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Letters,

Descriptive of
Public Monuments, Scenery,
and Manners
in
France and Spain.

In Two Volumes.
Vol. II…Spain.

Newburyport:
Printed by E. W. Allen & Co.
1832MDCCCXXXII.

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With Mr. Cushing’s compliments

These Volumes
Are Presented To
Mrs. Geo. Bancroft
In Memory
Of Their
Deceased Author.

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Spain

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1(1)r

Spain.

Letter I.

The Pyrenees.—Spanish Frontier.—Guard House.—Irun.—A
Spanish Posada.—Coche de Colleras.—Miqueletes.—Hernani.
Tolosa.—Villa Franca.—Muleteers.—Spanish Salutation.
—Mountains of Guipuzcoa.—Ansuela.

The Pyrenees, which separate the Spanish
peninsula from the rest of Europe, stretching
across from the Atlantic ocean on the one side,
to the Mediterranean on the other, form an appropriate
frontier to a country of mountains and
vallies like Spain. In leaving France by the
high road from Bayonne to Madrid, you travel
for several hours over the western extremity of
this chain, close in the neighborhood of the sea,
until you reach the small river Bidassoa, where
you enter Spain.

It was about mid-day when we started from
Bayonne for Irun. In a short time we found ourselves
winding along among the Pyrenees, surrounded1 1(1)v 2
on all sides by lofty hills and deep valleys,
frequently in high cultivation even to the
summits of the mountains; and the fields full of
laborers, affording a scene altogether different
from what I had anticipated, having always connected
in my mind the idea of these mountains
with deep forests and uninterrupted solitude.
The road passed in sight of some of the highest
peaks, which reared their proud heads to the
skies, relieved along the edge of the distant horizon.
Several villages, large and small, but all
extremely ordinary, skirted the side of the way,
at intervals; and in each the church was always
a prominent object, sometimes presenting a venerable
and striking aspect, among the wretched
dwelling-houses surrounding it. The people
all speak the Basque dialect, supposed to have
been the primitive language of ancient Spain.

It was already night fall, when we reached the
Bidassoa (1829-11-03November 3d, 1829.) Had I not been
aware that the bridge we were crossing formed a sort of connecting link between France and Spain,
I could scarcely have failed to know, upon reaching
the Spanish side of the river, that I was out
of France; and indeed I might have supposed myself
suddenly transported to a country separated
from it by almost interminable leagues, so striking
was the contrast between the contiguous
frontiers, which were only divided from each
other by a narrow stream.

1(2)r 3

And in nothing was this contrast more observable,
than in the dress, air, and whole appearance
of the last person, whom I noticed in France,
and the first that greeted my eyes in Spain. The
former was a French sentinel, stationed upon the
bridge, clothed in a comfortable grey surtout,
closely buttoned to his throat, and with a neat,
blue cap, trimmed with yellow cord, upon his
head. On the other side, a man was seen pacing
backward and forward before the door of a low,
miserable looking dwelling, or sentry box, his
slouched hat and tattered cloak bespeaking the
extreme of poverty, and his slow, listless manner
of walking sufficiently announcing him to possess
no small share of that habitual indolence, so characteristic
of his nation.

He came forward as our carriage stopped, and,
speaking in the Spanish language, demanded our
passports. From this circumstance I learned
that he was an officer, and that the mean looking
building just alluded to, served as a guard house.
He was soon joined by two or three of his brother
officers, and while they were employed in the examination
of our passports, we entered into a
house near at hand, all the inhabitants of which,
both male and female, presented an appearance
of the utmost wretchedness, while the room itself
into which we were ushered was dirty and desolate
beyond description. An occasional blaze, gleaming
from the almost smothered fire, scarcely penetrated 1(2)v 4
through the thick volumes of smoke, with
which it was filled, and but partially gave to view
the half-clad forms, and dark, swarthy features of
its inmates.

Most gladly did I obey the summons to repair
to the carriage,—and within a short time after
entering it, we found ourselves at the little village
of Irun, where we passed the night. In entering
the house, I observed the whole of the first
floor occupied as a stable, with stalls all around
it, at which were feeding an immense number of
mules, with small bells attached to their necks,
and these, sounding of course every time the animals
moved their heads, produced a singular,
but to my ear a musical and pleasing effect. Ascending
a stair-case leading from one side of the
stable, we came to a second floor, and were
shown into a room, which, although wholly unadorned,
and destitute of any superfluous accommodations,
was nevertheless sufficiently commodious
and neat in appearance, to insure us against
any difficulty on the score of a comfortable night’s
lodging.

Dinner being soon prepared, we seated ourselves
at table, and the hunger occasioned by our
fatiguing journey, led me nearly to finish the
plate of soup, that was handed me, before I ascertained
that it was composed, in no small part, of
garlic and oil, two things for which I had ever
entertained the most decided repugnance. But 2(1)r 5
I learned before finishing the repast, that I should
be obliged to acquire a taste for them, as no
one dish came on the table, which was not cooked
in oil, or seasoned with garlic. The muchaca,
who waited at table, and indeed all the females,
whom I saw in the house, wore the hair
tied very closely in the neck, and hanging down
over the shoulders and back, leaving the forehead
and temples entirely bare. Whether this
negligent and ungainly manner of dressing the
hair, originated in the want of combs, or whether
they adopted it from choice, I know not; but if
the latter, their taste cannot surely be much commended.

At three o’clock, on to the following morning,
(1829-11-04November fourth,) I was aroused from sleep by
our cochero, who came to warn us that the hour
of our departure was near at hand. Before we
started, however, a servant brought into our apartment
two small cups, holding perhaps half a gill,
filled with chocolate, two large tumblers of water,
some bread, and little cakes made of loaf sugar,
which would dissolve immediately upon being
wet. The chocolate was prepared in a very
peculiar manner, consisting of a composition of
cocoa, cinnamon, and sugar, mingled together
before the chocolate is made into cakes. A certain
portion of this is boiled in a small quantity
of water, so that when served up it is of the
consistency of syrup. The bread is then cut 2 2(1)v 6
into long pieces, and dipped into the chocolate,
and the water is used for drink. We found this
a very palateable and necessary refreshment, as
we were to travel several hours before again
stopping; and immediately after finishing it, we
recommenced our journey by the light of the
stars alone, over the mountains of Guipuzcoa,
and without a single recollection on my part, that
I was travelling by night in the far famed land of
robbers.

The carriage, in which we left Bayonne, or I
might more properly say, the manner in which
the mules are harnessed to the carriage, and are
guided by the driver,—being peculiarly Spanish,
and corespondingcorresponding in novelty to the scenes with
which we had been surrounded since entering
Spain, I will describe it to you here. The
body of the voiture, or coche de colleras, as it is
called in Spain, was in the form of a common
close coach, containing seats for six persons,—
and in front was a cabriolet, with a top to it like
a chaise, capable of accommodating one or two
persons, as the number of passengers might be
greater or less. Attached to it were three
mules and a horse, all fine looking animals,
their sleek hair, and the roundness of their limbs,
so unlike the lean, miserable looking diligence
horses, which I have so frequently remarked in
some parts of France.

2(2)r 7

The mules are not guided by the bit or rein;
but almost invariably by the voice alone. It
is true that they have a species of harness,
consisting mostly of ropes; and long reins, also
of rope extend from the head of the leaders.
But these are of trifling efficacy, as no bits are
used, and the driver can consequently have little
or no control over the animals except by the
voice. This is found, however, to be perfectly
effectual, and in fact not much guiding is necessary
for animals so entirely habituated to the
roads they travel. The driver occasionally enjoys
a long nap upon his box, or steps into a
house by the road side to light his cigar, while
the mules pursue their way in the mean time, as
orderly and regularly as possible. Their ordinary
rate of travelling is seldom very fast, often no
faster than a walk; and from eight to ten
leagues, that is from twenty-five to thirty miles,
is the common length of each day’s journey. Every
mule has his appropriate name, which he
soon becomes accustomed to, and it is sufficiently
amusing to hear the driver continually calling to
them by name, in a tone altogether indescribable,
and often addressing himself to them, as if he
were conversing with reasonable beings.

Our driver, or voiturier, as he is called, although
a Frenchman by birth, was dressed in the
Spanish mode, having indeed passed a much
greater portion of his life in Spain than France, 2(2)v 8
and speaking more fluently in the Spanish language
than in his native tongue. He wore a
short velvet jacket, with a broad red silk sash
wound several times around his waist, and tied in
a knot in front. His hat was very small and round,
and the crown was trimmed, in all directions, with
black glass bugles, and small tassels of black silk.
He was an uncommonly good looking young
man, and proved equally intelligent and obliging.

The company, which had taken the remaining
seats in the voiture, consisted of an old Spanish
gentleman, whom I will distinguish by the
name of Mr. Nicholas. He was very amiable
and kind in his manners, as we afterwards
found, to every one except a spoiled boy of three
years old, who was unfortunately one of our companions,
and promised to be a very troublesome
one. His mother, Madam Elizabeth, was English
by birth, though married to a Spaniard, and,
together with a very pretty Spanish girl, named
Jacinta, whose beautiful black eyes and hair,
added to her dark complexion, sufficiently announced
her origin, was travelling to Madrid
under the care of Mr. Nicholas. Our fourth
companion was an Italian, also going to Madrid;
and thus in the small number of seven persons,
without including the child, there were representatives
from five different nations, namely, two
Spaniards, one Frenchman, one Italian, one English
woman, and two Americans.

2(3)r 9

Having travelled on very comfortably for two
or three hours, after leaving Irun, I became sensibly
aware that some danger from robbers actually
existed, by observing three men, with muskets
over their shoulders, who came up to the
carriage to offer their services as an escort
through a pass of the mountains nor altogether
safe. They accompanied us as far as the little
village of Hernani, and then returned to the post
from whence we had taken them. Upon making
inquiry as to the reason for our having found these
men, ready armed, at the very spot where first we
had any need of them, I was informed that a large
number of men, called miqueletes, are employed by
government for the protection of travellers, and
these are scattered about all over the country,
that is, at all those places, which have ever been
celebrated as the haunts of banditti. It is customary
for each traveller, who is protected by
these men, to pay them a small gratuity, independently
of the regular sum paid them by their employers.

From Hernani, we continued to wind along
through the mountains, which, like the Pyrenees,
were often cultivated to their summits. At other
times their rocky sides and pinnacles, unclothed
by a particle of vegetation, were alone visible to
our eyes, as we passed through some deep valley
made by the towering hills on each side of it.
The villages, which we saw before reaching Tolosa,*2 2(3)v 10
were few in number, and these generally of
the most wretched appearance. The houses were
miserable looking habitations, having no chimnies,
and no glass in the windows. An iron grate
upon the outside was occasionally seen; but more
commonly the light was only admitted through
chinks cut in the wall. The smoke issued in
clouds from these, as well as from the doors, and
from little openings in the roof, made for the purpose.
The inhabitants bore every mark of extreme
poverty, notwithstanding that they are said
to be remarkably industrious and sober in their
habits.

The town of Tolosa presents to view an appearance
wholly different from those villages just
mentioned. It is very pleasantly situated in the
midst of a valley, watered by two rivers, over one
of which is constructed a handsome stone bridge.
The houses are, for the most part, substantially
and comfortably built. At Tolosa we dined, and
by means of hurrying a little I was enabled to
obtain a view of the interior of the parish church,
which I found far more beautiful than the size
and aspect of the town gave me reason to expect.
The marble columns, which adorned the altar, were
of great beauty, and many other decorations of
the church were rich and handsome.

We left Tolosa in the afternoon, and continued
our way to Villa Franca. A short distance
beyond this village is a small hamlet, where we 2(4)r 11
passed the night. For some miles after leaving
Tolosa the fields were well cultivated and filled with
laborers of both sexes, though in many instances the
number of females predominated over that of men.

During our journey of the day, we had met a
large number of travellers, but consisting almost
exclusively of muleteers, commonly on foot, preceded
or followed by immense droves of asses, or
borricas, as they are called in Spanish. These
animals were about the size of a small pony; but
so great is their strength, notwithstanding their
extreme smallness of stature, that they can bear
burdens nearly as heavy as the largest mules and
horses. They are generally not fastened to each
other at all, and are suffered to range along their
own way, to the monotonous music of the little
bells, usually attached to the neck of each. At
the approach of a carriage, or any other object
equally strange to them, they would pick up
their huge ears, and scamper off in all directions,
to avoid the threatening danger, while their masters
would walk quietly along, wholly unconcerned
about them, and wait with the utmost patience for
them again to collect together in their own time
and manner.

The dress of these muleteers was similar to
that worn by Louis, our voiturier; but instead of
pantaloons they wore small-clothes of velvet or
leather, with a pair of leather buskins, which are
made to pass over the foot like gaiters, and are 2(4)v 12
laced up at the side from the ankle to the knee.
But in speaking of the dress of even the lowest
classes in Spain, I should not forget that indispensable
garment, a cloak. Scarce a Spaniard
can be found, I will venture to say, who does not
possess this necessary appendage to his dress, of
whatever rank he may be. It is generally made
of cloth, and is so wide, that the weaver is enabled
to throw the left corner of it over his right
shoulder, thus guarding his breast and throat
from the wind and rain. I never had an idea
that a cloak could ever be rendered so comfortable
a garment, or so effectual a protection from
inclemency of weather, until seeing it worn by
the Spaniards in their own peculiar style.

Peculiarity of style and appearance, however,
was by no means confined to their dress; it extended
to all their habits, customs, and manners,
many of which had come within my observation,
even in this early part of my intercourse with
them. And of these, none struck more forcibly
or more agreeably, than the salute, with which
every traveller in Spain is constantly greeted, by
each individual, whom he meets upon his route.
I had often, since leaving Bayonne, alighted from
the carriage and walked on for some distance, by
way of variety; and I remarked, almost immediately
upon entering Spain, that whenever I
met a person, either of respectable appearance
or otherwise, some words were addressed to me 2(5)r 13
in a low, nearly inarticulate tone of voice; but in
a manner at once too respectful and serious to
signify aught of insult, for which I might otherwise
have received it, as the recollection had
wholly escaped me that this was a custom characteristic
of the nation. But I soon learned to
acknowledge, with becoming courtesy, the “Vaya
usted con Dios, Senora”
, which I so often heard repeated,
and to return the salutation in the same
spirit with which it was bestowed.

I have said that we stopped for the night at a
small hamlet, just beyond the village of Villa
Franca
; and here, although the inn was better in
some respects than that at Irun, yet the food was
not nearly so good, nor the bed so comfortable;
and thus, upon the whole, we were no better
lodged, to say the least, than we had been the
night previous. The general appearance of the
house was nearly the same with the other, the
lower story being occupied, as in that, for a stable.
One improvement, however, I observed among
the females, in their manner of wearing the hair;
which was, that after being tied closely in the
neck, it was nicely braided, instead of being allowed
to fly about loosely over the shoulders.

On the following morning, (1829-11-05November fifth,)
we again set off before day, having previously
taken our chocolate and bread, served up in precisely
the same manner as at Irun. The weather
for several hours was rainy and foggy, scarcely 2(5)v 14
allowing us a view of the objects around us, even
after day light had long appeared. I was aware
however, that we were slowly ascending the
mountains, as in fact, we continued to do for the
chief part of the day, just reaching the most elevated
summit at night fall. At about ten o’clock
in the forenoon, the sun came out clear, and the
prospect, which it opened to our sight, was singularly
striking and grand.

We were then upon the steep declivity of a
mountain, with a tremendous abyss on either side
of us, from whence the dense vapors were arising
in a thousand fantastical shapes, and appearing
like the smokes of smothered volcanoes. The
road wound up the abrupt side of the mountain,
not around it; and as our vehicle passed and
repassed the very edge of the precipice, on
both sides, in turning the sharp angles made by
the winding of the road, I involuntarily drew back
in terror, at sight of the terrible depths below me,—
observing, also, that no barrier separated us from
them, except small stone pillars, two or three feet
in height, and with such long intervals from stone
to stone, that the animals might easily have plunged
over the side of the mountain, between the pillars,
had they, from sudden fright, or from any
other cause, been so disposed. A guard accompanied
us over a part of this mountain, from the
top of which an extremely steep descent leads
directly to the little village of Ansuela. Often 2(6)r 15
as we passed along, I observed the waters of a
small river, which we had continued to follow
from Tolosa, narrowed into little rivulets, and
babbling down the mountains, sometimes forming
beautiful cascades, and again seen oozing from
various parts of the rocky hill-side, and flowing
on with a gentle murmur towards its base. As
the river, at intervals, swelled into a broader
stream, it was crossed by means of small arched
bridges of great neatness and solidity, of which I
noticed a large number during the day.

As our carriage entered Ansuela, a host of
black-eyed, ragged urchins followed it through
the whole extent of the village, crying “Viva, Viva,”
at the very top of their voices. I at first imagined
them to be beggars; but I became convinced
by their gestures and tones, that they
were merely expressing, in loud shouts, their exultation
at the sight of strangers passing through
their quiet village. In this, as in almost all the
villages and hamlets of Guipuzcoa, the same
squalid aspect of poverty was to be perceived in
every thing around, though still accompanied
with evident marks of active industry among the
inhabitants, as every part of the soil was cultivated
by their hands, except the hard, flint-like
surface of some of the hills, which no tilling or
care could make to produce a harvest in return.

2(6)v 16

Letter II.

Province of Alava.—Mondragon.—Robbers in Spain.—A Spanish
Venta.—Vitoria.—Mantillas.—Priests.—La Puebla.—
Brasero.—Old Castile.—Miranda de Ebro.—Pancorvo.—
Bribiesca.—Burgos.

Soon after leaving Ansuela, we passed in sight
of the town of Vergara, and here bade adieu to
the province of Guipuzcoa, and entered that of
Alava. From thence to Vitoria the scene was
agreeably varied by mountain and valley, scattered
over with isolated dwelling houses, hamlets,
and villages, while the well cultivated fields
around them were filled with husbandmen and
women, pursuing their labors with the assistance
of oxen and cows, which were used promiscuously
for purposes of toil. All these animals
were extremely small, but seemed to possess a
degree of strength much above their size. Rivulets,
cascades, and bridges, such as I had observed
in the mountains of Guipuzcoa, were not
wanting in Alava, and here also my attention was
frequently attracted by the view of little wooden or
stone crosses, elevated by the side of the road, to
show that on that spot some person had been cut
off from life, either by accident or the hand of
violence, and that their mortal remains were deposited
beneath.

We dined at the village of Mondragon, and 3(1)r 17
toward sunset approached the mountain of Salinas,
to the summit of which we did not arrive
until evening had nearly closed in upon us. An
almost perpendicular steep forms the top of the
mountain, and here we were obliged to take a
yoke of oxen to assist the mules in drawing up
the carriage. The road wound up the side of
the steep, in the same manner as that over which
we passed in the morning, and with only the same
small stones between us and the yawning gulphs
below. My brain turned giddy as I cast my eyes
downwards, the scene being rendered doubly appalling
by the dimness and darkness of lingering
twilight. We soon arrived safely at the top,
however, and then, after taking off the oxen, we
began to descend the mountain at a speed, which
awakened my fears quite as much as the danger
to be apprehended in ascending it;—for none but
the most sure footed animals in existence could
have gone down such a steep, at such a pace,
without absolute destruction to themselves and
all who were in the carriage. But the driver
seemed perfectly to understand the safety, which
their sureness of foot imparted to us, and drove
them along as fearless of danger, as if walking
them over the most smooth and level plain.

At the base of the mountain, we stopped at a
small, lonely hut, the station of a guard, who was
to accompany us to the neighboring hamlet, the
distance between having been one of the most 3 3(1)v 18
notorious haunts of robbers in all Spain. I must
confess, that my apprehensions were somewhat
awakened, at sight of the solitary scene around
us,—and the protection of a single armed man
seemed hardly sufficient to quiet them. But
my fears amounted to nothing, in comparison with
those of several of my fellow travellers, and of Mr.
Nicholas
in particular, who was closely drawn
up in one corner of the carriage, not daring to
cast his eyes to the right hand of the left, almost
from the moment we began to ascend the mountain,
until we arrived at our night’s resting place.

That these apprehensions were in a great
measure groundless, I was convinced by the conversation
of the voiturier, of which I could understand
the chief part, as I sat in the carriage directly
behind him, and he conversed in very good
French. He said that, although he had been
from the age of six years in the constant habit of
travelling from one part of Spain to the other, he
had never but once been robbed, and that was when
he was employed by the government as carrier
of despatches. He moreover assured us, that
the presence of the man, who guarded us was
ample protection from even a band of robbers,—
for these villains could be so easily detected by
those men whose duty it is to watch them, with
vigilance, and who are generally well acquainted
with the inhabitants of all the villages around,
from which most of the banditti generally come, 3(2)r 19
that they date not run the risk of being known,
either by face or voice, when even one of their
enemies is upon the alert. At least they must have
some chance of their being well repaid for the
danger of running such a risk; and consequently,
when an attack is made, it is generally upon the
diligence, or upon private travelling carriages,
where the hope of rich booty is sufficient to overcome
their fears of detection.

At any rate, we were allowed to pass on unimpeded,
and to arrive in safety at the hamlet,
where we were to sleep. Vitoria was but a very
short distance from this place; but we were too
late to enter the city before the gates were closed.
We all found reason to regret that an arrangement
was not made, by which we could arrive at
Vitoria; for a more wretched cabaret, than that
in which we were doomed to remain until morning,
cannot easily be imagined.

As the voiture drove into the dark, dismal-
looking portal of the house, I could discern the
swarthy features and ragged dress of a large
group of men, through the midst of whom we
were obliged to pass, upon alighting, in order to
reach the stairs, which conducted to the rooms
above. When we arrived at these, we found
them cold, cheerless, and desolate, to the utmost
degree; and the old woman, who did the honors
of a hostess, was sufficiently sour and disobliging
to do away any agreeable impression, which we 3(2)v 20
might receive of her house. After considerable
delay, and a great deal of scolding and fretting,
she managed to prepare for us a meal, of which
none of us could partake, cooked in green, rancid
oil, the sight of which would alone convince one of
its unfitness to be eaten.

In vain endeavoring to appease my hunger
with any part of this most unsavory and uninviting
food, I soon arose from the table, and began to
make some inquiries as to the accommodations
for sleeping. We then found, to our great chagrin,
that only two rooms were to be had in the
house, that were fit to be inhabited. These
two rooms, which adjoined each other, contained
each several beds; and we were therefore
under the necessity of throwing ourselves
upon the outside of them, without the hope
of being able to obtain much repose. And in
this I, for one, was not disappointed; for the
gloomy appearance of the house, the sinister expression
so strongly marked upon the countenance
of its mistress; together with the great
number of dark looking men, who were continually
passing in and out, impressed me with a feeling
of dread and insecurity, which for a long
time banished sleep from my eyes, and led me
almost to believe myself in a den of robbers, to
my idea of which the scenes around me well corresponded.
But as the footsteps and voices of
those, who occupied the kitchen beneath our 3(3)r 21
room, gradually sunk into silence, which continued
wholly unbroken by any sound ominous
of approaching danger, I lost myself in a restless
slumber, from which I was not sorry to
be aroused in the morning, truly rejoicing to find
that we had got through the night without having
encountered any serious difficulty or danger.

As it was full day before we left the venta, we
had an opportunity of seeing the plain of Vitoria,
over which we passed, and upon which was fought
the famous battle, which I had heard so often mentioned,
in connection with Napoleon’s invasion
of Spain, and the victories of the Duke of
Wellington
.

Arriving at Vitoria, we repaired to a very
good inn, situated in a broad, pleasant street,
quite remarkable for its beauty, compared with
those of any town or village, we had yet seen in
Spain. The houses were large, and generally
constructed of brick, with neat little balconies,
surrounded by iron gratings, before each window.
Attached to the fronts of many of the houses was
a small box, containing a rude image of the Virgin
Mary
, with some inscription beneath it. Previously
to partaking of the ample and excellent
repast, which was prepared for us at the inn, our
baggage was subjected to the most close and
particular examination by the officers of the customs,
which altogether detained us several hours
at Vitoria. But I was too much exhausted by 3* 3(3)v 22
want of sleep and long fasting to go around the
city much, and therefore retired to a comfortable
repose; and afterwards amused myself
until dinner time, in watching the multitude of
people, who were passing along through the
much frequented street, in which the inn was
situated.

And here I for the first time obtained a just
idea of the Spanish mantilla, as worn by the better
classes of society. Nearly all those, which I
saw at Vitoria, were of this description, and consisted
of a long piece of black silk, slanted off on
both sides towards the ends, and faced with black
velvet ribbon. A broad thread lace is then sewed
upon the edge of the velvet, being put on perfectly
plain on one side, and very full upon the
other, and around the corners. The hair being
dressed quite high behind and full in front, the
mantilla is thrown over the head, the plain part
coming to the forehead, and, being attached there
by a broach, if desirable. The ends are then
brought forward, in such a manner as to leave the
full part of the lace around the shoulders and
across the back, like the ruffle upon a French cape.
The mantilla being crossed under the chin, is not
confined, but generally held together with the left
arm, or suffered to hang open loosely. I am not
sure that my description will give you a just
idea of this exceedingly graceful and becoming
head dress, which, in my opinion, cannot be 3(4)r 23
equalled in beauty of effect by any bonnet, however
tastefully it may be made.

The dress of the priests, of whom I saw a very
large number sauntering along in the street, was
singularly ungenteel and unbecoming, as that of
the ladies was the reverse. The points, in which
it differed from the dress worn by French priests,
however, were rather an improvement than otherwise,
if I except the hat, which nothing could
exceed in ugliness. The crown is extremely low,
and the rim, of enormous width, is made even all
round, and then is turned up on each side in two
large rolls, which meet at the top of the crown.
You cannot imagine any thing more studiously
ill formed, than these strange looking hats are, or
better adapted to showing off the countenance to
the very worst advantage.

Upon leaving Vitoria, we entered upon a
widely extended plain, possessing few, if any, objects
to attract or interest one. The weather was
cold and rainy, which perhaps increased its desolate
appearance. The monotony of our ride was
only broken in upon occasionally by the droves
of mules and borricos, which passed us from time
to time, heavily laden as usual, but fastened together
by means of ropes passing from one to the
other;—a circumstance, that I had not before observed,
as all I had hitherto met had been suffered
to stray about at will.

We slept at the village of La Puebla. The 3(4)v 24
inn we found a remarkable good one, contrasting
very agreeably, in every respect, with that at
which we passed the night preceding. We were
first ushered into a neat looking room, which the
servant, who waited on us, undertook to make
more comfortable by means of a brasero. This
is, you are perhaps aware, a substitute for a fireplace,
a thing scarcely known throughout Spain.
The brasero is nothing more than a brass pan,
with a broad rim to it, which is set into a large
wooden frame, and placed in the middle of the
room, being filled with charcoal, previously ignited
sufficiently to prevent any injury from inhaling
its gas. The wooden frame, which contains
the brasero, is just enough elevated from the floor
to serve as a footstool for those who sit around.
The doors and windows of the room we occupied,
were very curiously constructed. They
were composed of thick, heavy oak, considerably
darker in hue than mahogany, and carved all
over with various figures. The windows were
in fact, but smaller doors, opening upon balconies
outside. Each panel, however, opened
separately, so that more or less air and light
might be admitted as was agreeable. There
was no glass to be seen in any part of them.

Early the next morning, (1829-11-07November seventh,)
we left La Puebla, the weather still continuing
rainy and unpleasant. A very fine road,
which we found hard and smooth, in spite of the 3(5)r 25
rain which had fallen, conducted over a long plain,
from La Puebla to Miranda de Ebro, the first
village in Old Castile. The boundary, between
Alava and Old Castile, is marked by a kind of
monument, in form of an obelisk supported upon
a square pedestal. From this spot a beautiful
avenue, bordered with elms, extends to Miranda
de Ebro
, a distance of about three miles. This
village is situated upon the river Ebro, of which
I here first obtained a view, and a handsome
arched stone bridge is thrown across it, leading
into the village. Previously to crossing the
bridge our baggage was again carefully examined,
but without very much delay or difficulty.

At Miranda de Ebro, we partook of a plentiful
breakfast a la fourchette, and afterwards commenced
our journey towards the dark looking
mountains of Old Castile, which were full in our
sight; and at which we soon afterwards arrived.
Passing through the wretched villages of
Mayago and Pancorvo, where poverty and misery
seemed to have taken up their abode, we reached
a singular gorge in the mountain, at which the
road appeared, at a little distance off, suddenly to
terminate, as it wound around the angle of a perpendicular
rock, of enormous size and height.
Nothing can exceed the wildness of the scene
around you, as you enter into the gorge. Immense
mountains of rock, whose rough and desolate
sides are scarcely enlivened by a green shrub, 3(5)v 26
or verdure of any description, rise perpendicularly
on each side of you; and their summits, inclining
towards each other, seem to threaten you with
instant destruction, as you pass along the close
and dark defile, beneath the fearfully arched
canopy, which they form above your head. Many
of these rocky mountains were naturally castellated
at their summits, appearing, at first view,
like the numerous turrets of ruined castles succeeding
each other in a line, along the utmost
points of the rocks. Upon one were seen the
actual ruins of a castle, and upon another the
ruins of a Moorish fort.

Continuing onwards through the mountains,
we at length arrived, after dark, and in the midst
of a violent rain, at the town of Bribiesca, where
we remained for that night. The posada, at which
we stopped, was an excellent one, and upon a
scale unusually large. The food, lodging, and
all other necessary accommodations, were very
good and well arranged. A hearty supper, followed
by sound and unbroken repose, was the necessary
result; and I was thus well prepared to set
off again upon our journey, before sunrise the
following morning, (1829-11-08November eighth).

The six leagues, which divide Bribiesca from
Burgos, contain in them little variety, and not
much that is of particular interest. The small
villages, which we saw or passed through, were
wretched to the last degree; more so, perhaps, 3(6)r 27
than any I had yet seen, miserable as they had
all appeared to me. The land in their vicinity
was chiefly devoted to pasturage, and large
flocks of black sheep were feeding upon it as we
passed along. The number of white sheep among
them were as few in proportion, to the whole, as
that of black sheep in our flocks.

Previously to reaching Burgos, we passed
over a vast plain, from whence the city was perfectly
visible in the distance. Upon an elevation
at our left hand, was situated an ancient and celebrated
convent called the Cartuja of Miraflores,
which we could see very distinctly. Passing
through a small faubourg, we entered into the
city by a long avenue of trees, which leads to
some of the most frequented parts of it. A fine
street, bordered with large, handsome houses,
conducts to one of the several bridges, thrown
across the Arlanzon, upon which river the
city is situated. Near the bridge is a beautiful
terrace, ornamented with statues, which is
used as a public walk; and not far from this
spot is a triumphal arch, erected to the memory
of the Cid, and other great men of Old Castile.
The terrace extends the whole length of a very
pretty, though not very extensive public garden,
bordering upon the river. It was almost filled
with persons, walking about or seated upon the
benches; and among them was a large number of
young students, who were conspicuous by their 3(6)v 28
three-cornered hats, and long black cloaks.

Arrived at the bridge just mentioned, we
crossed over it to a large faubourg upon the
opposite side of the river, upon which our posada
stood, and where we remained for the day. This
inn was quite an extensive one, and kept in very
good order. Upon the floors of most of the
rooms, were straw carpets, or matting, which,
although not quite so pleasant to the feet as
woollen carpeting, I found very much more comfortable
than bare floors and tiles.

Letter III.

Burgos.—Puerta de Santa Maria.—A Spanish Cathedral.—Plaza
Real
.—Mountains of Cogollos.—Lerma.—Pilgrim.—Bahabon.
Aranda de Duero.—Ondurbia.—Fresnillo.—Venta.—Somo
Sierra
.—New Castile.—Buytrago.—An Adventure.—La Cabrera.
Cabanilla.—Robbers of Puente de Cascavero.—Venta
del Molar
.—Alcovendas.

Very soon after arriving at Burgos, I walked
out and bent my steps towards the Cathedral.
To reach it, I re-crossed the bridge and passed
through the triumphal arch, already mentioned.
It is called Puenta de Santa Maria, and is adorned
with statues, which form its principal ornament.
Among them are those of Nuno Rasura
and Lain Calvo, judges of Castile, at the commencement
of the tenth century; of Fernan Gonzalez, 4(1)r 29
first Count of Castile; and that of the Cid.

Arrived at the Cathedral, I could not restrain
an exclamation of delightful surprise, at sight of
the splendid architecture, which met the view, to
whatever part of the magnificent structure I turned
my eyes. Innumerable little turrets, of the
most beautiful and delicate description, seemed to
form a perfect forest around the upper part of the
building; and these were only equalled in beauty
by the great quantities of curious carved work,
the statues and columns, with which the exterior
of the edifice abounds. The interior is also superb
beyond description. Its extent is so immense,
that divine service may be performed in
eight different chapels at the same time, without
any confusion; and nearly every part of it is
equally remarkable for the richness and delicacy
of its architecture. I shall not attempt a formal
description of the church; for it is too enormous in
its dimensions, and complicated in form for me
to think of doing it.

A striking peculiarity in its construction was
this. The choir and sanctuary occupied the central
part of the Cathedral, and being enclosed by
a partition or wall, had the appearance of one
church contained within another. This is, I
think, a defect, as the edifice is thus deprived of
one of the most imposing characteristics of all the
gothic churches I had hitherto seen,—I mean the
nave, which imparts an air of grandeur and loftiness4 4(1)v 30
to the building, that it cannot otherwise possess.
It is the want of this distinguishing peculiarity,
which lessens, at first view, the idea that
one forms of the actual vastness of the Cathedral
at Burgos; and it is only when you have passed
entirely around it, that you are aware of its astonishing
extent. But in spite of the singularity just
mentioned, the splendor and luxury of every
part of this church, as it regards architectural
beauty, can, I believe, be surpassed by very few
in the world.

The pictures, which it contains, are not generally
very remarkable, though a few possess considerable
merit. But you see here a large number
of interesting monuments of prominent individuals,
who have flourished in Castilian story,
and whose remains are deposited within the precincts
of this sacred and noble pile. The most
remarkable of these monuments is that of Don
Pedro Hernandez de Velasco,
Constable of Casstile,
contained in a magnificent chapel, which is
for that reason called the chapel of the Constable.
A figure of the Constable, clad in armor,
reclines upon a tomb of white marble; and upon
another tomb of the same description, is seen the
figure of his wife, Dona Mencia Lopez de Mendoza.
The drapery of these statues is beautifully
wrought; and the effect of the two monuments,
placed in so splendid a chapel, is very fine.
An inscription upon each details the name, lineage, 4(2)r 31
and time of decease of the illustrious personage,
whose memory it was raised to perpetuate.

Among other objects of curiosity, pointed out
to us by the sacristan, who accompanied us
through the different chapels, was a coarse,
wooden box, fastened together with iron, which
was formerly a coffer used by the illustrious Cid,
and consequently viewed with deep interest by
all to whom it is shown.

From the Cathedral, I walked to the Plaza
Real
, which is the only very handsome square in
the city. It is surrounded by regular buildings,
the lower part of them forming arcades. In the
centre of the Plaza is a statue of Charles Third.

Almost all the streets, through which I passed,
were extremely narrow and crooked. A very
few could be called handsome in any respect;
and the city itself had a cheerless and deserted
air, which was far from agreeable. It probably
presents a very different aspect from its ancient
appearance, as the capital of Castile, and the
residence of the Spanish court. But it is, nevertheless,
a very interesting place, from the associations
to which its name gives rise.

At five o’clock in the morning, (1829-11-09November 9th),
we left Burgos; and travelled during the day over
the high range of the mountains of Cogollos. The
face of the country here is for the most part extremely
barren, and the soil is hard and dry. 4(2)v 32
Occasional plats of wheat are almost the only
signs of cultivation visible; and the wretched appearance
of nearly all the villages sufficiently attests
the misery of their inhabitants.

The town of Lerma, where we dined, is rather
an exception to this, as many of the houses were
comfortable looking dwellings, in comparison to
those in every other place I had seen since
leaving Burgos. These houses are constructed
of large, unburned lumps of clay, and the chimney
in many of them is of such great size, as
nearly to cover the whole roof, rising gradually
somewhat in the shape of a cone. As to the
streets, you may form some opinion of their
width, when I tell you that, in entering one of
them, I was obliged to wait until a loaded borrica
had first come out of it, as there was not room for
me to pass at the same time.

The village church, although an ordinary one
in general, is remarkable, as containing a very
beautiful monument to the memory of the Cardinal
Duke of Lerma
, which consists of a bronze
statue of him, kneeling in the attitude of prayer,
his hands folded together, and a mitre at his side.
The tomb has evidently been mutilated; and the
pedestal, which supports the statue, is now partly
clay, whereas it was, without doubt, originally
made entirely of richer materials.

I was much struck, at Lerma, with the great
number of beautiful hounds, which I saw there. 4(3)r 33
They were most graceful and gentle looking animals,
and far handsomer than any thing belonging
to the canine race, that I had ever met with
before.

At two o’clock, we proceeded on our journey.
The weather was truly delightful, and I had a
very agreeable ride to the village of Bahabon,
which we reached before dark. In the course of
the afternoon we were met by a wandering pilgrim,
who was pursuing his solitary way, his staff
in hand, and his hat adorned with scallop shells to
denote his purpose. I could not but look at him
with a great deal of interest, as imparting the vividness
of reality to my ideas of a character so frequently
met with both in poetry and works of
fiction.

We left Bahabon the following morning, and
rode several miles by the soft light of the moon,
whose lustre was sufficiently clear to reveal every
object to our view, as we passed along; and this
was succeeded by a most brilliant sunrise, which
ushered in as balmy and lovely a day as could
possibly be desired: All which rendered the
journey very pleasant to me, although there was
nothing to be remarked upon the road particularly
interesting or attractive. The villages improved
not the least in their aspect of wretchedness, and
the town of Aranda de Duero, through which we
passed, though formerly quite populous and flourishing,
now exhibits a scene of the utmost misery. 4* 4(3)v 34
The houses, the church, and the buildings of a
once famous monastery, are nearly all in ruins;
and the dirty, desolate looking streets were literally
crowded with hogs, to the exclusion of almost
every human creature, of even decently clean or
tidy appearance.

The village of Ondrubia, where we dined, was
only less wretched than Aranda. But here the
streets, instead of being over-run with hogs, were
inundated with children, whose singular and uncouth
clothing continually attracted my attention.
The boys were dressed in small-clothes, buttoned
tight at the knee, and fastened around the waist.
A shirt, and a little short outer jacket, without
any waistcoat, completed their attire. The upper
part of their heads was shaved as closely as possible,
while their hair was suffered to grow out
long around the forehead and in the neck. The
girls had on short stuff petticoats, fulled very
much all round, with a short sleeved, scant waist
of calico, pieced with so many different colors,
that one would have been puzzled to decide which
was the original one.

But notwithstanding the miserable appearance
of every thing in the village, we had a very excellent
dinner provided for us at the posada,
though it must be confessed, that we found some
difficulty in contriving how to eat it, as there
were three knives only for seven persons. One
of the company complained a little to the serving 4(4)r 35
girl, for not having provided knives enough for
all; and she answered him with a smile, that we
might consider ourselves fortunate to have three,
for at the village of Fresnillo de la Fuente,
where we were to sleep, we should find at the
posada but one knife for all. We were much
amused with this reply, and ascertaining that the
poor girl really could not procure us another
knife at any rate, we set about tearing our meat
apart with our forks in the best manner we were
able.

After leaving Ondrubia, we passed a very
large number of the species of oak trees, which
bear the nutgall. They are about the size of an
apple tree, and the general aspect of the grounds
upon which they grow, is that of an orchard, only
that the trees are not planted in regular rows.
The leaves of the trees are quite small and of a
very deep green. Before evening, we came in
sight of the range of mountains, called the Somo
Sierra
, whose black ridges and pinnacles were
distinctly visible to our eyes for several leagues
before we reached their base.

We arrived at Fresnillo just before six o’clock,
and, alighting at the posada, were ushered up
two pair of stairs to a neat, but rather dreary
looking apartment, almost wholly destitute of furniture.
A shelf, filled with small baskets of artificial
fruits and several images of different saints,
was conspicuously placed at one side of the 4(4)v 36
room, and was the only ornament contained in it.
Something of the kind I have invariably seen in
every Spanish house I have entered. Pictures
or images of the Virgin and our Savior, or of one
or more patron saint, never fail to occupy a place
in the apartment reserved for company, even in
the smallest and most ordinary ventas. While
our rooms were becoming habitably warm by
means of a brasero, we all descended to the
kitchen, where I witnessed a most novel and
amusing scene. The concina is the common guest
room of a Spanish inn
, where travellers of all
classes, high and low, habitually assemble. You
must imagine a middling-sized room, the ceiling
of which is hollow, and slopes up gradually to the
top, where there is a small aperture to emit the
smoke. Just in the centre of the room was an
immense fire, spreading out several feet, and the
flame ascending half way to the top of the roof.
Against the wall, on all four sides, was built
up a sort of stone or brick scaffold, upon which
were seated a large number of travellers and
muleteers, who were laughing and chatting merrily
with each other around the blazing fire, and
cracking their jokes with the sociable and good-
natured hostess and her daughters, who were all
busily at work, preparing the various messes,
suited to the tastes of their different guests.

A countless collection of small earthen pots
and jars, of nearly every variety of size and 4(5)r 37
shape, were arrayed around the fire, each of
them containing either vegetables or meats.
The food was previously fried in oil, and was
then put into one of these earthen pots, with the
addition of a plentiful allowance of garlic for seasoning,
a little water, with pepper and salt, when it
is left to seethe for an hour or more; and, strange
as it may appear, is, when done, far from an unpalateable
dish. I cannot, however, say so much
in favor of the oil soup. In making this they put
a quantity of oil and garlic into a frying pan, and
when it boils, add to it water, pepper and salt. A
large dish of bread is then cut up into very small
bits, and the boiled liquid is turned over it, which
forms the soup. The proportion of the liquid to
the bread is so small, as merely to render the
latter a perfect pap, the taste of which was, to
me, disagreeable beyond measure. There are few
dishes, however, that appear to be eaten with
greater relish by the Spaniards, notwithstanding
that the oil is often extremely old and rancid.
Indeed they generally prefer the rancid oil to the
sweet, as they say they are thus enabled to perceive
the taste more sensibly.

As soon as our ample and well prepared
repast was in readiness, we returned to the
dining room, and, upon seating ourselves at
table, we found surely enough, that the girl at
Ondrubia had spoken the truth, and but one
solitary knife was set before us, which we were 4(5)v 38
assured was the only one the house afforded.

At six o’clock in the morning, (1829-11-11November
11th
), we departed from Fresnillo, after passing
a restless night, owing to the miserably hard and
comfortless beds, which were afforded us at the
posada. Passing along a succession of large
plains, varied by occasional undulations, and
scattered over with a considerable number of villages,
we reached the venta of Juanylla, where
we dined. The villages, which we passed, had,
for the most part, an air of much more comfort
than any I had previously seen in Old Castile.
The houses were generally built of stone, instead
of sand and clay; and the people themselves were
very decently clad.

In the afternoon, we ascended the Somo Sierra,
and passed a spot, rendered very interesting, as
the scene of one of Napoleon’s achievements in
Spain. The French army having been impeded
in their course by the snow, which blocked up
their way entirely, were necessitated to draw
their cannons up the side of a mountain, whose
almost perpendicular steep would seem to render
the bold and hazardous attempt utterly fruitless.
But what is there, either difficult or dangerous,
which it is not in the power of man to overcome,
when urged on by a daring and adventurous
spirit, and in the prosecution of those ambitious
purposes, the accomplishment of which seems
amply to compensate for every hardship and privation, 4(6)r 39
even to the absolute loss of life itself? Near
the spot just mentioned, there are several large,
tall stones, placed at some distance apart, to indicate
the road to travellers, when, as is frequently
the case in winter, it is wholly concealed by snow.

Soon after leaving the village of Somo Sierra,
through which the high road passes, we entered
New Castile; and, before evening, reached our
night’s lodgings at Buytrago. This is a village
of considerable extent; but, although tolerably
neat in many respects, is far from being particularly
handsome. The appearance of the posada
was in its favor; but the food was extremely ordinary,
and the beds but little better than those,
which vexed us so much the preceding night. The
bedstead consisted of a common wooden frame,
without any posts, and with boards placed along
from side to side, instead of a sacking. The
beds, too, were none of the softest, and when you
add to this, how commonly they are thronged
with insects, you may imagine how very little
they contribute towards sound and refreshing
slumber. Not unfrequently, however, the
fatigues of travelling caused me to forget these
hardships, and enabled me to obtain sufficient
sleep for the preservation of health and spirits.

The moon was shining in her full splendor
when we left Buytrago, at four o’clock in the
morning, (1829-11-12November 12th). Just at sunrise we
reached the foot of a steep mountain, the first of 4(6)v 40
the ridge called La Cabrera;—and having become
chilled by a ride of several hours, I determined
to walk up the hill;—a determination,
however, in which none of my fellow-travellers
felt inclined to join, and I therefore pursued my
way alone. The sun had not yet appeared above
the horizon; but the bright reflection of his red
beams was smiling upon the rough and cheerless
surface of those immense rocky heights, which,
rising successively one above another, were
warmed by the sun-beams into an appearance of
loveliness, that belonged not naturally to their
bleak and desolate cliffs. Continuing to ascend
the steep side of the mountain, and lost in reflections,
which the lonely scene around me was
calculated to excite, I came suddenly to an
abrupt bend in the road, and looking forward,
I observed, at the distance of perhaps twenty
rods before me, four men, standing together
at the side of the road, each armed with a
musket, but bearing no resemblance in dress or
otherwise to the guards, who had hitherto conducted
us through the dangerous defiles of the
mountains.

The fear of robbers was one, which I had endeavored
as much as possible, to banish from my
mind, from our first entering Spain; but I must
confess, that the sight of these suspicious looking
men, standing in so retired a spot, at the early
hour of sunrise, and without any apparently good 5(1)r 41
object in view, awakened an involuntary feeling
of terror, which I cannot well describe: a feeling
not lessened by the reflection, that, by walking
at a very rapid pace, I had advanced so great a
distance before the carriage, that it would be impossible
for me to regain it before being overtaken,
provided these men were actually robbers
and disposed to pursue me. Afraid to go forward,
and finding I should gain nothing by turning
back, I resolved to seat myself upon a large
stone by the way side, and watch their movements.
This I did; and my fears were very soon
allayed by observing, that they did not move from
their position, but seemed to be awaiting, like
myself, the arrival of the carriage.

It was impossible, however, to feel perfectly
tranquil, until, being joined by my companions,
I ascertained that the supposed robbers
were really guards, and that, near the spot where
they had stationed themselves, the diligence
had been robbed only a short period before.
I did not immediately enter the carriage, as we
had not reached the summit of the hill; and one
of the guards, who walked along by my side, began
to enter into conversation with me; notwithstanding
that I endeavored, in the best manner I
was able, to let him know, that I could comprehend
very little of what he was saying. Determined
to persevere, he at length made me understand,
by aid of the expressive gestures, with 5 5(1)v 42
which the Spaniards accompany their speech, and
notwithstanding my imperfect knowledge of the
language, why he was stationed upon the road;
how many robbers had attacked the diligence;
from what part of the mountain they had come;
and that, after having tied the hands of passengers
behind their backs, and robbed them of
all their money, they had left them lying upon
the ground, and fled to their strong holds among
the hills.

You will readily suppose, that so recent a robbery
as this gave us all no little apprehension of
a like disaster to ourselves, before we should
reach Madrid; and it was only by the promise,
that a strong guard should be procured at the
next village, that poor Mr. Nicholas. who sat
in an agony of fear, could be in the least degree
quieted. The village of La Cabrera was
but a short distance off; and when we arrived
there, we found the whole place in confusion,
owing to a robbery which had taken place the very
day before, a few miles only the other side of the
village, upon the same road that we were to pass
over. Justly alarmed now for our own safety, we
immediately endeavored to obtain a guard sufficiently
strong to defend us from attack; but we
were told, that nearly all the men in the village
had armed themselves, and gone out into the
mountains in quest of the robbers.

Such being the case, we had nothing to fear, 5(2)r 43
and therefore pursued our journey without any
apprehension of present danger, and making up
our minds, if it should be found necessary to hire
a strong guard at the village of Cabanilla. But
we found, on reaching this place, that the whole
country around was roused; and consequently
there could not be the slightest risk, that the robbers
would show themselves in a body again for
that day at least. I say in a body, as there is no
doubt, that we saw more than one of these very
robbers, among the multitude of wretched looking
creatures, who inhabited the neighboring villages,
and whom we met with their muskets over their
shoulders, earnestly engaged, to appearance, in
searching for those, who were probably their
own accomplices in a crime. Several of the villages
bear a notoriously bad reputation; and
among a group of black looking, tattered wretches,
whom we saw standing by the road side, there
was one man, who had been tried for robbery,
and narrowly escaped conviction for the want of
sufficient evidence, although he was generally
believed to be guilty. In the same troop was the
son of another man, who had likewise been arrested
upon suspicion of robbery. Parties of
men, women, and children, some on horseback,
and others on foot, passed us from time to time;
the men all armed, and with countenances generally
marked by a strong expression of knavery,
while the poverty of their garments gave undoubted 5(2)v 44
evidence of their abject condition in life.

