The North Of Portugal - The Ajdua
( Originally Published 1891 )
November 29th.-It is an old adage that " one must have a good constitution to travel in Spain." The same was true of Portugal, which was a part of the Iberian Peninsula, and whose hills, and valleys, and plains, and crags were and are only divided from Spain by an imaginary line. In many respects this hardship of travel is gone, and with it many of those interesting events and experiences which attend slow movement on horseback and in diligence, whose place is now largely taken by railway.
Portugal, with rough roads and bridle-paths and local characteristics and convents and monasteries and ecclesiastic discipline and imperial subjugation, was a very different thing from Portugal with railroads and depopulated monasteries and convents converted into public libraries and a constitution and elections and the repose which follows a long period of commotion. When the convents were closed and the Church lands sold, Portugal lost one of its most attractive features to the traveller, one of the most interesting points in its history, one of the rarest of its social and civil arrangements.
It would be difficult to estimate the vast amount of invested wealth which has lain idle and useless since the great ecclesiastical establishments were closed, and the ecclesiastics scattered. Mafra alone cost 19,000,000 crowns, and Mafra was but one of a great group of similar structures scattered over the kingdom. Mafra seems to be useless now except as a monument of a former age and another form of civilization. Endowed with large possessions and great incomes, the luxury of some of these institutions was fabulous, the charity unbounded. The hospitality was measured by the difficulty of access, as in the early days of Virginia, when it required a week to reach a neighbor for a morning call, and ten days of rest and food to get sufficiently refreshed to return home. A hundred years ago it took nine days for a traveller to get from Lisbon to Oporto ; and if a call was made on all the hospitable cloisters and refectories on the way, it might have taken nine months. Now it takes twelve hours by rail, and a few more hours will afford time to call at Alcobaça, and Batalha, and Coimbra, and Vizeu on the way, if those deserted halls and empty larders and wineless cellars should present any temptation to the curious and hungry and thirsty traveller ; and you get only a panorama of a country diversified with hill and valley, and cornfield and vineyard, and dingy hamlet and uninteresting dwelling, and what appears to be a uniform population scattered over the quintas, instead of the people of former days racy with the characteristics and traditions of the various localities.
In the former days how different ! Were the American Minister, invited by the Prince Regent of Portugal, during the present administration of President Harrison, to visit the monasteries at Batalha and Alcobaça, he would join the royal company at the station in Lisbon, journey eighty or ninety miles in a luxurious railway carriage, and finish his journey in a comfortable coach, all within a few hours ; and as a reward for his easy trip, he would find absorbing traditions, the grandest and most inspiring architecture, sublime provisions for the loftiest worship, now silent and comparatively deserted. The American Minister of a century ago, if invited, would have found a very different entertainment proposed for him. The royal procession would have been imposing, composed of the Prince, two or three high ecclesiastics, with acolytes, secretaries, servants, grooms, and mule-drivers, with their favorite beasts of burthen. Chaises, carriages, and baggage carts, drawn by sturdy mules, and stylish and spirited horses, made up the modes of conveyance. Through pretty villages, and among majestic palaces, and captivating gardens, the train would have moved on, and as the sun went down, the travellers would have covered fifteen or twenty miles, and have found a place for luxurious repose in the domain of well-endowed monks. A morning stroll through gardens and wheat-fields, and along the bank of " a murmuring stream " would commence the second day, and after an ample and delicate repast, the train would proceed. The journey would be along the banks of the Tagus for a long distance, which would be explored in order to find quarters for the night in a rich and ample domain, an ancient mansion, where the finest linen, the richest Venetian glass, and the most luxuriant gardens cheered and delighted the traveller. Ere long, however, the road would become almost impassable to the heavy carriages of so distinguished a party. From the sloughs of the highway the strength of Portuguese shoulders alone would be sufficient to extricate them, and after long floundering and great clamor and as much objurgation as the Church would allow, the procession would perhaps reach the regal monastery of Alcobaça. The arrival of the cortège in those days would be announced by a tremendous ringing of deep-toned, heavy, sonorous bells ; and monks, fathers, friars, and subordinates, four hundred in number, would be drawn up in grand spiritual array on the vast platform of the monastery to extend a welcome to the visitors. The adoration of the real presence would arrest the attention of the newcomers, and the tombs of Pedro the Just, and Inez de Castro, his beloved, would receive their first devotions. Notwithstanding the beauty of the building, the splendor of its decorations, and the sacred object to which it was devoted, the hospitality of the prelates, I doubt not, would be energetically and promptly manifested.
