Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wednesday, May 31st, 1882

Wednesday. May 31st Ponta Delgada.
At 8 o’c this morning we started in carriage for the Seven Cities in a rain – Mr Kent & Mr Lee were kept busy for the first five or six miles reefing and letting go the back of our carriage. The road lay along the sea, a smooth wide road and on cliff’s five or six hundred ft high. The houses & farms at the bottoms looked like pigmy life. The ruins were very fine. At the end of a two hour carriage ride we met donkeys of the worst possible description with a villainous looking old man, a wicked boy and a fascinating fez and with the eyes of Miss Smith’s Flores boy. The latter devoted himself to me. Then we followed a good mountain road through clumps of houses perched on the very edge of chasms, way up higher and higher where looking back we could see great furrowed hills rising one after another behind us – covered only with heather and at the very top where the train ran on the edge of tremendous precipice we saw the glorious sight – as wonderful as any-thing I have ever seen in my life of the wondrously beautiful mountain folding against each other and the great ocean at their feet – on the other side the crater with La Grande Lagra and La Lago Azul – of almost gen d’arme blue, the smoke of the charcoal burners rising from the mountains and such mountains! There was a genuine volcano before us in all its weird, strange beauty! We saw some very lovely cedar trees and as we went to the bottom of the crater which is called the Seven Cities (we could find no reason for the name) a flaming red rhododendron like one I saw at the Magnolia Gardens near Charleston. The road going down was shady and winding and precipitous. The donkeys insisted on walking as near the edge as possible and I was in agony much of the way. Down the ravines on either side were masses of large ferns. At the bottom are some little villages of squalid houses whose inhabitants seemed to make washing a regular business. There were miles of clothes out to dry on trees and rocks on the border of the lake and the swampy land which abounds there. We found water lilies. We crossed the bridge which divides the two lakes of the crater and on a shady slope took our dinner. The donkey men were very amusing. They begged for everything we carried from cigars to shawls & Mr Lee’s [?]. Tobacco is their greatest delight – and “the villain” beseeched Mr Kent for a cigarette, on his knees clasping Mr Kent’s knees and praying to him by turn – which all the time the old wretch, as it turned out had some in his own pocket. The wicked boy was smart and wanted the phrase book. He gave us lessons in Portuguese & we returned the compliment in English – Half of the charms of our trip here would be lost if we could speak Portuguese. Our struggles over the language and the attempts of the Portuguese, who are very clever, to extricate use add to the charm of this new life. The weather cleared off charmingly by long before we reached the Seven Cities and we came home 5 o’c hardly tired with our day’s jaunt though covered with fleas. Mrs Lee & I took a nap and after tea went shopping – Mrs Lee is very homesick and blue tonight. I have decided to go back to Horta as Mama expects me by Sarah. She wished to go too but Mr Lee is bound to go to the Furnas. The latter is the only thing worth seeing in the Islands according to the universal admin, Dr Robertson. It is full of boiling springs of different kinds. I feel perfectly satisfied with what I have seen already – One can not take in everyting and so I am ready to go back to Horta which I love. The other islands have been simply curiositys [sic] – Fayal is our home. St Michaels is a much finer country however.

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