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Title: The Story of Ida Pfeiffer
       and Her Travels in Many Lands

Author: Anonymous

Release Date: March 22, 2006  [eBook #18037]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


This eBook was prepared by Les Bowler.

And Her Travels in Many Lands.

[Queen Pomare's Palace, Tahiti: page4.jpg]

"I'll put a girdle round the world."--SHAKESPEARE.









Ida Pfeiffer, the celebrated traveller, was born in Vienna on the 14th of
October 1797.  She was the third child of a well-to-do merchant, named
Reyer; and at an early age gave indications of an original and
self-possessed character.  The only girl in a family of six children, her
predilections were favoured by the circumstances which surrounded her.
She was bold, enterprising, fond of sport and exercise; loved to dress
like her brothers, and to share in their escapades.  Dolls she
contemptuously put aside, preferring drums; and a sword or a gun was
valued at much more than a doll's house.  In some respects her father
brought her up strictly; she was fed, like her brothers, on a simple and
even meagre diet, and trained to habits of prompt obedience; but he did
nothing to discourage her taste for more violent exercises than are
commonly permitted to young girls.

She was only in her tenth year, however, when he died; and she then
passed naturally enough under the maternal control.  Between her own
inclinations and her mother's ideas of maidenly culture a great contest
immediately arose.  Her mother could not understand why her daughter
should prefer the violin to the piano, and the masculine trousers to the
feminine petticoat.  In fact, she did not understand Ida, and it may be
assumed that Ida did not understand her.

In 1809 Vienna was captured by the French army under Napoleon; a disgrace
which the brave and spirited Ida felt most keenly.  Some of the
victorious troops were quartered in the house of her mother, who thought
it politic to treat them with courtesy; but her daughter neither could
nor would repress her dislike.  When compelled to be present at a grand
review which Napoleon held in Schonbrunn, she turned her back as the
emperor rode past.  For this hazardous manoeuvre she was summarily
punished; and to prevent her from repeating it when the emperor returned,
her mother held her by the shoulders.  This was of little avail, however,
as Ida perseveringly persisted in keeping her eyes shut.

At the age of thirteen she was induced to resume the garb of her sex,
though it was some time before she could accustom her wild free movements
to it.  She was then placed in charge of a tutor, who seems to have
behaved to her with equal skill and delicacy.  "He showed," she says,
"great patience and perseverance in combating my overstrained and
misdirected notions.  As I had learned to fear my parents rather than
love them, and this gentleman was, so to speak, the first human being who
had displayed any sympathy and affection for me, I clung to him in return
with enthusiastic attachment, desirous of fulfilling his every wish, and
never so happy as when he appeared satisfied with my exertions.  He took
the entire charge of my education, and though it cost me some tears to
abandon my youthful visions, and engage in pursuits I had hitherto
regarded with contempt, to all this I submitted out of my affection for
him.  I even learned many feminine avocations, such as sewing, knitting,
and cookery.  To him I owed the insight I obtained into the duties and
true position of my sex; and it was he who transformed me from a romp and
a hoyden into a modest quiet girl."

Already a great longing for travel had entered into her mind.  She longed
to see new scenes, new peoples, new manners and customs.  She read
eagerly every book of travel that fell into her hands; followed with
profound interest the career of every adventurous explorer, and blamed
her sex that prevented her from following their heroic examples.  For a
while a change was effected in the current of her thoughts by a strong
attachment which sprung up between her and her teacher, who by this time
had given up his former profession, and had obtained an honourable
position in the civil service.  It was natural enough that in the close
intimacy which existed between them such an affection should be
developed.  Ida's mother, however, regarded it with grave disapproval,
and exacted from the unfortunate girl a promise that she would neither
see nor write to her humble suitor again.  The result was a dangerous
illness: on her recovery from which her mother insisted on her accepting
for a husband Dr. Pfeiffer, a widower, with a grown-up son, but an
opulent and distinguished advocate in Lemberg, who was then on a visit to
Vienna.  Though twenty-four years older than Ida, he was attracted by her
grace and simplicity, and offered his hand.  Weary of home persecutions,
Ida accepted it, and the marriage took place on May 1st, 1820.

If she did not love her husband, she respected him, and their married
life was not unhappy.  In a few months, however, her husband's integrity
led to a sad change of fortune.  He had fully and fearlessly exposed the
corruption of the Austrian officials in Galicia, and had thus made many
enemies.  He was compelled to give up his office as councillor, and,
deprived of his lucrative practice, to remove to Vienna in search of
employment.  Through the treachery of a friend, Ida's fortune was lost,
and the ill-fated couple found themselves reduced to the most painful
exigencies.  Vienna, Lemberg, Vienna again, Switzerland, everywhere Dr.
Pfeiffer sought work, and everywhere found himself baffled by some
malignant influence.  "Heaven only knows," says Madame Pfeiffer in her
autobiography, "what I suffered during eighteen years of my married life;
not, indeed, from any ill-treatment on my husband's part, but from
poverty and want.  I came of a wealthy family, and had been accustomed
from my earliest youth to order and comfort; and now I frequently knew
not where I should lay my head, or find a little money to buy the
commonest necessaries.  I performed household drudgery, and endured cold
and hunger; I worked secretly for money, and gave lessons in drawing and
music; and yet, in spite of all my exertions, there were many days when I
could hardly put anything but dry bread before my poor children for their
dinner."  These children were two sons, whose education their mother
entirely undertook, until, after old Madame Reyer's death in 1837, she
succeeded to an inheritance, which lifted the little family out of the
slough of poverty, and enabled her to provide her sons with good

[Beirut and mountains of Lebanon: page15.jpg]

As they grew up and engaged successfully in professional pursuits, Madame
Pfeiffer, who had lost her husband in 1838, found herself once more under
the spell of her old passion for travel, and in a position to gratify her
adventurous inclinations.  Her means were somewhat limited, it is true,
for she had done much for her husband and her children; but economy was
natural to her, and she retained the simple habits she had acquired in
her childhood.  She was strong, healthy, courageous, and accomplished;
and at length, after maturing her plans with anxious consideration, she
took up her pilgrim's staff, and sallied forth alone.

Her first object was to visit the Holy Land, and tread in the hallowed
footsteps of our Lord.  For this purpose she left Vienna on the 22nd of
March 1842, and embarked on board the steamer that was to convey her down
the Danube to the Black Sea and the city of Constantinople.  Thence she
repaired to Broussa, Beirut, Jaffa, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Nazareth,
Damascus, Baalbek, the Lebanon, Alexandria, and Cairo; and travelled
across the sandy Desert to the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea.  From
Egypt the adventurous lady returned home by way of Sicily and Italy,
visiting Naples, Rome, and Florence, and arriving in Vienna in December
1842.  In the following year she published the record of her experiences
under the title of a "Journey of a Viennese Lady to the Holy Land."  It
met with a very favourable reception, to which the simplicity of its
style and the faithfulness of its descriptions fully entitled it.

With the profits of this book to swell her funds, Madame Pfeiffer felt
emboldened to undertake a new expedition; and this time she resolved on a
northern pilgrimage, expecting in _Ultima Thule_ to see nature manifested
on a novel and surprising scale.  She began her journey to Iceland on the
10th of April 1845, and returned to Vienna on the 4th of October.  Her
narrative of this second voyage will be found, necessarily much abridged
and condensed, in the following pages.

What should she do next?  Success had increased her courage and
strengthened her resolution, and she could think of nothing fit for her
energies and sufficient for her curiosity but a voyage round the world!
She argued that greater privations and fatigue than she had endured in
Syria and Iceland she could scarcely be called upon to encounter.  The
outlay did not frighten her; for she had learned by experience how little
is required, if the traveller will but practise the strictest economy and
resolutely forego many comforts and all superfluities.  Her savings
amounted to a sum insufficient, perhaps, for such travellers as Prince
Puckler-Muskau, Chateaubriand, or Lamartine for a fortnight's excursion;
but for a woman who wanted to see much, but cared for no personal
indulgence, it seemed enough to last during a journey of two or three
years.  And so it proved.

The heroic woman set out alone on the 1st of May 1846, and proceeded
first to Rio Janeiro.  On the 3rd of February 1847, she sailed round Cape
Horn, and on the 2nd of March landed at Valparaiso.  Thence she traversed
the broad Pacific to Tahiti, where she was presented to Queen Pomare.  In
the beginning of July we find her at Macao; afterwards she visited Hong
Kong and Canton, where the appearance of a white woman produced a
remarkable and rather disagreeable sensation.  By way of Singapore she
proceeded to Ceylon, which she carefully explored, making excursions to
Colombo, Candy, and the famous temple of Dagoba.  Towards the end of
October she landed at Madras, and thence went on to Calcutta, ascending
the Ganges to the holy city of Benares, and striking across the country
to Bombay.  Late in the month of April 1848 she sailed for Persia, and
from Bushire traversed the interior as far as legend-haunted Bagdad.
After a pilgrimage to the ruins of Ctesiphon and Babylon, this bold lady
accompanied a caravan through the dreary desert to Mosul and the vast
ruins of Nineveh, and afterwards to the salt lake of Urumiyeh and the
city of Tabreez.  It is certain that no woman ever accomplished a more
daring exploit!  The mental as well as physical energy required was
enormous; and only a strong mind and a strong frame could have endured
the many hardships consequent on her undertaking--the burning heat by
day, the inconveniences of every kind at night, the perils incidental to
her sex, meagre fare, a filthy couch, and constant apprehension of attack
by robber bands.  The English consul at Tabreez, when she introduced
herself to him, found it hard to believe that a woman could have
accomplished such an enterprise.

At Tabreez, Madame Pfeiffer was presented to the Viceroy, and obtained
permission to visit his harem.  On August 11th, 1848, she resumed her
journey, crossing Armenia, Georgia, and Mingrelia; she touched afterwards
at Anapa, Kertch, and Sebastopol, landed at Odessa, and returned home by
way of Constantinople, Greece, the Ionian Islands, and Trieste, arriving
in Vienna on the 4th of November 1848, just after the city had been
recaptured from the rebels by the troops of Prince Windischgratz.

[Constantinople: page21.jpg]

Ida Pfeiffer was now a woman of note.  Her name was known in every
civilized country; and it was not unnatural that great celebrity should
attach to a female who, alone, and without the protection of rank or
official recommendation, had travelled 2800 miles by land, and 35,000
miles by sea.  Hence, her next work, "A Woman's Journey Round the World,"
was most favourably received, and translated both into French and
English.  A summary of it is included in our little volume.

The brave adventurer at first, on her return home, spoke of her
travelling days as over, and, at the age of fifty-four, as desirous of
peace and rest.  But this tranquil frame of mind was of very brief
duration.  Her love of action and thirst of novelty could not long be
repressed; and as she felt herself still strong and healthy, with
energies as quick and lively as ever, she resolved on a second circuit of
the globe.  Her funds having been increased by a grant of 1500 florins
from the Austrian Government, she left Vienna on the 18th of March 1851,
proceeded to London, and thence to Cape Town, where she arrived on the
11th of August.  For a while she hesitated between a visit to the
interior of Africa and a voyage to Australia; but at last she sailed to
Singapore, and determined to explore the East Indian Archipelago.  At
Sarawak, the British settlement in Borneo, she was warmly welcomed by Sir
James Brooke, a man of heroic temper and unusual capacities for command
and organization.  She adventured among the Dyaks, and journeyed westward
to Pontianak, and the diamond mines of Landak.  We next meet with her in
Java, and afterwards in Sumatra, where she boldly trusted herself among
the cannibal Battas, who had hitherto resented the intrusion of any
European.  Returning to Java, she saw almost all that it had of natural
wonders or natural beauties; and then departed on a tour through the
Sunda Islands and the Moluccas, visiting Banda, Amboyna, Ceram, Ternate,
and Celebes.

For a second time she traversed the Pacific, but on this occasion in an
opposite direction.  For two months she saw no land; but on the 27th
September 1853 she arrived at San Francisco.  At the close of the year
she sailed for Callao.  Thence she repaired to Lima, with the intention
of crossing the Andes, and pushing eastward, through the interior of
South America, to the Brazilian coast.  A revolution in Peru, however,
compelled her to change her course, and she returned to Ecuador, which
served as a starting-point for her ascent of the Cordilleras.  After
having the good fortune to witness an eruption of Cotopaxi, she retraced
her steps to the west.  In the neighbourhood of Guayaquil she had two
very narrow escapes: one, by a fall from her mule; and next, by an
immersion in the River Guaya, which teems with alligators.  Meeting with
neither courtesy nor help from the Spanish Americans--a superstitious,
ignorant, and degraded race--she gladly set sail for Panama.

At the end of May she crossed the Isthmus, and sailed to New Orleans.
Thence she ascended the Mississippi to Napoleon, and the Arkansas to Fort
Smith.  After suffering from a severe attack of fever, she made her way
to St. Louis, and then directed her steps northward to St. Paul, the
Falls of St. Antony, Chicago, and thence to the great Lakes and "mighty
Niagara."  After an excursion into Canada, she visited New York, Boston,
and other great cities, crossed the Atlantic, and arrived in England on
the 21st of November 1854.  Two years later she published a narrative of
her adventures, entitled "My Second Journey Round the World."

Madame Pfeiffer's last voyage was to Madagascar, and will be found
described in the closing chapter of this little volume.  In Madagascar
she contracted a dangerous illness, from which she temporarily recovered;
but on her return to Europe it was evident that her constitution had
received a severe blow.  She gradually grew weaker.  Her disease proved
to be cancer of the liver, and the physicians pronounced it incurable.
After lingering a few weeks in much pain, she passed away on the night of
the 27th of October 1858, in the sixty-third year of her age.

* * * * *

This remarkable woman is described as of short stature, thin, and
slightly bent.  Her movements were deliberate and measured.  She was well-
knit and of considerable physical energy, and her career proves her to
have been possessed of no ordinary powers of endurance.  The reader might
probably suppose that she was what is commonly known as a strong-minded
woman.  The epithet would suit her if seriously applied, for she had
undoubtedly a clear, strong intellect, a cool judgment, and a resolute
purpose; but it would be thoroughly inapplicable in the satirical sense
in which it is commonly used.  There was nothing masculine about her.  On
the contrary, she was so reserved and so unassuming that it required an
intimate knowledge of her to fathom the depths of her acquirements and
experience.  "In her whole appearance and manner," we are told, "was a
staidness that seemed to indicate the practical housewife, with no
thought soaring beyond her domestic concerns."

This quiet, silent woman, travelled nearly 20,000 miles by land and
150,000 miles by sea; visiting regions which no European had previously
penetrated, or where the bravest men had found it difficult to make their
way; undergoing a variety of severe experiences; opening up numerous
novel and surprising scenes; and doing all this with the scantiest means,
and unassisted by powerful protection or royal patronage.  We doubt
whether the entire round of human enterprise presents anything more
remarkable or more admirable.  And it would be unfair to suppose that she
was actuated only by a feminine curiosity.  Her leading motive was a
thirst for knowledge.  At all events, if she had a passion for
travelling, it must be admitted that her qualifications as a traveller
were unusual.  Her observation was quick and accurate; her perseverance
was indefatigable; her courage never faltered; while she possessed a
peculiar talent for first awakening, and then profiting by, the interest
and sympathy of those with whom she came in contact.

To assert that her travels were wholly without scientific value would be
unjust; Humboldt and Carl Ritter were of a different opinion.  She made
her way into regions which had never before been trodden by European
foot; and the very fact of her sex was a frequent protection in her most
dangerous undertakings.  She was allowed to enter many places which would
have been rigorously barred against male travellers.  Consequently, her
communications have the merit of embodying many new facts in geography
and ethnology, and of correcting numerous popular errors.  Science
derived much benefit also from her valuable collections of plants,
animals, and minerals.

We conclude with the eulogium pronounced by an anonymous
biographer:--"Straightforward in character, and endued with high
principle, she possessed, moreover, a wisdom and a promptitude in action
seldom equalled among her sex.  Ida Pfeiffer may, indeed, justly be
classed among those women who richly compensate for the absence of
outward charms by their remarkable energy and the rare qualities of their

[Rio Janeiro: page29.jpg]


Prompted by a boundless thirst for knowledge and an insatiable desire to
see new places and new things, Madame Pfeiffer left Vienna on the 1st of
May 1846, and proceeded to Hamburg, where she embarked on board a Danish
brig, the _Caroline_, for Rio Janeiro.  As the voyage was divested of
romantic incidents, we shall land the reader without delay at the great
sea-port of the Brazilian empire.

The traveller's description of it is not very favourably coloured.  The
streets are dirty, and the houses, even the public buildings,
insignificant.  The Imperial Palace has not the slightest architectural
pretensions.  The finest square is the Largo do Roico, but this would not
be admitted into Belgravia.  It is impossible to speak in high terms even
of the churches, the interior of which is not less disappointing than
their exterior.  And as is the town, so are the inhabitants.  Negroes and
mulattoes do not make up attractive pictures.  Some of the Brazilian and
Portuguese women, however, have handsome and expressive countenances.

Most writers indulge in glowing descriptions of the scenery and climate
of the Brazils; of the cloudless, radiant sky, and the magic of the never-
ending spring.  Madame Ida Pfeiffer admits that the vegetation is richer,
and the soil more fruitful, and nature more exuberantly active than in
any other part of the world; but still, she says, it must not be thought
that all is good and beautiful, and that there is nothing to weaken the
powerful effect of the first impression.  The constant blaze of colour
after a while begins to weary; the eye wants rest; the monotony of the
verdure oppresses; and we begin to understand that the true loveliness of
spring is only rightly appreciated when it succeeds the harsher aspects
of winter.

[Invasion of Ants: page33.jpg]

Europeans suffer much from the climate.  The moisture is very
considerable, and renders the heat, which in the hot months rises to 99
degrees in the shade, and 122 degrees in the sun, more difficult to bear.
Fogs and mists are disagreeably common; and whole tracts of country are
often veiled by an impenetrable mist.

The Brazils suffer, too, from a plague of insects,--from mosquitoes,
ants, baraten, and sand-fleas; against the attacks of which the traveller
finds it difficult to defend himself.  The ants often appear in trains of
immeasurable length, and pursue their march over every obstacle that
stands in the way.  Madame Pfeiffer, during her residence at a friend's
house, beheld the advance of a swarm of this description.  It was really
interesting to see what a regular line they formed; nothing could make
them deviate from the direction on which they had first determined.
Madame Geiger, her friend, told her she was awakened one night by a
terrible itching: she sprang out of bed immediately, and lo, a swarm of
ants were passing over it!  There is no remedy for the infliction, except
to wait, with as much patience as one can muster, for the end of the
procession, which frequently lasts four to six hours.  It is possible, to
some extent, to protect provisions against their attacks, by placing the
legs of the tables in basins filled with water.  Clothes and linen are
enclosed in tightly-fitting tin canisters.

