The Project Gutenberg EBook of Spanish Vistas, by George Parsons Lathrop

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Title: Spanish Vistas

Author: George Parsons Lathrop

Illustrator: Charles S. Reinhart

Release Date: August 18, 2012 [EBook #40528]

Language: English

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S P A N I S H     V I S T A S




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1883, by
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

All rights reserved.



These Sketches are Dedicated




THE two great Mediterranean peninsulas which, in opposite quarters, jut southward where—as George Eliot says, in her "Spanish Gypsy"—

"Europe spreads her lands
Like fretted leaflets, breathing on the deep,"

may not inaptly be likened to a brother and sister, instead of taking their places under the usual similitude of "sister countries." They have points of marked resemblance, in their picturesqueness, their treasures of art, their associations of history and romance; but, just as the physical aspect of Spain and its shape upon the map are broader, more thick-set and rugged than the slender form and flowing curves of Italy, so the Spanish language—with its Arabic gutturals interspersed among melodious linguals and vowel sounds—has been called the masculine development of that Southern speech of which the Italian presents the feminine side. The people of both countries exhibit a similar excitable, ardent quality in their characters; but the national temperament of the Spaniards is, perhaps, somewhat hardier, more virile, and sturdier in its passionateness.

It seems to be true that, while the Greek spirit transferred itself to Italy in the days of Augustus, renewing its influence at the period of the Renaissance, and leaving upon people and manners an impress never since quite effaced—an influence tending toward a certain feminine refinement—the spirit of Rome also transferred itself to the subject country, Hispania, and imbued that region with the strong, austere, or wilful characteristics of purely Latin civilization, which are still traceable there.

But, however we may account for the phenomena, it is likely that the mingled contrasts and resemblances of Italy and Spain will more and more induce travellers to visit the Iberian Peninsula. Italy has now been so thoroughly depicted in all its larger phases, from the foreigner's point of view, that investigation must hereafter chiefly be concerned with the study of special and local features. Spain, on the other hand, offers itself to the general observer and to the tourist as a field scarcely more explored than Italy was forty or fifty years ago; and the evidence is abundant that the current of travel is setting vigorously in this direction. With the extension of a railroad system and the incursion of sight-seeing strangers in larger number, we must of course expect that many of the most interesting peculiarities of the people will undergo modification and at length disappear. This, however, cannot be helped; and the following chapters, at the same time that they may encourage and aid those who are destined to bring about such changes, may also serve to arrest and preserve for future reference the actual appearance of Spain to-day.

Much might be written, with the certainty of an eager audience, concerning the present political condition of the country, by any one who had had opportunities for examining it; and Mr. John Hay, a few years ago, gave some glimpses of it in his charming volume, "Castilian Days." My own brief sojourn afforded no adequate opportunity for such observation. But it may be not inadmissible to record here one of the casual remarks which came to my notice in this connection. On a Mediterranean steamer I met with an exceedingly bright and healthy man of the middle class, fairly well educated—one of those specimens of solid, temperate, active manhood fortunately very common in Spain, on whom the future of the country really depends—and, noticing from my lame speech that I was not a native, he asked me, guardedly, if I was an Englishman.

"No," I said; "I am an American of the North, of the United States."

His manner changed at once; he thawed: more than that, his face lighted with hope, as if he had found a powerful friend, and he gazed at me with a certain delighted awe, attributing to my humble person a glory for which I was in no way responsible. "You are a republican, then!" he exclaimed.


He gave me another long, silent look, and then confessed that he, too, was a firm believer in republicanism.

"Are there many Spaniards now of that party?" I inquired.

His reply showed that he appreciated the difficulties of the national problem. "Party!" he cried. "Listen: in Spain there is a separate political party for every man." After a slight pause he added, bitterly, "Sometimes, two!"

It may still be said with a good deal of accuracy, though not of course with the literalness and the sweeping application that Paul de Saint Victor gave the words, in speaking of the French Charles II.'s reign, that "Spain no more changes than the arid zone that encircles a volcano. Kings pass, dynasties are renewed, events succeed each other, but the foundation remains immobile, and Philip II. still rules."

I have not attempted to review political matters; and neither have I tried to give an exhaustive account of the country in any other respect. The pictures which I have given I have endeavored to make vivid and faithful; and, if I have succeeded, they will present the essential characteristics of Spain. What has thus been the object of the text has certainly been attained in the drawings by Mr. Reinhart, which supply much the greater part of the illustrations in this volume. Made after sketches from life, which were prepared with unflagging zeal, and often under great difficulties, they frequently tell more than language can convey. Their graphic touch, their variety and humor, their technical merit, give them the best of recommendations; but a word of distinct recognition is due here to the artist for the fidelity and spirit with which he has reproduced so many scenes peculiar to the country.

It is hoped that the concluding chapter of "Hints to Travellers" will prove useful, as supplying certain information not always accessible in guide-books, and also as condensing the practical particulars of the subject in a convenient form.

The Wayside, Concord, April 1, 1883.




A Mandurra Solo Frontispiece
Initial Letter1
Two Assassins in Long Cloaks2
The Night-watch4
Dancing Boys6
The Arch of St. Mary8
Peasants in the Market-place11
In the Mirador13
Landscape Between Burgos and Madrid17
The Plaza Mayor21
Old Artillery Park24
The Escorial25
On the Road to the Bull-fight27
Plan of the Bull-ring28
A Street Scene32
Initial Letter34
Entrance to Toledo35
The Narrow Way36
Spanish Peasant (from a Drawing By William M. Chase)37
Singing Girl41
Cloister of St. John of the Kings42
A Bit of Character43
Spanish Soldiers Playing Dominos44
A Narrow Street45
Woman With Bundle46
The Serenaders47
A Plentiful Supply of Plates50
The Toilet—a Sunday Scene51
A Toledo Priest53
Toledo Servitors at the Fountain55
A Professional Beggar57
A Group of Mendicants58
A Patio in Toledo59
The Home of "Solitude"61
"Men and Boys Slumber Out-of-doors even in the Hot Sun"67
A Strange Funeral68
Initial Letter70
Coffee at Castillejo72
Primitive Thrashing74
While the Women are at Mass75
Water-stand in Cordova77
The Gay Coster-mongers of Andalusia79
The Mezquita80
Relic Peddlers81
The Garden of the Alcazar83
Priest and Purveyor85
Flowers for the Market85
Travellers to Cordova87
"Arré, Burr-r-rico!"89
The Fruit of the Desierta94
Memento Mori97
Difficult for Foreigners101
The Jasmine Girl101
Initial Letter103
Main Entrance to the Cathedral, Sevilla (from a Photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid)105
The Giralda Tower (from a Photograph By J. Laurent & Co., Madrid)107
The "Underground" Mail109
A Street Corner115
"Stone Walls do not a Prison Make"121
In "The Serpent"123
"All the Day I am Happy"127
Granada Undertaker130
The Moorish Gate, Sevilla131
A Water-carrier133
Bit of Arch in a Court of the Alhambra (from a Photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid)137
The Toilet Tower (from a Photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid)139
Boudoir of Lindaraxa141
Initial Letter152
Gypsy Dance154
A Spanish Monk158
Transportation of Pottery160
Garlic Vender161
Diving for Coppers164
A Modern Sancho Panza167
Street Barber168
Bibles versus Melons169
Customs Officers171
Post Inn, Alicante172
Alicante Fruit-seller173
Method of Irrigation near Valencia175
Church of Santa Catalina, Valencia176
A Valencia Cab178
Barcelona Fishermen180
Initial Letter186
St. John at Burgos—Cherubs in Adoration210

S P A N I S H   V I S T A S.



WE took our places, for the performance was about to begin. The scene represented a street in Burgos, the long-dead capital of old Castile. Time: night.

Ancient houses on either side the stage narrow back to an archway in the centre, opening through to a pillared walk and a dimly moonlit space beyond. Muffled figures occasionally pass the aperture.

Suddenly enters Don Ramiro—or Alvar Nuñez, I really don't know which—and advances toward the front. To our surprise he does not open the play with a set speech or any explanation, but continues to advance until he disappears somewhere under our private box, as if he were going from this street of the play into some other adjoining street, just as in actual life. A singular freak of realism! He is closely pursued, however, by two assassins in long cloaks, who, like all the other figures we have seen, move noiselessly in soft shoes or canvas sandals. Presently a shriek resounds from the quarter toward which Don Ramiro betook himself. Have they succeeded in catching him, and is that the sound of his mortal agony? We have just concluded that this is the meaning of the clamor, when, after a second or two, the shriek resolves itself into laughter. Then we begin to recall that we didn't pay anything on entering; and, as we glance up toward the folded curtain above the scene, discover that its place is occupied by the starry sky. The houses, too, have a singularly solid look, and do not appear to be painted. While all this has been dawning upon us, we become conscious that the mixed sound of agony or mirth just heard was merely the signal of amusement caused to certain wandering Spaniards by some convulsingly funny episode; and the next moment their party comes upon the scene at about the point where the foot-lights ought to be. They exchange a good-night; some go off, and others thunder at sundry doors with ancient knockers, awaking mediæval echoes in the dingy thoroughfares, without causing any great surprise to the neighborhood.


In truth, we had simply been looking from the window of an inn at which we had just arrived; but everything had grouped itself in such a way that it was hard to comprehend that we were not at the theatre. That day we had been hurled over the Pyrenees, and landed in the dark at our first Peninsular station; then, facing a crowd of fierce, uncouth faces at the depôt door, we had somehow got conveyed to the Inn of the North through narrow, cavernous streets, brightened only by the feeble light of a few lost lanterns, and so found ourselves staring out upon our first picturesque night in Spain. The street or plazuela below us, though now deserted, went on conducting itself in a most melodramatic manner. Big white curtains hung in front of the iron balconies, flapping voluminously, or were drawn back to admit the cool night air. Crickets chirped loudly from hidden crevices of masonry, and a well-contrived bat sailed blindly over the roofs in the penumbral air, through which the moon was slowly rising. Lights went in and out; some one was seen cooking a late supper in one dwelling; windows were opened and shut, and a general appearance of haunting ghosts was kept up. Now and then a woman came to the balcony and chatted with unseen neighbors across the way about the festival of the morrow. By-and-by one side of the street blew its lamps out and prepared for bed; but the wakeful side insisted on talking to the sleepy one for some time longer, until warned by the cry of the night-watch that midnight had come. Anything more desolate and peculiar than this cry I have never heard. It was a long-drawn, melancholy sounding of the hour, with a final "All's well!" terminating in a minor cadence which seemed to drop the voice back at once into the Middle Ages. This same chant may have resounded from the days of Lain Calvo and the old judges of Castile unaltered, and for a time it made me fancy that the little Gothic town had returned to its musty youth. We were walled into a sleepy feudal stronghold once more, and perhaps at that very moment the Cid was celebrating his nuptials with Ximena, daughter of the count he had murdered for an insult, in the old ruined citadel up there on the hill, above the cathedral spires. But the watchman came and went, and the present resumed its sway. He passed with slow step, in a big cloak and queer cap, carrying a long bladed staff, and a lantern which cast swaying squares of light around his feet; silent as a black ghost, and seeming to have been called into life only with the lighting of his lamp-wick. But, after he had disappeared, the lonely quaver of his cry returned to us from farther and farther away, penetrating into the comfortless apartment to which we now retired for sleep.


The Inn of the North was dirty and unkempt; a frightful odor from the donkey-stable and other sources streamed up into our window between shutters heavy as church doors; and the descant of the watch, relieved by violent cock-crows, disturbed us all night. Nevertheless, we awoke with a good deal of eagerness when the alert young woman with dark pink cheeks and snapping eyes who served us came to the door with chocolate and bread, water and azucarillos, betimes next morning. It was the festival of Corpus Christi; but although every one was going to see the procession, no one could tell us anything about it. Unless he be extraordinarily shrewd, a foreigner can hardly help arriving in Spain on some kind of a feast-day. When the people cannot get up a whole holiday, they will have a fractional one. You go about the streets cheerfully, thinking you will buy something at leisure in the afternoon; but when you approach the shop commerce has vanished, and is out taking a walk, or drinking barley-water in honor of some obscure saint. You engage a guide and carriage to visit some public building, and both guide and carriage are silent as to the religious character of the day until you arrive and find the place shut, when full price, or at least half, is confidently demanded. Church feasts are a matter of course, but you are expected to know about them, and questions are considered out of place. In this case we had kept Corpus Christi in mind, and as Burgos is a small place, the "function" could not by any possibility escape us.

The garrison turned out, and military music played in the procession, but otherwise it was a quaint reproduction of the antique. The quiet streets, innocent of traffic, were filled with peasants whose garments, odoriferous with age and dirt, made a dazzle of color, especially the bright yellow flannel skirts of the women, and the gay handkerchief which men and women alike employ here. Sometimes it is worn around the shoulders, sometimes around the head, and sometimes both: but everywhere and always handkerchiefs are brought into play as essentials. From almost every balcony, too, hung bedquilts, or sheets scalloped with red and blue, in emulation of the tapestries and banners that once graced these occasions. Amid a tumultuous tumbling of bells up amid the carven gray stone-work of the cathedral, the candles and images and tonsured priests, clad in resplendent copes, moved forth, attended by civil functionaries in swallow-tailed coats or old crimson robes of the twelfth century. But the prettiest sight, and a much more striking one than the gilt effigies of St. Lawrence and St. Stephen and the rest, under toy canopies and wreathed with false flowers, was that of two little boys, nude except for the snowy lamb-skins they wore, who personated Christ and St. John. The Christ rode on a lamb, and kept his head very steady under a big curled wig made after the old masters. We saw him afterward in his father's arms, still holding his hands prayerfully, as he had been drilled, with a look of sweet, childish awe in his face.


When the procession was about to return, we were amazed, in gazing at the small street from which it should emerge, to behold eight huge figures, looking half as high as the houses, in long robes, and with placidly unreal expressions on their gigantic faces, advancing with that peculiar unconscious gait due to human leg-power when concealed under papier-maché monsters. It took but a glance, as they filed out and aligned themselves on the small sunny square, to recognize in them the Kings of the Earth, come in person to do homage before the Christ. One bore a crown and ermine as insignia of the Castilian line; others were Moors; and even China was represented. After them danced a dozen boys, in pink tunics and bell-crowned hats of drab felt quaintly beribboned, throwing themselves about fantastically, with snapping fingers and castanets. They formed in two ranks, just under the grand shadowy entrance arch, to receive the pageant. A drummer and two flautistas in festive attire accompanied them; and whenever a monstrance or holy image was borne past, the flutes mingled with the drum eccentric bagpipe discords, at which the boys broke into a prancing jig and rattled their castanets to express their devout joy. Two other men in harlequin dress, wearing tall, pointed hats, stood on the edge of the eager crowd, and belabored those who pressed too close with horse-hair switches attached by a long cord to slender sticks. This part of the performance was conducted with great energy and seriousness, and seemed to be received with due reverence by the thick heads which got hit. A more heathenish rite than this jig at the sanctuary gate could hardly be imagined.

"Are these things possible, and is this the nineteenth century?" exclaimed my friend and companion, who, however, had been guilty of an indigestion that day.

I confess that for myself I enjoyed the dance, and could not help being struck by the contrast of this boyish gayety with the heavy gorgeousness of the priests and the immobile frown of the sculptured figures on the massive ogee arch.[1] Then when the Host was carried by in the custodia, and the motley crowd kneeled and bared their heads, we sunk to the pavement with them, our knees being assisted possibly by the statement we had heard that, a few years since, blows or knives were the prompt reward of non-conformity. Afterward, when secular amusements ensued, our boys went about, stopping now and then in open places to execute strange dances, with hoops and ribbons and wooden swords, for the general enjoyment. A gleeful sight they made against backgrounds of old archways, or perhaps the mighty Arch of Santa Maria, one of the local glories, peopled with statues of ancient counts and knights and rulers.


No Spanish town is without its paseo—its public promenade; and in Burgos this is supplied by The Spur—a broad esplanade skirting the shrunken river, with borders of chubby shade trees and shrubbery. On Corpus Christi the citizens also turned out in the arcades of the Main Plaza. Here, and later in the dusty dusk of The Spur, they crowded and chatted, in accordance with native ideas of enjoyment; and except that their mantillas and shoulder-veils[2] made a difference, the señoras and señoritas might have passed for Americans, so delicate were their features, so trim their daintily-attired figures, though perhaps they hadn't a coin in their pockets. The men had the universal Iberian habit of carrying their light overcoats folded over the left shoulder; but their quick nervous expression and spare faces would have been quite in place on Wall Street. Spanish ladies are allowed far more liberty than the French or English in public; but though they walked without male escort, they showed remarkable skill in avoiding any direct look at men from their own lustrous eyes. During the accredited hours of the paseo, however, gallants and friends are suffered to walk close behind them—so close that the entire procession often comes to a stand-still—and to whisper complimentary speeches into their ears; no one, not even relatives of the damsels, resenting this freedom.

At Las Huelgas, a famous convent near the town, much resorted to by nuns of aristocratic family (even the Empress Eugénie it was thought would retire thither after her son's death), the fête was renewed next day; and it was here that we saw beggars in perfection. A huge stork's nest was perched high on one end of the chapel, as on many churches of Spain. Bombs were fired above the crowd from the high square tower that rose into the hot air not far from the inner shrine; and in the chapel below the nuns were at their devotions, caged behind heavy iron lattices that barely disclosed their picturesque head-dress. Meanwhile peasants and burghers wandered aimlessly about, looking at pictures, relics, and inscriptions in an outer arcade; after which the holiday of the people began. Holiday here means either walking or sleeping. In a sultry, dusty little square by the convent, covered with trees, the people went to sleep, or sat talking, and occasionally eating or drinking with much frugality. The first object that had greeted us by daylight in Burgos was a marvellous mendicant clad in an immense cloak, one mass of patches—in fact, a monument of indigence—carrying on his head a mangy fur cap, with a wallet at his waist to contain alms. The beggars assembled at Las Huelgas were quite as bad, except that they mostly had the good taste to remain asleep. In any attitude, face down or up, on stone benches or on the grass, they dozed at a moment's notice, reposing piously. One sat for a long time torpid near us, but finally mustered energy to come and entreat us. He received a copper, whereupon he kissed the coin, murmured a blessing, and again retreated to his shadow. Another, having acquired something from some other source, halted near us to find his pocket. He searched long among his rags, and plunged fiercely into a big cavity which exposed his dirty linen; but this proved to be only a tear in his trousers, and he was at last obliged to tie his treasure to a voluminous string around his waist, letting it hang down thence into some interior vacancy of rags.

It may not be generally known that beggars are licensed in Spain. Veteran soldiers, instead of receiving a pension, are generously endowed with official permission to seek charity; the Church gives doles to the poor, and citizens consider it a virtue to relieve the miserable objects who petition for pence at every turn. As we came from Las Huelgas we saw the maimed and blind and certain more robust paupers creeping up to the door of a church, where priests were giving out food. A little farther on an emaciated crone at a bridge-head, with eyes shut fast in sleep, lifted her hand mechanically and repeated her formula. We were convinced that, since she could do this in her slumbers, she must have been satisfied with merely dreaming of that charity we did not bestow.

It was a favorable season for the beggars, and many of them sunned their bodies, warped and scarred by hereditary disease, on the cathedral steps. But professional enterprise with them was constantly hindered by the tendency to nap. One old fellow I saw who, feeling a brotherhood between himself and the broken-nosed statues, had mounted into a beautiful niche there and coiled himself in sleep, first hauling his wooden leg up after him like a drawbridge.

Meanwhile the peasants kept on swarming into the town, decorating it with their blue and red and yellow kerchiefs and kirtles, as with a mass of small moving banners. The men wore vivid sashes, leather leggings, and laced sandals. It was partly for enjoyment they came, and partly to sell produce. All alike were to be met with at noon, squatting down in any sheltered coigne of street or square, every group with a bowl in its midst containing the common dinner. There were also little eating-houses, in which they regaled themselves on bread and sardines, with a special cupful of oil thrown in, or on salt meat. A lively trade in various small articles was carried on in the Main Plaza; among them loaves of tasteless white bread, hard as tiles, and delicious cherries, recalling the farms of New York. Another product was offered, the presence of which in large quantity was like a sarcasm. This was Castile soap. It must have taken an immense effort of imagination on the part of these people to think of manufacturing an article for which they have so little use. I am bound to add that I did not see an ounce of it sold; and I have my suspicions that the business is merely a traditional one—the same big cheese-like chunks being probably brought out at every fair and fête, as a time-honored symbol of Castilian prosperity. But, after all, so devout a community must be convinced that it possesses godliness; and having that, what do they need of the proximate virtue? This is the region where the inhabitants refer to themselves as "old and rancid Castilians;" and the expression is appropriate.


The most intolerable odor pervaded the whole place. It was a singular mixture, arising from the trustful local habit of allowing every kind of garbage and ordure to disperse itself without drainage, and complicated with fumes of oil, garlic, general mustiness, and a whiff or two of old incense. The potency of olive-oil, especially when somewhat rank, none can know who have not been in Spain. That first steak—how tempting it looked among its potatoes, but how abominably it tasted! We never approached meat with the same courage afterward, until our senses were subdued to the level of fried oil. Combine this with the odor of corruption, and you have the insinuating quality which we soon noticed even in the wine—perhaps from the custom of transporting it in badly dressed pig-skins, which impart an animal flavor. This astonishing local atmosphere saluted us everywhere; it was in our food and drink; we breathed it and dreamed of it. Yet the Burgalese flourished in calm unconsciousness thereof. The splendidly blooming peasant women showed their perfect teeth at us; and the men, in broad-brimmed, pointed caps and embroidered jackets, whose feet were brown and earthy as tree-roots, laughed outright, strong in the knowledge of their traditionary soap, at our ignorant foreign clothes and over-washed hands! Among the humbler class were some who were prepared to sell labor—an article not much in demand—and they were even more calmly squalid than the beggars. They sat in ranks on the curb-stones of the plaza, a matchless array of tatters; and if they could have been conveyed without alteration to Paris or New York, there would have been sharp competition for them between the artists and paper-makers.

So my companion, the artist, assured me—whom, by-the-way, in order to give him local color, I had rechristened Velazquez. But as he shrank from the large implication of this name, I softened him down to Velveteen.

We had been twenty-four hours in Burgos before we saw a carriage, excepting only the hotel coach, which stood most of the time without horses in front of the door, and was used by the porter as a private gambling den and loafing place for himself and his friends. When wheels did roll along the pavements they awoke a roar as of musketry. Perhaps the most important event which took place during our stay—it was certainly regarded with a more feverish interest by the inhabitants than the Corpus Christi ceremonies—was the bold act of our landlady, who went out to drive in a barouche, while her less daring spouse hung out of the window weakly staring at her. The house-fronts were filled with well-dressed feminine heads, witnessing the departure; a grave old gentleman opposite left his book and glared out intently. When the wheels could no longer even be heard, he turned to gaze wistfully in the opposite direction, dimly hoping that life might vouchsafe him a carriage.


Although, as I have said, women avoid meeting male glances when on the sidewalk, they enjoy full license to stand at their high windows, which are called miradores, or "lookers," and contemplate with entire freedom all things or persons that pass; which, in view of the complete listlessness of their lives, is a fortunate dispensation. Existence in Burgos is essentially life from the window point of view. It proceeds idly, and as a sort of accidental spectacle. Yet there is for strangers a dull fascination in wandering about the narrow, silent streets, and contemplating ancient buildings, the chiselled ornaments and armorial bearings of which recall the wealth and nobility that once inhabited them during the great days of the town. Where have all the dominant families gone? Are they keeping store, or tending the railroad station? Their descendants are sometimes only too happy if they can get some petty government office at five hundred dollars a year. I strolled one afternoon into the Calle de la Calera, and through a shabby archway penetrated to a stately old ruined court, around which ran an inscription in stone, declaring this palace to have been reared by an abbot of aristocratic line a century or two since. It is used now as an oil factory. A pretty girl was looking out over a flower-pot in an upper window, and, as I strayed up the noble staircase, I met a sad-looking gentleman coming down, who I afterward learned was a widower, formerly resident in Paris, but now returned with his daughter to this strange domicile in his native place. Some of the lower rooms, again, were devoted to plebeians and donkeys.

The humble ass, by-the-way, begins to thrust himself meekly upon you as soon as you set foot in the Peninsula, and you must look sharp if you wish to keep out of his way. His cheap labor has ruined and driven out the haughtier equine stock of Arabia that once pawed this devoted soil. Even the Cid, however, did not boast a barb of the desert in the earlier days of his prowess; for when King Alfonso bade him quit the land, "then the Cid clapped spurs to the mule upon which he rode, and vaulted into a piece of ground which was his own inheritance, and answered, 'Sire, I am not in your land, but in my own.'" This little incident occurred near Burgos, and the drowsy city still keeps some dim memory of that great Warrior Lord the Cid Campeador, Rodrigo de Bivar, whose quaint story, full of hardihood, robbery, and cruelty, gallant deeds and grim pathos, trails along the track of his adventures through half of Spain. But there is a curious cheapness and indifference in the memorials of him preserved. In the Town-hall, for the sum of ten cents, you are admitted to view the modern walnut receptacle wherein all that is left of him is economically stored. Those puissant bones, which went through so many hard fights against the Moors, are seen lying here, dusty and loose, with those of Ximena, under the glass cover. Among them reposes a portly corked bottle, in which minor fragments of the warrior lord were placed after the moving of his remains from the Convent of San Pedro in chains, where for many years he occupied a more seemly tomb. Imagine George Washington, partially bottled and wholly disjointed, on exhibition under glass! The Spaniards, in no way disconcerted by the incongruity, have graven on the brass plate of the case a high-sounding inscription; but a tribute as genuine and not less valuable, though humbler, was the big, spruce-looking modern wagon I saw in the market-place one day, driven by an energetic farmer, and bearing on its side the title El Cid.

One would look to see the conqueror's dust richly inurned within the cathedral—a noble outgrowth of the thirteenth century, enriched by accretions of later work until its whitish stone and wrought marble connect the Early Pointed style with that of the Renaissance in its flower. But perhaps this temple has enough without the Cid. Strangely placed on the side of a hill, with houses attached to one corner, as if it had sprung from the homes and hearts of the people, it seems to hold down the swelling ground with its massive weight; yet the spires, through the open-work of which the stars may be seen at night, rise with such lightness you would think the heavy bells might make them tremble and fall. I passed an hour of peace and fresh air above the fetid streets, looking down from the citadel hill on these pinnacles, while around and below them lay the town—an irregular mass of gray and mauve pierced with deep shadows—in the midst of bare, rolling uplands. Before the fair high altar hangs the victorious banner of Ferdinand VII., recalling to the people the great battle of Tolosa Plains. And when one sees peasants—rough spots of color in the sombre choir—studying the dark, fruit-like wood-carvings through which the Bible story wreathes itself in panel after panel, one feels the teaching power of these old churches for the unlettered. In one of the corner chapels appears another less favorable phase of such teaching, in the shape of a miracle-working Christ, amid deep shadows and dim lantern-light, stretched on the cross, and draped with a satin crinoline. This doubtful reverence of putting a short skirt on the figure of the Saviour, often practiced in Spain, may perhaps mark an influence unconsciously received from the Moorish dislike for nudity. The cathedral bells were continually clanging the summons to mass or vespers, and their loud voices, though cracked and inharmonious, seemed still to assert the supremacy of ecclesiastical power. But while a priest occasionally darkened the sidewalks, many others, on account of the growing prejudice against them, went about in frock-coats and ordinary tall hats. And under all its crowning beauty the old minster, motionless in the centre of the stagnant town—its chief entrance walled up, and a notice painted on its Late Roman façade warning boys not to play ball against the tempting masonry—wore the look of some neglected and half-blind thing, once glorious, symbol of a power abruptly stayed in its prodigious career.

Meanwhile the daily history of Burgos went on its wonted way, sleepy but picturesque—a sort of illuminated prose. Women chaffered in the blue-tiled fish-market; the bourgeoisie patronized the sweetmeat shops, of which there were ten on the limited chief square; the tambourine-maker varied this ornamental industry with the construction of the more practical sieve; a peasant passed with a bundle of purple-flowering vetches on his head for fodder, and another drove six milch goats through the streets, seeking a purchaser. To this last one the proprietor of the principal book-store came running out to see if he could strike a bargain. One morning I met an uncouth countryman and his stout wife on the red-tiled landing of the inn stairs (they bowed and courtesied to me) with chickens and eggs for sale. In this simple manner our hotel was supplied. All the bread was got, a few pieces at a time, from a small bakery across the plazuela, in a dark cellar just under the niche of a neglected stone saint—a new arrival causing our maid to run hurriedly thither for a couple of rolls; and the water also came from some neighbor's well in earthen jars. The barber even exercises his primitive function in Burgos: he is called a "bleeder," and announces on his shop sign that "teeth and molars" are extracted there. Democratic and provincial the atmosphere was, and not unpleasantly so; yet during our stay Italian opera from Madrid was performing in the theatre, and large yellow posters promised "Bulls in Burgos" at an early date.


TO pass from this ancient city to Madrid is to experience one of those astonishing contrasts in which the country abounds.

We dropped asleep in the rough, time-worn regions of Old Castile, and in the morning found ourselves amid the glare and bustle of reconstructed Spain, as it displays itself on the great square called the Gate of the Sun—a spot with no hint of poetry about it other than its name. Madrid adopts largely the Parisian style of street architecture, and has in portions a resemblance to Boston. The sense of remoteness aroused in the north here suddenly fades, though the traits that mark a foreign land soon re-assemble and take shape in a new framework. Perhaps, too, our first rather flat impression was due to an exhausting night journey and some accompanying incidents.


"The Spaniards are a nation of robbers!" a cheerful French gentleman of Bordeaux had told us;[3] and he threw out warnings of certain little coin tricks in which they were adepts. When two Civil Guards, armed with swords and guns, inspected our train at the frontier, we recalled his statement. These guards persistently popped up at every succeeding station. No matter how fast the train went, there they were always waiting; always two of them, always with the same mustached faces, and the same white havelocks fluttering on their bunchy cocked hats of the French Revolution, and making their swarthy cheeks and black eyes fiercer by contrast. In fact, they were obviously the same men. Every time they marched up and down the platform, scanning the cars in a determined manner, and scowling at our compartment in a way that fully persuaded us some one must be guilty. Indeed, before long we became convinced that we ourselves were suspicious; but it would have been a relief if they had taken us in hand at once. Why should they go on glaring at us and swinging their guns, as if it were a good deal easier to shoot us than not, unless it was that we were too rich a "find" to be disposed of immediately—squandered, as it were? Perhaps the torture of suspense suited the enormity of our case, but it was certainly cruel. There was some satisfaction, however, in finding that when we left the depôt they allowed us a restricted liberty, and kept out of our way. If it had been otherwise, I don't know what they would have done to us at Burgos, for it was there that the landlady forced upon us a gold piece that would not pass, in exchange for a good one which we had given her. This very simple device was one of which the French gentleman had told us. But we were too confiding. The money to pay the bill was sent away by a servant, and once out of sight was easily replaced with inferior coin. Disturbed by this episode, we went to our train, which started with the watchman's first hail at eleven, and stumbled hastily into an empty compartment, which we soon converted into a sleeping-carriage by making our bundles pillows, drawing curtains, and pulling the silk screen over the lamp. Our nap was broken only by a halt at the next station. There was a long, drowsy pause, during which the train seemed to be pretending it hadn't been asleep. It was nearly time to go on, when feminine voices drew near our carriage; the door was thrown open, and two ladies quickly entered. There was no time for retreat; the usual fish-horn and dinner-bell accompaniment announced our departure, and the wheels moved. Then it was that one of the new-comers uttered a half scream, and we saw that she was a nun!

Had it been a cooler night our blood might have frozen; but as it failed us, we did what we could by feeling greatly embarrassed. The nun and her travelling companion had been speaking Spanish as they approached, and we tried in that language to impress on them our harmless devotion to their convenience.

"But he said it was reserved for ladies," murmured the sister, in good English.

The terrible truth was now clear. My eye caught, at the same instant, a card in the window which proved beyond question that we had got into the carriage for señoras.

The result of this adventure was that we found the nun to be an English Catholic, employed in teaching at a religious establishment, and her friend another Englishwoman protecting her on her journey. Pleasant conversation ensued, and we had almost forgotten that we were criminals, when the speed of the engine slackened again, and the thought of the Civil Guards returned to haunt us. We did not dare remain, yet we were sure that our military pursuers would confront us again on the platform. There indeed they were, when we tumbled out into the obscurity, with their white-hooded heads looming above their muskets in startling disconnectedness. Telling Velazquez, with all the firmness I possessed, to bare his breast to the avenging sword, I hastened to get into a coupé, preferring to die comfortably. He, however, ignominiously followed me. It is true, we were not molested; but the shock of that narrow escape kept us wakeful.

Not even our own prairies, I think, could present so dreary and monotonous an outlook as the wide, endless, treeless Castilian plains while morning slowly felt its way across them. Brown and cold they were, skirted by white roads, and all shorn of their barley crops, though it was but middle June. Now and then a village was seen huddled against some low slope—a church lifting its tall, square campanario above the humble roofs against the pearling sky. Interior Spain is a desolate land, but the Church thrives there and draws its tax from the poverty-stricken inhabitants—a crowned beggar ruling over beggars.

If the first man were now to be created from the clay of this region, he would doubtless turn out the very type of a lean hidalgo. The human product of such soil must perforce be meagre and melancholy; and the pensiveness which we see in most Spanish faces seems a reflection of the landscape which surrounds them.

The Madrileños offer not a flat, but rather an extremely round contradiction to this general and accepted idea of the national appearance. Slenderness is the exception with them. Their city is a forced flower in the midst of mountain lands, and the men themselves rejoice in a rotund and puffy look of success, which also partakes of the hot-house character. They are people of leisure, and, after their manner, of pleasure. How they swarm in the cafés in the Gate of the Sun—where they keep up the Moorish custom of calling waiters by two claps of the hands—or on the one great thoroughfare, Calle de Alcalá, or in the bull-ring of a Sunday! They are never at rest, yet never altogether active. They never sleep, or, if they do, others take their places in the public resorts. The clamor of the streets, and even the snarling cry of the news-venders—"La Correspondencia," or "El Demó-crata-a"—is kept up until the small hours; and at five or six the restless stir begins again with the silver tinkling of fleet mule-bells. There are no night-howling watchmen in Madrid; but the custom of street-hawking is rampant in Spain; and here, in addition to the newsmen, we have the wail of the water-criers, ministering to an unquenchable popular thirst, the lottery-ticket sellers, the wax-match peddlers, and a dozen others. The favorite bird of the country is a kind of lark called alondra, much hung in cages outside the windows, whence they utter—with that monotonous recurrence which seems a fixed principle of all things Spanish—a hard, piercing triple note impossible to ignore. This loud, persistent "twit, twit-twit," resembling at a distance the click of castanets, begins with daybreak, and gives a most discouraging notion of the Spanish musical ear.

But the watchmen are merciful. They are called, as elsewhere, serenos, which may mean either "quiet," or "night-dews," but their function in Madrid is peculiar. Early in the evening they come out by squads, with staves of office, and at their girdles bright lanterns and an immense bunch of keys. These are the night-keys of all the houses on each man's beat, the residents not being allowed to have any. When a person returns home late—and who does not, in Madrid—he is obliged to find his sereno, and if that officer is not in sight, calls him by name—"Frascuelo," or "Pepino." Whereupon Frascuelo, or Pepino, or Santiago, if he hears, will come along and unlock the door. This curious system should at least encourage good habits; for, unless a man be sober, his watchman may have unpleasant tales to tell of him.

The feline race being too often homeless, and having a proverbial taste for nocturnal wanderings, the average male citizen of the capital feelingly nicknames himself a "Madrid cat." This shows a frankness of self-characterization, to say the least, unusual. Of course there is home life, and there is family affection, in Madrid, but the stranger naturally does not see a great deal of these; and then it may be doubted whether they really exist to the same extent as in most other civilized capitals. It becomes wearisome to make sallies upon the town, and day after day find so much of the population trying to divert itself, or killing time in the cafés and clubs. The feeling deepens that they resort to these for want of a sufficiently close interest in their homes. More than that, they do not seem really to be amused. Even their language fails to express the amusement idea; the most that anything can be for them, in the vernacular, is "entertaining." Still the choice of light diversion is varied enough. Opera flourishes in winter; in spring and summer the bull-fight; theatres are always in blast; cocking-mains are kept up. Hitherto gambling has been another favorite pastime until checked by the authorities. Not content with all this, the Madrileños seek in lottery shops that excitement which Americans derive from drinking-saloons. The brightly lighted lottery agency occurs as frequently as that other indication of disease, the apothecary's window, or the stock-market "ticker," in American cities. People of all classes hover about them both by day and by night. Posters confront you with announcements of the Child Jesus Lottery, the lottery to aid the Asylum of Our Lady of the Assumption, or the National, which is drawn thrice a month, with a chief prize of thirty-two thousand dollars, and some four hundred other premiums. There are many small drawings besides constantly going on: not a day passes, in fact, without your being solicited by wandering dealers in these alluring chances at least half a dozen times.


