Obrazy na stronie

arranged in several rooms, particularly in two grand long saloons; one intended exclusively for the use of the royal family, and the other open to the public, who have free access to all the books in every part of the library.

I passed much of my time in this noble establishment; and I think it inferior to nothing of the kind I have seen in Europe, either in extent, or liberal accommodation; though the number of books at present may be more limited. Every one is not only admitted, without question or inquiry, but invited to enter and enlarge their minds. The approach is by a large stone staircase, decorated with fine paintings of the Vatican; and the reading-room is a spacious arched saloon, extending from side to side of the building, and ventilated by a breeze or current always passing through it, from the large windows at the extremities. Here, at a long table covered with green cloth, and furnished with desks and apparatus for writing, as at the British Museum, you take your seat, and several librarians, in different parts of the room, are prompt in their attendance to provide you in a moment with every book you call for. All the periodicals of Rio and the provinces are sent every morning; and that, as well as a growing taste for reading, attracts a number of natives, of all colours, to this place, in which they seem to take no less pleasure than pride. It is open, every day, except holidays, from nine in the morning, and I know no spot where it is possible to endure the meridian heat more agreeably, or profitably, than in this cool, silent, and elegant retirement. Is it not then, most unjust, my friend, to accuse the Catholics as enemies to knowledge? Here is a noble and public literary institution, filled with books on all subjects, founded by a rigid Catholic monarch, and superintended and conducted by Catholic ecclesiastics, on a plan even more liberal, and less exclusive, than any similar establishment in our own Protestant country. The sum of 4,485 milreis is annually allowed for its support.'-vol. i. pp. 435_-438.


. The commercial intercourse between England and Brazil is much greater than between Brazil and any other country. In the year 1828, the imports into that empire amounted to something more than three millions sterling, of which £2,200,000 were from England alone, in manufactured goods. We no longer, it appears, send blankets, warming pans, and skates, to the good Brazilians, having found out that such articles are scarcely wanted in a country where there is neither snow nor ice, and hardly any cold weather. But of hardware and printed goods, Sheffield and Manchester send such a great quantity to Rio, that most articles are said to be very beautiful, and in high preservation. It has the following colophon in black letter :-“Pós hoc opusculū artificiosa adinvētione impr mendi ceu caracterizandi absq. calami exaratone in civitate Mogunt: sic effigiatū ad eusebia Dei industrie. per Johē: Fust civē. et Petrū Schaeffer de Gernfleyrn clericū dioc: ejusdem est consummatū Aono dñi, M.CCCC.LXII. In vigilia assumpcois Virg. Marie.” “ This present work, by a wonderful invention, of impressing or marking characters, without tracing

, them with a pen, thus effected in the city of Mentz, to the piety of God by the industry of John Fust, citizen, and Peter Schaeffer, of Guernfleyim, clerk, of the same diocese, was completed in the year of the Lord 1462, in the vigil of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

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as cheap there as in the city of London ; yet there are more Frenchmen settled at that grand emporium, than Englishmen. The population of the place is estimated at 150,000 persons, of whom two thirds at least, are blacks. Dr. Walsh presents us with an engaging picture of the general manners of its inhabitants.

• The manners of the people of Rio, though not polished, are kind and cordial. I had opportunities of witnessing those of all ranks. Immediately after our arrival, we dined with Baron Mareschal, the Austrian plenipotentiary, where I met the whole of the ministry, and other distinguished Brazilians. They were men generally of low stature, and had not the least appearance or pretension of a similar class in Europe. The greater number had been engaged in business, and being men of opulence, when the separation of the countries took place, naturally stepped into those situations formerly occupied by strangers of rank from the parent country: They were men of the plainest manners, laughing, good-humoured, and accessible, like common-councilmen at a London feast. Their dress, however, was rich and expensive ; and some of them wore large golden keys, attached like small swords to their sides, intimating that they performed the office of chamberlain to his Majesty. Among them was a little man, with a sharp pock-marked visage, formerly a jeweller, but now the arbiter elegantiarum of the court. He holds no official situation, but has attained the same influence over the Emperor that Halet Effendi possessed over the Sultan, when I was at Constantinople. It is familiarly called in Rio, Chalassa, a local term, synonimous, I believe, with bon vivant.

Shortly after, I was at a ball given by M. Pontois, the French Chargé d'Affaires, where I saw the ladies who composed the beau monde of Rio, dancing waltzes and quadrilles. They, like the men, were remarkably low of stature, with sallow complexions, and dark eyes and hair. The latter were dressed remarkably high, and ornamented with various productions of the country; among these were the shells of a very beautiful species of beetle, of a rich vivid green, more bright and lustrous than the finest emerald. They danced well, and their manners were very affable and unaffected.

