Monday, May 18, 2015

Thursday, May 18th, 1882

Thursday. May 18th Fayal Hotel.
After breakfast Mr & Mrs Lee, Miss Smith & I went to market as it is market day. We met the streets full of people returning and they afforded us a great deal of amusement. There was a man who came up to me and looking very wild and crazy or drunk said "you told me you want 2 dogs" I agreed - for I was afraid to do anything else, then I managed to reason it out that somebody at the Hotel wanted dogs and asked him to bring them up this afternoon to be seen - whereupon he said "thank'ee sir". We were in search of donkeys to take us up to the caldera tomorrow met Manuel Labache[?] (Mrs Robertsons donkey boy) but he could not understand at what hour we wished them. So we calmly stood in the street calling for somebody who could speak English until about 30 people had assembled about us. Finally a man volunteered to interpret for us - At a p[?] office, that of the Fayalensa, we saw a copy of Evangeline in Portuguese. I noticed that some of the men at the market had short, rough cloth jackets, closefitting [sic], with double breasts & tiny buttons - in snuff color, brown or dark blue and broad straw hats and close fitting pants - the market is in an inclosure [sic] and surrounded by trees. All kinds of cheeses, potatoes and nespras were the principal wares. There were many beggars and a woman with an evil eye who pursues us all everywhere saying something that sounds like "I am crazy - I am crazy" We are sure that she tells the truth and area as afraid as death of her. Fayal is an island of extreme poverty or wealth. Everybody in the streets In the booths at the market there were little pictures of the patron saint of the [?] and at the gateway a very much gilded affair. The flat irons used over the island are something like this

containing coals to keep them hot. I have just observed for the first time that there are no chimneys on the houses. They tell us that the reason the ox carts shriek so is to prevent smuggling in years past. They could be heard two miles away. During a rebellion however two years ago the government wished to put an end to these noisy wheels and this was one of the chief causes of sedition. Mr Dabney says, the peasants believe the sound of the shrieks keeps off the witches & makes the oxen go faster. Dr Robertson says that the reason we had no trouble at the custom house was because he is a mason and gave the [?] there a note for the General. I cannot rely on the truth of this or anything else from the same source. Mrs Edwards is the ideal hostess, fat and round and good natured, always smiling - She wears a royal purple dress with an ecru lace scarf, a pink shawl over that and her entire waist covered with brooches, watch chain, etc. Her husband seems a very fine gentleman. She is from "ould Ireland." Their table is most generous, always for dinner, soup two kinds of fish, two kinds of meat, some kind of game or chicken, three or four vegetables besides lettuce and cucumber which we always have, wild strawberries, four kinds of dessert, besides cake and preserves, then cheeses and different breads, buttermilk and coffee. Nothing ever appears on the table again on any new form so there must be some waste - And for all this we only pay a Spanish dollar a day. The waiters are men, one old and anxious always runs as if he would be punished if he did not get the plate on time wears a yellow plush vest and blk [sic] suit dress - the other Antonio is frivolous with his hair frizzed and dancing eyes. He counts my wash! There are any number of Captain's here, most of them off whalers. The streets are full of sailors at certain times. It is Ascension Day, so we went to the Cathedral this morning which is called the Church of the Jesuits. It is very large and more agreeable in decoration than the Franciscan. I noticed some beautiful Censers and an altar of inlaid wood. We ambled about and then went to the gallery from which Mrs Smith made some sketches of the women kneeling in their cloaks below. They looked like hundreds of some strange black birds alighted. Mass was celebrated, some of the military assisting with trumpet and bugle as the Elevation of the Host. We went to Vespers at the Franciscan Church and enjoyed it very much. It was about 6 o'c, "a dim religious light". The church was quite full. The Virgins shrine was filled with lighted candles and the combination of light, incense, devout congregation, intoning of the service, the singing and the huge church, dark everywhere beyond the shrine, the priests & acolytes and everything foreign - was very impressive. I fairly absorbed the spirit of it, losing all my past life and ideas in the interest of the now.

Mr Wallach left for St Michaels by steamer at 8 o'c this evening to the delight of Mama & myself and to Grace's utter desolation. I think it will be a good thing for them to be separated as it may give them opportunity to come to a realisation [sic] of the situation. Some of the peasants here wear leather sandals and some kind of wooden shoe. Mr Edwards shocked us by stating today that it is only because we are foreigners we think the Portuguese jabber - that they say to noisy children "you make as much noise as an English boat's crew".

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