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COASTING ON COBBLE-STONES
ence of having two drivers—one pulling and one prodding. Now and then one of the drivers stops to grease the runners of the sledges that glide over the tops of the cobbles, which glisten like street-car rails. Other forms of travel in Madeira are hammocks swung by a pole to the shoulders of the carriers, tram-cars drawn by three horses each, a funicular railway which carries one up the mountainside, and finally a journey down two miles from the top of the mountain in sledges piloted by natives who push or ride according to the condition of the road at various
TOBOGGAN SLIDE, FUNCHAL places.
The conductors of these peculiar vehicles seem exhausted every time they pass a wine shop, and while not able to speak the language of their passengers, they make it very plain that nothing but a glass of wine for each aitendant will enable the party to reach
the bottom of the hill in safety. One gets plenty of thrills coasting down the hill, especially when the way crooks in and out between vineyard walls, or he suddenly emerges from a gorge and finds himself overlooking miles of land and sea. The average speed of the descent is twenty miles an hour, but in places the sledges go down so rapidly that even the conductors cannot keep pace, and, looking behind, one sees them standing on the runners. When the end of the journey is reached and the men have received their money, one of them puts the sledge on his head and carries it up the steep incline down which it has just
As many of these sledges seat three persons, one can form an opinion of the weight, and of the difficulty which the bearers have in climbing certain parts of the hill.
For this labor the sledge-men receive from the company twenty cents a day; it is little wonder that they seek gratuities from generous passengers !
An interesting street in Funchal runs along the shore of the bay to the ancient fortress four centuries old, and now dismantled, which is carved out of solid rock. The fortress, standing on a crag, is connected with the shore by a long breakwater, and its dungeons, with their unwritten stories, are visited with a bit of horror. Above the two hundred and fifty feet of perpendicular rock is the Casino, or Strangers' Club, as it is called.
A ball in honor of the various cruises which stop at PECULIAR BANKING SYSTEM
Funchal is given at the Casino, which becomes a veritable fairyland when illuminated at night. Experienced travelers declare that nothing more brilliant
more fascinating can be seen on the journey. Thousands of fairy lamps-many thousands of themsmall glasses containing olive oil and a little taper which floats on the oil, are hung on the trees. With their varied hues and artistic arrangement they present a picture which does not soon fade from memory. So near the Casino do the ships anchor that the few people who do not attend the entertainments can see the illumination from the decks. The ladies in the ballroom surpass in brilliancy the decorations about the grounds. This does not mean that every lady is equally well dressed, but that is a delicate subject for a masculine mind to dwell upon. It is fair to add, however, that overdressing or other eccentricity in gowns is exceedingly rare; so rare, in fact, that those guilty of the excess are especially noticeable.
In the room adjoining the ballroom are two tables, around which people sit and on which money
is scattered from time to time. Midway on the tables is a depression with a wheel attached, which one of the men, apparently the president of a bank in Funchal, judging by the term used, whirls and then slips a marble into the depression. When its momentum ceases the marble drops into the center of the depression, and the banker calls out some number like “seven” or “twenty-seven.
Then he thrusts out
a miniature garden rake and pulls all of the money toward him; once in a while he leaves a quarter or a half-dollar or a corresponding piece of money on the table and pushes back other quarters or half-dollars toward one or another of his depositors. It seems to a casual observer that his deposits exceed his disbursements; probably this is true in American as well as
Madeiran banks; or they could not pay a satisfactory interest to their customers.
The native needlework in Funchal is exceptionally fine, and ladies from the ships carry away some dainty creation showing the deft skill of the workers. Among the points of interest in and about the city are the Cathedral and the Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte (Our Lady of the Mount), the latter almost two thou
EASE AND IDLENESS POPULAR
sand feet above the city, and undoubtedly the ost beautiful spot around Funchal, if any locality may be thus singled out in a region of such abounding beauty and sub-tropical luxuriance. The Praza,” or Public Gardens, and the private gardens along the Rue Bella Vista and in the suburbs, invite a visit, while many excursions in and around the city can be taken in an automobile or on ox-sledges.
The rooms of the Methodist Episcopal Mission are near the Public Gardens. Bishop Hartzell personally assumed the financial responsibility of superintending and enlarging the work, in 1898, which the Rev. and Mrs. William G. Smart, and those associated with them, had been carrying forward for nearly twenty years.
That work includes a Home in Funchal for missionaries of all churches and other Christian people, mission work among the Portuguese of the island, a Sailors’ Rest on the shore, and religious work on ships in the harbor. Mr. and Mrs. Smart are aided by the Rev. G. B. Nind and his wife and other assistants, American and Portuguese. The British and Foreign Sailors' Society of London and the American Seamen's Friend Society of New York approve this work and contribute annually to aid these faithful laborers among the sailors who enter this wonderful harbor in the East. Life in Funchal for the rich is one of ease and idle
The residents, who for the most part live in their “quintas," closed-in gardens in the mountains,