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Title: Spanish Life in Town and Country
Author: Higgin, L., Street, Eugène E. (Eugène Edward), -1913
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Transcriber's note: Spelling mistakes have been left in the text to
match the original, except for a few obvious typos.]



    OUR EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURS


    _French Life_
          _German Life_
                _Russian Life_
                      _Dutch Life_
                           _Swiss Life_
                                 _Spanish Life_

    _Italian Life_
          _Danish Life_
                _Austro-Hungarian Life_
                      _Turkish Life_
                            _Belgian Life_
                                  _Swedish Life_



                OUR EUROPEAN
                 NEIGHBOURS


                  EDITED BY
            WILLIAM HARBUTT DAWSON


           SPANISH LIFE IN TOWN AND
                   COUNTRY


[Illustration: "IN CHURCH." SHOWING THE MANTILLA AND VELO]



                 SPANISH LIFE
                 IN TOWN AND
                   COUNTRY


                 BY L. HIGGIN


               WITH CHAPTERS ON

         PORTUGUESE LIFE IN TOWN AND
         COUNTRY, BY EUGÈNE E. STREET

       *       *       *       *       *

                  ILLUSTRATED


              G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
              NEW YORK AND LONDON
            The Knickerbocker Press
                     1904



                COPYRIGHT, 1902
                      BY
              G.P. PUTNAM'S SONS


             Published, May, 1902
           Reprinted, February, 1903
           May, 1904; September, 1904


       The Knickerbocker Press, New York



NOTE BY THE EDITOR


It has been thought well to include Portugal in this volume, so as to
embrace the entire Iberian Peninsula. Though geographically contiguous,
and so closely associated in the popular mind, the Spanish and
Portuguese nations offer in fact the most striking divergences alike in
character and institutions, and separate treatment was essential in
justice to each country. The preferential attention given to Spain is
only in keeping with the more prominent part she has played, and may yet
play, in the history of civilisation.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am indebted for the chapters on Portugal to Mr. Eugène E. Street,
whose long and intimate acquaintance with the land and its people
renders him peculiarly fitted to draw their picture.

                                                       L. HIGGIN.



CONTENTS


_SPANISH LIFE_

                                                                    PAGE
CHAPTER I
LAND AND PEOPLE                                                        1

CHAPTER II
TYPES AND TRAITS                                                      24

CHAPTER III
NATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS                                              38

CHAPTER IV
SPANISH SOCIETY                                                       55

CHAPTER V
MODERN MADRID                                                         77

CHAPTER VI
THE COURT                                                             97

CHAPTER VII
POPULAR AMUSEMENTS                                                   111

CHAPTER VIII
THE PRESS AND ITS LEADERS                                            129

CHAPTER IX
POLITICAL GOVERNMENT                                                 142

CHAPTER X
COMMERCE AND AGRICULTURE                                             156

CHAPTER XI
THE ARMY AND NAVY                                                    183

CHAPTER XII
RELIGIOUS LIFE                                                       198

CHAPTER XIII
EDUCATION AND THE PRIESTHOOD                                         213

CHAPTER XIV
PHILANTHROPY--POSITION OF WOMEN--MARRIAGE CUSTOMS                    226

CHAPTER XV
MUSIC, ART, AND THE DRAMA                                            236

CHAPTER XVI
MODERN LITERATURE                                                    246

CHAPTER XVII
THE FUTURE OF SPAIN                                                  260


_PORTUGUESE LIFE_

CHAPTER XVIII
LAND AND PEOPLE                                                      277

CHAPTER XIX
PORTUGUESE INSTITUTIONS                                              298


INDEX                                                                315



ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                    PAGE

"IN CHURCH." SHOWING THE MANTILLA AND VELO                _Frontispiece_

PEASANTS                                                               2

A CORNER IN OLD MADRID                                                 8

SEVILLE CIGARRERA                                                     20

PEASANTS                                                              20

VALENCIANOS                                                           26

THE WATER TRIBUNAL IN VALENCIA. SHOWING VALENCIAN COSTUMES            34

PAST WORK                                                             50

KNIFE-GRINDER                                                         50

OUTSIDE THE PLAZA DE TOROS, MADRID                                    78

BUEYES RESTING                                                        94

IN THE WOODS AT LA GRANJA                                            104

PLAZA DE TOROS. PICADOR CAUGHT BY THE BULL                           120

PLAZA DE TOROS. THE PROCESSION                                       124

DRAGGING OUT THE DEAD BULL                                           126

THE ESCURIAL                                                         140

A WEDDING PARTY IN ESTREMADURA                                       170

A COUNTRY CABIN IN GALICIA                                           292



SPANISH LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY



CHAPTER I

LAND AND PEOPLE


Only in comparatively late years has the Iberian Continent been added to
the happy hunting-grounds of the ordinary British and American tourist,
and somewhat of a check arose after the outbreak of the war with
America. To the other wonderful legends which gather round this romantic
country, and are spread abroad, unabashed and uncontradicted, was added
one more, to the effect that so strong a feeling existed on the part of
the populace against Americans, that it was unsafe for English-speaking
visitors to travel there. Nothing is farther from the truth; there is no
hatred of American or English, and, if there had been, they little know
the innate courtesy of the Spanish people, who fear insult that is not
due to the overbearing manners of the tourist himself.

To-day, however, everyone is going to Spain, and as the number of
travellers increases, so, perhaps, does the real ignorance of the
country and of her people become more apparent, for, after a few days,
or at most weeks, spent there, those who seem to imagine that they have
discovered Spain, as Columbus discovered America, deliver their judgment
upon her with all the audacity of ignorance, or, at best, with very
imperfect information and capacity for forming an opinion.

For many years, the foreign element in Spain was so small that all who
made their home in the country were known and easily counted, while
those who travelled were, for the most part, cultivated people--artists,
or lovers of art, or persons interested in some way in the commercial or
industrial progress of the nation. Even in those days, however, too many
tourists spent their time amongst the dead cities, remnants of Spain's
great past, and came back to add their quota to the sentimental notions
current about the romantic land sung by Byron. Wrapped in a glamour for
which their own enthusiasm was mainly responsible, they beheld all
things coloured with the rich glow of a resplendent sunset; their
descriptions of people and places raised expectations too often cruelly
dispelled by facts, as presented to those of less exuberant
imaginations.

[Illustration: PEASANTS]

[Illustration: PEASANTS]

On the other hand, the mere British traveller, knowing nothing of art,
almost nothing of history, and very little of anything beyond his own
provincial parish, finds all that is not the commonplace of his own
country, barbarous and utterly beneath contempt. His own manners, not
generally of the best, set all that is proud and dignified in the lowest
Spaniard in revolt; he imagines that he meets with discourtesy where, in
fact, he has gone out to seek it, and his own ignorance is chiefly to
blame for his failure to understand a people wholly unlike his own class
associates at home. He, too, returns, shaking the dust off his feet, to
draw a picture of the land he has left, as false and misleading as that
of the dreamer who has overloaded his picture with colour that does not
exist for the ordinary tourist. Thus it too often comes to pass that
visitors to Spain experience keen disappointment during their short stay
in the country. Whether they always acknowledge it or not, is another
question. To hit the happy medium, and to draw from a tour in Spain, or
from a more prolonged sojourn there, all the pleasure that may be
derived from it, and to feel with those who, knowing the country and its
people intimately, love it dearly, a remembrance of its past history and
of its strange agglomeration of nationalities is absolutely necessary;
nor can any true idea be formed of the country from a mere acquaintance
with any one of its widely differing provinces. Galicia is, even to-day,
more nearly allied to Portugal than to Spain, and it was only in 1668
that the independence of the former was acknowledged, and it became a
separate kingdom.

With all rights now equalised, the inhabitants of the remaining
provinces of Spain differ as widely from one another as they do from the
sister kingdom, while the folklore of Asturias and of the Basque
Provinces is very closely allied with that of Portugal. To judge the
Biscayan by the same standard as the Andaluz, is as sensible as it would
be to compare the Irish squatter with Cornish fisher-folk, or the
peasants of Wilts and Surrey with the Celtic races of the West Highlands
of Scotland, or even with the people of Lancashire or Yorkshire.

Nor is it possible to speak of Spain as a whole, and of what she is
likely to make of the present impulse towards national growth and
industrial prosperity, without remembering that her population counts,
among its rapidly increasing numbers, the far-seeing and business-like,
if somewhat selfish, Catalan, with a language of his own; the dreamy,
pleasure-loving Andaluz; the vigorous Basque, whose distinctive language
is not to be learned or understood by the people of any other part of
Spain; the half-Moorish Valencian and the self-respecting Aragonese, who
have always made their mark in the history of their country, and were
looked upon as a foreign element in the days when their kingdom and that
of Leon were united, under one crown, with Castile. It was only after
Alfonso XII. had stamped out the last Carlist war that the ancient
_fueros_, or special rights, of the Basque Provinces became a thing of
the past, and their people liable to conscription, on a par with all the
other parts of Spain.

Every student of history knows that the era of Spain's greatness was
that of _Los Reyes Católicos_, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of
Aragon, when the wonderful discovery and opening up of a new world made
her people dizzy with excitement, and seemed to promise steadily
increasing power and influence. Everyone knows that these dreams were
never realised; that, so far from remaining the greatest nation of the
Western World, Spain has gradually sunk back into a condition that
leaves her to-day outside of international politics; and that, with the
loss of her last colonies overseas, she appears to the superficial
observer to be a dead or dying nation, no longer of any account among
the peoples of Europe.

But this is no fact; it is rather the baseless fancy of incompetent
observers, to some extent acquiesced in, or at least not contradicted,
by the proud Castilian, who cares not at all about the opinions of other
nationalities, and who never takes the trouble to enlighten ignorance of
the kind. True, there was an exhibition of something like popular
indignation when the people fancied they discovered a reference to Spain
in the utterances of two leading English statesmen, during the war with
America, and the feeling of soreness against England still to some
extent exists; in fact, strange as it may appear, there is far less
anger against America, which deprived Spain of her colonies, than
against England, which looked on complacently, and with obvious sympathy
for the aggressor. But all this is past, or passing. The Spaniards are a
generous people, and no one forgets or forgives more easily or more
entirely. Those who knew Madrid in the days of Isabel II., would not have
imagined it possible that the Queen, who had been banished with so much
general rejoicing, could, under any circumstances, have received in the
capital a warm greeting; in fact, it was for long thought inexpedient to
allow her to risk a popular demonstration of quite another character.
But when she came to visit her son, after the restoration of Alfonso
XII., her sins, which were many, were forgiven her. It was, perhaps,
remembered that in her youth she had been more sinned against than
sinning; that she was _muy Española_, kind-hearted and gracious in
manner, pitiful and courteous to all. Hence, so long as she did not
remain, and did not in any way interfere in the government, the people
were ready to receive her with acclamation, and were probably really
glad to see her again without her _camarilla_, and with no power to
injure the new order of things.

No nation in the world is more innately democratic than Spain--none,
perhaps, so attached to monarchy; but one lesson has been learned,
probably alike by King and people--that absolutism is dead and buried
beyond recall. The ruler of Spain, to-day and in the future, must
represent the wishes of the people; and if at any time the two should
once more come into sharp collision, it is not the united people of this
once-divided country that would give way. For the rest, so long as the
monarch reigns constitutionally, and respects the rights and the desires
of his people, there is absolutely nothing to fear from pretender or
republican. At a recent political meeting in Madrid, for the first time,
were seen democrats, republicans, and monarchists united; amidst a
goodly quantity of somewhat "tall" talk, two notable remarks were
received with acclamation by all parties: one was that Italy had found
freedom, and had made herself into a united nationality, under a
constitutional monarch; and the other, that between the Government of
England and a republic there was no difference except in name--that in
all Europe there was no country so democratic or so absolutely free as
England under her King, nor one in which the people so entirely governed
themselves.

Among the many mistaken ideas which obtain currency in England with
regard to Spain, perhaps none is more common or more baseless than the
fiction about Don Carlos and his chances of success. A certain small
class of journalists from time to time write ridiculous articles in
English papers and magazines about what they are pleased to call the
"legitimatist" cause, and announce its coming triumph in the Peninsula.
No Spaniard takes the trouble to notice these remarkable productions of
the fertile journalistic brain of a foreigner. There are still, of
course, people calling themselves Carlists--notably the Duke of Madrid
and Don Jaime, but the cult, such as there is of it in Spain, is of the
"Platonic" order only,--to use the Spanish description of it, "a little
talk but no fight,"--and it may be classed with the vagaries of the
amiable people in England who amuse themselves by wearing a white rose,
and also call themselves "legitimatists," praying for the restoration of
the Stuarts.

The truth about the Carlist pretension is so little known in England
that it may be well to state it. Spain has never been a land of the
Salic Law; the story of her reigning queens--chief of all, Isabel la
Católica, shows this. It was not until the time of Philip V., the first
of the Bourbons, that this absolute monarch limited the succession to
heirs male by "pragmatic sanction"; that is to say, by his own
unsupported order. The Act in itself was irregular; it was never put
before the Cortes, and the Council of Castile protested against it at
the time.

[Illustration: A CORNER IN OLD MADRID]

This Act, such as it was, was revoked by Charles IV.; but the revocation
was never published, the birth of sons making it immaterial. When,
however, his son Ferdinand VII. was near his end, leaving only two
daughters, he published his father's revocation of the Act of Philip V.,
and appointed his wife, Cristina, Regent during the minority of Isabel
II., then only three years of age.

At no time, then, in its history, has the Salic Law been in use in
Spain: the irregular act of a despotic King was repudiated both by his
grandson and his great-grandson. Nothing, therefore, can be more
ridiculous than the pretension of legitimacy on the part of a pretender
whose party simply attempts to make an illegal innovation, in defiance
of the legitimate kings and of the Council of Castile, a fundamental law
of the monarchy. Carlism, the party of the Church against the nation,
came into existence when, during the first years of Cristina's Regency,
Mendizábal, the patriotic merchant of Cadiz and London, then First
Minister of the Crown, carried out the dismemberment of the religious
orders, and the diversion of their enormous wealth to the use of the
nation. Don Carlos, the brother of Ferdinand VII., thereupon declared
himself the Defender of the Faith and the champion of the extreme
clerical party. _Hinc illæ lachrymæ_, and two Carlist wars!

The position of the Church, or rather what was called the "Apostolic
party," is intelligible enough, and it is easy also to understand why
Carlism has been preached as a crusade to English Roman Catholics, who
have been induced in both Carlist wars to provide the main part of the
funds which made them possible; but to call Don Carlos "the legitimate
King" is an absurd misnomer.

For the rest, as regards Spain herself and the wishes of her people, it
is perhaps enough to remark that if, after the expulsion of the Bourbons
in 1868, at the time of the Revolution known as "La Gloriosa," when Prim
had refused to think of a republic and declared himself once and always
in favour of a monarchy, and the Crown of proud Spain went a-begging
among the Courts of Europe,--if, at that time of her national need, Don
Carlos was unable to come forward in his celebrated character of
"legitimate Sovereign of the Spanish people," or to raise even two or
three voices in his favour, what chance is he likely to have with a
settled constitutional Government and the really legitimate Monarch on
the throne? The strongest chance he ever had of success was when the
Basque Provinces were at one time disposed, it is said almost to a man,
to take his side; but, in fact, the men of the mountain were fighting
much more for the retention of their own _fueros_--for their immunity
from conscription, among others--than for any love of Don Carlos
himself. They would have liked a king and a little kingdom all of their
own, and, above all, to have held their beloved rights against all the
rest of Spain.

All that, however, is over now. In all Spain no province has profited as
have those of the North by the settled advance of the country. Bilbao,
once a small trading town, twice devastated during the terrible civil
wars, has forged ahead in a manner perhaps only equalled by Liverpool in
the days of its first growth, and is now more important and more
populous than Barcelona itself; with its charming outlet of Portugalete,
it is the most flourishing of Spanish ports, and is able to compare with
any in Europe for its commerce and its rapid growth. Viscaya and
Asturias want no more civil war, and the Apostolic party may look in
vain for any more Carlist risings. More to be feared now are labour
troubles, or the contamination of foreign anarchist doctrines; but in
this case, the Church and the nation would be on the same side--that of
order and progress.

In attempting to understand the extremely complex character of the
Spaniard as we know him,--that is to say, the Castilian, or rather the
Madrileño,--one has to take into account not only the divers races which
go to make up the nationality as it is to-day, but something of the past
history of this strangely interesting people. To go back to the days
when Spain was a Roman province in a high state of civilisation: some of
the greatest Romans known to fame were Spaniards--Quintilian, Martial,
Lucan, and the two Senecas. Trajan was the first Spaniard named Emperor,
and the only one whose ashes were allowed to rest within the city walls;
but the Spanish freedman of Augustus, Gaius Julius Hyginus, had been
made the chief keeper of the Palatine Library, and Ballus, another
Spaniard, had reached the consulship, and had been accorded the honour
of a public triumph. Hadrian, again, was a Spaniard, and Marcus Aurelius
a son of Córdoba. No wonder that Spain is proud to remember that, of the
"eighty perfect golden years" which Gibbon declares to have been the
happiest epoch in mankind's history, no less than sixty were passed
beneath the sceptre of her Cæsars.

The conquered had become conquerors; the intermarriage of Roman soldiers
and settlers with Spanish women modified the original race; the Iberians
invaded the politics and the literature of their conquerors. St.
Augustine mourned the _odiosa cantio_ of Spanish children learning
Latin, but the language of Rome itself was altered by its Iberian
emperors and literati; the races, in fact, amalgamated, and the Spaniard
of to-day, to those who know him well, bears a strange resemblance to
the Roman citizens with whom the letters of the Younger Pliny so
charmingly make us familiar. The dismemberment of the Roman Empire left
Spain exposed to the inroads of the Northern barbarians, and led
indirectly to the subsequent Moorish inrush; for the Jews, harassed by a
severe penal code, hailed the Arabs as a kindred race; and with their
slaves made common cause with the conquering hordes.

The Goths seem to have been little more than armed settlers in the
country. Marriage between them and the Iberians was forbidden by their
laws, and the traces of their occupation are singularly few: not a
single inscription or book of Gothic origin remains, and it seems
doubtful if any trace of the language can be found in Castilian or any
of its dialects. It is strange, if this be true, that there should be so
strong a belief in the influence of Gothic blood in the race.

In all these wars and rumours of war the men of the hardy North remained
practically unconquered. The last to submit to the Roman, the first to
throw off the yoke of the Moor, the Basques and Asturians appear to be
the representatives of the old inhabitants of Spain, who never settled
down under the sway of the invader or acquiesced in foreign rule. Cicero
mentions a Spanish tongue which was unintelligible to the Romans; was
this Basque, which is equally so now to the rest of Spain, and which, if
you believe the modern Castilian, the devil himself has never been able
to master?

The history of Spain is one to make the heart ache. Some evil influence,
some malign destiny, seems ever to have brought disaster where her
people looked for progress or happiness. Her golden age was just in the
short epoch when Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon reigned and
ruled over the united kingdoms: both were patriotic, both clever, and
absolutely at one in their policy. It is almost impossible to us who can
look back on the long records, almost always sad and disastrous, not to
doubt whether in giving a new world "to Castile and Aragon," Cristobal
Colon did not impose a burden on the country of his adoption which she
was unable to bear, and which became, in the hands of the successors of
her _muy Españoles y muy Católicos_ kings, a curse instead of a
blessing. Certain it is that Spain was not sufficiently advanced in
political economy to understand or cope with the enormous changes which
this opening up of a new world brought about. The sudden increase of
wealth without labour, of reward for mere adventure, slew in its infancy
any impulse there might have been to carry on the splendid manufactures
and enlightened agriculture of the Moors; trade became a disgrace, and
the fallacious idea that bringing gold and silver into a country could
make it rich and prosperous ate like a canker into the industrial heart
of the people, and with absolute certainty threw them backward in the
race of civilisation.

Charles V. was the first evil genius of Spain; thinking far more of his
German and Italian possessions than of the country of his mother, poor
mad Juana, he exhausted the resources of Spain in his endless wars
outside the country, and inaugurated her actual decline at a moment
when, to the unthinking, she was at the height of her glory. The
influence of the powerful nobility of the country had been completely
broken by Isabella and Ferdinand, and the device of adopting the
Burgundian fashion of keeping at the Court an immense crowd of nobles in
so-called "waiting" on the Monarch flattered the national vanity, while
it ensured the absolute inefficacy of the class when it might have been
useful in stemming the baneful absolutism of such lunatics as Felipe II.
and the following Austrian monarchs, each becoming more and more effete
and more and more mad. The very doubtful "glory" of the reign of the
Catholic Kings in having driven out the Moors after eight centuries of
conflict and effort, proved, in fact, no advantage to the country; but
twenty thousand Christian captives were freed, and every reader of
history must, for the moment, sympathise with the people who effected
this freeing of their country from a foreign yoke.

Looking at the marvellous tracery of the church of San Juan de los Reyes
at Toledo, picked out by the actual chains broken off the miserable
Christian captives, and hanging there unrusted in the fine air and
sunshine of the country for over four hundred years, one's heart beats
in sympathy with the pride of the Spaniards in their Catholic Kings. But
Toledo, alas! is dead; the centre of light and learning is mouldering in
the very slough of ignorance, and Christianity compares badly enough
with the rule of Arab and Jew.

Nevertheless, it must be said that, had matters been left as Isabella
and Ferdinand left them, Spain might have benefited by the example of
her conquerors, as other countries have done, and as she herself did
during the Roman occupation. Philip II. was too wise to expel the
richest and most industrious of his subjects so long as they paid his
taxes and, at least, professed to be Christians. It was not until the
reign of Philip III. and his disgraceful favourite Lerma, himself the
most bigoted of Valencian "Christians," that, by the advice of Ribera,
the Archbishop of Valencia, these industrious, thrifty, and harmless
people were ruthlessly driven out. They had turned Valencia into a
prolific garden,--even to-day it is called the _huerta_,--their silk
manufactures were known and valued throughout the world; their industry
and frugality were, in fact, their worst crimes; they were able to draw
wealth from the sterile lands which "Christians" found wholly
unproductive. "Since it is impossible to kill them all," said Ribera,
the representative of Christ, he again and again urged on the King their
expulsion.

The nobles and landowners protested in vain. September 22, 1609, is one
of the blackest--perhaps, in fact, the blackest--of all days in the
disastrous annals of Spain. The Marqués de Caracena, Viceroy of
Valencia, issued the terrible edict of expulsion. Six of the oldest and
"most Christian" Moriscos in each community of a hundred souls were to
remain to teach their modes of cultivation and their industries, and
only three days were allowed for the carrying out of this most wicked
and suicidal law. In the following six months one hundred and fifty
thousand Moors were hounded out of the land which their ancestors had
possessed and enriched for centuries. Murcia, Andalucia, Aragon,
Cataluña, Castile, La Mancha, and Estremadura were next taken in hand.
In these latter provinces the cruel blunder was all the worse, since the
Moors had intermarried with the Iberian inhabitants, and had really
embraced the Christian religion, so called.

Half a million souls, according to Father Bleda, in his _Defensio
Fidei_, were thrust out, with every aggravation of cruelty and robbery.
No nation can commit crimes like this without suffering more than its
victims. Spain has never to this day recovered from the blow to her own
prosperity, to her commerce, her manufactures, and her civilisation
dealt by the narrow-minded and ignorant King, led by a despicable
favourite, and the fanatical bigot, Ribera. With the Moors went almost
all their arts and industries; immense tracts of country became arid
wastes: Castile and La Mancha barely raise crops every second year where
the Moriscos reaped their teeming harvest, and Estremadura from a
smiling garden became a waste where wandering flocks of sheep and pigs
now find a bare subsistence. Nor was this all. Science and learning were
also driven out with the Arab and Jew; Córdoba, like Toledo, vanished,
as the centre of intellectual life. In place of enlightened agriculture,
irrigation of the dry land, and the planting of trees, the peasant was
taught to take for his example San Isidro, the patron saint of the
labourer, who spent his days in prayer, and left his fields to plough
and sow themselves; the forests were cut down for fuel, until the
shadeless wastes became less and less productive, and the whole land on
the elevated plains, which the Moors had irrigated and planted, became
little better than a desert.

It was not only in the mother country that frightful acts of bigotry and
lust for wealth were enacted. In Peru the Spaniards found a splendid
civilisation among the strange races of the Incas, a condition of order
which many modern states might envy, a religion absolutely free from
fetish worship, and a standard of morality which has never been
surpassed. But they ruthlessly destroyed it all, desecrated the temples
where the sun was worshipped only as a visible representative of a God
"of whom nothing could be known save by His works," as their tenet ran,
and substituted the religion which they represented as having been
taught by Jesus of Nazareth; a religion which looked for its chief power
to the horrible Inquisition and its orgies called _Autos da fé!_

As regards the mysterious race of the Incas, who in comparison with the
native Indians were almost white, and who possessed a high cultivation,
it is curious to note that during the late troubles in China records
came to light in the Palace of Pekin showing that Chinese missionaries
landed on the coast subsequently known as Peru, in ages long antecedent
to the discovery of the country by the Spaniards, and established
temples and schools there. No one who reads the minute accounts of the
Incas from Garcilaso de la Vega--himself of the royal race on his
mother's side, his father having been one of the Spanish
adventurers--can avoid the conclusion that the religion of the Incas,
thus utterly destroyed by the Spaniards, was much more nearly that of
Christ than the debased worship introduced in its place. The whole story
of these "Children of the Sun," told by one of themselves afterwards in
Córdoba, where he is always careful to keep on the right side of the
Inquisition by pretending to be a "Christian after the manner of his
father," is fascinatingly interesting as well as instructive.