The kitchen of Alcobaça was most attractive in its day,—its traditions are most appetizing. It was a broad and lofty hall, finished and decorated with great architectural skill and artistic taste, through which flowed a clear and crystal rivulet stocked with the finest river fish. Game, venison, meats, vegetables, and fruits were always heaped up there in great variety. Great ovens furnished most delicious bread in abundance and every variety of pastry and tarts sweetened with the rarest sugar and made flaky by the highest culinary skill. A banquet from this kitchen and these stores can be imagined. Before it Mr. Vanderbilt's famous kitchen and rebellious cook sink into insignificance. It consisted, as we are told, " of not only the most excellent usual fare, but rarefies and delicacies of past seasons and distant countries, exquisite salt-sages, potted lampreys, strange menus from Brazil and other still stranger from China, edible bird's nests, and shark's fins dressed after the latest mode of Macao by a Chinese lay brother." A sumptuous adjoining apartment was provided with choice confectionery, and was filled with " the fragrant vapor of Calambre and the finest quality of wood of aloes."
In ample chambers the travellers might find repose for the night, their eyes delighted with ewers and basins of solid silver, towels bordered with point-lace, and carved furniture, while the feet were comforted with Persian carpets of the finest texture. After the hard travel and the sumptuous fare sleep was sound and refreshing. How to my mind, as I contemplate this picture, undoubtedly true to life, comes the strain of the old song we used to sing in college, with the sweet tenor of Wm. Henry Prince, the solemn and quaint ; and of George Derby, the honorable, high-toned, and loyal ; and W. W. Story, the graceful artist, whose manly bass voice furnished a foundation for the rich melody of the youthful choir :
" I am a friar of orders gray,
Among the orange groves, pondering on damp walls the inscriptions to the knights who fell at Aljubarrota, one might have spent many hours in interesting study and then have turned to the treasures of crystal candle-sticks, sapphire-studded crosses, golden reliquaries, and models of cathedrals with admiration. The departure from this luxurious spot, abounding in wealth and elegance, meant the summons to long lines of carriages, riding horses, sumpter mules, and baggage carts with jingling bells and noisy drivers. No well-appointed railway train would bear the visitors away, but up the steep ascents the travellers with their lumbering carriages would toil to the great wide plain on which was fought as long ago as 1385 the fierce battle which drove the Castilians from Portugal and gave the throne to Dom John, the illegitimate son of Dom Fernando, known as the king " of good memory." And now the monastery remains solitary and deserted, an instance of what may be found throughout Portugal. When Dom Miguel was routed, and his claims to the throne destroyed, the liberal supporters of the legitimate line annoyed at the support the monasteries had given him, determined on their overthrow. In 1834, under the reign of Dom Pedro IV., the extinction of the monastic order took place by act of the Cortes ; the monasteries with but few exceptions were closed, the lands were sold, and the silver and laces of the ecclesiastics were disposed of at auction. It is said the sacrifice of property was great. One powerful element of society was destroyed, in whose hands were many important industries and the great fountains of public charity.