Altogether, looking from my balcony upon the characteristic crowd in the great square, leading this life so busy yet so apathetic, as if in a slow fever, Madrid struck me as only one more great human ant-hill, where the ants were trying to believe themselves in Paris. The Parisian resemblance, however, is confined to strips through the middle and on the edges of the city, and as soon as one's steps are bent away from those, the narrow ways and older architecture of Spain re-appear. Only a few rods from the Puerta del Sol lies the Plaza Mayor, which once enjoyed all the honors of bull-fights and heretic burnings—occasions on which householders were obliged by their leases to give up all the front rooms and balconies to be used as boxes for the audience. From the Plaza Mayor again an arch leads into Toledo Street—old meandering mart full of mantles and sashes, blankets and guitars, flannel dyed in the national colors of red and yellow, basket-work and wood-work, including the carved sticks known as molinillos (little mills), with which chocolate is mixed by a dexterous spinning motion. The donkey feels himself at home once more in these narrow thoroughfares; the evil sewage smell, which oozes through even the most pretentious edifices in the new quarters, diffuses itself again in full vigor, and the cafés become dingy and unconventional. On the Alcalá, or San Geronimo, the carefully-dressed men sip beer and cordials, or possibly indulge in sparkling sherry—a new and expensive wine like dry champagne; but here the rougher element is satisfied with aguardiente (the liquor distilled from anise-seed), and quite as often confines itself to water. The lower orders are temperate. Peasants and porters and petty traders will sit down contentedly for a whole evening to a glass of water in which is dissolved a long meringue (called asucarillo, literally "sugarette"), or to a snow lemonade. Another esteemed cooling beverage is the horchata de chufas, a kind of cream made from pounded cypress root and then half frozen. The height of luxury is to order with this, at an added cost of some two cents, a few tubular wafers, fancifully named barquillos (or little boats), through which the semi-liquid may be sucked. This barquillo is considered so desirable that boys carry it on the street in large metal cylinders, the top of which is a disk inscribed with numbers. You pay a fee, and he revolves on the disk a pivotal needle, the number at which it stops deciding how many wafers fall to your lot. In this way the excruciating pleasure of barquillos to eat is combined with the national delight in gaming.

European costume has fallen on the Madrid people like a pall, blotting out picturesqueness; but peasants of all provinces are still seen, and now and then a turbaned figure from Barbary moves across the street. Nor is the fascinating mantilla quite extinct among women, in spite of their more than Parisian grace and splendor of modern robing. There are humble old women squatted on the sidewalk at street corners, who sell water and liquors and shrub from bottles kept in a singular little stand with brass knobs like an exaggerated pair of casters; and when one sees the varied types of peasant, soldier, citizen, or priest, with perhaps a veiled woman of the middle class, gathered around one of these, the Spanish quality of the town re-asserts itself distinctly. So it does, too, when a carriage containing the princesses of the royal household rattles down the Prado Park, drawn by mules in barbaric red-tasselled harness, and preceded by a courier who wears a sort of gold-braided nightcap.



There is no cathedral at Madrid, but the churches, smeared as usual with gold and stucco and paint in tasteless extravagance, are numerous enough; and on many a balcony I saw withered straw-like plumes, long as a man, hung up in commemoration of the last Palm-Sunday. The morning papers have a "religious bulletin" in the amusement column, giving the saints and services of the day; besides which special masses for the souls of departed capitalists are constantly announced, with a request that friends shall attend. These paid rites doubtless offer a pleasant exception to the routine of commonplace church-going. Thus, while the men are absorbed by their cafés and politics, their countless cigarettes and lottery tickets, with a minimum of business and a maximum of dominoes, the women fill up their time with matins and vespers, confessions and intrigues. It would be merely repeating the frank assertion of the Spanish men themselves to say that feminine morals here are in a lamentable state; but at least appearances are always carefully guarded, and if judged by externals only, Madrid is far more virtuous than London or Paris. As for local society, it exists so much on appearances that the substance suffers. It is true, the ladies are beautiful and of noble stature; and their costumes, governed by the happiest taste, surpass in luxury those seen in public in almost any other city. The cavaliers are, without exception, the best-dressed gentlemen in the world; and the mass of sumptuous equipages, with polished grooms and surpassingly fine horses, which crowds the broad Castilian Fountain drive, or the Park road on the east of the Buen Retiro gardens, during fashionable hours, is amazing. Great wealth is gathered in the hands of a few nobles, who often draw heavy salaries from government for long-obsolete services; but the most of this costuming and grooming is attained by semi-starvation at home. By consequence, dinners and dancing-parties are rarely given even in the season, and royalty itself provides no more than a couple of balls, with two or three state dinners, a year.


To be sure, no capital is better provided with sundry of the higher means to cultivation, as its Royal Armory, its Archæological Museum, and its glorious Picture-gallery—in some respects the noblest of Europe—remind one. Moreover, in the neighboring Escorial, that dark jewel in the head of Philip II., travellers find a rich monument of art, albeit to many eyes unseen inscriptions perhaps record there more than enough of Spain's misfortunes. In the Madrid gallery the stately, severe, and robust royal portraits by Velazquez, or his magnificently healthy "Drunkards," reveal in their way, as do the Virgins of Murillo, floating divinely in translucent air, that deep and deathless power of Spanish temperament and genius over which slumber has reigned so long. The pictures of Ribera, hanging together, are like loose pages torn from Spanish ecclesiastical history and legend: a collection of monks, ascetics, martyrs—scenes of torture depicted with relentless and savage vigor. Goya, again, scarcely known out of Spain, left at the beginning of this century portraits of wonderful vitality and finish, fresh glimpses of popular life, and wild figure compositions marked by the fierce, half insane energy of a Latinized William Blake. His imagination and manner were both original. Though falling short, like all other Spanish painters, in ideality, he had that faculty of fertile improvisation so refreshing in Murillo's naturalistic "Madonna of the Birdling," or in his "St. Elizabeth," and "Roman Patrician's Dream," at the Academy of Fine Arts. But it is not with these past splendors, still full of hopes for new futures, that the Castilian gentlemen and ladies of our varnished period concern themselves. The opera, the circus, and the Corrida de Toros—the irrepressible bull-fight—are to them of far more consequence.

In every crowd and café you see the tall, shapely, dark-faced, silent men, with a cool, professionally murderous look like that of our border desperadoes, whose enormously wide black hats, short jackets, tight trousers, and pigtails of braided hair proclaim them chulos, or members of the noble ring. Intrepid, with muscles of steel, and finely formed, they are very illiterate: we saw one of them gently taking his brandy at the Café de Paris after a hard combat, while his friend read from an evening paper a report of the games in which he had just fought—the man's own education not enabling him to decipher print. But the higher class of these professionals are the idols, the demi-gods, of the people. Songs are made about them, their deeds are painted on fans, and popular chromos illustrate their loves and woes; people crowd around to see them in hotels or on the street as if they were heroes or star tragedians. Pet dogs are named for the well-known ones; and it was even rumored that one of the chief swordsmen had secured the affections of a patrician lady, and would have married her but for the interference of her friends. Certain it is that a whole class of young bucks of the lower order—"'Arrys" is the British term—get themselves up in the closest allowable imitation of bull-fighters, down to the tuft of hair left growing in front of the ear. The espadas or matadores (killers), who give the mortal blow, hire each one his cuadrilla—a corps of assistants, including picadores, banderilleros, and punterillo. For every fight they receive five hundred dollars, and sometimes they lay up large fortunes. To see the sport well from a seat in the shade, one must pay well. Tickets are monopolized by speculators, who, no less than the fighters, have their "ring," and gore buyers as the bull does horses. We gave two dollars apiece for places. The route to the Place of Bulls is lined for a mile with omnibuses, tartanas, broken-down diligences, and wheezy cabs, to convey intending spectators to the fight on Sunday afternoons. A stream of pedestrians file in the same direction, and the showy turnouts of the rich add dignity to what soon becomes a wild rush for the scene of action. The mule-bells ring like a rain of metal, whips crack, the drivers shout wildly, and at full gallop we dash by windows full of on-lookers, by the foaming fountains of the Prado, and up the road to the grim Colosseum of stone and brick, in the midst of scorched and arid fields, with the faint peaks of the snow-capped Guadarrama range seen, miles to the north, through dazzling white sunshine.



Within is the wide ring, sunk in a circular pit of terraced granite crowned by galleries. The whole great round, peopled by at least ten thousand beings, is divided exactly by the sun and the shadow—sol y sombra; and from our cool place we look at the vivid orange sand of the half arena in sunlight, and the tiers of seats beyond, where swarms of paper fans (red, yellow, purple, and green) are wielded to shelter the eyes of those in the cheaper section, or bring air to their lungs. No connected account of a bull tourney can impart the vividness, the rapid changes, the suspense, the skill, the picturesqueness, or horror of the actual thing. All occurs in rapid glimpses, in fierce, dramatic, brilliant, and often ghastly pictures, which fade and re-form in new phases on the instant. The music is sounding, the fans are fluttering, amateurs strolling between the wooden barriers of the ring and the lowest seats, hatless men are hawking fruit and aguardiente, when trumpets announce the grand entry. It is a superb sight: the picadores with gorgeous jackets and long lances on horseback, in wide Mexican hats, their armor-cased legs in buckskin trousers; the swordsmen and others on foot, shining with gold and silver embroidery on scarlet and blue, bright green, saffron, or puce-colored garments, carrying cloaks of crimson, violet, and canary. At the head is the mounted alguazil in ominous black, who carries the key of the bull-gate. Everything is punctual, orderly, ceremonious.

Then the white handkerchief, as signal, from the president of the games in his box; the trumpet-blare again; and the bull rushing from his lair! There is a wild moment when, if he be of good breed, he launches himself impetuous as the ball from a thousand-ton gun directly upon his foes, and sweeping around half the circle, puts them to flight over the barrier or into mid-ring, leaving a horse or two felled in his track. I have seen one fierce Andalusian bull within ten minutes kill five horses while making two circuits of the ring. The first onset against a horse is horrible to witness. The poor steed, usually lean and decrepit, is halted until the bull will charge him, when instantly the picador in the saddle aims a well-poised blow with his lance, driving the point into the bull's back only about an inch, as an irritant. You hear the horns tear through the horse's hide; you feel them go through yourself. Ribs crack; there's a clatter of hoofs, harness, and the rider's armor; a sudden heave and fall—disaster!—and then the bull rushes away in pursuit of a yellow mantle flourished to distract him.

The banderilleros come, each holding two ornamental barbed sticks, which he waves to attract the bull. At the brute's advance he runs to meet him, and in the moment when the huge head is lowered for a lunge, he plants them deftly, one on each shoulder, and springs aside. Perhaps, getting too near, he fails, and turns to fly; the bull after, within a few inches. He flees to the barrier, drops his cloak on the sand, and vaults over; the bull springs over too into the narrow alley; whereupon the fighter, being close pressed, leaps back into the ring light as a bird, but saved by a mere hair's-breadth from a tossing or a trampling to death. The crowd follow every turn with shouts and loud comments and cheers: "Go, bad little bull!" "Let the picadores charge!" "More horses! more horses!" "Well done, Gallito!" "Time for the death!—the matadores!" and so on. Humor mingles with some of their remarks, and there is generally one volunteer buffoon who, choosing a lull in the combat, shrieks out rude witticisms that bring the laugh from a thousand throats.

But if the management of the sport be not to their liking, then the multitude grow instantly stormy: rising on the benches, they bellow their opinions to the president, whistle, stamp, scream, gesticulate. It is the tumult of a mob, appeasable only by speedier bloodshed. And what bloodshed they get! A horse or two, say, lies lifeless and crumpled on the earth; the others, with bandaged eyes, and sides hideously pierced and red-splashed, are spurred and whacked with long sticks to make them go. But it is time for the banderilleros, and after that for the swordsman. He advances, glittering, with a proud, athletic step, the traditional chignon fastened to his pigtail, and holding out his bare sword, makes a brief speech to the president: "I go to slay this bull for the honor of the people of Madrid and the most excellent president of this tourney." Then throwing his hat away, he proceeds to his task of skill and danger. It is here that the chief gallantry of the sport begins. With a scarlet cloak in one hand he attracts the bull, waves him to one side or the other, baffles him, re-invites him—in fine, plays with and controls him as if he were a kitten, though always with eye alert and often in peril. At last, having got him "in position," he lifts the blade, aims, and with a forward spring plunges it to the hilt at a point near the top of the spine. Perhaps the bull recoils, reels, and dies with that thrust; but more often he is infuriated, and several strokes are required to finish him. Always, however, the blood gushes freely, the sand is stained with it, and the serried crowd, intoxicated by it, roar savagely. Still, the "many-headed beast" is fastidious. If the bull be struck in such a way as to make him spout his life out at the nostrils, becoming a trifle too sanguinary, marks of disapproval are freely bestowed. One bull done for, the music recommences, and mules in showy trappings are driven in. They are harnessed to the carcasses, and the dead bulks of the victims are hauled bravely off at a gallop, furrowing the dirt. The grooms run at topmost speed, snapping their long whips; the dust rises in a cloud, enveloping the strange cavalcade. They disappear through the gate flying, and you wake from a dream of ancient Rome and her barbarous games come true again. But soon the trumpets flourish; another bull comes; the same finished science and sure death ensue, varied by ever-new chances and escapes, until afternoon wanes, the sun becomes shadow, and ten thousand satisfied people—mostly men in felt sombreros, with some women, fewer ladies, and a sprinkling of children and babies—throng homeward.

What impresses is the cold blood of the thing. People bring their goat-skins of wine, called "little drunkards," and pass them around to friends, between bulls; others pop off lemonade bottles, and nearly all smoke. Even a combatant sometimes lights a cigar while the bull is occupied at the other side of the ring. During the hottest encounters grooms come in to strip the harness from dying horses or stab an incapacitated one; to carry off baskets of entrails, and rake fresh sand over the blood-pools, quite calmly, at the risk of sharp interruption from the vagarious horned enemy. In the midst of a dangerous flurry, while performers are escaping, an orange-vender in the lane outside the barrier pitches some fruit to a buyer half-way up the gradas, counting aloud, "One, two, three," to twenty-four. All are caught, and he neatly catches his money in return. Afterward, when a bull leaps the barrier, this intrepid merchant has to fly for life, leaving his basket on the ground, where the bewildered animal upsets it, rolling the contents everywhere in golden confusion. Another time we saw a horse and rider lifted bodily on the horns, and so tossed that the horseman flew out of his saddle, hurtled through the air directly over the bull, and landed solidly on his back, senseless. Six grooms bore him off, white and rigid. But the populace never heeded him; they were madly cheering the bull's prowess. A surgeon, by-the-way, always attends in an anteroom; prayers are said before the fight; and a priest is in readiness with the consecrated wafer to give the last sacrament in case of any fatal accident. The utter simple-mindedness with which Spaniards regard the brutalities of the sport may be judged from the fact that a bull-fight was once given to benefit the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals!

On occasion, the drawing of a charitable lottery is held at the Corrida de Toros, and then there are gala features. The Queen and various high-born ladies present magnificent rosettes of silk or satin and gold and silver tinsel, with long streamers, to be attached by little barbs to the bulls before their entrance, each having his colors indicated in this way; and these ornaments are displayed in shop windows for days before the event. The language of the ring is another peculiarity. There are many fine points of merit, distinguished by as many canting terms. There is the "pair regular," the "relance," the "cuartos," and the darts are playfully termed "shuttlecocks;" the swordsman deals in "pinches" and "thrusts," and so on—all of which is recorded in press reports, amusing enough in their airy and supercilious half-literary treatment. These are among the most polished products of Spanish journalism. Fines are imposed on the performers for any achievement not "regular;" and, on the other hand, good strokes are rewarded by the public with cigars, or, as the dainty reporters say, they "merit palms." The three chief swordsmen are Lagartijo, Frascuelo, and Currito; "Broad Face," "Little Fatty," and the like, being lesser lights. Frascuelo is so renowned for hardihood that I once saw him receive, in obedience to popular will, the ear of the bull he had just slain—a supreme mark of favor.[4]


Madrid is now the head-quarters of the national game, as it is of everything else. It is outwardly flourishing, it is adorned with statues, its parks are green, and its fountains spout gayly. Nevertheless, the impression it makes is melancholy. Beggary is importunate on its public ways. Palaces and poverty, great wealth and wretched penury, are huddled close together. Its assumption of splendor is in startling contrast with the desolate and uncared-for districts that surround it from the very edge of the city outward. The natural result of extremes in the distribution of property, with a country impoverished, is public bankruptcy; and public bankruptcy stares surely enough through the city's gay mask. There is another unhappy result from the undue concentration of resources at this artificial capital. Madrid prides itself on being the spot at which all the avenues of the land converge equally, the exact centre of Spain being close beyond the city's confines, and marked—how appropriately—by a church! But Madrid is, notwithstanding, a national centre only in name. It enjoys a false luxury, while too many outlying provinces sustain a starveling existence. And, seeing the alien, imitative manners adopted here, one feels sharply the difficult contrasts that exist between the metropolis and the provinces: no hearty bond of national unity appears. We looked back over the ground we had traversed, and thought of the gray bones of Burgos cathedral, lying like some stranded mammoth of another age, far in the north. Oh, bells of Burgos, mumbling in your towers, what message have you for these sophisticated ears? And what intelligible response does the heart of the country send back to you?

"Come," said I to Velveteen. "It is useless to resist longer. Let's surrender to these two white-capped guards who have dogged us so, and be carried away."



IT was of Spain's past and present that we were speaking, and "What," I asked, "have we given her in return for her discovery of our New World?"

"The sleeping-car and the street tramway," answered Velveteen, with justifiable pride.

He was right; for we had seen the first on the railroad, and the second skimming the streets of Madrid. Still, the reward did not appear great, measured by the much that Spain's ventures in the Western hemisphere had cost her, and by the comparative desolation of her present. The devoted labors of Irving and Prescott, which Spaniards warmly appreciate, are more in the nature of an adequate return.

"It strikes me, also," I ventured to add, "that we are rendering a service in kind. She discovered us, and now we are discovering her."

If one reflects how some of the once great and powerful places of the Peninsula, such as Toledo and Cordova, have sunk out of sight and perished to the modern world, this fancy applies with some truth to every sympathetic explorer of them. It had been all very well to imagine ourselves conversant with the country when we were in Madrid, and even an occasional slip in the language did not disturb that supposition. When I accidentally asked the chamber-maid to swallow a cup of chocolate instead of "bringing" it, owing to an unnecessary resemblance of two distinct words, and when my comrade, in attending to details of the laundry, was led by an imperfect dictionary to describe one article of wear as a pintura de noche, or "night scene," our confidence suffered only a momentary shock. But, after all, it was not until we reached Toledo that we really passed into a kind of forgotten existence, and knew what it was to be far beyond reach of any familiar word.



With the first plunge southward from the capital the reign of ruin begins—ruin and flies. The heat becomes intense; the air itself seems to be cooked through and through; the flies rejoice with a malicious joy, and the dry sandy hills, bearing nothing but tufts of blackened weeds, resemble large mounds of pepper and salt. Here and there in the valley is the skeleton of a stone or brick farm-house withering away, and perhaps near by a small round defensive hut, recalling times of disorder. Between the hills, however, are fields still prolific in rye, though wholly destitute of trees. Verdure re-asserts itself wherever there is the smallest water-course; and a curve of the river Tagus is sure to infold fruit orchards and melon vines, while the parched soil briefly revives and puts forth delightful shade-trees. But although the river-fed lands around Toledo are rich in vegetation, the ancient city itself, with the Tagus slung around its base like a loop, rises on a sterile rock, and amid hills of bronze. So much are the brown and sun-imbued houses and the old fortified walls in keeping with the massy natural foundation that all seem reared together, the huge form of the Alcazar, or castle—where the Spanish national military academy is housed—towering like a second cliff in one corner of the round, irregularly clustered city. Our omnibus scaled the height by a road perfectly adapted for conducting to some dragon stronghold of misty fable, and landed us in the Zocodover, the sole open space of any magnitude in that tangle of thread-like streetlets, along which the houses range themselves with a semblance of order purely superficial. Most of Toledo is traversable only for pedestrians and donkeys. These latter carry immense double baskets across their backs, in which are transported provisions, bricks, coal, fowls, water, bread, crockery—everything, in short, down to the dirt occasionally scraped from the thoroughfares. I saw one peasant, rather advanced in years, helping himself up the steep rise of a street on the hill-side by means of a stout cane in one hand and the tail of his heavy-laden donkey grasped in the other. To make room for these useful beasts and their broad panniers, some of the houses are hollowed out at the corners; in one case the side wall being actually grooved a foot deep for a number of yards along an anxious turning. Otherwise the panniers would touch both sides of the way, and cause a blockade as obstinate as the animal itself.


From a Drawing by William M. Chase.
From a Drawing by William M. Chase.

Coming from the outer world into so strange a labyrinth, where there is no echo of rolling wheels, no rumble of traffic or manufacture, you find yourself in a city which may be said to be without a voice. Through a hush like this, history and tradition speak all the more powerfully. Toledo has been a favorite with the novelists. The Zocodover was the haunt of that typical rogue Lazarillo de Tormes; and Cervantes, oddly as it happens, connects the scene of La ilustre Fregonde with a shattered castle across the river, which by a coincidence has had its original name of San Servando corrupted into San Cervantes.

Never shall I forget our walk around the city walls that first afternoon in Toledo. A broad thoroughfare skirts the disused defences on the south and west, running at first along the sheer descent to the river, and a beetling height against which houses, shops, and churches are crammed confusedly. I noticed one smithy with a wide dark mouth revealing the naked rock on which walls and roof abutted, and other houses into the faces of which had been wrought large granite projections of the hill. After this the way led through a gate of peculiar strength and shapeliness, carrying up arches of granite and red brick to a considerable height—a stout relic of the proud Moorish dominion so long maintained here; and then, when we had rambled about a church of Santiago lower down, passing through some streets irregular as foot-paths, where over a neglected door stood a unique announcement of the owner's name—"I am Don Sanchez. 1792"—we came to the Visagra, the country gate. This menacing, double-towered portal is mediæval; so that a few steps had carried us from Mohammedan Alimaymon to the Emperor Charles V. Just outside of it again is the Alameda, the modern garden promenade, where the beauty and idleness of Toledo congregate on Sunday evenings to the soft compulsion of strains from the military academical band. Thin runnels of water murmur along through the hedges and embowered trees, explaining by their presence how this refreshing pleasure-ground was conjured into being; for on the slope, a few feet below the green hedges, you still see the sun-parched soil just as it once spread over the whole area. The contrast suggests Eden blossoming on a crater-side.

At the open-air soirées of the Alameda may be seen excellent examples of Spanish beauty. The national type of woman appears here in good preservation, and not too much hampered by foreign airs. Doubtless one finds it too in Burgos and Madrid, and in fact everywhere; and the grace of the women in other places is rather fonder of setting itself off by a fan used for parasol purposes in the street than in Toledo. But on the pasco and alameda all Spanish ladies carry fans, and it is something marvellous to see how they manage them. Not for a moment is the subtle instrument at rest: it flutters, wavers idly, is opened and shut in the space of a second, falls to the side, and again rises to take its part in the conversation almost like a third person—all without effort—with merely a turn of the supple fingers or wrist, and contributing an added charm to the bearer. The type of face which beams with more or less similarity above every fan in Spain is difficult to describe, and at first difficult even to apprehend. One has heard so much about its beauty that in the beginning it seems to fall short; but gradually its spell seizes on the mind, becoming stronger and stronger. The tint varies from tawny rose or olive to white: ladies of higher caste, from their night life and rare exposure to the sun, acquire a deathly pallor, which is unfortunately too often imitated with powder. Chestnut or lighter hair is seen a good deal in the south and east, but deep black is the prevalent hue. And the eyes!—it is impossible to more than suggest the luminous, dreamy medium in which they swim, so large, dark, and vivid. But, above all, there is combined with a certain child-like frankness a freedom and force, a quick mobility in the lines of the face, equalled only in American women. To these elements you must add a strong arching eyebrow and a pervading richness and fire of nature in the features, which it would be hard to parallel at all, especially when the whole is framed in the seductive folds of the black mantilla, like a drifting night-cloud enhancing the sparkle of a star.

As we continued along the Camin de Marchan we looked down on one side over the fertile plain. The pale tones of the ripe harvest and dense green of trees contrasted with the rich brown and gray of the city, and dashes of red clay here and there. In a long field rose detached fragments of masonry, showing at different points the vast ground-plan of the Roman Circus Maximus, with a burst of bright ochre sand in the midst of the stubble, while on the left hand we had an old Arab gate pierced with slits for arrows, and on the crest above that a nunnery—St. Sunday the Royal—followed by a line of palaces and convents half ruined in the Napoleonic campaign of 1812. Out in the plain was the roof of the sword factory where "Toledo blades" are still forged and tempered for the Spanish army; although in the finer details of damascening and design nothing is produced beyond a small stock of show weapons and tiny ornamental trinkets for sale to tourists. Nor was this all; for a little farther on, at the edge of the river, close to the Bridge of St. Martin and the Gate of Twelve Stones, the broken remains of an old Gothic palace sprawled the steep, lying open to heaven and vacant as the dull eye-socket in some unsepulchred skull. Our stroll of a mile had carried us back to the second century before Christ, the path being strewn with relics of the Roman conquest, the Visigothic inroad, the Moorish ascendency, and the returning tide of Christian power. But the Jews, seeking refuge after the fall of Jerusalem, preceded all these, making a still deeper substratum in the marvellous chronicles of Toledo; and some of their later synagogues, exquisitely wrought in the Moorish manner, still stand in the Jewish quarter for the wonderment of pilgrim connoisseurs.


It was from a terrace of this old Gothic palace near the bridge that, according to legend, Don Roderick, the last of the Goths in Spain, saw Florinda, daughter of one Count Julian, bathing in the yellow Tagus under a four-arched tower which still invades the flood, and goes by the name of the Bath of Florinda. From his passion for her, and their mutual error, the popular tale, with vigorous disregard of chronology, deduces the fall of Spain before the Berber armies; and as most old stories here receive an ecclesiastical tinge, this one relates how Florinda's sinful ghost continued to haunt the spot where we now stood, until laid by a good friar with cross and benediction. The sharp fall of the bank at first glance looked to consist of ordinary earth and stones, but on closer scrutiny turned out to contain quantities of brick bits from the old forts and towers which one generation after another had built on the heights, and which had slowly mouldered into nullity. Even so the firm lines of history have fallen away and crumbled into romance, which sifts through the crannies of the whole withered old city. As a lady of my acquaintance graphically said, it seems as if ashes had been thrown over this ancient capital, covering it with a film of oblivion. The rocks, towers, churches, ruins, are just so much corporeal mythology—object, lessons in fable. A little girl, becomingly neckerchiefed, wandered by us while we leaned dreaming above the river; and she was singing one of the wild little songs of the country, full of melancholy melody:

"Fair Malaga, adios!
Ah, land where I was born,
Thou hadst mother-love for all,
But for me step-mother's scorn!"


All unconscious of the monuments around her, she stopped when she saw that we had turned and were listening. Then we resumed our way, passing, I may literally say, as if in a trance up into the town again, where we presently found ourselves in front of St. John of the Kings, a venerable church, formerly connected with a Franciscan monastery which the French burnt. On the outer wall high up hangs a stern fringe of chains, placed there as votive tokens by released Christian captives from Granada, in 1492; and there they have remained since America was discovered!

To this church is attached a most beautiful cloister, calm with the
solitude of nearly four hundred years. Around three sides the rich
clustered columns, each with its figures of holy
men supported under pointed canopies, mark the
delicate Gothic arches, through which the sunlight
slants upon the pavement, falling between
the leaves of aspiring vines that twine upward
from the garden in the middle. There the rose-laurel
blooms, and a rude fountain perpetually
gurgles, hidden in thick greenery; and on the
fourth side the wall is dismantled as the French
bombardment left it. Seventy years have passed,
and though the sculptured blocks for restoration
have been got together, the vines grow over them,
and no work has been done. We mounted the
bell-tower part way with the custodian, and gained
a gallery looking into the chapel, strangely adorned with regal shields
and huge eagles in stone. On our way, under one part of the tower
roof, we found a hen calmly strutting with her brood. "It was meant
for celibacy," said the custodian, "but times change, and you see that
family life has established itself here after all."


I don't know whether there is anything particularly sacred about the hens of this district, but after seeing this one in the church-tower I began to think there might be, especially as on the way home we discovered another imprisoned fowl disconsolately looking down at us from the topmost window of a venerable patrician residence.



ITS antiquities are not the queerest thing about Toledo. The sights
of the day, the isolated existence of the inhabitants, are things peculiar.
The very sports of the children reflect the prevailing influences. A
favorite diversion with them is to parade in some dark hall-way with
slow step and droning chants, in imitation of church festivals; and in
the street we found boys playing at toros. Some took
off their coats to wave as mantles before the bull, who
hid around the corner until the proper time for his entry.
The bull in this game, I noticed, had a nice sense
of fair play, and would stop to argue points with his
antagonists—something I should have been glad to see
in the real arena. Once the old rock town accommodated
two hundred thousand residents. Its contingent
has now shrunk to twenty thousand, yet it
swarms with citizens, cadets, loafers, and beggars.
Its tortuous wynds are full of wine-shops,
vegetables, and children,
all mixed up together. Superb
old palaces, nevertheless, open
off from them, frequently with
spacious courts inside, shaded
by trellised vines, and with
pillars at the entrance topped
by heavy stone balls, or
doors studded with nails and
moulded in rectangular patterns
like inlay-work. One
day we wandered through a
sculptured gate-way and entered
a paved opening with
a carved wood gallery running
around the walls above.
Orange-trees in tubs stood
about, and a brewery was
established in these palatial
quarters. We ordered a bottle,
but I noticed that the
brewer stood regarding us
anxiously. At last he drew
nearer, and asked, "Do you
come from Madrid?"


"Ah, then," said he, in
a disheartened tone, "you
won't like our beer."


We encouraged him, however, and at last he disappeared, sending us
the beverage diplomatically by another hand. He was too faint-spirited
to witness the trial himself. Though called
"The Delicious," the thin, sweet, gaseous liquid
was certainly detestable; but in deference to the
brewer's delicate conscientiousness we drank as
much as possible, and then left with his wife some
money and a weakly complimentary remark about
the beer, which evidently came just in time to
convince her that we were, after all, discriminating


The people generally were very simple and good-natured, and in particular a young commercial traveller from Barcelona whom we met exerted himself to entertain us. The chief street was lined with awnings reaching to the curb-stone in front of the shops, and every public door-way was screened by a striped curtain. Pushing aside one of these, our new acquaintance introduced us to what seemed a dingy bar, but, by a series of turnings, opened out into a spacious concealed café—that of the Two Brothers—where we frequently repaired with him to sip chiccory and cognac or play dominos. On these occasions he kept the tally in pencil on the marble table, marking the side of himself and a friend with their initials, and heading ours "The Strangers." All travellers in Spain are described by natives as "Strangers" or "French," and the reputation for a pure Parisian accent which we acquired under these circumstances, though brief, was glorious. To the Two Brothers resorted many soldiers, shop-keepers, and well-to-do housewives during fixed hours of the afternoon and evening, but at other times it was as forsaken as Don Roderick's palace. Another place of amusement was the Grand Summer Theatre, lodged within the ragged walls of a large building which had been half torn down. Here we sat under the stars, luxuriating in the most expensive seats (at eight cents per head), surrounded by a full audience of exceedingly good aspect, including some Toledan ladies of great beauty, and listened to a zarzuela, or popular comic opera, in which the prompter took an almost too energetic part. The ticket collector came in among the chairs to receive everybody's coupons with very much the air of being one of the family; for while performing his stern duty he smoked a short brier pipe, giving to the act an indescribable dignity which threw the whole business of the tickets into a proper subordination. In returning to our inn about midnight we were attracted by the free cool sound of a guitar duet issuing from a dark street that rambled off somewhere like a worm track in old wood, and, pursuing the sound, we discovered by the aid of a match lighted for a cigarette two men standing in the obscure alley, and serenading a couple of ladies in a balcony, who positively laughed with pride at the attention. The men, it proved, had been hired by some admirer, and so our friend engaged them to perform for us at the hotel the following night.


The skill these thrummers of the guitar display is delicious, especially in the treble part, which is executed on a smaller species of the instrument, called a mandura. Our treble-player was blind in one eye, and with the carelessness of genius allowed his mouth to stay open, but managed always to keep a cigarette miraculously hanging in it; while his comrade, with a disconsolate expression, disdained to look at the strings on which his proud Castilian fingers were condemned to play a mere accompaniment. For two or three hours they rippled out those peculiar native airs which go so well with the muffled vibrations and mournful Oriental monotony of the guitar; but the bagman varied the concert by executing operatic pieces on a hair-comb covered with thin paper—a contrivance in which he took unfeigned delight. Some remonstrance against this uproar being made by other inmates of the hotel, our host silenced the complainants by cordially inviting them in. One large black-bearded guest, the exact reproduction of a stately ancient Roman, accepted the hospitality, and listened to that ridiculous piping of the comb with profound gravity and unmoved muscles, expressing neither approval nor dissatisfaction. But the white-aproned waiter, who, though unasked, hung spellbound on the threshold, was, beyond question, deeply impressed. The relations of servants with employers are on a very democratic footing in Spain. We had an admirable butler at Madrid who used to join in the conversation at table whenever it interested him, and was always answered with good grace by the conversationists, who admitted him to their intellectual repast at the same moment that he was proffering them physical nutriment. These Toledan servitors of the Fonda de Lino were still more informal. They used to take naps regularly twice a day in the hall, and could not get through serving dinner without an occasional cigarette between the courses. To save labor, they would place a pile of plates in front of each person, enough to hold the entire list of viands. That last phrase is a euphemism, however, for the meal each day consisted of the same meat served in three separate relays without vegetables, followed by fowl, an allowance of beans, and dessert. Even this they were not particular to give us on the hour. Famished beyond endurance, one evening at eight o'clock, we went down-stairs and found that not the first movement toward dinner had been made. The mozos (waiters) were smoking and gossiping in the street, and rather frowned upon our vulgar desire for food, but we finally persuaded them to yield to it. After we had bought some tomatoes, and made a salad at dinner, the management was put on its mettle, and improved slightly. Fish in this country is always brought on somewhere in the middle of dinner, like the German pudding, and our landlord astonished us by following the three courses of stewed veal with sardines, fried in oil and ambuscaded in a mass of boiled green peppers. After that we forbore to stimulate his ambition any farther.


The hotel guest, however, is on the whole regarded as a necessary evil—a nuisance tolerated only because some few of the finest race in the world can make money out of him. The landlord lived with his family on the ground-floor, and furnished little domestic tableaux as we passed in and out; but he never paid any attention to us, and even looked rather hurt at the intrusion of so many strangers into his hostelry. Nor did the high-born sewing-women who sat on the public stairs, and left only a narrow space for other people to ascend or descend by, consider it necessary to stir in the least for our convenience. The fonda had more of the old tavern or posada style about it than most hotels patronized by foreigners. The entrance door led immediately into a double court, where two or three yellow equipages stood; and from this the kitchen, storerooms, and stable all branched off in some clandestine way. Above, at the eaves, these courts were covered with canvas awnings wrinkled in regular folds on iron rods—sheltering covers which remained drawn from the first flood of the morning sun until after five in the afternoon. Early and late I used to look down into the inner court, observing the men and women of the household as they dressed fish and silently wrung the necks of chickens, or sat talking a running stream of nothingness by the hour, for love of their own glib but uncouth voices. People of this province intone rather than talk: their sentences are set to distinct drawling tunes, such as I never before encountered in ordinary speech, and their thick lisping of all sibilants, combined with the usual contralto of their voices, gives the language a sonorous burr, for which one soon acquires a liking. Sunday is the great hair-combing day in Toledo, if I may judge from the manner in which women carried on that soothing operation in their door-ways and patios; and in this inner court below my window one of the servants, sitting on a stone slab, enjoyed the double profit of sewing and of letting a companion manipulate her yard-long locks of jet, while others sat near, fanning themselves and chattering. Another time a little girl, dark as an Indian, came there in the morning to wash a kerchief at the stone tank, always brimming with dirty water; after which she executed, unsuspicious of my gaze, a singularly weird pas seul, a sort of shadow dance, on the pavement, and then vanished.