The worst plague of all, however, are the sand-fleas, which attach
themselves to one's toes, underneath the nail, or sometimes to the soles
of the feet.  When a person feels an irritation in these parts, he must
immediately look at the place; and if he discern a tiny black point,
surrounded by a small white ring, the former is the _chigoe_, or sand-
flea, and the latter the eggs which it has deposited in the flesh.  The
first thing to be done is to loosen the skin all round as far as the
white skin is visible; the whole deposit is then extracted, and a little
snuff strewn in the empty space.  The blacks perform this operation with
considerable skill.

Rich as the Brazils are in natural productions, they are wanting in many
articles which Europeans regard as of the first importance.  There are
sugar and coffee, it is true; but no corn, no potatoes, and none of our
delightful varieties of fruit.  The flour of manioc, obtained from the
cassava plant, which forms a staple portion of almost every dish,
supplies the place of bread, but is far from being so nutritious and
strengthening; while the different kinds of sweet-tasting roots are far
inferior in value to our potato.  The only fruit which Madame Pfeiffer
thought really excellent, were the oranges, bananas, and mangoes.  The
pine-apples are neither very sweet nor very fragrant.  And with regard to
two most important articles of consumption, the milk is very watery, and
the meat very dry.

* * * * *

Our traveller, during her sojourn at Rio Janeiro, made many interesting
excursions in the neighbourhood.  One was directed to Petropolis, a
colony founded by Germans in the heart of scenery of the most exquisite
character.  Accompanied by Count Berchthold, she sailed for Porto
d'Estrella in one of the regular coasting barks.  Their course carried
them across a bay remarkable for its picturesque views.  It lies calmly
in the embrace of richly-wooded hills, and is studded with islands, like
a silver shield with emerald bosses.  Some of these islands are
completely overgrown with palms, while others are masses of huge rock,
with a carpet of green turf.

Their bark was manned by four negroes and a white skipper.  At first they
ran merrily before a favourable wind, but in two hours the crew were
compelled to take to the oars, the method of using which was exceedingly
fatiguing.  At each dip of the oar, the rower mounts upon a bench in
front of him, and then, during the stroke, throws himself off again, with
his full force.  In two hours more they passed into the river Geromerino,
and made their way through a world of beautiful aquatic plants which
covered the tranquil waters in every direction.  The river banks are
flat, and fringed with underwood and young trees; the background is
formed by ranges of low green hills.

At Porto d'Estrella, Madame Pfeiffer and her companion landed, and
proceeded on foot towards Petropolis.  The first eight miles lay through
a broad valley, clothed with dense brambles and young trees, and shadowed
by lofty mountains.  The wild pine-apples by the roadside were very fair
to see; they were not quite ripe, but tinted of the most delicate red.
Beautiful humming-birds flashed through the air like "winged jewels," and
studded the dense foliage with points of many-coloured light.

After passing through the valley, they reached the Sierra, as the
Brazilians term the practicable mountain-summits.  It was three thousand
feet in height, and was ascended by a broad paved road, striking through
the depths of virgin forests.

Madame Pfeiffer had always imagined that the trees in virgin forests had
very thick and lofty trunks; but such was not the case here; probably
because the vegetation was too luxuriant, and the larger trunks have the
life crushed out of them by masses of smaller trees, bushes, creepers,
and parasites.

Frequent truppas, or teams of ten mules driven by a negro, as well as
numerous pedestrians, enlivened the path, and prevented our travellers
from observing that their steps were persistently followed up by a negro.
When, however, they arrived at a somewhat lonely spot, this negro
suddenly sprang forward, holding a lasso in one hand and a long knife in
the other, and with threatening gestures gave them to understand that he
intended to murder them, and then drag their dead bodies into the forest!

The travellers were without arms, having been told the road was perfectly
safe; their only weapons were their umbrellas, with the exception of a
clasp-knife.  This the brave woman drew from her pocket and opened, in
the calm resolution to sell her life as dearly as possible.  With their
umbrellas they parried their adversary's blows as long as they could; but
he caught hold of Madame Ida's, which snapped off, leaving only a piece
of the handle in her hand.  In the struggle, however, he dropped his
knife, which rolled a few steps away from him.  Madame Ida immediately
made a dash at it, and thought she had secured it; but, quicker in his
movements than she was, he thrust her away with his hands and feet, and
once more obtained possession of it.  Waving it furiously over his head,
he slashed her twice in the upper part of the left arm.  All seemed lost;
but in her extreme peril the brave lady bethought her of her own knife,
and struck at her adversary, wounding him in the hand.  At the same
moment Count Berchthold sprang forward, and while he seized the villain
with both arms, Madame Ida Pfeiffer recovered her feet.  All this took
place in less than a minute.  The negro was now roused into a condition
of maniacal fury; he gnashed his teeth like a wild beast, and brandished
his knife, while uttering fearful threats.  The issue of the contest
would probably have been disastrous, but for the opportune arrival of
assistance.  Hearing the tramp of horses' hoofs upon the road, the negro
desisted from his attack, and sprang into the forest.  A couple of
horsemen turning the corner of the road, our travellers hurried to meet
them; and having told their tale, which, indeed, their wounds told
eloquently enough, they leaped from their horses, and entered the wood in
pursuit.  A couple of negroes soon afterwards coming up, the villain was
captured, securely pinioned, and, as he would not walk, severely beaten,
until, as most of the blows fell upon his head, Madame Ida Pfeiffer
feared that the wretch's skull would be broken.  Nothing, however, would
induce him to walk, and the negroes were compelled to carry him bodily,
to the nearest house.

The colony of Petropolis proved to be situated in the depth of a virgin
forest, at an elevation of 2500 feet above the sea-level.  At the time of
Madame Pfeiffer's visit it was about fourteen months old, having been
founded for the special purpose of providing the capital with fruits and
vegetables which, in tropical climates, will thrive only in very elevated
situations.  It was, of course, in a very rudimentary condition, the mere
embryo of a town; but the country around it was very picturesque.

* * * * *

Madame Pfeiffer's second excursion was into the interior; and it opened
up to her a variety of interesting scenes,--as, for instance, a manioc-
fazenda, or plantation.  The manioc plant, it appears, throws off stalks
from four to six feet in height, with a number of large leaves at their
upper extremities.  The valuable portion of the plant is its bulbous
root, which frequently weighs two or three pounds, and supplies the place
of corn throughout the Brazils.  It is washed, peeled, and held against
the rough edge of a mill-stone, until it is completely ground into flour.
This flour is collected in a basket, steeped thoroughly in water, and
afterwards pressed quite dry by means of a press.  Lastly, it is
scattered upon large iron plates, and slowly dried over a gentle fire.  At
this stage it resembles a very coarse kind of flour, and is eaten in two
ways;--either mixed with hot water, until it forms a kind of porridge; or
baked in the form of coarse flour, which is handed round at table in
little baskets.

She also saw a coffee plantation.  The coffee-trees stand in rows upon
tolerably steep hillocks.  Their height ranges from six feet to twelve;
and they begin to bear sometimes as early as the second, but in no case
later than the third year.  They are productive for at least ten years.
The leaf is long and slightly serrated, and the flower white; while the
fruit hangs down like a cluster of grapes, and resembles a large cherry,
which varies from green to red, then to brown, and almost black.  While
red, the outer shell is soft; but eventually it becomes perfectly hard,
until it may be compared to a wooden capsule.  Blossoms and ripe fruit
are found on the same tree at the same time; so that a crop may be
gathered at almost any season of the year.  After the berries are
plucked, they are spread out in spacious areas enclosed by a wall about
twelve feet high, with small drains to carry off the rain-water.  Here
the coffee is allowed to dry in the heat of the sun, and it is then
shaken into large stone mortars, where it is lightly pounded with wooden
hammers, set in motion by water power.  The whole mass falls into wooden
boxes attached to a long table, at which sit the negro workers, who
separate the coffee from the husk, and put it into flat copper pans.  In
these it is carefully and skilfully turned about over a slow fire, until
desiccation is complete.  On the whole, says Madame Ida Pfeiffer, the
preparation of the coffee is not laborious, and the harvest much more
easily gathered than one of corn.  The negro, while plucking the coffee,
stands erect, and the tree protects him from the heat of the sun.  His
only danger is from poisonous snakes, and a sting from one of these is a
very rare occurrence.

Another novelty which much impressed our traveller was the sight of the
frequent burning forests.  These are set on fire in order to clear the
ground for cultivation.  In most cases she viewed the tremendous
spectacle from a distance; but one day she realized it in all its
details, as her road lay between a wood in flames on the one hand, and
the brushwood, crackling and seething, on the other.  The space between
the double rows of fire did not exceed fifty paces in breadth, and was
completely buried in smoke.  The spluttering and hissing of the fire was
distinctly audible, and through the dense mass of vapour shot upward
thick shafts and tongues of flame, while now and then the large trees
crashed to the ground, with loud reports, like those of artillery.

[A Forest of Fire: page45.jpg]

"On seeing my guide enter this fiery gulf," says our traveller, "I was, I
must confess, rather frightened;" and her dread was surely very
excusable.  She plucked up courage, however, when she saw that her guide
pushed forward.  On the threshold, so to speak, sat two negroes, to
indicate the safe, and, in truth, the only path.  The guide, in obedience
to their warning, spurred on his mule, and, followed by Madame Pfeiffer,
galloped at full speed across the desert of fire.  Flames to the right of
them, flames to the left of them, onward they dashed, and happily
effected the passage in safety.

* * * * *

Madame Pfeiffer gives a bright description of the beauties of the road as
she pushed further into the interior.  Crossing a small waterfall, she
struck right into the depths of the virgin forest, pursuing a narrow path
which ran along the bank of a little stream.  Palms, with their lordly
crests, soared high above the other trees, which, intertwined by
inextricable boughs, formed the loveliest fairy-bowers imaginable; every
stem, every branch was luxuriously festooned with fantastic orchids;
while creepers and ferns glided up the tall, smooth trunks, mingling with
the boughs, and hanging in every direction waving curtains of flowers, of
the sweetest odours and the most vivid colours.  With shrill twittering
cry and rapid wings flashed the humming-bird from bough to bough; the
pepper-pecker, with glowing plumage, soared timorously upwards; while
parrots and paroquets, and innumerable birds of beautiful appearance,
added, by their cries and motions, to the liveliness of the scene.

Madame Pfeiffer visited an Indian village.  It lay deep in the forest
recesses, and consisted of five huts, or rather sheds, formed of leaves,
and measuring eighteen feet by twelve feet, erected under lofty trees.
The frames were formed of four poles stuck in the ground, with another
reaching across; and the roof was wrought of palm-leaves, by no means
impervious to the rain.  The sides were open.  In the interior hung a
hammock or two; and on the earth a few roots, Indian corn, and bananas
were roasting under a heap of ashes.  In one corner, under the roof, a
small supply of provisions was hoarded up, and round about were scattered
a few gourds; these are used by the Puris as substitutes for "crockery."
Their weapons, the long bows and arrows, leaned against the wall.

Madame Pfeiffer describes the Puri Indians as even uglier than the
negroes.  Their complexion is a light bronze; they are stunted in
stature, well-knit, and about the middle size.  Their features are broad
and somewhat compressed; their hair is thick, long, and of a coal-black
colour.  The men wear it hanging straight down; the women, in plaits
fastened to the back of the head, and sometimes falling loosely down
about their persons.  Their forehead is broad and low, and the nose
somewhat flattened; the eyes are long and narrow, almost like those of
the Chinese; and the mouth is large, with rather thick lips.  To enhance
the effect of these various charms, the countenance bears a peculiar look
of stupidity, which may be attributed perhaps to the way in which the
mouth is kept always open.  Women, as well as males, are generally
tattooed of a reddish or blue colour, round the mouth, moustachio-wise.
Both sexes are addicted to smoking, and look upon brandy as the _summum
bonum_ of human life.

The Indians, ugly as they were, gave Madame Pfeiffer a hospitable
welcome.  After an evening meal, in which roasted monkey and parrot were
the chief dishes, they performed one of their characteristic dances.  A
quantity of wood was heaped up into a funeral pile, and set on fire; the
men then danced around it in a ring.  They threw their bodies from side
to side with much awkwardness, but always moving the head forward in a
straight line.  The women then joined in, forming at a short distance
behind the men, and imitating all their movements.  A horrible noise
arose; this was intended for a song, the singers at the same time
distorting their features frightfully.  One of them performed on a kind
of stringed instrument, made out of the stem of a cabbage-palm, and about
two feet, or two feet and a half, in length.  A hole was cut in it
slantwise, and six fibres of the stem were kept up in an elevated
position at each end, by means of a small bridge.  The fingers played
upon these as upon a guitar, drawing forth a very low, harsh, and
disagreeable tone.  The dance, thus pleasingly accompanied, was called
the Dance of Peace and Joy.

A wilder measure was next undertaken by the men alone.  They first
equipped themselves with bows, arrows, and stout clubs; then they formed
a circle, indulged in the most rapid and fantastic movements, and
brandished their clubs as if dealing death to a hundred foes.  Suddenly
they broke their ranks, strung their bows, placed their arrows ready, and
represented all the evolutions of shooting after a flying foe, giving
utterance to the most piercing cries, which resounded through the forest-
glades.  Madame Pfeiffer, believing that she was really surrounded by
enemies, started up in terror, and was heartily glad when the dance

[Cape Horn: page51.jpg]

From Rio Janeiro Madame Pfeiffer sailed in an English ship, the _John
Renwick_, on the 9th of December, bound for Valparaiso in Chili.  She
kept to the south, touching at Santos, where the voyagers celebrated New-
Year's Day, and reaching the mouth of the Rio Plata on the 11th of
January.  In these latitudes the Southern Cross is the most conspicuous
object in the heavens.  It consists of four stars of much brilliancy,
arranged in two diagonal rows.  Late in the month the voyagers sighted
the sterile shores and barren mountains of Patagonia, and next the
volcanic rocks, wave-worn and wind-worn, of Tierra del Fuego.  Through
the Strait of Le Maire, which separates the latter from Staten Island,
they sailed onward to the extreme southern point of the American
continent, the famous promontory of Cape Horn.  It is the termination of
the mighty mountain-chain of the Andes, and is formed of a mass of
colossal basaltic rocks, thrown together in wild disorder, as by a
Titan's hand.

Rounding Cape Horn they encountered a violent gale, which lasted for
several days; and soon discovered, like other voyagers, how little the
great southern ocean deserves its name of the Pacific.  But they reached
Valparaiso in safety.  Its appearance, however, did not very favourably
impress Madame Ida Pfeiffer.  It is laid out in two long streets at the
foot of dreary hills, these hills consisting of a pile of rocks covered
with thin strata of earth and sand.  Some of them are covered with
houses; on one of them is the churchyard; the others are bare and
solitary.  The two chief streets are broad, and much frequented,
especially by horsemen; for every Chilian is born a horseman, and is
usually mounted on a steed worthy of a good rider.

Valparaiso houses are European in style, with flat Italian roofs.  Broad
steps lead up into a lofty entrance-hall on the first floor, from which,
through large glass doors, the visitor passes into the drawing-room and
other apartments.  The drawing-room is the pride not only of every
European settler, but of every native Chilian.  The foot sinks into heavy
and costly carpets; the walls are emblazoned with rich tapestry; the
furniture and mirrors are of European make, and sumptuous in the extreme;
and every table presents the evidence of refined taste in gorgeous
albums, adorned with the choicest engravings.

As to the lower classes of the population, if we would obtain an idea of
their manners and customs, we must stroll on a fete-day into one of their

In one corner, on the ground, crackles a tremendous fire, surrounded by
innumerable pots and pans, between which are wooden spits with beef and
pork, simmering and roasting with appetizing savour.  A rude wooden frame-
work, with a long broad plank on it, occupies the middle of the room, and
is covered with a cloth, the original colour of which it is impossible to
determine.  This is the guest-table.  The dinner is served up in the most
primitive fashion imaginable, all the viands being heaped up in one dish;
beans and rice, potatoes and roast beef, onions and paradise apples,
forming a curious medley.  The appetites of the guests are keen, and no
time is wasted in talking.  At the end of the repast, a goblet of wine or
water passes from hand to hand; after which every tongue is loosened.  In
the evening a guitar strikes up, and dancing becomes general.

A singular custom prevails among the Chilians on the death of a little
child.  This incident, in most European families, is attended by much
sorrow: the Chilian parents make it the occasion of a great festival.  The
deceased _angelito_, or little angel, is adorned in various ways.  Its
eyes, instead of being closed, are opened as wide as possible; its cheeks
are painted red; then the cold rigid corpse is dressed in the finest
clothes, crowned with flowers, and set up in a little chair in a flower-
garlanded niche.  The relatives and neighbours flock in, to wish the
parents joy on the possession of such an angel; and, during the first
night, they all indulge in the most extravagant dances, and feast with
sounds of wildest merriment before the _angelito_.

Madame Pfeiffer heard from a merchant the following story:--A
grave-digger, on his way to the churchyard with one of these deceased
angelitos, tarried at a tavern to refresh himself with a cup of wine.  The
landlord inquired what he was carrying under his cloak, and on learning
that it was an angelito, offered him a shilling for it.  A bargain was
soon struck; the landlord quickly fitted up a flowery niche in the
drinking-saloon, and then took care that his neighbours should know what
a treasure he had acquired.  They came; they admired the angelito; they
drank copiously in its honour.  But the parents hearing of the affair,
interfered, carried away their dead child, and summoned the landlord
before the magistrate.  The latter gravely heard the pleadings on both
sides, and as no such case was mentioned in the statute-book, arranged it
amicably, to the satisfaction of both parties.

[Scene in Tahiti: page57.jpg]

* * * * *

Wearying of Valparaiso, our restless and adventurous traveller, who was
bent upon accomplishing a voyage round the world, took her passage for
China in the Dutch barque _Lootpurt_, Captain Van Wyk Jurianse.

They sailed from Valparaiso on the 18th of March, and on the 26th of
April came in sight of that gem of the South Seas, Tahiti, the Otaheite
of Captain Cook, and the largest and most beautiful of the Society group.
From the days of Bougainville, its discoverer, down to those of "the Earl
and the Doctor," who recently published a narrative of their visit, it
has been the theme of admiration for the charms of its scenery.  It lifts
its lofty summit out of a wealth of luxuriant vegetation, which descends
to the very margin of a sea as blue as the sky above it.  Cool green
valleys penetrate into its mountain-recesses, and their slopes are loaded
with groves of bread-fruit and cocoa-nut trees.  The inhabitants,
physically speaking, are not unworthy of their island-Eden; they are a
tall, robust, and well-knit race, and would be comely but for their
custom of flattening the nose as soon as the child is born.  They have
fine dark eyes, and thick jet-black hair.  The colour of their skin is a
copper-brown.  Both sexes are tattooed, generally from the hips half down
the legs, and frequently over the hands, feet, and other parts of the
body; the devices being often very fanciful in design, and always
artistically executed.

The women of Tahiti have always been notorious for their immodesty, and
the island, notwithstanding the labours of zealous missionaries,
continues to be the Polynesian Paphos.  The French protectorate from
which it suffers has not raised the moral standard of the population.