It is almost impossible to speak of the Spanish Inquisition and its
baneful influence on the people without seeming to be carried away by
prejudice or even bigotry, but it is equally impossible for the ordinary
student of history to read, even in the pages of the "orthodox," the
terrible repression of its iron hand on all that was advancing in the
nation; its writers, its singers, its men of science, wherever they
dared to raise their voices in ever so faint a cry, ground down to one
dead level of unthinking acquiescence, or driven forth from their native
land, without ceasing to wonder at all at Spain's decadence from the
moment she had handed herself over, bound hand and foot, to the Church.
Wondering, rather, at her enormous inherent vitality, which at last,
after so many centuries of spasmodic effort, has shaken off the incubus
and regained liberty, or for the first time established it in the realms
of religion, science, and general instruction.

It matters little or nothing whether the Inquisition, with its secret
spies, its closed doors, its mockery of justice, and its terrible
background of smouldering _Quemadero_, was the instrument of the Church
or of the King for the moment. Whether a religious or a political
tyranny, it was at all times opposed to the very essence of freedom, and
it was deliberately used, and would be again to-day if it were possible
to restore it, to keep the people in a gross state of ignorance and
superstition. That it was admirable as an organisation only shows it in
a more baneful light, since it was used to crush out all progress. Its
effect is well expressed in the old proverb: "Between the King and the
Inquisition we must not open our lips."

"I would rather think I had ascended from an ape," said Huxley, in his
celebrated answer to the Bishop of Oxford, "than that I had descended
from a man who used great gifts to darken reason." It has been the
object of the Inquisition to darken reason wherever it had the power,
and it left the mass of the Spanish people, great and generous as they
are by nature, for long a mere mob of inert animals, ready to amuse
themselves when their country was at its hour of greatest agony, debased
by the sight of wholesale and cruel murders carried out by the priests
of their religion in the name of Christ.

[Illustration: PEASANTS]

[Illustration: SEVILLE CIGARRERA]

Even to-day the Spaniard of the lower classes can scarcely understand
that he can have any part or parcel in the government of his country.
Long ages of misrule have made him hate all governments alike: he
imagines that all the evils he finds in the world of his own experience
are the work of whoever happens to be the ruler for the time being; that
it is possible for him to have any say in the matter never enters his
head, and he votes, if he votes at all, as he is ordered to vote. He has
been taught for ages past to believe whatever he has been told. His
reason has been "offered as a sacrifice to God," if indeed he is aware
that he possesses any.

The danger of the thorough awakening may be that which broke out so
wildly during Castelar's short and disastrous attempt at a republic:
that when once he breaks away from the binding power of his old
religion, he may have nothing better than atheism and anarchism to fall
back upon. The days of the absolute reign of ignorance and superstition
are over; but the people are deeply religious. Will the Church of Spain
adapt itself to the new state of things, or will it see its people drift
away from its pale altogether, as other nations have done? This is the
true clerical question which looms darkly before the Spain of to-day.

To return, however. The Austrian kings of Spain had brought her only
ruin. With the Bourbons it was hoped a better era had opened, but it was
only exchanging one form of misrule for another. The kings existed for
their own benefit and pleasure; the people existed to minister to them
and find funds for their extravagance. Each succeeding monarch was ruled
by some upstart favourite, until the climax was reached when Godoy, the
disgraceful Minister of Charles IV., and the open lover of his Queen,
sold the country to Napoleon. Then indeed awoke the great heart of the
nation, and Spain has the everlasting glory of having risen as one man
against the French despot, and, by the help of England, stopped his mad
career. Even then, under the base and contemptible Ferdinand VII., she
underwent the "Terror of 1824," the disastrous and unworthy regency of
Cristina, and the still worse rule of her daughter, Isabel II., before
she awoke politically as a nation, and, her innumerable parties forming
as one, drove out the Queen, with her _camarilla_ of priests and
bleeding nuns, and at last achieved her freedom.

For, whatever may be said of the last hundred years of Spain's history,
it has been an advance, a continuous struggle for life and liberty.
There had been fluctuating periods of progress. Charles III., a truly
wise and patriotic monarch, the first since Ferdinand and Isabella, made
extraordinary changes during his too short life. The population of the
country rose a million and a half in the twenty-seven years of his
reign, and the public revenue in like proportions under his enlightened
Minister, Florida Blanca. No phase of the public welfare was neglected:
savings banks, hospitals, asylums, free schools, rose up on all sides;
vagrancy and mendicancy were sternly repressed; while men of science and
skilled craftsmen were brought from foreign countries, and it seemed as
if Spain had fairly started on her upward course. But he died before his
time in 1788, and was followed by a son and grandson, who, with their
wives, ruled by base favourites, dragged the honour of Spain in the
dust. Still, the impulse had been given; there had been a break in the
long story of misrule and misery; Mendizábal and Espartero scarcely did
more than lighten the black canopy of cloud overhanging the country for
a time; but at last came freedom, halting somewhat, as must needs be,
but no longer to be repressed or driven back by the baneful influence
known as _palaciö_, intrigues arising in the immediate circle of the
Court.



CHAPTER II

TYPES AND TRAITS


It is the fashion to-day to minimise the influence of the Goths on the
national characteristics of the Spaniard. We are told by some modern
writers that their very existence is little more than a myth, and that
the name of their last King, Roderick, is all that is really known about
them. The castle of Wamba, or at least the hill on which it stood, is
still pointed out to the visitor in Toledo, perched high above the red
torrent of the rushing Tagus; but little seems to be certainly known of
this hardy Northern race which, for some three hundred years, occupied
the country after the Romans had withdrawn their protecting legions. On
the approach of the all-conquering Moor, many of the inhabitants of
Spain took refuge in the inaccessible mountains of the north, and were
the ancestors of that invincible people known in Spain as "los
Montañeses," from whom almost all that is best in literature, as well as
in business capacity, has sprung in later years.

How much of the Celt-Iberian, or original inhabitant of the Peninsula,
and how much of Gothic or of Teuton blood runs in the veins of the
people of the mountains, it is more than difficult now to determine. It
had been impossible, despite laws and penalties, to prevent the
intermingling of the races: all that we certainly know is that the
inhabitants of Galicia, Asturias, Viscaya, Navarro, and Aragon have
always exhibited the characteristics of a hardy, fighting, pushing race,
as distinguished from the Andaluces, the Valencianos, the Murcianos, and
people of Granada, in whom the languid blood of a Southern people and
the more marked trace of Arabic heritage are apparent.

The Catalans would appear, again, to be descendants of the old
Provençals, at one time settled on both sides of the Pyrenees, though
forming, at that time, part of Spain. Their language is almost pure
Provençal, and they differ, as history shows in a hundred ways, from the
inhabitants of the rest of Spain. The Castilians, occupying the centre
of the country, are what we know as "Spaniards," and may be taken to
hold a middle place among these widely differing nationalities, modified
by their contact with all. Their language is that of cultivated Spain.
No one dreams of asking if you speak Spanish; it is always: _Habla v
Castellano?_ And it is certainly a remnant of the old Roman, which, as
we know, its emperors spoke "with a difference," albeit there are many
traces of Arabic about it.

Even at the present day, when Spain is rapidly becoming homogeneous, the
people of the different provinces are almost as well known by their
trades as by their special characteristics. A _Gallego_--really a native
of Galicia--means, in the common parlance, a porter, a water-carrier,
almost a beast of burden, and the Galicians are as well known for this
purpose in Portugal as in Spain, great numbers finding ready employment
in the former country, where manual labour is looked upon as impossible
for a native. The men of the lowest class emigrate to more favoured
provinces, since their own is too poor to support them; they work hard,
and return with their savings to their native hills. Their
fellow-countrymen consider them boorish in manners, uneducated, and of a
low class; but they are good-natured and docile, hard-working,
temperate, and honest. "In your life," wrote the Duke of Wellington,
"you never saw anything so bad as the Galicians; and yet they are the
finest body of men and the best movers I have ever seen." There is a
greater similarity between Galicia and Portugal than between the former
and any other province of Spain.

Although they lie so close together, Asturias differs widely from its
sister province both in the character of its people and its scenery. The
Romans took two hundred years to subdue it, and the Moors never obtained
a footing there. The Asturians are a hardy, independent race, proud of
giving the title to the heir-apparent of the Spanish throne. The people
of this province, like their neighbours the Basques, are handsome and
robust in appearance; they are always to be recognised in Madrid by
their fresh appearance and excellent physique. For the most part they
are to be found engaged in the fish trade, while their women, gorgeously
dressed in their native costume by their employers, are the nurses of
the upper classes.

[Illustration: VALENCIANOS]

The ladies of Madrid do not think it "good style" to bring up their own
children, and the Asturian wet nurse is as much a part of the ordinary
household as the coachman or _mayordomo_. They are singularly handsome,
well-grown women, and become great favourites in the houses of their
employers; but, like their menkind, they go back to spend their savings
among their beloved hills. Many of these young women come to Madrid on
the chance of finding situations, leaving their own babies behind to be
fed by hand, or Heaven knows how; they bring with them a young puppy to
act as substitute until the nurse-child is found, and may be seen in the
registry offices waiting to be hired, with their little canine
foster-children. It is said that the Asturian women never part from the
puppies that they have fed from their own breasts.

The Basque Provinces are, perhaps, the best known to English travellers,
since they generally enter Spain by that route, and those staying in the
south of France are fond of running across to have at least a look at
Spain, and to be able to say they have been there. The people pride
themselves on being "the oldest race in Europe," and are, no doubt, the
direct descendants of the original and unconquered inhabitants of the
Iberian Peninsula. In Guipuzcoa, the Basque may still be seen living in
his flat-roofed stone house, of which he is sure to be proprietor, using
a mattock in place of plough, and leading his oxen--for _bueyes_ are
never driven--attached to one of the heavy, solid-wheeled carts by an
elaborately carved yoke, covered with a sheepskin. He clings tenaciously
to his unintelligible language, and is quite certain that he is superior
to the whole human race.

The _fueros_, or special rights, already spoken of, for which the
Basques have fought so passionately for five hundred years, might
possibly have been theirs for some time longer if they had not unwisely
thrown in their lot with the Carlist Pretender. They practically formed
a republic within the monarchy; but in 1876, when the young Alfonso XII.
finally conquered the provinces, all differences between them and the
other parts of the kingdom were abolished, and they had to submit to the
abhorred conscription. With all the burning indignation which still
makes some of them say, "I am not a Spaniard; I am a Basque," the
extraordinary advance made in this part of Spain seems to show that the
hereditary energy and talent of the people are on the side of national
progress.

The distinctive dress of the Basques is now almost a thing of the past;
the bright kerchiefs of the women and the dark-blue cap (_bóina_) of the
men alone remain. The Viscayan _bóina_ has been lately introduced into
the French army as the headgear of the Chasseurs and some other
regiments.

"Aragon is not ours; we ought to conquer it!" Isabel la Católica is said
to have remarked to her husband; and, indeed, the history of this little
province is wonderfully interesting and amusing. It alone seems to have
had the good sense always to secure its rights before it would vote
supplies for the Austrian kings; whereas the other provinces usually
gave their money without any security, except the word of the King,
which was usually broken. Among the provisions of the _fueros_ of the
Aragonese was one that ran thus: _"Que siempre que el rey quebrantose
sus fueros, pudiessen eligir otro rey encora que sea pagano"_ (If ever
the King should infringe our _fueros_, we can elect another King, even
though he might be a pagan), and the preamble of the election ran thus:
"We, who are as good as you, and are more powerful than you (_podemos
mas que vos_) elect you King in order that you may protect our rights
and liberties, and also we elect one between us and you (_el justicia_),
who has more power than you: _y si no, no!_" which may be taken to mean,
"otherwise you are not our King."

Somewhat of this spirit still abides in the Aragonese. The costume is
one of the most picturesque in Spain. The men wear short black velvet
breeches, open at the knees and slashed at the sides, adorned with rows
of buttons, and showing white drawers underneath; _alpargatas_, or the
plaited hempen sandals, which, with the stockings, are black; a black
velvet jacket, with slashed and button-trimmed sleeves, and the
gaily-coloured _faja_, or silk sash, worn over an elaborate shirt.

In the old days, when one entered Spain by diligence from Bayonne to
Pampeluna over the Pyrenees, one learned something of the beauty of the
scenery and the healthy, hardy characteristics of the people, as one
whirled along through the chestnut groves, over the leaping streams,
always at full gallop, up hill and down dale, with a precipice on one
side of the road and the overhanging mountains on the other. Below lay a
fertile country with comfortable little homesteads and villages
clustering round their church, and the like dotted the hillsides and the
valleys wherever there seemed a foothold. As the diligence, with its
team of ten or twelve mules, dashed through these villages or past the
isolated farms, the people stood at their doors and shouted; it was
evidently the event of the day. The mules were changed every hour, or
rather more, according to the road, and as the ascent became steeper
more were added to their number; sometimes six or eight starting from
Bayonne where twelve or fourteen were needed for the top of the Pass. At
least half the journey was always made at night, and if there were a
moon the scenery became magically beautiful; but, in any case, the
stars, in that clear atmosphere, made it almost as bright as day, while
a ruddy light streamed from the lamp over the driver's seat, far above
the coupé, along the string of hurrying mules, as they dashed round
precipitous corners, dangerous enough in broad daylight. If one of the
animals chanced to fall, it was dragged by its companions to the bottom
of the gorge, where it would get up, shake itself, and prepare to tear
up the next ascent as if nothing had happened.

A good idea could be formed of these hardy mountaineers in passing
through their village homes. They are tall and good-looking, and seem to
be simply overflowing with animal spirits. If it chanced to be on a
Sunday afternoon, the priest, with his _sotana_ tucked up round his
waist, would be found playing the national game of _pelota_ with his
flock, using the blank wall of the church as a court.

One is apt to forget that Old Castile is one of the provinces having a
northern seaboard. The inhabitants of this borderland are, to judge by
appearance, superior to the people of the plains, who certainly strike
the casual observer as being dirty and somewhat dull. The Castilian and
Aragonese, however, may be said to constitute the heart of the nation.
Leon and Estremadura form a part of the same raised plateau, but their
people are very different. In speaking of the national characteristics,
one must be taken to mean, not by any means the Madrileño, but the
countrymen, whose homes are not to be judged by the _posadas_, or inns,
which exist mainly for the muleteer and his animals, and are neither
clean nor savoury.

"All the forces of Europe would not be sufficient to subdue the
Castiles--_with the people against it_," was Peterborough's remark, and
our Iron Duke never despaired "while the country was with him." He bore
with the generals and the _Juntas_ of the upper classes, in spite of his
indignation against them, and, "cheered by the _people's support_," as
Napier says, carried out his campaign of victory.

The ancient qualities of which the Castilians are proud are _gravedad,
lealtad, y amor de Dios_--"dignity, loyalty, and love of God." No wonder
that when the nation arises, it carries a matter through.

Estremadura, after the expulsion of the Moors, in whose days it was a
fruitful garden, seems to have been forgotten by the rest of Spain; it
became the pasturage for the wandering flocks of merino sheep, the
direct descendants of the Bedouin herds, and of the pigs, which almost
overrun it. Yet the remains of the Romans in Estremadura are the most
interesting in Spain, and bear witness to the flourishing condition of
the province in their day; moreover, Pizarro and Cortes owe their birth
to this forgotten land. The inhabitants of the southern provinces of
Spain differ wholly from those of Castile and the north--they have much
more of the Eastern type; in fact, the Valenciano or the Murciano of the
_huerta_, the well-watered soil which the Moors left in such a high
state of cultivation, in manners and appearance are often little
different from the Arab as we know him to-day.

From the gay Andaluz we derive most of our ideas of the Spanish peasant;
but he is a complete contrast to the dignified Castilian or the brusque
Montañese. From this province, given over to song, dancing, and outdoor
life, come--almost without exception--the bull-fighters, whose graceful
carriage, full of power, and whose picturesque costume, make them
remarkable wherever seen. Lively audacity is their special
characteristic. _Sal_ (salt) is their ideal; we have no word which
carries the same meaning. Smart repartee, grace, charm, all are
expressed in the word _Salada_; and _Saléro_ (literally, salt-cellar) is
an expression met with in every second song one hears.

    Olé Saléro! Sin vanidad,
    Soy muy bonita, Soy muy Sala!

is the refrain of one of their most characteristic songs, _La moza é
rumbo_, and may be taken as a sample:--

    Listen, Saléro! without vanity,
    I am lovely--I am Salada!

During the _Feria_ at Seville, the upper classes camp out in tents or
huts, and the girls pass their time in singing and dancing, like the
peasantry.

The Valencians are very different, being slow, quiet, almost stupid to
the eye of the stranger, extremely industrious, and wrapped up in their
agricultural pursuits. They fully understand and appreciate the system
of irrigation left by the Moors, which has made their province the most
densely populated and the most prosperous in appearance of all Spain.

A curious survival exists in Valencia in the _Tribunal de las Aguas_,
which is presided over by three of the oldest men in the city; it is a
direct inheritance from the Moors, and from its verdict there is no
appeal.

Every Thursday the old men take their seats on a bench outside one of
the doors of the cathedral, and to them come all those who have disputes
about irrigation, marshalled by two beadles in strange, Old-World
uniforms. When both sides have been heard, the old men put their heads
together under a cloak or _manta_, and agree upon their judgment. The
covering is then withdrawn, and the decision is announced. On one
occasion they decreed that a certain man whom they considered in fault
was to pay a fine. The unwary litigant, thinking that his case had not
been properly heard, began to try to address the judges in mitigation of
the sentence.

"But, Señores--" he began.

[Illustration: THE WATER TRIBUNAL IN VALENCIA. SHOWING VALENCIAN
COSTUMES]

"Pay another peseta for speaking!" solemnly said the spokesman of the
elders.

"_Pero, Señores_--"

"_Una peseta mas!_" solemnly returned the judge; and at last, finding
that each time he opened his lips cost him one more peseta, he soon gave
up and retired.

The Valencian costume for men consists of wide white cotton drawers to
the knees, looking almost like petticoats, sandals of hemp, with gaiters
left open between the knee and the ankle, a red sash, or _faja_, a short
velvet jacket, and a handkerchief twisted turban-fashion round the head.
The _hidalgos_ wear the long cloak and wide sombrero common to all the
country districts of Spain.

In speaking of Spaniards and their characteristics, as I have already
said, we have to take into account the presence of all these widely
differing races under one crown, and to remember that to-day there is no
hard-and-fast line among the cultivated classes: intermarriage has fused
the conflicting elements, very much for the good of the country, and
rapid intercommunication by rail and telegraph has brought all parts of
the kingdom together, as they have never been before. Education is now
placed within reach of all, and even long-forgotten Estremadura is
brought to share in the impulse towards national life and commercial
progress. Comte Paul Vasili, in his charming _Lettres inédites_ to a
young diplomatist, first published in the pages of _La Nouvelle Revue_,
gives such an exact picture of the Spanish people, of whom he had so
wide an experience and such intimate knowledge, that I am tempted to
quote it in full.

"The famous phrase, _Á la disposition de V._, has no meaning in the
upper ranks, is a fiction with the _bourgeoisie_, but is simple truth in
the mouth of the people. The pure-blooded Spaniard is the most
hospitable, the most ready giver in the world. He offers with his whole
heart, and is hurt when one does not accept what he offers. He does not
pretend to know anything beyond his own country ... he exaggerates the
dignity of humanity in his own person.... Even in asking alms of you he
says: _Hermanito, una limosna, por el amor de Dios._ He does not beg;
no, he asks, demands; and, miserable and in rags as he may be, he treats
you as a brother--he does you the honour of accepting you as his equal.
The Spaniard who has a _novia_, a guitar, a _cigarillo_, and the
knowledge that he has enough to pay for a seat at the bull-fight,
possesses all that he can possibly need. He will eat a plateful of
_gazpacho_ or _puchero_, a sardine, half a roll of bread, and drink
clear water as often as wine. Food is always of secondary importance: he
ranks it after his _novia_, after his _cigarillo_, after the bulls.
Sleep? He can sleep anywhere, even on the ground. Dress? He has always
his _capa_, and _la capa todo lo tapa_. The Spaniard is, above all
things, _rumboso_; that is to say, he has a large, generous, and sound
heart.... The masses in Spain are perfectly contented, believing
themselves sincerely to be the most heroic of people. The Spaniard is
naturally happy, because his wants are almost _nil_, and he has the
fixed idea that kings--his own or those of other nations--are all, at
least, his cousins."

This is not the place to speak at large of the religion of the people;
but one remark one cannot fail to make, and that is, the place which the
Virgin holds in the life and affections of the masses. The name of the
Deity is rarely heard, except as an exclamation, and the Christ is
spoken of rather as a familiar friend than as the Second Person in the
Trinity; but the deep-seated love for the Virgin, and absolute belief in
her power to help in all the joys and sorrows of life is one of the
strongest characteristics of this naturally religious people. The names
given at baptism are almost all hers. Dolores, Amparo, Pilar, Trinidad,
Carmen, Concepcion,--abbreviated into Concha,--are, in full, Maria de
Dolores, del Pilar, and so forth, and are found among men almost as much
as among women. The idea of the ever-constant sympathy of the divine
Mother appeals perhaps even more strongly to the man, carrying with it
his worship of perfect womanhood, and awakening the natural chivalry of
his nature. Be this as it may, the influence of the Virgin, and the
sincerity of her worship in every stage of life, in all its dangers and
in all its woes, is a religion in itself.



CHAPTER III

NATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS


Certain strong characteristics of the Spanish people, with which the
history of the world makes us well acquainted, are as marked in this
hurrying age of railway and telegraph as ever they were in the past. One
of the stupid remarks one constantly hears made by the unthinking
tourist is: "Spain is a country where nothing ever changes." This is as
true of some of the national traits of character as it is false in the
sense in which the speaker means it. He has probably picked it out of
some handbook.

Chief among these traits is dignity. The most casual visitor is
impressed by it, sometimes very much to his annoyance, whether he finds
it among the unlettered muleteers of Castile, the labourers of Valencia,
or the present proprietor of some little Old-World _pueblo_ off the
ordinary route. The _mayoral_ of the diligence in the old times, the
domestic servant of to-day, the señora who happens to sell you fish, or
the señor who mends your boots, all strike the same note--an absolute
incapacity for imagining that there can be any inequality between
themselves and any other class, however far removed from them by the
possession of wealth or education. Wealth, in fact, counts for nothing
in the way of social rank; a poor _hidalgo_ is exactly as much respected
as a rich one, and he treats his tenants, his servants, all with whom he
comes in contact, as brothers of the same rank in the sight of God as
himself.

_Bajo el Rey ninguno_ is their proverb, and its signification, that
"beneath the King all are equal," is one that is shown daily in a
hundred ways. The formula with which you are expected to tell the
beggars--with whom, unfortunately, Spain is once more overrun--that you
have nothing for them, is a lesson in what someone has well called the
"aristocratic democracy" of Spain: "Pardon me, for the love of God, my
brother," or the simple _Perdone me usted_, using precisely the same
address as you would to a duke. It is no uncommon thing to hear two
little ragged urchins, whose heads would not reach to one's elbow,
disputing vigorously in the street with a _Pero no, Señor, Pero si,
Señor_, as they bandy their arguments.

English travellers are sometimes found grumbling because the señor who
keeps a wayside _posada_, or even a more pretentious inn in one of the
towns, does not stand, hat in hand, bowing obsequiously to the wayfarer
who deigns to use the accommodation provided.

This is one of the things in which Spain, to her honour, _is_
unchanged. The courtesy of her people, high or low, is ingrained, and if
foreign--perhaps especially English and American--travellers do not
always find it so, the fault may oftenest be laid to their own ignorance
of what is expected of them, and to what is looked upon as the absolute
boorishness of their own manners.

When a Spaniard goes into a shop where a woman is behind the counter, or
even to a stall in the open market, he raises his hat in speaking to her
as he would to the Duquesa de Tal y Fulano, and uses precisely the same
form of address. The shopman lays himself at the feet of his lady
customers--metaphorically only, fortunately, _Á los pies de V.,
Señora!_--with a bow worthy of royalty. She hopes that "God may remain
with his worship" as she bids him the ordinary _Adios_ on going away,
and he, with equal politeness, expresses a hope that she may "go in
God's keeping," while he once more lays himself at the señora's feet.
All these amenities do not prevent a little bargaining, the one asking
more than he means to take, apparently for the purpose of appearing to
give way perforce to the overmastering charms of his customer, who does
not disdain to use either her fan or her eyes in the encounter. The old
woman will bargain just as much, but always with the same politeness.
When foreigners walk in and abruptly ask for what they want with an air
of immense superiority, as is the custom in our country, they are not
unnaturally looked upon as _muy bruto_, and at the best it is accounted
for by their being rude heretics from abroad, and knowing no better.

In Madrid and some of the large towns it is possible that the people
have become accustomed to our apparent discourtesy, just as in some
places--Granada especially--spoiled by long intimacy with tourists, the
beggars have become importunate, and to some extent impudent; but in
places a little removed from such a condition of modern "civilisation,"
the effect produced by many a well-meaning but ordinary Saxon priding
himself on his superiority, and without any intention of being ill-bred
or ill-mannered, is that of disgust and contemptuous annoyance.

