and we see that it is a very large black beetle ! His
hand goes in again and draws out another, and yet
another, and his three treasures are put down to
crawl about on the steps leading up to the watering-
place. At last, tired even of this engrossing amuse-
ment, he grabs hold of them again, and drops
them one by one into the recesses of the cap, which
he then proceeds to replace upon his head. When
remonstrated with, he quite fails to catch our
point, and assures us that there could be no safer
place for carrying black beetles.

We have lingered enough, and must be going on
our way. The whole valley seems transfigured, and
all things loom fairylike through a golden haze as

4 2

Country Ways and Country Folk

we look towards the setting sun. We wander
on through an orchard of orange and lemon trees,
with their wealth of golden fruit and tender white
blossom, the fallen fruit lying beneath the trees, as
do the apples in an orchard at home when shaken
by the winds of autumn. We meet an old priest,
in wide-brimmed hat and long soutane, who smiles
benignly on us. He passes on, and the sound of a
church bell, calling to prayer, floats softly up the




IF there is one spot in Portugal more famed than
another for its beauty, it is Cintra. The little town
lies about seventeen miles from Lisbon, perched on
the side of the Cintra Mountains. Many of the
well-to-do people of the capital have villas there,
where they go for change and bracing air when the
heat of summer makes town life unendurable. The
best time to be at Cintra is, however, in April and
May, when the piercing winter winds are gone, and
before the sleepy little place half town and half
village is awakened out of its usual quiet by the
invasion of the smart society folk from Lisbon.
It is then that Nature puts on her fresh spring dress,
and everynook and corner is bright with wild-flowers.
There are many things which lend charm to the
place : the beauty and historic interest of the old
half-Moorish palace in the village itself, the wonder-
ful Pena Palace, perched high on its rocky pinnacle
on the mountain-top ; the ruined Moorish fort
and castle, whose solidly-built battlements and low
towers crown another summit a thousand feet



above the town ; the many quintas or country houses
hidden away among the trees ; the lovely gardens,
full of flowers, palms, and semi-tropical plants ; the
cool splash of water falling over rocks, and the deep
still tanks, covered with water-lilies, and reflecting
the surrounding beauty in their quiet depths.

Above all, there are the countless beautiful walks
in every direction. You may go by the road which
zigzags down the steep hillside to the valley below ;
wander eastward for miles towards Lisbon, over
rough and bleak moorland, or westward towards
Collares, through the cork-woods, where gnarled
and twisted branches and grey-green foliage meet
over shady footpaths, and huge boulders rise out
of a carpet of ferns and flowers.

Of the many delightful walks and scrambles, the
most charming of all is a climb to the top of the hill
not by the dusty, winding highway, but by a roughand
steep footpath. It starts between overhanging trees
and high walls, old and lichen-covered. Maidenhair
and other ferns grow in every chink of the stones ; prim-
roses, periwinkles, and violets stud the grass below.

Farther up the walls grow low and crumbling,
and seen through the blossom-laden branches of
a Judas-tree is a bold mass of giant rocks, crowned
by a group of old stone-pines, with their dark
umbrella-shaped tops, and their stems glowing red
and purple in the afternoon sunlight.



Far below lies the plain, neither green, nor brown,
nor grey, nor olive, but a little of all ; bare undu-
lating country stretching away to the sea and to
the hazy blue hills in the distance. Long white
roads can be clearly seen, like narrow tapes, leading
over hill and dale to the far horizon.

At length, standing high on its granite rock,
you come to the Pena Palace, with its many domes,
towers, and turrets, a royal palace, whence King
Emanuel the Fortunate used to gaze out to sea,
watching for the return of Vasco da Gama from
his first expedition to India.

The most striking features of the old Palace in
the town below are two tall chimneys, shaped like
the tops of a couple of gigantic soda-water bottles.
They belong to the royal kitchens, and were in-
tended to carry off the fumes from the row of little
charcoal fires along one side of the vast apartments,
and on which in days gone by all the cooking was
done. The kitchens have no ceiling at all, the
walls simply narrowing in to form the chimneys,
and I fear that in winter-time the poor cooks must
have found it uncommonly draughty.

