Page images



the appearance of these rooms, slowly, quietly, otter-like, subside into a sulphur-bath, tempered by old John Quiet, to the moderate warmth of 95°; and then let him confess whether he be not at once a wiser and a better man, whether his discontent has not lessened, his lust for purple and fine linen vanished, and his care for marble and pump-rooms faded away. My bath to-day was unexceptionable.

The word sulphur-bath is an unattractive word, reminding you of brimstone and matches, and offensive fumes; but the truth is, that had it not been ascertained from analysis that there is sulphur in the composition of the water, you could scarcely believe that any could be found.* It is soft and soapy to the touch, delicately smooth, and slightly oleaginous on the skin, free from smell, of an opaline look, is refreshing and detersive, and probably quite as pleasurable to the bodily feelings as were those translucent baths of milk, which, after affording ease and relaxation to the limbs and body of a late noble duke, are said to have afterwards appeared in smaller vessels on the breakfast-tables and tea-trays of the “humbler classes” of London society.

* See Professor Graham's Analysis of this water in the Appendix : :-“ Water of the Great Caldeira.”



[ocr errors]

to the eye.

Having finished your bath, the next thing to be done is to drink the cold iron water the Seltzer water of the valley* This spring gushes from a stone spout in a bank near the Mistura baths. It colours the stone basin into which it falls, and the stones over which it flows to the stream below, a bright orange colour.

It is itself as clear and colourless as the air; and out it comes from its gaudy spout, sparkling, glittering, bubbling, leaping, clear and transparent as diamonds. It is as precious to the taste as it is

It stimulates and exhilarates the mouth, satiates thirst, cheers and refreshes the drinker. The slight metallic taste and effervescence, the grateful coolness, the purity and brightness of these waters, when you slake your thirst after a wearisome mountain walk, or fasting at your early bath, and, indeed, at whatever hour you taste them, excite and invigorate the palate, without any of those unpleasant sensations of cold distension which would inevitably accompany an equal indulgence in ordinary cold water.

Many of the islanders, however, dislike and


* See the Analysis of this water by Professor Graham in the Appendix :-“ Agoa Azêda."




make wry faces at them, except indeed a feeble old woman, who totters down the hill every morning, and stoops over the spring, in the hope, perhaps, of adding a few more days to her three score years and ten; and, except the experienced Furnas peasant, weary with his day's toil, who may not unfrequently be seen turning out of the path to the iron spring, where, taking off his heavy carapuça, and laying down his burden, he drinks a large draught of the refreshment which God has here provided for him.

Having drunk of the iron-water, the next subject for discussion is such a breakfast as the appetite, which it invariably gives, obliges you to eat. Of this wholesome meal, however,-the test of last night's temperance, — the Portuguese are indifferent eaters. Other occupations succeed, in which they partake more heartily. A pic-nic to the lake is occasionally suggested; and the indication of this is a long string of asses in “ lagging file,” with party-coloured riders and well-stored panniers on their backs, which, followed by a crowd of drivers and servants, dawdles through the village to the excitement of the irritable cottage curs. A saunter in the Tank, the favourite grounds of the American



vice-consul, is another amusement. A ride on an ass, without aim, another. A paddle in a boat on the Tank is another. Fishing, with crooked pins, for the gold fish in the lake, another. Lounging from house to house, talking an infinite deal of nothing, eating, sleeping, lounging again; eating again, gossiping, snuffing, smoking, card-playing, and sleeping once more, constitute and close the insipidities of the Furnas day.






[ocr errors]

June 27.-To-day I bathed at the Quentúras,* as the baths of hot water highly impregnated with iron and carbonic acid are called. These baths are away from houses in a lonely field by the river side, and are at some little distance from the Caldeiras, properly so called, which are separated from the Quentúras by rising ground. The water supplying these baths flows from an opening in the bank of the field. The supply of water is very abundant. It comes silently but steadily from its source, without variation or ripple, and is separated into two streams, one of which falls into a pond close by to cool; and the other is directed into a stone gutter leading directly to the back of the baths. At the end of the cooling tank a small shutter regulates the escape of the water, which, by means of another stone gutter is made to join and mix with the hotter current before it reaches the bath. Having performed its duty on the skins of the bathers, both the tepid and the waste water finally fall upon yam beds; and after swamping and enriching them, and turning the earth in which they grow a gaudy red, drip down into a yellow stream

* The analysis of the water of the Quentúras by Professor Graham will be found in the Appendix.

« PreviousContinue »