COUNTRY WAYS AND COUNTRY FOLK (CONTINUED)
 NEXT we pass a string of heavily-laden mules, and now a farm-cart drawn by big, sleepy-looking
oxen. The Portuguese have seen no reason to change the build of their farm-carts since the
old days of the Roman occupation. The wheels have no spokes, they are almost solid, and
instead of turning round on the axle as ours do, the axle is fixed in and revolves with
them. The body of the cart is just a flat board with upright sticks round the edge,
against which side planks can be propped if required. When first you see these odd-looking
carts, they strike you as having come out of some prehistoric picture-book.
Away on the right a field is being ploughed, and the plough, like the cart, is of the same
pattern as those used by the Romans—a very primitive affair. Just a wooden spike
shod with iron, which scratches shallow furrows in the earth. It is being drawn by a great
big ox and a very small donkey. The ploughman has a little boy to help him, who carries a
long pole with which to clear away the earth that
 clogs the plough. Man and boy have been at work since very early morning, and they will go
on till six or seven in the evening. All day long, hour after hour, they sing a monotonous
kind of chant in a minor key, only about two lines, repeated over and over again, and it
sounds as though there were no real words to it. It is just such a tune, or want of tune,
as may be heard any day on the east coast of Africa, sung by native boat-boys.
THE FARM CART OF THE COUNTRY.
It is a legacy from the early days when the country was held by the Moors. The Southern
Portuguese more especially have retained many Moorish customs, and the peasants have a
very distinctly Moorish type of face, with the inscrutable expression which may so often
be seen among Eastern peoples.
There are many Arab wells or shadufs in the country. A beam is placed
horizontally between two pillars, and on this is balanced a long pole, to one end of which
a weight (very often a large stone) is attached, and to the other, by means of a rope, a
bucket. A pull on the rope lets the bucket down into the well; when full the rope is let
go, and the weight at the other end raises the water.
With a few exceptions, in some of the larger towns, nearly all the shops are
Eastern-looking. They have no smart plate-glass windows in which to show off their pretty
merchandise; often they have hardly any window at all, but just a big doorway, through
 which you look into a dark passage, where the various goods for sale hang on the walls and
from the ceiling.
The Portuguese have many other Eastern ways: for instance, if they wish to send you
farther from them, they make a sign with the hand which we should take to be beckoning you
nearer, and if they want you to approach, they would seem to be motioning you
away—both of which signs are entirely Eastern.
They have also retained from the Moors a love of coloured tiles for decorating their
houses, and even their churches, both inside and out. There are many factories at Lisbon
and Oporto where these tiles are made, but they never now attain the beauty of the old
Moorish ones, which are still to be seen here and there throughout the country. It is a
But we have left our plough far behind, and are coming to a few cottages and a small
wayside inn. A bush hangs over the door to show that wine is sold, the time-honoured sign
which was used long ago in England, and from which the saying comes, "Good wine needs no
Outside, tied to rings fastened in the wall, stand two or three donkeys, a pony, and a
mule, all very tired and dejected-looking, while lolling in the doorway, or sitting on a
bench inside, are their masters, drinking the good red wine of the country,
 of which they can buy a large bottle for the modest sum of forty ries, or about
They are fond of a glass of wine, but you will see little or no drunkenness, except
occasionally on a Sunday. Close to the inn is the old stone watering-place, the
fonte, as it is called, whence, out of the mouth of a quaintly-carved stone head, a
fresh stream of water, cool and clear from the mountains, is ever flowing. All over the
country, wherever there are a few houses together, and at the street corners in the towns,
may be seen these stone watering-places and fountains, where the brightly-dressed
peasant-women fill their large earthenware jars, carrying them away balanced on their
heads, where the lads and maidens wrangle good-humouredly over whose turn it is next,
where the children play and dabble in the water, and the gossips meet to talk over the
A GOSSIP AT THE FOUNTAIN.
There is a small boy running about on sturdy, bare brown legs, hands thrust deep into the
pockets of his ragged and patched little breeches, which are kept up by the usual sash,
worn by men and boys alike, and wound round and round the waist. His shirt is open at the
neck, and on his head he wears the cap of the country, a long worsted bag, drawn well over
the ears, and hanging almost to the shoulder.
These caps are always either black, or bright
 green with a scarlet stripe round the opening, and, as we are soon to realize, serve many
useful purposes, as well as that of covering the head.
The little urchin, seeing we are strangers, comes up to have a good look at us, and out of
idle curiosity we tisk his name. He gives us a string of them, which sounds fitting for a
young prince—Henriques Quintino Rodrigues de Monserrate, the latter being probably
the name of the village he lives in. Finding us less interesting than he had hoped, our
small friend proceeds to remove his cap and to play with something at the bottom of it,
which he exhibits with great pride to another child who has come out of one of the
cottages. He eventually pulls it out, and we see that it is a very large black beetle! His
hand goes in again and draws out another, and yet another, and his three treasures are put
down to crawl about on the steps leading up to the watering-place. At last, tired even of
this engrossing amusement, he grabs hold of them again, and drops them one by one into the
recesses of the cap, which he then proceeds to replace upon his head. When remonstrated
with, he quite fails to catch our point, and assures us that there could be no safer place
for carrying black beetles.
We have lingered enough, and must be going on our way. The whole valley seems
transfigured, and all things loom fairylike through a golden haze as
 we look towards the setting sun. We wander on through an orchard of orange and lemon
trees, with their wealth of golden fruit and tender white blossom, the fallen fruit lying
beneath the trees, as do the apples in an orchard at home when shaken by the winds of
autumn. We meet an old priest, in wide-brimmed hat and long soutane, who smiles benignly
on us. He passes on, and the sound of a church bell, calling to prayer, floats softly up