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

In Two Volumes.
Vol. II…Spain.

Printed by E. W. Allen & Co.

With Mr. Cushing’s compliments

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



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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 rounded 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.

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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 etrated 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.

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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.

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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 losa, 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.

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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 zalez, 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 ness 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 eage, 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 tion, 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 doubted 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 tal; 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 ed 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 pect 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 cala 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 pearance, 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 tures 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 ble, 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 ries 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 ments 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 tunda, 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 ment 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 diers 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 tre 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 diately 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 ing 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 sessed 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 drew, 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ing 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 served, 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 vior 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 sion 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.

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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 referenc ce 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.