Madame Pfeiffer undertook an excursion to the Lake Vaihiria, assuming for
the nonce a semi-masculine attire, which any less strong-minded and
adventurous woman would probably have refused.  She wore, she tells us,
strong men's shoes, trousers, and a blouse, which was fastened high up
about the hips.  Thus equipped, she started off with her guide, crossing
about two-and-thirty brooks before they entered the ravines leading into
the interior of the island.

She noticed that as they advanced the fruit-trees disappeared, and
instead, the slopes were covered with plantains, taros, and marantas; the
last attaining a height of twelve feet, and growing so luxuriantly that
it is with some difficulty the traveller makes his way through the
tangle.  The taro, which is carefully cultivated, averages two or three
feet high, and has fine large leaves and tubers like those of the potato,
but not so good when roasted.  There is much gracefulness in the
appearance of the plantain, or banana, which varies from twelve to
fifteen feet in height, and has leaves like those of the palm, but a
brittle reed-like stem, about eight inches in diameter.  It attains its
full growth in the first year, bears fruit in the second, and then dies.
Thus its life is as brief as it is useful.

Through one bright mountain-stream, which swept along the ravine over a
stony bed, breaking up into eddies and tiny whirlpools, and in some
places attaining a depth of three feet, Madame Pfeiffer and her guide
waded or half-swam two-and-sixty times.  The resolute spirit of the
woman, however, never failed her; and though the path at every step
became more difficult and dangerous, she persisted in pressing forward.
She clambered over rocks and stones; she forced her way through inter-
tangled bushes; and though severely wounded in her hands and feet, never
hesitated for a moment.  In two places the ravine narrowed so
considerably that the entire space was filled by the brawling torrent.  It
was here that the islanders, during their struggle against French
occupation, threw up stone walls five feet in height, as a barrier
against the enemy.

In eight hours the bold traveller and her guide had walked, waded, and
clambered fully eighteen miles, and had attained an elevation of eighteen
hundred feet.  The lake itself was not visible until they stood upon its
shores, as it lies bosomed in a deep hollow, among lofty and precipitous
mountains which descend with startling abruptness to the very brink of
its dark, deep waters.  To cross the lake it is necessary to put one's
trust in one's swimming powers, or in a curiously frail kind of boat,
which the natives prepare with equal rapidity and skill.  Madame
Pfeiffer, however, was nothing if not adventurous.  Whatever there was to
be dared, she immediately dared.  At her request, the guide made the
usual essay at boat-building.  He tore off some plantain branches, bound
them together with long tough grass, laid a few leaves upon them,
launched them in the water, and requested Madame Pfeiffer to embark.  She
confesses to having felt a little hesitation, but without saying a word,
she stepped on board.  Then her guide took to the water like a duck, and
pushed her forward.  The passage across the lake, and back again, was in
this way accomplished without any accident.

Having satiated herself with admiring the lake and its surrounding
scenery, she retired to a little nook roofed over with leaves, where her
guide quickly kindled a good fire in the usual Indian fashion.  He cut a
small piece of wood to a fine point, and then selecting a second piece,
grooved it with a narrow and not very deep furrow.  In this he rubbed the
pointed stick until the fragments detached during the process began to
smoke.  These he flung into a heap of dry leaves and grass previously
collected, and swung the whole several times round in the air, until it
broke out into flames.  The entire process did not occupy above two
minutes.  Gathering a few plantains, these were roasted for supper; after
which Madame Pfeiffer withdrew to her solitary couch of dry leaves, to
sleep as best she might.  It is impossible not to wonder at the
marvellous physical capability of this adventurous woman, no less than at
her courage, her resolution, and her perseverance.  How many of her sex
could bear for a week the fatigue and exposure to which she subjected
herself year after year?

The next morning she accomplished the return journey in safety.

* * * * *

[Hong-Kong: page65.jpg]

On the 17th of May she left Tahiti, the Dutch vessel in which she had
embarked being bound via the Philippines.  They passed this rich and
radiant group of islands on the 1st of July, and the next day entered the
dangerous China Sea.  A few days afterwards they reached Hong-Kong, which
has been an English settlement since 1842.  Here Madame Pfeiffer made no
long stay, for she desired to see China and the Chinese with as little
intermixture of the European element as possible.  So she ascended the
Pearl river, the banks of which are covered with immense plantations of
rice, and studded with quaint little country-houses, of the genuine
Chinese pattern, with sloping, pointed roofs, and mosaics of variously
coloured tiles, to Canton, one of the great commercial centres of the
Flowery Land.  As she approached she surveyed with wonder the animated
scene before her.  The river was crowded with ships and inhabited boats.
Junks there were, almost as large as the old Spanish galleons, with poops
impending far over the water, and covered in with a roof, like a house.
Men-of-war there were, flat, broad, and long, mounted with twenty or
thirty guns, and adorned in the usual Chinese fashion, with two large
painted eyes at the prow, that they may be the better able to find their
way.  Mandarins' boats she saw, with doors, and sides, and windows gaily
painted, with carved galleries, and tiny silken flags fluttering from
every point.  And flower-boats she also saw; their upper galleries decked
with flowers, garlands, and arabesques, as if these were barks fitted out
for the service of Titania and her fairy company.  The interior is
divided into one large apartment and a few cabinets, which are lighted by
windows of fantastic design.  Mirrors and silk hangings embellish the
walls, while the enchanting scene is completed with an ample garniture of
glass chandeliers and coloured paper lanterns, interspersed with lovely
little baskets of fresh flowers.

It is not necessary to attempt a description of Canton, with its pagodas,
houses, shops, and European factories.  Let us direct our attention to
the manners, customs, and peculiarities of its inhabitants.  As to dress
and appearance, the costume of both sexes, among the lower orders,
consists of full trousers and long upper garments, and is chiefly
remarkable for its "excessive filth."  Baths and ablutions have no charm
for the Chinaman; he scorns to wear a shirt, and he holds by his trousers
until they drop from his body.  The men's upper garments reach a little
below the knee, the women's about half way down the calf.  They are made
of nankeen, or dark blue, brown, or black silk.  During the cold season
both men and women wear one summer garment over the other, keeping the
whole together with a girdle; in the extreme heat, however, they suffer
them to float as free as "Nora Creina's robes" in Moore's pretty ballad.

The men keep their heads shaved, with the exception of a small patch at
the back, where the hair is carefully cultivated and plaited into a cue.
The thicker and longer this cue is, the prouder is its owner; false hair
and black ribbon, therefore, are all deftly worked into it, with the
result of forming an appendage which often reaches down to the ankles!
While at work the owner twists it round his neck, but on entering a room
he lets it down again, as it would be contrary to all the laws of
etiquette and courtesy for a person to make his appearance with his cue
twisted up.  The women comb their hair entirely back from their forehead,
and fasten it to the head in the most artistic plaits.  The process
occupies a considerable time, but when the hair is once dressed it is not
retouched for a whole week.  Both men and women frequently go about with
heads uncovered; but sometimes they wear hats of thin bamboo, three feet
in diameter.  These are not only an adequate protection against sun and
rain, but are exceedingly durable.

Large numbers of Chinese live a kind of aquatic life, and make their home
on board a river-boat.  The husband goes on shore to his work, and his
wife meantime adds to the income of the family by ferrying persons from
bank to bank, or letting out the boat to pleasure parties--always
reserving one half of its accommodation for herself and household.  Room
is not very abundant, as the whole boat does not exceed twenty-five feet
in length; but everywhere the greatest order and cleanliness are
apparent, each separate plank being enthusiastically scrubbed and washed
every morning.  It is worth notice how each inch of space is turned to
the best advantage, room being made even for the _lares_ and _penates_.
All the washing and cooking are done during the day; yet the pleasure
party is never in the least degree inconvenienced.

Of course our traveller was attracted by the diminutiveness of the feet
of the Chinese women, and she had an opportunity of examining one of
these tiny monstrosities _in natura_.  Four of the toes were bent under
the sole of the foot, to which they were firmly pressed, and
simultaneously with which they appeared to have grown, if growth it can
be called; the great toe alone remained in its natural state.  The fore
part of the foot had been so swathed and compressed by tight bandages,
that, instead of expanding in length and breadth, it had shot upwards, so
as to form a large lump at the instep, where it became, so to speak, a
portion of the leg; the lower part of the foot was scarcely five inches
long, and an inch and a half broad.  The feet are always encased in white
linen or silk, with silk bandages over all, and are then stuffed into
pretty little shoes with very high heels.  "To my astonishment," says
Madame Pfeiffer, "these deformed beings tripped about, as if in defiance
of us broad-footed creatures, with tolerable ease, the only difference in
their gait being that they waddled like geese; they even ran up and down
stairs without a stick."  She adds, that the value of a bride is reckoned
by the smallness of her feet.

It was characteristic of Madame Pfeiffer that she found means to see much
which no European woman had ever seen before.  She obtained access even
to a Buddhist temple,--that of Houan, reputed to be one of the finest in
China.  The sacred enclosure is surrounded by a high wall.  The visitor
enters first a large outer court, at the extremity of which a huge
gateway opens upon an inner court.  Beneath the arch stand two statues of
war-gods, each eighteen feet high, with terribly distorted faces and the
most menacing attitudes; these are supposed to prevent the approach of
evil genii.  A second portal, of similar construction, under which are
placed the "four heavenly kings," leads to a third court, surrounding the
principal temple, a structure one hundred feet in length, and of equal
breadth.  On rows of wooden pillars is supported a flat roof, from which
glass lamps, lustres, artificial flowers, and brightly-coloured ribbons
hang suspended.  All about the area are scattered statues, altars, vases
of flowers, censers, candelabra, and other accessories.

But the eye is chiefly attracted by the three altars in the foreground,
with the three coloured statues behind them, of Buddha, seated, as
emblematic of Past, Present, and Future.  On the occasion of Madame
Pfeiffer's visit a service was being performed,--a funeral ceremony in
honour of a mandarin's deceased wife, and at his expense.  Before the
altars on the right and left stood several priests, in garments strangely
resembling, as did the ceremonial observances, those of the Roman Church.
The mandarin himself, attended by two servants armed with large fans,
prayed before the central altar.  He kissed the ground repeatedly, and
each time he did so three sweet-scented wax-tapers were put into his
hand.  After raising them in the air, he handed them to the priests, who
then stationed them, unlighted, before the Buddha images.  Meantime, the
temple resounded with the blended strains of three musicians, one of whom
struck a metal ball, the other scraped a stringed instrument, and the
third educed shrill notes from a kind of flute.

This principal temple is surrounded by numerous smaller sanctuaries, each
decorated with images of deities, rudely wrought, but glowing with gilt
and vivid colours.  Special reverence seems to be accorded to Kwanfootse,
a demigod of War, and the four-and-twenty gods of Mercy.  These latter
have four, six, and even eight arms.  In the Temple of Mercy Madame
Pfeiffer met with an unpleasant adventure.  A Bonze had offered her and
her companions a couple of wax tapers to light in honour of the god.  They
were on the point of complying, as a matter of civility, when an American
missionary, who made one of the party, snatched them roughly from their
hands, and gave them back to the priests, protesting that such compliance
was idolatrous.  The Bonze, in high indignation, closed the door, and
summoned his brethren, who hurried in from all sides, and jostled and
pushed and pressed, while using the most violent language.  It was not
without difficulty they forced their way through the crowd, and escaped
from the temple.

The guide next led the curiosity-hunters to the so-called House of the
Sacred Swine.  The greatest attention is paid to these porcine treasures,
and they reside in a spacious stone hall; but not the less is the
atmosphere heavy with odours that are not exactly those of Araby the
Blest.  Throughout their sluggish existence the swine are carefully fed
and cherished, and no cruel knife cuts short the thread of their destiny.
At the time of Madame Pfeiffer's visit only one pair were enjoying their
_otium cum dignitate_, and the number rarely exceeds three pairs.

Peeping into the interior of a Bonze's house, the company came upon an
opium-smoker.  He lay stretched upon a mat, with small tea-cups beside
him, some fruit, a tiny lamp, and several miniature-headed pipes, from
one of which he was inhaling the intoxicating smoke.  It is said that
some of the Chinese opium-smokers consume as much as twenty or thirty
grains daily.  This poor wretch was not wholly unconscious of the
presence of visitors; and, laying by his pipe, he raised himself from the
ground, and dragged his body to a chair.  With deadly pale face and
fixed, staring eyes, he presented a miserable appearance.

* * * * *

Our traveller also visited a pagoda,--the Half-Way Pagoda; so called by
the English because it is situated half-way between Canton and Whampoa.
On a small hillock, in the midst of vast tracts of rice, it raises its
nine stories to a height of one hundred and seventy feet.  Though
formerly of great repute, it is now deserted.  The interior has been
stripped of statues and ornaments, and the floors having been removed,
the visitor sees to the very summit.  Externally, each stage is indicated
by a small balcony without railing, access being obtained by steep and
narrow flights of stairs.  A picturesque effect is produced by these
projections, as everybody knows who has examined a "willow-pattern"
plate.  They are built of coloured bricks, which are laid in rows, with
their points jutting obliquely outwards, and faced with variegated tiles.

Even more interesting was Madame Pfeiffer's peep into the "domestic
interior" of Mandarin Howqua.

The house was of large size, but only one story high, with wide and
splendid terraces.  The windows looked into the inner courts.  At the
entrance were two painted images of gods to ward off evil spirits, like
the horse-shoe formerly suspended to the cottages and barns of our
English peasants.

The front part was divided into several reception rooms, without front
walls; and adjoining these, bloomed bright and gaily-ordered parterres of
flowers and shrubs.  The magnificent terraces above also bloomed with
blossom, and commanded a lively view of the crowded river, and of the
fine scenery that spreads around Canton.  Elegant little cabinets
surrounded these rooms, being separated by thin partitions, through which
the eye could easily penetrate, and frequently embellished with gay and
skilfully-executed paintings.  The material used was chiefly bamboo,
which was as delicate as gauze, and copiously decorated with painted
flowers or beautifully-written proverbs.

The chairs and sofas were numerous, and of really artistic workmanship.
Some of the arm-chairs were cunningly wrought out of a single piece of
wood.  The seats of others were beautiful marble slabs; of others, again,
fine coloured tiles or porcelain.  Articles of European manufacture, such
as handsome mirrors, clocks, vases, and tables of Florentine mosaic or
variegated marble, were plentiful.  There was also a remarkable
collection of lamps and lanterns pendent from the ceilings,
consisting--these lamps and lanterns--of glass, transparent horn, and
coloured gauze or paper, ornamented with glass beads, fringe, and
tassels.  And as the walls were also largely supplied with lamps, the
apartments, when lighted up, assumed a truly fairy-like character.

[Chinese House and Garden: page77.jpg]

The mandarin's pleasure-garden stretched along the river-side.  Its
cultivation was perfect, but no taste was shown in its arrangement.
Wherever the visitor turned, kiosks, summer-houses, and bridges
confronted her.  Every path and open spot were lined with large and small
flower-pots, in which grew flowers and liliputian fruit-trees of all
kinds.  In the art of dwarfing trees, if such distortion and crippling of
Nature deserves to be called an art, the Chinese are certainly most
accomplished experts; but what can we think of the taste, or want of
taste, which prefers pigmies three feet high to the lofty and
far-shadowing trees which embellish our English parks and gardens?  Why
should a civilized people put Nature in fetters, and delight in checking
her growth, in limiting her spontaneous energies?

Here are some particulars about the tea-plant:--In the plantations around
Canton, it is not allowed to grow higher than six feet, and is
consequently cut at intervals.  Its leaves are considered good from the
third to the eighth year; and the plant is then cut down, in order that
it may throw off new shoots, or else it is rooted out.  Three gatherings
take place in the year; the first in March, the second in April, and the
third, which lasts for three months, in May.  So fine and delicate are
the leaves of the first gathering, that they might easily be mistaken for
the blossom; which undoubtedly has originated the error that the
so-called "bloom or imperial tea" consists of the flowers and not of the
leaves of the plant.

When gathered, the leaves are thrown for a few seconds into boiling
water, and then placed on flat iron plates, inserted slantwise in stone-
work.  While roasting over a gentle fire, they are continually stirred.
As soon as they begin to curl a little, they are scattered over large
planks, and each single leaf is rolled together; a process so rapidly
accomplished that it requires a person's sole attention to detect that
only one leaf is rolled up at a time.  This completed, all the leaves are
again placed in the pans.  Black tea takes some time to roast; and the
green is frequently coloured with Prussian blue, an exceedingly small
quantity of which is added during the second roasting.  Last of all, the
tea is once more shaken out upon the boards, and submitted to a careful
inspection, the leaves that are not entirely closed being rolled over

[Singapore: page81.jpg]

Madame Pfeiffer had an opportunity of tasting a cup of tea made after the
most approved Chinese fashion.  A small quantity was dropped into a
delicate porcelain cup, boiling water was poured upon it, and a tightly-
fitting cover then adjusted to the cup.  After a few seconds, the
infusion was ready for drinking--neither milk, cream, nor sugar being

* * * * *

But we must tarry no longer within the borders of the Celestial Empire.
We have to follow Madame Pfeiffer in her wanderings over many seas and
through many countries,--for in the course of her adventurous career she
saw more of "men and cities" than even the much-travelling Ulysses,--and
our limits confine us to brief notices of the most remarkable places she

From China she sailed for the East Indies.

On her way she "looked in" at Singapore, a British settlement, where
gather the traders of many Asiatic nations.  The scenery which stretches
around it is of a rich and agreeable character, and the island on which
it is situated excels in fertility of vegetation.  A saunter among the
plantations of cloves and nutmegs is very pleasant, the air breathing a
peculiar balsamic fragrance.  The nutmeg-tree is about the size of a good
apricot-bush, and from top to bottom is a mass of foliage; the branches
grow very low down the stem, and the leaves glitter as if they were
varnished.  The fruit closely resembles an apricot, covered with spots of
yellowish-brown.  It bursts on attaining maturity, and then reveals a
round kernel, of the size of a nut, embedded in a network, sold as mace,
of a beautiful red colour.  This network of fibrous material is carefully
separated from the nutmeg, and dried in the shade,--being frequently
sprinkled with sea-water, to prevent the colour deepening into black,
instead of changing into yellow.  The nutmeg is likewise dried, exposed a
while to the action of smoke, and dipped several times into sea-water
containing a weak solution of lime, to prevent it from turning mouldy.

The clove-tree is smaller, and less copiously provided with foliage, than
the nutmeg-tree.  The buds form what are known to us as cloves; and, of
course, are gathered before they have had time to blossom.  The areca-nut
palm is also plentiful in Singapore.  It grows in clusters of from ten to
twenty nuts; is somewhat larger than a nutmeg, and of a bright colour,
almost resembling gilt.

The Chinese and the natives of the Eastern Islands chew it with betel-
leaf and calcined mussel-shells.  With a small quantity of the latter
they strew the leaf; a very small piece of the nut is added, and the
whole is made into a little packet, which they put into their mouth.