To enter this Palace you pass the old women who
sit under their big umbrellas, selling oranges at
the corner of the little market-square, and, taking
no notice of a sleepy sentry, who as often as
not leans propped up against the gateway, you

4 6


walk into the courtyard, and up a broad flight
of steps.

Most noticeable in the Palace are the exquisite
old Moorish tiles let into the walls, and the painted
wooden ceilings of some of the rooms.

There is one of these in which poor King
Alfonso VI. was imprisoned for many years by his
wife and younger brother, who usurped the throne.
Whatever his faults may have been, one cannot help
feeling sorry for the wretched man, who tramped
up and down his prison till the stone paving became
worn away in a groove.

Whilst on this subject, I must not forget to tell
you about Portuguese prisons in general, and so I
will describe the one at Cintra, which is a fair sample
of the others. It has large unglazed windows
looking on to the square, and behind a double row
of iron cross-bars you see the haggard pale-faced
prisoners, herded together in filth and squalor.
They spend most of their time begging for alms
from the passers-by. Sometimes their friends
stand in the street below, and hold long conversa-
tions with them, or pass up food and tobacco in the
prisoners' long bag-shaped caps, which they lower by
means of a string. The sentry who keeps guard out-
side takes no notice of these proceedings, for Portu-
guese criminals are allowed this one indulgence,
perhaps to make up for their otherwise wretched lot.




THERE are many places besides Cintra where ancient
strongholds are to be found. In a land where
there was so much fighting every town had to be
protected, and throughout the country you come
across old-world places which but for the tumble-
down state of the fortifications can hardly have
changed since the days when Moors and Christians
struggled for supremacy.

One such old town is Obidos, won from the Moors
in 1148. I remember it as I saw it last, perched
high on its steep and rocky hill, with battlements,
towers, and the ruins of the castle standing out dark
and formidable against a glowing sunset sky. It is
the quaintest little place in the world, carrying one's
thoughts back to the Middle Ages, and scarcely
a house has crept beyond the shelter of its high,
castellated walls. There are only two narrow
fortified gateways, beneath whose arches the in-
habitants pass in and out. Within the walls are
the tightly-packed houses, low and picturesque,
and numerous churches. The narrow, winding


Obidos, Leiria, and Thomar

streets are full of dark-eyed children, gaunt pigs, and
straying donkeys, while flowers hang in masses of
brilliant colour over every wall and balcony.

In other towns the protecting fortress stands
alone on some high outcrop of rock, while the houses
nestle at its foot, as, for instance, at Leiria. Cen-
turies ago it was a Roman centre of some impor-
tance, and later on Suevis, Visigoths, and Moors
held sway there in turn, until it was finally taken
by King Alfonso Henriques in about 1135. More
than a hundred years later King Dinez lived there,
and on the site of the Moorish stronghold he built
the great castle the ruins of which dominate the
town to this day.

Surrounded by hills, and standing on the green
banks of the River Liz, Leiria is now a sleepy,
picturesque country town, with a cathedral, a
market-square, wide, shady walks skirting the river,
and quaint little streets spanned at intervals by
arches. It seems strange now to think of the stormy
days when knights in armour rode up the winding
way that leads to the castle, yet later years have also
brought fire and sword to this peaceful valley. In
the Peninsular War, between 1807 and 1810, the
French troops passed through it no less than three
times, and under Marshal Junot and General
Margaron it was given over to pillage and violence.

Some twenty miles or more away, beyond hill-tops

PO. 49 7


clothed with pine-woods and heather, and valleys
rich with olives, figs, and vines, lies Thomar, another
town sheltering beneath a high castle-crowned hill.
This fortress, under whose protection the town
first sprang up, was built by the Knights Templars
in the middle of the twelfth century. It was the
special mission of this order of knights to defend
the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, to protect the
Christians in that city, and to fight the Moham-
medans wherever they might meet them. The
Moslems in Portugal were the Moors, who made a
mighty effort to capture this Castle of Thomar some
sixty years after it was founded. It was a celebrated
siege, and an old inscription, let into one of the
walls, tells the history of it in a few quaint words.
Translated, it reads as follows :

"In 1228, on the 3rd day of July, the King of Morocco came
with 400,000 cavalry, and 500,000 footmen, to besiege the
Castle for six days, and destroyed all that he found outside the
walls. God delivered the Castle, its Master and brethren from
his hands. The same King returned to his country with
innumerable losses of men and horses."