No Spaniard will put up with an overbearing or bullying manner, even
though he may not understand the language in which it is expressed; it
raises in him all the dormant pride and prejudice which sleep beneath
his own innate courtesy, and he probably treats the offending traveller
with the profound contempt he feels for him, if with nothing worse. A
little smiling and good-natured chaff when things go wrong, as they so
often do in travelling, or when the leisurely expenditure of time, which
is as natural to the Spaniard as it is irritating to our notions of how
things ought to move, will go infinitely farther to set things right
than black looks and a scolding tongue, even in an unknown language.

When English people come back from Spain complaining of discourtesy, or
what they choose to call insult, I know very well on whose head to fit
the accusing cap, and it is always those people whose super-excellent
opinion of themselves, and of their infinite importance at home, makes
them certain of meeting with some such experience among a people to whom
the mere expression "a snob" is by no means to be understood.

That railway travelling in Spain calls for a great exercise of patience
from those accustomed to Flying Dutchmen and such-like expresses is
quite true; though, by the way, many of the lines are in French hands,
and served by French officials. It may safely be said, however, even at
the present day, that those who are always in a hurry would do well to
choose some other country for their holiday jaunt. A well-known English
engineer, of French extraction, trying to get some business through in
Madrid, once described himself as feeling "like a cat in hell, without
claws." Perhaps the ignorance of the language, which constituted his
clawless condition, was a fortunate circumstance for him. But that was a
good while ago, and Madrid moves more quickly now.

Another characteristic of the Spaniard which awakens the respect and
admiration of those who know enough of his past and present history to
be aware of it is his courage: not in the least resembling the
excitement and rush of mere conflict, nor the theatrical display of what
goes by the name of "glory" among some of his neighbours; but the cool
courage, the invincible determination which holds honour as the ideal to
be followed all the same whether or not any person beyond the actor will
know of it, and an unquestioning obedience to discipline, which call
forth the ungrudging admiration of Englishmen, proud as we are of such
national stories as that of our own _Little Revenge, The Wreck of the
"Birkenhead,"_ or of "plucky little Mafeking," amongst hundreds of
others. Spaniards are rich in such inspiring memories, reaching from the
earliest days of authentic history to the terrible episodes of the late
war with America. The story of Cervera's fleet at Santiago de Cuba is
one to make the heart of any nation throb with pride in the midst of
inevitable tears.

Again and again in reading Spanish history do we come upon evidences of
this nobility of courage and disinterested patriotism. It was the
Spaniard Pescara who brushed the French army of observation from the
line of the Adda, and marched his own forces and the German troops to
the relief of Pavía. All were unpaid, unclothed, unfed; yet when an
appeal was made to the Spaniards, Hume tells us that they abandoned
their own pay and offered their very shirts and cloaks to satisfy the
Germans, and "the French were beaten before the great battle was
fought." They did precisely the same in the days of Mendizábal.

Again, in the height of Barbarossa's power, when Charles V., hoisting
the crucifix at his masthead, led his crusading Spaniards against
Goletta, and it fell, after a month's desperate siege, without pause or
rest the troops, half dead with heat and thirst, pressed on to Tunis to
liberate twenty thousand Christian captives. It was a splendid
achievement, for the campaign was fought in the fierce heat of an
African summer. Every barrel of biscuit, every butt of water, had to be
brought by sea from Sicily, and as there were no draught animals, the
soldiers themselves dragged their guns and all their provisions. It is,
as we well know, no light task to find six weeks' supply for thirty
thousand men with all our modern advantages; but these Spaniards did it
when already exhausted, half fed, burnt up by the fierce African sun,
and in face of an enemy well supplied with artillery and ammunition.

In the miserable time of Philip II., a garrison of two hundred men held
out for months against a Turkish army of twenty thousand men at
Mers-el-Keber; and the same heroic story is repeated at Malta, when the
enemy, after firing sixteen thousand cannon shots in one month against
the Christian forts, abandoned the siege in despair. Meanwhile the
unspeakable bigot, Philip, was wasting his time in processions,
rogations, and fasts, for the relief of the town, while he stirred no
finger to help it in any effective manner.

These are stories by no means few and far between; the whole history of
the race is full of such. We read of one town and garrison of eight
thousand souls, abandoned by their king, starved, and without clothes or
ammunition. Reduced at last to two thousand naked men, they stood in the
breach to be slain to a man by the conquering Turk. Conqueror only in
name, after all; for he who conquers is he who lives in history for a
great action, and whose undaunted courage fires other souls long after
he is at rest.

"But all this is very ancient history, of the days of Spain's greatness;
now she is a decadent nation," says the superficial observer. The column
of the _Dos de Mayo_ on the Prado of Madrid, with its yearly memorial
mass, shows whether that spirit is dead, or in danger of dying. The
second of May is well called the "Day of Independence"; it was, in fact,
the inauguration of the War of Independence, in which Spain gained
enough honour to satisfy the proudest of her sons. The French had
entered Madrid under pretence of being Spain's allies against Portugal,
and Murat, once settled there to his own perfect satisfaction, made no
secret of his master's intention to annex the whole peninsula. The
imbecile King, Charles IV., had abdicated; his son, Ferdinand VII., was
practically a captive in France. The country had, in fact, been sold to
Napoleon, neither more nor less, by the infamous Godoy, favourite of the
late King.

A riot broke out among the people on discovering that the French were
about to carry off the Spanish _Infantes_. The blood of some
comparatively innocent Frenchmen was shed, and the base governor and
magistrates of Madrid allowed Murat to make his own terms, which were
nothing less, in fact, than the dispersion of the troops, who were
ordered to clear out of their barracks, and hand them over to the
French. The two artillery officers, Daoiz and Valarde, with one infantry
officer named Ruiz, and a few of the populace, refused, and, all
unaided, attempted to hold the barracks of Monteleon against the French
army of invasion! The end was certain; but little recked these Spaniards
of the old type. Daoiz and Valarde were killed, the former murdered by
French bayonets after being wounded, on the cannon by which they had
stood alone against the whole power of the French troops; Ruiz also was
shot. On the following day, Murat led out some scores of the patriots
who had dared to oppose him, and shot them on the spot of the Prado now
sacred to their memory. Thus was the torch of the Peninsular War
lighted. As one man the nation rose; the labourer armed himself with his
agricultural implements, the workman with his tools; without leaders,
nay, in defiance of those who should have led them, the people sprang to
action, and, with England's help, the usurper was driven from the throne
of France, and finally caged in St. Helena. But it is never forgotten
that Spain--these two or three sons of hers preferring honour to
life--has the glory of having been the first to oppose and check the
man and the nation that aspired to tyrannise over Europe.

It is not too much to say that the conduct of every individual in
Cervera's fleet at Santiago de Cuba showed that the Spaniard's
magnificent courage, his absolute devotion to duty, and his disregard of
death are no whit less to-day than when those two thousand naked men
stood in the breach to be slain in the name of their country's honour.
The _Oquendo_, already a wreck, coming quietly out of her safe moorings
in obedience to the insane orders of the Government in Madrid, steering
her way with absolute coolness so as to clear the sunken _Diamante_, to
face certain and hideous death, is a picture which can never fade from
memory. It was said at the time by their enemies that there was not a
man in the Spanish fleet that did not deserve the Victoria Cross; and
this was all the more true because there was not even a forlorn hope: it
was obedience to orders in the absolute certainty of death, and, what
was harder still, with full knowledge of the utter uselessness of the
sacrifice.

It is difficult to imagine that anyone can read the record of this
heroic passage in the history of the Spain of to-day without a throb of
admiration and pity. No wonder that the generous enemy went out of their
way to do honour to the melancholy remnant of heroes as they mounted the
sides of the American ironclads, prisoners of war.

Cervantes gave to the world a new adjective when he wrote his romance
of _The Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha_--a world in which the
filibusters are those of commerce, the pirates those of trade. When we
English call an action "quixotic," we do not exactly mean disapproval,
but neither, certainly, do we intend admiration; unless it be that of
other-worldliness which it is well to affect, however far we may be from
practising it ourselves. It is, at best, something quite unnecessary, if
acknowledged to be admirable in the abstract. The quixotic are rarely
successful, and success is the measure by which everything is judged
to-day. Be that as it may, the more intimately one knows Spain, the more
one becomes aware that what is with us an amiable quality of somewhat
dubious value, is one of those which go to make up the Spaniard in every
rank of life. His chivalry, his fine sense of honour, are nothing if not
quixotic, as we understand the word; and just as in Scotland alone does
one appreciate the characters in Sir Walter Scott's novels, so in Spain
does one feel that, with due allowance for a spirit of kindly
caricature, Don Quijote de la Mancha is not only possible, but it is a
type of character as living to-day as it was when the genius of
Cervantes distilled and preserved for all time that most quaint,
lovable, inconsequent, and chivalrous combination of qualities which
constitute a Spanish gentleman. Among her writers, her thinkers, her
workers--nay, even now and then among her politicians--we come upon
traits which remind us vividly of the ingenious gentleman and perfect
knight of romance.

But this estimate of the Spanish character differs a good deal from the
pictures drawn of it by the casual tourist; and it is scarcely
surprising that it should be so. It has been well said that "the
contrast between the ideal of honour and the practice of pecuniary
corruption has always been a peculiar feature of Spain and her
settlements." If we hear one thing oftener than another said of Spain,
it is fault-finding with her public men; the evils of bribery,
corruption, and self-seeking amongst what should be her statesmen, and,
above all, her Government employees, are pointed out, and by none more
than by Spaniards themselves. There is a good deal of truth at the
bottom of these charges; they are the melancholy legacy of the years of
misrule and of the darkness through which the country has struggled on
her difficult way. No one looks for the highest type of character in any
country among its party politicians. The creed that good becomes evil if
it is carried out under one _régime_, and evil good under another, is
not calculated to raise the moral perception; and it is only when a
politician has convictions and principles which are superior to any
office-holding, and will break with his party a hundred times sooner
than stultify his own conscience, that he earns the respect of
onlookers. There are, and have been, many such men among the politicians
of Spain whose names remain as watchwords with her people; but they
have too often stood alone, and were not strong enough to leaven the
mass and raise the whole standard of political integrity. Some of the
highest and best men, moreover, have thrown down their tools and
withdrawn from contact with a life which seemed to them tainted. But
because Spain has done much in overthrowing her evil rulers and is
struggling upwards towards the light, we expect wonders, and will not
give time for what must always be a slow and difficult progress.

In Spain, everyone is a politician. The schoolboy, who with us would be
thinking of nothing more serious than football, aspires to sum up the
situation and give his opinion of the public men as if he were an
ex-prime minister at least. These orators of the _cafés_ and the street
corners are delighted to find a foreigner on whom they can air their
unfledged opinions, and the traveller who can speak or understand a few
words of Spanish comes back with wonderful accounts of what "a Spaniard
whom I met in the train told me." In any case, no one ever says as hard
things of his countrymen as a Spaniard will say of those who do not
belong to the particular little political clique which has the extreme
honour of counting himself as one of its number. These cliques--for one
cannot call them parties--are innumerable, called, for the most part,
after one man, of whom no one has heard except his particular friends,
_Un Señor muy conocido en su casa, sobre todo á la hora de comer_, as
their saying is: "A gentleman very well known in his own house,
especially at dinner-time."

[Illustration: PAST WORK]

[Illustration: KNIFE-GRINDER]

Ford is answerable for many of the fixed ideas about Spain which it
seems quite impossible to remove. Much that may have been true in the
long ago, when he wrote his incomparable Guide Book, has now passed away
with the all-conquering years; but still all that he ever said is
repeated in each new book with unfailing certainty. Much as he really
loved Spain, it must be confessed that he now and then wrote of her with
a venom and bitterness quite at variance with his usual manner of
judging things. It is in great part due to him that so much
misunderstanding exists as to the Spanish custom of "offering" what is
not intended to be accepted. If that peculiarity ever existed--for my
part, I have never met with it at any time--it does so no longer. When a
Spaniard speaks of his house as that of "your Grace" (_su casa de
Usted_), it is simply a figure of speech, which has no more special
meaning than our own "I am delighted to see you," addressed to some one
whose existence you had forgotten, and will forget again; but nothing
can exceed the generous hospitality often shown to perfect strangers in
country districts where the accommodation for travellers is bad, when
any real difficulty arises.

It is customary, for instance, in travelling, when you open your
luncheon-basket, to offer to share its contents with any strangers who
may chance to be fellow-passengers. Naturally, it is merely a form of
politeness, and, in an ordinary way, no one thinks of accepting
it--everyone has his own provision, or is intending to lunch somewhere
on the way; but it is by no means an empty form. If it should chance, by
some accident, that you found yourself without--as has happened to me in
a diligence journey which lasted twenty hours when it was intended only
to occupy twelve--the Spanish fellow-travellers will certainly insist on
your accepting their offer. Also, if they should be provided with fresh
fruit--oranges, dates, or figs--and you are not, their offer to share is
by no means made with the hope or expectation that you will say _Muchas
gracias_, the equivalent of "No, thank you."

What is really difficult and embarrassing sometimes is to avoid having
pressed on your acceptance some article which you may have admired, in
your ignorance of the custom, which makes it the merest commonplace of
the Spaniard to "place it at your disposition," or to say: "It is
already the property of your Grace." Continued refusal sometimes gives
offence. The custom of never doing to-day what you can quite easily put
off till to-morrow is, unfortunately, still a common trait of Spanish
character; but as the Spaniard is rapidly becoming an alert man of
business, it is not likely that that will long remain one of the
national characteristics. Time in old days seemed of very little value
in a country where trade was looked upon as a disgrace, or at least as
unfitting any one to enter the charmed circle of the first _Grandeza_;
but that is of the past now in Spain, as in most countries. To be sure,
it has not there become fashionable for ladies to keep bonnet-shops or
dress-making establishments, nor to open afternoon tea-rooms or
_orchaterias_, still less to set up as so-called financiers, as it has
with us. However, even that may come to pass in the struggle for "_el_
high life," of which some of the Spanish writers complain so bitterly.
Imagination absolutely refuses, however, to see the Spanish woman of
rank in such surroundings.

For the rest, the Spanish woman, wherever you meet her, and in whatever
rank of society, is devout, naturally kind-hearted and sympathetic,
polite, and entirely unaffected; a good mother, sister, daughter;
hard-working and frugal, if she be of the lower class; fond above all
things of gossip, and of what passes for conversation; light-hearted,
full of fun and harmless mischief; born a coquette, but only with that
kind of coquetry which is inseparable from unspoiled sex, with no taint
of sordidness about it; and, before all things, absolutely free from
affectation. Their own expression, _muy simpática_, gives better than
any other the charm of the Spanish woman, whether young or old, gentle
or simple.

It was the possession of all these qualities in a high degree by Doña
Isabel II. that covered the multitude of her sins, and made all who
came within her influence speak gently of her, and think more of excuses
than of blame. It is these qualities which give so much popularity to
her daughter, the Infanta Isabel, who, like her mother, is above all
things _muy Española_. That the Spanish woman is passionate, goes
without saying; one only has to watch the quick flash of her
eye--"throwing out sparks," as their own expression may be
translated--to be aware of that. While the eyes of the men are for the
most part languid, only occasionally flashing forth, those of the women
are rarely quiet for a moment; they sparkle, they languish, they
flame--a whole gamut of expression in one moment of time; and it must be
confessed that they look upon man as their natural prey.



CHAPTER IV

SPANISH SOCIETY


There is something specially charming about Spanish society, its freedom
from formality, the genuine pleasure and hospitality with which each
guest is received, and the extreme simplicity of the entertainment. In
speaking, however, of society in Madrid and other modern towns, it must
be remembered that the old manners and customs are to a great extent
being modified and assimilated with those of the other Continental
cities. A great number of the Spanish nobility spend the season in Paris
or in London as regularly as any of the fashionable people in France or
England. There is no country life in Spain, as we understand the word;
those of the upper ten thousand who have castles or great houses in the
provinces rarely visit them, and still more rarely entertain there. A
hunting or a shooting party at one of these is quite an event; so when
the great people leave Madrid, it is generally to enter into London or
Paris society, and, naturally, when they are at home they to a great
extent retain cosmopolitan customs. At the foreign legations or
ministries also, society loses much of its specially Spanish character.

The word _tertulia_ simply means a circle or group in society; but it
has come to signify a species of "At Home" much more informal than
anything we have in the way of evening entertainment. The _tertulia_ of
a particular lady means the group of friends who are in the habit of
frequenting her drawing-room. The Salon del Prado is the general
meeting-place of all who feel more inclined for _al fresco_
entertainment than for close rooms, and the different groups of friends
meeting there draw their chairs together in small circles, and thus hold
their _tertulia_. The old Countess of Montijo was so much given to
open-handed hospitality, and it was so easy for any English person to
obtain an introduction to her _tertulia_, that her daughter, the Empress
Eugénie, used to call it the _Prado cubierto_--"only the Prado with a
roof on." It is not customary for anything but the very lightest of
refreshments to be offered at the ordinary _tertulia_, and this is one
of its great charms, for little or no expense is incurred, and those who
are not rich can still welcome their friends as often as they like
without any of the terrific preparations for the entertainment which
make it a burden and a bore, and without a rueful glance at the weekly
bill afterwards. Occasionally, chocolate is handed round, and any amount
of tumblers of cold water. The chocolate is served in small coffee-cups,
and is of the consistency of oatmeal porridge; but it is delicious all
the same, very light and well frothed up. It is "eaten" by dipping
little finger-rusks or sponge-chips into the mixture, and you are
extremely glad of the glass of cold water after it. This is, however,
rather an exception; lemonade, _azucarillas_ and water, or tea served in
a separate room about twelve o'clock, is more usual. The _azucarilla_ is
a confection not unlike "Edinburgh rock," but more porous and of the
nature of a meringue. You stir the water with it, when it instantly
dissolves, flavouring the water with vanilla, lemon, or orange, as well
as sugar. Sometimes you are offered meringues, which you eat first, and
then drink the water.

I have a very perfect recollection of my first _tertulia_ in Madrid,
when I was a very young girl. We had been asked to go quite early, as we
were the strangers of the evening. Between seventy and eighty guests
dropped in, the ladies chiefly in morning dress, as we understand the
word. A Spanish lady never rises to receive a gentleman; but when any
ladies entered the large drawing-room where we were all seated, every
one rose and stood while the new arrivals made the circuit of the room,
shaking hands with their friends or kissing them on both cheeks, and
giving a somewhat undignified little nod to those whom they did not
know. The first time every one rose I thought we were going to sing a
hymn, or take part in some ceremony; but as it had to be repeated each
time a lady entered the room, I began to wish they would all come at
once. As soon as the dancing began, however, this ceremony was
discontinued. When you are introduced to a partner, the first thing he
does is to inquire your Christian name; from that time forth he
addresses you by it, as if he had known you from infancy, and in
speaking to him you are expected to use his surname alone. If there be
more than one brother, you address the younger one as "Arturo," "Ramon,"
or whatever his Christian name may be. The diminutives are, however,
almost always used--Pacquita, Juanito, etc., in place of Francisca or
Juan. Even the middle-aged and old ladies are always spoken to by their
Christian names, and it is quite common to hear a child of six
addressing a lady who is probably a grandmother as "Luisa" or
"Mariquita."

Between the dances the pauses were unusually long, but they were never
spent by the ladies sitting in rows round the walls, while the men
blocked up the doorways and looked bored. There were no "flirting
corners," and sitting out on the stairs _à deux_ would have been a
_compromiso_. The whole company broke up into little knots and circles,
the chairs, which had been pushed into corners or an ante-room, were
fetched out, and the men, without any sort of shyness, generally seated
themselves in front of the ladies, and kept up a perfectly wild hubbub
of conversation until the music for the next dance struck up. Dowagers
and _dueñas_ were few; they sat in the same spot all the evening, and
asked each other what rent they paid, how many _chimeneas_ (fireplaces)
they had, whether they burned wood or coal, and lamented over the price
of both. They reminded one irresistibly of the "two crumbly old women"
in _Kavanagh_ "who talked about moths, and cheap furniture, and the best
cure for rheumatism."

The dances were the same as ours, with some small differences: the
_rigodon_ is a variation of the quadrille, and the lancers are slightly
curtailed. There was a decided fancy for the polka and a species of
mazurka, which I remembered having learned from a dancing-master in the
dawn of life, under some strange and forgotten name. Spaniards dance
divinely--nothing less. They waltz as few other men do, a very poetry of
motion, an abandonment of enjoyment, as if their soul were in it,
especially if the music be somewhat languid. This is especially the case
with the artillery officers, who are great favourites in society, and
belong exclusively to the upper ranks.

I have described this _tertulia_ at length because it was a typical one
of many. The cotillon was a great favourite, and generally closed the
evening. I always had an idea that one cause of its popularity was the
extended opportunities it gave for a couple who found each other's
company pleasant to enjoy it without much interference. It rather made
up for the loss of the staircase and the window-seats, or balconies,
dear to English dancers. The rooms are generally kept in a stifling
state of heat, a thick curtain always hanging over the door, and never
an open window or any kind of ventilation; this, however, does not
inconvenience the Spaniard in the least. It is usual to smoke during the
intervals of the dances--cigarettes as a rule; but I have often known a
man to lay his cigar on the edge of a table, and give it a whiff between
the rounds of a _valse_ to keep it going.

This, however, is the Spanish _tertulia_. You are "offered the house"
once and for always, and told the evenings on which your hostess
"receives," generally once, sometimes many more times in the week; then
you drop in, without further invitation, whenever you feel inclined;
after the opera, or on the days when there is no opera, or on your way
from the theatre, or at any hour. This sort of visiting puts an end to
what we, by courtesy, call "morning calls." There is always conversation
to any amount, generally cards, music, and, when there are sufficient
young people, a dance.

There is no exclusiveness and no caste about Spanish society; all the
houses are open, and the guests are always welcome. There are, of
course, the houses of the nobility, and there are many grades in this
_Grandeza_, some being of very recent creation, others of the
uncontaminated _sangre azul_; but there is no hard-and-fast line. The
successful politician or the popular writer has the entrée anywhere,
and there is no difficulty about going into the very best of the Court
society, if one has friends in that _tertulia_. One guest asks
permission to present his or her friend, the permission is courteously
granted, and the thing is done. Poets and dramatists are in great
request in Madrid society. It is the custom to ask them to recite their
own compositions, and as almost every Spaniard is a poet, whatever else
he may be, there is no lack of entertainment. All the popular
authors--Campoamor, Nuñez de Arce, Pelayo, Valera, and many others--may
thus be heard; but the paid performer (so common in London
drawing-rooms) of music, light drama, or poetical recitation, is
probably absolutely unknown in Madrid society.

During the season balls are given occasionally at the Palace, and at the
houses of the great nobility, the Fernan-Nuñez, the Romana, the
Medinaceli, and others, whose names are as well known in Paris and
London as in Madrid. Dinner-parties are also becoming much more common
in private houses than they were before the Restoration, and as for
public dinners, they are so frequent that they bid fair to become of the
same importance as the like institution in England. Costume balls,
dances, dinners, and evening entertainments among the _corps
diplomatique_ abound. Everyone in Madrid has a box or stall at the
Teatro Real, or opera-house, and many ladies make a practice of
"receiving" in their _palcos_; and in the entrance-hall, after the
performance is over, an hour may be spent, while ostensibly waiting for
carriages, in conversation, gossip, mild flirtation, and generally
making one's self agreeable among the groups all engaged in the same
amusement. Almost everyone, also, whatever his means may be, has an
_abono_ at one or other of the numerous theatres, sometimes at more than
one; and if it be a box, the subscribers take friends with them, or
receive visits there. It is a common thing, either in the opera-house or
in the theatres, for a couple of friends to join in the _abono_; in this
case it is arranged on which nights the whole box or the two or three
stalls shall be the property of each in turn. Besides paying for the
seats, there is always a separate charge each night made for the
_entrada_--in the Teatro Real it is a peseta and a half, in the others
one peseta. By this arrangement anyone can enter the theatre by paying
the _entrada_, and take chance of finding friends there, frequently
spending an hour or so going from one box to another. All this gives the
theatre more the air of being an immense "At Home" than what we are
accustomed to in England. The intervals between the acts are very long,
and, as all the men smoke, somewhat trying.

Spanish women are great dressers, and the costumes seen at the
race-meetings at the Hippodrome, and in the Parque, are elaborately
French, and sometimes startling. The upper middle class go to Santander,
Biarritz, or one of the other fashionable watering-places, and it is
said of the ladies that they only stop as many days as they can sport
new costumes. If they go for a fortnight they must have fifteen
absolutely new dresses, as they would never think of putting one on a
second time. They take with them immense trunks, such as we generally
associate with American travellers; these are called _mundos_
(worlds)--a name which one feels certain was given by the suffering man
who is expected to look after them.

