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sorry that they perished, I suppose, but I'm not. I've heard enough of that tribe on this ship.
The Patriarch is stuffed full of Phænician statistics, and to touch any line of historical discussion in his hearing is like tripping over a cord attached to a spring gun. He is as fatal as an Irishman I once knew who was perfectly adorable until some question of race came up. Then it was time to stand from under. According to Malone there was originally but one race—the Irish. All the early saints were Irish; so was Abraham; so was Noah; so was Adam; So was—but that is far enough back. I remember hearing him tell one night how, in a later day, when Alexander the Great set out to conquer Asia, he first sent emissaries to make peace with Ireland as a precaution against being attacked in the rear.
But I am beginning to wander. There is no trace of the Phænicians, I believe, on Madeira to-day, and the early history of the island is mainly mythical. When ancient Mediterranean sailors went exploring a little into the Atlantic and saw its purple form rise on the horizon they decided that it must be the mouth of hell, or at all events the abode of evil creatures, and hastily turned back. One account says that in the course of time a gentleman named Taxicabprobably the inventor of the vehicle later known by that name—and his companion were shipwrecked on Madeira and set up a monument in celebration of the event. I don't know what became of Taxicab and his friend or the monument, but about the same time it was discovered again by a Portuguese named Zargo, who set it afire as a means of clearing the land
of its splendid forests and kept the fires going for seven years.'
Zargo's devastation began about five hundred years ago, and the island has required all those centuries for recovery. It may be added that he believed Madeira to be the lost Atlantis, though a point of land thirty miles long and fifteen miles wide could hardly be more than a splinter of that vanished continent. More likely Madeira and the fragmentary islets about it formed that mythical Ultima Thule referred to by Ulysses, when, according to Tennyson, he said:
“My purpose holds
"the Pond th. My
Perhaps Madeira was indeed a home of gods and favored spirits in the olden days. It would have been a suitable place. When we drew near enough to see its terraced hills—lofty hills they are, some of them in the interior rising to a point six thousand feet above the sea—and to make out the tiny houses nestling like white and tinted shells against the green, we changed our minds about being willing to sail past without stopping, and when at last we swung slowly into the Harbor of Funchal we felt somehow that we had come upon an island enchantment in the middle of the sea.
1 By referring again to the German guide-book I find that the first gentleman's name was not Taxicab, but as that is nearer to what it looks like than anything that can be made out of the real name I will let it stand.
For everything was so marvellous in its beauty: the green hills, terraced almost to the very top; the gorges between, the little fairy city just where the hills flow into the sea. With glasses one could make out flowering vines on many of the walls. Even with the naked eye, somebody presently discovered a great purple mass, part way up the hillside. The glass showed it to be a house almost covered with bougainvillea-our first vision of this lavish and splendid flower of the Mediterranean.
As we drew in and came to anchor, we saw descending upon us a fleet of small, curious boats, filled with half-naked men. We prepared for the worst, but they merely wanted us to throw coins over in the liquid azure which they call water in this country, whereupon their divers would try to intercept the said coins somewhere between the top and bottom of the sea. We didn't believe they could do it, which was poor judgment on our part.
If those amphibians did not always get the coins, they generally did. They could see them perfectly in that amazing water, and they could dive like seals. Some of the divers were mere children,.poor, lean creatures who stood up in their boats and shouted and implored and swung their arms in a wild invitation to us to fling our money overboard. They did not want small money-at least, not very small moneythey declined to dive for pennies. Perhaps they could only distinguish the gleam of the white metal. Let a nickel or a dime be tossed over and two or three were after it in a flash, while a vehement outbreak of Portuguese from all the rest entreated still further largess. It was really a good show, and being the first of its kind, we enjoyed it.
We had to go ashore in boats, and the water was not smooth. It was not entirely easy to get into the landing-boats, and it was still less easy to get out at the stairs which ascended to the stone piers. Every billow would throw the little boats six or eight feet into the air, and one had to be pretty careful to step just at the right instant or he would leave one foot on a high step and the other in the boat, far below. Several of our best passengers were dismembered in that way.
Once on shore, the enchantment took hold of us again. It was so sunny and bright and the streets were so attractive—all paved with small black cobbles, set in the neatest and most careful fashion. Our conveyances were waiting just at the end of the pier, and they were, I believe, the most curious conveyances in the world. They were not carriages or carts or wheeled vehicles of any sort, but sleds—here in a land of eternal summer-sleds with enclosed tops, and drawn by oxen.
Their drivers were grave, whiskered men who motioned us to get in; after which we started, and they began greasing the runners as we went along. They did this by putting a grease-soaked rag in front of a runner now and then and driving over it.
I don't think an American would do it that way. He would take a barrel of soft soap and a broom and lubricate the whole street. Their way is neater, and about as effective, I suppose ; besides, when they have been doing it another three hundred years or so, they will have some grease on these streets, too. Already one may see indications of it here and there.
Our course was uphill, and we ascended along a panorama of sunny life and tinted flower-hung walls to the outskirts of that neatest and most charming of cities—continuously expressing our delight in the general attractiveness of everything: the wonderfully laid streets; the really beautiful sidewalks of very tiny vari-colored cobbles all set in perfect mosaic patterns; the glow and bloom of summer everywhere. We admired even the persistent little