Madame Pfeiffer also inspected a sago manufactory.  The unprepared
farina, which is the pith of the sago palm, is imported from a
neighbouring island.  The tree is cut down when it is seven years old,
split from top to bottom, and the pith extracted from it.  Then it is
freed from the fibres, pressed in large frames, and dried at the fire or
in the sun.  At Singapore this pith or meal, which is of a yellowish
tint, is steeped in water for several days until completely blanched; it
is then once more dried by the fire or in the sun, passed under a large
wooden roller, and through a hair sieve.  When it has become white and
fine, it is placed in a kind of linen winnowing-fan, which is kept damp
in a peculiar manner.  The workman takes a mouthful of water, and "spirts
it out like fine rain over the fan;" the meal being alternately shaken
and moistened until it assumes the character of small globules.  These
are stirred round in large flat pans, until they are dried.  Then they
are passed through a second sieve, not quite so fine as the first, and
the larger globules are separated from the rest.

Pepper and gambir plantations are also among the "sights" of Singapore.
The pepper-tree is a small bush-like plant, which, when carefully
trained, springs to a height of eighteen feet.  The pepper-pods grow in
small clusters, and change from red to green, and then to black.  White
pepper is nothing more than the black pepper blanched by frequent
steeping in sea-water.  The gambir does not grow taller than eight feet.
The leaves, which are used in dyeing, are first stripped from the stalk,
and then boiled down in large coppers.  The thick juice is placed in
white wooden vessels, and dried in the sun; then it is divided into slips
about three inches long, and packed up.

Singapore is an island of _fruits_.  It boasts of the delicious
mangosteen, which almost melts in the mouth, and delights the palate with
its exquisite flavour.  It boasts, too, of splendid pine-apples,
frequently weighing as much as four pounds.  Also of sauersop, as big as
the biggest pine-apples, green outside, and white or pale yellow inside,
with a taste and fragrance like that of strawberries.  Nor must the
gumaloh be forgotten: it is divided, like the orange, into sections, but
is five times as large, and not quite so sweet.  Finally, we must refer
to the custard-apple, which is very white (though full of black pips),
very soft, and very enticing in flavour.

* * * * *

From Singapore we follow Madame Pfeiffer to Point de Galle, in Ceylon.
The appearance of this fair and fertile island from the sea is the theme
of every traveller's praise.  "It was one of the most magnificent sights
I ever beheld," says Madame Pfeiffer, "to see the island soaring
gradually from the sea, with its mountain-ranges growing more and more
distinctly defined, their summits lighted by the sun, while the dense
cocoa-groves, and hills and plains, lay shrouded in shadow."  Above the
whole towers the purple mass of Adam's Peak; and the eye rests in every
direction on the most luxuriant foliage, with verdurous glades, and
slopes carpeted with flowers.

Point de Galle presents a curious mixture of races.  Cingalese,
Kanditons, Tamils from South India, and Moormen, with crimson caftans and
shaven crowns, form the bulk of the crowds that throng its streets; but,
besides these, there are Portuguese, Chinese, Jews, Arabs, Parsees,
Englishmen, Malays, Dutchmen, and half-caste burghers, and now and then a
veiled Arabian woman, or a Veddah, one of the aboriginal inhabitants of
the island.  Sir Charles Dilke speaks of "silent crowds of tall and
graceful girls, wearing, as we at first supposed, white petticoats and
bodices; their hair carried off the face with a decorated hoop, and
caught at the back by a high tortoise-shell comb.  As they drew near,
moustaches began to show, and I saw that they were men; whilst walking
with them were women naked to the waist, combless, and far more rough and
'manly' than their husbands.  Petticoat and chignon are male institutions
in Ceylon."

* * * * *

Madame Pfeiffer, with unresting energy, visited Colombo and Kandy, the
chief towns of the island.  At the latter she obtained admission to the
Temple of Dagoba, which contains a precious relic of the god
Buddha--namely, one of his teeth.  The sanctuary containing this sacred
treasure is a small chamber or cell, less than twenty feet in breadth.  It
is enveloped in darkness, as there are no windows; and the door is
curtained inside, for the more effectual exclusion of the light.  Rich
tapestry covers the walls and ceiling.  But the chief object is the
altar, which glitters with plates of silver, and is incrusted about the
edges with precious stones.  Upon it stands a bell-shaped case about
three feet in height, and three feet in diameter at the base.  It is made
of silver, elaborately gilt, and decorated with a number of costly
jewels.  A peacock in the middle blazes with jewels.  Six smaller cases,
reputed to be of gold, are enclosed within the large one, and under the
last is the tooth of Buddha.  As it is as large as that of a great bull,
one trembles to think how monstrous must have been the jaw of the Indian

[Native boat, Madras: page89.jpg]

* * * * *

Madame Ida Pfeiffer arrived at Madras on the 30th of October.  She
describes the process of disembarkation; but as her details are few, and
refer to a comparatively distant date, we propose to rely on the
narrative of a recent traveller.

From time immemorial, he says, the system of landing and embarking
passengers and cargo has been by means of native Massulah boats,
constructed of mango wood, calked with straw, and sewn together with
cocoa-nut fibre.  The ships drop their anchors in the roads half a mile
from the shore; the Massulah boat pulls off alongside, receives its cargo
at the gangway, and is then beached through the surf.  It is no uncommon
circumstance for the boat alongside, assisted by the rolling of the ship,
to rise and fall twenty-five feet relatively to the height of the ship's
deck at each undulation.  Ladies are lashed into chairs, and from the
ship's yard-arm lowered into the boat.  In 1860 some improvement was
effected by the construction of an iron pier, about nine hundred feet in
length, and twenty feet in height.  But a spacious and sheltered harbour
is now being provided, by means of piers running out from the shore five
hundred yards north and south respectively of the screw pile pier now
existing, so as to enclose a rectangular area of one thousand yards in
length by eight hundred and thirty yards in width, or one hundred and
seventy acres.  The foundation-stone was laid by the Prince of Wales in
the course of his Indian progress in 1876.

Madame Pfeiffer stayed but a few hours at Madras, and her notes
respecting it are of no value.  We will proceed at once to Calcutta, the
"City of Palaces," as it has been called, and the capital of our Indian

She speaks of the Viceroy's Palace as a magnificent building, and one
that would ornament any city in the world.  Other noticeable edifices are
the Town Hall, the Hospital, the Museum, Ochterlony's Monument, the Mint,
and the Cathedral.  Ochterlony's Monument is a plain stone column, one
hundred and sixty-five feet high, erected in commemoration of a sagacious
statesman and an able soldier.  From its summit, to which access is
obtained by two hundred and twenty-two steps, may be obtained a noble
view of the city, the broad reaches of the Ganges, and the fertile plains
of Bengal.

The Cathedral is an imposing pile.  Its architecture is Gothic, and the
interior produces a very fine effect by the harmony of its proportions
and the richness of its details.  The ill-famed "Black Hole," in which
the Rajah Surajah Dowlah confined one hundred and fifty English men and
women, when he obtained possession of Calcutta in 1756--confining them in
a narrow and noisome cell, which poisoned them with its malarious
atmosphere, so that by morning only a few remained alive--is now part of
a warehouse.  But an obelisk stands at the entrance, inscribed with the
names of the victims.

The fashionable promenade at Calcutta is the Maidan.  It runs along the
bank of the Hooghly, and is bounded on the other side by rows of palatial
mansions.  It commands a good view of the Viceroy's Palace, the
Cathedral, the Ochterlony Column, the strong defensive works of Fort
William; and is altogether a very interesting and attractive spot.

Every evening, before sunset, thither wends the fashionable world of
Calcutta.  The impassive European, with all the proud consciousness of a
conquering race; the half-Europeanized baboo; the deposed rajah,--all may
be seen driving to and fro in splendid equipages, drawn by handsome
steeds, and followed by servants in gay Oriental attire.  The rajahs and
"nabobs" are usually dressed in gold-embroidered robes of silk, over
which are thrown the costliest Indian shawls.  Ladies and gentlemen, on
English horses of the best blood, canter along the road, or its turfen
borders; while crowds of dusky natives gather in all directions, or
leisurely move homewards after their day's work.  A bright feature of the
scene is the animated appearance of the Hooghly: first-class East
Indiamen are lying at anchor, ships are arriving or preparing for
departure, the native craft incessantly ply to and fro, and a Babel of
voices of different nationalities rises on the air.

Here is a picture of the Maidan, drawn by another lady-traveller, Mrs.
Murray Mitchell:--

[The Maidan, Calcutta: page95.jpg]

It is, she says, a noble expanse, which, about a hundred years ago, was a
wild swampy jungle, famous only for snipe-shooting.  Strange to say, it
is not, like most Indian plains, burned up and brown, but, from its
vicinity to the river, and the frequent showers that visit it, as fresh
and green as an English park.  It has a few fine tanks, and is sprinkled
with some leafy trees; these, however, not so numerous as they were
before the cyclones of 1864 and 1867, which swept away its chief natural
beauties.  Several broad well-kept drives intersect it, and it is
ornamented by some graceful gardens and a few handsome columns and
statues.  Indeed, the Maidan is the centre of all that is grand and
imposing; the shabby and the unsightly is kept behind, out of view.
Facing it, along its eastern marge, stand the noble pillared palaces of
Chowringhee.  At one end stands the handsome new Court House; also the
Town Hall, and other buildings of less pretence; and, further on, the
noble pile of Government House, with four handsome entrance gates, and
surrounded by shrubberies and gardens.  In front spread the Eden Gardens,
a delightful addition to the beauties both of Government House and the
Esplanade.  From this point the business part of Calcutta extends in a
northerly direction, including Dalhousie Square, with its many buildings,
among which conspicuous stands the domed Post Office--the vista closing
gracefully with the shapely spire of St. Andrew's Church.  At the further
extremity, nearly two miles across the verdant expanse, are seen the
Cathedral, with its noble spire, the General Hospital, and the Jail; and
still further, the richly-wooded suburbs of Kidderpore and Alipore.  Fort
William fronts toward the river, and with its ramparts and buildings
forms a striking object; while the whole is bordered and "beautified" by
the broad river, with its crowd of masts and flags, its almost
innumerable boats, its landing-ghats, and all its life and motion.

* * * * *

[Benares: page99.jpg]

From Calcutta, Madame Pfeiffer proceeded to the city of temples, the
sacred city of Hinduism--Benares.  She visited several temples, but found
them all agreeing in their leading details.  That of Vishnu has two
towers connected by colonnades, the summits of which are covered with
gold plates.  Inside are several images of Vishnu and Siva, wreathed with
flowers, and strewn over with grains of rice and wheat.  Images in metal
or stone of the sacred bull are plentiful everywhere; and living bulls
wander about freely, the object of special care and adoration.  They are
free to stray where they will, not in the temple precincts only, but also
in the streets.

Among the other buildings, the one most worthy of notice is the Mosque of
Aurengzebe, famous on account of its two minarets, which are 150 feet in
height, and reported to be the slenderest in the world.  They resemble a
couple of needles, and certainly better deserve the name than that of
Cleopatra at Alexandria.  Narrow winding staircases in the interior lead
to the summit, on which a small platform, with a balustrade about a foot
high, is erected.  From this vantage-point a noble view of the city, it
is said, may be obtained; but few persons, we should think, have heads
cool enough to enjoy it.  With all Madame Pfeiffer's adventurousness, she
did not essay this perilous experiment.

The Observatory, constructed for the great Mohammedan emperor Akbar, is
also an object of interest.  It is not furnished, like a European
observatory, with the usual astronomical instruments, telescopes, rain-
gauges, anemometers, and the like, the handiwork of cunning artificers in
glass and metal; but everything is of stone--solid, durable stone.  On a
raised terrace stand circular tables, semicircular and quadratic curves,
all of stone, and all inscribed with mystic signs and characters.

Benares is celebrated for its bazaars, in which are exhibited some of the
rarest productions of the East; but its principal attraction is its
sanctity, and crowds of pilgrims resort to its temples, and cleanse
themselves of their sins by bathing in the fast-flowing Ganges.  To die
at Benares is regarded as a passport to heaven; and one of the most
frequent sights is the burning of a corpse on the river-bank, with
ceremonies proportioned to the rank and wealth of the deceased--the ashes
being afterwards committed to the holy waters.  Benares is also famous
for its palaces.  Of these the most splendid is that which the rajah
inhabits.  It was visited by Madame Pfeiffer, who appears to have gone
everywhere and seen everybody at her own sweet will and pleasure, and she
was even admitted to the rajah's presence.

A handsomely-decorated boat, she says, awaited her and her
fellow-traveller at the bank of the river.  They crossed; a palanquin was
ready to receive them.  Soon they arrived at the stately gateway which
forms the entrance to the palace.  The interior proved to be a labyrinth
of irregular courts and small unsymmetrical chambers.  In one of the
courts a hall, surrounded by plain columns, served as a reception-room.
This was cumbrously loaded with lamps, glass lustres, and European
furniture; on the walls hung some wretched pictures, framed and glazed.
Presently the rajah made his appearance, accompanied by his brother, and
attended by a long train of courtiers.  The two princes were gorgeously
attired; they wore wide trousers, long under and short over garments, all
of satin, covered with gold embroidery.  The rajah himself, aged thirty-
five, wore short silken cuffs, glowing with gold, and trimmed with
diamonds; several large brilliants shone on his fingers, and rich gold
embroidery was woven about his shoes.  His brother, a youth of nineteen,
wore a white turban, with a costly clasp of diamonds and pearls.  Large
pearls hung from his ears; rich massive bracelets clasped his wrists.

The guests having taken their seats, a large silver basin was brought in,
with elaborately-wrought narghillies, and they were invited to smoke.
This honour they declined.  The rajah then smoked in solitary dignity--his
pipe being changed as soon as he had taken a few whiffs.

A nautchni, or dance by nautches, was next provided for the visitors'
entertainment.  There were three musicians and two dancers.  The latter
were dressed in gay gold-woven muslin robes, with wide silk
gold-broidered trousers, reaching to the ground, and quite covering their
bare feet.  One of the musicians beat a couple of small drums; the others
played on four-stringed instruments not unlike a violin.  They stood
close behind the dancers, and their music was wholly innocent of melody
or harmony; but to the rhythm, which was strongly accentuated, the
dancers moved their arms, hands, and fingers in a very animated manner,
and at intervals their feet, so as to ring the numerous tiny bells that
cover them.  Their attitudes were not ungraceful.  The performance lasted
a quarter of an hour, after which they accompanied the dance with what
was intended for singing, but sounded like shrieking.  Meantime,
sweetmeats, fruits, and sherbet were handed round.

As a contrast to this gay scene, Madame Pfeiffer describes the
performance of the wretched fanatics called fakeers.  These men inflict
upon themselves the most extraordinary tortures.  Thus: they stick an
iron hook through their flesh, and allow themselves to be suspended by it
at a height of twenty or five-and-twenty feet. {105}  Or for long hours
they stand upon one foot in the burning sunshine, with their arms rigidly
extended in the air.  Or they hold heavy weights in various positions,
swing round and round for hours together, and tear the flesh from their
bodies with red-hot pincers.  Madame Pfeiffer saw two of these
unfortunate victims of a diseased imagination.  One held a heavy axe over
his head, in the attitude of a workman bent on felling a tree; in this
position he stood, rigid as a statue.  The other held the point of his
toe to his nose.

* * * * *

In her tour through India our traveller passed through Allahabad,
situated at the junction of the Jumna and the Ganges, and the resort of
many pilgrims; Agra, where she admired, as so many travellers have
admired, the lovely Taj-Mahal, erected by the Sultan Jehan in memory of
his favourite wife,--and the Pearl Mosque, with its exquisitely delicate
carving; Delhi, the ancient capital of the Moguls, which figured so
conspicuously in the history of the Sepoy rebellion; the cave-temples of
Ajunta and Ellora; and the great commercial emporium of Bombay.

Quitting the confines of British India, Madame Pfeiffer, ever in quest of
the new and strange, sailed to Bassora, and ascended the historic Tigris,
so named from the swiftness of its course, to Bagdad, that quaint, remote
Oriental city, which is associated with so many wonderful legends and not
less wonderful "travellers' tales."  This was of old the residence of the
great caliph, Haroun-al-Raschid, a ruler of no ordinary sagacity, and the
hero of many a tradition, whom "The Thousand and One Nights" have made
familiar to every English boy.  It is still a populous and wealthy city;
many of its houses are surrounded by blooming gardens; its shops are gay
with the products of the Eastern loom; and it descends in terraces to the
bank of the river, which flows in the shade of orchards and groves of
palm.  Over all extends the arch of a glowing sky.

From Bagdad an excursion to the ruins of Babylon is natural enough.  They
consist of massive fragments of walls and columns, strewn on either side
of the Euphrates.

[Cave temple at Ellora: page107.jpg]

On the 17th of June our heroic traveller joined a caravan which was bound
for Mosul, a distance of three hundred miles, occupying from twelve to
fourteen days.  The journey is one of much difficulty and no little
danger, across a desert country of the most lifeless character.  We shall
relate a few of Madame Pfeiffer's experiences.

One day she repaired to a small village in search of food.  After
wandering from hut to hut, she obtained a small quantity of milk and
three eggs.  She laid the eggs in hot ashes, and covered them over;
filled her leathern flask from the Tigris; and, thus loaded, returned to
the encampment formed by the caravan.  She ate her eggs and drank her
milk with an appetite for which an epicure would be thankful.

The mode of making butter in vogue at this village was very peculiar.  The
cream was put into a leathern bottle, and shaken about on the ground
until the butter consolidated.  It was then put into another bottle
filled with water, and finally turned out as white as snow.

Next day, when they rested during the heat, the guide of the caravan
endeavoured to procure her a little shelter from the glare of the
pitiless sun by laying a small cover over a couple of poles stuck into
the ground.  But the place shaded was so small, and the tent so frail,
that she was compelled to sit quietly in one position, as the slightest
movement would have involved it in ruin.  Shortly afterwards, when she
wished for some refreshment, nothing could be procured but lukewarm
water, bread so hard that it could not be eaten until thoroughly soaked,
and a cucumber without salt or vinegar.

At a village near Kerka the caravan tarried for two days.  On the first
day Madame Pfeiffer's patience was sorely tried.  All the women of the
place flocked to examine the stranger.  First they inspected her clothes,
then wanted to take the turban off her head; and, in fact, proved
themselves most troublesome intruders.  At last Madame Pfeiffer seized
one of them by the arm, and turned her out of her tent so quickly that
she had no time to think of resistance.  By the eloquence of gesture our
traveller made the others understand that, unless they withdrew at once,
a similarly abrupt dismissal awaited them.  She then drew a circle round
her tent, and forbade them to cross it; an injunction which was strictly

She had now only to settle with the wife of her guide, who had besieged
her the whole day, pressing as near as possible, and petitioning for some
of her "things."  Fortunately her husband came on the scene, and to him
Madame Pfeiffer preferred her complaint, threatening to leave his house
and seek shelter elsewhere,--well knowing that the Arabs consider this a
great disgrace.  He immediately ordered his wife to desist, and the
traveller was at peace.  "I always succeeded," says Madame Pfeiffer, "in
obtaining my own will.  I found that energy and boldness influence all
people, whether Arabs, Persians, Bedaween, or others."  But for this
strong will, this indomitable resolution, Madame Pfeiffer assuredly could
not have succeeded in the enterprises she so daringly undertook.  Even
for a man to have accomplished them would have earned our praise; what
shall we not say when they were conceived and carried out by a woman?

