The Project Gutenberg EBook of Impressions of Spain, by Albert F. Calvert

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Title: Impressions of Spain

Author: Albert F. Calvert

Release Date: July 18, 2019 [EBook #59944]

Language: English

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Alfonso XIII.




The Discovery of Australia,” “The Exploration of Australia,”
My Fourth Tour in Western Australia,”
The Political Value of our Colonies,”
etc., etc.

PHILIP, SON & NEPHEW, 45-51, South Castle Street.
All rights reserved.




My dear Bárris,

As the pleasure and instruction I have derived from my different visits to Spain have been contributed to so largely by your unfailing kindness and invaluable counsel, so the culminating pleasure of this modest attempt to set down my impressions of your fair country lies in the privilege of inscribing the result to you. In you I shall ever feel that I have a firm and wise friend and lenient critic, and I beg you to enhance the obligation of friendship by accepting this dedication with the assurance of my regard and esteem.

Albert F. Calvert.

Swiss Cottage, N.W.


THERE is a character in current drama who devoted his whole life to the writing of a book. He called it a “pamphlet,” because he had intended it to be a pamphlet when he started on his task, but in its completed state the work filled three mighty folio volumes. Although the present volume has not attained such gargantuan proportions, it is considerably longer than I had thought to make it. It is not put forward as an exhaustive or profound study of Spain and the Spaniards, but as a simple record of impressions of people I have met and places I have visited during a series of many journeyings in different parts of that greatly interesting and much misunderstood country. These impressions were meant, in the beginning, to form a small collection of sketches and appreciations; and, although the number has increased beyond the limits of my original intentions, the design and scope of the book have not been revised or amplified. The result of this desultory system of working is a string of disconnected chapters—the first fruits of fugitive note-book jottings collected over a period of several years—rather than a concentrated and comprehensive survey of the subject as a whole.

But the system was also fraught with an unforeseen technical difficulty, as I discovered when I came to arrange my illustrations. The photographs that I acquired—sometimes singly and sometimes in batches—during my frequent visits to Spain, increased out of all proportion to the “increasing purpose” of my manuscript, and in the end I was confronted with the alternative options of leaving out a great many of my most recent and best pictures of Granada and{viii} the Alhambra, or of publishing them en masse at the back of the volume.

The fact that I am even now engaged in gathering material and making notes for a work upon the Alhambra, which I hope shortly to publish, tempted me to hold these surplus illustrations in reserve. But I have hopes that the fragmentary nature of my material, and, in many cases, lack of style and finish in its transcription, may be atoned for by the variety and charm of the pictorial side of the book; and, with this desideratum in my mind, I decided to reproduce the overflow pictures in the form of an appendix.

To the many friends in Spain who have assisted me in my work, with counsel, information, practical aid, and inexhaustible hospitality, and particularly to Messrs. Hauser and Menet, Messrs. Laurent and Co., and Señor Garzon, the photographic artists who have supplied me with pictures beyond those I took myself, and favoured me with permission to reproduce them, I wish to tender my sincere and grateful thanks.

It may be that my personal relations with the Spanish people have been more fortunate than that of some other authors, whose books on Spain I have seen; but in a somewhat wide experience of countries and men, I have never met their equals in courtesy and true consideration to the stranger within their gates. I have encountered all sorts and conditions of men in the sunny South, the black North, and the thriving East of the kingdom, and from each and every one I have received nothing but kindness and good-will. I have written enthusiastically in the following pages about the Spaniards, for in every Spaniard I have met I feel that I have a friend.

A. F. C.

Authors’ Club,
London, S.W.,
    November, 1903.



Alfonso XIII. Frontispiece
The Family of Charles V., by Goya242
The Velasquez Gallery in the Museum, Madrid243
The Divine Family, by Murillo246
Bartolome Esteban, by Murillo247
The Divine Family, by Murillo249
The Divine Shepherd, by Murillo250
A Conception, by Murillo251
The King of Spain—1886, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1895, 1896, 1898, 1901, 1902255
The King and His Mother257
S. M. El Rey Alfonso XIII.259
S. A. Infanta Maria Teresa262
S. A. La Princesa de Asturias263
S. A. R. El Infante Don Carlos264
Antonio Fuentes224
Luis Mazzantini and Cuadrilla224
Guerrita. Bandillero224
The Surrender of Granada by Boabdil to Ferdinand and Isabella, 1492Appendix
Elche (Women Washing)1
The Esplanade83
Esplanade and Wharf84
The “Martyr’s Promenade” 85, 86
(High Road)87
View of Elche88 {x}
Entrance to the Station, Elche91
In Old Madrid10
Royal Palace11
A Corner in the Royal Palace12
The Throne Room, Royal Palace13
The River Manzanares15
Avenue of San Geronimo and Parliament House19
The “Puerta Del Sol,” from the Hotel de Paris23
The Bank of Spain27
The Counsellor of the Village31
An Orange Seller31
A Dancer31
Full List of Lottery Results31
Sketches in Spain35
A Milk Stall39
The Bull Ring41
Escorial Monastery, the Evangelist’s Court44
General View of the Monastery45
The Escorial Library47
Mass Book of Philip II., the Escorial Library48
The Royal Palace, Aranjuez49
General View51
A Native of Catalonia53
The Cascade55
Señor Bárris’s House57
Snapshot in Señor Bárris’s Garden59
Rambla de las Flores61
The Colon (Columbus) Promenade65
The Columbus Column67
Plaza Del Rey68
Aragon Street69
Lyric Theatre56
Exhibition Hall56
Principal Theatre56 {xi}
The Prim Memorial106
The Monastery71
The Aqueduct73
General View74
The Roman Theatre75
General View76
Winding of the High Road on Cuervo Mountain77
St. Catherine’s Square and Tower78
General View79
The Exchange81
A Valenciana82
Trinity Bridge84
Glorieta Fountain84
The Mediterranean Shore84
Beaching the Boats84
Valencian Beauties240
A Tartana92
General View89
A Native of 92, 93
A Noon-time Halt92
The Harvest Cart92 {xii}
A Cartload of Tinajas92
Church of Santa Maria de la Blanca95
The Visagra Gate96
The Door of the Sun97
The Cathedral99
St. Martin’s Bridge101
Church of San Juan de Los Reyes, Courtyard102
The Cathedral, Central Nave102
Exterior of High Altar102
The Lion Door 102, 104
The High Altar97
Sepulchre of Alonso de Carrillo104
General View of the Choir-stalls100
Church of San Juan de Los Reyes, Retablo104
Alcántara Door and Bridge98
Façade of Santa Cruz98
The Cathedral98
Convent of San Juan de la PenitenciaAppendix
Bridge and Cathedral104
The Mosque106
Cathedral, Choir Stalls106
General Interior View106
At the Fountain162
At the Spring162
In the Court of Oranges140
The Mosque, a Corner inAppendix
Cathedral, Tower
Andalusian Gallantry160
BURGOS {xiii}
The Cathedral, from the Castle109
A General View113
A Native114
View of115
General View116
The Valley of the Jucar117
View from San Juan Hill119
View of Cuenca120
View from the “Barranco de la Zorra” (The Fox’s Hole)125
The Wine Door127
Entrance To the Court of Lions128
The Infantas’ Tower131
El Generaliffe133
The Acequia Court, from Main Entrance134
La Alcaiceria135
View of Albaycin137
Courtyard of an Arab House139
The Generaliffe2
The Ladies’ Tower, The Alhambra15
The Gipsy Quarters15
A Street in Granada14
Arab Silk Market14
Showing the Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada128
The Sacristy of the Cartuja Convent120
The Columbus Memorial140
Group of Gypsies140
Transept and High Altar, Cathedral122
The Court of Lions 130, 132
Hall of Ambassadors 132 {xiv}
The Favourite’s Balcony132
The Court of Lions, A Little Temple in
A Peep into
Little Eastern Temple in
Fountain in
Hall of the Court of Justice and Court of Lions
Interior of the Mosque
The Captive’s Tower
The Sultan’s Bath
The Dressing Room
Hall of the Two Sisters
Hall of the Court of Justice
The Door of Justice
The Captive and Cadid Towers
Washington Irving Hotel
Entrances to the Alhambra
The Court of Myrtles
Gallery in
Palace of Charles V.
Roman Court
The Alhambra and the Sierra Nevada
The Royal Chapel, Cathedral
El Generaliffe, The Acequia Court
Cyprus Court
Gallery in the Acequia Court
A Corner of the Acequia Court
General View, from the Top of the “Giralda,” Looking
Dancing Boys, Cathedral145
The Tower of the Gold146
Girls’ Court in the Alcázar148
Entrance To the Alcázar150
The Alcázar, Ambassador’s Hall 151, 158
A Doorway in152
Cigar Makers154 {xv}
A Sevillian155
The “Sevillanas” Dance156
Cathedral, Exterior146
Fifteenth Century Grating152
The Alcázar, Gardens 148, 150
Sultana’s Quarters158
Intercolumniation, where Don Fadrique was Assassinated158
The Court of Dolls152
San Fernando Square150
A Sevillian Patio162
A Street152
Gallery of Pilate’s House152
View from the Tavira Tower165
View from San Carlos Battery168
View from the “Farola Promenade”169
View from the “Gibralfaro”173
The Gorge176
General View, with the Moorish Bridge of the “Tago de
General View181
General View182
View of the Town 183
Pasajes de San Juan184
Concha Promenade185
General View187
Vizcaya Bridge189
Old Bilbao190
The Arenal Promenade191
The Orconero Iron Ore Company’s Wharf in Luchana193
A Native195
Views in Galicia199
General View of Redondela197
General View201
General View taken from the Old Town200
View from the Castle205
The Wharf207
The Port208
General View209
The Cathedral210
Cloister in Cathedral211
The Cathedral Choir Stalls211 {xvii}
View taken from the Cemetery212
General View213
View of the College, from the Irlandeses214
“Independencia” Promenade215
Pilar Church217
A Flemish Dance218
The Bouquet—The Dawn of St. John’s Day160
At Nuevalos218
The King’s Carriage264
Arrival at the Congress264
Procession of the Coronation Bull-Fight264
General View340
View of the Castle340
The Procession221
Entrance of the Bull223
The Picador227
At Close Quarters230
A Turn with his Back to the Bull233
Fixing the Banderillas235
The Matador237
The Final Stroke239
Entertaining the Bull-Fighters160
Bull-Fighters at the Tavern240 {xviii}
A Picador240
The Union Mine270
Orconera Iron Ore Company278
Orconera Company’s Workings281
The Railway System283
Transport of Ore, Arcocha285
Los Altos Hornos del Disierto287
Terminus of the Mine Railway271
The Canal System272
San Dionisio Shaft306
The Lago Cutting 289, 292
The Frames291
The Cuttings293
Portion of Works, and San Fernando Village276
Cementation Vats277
Head of the Sainte-Barbe Shaft305
The Port of Almeria294
Washing for Alluvial Tin296
A Trench in Tin Ore299
The Railway321
The Castle and Harbour324
The Old Gold Workings303
General View334 {xix}
Alluvial Gold Washing 335
Portion of Buildings 309
A Cutting 310, 317
“Dolores,” “Jaime,” and Main Shaft 311, 313
Galapagar Smelting Works 313
Engine House and Blacksmith’s Shop315
Snapshot Showing Cutting318
Bárris Cutting320
The Church322
Heaps of Copper Ore325
Las Palmas Bridge338
General Map of Spain1
Railway Map of Spain267
Mining Map of Spain273
Map Showing Alluvial Gold District in North-West Spain301



El Escorial43
On the East Coast73
A Peep into Murcia83
Toledo and Córdova95
The Castiles108
Granada and the Alhambra122
In Southern Andalusia164
The Basque Provinces180
In Northern Spain195
The Picture Gallery, Madrid241
Viva el Rey254


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Introductory Chapter.

FROM the wild gorges and noble crags of the Pyrenees, and the treeless and apparently uninhabited sierras of the North—vast, solitary, and impressive—to the snow-capped hills of the mid-interior, “the palms and temples of the South,” and the unrivalled beauty of the country from Seville to Granada—Spain is a land to entrance the traveller. Its great and terribly chequered history is writ large upon the face of the country. Its people have undergone as great, if not greater, vicissitudes than any other people upon the earth, and to-day there does not exist a race more courtly, more sincere, and with more confidence in their country and themselves than the Spanish. As Iberia, Spain was known to the Greeks; the Phœnicians and the Carthaginians have left their traces there: as Hispania, it came beneath the sway of Imperial Rome; it was ravaged by the Franks. For three centuries it was misruled by West Gothic kings: it was conquered, pillaged, and tyrannised over by the Arabs and Moors for nearly 800 years.{2}

Then came the period of Spain’s greatness. When Philip II. ascended the throne in 1556, he became ruler of an immense empire—the first empire on which the sun never set. Portugal was then a portion of Spain by right of conquest; Sicily, a great part of Italy, Holland, and Belgium, practically the whole of the North and the entire Continent of South America, besides the Philippines and other islands in the East, and parts of Africa, were all under Spanish rule. Before he died, in 1598, the power of Spain was at its zenith. At this period the fame and dread of her army was heard and felt through the world; her scientific and artistic eminence was unchallenged. No valour could withstand the charge of the Spanish pikemen; it was the Spanish galleys, under the command of a Spanish prince, that broke the Turks at Lepanto; the palaces of the king were adorned by the glorious genius of Velasquez and Murillo; and all Europe joined in delight over that first great novel of Cervantes.

At the beginning of the 17th century, as the Rev. Wentworth Webster concisely and luminously writes, “the Spanish armies were the first in the world, her navy was the largest: at its close the latter was annihilated, her army was unable, without assistance from Louis XIV., to establish the sovereign of her choice; population had declined from eight to less than six millions, the revenue from 280 to thirty millions; not a single soldier of talent, not a statesman remained to recall the glories of the age of Charles V. and Philip II.; the whole country grovelled in discontent at the foot of unworthy favourites raised to power by court intrigues, and dependent on a foreign prince. A period of resuscitation, under Charles III., was followed by a signal relapse. The influence of the unscrupulous Godoy led to the internal complications which lost Spain her remaining Colonial prestige, and gave the crown of Spain to{3} Joseph Bonaparte. The Peninsular War, the loss of the whole of Spanish Continental America, and the two Carlist wars followed. The war with the United States in 1898 was the preface to the abolition in 1899 of the Spanish Colonial Office as being ‘no longer necessary.’

In my opinion, the deprivation of her Colonial possessions has been a blessing in disguise to Spain, inasmuch as it will afford her the opportunity of embarking on much-needed schemes of domestic reform. As long as her Colonies imposed an almost intolerable drain on the national exchequer, it was impossible for Spain to attend to matters of urgent importance at home. I regret, however, that this was not accomplished in a different way. When the Spanish Government realised that America had determined to acquire Cuba, it was a great pity that they did not entertain the proposals made for the purchase of that island, instead of rendering it necessary for the Cabinet at Washington to find some excuse for the war of conquest upon which they subsequently embarked.

But in spite of the dramatic epoch-making vicissitudes, and the strongly-contrasted periods of greatness and disruption that Spain has experienced by turns, she has altered as little as any European country. The Spaniard is conservative in the best, as well as the worst sense of the word. His pride is at once his curse and his salvation; his lofty but gentle resignation is immensely attractive; his courtliness never fails him. His confidence in himself is, as has been said, unbounded. In the course of a conversation I had with a Castilian recently, he remarked: “We have been referred to as a decaying nation, a country to be plundered and divided up among the European powers. Before Spain is conquered there will be several million corpses between Madrid and the sea.”

Nobody who has any acquaintance with the Peninsula and{4} its people can listen without impatience to the jeremiads of the superior politicians who predict the decay of Spain. For in spite of the accumulated trials, the disasters, and the strife of centuries, there has lived in the hearts and imaginations of the Spanish people a tradition too great to die. They have preserved under the stress of widely-varying fortune a fortitude and dignity which have prevented the nations, who have passed them in prosperity and power, from regarding them except with respect and admiration. Still, as in the days of Cervantes and Velasquez, the true order of nobility has not been that of formal rank so much as that of the whole nation and the characteristic Spaniard, whether the grandee of the court, or the beggar of the highway, has always known how to wrap his cloak about him with an air that seemed to make misfortunes honourable, and all the material success of the commercial ages a form of vulgarity. Notwithstanding the losses which have stripped them from generation to generation of their conquests, down even to the final blows of the war with America, they have dormant reserves of vitality and vigour only awaiting the touch of genuine leadership, and the inspiration of some hopeful national movement, to make a country containing eighteen millions of inhabitants capable of resuming its place as one of the foremost European nations.

In the past few years there has been a growing instinct in Spain that when things have reached their worst they must begin to mend, and that the disappearance of the last vestiges of external empire will assuredly mark the real beginning of national regeneration. That Spain has been mis-governed, her Governments have been incompetent, and her official parasites insatiable is only too true, and it is scarcely to be wondered at if her people have grown dispirited, pessimistic, and distrustful of everybody except their individual selves. After himself, the{5} Spaniard’s first pride is in his native province. Northern Spain has little interest or confidence in the South, nor the East in the West; and North, East, South, and West were, until recently, supremely indifferent to the course of events in any other quarter of the globe. But this self-concentration is gradually disappearing, the Spaniard is learning to regard himself with an “outside eye,” and the outside world with a broader sympathy. Moreover, he has come to view the resources of his country in a more practical and business-like light, catching, it may be, the reflection of the awakened interest that they are attracting among the neighbouring nations.

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For many years now, Spain has formed a great and interesting problem. In a book, published in 1884, we read as follows: “English and German papers are continually proclaiming the fact, and usually painting the situation in rosy hues; statesmen are cherishing ideas of commercial treaties, and relations of closer friendship and wider import; merchants are turning eager and inquiring eyes upon the comparatively untried ground: and speculators are fondly hoping that they have at last discovered, after many lean years, an El Dorado in Spain that shall not prove barren or unfruitful.{6}

That the reaction was imminent at the time the foregoing was penned cannot be doubted, but the hoped-for movement was checked by the declaration of war by the United States in 1899. The consequences of that terrible and futile struggle fell with paralysing severity upon the whole country, but the story of the war cannot be regarded as a fair test of the military prestige of her people. Nothing was wanting in the warlike impact to throw into relief the condition of the country as contrasted with the temper of her sons. All the chivalry of ancient Spain was fully displayed. Individual courage and bravery were splendidly in evidence. But they availed nothing against the nation that had made haste to take the fullest advantage of modern methods and appliances. The weakness of her fleet, the mismanagement of her military system, and the inefficiency of officialdom in every branch of the Government were laid bare, and it was from this combination of causes, and not from any degeneracy in her soldiers or lack of valour, that Spain owed her defeat.

But by this revelation the Spanish people were awakened to the fact that they were behind the times; that their forms of government were antiquated and inefficient; that all their national institutions cried aloud for re-organisation and reform. Slowly at first, but increasing in momentum as the blessings of peace made themselves felt, the forward movement has proceeded along the entire line of politics, commerce, and public affairs. But if the great work is to progress, as lovers of Spain would desire to see it, the difference that at present exists between the Spaniard, in his individual, his collective, and his official capacity must disappear. This distinction has been emphasised before, but it is so remarkable as to require a note in passing. Self-interest, which is an integral part of human nature, is, or rather was, the most highly-developed, in fact, the abnormal{7} trait of the Spanish official. He was irregular in his methods, and grasping—irregular, because irregularity was connived at; greedy, because he was forced by the paucity of his pay to live by the perquisites of his office. In his collective capacity the Spaniard is mistrustful, strong-headed, and apt to prove unreliable. Yet, individually, the Spaniard is remarkable for the excellence of his personal and moral qualities. Truth and valour are his by heredity, his personal honour is unassailable, his graceful courtesy and air of high breeding make him a delightful companion and a valued friend. He is quick to take offence, but he never, through ignorance or tactlessness, proffers one; he is slow to bestow his confidence, but he never, without cause, withdraws it. You may trust him with your purse, your life, and your reputation. And this wonderful combination of qualities is common alike to the nobles, the townsmen, and the country people. All appear to have inherited the same dignity and grace of manner, and the same sterling moral qualities.

Borrow, who had an intimate knowledge of and admiration for the Spanish people, has declared that, in their social intercourse, no people in the world exhibit a juster feeling of what is due to the dignity of human nature than the Spaniards. Spain still retains all those old world, social, and personal graces with which poetry, painting, and romance have made the untravelled familiar. Grace is not necessarily a virtue, but it is a flower often found on the path that leads to it. And these flowers spring as naturally from racial instincts as do the more prominent traits exhibited in etiquette and statecraft. Spanish character is touched; nay, it is entirely imbued with the “grace of a day that is dead.” The very beggars, whom you encounter in every bye-way, do not lack this native grace which no mere acquirement could exhibit. The receiver of a dole regards it as a tacit acknowledgment that he is worthy of{8} it on principle. But there is a certain charm in Spanish indolence, even in its indigence, which is as much a production of the country as are the soft skies and natural beauties that form its fitting background. The politeness of the peasantry is proverbial, but they are keenly alive to the point of an equal return of civility. Even the brigand was wont to regard himself as a great caballero: and he was often disarmed by a frank and confident air which tacitly acknowledged him on that footing. The idler pursues his vocation as if imbued with a full sense of its sufficiency, and supplements it with a grace beyond the reach of art. Truly this is a nation of nobles, and here is a foundation of national character which has in the past, and will again make the Spanish race one of the greatest powers of the world.

Will Spain revive? The problem is exercising the thoughts of all Europe—by those who do not know better the question is assumed to be also exercising the thoughts of all good Spaniards. As a matter of fact, the Spaniard is above such speculation. He knows his high destiny, and he will fulfil himself. His confidence is supreme, and it is justified. He has driven back every invader, and remains in full possession of one of the noblest countries in the world, nearly the size of France, with a climate which, if he were permitted to re-forest his plateaux, would be as good, though warmer, with the same power, if industry were set free, of producing wine, and oil, and wheat: and with deposits below the soil incomparably greater than those of his successful neighbour; and, perhaps, as rich as any country in the world. Spain, as we were recently reminded by a well-informed writer in the Spectator, is a “treasure house of minerals never yet rifled, though from the days of the Phœnicians to those of the Rio Tinto, countless speculators have been breaking into little corners and going away enriched.”

And what is her position to-day? She has 18,000,000 of{9} people, who, if they are not as industrious as either Germans or Englishmen, will, when properly rewarded, work as energetically as any Southern race, and will save their wages. Her children are as brave as any in the world: able, if fairly led, to face any other troops, and with a special faculty at once of endurance and abstinence which scarcely any other troops possess. Seated on the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, with a nearly impenetrable frontier to the North, and only Africa to the South, she occupies, perhaps, the best position both for war and trade possessed by any European State: and will, with a decent administration and a new revenue, become once more as great a maritime Power as she was till Admiral Jervis defeated her fleet off Cape Vincent. She could not, perhaps, rule the Mediterranean; but she could, by alliances, render it impossible for any other Power to rule. Above all, she could suddenly add to her strength, not by conquest, but by wisely-applied pressure and support, the whole force of Portugal—Prim nearly achieved this. Spain might thus assume, with an increasing population, fairly rich and entirely contented, that position of a great Power, which she has never entirely lost. The potentialities of Spain justify Spanish pride.{10}


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AMONG the cities of Spain, I write first of Madrid, because I knew it first, and because I know of no city that has been more systematically and unjustifiably maligned. My first visit to Madrid was undertaken on business grounds; but I have returned there many times since, and always with feelings of the keenest pleasure. There is, to me, what the Americans describe as a “homey” air about the city, that may in a measure be accounted for by the good fortune I have had in finding friends there. The friendship of a Spaniard is so genuine, and inspiriting, and whole-hearted, that an Englishman cannot in a moment comprehend it. When a Spaniard{11} extends his friendship to you, your comfort, your interests, and your honour becomes as much a matter for his concern as his own. I first learned to understand this in Madrid. At that time the English were not reported to be held in favour in Spain, and I was advised to be prepared for an unfriendly reception. But I was, on that visit, and on each subsequent visit, agreeably disappointed; and although I have wandered pretty extensively over many parts of the Peninsula, I have

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never found it to be other than an advantage to be an Englishman. I have seen the Britisher hustled in Paris, scowled at in Italy, and made the butt of cheap Teutonic wit in Germany, but in Spain he is invariably treated with the kindest consideration. I was told by an English engineer that the explanation of this friendly attitude, on the part of the Spanish people, was to be found in the fact that the country has not yet endured the curse of the average British tourist. It may be so,{12} yet the influence of the English is very marked in the city of Madrid, if not to the full extent that it appears to be at first sight.

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An American writer, who “did” Spain in the customary slapdash, get-there-and-get-away-again-fashion of American globetrotters, was not a little chagrined to find in Madrid, English goods, English manners, and English influence predominating over those of any other foreign nation. In Spain, American means South American, and the Yankee is indiscriminately included in the category labelled “Ingleses.” American tram-cars and other Trans-atlantic inventions are thus wrongly credited to the English; and the writer declares that his indignation rose to fever-heat when he entered a place marked “English drinks,” and beheld a genuine American soda-fountain. It must be, I think, due not a little to this unintentional injustice to the land of the great spread-eagle that this same writer finds Madrid ill-favoured and exceedingly noisy, its bread unappetising and heavy, and its butter bad. He cannot bring himself to admire the Puerta del Sol, which is “an ordinary square, such as may be found in almost any city of a hundred thousand inhabitants;” and as for the climate, he flippantly dismisses it in a phrase—“nine months’ winter and three months’ hell.” In a more{13} gracious mood he is inclined to think that the surroundings have been too much depreciated by tourists and guide-book makers; while in the rapid increase in the population, together with the healthy appearance of the inhabitants, he discovers an indication that it may be “not quite as bad as its reputation.”

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In the foregoing, we have a precis of the generally-accepted opinion of Madrid, and it is one in which I cannot concur. The conscious superiority of the American critic has led him into error, and I strongly deprecate these hasty and ill-formed conclusions upon the climate, the situation, and the city itself, which are responsible for its undeserved reputation. Madrid stands at an elevation of 2,500 English feet above the sea level, in the centre of an open country, and splendid views of the capital are obtained from several miles around. Whatever may be thought as to the wisdom of selecting a capital in the centre of a great plain, and with no water communication with the outposts of the kingdom, one cannot but admire both its position and the magnificence of its buildings. It is a city that, from the first moment of viewing, throughout an entire visit,{14} commands a whole-hearted admiration. Immediately in front of the point of arrival, the Northern Station, there rises up the splendid Palacio Real, a huge building forming a square of 470 feet; and which, by reason both of its situation and general appearance, is one of the most magnificent in the world. What is true of the Palace is equally true of the other buildings of the capital, the splendour of which is common to all the public structures. But the natural features are a separate consideration.

The best view of the country surrounding the capital is to be obtained from the Parque de Madrid. Whether you like the prospect or not is purely a matter of individual taste. From this eminence, the vast campagna is stretched out to its greatest advantage; and for my own part, I know few that can compare with it. The immensity of the panorama alone entitles it to respect. On every side, save where the Guadarrama fling their rugged peaks skywards, the expanse is bordered only by the far distant horizon. The sense of space that the picture conveys is irresistibly impressive—it is more than a sight; it is an experience. I have seen it when the land has grown lifeless and shabby for want of rain, and when the coming storm has caused the swift clouds to drag their huge shadows across the broad landscape, and when, after the rains, the green pasture is lit by a purple hue, and at night, when the indigo sky is filled with a moon of such brilliancy, and stars of such irridescence, that the whole earth was more brightly illuminated than Piccadilly Circus at midnight.

The climate of Madrid has suffered greatly from the strictures of visitors, who, from one cold breeze, or a single rain storm, consider themselves competent to form, and justified in publishing abroad, their opinions. That the city is subject to sudden changes of temperature is incontestable. Perched as it is on a{15}

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commanding table-land so far above the level of the sea, it is swept by every breeze that blows across the wide expanse of plains by which it is surrounded. On the northern side, the horizon is jagged by the snow-capped peaks of the noble Guadarrama; and when the wind sets in from that direction, it comes like an icy blast, bringing, as the guide-book writers aver, chills and acute pneumonia with it. But the climate, though treacherous on this account, is not unhealthy. It is true that pneumonia is unhappily prevalent among the men of Madrid, but the women are singularly free from the malady. There is a reason, of course, for this curious anomaly, and it is to be found in the different fashions in which the men and women protect themselves from the climate. The men, as a class, are abominators of fresh air, and an “eager and a nipping air” is to them a malignant danger to be avoided at any cost. They live in houses, cafes, and clubs heated to the temperature of a second-class New York hotel at mid-winter, without ventilation, and rendered stuffy from over much tobacco smoke. When they venture into the streets they encase themselves in heavy cloaks, throw the “capas,” or velvet-lined capes across their mouths, and stifle behind its oppressive folds. Is it to be wondered at, that, if by any chance the chilled wind should penetrate, or, as more often happens, deprive the muffled pedestrian for the space of a few inspirations of his accustomed protector, his lungs should suffer the inevitable consequences?

But the women face the elements with a sane hardihood that makes the “coddlings” of their men folks seem more inexplicable by comparison. Clad in sensible, thick dresses, supplemented perhaps by a fur cape, they brave the Winter winds with unmuffled throats, and their heads covered only with a light mantilla; while the working women trust almost entirely to the natural protection afforded by their splendid hair. The result is that, while pneu{18}monia is a veritable curse to the men, it is practically unknown among the women.

The present excellent system of watering the streets that has been adopted in Madrid, has greatly moderated the excessive dryness of the atmosphere in Summer; and the increase of vegetation around and in the city is sensibly affecting the climate. I was in Madrid one Autumn in the rainy season. I have had some experience of the tropical rainfalls of mid-Australia, where sandy tracks are converted in a few hours into mighty rivers, and waggon ruts in the bosom of a hill become rushing cataracts; but the rain that I watched for a fortnight from the luxurious shelter of the Hotel de Paris was every bit as business-like and effective. When it was over, the foliage had put on a brighter green, wild flowers had sprung up in profusion, and the lazy, imperturbable Manzanares had become an angry, turbulent river. Madrid is then a sight that it is worth enduring a fortnight of incessant rain to see.

Coming as I did direct to Madrid, and regarding the city with eyes unacquainted with Spanish sights, I was quick to note all the individual characteristics of its architecture, its crowds, and its popular customs; but even without the standards of other Spanish towns by which to form a comparison, I could not fail to be impressed by the cosmopolitan appearance of the capital. Madrid and Barcelona are many years in advance of any other city in Spain; they have not outgrown their national characteristics, but they have adopted with broad-minded opportunism the improvements that intercourse with other nations has made them cognisant of. The casual visitor to Madrid would, perhaps, not regard it as a go-ahead city; and, indeed, I am assured that only those who have a long acquaintance with the Spanish capital can appreciate the advances it has made in the last half-century. It has extended its boundaries, improved its condition,{19}

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and increased its notable buildings in an almost marvellous manner. The present Plaza de Toros, the magnificent viaduct across the Calle de Segovia, the Markets, the Hippodrome, and the Parque de Madrid are all the creation of some twenty-five years. And as Madrid has grown, the Madrileño has advanced. He, and more particularly she, has progressed at the expense of the picturesque. English women are the beneficiaries of French fashions, because they have no style of their own—no peculiar modes or costumes that became them peculiarly as a race. Somebody once said that an English woman was only a French woman badly dressed. It was a libel; but, notwithstanding, she has lent truth to the definition by her anxiety to remedy the defection. The English woman who covets the distinction of being well dressed buys her gowns in Paris; but, in so doing, she improves, she does not alter, her style of costumes. She gains in effectiveness without the sacrifice of individuality. But the Spanish woman, though having something to gain by this Parisian attachment, has something also to lose. She had her “velo”—her coquettish adornment with its rose fastening, and her fan. With these, which suited her Spanish face to perfection, she was characteristic, fascinating, adorable; but French millinery demanded the renunciation of the “velo,” and taught her to forget the witchery of the fan and the grace of the natural rose; and artists, experts, even the ordinary, impressionable Englishman without æsthetic tendencies, may be allowed a regret for the decay of a national means to a beautiful end.

To me, a stroll through the thoroughfares of Madrid is a source of never-ending pleasure. I delight in its wide, clean streets, its gay squares each containing a garden, fountain, and statuettes, its crowded cafes, its promenades, its spectacles, and its unending animation and bustle and crowded life. The street Alcalá, which divides Madrid in half, is magnificent in its{22} proportions. The Prado, made enchanting by its carriage drives and its avenues, filled with beautiful women, is a panorama of which one cannot have a surfeit; while the people, and the variety of life in the Puerta del Sol is in itself a sight that shall not be witnessed in any other city in Europe.

The Puerta del Sol is the living room of Madrid. It is a mingling of salon, promenade, theatre, academy, garden, a square-of-arms, and a market. The Italian author, Edmondo De Amicis, was so fascinated with its attractions, that during the first few days of his stay in Madrid, he was unable to tear himself away from the spot. The change, the colour, and the contrasts that it presents are admirably summed up in his description of the crowd that from daybreak until one o’clock in the morning throng this famous thoroughfare. Here gather the merchants, the disengaged demagogues, the unemployed clerks, the aged pensioners, and the elegant young men; here they traffic, talk politics, make love, promenade, read the newspapers, hunt down their debtors, seek their friends, prepare demonstrations against the Ministry, and weave the gossip of the city. Upon the side-walks, which are wide enough to allow four carriages to pass abreast, one has to use one’s elbows to force a way. On a single paving-stone you see a civil guard, a match-vendor, a broker, a beggar, and a soldier, all in one group. Crowds of students, servants, generals, officials, peasants, toreros, and ladies pass; importunate beggars ask for alms in your ear; cocottes question you with their eyes; courtesans hit your elbow; on every side you see hats lifted, hand-shakings, smiles, pleasant greetings, cries of “Largo” from laden porters, and merchants with their wares hung from the neck; you hear shouts of newspaper sellers, shrieks of water vendors, blasts of the diligence horns, cracking of whips, clanking of sabres, strumming of guitars, and songs of the blind.{23}

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In this description, De Amicis does not omit a single one of the various noises and incidents that are to be heard and seen in the Puerta del Sol—indeed, the fault of his description is one of commission rather than omission. For instance, I have never yet been elbowed there by a woman, even by accident, who, to the evidence of the sense of sight, was a courtesan. This fact leads me to the reflection that in two respects Madrid is ahead of any European capital that I have visited—it neither flaunts its vices, nor finds excuse for founding a total abstinence movement. I have never seen there an intoxicated man or a representative of what Rudyard Kipling has described as “the oldest profession in the world.” I am not pretending that I believe Madrid to be entirely free from this particular traffic—no city that has American, French, or even English tourists on its visitors’ list could hope for that—but whatever there is, is kept decently out of sight. Any grandmother may inspect the photographs exhibited in the shops without a blush: and the volumes which are exposed to view in the booksellers’ windows do not appeal to the lower passions of the reading public, while as for “the curse of drink,” Spain does not understand the meaning of the phrase. The Spaniard is temperate by temperament, by custom and by heredity. The climate of Spain is antagonistic to strong drink, and the Spanish character revolts against the abuse of it. It would not be too much to say that the Spaniard regards a drunken man with much the same feelings as an Englishman looks upon the Spanish national sport of bull-fighting.

To anyone, other than the American on the make-haste, the Puerta del Sol, the subject from which I have digressed, is a feature which appeals irresistibly to the student of humanity. It is the centre where all the great arteries of circulation meet and diverge, where the chief pulse of Madrid life beats hardest, and the high tide of affairs flow and ebb. Here are situated{26} many of those huge, highly-decorated cafes where the Madrilenians congregate to discuss politics, and settle the affairs of the nation over good coffee and the most excellent chocolate; here is the Home Office; and here, too, is the handsome Hotel de Paris. Even this imposing and supremely comfortable hotel is not without its detractor. The author of a book of jottings, which I came across recently, wrote of it: “I did not particularly like the place, and the manager and servants of the hotel did nothing to render our visit agreeable.” From my knowledge of the hotel and its management, I feel justified in stigmatising this expression as a gratuitous libel. A more charming welcome, or more graceful attention, or more solid comfort than I have invariably found at the Hotel de Paris, in Madrid, is not to be obtained in any hostelry in Europe. It is on these grounds that Sres. Baeza have built for the establishment they direct a reputation equal to that of the Hotel Chatham, in Paris; the Carlton, in London; the Hermitage, in Monte Carlo; and the Hotel Bristol, in Berlin. The opinion I have quoted is that of a traveller who “had heard such miserable accounts of Madrid” that he had “almost abandoned the idea of going there at all;” and who, having been there, can apply to the capital such adjectives as “cheerless,” “gloomy” and “depressing;” but yet he cannot say that he “conceived any violent hatred to the city.” In poll-parrotting the opinion of Theophile Gautier, which was expressed nearly half a century ago, about a Madrid which is as different from the capital of to-day as Madrid of to-day is, thank heaven! from Chicago, this writer, doubtless, considers that he has earned a repute for erudition and original observation surpassed only by that of Gautier himself.

In the Puerta del Sol is the Imperial cafe, an immense hall, comparable only in its size and the gaudiness of its decorations{27}

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with the Fornos in the Street Alcalá, or the Colon, in Barcelona. Long after the theatres and the handsome Opera House is closed, and the hour of midnight is past, the city remains illuminated, the streets are filled with carriages, and the cafes are just as crowded as at the beginning of the evening. If you glance into the Imperial before the doors are open, or, as I was privileged to do, after the doors were closed, you would marvel, as I did, that so vast a room should find customers sufficient to fill it; yet, for the previous eight hours without intermission, each table had possessed its complement of guests, and every chair had been occupied. And, in addition to these mammoth halls, there are innumerable others throughout the city in which a hundred couples could dance easily. I have been told, and I see no reason for doubting the statement, that enormous sums are quickly amassed by the cafe proprietors in Madrid and Barcelona. For the huge Colon cafe in the latter city, the present tenant agreed to rebuild the cafe and pay the sum of £12,000 for ten years occupation only. This he did, and although only half the time of his tenure has expired, he has made a fortune after deducting the cost of building.

Wherever one wanders in this “cheerless” and “depressing” city, one’s eyes are delighted with the constantly changing groups of all ages, colour, and costume; one’s ears are filled with sounds of laughter, and song, and merriment: and one’s senses are galvanised by the vivacity, the gaiety, and the almost feverish overflow of pleasure by which one is surrounded. Stroll, if you will, through the beautiful gardens of the Plaza Mayor (the grand square of Madrid), saunter by the open shops of the Calle de Toledo, cross the oval-shaped Plaza de Oriente, which lies between the Royal Palace and the Royal Theatre, linger on any of the many handsome bridges, or promenade the beautiful prados—the Bank of Spain, one of the finest public{30} buildings in Europe, is situated in the Salon del Prado—and you shall never escape the carnival spirit that animates young and old, rich and poor alike.

Rich as Madrid is in obelisks, fountains, and splendid statuary, it has fewer architectural and antiquarian attractions to afford the visitor than such cities as Toledo, Granada, or Córdova; but it has a Royal Picture Gallery which contains one of the finest, if not the very finest collection of old masters in the world. Velasquez is to be seen here, and here only, in all his power. Titian is also represented, as also are Raffælle, Veronese, Murillo, Juan Juanes, Rubens, Tenier, and many others. Rembrandt alone, of all the great artists, is limited to a single specimen; but there is a whole host of comparatively unknown and yet veritable masters, from the sixteenth century Antonio Moro, Coello, and Pantoja de la Cruz, through Pacheco, Ribera (with, after all, his only too life-like representations of what old days and old saints were), Zurbaran and Alonso Cano, down to Valdés Leal; or, the Goya and Lopez of but a century ago. This quiet Museo is a veritable home of art. It is all in such deliciously small compass, all so well ordered, all so good. One has not to walk miles before attaining to favourite spots, or to stare over acres of unresponsive canvas before lighting upon familiar faces, or even to command one’s temper against officialism or jostling. All is contained in a few rooms, and that by exclusion of the bad rather than through poverty. In the neighbouring Academia of San Fernando—the Academy of Fine Arts—in the Calle Alcalá, there is, besides a fine collection of minerals, precious stones, and the finest zoological department in Spain, several excellent Murillos, Riberas, and Zurbarans, a characteristic Rubens and some sketches of Goya’s. A visit should also be paid to the Armeria Real. Here is housed probably the very finest collection of armour in the world, a{31}

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collection that is not only a perfect epitome of the history of the science of attack and defence, but is full likewise of touching record and suggestion.

The Royal Palace of Madrid is admittedly one of the most magnificent in the world; it is, in every sense of the word, a Royal residence. The building is a square of 470 feet by 100 feet high, occupying, it is said, the site of the original outpost alcazar of the Moors. The exterior, despite its noble proportions, does not fulfil the expectations inspired by the distant view; but once it is entered, the princely magnificence of its decorations fills the beholder with feelings of wondering ecstacy. Throughout the palace the appointments are of extreme richness, and remind one of a time when Spain was in the zenith of its glory. All the countries of Europe have been laid under tribute for the art treasures that crowd every corner. In one apartment there is a collection of timepieces, some of which are worth almost their weight in gold, and they were all collected by one monarch; while another sovereign devoted much time to completing a collection of china which is one of the proudest possessions of the palace. Other kings have covered the walls with the priceless works of old masters, and the result is a gallery of paintings of various schools which is one of the wonders of Europe. But undoubtedly the finest apartment in the palace is the throne room, which glows with rich colouring and scintillates with a lavish display of precious metals. The superb throne, made for the husband of Mary of England, is entirely of silver; the huge lions that mount guard on each side being of the same metal. Marbles of almost every colour of the rainbow are to be seen everywhere; and the furniture, made of the rarest of inlaid woods, delights the eye with its graceful form. The whole apartment is given a finished and warm appearance by the costly hangings of crimson velvet. The ball{34} room of the palace is the largest in Europe. All the arts and manufactures seem to have contributed to its splendour.

