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THE WARM IRON BATH.
that winds its course a little way below, which afterward joins the sulphur water at the Caldeiras, tumbles and tosses over lava rocks and down waterfalls; and at length escapes from the valley into the sea by way of Ribeira Quente.
The water of these baths is very strongly impregnated with iron, turns the tips of the nails rusty, is astringent to the skin, and almost painfully so to the eyes when you open them under water, feels rough and harsh if you rub your hands together in the bath, acts pleasantly upon the skin in making it feel clean and smooth, far beyond even soap and water; and is more invigorating and less luxurious than the unmixed sulphur baths at the Caldeiras. Owing to the abundance of the supply, and the smallness of the cooling pond, the water not unfrequently flows into the bath at so high a temperature as to require a very considerable time to grow cool ;-a caution, which it may be well to bear in mind, for of all the undignified positions in which a man's body can be placed, few perhaps exceed in absurdity the exasperated plunges of an unsuspecting bather as he screams and scrambles out of a deep scalding warm bath.
June 28.—This morning I have bathed in the
THE MISTURAS BATH.
Mistúras* bath the mixture, that is, of sulphur and iron. The iron-water is in a tank or reservoir behind the building, and the sulphur boiler —the water of which from its supposed excellence is called holy water by the natives,— flows from a spot at some little distance. It is conducted by gutters cut in the ground to stone troughs at the back of the baths. The stream is turned into the bath by means of wooden shutters, in connexion with which a plug is loosened in the tank, and the two streams of iron and sulphur water— the first icy cold and the other scalding hot-gush into an oblong box of stone in the bathing-house, and empty themselves into the bath, where at length they are thoroughly mingled. But it is not until they arrive here that the streams are properly mixed; for as they fall from the box one half of the stream chills you and the other scalds, and one side of the box is dyed red by the iron oxide, while the other is dull yellow.
These waters are not so pleasurable as the smooth and milky sulphur, but are astringent. They make the eyes smart when opened in the
* The chemical properties of the Mistúras will be found in the Appendix, where Professor Graham's analysis is given.
water like an astringent wash, feel more medicated than the sulphur waters, and in taste precisely resemble smoky warm water smacking somewhat of a rusty iron pot. Their effects on me were more exhilarating than those of the sulphurous wells. I came out braced, although I had soaked a full hour; felt neither languor nor lassitude; grew warm, and tingled ; and experienced the full conviction of complete cleanliness.
June 29.-On St. John's day, the 24th of June, the bathing season commences, and the day is kept as a festival in the valley. The day before, the village began to fill with country people from the surrounding towns, and after mass they came numerously to Mr. Hickling's garden and shrubberies. Such is the easy freedom of the peasantry and the liberality of the owner of “the Tank,” that all who choose stroll about in his grounds as if they were public gardens. A group of little girls, dancing to the tune they sang, figured away round a tree which stands in the centre of a shaded green plot; while on the small island, in the pond, a party of young men and maidens, full of life and fun and gaiety, danced with more activity, perhaps, than grace, to the notes of a jingling guitar, in a circle
made by the lookers on. Women with bright shawls on their heads and shoulders, and men in large dark blue carapuças sauntered among the trees, looking each and all as blithe and light-hearted as children. While Mr. Hickling was showing to one of his acquaintance a portfolio of sketches, which lay on the table of a room opening into the garden, the drawings caught the eyes of several villagers who were passing through the grounds, and no sooner bad they seen them than they quietly walked in with the easy self-possession of people who are quite at home, and looked at the sketches with much interest. In a short time the room, although large, was filled with peasants : some of the children and women tranquilly seated themselves on the floor, and as it rained the whole party of villagers remained more than an hour. Although they were of all ages, yet there was no sign of ill-breeding in any of them; all were quiet, natural, and unembarrassed. The next day being unfortunately wet from morning to night, (the only completely wet day we have known here, and an unusual circumstance, the out-door amusements of the villagers were spoiled.
Sunday evening, June 30.—Looked into one
FESTIVAL OF THE HOLY GHOST.
of the cottages of the “Holy Spirit” as we passed. A number of men were standing at the door and at the windows with their hats off looking into the house : the owner asked us to walk in, and we sat down on a large chest. On the opposite side of the room was a canopy made with coloured handkerchiefs and ribbons, and beneath this a silver crown and sceptre : small looking-glasses and rude pictures of saints in little frames were hung about it. The greater part of the ceiling and sides of the cottage (the walls of which were of rough black unplastered lava) was covered
OF THE HOLY GHOST.