• The shopkeepers of Rio are rather repulsive in their address, and so little disposed to take trouble, that a customer is often induced to leave the shop, by the careless way in which he is treated. They are exceedingly fond of sedentary games of chance, such as cards and draughts, and often engage at them on their counters. I have sometimes gone in at those times to purchase an article, and the people were so interested in their game, that they would not leave it to attend to me and sell their goods. They are, however, honest and correct in their dealings, and bear good moral characters. Their charity is boundless, as appears by the sums expended on different objects by the irmandades or brotherhoods which they form. They are, as far as I have heard, generally speaking, good fathers and husbands, and their families are brought up with strictness and propriety. It is pleasing to see them walking out together, the corpulent parents going before, and the children and domestics following in their orders. The women are fond of black, wear no caps, but a black veil is generally thrown over their bare heads, which hangs down below their bosom and back; and as it is generally worked and spotted, it

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makes their faces look at a little distance, as if they were covered with black patches. They always wear silk stockings and shoes, and are particularly neat and careful in the decorations of their feet and legs, which are generally small and well-shaped. The boys of this rank are remarkably obliging; when I saw any thing among them that seemed curious, and I expressed a wish to look at it, they always pressed it on my acceptance with great good nature, and seemed pleased at an opportunity of gratifying me.'-vol. i. pp. 468-471.

We have already alluded to the excursion which our author made to the province of Minas Geraes, whither he went in order to take a look at the gold, the diamond and the topaz mines, Throughout the whole of his journey we have followed his footsteps with unwearied attention. His style of description is so clear, and he notices with so much quickness every feature of the country, and

every little circumstance that marked his intercourse with its inhabitants, that after reading his account of the province, we feel as if we had actually visited it. The following incident which occurred at a farm-house, discloses a curious trait in Brazilian


. The old man and his wife had no children, so they sent for a brother's child to keep them company, and manage their family. This young lady

. was very comely; and having the prospect of a good inheritance from her uncle, she thought it right to look out for some agreeable and worthy partner to share it with. My companion, possessing these requisites, had caught the eye of the fair Victorina; and not having an opportunity of speaking to him herself, had communicated, by means of the attendant slave, her partiality for him, and an intimation that, if he was actuated with similar sentiments, she would marry him, and share with him the inheritance she expected from her good uncle. I was greatly astonished and amused by this communication, but he was not; he knew it to be not at all uncommon, in a country where ladies are very susceptible, and, from the secluded situations in which they live, have but few opportunities of selecting a partner, who they think would make them happy; and when one occurs, they do not let it pass, but are prompt to avail themselves of it. This deviation from the established etiquette of European usage, does not convey any imputation of want of delicacy on the part of the ladies. Victorina was as modest as she was comely; she sat in the remote part of the house with her aunt, superintending her domestic concerns, and seemed retiring and diffident, and not at all disposed to attract the admiration of

any other person than him, on whom she had fixed her affections, And had my friend been disposed to settle bimself in this rich vale, she would, no doubt, have made him a good and amiable wife.'—vol. ii. pp. 37, 38.

A singular peculiarity is also that which substitutes for the sound of the evening bell, the bum of the beetle.,

"When we arrived at the bridge of the Parahiba, we found that we were too late to pass over. In Brazil, all journies are suspended at the Ave Maria, that is the vespers to the Virgin, that commence after sun-set. Instead of a curfew, this period is announced in the country by a very

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simple and beautiful circumstance. A large beetle* with silver wings then issues forth, and announces the hour of vespers by winding his solemn and sonorous horn. The Brazilians consider that there is something sacred in this coincidence; that the insect is the herald of the Virgin, sent to announce the time of her prayer; and it is for that reason constantly called escaravelho d'Ave Maria, or the Ave Maria beetle. the hill of Santa Theresa, I have heard it of an evening, humming round the convent, and joining its harmonious bass to the sweet chaunt of the nuns within, at their evening service.'--vol. ii. pp. 43, 44.

The delight in listening to such sounds must, however, we should think, have been considerably diminished by the apprehension of encountering other tenants of the forest, especially the morcego, from whose horrid embraces we should have devoutly prayed to be delivered.