In Madrid I sampled for the first time the cooking of the country. The untravelled Englishman still clings to the superstition that the visitor to Spain must either starve, or condescend to consume food fried in rancid oil and seasoned with garlic. The fastidious tourist will be fed as well in Spain, both in the cities and the country inns, as in any city or provincial district in Europe. That born master of commissariat, the Switzer, has introduced himself into the country; and he has banished garlic and bad oil from Spain, even as he expelled “rare” beef and parboiled cabbages in England. But the hotel charges of New York and Paris have not yet been adopted in Madrid, and one can live sumptuously at the Hotel de Paris for £1 per day. Throughout Spain the charges are remarkably reasonable, and in the principal cities 10s. a day, including wine at meals and all et ceteras, is the average at the best hotels.

But the cooking of the Hotel de Paris is not to be met with all over Spain, nor are the menus of the city caravansary the ones adopted for the general use throughout the country districts. Pork, in its various phases—bacon, ham and sausage—is the meat par excellence of provincial Spain, occupying the same elevated position in the department of gastronomy as English beef, Welsh mutton, and Irish potatoes. Judging from the Continent generally, an Englishman is apt to fancy that a rasher is a delicacy confined to the British Isles; but before he has been long in Spain, he will discover the truth of Ford’s eulogium: “The pork of Spain has always been unequalled in flavour. The bacon is fat and well flavoured; the sausages delicious, and the hams transcendently superlative, to use the very expression of Diodorus Siculus, a man of great taste, learning and judgment. Of all the things of Spain, no one need{35}

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feel ashamed to plead guilty to a predilection and preference for the pig.” And wherever one travels in the peninsula, one is met by the local dish, which is, indeed, rather a dinner than a dish; and when one has become used to it, it is both satisfying and exquisite. The puchero, or stew, would have delighted the heart and stomach of Huckleberry Finn, whose gastronomic prejudices, it will be remembered, favoured a “barrel of odds and ends” in which “things get mixed up and the juice kinds of swaps around and things go better.” The chief ingredients of the national puchero are bacon, beef, fowl, according to the state of the larder, cooked in one mass with garbanzos, a bean of peculiar size and tenderness and flavour, cabbage, carrots, gourd and long-pepper, a sausage or two being thrown in by way of make weight. The puchero is amenable to unending expansion, according to the status of the householder. Where the means are straightened, it consists of meat and garbanzos only, but the wealthy housewife adds to it a hundred delicious tit-bits; and if the juice that “kinds of swaps around” is sometimes a trifle over-seasoned, the general result is, as a rule, delicious. Dumas has left it on record that he suffered from hunger in Spain. I can only suppose that the supply of puchero was insufficient for his requirements. I cannot believe that the dish deprived him of his appetite. Then, again, the Spaniards are great people for sweets; they are, indeed, masters of this branch of the culinary art, and their preserved fruits and quince jelly seems to form an indispensable complement to the dinner table; while their fruits and vegetables, their oranges, Malaga grapes, asparagus and artichokes are famous in song and story.

In one field of enterprise, and that, curiously enough, the one in which their late antagonists, the Americans, claim pre-eminence over the civilised world, viz., in the journalistic arena,{38} Madrid is ahead of New York, England, and Paris. In influence the press of Spain is second to none; in variety it is equal to that of Paris; and in La Correspondencia de España, Madrid has invented a newspaper which has no counterpart in any other city in the world. It is supposed that nobody can retire to rest before reading the latest edition of this “night-cap of Madrid,” as it is commonly styled; and it is certain that few people in the capital, who profess to take a lively interest in the world’s doings, ever go to bed until they have perused it. It is innocent of politics, and almost contemptuous of parties. The object of its wealthy originator and proprietor is not to propagate views, but to give news. Nothing in Spain, or out of it, which reaches Madrid is omitted from La Correspondencia, of which there are three editions published during the day, the last of which appears somewhere between ten o’clock and midnight. Nobody takes it for its views, or its special articles, although the mania of the moment has seized its millionaire proprietor, and compelled him to adopt something of the movement of contemporary journalism, but for its news it is read by everybody in Madrid. Its advertisement charges are, consequently, very high; and also, consequently, it has its imitators. But they do not prosper.

Although the Spaniard has an enormous capacity for enjoyment, his popular pastimes are not numerous. Bull-fighting, as I shall explain, is meat and drink to him, and it is something more, because it is his horse-racing, cricket, football, and the prize-ring rolled into one. It is his National sport. Horse-racing is creeping into popularity; but although all Madrid attends the meetings at the Hippodrome, and ladies don their most gorgeous gowns to do honour to the sport, it is doubtful if it will imperil the strong position which the bulls hold in the affections of the people. After bull-fighting, the only other{39} universal amusement is the guitar and the dance. The upper classes affect polo and tennis; in the Basque provinces Pelota rouses enthusiasm, and cock-fighting is still practised amongst the lower classes in most of the Spanish towns; but these must be classed in “side-shows” in the gallery of their general recreations.

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A widespread and entirely erroneous impression prevails in this country that the Spanish national dances are indecent. People who entertain this notion may dispense with it as soon as possible. Londoners are frequently given the opportunity of witnessing Spanish dancing at the Alhambra by Otero, or Guerrero, or that even more splendid exponent of the art, Consuelo Tortajada. I was present one evening at London’s Alhambra, when the last-named was dancing the “Malagueña”—a variety to which the description “poetry of motion” may be applied with full justice—and a spectator remarked to me: “Very fine, very fine indeed, but you should see it danced in Madrid. You wouldn’t recognise it for the same thing.” And his look{40} was more meaningful than his words. Although he was not aware of it, he had informed me that he had never been to Madrid, or at least had never witnessed the Andalucian dance on the stage of a theatre there; and I suspect that if I had displayed a craving for further information, I should have been assured that Spanish women generally are ladies of flexible ethics, who indulge in cigarettes. I believe that by paying for the edifying spectacle, certain gipsy dances of the Hindoo “nautch” variety can be witnessed in the gipsy quarter of Seville; but the Spaniard leaves these exhibitions to the English and American tourists, who call it “studying the life of the country,” or “gaining experience.” Those shows have no more connection with the national dances than has burglary with the marriage service. In the streets outside the cafes, and in the theatres, the dances of Spain are as irreproachable as a pas de seul by Miss Topsy Sinden.

In the Spanish theatre, with the exception of the leading playhouses in the larger cities, the two, and even more shows a night system is an ancient and universal practice. The pieces are short, and the charges for admission are not based on the idea of so much a seat, but so much a piece. Each item costs the spectator fivepence, and the audience is constantly being changed and renewed during the evening. Variety is the spice of the entertainment; and in the provincial towns, where the theatres are always well patronised, a constant change of bill is maintained. Madrid alone supports no less than nineteen theatres; and Madrid, let it be remembered, is a city with under half-a-million inhabitants. At the same rate, London would have over two hundred.

If one could extend the list of amusements without fear of being thought irreverent, I should be inclined to include the saints’ festivals in this category. Although these religious{41} observances are conducted with sincere devotional decorum, they provide, as they do in all Roman Catholic countries, the excuse for, as well as the main feature of, a general holiday. I have seen many festival crowds in Spain, and the good humour, the innocent happiness and universal sobriety that characterise them, is to an Englishman acquainted with English holiday-makers, as novel as it is delightful. The festival of San Isidro del Campo, the tutelary saint of Madrid, is the principal festival of the Madrilenian year, and is religiously celebrated by all the lower classes and the peasants

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who come from the neighbouring villages. It takes place on May 15th, and provides the most genuine bit of local colour that is to be witnessed outside Toledo. The great concourse sets out early; and crossing the Manzanares, follows a road which is lined with men and women offering their “agua fresca” (cold water) from large jugs. Water, it may be noted, is the staple beverage of all Spanish fairs and festivals. On the other side of the river—in May, the Manzanares belies the description—the miscellaneous vehicles (some drawn by as many as six mules) discharge their crowded freights, and soon the country is like an ant-hill, except that ants are usually in mourning, and do not wear such bright colours as the peasant women and the soldiers who form so large a portion of the crowd. There are innumerable booths for eating and drinking, and other common features of folk festivals. More{42} unique are the family groups scattered everywhere, eating their slices of cold meat, salad, red pepper and oranges. Many have their wine in the same old pig-skins of which one reads in Don Quixote. At every hundred yards there is some sort of primitive music, to the rhythm of which the young men and young women dance with an expression of delighted absorption. Indeed the whole crowd wear a look of indifference to the past and future, and a determination to make the most of the passing moment. Away up the hill are long rows of booths with pottery, toys for children and cakes, and further up still is the saint’s chapel, into which all the people crowd in turn to kiss a silver image held by the priest, to receive a printed picture of the saint, and to drop a copper. But that wonderful crowd, whether at dance, or meat, or its devotion, contained the greatest number of happy faces I have ever seen together in my life.{43}

El Escorial.

ANOTHER of the Spanish royal residences, of which no other European country can boast so many, is, to give the edifice its correct title: “El Real sitio de San Lorenzo el Real del Escorial,” which is situated some twenty-five miles from Madrid. The ancient glory of El Escorial, its revenues, its monks and its magnificence, are vanished, but the activity and importance of the district have been revived by virtue of the wonderful copper mines which lie almost under the shadow of the mighty walls of the historical building. The immediate vicinity of the Escorial is extremely beautiful. Close at hand rises a mountain range, highly picturesque in form and outline, and of a colouring singularly rich and varied, while many of the upland slopes are clothed with thickets and bushy patches of copse-wood, their varied tints thrown into bright relief by the dark grey rocks cropping out here and there along the face of the mountain. Immediately below lies the park with its dark foliage of ibex, while to the east lies a tiny lake, which glistens under the early sunbeams.

The Escorial, which has been pronounced to be the “eighth wonder of the world,” owed its existence to Philip II. and the celebrated architects, Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera, and is at once a palace, a monastery and the pantheon of the monarchs of Spain. Formerly, it was known as the Royal Monastery of St. Lawrence, and it was raised in commemoration of the battle of St. Quentin, when the Spanish army routed the French on the festival day of the martyr, St.{44} Lawrence. Philip II., or the architect, or both, are commonly believed to have designedly planned the outline of the building in the shape of a gridiron, out of respect for the butchered saint, whose martyrdom on one of those utensils is a matter of history. Probably, however, chance rather than design is responsible for the exact plan; though there can be no doubt, looking down at the Escorial from the top of the neighbouring mountains, that the simile is justifiable. A desire to protect majesty from the keen winds and to obtain for majesty’s apartments the bulk of the sunshine in the neighbourhood, perhaps helped to make the Escorial what it is, architecturally speaking.

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Before the French invasion, the church teemed with treasures of art—sacred vessels of gold and silver—a multitude of shrines—reliquaires—and a tabernacle of such exquisite workmanship, that it was wont to be spoken of as worthy to be one of the ornaments of the celestial altar. All these were destroyed by La Houssage’s troopers when they occupied the Escorial in 1808, by way of giving vent to their national feeling respecting the battle of St. Quentin, two-and-a-half centuries before. The Escorial sustained a still greater loss in 1837, during the Carlist war, when about a hundred of the choicest paintings were removed, for safety’s sake, to the Museo at Madrid.

The exploration of the Escorial is a formidable undertaking, comprising as it does the inspection of a palace, a convent, two{45}

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colleges, three chapter-houses and three libraries, with their concomitant complement of halls, dormitories, refectories and infirmaries. There are no fewer than eighty-six staircases; and someone, gifted with a turn for statistics, has calculated that to visit every individual room and to traverse each staircase and corridor, would occupy four entire days, and carry the adventurer over a distance of about a hundred and twenty English miles. The square of the building covers 500,000 feet; there are eighty-eight fountains, fifteen cloisters, sixteen courtyards, and 3,000 feet of painted fresco.

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Twenty-one years were occupied in its construction, but a century did not suffice to collect the wonderful literary treasures which it now contains. One of the most famous MSS. in the Escorial library is the “Libro de Oro,” the letters of which are composed of eight kilogrammes (18 lbs.) of gold leaf. These{48} letters, which are of course very thin, are attached to parchment. Forty-two richly-decorated altars are to be seen in the interior of the palace church, but more wonderful in their way than the altars are the service books for the use of the choir. It is said that each leaf of each book was made from an entire calf-skin, 17,000 skins being used in the process.

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Beneath the church is the burial place of the kings of Spain; the one spot, one would imagine, where etiquette would not rule; but where, in reality, it is most rigorously observed; for right royal dust must not mingle with the dust of princes, and a separate pantheon was for this cause built for those sons of kings who had not actually worn the purple. Apart from its treasures and its curiosities, there is one quarter of the Escorial which is of particular interest to English-speaking peoples. In three small rooms, as bare as the cell of the anchorite, dwelt the husband of Queen Mary of England, that monkish and forbidding sovereign at whose command the myriad ships of{49} the Invincible Armada were hurled against England. His ambition was to make England the appanage of Spain; all he obtained were a few English elms which still flourish in the palace gardens.

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Yet another Royal Palace, occupying an extensive valley, surrounded by hills, is situated at Aranjuez, in the extreme south of the province of Madrid, on the left bank of the full-flowing river Tajo. In the town of Aranjuez there are splendid farms, palaces and hotels, wide thoroughfares, good churches, theatre, hospital, barracks, very beautiful promenades, and all the other adjuncts of a model town. All these, however, are surpassed by the beauty of the gardens and parks which, with the Royal Palace, are the property of the Crown. The illustration shows the side of the Royal dwelling which opens on to what are called the Island gardens, on account of their being surrounded by the waters of the river Tajo. The first thing that strikes one is the monumental fountain which deals with the allegory of the Pillars of Hercules, and was designed by the Italian sculptor, Alexander Algardi. The building, which was commenced in 1561 by Philip II. and continued by all the Bourbon kings, is elegantly proportioned, and is surrounded by delicious gardens, luxurious avenues of trees, picturesque woods, and large lakes.{50}


DON QUIXOTE was a true lover of Barcelona, which he addressed as “the home of courtesy, refuge for strangers, country of the valiant.” Its history is replete with records of its valour; its everyday life is illumined with a grave courtesy; the stranger within its gates is welcomed with a cordiality in which suspicion has no part. The Catalan is afraid of nobody on this earth; he has no use, as the Americans put it, for suspicion. He is a distinct race in costume, habits, and language; combining the grace and charm of the Spanish manner, with the mental vitality of the French, and the commercial enterprise and integrity of the English. Physically he is strong, sinewy, and active; and his dogged perseverance, his enormous powers of endurance, and his patience under privation and fatigue make him as fine a soldier as the world has seen. The Catalans take what our grandmothers used to call a proper pride in themselves. The hauteur of the proud Castilians is not theirs; they regard the poetic language and indolent gaiety of the Andalucians without envy; they know themselves to be the most serious, industrious, and progressive people in the Peninsula; they are Spaniards, but Spaniards, be it understood, of Catalonia.

This feeling is not of course peculiar to the Catalans. Spanish character, and the special localism that forms one of its most distinctive features, has changed but little since Richard Ford, writing more than half-a-century ago, said: “The inhabitants of the different provinces think, indeed, that Madrid{51}

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is the greatest and richest court in the world, but their hearts are in their native localities. ‘Mi paisano,’ my fellow-countryman, or rather my fellow-countyman, fellow-parishioner, does not mean Spaniard, but Andalucian, Catalonian as the case may be. When a Spaniard is asked, ‘Where do you come from?’ the reply is, ‘Soy hijo de Murcia—hijo de Granada’—‘I am a son of Murcia—a son of Granada,’ &c.” This is strictly analogous to the “children of Israel,” the “Bene” of the Spanish Moors, and to this day the Arabs of Cairo call themselves children of that town; and just as the Milesian Irishman is a “boy from Tipperary,” &c., and ready to fight with anyone who is so also, against all who are not of that ilk: similar, too, is the clanship of the highlander: indeed, everywhere, not perhaps to the same extent as in Spain, the being of the same province or town creates a powerful freemasonry: the parties cling together like old school-fellows. It is a home, and really binding feeling. To the spot of their birth, all their recollections, comparisons, and eulogies are turned: nothing, to them, comes up to their particular province; that is their real country. “La Patria,” means Spain at large, is a subject of declamation, fine words, palabras—palaver, in which all, like Orientals, delight to indulge, and to which their grandiloquent idioms lends itself readily: but their patriotism is still largely parochial, and self is the centre of Spanish gravity.

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And so it happens that if the Catalan has scant liking for the romantic, pleasure-loving, guitar-thrumming Andalucian,{54} the Andalucian, on the other hand, regards the Catalan as a hard, pedantic and unpoetic mechanic. As a matter of fact, he is straightforward without being hard, grave without pedantry, hospitable without ostentation; and, like all Spaniards, he is a poet. Poetry, as a national characteristic, is an accident of climate. Here is Barcelona, the Manchester of Spain, a hive of manufacturing industry, rejoicing in one of the most lovely sites in Europe, possessed of a climate equal to that of Naples, and with its beauty untarnished by the hand of time, or the artificer. Such an atmosphere, such skies, such stars make a people poets against their wills. I do not imply a charge against the Spaniards that they write poetry—that is an entirely different thing. They may—they do, happily, for the most part—die with all their poetry in them; but they are none the less poets; and indeed they are, as Oscar Wilde argued, the better poets on that account. For the Spanish temperament rises superior to the temptations of environment. If it were my good fortune to live perpetually beneath that star-spangled sky, I believe I could not resist the impulse to write verse. If for no other reason than for this alone I doff my beaver to the unversifying Catalan.

There is, however, another characteristic which accounts for their prosperity, and excuses the tone of superiority they adopt towards the people of the neighbouring provinces—they are not afraid of work. Since the thirteenth century, when the Catalans led the way to the whole world in maritime conquest and jurisprudence, they have never thought trade to be a degradation, but rather have ennobled it by their honesty and enterprise. The Spanish race generally has lacked the trading spirit. An intelligent American writer, who has studied the causes which have brought Spain down from her ancient eminence in the affairs of Europe, finds them in a position{55} different from that which is generally supposed. “Pride, a weak monarch, a dissolute court, religious intolerance—all these,” says our transpontine critic, “are admirable starting points from which to prove a nation’s decline. But Spain has been by no means unique in the possession of these requisites. A close examination of intrigue, and counter-intrigue, and plot at the capital reveals a condition different from that of some other countries only in being a little later in occurrence. In

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fact, all these are mere effects; the cause is the absence of that which has developed the great nations of the earth, the cause on which civilisation rests, the great primitive developing agency—the trading spirit. For seven centuries she was a battlefield. During that time, while she was keeping the Mohammedan wolf from the door of Europe, there was no chance for the development of the trading spirit. What growth came in a measure to some of the coast cities was the {56}result of local commercial relations finding an extension and expansion between nation and nation. The spirit of getting by the good right arm grew, and produced its tradition; while the precarious cultivation of land for food, an occupation ever more and more removed from the leaders, became the work of an ignorant and unrespected class.

“With the absence of trade goes the absence of knowledge of the outside world; and though a certain general knowledge was brought back by the Europe-conquering soldiers of Charles and Philip, it was a knowledge of how easily gain could be made in the old way, rather than a stimulus to the merchant.

“Without the logical traditions of buying and selling, raised up through generations, Spain could hardly avoid the errors of government which the want of such traditions bring. She could scarcely hope not to become the victim of each and every scheme for a financial millennium, as a nation, which we are all accustomed to smile at when played in the more self-evident form of personal charlatanry. And, most of all, the dignity of work has been lost. The Spanish labourer pitied himself—and was pitied.

“Up to the beginning of the Cuban war, however, a better condition had been developing. Education, and a knowledge of the outside world, were bringing home to this nation that to be the proudest man in the world it is well to have a basis for that pride in tangible rather than traditional things; and of so excellent a nature have I found the Spaniard when one knows him, that I cannot help believing in his ultimate development.

“But few, I know, cross the threshold of the Spanish house to find how good a man at heart the owner is. He is proud, it is true, and does not much favour the stranger; but it is the pride of a reserved nature, not of a weak one.”

There is indeed much truth to be found in this view of the situation. Spain has never been a great commercial nation; she

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is, in fact, only now entering for the first time the commercial arena. No nation in Europe commenced her career on a trade basis. Conquest in the early ages was the only acknowledged industry; and the empires of Carthage, Phœnicia, Rome, Spain, and Great Britain all rose to greatness by the right of might. England was a young nation when Spain commenced to decline after centuries of conquest and supremacy, and England was ripe to receive the impression of the value of commerce as a maker and sustainer of kingdoms. Germany did not become a great power until the supremacy of trade was universally acknowledged; America was cradled in a counting house, and brought up in the atmosphere of profit and loss.

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Barcelona, of all the cities of Spain, has never been blind to the advantages of commerce; and to-day, the city, in its bustling activity, its red-hot life, its ceaseless movement and sense of prosperity resembles all the great commercial cities of the world—London, New York, Melbourne, Liverpool, and Chicago. But in one respect it more nearly approaches London in the resemblance, by reason of an ill-favoured side of approach. I have often met at Tilbury or Liverpool—but Tilbury especially—friends who have been on their first visit to our Metropolis, and I have begged them, as a personal{58} favour, not to form any opinion of the city from the railway-carriage windows. The squalor and dreariness of the eastern approach to London is only mildly reproduced by the southern environs of Barcelona. Indeed, when one makes one’s first acquaintance with it, it is difficult to believe that it is the boastedly first city of Spain. Yet the boast is not unjustified in so far, at least, as the concerns of every-day life, polity and progress are concerned. When once the visitor is within the circle of her brighter ways, he will look in vain for any of the smudginess whose kingdom and on-coming have been heralded by smudge; he will speedily recognise the fact that here is rolling by him a greater volume of trade than in all the other great centres of Spanish commercial life put together. Everywhere in Barcelona there is apparent the lively, virile animation, bred of a prosperous and forceful existence; and it is this which constitutes one of the great charms of the place. In no town-ways of Spain, not even in those of Seville, is the visitor so well rewarded as in Barcelona.

On one of my visits to Barcelona, I arrived in the city during the labour riots last year. Trains had been fired at and attacked with stones, so the windows of the carriages were barricaded, and all precautions were taken for the safety of the passengers. We were allowed, however, to enter the station unmolested; and although the crowded streets were paraded by the military, and a further outburst of public feeling was expected, the force of the human volcano had evidently expended itself before our arrival. Much property had been damaged; and, on all sides, one saw windows riddled with bullets, or smashed with stones, and evidences that the industrious and law-abiding Barcelonian is a Spaniard when roused. There was an alertness akin to menace in the flashing glances that inspected us that seemed to threaten all kind of{59} unpleasant eventualities. But we walked through the streets in perfect safety; and my good friend, who had driven in from his country house to meet me, along roads patrolled by soldiers and skirted by turbulent rioters, apologised delightfully for the insecurity of the highways which rendered him unable to offer me the hospitality of his house until the following day. The risk he had run in coming in to Barcelona to welcome me did not occur to him. I was his friend—he had not given a thought

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for his skin. As we promenaded the streets, he approached men and asked them questions about the riot, and the scowl disappeared from their faces as a sea-mist lifts from the cliffs as they gave us the required information. I have written that the Spaniard’s good manners are the result not of an acquired and superficial politeness, but are derived from a natural and national courtesy that is inbred in the race. There is in their attentions a vein of selfishness which is half its charm. A stranger will do you a courtesy for which your thanks can only{60} half pay him—the other half-payment he himself contributes for the service. He has pleased you, and in so doing he has pleased himself. And one feels that he has pleasure in his own unselfishness. It is impossible to be many hours in Spain without recognising this delightful trait. You step into a shop and inquire the way to the cathedral. The friendly shopkeeper places himself immediately at your disposal. He takes down his capa, and personally conducts you to the desired spot. It is the same always. You ask for your bearings of a member of the famous guardia civil, and the pair will solemnly march you to your destination; or the first pedestrian you meet proceeding in the opposite direction, faces about on the instant, and retraces his steps through the length or breadth of a town to put you on the right road.

We have no force in this country that corresponds with the Guardia Civil; perhaps the Royal Irish Constabulary are their nearest counterpart in organisation and fine morale. This body, which is composed of 20,000 foot and 500 mounted guards, are neither soldiers nor policemen, but they combine the duties of both. Their splendid physique, and smart, soldierly bearing—only the best men in the Spanish Army are admitted to the ranks of the Civil Guards—give one a feeling of security and a sense of order that nothing else seems to impart. They are stationed in every town and small village throughout the country. They patrol the roads, they accompany every train, and are to be seen at every station; they are to be encountered everywhere, and always in pairs. Dressed in blue tunic and trousers of the same colour, with light buff-coloured belts, cocked hats, and top-boots, they carry their well-polished rifles in a manner which engenders the respect of evil-doers. In contrast with the leisurely life around them, they stride through the traffic, in it, but not of it—a class apart. They are, indeed, apart in habit{61}

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as well as in appearance. Their association with the outer world is almost entirely official. They live in barracks, mess together, and hold themselves aloof. Their esprit de corps is as perfect as their discipline; they cannot be bribed, nor induced to accept a reward for any service they may render you. The safety of property and life in Spain is in their keeping; and it may be said without exaggeration that they have done more to establish order in the Peninsula than any other body.

Barcelona, besides being a busy, wide-awake, and rapidly-growing commercial and industrial centre, contrasting strongly with some other Spanish cities that still seem to be shrouded in the mists of the middle ages, has also acquired the reputation of being a beautiful city—beautiful, of course, in the modern sense; for, where modern enterprise rules, the old-time beauty is apt to take flight. Its situation, on a slope running down from the mountains to the sea, is both healthful and picturesque. Its streets and boulevards are wide, regular, and well made; and its main avenue, the Rambla, has been styled, not without justice, the “Unter den Linden” of Barcelona. This line of promenade, formed by the Ramblas of Santa Monica, del Centro, de San José, de Estudios, de Canaletas, and the Paseo de Gracia is a veritable triumph of boulevarding. Europe may be challenged to produce anything finer. It runs from the port right through the heart of the town, and out into the country, a practically uninterrupted series of carriage drives and public promenades, shaded nearly all the way by over-arching plane-trees. The lower portions are lined with handsome shops and cafés, with the best hotels and theatres; and all the upper reach—the Gracia Paseo—with the imposing blocks of houses of the Ensanche, the residential region, par excellence, of the city.

The little Rambla de San José, too, may justly be accorded its more popular name of “de las Flores:” for here each morning is{64} held the flower market, when both sides of the broad central walk are lined with stacks heaped up in dazzling profusion with all the floral wealth which southern sunlight, nature, and art can produce. Here, amid the splendid highways of the city, one may find a continual occupation for both eye and mind in the ever-shifting and gorgeous colouring, and in all the movements of the colossal game of life. The hour does not signify—early or late, morning, afternoon, or night, it is all one—for Barcelona folk seem to be able to do without sleep; and at all times the air is deliciously soft, and yet so fresh, from the sea and from the hill-country which backs up the city, that one is ever impelled onwards. In the full artery of the life of it, one comes across the Lonja, the Casas Consistoriales and Diputacion, but one looks in vain for the great cathedral, the Churches of Santa Maria del Mar, Santa Ana, Santa Maria del Pino, the old Benedictine Monastery of San Pablo del Campo, the Roman remains, and the fine Renaissance houses. These are not for those who run to see, but are hidden away, tucked out of sight, so to speak, in a most vexatious and puzzling manner.

In Barcelona, we have the old town with its narrow, tortuous lanes, and the new town with its streets laid out at right angles, its handsome houses, and its air of general prosperity. The trade of the city is ever increasing, and its prospects are almost illimitable. The wealth of the city has overflowed into the handsome suburb of Paseo de Gracia, with its villas and miniature palaces, and its population of nearly 40,000 inhabitants. The port of Barcelona has, in the process of improvement, effaced the historical Muralla del Mar; and its site is now occupied by a broad, handsome quay, laid out with palms, and enriched with a wonderful stone and bronze column, 197 feet high, surmounted with a statue of Columbus. More handsome and lofty houses are to be found in the Plaza Real; the finest{65}

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shops are situated in the Calle de Fernando; while the Calle Ancha is given over to banks and insurance offices. In the Plaza del Palacio is the beautiful fountain in Carrara marble representing the four Catalonian provinces of Barcelona, Lérida, Tarragona, and Gerona. Another superb piece of street ornamentation is the Columbus Memorial, which was erected in 1889. It is built at the end of the Rambla in the Plaza de la Paz, and has the picturesque silhouette of Montjuich for a background. The pedestal, which is octagonal in form, rests on a circular base, flanked by four spacious ledges, decorated with eight lions, and from it rises the iron column, crowned by a magnificent Corinthian capital supporting a bronze globe; above which, in graceful pose, is seen the statue of the immortal discoverer, also in bronze. Many historical and allegorical statues embellish this memorial, and also high reliefs in copper depicting the chief events in the life of Columbus and a great number of ornaments and other details, all equally elegant. From the ground to the top of the statue the monument is 180 feet in height. The vaulted arches underneath are used as a burying-place for distinguished Catalan sailors. A lift runs inside the column to the top, and a magnificent panoramic view is to be obtained from the capital. I have referred especially to this column and the fountain because to my mind they are the most imposing of the many columns, pyramids, and statues that abound in the squares and thoroughfares of the city.

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Dark, mysterious, and imposing, the Gothic Cathedral is worthy of a place by the most beautiful of Spain. After the great Cathedral of Seville, I know no other that impresses one in the same way as the Cathedral of Barcelona. The fine proportions and carefully-arranged lighting are common to them both. At Tarragona, Salamanca, Toledo, Burgos, Leon, and Santiago, we can see work that will bear more close analysis and confer great teaching; but the Catalan here teaches us his school of stern, solid, domestic architecture, and he conveys his lesson by the finest of examples. Here we may learn that little faults on the part of old workers, and big, glaring faults on the part of their successors are powerless to detract from the effect of awful solemnity and majesty of their splendid vistas, to stultify the great ideas and fine grasp upon the subject of scale with which the Cathedral was carried out. Beside this, its numerous fine bits of enriched detail work and its glorious stained glass are mere matters of detail—and the election of models—and they are scarcely noticed.

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I have listened to some beautiful music beautifully rendered in the Cathedral of Barcelona, and in many of the great cathedrals in Spain; and I have seen an audience go into ecstacies over a piece of vocalisation in the Opera House at Madrid; but I should hesitate to describe the Spanish as a musical nation. Singing among the working people is a habit and a relaxation, but it is scarcely an art. The working people of Barcelona, or of the Peninsula generally for that matter, are not naturally musical; but they do not sing the less on that account. One day as I sat in a friend’s room in the Hotel and listened to the servants chortling incessantly as they went about their work, I asked a trifle impatiently: “Do these good people never cease their singing?” He looked up with a quizzical twinkle in his questioning eyes. “Singing?” he asked. I held up my finger, and the sound of three different voices, uplifted in three different ecstacies, came from the corridor. “Oh! that,” he replied, still smiling: “Yes, they do a good deal of it. So you call that singing; now I think that is very amiable of you.” I{70} asked him why their songs were unduly long; and learned that as each vocalist improvises his or her own song, both words and music, it is only limited by his or her individual fancy. “But what are the subjects of their ballads?” I protested, and my friend responded, “Oh! just anything—a bullfight, a tender tale of love, a report of a police court case with ten adjournments.” Schubert, it is said, could set a handbill to music, but these people improvise a romantic opera out of an overdue laundry account. Their guitar playing has little but mere form; and their dancing—the dancing of the working-classes who picnic by the wayside and dance for the sheer love of it and the joy of living—is governed, or seems to be, by the whim of the performer. When the children are not playing at bullfights, they are indulging in one or other of their innumerable singing and dancing games.

Besides the interest it affords in itself, Barcelona is within hail of Monserrat, the pride of Catalonia, and one of the natural wonders of Spain, which lies some thirty miles north from the city. Antonio Gallenga has written of this wonderful mountain: “It is the loftiest and grandest temple and most formidable citadel that was worked by God’s hands. The Monastery, standing as it does, squeezed on its narrow ledge, with an abyss of untold fathoms at its feet, and the weight of three great rocky masses hanging over its head, must look both mean in size and tame in taste, crushed by the Titanic grandeur, by the sublime harmony and the terrible power exhibited by the Supreme Architect in this His masterpiece of earthly handiwork.”

Nor is the description out of keeping with the subject. Seen from the road, this terrible yet beautiful mountain, throwing off its morning mantle of mists and lifting its weird peaks to the sun, presents a vision of entrancing loveliness. At its base, the Monastery, vast in size and hideous in its{71} severity, is almost a blot upon the landscape. But the climb from the Monastery to the summit of Monserrat is fraught with a succession of overpowering sensations, of perpetual contrast between terror and delight. The immense mass of mountain, about twenty-five miles in circumference at its base, is composed of a grey conglomerate of the granite type, brittle and crumbling; and by its nature assuming every variety of fanciful and weird appearances, baffling the utmost extent of men’s inventive powers. For about half the distance to the top its body remains solid; then rent asunder in every direction, it towers in thousands of fantastic pinnacles to its highest point, some four thousand feet above the sea. “There is hardly a spot,” says Gallenga, “where you do not feel that you stand on a thousand feet precipice; hardly a nook where some great boulder, as big as the Vatican Palace, is not suspended over your head, ready, as you fancy, to slide down in avalanche at every burst of the storm wind.” There are huge, straight columns, the bases and shafts of which have thus been crumbling away for thousands of years; while the top, or as one may say, the capital, still hangs up in air on nothing. Impervious as those crags and cliffs appear, they are, however, crossed by paths running like threads on the edge of the precipice.

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Further up, the crest is formed by the jagged teeth of the Saw. Here are a myriad points and aiguilles clustering in groups of pinnacles tapering like the fingers of a man’s hand; further, a whole multitude of rocky excrescences which have{72} been and can be equally compared to rough-hewn chessmen in battle array, or to chessmen strewn carelessly over the board, some standing up sharp and erect, some fallen prostrate and broken. The grand rugged scenery is softened and toned down by a most wonderful profusion of vegetation, consisting of box, ilex, myrtle, ivy, heather, laurel, and other evergreens; which, growing in every crack and crevice where they can possibly find a hold, and flourishing at all seasons, transform this mountain into a marvel of grey and green.

The walk from the Monastery to the summit occupies about three hours, and is one of the most remarkable to be found in Europe. The path is narrow, but it has been planned with consummate artistic skill. It winds over a broad area among and around the various crags and stone seracs, onwards and ever upwards until it ends, at last, at the highest point. Sometimes it leads through a narrow valley walled in on both sides by wild sentinels of rock, again through creeping masses of myrtle, ivy, and jessamine, or under bowers of ilex and box. And then, suddenly, unexpectedly, you have attained to the apparently inaccessible summit, and you stand on the brink of precipices and overlook Monserrat spread out beneath like an enormous Medusa, its thousands of tentacles raised aloft on every side, enclosing deep abysses whose terribleness is mitigated by a lining of perpetual green. Beyond lies the sun-backed, flowerless plain, through which silver rivers turn and return on their journey to the sea. To the north, distant but clearly defined against the blue background of sky, a line of snowy Pyrenees smile coolness down upon the torrid lowlands; while to the east, beyond the hazy suggestion of Barcelona, a glittering silver rim of sea wafts inland the softest of noonday breezes.{73}

On the East Coast.

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MONSERRAT, according to the guide books, may be hurriedly visited from Barcelona by means of a return ticket for the day; but one can imagine few persons who would be content with so hasty an inspection of one of the most remarkable sights in Spain. One returns from the mountain to Barcelona with one’s mind crowded with wonderful sights, and one’s senses stirred with a new idea of the beautiful. Where shall one look, one asks oneself, for its equal? But Spain is full of spots of almost dazzling beauty. Within a hundred miles to the southward, following the coast-line, is situated Tarragona. To know Tarragona is to love her, for her natural self first, her oak forests, soft verdure and park-like land, then for her treasures of infinitely beautiful architectural work; and again for her simple kindness and good fellowship, her gorgeous colouring, her brilliant sky, her gorgeous sunsets, and her outlook over the long sweep of rich country, rock-bound coast and glinting sea. Here is another of Spain’s many abodes of loveliness—a paradise of far-reaching plains, dotted with villages and homesteads, coloured with rich gardens, orange-groves and{74} vineyards, and shaded by a rich fringe of olive and fir trees, that lose themselves against the distant rich brown hills. And on the other side the fertile plain slopes gently down to the ancient pine woods, beyond which lie the fringe of yellow sands and dark green ocean.

Tarragona has her records too, and a history among the most ancient in the kingdom. She once boasted her million of inhabitants, her government, her luxury, and her art. The Phœnicians made the town a maritime settlement, the Romans made it an imperial city, the Goths selected it as their capital. The Moors “made of the city a heap,” and the ruins remained uninhabited for four centuries. She can point to her grand Cyclopean walls and gateways, her Phœnician well, her so-called “tomb” of the Scipio, her amphitheatre, her Capital, and her Roman aqueduct striding across the valley, and seemingly defying time to destroy it.

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But if Tarragona’s one-time million inhabitants has dwindled to its present population of some thirty thousand souls, it must always be remembered, to its credit, that a few years ago it was only a dull, dry, sleepy old town—a place of dusty meats and sour wines—a temple of the past. But Tarragona has no intention of resting satisfied with a great yesterday; she is intent upon making a future for herself. The new has overridden the old, the town has put away its look of despairing incongruity and uselessness, and has put on the “handsomeness” of modern cityhood. The streets palpitate with the life of commerce; and the harbour shelters many ships that call for cargoes of wine, nuts, almonds and oil. Most of the native wines are excellent, and can compare with those grown in any part of Spain; but they are put, unfortunately, to base uses, and scarcely ever reach the consumer in their pure state. The{76} lighter vintages are bought by Marseilles and Paris, where they are transformed into vin ordinaire, while the full-bodied varieties, known as “Spanish Reds,” are sold in England and America under the name of port.

The road from Tarragona to Valencia runs over the richly fruitful plain that is bordered on the left by great brown hills, and the lovely sea upon the right. In the Tortosa region, only the presence of the olives and algarrobos, instead of oaks and elms amid the soft green prettiness of the landscape, forbids the delusion that one is in Sussex or Devonshire.

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The famous marble, known in Italy as broceatello de spagna, and largely employed in the decoration of churches in Rome, is quarried near Tortosa, and the city itself has its place in song and story. Tubal, Hercules, and St. Paul, according to Martorel, were all connected with Tortosa; and the latter is further stated to have instituted Monseñor Ruf as bishop here. Under the Moors the place became the key of the east coast, and from{77} time immemorial it has been acquainted with warfare and the clash of arms. It withstood the siege of Louis de Débonnaire, son of Charlmagne, in 811, but two years later the city fell and had to be recaptured by the Moors. Since then it has been four times besieged and thrice taken; to-day it is chiefly noted for its imposing appearance, its fine Gothic cathedral, and its picturesque bridge of boats. Sixty-five miles to the southward is Castellon, which, though a flourishing place in a garden of plenty, is of only Moorish origin, and consequently an infant among the towns of Spain. Naturalists make it their headquarters; and it is the junction for the copper, cinnabar, and lead mines that abound at Espadeno.

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A stop must be made at Murviedro, which flourished under its old title of Sanguntum. Then it was a seaport city of magnificence, richness and power; to-day it consists of a wild bare hill, studded with white houses, traversed by long lines of wall and crowned by an old castle. Two thousand years ago{78} it was laid in ruins by the Carthagenian army, and it has been little else than a heap of ruins ever since. The Roman Theatre, which still remains, is placed in a bend of the northern skirt of the hill between the town and the immense fortress which crowns the mountain. It has seats built of blue limestone and

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cement, petrified by the action of the centuries which have elapsed since it was built, which, according to the most authoritative opinion, was in the first century of our era. The stage, which measures about 165 feet in length and 19½ feet in width, was vaulted, some of the vaults being still in existence. The{79}

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amphitheatre was composed of three series or groups of steps separated by wider ones which served for landings. A spacious portico ran round with small columns, statues, and a triple row of seats. At present the theatre is surrounded by a wall which prevents it from falling entirely to ruin, a consummation which would be due more to the vandalism of men than to the ravages of time.

The population of Valencia, the third city in Spain, which according to the last census was 150,000, makes this an important centre, but it is not an outwardly picturesque city. This is due to the flatness of the country, which prevents a good view of its buildings, as well as to the luxuriant vegetation which, surrounding the town on all sides, hides from the observer.

