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ART. X.-Lisbon in the years 1821, 1822, and 1823. By Marianne Baillie. In Two Volumes. London. Murray. 8vo. 15s. 1824.
It is with the most unfeigned pleasure that we perceive, and with the most willing readiness that we acknowledge, a great improvement in the fair authoress of these volumes, since her first appearance before the public. On that occasion (Brit. Critic, Aug. 1819), we took the liberty (certainly with no ill will, and therefore we hope with no occasion for offence) to point out a few particulars which struck us as demanding notice of disapproval. We are scarcely vain enough to attribute the better taste (and we apply this word to matters of grave and serious import, as well as to the contexture of style), which pervades the present work, to any effect produced by our admonition; and perhaps it may be more fairly assigned to that corrective power which a good mind, for the most part, possesses in itself; which sooner or later is brought into operation, unless it is checked by the obstinacy of pride; and which, if time is happily allowed it, succeeds in the end in making the crooked straight, and the rough places plain. Certain it is that Mrs. Baillie, who appeared in her "First Impressions" to be in some danger of becoming an esprit fort, and a liberale, has now emancipated herself from those ugly prejudices which so often beset very young and very ardent temperaments; and instead of shewing her contempt for the opinions of the good and wise, like Lady Morgan, more and more in every new publication, she now approaches Religious topics with piety, and descants on Politics without anathematizing all established authority.
It is a standing literary maxim, that no published letters should ever have been written for publication. Those of Walsh perhaps are an exception; but these clearly were never committed to the postman, and were indeed addressed to imaginary mistresses. The coquetries of Pope, who wrote to real correspondents of flesh and blood, is well known; and the pious fraud by which, through the medium of a clergyman's gown, and a lawyer's band, he tossed the bait to the avaricious greediness of Curll, was easily detected, in spite of the Poet's subsequent shew of anger. From his time to our own we scarcely recollect any epistolary collection, which accident, the surreptitious arts of some coveting bookseller, or the tender violence of admiring friends, has not forced to the press, much to the discomfiture of the
reluctant (Exwv CenóvTi de Suup) and resisting writer. Mrs. Baillie is not to be blamed for continuing in the fashion; and as she says, in her Preface, that" it will be easily perceived" that her Letters were not written for publication, we will not endeavour to take a more difficult view of them.
It was in June 1821, that Mr. and Mrs. Baillie and their infant boy arrived in Lisbon, where Mr. Baillie had an official appointment. Their first abode was in Buenos Ayres, a suburb which is the favourite resort of the English, from its comparative want of filth. Alas! in Lisbon, Jove himself would find no Goddess to " minister with purest hands" to him, and we cannot wonder if the complaints are both loud and numerous which an elegant and delicate Englishwoman is compelled to utter at the indescribable abomination of this most foul of cities. The season at which the travellers commenced their residence, was peculiarly interesting in a political light. The King was expected every moment from the Brazils, and on the 4th of July he landed. The Monarch returned to his European throne, under the protection of two Russian ships, and an English frigate; and the Cortes, as soon as he entered the Tagus, informed him that he could not be permitted to set foot on shore, unless he confirmed and sanctioned their proceedings. To all these demands he gave perhaps an unwilling, but certainly not a tardy
In a few days after the arrival of the King, Mrs. Baillie removed to Cintra. The party travelled in a sége, an open two-wheeled carriage, resembling those in the prints to Gil Blas, crazy, ill-contrived, and shabby, and drawn by two horses, one of which was in shafts. The luggage was piled inside, and grated piteously against the flayed and indented shins of the passengers. The wheels were never greased, for their noise is supposed to keep off evil spirits from man and beast. Jangling, shattering and jolting over a rude and narrow pave, under the guidance of a gaunt swarthy postilion, in a loose chamois doublet, and rusty hat, they performed fifteen miles in four hours. Cintra, when reached, proved to be a Paradise; all oranges and lemons, lavender, rosemary and carnations, wood strawberries and red raspberries, palm hedges, lettuces, wild bees, singing birds, and blue sky. Mrs. Baillie is a poetess, and she celebrated her entrance into these delights, by some very pleasing lines, descriptive of the beauties above-mentioned, and many more.
The Portuguese have odd customs; the women wear very scanty petticoats, if any; none wear night caps, and several sleep stark naked: they bring up children on a pap of bread,
water, garlic and rancid oil: they sleep upon boards, and marry their aunts if they please: they eat hot beef steaks and fish for breakfast, to which the ladies add a large thick slice of hot leavened bread, strewed with salt and pepper, soaked in vinegar, seasoned highly with garlic, and swimming in oil. They pick their teeth very much; two palitos, slips of orange or myrtle wood, being set by each persons plate at dinner; but they pass whole days without washing or shaving; they keep fowls apparently for little other purpose than to breed fleas. Their chambermaids wear diamond ear-rings when in full dress; and Mrs. Baillie has seen a huckstress in her booth, with brilliant drops which nearly touched her collar bones. In the palace of the Condeça d'A., a river flows through the middle of the kitchen, from which it is the common practice of the cook to catch such fish as are ordered for dinner, a few moments before they are served up. All husbands go out with their wives in public, and no other male is permitted to enter the carriage, however near his relationship may be.
"At the house of a nobleman in this neighbourhood, I observed a singular ceremony: every master has an arrangement with his servants relative to the arrival of the guests;-if a carriage with one gentleman in it appears in the court yard, the porter rings a sonorous bell once, the master hears it but perhaps does not rise from his seat, as it announces only the arrival of an individual, who is not considered to be a man of any particular consequence; if the bell sounds twice, he will generally rise, for this means that a grandee is coming; but when the warning stroke is thrice repeated he always leaves the room to meet the visitor at the door of the house, for then it is a lady who arrives." Vol. II. p. 3.