All the houses are roofed with heavy curved tiles, which fit together so as to let the air circulate under their hollow grooves; and a species of many-seeded grass sprouts out of these baked earth coverings, out of the ledges of old towers and belfries, and from the crevices of the great cathedral itself, like the downy hair on an old woman's cheek.

The view along almost any one of the ancient streets, which are always tilted by the hilly site, is wonderfully quaint in its irregularities. Every window is heavily grated with iron, from the top to the bottom story, even the openings high up in the cathedral spire being similarly guarded, until the whole place looks like a metropolis of prisons. In the stout doors, too, there are small openings or peep-holes, such as we had seen still in actual use at Madrid—the relics of an epoch when even to open to an unknown visitor might be dangerous. White, white, white the sunshine!—and the walls of pink or yellow-brown, of pale green and blue, are sown with deep shadows and broken by big archways, often surmounted by rich knightly escutcheons. Balconies with tiled floors turning their colors down toward the sidewalk stud the fronts, and long curtains stream over them like cloaks fluttering in the breeze. At one point a peak-roofed tower rises above the rest of its house with sides open to the air and cool shadow within, where perhaps a woman sits and works behind a row of bright flowering plants. Doves inhabited the fonda roof unmolested by the spiritless cats that, flat as paper, slept in the undulations of the tiles; for the Toledan cats and dogs are the most wretched of their kind. They get even less to eat than their human neighbors, which is saying a great deal. And beyond the territory of the doves my view extended to a slender bell-spire at the end of the cathedral, poised in the bright air like a flower-stalk, with one bell seen through an interstice as if it were a blossom. At another point the main spire rose out of what might be called a rich thicket of Gothic work. Its tall thin shaft is encircled near the point with sharp radiating spikes of iron, doubtless intended to recall the crown of thorns: in this sign of the Passion, held forever aloft, three hundred feet above the ground, there is a penetrating pathos, a solemn beauty.


THE cathedral of Toledo, long the seat of the Spanish primate, stands in the first rank of cathedrals, and is invested with a ponderous gloom that has something almost savage about it. For six centuries art, ecclesiasticism, and royal power lavished their resources upon it; and its dusky chapels are loaded with precious gems and metals, tawdry though the style of their ornamentation often is. The huge pillars that divide its five naves rise with a peculiar inward curve, which gives them an elastic look of growth. They are the giant roots from which the rest has spread. Under the golden gratings and jasper steps of the high altar Cardinal Mendoza lies buried, with a number of the older kings of Spain, in a grewsome sunless vault; but at the back of the altar there is contrived with theatrical effect a burst of white light from a window in the arched ceiling, around the pale radiance of which are assembled painted figures, gradually giving place to others in veritable relief—all sprawling, flying, falling down the wall enclosing the altar, as if one were suddenly permitted to see a swarm of saints and angels careering in a beam of real supernatural illumination. A private covered gallery leads above the street from the archbishop's palace into one side of the mighty edifice; and this, with the rambling, varied aspect of the exterior, in portions resembling a fortress, with a stone sentry-box on the roof, recalls the days of prelates who put themselves at the head of armies, leading in war as in everything else. A spacious adjoining cloister, full of climbing ivy and figs, Spanish cypress, the smooth-trunked laurel-tree, and many other growths, all bathed in opulent sunshine, marks the site of an old Jewish market, which Archbishop Tenorio in 1389 incited a mob to burn in order that he might have room for this sacred garden. But the voices of children now ring out from the upper rooms of the cloister building, where the widows and orphans of cathedral servants are given free homes. Through this "cloister of the great church" it was that Cervantes says he hurried with the MS. of Cid Hamete Benengeli, containing Don Quixote's history, after he had bought it for half a real—just two cents and a half.


A temple of the barbaric and the barbarous, the cathedral dates from the thirteenth century: but it was preceded by one which was built to the Virgin in her lifetime, tradition says, and she came down from heaven to visit her shrine. The identical slab on which she alighted is still preserved in one of the chapels. A former inscription said to believers, "Use yourselves to kiss it for your much consolation," and their obedient lips have in time greatly worn down the stone. Later on, the church was used as a mosque by the infidel conquerors, and when they were driven out it was pulled down to be replaced by the present huge and solemn structure. But, by a compromise with the subjugated Moors, a Muzarabic mass (a seeming mixture of Mohammedan ritual with Christian worship) was ordained to be said in a particular chapel; and there it is recited still, every morning in the year. I attended this weird, half-Eastern ceremony, which was conducted with an extraordinary incessant babble of rapid prayer from the priests in the stalls, precisely like the inarticulate hum one imagines in a mosque. On the floor below and in front of the altar-steps was placed a richly-draped chest, perhaps meant to represent the tomb of Mohammed in the Caaba, and around it stood lighted candles. During the long and involved mass one of the younger priests, in appearance almost an imbecile, had the prayer he was to read pointed out for him by an altar-boy with what looked like a long knife-blade, used for the purpose. Soon after an incense-bearing acolyte nudged him energetically to let him know that his turn had now come. This was the only evidence I could discover of any progress in knowledge or goodness resulting from the Muzarabic mass.

At one time Toledo had, besides the cathedral, a hundred and ten churches. Traces of many of them are still seen in small arches rising from the midst of house-tops, with a bell swung in the opening; but the most have fallen into disuse, and the greatest era of the hierarchy has passed. The great priests have also passed, and those who now dwell here offer to the most unprejudiced eye a dreary succession of bloated bodies and brutish faces. Sermons are never read in the gorgeous cathedral pulpits, and the Church, as even an ardent Catholic assured me, seems, at least locally, dead. The priests and the prosperous shop-keepers are almost the only beings in Toledo who look portly; the rest are thin, brown, wiry, and tall, with fine creases in their hard faces that appear to have been drilled there by the sand-blast process.

The women, however, even in the humbler class, preserve a fine, fresh animal health, which makes you wonder how they ever grow old, until you see some tottering creature who is little more than a mass of sinews and wrinkles held together by a skirt and a neckerchief—the pañuclo universal with her sex. At noon and evening the serving-women came out to the fountains, distributed here and there under groups of miniature locust-trees, to fetch water for their houses. They carried huge earthen jars, or cantarones, which they would lug off easily under one arm, in attitudes of inimitable grace.



If religious sway over temporal things has declined, Toledo still impresses one as little more than a big church founded on the rock, with room made for the money-changers' benches, and an unimaginable jumble of palaces once thronged with powerful courtiers and abundant in wealth, but at this day chiefly inhabited by persons of humble quality. Nightly there glows in the second story of a building on the Zocodover, where autos-da-fé used to be held, a large arched shrine of the Virgin hung with mellow lamps, so that not even with departing daylight shall religious duty be put aside by the commonplace crowd shuffling through the plaza beneath. Everywhere in angles and turnings and archways one comes upon images and pictures fixed to the wall under a pointed roof made with two short boards, to draw a passing genuflection or incidental ave from any one who may be going by on an errand of business or—as more often occurs—laziness. Feast-days, too, are still ardently observed. With all this, somehow, the fact connects itself that the populace are instinctive, free-born, insatiable beggars. The magnificently chased door-ways of the cathedral festered with revolting specimens of human disease and degeneration, appealing for alms. Other more prosperous mendicants were regularly on hand for business every day at the "old stand" in some particular thoroughfare. I remember one, especially, whose whole capital was invested in a superior article of nervous complaint, which enabled him to balance himself between the wall and a crutch, and there oscillate spasmodically by the hour. In this he was entirely beyond competition, and cast into the shade those merely routine professionals who took the common line of bad eyes or uninterestingly motionless deformities. It used to depress them when he came on to the ground. Bright little children, even, in perfect health, would desist from their amusements and assail us, struck with the happy thought that they might possibly wheedle the "strangers" into some untimely generosity. There was one pretty girl of about ten years, who laughed outright at the thought of her own impudence, but stopped none the less for half an hour on her way to market (carrying a basket on her arm) in order to pester poor Velveteen while he was sketching, and begged him for money, first to get bread, and then shoes, and then anything she could think of.


A hand opened to receive money would be a highly suitable device for the municipal coat of arms.


My friend's irrepressible pencil, by-the-way, made him the centre of a crowd wherever he went. Grave business men came out of their shops to see what he was drawing; loungers made long and ingenious detours in order to obtain a good view of his labors; ragamuffins elbowed him, undismayed by energetic remarks in several languages, until finally he was moved to get up and display the contents of his pockets, inviting them even to read some letters he had with him. To this gentle satire they would sometimes yield. We fell a prey, however, to one silent youth of whom we once unguardedly asked a question. After that he considered himself permanently engaged to pilot us about. He would linger for hours near the fonda dinnerless, and, what was even more terrible, sleepless, so that he might fasten upon us the moment we should emerge. If he discovered our destination, he would stride off mutely in advance, to impress on us the fact that we were under obligation to him; and when we found the place we wanted, he waited patiently until we had rewarded him with a half-cent. If we gratified him by asking him the way, he responded by silently stretching forth his arm and one long forefinger with a lordly gesture, still striding on; and he had a very superior Castilian sneering smile, which he put on when he looked around to see if we were following. He gradually became for us a sort of symbolic shadow of the town's vanished greatness; and from his mysterious way of coming into sight, and haunting us in the most unexpected places, we gave him the name of "Ghost." Nevertheless, we baffled him at last. In the Street of the Christ of Light there is a small but exceedingly curious mosque, now converted into a church, so ancient in origin that some of the capitals in it are thought to show Visigothic work, so that it must have been a Christian church even before the Moorish invasion. Close by this we chanced upon a charming old patio, or court-yard, entered through a wooden gate, and by dexterously gliding in here and shutting the gate we exorcised "Ghost" for some time.

The broad red tiles of this patio contrasted well with its white-washed arcade pillars, on which were embossed the royal arms of Castile; and the jutting roof of the house was supported on elaborate beams of old Spanish cedar cracked with age. It was sadly neglected. Flowers bloomed in the centre, but a pile of lumber littered one side; and the house was occupied by an old woman who was washing in the arcade, her tub being the half of a big terra-cotta jar laid on its side. She spread her linen out on the hot pavement to dry; and a sprightly neighbor coming in with a basket of clothes and a "Health to thee!" was invited to dry her wash on a low tile roof adjoining.

"Solitude" served at once as her name and to describe her surroundings. We made friends with her, the more easily because she was much interested in the sketch momently growing under my companion's touch.

"And you don't draw?" she inquired of me.

I answered, apologetically, "No."

Having seen me glancing over a book, she added, as if to console me, and with emphasis, "But you can read!" To her mind that was a sister art and an equal one.

She went on to tell how her granddaughter had spent ten years in school, and at the end of that time was able to read. "But now she is forgetting it all. She goes out and plays too much with the muchachas" (young girls).


This amiable grandmother also took us in to see her domicile, which proved to be a part of the old city wall, and had a fine view from its iron-barred window. She declared vaguely that "a count" had formerly lived there; but it had more probably been the gate-captain's house, for close by was one of the fortified ports of the inner defences. A store-room, in fact, which she kept full of pigeons and incredibly miscellaneous old iron, stood directly over the arched entrance, and there we saw the heavy beam and windlass which in by-gone ages had hoisted or let fall the spiked portcullis. I induced "Solitude" to tell me a legend about one of the churches; for there is generally some story to every square rod of ground hereabout, and indeed a little basilica below the town sustains four different narratives all explaining a single miracle. Serving as an appropriate foundation for local wonder-mongering, a great cave in the rock underlies some portion of the city, and is said to have been hollowed out by Hercules, who, in addition to his other labors, has received the credit of founding Toledo. I am convinced that no muscles but his could ever have stood the strain of first climbing its site. The cave I refer to has been for the most part of the last two hundred years closed and walled up. About thirty years since it was timidly explored by a society formed for the purpose, and some Roman remains were found in it; but after that, terror fell upon the explorers, and the cavern was again closed, remaining even yet a reservoir of mystery. There are equally mysterious things above ground, however, as will shortly be demonstrated by the tale of the "Christ of Compassion." Let me, before giving that, recall here a more poetic tradition, preserved by Señor Eugenio Olavarria, a young author of Madrid. We saw just outside the mosque-church of the Christ of Light an old Moorish well, of a kind common in Spain, with a low thick wall surrounding the deep sunken shaft, to rest the bucket-chain on when it is let down and drawn up by sheer muscular force. The edges were worn into one continuous pattern of grooves by the incessant chafing of the chains for ages, and we conjured up a dozen romances about the people who of old slaked their thirst there. It is about another water-source of the same kind, on a small street still called Descent to the Bitter Well, that the story here outlined is told:


"In the time of one of the Moorish kings there lived at Toledo, under the mild toleration of that epoch, a rich Jew, strictly and passionately devoted to the laws of his religion and to one only other object: that one was his daughter Raquel, motherless, but able to solace his widowed heart with her devoted affection. Sixteen Aprils had wrought their beautiful changes into her exquisite form and lovely mind, till at last, of all things which they had waked to life, she appeared the fairest.

"Reuben had gradually made her the chief end of his existence, and she certainly merited this absolute concentration of her father's love. But, notwithstanding that at this time Jews and Christians dwelt together unmolested by the Mohammedan rule, the inborn hostility between these two orders underwent no abatement. Intercourse between them was sedulously avoided by each, and the springing up of any shy flower of love between man and maid of such hostile races was sure to be followed by deadly blight and ruin. Nevertheless—and how it happened who can say?—Raquel, already ripened by the rich sun of her native land into a perfected womanhood, fell in love with a young Christian cavalier, who had himself surrendered to her silent and distant beauty as it shone upon him, while passing, from her grated window in Reuben's stately mansion. He learned her name, and spoke it to her from the street—'Raquel!'—at twilight. So trembling and brimming with mutual love were they, that this one word, like the last o'erflowing drop of precious liquid from a vase, was enough to reveal to her what filled his heart. As she heard it she blushed as though it had been a kiss that he had reverently impressed upon her cheek; and this was answer enough—their secret and perilous courtship had begun. Thereafter they met often at night in the great garden attached to the house, making their rendezvous at the low-walled well that stood in a thicket of fragrant greenery. At last, through the prying of an aged friend, his daughter's passion came to the knowledge of old Reuben, who had never till then even conceived of such disgrace as her being enamoured of a Christian. His course was prompt and terrible. Concealing himself one evening behind a tree-trunk close to the well, he awaited the coming of the daring cavalier, sprung upon him, and after a short, noiseless struggle bore him down with a poniard in his breast!

"The stealthy opening of a door into the garden warned him of Raquel's approach. He hastened again into concealment. She arrived, saw her fallen lover, dropped at his side in agonies of terror, and sought to revive him. Then she saw and by the moonlight recognized her father's dagger in the breathless bosom of the young man, and knew what had happened. Moved by sudden remorse, Reuben came out with words of consolation ready. But she knew him not, she heard him not; from that instant madness was in her eyes and brain. Many months she haunted the spot at night, calm but hopelessly insane, and weeping silently at the margin of the well, into whose waters her salt tears descended. At length there came a night when she did not return to the house. She had thrown herself into the well and was found there—dead!

"Never again could any one drink its waters, which had been famous for their quality. Raquel's tears of sorrow had turned them bitter."

The other legend is still more marvellous: "In the reign of Enrique IV. of Spain there was fierce rivalry between two Toledan families, the Silvas and the Ayalas, which in 1467 led to open warfare. The Silvas threw themselves into the castle, and the Ayalas held the cathedral—the blood shed in their combats staining the very feet of its altars. During this struggle of hatred there was also a struggle of love going on between two younger members of the embroiled families. Diego de Ayala, setting at naught the pride of his house, had given his heart to Isabel, the daughter of a poor hidalgo; but it so happened that his enemy, Don Lope de Silva, had resolved to win the same maiden, though receiving no encouragement from her. One night when the combatants were resting on their arms, and the whole city was in disorder, Don Lope succeeded in entering Isabel's house with several of his followers and carried her off—trusting to the general confusion to prevent interruption. As they were bearing her away across a little square in front of the Church of San Justo, Don Diego, on his way to see Isabel, encountered them.

"'Leave that woman, ye cowards, and go your way!' he commanded, with drawn sword. And at that instant, by the light of the lamp which burned before the pictured Christ of Compassion on the church wall, he recognized Isabel and Don Lope.

"Making a bold dash, he succeeded in freeing Isabel and getting her into the shelter of an angle in the wall, just below the holy figure. But being there hemmed in by his adversaries, he felt himself, after a sharp fight in which he dealt numerous wounds, fainting from the severe thrusts he had himself received. Fearing that he was mortally hurt, he raised his eyes to the shrine and prayed: 'O God, not for me, but for her, manifest thy pity! I am willing to die, but save her!'

"Then a marvellous brilliance streamed out from the thorn-crowned head, and instantly, propelled by some unseen force, Diego found himself and Isabel pushed through the solid wall behind them, which opened to receive them into the sanctuary, and closed again to keep out the assassins. Don Lope rushed forward in pursuit, and in his rage hacked the stones with his sword as if to cut his way through. The marks made in the stone by his weapon are still to be seen there." The compassionate face still looks down from the shrine, and little sign-boards announce indulgences to those who pray there: "Señor Don Luis Maria de Borbon, most Illustrious Señor Bishop of Carista, grants forty days' indulgence to all who with grief for their sins say, 'Lord have mercy on me!' or make the acts of Faith, Charity, and Hope before this image, praying for the necessities of the Church."

Altogether I computed that a good Catholic could by a half-hour's industry secure immunity for two hundred and twenty days, or nearly two-thirds of a year. It is to be feared that the Toledans are too lazy to profit even by this splendid chance.

The majority of people here who can command a daily income of ten cents will do no work. Numbers of the inhabitants are always standing or leaning around drowsily, like animals who have been hired to personate men, and are getting tired of the job. Every act approaching labor must be done with long-drawn leisure. Men and boys slumber out-of-doors even in the hot sun, like dogs; after sitting meditatively against a wall for a while, one of them will tumble over on his nose—as if he were a statue undermined by time—and remain in motionless repose wherever he happens to strike. Business with the trading class itself is an incident, and resting is the essence of the mundane career.

Nevertheless, the place has fits of activity. When the mid-day siesta is over there is a sudden show of doing something. Men begin to trot about with a springy, cat-like motion, acquired from always walking up and down hill, which, taken with their short loose blouses, dark skins, and roomy canvas slippers, gives them an astonishing likeness to Chinamen.[5] The slip and scramble of mule hoofs and donkey hoofs are heard on the steep pavements, and two or three loud-voiced, lusty men, with bare arms, carrying a capacious tin can and a dipper, go roaring through the torrid streets, "Hor-cha-ta!" Then the cathedral begins wildly pounding its bells, all out of tune, for vespers. The energy which has broken loose for a couple of hours is discovered to be a mistake, and another interval of relaxation sets in, lasting through the night, and until the glare of fiery daybreak, greeted by the shrill whistling of the remorseless pet quail, sets the insect-like stir going again for a short time in the forenoon. Because of such apathy, and of a more than the usual Latin disregard for public decency, the streets and houses are allowed to become pestilential, and drainage is unknown. Enervating luxury of that sort did well enough for the Romans and Moors, but is literally below the level of Castilian ideas. In the midst of the most sublime emotion aroused by the associations or grim beauty of Toledo, you are sure to be stopped short by some intolerable odor.


The primate city was endowed with enough of color and quaintness almost to compensate for this. We never tired of the graceful women walking the streets vestured in garments of barbaric tint and endlessly varied ornamentation, nor of the men in short breeches split at the bottom, who seemed to have splashed pots of vari-colored paint at hap-hazard over their clothes, and insisted upon balancing on their heads broad-brimmed, pointed hats, like a combination of sieve and inverted funnel. There was a spark of excitement, again, in the random entry of a "guard of the country," mounted on his emblazoned donkey-saddle, with a small arsenal in his waist sash, and a couple of guns slung behind on the beast's flanks, ready for marauders. Even now in remembrance the blots on Toledo fade, and I see its walls and towers throned grandly amid those hills that were mingled of white powder and fire at noon-tide, but near evening cooled themselves down to olive and russet citron, with burning rosy shadows resting in the depressions.


One of the first spectacles that presented itself to us will remain also one of the latest recollections. Between San Juan de los Reyes and the palace of Roderick we met unexpectedly a crowd of boys and girls, followed by a few men, all carrying lighted candles that glowed spectrally, for the sun was still half an hour high in the west. A stout priest, with white hair and a vinous complexion, had just gone down the street, and this motley group was following the same direction. Somewhat in advance walked a boy with a small black and white coffin, held in place on his head by his upraised arm, as if it were a toy; and in the midst of the candle-bearers moved a light bier like a basket-cradle, carried by girls, and containing the small waxen form of a dead child three or four years old, on whose impassive, colorless face the orange glow of approaching sunset fell, producing an effect natural yet incongruous. A scampering dog accompanied the mourners, if one may call them such, for they gave no token of being more impressed, more touched by emotion, than he. The cradle-bier swayed from side to side as if with a futile rockaby motion, until the bearers noticed how carelessly they were conveying it down the paved slope; and the members of the procession talked to each other with a singular indifference, or looked at anything which caught their random attention. As the little rabble disappeared through the Puerta del Cambron, with their long candles dimly flaming, and the solemn, childish face in their midst, followed by the poor unconscious dog, it seemed to me that I beheld in allegory the departure from Toledo of that spirit of youth whose absence leaves it so old and worn.



THE House of Purification, as the great mosque at Cordova was called, used to be a goal of pilgrimage for the Moors in Spain, as Mecca was for Mohammedans elsewhere. Their shoes no longer repose at its doors, but other less devout pilgrims now come in a straggling procession from all quarters of the globe to rest a while within its fair demesne—hallowed, perhaps, as much by the unique flowering of a whole people's genius in shapes of singular loveliness as by the more direct religious service to which it has been dedicated and re-dedicated under conflicting beliefs.

It was with peculiar eagerness, therefore, that we set out on our way. An American who was following the same route had joined us—a man with ruddy, bronzed cheeks and iron-gray hair, whom I at first should have taken for the great-grandson of a Spanish Inquisitor, if such a thing were possible. His iron persistence and the intensity of his prejudices were in keeping with that character—the only trouble being that the prejudices were all on the wrong side. Whetstone (as he was called) shared our eagerness in respect of Cordova, though from different motives. He hailed each new point in his journey with satisfaction, because it would get him so much nearer the end; for the reason he had come to Spain was, apparently, to get out of it again. "I don't see what I came to Spain for," Whetstone would observe to us, dismally; and, for that matter, we could not see either. "If there ever was a God-forsaken country—Why, look at the way a whole parcel of these men at the dinner-table get out their cigarettes and smoke right there, without ever asking a lady's leave! I'd like to see 'em try it on at home! Wouldn't they be just snaked out of that room pretty quick?" He had under his care a young lady of great sensibility, a relative by marriage, accompanied by her maid; and the maid was a colored woman of the most pronounced pattern. Altogether our pilgrim party embraced a good deal of variety. The young American girl, being a Catholic, was really a palmer faring from shrine to shrine. Rarely a convent or a chapel escaped her; she sipped them all as if they had been flower-cups and she a humming-bird, and managed to extract some unknown honey of comfort from their bitterness. It was like having a novice with us.


The night journeys by rail, so much in vogue in Spain, have their advantages and their drawbacks. At Castillejo, a junction on the way to Cordova, we had to wait four hours in the evening at a distance of twenty miles from the nearest restaurant. The country around was absolutely desolate except for tufts of the retamé—a sort of broom with slim green and silvered leaves, which grows wild, and, after drying, is used by the peasants as a substitute for rye or wheat flour. Only two or three houses were in sight. The tracks with cars standing on them, and the unfinished look of the whole place, made us feel as if we had by mistake been carried off to some insignificant railroad station in Illinois or Missouri. The only resource available for dinner was a cantineria, or drinking-room, where a few blocks of tough bread lent respectability to a lot of loaferish wine-bottles, and some uninviting sausages were hung in gloomy festoons, with a suspicious air of being a permanent architectural fixture intended as a perch for flies. The Spaniards invent little rhymed proverbs about many of their villages, and of one insignificant Andalusian hamlet, Brenes, the saying is,

"If to Brenes thou goest, Take with thee thy roast."

But Castillejo seems to be an equally good subject for this warning. We recalled how lavishly, on the way to Toledo, we had presented bread, meat, and strawberries to some country folk who were not in the habit of eating, and how ardently they had thanked us. As we passed their house in returning it was closed and lifeless, and we were convinced that they had died of a surfeit. How willingly would we now have undone that deed! However, after making some purchases from an extremely deaf old woman who presided over such poor supplies as the place afforded, we asked her if she could have coffee prepared. "If there is enough in the house," she replied to our interrogatory shrieks. Accordingly, we carried a table out under some trees on the gravel platform, to eat al fresco.


When we found ourselves in this way for the first time thrown back on the Spanish sausage, we resisted that unsympathetic substance with all the vigor of despair. But, aided by some bad wine, an interesting conversation with the Novice, and the glow of a sunset sky that looked as if strewn with fading peony petals, we recovered from the shock caused in the beginning by a mingled flavor of garlic, raisins, and pork. In truth, there was something enjoyable about this wild supper around which our quartette gathered in the dry, dewless twilight. An ancient female, resembling a broken-down Medea, came out and kindled a fire of brushwood beyond the track, swung a kettle there, and cooked our coffee, bending over the flame-light the while with her scattered gray tresses, and wailing out doleful peteneras, the popular songs of Spain. The songs, the fire, the wine, the strange scene, were so stimulating that we were surprised to find all at once the dark vault overhead full of stars, the comet staring at us in its flight above the hills, and our ten-o'clock train nearly due.

The next morning we were in a region totally unlike anything we had seen before, excepting for the ever-present mountain ranges wild as the Pyrenees or Guadaramas. The light of dawn on these barren Spanish mountain-sides, drawn up into peaks as sharp as the points of a looped-up curtain, produces effects indescribable except on canvas and by a subtle colorist. The bare surfaces of rock or dry grass and moss, and the newly reaped harvest fields lower down, blend the tints of air and earth in a velvet-smooth succession of madder and faint yellow, olive and rose and gray, fading off into a reddish-violet at greater distances.

These eminences are a part of the Sierra Morena, where Don Quixote achieved some of his most noteworthy feats—the liberation of the galley-slaves, the descent into the Cave of Montesinos, the capture of Mambrino's helmet, and the famous penance. So weird is the aspect of these desolate hills, enclosing silent valleys in which narrow tracts of woods are harbored, that I suspected it would be easy to breed a few Don Quixotes of reality there. Craziness would become a necessary diversion to relieve the monotony of existence.


A winding river-bed near by was bordered by tufted copses of oleander in full flower, and hedges of huge serrated aloe guarded the roads. On the hill-sides a round corral for herds would occasionally be seen. In the fields the time-honored method of threshing out grain by driving a sort of heavy board sledge in a circle over the cut crop, and of winnowing by tossing up shovelfuls of the grain-dust into the breezy air, was in active operation. By-and-by the olive orchards began. As far as we could see they stretched on either side their ranks of round dusty green tree-heads. Thousands of acres of them—one grove after another: we travelled through fifty miles of almost unbroken olive plantations, until we fancied we could even smell the fruit on the boughs, and our eyes were sick and weary with the sameness of the sight. Then the river, which from time to time had shown its muddy current in curves and sweeps, moving through the land at the bottom of what might have been an enormous drain, turned out to be the famous Guadalquivir, which, as Ford vividly puts it, "eats its dull way through loamy banks." At last Cordova, seated in an ample plain—Cordova, in vanished ages the home of Seneca, Lucan, Averroës, and the poet Juan de Mena—Cordova, white in the dry and gritty sun-dazzled air, with square, unshadowed two-story houses, overlooked by the bell-tower of its incomparable Mezquita Cathedral: a cheerful Southern city, maintaining large gardens, abounding in palms and myrtles and orange and lemon trees; possessing, moreover, clean streets of perceptible width.


After the "interpreter," or hotel guide, the beggar: such is the order in these Spanish towns, and not seldom the guide is merely a bolder kind of beggar. Two or three of the most frantically miserable and loathsome charity-seekers I ever saw surrounded our omnibus as we awaited our baggage, and stuffed their hideous heads in at the windows and door, concentrating on us their fire of appeals. Velveteen had heard that the sovereign remedy for these pests was to treat them with consummate politeness and piety. "Pardon me, brother, for God's sake!" was the deprecatory formula which had been recommended, and he now proceeded to recite this, book in hand. Unfortunately it took him about five minutes to get it launched in good style and pure Spanish, during which time the beggars had an opportunity entirely to miss the sense. A few grains of tobacco dropped into the hat of one of them were more efficacious, for they had the result of mystifying him and hopelessly paralyzing his analytical powers. Finally the guide, coming with the baggage, recognized his rivals, and drove them off.

At several places on the way we had seen our twin military persecutors waiting for us, sometimes with white havelocks, and again in glazed hat-covers and capes. "Are they disguising themselves, so as to fall upon us unawares?" I asked my friend. We determined not to be deceived, however, by the subtle device. These Spanish police-soldiers go through more metamorphoses in the linen and water-proof line than any troops I know. It must be excessively inconvenient to run home and make the change every time a slight shower threatens; and invariably, as soon as they get on their storm-cover, the sun begins to shine again. On our arrival they seemed to have made up their minds to arrest us at once; they came striding along toward us in duplicate, one the fac-simile of the other, and we gave ourselves up for lost. But just as they were within a few paces, their unaccountable policy of delay caused them to deviate suddenly, and march on as if they hadn't seen us. "One more escape!" sighed Velveteen, fervently.

Strangely enough, the languor which we had left in the middle of the kingdom, at Toledo, was replaced in this more tropical latitude by great activity. The shop streets presented a series of rooms entirely open to the view, where men and women were busily engaged in all sorts of small manufacture—shoes, garments, tin-work, carpentering. They were happy and diligent, as if they had been animated writing-book maxims, and sung or whistled at their tasks in a most exemplary manner.


"Cordovan leather" still holds it own, on a petty scale, and the small cups hammered out of old silver dollars constitute, with filigree silver-work, a characteristic local product. The faces of the people betrayed their gypsy blood oftentimes, and there was one street chiefly occupied by the Romany folk. Traces of blond or light chestnut hair showed that the Moorish stock had likewise left some offshoots that do not die out. The whole aspect of Cordova presents at once a reflex of the refined and enlightened spirit of the ancient caliphate. Everybody, including most of the beggars, has a fresh and cleanly appearance; the very priests undergo a change, being frequently more refined in feature and of a more tolerant expression than those of the North. The women set off their rosy brown complexions and black hair with clusters of rayed jasmine blossoms, flattened and ingeniously fixed in rosette form on long pins. The men, discarding those hot felt hats so obstinately worn in the central provinces, make a comfortable and festive appearance in their curling Panamas. On the Street of the Great Captain—the chief open-air resort, commemorating Gonsalvo of Cordova, who led so ably in the triumphant Christian campaigns—the people laugh and chat as if they really enjoyed life. There is a great deal of wealth in the place, and the lingering atmosphere of its past greatness is not depressing, as that of Toledo is, for it was never the home of bigotry and ignorance. Its prosperous epoch under Abdur-rahman and his Ommeyad successors was one of brilliant civilization. It was then a nursery of science and the arts; its inhabitants numbered a million. It had mosques by the hundred, and nearly a thousand baths—for the Spanish Moors well knew the civilizing virtue of water, and kept life-giving streams of it running at the roots of their institutions. The houses of the modern city are very plain on the exterior, and their common coat of whitewash imparts to them a democratic equality, though aristocracy is still a living thing there, instead of having sunk into pitfalls of squalor and idleness, as in the sombre city by the Tagus.

"But now the Cross is sparkling on the mosque,
And bells make Catholic the trembling air."


Gloomy little churches crop out in every quarter, and a few convents of nuns remain, where you may hear the faint, sad litany of the unseen sisters murmured behind the grating, while a priest chants service for them in the lonely chapel. The bells of these churches and of the mosque-cathedral are hardly ever silent; the brazen jargon of their tongues echoes over the roofs at all hours, and the hollow, metallic tinkle of mule-bells from the otherwise silent streets at times strikes one as making response to them. The beauty of the cathedral—still called the Mezquita (mosque)—lies almost solely in the preservation of its original Moorish architecture.


The site was first occupied as a place of worship by the Roman Temple of Janus, and this in turn became a basilica of the Gothic Christians. Abdur-rahman, after the Christians had long been allowed by the caliphs to continue their worship in one half of the basilica, reared the supremely wonderful House of Purification as it now stands; and then, after the conquest by Ferdinand and Isabella, in the reign of Charles V., the cumbrous high altar and choir, which choke up so much of the interior, transformed it once more into a stronghold of Christian ceremonial. But when you enter at the Gate of Pardon the long, wide Court of Oranges, you find yourself transported instantly to Mohammedan surroundings; you are under the dominion of the Ommeyades.


High walls hem in this open-air vestibule, where rows of orange-trees rustle their dense foliage in the warm wind. Their trunks are corpulent with age, for some of them date back to the last Moorish dynasty, and at one end stands the tank where followers of the Prophet washed themselves before entering in to pray. The Gate of Pardon, under the high-spired bell-tower, takes its name from the custom which obtained of giving criminals refuge by its portal. The murderer who could fly hither and gain the central aisle of the temple, directly opposite the gate across the court, was safe for shelter by the Mihrab, or inner shrine, at the farther end of the aisle. All the nineteen aisles formerly opened from the fragrant garden, though Catholic rule gives access by only three; but inside one sees at a glance the vast consecrated space which was so freely open to the Mussulmans—an interior covering several acres, not very lofty, yet imposing from its exquisite proportions. A wilderness, a cool, dark labyrinth of pillars from which light horseshoe arches rise, broken midway for the curve of another arch surmounting each of these, spreads itself out under the roof on every hand—grove of stone in a cave of stone stretching so far that the eye cannot follow its intricate regularity, its rare harmony of confusion. The rash Christian renovators who, overruling the protest of the city, undertook to remodel so exceptional a monument, covered the arches with whitewash; but many of them have been restored to the natural hues of their red and white marble. Imagine below them the pillars, smooth-shafted and with fretted capitals. Of old there were twelve hundred of them supporting the gilded beams and incorruptible larch of the roof, and a thousand still stand. Each is shaped from a single block, and many quarries contributed them. Jasper and porphyry, black, white, and red, emerald and rose marble, are all represented among them; though with their diversity they have this in common, that from the pavement up to about the average human height they have been worn dark, and even smoother than the workmen left them, by the constant touching and rubbing and leaning of generations who have loitered and worshipped in the solemn twilight that broods around them. A large number were appropriated from the old Roman temple which stood on the spot; others were plundered from temples at ancient Carthage; still others were brought entire from Constantinople. They typify the different powers that have been concerned in the making and unmaking of Spain, and one could almost imagine that in every column is concealed some petrified warrior of those conflicting races, waiting for the spell that shall bring him to life again.


On the surface of one of these marble cylinders is scratched a rude
and feeble image of Christ on the cross, hardly noticeable until pobr /> out. It is said to have been traced there by the finger-nail of a Christian captive who was chained to the pillar when it formed part of a dungeon somewhere else. He had ten years for the work, and enjoyed the advantage of a tool that would renew itself without expense whenever it began to wear out. I must say that we were touched by this dim record of the dead-and-gone prisoner's silent suffering and faith. The shock of doubt struck us only when, in another part of the mosque, we came upon another pillar against the wall, bearing an exact reproduction of the finger-nail sculpture, and furthermore provided with a holy-water basin and a lamp burning under the effigy of the captive, who appears to have been canonized. "How is this?" I asked the guide. "Here is the same thing over again!" He scrutinized me carefully, taking an exact measure of my credulousness, before he replied, "Ah, but the other is the real one!" It all seems to depend on which pillar gets the start.