Towards evening, she says, to her great delight a caldron of mutton was
set on the fire.  For eight days she had eaten nothing but bread,
cucumbers, and some dates; and therefore had a great desire for a hot and
more nutritious meal.  But her appetite was greatly diminished when she
saw their style of cookery.  The old woman (her guide's mother) threw
several handfuls of small grain, and a large quantity of onions, into a
panful of water to soften.  In about half an hour she thrust her dirty
hands into the water, and mixed the whole together, now and then taking a
mouthful, and after chewing it, spitting it back again into the pan.  Then
she took a dirty rag, strained through it the delicate mixture, and
poured it over the meat in the larger vessel.  Madame Pfeiffer had firmly
resolved not to touch the dish, but when it was ready her longing for
food was so great, and so savoury was the smell, that she reflected that
what she had already eaten was probably not a whit cleaner; in short, for
once she proved false to her resolution.  Eating, she was filled; and the
viands gave her increased strength.

* * * * *

On the 28th of June the caravan reached Erbil, the ancient Arbela, where
Alexander the Great defeated Darius and his Persian host.  Next day they
crossed a broad river, on rafts of inflated skins, fastened together with
poles, and covered with reeds, canes, and plank.  Rapidly traversing the
shrubless, herbless plains of Mesopotamia, they reached at length the
town of Mosul, the point from which travellers proceed to visit the ruins
of Nineveh.

These have been so carefully explored and ably described by Layard and
the late George Smith, that it is needless to quote Madame Ida Pfeiffer's
superficial observations at any length.  According to Strabo, Nineveh was
the greatest city in the Old World--larger even than Babylon; the
circumference of its walls was a three days' journey, and those walls
were defended by fifteen hundred towers.  Now all is covered with earth,
and the ranges of hills and mounds that stretch across the wide gray
plain on the bank of the Tigris do but cover the ruins of the vast
Assyrian capital.  Mr. Layard began his excavations in 1846, and his
labourers, digging deep into the hills, soon opened up spacious and
stately apartments, the marble walls of which were embellished from top
to bottom with sculptures, revealing a complete panorama of Assyrian
life!  Kings with their crowns and sceptres, gods swooping on broad
pinions, warriors equipped with their arms and shields, were there; also
stirring representations of battles and hunting expeditions, of the
storming of fortresses, of triumphal processions; though, unfortunately
for artistic effect, neither proportion, perspective, nor correct drawing
had been observed.  The hills are scarcely three times higher than the
men; the fields reach to the clouds; the trees are no taller than the
lotus-flowers; and the heads of men and animals are all alike, and all in
profile.  Intermingled with these scenes of ancient civilization are
inscriptions of great interest, in the cuneiform or wedge-shaped

* * * * *

A caravan starting from Mosul for Tabreez, Madame Ida Pfeiffer determined
on joining it, though warned that it would traverse a country containing
not a single European.  But, as we have already had abundant evidence,
Madame Pfeiffer knew not what fear was.  Nothing could daunt her fixed
purpose.  She had made up her mind to go to Persia; and to Persia she
would go.  She started with the caravan on the 8th of July, and next day
crossed the hills that intervene between Mesopotamia and Kurdistan.  The
latter country has never enjoyed a good reputation among travellers; and
Madame Pfeiffer's experience was not calculated to retrieve its
character.  The caravan was crossing a corn-field which had been recently
reaped, when half-a-dozen stalwart Kurds, armed with stout cudgels,
sprang out from their hiding-place among the sheaves, and seizing the
travellers' bridles, poured out upon them what was unmistakably a volley
of oaths and threats.  One of the travellers leaped from his steed,
seized his assailant by the throat, and holding a loaded pistol to his
head, indicated his determination of blowing out his brains.  The effect
of this resolute conduct was immediate; the robbers desisted from their
attack, and were soon engaged in quite an amicable conversation with
those they had intended to plunder.  At last they pointed out a good
place for an encampment, receiving in return a trifling _backshish_,
collected from the whole caravan.

A few days later, the travellers, having started at two in the morning,
entered a magnificent mountain-valley, which had been cloven through the
solid rock by the waters of a copious stream.  A narrow stony path
followed the course of the stream upward.  The moon shone in unclouded
light; or it would have been difficult even for the well-trained horses
of the caravan to have kept their footing along the dangerous way,
encumbered as it was with fallen masses of rock.

Like chamois, however, they scrambled up the steep mountain-side, and
safely carried their riders round frightful projections and past
dangerous, dizzy precipices.  So wild, so romantic was the scene, with
its shifting lights and shadows, its sudden bursts of silvery lustre
where the valley lay open to the moon, and its depths of darkness in many
a winding recess, that even Madame Pfeiffer's uncultured companions were
irresistibly moved by its influence; and as they rode along not a sound
was heard but the clatter of the horses' hoofs, and the fall of rolling
stones into the chasm below.  But all at once thick clouds gathered over
the moon, and the gloom became so intense that the travellers could
scarcely discern each one his fellow.  The leader continually struck fire
with a flint, that the sparks might afford some slight indication of the
proper course.  But this was not enough; and as the horses began to miss
their footing, the only hope of safety consisted in remaining immovable.
With the break of day, however, a gray light spread over the scene, and
the travellers found themselves surrounded by a circle of lofty
mountains, rising one above the other in magnificent gradation, and
superbly dominated by one mighty snow-crowned mass.

The journey was resumed.  Soon the travellers became aware of the fact
that the path was sprinkled with spots of blood.  At last they came to a
place which was crimsoned by a complete pool; and looking down into the
ravine, they could see two human bodies, one lying scarcely a hundred
feet below them, the other, which had rolled further, half hidden by a
projecting crag.  From this scene of murder they gladly hastened.

* * * * *

At a town called Ravandus Madame Pfeiffer rested for some days, making
observations on the manners and customs of the Kurds.  She was not
prepossessed in their favour by what she saw: the women are idle,
ignorant, and squalid; the men work as little and rob as much as they
can.  Polygamy is practised; and religion is reduced to the performance
of a few formalities.  The costume of the wealthier Kurds is purely
Oriental, that of the common people varies from it a little.  The men
wear wide linen trousers, and over them a shirt confined by a girdle,
with a sleeveless woollen jacket, made of stuff of only a hand's-breadth
wide, and sewed together.  Instead of white trousers, some wear brown,
which are anything but picturesque, and look like sacks with two holes
for the insertion of the feet,--the said feet being encased in boots of
red or yellow leather, with large iron heels; or in shoes of coarse white
wool, adorned with three tassels.  The turban is the universal

The women don loose trousers, and red or yellow boots, with iron heels,
like the men; but over all they wear a long blue garment which, if not
tucked up under the girdle, would depend some inches below the ankles.  A
large blue shawl descends below the knee.  Round their heads they twist
black shawls, turban-wise; or they wear the red fez, with a silk
handkerchief wound about it; and on the top of this, a kind of wreath
made of short black fringe, worn like a diadem, but leaving the forehead
free.  The hair falls in narrow braids over the shoulders, and from the
turban droops a heavy silver chain.  As a head-dress it is remarkably
attractive; and it is but just to say that it often sets off really
handsome faces, with fine features, and glowing eyes.

[Tartar Caravan: page119.jpg]

* * * * *

In her further wanderings through the wild lands of Persia, our traveller
came to Urumiyeh, on the borders of the salt lake of that name, which in
several physical features closely resembles the Dead Sea.  Urumiyeh is a
place of some celebrity, for it gave birth to Zoroaster, the preacher of
a creed of considerable moral purity, which has spread over a great part
of Asia.  Entering a more fertile country, she reached Tabreez in safety,
and was once more within the influence of law and order.  Tabreez, the
residence of the viceroy, is a handsomely-built town, with numerous silk
and leather manufactories, and is reputed to be one of the chief seats of
Asiatic commerce.  Its streets are clean and tolerably broad; in each a
little rivulet is carried underground, with openings at regular intervals
for the purpose of dipping out water.  Of the houses the passer-by sees
no more than is seen in any other Oriental town: lofty walls, windowless,
with low entrances; and the fronts always looking in upon the open
courtyards, which bloom with trees and flowers, and usually adjoin a
pleasant garden.  Inside, the chambers are usually lofty and spacious,
with rows of windows which seem to form complete walls of glass.
Buildings of public importance there are none; excepting the bazaar,
which covers a considerable area, and is laid out with lofty, broad, and
covered thoroughfares.

The traveller turned her back upon Tabreez on the 11th of August, and in
a carriage drawn by post-horses, and attended by a single servant, set
out for Natschivan.  At Arax she crossed the frontier of Asiatic Russia,
the dominions of the "White Tsar," who, in Asia as in Europe, is ever
pressing more and more closely on the "unspeakable Turk."  At Natschivan
she joined a caravan which was bound for Tiflis, and the drivers of which
were Tartars.  She says of the latter, that they do not live so frugally
as the Arabs.  Every evening a savoury pillau was made with good-tasting
fat, frequently with dried grapes or plums.  They also partook largely of

The caravan wound through the fair and fertile valleys which lie at the
base of Ararat.  Of that famous and majestic mountain, which lifts its
white glittering crest of snow some sixteen thousand feet above the sea-
level, our traveller obtained a fine view.  Its summit is cloven into two
peaks, and in the space between an old tradition affirms that Noah's ark
landed at the subsidence of the Great Flood.

[Mount Ararat: page123.jpg]

In the neighbourhood of a town called Sidin, Madame Pfeiffer met with a
singular adventure.  She was returning from a short walk, when, hearing
the sound of approaching post-horses, she paused for a minute to see the
travellers, and noticed a Russian, seated in an open car, with a Cossack
holding a musket by his side.  As soon as the vehicle had passed, she
resumed her course; when, to her astonishment, it suddenly stopped, and
almost at the same moment she felt a fierce grasp on her arms.  It was
the Cossack, who endeavoured to drag her to the car.  She struggled with
him, and pointing to the caravan, said she belonged to it; but the fellow
put his hand on her mouth, and flung her into the car, where she was
firmly seized by the Russian.  Then the Cossack sprang to his seat, and
away they went at a smart gallop.  The whole affair was the work of a few
seconds, so that Madame Pfeiffer could scarcely recognize what had
happened.  As the man still held her tightly, and kept her mouth covered
up, she was unable to give an alarm.  The brave woman, however, retained
her composure, and speedily arrived at the conclusion that her "heroic"
captors had mistaken her for some dangerous spy.  Uncovering her mouth,
they began to question her closely; and Madame Pfeiffer understood enough
Russian to tell them her name, native country, and object in travelling.
This did not satisfy them, and they asked for her passport,--which,
however, she could not show them, as it was in her portmanteau.

At length they reached the post-house.  Madame Pfeiffer was shown into a
room, at the door of which the Cossack stationed himself with his musket.
She was detained all night; but the next morning, having fetched her
portmanteau, they examined her passport, and were then pleased to dismiss
her--without, however, offering any apology for their shameful treatment
of her.  Such are the incivilities to which travellers in the Russian
dominions are too constantly exposed.  It is surprising that a powerful
government should condescend to so much petty fear and mean suspicion.

[Odessa: page127.jpg]

From Tiflis our traveller proceeded across Georgia to Redutkali; whence
she made her way to Kertsch, on the shore of the Sea of Azov; and thence
to Sebastopol, destined a few years later to become the scene of an
historic struggle.  She afterwards reached Odessa, one of the great
granaries of Europe, situated at the mouth of the Dniester and the
Dnieper.  From Odessa to Constantinople the distance by sea is four
hundred and twenty miles.  She made but a short stay in the Turkish
capital; and then proceeded by steamer to Smyrna, passing through the
maze of the beautiful isles of Greece; and from Smyrna to Athens.  Here
she trod on hallowed ground.  Every temple, every ruin, recalled to her
some brave deed of old, or some illustrious name of philosopher, warrior,
statesman, poet, that the world will not willingly let die.  A rush of
stirring glorious memories swept over her mind as she gazed on the lofty
summit of the Acropolis, covered with memorials of the ancient art, and
associated with the great events of Athenian history.  The Parthenon, or
Temple of Pallas; the Temple of Theseus; that of Olympian Jove; the Tower
of the Winds, or so-called Lantern of Demosthenes; and the Choragic
Monument of Lysicrates,--all these she saw, and wondered at.  But they
have been so frequently described, that we may pass them here with this
slight reference.

From Corinth our traveller crossed to Corfu, and from Corfu ascended the
Adriatic to Trieste.  A day or two afterwards she was received by her
friends at Vienna,--having accomplished the most extraordinary journey
ever undertaken by a woman, and made the complete circuit of the world.
In the most remarkable scenes, and in the most critical positions, she
had preserved a composure, a calmness of courage, and a simplicity of
conduct, that must always command our admiration.


In giving to the world a narrative of her journey to Iceland, and her
wanderings through Norway and Sweden, Madame Pfeiffer anticipated certain
objections that would be advanced by the over-refined.  "Another journey
!" she supposed them to exclaim; "and that to regions far more likely to
repel than attract the general traveller!  What object could this woman
have had in visiting them, but a desire to excite our astonishment and
raise our curiosity?  We might have been induced to pardon her pilgrimage
to the Holy Land, though it was sufficiently hazardous for a solitary
woman, because it was prompted, perhaps, by her religious feelings,--and
incredible things, as we all know, are frequently accomplished under such
an impulse.  But, for the present expedition, what reasonable motive can
possibly be suggested?"

Madame Pfeiffer remarks that in all this a great injustice is, or would
be, done to her; that she was a plain, inoffensive creature, and by no
means desirous of drawing upon herself the observation of the crowd.  As
a matter of fact, she was but following the bent of her natural
disposition.  From her earliest childhood she had yearned to go forth
into the wide world.  She could never meet a travelling-carriage without
stopping to watch it, and envying the postilion who drove it or the
persons it conveyed.  When she was ten or twelve years old, no reading
had such a charm for her as books of voyages and travels; and then she
began to repine at the happiness of every great navigator or discoverer,
whose boldness revealed to him the secrets of lands and seas before

She travelled much with her parents, and afterwards with her husband, and
thus her natural bias was encouraged.  It was not until her two sons were
of age to be educated that she remained stationary--on their account.  As
the business concerns of her husband required his presence alternately in
Vienna and in Lemberg, he intrusted to his wife the responsible duty of
superintending their education--feeling assured that, with her
perseverance and affection, she could supply the place of both parents.

When this duty was discharged, and the education of her sons completed,
the dreams and fancies of her youth once more revived within her.  She
thought of the manners and customs of foreign lands, of remote islands
girdled by the "melancholy main," and dwelt so long on the great joy of
treading "the blessed acres" trodden by the Saviour's feet, that at last
she resolved on a pilgrimage thither.  She made the journey to Palestine.
She visited Jerusalem, and other hallowed scenes, and she returned in
safety.  She came, therefore, to the conclusion that she was not
presumptuously tempting the providence of God, or laying herself open to
the charge of wishing to excite the admiration of her contemporaries, if
she followed her inward impulse, and once more adventured forth to see
the world.  She knew that travel could not but broaden her views, elevate
her thoughts, and inspire her with new sympathies.  Iceland, the next
object of her desires, was a country where she hoped to see Nature under
an entirely novel and peculiar aspect.  "I feel," she says, "so
wonderfully happy, and draw so close to my Maker, while gazing upon such
scenes, that no difficulties or fatigues can deter me from seeking so
great a reward."

* * * * *

It was in the year 1845 that Madame Pfeiffer began her northward journey.
She left Vienna on the 10th of April, and by way of Prague, Dresden, and
Altona, proceeded to Kiel.  Thence the steamer carried her to Copenhagen,
a city of which she speaks in favourable terms.  She notices its numerous
splendid palaces; its large and regular squares; its broad and handsome
promenades.  At the Museum of Art she was interested by the chair which
Tycho Brahe, the astronomer, formerly used; and at the Thorvaldsen
Museum, the colossal lion executed by the great Danish sculptor.  Having
seen all that was to be seen, she took ship for Iceland, passing
Helsingborg on the Swedish coast, and Elsinore on the Danish, the latter
associated with Shakespeare's "Hamlet;" and, through the Sound and the
Cattegat, entering upon the restless waters of the North Sea.  Iceland
came in sight on the seventh day of a boisterous voyage, which had tried
our traveller somewhat severely; and at the close of the eleventh day she
reached Havenfiord, an excellent harbour, two miles from Reikiavik, the
capital of Iceland.

Her first impressions of the Icelandic coast, she says, were very
different from the descriptions she had read in books.  She had conceived
of a barren desolate waste, shrubless and treeless; and she saw grassy
hillocks, leafy copses, and even, as she thought, patches of dwarfish
woods.  But as she drew nearer, and could distinguish the different
objects more plainly, the hillocks were transformed into human
habitations, with small doors and windows; and the groups of trees proved
to be huge lava masses, from ten to fifteen feet in height, entirely
overgrown with verdure and moss.  Everything was new, was surprising; and
it was with pleasurable sensations of excitement and curiosity that
Madame Pfeiffer landed on the shores of Ultima Thule.

[Reikiavik: page135.jpg]

* * * * *

At Reikiavik she found the population inhabiting two very different
classes of habitations.  The wooden houses of the well-to-do are of a
single story, she says, with five or six windows in front.  A low flight
of steps conducts to an entrance in the centre of the building; and this
entrance opens into a vestibule, where two doors communicate with the
rooms on the right and left respectively.  In the rear is the kitchen,
and beyond the courtyard.  Such a house contains four or five rooms on
the ground-floor, and a few small chambers under the roof.  The domestic
or household arrangements are entirely European.  The furniture, much of
which is mahogany, comes from Copenhagen, which also supplies the mirrors
and cast-iron stoves.  Handsome rugs are spread in front of the sofas;
neat curtains drop before the windows; English engravings ornament the
whitewashed walls; and china, silver, and cut-glass, and the like, are
displayed upon the cabinets or corner-tables.

But the poor live in huts which are decidedly much more Icelandic.  They
are small and low; built of lava blocks, filled in with earth; and as the
whole is covered with turf, they might almost be mistaken for natural
elevations of the ground, if the wooden chimneys, and low doors, and
almost imperceptible windows, did not betray that they were tenanted by
human beings.  A dark, narrow passage, not more than four feet high,
leads on one hand to the living-room, on the other to the store-room,
where the provisions are kept, and where, in winter, the cows and sheep
are stabled.  The fireplace is generally at the end of this passage,
which is purposely built low to keep out the cold.  Neither the walls nor
floors of these huts are boarded; the dwelling-rooms are scarcely large
enough for people to sleep in or turn round in; and the whole furniture
consists of the bedsteads (very poorly supplied with bedding), a small
table, and a few chests--the latter, as well as the beds, being used for
seats.  To poles fastened in the walls are suspended clothes, shoes,
stockings, and other articles; and in each hut is generally found a tiny
book-shelf supporting a few volumes.  No stoves are needed in these
rooms, which are sufficiently warmed by the presence of their numerous

Speaking of the better classes of the inhabitants of the Icelandic
capital, our traveller says: "Nothing struck me so much as the great
dignity of carriage at which the Icelandic ladies aim, and which is so
apt to degenerate into stiffness when it is not perfectly natural, or has
not become a second nature by habit.  They incline their head very coolly
when you meet them, with less civility than we should use towards an
inferior or a stranger.  The lady of the house never accompanies her
guests beyond the door of the room, after a call; if the husband is
present, he goes a little further; but when this is not the case, you are
often at a loss which way to turn, as there is no servant on the spot to
open the street door for you, unless it may happen to be in the house of
the Stiftsamtmann, the first dignitary of the island."

