Fellow Passengers

Character of Monseigneur Vidigall

As we are in daily expectation of arriving at the point of our destination – and as I think it best now to say something concerning our passengers who will so soon leave us. The first then who claims our attention on account of his official rank and importance is Monseigneur Vidigal late Ambassador of his Brazilian Majesty at the Court of Rome and having the title, tho’ [not] the see, of a Bishop.

Instead of finding him to be a person puffed up with a sense of his dignity, and expecting every one else to give place to him, his manners were soon seen to be exceeding pleasing and affable. He affected No stately airs, nor treated any one with supercilious contempt; on the contrary he was the very essence of politeness – and took off his hat bowing at the same time to all who chose to salute him, however low his rank might be. Of his own accord too he was the first to exhibit these external marks of civility to many of us who would not venture to do so ourselves, not knowing how our attention might be received. His habits are retiring and quiet – and altho’ he says little unless addressed, his smile prepossesses one in his favour, as much as if he had uttered the most flattering and civil compliments to you. – Perhaps you will tell me that this smile is habitual to him, and is merely a trick of diplomacy which he has learned successfully to practice, and which no ambassador who wishes to gain his object ought to be without. Such a construction as this I am most unwillingly to put upon his conduct – for during a close intercourse of two months, I have never found his placid and condescending temper to vary – so that it must be natural and habitual to him. He lives extremely modestly as to wine, never exceeding a glass or two – he eats little, and he retires very early from table. His age might be about 68 or 70 – to judge from his infirmity of body and his venerable grey hairs. His dress is plain but gentlemanly, except on those occasions when he goes ashore in his official capacity. He occupies the captain’s state cabin – while the Captain himself has slept in a cot or better kind of hammock.

Taking then, the character of Mons.r Vidigal, all in all, I would say at once that, by his affability and gentleness, he has rendered himself liked by all the Ships Company. I had almost forgot to tell you of an Instance of his politeness, which [I] regarded myself. When at Pernambuco he invited M. E.d Williams and myself to dine with him, and the rest of the cabin Passengers at the English Hotel. M.r Williams complied with the invitation, and partook of an elegant and abundant dinner – but I was under the necessity of going on board on professional matters.

Senhor Rangel

The next person I shall mention is Senhor Rangel a native of Rio de Janeiro and private secretary to the ambassador. He is a young man, of most and gentlemanly manners, with whom I cultivated a close intimacy during the voyage. He appears to have received a most liberal education – and to have accompanied His Excellency to Italy, chiefly with the view of adding to his Store of knowledge. For this purpose he attended an Italian University for 2 years – and such was the success, with which he prosecuted his studies, and the approbation of his professors, that he has obtained the degree of ‘Baccalaurius atrium.’ Being endowed also with a taste for the classics he has visited with enthusiasm the various monuments of ancient art and industry which are to be seen in the native country of all the old victors of the World. The turn of his mind is serious and hence I suspect that he has some intention of adopting the clerical profession. He seems to possess much general knowledge – and a day seldom passes, in which he is to seen with a book, connecting with some department either of the arts or sciences. Among other things he has made very considerable progress in attaining a knowledge of the English language. His character may then be described as that of a young man of gentle and pleasant manners well informed – and who has seen with improvement and advantage “Men and Kings” – in foreign countries.

Senhor Miguel Rebeiro Franco

Is the third personage, to whom I shall introduce you – but it is rather more difficult to describe his character. As far as I can understand from his imperfect and broken English, he is a Manufacturer of cotton &.c Lisboa (Lisbon) and Capt.n of the Cacadores or Militia. When the present disturbances broke out in that city, he declared for Don Pedro – and, as a matter of course, became obnoxious to the adherents of Don Miguel. To save himself from any active measures on the part of Franco – in favour of Don Pedro, Don Miguel, clapped him up in prison, from which he was allowed to go out only on condition that he should confine himself strictly to his own house. It appears, however that Don Miguel soon repented of this clemency – and sent an order to have Franco again arrested, with a view of silencing his opposition for ever by putting him to death. Fortunately his intended victim had timely intimation of his threatened danger and made his retreat, but a very short time before the arrival of the soldiers dispatched to apprehend him. Upon his departure all his servants went different ways to conceal themselves – but when the search was strictly made one poor fellow was forcibly dragged from his hiding place trembling in every limb. Without giving the soldiers the trouble of questioning him, he hastily cried out ‘Its not me’ ‘Its not me’ meaning, that he was not Senhor Franco, the person they looked for. Meanwhile, his master was plodding his way thro’ the streets of Lisbon, disguised as a water carrier, and crying ‘Agoa’ water, Under this humble but useful disguise, he passed along unsuspected till he found himself once more in complete safety on board H.M.P the Sandwich[4] which conveyed him to Falmouth, leaving his wife, who was an Irishwoman and very anxious to accompany him and every thing all behind.

After 16 days residence in Falmouth, he came on board the Duke of York and gave us an opportunity of ascertaining his character in some measure – which I shall proceed to give you – It depended, then upon the difference of his situation which character he should adopt, that of a many pleasing companion – or that of a fine, sober, sedate gentleman. When he had on his ‘ould short coatie’ which he generally wore amongst us, he was full of fun and playfulness & playing tricks, some of which were rather trying, such as pulling the hair, tickling the face with a straw, startling your ear with a speaking trumpet – On the other hand, he was very good natured and, when he chose very polite. Often when in a jouila – humour he would make us laugh, by attempting to explain his meaning in English, much by the singularity and often humours of his remarks. Again when he went on shore, and dressed like a gentleman, he seemed to be a quite different person – being grave, sedate, and in every respect like a well bred gentleman. To sum up the rest of his character, he is a devoted adherent of Don Pedro, and an inveterate enemy of Don Miguel, whom I dare say, he would not scruple to put to death with his own hand, if he had him in his power.