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Valencia has little to boast in the way of archæological prizes. Her old churches and palaces, her tapia walls and massive gates, with most of her ancient monuments, are gone; and only a few beautiful bits—the late Gothic Lonja, the octagonal Miguelete belfry-tower, and some odd portions of the cathedral—remain. The very beautiful Lonja (Exchange), the ornamentation of which is characteristic of the Renaissance, is situated in the large Market square. The Lonja comprises the handsome Hall of Trade, the Watch Tower, on the ground floor of which is the chapel, and the Pavilion of the Consulado de Mar, which was previously used for offices and as a commercial hall. Extensive restoration work has{82} recently been carried out in the building, which has suffered great mutilations. The Silk Exchange, besides being a market for this article, contains the commercial bourse, the municipal courts and other government offices. But if the city has swept herself almost clean of her precious art relics, she has assumed an air of modern alertness, and developed a commendable intention to move with the times. The improvements being carried out in the city of the Cid have almost entirely transformed Santa Catalina Square. Both the Santa Catalina and the Rhein Square near by, in the heart of the city, contain magnificent buildings, luxurious cafés, and all kinds of shops. There is a vast amount of bright life and gorgeous colouring in the streets and market places, with a quite Catalan forcefulness of character. The Valenciana is, moreover, a progressive and very excitable individual, and he imparts a special charm of fervour into all his affairs. On the occasions of their feasts and sports, the varied costumes of the lower classes—especially that of the huerta man, or peasant from the garden—may be seen in perfection. With his brilliantly-coloured manta thrown loosely over a white linen shirt and black velveteen jacket, and with a bright kerchief knotted round his head, he is perhaps the best-dressed individual in the whole Peninsula, and he looks as if he thought so into the bargain.

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A Peep into Murcia.

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THERE are some parts of Spain over which I have travelled as the long hand travels round a clock dial—without haste, but without stopping. I have seen Murcia, as it were, from a moving platform, and the impression I derived of “African Spain,” as this quarter of the country has been called, has left me with the desire to return and spend a round of months amid its floral enchantments. This little province was the spot cherished by the Carthagenians, who found consolation in its possession for the loss of Sicily, and from it they derived{84} the mineral wealth which enabled Hannibal to make war against Rome itself. The Goths of Murcia held their territory so stoutly against the Moors that during the lifetime of the warlike Theodimah the province was allowed to retain its independence. Under the Moors, Murcia was transformed into one continuous huerta or garden; and after the disruption of the Kalifate of the Ummeyahs, it held its own as an independent State from 1038 to 1091, when internal dissensions among the members of the ruling Beni-Tahar family prepared the way for the triumph of the Spaniards. But to this day Murcia is regarded by the Spaniards as the Bœotia of the south.

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At Alicante I spent four-and-twenty hours, but half as many weeks would not exhaust its attractions. I saw the ruined Castle of San Fernando from a distance, and made the acquaintance of the Castle of Santa Bárbara only from the outside. I perambulated the palm-shaded Paseo de los Martires, and the well-paved and capacious harbour, where the work of exporting minerals from Almagra and other places was going forward. There is always an air of bustling activity about the wharf,

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which is alive with small wagons, roofed over by a cover of heavy matting, made of esparto grass. Esparto, which resembles the spear-grass that flourishes on the sandy sea-shores of Lancashire, grows wild in vast quantities in this district. It is very wiry and tenacious in fibre, and is worked up by the natives into an infinite variety of purposes—such as matting, baskets, soles of sandals, &c. It is also largely exported to England, France, and the United States. It is the best substitute for rags in the manufacture of paper, and between 80,000 and 100,000 tons are annually imported into this country for that purpose. The Iberian whips, described by Horace, were manufactured of this material. The women and children are largely employed in the hand manufacture of esparto, and in the silkworm-gut industry, of which Murcia is the centre in this part of Spain.

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The huerta, or garden of Alicante, is situated at some two or three miles from the town to the north, and is irrigated from the artificial Pantano de Tibi, of Moorish constructure. It is an oasis in a wilderness of sand and dust. The fields that surround{86} this garden are parched and dry; the almond and fig trees that line the road are coated with dust that clings to them like thin snow, and the almond nuts resemble plaster imitations of themselves. And in the midst of this blistered country nestles the luscious huerta—a wide stretch of verdant plantations, thickly foliaged, cool, sweet, and refreshing, with villas embowered among its oranges and palms, a film of dim mountains in the background, and away to the south the silent brimming sea.

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I received an invitation to inspect the tobacco factory in the northern suburb, and listened to enthusiastic descriptions of the beauty of many of the 6,000 girls employed there; but my time was limited, and I was compelled to postpone the pleasure of a visit.

From Alicante, past Elche to Murcia, lies a tract of African Spain—a vast plain covered with plantations of orange, lemon, pomegranate, fig and olive, among which scattered palms lift their broad heads with stately pride. At intervals, small towns, very Oriental in appearance, with domed, azure-tiled mosques, nestle among the palms, and add to the attractiveness of a scene{87} of enthralling beauty. “Why is this lovely corner of the world so little known?” wrote a German enthusiast; and his question has been capped by the more prosaic cyclist, who asked: “Why are the people of these towns so rude and annoying, and why do the children favour us with a shower of stones?” One has not to ponder long in order to solve the cyclist’s problem. Cycles are as rarely seen in Murcia as bears in Bloomsbury, and it is scarcely surprising in the circumstances if the indefatigable wheelist is regarded with many wondering and sarcastic stares. But the peasant children in Spain, and especially in Southern

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Spain, are, as a rule, chartered libertines. Until they are old enough to make themselves useful they are quite spoiled. On the assumption that children can do no wrong, they are permitted to do exactly what they please. The girls amuse themselves with singing and dancing, and the boys, in Southern Spain especially, find a favourite diversion in imitating the perils of the bull ring. Amongst themselves they are, even in argument, punctiliously polite; with the inoffensive stranger they are wary and not disobliging; but to the peripatetic oddity{88} they are annoying in the manner that boys, given the same provocation, display all the world over.

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Elche, rising from among its thousands of date-palms to a height of fifty feet, resembles an oasis in the desert. All around, the country is flat and fertile—a slumberland of soft greens and unbroken peacefulness. From Elche one passes to Granja, with its double-towered Moorish church, its old castillo clinging to the frowning height, its houses built into the rock of the mountain, and overgrown with aloes, fig, and cacti. There are Calossa de Segura and Albatera, flat-roofed and minareted; and from these spots may be seen the Montaña de Calossa, where amethyst steeps, glowing in the afternoon light, contrast with the varied tints of the plain in an ensemble of colour and outline nowhere surpassed in effect.

Carthagena, one of the three arsenals of Spain, and the largest{89}

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port in the country after Vigo, lies to the south. From here is shipped the silver and lead ores, iron ores, manganiferous iron ores, calamine, blend and copper ores from the rich mines in the surrounding districts, and also from the mines of the interior. In the suburbs of Sta. Lucia are extensive lead smelting and desilverization works, and the goods terminus of the steam tramway which connects Carthagena with La Union, the centre of the mining district. Escombreras, on a bay just outside the harbour, was at one time an important smelting and shipping place, but at the present time only one large furnace is open there. The country around Carthagena has been so wastefully denuded of forest as to make it an unmitigated desert. The landscape is a barren, burning waste, and the city itself is destitute of any semblance of greenness. Carthagena, which is considered impregnable to a foreign foe, was besieged by the Government soldiery in 1873, when a Commune was established there by Roque Barcia. A very little artillery practice directed against the walls, however, impressed Barcia with the advisability of taking a trip to Africa, and the Commune was at an end. There is an academy for cadets in the place, and blind people are numerous—a fact which may be owing to the excessive dazzle of the sunlight and absence of verdure. The men of Carthagena are so big, and the donkeys are so minute, that the latter are almost hidden beneath their human burdens.

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The Moorish city of Murcia, the capital of its province, is a{92} picturesque town in a beautiful setting. The city is one magnificent mass of varied colours, and all around, as far as the eye can see, are rare tropical shrubs and wide vistas of luxurious vegetation. Murcia is the land of roses—the Mecca of the floriculturist—the Canaan of the tribe of Art. I did not see its Gothic Cathedral, its picture gallery, nor its churches of Sta. Catalina or San Nicolas—I was there and away again, carrying

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with me an impression of sunshine, and roses, and soft airs. The country is intersected with swiftly flowing brooks, that part in and out beneath the tall palms. Here the dark-complexioned and Oriental-looking Murcian washerwomen, dressed in brightly-coloured garments, assemble to follow their daily avocations; and the chatter, the laughter, and the brilliant hues of the many shawls are a perpetual delight to the ear and the eye. The men have the reputation of being the most ill-disposed and revengeful of any in Spain. The only indication I could discover of abnormal belligerency about them was in their practice of carrying the long Albacete knife; but I am inclined to the opinion that it is worn more for ornament than use. The teamsters, it is true, have a fierce aspect, and their manners are not improved by strong drink; but I have never met teamsters

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in any part of the globe who were celebrated for remarkable sobriety, or angelic dispositions. The Murcian girls, as the traveller will observe at the various railway stations where they sell flowers and sweets, are pretty and engaging, and their costumes are charmingly picturesque.

The present city was built by the Moors from the remains of the Roman Murgi in the early part of the 8th century. It was taken by the Spaniards under St. Ferdinand in 1240, and was reconquered by Alonso el Sabio, who left his heart and bowels to the Dean and Chapter; and these precious relics, preserved in a sarcophagus, are still to be seen in the Presbytery of the Gothic Cathedral.

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From the palm-land of Murcia one passes over the unvarying, toneless plains of La Mancha to the Sierra Morena mountains, and beyond them to the daisy and buttercup-spread fields of Andalucia, which stretch away to the south, and lose themselves in a wide perspective, bounded by gold-shot undulating hills. The road runs down long slopes of flaming poppies, and beside gardens of blooming wild roses, amid extremes of perfectly-blended colour, to Bailen and Jaén, and the snow-crowned Sierra Nevada which surrounds Granada. Bailen is famous only as being the scene of the battle in which the French, under Duport, were defeated by{94} the Spanish forces led by Castaños. Jaén, or Gien, the Arab word for fertility, is delightfully situated amid a jumble of mountains which are covered with luxuriant vegetation. Under the Moors it was a petty independent kingdom; but its ancient walls and its castle, which stands like a sentinel commanding the gorge of the mountain approach from Granada, have been almost entirely destroyed, and its own formidable bulwarks are reduced to a single gate. Jaén, like Baeza, surrendered to the victorious St. Ferdinand in the XIIIth century, and the two towns conjointly form the see of a Bishop.{95}

Toledo and Cordova.

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SPAIN is a country that has never laid aside the sword, or cast off her armour. Her martial spirit is lulled to rest, but its memory is kept alive in the frowning battlements, the gaunt fortresses that crown each peopled eminence, and guard the approaches of its ancient, war-scarred cities. Imperial Toledo, “the crown of Spain, the light of the world, free from the time of the mighty Goths,” as Padilla describes it, is a rock built upon a rock 1,820 feet above the sea. It is a mighty citadel, almost engirdled by the rushing Tagus, and armed at every point by massive Moorish masonry—solid, venerable, invincible. Toledo, in the heyday of its history, contained, beside the cathedral, one hundred and ten churches, thirty-four hospitals, a university, and four colleges. Toledo, or Toledoth, the Hebrew “city of generations,” has now only fifty-nine churches; its hospitals have been reduced to four; its fame as a seat of learning is a tale that is told. John Lomas, who wrote of this city that it “never had rest until it entered into the tomb; blighted, but not destroyed. There{96} is the old Toledo yet, simply fossilised—a theatre with the actors gone and the scenery left. But the curtain will never be drawn up again, or the music re-commence. Rome may play the wanton with each succeeding age, and deck herself out in obedience to every passing fashion. But Toledo—? She is at least faithful to the dead past. The liveliest imagination cannot picture her as a creature of to-day, a receptive pupil of nineteenth century science and improvement. And so she keeps her old ways: her old tongue, thank heaven! knowing nothing of the mixed dialects and slang that mark off progress; her old narrow streets and solid buildings that are so beautifully fitted for defence, intrigue, and shelter, and would spell ruin to any enterprising company that should attempt to adapt them to the requirements of the new life that has come into the world. She has been poked at—twice—by inquisitive, bustling railroads, without the slightest electrifying results. So she retains her old Soko, and will have nought to do with the correct Plaza de la Constitucion, her old stern inconveniences and her old traditions.”

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In many respects the foregoing is a faithful picture of Toledo of to-day. But will the curtain never be drawn up again? Will the music never re-commence? I may be wrong, but I cannot share this opinion. Writing eighteen years after Mr. Lomas, I have been privileged to find his prognostications already proving incorrect. The power and virility upon which Spain built up her greatness may slumber for awhile; but even in the fastnesses

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of the Castilian mountains it has never died. The machinery of the curtain of the theatre of Toledo is a trifle rusty, the pulleys are jambed from long disuse; but that curtain is rising steadily if slowly, and already I can hear the tuning up of fiddles in its ancient orchestra. The ancient spirit still burns in the Toledans, and the ancient prosperity of their city is surely recovering itself. Since 1884 much re-building has been done, and more is in progress; whilst new and handsome shops are seen in the principal thoroughfares where an increase of population and traffic is apparent.

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But one must live in such a city as Toledo in order to appreciate the changes that are being wrought in her. The casual visitor cannot hope to detect the specks of modernity in this vast temple of the antique. Its ancient grandeur is comparatively impervious to the pretty wiles of modern improvement. One’s eyes wander from the newly-built emporiums to the immensity of its enduring monuments, and one’s mind flings back instinctively into the past, out of which they arose to defy the hand of Time himself. And so the majority of book-makers, who take Spain for their subject, overlook the present condition of the country; the instant life that rushes before their eyes escapes their notice. And, indeed, it requires an effort, even on the part of a shrewd and unemotional observer, to stand beneath the shadow of the ruins of the old Alcázar and keep one’s mind from slipping backwards into the history of a city which presents an epitome of the principal arts, religions, and race-{98}lives which have dominated the world for the last two thousand years. This was the theatre in which grim tragedy was ever played, where waves of strife, rapine, and misfortune swept remorselessly across its stage in constant succession; where Jew and Roman, Goth and Moor in turn played their stern parts. Here the voice of the Goth echoes amid Roman ruins, and the step of the Christian treads on the heel of the Moor. Here are palaces without nobles, churches without congregations, walks without people; and over all that silence which is so peculiar to the ancient cities of Spain. Before England was, Toledo had been.

In a city which holds one spellbound by its past, it must be difficult for the present to make headway. Wörmann has well described Toledo as “a gigantic open-air museum of the architectural history of early Spain, arranged upon a lofty and conspicuous table of rock;” and Street has declared: “Few cities I have ever seen can compete in artistic interest with it; and none, perhaps, come up to it in the singular magnificence of its situation, and the endless novelty and picturesqueness of its every corner.” And the grandeur is emphasised by the silence that serves to enhance the awe that the place inspires in the heart of the visitor. Such occasional sounds as are heard echo along the narrow streets, and turn innumerable corners, and the noise of a passing horse reverberates like the clatter of a charging squadron. But horses are few, and carriages are very far between, for the ascents of Toledo are formidable, and its turnings are endless. One must be resident in the city for months in order to learn its topography: the visitor must engage a guide, or be prepared to make a dozen inquiries on a journey from the Hotel de Castilla to the Cathedral. It is a maze built of masonry; an ideal place in which to lose oneself. One can walk for miles through these stone passages and make

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but little progress, and zig-zag among the same houses for hours. Without a guide it is possible to live for weeks in Toledo and yet not see one quarter of the city. But, with an obliging cicerone to lead one about, the “Spanish Rome” may be superficially examined in a few days.

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Special admirers of ecclesiastic sculpture and architectural detail will find in the famous cathedral of Toledo not one, but several weeks of study and enjoyment laid out for them. To attempt even a general survey of its marvels would be impos{100}sible in a volume of this size and design, and I must refer the antiquarian to Señor Parro’s exhaustive book on Toledo. In this work of 1,550 pages, one half is devoted to the cathedral, which is justly considered one of the most beautiful in the world. It is situated in the very heart of the city, around which cluster multitudinous churches and convents. So closely do the surrounding buildings press upon it, that no free view of the structure can be obtained, and one passes with a feeling of infinite relief from the congested vicinity of the exterior into the broad quietude, the lonely shade, and the austere gravity of the interior. I am told that it would take a week to minutely examine the high altar; it would take as long to inspect the accumulation of treasures in the sacristy—treasures of silver and gold, of pearls, rubies, and diamonds, sufficient, it is said, to entirely replenish the exchequer of Spain. The frescoed ceiling by Luca Giordano is the best in Spain; while pictures by Francesco Bassano, Giovanni Bellini, Titian, Rubens, Goya, Guercino, Van Dyck, and Carlo Maratta are to be seen on every side. Through the beautiful Oriental-looking cloister garden, with its shade of great trees, its grove, and its mass of luxurious verdure, one arrives at the bell-tower, from which one can enjoy a magnificent view of the city and the surrounding country.

But an even finer panoramic view of Toledo is to be obtained from one of the four great towers of the Alcázar. Involuntarily one catches one’s breath, and pays a silent tribute of amazed admiration as the spectacle discloses itself to view. From this vantage ground, every street, and turning, and detail of the city is revealed, with the cathedral rising like a mountain of granite in the midst of it. The statues on the terrace of San Juan de los Reyes look like dolls, the houses like dolls’ houses, and the horses like huge beetles climbing the tiny alleys. Towers and fortifications lie below us. A little further off, near the Puente de

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Alcántara, are the ruins of the old Castillo de San Servando; and beyond and around lies the great green plain, stretching outwards to the distant rocks and mountains. At the foot of the city, and almost surrounding it, runs the River Tagus.

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No finer panegyric has been written on this mighty River Tagus than Ford’s description of its poetical and picturesque course: “First green and arrowy, amid the yellow cornfields of New Castile, then freshening the sweet Tempe of Aranjuez, clothing the gardens with verdure, and filling the nightingale-tenanted glens with groves: then boiling and rushing around the granite ravines of rock-built Toledo, hurrying to escape from the cold shadow of its deep prison, and dashing joyously into light and liberty, to wander far away into silent plains, and on to Talavera, where its waters were dyed with brave blood, and gladly reflected the flash of the victorious bayonets of England—triumphantly it rolls thence, under the shattered arches of Almaraz, down to desolate Estremadura, and in a stream as tranquil as the azure sky by which it is curtained, yet powerful enough to force the mountains at Alcántara. There the bridge of Trajan is worth going a hundred miles to see: it stems the fierce, condensed stream, and ties the rocky gorges together: grand, simple, and solid, tinted by the tender colours of seventeen centuries, it looms like the gray skeleton of Roman power, with all the sentiment of loneliness, magnitude, and the interest of the past and present. How stern, solemn, and{102} striking is this Tagus of Spain! No commerce has ever made it its highway—no English steamer has ever civilised its waters like those of France and Germany. Its rocks have witnessed battles, not peace: have reflected castles and dungeons, not quays, or warehouses: few cities have risen on its banks, as on those of the Thames and Rhine: it is truly a river of Spain—that isolated and solitary land. Its waters are without boats, its banks without life: man has never laid his hand upon its billows, nor enslaved their free and independent gambols.”

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The old Alcázar, which occupies the highest ground in Toledo, is of Roman origin, and was used by the Visigoths as a citadel. The Cid resided here after the capture of the city by Alfonso VI., and it was converted into a palace by the saintly Ferdinand and the learned Alfonso. It was burned down in the war of Spanish Succession in 1710, was restored by Cardinal Lorenzana in 1772, was burned by the French in 1810, and in

Toledo Cathedral.

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1887 it was gutted by a third conflagration. To-day it is utilised as a Military Academy for the education of officers for the Spanish infantry. The Archbishop’s Palace, the Hospital of Santa Cruz, the Moorish Mosque, the Town Hall, the Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca, and the Church of San Juan de los Reyes, which looks more like a royal palace than a church, are but a few of the many sights that Toledo has to offer to the leisured visitor. To the traveller, whose time is limited, as was mine when I stayed there, she leaves an impression of greatness, grandeur, and melancholy which one does not, and would not, lightly lose.

From Toledo I proceeded direct to Córdova, because, in my mind, the two cities were linked together by the broad band of longevity, and I desired to see them both in the same mood cycle. So, while the atmosphere of Toledan greatness was still hot in my veins, I hastened across the broad, bare, sandy plains of the celebrated Mancha—the immortal theatre of the adventures of Don Quixote—past Argasamilla—where Don Quixote was born, and died, and where his great creator, Cervantes, was imprisoned for debt—across the Sierra Morena to the land of the valley of the Guadalquiver—“the garden of Spain, the Eden of the Arabs, the paradise of poets and painters”—to Andalucia. Thenceforward there are no more rocks, but fields now studded, now hidden by flowers—flowers, flowers all the way—carpet after carpet of purple, gold, and snow-white flowers, poppies, daisies, lilies, wild mushrooms, and ranunculuses. Then, as we are carried deeper into the bosom of the south, we are met with grain and orange groves, olive groves, and green hillsides, vineyards, and fruit trees. First a few Moorish towers and many-coloured houses, then on the hills of the Sierra Nevada clusters of villas and gardens, then a perfumed air scented with rose leaves, an enchanted garden, and—Córdova.{104}

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Córdova is as different a place from Toledo as Monte Carlo is from Manchester. Toledo, sombre, austere, overpowering in its impressive solemnity; and Córdova, gay, vivacious, flashing its pervading whitewash in the sunshine beneath the clearest sky in Europe. And yet Córdova is one of the most ancient of cities; its record of all the races that have fought for it, made it, died for it during twenty centuries, are visible on every side. A thousand years ago it boasted upwards of a million inhabitants, three hundred mosques, nine hundred baths, and six hundred fondas. Its cathedral was formerly a mosque: before that it had been a basilica: and it had commenced life as a Roman temple dedicated to Janus. The Carthagenians styled the city the “Gem of the South.” Cæsar half destroyed it, and slaughtered 28,000 of its inhabitants, because it had sided with Pompey. Under the Goths its importance diminished; but it became, under the Moors, the Athens of the West, and was the


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successful rival of Bagdad and Damascus as a seat of learning, and the centre of European civilisation. It was the birthplace of Seneca, Lucan, Averroes, and Juan de Mena, the Chaucer of Spain; and here, in the Church of San Nicolas, Gonzalo de Córdova, the great captain of Spain, was baptised.

To-day Córdova is no more than an overgrown village in size and rank, a village with open-air market-places, and winding, uneven streets. Theophile Gautier wrote, in his delightful graphic style of the streets of Córdova, that “they have a more thoroughly African appearance than those of any other town in Spain. One threads one’s way between interminable whitewashed walls, their scanty windows guarded by heavy iron bars, over a pebbly pavement so rough that it is like the bed of a torrent, littered with straw from the burdens of innumerable donkeys.” These streets are traversed by happy, light-hearted people, who would seem to have no memory of the past, and no thought for the morrow. But the city contains a mosque which gives one a better idea of the power and magnificence of the Moors than anything else in Spain, not excepting even the Alhambra. This wondrous Arab temple—huge, wonderful, fairy-like in its Eastern gorgeousness—with its thousand marble columns, is unique in beauty as it is in curious detail. It is said that these columns were brought, already shaped, from various centres of the old civilised world—Carthage, Constantinople, Alexandria, Nîmes, and Narbonne—while others came from the marble quarries of the Sierra Morena, from Loja and Cadiz. Black, gray, dark green, and dull red in colour, they stretch out on every side, and form a seemingly boundless forest of marble pillars.

Concerning the impression made by this many-columned mosque, Gautier says: “You appear to be walking about in a roofed forest rather than in a building: whichever direction you{106} turn to, your eye strays along rows of columns, which cross each other, and lengthen out endlessly, like marble trees that have risen spontaneously from the soil.” De Amicis has written of it in similar terms: “Imagine a forest; fancy yourself in the thickest portion of it, and that you can see nothing but trunks of trees. So, in this mosque, on whichever side you look, the eye loses itself among the columns. It is a forest of marble, whose confines one cannot discover.” It stands, this dazzling Mezquita, in the centre of the Court of Orange Trees, whose rows were planted to correspond with the lines of the columns in the mosque. Above the dark, shining foliage and flame-colour fruit rises the creamy delicate belfry-tower, rival of Sevilla’s Giralda.

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Some day, when “the wandering footsteps of my life” take me again to Spain, I shall go to Córdova, and seek out this Patio de los Naranjos; and among its pleasant fountains, and its blithesome, indolent gossipers, I shall recall the impressions of my former visit. And, if possible, I shall again visit the city in May. The guide-books warn the traveller against going there in that month, when the annual fair is held. I know that fair, as the suspicious Brother Goldfinch used to say, with its booths erected under the trees, its band and its coloured lanterns, its dear dates and its cigar lotteries, its gaiety, its gaudy mantillas, its laughing, dark-eyed girls and gesticulating men, and its culminating display of fireworks. I know it, and I can conceive no reason why the guide-book makers should endeavour to

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deprive other visitors of the enjoyment I got out of the innocent and exhilarating experience.

Everything about Córdova—the streets, the squares, the houses, with their patios—are small, lovely, mysterious, and Eastern. The ground-work is white—white and smooth are the walls and the houses—but the detail is a blaze of colours—roses, and oranges, and pinks forming a colour scheme of Nature’s own designing. The youthful gaiety of the town has overgrown its ancient might and sombreness, even as gay flowers, burst from between the ancient stones of a ruined castle. It has a charm that fills the heart with a sad pleasure; a mysterious spell that one cannot resist. The cathedral is a fortress from without, but within it is a palace of enchantment; the town is a citadel become a pleasure garden; it is a museum of Roman and Arabian antiquities, peopled with blithesome men and women. Within a mile or two of Córdova once flourished Medina Az-zahra, which was one of the most marvellous works of architecture, the most superb earthly palace, and the most delicious garden in the world, and Zahira, built by the powerful Almansur, the governor of the kingdom. Both these superb cities have been destroyed, and not even the ruins are to be found.{108}

The Castiles.

SOME of the oldest and most truly national cities of Spain are situated in the two Castiles—silent cities peopled by silent men, in the midst of a mountainous, silent country. It is no light thing to bear the stamp of Castile. The men, reserved, well bred, loyal, and proud, carry their Castilian origin in their faces, their habits, and their cast of mind; and the cities are Castilian in their strength and their uncompromising severity. One sees it in the Toledo of New Castile, and finds it in the Burgos of the older province. Burgos, a representative Gothic Castilian city, was long the capital of the kingdom of Castile and León, and its cathedral ranks among the finest in Spain. What voyager that crosses the Pyrenees is not acquainted with Burgos Cathedral? The train that hurls the traveller across the mountainous boundary dumps him in Burgos, and being there, he proceeds forthwith to inspect the Cathedral. He is, it may be assumed, new to Spain, the Spanish cathedrals have the charm of novelty, and the first one he visits he does thoroughly. Unless he is an architect, or an archæologist, he will expend over this first specimen of the Peninsula’s religious edifices an amount of enthusiasm that would, if properly apportioned, carry him with interest round all the cathedrals of Spain. As an illustration of this contention I may mention the experience of an American whom I encountered in Seville. He was enthusiastic about the bull-fighting, delighted with the Alcázar, and fascinated with the Sevillian patios; but when I spoke to him of the cathedral, he replied, in an off-hand manner and a shrug of the{109} shoulders: “Oh, I haven’t seen it, except from the outside. I got so full up of cathedrals at Burgos that I haven’t been inside another.”

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Burgos Cathedral is certainly a magnificent specimen to get, to quote my American acquaintance, “full up on.” Although by no means large in comparison with many others in Spain, it appears to fill half the town. In addition to its conspicuousness and inviting aspect, it is the principal surviving monument to the ancient wealth and grandeur of the province, and one of the most beautiful structures in Europe. It was begun in 1221, and it was not finished till 1567, so that the period of its erection extends over three centuries and a-half, during which Gothic architecture passed through its successive stages in what we regard as Early English, Decorated, and Perpendicular. The exterior is greatly admired for the variety and richness of its outline, which embraces a whole forest of pinnacles, spires, and{110} towers; but unfortunately it is so hemmed in with houses that it is not easy to find a point from which the eye can take in the whole sweep of the building from one end to the other. The Capilla del Condestable, the most interesting portion of the interior, might vie, for elevation and spaciousness of proportion, with many a church; while its magnificent tombs, profusion of sculpture and other decoration, combined with its general sumptuousness, render it worthy to be the sepulchre of kings. Burgos, like all other Spanish cathedrals, or all that I have visited, abounds in magnificent iron-work, a department of art which appears to have been cultivated with more ease in this country than in all the rest of Christendom. Almost every chapel (and some cathedrals contain no fewer than twenty) is fenced about by grilles of most graceful design and admirable workmanship; while the high altar is enclosed on two sides by railings, and in front by gates of the same material, each portion being a perfect marvel of the metal-worker’s art. Some of these gates stand thirty feet high; and when constructed of iron, as is usually the case, are not only richly gilt, so as to convey the effect of light and shade, but covered in addition with profuse ornamentation and heraldic devices.

There is a Christ in Burgos Cathedral—the Christ it is called in Burgos—and it is claimed for it that it bleeds every Friday. It hangs behind a curtain over the altar in one of the chapels. When the curtain was drawn, I expected to see a figure of painted wood or marble, such as one sees elsewhere, and the spectacle filled me with horror. For this effigy is covered with skin, and is so terribly real that one recoils from it involuntarily. The beard, the hair, and the lashes are real, the hair is matted with clots of blood, the wounds gape in the side and the hands, and the pose is a marvel of realism. It has well been designated “the Christ”—to see it is to lose all desire to look upon it again.{111}

In one of the rooms of the old sacristy the visitor is shown the broken and worm-eaten coffer in which the Cid carried his treasure in his wars against the Moors. The Cid, it would appear, was the original exponent of the confidence trick. Being in need of ready money, he filled the coffer with metal and stones, and pawned it to a Jewish usurer, making a stipulation that it should not be opened until the loan was repaid. Seeing that the Cid would, in all probability, have kept the trick to himself if he had redeemed the goods, we may assume that he never paid his debt. People have been filling portmanteaus with bricks and living at hotels on the good faith of their worthless luggage ever since.

But Burgos, though magnificent in its cathedral and severe as a judge by temperament, is somewhat like an ancient and irrepressible comedian in appearance. Its situation, on the slope of the mountain is sufficiently impressive; its narrow, winding streets are serious and unresponsive in character; but its colouring is strangely genial, even to the verge of facetiousness. No two houses together are of the same colour; but orange and blue, red and grey and green confront the eye from doors, and railing, and windows, and from every bit of decoration that can bear its dollop of paint. No design is allowed to restrict the freedom of the artist’s fancy; the paints are daubed on irrespective of all the laws of colour harmony, and without any reference to the feelings of the family that live over the way. But the effect is decidedly cheerful and waggish, and the cathedral uprears its head in the midst of it like a Salvini in the middle of a crowd of Gaiety choristers. The silence of Burgos arises in part from the lack of vehicular traffic, and, in a measure, from the scarcity of women to be seen in the streets. Such ladies as are about keep their eyes to themselves, and pass along unheedful of the signs of life about them. But in the security of their miradores, or high-balconied windows, they regard mankind with perfect{112} composure and entire freedom. So long as the beauty of Burgos can only be contemplated by throwing back the head and gazing up at “skied” windows, it is not a bad thing that carriages should be few and far between.

La Granja wakes up for three months in the year, viz., in July, August, and September, when the Court seeks in the altitude of the Palace a relief from the heat of the capital. Madrid has no reason to be ashamed of her elevation, but the Royal Residence of La Granja stands nearly 1,500 feet above the Palace of Madrid, and the Spanish people are well pleased that the King should desire so exalted a spot in which to live. The palace is a cheerful, if theatrical-looking French chateau, the antithesis of the severe Madrid palace, or the proud, gloomy Escorial. The interior is pretty rather than magnificent; agreeable rather than impressive. But if French art has reared the building, the natural surroundings are truly Spanish, and unmistakably Castilian. Around the palace on all sides are rocks, and forests, and crystal streams, and adjoining it are the palace gardens, which are at once among the finest, as they are certainly the most costly in the kingdom. These gardens, which cover an area of 360 acres, are an imitation, on a smaller scale, of the gardens of Versailles. The formal cut of the ground plan, the regularity of its avenues, the artificiality of the numerous fountains, marble vases and statuary, and its dwarf-like vegetations is all in striking contrast with the wild scenery on every side. In order to form these grounds, rocks were levelled and bored for the water pipes to feed the fountains, and hollowed to admit the roots of trees. One fountain—the Baños—which shoots up water to a height of 130 feet, cost Philip V. three millions of pesetas (over £100,000), but that monarch confessed that the display had amused him for three minutes. The cost of the gardens alone reached the enormous total of forty-{113}five million pesetas; and on the death of Philip V. his debts were found to be within a couple of pesetas of that amount.

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After the magnificent scenery of the Alpine Nava Cerrada, the chain of pine-clad mountain and the road, indescribably beautiful, that winds through the dark woods to La Granja, the 6 miles that still separate the traveller from Segovia are flat and uninteresting. But the dull, bare country changes as if by magic when a sharp corner is turned and the city bursts upon the view. The first sight of Segovia from La Granja fills one with a thrill of rapturous awe. The rocky gorge, by which the city is approached, is spanned by Trajan’s noble aqueduct; and beyond it, from the bosom of a soft, green vale, rises the rocky ridge upon which the fine old Castilian stronghold commands the surrounding country. The prospect is indescribably impressive, and one fears that the magic of the spectacle will disappear as we near it. But in this one is agreeably disappointed. The drive under the huge aqueduct{114} gives one a momentary flash of realisation of the might of its Roman builders; and then the road struggles ever upwards, past red, sunlit plazas and curiously-fronted houses, beneath nodding roofs and under archways, into the Plaza Mayor, over which lies the shadow of the grim Gothic cathedral. The wonderful fairy-like “Puente del Diablo,” with its 320 arches, which rise, tier upon tier, to a height of 102 feet, is constructed of granite, without cement or lime. It is indeed a lasting monument to the enterprise, the resolution, and the architectural genius of its creators. The great cathedral, one of the largest in Spain, the old Alcázar which successfully stood out against the plundering Comuneros who sacked the city in 1520, and the eighteen lesser churches, are for antiquarians and ecclesiologists: but the aqueduct is a separate ecstacy that appeals alike to the layman and the expert.

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Although it has points in common with Segovia, Cuenca, and all these ancient cities of Castile, Avila, the home of the saint-like Teresa, Spain’s lady patroness, with its granite approach and its massive granite walls, its memories, its fortified cathedral, and its severe menacing air, is as well worthy a visit as any city in Spain.

The Avila of to-day is the Avila of a thousand years ago—a mediæval wall-girt city. Its frowning ramparts wear a strangely forbidding appearance, and its countenance is an index of its character. Protected by walls forty feet high and twelve feet thick, pierced by ten gateways, and studded by no less than eighty-six towers, commanding at every point the plain below,{115} it stood from its foundation, until the era of artillery, a city impregnable. Local tradition has it that Avila was originally called Abula, after the mother of Hércules, and it is not incongruous to associate this brave old fortress town with all the heroes of mythology. The earliest authentic records of the city date back to B.C. 1660. The cathedral, dedicated to San Salvador, the Prince of Peace, reminds one of the futile voice that cries

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“Peace, peace,” where there is no peace. Nor did Alva Garcia, its architect, gamble on its peace prospects; for its strong cimborio was evidently built for defence, and its apse, with castellated machicolations, forms one of the towers of the city walls. From the general character of the cathedral it is evident that although it was commenced in A.D. 1091, it was not completed until the early part of the thirteenth century, and it is much disfigured by some poor patchwork restoration. Don Ramon of Burgundy, who rebuilt the city at the same time as{116} the cathedral, endeavoured to secure peace by preparing for war, and the old church was pressed into the defence of the town.

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The “Royal City” or Ciudad-Real is a fledgling among the cities of Castile, being little more than 650 years old. It was styled “royal” by Juan II. in 1420, and Cervantes called it “imperial,” and “the seat of the god of smiles.” Ciudad-Real may, in the days of Ferdinand and Isabella, have worn a regal appearance, but the touch of a hand that is dead no longer lingers about this dull, poverty-stricken, backward town. The cathedral is vast, bare, and uninteresting; and when it has been hurried through, there is nothing else of interest to detain one in Ciudad-Real. Quite recently the tower of the cathedral partially collapsed, damaging, but happily only to a slight extent, in its fall, the beautiful dome of the building. The authorities, with commendable promptitude, engaged a small army of workmen, and at considerable risk removed the rest of the dangerous portion,{117}

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and prevented further injury to the dome. As the tower was regarded in the light of a national monument, a proposal to rebuild it is now under consideration. Within ten miles of the city is Almadén, a town that boasts no antiquity, and reflects not the shadow of a departed glory, but rather provides the substance of a matter-of-fact to-day. For at Almadén, on the confines of La Mancha, Estremadura, and Andalucia, is the great and apparently inexhaustible quicksilver mine, which is one of the few real sources of direct income to the State. These mines are Crown property; and of the £250,000 worth of the mineral which Almadén produces annually, a profit of £160,000 goes to the Government.

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Rock-girt Cuenca is more picturesquely situated than either Ronda, or Granada, or even Monserrat. It is built on a granite height, the base of which is girdled by two graceful rivers, the Huecar and the Jucar, that run their green courses through the most luxuriant of valleys, filled with paths and groves of hand{120}some trees. Terraced fruit gardens, rising like a grand staircase of verdure, stretch up to the perpendicular rock columns on one side of the city; and on the other it is guarded by abrupt, wild crags that fringe it in a hundred weird forms, their nakedness being modified, like the points of Monserrat, by lichens, ivy and other trailing vines.

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From the city one looks across the river-washed valley, over the line of cliffs that merge into the distant mountains, and compose a scene of grandeur and loveliness, of slope, and precipice, and fairy-like verdure—a scene as grand and beautiful as one shall find in Spain. Time was when Cuenca was known to the world by its literature, its arts, and its manufacures; to-day it is no more than a back-cloth, a spectacle, an empty stage. Its trade has deserted it; its artists and authors have never been replaced. Time was when its mountains were the fastnesses in which the brave Celtiberians waged their desperate guerilla warfare against the Romans; to-day the Idubedan ranges are devoid of the vigorous spirit of either Roman or Celtiberian. The

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race of rich traders who peopled these localities in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries is extinct. The beautiful pinares de Cuenca still remain with their immemorial glades and rocks, their wild poetical scenery, and their myriad squirrels. All that is left to Cuenca is its history and its beauty, and if its history was great, its beauty is even greater and more enduring.{122}

Granada and the Alhambra.

TO the majority of travellers who visit Spain the Alhambra is Granada. They visit the city in order to see the wonders of the old Moorish palace, and unless they can spend many months in the neighbourhood they have no time to see anything else. A celebrated French artist declared that a man might worthily devote a life-time to the study of the Alhambra. Washington Irving, who lived for six years in Spain, and nearly the whole of it in Granada, complained, in 1829, that the Alhambra had been so often described that little remained to be said. Irving added to the literature of the subject his great and fascinating work, and it might have been thought that with this book the last word had been spoken. Hundreds of thousands of words in all languages have been written since then about the Alhambra, and yet I am not deterred from adding my few pages to the pile. There are many sights, like moonlight on running water, or the dancing shadows of feathery trees on a lawn, or the Hall of the Two Sisters in the Alhambra, which inspire one with cacoēthes scribendi, and the mania is not to be resisted.

Granada, which has been called the city of running waters, is another monument of Spain’s decayed glories. Under the Moors it boasted a population of half-a-million inhabitants; to-day it has but little more than a tenth of that number. There must have been more virility in the district under the Romans, who ever congregated where wealth was obtainable, and who reaped a rich harvest by washing the gold in the sands of the

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Darro. To-day this vast source of revenue is practically neglected; although, after the rains, a number of gold-fishers may be seen puddling in its eddies. The beautiful and magnificent cathedral, the burial place of the Catholic kings of mediæval Spain, the religious monuments—the superb Cartoja, the Montesacro, containing the grottos of the martyrs, the tomb of Gonzales di Córdova in the Church of San Geronimo, the Convents of St. Dominie and of the Angels—and, above all, the Alhambra, remain to link the city with its mighty past, but the only living survival of its ancient activity is represented by the sand washers on the banks of the Darro. Granada has gone to sleep. She is content to doze in the midst of her beautiful gardens, encircled by her noble mountains, rejoicing in the fruits that a fertile ground grows of its own accord—content in her idleness and the variety of her beauty. If she is reproved upon her condition, she replies with a yawn, and says, as a witty Italian writer puts it: “I gave to Spain the painter Alonzo Cano, the poet Luis de León, the historian Fernando de Castillo, the sacred orator Luis de Granada, and the minister Martinez de la Rosas; I have paid my debt; leave me in peace!”