But there is no deception whatever connected with the inner Mihrab, where there is a marvellous alcove marking the direction of Mecca, on the east. Its ceiling, in the shape of a quarter-globe, is cut from a single great piece of marble, which is grooved like a shell. And when the light from candles is thrown into this Arab chapel it glances upon elaborate enamelling on the surface, the vitreous glaze of minute and almost miraculous mosaic making it flash and sparkle with rays of the ruby, the emerald, the topaz, and diamond. There in the dusk the glittering splendor scintillates as brilliantly as it did eight hundred years ago, and shoots its beams upon the unwary eye as if it were a cimeter of the defeated race suddenly unsheathed for vengeance. In this place was kept the wondrous Koran stand of Al-Hakem II., which cost a sum equal now to about five million dollars. It disappeared a while ago—mislaid, it should seem, by some sacristan of orderly habits who was clearing up the rubbish, for no one appears to know where it went to. The sacred book within it was incased in gold tissue embroidered with pearls and rubies, and around the spot where it was enshrined the solid white marble floor is unevenly worn into a circular hollow, where the servants of the Prophet used to crawl seven times in succession on their hands and knees. This homage was paid by the brother of the Emperor of Morocco only a few years since, when he visited Spain, and indulged the luxurious woe of weeping over the fair empire his people had lost. The bewildering arabesques, the lines of which pursue and lose each other so mysteriously about the shrine, managing to form pious inscriptions in their intricate convolutions—by an exception to all other Hispano-Arabic decoration, which employs only stucco—are wrought in marble, frigid and stern as death, but embossed into a living grace as of vine tendrils.

Whetstone had been remarkably silent after entering the Mezquita. I fancied that he did not wholly approve of it. But after we had looked long at this epitome of the beautiful which I have just tried to sketch, he observed, impartially, in turning away, "I tell you, those fellows knew how to chisel some!" He had merely been trying to reduce the facts to their lowest terms.

Priests and boys were marching with crucifixes from the choir as we came away: the incense rolled up against the lofty smoke-dimmed altar; and the mild-faced celibate who played the organ sent harmonies of unusually rich music (performed at our guide's special request) reverberating among the thousand-columned maze of low arches. But my fancy went back to the time when gold and silver lamps had shed from their perfumed oils the only illumination there, and when the jewelled walls, smouldering in the faint light, had looked down upon the prostrate forms of robed and turbaned zealots. Then we passed out through the Court of Oranges into the street, with those forty towers of the cathedral wall again seen standing guard around it, and found ourselves once more in modern Cordova.


The breath of the South, the meridional aroma, welcomed us. The scent of the air in the neighboring Alcazar garden would of itself have been enough to tell us, in the dark, that we had entered Andalusia. That was beyond question a most delectable spot. A sort of fortress-prison bordered it, and immediately on the other side of the prison-wall blossomed the garden, where lemons and oranges and bergamot clambered rankly against the bricks, perfuming the whole atmosphere, and overblown roses dropped from their vines on to the paths. There were hedges of rosemary, and trees of pimento, and angular ribs of prickly cactus, carefully trained. From a balustraded terrace higher up descended a stone flight of steps, the massive stone guard of which on each side was scooped out so as to make a mossy bed for two streams of water perpetually flowing down and losing themselves in the secret courses that ministered to little scattered fountains, or laved the roots of the verdant tangle. Now and again a lizard darted from point to point, like an evil thought surprised in the heart of so much sweetness and freshness. Everywhere there was a cool gush and ripple of water, and some wide-spreading fig-trees made a pleasant bower in a bastion of the low garden-wall overlooking the famous river. From this post of vantage one can see the thick brown current slowly oozing by, and the ancient bridge which spans it, fortified at both ends, connecting the Cordova of to-day with the opposite bank, where the ancient city extended for two or three miles. With its great arched gate, Roman made and finely sculptured, this mellow light brown structure forms an effective link in the landscape, and below its piers stand several Moorish mills, disused, but as yet unbroken by age or floods.

We drove across the venerable viaduct afterward, and found that by an extraordinary dispensation some very fresh and shining silver coins of ancient Rome had lately been dug up from one of the shoals in the river (a peculiar place, by-the-way, to bury them in), and that our guide had some in his pocket. We forbore to deprive him of such treasures, however, even at the very trifling price which he put upon them, and contented ourselves with being swindled by him in a subsequent purchase of some other articles.


FROM Cordova may be made, by those who are especially favored, one of the most interesting expeditions possible to the Hermitage, or, as the Church authorities name it, the Desierta (desert) of solitary monks, genuine anchorites, a few miles distant in the Sierra Morena. There are obstacles more formidable than the purely physical ones in the way of this excursion, the bishop of the diocese being averse to granting permission for the visit to any one who is not a good Catholic. Two Englishmen who came before us, relying on the potent gold piece, had made the toilsome ascent only to find that their sterling sovereigns were of no avail. I think the presence of the Novice helped our party; but it would be unwise to reveal the stratagem by which we all gained admittance. Let it be enough to say that we went to the bishop's palace after the usual hours of business, and by humble apologies obtained an audience with the secretary. While we were waiting we sat down under a frivolously gorgeous rococo ceiling, on a great double staircase of marble leading up from the patio, which was well planted with shrubs, and had walks paved with smooth round stones of various hue, set edgewise in extensive patterns. The vaulted ceiling resounded powerfully with every remark we made, which had the result of subduing our conversation to whispers, for an attendant soon came to warn us that the bishop was asleep, and that we must not speak loud on account of the echo. Profiting by the great man's siesta, we extracted the desired permission from his severe-faced but courteous secretary, who marked the document "Especial."


Our brief cavalcade of donkeys started the next morning at five, after we had taken a preternaturally early cup of chocolate. The donkeys appeared to know just where we were going, and would not obey the rein: the driver, walking behind, governed them by a system of negatives, informing them with a casual exclamation when they showed signs of turning where he didn't want them to. "Advance there, Baker!" he would cry. "Don't you know better than that? What a wretched little beast! Do as I tell you." The animal in question was named Bread-dealer, or Baker, and the one that I rode rejoiced in the eccentric though eminently literary appellation of "College."

"To the right, College!" our muleteer would shout, exercising a despotic power over my four-footed institution of learning. "Get up, little mule. Arré burr-r-rico!" Firing off a volley of r's with a tremendous rising and falling intonation, which invariably moved the brute to take one or two rapid steps before dropping back into his customary slow walk. As the heat increased, and the way grew steeper, he sighed out his "arré"—gee up—in a long, melancholy drawl, which seemed to express profound despair concerning the mulish race generally. Muleteers in Spain are termed generically, from this surviving Arabic word, arrieros, or, as we may translate it, "gee-uppers."

In this manner we made our way along the dusty road among olive orchards, and a sort of oak called japarros, until we began to mount by a rough, stony path which sometimes divided itself like the branches of a torrent, though we more than once succeeded in prodding the donkeys into a lively canter. The white façades of villas—quintas or carmens they are denominated hereabout—twinkled out from nooks of the hills; but at that early hour everything was very still. We could almost see the silence around us. Higher up, unknown birds began to sing in the sparse boscage that clothed the mountain flank or clustered in its narrow dells. Midway of the ascent, furthermore, Baker, on whom Velveteen was seated in solemn stride, with a blanket in place of saddle, paused ominously, and then began a nasal performance which shook our very souls. Why a donkey should bray in such a place it is hard to determine, but how he did it will forever remain impressed on our tympana. There was something peculiarly terrible and unnerving in the sound; and just as it ceased, our guide, Manuel, observed that this had once been a great place for robbers. "A few years ago," said he, "no one would have dared to come up along this road as we are doing." He added that the marauders used to conceal themselves in the numerous caves in the region, and pointed out one fissure in the rocks which his liberal imagination converted into the entrance of a subterranean retreat running for several miles into the heart of the mountains. At the same instant, looking down across a gorge below our track, I saw a man with a gun moving through a patch of steep olives, as if to head us off at a point farther along; and on a jutting rock-rib above us a memorial cross rose warningly. Crosses were formerly put up in the most impossible places among these hills, to mark the spot where anybody fell a victim to bandits or assassins; a fact of which the elder Dumas makes telling use in one of his short stories.[6] Brigands were themselves punctilious in setting up these reminders, which were held to exert an expiatory influence. If any one would understand how hopelessly the Spanish mind at one time perverted the relations of crime and religion, he may read Calderon's "Devotion of the Cross," wherein the hero, Eusebio, a terrible renegade who murders right and left, born at the foot of one of these way-side crosses, is saved by his reverence for the holy symbol. He is enabled, by virtue of this pious sentiment, to rise up after he is dead, walk about, and confess his sins to a friar; after which he is caught up into heaven!

The whole conjunction was somewhat alarming, but Manuel explained away our man with a gun by saying that he was merely one of the armed watchmen usually attached to country estates to protect crops and stock from depreciation. As for the bandits, they had now been quite dispersed, he declared, by the Civil Guard. That name, it is true, called up new fears for Velveteen and myself as we thought of the two relentless men who were on our trail: but we knew that for the moment, at least, we were beyond their reach.

At last we gained the very summit, and drew up under a porch at the walled gate of the Desert, while a shower began to fall in large scattered drops, like the lingering contents of some gigantic watering-pot, but soon spent itself. Our second pull at the mournful-sounding bell was answered by a sad young monk, who opened a square loop-hole in the wall, and asked our errand in a voice enfeebled by voluntary privations. After inspecting our pass, he told us, with a wan but friendly smile, that we must wait a little. It was Friday, and we had to wait rather long, for the hermits were just at that time undergoing the weekly flagellation to which they subject themselves. But finally we were let in—donkeys, guide, arriero, and the colored maid "Fan" sharing the hospitality. An avenue of tall, sombre, cypresses opened before us, leading to the main building and offices. The Desert, in fact, was green enough; well supplied with olives and pomegranates; and hedges of the prickly-pear, with its thick, stiff leaves shaped like a fire-shovel, and heavy as wax-work, cinctured the isolated huts in which the brothers dwell each by himself. Precisely as we came to a triangular plot in front of the entrance we were confronted by a skull set up prominently in a sort of pyramidal monument, giving force by its dusty grin to an inscription in Spanish, which read:


Shortly beyond stood a catacomb above-ground, in which a number of defunct hermits had been sealed up. It also bore a legend, but in Latin:


In the vestibule of the house these drastic reminders of mortality were supplemented by two allegorical pictures—hanging among some portraits of evanished worthies who had ended their penitential days there—two crude paintings which exhibited "The Soul Tortured by Doubt," and "The Soul Blessed by Faith." It was not altogether in keeping with the unworldly and ascetic atmosphere of this spiritual refuge, that a tablet in the wall should record, with fulsome abasement of phrase, how her most Gracious Majesty Isabella II. had, some few years ago, deigned to visit the Desert, and how this stone had been placed there as a humble monument of her condescension. Certainly, considering the ex-Queen's character (if it may claim consideration), it is hard to see what honor the anchorites should find in her visiting their abode.

A gray-haired brother, robed in the coarse and weighty brown serge which he is obliged to wear in winter and summer alike, received us kindly and showed us the expensively adorned plateresque chapel. He knelt and bowed nearly to the threshold before unlocking the door, crossed himself, and knelt again on the pavement within; then, advancing farther, he dropped down once more on both knees, and bent over as if he had some intention of using his good-natured, simple old head as a mop to polish the black and white marble squares, but ended by another cross, and moving his lips in noiseless prayer. The national manner of making the cross is peculiar: after the usual touching of forehead and breast, the Spanish Catholic concludes by suddenly attempting to swallow his thumb, and then as hastily pulling it out of his mouth again, to save it up for some other time. This movement, I suppose, emblemizes the eating of the consecrated wafer, but it makes a grotesque impression that is anything but solemn. At times you will also see him execute a unique triple cross, with strange passes and dabs in the air which might easily be mistaken for preliminary strategy directed against some erring mosquito engaged in guerilla warfare on his eyebrow. We were obliged, in conformity, to do as our Catholic companions did—receiving the holy-water and making a simple cross—an act which, without being of their faith, one may perform with unsectarian reverence. Brother Esteban was on the watch to see that proper devotion was shown in this peculiarly sacred chapel, and in the midst of his adoration he turned quickly upon Manuel, asking, "Why don't you go down on both your knees in the accustomed manner?"


Manuel, being a master of ready deception, answered, without an instant's delay, "Ah, that is my misfortune! I lately had an accident to that leg" (indicating the one which had not sunk far enough), "and that is why it is not easy to get down on both knees." However, he spread his handkerchief wider, and painfully brought the offending member into place.

Esteban frankly apologized, and then the praying went on again.

When we got out into the corridor, and our monkish friend was well in advance, black Fan's repressed heresy broke into a startling reaction. She dipped her hand again and again into the basin of holy-water, wastefully dropping some of it on the floor, and began outlining unlimited crosses from her sable forehead downward—covering her breast with an imaginary armor of them—enough to keep her supplied for a month, and proof against every possible misfortune. Her broad grin of delight, exposing her vermilion lips and white teeth like a slice of unripe watermelon, added to the horror of the situation, and I protested against such uncouth profanity.

"Might's well keep goin' now I begun," she chuckled in reply. "I's 'fraid I'll forgit how!" She was making another plunge for the font, when our pale, gentle-featured Novice stopped her in mid-career.

Fortunately good Esteban had not observed this small orgy going on. He was as pleasant as ever when we went with him into a little room to buy rosaries and deposit some silver pieces for charity; and there he made farther and profuse apologies to Manuel. "Of course you see it was impossible I should know there was anything the matter with your leg," he said, quite plaintively. And Manuel accepted his contrition with double pleasure because he knew it to be wholly undeserved.

The hermits, as I have said, have their separate cottages scattered about the grounds, each with a small patch of land to be cultivated. There they raise fruit, which their rules forbid them to eat, and so it is carried down as a present to some wealthy Cordovan families who support the hermitage by their largesses. Every day poor folk toil up from the plain, some five miles, to this airy perch, and are fed by the monks; but they themselves eat little, abstaining from meat, wine, coffee, tea—everything, indeed, except some few ounces of daily bread, a pint of garbanzos (the tasteless, round yellow bean which is the universal food of the poor in Spain), and a soup made of bread, water, oil, and garlic. They live on nothing and prayer. They rise at three in the morning, and thrice a week they fast from that hour until noon. Their step is slow, and their voices have a strange, inert, sickly sound; but they appeared cheerful enough, and joked with each other. I asked Esteban the name of a tiny yellow flower growing by the path, and he couldn't tell me; but he plucked it tenderly, and began discoursing to Manuel on its beauty. "Tan chiquita," he said, in his poor soft voice. "So little, little, and yet so precious and so finely made!" Another brother was deeply absorbed in snipping off bits of coiled brass wire with a pair of pincers. "These are for the 'Our Fathers,'" he explained, meaning the large beads in the rosary, separated from the smaller "Ave Maria" ones by links of wire. The cottages or huts, surrounded by an outer wall, contain a cell, sometimes cut out of a bowlder lying on the spot, where there is a rude cot, a shelf for holy books and the crucifix, and a grated window, across which waves, perhaps, the broad-leaved bough of a fig-tree. An anteroom, provided with a few utensils and the disciplinary scourge hanging mildly against the wall, completes the strange interior. The lives of the hermits of the Sierra are reduced to the ghastly simplicity of a skeleton; a part of their time is spent in contemplating skulls, and they have a habit of digging their own graves, in order to keep more plainly before their minds the end of all earthly careers. Mistaken as all this seems to many of us, there was a peacefulness about the Hermitage for which many a storm-tossed soul sighs in vain; and I am glad that some few creatures can find here the repose they desire while waiting for death. Some of the hermits are men of rank, who have retired hither disheartened with the world; others are low-born—men afflicted by some form of misfortune or misdemeanor of their own, who wish to hide from life; but all assemble in a pure democracy of sorrow and penitential piety, apparently contented.

We breakfasted at ten in a room hospitably put at our disposal, the windows of which admitted a delicious breeze and opened upon a magnificent view of the plain far below, where the distant city rested like a white mist—an impalpable thing. Brother José brought some olives, to add to the refection which our sumpter-mule had carried to this height. They had a ripe, acid, oily flavor, which made one think of homely things and of patient housewives in remote American hills, who lead lives as monotonous, as self-denying and unnoticed as those which pass on this ridge of the Sierra in Andalusia. Our Novice thought the olives had "a holy flavor;" and I could understand her feeling. Find me a site more fitted for meditation on the volatility of mundane things than this eyry on the mountain-head overlooking the historic valley! There lies Cordova, a mere spot in the reach of soft citron and straw-tinted fields; and the Guadalquivir, winding like a neglected skein of tawny silk thrown down on the mapped landscape. The plain is calm as oblivion. It is oblivion's self; for there the earth has absorbed Cordova the Old, so that not a vestige remains where compressed masses of human dwellings once stood. They are crumbled to an indistinguishable powder. That soft autumnal soil has swallowed up the bones of unnumbered generations, and no trace of them is left. We imagined the glittering legions of Cæsar as they moved slowly through the country, flashing the sun from their compact steel, at that time when they put to the sword twenty-five thousand inhabitants of the city, which had sided with Pompey. We saw the Moors once more envelop it with arms and banners and the fluttering of snowy garments. But all these vanished again like a moving cloud, or a smoke from burning stubble; and the sun still pours its uninterrupted flood of splendor over the land, bringing life and bringing death, with impartial ray.


The Spanish word for "crowded" or "populated" is still used to signify "dense" in any ordinary connection, as the phrase barba poblada, for a thick beard, testifies. The implication is that, when there is any population at all, it must be crowded; a direct transmission, apparently, from periods when inhabitants clustered in immense numbers around the centres of civil power for safety. And the word holds good to-day; for one finds, in the present shrunken human force of the Peninsula, closely packed assemblages of people in the towns and cities, with wide domains of comparatively untenanted country around.

When night closed above us again in the city; when mellow lamps glowed, and a tropical fragrance flowed in from the gardens; when in the long dusky pauses of warm nocturnal silence the watchman's weary and pathetic cry resounded, or hollow-toned church-bells rung the hour, the romance of Cordova seemed to concentrate itself, and fell upon me, as I listened, in chords that took this form:

Like a throb of the heart of midnight
I hear a guitar faintly humming,
And through the Alcazar garden
A wandering footstep coming.
A shape by the orange bower's shadow—
Whose shape? Is it mine in a dream?
For my senses are lost in the perfumes
That out of the dark thicket stream.
'Mid the tinkle of Moorish waters,
And the rush of the Guadalquivir,
The rosemary breathes to the jasmine,
That trembles with joyous fear.
And their breath goes silently upward,
Far up to the white burning stars,
With a message of sweetness, half sorrow,
Unknown but to souls that bear scars.
Here, midway between stars and flowers,
I know not which draw me the most:
Shall my years yield earthly sweetness?
Shall I shine from the sky like a ghost?
A spirit I cannot quiet
Bids me bow to the unseen rod;
I dream of a lily transplanted,
To bloom in the garden of God.
Yet the footsteps come nearer and nearer;
Still moans the soft-troubled strain
Of the strings in the dusk. Well I know it:
'Twas called for me "Flower of Spain."
Ah, yes! my lover he made it,
And called it by my pet name:
I hear it, and—I'm but a woman—
It sweeps through my heart like a flame.
The night's heart and mine flow together;
The music is beating for each.
The moon's gone, the nightingale silent;
Light and song are both in his speech.
As the musky shadows that mingle,
As star-shine and flower-scent made one,
Our spirits in gladness and anguish
Have met: their waiting is done.
But over the leaves and the waters
What echoes the strange clanging bells
Send afloat from the dim-arched Mezquita!
How mournful the cadence that swells
From the lonely roof of the convent
Where pale nuns rest! On the hill,
Far off, the hermits in vigil
Are bowed at the crucifix still;
And the brown plain slumbers around us....
O land of remembrance and grief,
If I am truly the flower,
How withered are you, the leaf!

There was a good deal of discussion among our group of pilgrims as to the propriety of a foundation like the Hermitage of the Sierra continuing to exist in an age like the present one. Whetstone, who had declined to visit it, was of opinion that men who led such idle lives should be suppressed by law, and even went so far as to talk about hanging them. So singular a theory, emanating from a citizen of a free republic, met with some opposition; but this was not pushed too far, because we understood that Whetstone kept a hotel at home, and dreaded lest some day we should be at his mercy. As for the rest of us, it was not easy to pronounce that we were of much more value than the hermits; and assuredly those earnest ascetics compared favorably with our mule-driver, who was remarkable only for an expression of incipient humor that was never able to attain the height of actual expression. I was sure that, as he sighed out his final "Arré" in this world, he would pass into the next with that vacant smile on his face, and the joke which he might have perpetrated under fortunate circumstances still unuttered. Nor did the average life of Cordova strike us as signally indispensable to the world's progress. It was doubtless a very pleasant, lazy life so far as it went, and we did not decide to hang the inhabitants! They have a charming fashion there of building houses with pleasant interior courts, in which the sclinda, a vine with pale lavender clusters of blossoms suggesting the wistaria, droops amid matted foliage, and lends its grace alike to crumbling architecture or modern masonry. In these courts, separated from the street by gates of iron grating beautifully designed, you will see pleasant little domestic groups, and possibly a whole dinner-party going on in the fresh air. It was likewise agreeable to repair to a certain restaurant—restored in the Moorish manner—and there, while clapping hands echoed through the light arcades, drink iced beer and lemon—a refreshing beverage, which might reasonably take the place of fiery punches (in America) for hot weather. "Neither will I deny," said Velveteen, "that it is a wonderful sensation to stray into the Plaza de Geron Paez and come up suddenly against that glorious old Roman gate—growing up as naturally as the trees in front of it, but so much more wonderful than they—with its fine crumbling yellow traceries. How nicely it would tell in a sketch, eh, with some of the royal grooms—the remontistas—walking through the foreground in their quaint costumes!"


The men to whom he referred wear, in the best sense, a thoroughly theatrical garb of scarlet and black, finished off by boots of Cordovan leather in the style of sixteenth-century Spain, turned down at the top, laced, tasselled, and slashed open by a curve that runs from the side down to the back of the heel. This shows the white stocking under short trousers, giving to the masculine calf and ankle a grace for which they are usually denied all credit.

For the rest, dwellers in modern Cordova attend mass and vespers, stroll around to the confectioners' of an afternoon to eat sweetmeats, especially sugared higochumbos (the unripe prickly-pear boiled in syrup), or the famed and fragrant preserve of budding orange-blossoms known as dulces de alzahar; and the remainder of the time they while away pleasantly in loitering on the Street of the Great Captain, or in peering from their windows at whatever passes beneath. Throughout the kingdom, it should be said, a most extraordinary persistence will be observed in dawdling, strolling, and general contemplation. The Spaniard appears to be born with his legs in a walking position, and with loaded eyes that compel him to look out of the window whether he wants to or not.

One of the more remarkable observations, finally, that I collected in Cordova came from Manuel. It was his reflection as he gazed down from the Desierta into the plain: "Ah, that was where John Dove (Juan Palom) did such splendid things!" he sighed. "You don't know about John Dove? Well, he was one of the very greatest men Spain ever had; he was a robber—and oh, what a beautiful robber!"



SEVILLE—why should we not keep the proper and more euphonious form, Sevilla?—the home of that Don Juan on whom Byron and Mozart have shed a lustre more enviable than his reputation, has been made familiar to every one by melodious Figaro as well; and more lately Mérimée's Carmen, veiled in the music of Bizet, has brought it into the foreign consciousness again.

To me it is memorable as the place where I saw the jars in which the Forty Thieves were smothered. Worried by a painfully profuse odor that filled the whole street, one day I sought the cause, and found it in an olive-oil merchant's tienda, where there were some terra-cotta jars of the exact form given in the story-books, and afflicted with elephantiasis to such a degree that one or two men could easily have hidden in each. I am sure they were the same into which Morgiana poured the boiling oil, though why it should have been heated is inexplicable: the smell alone ought to have been fatal.

A prouder distinction is that Sevilla is the capital of Andalusia, that gayest and most diversified province of Spain; the native ground of the bull-fight and breeder of the best bulls; a region abounding in racy customs and characteristics. The sea-going Phœnicians, who bear down on us from so many points of the historical compass, found in Andalusia an important trading field. Its mountains are still stored with silver, copper, gold, lead, which have yielded steady tribute for thousands of years. In its breadths of sun-bathed plain and orange-mantled slope the ancients placed their Elysian Fields. Goth and Roman, Moor and Spaniard, struggled for the mastery of so rich a possession; and meanwhile Sevilla, the favorite of Cæsar—his "little Rome"—lay at the core of the fruitful land, herself careless in the main as to everything except an easy life, with plenty of singing and love-making. From climate and history, nevertheless, from art and the mingling of antipodal races, Sevilla received those influences which have shaped her into the bizarre and eminently Spanish creation that she is—a visible memory of the past, and a sparkling embodiment of the present. Society, amusement, and religious awe are the controlling aims of the people, blended with revolutionary politics, and great liveliness in their increasing commerce. The songs of Andalusia pervade the whole kingdom; its dances—cidarillos, manchegas, boleros, the cachuca, and the wildly graceful Sevillanas—enjoy an equal renown.

To accept Sevilla without disappointment, however, a robust appreciation is needed. Its squalors and splendors are impartially distributed. Luxurious mansions are dropped down indiscriminately among mean abodes and the homes of dirt. Poverty and showiness, supreme beauty and grotesque ugliness, jostle each other at close quarters. It is a sort of olla podrida among cities; but the total result is exceedingly curious, and piques the observation.

From a photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid.
From a photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid.

The first of it that met our eyes was the Giralda tower of the cathedral, rising in unique majesty above the unseen town, and as if inspired with a fresher grace by its own fame. If the bronze female figure of Faith on the summit could have spoken, it might have said: "In all the range of view from this pinnacle there is nothing so fair as Sevilla." The very next object of notice was a woman in the street, who began begging from below the instant we set foot on the balcony for a general survey. She gave us our money's worth of misery, but the supply afterward proved too great for our demand. The mendicants of Sevilla are much more daring and pertinacious than their craft elsewhere. They call your attention with a sharp "tst, tst," as if you were hired to go through life casually, stopping the instant they summon you. There was in particular one energetic man who never failed to pounce upon us from his lair, and place some few inches in front of us the red and twisted stump from which his hand had been severed. He had seemingly persuaded himself that our journey of several thousand miles was undertaken principally to inspect this anatomical specimen. The amount of execution he did with that mutilated member was enough to shame any able-bodied, self-supporting person. With a single wave of it he could put us to flight.

From a photograph by J. Laurent
& Co., Madrid.
From a photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid.

The effect would not have been more instantaneous if he had suddenly unmasked a mitrailleuse a yard from our noses. To assume unconsciousness was futile, for, whichever way we turned, he was always (it would hardly be correct to say "on hand," but) on time with his fingerless deformity—he always placed it, with the instinct of a finished artist, in the best light and most effective pose—getting it adroitly between us and anything we pretended to look at.

I imagined the noble cathedral might afford a refuge from such attacks, but every door was guarded by a squad of the decrepit army, so that entrance there became a horror. These sanctuary beggars serve a double purpose, however. The black-garbed Sevillan ladies, who are perpetually stealing in and out noiselessly under cover of their archly draped lace veils—losing themselves in the dark, incense-laden interior, or emerging from confession into the daylight glare again—are careful to drop some slight conscience-money into the palms that wait. Occasionally, by pre-arrangement, one of these beggars will convey into the hand that passes him a silver piece a tightly-folded note from some clandestine lover. It is a convenient underground mail, and I am afraid the venerable church innocently shelters a good many little transactions of this kind.


Nothing can surpass in grandeur, in solemn and restful beauty, the hollow mountain of embellished stone which constitutes this cathedral. It does not present the usual cross shape, but is based upon the oblong form of an old mosque, originally formed somewhat like that at Cordova, but now wholly gone, excepting for the unequalled Giralda, and a few other minor muezzin towers. The Court of Oranges is another relic of the mosque-builders, where clumps of polished leafage contrast their own vivid strength with the energetic lines of flying-buttresses in the background—a florid yet melancholy height of trellised stone. The enclosing walls of the Orange Court, made of firmly cohering mud, or tapia, are tipped with flame-pointed battlements. At their eastern end rises the tall, square Giralda, with a serenity in its simple lines expressing, like Greek temples, the satisfied senses controlled by an elevated mind. The lower portion bears other impress of its Moorish origin in variously patterned courses of sunken brick; but the whole tower terminates in a filigree Christian spire of the sixteenth century, with a row of queer rusty iron ornaments, imitating vases filled with flowers, placed on the ledge above the belfry at the spire's base. Then, as you continue the circuit on the east, you arrive opposite the apse curve marking the chancel of the Chapel Royal; and here the wall is moulded to the taste of Charles V.'s time, which affected Roman simplicity and weight, adding to it a trace of feudal pomp in high-relief coats of arms. On the third and south side a crumbling frieze of deer's heads and flower garlands skirts the cornice above a long plain front, the straightness of which our friend Whetstone, clambering up on a low coping so as to squint along the side, and see if the lines were perfectly true, admired more than anything else. Afterward one reaches a corner where the work remains unfinished, and the blackened trunks of incomplete pinnacles in graded ranks suggest the charred fragments of a faith once all afire, now darkened and cold. There is no all-dominating dome; but there are two or three bulbous upheavals in the roof, some spindling turrets on the north, and a square elevation in the middle revealing the form of the transept. The whole top is ribbed with stone, serrated with ornate crockets, crowded with bosses and small spires, or edged with a double balustrade mimicking in its flame-points a thousand altar lights. Petrified rosettes and spiral wreathings project from the sides in unchangeable efflorescence, and great arches, furrowed around by concentric ripples of carving, and sometimes overpeered by quaint terra-cotta heads, give entrance to the interior of the gigantic marvel. And over all towers the Giralda to a height of three hundred and fifty feet, surmounted by the Giraldillo vane—a woman's form, which turns its twenty-five hundred-weight of bronze from point to point at the slightest veering of the wind. But the consummate wonder of this great fabric, under which prostrate ages seem to crouch while lifting it to heaven, is the union of diverse styles and spirits in its construction. The different schools conglomerated in such an exterior give the cathedral a great and mysterious power of variety; yet, decided though their contrasts are, the effect is not harsh. It bears witness to the truth that the spirit of man when attuned to the mood of sincere worship, however unlike its expression may be at different epochs and through different races, will always make a certain grand inclusive harmony with itself.

The coolness of the lofty and umbrageous aisles within is not penetrated by the fiercest summer heats; but their religious twilight, though inciting to a devout and prayerful sentiment, wraps in obscurity the crowded works of art, the emblazoned retablos, the paintings of Murillo, Campaña, and Morales, and the costly ornaments bestowed upon the high altar, as well as those of some thirty side-chapels. In the central nave, before a shrine at the choir-back, lies the tomb of Ferdinand, son of Christopher Columbus. The colossal form of another Christopher, the saint, lifts itself up the wall to a height of thirty-two feet, near the Gate of the Exchange. Whoever looks upon St. Christopher, to him no harm shall come during that day; hence this worthy is a common object in Spanish cathedrals, and always painted so large that no one who diligently attends mass can possibly miss seeing him. A curious relic on the Chapel Royal altar is the Battle Virgin, a small ivory image which King Ferdinand the Sainted always carried in war firmly fixed on his saddle-bow. There, too, the King himself, embalmed, is preserved in a chiselled silver case, to be uncovered and shown three times a year with great pomp of military music. A life-size Virgin with movable joints and spun-gold hair watches over him, but did not prevent his crown from being stolen a few years ago. Not far away Murillo's San Antonio hangs, the chief figure in which was also stolen, being cut out in 1874, as many who read this will remember, and carried to New York, where it was recovered. Innumerable other works and wonders there are, and the sacristies contain great value of goldsmiths' products; but, unless it be made a subject of long artistic study, the fundamental charm of the cathedral consists in its general aspects, its mysterious perspectives, its proportions so simple and grandiose; the isolated pictures formed at almost any point by jewelled and candle-lit chapels sparkling dimly through a permanent dusk, rainbowed here and there by the light from old stained windows.

From the Giralda, which is mounted by inclined planes in place of stairs, one looks down upon the glorious building as if it were something belonging to a lower and different world. All around, beyond, the mazy city flattens itself out in a confusion of white walls and tiled roofs, that look like the armored backs of scaly monsters huddled sluggishly in the powerful sunshine, with impossible streets among them reduced to mere thin lines of shadow. The tawny river touches it; palaces and gardens and abandoned monasteries fringe it. Quite near you see the Tower of Gold—a surviving outwork of the Moorish defences—which was formerly coated with orange-colored tiles on the outside, while the inside furnished a repository for treasure brought from the New World. A crenellated Moorish fortification rises up dreamily at one point, but finding itself out of date, abruptly subsides again. Farther out are the seven suburbs, including the gypsy and sailor quarter, the Triana; and then the plains stretch into an immense area of olive, gold, and white, reaching to mountains on the north and east. A multitude of doves inhabit the spire, and there is almost always a hawk sailing above it, higher than anything else under the cloudless sky. At the base lives the bell-ringer, through whose stone-paved dining-room and nursery, filled with his family, we had to pass in order to ascend. Once, as we stood toward sunset in the high gallery where the bells are hung in rectangular or arched apertures, we heard the repique sounding the Angelus. It was a furious explosion of metallic resonance.

Twenty bells on swinging beams, that throw the echoing mouths outward through the openings, and two fixed in place within, of which Santa Maria—profanely called The Fat One—is the largest: such is the battery at command. They are not all used at once, however, for the Angelus. The ringer and his two sons were satisfied with touching up Santa Catalina (of a tone peculiarly deep and acceptable), St. John the Baptist, San José, and one or two others. The whole brazen family have been duly baptized, among them being San Laureano and San Isidoro, named after the special patrons of Sevilla. One after another their tongues rolled forth a deafening roar, in a systematic disorder of thunderous tones, while the chief ringer went about unconcernedly with a smouldering cigarette in his lips. One of his sons, after uncoiling the twisted rope around the beam of San Laureano, thus getting it into violent motion, watched his chance, sprung on to the beam, agile as a cat, and stood there while it rocked, the bell under him swinging out at each turn, over the open square below. It was three hundred feet, down to the pavement, and the least slip would have sent him down to it like a handful of dirt. His conception of what would please us, nevertheless, led him thoroughly to unnerve us by repeating the performance several times.

"Why don't the high-priest, or whatever he is, go on and finish up this church?" asked Whetstone of the guide. "Seems to me it's about time."

"The priest? He don't want to," was Vincent's answer, given with a movement of the fingers meant to imply the receiving of money. "It make too good excuse."

Our conductor, who I am sure was a sceptic, went on to declare that within the last ten years ninety thousand dollars had been left by will for carrying on the unfinished portion of the cathedral, but as yet no movement to begin the work had been made. "Where all that money go?" he asked, innocent curiosity overspreading his features, while his eye gleamed with hidden intelligence.

"What do the people think of the priests?" one of us asked.

"The chimneys[7] will find out some time," he replied; adding, in the proverbial strain common with Spaniards: "When the river comes down from the mountains, it brings stones."

"By the river, you mean revolution? But you've had that before."

The conclusive answer to this was a maxim borrowed from the ring: "The fifth bull is never a bad one" (meaning, "Success comes to those who wait").

Our guide's English was put to a severe strain in the Alcazar, a palace largely Oriental, with interiors that outshine the Alhambra in resplendent color and gilding. There is, in particular, one round-domed ceiling constructed with an intricacy of interdependent supports, cones, truncations, dropping cusps, which is counterpoint made plastic; and in its inverted cup-like cysts the burnished gold glows like clotted honey. But, for all that, it does not equal the matchless Alhambra in arrangement, variety, or poetic surroundings. The memory of King Pedro the Cruel is closely connected with this Alcazar. From it he used to make night sallies into the town, by means of what Vincent termed a "soup-tureen passage," which brought him up through a trap-door somewhere in the thick of his subjects. Pedro, who lived in the fourteenth century, was a monarch of a severely playful disposition. He used to have the heads of people that were obnoxious to him cut off, and hung up over the lintel of his dressing-room door, where he could look at them while he was putting in his shirt-studs, or whenever he felt bored. In the extensive gardens, half Eastern and half mediæval, behind the palace, among the box and myrtle planted in forms of heraldic devices, among the palms and terraces and fountains, there run long paths, secretly perforated in places for fine jets of water. These are the traces of a still more ingenious amusement invented by Pedro. From a place of concealment he would watch until the ladies of the court, when promenading, had got directly over one of his underground—I mean "soup-tureen"—fountains, then he would turn a faucet, and drench them with a shower-bath from below.

There are other palaces in Sevilla, of which the Duke of Montpensier's San Telmo is the chief, and a model of uninteresting magnificence, aside from the valuable collection of old Spanish masters which it contains. These pictures were sent to Boston for a loan exhibition during the last revolution in Spain, in 1874; and although their aggregate worth is easily surpassed by the pictures preserved at the public gallery of Sevilla and at the Caridad Hospital, the Duke of Montpensier's possessions embrace a masterly portrait of Velazquez, by himself (repeated in the Museo at Valencia), and a charming "Madonna of the Swaddling Clothes," by Murillo. San Telmo was formerly a nautical college, having been founded by the son of Christopher Columbus.