They build their best sitting rooms immediately over their stables, and crowd them with doors, that in which Mrs. Baillie lived at Buenos Ayres had two windows and six doors, none of which would shut close. The ladies look out of their balconies all morning, and sit cross legged on the floor, and tell stories with their maid servants all evening. Living in the midst of the most nauseating fumes, they dislike all fragrant waters except eau de cologne, and particularly object to the smell of a geranium. At the funeral of the Queen dowager, who had been dead six years, and had been brought over from the Brazils, without being embalmed, two of the young Princesses were appointed to dress her corpse. When it was taken out of the coffin for this purpose, one of them fainted twice. The other persevered, and assisted by her ladies, reclothed the body in a black robe, a dress cap, gloves, shoes and stockings, and some splendid orders on the breast.
The King, though compelled to yield to the Cortes in matters of serious import, would make no surrender of etiquette. On entering one of the state apartments, he observed chairs set there, an unusual circumstance in a royal palace. The attendants answered his inquiries as to their destination, by saying, that they were intended for the use of the Cortes, when they came to pay their duty to his Majesty, "The Cortes," he replied quickly, " take them away instantly! No person shall ever use a chair in my presence." All the Royal family are approached on the knee, and some ladies assured Mrs. Baillie, that the fatigue of a visit to the Queen and Princesses was so great, in consequence of their being obliged to remain kneeling as long as these illustrious per sonages chuse to prolong the conversation, that they usually went to bed on quitting the Royal presence. In the streets every body of how exalted rank soever, dismounts and salutes them as they pass.
On Mrs. Baillie's return to Buenos Ayres, she was present at a ball given on the 26th of January 1822, to celebrate the first sitting of the Cortes. The Directors ventured upon an experiment hitherto unthought of in Portugal; that of inviting the King and Royal family. His Majesty gave a troublesomely ambiguous answer, muito obrigado senhores, muito obrigado; he had never been present before at any public assembly, save an opera and a church feast. His party, the Corcundas, were outrageous at the proposed contamination of his dignity; wagers were laid to a large amount, that he would not go; and great pains were taken to prevent his attendance, by anonymous letters threatening a gunpowder treason. Nevertheless he did go, and Mrs. Baillie's account of the solemnity is so vividly and strikingly given, that we cannot refrain from extracting the whole of it.
"At seven o'clock, we left our hotel, and arrived safely at the scene of action, having passed through Lisbon, the whole of which was illuminated, (even to the topmost story of each house,) and large bonfires lighted in the principal squares. The population were all abroad, decked in their holiday finery, many of the women in the lower classes treading, as usual, the muddy pavement in white satin slippers; the carriages were flying about in all directions, the horse police steadily arranging every thing according to order, with drawn swords, but civil and conciliatory demeanour, guns firing, and the bells of every convent and church pealing most tremendously; when we entered, the spectacle was really charming; the staircase is particularly fine, and on this evening it appeared like the entrance to an enchanted palace; the ballustrades and pillars were wreathed with the freshest flowers, and costly vases, ranged on each side of every landing place, were filled with the rarest and most beautiful plants;
the pavement of the outer court was also thickly strewed with rosemary, lavender, and other aromatics, newly gathered, which trampled beneath the feet of the horses and servants, diffused a delightful and refreshing odour. High over our heads, in the hall, fronting the entrance gate, was a transparent painting of Justice, holding the balance with an even hand, while a figure of love presented a large volume to the spectators, on which was inscribed "Constituicao;" an armed warrior on either side supported this painting; on their shields they bore the words " Cortes," and "Don João Sesto:" two doors at the top of the staircase led, one to the suite of dancing rooms, the other to the private apartment in which supper was prepared for the King and his family alone; and each was concealed by full curtains of rich crimson velvet. To lady patronesses and directors of fetes in London, all this would have appeared a matter of course, and nothing more than what they were in the habit of seeing every season; but in the eyes of the Portugueze, it was novel as well as elegant; I confess, for my own part, that the effect which the fragrance and brilliancy of the roses and other flowers produced upon my senses, was indescribably exhilirating. I believe I expressed my delight too audibly, which might perhaps have led a London circle to have set me down at once as a country cousin; but I do not envy those persons, who would have viewed the scene with apathy; the English alone, among civilized nations, feel ashamed of expressing their pleasurable feelings. Soft music (from the opera of la Festa de Rosa) resounded as the doors opened, and a coup d'œil of dazzling magnificence was discovered; an immense assemblage of persons splendidly dressed, among whom were the six directors, habited in court suits of blue velvet, relieved with white, being the constitutional colours; the latter were indefatigable in their polite attentions to the company, who perpetually arrived in endless succession, so as to render their office no sinecure. One of them immediately advanced, and taking me from under the protection of my husband, led me into an anti-room, where he assigned me a place amidst a crowd of ladies, who were ranged in rows, three and four deep, (the gentlemen all standing,) awaiting the arrival of the King, who was then at the opera, from whence he had arranged to come to the ball. After waiting full two hours, a message arrived from the royal box, which put the directors into a bustle, and all the ladies into a flutter of expectation; "El Rey, el Rey!" burst from every lip-but no! it was only a gentleman of the court, who brought tidings that his Majesty intended to stay the ballet at San Carlos. I could perceive an evident though repressed feeling of anxiety and doubt at this information, and one or two of the liberal party who sat near me, began audibly to murmur an indignant apprehension that the King would, after all, delight in dssappointing us.
"At length, the noise of his heavy coach was heard, resembling the dull lumbering sound of a hearse; then a thundering roll of the drums, and the loud pealing of bells; and while the musicians in the gallery played up the constitutional hymn, the directors went