At length we approached the spot where the
robbery took place. It was upon a bridge, called
Puente de Cascavero, situated in a valley, with
two steep hills on each side of it; and at the
right hand and left, we could perceive, as we
passed over it, the little paths, which conducted
around the angles of huge broken masses of rock,
and thence in among the mountains, where the
fugitive criminal might screen himself, without
the fear of detection, from the pursuit of justice.
Eleven men, having taken possession of this
bridge in the morning, robbed every person, who
arrived during the day, consisting of the passengers
of the diligence going to Madrid, and of that
coming from it, together with a great number
of muleteers, and other peaceable travellers,
amounting in the whole to forty persons. To
guard against any alarm being given, and to prevent
escape, they had previously stationed sentinels
upon the hills on each side of the bridge,
and as fast as the unfortunate travellers descended
into the valley, they were seized, and their
hands bound behind their backs, and then they
were forced to remain quietly upon the ground
for the rest of the day, without the possibility of
receiving assistance.

You may well imagine our gratitude at having
so narrowly escaped falling into the snare ourselves,
for, had we not been disappointed in the 5(3)r 45
mules which we had expected to have a part of
the way from Bayonne, we should have passed
the Puente de Cascavero just in time to be deprived
of our money, and whatever valuables we
possessed, in addition to being obliged to remain
pinioned several hours, which would have been no
very pleasant adventure. None of the travellers,
however, were personally mal-treated, with the
exception of one of the diligence conductors, who
was knocked down, probably from having made resistance.
It is universally acknowledged, in regard
to robbers in Spain, that they are seldom
known to injure travellers in their person, unless
resistance be offered, or some cause of private
hostility prompt them to revenge.

The conversation of our party now turned,
very naturally, upon the subject of robberies, and
various stories and anecdotes relative to them beguiled
the way, until we reached the Venta del
Molar
, where we dined; or I might say where
we eat our first dinner, as, ever since leaving
Bayonne, we had partaken of two hearty meals
each day; the one at twelve, one, or two o’clock,
as might happen, and the other after our arrival
at night at our journey’s end. The Venta del
Molar
was in every respect wretched. The
apartment, into which we were shown as our dining
room, was so dark, damp, and gloomy, that
we insisted upon the table’s being set in the front
part of the house, in a large court, which served 5* 5(3)v 46
as a common passage for man and beast, and a
portion of which was actually occupied as the stable.
This was much the most comfortable place
that the house afforded, and here we sat down
to a most miserable dinner, which scarcely sufficed
to appease our hunger for the remaining
four hours of the day, in which we were to continue
on the road. Just as we were finishing the
desert, a demure, staid-looking borrica marched
up to the table, and stood close at my side, waiting
with all possible patience for its expected
share of the fruit. This we did not fail to bestow
upon the poor animal, which, at the voice of its
master, soon walked off very submissively to be
laden with its accustomed burden.

At evening, we reached the village of Alcovendas,
where an amply spread board made
amends for our scanty and miserable fare at the
Venta del Molar.

5(4)r 47

Letter IV.

Madrid.—Fonda of the Fontana de Oro.—Lodgings.—Houses.—
Calle de Alcala.—Mode of Living.—Female Costume.—
Male Costume.—Friars.—King’s Body Guard.

As we left Alcovendas at a very early hour in
the morning, (1829-11-13November 13th), few of the muleteers
had as yet arisen to prepare for their departure;
and I was very much astonished, in
passing out through the court, or stable, to see
the whole floor occupied with these men, who,
wrapping themselves up in coarse blankets, had
each bestowed himself upon his respective heap
of straw, and, in company with his brute associates,
slept with as much apparent soundness and
comfort as if reposing upon a bed of down.
These blankets are sometimes worn of various
fanciful colors, and serve the triple purpose of
an occasional protection for horse and mule, the
master’s covering by night, and his cloak by day.

A ride of a few hours from Alcovendas brought
us to Madrid. The snowy summits of the Guadarrama
had been for sometime visible in the
distance; and upon ascending a slight elevation,
the city was full in sight, with its almost innumerable
towers and steeples, arising from the
vast number of convents and churches, with
which Madrid abounds. A singular peculiarity
of this city is, that it has no faubourgs around it, 5(4)v 48
or scattered country houses whatever; but stands
in the midst of an extensive plain, in which not a
single tree, of any description, is to be seen.

We entered Madrid at the gate of Foncarral,
and, after a slight search of our baggage by the
proper authorities, proceeded to the Fontana de
Oro
. This is a very large fonda or hotel. All
the rooms in it, instead of being numbered,
were designated by the name of some country, or
of some province in Spain. The apartment,
which we occupied, called Mexico, was a large,
handsome room, having two neat sleeping and
dressing rooms connected with it. The floor was
carpeted with the same sort of matting, that I first
noticed at Burgos; but this was prettier, inasmuch
as it was woven in diamond figures, having
colors of black and brown mingled with the original
color of the species of grass, of which it is
made.

The next day after our arrival at Madrid, the
ringing of all the bells in the city, and the firing
of cannons, announced the arrival of the future
Queen of Spain, and her parents, the King and
Queen of Naples, within the frontiers of the
kingdom. I could not but congratulate myself,
that we should have visited Madrid so opportunely,
as to be able to witness the fetes and rejoicings
attendant upon the marriage of an absolute
sovereign. Three weeks, however, were to
elapse before the Queen would arrive at the capital; 5(5)r 49
and in the meantime great preparations were
making for celebrating the event in a becoming
manner.

On Wednesday, (1829-11-18November 18th), we exchanged
our lodgings at the Fontana de Oro, for private
rooms in the Calle de Alcala, one of the most
frequented and pleasantest streets in Madrid.
Our parlor was very agreeably situated upon the
street, with large windows in front, reaching
from the wall to the floor, opening in the middle
like folding doors, and closed by means of heavy
iron fastenings, which also extended from the top
of the window to the bottom. In front, on the
out side, were little balconies, enclosed within
iron railings. So universal an appendage is this
to the houses in Spain, that it is very seldom
you can find one, pretending in the least to gentility,
which does not possess its balconies, although
the windows opening upon them may not
contain a single pane of glass. Back of the
parlor was a large recess or alcove, which served
for a bed room, and which was screened from
view by muslin curtains hung over the arch of
the recess.

The furniture of the larger room, being a just
specimen of what is usually seen, even in the
houses of the better classes in Madrid, it may
not be amiss to describe it to you. The carpet
was similar to that at the fonda, having the same
colors in it, although woven in differently shaped 5(5)v 50
figures. At each corner of the room was a pedestal,
sustaining an imitation bronze statue; and
a variety of pictures and engravings adorned the
walls. A large mirror occupied one end of the
room, and upon a table beneath it was the most
singular assemblage of things you can imagine
for the decoration of a parlor. In the centre of
the table was a glass case, which contained an
imitation clock, intended more for show than use,
with a pot of artificial flowers on one side of it,
and on the other a small carved lion, also covered
with a glass case. In front of the clock was
a saucer, containing a large ostrich egg; and
at a slight distance from it, a little silver stand,
in form of a brasero, with coals in it, used for
lighting cigars.

A number of porcelain figures, of various descriptions,
were scattered about the table; one
representing a little white dog, another an old
woman with a spindle in her hand, and surrounded
by a brood of chickens; and a third the
image of a monk, wrapped up in his cloak, and
sleeping over a heap of burning sticks. Had
there been a family of children in the house, this
mass of play things would not have appeared so
singular, though certainly out of place upon a
parlor table; but when the family only consisted
of the landlady and one serving maid, the idea
of such a toy shop seemed to me particularly
amusing. It is, however, a taste very commonly 5(6)r 51
indulged in Spain, as strange as it may seem to us.
Vast quantities of these porcelain toys are made
at Malaga, and brought to Madrid for sale Christmas
week, when they are bought for chimney
and table ornaments, quite as much as for the
amusement of children.

Notwithstanding the singularity of some of its
decorations, every thing about the room was as
nicely kept as possible; indeed, a particle of dirt
seemed to be an unknown guest in the house.
Our hostess, Dona Francisca, a sprightly Andalusian
about thirty five years of age, was scrupulously
neat, quite pretty, and very agreeable; so that
our prospects of a pleasant residence at her house
were certainly very promising. She spoke not a
word of any language except Spanish; although
this circumstance to a learner of that language,
was rather an advantage than otherwise.

The houses in Madrid, like those in Paris, are
each occupied by several distinct families, all
making use of common entrance and staircase.
In Paris the entrance to the houses is generally
through open paved courts, surrounded by
buildings; but at Madrid, you enter from the
street into the first story, or ground floor of the
house, from whence a stairway leads to the different
tenements above. This ground floor is not
always kept in order; and is sometimes used as
a passage for mules and horses to pass to the stable.
Loungers from the street are always allowed 5(6)v 52
to frequent it, during the day, and in fact it
seems to be considered, not as a part of the
house, but as a kind of thoroughfare for all who
wish to make use of it. In the door of each separate
tenement is a small opening, with bars
across it upon the outside, and a little door upon
the inside. Before you are allowed to enter, the
person within opens the small door and enquires,
“Quien es?” who is it?; and the reply, “Amigo”
a friend, or “Gente de paz” peaceful people,
gains you admittance. This is a ceremony which
it is generally necessary to go through, before
one can enter the house, even of an intimate acquaintance
or friend.

Our time for dining at Madrid was three
o’clock, instead of half-past five, as at Paris;
and our breakfast, consisting wholly of chocolate
and bread, with tumbler of water, was generally
served at eight o’clock in the morning; the
breakfast hour varying of course in different
families, according to their time of rising. At
eight or nine o’clock in the evening, it is customary
to have either a cup of chocolate, or a supper
of soup and meat, as you like.

Tea, coffee, and butter, if not absolutely unknown
in Madrid, and indeed all over Spain,
are at least so scarce as to be within reach of
very few. To those, who have always been accustomed
to such, I may almost say, necessaries
of life, the loss of them is rather a serious one; 6(1)r 53
but, even to them, it would be more agreeable to
go without coffee or tea, than to be obliged to put
up with such miserable specimens of either, as
alone are to be procured, and that with difficulty,
at the boarding houses and hotels in Spain, where,
unhabituated to their use, the servants have no
idea how they ought to be prepared. The
mode of cooking here, otherwise, differs not very
essentially from the French. The greatest difference
is in the oil and garlic, which accompany
every Spanish dish, almost without exception.
To these two indispensable ingredients in
all the food I had tasted in Spain, I was now so
accustomed, as to have become quite reconciled
to them; and even learned to relish very much
the dishes, of which, a fortnight before, I believed
it impossible ever to eat. So much for the force
of habit.

The perfect neatness, which particularly characterized
the kitchen department of Dona Francisca’s
house, was a striking refutation of the
charge of uncleanliness, so frequently brought
against the Spanish people. The snowy whiteness
of the floors and tables, the good order
in which all the utensils were arranged, and the
neatness and economy which marked the mode of
cooking food, were every way commendable. The
only fuel, which is used in preparing a dinner,
consists of a small quantity of coal, placed
in the centre of a large deep potter’s ware pan, 6 6(1)v 54
precisely of the form of our milk pans. Just
above the coal, about half the distance from the
bottom of the pan to the top, is a shelf, capable
of holding a large number of earthen pots of various
sizes. In these the dinner is contained, and
being divided into so many different portions, very
little coal is required to cook it. When dinner
is over, the remainder of the fuel, if there be any,
is transferred to the brasero, so that no part of it
is lost. If roasting is required, this kind of fire,
of course, would not answer; but as plain roast is
scarce ever met with in this country, unless at
your own special order, I think there could
hardly be a more saving and convenient mode
of cooking.

For the first ten days after being domesticated
in the Calle de Alcala, I went out but little,
owing to the very rainy and disagreeable weather,
with which we were visited. But I was by no
means without variety, in the mean time; as the
street alone afforded me an unfailing resource for
occupation and amusement. It is always pleasing
to watch the passing of persons to and fro, in a
strange place; and more particularly is it true of
Madrid, where every object is so entirely novel
to a foreigner, and of consequence affords constant
occasion for curiosity and interest.

The mantilla I had now the opportunity of
seeing worn, in all its varieties; and although
the greater part of them are of similar cut and 6(2)r 55
fashion, yet the difference of fabric and texture,
together with the greater or less degree of taste
manifested in arranging them upon the head, produce
nearly as much contrariety as between the
different styles of making and wearing bonnets.
The kind of mantilla most commonly worn in
Madrid is composed of silk, trimmed with blond
or thread lace, like those I saw at Vitoria.
There are others made entirely of lace, which
are much more showy and delicate, but very expensive
and less serviceable, as they are only fit
to wear in warm or pleasant weather.

The street dress of the ladies is almost uniformly
black. Colored dresses are getting to be
much more worn than formerly, owing, perhaps,
to the residence of foreigners in this city; still the
ancient custom of wearing black exclusively, a
custom which continues to prevail in all other
parts of Castile, is also sufficiently marked among
the generality of ladies in Madrid. And it seems,
indeed, to be the only proper color to compare
with the mantilla, which is, with a very few exceptions,
always black. White lace ones are
sometimes worn, particularly in summer, but
these are rare in comparison with the black. A
shawl was the thickest garment, which I saw any
lady wear, while I was at Madrid, except on two
or three very cold days, when occasionally a lady
would pass wrapped up in a silk cloak. But the
instances are very few, in which shawls are not 6(2)v 56
considered sufficiently warm, notwithstanding that
the air is so excessively keen and penetrating at
times, as to have given rise to the proverb, that
“the air of Madrid would kill a man, but not
blow out a candle.”

But whatever be the state of the weather, a
Spanish lady is never seen without her fan, at
any period of the year. It is quite as necessary
and indispensable a part of her dress, as her
gloves or mantilla; more, however, for an occupation
to her hands, than for actual use, at least
during the winter months. Until I became accustomed
to their attire, nothing seemed to me
more incongruous, than to see ladies tripping
along the street, when the weather was intensely
cold, clothed in a thin black dress, a lace mantilla,
a small shawl around the neck, open work silk
hose, and little delicate satin slippers, while the
fan, which each carried in her hand, was flourished
about from side to side, opened and shut with
the utmost rapidity, or used as a sort of shelter
to the eye, behind which to reconnoitre some
passing object.

Indeed, the inhabitants of Madrid seem to
have a poor conception of the manner in which
cold is to be guarded against. Fire places are
extremely rare, and the brasero is the only means,
by which the rooms are heated. This answers
very well in moderate weather, and might always
be effectual in a small, close room; but where 6(3)r 57
the room is of large dimensions, and the cold air
is rushing in torrents from the windows and
doors, it is often far from being comfortable. So
much so, that it is a very general custom for ladies
to wear large shawls over their shoulders in the
house, during the winter.

The outside dress of a gentleman is always a
cloak, worn in the manner I have already described
to you. They are made very handsomely, of
broadcloth, and faced with either red, blue, or
black velvet, as is occasionally the fashion with us.
They are certainly very becoming, and, from the
Spanish mode of wearing them, would also seem
to be very comfortable; much less so, however,
I imagine, than a closer and tighter garment
would be.

Among the various classes of people, constantly
seen passing through the Calle de Alcala,
none struck me more peculiarly than the friars.
The number in Madrid is immense, and they are
easily distinguished by their dress, which is totally
unlike that of the priests, although varying according
to different orders. That of the Capuchins,
for instance, is a sort of robe, of coarse
brown cloth, tight at the neck, and fastened
around the waist with a long piece of knotted
rope, which hangs down, at one side, almost to
the feet. Attached to the neck of the robe is a
hood or cowl, either worn over the head, or suffered
to hang down behind, at the pleasure of the 6* 6(3)v 58
wearer. There are other friars, who always
wear in the street a large cloak of mixed
gray cloth, with a cowl to it; and these, when
the cowl is thrown over their heads, have the appearance
of women,—though, it must be confessed,
of rather Amazonian stature.

Directly opposite our lodgings was a building,
called the Intendencia, where a file of soldiers
were constantly stationed. Each morning, between
eight and nine o’clock, these soldiers
were drawn up in military array, to pay due respect
to a portion of the King’s body guard, as
they passed to and from the palace, most beautifully
and tastely uniformed, and preceded by a
full band of music. The blending of so many
different instruments, as they united in some lively
martial air, was exhilarating and delightful beyond
measure. The pleasure of hearing such
enchanting music every day, was an additional
reason, for rendering me more than content with
my present place of abode.

6(4)r 59

Letter V.

Madrid.—The Prado.—Palace of Buen Retiro..—Calle de Alcala.
Plazuela de Anton Martin.—Casa de Villahermosa.—
Casa de Medinacœli.—Church of the Italians.—Puerta del
Sol
.—Museo de San Fernando

Occupations, and the state of the weather,
had kept me within doors for several days. At
length, on Saturday, (1829-11-28November 28th), it being
quite pleasant, I took, for the first time, a walk
in the Prado. This celebrated public promenade,
though certainly very agreeable, and in some respects
even beautiful, in a great measure disappointed
my expectations. I had heard much of
the Prado of Madrid; and had, erroneously to
be sure, associated the idea of it, in my own
mind, with the public gardens at Paris; and
consequently the first feeling upon entering it,
was that of disappointment. Beginning at the
Puerta de Recoletos, it passes along by the foot
of the Calle de Alcala, the Carrera de San Geronimo
and the Calle de Atocha, which are the
three broadest streets in Madrid,—and terminates
at the Convent of Atocha. It consists of a central
gravelled walk, of great width, bordered with
trees; and broad side avenues, also bordered
with trees, beneath which seats are arranged at
convenient distances apart. The sides are appropriated
for walking, and the centre for carriages.

6(4)v 60

It is ornamented, in various parts, with beautiful
marble groups, forming fountains, whose
clear, transparent water rise in sparkling jets,
and flow with a gentle murmur into the circular
basins, destined to receive them again. Several
of these fountains are particularly remarkable for
their size and beauty. The fountain of Neptune
represents a colossal figure of that god, seated in
a shell, which forms his car, and drawn by two
gigantic horses, whose raised heads, distended
nostrils, and fiery eyes, seem almost to claim
kindred with life. The other is a representation
of Apollo, and is not nearly so striking as that of
Neptune. There is still a third fountain of great
size, situated at the end of the Prado, in the
Calle de Alcala. It represents Cybele, seated
in a car, drawn by two magnificent lions. The
space between these two fountains is the widest
part of the Prado, and is much more frequented
than any other as a place of public resort; from
which circumstance it is called the saloon.

The left side of the promenade, as you advance
towards the Puerta de Atocha, is bordered by
the grounds belonging to the King’s palace, called
the Buen Retiro, situated near the Prado;
by the Royal Museum, and the Botanical Gardens.
The latter are extensive and beautiful,
containing many rare plants and shrubs from different
parts of the world.

After walking through the whole extent of the 6(5)r 61
Prado, I passed up the Calle de Atocha, to the
market place, called the Plazuela de Anton Martin.
This is, properly speaking, but an enlargement
of the street; and in the centre of it is a
fountain, of some size, but not remarkable for
beauty. There were great crowds of market
women, not only in the Plazuela itself, but ranged
along the walks each side of the street, rendering
it almost impassable, during the rainy
weather, by reason of the quantities of broken
vegetables strewn about in every direction.
These market women present a different appearance
from the same class of women elsewhere,
having upon their heads, instead of caps or hats,
mantillas, generally made of black woollen cloth.

From the Calle de Atocha, I walked through
several narrow, irregular streets to the Carrera
de San Geronimo
, to visit the church of the Italians.
At the bottom of this street on each side,
and facing upon the Prado, are the two enormous
private palaces of Villahermosa and Medinacœli.
These palaces are deemed very splendid; and,
size alone considered, they are so; but the
style, in which they are built, is not agreeable to
my taste. One of them is composed of very
small bricks, and is three stories in height, independently
of the basement. There is no door
in front; but there are three rows of windows,
seventeen in each row, grated upon the outside,
and imparting to the edifice much more the aspect 6(5)v 62
of a hospital, than of a nobleman’s palace.
The taste of the other is even more defective.
It is irregularly built, of plaistered brick, having
a bend in the principal front, which has a very
awkward appearance. Each row of windows is
twenty-nine in number, without including the
bend; with it, there are thirty-five in each row.
But still, with all these defects, there is something
agreeable in the view of such lofty and extensive
buildings, however plain and free from
ornament the exterior may be; and particularly
when, as in this instance, the imagination fails
not to depict the scene of splendid luxury and elegance,
which reigns within.

The church of the Italians was the first which
I entered at Madrid; and it possesses the peculiarities
of architecture, which distinguish the
churches here from any I had previously seen, although
it is in itself nothing remarkable. Upon
first entering the door, I observed a piece of tapestry,
extending along from side to side; and
upon raising one end of it, and passing under, I
found myself in the body of the church. But so
dark did every thing appear, when I first entered,
that it was some moments before I could distinguish
any object. There was no soft but brilliant
light, reflected through beautifully painted windows,
as in most of the Gothic cathedrals; but
one single nave, unsupported by columns, the
sides forming several distinct chapels, led to the 6(6)r 63
chief altar. These chapels are not divided by
ceilings, or otherwise, from each other; but have
all separate altars, above which are large panels,
containing either pictures or statues. As
you advance towards the chief altar, you come
to that part of the church occupied by the dome,
the vault of which is painted in fresco. This portion
of the edifice corresponds, in reference to the
nave, with the arms of a cross; and the two recesses
thus formed, at the right and left, between
the nave and principal altar, are also occupied as
chapels, and are adorned with pictures and statues
like the nave. There was something very neat
in the appearance of this church; but nothing
grand or imposing; and the deep shade, which involves
every part of the nave, detracted very
much from its pleasing effect. The pavement of
the church was composed of squares of blue and
white marble, wholly concealed, however, by the
straw matting with which it was covered.

Descending the Carrera de San Geronimo, between
the palaces of Villahermosa, and Medinacœli,
I crossed the Prado, to the church of San
Geronimo
, situated near the Royal
Museum
. The rain of the last week had produced
so much mud, that no visiters were allowed 6(6)v 64
to enter the picture galleries on account of it.
This I considered rather an absurd and overscrupulous
sort of neatness; but I was obliged to
submit to it nevertheless, and bent my steps accordingly
towards the Calle de Alcala.

This is universally considered the handsomest
street in Madrid; and it only needs regularity to
be one of the most beautiful in the world. It
commences at the Prado and extends to the
Puerta del Sol. At the commencement, its width
is sufficient for ten carriages to pass abreast; but
this extreme width continues gradually to diminish,
until, at the Puerta del Sol, the street becomes
quite narrow. At one part of it there is a
considerable elevation; and the buildings, which
line each side, consist of almost every variety of
size and height. These are all serious defects,
tending much to impair the beauty of the street;
but still it possesses a great deal to admire, containing
several churches and other beautiful public
buildings, among which none is more conspicuous
than the Aduana, or Custom House, although
this is much injured in its appearance, in being
surrounded with irregularly built houses. The
front is, however, very handsome, and presents
four long ranges of windows, and five doors of
entrance. The principal one, in the centre, is
surmounted with an iron railway; and above this
are the royal arms.

The Puerta del Sol, at which the Calle de Alcala 7(1)r 65
terminates, is one of the most busy spots in
Madrid. It serves as a sort of public rendezvous,
where all classes of persons may meet, and discuss
the news of the day; or amuse an idle hour
in listening to the various conversations, carried
on in no very low tone of voice, of the motley
groups, which constantly fill the place. Groups
composed, not merely of the inhabitants of the
city, in their various capacities of merchants,
trades-people, fruit-sellers, water-sellers, and so
forth, but of individuals of almost every province
in Spain, are met with at the Puerta del Sol;
often dressed in different costumes, and speaking
different dialects. They are able to communicate
with each other by means of the Castilian,
which, as the court language, is of course understood
almost universally throughout the kingdom.
That is, nearly every person, from whatever
part of Spain, is able to speak the Castilian language,
although, among the lower classes of people,
the pronunciation of it is apt to be strongly marked
by the peculiar accent of their provincial
dialect.

Five of the handsomest and most frequented
streets in Madrid open into the Puerta del Sol;
namely, the Calle de Alcala and the Carrera de
San Geronimo
at one end; the Calle Mayor at
the other; and the Calle de la Montera, and
that of Las Carretas, which enter the two sides
at opposite directions. In addition to these there 7 7(1)v 66
are several smaller streets between the Calle
Mayor
and the Calle del Carmen, much visited by
ladies, as containing shops for fans, combs, mantillas,
and other fancy articles of female apparel.
Near the latter, also, is the narrow street of Los
Cofreros
, at one corner of which, upon the Puerta
del Sol
, is the house where Le Sage represents
Gil Blas as living while at Madrid. The
meeting of so many streets in one common centre
necessarily renders it a constant thoroughfare for
carriages of every description, as well as for foot
passengers; and indeed there is scarcely an hour
in the day, that the Puerta del Sol is not crowded
to overflowing; so much so, that it is often
very difficult to pass from one street to another,
without considerable effort and delay. The side
of the square is adorned with a fountain, which
at this time stood within a species of the temple,
built around it as a kind of triumphal monument,
in honor of the approaching nuptials of the King.

On Monday, (1829-11-29November 29th), I visited the
Museum of San Fernando. This is fine collection
of pictures and statues which occupy a
large number of rooms, in a building adjoining
the Aduana. The first room that I entered contained
several splendid pictures by Murillo. One
of the most remarkable was that of Saint Isabel,
Queen of Portugal
, accompanied by her ladies
of honor, engaged in alleviating the distresses of 7(2)r 67
the diseased poor, who are seen flocking around
her, and raising to her face the most supplicating
looks, in which extreme pain and suffering are
depicted. The noble and majestic deportment of
the Queen, the mingled expressions of regal dignity
and soft compassion which beam from her
beautiful countenance, are strongly contrasted
with the emaciated frames, the sallow cheeks,
and sunken eyes of the wretched beings around
her. Indeed, splendid as this painting certainly
is, taken as a whole, the picture which it exhibits
of loathsome disease, united with the most utter
poverty, is too naturally portrayed to render it
altogether pleasing to the eye or the imagination.
And the same may be said of an Ecce Homo,
contained in the apartment with the preceding,
and also painted by Murillo. It is admirable beyond
measure; but is too true a representation
of the agonizing sufferings of our Savior. An
Ecce Homo by Morales, a Mary Magdalen by
Murillo, and the decapitated head of John the
Baptist
, by Dominichino, are all of them exquisitely
beautiful. Heart-felt grief and penitence
blend, in the countenance of Mary, with the
sweetest expression of resignation, as she raises
her tearful eyes upwards, her hands clasped together,
and a profusion of golden ringlets flowing
luxuriantly over her shoulders. In the features
of John Baptist, too, there was such a tranquil
and heavenly expression, that I could have gazed 7(2)v 68
upon it for hours without weariness. The number
of apartments, which contain the whole collecction
of pictures, amounts to twelve; and in
each one there are more or less paintings by the
most celebrated Spanish and Italian masters, corresponding
in splendor and beauty with those
above mentioned. A considerable portion of the
pictures are not first rate, and some of them are
quite ordinary; but taking all the fine ones into
consideration, together with those, which, although
of less merit, are still very beautiful, the collection
may well be called most rich and valuable.

There are, in addition to the paintings, eight
or ten apartments devoted to statuary. Much of
this is very fine; but I had previously seen sculptures
of the same kind at Paris. The busts of the
monarchs and most distinguished men of Spain
were of course new, and interested me extremely.
I spent a greater part of two days in this
Museum, and derived from it a vast deal of pleasure
and satisfaction. It is only to be lamented,
in regard to the pictures, that they are not arranged
in such a manner as to be seen to the best
advantage. The building, which they occupy,
was formerly a dwelling house; and the rooms are
consequently not adapted to the display of large
pictures particularly; and as several of the best
are of very large size, it is unfortunate that they
should appear less perfect than they really are,
from the want of proper light.

7(3)r 69

Letter VI.

Madrid.—Museo del Prado.—Shops of Madrid.—Churches.—
San Isidro el Real.—Plaza Real.—Plazuela de la Cebada.—
San Andres.—Plazuela de Villa.—Casa de Ayuntamiento.—
Los Consejos.—Casa de Osuna.—The Manzanares.—Nuestra
Senora de Almudena
.—King’s Palace.—Style of Building
in Madrid.

Much as I had enjoyed a view of the pictures
in the Museo de San Fernando, a still greater
treat was in store for me at the Museo del Prado,
which I visited on Wednesday, (1829-12-01December 1st.)
This building stands, as I have before remarked,
upon the Prado, between the church of San Geronimo
and the Botanical Garden. The front is
composed of a central body, supported by granite
pillars, and two projecting wings at the sides,
forming altogether a very striking and noble
looking edifice. I first entered a large, handsome
vestibule or rotunda, sustained by columns,
from whence three doors conducted to the picture
galleries. The two galleries at the right
hand and left, as you enter, are appropriated to
the paintings of the old Spanish schools, and are
situated, the one in front and other in the
rear of the right wing of the building. Two corresponding
halls are now constructing at the
opposite wing, which, when completed, are to
contain the Flemish and Dutch paintings. In
addition to these, there is the grand gallery, 7* 7(3)v 70
which occupies the central part of the edifice
from wing to wing. It is divided into three parts,
something in the style of the Louvre. The first
contains the Spanish paintings, executed by masters
still living, or who have died within a few
years. The second division is devoted to French
and German paintings, and the third to Italian.

When one sees even a very large of
pictures, arranged in many separate rooms, it is
quite easy to describe those, which more particularly
strike you; but when they occupy long, spacious
galleries, and when, as in this instance,
each picture is well worth a painter’s study, then
indeed the task of describing the most interesting
among them becomes very difficult, and even impossible
without occupying a great deal of time.
I shall not, therefore, attempt to describe any
particular painting in the Museo del Prado, in
part for the very reason, that the collection is so
exceedingly sumptuous and splendid.

In comparing this, however, with the Louvre,
it seems to me impossible, that any person should
give the preference to the latter. It is true, that
the magnificent style, in which the gallery of the
Louvre is fitted up, strikes you very much more
powerfully at first, than the comparatively plain
and simple decorations of the Royal Museum;
but as a collection of pictures, merely, I consider
this really superior to the other. The Flemish
and Dutch paintings, although at present not 7(4)r 71
open to the public, are acknowledged, by those
who have seen them, to be surpassed in beauty
and value by none of their kind in the world.
The Italian collection is undoubtedly much more
rich and beautiful, as a whole, than that of the
Louvre; and contains some of the very finest
productions of Raphael, Guido, Titian, Tintoretto,
Leonardo da Vinci, the Caracci, and indeed
of all the Italian masters. It only remains then
to compare the French paintings in the Louvre
with the Spanish paintings in the Royal Museum.
And here there can be but one opinion. The
eye of a novice, even, may instantly detect the
vast difference between the two styles of painting,
and the great superiority of the Spanish over the
French.

The number of Murillo’s paintings contained
in the Royal Museum, is very great; and I can
scarcely imagine any thing more perfectly beautiful
than the best efforts of this inimitable master.
There is so much softness of coloring, so
much purity and beauty of design, in his productions,
that the eye is involuntarily attracted
by it, and reluctantly turns away from a contemplation
so full of interest and delight. Morales
too, the divine Morales, as he was called, is an
exquisitely beautiful painter. And in my opinion
there are none, even of the most celebrated
French pictures, that I have ever seen, which
can compare in beauty with the best executed 7(4)v 72
works of these eminent artists. Indeed, there is
scarcely a picture in either of the two galleries,
devoted to the old Spanish paintings, which is not
beautiful; though none so beautiful as those of
Murillo and Morales.

But where one single individual pays the just
tribute of admiration to the beauties of this splendid
collection, a thousand do homage to that of
the Louvre; and it was with feelings nearly
amounting to melancholy, that I found myself
almost a solitary wanderer through the deserted
galleries of the Museo del Prado, and recollected,
at the same time, the crowds of admiring spectators,
whom you constantly meet with at the Louvre.
Notwithstanding these feelings of regret,
however, no exhibition ever delighted me more
than this, and I certainly retain a far stronger
and deeper impression of its beauties, than of
those of any other paintings I have ever seen.

Before returning home from the Prado, I passed
up the Carrera de San Geronimo to the Puerta
del Sol
, and thence into several shops in that
vicinity. These I found very far inferior in respect
to variety and richness of goods, to shops
of the same description in Paris. Indeed the
greater proportion of the largest establishments
for fancy goods, which I saw in Madrid, may be
termed extremely ordinary, in comparison with
those splendid ones, which meet your eye at every
turn in the French capital. Their exterior appearance, 7(5)r 73
in a particular manner, is destitute of
beauty and taste to a remarkable degree; and
only occasionally can you find any thing like a
rich display of goods at the windows or doors of
the shops, as in other great and populous cities.

On Sunday, (1829-12-06December 6th), I visited several
of the churches, in all which I observed a similar
style of architecture; neatness and simplicity
being its only striking characteristics. In many
of them, however, the beauty arising from simplicity
of architecture was much impaired by the
profusion of gilt ornaments, which imparted a
tawdry and inelegant appearance, more easily
imagined than described.

The church of San Isidro el Real, one of those
which I entered, is among the largest and handsomest
in Madrid. It consists of a single nave;
but this is much larger and more spacious, than
in ordinary churches; and the pictures, which
adorn several of the chapels, are very beautiful.
There are, likewise, a number equally fine in the
sacristy, which is a room of large dimensions,
with handsomely painted panels composing the
sides and ceiling. Among the various pictures
was one by Jordan, representing St. Francis
Xavier
, baptizing two Indians, which struck
me more than any other. The subject was an interesting
one; and in addition to this the painting
itself was very fine. But it was impossible
perfectly to appreciate or enjoy any of the pictures 7((5)v 74
in this church, owing to the very small
quantity of light, which is permitted to enter it.
The few small windows, placed at the upper part
of the church, are wholly insufficient to enlighten
the chapels of the nave, most of which are, consequently,
thrown into complete obscurity.

Along the whole of one side of the church
are little arched passages, leading from chapel to
chapel, and faced with beautifully variegated
marbles. But these, like the pictures, are deprived,
owing to the darkness of the church, of
a great deal of admiration, that might otherwise
be bestowed upon them. Why so singular a taste
should exist, as that of banishing the light of
day from places of public worship, I cannot conceive;
unless it is the idea of promoting thereby
a greater degree of apparent solemnity. If such
be the case, they surely sacrifice a real good to
an imaginary one. So small a trifle as the degree
of light, which is permitted to enter a place consecrated
to devotion, can certainly have no effect
upon a devout mind; and the thoughtless worshipper
will not, I imagine, be recalled from his
thoughtlessness merely by the fact, that he is
surrounded with darkness rather than light. And
if, as the Roman Catholics insist, a view of those
representations of divine and holy beings, with
which their churches are filled, is really adapted
to call forth feelings of religious awe and reverence,
it seems to me inconsistent and inexplicable, 7(6)r 75
that these should be, in so many instances,
totally lost to the sight, or, if not lost, so buried
in obscurity, as to do very little service towards
the object, for which they are professedly placed
there.

In passing from the church of San Tomas, in
the Calle de Atocha, to that of San Isidro, in the
Calle de Toledo, I entered the Plaza Real,
which is the most expensive square in the city,
and was formerly appropriated to bull-fights, and
other public spectacles of the kind. The buildings
on two sides are perfectly regular, forming
at their basement a sort of colonnade, supported
by pillars, which is now occupied by petty retail
dealers of almost every description. The other
two sides formerly corresponded with these; but
many of the buildings were consumed by fire
several years since, and never having been rebuilt,
the uniformity of the square is of course
destroyed, and its beauty very much impaired.
In the centre of one range of the buildings,
which still remain entire, is the Casa Real, to
which the royal family resorted when any public
fete was given; and which is distinguished from
the rest by two towers, placed at the corners of
the building, by a greater variety of columns,
and by the arms of Spain, which occupy a conspicuous
place in front. To each range of buildings
there are five rows of windows, and these,
when the four sides were completed, amounted 7(6)v 76
to about five hundred, with balconies in front of
them all, which, upon public occasions, were filled
with spectators, and must have formed altogether
an imposing and animating scene.

From the Plaza Real, I passed to the Plaza
de la Cebada
, opening into the Calle de Toledo,
and from thence to the church of San Andres.
The square just mentioned, although very large,
is neither handsome nor striking, and is commonly
filled with vegetable and fruit sellers. The
church of San Andres I did not enter, it being
closed, and no one at hand to open it. It was
anciently a Moorish mosque; but has been partly
rebuilt in modern style. The exterior is
adorned with pilasters, their capitals beautifully
carved; and on either side of the church is a
false door, ornamented with rich carved work in
stone. At the top of the cupola, with which the
church is surmounted, is a large stork’s nest, which
had remained there for a great number of years.
It is said that the stork returns to its nest upon
the same day in each year; and the people of
Madrid fancy that its arrival has some mysterious
connection with the weather.

The Plazuela de Villa, to which I then repaired,
is a small but regular square, ornamented by
fountain in the centre. The principal building
upon it is the Casa del Ayuntamiento, or Hotel
de Ville
. This is a handsome edifice, built with
towers at four angles; and decorated in front 8(1)r 77
with pilasters. Off against it is the tower, in
which Francis First was confined, during a part
of the time that he was prisoner at Madrid.

Very near the Plaza de Villa is that of
Los Consejos, upon which is situated a superb
building, called the Palacio de los Consejos.
This was formerly a private house; but, as its
name denotes, it is now converted into one for
public use. Its exterior decorations are all in
good taste, and there are few more striking or
beautiful buildings in Madrid.

Proceeding from the Plazuela de los Consejos,
towards the palace of the King, I turned to
the left, by the Casa de Osuna, occupied by the
celebrated Dutchess of Benavente; and walked
down quite a steep descent to the river, from
which place an extensive view is enjoyed of the
surrounding country: a view more remarkable
for its extent than beauty, however, as there is
too great appearance of barrenness and desolation
marked upon the landscape, for much pleasure
to be afforded by the contemplation of it.
There are few trees to be seen, as far as the eye
can reach; and the adjacent mountains of the
Guadarrama, with their snowy peaks stretching
along the horizon, cast over the scene a chill
and wintry aspect, which is only enlivened by
the flowing waters of the Manzanares, seen
winding along through the valley. This river
is here very small, it is true, scarcely larger, to 8 8(1)v 78
appearance, than a common rivulet; still it is of
sufficient size to impart a feature of beauty to an
otherwise dreary and cheerless prospect.

On the left bank of the river, at the bottom of
the street which I had descended, stands a rough
stone image of the Virgin Mary, with the Savior
in her arms, known in Madrid by the name of
Nuestra Senora de Almudena. This image is
said to have appeared very suddenly and unexpectedly
in the place it now occupies, during a
conflict between the Christians and Moors; and
a procession is formed every year for the purpose
of paying homage to the miraculous visitant.
Those, however, who are not so much governed
by superstition, remove all mystery from the affair,
by supposing the statue to have been concealed
in the wall for some purpose or other, and
that the disruption of the wall, at that part,
caused it to appear thus suddenly, and as it were
by miracle, to the eyes of the astonished spectators.

Retracing my steps, I arrived at the arch,
which conducts into the Plaza de Palacio. This
is a large, open square, unadorned with a particle
of verdure, or even a fountain, that almost
unfailing ornament of a public square, both in
Spain and France. One side of it is occupied by
the palace; the opposite side by the arsenal;
the third by the barracks for the soldiers on
guard; and the fourth forms a kind of terrace, 8(2)r 79
overlooking the same prospect, that we had just
seen in the valley below.

The palace is a splendid edifice, of modern
architecture, consisting of an interior court, surrounded
by four piles of buildings. But my first
view of it was too cursory to admit of very close
observation, and I shall therefore postpone the
description of it to another occasion, when I shall
have examined it more attentively and minutely.

Passing around the palace, I entered the Plaza
Grande de Palacio
. It was the intention of
Joseph Bonaparte to have rendered this Plaza as
splendid as its situation, near so superb an edifice,
seemed to demand; but the preparations
only were made, and none of the plans for its
improvement were ever carried into execution,
so that the Plaza was left in the state of neglect
and entire want of beauty, in which it still remains.
A variety of paths, or rather roads,
leading from the several streets, which open upon
it, conduct to the palace; and on each side of
these are posts, placed at equal distances apart,
terminated by lanterns, and which have the most
stiff and inelegant appearance possible.

It seems astonishing that when a spot is capable
of being made the admiration of every eye,
as this surely is, it should have been suffered to
continue, for so long a time, destitute of every
pretension to taste and beauty, more particularly
when it comes in such close contact with a royal 8(2)v 80
residence, which is acknowledged by all to be
one of the most magnificent in Europe.

My rambles of the day being now completed,
I returned home, much gratified with what I had
seen and heard during the course of them. I
must still confess, however, that I was a little
disappointed in regard to the general style of
building in Madrid. The houses, with a very
few exceptions, are far from being strikingly
handsome in any respect; and a great part of the
streets, upon which they are situated, are narrow
and crooked to a remarkable degree. The
public buildings are generally distinguished for
great simplicity and elegance combined, although
they are wanting in that surpassing beauty and
grandeur, which peculiarly mark the public edifices
in Paris, and which call forth feelings of astonishment,
as well as of pleasure and admiration.
The churches, in a particular manner, differ very
essentially from those in Paris. Many of the
most beautiful churches in Madrid, as it regards
interior architecture and ornament, belong to different
convents, the buildings of which, almost
universally old, and sometimes ruinous in appearance,
are attached to the sides of the churches,
thus depriving them of that regularity, which
contributes so essentially to the pleasing effect
produced upon the eye of an observer. Had
Napoleon succeeded, according to his intention, in
totally suppressing all the convents and monasteries 8(3)r 81
in Spain, how vast would have been the improvement
in the beauty of its cities, and how
incalculably would the happiness and well being
of the whole kingdom have been enhanced!

Letter VII.

Cabinet of Natural History.—Las Salesas.—Festival.—San Andres.
San Francisco.—Religious Services.—Plaza de Palacio.
—The King.—The Royal Palace.—Preparations for the
Queen.

On Monday, (1829-12-07December 7th), I made a second
attempt to enter the Cabinet of Natural History,
contained in the same building with the Museo de
San Fernando
; but was refused admittance on
the plea of its being in the act of undergoing repairs
for the inspection of the Queen. The library,
also situated in the same building, I did
enter. It is quite a small library, open to students
three days in each week. Several valuable
pictures and busts form its chief attraction to
strangers. Among the busts is that of Cervantes,
which I of course looked upon with
much interest.

From the library, I walked to the church of
Las Salesas, or La Visitacion. The facade of
this sumptuous church is decorated with pilasters
of the composite order, with many other ornaments8* 8(3)v 82
in bas-relief of great beauty. It is entered
by a species of portico, enclosed with a grating
of iron. The form of the interior is that of a
cross; and, although its style is not extraordinary,
the style of its architecture, and the splendor of
ornaments, render it truly superb. The lower
part of the cross does not contain chapels lost in
darkness, as in most of the churches in Madrid;
but they are all light and open, being rather
altars than actual chapels. They are each adorned
with two corinthian columns, of the green
marble of Granada, supported against pilasters of
yellow and violet colored marble. They are also
adorned with pictures, some of which are remarkably
good.

The chief altar is beautified with six large corinthian
columns, of the same rich green marble
with the other, each one of them more than fourteen
feet in height, and consisting of a single
block, with capitals and bases of gilded bronze.
Above the altar is a handsome bas-relief of marble,
representing a medallion of Saint Francois
de Sales
, the patron saint of the convent, to which
the church belongs; and at each side of it are allegorical
figures of Charity and Faith. Below
this is a picture of the Visitation; and at the right
and left of the altar are white marble statues of
King Ferdinand and Queen Barbara, the founders
of the church. The front of the altar is
composed of beautiful mosaic work, which was 8(4)r 83
executed in Rome. In the cross of the church,
at the right of the altar, is an elegant mausoleum
of Ferdinand in white marble, and in the choir is
another to the memory of his Queen. Between
the foot of the cross and the chief altar is the
dome, the vault of which, painted in fresco, has a
most light and charming effect. It is surmounted
by a cupola, painted in like manner, the ceiling
representing the Holy Ghost. The floor of the
church is wholly composed of colored marbles,
beautifully inlaid, but which are concealed almost
entirely from sight, by the estera, or grass matting,
with which the floor is covered.

I visited one or two other churches besides
this; but they contained nothing worthy of particular
description. In returning home I passed
through the Plazuela de Santa Ana, once remarkable
for the statue of Charles Fifth, which adorned
its centre, but which is now removed.

The following day (1829-12-08December 58th) was a
grand religious festival, and masses were said in
all the churches in the city. I had heard too
many of these, however, to feel much wish to attend
any one of them; and therefore remained
quietly at home. In the afternoon, I was regaled
with the sight of two regiments of troops, which
passed through the Calle de Alcala to the palace,
to be reviewed by the King. Their uniforms were
simple, but very elegant; and the music, which
attended them, was exhilarating and delightful.

8(4)v 84

On Wednesday, (1829-12-09December 9th), I again visited
the church of San Andres, and was enabled,
this time, to see the interior. The only remarkable
thing in it is the chapel of San Isidro, which
in fact occupies nearly half the church, and is
rather curious than handsome. It differs totally,
in architecture and ornaments, from the other
part of the church, and bears no resemblance to
it whatever. The vault of the dome, and indeed
the entire ceiling of the chapel, are adorned with
stucco work, altogether too coarse and heavy to
be in good taste, but which has a very peculiar
effect. The altar is in the centre of the chapel,
and has for altar piece a statue of San Isidro,
standing within a temple, the top of which is
adorned with a large number of little figures.
There are many paintings here; but very few of
them are worthy of attention.

The church itself, strictly speaking, I mean
independently of the chapel, is destitute of
either novelty or interest; but the several altars
at the sides contain, instead of pictures,
miserable looking wooden or plaister images,
their dresses displaying the most fantastical and
whimsical shapes, and glowing in all the colors of
the rainbow. It seemed to me perfectly incomprehensible
how any persons, possessed of common
intelligence, could kneel so devoutly and
humbly before those frightful images and connect
with them the idea of any thing sacred or holy. 8(5)r 85
But no true Catholic will pass one of them without
crossing himself, bowing most reverently and
repeating a short, but apparent sincere, prayer.
While, on the other, no protestant can look
upon them without feelings, which should ever
be foreign from the sacredness of the place they
occupy; but which he would vainly seek wholly
to suppress. The exterior of the church is constructed
of very small bricks, not half so large
as ours, and the pilasters, which I have previously
mentioned as ornamenting it, are of stone.

Among a variety of other churches, which I
saw on the same day, that of San Francisco deserves
to be particularly noticed. The front of this
church is curved, and ornamented with pilasters;
and this, together with a majestic dome, which
rises from the centre of the building, would have
an extremely imposing effect, were it not for the
shabby appearance of the convent, to which it is
attached. This convent is even more than
usually ugly and mishapen, and the plaister upon
the outside, being loosened or broken off in various
parts, gives it the aspect of a ruined and
crumbling pile, with nothing of the beauty or
grandeur of architecture, which serves to render
some ruins so peculiarly interesting.

But the interior of the church is strikingly
beautiful; partly so perhaps from the novelty of
its construction, as compared with the other
churches in Madrid. It is in the form of a rotunda, 8(5)v 86
one hundred and seventeen feet in diameter,
exclusive of the chapels. The dome is of
immense size, completely covering the body of
the church; and is ornamented with gilt rays,
extending regularly around the whole vault, and
issuing from the centre of the roof. Each chapel
is but a miniature of the church, being circular,
and covered by a distinct dome, with gilt rays, in
exact resemblance to the principal one. There
are three chapels upon each side, and the pictures,
which adorn them, are almost without exception
extremely beautiful, and the production
of no ordinary masters. To complete the elegance
and richness of the whole church, it needs
but to have the domes, of which it is composed,
painted in fresco, instead of being ornamented
with gilding, which I cannot consider as entirely
in good taste. But in spite of this defect, the
church is sufficiently splendid to elicit admiration
from all who behold it.

Service was performing in almost every church
I entered during my walk. It has appeared to
me that the Catholic forms of worship, as witnessed
in Spain, are more impressive than in
France. This may arise in part from the fact
that religious occupations are much more ardently
pursued in the one country than in the other,
and religious ceremonies performed with more
apparent sincerity and earnestness. In addition
to this, the altars, at which mass is said, are, at 8(6)r 87
least in Madrid, most brilliantly decorated, and
sparkle with the perfectly dazzling light of a
multitude of wax candles, which, joined with the
splendid dresses of the officiating priests, and the
clouds of incense constantly rising around the
altar, produce an impression of solemnity, which
is increased by seeing every one, upon whom
your eye is turned, wholly absorbed in the duties
of devotion, and insensible to every thing else,
which may be passing around them.

I now turned my steps towards the palace, and
arriving at the Armeria, was rejoiced to find it
open, having previously made more than one
fruitless effort to see it. But upon entering, I
was much disappointed that there was no catalogue
of the contents; and the man appointed to
explain them had an impediment in his speech,
which rendered his explanations wholly unintelligible.
I was therefore reluctantly obliged to
wait patiently until some future occasion in order
to examine the curiosities here with any degree
of satisfaction.