The church at Reikiavik is capable of accommodating about one hundred and
fifty persons; it is built of stone, with a wooden roof, under which is
kept a library of several thousand volumes.  It possesses an artistic
treasure of no ordinary value in a font by Thorvaldsen, whose parents
were natives of Iceland, though he himself was born in Denmark.  Captain
Burton describes it as the ancient classical altar, with basso-relievos
on all four sides--subjects of course evangelical; on the top an alto-
relievo of symbolical flowers, roses, and passiflorae is cut to support
the normal "Dobefal," or baptismal basin.  In the sacristy are preserved
some handsome priestly robes--especially the velvet vestment sent by Pope
Julius II. to the last Roman Catholic bishop in the early part of the
sixteenth century, and still worn by the chief Protestant dignitary at

The climate at Reikiavik would be considered severe by an Englishman.  The
thermometer sometimes sinks as low as 13 degrees below zero, and the sea
is covered with ice for several feet from the shore.  The storms and snow-
drifts are of the most terrible character, and at times even the boldest
Icelander dares not cross his threshold.  Daylight does not last more
than four or five hours; but the long night is illuminated by the
splendid coruscations of the aurora, filling the firmament with
many-coloured flame.  From the middle until the end of June, however,
there is no night.  The sun sinks for a short time below the hills, but
twilight blends with the dawn, and before the last rays of evening have
faded from the sky the morning light streams forth with renewed

* * * * *

Then, as to the people, Madame Pfeiffer speaks of them as of medium
height and strength.  Their hair is light, and frequently has a reddish
tint; their eyes are blue.  The women are more prepossessing in
appearance than the men; and pleasing faces are not uncommon among the
young girls.  They wear long skirts of coarse black woollen stuff, with
spencers, and coloured aprons.  They cover their heads with a man's cap
of the same material as their petticoats, ending in a drooping point, to
which hangs a woollen or silken tassel, falling as low as the shoulders.
This simple head-dress is not inelegant.  All the women have an abundance
of hair hanging picturesquely about their face and neck; they wear it
loose and short, and it is sometimes curled.

The men appear to dress very much like the German peasants.  They wear
pantaloons, jackets, and vests of dark cloth, with a felt hat or fur cap,
and the feet wrapped in pieces of skin, either seal, sheep, or calf.

* * * * *

Here, as a corrective, and for the sake of comparison, let us refer to
Captain Burton's description.  The men dress, he says, like sailors, in
breeches, jackets serving as coats, and vests of good broadcloth, with
four to six rows of buttons, always metal, either copper or silver.  The
fishermen wear overcoats, coarse smooth waistcoats, large paletots, made
waterproof by grease or fish-liver oil; leather overalls, stockings, and
native shoes.  The women attire themselves in jackets and gowns,
petticoats and aprons of woollen frieze; over which is thrown a "hempa,"
or wide black robe, like a Jesuit frock, trimmed with velvet binding.  The
wealthy add silver ornaments down the length of the dress, and braid the
other articles with silk ribbons, galloon, or velvets of various colours.
The ruff forms a stiff collar, from three to four inches broad, of very
fine stuff, embroidered with gold or silver.  The conical head-dress,
resembling a fool's-cap or sugar-loaf, measures two or three feet high,
and is kept in its place by a coarse cloth, and covered with a finer
kerchief.  The soleless shoes of ox-hide or sheepskin, made by the women
out of a single piece, are strapped to the instep.

* * * * *

Having made herself generally acquainted with the Icelanders and their
mode of living, Madame Pfeiffer began to visit the most romantic and
interesting spots in the island accessible to an adventurous woman.  At
first she confined herself to the neighbourhood of Reikiavik.  She
journeyed, for instance, to the island of Vidoe, the cliffs of which are
frequented by the eider-duck.  Its tameness while brooding is very
remarkable.  "I had always looked," she says, "on the wonderful stories I
had heard on this subject as fabulous, and should do still had I not been
an eye-witness to the fact.  I approached and laid my hands on the birds
while they were sitting; yes, I could even caress them without their
attempting to move from their nests; or, if they left them for a moment,
it was only to walk off for a few steps, and remain quietly waiting till
I withdrew, when they immediately returned to their station.  Those whose
young were already hatched, however, would beat their wings with
violence, and snap at me with their bills when I came near them, rather
allowing themselves to be seized than to desert their broods.  In size
they resemble our common duck; their eggs are of a greenish-gray, rather
larger than hens' eggs, and of an excellent flavour.  Each bird lays
about eleven eggs.  The finest down is that with which they line their
nests at first; it is of a dark gray, and is regularly carried off by the
islanders with the first eggs.  The poor bird then robs itself of a
second portion of its down, and lays a few more eggs, which are also
seized; and it is not till the nest has been felted for the third time
that the ducks are left unmolested to bring up their brood.  The down of
the second, and particularly that of the third hatching, is much lighter
than the first, and of an inferior quality."

The salmon-fishery at the Larsalf next engaged our traveller's attention.
It is conducted after a primitively simple fashion.  When the fish at
spawning-time seek the quiet waters of the inland stream, their way back
to the sea is blocked up by an embankment of loose stones, about three
feet high.  In front of this wall is extended a net; and several similar
barriers are erected at intervals of eighty to a hundred paces, to
prevent the fish which have slipped over one of them from finally
accomplishing their escape.  A day is appointed for a grand _battue_.  The
water is then let off as much as possible; and the ensnared fish, feeling
it grow shallower, dart hither and thither in frantic confusion, and
eventually gather together in such a mass that the fishermen have only to
thrust in their hands and seize their prey.

Yet _some_ degree of skill is necessary, for, as everybody knows, the
salmon is full of vivacity, and both strong and swift.  So the fisher
takes his victim dexterously by head and tail, and throws it ashore
immediately.  It is caught up by persons who are specially appointed to
this duty, and flung to a still greater distance from the stream.  Were
not this done, and done quickly, many a fine fellow would escape.  It is
strange to see the fish turn round in the hands of their captors, and
leap into the air, so that if the fishermen were not provided with
woollen mittens, they could not keep their hold of the slippery creatures
at all.  In these wholesale razzias, from five hundred to a thousand fish
are generally taken at a time, each one weighing from five to fifteen

[Salmon-fishing in Iceland: page145.jpg]

* * * * *

Iceland may, with little exaggeration, be described as nothing more than
a stratum of snow and ice overlying a mass of fire and vapour and boiling
water.  Nowhere else do we see the two elements of frost and fire in such
immediate contiguity.  The icy plains are furrowed by lower currents, and
in the midst of wastes of snow rise the seething ebullitions of hot
springs.  Several of the snow-shrouded mountains of Iceland are volcanic.
In the neighbourhood of Kriservick Madame Pfeiffer saw a long, wide
valley, traversed by a current of lava, half a mile in length; a current
consisting not merely of isolated blocks and stones, but of large masses
of porous rock, ten or twelve feet high, frequently broken up by fissures
a foot wide.

Six miles further, and our traveller entered another valley, where, from
the sulphur-springs and hills, rose numerous columns of smoke.  Ascending
the neighbouring hills, she saw a truly remarkable scene: basins filled
with bubbling waters, and vaporous shafts leaping up from the fissures in
the hills and plains.  By keeping to windward, she was able to approach
very near these phenomenal objects; the ground was lukewarm in a few
places, and she could hold her hand for several minutes at a time over
the cracks whence the vapour escaped.  No water was visible.  The roar
and hiss of the steam, combined with the violence of the wind, made a
noise so deafening that she was glad to quit the scene, and feel a safer
soil beneath her feet.  It seemed to her excited fancy as if the entire
mountain were converted into a boiling caldron.

Descending into the plain, she found there much to interest her.  Here a
basin was filled with boiling mud; there, from another basin, burst forth
a column of steam with fearful violence.  Several hot springs bubbled and
bubbled around.  "These spots," says our traveller, "were far more
dangerous than any on the hills; in spite of the utmost caution, we often
sank in above our ankles, and drew back our feet in dread, covered with
the damp exhalations, which, with steam or boiling water, also escaped
from the opening.  I allowed my guide to feel his way in front of me with
a stick; but, notwithstanding his precaution, he went through in one
place half-way to his knee--though he was so used to the danger that he
treated it very lightly, and stopped quite phlegmatically at the next
spring to cleanse himself from the mud.  Being also covered with it to
the ankles, I followed his example."

* * * * *

We must now accompany our traveller on some longer excursions.

And first, to Thingvalla, the place where, of old, the Althing or island-
parliament was annually held.  One side of the great valley of council is
bounded by the sea, the other by a fine range of peaks, always more or
less covered with snow.  Through the pass of the Almannagja we descend
upon the Thingvallavatn lake, an expanse of placid blue, about thirty
miles in circuit.  While our attention is rivetted on the lake and the
dark brown hills which encircle it, a chasm suddenly, and as if by
enchantment, opens at our feet, separating us from the valleys beyond.  It
varies from thirty to forty feet in width, is several hundred feet in
depth, and four miles in length.

"We were compelled," says Madame Pfeiffer, "to descend its steep and
dangerous sides by a narrow path leading over fragments of lava.  My
uneasiness increased as we went down, and could see the colossal masses,
in the shape of pillars or columns tottering loosely on the brink of the
precipice above our heads, threatening death and desolation at any
moment.  Mute and anxious, we crept along in breathless haste, scarcely
venturing to raise our eyes, much less to give vent to the least
expression of alarm, for fear of starting the avalanche of stone, of the
impetuous force of which we could form some idea by the shattered rocks
around us.  The echo is very remarkable, and gives back the faintest
whisper with perfect distinctness."

* * * * *

Every traveller to Iceland feels bound to visit its Geysirs, and Madame
Pfeiffer did as others did.  From Thingvalla she rode for some distance
along the side of the lakes, and then struck through a rocky pass of a
very difficult character, into a series of valleys of widely different
aspect.  At last she came to a stream which flowed over a bed of lava,
and between banks of lava, with great rapidity and a rushing, roaring
sound.  At one point the river-bed was cleft through its centre, to the
depth of eighteen or twenty feet, by a chasm from fifteen to eighteen
feet wide, into which the waters pour with considerable violence.  A
bridge in the middle of the river spans this rift, and the stranger who
reaches the banks feels unable to account for its appearance among the
cloud of spray which entirely conceals the chasm in the bed of the

Into her description of the passage of the river it is to be feared that
Madame Pfeiffer introduces a little exaggeration.  The waters roar, she
says, with the utmost violence, and dashing wildly into the cavity, they
form falls on both sides of it, or shiver themselves to spray against the
projecting cliffs; at the extremity of the chasm, which is not far from
the bridge, the stream is precipitated in its whole breadth over rocks
from thirty to forty feet in height.  "Our horses began to tremble, and
struggled to escape when we drew near the most furious part of the
torrent, where the noise was really deafening; and it was not without the
greatest difficulty we succeeded in making them obey the reins, and bear
us through the foaming waves by which the bridge was washed."  Either the
scene has greatly altered since Madame Pfeiffer's visit, or her
imagination has considerably over-coloured its principal features.  That
is, if we accept the accounts of recent travellers, and especially that
of Captain Burton, who has laboured so successfully to reduce the romance
of Icelandic travel to plain matter of fact.

[Great Geysir: page153.jpg]

The Geysirs lie within a comparatively limited area, and consist of
various specimens, differing considerably in magnitude.  The basin of the
Great Geysir lies on a gentle elevation, about ten feet above the plain;
it measures about one hundred and fifty feet in diameter, while that of
the seething caldron is ten feet.  Both caldron and basin, on the
occasion of Madame Pfeiffer's visit, were full to the brim with crystal-
clear water in a state of slight ebullition.  At irregular intervals a
column of water is shot perpendicularly upwards from the centre of the
caldron, the explosion being always preceded by a low rumbling; but she
was not so fortunate as to witness one of these eruptions.  Lord
Dufferin, however, after three days' watch, was rewarded for his
patience.  The usual underground thunder having been heard, he and his
friends rushed to the spot.  A violent agitation was convulsing the
centre of the pool.  Suddenly a crystal dome lifted itself up to the
height of eight or ten feet, and then fell; immediately after which, a
shining liquid column, or rather a sheaf of columns, wreathed in robes of
vapour, sprang into the air, and in a succession of jerking leaps, each
higher than its predecessor, flung their silver crests against the sky.
For a few minutes the fountain held its own, then all at once appeared to
lose its ascending power.  The unstable waters faltered, drooped, fell,
"like a broken purpose," back upon themselves, and were immediately
absorbed in the depths of the subterranean shaft.

About one hundred and forty yards distant is the Strokkr, or "churn,"
with a basin about seven feet wide in its outer, and eighteen feet in its
inner diameter.  A funnel or inverted cone in shape, whereas the Great
Geysir is a mound and a cylinder, it gives the popular idea of a crater.
Its surface is "an ugly area of spluttering and ever boiling water."  It
frequently "erupts," and throws a spout into the air, sometimes as high
as forty or fifty feet, the outbursts lasting from ten to thirty minutes.
Madame Pfeiffer had not the luck to see it in its grandest moods; the
highest eruption she saw did not rise above thirty feet, nor last more
than fifteen minutes.  An eruption can be produced by throwing into the
caldron a sufficient quantity of turf or stones.

Two remarkable springs lie directly above the Geysirs, in openings
separated by a barrier of rock--which, however, rise nowhere above the
level of the ground.  Their waters boil very gently, with an equable and
almost rhythmic flow.  The charm of these springs lies in their wonderful
transparency and clearness.  All the prominent points and corners, the
varied outlines of the cavities, and the different recesses, can be
distinguished far within the depths, until the eye is lost in the
darkness of the abyss; and the luminous effects upon the rocks lend an
additional beauty to the scene, which has all the magic of the poet's
fairy-land.  It is illumined by a radiance of a soft pale blue and green,
which reaches only a few inches from the rocky barrier, leaving the
waters beyond in colourless transparency.  The light, to all appearance,
seems reflected from the rock, but is really owing to atmospheric causes.

* * * * *

From the Geysirs, Madame Pfeiffer proceeded towards Hekla; and at the
village of Thorfustadir, on the route, had an opportunity of seeing an
Icelandic funeral.  On entering the church she found the mourners
consoling themselves with a dram of brandy.  On the arrival of the
priest, a psalm or prayer was screamed, under his direction, by a chosen
number of the congregation; each shouting his loudest, until he was
completely out of breath.  The priest, standing by the coffin, which, for
lack of better accommodation, was resting on one of the seats, read in a
loud voice a prayer of more than half an hour's duration.  The body was
then borne to the grave, which was one of remarkable depth; and the
coffin being duly lowered, the priest threw earth upon it thrice, thus
terminating the ceremony.

At the little village of Skalholt, where the first Icelandic bishopric
was established in 1095, Madame Pfeiffer was invited to visit the church,
and inspect its treasures.  She was shown the grave of the first bishop,
Thorlakur, whose memory is cherished as that of a saint; an old
embroidered robe, and a plain gold chalice, both of which probably
belonged to him; and, in an antique chest, some dusty books in the
Iceland dialect, besides three ponderous folios in German, containing the
letters, epistles, and treatises of Martin Luther.

Continuing her journey, she arrived at the little village of Salsun,
which lies at the foot of Mount Hekla.  Here she secured the services of
a guide, and made preparations for the ascent of the famous volcano.
These included the purchase of a store of bread and cheese, and the
supply of a bottle of water for herself, and one of brandy for the guide,
besides long sticks, shod with iron, to steady the adventurers'

The day fixed for the expedition opened brightly and warmly.  At first
the road led through fields of tolerable fertility, covered with a rich
green herbage, soft as velvet; and then traversed patches of black sand,
surrounded by hills, and blocks, and currents of lava.  By degrees it
grew more difficult, and was so encumbered with lava as greatly to impede
the progress of the travellers.  Around and behind them rolled the dark
congealed lava; and it was needful to be constantly on the watch, to
prevent themselves from stumbling, or to avoid rude contact with the
rolling rocks.  Greater still was the danger in the rifts and gorges
filled with snow moistening already in the summer heat; here they
frequently broke through the deceptive crust, or at every step slipped
backwards almost as far as they had advanced.

[Mount Hekla: page159.jpg]

At length they reached a point where it became necessary to leave behind
the horses, and trust entirely to their own strength.  Laboriously, but
undauntedly, Madame Pfeiffer pressed upward.  Yet, as she looked around
on the sterile scene, which seemed to have been swept by a blast of fire,
and on the drear expanse of black lava that surrounded her, Madame
Pfeiffer could scarcely repress a sensation of pain and terror.

They had still, she says, three heights to climb; the last of which was
also the most dangerous.  The path clambered up the rocks which covered
the entire area of the mountain-summit.  Frequent were our traveller's
falls; her hands were sadly wounded by the sharp jagged projections of
the lava; and her eyes suffered severely from the dazzling brilliancy of
the snow that filled every gorge and ravine.

But every obstacle gives way to the resolute; and at last Madame Pfeiffer
stood on the topmost peak of Hekla.  Here she made a discovery: in books
of travel she had read of the crater of Mount Hekla, but a careful survey
convinced her that none existed.  There was neither opening, crevasse,
nor sunken wall; in fact, no sign of a crater.  Lower down on the
mountain-side she detected some wide fissures; and from these, not from
any crater, must have rolled the lava-rivers.  The height of the mountain
is computed at 5110 feet.

During the last hour of the ascent the sun had been veiled in mists, and
from the neighbouring glaciers dense clouds now poured down upon them,
obscuring or concealing the entire prospect.  Fortunately, they gradually
dissolved into snow, which spread a carpet, white and soft and
glittering, over the dreary lava.  The thermometer stood at 29.75 degrees

The snow-storm passed, and the sun once more gladdened earth, and filled
with light the clear blue arch of the firmament.  On her elevated
watchtower stood the adventurous traveller, till the clouds, passing
away, opened up to her wondering gaze the glorious view--glorious, yet
terrible!  It seemed as if the ruins of a burned-up world lay all around:
the wastes were strewn with masses of lava; of life not a sign was
visible; blocks of barren lava were piled upon one another in chaotic
confusion; and vast streams of indurated volcanic matter choked up every

"Here, on the topmost peak of Hekla," writes Madame Pfeiffer, "I could
look down far and wide upon the uninhabited land, the image of a torpid
nature, passionless, inanimate, and yet sublime,--an image which, once
seen, can never be forgotten, and the remembrance of which will
compensate me amply for all the toils and difficulties I have endured.  A
whole world of glaciers, lava-peaks, fields of snow and ice, rivers and
miniature lakes, were comprehended in that magnificent prospect; and the
foot of man had never yet ventured within these regions of gloom and
solitude.  How terrible must have been the resistless fury of the element
which has produced all these changes!  And is its rage now silenced for
ever?  Will it be satisfied with the ruin it has wrought?  Or does it
slumber only to break forth again with renewed strength, and lay waste
those few cultivated spots which are scattered so sparingly throughout
the land?  I thank God that he has allowed me to see this chaos of his
creation; and I doubly thank him that my lot was cast in these fair
plains where the sun does more than divide the day from the night; where
it warms and animates plant-life and animal-life; where it awakens in the
heart of man the deepest feelings of gratitude towards his Maker."