To the traveller and the student the change was great, as can readily be seen. Alcobaça, in the prime of its activity and wealth and power, was an object of deep interest to all explorers of Portugal ; Alcobaça despoiled is but a melancholy remnant of the past, telling its tale in silence and gloom. I am not discussing here the attitude assumed by the monastics in any national crisis nor the condition of the monasteries at the time of their extinction. I am only considering the effect of the destruction of any great order upon the state and society upon which it has a foothold. The place left vacant may be filled with materials none the less interesting, but until filled there will remain an aching void. Go today to a monastery in the full vigor of its activity and wealth in the possession of the Prince Regent, and tomorrow by rail to an abandoned convent, and you will understand the difference, so far at least as the poetry and sentiment of the land are concerned. Deserted dwellings and abandoned estates, moreover, do not add to the active vigor or to the living appearance of any people, be the ruins mills or monasteries. Abandoned windmills on hills where once great wheat crops grew, do not tell a tale of agricultural prosperity. The tale told by abandoned monasteries, though different, is just as significant. That is all.
Portugal is fast becoming accustomed to the new order of things. As monasteries have retired, railroads, with all their industrial influence, have increased and multiplied, not rapidly, but steadily ; and they are distinguished more for safety than speed. They are well managed, however ; the stations are well constructed and well cared for ; the employés are prompt and civil, and the fares are reasonable. Lisbon is now connected by rail with every great city in Europe, and local accommodation has largely increased during the last few years. Meanwhile the traveller in Portugal finds his opportunity for local observation and contact with the people largely changed. A journey by royal procession to Alcobaça is now quite impossible, and the old horseback journey, with guides, is nearly abandoned. The temptation to stop in the small towns, in which the popular characteristics are displayed, no longer exists ; and wayside interviews are quite out of the question. Travelling now means going from place to place ; formerly, it meant deliberate study of landscape and people, of village and city alike; of field and garden, and forest and farm. The introduction to all this consisted in the purchase of a horse for the journey ; and in this single operation more is learned of human nature than can be in days of quiet and mere social interviews with the people.
If any one desires to know all about à Portuguese village, let him open negotiations there by a horse-trade. Perhaps this is true everywhere ; but it is especially true in a country where the language is not well understood, and where the management of horses is somewhat peculiar. Having made a successful purchase, and secured proper equipments, in the way of a saddle, pistols, saddle-bags and cloak, the traveller has the way open before him, along river banks, over rocky steeps, and through all the highways and byways by which country intercourse is kept up. In this way Byron went through Spain and Portugal just eighty years ago ; and wherever Byron went, he went for investigation. He had saddle-horses and servants ; and he under took to ride post nearly 400 miles, as far as Gibraltar; and thence he went by sea to Melita and Byzantium. It is very evident that by the way he became very intimate with all that was to be seen and heard. He came to Cintra, and pronounced it " the most beautiful village, perhaps, in the world." When in Lisbon, he wrote : " I am very happy here, because I love oranges, and talk bad Latin to the monks, who understand it, as it is like their own ; and I goes into society (with my pocket pistols) ; and I swims the Tagus all across at once ; and I rides on an ass, or a mule, and swears Portuguese. But what of that ? Comfort must not be expected by folks that go a-pleasuring. When the Portuguese are pertinacious, I say Carracho ! the great oath of the grandees, that very well supplies the place of ` Damme' ; and when dissatisfied with my neighbor, I pronounce him Ambra di murdo. With these two phrases, and a third, Avra bouro, which signifieth ` get an ass,' I am universally understood to be a person of degree and a master of languages. How merrily we live, that travellers be !—if we had food and raiment. But, in sober sadness, anything is better than England ; and I am infinitely amused with my pilgrimage, as far as it has gone."
Does anybody suppose that Byron would have learned all this wisdom, and more which he did learn, if he could have taken a train at Aleantara, and started out from this station on an excursion ? In fact, the only way for a traveller to secure the respect of the people he came in contact with in former days was by pursuing his journey in the saddle, if he could find one. If the people of a village are inclined to be obliging, a horseman, who has ridden up to an inn door for " entertainment for man and beast," will soon find it out ; and if, on the other hand, they are inclined the other way, he will soon find that out. If he is fortunate, all the curiosities of the place will at once be opened for him ; all the inconveniences of a country inn are at once revealed to him ; all the traditions of the locality are poured into his ear. The economy of the farm is taught him practically. In Portugal, the working of a single-handed plough ; the reaping of grain by the hand of woman ; the storing of gorse, for bedding (something like the wood-wax of Essex County) ; the management of oxen ; the use of the ox cart, whose axle-tree revolves with the solid wheel ; the domestic management of the family,—all can be seen from the saddle.
