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[242] which we rather avoided, and got on more by the instinctive knowledge of the guides than by any positive indication that anybody had ever gone that way before. Strangers, indeed, almost never had; only four were remembered in an experience of thirty years, by the whole party; and in truth, when the discouragements are considered, —two rainy nights that we slept out, an occasional scantiness of provisions, and the fatigue of a journey of eight days on mules,—I do not much wonder at it.

Yet, for myself, I must needs say I have seldom passed eight more interesting days; for by the very novelty and strangeness of everything,—sleeping out every night but one, and then in the house of the chief of our band; dining under trees at noon; living on a footing of perfect equality and good-fellowship with people who are liable every day to be shot or hanged by the laws of their country; indeed, leading for a week as much of a vagabond life as if I were an Arab or a Mameluke,—I came soon to have some of the same sort of gay recklessness that marked the character of my companions. In short, I had fine spirits the whole way, and did not find myself to have been long in coming to the borders of Portugal. There I bade farewell to the only country in the world where I could have led such a life; the only one, indeed, where it would have been safer to be under the protection of contrabandists and outlaws, than under that of the regular government, against which they array themselves.

On the morning of the 18th of October we arrived on the banks of the Chanza. . . . . We had been travelling through a rude, barren country,. . . . but as soon as we had passed the range of hills beyond the Chanza, we found a country always agreeable and often well cultivated; and this continued through Serpa, through the fine vale of the Guadiana, and by Alcacovas to Carvalho. The people, too, seem to have a sense and feeling for this beautiful nature that the Spaniards have not. Since I left Catalonia I have hardly seen a country-house, and there they are not properly built; but in Portugal I have found them everywhere,—a magnificent one with a fine aqueduct at Serpa, many others scattered along the route, and little gardens abounding in fruits, water, and shade, belonging to the better sort of peasantry, of which no trace is to be found in the rest of the Peninsula. As to the character of the people, they have not the Spanish force and decision, but neither have they the Spanish coldness, pride, and obstinacy. They are even polite and gentle, so that the first peasant I met seemed to me to be asking alms, when he was only bidding me ‘God speed’; and in their houses, owing to the free introduction of English


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