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ficent north coast, and the singular apparition of the island of Porto Santo, floating, as it appears, in the clouds; the ravines of the Coural, the Serra d'Agoa, St. Vimcente, and the Meyametada; and the great points,-Arrieros, the Tarrinhas, and their lofty brethren flung in wild confusion on every hand. The coup-d'ail of these wonderful things is strikingly vast and magnificent, in fact too large to be at first realized : it is a view which grows on you. And let the day be clear,-a single bed of mist resting on the Paol, to relieve the eye,-a few fleecy clouds over the north coast, to give the effect I have mentioned to Porto Santo—and I will forgive any one for any thing they may exclaim when they reach, for the first time, the verdant top of the Great Peak. But it is best to be alone on such occasions.

I passed another evening in Accioli's kitchen, where I conversed much with my host on the deplorable want of energy of his great countrymen. He admitted the fact, and exhibited a good deal of intelligence on the subject. But we could not agree on all points, inasmuch as while I fancied a decent road, and facile communication, between Funchal and Santa Anna might considerably improve the latter place, he remained firm in his position that mules and a terrific mountain path were greatly conducive to the free transit of commodities, and that a sure-footed horse was the greatest comfort a luxurious traveller could ever desire to obtain. Strangely old-fashioned people !

Dense clouds gathered on the hills when I started early next day for the Boaventura, but on the coast the morning was fresh and lovely, and although I had often been in the north before, I never so fully appreciated its beauties as on this occasion.

This side of the island is altogether contrasted with the other. The climate is more changeable and much colder, but at the same time, infinitely fresher and more bracing than that of Funchal. Then, instead of the ragged luxuriance of the vine lands, the lazy spontaneous-looking growthsin the south, the deep tract which lays between the mountains and the sea-shore exhibits lines of the plough, green fields, and hedges: water-mills are at work,-yokes of oxen,groups of fine Madeirense fellows busily employed in various agricultural labours,—and altogether there is a bright, moving, active, and industrious appearance. The peasantry are a magnificent race. Uncontaminated by the influence of the town, there is a simplicity and natural urbanity in their manner very different from the cringing, craving air of the southern hillsmen. The women are exceedingly good-looking, and seem to sit oftener at their cottage doors knitting or working, and to perform fewer burdensome occupations, than the females about Funchal. The costume is genuine; and although the men have a funny fashion of wearing only one boot, they are not the less picturesque for it, and in the loose shirt and bag breeches, they look gigantic. They are noble fellows, always ready to give assistance, if your horse loses a shoe, or you get a disagreeable tumble: never beg like the thieving rascals about Funchal : and, if benighted in the hills, and you seek shelter at the peasant's hut, his gudewife generally manages to produce a pair of milk-white sheets and a bed of clean straw on which you may sleep like a prince.

There is a dash, too, about the brown, bewhiskered, straight. built giants, that I liked; the very way they pull off their carapusas, as you pass, is done with natural gallantry, and not as if they were begging for alms, like their lazy vagabond brethren of the south.

The Madeirense of the north, are a genuine race, worthy of the fine healthy soil; and when so much labour might be expended in the

proper culture of it, the shipping them off in shoals, to perish in the West Indies, seems a grievous and unpardonable error.

Leaving Santa Anna in the direction of Saint Jorge, you ride through beautiful groves of chesnut, among which, with enormous stem, often as large as the tree it depends upon for support, the vine clings from tree to tree, trails along the ground, and up the trunks, hangs in graceful festoons between the branches, and canopies the narrow paths that intersect the woods. Emerged from these plantations on to a ridge overlooking the sea, and towards the land, the fine black ravine of St. Jorge, extending into the interior, and backed by a lofty mountain-range, you bid adieu to the soft, level roads of Santa Anna, and in descending the sea.girt entrance to the gorge, view with what feelings of nervousness you may, the first specimen of a regular Madeira thoroughfare. Winding its serpentine course down the face of the rugged hill, the path is beset with huge stones, and filled with clefts, and holes; there is often barely room for one steed to pass at a time, while the descent is so steep, that the accustomed horses sometimes hesitate, and hang back in the most disagreeable manner, when you look over the outside, and reflect on the number of hundred feet that intervene between you and the rocky beach below. The roar of a tremendous surf beating ceaselessly on the wild shore, increases at every step, till on reaching the bottom, and crossing the stream, whose rushing waters mingle with the sea, the noise becomes almost deafening; for the enormous waves break at your very feet, cover you with spray, and threaten to swallow up the few straggling huts near the beach. The closeness of the headland on either side, the depth and darkness of the defile, and the apparent impossibility of escape from it, render the passage savage in the extreme; nor is the wild nature of the scene diminished by the strange denizens of the place, who, with blackened features, and sinewy frames, gaze distractedly, and yet admiringly, on you, as they raise their tattered carapusas; and you feel curiously out of keep

