« PreviousContinue »
has got fufficient fatisfaction equal to the injury received: but quarrelling in publick is looked on as highly indecent, and therefore does not often happen.
The natives of thefe iflands are temperate in their eating and drinking. If a gentleman was to be feen drunk in public, it would be a lafting stain on his reputation. I am informed, that the evidence of a man who can be proved a drunkard, will not be taken in a court of juftice; therefore all people here, who have a strong inclination to wine, shut themselves up in their bed-chambers, drink their fill there, then get into bed and fleep it off.
The gentry are extremely litigious, and generally entangled in intricate and endless law-fuits. I happened to be in a notary's office, in the ifland of Gomera, where observing huge bundles of papers piled upon the fhelves, I enquired of the notary if it was poffible that all the law business of that little ifland could fwell to fuch a quantity of writings? he replied, that he had almost twice as much piled up in two cellars; and faid there was another of his profeffion in the fame place, who had as much if not more bufinefs than himself.
People of all ranks in these islands are of an amorous dispofition; their notions of love are fomewhat romantic, which may be owing to the want of innocent freedom between the sexes; yet I never could obferve that the natives here are more jealous than the English or French, although they have been fo reprefented by these nations. The truth of the matter is, that in every country, cuftom has established between the fexes certain bounds of decency and decorum, beyond which no person will go, without a bad intention: for inftance, freedoms are taken with women in France, which are there reckoned innocent; but would not be fuffered by ladies in England, who have any regard for their virtue or reputation: again, in England viiturous women allow men to ufé fuch freedoms with them, as no virtuous woman in these islands could bear with: yet in France there are no more loose women, in proportion to the number of inhabitants, than in the Canary islands.
Young people here fall in love at fight, without having the leaft acquaintance with the beloved object. When the parties agree to marry, and find their parents averfe to their union, they inform the curate of the parish of the affair, who goes to the houfe where the girl lives, demands her of her parents or guar- dians, and endeavours to bring them to agree to her marriage; but if they will not be perfuaded to give their confent, he takes away before their faces, without their being able to hinder him, and depofites her in a nunnery, or with fome of her relations, until he marries them.
I am informed that it is not uncommon for a lady here to fend to a man, and make him an offer of her perfon in an honourable way; if he does not think proper to accept of her offer, he keeps it fecret till death; if he fhould do otherwife, he would be looked upon, by all people, in the most deteftable and despicable light. Young men are not permitted to court young girls when they have no intention to marry them; for if a woman can prove the man has, in the leaft instance, endeavoured to win her affections, the can oblige him to marry her.
I do not remember to have ever failed from the Canary iflands without being strongly importuned to allow young fellows to embark with me, who were under promise of marriage, and wanted to forfake their Miftreffes. I faw a man of Orotava, who, fome years before, had lived at Gomera, where he courted a girl, and gained her consent to be his wife; but fuddenly repenting of what he had done, and finding no other means of getting away from her, he took the advantage of the first wefterly wind, and boldly embarked in an open boat, without oars, fails, or rudder, and launched into the ocean; he was driven before the wind and feas for two days and nights, when at last he drew near the rocky fhore adjacent to Adehe in Tenerife, where he must have perifhed, had it not been for fome fishermen, who, perceiving his boat, went off, and brought her to a fafe harbour.
This law, obliging people to adhere to their love engagements, like many other good laws, is abufed; for by means of it, loose women, who have not loft their reputation, often lay fnares to entrap the fimple and unwary; and worthless ambitious young men, form defigns upon Ladies fortunes, without having the leaft regard for their perfons: although it must be owned, there are few mercenary Lovers in this part of the world, their notions of that paffion being too refined and romantic, to admit the idea of making it fubfervient to interest or ambition.
A young Lady in one of thefe iflands, fell deeply in love. with a Gentleman, and ufed every art fhe was mistress of, to captivate his heart; but in vain; at last, being hurried on by the violence of her paffion, which rendered her quite defperate, The made ufe of the following ftratagem, to oblige him to marry her. She profecuted him upon a promife of marriage, which fhe pretended he had made to her, and fuborned witnefles, who fwore they had feen him in bed with her. The evidence appeared fo clear to the Court, that, without the leaft hesitation, ⚫ it gave fentence for the Plaintiff, compelling the Defendant to
marry her. With this unjuft fentence he was obliged to comply, though with the utmoft regret; for as the Lady had fhewn fo little regard for her reputation, as to fwear falfely to her own fhame, he could look upon her in no other light, than that of a loose and abandoned woman: however, he was agreeably difappointed, and had all poffible reafon to believe fhe was a virgin. Being amazed at her strange conduct, he entreated her to unravel the mystery of her unaccountable behaviour; "For (faid he) you must be fenfible that I am innocent of what you have fworn against me." She frankly owned the whole affair; and added, for an excufe, that fhe would rather have lived in hell, than not to have obtained the object of her love. Upan this declaration, he generously forgave her, and they afterwards lived happily together.
• Generally speaking, there are more unhappy marriages here, than in those countries where young people have more access to be acquainted with one another's difpofitions, before they agree to live together for life. In countries where innocent freedoms fubfift between the fexes, Lovers are generally not fo blinded with paffion, that they cannot perceive their Miftreffes are mortal, and partake of human frailty; confequently refolve to put up with fome failings: but this thought never enters into the imagination of a romantic Lover.
