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harbour, has the appearance of considerable magnitude and importance, owing principally to the great number of religious buildings conspicuous in every direction ; and which, on first appearing before the little city, give it an air of architectural magnificence, of which, with the exception of the monasteries, churches, and a few private houses, a more minute acquaintance proves it to be totally devoid.
Shortly after the Hornby entered the roads, the revenue officers, attended by a strong military guard, came on board ; but, after examining our papers, and going through the usual forms, retired, leaving two officers in charge of the vessel, and granting us unrestricted permission to go ashore whenever we pleased. Of this indulgence we soon availed ourselves, accompanied by one of the officers for a guide. It was now fast approaching to twilight, the evening serene, and the convent bells chiming with the most plaintive solemnity for vespers. Our conductor led us through the principal parts of the town, pointing out the various objects deserving
attention, and describing the different religious orders to which the numerous monastic structures, 8c., respectively belonged.
The height of the houses seldom exceed two stories, and are principally built of a close blue granite or lime-stone, with which the island abounds; it is capable of being worked to any degree of ornamental richness, and can be raised in blocks of considerable magnitude, presenting, when wrought, a durable and handsome appearance.
The windows, which, at the time of Captain Cook's visit, were merely latticed, are now universally furnished with glass, those of the second story have likewise trellis-work balconies generally attached to them, where the inhabitants usually resort to enjoy the mild and salubrious evening temperature. The principal street, which runs nearly parallel with the shore, and extends throughout the whole length of the town, is irregular, in many parts narrow, roughly paved, and without footpaths.
Horta, although formerly a place of considerable strength, cannot at present be
said to be well fortified, as the works have in many places been permitted to fall into decay. Its chief defence consists in three forts, two of which cover the principal landing-place at the south end of the town, and are strongly garrisoned: the other, situated at the northern extremity, appears of minor importance, and is less attended
An old wall and rampart, nearly in a ruinous state, extends along the front of the town, ill calculated in its present condition, to afford protection, and without a gun mounted on any part.
The monasteries and convents partake principally of the Moorish style of architecture, and chiefly consist of a lofty and ornamental white front, terminating in the centre in a curved line pediment, containing some emblematical religious device; a square tower at either side, with circularheaded windows, black quoins, cornices, belting courses, fc., and surmounted by Turkish or Arabic turrets. The rear presents nothing more than a plain building of rough masonry
The Jesuits' college was originally a fine
and graceful structure, but now partly in a state of dilapidation ; such parts as still remain habitable have been converted into government offices and king's storeś. This building is situated on an eminence, towards the north end of the town, and has an imposing appearance.
During our perambulations through this little city, the only interruption to the placid stillness of the evening was the tinkling of guitars, which proceeded from almost every house, and appeared to be the general pastime of the inhabitants. After night-fall the Portuguese seldom go
abroad; the few we met were wrapped up in large blue cloaks; and walking with an air of the most solemn gravity.
About ten o'clock we returned on board, but early on the ensuing morning again proceeded on shore. This being market-day, the peasantry were crowding in from all parts of the island with various articles of provision, consisting of butter, eggs, poultry, fc., which were to be had remarkably cheap. The men exhibited much the appearance of the hardy mountaineer, inured
to the fatigues of toilsome and laborious industry. Cleanliness, good order, and contentment seemed to characterize the women, whose peculiarity of dress, healthy appearance, and apparent artlessness of manners, give them an air of the most interesting rustic simplicity.
I was informed that the inhabitants of Fayal, and the Azores in general, enjoy a life of the most social and domestic happiness, and are far superior both in elegance of manners and liberality of sentiment to the generality of Portuguese resident on the Continent of Europe. On proceeding a short distance into the interior, the scenery fully justified my prepossession on landing. The luxuriant evergreen Faya (from which the island is said to have derived its name) grows unheeded in almost every direction. The gardens possess a combined assemblage of Tropical and European trees; that of the American Consul (Mr. Dabney) was a perfect little paradise, presenting the interesting novelty of the orange
and banana, flourishing in the same soil, beside