In passing through the Plaza de Palacio, I
found it very nearly filled with troops, drawn up
in lines, and evidently waiting the appearance
of some one from the palace. I did not at the
time understand the meaning of all this parade;
but afterwards learned, that it was an escort for
the Infante Don Carlos, who left Madrid to-day,
to meet the Queen at Aranjuez, and to espouse 8(6)v 88
her there as proxy for his brother King Ferdinand.

In the afternoon of the same day, between four
and five o’clock, I heard a loud cry in the street,
of “El Rey, El Rey”; and going to the window I
perceived a cavalcade of coaches, containing the
King and his gentlemen of honor, taking their
daily airing. He had often passed through the
Calle de Alcala before; but I never happened to
be in it at the time, and this was, therefore, the
first glimpse I had obtained of him; and this
was only sufficient to give me a hasty glance of
a gentleman dressed in uniform, with his head
uncovered, while he answered to the salutations
of the people by bowing and waving his hand.
The coach, in which the King rode, was drawn by
six horses, guided with green silk reins. These
reins are varied at different times; being sometimes
red and at others blue or white. A group
of liveried footmen stood at the back of the coach,
holding by the tassels and by each other; and
the coachman in front, seated upon his elevated
box, and surrounded by a profusion of gilt trappings,
drove swiftly along, while all, that were in
the street at the time, raised their hats or bowed,
in real or pretended respect to the presence of
their sovereign. The carriages, attendant on the
King’s, were drawn by mules, and several footmen
were stationed behind each.

On Thursday, (1829-12-10December 10th), the King went 9(1)r 89
to Aranjuez, to meet the Queen, and returned
again in the evening. Having learned that the
state apartments of the palace could only be seen
during the absence of the King, I attempted to
obtain admittance into them early on Thursday,
but could not succeed; and was obliged, much
to my chagrin, to give up the expectation of seeing
them at all, as Ferdinand would not again be
absent from Madrid for many weeks.

The difference between the French and Spanish
capitals, in regard to all public exhibitions, is
most striking. In Paris no one finds the slightest
difficulty in visiting any public place, or in
being admitted into every palace in the city. If
the King is taking a ride of two or three hours
only, strangers are allowed to see every part of
the Tuileries; while in Madrid, on the contrary,
no one is permitted to see the state apartments
of the palace, on any condition, except that of the
King’s absence in the country. And it is the
same with every thing else of the kind. We scarce
obtained admission into any public exhibition
whatever, without having unsuccessfully attempted
it two or three times; and the trouble, delay,
and vexation, to be endured at every separate attempt,
were in some instances more than the
object itself was worth; and in every instance
lessened the pleasure, with which it was at last
attained.

I was the more reconciled to my disappointment9 9(1)v 90
at this time, however, as I had never before
had so good an opportunity for examining the exterior
of the palace; and a part of the interior,
including the chapel, which I had not seen, being
public, I had not taken a long walk wholly to no
purpose.

The form of the palace is a square, consisting
of four buildings, each four hundred and four feet
in length, and eighty-six in height, surrounding
an interior court, which is reached by a large
portico, passing through a spacious vestibule, into
which five doors open from the principal front of
the edifice.

On the right of this front is a wing, projecting
out upon the Plaza de Palacio; and a corresponding
one was intended for the opposite side; but it
has never been completed, and its place is occupied
by the porter’s lodge, and other small buildings,
appropriated as offices. These buildings,
together with the barracks on one side the square,
very seriously injure the appearance of the palace,
which would be perfectly beautiful, if both
wings were completed, the barracks removed,
and the grounds rendered as delightfully pleasant
as they are capable of becoming.

Around the top of the palace was formerly arranged
a large number of statues, representing
the monarchs of Spain. Several of them are
still left; but the greater part have been removed,
and large vases substituted in their stead. The 9(2)r 91
grand vestibule, and the portico that conducts to
the interior court, are sustained by an immense
number of columns formed into groups; and at
the right hand in entering the central and principal
door, is a most beautiful marble stair-case, with
marble balustrades, leading to the royal apartments.
The interior court is surrounded by a
broad portico, adorned with columns, which support
an open gallery, extending quite around the
four piles of buildings, and enclosed with large
glass windows, reaching from top to bottom, like
those placed in green-houses. Four colossal
marble statues, very beautifully sculptured, ornament
the four sides of the court. They represent
Trajan, Arcadius, Theodosius, and Honorius.

The chapel is reached by a stair-case leading
from the court. It is open every day, at a stated
hour, for the celebration of mass, which was performing
when I reached the place. Preferring
to wait until the services were finished, I walked
around the gallery for half an hour, and then
entered the chapel. Nothing can surpass the
richness and splendor of this elegant church.
Fresco paintings, of the most splendid description,
adorn the dome and other parts of the ceiling;
mingled with gilded stucco work, and figures in
imitation of white marble. At each side of the
altar is an angel with expanded wings, which
seems at a little distance to be actually taking
flight. A handsome chandelier is suspended 9(2)v 92
from the hand of each angel. The sides of the
church are ornamented with columns of beautiful
black and white marble; and in the vestibule
leading to it are colossal statues of the four evangelists,
very finely executed. Opposite the chief
altar, at the farther end of the chapel, are two
small rooms, superbly furnished, with gilt chairs,
and other rich articles to correspond, in which
the royal family attend mass. Two doors, consisting
each of a large flat surface of glass, divide
these rooms from the body of the church; although
every thing within them can, of course, be
as plainly seen through the glass doors, as if these
did not exist. This chapel contains several good
pictures; and is, as a whole, quite beautiful and
splendid enough for its exalted destination, as a
place of worship for kings and princes.

The expected arrival of the Queen on the
morrow rendered every person around the palace
full of busy preparation. And indeed, I might
say the same of the whole city, as there was not
a single house that I passed, which had not drapery
of some description suspended from the
balconies, to honor the approaching marriage.
The Aduana, nearly opposite our lodgings, was
most beautifully decorated. The upper ranges
of windows were hung, upon the outside, with
curtains of white silk, fringed with gold, and red
silk festoons at the top. Below each window was
a square piece of white silk, ornamented at the 9(3)r 93
top with red festoons, to compare with those
above, and faced at the bottom with blue. In the
centre of each piece of silk was a little circular
garland of flowers. The lower range of windows
was hung with blue silk, edged with silver fringe,
and red festoons at the top. Over the three doors
were draperies of red and white silk, hung alternately,
and beneath them a painted basket of
flowers, with garlands suspended in festoons below
it. Upon the balcony, over the central
door, were red festoons, bordered with gold fringe,
and placed upon a ground of white silk, bound
with blue; and above the balcony was a rich
crown of red velvet, ornamented with gilding,
and curtains of white silk edged with red suspended
from it. The effect of these various
colored silks, as the delicate fringe, with which
they were adorned, glittered in the sunbeams, or
waved in the passing breeze, was extremely
beautiful.

The Cabinet of Natural History, which adjoins
the Aduana, was decorated with trimmings
of purple and white, fringed with gold; and in the
centre of the building was a sumptuous throne of
crimson velvet, and a portrait of the King. The
Casa de Correos, or Post Office, upon the Puerta
d el Sol
, was ornamented with rich crimson and
yellow silk, fringed with silver: in the centre
was a throne of crimson and white silk, upon
which were seen plaister statues of the King and 9* 9(3)v 94
Queen, with a figure hovering over them, and
holding above their heads two gilt crowns.

But it would occupy too much time to describe
minutely the splendid decorations, with which all
the public and many of the private buildings
abounded. It will be sufficient to say, that scarce
any color, or combination of colors, can be imagined,
that was not displayed in all varieties of
taste, which art could invent; and no labor or
expense was spared to ornament the city in a
style suited to the occasion.

Letter VIII.

Madrid.—Entry of the Queen.—Display of Troops.—Procession.
—Mogianga.—King of Naples.—The King and the Infantes.
—The Queen.—Illuminations.—Puerta del Sol..—Arch
of the Calle de Alcala.—Quarters of the Militia.—Russian
Embassy
.—Salon del Prado.—Casa de Hijar.—Imprenta Real.
—The Palace.

The long anticipated, long desired nuptial day
(1829-12-11December 11th), at length arrived. Its commencement
was cold, cloudy, and disagreeable,
with every mark of approaching rain; but towards
eleven o’clock the sun came out clear and bright,
dispersing the clouds, and banishing all apprehension
of the threatened storm. At a very early
hour the people began to collect in the balconies 9(4)r 95
and side walks, which in a short time became
completely full.

Large bodies of foot soldiers and cavalry passed
and repassed through the street, accompanied by
bands of music, and exhibiting a most brilliant
array. I have never seen any troops, cavalry in
particular, which to my taste are so beautiful as
the Spanish; and their appearance at this time
was peculiarly fine, owing to the immense number
of them, that were collected together, and
perhaps also to the feelings of excitement, which
the occasion naturally awakened in the spectators,
as well as in the soldiers themselves. The
large white plumes of the Cazadores waved
gracefully to and fro, as file after file passed beneath
our windows; followed by a long succession
of Lancers, in a most beautiful uniform, each
bearing his lance in rest, with a small red and
white pennon fluttering upon its summit. The
noble steeds that bore them, too, should not be
omitted, as forming no small part of the well disciplined
and truly martial aspect of these splendid
regiments. At ten o’clock double files of
soldiers were stationed on each side of the way,
from the Puerta de Atocha, at which the Queen
was to enter, through the Calle de Alcala, the
Puerta del Sol, Calle Mayor, and Calle de la
Almudena
, to the palace. Each one of the wide
streets, through which the procession was to
pass, was covered with gravel, and after the soldiers 9(4)v 96
were stationed, no persons were allowed to
occupy any part of them but the side walks.

At about half-past eleven the ringing of the
bells, and the discharge of artillery, announced
the arrival of the King and Queen of Naples at
the Puerta de Atocha. They were to be received
by the King at the palace, before he should
leave it to meet his bride.

Soon after the firing ceased the procession
came in sight. First appeared the Captain General
on horseback, attended by his officers, in
rich uniform, and the horses beautifully comparisoned
in all varieties of colors, with trimmings
of gold and silver. Then followed the alguazils,
also on horseback, dressed in full suits of black
velvet, including a short cloak, and a large velvet
hat, with long white plumes, tipped with blue.
Around the waist was a belt, ornamented with
polished steel. Then came the mace-bearers in
cloaks of rich crimson velvet, trimmed with gold
lace, and hats of the same, with long white
plumes falling over the shoulders. These were
succeeded by the regidores, in embroidered
dresses, with chapeaux de bras, long white stockings,
and white small clothes. A footman in
livery walked by the side of each.

Next followed the band of music; and then a
number of that class of females, known at Madrid
by the name of manolas, consisting of the very
lowest order of the people, dressed in common 9(5)r 97
calico frocks, with no covering to their heads,
who came dancing through the street, striking a
species of tamborine, or pandero, as it is called,
which is a wooden frame, with canvass or parchment
drawn tightly across it, and ornamented at
the edges with ribbons of various bright colors,
and small bells. Next followed the manolos, being
young men, dressed in the most whimsical
manner imaginable. A sort loose white robe,
confined by a band at the waist, descended to
the knees, with large loose trowsers below them;
and the whole dress was fantastically trimmed
with a great quantity of gauze and ribbons.
Their hats were of the same materials with the
other parts of their dress, and ornamented with
plumes. Their mode of dancing was no less odd
and whimsical than their dress. Each seemed to
vie with the other, which should display the greatest
agility and steadiness of head, as they came
jumping and whirling around in perfect time with
the rude music of the castanets, which, all struck
in concert, were distinctly heard above the instruments
of the band that preceded them. This
dance is called the mogiganga.

Immediately following the manolas was a splendid
open coach, covered with gilded ornaments,
and drawn by eight beautiful black horses, with
large bunches of plumes, of various colors,
upon their heads. In the coach were seated the
King and Queen of the Two Sicilies, the royal 9(5)v 98
parents of the future Queen of Spain. But nothing
could be farther from those ideas of dignity
and splendor, which cluster around the name of a
king, than the appearance of his majesty of Naples
upon this occasion. He was much beneath
the common stature, exceedingly ordinary in face
and figure, and being dressed in a perfectly plain
suit of black, there was nothing to distinguish him
as being of more elevated rank, than any other respectable
gentleman. The Queen, on the contrary,
was a very fine looking woman, of commanding
figure, and pleasing countenance. A
handsome white satin hat, adorned with long white
plumes, aided in making more apparent the difference
between her own height and that of her
husband, to whom indeed she exhibited a striking
contrast in every respect. She is an own sister
of Ferdinand, and was now visiting Madrid for
the first time since her marriage, a period of
twenty-seven years.

In about half an hour after the procession had
passed to the palace, King Ferdinand appeared,
upon a handsome white charger, accompanied by
his two brothers, Don Carlos and Don Francisco,
also on horseback, on their way to the Puerta de
Atocha
to meet the Queen. They were attended
by a numerous body guard, and a considerable
portion of the same escort, which had just conducted
the King of Naples to the palace. Ferdinand
was dressed in a complete suit of uniform, 9(6)r 99
which set off his figure to very good advantage.
He seemed rather corpulent than otherwise; and
so far as figure alone goes, had much more the
air of majesty than his kinsman Charles Tenth
of France, or his father-in-law the King of Naples.
But his countenance siis the extreme of
ugliness, and the excessive protrusion of his under
jaw renders it almost deformed. The expression
of his face was not indicative of intellect; but of
more amiability than he is supposed to possess by
those, who regard him in the light of a hard
hearted tyrant.

A renewed discharge of artillery, and a more
joyful peal of bells, than had yet been heard, gave
announcement of the Queen’s entrance into the
city. All were now upon the tiptoe of expectation,
and looking towards the Prado with eager
and impatient eyes. A large troop of dancers,
rattling their light castanets, came first in sight,
followed by the brilliant cortege already described,
whose magnificent dresses lost nothing of
admiration from those, who had seen them for
the third time, even within the short space of a
few hours.

And now came the long expected object of the
nation’s deep interest and ardent enthusiasm, the
youthful Queen, Maria Christina. The open
carriage, in which she rode, exceeded in richness
of ornament that which her parents had
occupied; and was drawn by eight snow white 9(6)v 100
horses, their heads loaded with plumes of equally
delicate whiteness. The Queen was dressed in
a very becoming blue satin hat, trimmed with long
white plumes; and a satin cloak of the same
color, having two capes, edged with lace. Her
face, although far from handsome, was quite
pleasing, and bore an expression of vivacity and
joyousness, which are represented as traits pecularly
marking her character. She bowed very
smilingly on all sides, and waved her hand from
time to time as she passed; more however in
answer to the looks of welcome bestowed upon
her by the people, than to any loud demonstrations
of it. An occasional “Viva la Reyna” was
heard among the crowd; but no general cheering
whatever.

This circumstance could not have arisen from
any feelings of discontent or opposition to the
marriage, as it was universally popular throughout
the kingdom. Don Carlos, the next heir to
the throne, should Ferdinand die without children,
is looked upon with dread, as being supposed
to be too much under the influence of the
priesthood, and as entertaining those bigoted
views of religion, which might lead to the reestablishment
of the Inquisition, with all its attendant
horrors. The union of the King,
therefore, with a young and amiable princess,
was naturally hailed with delight by a people,
who have already suffered bitterly enough 10(1)r 101
from the effects of bigotry and superstition.

The wife of Don Carlos, and also the wife of
Don Francisco, sister of Maria Christina, together
with the Princess of Beira, sister of Ferdinand,
accompanied the Queen in her carriage;
and at her right hand and left rode the King and
the two Infantes, on horseback as before. Several
handsome coaches followed, containing different
members of the royal family, most of whom
were children. The procession was closed by a
long array of military, succeeded by such a press
of people as I never before beheld. The whole
of this wide street, as far as the eye could reach,
up and down, was crowded to such an excess as
seemed to leave no vacant place, even for the
admission of the smallest child. The multitude
appeared eager to rush forward to the palace, to
witness the reception of the Queen there, and
our street was thus left in comparative stillness
and quiet, which lasted until evening.

Soon after dusk the illuminations commenced,
and the whole city exhibited a perfect blaze of
light. The ordinary method of illuminating the
great mass of private buildings, is by means of a
piece of wood, perhaps a yard in length and two
or three inches square, at the top of which is a
lamp with two large tubes; and the wicks, being
left very long, emit a high, bright blaze, which
can be seen at a considerable distance. One of
these rods is placed upon the railing of every 10 10(1)v 102
balcony of a house, and consequently the light,
afforded by them altogether, is very strong and
powerful; but flickering, and thus far disagreeable.

At about seven o’clock, we joined the moving
multitude, which had, for the last hour, been
pacing along the street in unending succession,
and first directed our steps to the Puerta del Sol.
This was, of course, thronged to overflowing, and
all the streets leading from it seemed to be literally
filled. The temple, surrounding the fountain,
which occupies the centre of the square,
was brilliantly lighted, and at the top was represented
a large globe, which, being rendered transparent,
exhibited the names of various countries,
and particularly the different divisions of South
America
, which having been once in the possession
of Spain, and being still claimed as hers,
were blazoned forth in letters so large, as scarcely
to escape the notice of any eye directed towards
the globe. Four statues adorned the angles of
the temple; namely Cortez, Pizarro, Columbus,
and Sebastian de Elcano. On one side, beneath
the globe, was placed a large board, upon which
was an inscription in gilded letters, signifying the
determination, expressed by Cortez, to plant the
ensign of Spain in the farthest confines of America.

In the Calle de Alcala, near the Aduana, was
erected a beautiful triumphal arch, much ornamented
with painting and statuary, and appearing
to great advantage in the midst of so fine a street. 10(2)r 103
The statues on one side represented Hymen,
Abundance, Ceres, and Minerva; and on the
other Love, Peace, Apollo, and Mercury. Beneath
these statues, and occupying the whole
length of the arch, were long inscriptions to the
expected Queen, which, if written in almost any
other language than Spanish, would have seemed
extravagant and absurd; but which, as breathing
the true feelings of a chivalrous and ardent people,
appeared only natural, and often even beautiful.

Passing through the triumphal arch, I reached
the Quarters of the Provincial Militia; which was
most splendidly illuminated with colored glass
lamps, formed into various figures, and composing
a beautiful cornice, that extended quite across
the whole building. Beneath the cornice, and
between the balconies, were little medallions,
each bearing a coat of arms, which, altogether,
represented those of every province in Spain.
Several large public buildings, situated in the
vicinity of the Prado, were all illuminated with
colored lamps, but each in a style different from
the rest. The Russian Ambassador’s house was
ornamented with a great deal of taste, having a
large collection of colored vases around the door.
The windows were illuminated with candles upon
the inside, as is the custom with us. The British
Embassy
made a very sorry figure by the side of
the Russian. The house was three stories in 10(2)v 104
height; and the only that saved it from
utter darkness, in the midst of so much splendor,
was a single, solitary row of torches, placed upon
the balconies of the second story. This was to
be attributed to the absence of the British Minister.
The representative of so wealthy and extravagant
a nation as the English would never have
suffered himself to be eclipsed in any thing of the
kind, had he been present to give orders himself
for the decoration of his residence.

At the commencement of the Salon del Prado
was erected a handsomely ornamented temple,
with an inscription in gilded letters upon each
side; and within was a sitting statue of Hymen.
The Botanical Garden was beautifully illuminated,
as was the church of San Geronimo, with
nearly all the buildings opening upon the Prado.

The palace of the Duke of Hijar, in the Carrera
de San Geronimo
, was decorated in a most expensive
and elegant style. The facade was a false
one, constructed for the occasion, and transparent
in almost every part of it. In the centre was a
sort of gallery, with seven full-length figures on
each side, representing Architecture, Justice,
Science, Glory, Sculpture, Industry, and Fidelity;
Hope, Painting, Peace, Poetry, Abundance,
Patience, and Music. Beneath each figure
was a small circular wreath, with a letter in
each, which, when combined, formed the names
of Ferdinand and Maria Christina. In the centre 10(3)r 105
of the gallery were two figures, emblematical
of marriage, united together by a garland of flowers,
and holding a lighted torch in their hands.
At each side of them were statues, representing
Spain and Naples. A thousand colored lamps,
composing a great variety of beautiful forms,
sparkled in every part of the facade, and reflected
a strong but agreeable light, not only upon the
ornaments of the building itself, but upon the
numerous crowds of people, which were collected
together in front of it, and even upon the distant
objects beyond.

Making my way with some difficulty through
the admiring throng, which almost completely filled
the whole street in the vicinity of the Duke’s
palace, I again found myself in the Puerta del
Sol
, and turning off to the left, in the Calle de
las Carretas
, I reached the printing establishment
called Imprenta Real. The decorations of
this building were simple, but extremely beautiful,
consisting principally of medallions, commemorative
of those Spaniards, who have been the most
celebrated in the sciences, arts, and literature.
Over the door at the centre of the building was
a statue of the King, with an appropriate inscription
beneath. Other ornaments, corresponding
in simplicity and beauty to these, were displayed
with much taste over the whole front of the
edifice, which is in itself remarkable for the regularity
and neatness of its architecture.

10* 10(3)v 106

Retracing my steps to the Puerta del Sol, I
entered the Calle Mayor, and advanced towards
the palace. A continued blaze of light designated
the way as plainly as the brightest rays of
the sun could have done; and I was every moment
called to admire the richness and elegance
of some public edifice, or some beautiful temple,
too splendidly illuminated to be passed unnoticed,
even by the most indifferent eye. A mellow and
softened light, beaming from the many colored
lamps, cast a beautiful reflection upon the superb
hangings of velvet, gold, and silver, with which
every building of note was ornamented, and which
were rendered at times even dazzlingly brilliant
by the bright glare of the torches which blazed
around them. Bands of music, stationed in galleries
temporarily erected for them, imparted an
indescribable charm to the scene, and gave it
almost an air of enchantment.

Arrived at the palace, in front of which a full
band was playing in concert, I entered the arched
passage leading to the inner court, and found a
multitude of persons assembled in front of the
great stair-case, to witness the departure of the
grandees, after the marriage, which was then
taking place in the chapel above, should be concluded.
Yielding to the gathering crowd, which
soon filled the corridor to excess, I left the palace,
and returned to my lodgings through different
streets from those by which I had previously 10(4)r 107
passed, and which were, like the others, full of
beautiful and agreeable objects.

At a late hour in the evening I retired to rest,
to dream over again the splendid visions of the
day, so far surpassing any thing I had ever witnessed,
or which future years might present to
my eyes.

Letter IX.

Madrid.—Marriage Ceremonies.—Queen.—Fesitivities.—Illuminations.
Casa de Infantado.—Church of the Atocha.—
The Poor of Madrid.—Parque de Artilleria.—Fireworks.—
Conduct of the Populace.—Cabinet of Natural History.—
Fire-works.

Soon after breakfast on the following day,
(1829-12-12December 12th), the ringing of the bells gave
us information, that the King and Queen were
about leaving the palace, to complete the marriage
ceremony at the church of the Atocha, in
presence of the nobility and of the foreign ministers.
The Calle de Atocha being a very good
place from whence to see the procession pass, I
immediately repaired thither; but found the crowd
so great, as to render any approach to the street
utterly impossible. I therefore walked through
the Prado, to the church at which the ceremony
was to take place, and obtained a good situation 10(4)v 108
near the outer gate, from whence I could see
with perfect distinctness all that passed in and
out. For an hour previous to the arrival of the
King a constant succession of the carriages of
the nobility arrived; and also those containing
the gentlemen and ladies of the King’s household.
The carriages and horses were all very
beautiful; and the various liveries of the coachmen
and footmen superb beyond description.
Several of the upper domestics, belonging to the
palace, stood without the gate, richly dressed in
coats embroidered with gold lace, and in white
small clothes and hose.

After the King had passed through the Calle
de Atocha
, the crowd from there came rushing
down to the church, and soon filled every foot of
ground, which was permitted to be occupied in its
vicinity. Nothing was to be seen on all sides
but one continued mass of human beings, whose
number it would be impossible to estimate; but
who continued in perfect tranquility and good
order, during the whole that the ceremony
was performing, except at one spot, where, a
guard of soldiers not being stationed, the crowd
naturally pressed forward to obtain a nearer view
of the church, and thus caused a little confusion.
The arrival of Don Carlos and Don Francisco,
however, put a stop to all commotion, as every
eye was now intent upon catching the first
glance of the royal coach, which followed immediately 10(5)r 109
behind those of the Infantes. Eight of
the same beautiful white horses, which had drawn
the Queen’s coach the preceding day, now appeared,
champing their bits and tossing their
proud heads, as if to show off, in the most graceful
manner, the rich and costly plumes, which adorned
them. The coach was not quite so splendid
as that which contained the Queen before, being
close and much less ornamented; but still it was
very beautiful, as indeed are all the coaches used
by Ferdinand on public occasions.

As the Queen alighted from the carriage, I
could see her face much more distinctly than I
had before been able to do; and this nearer observation
showed her to be less pretty than I had
at first imagined. Her features are quite common,
and her complexion not remarkable for
beauty. Still the amiable and almost playful expression
of her countenance renders it rather
pleasing than otherwise. Her dress was loaded
with diamonds and splendid jewels, which threw
a dazzling lustre around her person, as they
sparkled and gleamed in the full light of the sun,
which was pouring down its bright and cheering
rays upon the joyous bridal scene.

As soon as the King and Queen had entered
the church, I returned through the Prado to the
Plaza Mayor, to await their return to the palace;
and thus saw the Queen a second time within a
very few feet from me. Many persons, who had 10(5)v 110
not seen her at the church, lost the opportunity
of catching even a slight glimpse of her, as every
one was looking out for the carriage drawn by
white horses, which had in reality been exchanged
at the church for eight others of a beautiful cream
color. The King and Queen of Naples repaired
to and from the church by a private route, deeming
it improper either to take precedence of their
daughter, upon such an occasion, or to follow in
her train.

The throng of people, which filled the Plaza
Mayor
as the procession passed through, was immense;
and indeed, for the whole day, the streets
were overflowing with people, apparently enjoying
every moment as it passed, and forgetful of
the labor and toil, which, with so many of them,
must follow this short period of recreation. The
three days, succeeding that upon which the Queen
arrived in Madrid, were made a universal holiday
for all classes of persons; who might thus give
themselves up without restraint to the amusements
and pleasures, which the poorer part of
them, at least, so rarely had an opportunity afforded
them to enjoy. Large troops of dancers
were almost constantly in the streets; and the
sound of the castanets might be heard through
nearly every hour of the three days, during which
public festivities were permitted.

The illuminations, on Saturday evening, were
the same as on the evening previous; but as there 10(6)r 111
were several of the best which I had not seen, I
walked out again at about eight o’clock, and followed,
the steps of the multitude, which were directed
towards the palace of the Duque del Infantado.
The street, in which this palace was situated,
was illuminated in a more than ordinary
degree, by immense numbers of torches, which
were blazing upon the balconies of the large
houses of Villa Franca and Alba. That of the
Duque del Infantado well deserved the praises,
that were so loudly bestowed upon it by admiring
beholders. The whole front was lighted by different
colored vases, arranged in various figures;
and between them were painted alternately a lion
and castle, emblematical of Leon and Castile.
In the centre was an inscription to Ferdinand
and Maria Christina. At the left of the facade
was erected a temporary gallery, in which a band
of music was constantly playing; and still beyond,
at the left, was a long succession of
arches, illuminated with urns and stars alternately.

There were several other private edifices
equally splendid with this, all of which I visited,
being led to the most beautiful of them by the
great crowds of people continually rushing towards
the streets, in which they were situated, or
collected in groups before and around them. I
continued walking around through those parts of
the city, which I had not seen the evening before, 10(6)v 112
and then returned to my lodgings, still leaving
the gay groups, through which I often with much
difficulty made my way, as unprepared, to all
appearance, for retiring to repose, as if daylight
were yet in the sky.

After breakfast, on Sunday morning (1829-12-13December
13th
), I visited the church of the Atocha, at
which the King was married the day previous.
A square court with arcades on each side, and a
handsome iron grating in front, leads to the arched
entrance of the church, the interior of which
was, a few years since, nearly ruinous, but is now
wholly repaired, in a neat, although not very
splendid manner. The altar is quite handsome,
and two beautiful statues adorn it at each side.
Near the roof of the church, through its whole
extent, are arranged a large number of Spanish
flags of various colors and figures, as the offerings
of devout regiments, who had made vows to our
Lady of Atocha in moments of peril and difficulty.

An image of the Virgin, occupying a place
near one of the chapels at the right, was one of
the most grotesque and ridiculous personifications
of her that I have yet seen. She is represented
at the age of childhood, in the form of a
large companion doll, with long, flaxen colored
hair straying around her neck and shoulders.
She was dressed in purple silk, trimmed with gold
lace; and a chain encircled her neck from whence
was suspended a small locket, with another similar 11(1)r 113
ornament to correspond at her left side, above
which is a bow of white ribbon fastened by a
paste pin. In one hand she holds a bunch of
flowers, and in the other a globe, with a gilded
cross upon the top of it. She stands upon a
frame, exactly of the form of a bier, with four
handles, in order that she may easily be conveyed
on it from place to place.

In a chapel, very near this singular representation
of the Holy Mother, is a collection of objects
even more singular still. These are small
waxen hands, arms, feet, and legs, hung up
around the sides of the chapel, together with infants’
dresses of the most ordinary description,
a vast number of old crutches, and large paper
boxes of different sizes in form of a coffin.
These are called ex-votos, and are deposited in
the church as so many proofs of the miraculous
intervention of some patron saint in behalf of
those, whose prayers have been offered up to
that effect, during severe illness or other danger.

In the cloister of the church is a numerous collection
of the portraits of Spanish monarchs,
ranged around the walls like a picture gallery.
Some of these are pretty good; but the greater
part are ill executed. They are placed promiscuously,
not in the order of their reigns.

In leaving the cloister, I observed a poor
woman standing in one corner, who had constantly
held out her hand to every passer by in a 11 11(1)v 114
supplicating manner, and begged for charity in
the most earnest tone of voice. But the crowd
of mendicants, which is constantly met with at
the churches, is too great to admit of indiscriminate
charity to all: and the petition of the poor
woman was therefore unheard of unnoticed.—
Finding all her entreaties unavailing, she burst
into tears just as I reached the spot where she
stood; and if they were the tears of an impostor,
they were those of a most artful one. I have no
doubt, however, that the poor creature was really
as miserable as she represented herself to be;
and her sad story of a starving family, although a
trite one, is too often literally true, and I could
not but believe it was so in this instance.

It is melancholy indeed to reflect upon the
thousands of wretched beings in Madrid, who are
absolutely dying with hunger and cold; while the
money, lavished upon the jewels alone of the new
Queen, is computed at two millions of dollars.
How many suffering creatures a small portion of
these superfluous gems might have saved from
starvation and despair! But such are the blessings
of an absolute monarchy. The life, often,
of the subject is considered but a trifle, when put
in competition with the luxurious wants of the
sovereign; and while he is surrounded with all
that wealth and power can furnish him, his miserable
people are too often reduced to the terrible
alternative of expiring with famine, or of seeking 11(2)r 115
a subsistence, purchased at the price of crime,
and of never ending dishonor. And this is far
from being an overwrought picture. It is one
which was often, very often, the subject of my own
contemplations in Spain, and to which I could not
shut my eyes, while the effects of such a state of
things were almost constantly before me. Many
of the wretched beggars, who thronged the streets,
were doubtless voluntarily so, from indolence
alone; but there are thousands, who are driven to
it by dire necessity, and from the utter incapacity
of obtaining, by honest industry, even a scanty
subsistence for themselves and families. In our
fortunate country, where so many paths to an
easy competency, no man need starve, except by
choice. But in Spain it is entirely the reverse;
and this, in my opinion, accounts, in a great
measure, for those repeated instances of daring
robbery, which have had the effect of turning
away the footsteps of so many tourists from one
of the most interesting and beautiful countries
upon the face of the earth.

On Tuesday, (1829-12-15December 15th), I visited the
Museum of the Parque de Artilleria, in the palace
of Buena Vista. The situation of this edifice
is extremely beautiful, commanding a delightful
prospect of the country around Madrid. But the
Museum interested me very little, consisting
chiefly of models not very numerous or remarkable.

11(2)v 116

After leaving the Buena Vista, I passed the
principal part of the day in witnessing a bull
fight; but as I attended another a few days afterwards,
I shall defer giving an account of this, for
the present, in order to embrace them both in a
separate letter.

In the evening there were fire-works, of various
kinds, exhibited in the palace yard, and given
by the Consulado in honor of the King and Queen.
They were not, in general, very remarkable, although
the rockets and serpents were extremely
brilliant and beautiful. There was, likewise, a
large tree formed in the centre of the Plaza, and
so covered with combustible matter, that the
moment fire was applied to the trunk, it spread
instantaneously, as it were, over every branch
and twig of the tree, which burned with dazzling
brilliancy, for the space of a few moments, and
then exploded, with a loud noise, throwing out a
great profusion of rockets and serpents in every
direction. The concourse of people, assembled
around the palace, was truly astonishing. You
could not turn to the right or the left, go
forward or backward, without encountering the
same dense mass of living beings, moving to and
fro, like the restless heavings of the tempest-tost
ocean. I had been conducted to a most excellent
place for witnessing the fire-works, where I was
not the least incommoded by the crowd; but I
could neither enter this place nor return from it, 11(3)r 117
without being sensibly aware of the immense
press, which every where surrounded me.

You will, perhaps, scarcely credit me, however,
when I say, that neither upon the present occasion
nor any former one, was there the slightest
appearance of disorder or riot among the people,
notwithstanding that, for three entire days, the
whole population of Madrid, together with thousands
of strangers, even from the distant provinces
in Spain, were thrown into the streets, and
allowed, nay commanded, to give themselves
freely up to mirth and rejoicing, abstaining wholly
from labor of any description. Could such a
thing take place in America, how different would
be the result! How many results hundreds of persons
we should see extended upon the earth, in a state
of the most brutal intoxication; or else engaged
in bickerings and disputes, which might possibly
end in nothing more than black eyes and broken
bones, but would be quite likely to end in something
worse. Such was not the case in Madrid.
There, every thing went on as smoothly and harmoniously
as possible; and although, for the four
or five days succeeding the marriage, I was
scarcely an hour in the house, and always in the
midst of a crowd wherever I went, I never witnessed
one single instance of intoxication, riot,
or quarrelling of any description. This certainly
speaks well for the good habits and decorous character
of the people, and shows them to be possessed11* 11(3)v 118
of far less inflammable and violent passions
than I had hitherto imagined. Indeed, I
cannot believe that there is another country in
the world, in which more of such passions would
not have been exhibited upon such an occasion,
than was manifested by these misconceived and calumniated
people, in a situation so wholly unrestrained
and so full of temptations, as that in which
I saw them placed, and where I had so constant
an opportunity of observing how far they were
prone to transgress the rules of temperance and
sobriety in their daily public intercourse with
each other.

The ensuing morning, (1829-12-16December 16th), I succeeded
in obtaining permission to enter the Cabinet
of Natural History
. The collection of
minerals here exhibited is the most rich and splendid
I have ever seen. They are not quite so
numerous as those at the Jardin des Plantes at
Paris; but far exceed them in size and beauty.
Enormous specimens of rock crystal, mercury,
sulphur, copper, tin, lead, and iron, with proportionably
large specimens of virgin gold, silver,
and platina, emeralds in their natural state, and
a numerous collection of other precious stones,
were beautifully arranged around the apartment
and in the centre of it, contained in handsome
mahogany cases, enclosed with glass doors, and
so placed as to show each specimen to the best
possible advantage. The collection of insects, 11(4)r 119
birds, and other animals was neither so well preserved,
nor so remarkable, as several that I have
seen; but it was, nevertheless, far from being insignificant.
In one of the apartments there were
a variety of Chinese curiosities, and several
beautiful vases and cups of precious stones, some
of them covered upon the outside with cameos of
great richness and value. Another room contained
various American curiosities, such as the
utensils, and vessels for eating and drinking,
used by the ancient Peruvians, the complete
dress of an Inca, and many small images in gold
and silver, with others of precious stones. These
were the most striking objects of attention, which
the Cabinet contained, and the examination of
them afforded me great gratification and instruction,
the more so, perhaps that I was not quite prepared
for any thing so extremely beautiful as I
actually found there.

Fire-works were again exhibited before the
palace on Wednesday evening, which were much
finer than those of the evening previous. After
a cloud of rockets had been fired off, a brilliant
balloon was sent up into the air, which rose majestically
above our heads, higher and higher,
until it dwindled to the size of a star, and then
became entirely lost to our view. The entertainment
closed with the storming of a fort.
Showers of beautiful bright meteors were seen
darting around it, in every part, accompanied 11(4)v 120
with a noise precisely similar to the report of a
cannon, and which ended at last in a tremendous
explosion and the destruction of the fort; when
every thing around us sunk into darkness, and we
all returned again to our several homes.

For the week succeeding this day I was confined
to the house by a violent cold, owing, perhaps, to
frequent exposure to the keen, piercing air, which
had prevailed for several days past, and which
although much less severely cold than our winter
weather, has a more penetrating chillness in it
than I have ever before experienced.

Letter X.

Madrid.—A Bull Fight.—The Plaza de Toros.—Preparations.
—The Picadores.—The Chulos.—The Bandilleros.—The
Matador.—Caballeros de Plaza.—Dogs.—Emotions produced.
—Another Function.

It had been understood for some time, that a
Corrida de Toros, or bull fight, would form a
part of the fesitivities at Madrid on the occasion
of the King’s marriage; and this exhibition took
place accordingly at the time appointed, (1829-12-15December
15th
). As I had a very strong curiosity to
witness this ancient and celebrated Spanish
amusement, I willingly pursued my way to the
Plaza de Toros, situated at the extremity of the 11(5)r 121
city, without the Puerta de Alcala. Here stands
the immense amphitheatre in which the fights
take place, and which is entered by several large
doors, opening into spacious vestibules, from
whence several flights of stairs lead to the interior
of the building.

To have an idea of its appearance, you must
imagine a vast circular area, surrounded by several
rows of seats, raised one above the other;
back of which are covered seats, and above these
a range of boxes, extending quite around the building.
Between the area and the uncovered seats
is a space, of perhaps a yard or two in width, with
a high wooden fence before it, which serves as a
place of retreat for those engaged in the fight,
when closely pursued by their furious antagonist.
At one extremity of the amphitheatre is the
King’s box, fitted up in handsome style, the front
part being composed of glass windows, which may
be kept shut if necessary, without taking away
the view of any thing that is going on in the
arena. Opposite the King’s box are the orchestra,
and the enclosure in which the bull is confined.

After I had been seated about half an hour the
arrival of the King and Queen was greeted by
loud shouts of “Viva la Reyna, Viva el Rey,”—the
first really hearty cheer of the kind, that I had
yet heard. They came forward, accompanied by
the King and Queen of Naples, and several 11(5)v 122
other members of the royal family; and throwing
open the windows, they bowed and waved their
hands with much apparent gratification and cordiality
of manner.

The King observed, immediately upon entering,
that, owing to the imperfection of the
notices given for the Funcion, as it is called in
Madrid, the seats were almost entirely empty;
and he therefore gave immediate orders that the
doors should be opened freely to every one, without
regard to payment. The consequence of
this was a tremendous rush from without, which
filled the amphitheatre overflowing, and presented
to the eye, on every side, but one continued
mass of human beings, all congratulating
themselves upon the opportunity thus offered
them, of witnessing a spectacle, which, to a Spaniard,
is of all others the most popular and
animating.

Large bodies of the military, in full uniform,
were scattered here and there among the crowd,
and a most splendid band of music played delightfully
during the whole time that the seats
and boxes were filling. As soon as the audience
were quietly seated, the music ceased, and a door
opened at one side of the arena, admitting a small
troop of horse, who, preceded by a trumpeter,
rode around the enclosure several times, dispersing
the crowd, which had previously filled it.
When their task was accomplished, they withdrew, 11(6)r 123
and one of the alguazils then rode into the
area, dressed in the same fanciful suit of black
velvet, which they had worn on the day of the
marriage,—and seated upon a beautiful white
horse, caparisoned in trimmings of blue and
silver. Having obtained permission of the King,
that the spectacle should now commence, he announced
this permission to a person in waiting,
who immediately went out to give the requisite
orders.

The picadores, five in number, then rode in,
and advancing towards the royal box, took off
their hats, and made a low bow to the King and
Queen, after which two of them rode to their stations
at the right and left of the enclosure, from
which the bull was to make his appearance. The
other three then retired, to be in readiness to take
the place of either of their companions, should
they be wounded or otherwise disabled, these
being the only terms upon which a picador ever
leaves the arena. These men are dressed in
short jackets of fanciful colors, the sleeves of
which, as well as their pantaloons, are thickly
padded to prevent any injury to the limbs in case
of a fall, which not unfrequently takes place.
They wore upon their heads immense broad brimmed
hats, with small round crowns, and carried
in the hand a long spear, with a piece of pointed
iron at the end of it about an inch in length.

The chulos, so called, are dressed in a manner 11(6)v 124
even more fantastical than the picadores. They
wear small clothes of various gaudy colors, with
long white hose; and short jackets very much
trimmed with gold or silver lace. Their heads
are uncovered, and at the back part is a large
club of ribbons, with long ends hanging down to
resemble a queue. Each one of them holds in
his hand a flag of cloth, either yellow, pink, blue,
green, or some other bright color, the use of
which is to attract the attention of the bull, in
case any accident happens to the picador, and by
waving them in his eyes, to tempt him to pursue
a new object, thus giving the picador time to recover
himself.

These men now stationed themselves near the
fence in various parts of the arena; and every
eye, in the vast assemblage surrounding it, was
eagerly bent upon the spot, from whence the
enemy was to proceed. Signs of impatience
began to be expressed, more and more loudly,
for the appointed signal, which was to be given
by the King, before the bull could be released
from confinement. This signal was at length
made, the doors flew open, and the terrible animal
bounded into the arena, his eyes glaring with
rage, and almost matching in color the crimson
ribbon, which fluttered from his neck, a symbol,
as it were, of the sanguinary death which awaited
him.

The first object, upon which he fixed his gaze, 12(1)r 123
was the picador, towards whom he rushed with all
the fury of madness. The picador received him
upon the point of his spear; but the animal, being
resolute and courageous, persisted in pushing forward,
and the consequence was the instant death
of the poor horse, who fell a blind-folded and unresisting
victim to the furious attack of his adversary.
The picador fell with the horse, and I felt
a universal trembling sieeize me, when I beheld
him struggling to free himself, even under the
very horns of the enraged bull. But at the instant
several of the chulos surrounded him, and,
waving their bright flags before his eyes, succeeded
in turning his anger upon themselves, whom
he pursued with such speed, that one of them
barely escaped by springing over the fence, leaving
his flag behind him, as an object upon which
the bull might vent his rage at pleasure. But
such was not his intention; for, turning round, he
flew, with the rapidity of lightning, towards the
second picador, whose horse shared the same fate
with that of his companion; leaving the arena
cleared of horses, for the space of several moments.
During this time, the chulos seemed desirous
of making trial of their quickness of foot,
by approaching almost within arm’s length of the
animal, who stood brandishing his horns, and
throwing up the dust in clouds with his hoofs, and
then sprang forward in pursuit of his tormentors
with unrelenting speed. It seemed impossible 12 12(1)v 124
to me, at first, that they could escape him; but
finding, upon observation, that they calculated
their distance with unerring certainty, I began to
feel a little more at ease than my fears would
allow at the outset.

Two more horses being now brought upon the
field, the battle between the bull and picadores
was again renewed, and, after two or three violent
attacks, both horses were disabled, and, although
not mortally wounded, were, of necessity,
led out, the arena being thus cleared a second
time; a circumstance of very rare occurrence,
and which was loudly applauded by clapping of
hands, and loud cries of “bueno, bueno”, resounding
from every part of the amphitheatre.

When the picadores had fought to the satisfaction
of the King, he gave a signal for the banderilleros
to appear. These men are dressed precisely
like the chulos, being in fact a part of their
number. They are each armed with two darts,
called banderillos, barbed at the point, and ornamented
with a variety of colored paper, cut into
streamers. By the time that the banderilleros make
their appearance, their antagonist, being somewhat
spent with rage and loss of blood, their task
is rendered much less dangerous than it would be
at the commencement of the fight. Holding a
dart in each hand, they run boldly up to the bull,
and, as he lowers his horns to attack them, they
dexterously plunge the darts into his neck, and, 12(2)r 125
springing to one side, easily avoid any danger
from his pursuit.

This lasted for a very moments only, when
command was given to call the matador. He soon
entered, dressed much like the others, but more
richly, and with a greater profusion of gold and
silver lace. He held in one hand a naked sword,
and in the other a scarlet flag. Advancing towards
the King’s box, he raised his chapeau de
bras
, and, kneeling on one knee, requested permission
to kill the bull; which being granted, he
walked to the centre of the arena, where he waited
until the chulos should draw towards him the
wearied animal. This they succeeded in doing;
and no sooner did the bright scarlet cloth meet
his eye, than all his former fury appeared to revive,
and he darted towards it with all the
energy he had shown at the beginning of the
battle. The task of the matador is much more
hazardous, and requires much more skill than any
other. The object is to dazzle the eyes of the
animal with the red flag, and at the same time to
hold the sword in such a manner, as, when the bull
presses forward, to sink the sword in his neck by
the impetus of the latter, and without any exertion
on the part of the matador. On this occasion,
the second trial succeeded, and the sword was
buried in the neck of the bull to the very hilt.
He staggered and fell, amid the shouts and acclamations
of the audience, when a man, approaching 12(2)v 126
him with a short bladed knife, ended the poor
creature’s sufferings and his life, by striking it
into the spine.

The band of music now struck up a lively
air, the trumpet sounded, and a door opening
at the opposite extremity of the area, three mules
were driven in abreast, their heads ornamented
with a great quantity of colored worsted tassels,
and with strings of bells around their necks.
The bull being then attached to the traces, by a
cord twisted around his horns, the mules set off
at full gallop, dragging behind them the fallen
combatant. The instant that the door closed
upon them, another bull was let into the arena,
and the same thing was again repeated. But
owing to the presence of the Queen, who had
never before witnessed a festivity of the kind,
several varieties in the mode of fighting were introduced,
which are not exhibited upon common
occasions.

After these bulls had been dispatched in the
usual manner, as above described, the picadores
yielded their places to two other persons, called
caballeros de plaza, a part formerly sustained by
gentlemen of distinction, who then assisted in
these exercises; but which custom has now
consigned to professional fighters. The caballeros
de plaza
, who now entered the arena, were
most beautifully dressed in the ancient Spanish
costume, consisting of a black velvet hat and 12(3)r 127
white plumes; a complete suit of rich yellow silk,
slashed at the knees with blue; and a blue silk
Spanish cloak, fastened at the throat, and flowing
gracefully over the left shoulder, leaving the right
arm perfectly free. Each carried in his hand a
long spear, made of very light, brittle wood, and
barbed at the point. His object is to break off
the head of the spear in the neck of the bull; and
if it be skillfully done, one single blow, by separating
the spine, causes immediate death.

At the first onset, both horse and rider were
overthrown, and had the bull taken advantage of
his position, the life of the caballero must have
been instantly sacrificed. But the chulos drew
him away to his second antagonist, who met him
rather more successfully, and broke off the spear
in his neck, but without wounding him mortally.
This was reserved for the first combatant, who,
having recovered himself from his fall, and being
armed with a second spear, rode manfully forward
into the centre of the arena, and attacking the
bull without hesitation, buried the iron in his spine.
He fell instantly dead, without a single struggle,
and was borne off in triumph by the mules, amid
flourishing of trumpets, and long echoed huzzas.
The space of time occupied in destroying him,
after this manner, was scarcely greater than I
have employed in relating it; and a second
bull having been brought in and killed quite
as speedily as the other, the caballeros de plaza 12* 12(3)v 128
left the field once more to the picadores.

The succeeding fights differed from the first
three only in the introduction of fire-works.
That is, small crackers and other combustible
materials, being affixed to the banderillos, were
made to explode at the moment the darts entered
the neck of the bull, throwing up clouds of smoke
and innumerable sparks, which, for an instant
almost concealed him from view.

After this, the cry of “perros, perros,” rung
through the amphitheatre, and at the same time
that the bull was ushered in at one door, another
opened to admit three large bull dogs, which,
springing from the leashes that confined them,
rushed with the utmost speed towards the object
of their instinctive hostility, and were received by
him, one after another, upon the points of his
horns, and tossed high in air, only to come down
again upon their feet with increased rage, and to
renew the attack with unabated courage. In a
few minutes the two largest dogs had seized each
an ear of the bull, to which they held with determined
pertinacity, until the foaming and furious
animal became entirely subdued and quiet, suffering
himself to be led along by his tormenting
conquerors, when the friendly knife put a speedy
end to his existence. The tenth bull was likewise
destroyed in the same manner; and the King
then rose to depart, the vast multitude dispersing
in various ways to their several occupations.