In a country of antiquities, the sauntering traveller finds his way into every obscure trace of a former people,—in fact, can hardly escape them. His eyes are in every place ; his ears are open to their cry, if he will only keep his mind alert. Would you learn the literature of a people, lounge through the towns ; note the presence or absence of the newspaper ; examine the stray worn books, if there are any ; and draw your own inference. If you go into the north of Portugal as an explorer, you are at once introduced to some of the most brilliant scenes of Portuguese history,—not in the great cities, like Oporto, and Coimbra, but in the mountain fastnesses, and on the battle-field.
In the great extent of country lying along the Douro lived that bold and hardy race who fought through many generations for the independence of Portugal and Spain when the Arabs were planting the Moslem faith and banner throughout the land, long before William the Conqueror had set foot on English soil. Here Affonso Henriques fought his great battles and secured his power. And in this hill-country the people learned their rights, valued their possessions, and knew how to defend them. To ascend the commanding hills and look down upon the theatre of this heroic action is the privilege he enjoys whose endurance has been increased by hard journeys and who has not been enervated in mind or body by railway travel. It is here, too, that the wine largely imported into Salem by our mercantile ancestors was made,—not Canary, which figures so largely in old invoices, but Port—the wine of the English statesman, the wine on which the two-bottle men of Parliament prided themselves, the wine with which our old Saturday Club washed down their salt-fish and apple-pie. The upper Douro region should be dear to every man with Salem blood in his veins—a region to be reached only on horseback or on foot.
Portugal, like every old country, is full of amusing incidents and accidents. It is not common for a traveller to be lost in a wood in these days, especially where man has trod for more than two thousand years. And yet one of the best Portuguese travellers, as he tells us, found himself in Cimmerian darkness at night in the middle of a forest in the Algarves, deserted by his runaway horse, and his guide, who started in pursuit of the animal through a dense undergrowth, and with no knowledge whatever of the course to follow. The guide believed in ghosts. The Seven Whistlers were heard, and his terror became in-tense. " If a man only looks at them and sees them, heaven only knows what will not happen to him," cried the superstitious boor. No light was to be seen in the wood—not a path. Horse and guide had vanished, and after a slender repast on bread and wine the " benighted swain " sat upon the ground, leaned his back against a tree, and fell asleep. The shrieks of a revolving axle-tree, a sound well known to every traveller on the country roads in Portugal, awoke him in early morning, and he took his way to a neighboring village as directed by a carter, where he found his terrified guide sleeping soundly lying in a manger of the village inn. When asked why he did not respond to his master's call, which he acknowledged he heard in the wood, he replied, " I really heard the voice, but I thought it must be an alma do outro mundo "—a soul from the land of ghosts. When this considerate master administered a dose of brandy and quinine to this same inconsiderate guide, when he had been accidentally ducked in a cold and rapid river, the sufferer exclaimed, " I will never touch those pozes do inferno—those devils' paws—which you put in your brandy." The boys in the street address each other in play as your lordship," and an intelligent Englishman informed a stranger who was trying in vain to make himself understood, that " these natives understand English well enough if they choose ; it is only their confounded obstinacy, sir ; if you talk loud enough they will always understand." If you would know Portugal travel on foot or on horseback.