When setting out in the morning I perceived a large wound in the neck of my horse, from whence issued a stream of blood. Alarmed, lest he should have been stabbed, or wounded maliciously, so as to disable him from proceeding, I inquired into the cause, and Patricio informed me it was occasioned by the morcego. This is a large bat, which like the devil of Surinam, attacks both man and beast. When a party under Cabeça da l'acca were exploring the sources of the Paraguay in the year 1543, they attacked him in the night and seized on his toe; he awoke and found his leg numbed and cold, and his bed full of blood ; they at the same time eat off the teats of six sows. They fix on the thumbs or great toes of men ; and the rumour of the country is, that while they suck the blood through the aperture they make, they keep waving their sooty wings over their victim, to lull him to a death-like repose, from which he never wakes; and in the morning he is found lifeless, and the floor covered with pools of coagulated blood, disgorged by the vampire when full, to enable him to extract the last drop of the vital current. They sometimes grow to the size of pigeons. One of these horrid animals had attached itself to the throat of my horse when he stood in a shed, and clasping his neck with its broad sooty wings, had continued to suck till it fell off gorged with blood; and is not timely driven away, might have left him dead in the morning. They reckon in Brazil no less than eighteen kinds of morcego, nine of which are voracious blood-suckers, ----vol. ii. pp. 45, 46.

The wondrous fertility of South America is not confined to its rivers, fields and forests; it extends also to the human species. The medical world is, we believe, divided upon the subject of superfætation. Instances of such a phenomenon are said to have occurred in Europe, and an astonishing case was mentioned in one of the Pennsylvanian papers for 1827, of a lady, who, in eighteen months, had at three births, twelve living children born prematurely. This fact, if true, is, however, not more miraculous than those which our author relates, particularly that relating to the Creole woman. Buffon and Dr. Mosely give two cases nearly similar, but they are extremely rare.

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• The women of the country are remarkably prolific. They marry at the early age of twelve or thirteen, and continue to have children to a late period. Marriages, also, take place between persons of very different ages, and the disparity is not considered singular. Men of sixty frequently marry girls of twelve, and have a family about them, where the wife seems the daughter, and the little ones the grandchildren. When both the parties marry young, their families increase to an incredible number. A jeronimo Comargos, living near S. José, aged forty-eight, and his wife, aged thirty-eight, had thirteen sons in succession, and then six daughters all living : three of them are married, and they have already five grandchildren also. Anna, the wife of Antonio Dutra, had four children at one birtb, who were all baptized together, and lived. Instances of similar fecundity are every where seen in the town and neighbourhood,

“ I have pointed out, also, several distinguished for extraordinary births, and a super-fætation hardly known, I believe, in other countries. Maria Hene, the wife of Antonio José d'Andrada, was confined after the usual time, and had a daughter, but she still continued pregnant, and in two months after was delivered of another, who both lived. But the most singular circumstance, and which I could hardly have believed, was it not communicated to me by the sargenté môr, as a thing which he knew to be fact, was the following very extraordinary conception. A Creole woman, with whom he was acquainted in the neighbourhood, had three children at a birth of three different colours, white, brown, and black, with all the features of their respective classes. Such a thing, I believe, is generally supposed to be impossible in Europe ; but in South America, it is only one of the extraordinary instances of the almost preternatural fecundity both of the animal and vegetable kingdom.' - vol. ii. pp. 153—155.

One of the most serious dangers to which the traveller in Brazil is likely to be exposed, is a thunder storm. There it is the real firing of the artillery of the heavens.

• I had always before been rather gratified by the sensation which ihunder and lightning imparted, any vague apprehensions of danger being lost in the stronger feelings of awe and sublimity; but this was really so horrible, that I could no more enjoy it than if I had stood under the exposure of a battery of loaded cannon--and the impression is hardly yet worn off. It became quite dark in mid-day sunshine, except when some lurid blaze enveloped us, which was accompanied by a sheet of water, which fell on us like a cataract, and almost beat us to the ground. The explosion of sound immediately followed the flash; it came with a tremendous rattling noise, not like distant thunder, but as if the rocks above us were rent by some force, and tumbling upon us. If I could have divested myself of the alarm which the immediate proximity of such awful danger excited, I should have been delighted to contemplate the chemistry of nature, on her grand scale. I remember with what pleasure I had seen Sir Humphry Davy produce water from the combustion of hydrogen and oxygen. Here it was generated from the same cause in an instant, and in cataracts; and I was standing in the midst of the combustion, and admitted, as it were, into the very interior of nature's great laboratory. The lightning in this part of the country is often fatal ; and we had next day an opportunity of seeing a commemoration of its effects.'-vol. ii. pp. 158, 159.

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