But the long succession of apartments through which the visitor is ushered suggests no association with the former maritime prowess of Spain; it is haunted rather by the failures and disappointments of its owner, who, missing the throne on which his foot had almost rested, lived to see his daughter, Queen Mercedes, die, and another daughter mysteriously follow Mercedes into the grave after being plighted to the reigning King. The grounds attached to the palace are very large, and filled with palms, orange-trees, and other less tropical growths; and they may be inspected, under the guidance of a forester armed with an innocuous gun, by anybody who, after getting permission, is willing to pay a small fee and tire himself out by an aimless ramble.

Sevilla, where Murillo was born and spent so many years of artistic activity in the height of his powers, is the next best place after Madrid for a study of the sweetest among Spanish painters. His house still stands in the Jews' Quarter, and a few of his best works are kept in the picture-gallery; among them the one which he was wont to call "my picture"—"St. Thomas of Villanueva Giving Alms." Like the "Saint Elizabeth" at Madrid, it is a grand study of beggary—vagabondism as you may see it to-day throughout Spain, but here elevated by excellent design, charming sympathy with nature, and the resources of a delightful colorist, into something possessing dignity and permanent interest—qualities which the original phenomenon lacks. Murillo is pure, sincere, simple, but never profound; though to this he perhaps approaches more nearly in his "St. Francis Embracing the Crucified Saviour" than in any other of his productions. Like others of his pictures in Sevilla, however, it is painted in his latest style, called "vaporoso," which, to my thinking, marks by its meretricious softness of hazy atmosphere, and its too free coloring, a distinct decadence. In the church connected with the Caridad are hung two colossal canvases, one depicting the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the other, Moses striking the rock. This last is better known by its popular title, "The Thirst," which pays tribute to its masterly portrayal of that animal desire. In the suffering revealed by the faces of the Israelites, as well as the eager joy of the crowd (and even of their beasts of burden) on receiving relief, there is a dramatic contention of pain and pleasure, for the rendering of which the naturalistic genius of the artist was eminently suited—and he has made the most of his opportunity. The representation is terribly true; and its range of observation culminates in the figure of the mother drinking first, though her babe begs for water; for this is exactly what one would expect in Spanish mothers of her class, whose faces are lined with a sombre harshness, a want of human kindness singularly repellent. Such a picture is hardly agreeable; and it must be owned that, excepting in his gentle, honest "Conceptions," and a few other pieces, Murillo shares the earthiness of his national school, the effect of which, despite much magnificence in treatment, is on the whole depressing.


The House of Pilate, owned by the Duke of Medina Celi, is quite another sort of thing from San Telmo; a roomy, irregular edifice, dating from the sixteenth century, but almost wholly Saracenic. The walls are repoussés in fine arabesques, and sheathed at the base with old color-veined tiles that throw back the light in flashes from their surface. These also enamel the grand staircase, which makes a square turn beneath a roof described as a media naranja—natural Spanish music for our plain "half-orange"—the vault of which is fretted cedar cased in stucco. At the top landing is posted a cock in effigy, representing the one that crowed witness to Peter's denial. Again, a balcony is shown which stands for that at which Pilate washed his hands before the people; and in fine, the whole place is net-worked with fancies of this kind, identifying it with the scene of Christ's trial. For it was the whim of the lordly founder to make his house the starting-point for a Via Crucis, marking the path of Jesus on his way to crucifixion, and these devices were adopted to heighten the verisimilitude of the scene. In Passion-week pilgrims come to pray at the several "stations" along the route to the figurative Calvary at the end of the Via.

Into the Duke of Montpensier's garden stare the plebeian, commercial—let us hope unenvious—windows of the government tobacco factory; an enormous building, guarded like a fort to prevent the smuggling out of tobacco. Indeed, every one of the three thousand women employed is carefully watched for the same purpose as she passes forth at the general evening dismissal. Mounting the broad stairs of stone, I heard a peculiar medley of light sounds in the distance. If a lot of steam-looms were endowed with the faculty of throwing out falsetto and soprano notes instead of their usual inhuman click, the effect could not be more uninterrupted than this subdued merry buzzing. It was the chatter of the working-girls in the cigarette room. As we stepped over the threshold these sounds continued with crescendo effect, ourselves being taken for the theme. At least one hundred girls fixed their attention on us, delivering a volley of salutations, jokes, and general remarks.

"What do you seek, little señor? You will get no papelitos here!" exclaimed one, pretty enough to venture on sauciness.

"French, French! don't you see?" another said; and her companions, in airy tones, begged us to disburse a few cuartos, which are cent-and-a-quarter pieces.

There was one young person of a satirical turn who affected to approve a very small beard which one of us had raised incidentally in travelling. She stroked her own smooth cheek, and carolled out, "What a pretty barbule!"

They certainly were not enslaved to conventionality, though they may be to necessity. They seemed to enjoy themselves, too. Their eyes flashed; they broke into laughter; they bent their heads to give effect to the regulation flat curls on their temples, and all the time their nimble fingers never stopped filling cigarettes, rolling the papers, whisking them into bundles, and seizing fresh pinches of tobacco. In all there were three or four hundred of them, and some of them had a spendthrift, common sort of beauty, which, owing to their Southern vivacity and fine physique, had the air of being more than it really was. At first glance there appeared to be a couple of hundred other girls hung up against the walls and pillars; but these turned out to be only the skirts and boots of the workers, which are kept carefully away from the smouch of the cigarette trays, so as to maintain the proverbially neat appearance of their wearers on the street. Some of the women, however, were scornful and morose, and others pale and sad. It was easy to guess why, when we saw their babies lying in improvised box-cradles or staggering about naked, as if intoxicated with extreme youth and premature misery, or as if blindly beginning a search for their fathers—something none of them will ever find. We laid a few coppers in the cradles, and went on to the cigar-room.

It was much the same, excepting that the soberness of experience there partially took the place of the giddiness rampant among the cigarette girls. There were some appalling old crones among the thousand individuals who rolled, chopped, gummed, and tied cigars at the low tables distributed through a heavily groined stone hall choked with thick pillars, and some six hundred or seven hundred yards in length. Others, on the contrary, looked blooming and coquettish. Many were in startling deshabille, resorted to on account of the intense July heat, and hastened to draw pretty pañuelos of variegated dye over their bare shoulders when they saw us coming. Here, too, there was a large nursery business being carried on, with a very damaged article of child, smeary, sprawling, and crying. Nor was it altogether cheering to observe now and then a woman who, having dissipated too late the night before, sat fast asleep with her head in the cigar dust of the table.

"Ojala! May God do her work!" cried one of her friends. If he did not, it was not because there was any lack of shrines in the factory. They were erected here and there against the wall, with gilt images and candles arrayed in front of a white sheet, and occasionally the older women knelt at their devotions before them. I don't object to the shrines, but it struck me that a good crèche system for the children might not come amiss.

As to the factory-girls smoking cigarettes in public, it is an operatic fiction: no such practice is common in Spain. And the beauty of these Carmens has certainly been exaggerated. It may be remarked here that, as an offset to occasional disappointment arising from such exaggerations, all Spanish women walk with astonishing gracefulness, a natural and elastic step; and that is their chief advantage over women of other nations. Even the chamber-maids of Sevilla were modelled on a heroic, ancient-history plan, with big, supple necks, and showed such easy power in their movements that we half feared they might, in tidying the rooms, pick us up by mistake and throw us away somewhere to perish miserably in a dust-heap. Why there should be so much inborn ease and freedom expressed in the manner of women who are guarded with Oriental precautions, I don't know. Andalusian fathers have, no doubt, the utmost confidence in their daughters, but at the same time they save them the trouble of taking care of themselves by putting iron gratings on the windows. The reja, the domestic gittern, is very common in Sevilla. The betrothed suitor, if he is quite correct, must hold his tender interviews with his mistress through its forbidding bars. My companion actually saw a handsome young fellow standing on the sidewalk, and conducting one of these peculiar tête-à-têtes.

"Stone walls do not a prison
Nor iron bars a cage."
"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage."

Every house is, furthermore, provided with a patio. The façades, as a rule, are monotonous and unspeakably plain, but the poorest dwelling always has its airy court set with shrubs, and perhaps provided with water. They are tiled, as most rooms are in Spain—a good precaution against vermin, which unluckily is not infallible as regards fleas, which search the traveller in Spain even more rigorously than the customs officers or the Civil Guards. The flea is still and small, like the voice of conscience, but that is the only moral thing about him. In the Peninsula I found him peculiarly unregenerate. As to these patios, the well-to-do protect them from the open vestibule leading to the street by gates of ornamental open iron, letting the air-currents play through the unroofed court, and sometimes with movable screens behind the gate. Chess-tables and coffee are carried out there in the evening, and the music-room gives conveniently upon the cool central space.

In Sevilla, if you hear a shrill little bell tinkling in the street, do not imagine that a bicycle is coming. One day a slight tintinnabulation announced the approach of a funeral procession, headed by two gentlemen wearing round caps and blue gowns, on which were sewed flaming red hearts. One bore a small alms-basket; the other rung the bell to attract contributions. It appears that this is the manner appointed for sundry brothers who maintain the Caridad, a hospital for indigent old men. The members, though pursuing their ordinary mode of life, are banded for the support of the institution. Necessarily rich and aristocrats, it matters not: when one of them dies, he must be buried by means of offerings collected on the way to his grave. This Caridad, let me add, was founded by Don Miguel de Manera, a friend of Don Juan, and a reformed rake. His epitaph reads: "Here lie the ashes of the worst man that ever was." I suspect a lingering vanity in that assertion, but at any rate the tombstone tries hard not to lie.

Fashionable society, after recovering from its mid-day siesta, and before going to the theatre or ball, turns itself out for an airing on Las Delicias—"The Delights"—an arbored road running two or three miles along the river-side. Nowhere can you see more magnificent horses than there. Their race was formerly crossed with the finest mettle of Barbary studs, and their blood, carried into Kentucky through Mexico, may have had its share in the victories of Parole, Iroquois, and Foxhall. A more strictly popular resort is the New Plaza, where citizens attend a concert and fireworks twice a week in summer, and keep their distressed babies up till midnight to see the fun. They are less demonstrative than one would expect. An American reserve hangs over them. Perfect informality reigns; they saunter, chat, and laugh without constraint, yet their enjoyment is taken in a languid, half-pensive way. In the various foot-streets where carriages do not appear—the most notable of which is the winding one called simply Sierpes, "The Serpents"—the same quietude prevails. Lined with attractive bazar-like shops, and overhung by "sails" drawn from roof to roof, which make them look like telescopic booths, these streets form shady avenues down which figures glide unobtrusively: sometimes a cigarette girl in a pale geranium skirt, with a crimson shawl; sometimes a lady in black, with lace-draped head; and perhaps an erroneous man in a heavy blue cloak, saving up warmth for next winter; or a peasant re-arranging his scarlet waist-cloth by tucking one end into his trousers, then turning round and round till he is wound up like a watch-spring, and finally putting his needle-pointed knife into the folds, ready for the next quarrel.


Once we caught sight of two belted forms with carbines stealing across the alley, far down, as if for a flank movement against us. Oh, horror! they were the Civil Guards, who were always blighting us at the happiest moment. As they did not succeed in capturing us, we believed they must have lost themselves in one of the calles that squirm through the houses with no visible intention of ever coming out anywhere. Velveteen wanted to go and look for their bones, thinking they had perished of starvation, but I opportunely reflected that we might ourselves be lost in the attempt. No wonder assassination has been frequent in these narrow windings! Once astray in them, that would be the easiest way out.

Shall we go to the Thursday-morning fair, which begins, in order to avoid the great heats, at 6 A.M.? Come, then; and if we are up early, we may pass on the way through the low-walled market, gay with fruits, flowers, vegetables, where bread from Alcalá in the exact pattern of buttercup blossoms is sold, and where, at a particularly bloody and ferocious stall, butchers are dispensing the meat of bulls slaughtered at the fights. The fair is held in Fair Street. A frantic miscellany of old iron, of clothing, crockery, mat baskets, and large green pine-cones full of plump seeds, which, when ripened, taste like butternuts, is set forth. Full on the pavement is spread an array of second-hand shoes—the proverbial dead men's, perhaps—temptingly blacked. Pale cinereous earthen vessels, all becurled with raised patterns like intelligent wax-drippings, but exceedingly well shaped, likewise monopolize the thoroughfare, put in peril only by random dogs, which, having quarrelled over the offal freely thrown into the street for them, sometimes race disreputably through the brittle ware. At apt corners old women have set up their frying-pans under Bedouin tents, and are cooking calentitos—long coils of dough browned in hot olive oil—which are much sought as a relish for the matutinal chocolate. Omnipresent, of course, are those water stalls that, in Sevilla especially, acquire eminent dignity by their row of stout jars, and their complicated cordage rigged across from one house-top to another, so as to sustain shadowing canvas canopies. There is a great crowd, but even the fair is comparatively quiet, like the other phases of local life.

The absence of wagon-traffic in the town creates, notwithstanding its reposeful character, a new relative scale of noises, and there is consequently good store of fretting attacks on the hearing in Sevilla. With very early morning begins the deep clank of bells, under the chins of asses that go the rounds to deliver domestic milk from their own udders. There is no end of noise. Even in the elegant dining-room where we ate, lottery-dealers would howl at us through the barred windows, or a donkey outside would rasp our ears with his intolerable braying. Then the street cries are incessant. At night the crowds chafe and jabber till the latest hours, and after eleven the watchmen begin their drawl of unearthly sadness, alternating with the occult and remorseless industry of the mosquito; until, somewhere about dawn, you drop perspiring into an oppressively tropical dream-land, with the sereno's last cry ringing in your ears: "Hail, Mary, most pure! Three o'clock has struck."

This is the weird tune to which he chants it:

Musical notation: A—ve Ma—ri—a pur—is—si—ma! Las tré—es han toc—ca—do.


AN English lady, conversing with a Sevillan gentleman who had been making some rather tall statements, asked him: "Are you telling me the truth?"

"Madam," he replied, gravely, but with a twinkle in his eye, "I am an Andalusian!" At which the surrounding listeners, his fellow-countrymen, broke into an appreciative laugh.

So proverbial is the want of veracity, or, to put it more genially, the imagination, of these Southerners. Their imagination will explain also the vogue of their brief, sometimes pathetic, yet never more than half-expressed, scraps of song, which are sung with so much feeling throughout the kingdom to crude barbaric airs, and loved alike by gentle and simple. I mean the Peteneras and Malagueñas. There are others of the same general kind, sung to a variety of dances; but the ruling tunes are alike—usually pitched in a minor key, and interspersed with passionate trills, long quavers, unexpected ups and downs, which it requires no little skill to render. I have seen gypsy singers grow apoplectic with the long breath and volume of sound which they threw into these eccentric melodies amid thunders of applause. It is not a high nor a cultivated order of music, but there lurks in it something consonant with the broad, stimulating shine of the sun, the deep red earth, the thick, strange-flavored wine of the Peninsula; its constellated nights, and clear daylight gleamed with flying gold from the winnowing-field. The quirks of the melody are not unlike those of very old English ballads, and some native composer with originality should be able to expand their deep, bold, primitive ululations into richer, lasting forms. The fantastic picking of the mandurra accompaniment reminds me of Chinese music with which I have been familiar. Endless preludes and interminable windings-up enclose the minute kernel of actual song; but to both words and music is lent a repressed touching power and suggestiveness by repeating, as is always done, the opening bars and first words at the end, and then breaking off in mid-strain. For instance:

"All the day I am happy,
But at evening orison
Like a millstone grows my heart.
All the day I am happy." [Limitless Guitar Solo.]

It is like the never-ended strain of Schumann's "Warum?" The words are always simple and few—often bald. One of the most popular pieces amounts simply to this:

"Both Lagartijo and Frascuelo
Swordsmen are of quality,
Since when they the bulls are slaying—
O damsel of my heart!
They do it with serenity.
Both Lagartijo and Frascuelo
Swordsmen are of quality."

But such evident ardor of feeling and such wealth of voice are breathed into these fragments that they become sufficient. The people supply from their imagination what is barely hinted in the lines. Under their impassive exteriors they preserve memories, associations, emotions of burning intensity, which throng to aid their enjoyment, as soon as the muffled strings begin to vibrate and syllables of love or sorrow are chanted. I recalled to a young and pretty Spanish lady one line,

"Pajarito, tu que vuelas."

She flushed, fire came to her eyes, and with clasped hands she murmured, "Oh, what a beautiful song it is!" Yet it contains only four lines. Here is a translation:

"Bird, little bird that wheelest
Through God's fair worlds in the sky,


Say if thou anywhere seest
A being more sad than I.
Bird, little bird that wheelest."

Some of these little compositions are roughly humorous, and others very grotesque, appearing to foreigners empty and ridiculous.

The following one has something of the odd imagery and clever inconsequence of our negro improvisations:

"As I was gathering pine-cones
In the sweet pine woods of love,
My heart was cracked by a splinter
That flew from the tree above.
I'm dead: pray for me, sweethearts!"

There was one evening in Granada when we sat in a company of some two dozen people, and one after another of the ladies took her turn in singing to the guitar of a little girl, a musical prodigy. But they were all outdone by Cándida, the brisk, naïve, handsome serving-girl, who was invited in, but preferred to stand outside the grated window, near the lemon-trees and pomegranates, looking in, with a flower in her hair, and pouring into the room her warm contralto—that voice so common among Spanish peasant-women—which seemed to have absorbed the clear dark of Andalusian nights when the stars glitter like lance-points aimed at the earth. Through the twanging of the strings we could hear the rush of water that gurgles all about the Alhambra; and, just above the trees that stirred in the perfumed air without, we knew the unsentinelled walls of the ancient fortress were frowning. The most elaborate piece was one meant to accompany a dance called the Zapateado, or "kick-dance." It begins:

"Tie me, with my fiery charger,
To your window's iron lattice.
Though he break loose, my fiery charger,
Me he cannot tear away;"

and then passes into rhyme:

"Much I ask of San Francisco,
Much St. Thomas I implore;
But of thee, my little brown girl,
Ah, of thee I ask much more!"

The singing went on:

"In Triana there are rogues,
And there are stars in heaven.
Four and one rods away
There lives, there lives a woman.
Flowers there are in gardens,
And beautiful girls in Sevilla."

Nevertheless, we had been glad to leave Sevilla, especially since during our stay an epidemic was in progress, graphically called "the minute," from its supposed characteristic of finishing off a victim ready for the undertaker in exactly sixty seconds after attacking him.

The inhabitants of Granada likewise seemed to be a good deal occupied in burying themselves—a habit which became confirmed, no doubt, during the wars and insurrections of their ancestors, and is aided to-day by bad sanitary arrangements. We saw a dead man being carried in the old Moorish way, with his forehead bared to the sky, a green wreath on his head, his cold hands emerging from the shroud in their last prayer-clasp, and quite indifferent to the pitiless sun that beat down on them. But, perched as we were on the Alhambra Hill, high above the baking city, such spectacles were transient specks in the world of fascination that infolded us.



Granada rests in what might pass for the Happy Valley of Rasselas, a deep stretch of thirty miles, called simply the Vega, and tilled from end to end on a system of irrigation established by the Moslem conquerors. Rugged mountains, bastions of a more than Cyclopean earthwork, girdle and defend it. To penetrate them you must leave the hot rolling lands of the west, and confront steep heights niched here and there for creamy-hued villages or deserted castles, and sentried by small Moorish watch-towers rising like chessmen on the highest crests. The olive-trees spread on wide slopes of tanned earth were like thick dots of black connected in one design, and seemed to suggest the possible origin of Spanish lace. The shapes of the mountains, too, were extravagant. One of the most singular, the Peñon de los Enamorados, near Antequera, showed us by accident at a distance the exact profile of George Washington, with every detail after Stuart, hewn out in mountain size and looking directly up into the heavens from a position of supine rigidity. Our first intimation of a near approach to Granada was a long stretch of blanched folds showing through evening mistiness in the southern sky, like the drapings of some celestial tabernacle, so high up that they might have been clouds but for a certain persistent, awful immobility that controlled them. Their spectral whiteness, detached from the earth, hung, it is true, ten thousand feet above the sea-level; but they were not clouds. They were the summits of the Sierra Nevada, the great Snowy Range.

Twenty miles to the north of these frosty heights stands the Alhambra Hill, shrouded in dark trees, and dominated by the Mountain of the Sun. The names are significant—Snowy Range and Mountain of the Sun—for the landscape that unrolls itself between these ridges is a mixture of torrid glow and Alpine coldness. I stood in a hanging garden delicious with aromatic growths, on the ramparts beside the great Lookout Tower, the city lying like a calcareous deposit packed in the gorge of the Darro's stream below. Across the Vega I beheld that sandy pass of the hills through which Boabdil withdrew after his surrender—the Last Sigh of the Moor. Fierce sunlight smote upon me, spattering the leaves like metal in flux; but the snow-fields mantling the blue wall of the Sierra loomed over the landscape so distinct as to seem within easy hail, and I felt their breath in a sweet coolness that drifted by from time to time. The other mountains were bare and golden brown. But in their midst the mild Vega, inlaid with curves of the River Genil, receded in breadths of alternate green orchard and mellow rye, where distant villages are scattered "like white antelopes at pasture," says Señor Don Contreras, the accomplished curator of the Alhambra. It was not like a dream, for dreams are imitative; nor like reality, for that is too unstable. It was blended of both these, with a purely ideal strand. As I looked at the rusty red walls and abraded towers palisading the hill, the surroundings became like some miraculous web, and these ruins, concentring the threads, were the shattered cocoon from which it had been spun.

The Alhambra was originally a village on the height, perhaps the first local settlement, surrounded by a wall for defensive purposes.


The wall, which once united a system of thirty-seven towers, fringes the irregular edges of the hill-top plateau, describing an enclosure like a rude crescent lying east and west. At the west end the hill contracts to an anvil point, and on this are grouped the works of the citadel Alcazaba, governed by the huge square Lookout Tower. On a ridge close to the south stand the Vermilion Towers, suspected of having been mixed up with the Phœnicians at an early epoch, but not yet fully convicted by the antiquarians. The intervening glade receives a steep road from the city, and is arcaded with elms and cherries of prodigious size, sent over as saplings by the Duke of Wellington half a century ago. There the nightingales sing in spring-time, and in summer the boughs give perch to other songsters. Ramps lead up to the top of the hill, and on the northern edge of its crescent, at the brink of the Darro Valley, the Alhambra Palace proper is lodged.

We shall go in by the Gate of Justice, through a door-way running up two-thirds of its tower's height, and culminating in a little horseshoe arch, whereon a rude hand is incised—a favorite Mohammedan symbol of doctrine. We pass a poor pictured oratory of the Virgin, and some lance-rests of Ferdinand V., to worm our way through the grim passage that cautiously turns twice before emerging through an arch of pointed brick with enamellings on argil, into the open gravelled Place of the Reservoirs. This is undermined by a fettered lake, generally attributed to the Moors, but more probably made after Isabella's conquest. On the right side, behind hedges and low trees, is reared that gray rectangular Græco-Roman pile which Charles V. had the audacity to begin. His palace is deservedly unfinished, yet its intrusion is effective. It makes you think of the terror-striking helmet of unearthly size in the Castle of Otranto, and looks indeed like a piece of mediæval armor flung down here to challenge vainly the wise Arabian beauty of the older edifice. To the Place of Reservoirs come in uninterrupted course all day the tinkling and tasselled mules that carry back to the city jars of fresh water, kept cool in baskets filled with leaves. And hither walk toward sunset the majos and majas—dandies and coquettes—to stroll and gossip for an hour, even as we saw them when we were lingering at the northern parapet one evening and looking off through the clear air, in which a million rose-leaves seemed to have dipped and left their faint color.


THE veritable entrance to the Alhambra is now buried within some later buildings added to the original. But it never, though Irving naturally supposed the contrary, had a grand portal in the middle. Gorgeous and showy means of ingress would not have suited the Oriental mind. The exterior of the palace and all the towers is dull, blank, uncommunicative. Their coating of muddy or ferruginous cement, marked here and there by slim upright oblongs of black window spaces, was not meant to reveal the luxury of loveliness concealed within. The Moslem idea was to secrete the abodes of earthly bliss, nor even to hint at them by outward signs of ostentation.

So the petty modern door cut for convenience is not wholly out of keeping. It ushers one with a sudden surprise into the presence of those marvels which have been for years a distant enticing vision. You find yourself, in fact, wandering into the Alhambra courts as if by accident. The first one—the Court of the Pond, or of the Myrtles—arrays before us beauty enough and to spare. But it is only the beginning. A long tank occupies the centre, brimmed with water from a rill that gurgles, by day and night forever, with a low, half-laughing sob. Around it level plates of white marble are riveted to the ground, and two hedges of clipped myrtle border the placid surface. At the nearest end a double gallery closes the court, imposed on seven arches so evenly rounded as to emulate the Roman, but upheld by columns of amazing slenderness; and in the spandrels are translucent arabesques inlaced with fillets, radiating leaf-points, and loose knots. Above these blink some square windows, shut as with frozen gauze by minute stone lattice-work, over fifteen hundred twisted or cubed pieces being combined in each. From there the women of the harem used to witness pageantries and ceremonies that took place in the court; and over the veiled windows is a roofed balcony repeating the lower arches, which would serve for spectators not under ban of invisibility.

From a photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid.
From a photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid.

Various low doors lead from this Court of the Pond, giving sealed intimation of what may lie beyond, but disclosing little. One turns naturally, however, to the Hall of Ambassadors at the other end, in the mighty Tower of Comares. The transverse arcade at the entrance is roofed with shining vitreous-faced tiles of blue and white that also carry their stripes over the little cupola, to which many similar ones doubtless formerly surrounded the court, and in the cloister underneath the inmates reclined on divans glinting with rippled gold-thread and embroidered with colored silks. Then comes the anteroom, the Chamber of Benediction (usually called of the Boat, on account of its long, scooped ceiling), which is like the hollow of a capsized boat suspended over us, and darkened with deep lapis lazuli. There are some low doors in the wall, meant for the humble approach of slaves when serving their masters, or leading to lost inner corridors and stairways now fallen into dust. But the large central arch conducts at once into the Hall of the Ambassadors, after we have passed some niches in which of old were set encarmined water-jars of sweet-scented clay. Beside these may have stood the carven racks for weapons of jewelled hilt and tempered blade.

In the Chamber of Benediction begin those multitudinous arabesques by which the Alhambra is most widely known. In the hall beyond they flow out with unimpeded grace and variety over the walls of an immensely high and nobly spacious apartment, pierced on three sides at the floor level with arched ajimez[8] windows halved by a thin, flower-headed column, in the embrasures of which, enchased with cement, are mouldings that overrun the groundwork in bands, curves, diamonds, scrolls, delicate as the ribs of leaves or as vine tendrils. Within these soft convolved lines, arranged to make the most florid detail tributary to the general effect, Arabic characters twisted into the design contain outbursts of poetry celebrating the edifice, the room itself. "As if I were the arc of the rainbow," says one inscription in the hooped door-way, "and the sun were Lord Abul Hachach." The windows look forth upon the sheer northern fall of the hill; the waving tree-tops scarcely rising to the balcony under the sills. They look upon old Granada dozing below in the unmitigated sunlight, with here and there the sculptured columns of a patio visible among the houses on the opposite slope; and farther away the Sesame doors of gypsy habitations cut into the solid mountain above the Darro. One of the most beautiful of glimpses about the Alhambra is that through the east window, looking along the parapet gallery to the Toilet Tower. Precipitous masonry plunges down among trees that shoot incredibly high, as if incited by the lines of the building; and on the Mountain of the Sun the irregular lint-white buildings of the Generalife—an old retreat of Moorish sovereigns and nobles—are lodged among cypresses and orange thickets. Within the hall itself all is cool, subdued, and breezy, and the smooth vault of the larch-wood ceiling, still dimly rich with azure and gold, spans the area high overhead like a solemn twilight sky at night.

It was in this Tower of Comares that the last King of Granada, Boabdil, was imprisoned with his mother, Ayeshah, by his stormy and fatuous father, Muley Abul Hassan, owing to the rival influence of the Morning Star, Zoraya, Hassan's favorite wife. Boabdil escaped, being let down to the ground by the scarfs of his mother and her female attendants. Years after, when he had succeeded to the throne for a brief and hapless reign, El Rey Chico (The Little King), as the Spaniards called him, was led by his mother into the Hall of Ambassadors after he had capitulated to Ferdinand and Isabella. Silently she made its circuit with him, and then, overcome with the bitterness of loss, she cried: "Behold what thou art giving up, and remember that all thy forefathers died kings of Granada, but in thee the kingdom dies!"


From a photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid.
From a photograph by J. Laurent & Co., Madrid.

The Hall of Ambassadors is assigned to the epoch of the caliphate. Certainly the Court of Lions is invested with a somewhat different character. Its arches are more pointed, more nearly Gothic, and are hung upon a maze of exquisitely slight columns, presenting, as you look in, an opulent confusion of crinkled curves and wavering ellipses, bordered with dropping points and brief undulations that look like festoons of heavy petrified lace: as lace, heavy; but as architecture, light. There is incalculable diversity in the proportions, unevenness in the grouping of the pillars, irregularity in the cupolas; yet through all persists an unsurpassable harmony, a sensitive equilibrium. The Hall of Justice, which opens from it, and contains—contrary to Mohammedan principles—some mysterious early Italian frescoes depicting Moorish and Christian combats, is a grotto of stalactites. All this part of the palace, one would say, might have sprung from the spray of those hidden canals which brought the snow-water hither, spouting up, then falling and crystallizing in shapes of arrested motion; so perfect is the geometrical balance, so suave are the flowing lines. The un-Moorish lions sustaining the central basin are meagre and crude, and the size of the court is disappointing; but it is a miniature labyrinth of beauty. From one side you may pass into the Hall of the Abencerages, under the fine star-shaped roof of which a number of those purely Arab-blooded knights are said to have been, at the instigation of their half-Christian rivals, the Zegris, assembled at a banquet and then murdered. An invitation to dinner in those days was a doubtful compliment, which a gentleman had to think twice about before accepting.

On the other side lies the access to the Chamber of the Two Sisters, a lovely apartment, having a grooved bed in the marble floor for a current of water to course through and run out under the zigzag-carven cedar door. Everything is exactly as you would have it, and you seem to be straying through embodied reveries of Bagdad and Damascus. But it would be futile to describe the myriad traceries of these rooms; the bevelled entablatures, the elastic ceilings, displaying an order and multiplicity of tiny relief as systematic as the cells and tissues in a cut pomegranate; or the dadoes of colored tiles, still dimly glistening with glaze, and chameleonizing the base of the partitions. The culmination of microscopic refinement comes, with a sigh of relief from such an overplus of sensuous delight, in the boudoir of Lindaraxa, which overlooks from a superb embayed window a little oasis of fountained court, blooming with citrons and lemons, and bedded with violets. That small garden, green and laughing, and interspersed with dark flower-mould, lies clasped in the branching wings of masonry, as simple and refreshing as a dew-drop. It is shut in on the other side by some mediæval rooms fitted up in heavy oak panelling for Philip V. and his second bride, Elisabetta, when with rare judgment they chose this Islamitic spot for their honey-moon—a crescent, I suppose. It was in one of these rooms—the Room of the Fruits—that, to quote Señor Contreras again, "the celebrated poet Washington Irving harbored, composing there his best works." From which it will be inferred that the gallant Spaniard has not probed deeply the "Knickerbocker History of New York," the "Sketch-book," and the "Life of Washington."[9]


One may prolong one's explorations to the Queen's Toilet Tower—who "the queen" was remains decidedly vague—poised like a lofty palm on the verge commanding the Darro gorge. In one corner of its engirdling colonnade are some round punctures, through which perfume was wafted to saturate the queen's garments while she was dressing. Or one may descend to the Baths, vaulted in below the general level. Their antechamber is the only portion which has been completely restored to its pristine magnificence of blue and gold, vermilion-flecked and overspreading the polygonal facets of stucco-work. I could imagine the Sultan coming there with stately step to be robed for the bath by female slaves, then passing on wooden clogs into the inner chamber of heated marble, and at a due interval emerging to take his place on one of the inclined slabs in an outer alcove, enveloped in a tcherchef—his head bound with a soft silk muffler—there to devote himself to rest, sweetmeats, and lazy conversation.

The Alhambra Palace is remarkable as being more Persian than Turkish, and reproducing many features that crop up in the architecture of India, Syria, Arabia, and Turkey, yet incorporating them in an independent total. The horseshoe arch is not the prevailing one, though it occurs often enough to renew and deepen the impression of its unique effect. What makes this arch so adroitly significant of the East? Possibly the fact that it suggests a bow bent to the extremest convexity. It is easy to imagine stretched between the opposite sides a bow-string—that handy implement of conjugal strangulation which no Sultan's family should be without.

Part of the populous ancient settlement on the hill still exists in a single street outside of the palace, now inhabited by a more respectable population than that riffraff of silk-weavers, vagabonds, potters, smugglers, and broken-down soldiers who flourished there half a century since. A church stands among the dwellings. Strolling up the street one moonlit night, we bought some blue and white wine-pitchers of Granada-ware at a little drinking-shop, and saw farther on a big circle of some twenty people sitting together in the open air—one of those informal social clubs called tertulias, common among neighbors and intimate friends in all ranks of Spanish society. At another spot a man was sleeping in the moonlight on a cot beside the parapet, with his two little Indian-looking boys dreaming on a sheet laid over the ground. Mateo Ximenes, the son of Irving's "Son of the Alhambra," lives in this quarter, officiating as a guide. Thanks to "Geoffrey Crayon" he is prosperous, and has accordingly built a new square house which is the acme of commonplace. Beyond the street, across some open ground where figs and prickly-pears are growing, stands the Tower of the Captive, where Isabella de Solis, a Christian princess, being captured, was imprisoned, and became the wife of Abul Hassan. She was, in fact, the Zoraya who became Ayeshah's rival. Dense ivy mats the wall between this and the Tower of the Princesses—a structure utilized by Irving in one of his prettiest tales. Both towers are incrusted interiorly with a perfection rivalling the palace chambers, and perhaps even more enchanting, but no vestige of coloring is left in them. To me this wan aspect of the walls is more poetic than any restoration of the original emblazonments. The pale white-brown surface seems compounded of historic ashes, and is imbued with a pathos,

"Like a picture when the pride
Of its coloring hath died,"

which one would be loath to lose.

The sunlit and vine-clad decrepitude that sits so lightly on this magic stronghold—this "fortress and mansion of joy," as one of the mural mottoes calls it—is among its main charms. The most bitter opponent of any Moorish return to power in Granada would, I think, be the modern æsthetic tourist. I rambled frequently close under the old rufous-mottled walls, from which young trees sprout up lustily, and enjoyed their decay almost as much as I did the palace. At one point near the Tower of Seven Stories (which has never quite recovered from being blown up by the French) there was a long stretch of garden where phlox and larkspur and chrysanthemums, that would not wait for autumn, grew rank among the fruit-trees. A Moorish water-pipe near the top of the wall had broken, and, bursting through the brick-work, its current had formed a narrow cascade that tumbled into the garden through wavering loops of maiden-hair, and over mosses or water-plants which it had brought into life on the escarpment. Grapes and figs rose luxuriantly about rings of box enclosing fountains, and at sunset some shaft of fire would level itself into the greenery, striking the gorgeous pomegranate blossoms into prominence, like scarlet-tufted birds' heads. All day there was a loud chir of cicadas, and a rain of white-hot light sifted through the leaves. But at night everything died away except the rush of water, which grew louder and louder till it filled the whole air like a ghostly warning. I used to wake long after midnight, and hear nothing but this chilling whisper, unless by chance some gypsies squatted on the road were singing Malagueñas, or the strange, piercing note of the tree-toad that haunts the hill rung out in elfin and inhuman pipings of woe. For the builders who laid them here these running streams make a fit memorial—unstable as their power that has slipped away, yet surviving them, and remaining here as an echo of their voices, a reminder of the absent race which not for an hour can one forget in Granada.