Gentlemen here get up by day-break, or at fun-rifing, and commonly go to church soon after, to hear mafs; at eight or nine in the morning they breakfast on chocolate. The Ladies feldom go to mafs before ten o'clock in the forenoon; but the women fervants generally attend it about fun-rifing. At the elevation of the Hoft, which is commonly a little before noon, the bells toll, when all the men who happen to be in the streets, or within hearing of them, take off their hats, and fay, "I adore thee, and praife thee, body and blood of our Lord Jefus Chrift, fhed on the tree of the cross, to wash the fins of the world.".
At noon every body goes home to dinner, when all the ftreet-doors are fhut, until three in the afternoon. In Gentlemen's houfes, the first dish which is put on the table, contains foup, made of beef, mutton, pork, bacon, carrots, turneps, potatoes, peas, onions, faffron, &c. all ftewed together: when it is poured into the difh, they put in it thin flices of bread. The fecond course confifts of roafted meat, &c. The third is the olio, or ingredients of which the foup was made. After which comes the defert, confifting of fruit and fweetmeats. The company drink freely of wine, or wine and water, all the time of dinner; but no wine after the cloth is removed. When
they drink to one another, they fay, Your health, Sir; or Madam, your health. The answer is, May you live a thousand years; and fometimes, Much good may it do you. Immediately after dinner, a large heavy, fhallow, filver difh, filled with water, is put upon the table, when the whole company, all at once, put their hands into the water, and wafh; after which a fervant ftands at the lower end of the table, and repeats the following benediction: Bleffed and praised be the most holy Sacrament of the altar, and the clear and pure Conception of the most holy Virgin, conceived in Grace from the first inftant of her natural exiftence. Ladies and Gentlemen, much good may it do you. So making a low bow to the company, he retires; when they rife, and each goes to his apartment, to take a nap for about an hour; this is called the Siefto, and is very beneficial in a warm climate; for after one awakes from it, he finds himself refreshed, and fit to go about his affairs with spirit: yet the medical Gentlemen here condemn this cuftom, and fay it is pernicious to the conftitution; but how can a thing be prejudicial to health, that Nature compels a man to? for in hot countries there is no avoiding a fhort nap after dinner, without doing violence to Nature, especially where people get up by day-break.
The Gentry feldom give an entertainment without having a Friar for one of the guests, who is generally the Confeffor to fome of the family. Some of thefe people, on thefe occafions, take much upon them, and behave with great freedom, or rather ill-manners; yet the Master of the house, and his Guests, do not choose to rebuke them, but let them have their own way. I happened once to go to dine at a Gentleman's houfe in one of the islands, when a Francifcan Friar was one of the Guests. We had scarce began to eat, when the Friar afked me, if I was a Chriftian? I replied, I hope fo. Then he defired me to repeat the Apoftles Creed. I anfwered, that I knew nothing about it. Upon this he ftared me full in the face, and faid, "O thou black afs !" I asked him what he meant by treating me in that manner? He answered only by repeating the abufe. The Mafter of the houfe endeavoured, but in vain, to perfuade him to give over. As at that time I did not underftand Spanish fo well as to exprefs myfelf fluently, I rofe up, and told the Mafter of the houfe, I faw he was not able to protect me from infults at his own table; then taking my hat, I went away.'
The foregoing extracts may fuffice to give our Readers fome idea of the manner in which Mr. Glas's performance is written; but the work contains a much greater variety of curious and entertaining particulars, especially with regard to the state of literature in the Canaries, than we have room tɔ enumerate:
and we are, on the whole, notwithstanding any flight inaccuracies, fo far fatisfied with this Writer's abilities for an undertaking. of this kind, that we are glad to learn, from an Advertisement, his intention of speedily publishing an Hiftory and Description of that part of Africa which is bounded on the Weft by the Atlantic Ocean, on the Eaft by Nubia and Abyffinia, on the North by the fouthern frontiers of Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, and on the South by the rivers Timbuctu and Senegal: with an account of the Blacks inhabiting the banks of those rivers.
Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Dioclefian, at Spalatro in Dalmatia. By R. Adam, F. R. S. F. S. A. Architect to the King, and to the Queen. Printed for the Author, 1764. Large Folio. 31. 10s. in Sheets. Becket, &c.
HE buildings of the antients are in architecture, as Mr. Adam juftly obferves, what the works of nature are with respect to the others arts; ferving as models for our imitation, and as ftandards of our judgment. Hence, thofe who aim at eminence, either in the theory or practice of this art, find it neceffary to study the remains of antiquity on the fpot, in order to catch thofe ideas of grandeur and beauty, which nothing. elfe, perhaps, than fuch actual obfervation can fuggeft. Scarce any monuments, however, of Grecian or of Roman architecture ftill remain, except public buildings: temples, baths, and amphitheatres, having proved the only works of folidity enough to refift the injuries of time, and to defy the violence of Barbarians. The private edifices, however fplendid and elegant, in which the Citizens of Rome and Athens refided, have all perifhed; few veftiges remaining, even of thofe innumerable villas with which Italy was crowded; though, in erecting and adorning them, the Romans lavished the wealth and spoils of the world.
It is with peculiar regret Mr. Adam confiders the deftruction of thefe buildings; fome accidental allufions in the ancient Poets, and occafional defcriptions in their Hiftorians, conveying ideas of their magnificence, which astonish the Artists of the prefent age. Conceiving, therefore, his knowlege of Architecture to be imperfect, unless he should be able to add the obfervation of a private edifice, of the antients to his ftudy of their public works, he formed the fcheme of vifiting the ruins of the Emperor Dioclefian's palace at Spalatro in Dalmatia. To that end, having prevailed on Mr. Clerifleau, a French Artift, to ac