Senhor Ozevedo [Azevedo?]

Now I shall describe the next person (no – I should say Senhor!), who presents himself? Senhor Ozevedo is one “sui generis.” and deserves a far more eloquent mention, than I can make of him. To be short – he is a Brazilian diamond (i.e. a Dandy) of the first magnitude & water. His care of and respect for his own dear person is so great as to swallow up every other consideration. He speaks English as well as a native altho’ he was born in Brazil. He was lately attending the University of Coimbra near Lisbon. You will perhaps remember, that a priest had been murdered by some students studying there and that six of them were executed in consequence of it. Well – it is strongly suspected that Ozevido has been act & part in this crime, and has been consequently obliged to withdraw himself from Portugal. He, a M.r Moon, and a countryman, named Niozinho, form a trio, whose attentions are confined almost to themselves. Senhor Ozevido looks down with supreme contempt upon the rest of the passengers, excepting the Bishop – to whom he is not over civil. He scarcely deigns to thank any one – and shows such utter selfishness in with regard his comfort, eating & drinking, that it is quite disgusting. Every morning sees him at his toilet – washing – perfuming – & pairing his nails – In short he is one, who, as if on purpose had rendered himself an object of dislike to all out of his own choice – and I sincerely hope that it will be long, ere we shall have a passenger so foppish – so selfish – and so completely disagreeable.

I have very little to say concerning Senhor Niozinho [Mozinho ?], the great companion of Ozevedo – He is said to be the (Professor of Chemistry) [inserted above later] Collector of Customs in Lisbon and has been obliged to fly on account of his political opinions. Except when with Ozevedo (or Assa factida, as M.r Geach calls him) he is polite & agreeable. He talks French like a native – but is not acquainted with the English language – He is remarkably fond of smoking – and every day after dinner, calls for ‘Shamish’ (James) to bring fire, to light his cegar.

Senhor Lleyall, formerly a Portuguese Surgeon, but now, a merchant had nothing peculiar in his behaviour – he only seems to have an Englishman’s taste in relishing his dinner.

Senhor Thomase, the son of our Lady passenger, is very young and rather boyish.

His Mother – a lady of about 40, and his sister about 19. – with two female servants, the one black and the other white, all occupy the After Cabin. The old lady is a great talker – and speaks and speaks without caring much whether we understand her or not. Sometimes we have a conversation – mixed up with scraps of Portuguese, imperfect French, and strange English – but yet so well satisfied are these ladies with the company of the gentlemen, that they have sat or rather reclined in the poop cabin till nearly 11 oClock.

The daughter however is a complete contrast to the Mother, – for she is silent and retiring – and behaves with an air of great modesty. Perhaps this reserve is rendered imperative upon her by the manners of the country, where great liberties and freedom are allowed to the married which are denied to the unmarried. Even in dress, this is observable – for the Mother has her arms and neck bare, while the daughter is closely muffled up to the very throat. The white domestic seems to be a sort of duenna, from the starchiness of her face and the puritanical severity of her appearance. Neither she nor the blackee, appear upon deck, but confine themselves to their cabin below.

I have omitted to mention M.r John Moon, one of the cabin passengers – he is a tall young man and apparently employed in the mercantile line. He speaks Portuguese fluently – and on that account, with other reason, he has been adopted as one of the exclusives formed by him, Ozevedo & Mozinho. I think, that had he not formed one of the triumvirate, but diffused his attention more generally, he would have been considerable as a most agreeable companion.

Besides these I have enumerated, there was a black-man servant & a white one – non of whom had any peculiarities worthy of notice.

Portuguese Manners

But to finish with the Portuguese on board, I shall put down what I have observed relative to their manners.

They seem to me very much addicted to gambling – but of this propensity, I have observed little or nothing since leaving Madeira. They do not by any means drink much – and I believe that they have not consumed the 10th part of the wine, which the same number of Englishmen would have done. Much to my surprise and contrary to all my preconceived notions, I have not found the Portuguese so extremely devout, as I had expected – I never saw them cross themselves – or kneel or keep the Sunday with any form of religion – although we happened to have a Bishop on board.

At dinner as a necessarily appendage or accompaniment a score or two of wooden & elastic toothpicks (called pelillos) are set down, and every gentleman helps himself to these as occasion requires – for not being hard or durable like ours they are soon totally useless. Those made at Lisbon are peculiarly esteemed – & of these, many gentlemen carry a dozen or so in their pockets, for their own accommodation & that of their friends

In some of their habits they are very dirty. For example once or twice at dinner, Lleyall, the merchant, after he had finished eating, took a mouthful of water from his glass – inserted his fingers into his mouth – rubbed his teeth with them and finally squirted the water into his plate. Faugh! Faugh!

One morning also, our young & interesting lady was seen combing her hair and destroying certain little animals, which take up their habitation more numerously than in fair country women’s.

Another disgusting custom is a constant spitting – which they continue without regard to delicacy or cleanliness – & it is really enough to turn one’s stomach to witness the disgusting practice.

Ex multis audiri, et prusseitem e Lusitanis ipsis, nomines mulieres ad unam, erines partium puitendi, singulis diebus, sedulo radire – pour delicatesse, ret ipsae di cuato.

Read on … Rio