There are many little details in Spanish life, even of the upper
classes, which strike one as odd. One, for instance, is the perfect
_sangfroid_ with which they pick their teeth in public; but so little is
this considered, as with us, a breach of good manners, that the
dinner-tables are supplied with dainty little ornaments filled with
tooth-picks, and these are handed round to the guests by the waiters
towards the close of the meal. Nor is it an unknown thing for a Spanish
lady to spit. I have seen it done out of a carriage window in the
fashionable drive without any hesitation. At the same time, as one of
the great charms of a Spanish woman is the total absence in her of
anything savouring of affectation, one would far sooner overlook customs
that are unknown in polite society with us than have them lose their own
characteristics in an attempt to imitate the social peculiarities of
other nations that have incorporated the ominous word "snob" in their
vocabularies. It has no equivalent in the language of Castile, and it
is to be hoped will never be borrowed. Nevertheless, a recent Spanish
writer laments the fact that in the race for "_el_ high life" his
fellow-countrywomen "are not ashamed to drink whisky!" We have yet to
learn that whisky-drinking among women is an element of good style in
any class of English society. The idea that Spanish ladies were in the
habit of smoking in past times is a mistake. If they do so now it is an
instance of the race for "_el_ high life," of which the writer quoted
above complains.

In imitation of foreign customs, many of the ladies in Madrid and the
more modern cities have established their "day" for afternoon visitors.
After all, this is but the Spanish _tertulia_ at a different hour, but
if it should ever supersede the real evening _tertulia_ it will be a
thousand pities; it would be far more sensible if we were to adopt the
Spanish custom, rather than that they should follow ours. In the
evening, the hour varying, of course, with the time of year, all Madrid
goes to drive, ride, or walk in the Buen Retiro, now called the Parque
de Madrid. It is beautifully laid out, with wide, well-kept roads and
well-cared-for gardens; it has quite superseded the Paseo de la Fuente
Castellano, which used to be the "Ladies' Mile" of Madrid.

Madrid is a city of which one hears the most contradictory accounts. The
mere traveller not uncommonly pronounces it "disappointing, uninteresting,
less foreign than most Continental capitals,"--"everything to be seen at
best second-rate France," etc., etc. The Museo, of course, must be
admired,--even the most ignorant know that to contemn that is to write
themselves down as Philistines;--but for the rest, they confess themselves
glad to escape, after two or three days spent in La Corte, to what they
fancy will prove more interesting towns, or, at any rate, to something
which they hope will be more characteristic. But those who settle in
Madrid, or know it well, winter and summer, and have friends among its
hospitable people, come to love it, one might almost say, strangely,
because it is not the love that springs from habit or mere familiarity,
but something much warmer and more personal. One charm it has, which is
felt while there and pleasantly remembered in absence--its much-maligned
climate. The position of Madrid at the apex of a high table-land, two
thousand one hundred and sixty feet above the level of the sea, with its
wide expanse of plain on every hand but that on which the Guadarramas
break the horizon with their rugged, often snow-capped, peaks, naturally
exposes it to rapid changes of temperature; that is to say, that if the
snow is still lying on the Sierra, and the wind should chance to blow from
that direction on Madrid, which is steeped in sunshine winter and summer
for far the greater part of the year, there is nothing to break its course,
and naturally, a Madrileño, crossing from the sheltered corner, where
he has been "taking the sun," to the shady side of the street and the
full force of the chilly blast, will be very likely to "catch an air,"
as the Spaniard expresses it. But that _tan sutil aire de Madrid_, which
Ford seems to have discovered, and which every guide-book and slip-shod
itinerary has ever since quoted, might very well now be allowed to find
a place in the limbo of exploded myths; it has done far more than its
duty in terrifying visitors quite needlessly. That _pulmonia fulminante_
(acute pneumonia) is a very common disease among the men of Madrid,
there is no doubt, and in the days when Ford wrote, they were no doubt
immediately bled, and so hastened on their way out of this troublesome
world by the doctors; but one has not very far to seek for the cause of
this scourge when one notices the habits of the Madrileño. In the first
place he hates nothing quite so much as fresh air, and the cafés, clubs,
taverns, and places where he resorts are kept in such a state of heated
stuffiness that it seems scarcely an exaggeration to say that the air
could be cut out in junks, like pieces of cake. If he travel by train,
all windows must be kept closely shut, while he smokes all the time.
When, at last, it is necessary to brave the outer air in order to reach
home, he, carefully and before leaving the vitiated atmosphere he has
been breathing, envelops himself in his cloak, throwing the heavy cape,
generally lined with velvet or plush, across his mouth and nose, barely
leaving his eyes visible; he thus has three or four folds of cloth and
velvet as a respirator. It often happens that at the corner of some
street the long arm of the icy "Guadarrama" reaches him; a sudden gust
of wind plucks off his respirator, and the mischief is done. But should
he reach the safe closeness of his own house, he has certainly done his
level best to charge his lungs with unwholesome and contaminated air.

You have only to see the women on the coldest day in winter with nothing
over their heads but a silk or lace mantilla, or a mere _velo_ of net,
and the working-women with nothing but their magnificent hair, or, at
most, a kerchief, to be certain that it is not the "air" that is to
blame. I have seen the women going about Madrid in winter, both by day
and night, when the men were muffled to the eyes, with thicker dresses,
of course, and perhaps a fur cape, but no sort of wrap about their head
or throat; and _pulmonia_ is comparatively unknown among women. To
English people, accustomed to plenty of fresh air and water, Madrid has
never been an unhealthy place, and it is extremely probable that one of
these days our doctors will be sending their consumptive patients there
for the winter. They might easily do worse.

One of the coldest winters I remember in Madrid, a young Englishman came
out with a letter of introduction from friends. He looked as if he had
not many weeks to live, and in truth he was condemned by his doctors,
and his hours were numbered. He was a Yorkshireman by birth, but had
some years past developed seeds of consumption. He had been sent year
after year to Madeira and other of the old resorts, having been told
that a winter in England would certainly finish him. Finally, he made
his doctors tell him the truth: it was that he had not many months,
perhaps not many weeks, to live.

"Very well, then," he replied, "there is no use worrying any more about
my health. I shall do my best to enjoy the little time I may have left."
He threw all his medicines and remedies out of the window, he looked out
for the most unhealthy place he could find, where he would be most
certain of never meeting another consumptive patient; and in the course
of the search he came across the well-worn chestnut about the air of
Madrid. "That is the place for me," he exclaimed; "only strong and
healthy people can live there. At any rate, so long as I do live, I
shall be amongst sound lungs, and shall see no more fellow-sufferers.
The _aire tan sutil_ will kill me, and that will be the end of the
matter." So far from killing him, the fine champagne-like air of Madrid
went as near curing him as was possible for a man with only one lung. He
took no precautions, never wrapped up, went out at night as well as by
day, and when he died, fourteen years later, it was not of consumption.
He used to come to Madrid for the winter to escape the damp of England,
and revelled in the warmth and freshness of that sun-steeped air.

The climate of Madrid has sensibly altered since I have known it, and
will continue to do so as vegetation increases and trees spring up and
grow to perfection within and around it. In the old times, before the
splendid service of water of the Lozoya Canal was in common use, the air
was so dry as to make one's skin uncomfortable, and one's hair to break
off into pieces like tinder under the brush; there was also a constant
thickening in the throat, causing slight discomfort, and a penetrating,
impalpable dust which nothing ever laid, and which formed a veritable
cloud reaching far above the heads of the promenaders in the Salon del
Prado. A very short time changed all this. Twice a day the streets were
watered with far-reaching hose, a constant stream ran about the stems of
the trees in the Prado, gardens were planted and constantly watered, and
while the hitherto barren, dust-laden places began to blossom as the
rose, the air itself became softer, less trying, and, perhaps, there is
rather more uncertainty about the weather, or at any rate a greater
rainfall. At one time there were but two rainy seasons--spring and
autumn--and never a cloud in between. For about three days clouds would
be gathering gradually in the sky, beginning with one literally "no
bigger than a man's hand." Whenever there was a cloud, you might be
certain of rain, past or to come. Then one day, when there was no longer
any blue to be seen, the heavens opened and the rain came down. There
could be no mistake about it. When it rains or thunders in Madrid, it
tries to get it all over as quickly as possible. There is nothing like
doing a thing well when you are about it, and Madrid thoroughly
understands this matter of rain. It never ceases, never tempts people to
go out and then drowns them. No, if you go out, it is with a thorough
understanding of what you are undertaking; and if you are disposed to be
critical about anything in the municipal management of La Corte now, try
to imagine what it was when the water from the roofs was carried out in
wide pipes a few feet from the edge, and allowed to pour on the heads of
the defenceless foot-passengers, or almost to break in the roof of
carriage or cab which had to pass under them. This is the time to learn
why the bridges over the Manzanares are so wide and so strong; not one
whit too much of either, if they are to withstand the mighty on-rush. We
used to go off to the Casa de Campo the moment the rain was over, for
the sake of seeing Madrid as one never sees it at other times--its
magnificent Palace crowning the steep bluff, round which a mighty river
is rushing to the sea.

The rain lasts a week, a fortnight, or even more, and then the sky takes
at least three days to clear, during which it resembles our English
white-flecked blue, or its hurrying grey masses, and the cloud-shadows
fly over the wide landscape, now all suddenly changed to verdure, and
lie on the distant _sierra_, giving an unwonted charm to the scene. The
Casa de Campo, the Florida, and all green spots become carpeted with
wild flowers; the trees seem to have put on new leafage, so fresh are
they and free from the over-loading of dust. And then, gradually, the
Manzanares repents him of his anger and haste; no more foam is dashing
against the piers of the bridges, no more crested waves are hurrying
before the wind; he sinks gently and slowly back to his accustomed
lounging pace, "taking the sun" with lazy ease once more; and the
washerwomen come down and resume their labours under the plane trees;
and there is no more thought of rain for many a week, perhaps month, to
come; and that strangely deep, impenetrable vault of a blue unknown
elsewhere spreads its canopy over a clean, rain-washed city.

The Parque de Madrid, which lies high above the Prado, affords a
striking view of the country on all sides. An Englishman of wide
Continental experience, describing this prospect, says he was "more than
recompensed by the sudden apparition, through an opening between the
houses, of the exquisite _campagna_ that surrounds Madrid.... Compared
with that of Rome, it seemed to me clearer, and more extensive, while
the hue of the atmosphere that overspread it was of a rich purple." I
have quoted these remarks because it is so rare for English visitors,
accustomed to the lush green of our own meadows and woods, to find
anything to admire in what is too often called the "mangy," or at best
the "arid," surroundings of the capital of Spain. This, however, was
written in September, and there had been heavy rains; after the crops
are gathered and before the autumn rains come on, the prospect is
scarcely so much to be admired. That the view is extensive, no one can
deny; there is unbroken horizon, except where the rugged peaks of the
Guadarramas pierce the sky, and the atmospheric effects are often
marvellously beautiful, especially when the swift shadows of clouds pass
over the wide landscape, or lie upon the "everlasting hills."

For myself, this vast expanse, with the sense of immensity which we
generally are only able to associate with the sea, has always had an
extraordinary charm. I have seen it at all times of the year, early in
the morning, and at, or just before, sundown--nay, even once or twice by
moonlight, or with the marvellous blue vault overhead, that seems so
much higher and greater there than elsewhere, studded with planet and
star, luminous beyond all that we know in our little island, where the
blue is so pale by comparison, and the atmosphere laden with moisture
when we think it most clear. I do not remember elsewhere in Spain, or in
any other country, such a depth of sky or such brilliancy of moon and
star light as in Madrid, where it is as easy to read by night as by day
on some occasions.

Given plenty of water, and Madrid is an ideal place for flowers. Such
carnations as those which are grown in the nursery gardens there are
never seen elsewhere--they are a revelation in horticulture; nor are the
roses any less wonderful. The bouquet with which a Spaniard, whether
_hidalgo_ or one of your servants, greets your birthday is generally a
pyramid almost as tall as yourself. It needs to be placed in a large
earthenware jar on the floor, and if you should be happy enough to have
a good many friends, there is scarcely room for anything else in your
_gabinete_. The flowers one can raise in a balcony in Madrid merely by
using plenty of water, syringing the dust off the leaves, and shading
them occasionally from the worst heat, are more than equal to anything a
hothouse in England can produce. An idea may be formed of the really
marvellous fertility of the soil and climate by the rapidity with which
seeds develop. I remember one summer, when some of the new gardens were
being laid out in the Buen Retiro, a grand concert and evening _fête_
was to be given as the opening function. On the evening before this
entertainment was to take place we happened to be near, and strolled in
to see how the preparations were going on. The gravel walks were all
there, the stands for the bands, the Chinese lanterns hanging from the
trees, but where was the grass? Alas! wherever it ought to have been
were to be seen brown, sad-looking patches of bare earth, not a blade
springing anywhere; what was worse, an army of gardeners were, at that
moment only, sowing the seed in some patches, while others were being
rolled, and watered with hose. _Cosa de España!_ of course. It had been
put off to _mañana_, until now there might be _fête_, but no gardens.
The following evening, when in company with all Madrid we went to the
concert, behold a transformation! Soft, green, velvety sward--not to be
walked on, it is true, but lovely to behold--covered the patches so
absolutely bald twenty-four hours ago. The seed we had seen sown had
sprung up as thickly as finest cut velvet. _Cosa de España_, indeed! It
is not always in Spain--the land of the unexpected--that _Mañana
verémos_ is foolishness.

Until after Christmas the winter in Madrid is charming, even if it be
cold; the glorious sunshine from dawn to sunset, the fine exhilarating
air, raise one's spirits unconsciously; but very often the old year is
dead before any real cold comes on. I have sat out in the Buen Retiro
many a day in December with book or work, and scarcely any more wrap
than one wears in summer in England. After that there is generally a
cold, and perhaps disagreeable, spell, when the wind comes howling
across the plains straight from the snow and ice, and the Madrileño
thinks it terrible; as a matter of fact, so long as the sky remains
clear, there is always one side of the street where one can be warm.
Sometimes, but not often, the cold weather or the bitter winds last
pretty far into the spring, and it has certainly happened in the depth
of the frost that one of the sentries on duty at the Palace, on the side
facing the mountains, was found frozen to death when the relief came.
After that the watch was made shorter, and the change of guard more
frequent in winter. I have seen the Estanque Grande in the Retiro
covered with ice several inches thick; but as all Madrid turned out to
see the wonder and watch the foreigners skate, a thing that appeared
never to have been seen before, it could not have been a very common
occurrence.

Riding early in the morning in winter outside Madrid, even with the sun
shining brightly and a cloudless sky, the cold was often intense,
especially in the dells and hollows. We have often had to put our hands
under the saddle to keep them from freezing, so as to be able to feel
the reins, and if I were riding with the sun on the off-side, my feet
would become perfectly dead to feeling. But what an air it was!
Something to be remembered, and long before we reached home we were in a
delicious glow. The horses, English thoroughbreds, enjoyed it immensely,
and went like the wind. I have been in Madrid in every part of the year,
and never found it unbearably hot, though one does not generally wait
for July or August; but here again the lightness and dryness of the air
seem to make heat much easier to bear. Numbers of Madrid people think
nothing of remaining there all the summer through.



CHAPTER V

MODERN MADRID


Madrid has grown out of all knowledge in the last thirty years. No one
who had not seen it since the time of Isabel II. would recognise it now,
and even then much had been done since Ferdinand VII. had come back from
his fawning and despicable captivity in France--where he had gloried in
calling himself a "French prince"--to act the despot in his own country.
The Liberal Ministers who, for short periods, had some semblance of
power during the regency of Cristina had done a little to restore the
civilisation and light established by Charles III., and wholly quenched
in the time of his unworthy and contemptible successors. But even in
1865, the Alcalá Gate, standing where the Plaza de la Independencia is
now, formed one boundary of Madrid, the Gate of Atocha was still
standing at the end of the _paseo_ of that name, and the Gate of Sta.
Barbara formed another of the limits of the city. The Museo was
unfinished and only to be entered by a side door, encumbered with
builders' rubbish and half-hewn blocks of stone. The Paseo of la Fuente
Castellana ended the Prado, and not a house was to be seen beyond the
Mint, or outside the Gate of Alcalá.

All the town outside these barriers has arisen since; the magnificent
viaduct across the Calle de Segovia, the Markets, the Parque de Madrid,
the Hippodrome, the present Plaza de Toros, all are new. The old Bull
Ring stood just outside the Alcalá Gate, and all beyond it was open
country; no _casas palacias_ along the Fuente Castellana, no Barrio
Salamanca. Madrid has, however, always been a cheerful, noisy, stirring
city, full of life and the expression of animal spirits. In days not so
very long past the streets were filled with picturesque costumes of the
provinces, with gaily decorated mules and donkeys carrying immense loads
of hay or straw, or huge nets filled with melons or pumpkins, almost
hiding everything but the head and the feet of the animal; or a
smart-looking "Jacket" man from the country districts would go whistling
by, Asturians, Murcians, Gallegos, gypsies, _toreros_ in their brilliant
_traje_ Andaluz--always to be recognised by their tiny pigtails of hair,
and by their splendidly lithe and graceful carriage--all these jostling,
singing, chaffing each other, while the jingling bells on innumerable
horses, mules, donkeys, rang through the sunlit air, and made the Puerta
de Sol and the streets branching from it a constant scene of life and
gaiety. Now and then would come the deep clang of the huge bell of the
draught oxen, drawing their Old-World carts, often with solid discs of
wood for wheels, while the women of the lower class sported their
brilliantly embroidered Manila shawls, chattered, and fluttered their
gaily-coloured fans just like the other señoritas. Mantillas, even then,
were only to be seen on old ladies; but the smart little _velo_
coquettishly fastened with a natural flower adorned all the young
girls--French millinery, which never suits a Spanish face, being kept
for the evening _paseo_. It is a pity these national costumes have gone
out of fashion. A Spanish girl with _velo_ and fan is something quite
superior to the same fascinating young person dressed after the style of
Paris--with a difference; for there is always a difference.

[Illustration: OUTSIDE THE PLAZA DE TOROS, MADRID]

Madrid, in fact, is becoming cosmopolitan, and is little to be
distinguished from other capitals, except in the _barrios bajos_ on the
national _fiestas_, and wherever the country people, as distinguished
from the Madrid work-people, congregate. These last are rapidly losing
all picturesqueness, dressing just as the workers in any other capital
dress. They are, perhaps, still no less _gatos_ (cats), those of them at
least who have had the honour of being born in La Corte, this being the
name given them by their fellow country-people.

If it be meant as a term of reproach, the Madrileño has an excellent
answer in giving the history of its origin. In the reign of Alfonso VI.,
during one of the many war-like operations of this King, he wished to
take an important and difficult fortress, and had collected all his
forces to attack it--the Madrileños alone were late; it was, in fact,
only the day before the assault was to take place that they arrived upon
the scene. The King was furious, and when their leader approached his
Majesty to know where the troops were to bivouac for the night, he
replied that there was no room in his camp for laggards; pointing to the
enemy's fortress, he added: "_There_ will be found plenty of lodging for
those who come too late for any other." Saluting his Majesty very
courteously, the soldier withdrew, understanding thoroughly the indirect
sneer at the valour of his troops; he went back to his regiment,
summoned his officers and men, and repeated to them the King's word. One
and all agreed that they would, in fact, seek their night's lodging just
where the King had indicated. Impossible as the feat appeared, they
instantly rushed to the attack of the formidable fortress with such
irresistible dash that they succeeded in scaling the walls and entering
it, pikes in rest. The King, who had run forward as soon as he heard of
the attack, watched with delight his loyal Madrileños climbing up the
face of the masonry with extraordinary skill, and not a little loss.

"Look, look!" he cried to those near him. "See how they climb! They are
cats!"

The other forces at once came to their assistance, the fortress fell
into the King's hands before nightfall, and those who had been in "no
hurry" to join the army found their lodgings within it, as his Majesty
had contemptuously recommended them to do. His anger was forgotten in
admiration and praise; and, from that time, all those born in Madrid
have the right to call themselves _gatos_.

It is curious how the observation of those who know Spain intimately
differs--one must suppose according to temperament. Thus Antonio
Gallenga, the well-known correspondent of the _Times_, who really knew
Spain well, has left it on record that the people are not musical, and
that he never remembers to have heard any of them singing in the
streets, or at their work. I do not know how this could have happened,
unless our old friend did not recognise the singing he did hear as
music, for which he might, perhaps, be forgiven. My own experience is
that the people are always singing, more or less, if you agree to call
it so. As the houses are almost all built in flats, many of the windows
open into _patios_, or court-yards, large or small, as the case may be.
You may reckon on always having two or three servants, male or female,
at work in the _patio_, the women washing or scrubbing, the men probably
cleaning their horses, carriages, or harness; but whatever else they may
be doing, you may be quite certain they will all be singing, though it
is equally certain that, by the greatest exercise of amiability, you
could scarcely call the result a song; the words seem to be improvised
as the performer goes on. There was a light-hearted groom in one of the
_patios_ of our flat, in the Calle Lope de Vega, who would continue
almost without a break the whole day. An old friend who used to amuse
himself by listening to this remarkable performer declared that if he
started his song in the early morning with a stick that was thick
enough, he would go on till midnight telling the world in general all
the people he had killed with it, and the other wonders of Hercules it
had performed.

The ditty always begins on a high note, and goes quavering irregularly
downwards, with infinite twirls, shakes, and prolonged notes, these
being sung to the exclamation "Ay!" Minor keys enter a good deal into
this kind of performance, and the most remarkable part of it is that the
singer, once having reached the bottom of the scale--for there is no
end--is able to begin again on the same high note, and hit upon, more or
less, the same variations a second time. If you have nothing better to
do than to listen to some of these improvisatores, you will get a long,
and more or less connected, history of some event; but it takes a long
time--and, perhaps, is not often worth the expenditure. The songs which
you hear to the accompaniment of the guitar are different from these,
though the introduction of the "Ay!" and the frequent shakes and twirls
are always there.

The working Madrileño's ideal of happiness is to go a little way along
one of the dusty _caminos reales_ (highways) to some little _venta_, or
tavern, or to take refreshments out in baskets. They will sit quite
contentedly in the dust by the side of the road, or in a field of
stubble or burnt-up grass, to eat and drink, and then the guitar comes
into play, and the dancing begins. It is always the _jota aragonesa_,
which is not so much dancing as twirling about slowly, and, it would
almost seem, sadly; but there is always a circle of admiring lookers-on,
who beat time with stamping of feet and clapping of hands, and watch the
performance as eagerly as if there were something quite fresh and new
about it. Occasionally, these parties go out by omnibus or tram, as far
as they can, and then start their picnic repast, to be followed by the
inevitable dance and song, just wherever they happen to be.

One of the most curious sights of Madrid is the great wash-tub of the
Manzanares. As you descend the steep bluff on which the city stands,
towards the river, you find the banks covered with laundresses, kneeling
at short distances from one another, each scrubbing the clothes on one
board, which slopes down into the water, while another board, fixed so
as to stand out into the stream, or a little embankment made of sand,
dams up the scanty supply of water she can obtain. As the Manzanares in
summer is divided into a great number of small streams, this scene is
repeated on the edge of each one, while the expanse of sand which
occupies the centre of what ought to be the river-bed is one forest of
clothes-props, with all the wash of Madrid hanging on the lines. On the
banks the children, in the intervals of school, are playing bull-fights,
or some of their innumerable dancing and singing games; the women are
one and all performing the gradual descent of the gamut with variations
called singing; and above all is the glorious sun, transfiguring all
things, and throwing deep, purple shadows from the high plane-trees
along the banks.

The road which runs along the bank of the Manzanares, at the farther
side from Madrid, is a revelation to those who only know the plains
through which the railway from the north passes, and which for the
greater part of the year, except when the crops are growing, are quite
as arid as we are accustomed to suppose. On the left lies the Casa de
Campo, an immense extent of park, containing, on the high ground, some
splendid specimens of the Scotch fir, and, in more sheltered spots,
groves of beech, avenues of plane, and masses of the dark-leaved ilex,
which grows to great perfection in this climate. The "Florida," another
of the royal properties, lies to the right, and a splendid road shaded
by majestic trees, and with wide, grassy margins, stretches away to the
village of El Pardillo, where Longfellow established his quarters, and
which he describes in his _Outre Mer_, and from that on to the forest,
or whatever you may call it, of El Pardo, where there is a royal
residence now but seldom used, you may ride for many hours and still
find yourself in this wild park, which many of the inhabitants of Madrid
have never seen. Here one can realise a little how the city may have
once been a hunting lodge of the Kings, as we are told. The Pardo may be
reached through the Casa de Campo, a gate at the extreme end of the
principal drive leading into the forest.

Up on the high ground of the Casa de Campo there is a splendid view of
Madrid, with the Palace crowning the steep bluff overhanging the
Manzanares. It was in the "country house" itself, near the gate, that
our "Baby Charles" is said to have climbed the high wall of the
courtyard to get a glimpse of the Infanta whom he hoped to make his
wife. When I knew the place intimately, on the very highest part of the
Park was a large enclosure of the wild forest, railed in with high
wooden palisading. Within this lived a flock of ostriches, belonging to
the Crown. No one seemed to know anything about them, nor how long they
had been there. What puzzled us much was how they were fed, or if they
were left to cater for themselves. One thing I can answer for: they were
very wild, and very ferocious; the moment they saw our horses coming up
the hill they would run from all parts of the enclosure trying their
best to get at us, striking with their feet and wings, and uttering
gruesome shrieks. It was one of our amusements to race them, keeping
outside their high fence while they strode over the ground, their necks
stretched out, and their absurd wings flapping after the manner of a
farmyard gander; but, with the best efforts, the horses were never able
to keep up the pace for long; the birds invariably won, and we left them
screeching and using language that did not appear to be parliamentary,
when they found that the fence was the only thing that did not give in,
as they craned their necks and stamped in their baffled rage. The
horses, at first rather afraid of the birds, soon learned to enjoy the
fun, and raced them for all they were worth. I do not know if this
strange colony is still settled there.

