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Lisbon, we owned, was a failure; Athens a dead failure; Malta very well, but not worth the trouble and sea-sickness: in fact, Baden-Baden or Devonshire would be a better move than this; when Smyrna came, and rebuked all mutinous Cockneys into silence. Some men may read this who are in want of a sensation.
I was in some degree settled in my measures for carrying on the plantation, before my kind friend the captain of the ship, that took me up at sea, went back; for the ship remained there, in providing his loading, and preparing for his voyage, near three months; when, telling him what little stock I had left behind me in London, he gave me this friendly and sincere advice; "Seignor Inglese," says he, for so he always called me, "if you will give me letters, and a procuration here in form to me, with orders to the person who has your money in London, to send your effects to Lisbon, to such persons as I shall direct, and in such goods as are proper for this country, I will bring you the produce of them, God willing, at my return; but since human affairs are all subject to changes and disasters, I would have you give orders but for one hundred pounds sterling, which you say is half your stock, and let the hazard be run for the first; so that if it come safe, you may order the rest the same way; and if it miscarry, you may have the other half to have recourse to for your supply."
In the language of the English General's despatch, "a most desperate contest ensued"; and the result was "a signal defeat," Junot, having lost thirteen cannon and more than two thousand men, immediately fell back upon Lisbon, where his position was protected by the strong defile of the Torres Vedras.
"The Prince Regent of Portugal loses his throne," said the official journal; "he loses it influenced by the intrigues of the English; he loses it for not having been willing to seize the English merchandise at Lisbon. What does England do. this ally so powerful? She regards with indifference all that is passing in Portugal. What will she do when Portugal shall be taken?
"In an earthquake," said he, "one gets down to naked truth, or near to it. If he were unfaithful now would that alter your desire to find and save him?" "Sir, why do you ask these things?" "Did your Excellency not know that its beggars are the eyes of Lisbon? But you have not answered me." "Nor will. That I am here is it not enough?" The Penitent peered at her in the dim light and nodded.
The king and court were not in Lisbon at the time of this great disaster, but were living in the neighborhood at the castle of Belem, which escaped injury. The royal family, however, were so alarmed by the shocks, that they passed the following night in carriages out of doors. None of the officers of state were with them at the time.
It was given out that the Bella Cuba would touch at Greece, go on to Egypt, and perhaps visit Algiers and Lisbon, steaming at last up the Thames to Tilbury. Virginia Beverly ostentatiously bought thin summer clothing, saying that it would be summer weather on the sea before she bade good-bye to the water.
At last he had even started amongst all the Linnaeuses and Tourneforts a tulip which bore his name, and which, after having travelled all through France, had found its way into Spain, and penetrated as far as Portugal; and the King, Don Alfonso VI. who, being expelled from Lisbon, had retired to the island of Terceira, where he amused himself, not, like the great Conde, with watering his carnations, but with growing tulips had, on seeing the Boxtel tulip, exclaimed, "Not so bad, by any means!"
An armada of a hundred and twenty-eight ships, with a force of fourteen thousand infantry and three thousand horse, had been assembled during the autumn of this year at Lisbon, notwithstanding the almost crushing blow that the English and Hollanders had dealt the king's navy so recently at Cadiz.
He was a second time sent into Barbary on a mission to King Amoli-bela-gegi, to procure restitution of the bones of the infant Don Fernando, in which he was successful. After his return, he was joined in commission, as before-mentioned, with Alphonso de Payva, and these adventurous travellers left Lisbon in May 1487.