But the supreme spell of the Alhambra reserves itself for moonlight. When the Madonna's lamp shone bright amid the ingulfing shadows of the Tower of Justice, while its upper half was cased in steely radiance, we passed in by Charles's Palace, where the moon, shining through the roofless top, made a row of smaller moons in the circular upper windows of the dark gray wall. In the Court of the Pond a low gourd-like umbellation at the north end sparkled in diamond lustre beneath the quivering rays; while the whole Tower of Comares behind it repeated itself in the gray-green water at our feet, with a twinkle of stars around its reversed summit. This image, dropped into the liquid depth, has dwelt there ever since its original was reared, and it somehow idealized itself into a picture of the tower's primitive perfection. The coldness of the moonlight on the soft cream-colored plaster, in this warm, stilly air, is peculiarly impressive. As for sound, absolutely none is heard but that of dripping water; nor did I ever walk through a profounder, more ghost-like silence than that which eddied in Lindaraxa's garden around the fountain, as it mourned in silvery monotones of neglected grief. The moon-glare, coming through the lonely arches, shaped gleaming cuirasses on the ground, or struck the out-thrust branches of citron-trees, and seemed to drip from them again in a dazzle of snowy fire; and when I discovered my two companions looking out unexpectedly from a pointed window, they were so pale in the brilliance which played over them that for a moment I easily fancied them white-stoled apparitions from the past. As we glanced from the Queen's Peinador, where the black trees of the shaggy ascent sprung toward us in swift lines or serpentine coilings as if to grasp at us, we saw long shadows from the towers thrown out over the sleeping city, which, far below, caked together its squares of hammered silver, dusked over by the dead gray of roofs that did not reflect the light. But within the Hall of Ambassadors reigned a gloom like that of the grave. Gleams of sharp radiance lay in the deep embrasures without penetrating; and, at one, the intricacies of open-work above the arch were mapped in clear figures of light on a space of jet-black floor. Another was filled nearly to the top by the blue, weirdly luminous image of a mountain across the valley. Through all these openings, I thought, the spirits of the departed could find entrance as easily as the footless night breeze. I wonder if the people who lived in this labyrinth of art ever smiled? In the palpitating dusk, robed men and veiled women seemed to steal by with a rustle no louder than that of their actual movement in life; silk hangings hung floating from the walls; scented lamps shed their beams at moments through the obscurity, and I saw the gleam of enamelled swords, the shine of bronze candlesticks, the blur of colored vases in the corners; the kasidas of which poetry-loving monarchs turned the pages. But in such a place I could not imagine laughter. I felt inclined to prostrate myself in the darkness before I know not what power of by-gone yet ever-present things—a half tangible essence that expressed only the solemnity of life and the presentiment of change.


IT is not surprising that Isabella the Catholic, who had so completely thrown her heart into the conquest of Granada, should have wished to be buried in that city, though dying far away. Her marble semblance rests beside that of Ferdinand in the Royal Chapel, which serves as vestibule to the ugly Renaissance cathedral. The statues are peculiarly impressive, and sleep on high sepulchres of alabaster, beautifully chased. Both of them are placed with their heads where, if sentient, they might contemplate the astonishing reredos of the altar—a wooden mass piled to the roof, and containing many niches filled by figures carved, gilded, and painted with flesh-color. Among them is John the Baptist standing upright, with blood gushing from his severed neck, while the head which has just quitted it is being presented on a charger to Herodias's daughter. There are other hideous things in this strange and brutal church ornament, which is a museum of monstrosities; but parts of it depict the triumphs of the royal pair, and it was no doubt accordant with their taste. Their bodies lie in a black vault under the floor, which we visited by the light of a single candle. Two long bulks of lead, with a simple letter F. on one and an I. on the other; that was all that marked the presence of two great monarchs' earthly part. Juana the Mad, Charles V.'s mother, rests in another leaden casket—the poor Queen, whom her famous son probably reported crazy for his own political purposes, but whose supposed mania of watching her dead husband's body, in jealous fear that he could still be loved by other women, has been effectively treated in Padilla's picture. Her husband, Philip the Fair, lies on the opposite side. Hardly could there be a more impressive contrast than that between this tomb under the soft, musty shadows of the chapel—all that is left of the conqueror—and that glorious sun-imbued ruin on the hill—all that is left of the conquered. Two mighty forces met and clashed around Granada in 1492; and, when the victory was won, both receded like spent waves, leaving the Alhambra to slow burial in rubbish and oblivion, under which Washington Irving literally rediscovered it. How fine a coincidence that the very spot from which Isabella finally despatched Columbus on his great quest should owe so much to a son of the new continent which Columbus discovered!

Another edifice of no small interest, although seldom heard of at a distance, is La Cartuja, the Carthusian church and monastery, lying upon a hill-slope called Hinadamar, across the city and on its outskirts, due west from the Alhambra. The monks who formerly occupied it have, in common with those of other orders, been driven out of Spain; so that we approached the church-steps through an old arched gate-way, no longer guarded, and by way of a grass-grown enclosure that bore the appearance of complete neglect. The interior, however, is very well preserved. It was curious to walk through it, under the guidance of a pursy old woman, and, afterward, of the lame sacristan, who did his best with chattering gossip to rob the place of whatever sanctity remained to it. The refectory (fitly inhabited by an echo) stands bare and empty, save for the reading-desk, from which the monks used to be refreshed with Scripture while at their meals; and on the wall at one end of this long, high hall hangs apparently a wooden cross, which at first it is impossible to believe is only painted there. The barren, round-arched cloisters are frescoed with an interminable series of scenes by Cotan, the same artist who painted the cross; and in this case he was given a free commission, of which he availed himself to the utmost in depicting the most distressing incidents of Carthusian martyrology. Especially does he seem to have delighted in the persecutions inflicted by English Protestants under Henry VIII. on San Bruno, the founder of this order. How strange the conception of a holy and exalted life which led men in religious retirement to keep before their eyes, in these corridors meant for mild exercise and recreation, representations so full of blood and horror! In fact, one cannot escape the impression, stamped more vividly on the mind here in Granada than anywhere else, except perhaps in Toledo, that Christianity in Spain meant barbarism. But where it was released from the immediate purposes of ecclesiastic dogma, Christian art showed a taste not so much barbarous as barbaric, and the results of its activity were often beautiful. In this same monastery is a splendid example of that tendency. The church is not remarkably fine or impressive; but the sacristy is a marvel of sumptuous decoration, and decoration very peculiar in kind. Its walls are wholly incased in a most effective species of green and white marble, cut in smooth, polished slabs, the natural veinings of which present grotesque resemblances to human and other forms, which are somewhat trivially insisted upon by the custodian and guide, and should be allowed to lose themselves in the general richness of aspect. The great doors of this sacristy are inlaid with ebony, silver, mother-of-pearl, and tortoise-shell, in designs of much intricacy and richness; and all around the room (which is provided with an altar, so that it becomes a sort of sub-church or chapel, adjoining the main church) are low closets fitted into the wall. These were originally used for holding the vestments of the brotherhood. Made of sweet-scented cedar, they are adorned on the outside with the same inlaid work that appears on the doors. The dim, veiled shimmer of the mother-of-pearl, the delicate, translucent browns of the tortoise-shell, and the wandering threads of silver, form a decorative surface wonderful in its refinement, its perfection of elegance. I scarcely know how to give an idea of its appearance, unless I say that it was somewhat as if layers of spider-webs had been spread, with all their mystery of exact curves and angles, over the wood-work, and then had had their fibres changed by some magic into precious and enduring materials. The frail but well-adjusted fabric has outlasted the dominion of those for whose selfish and secluded pride of worship it was made; and, seeing it, one may pardon them some of their mistakes. It is pleasant also to find that the art of making this inlay, after having long fallen out of use, has been revived in Granada; for in these days of enlightened adaptation and artistic education there seems to be no reason why such a handicraft should be lost or even confined to Spain.

The gypsies of Granada are disappointing, apart from their peculiar quivering dance, performed by gitanas in all Spanish cities under the name of flamenco.[10] Their hill-caves, so operative with one's curiosity when regarded from across the valley, gape open in such dingy, sour, degraded foulness on a nearer view, that I found no amount of theory would avail to restore their interest. Yet some of the fortune-telling women are spirited enough, and the inextinguishable Romany spark smoulders in their black eyes. Perhaps it was an interloping drop of Celtic blood that made one of them say to me, "Señorito, listen. I will tell you your fortune. But I speak French—I come from Africa!" And to clinch the matter she added, "You needn't pay me if every word of the prediction isn't true!" Much as I had heard of the Spanish bull, I never knew until then how closely it resembled the Irish breed.

Fortuny's model, Marinero, who lives in a burrow on the Alhambra side, occasionally starts up out of the earth in a superb and expensive costume, due to the dignity of his having been painted by Fortuny. Dark as a negro, with a degree of luminous brown in his skin, and very handsome, he plants himself immovably in one spot to sell photographs of himself. His nostrils visibly dilate with pride, but he makes no other bid for custom. He expands his haughty nose, and you immediately buy a picture. Velveteen chanced upon Marinero's daughter, and got her to pose. When he engaged her she was so delighted that she took a rose from her hair and presented it to him, with a charming, unaffected air of gratitude, came an hour before the time, and waited impatiently. She wore a wine-colored skirt, if I remember, a violet jacket braided with black, and a silk neckerchief of dull purple-pink silk. But that was not enough: a blue silk kerchief also was wound about her waist, and in among her smooth jet locks she had tucked a vivid scarlet flower. The result was perfect, for the rich pale-brown of her complexion could harmonize anything; and in Spain, moreover, combinations of color that appear too harsh elsewhere are paled and softened by the overpowering light.


Episodes like these tinged our dreams of the Alhambra with novel dashes of living reality. Even the tedious bustle of a Spanish town, too, has its attractions. The moving figures on the steep Albaycin streets, that perpetually break into flights of steps; the blocks of pressed snow brought in mule panniers every night from the Sierra to cool sugar-water and risadas of orange at the cafés; peasants coming in to the beautiful old grain market with gaudy mantles over their shoulders, stuffing into their sashes a variety of purchases, and becoming corpulent with a day's transactions; the patient efforts of shop-keepers to water the main street, Zacatin, with a pailful at a time—all this was amusing to watch. The Generalife was another source of pleasure, for in its topmost loggia one may sit like a bird, with the Alhambra spread out below in all the distinctness of a raised map. In the saloons of the Generalife hang the portraits of the Moorish and the Christian ancestors of the present owner. Their direct descendant is a woman; therefore she has married an Italian count, and flitted from this ideal, quite unparalleled eyry, returning to her ancestral home only at rare intervals.

There came an hour when we too flitted. To oblige an eccentric time-table we had to get up at dawn; but the last glimpse of the Alhambra at that early hour was a compensation. The dim red towers already began to soften into a reminiscence under this tender blending of moonlight and morning; but a small constellation in the east sparkled on the blue like a necklace of diamonds, and Saturn still flamed above the mountains, growing momently larger, as if it were a huge topaz in the turban of some giant Moor advancing in the early stillness to reclaim the Alhambra throne.



A gypsy dance! What does one naturally imagine it to be like? For my part, I had expected something wild, free, and fantastic; something in harmony with moonlight, the ragged shadows of trees, and the flicker of a rude camp-fire. Nothing could have been wider of the mark. The flamenco—that dance of the gypsies, in its way as peculiarly Spanish as the church and the bull-ring, and hardly less important—is of Oriental origin, and preserves the impassive quality, the suppressed, tantalized sensuousness belonging to Eastern performances in the saltatory line. It forms a popular entertainment in cafés of the lower order throughout the southern provinces, from Madrid all the way around to Valencia, in Sevilla and Malaga, and is gotten up as a select and expensive treat for travellers at Granada. But we saw it at its best in Malaga.

We were conducted, about eleven o'clock in the evening, to a roomy, rambling, dingy apartment in the crook of an obscure and dirty street, where we found a large number of sailors, peasants, and chulos seated drinking at small tables, with a very occasional well-dressed citizen or two here and there. In one corner was a stage rising to the level of our chins when we were seated, which had two fronts, like the Shakspearian stage in pictures, so that spectators on the side might have a fair chance, and be danced to from time to time. On this sat about a dozen men and women, the latter quite as much Spanish as gypsy, and some of them dressed partially in tights, with an affectation of sailors' or pages' costume in addition. At Madrid and Sevilla their sisters in the craft wore ordinary feminine dresses, and looked the possessors of more genuine Romany blood.

But here, too, the star danseuse, the chief mistress of the art flamenco, was habited in the voluminous calico skirt which Peninsular propriety prescribes for this particular exhibition, thereby doing all it can to conceal and detract from the amazing skill of muscular movement involved. A variety of songs and dances with guitar accompaniments, some effective and others tedious, preceded the gypsy performance. I think we listened nearly half an hour to certain disconsolate barytone wailings, which were supposed to interpret the loves, anxieties, and other emotions of a contrabandista, or smuggler, hiding from pursuit in the mountains. Judging from the time at his disposal for this lament, the smuggling business must indeed be sadly on the decline. The whole entertainment was supervised by a man precisely like all the chiefs of these troupes in Spain. Their similarity is astounding; even their features are almost identical: when you have seen one, you have seen all his fellows, and know exactly what they will do. He may be a little older or younger, a little more gross or less so, but he is always clean-shaven like the other two sacred types—the bull-fighter and the priest—and his face is in every case weakly but good-humoredly sensual. But what does he do? Well, nothing. He is the most important personage on the platform, but he does not pretend to contribute to the programme beyond an exclamation of encouragement to the performers at intervals. He is a Turveydrop in deportment at moments, and always a Crummles in self-esteem. A few highly favored individuals as they come into the café salute him, and receive a condescending nod in return. Then some friend in the audience sends up to him a glass of chamomile wine, or comes close and offers it with his own hand. The leader invariably makes excuses, and without exception ends by taking the wine, swallowing a portion, and gracefully spitting out the rest at the side of the platform. He smokes the cigars of admiring acquaintances, and throws the stumps on the stage. All the while he carries in his hand a smooth, plain walking-stick, with which he thumps time to the music when inclined.


At last the moment for the flamenco arrives. The leader begins to beat monotonously on the boards, just as our Indians do with their tomahawks, to set the rhythm; the guitars strike into their rising and falling melancholy strain. Two or three women chant a weird song, and all clap their hands in a peculiar measure, now louder, now fainter, and with pauses of varying length between the emphatic reports. The dancer has not yet risen from her seat; she seems to demand encouragement. The others call out, "Ollé!"—a gypsy word for "bravo!"—and smile and nod their heads at her to draw her on. All this excites in you a livelier curiosity, a sort of suspense. "What can be coming now?" you ask. Finally she gets up, smiling half scornfully; a light comes into her eyes; she throws her head back, and her face is suffused with an expression of daring, of energy, and strange pride. Perhaps it is only my fancy, but there seems to creep over the woman at that instant a reminiscence of far-off and mysterious things; her face, partially lifted, seems to catch the light of old traditions, and to be imbued with the spirit of something belonging to the past, which she is about to revive. Her arms are thrown upward, she snaps her fingers, and draws them down slowly close before her face as far as the waist, when, with an easy waving sideward, the "pass" is ended, and the arms go up again to repeat the movement. Her body too is in motion now, only slightly, with a kind of vibration; and her feet, unseen beneath the flowing skirt, have begun an easy, quiet, repressed rhythmical figure. So she advances, her face always forward, and goes swiftly around a circle, coming back to the point where she began, without appearing to step. The music goes on steadily, the cries of her companions become more animated, and she continues to execute that queer, aimless, yet dimly beckoning gesture with both arms—never remitting it nor the snapping of her fingers, in fact, until she has finished the whole affair. Her feet go a little faster; you can hear them tapping the floor as they weave upon it some more complicated measure; but there is not the slightest approach to a springing tendency. Her progress is sinuous; she glides and shuffles, her soles quitting the boards as little as possible—something between a clog dance and a walk, perfect in time, with a complexity in the exercise of the feet demanding much skill. She treats the performance with great dignity; the intensity of her absorption invests it with a something almost solemn.

Forward again! She gazes intently in front as she proceeds, and again as she floats backward, looking triumphant, perhaps with a spark of latent mischief in her eyes. She stamps harder upon the floor; the sounds follow like pistol reports. The regular clack, clack-clack of the smitten hands goes on about her, and the cries of the rest increase in zest and loudness.

"Ollé! ollé!"

"Bravo, my gracious one!"

"Muy bien! muy bien!"

"Hurrah! Live the queen of the ants!" shouts the leader. And the audience roars at his eccentric phrase.

The dancer becomes more impassioned, but in no way more violent. Her body does not move above the hips. It is only the legs that twist and turn and bend and stamp, as if one electric shock after another were being sent downward through them. Every few minutes her activity passes by some scarcely noted gradation into a subtly new phase, but all these phases are bound together by a certain uniformity of restraint and fixed law. Now she almost comes to a stand-still, and then we notice a quivering, snaky, shuddering motion, beginning at the shoulders and flowing down through her whole body, wave upon wave, the dress drawn tighter with one hand showing that this continues downward to her feet. Is she a Lamia in the act of undergoing metamorphosis, a serpent, or a woman? The next moment she is dancing, receding—this time with smiles, and with an indescribable air of invitation in the tossing of her arms. But the crowning achievement is when the hips begin to sway too, and, while she is going back and forward, execute a rotary movement like that of the bent part of an auger. In fact, you expect her to bore herself into the floor and disappear. Then all at once the stamping and clapping and the twanging strings are stopped, as she ceases her formal gyrations: she walks back to her seat like one liberated from a spell, and the whole thing is over.

Velveteen and I came to Malaga direct from the Alhambra. The transition was one from the land of the olive to that of the palm. When we left Granada, an hour after daybreak, the slopes of the Sierra Nevada below the snow-line were softly overspread with rose and gold upon the blue, and the unmatchably pale bright yellow-white of the grain fields along the valley was spotted with the dark clumps of olive-trees, at a distance no bigger than cabbages. The last thing we saw was a sturdy peasant in knee-breeches and laced legs, with a tattered cloak flung around his chest and brought over the left shoulder in stately folds, that gave him the mien of a Roman senator, and put to shame our vulgar railroad plans. As the day grew, the hills in shadow melted into a warm citron hue, and those lifting their faces to the light were white as chalk, with faint blue shadows down in the clefts.

It was in this same neighborhood that we saw peasant women in trousers doing harvest-work. To the enormity of donning the male garb they added the hardihood of choosing for the color of their trousers a bright sulphur-yellow. My friend the artist, I believe, secretly envied them this splendor denied to men; and in truth they would make spirited and effective material for a painter. Their yellow legs descended from a very short skirt of blue or vermilion, a mere concession to prejudice, for it was mostly caught up and pinned in folds to keep it out of the way. Above that the dress and figure were feminine; the colored kerchief around the throat, and the gay bandanna twisted around the dark loose hair under a big straw hat, finishing off the whole person as something dashing, free, novel, and yet quite natural and not unwomanly.

An old man at Bobadilla offered us some palmitos—pieces of pith from the palm-trees, tufted with a few feathery young leaves, and considered a delicacy when fresh. It had a bitter-sweet, rather vapid taste, but I hailed it as a friendly token from the semi-tropical region we were approaching. So I bought one, and my companion presented the old man with some of the lunch we had brought; whereupon the shrivelled merchant, with a courtesy often met with in Spain, insisted upon his taking a palmito as a present. Thus, bearing our victorious palm leaves, we moved forward to meet the palms themselves. The train rumbled swiftly through twelve successive tunnels, giving, between them, magnificent glimpses of deep wild gorges; fantastic rocks piled up in all conceivable shapes, like a collection of giant crystals arranged by a mad-man, amid mounds of gray and slate-colored clay pulverized by the heat, and reduced absolutely to ashes. The last barrier of the Alpujarras was passed, and we rushed out upon lower levels, immense and fertile vales, dense with plantations of orange and lemon, interspersed with high-necked, musing palms and brilliant thickets of pomegranate. Through the hot earth in which these plantations were placed ran the narrow canals, not more than two feet wide, containing those streams of milky water from the snow-fields on which all the vegetation of the region depends.

It is of this and the neighboring portions of Spain that Castelar, in one of his recent writings, says: "The wildest coasts of our peninsula—those coasts of Almeria, Alicante, Murcia, where the fruits of various zones are yielded—compensate for their great plenty by years of desolation comparable only to those described in the chronicles of the Middle Ages, and suffered in the crowded lands of the Orient.... The mountains of those districts, which breathe the incense of thyme and lavender, are carpeted with silky grasses, and full of mines, and intersected by quarries. The honduras, or valleys, present the palm beside the pomegranate, the vine next to the olive, barley and sugar-cane in abundance, orange orchards and fields of maize; in fine, all the fruits of the best zones, incomparable both as to quantity and quality. The azure waves of their sea, resembling Venetian crystals, contain store of savory fish; and the equality of the temperature, the purity of the air, the splendor of the days, and the freshness, the soothing calm of the nights, impart such enchantment that, once habituated to them, in whatever other part of the world you may be, you feel yourself, alas! overcome by irremediable nostalgia." The eloquent statesman has something to say, likewise, of the people. "Nowhere does there exist in such vitality," he declares, "the love of family and the love of labor.... Property is very much divided; the customs are exceedingly democratic; there exist few proprietors who are not workers, and few workers who are not proprietors." Democratic the country is, no doubt; too much so, perhaps, for peace under monarchical rule. These fervid, fertile coast lands, containing the gardens of Spain, are also the home of revolution.


The north was the Carlist stronghold; the south furnished in every city a little Republican volcano. Nor is the simple, patriarchal state of society which Castelar indicates quite universal. Here, as in other provinces, we found luxurious wealth flourishing in the heart of pitiable poverty. The Governor of Malaga was on our train, and a delightfully honest and amiable old gentleman in our compartment, seeing him on the platform surrounded by a ring of dapper sycophants, who laughed unreasonably at his mild jokes, began to exclaim, in great wrath, "So many cabals! so many cabals! Unfortunate nation! there is nothing but cabal and intrigue all the time. Those men have got some sugar they want to dispose of to advantage, and so they fawn on the Governor. It is dirty; it is foul," etc.

At Malaga there was a coast-guard steamer lying in the harbor, and, as we were looking at it, I asked our companion, a resident, whether they caught many smugglers.

"Oh, sometimes," was the answer. "Just enough to cover it."

"Cover what?"

"Oh, the fraud. Out of twenty smuggling vessels they will take perhaps one, to keep up appearances." And he made the usual significant movement of the fingers denoting the acceptance of bribes.

The heat at Malaga surpassed anything we had encountered before. The horses of the cabs had gay-colored awnings stretched over them on little poles fixed to the shafts, so that when they moved along the street they looked like holiday boats on four legs. The river that runs through the city was completely dry, and, as if to complete the boat similitude, the cabs drove wantonly across its bed instead of using the bridges. These equipages, however, are commonplace compared with the wagons used for the transportation of oil and water jars (tinajas) in the adjoining province of Murcia. A delightful coolness was diffused from the sea at evening, when the fashionable drive—the half-moon mole stretching out to the light-house—was crowded with stylish vehicles, and the sea-wall all along the street was lined with citizens, soldiers, priests, and pretty women, who dangled their feet from the low parapet in blissful indolence. Then, too, the lamps were lighted in the floating bath-houses moored in the harbor, and one of them close to the mouth of a city drain seemed to be particularly well patronized. The streets, almost forsaken by day, were crowded after nightfall. The shops were open late. By eight or nine o'clock life began.

The Café de la Loba (the Wolf)—an immense building, where there is a court entirely roofed over by a single grape-vine, spreading from a stem fifteen inches in diameter, and rivalling the famous vines of Hampton Court and Windsor—was well filled, and in many small tiendas de vino heavy drinking seemed to be going on. But the Malaguenese do not imbibe the rich sweet wines manufactured in their vicinity. These are too heating to be taken in such a climate, as we were able to convince ourselves on tasting some fine vintages at one of the bodegas the next day. Nevertheless, the lower class of the inhabitants find no difficulty in attaining to a maximum of drunkenness on milder beverages. Even the respectable idlers in the café under our hotel drank a great deal too much beer, if I may judge from their prolonging their obstreperous discussion of politics into the small hours, while we lay feverish in a room above listening to their voices, blended with the whistle of a boatswain on some ship at the neighboring quay; ourselves meanwhile enduring with Anglo-Saxon reserve the too effusive attentions offered by mosquitoes of the Latin race.


In justice to the Spaniards it should be said that excessive drinking is a rare fault among them. As a nation they surpass all other civilized peoples in setting an example of temperance as to potations (excepting water), and of remarkable frugality in eating. The Mediterranean ports, through their commerce with the outside world, are tinged by foreign elements; license creeps in with notions of liberty; the sailors, and that whilom powerful fraternity the smugglers, have likewise assisted in fostering turbulent characteristics.


To me the best part of Malaga was the view of it from the deck of a Segovia steamer, on the eve of a cruise along the coast. Behind the plain sandy-colored houses rose a background of mountains fantastic in outline as flames; the cathedral, in no way striking, towered up above the roofs, and was in turn overshadowed by an ancient fortress on the eastern height, which was one of the last to fall before the returning tide of Spanish arms, and still claws the precipitous ridge with innumerable towers and bastions, as if to keep from slipping off its honorable eminence in the drowsy lapses of old age. Below this, close to the water, stood the inevitable Plaza de Toros—an immense cheese-shaped structure of stone, where a friend of mine, Spanish by birth, tells me he was once watching the game of bulls, when part of the crowd were struck by the happy thought of starting a revolution. They acted at once on this bright idea; they "pronounced" in favor of something, and attacked the military guard. In an instant a battle had begun; the place resounded with musketry, and the populace tore away pieces of the masonry to hurl at the troops below. But that was in the good old days, and such things do not happen now, though there is always a strong detachment of soldiers on hand at the arena, ready for any sudden revival of these freaks. The water around us shone with a lustre like satin; and, fluttering over the bright green surface, played incredibly vivid reflections of blue and red from the steamers; while the pure white light, striking back from the edges of the undulations, quivered and shimmered along the black hulk of a vessel, and looked like steam or mist in constant motion.

Highly effective, too, was the carbineer (all custom-house officers in Spain, whether armed or not, are called carabineros) who stood on deck with a musket at rest, a living monument to the majesty of the revenue laws. We had been solemnly warned beforehand of the risk we ran in carrying a basket of ale on board in the face of this functionary, and the importance of giving him a peseta (twenty cents) had been urged upon us; but we at first looked for him in vain, and when we found him he appeared so harmless that we kept the peseta. I noticed that he laid his gun aside as much as possible. Part of the time he smoked a short pipe under cover of his huge mustache, and eyed people sternly, as if suspecting that they might take advantage of this temporary relaxing of vigilance; but he studiously avoided seeing any merchandise of any description.

The steamer was to start at four in the afternoon, and we made great haste to get on board in time; but there had evidently never been the smallest intention of despatching her until an hour and a half later. This was in accord with the national trait of distrust. No one was expected to believe the announcement as to the time, and if the real hour had been named, no one would have believed it. Aware of this, the more experienced natives did not even begin to come aboard until toward five o'clock. Spanish clocks are the most accommodating kind of mechanism I have ever had the fortune to encounter. They appear to exist rather as an ornamental feature than as articles of use. You order a carriage, and it is promised at a certain time; you are told that something is to be accomplished at a fixed hour; but this is only done out of deference to your outlandish prejudices. The hour strikes, and the thing is not done. You begin to doubt whether the hour itself has arrived. Is it not a vulgar illusion to suppose so? Your Spaniard certainly thinks it is. He knows that time is an arbitrary distinction, and prefers to adopt the scale of eternity. The one exception is the bull-fight. That is recognized as a purely mundane and temporal institution; it must not be delayed a moment; and to make sure of punctuality, it is begun almost before the time announced. But anything like a sea-voyage, though it be only along the shore, comes under a different heading, and must be undertaken with as much mystery and caution as if it were a conspiracy to erect a new government.

To tell the truth, we were glad to get away from the tyranny of the minute-hand, and were not displeased at the lazy freedom of the steamer. The stewards came up and shut the skylights, spread a table-cloth over them, laid plates, and formed a hollow square of fruits and olives in the centre. Those of the passengers that listed took their places at this improvised banqueting board, and by the time the puchero was served—a savory stew composed of chopped meat, beans, carrots, spices, and any little thing the cook's fancy may suggest—we were moving out of the basin, past the curved mole and the light-house, and toy battery at its end. The sunset had thrown its glow over sky and mountains, as if it were an after-thought, to make the surroundings perfect. We glided smoothly over a floor of blue—deep, solid-looking, and veined with white—a pale golden dome above us, and a delicious wind playing round us, like the exhalation of some balmy sub-tropical dream. On these coast steamers one buys a ticket for the transport, and then pays for what he eats. This rule reduced the company at our deck table to a choice and pleasant circle, the head of which was Señor Segovia, one of the owners of the line, a benignant, comfortable Spaniard—"an Andalusian to the core," as he proudly said. We had, as usual, early chocolate at six or seven; breakfast not so near eleven as to admit any suspicion of subserviency to the base time-keeping clock; and dinner—a second but ampler breakfast—between five and six. Some of the first-cabin passengers brought their own provision, or purchased it at the towns where we touched every day, and fed secretly in out-of-the-way places. As for the second-class, consisting mainly of peasants swathed in strange garments edged and spotted with fantastic color, they were never seen to eat; but I think that privately they gnawed the pride of ancient race in their hearts, and found it sufficient provender. We would come upon them, when we went forward in our night patrol, lying on the deck in magnificent unconcern, enveloped by stately rags wound round and round their bodies, and lifting toward us a stern, reproachful gaze at our interruption of their tranquillity.

The Mediterranean was calm as a pond, and we roused ourselves to a serene morning, under which the hills gleamed pale and clear along the margin of the waves, the huge sides seamed with dry water-courses, like the creases in a human palm. Beyond the first line of peaks we could descry for a while the soft ghostly whiteness of an inland snow range glimmering above the faded green, the violet shadows, the hard streaks of white and powderings of red earth in the lower series. No sign of life was seen upon the puckered, savage coast. It was the bulwark of that Tarshish to which Solomon sent his ships for gold; new to us as it was new to him, yet now unutterably old; silent, yet speaking; uncommunicative, yet vaguely predicting a future vast and unknown as the vanished ages. It would be hard to tell how awful in its unchanged grandeur was the face of those mighty hills, so unexpectedly eloquent.


It was a relief to find that we were approaching Almeria. A road cut in the rock; a stout arched bridge carrying it over an indentation of the sea; a small square edifice on a rock to guard the road; then the distant jumble of low houses along a sheltered bay, and an empty fortress on the sharp hillcrest over it—these were the tokens of our progress toward another inhabited spot. We had on board a two-legged enigma in a white helmet-hat, who wrote with ostentatious industry in a note-book, played fluently on the cabin piano, and now emerged upon the quarterdeck in a pair of bulging canary leather slippers which gave his feet the appearance of overgrown lemons. He afterward proved to be an English colporteur. We also had a handsome, gay, talkative, and witty Frenchman, who, with a morbid conscientiousness as to what was fitting, insisted on being sea-sick, although the sea was hardly ruffled; and him we succeeded in resuscitating, after the boat had come quietly to anchor in the harbor, so far that he began to long audibly for Paris and the café on the boulevard, "et mon absinthe." We watched with these companions the naked boys who surrounded the vessel in a flotilla of row-boats, offering to dive for coppers thrown into the water, precisely as I have seen young Mexican Indians do at Acapulco. Near by lay another steamer just in from Africa, disembarking a mass of returned Spanish settlers, fugitives from the atrocities of the Arabs at Oran: a pathetic sight as they dropped silently into the barges that bore them to shore—some utterly destitute, with only the clothes in which they had fled before the fanatic murderers, and others accompanied by a few meagre household goods. Did they feel that "irremediable nostalgia," I wonder, of which Señor Castelar speaks? The sun was as hot as that which had shone upon them just across the strait, on the edge of the Dark Continent; and the low-roofed glaring houses huddled at the feet of the Moorish stronghold, the Alcasaba, were so Oriental that I should think they must have found it hard to believe they had left Africa at all.

Almeria, like other towns of this southern shore-line, is more Eastern than Spanish in appearance—only the long winding or zigzag covered ways, traced on the steep hills like swollen veins, indicated the presence of the lead-mines which give it an existence in commerce. These conduct the poisonous smoke to a point above the air inhaled by the townsfolk, and it is seen puffing from tall chimneys at the crest of the steep, as if the mountain were alive and gasping for breath. The town, faintly relieved against its pale, dusty background as we first saw it, almost disappeared in the blinding blaze of light that swept it when we got closer. We landed, and attempted to walk, but the dry, burning heat made us shrink for shelter into any narrow thread of shadow that the houses presented. Even the shadows looked whitish. It was impossible to get as far as the weed-grown cathedral, which, as we could see from the water, had been provided in former times with fortified turrets for defence against piratical incursions. So we sunk gratefully into a restaurant kiosk at the head of the alameda, where we could look down the hot, yellow street to a square of cerulean sea; and there we sipped lemonade while tattered, crimson-sashed peasants moved about us, some of them occasionally dashing the road with water dipped from a gutter-rivulet at the side. We had barely become reconciled to the Granadan women in trousers, when we were obliged to notice that the men in this vicinity wore short white skirts in place of the usual nether garment. How is Spain ever to be unified on such a basis as this? The local patriots had seemingly wrestled with the problem and been defeated, for a dreary memorial column in front of the kiosk recorded how they had fallen in some futile revolutionary struggle.

On a promontory, passed as we sailed away, the drought and dust of the town yielded suddenly to luxurious greenness of sugar-cane and other growths. Almeria was once surrounded by similar fertility, but the land has been so wastefully denuded of forest that all through this region—the old kingdoms of Murcia and Valencia—only certain favorable spots retain their earlier plenty by means of constant care and assiduous watering. Cartagena, one of the chief naval stations of the country, cannot exhibit even such an oasis. It is unmitigated desert. Not a tree or shrub shows itself amid the baked and calcined stone-work and blistering pavements of the city; and the landscape without looks almost as arid. The place is considered impregnable to a foreign foe, and I can't imagine that foe wanting it to be otherwise, if conquest involves residence. Entered by a narrow gap commanded by batteries, the harbor is a round and spacious one, scooped out of frowning highlands that bear on the apex of their cones unattainable forts, thrown up like the rim around volcanic craters. There is but one level access to the city on the land side, and that is blockaded by a stout wall with a single gate. Such was our next goal, reached after a quiet night, which Velveteen and I spent in the open air, having carried our rugs and pillows up from the state-room on its invasion by new passengers. At two o'clock in the morning our vessel stole into the port. There was one pale amber streak in the east, over the gloomy, indistinct heights studded with embrasured walls and mine chimneys. By-and-by a brightness grew out of it. Then the amber was reflected in the glassy harbor. An arch of rose cloud sprung up after this, and was also reflected, the hills lightening to a faded gray and brown. All this time the stars continued sparkling, and one of them threw rings of dancing diamond on the broken wave. Suddenly the diamond flash and the rose tint vanished, and it was broad golden-white day, with calorific beams beating strongly upon us, instead of the crepuscular chill of dawn that had just been searching our veins.

Cartagena has its war history, of course. A Commune was established there by Roque Barcia in 1873, which declined allegiance to the republican government at Madrid, and the city was accordingly besieged. Barcia had been living on forced loans from the inhabitants, and was loath to go; but the army of the republic made a few dents in the stone wall with twenty-pounders, and that decided him. He got on board the Spanish navy in the harbor, and ran away with it to Africa. Perhaps that accounts for the slimness of the naval contingent now. There is an academy for cadets in the place, but only two small ships-of-war were anchored in the noble bay. The town of Cartagena is remarkable for big men and very minute donkeys. The men ride on the donkeys with incredible hardihood. You see a burly Sancho Panza flying along the main street at a rapid pace, with his sandalled feet some three inches from the ground, and wonder what new kind of motor he has discovered, until you perceive beneath his ponderous body a nervous, vaguely ecstatic quivering of four black legs, attached to a small spot of head from which two mulish ears project.


There is not much to see in Cartagena. Blind people seem to be numerous there—a fact which may be owing to the excessive dazzle of the sunlight and absence of verdure. But I couldn't help thinking some of them must have gone blind from sheer ennui, because there was nothing around them worth looking at. Our visit, however, was in one respect a success: we found a broad strip of shade there. It was caused by the high city wall intercepting the forenoon light. Out of the shadow some enterprising men had constructed, with the aid of two or three chairs and several pairs of shears, a barber's shop al fresco; and asses and peasants, as they travelled in and out through the city gate, stopped at this establishment to be shaved. For it is an important item in the care of Spanish donkeys that they should be sheared as to the back, in order to make a smoother resting-place for man or pannier. So while the master held his animal one of the barbers plied some enormous clacking shears, and littered the ground with mouse-colored hair, leaving the beast's belly fur-covered below a fixed line, and for a small additional price executing a raised pattern of starpoints around the neck. The tonsorial profession is an indispensable one in a country where shaving the whole face is so generally practised among all the humbler orders, not to mention toreros and ecclesiastics; but the discomfort to which the barber's customers submit is astonishing. Instead of being pampered, soothed, labored at with confidential respectfulness, and lulled into luxurious harmony with himself, as happens in America, a man who courts the razor in Spain has to sit upright in a stiff chair, and meekly hold under his chin a brass basin full of suds, and fitting his throat by means of a curved nick at one side. One individual we saw seated by the dusty road at the gate, with a towel around his shoulders and another in his hands to catch his own falling locks. He looked submissive and miserable, as if assisting at his own degradation, while the barber was magnified into a tyrant exercising sovereign pleasure, and might have been expected, should the whim cross him, to strike off his victim's head instead of his hair.