12(4)r 129

You may perhaps be surprized, after perusing
the foregoing account, that a lady could experience
any thing but disgust in witnessing a species
of amusement so barbarous and unnatural.
Such was my own opinion respecting it after
reading similar accounts; but strange as it may
appear, there was a fascination about the whole
scene, which did away in a considerable degree,
the painful and revolting feelings, which arise at
the view of suffering even if it be the suffering of
a brute. And moreover there seemed something
so ferocious and revengeful in the nature of these
animals, that much of the sympathy, which might
otherwise be felt for them was lost; and the unpleasant
impressions made upon the mind, gave
way to the indescribable excitement and animation
of spirits, produced by the sight of so vast
a collection of people, all wrought up to the highest
pitch of eager interest in the scene before
them, by the never-tiring charm of martial music in
its full perfection, and by the associations, which
the combat itself cannot fail to awaken, in every
lover of Spanish chivalry and Spanish romance. I
would be far from intimating, however, that I really
enjoyed the spectacle, or that I did not turn away
from it at times with a sickening sense of its barbarity.
But such feelings were much less frequent
and much less strong than I had imagined they
would be, or than you could believe possible, without
having yourself witnessed a scene of the kind.

12(4)v 130

A few days afterwards, (1829-12-17December 17th), a
second royal bull fight was given, which I again
had the courage to attend. But it was only to
bring away with me very different and less pleasing
impressions of the thing than I had received
from witnessing the first, which was, in fact, the first
of the kind that had occurred in Madrid for many
years, and which exhibited comparatively little
of the disgusting or disagreeable part of the combat.
But in the second I was not so fortunate.
Several of the poor horses were shockingly mangled
and gored by the horns of the bull, without
causing their death, and sometimes without preventing
their riders from still urging them on to
renewed attacks. This circumstance would alone
have been sufficient to mar all my enjoyment;
but there were others, in addition to it, which
rendered the fight excessively irksome and unpleasant
to me. There was scarcely any variety
in the mode of warfare, which was carried on in
its least attractive form, at least to my eye; and the
arena being divided in the middle, in order that
two courses might be going on at the same time,
the animals were brought in much closer contact
with the picadores and chulos, for whose fate I was
in continual dread and anxiety. Eighteen bulls
were killed before the funcion ended, and I then
returned from the amphitheatre little disposed to
witness another bull fight, and fully persuaded that,
in this respect, I could never learn to be a Spaniard.

12(5)r 131

Letter XI.

Madrid.—Christmas Week.—Stalls of the Plaza Real.—Noche
Buena
.—Teatro del Principe.—Plays.—Dances.—Arrangement
of the Theater.—Costumes.—Extreme Cold.—Royal
Armory
.—Departure.

Christmas week is a season of great festivity
at Madrid. Although it was intensely cold, I
did not abstain from my accustomed visits to
interesting objects in the city; and on the day
before Christmas, I made another unsuccessful
attempt to see the Armory. But my walk was
not wholly lost, for the Calle Mayor and the
Plaza Real exhibited a very amusing scene, well
worthy the trouble of even a longer walk to witness
it. Little booths and stalls were all around
the Plaza, and on both sides of the street, filled
with every variety of fruits, cakes, and confectionary,
together with children’s toys of all descriptions,
which were held up, successively, by
their respective proprietors, and declared to be
the cheapest and finest toys, the sweetest and
richest fruits, the most delicious cakes and confectionary,
which could possibly be purchased;
and this the happy looking groups, which thronged
the place, seemed to take for granted, as I
saw a multitude of children hurrying backward
and forward, loaded with fruits and toys, almost
too many in number for their little hands to contain; 12(5)v 132
and chattering and laughing with each other,
full of happiness and hilarity.

The toys, which were here displayed, are peculiar
to the season of the year, and are not generally
sold at Madrid, except at Christmas. A
great part of the collection is composed of the
same porcelain toys from Malaga, which I described
to you as forming a prominent part of the
ornaments upon Donna Francisca’s table; and
which were bought up with much eagerness, by
the old as well as the young, and appeared to interest
the adult quite as much as the child. This
will not seem very singular, when you take into
consideration, that the dress of these little images
represents almost every variety of Spanish costume,
in the most perfect manner; which of
course renders them more valuable than they
would otherwise be.

In addition to these there were other toys for
children alone, consisting of various instruments
of music, of the most peculiar construction, and
producing sounds little in consonance with the
rules of harmony. Many of them were a similar
species of tamborine to those used by the manolas
when dancing before the Queen. They were
very gaudily trimmed and painted; and instead of
bells upon the edge of them, there were little
pieces of tin strung upon wire. But the most
curious of these instruments was called the zambomba.
It is precisely in form of a small drum, 12(6)r 133
with parchment at one end only. Through the
centre of the parchment is inserted a small reed;
and the music, if so it may be called, is produced
by rubbing this reed with the fingers
.

I amused myself, for a long time, in examining
all these different toys; and in listening to the
din of voices around me, pitched upon every
possible key, from the deep toned cry of agua,
agua
, uttered by the watermen, to the soft and
persuasive voice of the pretty toy girl, as she
held up her attractive wares before the longing
eyes of the little urchins around her. In Spain,
the night preceding Christmas is called noche
buena
; and is spent by a great portion of the inhabitants
of Madrid in meeting together in parties
of friends, to feast upon fish, fruits and sweetmeats,
although they religiously abstain from
eating meats; and after this they attend mass,
which commences at a late hour, and in some of
the churches is celebrated with much pomp and
ceremony. The streets are filled, at almost every
hour through the night, with a concourse of people,
walking about, and singing hymns appropriate
to the occasion, accompanied with a plentiful
quantity of the anti-harmonic melody, elicited
from the zambombas and other equally fine toned
instruments, which are so inappropriately used to
usher in one of the most solemn festivals of the
Catholic church. I was much disappointed,
however, in the manner of celebrating this festival. 12(6)v 134
I had anticipated something unusually grand
and novel in the ceremonies of the day, but
found, in reality, little to distinguish it from any
other, except that mass was constantly performing
from morning till night; and every shop in
Madrid was closed, with the penalty, of a heavy
fine to any one who should dare to sell, even to
the value of a real, either on that day or the
following one. There were no processions or
other great religious ceremonies, to denote the
difference between Christmas day and any other
festival of the church.

In the evening I attended the Theatre del
Principe
, for the first time since my arrival in
Madrid. There had been no actor of any particular
note performing for the time; and I found,
while in France, so little gratification in attending
the theatre, unless to see some celebrated
performer, that I put off going in Madrid, from
time to time, until the period for leaving it had
nearly arrived, and I had not yet seen the interior
of a Spanish play-house. But as several
interesting pieces were announced for Christmas
evening, I determined to attend, and was exceedingly
entertained by the performances.

The plays were not remarkable as pieces of
composition, but were highly amusing nevertheless.
The actors and actresses exchanged characters,
through each of the plays, the men acting
the parts of females, and vice versa. This whimsical 13(1)r 135
custom, confined, I believe, wholly to the
time of Christmas and Carnival, gives rise to
scenes the most fantastic, and irresistibly
laughable. For instance, you see a gentle
shepherdess, with her straw gipsey upon her
head, and her crook in hand, reclining asleep
upon a bank of flowers, in the midst of a shady
grove. While you are investing her, in fancy,
with all the simple but attractive charms, which
belong to her peaceful life and romantic occupation,
she suddenly starts from her slumbers, and
the lovely shepherdess is at once transformed into
an amazon of six feet in height, whose coarse,
masculine voice, as she utters a yawning exclamation,
banishes, most effectually, all those pleasing
dreams of the imagination, to which her first
appearance had given rise. Hearing a rustling
sound near her, she conceals herself behind a tree,
when her love-lorn swain, a mere lady’s page in
stature, makes his appearance, and commences
a sorrowful ditty in the softest and sweetest
accents possible, humorously contrasting with the
rough-toned voice of his lady-love. Their meeting
was amusing to the highest degree; and the
uncontrollable bursts of laughter, heard in every
part of the theatre, sufficiently proved the whimsical
character of the entertainment.

This was but one, among a multitude of scenes
of the same kind, which were pleasantly diversified
by dances of the most animated and beautiful 13 13(1)v 136
description. They were generally performed by
very young girls, whose graceful movements and
wonderful skill elicited the constant admiration
and applause of the audience. One of the dances
was French, but all the others were Spanish
dances of different kinds. Of these the bolero
was to me far more pleasing than any of the others.
There is a vast deal of animation and grace displayed
in it, when well executed, unaccompanied
by that excessive twisting of the limbs and distortion
of the body, which, in my opinion, detract
so much from the beauty of the French dances.

The evening’s performances were, upon the
whole, extremely well done; and although there
was little in the plays of a very intellectual or refined
nature, there was likewise little in them of an
offensive kind, and I was, for myself, sufficiently
entertained to compensate me for attending.

The Teatro del Principe is a neat, pretty
theatre, very differently arranged from any of ours.
The central part of what we should consider the
pit, fronting the stage, is divided into very convenient
seats, called lunetas. These seats are all
numbered, so that whenever a person purchases
a ticket, he knows immediately to what place he
is entitled; and they are frequented by gentlemen
only, being a respectable part of the theatre,
and by far the most eligible for those, whose object
is to see and hear to advantage. Behind the
lunetas is that division of the theatre, which contains 13(2)r 137
the cheap places, called the patio and gradas,
and which is occupied by the common people.
Three tiers of boxes rise above the gradas, occupying
the two sides of the theatre. These boxes
are almost always hired from year to year or owned
by private individuals. Consequently, the only
opportunity which a stranger has of being admitted
to a box, is in case it should be let for the
evening, as it sometimes happens, when none of the
family to whom it belongs require its use. But
this inconvenience is remedied by appropriating
a certain number of seats, between the common
boxes and the King’s box, for the accomodation
of gentlemen and ladies together, who do not possess
a private box.

The King’s box occupies nearly the whole
space opposite the stage. It is highly ornamented
with gilding and carved work; and in front,
suspended from the ceiling, are two elegant glass
chandeliers, which are only lighted when the
royal family are present.

Beneath the King’s box, on a line with the first
and second tier of private boxes, are two large
ones, called the cazuela, appropriated to females
exclusively, and to females wearing the mantilla,
whatever may be their condition in life, whether
high or low; for it is not confined to any particular
class, and may occasionally receive even ladies
of fashion, when they do not choose to dress for
the boxes.

13(2)v 138

Over the front of the stage are the royal crown
and coat of arms, and the curtain suspended from
thence, is of handsome colored silk, trimmed with
a gold fringe. Thus, although the theatre is a
small one, it is tastefully decorated, and is capable
of containing a much greater number of persons,
than one would imagine at first sight.

I observed one peculiarity this evening, in
regard to the ladies who occupied the boxes.
They all wore dress bonnets, nearly without exception.
The theatre and evening parties, however,
are among the few public occasions, upon
which a Spanish lady is seen in any other headdress
than a mantilla. As an illustration of this,
I will mention, that I was walking on Sunday in
the Prado, which was so crowded, in every part,
with people and carriages, as to leave little room
for any increase of numbers. But among the innumerable
heads which I saw, only one lady had
on a bonnet. This was Madame de Saint
Priest
, the lady of the French Minister, who
was walking with her three little daughters,
all wearing bonnets, and attended only by a
servant. You would have been amused to
observe the looks of curiosity and surprise, which
were directed towards them as they passed along.
Every person, whom they met, gazed at them
with astonishment, until they were lost in the
crowd, so novel was to them the sight of a lady
without a mantilla, and wearing a bonnet.

13(3)r 139

The two days succeeding Christmas, were severely
cold; so much so, that I found it necessary
to remain in the house, where, seated by the side
of the brasero, with a shawl around my neck, I
found means to make myself perfectly comfortable,
notwithstanding the continual breezes, that
were blowing around me from the windows and
doors.

On Sunday night, (1829-12-27December 27th), three of
the soldiers, on guard at the palace, were found
frozen to death, although the watch was changed
every half hour; and a fourth was so far gone as
only to be restored to life by the greatest exertions.
The cold, however, in other parts of Madrid, was
not so excessive, as one might be led to suppose
from this fact. The palace is situated upon the
bleakest spot in the whole city, which is, as you
know, much elevated above the level of the sea.
The place, where the guard are stationed, is particularly
exposed, having nothing to shield it
from the tremendous blasts, which sweep down
from the adjacent mountains, of the Guadarrama,
“cold with perpetual snows,” and which may well
be powerful enough to destroy life in a very short
period of time.

The afternoon preceding the night on which
these unfortunate men perished, I was struck
with the inappropriateness of the female dress in
Madrid, for the climate at this season of the year,
by observing many ladies pass with no thicker 13* 13(3)v 140
clothing than a silk mantilla, a common sized
shawl over a silk dress, and upon their feet, open
work silk hose and satin slippers, while at the
same time we, at home, should have been muffled
up in wadded pelisses and hoods, and should have
scarcely deemed even these sufficient to protect
us from the cold.

The weather becoming a little more mild the
next day, (1829-12-28December 28th), I once again attempted
to see the Armory, and happily at last succeeded.
And I found myself amply repaid for the
pains I had taken to this effect; for the Musee
d’ Artillerie
at Paris was more beautiful and valuable,
this was to me very much more interesting.
The collection consisted chiefly in suits of armor
of many of the monarchs, as well as other illustrious
men, of Spain. There was that worn by Isabella
during the seigesiege of Granada; that of Boabdil,
the Moorish King; of the great Cid; of Gonsalvo
of Cordova, also called the Great Captain; several
belonging to the Emperor Charles Fifth; and
a great variety of others, not less interesting, particularly
that of Ferdinand Cortez. They were
all arranged on wooden frames, placed around
the room, and resembling a martial array of steelclad
warriors. In the middle of the apartment
was a range of handsome field-pieces, with several
beautiful horse-armors, each horse bearing upon
his back a full-sized statue of some illustrious
prince, armed from helmet to spurs, and almost 13(4)r 141
making one start to see them, from their close
resemblance to the living form. In the very
centre of the room was placed a splendid carriage,
of polished iron, given by the city of
Bilbao to King Ferdinand and his late Queen
Amelia
. At the upper end were two large mahogany
cases, filled with swords, cutlasses, and
other weapons of the kind, the names of whose
original owners are among the most celebrated in
Spanish story. I was extremely interested in
looking them all over, and taking into my own
hand the swords, which had been so often grasped
by the hand of a Cortez, a Pizarro, or a Gonzalvo,
whose renowned adventures seem almost
too romantic to be believed as true and sober
reality. Between the two cases, in which these
arms are contained, is a species of canopy, with
silk curtains in front, beneath which is a seated
statue of Saint Ferdinand, completely clad in
royal armor, with the exception of his helmet and
shield, which are lying by his side, their place
being supplied by a crown and sceptre. Besides
the numerous weapons placed in the cases, there
are many others ranged around the walls of the
apartment, together with a great variety of firearms,
helmets, bucklers, and shields of different
descriptions, many of which are associated in history
with some interesting event.

The Royal Armory was the last public establishment
which I visited at Madrid; and on Thursday, 13(4)v 142
(1829-12-31December 31st.), I took my final departure
from this attractive city, in which my time had
been so happily passed. But although I parted
from it with much reluctance, and bade adieu to
many valuable acquaintances there formed, these
feelings of regret were much lessened by the
thought, that I was about to exchange the increasingly
cold and cutting winds, so peculiar to Madrid
in the winter months, and to which I had not been
willing to expose myself freely, for the soft and
balmy airs of the south, towards which I now turned
my face, with the hope of speedily being subjected
to their genial influences.

The inclemency of the weather at this period,
debarred me the pleasure of visiting the monastery
and palace of the Escorial, and the royal
country residence of La Granja. The caprice of
despotism has placed these celebrated palaces in
one of the most barren and desolate parts of Spain;
a situation almost inaccessible in the winter season,
when it is under the complete dominion of
driving whirlwind, tempest, and storm, which, at
times render it not only a formidable, but even a
dangerous task, to venture within reach of their
destructive sway. But, although I was disappointed
in not seeing the Escorial in a particular
manner, I acquiesced in it the more readily, from
reflecting that other objects of no less interest or
celebrity remained before me, situated moreover
in climes so mild, and regions so delightful, that 13(5)r 143
the gratification to be experienced in viewing
them, would be greatly enhanced by their unison
with the loveliness and beauty of nature.

Letter XII.

Aranjuez.—Road thither.—Plaza de San Antonio.—Church.—
Calle de la Reyna.—Jardin del Principe.-Jardin de la Isla.—
Royal Palace.—Tartana.—Val de Caba.—Scene at a Venta.—
Toledo.—Fonda del Arzobispo.

We took the diligence for Aranjuez at one
o’clock, (Thursday, 1829-12-31December 31st.), and reached
that place late in the afternoon. The first part
of the journey was devoid of interest, being chiefly
through an extensive plain, wholly destitute of
trees, with the exception of a few olives, planted
here and there in rows like apple trees, and not
unlike, in general appearance, to our willows.
These were the first olive trees I had ever seen;
and having always associated the idea of both the
olive and the vine with something very beautiful,
I was much disappointed to find that neither of
them had much pretension to be so considered.

Soon after entering the valley of Aranjuez,
you pass the river Xarama, upon a beautiful
stone bridge; and here the prospect becomes
much more agreeable. Being fertilized by the
waters of the Tagus, vegetation is here seen 13(5)v 144
clothed in her gayest garb, exhibiting certain
evidence of a rich and generous soil. Two handsome
roads, or rather avenues, having side-walks
lined with rows of trees, commence here and extend
to the city. One of them is the public highway,
and the other was constructed for the use
of the King. At Aranjuez we crossed a bridge
of boats, which is there thrown over the Tagus,
and then proceeded through the Plaza de San
Antonio
to the Parador de la Andalusia, where
we remained for the night.

Early on Friday, (1830-01-01January 1st.), I walked out
to see the principal objects of curiosity to be found
in the city; commencing with the Plaza de San
Antonio
. This is a large square of considerable
beauty, having handsome ranges of arcades along
two of the sides, which extend upon the third in
a half circular form, and end at the church of San
Antonio
. The fourth side, towards the avenue
from Madrid, is entirely open, and here is a very
large circular fountain, much ornamented, and
terminated at the top by a white marble statue.

The church just mentioned is quite ordinary
upon the inside; but has a fine effect as seen
from the centre of the Plaza. The front is very
handsome, consisting of a portico entered by five
arcades, above which is a terrace ornamented
with a stone balustrade. Back of this rises a
circular dome, surmounted by a lantern, with pilasters
upon the outside, placed in an octagonal 13(6)r 145
form, and enclosed by a stone balustrade, like that
upon the terrace.

The public promenades in Aranjuez are quite
numerous and beautiful. Of these none are
more frequented than the Calle de la Reyna,
which is a very wide and handsome street,
with broad walks on each side, bordered with
trees, so thickly tufted as to afford a delightfully
cool shade even in mid-day. This street runs
along the southern side of the Jardin del Principe,
so called, which was formerly a superb garden
of great extent, ornamented with statues and
fountains, and abounding with charming walks,
beautifully laid out, and shaded by forests of
trees. These trees still form cool and pleasant
promedades; but the garden is now in a state of
almost total neglect and ruin. Some of the fountains,
which adorned it, are not wholly destroyed,
but so mutilated and broken as to retain little or
no value or beauty.

From this deserted, but still pleasant, spot,
around which I had wandered for the space of
nearly an hour and a half, I turned again towards
the Plaza de San Antonio, and entered the parterre,
which opens upon the side of the Plaza
towards Madrid. This parterre contains a great
variety of flowers; and the Tagus, flowing along
at one side of it, forms a very pretty cascade, in
descending over a fall, which extends the whole
width of the river. There is now constructing, 13(6)v 146
in the midst of the parterre, a large fountain,
which promises to be, when completed, a very
magnificent one.

From thence I passed into the Jardin de la Isla,
thus called from its being completely surrounded
by the Tagus. This garden is situated at the
north side of the palace, and is chiefly remarkable
for the number of its fountains. That of Hercules
is the largest, and is very pleasantly situated in
the centre of a spacious basin, surrounded by an
iron balustrade. The statues which embellish it
are numerous, but not well executed. At the left
of the fountain, a beautiful double cascade is formed
in the river. At a distance, the several fountains
in different parts of the garden look very
beautifully, mingled with the green foliage; but
upon approaching nearer, you find them blackened
and mutilated, and the figures for the most part
extremely ugly. The fountains of the Tritons is
the handsomest among them, and less injured than
most of the others. It is composed of a large
basin, supporting three Tritons, each bearing a
vase upon his shoulder. A pedestal is placed in
the midst of them, from whence rises a column,
surrounded by three statues of nymphs, each five
feet in height. At the top of the column is a small
marble basin, with figures around it, surmounted
by another of still smaller size, also ornamented
with figures and columns. The whole height of
the fountain is twenty feet, and it is situated, like 14(1)r 147
all the others, in the centre of a large opening.

These openings differ in size, and are in the
form of a square, circle, hexagon or octagon, as it
may happen; but they have the same general
appearance, being surrounded by trees, and
adorned with marble seats from distance to distance.
The trees are all of very large growth,
and their trunks are covered by the most beautifully
bright and luxuriant ivy, which twines closely
around them and climbs up even with their
summits. The garden also abounds with alleys,
which cross each other in every direction; and
with groves of trees and green arbors, around
which the air is perfectly sweetened by a profusion
of fragrant myrtle and box. The latter is
planted in such a manner, as to resemble little
miniature hedges, forming beds of almost every
description of form, which have a very singular,
but pretty appearance.

The royal palace, situated at the entrance of
this garden, is a plain, ordinary looking brick
building, possessing nothing interesting to the
eye, either in architecture or ornament. Around
the lower story, on one side, is a succession of
arcades, containing niches, in which are placed
busts of several of the Roman emperors, together
with large medallions of Charles Fifth, and his
Empress Isabella, and of Philip Second. The
interior of the palace contains some paintings worthy
of observation; but our arrangements for 14 14(1)v 148
leaving Aranjuez did not allow of my seeing them;
and I returned to the inn only in season to
dine before the hour appointed to start for Toledo.

The appearance of Aranjuez, in the summer,
must be very beautiful. The great number of
fine forest trees, in which it is remarkably abundant,
—the width of its streets,—and the beauty of
its gardens and promenades,—combine to render
it a delightful place, particularly during the hot
months, when it is said to be peculiarly attractive,
not only from its own intrinsic charms, but
from its being the summer residence of the royal
family, which of course attracts a crowd of the
nobles and grandees of the kingdom, in addition
to the foreign ministers, and other strangers, who
may chance to visit the court. The theatre is
then open, bull fights are given, and every thing
is full of life and activity, until the approach of
winter warns the gay throng to depart, and consigns
their lately busy and joyous abode to comparative
stillness and monotony.

We left Aranjuez, in the afternoon, in a tartana.
This singular looking vehicle resembles a covered
cart, having two seats along the sides, and a door
of entrance at the back part
. The canvass, which
covers it, is painted in a great variety of gay colors;
and it is drawn by two horses, one before the
other. I found it at first very uncomfortable.
The roads were extremely rough and broken, and
the carriage having no springs whatever, every 14(2)r 149
rut and stone that it passed over, occasioned so
much jolting, as to render the journey exceedingly
disagreeable and fatiguing. But after a time
I began to understand the easiest mode of sitting,
and to be somewhat accustomed to the motion;
consequently I arrived at the end of the day’s
ride, much less fatigued than I had anticipated.

There was very little, either interesting or
agreeable, upon the way, after leaving the beautiful
avenue of trees, which leads for several
miles from Aranjuez towards Toledo. The
badness of the road, in general, prevented the
horses from going rapidly; and it was therefore
quite dark when we arrived at the Venta de
Valdecaba
, two leagues distant from Toledo.

This was a lone house by the way-side, having
nothing very inviting in its aspect, and the
scenery around it appearing solitary and deserted.
In fact, I experienced an undefined sensation
of fear, as I entered the dark, dismal looking
kitchen, almost filled with smoke from the nearly
dying embers, which imparted neither light nor
heat to cheer the comfortless scene. The fireplace
was one of those immense ones, which I
have already described, occupying nearly the
whole room, with the fire in the centre, and broad
stone seats at the sides. A chair was placed for
me immediately after I entered, close by the fire,
upon which the hostess had now thrown an armfull
of dried stubble, which soon blazed up clear 14(2)v 150
and bright, dispelling the thick volumes of smoke,
and giving distinctly to my view the whole interior
of the room. Upon the stone seat, on one
side the fire, a man was stretched out at full length,
and fast asleep, as his loud breathing audibly demonstrated.
Near him stood his son, a pretty
little shepherd boy, dressed in light small clothes
and gaiters, and a round hat ornamented with
little pieces of tin formed into tassels. At the
opposite side sat several muleteers, wrapped up
in their brown cloth cloaks, wearing tasselled
hats, like that of the boy. At a short distance
from them, on the stone bench, was a sort of
wooden box with rockers upon it, in which slept
an infant about a month old. At the farther extremity
of the kitchen was a stall, at which two
borricas were feeding; and a door near it led into
the stable, from whence the tinkling music of
many bells was plainly heard.

The whole scene, thus exhibited to my eyes at
intervals, as the fire blazed brightly, or was suffered
to die away to mere embers,—the dark complexions
and piercing black eyes of the muleteers,
who sat gazing upon the newly arrived
strangers,—the romantic appearance of the young
shepherd boy, standing by the side of his sleeping
father,—together with the names of the servants,
Diego and Antonio, repeated in the gruff or shrill
voices of the host and hostess, almost led me to
imagine myself transported into one of the identical 14(3)r 151
Spanish inns, which I had seen described in
works of fiction, where so true a general picture
is given of the real venta, in which I was compelled
to take up my night’s abode. Had I
yielded to the impulses of the imagination, and to
the uncomfortable feelings, which I must confess
for a time overcame my better reason, I should
have conjured up all sorts of frightful images,
which accord so well with our ideas of a lonely
Spanish habitation, solely occupied by persons,
with whom, perhaps of all others in the world, we
most readily associate the thought of blood-thirsty
cruelty and revenge.

But the landlord, an honest, good-natured looking
man, about sixty years of age, now entered
the room, and began a good humored conversation
with the muleteers, in which he was soon
joined by his young wife, a healthy and pretty looking
woman, who was busily engaged in cooking
food for her different guests; occasionally stopping
to rock the cradle in which her infant was
reposing. Some excellent chocolate was soon
prepared for us, with which I found myself much
refreshed; and the kind assiduities bestowed upon
me by the mistress of the, mansion succeeded in
banishing all my fears, and prepared me to enjoy
the hilarity of the humble but cheerful individuals,
whom the chance of the evening had assembled
in the venta.

Soon after the repast was finished, one of the 14* 14(3)v 152
company observing my guitar, which had been
brought into the house with the rest of the baggage,
solicited permission to use it, and struck
up a lively air, in which he was accompanied by
the little shepherd boy, who sung a gay seguidilla
in the sweetest voice imaginable. This of
course introduced dancing, and the host and hostess,
producing their castanets, danced a bolero,
to the great and manifest enjoyment of the whole
circle. This was continued until bed-time, when
I retired to my rude, unfinished lodging room,
with very different feelings from those which I
had experienced at the commencement of the
evening. It is true that, when we arrived, the
landlord had declared there was not a bed in the
house to be had; but by dint of planning and contriving
he succeeded in preparing a very comfortable
resting place; and gratified by the civility,
as well as amused by the cheerfulness, of these
good people, I soon fell into refreshing slumber.

At an early hour, the following morning, we
arose to continue our journey to Toledo. Our
hostess was already up, and had prepared some
excellent chocolate, which I found in readiness
when I entered the kitchen. While we were
breakfasting, the good woman took down a zambomba,
belonging to one of her children, and
sung, to the singular music of this instrument, an
unpretending, but simple and pretty, air, which
the little shepherd boy improved vastly by a delightful 14(4)r 153
second, executed so well as to prove him
possessed of very considerable musical talent.

Between Valdecaba and Toledo, there was
very little to be seen that interested me, except
the city of Toledo itself, which appears in sight
immediately after leaving the venta. From thence
it shows to much advantage, being situated on
the opposite bank of the Tagus, at the summit of
a considerable declivity, upon the side of which,
facing Valdecaba, stand the ruins of the Alcazar
or Moorish palace, together with other large
buildings, which are visible at a very great distance.
In drawing near the city, the road passes
along at the foot of the declivity, from whence a
huge, inaccessible rock rises to a great height,
seeming to forbid all approach to the city, and
imparting to it the most rude and singular aspect
you can imagine.

After passing around the base of this desolate
looking rock, a long, steep hill commences, and
conducts to the gate on this side of the city, which
we soon entered, and drove to the Fonda del
Arzobispo
. This inn is a very extensive establishment,
too much so apparently for the size of
the city. It consists of two large courts, surrounded
by buildings, with a double gallery in front of
them, sustained by stone pillars. Into these galleries
or patios most of the apartments in the house
open, and a stair-case conducts from one gallery
to the other. The apartments we found neat and 14(4)v 154
commodious; but they were extremely uncomfortable,
from the circumstance that there was
no glass in the windows, and I was thus compelled
to remain in perfect darkness, or, by admitting
the light, to admit also a torrent of air from the
open window or door, sufficient to chill one. It
was, to be sure, matter of little moment to me
comparatively, as I was in the house but a very
short time; but to have remained there for any
considerable period, unless the weather were
milder, would have been a grievance to which I
should not have been ready to submit, notwithstanding
that in every other respect the accomodations,
as well as the fare, were excellent.

Letter XIII.

Toledo.Alcazar.—Cathedral.—Hospital of Santa Cruz.—San
Juan Bautista
.—The Vega.—San Juan de los Reyes.—Cathedral.
—Anecdote.—Spanish Hospitality.—The Tagus.—Fabrica
de Espadas
.—The Zocodover.

Near to the Fonda del Arzobispo is situated
the Alcazar; and immediately after my arrival I
walked out to see this famous palace, which is
truly one of the most splendid ruins in Spain.
The principal front is still entire, and is embellished
with sculpture, and other ornaments, in the
Moorish style of architecture. It is one hundred 14(5)r 155
and sixty feet in length, and has three ranges of
windows, eight in each range, which are surmounted
with carved work of a very rich description.
The arched door-way is in the centre of
the facade, and is ornamented with four columns,
resting upon pedestals. A superb vestibule, sustained
by large coupled columns, leads to a noble
court, surrounded by two galleries, one above the
other, which are supported upon seventy-four
columns of cut stone. The grand stair-case is
still in good preservation, and is very splendid,
each stair consisting of a solid block of stone.
The remaining portion of the palace is, however,
in a ruinous state, and may literally be styled a
roofless abode. The subterranean vaults are
now occupied as a prison, in which five hundred
prisoners are confined. When standing in the
court, you may perceive smoke arising from various
little chimnies placed in the ground, and
which at first startle you, from the singularity,
until you are aware of the receptacle of crime
and sorrow, which extends beneath your feet.

I know of few objects, that more involuntarily
awaken in the mind a train of serious and mournful
reflections, than the sight of a vast and beautiful
ruin. How sad the recollection of all the toil
and treasure, which have been spent in its completion;
of the scenes of pomp and grandeur, to
which its majestic walls have been witness, while
they echoed to the mirthful dance, the joyous footsteps, 14(5)v 156
and merry voices of successive generations
of happy beings, who have gone down one after
another to the dark oblivion of the grave! And
how does the imagination love to clothe these deserted
and venerable monuments of ancient greatness
in all their former splendor and glory; to
people them with those long forgotten forms, now
sunk in the sleep ages, until the visions of bygone
days seem distinctly visible to our view!
But alas! we have only to cast our eyes around
upon the desolate courts and ruined walls, to remember
how distant were those days from ours,
when we see that even the hard and flinty rock
has yielded to the destroying hand of time. And
then, how naturally follow those reflections, which
are calculated to repress every feeling of pride
and worldly glory, by reminding us, that in a few
fleeting years, at most, we too shall have ceased
to be; that future generations will stand amid the
ruins of our present greatness, to reflect upon the
short duration of human pride and human grandeur,
when all, who are now the inhabitants of this
earth, shall have passed away, and have given
place to others, who in their turn must also die
and be forgotten. Thoughts like these peculiarly
belong to the contemplation of such an object
as the ruined but still beautiful Alcazar of Toledo,
which I looked upon with feelings of the deepest
interest and admiration.

From the Alcazar, I proceeded to the Cathedral, 14(6)r 157
which is at no great distance from it. This is a
magnificent edifice, of immense size, and abounds
with the richest gothic ornaments in every part.
The interior is exceedingly splendid and imposing;
but the effect of it is much injured by the
position of the choir, which is placed in the midst
of the central nave. The vaulted roof of the
Cathedral is sustained by four rows of columns,
of enormous dimensions, grouped together in the
gothic style. The ornaments, which adorn the
whole interior of the church, are extremely beautiful;
but in some instances too numerous to be
quite in good taste. The first visit which I made
to the Cathedral was in the morning, merely to
view the exterior, and as much of the inside as
was open at the time. The chapels being all
closed, I, of course, saw little which they contained,
but the sacristan informed us that, if we would
come again at the hour of afternoon service, he
would show us every thing worthy of being seen.

In the meantime I walked to the hospitals of
Santa Cruz, and of San Juan Bautista. The former
is a refuge for foundlings, and is an establishment
of great beauty and magnificence. Two
fine, spacious courts, surrounded with arcades,
which are supported by marble columns, lead to
the church, which is built in form of a cross, and
is surmounted by a handsome dome. The interior
contains several good paintings, the principal of
which are six large ones which serve as a sort of 14(6)v 158
tapestry to the nave. Upon the right hand, in
entering the Hospital, is a remarkably beautiful
marble staircase, adorned with a richly ornamented
balustrade of great elegance.

The hospital of San Juan Bautista is situated
upon an eminence on the borders of the Vega or
plain of Toledo, without the city. It is, if any
thing, even more splendid than that of Santa
Cruz
; and its situation is delightfully airy and
pleasant. The front of the hospital itself is by
no means striking or handsome; but passing
through a vestibule, you enter a superb court,
surrounded by a beautiful double gallery, supported
by columns. A broad gravelled walk in the
centre conducts to an elegant arched portico,
forming the fourth side of the court. Entering
this portico, you pass to a second court, similar
to the other in every respect, in which the church
is situated. The form of the church is that of a
cross, with a dome at the top, having an elevation
of one hundred and eighty feet from the ground
to the cross which surmounts it. The interior is
very beautiful; and beneath the dome is erected
a very splendid marble monument, to the memory
of Juan de Tavera, Archbishop of Toledo, who
founded the church.

From the eminence, upon which the hospital
stands, a fine view is enjoyed of the surrounding
country. Upon the Vega are seen the ruins of
an ancient Roman circus; and those of a convent, 15(1)r 159
which was destroyed by the French, the walls
only now remaining.

We re-entered the city by the Puerta de Cambron,
and continued our way to the church of S.
Juan de los Reyes
. The architecture of this
church is very magnificent, both within and without.
The ornaments, which adorn it, are of the
gothic style, and are extremely rich and beautiful.
It belongs to the Franciscan order of friars, several
of whom accompanied us to the different parts
of the church, and were very kind and attentive.
The buildings of the convent were in absolute
ruin, having been destroyed by the French.
Upon the outside of the church are suspended the
fetters, which formerly confined the Christians at
Granada, and which, you will remember, are particularly
mentioned by Mr. Irving in his Conquest
of Granada
. They were objects of very great
interest to me, as you may readily imagine, and
as indeed they must be, to every one, who looks
upon such long preserved memorials of that deeply
interesting period.

The hour appointed for seeing the Cathedral
having now arrived, I again repaired thither, and
found all the chapels thrown open. The sacristan,
agreeably to promise, came forward and conducted
us around the church, pointing out every
thing most deserving of attention. I shall not
attempt a description of the various chapels of
this enormous edifice, they being for the most 15 15(1)v 160
part remarkable for elegance of architecture, or
splendor of decoration, not easily described.
They contain some good pictures and several
sumptuous and interesting monuments. The
chapels are, upon the whole, indeed, very magnificent,
and exhibit many specimens of the
most beautiful marbles to be found in Spain. In
the Capilla Muzarabe, the altar-piece consists
of a splendid mosaic, representing a full-length
portrait of the Virgin and Child, of natural size.
The choir, which, as I before noticed, occupies
the centre of the principal nave, is very large,
and contains a great number of seats or stalls,
most delicately carved in bas relief figures. At
the entrance of the choir is a balustrade of plated
iron, beautifully executed, and covered with ornaments
in bas relief. The sanctuary, which contains
some fine monuments, is also enclosed by a
balustrade of the same description.

After we had passed through several of the
chapels, an ecclesiastic of pleasing appearance and
polite address, who had the custody of the tresor
of the church, accosted us, and obligingly desired
to know if we would wish to see this celebrated
collection. Being answered, of course, in the
affirmative, he conducted us through the remainder
of the chapels, which we had not seen, and
thence to the sacristy. The vault of the sacristy
is painted in fresco, and the floor is paved with
large squares of red and white marble alternately. 15(2)r 161
It contains, as usual, a large number of paintings
of various merit. The altar piece is very handsome,
and is ornamented with beautiful marble
columns.

The keys of the apartment, containing the
treasure, being now produced, its brilliant and
dazzling contents were immediately unfolded to
my eyes. There were crucifixes, chandeliers,
censers, and various other splendid vessels of gold
or silver, together with robes and priests’ garments
of the most magnificent description. There
were several dresses of the Virgin, and one of
the Child, remarkable, above all the others, for
their immense value and surpassing splendor.
That of the Infant, was wholly composed of gold
cloth, adorned with pure gold ornaments. One
dress of the Virgin was worked around the bottom
with the richest pearls, intermingled with
precious stones; and another with large stars
composed of other valuable gems. But the most
beautiful object, among these costly treasures,
was a tabernacle of gilded silver, nine feet in
height, and surmounted by a cross, the whole of
the most superb execution. The form of it is a
hexagon, and the figures carved upon it are said
to amount to two hundred and seventy, and yet
have no appearance of crowding or confusion.
The bas relief ornaments are exceedingly beautiful;
and the tabernacle rests upon a pedestal, 15(2)v 162
from whence rise six columns of delicate open
work.

The priest, who displayed these golden charms
with much apparent satisfaction, was very attentive
and agreeable. He seemed desirous that we
should leave nothing unseen, and conducted us
from place to place, with the greatest good humor,
and evident spirit of accomodation, although manifested
towards utter strangers, of whose names
even he would ever remain in entire ignorance.
But it was probably to this very circumstance,
that we owed the attentions, which we received
at his hands; as the name of stranger is sufficient
to call forth all those feelings of hospitality and
kindness, which so strongly mark the Spanish
character.

A little anecdote, which I heard related while
at Madrid, strikingly illustrated this national virtue.
A gentleman, who belongs to the Russian
Legation
, was travelling in Andalusia the last
spring; and while journeying had made it a point
to visit every considerable town or village, and
to remain in them sufficiently long to acquire
some knowledge of the manners and customs of
the inhabitants. It so chanced, that he desired
very much to visit a small village, situated at a
distance from any travelled road. Making some
enquiries as to the mode by which he might arrive
there, he was told that it was impossible to
go, as there was no path, in addition to there 15(3)r 163
being innumerable other obstacles to impede his
progress. One man, however, advanced and
offered to become his guide, frankly declaring
that he was a contrabandista, that is, a smuggler
by profession
, and thus acquainted with all the
by-paths, and would cheerfully conduct the stranger
to the village mentioned, if such were his desire.
Prince D. thankfully accepted the proposal,
assuring the guide thus unexpectedly obtained, that
he should receive full compensation for his trouble
at the journey’s end. The contrabandista replied,
with some manifestation of injured dignity,
that he neither desired, nor would accept, compensation;
but if the gentleman would follow him,
he would lead the way to the village.

Accordingly they mounted their horses, and
after riding for some distance, arrived at the foot
of a mountain, where the path became very narrow,
and passing was rendered extremely difficult.
The Prince observed a gentleman coming
down the mountain, upon horseback, well mounted,
with pistols at his side, and a servant following
behind. As they approached near each other,
the gentleman demanded, in an authoritative tone
of voice, “Sir, why did you not stop when you
saw me descending the mountain? You see there
is not room for us to pass”
. Prince D., who
spoke Castilian perfectly, and who was somewhat
moved by the dictatorial air, assumed by his
interrogator, replied, “And why did you not stop 15* 15(3)v 164
when you saw me enter the pass, as you must
have done from the top of the mountain”
? The
dispute now began to grow warm on both sides,
and they were upon the point of coming to blows,
when the servant of the Spanish gentleman stepped
up to his master, and whispered in his ear,
estrangero. The word operated like magic; with
a profound bow, the gentleman turned his horse
aside, and suffered the Prince to pass, apologizing,
at the same time, that he had not sooner recognized
him as a stranger.

From the opportunities, which I have myself
had of observing this trait of character among
Spaniards, I can believe that this anecdote is not
an exaggerated illustration of it. At Madrid,
where customs and habits are less purely Spanish
than in other parts of the kingdom, a stranger
would in general, perhaps, find quite as little consideration
paid to his convenience or wishes, as
if he were a native of the country; but I imagine
that this observation will apply to the capital
alone, where foreign manners, although they
have, by no means, superseded the distinctive
traits of Spanish character, have, at least in some
measure, marred their simplicity, and tempered
their vigor.

But to return from a long digression: Bidding
adieu to our kind conductor at the Cathedral, we
repaired to our fonda, first passing through several
narrow, crooked streets, of the most inelegant 15(4)r 165
aspect, although occasionally bearing marks
of former grandeur in the defaced, but often beautiful
columns, which stand in strange contrast to
the ordinary and crumbling habitations, which
surrounded them, and of which they sometimes form
a part.

Soon after dinner I again walked out, with no
particular object in view, and bent my steps towards
the river. The banks of the Tagus, at
Toledo, are very high and steep, forming quite a
precipice on each side. The city wall runs along
the top of the right bank, and there is, between
this and the verge of the precipice, a narrow foot
path, which is frequented by the people as a sort
of promenade. When I first reached the commencement
of this path, I found, to my astonishment,
that the banks, on both sides of the river,
were quite crowded with individuals of various
ages, who seemed to be gazing down upon some
unusual object, with great apparent attention.
Observing nothing, however, to call such attention
forth, I had considerable curiosity to ascertain
the cause, and at length was informed that,
owing to the rare and novel sight of the Tagus
covered with thick ice, the inhabitants of the city
had been flocking to the river on all sides, to view
the spectacle. This appeared to me strange indeed;
but when I recollected how very severe
the present winter was, in comparison to any other
that had preceded it for many years, I was perfectly 15(4)v 166
aware that the cold could not usually be
sufficient to freeze the river in any great degree,
if at all, and I therefore ceased to wonder that the
circumstance should have attracted so much curiosity
and astonishment. I found it very amusing
to witness the eager looks and loud exclamations,
as one after another approached to look upon the
marvelous sight; and after remaining upon the
bank, and passing backward and forward with the
rest, for a considerable time, I ended my wanderings
for the night.

The next morning we visited the famous
Fabricia de Espadas or sword manufactory, which
is situated upon the Vega, at the distance of a
mile or two from the city. The walk thither
must, I think, be very disagreeable either in severely
cold, or intensely hot, weather; as there is
not a single tree to shade it from the burning
heat of the sun in summer, and no object whatever
to break the full force of the mountain winds,
which sweep over it in winter. It is, however,
notwithstanding these disadvantages, a much frequented
promenade, and stone seats are placed
in various directions upon the plain, which are
very convenient for stopping places, in walking
to the manufactory. Upon arriving there we
were readily admitted, and furnished with a guide
to conduct us through the different apartments.
The building is a very extensive one, and surrounds
two square courts, after the common manner 15(5)r 167
of constructing large establishments in Spain.

Passing through a great variety of rooms for
preparing, working, and tempering the steel, and
others for forming it into swords, we entered a
a large apartment, where were deposited those
already finished and on hand. These amounted
to nearly five hundred, placed in polished iron
scabbards, and beautifully arranged in the form
of crescents around the room. There was nothing
strikingly handsome in the form or finish of the
swords, they being intended rather for use than
beauty; but they were finely tempered, as was
frequently proved by the attendant, who drew
several of them from their scabbards, and, placing
the point on some hard substance, bent the blade
until the point and handle met. This manufactory
being a royal one, all the swords made in it
are for the use of the army alone, and no private
individual is allowed to purchase one, except by
a special grant from the King.

Back of the building is a pretty flower garden,
with a little rivulet running through it, into which
our conductor led us, and presented me with a
bouquet, which was rather more grateful as a proof
of his politeness, than for any fragrance or beauty
in the flowers themselves, as their season was
long since passed. I perhaps owed this little attention
to the man’s knowledge of my being an
American; as we found, upon conversing with
him, when out of the hearing of any one else, 15(5)v 168
that he was a great admirer of our country. He
enlarged very openly upon the happiness to be
enjoyed under a government like ours, and drew
several comparisons between it and that of his
own country, not very complimentary to that of
Spain, and evincing little of the spirit of boastful
patriotism, which is said to be so distinguishing a
mark of our own countrymen; but which a Spaniard,
in these times, may be excused for not possessing
in the same degree.

I have neglected to mention that I repeatedly
passed through the celebrated square, called the
Zocodover, which, although at present coarse and
ordinary in appearance, is a very interesting spot,
from the fact that in it were held the famous
Moorish jousts and other spectacles, which are
so frequently made mention of in ancient Spanish
ballads and romances.

Indeed the whole city of Toledo is extremely
interesting in itself, and from various causes.
Not only that it possesses objects of attraction,
such as churches and other public buildings,
which are common to other cities in Spain; but
the great antiquity of its origin, the recollections
of its former grandeur, and even the decayed
and ruinous aspect, which it presents to view,
combine to awaken feelings of no indifferent nature,
and reflections, which, however mournful
they may be, are at least pleasingly so.

We left Toledo at an early hour, and after an 15(6)r 169
extremely fatiguing ride, reached Aranjuez between
eight and nine o’clock in the evening;
whither we returned for the purpose of proceeding
by the main road to Cordova.

Letter XIV.

Modes of Travelling.—La Mancha.—Ocana.—La Guardia.—
Tembleque.—A Muleteer’s Family.—Madrilejos.—Manzanares.
Val de Pennas.—Habits of the Muleteers.—The Bota.
—Smoking in Spain.

It is impossible to travel in Spain, to any advantage,
without accommodating yourself to the
peculiarities of the people and the country, much
more than is necessary in many other parts of
Europe. This remark applies to the means of
conveyance as well as to every thing else. Posting
is but little used and would not be considered
safe without a strong guard, because travelling
in such a way would indicate wealth, and attract
the attention of malhechores. The diligence
is inconvenient in many respects, and is more apt
to be chosen by robbers as a subject of attack
than even the coche de colleras, the kind of vehicle
in which we came from Bayonne to Madrid. In
going to Cordova we were not fortunate enough
to meet with a carriage of this description; and as
the weather was not suitable for travelling on 15(6)v 170
horseback, or in the open Spanish calesa, we were
fain to content ourselves with one of the common
conveyances of the country, like that in which
we went to Toledo.

Having made a bargain, therefore, with a sturdy
Manchego, named Jose, to carry us with our
baggage, we commenced our journey from Aranjuez
to Cordova (Monday, 1830-01-04January 4th). Jose
had solicited and obtained our consent that he
should be accompanied by his nephew, Joaquin,
a rattling young Andalusian, whose mirth and
uniform good spirits contributed to cheer the
tedium of the way.

After a short ride of two leagues from Aranjuez,
we entered the province of La Mancha, the
country of the renowned Don Quixote; and two
large windmills, which we saw almost immediately
after passing the frontier, introduced to our
recollection and conversation, the wonderful
achievements of this redoubtable hero. The first
town, which we passed through, was Ocana, formerly
a place of some note, but now the very
reverse of every thing attractive or agreeable.
It contains several churches, which I did not enter;
but the outside view of which was unprepossessing
and ordinary, as were all the buildings
in the place. Traversing a bleak and sterile
plain for the distance of three leagues, we reached
La Guardia, a small town of ruinous appearance;
and from thence a journey of two leagues, 16(1)r 171
over fields of equally uninteresting and desolate
aspect, brought us to Tembleque, where we took
up our lodgings for the night at the house of Jose,
which we had chosen in preference to the posada.

Here we found every thing in the cleanest and
neatest order, which we need desire; and the
family, consisting of Jose, his wife, and several
remarkably pretty children, paid every attention
to our comfort, which their hospitable feelings
could suggest. I could not but be interested
in the picture of domestic happiness exhibited
beneath this lowly roof. The return of the husband
and father, after a short absence, was greeted
with quiet satisfaction by the wife, but with more
noisy joy by the group of little urchins, who came
out to meet him almost as soon as he entered the
village, and welcomed him home by demonstrations
of pleasure not to be mistaken; and when
he was quietly seated by his own fireside, they
gathered around his chair, while his youngest
child, a beautiful little rosy-cheeked girl, two
years old, climbed upon his knee, and would
scarcely be persuaded to leave him even for bed.
The perfect obedience of these children to their
parents, too, shewed that they had been properly
brought up; and I bade adieu the following morning
to the simple and contented inhabitants of the
humble dwelling, with no small degree of regard
and even respect.