On Saturday last I was summoned to a reception at the Ajuda Palace, given by the King and Queen in honor of the birth of a prince named Dom Manoel, and by the Queen Dowager in condolence on the death of Dom Luis. Of course the invitation came at the last moment. I received it at nine o'clock in the morning, just as I had risen, to have fifty minutes in which to dress, eat my breakfast, and catch a train from Cintra to Lisbon. The reception was at one o'clock. When I arrived at the Ajuda I found the great courtyard filled with carriages, in the long procession of which I was placed on my way to the great entrance to the palace. It is easy to imagine my impatience, and it is easy also to imagine the alacrity with which I leaped from my coupe', called the faithful Ramos to follow, and proceeded on foot between long files of soldiers on one side and carriages on the other to the royal abode. I surrendered my overcoat to Ramos and was directed up a long flight of marble steps, well carpeted for the occasion, and I mounted up and up into a lofty story where I was directed to a handsome room in which I found the Brazilian Minister solemn over the United States of Brazil, his attaché, S. Gomes, the cheerful Mr. Petre, the British Minister, and one or two secretaries. The room was gradually filled with decorated gentlemen, among whom was one inexperienced lady, who had considered herself invited, and was bound to see the show if she was alone in her glory. After a little change of diplomatic civilities we were summoned to the throne-room, and we passed into that stately apartment through a room filled with a glittering array of cabinet ministers and officers of the court. We all passed solemnly on, led by my friend the Nuncio, and stationed ourselves in a line opposite the throne, which consisted of a canopy, three golden chairs, and a dais. The crowd of courtiers followed us into the room and filled a large space near the entrance. At a signal the young King and his mother appeared : the King in undress uniform, a short sack with slight decoration, dark blue pantaloons, a dress sword, a helmet with a long plume in his hand ; the Queen Dowager in the deepest mourning, attended by about twenty ladies-in-waiting all in like attire. The King and his mother proceeded at once to the Nuncio at the head of the diplomatic line, and addressed him and each foreign minister in turn, passing down the line, the King leading and his mother following. We all made a little confidential speech to the King, who looked happy, and to the mourning Queen Dowager, who had suddenly passed through sorrow from middle life to old age. I congratulated, in proper phrase, as you may suppose, the father, and expressed my condolence to the widow. When we had done this we all filed out, making a low bow to their Majesties as we passed in front of them. The ceremony for us was over, and I drove to the Braganza for rest and refreshments.
The Ajuda is one of the six palaces in and around Lisbon, and was intended to be the finest of all. It is still unfinished. It was built by Dom John VI., who first of all Portuguese monarchs took up his abode in Brazil in 1816, and who began to build this enormous palatial structure on money received from that empire, intending it to be the most splendid palace in Europe. It is situated in the suburbs of Lisbon on a sterile height, and is approached through streets full of squalor and poverty, which in Portugal are as great as the squalor and poverty of any other spot on earth. It stands on this commanding height, to be seen by the voyager as he enters the Tagus. It is built of white marble, and preserves its whiteness quite remarkably for this latitude. It is only one third of the size designed for it by the extravagant king, and appears like a ruin —or rather an imitation of a ruin, after the order of the antique furniture manufactured in Boston. Prince Lichnowski in 1852 said of it : " The wretched style of the last century, the ugly statues, the cold marble—all this cannot please merely because eighty millions of cruzados were spent on the work, and because it would be a great work if it were to be completed, "—not very good English, but fair, considering the original writer was a Pole and the translator a Portuguese. It is hardly worth while to describe it, for it is like all palaces on the Continent, big and cold and hard and uncomfortable and luxurious and pretentious and as impressive as royalty. It has state apartments and royal private rooms, and a picture-gallery and a numismatic cabinet and a library. It is most elaborately constructed, and the woodwork is finished in a manner most satisfactory to a citizen of the United States of America, that country which excels in wooden palaces and in the best architects in wood. The royal apartments were finished about the time of the marriage of Dom Luis to Maria Pia, the now widowed Queen, in 1861. They have in the centre a marble hall, which separates the apartments of the two sovereigns ; rooms beautifully furnished and decorated, adorned with various marbles, green and blue silk hangings, floors inlaid with woods of various hues, and a few pictures of local interest. There is a silver model of the last tomb erected to the memory of Dante, presented by the people of Ravenna, where the great poet died. A small Madonna, by Perugino, does somewhat to redeem what art there is ; for a large gallery is filled with pictures of the Flemish, the Lombard, the Dutch, the Florentine schools, so designated, I suppose, in order to save the personal responsibility of the artists who painted them, many of whom I probably never heard of. When the artists are named I find myself in equally profound ignorance by my own fault or theirs. The interest of-the virtuoso, however, is kept up by many rare articles of vertu, such as silver tankards, baptismal fonts, exquisite cabinets, curious furniture, and rare old portières. In the room I first entered are pictures of Dom Pedro V., the young brother of Dom Luis, who died in 1861, and of his young Queen, Stephanie, who died about the same time,—the King a fresh, handsome, slender youth, and his Queen a tall and beautiful girl, quite in contrast with many in her line. In the throne-room oppposite the throne are the pictures of Dom Fernando, a tall, slender, athletic gentleman, and of Maria Gloria, his Queen, who died early—a sturdy, solid specimen of the Braganza blood.