The voyage continued as charmingly as it began. Quiet transitions from the deep blue outside to the pronounced green within the harbors were its most startling incidents. The colporteur gave tracts to the sailors, or traded Bibles for melons with the fruit boys; the Frenchman, who was making a commercial tour through the provinces, bestowed a liberal and cheerful disparagement on the nation which afforded him a business. We continued to eat meals in holiday fashion on the skylight hatches, and slept there through the balmy night, occasionally seeing the sailors clambering on the taffrail or in the rigging, always with cigarettes, the glowing points of which shone in the darkness like fire-flies. The gravity with which they stuck to these papelitos while knotting ropes or lowering a boat was fascinating in its inappropriateness. The headlands grew less bold before we tied to the dock at Alicante in the hush of a sultry night. We could see nothing of the town except a bright twinkle of lamps along the quay, contrasting gayly with the blood-red light on a felucca in the harbor, its long vivid stain trickling away through the water like the current from a wound; and the rules of the customs would not admit of our landing till morning.


OUR trunks had been on the dock two or three hours when we debarked in a small boat, and some fifteen men had gathered around them, waiting for the owners, like sharks attracted by floating fragments from a ship and wondering what manner of prey is coming to them. They all touched their caps to us as we bumped the shore. These cap-touches are worth in the abstract about one real—five cents. The grand total of speculative politeness laid out upon us was therefore more than half a dollar; but, on our selecting two porters, values rapidly declined, and the market "closed in a depressed condition." The customs officers wore a wild, freebooters' sort of uniform—blue trousers with a red stripe, blue jeans blouses with a belt and long sword, and straw hats. They were also very lazy; and while we were awaiting their attentions we had time to observe the manner of unloading merchandise in these latitudes. Every box, barrel, or bale hoisted out of a lighter was swung by a rope to which twenty men lent their strength; there were three more men in the lighter, and three others arranged the hoisting tackle; in all, twenty-six persons were occupied with a task for which two or three ought to suffice. Each time, the crowd of haulers fastened on the cable, ran off frantically with it, and then, in a simultaneous fit of paralysis, dropped it as the burden was landed.

These laborers wore huge straw hats, on the crown of which was fitted a birreta, the small ordinary blue cap of the country. They had a queer air of carrying this superfluous cap around on top of the head as a sort of solemn ceremony. The wharf was alive, too, with small wagons, roofed over by a cover of heavy matting made of esparto grass, and furnished with a long, rough-barked pole at the side, to be used as a brake. Above this busy scene towered a luminous sienna-tinted cliff, sustaining the castle of Santa Barbara poised in the white air like a dream-edifice; though a rift high up in the hill marks the spot where the French exploded a mine during the Peninsular war. All these Mediterranean towns are guarded by some such eagle's eyry overlooking the sea, and the old monarchs showed a fine poetic sense in granting them for municipal arms their local castle resting on a wave. Close to the lapping waters lay the serried houses, bordered by an esplanade planted with rows of short palms. When the carbineers had looked vaguely into our trunks, and shut them again, the porters tossed them into a little cart, and plunged into the town at a pace with which we could compete only so far as to keep them in sight while they twisted first around one corner and then another, and then up a long chalky street to the Fonda Bossio, which has the name of being the best hotel in Spain. It has excellent cookery, and some furlongs of tile-floored corridor, which the servants apparently believe to be streets, for they water them every day, just as the thoroughfares are watered, out of tin basins. We were overwhelmed with courtesy. For instance, I would call the waiter.


"Command me, your grace," was his reply.

"Can you bring me some fresh water?" ("Fresh" always means cold.)


"With all the will in the world."

When he came with it I tried to rise to his standard by saying, "Thanks—a thousand thanks."

"They do not merit themselves, señor," said he, not to be outdone.

I asked if I could have a garspacho for breakfast. The garspacho is an Andalusian soup-salad, very cooling, made of stewed and strained tomato, water, vinegar, sliced cucumber, boiled green peppers, a dash of garlic, and some bits of bread; the whole served frost-cold.

"I don't know—it is not in the list. I feel it, señor. It weighs upon my soul. But I will see, and will return in an Ave Maria to let you know."

He never left me without asking, "Is there anything wanting still?"


The waiters and chamber-maids ate their meals at little tables in the hall, and whenever I passed them, if they were eating, they made a gracious gesture toward their pillau of rice. "Would your grace like to eat?"

This offer to share their food with any one who goes by is a simple and kindly inheritance from the East; but it becomes a little embarrassing, and I longed for a pair of back stairs to slink away by, without having to decline their hospitality every time I went out.

To go out in the middle of the day was like looking into the sun itself. Everybody stayed in-doors behind thick curtains of matting, and dozed or dripped away the time in idle perspiration; but hearing unaccountable blasts of orchestral music during this forced retirement, I inquired, and found them to proceed from the rehearsal of a Madrid opera company then in Alicante. Our attendant at table proved to be a duplex character—a serving-man by day and a fourteenth lord in the chorus by night, with black and yellow stockings, and a number of gestures indicating astonishment, indignation, or, in fact, anything that the emergency required. We had the pleasure of seeing him on the stage that very evening, and of listening to an extravagant performance of "La Favorita," between two acts of which an usher came in and collected the tickets of the whole audience. The theatre was remarkably spacious for a town of thirty thousand inhabitants; but Alicante is a favorite winter resort, and even maintains a "Gallistic Circus;" that is, a place for cock-fights.

The Garden of Alicante is a luscious spot, hidden away some two or three miles from the town, and owned by the Marques de Venalua, a young man of large wealth, who spends all his time at Alicante, and is a public benefactor, having introduced water in pipes at his own expense. The carriage and consumption of water, indeed, seemed to be the chief business of the population. They have a system of fountains for distributing sea-water from which the salt has been extracted, and women and children are kept going to these with huge jars, to satisfy the local thirst. To be born thirsty, live thirsty, and die so, is a privilege enjoyable only in countries like Southern Spain. One can form there, too, a vivid idea of the desert, from the delight with which he hails the green Huerta, or garden. The road and fields on the way thither were like a waste of cinders and ashes. The almond and fig trees, the pomegranates and algarrobas beside the way, were coated with dust that lay upon them like thin snow; and the almond-nuts, where they hung in sight, resembled plaster casts, so pervasive was the white deposit. But all at once we mounted a low rise, and the wide stretch of verdant plantations lay before us, thick-foliaged, cool, sweet, and refreshing, with villas embowered among the oranges and palms, a screen of dim mountains beyond, and the silent blue sea brimming the horizon on the right. It was a spectacle delicious as sleep to tired eyes; it brought a cry of pleasure to my lips and grateful life to the heart.

But this spot, lovely as it is, becomes insignificant beside the glorious Huerta of Valencia, stretching for more than thirty miles from the olive-clad hills around Jativa to that city, which is the pleasantest in Mediterranean Spain, and the most characteristic of all, after Toledo, Granada, and Sevilla. There one travels through an unbroken tract of superb cultivation—a garden in exact literalness, yet a territory in size.



We took the rail from Alicante in the evening; but a mass of Oran fugitives, escorted by a company of soldiers (for the most part drunk), encumbered our train, and delayed its starting for an hour or two. Then followed a slow, wearisome ride through the black night, with a change at the junction of La Encina about twelve o'clock, involving much tribulation in the re-weighing and renewed registering of baggage; after which we were stowed into a totally dark compartment of the other train, and made to wait three hours longer. With the first rays of dawn our locomotive began to creep, and we fell into a doze, from which I was awakened after a while by the loud irruption of somebody into our carriage, accompanied by a jangle like that of sleigh-bells. It turned out to be a peasant, who, in consequence of the general over-crowding, had been ushered into the first-class carriage, bringing with him a couple of children and some mule-harness provided with bells. I was inclined to be indignant with him for his disturbing intrusion; but, as it was now broad daylight, I began to look out of the window, and soon had cause to consider the peasant a benefactor; for we were just leaving Jativa, a most picturesque old town, with a castle famous even in Roman times; the native place, also, of the Borgias (Pope Calixtus III., and Rodrigro, the father of Cæsar Borgia). Immediately afterward we entered the garden region. Miles of carefully-tended growth, thousands of orchards linked together in one series, acres upon acres of fields where every square inch is made to yield abundantly—such is the Huerta of Valencia. We passed endless orange-groves, each single tree in which had its circle of banked earth to hold the water when let on from the canals of tile that coursed everywhere like veins of silver, carrying life to the harvests. Then came vast fields dotted with the yellow blossom of the pea-nut, on low vine-like plants. Again, breadths of citron and lemon, followed by extensive rice farms, where the cultivators stood dressing the unripe plantations, up to their ankles in the water of a feathery green swamp. Not a rood of earth is unimproved, excepting where some thriving red-roofed village is hemmed in by the fragrant paradise. In one place you will see, perhaps, a mouldering red tower like those of the Alhambra, or a church spire lifted amid the trees, and, high above the other greenery, clusters of date-palms leaning together, as if they whispered among themselves of other days. Near by is the Lake of Albufera, close to the sea and twenty-seven miles in circumference—nourished both from the sea and from the river Turia, so that it becomes an immense reservoir of fish and game. Its marshy edges once offered shelter to numerous smugglers, and it is said that General Prim, who was on good terms with them, found a hiding-place there while in danger and before he came to power. No wonder that the Cid fought gallantly to win this land from the infidel, and when he had gained it sent for his wife and daughter from distant Burgos to come and see the prize! Its fertility to-day, however, is due to the irrigation introduced by the Moors, and since maintained. The same thing could be done with the Tagus and Ebro rivers, but the Spaniard having had the example before him for only about six centuries, has not yet found time to follow it. The water supply is so precious that proprietors are allowed to use it for their own crops only on fixed days, and for so many hours at a time. Disputes of course arise, but they are settled by the Water Court—a tribunal without appeal, consisting of twelve peasant proprietors, who meet once a week in Valencia; and I saw them there holding their session in very primitive style, on a long pink sofa set in an arched door-way of the cathedral.


Valencia was in the midst of its annual festival when we arrived; a bright, gay, spirited, and busy town, more cheerful than ever just then. There were to be three days of bull-fighting—"bulls to the death!"—with eight taurian victims each day; the best swordsmen in Spain; and horses and mules displaying gilded and silvered hoofs. The theatres were perfumed. There were match games of pelota—rackets—the national substitute for cricket or base-ball; and a week's fair was in progress on the other side of the river Turia, with bannered pavilions, thousands of painted lanterns; lotteries, concerts, and booth shows, to which the admission was "half price for children and soldiers." Trade was brisk also in the city; brisk in the Mercado, that quaint business street crowded with little stalls, and with peasants in blue, red, yellow, mantled and cothurned, their heads topped with pointed hats or wrapped with variegated handkerchiefs deftly knotted into a high crown; brisk, likewise, in those peculiar shops behind the antique Silk Exchange, which are named from the signs they hang out, representing the Blessed Virgin, Christ, John the Baptist, or the Bleeding Heart. One had for its device a rose, and another, distinguished by two large toy lambs placed at its door, was known without other distinction as the Lamb of God. But in the more modern quarter the shop-keepers ventured on a Parisian brilliancy which we did not encounter anywhere else. Their arrangement of wares was prettily effective, and the fashion prevailed of having curtains for the show-windows painted with figures in modern dress, done in exceedingly clever, artistic style, well drawn, full of humor and fine realistic characterization.

Altogether, Valencia is the cheeriest of Spanish cities, unless one excepts Barcelona, which is half French, and in its present estate wholly modern. Moreover, Valencia abounds in racy and local traits, both of architecture and humanity. The Street of the Cavaliers is lined with sombre, strange, shabbily elegant old mansions of the nobility, with Gothic windows and open arcades in the top story; the new houses are gayly tinted in blue and rose and cream-color; and the gourd-like domes of the cathedral and other large buildings glisten with blue tiles and white, set in stripes. You find yourself continually, as you come from various quarters, bringing up in sight of the octagonal tower of Santa Catalina, strangely suggestive of a pagoda, without in the least being one. The Silk Exchange, from which the shining web that wealth is woven out of has long since vanished, contains one of the most beautiful of existing Gothic halls under a roof sustained by fluted and twisted pillars, themselves light as knotted skeins; while from the outer cornice grotesque shapes peer out over the life of to-day; a grinning monk, an imp playing a guitar, a crumbling buzzard, serving as gargoyles. Just opposite is the market, where you may buy enormous bunches of luscious white grapes for a penny, or pry into second-hand shops rich in those brilliant mantles with the "cat" fringe of balls, for which the town is as noted as for its export of oranges. The old battlemented walls of the city, it is true, have been torn down: it was done simply to give employment to the poor a few years since. But there are some fine old gates remaining—those of Serranos and Del Cuarte. We drove out of one and came in by the other, about half a mile away—a diversion that brought us under a rigid examination from the customs guard, which levies a tax on every basket of produce brought in from the country, and was inclined to regard us as a dutiable importation.


One may go quite freely to the port, however—the Grao—which is two miles distant. A broad boulevard hedged with sycamores leads thither, which in summer is crowded by tartanas—bouncing little covered wagons lined with crimson curtains, and usually carrying a load of pretty señoritas—and by more imposing equipages adorned with footmen in the English style. Everybody goes to the shore to bathe toward evening, for Valencia is the Brighton of the Madrileños. The little bathing establishments extend for a long distance on the sands, and are very neat. Each has its fanciful name, as "The Pearl," or "The Madrid Girl," and the proprietors stand in front vociferously soliciting your custom. Between these and the water are refreshment sheds with tables, and every one eats or drinks on coming out of the sea. Farther down the shore the women have their own houses, and a fence of reeds protects them from intrusion while they are running to or from the surf; but it is my duty to record that the men formed a line at this fence, and systematically gazed through the breaks in it, which was the more embarrassing, perhaps, because the fair Valencians bathe in very plain, baggy, and ugly gowns. On the streets or in the Glorieta Garden, and in their proper habiliments, they are the noblest looking and most beautiful of Spanish women, often possessing flaxen hair and dark-blue eyes which recall a Gothic ancestry, together with something simple and regular about the features that is perhaps due to the ancient Greek colonization. At still another part of the beach horses were allowed to go into the waves; and this was a sight also eminently Greek in its suggestion. Naked boys bestrode the animals, and urged them forward into the spray-fringed tide. The arched necks, the prancing movement of the horses, the sportive shock of foam against their broad chests, and the pressing knees of the nude riders in full play of muscle to keep their seats, were like a breathing and stirring relief on some temple frieze, clear-cut in the pure and sparkling sunlight. There was once a Valencian school of painters, but we saw nothing of this in their work. The museum offers what our newspapers would call a "carnival" of rubbish, but it also contains some striking, shadowy, startlingly lighted canvases of Ribalta—saints and martyrs and ascetics vividly but not joyously portrayed; a few wonderful portraits by Goya, fresh as if only just completed; and one of Velasquez's three portraits of himself.

From Valencia to Barcelona the valleys along the coast are fertile. Vineyards, spreading their long files of green over a warm red soil that seems tinged with the blood of the grape, vie with the olive in that picturesque, productive belt between the hills and the blue, swelling sweep of the Mediterranean. Here is Murviedro, the old Saguntum, once the scene of a fierce siege and horrible sufferings, now basking quietly in the hot light—a time-worn, sun-tanned, beggared old city, which is not ashamed to make a show of its decayed Roman theatre; and farther on Tarragona, which professes to have had at one time a million inhabitants, and is now a little wine-producing town. Churches and castles, rich in delicate workmanship and all manner of historic association, crop up everywhere. The very shards in the fields, you fancy, may suddenly unfold something of that full and varied past which was once as real as to-day's meridian glow. Yet at any moment you may lose sight of all this in the brilliant, stimulating, yet softly modified beauty of the landscape's colors, and your whole mind is absorbed by the vague neutral hues of a treeless hill-side, or the rich, positive blue of the sea, in which the white sail of a chalupa seems to be inlaid like a bit of ivory.

All the while, as you go northward, Spain—the real Spain—is slipping from you. The palms disappear as if a noiseless earthquake had swallowed them up; even the olive becomes less frequent, and by-and-by you are in piny Catalonia. You reach Barcelona, the greatest commercial city of the kingdom, and you find it the boast of the citizens that they are not Spaniards. They are Spanish mainly in their love of revolt. So prompt are they to join in every uprising, that the garrison quartered there has to be kept as high as ten thousand men; but for the most part it is rather a French maritime dépot than a thing of ancient or peculiar Spain. There is a large and artificial park on one side, and the fort of Monjuich on the other, and a lot of shipping in the harbor; and a glorious embowered avenue, called the Rambla, where pale-faced, long-lashed, coquettishly smiling women walk in great numbers, carrying out the usual national custom of a peripatetic reception and conversation party. It was the feast of Santiago when we came—it is always a feast of something everywhere in that pious country—and the theatres were doing a great business with trifling plays and charming ballets. Barcelona is not only the industrious city, it is also the cultivated one of the Peninsula. The opera there is one of the best in the world, and was once carried off bodily to Madrid by an ardent manager, who for his pains received the scorn of the envious Madrid people: they would not come to his performances, and he was almost ruined in consequence.

The old cathedral of the city is a temple singularly impressive by simple means—a sober Spanish-Gothic structure bathed in a perpetual gloom, through which the stained windows show with a jewelled splendor almost supernatural. The weirdness of the interior effect is farther intensified by the dark pit of Santa Eulalia's shrine opening under the altar, and set with a row of burning lamps, on which the darkness seems to hang like a cloak depending from a chain of gold. The invariable rule in Spanish cathedrals is that the choir should be placed in the central nave, like that at Westminster Abbey, and elaborated into a complete enclosure by itself—which, although it interferes with the total effect of the interior, is frequently very striking in its lavish agglomeration of carved wood and stone, metal railings, gilding, and similar details. It was in the peculiarly picturesque choir of this cathedral of Santa Eulalia that the order of the Golden Fleece was once convened by Charles V., and the panels over the stalls are blazoned with the bearings of the various nations and nobles represented in that body. Being discovered only after one has grown accustomed to the dark, these fading glories of heraldry steal gradually upon the eye, as if through the obscuring night of time. I found the ancient cloister, without, on the south-west side, a delightful, shadowy, suggestive place: there, too, may be seen a fountain surmounted by a small equestrian statue of St. George, which reminds one of a fabulous story in Münchausen; for the tail of the horse is formed by a jet of water flowing out of the body at the rear. Inside the church again hangs, under the organ-loft, an enormous wooden and painted Saracen's head—a species of relic not uncommon, I believe, in Catalonian temples. It may be added here that the custom of the "historical giants" at Corpus Christi is maintained in Barcelona as we had seen it at Burgos, and those effigies are stowed away somewhere in the sacred precincts. There is a curious mingling of the naïve and the sophisticated in the fact that some of the giants, wearing female attire, have new dresses for each year, and thereby set the fashions for the ensuing twelvemonth for all the womankind of the city. And however advanced the urban society may be, with its trade, its opera, its books, gilded cafés and superb clubs, the spirit of progress does not spread very far into the country. When a piece of railroad was built, not very long ago, opening up a new rural section in the neighborhood, the peasants watched the advance of the locomotive along the rails with profound interest. Finally, one old man asked, "But where is the mule kept?—inside?"

He was willing to admit that the engine worked finely, but no power could convince him that it was possible for it to go by other impulsion than that of a mule's legs.

Another relic of by-gone times is the cap universally worn in this region by the longshoremen, the fishers, and the male portion of the lower orders generally; for it is nothing less than the old Phrygian liberty cap, imported hither by the Paul Pry Phœnicians ages ago. Woven in a single piece, it appears at first sight to be a long, soft, commodious bag, tinted with vermilion or violet or brown as the case may be. Into the aperture the native inserts his head and then pulls the rest of the flapping contrivance down as far as he pleases, letting the end float loose in the wind, or more commonly bringing it round to the front, curling it over and tucking it in upon itself in such a way as to make an overhanging protection for the eyes, and to give the whole a look that recalls the top of an Oxford student's cap. With this head-gear, and wearing sandals made of fine hempen cord tied by long black tapes, the men presented a free, half barbarous and sufficiently picturesque appearance. I don't know how long we might have continued to roam the streets of Barcelona, listening to the uncouth patois of the locality, in which French and Spanish words are so outlandishly mingled, nor how long we should have clung to the remnants of architecture and history that jutted seductively above the surface of the modern here and there, if it had not been that cold necessity limited our time and propelled us relentlessly northward. Even now I find that my pen is reluctant to leave the tracing of those vanished scenes, and hesitates to write the last word as much as if it were an enchanter's wand, instead of a plain, business-like little instrument.

With its usual fatuity the railroad obliged us to start so early that at the first dusky gray streak of dawn we were dismally taking our coffee in the patio of the hotel. The dueño was sleeping by sections on two hard chairs, considerately screened from us by a clump of orange shrubs, and murmuring now and then some direction to the half-invisible waiter floating about in a dark arcade; but he roused himself, and woke up wholly for a minute or two while perpetrating a final extortion. Otherwise the silence was profound. It was the silence of the past, the unseen current of oblivion that sets in and begins to eddy round the facts of to-day, in such a country, the moment human activity is suspended or the reality of the present is at all dimmed. Silence here leads at once to retrospection; differing in this from the mute solitude of American places, which somehow always tingles with anticipation. And the dueño, in overcharging us, became only the type of a long line of historic plunderers that have infested the Peninsula from the date of the Roman rule down to the incursion of Napoleon and the most recent period. His little game was invested with all the dignity of history and tradition. The sickly light of day above the court struggled feebly and dividedly with the waning yellow of the candle-flame on our table.

"After all," said Velveteen, "I'm glad to be going, for this is no longer Spain."

And yet, at the instant of leaving, we discovered that it was indeed Spain, and a pang of regret followed those words.

As we issued from the hotel we saw, crossing the street in the increased dawn-light, and striding toward the dépot, the two Civil Guards. It looked as if we should be captured on the very threshold of liberty. The thought lent wings to our haste.... Some hours afterward, when we were passing through the tunnels of the Pyrenees, we congratulated ourselves on our escape; and, indeed, as we looked back to the mountain-wall from France, we could fancy we saw two specks on the summit which might have been our pursuers. They were too late! Their own excess of mystery had baffled them. They had dogged us every league of the way, and yet we had traversed Spain without being detected as—what? I really don't know, but I'm sure those Civil Guards must. If not, their military glare, their guns, and their secrecy are the merest mockeries.

How softly the waves broke along the Mediterranean sands that morning, close to the rails over which we were flying! Green and white, or violet, and shimmered over by the crimson splendor of the illumined East, they surged one after another upon the golden shore and spent themselves like wasted treasure. There was something mournful in their movement—something very sad in the presence of this beauty which I was never to see again. Did I not hear mingled with the sparkling flash and murmur of those waves a long-drawn "A-a-ay!"—the most pathetic of Spanish syllables, which had thrown its shadow across the fervid little songs heard so often by the way?

"Bird, little bird that wheelest
Through God's fair worlds in the sky"—

the strain came back again, with the memory of a low-tuned guitar; and the waves went on, arriving and departing; and the land of our pilgrimage steadily receded. The waves are breaking yet on that windless coast; but, for us, Spain—brilliant, tawny, bright-vestured Spain, with all its ruins and poetry, its desolation and beauty and gaudy semi-barbarism—has been rapt away once more into the atmosphere of distance and of dreams!


SPAIN is by no means so difficult a country to reach, nor so inconvenient to travel in after one has got there, as is generally supposed. Doubtless the obstacles which it presented to the tourist until within a few years were great; and much that is disagreeable still remains to vex those who are accustomed to the smoother ways, and carefully-oiled machinery for travel, of regions more civilized. But the establishment of a system of railroads, describing an outline that passes through nearly all the places which it is desirable to visit, has supplied a means of transit sufficient, safe, and passably comfortable. The other disadvantages formerly opposed to the inquiring stranger are likewise in process of diminution. In order to make clear the exact state of things likely to be encountered by those who, having followed the present writer in his account of a rapid journey, may determine to take a similar direction themselves, this chapter of suggestion is added, which it is hoped will have value in the way of a practical equipment for the voyage.

Patience.—The first requisite, it should be said, in one about to visit Spain, is a reasonable amount of good-humored patience, with which to meet discomforts and provoking delays. The customs of that country are not to be reversed by fuming at them; anger will not aid the digestion which finds itself annoyed by a peculiar cookery; and no amount of irritation will suffice to make Spanish officials and keepers of hostelries one whit more obliging than they are at present—their regard for the convenience of the public being just about equal to that of the average American hotel clerk or railroad employé.

Passports.—Next to patience may be placed a passport; though it differs from the former article in being of no particular use. I observe that guide-books lay stress upon the passport as something very important; and, no doubt, it is gratifying to possess one. There is a subtle flattery in the personal relation, approaching familiarity, which an instrument of this kind seems to set up on the part of government toward the individual; there is a charming unreality, moreover, in the description it gives of your personal appearance and the color of your eyes, making you feel, when you read it, as if you were a character in fiction. Following the rules, I procured a passport and put it into a stout envelope, ready for much use and constant wear; but all that it accomplished for me was to add a few ounces of weight to my impedimenta. No one ever asked for it, and I doubt whether the military police would have understood what it was, had they seen it. My experience on first crossing the frontier taught me never to volunteer useless information. Our trunks had been passed after a mere opening of the lids and lifting of the trays, and an officer was listlessly examining the contents of my shoulder-bag. Thinking that he was troubled by the enigmatic nature of a few harmless opened letters which it contained, I said, re-assuringly, as he was dropping them back into their place, "They are only letters."

"Letters!" he repeated, with rekindled vigilance. And, taking up the sheets again, of which he could not understand a word, he squandered several minutes in gazing at them in an absurd pretence of profundity.

If I had insisted on unfurling my country's passport, I should probably have been taken into custody at once, as a person innocent enough to deserve thorough investigation. Nevertheless, a passport may be a good thing to hold in reserve for possible contingencies. It is said also to be of use, now and then, in securing admission to galleries and museums on days or at hours when they are generally closed to the public; but of this I cannot speak from experience.

Custom-house.—We had no great difficulty with examinations by custom-house officers, except at Barcelona, where we arrived about one o'clock in the morning and had to undergo a scene excessively annoying at the time, but comical enough in the retrospect. Being desirous to embark on the hotel omnibus in search of quarters, we hastened to the baggage-room to claim our trunks by the registry receipt given us at Valencia; but the "carbineer" explained that we could not have them just then. After waiting a little, we took out keys and politely proposed to open them for examination. This, also, he declined. I then offered him a cigar, which he accepted in a very gracious way, giving it a slight flourish and shake in his hand (after the usual manner), to indicate his appreciation of the courtesy; but still he made no motion to accommodate us in the matter we had most at heart. Some agreeable young Scotchmen, who had joined our party, urged me to make farther demonstrations, and I conferred with the omnibus-driver, who explained that we must wait for some other parcels to be collected from the train before anything could be done; accordingly, we waited. The other parcels arrived; the policy of inaction continued. Meanwhile, several French commercial travellers, who had journeyed hither by the same train in all the splendor of a spurious parlor-car, chartered for their sole use, had proceeded around the station, and now attacked the bolted doors at the front of the baggage-room with furious poundings and loud bi-lingual ejaculations. But even this had no effect. I therefore concluded that the object of the "carbineer's" strategy was a bribe; and, for the first and only time in our journey, I administered one. Getting him aside, I told him confidentially, with all the animation proper to an entirely new idea, that we were anxious to get our belongings examined and passed promptly, so as to secure a resting-place some time before day, and that we should be greatly obliged if he would assist us. At the same time I slipped two or three pesetas into his hand, which he took with the same magnanimous tolerance he had shown on receiving the cigar. This done, he once more relapsed into apathy. All known resources had now been exhausted, and there was nothing to do but wait. With dismay I stood by and saw my silver follow the cigar, swallowed up in the abyss of official indifference that yawned before us; and to my companions, who had just been envying me my slight knowledge of Spanish, and admiring my tact, I became all at once a perfectly useless object, a specimen of misguided imbecility—all owing to the dense unresponsiveness of the inspector, whose incapacity to act assumed, by contrast with my own fruitless energy, a resemblance to genius. The oaths and poundings of the French battalion at the door went on gallantly all the time, but were quite as ineffectual as my movement on the rear.

Finally, just when we were reduced to despair, the guard roused himself from his meditations, rushed to the door, unbolted it to the impatient assailants, and passed everything in the room without the slightest examination.

The whole affair remains to this day an enigma; and, as such, one is forced to accept every trouble of this kind in the Peninsula. But, as I have said, matters went smoothly enough in other places. Every important town, I believe, collects its imposts even on articles brought into market from the surrounding country; and at Seville we paid the hotel interpreter twenty cents as the nominal duty on our personal belongings. I have not the slightest doubt that this sum went to swell his own private revenue; at all events, no such tariff was insisted upon, or even suggested, elsewhere. The only rule that can be given is to await the action of customs officials without heat, and, while avoiding undue eagerness to show that you carry nothing dutiable, hold yourself in readiness to unlock and exhibit whatever you have. In case a fine should be exacted, ask for a receipt for the amount; and, if it seems to be excessive, the American or British consul or commercial agent may afterward be appealed to.

Extra Baggage.—One point of importance in this connection is generally overlooked. Only about sixty pounds' weight of luggage is allowed to each traveller; all trunks are carefully weighed at every station of departure, and every pound over the above amount is charged for. Hence, unless a light trunk is selected, and the quantity of personal effects carefully reduced to the least that is practicable, the expense of a tour in Spain will be appreciably increased by the item of extra baggage alone. Baggage of all kinds is registered, and a receipt given by which it may be identified at the point of destination. It is important, however, to get to the station at least half an hour before the time for leaving, since this process of weighing and registering, like that of selling or stamping tickets, is conducted with extreme deliberation, and cannot be hastened in any way. On diligence routes the allowance for baggage is only forty-four pounds (twenty kilograms). A good precaution, in order to guard against unfair weighing, is to get one's trunk or trunks properly weighed before starting, and keep a memorandum of the result.

Tickets, etc.—It is unadvisable to travel in any but first-class carriages on the Spanish railroads; and the fare for these is somewhat high. But a very great saving may be made, if the journey be begun from Paris, by purchasing billets circulaires (circular or round-trip tickets), which—with a limitation of two months, as to time—enable the tourist to go from Paris either to San Sebastian, on the Bay of Biscay, or Barcelona, on the Mediterranean, and from either of those points to take in succession all the cities and towns which it is worth while to visit. A ticket of this kind costs only about ninety dollars, whereas the usual fare from Paris to Madrid alone is nearly or quite forty dollars. The billets circulaires may be obtained at a certain central ticket-office in the Rue St. Honoré, at Paris, to which the inquirer at either of the great Southern railroads—that is, the Paris-Lyons and the Orleans lines—will be directed. The list of places at which one is permitted to stop, on this round-trip system, is very extensive, and a coupon for each part of the route is provided. It must be observed, however, that when once the trip is begun the holder cannot return upon his traces, unless a coupon for that purpose be included, without paying the regular fare. He must continue in the general direction taken at the start—entering Spain at one of its northern corners, and coming out at the opposite northern corner, after having described a sort of elliptical course through the various points to be visited. And this is, in fact, the most convenient course to take. It is also prescribed that at the first frontier station, and at every station from which the holder afterward starts, he shall show the ticket and have it stamped. Occasionally, conductors on the trains displayed a tendency to make us pay something additional; but this was merely an attempt at imposition, and we always refused to comply. Should the holder of one of these tickets have a similar experience, and be unable to make the conductor comprehend, the best thing to do is quietly to persist in not paying, and, if necessary, have the proper explanation made at the end of the day's trip.

Journeys by steamer are not included in this arrangement; but we got our steamer tickets at Malaga remarkably cheap, and in the following manner: Two boats of rival lines were to start in the same direction on the same day, and the interpreter, or valet de place, attached to our fonda, volunteered to take advantage of this circumstance by playing one company off against the other, and thus beating them down from the regular price. So he summoned a dim-eyed and dilapidated man, whilom of the mariners' calling, to act as an intermediary. This personage was to go to the office of the boat on which we wanted to embark, and tell them that we thought of sailing by the other line (which had, in fact, been the case), but that if we could obtain passage at a price that he named, we would take their steamer; in short, that here was a fine chance of capturing two passengers from the opposition. The sum which we handed to our dim-eyed emissary was seventy-five francs; but, while he was absent upon his errand of diplomacy, the interpreter figured out that we ought to have given him eighteen more, and we quite commiserated the poor negotiator for having gone off with an insufficient supply of cash. Imagine our astonishment when he returned and, instead of asking for the additional amount which we had counted out all ready for him, laid before us a shining gold piece of twenty-five francs which he had not expended! Deciding to improve upon his instructions, he had paid only fifty francs for the two passages. We certainly were amazed, but the interpreter was still more so; for he had evidently expected his colleague to say nothing about having saved the twenty-five francs, but to pocket that and eighteen besides for their joint credit (or discredit) account. He controlled his emotions by a heroic effort; but the complicated play of stupefaction at his agent's honesty, of bitter chagrin at the loss involved, and of pretended delight at our remarkable success, was highly interesting to witness. I have always regretted that some old Italian medallist could not have been at hand to mould the exquisite conflict of expression which his face presented at that moment, and render it permanent in a bronze bass-relief. As it was, we gave each man a bonus of five francs, and then had paid for our tickets only about half the established rate.

Personal Safety.—Risk of bodily peril from the attacks of bandits, on the accustomed lines of travel in Spain, need no longer be feared. The formidable pillagers who once gathered toll along all the highways and by-ways have been suppressed by the Civil Guards, or military police, a very trustworthy and thorough organization, which really seems to be the most (and is, perhaps, the sole) efficient thing about the government of the kingdom. Of these Guards there are now twenty thousand foot and five thousand horse distributed throughout the country, keeping it constantly under patrol, in companies, squads and pairs, never appearing singly; and where there are only two of them, they walk twelve paces apart on lonely roads, to avoid simultaneous surprise. They are armed with rifles, swords, and revolvers, and are drawn from the pick of the royal army. Some time since there occurred a case in which two of these men murdered a traveller in a solitary place for the sake of a few thousand francs he was known to have with him; but the crime was witnessed by a shepherd lad in concealment, and they were swiftly brought to trial and executed. This instance is so exceptional as to make it almost an injustice even to mention it; for, as a rule, perfect dependence may be placed on the Guards, who are governed by military law and possess a great esprit de corps. A strong group of them is posted in every city; at every railroad station, no matter how small, there are two members of the force on duty, and two more usually accompany each train. The result of all these precautions is that one may take his seat in a Spanish railroad-carriage absolutely with less fear of robbery or violence than he might reasonably feel in England or America. The only instance of banditti pillaging a railroad-train that is known to have occurred while I was in Spain, was that of the James brothers in Missouri, whose outrages upon travellers, in our peaceful and fortunate Republic, were reported to us by cable, while we were struggling through the imaginary perils of a perfect police system in a country that knows not the subtleties of American institutions. And, while we were thus proceeding upon our way, an atrocious murder was committed in a carriage of the London and Brighton Railway, which was not the first of its kind to set the English public shivering with dread and horror.

Even the diligence now appears to be as safe as the rail-carriage. But it should be clearly understood that, when one goes off the beaten track and attempts horseback journeys, he exposes himself to quite other conditions, which it is absurd to expect the police to control. An acquaintance tells me that he has made excursions of some length in the saddle, in Spain, meeting nothing but courtesy and good-will; but he took care to have his pistol-holsters well filled and in plain sight. To travel on horseback without an armed and trusty native guide (who should be well paid, and treated with tact and cordiality) is certainly not the most prudent thing that can be done; but solitary pedestrianism is mere foolhardiness. A young French journalist of promise, known to be of good habits, had been loitering alone about Pamplona a short time before the date of my trip, and was one morning found murdered outside of the walls. While I was in the South, too, as I afterward learned, an Englishman, who was concluding a brief foot-tour in the North, attempted to make his way in the evening from San Sebastian to Irun, on the frontier: he was captured by bandits, kept imprisoned for a week in a lonely hut, and doubtless narrowly missed coming to his death. His own account of his escape gives a vivid idea of the treatment that may be expected from the rural population by anybody who gets into a similar predicament.