On the suppression of the Order of Templars
in 1312, King Diniz established the Order of Christ
at Thomar " for the defence of the Faith, the
discomfiture of the Moors, and the extension of the
Portuguese monarchy," as the old records put it.
It became one of the wealthiest and most powerful
orders of chivalry in Christendom, its knights


Obidos, Leiria, and Thomar

fighting in all parts of the world, till in 1523 King
John III. converted it into a purely religious
community of monks, and the heroic days of war
and adventure came to an end.

As the years passed by many additions were made
to the grim old fortress. A magnificent new church
was added, chapter-houses and cloisters, dormitories
and kitchens. There are no fewer than eight
cloisters, of different dates, styles, and sizes, and all
these oddments of architecture, each one beautiful
in its own way, have mellowed with age into a
rambling, fascinating whole.

The town below contains several churches of
interest, and many factories and cotton-mills. The
River Nabao runs through it, passing beneath a
fine old bridge, and turning numberless picturesque
water-wheels as it flows along. On its banks
poplars rear their tall heads, willows dip their long
branches in the cool stream, and rows of peasant
women may be seen standing in the water, hard at
work washing. They rub and scrub the clothes
ruthlessly on hard stones, rinsing them in the
running water ; but one feels quite reconciled to
see the garments being worn out and ruined, if
only one may be allowed to watch these charming,
brightly-dressed laundresses, and to listen to their
merry talk and laughter.

51 72



THE peasants are very hard-working, particularly
in the north, where they are a finer race altogether
than in the south, not only better-looking, manlier,
and more resolute in character, but thriftier and
more industrious.

In a previous chapter I told you about the
dancing and singing that they are so fond of ; but
they are not always light-hearted, for there is
another and darker side to their lives.

The wages are much lower than in England, and
the working hours much longer ; sunrise to sunset
is the measure of labour, and the summer days are
long and the sun is cruelly hot. By the time work
is over, the tired peasants can often have but little
heart left for fun or frolic.

Very few agricultural machines are used in Portu-
gal, all the sowing and reaping being done by hand.
The grain, too, is threshed out with flails. The
workers stand round a heap of maize and swing
their flails rhythmically up and down with a dull,
thudding sound, till all the grain is threshed out.


The Peasantry

There is an old folk-song about this which I must
quote for you. The feeling that runs all through
the verses reveals pathetically the dull monotony of
the long hours spent in weary toil. The singer begins
by reproaching his flail ; then his conscience smites
him as he remembers that it is by the aid of this
trusty friend that he earns his bread, and that to-
morrow will be as to-day an endless to-morrow
of toil and labour.

Wheat is separated from the husk in a very odd
way. It is trodden out by oxen, and beans are
worked out of their pods in the same manner. The
women toil in the fields just as hard as the men
if anything harder, and one may often see a woman
carrying a huge load on her head with a man stroll-
ing idle and empty-handed beside her. Even the
children have to make themselves useful, starting
work at a very early age. A solemn little boy or
girl carrying a goad twice their own height will
walk barefooted in front of ox-cart or plough,
guiding the great docile beasts in the way they
should go. The children, too, are sent out to herd
the cattle and to look after the flocks.

I knew a little boy who seemed to spend his whole
life shepherding his father's flock of sheep and goats,
which are always mixed in Portugal. Early in
the morning he would leave the farm and wander
off over the moors. In cold weather he would wear



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The above is a well-known Portuguese folk-song. As is always the case with folk-
songs which are traditional, there are slight differences in the versions in use in different
places. The above is the version as sung by students at Coinihra. All present should
clap their hands on the first three beats of every bar. The author is indebted for the
English translation to Mr. Morton Latham.

The Peasantry

a sack over his head to protect himself from the
piercing wind ; in summer he would try to find a
cool spot beneath some high rock or shady tree,
and there he would contentedly eat his midday
meal of black bread, olives, and goat's-milk cheese,
always, however, keeping an eye on his charges, lest
any should stray.