The dreary plains of La Mancha extend the 16 16(1)v 172
whole distance from Tembleque to the Sierra
Morena
. We were several days travelling
through this lonely region, which contains so few
objects of attraction, that a very general account of
it will be sufficient. That part of the province of
La Mancha, which lies between Ocana and the
Sierra, is, without doubt, one of the most dull and
uninteresting tracts in all Spain. There is almost
nothing agreeable to the eye, which may vary
the monotonous uniformity of open, wide spread
plains, except that, in the neighborhood of the
principal towns, there are frequently seen extensive
and flourishing fields of grain, and a considerable
number of ungraceful vineyards. The
Manchegos are a hardy, laborious people; but
their country is desolate, and any thing but picturesque
in its appearance. Indeed, in the winter,
when the fields are not in grain, you may
travel for many miles in this gloomy province,
without observing a single sign of human industry,
a green tree, or even a shrub, while the eye
looks around in vain for the curling smoke,
which may indicate a solitary habitation of any
description. In addition to all these discomforting
prospects, the weather, during nearly the
whole of our journey, was as disagreeable as possible.
A chill, drizzling rain, accompanied at
times by a piercing wind, was falling continually,
and had I not been well sheltered from it, and
covered with a plentiful supply of warm garments, 16(2)r 173
I should have found it impossible to make myself
comfortable.

The only places of any considerable size, after
leaving Tembleque, were Madrilejos, Manzanares,
and Val de Penas. The first is in nothing
remarkable, except as being rather a pretty town
for La Mancha; but the two latter are much noted
for their delicious wines. These are considered
superior, for the table, to any other wine in Spain;
but their real worth cannot be appreciated beyond
the limits of the province which produces them,
as their flavor is much injured by transportation.
The wine of Val de Penas at Val de Penas, and
that which bears the same name at Madrid, are
as unlike as wines of the same vineyards can well
be, so much is the taste of the article impaired by
being conveyed to a distance. At one place
it resembles in flavor a rich aromatic cordial; at
the other it is certainly an excellent table wine,
but much inferior to what it is in its native soil.

The vicinity of Manzanares was also formerly
remarkable for the daring robberies, which were
daily committed by a small band of desperate villains,
all of whom are now dead, with the exception
of one, who is in prison. With them,
all traces of their lawless occupation have ceased,
and the traveller may now pass through the scenes
of their former violence unmolested, and with
perfect safety and tranquility. In the neighborhood
of Manzanares, where we slept, there is a 16(2)v 174
great deal of game; and I was much struck by
the number of most beautiful hounds seen there,
greatly superior in size and value to those which
I so much admired in coming to Madrid. The
handsomest of these were immensely large, and
had shining jet black hair, with spots of white
upon the face and legs. They were indeed the
most elegant animals of the kind I ever saw, and
I could hardly resist the strong temptation which
I felt, to become the owner of one of them, so
much they pleased my fancy.

In giving an account of our journey thus far, I
have omitted to mention what, perhaps, excited my
own attention, more than any thing else which I
observed; and that is, the primitive and unceremonious
manner, in which the muleteers and other
chance travellers, whom we met at the inns, live
on the road. They generally divide themselves
into parties of from two or three to half a dozen,
seated at different tables with one mess to each
party. Every thing which is cooked, is prepared
in a frying pan, and when the food is sufficiently
done, the pan itself is often placed in the middle
of the little table, having a small piece of notched
wood to sustain the handle. Each person is then
provided with a wooden spoon, which he dips into
the pan without ceremony.

The favorite dish in this part of the country is
rabbit or hare, made into a sort of hash, and
stewed in rice. It is indeed very delicious fare, 16(3)r 175
and I soon became so fond of it, as hardly to be
satisfied with any thing else. Game being extremely
abundant, however, and other articles of
food difficult to procure, I had seldom cause to
complain of the want of it, and to my own surprise
I never became wearied of this dish,—but partook
of it with quite as much relish the last day I eat
of it as the first. How much the fatigue of travelling
contributed to give relish and zest to the
peculiar viands of the country, I will not pretend
to say; but such was the fact.

The manner of drinking, which is customary
among the travellers above mentioned, is quite
as singular as the odd way in which they eat their
food. A decanter of wine always accompanied
every meal, which is shared in common by the
guests, in more than one sense. It is not only
paid for in common, but the wine is drank successively
by the whole company, without the aid of
tumblers, from a little glass tube, which projects
out from the side of the decanter.

Another mode of drinking wine, not dissimilar
to this, is by the use of the bota, with which
travellers in Spain, almost without exception, are
careful to furnish themselves, before starting for
a journey. This is a leather bag, holding from a
quart to a gallon, or more, according to its size,
and lined with a thick coat of pitch, to prevent
the wine from soaking into the leather.
A wooden
cup is exactly fitted to the neck of the bag, and 16* 16(3)v 176
through the centre of this cup is passed a hollow
tube, which, like that upon the side of the decanter,
is used promiscuously by all who partake of
the contents of the bota. But to avoid the want
of neatness in thus drinking after each other,
many of these persons uniformly accustom themselves
to hold the bad at a considerable distance
from their mouths, and then, by inclining their
heads backward, the wine passes into the throat,
without the tube being touched to the lips at all.
This convenient depository for a beverage, which
is drunk in Spain precisely in the same way that
cider is drunk in our country, each possessing
about the same degree of strength, is found
especially convenient in many parts of the kingdom,
where a person may travel for miles without
being able to procure a drop of water even,
to quench his thirst.

And it is the same in regard to food. So many
of the inns, in the south of Spain particularly,
are ventas, in the full meaning of the word, that
is, places where food is only cooked, not provided,
that travellers would frequently find themselves
exposed to suffer from hunger as well as thirst,
had they not a bag of provisions and a bota of
wine, to which they may have recourse in such
a common case of emergency. And thus it is,
that you see these often necessary and always
useful appendages, suspended from the neck of
some spare animal, in every company of muleteers, 16(4)r 177
or from some part of every travelling
vehicle.

Provided with these, and with the requisites
for smoking, a Spaniard in the lower walks of
life will banish all solicitude as to his comfort,
and will pursue his way over the wild mountains
and uncultivated plains, without thinking or caring
whether there be any habitation there or not;
for he can sleep upon the back of his mule almost
as soundly as upon his blanket on the hard floor
of the venta; and having his food, his wine, and his
tobacco within his own reach, it is matter of little
consequence to him where these are partaken,
so long as they administer equally to his necessities
and his comfort.

I mention tobacco among the requisites of
Spanish comfort; and it is indeed, to the nation
generally, almost as much an article of necessity
as food itself, so much has habit become a second
nature. The cigarro de papel is the most usual
form in which tobacco is used, as it must be from
motives of economy, if from no other. An article of
royal monopoly,—and such is tobacco in Spain,—
is generally too dearly purchased to be used profusely,
and therefore a single cigar, which an
American would consider a very moderate quantity
to be smoked at once, would be hoarded up
by a Spaniard as a great treasure. This necessity
for economizing an article of luxury has led
to the formation of the cigarro de papel; and it 16(4)v 178
is really very curious and amusing, to observe
the perfectly neat and expeditious manner, in
which these little cigars are made up for instant
use. Every man invariably carries about him a
little book of blank white paper, an inch or more
wide and two or three inches long; and a small
leather wallet, in which are contained a flint and
steel, and a quantity of yesca so called, being a
dried vegetable fibre
, which a spark will instantly
ignite. So soon as he has finished his repast, of
whatever kind, he produces his wallet, and having
torn a leaf of white paper from the little book,
he proceeds to cut a small quantity of tobacco
from the end of a cigar into the palm of his
hands, and having mixed this with a portion of
cinnamon or other spice, he slips it into the
paper, without scattering a particle, and rolls it
up in the neatest possible form. He then strikes
fire with his flint and steel, and his cigarro being
lighted, he seems to want nothing more, while it
lasts, to complete his entire contentment. Indeed,
the perfect enjoyment, which the habit of
smoking seems to impart in this country, easily
reconciles a stranger to what would at first perhaps
be sufficiently annoying; and I learned to
become enveloped in tobacco smoke without
minding it in the least, and to take considerable
pleasure in watching the ready manufacture of
those little cigars, which I saw afford so much
happiness to all around me.

16(5)r 179

Letter XV.

Sierra Morena.—Santa Helena.—Baylen.—Andujar.—Cuesta
del Salado
.—Aldea del Rio.—Pedro Abad.—Puente de
Alcolea
.

Having at length crossed the plains of La
Mancha
, (Friday, 1830-01-08January 8th,) we reached the
Venta de Cardenas, situated at the foot of the
Sierra Morena, and towards which we had been
ascending for some hours. My ride during the
morning had been far from comfortable, as we
dragged heavily up the mountains,—owing to the
constant fear which I entertained, least the animals,
by which we were drawn, should precipitate
us down the side of one of the many hills, over
which we were obliged to pass. The side of
these hills frequently formed quite deep precipices,
with not a single barrier between them and
the road; and their edges being covered with
fresh green grass, the mules would again and
again leave the road to crop the tempting food,
upon the very verge of the bank, to my great
apprehension and affright; and all owing to the
absurd and dangerous custom of guiding these
proverbially obstinate animals without any effective
means of governing them or of keeping them
in order, and chiefly by the aid of the voice alone.

Had Jose been with us during this morning, I
should have felt comparatively safe, as in every 16(5)v 180
instance his voice had regulated and controlled
the movements of the animals almost as effectually
as a bit would have done; but he having
occasion to leave them for a time, to converse
with some friend on the road, had given them in
charge to his son, a boy of twelve years old, to
whose shrill voice the mules paid no heed whatever,
but went on their own way, stopping to crop
the grass whenever it suited their fancy. It is
indeed matter of astonishment, that so few accidents
do take place, amid such utter disregard of
all the proper precautions to be observed against
the dangers of travelling. It is true, that here
and there a cross by the way-side will mark out
the spot, where more than one human being has
met his death by the overturning of a carriage;
but the number of them is extremely small, and
seems to amount to almost nothing when you
consider how many hundred vehicles are thus
continually passing and repassing, over the most
dangerous passes of the most precipitous mountains
in Spain. I have had daily occasion to
notice the driver of a loaded waggon lying within
it fast asleep, and trusting his safety entirely to
the long string of animals, sometimes six or eight
in number, which go straying along, one behind
the other, without guidance or direction, often
carrying the waggon within wheel’s width of
the edge of a declivity, where destruction seems
at times inevitable. Still it is very rare that any 16(6)r 181
accident happens, and this fact I suppose accounts
for the otherwise inexplicable indifference
or feeling of security, which these people maintain,
in situations where their life apparently is
exposed to the most imminent danger.

But this consideration, although it in some
measure abated my fears, in this unguarded mode
of travelling, did not wholly remove my anxiety
on the present occasion, and I felt quite relieved
when we arrived at the Venta de Cardenas, where
Jose was himself again to take charge of the
carriage. This venta is a solitary house, of considerable
size, one story in height, and containing
apparently but a single apartment, covered
by the entire roof. The kitchen is at one end of
this apartment, beneath an immense chimney,
but not otherwise separated from the rest of the
room; so that travellers remain in the same capacious
apartment with their mules and various
vehicles, in company also with a respectable number
of fowls, pigs, and dogs, which frequent the
place. Here we dined, and immediately after
dinner resumed our journey.

The day had been cold and rainy, and a thick
mist arising from time to time, obscured the
mountains at intervals, and was again dispersed
by the wind, which blew with considerable impetuosity.
Immediately upon leaving the venta,
however, we passed the boundary stone, which
divides La Mancha from Andalusia, and exchanged 16(6)v 182
the wide extended and monotonous
plains, which had bounded our view for so many
days, for the wild romantic grandeur of the Sierra
Morena
. Nor was the difference in the landscape
more sudden and striking than in the
weather, which became mild and delightful almost
as soon as we entered Andalusia; and the sun
coming out clear and warm, gilded the tops of
the mountains with his bright rays, casting a yet
deeper shade of green over the dark foliage,
which mantled the hill-side below.

The road is constructed in part, about mid-way
up the immense rocky steep, by means of solid
masonry, leaving on one side tremendous precipices,
whose very sight causes the head to turn
giddy; and on the other, beetling crags, which,
rising almost perpendicularly in solemn grandeur,
seem to mingle with the clouds, or, bending their
frowning summits over the pathway beneath, appear
to threaten the passing traveller with instant
and terrible destruction. In front, as you
advance, cliff rises above cliff, in every variety
of rude and singular shape, presenting to the eye
no avenue of escape from the deep gloom, which
every where surrounds you.

We continued to pursue our way for hours,
through this profound solitude, whose perfect
stillness was only disturbed by the rippling of the
mountain streams, the tinkling of the small bells,
which adorned the neck of each animal attached 17(1)r 183
to the long line of carros, tartanas, and galeras,
which one after another wound slowly along the
dizzying height, or descended into dells so deep,
as to seem almost inaccessible to the light of
day; and the loud cries of the carreteros, as they
urged the obstinate and headstrong mules to keep
the proper path, either in tones of entreaty and
encouragement, or in their characteristic terms
of malediction. But the singularly wild and terrific
aspect of the mountains at length gave place
to more gently undulating ground; and the sun
now declining behind the mountains, the beautiful
moon arose, “in her maiden splendor,” pouring
her silvery light over the surrounding hills, as they
became each moment more and more obscured
by the shades of approaching night,—and thus rendering
more pleasant and secure our way to the
neighboring village of Santa Helena, where we
stopped for the night.

We left Santa Helena before sun-rise, (1830-01-09January
9th
), in continuance of our journey. The
air was extremely chill, and a piercing wind arose,
which continued through the day without much
abatement. We passed several villages, among
which that of La Carolina was the most conspicuous.
It is a very pretty village, having
quite a broad, handsome street lined with trees
passing through it, with the houses upon one side.
From this street another branches off, which is
planted with a double row of trees, and forms a 17 17(1)v 184
miniature resemblance of the Calle de la Reyna
at Aranjuez. Both of these streets are a part of
the high road, and the entrance to the first is ornamented
with two towers of considerable size,
which have a very odd appearance in so small and
retired a village.

The scenery, through which we passed for the
whole day, was very beautiful, being a continual
variety of hill and dale, clothed in the richest verdure,
watered by gentle rivulets, and abounding
with immense plantations of olive trees and nutgall
oaks, which appeared the more agreeable to
my eyes, from being so long unhabituated to the
sight of any species of verdure, in travelling
through dreary La Mancha. We reached Baylen,
this being the end of our pleasant day’s journey,
before evening;-after a magnificent sunset,
which, gilding the bright transparent clouds on
the edge of a deep red sky, gave promise of a
fair and beautiful morrow.

In this pleasing anticipation, we were not disappointed.
On leaving Baylen, at seven o’clock
the next morning, we found the weather most deliciously
mild, the air soft and balmy, and the sky
perfectly unclouded, while the forests of olive
trees, which surrounded us on every side, afforded
a very tolerable protection from the too potent heat
of a noon-day sun. It was the season for gathering
in the olives, and the fields were consequently
teeming with peasants, who, with long poles in 17(2)r 185
their hands, were busily occupied in striking the
fruit from the trees, or filling with it the large
panniers, destined to load the numerous borricos,
which were in the meantime suffered to ramble
about and crop the grass at their pleasure. The
olives employed for the manufacture of oil are very
different from those, which are eaten at the table.
They bear, in shape and color, much resemblance
to a damson, although smaller in size, and extremely
bitter and disagreeable to the taste. With the
exception of these olive plantations, one of which,
belonging to a single individual, contained no less
than sixty thousand trees, there were few objects
of interest between Baylen and Andujar, which
latter city we reached early in the afternoon, and
concluded to remain there for the rest of the day.

Andujar is quite a neat looking place, at least
for a Spanish town, and contains about ten thousand
inhabitants. The posada, at which we put
up, was a very good one in many respects, every
thing being perfectly neat and in proper order,
although the accomodations were by no means
superior, and no food of any description was provided
for travellers. The people of the house,
however, were unusually civil and obliging, and
seemed disposed to render us as comfortable
as their means allowed. The landlord was a
Frenchman, who had been a prisoner for three
years in England, and consequently could speak
a few words of our language, an attainment, which 17(2)v 186
he seemed very proud of, and very desirous of
showing off on every possible occasion. Indeed,
the English language is so little known in Spain,
out of Madrid, and even there it is considered a
task of such herculean labor to acquire it, that when
a person has accidentally caught up a few broken
phrases, he is sure to pride himself upon it exceedingly,
notwithstanding that every word he utters
is such a barbarous mis-use of the language,
as to require all one’s command over one’s risible
faculties, to avoid becoming rude by laughing
outright. In the present instance, however,
the good-natured Frenchman, now transformed
into a perfect Andalusian in every respect, managed
the pronunciation of his words much better
than is usually the case, and I was willing to gratify
his harmless vanity, by addressing him frequently
in English, to his great and evident gratification.

Early the next morning (1830-01-11January 11th.), we
left Andujar, the weather still continuing most
delightful. Here I first saw the silver waters of
the Guadalquivir, over which we passed upon a
bridge leading from the city. In a short time afterwards
we reached the Cuesta del Salado, consisting
of a very steep descent into a beautiful
valley, beyond which an ascent equally laborious
brought us again to the original level of the road.
The prospect here became extremely fine, and I
betook myself to walking, for the purpose of enjoying 17(3)r 187
it to greater advantage. As I descended
into the valley, the landscape became still more
picturesque and beautiful. It was surrounded on
every side by hills, while the now distant mountains
of the Sierra Morena shewed their black
peaks, painted, as it were, in strong, bold lines
against the clear blue sky. The land all around
was finely cultivated, and among the groves of
olive trees, which were every where to be seen,
were sprinkled many small white dwelling houses,
imparting great additional beauty to the view.
As I sauntered along, enjoying this rural scene,
listening to the varied sounds, which occasionally
fell upon my ear, I caught the deep toned notes
of a church bell, which were wafted upon the
breeze from a neighboring village, whose spire
was distinctly seen rising in the distance.

There are few things to me more soothing and
delightful than to ramble forth at early morning,
amid the beautiful scenes of the country, when a
bracing air imparts vigor and elasticity to the
limbs, when the glorious sun is just gilding the
horizon, and all nature is calm and unruffled.
How tranquillizing to the feelings are the sounds,
which are so peculiar to that still and quiet season:
The lowing of cattle, the bleating of sheep,
as they are driven forth to feed in the fresh green
pastures, and the merry tinkling of the bells,
which indicate to the watchful shepherd the spot
where his flock is grazing. And then there is 17* 17(3)v 188
the indistinct murmur of more distant sounds,
which we all well recollect, who have walked forth
in the stillness of morning, and which few will
have failed to listen to with pleasure and delight.
And if there is added the peculiarly sweet music
of a distant village bell, vibrating upon the ear at
intervals, how much do its cheerfully solemn
notes enliven and exhilarate the spirits, and lead
the thoughts to turn from nature, up to nature’s
God! I have repeatedly before enjoyed the satisfaction
of such a morning’s ramble; but never
with purer feelings of pleasure than now, or with
a more refreshed and invigorated frame.

As we left the long Cuesta, the mail coach from
Seville to Madrid approached us at a very rapid
rate, the horses being urged down the hill, at
their full speed, by the shrill cries of the postilions.
It exhibited to me the unusual spectacle of a
well armed guard, seated at the after part of the
coach, and much elevated, with his back to the
horses, so as to be enabled to see for many miles
around, and to give warning of any approaching
danger.

We had a very pleasant ride to the village of
Aldea del Rio, where we dined, at a most miserable
venta, destitute of every species of food
except bread and a few eggs, which they boiled
so hard as to be unfit for eating. With this scanty
fare we made out to appease our hunger for the
present, however, and again set forward on our 17(4)r 189
journey. The same succession of olive groves
and forests of oak continued to surround the road,
which wound pleasantly along over hill and vale
alternately, with now and then a village of considerable
size, and various isolated dwelling-
houses scattered among the trees. The
Guadalquivir, which we had passed over in the
morning, again became visible, flowing through
a delightful valley, just before we reached the
village of Pedro Abad, where we remained until
the next morning, and then set forward again
before sun-rise. Nothing peculiar in the face of
the country distinguished the ride from Pedro
Abad
to Cordova from that of the day previous,
the general appearance of the lands being substantially
the same. At about three leagues distance
from the former place, we crossed the Guadalquivir
upon a beautiful bridge of black marble,
supported upon twenty arches, called Puente
de Alcolea
; and from thence a journey of two
hours brought us to Cordova.

17(4)v 190

Letter XVI.

Cordova.—Cathedral.—Bridge.—Los Martiros.—San Francis
co
.—San Pablo.—Capuchins.—El Triunfo.—Idleness of the
Cordovans.

We took lodgings in Cordova at the Fonda del
Puente
, a house agreeably situated near the
Guadalquivir, and within a very short distance of
the principal, among the great objects of interest,
which the city contains. It faces on one side
upon the water, and here is built an open balcony,
from whence you have a pleasant view of the
river, and a bridge across it nearly opposite the
fonda. The accommodations of the house were
excellent, and it being the regular stopping place
for the diligence, all the conveniences required
were in proportionally better order than in less
frequented inns.

Immediately after breakfast, the morning following
our arrival, we walked to the Cathedral,
that ancient Moorish mosque, so much an object
of curiosity to all who visit Cordova. The exterior
view of the mass buildings, which are connected
with or form the Cathedral, and which
surround an inner court, is far from agreeable.
The outside wall is strengthened with large buttresses,
at short intervals apart, and is painted of
a yellowish color, which injures its appearance
extremely, and removes altogether the peculiarly 17(5)r 191
venerable aspect, which seems naturally to attach
to such aged edifices, and which is, in fact, one
of their most interesting characteristics.

The church is situated in the parts of the building,
which are towards the river; but you enter
it at the opposite side to this, through a beautiful
court yard planted with orange trees, which were
glowing in their full brilliancy and beauty, the
golden fruit clustering on every branch. It was
the first time that I had ever seen a grove of the
kind, and it was certainly one of the most beautiful
objects, upon which my eye ever rested.
Two sides of the court are adorned with columns
forming a portico, the third is occupied by a
range of offices, and so on the forth is the church.
A handsome square tower, of great height, ornamented
with beautiful marble columns of different
colors, stands on the right hand side of the church;
and through this tower is the principal entrance;
but it being now closed, we passed through a
small door at the side of it. The first sensation,
experienced on entering the Cathedral, is astonishment
at the immense multitude of columns,
whose numbers alone, independently of every
other consideration, prevent the attention of the
beholder from becoming fixed on aught beside.
These columns are of handsome marble, and like
those in the tower, are of various colors. Some
of them are yellow, others red, or red and white
mingled, and others still of a sort of greenish color, 17(5)v 192
resembling jasper. They are all ornamented at
the top with capitals, supporting double arches;
but are entirely destitute of any base, which has
a very singular effect, and far from a pleasing one.
The number of the columns is variously computed
by different authors; but it is probably not much
short of one thousand, being placed in regular
lines, which cross each other at right angles.
From almost every point of view in which I stood,
one long uninterrupted space presented itself,
lined on either side with closely set columns,
forming a complete nave in appearance. The
effect is extremely curious, and certainly very
splendid, although giving rise to quite different
emotions from those excited by a view of the
lofty grandeur of the Gothic, or the beautiful
simplicity of the Grecian, architecture. But the
very novelty of style, in which the church at Cordova
is constructed, forms one of the most attractive
charms, at the same time that there is too
much of real magnificence and richness in it, not
to excite universal admiration, aside from its
being entirely unique.

Among the vast number of columns, which fill
the church, three are particularly remarkable for
something beside the beauty of their material or
their forms. And the most curious is one, upon
which a crucifix is very distinctly carved, which
is said to have been the work of a Christian, made
captive by the Moors, and to have been executed 17(6)r 193
by means of his nails alone. The figure of the
Savior, upon it, is scarcely perceptible, even with
the aid of a light,—which always is at hand, however,
to make it as plain as possible to the eyes
of all strangers who visit the church. Above the
crucifix is the following short inscription: “Este
es el cristo que hizo el cautivo con su una.”

Upon the wall very near this is a marble bas
relief figure of the captive, kneeling down; and a
latin inscription is placed over his head. Another
column contains a crucifix similar to this, whose
history tradition does not so accurately record,
and which was pointed out to our observation by
an old beggar, who seemed officiously determined
to show us something which we had not yet seen.
The third and last is remarkable for the strong
odor of gunpowder, which it emits when scraped
with a knife. A large cavity is made in the
column by its being scraped away in this manner,
and if the custom still continues to be followed, it
will not stand to be an object of curiosity for many
years to come.

Many of the columns, which, in the time of the
Moors, were all visible to the eye, are now
wholly or partially concealed by the chapels, which
have been placed around the church. Indeed, in
every instance where the Christians have made
alterations in the original plan or ornaments of the
building, they have much impaired its beauty.
The effect must have been much finer, when the 17(6)v 194
eye could range around the immense edifice,
without meeting, in any direction to which it
might turn, a single object to break the uniform
lines formed by the columns, or take aught
from the sense of grandeur, to which such a view
must necessarily give rise. And again, under
the Moors, the whole roof was composed of fragrant
and richly painted wood; while now the
greater part is plainly white-washed, the only exception
being, that over a part of the Cathedral
the ceiling is still wood, exhibiting various forms
of arabesque architecture.

In the central part of the forest of pillars, space
has been made for a very large structure, which
may almost be termed a church within a church.
It comprises the chief altar, the choir, and two
handsome pulpits, one resting upon a large ball
and eagle of marble, the other supported by a
marble group, in which the principal figure is
that of an angel. The chief altar is decorated
with some good pictures, and with several marble
columns. It is enclosed by a beautiful brass
balustrade, as is also the choir. The seats of the
canons are truly superb, and in point of workmanship
are probably surpassed by none in Europe.
The bas relief figures carved upon them
are most delicately executed, and composed two
distinct series of scriptural subjects, the one taken
from the Old Testament, and other from
the New. These seats, of themselves, would 18(1)r 195
interest one an entire day, and I could scarcely
feel satisfied with the cursory survey of them,
which alone I was enabled to obtain.

There are several other chapels particularly worthy
of notice, and among them is the chapel of
the Purification, which was actually the place
made use of by the Moors for that purpose. The
well, which supplied them with water, still remains,
but is closed up. The sides and wall of this
chapel are beautifully wrought in light open
stucco work of the richest description, exhibiting
a great variety of figures in the Arabian style.
The chapel of the Cardinal contains a very
handsome altar piece, and a sumptuous monument
to the memory of the Cardinal Bishop Salazar,
at whose expense the chapel was built. A
kind of inner chapel is appropriated to the church
jewels, and among them is a consecrated vessel
of great richness and beauty, in the form of a
gothic tower, which was executed in Cordova.

But the most remarkable spot in the whole
church is that, which is now denominated the chapel
of San Pedro. It is divided into three parts by
painted railings, the central part being considerably
larger and more ornamented than the other
two at the sides. That upon the left is literally
the chapel of San Pedro, containing an altar and
other requisites for worship; while the others are
left nearly in the same state as in the time of the
Moors. A beautiful cupola, adorned with groups 18 18(1)v 196
of marble pillars, and enlightened by windows
placed at equal distances around it, rises above
the central part; and a dome surmounts each of
the two side chapels. These domes and the
cupola are all ornamented with the choicest marbles,
and with brilliant mosaic work, formed of
different colored crystals over gold foil. Three
arches form the front of the chapels, and are
likewise incrusted with the same splendid mosaic.
The effect is more dazzlingly beautiful than you
can imagine. In the centre of the middle chapel
is a plain marble monument, and beneath it is the
family tomb of the house of Oropesa, to whom
the chapel belongs. Just back of the sepulchre,
and opposite to it, is a small door, which opens
into an octagon apartment, thirteen feet in diameter,
and the same in height. Its walls are covered
with beautiful white marble, veined with
red; and columns of marble sustain a richly gilded
cornice, with Moorish arches above it. The
roof is formed by a single piece of white marble,
carved in the shape of a shell, so as to form a
perfect vault. This apartment was held peculiarly
sacred by the Moors, as the place in which
was preserved their book of the law, and no persons
were allowed to enter it without removing
their shoes from their feet.

The remainder of the chapels in the Cathedral,
although many of them contain more or less that is
interesting, are not sufficiently important to require 18(2)r 197
description. The church, as a whole, is a most
curious and splendid specimen of architecture, and
we passed the greater portion of the day, in the examination
of its various beauties and peculiarities.

From the Cathedral, we repaired to the bridge
opposite the posada, from whence a very good
view may be enjoyed of the city, formed precisely
in the figure of a crescent. At the entrance of
the bridge, next the city, is a triumphal arch of
very ancient date, and of large dimensions, supported
on each side by enormous stone pillars,
partly fluted, and partly plain. An ill looking
chapel over the portal has a very injurious effect
upon the appearance of the arch, and seems, as
indeed it is, entirely out of place upon a structure
of the kind.

Having crossed over to the middle of the
bridge, where is erected a tawdry gilt image of
San Rafael, the guardian spirit of Cordova, and
there obtained a good idea of the localities of the
different buildings which we desired to see, we
followed the bank of the river, towards the church
of the Martyrs, along the new quays, which are
constructed of solid stone, faced with black marble,
and with an iron railing upon the top of them.

The church of the Martyrs, so called from its
containing the tomb of the martyrs of Cordova,
is not particularly handsome or interesting. It
possesses a few good pictures, and a monument
of very beautiful marble, to the memory of Ambrosio 18(2)v 198
Morales
. The form of the monument is a
cenotaph, surmounted by an obelisk, with another
obelisk at each side, and a tablet behind, upon
which is his epitaph. The ceiling of this church
is of wood, curiously carved in open work.

The church of San Francisco being closed at
the time we made our visit, I was unable to see
any part of the interior; but as the door of the
cloister stood invitingly open, I made bold to
enter it, although aware that the presence of
ladies in such a place is looked upon by the
ascetic inhabitants as rather a profanation of its
pretended holiness. But the knowledge, that
such an absurd prejudice existed, did not deter
me from gratifying my curiosity upon the present
occasion, and I therefore walked around the gallery,
formed by handsome marble pillars, and
enjoyed a view of the garden which it enclosed,
without opposition,—although to the evident consternation
of the friars, who were walking in the
gallery when I entered it, and who, at the unwonted
sight of a female within the sacred precincts,
drew their cowls over their faces and hastened
into the convent without delay. In a very
few moments, however, an old grey headed man,
dressed in a coarse blue cloth robe, fastened with
a knotted rope around his waist, and the cowl
hanging down behind, came forward with a stick
in his hand, and in a very harsh voice, and with
rather menacing gesture, gave us warning to depart. 18(3)r 199
No sooner, however, had we reached the
vestibule, without the cloister, than his assumed
churlishness vanished, and he began to converse
with us very kindly, even putting in my mouth
excuses for having transgressed one of their regulations,
by supposing us foreigners, and that
therefore we could not be presumed to know that
such a regulation existed. I was very much
amused by the whole adventure, and could not but
be uncharitable enough to enjoy the confusion,
which my appearance had occasioned, among
these most ungallant and punctilious holy men.

Our next object was the Church of San
Pablo
, which, after the Cathedral, is the most superb
church in Cordova. The altars are most of
them adorned with twisted pillars of elegant marble,
and with richly gilded ornaments. The
chapel of the Rosario, the most remarkable contained
in the church, is a large apartment, in
which you see three altars, one at each side and
one in front with curtains drawn over them. The
front altar is the most splendid, being constructed
throughout of real marble, wrought into figures
in the most beautiful manner. When the curtain
is entirely drawn back, you can see, behind the
altar, a wretched image of the Virgin and Child,
and one also of Joseph, dressed in the most tawdry
and unappropriate style, and forming a perfect
foil to the splendors, with which they are surrounded.
Just behind these images is an opening18* 18(3)v 200
into an elegant octagon, which we entered by
a small stair-case on one side. It is entirely composed
of the richest red marble, elegantly
wrought, with columns of the same, coupled two
and two, and having white marble capitals and
bases. Each of the coupled columns supports a
statue, and between them are marble niches.
The wall is very richly ornamented, and the
light is admitted into the apartment by eight
small round windows. The sight of this room
alone would amply deserve a visit to the church,
even if it possessed no other claim upon the attention
of the curious traveller.

The church of the Capuchins, which was the
last that I entered, contains little of importance
except a famous painting, by Ribera, representing
the Virgin in Repose, during her flight into
Egypt. There are several other paintings, some
of them quite celebrated, which are placed in the
cloister. But these I did not, of course, see, as
no such opportunity was afforded me for entering
it, as at the convent of San Francisco.

Upon our return to the posada, we passed by
the Inquisition, now converted into a prison.
It is a large structure, occupying a commanding
situation upon the Campo Santo, where the
martyrs of Cordova were executed. Not far
from thence are the Caballerizas del Rey, or the
royal stable
, a spacious building, supported by
columns upon the inside; but quite empty at the 18(4)r 201
time I saw it. BetwenBetween this and the posada,
close in view of the latter, is a singular looking
monument, called El Triunfo, executed in honor
of San Rafael. It is an artificial cliff, formed of
hewn stone, with statues upon it; and a pillar in
the centre supports an image of the saint. Several
inscriptions are chiseled upon different parts
of the rocks. Here finished my observations in
Cordova, which I found upon the whole an interesting
city, although destitute of much taste
in the arrangement of its streets and buildings in
general. Its environs, however, are delightful,
and it is beautifully situated upon a vast plain, at
the foot of a range of mountains, with the river
sweeping along at one side, and, as I have before
remarked, giving it the form of a crescent.

The habitual want of industry, which is so universally
associated with the Spanish name, was
more observable in Cordova, than in any other
city, which I had yet seen. The number of persons,
who were wandering about the streets, with
evidently no object in view, was really astonishing.
Groups of men were to be met with at almost
every turn, either reclining listlessly against
some building smoking their cigars, and warming
themselves in the sun, or standing in the public
squares, and at the corners of the streets, to
laugh and talk with each other, and to see what
was going on around them, without any apparent
shame at their own idleness, or any desire of attaining 18(4)v 202
employment. It seems astonishing that
any person can desire to pass life in this manner;
and yet it must be in a great measure from choice
that these men do so live. It is to be sure a very
difficult thing, in Spain, for the laboring classes
to find sufficient employment to maintain themselves
and families; but still something might
surely be done; and when such an entire absence
of an enterprising spirit prevails, it is, I imagine,
to be attributed much less to the necessity of the
case, than to settled, constitutional indolence.

Letter XVII.

Calesas.—La Carlota.—Ecija.—Carmona.—Aqueduct.—Seville.
—Cathedral.—La Giralda.—Alameda.—Santiponce.—San Isidro
del Campo
.

We took our departure from Cordova for Seville
(Thursday, 1830-01-14January 14th), in a very comfortable
calesa, and rode for an hour or more by
moonlight. A calesa is constructed like a chaise,
projecting over, however, considerably more in
front, where a leather curtain is fastened, which,
by being let down before you, effectually protects
you from rain or wind. The baggage is placed
behind, as on a stage coach; and a strong bag of
matting, also for baggage, is hung under the calesa.

The guide or attendant, called calesero, generally 18(5)r 203
walks or runs along by the side of the horse or
mule, only occasionally taking a seat on the side
of the vehicle for the purpose of resting himself.
The dress of the muleteer was very peculiar, and
much more fanciful than any I had seen among
the more sober-minded Castilians, although a
fair specimen of what I afterwards found to be
universally worn by the Andalusians of this class.
The collar of the jacket was usually trimmed in
small squares of various bright colors, as was
likewise the under part of the sleeve, from the
wrist to the elbow. Among these colors one is
generally predominant, and a piping of that color
is let into all the seams. The pockets and corners
of the jacket also have trimming upon them,
and in the middle of the back is sometimes a large
flower of strips of colored velvet. Instead of
buttons, up and down in front, are strings enclosed
at the ends by small pieces of tin or brass.
Their hats are the same in shape with those worn
in Castile; but more profusely ornamented with
bugles and tassles. This difference of dress may,
perhaps, be considered a fair indication of the actual
difference, which subsists between the inhabitants
of the two provinces. The Castilian
is far more sedate and thoughtful in manners and
character than the Andalusian, less addicted to
parade and ostentation, and consequently less fond
of gaiety in dress.

For the first few leagues of our journey from 18(5)v 204
Cordova, we passed over an extent of country
but little attractive, and very thinly inhabited.—
After this we reached a range of hamlets, known
as the colony or settlement of La Carlota. It
consists of several small villages, chiefly composed
of little cottages, neat in their aspect, or of
low, thatched huts of poorer mien. La Carlota
is the principal village in this little colony, and is
indeed a very pretty place, situated upon the top
of a hill, and containing a number of good looking
buildings, among which is the Real Parador y
Fonda
, where we dined. This hotel is a large,
spacious mansion, and is supported in much better
style than any other public house in this part
of the country. The landlord is a German, and
the head waiter an Italian, who formerly followed
the sea, and among his voyages had enjoyed the
good fortune, as he termed it, of being for a time
in Boston, of which city he appeared to retain a
pleased remembrance, and spoke of it, as well as
of the United States generally, in high terms of
praise. It is always grateful to the ear of a
“stranger in a strange land,” to hear his country
spoken of with approbation, and I found my heart
involuntarily warm towards any one, however
humble might be his condition who had ever visited
my beloved and cherished home, far beyond
the wide waters, and who still remembered it with
kindness and respect.

We were detained a considerable time at the 18(6)r 205
hotel, on account of some delay relative to our
passport; but, so soon as this was dispatched, we
set off immediately for Ecija, which we reached
at an early hour in the afternoon. Ecija is quite
a large city, of good appearance, containing about
twenty thousand inhabitants. The houses are
all neatly white-washed, and it possesses several
churches and other buildings of no ordinary size.
In their interior, however, the churches contain little
worth remarking, and I contented myself without
entering them, and with merely walking around
the streets. The city is situated upon the river
Xenil, and along its left bank is laid out a wide
and extensive promenade, ornamented with round
brick pillars, and benches of the same material,
placed under the trees at some distance apart.
At one extremity of the walk are four busts, of
which two were greatly mutilated; and at the
other, two gilt statues, of St. Paul and St. Christopher.
The latter, particularly, is of extremely
bad execution, and adds nothing to the beauty of
the spot, which it occupies.

We left Ecija at four o’clock the next morning,
(Friday, 1830-01-15January 15th), and from thence to Carmona
found the country generally uncultivated,
and overrun with low bushes, although varied
with considerable plantations of olive trees. We
passed through the village of La Luisiana, and
two leagues farther on came to the Venta Nueva,
where we took dinner.

18(6)v 206

Along the whole of this tract of country from
Cordova, I could not but remark the unusual
number of little wooden crosses, erected by the
way-side; and I learned, not without a shuddering
sensation, from the inscription upon almost
every one of them, that the unfortunate being,
who slept forgotten beneath, was suddenly deprived
of life by the hand of violence. Indeed,
two or three years only had elapsed since this
neighborhood was infested by a terrible band of
robbers, universally known by the appellation of
Los Ninos de Ecija, whose dreadful atrocities
will long be remembered, throughout the country,
with dismay and horror. The now lonely habitation,
in which they formerly resided, and where
they shared their ill-gotten booty, purchased with
the blood of more than one peaceful traveller,
was pointed out to us on the way from La Carlota
to Ecija.

The ancient city of Carmona, visible for a long
time before reaching it, is situated upon the declivity
of a hill, and extends to the extreme edge
of its bold, rocky side, which at a distance has
the appearance of a lofty wall. A low valley
separates the high land, over which we had been
passing for several leagues, from the hill on which
Carmona stands, and after crossing this valley,
you come to the foot of a long, toilsome ascent,
reaching to the city. The road, up the ascent,
is a most excellent one, although constructed 19(1)r 207
over a very uneven and rocky surface. About
half way from the bottom it branches off into two,
one leading to the entrance of the city by the
gate of Cordova, and the other passing along at
the foot of the precipitous, and almost perpendicular,
hill-side already mentioned, crowned at its
summit with the ruin of a Moorish castle, and the
left of the way an extensive plain spreads out
far and wide, many feet below. We followed this
latter route, which winds entirely around the hill,
and enters the city at a point nearly opposite to
that, at which it first commenced. Upon reaching
the extremity of the circuitous road, I was surprised
to find myself actually in Carmona, the
houses having been completely hidden from view,
by the projection of the hill. It was nearly dark
when we finally arrived at the posada, and consequently
I had little opportunity to judge of the
appearance of the town except very generally.
It appeared to be a neat looking place, the houses
being generally white-washed; and it contains
several large and sightly churches.

At six o’clock in the morning, (Saturday, 1830-01-16January
16th
), we left Carmona, and proceeded to
Seville, by the old road through Mairena, the
more direct way being in a bad state for travelling.
This road we found, for the most part, very
good and pleasant, passing through groves of
olive trees, occasionally intermingled with pines, 19 19(1)v 208
and enclosed by hedges of aloes. From the little
village of El Biso, to the larger one of Alcala de
Guadayra
, it is sandy and broken; and the pavements,
in the streets of the latter village, are in
such a wretched state, as scarcely to be passable.
But after leaving this place, the road again
becomes perfectly good; and you see, from time
to time, at the right hand in riding along, short
stone pillars, which indicate the course of the old
Roman aqueduct for carrying water to Seville.
Just before entering the city this noble monument
becomes visible, consisting in some parts of two
rows of arches, raised one above the other, which
support the aqueduct. In many places it has become
broken and impaired; but still is an object
of much interest and value. Upon arriving at
Seville, we drove to the Fonda de la Encarnacion,
a fine large hotel, and, like most of the kind
in Spain, formed of an inner court, surrounded by
galleries conducting to the different apartments
of the house; and here we established ourselves,
in excellent quarters, during our stay in Seville.

My earliest visit in Seville was to the Cathedral,
the most remarkable and the most celebrated
object in the city. It is a most sumptuous edifice,
built after the gothic style, and divided into five
naves within, by means of immense columns
supporting the roof. The floor is made of beautiful
inlaid marble, intermingled with a large
number of monumental slabs, one of which bore 19(2)r 209
the name of Ferdinand Columbus, the son of the
renowned discoverer of the western world. The
choir of the church, situated in the centre of the
building, is composed at the sides of very beautiful
red polished marble; and the chief altar is
supported by a pedestal of black stone. The
altar is composed of cedar wood, and is ornamented
with an elegant silver tabernacle; and a bas
relief picture of the same precious metal, placed
above it,—that is, a bas relief representation of a
picture, executed in silver.

The Capilla del Sagrario forms of itself a splendid
church, which is rich in sculptured marbles,
and contains several fine pictures. The chapel
of Nuestra Senora la Antigua is one of the most
superb in the church. The walls and the vault
are covered with fresco paintings, of the first excellence;
and the chief altar is composed of the
most beautiful marbles. It is ornamented with
twelve columns, adorned with bronze; and is farther
beautified by several fine statues. The
chapel also contains two superb marble monuments;
and some beautiful pictures executed by
the great artists Murillo and Morales, beside
other paintings of lesser note. It is lighted by
forty-eight silver lamps; and the chief altar is
enclosed by a rich silver balustrade. The chapel
of Los Reyes is quite handsome, containing a
great deal of sculpture and statuary; and a number
of beautiful monuments. That of San Fernando, 19(2)v 210
in front of the altar, is said to be a very
sumptuous one; but it is always kept covered,
except upon great public festivals, when it is exposed
to view, by a special order from government.
The ashes of the deceased monarch are
collected in a silver urn. The mausoleum of
Queen Beatrice, wife of Ferdinand, and of Alphonso
the Wise
, her son, are placed opposite
each other upon the sides of the chapel. There
are likewise many other monuments to the memory
of different branches of the same royal family.

The Sala Capitular, much celebrated for its
beauty and richness, I did not happen to see; but
the small ante-room, leading to it, is remarkably
neat and elegant. The walls are composed of
bas relief pictures in marble, divided from each
other by pilasters, and between them are eight
statues, also of marble, emblematical of the Virtues.

The Sacristy is a large apartment, finished off
in the most splendid style, and perhaps too profusely
ornamented with sculpture and bas relief.
It possesses many valuable pictures; and is the
place of deposit for the treasures of the church.
These latter are contained in neat mahogany
cases, ranged along the sides and one end of the
room. In the case upon the left hand, as you
enter, is kept the superb silver tabernacle, in
which the consecrated host is exposed, and which
is carried in procession upon certain high fete 19(3)r 211
days of the church. It is of immense value,
being made of solid silver, and is wonderfully
beautiful. In the cases at the opposite end of the
room, from the entrance, in front of the splendid
chief altar, which they partly conceal, is preserved
a vast quantity of gold and silver, consisting of
chandeliers, basins, chalices, together with various
ancient relics. Among these is a beautiful
ornament, made of the finest gold, which went to
Spain from America. There is likewise a large
silver key, partly gilded, and carved with different
figures, upon which is the inscription:
“Dios abrira, rey entrara.” This key is supposed
to be that, which was given by the Moors to Saint
Ferdinand
, when they surrendered to him the
city of Seville. In addition to these valuable articles,
the cases, along the sides of the Sacristy,
contain a great number of most elegant dresses,
belonging to the priests, and only used upon very
especial occasions recurring at long intervals.
Some of these dresses are made of gold and silver
cloth; and others of rich black velvet, worked
with gold flowers, the centre of each being composed
of a brilliant diamond or some other rare
and valuable gem. There are also many, which
are made of delicate colored satins, worked into
beautiful figures with gold and silver thread.

In going out from the apartment, where I had
been regaled with the sight of so much splendor,
I came to a small room, occupying the space of a 19* 19(3)v 212
chapel and enclosed by an iron railing. Upon
each side of it was a large wooden case, which,
when the Sacristan opened, I almost started back
in amazement at the magnificent treasures presented
to my gaze. All that I had previously
seen, seemed but a trifle in comparison. There
were enormous silver candlesticks, so heavy as
to require a strong man to lift them; and various
other beautiful silver ornaments, to be used at the
chief altar, upon particular occasions. There
were also figures of angels as large as life, to be
used as candelabras; and many figures of saints,
of the natural size, all of silver. The right hand
case was entirely occupied by an immense silver
sun, with golden rays, the size of a large wheel,
and almost too brilliant to be looked upon steadily.

But although the first view of these treasures
excites a feeling of admiration at their splendor;
yet the contemplation of them cannot but awaken
sensations of melancholy, when you contrast such
hordes of useless wealth, with the pitiable state
of the numberless beggars, who fill the streets of
Seville, and crowd around the doors of this very
church, uttering their oft repeated, and as oft disregarded,
petition for the means of obtaining necessary
food to keep them from starvation; while
they know that within its walls is contained
almost boundless treasure, which, although of no
earthly use to its possessors, but to awaken feelings
of self-importance and vanity, foreign to their 19(4)r 213
calling, might, if diffused through the kingdom,
cause the voice of joy and thankfulness to be
heard in many an abode of suffering, and give
food and clothing to thousands of wretched creatures,
now exposed to all the miseries of want
and despair.

Time would fail me to give you a description
of all the remaining chapels in this magnificent
church, or to enumerate the splendid masterpieces
of painting and sculpture, with which it is
enriched. Indeed, it is scarce possible to turn
around, in any direction, without being struck
with admiration and wonder, so numerous and
beautiful are the objects which successively attract
the view. Few churches, that I have ever
seen, can compare with this in the uniform richness
and beauty of its decorations, or the grandeur
of its proportions. There is something irresistibly
solemn and imposing,—something that
awes while is tranquillizes the spirit, in the sombre
light which is thrown upon the immense lofty
columns and spacious vault of this vast and beautiful
temple, consecrated to the service of God,
and filled with his humble worshippers.

Leaving the body of the Cathedral, we ascended
the tower, called the Giralda, from the vane,
which crowns its summit, and which is the figure
of a female, representing Faith. The tower is
forty-three feet square, and two hundred and fifty-
eight in height. The stair-case is of spiral form, 19(4)v 214
and is very remarkable as forming an inclined
plane of such width and ascent, as to allow two
horsemen to ride abreast the whole distance from
the bottom of the tower to the top. Upon gaining
the summit, the view you have of Seville is
delightful, with its bright orange groves scattered
here and there, and which are in effect the most
beautiful adornment which a crowded city can
possess. An orangery is attached to the church,
similar to that in Cordova.

I should mention that the foregoing observations
upon the Cathedral, resulted not from once
seeing it; as specified hours are appointed for the
opening of different chapels, and it is therefore
impossible to examine every thing in them which
you desire, except by visiting the chapels at the
hours, when alone they are open to public inspection.
We spent, however, the entire afternoon
of our arrival at this church, and only left it when
darkness prevented farther examination of its
manifold beauties; and we then closed the day
with a walk in the crowded Alameda, a fine public
promenade upon the bank of the Guadalquivir.