So the visitor leaves sleepy Granada in peace in the hollow, and breasts the hill, on the summit of which the Alhambra mounts guard over the city. From the distance it presents, as do so many Oriental palaces, the appearance of a fortress, and the approach is so planned that one comes right under the shadow of its walls without obtaining another view of it. A curve in the road brings one suddenly at the entrance to a grove, the trees of which are so thickly planted that a man may scarcely pass between them, and their mighty branches interlacing overhead defy the sun to penetrate their foliage. An avenue pierces this park of verdure; the shade is deep, but the air is soft and fragrant with the perfume of flowers; and at the{124} end we stand before a large square tower, dark coloured and crowned with battlements, and entered by an arched door. It is dowdy, commonplace, and unimpressive, but it is the Door of Justice, the principal entrance to the Alhambra. But if the visitor feels a shock of disappointment at this first close acquaintance with the world-famed structure, it will certainly not be allayed when, having passed through the gateway and ascended an embanked road, he is brought up before a great ruined palace in the style of the Renaissance, beyond which stand some miserable-looking little houses. The palace was erected by that arch-vandal, Charles V., who, to his everlasting shame, planted a Gothic Church in the middle of the Mosque at Córdova. The Alhambra has had its full share of vicissitudes and desecrations. For a number of years it was inhabited by smugglers and vagabonds, the French soldiers stabled their horses there during their occupation, earthquakes have visited it, and a gunpowder explosion destroyed some of the ceilings, but it remained for Charles V. to outstrip the earthquake and the invading armies in the work of ignorant spoilation. “But this,” one inquires, aghast, “this rubbishly palace is not the Alhambra?” It is a relief to be reassured that it is not; but the consolation is changed to amazement when one learns that the Alhambra itself is contained among the wretched hovels that lie beyond. But the suspense is nearly at an end; there is a little door to be entered, a little courtyard to be crossed, and one is in the marvellous apartment, which is at once a hall, a courtyard, and a garden—the Court of the Myrtles. Two rows of Moorish arches, upheld by light columns, stretch out on the right of the entrance one above the other, while a tower rises on the opposite side; and in the centre, extending right across the width of the patio, is a large rectangular basin of water, which reflects, as in a mirror, the arches and arabesques, and the superb mosaics which{125}

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ornament the walls. The deep thrill of emotion and delighted surprise that one experiences in gazing round this beautiful Eastern interior is repeated again and again as one proceeds through the halls and courts of this fairy palace. Moorish patios, with every variety of mosaic marble columns, fountains, and flowers, may be seen in other cities of Spain, but here are whole suites of courts, and gardens, and halls, vying with each other in splendour, in regal magnificence and lavish expenditure; while the situation of the palace is the most romantic and picturesque in Europe.

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The Tower of the Ambassadors, which contains two halls, one of which is the great Hall of the Ambassadors, would alone earn for the Alhambra its reputation for unsurpassed beauty. The walls and the ceilings are covered with an enormous tracery of embroideries in the form of garlands, roses, branches, and leaves, so blended as to make one magnificent whole so delicate and intricate that the visitor could spend hours in examining its inextricable network, and yet gain no more than a vague impression of its detail. Gautier has compared these ornamentations to “a kind of tapestry worked into the wall itself;” and De Amicis, employing the same simile, writes of it: “The walls seem woven like a cloth, rich as a brocade, transparent as lace, and veined like a leaf.” The Hall of the Ambassadors is a spacious square apartment lighted by nine arched windows, which, by reason of the thickness of the walls, form nine alcoves, each supported by a little marble column and surmounted by{128} two exquisite small arches, surmounted in their turn by two little arched windows. The views from these windows are entrancing; and one turns from the handsome workmanship of the interior to the magnificent landscape without in an ecstacy of sensuous pleasure.

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The Court of Lions is one of the most beautiful edifices in Granada, and the finest and most elegant piece of Mussulman architecture of the Nazarite period. There is not a more magnificent and fantastic example, in or out of Spain, on which the artistic genius of the Arabs might pride itself; and certainly its builder, the famous architect Aben Cencid, is worthy a place with the most noted architects of all time. Transparent arcades, columns which have been grouped together in large and small numbers in order to share the weight of the beautiful arches and ceilings, seven fountains, two high ornaments in the form of temples, which advance majestically to relieve the monotony of the cloister, four golden cupolas which gleam in the rays of the sun, eleven different forms of arches gaudily decorated, constitute, as Don Rafael Contreras, who restored the Alhambra, says, a magical and delicious whole, even though seven centuries have elapsed. In the centre of the Court is a great marble basin, surrounded by a little paved canal, and supported by twelve lions—lions fashioned in the strictest accordance with the injunction of the Koran, which forbids its followers to make an image of any living thing. A glance at these lions shows how faithfully the sculptors

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of these ill-shaped, grotesque, ridiculous monstrosities observed the tenets of their creed.

Perhaps the most beautiful apartment in the Alhambra is the hall of the “Two Sisters,” which, in its exuberance of ornamentation, richness, and variety of carving and manifold combination of every line that can produce beauty and grace, is beyond description. Fergusson has described it as “the most varied and elegant apartment in the whole palace.” The proportions are so graceful, the colours so bright and gay, yet subdued into such exquisite harmony that it soothes while it enchants the eye; and every portion, down to the tiles, bears the stamp of such refined taste and infinite invention, that one looks around with a sort of despairing wonderment, unable either to classify the various objects that challenge admiration on every side, or to carry off anything more distinct than a dream-like recollection, in which every element of decoration is blended in a bewildering chaos of beauty.

The ancient Moors made art a virtue, and bathing an art. They did not bathe from a sense of duty, but because bathing was a luxury. Here between the Hall of the Two Sisters and the Court of the Myrtles is the Sala de Reposo, where the favourites of the Kings prepared themselves for their bath, or rested themselves after it. This hall, which was restored by Spanish artists on the ruins of the old one, is in keeping with the rest of the palace. A fountain occupies the centre of the apartment, alcoves are set in the multi-coloured walls, and the atmosphere of the whole place is cool, fragrant, and delicious. Around this hall are the little bath rooms, each bath formed out of a solid slab of marble. The rooms are lit by means of holes in the wall in the shape of stars and flowers, a device which admits the glow of the sun without its rays. Soft light and perfumes, rose-coloured curtains and music, contributed to the{130} sensuous delights of the Sultanas’ ablutions. They may not have been a particularly intelligent class of women, these dainty, languid-eyed sultanas; but they must, as an American tourist observed, have been a “wonderfully sweet and wholesome kind of female to have about one.”

From the baths one proceeds to the Tocador de la reina (the Queen’s toilet), situated at the top of a tower from which one obtains a magnificent view of the surrounding country. This royal boudoir is perched on the edge of an abyss. It is open on all sides and on all sides a spectacle of amazing beauty is spread out to the view. Immediately below lies the city of Granada, the houses interspersed with groups of trees and huge bunches of foliage which seem to fight with the buildings for every yard of land that the hand of man has snatched from nature. Beyond the city is an immense green plain, over which endless rows of cypresses, pines, and oaks thread their ways amid groves of oranges and a riot of flowers. The deep valley of the Darro is almost hidden by the profusion of vegetation that runs right down to the water’s edge, and the silver Genil shimmers amid the groves and gardens. Beyond the plain are the hills, their green sides torn by the rugged boulders that thrust their way through the trees; and to the south rise the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada, white and dazzling in summer sunshine. The spectacle is one that can never fade from the mind; the thrill it produces can never quite be lost.

The huge wall which surrounds the vast precincts of the Alhambra is studded with towers which retain their original names. The Torre de las Infantas is one of the best preserved outwardly, and presents that severity of outline which characterises the exterior of the palace, and contrasts so strongly with the prodigal magnificence visible everywhere in the interior. The Alhambra would be inexpressibly beautiful if it had been

The Alhambra.

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set up in the Arabian desert, or the wastes of Siberia; but situated as it is in one of the most lovely spots on earth, it is as though the Moors had discovered Paradise and made it habitable. I am told that there is no time in the year when Granada is not beautiful; but beyond question the best time to be there is when the song of the nightingale and the fragrance of the orange blossom fill its groves with melody and sweetness: when the eye, penetrating the foliage of its elm-planted alameda, rests on the dazzling crest of Mulahacen with a sense of refreshment, to which the contrast of green leaves and summer snow lends an unwonted charm: when day is Elysium, and night a dream-land of romance, illumined by the warm beams of a southern moon: when the Alhambra assumes a garb of beauty to which, amid the glare of noon, its courts and bowers are strangers. At that hour, as Irving tells us, “Every rent and chasm of time, every mouldering tint and weather-stain, disappears. The marble resumes its original whiteness: the long colonnades brighten in the moonbeams: the halls are illumined with a softened radiance, until the whole edifice reminds one of the enchanted palace of some Arabian tale.”

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Another American author, G. P. Lathrop, has acknowledged the supreme spell of the Alhambra in a passage of remarkable descriptive power: “When the Madonna’s lamp shone bright amid the engulfing shadows of the Tower of Justice, while its upper half was cased in steely radiance, we passed in by Charle{132}s’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—the coldness of the moonlight on the soft, cream-coloured 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 crystals.... From the Queen’s Peinador 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 deep 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 sharp 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 spirit of the departed would 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 dark, 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

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beams at moments through the obscurity, and I saw the gleam of enamelled swords, the shine of bronze candlesticks, the blur of coloured 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 knew not what power of bygone, yet ever present things—a half-tangible essence that expressed only the solemnity of life and the presentiment of change.”

It were endless to describe all the various courts, balconies, galleries, and baths contained within the circuit of the Alhambra. The Mosque alone, with its exquisite niche where the Koran is deposited, would long detain an archæologist. Yet that is but one Mosque; there are the remains of three others to be seen. There are the ruins of the house of the Cadi, the Water-tower, the Tower of the Prisoner, the Tower of the Candil, a dozen other towers besides the house of Mondejar—what is left of it—the military quarters, the gardens, the promenades, the—but the list is endless, the sights are inexhaustible. One may live in the Alhambra itself, as Washington Irving lived, and echo his plaint, “Oh, that I had seen the Alhambra!”

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In ancient times there was direct communication between the Alhambra and the Generaliffe, the summer palace of the Moorish sovereigns, by the Iron Door, and a narrow path running in front of it between two rows of red walls. An exquisitely-carved door, inlaid with Dutch tiles, in the lower garden of this{134} place of recreation, leads into it. The Generaliffe was built by order of Prince Omar, and the word has been interpreted as meaning “Recreation, or Pleasure House,” and truly a more delicious and charming spot, or one with more splendid views, cannot be conceived. It is a small, white villa, with a terrace of gardens stretching from the top of the mountain to the walls of the house, which is encircled by thickets of laurel and myrtle. Flowers and myrtles, arbours and high espaliers, surmounted by arches, abound on every side, and the ears are soothed by the murmur of a hundred springs and brooklets which gurgle and bubble amid the greenery and sparkle in every open space. The noise of the distant city floats upwards with the sound of a soft hum, and the air is laden with the perfume of roses and orange blossoms.

The Cathedral of Granada is a splendid pile, but I did not inspect it during my visit. There is a Cathedral in every Spanish city one enters, but there is only one Alhambra in the world. Yet here are the tombs of Ferdinand and Isabella, here is the casket in which Isabella sent her jewels to the pawnbroker—the jewels that were disposed of in order to furnish Christopher Columbus with the money for the arming of the ships in which he sailed to discover the New World.

Close to the Cathedral there is a bazaar, Arabian in form and appearance, which was re-decorated in 1844 owing to the fire which occurred there the previous year. It is said that Alcaiceria signifies the house or place of Cæsar; and, according to Marmol, it is the place where public and private merchandise was stored according to the custom in Eastern towns. Before the fire this Alcaiceria preserved all its old characteristics, and was a great deal narrower than it is now, the shops being so small that the shopman had to get on the counter or outside it, as there was no room behind it. At

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present the Arab decoration is too artificial, and a strange incongruousness exists between the beautiful Arab columns and the angular horse-shoe arches covered with show-bills and notices advertising various articles and professional services of all kinds.

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To the visitor to Spain, who has already seen Seville and Toledo and Cuenca, the city of Granada is not greatly impressive, or even deliberately interesting. The older streets are tortuous, narrow and noisy; but the modern part is as regular and unimaginative as only a modern city can be, with wide thoroughfares, spacious squares, and excellent pavements. This monotony is broken by the famous Alameda, which, with its rows of immense trees whose foliage meets and interlaces overhead, its handsome fountains, its garden filled with roses, myrtle and jessamine, and its glimpses of the snowy Sierra Nevada from amid the tropical vegetation, makes it one of the finest and most picturesque promenades in Spain. During the daytime the Alameda is deserted, but in the evening it is crowded with a laughing, bustling multitude; and, in the habit of keeping late hours,{136} the people of Granada are every bit as fashionable as those of Madrid or Seville. Beggars there are—and where are they not in this land of mendicancy?—ordinary beggars and gipsies—the most persistent and irrepressible of beggars.

Where do they all come from, these hungry-looking, scowling, emaciated men and women, and these wretched, withered, whining children? From the Albaycin, the gipsy quarters on the face of the hill. The road is steep, and the streets are narrow, the houses dilapidated and unsavoury. The higher one climbs, the more miserable become the houses, the more wretched and ragged the people that sleep in the doorways or shuffle about the streets. Yet this is the Belgravia of the Albaycin. Further still, and the path grows so rugged and narrow, so full of boulders and holes, that it seems more like a cutting made by a mountain torrent than a street, and the dwellings are no better than hovels. We are miles from Spain, in an African village, and an evil specimen at that. The buildings are so many ruins with tiny doors—you pass through the doorway and find yourself in the court-yard of an Arabian house, surrounded by graceful, slender columns, surmounted by very light arches, and bearing those indescribable traceries which are the glory and the bewilderment of the Alhambra. One gazes from the bits of arabesqued walls to the morose wrinkled faces; from the delicate columns to the rags that serve to but half-clothe the women, and one’s mind refuses, or is incapable of reconciling these incongruities. The conditions of the houses and the people continue to grow more malodorous and repulsive as one proceeds; but if the visitor has a mind (and stomach) for high-class slumming, there is yet more to see.

For beyond the residential area, where hovels serve as dwelling-places, we come to the district of the cave-dwellers. The caves are dug in the earth in the side of the hills; caves{137}

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with a mud wall in front, with holes to admit the light, and cracks to serve as a means of ingress and exit for the people. They are mere dens, fit only for wild beasts; and the gitanos that swarm in them are little better than savages. Their numbers are unobtainable; their laws, if they have any, are unknown to the statute of any country. No one shall say how they exist,

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or what they exist upon. The police dare not penetrate their fastnesses; the tax-collector never troubles them; nor doctor nor priest visits them. “Manners none, customs nasty” is the only description that can be applied to them. One reaches the gates of the gipsy quarter, but few people have any desire to go further. No sooner is the intruder espied from afar than the whole mountain-side vomits forth its pack of beggars—men, women and children—the blind, the lame and the halt, the diseased and the decrepit, all filthy, and all shouting for alms, and thrusting out their hungry palms. It is not dignified, I admit, but, in the circumstances, it is advisable to button up your{140} dignity, with your other valuables, and take to your heels. Take the advice that Jack Bunsby gave to Captain Cuttle, when he was in his matrimonial fix, and bolt.

It is told of one of the gitani, to whom a man child was born, that he brought the baby to a priest in Granada, and asked that it might be christened. The old padre was delighted to find such a sign of awakening to moral consciousness in one of the outlawed people, and willingly acquiesced.

“And what do you wish to call your son?” he asked.

“Tiger!” promptly responded the proud father.

“Tiger?” protested the priest. “But you cannot name a child after a wild beast.”

“That is his name,” persisted the father. “The Pope, he is called lion (Leo), my son shall be tiger.”

And “Tiger” he was duly christened.

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THERE is an old German saying: “Wein Gott lieb hat, dem giebt er ein Haus in Sevilla,” which may be translated, “He whom God loves has a house in Seville.” Truly, there are few fairer, gayer, and more wholly desirable places of abode in Europe. It is at once a seaport town, situated on the banks of the Guadalquiver (“the great river”), fifty-four miles from the sea, and the centre of an exuberantly fertile district which produces olives, grapes, oranges, cork, and grain in perfection. The Sevillians proudly call their country “La Tierra de Maria Santisima,” of which Byron wrote:

“...All sunny land
Of love! When I forget you, may I fail
To—say my prayers!”

The sunshine reflected from the walls and the houses darts through the labyrinth of narrow streets, peers into fairy-like patios, and floods the orange trees, palms, and acacias that grow in every open space and square of the city. Here is all gaiety, and mirth, and roses which blossom all the year round in a climate which is claimed to be one of the most delightful in Europe. And the sun is in the blood of the people. They pursue pleasure as the serious business of life; bustle, love, and laughter fill their days and nights, and the air is ever abuz with soft sounds. I suppose that the English temperament, which is more like that of the Catalonians, would in time grow weary of the buoyant, light-hearted Andalusian nature, and the English resident in Seville would find himself complaining that he had{142}

“...breathed too long awhile,
Soft airs and perfumes, listened to soft sounds,
And journeyed in soft paths beneath soft skies.”

But my visits to Seville have never been so far protracted as to afford me the opportunity of putting this surmise to the test. My impressions of the city are snapshots rather than etchings; they are slightly blurred and indistinct, but wholly delightful to reflect upon. Seville, like Venice and Rome, is a place that one goes to with one’s mind full of preconceived notions—unconsciously primed for disappointment and the disillusionment of reality. Yet I have never met anyone who confessed to being disappointed with Seville. After the modernity of Madrid, the prosperous and business-like alertness of Barcelona, and the sombre mediævalism of Toledo, the exhilarating sense of enjoyment that permeates the air of this “all sunny land of love” inspires one with a sympathy that makes the criticisms of the Madrileños seem as ill-natured slanders. Are these bright, laughing people, these spruce, graceful men, and entrancing women, vain, false, changeable, and given to gossip? Perish the thought! True, that is the opinion held in the capital; the Sevillians only half resenting the allegations, which they ascribe to jealousy. And their criticisms of the bodies, minds, and manners of the Madrileños are unprintable. In Madrid you hear, “The Sevillians! Ah, they can do nothing but make love!” And in Seville they declare that the Madrileños can make nothing—but mistakes.

But whatever the shortcomings of Seville may be, no town in the south of Spain receives more visitors. All sorts of people go there, with all sorts of motives. The artist goes to fill his portfolio with the picturesque forms and showy costumes of Majo and Maja. The lover of painting makes a pilgrimage there to see Murillo in all his glory. The seasons of the Church—Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter—attract thousands from{143}

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devotion or curiosity, the religious ceremonies of the place being of peculiar interest, and unrivalled, except in Rome. And not even in the Eternal City itself shall you see boys dancing before the high altar. This curious survival of a very ancient custom takes place at the festival of Corpus Christi—the corps de ballet, if one may so term it without offence, consisting of two rows of boys, from eight to ten years old, dressed like Spanish cavaliers of the mediæval age, with plumed hats and

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white stockings. The dance they execute to the low music of violins is simple, dignified, and exceedingly graceful. When they break out all together into a lovely and harmonious chant, the effect upon the spectator is electrical; and even the use of the castanets does not rob the ceremony of its impressiveness. I am told that some two hundred years ago an Archbishop of Seville desired to suppress this dance, and the tumult that ensued among the people and the canons of the cathedral echoed even to Rome. The Pope was naturally curious to see the dance, and the boys were taken to Rome to dance and sing before his holiness. The Pope laughed, and did not express any disapproval; but, wishing to satisfy the canons without displeasing the Archbishop, decreed that the boys should dance until the clothes they{146} had on were worn out, after which the ceremony might be considered as abolished. In two centuries these clothes are still in a state of excellent repair; and as only one part of the boys’ costumes are renewed at a time, they bid fair to last for ever.

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Seville, which is always gay, and Spanish, and fascinating to the receptive visitor, is at its best at this festival of Corpus Christi. For days beforehand preparations are in progress, streets are swept, awnings are put up over all the streets and squares along which the procession is to pass, flowers are banked to make a background, chairs are placed in every available corner, and in the cathedral the columns are draped in gorgeous velvet cloths. On the day itself, thousands flock into Seville from the country and the neighbouring towns. The procession itself would appear a poor and ineffective spectacle to people who saw Alfonso XIII. ride from the Palacio Real to the Plaza de Toros in May last year, or Edward VII. pass from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace. But the line of route is a sight to remember. Along it, on either side, one can observe the Andalusians in all their glory. As a beauty show, it is a display that in my experience has no equal. Every window and every balcony contains a picture of feminine loveliness. Every individual beauty composing it is a subject for the painter’s brush. Hardly less attractive is the sight of the soldiers lining the route, either on foot or mounted on Andalusian steeds, proud and graceful

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as their riders, and beautiful as the señoritas, who gaze upon them with their big, black, lustrous eyes.

The streets of Seville, in comparison with those of Toledo or Córdova, are almost modern and relatively spacious. The most interesting of them all is the Calle de Sierpes, which no wagon is allowed to enter, and which is lined with cafés, clubhouses, and splendid shops. Many of the latter are semi-Moorish, and although you do not see a turbanned Mohammedan squatting in a small booth open to the street, you do see no end of shops which are practically in the street, the whole front wall (consisting of doors) being removed in the daytime. I have wandered for hours through the dazzling white streets, sniffing the diffused odour of oranges, and watching the handsome and picturesque peasantry as they revel through life. To the Englishman, no city in Spain presents more novel sights and historic contrasts. Having been successively a Phœnician, Greek, Roman, Gothic, Moorish, and Catholic city, it preserves traces and monuments of almost all these dynasties. At the suberb, Italica, the birthplace of three Roman emperors, the ruins of an ancient amphitheatre, with its various subterranean divisions for the gladiators and the wild beasts that appeared therein, may still be seen. Seville itself is Moorish in the arrangement of the streets and houses, and the Alcázar is the best preserved specimen of Moorish architecture in Spain. Adjoining it is the Christian Cathedral. In the streets the mediæval donkey grazes the modern tram-car. At the hotel sits an Englishman in a Moorish patio reading the latest number of the Times.

These Moorish patios are, of all the sights in Seville, the most interesting. One finds them at Malaga and Granada, at Córdova and Toledo, but one must come to Seville to see these pleasant courtyards at their best. Here are patios of all sizes and grades{148} of splendour, but always patios. In the finest of these square courtyards the floor is of marble, and the walls are inlaid with elegant mosaic. In the centre is a flower plot, or a fountain surrounded with flowers or statuary. Marble columns on each side support the inside projection of the upper story, which is sometimes provided with windows, while the patio itself is open above to the sky at night, and covered during the daytime with an awning. To me these sweet shady spots were a source of increasing delight. Anything more exquisite after its kind—more perfectly ordered, delicately arranged, and beautifully kept up, than the court of a Sevillian gentleman’s residence, I have never seen; and the poorer classes follow suit with marvellous success and unanimity. There is no great outer door, as at Toledo, but cunningly-wrought and fairy-like iron gates, which only serve to set off an enticing picture of marble pavement, colonnade, and fountain, in a framing of palmitos, bananas, and lemon-trees, with here and there a coquettishly-perched cage of singing birds. The temptation to pry into these dainty interiors was irresistible.

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I confess that I had been two days in Seville before I explored the cathedral. For one thing, there was so much to see all around that I had no temptation to make a definite excursion to any particular point of interest; and as somebody once remarked about a five-act tragedy, it was so easy not to go to the cathedral. Moreover, I had seen cathedrals in every town

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that I had visited in Spain, and I was surfeited of them. I had stood in admiration before the magnificent pile, and gazed in wonderment at the famous rose-coloured Giralda; but it was not until the third day of my visit that I determined to “do” the cathedral. It has been said “there is not a more solemn

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and beautiful temple in the world than the great cathedral at Seville.” It is so grand and solemn as to strike the visitor with amazement and awe. From the gay, colour-slashed streets of the city to the grand interior is but a step, but the effect is overwhelming. The sudden transition from the dazzling sunshine of the outer air produces a sensation of darkness; all is confused and indistinct; while the eye, instinctively seeking relief, looks upward to the clerestory, where, through the small windows, a feeble ray of daylight comes struggling in. By degrees, the magnificent proportions of the building reveal themselves, and their majestic grandeur almost oppresses the mind. Even Furguson allows Seville{150} Cathedral to be “so grand, so spacious, and so richly furnished that it is impossible to criticise when the result is so splendid and imposing.” How, indeed, can one criticise a building whose decorations consist of paintings by Murillo, Juan Valdes Leal, Morales, Zurburan, Roelas, and Vargas, sculptures by Montanes and Alonso Cano, and whose painted glass, wood-carving, and embroidery, mural decoration, and metal work are the finest examples of the finest date in every branch of each art?

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“The first view of the interior,” says Lomas, “is one of the supreme moments of a life-time. The glory and majesty of it are almost terrible. No other building, surely, is so fortunate as this in what may be called its presence. Nave, side aisles, and lateral chapels, all of singularly happy proportions, a vista of massive and yet graceful columns, a rightly dim religious light, gloriously rich stained glass, and an all-prevailing notion of venerable age—such is the sum of one’s first impressions.”

Gautier’s and De Amicis’ comparison of the interior of the mosque at Córdova to a marble forest, is in reality much more applicable to the interior of the Seville Cathedral. As one writer has said: “Vast height, dim light, gloom, and awe are

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the characteristics of a forest primeval; and all these, absent in Córdova, are to be found in the Cathedral of Seville. But if this cathedral be compared to a petrified forest, it must be to a forest of giant trees. There is something supremely massive, colossal, mammoth, in the huge, high pillars of this building—something which makes one wonder, as do the Pyramids of Egypt, that human might should have sufficed to place these monstrous stones in an upright position, and in symmetrical rows. The Córdovan pillars are mere walking sticks in comparison, and the ceiling which they support only one quarter as high as that in the Seville Cathedral, which is the largest—and its tower the highest—in Spain. So vast is its interior space that, notwithstanding its ninety-three windows, a dim, mysterious twilight pervades every part all day long.” Yet, although Seville is the warmest and sunniest place in Spain, and this cathedral its coolest spot, the flock of worshippers is very small indeed. The number of priests who officiate at the thirty chapels and eighty-two altars, have been reduced from 133 to 100; but it seems as if to-day one quarter that number would suffice for all needful purposes.

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The Alcázar, built on the ruins of the Roman Prætorium, was, in the design of its creators, the principal feature in the scheme of the city’s fortification. It was also the palace of the Moorish Kings, and is to-day the residence of the Spanish sovereign; but the exterior, with its masses of bare masonry{152} and its embattled towers, still preserves the character of a mediæval castle. The Alcázar is in an excellent state of preservation, and its charms are bewildering; while its associations with the crisores and amours of three races of kings lend it an historic interest. The ornamentation of the rooms is superbly beautiful, and the variety of designs and colours, the gold and the gems, with which the walls are decorated, produce in the brain a feeling of tiredness and confusion. All that is marvellous in complicated design, all that is rich and exquisite in tone and material, all that genius and workmanship is capable of, has been enlisted in the beautifying of this palace of delight. One gazes from the friezes to the fairy-like columns, from the capricious arches to the bejewelled ceilings, from the secret doors to the lovely little windows, and in the mysterious gloom one feels again the thrill of exaltation and amazement that only love, or wine, or the spectacle of the sublime and the mysterious can beget. The Alcázar, taken in conjunction with its history, is a dose of artistic and imaginative intoxication that no living soul shall resist.

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Seville is instinct of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. Here is the house in which he lived, and the house in which he died: here in the picture gallery are over a score of his paintings, and here are the originals of the beggar-boys, which are admitted to be beyond praise. Here, too, in the centre of the Plaza del Museo, is the statue of the painter that was erected in 1866.

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Everybody who visits Seville goes to the La Fabrica de Tabacos; and travellers who delight in the picturesque should not omit to make a call at El Corral del Conde, where the washerwomen follow their avocation. The crowd, the clatter of female tongues, the groupings, the attitudes, the draperies, and the babble of children, make up a scene which would move Mr. Beerbohm Tree to enthusiasm. The tobacco factory is, of course, an institution, and the women employed there are made famous by the opera of “Carmen.” The building is an enormous quadrangular edifice, and has 28 interior patios; and some 5,000 women and girls are engaged in the manufacture of cigars and cigarettes. The stories of the beauty and diablerie of these ladies that had been told me were strangely conflicting. From some I had gathered that they were a collection of alluring sultanas; while others had described them as plain, coarse, and unattractive. But I found them to be very much as I expected. They were not all Carmens, but the majority of them were something more than interesting, and many were downright beautiful. The architecture of the building makes accommodation for the workers in three vast rooms, and each room is sub-divided into three by three rows of pilasters. The girls work in dishabille, and silence is not imposed. In order to obtain the maximum measure of freedom, they discard their finery, which is suspended on the walls, and forms an amazing mass of black and red, slashed with vivid streaks of white, purple, and yellow. A fancy dress warehouse could not present a braver display of colour, nor a corps de ballet at rehearsal a sartorial exhibition of more engaging scantiness. The whole place is alive with colours and with sound. There is no noise but a kind of incessant buzzing. If these girls were English, their voices would produce a clatter; but the soft, singing accents of Andalusia, even when several hundred girls{154} are talking altogether, sound harmonious and soothing. The amount of pay earned varies according to the capacity and industry of the workers, and the majority appear to be both busy and skilful. Some there are that look dull and sleepy; others, as we enter, are asleep with their heads pillowed on their arms, that are crossed on the table, but they are wakened by a nudge or a whisper; and even the most absorbed labourer finds time to give us a glance as we pass. It is said that the morality of the tobacco workers is a trifle loose—babies are numerous in la Fabrica de Tabacos. A friend who was with me remarked their presence to the manager: “There would seem to be more babies here than married women,” he said. “It is possible,” was the reply, “some married women are blessed with more than one.” We looked at our guide with questioning eyes, but he did not so much as smile.

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Immediately around Seville are green gardens and vineyards, and olive and orange orchards, and beyond them the level, marshy{155} country with grass in plenty, in which are bred flocks of sheep, herds of cattle and horses, and mosquitoes of singular malignity. No trees arrest the eye, nothing but green, flat plains, traversed by roads bordered by hedgerows of prickly pear surmounted with their yellow flowers—substantial, business-like hedges that do not require the artificial embellishment of barbed wire or spikes to make them deadly to would-be trespassers. Such hedges would keep out an army—unless of course it be an army composed of beggars, whom no fortification, natural or created,

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would keep out. There are beggars everywhere; sick beggars, and sorry beggars, sad beggars, smiling beggars, blind beggars, beastly beggars, old beggars, and baby beggars. There is no escaping them. They follow you along the roads, crawl out in front of you from the hedges, cluster around you if you stop to take a momentary observation. Toujours beggars! You drive up to your hotel—there is a small crowd of them awaiting you. If you hesitate a moment in handing the fare to the driver, they hem you in on every side, whining for “Señor, una limosnita por el amor de Diós” (“A little alms, sir, for the love of God”). A tiny boy of some seven summers explains with dignity that he is not begging for himself—he would scorn to beg for himself—but it is for the little señorita, and he points to a tiny girl of four who looks pleading up at you out of great eyes. A blind man at your elbow commences to scrape out the ghost of a tune on a wretched fiddle, and a filthy segment of{156} humanity thrusts the stump of an amputated arm before your face. It is horrible to the visitor; it is equally repulsive to the Spaniard. The Englishman feels sick and angry: the Spaniard feels sick and sorry. The former bolts into the shelter of his hotel with a malediction between his teeth, the latter thrusts his hand into his pocket instinctively and gives.

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A large number of the beggars are children, who are brought up to mendicity as a profession, and they never desert it. They beg, as do their similars in Naples, in Constantinople, or in Colombo, for their fathers and mothers and for the love of God. They are so importunate, so bright, and, in many cases, so pretty that they reap a living wage even from the British visitors. One gets to love these Spanish children—it is impossible to resist them. Their childish dignity and politeness, and their eagerness to be of assistance if the opportunity presents itself, is delightful. I remember well a little chap we encountered at the railway station at Chinchilla, where, for reasons best known{157} to the railway officials, we had to change trains in the middle of the night. He fastened on to us directly we dismounted from the train, and desired to be made of some service. He followed us into the waiting room, and suggested that we should commission him to notify us when our train was due. We charged him with this mission, and so great was his zeal in the discharge of it that he had us out again upon the platform, where we stood, exposed to the rain and the cold night air, for a quarter of an hour before the train arrived. He was very pleased with himself; and when, after bundling our traps into a compartment, he was rewarded with a whole peseta, his gratification was unbounded. He bit the piece between his teeth, and then, approaching a porter who stood near with a lamp in one hand and an open umbrella in the other, he got him to cast the light of his lantern upon it. Then he took another bite at the coin—bad money is not so rare in Spain as it is in this country—and came back to us, and his face was one expansive smile. He climbed up to the carriage window, as we supposed, with Feste’s importunation in his mind: “But that it would be double dealing, sir, I would you could make it another.” But he had only come to place himself at our entire disposal. Were we wanting anything, he would fetch it; did we wish to send letters, or telegrams, or messages, he would carry them. I sent him to get me another pillow, and on his return gave him half a peseta. His delight was humorous. He desired that God would treat me according to my great deservings, that my journey would be a safe and comfortable one, and that my days might be many. The bow he gave me as the train steamed out of the station was quite worth one and a-half pesetas.

Spanish trains are invariably slow, and, as often as not, they are overcrowded. For some reason or other, which I have failed to plomb, the so-called fast trains travel at night, and the times{158} are so arranged that one generally has to leave a place and arrive at one’s destination at about two o’clock in the morning. The Spaniard is a lover of the night, not from poetical or sentimental motives, but because it is only before sun-up and after sun-down that one gets a sufficiency of the much-longed-for shade. Shade is to the Spaniard what gold is to the Jew, or English origin is to the American. Hence the Spaniard rises early and gets through as much work as he can before the heat of the day sets in; hence, also, he makes his siesta as long as he can; and, consequently, he is able and ready to pursue his business or his pleasure far into the night. It is in the cool of the evening in Seville that one sees the promenades full, the highways alive with splendid Andalusian horses—when one sees in one week of evenings more feminine beauty than can be seen anywhere else in a month.

But to return to the railways, and the subject brings to mind the reflections and the prophecy indulged in by Ford when the undertaking was in contemplation:—“Certainly if the rail can be laid down in Spain by the gold and science of England, the gift like that of steam will be worthy of the Ocean’s Queen, and one of the world’s real leaders of civilisation: and what a change will then come over the spirit of the Peninsula! how the siestas of torpid man vegetation will be disturbed by the shrill whistle and panting snort of the monster engine! how the seals of this long, hermetically-shut-up land will be broken! how the cloistered obscure and dreams of treasures in Heaven will be enlightened by the flashing fire-demon of the wide-awake money worshipper! what owls will be vexed, what bats disost, what drones, mules, and asses will be scared, run over and annihilated! Those who love Spain, and pray, like the author, daily for her prosperity, must indeed hope to see this ‘network of rails’ concluded, but will take special care


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at the same time not to invest one farthing in the imposing speculation.”

Richard Ford, who wrote the foregoing in 1846, was not far out in his calculations. Although the network of rails is not yet complete, the railroad now connects most of the principal cities of Spain, and its introduction has been a blessing to the country. But its cost has been enormous. French capital has been, for the most part, sunk in the venture; and those who followed Ford’s advice, with respect to investing their money in it, have little to complain of. The speed, which seldom exceeds twenty miles an hour, and averages not more than ten miles, is regulated by law, and the management of the entire system might with advantage be reorganised. But the delays at junction stations, the slowness of the pace, and the other inconveniences, which the traveller accustomed to British or American railroads finds so great a trial on his patience, are not necessarily the result of bad management. They are rather the effects of a combination of natural causes and temperamental prejudices. The danger incurred by the starting of rails exposed to the full heat of the sun on sandy plains and the menace of mountain torrents govern, to an extent, the regulation as to speed. Moreover, this is always to be borne in mind, that the railways are primarily for the convenience of the Spanish people, and the Spaniards are never in a hurry. But that there is not a little red-tape about the whole thing cannot be denied.

A short time ago I was travelling from Valencia to Barcelona by the East Coast Railway. Rain had been falling for a week, and some doubt was expressed as to the train being able to complete the journey. Time was precious just then, and the only alternative route was via Madrid, which would be very much the same as going from London to Hull via Cardiff. “We may be delayed,” my companion admitted, “I was{160} twenty-four hours late on the same journey once before, but we shall get through. We will start, in any case—at the worst it is only an excursion.” So we started, and the rain continued. We were within sight of Murviedro, or Saguntum as it was known by the Romans, when the train stopped, and we were informed that something had happened to the line just ahead of us. Further information told of a rushing torrent which had carried away a seven-arch bridge, and that further progress was impossible. Then a German commercial traveller, who was in our carriage, published his opinion aloud upon the railway system, the officials, and everything connected with “this damned country.” He compared Spain with Germany, and his eloquence was up to the high water mark of his indignation. He damned everything in English, and the bridge in particular. He said that in Germany they would have ferried the passengers over the stream, placed them in another train which would have been awaiting on the other side, and not lost more than an hour by the accident.

As our wait was likely to be somewhat lengthy, we decided to walk along the rails and inspect the scene of the breakdown for ourselves, and our German critic was surprised to find that the “stream” he had wished to be ferried over was a mad, boiling torrent in which no boat—not even a boat “made in Germany”—could have lived for thirty seconds. We wandered back and interviewed the engine-driver, the guard, and the other train officials. We were all agreed that the only thing to be done was for the train to return to Valencia. But the engine-driver would not act without instructions—on that point he was adamant. He wired to Barcelona, and he wired also to Madrid, explaining the situation, and requesting permission to return the way he had come. After four hours’ delay the necessary orders arrived, and we looked for an immediate start on the backward

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journey. But this the officials could not think of. We could not return in that slapdash fashion—we were the 8.30 from Valencia to Barcelona, and if we went bundling back into Valencia like an old tramp steamer that had sprung a leak, the entire railway system of the country would be thrown into confusion. The point was debated warmly, but without haste; and, eventually, the engine-driver, who had been consulting his time-table, discovered that if we waited a further couple of hours we should be able to re-enter Valencia with our dignity unimpaired as the 4.47 from Barcelona. Which we did, and nobody but the German appeared to see anything foolish or unmethodical in this solution of the difficulty. “You do not find the arrangement incongruous?” asked my companion, for the German was still swearing. I smiled. “For three months I was a season ticket holder on a certain South of England railway,” I explained.

But if the railway system of Spain has its drawbacks, it is the embodiment of luxury and speed compared with the old-fashioned posting facilities for those who are in a hurry. If time is no object, and the weather is fine, there is no pleasanter way of seeing the country. The engine is of course driving the mule team further and further from the large cities, but the delights of posting are not yet banished from the Peninsula. In the northern provinces posting is still very general, and in many parts it is excellent. The oaths of the drivers would, doubtless, shock the unaccustomed ear that was sufficiently versed in the jargon of the road to understand it, but the pace leaves nothing to be desired. The Spaniard is a born muleteer; and, as I have invariably found him, a good fellow. His vocabulary of objurations is varied and peculiar, and he keeps it in first-class working order by continual practice. The customs of the road are like the laws of the Medes and Persians{162} in their unalterableness. You may improve the diligence off the road, but while it remains on it, it cannot be improved. A French minister described the stage as a “clumsy, inconvenient carriage drawn by mules which have no other spur or rein than the voice of their guides. On seeing them harnessed together and to the shafts merely by cords, and observing them traversing as it were at random the winding and sometimes unfrequented roads of the Peninsula, the traveller at first conceives himself as deriving all his dependence for safety from the care and kindness of Providence: but on the slightest appearance of danger, a simple and short exclamation from the mayoral restrains and directs these tractable animals.”

The foregoing, which might have been written yesterday, was, as a matter of fact, indicted a hundred years ago. It is evident that the worthy French minister did not understand the purport of those “simple and short” exclamations, and I am inclined to think, from his remarks upon the tractability of the animals, that he must have been asleep when the start was made. For the mules appear to entertain a rooted and conscientious objection to starting, and the scene is diverting. All the skill and patience and language of the mayoral, and the united efforts of ostlers, helpers, and all the hangers-on of a posthouse are required to persuade them to take the first step. For several minutes one’s ears are assailed with a perfect tornado of shouts, and orders, imprecations, and deprecations; which, beginning with “Anda!” (Go) “Anda!” “Anda!” invariably end, when breath and patience are exhausted, in an abbreviated form of “Da! Da! Da!” and then, after a good deal of kicking, the team starts suddenly across the road or over a heap of stones, with an occasional leg over the traces, at a pace that threatens to bring the carriage and its cargo to inevitable grief. Only a Spanish muleteer could bring this riotous team into order, and pilot

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them with such patience until they drop into a more moderate pace. Ford has described those exciting starts, and the motion of the “dilly,” as away it goes, “pitching over ruts deep as routing prejudices, with its pole dipping and rising like a ship in a rolling sea.”

It goes without saying that the observant Ford did not fail to note the vituperative supremacy of the Spanish muleteer. “Their language,” he tells us, “is limited only by the extent of their anatomical, geographical, astronomical, and religious knowledge: it is so plentifully bestowed on their animals—‘un muletier a ce jeu vaut trois rois’—that oaths and imprecations seem to be considered as the only language a mute creation can comprehend: and as actions are generally suited to the words, the combination is remarkably effective.... The Spanish oath is used as a verb, as a substantive, as an adjective, just as it suits the grammar or the wrath of the utterer.” But why, the reader may ask, does the mayoral swear to this degree, or with this fluency? Unless it is a part of his habit, I cannot answer. It is told that a traveller once asked the same question, and received a similar reply. The mayoral had uttered an oath of such peculiar force and aptness that a fellow traveller remarked upon it with good humoured appreciation: “That’s one on the devil!” “But why?” queried the seeker for information, “why does he swear so?” The Spaniard stared in astonishment. “Because he is the mayoral!” was all he said.{164}

In Southern Andalusía.