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ing with the picturesque beauty, the primitiveness, and the gran: deur of the spot.

I do not know whether a figure in the fore-ground, tumbling from his horse, added beauty to the picture; probably sublimity, as being nearer allied to death; however, be the effect what it might, I got an exceedingly matter-of-fact spill, riding carelessly over the rocky bottom; and so much for abstractions, admirations, and many other ons, which in such localities are very likely to end in of's !

Toiling up the opposite side of this defile, the path we had descended appeared absolutely perpendicular, and almost inaccessible to a few sturdy north-men, who happened to be working their way up by the aid of their long poles.

On the summit, you once more find yourself in a nice, open, level, cultivated country, and canter on for some three or four miles, catching occasional glimpses of the blue sea, till, entering on fine groves of laurel, and till you again commence a descent, infinitely steeper, and more profound than the last. On this occasion, the path was so slippery from recent rain, that for once I was fain to dismount; but in spite of the assistance of a stout pole, having tumbled twice in about as many yards, I quickly found my way into the saddle again, as the safest place under the circumstances. The descent is accomplished by terrace paths, cut in a hill, close to the coast, covered with magnificent trees, through whose thick branches the only views which meet the eye are similar tracks terraced out far below among impenetrable woods that never seem to reach the bottom. I should say this descent cannot be less than a thousand feet. At the foot, you come upon the beach at the Arco de St. Jorge. It is a scene not easily forgotten. Above that rock-grown shore, extending for a mile or more along the coast, a perpendicular cliff arises, from fifteen hundred to two thousand feet iu height, buried to the very top under dark and enormous foliage. Scarcely a grey rock peeps from among the luxuriant vegetation which clothes this noble barrier; it is singular and lovely; and shut in on all sides but the sea by these grand and forest-grown cliff's, you again seem at the mercy of the huge waves that crash and break close at hand, with a noise like a short, rattling clap of thunder.* Mountain scenery may be seen any day; but I imagine such extraordinary combinations of the “su blime and beautiful" are rarely to be found so gloriously united as at the Arco of St. Jorge, and other places on the north coast of Madeira.

* In proof of the extreme wildness of the shore, and the terrific sea which is always running, you never see any boats on the north coast; a landing, excepting on some favoured occasions, being a most difficult and dangerous undertaking. All communication with the south is across the hills.

No ravine intersects the coast between the Arco and the village of Ponte d’Algarda, consequently the road to that village runs close to the sea, occasionally (if I remember rightly) taking curious deviations into the sides of the cliff, or performing serpentine rambles over sharp rocks and shingle, till your horse's legs become immersed in the frothy surf. There the road divides; one branch,* and a fearful route it is, carrying you on by the coast to St. Vim. cente; and the other, striking right away among vineyards and patches of cultivation into the interior.

This is the outlet of the Boaventura, unlike most of the great mountain clefts, remarkable for none of those magnificent scenes which distinguish the ravines of St. Jorge, St. Vimcente, and others, as they expand broadly, or emerge by narrow defiles upon the coast. Many miles of a quiet, homely valley, the very stream wanting force and rapidity, and many a cottage, and many a sturdy north-man at work on his patch of yams, or vegetables, are passed by, before---making a few abrupt ascents, and crossing the stream once or twice, backwards and forwards—you find yourself suddenly in a land-locked valley. You are on one side; opposite, (the distance seems but a few hundred yards, though it is much more,) a black and precipitous forest of immense trees stretches upwards, burying their giant foliage in a dense mass of cloud. The elevation is immense; but carrying the eye still higher, above that deep, misty line, stretching even into the blue sky, a dark wall of trees again appears, immeasurably distant, and seeming to over, hang,-to topple,-as if growing out of the heavy, motionless clouds; for you cannot conceive that it has anything to do with the forest below.