A curious feature of Spanish country life to us are the goatherds. Where
the large flocks of goats about Madrid pasture, I know not; but I have
often seen them coming home in the evening to be milked, or starting out
in the morning. The goatherd, clad in his _manta_, and carrying a long
wand of office over his shoulder, and I think also a horn, stalks
majestically along with all the dignity of a royal marshal of
processions, and the goats follow him, with a good deal of lagging
behind for play, or nibbling, if they should chance to see anything
green. Still, they scamper after their _generalissimo_ in the end, and
meanwhile he is much too dignified to look back. Taking advantage of
this, I have seen women come out of their cottages on the roadside and
milk a goat or two as it passed; and from the way the animal made a full
stop, and lent itself to the fraud--if such it were--it was evidently a
daily occurrence.

In times not long past, if indeed they do not still exist, the
dust-heaps outside Madrid were the homes of packs of lean, hungry dogs,
great brindled creatures of the breed to be seen in Velasquez pictures;
these animals prowled about the streets of Madrid in the early morning,
acting as scavengers. When they became too numerous, the civil guards
laid poison about at night in the dust-heaps before the houses, and the
very early riser might see four or five of these great creatures lying
dead on the carts which collect the refuse of Madrid before the world in
general is astir. These wild dogs were disagreeable customers to meet
when riding outside the city, until we learned to avoid the localities
where they spent their days, for they would give chase to the horses if
they caught sight of them, and the only thing to be done was to remain
perfectly quiet until they tired of barking and returned to the
dust-hills to resume their search for food.

The description of peasant life in Madrid would be incomplete if we left
unmentioned the daily siesta in the sun of the Gallegos and lower-class
working-men. On the benches in the Prado, on the pavement, in the full
blaze of the sun, these men will stretch themselves and sleep for an
hour or two after their midday meal. I have seen the Gallego porters
make themselves a hammock with the rope they always carry with
them--_mozos de cuerda_ they are called--literally slinging themselves
to the _reja_ or iron bars of the window of some private house, and
sleep soundly in a position that would surely kill any other human
being. "Taking the sun" (_tomando el sol_) is, however, the custom of
every Spaniard of whatever degree.

The casual visitor to Madrid is always struck with the number of
carriages to be seen in the _paseo_; but the fact is that everyone keeps
a carriage, if it be at all possible, and it is no uncommon thing for
two or three _pollos_ to join together in the expense of this luxury,
and a sight almost unknown to us is common enough in Madrid--young men,
the "curled darlings" of society, lazily lounging in a Victoria or
Berlina in what is known as the "Ladies' Mile." The Madrid _pollo_ is
not the most favourable specimen of a Spaniard; the word literally means
a "chicken," but applied to a young man it is scarcely a complimentary
expression, and has its counterpart with us in the slang terms which
from time to time indicate the idle exquisite who thinks as much of his
dress and his style as any woman does or more. The Madrid _pollo_ often
is, or ought to be, a schoolboy, and the younger he is, naturally, the
more conceited and impertinent he is. It is curious that with the
feminine termination, this word (_polla_) loses all sense of banter or
contempt; it simply means a young girl in the first charm of her
spring-time.

Riding in the Row has always been a favourite pastime in Madrid, but to
English ideas the _pollo_ is more objectionable there than elsewhere,
since his idea of riding is to show off the antics of a horse specially
taught and made to prance about and curvet while he sits it, his legs
sticking out in the position of the Colossus of Rhodes, his heels, armed
with spurs, threatening catastrophe to the other riders. An old English
master of foxhounds, who was a frequent visitor in Madrid, used to
compare the Paseo of the Fuente Castellana at the fashionable hour to a
"_chevaux de frise_ on horseback." These gentlemen must not, however, be
supposed to represent Spanish horsemanship. Ladies ride a good deal in
the Paseo, but one cannot call them good horsewomen. To get into the
saddle from a chair, or a pair of stable steps, and let their steed walk
up and down for an hour or so in the Row, is not exactly what we call
riding. If you hire a carriage in Madrid you are so smart that your best
friends would not recognise you. A grand barouche and pair dashes up to
your door, probably with a ducal coronet on the panels. The coachman and
footman wear cockades, and the moment you appear they both take off
their hats and hold them in their hands until you are seated in the
carriage. This ceremony is repeated every time you alight, the coachman
reverently uncovering as you leave the carriage or return to it, as well
as the footman who is opening the door for you.

It is most comforting; royalty, I feel sure, is nothing to it! We will
not look critically at the lining of the noble barouche, nor at the
varnish on its panels, still less make disagreeable remarks about the
liveries, which do not always fit their wearers--it is economical to
have liveries made a good medium size, so that if the servants are
changed the clothes are not;--one can always feel grateful for the
polite and agreeable attendants. How oddly it must strike the Spaniards
in England to notice the stolid indifference of "Jeames de la Plush,"
and the curt tap of his first finger on the brim of his hat as his lady
enters her carriage or gives her directions!

All the mules, and most of the horses, ponies, or donkeys ridden by the
"Jacket" men or country people are trained to pace instead of to trot;
it is said to be less fatiguing on a long journey. The motion as you
ride is, to our notions, very unpleasant, being a kind of roll, which at
first, at any rate, gives one the feeling of sea-sickness. The animal
uses the fore and hind feet together alternately, as he literally runs
over the ground. It does not appear to be a natural pace, but is
carefully taught, and, once acquired, it is very difficult to break the
animal of it; his idea of trotting has become quite lost; nor is it a
pretty action, nor one suited to show off good qualities--it has always
something of a shuffle about it. If it has its advantages, except that
stirrups may be dispensed with, they are not very apparent to those
accustomed to the usual paces of an English horse. Personally, I
disliked it particularly.

There have been many efforts to introduce racing, with its contingent
improvement in the breed of horses, perhaps the earliest during the
regency of Espartero; but these ended, as most things did in the old
days when Spain was only beginning her long struggle for freedom, in
failure and loss to the enterprising gentlemen--of whom the then Duque
de Osuna was one--who spent large sums of money in the effort. The old
race-course of that time lay somewhere in the low ground outside Madrid
on the course of the Manzanares; many a good gallop I have had on it,
though it was abandoned and forgotten long ago by the Madrileños. At the
present time horse-racing may be said to have become naturalised in
Spain under the _Sociedad del Fomento de la Cria Caballar_ (Society for
the Encouragement of Horse-breeding), and all that concerns horsemanship
is naturally improved and improving.

A good idea of Spanish horses may be gained by a visit to the Royal Mews
in Madrid. There are the cream-coloured horses from the royal stud at
Aranjuez, _jacuitas_ from Andalucia, as well as the mountain ponies of
Galicia. Those who have never seen the Spanish mule have no idea what
the animal is--powerful, active, graceful, and almost impossible to
injure. They are used in the royal stables and in those of the nobility,
for night work, since they are so hardy as not to be injured by long
waiting in the cold or wet. They are the correct thing in the carriages
of the Papal Nuncio and all ecclesiastics, and are generally preferred
to horses for long or difficult journeys. They are a great feature in
the army; kept in splendid condition and of great size, they not only
drag the heavy guns, but in the celebrated mountain artillery each mule
carries a small gun on his back. A brigade of this arm would have been
invaluable to the British in South Africa, having no doubt had its
initiation in the guerilla warfare of Spain's frequent civil wars.

The clipping of mules and donkeys, which are also very superior animals
to anything we know by that name, is in the hands of the gypsies, who
have a perfect genius for decorating their own animals and any others
committed to their manipulation. Only the upper part is shaved, or
clipped to the skin, the long winter coat being left on the legs and
half-way up the body. Generally, on the shoulders and haunches a pattern
is made by leaving some of the hair a little longer; the figure of the
cross with rays is not uncommon, but it is wonderful how elaborate and
beautiful some of these patterns are, looking as if embossed in velvet
on the skin. One day, passing a _venta_ in a street in Madrid, we were
attracted by a gaily-decked donkey standing outside. He had the words,
_Viva mi Amo_ (Long live my Master!), finished with a beautiful and
artistic scroll pattern, in rich velvet across his haunches. While we
stood admiring this work of art, the master within laughingly warned us
that the ass kicked if anyone came near him. Perhaps the elaborate
decoration was a practical joke!

The mules and donkeys which come in from the country are generally very
picturesque, with a network of crimson silk tassels over their heads,
and a bright-coloured _manta_ thrown across their sleek, glossy backs.
These _mantas_ serve many purposes; they are made of two breadths of
brightly striped and ornamented material of wool and silk, sewn up at
one end, or sometimes for some distance at each end, like a purse;
sometimes they are thrown across the mule to serve as saddle-bags,
sometimes one end is used as a hood and is drawn over the master's head,
while the remainder is thrown across his chest and mouth and over the
left shoulder. The best of these _mantas_ are elaborately trimmed at
both ends with a deep interlacing fringe, ending in a close row of
balls, and have a thick ornamental cord sewn over the joining. These,
which are intended for human wraps and not as saddle-bags, are only sewn
up at one end, so as to form something very like the old monkish hood.
All the horses, mules, donkeys, and oxen wear bells: the oxen have
generally only one large bronze bell, which hangs under the head; the
others have rows of small jingling silver or brass bells round their
collars or bridles.

These draught oxen are beautiful animals, mostly a deep cream in colour,
with dark points, magnificent eyes, and a sphinx-like look of patience,
as if biding their time for something much better to come. Their harness
is not apparently irksome to them, and is not so heavy as one sees on
the Portuguese oxen, for instance. They are coupled by a wooden bar
across the head, and their driver, if such he can be called--rather,
perhaps, the guide--walks in front with a long stick, possibly a wand of
office, over his shoulder to show them the way. The dress of this
functionary is picturesque: a wide-brimmed hat (_sombrero_), a shirt,
short trousers to the knees, with gaiters of woven grass (_esparto_), a
_faja_ round his waist, and _manta_ thrown over his shoulder if cold. He
stalks majestically along, followed by his equally majestic _bueyes_,
and one wonders of what all three are thinking as they trudge along the
sun-smitten roads, regardless of dust or of anything else. The cars are
rude enough, and the wheels sometimes solid discs of wood. Occasionally,
a hood of bent pieces of wood covered with linen is fixed. Tame oxen, or
_cabestros_, as they are called, play a very important part in the
_ganaderos_ and the bull-rings. They appear to be held in some sort of
superstitious reverence, or strange affection, by the poor beasts who
only live to make sport for men. In driving the bulls from one pasture
to another, or bringing them into the towns, the _cabestros_ are
followed with unwavering faith by these otherwise dangerous animals;
where the _cabestro_ goes, clanging his great bell, the bull follows,
and while under the charge of his domesticated friend he is quite
harmless.

[Illustration: BUEYES RESTING]

At one time, the bulls used to be driven to the bull-ring outside Madrid
in specially made roads sunk some fifteen feet below the level of the
fields, and paved. Along these the _pastor_, or shepherd, and
_picadores_, armed with long lances, went with the _cabestros_ and the
herd of bulls to be immolated. I have frequently met this procession
when riding, either in the early morning or late evening, outside
Madrid; but so long as the _cabestros_ are present, there is nothing to
fear, for the bulls are perfectly quiet and harmless. Once, however,
riding with a friend, I had a disagreeable and exciting adventure. We
were quietly walking our horses along the Ronda de Alcalá, when we heard
an immense amount of shouting, and suddenly became aware that we
ourselves were the objects of the excitement, waving of hands,
screaming, and gesticulating. Before we had time to do more than realise
that we were being warned of some terrific danger in wait for us round
the corner of the high wall, some little distance in advance, two
_picadores_ on horseback, armed with their long pikes, galloped round
the corner, also shouting wildly to us, and pointing across the fields
as if telling us to fly, and almost at the same moment the whole drove
of bulls, tearing along at a terrific rate, without _cabestros_,
appeared, charging straight towards us. We did not need a second hint.
At one side of the road was the old wall of Madrid, at the other a high
bank with a wide ditch beyond it. Without a word, we put our horses at
the bank,--they had realised the situation as quickly as we had,--jumped
the ditch at a flying leap from the top of the bank, and were off across
a field of young wheat. Once only I looked behind, and saw a magnificent
black bull, with his tail in the air--a signal of attack--on the top of
the bank over which I had just leaped, preparing to follow me. Long
afterwards, as it seemed, when my horse slackened his pace, I found
myself alone in a wide plain, neither bulls nor fellow-rider to be seen.
His horse had bolted in another direction from mine, and we heard
afterwards that the _picadores_ had galloped in between me and the
sporting bull and turned him back. Eventually, the _cabestros_ appeared
on the scene, and the poor misguided bulls were inveigled into the
shambles for the _fiesta_ of the morrow. How they had ever managed to
break away or gain the public road at all, we were never able to learn.



CHAPTER VI

THE COURT


During the reign of Don Alfonso XII., except during the interval when
the melancholy death of his first beloved Queen, Mercédes, plunged King,
Court, and people into mourning, Madrid was gayer than perhaps it has
ever been. No one loved amusement better than the young King, who was
only seventeen when the military _pronunciamiento_ of Martinez Campo
called him to the throne from which his mother had been driven seven
years previously. He had taken his people, and indeed all the world, by
storm, for from the first moment he had shown all the qualities which
make a ruler popular, and Spain has never had a young monarch of so much
promise. He had the royal gift of memory, and an extraordinary facility
in speaking foreign languages; it was said that the Russian and the
Turkish envoys were the only ones with whom he was unable to converse as
freely in their languages as in his own. He was an excellent speaker,
always knew the right thing to say, the best thing to do to gain the
hearts of his people, and to make himself agreeable to all parties and
all nationalities alike. He was the first King of Spain to address his
people _de usted_ in place of _de tu_, a mark of respect which they were
not slow to appreciate; he was a modern, in that he would go out alone,
either on foot or riding, allowed applause in his presence at the
theatres, unknown before, and himself would salute those he knew from
his box. He gave audience to all who asked, was an early riser, devoted
to business when it had to be performed, was an enthusiast in all
military matters, and, perhaps better than all in the eyes of his
people, he was devoted to the bull-ring. Extremely active, resolute,
firm, fond of all kinds of active sports, such as hunting and shooting,
equally fond of society, picnics, dances, and all kinds of
entertainments, he seemed destined to become the idol of his people, and
to lead his beloved country back to its place in Europe. His death, when
only twenty-seven, changed all this. Queen Maria Cristina has been a
model wife, widow, mother, and Regent. She was devoted to her husband,
and though it was said at first to be a political marriage, contracted
to please the people, it was undoubtedly a happy one. The Queen has
scarcely taken more part in public life during her sad widowhood than
Queen Victoria did. She has devoted herself to her public duties as
Regent and to the education and care of her children.

Alfonso XIII., born a king after his father's death, has always been
rather a delicate boy; his mother has determined that his health and his
education shall be the first and chief care of her life, and nothing
turns her from this purpose. If she has never been exactly popular, she
has at least the unbounded respect and admiration of the people. She
does not love the "bulls," and, therefore, she is not _Española_ enough
to awaken enthusiasm; she keeps the boy King too much out of sight, so
that his people scarcely know him, even in Madrid; but this is the very
utmost that anyone has to say against her, while all shades of
politicians, even to declared Republicans, speak of her with respect and
with real admiration of her qualities of heart and mind.

All Court gaieties are, however, at an end. Once a year or so a ball at
the palace, a formal dinner, or reception, when it cannot be
avoided--that is all, and for the rest the Queen is rarely seen except
at religious ceremonies or state functions, and the King, never. He is
supposed to take his amusements and exercise in the Casa de Campo, and
rarely crosses Madrid.

Numerous stories used to be told of his precocity as a child, and of his
smart sayings; sometimes of his generosity and sympathy with the poor
and suffering. Now one is told he is somewhat of a pickle, but fables
about royalty may always be received with more than a grain of salt. One
of the stories told of him, which ought to be true, since it has the
ring of childhood about it, is well known. When a small boy, his
Austrian governess, of whom he was very fond, reproved him for using his
knife in place of a fork. "Gentlemen never do so," she said. "But I am a
King," he replied. "Kings, still less, eat with their knives," said the
governess. "_This_ King does," was the composed reply of the child.

The etiquette of the Spanish Court, although it was much modified by
Alfonso XII., is still very formal. A perfectly infinite number of
_mayordomos, caballerizos, gentiles hombres de casa y boca, ujieres,
alabarderos, monteros_, aides-de-camp, _Grandes de España de servicio_,
ladies-in-waiting, lackeys, servants, and attendants of every possible
description abound. A man going to an audience with royalty uncovers as
he enters the Palace. First, he will find the _alabardero de servicio_
placed at the entrance of the vestibule; farther on, more _alabarderos_.
Whenever a Grande de España, a prelate, a grand cross, or a title of
Castile passes, these guards strike the marble floor with their arms--a
noise which may well cause the uninitiated to start. Three halls are
used for grouping, according to their rank, those who are about to be
presented: first, the _saleta_, where ordinary people--all the world, in
fact--wait; next, the _cámara_, for those who have titles or wear the
grand cross; third, the _antecámara_, reserved for the Grandes of Spain,
and _gentiles hombres en ejercio_. The Grandes of Spain, chamberlains
of the King, share between them the service of his Majesty. They are
called in rotation, one day's notice being given before they are
expected to attend in the Palace. In the ante-chamber of the King there
is always the _Grande_ in waiting, the lady-in-waiting on the Queen, two
aides-de-camp, and a _gentil hombre del interior_ (the last must not be
confounded with the _gentiles hombres en ejercicio_, who have the right to
enter the ante-chamber). There are, of course, equerries
(_caballerizos_) who attend, as ours do, on horseback, when the King or
Queen goes out; but the most essentially Spanish attendants are the
Monteros de Espinosa, who have the exclusive right to watch while
Royalty sleeps. These attendants must all be born in Espinosa; it is an
hereditary honour, and the wives of the existing Monteros are careful to
go to Espinosa when they expect an addition to their family, as no one
not actually born there can hold the office. At the present time this
guard is recruited from captains or lieutenants on the retired list.

In the ante-chamber of each member of the Royal Family two of these take
their place at eleven o'clock; they never speak, never sit down, but
pass the whole night pacing the room, crossing each other as they go,
until morning relieves them from what must be rather a trying watch. At
eleven o'clock each evening there is a solemn procession of servants and
officials in imposing uniforms down the grand staircase of the Palace;
every door is closed and locked by a gentleman wearing an antique
costume and a three-cornered hat, and having an enormous bunch of keys.
From that time the Palace remains under the exclusive charge of the
Monteros de Espinosa. Although this is the official programme, it is to
be hoped the hour is not a fixed one. It would be a little cruel to put
the Royal Family to bed so early, without regard to their feelings;
especially as Madrid is essentially a city of late hours, and the
various members of it would have to scamper away from opera, or in fact
any entertainment, as if some malignant fairy were wanting to cast a
spell at the witching hour of midnight. There are some curious
superstitions, however, about being abroad when the clocks strike
twelve, which we must suppose do not now affect the Madrileño.

While the old church of Atocha was still standing, the Court, with a
royal escort, or what is called _escadron de salut_, all the dignitaries
of the Palace in attendance, guards, outriders, etc., in gorgeous array,
drove in half state (_media gala_) across Madrid and the _paseos_ to
hear the _salut "sa'nt"_ on Saturday. The Queen Regent and her
daughters, but not often the King, now visit in turn some of the
churches, but without the old state or regularity.

Since the death of Alfonso XII., many of the purely Spanish customs of
the Court have been modified or discontinued. Although the late King was
credited with a desire to reduce the civil list, and to adopt more
English customs, he was to some extent in the hands of the
Conservatives, who had been the means of his restoration, and when he
went forth to put an end to the Carlist insurrection and finish the
civil war, which had laid desolate the Northern provinces and ruined
commerce and industry for some seven years, it was at the head of a
personal following of over five hundred people. Nor was the Court much,
if any, less numerous when the Royal Family removed in the summer to the
lovely Palace of St. Ildefonso at La Granja--that castle in the air,
which has no equal in Europe, hanging, as it does, among gardens,
forests, rivers, and lakes, three thousand eight hundred and forty feet
above the level of the sea.

The Queen is Austrian, and she has never gone out of her way to
conciliate the people by making herself really Spanish. This she has
left to the Infanta Isabel, the eldest sister of Alfonso XII. For many
years before the birth of her brother, the Infanta Isabel was Princess
of Asturias, as heiress apparent of the Crown. With the advent of a boy,
she became, of course, only Infanta, losing the rank which she had held
up to this time. Being but a child at the time, she perhaps knew or
cared little for any difference it may have made in her surroundings.
She shared in the flight of the Royal Family to France in 1868, and her
education was completed in Paris. When the whirligig of Spanish politics
called her brother Alfonso, who at the time was a military student at
Sandhurst, to the throne from which his mother had been driven, Princess
Isabel returned with him to Madrid, and was once more installed in the
Palace, above the Manzanares, as Princess of Asturias. This rank
remained hers during the short episode of her brother's marriage to his
cousin Mercédes, and the melancholy death of the girl Queen at the
moment when a direct heir to the throne was expected. Once more, when
the daughter of Alfonso's second wife, the present Queen Regent, was
born, the Infanta Isabel became her title, and she took again the lower
rank.

Nothing in history is more pathetic than this first marriage of Alfonso
XII. and its unhappy termination. The children of Queen Isabel and those
of her sister, the Duquesa de Montpensier, had been brought up together,
and there was a boy-and-girl attachment between the Prince of Asturias
and his cousin Mercédes. When Alfonso became King, almost as it seemed
by accident, and it was thought necessary that he should marry, the boy
gravely assured his Ministers that he was quite willing to do so, and in
fact intended to marry his cousin. Nothing could be more inopportune,
nothing more contrary to the welfare of the distracted country! From the
time that the notorious "Spanish marriages" had become facts, the Duke
of Montpensier had been an intriguer. The birth of heirs to the throne
of Spain (it is useless to go back to those long-past scandals) had
completely upset the machinations of Louis Philippe and his Ministers.
So long as Don Francisco de Assis and the Spanish nation chose to
acknowledge the children as legitimate, there was nothing to be done.
The direct hope of seeing his sons Kings of Spain faded from the view of
the French husband of the sister of Isabel II., but he never for one
moment ceased to intrigue. Although loaded with benefits and kindness by
the Queen, Montpensier took no small part in the revolution which drove
her from the country. Topete, and Serrano--who had once been what the
Spaniards called _Pollo Real_ himself--were bound in honour to uphold
his candidature for the vacant throne; their promise had been given long
before the _pronunciamiento_ at Cadiz had made successful revolution
possible. Prim alone stood firm: "_Jamas, jamas!_" (Never, never!) he
replied to every suggestion to bring Montpensier forward. In those words
he signed his own death-warrant. His actual murderers were never brought
to justice, ostensibly were never found; but there never was a Spaniard
who doubted that the foul deed was the result of instigation.

[Illustration: IN THE WOODS AT LA GRANJA]

To have Mercédes as Queen Consort, was to bring her father once more
within the limits of practical interference with national politics. To
all remonstrance, however, the young King had one answer: "I have
promised," and the nation, recognising that as a perfectly valid
argument, acquiesced, though with many forebodings. The marriage took
place, and within a few months the girl Queen was carried with her
unborn child to the melancholy Pantéon de los Principes at the Escorial.

The marriage of the Infanta Isabel with Count Girgenti, a Neapolitan
Bourbon, was an unhappy one, and she obtained a legal separation from
him after a very short matrimonial life. Spaniards have a perfect genius
for giving apt nicknames. Scarcely was the arrangement for the marriage
made known when the Count's name was changed to that of _Indecente_. He
fought, however, for Isabel II. at Alcoléa, which was at any rate acting
more decently than did Montpensier, who had furnished large sums of
money to promote the rising against his confiding sister-in-law, and, in
fact, never ceased his machinations against every person and every thing
that stood in his way, until death fortunately removed him from the
arena of Spanish politics, his one overmastering ambition unfulfilled.
He had neither managed to ascend the throne himself, nor see any of his
children seated there, except for the few months that Mercédes, "beloved
of the King and of the nation," shared the throne of Alfonso XII.

The Infanta Isabel, except for the episode of her exile in France, has
always lived in the Royal Palace of Madrid, having her own quarters, and
her little court about her. At times she has been the butt of much
popular criticism, and even dislike, but she has outlived it all, and is
now the most popular woman in Spain. It must have required no common
qualities to have lived without discord--as a separated wife--with her
brother and her younger sisters; then with Queen Mercédes, her cousin as
well as sister-in-law; again, during the time of the King's widowhood
and her own elevation to the rank of Princess of Asturias, and, finally,
since the second marriage of her brother, and his untimely death, with
Maria Cristina and her young nephew and nieces.