The following day we purposed to visit the village
of Santiponce, anciently the Roman city of
Italica, about a league distant from Seville. The
day being very fine, and the nearest path thither
lying chiefly through olive groves and pleasant
fields, we resolved to walk to the village; and
therefore, after entering several unimportant 19(5)r 215
churches, we passed through a part of the Alameda,
and crossed the river upon the famous
bridge of boats, to the suburb of Triana. The
church of Nuestra Senora de las Cuevas is situated
near this suburb; but we found it closed
upon reaching it, and returned, therefore to the
path which leads to Santiponce. The first part of
the walk was very pleasant; but no sooner had
we arrived near the village, than we found that,
owing to recent heavy rains, the small rivulet,
which runs along at its side, had spread so widely
as to render the water and mud near the village
almost knee deep. We were therefore obliged
to pursue a very circuitous and wearisome path
around, in order to cross the rivulet, which we
found not an easy matter to accomplish. But
this inconvenience I should have regarded as a
trifle, had we found any thing at the end of our
journey to reward us for the toil and trouble of it.
But this we did not find. All traces of Italica
have nearly disappeared, and the little village,
which occupies its place, seems to have been
partly built from the ruins of the ancient city. It
is pleasantly situated, upon an eminence; and
contains the large convent of San Isidro del
Campo
, which, from the elevation of the land that
it stands upon, may be seen for a considerable
distance on all sides. The church is in no wise
remarkable, and possesses nothing of much interest,
except, perhaps, the monument of Guzman 19(5)v 216
the Good
, the founder of the church, and that of
his lady. In front of the building is a pretty walk
or grass plat, and in the centre of it is a large
column, taken from the ruins of Italica, and placed
here for preservation.

A long walk by the high road, much less agreeable
than the cross path which we followed in the
morning, brought us to Seville at dinner time,
completely wearied out by our day’s exertions,
which had been more severe than we could possibly
have foreseen.

In passing along the road I observed a peculiarity,
which I often afterwards remarked in and
about Seville, namely, a variety of little booths,
in which were sold wine, water, and sometimes
spirits, together with small cakes and fruits, for the
refreshment of travellers. These are covered at
the top and sides, and wholly open in front, so that
the neat row of jars, and the clean shining glasses,
were displayed before the eyes of all that
passed by. Little stalls of this description are
particularly convenient, in so warm a climate,
where refreshment of some kind would often be
found extremely desirable, if not necessary, when,
but for such places of accommodation, it would
be beyond the reach.

19(6)r 217

Letter XVIII.

Seville.—La Lonja.—Tobacco Manufactory.—Alcazar.—Ayuntamiento.
San Francisco.—La Caridad.—The Capuchins.—
Remarks on Seville.

The day succeeding that, so much of which
had been spent in visiting Italica, was devoted to
the examination of several buildings of note in
the city. The first and most elegant of these is the
Lonja or Exchange, which is near the Cathedral.
It is truly a noble, sumptuous building, surrounding
a court, and ornamented with two galleries,
sustained by arcades and columns. The grand
stair-case is beyond measure superb, and wholly
composed of beautiful jaspered marble. This
leads to a splendid suite of rooms, in which are
deposited the archives of the Indies, containing
the original correspondence of Columbus and
Cortez, as well as of other renowned conquerors
of Spanish America; and all the papers
relative to that great and important conquest.
They are arranged in cases along the sides of the
rooms; but are not allowed to be examined at
all, except by special authority. Out distinguished
countryman, Washington Irving, had free access
to these rich treasures of information, while
employed in writing his Life of Columbus, as was
told us by one of the officials, who had charge of
the manuscripts. The floors of this elegant suite 19(6)v 218
of apartments were made of rich colored marble;
and indeed the whole edifice is constructed in a
style of splendor altogether rare.

The Tobacco Manufactory, or Fabricia de Tabaco,
is likewise a very elegant building, of great
size. It stands opposite the Alameda, with a
deep fosse and draw-bridge between them, the
fosse extending quite around the premises. We
were freely permitted to enter the building, and
to see every part of the works, which we found
conducted upon a very extensive scale, as you
will readily admit, when I tell you that the number
of workmen employed therein amounts to
thirty-seven hundred. The establishment was
kept in remarkably good order, and those persons,
who served as our conductors, were very obliging
and polite.

From thence we returned to the Alcazar, situated
very near the Lonja. This ancient Moorish
palace, formerly fitted up in the most rich and
splendid manner, still possesses a great deal of
beauty, having been repaired, and in some measure
restored to its original state. Many of the
apartments are beautifully and delicately ornamented
with stucco work and marble; and the
floors are also of marble. The principal
hall is about thirty feet square, and half way to
the top is a gallery, occupying each of the four
sides, for the use of spectators, when any scene
of gaiety or interest is enacting below. Around 20(1)r 219
the frieze at the top, are several portraits of Spanish
monarchs; and upon the sides of the room
are arches, adorned with columns, which communicate
with adjoining apartment. On the fourth
side is the grand entrance.

The patios or courts of the Alcazar are numerous,
and some of them very handsome. The
principal one is paved with marble, and has a
double gallery around it, supported by one hundred
and four coupled marble columns. The
arches between them are ornamented with delicate
arabesque.

When we had sufficiently examined the interior
of the palace, we walked into the extensive
orange plantation, where the ripe fruit was hanging
in great profusion. A few quartos, given to
the gardener, gained us permission to eat freely
of this delicious fruit, which grows in these royal
groves in the greatest perfection. A large number
of lemon trees were likewise intermingled
with the others, loaded with bright yellow fruit,
of beautiful appearance. We next entered the
garden, which is laid out with great taste. Flowers
of almost every kind, may be found here, and
pretty arbors covered with green foliage. In one
part of the garden were several singular looking
figures of giants, formed by myrtle, which grew so
thick and luxuriant as entirely to conceal the
frames upon which it was trained.

But by far the most peculiar thing, which I observed,20 20(1)v 220
was the existence of innumerable little
jets or fountains, scattered about through every
alley and walk in the garden, and drawing the
water from a large pond in the vicinity. The
tubes, from whence these jets arise, are so small,
that they are imperceptible except upon close
inspection; and consequently one may be completely
drenched before he thinks of it, unless he
is previously warned; and even then it is difficult
to avoid it altogether, as by the turning of a cock,
a complete labyrinth of these little jets is made
to rise around you in every direction; and, unless
one is placed in a safe position, or has very nimble
feet, a good wetting will surely be his portion.
I have heard that tricks of the kind are not unfrequently
played off in gardens of this description;
which must be sufficiently annoying and
vexatious to those who suffer by them, however
playfully the thing may have been intended.

The Casa del Ayantamiento, to which we now
directed our steps, is an ancient building, much
decorated upon the outside with columns and pilasters,
statues, and other sculptured ornaments.
Adjoining to it is the convent of San Francisco,
one of the largest and most numerously inhabited
in Seville. The church is abundantly adorned
with pictures, some of them possessing great
beauty and merit. The chapels are many in
number; but, independently of the pictures, contain
little which is particularly interesting. I 20(2)r 221
visited several churches afterwards, of which the
same thing may be said. They all contained
more or less paintings of great value; but were
not otherwise remarkably attractive.

The church of the Hospital de la Caridad possesses
several beautiful paintings by Murillo, of
which two are uncommonly splendid. They are
of very large size, the Miracle of the Loaves and
Fishes
; and Moses smiting the Rock. But admirable
as these paintings are, the effect of them
is much injured by their not being placed in the
best possible light, and by their being hung at
much too great a height from the floor. It is impossible,
unless possessing perfectly good eyesight,
to see the smaller figures in the picture at
all; and, in consequence, no very perfect idea of
the whole can be formed. Still, enough may be
seen by all, to substantiate the merits of the paintings,
which indeed no one can fail to admire.

In entering this church, I passed by a large
hall, belonging to the hospital; and the door being
open, I could see a range of beds, upon each
side of the hall, with sick people stretched out
upon them, who were listening to the celebration
of mass, performed by one of the priests in the
room. Over the outer entrance into the hospital
were appropriate inscriptions in gilt letters, taken
from the Scriptures.

Going out from the city by the Puerta de Carmona,
we came to the convent of the Capuchins, 20(2)v 222
whose church we were desirous of entering. As
we reached the convent, I happened, accidentally,
to go towards a door leading to the cloister, supposing
it to be one of the doors of the church. A
friar sprang forward to impede my progress, with
as much seeming alarm as he could have evinced,
had pestilence and death been the sure consequence
of my entrance. One of them, however,
very kindly explained to me the apparent rudeness,
and conducted us to the church with much
politeness.

I have seldom enjoyed a more delightful treat
than a view of this church afforded me; or rather
a view of the perfectly beautiful pictures by Murillo,
which so richly decorate its walls. I think
there could scarce be found a series of paintings
possessing more matchless beauty, or evincing
greater perfection of art, than is contained in this
church; and I could not but look around me with
regret, as the reflection occurred to my mind,
how few, how very few ever behold these invaluable
treasures, in comparison to the crowds, which
daily throng not only the Louvre, but many other
picture galleries in France, which in contrast
with this would hardly be worthy of a single look.
In almost all these pictures there was a representation
of the Virgin, in Murillo’s happiest style;
which, to those who have ever seen the best efforts
of this great painter, sufficiently speaks their
praise. Each one of them was a master-piece of 20(3)r 223
itself and deserving of the most close and critical
study.

Those, which struck me as particularly beautiful,
were the Annunciation, the Conception, and
the Nativity; together with several others, which,
as regards the subjects of them, were quite whimsical
and superstitious, although drawn from faithfully
believed legends of the Roman Church.
One of these represents Saint Felix, with the
Infant Jesus in his arms, whom he has just received
from the Holy Virgin, towards whom he
is looking with an expression of the deepest reverence
and gratitude; and a second exhibits Saint
Francis
, with the body of the crucified Savior.
These pictures are both exquisitely beautiful;
but the idea of seeing the Savior in his infancy,
and afterwards at his death, embraced and wept
over by saints of modern times, cannot but strike
the beholder as incongruous and strange. The
friar, who attended us, attempted to explain it according
to the received account, which, as a good
Catholic, he was bound to believe. His explanation
of it was as follows. The piety and devotion
of these saints was so eminent, that the
Savior and the Holy Virgin were moved to grant
their ardent petitions, that they might see their
Master actually in the flesh. The Holy Virgin
therefore descended from heaven, and placed in
the arms of Saint Felix the Infant God, whom he
had so earnestly prayed to behold; while the Savior20* 20(3)v 224
himself condescended to appear to Saint
Francis
, and upon the cross, that being the situation
in which the saint most anxiously desired to
look upon his Lord.

In very nearly the same manner the old friar
attempted to explain a truly ridiculous representation
of the Virgin Mary, called the Holy Shepherdess,
in another part of the church, got up in
the style of the fanciful groups one sometimes
sees in a museum of wax figures. She was seated
upon a bank of flowers, dressed like a modern
shepherdess, in every respect, and surrounded by
a flock of sheep. Just back of her was the
youthful Jesus, tending the young lambs, and
habited like a boy of the present day. Our guide
saw nothing strange in such a representation; for
he urged that the same power, by the exercise
of which the blessed Savior and his Holy Mother
had appeared before the natural eyes of Saint
Felix
, could cause them to assume the dress and
appearance of whatever fashion or age; and that
consequently there was nothing impossible in the
idea, that they should choose to exhibit themselves
to mortal sight under the guise, which had thus
been appropriated to them by the church. And
this singular superstition of the Catholic faith was
most warmly and zealously defended and argued
upon by several of the brotherhood, who had
joined us; although a superstition of such a nature,
as it would seem incredible could be entertained 20(4)r 225
by the possessor of a sane and healthy mind.

From the chapel, or rather recess, which
contained this ill-conceived illustration of a sacred
and interesting relation between our Savior
and his followers, as indicated by himself,—I
gladly turned away, to examine anew the splendid
paintings, which appeared even more perfect
from the contrast which they presented to what I
had just seen. The pictures around the chief altar
are numerous and all of them extremely beautiful.
Indeed no picture is to be found in the
church, which is not a model of faultless excellence.
Either of them would form the pride and
boast of any private cabinet, which might be
fortunate enough to possess it. One such painting
would now cost a little fortune; and these
good monks may well esteem their convent rich
in the possession of so many invaluable works of
art.

Just as we were leaving the altar, a small crucifix
in front was pointed out to our attention,
upon which is a very minute figure of Jesus, executed
by Murillo. This precious little memorial
corresponds in value and beauty to the larger
paintings which surround it.

On reaching the passage leading to the church,
and which also leads to the cloister, I saw several
friars assembled there, evidently for the purpose
of speaking to us. They were dressed in coarse
brown woollen frocks, confined, as usual, at the 20(4)v 226
waist, with a knotted cord. Their countenances,
however, were prepossessing, and bore an expression
of unusually benevolent and kindly feelings.
They politely apologized that the rules of their
convent forbade their inviting me to enter it; at
the same time placing a chair for me to occupy,
while they sent into the garden to procure a
bunch of flowers, the only thing, they said, which
it was in their power to offer. In the course of
conversation, one of the good friars expressed his
regret that I was married; hoping, he said, that
otherwise he might have persuaded me to become
a nun of their order. I was highly amused, as
you may imagine, by such a suggestion, receiving
the wish from them, however, all in good part.
My large bouquet having been now presented to
me, I bade a kind farewell to the venerable fathers,
with impressions strongly favorable to their
kind and hospitable feelings.

We passed this same convent again the next
morning, in visiting the Hospital de la Sangre
and the monastery of Buena Vista, both situated
without the city. Neither of these churches,
however, was remarkable; and indeed so soon
after seeing that of the Capuchins, few would appear
otherwise than ordinary in comparison.
The walk to Buena Vista was quite long, but
sufficiently agreeable; and we returned from
thence to Seville, expecting to take the steam
boat for Cadiz in a few hours. But, owing to 20(5)r 227
vexatious delay in the delivery of our passport,
that constant source of annoyance and
trouble to the traveller in Spain, we were kept
waiting until it was too late for the steam boat,
and were thus compelled to relinquish our purpose:
much to our chagrin to be sure, as the
boat would not return again for several days,
and we were unwilling o wait for her so long.
There was, moreover, no regular conveyance by
land for passengers between Seville and Cadiz,
and therefore to go by land it would be necessary
to take a calesa, as the best means of conveyance,
which the country afforded. And in
other circumstances this course would have been
convenient enough; but at this time it was rather
too solitary a mode of travelling to suit my taste,
as the tract of country, which we were to pass,
had a very bad name, and we were advised not to
travel over it unless we desired to be waylaid by
robbers. Finding, however, on consulting those
best qualified to judge, that the danger was more in
fancy than reality, and that no robberies had taken
place recently, we concluded to take our chance,
and started off accordingly the next morning,
(1830-01-20Wednesday, January 20th); having remained
in Seville sufficient time to admit of our seeing
every thing worthy of notice in that most charming
place.

I had seen no city in Spain, which, upon the
whole, was so attractive and agreeable as Seville. 20(5)v 228
It is situated upon a delightful plain, abundant in
the rich productions of nature, and ever smiling
in its beauteous garb of vivid green, mingled with
the brilliant colors of the orange and lemon; or
rendered deliciously sweet by the fragrant blossoms,
which harbinger the approach of these
choice and valuable fruits. The gardens, too,
within the city, are no less beautiful, nor less productive
of the richest fruits, than the huertas,
which surround it, and which are the delight
and admiration of every eye.

The streets of Seville are, many of them,
crooked and ill paved; and they are, for the most
part, very narrow, and lined with houses of disproportioned
height, in order to exclude the sun,
during the scorching summer months. This gives
rather a gloomy look to the streets, when first
entering them; an appearance, however, which
passes off immediately, when you observe the
tasteful and elegant manner in which all the
houses are constructed. The lower story, in
front, is occupied by a square court, paved with
marble, and adorned with marble columns, and a
profusion of flowers and shrubbery. The centre
is ornamented with a fountain, which renders it
charmingly cool, and affords an agreeable and
comfortable retreat, which the extreme hot weather,
prevalent in summer, seems to render almost
absolutely essential. The doors, which lead from
these courts into the street, are generally left 20(6)r 229
open, so that in passing along you have a full
view of them; and the air of cheerfulness and
beauty thus created more than compensates
for any deficiencies, in that respect, in the streets
themselves. In short, it seemed to me there
were few spots on earth, out of America, which,
in reference to natural advantages, I would sooner
select as a place of residence than Seville, were
it not for the excessive heats of the summer season.
But I know not that even this would be a
very strong objection to it, as the inhabitants of
the country get along perfectly well, during that
period of the year, by resting from labor in the
middle of the day, and transacting their business
in the morning and evening. And for the remainder
of the year, no climate could be more
truly delightful, or better adapted to the preservation
of health and life.

Letter XIX.

Utrera.—Torres de Locas.—Xerez.—Cadiz.—Alameda.—Ramparts.
—Cathedrals.—Hospicio.—Aduana.—La Vigia.—Campo
Santo
.—Academy of Design.

In leaving Seville, we traversed the same road
by which we had come, as far as Alcala de Guadayra,
and then turned our course towards Cadiz,
a distance of twenty-one leagues from this village. 20(6)v 230
The country, which we journeyed through during
the whole of the first day, was almost totally destitute
of any appearance of cultivation. The
road passed along in the midst of barren plains of
immense extent, and covered with great quantities
of a low spreading plant, called palmita. A
few scattered houses were the only signs, which I
could observe, that this dreary waste was peopled,
until reaching Utrera, an ordinary looking town
of considerable size, and containing about nine
thousand inhabitants.

On quitting Utrera, the same uninviting plains
continued to stretch out before us, and over these
we pursued our solitary way, until towards evening,
when we reached the casa de postas, a single
lone venta by the road side, and far distant from
any other human habitation. It is called Ventorrillo
de las Torres de Locas
. You can scarcely
imagine any situation more entirely desolate
than this, nor one more calculated to awaken feelings
of uneasiness, at least, if not of absolute fear.
Thoughts of no very pleasant nature succeeded
each other in my mind, as we approached the
gloomy looking abode; and they were by no
means dispelled, when, driving through the portal,
I found myself beneath the dark and cheerless
roof. Alighting from the calesa, we entered
a room at the left hand, which was so filled with
dense smoke, that it was impossible at first to see
any thing with distinctness. We approached towards 21(1)r 231
the fire-place, where a large quantity of
light brush wood completely choked up the chimney,
imparting very little heat, and sending out
at intervals thick volumes of smoke, which appeared
not to annoy, in the slightest degree, the
inhabitants of the house, nor the large number of
muleteers, who were seated in various parts of
the room, conversing with each other in loud
tones, or smoking their cigars in silence. In
vain did I look around for a single female form,
whose presence would have banished much of my
uneasiness. Not a female was to be found in the
house. It was kept wholly by men, and entirely
destitute of any accommodations except for
brute animals alone. There was neither food nor
wine, bed nor bedding, to be procured at any
price. All this, however, we were fully aware of
before our arrival, and we had provided for the
exigencies of the case by bringing with us a well
stored bag of provisions, a bota of wine, and a
colchon, or Spanish bed of our own, procured in
anticipation of the very state of emergency, in
which we were now placed; and which we knew
to be a dilemnadilemma not unlikely to occur more than
once in the untravelled regions, through which
our journeyings led us.

Requesting to be shewn to my chamber, I was
forthwith conducted to a room opposite to the one
I had just quitted, and which presented, I will
assure you, a most forlorn aspect. There was 21 21(1)v 232
not a piece of furniture in the room, and not a
particle of ceiling in any part of it; nothing was
to be seen but rough boards, and the large heavy
timbers, which supported the roof. The windows
were closed by wooden shutters, or small doors
fastened by iron hasps. After having partaken
of some refreshment, which was served for us
upon a small pine table, and which the length of
our journey had rendered very welcome and palatable,
we prepared to retire to rest.

The wind had risen so as to blow with great violence,
the rain fell in torrents upon the roof over
our heads, and every door and window-shutter in
the house creeked to and fro, precluding, for a
time, the possibility of sleep. And, indeed, had
the elements been ever so quiet, I should have
vainly endeavored to close my eyes. The recollection
was constantly recurring to my mind, in
spite of all my endeavors to the contrary, of the
bad repute in which this part of the country was
held, the lonely situation of our present place of
shelter, and the dark features of the men, whom
I had seen surrounding the fire-place, and whose
voices I could even now plainly distinguish above
the loud blasts of the wind, engaged in earnest
debate in the opposite room. At length, however,
the wind subsided, the rain ceased to fall; and
at the same time the house becoming perfectly
quiet, I dismissed my fears of any present difficulty,
at least, and soon sunk into a sound and 21(2)r 233
unbroken sleep, which lasted until the voice of
the calesero awakened me an hour or two before
day-light the next morning, to pursue our journey.

When I entered the kitchen to take some chocolate
for breakfast, I found the floor covered in
every direction with muleteers, who, using heir
cloaks instead of a bed, were reposing in the
deepest slumber, of which their audible breathings
gave full evidence. A little space was left unoccupied
between the door and chimney, in which
a much more cheerful fire was blazing than on
the evening before, and we were, therefore, enabled
to make ourselves very comfortably warm
before starting on our journey, which, with the
help of a good cup of chocolate, contributed to
render our early ride easy and pleasant. But I
could not quite divest myself of the idea that many
a bush, moved suddenly by the wind, was some
robber starting up from his hiding place with a
demand for dinero; an idea which it was not altogether
agreeable to entertain, when riding in
the obscurity of early dawn through a country
notorious for robberies, and unaccompanied by a
guard of any description. We met with no disaster,
however, and continued our course unmolested
to Xerez

After leaving the casa de postas, the country
retained the uninteresting aspect, which I noticed
in our journey of yesterday, being a vast extent
of uncultured plains, covered with low, coarse 21(2)v 234
shrubbery of very ordinary appearance. About
a league before Xerez, however, olive
plantations begin to appear, together with large
pine trees, nearly destitute of branches except at
the very top, where they stretch out in a broad
flat, not unlike in form to a mushroom. From
hence to Xerez, the soil is beautifully and richly
cultivated on all sides, and the country presents
a delightful contrast to its aspect hitherto. From
the wide spread vineyards in the vicinity of
Xerez is produced the celebrated sherry wine.
The city is quite large and handsome; and contains
about twenty thousand inhabitants. I saw
no more of the place than merely passing through
it permitted, as I did not walk out at all during
the hour, in which it was necessary to rest the
horse at the posada. In the meantime we partook
of some refreshment, and then continued our
way to Puerto de Santa Maria, or Port Saint
Mary’s
, which we reached at about two o’clock
in the afternoon.

From the hasty view, which I was enabled to
take of this place, I should think it an uncommonly
neat, pretty town. It is situated upon the
bay of Cadiz; and several ferry-boats, or feluccas,
as they are called, are employed to take passengers
across the bay to Cadiz, this being a much
shorter way to go from Xerez to that city
wholly by land. We drove directly down to the
water, when we arrived at Port St. Mary’s, 21(3)r 235
and found a felucca ready to depart. We
accordingly dismissed our calesero, and entering
the boat, were, at the end of two hours, safely
landed at Cadiz.

This city, as you approach it by water, appears
remarkably handsome. The houses are all painted
white, are very lofty, and very regularly built.
Upon landing, we repaired immediately to the
Fonda de los Tres Reyes, where we took lodgings
for the night.

We remained at the Fonda only long enough
to seek for private rooms, which, after delivering
our letters, we immediately obtained. The rooms,
which we occupied, were pleasantly situated,
fronting upon the ocean, and upon a very pleasant
and much frequented public walk, called the
Alameda. This is planted with trees, which, however,
afford little verdure, owing, it is said,
to their near proximity to the sea, the air of
which is thought to be detrimental to their growth.

For a day or two after taking up our residence
at the house of Dona Antonia, such being the
name of our hostess, the weather was too rainy
and chilly to admit of my walking out at all, and
I was obliged to content myself with no other
view of the city, than what I could obtain from
my windows. This cold, uncomfortable storm,
however, was succeeded by the most delightfully
mild and pleasant weather, which would have
been even too warm, but for the cool sea breeze, 21* 21(3)v 236
whose grateful freshness tempered the heat of the
sun. I took the earliest opportunity thus afforded
me of making the round of the city, along the
charming promenade formed by the ramparts.
Commencing at the Alameda, which indeed forms
a part of the promenade in question, we walked
entirely around the whole city, and entered the
Alameda again from the opposite extremity to
that from which we had started.

The ramparts at the Alameda, and for some
distance beyond it, merely consist of an almost
perpendicular stone wall, descending to the
water, against which the waves of the ocean continually
rage and break, with deep and never
ceasing roar. But for nearly the whole of the
remaining circuit around the city, the ramparts
form an elevated and spacious stone terrace, entirely
hollow upon the inside, a great part of it
being used for the storage of goods or ammunition.
The Puerta del Mar, the gate through which we
passed in first entering Cadiz, is an opening in
the wall towards the bay, and is one of the principal
entrances into the city. Just without the
gate is a column, crowned with a statue of Saint
Francis Xavier
.

Cadiz being situated on the northerly extremity
of a kind of peninsula or imperfect island, is
surrounded by water on three sides, like Boston
or New York. A narrow, sandy neck stretches
out from the city on the land side, which you 21(4)r 237
leave here by the Puerta de Tierra, as the gate
is called. At this point the fortifications are very
strong, consisting of several deep moats, within
the exterior defences, which effectually protect
the land approach to the city, while access to it by
water is equally well guarded against by the impregnable
barrier of the ramparts. A section of
the wall near the Puerta de Tierra is formed into
barracks for the garrison.

The view which we enjoyed, during the whole
of this delightful walk, was extremely pleasant
and often beautiful. That portion of it, which
looks out upon the harbor, struck me more agreeably
than any other, the vessels being anchored
off shore in the same fleet-like manner, and presenting
the same bright mingling of flags at their
mast heads, which had so much attracted my admiration
in the harbor of Bordeaux.

After walking around the ramparts, we passed
through several of the principal streets of the
city, all of them, without exception, remarkable
for their regularity, and for the perfectly neat and
convenient manner in which they are paved.
The houses are all white, and the high railings
which surround the balconies are painted green,
thus adding a bright and cheerful aspect to the
otherwise dead uniformity of the buildings.
There is, indeed, a very remarkable similarity
between the streets in Cadiz, so much so that,
without very attentive observation, I could not 21(4)v 238
possibly distinguish one street from another, even
after passing through them several times.

Many of the private dwelling-houses in Cadiz
are much adorned in front with statues, and various
other decorations in carved wood work. The
public buildings are also over-laden with ornaments;
but are generally in extremely bad taste
in every respect. The New Cathedral is a striking
illustration of this. It was begun in a style
of great splendor, as it regards the decorations
alone; but the architecture of the church is singularly
ill designed, and the disposition of the
ornaments is destitute alike of grace and elegance.
This Cathedral is scarce more than commenced
within, and has now the appearance of a
deserted ruin. It is true that one or two of the
chapels are completed, and used for purposes of
worship; but the entire body of the church is unfinished,
and so will probably continue, as it is
scarce possible that sufficient funds can be raised
for its completion.

The Old Cathedral contains little of interest,
as may also be said of the other churches and
public buildings in Cadiz, which is much more
remarkable as a beautiful city in the general, and
one rather prominent for historical interest, than
for the possession of those public monuments and
exhibitions of art, which form the great attraction
to travellers and strangers in most of the large
cities of Europe.

21(5)r 239

The Hospicio or Casa de Caridad is, however,
an edifice of considerable beauty. The principal
court is surrounded by a gallery, sustained by
sixteen doric columns. In front of the Hospital
is a monument, called the Triunfo, consisting of
twisted columns, with cherubs clinging to each
side of it, and surmounted by a statue of the Virgin
and Child. Upon the base is a long inscription
in Spanish, denoting that the column was
erected by the city of Cadiz, in gratitude to the
Holy Virgin, Maria Santissima, to whose protection
it owed its preservation during a terrible
earthquake in the year 17751775.

The Aduana is likewise quite a handsome
building of modern construction. It was in this
building that King Ferdinand was kept prisoner,
when Cadiz was besieged by the French in the
time of the constitution; and a tower was erected
above the rooms which occupied, in order
that the French might be aware of the spot, and
avoid throwing their bombs and shot in that direction.

The most extensive, as well as beautiful, view
to be obtained of Cadiz, is from the top of a tower
nearly in the centre of the city, called the
Torre de la Vigia. Here the uniformity of the
houses, both in height, color, and general construction,
is particularly observable, and the perfect
regularity of the flat roofs, and of the neat
and smoothly paved streets, is seen to the best advantage. 21(5)v 240
Beyond the strongly fortified and almost
impregnable outline of the city, the majestic
ocean stretches out far as the eye can reach,
bearing upon its restless bosom the swelling
canvass and waving banners of many a distant
land.

Of the several agreeable rambles, which I took
in and about Cadiz, during a week’s stay in that
delightful city, none interested me more than a
visit to the Campo Santo, or cemetery, situated
upon the neck of land before mentioned, beyond
the Puerta de Tierra. A broad walk, of the
smoothness and apparent solidity of stone, conducts
to the cemetery. You first enter a little
chapel, which exhibits, in the inscriptions and ornaments
upon it, the mournful nature of the ceremonials,
which are wont to be performed in it;
namely, the last sad services for the dead. From
thence you pass into a square enclosure, which is
one of several enclosures of a like description.
Around the sides are ranges of niches or arches,
built into a brick wall, and of just sufficient length
and size to admit a coffin. Five or six tiers are
placed one above another, the niches being side
by side in close rows; and at the entrance or
mouth of each is a marble slab with the name and
epitaph of the deceased engraven upon it. At
the side of the square, which adjoins another of
the same size and form, these little niches are
double, that is to say, the thickness of the wall is 21(6)r 241
sufficient for two coffins, the bodies being placed
feet to feet.

All those persons, whose relatives can afford
to pay for a niche, are thus entombed; but the
poorer people, who are not able to purchase one,
are thrown into the earth in the centre of the enclosure,
without coffins, and even without a grave;
for that can scarcely be called a grave, which is
but a slight hollow scooped out in the sand, into
which the bodies are carelessly laid, and there
remain, until, by the aid of quick lime, they become
entirely decomposed, when the bones are
thrown out of their temporary obscurity by the
spade of the sexton, and left to whiten in the sun,
a sad and monitory spectacle to the eye of the
living. You may form some idea of the speed
with which such a burial is performed, when I
tell you, that the very few moments occupied by
us in passing from one enclosure to another and
back again, sufficed to accomplish it; and when
we returned to the spot, which we had but just
quitted, the newly opened earth, and the marks
of footsteps around it, showed us that the last remains
of a fellow creature had been thus hastily
and unceremoniously consigned to the earth,
there to rest the brief period, which the reckless
spade would allow, when the crumbling bones
must also be thrown out to mingle with the thousands,
that lay scattered around in every part of
the cemetery.

21(6)v 242

How different were the sensations, produced
in my mind by the view of this barbarous and unnatural
mode of interring the dead, from those
which had been awakened by a ramble in the
beautiful burial places in France, where even the
humblest individual is decently and properly buried,
and where every person may claim his little
spot of earth, over which the willow weeps in silence,
and the hand of friendship forgets not to
bring the wreath of affection to lay upon his
grave.

It is supposed, that, within the short period of
thirty years, ninety thousand persons have been
interred in the cemetery at Cadiz.

In returning to the city, over the neck, I observed
a considerable number of galley slaves,
manacled two and two, working upon the high
road, with one or more task masters standing by,
to keep them in order. I could not but commiserate
their wretched condition, although, perhaps,
the just retribution of the crimes, which they
had committed.

The evening before leaving Cadiz, I visited
the Academy of Design. A large number of
men and boys were seated at desks in the several
apartments, and busily engaged in drawing.
Some of them confined their attention to architectural
designs only; others to heads, and a variety
of different sketches; while many of the
younger boys were yet in the first rudiments of 22(1)r 243
the art. They all appeared much interested in
their pursuit; and indeed I should judge, from
my own observation alone, that the establishment
is rather interesting and curious than very useful.
A small number of the pupils only, it would seem,
can attain to any considerable degree of excellence;
and to those, who do not arrive beyond
mediocrity in such a pursuit, I should suppose
the time occupied in it to be very nearly, if not
entirely, lost.

One of the halls in the building is handsomely
fitted up as a parlor; and its chief ornament consists
in a series of well executed bas reliefs forming
panels to the room, being the production of
persons, who had been educated in the school.
Yearly prizes are distributed by the Academy to
those among the pupils, who become the best
proficients in the art.

Letter XX.

Passages to Gibraltar.—Trafalgar.—Straits.—Bay of Algeciras.
Gibraltar.—Exchange.—Moors.—Alameda.—Troops.—
Point Europa.—Excavations.—Signal Tower.—Michael’s
Cave
.—Douglas’ Cave.—Jewish Cemetery.—Neutral Ground.
—Hospital.—Military Library.

We took passage for Gibraltar in a Genoese
schooner, (1830-01-29Friday, January 29th), the possibility
of going from Cadiz to that place by land being 22 22(1)v 244
entirely precluded by the great increase of the
mountain rivulets at this season of the year, which
renders the passage across them exceedingly hazardous,
and often resulting in loss of life to those,
who are daring enough to undertake the journey.

The vessel, in which we took passage, although
small, was sufficiently comfortable; and a short
voyage of twenty-four hours carried use safely to
our destined port.

I was prevented by sea sickness from making
any observations whatever during our passage,
until we arrived at Trafalgar, when I went upon
deck to view that spot, rendered forever memorable
by that great naval battle, which terminated
with so much glory to the English arms, and
was the scene where the gallant Nelson took his
last look of victory.

Not long after passing this cape, you enter the
straits of Gibraltar, and see before you
those immense mountains of rock, called by the
ancients the Pillars of Hercules, and whose
beetling and towering summits look frowningly
down upon the narrow strait, which forms the
only natural separation between two continents,
which are the very antipodes of each other in all
the elegancies, refinements, and social comforts
of life. At the foot of the huge rock upon the
European side of the strait is a cluster of buildings,
which, from the great height of the mountain,
at whose base they stand, and the level surface 22(2)r 245
of the ground, upon which the greater part
of them are built, appear, at first sight, like a
small and ordinary looking village. I could
scarce persuade myself that what appeared to me
but a few scattered houses, could possibly be an
important possession, which had been disputed
by contending nations, at so much expense of
blood and treasure, in years gone by.

Our Sardinian shot into the bay of Algeziras
before the breeze, and working her way along
amid a multitude of vessels of every nation, soon
cast anchor beneath the frowning batteries of
Gibraltar.

After coming to anchor in the bay of Algeziras,
we were obliged to remain an hour or two on
board the vessel before being allowed to go on
shore. It was necessary first to have our passport
sent to the proper authorities for examination,
and also to obtain a certificate of health, besides
sundry other delays, of a like nature, all
which, however, we had been prepared to expect,
and of course were enabled to bear patiently.

At length, every indispensable preliminary having
been compiled with, we were permitted to
pass the gate, although the presence of the
American Consul himself, who accompanied us
from the vessel, and whose word ought to have
been sufficient guarantee, that we came not upon
any evil errand, could not make good our entrance
into the town, until a regular permit to that effect 22(2)v 246
was produced. And this being accomplished, we
were not slow in making our way to the hotel,
where we were soon comfortably established,
once more within sound of the English tongue, and
for a time, at least, to be accustomed to English
habits and modes of living.

Griffith’s Hotel, at which we took lodgings, is
situated in the only large, regular street, which
there is in the town, and which runs through its
whole extent, parallel with the water. The hotel
is in the same part of the town with the Exchange;
and stands at the entrance of a large
square, extending for a considerable distance,
where the public sales are made, and which, in
fact, forms the chief thoroughfare of the place.

The Exchange is a neat building, two stories
in height, the second story being used as a public
library and reading room; and the broad flagstone
pavement in front of the edifice is continually
thronged with individuals of almost every country,
name, and religion.

It is indeed matter for constant amusement,
merely to sit at the window of the hotel and look
out upon the street. Now you see the well-
dressed, gentlemanly looking Englishman, passing
rapidly by, his handsome surtout buttoned
comfortably round him; followed by the tardier
steps of the more indolent Spaniard, his cloak
thrown carelessly over his shoulder, smoking his
cigarro de papel, and sauntering along without 22(3)r 247
any apparent object in view, but to enjoy the
thick atmosphere of smoke with which he is enveloped.
Next comes the Jew, with his long
cap just covering the top of his head; while at
his side is seen the tawny Moor, perhaps the
disinherited lord of that soil, upon which he now
treads a stranger, his venerable beard sweeping
his breast, his white turban twisted around the
head in oriental form, his pipe between his lips,
and his loose flowing trowsers slightly tucked up
above the ankle.

I could never look upon these men without
an involuntary feeling of compassion, as I could
often seem to trace upon their countenances an
expression of the sadness and regret, which, it is
said, never cease to be felt by the descendants of
that unfortunate race, once the undisputed possessors
of this fertile and beautiful clime.

There are many, I doubt not, who would deem
wholly superfluous such waste of compassionate
feelings towards a barbarous people, who are
only regarded by them in the light of relentless
and lawless invaders of Spain, and whose expulsion
thence they consider but a kind of retributive
justice, not to be looked upon as calling forth
commiseration or sympathy. But however plausible
such an argument might appear at first
view, it changes its complexion when the fact is
remembered, that Spain, at the period of its invasion22* 22(3)v 248
by the Moors, was in the possession of Goths
and Vandals, no less barbarous than themselves,
who, having acquired the country by conquest,
and having treated the inhabitants with the most
severe cruelties, finally crossed the sea into
Africa, and attacked the Moors. Being driven
back, and forced to abandon their unjust invasion,
it was but a species of retaliation, naturally
to be expected, that the victorious Moors should,
in their turn, attack the country of their invaders.
And, after having obtained, and kept in prosperous
possession, this same country, for a space of
five or six hundred years, their forced abandonment
of it at the last, when it had become, through
their own industry, a perfect garden of beauty,
and was the cherished home of their affection and
their pride, was surely deserving of pity, infidels
though they were; and Christian can, I think,
fail to acknowledge their case a hard one, although
he could not wish the event to have been otherwise
than it really was.

The females, too, in Gibraltar, form in appearance
an entire contrast to each other. If the difference
in garb between an English and Spanish
gentleman is marked, how much more strikingly
is it so with the other sex; where the tasteful
fancy-hat, splendid satin cloak, and rich laces of
the English lady, are contrasted with the simple
black dress, the graceful mantilla, and the fluttering
fan, of the less showy, but far more beautiful, 22(4)r 249
Spaniard; or with the bright scarlet cloaks and
hoods, trimmed with broad black velvet, which
distinguish the lower order of Portuguese women,
who are seen in the street at almost all hours of
the day.

Now when to these various costumes, which
meet your eye every time you look out at the
window, you add the beautiful sight of numerous
regiments of English troops, uniformed in the
most splendid manner, sometimes accompanied
by full bands of music, and which are constantly
passing and repassing, I think you will allow
that Gibraltar, small as it is, possesses temporary
attractions for a stranger of no ordinary kind,—
attractions, which will only cease to please, when
the same scene of things shall have been too often
repeated to retain any longer the power to charm.

The morning following our arrival at Gibraltar,
we took an early walk to the Alameda, which is
more neatly laid out, and exhibits more tasteful
arrangement of ornaments, than any promenade
of the kind I had yet seen in Spain. A part of
it consists of the parade ground, with its beautiful
enclosure of bright flowers and luxuriant
shrubbery, in which is mingled the aloes with
other exotic plants of great beauty. Alleys, bordered
with trees, and seats from space to space,
render a portion of the ground delightful as a
public walk.

Advancing by one of these alleys, at the left 22(4)v 250
of the broad, smooth esplanade, which constitutes
the parade ground, we reached by far the most
beautiful part of the Alameda. Here are seen
several terraces, raised one above the other, and
clothed with the gay and brilliant blossoms of a
countless variety of plants. Winding paths, bordered
with hedges of the horse-shoe geranium in
full bloom, led from terrace to terrace, and from
one plantation to another, where the bright but
evanescent hues of many flowers displayed themselves
in beautiful variety, while every breath of
air, which stirred among them, came forth laden
with their sweet and delicious fragrance.

Two little Chinese summer houses, embowered
in shade, and the light fancy bridges which are
thrown across little hollows in the grounds, add
much beauty to the scene; and from the most
elevated part of the terraces, the eye may rove
unimpeded over the smooth surface of the bay,
whitened with shipping, and up to the mountainous
ridges of the Rock, and from thence across
to its no less elevated rival upon the opposite side
of the strait.

Occupying a conspicuous spot in a part of the
Alameda, is a kind of flat, square terrace; and in
the centre of it is a stone mound, covered with
ivy, which supports the pedestal of a colossal
statue, representing Lord Heathcote. Although
this statue is extremely ordinary in its execution,
it appears well in the midst of so much green 22(5)r 251
foliage, and particularly at a little distance. It
possessed, to us, another attraction, in the strong
resemblance which we could trace in it to General
Washington
. One might almost imagine, at first
sight, that it was actually intended for Washington,
though an instant’s reflection would bring to
mind, that one of the last spots on earth, upon
which we might hope to see the image of that illustrious
and venerated patriot, would be the
pleasure grounds of an English garrison.

Ample time had been allowed me to see every
part of the Alameda, to my satisfaction, when the
roll of drums announced the hour in which divine
service was to be performed upon the parade
ground, in presence of the soldiery, according to
established custom on Sunday mornings. We
immediately descended to the esplanade, and stationed
ourselves beneath the trees on one side to
await the approach of the troops. They soon
marched into the parade ground in perfect order,
to the enlivening music of the band; and forming
a hollow square, they assumed an attitude of
fixed attention, and unbroken silence reigned for
some moments over the plain.

During this time I had a full and perfect view
of the different regiments, whose splendid and
varied uniforms set them off to the best advantage.
That of the Highland regiments was the
most peculiar and the most striking in its general
effect. The bright tartan kilt and cloak, and the 22(5)v 252
buskined leg, bare at the knee, announced, at
sight, the soldiers of bonny Scotland; and the
romantic associations, which cling to the very
name of a Highlander, caused me to look upon
this brilliant array of Highland troops with feelings
of thrilling interest. They were all picked
men, of healthy, strong, muscular appearance;
and the large black caps, which they wore upon
their heads, were overshadowed by a profusion
of long black feathers, whose mournful hue was
relieved by the deep red of a single rich, heavy
plume, placed at one side.

At length the dead silence, which had prevailed
around us, was broken by the voice of the clergyman,
—rendered peculiarly solemn by being heard
in the open air. Kneeling before a large drum,
which served as an altar, he commenced reading
the beautiful ritual of the English Church, in which
all present appeared to join, and which certainly
was calculated to produce a powerful and devotional
effect upon the mind in a scene like this.

So soon as the prayers were concluded, the
clear notes of the martial band again filled the
air, and the military part of the audience, resuming
their line of march, retired from the spot.
Those, who stood by as spectators of the service,
soon after dispersed, in various directions, leaving
the ground unoccupied, except by the sentinels,
who, stationed at their respective posts, paced
backward and forward with measured tread, apparently 22(6)r 253
unmindful of every thing but the sole
object of their watch.

Retracing our steps through the Alameda, we
took the road leading to a kind of promontory or
toungue of land, called Point Europa, which forms
the southern extremity of Gibraltar, towards
Africa. All the way to the point, the road lies
through a succession of beautiful gardens and
teraces, planted, like the Alameda, with every
variety of flower and shrub, in addition to groves
of orange trees laden with fruit, and an occasional
palm tree of lofty and majestic height. The road
was fenced in by a wall of coarse masonry, ill
corresponding with the beauty of the surrounding
landscape. It was bristled at every point with
pieces of broken glass, which must prove an effectual
barrier against the attempts of any interloper
to intrude upon his neighbor’s premises.

On reaching Point Europa, one becomes sensibly
aware, that scarce any thing, short of miracle,
could wrest Gibraltar from the hands of its
possessors. Fortifications of prodigious strength,
which would baffle all human effort to overcome
them, may be seen on all sides. The shelving
rocks, which bound the promontory, are raised
several feet above the water, and upon the successive
ledges, which they form one below the
other, are placed ranges of cannon, with a covered
gallery leading to them. Cannons, too, are
placed upon every prominent point of the cliffs, 22(6)v 254
with which Europa terminates on the northern
side; and, upon looking up, you may see the different
signal towers, and open-mouthed batteries,
which defend the Rock, and the sentinels walking
to and fro, and appearing like so many artificial
figures, in the immense distance at which they
are raised above you.

All these powerful batteries combined, command
a full sweep of every part of the Mediterranean
contiguous to Gibraltar; and it is indeed
scarce possible that any fortifications whatever
should be more strongly and impregnably constructed.

On returning to the town, we passed along by
the batteries on the sea-side for the whole distance;
and after entering into a church, at which
the services were scarce more than commenced,
we returned to the hotel, as I supposed for the
day. But in this I was mistaken; for, not long
after I had seated myself quietly in my room, we
received a message from a friend, informing us
that a party of gentlemen were about ascending
to the excavations of the Rock, who desired the
pleasure of our company. The opportunity was
not to be lost, and we gladly accepted the invitation.
Upon meeting the gentlemen of the party,
we found, to our no small gratification, that they
consisted almost entirely of American ship masters,
several of them intelligent, agreeable young
men. An English gentleman accompanied them, 23(1)r 255
a merchant residing at Gibraltar, who entertained
feelings of kindness and good fellowship towards
Americans generally, from having business associations
with many persons from the other side of
the Atlantic. He had previously procured the
requisite permit, with a serjeant of the garrison
to bear us company, both as guide and guard in
our journey through the bowels of the Rock.

In the group, of our merry fellow-countrymen,
whose conversation carried our thoughts irresistibly
back from a land of strangers to our own
beloved home, we commenced climbing up the
side of the precipice. Following a steep acclivity
from the town, we came to what is called Castle
Gallery
, where was a door locked upon the outside,
but of which our guide had the key. This
door being opened, we entered a narrow pass,
which led to a long succession of galleries cut
into the solid rock, and which form, perhaps, one
of the most astonishing specimens of human labor
and perseverance, that exists in the world.
The several galleries are pierced with loop-holes,
very near together, in each of which is placed a
cannon of considerable size; and the name of
each gallery is painted in large letters upon its
side.

On arriving at Willis’ Gallery, we passed out
to a large battery, overlooking the bay; and from
thence to Farrington’s Battery, which stands at
the edge of a tremendous precipice, looking down 22 23(1)v 256
upon the Mediterranean, above whose level the
Rock here rises fourteen hundred feet, in a nearly
perpendicular line. As I gazed upon the
awful gulf beneath my feet, my very brain grew
giddy; and yet ledge after ledge arose above us,
in still increasing height.

Upon these ledges of rock, we saw innumerable
monkies, sporting in the sun, and frisking
from side to side in the gayest and most frolicsome
mood. The existence of these monkeys at
this particular spot, it being the only one in
Europe where they are found in a wild state, has
given rise to much speculation. Many persons
will not believe that they do exist, as you may
frequently ascend the Rock without seeing them;
and indeed I had more than once heard their appearance
spoken of as an idle flight of the imagination,
which had no foundation in reality. I
had an opportunity, however, of satisfying myself
of the contrary. Even with the naked eye, they
were plainly visible, in great numbers, and the
spy-glass which we carried with us left no manner
of doubt that they were actually monkeys, many
of them of very large size. I was glad to have
an opportunity of seeing them, as after the conversations
which I had heard, I felt no little curiosity
upon the subject.

After watching their gambols for some time,
we re-entered the galleries; and descending a
spiral stair-case, reached Cornwallis’ Hall. This 23(2)r 257
is a large square room, cut out of the rock, and
containing several loop holes, in which were stationed
cannons of enormous size.

From thence we again ascended the stairs to
Saint George’s Hall, which is the highest of the
excavations, and is sometimes resorted to by parties
of gentlemen, as a place of amusement.
This hall, like all the others, is furnished with a
strong battery; and a spiral stair-case leads from
it to the outside of the rock, where, standing
upon the roof of the hall, you may look down to
the depth of a thousand feet below you.

These wonderful excavations, which are the
astonishment of every beholder, and which only
could have been produced by a degree of labor
and expense almost inconceivable, are considered
by military men of very little service as fortifications;
and indeed the danger is not a trifling
one, that the explosion of the cannons may prove
destructive to those who fire them, either by the
concussion of the air only, or by bringing down
a portion of the rock in which they are placed.

These guns were fired in salute a short time
since, on occasion of the arrival of the Duke of
Buckingham
in Gibraltar. The effect must
have been beautiful to the eye of a spectator; but
it is much to be lamented that no really useful
purpose should have been answered by the expenditure
of so much toil, and time, and wealth,
as must have been employed in these works, 23(2)v 258
which, after all, are looked upon as mere matters
of curiosity, and regarded as rather a useless, if
not absurd, achievement.

Once more entering Saint George’s Hall, we
retraced our steps through the galleries, many of
them extremely wet and damp, from the collection
of vapor which hung upon the walls and fell
in large drops upon the floor beneath; and upon
again emerging into the open air, we took the
path which led us to Bruce’s Farm, so called,
which is a pleasant spot, and a grateful resting
place after the fatigue of passing through the excavations.
The house is a neat one, and has a
very pretty garden attached to it, out in terraces.