IDLE as a “painted ship upon a painted ocean,” fair Cadiz sleeps beneath her white mantle and dreams of the succeeding storms that she has endured since Hercules brought her into being eleven hundred years before the advent of the Messiah. For century after century Cadiz played her important part in the world—the world that ended at her glistening shores. Yet it might, from external evidence, have been built yesterday, and whitewashed this morning. But beneath that white covering lies the rust of three thousand years. The natives compare their spotless city to a silver dish; Fernan Caballero describes it as an ivory model set in emeralds. It is an architectural symbol of purity. Extreme neatness and scrupulous cleanliness are its leading characteristics—white is its prevailing and only colour. The Venice of Spain, so far as my opportunities of making a comparison extends, is decidedly the best-kept city in the Peninsula. The impression is heightened by the ever-ready brush of the whitewasher, which keeps the houses and walls in the most immaculate condition.

Although Cadiz is slowly recovering from the decadence into which it was sunk for so long, there is small activity either of commerce, trade, or manufacture to support its seventy thousand inhabitants; and suitable docks have yet to be constructed to enable it to take the commercial rank to which its situation entitles it. Its resemblance to Venice is remarkable. Lying as it does seven miles at sea, the inhabitants could, if they wished it, have had canals instead of streets, for most of the thoroughfares begin and end at the ocean. Coming straight from the{165}

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ultra-Moorish Seville with its narrow winding streets, the traveller wonders why in neighbouring Cadiz, which also belonged to the Moors for over five hundred years, the streets should be so much wider and straighter, and why they possess so few patios and other Arabian characteristics. The explanation lies in the fact that almost the entire town was newly laid out and rebuilt after the bombardment in 1596. Cadiz being practically on an island is much cooler than Seville, so that Moorish patios are not essential to comfort, and their places are taken by the turrets on the top of the houses, from whence sea-breezes and a magnificent view can be obtained at the same time.

The history of Cadiz is an epitome of the progress of civilisation up to the time when Spain was the chiefest nation of the world. It capitulated to Hamilcar Barca in B.C. 237, it was fortified by Cæsar, rebuilt in marble by Balbus, and destroyed by the Goths. Its greatness was its misfortune. So rich it was that England in 1596 fitted out an expedition to sack the city. Lord Essex did his work so thoroughly that Cadiz was brought to the verge of bankruptcy, and Spain received the first blow to her supremacy. Two other English expeditions against this place proved unsuccessful; but it was bombarded at the end of the eighteenth century, it was devastated by the plague, and was the theatre of the horrible massacres in the revolution of 1820. Cadiz supplied the ancient Roman epicures with salt fish and anything but proper dancing girls; and was resorted to by philosophers, who came here to study the curious phenomena of the tides. A city with such a history might be expected to be full of antiquarian records; yet, from a mere archæological point of view, it is by no means a place of great attractiveness. In the convent of San Francisco is to be seen the last Murillo, the picture upon which the artist was engaged when he fell from the scaffold and sustained his fatal injuries;{168} but beyond this and the cathedral, which is not remarkable, the city is destitute of works of art.

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Moreover, Cadiz is one of the noisiest cities in Spain; but it is, none the less, a delightful city to live in. Here the beggar nuisance is unknown, its society is, with the exception of that of Madrid and Barcelona, the most cultivated in the Peninsula, and its women are the most graceful in Andalusia. The Alameda, where everybody promenades in the evening, commands lovely views of the ocean, the blue of which is varied, according to the light, with rich dark green and royal purple. And in a walk along the sea walls surrounding the city one passes large mercantile storehouses, and mixes with sailors from all parts of the world—negroes and Moors (betokening the nearness of Africa), troops of soldiers who are always at the quick step, and crowds of hardy, picturesque, and sun-browned fishermen.{169}

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One does not find in Cadiz the virile gaiety that prevails in Seville. The tone is quieter, more subdued and less fitful. If the Sevillians are not intensely joyous, they are in tears—the people of Cadiz take their happiness as it comes, rather than make it a sacrifice to their subsequent peace of mind. They are as tidy and attractive as their own orderly, sunny streets, and invariably courteous both between themselves and towards strangers. The women are taller than their sisters of Seville, a trifle darker, and a shade less languishing, but—they are Andalusian, and in that admittance the highest compliment to feminine fascination is paid.

Different, quite different from Cadiz, different in situation, tone, and complexion is Malaga. Seen from the shore, the houses stand out in violet and yellow against a background of green and reddish hills, and on either side of the town the mountains stretch out into the distance as far as the eye can reach. The site of the city is excellent; its harbour is one of the best in the kingdom; and in importance it ranks next to Barcelona among the commercial centres of Spain. Its merchants are men of substance, and their villas are objects of beauty in suburbs that are naturally beautiful. But Malaga does not appeal to the heart of the visitor as does Cadiz or Córdova. The certain grandeur that one notes from a distance dwindles almost to vanishing point as one comes nearer; and when one plunges into the narrow, ill-kept, malodorous streets of the lower town, the delusion is dispelled altogether. But one has only to leave the city behind one to regain the first impression of its picturesqueness. If one would see Malaga at its best, an expedition must be undertaken to the summit of the high hill which overlooks the city. The tramway takes one the first part of the journey—the only part that the average Spaniard ever attempts. I am not sure that I blame him for{172} stopping short there. The walk up that brown-baked hill under the fierce rays of the morning sun is an achievement that makes some call upon one’s powers of endurance, but the view from the summit fully atones for the discomforts of the climb. At one’s feet lies picturesque Malaga, set in a huge garden of tropical and semi-tropical floral vegetation; beyond it the blue, clear, glinting Mediterranean stretches far out to where, in the distance, the shores of Africa are dimly visible.

Although the land winds are occasionally variable and trying, the climate of Malaga is one of the most equable in Europe. Winter as we know it is unknown here; and the sugar cane, which is destroyed by the merest suspicion of frost, is cultivated on a large and profitable scale. As an invalid resort it has a considerable repute, but it is as a flourishing commercial centre rather than a sanitorium that Malaga is best known. The raisins of Malaga are famous, the manufacture of sugar gives employment to some thousands of hands, while its wines are widely celebrated. The port receives visits from upwards of 2,500 vessels annually; and although the air of thrift and prosperity is not so marked as it is in Barcelona, and its people lack the sterling integrity and moral balance of the Catalans, there are unmistakable evidences of progress and improvements in its streets. Much building is in progress, the paving of the thoroughfares is receiving attention, and the new stores and warehouses that are being erected are constructed on the most modern plan. Like Cadiz, Malaga is of immemorial antiquity; and, like the white city on the west of Gibraltar, it is singularly deficient in antiquarian monuments. Phœnicians, Carthagenians and Romans occupied it in turn; the Moors caused it to be styled “a paradise on earth;” and the French sacked it in 1810 and walked off with twelve millions of reals in gold and silver. The present cathedral, which was nearly 200 years in the making,{173}

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presents a motley appearance. Many architects have put much bad art into its decoration, and with the exception of the magnificently-carved Silleria del Coro, archæologists find little in it to engage their attention.

The reports as to the amount of ignorance that prevails in Malaga are probably exaggerated, since commercial progress and ignorance do not usually go hand-in-hand. But there is no gainsaying the fact that superstition, which is most nearly allied to, and has its foundation in ignorance, is widespread; and the people are notorious for their republican tendencies. The sacredness of human life is only imperfectly understood here; and juries are even, according to official report, culpably averse to bringing in adequate verdicts in cases of manslaughter. The Andalusian is quick-tempered and impulsive—he acts without thinking when he is provoked—and stabbing cases are the not infrequent outcome of the most trifling disagreements. The Procurator Fiscal of Malaga has commented severely upon the leniency with which juries regard such offences. But how can one bring home the heinous nature of manslaughter to a number of men who know themselves capable of committing it within the hour if the provocation should arise; and who realise, moreover, that the person charged only acted on the spur of the moment, and was desperately sorry for his hastiness the moment afterwards? And if the Malaga people are prone to swift individual action, they will act collectively with equal passion and the same entire want of conviction. One might, and possibly would, live all one’s life in the city without coming to any harm, but the reading in the newspapers of frequent impetuous blood-lettings conduces to a feeling of insecurity.

After bustling, thriving Malaga, one finds in Ronda—“the Tivoli of Andalusia”—a haven of wondrous peace and infinite loveliness. Half-a-century ago Ronda was one of the gayest,{176} the most flourishing, the most beautifully-situated towns in the south of Spain. Half-a-century ago it was the grand centre of smuggling for the mountain district of which it was the capital; and at that date “free trade” was a very feasible, highly profitable, and eminently virtuous method of earning a livelihood. But

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the decay of smuggling meant the diminution of prosperity and joyaunce. No longer are the streets alive with dancing and the strumming of guitars. Contrabandists in costumes of picturesque splendour no longer linger in its shadows. Ronda has lost its air of thrift and light-heartedness, but the situation of the town still remains to maintain its world-wide renown for beauty. A long tract of table-land terminates, with the abruptness of an ocean-cliff, in a precipice varying in height from 800 to 1,000 feet. On this natural platform stands Ronda above an Alpine valley, in which the orange and olive flourish in rich luxuriance. The view from the bridge is a sheer delight. A chasm, 300 feet wide, divides the old town from the new. It is spanned by a massive wooden bridge, under which, at a depth{177}

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of some 700 feet, the Guadalvin rushes forth into open day from the caverns which hitherto have imprisoned its waters. In a bound it clears a huge ledge of rock and dashes onward down the slope, until, having fertilised the green meadows of the valley, it finally empties itself into the green-hued and romantic Guadairo. The sides of the cliff are covered with festoons of moist, fresh creepers; and nothing could be more delightful than the transition from the sun-baked town into these cool depths, where the spray of the waterfall, dropping like unseen, gentle dew, maintains a perpetual freshness.{180}

The Basque Provinces.

THE Basques are a people apart and peculiar in the most acceptable application of the term. They are distinct from the Spaniards of the rest of Spain in type, language, law and custom. They are conservative, shrewd, industrious and intelligent in a high degree. The men possess the hardy and robust appearance common to mountaineers and the symmetry of form which is almost universal in Spain. The women are decidedly handsome, but of a type which is at variance with the characteristic of Spanish beauty. It is enhanced, moreover, by an erect and dignified carriage not usually belonging to peasants, and is attributable principally to a very unpeasantlike planting of the head on the neck and shoulders. But for the difference in dress, many of the village girls, who are universally blondes, might be mistaken for well-bred English or German ladies. But, like all women trained to severe manual labour, their beauty disappears with their youth.

In these provinces of mountain and valley everybody works; and, for the most part, they work their own land. Consequently, Basque farms are small. Five acres, or in other words, just so much land as a man, his wife and family can till, dictates the size of the holding. The Basques, who are the most Gothic gentlemen of Spain, and claim to be the oldest race in Europe, are grievously affected by genealogy. Peppery as the Welsh, proud as Lucifer, and combustible as his matches, as one writer has described them, these Nobleza de España—they are noble by the mere fact of being born in these provinces—fire up when{181} their pedigree is questioned. Yet they recognise no indignity in agricultural employment. Adam, the first gentleman who bore arms, occupied himself in husbandry, and you will not convince a Basque that Adam did not speak Basque.

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But without accepting or controverting their pretensions to being the oldest inhabitants of the Continent, these Caballeros hijos de algo are admitted to be the aborigines of the Iberian Peninsula. They have held the provinces of Alava, Viscaya and Guipuzcoa for themselves; they have never been subdued or expelled. Liberty has been their immemorial birthright, and their lives the means by which they have preserved it. The Visigoths never conquered them; the Moors could not prevail against them; and they beat back the Franks who swarmed down upon Spain from the north. While they fought for their homes and their independence their arms were consistently victorious. They are born mountain fighters, and have been distinguished{182} at all times for their great valour; but their Carlist tendencies brought disaster upon them. The conspicuous part they played in both the Carlist wars resulted in the loss of all their special privileges. In particular they resented the order countermanding their exemption from compulsory military service, which they had hitherto enjoyed, and it was thought that they would prove a failure as regular soldiers. But this fear was misplaced; and although Gonzalo de Córdova affirmed that he would rather be a keeper of wild beasts than a commander of Basques, the wearers of the blue blouses and red trousers of the Highland provinces have proved themselves exceptional soldiers when commanded by Basque officers.

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To the dwellers on the sea-board, fishing affords a lucrative occupation, and they are considered to be among the best sailors in Spain. The islanders, dwelling in the sub-alpine towns in the midst of green hills, cultivate maize, which is the{183} staple breadstuff, good milk, inferior cheese, and splendid apples. Oranges and palms flourish in the more sheltered districts; but the wine of the country, though wholesome and palatable, is distinctly thin. The hotels are generally very good, and the roads are amongst the best in Spain. The songs and dances of the Basques are of ancient origin, and are entirely different from those in other parts of the Peninsula. Their language is as difficult as Russian, and as ear-pleasing as Welsh. The devil is said to have devoted seven years to the study of it in the Bilboes, and to have mastered exactly three words. Pelota, which is played more or less all over Spain, is zealously cultivated only in the Basque provinces.

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The game of pelota is not only interesting in itself, but it challenges the common impression that the Spaniards are an indolent people, who prefer to take their recreation with the least possible physical exertion. In point of fact, Spain is{184} experiencing, in common with England, the dubious blessing of athletic professionalism. Her bull-fighters to-day are all “pros.,” and her pelota players belong to the same category. The game, which would resemble fives if it were not so vastly different, is the most fatiguing I have ever witnessed. So greatly does it tax the constitution, that the career of its paid devotees is limited to three, or at the most, four years. It is played with a four-ounce ball, which has a diameter of eight

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inches, and is “volted” about a court, 175 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 40 feet high, by the players, whose hands are encased in leather gloves about two feet in length, protected by basket-work backs. The rallies between good players realise anything between twelve and twenty strokes; and although “soft returns” are not unknown, the majority of the strokes are delivered with all the force of which the players are capable.{185} In a game of fifty up the players will wear a hole completely through the soles of their shoes.

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The traveller by the Paris-Madrid route leaves France at Hendaye, the charming little seaside town on the Bay of Biscay, and enters Spain at Irun, which is comparatively modern, is charmingly situated, and is about as much French as Hendaye is Spanish. But except that here the passenger has his luggage examined, changes trains, and puts his watch back twenty-five minutes to mark the difference that is observed between Paris and Madrid time, Irun is of no particular interest: unless, of course, the traveller has plenty of time on his hands, for in that case he will traverse the eight miles to Pasajes, the pretty land-locked harbour which, thanks to the enterprise of a private company, has been made the best port between Coruña and Cherbourg, and ships a third part of the entire exportation of the Spanish wine to France. Pasajes is{186} perhaps the most picturesque port on the north coast of Spain. The tramway also runs over the eleven miles which separate Irun from San Sebastian. This city, which boasts some 33,000 inhabitants, and the favour of royal patronage, is historically interesting on account of the gallant assault by which it was taken by the English forces in the face of the strenuous defence made by the French veterans under General Rey in 1813; it is fashionable by reason of the annual visit of the ex-Queen Regent and the young King, who spend four months in each year in the handsome royal palace overlooking the sea, and it

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is beautiful with a beauty that is entirely its own. Here you shall find the tamarisks and the geranium and heliotrope in full bloom far into the autumn, and the birds singing among the foliage, and the Spanish sunlight glinting through the trees and lying hot on the white horse-shoe of glistening sand. And even on the stillest day the blue Atlantic rollers break fiercely upon the rocks beneath the quaint bit of old town, and curl themselves magnificently along the firm, smooth beach. La Perla del Oceano, the bathing establishment, is a popular resort, and, in the season, thousands of bathers disport{187}

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themselves on the yellow sands. The old ramparts of the land defence works are now demolished, and their site is occupied by the handsome streets of the Parte Nueva, or New Town. The Calle de la Alameda, stretches across the isthmus that divided the old town from the new. And beyond the old town the gaunt eminence of Monte Orgullo, crowned by the castle of La Mota, rises sheer out of the sea, and forms a scene which fills the eyes with beauty and the mind with memories that do not easily fade. The Grand Casino, which cost £80,000, the bull-ring, the churches of Santa Maria and San Vicente, the Palacio de la Diputacion, and the Pelota Court—these lions of San Sebastian are but so many specks in the broad impression one carries away of ocean, and sky, and the black mountain frowning majestically through the golden sunshine.

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Bilbao, the most important city in the Basque provinces, and one of the most progressive and flourishing places in Spain, is the capital of Viscaya, and gained its proud title of La Invicta Villa de Bilbao by successfully withstanding three sieges by the army of Don Carlos. The river Nervion, upon which it is situated, is navigable for steamers up to the town, eight and{190} a-half miles from its mouth. The old town, which is composed of a mass of narrow streets, closely packed between the river and the hills—the city is built in a mountain gorge—was famous for its iron and steel manufactures in the days of Elizabeth; and Shakespeare uses the terms bilbo, a rapier, and bilboes,

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fetters. The new town, on the more spacious left bank of the river, is well built; the principal streets are straight and broad, and the houses are substantial. Three stone and two iron bridges cross the river between the old and the new Bilbao. The city owes, of course, its prosperity mainly to the enormous deposits of iron ore on the left bank of the Nervion, which, though known since the earliest times, have only been systematically exploited during the last quarter of a century. Long lines of steamers are constantly loading iron ore, chiefly for Cardiff, Newport, Glasgow, and Newcastle; and the annual amount of British tonnage entering Bilbao exceeds, with the exception of Antwerp, that of any other foreign port in Europe. Pig iron is the staple export—red{191}

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wines, wool, and other products are numerous, but unimportant.

The iron ore mines (red and brown hematite) in the Somorrostro range and district are largely in the hands of English capitalists. These mines, which began to attract the attention of British iron masters about 1870, occur chiefly in the mountain limestone, and are worked in open quarries. Short railways and tramways have been made to San Nicolas on the Nervion; and a wire tramway has been constructed by the Galdames Mining Company, who possess a cliff of iron ore about a mile long and 280 feet high. The tramway carries the ore through a tunnel, 600 feet long, to the quay. The Landore Siamese Steel Company have important hematite mines connected with the river by a wire tramway, carrying baskets for loading.

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Bilbao is largely modern and wholly commercial, and its public buildings are not notable. But its thoroughfares are full of movement, and the shady arenal, in the old town—the focus of the life of the whole city—contains the principal hotels, the chief cafes, and the New Theatre. The land which{194} this beautiful promenade now occupies was at one time very boggy, and swept by the tides. Now the two principal avenues are asphalted. The Church of San Nicolás de Bari, which faces it, is one of the city parish churches. It was built towards the end of the fifteenth century on the ruins of the sailors’ and fishermen’s little church. This church has suffered greatly on account of floods, especially during the year 1553. It was closed in 1740 as ruin threatened it. When it fell, the present one was begun in 1743. During the last war it was used as a provisioning station; and, after repairs, was opened for worship on the 21st of January, 1881.{195}

In Northern Spain.

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THE great bulk of the Spanish people know as little of Galicia and the neighbouring Principality of the Asturias as the average Englishman knows of the Hebrides. Nor can they judge of the inhabitants of these provinces from the few individual Galicians who emigrate to Madrid any more than we in England can form an idea of Italians from the specimens who perambulate the London streets with a piano organ and a monkey. The Madrileño comes across a few Galicians in the capital engaged in menial services, and speaking a harsh, strange patois, which he finds some difficulty in understanding; but the Gallegan in exile is a very different person from the man you meet in his own land of rain and mist, where the scenery is exquisite, the hotels are famously bad, and devotion is the chief recreation of the community. At home these people are poor, but hardy; possessing little intelligence, but great capacity for work; knowing little comfort, but nursing a passionate attachment for the country of their birth. Many of the young women are remarkably handsome, but drudgery and hardship early tell their tale, and very few of them retain their good looks beyond the age of twenty. The country, for{196} the most part, is poor to barrenness; the peasantry work day and night for mere subsistance; the cottages, which do duty for bedroom and nursery, stable, kitchen, rabbit hutch, pigsty and parlour, are damp and dirty, and destitute of beds or chimneys. The climate is rainy, the surface is mountainous, and the roads are generally bad. Small wonder is it that muleteers and commercial travellers constitute the principal visitors to Galicia—for those who have a soul above scenery, and an ambition beyond fishing, the country is practically without attraction.

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The single province of Oviedo, which constitutes the principality of the Asturias, harbours a people who have remained unconquered alike by Roman and Moor. There is protection, if not complete safety, in a country of mountain and valley, of damp and cold; and the Asturians have ever been able to spread themselves over the land and farm their straggling holdings in comparative security. They have cultivated maize for their staple food, poached the hills and rivers for game and fish, cultivated the art of dancing, and lived in terror of the evil eye from the most ancient times; and despite damp, hard fare, and harder toil, they have learnt{197}

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the secret of longevity and the charm of a gracious civility of manner. Minerals in abundance are common to both Asturias and Galicia; and while the former is the richer in coal and iron, the latter has been worked for gold, silver, and tin from the time of the Roman occupation. It is on their mineral resources that these provinces will have to depend for their future prosperity.

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After the cities of the South—Barcelona, Toledo, Granada, or even modern Madrid—the Northern towns are small, shabby, and unimportant. Coruña, the chief seaport of Galicia, though interesting to Englishmen as being the landing place in Spain of John of Gaunt, and the harbour from which the invincible Armada sailed to conquer and Romanise Great Britain, is a place of only secondary importance. The city was founded by the Phœnicians; its name is probably derived from Columna, the Phœnician Pharos, or lighthouse; and its famous lighthouse, the Tower of Hercules, has had its counterpart from the earliest days. The Phœnicians, who made gain rather than discovery the aim of all their expeditions, were attracted to Galicia and to the province of{200} Orense particularly by reason of its rich deposits of tin. Coruña in ancient days was the principal port of the North-west Coast, and the most westerly town in Europe. It is still the chief military station in Northern Spain, and ranks as a commercial city of the first importance.

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The hill-girt city of Santiago, though knowing nothing of commercial prestige, and having no part in the military system of the country, is to the traveller of far more interest than the capital of the province. For dead as it now appears to be, with the hand of death on its crooked, branching streets, and its crazy, deformed squares, which echo the pilgrims’ footfalls to the deaf ears of the dead, it was at one time the most celebrated religious centre in Spain—the goal of fanatics from every corner of Europe, the Mecca of countless thousands of theologians, and the tomb of one of the personal companions of Christ. Although the ancient glory of Santiago has departed, although{201}

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its broad-flagged pavements are no longer thronged by the feet of the devout, and it has been much shorn of its former civil and religious dignities, the city is still the See of an Archbishop with a cathedral, two allegiate churches, and fifteen parishes. The cathedral is erected on the site of the chapel which was erected by Alonso II. to mark the spot where Theodomer, Bishop of Iria Flavia, is said to have discovered the body of St. James the Apostle; and the city, which sprang up around the memorial, bears the Spanish name for St. James the Elder. The original cathedral, which was finished in 879, consecrated in 899, and destroyed by the Moors in 997, was replaced by the present edifice in 1078. Whether one believes or not the tradition of the foundation of the cathedral—which, by the way, is no mere tradition in the mind of the Galician—one cannot but regard this mighty pile of stone with awe, and recognise in it the expression of an influence which was once felt throughout the Christian world. Even to-day it is one of the most frequented pilgrim-resorts in Europe.

One passes through Pontevedra, a picturesque granite town, with arcaded streets and ancient houses bearing armorial shields, on the journey to Vigo. Here, as everywhere on the Galician coast line, the parish priest goes down to the shore one day in every year and blesses the sea; here also the oysters are excellent and abundant, and here the watchman’s night chant is heard in the streets. The call of the sereno, or watchman, who dates from the building of the ancient walls of Pontevedra, and the chapel of Alonso II. of Santiago, seems to catch the imagination of the traveller, and hurl him back into the mediæval ages, when life was a state that men fought to retain, and religion was a power for which they laid it down. The sereno, with his theatrical cloak wrapped about him, his axe-headed staff, his lantern, his majestic stalking walk, and{204} his thrilling chant, “Ave Maria Purissima. Son las diez y sereno,” seemed to me impressive, unreal, almost fantastic. At ten o’clock he passed me in the deserted square, at eleven he was offering up his quavering invocation beneath my window. Galicia has little in common with the towns of the South—it retires to rest early in order to be up betimes.

At Vigo a small fragment of the ancient sea walls yet remain, but the ruins that Lord Cobham made of the town in 1719 have been obliterated, and in place of the fortified port, which Drake visited in 1585 and 1589, we have a thriving, modernised town. Vigo is an important place of call for Mediterranean steamers, it is one of the chief centres of the cattle trade export to London, and the port of the mineral provinces of Pontevedra and Orense.

The town of Orense, the capital of its province, is reached by the magnificent old bridge that spans the river Miño. Though now deprived of three of its arches, which were removed to give the road more width, and also of the ancient castle which defended the entrance, it continues to attract the attention of the traveller on account of its elegant and bold construction, its ample proportions and majestic appearance. Tradition says it is Roman, but many learned writers find nothing to confirm this assertion. It is quite likely that a bridge existed there previously; but the present one, it would appear, was built by order of Bishop Lorenzo during the first half of the thirteenth century, and has since undergone many alterations, including those to the largest arch, which is more than forty-three metres in width, and the reconstruction of which was completed about the middle of the fifteenth century. In the Roman days Orense was celebrated for its warm baths. These three springs, which are still in existence, flow copiously from fountains one above another, but the waters have lost their medicinal virtues—it is{205}

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only a supposition that they ever possessed any—and are now used for domestic purposes. The present cathedral, which is an obvious imitation of the cathedral at Santiago, was raised in 1220. The cathedral, the warm springs, and the bridge over the Miño, comprise the three marvels of the city.

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Equally ancient, but in many ways more interesting, is the capital town of Lugo. It boasts a cathedral which shares with San Isidoro of León the immemorial right to have the consecrated Host always exposed; Roman walls in an excellent state of preservation that entirely surround the city, and an establishment of baths. The bath-house contains 200 beds; and the springs, which contain nitre and antimony, are good for cutaneous diseases and rheumatism. The river Miño, which is the glory not only of Lugo but of Galicia, rises in the mountains, some nineteen miles from the city.

As the centre of a beautiful and variegated country, which{208} affords good sport for the angler, and scenery of enchanting loveliness to attract the artist, Oriedo, the capital of the Astionas, has its charms; but the seaport of Gijon, with its tobacco manufactory, its railway workshops, its iron foundry, and glass and pottery works, is a much more thriving and important town. Gijon, like Santander, is a flourishing port; and both have gained immensely in importance of late years. While the latter, with its handsome modern houses, makes a more splendid show, its drainage and sanitary arrangements leave much to be desired, and the harbour at low water is sometimes most offensive. Both towns are of Roman origin, but Gijon is the most pleasantly situated on a projecting headland beneath the shelter of the hill of Santa Catalina, and the harbour is the safest on the North Coast. It exports apples and nuts in enormous quantities, coal, and iron, and jet; while its shores are much frequented by bathers during the summer months.

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It is currently believed, and I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the statement, that if a visitor in any town in England stops the first native he meets and inquires as to the objects of interest that the place possesses, he will be referred immediately to the principal hostelry of the town. If you wander in London, and ask your way about, you will be directed right across the city by references to public-houses, which are the only landmarks that the Cockney ever dreams of studying. In Spain, cathedrals are as ubiquitous as inns are in England. You may be sure of finding comfortable accommodation for man and beast in most English towns, and in the Peninsula you can be quite as confident of “bringing up” against a cathedral—if nothing else. In León, the capital of the province of the same name, and in Salamanca, the second city in the province, we find the same state of things existing—the cathedral first and the rest nowhere. Yet these two cities{210} boast of a noble history of ancient splendour and old-time greatness, and with this—and their cathedrals—they appear to be content. León, in the time of Augustus, was the headquarters of the legion that defended the plains from the Asturian marauders; and when the Romans withdrew, it continued as an independent city to withstand the continued attacks of the Goths until 586. The city yielded to the Moor, was rescued by Ordoño I., and retaken by the Arabs with every accompaniment of inhuman atrocity. Its defences were rebuilt by Alonso V. nearly 400 years later, its houses were repeopled, and it continued to be the capital of the Kings of León until the court was removed to Seville by Don Pedro. Its present miserable condition is a lamentable appendix to such a history. Its streets are mean, its shops are miserable, and its inns are worse. Nothing is left to it but its cathedral.

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This temple is truly an architectural wonder, combining the delicacy of the purest Gothic style with a solidity which has{211} stood for centuries; the manner in which the problem of

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stability was solved is wonderful, the immense weights seeming to have no solid bases. The finest and most beautiful chiselled work is visible everywhere, and careful study is necessary in order to understand how the weight and strain of the arches were made to rest on their elegant buttresses. The origin of this magnificent temple is not quite clear, but many archæologists believe that it was founded in the time of King Ordoño II. It is of irregular form, but the cathedral or nave, transept, and presbytery are in the form of a perfect Latin cross.

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The windows are of colossal dimensions, and the ratablos and sculptures are notable. Among its many famous works the cloister must not be forgotten. It is an example of the transition style from ogive to renaissance, with large galleries, interesting groups of sculpture, and a beautiful door leading into the temple.

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Among all the choral stalls treasured in Spanish churches those in the cathedral at León stand out prominently. Unfortunately, the names of the master who designed them, and of the artists who assisted him to carry that marvel of ogive art into effect, are not known; but it must have been executed during the last thirty years of the fifteenth century, for it is known that in 1468 the necessary bulls were obtained from his holiness through Archbishop Antonio de Veneris in order to arrange means for meeting the cost of the stalls, and in 1481 the work was still proceeding.{213}

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Salamanca has a great name, a florid Gothic cathedral, and a square of handsome proportions and pleasant prospects. In other respects, it is quite without attractions. The streets are badly paved and dull, the climate is shrewd, and fuel, I was told, is scarce and expensive. Even the cathedral, though grand, is bare; and when one has visited the cathedral and lingered awhile in the pleasant garden of the Plaza Mayor—one of the largest and handsomest squares in Spain—and tested the accommodation of “La Comercio,” one can find little else to entrance one in the disappointing old city which was once a world-famed seat of learning. In the fifteenth century, when its university gave precedence to Oxford alone, it boasted of 10,000 students. In the following century its scholars had declined to one half that number, and to-day only some few hundred students are on its books. The sun of Salamanca commenced to set at a period of the world’s history{214} that to all the rest of Europe was one of awakening and advancement. Decline and decay are writ large on the face of the city. From a distance its noble situation and fine buildings, built of beautiful creamy stone, gives the place an imposing and picturesque appearance. But though the shell of Salamanca remains, its spirit has departed. The ravages of the Romans, the Goths, the Moors, the Spaniards, and the ruin which the neighbourly French inflicted less than a hundred years ago, have left their cruel marks upon its historic walls. Salamanca is but a broken hulk spent by the storms that, from time to time, have devastated her. Her narrow, tortuous, ill-paved streets, which skirt its multitude of grandiose buildings, her squalor and poverty, her inferior art work, but even more the uncorrupted art of the grand old cathedral, all remind us of what Salamanca was, and turn our eyes backwards from what it is.

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One must approach Zaragoza with one’s mind full of memories of heroes, queens, poets, and bandits that have been associated with this once mighty city, and one’s heart filled with sympathy and respect for the old, proud Aragon that flourished, and was illustrious in history while the Englanders still decorated themselves with blue paint, and were domiciled in caves. For Zaragoza is not altogether a gay or an exhilarating city. Many of the streets have a gloomy aspect, and the old houses are high, dark, and repellant. But the city is not only important as the seat of a university, an Audiencia, an archbishop, the captain-general of Aragón, and other officials; it is also the junction of four railways, and its commercial progress has been steadily increasing of recent years. For Zaragoza is in reality two cities—the old part with ancient fortified houses, converted now into stables and wood stores, and the new part traversed by broad, well-paved, and excellently-lighted streets, and lined with modern buildings. Until the railway connected the city with Madrid and Barcelona, Zaragoza was as dead as Salamanca, and as dilapidated as León. But it has always held the advantage of those places in having two cathedrals to their one. The principal cathedral, that of La Seo, is a venerable Gothic pile occupying the site of a Moorish mosque, and its high arches have echoed many councils, and looked down on the solemn coronations of the kings of Aragon. More modern is the Cathedral El Pilar, so called from the identical pillar on which{218} the Virgin descended from heaven. It was commenced on St. James’s Day, 1686, the work being designed and carried out by the famous Don Francisco Herrera, the architect. In the year 1753 King Ferdinand VI. instructed Ventura Rodriguex, the architect, to design and build a new church, as luxurious as possible, in which to instal the image without taking it out of its temple. This was done by erecting a small Corinthian temple under the magnificent cupola, which was ornamented with the richest marble and jasper that could be procured. On one of the altars of this temple, which is crowned with a magnificent silver canopy, reposes the venerated effigy, the jewels on which are of incalculable value.

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The Stone Monastery at Nuevalos, on the right bank of the river from which it takes its name, is one of the places most worthy of a visit in the province of Zaragoza, not only on account of the building itself, which is of great historical interest, having been built in 1195, but for the delicious picturesqueness of the place. Surrounded by rocks, winding amidst thick woods and dashing into deep abysses, this river runs its erratic course, imparting{219} life to a landscape which is, according to the noted poet, Don Ramon Campoamor, “an improved dream of Virgil.” Among its many picturesque waterfalls, the one called “La Caprichosa” is perhaps the most beautiful.

The dress of the Aragonese peasantry is peculiar and picturesque. The men, as a rule, wear no hats, but have instead a coloured handkerchief wound round the head, leaving the top bare. Their knee-breeches are slashed down the sides and tied by strings below the knee. The waistcoats are worn open. Round the waist they wind a wide sash, in the folds of which pipes, tobacco, money, and provisions are carried as safely as in a pocket. Their feet are shod with sandals, and they universally carry a blanket, which is thrown in a graceful manner over their shoulders.{220}


A BULL-FIGHT is underlined for an early visit in the note-book of every visitor to Spain. He goes prepared to be disgusted, and he comes away to denounce it as a revolting and demoralising exhibition. He even plumes himself upon his moral and human superiority over the Spaniard, because the spectacle proves too strong for his untutored stomach. The inference is as gratuitous as it is illogical. In point of fact, the effect of the spectacle upon the spectator is not so much a matter of sensibility as custom. The Spaniard grows up to the sport as our Elizabethan ancestors grew to bull-baiting—even as the present generation of Englishman grows to pugilism. To the Spaniard, the cruelty of the craft of tauromachy does not appeal; the spectacle inflames his blood, and stirs not a chord of compassion in his nature. Yet he can be intensely sympathetic, gentle, and tender-hearted; but these softer qualities of character are not touched by the sight of animal suffering. In the first place, the bull is his enemy by heredited tendency. He cannot forbear to hurl insulting epithets at him when he chances to pass him on a journey. He witnesses his end with the thrill of satisfaction which a soldier feels in the death of a treacherous and implacable foe. The Englishman cannot share, or even realise this sentiment—it would be strange if he could. His leading feeling is curiosity, and a nervous apprehensive tension which only magnifies the horror and repulsion of the sport. With the Spaniard it is entirely different. Long habit has familiarised him with the bloody details, and his experienced eyes follow each trick and turn of{221} the contest with the enthusiasm of an athlete watching an athletic display. Every detail of skill and dexterity and nerve exhibited by the fighters, and every clever move made by the bull is greeted with critical applause. Cruelty there must be, but courage in a high degree is a factor in the contest—danger gives to the contest a dignity which is absent from pheasant shooting, and which formed no excuse for the vogue to which bear-baiting and cock-fighting once attained in this country.

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It may be thought that I am trying to champion an institution which is regarded with aversion by all classes of English people, but such is not my intention. My object is to look at it from the Spanish point of view, and endeavour to see if there is not some plausible explanation of its popularity as a national amusement. But when all is said and done, there still exist two objections to the sport which cannot be explained away. The first is the almost inexplicable indifference which a Spanish audience shows for the torture that is inflicted upon the horses{222} that take part in the corrida: the other is the attendance of the gentler sex. It must, however, be noted that a large proportion—certainly the majority of Spanish ladies—are opposed to the sport, and with the rest it is the manly courage and address of the performers that fascinates them. But the fact remains that women are seen in large numbers in the amphitheatre, as 300 years ago good Queen Bess was not ashamed to be a spectator at many an exhibition of bear-baiting. English sentiments in matters of sport have undergone a great change since the Elizabethan era, but Spain is notoriously the most conservative country in Europe.

However, enough has been said of the theoretical side of bull-fighting; let us accompany the seething populace to the Plaza de Toros, and witness the sport for ourselves. The streets of Madrid are crowded with people who are all moving in the same direction. April to October is the regular bull-fighting season, but the Spaniard finds the lightest excuse a sufficient one for indulgence in his favourite pastime during the “close” season. And so, although it is February when I am in Madrid, I am not to forego an experience of a promising corrida.

Although I have seen bull-fights in some of the best rings in Spain, including those of San Sebastian, Valencia, Barcelona, and Madrid, it is more particularly of my experiences at the latter place that I shall write.

During the fashionable months, a boletin de Sombra, or “ticket for the shade,” is a luxury to be prized; but in February, in Madrid, we need all the warmth and glare that the sun can give us. The present Bull Ring, which was built at a cost of £80,000, and opened in 1874, seats 15,000 persons. It stands on a gentle elevation in a broad stretch of bare yellow land, where it raises its brick-coloured walls—the only land-mark in the barren, treeless, desolate expanse between the city and the solemn distant{223} mountains. Around the various entrances countless human beings cluster like bees, and the Plaza is alive with men and horses, mules with tinkling bells, soldiers, police, picadors, and fruit-sellers. What strikes one most curiously about this concourse of human beings, both outside the bull-ring and within the huge amphitheatre, which rises tier above tier from the brown sand till it is almost lost in the vast expanse of blue above, is its single-mindedness, its patience, and the entire absence of horseplay. To a Spaniard this is not curious, but to the English spectator some familiar characteristic of a crowd appears to be absent.

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Punctuality is not a strong trait in the Spanish character, but punctuality will be observed to-day. At the hour and the minute appointed, the President enters his palco, the signal is given, and the proceedings commence. The procession, headed by two caballeros, habited in black velvet, moves slowly across the ring to the front of the President’s seat. The two espadas{224} in yellow and violet, and gold and green costumes respectively, follow the caballeros. After them come half-a-dozen stoutly-protected picadores, then eight banderilleros, gay with a profusion of silk sashes, short breeches, and variously-coloured hose, and the rear is brought up by a posse of attendants, leading the mules, all bedecked in plumes and rich trappings, which are to drag off the carcases from the arena. The entrance of the glittering cavalcade is announced by a trumpet sound, and the President tosses the key of the toril into the ring.

To the “new chum,” all this preliminary detail, commonplace and “circusy” as it is, is sufficient to strain the nerves, and expectancy changes to apprehension. The creak emitted by the opening of the heavy door of the toril intensifies the feeling. The clutch of curiosity with which the entire concourse awaits the entrance of the first bull is contagious. Instinctively one strains forward and catches one’s breath. Toro does not keep us long in suspense. There is a momentary lull, and then the bull dashes from his dark cell into the glint of the Spring sunshine. The novelty of the environment staggers him for a moment. He hesitates in the centre of the ring, and looks wildly around him. The arena is empty, with the exception of three picadores, who sit rigidly in a row on their sorry hacks, waiting for the bull to recognise their presence.

Our first victim is a doughty warrior. He is as ignorant as the blindfold knackers—that would be dear at a pound a leg—of the fate in store for him. He may make a brave fight, kill horses, upset men, and leap the barriers with a heroic rush, but in twenty minutes his corpse will be coupled up to the mules, and fresh sand will be strewn on the red trail that will mark his last passage across the arena. The inevitableness of the outcome of the encounter, so far as the principal actor is concerned, is the least pleasing feature of the sport. The fox and the stag are

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given a gambling chance, the grouse is not without hope, and the gladiator of the cock-pit may live to fight another day, but the bull is a doomed animal. Happily he is not capable of calculating the uselessness of his efforts. The horses stand but little better chance, and the picadores, despite their iron and leather greaves and spears, are paid to take risks.

The art of the picador is displayed in the skill with which he avoids the charge of the bull, and turns him on to the next picador, who, in turn, will pass him on to the third. In this instance the manœuvre does not come off. The bull’s rush is met by the first picador with the point, but the horse he strides is too ancient to obey with sufficient celerity the rider’s injunction to swerve, and horse and man are rolled over with the force of the impact. The wretched equine is lacerated on his opposing flank, but the spearman appears to be uninjured, and before the bull has completed his circuit of the ring, the horse is on his feet again, and the picador is waiting for the next attack. The toreros, with their red capa, are immediately on the spot to draw the bull from his victim, but the bull is too eager to waste time on a fallen foe. The second and third horseman avoid his rush; and the bull, smarting from spear thrusts, and confused by the cheers, is inclined, in racing parlance, to “turn it up.” The first horse who crosses the line of sight is caught on the brute’s horns, and is so deeply impaled that the bull has to swerve at right angles to rid himself of his enemy. The second horse is impaled before the combatant can plant his spear in the bull’s neck. Steed and rider are lurched in the air, and fall heavily to the ground, and the momentary victor lowers his head again to the prostrate man, and rolls him over and over. Toreros hasten to the spot to get him away, the people rise in their places, ladies lift their fans and avert their faces, while the air is filled with the usual murmur of lamentation which accompanies an accident. Both the other{226} picadores are unhorsed before the President gives the signal for them to retire. Act one of this most realistic of sporting melodramas is over.