One thing is to be said in favour of Isabel II. Deprived of all ordinary
education herself, as a part of the evil policy of her mother, she was
careful that her own children should not have to complain of the same
neglect. One and all have been thoroughly educated: the Infanta Paz, now
married to a Bavarian Archduke, has shown considerable talent as a
poetess; and the Infanta Isabel is universally acknowledged to be a
clever and a cultivated woman, inheriting much of her mother's charm of
manner, and noted for ready wit and quick repartee. Her popularity, as I
have said, is great, for she is careful to keep up all the Spanish
customs. She is constantly to be seen in public, and, above and beyond
all things, she never fails in attendance at the bull-fight, wearing the
white mantilla. This alone would cover a multitude of sins, supposing
the Infanta to be credited with them; but there has never been a breath
of scandal connected with her. She is very devout, and never fails in
the correct religious duties and public appearances. At the fair, and on
_Noche buena_, she fills her carriage with the cheap toys and sweetmeats
which mean so much to Spanish children, and she must be a veritable
fairy godmother to those who come within her circle. She takes a close
personal interest in many sisterhoods and societies for the help of the
poor. In a word, she is _muy simpática_ and _muy Española_. What could
one say more?

A gala procession in Madrid is something to be remembered, if it be only
for the wealth of magnificent embroideries and fabrics displayed. The
royal carriages are drawn by eight horses, having immense plumes of
ostrich feathers, of the royal colours, yellow and red, on their heads,
and gorgeous hangings of velvet, with massive gold embroideries reaching
almost to the ground; the whole of the harness and trappings glitter
with gold and silk. The grooms, leading each horse, are equally
magnificently attired, their dresses being also one mass of needlework
of gold on velvet. Equerries, outriders, and military guards precede and
surround the royal carriages, and the cavalcade is lengthened by having
a _coche de respecto_, caparisoned with equal splendour, following each
one in which a royal person is being conveyed. Behind come the carriages
of the Grandes, according to rank, all drawn by at least six horses,
with trappings little, if at all, inferior to those of the Court, and
each with its enormous plume of gaily-coloured ostrich feathers, showing
the livery of its owner. In addition to all this grandeur, the balconies
of the great houses lining the route of the processions display
priceless heirlooms of embroideries, hanging before each window from
basement to roof. If these ancient decorations could speak, what a
strange story they might tell of the processions they have seen pass! In
honour of the victories over the Moors; of the heroes of the New World;
of the miserable murders of the _Autos-da-fé_; of the entry of the _Rey
absoluto_, to inaugurate the "Terror," on to the contemptible "galas" of
Isabel II., supposed to keep the people quiet; and, almost the last, the
entry of Alfonso XII., after he had put an end to the Carlist war! On
the day of rejoicing for "La Gloriosa" there was no such display,
although all Madrid was _en fête_. It was the triumph of the people, and
their heirlooms do not take the form of priceless embroideries.

In former days the receptions at the Palace were known as _besamanos_
(to kiss hand). On Holy Thursday the Royal Family and all the Court
visit seven churches on foot--at least, that is the correct number,
though sometimes not strictly adhered to. As no vehicular traffic is
allowed on that day or on Good Friday, the streets where the royal
procession pass are swept and laid with fresh sand. The ladies are in
gala costume, and drag their trains behind them, all wearing the
national mantilla. All Madrid also visits its seven or less number of
churches, passing without obeisance before the high altars, on which
there is no Host,--as the people will tell you _su Majestad_ is
dead,--and after the _funcion_ is over there is a general parade in the
Puerta del Sol and the Carrera de San Geronimo, to show off the smart
costumes of the ladies, while the officers sit in chairs outside the
Government offices and smoke, admiring the prospect.



CHAPTER VII

POPULAR AMUSEMENTS


Nothing strikes one so much in studying the popular customs and
pleasures of Spain as the antiquity of them all. Constantly one finds
one's self back in prehistoric times, and to date only from the days
when Spain was a Roman province is almost modernity. No one can travel
through Spain, or spend any time there, without becoming aware that,
however many other forms of recreation there may be, two are universal
and all-absorbing in their hold on the widely differing
provinces--dancing and the bull-ring. In the Basque Provinces, the
national game of _pelota_, a species of tennis, played without rackets,
is still kept up, and is jealously cultivated in the larger towns, such
as Vitoria, San Sebastian, and Bilbao. In Madrid at the present time it
is played in large courts built on purpose, and attracts many strangers.
To view it, however, as a national sport, one should see it in some of
the mountain villages, where it is still the great recreation for
Sundays and religious _fiestas_. The working-classes also play at
throwing the hammer or crowbar. This is more especially the case in the
Northern provinces, where the workmen are a sound, healthy, and sober
race, enjoying simple and healthy amusements, and affording an excellent
example to those of countries considering themselves much more highly
civilised.

Pigeon-shooting, which was a great favourite with the late King Alfonso
XII., and was made fashionable among the aristocracy in Madrid by him,
is a very old sport--if it deserves the name--among the Valencians. Near
La Pechina, at Valencia, where the great _tiro de las palomas_ takes
place, was found, in 1759, an inscription: _Sodalicium vernarum colentes
Isid_. This, Ford tells us, was an ancient _cofradiá_ to Isis, which
paid for her _culto_. Cock-fighting is still practised in most of the
Spanish towns, as well as in Valencia, the regular cock-pits being
constantly frequented in Madrid; but it is looked upon as suited only to
_barrio's bajos_, and is not much, if at all, patronised even by the
middle classes. It is said by those who have seen it to be particularly
brutal; but it was never a very humanising amusement when practised by
the English nobility not such a very long time back.

Whatever amusements, however, may be popular in the towns, or in
particular provinces, the guitar and the dance are universal. So much
has been written about the Spanish national dances that an absurd idea
prevails in England that they are all very shocking and indecent. It is
necessary, however, to go very much out of one's way, and to pay a good
round sum, to witness those gypsy dances which have come down unchanged
from the remotest ages. As Ford truly says, "Their character is
completely Oriental, and analogous to the _ghawarsee_ of the Egyptians
and the Hindoo _nautch_." "The well-known statue at Naples of the Venere
Callipige is the undoubted representation of a Cadiz dancing-girl,
probably of Telethusa herself." These dances have nothing whatever in
common with the national dances as now to be seen on the Spanish stage.
They are never performed except by gypsies, in their own quarter of
Seville, and are now generally gotten up as a show for money. Men
passing through Seville go to these performances, as an exhibition of
what delighted Martial and Horace, but they do not generally discuss
them afterwards with their lady friends, and to describe one of these
more than doubtful dances as being performed by guests in a Madrid
drawing-room, as an English lady journalist did a short time ago in the
pages of a respectable paper, is one of those libels on Spain which
obtain currency here out of sheer ignorance of the country and the
people.

Wherever two or three men and women of the lower classes are to be seen
together in Spain during their play-time, there is a guitar, with
singing and dancing. The verses sung are innumerable short stanzas by
unknown authors; many, perhaps, improvised at the moment. The _jota_,
the _malaguena_, and the _seguidilla_ are combinations of music, song,
and dance; the last two bear distinct indications of Oriental origin;
each form is linked to a traditional air, with variations. The
_malaguena_ is Andalusian, and the _jota_ is Aragonese; but both are
popular in Castile. All are love-songs, most of them of great grace and
beauty. Some writers complain that some of these dance-songs are coarse
and more or less indecent; others aver that they never degenerate into
coarseness. _Quien sabe?_ Perhaps it is a case of _Honi soit qui mal y
pense_. In any case, throughout the length and breadth of Spain, outside
the wayside _venta_, or the barber's shop, in the _patios_ of inns, or
wherever holiday-makers congregate, there is the musician twanging his
guitar, there are the dancers twirling about in obvious enjoyment to the
accompaniment of the stamping, clapping, and encouraging cries of the
onlookers, and the graceful little verse, with its probably weird and
plaintive cadence:

    Era tan dichoso antes
    De encontrarte en mi camino!
    Y, sin embargo, no siento
    El haberte conocido.

    I was so happy before
    I had met you on my way!
    And yet there is no regret
    That I have learned to know you.

The _malaguena_ and the _seguidilla_, which is more complicated, are
generally seen on the stage only in Madrid, where they must charm all
who can appreciate the poetry of motion. The dance of the peasant in
Castile is always the _jota Aragonesa_. The part the tambourine and the
castanets play in these dances must be seen and heard to be understood:
they punctuate not only the music, but also the movement, the sentiment,
and the refrain. The Andaluces excel in playing on the castanets. These
are, according to Ford, the "Baetican _crusmata_ and _crotola_ of the
ancients": and _crotola_ is still a Spanish term for the tambourine.
Little children may be seen snapping their fingers or clicking two bits
of slate together, in imitation of the castanet player; but the
continuous roll, or succession of quick taps, is an art to be learned
only by practice. The castanets are made of ebony, and are generally
decorated with bunches of smart ribbons, which play a great part in the
dance.

The popular instrument in the Basque and Northern provinces is
the bagpipe, and the dances are quite different from those of
the other parts of Spain. The _zortico zorisco_, or "evolution
of eight," is danced to sound of tambourines, fifes, and a kind of
flageolet--_el silbato_, resembling the rude instruments of the
Roman Pifferari--probably of the same origin.

Theatrical representations have always been a very popular form of
recreation among the inhabitants of the Iberian continent, from the days
when the plays were acted by itinerant performers, "carrying all their
properties in a sack, the stage consisting of four wooden benches,
covered with rough boards, a blanket suspended at the back, to afford a
green-room, in which some musician sang, without accompaniment, old
ballads to enliven the proceedings." This is Cervantes's description of
the national stage in the time of his immediate predecessor, Lope de
Rueda.

The Spanish _zarzuela_ appears to have been the forerunner and origin of
all musical farce and "opera comique," only naturalised in our country
during the present generation. The theatres in all the provinces are
always full, always popular; the pieces only run for short periods, a
perpetual variety being aimed at by the managers--a thing easily to be
understood when one remembers that the same audience, at any rate in the
boxes and stalls, frequent them week in, week out. In Madrid, with a
population of five hundred thousand inhabitants, there are nineteen
theatres. With the exception of the first-class theatres, the people pay
two _reales_ (_5 d._) for each small act or piece, and the audience
changes many times during the evening, a constant stream coming and
going. Long habit and familiarity with good models have made the lower
class of playgoers critical; their judgment of a piece, or of an actor,
is always good and worth having.

The religious _fiestas_ must also count among the amusements of the
people in Spain. Whether it be the Holy Week in Seville or Toledo, the
_Romería_ of Santiago, the _Veladas_, or vigils, of the great festivals,
or the day of Corpus Christi, which takes place on the first Thursday
after Trinity Sunday--at all these the people turn out in thousands,
dressed in their smartest finery, and combine thorough enjoyment with
the performance of what they believe to be a religious duty. There is
little or no drunkenness at these open-air festivities, but much gaiety,
laughter, fluttering of fans, "throwing of sparks" from mischievous or
languishing eyes--and at the end always a bull-fight.

Here we touch the very soul of Spain. Take away the bull-rings, make an
end of the _toreros_, and Spain is no longer Spain--perhaps a country
counting more highly in the evolution of humanity as a whole, but it
will need another name if that day ever comes, of which there does not
now seem to be the remotest possibility. All that can be said is that
to-day there is a party, or there are individuals, in the country who
profess to abhor the bull-fight, and wish to see it ended; it is
doubtful if up to this time any Spaniard ever entertained such an
"outlandish" notion. The bull-fight is said to have been founded by the
Moors of Spain, although bulls were probably fought with or killed in
Roman amphitheatres. The principle on which they were founded was the
display of horsemanship, use of the lance, courage, coolness, and
dexterity--all accomplishments of the Arabs of the desert. It is
undoubtedly the latter qualities which make the sport so fascinating to
English _aficionados_, of whom there are many, and have caused the
_fiestas de toros_ to live on in the affections of the whole Spanish
people. In its earliest days, gentlemen, armed only with the _rejon_,
the short spear of the original Iberian, about four feet long, fought in
the arena with the bulls, and it was always a fair trial of skill and a
display of good horsemanship.

When the fatal race of the French Bourbons came to the throne, and the
country was inundated with foreign favourites, the Court and the French
hangers-on of the kings turned the fashion away from the national sport,
and it gradually fell into the hands of the lower classes, professional
bull-fighters taking the place of the courtly players of old, and these
were drawn from the lowest and worst ranks of the masses; the sporting
element, to a great extent, died out, and the whole spectacle became
brutalised. _Pan y toros_ (bread and bulls) were all the people wanted,
and, crushed out of all manliness by their rulers, and taught a thirst
for cruelty and bloodshed by the example of their religious
_autos-da-fé_, the bull-fight became the revolting spectacle which
foreigners--especially the English--have been so ready to rail against
as a disgrace to the Spanish nation, while they rarely let an
opportunity escape them of assisting as interested spectators at what
they condemned so loudly, and they quite forgot their own prize-ring,
and other amusements equally brutal and disgraceful. If the _corrida de
toros_ was ever as bad as it has been described by some, it has improved
very much of late years, and most of its revolting features are
eliminated. The pack of dogs, which used to be brought in when a bull
was dangerous to the human fighters, has long been done away with. The
_media luna_, which we are told was identical with the instrument
mentioned in _Joshua_, is no longer tolerated to hamstring the
unfortunate bull; and if a horse is gored in the fair fight, there are
men especially in attendance to put him out of his misery at once. It is
doubtful whether the animal suffers more than, or as much as, the
unhappy favourites, that are sent alive, and in extremest torture, to
Amsterdam and other foreign cities, to be manufactured into essence of
meat and such-like dainties, after a life of cruelly hard work in our
omnibuses and cabs has made them no longer of use as draught animals.

The bull-fighter of to-day is by no means drawn from the dregs of the
people; there is, at any rate, one instance of a man of good birth and
education attaining celebrity as a professional _torero_. He risks his
life at every point of the conflict, and it is his coolness, his
courage, his dexterity in giving the _coup de grâce_ so as to cause no
suffering, that raise the audience to such a pitch of frenzied
excitement. I speak wholly from hearsay, for I have myself only
witnessed a _corrida de novillos_--in which the bulls are never killed,
and have cushions fixed on their horns--and a curious fight between a
bull and an elephant, who might have been described as an "old
campaigner," in which there was no bloodshed, and much amusement. My
sympathies always went with the bull,--who, at least, was not consulted
in the matter of the fight,--as I have seen the popular _espada_, with
his own particular _chulo_, a mass of white satin and gold embroidery,
driving out to the bull-ring on the afternoon of a _fiesta_, bowing with
right royal grace and dignity to the plaudits of the people. I was even
accused of having given the evil eye to one well-known favourite as he
passed my balcony, when I wished, almost audibly, that the bull might
have his turn for once in a way that afternoon. And he had; for the
popular _espada_ was carried out of the ring apparently dead, the
spectators came back looking white and sick, and I felt like a very
murderess until I learned later that he was not dead. All Madrid, almost
literally, called to inquire for him daily, filling books of signatures,
as if he had been an emperor at least. Personally, I was more interested
in his courage after the event and the devotion of his _chulo_, who
never left his side, but held his hands while the injured leg was cut
off, in three separate operations, without any anæsthetic. Eventually,
he completely recovered, and was fitted with an admirable mechanical
cork limb in place of the one removed in three detachments; and my sense
of evil responsibility was quite removed when I heard that his young
wife was delighted to think that he could never enter the bull-ring as a
fighter again, and her anxieties were at an end.

[Illustration: PLAZA DE TOROS. PICADOR CAUGHT BY THE BULL]

It is quite impossible to over-estimate the popularity of the _toreros_
with the Spanish people. They are the friends and favourites of the
aristocracy, the demi-gods of the populace. You never see one of them in
the streets without an admiring circle of worshippers, who hang on every
word and gesture of the great man; and this is no cult of the hour, it
is unceasing. They are always known for their generosity, not only to
injured comrades, but to any of the poor in need. Is there a disaster by
which many are injured--flood, tempest, or railway accident? Immediately
a bull-fight is arranged for the sufferers, and the whole _cuadrilla_
will give their earnings to the cause. Not only so, but the private
charities of these popular favourites are immense, and quite unheard of
by the public. They adopt orphans, pay regular incomes to widows, as
mere parts of every-day work. They are, one and all, religious men; the
last thing they do, before entering the arena with their life in their
hands, is to confess and receive absolution in the little chapel in the
Bull-Ring, spending some time in silent prayer before the altar, while
the wife at home is burning candles to the Virgin, and offering her
prayers for his safety during the whole time that the _corrida_ lasts.
Extreme unction is always in readiness, in case of serious accident to
the _torero_, the priest (_mufti_) slipping into the chapel before the
public arrive on the scene.

Rafael Molina Lagartijo, one of the veterans of the bull-fighters, and
an extreme favourite with the people for many years, died recently,
after living for some time in comparative retirement in his native
Córdoba. Some idea of the important place which these men occupy in
Spanish society may be gathered from the numerous notices which appeared
in the newspapers of all shades of political opinion after his death. I
quote from the article which appeared in the charming little illustrated
_Blanco y Negro_, of Madrid, on the favourite of the Spanish public. In
what, to us, seems somewhat inflated language, but which is, however,
quite simple and natural to the Spaniard, the writer began his notice
thus:

"He who has heard the magic oratory of Castelar, has listened to the
singing of Gayarre, the declamation of Cabro, has read Zorilla, and
witnessed the _torear_ of Lagartijo, may say, without any kind of
reservation, that there is nothing left for him to admire!" Having thus
placed the popular bull-fighter on a level with orators, authors, and
musicians of the first rank, the writer goes on to describe the beauties
of Lagartijo's play in words which are too purely technical of the ring
to make translation possible, and adds: "He who has not seen the great
_torero_ of Córdoba in the plenitude of his power will assuredly not
comprehend why the name of Lagartijo for more than twenty years filled
_plazas_ and playbills, nor why the _aficionados_ of to-day recall, in
speaking of his death, times which can never be surpassed.... The
_toreo_ (play) of Lagartijo was always distinguished by its classic
grace, its dignity and consummate art, the absence of affectation, or
struggle for effect. In every part of the fight the figure of Rafael
fell naturally into the most graceful attitudes; and for this reason he
has always worn the rich dress of the _torero_ with the best effect. He
was the perfect and characteristic type of a _torero_, such as Spanish
fancy has always imagined it. Lagartijo died with his eyes fixed on the
image of the Virgen de los Dolores, to whom he had always confidently
committed his life of peril, and with the dignity and resignation of a
good man."

The article was illustrated with numerous portraits of Don Rafael: in
full _torero_ dress in 1886; his very last photograph; views of him in
the courtyard of his home in Córdoba, and outside the Venta San Rafael,
where he took his coffee in the evening, and others. The notice
concludes by saying that his life was completely dedicated to his
property, which he managed himself, and he was looked upon as the
guardian angel of the labourers on his farm. _Probre Rafael!_ "The
lovers of the bull-fight are lamenting the death of the _torero_, but
the poor of Córdoba mourn the loss of their 'Señor Rafael.'"

[Illustration: PLAZA DE TOROS. THE PROCESSION]

The wives of the _toreros_ are generally celebrated for their beauty,
their wit, and their devotion to their husbands--indeed, the men have a
large choice before them when choosing their helpmates for life. To
their wives is due much of the making and all the keeping up of the
elaborate and costly dress of the _torero_. They are, as someone has
said, "ferociously virtuous," and share in the open-handed generosity of
their husbands. The earnings of a successful _torero_ are very large. In
some cases, they make as much as £4000 or £5000 a year of English money,
during the height of their popularity, and retire to end their days in
their native and beloved Andalucia.

Whatever may be said by foreigners of the brutalising effect of the
Spanish popular game, it certainly has no more effect on those who
witness or practise it than fox-hunting has on Englishmen, and it is
doubtful whether there is any more cruelty in one sport than in the
other. The foxes are fostered and brought up for the sole purpose of
being harried to death, without even a semblance of fair play being
allowed to them, and if a fox-hunter risks his life it is only as a bad
rider that he does so. There is no danger and certainly no dignity in
the English sport, even if it indirectly keeps up the breed of horses.

A curious incident is related by Count Vasili as having happened in the
Bull-Ring in Madrid some years ago during a _corrida_ of Cúchares, the
celebrated _espada_. It is usual during _fiestas_ of charity to enclose
live sparrows in the _banderillas_ which it is part of the play to
affix, at great risk to the _torero_, in the shoulders of the bull; the
paper envelope bursts, and the birds are set at liberty. Crossing the
arena, one of the men carelessly hit at a bird turning wildly about in
its efforts to escape, and killed it. "In my life," says the Count, "I
have never seen such a spectacle. Ten thousand spectators, standing up,
wildly gesticulating, shouting for death on the 'cruel _torero_'; nay,
some even threw themselves into the arena, ready to lynch the heartless
creature!"

Horse-racing may now be said to have been fairly established in Spain in
most of the great centres, and the Hippodrome in Madrid is little behind
one of England's popular race-courses in its crowds, the brilliant
dresses of the ladies, and the enthusiasm evoked; but whether it will
ever supersede the really national _fiesta_ is to be doubted. The upper
classes also affect polo, tennis, and croquet, and go in a good deal for
gymnastics, fencing, and fives.

Cycling does not appear to commend itself greatly to the Spanish idea of
recreation. Bicycles are, of course, to be seen in the large and more
modern towns, but they are never very numerous, and as far as ladies are
concerned, may be said to have made no way.

I have referred to a curious spectacle several times presented in
Madrid, chiefly in _fiestas_ for charitable purposes, where an elephant
was introduced into the Bull-Ring to fight, in place of the usual
_cuadrilla_ of men. This was an old elephant named Pizarro, a great
favourite of many years' standing with the Madrileños. He was an
enormous animal, but one of his tusks had been broken off about a third
from the tip, so that he had only one to use in warfare or as
protection. He was tethered in the centre of the arena, by one of his
hind legs, to a stump about twelve inches high. Then the bulls were let
out one at a time. Meanwhile, Pizarro was amusing himself by eating
oranges which were showered on him by his admirers on the benches. With
the greatest coolness he continued his repast, picking up orange after
orange with his trunk, all that he was careful to do being to keep his
face to the bull, turning slowly as his enemy galloped round the ring
trying to take him in flank. At last the bull prepared to charge;
Pizarro packed away his trunk between his tusks, and quietly waited the
onslaught. The bull rushed at him furiously; but the huge animal, quite
good-naturedly and a little with the air of pitying contempt, simply
turned aside the attack with his one complete horn, and as soon as the
bull withdrew, a little nonplussed, went on picking up and eating his
oranges as before. Bull after bull gave up the contest as impossible,
and contentedly went out between the _cabestros_ sent in to fetch
them. At last one more persistent or courageous than the others came
bounding in. Pizarro realised at once that for the moment he must pause
in eating his dessert; but he became aware at the same time that in
turning round to face the successive bulls, he had gradually wound
himself up close to the stump, and had no room to back so as to receive
the attack. The most interesting incident in the whole affray was to
watch the elephant find out, by swinging his tethered leg, first in one
direction and then in another, how to free himself. This he did, first
by swinging his leg round and round over the stump, then by walking
slowly round and round, always facing the bull, and drawing his cord
farther and farther until he was perfectly free: then he was careful
only to turn as on a pivot, keeping the rope at a stretch. Finally the
bull charged at him with great fury; stepping slightly aside, Pizarro
caught him up sideways on his tusks, and held him up in the air,
perfectly impotent and mad with rage. When he considered the puny
creature had been sufficiently shown his inferiority, he gently put him
down, and the astonished and humbled bull declined further contest. The
fighting bulls of Spain are wonderfully small in comparison with English
animals, it should be said.

[Illustration: DRAGGING OUT THE DEAD BULL]

Every night, after his turn at the circus was over poor old Pizarro used
to walk home alone under my balcony, open his stable door with his own
latch-key, or at least his trunk, and put himself to bed like any
Christian.

One of the most fashionable amusements in Madrid is to attend on the
morning of the bull-fight while the _espadas_ choose the particular
bulls they wish to have as enemy, and affix their colours, the large
rosette of ribbon which shows which of the _toreros_ the bull is to meet
in deadly conflict. The bulls are then placed in their iron cages in the
order in which they are to enter the arena. The fashionable ladies and
other _aficionados_ of the sport then drive back to Madrid to luncheon
and to prepare for the entertainment of the afternoon.



CHAPTER VIII

THE PRESS AND ITS LEADERS


Perhaps there are few countries where the influence of the Press is
greater than in Spain, and this is largely due to the fact that while
the journals are read by everyone, for a great number of the people they
form the only literature. The free library is not yet universal in the
country, though, doubtless, in the near future it may become general. In
the meantime, every imaginable shade of political opinion has its organ;
even the Bull-Ring has at least two excellently illustrated newspapers:
and the extra sheets, printed hastily and sold immediately after the
_corrida_ has terminated, have an enormous sale. Deserving of mention is
the curious little paper known as the "Night-cap of Madrid," because it
is supposed to be impossible for anyone to go to rest until he has read
the late edition, which comes out not long before midnight. It is said
to have no politics, and only pretends to give all the news of the
world. There are many illustrated papers, both comic and serious. The
charmingly artistic little _Blanco y Negro_, beautifully gotten up, is
at the head of all the more dignified illustrated journals of the
country. There are no kiosks; the papers are sold by children or by old
women in the streets, and the Madrid night is rent by the appalling
cries of these itinerant vendors of literature. For the Spanish
newspaper is always literature, which is a good deal more than can be
said for some of the English halfpenny Press. Whatever may be the
politics of the particular journal, its _Castellano_ is perfect; perhaps
a little stilted or pompous, but always dignified and well-written.

