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MADEIRA AND THE AZORES
ROLL thou deep and dark blue ocean-roll !
- LORD BYRON.
may vary his route somewhat by stopping at the Azores or Madeira and getting a glimpse of semitropical life; if he prolongs his stay in one of these archipelagoes, or better yet plans to visit them both, and includes also the Canaries, he will have a series of experiences which will prove novel and entertaining. A tour around the several islands proves that each has its own charms, customs and individuality. The three archipelagoes are so many tiny worlds, blessed with a mild and benignant climate; most of the islands forming them are still remote from the prosaic, progressive life of England or America, and each one of them possesses new and interesting features which arrest and hold the attention of every traveler.
One may visit with safety the islands at any time of the year, for when blizzards rage in America and the valleys of Europe are deep in snow and ice, the precipices of Madeira, the forests of La Palma, the mountain-peaks of Teneriffe and the irrigated valleys of Grand Canary are bathed in sunshine; and when the heat of summer annoys and oppresses Americans and Europeans alike, the mountain summits of the archipelagoes are at their best. They stand for months together above the clouds in a world of their own, where the exhilarating atmosphere allows of constant exercise under most favorable conditions.
Madeira, the largest of the five islands in the group bearing its name, is about thirty-three miles long and one-third as broad, with a population of one hundred and fifty thousand people. It has been called neglected paradise,” partly because it is off the travel line, but recently it has come into prominence through the Mediterranean tours, and on an average a halfdozen ships a day enter the harbor. Funchal is on the southern side of Madeira, and as the ship sails along the coast for some thirty miles, vineyards, meadow-lands and gardens are seen, adding to the beauty of the landscape. Now and then a waterfall, apparently five hundred to one thousand feet in height, adds to the semi-tropical picture.
Madeira is a province of Portugal and is entitled to send deputies to the Cortes at Lisbon. The administration is in the hands of a Civil Governor, appointed
ROMANCE OF COLUMBUS
by the Crown, a military officer and his troops and four chief judges, while minor cases are tried by magistrates selected by the people.
Many of the Madeirans hope that America, now that it has the Philippines, much farther from the western coast than Madeira is from the eastern coast, will add their islands also; it is needless to add that there is no immediate prospect of a fulfilment of their dreams.
American travelers are interested in the story that Columbus followed a maiden whom he saw at school in Portugal to her home in Madeira, where they were married in 1473. The father of Meninea Perestrella, the maiden from Funchal, was a mariner, and it is said that Columbus obtained his first taste for a seafaring life by studying his charts and by going with him on trading expeditions. A Biscayan vessel drifted into Funchal and its survivors were cared for by Columbus, but they were so far famished that they did not live long. The pilot bequeathed to Columbus his charts and papers, from which the discoverer of America obtained his first ideas of the existence of unknown lands to the west of Spain. A tablet, bearing the name of the great navigator, may be found on a house near the cathedral.
Eight days out the cruising steamer for Mediterranean ports makes her first stop, entering the beautiful harbor of Funchal, and finds the flag of the Lisbon Government floating over the public buildings. Looking from the ship's deck one sees the dazzling
white walls of Funchal surrounded by vivid green. Some one first coined the epigram which is repeated often by those who visit Madeira: “a diamond set in emeralds. A dozen boats, each with two boys stripped to the waist, come alongside the steamer, and the boys urge tourists to throw silver coins into the water that they may dive for them. New travelers gratify their desire to see the urchins disappear; sometimes two dive from different boats. What happens when they are out of sight no one knows, but there is no appearance of bloodshed when they reappear, and in every case the coin is secured before it touches the bottom of the harbor.
In the center of Funchal is the Governor's Palace, and over the door of the courtyard is the date of its completion—1638. The building is a huge pile of masonry without a window on the inner walls. The outer walls are bare plaster and stained by their nearly three centuries of existence. The Public Gardens near the Governor's Palace are extremely beautiful, and the trees are properly labelled for those who can read botanical Latin.
Travel in Madeira is not without its interesting features, although there is neither trolley nor elevated roads nor subway trains; now and then an automobile is seen, but not greatly patronized, as visitors prefer the wicker sledges or carros which are drawn by teams
The bullocks, with their long horns through which leather thongs are thrust, have the novel experi