Quite different is the work of the shepherds in
the mountainous country of the north and in the
great Estrella range, where the lofty crags and
deep gorges of the mountains stretch away as far
as the eye can see. Here it is men's work, and in
the summer, when the flocks are taken to the high
upland pastures, the shepherds live in roughly-built
stone huts. At night they often sleep in the midst
of their flocks, while their dogs, big long-haired
mastiffs, keep guard on the outskirts to give warning
at the approach of danger.

Very real danger it is at times, for in the narrow,
precipitous ravines of these wild hills are still to be
found though of late years much more rarely-
the large brown wolves, which steal down at dead
of night to carry off their prey. The struggle is
fierce between the faithful watch-dogs and their
savage enemies. The shepherds in the darkness lay
about them lustily with their staves, the growling
and snarling of the wolves and mastiffs mingle with
the bleating of the sheep and goats and the shouts



of the men, till at last the wolves are beaten off,
slinking away as noiselessly as they came.

The cottages of the poor are often only small,
one-storied houses, built of loose stones without
cement, and just plastered roughly over to keep
out the wind. Inside they are dark and dreary,
and very scantily furnished. Although they work
so hard, the peasants in many parts are wretchedly
poor, and their food none too plentiful. It is
different from that of an English labourer, being
mainly black bread, made from a mixture of maize
and rye-flour. They also eat olives, rice, oil,
vegetables, and a considerable quantity of dried
and salted cod-fish bacalhau, as it is called. It
smells and tastes very strong, and before it is cooked
is as hard as a board. Nevertheless, it is very nutri-
tious. The whole population is particularly fond
of it, so much so that it is by no means unusual to
see people eating it uncooked, though to us it would
not seem at all a tempting delicacy.





THE Roman as ^ or annual pilgrimages, are a great
institution in Portugal. They are looked on partly
as being good for the soul, and partly as pleasurable
outings. Sometimes the pilgrimage is to a shrine
on some lonely hill-top, sometimes to a spot marked
by an array of stone crosses, where some local saint
is reputed to have performed a miracle. These
pilgrimages keep up interest in religious obser-
vances, but unluckily there is often much super-
stition connected with them.

There are two places which, above all others,
attract vast crowds of the devout, as many as
30,000 to 35,000 people being often present. One
is " Bom Jesus do monte ' (Good Jesus of the
mountain), near Braga ; and the other " Bom Jesus
dos boucas : (Good Jesus of the barren sands), at
Mathosinhos, a village on the sea-coast not far from
Oporto. Here, in an unpretentious church, is
enshrined a crucifix reputed to possess the most
wonderful miracle-working powers.

The legend runs that long, long ago, so far back
PO. 57 8


that date and year have been forgotten, this figure
of our Lord was washed ashore and placed by the
priest in the village church. It had been much
buffeted by the waves, and had lost one arm, but
some little time after, the missing limb was dis-
covered in the following miraculous way. A poor old
woman was trudging along the beach one day, pick-
ing up driftwood wherewith to light her fire. She
saw a piece which she thought was the very thing
required, and returned home with it, only to find
that do what she would, she could not get it to
burn. She put it out in the sun to dry, but all to
no purpose ; so at length she decided to cut it up
into little splinters, to see if in that way it would
more readily catch fire. No sooner was her chopper
lifted ready to strike than the wood jumped to one
side ! The faster the blows rained down the more
nimble did it become, till at last, in alarm, the old
dame sought a priest, to whom she related her
strange story. He examined the piece of wood,
and was inspired to recognize the missing arm,
which was soon restored to its proper position.

The pious folk for miles around still firmly believe
that this sacred image, coming to them thus wonder-
fully from the sea, must have power to help the
toilers of the deep, and must be the very special
protector of seamen and fishermen. When the
storms are wildest, and their boats are in danger



of being wrecked, it is to our Lord of Mathosinhos
that the sailors cry in their distress. They ascribe
their preservation to His miraculous powers, and
the church is full of the quaintest votive offerings
given in humble gratitude for answered prayers.
Extraordinary wax models of legs and arms hang
near the shrine, and also numberless pictures,
crudely painted by the mariners themselves.

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