BLTC Press Titles


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The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison


Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe


The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


Journal of a voyage to Brazil

by Lady Maria Callcott

Excerpt:

As we rode along, we observed a large Dominican convent, the only one now on the island. The recent law passed by the Spanish Cortes for the suppression of religious houses, has been strictly enforced here. No more than one convent of each denomination is allowed to subsist, and great checks are put on the profession of new members. As to the revolution here, the inhabitants had known from authentic though not official authority of what had taken place in the mother country, three weeks before they received any notification from either court or cortes. When notice did arrive, the magistrates assembled the people, read their orders, and took their oaths to support the cortes; the people shouted, and made a bonfire: next day the forms of law and justice were declared to be changed, the tribunals proceeded accordingly, and all was over and quiet.

The Canary Islands boast of two bishoprics, both of which are now vacant, yet have not one newspaper. The only printing press has been so long in disuse that there is nobody who can work it in the country. I could not learn that there are any manufactures in TenerifTe; if there are, I conclude they must be in the neighbourhood of Laguna or Santa Cruz. Oratava appears to be the district of corn and wine.

We returned to the port by a longer road than that by which we left it. In the hedges, the boys, with no small delight, gathered fine ripe black-berries, which were growing among prickly pear and other tropical plants. The fields, vineyards, and orchards we had seen from the former road we now passed through; and as it was a fiesta^ we saw the peasants in their best attire, and their little mud huts cleanly swept and garnished. They seem gentle and lively, not much darker than the natives of the south of Europe; and if there be a mixture of Guanche blood, it is said to be traced in the high cheek-bones, narrow chins, and slender hands and feet which in a few districts seem to indicate a different race of men. I regret that I had not time to see more of the people and the country; but not being travellers from curiosity, and belonging to a service that may not swerve from the strictest obedience, we dared not even think of a farther excursion.

Halfway down the hill, we entered a ravine, the dry bed of a winter torrent, where there were rue, lavender, prickly pear, hypericum, and spurge; but not a blade of grass had survived the summer's drought. We passed a heap of black ashes, which anywhere but at the base of the peak would be called a respectable mountain. It has not been cold long enough to be disguised by vegetation; and though on one side the vine is beginning to clothe its rugged surface, yet the greater part is frightfully barren. Shortly after we passed it, we arrived at Mr. Galway's garden-house, and found his lady, a Spaniard of Irish extraction, ready to receive us. As I had seen in some old Scotch houses, the best bed-chamber served as drawing-room; but the dressing-room is apart, and from the front there is an opening to a pleasant terrace, commanding a charming view. Our dinner was a mixture of English and Spanish cookery and customs: the Spanish part consisted of part of a Darter, a very fine fish, white, but resembling a salmon in taste, with sauce made of small lobsters, oil, vinegar, garlic, and pimento ; some excellent stews, and mixtures of vegetables and quails roasted in vine leaves; the rest were all English; and the wines, the growth of the island, and ices * were delicious. Neither the pine-apple nor water-melon grow in Teneriffe, but abundance of the latter are brought from Grand Canary. All the common garden fruits of Europe flourish here; but too little attention is paid to horticulture. This island, or at least the part I have seen, evidently belongs to a state that has once been great; but is now too poor or too weak to foster its foreign possessions. Some fine houses begun are in an unfinished state, and appear to have been so for years; others, though falling, are neither rebuilt nor repaired; and the only things like present prosperity, are the neat English country-houses.

It was sunset before we reached the boals that were to convey us to the ship ; and we had some difficulty both in getting off and in going alongside of the frigate, owing to the great swell. The night, however, was fine, and the scene enlivened by the lights in the fishing boats, which, like those in the Mediterranean, are used to attract-the fish. On shore, the lights of the ports and villa, and the fires of the charcoal burners shining from amidst the dark hanging forests of pine, and those of the limekilns in the direction of Laguna, appeared like a brilliant illumination; and there being not a cloud, the outline of the peak was well defined on the deep blue of the nocturnal sky.

27th August. To-day, some of our new friends, both Spanish and English, came on board; but the swell was so great, that only one escaped sea-sickness. Mrs. Galway was fearful of suffering, so did not come, but she sent me some of the beads found in the sepulchres of the Guanches: they are of hard baked clay. Mr. Humboldt, whose imagination was naturally full of South America, has conjectured

* The ice is procured from a large cavern near the cone of the peak; it is almost full of the finest ice all the year round.


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