The banderilleros now come forward. They are costumed like Figaro, in the opera of “Il Barbiere de Sevilla,” and their hair is tied into a knot behind. To the English spectator, this part of the performance is the most fascinating and least abhorrent of the entire piece. The banderillero inflicts no more pain on the bull than the humane angler deals out to the wily trout, and the agility and daring with which he addresses himself to his task is superb. His aim is to plant small barbed darts, or banderillas, on each side of the neck of the bull. The chulos, or apprentices, here open the ball by tantalising the animal, and working him up to a proper pitch of fury. Then the banderilleros circle round him, and one, standing full in his line of flight, “defies” him with the arms raised high over his head. If the bull stops, as he is doing now, the man walks composedly towards him. Then the bull lowers his head and makes his rush, and the athlete, swerving nimbly to one side, pins in his banderillas simultaneously. Again and again the maddened animal, frantic more from impotence than pain, makes his rushes from one tormentor to another. At each rush he receives further instalments of his hated decorations. Then one man bungles. He loses his nerve, or, failing to time the animal’s charge, shirks the onslaught. A howl of execration greets the exhibition, and the unfortunate baiter is tempted to more rash efforts. He seats himself in a chair, and waits with suicidal calmness the rush of the bull. Just as the animal’s horns are thrust beneath him he jumps lightly up, manipulating his darts with miraculous precision, while the chair is tossed high in the air.

Thunders of applause greet this venturesome feat, and the other banderilleros, warmed to their work by the plaudits of the{227} public, vie with one another in deeds of coolness and “derring do.” One waits, alert but motionless, for the attacks of the charging bull, and as the galloping brute lowers his head to toss him, places his foot between the terrible horns, and is lifted clear over his onrushing enemy. Another, seizing hold of the lashing tail, swings himself along the bull’s side, and plants himself for one thrilling moment right between the horns.

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I once saw a banderillero, in response to the jeers of the crowd, take the darts, which are about two feet long, break them across his knee, and plant the stumpy weapons, with unerring precision, on each side of the neck of the bull.

These feats appear to be fraught with infinite danger, and the agility with which the performers acquit themselves cannot be witnessed without a tremour of amazement and admiration. Several times the venturesome chulos escape death as by a miracle: they sometimes seem so close to their end when they vault over the barriers to avoid the pursuing bull, that they{228} appear to be helped over the fence by the bull’s horns. One bull exhibits at this stage of the proceedings an emphatic disinclination to continue the fight. He paws the ground when the darts are driven home, but makes no show of retaliation, and the hoots and opprobrious epithets that are hurled at him by the populace fail to inspire him to renewed efforts. Then the banderillas de fuego are called for. These are arrows, provided with fire crackers, which explode the moment they are affixed in the neck. In a moment the spectacle, which had worked me up to a high pitch of excitement, becomes intensely distasteful. The tortured animal, driven mad with fright and pain, bounds across the ring in a series of leaps like a kid. The people scream with delight, and I mentally wonder what kind of “steadier” the Spaniard resorts to when his stomachic nerve is affected by a detail of the exhibition. The firework display had not lasted long when the last trumpet sounded, and the espada walks forward to a storm of rapturous applause.

The finale of the spectacle is approaching. The executioner comes alone: the bull, who has hitherto been tormented by a crowd of enemies, is now able to concentrate his whole attention on one object. Toro has become exhausted with his previous exertions, and he moves without his old dash. The espada studies his foe carefully, to judge the temper of the animal with which he has to deal. With his left hand he waves the muleta—the red cloak—to lure the beast into a few characteristic rushes and disclose his disposition. If he is a dull, heavy bull, he will be despatched with the beautiful half-volley; but if he proves himself a sly, dangerous customer, that is cunning enough to run at the man, instead of at the muleta, a less picturesque, but safer thrust must be employed. But our bull is neither sly nor leaden. He has recovered from his fright, and is quick to seize his opportunity to make a final{229} effort before the stinging banderilleros return to distract him. Once or twice he thrusts his horns into the unresisting cloak, then gathers himself together for a final rush. The swordsman raises the point of his glimmering Toledo blade; while every nerve of his sinuous, graceful body quivers with the absolute constraint and concentrated effort that hold him. The duellists are both of the same mind. The espada has summed up his antagonist—he is levantados, the bold bull, a fit subject for la suerte de frente. The bull’s next rush is his last. The fencer receives the charge on his sword, which enters just between the left shoulder and the blade. The bull staggers, lurches heavily on to his knees, and rolls over, at the feet of his conqueror, vomiting blood.

The assembled multitude rend the air with their cheers, the men yell applause, and every face is distorted with excitement and enthusiasm. The only indifferent person in the building is the espada. With a graceful and unassertive turn of his wrist, he waves the sword over his fallen foe, wipes the hot blood from the blade, and turning on his heel, approaches the President’s box, and bows with admirable sang-froid. The team of jingling mules enter, and the dead bull is carried off at a rapid gallop. The espada walks composedly away, without another glance at the result of his handiwork.

The superb imperturbability of these espadas always fills me with admiration. They accept the plaudits of the spectators with the same unconcern with which they hear the execrations that fill the air if they do not at the first attempt inflict the coup de grace. During the first corrida I attended, an espada failed to aim at the precise spot, and the bull tore up the sand in agony. The populace insulted the swordsman with jeers and howlings, but he remained perfectly cool and collected, and nerved himself with as much composure to his second and{230} successful thrust as if he had been practising with a sack of potatoes in an empty arena. When I had been witness to the death of two bulls, I remarked to my Spanish friend that I had seen as much as I desired, and was quite ready to quit the spot. But my companion was a friend of long standing: he could be firm without seeming discourteous. “No! no!” he said, “you kept me in the theatre last night until ‘Don Juan’ was played to the bitter end: you shall remain to-day to reward me for my exemplary patience and respect for your wishes.” I saw five other bulls done to death during the afternoon.

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Although not to be compared with an ordinary corrida as a display of skill, and capacity, and artistic finish, a Royal bull-fight, such as Madrid saw on the occasion of the coronation of King Alfonso XIII., is more interesting as being a revival of the sport as it was originally practised. Bull-fighting to-day is a purely professional business, but in the knightly days of ancient Spain it was employed as a means to teach the chivalrous youth{231} the use of arms. In those days, mounted caballeros encountered the bulls in the ring with lances alone—a more dangerous pastime than is bull-fighting in its modern sufficiently hazardous form. Then the combatants were mounted on good horses, and their business was to save them and turn the bull, to kill the bull if possible, but, at the risk of their own lives, to protect their steeds from injury. It is recorded that in one Fiesta de Toros at the beginning of the sixteenth century, no less than ten young knights lost their lives. The corrida, Real con Caballeros en plaza—a Royal bull-fight with gentlemen in the arena—on the olden lines, that was held on May 21st, 1902, in Madrid, was fought by young officers and scions of noble families, who were attired in the gorgeous costumes of Spanish knights of the reign of Philip IV., and attended by their pages and grooms wearing the dress of the same period, and displaying the colours of the noble house which they served. On that occasion, the Paseo de las Cuadrillas, or preliminary procession of the bull-fighters across the arena to the strains of military music, was a most imposing sight. The Padrinos, the grandees who acted as supporters or godfathers of the knights, accompanied the fighters, followed by their mediævally-clad retinues, to the foot of the Royal box, and presented them to the King. The spectacle was strikingly brilliant, but the display was not to be compared with a professional bout. The horses of the cavaliers had evidently not been sufficiently trained for their work, and the best riding in the world could not bring them off scathless. Let me condense an account of the scene to convey an impression of what the present-day bull-fight has been derived from.

When the procession had withdrawn, leaving only the chulos and the gallant caballeros in the arena, the door of the toril swung on its heavy hinges, and a splendid specimen of a bull,{232} dungeoned for several hours previously in utter darkness, darted into the light of day, tearing up the ground with its hoofs, and ploughing the air with its horns. Suddenly, a horseman and his prancing steed vaulted into the centre of the ring—the charger, with flowing mane, full-veined ears and shapely head slanted forward—to meet the onrush of the goaded bull. The second picador seeing the bull worried and dazed by the tantalising assistants, scudded past on a swift, white racer, sitting gracefully in his saddle, and then turning deftly as he passed the great brute, plunged his lance into his neck, and whirled aside to avoid possible pursuit. But by sheer accident, the bleeding steer dashed off in the same direction, caught the horse in the hindquarters, raising it on its forelegs and endangering the equilibrium of the rider.

Before the scampering bull had time to recover from the compact, the second caballero, dashing up, had planted his lance deep into its neck. The white horse, stung with pain, made a wild rush, but was brought to hand by splendid horsemanship, and his rider urged him along, to inflict another wound in the animal’s head. Then two toreros advanced, beguiling and wearying the bull. By the time the bull had received the fifth lance in his neck, and the white steed had been twice wounded, the edge was taken off the keen thirst for violent emotions, and another torero unfolded his red capa, waved it to and fro until the bull swooped down upon him, and a moment later he was sprawling in the sand seemingly gored by the infuriated animal. The next minute the wounded steer tottered, dropped on its forelegs, and turned over on the sand, and a knife put a speedy end to its sufferings.

The second bull, a black massive creature, appeared listless and faint, and made little effort to defend itself. It made one successful attack on the white charger; and, then, at the signal{233} from the King, an amateur espada stepped forward. The attempt was a miserable failure. The young swordsman dedicated, in a few well-chosen words, the death of the bull to his sovereign, and after a dozen passes with the red capa, plunged the gleaming blade of Toledo steel into the animal’s neck, but so ineffectually that a storm of hisses resounded through the ring. The second attempt was still more awkward, the sword entering but a few inches. The sword was pulled out, and another effort, made amid groans and hisses, proved equally unsuccessful.

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Although the madness had died out of the expiring brute’s eyes, and his forelegs were bending under him, the inexperienced torero seemed unable to put him out of pain. However, he grasped the short, sharp knife, and unsteadily taking aim, plunged it into the neck. Another failure. Yells, groans, shrieks, whistling, and hissing marked the anger of the crowd. The espada may be a paid professional, or the greatest noble in Spain, but in the ring he is judged by the rules of the ring, and{234} his bungling is recognised with the most poignant scorn to which failure could be subjected. He again grasped the sword; and, spurred by the vitriolic exclamations of the public, sheathed it in the bull’s neck. The animal stood still and tottered, his forelegs bent, his head sank upon the moist, red sand, his hind feet quivered, and a flourish of trumpets announced that life was extinct.

It is curious to find, in talking with learned enthusiasts on the relative merits of the bull-fighters, what diversity of opinion exists; but all parties are agreed upon the unrivalled skill and daring of the mighty Frascuelo. In his day, for death’s whistle summoned him from the arena in the height of his fame, Frascuelo was regarded as the greatest matador that Spain had ever seen; and Spaniards, in debating the subject of the bull-ring, never indulge the hope that his equal will ever arise to shed a new glory on the National sport. Frascuelo is dead, and his famous rival, Guerra, or Guerrita—to give him his professional name—has long since cut off his coleta, and lives in well-earned retirement at Córdova. But the school of fighters, who claim Frascuelo as their master—the fearless, dare-devil toreros, who scorn to concede a yard of ground to the bull, and do all their fighting at close quarters—is widely popular; and if their terribly dangerous methods are attended by frequent casualties, the intoxicating applause that rewards the accomplishment of a brilliant coup is, apparently, ample compensation for the risks that it entails. But the wildest appreciation of a successful feat does not exempt the most popular performer from the furious condemnation of the multitude when his scheme miscarries. The allowances made by a Spanish audience at the ring-side are of the most grudging nature. I once travelled from Barcelona to Madrid in the company of Bombita-Chico—the boy Bombita—who, although{235} he was barely recovered from an unfortunate encounter with a tricky bull eight days before, was on his way to take part in a grand corrida that was to be held in the capital. He was—as his name denotes—no more than a lad, with large, strong hands that sparkled with jewels, while a formidable anchor about five inches long, set with magnificent diamonds, dangled from his watch-chain. I saw him again in the arena a few days later. He seemed nervous, and was, it appeared to me, a little perturbed by the demonstration that welcomed his reappearance in the ring after his accident. Ill fortune allotted him a troublesome animal, and his kill, while creditable enough to untutored eyes, lacked the grace and finish that the critical spectator requires. Bombita was their own Boy of Madrid, and because of his recent misfortune they forgave him, but they did not cheer him; and the lad walked out of the arena amid a silence that could be felt.

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Mazantini, now grown old and heavy, was in his day an{236} undoubtedly fine matador. There are some that still regard him as the head of his profession. But the majority, remembering what he was, regret that he has not gone into honourable retirement. But Mazantini cannot tear himself away from the fascination of the arena, although his appearances grow less frequent every year. Conejito, who was wounded in Barcelona in the spring of 1903, is generally regarded as the most accomplished matador now before the public; but Fuentes is, par excellence, the best all-round man. For, with the exception of the picador business, Fuentes plays every part in the piece. Other espadas have their assistants, who play the bull with their capas, and stand by while the banderilleros ply their infuriating darts. It is only when the bull has been prepared for the slaughter by the other performers that the matador comes forward to put the finishing touch to the grim tragedy. Fuentes, on the other hand, on special occasions—of which the corrida which I attended in Madrid was one—keeps his assistants entirely in the background; he takes the stage when the picadores leave it, and keeps it to the end. So close does he keep to the bull, that during the corrida in Madrid, of which I am writing, he seldom allowed the animal to be a dart’s length away from him. On one occasion his capa got caught so tightly on the bull’s horns that he tore it in jerking it away; and at another time the bull stopped dead, with his forefeet on the hated sash. As a banderillero, Fuentes is without equal in Spain. He frequently works with darts that have previously been broken short, and he uses them sparingly. Yet the encounter between the banderillero and the bull when Fuentes is on the scene is the most thrilling part of the whole performance. It is a contest between human intellect and brute intelligence—a duel between mind and matter. Fuentes does not avoid the bull, but by exerting some magnetic power he{237} repulses the animal and compels it to halt. When the bull charges, in response to his “defiance,” he waits with the banderillas suspended above his head until the animal is within a few yards of him. Then he deliberately, but without haste, lowers one arm until the arrow is on a level with the brute’s eyes. The bull wavers in his onslaught, slows up, and stops dead within a foot or two of the point. Sometimes Fuentes walks backwards, while the bull glares at him with stupefied impotence, until he escapes the eyes that

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hold him, and gallops away. Again and again the banderillero taunts his enemy to attack him, only to arrest his charge and force him to turn from his deadly purpose by the irresistible power of his superior mentality. The crowd follows this superb exhibition with breathless interest, and in a silence that is more eloquent of admiration than the wildest cheers would be. But the end is nearly reached. Fuentes grasps his stumpy darts and advances against his bewildered antagonist, who waits{238} his approach with sulky indifference. The man’s arms are flung up with a gesture of exasperating defiance, and when the bull makes his final rush, his opponent, instead of stopping him, steps lithely on one side, and the brute thunders past him with the two galling arrows firmly implanted in his huge neck. Fuentes has already moved to the side of the ring. The bull turns and charges back at him. The banderillero glides gracefully over the sand, but his pace is not equal to that of his infuriated pursuer. The distance between them decreases rapidly; in half-a-dozen yards he will be upon him. Fuentes glances over his shoulder and, without changing his pace, doffs his cap and flings it in the bull’s face. This stratagem only arrests the rush of the brute for a moment, but it gives the man time to reach the barrier, where he receives his muleta and sword from an attendant and returns to complete his task.

All the kings of the bull-ring have their own particular feats or strokes, which the Spaniards appreciate as Englishmen revel in Ranjitsinhji’s acrobatic hitting, or Morny Cannon’s inimitable “finishes.” Bombita-Chico’s speciality in playing his bull is to kneel in the arena and allow the animal to charge through the capa which is held within three feet of the ground. The nerve required for this feat fires the audience with enthusiastic approval. The tale is told of a torero, whose name I have forgotten, who gained distinction by his exceptional skill in facing the bull with the long vaulting pole, known as the salto de la garrocha. With this instrument he would goad the bull on to the attack. When the brute was in full gallop he would, timing his movements to the instant, run a few yards to meet him, and swing himself high into the air at the end of his pole. The oncoming bull would charge the pole, the grounded end would be tossed upwards, and the torero would drop lightly to the ground and make good his escape. On one{239} occasion the man performed his risky “turn” at a moment when the attention of a royal lady was attracted from the arena, and she sent an attendant to the expert to command him to repeat it. In vain the poor fellow protested that it was impossible for him to accomplish the same feat again with the same bull. The lady’s desire had been expressed. “But it is more than my life is worth,” argued the athlete. “It is the lady’s wish,” responded the attendant. The torero bowed, and “I dedicate my life to Her Royal Highness,” he said. The attempt fell out as he foretold. The bull charged and stopped dead. The man vaulted aloft, his body described a half circle, and fell—on the horns of the bull. He was dead before the attendants could entice the animal from his victim.

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Lagartijo, Lagartijillo, Mazantini, and Montes all have their distinguishing methods of attacking and despatching the bull, but none of these are capable of the feat by which Guerrita was wont to throw the bull-ring into transports of{240} deafening enthusiasm. In the ordinary way, the espada having taken the measure of his adversary, receives him standing sideways, and having thrust his sword at arm’s length between the left shoulder and the blade, leaps aside as the bull blunders forward on to his knees and falls to the earth. But Guerrita advanced his left arm across his body and waved his muleta under his right uplifted arm. When the bull lowered his head at the charge he passed the sword over the animal’s horns and plunged the blade into the vital spot behind the shoulder. In other words, he stopped the brute and killed him while his head was under his arm; and so closely were the duellists locked in that last embrace, that Guerrita’s side was frequently scratched by the bull’s horns. One may lecture, write, and preach against the barbarity of bull-fighting; but so long as Spain can breed men of such amazing nerve, and skill, and dexterity that they can successfully defy death and mutilation to provide their countrymen with such lurid sport, so long will bull-fighting continue to flourish in Spain.{241}

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The Picture Gallery, Madrid.

IN returning to the subject of the Museo of Madrid, and its priceless treasures, my object is not to pen a dissertation on Spanish art, but to add a few lines by way of an accompaniment to the excellent photographs of some of the principal pictures which I am privileged to reproduce. In a collection which contains numerous canvasses by Rubens, Vandyke, and Rembrandt, no less than forty of Titian’s best productions, ten pictures by Raffaele, including the Spasimo, considered by many to be his greatest work, and, among the Dutch and Flemish specimens, more than 200 of Teniers alone, the artist is concerned almost entirely with the masterpieces of the Spanish school. Here are sixty paintings of the superb Velasquez, who was Court painter under Philip the Fourth; nearly as many pictures by that gentle and serene genius Murillo; and many magnificent specimens of the fiery temperament of Goya. Here are miracles of art from the sixteenth-century genius of Antonio Moro and Coello to Valdés Leal and Lopez of but a century ago. The catalogue of this collection would make a formidable appendix to a book of this size; an adequate appreciation could not be contained in two such volumes. The most famous gems of the Madrid gallery are familiar not only to students, but to the men in the streets of every city of the world—even Goya’s “Family of Charles IV.,” the least known of the few that I have selected for reproduction, has been copied by scores of enthusiasts. The passionate, fulminating genius of Goya, which found its supreme nourishment in the{242} spectacle of the bull-fight, and its highest expression in scenes of war, and blood, and laceration, was scarcely at home as a courtier. He brought the terrible realism of his execution scenes and battle pieces to the portraiture of the Royal Family, and the members of the family of Charles IV. will, consequently, go down to posterity as the most unamiable and unattractive group of royalties that has ever been put on canvas. The faces are worse than plain, they are hideous; but the details are treated in the artist’s vigorous and effective style, and the whole composition compels a belief in his fidelity to nature.

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From among the profusion of masterpieces by which Velasquez is represented I have passed over the dignified, serene, and powerful picture of Æsop, in favour of the huge and{243}

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dramatic painting of the Surrender of Breda—the latter a superb achievement, both in colour and design. “The Surrender of Breda” is regarded as the noblest of the works of Velasquez, and is, perhaps, one of the finest historical pictures in the world. “Such a masterpiece,” says the Chevalier D’Avillier, “must be seen; it cannot be described.” It is usually known in Spain as Les Lanzas from the upright lances that cut the sky. A celebrated art critic has written of the picture, “never were knights, soldiers, or national character, or the heavy Fleming, the intellectual Italian, and the proud Spaniard, more nicely marked even to their boots and breeches. Observe the genial countenance of Spinola, who (the model of a high-bred, generous warrior) is consoling a gallant but vanquished enemy (Justin of Nassau). It is interesting to recall the fact that Spinola took Breda in 1826, and died five years afterwards, broken hearted at Philip the Fourth’s treatment, exclaiming, ‘Me han quitado la honra!’ (They have robbed me of my honour!)” The head placed on the extreme right of the picture, with a plumed hat shading his finely-chisseled brow, is that of Velasquez himself, who has in other of his pictures introduced his personality. In La Familia the artist has represented himself painting the Royal Family of Philip IV., and in it the painter stands before his easel, brush and palette in hand. On his breast is the red cross of Santiago: and tradition has it that the King painted in the decoration in order, as he declared, “to finish the picture.”

By his works in the Velasquez Gallery alone must the great artist be judged. Outside Madrid the painter is apt to be judged by a few gloomy figures, conceived in a stiff, gloomy style, and attired in staid, gloomy costumes; whereas his fertile genius composed a whole gallery of types and examples ranging from kings to beggars, from warriors to clowns, from martyrs{246} to drunkards—all vigorous, living, speaking presentments. Velasquez was, as his pictures in the Museo teach us, a painter of real personages, a chronicler of what he saw, a surprisingly faithful depicter of humanity; but one must go to Madrid to realise and properly appreciate the genius of the master, for it might almost be said that the entire produce of his brush is contained within these walls.

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Murillo, with his placid inspiration, which found its outlet in simple and noble elegance of outline, in benign and consoling expressions, and a sweetness of eye and lip on saintly faces that defies description, is represented here in all his glory. Murillo was unequalled in the art of representing the Divine idea in his saints and madonnas, and Spain has rightly named him “The Painter of the Conceptions.” Of the four wonderful “conceptions” that are to be seen in the Museo of Madrid, I have{247}

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chosen for reproduction two that all the world has acclaimed to be the most wonderful imaginings of soulful beauty and tender youthfulness that man has given to the world. Devout in purpose and idea, tender and exquisite in execution, his picture of the Sacred Family—called the Pajarito from the little bird held in the Christ’s hand—is one of the most purely devotional pictures of the youthful Saviour in existence. An altarpiece, known as La Porciuncula, from a plot of ground near Assisi, where Christ appeared in a vision to St. Francis, is in the artist’s best style, and El Divino Pastor is another most characteristic and most popular of the master’s works.

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Murillo’s heart was divided between beggars and babyhood—he seems to have taught the Spaniards benevolence towards the one and devotion to the other. Most of the beggar-boy pictures have been transferred to foreign collections, but remains the Holy Families and the cherub-peopled Annunciations. Of those Andalusian cherubs a charming American author, Katharine Lee Bates, has written,{250} “Such ecstatic rogues as they are! Their restless ringlets catch azure shadows from the Virgin’s mantle; they perch tiptoe on the edges of the crescent moon; they hold up a mirror to her glory and peep over the frame to see themselves; they pelt St. Francis with roses; they play bo-peep from behind the fleecy folds of cloud; they try all manner of aerial gymnastics. But a charm transcending even theirs dwells in these baby Christs that almost spring from the Madonna’s arms to ours, in those Christs that touch all boyhood with divinity. The son of the Jewish carpenter, happy in his father’s workshop with bird and dog; the shepherd lad whose earnest eyes look toward his waiting flock; the lovely playmates, radiant with innocent beauty, who bend together above the water of life—from these alone might Catholic Spain have learned the sacredness of childhood. But Spain first showed Murillo the vision that he rendered back to her.”

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Murillo’s baby Christs are indeed an inspiration, for “they{251}

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touch all boyhood with divinity,” as his Virgin’s waken all souls to adoration. De Amicis, the Italian writer whose appreciations of Spain it is a pleasure to read and a privilege to quote, says of Murillo that he is “not only a great painter, but has a great soul; is more than a glory; is, in fact, an object of affection in Spain; he is more than a sovereign master of the beautiful, he is a benefactor, one who inspires good actions; and a lovely image which is once found in his canvasses is borne in one’s heart throughout life with a feeling of gratitude and religious devotion. He is one of those men of whom an indescribable prophetic sentiment tells us that we shall see them again; that the meeting with them is due to us like some prize; that they cannot have disappeared for ever, they are still in some place; that their life has only been like a flash of inextinguishable light, which must appear once more in all its splendour to the ages of mortals.” In transcribing his general impressions of the pictures in the Museo of Madrid, De Amicis pathetically comments: “It is one of the most dolorous consequences of a charming journey, this finding one’s mind full of beautiful images, and the heart a tumult of intense emotions, and only being able to give expression to so small a portion of them! With what profound disdain I could tear up these pages when I think of those pictures! Oh, Murillo; oh, Velasquez; oh, poor pen of mine!” Yet these are the artistic bewailings of a writer who has comprehended as much of, and expressed more faithfully the charm and soulfulness of Murillo than any living critic.{254}

Viva el Rey.

ON the 17th of May, 1902, Queen Maria Christina relinquished the Regency she had sustained so faithfully and unfalteringly for upwards of sixteen years, and Alfonso XIII., or to give his name in full, Alfonso Leon Fernando Maria Santiago Pidro Pascual Marcian Antonio, appeared before his subjects for the first time in the character of ruler as well as King. The eyes of all Europe were directed to Madrid on that day of sunshine and rejoicing, and perhaps in England more than in any country in the world was the nobility and pathos of the Queenly figure, and the brilliant promise given by the young King, most sympathetically appreciated. Queen Christina had devoted her life to her duty; to the service of Spain and the task of fitting her son for the high destiny to which he was born. The difficulty of that task cannot be over-estimated. Taken from the cloistered and secluded life in the Convent of Hochradin in Bohemia, the young Abbess-Princess, who from her earliest years was remarkable for the gravity of her character and her singular piety, was suddenly thrust into the fierce light that beats about a throne to secure a union between the two great Catholic families of the Hapsburgs and the Spanish Bourbons. Married in 1879, Queen Maria Christina enjoyed six years of complete happiness. Handsome, young, and brave, King Alfonso XII. proved a faithful and a devoted husband. His early death left her an alien in a strange land to govern a people who regarded her, if not with dislike, at least with suspicion. The Spanish have no reason to love Austria, and the mere fact of the Queen Mother being an Austrian by birth was sufficient{255}

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to excite a feeling of distrust. But the brave Queen outlived the popular want of confidence, and won the admiration and respect of her subjects.

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A few months after the death of Alfonso XII., the infant King—he was King from the first breath of life that he drew—“the only child born a king since Christ”—was presented to the great officials and grandees of Spain, lying upon a silver salver. The thrill of the first cry of “Viva el Rey!” that rose outside the Palace of Madrid on May 17th, 1886, and were renewed with tempestuous enthusiasm on May 17th, 1902, has never died in the hearts of the Spaniards. The Divine right of kings is not an unmeaning formula in Spain, in spite of all past history; and to the people who so ardently desired him, the circumstances of Alfonso’s birth gave their King a peculiarly Heaven-sent character. From the moment of his birth he has been hedged about by restrictions and precautions. The hopes{258} of the Royalists and of men of all parties who believe that only monarchical government is possible for Spain have been centred in him, and his every look and action has been watched with a most intense anxiety, rising from the conviction that only the life of this one-time delicate lad stood between Spain and the chaos of revolution.

The weakness of the infant King added to the unparalleled trials that were laid upon the Queen. She has had, in addition, to meet the unquenchable hate of the two political factions—the Carlists, who still dream of a successful coup on behalf of the Pretender; and the Radicals, who would found the Red Republic. She has had to meet the menace of risings in the Carlist North and labour troubles in the Republican South. She has seen Spain drained in men and money in a futile effort to subdue the Cuban Rebellion. More recently still her heart has been wrung by the appalling disasters of the war with America. She saw the gallant army of Spain defeated, its heroic fleet annihilated; Cuba, Porto Rico, and the Philippines—the last remnants of what had once been the greatest Colonial Empire in the World—torn from the Crown of Spain. The Queen Regent bore these terrible misfortunes with dauntless courage; and her wisdom, prudence, and ability enabled her to save the dynasty and to see the Crown placed on the head of the son she so dearly loves.

Under his mother’s untiring care the little King threw off his infant ailings. He had the usual illnesses of childhood, one of so severe a character that it cost the country many days of painful suspense. But, like many other delicate children, he grew in health and strength as the years went by, and his subjects were soon able to assure themselves that it was no weakling that would sit on the throne of Spain. It is a matter of history that he opened his first Cortes in his nurse’s arms at{259}

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the age of one; at two years old he sat on a throne to open the Exhibition of Barcelona, and from his earliest years he was taught the lesson of responsibility. Efforts have been made before now to bring up a future ruler of a country in ignorance of his or her coming power, and in subjection to temporary guardians. With Alfonso XIII. the opposite plan was very wisely followed. He has always been the King, subject to no will but his mother’s; and even in his childhood there must have been borne upon his mind some perception of the idea which all the pomp and ceremony surrounding him portended, and some knowledge that he himself was the embodiment of that idea. Until the age of seven, his time was spent between the Palace of Madrid and the Palace of Miramar in San Sabastian, under the immediate eye of his mother and his sisters. Thereafter, in conformity with the traditions of the Court of Spain, he was obliged to have a separate establishment of his own, and his education was entrusted to a distinguished officer of the Royal Household, General Sanchis, assisted by three officers and a staff of professors. His Majesty proved an apt scholar, mastering English, French, and German, each of which he speaks fluently, and obtaining a wide and deep knowledge of the history of his own country. He was also instructed in the elements of law, political economy, and the theory of Government—branches of study for which he showed a very marked aptitude. Like every true Spaniard, the King early disclosed a passionate fondness for the army, and three days in the week he was regularly instructed in military drill and exercises in company with a number of young Spanish nobles. He early became an accomplished fencer, a capital shot, a good swimmer, and an excellent horseman. He has an admirable seat and great pluck and judgment, and never looks better than he does on horseback. In the extensive stables of the Palace, which{262} contains a very varied collection of steeds from all countries, there is scarcely a horse which he has not ridden.

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What manner of King was it that on his 17th birthday made his first official appearance as the Constitutional ruler of Spain? Accomplished as a scholar and a musician, and a fine all-round athlete, we know also of him that, thanks to heredity and careful training, he has developed a manliness and resolution of character which promise to stand him in good stead in the future. “Tall and slender,” to quote the description of a writer who was in a position to picture His Majesty with accuracy, “graceful in movement in spite of the length and looseness of his limbs, the King has inherited, not only the mobile features, but also very much of the charm of manner, the bonhomme and easy grace, which made Alfonso XII. so dear to his friends. He is no lover of ceremonious etiquette; but, simple and familiar as he prefers his intercourse to be, he shows a rare tact in one so young in never forgetting, or permitting others to forget, that he is King. Above all, he is Spanish to the backbone; and for this he owes much to his aunt, the Infanta Isabel, the widowed Countess of Girgenti, who has particularly devoted herself to the task of making her nephew a good Spaniard. The Infanta Isabel is deservedly one of the most popular women in Spain; she possesses a rare knowledge of even the intricate mazes of its political life, as well as an absolute and innate sympathy with many national characteristics. Other reasons, too, have contributed to make Alfonso{263} XIII. a good Spaniard. There is no greater incentive to patriotism than national suffering; and it was at the most impressionable age that he learnt, day by day, to listen to the tale of the disasters that were befalling his country. In this connection, it may be added that he shows signs of becoming a keen soldier, and has shown a lively interest in the military life by which he is immediately surrounded. His brother-in-law, the husband of the Infanta, known now by courtesy as the Prince of Asturias, fully shares this inclination, and has proved the best of comrades to the King in that as well as in other pursuits.”

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Such was the Royal youth who stood by his mother’s side when the Queen-Regent of Spain presided at her last Cabinet Council in the Palace in Madrid. Sixteen and a-half years before she had been seated in the same vast State hall waiting to receive all the Diplomatic Corps and the message of condolence that they were bringing. Señor Zarco del Valle, introducer of Ambassadors at the Spanish Court, describes her appearance as she sat, crushed by grief and despondency, her face and eyes swollen by the tears she had shed. Her hands lay loosely in her lap and trembled. The sight of the forlorn widow was so heartrending that Señor del Valle hesitated long before he pronounced the official words, “Madam, may I announce to your Majesty His Eminence the Apostolic Nuncio?” Scarcely had the words crossed his lips than Maria-Christina started and stood upright before him, a Queen and a ruler from head to foot, her forehead{264} erect, a fire of resolution burning in the depths of her brown eyes. The late Señor Sagasta, who was then Prime Minister of Spain, was still her chief Minister when she received the official farewells of the Councillors. Señor Sagasta, in the course of an eloquent address, recalled the day when the Queen, who then barely knew him, did honour to his loyalty, and, trembling and weeping at the loss of her Consort, so fresh in her memory, she placed her confidence in him. Sixteen years and a-half elapsed since that day, during which the Queen was sacrificing her youth, a slave to duty and a jealous guardian of her children. She had suffered so much, finding at last compensation in the happiness of the King. He, a grateful and loving son to his mother, on receiving the carefully-guarded deposit of Royal power, would receive therewith a moral education which assuredly he would never forget in all the trials of his life.

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The Queen listened to Señor Sagasta’s words with increasing emotion, and finally was moved to weeping. But, recovering herself, she responded, and, in thanking Señor Sagasta, said that she had ever had the earnest desire to do right, even though she might not always have been right; and she ever felt profound love for Spain in return for the kindnesses that had always been heaped upon her. She hoped that the statesmen before her assembled, and those who could and might become Councillors of the Crown, would help her son as effectively as they had helped her.

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The Coronation of Alfonso XIII., 1902.


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On the following day the formal enthronement of Alfonso XIII. as King of Spain was accomplished; a chapter in the history of the Spanish Monarchy was closed and a fresh epoch was begun. The young Monarch made his appearance before his subjects under the happiest conditions. Madrid looked its best beneath the bright sun and cloudless skies which fortunately attended the whole course of the city’s festivities. The procession was one of those picturesque and impressive displays in which the Spanish as a people know how to excel. The young King’s demeanour was an engaging mixture of boyish self-possession and boyish delight, together with traces of a maturer air of resolution, which were especially apparent when he recited the oath of enthronement before his Congress. From that body he had a magnificent and remarkable reception. The crowds in the streets vied with their Parliamentary representatives in their acclamations as the King left the Congress, and these unmistakable signs of a loyalty deep and true were received by the King with manifest pleasure. The whole day of rejoicing was one which must live long in the memory of both subjects and Sovereign.

So, amid sounds of universal rejoicing, the young King entered upon his task with all the promise of youth and under fair auspices, and nowhere than in this country was the hope more cordially felt that the unbounded enthusiasm with which he had been proclaimed would be the prelude to a long, ever-brightening record of loyal co-operation between the Sovereign and his subjects, of re-awakened national energies, of solid and enduring gains of domestic unity and progress, and of the attainment of the indomitable aspiration of a noble people.

In every respect these high hopes are being realised. The King’s popularity, based on the solid foundation of respect for wise authority and administration, of his frank, generous, and{266} engaging personality, is growing daily. He has gained the confidence as he won the hearts of his subjects, and it is safe to assert that at no period of recent history has the throne of Spain been more secure, or the future of the country more full of promise. The renaissance of the Spanish nation has commenced; her commercial prosperity is steadily and surely increasing; and with the ever-lessening evil of domestic friction, the expansion of her trade, and the development of her natural and mineral resources, the boundless possibilities before Spain are assuming definite and tangible form.{267}

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THE history of mining in Spain would fill a dozen books, each twelve times as large as the present volume, and even then only the half, if so much of the story, would be told. It would form a narrative that would combine tragedy and romance, and present a moral as stern as humanity has ever been asked to peruse. The mineral wealth of the Peninsula was responsible for the origination of the African slave trade, for the demolition of Carthage, for the decline of Rome, for the sacrifice of lives innumerable, for tortures unspeakable, for crimes that are without parallel in the annals of the world. In ancient times Spain was ravaged, plundered, and depopulated to provide Carthage with the spoils that were to make her the prey of the Romans, who, in their turn, were to be lulled by wealth and luxury into the deadly sleep of degeneracy that precedes decay.

It is probable that the beginning of the history of precious metals may be traced back to India, although it is commonly assigned to Greece about 900 B.C.; but the earliest specific mention of gold or silver mining in European history is derived from the story of Cadmus, a Phoenician, who mined for copper and gold in Thrace in 1594 B.C., or thereabouts. Jason, another Phoenician, journeyed as far west as Sardinia in search of precious metals in 1263 B.C.; and it is known that the Phoenicians were working the gold placers of the Guadalquiver previous to 1100 B.C. The means of winning the gold—the only mineral that was exploited in those days—were both limited and arduous, and some time between 1200 and 500 {270}B.C. (it is impossible to compute the period more exactly) the auriferous resources of Spain were thought to be exhausted. The results of Phoenician mining enterprise must have been considerable, for about B.C. 500 Darius, of Persia, undertook and successfully executed a military expedition against Phoenicia for the purpose of acquiring the metallic treasure, which its adventurers had carried away from Spain. Some portion of this hardly-won stock of bullion found its way back to Europe some two centuries later when Alexander the Great plundered Persia.

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Spain did not benefit in the slightest degree by the earliest discovery of her auriferous riches; and when her silver resources were disclosed, they provided the Carthaginians with a further incentive to pillage and plunder the country which was cursed by the possession of her coveted mineral wealth. Between 480 and 206 B.C. the silver mines were worked by the Carthaginians, who stored their spoil at Carthage against the coming, in B.C. 146, of the plundering Romans who captured the city, rifled its treasure houses, and either sold its myriad inhabitants in the slave markets of Rome, or condemned{271} them to the hideous labour of the Spanish mines. Spain was to the Ancients what Mexico and Central and South America became in later ages to Spain—El Dorado, the land of gold, the richest mining country of the world; and the nearer history of Mexico and Peru—the fate of its aborigines, the subsequent struggle among leading nations for the mastery of its precious metals, the destruction of its soil, the neglect of its agriculture, and the resultant poverty and decay of its population—is no more than a repetition of the ancient history of Spain. The aborigines were easily brought into a state of subjection by the disciplined and well armed soldiers of Carthage, who reduced them to slavery, and compelled them, with every accompaniment of savage brutality, to explore and work the mines.

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“These people,” says Didorus, “though by their labour they enriched their masters to an almost incredible extent, did it by toiling night and day in their golden prisons. They were compelled, by the lash, to work so incessantly that they died of their hardships in the caverns they had dug. Such as by great vigour of body continued to live, were in a state of misery which rendered death a preferable fate.” Again Didorus, in{272} describing the conditions under which mining was carried on at this period, tells us that infinite numbers of slaves of both sexes were thrust into the mines, kept at work night and day, and guarded so strictly as to make escape an impossibility. Naked, maimed, and sick they laboured on beneath the lash of the brutal overseers without rest or remission. “Neither the weakness of old age, nor the infirmities of females,” says this authority, “excuse any from the work, to which all are driven by blows and cudgels, until borne down by the intolerable weight of their misery many fell dead in the midst of their insufferable labours. Deprived of all hope, these miserable creatures expect each day to be worse than the last! and long for death to end their griefs.”

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The mortality among the workers in the mines of Spain at this period must have been appalling, and the conditions were calculated to decimate the entire race. Soon it became necessary to recruit the fast thinning ranks of native labourers with imported workers, and these were brought in thousands from Africa. Negro slaves had previously been introduced, to a small extent, into Etruria; but the traffic had not hitherto{273}

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attained the gigantic proportion that it was then to assume. Jacob, in his History of the Precious Metals, says: “This oppression and exhaustion of the native labourers led to a trade in human beings which was carried on by the Carthaginians with the interior of Africa, and supplied to Andalusia the place of those native workmen who had been destroyed by the excessive toil imposed on them by their Asiatic intruders. This horrid traffic was extended and continued, and it augmented the produce of the mines of Spain in such a degree as to have an influence on the whole commerce of the world at that period. That influence was continued for upwards of seven hundred years, until the Government of the Romans, who succeeded the Carthaginians in the mastery of Spain, had fallen into the hands of the Gothic monarchs.”

The spoils which Phoenicia had won from Spain led to her spoilation by Darius of Persia, in the fifth century before the Christian era; three hundred years later the silver hoards of Carthage excited the cupidity and envy of Rome, and Spain, which provided the booty, was wrested from the Carthaginians by the armies of the Commonwealth. Up to B.C. 400, when mining in Spain was reduced to a regular system, and the output was enormously increased, Carthage was able to utilise her silver in her Indian trade; but with increasing returns the necessity arose for establishing other markets for her precious metals. In Carthage and in Rome the numerary money system still obtained, but about this date the Carthaginians adopted silver currency and endeavoured, but with little success, to dispose of their surplus supplies of silver by offering them in the markets of Rome. But Rome still held to her copper tokens, and was as yet free from the fatal influence of the mines. “Rome trusted to itself and its sword,” says Heeren in his Researches, African Nations, “Carthage to its gold and its{276} mercenaries. The greatness of Rome was founded upon a rock; that of Carthage upon sand and gold-dust.”