On her way down our traveller discovered that the snow had not melted for
the first five or six hundred feet.  Below that distance the mountain-
sides were enveloped in a shroud of vapour.  That glossy, coal-black,
shining lava, which is never porous, can be found only at Hekla and in
its immediate vicinity; but the other varieties, jagged, porous, and
vitrified, are also met with, though they are invariably black, as is the
sand which covers the side of the mountain.  As the distance from the
volcano increases, the lava loses its jet-black colour, and fades into an

After an absence of twelve hours, Madame Pfeiffer reached Salsun in

Six-and-twenty eruptions of Hekla have been recorded,--the last having
occurred in 1845-46.  One was prolonged for a period of six years,
spreading desolation over a country which had formerly been the seat of a
prosperous settlement, and burying the cultivated fields beneath a flood
of lava, scoriae, and ashes.  During the eruption of 1845-46, three new
crater-vents were formed, from which sprang columns of fire and smoke to
the height of 14,000 feet.  The lava accumulated in formidable masses,
and fragments of scoriae and pumice-stone weighing two hundredweight were
thrown to a distance of a league and a half; while the ice and snow which
had lain on the mountain for centuries were liquefied, and rolled in
devastating torrents over the plains.

Hekla is not the only volcanic mountain of Iceland.  Mounts Leirhnukr and
Krabla, in the northeast, are very formidable; and one of the most
terrible eruptions recorded in the island annals was that of the Skapta
Jokul in 1783.

We have now completed our summary of Madame Pfeiffer's Icelandic
excursions.  From the country we may pass to its inhabitants, and
ascertain the deliberate opinion she had formed of them after an
experience extending over several weeks, and under conditions which
enabled so shrewd an observer as she was to judge them impartially.  Her
estimate of their character is decidedly less favourable than that of her
predecessors; but it is to be noted that in almost every particular it is
confirmed by the latest authority, Captain Burton.  And the evidence goes
to show that they are not the simple, generous, primitive, guileless
Arcadians which it had pleased some fanciful minds to portray.

Their principal occupation consists in the fisheries, which are pursued
with the greatest activity during the months of February, March, and
April.  The people from the interior then stream into the different
harbours, and bargain with the coast-population, the fishermen proper, to
help them for a share of the profits.  On the other hand, in July and
August many of the coast-population penetrate inland, and lend their
services in the hay-harvest, for which they are paid in butter, wool, and
salted lamb.  Others resort to the mountains in search of Iceland moss,
which they mix with milk, and use as an article of food; or grind it into
meal, and make cakes with it, as a substitute for bread.  The labours of
the women consist in preparing the fish for drying, smoking, or salting;
in tending the cattle, in knitting, and gathering moss.  During the
winter season both men and women knit uninterruptedly.

Madame Pfeiffer thinks their hospitality has been overrated, and gives
them credit for the ability to make a good bargain.  In fact, she saw
nothing of that disinterestedness which Dr. Henderson and other
travellers have ascribed to them.  They are intolerably addicted to
brandy-drinking,--indeed, their circumstances would greatly improve if
they drank less and worked more.  They are scarcely less passionately
addicted to snuff-taking, as well as to tobacco-chewing.  Their mode of
taking snuff is peculiar, and certainly not one to be imitated.  Most of
the peasants, and even many of the priests, have no snuff-boxes, but make
use instead of a piece of bone, turned in the shape of a little powder-
horn.  When desirous of indulging in a little titillation, they throw
back their heads, and putting the point of the horn to their nostril,
empty in the snuff.  So little fastidious are these devotees, that they
frequently pass on a horn from nose to nose, without the needless
formality of cleaning it.  The mention of this practice leads Madame
Pfeiffer to comment very severely on the want of cleanliness among the
Icelanders, who are as dirty in their houses as in their persons.

They are also remarkable for their laziness.  There are many ample
stretches of meadow-land at a short distance from the coast, completely
covered with bog, and passable only with great precautions, which the
construction of a few ditches would thoroughly drain.  Capital grass
would then spring up in abundant crops.  It is well known that such will
grow in Iceland, for the hillocks which rise above the swamps are
luxuriantly overgrown with herbage and wild clover.  The best soil is
found, it is said, on the north side of the island, where potatoes grow
very well, and also a few trees--which, however, do not exceed seven or
eight feet in height.  The chief occupation of the northerners is cattle-
breeding, particularly in the interior, where some of the farmers own
three or four hundred sheep, ten or fifteen cows, and a dozen horses.
These, it is true, are exceptional cases; but, as a rule, the population
here are in much better circumstances than the wretched coast-population,
who chiefly rely on the products of their fisheries.

* * * * *

From Iceland Madame Pfeiffer embarked for Copenhagen on the 29th of July,
in the sloop _Haabet_ (the "Hope"), which proved by no means a vessel of
luxurious accommodation.  Our resolute voyager gives an amusing account
of her trials.  The fare, for instance, was better adapted for a hermit
than for a lady of gentle nurture; but it was sublimely impartial, being
exactly the same for captain, mate, crew, and passengers.  For breakfast
they had wretched tea,--or rather, dirty tea-coloured water,--which the
common hands drank without any sugar.  The officers made use of a small
lump of candy, holding it in their mouths, where it melted slowly, while
they swallowed cup after cup to moisten the hard ship-biscuit and rancid

The dinners, however, showed a daily variation.  First, a piece of salted
meat, which, having been soaked and boiled in sea-water, was so
intolerably hard, tough, and salt that it required the digestion of an
ostrich to overtake it.  Instead of soup, vegetables, or dessert, barley
grits were served up, plainly boiled, without salt or butter, and eaten
with syrup and vinegar.  On the second day, the _piece de resistance_ was
a lump of bacon, boiled in salt water; this was followed by the barley
grits.  On the third day, cod-fish and pease; on the fourth, the same
bill of fare as on the first; and so on,--a cup of coffee, without milk,
closing the noonday meal.  The evening's repast resembled that of the
morning, consisting of tea-water and ship-biscuit.

So much for the fare.  As to the "table appointments," they were
miserably meagre.  The cloth was a piece of an old sail, so soiled and
dirty that it effectually deprived Madame Pfeiffer and her
fellow-passengers of any small appetite with which they might have sat
down to dinner.  Madame Pfeiffer began to think that it would be better
to have no cloth at all.  She was mistaken!  One day she saw the steward
belabouring a piece of sailcloth, which was stretched on the deck under
his feet, to receive a good sweeping from the ship's broom.  The numerous
spots of dirt and grease showed plainly that it was the table-cloth; and
that same evening the table was bare.  The consequence was, that the
teapot had no sooner been placed upon it than it began to slide; and
nothing but the captain's adroitness prevented the entire "bill of fare"
from being poured into the laps of the guests.  It then became evident

   A table-cloth all foul and stained
      Is better far than none at all!

The _Hope_ was twenty days at sea, and for twelve days out of sight of
land.  She was wind-driven to the westward, so that her passengers saw
but few of the monsters of the Northern Seas.  They caught sight of the
spout of a single whale in the distance; it rose in the air exactly like
a fountain-jet, but the animal itself was too far off for its huge
outlines to be discernible.  One shark had the gallantry to swim round
them for a few minutes, affording them an opportunity of observing it
closely.  It appeared to be from sixteen to eighteen feet in length.

* * * * *

The "unresting" traveller reached Copenhagen on the 19th of August, and
on the very same day embarked again for Sweden and Norway.

Let us accompany her to Christiania.  This town and its suburbs, the
fortress, the royal castle, the freemasons' lodge, and other buildings,
surmount the noble harbour in a stately semicircle; which, in its turn,
is enclosed by meadows, and woods, and green hills.  As if loath to leave
a scene so charming, the blue sea winds in among the fields and vales to
some distance behind the town.

The best part of Christiania is, not unnaturally, the latest built, where
the streets are broad and long, and the houses, both of brick and stone,
substantial.  In the suburbs, most of the houses are of timber.  Some of
the public edifices are architecturally conspicuous, particularly the new
castle and the fortress, which are finely situated on a commanding
elevation, and enjoy a prospect of great extent and splendid variety.

Madame Pfeiffer was much struck by the diverseness of the conveyances
that dash through the pleasant, breezy streets of this picturesque city.
The most common, but the least convenient, are called _carriols_.  They
consist of a very long, narrow, and uncovered box, strung between two
enormously high wheels, and provided with a very small seat, into which
the passenger must squeeze himself, with outstretched feet, and a
leathern apron drawn over his legs; nor can he, nor dare he, move, from
the moment he gets in until he gets out again.  A place behind is
provided for the coachman, in case the occupant of the _carriol_ is
disinclined to drive; but as it is unpleasant to have the reins shaken
about one's head, and the whip constantly flourishing in one's ears, the
services of a driver are seldom in requisition.  Besides these unshapely
vehicles, there are phaetons, droschkis, chariots, and similar light
conveyances; but no covered carriages.

* * * * *

From Christiania to Stockholm.

At Gothenburg Madame Pfeiffer embarked on board the steamer which plies
on the Gotha Canal, the great water-way, linking streams and lakes, which
affords access to the Swedish capital.  She found herself before long on
the River Gotha, and at Lilla Edet came to the first of the five locks
which occur there.  While the boat was passing through them she had an
opportunity of seeing the Gotha Falls, which, though of no great height,
pour down a considerable volume of water.

Through fir woods, brown with shadows, the canal winds onward to the
magnificent locks of Trollhatten--an engineering achievement of which any
nation might be justly proud.  They are eleven in number, and rise by
gradations to a height of 112 feet in a distance of 3550 feet.  The wide,
deep channel excavated in the rock is literally paved with flagstones;
and these locks mount one above the other like the solitary steps of a
majestic stairway, and almost lay claim to be ranked among the world's

While the steamer passes through the successive barriers the passengers
have time to make an excursion to the falls of Trollhatten, which are
less remarkable for their elevation than for their flood of waters and
the picturesqueness of the surrounding scenery.

Beyond Trollhatten the stream expands to the proportions of a lake, while
a number of green and wooded islands divide it into several channels.
Thence it traverses the Lake of Wenner, which is ten or twelve miles
long, and proceeds onward through a country of no great interest, until
at Sjotorp it passes into the river again.  A few miles further, and it
crosses the Vilkensoc, which, like all the other Swedish lakes, is
charmingly studded with islands.  It lies three hundred and six feet
above the level of the North Sea, and is the culminating point of the
canal, which thence descends through about seventy locks, traversing the
Bottensee and Lake Wetter.

After a tedious journey of five days, Madame Pfeiffer reached the shores
of the Baltic, which are finely indented by bays and rivers, with long
stretches of lofty cliff, and, inland, dense masses of fir woods.  Leaving
the sea again, a short canal conducts the voyager into Lake Malar,
celebrated for its cluster of islands.  The lake at first resembles a
broad river, but soon widens to a great extent; the beauty of the scenery
never fails to excite the traveller's admiration.  It is said that a
thousand isles besprinkle its surface; they are crowded together in the
most picturesque and varied groups, forming streams, and bays, and a
chain of smaller lakes, and continually revealing some new and attractive

Not less charming the shores: sometimes the hills and mountains pass
close to the water, and their steep and rocky sides frown like thunder-
smitten ramparts; but generally the eye is delighted by a constant and
brightly-coloured panorama of meadows, woods, and valleys, villages, and
sequestered farmhouses.  On the summit of a steep declivity a high pole
is erected, to which hangs suspended the hat of the unfortunate King
Erik.  It is said of him, that having fled from the field of battle, he
was here overtaken by one of his soldiers, whose stern reproaches so
stung him to the heart that he drove his spurs into his horse's sides,
and clearing the precipice with a bound, sank for ever beneath the waters
of the lake.  His hat, which fell from his head as he made the plunge, is
preserved as a memorial of a king's remorse.

* * * * *

On arriving at Stockholm, several stalwart women offer us their services
as porters.  They are Dalecarlians, who earn a livelihood by carrying
luggage or water, by rowing boats, and by resorting to other occupations
generally reserved for the stronger sex.  Honest, industrious, capable of
immense fatigue, they never lack employment.  They wear short black
petticoats, red bodices, white chemises with long sleeves, short and
narrow aprons of two colours, red stockings, and shoes with thick wooden
soles.  Around their heads they generally bind a handkerchief, or else
wear a very small black cap, which just covers the back of their hair.

Stockholm proves, on examination, to be a handsome city, situated at the
junction of the Baltic with the Lake Malar; or, more strictly speaking,
on the banks of a short canal which unites the two.  One of its most
conspicuous buildings is the stately Ritterholm Church, which Madame
Pfeiffer describes as resembling rather a vault and an armoury than a
religious edifice.  In the side chapels are enshrined the monuments of
dead Swedish kings, whose bones lie in the royal sepulchres below.  On
both sides of the nave are ranged the equestrian statues of armed
knights; while from every vantage-point hang flags and standards.  The
keys of captured towns and fortresses are suspended in the side chapels,
and drums and kettle-drums piled upon the floor--trophies won from the
enemies of Sweden in the days when she was a great European power.  The
chapels also contain, enclosed in glass-cases, parts of the dress and
armour of some of the Swedish monarchs.  We notice, with keen interest,
the uniform worn by Charles XII.--he

   "Who left a name at which the world grew pale,
   To point a moral or adorn a tale"--

at the time of his death, and the hat penetrated by the fatal shot that
slew the fiery warrior.  A remarkable contrast is afforded by the rich
dress and plumed hat of Bernadotte, the French soldier of fortune, who
founded the present royal house.

The royal palace is a stately structure, and its interior is enriched
with the costliest decoration.  The Ritter-house, the Museum of Ancient
Art, the Crown-Prince's palace, the theatre, the bank, the mint, are all
deserving of inspection.  In the vicinity a trip may be made to the
beautiful and diversified scenery of the Royal Park, or the military
school at Karlberg, or to the ancient royal castle of Gripsholm on the
Lake of Malar.

But our last excursion must be directed, by way of Upsala, to the iron-
mines of Danemora.

The little village of Danemora is embosomed in woods.  It contains a
small church and a few scattered houses of various dimensions.  The
neighbourhood abounds in the usual indications of a mining locality.
Madame Pfeiffer arrived in what is called "the nick of time," and just
opportunely, to witness the blasting of the ore.  From the wide opening
of the largest mine it is possible to see what passes below; and a
strange and wonderful sight it is to peer down into the abyss, four
hundred and eighty feet deep, and observe the colossal entrances to the
various pits, the rocky bridges, the projections, arches, and caverns
excavated in the solid rock.  The miners appear so many puppets; their
movements can hardly be distinguished, until the eye has grown accustomed
to the darkness and to their diminutive size.

At the given moment a match was applied to four trains of gunpowder.  The
man who lighted them immediately sprang back, and hid himself behind a
wall of rock.  In a minute or two came the flash; a few stones were
hurled into the air; and immediately afterwards was heard a loud
detonation, and the shattered mass fell in fragments all around.  Echo
caught up the tremendous explosion, and carried it to the furthest
recesses of the mine; while, to enhance the terror of the scene, one rock
was hardly shivered before another crash was heard, and then a third, and
immediately afterwards a fourth.

[Iron-mine of Danemora: page179.jpg]

The other pits are still deeper, one of them being six hundred feet
beneath the ground; but as they are smaller in their openings, and as the
shafts are not always perpendicular, the gaze is soon lost in the
obscurity, which produces a dismal effect upon the spectator.  The iron
obtained from the Swedish mines is of excellent quality, and large
quantities are annually exported.

* * * * *

Madame Pfeiffer now began her homeward journey, and, by way of Hamburg
and Berlin, proceeded to Dresden.  Thence she returned to Vienna on the
6th of October, after an absence of six months.


Madame Pfeiffer set out on what proved to be her final expedition, on the
21st of May 1856.  She proceeded to Berlin, thence to Amsterdam, Leyden,
Rotterdam; visited London and Paris; and afterwards undertook the voyage
to the Cape of Good Hope.  Here she hesitated for a while in what
direction she should turn her adventurous steps before she pushed forward
to the goal of her hopes--Madagascar.  At length she decided on a visit
to the Mauritius; and it is at this part of her journey that we propose
to take up her record.

[Port Louis, Mauritius: page183.jpg]

She saw much scenery in this rich and beautiful little island that moved
her to admiration.  The volcanic mountains assume the boldest and most
romantic outlines.  The vegetation is of the most luxuriant character.
Each deep gorge or mountain-valley blooms with foliage; and the slopes
are clothed with stately trees, graceful shrubs, and climbing plants;
while shining streams fall from crag to crag in miniature cascades.  Of
course Madame Pfeiffer visited the sugar-cane plantations, which cover
the broad and fertile plains of Pamplemousse.  She learned that the sugar-
cane is not raised from seed, but that pieces of cane are planted.  The
first cane requires eighteen months to ripen; but as, meanwhile, the
chief stem throws out shoots, each of the following harvests can be
gathered in at intervals of twelve months; hence four crops can be
obtained in four years and a half.  After the fourth harvest, the field
must be cleared completely of the cane.  If the land be virgin soil, on
which no former crop has been raised, fresh slips of cane may be planted
immediately, and thus eight crops secured in nine years.  But if such is
not the case, "ambrezades" must be planted--that is, a leafy plant,
growing to the height of eight or nine feet, the leaves of which,
continually falling, decay and fertilize the soil.  After two years the
plants are rooted out, and the ground is once more occupied by a sugar

When the canes are ripe and the harvest begins, every day as many canes
are cut down as can be pressed and boiled at once.  The cane is
introduced between two rollers, set in motion by steam-power, and pressed
until it is quite flat and dry: in this state it is used for fuel.  The
juice is strained successively into six pans, of which the first is
exposed to the greatest heat--the force of the fire being diminished
gradually under each of the others.  In the last pan the sugar is found
half crystallized.  It is then deposited on great wooden tables to cool,
and granulate into complete crystals of about the size of a pin's head.
Lastly, it is poured into wooden colanders, to filter it thoroughly of
the molasses it still contains.  The whole process occupies eight or ten
days.  Before the sugar is packed, it is spread out on the open terraces
to dry for some hours in the sun.