"I resolved," he says, "to strive for liberty. Having worked out a stone, which I found rather loose in the wall near me, and having taken advantage of the darkness of my corner, I gnawed asunder the cord that bound me. I made for the door, which opened into the other apartment, and there being but one guard left over me—the others being off on some expedition—I watched for an opportunity. Presently it was afforded me. As the fellow sat with his back toward me, resting his head upon his hands, I stole forward, holding my stone in readiness, and with one blow laid him on the floor. Then, snatching up a knife from the table, I ran out, and after wandering among the mountains most of the night found myself at daybreak on the high-way, my feet cut with the stones and my strength gone. I fainted. On coming round I attempted in vain to rise, when, two men coming along with a bullock-cart, I asked for help. All they did was to prod me with their goads and march on. The laborers were now returning to their work in the fields, and seeing my attempt to regain my feet, several of them pelted me with clods. I had little strength left, but at last I managed to get on my feet, and having rested a while to regain my strength, I staggered along to the town and waited upon the English vice-consul, who kindly provided me with food and clothes, after which I accompanied him before the governor of the province, to make my statement." The Spanish Government do not acknowledge responsibility for proceedings of this kind on the part of their people; hence it is doubtful whether in such a case the victim, after all his peril and suffering, can even recover the value of what has been stolen from him. But it is perfectly, easy to keep out of the way of such adventures.

In the Hotel de los Siete Suelos, at Granada, it is true that the night-porter used to strap around his meagre waist, when he went on duty, a great swashbuckler's sword, as if some bloody nocturnal incursion were impending. But whatever the danger was that threatened, it never befell: the door of the hotel always remained wide open, and our bellicose porter regularly went to sleep soundly on a bench beside it, with his weapon dangling ingloriously over his legs. No one ever seemed to think of using keys for their hotel rooms except in Madrid; and so far as any likelihood of theft was concerned, this confidence seemed to be well justified. Many articles that might have roused the cupidity of unambitious thieves, and could easily have been taken, were left by my companion and myself lying about our unlocked apartments, but we sustained no loss.

Language.—One cannot travel to the best advantage in Spain without having at least a moderate knowledge of French; or, still better, of Spanish. Railroad employés, customs officers, guards, and inn-keepers there, as a rule, understand only their native tongue. Now and then one will be found who has command of a very few French words; but this is quite the exception, and even when it occurs, is not of much use. At the hotels in all places frequented by foreigners there are interpreters, who conduct transactions between traveller and landlord, and act as guides to places of public interest. For services of this kind they must be paid seven or eight francs a day, certainly not more, and in the smaller towns less will suffice. These interpreters always speak a little French; but their English is a decidedly variable quantity. Of course, people constantly make their way through the kingdom on the resources of English alone; but it is obvious that in so doing they must miss a great many opportunities for curious or instructive observation; and even in viewing the regulation sights the want of an easy medium of communication will often cause interesting details to be omitted. The possibility of employing a courier for the whole journey remains open; but that is a very expensive expedient, and greatly hampers one's freedom. Enough Spanish for the ordinary needs of the way can be learned in a month's study, by any one who has an aptitude for languages. Italian will by no means take the place of it, although some acquaintance with that language may facilitate the study of Spanish; the fact being kept in mind, however, that the guttural character of Spanish is quite alien to the genius of Italian speech, and comes more naturally to one who knows German. If the tourist have time enough at his disposal, it is well to take quarters somewhere in a casa de huespedes, or boarding-house, for two or three weeks, in order to become familiar with the vernacular.

Manners.—There is a superstition that, if you will only keep taking off your hat and presenting complimentary cigars, you will meet with marvels of courteous response, and accomplish nearly everything you want to, in Spain. But the voyager who relies implicitly on this attractive theory will often suffer disappointment. It will do no harm for him to cool his brow by a free indulgence in cap-doffing; and to make presents of the wretched government cigars commonly in use will be found a pleasanter task than smoking them. In fact, a failure to observe these solemn ceremonies places him in the position of a churlish and disfavored person. But, on the other hand, polite attentions of this kind are often enough met by a lethargic dignity and inertia that are far from gratifying. Under such circumstances, let the tourist remember and apply that prerequisite which I began with mentioning—good-humored patience. I found my companions by the rail or at tables d'hóte sometimes considerate and agreeable, at others quite the reverse, and disposed to ignore the existence of foreigners as something beneath notice. I remember once, when Velveteen and I, obliged to change cars, had barely time, before the train was to move again, to spring into a compartment pointed out by the conductor, we found there a well-dressed but gross Spaniard, of the wealthy or noble class, who had had the section marked reservado, and the curtains carefully drawn. He sprang up from his nap with a snort, and glared angrily at the intruders, then burst into a storm of rage and expostulation, most of which he discharged out of window at the conductor: but, finding that he could get no satisfaction in that way, he subsided into sullen disdain, paying no attention to my "Buenas dias" ("Good-day"), and making his dissatisfaction prominent by impatient gestures and mutterings from time to time. Owing to the cost of baggage transport, too, the natives generally carry a large number of bundles, bags, and miniature trunks in the first-class as well as other carriages—thus avoiding any fee—so that it is often difficult to find a place for packages, or to pass in and out; and those who thus usurp the room are apt to look with cynical indifference at the perplexities of the latest comer, whom they leave to shift for himself as well as he can. Nevertheless, it is an almost universal custom that any one who produces a lunch during the ride, offers it to all the chance company in the compartment before partaking of it himself. It is a point of politeness not to accept such an invitation, but it must be extended just the same as if this were not the case. In one respect the Spaniards are extremely polite—that is, in showing strangers the way from point to point. Frequently, the first man of whom you inquire how to get back to your hotel, or elsewhere, will insist upon accompanying you the whole distance, in order to make sure that you do not go wrong; and this although it may lie entirely out of his own direction. Such a favor becomes a very important and desirable one in the tortuous streets of most Spanish towns.

Among themselves the rule is that all ranks and classes should treat each other with respect, meeting on terms of a grave but not familiar equality: hence they expect a similar mode of address from strangers. When all the conditions are fulfilled, their courtesy is of the magnificent order—it is serious, composed, and dignified. Each individual seems to be living on a pedestal; he bows, or makes a flowing gesture, and you get an exact idea what it would be like to have the Apollo Belvedere receive you as a host, or a Jupiter Tonans give you an amicable salutation.

As in America, however, it is usually not easy to get information from those who are especially hired or appointed to give it. The personal service of the railroads, with rare exceptions, is ungracious and careless. One must be sure to ask about all the details he wants to know, for these are seldom volunteered. There is a main office (called Despacho Central) in each city, where you may buy tickets, order an omnibus for the station, make inquiries, etc. At the one in Toledo I presented our circular tickets for stamping, on departure, and asked several questions about the train, which showed the agent plainly what line we were going to take. When we reached Castillejo, I found that, in spite of all this, he had allowed us to take a road on which the tickets he had stamped were not valid, and we were forced to pay the whole fare. Neither will conductors be at the pains to shut the doors on the sides of the cars; passengers must do this for themselves. I had travelled all night in a compartment, and in the morning, wishing to look out, I leaned against the door, and it instantly flew open. As it was on the off-side when I got in, it was at that time already closed; but I now discovered that the handle had not even been turned to secure it. The superficial way in which people do things over there is seen in the curious little fact that, from the time of leaving France until that of our return, we could nowhere get the backs of our boots blacked, though repeatedly insisting on it; the national belief being that trousers conceal that part of the shoe, and labor given to improving its appearance would therefore be thrown away.

The demand for fees is in general not so systematic or impudent as in England; but when one intends to stay more than a day in a place, better attendance will be obtained by bestowing a present of a franc or two, although service is included in the regular daily rate of the hotel. Finally, the Spaniard with whom one comes most in contact as a tourist is peculiarly averse to being scolded; so that, whatever the provocation, it is better to deal with him softly.

Hotels, Diet, etc.—The Spanish hotels are conducted on the American plan; so much a day being paid for room, fare, light, heat, and service. This sum ranges commonly from $1 50 to $2 00 a head, except where the very best rooms are supplied. The foreigner, of course, pays a good deal more than the native, but it is impossible for him to avoid that. Sometimes coffee after dinner is included in this price, but coffee after the mid-day breakfast is charged as an extra; and so are all wines except the ordinary red or white Val de Peñas, which are supplied with both meals. Nothing is furnished before the breakfast hour excepting a cup of chocolate, some bread, and, possibly, butter. One should always see his rooms before engaging them, and also be particular to ask whether the price named includes everything, otherwise additional items will be foisted upon him when the bill is settled. Confusion in the account may be avoided by paying for all extras at the moment of obtaining them.

Those who are unaccustomed to the light provend furnished for the morning will do well to carry a stock of beef-extract, or something of the kind. Cow's milk is difficult to get, and such a thing as a boiled egg with the chocolate is well-nigh unheard of. The national beverage is the safest: warm chocolate, not very sweet, and so thick that it will almost hold the spoon upright. Coffee in the morning does not have the same nutritive force; indeed, quite otherwise than in France and Germany, it appears to exert in this climate an injurious effect if drunk early in the day—at least, a comparison of notes shows it to be so in summer. Rather more attention should be given to diet in Spain than in the countries above named, or in England and Italy, owing to peculiarities of the climate and the cookery. Whoever has not a hardy digestion runs some danger of disturbance from the all but universal use of olive-oil in cooking; but, with this exception, the tendency is more and more toward the adoption of a French cuisine in the best hotels of the larger cities, and various good, palatable dishes are to be had in them. The native wines are unadulterated, but strong and heavy. Owing to something in their composition, or to the unpleasant taste imparted by the pig-skins, they are to some persons almost poisonous; so that a degree of caution is necessary in using them. Water has the reputation of being especially pure in all parts of the kingdom, and of exercising a beneficial influence on some forms of malady. It certainly is delicious to drink.

There is much greater cleanliness in the hotels, taking them all in all, than I had expected; but the want of proper sanitary provision, omitting the solitary case of the Fonda Suizo at Cordova, where everything was perfect in this respect, leads to a state of things which may be described in a word as Oriental—that is, barbarous in the extreme, and scarcely endurable. On this point professional guide-writers are strangely silent. A wise precaution is to carry disinfectants. A small medicine-case, by-the-way, might with advantage be included in the equipment proper for travel in the Peninsula.

We touched the nadir of dirt and unsavoriness, as you may say, in our first night at the Fonda del Norte, in Burgos; and there the maid who ushered me to my room warned me, as she retreated, to be careful about keeping the doors of the anteroom closed because, as she said, "There are many rats, and if the doors are open they run in here." But luckily the rest of our experience was an agreeable decline from this early climax. There is another hotel at Burgos, the Raffaele, which, as we learned too late, is—in complete contradiction of the guide-books—clean and pleasant. On the practical side, that voyager will achieve success who plans his route in Spain so as to evade the Fonda del Norte at Burgos, which is the stronghold of dirt, and the Hotel de Paris at Madrid, which takes the palm for extortion. Naturally, in exploring minor towns or villages, one must be prepared to face a good deal of discomfort, since he must seek shelter at a posada or venta, where donkeys and other domestic beasts are kept under one roof with the wayfarer, and perhaps in close proximity to his bed and board. But among the inns of modern type he will get on fairly well without having to call out any very great fortitude.

Expense of Travel.—From what has been said about circular tickets and hotel prices, some notion can be formed as to the general cost of a Spanish expedition. Housing and transportation should not be reckoned at less than six dollars a day; and allowance must next be made for guides, carriages, admission fees, and so on. Altogether, ten dollars a day may be considered sufficient to cover the strictly necessary outlay, if the journey be conducted in a comfortable manner; but it is safer to assume one hundred dollars a week as the probable expense for one person, and this will leave a margin for the purchase of characteristic articles here and there—a piece of lace, a little pottery, knives, cheap fans, and so on. This estimate is made on the basis of first-class places en route, and of stops at the best hotels. It could be materially reduced by choosing second-class hotels, which is by no means advisable when ladies are of the party; and, even with the better accommodation, if small rooms be selected and a careful economy exercised in other directions, sixty dollars a week might be made to do. To dispense with the aid of the local guides is no saving, if the design be to move rapidly; because, without such assistance, more time has to be spent in getting at a given number of objects.

Mail-service, Telegrams, Books, etc.—The mails are conveyed with promptness and safety, it appears; although at Malaga I observed a large padlocked and green-painted chest with a narrow aperture in it, lying on the sidewalk in no particular custody, and learned that it was a convenient movable post-office. Furthermore, it is bewildering to find, after painfully travelling to the genuine post-office (the Corréo), that you cannot buy any stamps there. These are kept on sale only at the shops of tobacconists, whose trade likewise makes them agents of the governmental monopoly in cigars, cigarettes, etc. The tobacconists' stores bear the sign Estanco (stamp-shop); and, after one is accustomed to the plan, it becomes really more convenient to obtain one's postage from them. To weigh large envelopes or packages, however, the sender must resort to the Corréo. International postal cards may be had, which are good between Spain and France, and other rates are not high. Those who intend to pass rapidly from point to point will do well to have all correspondence directed to the care of the American consul or vice-consul—or, if in Madrid, to the legation there. There is no difficulty about letters addressed in English, provided the writing be plain. At the first city which he touches the tourist should ascertain from the representative of his nationality the names of all representatives in the other places he expects to go to, so that he can forward the precise address for each place, and himself be informed just where to apply for letters or counsel. In cases where there is no time to take these measures, the plan may be followed of having letters addressed poste restante at the various points; but they must then be called for at the post-office, and at each town orders should be left with the postmaster to forward to some farther objective point any mail-matter expected at that town, but not received there. In requesting any service of this kind from consuls, do not forget to leave with them a proper amount of postage.

Telegrams may be sent from all large places, in English, at rates about the same as those which prevail elsewhere; but if it is intended to send many messages by wire, a simple code ought to be arranged with correspondents beforehand, to save expense. Telegrams have to be written very carefully, too; I attempted to send one from Granada, but made a slight correction in one word—a fact which caused it to be brought all the way back from the city to my hotel on the Alhambra hill, with an imperative request that it should be rewritten and returned free from the least scratch or blot.

Whatever books you may wish to consult on the journey should be provided at the very start, in America, London, or Paris: ten to one you will not find them in Spain. It is pleasant, for example, to refer on the spot to an English version of "Don Quixote," or the French "Gil Blas;" or Prescott's "Ferdinand and Isabella," and the "Columbus," the "Conquest of Granada," and "Tales of the Alhambra," by Irving. Théophile Gautier's "Voyage en Espagne" is another very delightful hand-mirror in which to see your own observations reflected. But none of these are obtainable except, possibly, in Madrid and Barcelona; and even there it is not certain that they will be found. These two cities are the head-quarters, however, for such Spanish books as may be required.

Bankers and Money.—Little need be said on this point, beyond suggesting the usual circular letter of credit, except to forewarn all persons concerned that they will be charged and must submit to very heavy commissions and exchange at the houses where their letters entitle them to draw. Another particular which it is essential to note is the uncertain currency of certain silver coinage in Spain, and the prevalence of counterfeit pieces. Strangers must fight shy of any kind of peseta (equivalent to a franc) except the recent and regulation ones, though there are many dating from earlier reigns than Alfonso's, which will pass anywhere. The small money of one province frequently will not be received in another; and it happened to me to preserve with great care a Barcelona peseta, which I found unavailable everywhere else, and had accepted by an oversight in Sevilla, in the confident hope that I could get rid of it at Barcelona itself; but I discovered that that was exactly the place where they treated it with the most contempt. Hence it is best, before leaving one province for another, to convert your change into gold pieces of twenty-five pesetas worth, or into silver dollars (which are called duros), worth five pesetas each.

Here, however, let it be noted that the one infallible course to prevent deception is to ring on some solid surface of wood or stone every gold or silver coin you receive at the hotel, the banker's, or anywhere else. If it give a flat sound, no matter what its real value may be, great trouble will be had in passing it; hence, you must in that case refuse to take it. For example, a five-dollar piece was given me which failed to yield the true sound; and though it was perfectly good, having merely become cracked, I could do nothing with it, even at the Madrid banker's; finally getting its value in silver, by a mere chance, from a professional money-changer of more than common enlightenment.

Never give a gold piece to a waiter or any one else to be changed, unless the transaction is effected under your own eye; for, if he carries the coin away out of your sight, a substitution will very likely be made, and you cannot then get rid of the uncurrent money which will be forced upon you. The precaution of ringing or sounding money, on receipt, is so general that no one need feel any hesitation at practising it, however it may seem to reflect upon the person who has proffered the coin. Spanish gold pieces in small quantity may with advantage be bought in Paris. On the other hand, it is well to carry more or less Napoleons with you, because French gold is trusted, and passes with slight discount. The traveller should be provided with both kinds. Always and persistently refuse Spanish paper.

Buying Bric-à-brac, Lace, etc.—Those who wish to purchase characteristic products of the country, ancient or modern, need not fear that opportunity will be wanting; but the most obvious means are not always the best. The interpreters or guides attached to hotels are in most places only too anxious to aid in this sort of enterprise; but it is because they wish to dispose of some private stock of their own, for which they will surely demand double price. By courteous but decided treatment they may be led to make most astonishing reductions from their first demand; and this channel is accordingly, if properly handled, often as good as any other. Guides in Cordova will offer an assortment of old hand-made lace, and introduce you to the silversmiths who there manufacture a peculiarly effective sort of filigree in ear-rings, shawl-pins, brooches, and other forms. Cordova is the best place in which to get this kind of ware; but if lace be the object sought, Sevilla or Barcelona is a much more advantageous market. Machine-made lace, which is now the favorite kind among Spanish ladies, and has been brought to a high degree of delicacy, can be obtained in the greatest variety and on the best terms at Barcelona, where it is made. Many foreigners, however, prefer the hand-made kind; and these should explore Sevilla in search of what they wish, for they can there get it at reasonable prices. In this connection it is to be premised that the assistance of some personal acquaintance among the Spaniards themselves, if it can be had, will always effect a considerable saving; and, when time can be allowed, the best way always is to make inquiry and prowl around among the stores for one's self. There are few professed antiquarian and bric-à-brac salesrooms out of Madrid; but one can often pick up what he wants in out-of-the-way places. Perhaps the best towns in which to buy the peculiar gay-colored and ball-fringed mantas, or mantles of the country, and the equally curious alforjas used by the peasantry, are Granada and Valencia. In Toledo there is a very peculiar and effective sort of black-and-gray felt blanket, with brilliant embroideries; that city, like the two just mentioned, being a centre of textile industry. The purchase of costumes in actual use, from the peasants themselves, which is something that artists may find useful, can be accomplished after due bargaining, and by the intervention of the professional interpreter.

The pottery and porcelain of Spain exhibit a great variety of beautiful shapes, many of them doubtless Moorish in their origin; and some kinds are invested with a bold, peculiar coloring, dashed on somewhat in the Limoges style, but very characteristic of the climate and landscape in which they are produced. The abundance of unusual and graceful forms constantly suggests the idea of making a collection. I shall not attempt to specify the localities most favorable for the carrying out of this idea; because, so far as my own observation went, there seemed to be material worth investigating almost everywhere. The common unglazed bottles and jars made and used by the peasantry in the South, however, are especially attractive, and are met with only in that part of the country. They are likewise nearly as cheap as the substance from which they are made. At Granada, too, there is manufactured a heavy blue-and-white glazed ware, turned with refined and simple contours, of honest elegance. Formerly barbers' basins moulded on the Spanish plan—that is, with a curved piece cut out at one side—were made of porcelain; and these may still sometimes be picked up in Madrid junk-shops or antiquarian lairs. They are not always good specimens of decorative art, but they are curious and effective. Part of an extensive collection I saw, which had recently been made by an American gentleman; and I could imagine that, when hung upon the wall by his distant fireside across the Atlantic, they would form an interesting series of trophies—a row of ceramic scalps, one might say, marking the fate of so many vanquished dealers.

Old furniture, heavy with carving or marvellously inlaid according to traditions of the Moors—monumental pieces, such as were to be seen in the loan collection of Spanish Art at the South Kensington in 1881, and are sparsely imported into the United States—offers larger prizes to those who search and pay. Many relics of ancient costume, dating from the period of courtly splendor; rich fabrics; embroideries; sacerdotal robes and disused altar-cloths; and occasional precious metal-work, may farther be unearthed in the bric-à-brac shops. With due care such objects will often be obtained at moderate cost. But it is to be remembered that the price paid on the spot forms only one item. Transportation to the final shipping-point and the ocean freightage are very high; amounting in the case of cheap articles to far more than the original outlay for their purchase.

Seasons for Travel.—A question of very great moment is, what time of year should be chosen for a sojourn in Spain? The answer to it depends entirely upon the organization of the person asking, and his object in going. For a simple trip in search of novelty, the voyager being of good constitution, it makes little difference. From the first of June until the first of October the heat, in almost any spot south of the Pyrenees, will be found severe. From the first of October until the first of June, severe, cold, treacherous changing winds, snow, and ice will be encountered, save in a few favored localities hereinafter to be named, under the head of "Climate for Health." Of the two extremes, summer is perhaps to be preferred; because the voyager at that time knows precisely what he has got to prepare for and can meet it, whereas winter is a more variable emergency. A person of good constitution, understanding how to take care of himself in either case, and with an eye to local habits as adapted to the season, may go at any time. Autumn and spring, however, are obviously the ideal seasons for a visit. From a comparison of authorities, and from my own observation of a part of the summer, I should advise going during the period from October 1 to December 1, or from April 1 to June 1. A tour involving more than two months' time, of course, must pass these limits. For hardy and judicious travellers there is no objection to a sojourn including June and July; although it must be said that sight-seeing at the South during these months is more in the nature of endurance than of recreation. I encountered no serious local fever or other ailment due to hot weather, excepting a kind of cholera referred to in one of the preceding chapters, called el minuto (the minute), at Sevilla. By beginning a trip at the southern end of the Peninsula and gradually working along northward toward France, four months from March 1 or April 1 could be utilized without any unusual discomfort.

Routes.—The topic just discussed necessarily has a good deal to do with the selection of a route, which, from the position of the country, must be made to begin from the North or from the South.

Let us notice, first, the general lines of approach from different quarters.

From New York direct, for example, one may sail for Cadiz in steamers of the Anchor and Guion lines, or in the Florio (Spanish) steamers, which last I have heard spoken of in favorable terms by authority presumably good. From London there are two lines of steamers: one, Messrs. Hall's, leaving weekly for Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malaga, and Cadiz; the other, Messrs. MacAndrew's, leaving London three times a week for Bilbao and the principal ports on the Mediterranean. For any one wishing to visit Spain alone, these form the cheapest and nearest means of reaching the country. To go by steamer from London is, however, very obviously a slower way than to take the rail from the English capital to Paris and thence to the frontier, either at Irun and San Sebastian, or at Barcelona by way of Marseilles and Perpignan. So that, where speed alone is the object, one may take a fast steamer from New York to Liverpool, use the rail thence to London, and arrive in Burgos, for instance, about fifty hours after leaving London. The through train from Paris for Spain leaves in the evening. Voyagers from the East and Italy, designing to pass through Spain on their return westward, can embark on the Peninsular and Oriental steamers, or those of the Messageries Imperiales.

When one passes through France, on the way, it is possible to buy a Continental railroad guide, which gives all the trains in Spain and France, and the connection of one system with the other across the boundary. This is to be recommended as an exceedingly useful document.

It may as well be remarked here that the information ordinarily given in books about the coasting steamers from one port to another along the Mediterranean coast of Spain is as untrustworthy as it is vague. The precise date of departure from any given town on the coast for the other ports to the north-east or south-west is not very easy to ascertain, except in the town itself. One or another steamer, however, is pretty sure to sail from Cadiz, Malaga, Valencia, and Barcelona two or three times a week; so that one can scarcely fail of what the Germans call an "opportunity." There is undoubtedly a difference in the various lines, as regards comfort and swiftness of progress; but it is not true, as the guide-books assert, that the French steamers alone are good, and that the Spanish are dirty and comfortless. We personally inspected two boats in the harbor of Malaga before making choice; one was French and the other Spanish, and we found the latter much the more commodious and cleanly. But, then, it is possible that some other Spanish line than the one we selected may be inferior to some still other French line which we did not see. Everybody can satisfy himself, by simply viewing whatever steamers happen to be on hand for the trip, before engaging passage. The accommodations on all of them seem to be of a kind that would not be tolerated for a day in America; but they compare well with those of the best boats on the English Channel, being fairly on a level with the incomplete civilization of Europe in respect of convenience, privacy, and hygiene. The cabins become close and unwholesome at night, and few staterooms are provided. These last are built to receive from four to six persons, who may be total strangers to each other; hence, any one who wishes to be independent of chance comers must betake himself to the deck at night, or else make special arrangements to secure an entire room before starting.

Again, on the railroads, many journeys have to be made at night; and it is seldom that one can secure a sleeping-coach. On much-travelled lines these are usually bespoken a week in advance. Failing to get the wagon-lit, as the sleeping-car is called, after the French fashion, one may sometimes engage a berlina, which is simply the coupé or end compartment of a car. This, being made to seat three persons instead of six, is allowed to be reserved. It costs about two dollars for a distance of one hundred miles.

The route to be followed in any particular case has, in the nature of things, to be determined by the purpose and circumstances of the tourist. One may make a geological and mineralogical tour, inspecting the mountains and the mines of Spain, and find his hands tolerably full at that; or, one may wend his way to the Peninsula solely to study the achievements of the former national schools of painting there, in which case Sevilla and the picture-gallery at Madrid will be his only objective points—the latter chief and almost inexhaustible. The architectural treasures of Spain constitute another source of interest sufficient in itself for a whole journey and months of study. But those who go with aims of this sort will find all the advice they need in guides and special works. What will more probably be sought here is merely an outline for the wanderer who sets out to obtain general views and impressions in a brief space of time. Him, then, I advise, if the season be propitious, to enter Spain from the north, pursue in the main a straight line to the southern extremity; and then, having made the excursion to Granada—which in the present state of the railways must be a digression from the general circuit—proceed along the shores of the Mediterranean toward France again. In this case his trip will arrange itself in the following order:

Paris to San Sebastian2
Thence to Pamplona. Back to main line. Burgos3
Thence to Salamanca2
Back to main line. Avila1
Escorial, and drive to Segovia2
    Or, from Avila go direct to Madrid, and
    then to Escorial, Segovia, and return.
Alcalá de Henáres (birthplace of Cervantes)
    may be reached by a short railtrip from
    Madrid eastward
Gibraltar (by steamer)2
Ronda (by rail and diligence)2
Return to Malaga1
Cartagena (steamer)2
Murcia (rail)1
Elche palmgroves (diligence)1
Alicante (diligence)1
Or, diligence and rail direct to Valencia1
Valencia (drive in the Huerta)2
Manresa, and monastery of Monserrat3
To Marseilles1

The preceding estimate includes the time to be allowed for going from place to place; but, as will be seen, the total includes some extra days occurring in the count where an option is suggested. To accomplish all that is laid down here in two months, however, would be very close and hard work; in order to go over the ground comfortably, an extra week or two should be allowed. The great advantage of entering the kingdom by way of San Sebastian is that the first impression of the Pyrenees is much finer there than by way of Perpignan to Gerona and Barcelona. One also plunges immediately into the heart of ancient Spain on touching Pamplona and Burgos; and these lead in the most natural and direct way to Valladolid (the old capital and the place where "Don Quixote" was written), to Salamanca, Avila, Segovia, and the Escorial. Furthermore, after Madrid has intervened between North and South with its mingling of past and present, the succession of interest follows an ascending scale through Toledo, Cordova, and Sevilla, culminating at Granada. Next, the Mediterranean route presents itself as something having a special unity of its own, with a recurrence to special phases of antiquity again in Zaragoza, Monserrat, and Gerona. If, on the other hand, we begin with Barcelona and go southward before coming up to Madrid, we receive a first impression less striking and characteristic, and also pluck the most ideal flowers—Granada, Sevilla, Cordova—before coming to Madrid. Taken in the light of such a contrast, Toledo, Avila, Burgos, and the rest of the northern places will seem less attractive than when grouped together in an introductory glimpse, as a prelude to the more poetic South.

Supposing, however, that the traveller lands at once in Cadiz, from the deck of a steamer, he must put all this fine theory aside, and make the best of the case. His programme will then depend on whether he proposes to end by going into France, or to return without crossing the Pyrenees. In the latter event, he might do well to follow the rail to Sevilla, Cordova, Toledo, and Madrid; then visit the Escorial, Avila, Segovia, and afterward strike off abruptly to the north-east, through Zaragoza and Monserrat to Barcelona, coming down the coast again either by rail or steamer to Valencia, and reserving Granada until near the end. After Granada, a return to Malaga and a touch at Gibraltar would deposit him exactly where he started from, at Cadiz.

Should he wish to wind up in France, the situation is more complicated. He must then take Gibraltar first, come back to Sevilla, go to Granada, thence to Cordova and Toledo—omitting Valencia wholly, unless he be willing to double interminably on his tracks—pass from Toledo to Madrid, and then decide whether he will go north-westward through Avila and Burgos, north-eastward through Zaragoza and Barcelona, or attempt to embrace both routes by zigzagging across the widest part of the kingdom.

There remains, finally, the alternative of starting from Cadiz, visiting Sevilla and Granada, and then, by way of Cordova, Toledo and Madrid, continuing north to Valladolid, Burgos, and the French frontier, without troubling the eastern half of the country at all. This route, after all, includes the most that is best worth seeing, if we leave out Zaragoza and Monserrat.

Let me add only that nobody should be deterred, by the schedule given on the preceding page, from making a shorter visit to the Peninsula, if it come within his range, when circumstances grant him less time than is there allotted. Even in three weeks a general tour could be accomplished, allowing several days at Madrid and very brief pauses at Avila, the Escorial, Toledo, Cordova, Sevilla, Granada, and Barcelona. So rapid a flight, nevertheless, the voyager must be prepared to find, will induce a harassing sense that at every point much that it would be desirable to see has been passed over. But even an outline of actual experience is sometimes more prized than a complete set of second-hand impressions.

Furthermore, a single week would suffice the traveller who found himself on the borders of Spain, to make an excursion which he could hardly regret. Thus from Biarritz one can, in that space of time, cross the border and run down to Madrid, glance rapidly at the gallery there, and take the Escorial, Avila, or Burgos—or possibly two of these—on the return. From Marseilles he can visit Gerona, Barcelona, and Monserrat. Similarly, touching at Cadiz, he can go to Sevilla, Cordova, and Granada, get a general survey of those places, including the Alhambra and two of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, and return to Cadiz or Malaga, all in seven or eight days. Indeed, one who has it in his power to reach Granada and spend a day or two there, without attempting to see anything else, ought not to forego the opportunity. The sight of the Alhambra alone, and of the enchanting landscape that surrounds it, may well repay the loss incurred by an inability to make farther explorations.

All these details in regard to flying trips I submit with due knowledge that whoever profits by them, at the same time that he admits himself under obligation for the counsel, will perhaps never forgive himself for seeing thus much and no more, and may even include in this unrelenting mood his benevolent adviser.

Enough, I think, has now been said to furnish a basis for all manner of individual modification. The large anatomical lines, as it were, have been indicated; and on these each tourist may construct his own ideal, with any desired curtailment or extension of time to be consumed.

Climate for Health—The resources of Spain as a health resort are, in general, hardly suspected, much less widely known; and a great deal has doubtless yet to be done before they can be rendered available. Still, the existing conditions and favorable circumstances are worth summarizing in this place. In a singularly careful work on the winter and spring climates of the Mediterranean shores, Dr. J. H. Bennett, of England, arrives at some important conclusions respecting the localities of the Spanish coast. To begin with, the vital distinction has to be noted that the Peninsula (leaving out the corner abutting on the Atlantic) possesses two distinct climates: first, that of the central raised plains stretching from range to range of its several mountain-ribs; and, second, that of the sea-level and the latitude in which the country lies. The former is perforce much the colder, and is subject to raw winds; the latter is mild and uncommonly dry. The health regions of Spain are confined to the east and south-east coasts, where the land subsides nearly to the sea-level, and is open to the balmy influences natural to the latitude. Dr. Bennett observes that the north and north-west winds precipitate their moisture in the mountains of the central regions of Spain, and that the north-east winds are drawn down to Algeria by the Desert of Sahara, which creates a sort of vacuum compelling them southward. As a matter of fact, they do not molest the eastern coast. Hence, in the words of this physician, "the eastern coast of Spain is probably the driest region of Europe, drier even than the Genoese Riviera." Accordingly, Murcia, Alicante, Valencia, Tarragona, and even Barcelona—far north though the last-mentioned is—all offer extraordinary advantages of climate to the average run of patients afflicted with chronic chest disease, pulmonary consumption, chronic bronchitis, bronchitic asthma, chronic diseases of the kidney, debility and anæmia from any cause, and the failing vitality of old age. Cadiz, too, possesses a most equable temperature. It is noted, however, by the writer whom I follow, that the dry air of these places is injurious in those exceptional cases of chest disease, of nervous asthma and neuralgia, which are found to be aggravated by a stimulating atmosphere. Dr. Bennett's theory is that the towns just referred to lie under a qualifying disadvantage, inasmuch as they stand at some distance from the mountains, thus permitting the cold winds from the latter to fall into the plain and sweep the towns to a certain extent. But in this connection he seems not to remember that in Nice, at least, the invalid population are now and then scourged by the cold northern bise rushing down the Rhone to the sea. The most serious objection to these Spanish towns is the want of comfortable and airy quarters for invalids. Again, at Malaga, which has been so highly recommended, the sanitary conditions are such that any benefit from the climate is likely to be nullified by the evil influences of a want of drainage, and of latent pestilence.

Here it may be mentioned that the Alhambra hill, at Granada, is much resorted to by Spaniards in summer as a cool, airy, and healthful spot; and truly there is none more lovely in its surroundings on the globe, so far as it is usually permitted man to see. In and about the Alhambra, too, small cottages may be hired, where the sick and weary may rest after their own fashion, and keep house for themselves, with docile native servants. But, whosoever fares to Spain in search of bettered health, let him not mount the Alhambra hill save in spring, nor enter the Mediterranean towns until after September. And, above all, let him avoid the fatal error of supposing that the high regions of the interior will offer any influences more soothing than those of harsh-tempered New England.

This consideration remains, that whatever obstacles to complete comfort may exist, the perfection of the coast climate, the stimulus of scenery and surroundings so unique and picturesque, and the resources of observation or of historic association opened to the sojourner in Spain are likely to have a good effect, both mental and spiritual.



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Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:
Boudoir of Lindarana=> Boudoir of Lindaraxa {pg 12}
azucarilios=> azucarillos {pg 5}
encouragment=> encouragement {pg 65}
intrepreter=> interpreter {pg 190}
in in the South=> in the South {pg 202}


[1] The dancing boys still officiate at Seville, also, in Holy-week, where they leap merrily before the high altar, and do not even take off their hats to the Host. The story runs that, years ago, a visiting bishop from Rome found fault with this as being unorthodox, and threatened to put a stop to it. He complained to the Pope, and a lenient order issued from the Vatican that the observance should be discontinued when the boys' clothes should be worn out. Up to the present day, curiously enough, the clothes have not been worn out.

[2] These last are called tocas, and are rapidly superseding the long mantilla.

[3] This characterization, our own experience led us to conclude, was exceedingly unjust.

[4] Some time before this he had, by too adventurous play, received a tossing which laid him up for eight months, and his death in the ring has since been reported.

[5] In this connection it is curious to observe that the Toledan peasants, like the Chinese, confound the letters r and l—as when they say flol for flor, "flower."

[6] Contained in the series called "The Man with Five Wives."

[7] A nickname alluding to the sooty black of the clerical costume.

[8] Literally, "sun-trap."

[9] Irving's name heads the ponderous register in which visitors, embracing some of the most distinguished of the earth, have recorded themselves for fifty years past; and though it is not generally known, his signature may also be found pencilled on the inner wall of the little mosque near the Comares Tower, just under the interpolated Spanish choir gallery. Yet there seems to be a degree of mistiness in the Granadian mind respecting the author of "Tales of the Alhambra." I think the people sometimes confounded him with the Father of his Country. At all events, the Hotel Washington Irving is labelled, at one of its entrances, "Hotel Washington," as if that were the same thing.

[10] "Fleming," a name commonly applied to Spanish gypsies; whence it has been inferred that the first of them came from the Netherlands.

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