When the Prince of Wales visited the King here not many years ago and lodged in the Ajuda, the streets which led to the palace were lined with heavy fir-trees set in the ground along the way in form of a fine avenue, which it was supposed to be.
Tomorrow ends our summer in Cintra, and I shall leave it with great regret. I have already come into Lisbon to prepare for the coming of my family. It is now evening and it is most beautiful. From the tall windows of my rooms at the Braganza I can look out on the broad river, which swells out into a bay and makes the harbor of Lisbon. High above rides the moon, with a silver light intensified by this clear and sparkling air, which seems to clarify everything it surrounds, and attended by a glowing evening star, which is gradually with-drawing from its great rival and sinking into the west. The harbor is brilliant with lights from the many vessels floating there. And far away stretch the shores, lying all along the horizon like great reposing monsters watching the beauty of heaven and earth. The scene is most charming, and is increased in beauty by that unaccountable force which in this reigon makes the sky bluer and the sea more sparkling and the land more mysterious and the stars brighter and the moon more luminous than can be found elsewhere, I believe, on earth.
I have been reading once more the life of Mr. Emerson by his son. All day I have lived in the book. The more I study him, the more I admire and wonder, and am puzzled. I knew him well and saw him under interesting circumstances. I knew him first in the Town and County Club, that strange collection of transcendentalists and unbelievers and theorists which gathered in Boston so many years ago. He always congratulated me on a little speech and repartee I made in a debate there. I heard him deliver his famous Divinity Hall address to the divinity students in 1838, and I can hear now his opening words : " In this refulgent season it has been a luxury to draw the breath of life "; and I remember how fascinated I was by his sweet humanity and bewildered by his unorthodox theology. I recall the clear cold winter evening in Andover when I read " Nature " to a gentle old schoolmaster in the third story of the tall house next to my father's, with a glowing fire and bright candles, waiting for this dear old pedagogue to find out what my book was and who was the author, and admiring the fervor with which he at last ex-claimed : " Why, that must be ` Nature,' the book Mr. Emerson wrote." I remember, too, how we rejoiced in its fine philosophy and sweet sentences. I can see the gentle and uncompromising philosopher and poet sitting at John Chapman's table in London with his fine face and his charming words. I have not forgotten our trip to Chatsworth and Stratford-on-Avon and Blenheim, together, on a warm English summer day, nor our voyage home, when he devoted himself to a well-known Lowell spinner for facts. And I still look back on a lecture I gave in Concord, on Europe in the Nineteenth Century, in which I described the uprisings in Prance and England, and ventured to predict that republics were a great way off in Europe—a prediction not far out of the way that year ; and as I look back I can hear Mr. Emerson, as we sat in his study after the lecture, admiring my pictures but doubting my conclusions. And so I have seen a good deal of Mr. Emerson, and I always felt that he knew very little how much I sympathized with him and how much influence he had over me. His æsthetic love of nature, which made him rejoice in a bare hillside with stumps and briars and cinders, and in a growing crop and a shady nook, was in me a practical reality, which moved me as it did him, but with the addition of a farmer's consideration of the value of the scenes he loved. Nature to him meant God ; to me it meant also the rule God gave man over the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field. I understood his side ; but he did not quite care for mine. He feared the violence of the early reformers, while he accepted their faith. I remember hearing him and Wendell Phillips and James Freeman Clarke one evening, in Mechanic Hall, Salem, speak on the John Brown struggle in Virginia. Phillips was heroic ; Clarke thought Brown was equal to Christ ; Emerson thought his faith great and his motives good.