There we partook of a simple collation, and
remained sufficiently long to rest ourselves, and
thus prepare for the renewed exertions, which
must be made, to reach the top of the Rock. To
my surprise, however, I found that all the gentlemen
who accompanied us, without exception,
were quite too weary to proceed, and announced
their intention of going no farther. Bidding
them, therefore, a cordial farewell, with hearty
wishes for their safe return to our mutual country,
we turned our faces towards the path leading
to the Signal Tower, determined not to be discouraged
from our object, unless by some more
powerful motive than mere fatigue.

A steep, toilsome ascent leads to the Signal 23(3)r 259
Tower, which is situated upon one of the most
elevated points of the Rock; and within it is
placed a telegraph, which communicates with
another at the foot of the mountain, and the sentinels
are thus enabled to give instant notice to
the town of any approaching peril.

At this spot a vast and most magnificent view
bursts upon the sight. At one sight of the Rock,
which rises perpendicularly in terrific grandeur,
are seen the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean,
stretching out far and wide, their blue expanse
unruffled by the play of a single zephyr,
and sleeping in undisturbed tranquility, forgetful
of those raging tempests, which may so soon
break the peaceful calm, cause the angry billows
to arise in their might, and change the now beauteous
scene into one of horror and dismay.

On the other hand the long boundless Atlantic
spreads out its smooth surface to the passing
breeze, untouched by its power, except as an occasional
ripple bounds playfully along the sparkling
water; while from the vast height at which
you are elevated, the ships in the harbor appear
scarce more than a mimic fleet of children’s
boats; and the strongly fortified garrison, which
lies at your feet, dwindles away to the same comparative
littleness.

But beyond, on either side, the limitless extent
of two vast continents displays itself before
the eye, which may discern many a cultivated 22* 23(3)v 260
field, and unfruitful plain, successively varying
the scene, together with far-off villages and populous
towns, distinctly visible for many leagues
around, and mingling at last with the distant horizon.

Such is a feeble and very inadequate description
of the splendid prospect from the top of the
Rock, upon which I could not but gaze in speechless
delight and admiration.

At the Signal Tower we obtained another
guide, and once more descending, passed through
a cave into a path, which conducts to Michael’s
Cave
, a hollow formed by nature in the Rock.
Entering the mouth of the cave, you find yourself
in a large hall, extremely wet and muddy
under foot; and from whence dark passages lead
downwards to an unknown extent. We descended
for a short distance to view the various petrifactions,
which are formed there, many of which
resemble, in no small degree, different forms in
architecture. We were not tempted, however, to
pursue the dark chilly passage very far; and accordingly
returned to the outer path, which led us
up another precipitous height to the stone tower,
called O’Hara’s Folly, built upon one of the
highest pinnacles of the Rock. This tower, as
its name sufficiently denotes, was adapted to no
useful purpose; and having been scathed by
lightning when about half completed, it was abandoned
to the mercy of wind and storm. The 23(4)r 261
view from it is even more magnificent and extensive
than that from the Signal Tower, although
essentially the same.

Descending once again, we passed Douglas’
Cave
, a much smaller natural cavern than the
one we had entered, and finally reached what is
called the Mediterranean road. At the commencement
of this pathway is a flight of broad
steps, leading in a zigzag direction down the face
of the cliff,-the whole road in fact having been
cut in the outside surface of it. In one place it
was necessary to cut a gallery through in order
to pass; and in many other places the descent is
even painfully abrupt.

About half way down the Rock is the Jewish
burying ground, where we stopped a few moments
for rest. Several striking peculiarities
marked this burying ground. It had no enclosure
whatever, and instead of a turf clad mound,
and erect grave-stones, there was placed upon
each grave a single marble slab, much in form of
a coffin, upon which is the inscription in Hebrew
letters. The effect is altogether singular and curious.

Another long, steep declivity at length brought
us to Point Europa; and after an absence of five
hours, nearly every moment of which we had
been upon our feet, independent of our early walk
to Europa, we reached the hotel once more,
weary in limb, though amply repaid for all our 23(4)v 262
toil and trouble in accomplishing the excursion,
by the pleasure which it had afforded us.

Upon reaching Gibraltar, we had determined,
if possible, to start for Malaga on Monday, or,
at farthest, Tuesday. But, on inquiry, we were
assured, that it would be nothing short of madness
to attempt going by land, on account of the
terrible state of the roads; and, as the wind blew
freshly into the harbor, no vessel could put out
to sea, and we were therefore obliged to wait
with patience, until wind and tide should be more
favorable to us. In the meantime, our lengthened
stay was rendered very pleasant to us by
the considerate kindness and attentive hospitality
of several American families residing at the Rock.
Many hours passed delightfully away in their
society, which might otherwise have hung heavily
on our hands, while waiting in constant expectation
of an opportunity to embark for Malaga.

On the morning of Monday, I took a pleasant
walk to the neutral ground, which is a level tract
of land between Gibraltar and San Roque, a small
Spanish town, frequently resorted to by parties
of pleasure from the English garrison. I saw
little here to remark, except another burial place
of equally singular appearance with the Jewish
one, which I had seen the day before, though
very different in form. The graves were all
rounded above the surface of the ground, it is true;
but the mounds thus formed were composed of 23(5)r 263
mortar, and upon them were placed scallop shells,
laid in even and regular lines so as entirely to
cover the grave. What the motive can be, for a
custom so singular, I cannot conjecture. If it
were merely for embellishment, I should think
many other expedients might have been adopted
to produce the effect, of much greater beauty,
and accomplished at less expense of time and
trouble.

Another pleasant walk was afforded me by a
visit to the Civil Hospital and the Military Library.
The former is a small, but extremely
convenient, establishment. Good order reigns
throughout, and every arrangement seems to have
been made for the comfort of its inmates. This
hospital was established by private charity; and
may well be looked upon with honest self-gratulation
by the generous individuals, who were instrumental
in affording so quiet and comfortable
a home for the needy, the sick, and unfortunate.

The Military Library is tasteful and commodious
in its arrangements, and is possessed of
every convenience for the purposes of reading
and study, in addition to copious stores of well
selected books.

Both these buildings are situated upon the
elevated part of the town, where are several delightfully
located dwelling-houses, surrounded by
beautiful gardens and fragrant orange groves.

Having waited a full week in the vain hope of 23(5)v 264
a change of wind, and seeing no present prospect
that our wishes in this respect would be gratified,
we determined to risk all the danger of a land
passage to Malaga; which we were the more
willing to do from the assurances of several persons
who had recently travelled the road, that
the accounts given of its bad condition were
much exaggerated, and the actual dangers of
travelling over it very trifling.

Without farther delay, therefore, we prepared
for our departure from Gibraltar.

Letter XXI.

San Roque.—Modes of Travelling.—The Guadiaro.—Manilva.
Estepona.—Watch Towers.—Marvella.—Fuengirola.

Having engaged horses, for our journey to
Malaga, of a Spaniard residing at San Roque, it
became convenient for us to pass the night there,
in order to set off before sun-rise the next morning.
Towards evening, therefore, (Tuesday,
1830-02-09February 9th.), taking a caleche at Gibraltar, we
bade a final adieu to the Rock; and arossingcrossing the
neutral ground, proceeded to San Roque, nearly
the whole distance being along the sea beach,
dashed by the waters of the Atlantic, flowing up
into the bay of Algeziras. The rapid pace, at 23(6)r 265
which we drove, soon brought us to the village,
and the inn at which we were to lodge. There a
supper was served in the Spanish style; and so
long had I been habituated to the mode of cooking
in Spain, and to the simple manners of the
people, that I experienced no small degree of satisfaction
on finding myself among them once
more, and hearing again the melodious accents
of the Castilian tongue. At an early hour after
supper I retired to bed; and at five o’clock the
following morning was fully prepared for the journey
before me.

The only practicable mode of going from San
Roque
to Malaga by land is upon the back of
horses or mules, as there is no suitable road by
which to travel in carriages. Indeed, in the
mountainous regions of the kingdom of Granada,
through which our journey now lay, the transportation
of merchandize, as well as travelling, is
almost universally upon the back of animals. It
is much the case every where in Spain, but particularly
so in this part of it, where, on the one
hand, the construction of good roads would require
an enormous expenditure of money, and on
the other hand, neither the taste of the people
nor the condition of the country has called for
such an expenditure. Nothing can exceed the
rude and singular manner in which a mule or
horse is here equipped for the purpose of carrying
a female upon his back. In the place of a saddle, 23(6)v 266
is used a singular looking frame called
xamua. That part of it, which goes across the
mule’s back, is in form of the lower part of a cross
bedstead, and opens and shuts in precisely the
same way. The upper part forms a sort of chair,
with a broad leather band to support the back,
and a narrower one at each side for the arms;and
instead of a stirrup, a small piece of wood is
so fixed as to serve all the purposes of a foot
board
. After the xamua is firmly fastened upon
the animal, a soft cushion or pillow is placed
on his back, within the frame, and the whole apparatus
is thus rendered far more easy, safe, and
convenient than a common side saddle, although
it is certainly in no smaller degree uncouth and
clumsy in appearance.

The xamua, such as I have described it, is
often very handsomely finished; and may be made
to resemble perfectly an arm chair, with stuffed
back, side, and cushion, and with coverings of
colored morocco. But the plainer and more simple
kind is much more common.

Behold me then seated on my xamua, on the
back of a smart mule; having no bridle wherewith
to manage him, but instead of it, a single
cord fastened around his neck, and attached at
the mouth to a sort of head-stall. The guide,
however, saves me all trouble on that score,
by taking the end of the cord in his hand,
and thus leading the mule along beside him, 24(1)r 267
agreeably to the custom of the country.

For the first two leagues after leaving San
Roque
, we passed over a continual succession of
hills and valleys almost entirely uncultivated, and
abounding with great quantities of palmitas,
although the soil is capable of yielding an abundant
and valuable harvest, if properly improved.
Soon after the sun arose, I began to have a realizing
sense of the dangerous state of the road,
which I had been so frequently warned of before
leaving Gibraltar, by coming to the top of a steep
hill, down which it seemed to me impossible we
could ride, without the greatest risk of breaking our
necks. The whole declivity, from top to bottom,
was covered with large stones and rocks, many of
them loose, and separated by deep tracks or gulleys,
apparently in every direction. I supposed,
of course, that the guide would request me to
dismount here and walk to the foot of the hill;
but instead of doing so, he gave the bridle into
my hand, urging me, at the same time, upon no
account to attempt controlling the mule, but to
let him follow his own course. This advice I
reluctantly adhered to, though in consequence of
it, expecting to be precipitated headlong among the
sharp pointed rocks around me. But to my great
surprise, the sagacious animal soon picked out a
small, narrow path, which had escaped my notice,
and pursuing it with the utmost caution
among the loose and often falling stones, brought 23 24(1)v 268
me safely to the bottom in a much shorter time
than I could possibly have reached it by my own
guidance. In several places, where the path was
very steep and slippery, he would place his hoofs
closely together, and thus slide down, recovering
his foot-hold immediately upon finding himself
on firmer and more even ground. After such a
display of almost reasoning prudence and caution
on the part of the faithful animal that bore
me, I dismissed all fear of danger, and often, during
the day, rode down hills quite as bad if not
worse, with much less apprehension than I have
many times experienced on perfectly level ground.

The weather at this time was beyond measure
delightful, and reminded me continually of one of
our mildest spring days at home. The little birds
were singing melodiously, as they flew from spray
to spray, and a beautiful variety of wild flowers
and heath blossoms were springing up around us
and beneath our feet. Occasionally we were accosted
by a passing traveller with the simple salutation
which bade us “go with God”, and which
always sounds agreeably to my ear, and possesses
a never-tiring charm, notwithstanding the almost
infinite number of times I have heard the same
words repeated.

Among the several persons whom we met, one
group afforded me no little amusement. While
riding along I had observed a borrico of very
small size approaching us at a distance, and as it 24(2)r 269
drew near, behold! the panniers with which the
poor little animals are laden, were filled with
human beings, to the number of five or six. In
one pannier sat a young woman of very decent
appearance, with a small infant in her lap; and
the other one was occupied by three or four little
children, all of them seeming nearly of a size,
and the whole band, mother and all, singing
loudly in chorus, their faces expressive of the
utmost contentment and happiness, while the patient
little donkey trudged sleepily along beneath
his singular burthen. Our guide told me that it
was no unusual sight to see whole families travelling
in this manner, from place to place, either
for recreation or other purposes.

At the distance of two leagues and a half from
San Roque, we reached the river Guadiaro, which
is commonly but a small stream easily forded.
Now, however, it had swelled to a deep, rapid
torrent, and we were obliged to cross it in a large
ferry-boat. Before crossing it, we were delayed
sometime, in order that our baggage might undergo
a thorough search, by an insolent and intoxicated
custom-house agent, who afforded us
considerable vexation and trouble. It was the
first time that I had ever met with any annoyance
of the kind, since entering Spain, and I was therefore
not in the least prepared to expect being called
upon to dismount, nor very patient at the long
and unnecessary detention thus occasioned us. 24(2)v 270
This man was only the second Spaniard whom I
had ever seen in the least degree intoxicated;
and I believe I may say the very first one, who
had conducted towards us in any other than a
civil and proper manner. Unluckily for the
aduanero, a lieutenant, who commanded the guard
stationed at this spot, came up in the midst of
our controversy, and silenced the fellow at once
by a severe reprimand, and by threatening to
make complaint of him to his superiors if he dared
again to use such improper language to travellers,
and put them to so much unnecessary trouble,by
no means called for in the fulfilment of his
official duties.

Passing the Guadiaro, we pursued our way to
the Venta de Guadiaro, a lone house by the road
side, where we alighted and partook of some refreshment,
amusing ourselves at the same time
with the merry jokes and light-hearted mirth of a
numerous party, who had arrived at the venta
just before us, and were enjoying a simple meal
of fried fish and bread, and a bota of wine, with
unusual glee. We remained here a short time
only, being anxious to reach our place of destination
before evening.

In the course of our journey we had approached
gradually nearer the high mountains, which
we had seen upon our left after leaving San
Roque
; and as gradually the lofty summit of the
Rock of Gibraltar faded from our view, until it 24(3)r 271
appeared but a single blue speck in the distant
horizon. As we rode from the Venta de Guadiaro,
we came in sight of the village of Manilva,
which is situated upon an eminence forming part
of the long snow-topt chain of the Sierra Bermeja.
We did not pass through Manilva; but
leaving it upon our left, descended from among
the hills, over which we had been slowly winding
for the whole day, and continued our journey
along upon the sea beach.

Here my attention was constantly occupied by
the great number of fishermen, who crowded the
beach from day to day, many of them busily engaged
in drawing in their nets, or arranging
their boats, while various groups of their more
indolent, or perhaps wearied, companions were
sleeping on the sand, or seated around a roaring
fire, whose broad glare contrasted strongly with
the swarthy, sun-burnt features and half naked
forms surrounding it; or which lay scattered
about upon the beach, apparently sunk in most
profound repose. Sometimes I saw troops of
children, with only just covering enough to save
them from complete nudity, rolling around in
the sand, or basking in the sun, with no employment
whatever, although many of them were
large, strong looking lads, quite old enough to
be employed in some useful and profitable occupation.

We reached the Posada de la Paz, at Estepona, 23* 24(3)v 272
a town about two leagues from Manilva, just at
dark; and here remained for the night.

For five leagues after leaving Estepona, you
meet with no village, and no house where you may
rest, except a small venta, about half way between
Estepona and the town of Marvella. The country,
for nearly the whole distance, is dreary, and
destitute of cultivation; but the roads leads, for
many miles, along the sea beach, and the monotony
of the scene is thus agreeably varied. Dark
groups of fishermen, like those I had remarked
in our journey of yesterday, continued at times to
appear, and beguiled me of many an otherwise
weary hour.

All along the coast, at intervals, are erected
watch towers, whose original establishment is
generally attributed to the Moors. These towers
are solid, and, for the most part, perfectly
round; and being intended only as observatories,
or places from which to look out upon the adjacent
country, appear more like monuments of former
days, than as if appropriated to any present use.
There is neither door or stair-case by which persons
may go in and out; and the only mode of
entrance is through a window more than half way
up to the top of the tower, and which is reached
by means of a rope ladder. Owing to the contraband
trade, which is carried on to great extent
in this region, a guard is stationed at most of the
towers, who inhabits a small thatched-roof cottage 24(4)r 273
close at hand, and whose duty it is to keep
a watchful eye upon all travellers, and to satisfy
himself that no prohibited goods are transported
from place to place. Judging from the little
trouble given us in passing these stations, however,
I should imagine that the contrabandista
might easily evade the law without much fear of
detection; and, indeed, the practice seems to be
universal to bestow a trifling gratuity upon the
guard, and thus buy off any scrutiny into what
passes under his eye. The presence of these
men, however, undoubtedly checks the evil arising
from lawless trade by lessening its extent;
and they also serve a useful purpose in keeping
the country free from robbers, and thus guarding
not only the public revenue, but the persons and
property of private individuals from such ruthless
depredators.

Upon approaching Marvella, the aspect of the
country changes, and cultivated fields again appear,
to indicate the abode of men and of human
industry. An important article of culture here
consists of sugar-cane, which flourishes in this
neighborhood as well as in America. We passed
a large plantation of it, on our left, just before entering
Marvella, a small town situated near the
sea-shore, and containing about eleven hundred
inhabitants, many of whom are principally engaged
in fishery.

Passing through the town without stopping, we 24(4)v 274
continued along the sea coast, and directly at the
water’s edge. A brisk shower of rain came up
during the afternoon; but wrapping myself closely
in my cloak, I suffered no inconvenience from it,
and the sun soon coming out from the clouds, and
shining with powerful heat, dispelled entirely,
every trace of our recent wetting. After proceeding
for some distance upon the shore, we
suddenly turned off to the left, and ascended
among the mountains. Here the scene was
changed indeed. From the wide expanse of
water, which had lain spread out before us for so
many leagues, and upon whose strand the sound
of many a fisher’s voice was heard, our eyes now
ranged over a succession of lofty hills and deep
valleys, buried in the most profound and even
fearful solitude; for, in such a country, who could
look around him without some slight feeling of
uneasiness, to view a thousand dark hollows and
rocky crevices, in which the treacherous robber
might lie concealed, ready to rush out upon his
defenceless prey? Few spots are better adapted
by nature, than those over which we were now
passing, for deeds of the kind, so lone, so secluded,
so far from any human aid, who could avail
aught in the hour of peril. But it is in appearance
only, that these solitudes are now particularly
dangerous. A long period of time has elapsed
since any instance of robbery has here taken
place. The few travellers who journey in this 24(5)r 275
direction are not generally of a class to hold out
sufficient temptation for plunder; and those, who
are of that description, never travel unarmed, a
circumstance which renders the attempt to rob
them too hazardous to be lightly incurred.

The path, which we now pursued, and which
led into the deepest defiles of the mountains, was
extremely narrow and circuitous, often approaching
in its abrupt windings to the very verge of
frightful precipices, some of them several hundred
feet in depth. It required, I will assure you, no
small degree of resolution to remain fixed upon
the back of my mule, as he traversed this perilous
foot-path within a single inch of the terrific
abyss, to plunge into which would be instant and
unavoidable destruction, and with a towering wall
of rock at the other side of the path-way, which
prevented the possibility of seeking safety in that
direction, should the animal make a false step
and fall. The entire confidence, however, which
I felt in the security of his footing, and the knowledge
that an accident of this kind is unknown
even in these wild regions, gave me courage to
persevere; and fixing my eyes firmly upon the
rock before me, and holding fast by xamua,
I endeavored as much as possible to forget the
dreary precipice over whose brink I was passing,
although I could not shut my eyes to the fact,
that in many places the path was so exceedingly
narrow as to prevent the mule from placing both 24(5)v 276
feet down upon a level, and he was thus obliged
to push himself along in a manner entirely indescribable,
but which the sagacious creature knew
to be the only one consistent with safety.

But the scenery around us was not always of
so frightful a nature, though necessarily wild and
uncultured. A constant variety of mountain
and valley met our view as we journeyed along;
and at times a broad and rapid stream impeded
our progress, which, traced to its original size,
proved nothing more than a small rivulet, and
while flowing down from the hill in summer with
murmur almost unheard, swells in winter to a
violent torrent, sweeping every thing before its
resistless current, and incapable of being forded
with safety. In the month of February, however,
the waters of these floods, with a very few exceptions,
are sufficiently shallow to be easily
crossed in this manner. Still, the rapidity with
which they flow is apt to occasion a sensation of
giddiness, particularly if the stream is a broad
one; and I more than once came very near losing
my balance, as the stubborn and unmanageable
beast, which I rode, made a full halt in the midst
of the water to drink; and it was only by shutting
my eyes, that I could avoid that peculiar swimming
of the head, which is always produced by
the sight of a swiftly gliding stream.

Towards the approach of evening we emerged
from the hills, and a steep descent brought us to 24(6)r 277
a plain, in the midst of which is a small village,
called Fuengirola, having a mountain of the same
name in its vicinity; and here we finished our
journey for the day.

Letter XXII.

Fuengirola.—Females.—Almina.—Torremolinos.—A Spanish
School.—Churriana.—Malaga.—Cathedral.—Convent of la
Victoria
.—Gibralfaro.—Corsarios.

On our arrival at Fuengirola, we felt heartily
glad to find a place of shelter and refreshment
after a fatiguing journey of nine leagues. This
mode of travelling, however, I found less tiresome
than I had imagined it to be, and indeed much
less so than the calesa or tartana, the only other
popular means of conveyance in Spain.

At the venta where we lodged, we found no
food of any description, not even bread; but we
had fortunately purchased a cony from a hunter
whom we met among the mountains, in the anticipation
that we might have need of it; and having
also obtained some rice and a stock of bread
in the village, we were soon served with a smoking
dish of delicious guisado, which afforded us
an ample and satisfactory repast. The people
who kept the venta seemed very honest and obliging,
and made all diligence to answer the demands 24(6)v 278
of a perfect throng of muleteers and other
travellers, who completely filled every part of the
kitchen, and continued to arrive in increasing
numbers. We had our supper prepared in a private
apartment, at the voluntary suggestion of the
hostess, who spared no pains that we should be
comfortably accommodated, and consigned to us
as attendants two pretty young girls, of quiet
and modest demeanor.

I have remarked during the whole of our journey
from San Roque, that the females, generally
speaking, are extremely pretty, and very many
of them strikingly beautiful. In passing through
several of the villages, I scarcely saw a female
face that I did not involuntarily turn to look upon
a second time and to admire. The peculiar paleness,
which characterizes the Spanish complexion
generally, I very rarely observed in these regions,
where there is so great a mixture of the
Moorish cast of feature, as well as color of the
skin. On the contrary, those features, that more
particularly attracted me by their beauty, although
dark in hue nearly to swarthiness, were bright
and blooming to an unusual degree, and graced
with teeth of pearly whiteness, eyes and hair of
brilliant black, the whole countenance admirably
corresponding with a figure, which many a city
belle might regard with an envious eye.

One of the young girls at the inn, however,
was the reverse of this description, having a skin 25(1)r 279
delicately white, blue eyes, and light hair. She
was remarkably pretty notwithstanding, and made
up for any deficiency of bloom and animation of
countenance by a sweet expression of gentleness
and good temper.

A night of deep repose succeeded to the day
of wearisome travel, which I had sustained;—
and before light the next day we were again on
the way towards Malaga. On descending into
the large kitchen to take chocolate by the fire,
before our departure, we found not only its floor,
but that also of the stable adjoining, strewn
thickly over with muleteers, all of them fast asleep,
and, as usual, with no softer bed than a single
coarse blanket. Habit, however, renders almost
any privation endurable, and daily toil softens to
the weary frame even a pallet of stone.

The first part of our journey was chill and
comfortless, being along the sea-coast, and a
thick, heavy mist enveloping every object. By
degrees, however, the weather changed completely,
and in a few hours became warm and delightful.
After continuing upon the shore for
some miles, we once more turned off among
mountain precipices, and dangerous path ways,
but where the scenery was extremely beautiful.
The hill sides were here clothed with cultivation,
green with trees and herbage, and irrigated by
innumerable rivulets; and occasionally, from the
top of a precipitous descent, we beheld a delightful24 25(1)v 280
valley at our feet, covered with forests of almond,
fig, and olive trees, from among whose
shade might be seen peeping out a neat white
cottage, with perhaps a luxuriant grove of orange
or lemon trees near it, the ripened fruit hanging
from every bough.

Entering and passing through Elmina, a village
situated among the hills, we hastened our
progress onwards over a healthy and rocky soil,
gaining and losing sight of the ocean at intervals.
At length, just before reaching the little village
of Torremolinos, we came within view of Malaga,
which remained visible for the remainder of
the way.

At Torremolinos, wishing to procure some refreshments,
and seeing no posada at hand, we
ventured to enquire for what we wanted at a
small shop, where eggs and bread were placed at
the window for sale. The master of the house,
who came to the door, very kindly urged us to
alight and come in, while his wife should prepare
us some eggs, which, with fresh bread, was every
thing his humble mansion afforded. Accepting
his invitation, we entered the house, and found the
only large apartment that it contained occupied as
a village school. A little room adjoining it served
as a sitting parlor, and a second, of equally small
size, was used as a kitchen. Long benches, filled
with chubby children, were placed around the
large apartment, and a door being open upon a 25(2)r 281
green grass plat at the back of the house, I saw
several more children, with their books in their
hands, seated upon the grass in the sun, and all
studying aloud in chorus, as were also the smaller
ones within doors. Around the room were
hung fool’s caps and similar curious articles of
punishment;—such as the picture of a large
ass, with these words printed beneath it in capital
letters; “tu y yo somos dos”, you and I are two
and other equally applicable inscriptions. The
transgressing child, who was obliged to wear this
disgraceful badge pinned to his back, and thus
stand up before the whole school to be pointed at
in scorn, considered it a much heavier punishment
to bear than a whipping would be, however
severe, and the master was thus spared the necessity
of chastising his pupils in any other manner
than by mortifying their pride, a punishment
probably called for with much less frequency, than
if he had made use of blows to keep them in order.

I was much amused and gratified by the half
hour spent in this little school, and with its kindhearted
teachers, who treated us with the most
open hospitality, placing before us every refreshment
which their limited means allowed them,
and refusing at last to accept of any remuneration
until absolutely forced upon them. They begged
us at parting to remember, should we ever again
pass that way, that their house was at our disposal;
—or, to use their own emphatic expression, 25(2)v 282
“esta usted en su casa,” so familiar to the ear of
every person, who has travelled in Spain.

Another small village, called Churriana, and
several farm houses, with rich gardens attached
to them, lay between Torremolinos and Malaga;
and the road sometimes passed through groves of
trees and hedges of aloes and green shrubbery.
Upon the high hills, which rose back of the city,
we could plainly discern forests of almond and fig
trees, and an immense quantity of vines, at present
not only stripped of their fruit, but pruned
of the branches also, the main root alone being
left a few inches above the ground. In front of
the city, and stretching far and wide beyond it,
is the broad, beautiful bay of Malaga, affording a
sheltered, safe, and convenient harbor even for
ships of war.

We reached the posada, at which our journey
ended, early in the afternoon, and the remainder
of the day I devoted to needful rest.

At Malaga, as well as at Gibraltar, we were
favored with the society of several very intelligent
and agreeable fellow-countrymen; as indeed
where is the city in Europe, in which an American
may not always find those, whom he can
proudly and cordially acknowledge as the sons of
that great favored Republic, which gave himself
birth? And whose children, however widely
they may be scattered abroad on the face of the
earth, still look to her as the only home of their 25(3)r 283
affections, and are bound to each other by ties,
which no change of clime or lapse of years can
break or unloose.

The objects of curiosity to a stranger, in visiting
Malaga, are few; and the city itself, although
most charmingly situated, and highly flourishing
as a commercial place, is any thing but handsome.
The streets are very narrow, dirty, and irregular;
and the houses generally are of ordinary appearance.
There are, still, some few churches and
other buildings of considerable interest, among
which the Cathedral claims the first place, as indeed
it is the only edifice of much architectural
note.

This church is divided into three large naves,
by grouped columns; and the floor is inlaid with
squares of red and white marble. The choir,
situated in the midst of the church, contains
stalls, and various ornamental figures of saints in
wood, very beautifully carved in bas relief and
sculpture. There are likewise contained in the
choir some good pictures.

The chapel of Saint Francis encloses two very
splendid mausoleums of marble, to the memory
of two bishops of Malaga, each bearing a long
inscription in Latin.

The chapel of the Incarnation is of much
beauty. The altar is adorned with a great variety
of rich and valuable marbles of the country, and
with well executed sculptures in white marble. 24* 25(3)v 284
At each side of the chapel is a mausoleum; the
one of alabaster, erected to Don Bernardo Manrique,
represents a statue of that prelate, kneeling
in the attitude of prayers before a crucifix;
the other to Don Joseph de Molinar, also bears
his kneeling figure and a sepulchral urn, all executed
in marble.

The principal front of the Cathedral presents
a facade of two distinct bodies, each ornamented
with eight marble columns, and flanked by a
tower, of which one only is completed.

The convent of Nuestra Senora de la Victoria
we visited principally to view the burial place of
the rich and noble family of Villalcazar. The
church in itself is not remarkable for its beauty,
although in some respects quite curious. Back of
the chief altar is a circular room, or rotunda, in the
centre of which is a pedestal, bearing a wretched
statue of the Virgin and Child, dressed out in
tinsel and muslin, and supported by three angels.
A red curtain is suspended over the altar, which
conceals the image from view except on particular
feast days, when it is drawn aside. The walls,
as well as the sides of the rotunda, are thickly encrusted
with stucco work, and with various
statues, many of them being much mutilated.

Beneath this room is the family vault alluded
to. It consists of a large square apartment, surrounded
with walled-up niches, in which the dead
are deposited. These walls are also covered 25(4)r 285
with stucco work, representing skeletons and
other emblems of mortality. The top of the
vault is black, and upon it, at regular distances,
are death’s heads with two bones crossed. Most
of the ornaments and figures in this singular
looking cemetery are broken and defaced, and
the whole is in a state of ruin and dilapidation; a
circumstance not easily to be accounted for, in
consideration that branches of the family are
still living in the possession of great wealth.

The convent of Victoria occupies the spot,
upon which the keys of the city were delivered
up by the Moors to King Ferdinand.

The ancient and now ruined Gibralfaro, that
once impregnable Moorish fortress, you will have
seen mentioned in a most interesting manner in
Irving’s Conquest of Granada; and you will not
doubt that the scenes therein described as having
once taken place within and around those
venerable walls, now left solitary and deserted,
rendered my visit to this celebrated ruin full of
melancholy interest.

From the top of the lofty parapets, which still
remain, the far spread environs of Malaga, its
noble bay, and luxuriant vine-clad hills, form a
rich and beautiful prospect.

Our stay in Malaga, at the present time, was
necessarily brief, as we had made our arrangements
to go to Granada with a corsario who was
to leave Malaga on Saturday. By corsarios you 25(4)v 286
are to understand a set of muleteers, who regularly
journey from one city to another and back
again, transporting upon the backs of their mules
the produce and manufactures
, which form the
staple of trade between different parts of the
country. These men always travel in companies,
in order to be more secure from robbery, and
being well armed, there is indeed little danger on
that head. In each company may generally be
found one or more mules unencumbered with a
load, to be used occasionally by the corsarios
themselves when wearied with walking; or, which
very frequently happens, to be let to travellers,
who may wish to avail themselves of a safe and
convenient mode of accomplishing a journey over
the unsettled and dangerous mountain paths, which,
as I have before intimated, are necessary to be traversed,
as forming the only species of road through
a greater part of the kingdom of Granada.

It is true that a good diligence road was formerly
laid out between Malaga and Granada,
which still remains, although much out of repair.
It may, however, be passed over without danger,
either in a carriage or calesa, at those seasons of
the year, when the travelling is good; but such
not being the case now, we did not choose to venture
upon an uncertainty; and therefore took advantage
of the departure of the corsarios, as the
surest means allowed us of prosecuting our journey
in safety.

25(5)r 287

In bidding adieu to Malaga, our regret, on leaving
our newly found friends there, was in a great
measure lessened by the expectation of returning
again after a short absence; as the assurances
given us of the impracticability of proceeding to
Murcia by land were such, as to lead us naturally
to anticipate the necessity of a water passage
from Malaga to Carthagena, the sea-port of the
kingdom of Murcia. It was, therefore, with unmingled
feelings of satisfaction and delight that
I found myself once more seated in a comfortable
xamua, and pressing onward to that abode of
romance and home of chivalry, that far-famed
city of Granada.

Letter XXIII.

Velez Malaga.—Vinuela.—Zafarraya.—Alhama.—Huelma.—
Malada.—Granada.—The Vega.—The Bivarrambla.—The
Alhambra.

From Malaga to Velez Malaga the distance is
about five leagues;—the road traversing the sea
coast entirely, until within a league of the latter
place; when it ascends and continues onwards
through the hills, to avoid a rock, which juts out
into the sea, and thus prevents a passage around
it except at ebb tide. Stone towers, like those I
have already described to you, and some fortified 25(5)v 288
buildings guard the coast at convenient points;
and upon the left hand, as you pass along the
road, beautifully cultivated huertas and extensive
vineyards lie before you, notwithstanding that
the country is entirely destitute of villages, a
circumstance detracting considerably from the
pleasure of travelling through it. Few things
serve to render a long journey more agreeable
or less wearisome than a constant succession of
villages and hamlets, which, like mile stones,
always seem materially to decrease any given
distance, while they impart that cheerfulness to a
landscape, which is ever wanting even in a cultivated
and beautiful tract of country if wholly
uninhabited.

We reached Velez Malaga at twilight, and left
it again too early in the morning for me to see
much of the town. It does not, however, contain
much that is remarkable or interesting. It is
situated upon the declivity of a hill, and is surrounded
by a rich, fruitful territory, which produces
grapes, oranges, and lemons in great abundance,
—and is beautified moreover by extensive
plantations of almond trees, now just putting forth
their buds. Indeed the country round about
Malaga is one of the richest tracts of country in
all Spain, and here are produced the large clustered
grapes, and the delicious bloom raisins, as
well as most others of an inferior quality, which
are used in the United States. The vineyards 25(6)r 289
in this neighborhood likewise afford large supply
of wines; not merely of that ordinary kind
which comes to us from Malaga, but also a variety
of better wines, which are only extensively used
in Spain.

From Velez Malaga to the small town of Vinuela,
two leagues distant, the road, or rather
path, lies through a beautiful valley, cultivated in
every part, and equally abundant in grapes and
other fruits, within the immediate neighborhood of
the former place. Lemons and oranges grow
here in such profusion that you often see large
heaps of them thrown together for manure, or
scattered about in the road, while every tree is
hung with long strips of lemon peel, which, when
dry, is used for purposes of dyeing, and is sold at
greater prices than the entire fruit could be.

Passing from Vinuela over the hills of the
Sierra Texada, covered with vines to their summits,
we came in sight of what is called the Puertas
de Zafarraya
, a steep-sided opening, or pass,
between two immense mountains, rising like huge
pillars on either side of the narrow avenue by
which they are separated. In approaching this
pass, we left a deep gulley on our right hand, and
pursued the horse path, which winds up a difficult
ascent at the side of one of the mountains and
along the edge of abrupt precipices, whose terrific
appearance can more easily by imagined than
described, and which to me lost little of their fearfully 25(6)v 290
dangerous aspect by being frequently passed
over or narrowly inspected. It is otherwise with
those men, who, having spent their lives in traversing
these paths, become so habituated to them
as to lose every sense of their insecurity; and I
have more than once seen such men riding along
with the most perfect unconcern, their feet hanging
over the verge of a yawning gulp, and looking
down into its depths with a head as steady and
heart as unyielding, as if the possibility of danger
did not exist. But with me it was quite a different
thing, and I felt heartily relieved, even with
all my confidence in the security of my mule,
when, descending from the mountain pass, we
entered a delightful valley, or plain, covered with
evergreen oaks and rich pasture ground, having
a few scattered hamlets in view at a distance.

From thence to Alhama the face of the country
is undulating, the road ascending and descending
continually, until within a few leagues of that
place, when you suddenly come to the brow of a
very long, steep hill, which, in some spots, appears
nearly perpendicular; and here the town of
Alhama is full in view, spreading out in the valley
below. At the top of the hill we alighted, and
walked to the bottom, agreeably to the suggestion
of our guide, who would not but acknowledge
that it was better to impose no unnecessary
weight upon the mules in going down so bad a
descent as this.

26(1)r 291

I was overjoyed to find myself near to the end
of our journey, which, though otherwise pleasant,
had been more than ordinarily fatiguing; and
often had the words of the poet, “Ay de mi, Alhama”,
occurred to my thoughts and escaped my lips,
before reaching the interesting city, whose mournful
annals originated this touching ejaculation.

But the interest of Alhama consists, not in any
splendor of appearance, nor in the possession of
monuments of art; for of these it is wholly destitute.
Its ancient rank as a Moorish city, its subsequent
fall, and the historical facts connected
with it, are the true sources from whence that
interest springs. Nearly all the buildings, public
and private, are of Moorish construction; and
there is something so venerable in the whole
aspect of the place, that even the time-worn and
crumbling dwellings have an air about them which
insensibly excites and affects the feelings.

We had sufficient time, after arriving at the
city, to take a leisurely stroll through several of
the streets, and to walk to the castle, standing
upon a considerable eminence; for although Alhama
appears, from the elevated brow of the opposite
hill, to occupy a perfectly level spot, it is
in some places raised many yards above the bed
of the river Marchan, which runs through the
valley. Little now remains of the castle, it having
been blown up by the French, and left a heap
of shattered ruins.

25 26(1)v 292

The posada, where we passed the night, was
quite a comfortable one, although exceedingly
old, and bearing marks of decay in many of its
parts. The house was kept by an elderly Andalusian
with his wife, both of them kind, amiable
people, who felt and expressed a great deal of
curiosity at the unwonted sight of a foreign lady
travelling among them; while at the same time
they paid me every attention which I could desire,
and were anxious to anticipate my wishes in
every thing.

We started off betimes the next morning; and,
when ready to take my departure, the good hostess
presented me with a desert of large clusters
of the exquisite grapes of the country, in aid of
my morning’s repast; and then, with a hearty
shake of the hand, she wished us a safe arrival at
Granada, and that we might not encounter any
ladrones by the way.

Our journey again proceeded over high mountains,
deep valleys, and wide plains, well cultivated;
and the air was delightful, though somewhat
freshened by the snow covered ridges of the Sierra
Nevada
, which arose in solemn grandeur before
us. After passing the little town of Huelmar,
we entered a spacious plain, in company with
several different parties of corsarios and travellers,
who had, from time to time, joined us; and
surrounded by an immense cavalcade of loaded
mules, we pursued our way slowly along, cheered 26(2)r 293
by the lively chat, careless gaiety, and shrill cries
of the companions, whom chance had thus thrown
in our path.

At the village of Malada, where extensive salt
works are established, we again ascended a steep
mountain; and travelling on for some distance,
found ourselves suddenly at the summit of a hill,
from whence my eyes were greeted by one of the
most inexpressibly beautiful views, upon which
they ever rested. There lay the magnificent
Vega of Granada, sprinkled over with small
bright villages and scattered dwelling-houses, in
the midst of innumerable fruit trees, the pomegranate,
orange, lemon, fig, almond, and mulberry;
together with groves of stately forest
trees, all springing up from a carpet of luxuriant
grain, or of soft green verdure, and hemmed in
on every side by an amphitheatre of beautifully
formed hills, planted with vines and olives. The
pellucid waters of the mingled Xenil and Darro,
with various lesser streams and rivulets, flow
through the vast plain, scattering freshness and
beauty at every turn. There at the north, peak
after peak of the majestic Sierra Nevada, clothed
in its snowy robe, appeared to meet and mingle
with the blue arch above them; and the farthest
extremity of the Vega is seen that delightful city,
whose splendors have been extolled by bard, historian,
and novelist, from time immemorial.
Happily indeed has it been designated “el paradis 26(2)v 294
des delices,”
for where on earth can another
spot be found, which, better than the lovely precincts
of Granada, embodies all our fairest visions
of Eden’s beauteous garden?

How vain would be any attempt to describe
the emotions I experienced, when instantaneously
as it were, and without preparation, the whole of
this enchanting prospect burst upon my sight.
All the romance thrown around it by a Florian,
a Chateaubriand, or an Irving, transcends not
the reality; and glowingly as the scene had been
depicted by my imagination, no sketch of fancy
could surpass the beautiful original.

Descending into the plain, we traversed it for a
league or more, and arrived at the little village
of Armilla, forming a sort of suburb to Granada,
which we now approach by a delightful paseo,
bordering the banks of the Xenil, and from
whence, crossing a bridge, we passed through
the Carrera de las Angustias. This spacious,
noble street, which makes the entrance into the
city, composes, at the centre, a fine raised promenade,
having walks upon each side of almost
equal width with the street itself; and upon them
are ranges of lofty buildings, perfectly regular in
height and construction. Turning off to the
right, we came almost immediately to a large
square, called the Campillo, upon one side of
which stand a theatre, and near it the Fonda del
Commercio
. Here we were accommodated with 26(3)r 295
pleasant apartments looking out upon the square,
and having a view of one of the most interesting
portions of Granada, including the Fortress of the
Alhambra
, the famous Vermilion Tower, and a
small part of the celebrated Generalife. Although
I had been prepared to expect nothing striking in
the exterior appearance of the Alhambra, I could
scarcely persuade myself, when it was first pointed
out to me from my window, that the dingy red
towers, so entirely destitute, not only of beauty
and elegance, but even of ordinary taste in their
design, could possibly belong to that wondrous
palace, whose interior is the delight of every beholder.

The Alhambra was naturally the paramount
object of attention to us, on the first day which
we passed at Granada; and very soon after breakfast,
the morning succeeding our arrival there, we
directed our steps towards it, with high-raised
expectations of enjoyment. Leaving the Campillo,
we now passed along the banks of the
Xenil, and entered the large square of the Bivarambla,
so often mentioned in Moorish romances.
Here are seen the buildings of the Alcaceria,
used by the Moors as a species of bazaar, and
now occupied by a perfect world of little retail
shops. The river Darro passes through a stone
arch beneath the middle of this square, through
its whole extent, and joins the Xenil immediately
beyond. From the Bivarambla, we turned off to 25* 26(3)v 296
the right, and entered the Calle de los Gomeles,
an irregular street, which leads up a steep hill to
the outer gate of the palace. This gate is called
La Puerta de las Granadas, from its being surmounted
by a cluster of sculptured pomegranates.
Passing through this gate into the immediate precincts
of the Alhambra, we still continued to
ascend, until we found ourselves walking along
under the walls of the palace yard, its two large,
square towers, connected by lesser ones, crowning
the hill upon our left hand, and gaining nothing,
in point of beauty, from close inspection.
Upon an eminence at the right stands the Torre
Bermeja
, or Vermilion Tower.

Continuing onward through a pleasant paseo,
lined with tall elm trees, we came to a small
streamlet, which descends in a cascade from the
walls above, and flows down the side of the paseo.
This streamlet supplies water to a fountain near
it of very simple construction. It consists merely
of a circular basin, with a short column in the
centre, from whence, when the fountain plays, a
large stream is thrown upwards to the very top
of the elms, which overshadow it; and so great is
the force with which the water emerges from the
jet, that an orange being placed upon the mouth
of it, is also forced upward among the branches
of the trees. Beyond this fountain is a heavy
stone tower, forming a part of the walls; and still
farther on, you come to the Fuente del Emperador, 26(4)r 297
so called. Several jets issue from this fountain,
which force the water to a great distance in
various directions.

A few steps from the Fuente del Emperador
bring you to a sharp run, or angle, at the left,
and this path, running nearly parallel with the
paseo, conducts immediately to the principal entrance
of the Alhambra, called the Gate of Judgment,
which is cut through the large square tower
just mentioned. The form of the entrance is that
of a Moorish arch, with small round pilasters on
each side, and above the centre a hand carved in
stone. Entering into a covered vestibule, you
see before you a second arch, of precisely the
same construction, except that a stone key occupies
the place of the hand, with a niche above it,
surrounded by arabesque work, containing an
image of the Virgin and Child. This gate derives
its names from being the place where the
Moorish kings sat to dispense justice to their
people, according to a custom among oriental
nations, which is referred to in the Bible, and the
memory of which is still preserved in the name
of the “Porte”, that is the gate, by which the court
of the Turkish Sultan is distinguished. The
hand over one arch, and the key over the other,
are supposed to have some mystical allusion to
this custom, or to particular tenets of the Mahometan
religion. The celebrated French traveller,
Laborde, puts a different construction upon the 26(4)v 298
matter, as, according to him, they form a hieroglyphic,
which signified, among the Moors, that,
when this hand should take the key, their enemies
might take the Alhambra.

This entrance into the tower is closed by strong
folding doors, covered with plates of iron, and
secured, at all points, by nail heads in the form
of a star. A sort of inclined plane, turning several
times to the right and left, leads through the
tower; and you go out from it by an arabesque
arch, with folding doors like the entrance. Opposite
this arch, within the tower, is a small
chapel, and at the side of it, a long inscription in
ancient gothic letters.

Thus am I within the Fortress of the Alhambra,
by which you are to understand, an extensive
fortified enclosure, or kind of citadel, covering a
large space of ground, and containing several
public, as well as private buildings. The latter
consist of the houses of persons attached to the
Alhambra, or others who are permitted to reside
within its walls. The public buildings are the
Alcazaba, or castle, the palace of Charles Fifth,
the ancient Moorish palace, a church, and the several
towers, which form a part of the main wall,
surrounding the whole of the enclosure. As I
made many visits to the Alhambra, instead of describing
its parts from time to time, as I saw them,
I shall endeavor to present a connected view of the
principal curiosities of this celebrated place.

26(5)r 299

In the Conquest of Granada, Mr. Irving recommends,
that persons visiting the Alhambra,
should avail themselves of the services of Matteo
Ximenez
, as their cicerone. We made inquiry
for him immediately; but found he was absent at
the time, although we afterwards saw him; and
instead of him we employed his brother Juan,
who is equally conversant with the localities of
the Alhambra. He is a silk weaver by trade,
and was born within the walls of the Fortress,
where his fathers have lived for ages before him.
We found him faithful and intelligent, and quite
as deserving of commendation as Matteo.

Letter XXIV.

Granada.—The Alhambra.—Torre de la Vela.—Palace of
Charles V.Casa Real.—Reservoir.

Entering within the Fortress of the Alhambra,
you find yourself on the level summit of a lofty
hill, with the Alcazaba on your left hand, overlooking
the city, and the two palaces a little way
removed to the rear on your right hand. The
Alcazaba, or castle, consists of several successive
towers, defended by walls and other outworks;
and standing upon the elevated brow of
this hill, it commands a full view of every object 26(5)v 300
in and around Granada. The principal tower is
called Torre de la Vela, and thither all strangers
repair to enjoy the vast and delightful prospect
from its summit. Here, for the first time, you
have an adequate idea of the rich splendors, which
surround Granada, and of the great beauty of the
city itself.

It is built upon the sloping declivities of two
high hills, and in the depth of the valley which
separates them. This circumstance, as you are
probably aware, gave rise to the name of Granada,
from the resemblance which it bears in form to a
half open pomegranate. Large elegant edifices,
and an unusual number of handsome
churches, surmounted by domes or graceful
spires, adorn different parts of the city, as it lies
before you; and the river Darro, after winding
rapidly along through its whole extent, over a bed
of golden sand, finally mingles quietly with the
clear waters of the Xenil, which, as you stand
upon the lofty Torre de la Vela, you see flowing
like a stream of silver through the bright and
beautiful verdure of that wide spread plain, whose
varied charms increase in loveliness as you gaze
upon them, and never cease to gladden and
delight the eye.

Indeed, from this position, you cannot turn your
observation to a single point, at which you meet
not with objects so interesting and attractive, as
to engage and absorb your whole attention. Aside 26(6)r 301
from the numberless portions of the city, which
are intimately connected with some well remembered
tale of highly wrought interest, you see
around you in the vast amphitheatre of hills, and
the splendid Vega, which they enclose, many a
spot rendered forever memorable, by being associated,
not only with tales of fiction, but with the
no less fascinating recitals drawn from actual
history. At one moment you see in the distance
the renowned Santa Fe, that city built by the
order of Queen Isabel, during the siege of Granada,
and which arose like magic before the wondering
eyes of her despairing enemies, by the
active exertions of her victorious troops.

Turning your eyes to another point, you behold
Mount Padul, the spot upon which stood the miserable
Boabdil, as he bestowed a last agonizing
gaze upon that adored country, which he was
leaving forever, and wept in bitterness of spirit,
that he should never behold it more. Well might
a stouter heart than Boabdil’s have melted to
take a last farewell of such a country, over which
he yesterday reigned a king, but which to day
acknowledged the sceptre of a detested foe; and
the eye even of his proud and haughty mother
might have glistened with a tear, as she turned
from the manifold splendors of her native land, to
follow the foot steps of her wretched son, amid
all the miseries of exile.

Time would fail me to mention all the multiplied 26(6)v 302
objects of intense interest, which were successively
pointed out to me from the tower; and
from the contemplation of which I could with
difficulty withdraw my attention, so deep was the
hold they had acquired upon my feelings.

