Monday, May 25, 2015

Thursday, May 25th, 1882

Thursday. May 25th Fayal Hotel.
“A dream of a da’ay” as Mr Sanisberry says. The Lees, Miss Smith, Mrs, Miss Dabney, Sen, Miss Rose, Mr Herbert, Kent & Taylor and I went on a picnic to Cristel Blanco. It was Mr Sanisberry’s treat. There were three baron[?] with mules, three abreast in one of them, & the Dabneys sent some servants to carry one shawls and provisions. Cristel Blanco is a rock rising directly  from the ocean to a height of more than 700 ft. connected with the mainland by a natural bridge. There are several [89]  stone steps up its precipitous sides. Years ago there was a convent that there where the nuns fled from piratical Moors and there are a few remains there still of cisterns and wells. There is a patch of German forget me nots there on a corner of the rock, the rest is covered with heather. The view is extensive, of more than half the horizon. Pico and Horta the back hills around to Caprero and the ocean which was like a lake today and pale blue. It was very dreamy. We had one of Mrs Edwards extensive lunches, and then lounged among the heather and talked until nearly sunset. Miss Dabney Sen, was a great friend of Mr & Mrs Wm Hunt, has been at Bratto [Brattleboro] and told many interesting anecdotes of Mr Hunt and some of the people who have been at these islands. She says some lady in New port calls Mr Hunt “the celestial greyhound.” The brother of the Maine painter Wm[?] De Haas died out here – [90] and made some sketches but there are no good paintings or even photos of the scenery among the Azores excepting some of the latter to be found in England, taken by a man by the name of Thorp. Miss Dabney remembered Mr. Wm Bradley’s being here and they all spoke of Sam Dinsmore & his wife & Miss Homer who married Mr St Gaudens. One of the Elliots of Keene died here at Horta.

They told us a great deal about the life here – we noticed that the servants always took off their hats while we were drinking water – from some superstitious notion. We passed some rosemary and they made us pick it as there is a proverb in Portuguese that “he who passes rosemary without picking it, forgets his love.” There is a religious ceremony peculiar to this island of Fayal of carrying the crown to a persons house to stay there several days during which time the owner of the house [91] is expected to entertain the neighbors and spend a great deal of money in music, dress & charity as a vow. Then they still see indulgences & have raised the price of mass from time to time. Mr Lee thought “making a crime in masses” a {?] in the way of business speculations. The Portuguese when speaking of America always mean Boston or New Bedford – if they speak of any other place they call it by its actual name. California, New York, etc. They always take another name or anglicize their own in going to America. Mr Edward’s name is Edowards, Mr Phillips, Philipe. Mrs Dabney said she was horrified at hearing of a family of Dabney’s who had made some money in America & were travelling about under the names of her family, Chas, Alice, Rose, etc. The Fayal Portuguese is the purest spoken in the islands. The ambition of every woman here is to have a [91] Capote. They save all their money for it and consider themselves made when it is obtained. They cost about $35. In the other Azores they have slight deviations on the Capote.

We saw a great many evidences of the earthquake on one drive, walls and housed cracked. They say there have been two shocks since last week but we have not felt them. They came in the night.

Coming home we had a superb view of Pico – with Port [?] and the volcanic rocks in the harbor for a foreground, the light shifting from pale pink to deep violet.

In the evening Miss S, Mr Sanisberry, Mr Dabney & I played Whist and after we were all upstairs we had quite a fine serenade, a viola and four or five  good voices. I was surprised to find that the present Mrs Dabney is the daughter of Dr Webster. I connected her with a later generation. When Mr Dabney first came to Fayal he used to entertain all the Americans that came over until reference was so often made to their family history that he gave it up and built a Hotel for the accommodations of travelers. A Sea Capt. related the whole store while dining at the Consuls one evening and Mrs Dabney fainted.

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