The torrent foams, and hurries over a rugged bed; rocks, and basaltic stones of “unimaginable forms,” lay in large pools of water, intermingled with the trunks and branches of huge trees, some black and distorted by many a winter storm, some recently fallen, all green and torn. Above your head, great shapeless stems, and roots, and peeping crags overhang, and threaten destruction to the path ; and on either hand the gorge is all cloud and unscaleable rocks, among whose dark proportions no possible outlet is apparent. You are really in the entrance to the Boaventura. Those wooded mountains opposite, whose peaks are six

Not far from Ponte d’Algarda, this road takes its course from the top to the botiom, on the face of a perpendicular cliff, rising to a giddy height above the beach. It is cut in the cliff, about two feet wiae, with a para pet on the outside ; and although really not so dangerous as many other places, it looks awfully so, as the eye glances over the terrific precipice at your side, and you listen to the raging waves beating furiously at the foot. At one or two points the parapet has fallen over, and the path lays open, and yawning, but you must not hesitate. Talking of roads, who remembers the descent into Fayal from Santa Anna!!!

thousand feet above the sea, -or others, farther into the interior, and as wild and high-have to be surmounted ;-their summits are the head of the ravine. And as the sun, casting gleams of light over the dark forest, and down the torrent, and on the tops of the slabs and blocks of stone through which it foams, and sparkles, has an hour ago passed its meridian height, and strikes intensely upon the glen, you begin to think that you have been riding since eight in the morning, and that it may be as well to pause before cutting your way through the mountains, which seems really the most probable means of effecting an exit, without returning. Indeed, I did not consider twice about it; my arriero, who, in addition to a heavy provision basket, carried two pilot coats on his shoulders, although he said nothing, looked unmistakeable things, as he deposited the aforesaid basket on the ground for a moment; I had a great idea of famine; it is not every day that one can lunch in the Boaventura; and there is something in the sublime scenery,—but more in the time of day, and still more in the mountain air, which gives a peculiar sharpness to the appetite; -30 the arriera and I immediately fell to upon cold boiled beef, Portuguese bread, and bottled porter.- I believe the beverage was principally my share, for you can never persuade a Portuguese to touch English beer.- Poor fellows !

The horse's shoes (I was riding a little Portuguese nag, of rare pluck and mettle) have been examined ;* a brown loaf, and a handful of Indian corn, his only meal, have been given him, and away you go; but the path becomes impassable from fallen trees, and rocks, and slips, and you are fain to turn your horse's head towards the torrent; andattheside, through pools, and blocks of stone, and decayed trees, force your way as well as you can, without the remotest idea where it is all to end. It would be impossible for me to give an adequate notion of the savage splendour of the scenery, as you advance up the Boaventura. The gigantic forest,--the uprooted, mighty trees,—the thousand rivulets oozing from among the damp and tangled foliage of large heaths and ferns, and gnarled roots,the immense, branching arms above your path,—the close, but towering crags,—the black and barren pinnacles,—the tree-grown ridyes,—the depths,—the roar of waters far below,—the clouds, the few but brilliant lights anon penetrating and Aashing on the black, the vast, and magnificent glen,-were things which any ordinary mortal might revel in, but which the pencil and the pen of a Salvator alone could depict.

• The burroqueros are very expert at this. On a long journey, they carry nails, and shoes, and using a stone for a hammer, soon set any little defect to rights. And often they will pull you up, when you could swear by an experienced eye, and ear, that the shoes are all fast; and on examination you find the burroquero is the most knowing, for there is one nail missing in the off fore shoe, or one loose in the near hind one!

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