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But the increasing volume of the trade of Carthage with the Orient did not keep pace with her ever-multiplying returns of silver. Carthaginian silver made its appearance in Italy, and the jealous eye of Rome was led from Carthaginian silver to Carthage and its hugely profitable Indian trade. In B.C. 264 began the first Punic War, which cost Carthage the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica—all of them mining countries—and an indemnity of 1,200 talents of silver. Three years after Hamilcar Barca, on the plea that the extension of the Carthaginians’ arms into the interior was necessary in order to make good the loss of the mineral-producing islands ceded to Italy, conducted a marauding expedition through Spain. This campaign of conquest and slaughter culminated in B.C. 219 in the sacking of Saguntum (the modern Murviedro), a Greek colonial city and furnished Rome with the pretext for another war against Carthage. In B.C. 269, prior to the first Punic War, Rome had formally adopted silver as a portion of her monetary system; and the{277} demand for the metal made it necessary for her to devise some means for ensuring a larger and more regular supply than she could obtain from her own mines or by purchase. Italy’s growing commerce with the Orient, which consumed all the silver at her command, hastened the means to the end. The capture of Saguntum by the unauthorised commandoes of Hamilcar Barca was the excuse upon which Rome declared the second Punic War which, in B.C. 207, ended in the conquest of Spain, and the final evacuation of the coveted territory by the Carthaginian forces five years later.

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Carthage built her greatness on the spoils wrung from the mines of Spain, and her fall is directly traceable to the same cause. As Alexander del Mar says: “They corrupted the Government of Carthage, and led to the neglect of military discipline and precautions; they introduced a mercenary and gambling spirit into all enterprises; they created monopolies of wealth; they impoverished the masses; they occasioned the abandonment of those industries which had built up the State, and they eventually so crippled its power, that in the memorable{278} contests that ensued with Rome for the mastery of these same mines, Carthage was unable to successfully cope with its more vigorous adversary.”

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There is abundant evidence to show that although the Carthaginians were driven out by the all-conquering Romans, they left with the full determination to return at some future time, and they took the most careful precautions to hide their treasures from the eyes of the invaders. The ancient workings that are attributed to Roman miners are, in many cases, of Carthaginian origin; for it appears certain that numbers of these well-developed mines were never discovered by the Romans. The site of a mine at Córdova, for instance, was indicated by a series of seven abandoned and rubbish-filled shafts, forming an irregular row of workings. One or two of these shafts at either end of the row had been tested without yielding any satisfactory results, and when the property passed, at a nominal figure, into the hands of English capitalists the manager received instructions to empty these shafts. He started at one end and cleared three of the seven holes, only to find that they stopped suddenly at a few yards from the surface. Then, following the course that had been taken by the Romans and the more recent Spanish{279} proprietors, he began at the other end only to find that the supposed shafts were no more than huge pot holes. Disappointed with the fruitlessness of his efforts he wired to London, “Have cleared six holes. No trace of lode.” The answer was instantly returned to the despondent manager:—“Clear the seventh.” Acting on these instructions the centre shaft was cleared, and at a little depth he came upon a massive iron door which proved to be the entrance to the enormous ancient workings which the Carthaginians had hidden for over two thousand years by this ingenious device of digging dummy shafts, and so giving succeeding generations the impression that the mine was a worthless and abandoned prospect.

In the majority of these ancient workings in the copper mines that I have inspected, tools of Carthaginian make had been found lying scattered in the tunnels where the workmen had thrown them when they made their hurried departure. One has only to glance from those enormous catacombs to the implements with which the excavations were made to realise the terrific difficulties of the task and the misery and almost super-human labour that was involved in its accomplishment. Human blood was spilt like water to gratify the mineral greed of the Carthaginian conquerors. When the younger Scipio, carrying the war into the enemy’s country, sacked and afterwards burned Carthage to the ground, 60,000 of its citizens were sent to labour as slaves in the Spanish mines of which they had so recently been the opulent masters.

Before the conclusion of the second Punic war Scipio returned to Rome with so great a quantity of the precious metals captured by his forces, that the Roman numerary system was finally abolished, and the complete establishment of silver currency was effected. But the triumph of Rome was the beginning of her end. She had crushed her great Carthaginian{280} rival, and gained her Indian trade; she had extended her possessions to the Atlantic ocean, and made herself the owner of the greatest mineral country of the world. But she had transferred to her own shoulders the curse of Carthage’s decline when she assumed the Carthaginian mantle. Public and private morality was demoralised by the accumulation of the treasure in Rome; wealth was the precursor of corruption; and corruption led to that gross luxury and social and political supineness which sapped the greatness of the empire.

When the impairment of the stock of silver coins by export to India and the surrounding countries necessitated larger and regular supplies of the metal, Rome applied herself to the exploitation of her Spanish mines with a vigour as great as it was pitiless. The native races and their erstwhile Carthaginian masters worked side by side, and their ranks were subsequently swelled by condemned criminals from Italy, and in later times even by legionary soldiers. Jacob tells us that “the silver procured by the Romans by these operations must have cost more than its current worth; and, according to Polybius, the 40,000 workmen who were constantly employed in the silver mines at New Carthage in Spain produced only 25,000 drachmas (valued at under £1,000) per diem—a sum that could scarcely have purchased more than sufficient to keep alive the miserable beings who were immolated in them. Another reason why these mines were worked at a loss at this time, if indeed they were, is supplied by Del Mar, who points out that “when these mines were worked by the Romans there already existed in their own markets a mass of the precious metals that had been obtained at a cost which, reckoned in blood and cruelty, was immeasurable; but which in mere pecuniary outlay of labour, in killing and sacking, was as nothing. It was against the competition of this mass of metals, which pecuniarily cost{281} nothing, that the mine owners had to measure their products in the Roman market; and it is to be hardly wondered at that they found the industry unprofitable. The Spaniards subsequently had the same experience in America, and the Californians and Australians are repeating it at the present time.

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The Romans also worked for gold the sands of the Guadalquiver, Darro and Duero rivers, but with what results is not known. They also mined for copper on a large scale, with, it is evident, the most gratifying success. The mechanical resources at their command were limited, and there seems no doubt that many rich mines were abandoned for want of knowledge and the proper appliances with which to treat the ores. In one instance, that of the Escurial Mines at Escurial, a huge lode carrying rich copper was broken by a fault, and the Romans made no effort to pick up the lode again. The present English owners penetrated the fault, and found the lode of the original dimensions on the other side.

During the eight hundred years that Spain was under Arab domination, the mines of Sardinia are believed to have been{282} worked by the conquerors, and they prosecuted their explorations for the precious metals on the main land with some vigour. Yeats, in his History of Commerce, tells us that in the eighth century the old silver mines, thought by the Romans to be exhausted, were made to yield afresh by skilful working; and the Spanish mines then furnished to the world the chief supplies of precious metals. The Arabs exported quicksilver to Constantinople, and it is possible that they extended the industry by opening up new mines. Spain is so full of metals that, after being explored for centuries, new mines are constantly being discovered; and perhaps the richest of all the silver mines—the Hiendelæncina—was opened up in 1843. But what the Arabs did in the way of discovery we have no means of ascertaining. They are believed by Jacob to have re-opened the Roman silver mines in the present French division of the Pyrenees, and to have worked the gold mines at Lares, the silver mine of Zalamea in Andalusia, and that of Constantina, near Cazalla. The hills of Jaen, upon which they principally concentrated their exertions, are pierced with over five thousand shallow pits, which are estimated to have been the work of five centuries. Even the approximate amount of the precious metals obtained as the result of Arab mining in Spain is a matter of the merest conjecture.

It is curious to note that when Spain was at the zenith of her greatness the wealth in which she abounded was not the result of the exploitation of her own vast stores of precious metals, but the fruits of conquest, bloodshed, and cruelties, similar to those which she had herself suffered at the hands successively of the Phœnicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, and the Arabs. She had seen each succeeding nation of her despoilers crumble into decay, but she failed to learn the lesson that their disastrous endings had for her.{283}

In her turn Spain crushed Mexico and Peru, and grew rich and powerful by tribute and plunder to the neglect of her own resources and her ultimate temporary ruin and submersion among the nations of Europe. Her own metallic hoards were passed over—the treasure for which Carthage, and Rome, and Morroco had fought and bled was neglected; while the methods of the Roman and the Carthaginian conquerors were being practised upon the people of the New World. The result is, that while Spain is to-day recognised as the richest mineral country in Europe, her mineral assets are in a more backward state of development than those of any other European country.

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In the production of copper ore, lead, and quicksilver Spain heads the list; she is second only to Austria-Hungary in the production of salt and silver; her tin mines are at present almost untouched; while among the less important minerals distributed over the Peninsula are manganese, antimony, cobalt, soda sulphate, sulphate of barium (barytes), phosphorite, alum, magnesia sulphate, sulphur, kaolin, lignite. Gold is also found there in payable quantities; coal and cement of good quality{284} and in enormous deposits are present in the province of Lerida; while the richness and extent of her iron resources in the districts round Santander and Bilbao have long been recognised. With all this vast mineral wealth within her boundaries, Spain should be one of the richest, rather than one of the poorest of European countries. The natural conditions are all favourable to the development of the industry. Labour is cheap and abundant, transport facilities are mostly good, and the mines are within easy reach of all the important markets of the world. The working of the mineral resources is carried on under generous and encouraging State regulations. For this purpose the whole kingdom is divided into three sections, and each of these into four districts. Each section is under the charge of an inspector-general of the first class, and each of the districts under an inspector of the second class. There are no harassing restrictions to hamper the energies of the mine owner, while the climatic conditions render it possible to work the majority of the properties all the whole year round.

Yet with all this mineral wealth to hand, only waiting to be systematically developed to yield immense returns, less than ten per cent. of the population of Spain are engaged in its mining industries; and between sixty and seventy per cent. are occupied in various branches of agriculture, or in pastoral pursuits. The reason is not far to seek. In many parts the country realises Mr. Stephen Phillips’s dream of that fair land where

“Trees without care shall blossom, and the fields
Shall without labour unto harvest come.”

The Spanish peasant can tend his land to produce sufficient for his needs, and allow him to be independent of his fellows. He is more contented and happier, and his best qualities are more strikingly evident when he is “on his own” than in the mass.{285} Unregulated labour is congenial to him, and if his earnings are small, his wants are few. Agriculture appeals to his temperament and satisfies his needs. Mining, however, demands capital which he has not got, and experience which he has no means of acquiring. It is something which he does not understand. The Spanish noblemen and landed proprietors who own the mines neglect this source of revenue for another reason. Englishmen, nobles or commoners, who possess mineral land do not hesitate to turn their possessions to practical account; but the Spaniard has the greatest aversion to anything that savours of trade. In England pig-iron is aristocratic, though tenpenny nails still remain scarcely respectable; in Spain wholesale and retail are alike beneath the dignity of the aristocracy.

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But, although since the days of the Ancients the minerals of Spain have not been worked on the same enormous scale that was then adopted, the industry has never been neglected to the extent that is generally supposed. The majority of people cherish the delusion that since the times of the Moors the metallic resources of the Peninsula have not been exploited, and that the revival of activity that is now being witnessed is a development of recent months. Nothing could be{286} further from the truth. That the eyes of English capitalists and investors have only lately been turned upon this Bonanza is an indisputable fact; but in a quiet unostentatious way the country has been mined without interruption for centuries, and fabulous fortunes have been made by a comparatively small number of people. And this select coterie of millionaire mine-owners has, for years, managed to disguise the magnitude of its operations and secure immunity from active competition.

Before the discovery of America thousands of mines were being energetically exploited in Spain; new mineral discoveries were of daily occurrence, and Royal Charters were granted by tens of thousands. But the astounding richness of the mines of Peru and Central America enticed whole armies of Spanish miners to the new Eldorado, and for a while the home industry languished. Spain has never since re-attained its commanding position as a mineral country in the eyes of the world; but hundreds and hundreds of mines have been and are being worked by small companies and private individuals, and the returns have been buried from sight in official statistics and unpublished records. While the general public were being kept out of the country as the result of this carefully cultivated policy of suppression of facts, it was inevitable that the plums should fall into the hands of a few wealthy monopolists. The small local owners did not stand a chance. If they mined for copper there was no market for their ore; the fall in the price of tin rendered that industry for a while unprofitable, and the development of iron properties necessitated the expenditure of more capital than the Spanish proprietors could command. And the agents of the mammoth firms, who form a close corporation for the exploitation of Spain’s mineral resources, have been up and down the country, inspecting, and acquiring for ready cash all the most promising properties. There has been no fuss,{287} no sensation, no publicity, and no incitement to competition. The direct consequence of this condition of affairs has been to give currency to all kinds of erroneous impressions with respect to the condition, the profits, and the prospects of Spanish mining. A general belief has grown up that the minerals have been largely worked out; that the difficulties of transport, the vexatious mining regulations, and the paucity of natural facilities have combined to spoil the industry—fallacies which have been fostered by those whose interests were best conserved by their promulgation.

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This condition of affairs has obtained very largely in the iron industry of Northern Spain—an industry that is so widely known that it is unnecessary here to make more than passing reference to it; but in the Southern Provinces (principally) of Almeria, Granada, and Murcia, the iron mines are being developed in the interests of a far larger number of persons. Both foreign and Spanish capital is invested in the enterprise, and many of the mines are fully equipped with wire tramways and American waggons, and the promise of the future of the Southern iron fields is well on its way to being realised.{288} Foreign capitalists are embarked in the venture which, until now, has attracted the attention of few Englishmen; and, indeed, until recently Englishmen have only possessed a vague idea of the magnitude and richness of Spain’s mineral deposits. The French people realised it long ago, and attempted, in a half-hearted and parsimonius manner, to develop them, but with only indifferent success. Native enterprise proved even less satisfactory, and the attempt of the Government to work the world-famous Rio Tinto mines resulted in utter failure, and the sale of the property by public tender in 1873. The Rio Tinto

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mines, like those of Tharsis, were extensively developed by the Romans, and so perfect was the smelting process they adopted, that in the heap of ancient slag on the surface hardly a trace of copper remains. The Phoenicians and Carthaginians both worked the Rio Tinto property prior to the advent of the Romans, and their galleries and shafts are found in every direction and at every depth explored by the Moderns. Especially on the North lode are found innumerable shafts and vast slag heaps, the latter testifying to the great extent of their smelting operations. On this lode are also to be seen the traces, now{289} almost obliterated, of a Roman town and a Roman cemetery; while upon the summit of the Cerron Salomon (3,000 feet) are the outlines of a fortified enclosure covering many acres. From the time when the Roman occupation was broken up by the inroads of the Visigoths, until the middle of the sixteenth century Rio Tinto fell into utter oblivion. The Moors apparently never directed their attention to them. An attempt was made to reopen the mines under Philip II., but the purpose failed, and for another two centuries the property remain neglected.

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Ultimately they were leased to a Swede named Liebert Wolters in 1725, and the property reverted to the Crown in 1783. The Government at first leased the mines, but the wretchedly unsatisfactory result of this arrangement prompted them for a while to undertake the management. The loss to the Government was so great that they disposed of the mines in 1872 for £4,000,000 to a group of capitalists, who formed the present Rio Tinto Company. This company has developed the property on a vast scale, and in accordance with the dictates of modern science. A railway line has been constructed to Huelva, a distance of fifty-three miles, terminating in a pier nearly half-a-mile long in the River Odiel. This pier consists of two floors, used respectively for loading and{290} unloading. It has, at some portions of its section, ten lines of railway abreast and above, and can easily berth five large steamers. The ore for export is brought from the mines and shot directly into the ships’ holds. The quantity of pyrites extracted in 1901 was 1,928,776 tons, of which 633,949 tons were exported. The sulphur ore shipped in that year was 119,683 tons, and 21,100 tons of copper were produced by treatment at the mines. Of the ore that is not exported a portion is worked up into copper by the cementation process, and the remainder by smelting. The sulphur fumes emitted by the roasting, which is a necessary prelude to parts of the processes, had denuded the surrounding hills of every vestige of vegetation before the company commenced operations; and the so-called Hill of the Pines has not borne a tree for thirty or forty years past.

At the Rio Tinto mines there are nearly fifty miles of railway above ground and over ten miles underground, all of which are available for locomotive traffic. The underground workings are all reached by adits or galleries running in from the hill-side on different levels. Nearly fifty locomotives are daily employed in these workings, besides those used for the traffic to Huelva. The original town has been greatly enlarged, and three or four separate villages have been built by the company for the housing of their army of workmen, which numbers between 10,000 and 11,000 persons. Stores have been opened to supply the needs of the workmen, schools have been founded and hospitals built, both at Huelva and the mines, and forty armed guards, recruited out of the Civil Guard, are maintained to preserve order and protect property. The company has also constructed several reservoirs for the storage of water, which is of such importance in copper mining. The largest of these, which is about twice the area of the Serpentine, has a depth of seventy feet, and a capacity of 2,570,000 tons, or{291} 575,000,000 gallons. These figures convey some impression of the vastness of the undertaking, but another figure may be added, viz., the revenue of the company, which last year amounted to upwards of £1,800,000. Of this sum over one and three-quarter million sterling was profit on sale of produce.

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The Tharsis mines, though not such a remarkable proposition as the Rio Tinto, form a notable property. They appear to have been practically abandoned from the time of the Roman occupation until 1865, and were not worked at a profit until they were acquired by the present Scotch company. Since then, however, an enormous quantity of ore has been extracted, and last year a total output of some 400,000 tons of metal returned a profit of over £320,000. The mines are connected by a railway twenty-eight miles in length with the pier station at Corrales, a short distance from Huelva, on the opposite bank of the river Odiel. A fine iron pier, 765 yards long, allows the ore for export to be carried direct to the ships. The Tharsis mines and the Lagunazo mines are now yielding considerably smaller returns of copper ore; but at the Calanas mines the output is steadily increasing, and vigorous exploration work in{292} this portion of the property has disclosed, in addition to the already proved resources of ore which can be profitably treated for the production of copper, a large mass of low-grade ore, which, though comparatively poor in copper is rich in sulphur.

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The Rio Tinto and the Tharsis have been rightly regarded as the show mines of Spain, and the former can, of course, hold its own among the leading mines of the world; and, if it is unlikely that any other Spanish property will rival this cupiferous wonder, there are many that, under proper scientific management, will be found to be as relatively rich and profitable. What is required in Spain is money for development and brains to direct the operations. The existence of minerals, and of copper particularly, has been demonstrated; and now that English capital is slowly but in steadily increasing amount being invested in these mines, a tremendous reaction in the industry may confidently be looked for in this quarter of the globe. Within the past year or two quite a number of promising properties have been acquired for the English markets, and in every instance the results of the opening-up work have more than realised the expectations of the proprietors. The company, which was formed a short time ago to acquire an extensive{293} property at Coruña, is regarded by experts as a proposition of the highest importance. Another company, called the Escurial Copper Mines, is already working at a profit, and promises to give very large returns for many years to come. La Recompensa Mines also appear to be rich in copper, and the ore also contains precious metals, assays giving as much as 12 ozs. of silver and 9½ dwts. of gold to the ton. An important fact in connection with all these mines is that they are only distant two miles from the Escurial Mines; consequently the cost of ore treatment will be considerably reduced by reason of the proximity of large smelting works now nearing completion. The latest reports from the Huercal Copper-cobalt Mines, in the province of Almeria, all tend to confirm the very high opinion which the English owners formed of their value at the time they acquired the property; and the English-owned Rio Rimal Mines in the province of Gerona are putting out very fine copper.

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Among the other Spanish mines in which English capital has been invested—and attention will be mainly confined to these in this chapter—tin and silver-lead play a prominent part.

Although tin was smelted more than two thousand years ago,{294} and some of the first ore containing the metal was probably discovered by the Ancients in that north-westerly province of Hispania, which the Romans named Gallaeci, Spain is not to-day ranked among the great tin-producing countries of the world. Pliny refers to Cornish tin, but most of the metal contained in the ancient bronze weapons and objects must have been derived from the Spanish mines. The ancient town of Orense, the capital of the Galician province of the same name, which was founded by the Romans, and greatly esteemed by them on account of its warm springs, is the centre of the industry, and the country is scored and bored with many indications of the enterprise and energy of the ancient miners. Beariz, a little village in the mountains of Balcovo, is situated on a hill that is tunnelled with Roman workings in what are probably the richest tiniferous deposits in the richest tin district in Spain. Enormous quantities of the mineral must from this mine alone have rewarded the labours of the pioneers, who were so rudely interrupted by the invasion of the victorious Visigoths, and no succeeding owners have mined the property on the same gigantic scale.

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The tiniferous areas of Spain are enormous; and the alluvial tin-bearing deposits, which extend for miles, are practically virgin ground. The Ancients, who worked the tin lodes of Galicia, entirely neglected these alluvials, and, more remarkable still, they have been neglected by every succeeding generation ever since. The quartz mining, which entails an enormous initial outlay in crushing and concentration plant, machinery, and explosives, was prosecuted to a limited extent until the slump, and the consequent fall in the price of tin, which caused the operations to be conducted at a loss. Immediately every tin mine in the country was shut down—the owners could only afford to work for quick cash profits. Small private companies are now making large profits from quartz mining—one company, of which nothing is heard by the general public, is shipping from thirty to forty tons of tin per month—but alluvial tin mining in Spain is only in its infancy. There are vast fields of tin-bearing alluvials that can be treated hydraulically at a cost of 2d. per ton, and yet there is not a single hydraulic plant, or a solitary dredger in operation in the country. When these districts are in full operation, when the tin fields of Beariz, of Arnoya, and Pontevedra and of Salamanca are being washed on a large scale, as they will be very shortly now, Spain will be near the head of the list in the production of tin.

There are two important reasons why tin stands so low in the table of Spain’s mineral output. In the first place the tiniferous areas are, comparatively speaking, so few that, although they may yield fortunes to their exploiters, the country can never compare with Australia and the United States in the aggregate output. And in the second place, although the tin is found in such exceeding richness that Señor Alfred Lasala, the eminent mining authority, reported on the Beariz mines, “It is almost impossible to cubicate the quantity of tin ore in these conces{296}sions,” yet the properties can only be made to pay when the mineral stands at a good price in the market. Spanish mine owners have very strong views upon the absolute necessity of making the mines pay their own way. The expenditure of capital in properly opening up the mines, with a view to future regular outputs is never entertained. “Spend nothing and get all you can without” is the motto they have adopted. Consequently the amount of development work accomplished on most locally owned properties is small, unscientific, and frequently dangerous.

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The silver mines in the neighbourhood of Jadraque, in the province of Guadalajara, have supplied all the Spanish silver that has been coined for generations, and the supply of the metal would appear to be almost inexhaustible. The principal property in the district, called the Hiendelæncina, was at one time in the hands of an English company, who worked it for{297} awhile unsuccessfully, and abandoned it when their capital was expended. On the advice of the Spanish mine foreman—advice which had been rejected by the English owners—the work was carried on by a Frenchman, who acquired the mine for the price of an old song. The lode was struck, as the foreman had predicted, and at the very spot he had pointed out; and within a year the lucky French owner had sold the mine for £160,000 cash.

Silver-lead, although not so widely distributed over Spain as are some other minerals, is found in no fewer than half-a-dozen provinces; and the industry is, generally speaking, in a healthy condition. In the case of the mines of Granada, transport difficulties have had to be overcome; and in Guadalajara, Murcia and Navarra, the want of capital and the absence of scientific methods have militated against their progress. The most favourable conditions for lead mining exist in the provinces of Badajoz, Jaén, Córdova and Ciudad-Real, where foreign capital has been more freely invested, and very large profits have already been obtained. Such astute investors as the Rothschilds are heavily interested in these latter districts, and of recent months several concessions have been acquired for the English market and are now being developed with English capital.

The number of Spanish mines that, having been abandoned by one set of owners, have been taken over by other persons and profitably exploited, is extraordinarily large—in fact, it might almost be said that there are few important properties in the Peninsula that have not changed hands at least once before enriching their proprietors. The Triumfo Silver-lead Mine at Córdova is an interesting case in point. So much fruitless exploration work was done on this mine that the French owners had come to the conclusion that further{298} endeavours would only be wasted; but after listening to the combined entreaties of the Spanish foreman and their French manager, they reluctantly agreed to continue working for a few more weeks. Before the extension limit had been reached, an enormous seam of silver-lead had been located; and the output of the Triumfo to-day is only limited by the market requirements and the obligations entered into by the company. In La Mancha there is a silver lead-mine which a French company, after sinking an enormous amount of working capital and failing to strike the lode, abandoned as a “duffer.” On the representations of the Spanish mine captain, who never doubted the existence of the lode at depth, the property was taken over for a nominal consideration by some Scotch financiers. The Spaniard’s sanguine predictions were speedily verified; and for the expenditure of a trifling amount of further capital the Scotch investors acquired a mine of extraordinary richness, which has been returning them enormous dividends ever since.

In lead mining, the element of speculation is reduced to a minimum. In other branches of mining, 60 per cent. of the properties are failures; in silver-lead mining, 60 per cent. of the properties are successful. And, in the case of the 40 per cent. of the silver-lead mines that turn out badly, the explanation is that sufficient preliminary care has not been bestowed on proving the existence of the lodes before commencing operations. What may appear to be a lode may prove only a pocket; but where proper precautions are taken, this risk may be eliminated. The French engineers largely failed in their mining ventures in Spain for this very reason. They made haste too quickly, as the Americans say, and they were not expert economists. Then there is another favourable element in lead mining—it can be conducted with only a shaft and a winch—and as soon{299} as the lode is reached, the mine commences to pay. A very large number of properties are locally owned, and the mines of Ciudad-Real, Badajoz, Jaén, Córdova, Seville and Almeria supply the markets of Europe with lead. It is found in large lodes, it is cheaply worked, and there is a ready market for the produce. It is, therefore, a branch of mining that commends itself to the fancy of the small capitalist; while the large capitalist is so eager to secure the ore that he will even advance money on it before it is taken out of the mine. The works at Peñarroya, and the smelting firms at Carthagena and elsewhere, absorb the entire output.

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Amongst the important properties may be mentioned the San Antonio, Maria del Pilar and San Teodoro (situated at Agudo in the Almaden district) and the San Luis at Piedrabuena in the province of Ciudad-Real, and the silver-lead mines of Santa Maria, in the province of Badajoz. These latter mines,{300} which have been proved to a depth of over 700 feet, and are now fully equipped with machinery, are the properties of the Santa Maria Mining Company.

There are extensive coal and cement stone mines at Almatret, in the province of Lerida. The coal or lignite, which is of good quality, is at present worked, and about eighty tons per day are being shipped. This will, it is anticipated, be shortly increased to 200 tons per day. The cement is suitable for constructive work; and experts who have reported upon the properties have expressed their belief that it will be found to approximate very closely to the composition required for true Portland cement. The quantity of cement stones is said to be practically inexhaustible.

One department of mining enterprise, which has remained unexploited from the time of the Romans until the last few years, is that of alluvial gold washing. The Romans washed for gold over a larger area, and on a much larger scale, than the chroniclers of the times were aware of. Even Jacob (1831) confessed himself unaware of the extent on which their operations were conducted, for modern investigation had disclosed that in the provinces of Lugo, and Orense, and Léon many of the rivers were washed by them on a scale of almost incomprehensible magnitude. So profitable must the operations have been that, in one case, the river Sil was diverged out of its course by means of a cutting made through a mountain spur in order that the river bed might be exposed for the precious metal. Considering the primitive means that the Romans possessed, this must be regarded as a gigantic engineering feat; and it has been estimated that if 10,000 men had been engaged on the work it would have taken many years to complete. Before 1100 B.C. the banks of the Guadalquivir were worked for alluvial gold, and sometime before 500 B.C. the auriferous{301}

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Parts marked ^ and solid = Alluvial.

Parts marked by dots = Diluvial.


deposits of Spain were believed to be exhausted. But Pliny records that in 207 B.C., when the second Punic war ended in the Roman conquest of Spain, “the Asturias, Galicia and Lusitania furnished 2,000 lbs. weight of gold (4,427 lbs. English weight) annually; but Asturias supplies the most, nor in any other part of the world during so many ages has so great a quantity been obtained.”

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In the case of other alluvial properties, water was brought in by the Ancients from great distances by canals; and at Páramo, in Léon, the ancient water channels are now used as country roads. Many of these water-races are so substantially constructed that they could be repaired at a comparatively small cost. Where these indications of previous workings are observed, gold has always been found; and in the summer, when the river channels narrow under the influence of the sun, the banks of the Ouria, the Navia, the Sil and their tributaries, and all the considerable rivers of these North-west provinces, are panned by the country people, who get a very good return on their labours. Yet the fact remains that while the existence of gold in highly-paying quantities has been definitely proved, no{304} systematic exploitation of this rich source of auriferous supply has yet been attempted. In New Zealand, scores of locally-floated gold dredging companies are reaping rich and regular returns on a comparatively trifling outlay; in New South Wales and Victoria, gold dredging has been carried on for years with most satisfactory results; and in California, alluvial mines worked by hydraulic sluicing methods give handsome profits from alluvial carrying only about four grains of gold per cubic metre. Even in Australia, where the water has to be pumped, the cost of treating the alluvial does not exceed 6d. per ton.

In Spain, the conditions are immensely more favourable to profitable working, while the gold-bearing alluvial is very much richer than that of Australasia or America. The concessions are held direct from the Spanish Government in perpetuity at a nominal yearly rental. The most important properties that have as yet been acquired in Spain are situated in the provinces of Lugo, Orense and Léon; and the nature, value and depths of the alluvial is practically common to all. The Romans, with the primitive apparatus that was employed in those days, could only wash the sands down to the water level; but below the water level in the rivers is a vast stretch of the rich deposits which have not yet been touched. Of the thirty-three groups of properties that have been secured by English capitalists, four are in the province of Léon, and have a total area of 541 English acres. Of these, the Crones (153½ acres), and the Retorno (129 acres), are situated on the river Sil; and the Flórez (180 acres), and the Bostarga (79 acres), are both on the left bank of the river Cabrera. The twelve concessions in the province of Orense comprise the Baño (190 acres), the Disco (160 acres), the Alameiro (158½ acres), the Otero (148½ acres), the Casayo (272½ acres), the Carvalleda (50{305} acres), the Bacelos (176 acres), the Gateira (233 acres), the Charca (228 acres), the Pedela (67 acres), the Vuelpozo (233 acres), and the Mouchinos (114 acres). All the foregoing properties, with a combined area of 2,031 acres, are situate on the rivers Sil and Miño and their tributaries, while the seventeen concessions in the province of Lugo, which have an aggregate acreage of 2,148 acres, are in the same geographical district, and are also located on the river Sil, the river Miño and their

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tributaries. The Lugo groups include the Arenas (203 acres), the Subieros (121 acres), the Peuadolo (54½ acres), the Coba (74 acres), the Corrego (74 acres), the Lor (101½ acres), the Lodeiras (196 acres), the Reineite (79 acres), the Rosio (69 acres), the Baicela (76½ acres), the Libedo (101½ acres), the Pesquiera (111½ acres), the Alban (116½ acres), the Lis (109 acres), the Blanca (282½ acres), the Lloris (188 acres), and the Ramamo (190½ acres). The Páramo Alluvial Gold Mines, in the province of Léon, on which gold-washing machines are{306} now working, are giving satisfactory returns. The Kingston Gold Mines in Léon, and the Moraleja Gold-bearing Alluvial Mines in the neighbouring province of Orense, are being exploited on a steady scale, with good results.

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The geological features of all the foregoing groups present an almost remarkable uniformity. The gold-bearing alluvial deposits cover practically the whole of the entire area of each concession, and the depth of the alluvial varies from ten feet, which is the minimum depth on any of the properties, to twenty-five feet. In cubicating the alluvial ground available for treatment, one-half may be deducted (although that is a very high proportion, and one not likely to be attained), on account of the stones and boulders which may be present in the earth and sand. The average of the assays made of the alluvial deposits of all these concessions give a minimum of five dwts. of gold per cubic yard; but if the return is estimated at only one and a-half dwts., the facilities for economically working and handling the ore are so favourable that the profits will be seen to be enormous. The cost of working the deposits varies from 3½d. to 6d. per cubic yard. The working of these{307} alluvials is being done by machines, especially adapted for the purpose, which are capable of treating twenty-five cubic yards of earth, at a cost of 5s. per day; and give, roughly, a return of £6 per day per machine. The number of these machines, which cost £25 each, and can be erected on the spot at a small additional expenditure, can be increased indefinitely.

When the alluvial is exhausted, by means of these machines, down to water level, the beds of the rivers will have to be dredged. Up to the present time these river deposits have not been touched, and they will, of course, be found to be considerably richer in gold than the exposed alluvials. By many mining men the result of the dredging operations are looked to, to complete the revival in Spanish mining that has been so long coming. It is impossible to contemplate the probable—one might almost say the assured—return from this dredger mining without a feeling of amazement that such a source of wealth should have lain so long untapped. Want of capital in Spain, and want of confidence in the Spaniards, have hitherto been the chief obstacles to her progress; and the fact that the country has never become a fashionable mining venue has also to be taken into consideration in reviewing the causes that have contributed to its backward position. It is, however, evident to those who have been much in the country in recent times, that the long-delayed interest in its mineral resources has set in; and it is with considerable confidence that one predicts an enormous revival in the industry as soon as some of these alluvial gold-bearing districts are systematically exploited, and regular returns are forthcoming. But the gold quartz mines of Spain are still almost entirely neglected, as they have been since the days of the Romans; and despite the fact that there are numberless prospects containing reefs that yield from half-an-ounce to 1½ ozs. of gold per ton, only{308} two or three companies are engaged in gold quartz mining in the Peninsula. The miner and the investor have generally confined their attention to iron, copper, and lead—metals that occur in huge deposits—and have disregarded the less assertive tin and gold-bearing alluvials which, when scientifically developed and economically managed, will give larger returns than any other mining in the world.

The Copper Mines of Escurial.

Some of the most prominent and promising of the newly-acquired copper properties in Spain are those of the Escurial district, of which mention has been made. Here, at a spot situated within thirty miles of Madrid, at the end of an hour-and-a-quarter’s train journey, is a district which promises to take rank among the leading copper-producing areas. Yet until some two years ago the properties were practically being ruined by the starvation policy of the Spanish owners, who obtained excellent results by following the richest of the leaders until a little expenditure was required to further prosecute the work, and then abandoned them. The Romans, who would appear from the evidences of their workings to have been the original miners at Escurial, carried out their developments on a large scale; and judging from the immensity and richness of the dumps of ore which they discarded as being too poor to pay for treatment by the primitive methods at their commands, they must have won enormous quantities of very high-grade copper ore. These huge mounds of refuse ore have been assayed to yield about 4 per cent. of copper; and with the modern system of concentration will all give profitable returns. Some of the outhouses and walls on the property are constructed of rich copper ore, and the purplish colour of the loose stones of the road from Galapagar,{309} and on the other roads about the property, are everywhere indicative of the presence of the same mineral. The Romans evidently recognised the value of their mine, for before they vacated the country they carefully filled in all their workings, and obliterated every trace of their activity. The openings to the galleries and the mouths of their shafts were closed up with rubble, but they could not remove the incriminating dumps—the monuments to their energy and the witnesses to the richness of the property.

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The Romans undoubtedly meant, at a more convenient season, to return to the scene of their labours, as did the Carthaginians and Phœnicians before them; but the fates which govern nations ruled it otherwise. The Visigoths succeeded the Romans; and they in their turn were driven out by the Moors, who dominated the Peninsula for over 800 years. The Moors have left the marks of their greatness, their industry, and their love of art over the entire face of the land; but they have contributed comparatively little to the history of its mining. They certainly did not undertake systematic re{310}searches into the mineral resources of the country, and as certainly they did not happen upon the copper caverns which the Ancients had quarried at Escurial.

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The present proprietary, upon taking possession of the property, immediately set to work to have the mine cleared, and all the old workings explored. These operations were attended with many remarkable discoveries, and it seemed as if everything was revealed which had been done by the original proprietors. But Señor Bárris, the modern discoverer of this remarkable property, and a gentleman who combines the erudition of the scholar with an unsurpassed practical knowledge of Spanish mining, was not satisfied. He was convinced that there remained further traces of more recent exploitation to be revealed; so the research was resumed, with the result that during my visit I paid to the property in 1902, some additional deeper workings of Spanish origin were discovered. Only then was Señor Bárris convinced that the end was reached; but even later, I have since learned, a falling-in in one of the levels disclosed the existence of further large ancient workings, and the presence of a mass of magnificent copper ore.{311}

The Spaniards, whoever they were, who had worked the mine for a short period some (approximately) 300 years ago, had been interrupted in their labours by the lack of proper machinery, and had abandoned the pursuit. The walls of the gallery they had excavated had fallen in, rubbish had blocked up the entrance, and the mine had returned to the condition in which it had been left by the Roman discoverers. And, curiously enough, not a single document or record has come to light to reveal the identity of these disappointed adventurers.

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The Escurial district is a network of copper lodes, which curve, and zig-zag, and bisect one another in an extraordinary fashion, and would appear to have their origin, or their ending, in a concession known as the Antigua Pilar—one of four concessions which constitutes the property of the Escurial Copper Mines, Limited, the principal company in the neighbourhood. The mines are chiefly in the hands of three companies—which are known as the Escurial, the Escurial Extended, and the Georgia Mines and Development Company. The properties owned by the premier company consists of the{312} Antigua Pilar (103½ acres), the Gloria (140 acres), the Jaime (49½ acres), and the Ramon (49½ acres). This group, with a total area of 342½ acres, is held on perpetual tenure from the Spanish Government, subject only to an annual payment of 6s. 5d. per claim.

The mines are equi-distant from three railway stations, but Torrelodones is the most convenient, as it is connected with Galapagar by a good cart road. From this place, where are situated the Galapagar concentration works, one travels over an excellent high-road built of stone, all of which shows traces of copper. The weather is cool, clear, and invigorating; and the manager of the Escurial Copper Mines, Limited, informs me that the climate, though hot in summer and very cold in winter (the mines are about 2,850 feet above the sea level), is wonderfully healthy. I remarked upon the solidity of the buildings which serve to protect the openings of the various shafts, and was informed that such substantial structures were necessary as affording a shade from the sun in the hot weather and a shelter from the snows in winter.

The Escurial Mines, unlike some others in Spain, are worked all the year round; and, as many of the miners live on the property, a small barrack has been constructed of masonry for their accommodation. These buildings, which are of the most durable kind, having masonry walls three feet thick and tiled roofs, include, in addition to the men’s quarters and the manager’s dwelling, offices, &c., a small metallurgical establishment, large stores for the storage of minerals, for coal, and wood, and blasting powder, engine houses, and other buildings. “The mine is our home,” explains one of the old watchmen—a phrase which I take to be equivalent to the Englishman’s expression: “We’ve come to stay!”

If you happen to entertain any doubts as to the capacity{313}

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and general excellence of the Spanish miner, I would advise you not to ventilate your opinion of the subject in the presence of the manager of the Escurial Mines, or of Señor Bárris, the Company’s local director. Nor indeed can one be long among these men without recognising their sterling good qualities. They work well, and they lighten their labours with an enthusiasm which I have not remarked in any miners outside Spain. Every man and boy has a personal interest in the mine and its development; his talk is about its progress and prospects: his joy is a rich strike or a satisfactory return; his sorrow is a blank day. And with the characteristic independence of the Spaniard, each man keeps to his own drive, or shaft, or gallery, which he is convinced is the best, and richest, and most promising portion of the whole property.

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It will be seen from a glance at the accompanying plan that the northernmost claim, the Ramon, is situated at a little distance from the rest of the group, and it is here that the principal buildings and concentration works are located. Two lodes have been proved on this property. No development work had been done on the Ramon at the time of my last visit,{316} nearly the whole of the labour having been concentrated on the Antigua Pilar concession, which carries eight proved reefs, and is undoubtedly the most valuable claim of the entire group. The developments on this, and on the adjoining Jaime lease, have demonstrated that both these claims are of very great value, and the manager declares in his report that with proper management “they will yield incalculable profit.”