* * * * *

An excursion was made to Mount Orgueil, in order to obtain a panoramic
view of the island-scenery.  On one side the lofty ridge of the Morne
Brabant, connected with the mainland only by a narrow neck of earth,
stretches far out into the sapphire sea; near at hand rises the Piton de
la Riviere Noire, the loftiest summit in the island, two thousand five
hundred and sixty-four feet.  In another direction are visible the green
tops of the Tamarin and the Rempart; and in a fourth, the three-headed
mountain called the Trois Mamelles.  Contiguous to these opens a deep
caldron, two of the sides of which have broken down in ruin, while the
others remain erect and steep.  Besides these mountains, the traveller
sees the Corps de Garde du Port Loris de Mocca; Le Pouce, with its narrow
peak projecting above the plateau like a thumb; and the precipitous Peter

The last-named mountain recalls the memory of the daring Hollander who
first reached its summit, long regarded as impracticable.  He succeeded
in what seemed a hopeless effort by shooting an arrow, to which a strong
cord was attached, over the top.  The arrow fell on the other side of the
mountain, at a point which could be attained without much difficulty.  A
stout rope was then fastened to the cord, drawn over the mountain, and
secured on both sides; and Peter Botte hauled himself up by it to the
topmost crest, and thus immortalized his name.  The ascent has since been
accomplished by English travellers.

A trip was also undertaken to the Trou de Cerf, or "Stag's Hole," a
crater of perfectly regular formation, brimful of bloom and foliage.  As
no sign or mark betrays its whereabouts, the traveller is seized with
astonishment on suddenly reaching its brink.  His astonishment soon wears
off, and he feels an intense delight in contemplating the view before
him.  It comprises three-fourths of the island: majestic mountains
clothed in virgin forests almost to their very crests; wide-spreading
plains, green with the leafiness of the sugar-cane plantations; cool
verdurous valleys, where the drowsy shadows softly rest; and beyond and
around the blue sea with a fringe of snow-white foam marking the
indentations of the coast.

* * * * *

On the 25th of April 1857 Madame Pfeiffer sailed for Madagascar, and
after a six-days' voyage reached the harbour of Tamatave.

Madagascar, the reader may be reminded, is, next to Borneo, the largest
island in the world.  It is separated from the African mainland by the
Mozambique Channel, only seventy-five miles wide.  It stretches from lat.
12 to 25 degrees S., and long. 40 to 48 degrees E.  Its area is about ten
thousand geographical square miles.

[The Traveller's Tree: page189.jpg]

Madagascar contains forests of immense extent, far-reaching plains and
valleys, rivers, lakes, and great chains of mountains, which raise their
summits to an elevation of ten or twelve thousand feet.  The climate is
tropical, the vegetation remarkable for abundance and variety.  The chief
products are gums and odoriferous balsams, sugar, tobacco, maize, indigo,
silk, spices.  The woods yield many valuable kinds of timber, and almost
every fruit of the Torrid Zone, besides the curious and useful
Traveller's Tree.  Palms are found in dense and beautiful groves; and
among them is the exquisite water-palm, or lattice leaf-plant.  In the
animal kingdom Madagascar possesses some remarkable forms; as, for
instance, the makis, or half-ape, and the black parrot.  The population
consists of four distinct races: the Kaffirs, who inhabit the south; the
Negroes, who dwell in the west; the Arabs in the east; and in the
interior the Malays, among whom the Hovas are the most numerous and the
most civilized.

* * * * *

Tamatave, when visited by Madame Pfeiffer looked like a poor but very
large village, with between four and five thousand inhabitants.  Of late
years, however, it has grown into a place of much commercial importance.
There are some decent houses; but the natives live chiefly in small huts,
which are scattered over a wide area, with scarcely any attempt at
regularity of arrangement.  These huts are supported on piles from six to
ten feet high.  They are built of wood or of bamboo, thatched with long
grass or palm-leaves; and they contain only one room, of which the
fireplace occupies a disproportionate share.  Windows are wanting, but
light and air are admitted through two opposite doors.

The bazaar is situated in the middle of the village, on an irregular
piece of ground, and is distinguished alike by its dirt and poverty.  The
articles exposed for sale are only a supply of beef, some sugar-cane,
rice, and a few fruits; and the whole stock of one of the dealers would
be dear at a couple of shillings.  The oxen are slaughtered on the spot,
and their flesh sold in thick hunches, with the skin, which is esteemed a
great delicacy.  Meat is not bought according to weight, but the size of
each piece is measured by the eye.

The Tamatavians are principally Malagasys; and, physically, their
appearance does not recommend them.  They have wide mouths, with thick
lips; their noses are broad and flat; their chins protrude; their cheek-
bones are disagreeably prominent.  Their complexion may be any shade of a
muddy brown.  Generally, their teeth are regular, and very white; but
against this redeeming trait must be put their hideous hair, which is
coal-black, very long, very woolly, and very coarse.  When worn in all
its natural amplitude, its effect is curiously disagreeable.  The face
seems lost in a "boundless convexity" of thick frizzled hair, which
stands out in every direction.  But, usually, the men cut their hair
quite short at the back of the head, leaving only a length of six or
eight inches in front, which stands upright, like a hedge of wool.  Much
pride is felt in their "head of hair" by the women, and even by some of
the men; and, unwilling to shorten so ornamental an appendage, they plait
it into numerous little tails.  Some coquettishly allow these tails to
droop all about their head; others twist them together into a band or
bunch, covering the top of the head like a cap.  No wonder that much time
is spent in the preparation of so complex a head-gear; but then, on the
other hand, when once made up it will last for several days.

Now as to the costume of these interesting semi-savages.  Their articles
of clothing are two in number--the _sadik_ and the _simbre_.  The former,
which by many natives is considered quite sufficient, is a strip of cloth
worn round the loins.  The simbre is a piece of white stuff, about four
yards long and three broad, which is worn much like a toga.  As it is
constantly coming loose, and every minute needing adjustment, it is an
exceedingly troublesome though not ungraceful garment, keeping one hand
of the wearer almost constantly employed.

Males and females wear the same attire, except that the latter indulge in
a little more drapery, and often add a third article--a short tight
jacket, called _kanezu_.

Simple as is the clothing of the Malagasy, their food is not less simple.
At every meal, rice and anana are the principal or only dishes.  Anana is
a vegetable very much like spinach, of a by no means disagreeable flavour
in itself, but not savoury when cooked with rancid fat.  Fish is
sometimes eaten, but not often--for indolence is a great Malagasy
quality--by those who dwell on the borders of rivers or on the sea-shore;
meat and poultry, though both are cheap, are eaten only on special
occasions.  The natives partake of two meals--one in the morning, the
other in the evening.

The rice and anana are washed down with _ranugang_, or rice-water, thus
prepared: Rice is boiled in a vessel, and purposely burned, until a crust
forms at the bottom.  The water is poured on, and allowed to boil.  The
water in colour resembles pale coffee, and in taste is abominable to a
European palate.  The natives, however, esteem it highly, and not only
drink the water, but eat the crust.

* * * * *

One of the great ceremonies of Madagascar, the royal bath-feast, is
described by Madame Pfeiffer.  It is celebrated on the Malagasy
New-Year's Day, and has some curious features.  On the eve, all the high
officers, nobles, and chiefs are invited to court; and assembling in a
great hall, partake of a dish of rice, which is handed round to each
guest with much solemnity that he may take a pinch with his fingers and
eat.  Next day, all reassemble in the same place; and the queen steps
behind a curtain, which hangs in a corner of the room, undresses, and
submits to copious ablutions.  Assuming her clothes, she comes forward,
holding in her hand an ox-horn that has been filled with water from her
bath; and this she sprinkles over the assembled company--reserving a
portion for the soldiers drawn up on parade beneath her window.

Throughout the country this day is an occasion of festivity, and dancing,
singing, and feasting are kept up till a late hour.  Nor does the revel
end then; it is prolonged for eight days.  The people on the first day
are accustomed to kill as many oxen as will supply them with meat for the
whole period; and no man who possesses a herd, however small, fails to
kill at least one for this annual celebration.  The poor exchange rice,
and tobacco, and several potatoes, for pieces of meat.  These pieces are
long thin strips; and being salted, and laid one upon another, they keep
tolerably well until the eighth day.

Madame Pfeiffer had an opportunity of witnessing the dances, but did not
find them very interesting.

Some girls beat a little stick with all their might against a thick stem
of bamboo; while others sang, or rather howled, at their highest and
loudest pitch.  Then two of the ebony beauties stepped forward, and began
to move slowly to and fro on a small space of ground, half lifting their
arms, and turning their hands, first outwards, and then towards their
sides.  Next, one of the men made his _debut_.  He tripped about much in
the same style as the dusky _danseuses_, only with greater energy; and
each time he approached any of the women or girls, he made gestures
expressive of his love and admiration.

* * * * *

Our traveller obtained permission to enter into the interior of the
island, and to visit Antananarivo, {197} the capital.  As she approached
it, she could see it picturesquely planted on a high hill that rose out
of the broad and fertile inland plain; and after a pleasant journey
through rich and beautiful scenery, she came upon the suburbs, which
enclose it on all sides.

The suburbs at first were villages; but they have gradually expanded
until they have been formed into a compact aggregate.  Most of the houses
are built of earth or clay; but those belonging to the city must, by
royal decree, be constructed of planks, or at least of bamboo.  They are
all of a larger size than the dwellings of the villagers; are much
cleaner, and kept in better condition.  The roofs are very high and
steep, with long poles reared at each end by way of ornament.  Many
houses, and sometimes groups of three or four houses, are surrounded by
low ramparts of earth, apparently for no other purpose than to separate
the courtyards from the neighbouring tenements.  The streets and squares
are all very irregularly built: the houses are not placed in rows, but in
clusters,--some at the foot of the hill, others on its slopes.  The royal
palace crowns the summit.

Madame Pfeiffer expressing her surprise at the number of
lightning-conductors that everywhere appeared, was informed that perhaps
in no other part of the world were thunderstorms so frequent or so fatal.
She was told that, at Antananarivo, about three hundred people were
killed by lightning every year.

The interior of the town was in appearance exactly like one of the
suburbs, except that the houses were built of planks or of bamboo.

At the time of Madame Pfeiffer's visit, the sovereign of Madagascar was
Queen Ranavala, memorable for her sanguinary propensities, her hatred of
Europeans, and her persecution of the Christian converts.  It proves the
extraordinary power of fascination which our traveller possessed, that
she obtained from this feminine despot so many concessions--being allowed
to travel about the island with comparative freedom, and being even
admitted to the royal presence.  The latter incident is thus described:--

Towards four o'clock in the afternoon her bearers carried Madame Pfeiffer
to the palace, over the door of which a great gilded eagle expands its
wings.  According to rule, in stepping across the threshold the visitor
put her right foot foremost; and this ceremony she also observed on
entering, through a second gateway, the spacious courtyard in front of
the palace.  Here the queen was visible, being seated on a balcony on the
first story, and Madame Pfeiffer and her attendants were directed to
stand in a row in the courtyard opposite to her.  Under the balcony some
soldiers were going through divers evolutions, which concluded, comically
enough, by suddenly lifting up the right foot as if it had been stung by
a wasp.

The queen was attired in a wide silk simbre, and wore on her head a large
golden crown.  Though she sat in the shade, a very ample umbrella of
crimson silk--throughout the East a sign of royal dignity--was held over
her head.  She was of rather dark complexion, strongly and even sturdily
built, and, though seventy-five years of age, remarkably healthy and
active.  On her right stood her son, Prince Rakoto; and on her left, her
adopted son, Prince Ramboasalama.  Behind her were gathered nephews,
nieces, and other relatives, and the dignitaries and grandees of her

The minister who had conducted Madame Pfeiffer and her companion--M.
Lambert, a French adventurer, who played a conspicuous part in the
affairs of Madagascar--addressed a short speech to the queen; after which
the visitors had to bow thrice, and to repeat the words, "Esaratsara
tombokoc" (We salute you cordially); to which she replied, "Esaratsara"
(We salute you).  They then turned to the left to salute King Radama's
tomb, which was close at hand, with three similar bows; afterwards
returning to their former position in front of the balcony, and making
three more.  M. Lambert next held up a gold piece of eighty francs value,
and placed it in the hands of the minister who had introduced them.  This
gift, which is expected from every stranger when first presented, is
called "Monosina."  The queen then asked M. Lambert if he wished to put
any question to her, or if he needed anything, and also addressed a
remark or two to Madame Pfeiffer.  The bowings and greetings were then
resumed; obeisance was paid to King Radama's monument; and the visitors,
as they retired, were again cautioned not to put the left foot first over
the threshold.

The royal palace is (or was) a very large timber building, consisting of
a ground-floor and two stories, surmounted by a singularly high-pitched
roof.  Each story is surrounded by a broad gallery.  The roof is
supported on wooden pillars, eighty feet high, and rises forty feet above
them, resting in the centre on a pillar not less than a hundred and
twenty feet in height.  All these columns are fashioned each from a
single trunk; and when it is considered, says our authority, that the
forests containing trees of sufficient size for this purpose lie fifty or
sixty miles from the capital, that the roads are nowhere paved, and in
some places are quite impassable, and that all the pillars are dragged to
the capital without the help of a beast of burden or any single machine,
and are afterwards wrought and set up with the simplest tools, the
erection of this palace may justly be called a gigantic undertaking, and
the palace itself ranked among the wonders of the world.

The government of Madagascar has always been Draconian in its severity,
and the penalty exacted for almost every offence is blood.  Some of the
unfortunates are burned; others are hurled over a high rock; others
buried alive; others scalded to death with boiling water; others killed
with the spear; others sewn up alive in mats, and left to perish of
hunger and corruption; and others beheaded.  Recourse is not unfrequently
had to poison, which is used as a kind of ordeal or test.  This is
applicable to all classes; and as any one may accuse another, on
depositing a certain sum of money,--and as, moreover, no accused person
is allowed to defend himself,--the ordeal does not fall into disrepute
for want of use.  If the accused endures it without perishing, a third
part of the deposit is awarded to him, a third part goes to the court,
and the remainder is returned to the accuser.  But if the accused die,
his guilt is considered to have been established, and the accuser
receives back the whole of his money.

The poisoning process takes place as follows:--

The material employed is obtained from the kernel of a fruit as large as
a peach, called the _Tanghinia venenifera_.  The lampi-tanghini, or
person who administers the poison, announces to the accused the day on
which the perilous dose is to be swallowed.  For eight-and-forty hours
before the prescribed time he is allowed to eat very little, and for the
last twenty-four hours nothing at all.  His friends accompany him to the
poisoner's house.  There he undresses, and takes oath that he has had no
recourse to magic.  The lampi-tanghini then scrapes away as much powder
from the kernel with a knife as he judges necessary for the trial.  Before
administering the dose, he asks the accused if he confesses his crime;
which the accused never does, because under any circumstances he would
have to swallow the poison.  The said poison is spread upon three little
pieces of skin, each about an inch in size, cut from the back of a plump
fowl.  These he rolls together, and administers to the supposed culprit.

"In former days," says Madame Pfeiffer, "almost every person who was
subjected to this ordeal died in great agony; but for the last ten years
any one not condemned by the queen herself to take the tanghin, is
allowed to make use of the following antidote.  As soon as he has taken
the poison, his friends make him drink rice-water in such quantities that
his whole body sometimes swells visibly, and quick and violent vomiting
is brought on.  If the poisoned man be fortunate enough to get rid not
only of the poison, but of the three little skins (which latter must be
returned uninjured), he is declared innocent, and his relations carry him
home in triumph, with songs and rejoicings.  But if one of the pieces of
skin should fail to reappear, or if it be at all injured, his life is
forfeited, and he is executed with the spear, or by some other means."

* * * * *

During Madame Pfeiffer's stay at Antananarivo a conspiracy broke out,
provoked by the queen's cruelty.  It failed, however, in its object; and
those concerned in it were mercilessly punished.  The Christians became
anew exposed to the suspicions and wrath of Ranavala; and Madame Pfeiffer
and her companions found themselves in a position of great peril.  The
royal council debated vehemently the question, Whether they should be put
to death? and this being answered in the affirmative, What death they
should die?  Happily, Prince Rakoto interfered, pointing out that the
murder of Europeans would not be allowed to pass unavenged, but would
bring down upon Madagascar the fleets and armies of the great European
powers.  This argument finally prevailed; and Madame Pfeiffer and the
other Europeans, six in all, then in Antananarivo, were ordered to quit
it immediately.  They were only too thankful to escape with their lives,
and within an hour were on their way to Tamatave, escorted by seventy
Malagasy soldiers.  They had good cause to congratulate themselves on
their escape, for on the very morning of their departure ten Christians
had been put to death with the most terrible tortures.

The journey to Tamatave was not without its dangers and difficulties, and
Madame Pfeiffer, who had been attacked with fever, suffered severely.  The
escort purposely delayed them on the road; so that, instead of reaching
the coast in eight days, the time actually occupied was three-and-fifty.
This was the more serious, because the road ran through low-lying and
malarious districts.  In the most unhealthy spots, moreover, the
travellers were left in wretched huts for a whole week, or even two
weeks; and frequently, when Madame Pfeiffer was groaning in a violent
excess of fever, the brutal soldiers dragged her from her miserable
couch, and compelled her to continue her journey.

At length, on the 12th of September, she arrived at Tamatave; broken-down
and unutterably weary and worn, but still alive.  Ill as she was, she
gladly embarked on board a ship which was about to sail for the
Mauritius; and reaching that pleasant island on the 22nd, met with a
hearty welcome from her friends--to whom, indeed, she was as one who had
been dead and was alive again.

The mental and physical sufferings she had undergone, combined with the
peculiar effects of the fever, now brought on an illness of so serious a
character that for long the doctors doubted whether her recovery was
possible.  On her sixtieth birthday, the 14th of October, they pronounced
the brave lady out of danger; but, in fact, her constitution had received
a fatal shock.  The fever became intermittent in its attacks, but it
never wholly left her; though she continued, with unabated energy and
liveliness, to lay down plans for fresh expeditions.  She had made all
her preparations for a voyage to Australia, when a return of her disease,
in February 1858, compelled her to renounce her intention, and to direct
her steps homeward.

Early in the month of June she arrived in London, where she remained for
a few weeks.  Thence she repaired to Berlin.

Her strength was now declining day by day, though at first she seemed to
regard her illness as only temporary, and against the increasing physical
weakness her mind struggled with its usual activity.  About September,
she evinced a keen anxiety to behold her home once more,--evidently
having arrived at a conviction that her end was near.  She was carefully
conveyed to Vienna, and received into the house of her brother, Charles
Reyer; where, at first, the influence of her native air had an
invigorating effect.  This gave way after a week or two, and her illness
returned with augmented force.  During the last days of her life, opiates
were administered to relieve her sufferings; and in the night between the
27th and 28th of October she passed away peacefully, and apparently
without pain,--leaving behind her the memory of a woman of matchless
intrepidity, surprising energy, and heroic fixity of purpose.


{105} Since Madame Pfeiffer's time this mode of self-torture has been
prohibited by the British Government.

{197} That is, the "City of a Thousand Towns."

{204} We give Madame Pfeiffer's account, as an illustration of the old
ways of Madagascar society.  But the poison-ordeal has of late been
abandoned, owing to Christian influence.


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