Leaving the Alcazaba, you proceed to the
palace of Charles the Fifth, a large, regular edifice,
begun upon a most princely scale, but left half
completed. The ornaments, upon that part of the
outside which is furnished, are very rich and numerous,
and the principal front is grand and majestic
in its whole appearance. The interior of
the palace is an immense circular court, surrounded
by two galleries, one above the other, each
sustained by thirty-two marble columns. Various
apartments open upon the two galleries,
which are reached by a broad stair-case from the
court below. The effect is singularly imposing;
and had the entire plan of the edifice been carried
into execution, it would have formed one of
the most magnificent monuments in existence.

Passing around behind this palace, you approach
the entrance of the Alhambra, or Casa
Real
, as it is called by those who reside within
the Fortress. A low, coarse door-way, wholly
unworthy of the splendors which it encloses,
leads into the Patio de los Arrayanes, or first
court, which, although perhaps the least beautiful
of all the apartments, has a most agreeable aspect
as you enter it, from the contrast which it presents 27(1)r 303
to the unadorned exterior of the palace.
The figure of this patio is that of a large
oblong square, with a basin of water, of the same
form, in the centre, filled with gold and silver
fishes, and bordered on both sides by a regular
bed of flowers and shrubs. At each of the four
corners is a small cypress tree, exhibiting its
gloomy hue amid the bright plants around it, as
if mourning over the departed glory of other years.

Surrounding the court is a gallery, sustained
by marble columns, and paved also with white
marble, originally of the most delicate polish and
beauty, but now broken and neglected in various
parts, and so covered with dust and dirt, as
scarcely to show any trace of its primitive whiteness.
The walls upon each side are now merely
white-washed, and ill correspond with the vaulted
roof, rich in arabesque, and finely wrought wood
work, of beautiful blue, closely inlaid with brilliant
gilding. At each end of the court is a portico,
of several small arches, and one larger one,
resting upon columns of marble, with stucco capitals.
Within these porticos, the lower part of
the walls is ornamented with glazed tiles of different
colors, like those which, in olden times, you
have often seen inserted in fire places in America;
and above them is a profusion of richly
wrought Arabic inscriptions, the letters being all
in stucco work, and, of course, standing out in
bas relief, much resembling arabesque. The 26 27(1)v 304
vault is likewise composed of stucco, and like that
of the gallery, is painted blue and gilded.

From the Patio de las Arrayanes, you pass
through an arched passage, and enter a magnificent
cupola or pavilion, which, with another exactly
corresponding to it upon the opposite side,
just forward into the Patio de los Leones, or famous
Court of the Lions. The interior of this court,
and that of the apartments issuing from it, combine
all the splendor of ornament, and richness of
architecture, which distinguish Moorish edifices
generally, and which can no where be found in
such entire perfection, as in this sumptuous
palace, which may be truly termed a master piece
of all richness and consummate elegance in this
style of building.

A gallery of surpassing beauty surrounds the
court, its arches of stucco and arabesque being supported
by small polished marble columns, of the
most exquisite delicacy, single, coupled, and even
tripled from space to space. The walls within
the gallery are thickly encrusted with stucco
work, gilding, mosaic, and arabesque, while an
almost infinite variety of inscriptions form a superb
ornament to various appropriate portions of the
court. The floor is paved with brilliant white
polished marble, which still retains much of its
original purity of color, although broken in several
places, and left unrepaired.

The middle of the court is divided into four 27(2)r 305
large flower beds by a pavement of marble in the
form of a cross, in which are cut four channels or
grooves, to receive the water issuing from several
jets within the gallery, and which passes through
these channels, into the vast reservoir at the
centre of the court. From the midst of this reservoir
rises a superb alabaster basin, six feet in
diameter, supported upon twelve marble lions,
and surmounted by a second basin of smaller size,
from the centre of which a large stream emerges,
in shape of a wheat sheaf, and falling from one
basin to the other, empties itself at last into the
reservoir, which likewise receives constantly
twelve other streams, from the mouths of the
marble lions. The low murmur of the waters, as
they flow in beautiful cascades from the top of the
fountain, produces a soft and tranquillizing sound,
much in harmony with the tone of feeling awakened
by the whole scene.

At one side of the court, beneath a tower denominated
Torre de los Abencerrages, is a small,
but elegant, apartment, decorated in the richest
manner. The roof is very lofty, and beneath it
are ranges of windows, by which light is admitted
in the room. The beautifully painted and gilded
vault is likewise perforated in delicate stucco
figures, so as partially to admit the light, independently
of the windows. Directly in the centre
of the apartment is a large basin filled with water,
which, according to ancient tradition, is the very 27(2)v 306
basin, which received the severed heads of
those valiant, but unfortunate, Abencerrages, who,
having been treacherously beguiled to this same
apartment by the Zegris, ingloriously lost their
lives beneath the bloody axe of the executioner.
Tradition also asserts, that the deep, dark red
stain, which mars the beautiful whiteness of the
marble floor, is the actual blood of those murdered
chieftains. However this may be, it is certain
that such a stain really exists, and covers a large
space upon one side of the floor, beneath the
basin. It is likewise evidently a stain, as, by
scraping upon with a knife, you find that, immediately
below the surface, all trace of the discoloration
vanishes, and the marble appears perfectly
white and unspotted. The fact is rather a
singular one; and affords quite as strong grounds
for the belief of its being the stain of blood, as
such traditions can generally claim.

On the opposite, or north side of the court, are
several other royal apartments; and among them
is a large square room, called Sala de las dos Hermanas,
which is supposed to derive its name from
two most beautiful white marble slabs in the middle
of the floor. From galleries, back of this
apartment, you look down upon an inner court, or
garden, called Jardin de Lindaraxa, planted with
myrtle and orange trees of very luxuriant growth.

The various little rooms and alcoves, which
open upon the Court of the Lions, are all abundantly 27(3)r 307
decorated in the same delicate style, which
characterizes the entire embellishments of the
splendid court. The small, beautiful columns,
which support the gallery, and which seem almost
too minute to sustain even the light and graceful
arches that rest upon them, perfectly correspond
in apparent strength and solidity with the delicately
carved wood work and ornaments of stucco,
which adorn the vault and the walls around them.
And it is this admirable gracefulness of architecture,
so totally removed from all appearance of
heaviness or inelegance, which forms the peculiar
beauty of all the apartments of the Alhambra,
and bestows upon them a charm as rare as it is
delightful.

Returning from the Patio de los Leones, to that
of Arrayanes, you pass through an arch at one
end of the court into a long apartment, called the
ante sala, which is, in fact, the ante room of the
Sala de los Embajadores, or audience chamber, immediately
adjoining. The vault of this room is concave,
and richly ornamented with colored wood inlaid
with gilding; and all the four sides are completely
covered with stucco work. At each side of
the arch are small recesses, where the Moors deposited
their shoes before visiting the audience
room, which they were forbid entering except
with bare feet.

A large arch, of remarkable beauty, conducts
from the ante sala into the audience chamber 26* 27(3)v 308
which, in richness and magnificence of ornament,
is surpassed by no other apartment in the palace.
The number of inscriptions which embellish it, and
the quantity of stucco and arabesque in addition,
seem almost limitless, so profusely are they lavished
upon every part of the wall, in all varieties
of fantastic, but beautiful, figures.

A passage conducts from this hall, through that
portion of the palace which is occupied by the
family who have the charge of it; and thence to
the mosque, which exhibits nothing remarkably
curious except the roof, which is formed of a kind
of mosaic and wood work, of great delicacy and
beauty. The roof is supported by four marble
columns in the centre of the mosque.

Another passage leads, in an opposite direction
to this, from the Sala de los Embajadores to the
apartments of the Queen. At the end of a long
gallery you come to what is called the Queen’s
dressing room; a very small apartment, occupying
a little tower overlooking the Darre; and
surrounded upon the outside by a narrow gallery
or balcony, enclosed by marble pillars. The
walls of the dressing room have been in later
years coarsely painted in fresco; and are, moreover,
much injured in appearance by being scribbled
over in every direction with the names of
those visiters, who, from the mere foolish vanity
of leaving some memorial of their presence in the
Alhambra, have thoughtlessly destroyed whatever 27(4)r 309
beauty the painted walls of this little cabinet
might otherwise possess. Upon the floor, at one
corner of the room, is a marble slab, pierced with
holes, through which perfumes were made to pass
up from beneath.

Repassing through the gallery, you descend a
flight of stairs, and, after going through several
unadorned apartments, enter a court, which opens
at one side upon the Jardin de Lindaraxa, and at
another into the bathing rooms. The first of
these was used in Moorish times as an apartment,
in which to lie down after taking the bath; and
upon each side are recesses to contain beds. A
very small child’s bathing room is next in succession,
having at one side a square marble tub or
basin, permanently fixed in the partition. From
thence you pass into the apartment of the King
and Queen, where are recesses for beds, and
into which light is thrown from holes in the roof.
Beyond this is the royal bathing room, with a
large marble basin upon each side, and with pipes
by which to admit cold or hot water into them at
pleasure.

Contiguous to the baths are several coarsely
finished rooms, which, in common with many
others in the Alhambra, are destitute of any particular
interest. One range of these apartments,
upon the upper floor, is now devoted to a company
of Italian workmen, who are employed in
restoring all the broken ornaments of the royal 27(4)v 310
palace, as nearly to their primitive state as possible.
Should so desirable an end be accomplished,
how incalculably will it add to the appearance
of those still beautiful courts and sumptuous
halls, which it were shame to leave abandoned
to the merciless hand of time, and to the
ravages of neglect and decay. A very small degree
of attention, bestowed upon the polished
surface of the costly marble pavements, would
soon restore all their natural brightness; and a
short space of time, well employed, would be
sufficient to reinstate this former abode of royal
splendor in all its original romantic beauty. The
joyous voices, that once gladdened its walls, the
sounds of mirth and revalry, of music and dance,
will never again break the silence of its deserted
courts. But historical interest attaches to
every column and every stone in its precincts;—
and no apology can be offered for the disregard
of those trifling cares, by means of which many
succeeding generations might continue to gaze
with undiminished satisfaction upon this noble
monument of buried years.

In speaking of the plaza of the Alhambra, or
the level summit of the hill upon which the Fortress
stands, I omitted to mention the immense
reservoir, which occupies a large space beneath
it, and whose limits are defined by a stone pavement,
that extends entirely over the subterranean
vault which the reservoir forms. It is opened but 27(5)r 311
once in each year for the purpose of being cleaned,
and is then left unclosed three days for public inspection.
It so happened, that the time for opening
it arrived while we were at Granada, and an
opportunity was thus afforded us of seeing it.
Two flights of steps, sixty or more in number, at
opposite ends, lead into the vault, which is composed
of two parts, connected with each other by
a large, broad arch, so as in reality to form but
one vast cistern, forty paces in length by fifteen
in breadth, and more than twenty-four feet in
height. While open to the public, it is lighted
by a number of lamps, hung upon the brick buttresses,
which project out from each side of the
vault; and this enables you to see the whole to
advantage. It was so excessively damp and cold,
however, that I merely passed through it once,
descending by one flight of steps and ascending
by the other. Previously to closing the vault for
the year, it is nearly filled with water, which is
drawn up by means of deep wells, placed in different
parts of the Alhambra. The reservoir is
not the least curious and important among the
means possessed by this celebrated Fortress for
standing a long siege.

27(5)v 312

Letter XXV.

Granada.—The Generalife.—Cathedral.—Mendicants.—San
Geronimo
.—La Cartuja.—Campo del Trifuno.—Cuevas.—
Campo Santo.—Silla del Moro.—Alameda.—Paseo del Xenil.
El Campillo.—Serenos.

Upon a lofty eminence in the rear of the Alhambra,
and separated from it by a valley, is situated
the ancient and scarce less renowned palace
of the Generalife, whose exterior appearance,
although perfectly plain, is far more agreeable
and inviting to the eye than the dusky towers
and heavy walls of the Alhambra. The buildings,
of which it is composed, are all painted
white, and are only partially visible at times
through the luxuriant foliage of innumerable fruit
and forest trees.

Following a winding path through the valley
which divides the two palaces, I entered that of the
Generalife by the gardener’s lodge, from whence
I passed into a large garden, in form of an oblong
square, surrounded on three sides by the buildings
of the palace, and occupied on the fourth by
a range of open arcades, where is enjoyed an extensive
view of the city and adjacent country.
Directly beneath this gallery is a terrace, laid
out in two square flower gardens, with a fountain
in the centre of each, and intersected with rows
of clipped shrubs, among which the myrtle greatly
predominates. Large cypress trees, tastefully 27(6)r 313
trained and pruned, likewise add another variety
of green to the bright flower beds, which they
overshadow. A succession of terraced gardens,
filled with vegetables and fruit trees, follow
each other from this spot far down into the valley,
which separates it from the Alhambra. Between
the two flower gardens just mentioned, and
opening upon the gallery of the arcade, is situated
a small, neat chapel, adorned with arabesque, of
comparatively recent construction, the site of it
having been originally occupied as a lodge for
the gardener.

The same variety of shrubbery and flowers,
which ornament the terraces beneath the gallery,
also adorn the large garden, around which the
buildings of the palace extend. The flower beds
are all enclosed by beautiful hedges of myrtle;
and over the basin of pure water, which runs
through the entire garden, are cypress trees,
trained into the form of arches, from distance to
distance. To shelter you from the heat of the
sun, there is placed in the centre of the garden
a light arbor of canes, completely enveloped in a
rich mantle of creeping vines and flowers, and
entered, on four sides, by shady arches formed
of trees.

After wandering about, for a long time, in this
delightful retreat, listening to the soft murmur
of the bubbling waters, and regaled with the sweet
odor of flowers, I entered the principal building of 27(6)v 314
the Generalife, which contains the picture rooms.
A gallery, sustained by marble columns, and, like
those of the Alhambra, abundantly decorated
with Arabic inscriptions, stucco ceilings and
arabesque, leads into a large ante room, from
whence you enter a square apartment, on each
side of which is a room appropriated to pictures.
Of these, several are of very great interest, although
none of them are remarkable as paintings.
Portraits of Boabdil el Chico, of Garcilasso de
la Vega
, of Ponce de Leon, of Hernando del
Pulgar
,—names so prominent in Spanish history,
—occupy one of the apartments, in common
with many other portraits of less particular note.
The other room is chiefly devoted to portraits of
the royal family of Spain, including those of Ferdinand
and Isabella. But upon none of these
did I gaze with half the interest, as upon the
countenance of Boabdil, that unfortunate Moorish
prince, whose hard fate even his enemies could not
fail to commiserate. The features, as portrayed
upon the canvass, indicate nothing of the fierceness
or cruelty, which are generally supposed to
have marked his character; but they express, on
the contrary, much mildness, and would give the
idea of a weak, rather than a cruel, nature.
There is likewise observable an expression of
pensiveness, which increases the interest this
portrait awakens in those who behold it.

A beautiful view of the valley of the Darro, 28(1)r 315
and a succession of terraces meet the eye
from the windows of the picture rooms; directly
beneath which is a garden of the same description
with that below the gallery of arcades.

The garden of Alfayma, so called from the well
known account of the testimony, borne by the
Zegri, against the unhappy princess of that name,—
occupies a spot considerably raised above the ordinary
level of the palace buildings. It is delightfully
adorned with flowers, trees, and shrubbery,
surrounding a large pond of water, which
is supplied from various little jets and rivulets,
flowing through different parts of the garden.
The whole is enclosed by a high wall, contiguous
to which, upon one side, is the identical cypress
tree, beneath whose shade Boabdil’s Queen was
seated in mournful contemplation of her favorite
rose bush, at the moment when her former lover,
the fated Aben Hamet, entered the garden in
disguise to seek her out and bid her a last farewell;
and, as it finally chanced, to pay the penalty
of his life, as the price of his temerity. The
tree, thus rendered ever memorable, is of great
size and height, and the trunk is completely hollowed
out by age, so as to form a mere shell.
The rose bushes, which formerly flourished around
it, have all been uprooted, as growing too near
the pathway surrounding the garden.

The mode, by which the luckless Abencerrage
entered the royal retreat, without observation 27 28(1)v 316
from the attendants of the palace, was, as our
guide asserted, through a very beautiful alley
which overtops the garden walls, and which, from
being perfectly retired and unwatched, was the
only means of ingress which the unfortunate lover
could command. This alley, reached by a flight
of steps, is beautifully over-arched with laurel,
and enveloped in the deepest shade; while at
each side of the steps a running stream murmurs
continually down into the ponds, basins, and fountains
of the gardens beneath. After passing
through the alley, you still continue to ascend
steps, equally shaded by trees, and occasionally
intercepted by a fountain. This path conducts
to the rear of the garden, and opens upon a charming
gradation of terraces, extending from the walls
of the palace to the borders of the Xenil, and
filled with the choicest fruit trees of every description,
which the luxuriant soil affords.

The perfect delight with which I visited, again
and again, this scene of loveliness and beauty, is
beyond description; and hour after hour fled
away unheeded, as I rambled, with untiring steps,
through the umbrageous foliage, the romantic
shades, the cool and verdant gardens, which so
lavishly adorn the enchanting domains of the
beautiful Generalife.

The most prominent public building, which I
visited in Granada, after the Moorish palace, was
the Cathedral. This large edifice is situated 28(2)r 317
near the Vivar rambla; but is so surrounded on
all sides by buildings, as nearly to destroy its
grandeur and beauty of appearance. It is divided
into three distinct parts, all opening into a
common vestibule, but with separate exterior entrances.
These divisions are designated as the
Cathedral, the Sagrario, and the Capilla Real;
being, as it were, three distinct churches in one.

The Cathedral is peculiarly splendid in its architecture;
although, like most other Spanish
churches of the kind, it loses, from the central
situation of the choir, much of the imposing effect,
which its spacious naves and high, majestic
columns would otherwise produce. The naves
are five in number; and the columns, which divide
them, sustain a handsomely ornamented roof, and
rest upon a marble paved floor. This church
contains few paintings of much value; but is exceedingly
rich in fine sculpture. Of the several
which it contains, two, at the right and left of the
principal entrance, are extremely magnificent.
They both correspond in their general style of
decoration; and the altar-piece, in each, consists
of jaspered marble columns, with beautiful
bas reliefs upon white marble slabs between
them. Several statues of saints, some of them
admirably executed, adorn the chapels, together
with two sumptuous mausoleums, of white marble,
in memory of the two reverend prelates by
whom the chapels were built. The interior of 28(2)v 318
the choir contains two noble organs; but is not
otherwise remarkable.

The Sagrario is quite as deserving of praise as
the Cathedral, and fully equal to it in sumptuousness
of architecture. It consists of a square
apartment, surmounted by a beautiful dome, which
is supported upon columns corresponding in size
and style to those which adorn the nave of the
Cathedral. A superb tabernacle, formed of fluted
jasper columns, and surrounded by a marble
balustrade of much beauty, composes its chief
ornament.

The remaining division of the church, the Capilla
Real
, consists of a single nave, separated
from the choir and sanctuary by a balustrade.
In the choir are also contained monuments
of great richness and magnificence; the one of
Ferdinand and Isabella, the other of their son-in-
law and daughter, Philip First and his Queen Juana.
Each of these interesting monuments consists
of a cenotaph of white marble, with statues
of saints at the four corners; and upon the top of
each, side by side, are two recumbent figures of
the illustrious individuals whose memory it is intended
to perpetuate.

While visiting the different parts of the Cathedral,
and also in entering and leaving it, we were
constantly accosted, on all sides, by beggars of
the most abject appearance. Indeed, I think
Granada is more remarkable than any other city 28(3)r 319
in Spain for the host of wretched mendicants
which fill her streets; and you can scarce turn a
corner, in any direction, without hearing, from
many voices, the piteous petition, of “alms for
the love of God.”
Nor is this city less noted for
the crowd of inveterate idlers, who throng all the
public squares, and spend entire days in sauntering
from street to street, and leaning listlessly
against any building or wall which may chance to
afford them a shelter from the sun in summer, or
permit them to enjoy its rays during the colder
winter months. Occupations, of any kind, they
seem neither to seek nor desire, but appear totally
destitute of that spirit of enterprise which
softens the rigor of laborious toil, prompts to
active exertion, and to the attainment of a competence,
only to be gained by constant and untiring
industry.

Independently of the Cathedral, there are few
churches in Granada of much note. The
convent of San Geronimo, founded by Gonalzo
de Cordova
, is decorated within in a style altogether
inconsistent with the rules of good taste.
Every part of it, even to the columns, is covered
with fresco paintings, producing a most singular,
and not very pleasing effect. Much interest,
however, must necessarily be attached to this
church, from the recollection of its founder, and
from the fact, that his ashes repose within it.
This circumstance is indicated by a small white 27* 28(3)v 320
marble slab let into the floor, and engraven with a
brief notice of the Great Captain,—a name so replete
with exciting and interesting associations.

The church of the Carthusians, situated without
the city, contains a great number of the finest
paintings to be found in Spain; but unfortunately
for me, no female is allowed to enter so much as
the churches of this order of friars: an excess of
strictness, surpassing even that of the Capuchins;
for, although the latter are zealously watchful
that their cloisters shall not be profaned by
the presence of females, they make no restrictions
of the kind in regard to their churches,
which all may enter alike, without distinction
of sex.

A very pleasant walk leads to this church
from the Puerta de Elvira, beyond which is the
large plaza, denominated el Campo del Triunfo,
destitute of beauty in itself, but affording a most
beautiful view of Granada, and exhibiting, to a
stranger, a scene of considerable amusement.
It is, like nearly all the other public squares, the
daily resort of water-criers, fruit-sellers, beggars,
idlers, and students; as well as a sort of thoroughfare
for the passage of mules, loaded or otherwise,
in and out of the city; and is, therefore,
necessarily very lively and full of variety. The
Triunfo, in the centre, from whence is derived
the name of the plaza, is a wretchedly formed
image of the Virgin Mary, and erected as a 28(4)r 321
tribute of thanksgiving, for a miraculous favor
vouchsafed by her to the kingdom.

A few days succeeding our arrival at Granada,
we spent several hours in following the path by
which Boabdil quitted the kingdom, and which
was carefully pointed out to us by our guide,
Juan Ximenez. The gateway, through which
Boabdil passed, from the tower of the Alhambra,
called los Siete Suelos, is distinctly visible,
though walled up with bricks, in compliance, as
it is has been stated, with the desire of the monarch
himself, that no other person, after him,
should ever pass over its threshold. Descending
the declivity from thence, we pursued the path,
at times partially obliterated, into the valley or
gorge, through which the roads leads, to the
Puerta de los Molinos, by which Boabdil left
the city.

The hilly sides of this gorge are filled, in every
part, with small caves, or, as they are called in
Spanish, cuevas, excavated into the earth, and inhabited
by a class of people, very closely resembling
gipsies in the color of their skin and their
form of countenance. They are, for the most
part, wretchedly poor, and live literally buried in
dirt and filth. There are exceptions to this, however,
as I witnessed myself in entering one of the
better kind of cuevas, which I found no uncomfortable
or revolting place of abode. On the contrary,
every part of it was perfectly neat and convenient. 28(4)v 322
A hole, or window, just above the doorway,
lets out the smoke; and the sides of the
cabin were nicely white-washed. Several little
niches were cut around it, to receive cooking or
other utensils, which were likewise hung up
against the walls. One large niche contained
two beds of comfortable appearance; and over
each were suspended, between it and the roof, a
large mat, to keep off the particles of dirt and
moisture which are so constantly liable to fall.

The woman, who inhabits this singular dwelling,
was very decently dressed, and appeared
perfectly content with her lot. She said the
cave was cool in the summer, and warm in winter;
and, for poor people like herself, was muy
bien
. The greatest objection to these caves,
however, is their insecurity. Several of them fall
in every year, at the time of heavy rain; and, although
lives are seldom lost, owing to precautionary
measures being taken, still it can be no
very pleasing anticipation to be left houseless,
even though the danger to life may be small.
But, notwithstanding their insecurity, nearly all
the hills around Granada abound with these
caves; and large companies of their female inhabitants,
I noticed from time to time, seated on
the grass, tending their children, or chatting and
joking with each other, in apparent freedom from
all care and anxiety.

A path, winding along through the midst of 28(5)r 323
these cabins, conducts to the top of a high eminence,
from whose summit you look down upon
the beautiful valley of the Xenil, shut in by lofty
hills, and upon its enchanting banks, bordered with
rich and cultivated gardens. The eye follows, with
delight, the quietly flowing stream, as it meanders
through the charming solitude of the valley, and
is finally lost in the distant and lovely Vega.

Descending to the left, and passing through
one of the grave-yards of the city, called Campo
Santo
, I again ascended to the top of the hill,
which forms a part of the Generalife, and which
is devoted to the cultivation of wheat. Various
large reservoirs and deep wells were excavated
by the Moors along the whole of this height;
and the names of some of them are derived from
the superstitions of the country. One, for instance,
is called Alberca de los Negros, from the
popular belief that treasure lies buried near the
spot, which is watched over by black spirits, only
visible to mortal eyes during the darkness and
silence of night.

In front of the elevated land just alluded to,
is the hill called Silla del Moro, from whose summit
is presented still another variety of that delightful
scenery, which seems but to increase in
beauty, as you view it from various points. Here
you look down, as it were, upon the romantic
shades of the Generalife, and the entire bounds
of the Alhambra, while far below is the beautiful 28(5)v 324
valley of the Darro, its verdant terraces and smiling
gardens spreading out on every side. In an
opposite direction to where you stand, is the
famous Monte Santo, with its little world of humble
cuevas, rising successively tier above tier,
and embosomed amid the bright verdure of the
richest foliage.

Along the banks of the Darro, upon one side,
extends the Alameda, which might be rendered,
with proper care, a very pleasant public walk.
It has been, hitherto, much neglected; but is
now in the way of improvement.

A much more pleasant promenade than this,
however, and the most frequented one, is the
paseo, called el Salon, on the borders of the
Xenil, at the point where that river is joined
by the waters of the Darro. It consists of alleys
of trees, and parterres of flowers and shrubs, enclosed
by stone posts and an iron railing painted
green. The fountains, at the extremities of the
principal walk, are no pleasing addition to it;
being old and mutilated, and totally destitute of
beauty.

The public squares of Granada are few in
number, and not remarkable in any respect. The
Campillo, upon which was situated the excellent
fonda where we lodged, is a large, open plaza;
and, though certainly claiming little merit for
regularity or tastefulness of construction, is, nevertheless,
a convenient location for a stranger, 28(6)r 325
from its proximity to the most interesting portions
of the city; while, at the same time, it is, equally
with the other public squares, a resort for all
classes of the inhabitants, whose daily habits and
manners are thus more freely exposed to the eye
of an attentive observer than they could be in
most other situations.

For the first night or two, that I slept at Granada,
however, I was almost tempted to regret this
very circumstance, otherwise so desirable, from
being kept awake nearly to the dawn of day, by
the most unmusical voice of the night-watch
ringing into my weary ears; as my apartment
opened, on two sides, upon the Campillo. At
first, it is true, I was charmed with the magic
words of Ave Maria Purissima, with which
the expiration of each hour, was announced; and, indeed,
I could have submitted more patiently to being
broken of my rest, if these words had been uttered
in a tone corresponding to their own softness
and melody of sound. But the hoarse, noisy
scream of each successive watchman,—and there
seemed to be a great number of them, either patrolling
the neighboring streets, or crossing and
re-crossing the square,—was too disagreeable to
be long endured with patience, much less listened
to with any satisfaction.

It is the custom of these watchmen, not only
to mention the hour, but also the state of the 28(6)v 326
weather. Thus, for instance, at half-past ten on
a clear evening, you will hear them cry: “Ave
Maria Purissima, laz diez y media y sereno;”

and so on every fifteen minutes through the night.
After a short time I became so much habituated
to these sounds, as to sleep quietly in spite of
them; much as they had at first disturbed and annoyed
me. These watchmen are called Serenos,
from their constantly repeating the word sereno,
that is, serene or pleasant, as applied to the
state of the weather. I do not know any circumstance,
which more strikingly shows the delightful
serenity of the climate of Andalusia.

Letter XXVI.

Departure for Murcia.—-Huetor de Santilla.—-Scene at a
Venta.—A Friar.—Diezma.—Purullena.—Guadix.—Venta de
Gor
.—Baza.—Sale of Indulgences.—Venta del Peral.—Casa
Quemada
.—Gipsies.—Velez.

Upon leaving Malaga, as I have previously
noticed, we were induced to believe, from various
accounts respecting the state of the roads
between Granada and Murcia, that it would be impossible
for us to follow that rout by land, and that
consequently we should be obliged to return to
Malaga again, and embark there to go to Carthagena
by water. On this subject, however, our 29(1)r 327
informants proved to be mistaken, as there was a
very good carriage road nearly all the way to
Murcia; and being assured at Granada, that no
impediment whatever existed to prevent it, we
proceedingproceeded thither by land.

A company of arrieros were to set out for
Murcia, on Tuesday (1830-02-23February 23d.), and we
determined to profit by the opportunity thus offered,
of prosecuting a journey of several days in the
manner the most agreeable, as well as the safest,
namely, on horse-back, or on mules, which are
used here indiscriminately with horses.

Accordingly, on the afternoon of the day specified,
I took my farewell view of the delightful
scenes, which, for eight days, had filled me with
that spirit of enchantment, so naturally, as it
were, allied even to the name of Granada;—a
name, which involuntarily calls up, before the
mental vision, a thousand fanciful images, replete
with the deepest and most romantic interest.

A short ride, of an hour or two, brought us to
the small village of Huetor de Santilla, where we
lodged in a miserable little venta, entirely destitute
of every means of comfort or convenience.
The best accommodations it afforded, however, I
was put in immediate possession of; and, soon
after supper, I retired to a tolerably decent apartment
prepared for my reception. I happened to
take up my guitar, as a refuge from ennui, during
the few hours that remained to bed-time. 28 29(1)v 328
The sound of the instrument proved altogether
too attractive, to those in the neighboring rooms,
to be withstood; and a gentle tap at my door
announced the muchacha,—who came with a
request that the people of the house might be
allowed to enter and hear the music. A request
of this kind could not, of course, be refused; and,
in a few moments, the apartment was nearly filled
with the various travellers, chiefly muleteers,
who had taken up their quarters in the venta for
the night, and who had been drawn away, from
the warm precincts of the spacious kitchen chimney,
by the notes of the guitar; a sound, which
never proves indifferent to the ears of a Spaniard.

After playing an air or two, I very gladly resigned
the instrument to one of the company;
whose hand mechanically striking upon the
chords the all-inspiring seguidilla, away sprang
the muchacha and her nearest neighbor, to try
their agility at the fandango; snapping their
fingers as they danced, in imitation of the castanets,
which, for a wonder, were not at hand. A
few songs and dances having been gone through
with, one of the party considerately suggested, that
they should leave la Senorita to her repose; when,
thanking me for complying with their request,
and each bidding me good night, they all retired,
with that grateful courtesy and decorousness of
manners, which distinguish even the very lowest
classes in this singular country.

29(2)r 329

On resuming our journey the next morning,
I exchanged the dull, plodding mule, which had
brought me from Granada, for the prettiest little
borrica I had seen in Spain. These animals are
generally ill-formed and extremely ugly; but this
one very nearly resembled a child’s pony, and
was about the same size; so that my feet, when I
was upon her back, nearly touched the ground.
Of course there was no possible danger to be apprehended
in riding, and the motion of the little
animal was so perfectly pleasant and easy, that I
had every reason to anticipate an agreeable
journey.

In addition to the arrieros, under whose immediate
guidance we had placed ourselves, and their
long cavalcade of loaded mules, several other
travellers joined us after leaving the venta, and
continued with us a number of days. Among
them was a priest, of very respectable appearance,
and who seemed sufficiently intelligent and
good mannered. But his deportment was not in
accordance with his profession in some respects;
as he was uncommonly jovial and inclined to enjoy
a joke at all times. Indeed, had I been
searching for the personification of a jolly fat
friar
, I know not where I should have found a
truer one than in Fray Antonio, as the name of
the good padre proved to be.

For the first four leagues after leaving Huetor
de Santilla
, the country is almost entirely without 29(2)v 330
inhabitants, and presents a scene of utter desolation.
High, dreary looking hills, scarcely bearing
a vestige of culture, succeed each other in
unvaried loneliness, only occasionally giving
evidence of the existence of animal life, amid their
wild solitudes, by the appearance of a few goats,
browsing upon a dry, arid hill-side, and attended
by a single goatherd, dozing away the hours in
listless indolence.

A very small portion of this tract of land is
arable; and, in common with most of the deserted
and uncultivated regions of the kind in Spain,
was formerly much infested by robbers; although
now entirely abandoned by them.

Travelling slowly along over the hills, for the
space of four leagues and a half, we came to the
wretched little village of Diezma, and continued
onwards to the scarce less miserable ones of Purullena.
For a long time before reaching the
latter, you see, at a distance, huge clayey mountains,
whose tall bluffs are formed by the hand of
nature into close resemblance of vast pyramids,
castles, and turrets, which only need a little
aid of the imagination to make them appear actually
such. A few comfortless hovels, and a
considerable number of cuevas cut into the hills,
form the village of Purullena; and from thence
to Guadix, where we slept, the road passes
through successive mountains of clay, in the
midst of which chasms have been hollowed out 29(3)r 331
by rain, and the steep sides of which are often
perfectly smooth and glistening.

A pleasant avenue of poplars, and a neat
alameda planted with the same kind of trees,
and having seats beneath them, make the entrance
into Guadix; the alameda being separated from the
town by gardens of mulberry and pear trees.
Guadix is a large town, containing about twenty
thousand inhabitants; but is not remarkably
agreeable in its aspect. It forms a part, however,
of an extremely pretty view, which I saw
on leaving the place the next morning. The
road ascends a considerable elevation; and, from
its summit, you look back upon a pleasant valley,
with the town spread out before you, and the lofty
tower of the Cathedral rising conspicuously above
every other building. The valley is enclosed by
the castellated mountains of clay already noticed;
and behind them, at one point, may be seen the
more towering peaks of the Sierra Nevada, now
gradually diminishing in the distance.

A much less pretty scene, than the one presented,
would have awakened, at the moment, a
sense of pleasure; for the early morning air, mild
and delicious beyond description, was breathing
its balmy influence around me, and preparing me
to receive delight from every object upon which I
gazed. Or I should rather say, perhaps, that
this circumstance was capable, in itself alone, of
imparting high enjoyment; for the country, through 28* 29(3)v 332
which we passed for the succeeding three or four
hours, was as desolate and void of beauty as can
be easily imagined. Hemmed in by barren and
naked hills, untilled and untillable, the traveller
sees nothing in the view before or around him to
attract attention or awaken interest. Still, I enjoyed
the bright sunshine, the genial breezes, and
the lively conversation of our fellow-travellers,
the number of whom was now somewhat increased
by the addition of several persons, travelling
on foot, and who, for company’s sake, kept up
with our party for several hours of the day’s journey.
This was a task easy of accomplishment,
as the loaded mules and asses necessarily travel
very leisurely; and, indeed, the rate of journeying
in Spain, in whatever manner except by a
diligence, is always slow.

The first sign of a human habitation, which we
observed after leaving Guadix, with the exception
of a very small venta by the way-side, was
the little village of Gor, four leagues from the
former place. Leaving the village some
leagues distant upon our right, we descended a
long, steep cuesta, and arrived at the Venta de
Gor
, a solitary house, situated upon the road,
with a clear, sparkling rivulet running along in
front of it. We had found the weather sufficiently
warm, while riding among the hills, to create
considerable thirst; and, consequently, the little
rivulets, brooks, and springs, which had occasionally 29(4)r 333
crossed our path, proved a source of real
luxury, as we alighted from time to time, to refresh
ourselves by a draught of their pure, transparent
waters.

From the Venta de Gor, you ascend a hill, as
long and steep as the one you have just descended;
and from thence to the town of Baza, you
cross an extensive tract of dry, level land, its
parched soil unblest by even a single streamlet
of water.

At Baza we passed the night, and remained
until a late hour the next forenoon. This town
has the appearance of being in a flourishing,
prosperous state; and its environs are peculiarly
rich and fertile, producing a profusion of grapes,
from which a great quantity of light wines is procured.

Previous to reaching Baza, we had purchased
a fine rabbit, and, upon alighting at the inn, gave
it to the hostess to cook for us. This request,
on our part, excited murmuring in the kitchen,
from its now being a season of fasting, when the
use of animal food was forbidden by the religious
tenets of Catholics. On paying a few reales,
however, annually, any person may purchase a
papal bull, called bula de cruzada, which exempts
him from the obligation of observing fast-days.
It is very common, in Spain, to obtain this indulgence.
Our guide, for instance, procures it,
as he says, every year for his wife and children, 29(4)v 334
although never for himself; consequently his little
boy, who accompanied him, ate meat whenever
he pleased; while his father, on certain days,
rigidly confined his regimen to fish, garlic and
bread, or other equally simple fare. I could not
but smile at the dismay expressed by the good
people of the inn, on account of our sinful heresy,
as they termed it, when I recollected, that it
would be heresy no longer if we should condescend
to enrich the treasury of the church by the
payment of this kind of tax, and thus purchase
permission to sin at our leisure.

For two leagues after leaving Baza, our ride
was exceedingly uncomfortable. The weather
was intensely hot; and the road being cut through
high hills of whitish clay, curiously granulated
with large masses of chrystallized gypsum, I was
nearly blinded by the insupportable light, from
the reflected rays of the sun shining upon the
sparkling chrystals, which seemed to form an
almost perpendicular wall on each side of me.
Scarcely a green leaf cheered the aching sight
for many weary miles; and the sultry, overpowering
heat, within these deep, narrow valleys, was
unbroken by a breath of fresh air.

At length, to my great joy, the scene changed;
and we came to a little valley covered with fruit
trees, which afforded a most grateful relief to the
intense pain in my head and eyes. At this spot
is a solitary house, called Venta del Peral, from 29(5)r 335
the great number of pear trees in the vicinity;
and, soon after leaving it, the road leads up
among the hills, until you reach a valley, scattered
over with occasional farm-houses and vineyards,
in the midst of which winds along a clear,
shallow rivulet. Entering the bed of this little
stream, we pursued our course through it for a
mile or more; much to my annoyance at times,
as the water often glided along rapidly, and produced
such a sensation of extreme giddiness, as
to make me feel quite insecure in my seat, except
with my eyes shut. A few miles, further onward,
brought us to the little hamlet of Casa Quemada,
where I passed a very comfortable night, and was
provided with a better bed than I had found since
leaving Granada, notwithstanding that the venta
was quite small, and our lodging-chamber was
the granary of the house. It was a large and
airy apartment, however; and, together with the
bed and bed-clothes, was in as orderly and clean
a state as any reasonable person could expect or
desire in a Spanish venta. The people of the
house were remarkable kind, and even assiduous
in their attentions; and the two or three other
travellers, who shared with us the evening fireside,
were equally respectful and courteous.

From Casa Quemada to Velez el Rubio, our
next day’s journey, little is to be noticed in regard
to the road; the country being, for the most
part, not particularly attractive. During our 29(5)v 336
route, we overtook a large party of gipsies, men,
women, and children, seated in a ring by the wayside,
eating their breakfast; and accompanied by
a great number of mules and asses, which were
feeding close by. There they had, in all probability,
passed the night, as I observed a dirty straw
bed lying on the grass beside them. These people
are generally horse-jockeys; and earn a
precarious livelihood by travelling from place to
place, buying and selling horses, mules, and
asses; and I may perhaps add, stealing and
cheating as often as an opportunity for so doing
presents itself. Salvador, our guide, told us
with an ominous shake of the head, that they
were “muy mala gente, muy mala gente;” and I
could well believe it to be so, for I was unable to
pass them without a shudder, so malignant and
full of evil was the expression of their swarthy features,
and keen, penetrating black eyes. The
men, particularly, were an exact personification
of all my preconceived ideas of a murderous
Spaniard,—which I had so erroneously supposed
would apply to the national character in general.
I could easily imagine them capable of any and
every crime; and long after we had lost sight of
them, I looked back almost with the expectation
of encountering their terrifying glances.

Velez el Rubio is a neat town, situated in a
well cultivated valley, surrounded by hills. The
posada, at which we put up, is a very large one, 29(6)r 337
and was built, as an inscription over the door imports,
by one of the Dukes of Alva. But it was a
wretchedly kept house, nevertheless; and I found
myself, for the first time in Spain, obliged to
sleep upon a coarse, straw bed, from the impossibility
of procuring a better one upon any terms,
in this the tenement of His Excellency of Berwick
and Alba
.

Letter XXVII.

Cuevas de Moreno.—Xiquena.—Lorca.—Tutana.—Murcia.

Velez el Rubio is the last town in the kingdom
of Granada; and a ride of an hour, after
leaving it in the morning, brought us to the boundary
of the kingdom of Murcia, which is indicated
by a little hamlet, called Cuevas de Moreno,
the only one which exists between Velez
el Rubio
and Lorca, a distance of seven
leagues; and but a few scattered houses besides
are to be seen at long intervals apart. Soon
after passing this hamlet, you reach the Castillo
de Xiquena
, an old Moorish fortification, standing
upon a high hill, and over-looking the whole
country around; and from here to Lorca, the
path often leads through the midst of rivulets
larger or smaller, whose hard gravelled beds 29(6)v 338
are smooth and even, and afford easy journeying
for the horses and mules.

Lorca is a city of considerable size, containing
about thirty thousand inhabitants. It is situated at
the foot of a steep mountain, upon whose summit
are the ruins of a Moorish castle, visible for a
great distance before reaching it. The upper, or
ancient part of the city, is constructed upon the
side of the mountain, and is ill-built, both as it
regards the streets and houses; many of the latter
being inhabited by the miserably poor. But the
more modern part is pleasantly situated upon a
level plain, and possesses a delightful alameda,
several good streets, and a number of churches
and other buildings of some note.

The plain, at the entrance of which Lorca is
built, is extremely beautiful, rich, and fertile,
abounding with various fruit trees, and watered
by the river Velez, which winds through it.

We passed over this charming plain on the
1830-03-01first day of March, a month usually so bleak and
tempestuous in our own climate, but open ing
here with a summer-like temperature, which often
rendered the shade of the olive groves, as we passed
through them, very desirable and refreshing.
The country continues level from Lorca to Tutana,
being occasionally sprinkled over with isolated
dwelling-houses, detached groves of olive trees,
and rich fields of wheat, at this time from five to
six inches high.

30(1)r 339

At the ill-looking town of Tutana, I passed an
almost sleepless night. The posada at which we
lodged, was a wretched one, and the beds were
of the very worst description, literally filled with
insects, and so hard that an anchoret could
scarcely find repose upon them. I was, of course,
rejoiced at an early summons, the morning following,
to proceed on our journey; and, just as the
first red beams of the sun shone above the horizon,
we set forward, no wise in good humor
with the miserable apology for an inn, which we
had just left; but invigorated by the fresh breezes
of the morning, wafting a thousand sweets upon
their balmy wings. A pleasant ride of eight
leagues brought us to the city of Murcia; the
road leading, for nearly the whole distance, over
a vast plain, of the same general description with
that, which we had traversed the day preceding.
The country, at times, assumed a dry and sterile
aspect; but more generally smiled in the abundance
of nature. Vineyards and olive groves, as
well as plantations of mulberry trees, occupied
the soil from time to time, together with fruit gardens
and fields of grain. The villages, which we
passed through, were but two in number; namely,
Lebrilla and Don Juan; the latter situated at a
league’s distance from Murcia. Other villages
were visible at a distance, and occasional dwelling-houses;
but the whole range of country is, for
the most part, thinly inhabited.

29 30(1)v 340

From Don Juan to Murcia, our route lay through
the beautiful and richly cultivated huerta of Murcia,
covered with gardens and delightful fields,
waving with grain and luxuriant clover, and interspersed
with little thatched cabins slightly built of
canes covered with plaister or earth, which the uniform
mildness of the climate, renders a sufficient
protection. The inhabitants of these cabins wear
very little clothing, and indeed I saw many children
entirely without any,—a sight by no means
unusual in this delicious clime. The fields were
full of husbandmen busily at work; and the plentiful
harvest, already springing up around them
on every side, plainly evinced that they labored
not in vain, nor spent their strength for naught.
A fine smooth straight road, a little elevated above
the ordinary level of the huerta, and in fact forming
a superb promenade bordered with trees, conducted
us through the midst of this charming
landscape into the city, which had been in sight
for several hours before we reached it. We
drove immediately to the Fonda de la Diligencia,
where we found ourselves very well accommodated
for the short time we remained in Murcia.

This city possesses few objects to draw the attention
of the cursory visiter, and is, in itself,
triste and uninteresting. The principal edifice it
contains, is the Cathedral, which is far from
beautiful. An inclined plane, constructed in the
same manner as one which I mentioned to you at 30(2)r 341
Seville, leads up into the tower. It is, however,
much less spacious than that at Seville, and is
made of bricks instead of flagstones. But the
prospect, from the top of this tower, may vie
with any other whatever in loveliness. The
beauties of the huerta, which struck us so forcibly
while travelling over it, are here doubly enhanced
by reason of the more advantageous position
from which they are viewed. Far as the eye
can extend, nature, in lavish bounty, has bestowed
innumerable charms; and the helping hand of
industry has added ten-fold thereto. The majestic
palm, whose very existence tells of serene
heavens and a cloudless sun, rises not only above
that soft carpet of rich green verdure, which
springs up spontaneously from the untilled earth;
but also in the midst of those not less beautiful
and necessary productions of the soil, which require
the agency of man’s thrifty labor and careful
forethought. The little cottages, too, scattered
over the plain, are no unessential feature of beauty,
in the delightful picture; and the idea of rural
happiness and contentment naturally associates
itself with the sight of those humble roofs, surrounded,
as they are, with an abundant soil and
healthful skies.

Nearly all the streets in Murcia are very ordinary
and irregular; and the public squares are
possessed of little beauty. The Plaza de Toros
is a very large square, nearly surrounded by 29* 30(2)v 342
regular buildings, four stories high, and liberally
supplied with balconies for the accommodation
of spectators, during the display of the bull
fights. It opens, on one side, into the promenade
called Jardin Botanico, not far from the
Alameda. Both these public walks might be
rendered delightfully pleasant, and highly desirable
as places of resort, from their proximity to
the huerta. But they are much neglected and
out of order, and appear to be little frequented.
Other promenades, of less note, are open to the
same charge of great neglect and carelessness on
the part of those, who superintend them; and I
naturally infer, from the disordered state of all the
public walks in Murcia, that the pleasure of public
promenading is not so much in vogue here, as
in other cities of Spain, where it appears to be an
essential part of each day’s occupation, and the
favorite mode of relaxing from the toil and business
of life.

The Arenal, so called from its sandy soil,
is perhaps an exception to the above remark,
although this may more properly be denominated
a plaza than a public promenade. It is
situated in the most frequented part of the city,
near the bridge constructed across the river Segura,
which runs through Murcia and divides it
into two parts. Here there is always a crowd of
people; and, what is very peculiar, you may constantly
see a great variety of different tradesmen 30(3)r 343
at work in the open air. The bridge was completely
lined with persons of this description,
chiefly employed in making shoes of coarse
white cloth, universally worn by the laboring
classes. Indeed, in respect to industrious habits,
Murcia seems much superior to most of the large
Spanish cities; for although you may, even here,
often be accosted by beggars, such petitions are
comparatively infrequent; and the number of
idlers, in proportion to those you see actively employed,
is exceedingly small, contrasted with that
in Seville and Granada. Still, comparing Murcia
with many of our large cities, in this respect,
there was a vast number both of vagrants and
idlers; and it is only in speaking of it in referencce
to Spanish cities, that the industrious habits
of the people can be noticed as remarkable.

In approaching the bridge, just referred to, my
ears were suddenly saluted by the sound of falling
water, which I was at first much puzzled to
account for; but on proceeding a little farther, I
found it was occasioned by two water-falls of considerable
size, one above the other, below the
bridge, throwing up the white spray in clouds,
and producing an almost stunning roar, to one
standing directly over them. I need not add, that
these falls increased, in no small degree, the feeling
of pleasurable excitement awakened by a
scene of so much noise, bustle, and activity as
this, in an otherwise quiet, and even dull, city.

30(3)v 344

Upon reaching Murcia, we had been undecided
whether to pursue the direct route to Valencia, or
to take that leading through Alicante; which, although
considerable farther in distance, would
give us an opportunity of seeing this once celebrated
seaport. We did not hesitate long, however,
to pursue the latter course; as information
had been received, that ten robbers, having broken
loose from prison, had taken possession of a
mountain pass between Murcia and Valencia,
filling the whole country with dismay. The
lengthened time, which it would occupy, to
go to Valencia through Alicante, was a matter
of little moment; and, not choosing to encounter
a danger so easily avoided, we took a tartana for
the latter place, (1830-03-05March 5th), and proceeded
thither by Orihuela and Elche.

The author continued on through Alicante,
Alcoy, and S. Felipe to Valencia, and thence by
Tarragona and Barcelona to Perpignan. Her
memoranda comprise a sketch of the rest of this
route; but, at the time of her death, they were
filled up and transcribed only as far as the period
of her departure from Murcia.

End of Spain.