Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tuesday, May 23rd, 1882

Tuesday. May 23rd. Fayal Hotel.
After breakfast, Mr & Mrs Lee, Miss Smith and I started off on donkey back and did not return until after the dinner hour. For a wonder it did not rain until we were in sight of the Hotel. The ride was perfectly delightful, way back through the country, and over high hills or mountains. We would take the little narrow stony roads, with two blk walls on either side, over which were clambering roses, geraniums, nasturtiums, banks of ivy, Madeira vine and the most exquisite ferns & in front or behind we would have extensive views of hillsides covered with grain, deep valleys filled with almost tropical vegetation, orange groves, the ocean and Pico beyond. Sometimes we would come across a straggling village of thatched, stone houses surrounded by beautiful flower gardens – picturesque peasant life, a musical ox cart laboring along under a load of firewood, which is a kind of fir tree, which burns green as well as dry, the whole bush being cut up for the fire. We saw a pretty little shrine, some churches and some old wayside resting places made of whitewashed stones, now yellowed and cracked by time. We went in to one of the wind mills and saw them grinding the corn.

While we were away Miss Dabney sent a note for Miss Smith & me to play some tennis at their place this afternoon and said they would send a palanquin for Grace so that she could be carried about their gardens – but it rained and so I slept all the afternoon. The donkeys have a very comfortable gait when one becomes used to it, and I have a fine brute. Mrs Lee’s animal was vicious. Miss Smith’s saddle slipped a half dozen times and Mr Lee’s donkey stumbled. The drivers make one cry, in urging the donkeys forward, that sounds like “Percine” and it was perfectly a[?] to see Mr Lee beating his beast with his cane, crying “now do you percine”, “Here percine a little.” Etc. He had his phrase book with him and when a small boy or beggar followed us he  would defend himself, by using some phrase from the book which would nearly send us off in the ditch with laughter. The sentences would be something like this – “we will see you again shortly,” I trust that your father is quite well,” “We have had enough this time thank you,” etc. We went to the photographers but did not get satisfactory pictures. Mrs Dabney told Mother that 1500 Azorians have gone to the Sandwich Islands lately and like it very much there. Mr Herbert Dabney came around in the evening and we played Whist and ate nespras.

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