The Antigua Pilar claim has been exploited in a masterly manner, and the results reflect the greatest credit upon the management. All the work proceeds under the unremitting personal supervision of the manager, and his very full and luminous reports reveal his intimate knowledge of every detail. “It is a pleasure,” he said to me, “to work such a mine. Every week brings its work, and the work brings its recompense in the consistently and thoroughly satisfactory nature of the progress made. The property has never, as mothers say of good children, given me an uneasy moment, and I am only too delighted to show visitors over it.” As we proceed, he explains to me his theory of the property and of its prospects. The Antigua Pilar he believes to be the centre of a network of reefs, and the eight lodes he has already proved are only a few that he expects to discover as the work progresses. “It is a large property,” he says, “and it must be developed by degrees. I have proved to my entire satisfaction that the lodes in the Ramon and the Jaime leases will pay handsomely when we get to work on them. I have also traced two of the Antigua Pilar reefs into the Gloria lease, and six others are also making in that direction. This naturally led me to make a special study of the lodes in Antigua Pilar, and I am convinced that in formation and structure the reefs are the same in all. Everything pointed to satisfactory results, and, indeed, the results have exceeded our expectations.{317}

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In the manager’s office I was permitted to examine the figures and measurements on which he had based his estimates of the value of the mine, and they are calculated on so moderate a scale that he is convinced the net profits will be much greater. To give an idea of the value and sizes of the lodes on the property, I may mention that by cubing the lodes of Nos. 2, 3, and 4 on Antigua Pilar alone, and calculating the yield of copper at the very low return of 5 per cent. per ton, he estimates the value of the ore at £155,532. By the present methods of exploitation, the daily output of ore will shortly be twenty tons per day; and this ore, with proper plant for concentration, could be brought up to 33 per cent. of copper, worth £16 10s. per ton. The carbonates of copper which the ore carries could, by proper treatment, be made to yield from sixty per cent. to eighty per cent. of copper suitable for smelting. But there is an alternative scheme for the complete exploitation of the property, by which 100 tons of copper ore, of a value of £550, could be raised and treated per diem. This plan would, of course, involve a larger outlay, but it has{318} been forwarded to London for the consideration of the directors. Such figures and prospects justify the manager in his high opinion of the mine, which is shared by the miners and the local shareholders.

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When I was at Escurial I visited two other groups of properties in the neighbourhood which had been acquired by British capitalists. The successful developments in the Escurial property proper—especially on the Jaime and Antigua Pilar leases—attracted a good deal of attention to the district, which subsequent prospecting work shows to have been thoroughly warranted. One of these groups comprises the Recompensa, the Pepitanga, and the San Antonio leases, which have a combined area of 437 acres. The local theory is that the nature of the country and the constitution of the lodes is the same throughout the district, and the work done on these mines bears out that belief. The lodes and veins are numerous, varying in thickness from seven inches to three feet; and the ores have yielded, as the result of assays, from eleven per cent. to thirty per cent. of copper. Seven lodes, which are distinct and well defined, have been followed for a distance of over 6,000 feet{319} through the property, and five separate workings have been undertaken to test the value of the mineral deposits. As the workings are 750 feet above sea level, at which depths the lodes usually improve, the quantity of ore in the property must consequently be very considerable. The ore also yields both silver and gold, but it is not possible to estimate the profit likely to be made from this source. Only one assay has been made from this ore, but it disclosed the existence of nearly thirteen ozs. of silver and over nine dwts. of gold. The other group that is now the property of English capitalists, consists of five concessions, called the Clarisa, the Morena, Natividad, Mitry, and the Mercedes, having a total area of 2,111 acres.

The Huercal Copper Cobalt Mines.

A railway journey of 20 hours’ duration, over three railroad systems, transports the visitor from Madrid to the little mining town of Huercal (pronounced Whercal) Overa. We leave the capital by the express train for Alicante, and travel via Alcázar and Albacete to Chinchilla, which is reached at some unearthly hour in the middle of the night. From Chinchilla the line runs through the beautiful province of Murcia to Lorca, where we change onto a small English railroad which takes us to Huercal. We had left Madrid in our winter overcoats and rugs; when we stepped out into the soft sunshine of Almeria we could have dispensed with our under coats and waistcoats. We are in the land of the spring roses and early oranges, and the nipping and eager air of the capital is forgotten. Our visit is regarded by the community with general interest, for the townsfolk look to El Monte Minado, as the copper mines are known locally, to make the fortunes of Huercal-Overa. Many of the leading people here are shareholders in the mines, and all the labour employed on the property is drawn from the town. There is not{320} a child in the neighbourhood who is unacquainted with the personality of the Spanish representative of the English proprietors, who acts as our cicerone, and the word goes round that he is come to town. The mine captain, and several prominent people of the district, are at the station to meet us; and in the sitting-room that has been reserved for our use in the comfortable hotel we find the table laid, not for dinner, but

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with an array of valuable specimens taken from the mine. Here is copper in practically every form—green carbonate of copper (malachite), blue carbonate of copper (azurite), red oxide of copper (cuprite), copper pyrites (yellow sulphuret of copper), and native copper. Added to this, the abundant association of cobalt—cobalt steel-gray, and pinkish purple, like the hue of peach-blossom in colour—and of bright emerald green tinted nickel, give the specimens an extremely beautiful appearance. The Monte Minado property comprises a copper hill not unlike the celebrated Mount Morgan in conformation, and has an area of 111½ acres. There are indications that point to Phœnician industry in the Huercal Mine, but the traces of later workmanship demonstrate conclusively that the Romans were the last of the Ancients who exploited this copper{321} mountain on a large scale. It was the Romans who obliterated so carefully all traces of their handiwork, and filled up with rubbish the openings of their levels and other workings.

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The composition of the mountain, being of volcanic creation, it is a crumbling conglomerate mass; and unless the galleries are substantially timbered, the chances of their falling in present an instant danger to the miners. The men who are employed in the work of clearing the ancient galleries and putting in new levels have had many narrow escapes from falling earth. The Spanish mining regulations impose a very high rate of compensation in the case of accidents which occur in the mines; and as a doctor, whose duty it is to report on all casualties to the Department of Mines at Madrid, is attached to every working property, mine owners are exceptionally careful for the safety of their employées. On one occasion, when the Spanish representative of the present proprietary was being conducted by the manager through some new workings, a huge piece of the country rock fell upon his guide. His head was very luckily protected by one of the hard pot hats which the underground hands always wear; and although this helmet was badly dented, it probably saved the wearer’s life. The visitor{322} was naturally much concerned, but the manager accepted the mishap with smiling philosophy. “You see,” he remarked, “I am not meant to be an expense to the owners, just yet.”

The labour of fortifying all the drives, as the work advanced, rendered exploitation both slow and expensive, while not entirely eliminating the element of danger from the operations. It was at one time intended to cut the lode by driving an adit into the mountain at a level of 150 feet below the ancient workings; but as it was discovered that this adit would have had to be shored up and cemented like an electric railway tube, the proposal was abandoned as impracticable. Since then, the difficulty has been successfully overcome by the adoption of another policy.

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The present leaseholders opened their negotiations for the purchase of the Huercal Mines on the strength of the mammoth dumps which from a number of assays made by different firms{323} gave results varying from 5·71 per cent. to 10·40 per cent. of copper, 2·19 per cent. of nickel, and 3·13 per cent. of cobalt. It was argued that even if the mines were worked out, the dumps alone, if scientifically treated with modern machinery, would return a handsome profit. But very little exploration work was required to convince the Englishmen that so far from the property being exhausted of its mineral treasures, the bulk of the mineral had been little more than pecked at; and a more comprehensive system of development disclosed the fact that in El Monte Minado they had acquired a copper-cobalt mine of extraordinary richness. The consistent and surprising richness of the dumps in carbonates and copper pyrites made it abundantly clear that if the Romans, with their primitive methods and appliances, had regarded this ore as unprofitable for treatment, they must have found still more valuable deposits to engage their attention. There could be no other excuse for regarding five per cent. copper ore as débris. For the first time since the Roman miners left their Bonanza, the old workings were now cleared and the mystery was solved. These ancient galleries, as will be seen from the illustrations, were not driven on any systematic plan, but simply followed the lodes blindly through all their twists and curves. The idea of going boldly through the mountain and sweeping all before them does not appear to have been considered practicable by the Romans; and, doubtless, the danger of excavating in the soft country rock on a large scale had also been taken into their calculations. As the workings were freed from the rubbish that choked every drive and level, further traces of cobalt and nickel were encountered, and copper in its many beautiful forms became more abundant, and of richer quality. In the Napoleon gallery the ore was assayed to yield from 17·17 per cent. to 78·69 per cent. of copper, and at the extreme end of it was found to be{324} in the face of a three-foot lode, in which native copper was also discovered.

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As I follow Señor José Perez, the mine manager, through the old Napoleon and Esperanza galleries, it is impossible to resist the contagious enthusiasm with which he describes and exhibits the property. Certainly there is excuse on every side for their eulogiums. The copper in the lodes is very plentiful, while in the hanging-wall of the lodes important veins of pink and black cobalt are frequently to be found, and at all points where work had been done abundance of ore has been exposed. I was shown a large caverture, the roof of which is supported by a single column of ore, which had been left for that purpose by the Roman excavators. The miners who were clearing the drives at first took this circular chamber to be a break in the lode; but it is really a cavern in the walls, and roof of which nearly every variety of copper ore is to be seen. The spectacle is strikingly beautiful, and to the geologist it presents a feature of unusual interest. I have examined many caverns in mines, but this particular example, which has been{325} christened “The Cathedral,” far exceeds in natural beauty anything of the kind that I have ever seen.

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A considerable amount of useful development had been accomplished by clearings and surface cuttings on both sides of the mountain, and these have been of the greatest importance in the adoption of the latest scheme for working the mine. In one clearing the outcrop had been stripped over about 1,100 feet, and by this means the copper and cobalt lode had been exposed for a distance of 70 feet, and similar work had been done on the opposite side of the hill. As the result of much anxious consideration and many discussions it was decided to undertake the opening up of the mines on a scale which, it is safe to presume, the Romans never dreamed of, viz., by removing the top of the hill to a depth of thirty feet, as one scalps an egg. The ancient workings, situated at a depth of 180 feet from the summit, having been located, and their dimensions ascertained, the over-burden, which had been found to be only 30 feet in thickness, will be removed, and from that point down{326} to 180 feet, where the ancient galleries are situated, is a mass of copper, cobalt, and nickel ores that will be worked by the open-cutting process. A trench has been cut from the “Bárris” clearing connecting with the “Marin” clearing on the other side of the mountain, and four lines of rails have been constructed to work the ores, which are loaded up into the trucks and conveyed to the sides of the hill. No timbering is necessary, shafts and drives are done away with, and all risks to life are eliminated. The soft nature of the country rock renders the work, which in quartz would be an impossibility without the aid of dynamite, a simple pick-and-shovel business, and by this means the mountain is being gutted at the price of labour and cartage.

The Rio Rimal Copper Mines.

The Rio Rimal Mines, in the province of Gerona, are situated close to the quaint old-world village of San Lorenzo, which stands, surrounded by its mediæval fortifications, at the foot of a high mountain. Far above it an ancient watch-tower still looks out over the wide expanse of plain and valley. It is broken and weather-beaten, but is otherwise as it was left by the old Moorish warriors who built it. Within a mile or two, on the east and west, are the comparatively modern fortified places of Figueras and Rosas. In the municipality of San Lorenzo, at the beginning of the last century, was a huge Government Arsenal and Smelting Works, where the metals won from the neighbouring mountains were cast into cannon, and made into shot and shell. Among the hills are still to be seen the remains of busy mining camps where hundreds of men were once engaged in working the mineral deposits. Before Napoleon’s all-conquering marshals marched across the frontier the Spanish Government blew up the arsenal, destroyed the smelting{327} works, and concealed the entrance to the more important workings. Nothing remains to-day but a few melancholy ruins to show the extent of the former operations.

The Government factories were never re-constructed. The proximity to the border, and the exposed nature of the country, combined with the experience of the then recent events, rendered the situation too insecure for the purpose, and the arsenals of San Lorenzo were re-built on more powerfully-protected spots at Ferrol and Carthagena.

Even the massive stone bridge over the river Muga, which was blown up to impede the passage of the French troops, has never been rebuilt. The interesting point about all this is the fact that somewhere, close at hand in the hills, must exist the mineral deposits which fed the factories before the Peninsula War. The tunnels and workings have been very effectually concealed—by no means a difficult matter. A few barrels of gunpowder would have brought down hundreds of tons of rock and débris over the mouth of the shafts and galleries, and left no trace of human handiwork. But that these mines are still there, and waiting only to be re-discovered, is an indisputable fact.

The operations of the Spanish owners on the Rio Rimal property commenced, as modern engineering science counselled, near the bottom of the hill, and they put in their galleries and levels to tap at lower depth the richest portion of the reserves of copper. But work had only been in progress for about years when the Carlist war broke out. For seven years operations had to be suspended, and during the whole of that period the mine was abandoned. When the owners again turned their attention to the property, it was to find that many parts of their galleries had caved in, and the mine had become flooded. After a considerable interval, the worst parts of the galleries{328} were repaired. The water was pumped out, the level and inclined shaft were cleared, and work was resumed. The price of copper in 1874 at Swansea was very low, and the method of inclined shaft workings being very costly, all hope of continuing to work the property at a profit was extinguished. For thirty years nothing was done at the mine. In 1898 an endeavour was made by the present owners to obtain possession of the mines, but it was not until January, 1902, that work was resumed on the property.

It was then decided that the most profitable course to be adopted was to concentrate all labour upon the work of repairing and unwatering the second level, and of driving a further level some ninety or 100 feet lower down the mountain side. This work was at once put in hand, and the north-west gallery was driven a distance of 185 feet on the line of the lode, cutting entirely through the same for the whole distance. In many places the lode is mineralised for a width of fifteen inches, the ore assaying thirty-three per cent. copper. In driving this gallery some splendid copper was obtained. Work on the level has in the meantime been progressing steadily, although the workmen experienced great difficulty on account of the hardness of the rock. At the beginning of this drive a very hard conglomerate was encountered, which resisted all tools. For a time the formation defied dynamite, and small progress was made until the sandstone ground was reached. Thereafter work became easier, and consequently more rapid.

The Buena Presa property, which adjoins the Rio Rimal Mine on the north, was subsequently acquired, thus increasing the original area by 141 acres. The Rio Rimal lode traverses the adjoining concession for a distance of about 2,100 feet. It is a strongly-defined masterly lode, and has every appearance of producing large quantities of mineral when developed. Judging{329} from the outcrops, it resembles the Rio Rimal lode in every respect; and although no systematic work has been done upon it, the probability is that it will be found to be of equal value.

The Coruna Copper Mines.

The Coruna Copper Company’s property, which covers an area of 2,540 acres—a tract of country more than six times as large as Hyde Park—is situated in the mining district of Santiago, and is connected with the railway, which is about eight miles distant, by a first-class road. The country in which the concession is situated, consists of a series of low rolling hills, and the character of the ore, so far as it has yet been explored by the prospecting operations, is very similar to that produced by the Rio Tinto and Tharsis Mines. It is a low grade copper ore, carrying on the average twenty-three per cent. of sulphur, and from two to three per cent. of copper. No attempt was made by the late owners to determine by a systematic series of borings the extent over which the mineral actually exists, or the depth and character of the ore; but the prospecting work already carried out by the English company, and the natural outcrops found at many points on the concession, place it, in the estimation of some mining experts, quite beyond doubt that the mass of mineral is one of the largest known, extending in one direction for over two miles, apparently without a break. This preliminary work has clearly proved the whole of the north-west quarter of the concession; and taking the outcrops into account, one-half of the whole ground is assumed to contain mineral. Three shafts and nine trenches are being sunk, and numerous outcrops have also been located on the concession. The original estimate of the quantity of mineral was 50,000,000 cubic metres, equal in round figures to 250,000,000 tons. The{330} most recent assays indicate a mean of three per cent. copper in the ore. The prospecting work has in every instance proved the accuracy of original estimates as to the value of the property, as well as the correctness of the opinion, that a very large output could be obtained with practically none of the unproductive development work required in most mining enterprises. It was recommended that mining operations should be chiefly “open-cut,” and of the simplest character, the exceptionally favourable conditions under which the ore exists rendering operations an extremely easy and inexpensive matter. The property is being opened up on these lines, and it is considered there will be no difficulty in supplying the concentrating works with 1,000, 2,000, or even 3,000 tons per day, all obtained from open cutting.

Tin.—The Mines of Beariz.

Fortunately for the present proprietary of the Beariz Mines, the late owners possessed considerable technical knowledge; and if the property was not worked extensively by them, the work was prosecuted on right lines. They overhauled the Roman shafts and put in new galleries; and at a time when the standard price of metallic tin was £153 a ton the mine returned the owners a handsome profit. Some years ago, when the mines were reopened and actively exploited, a large number of hands were engaged; and although the ore had to be carted by road to Vigo, large profits were made. Gradually the price of tin dropped, and the profits shrank until operations could only be conducted at a loss. Then work was suspended. Since 1878 the Beariz Mines have remained idle, save for the persistence of the “Tributors,” who have continued to make a livelihood by washing alluvials.

The three leases that comprise the Beariz group are entitled the{331} “Esperanza,” the “Federico,” and the “Elena,” and together they have an area of 450 English acres of tin-bearing ground. Since the mines were closed down, the railway has been constructed from the port of Vigo to within twenty miles of the property, and the roads between Beariz and the railroad are well made and in excellent repair. Señor S. J. Bárris, who was requested to inspect the properties and report upon them by the intending purchasers, spent several weeks at Beariz ascertaining the dimension of the lodes, estimating the extent and value of the alluvial, and making assays. He traced four distinct lodes on the “Federico” property, three on the “Esperanza,” and two on the “Elena,” and his tests proved that the whole of these nine lodes carried rich oxide of tin (cassiterite), averaging thirty per cent. of the mineral. “I am well aware,” he wrote, in communicating the results of his examination, “that the average will appear to be very high, but I would point out that this is a very exceptional property; in fact, I have inspected almost all the known tin properties in Spain, and I can say with confidence that, taking into consideration the numerous lodes and the very rich alluvial deposits, these Beariz Tin Mines are one of the richest, if not the richest, mining properties I have ever seen.”

Worked as a quartz mine, as it was worked by the Ancients, the owners possess in Beariz an asset of proved value, but the property is rendered the more valuable by the fact that the lodes represent only one portion of its assets. For, in addition to the quartz lodes, the greater portion of the 450 acres is composed of tin-bearing ground, almost every yard of which will pay to work. On one side of the hill a large number of boulders are present in the alluvial, which reduces its value; but the major portion of the area is exceptionally free from unbeatable material, and consists{332} entirely of tiniferous deposits. Tin is found in the decomposed granite, which is so soft that it can be worked by pick and shovels. The upper alluvial is about five feet in thickness; but the depth of the granitic formation, which is very rich in tin, has not yet been ascertained. It was for this reason that Señor Alfred Lasala, the leading mining engineer of Orense, reported that it is almost impossible to cubicate the quantity of tin ore in these concessions; but he added in his report that “in every shaft and every trench, cutting, or outcrop, from the highest point down to the bed of the river Beariz, which runs at a great depth below the workings, the tin ore is found in remarkable abundance.” Señor Lasala describes the formation of the Beariz tin deposit as tiniferous granite, concentrated in great masses of tin mineral, which is intersected by cross lodes of tiniferous, quartz veins, or stringers, containing the metal in great quantity. Two samples of earth, that had been washed to remove the mica, tourmaline, and other principal elements of crystalline formation that are present in the ore, assayed 62 per cent. and 81 per cent. of tin respectively; and Señor Bárris estimates that every ton of tin ore, after being properly concentrated, will assay from 62 to 65 per cent. black tin.

The upper alluvials contain a smaller percentage of tin than is found in the lower strata, a fact which is explained by the laws of specific gravity, and by the attention that has been devoted to the surface ground in times past. The granitic formation, which is practically virgin ground, is computed to be hundreds of feet in depth, and there is enough of it on the Beariz property to employ all the energies of the company for fifty years to come. The whole of this formation is traversed by innumerable veins of quartz, containing from 15 to 20 per cent. of tin, which will add enormously to the value of the output.{333}

The Spanish Tin Corporation’s Mines.

The Spanish Tin Corporation, which was formed towards the end of 1901, became the purchasers of 1,361 acres of tin-bearing land in the Arnoya district of the province of Orense. The Government’s annual publication of Spanish mining statistics for the year 1900 gives the production of tin ore for the entire province at 240 tons, and adds, “So far, only one mine has been producing tin in the province, the ‘Roberto,’ which in nine month produced 240 tons.” The extent of the concessions, the richness of the immense tin-bearing alluvial deposits, and the exceptionally favourable conditions under which they can be worked, makes the property exceedingly valuable. The whole surface of the concessions is more or less covered with alluvial soil, with an average thickness of fully 3¼ feet of tin-bearing ground; and if one-half be deducted for boulders, surface soil and waste ground, the amount of block tin is computed at 30,368,365 lbs., and the value at nearly one million pounds sterling. Practically, it is said, the whole of this vast quantity of tin can be recovered by simple hydraulic working. In addition to the alluvial tin-bearing ground there has also to be taken into consideration the tin contained in the masses of decomposed granite lodes which traverse the property, and is estimated to contain 60,936,730 lbs. of black tin, of a value of nearly two million pounds.

The Pontevedra Tin Mines.

The revival of the mining industry has spread even to the province of Salamanca, where, according to the Government report, not a single mine had been worked during the year 1900. A reference is made, however, to visits of mining experts to the districts of Valsalabroso, but nothing is reported as to the result{334} of their inspections. One result, however, was the acquisition of three properties known as San Antonio, Adela and San Pablo, having a total area of 437 acres of tin-bearing ground, on behalf of English capitalists. Three well-defined lodes have been discovered, and the leases have been specially pegged out to contain these lodes for a length of 2,500 metres, or about 2,700 yards. Apart from these lodes, it is stated that the whole of the ground is sufficiently rich to allow of the alluvial being profitably worked. Various tests have been made which endorse this view by giving a return of nineteen pounds of alluvial tin per cubic yard. The company, which has been formed in London to work the property, has decided to exploit the alluvial, while development work is being prosecuted on the lodes. Special tin-washing machines have been sent to the Pontevedra Mines, and they are now at work and producing tin. Labour is cheap and plentiful, and transport facilities are very favourable to economic working, while another important feature is supplied in the close proximity of a stream, which gives an abundant supply of water for all mining purposes.

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The Paramo Gold Mines.

I visited at Paramo, in the province of Léon, an alluvial gold-mining property, which appeared to possess all the natural advantages for economical and highly profitable working. This concession consists of an immense bank of alluvial, over 300 feet in height, and a great plateau, which has been proved to carry gold wherever tested. The richness of this plain was evidently fully appreciated in ancient times, and the remains of gigantic operations can be clearly traced. Water had been brought in from a great distance by canals; and at the western extremity of the plain, where it ends suddenly in steep bluffs, two

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great valleys have been sluiced away. The water channels employed for this purpose are still visible, and are now used as country roads. Millions of tons of earth must have been washed here, and with satisfactory results, even with the imperfect appliances then in use, or otherwise work on such a gigantic scale would never have been carried out. On the lower ground, very extensive sluicing operations had also been carried on in ancient times, and a water-race has been brought from some three miles away. This water-race could be repaired at little cost, and sluicing be begun here on a large scale with a very small expenditure compared with what is usually necessary{336} in such operations. Along the river, on both sides, are level stretches of alluvial, formed by the eating away of the higher ground by winter floods, and these deposits carry gold from the grass-roots down.

The Kingston Gold Mines.

The Kingston Gold Mines have acquired four important concessions in the municipality of Puente de Domingo, Florez, in the province of Léon. These properties are well situated on the banks of the river Sil and its tributaries, and are very accessible, being close to the railway station of Ponferada. The alluvial deposits cover almost the whole of the area of the concession. The average of the assays made of the alluvial deposits give five dwts. of gold per cubic yard; but the engineers state that, taking the average at only one and a-half dwts. per cubic yard, these properties ought to give a large return per annum.

The Moraleja Gold-bearing Alluvial Concession.

This is another company that has been formed for the purpose of working alluvial gold mines in Spain, and there are good indications that their enterprise will be crowned with success. The two properties known as Barbantes and Acha, comprising 208 acres in the province of Orense, have already been tested, with the most satisfactory results. The engineers have based their calculations on the uniform depths of the deposits of fifteen feet, but in most places they are far deeper, and it is reported that nearly the whole of the ground will pay well to work. The tests have given an average return of five dwts. of gold per cubic yard; but the facilities for working and handling the ore are so favourable that if only a quarter of that estimate is realised, the profits of the company will be enormous.{337}

The Lugo Goldfields.

The Lugo Goldfields, Limited, has acquired three groups of properties in the province of Lugo (Galicia). These concessions, which are situated on the main road to Madrid, and twenty-six miles from Lugo, consist of 525 acres of quartz country and alluvial property seventy-five acres in extent, which contain strong evidences that the Romans, during their occupation of the Peninsula, washed from it large quantities of alluvial gold. On the first group, broad gold-bearing quartz reefs, which increase in width from six feet to twenty-four feet as depth is reached, have been traced for many miles on each side of the property; and on the second group the reefs are highly mineralised, and contain gold, silver, copper, and lead. The reefs are situated in hills rising from 350 feet to 450 feet above the river-bed, which will enable the ore to be run out of the galleries by means of trucks on rails, and so save, for some considerable time at least, the initial outlay and annual expenditure entailed by the erection and maintenance of pumping and haulage machinery. In taking the samples of stone for assay, good, bad, and indifferent stone was included, and the calculations as to the value of the ore was based on a minimum extraction of five dwts. of gold per ton. The assays gave returns varying from three dwts. two grs. up to sixteen dwts. eight grs., and the ore has been tested to be eminently adapted for concentration. Water, labour, and timber present no difficulties, and the working of the mines should be carried on at a low cost. It is estimated that the expense of mining the ore, delivering the concentrates in Swansea, and paying the charges for treatment there, will amount to 10s. per ton of ore crude, which means that two and a-half dwts. of pure ore will pay all expenses.{338}


The Santa Maria Mining Company, Limited, Silver-Lead Mines (Badajoz, Spain).

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Among the most important of the silver-lead properties in Spain, mention has been made to the group in the province of Badajoz that has been floated in London under the title of the Santa Maria Mining Company, Limited. This property, which originally consisted of four leases, having an area of 138 acres, has been since increased to 166 acres, by the acquisition of the Santa Florentina lease at Mestanza, Puertollano, in the neighbouring province of Ciudad-Real. So far as the position of the Santa Maria property is concerned, it could not easily be bettered. It is only six miles distant from the railway system, with which it is connected by two good roads, and is situated quite near to the Rothschilds’ Smelting Works at Peñarroya.{339} Timber is procurable at a cheap rate from Cuenca and Portugal; there is an abundance of water obtainable for all mining purposes; while labour, which is obtained from two villages in the vicinity, is cheap, plentiful, and efficient.

The history of the Santa Maria group presents, as do so many other mines in Spain, an object lesson in mismanagement and wilful disregard for the future of the property. It was first opened in 1845 by a Portuguese Company, and it is abundantly proved from the reports of their consulting engineer, and from the condition in which the mines was left, that the work could not have been conducted in a more haphazard and destructive fashion. No attention was given to exploration or development work; and, doubtless, acting under peremptory orders, all labour was concentrated on the extraction of the rich available ore. The shaft, instead of being perpendicular, was sunk at a vertical angle, and was so badly timbered that it was always in a dangerous condition. The galleries, being left without sufficient supports, frequently collapsed, and work was conducted at imminent risk of life to the miners. The official figures showing the quantity of ore won by the adoption of these methods are not available, but the great heaps of débris which have accumulated show that the amount was something very considerable; and it was not until 1889, when the policy of ore-grabbing could no longer be safely proceeded with until money had been spent in repairing the shaft and the workings, that the mine was abandoned and became flooded up to the first level.

During this time the Santa Maria lode was worked by its faulty shaft down to the seventh level, but the dressing of the ore was so defective that the dumps are found to contain nearly five per cent. of galena. From this refuse the present management have been obtaining from ten to twelve tons of “dressed{340}” ore per month, giving fifty-five per cent. of lead and 600 grammes of silver per ton.

When Señor Villanova purchased the property in 1889 he took from the first level of the Santa Maria shaft about 100 tons of ore, which gave a return of seventy-five per cent. of lead and 850 grammes of silver per ton; and, then, in order to avoid the expense of unwatering the mine and repairing the shaft, he decided to confine his operations to the San Juan shaft, upon which little work had been done. The winding engine was accordingly removed and re-erected at this shaft, which was sunk to a depth of about 540 feet. Six levels were driven, in each of which the lode was found to be mineralised throughout. Señor Villanova continued to work the mine on the principle of making it entirely self-supporting. No exploration or dead-work was undertaken, and when a fault was encountered in the eastern levels the pursuit of the vein was abandoned. This fault has since been cut through in all the levels, and the lode has in every case been found to continue on the other side. The property was starved for working capital, no cross-cutting was allowed on account of the outlay it would involve, and the stoping was only carried on where the mineral was rich. Yet even under these conditions Señor Villanova extracted from this shaft alone over 3,000 tons of ore, which yielded him substantial profits.

When the present company took over the mine they were advised that both the Santa Maria and the San Juan lodes could be better and more economically worked by means of the Santa Maria shaft, and they decided to have this shaft unwatered and put into thorough repair down to the bottom level. The shaft had to be enlarged and galleries cleared, and all the workings retimbered. These operations, although vigorously prosecuted, took longer than was anticipated.

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Twelve years of neglect had reduced this part of the mine to such a condition that the task of clearing the congested galleries was not only difficult but highly dangerous. The timber with which the workings were fortified was so rotten that the removal of the rubble brought down the woodwork with it. The old supports had consequently to be replaced by new timber as the work progressed; and as the galleries were constructed on a small scale, the want of space rendered it impossible to employ a large number of hands. At the same time all the buildings and the masonry work on the property, which had also fallen into decay, were repaired or rebuilt; the old engine-house at the San Juan shaft was replaced by a substantial building, tram-lines and trucks were purchased, the roads were overhauled and repaired, and the property was completely equipped and put into thorough working order. Yet in spite of all this dead work, the exploitation of Santa Maria has never been a severe charge upon the company, for the return of ore per month from the San Juan lode was sufficient to defray all the expenses incurred in development, and to return a profit on the mine. During the early part of last year the Peñarroya works were being rebuilt and enlarged, and the ore had to be sold at Carthagena; but since the reopening of the works the whole of the output has been purchased locally, and a considerable saving has been effected thereby.


It has been already stated that the production of coal in Spain is quite insignificant in comparison with the extent of the coal-bearing beds (which are estimated to cover an area of about 3,500 square miles, of which nearly a third belongs to Oviedo); but the new find of coal (lignite) and cement stone in the province of Lerida should, and undoubtedly will, draw{342} attention to this profitable industry. The Almatret Mines, which have an area of 820 acres, are situated on the river Elbro, near Fayon, on the main railway from Madrid to Barcelona. In each of the eight seams, which are distinctly visible on the property, the lignite is much decomposed, and the outcrops contain a great deal of gypsum. This has effloresced, and the seams present a very different appearance from that of lignite. On cutting into the beds, however, the infiltrations of the gypsum soon disappears. The workings, which are very limited, had been carried out without any system, and much of the lignite had been lost in winning. The quality of the lignite is very satisfactory. It keeps well, and burns with a long flame. Owing to the exceptional conditions under which these deposits can be worked—the seams lying horizontally, and being entirely free from water or deleterious gases—no shafts are required, and the ventilation is a very simple matter. The question of transport is stated to be the chief element of a successful exploitation of these mines, and it will be necessary to construct a light railway to reduce the cost of the present system. The probable profit on the lignite, according to expert’s reports, will depend on the ruling price of coal in Spain: this is determined by that of Cardiff coal and the rate of freight. The calcareous layers are, in several places, comprised of highly aluminius and siliceous limestone, forming a natural cement stone. One of the beds of this material has been exploited in former years for the manufacture of a cement which was somewhat largely used in Lerida for house construction, &c. A cement of this quality is highly suited for constructive work, such as floors, staircases, water tanks, &c., for which very large quantities are used in Spain. It is not, of course, equal to a true Portland cement; but when the various layers of cement stone have been{343} examined and analysed, several of them will be found to approximate very closely to the composition required for giving the true Portland cement. The quantity of cement stones which exist on the property is enormous. In fact, it may be said to be practically inexhaustible.

I have referred in detail to these Almatret Mines because they demonstrate the truth of the contention that the coal districts of Spain are not, as has been erroneously accepted, confined to the province of Oviedo; although, up to the present, little mining has been done outside the Asturian coal basin. Even here the rate of progress is lamentably slow. Lack of capital, which has hitherto retarded the increase of mechanical facilities and railway construction, is now being overcome, and it is confidently expected that a material advance is imminent. Every class of coal is obtainable in this district; and the seams, which vary from two and a-half feet to over six feet in thickness, are being worked by galleries in the mountain sides. In only one instance is the pit system in practice; and the whole of the coal below the level of the base of the mountain is virgin ground, which will ultimately be exploited by deep workings. But it is highly improbable that this profitable industry will be undertaken by the present owners, who, for want of the necessary capital, will, in a large number of cases, suspend operations when they have exhausted the coal from their lower galleries. Valuable concessions will then come into the market at “knock-out” prices; and if British capitalists desire to be associated with the highly-promising enterprise, they will have to seize the opportunity before the French and Belgian investors step in. For, despite their comparative failure in the past, the French capitalists are more keenly alive than their English rivals to the enormous possibilities of Spanish mining, and Spanish money is now{344} coming forward as an earnest of the rejuvenated spirit of enterprise which careful observers have already noted in the spirit of the country.

In the foregoing pages I have outlined, in the barest fashion, the history of the mining industry of Spain from its genesis, and I have cited instances of modern development with the object of proving that in Spain of to-day we have at once one of the most backward and most promising mineral countries in Europe, if not in the world. I have not attempted to exhaust the list of mines that are in full operation at the present time, but have contented myself with giving some particulars about representative properties—properties which, for the most part, have come under my own immediate notice, and several of which I have visited more than once. My experience compels me to the conclusion that Spanish mining offers more and better opportunities for the investment of British capital than that of any other country with which I am acquainted, and I treasure the hope that a closer union will be welded between England and Spain by the common bond of a mutual interest in her mineral development.

E. Goodman & Son, Phœnix Printing Works, Taunton.{345}


A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, V, W, Z

Aben Cencid, 128
African Spain, 86
Avila, 114
Albaycin, The, 136
Alcázar (Toledo), 100
Alfonso VI., 102
Alfonso XIII., 254, et seq.
Alhambra, The, 122, et seq.
Alicante, 84, et seq.
Alluvial Gold Washing in Spain, 300, et seq.
Alonso II., 203
Alonso el Sabio, 93
Alonso V., 210
Almadén, 119
Alva Garcia, 115
American in Spain, The, 12
Arab Mining Enterprise, 281
Aragonese, 219
Aranjuez, Palace of, 49
Armeria Real (Madrid), 30

Bailen, 93
Barcelona, 50, et seq.
Barcelona, Labour Riots in, 58
Basque Provincia, The, 180, et seq.
Beariz and its Tin Mines, 294, 330, et seq.
Beggars in Spain, 155
Bicycle in Spain, The, 87
Bilbao, 189, et seq.
Bombita-chico, 234
Borrow, George, 7
Bull-Fighting, 38, 220, et seq.
Burgos, 108, et seq.

Cadiz, 164, et seq.
Cadmus, 269
Carthagena, 88
Carthaginian Miners in Spain, 270
Castellon, 77
Castiles, The, 108, et seq.
Catalans, The, 53, et seq.
Cervantes, 116
Charles the Fifth, 124
Children in Spain, 87, 156
Christ in Burgos Cathedral, The, 110
Cid, The, 102, 111
Coal and Cement Mines of Spain, The, 300, 341
Cobham, Lord, 204
Colon Cape (Barcelona), 29
Colonial Possessions, Loss of, 3
Columbus Memorial (Barcelona), 67
Contreras Rafael, 128
Cooking in Spain, 34
Córdova, 103, et seq.
Coruña, 199, et seq.
Coruña Copper Mines, The, 329
{346}Crime in Spain, 175
Cuba, 3
Cuenca, 119
Cuidad-Real, 116

Dances, 39, et seq.
De Amicis E., 25, 106, 127, 253
Decline of Carthaginian Influence, 275
Didorus, 271
Don Carlos, 189
Don Pedro, 210
Don Quixote, 103
Drake, Sir Francis, 204

Elche, 86, 88
English in Spain, The, 11
Escorial, The, 43, et seq.
Escurial Copper Mines, 293, 307, et seq.
Espadeno, 77
Esparto Grass, 85

Ferdinand and Isabella, 116, 134
Ferdinand VI., 218
Festival of San Isidro del Campo, 41
Ford, Richard, 101, 159, 163
Francisco Herrera, 218
Frascuelo, 234
Fuentes, 236

Galicia, 195, et seq.
Gallenga, 71
Gijon, 208
Gold-bearing Alluvials of Spain, 300, et seq.
Goya, 241
Granada, 122, 134, et seq.
Guardia Civil, 60
Guerrita, 239
Gypsies, 136

Herrera, Juan de, 43
Hiendelæncina Silver Mine, The, 296
Hotel de Paris (Madrid), 26, 34
Huércal Copper-cobalt Mines, 293, 319, et seq.
Huecar, The, 119
Huerta of Alicante, The, 85

Imperial Cafe (Madrid), 29
Infanta Isabel, 262
Iron Industry, 287
Irun, 185

Jaén, 94
John of Gaunt, 199
Juan the Second, 116
Jucar, The, 119

Kingston Gold Mines, The, 336

La Correspondencia, 38
La Granja, 112
La Mancha, 93
La Princesa de Asturias, 263
La Union, 91
León, 209, 212, et seq.
Libro de Oro, 47
Liebert Wolters, 289
Lomas, John, 95, 150
Lorenzana, Cardinal, 102
Lorenzo, Bishop, 204
Louis de Débonnaire, 77
Lugo, 207
Lugo Goldfields, The, 337

Madrid, 10, et seq.
Madrileño, El, 21
Madrid, Climate of, 14
Malaga, 171, et seq.
Maria Christina, 254, 258, 263
Mazantini, 235
Medina Az-zahra, 107
{347}Mendicancy in Spain, 155
Mining Enterprise in the Middle Ages, 286
Mining in Spain, 271, et seq.
Miño River, 204, 207
Monserrat, 70, et seq.
Moraleja Gold-bearing Alluvial Concession, The, 336
Muleteers, 161, et seq.
Murcia, 83, et seq.
Murcians, The, 92
Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban, 152, 167, 246
Murviedro (Sanguntum), 77

Nava Cerrada, 113
Newspapers in Madrid, 38
Northern Spain, In, 195, et seq.
Nuevalos, 218

Officialism in Spain, 6, 160
Ordoño I., 210
Ordoño II., 211
Orense, 204
Orense and the Tin Industry, 294
Oriedo, 208
Oviedo, 196

Palacio Real, (Madrid), 14
Pantano de Tibi, 85
Páramo Alluvial Gold Fields, 305, 335
Pasajes de San Juan, 183
Pasco de Gracia, 64
Pelota, 183
Philip II., 2, 43
Philip the Fifth, 112
Phœnicians in Galicia, 199
Phœnician Miners in Spain, 270
Picture Gallery, The (Madrid), 30, 241, et seq.
Pontevedra, 203
Pontevedra Tin Mines, The, 333
Posting, 161, et seq.
Puchero, 37
Puerta del Diablo, 114
Puerta del Sol, 22, et seq.

Rafael Contreras, 128
Ramon of Burgundy, 115
Railway Travelling, 157, et seq.
Rambla, The, 63
Recompensa Copper Mines, 318
Rio Rimal Copper Mines, 326, et seq.
Rio Tinto Mines, 288, et seq.
Roman Conquest of Spain, 277, 279, et seq.
Roman Gold-washing Operations, 300
Ronda, 175, et seq.
Roque Barcia, 91
Royal Palace (Madrid), 33

Sagasta, 264
St. Ferdinand, 93, 94
St. James the Apostle, 203
St. Lawrence, 44
Salamanca, 209, 213
Sanguntum (Murviedro), 77
San Isidro del Campo, Festival of, 41
San Sebastian, 185
Santa Lucia, 91
Santa Maria Silver-lead Mines, 299, 338
Santiago, 200, et seq.
Segovia, 113, et seq.
Sereno, El, 203
Seville, 141, et seq.
Sevillians, The, 142
Sierra Nevada, 103
Silver-Lead Mining in Spain, 297 et seq.
Silver Mines of Spain, The, 296
Singing in Spain, 69
{348}Slaves as Miners, 271, 279
Soko, El, 96
Somorrosto Range, 193
Southern Andalusia, In, 164, et seq.
Spain (Her Position To-day), 8
Spain’s Mineral Resources, 283
Spaniards as Miners, 312
Spaniards, The, 6, et seq.
Spanish-American War, 6, 56
Spanish Courtesy, 59
Spanish Mining, 271, et seq.
Spanish Mining Regulations, 319
Spanish Tin Corporation’s Mines, The, 333
Spanish Pride, 3
Spanish Provincialism, 53
Spanish Wines, 75
Sport, 38, 183

Tagus, The, 101
Tarragona, 73
Temperance Question, The, 25
Tharsis Mines, 291
Theatres, 40
Theodimah, 84
Theophile Gautier, 105, 127
Tin Mines of Spain, The, 295
Toledo, 95, et seq.
Toledo, Juan Bautista de, 43
Tortosa, 76
Trading Spirit, The, 54
Truimfo Mine, The, 297

Valencia, 81, et seq.
Velo, The, 21
Ventura Rodriguex, 218
Velasquez, 242
Vigo, 204

Webster, Rev. Wentworth, 2
Wörmann, 98

Zahira, 107
Zaragoza, 217, et seq.

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The Alhambra.

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The Alhambra.

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The Alhambra.

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The Alhambra.

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The Alhambra.

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The Generaliffe, Granada.

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The Generaliffe, Granada.

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End of Project Gutenberg's Impressions of Spain, by Albert F. Calvert


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