Of the beauty of his life there can be but one opinion. That he paused to consider the effect of his teachings there may be some doubt. When Mr. Emerson declared his unbelief in the usually accepted significance of the Lord's Supper, he wounded severely a Christian community, and led a host of freethinkers into a confused mass of doubt and unbelief, while he himself advanced into a divine and inspired world of his own, which he was able to create and comprehend. And when he had left the ordinances, and erected a Christianity of his own, he really found his first inspiration in the example and teachings of Christ. All of his utterances were drawn from Christ's thoughts and words. Nothing that he ever said or wrote was in any way antagonistic to the spirit of Christ. And I am by no means sure that he would ever have reached the height of his transcendental faith, or have recognized the inner light of his own soul, if his childhood and youth had not been guided and formed by the influence of a Christian mother, in the family of a pious Christian minister. How sweetly he dreamed and thought, and how finely his nature recognized all that was honest and brave and beautiful about him. Honesty as blunt as a ledge of rocks he admired ; and the possessor was clothed by him with a robe of beauty. His admiration of the rural society in which he lived, was his admiration of an ideal community whose nearness to nature in the fields and woodlands won his nature-loving heart.
Standing alone as he did, he became the most acute observer of the workings of the human mind. He put into words what most men hardly dream, much less shape into thought. His ideal was high ; his faith in man was great. And so this man thought great thoughts, and laid down a lofty path of duty. It is not surprising that the community in Concord worshipped him. He was to them the purest man on earth ; and he made them believe they were as pure and good as he was. And so it was throughout the country. People learned that here was a man modelled after the order of Christ. When they saw him, his face shone as if he were an angel. When he spoke, he had the calm and positive tone of an oracle ; and, while they understood not all he said, they believed in him, and prayed to be like him.
Now, how great an influence he has exerted on man-kind ! He undoubtedly did his share of liberalizing the Christian community,—a work which has been going on with surprising force in these later years. But, while Channing and Ware and all their followers have left fixed beacons and guides and definite beliefs, to which all men are drawn, Emerson stands as an outside force, preparing, perhaps, the minds of men to accept the purest faith. He will be remembered as an acute thinker ; a great poet, of sudden and short-lived inspiration ; a purifier of the minds and hearts of men ; but hardly as a founder, or a leader, or a creator of a devoted and resolute sect, whose influence is so great that their existence becomes important to society, or the State, or the Church.
I think Mr. Emerson's tale of his father's labors as a lecturer, is pathetic. A delicate, thoughtful, educated, refined philosopher, from necessity, as he thinks, ex-poses himself to the discomfort and danger of hard and long winter travel ; to the " bed and board " of human habitations hardly worthy of the name ; to conversation and intimate relations with the ignorant, the curious, and the mercenary ; and suffers those longings which every father feels when absent from his own fireside, and wears himself out in a service which belongs to those who make it their business to entertain the public. The devotion was sublime. The work itself does not present a cheering picture. It grieves one that so sweet a soul should have been exposed to the trials of such a life. The audiences who listened to Mr. Emerson—what of them are alive—can never know the toil their teacher endured ; nor can they ever be grateful enough for the opportunity they enjoyed to listen to his teachings.
I have looked in vain for such a man as Emerson in all the annals of Portugal. Heroic poets, warriors of fleeting fame, devotees to the Church, conquerors and explorers they have here in abundance, for a thousand years ; but no man has taught the truths of " divine philosophy " in the Portuguese tongue, and no man has achieved that fame which, because of its spiritual meaning, is immortal.