The journalists of Madrid have a special facility for saying with an air
of extreme innocence what they, for various reasons, do not care to
express quite openly. Allegories, little romances, stories of fact full
of clever words of "double sense" make known to the initiated, or those
who know how to read between the lines, much that might otherwise awaken
the disagreeable notice of the censor, when there is one. There is an
air of good-natured raillery which takes off the edge of political
rancour, and keeps up the amenities and the dignity of the Spanish
Press. Only the other day one of the leading English journals pointed
out what a dignified part the Press of Madrid, of every shade of
politics, had played in the recent effort made by some foreign
newspapers--of a class which so far does not exist in Spain--to make
mischief and awaken national jealousy between England and Spain on the
subject of the works now being carried out by the English Government at
Gibraltar. The Spanish newspapers, of all shades of opinion, have made
it abundantly evident that their country entertains no unworthy
suspicion of England's good faith, and has not the smallest intention of
being led into strained or otherwise than perfectly friendly relations
with their old allies of the Peninsular War, to gratify the rabid enmity
of a section of a Press foreign to both countries. This is, perhaps, the
more remarkable because a certain amount of misunderstanding of England
exists among some elements of the Spanish Press.

The Liberal party in Spain is, in fact, the party of progress, and the
nation has at last awakened from its condition of slavery under unworthy
rulers, and is practically united in its determination to return to its
place among the nations of Europe.

There are many shades of Liberalism, and even Republicanism, but, as
will be seen in another place, the real welfare of the people, and not
the success of a mere political party, is the underlying motive of all,
however wild and unpractical may be some of the dreams for the carrying
out of these ideas of universal progress. It is impossible for a
Spaniard to conceive of maligning or belittling his own country for
merely party purposes; and, therefore, when he finds an English
newspaper calling itself "Liberal" he imagines the word to have the same
signification it has in his own country. So it has come to pass that
many of the worst misrepresentations--to use a very mild term--of a
portion of the English Press have been reproduced in Spanish newspapers,
and believed by their readers.

Among the principal newspapers, in a crowd of less important ones, _La
Época_, Conservative and dynastic ranks first; this is the journal of
the aristocrats, of the "upper ten thousand," or those who aspire to be
so, and it ranks as the _doyen_ of the whole Press. Its circulation is
not so large as that of some of the other papers, but its clientèle is
supposed to be of the best. _El Nacional_ is also Conservative, but
belonging to the party of Romero Robledo. What the exact politics of
that variation of Conservatism might be, it is difficult, I might almost
say impossible, for a stranger to say. If you were told nothing about
it, and took it up accidentally to read of current events, you would
certainly suppose it to be independent, with a decidedly Liberal
tendency. Still it calls itself Conservative.

_El Correo_ is Liberal, of the special type of Sagasta, the present
Prime Minister. _El Español_, which also gives one the impression of
independence, is Liberal after the manner of Gemaro. _El Heraldo_,
calling itself _Diario Independente_, is credited with being the Liberal
organ of Canalijas. _El Liberal_ and _El Pais_ are Republican, and _El
Correo Español_ is Carlist, or clerical. This paper appears to be looked
upon a good deal in the nature of a joke by its colleagues, and
quotations from it are always accompanied by notes of exclamation.

_La Correspondéncia de España_ is a paper all by itself, an invention of
Spanish journalism, and its unprecedented success is due to many of its
quite unique peculiarities. Its originator, now a millionaire, is proud
of relating that he arrived in Madrid with two dollars in his pocket. He
it was who conceived the brilliant idea of founding a journal which
should be the special organ of all. "_Diario politico independiente, y
de noticias: Eco imparcial de la opinion y de la prensa_," he calls it,
and the fourth page, devoted to advertisements, would make the fortune
of ten others. His boast was that it had no editor, paid no writers, and
employed no correspondents. It simply possessed a certain number of
"caterers" for news, who thrust themselves everywhere, picking up
morsels of news--good, bad, and indifferent, for the most part scribbled
in pencil and thrown into a receptacle from which they are drawn in any
order, or none, and handed to the printer as "copy"; coming out in
short, detached paragraphs of uneven length, ranging from three lines to
twenty. Extracts from foreign newspapers, official news, provincial
reports, money matters, religious announcements, accidents, everything
comes out pell-mell--absolutely all "the voices of the flying day," in
Madrid and everywhere else, in one jumble, without order or sequence,
one paragraph frequently being a direct contradiction to another in the
same sheet. There are three editions during the day, but the
"Night-cap," which sums up them all, appears about ten o'clock or later,
and it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that it is bought by almost
every householder in the city.

The nature of the _Correspondéncia_ has changed very little since its
earliest days. It is a little more dignified, condescends even to short
articles on current subjects of interest, but it is the same universal
provider of news and gossip as ever. It goes with the times; so far as
it has any leanings at all, it is with the Government of the hour; but
it is for the most part quite impersonal, and it makes itself agreeable
to all parties alike. Santa Ana, the clever initiator of this new and
highly successful adventure in journalism, has two other very prosperous
commercial enterprises in his hands--the manufacture of paper for
printing and the supply of natural flowers. He himself is an enormous
and indefatigable worker, personally looks after his various businesses,
especially the _Correspondéncia_, and, mindful of his own early
difficulties, he has created benefit societies for his workmen.

He who, being a foreigner, would attempt to understand Spanish politics,
deserves to be classed with the bravest leaders of forlorn hopes. In the
first place, it is doubtful whether Spaniards understand them
themselves, although they talk, for the most part, of nothing
else--except bulls. Whenever and wherever two or three men or boys are
gathered together, you may be quite certain as to the subject of their
conversation--that is, if they show signs of excitement and interest in
the matter under discussion. Each man you meet gives you the whole
matter in a nut-shell: he has studied politics ever since he was able to
talk; all the other innumerable parties besides his own are _nada_! he
can tell you exactly what is wrong with his country, and, what is more,
exactly how it may all be made right. The only thing which puzzles one
is that all the nut-shells are different, and, as there are an unlimited
number of them, all that one carefully learns to-day has to be as
carefully unlearned to-morrow, and a fresh adjustment made of one's
political spectacles. After all, however, this is very much what would
happen in any country if we were in turn to sit at the feet of
successive teachers, and try to bring their doctrines into any kind of
accord. The peculiarity in Spain lies rather in the multiplicity of
private political opinions and the energy with which they are expressed,
and in the fact that they are all honest.

Emerson has somewhere said that "inconsistency is the bugbear of little
minds." The Spanish politician has evidently not a little mind, for he
has no fear whatever of inconsistency, nor, in fact, of making a
_volte-face_ whenever he sees any reason for doing so. There are
Conservatives, Liberals, Republicans, Radicals, Socialists, as in other
countries, but there are, besides all these, an infinite number of
shades and tones of each political belief, each represented, as we have
seen, by a newspaper of its own, and, for the most part, bearing the
name of one man. It would seem, then, that you have only to make
yourself acquainted with the opinions, or rather with the political
acts, of that one man, and there you are! Vain and fond fancy! He has
been a rabid Republican, perhaps, or he has belonged, at least, to the
party which put up in Madrid in conspicuous letters, "The bastard race
of the Bourbons is for ever fallen. Fit punishment of their obstinacy!"
but you will find him to-day lending all the force of his paper to the
support of the Queen Regent, and at the same time allying himself with
the various classes of Republicans, even to the followers of Zorilla,
who have, at any rate till now, been consistent enemies and haters of
the Bourbon.

Señor Don Romero Robledo, one among the politicians of the day who
possess the gift of perfect oratory, so common among his countrymen, is
an example of this puzzling "open mind." He appeared first in the
character of revolutionist in 1868; then he became the Minister of the
Interior in Amadeo's short reign, held somewhat aloof from the wild
experiment in a republic of Castelar, joined the party of Don Alfonso on
the eve of its success, and supported Cánovas del Castillo in his
somewhat retrograde policy in the restoration of the very Bourbon whom
he had announced as "banished for ever," and, in fact, by his admirable
genius for organising his party, enabled the Government of Cánovas to
continue to exist. It is said of him that he "buys men as one would buy
sheep," and that he will serve any cause so long as he has the
management of it, or rather so long as he may pull the wires. Comte
Vasili says of him: "In politics, especially Conservative politics, men
like Romero Robledo are necessary, finding easily that 'the end
justifies the means,' energetic, ambitious, always in the breach
opposing their qualities to the invasions of the parties of extremes."
This was written of him some fifteen years ago by one eminently
qualified to judge. At the present moment we find Señor Romero Robledo
refusing office, but consulted by the Queen Regent in every difficulty.
In the late crisis, when the Conservative party under Silvela, called
into office for the sake of carrying the extremely unpopular marriage of
the Princess of Asturias with the Count of Caserta, had nearly managed
to wreck the monarchy, or, at any rate, the regency, and to bring the
always dangerous clerical question to an acute stage by suspending the
constitutional guarantees over the whole of Spain, it was Romero Robledo
who told the Queen quite plainly that before anything else could be done
the guarantees must be restored, that the liberties of the people could
not be interfered with, and that, in short, the Liberal party must be
called into office. Then we find him holding meetings in which
Conservatives, Republicans, even Zorillistas, all combined,
enthusiastically declaring that they are on the side of order and
progress, agreeing to hold up England, under her constitutional monarch,
as the most really democratic and free of all nations, since in no other
country, republican or otherwise, is the government, as a matter of
fact, so entirely in the hands of the people; swearing eternal enmity
against the interference of the clergy in government or in education,
but counselling "quiet determination without rancour or bigotry in
dealing with those of the clergy who openly, or through the
confessional, attempt to usurp authority which it is intended they shall
never again acquire in Spain." In fact, to read Señor Romero Robledo's
discourses on these occasions, and the excellent articles in the
newspaper which represents his views, _El Nacional_, one would imagine
the Golden Age to have dawned for Spain. Liberty, honour, real religion,
progress in science, art, manufactures, trade, the purification of
politics, the ideal of good government--these are only a few of the
things to which this amalgamation of parties is solemnly pledged.

One thing, at least, is promising among so much that might be put
down as "words, words": a general agreement as to the wisdom of making
the best of the present situation, opposing a firm resistance to any
attempt at a return to absolutism on the part of the monarchy, or
domination in temporal matters by the Church; but no change, no more
_pronunciamientos_, no more civil wars. Whenever the political parties
of a country merge their differences of opinion in one common cause, the
end may be foreseen. This was what happened in 1868; and if the party of
Romero Robledo is what it represents itself to be and holds together, we
may hope to see the reign of the young Alfonso XIII. open with good
auguries this year (1902), as it seems to be certain that he is to
attain his majority two years in advance of the usual time.

The life, political career, and retirement of Emilio Castelar is one of
the most pathetic pictures in history, and one altogether Spanish in
character. It was after Amadeo had thrown down his crown, exclaiming, "A
son of Savoy does not wear a crown on sufferance!" that the small party
of Republicans--which Prim had said did not exist, and which had in fact
only become a party at all during the disastrous period of uncertainty
between the expulsion of Isabel II. and the election of the Italian
prince--edged its way to the front, and Castelar became the head of
something much worse than a paper constitution--a republic of
visionaries. Don Quijote de la Mancha himself could scarcely have made a
more pure-intentioned yet more unpractical President. Castelar, with his
honest, unsophisticated opinions and theories, his unexampled oratory,
which is said to have carried away crowds of men who did not understand
or hear a word that he said, with the rhythm of his language, the simple
majesty and beauty of his delivery, launched the nation into a
government that might have been suited to the angels in heaven, or to
what the denizens of this earth may become in far distant æons of
evolution--a republic of dreams, headed by a dreamer. The awakening was
rude, but it was efficient. When Castelar found that in place of
establishing a millennium of peace and universal prosperity, he had let
loose over the land all the elements of disorder and of evil, he had the
greatness to acknowledge himself mistaken: his own reputation never
troubled him, and he admitted that the Cortes, from which he had hoped
so much, worked evil, not good. It is said that he himself called on
General Pavía, the Captain-General of Madrid, to clear them out. The
deputies--Castelar had withdrawn--sat firm: "Death rather than
surrender," they cried. Pavía, however, ordered his men to fire once
down the empty lobbies, and the hint was enough: the Cortes dispersed,
and Pavía, had he so minded it, might have been military dictator of
Spain. But he had no such ambition, though there were not wanting those
who ascribed it to him.

[Illustration: THE ESCURIAL]

As for Castelar, when angrily charged with inconsistency, he said:
"Charge me with inconsistency, if you please. I will not defend myself.
Have I the right to prefer my own reputation to the safety of my
country? Let my name perish, let posterity pronounce its anathema
against me, let my contemporaries send me into exile! Little care I! I
have lived long enough! But let not the Republic perish through my
weaknesses, and, above all, let no one say that Spain has perished in
our hands!" Castelar went back to his chair of philosophy, which he had
never resigned, poor as he left it, to the modest home and the devoted
sister whom he loved so well--and no one laughed! Is there really any
other country than Spain where such things can happen? His enthusiasm,
his high-mindedness, his failures, his brave acknowledgment that he had
failed, were accepted by the country in the exact spirit in which he had
offered himself to her service, and the memory of Castelar stands as
high to-day as ever it did in the respectful admiration of his
fellow-countrymen.



CHAPTER IX

POLITICAL GOVERNMENT


The Government of Spain ever since the restoration of Don Alfonso XII.
has been in reality what it was only in name before--a constitutional
monarchy. During the first years of the young King's reign, Cánovas del
Castillo being Prime Minister, there was a distinctly reactionary
tendency from the Liberalism of Prim and the revolutionary party of
1868. It was almost impossible that it should be otherwise, considering
the wild tumult of the varying opinions and the experiments in
government that the country had passed through; and some of the
difficulties of the situation to-day are no doubt due to the concessions
made to the ultra-Conservative party in the re-introduction of the
religious orders, which had been suppressed during the regency of
Cristina, and had never been tolerated even during the reign of the
_piadosa_, Isabel II.

Prim had, from the first moment that the success of the Revolution was
assured and the Queen and her _camarilla_ had crossed the frontier to
seek asylum in France, declared for a constitutional monarchy. "How can
you have a monarchy without a king?" he was asked by Castelar. "How can
you have a republic without republicans!" was his reply. He might have
made himself king or military dictator, but he wanted to be neither; nor
would he hear of Montpensier, to whom Topete and Serrano had pledged
themselves.

The House of Savoy was the next heir to the Spanish throne, had the
Bourbons become extinct, and to it the first glances of the Spanish
king-maker were directed, but difficulties arose from the dislike of the
Duke of Aosta himself to the scheme. A prince of some Liberal country
was what was wanted: there was even some talk of offering the crown to
the English Duke of Edinburgh, while one party dreamed of an Iberian
amalgamation, and suggested Dom Luis of Portugal or his father Dom
Ferdinand, the former regent. The candidature of Prince Leopold of
Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who was a Roman Catholic, was looked upon with
a certain amount of favour, but at the eleventh hour Napoleon III. made
this scheme a pretext for the quarrel with Prussia which led to the
fateful war of 1870 and 1871. Eventually, almost two years after the
outbreak of the Revolution, Amadeo of Savoy was chosen by the Cortes at
Madrid by a majority of one hundred and five votes, only twenty-three
being given for Montpensier and sixty-three for a republic.

On the day that King Amadeo set foot on Spanish soil Prim was
assassinated; it was perfectly well known at whose instigation, and the
man whom the Spaniards themselves said was _demasiado honesto_ (too
honourable) for the hotch-potch of political parties into which he was
thrown without a friend or helper, began his vain effort to rule a
foreign nation in a constitutional manner. After he had thrown up the
thankless task in despair, the absurd Republic of Zorilla and Castelar
made confusion worse confounded, and it was with a feeling of relief to
all that the _pronunciamiento_ of Martinez Campos at Muviedro put an end
to the Spanish Republic under Serrano, and proclaimed the son of Isabel
II. as King.

He was but a lad of seventeen, but he had been educated in England; he
was known to be brave, dignified, and extremely liberal, so that he was
acclaimed throughout Spain, and during his short life he fully justified
the high opinion formed of him. But the Government of Cánovas was
reactionary, and when the unexpected death of Alfonzo XII. left his
young wife, the present Maria Cristina of Austria, a widow under
exceptionally trying circumstances, Cánovas himself placed his
resignation in her hands, knowing that the Liberals were the party of
the nation, and promised to give his own best efforts to work with what
had up to then been his Opposition, for the good of the country and of
the expected child, who a few months later had the unusual experience
of being "born a king."

Whatever may be said about the present Regent,--though in truth little
but good has been said or thought of her,--she has been most loyal to
the constitution, holding herself absolutely aloof from all favouritism
or even apparent predilection. She has devoted her life to the education
of her son and to his physical well-being, for he was not a strong child
in his early years, and she has done her best, possibly more than any
but a woman could have done, to keep the ship of State not only afloat,
but making headway during the minority of her son.

Two things militate against good government in Spain, and will continue
to do so until the whole system is changed: what is known in the country
as _caciquismo_, and the pernicious custom of changing all the
Government officials, down to the very porter at the doors, with every
change of ministry. It is much, however, that the Government does go out
in a constitutional manner instead of by a military _pronunciamiento_ on
each occasion, as in the old days; also that a civilian and not a
soldier is always at the head of it. In reality, there are two great
parties in Madrid, and only two: the _Empleados_ and the _Cesantes_--in
plain English, the "Ins" and the "Outs." Whatever ministry is in power
has behind it an immense army of provincial governors, secretaries,
clerks, down to the porters, and probably even the charwomen who clean
out the Government offices. This state of things is repeated over the
whole country, and there is naturally created and sustained an enormous
amount of bribery and corruption, which is continually at work
discrediting all governments and giving to Spanish affairs that "bad
name" which, according to our old proverb, is as bad as hanging. The
_Cesantes_ haunt certain _cafés_ and possess certain newspapers, and the
_Empleados_ other _cafés_ and other papers. The "Outs" and the "Ins"
meet at night to discuss their prospects, and wonderful are the stories
invented at these reunions, some of which even find their way into
English newspapers--if their correspondents are not up to the ways of
Spain--for we read ludicrous accounts of things supposed to have been
taking place, and are treated to solemn prophecies of events never
likely to occur, even in first-class English journals. It is naturally
the interest of these subordinate employees of a vicious system to
hasten or retard the day that shall see their respective chiefs change
position, and if a few plausible untruths can do it, be assured they
will not be wanting. Both in the popular novels, _de costumbres_, and in
actual life, it is the commonest thing to hear a man described as a
_Cesante_, in the same way that we should speak of him as being an
engineer or a doctor, as if being out of place were just as much an
employment as any other.

One thing that appears strange to a foreigner about these _Cesantes_ is
that they never seem even to dream of seeking other employment; they
simply sit down to wait until their particular patron is "in" again, and
in the old days they were a constant force making for the
_pronunciamiento_ which would sooner or later make a place for them. As
they had no means of existence except when in receipt of Government pay,
it is easy to understand that, according to their views, they had to
prepare for the evil day which assuredly awaited them, by appropriating
and exacting all the money that was possible during their short reign of
power. Probably the only difference between the highest and the lowest
official was in the actual amount he was able to acquire when he was
"in."

This system, subversive of all efficient service, and leading inevitably
to the worst evils of misappropriation of the national funds, had
perhaps its worst aspects in the colonies. A Government berth in Cuba
was a recognised means of making a fortune, or of rehabilitating a man
who had ruined himself by gambling at home. Appointments were made, not
because the man was fitted for the post, but because he had
influence--frequently that of some lady--with the person with whom the
appointments lay, or because he was in need of an opportunity for making
money easily. That there have always been statesmen and subordinate
officials above all such self-seeking, men of punctilious honour and of
absolutely clean hands, is known to all; but such men--as Espartero,
for instance--too often threw up the sponge, and would have naught to do
with governing nor with office of any description. Espartero, who is
generally spoken of as the "Aristides of Spain," when living in his
self-sought retirement at Logroño, even refused to be proclaimed as King
during the days when the crown was going a-begging, though he would
probably have been acclaimed as the saviour of his country by a large
majority. Long years of foreign kings and their generally contemptible
favourites and ministers, long years of tyranny and corruption in high
places, leavened the whole mass of Spanish bureaucracy; but the heart of
the nation remained sound, and those who would understand Spain must
draw a distinct line between her professional place-hunters and her
people.

Caciqueism is a mere consequence or outcome from the state of affairs
already described. While the deputies to the Cortes are supposed to be
freely elected as representatives by the people, in reality they are
simply nominees of the heads of the two political powers which have been
see-sawing as ministers for the last sixteen years. Two men since the
assassination of Cánovas have alternately occupied the post of First
Minister of the Crown: Don Práxadis Mateo Sagasta, one of those mobile
politicians who always fall on their feet whatever happens, and
Francisco Silvela, who may be described as a Liberal-Conservative in
contrast to Cánovas, who was a Tory of the old school, and aspired to be
a despot. Toryism, though the word is unknown there, dies hard in Spain;
but there are not wanting signs that the Conservatives of the new school
have the progress and emancipation of the country quite as much at heart
as any Liberal. It was the Conservative _Nacional_ that in a leading
article of March 29th in 1901, under the head of "Vicious Customs,"
called attention to the crowds of place-hunters who invade the public
offices after a change of ministry, and to the barefaced impudence of
some of their claims for preferment. "The remedy is in the hands of the
advisers of the Crown," it continued. "Let them shut the doors of their
offices against influence and intrigue, keep _Empleados_ of acknowledged
competence permanently in their posts, and not appoint new ones without
the conviction that they have capacity and aptitude for the work they
will have to do. By this means, if the problem be not entirely solved,
it will at least be in train for a solution satisfactory at once for a
good administration and for the highest interests of the State."

The way in which the wire-pulling is done from Madrid, in case of an
election, is through the _cacique_, or chief person in each
constituency; hence the name of the process. This person may be the
Civil Governor, the _Alcalde_, or merely a rich landowner or large
employer of labour in touch with the Government: the pressure brought
to bear may be of two sorts, taking the form of bribery or threat. The
voters who hang on to the skirts of the _cacique_ may hope for
Government employment, or they may fear a sudden call to pay up arrears
of rent or of taxes; the hint is given from headquarters, or a
Government candidate is sent down. It matters little how the thing is
done so long as the desired end is accomplished. Speaking of the general
election which took place last June, and in which it was well known
beforehand that the Liberals were to be returned in a large majority,
one of the Madrid newspapers wrote: "The people will vote, but assuredly
the deputies sent up to the Cortes will not be _their_ representatives,
nor their choice."

We, who have for so many years enjoyed a settled government, forget how
different all this is in a country like Spain, which has oftener had to
be reproached for enduring bad government than for a readiness to effect
violent changes, or to try new experiments; but the progress actually
made since the Revolution of 1868 has really been extraordinary, and it
has gone steadily forward. Spain has always been celebrated for the
making of _convenios_--a word which is scarcely correctly translated by
"arrangement." During the Carlist wars, the Government, and even
generals in command, made _convenios_ with the insurgents to allow
convoys to pass without interference, money value sometimes being a
factor in the case; but one of the strangest of these out-of-sight
agreements, and one which English people never understand, is that
which has existed almost ever since the Restoration between the
political parties in the Congress, or, at least, between their leaders.
It is an arrangement, loyally carried out, by which each party is
allowed in turn to come into power. The Cortes is elected to suit the
party whose turn it is to be in office, and there is little reality in
the apparent differences. Silvela and Sagasta go backwards and forwards
with the regularity of a pendulum, and the country goes on its way
improving its position daily and hourly, with small thanks to its
Government.

Perhaps it is as well! It gives assurance, at least, that no
particularly wild schemes or subversive changes shall be made. When one
administration has almost wrecked the ship, as in the Caserta marriage,
the other comes in peacefully, and sets the public mind at rest; both
parties wish for peace and quietness, and no more revolutions, and the
political seesaw keeps the helm fairly straight in ordinary weather. To
what extent the insane and disastrous policy which led to the war with
America by its shilly-shally treatment of Cuba, now promising autonomy,
now putting down the grinding heel of tyranny, and to what extent the
suicidal action of the oscillating parties--for both share the
responsibility--in their instructions to their generals and admirals,
and the astounding unpreparedness for war of any kind, still less with a
country like America, may be traced to this system of "arrangements,"
which allows one party to hand its responsibilities over to the other,
one can only guess. It is to be hoped that when the two figureheads at
present before the country go over to the majority, there may come to
the front some earnest and truly patriotic ministers, who have been
quietly training in the school of practical politics, and can take the
helm with some hope of doing away with the crying evils of _empleomania_
and _caciquismo_. Until then there will be no political greatness for
Spain.

The advance which Spain has made, "in spite of her Governments, and not
by their assistance," has been remarkable in past years. Since the
beginning of the last century she has gone through a series of political
upheavals and disasters which might well have destroyed any country;
and, in fact, her division into so many differing nationalities has,
perhaps, been her greatest safeguard. Even after the Revolution of 1868
the series of events through which she passed was enough to have
paralysed her whole material prosperity; the actual loss in materials,
and still more in the lives of her sons, during the fratricidal wars at
home and in her colonies, is incalculable, and that she was not ruined,
but, on the contrary, advanced steadily in industry and commerce during
the whole time, shows her enormous inherent vitality. Since then she has
undergone the lamentable war with America, has lost her chief colonies,
and the Peninsula has been well-nigh swamped by the _repatriados_ from
Cuba, returning to their native country penniless and, in many cases,
worn out. And yet the state of Spain was never so promising, her steady
progress never more assured. Looking back to the Revolution, it will be
enough to name some of the measures secured for the benefit of the
people. They include complete civil and religious liberty, with reforms
in the administration of the laws and the condition of prisoners,
liberty of education, and the spread of normal schools into every corner
of the Peninsula, the establishment of savings banks for the poor,
somewhat on the lines of England's Post Office Savings Bank; railways
have received an enormous impulse; quays and breakwaters have been
erected, so that every portion of the kingdom is now in immediate touch
with Madrid; while the universities are sending forth daily young men
thoroughly trained as engineers, electricians, doctors, and scientists
of every variety to take the places which some years ago were almost
necessarily filled by foreigners for want of trained native talent.

Local government in the smaller towns of the Peninsula is generally said
to be very good, and to work with great smoothness and efficiency
hand-in-hand with centralised authority in Madrid. The fusion of the
varying nationalities is gradually gaining ground, and the hard-and-fast
line between the provinces is disappearing. There is more nationality
now in matters of every-day life than there has ever been before. In old
times it needed the touch of a foreign hand, the threat of foreign
interference, to rouse the nation as one man. Commerce and industry and
the national emulation between province and province are doing gradually
what it once needed the avarice of a Napoleon to evoke.

The paper constitutions of Spain have been many, beginning with that of
1812, which the Liberals tried to force on Ferdinand VII., to that of
1845, which the Conservatives look upon as the ideal, or that of 1869,
embodying all that the Revolution had gained from absolutism, including
manhood suffrage. In the first Cortes summoned after the Restoration,
thanks to the good sense of Castelar, the Republican party, from being
conspirators, became a parliamentary party in opposition. Zorilla alone,
looking upon it as a sham, retired to France in disgust. By the new
constitution of 1876, the power of making laws remained, as before,
vested in the Cortes and the Crown: the Senate consists of three
classes, Grandes, Bishops, and high officers of State sitting by right,
with one hundred members nominated by the Crown, and one hundred and
eighty elected by provincial Councils, universities, and other
corporations. Half of the elected members go out every five years. The
deputies to the Congress are elected by indirect vote on a residential
manhood suffrage, and they number four hundred and thirty-one. A
certain number of equal electoral districts of fifty thousand
inhabitants elect one member each; and twenty-six large districts,
having several representatives, send eighty-eight members to the Cortes.
Every province has its provincial elective Council, managing its local
affairs, and each commune its separate District Council, with control
over local taxation. Yet, though ostensibly free, these local bodies are
practically in the power of the political wire-puller, or _cacique_.



CHAPTER X

COMMERCE AND AGRICULTURE


Commerce and industry had progressed by leaps and bounds even during the
disastrous and troublous years between the expulsion of Isabel II. and
the restoration of her son. The progress is now much more steady and
more diffused over the whole country, but it is by no means less
remarkable, especially taking into consideration the disaster of the war
with America and the loss to Spain of her old colonies.

Among her politicians in past times there were never wanting those who
considered that the loss of Cuba would be a distinct gain to the mother
country, and perhaps it may be safely said that since the colony had not
only been for so many years the forcing-house of bureaucratic
corruption, but had also drained the resources of Spain both of money
and lives to the extreme limit of her possibility, she is more likely
now to regain her old position among European nations, when left at
peace to develop her enormous resources and set her house in order
without the distraction of war, either at home or abroad. When one
remembers that this happy condition has never obtained in the country
since the death of Ferdinand VII. until the close of the
Spanish-American War, and that the country is only now recovering from
the disorganisation caused by the return of her troops and refugees from
Cuba and Manila, it is not surprising to find that the activity
manifested in her trade, her manufactures, and her industries is such as
to give the greatest hopes for her future to her own people and to those
who watch her from afar with friendly eyes.

Whichever we may regard as cause or effect, the progress of the country
has been very largely identified with the extension of her railway
system. It must have been a great step towards liberal education when
the country which, priding herself on her geographical position and her
rich internal resources, had hitherto wrapped herself in her national
_capa_, and considered that she was amply sufficient to herself,
condescended to throw open her mountain barriers to immigrants. It was
not until 1848 that the first Spanish railway was opened, and it was but
seventeen miles in length; but in the next ten years five hundred miles
had been constructed, and between 1858 and 1868 no fewer than two
thousand eight hundred and five miles, the Pyrenees had been pierced,
and direct communication with the rest of Europe accomplished.

During the troublous years following the Revolution and the melancholy
struggles of the second Carlist war, very little progress was made.
Foreign capital, which had hitherto been invested in Spanish railways,
was naturally frightened away, and the Northern Railway itself, the
great artery to France, was constantly being torn up and damaged, and
the lives of the passengers endangered, by the armed mobs which infested
the country, and were supposed by some people to represent the cause of
legitimacy, and which had, in fact, the sanction of the Church and of
the Pope. It was not, in the majority of cases, that the people
sympathised with Don Carlos, but it was easier and more amusing for the
lazy and the ne'er-do-weels to receive pay and rations for carrying a
gun, and taking pot-shots at any object that presented itself, human or
other, than to work in the fields, the mines, or on the railways. Hence
public enterprise was paralysed; again and again the workmen, with no
desire of their own, were driven off by superior bands of these
wandering shooters, who scarcely deserved even the name of guerillas,
and public works were left deserted and decaying, while the commerce and
industry of the province were wrecked, and apparently destroyed
irrevocably.

In the earlier stages of railway construction and management, French
capital and French labour were employed. England held aloof, partly on
account of the closing of the London Stock Exchange to Spanish
enterprises, in consequence of the vexed question of the celebrated
coupons, but also because the aid afforded by the State did not fall in
with the ideas of English capitalists. They desired a guaranteed rate of
interest, while the Spanish Government would have nothing but a
subvention paid down in one lump sum, arguing that it would be
impossible to tell when a line was making more than the guaranteed
interest, "as the companies would so arrange their accounts as to show
invariably an interest smaller than that guaranteed!" With this view of
the honesty of their own officials, no one else could be expected to
have a better opinion of them; and England allowed France and Belgium
thenceforward to find all the capital and all the materials for Spanish
railways.

The total amount of subventions actually paid by Government up to
December 31, 1882, was £24,529,148. "If," says the author of _Commercial
and Industrial Spain_, "the money that we so candidly lent to the swarm
of defaulting South American Republics had been properly invested in
Spanish railways, a great deal of trouble might probably have been
spared to the unfortunate investors."

All that, however, is altered now: the State schools and universities
are turning out daily well-equipped native engineers, both for railway
and mining works, and Spaniards are finding their own capital for public
works. The phrase "Spain for the Spaniards" is acquiring a new
significance--perhaps the most hopeful of all the signs of progress the
country is making. In 1899, there were working 12,916 kilómetros of
railways, or 7.9 kilómetros for each 10,000 of the population. A
kilómetro equals 1.609 English mile. There is no part of the country now
isolated, either from the centre of government in Madrid, or from the
coast, and communication with Portugal, and, through France, with the
rest of Europe, is easy and constant. With this advance in means of
transit, the trade of the country has received an immense impulse, and
its raw and manufactured goods are now reaching all markets.

The rich mineral wealth of the country and its wonderful climate only
need enlightened enterprise to make Spain one of the richest and most
important commercial factors in the world's trade. The list of minerals
alone, raised from mines in working, amounts to twenty-two, ranging from
gold and silver, copper, tin, zinc, quick-silver, salt, coal, etc., to
cobalt and antimony; and 8,313,218 tons of minerals of all these
twenty-two classes were raised in 1882 against 1,201,054 in 1862. The
value of mines in 1880 was represented by one hundred and eleven
millions of pesetas (francs), but in 1898 by three hundred and nineteen
millions (pesetas). The value of imports in 1882 was 816,666,901
pesetas, and of exports 765,376,087 pesetas. In 1899, imports were
1,045,391,983, and exports 864,367,885. But this is taking exactly the
period covered by the war with America; a fairer estimate of exports is
that of 1897, which stood at 1,074,883,372. No statement has been
published since 1899, but intermediate statistics show the trade of the
country to be advancing rapidly.

To return, however, to Spanish industries. In late years large
smelting-works have been opened in Spain, with Spanish capital and
management, while at Bilbao are large iron-works for the manufacture of
steel rails. There are splendid deposits of iron in the country, and as
the duty on foreign rails entering Spain is _£3 4s._ per ton, it is
probable that the near future will see the country free from the
necessity of importing manufactured iron, or, in fact, metal of any
kind. A Catalan company has established important works for reducing the
sulphur of the rich mines near Lorca, and confidently expects to produce
some thirty thousand tons of sulphur per annum. The rich silver mines of
the Sierra Almagrera are almost wholly in native hands, and have already
yielded large fortunes to the owners. With the present improved
transport and shipping facilities in every part of the country, it is
probable that the valuable mines scattered all over the Peninsula will
be thoroughly worked, to the advance of commercial and industrial
interests over the entire country.

While the seaboard provinces are rich in fisheries, as well as in mines,
in the south the country is able to grow rice, sugar-cane, maize,
raisins, as well as wheat, olives, oranges, grapes, dates, bananas,
pine-apples, and almost all kinds of tropical fruits. The cultivation of
all varieties of fruit and vegetables, and their careful gathering and
packing have become the object of many large companies and private
individuals. Dates, bananas, grapes, plums, tomatoes, melons, as well as
asparagus and other early vegetables, are now being shipped to foreign
markets as regular articles of trade, in a condition which insures a
rapid and increasing sale. The exportation of fruit has doubled within
the last few years. The production of cane sugar in 1899 was thirty-one
thousand tons, or exactly three times the amount of that produced in
1889. The exportation of wine, which in 1894 was two millions of
milelitros, was in 1898 nearly five millions, and it is daily increasing
(one gallon English measure equals about four and one half litros).

Spain has always had excellent wines unknown to other countries, besides
that which is manufactured into what we know as "sherry"; but many of
them were so carelessly made as to be unfit for transit abroad. The
attention of wine-growers has, however, been steadily turned to this
subject during the last twenty years; greater care has been taken in the
production; the best methods have been ascertained and followed, and it
is possible now to obtain undoctored Spanish wines which perfectly bear
the carriage in cask without injury; and, to meet a direct sale to the
customer, small barrels containing about twelve gallons are shipped
from Tarragona and other ports to England.

One of the most hopeful signs of the economic awakening of the country
is the establishment of the _Boletin de la Cámara de Comercio de España
en la Gran Bretáña_, published each month in London.

In this little commercial circular a review is given of the commerce and
industry of all nations during the month; all fluctuations are noted,
extracts from foreign statistics or money articles given, suggestions
made for the opening up of Spanish commerce, and the introduction of her
manufactures into this and other countries. Speaking on the question of
the introduction of pure Spanish wines into England, a recent writer in
the _Boletin_ remarks that English workmen are thirsty animals, that
they like a big drink, but they are not really desirous of becoming
intoxicated by it. In fact, they would most of them prefer to be able to
drink more without bad effects. The writer goes on to say that if the
English workman could obtain pure wine that would cost no more than his
customary beer, and would not make him intoxicated, and if Spanish light
wines--which he says could be sold in England for less than good
beer--were offered in tempting-looking taverns and under pleasant
conditions, he believes that a really enormous trade would be the
result, to the benefit of both nations. The suggestion is, at least, an
interesting one, and though the scheme would certainly not benefit the
habitual drunkard, who becomes enamoured of his own debauchery, it
might be very welcome to many of the working people, who, as "our
neighbour" quaintly remarks, like a big drink, but do not necessarily
wish to become intoxicated.

In this connection, it may be interesting to know that the small
twelve-gallon casks of red wine, resembling Burgundy rather than claret,
but less heavy than the Australian wines, and forming a delicious drink
with water, are delivered at one's own door carriage free for a price
which works out, including duty, at _8-1/2d._ the ordinary bottle, or
_1s. 2d._ the flagon, such as the Australian wine is sold in. This is,
in fact, cheaper than good stout or ale.

Spain has always been celebrated for two special manufactures--her silk
and woollen goods; but for very many years these have been almost
unknown beyond her own boundaries. In the time of the Moors her silken
goods had a world-wide fame; and the silk-worm has been cultivated there
probably from the earliest days, when it was surreptitiously introduced
into Europe. Groves of mulberry trees were grown especially for
sericulture in the irrigated provinces of the South, the care of the
insect being undertaken by the women, while the men were employed on
tasks more suitable to their strength. Native-grown spun and woven silk
forms such an important part in the national costumes of the people that
it has attained to great perfection without attracting much foreign
notice. The silk petticoats of the women, the velvet jackets and trunk
hose of the men, the beautiful silk and woollen _mantas_, with their
deep fringes of silken or woollen balls; the _madroños_, or silk tufts
and balls, used as decorations for the Andalusian or the gypsy hats, not
to mention the beautifully soft and pure silks of Barcelona, or the silk
laces made in such perfection in many parts of the country,--all these
are objects of merchandise only needing to be known, to occasion a large
demand, especially in these days when the French invention of weighted
dyes floods the English market with something that has the outward
appearance of silk, but which does not even wait for wear to disclose
its real nature, but rots into holes on the drapers' shelves, and
would-be smart young women of slender purses walk about in what has been
well called "tin attire," in the manufacture of which the silk-worm has
had only the slenderest interest.

The blankets and rugs of Palencia have been known to some few English
people for many years, owing to their extreme lightness, great warmth,
and literally unending wear; but it is only within the last very few
years that they can be said to have had any market at all in England,
and now they are called "Pyrenean" rather than Spanish goods. One of the
suggestions of the little commercial circular already referred to is
that Spaniards should open depots or special agencies all over England
for the sale of their woollen goods, after the manner of the Jaeger
Company.

The flocks of merino sheep to be seen on the wooded slopes of the
Pyrenees, and all over Estremadura, following their shepherd after the
manner with which Old Testament history makes us familiar, are said to
be direct descendants of the old Arabian flocks, and certainly the
appearance of one of these impassive-looking shepherds leading his flock
to "green pastures, and beside the still waters," takes one back in the
world's history in a way that few other things do. The flock know the
voice of their shepherd, and follow him unquestioningly wheresoever he
goes; there is no driving, no hurrying; and the same may be said of the
pigs, which form such an important item in the social economy of a
Spanish peasant's home.

Staying once at Castellon de la Plana, in Valencia, my delight was to
watch the pig-herd and his troop. Early in the morning, at a fixed hour,
he issued from his house in one of the small alleys, staff in hand, and
with a curious kind of horn or whistle. This he blew as he walked along,
from time to time, without turning his head, in that strange trance of
passivity which distinguishes the Valencian peasant. Out from dark
corners, narrow passages, mud hovels on all sides, came tearing along
little pigs, big pigs, dark, light, fat, thin pigs,--pigs of every
description,--and joined the procession headed by this sombre-looking
herdsman, with his long stick and his blue-and-white striped _manta_
thrown over his shoulder. By the time he had reached the end of the
village he had a large herd following him. Then the whole party slowly
disappeared in the distance, under the groves of cork-trees or up the
mountain paths. The evening performance was more amusing still. Just
about sundown the stately herdsman again appeared with his motley
following. He took no manner of notice of them. He stalked majestically
towards his own particular hovel, and at each corner of a lane or group
of cottages the pigs said "Good night" to each other by a kick-up of
their heels and a whisk of their curly little tails, and scampered off
home by themselves, until, at the end of the village, only one solitary
pig was following his leader--probably they shared one home between
them. It seemed a peaceful, if not an absolutely happy, life!

One would expect a country with such a climate, or rather with so many
climates, as Spain, to make a great feature of agriculture. It can at
once produce wheat of the very finest quality, wine, oil, rice, sugar,
and every kind of fruit and vegetable that is known; and it ought to be
able to support a large agricultural population in comfort, and export
largely. Taking into account, also, the rich mineral wealth, which
should make her independent of imports of this nature, it is sad to see
that in past years, even so late as 1882, wheat and flour, coal and
coke, iron and tools figure amongst her imports--the first two in very
large proportions. Although the vast plains of Estremadura and Castile
produce the finest wheat known to commerce, the quantity, owing to the
want of water, is so small in relation to the acreage under cultivation,
that it does not suffice for home consumption, except in very favourable
years; while the utilisation of the magnificent rivers, which now roll
their waters uselessly to the sea, would make the land what it once was
when the thrifty Moor held it--a thickly populated and flourishing
grain-producing district. In place of the wandering flocks of sheep and
pigs gaining a precarious existence on the herbage left alive by the
blistering sun on an arid soil, there should be smiling homesteads and
blooming gardens everywhere, trees and grateful shade where now the
ground, between the rainy seasons, becomes all of one dusty, half-burnt
colour, reminding one more of the "back of a mangy camel," as it has
been described, than of a country that has once been fruitful and
productive.

The late General Concha, Marqués del Duero, was the originator of
sugar-cane cultivation. He spent a large portion of his private fortune
in establishing what bids fair to be one of the most productive
industries of his country. But, like most pioneers of progress, he
reaped no benefit himself. His fine estates near Malaga, with their
productive cane-farms, passed into other hands before he had reaped the
reward of his patriotic endeavours. For a long time the cheap,
bounty-fed beet sugars of Germany, which never approach beyond being an
imitation of real sugar--as every housewife can testify who has tried to
make jam with them--were able to undersell the produce of the cane; but
the latest statistics show that this industry is now making steady
progress, the production of 1899 being thirty-one thousand tons, or
exactly three times that of 1899. _À propos_ of the difference between
cane and beet sugars for all domestic purposes, and the superior
cheapness of the more costly article, it is satisfactory to note that in
England the working classes, through their own co-operative societies,
insist on being supplied with the former, knowing by experimental proof
its immense superiority; and one may hope that their wisdom may spread
into households where the servants pull the wires, and care nothing
about economy.

Looking at the ordinary map of Spain, it appears to be ridiculous to say
that the greater part of the country is in want of water. Although it is
intersected by three large ranges of mountains beyond the Pyrenees, and
innumerable others of smaller dimensions, thus making a great proportion
of the country impossible for agriculture, it is rich in magnificent
rivers and in smaller ones, all of which are allowed to run to waste in
many parts of the country, while even a small portion of their waters,
artificially dammed and utilised for irrigation, if only of the lands
lying on each side of them, would mean wealth and prosperity and an
abounding population where now the "everlasting sun" pours its rays over
barren wastes. Moreover, by the growth of the wood, which once covered
the plains and has been cut down, little by little, until the whole
surface of the land was changed, in process of time the climate would
become less dry, and vegetation more rapid and easy.

Ever since the expulsion of the Moors from Castile and Estremadura, the
land has been allowed gradually to go almost out of cultivation for want
of water, the wholesale devastation of forests, in combination with the
lapse of all irrigation, acting as a constantly accelerating cause for
the arid and unproductive condition of the once genial soil. Irrigation
has been the crying want of Spain for generations past; but even now the
Government scarcely seems to have awakened to its necessity. Perhaps,
however, the Spaniard who goes on his way, never troubling to listen to
the opinion or advice of his neighbour, has not, after all, been so
wanting in common sense as some of the more energetic of his critics
have thought. In spite of all the changes and disasters of successive
Governments, a steady and rapid advance has been made in providing means
of transport and shipping, by the construction of railways to every part
of the country, the making and keeping in condition of admirable
highways, and the building of breakwaters and quays in many of the
seaports, so that now the output of the mines and produce of all kinds
can find market within the country, or be shipped abroad freely.

[Illustration: A WEDDING PARTY IN ESTREMADURA]

If the money no longer being expended in railways and docks were now
devoted to irrigation wherever it is needed, a rapid change would become
apparent over the whole face of the country, and the population would
increase in proportion as the land would bear it. Irrigation works have
been more than once undertaken by the aid of foreign money, and under
the charge of foreign engineers; but the people themselves--the
landowners and peasant proprietors--were not ripe for it, and, alas!
some of the canals which would have turned whole valleys into gardens
have been allowed to go to ruin, or to become actually obliterated,
while the scanty crops are raised once in two or three years from the
same soil, which will yield three crops in one year by the help of
water. Difficulties arose about the sale of the water--a prolific cause
of dispute even in the old irrigated districts--and the people said:
"What do we want with water, except what comes from heaven? If the
Virgin thinks we want water, she sends it." Fitting result of the
teaching of the Church for so many years, with the example ever held up
for admiration of the patron saint, Isidro, who knelt all day at his
prayers, and left the tilling of his fields to the angels! It would seem
that these ministers of grace are not good husbandmen, since the land
became the arid waste it now is, while successive Isidros have been
engaged in religious duties, which they were taught were all that was
necessary.

As an example of what irrigation means in the sunlit fields of Spain, an
acre of irrigable land in Valencia or Murcia sells for prices varying
from £150 to £400, according to its quality or its situation, while land
not irrigable only fetches sums varying from £7 to £20. In Castile, land
would not in any case fetch so high a price as that which has been under
irrigated cultivation for centuries past; but in any district the value
of dry land is never more than a twelfth of what it is when irrigable.
In truth, however, there is more than irrigation needed to bring the
lands of Castile and Estremadura into profitable cultivation, and it
cannot be done without the expenditure of large sums of money at the
outset in manures, and good implements in place of the obsolete old
implements with which the ground is now scratched rather than ploughed.
Given good capital and intelligent farming, as in the irrigated
districts, and two, and even three, crops a year can be raised in
unceasing succession; lucern gives from ten to twelve cuttings in one
year, fifteen days being sufficient for the growth of a new crop.

I have pointed out what one day's sun can do in raising grass seed in
Madrid, which stands on the highest point of the elevated table-land
occupying the centre of Spain. Seeing that the principal item of the
revenue is derived from the land tax, and that it is calculated on the
value of the land, it would appear to be the first interest of an
enlightened government to foster irrigation in every possible way, and
encourage agriculture and the planting of trees.

Although the people of Spain have hated their more immediate neighbours
with an exceeding bitter hatred,--as, indeed, they had good cause to do
in the past,--her public men have had a strange fancy for importing or
imitating French customs. One that militates more than anything else
against agricultural prosperity is the law of inheritance, copied from
the French. By this the State divides an estate amongst the heirs
without any reference to the wishes of the proprietor at his death. Not
only are all large estates broken up and practically dissipated, so that
it is to no one's interest to improve his property or spend money on it,
but the small farms of the peasant proprietor are broken into smaller
fragments in the same way; and it is no uncommon thing to see a field of
a few acres divided into six or eight furrows, none of them enough to
support one man. While he has to go off seeking work where he can get
it, his strip of land clings to him like a curse, for he must lose his
work if he would try to cultivate it, and at his death it will again be
subdivided, until at last there is nothing left to share. Meanwhile, the
land, which is not enough to be of any value to anyone, has been allowed
to go almost out of cultivation; or if it bear anything at all, it is
weeds.

Until some remedy be found for this enervating system, it would seem as
if Spanish agriculture is doomed to remain in its present unsatisfactory
condition over a great part of the kingdom. The improvement of
agriculture is practically a question of private enterprise, and under
the existing law of inheritance neither enterprise nor interest can be
expected of the small proprietor; nor indeed of the large landowner, who
knows that, whatever he may do to improve his estate, it is doomed to be
cut to pieces and divided amongst his next of kin until it is eventually
extinguished. Whether, in some future time, an enlightened scheme of
co-operation could work the arid lands into cultivation again, if the
Government would give the necessary aid in the form of irrigation,
remains among the unanswered riddles of the future. Prophecy in Spain is
never possible; it is always the unexpected which happens in that
country of sharp contradictions. All one can do is to note past progress
and the drift of the present current, which, whatever government is at
the nominal head of affairs, seems to be towards widespread--in fact,
quite general--advance both in knowledge and industrial activity.

The greatest hope for the future lies in the fact that it is no longer
foreign money or foreign labour that is working for the good of the
country; the impulse is from within, and every penny of capital that is
sunk in public works, manufactures, or industrial enterprise, is so much
invested in a settled state of affairs. When the individual has
everything to lose by revolutionary changes, when the commerce of the
country is becoming too important to be allowed to be upset easily, and
it is everybody's interest to support and increase it, the main body of
the people are ranged on the side of peace and progress. They have had
enough of civil war, enough of tyranny; they have achieved freedom, and
want nothing so much as to taste of it in quietness.

To revert for a moment to the special manufactures of the country, it
appears to be the wise policy of the powers that be in Spain to-day to
encourage, by every possible means, native industries and the
development of the rich resources of the country. If it be only in the
superior education required of the workmen, and the drawing out of their
natural talents, the movement is an immense gain to the people, so long
purposely kept in a condition of slothful ignorance.

Besides the woollen manufactures of Palencia, Lorca, Jerez, Barcelona,
Valencia, and other places, are many cloth factories in Cataluña, as
well as others for the production of silk fabrics, lace, and very
high-class embroideries, for which last Spain has long been famous, but
which have hitherto been little known beyond her own frontiers. In
artistic crafts may be named the pottery works of Pickman, Mesaque,
Gomez, and others in Seville, where magnificent reproductions of Moorish
and Hespaño-Moresque tiles and pottery are being turned out; there are
also factories for this class of goods in Valencia, Barcelona, Segovia,
Talevera, and many other places. Ornamental iron and damascene work
holds the high reputation which Spain has never lost, but the output is
very largely increased. Gold and silver inlaid on iron, iron inlaid on
copper and silver, are some of the forms of this beautiful work. That
executed in Madrid differs from that of Toledo, Eibar, and other centres
of the craft. The iron gate-work executed in Madrid and Barcelona is
very hard to beat, and the casting of bronzes is carried out with every
modern improvement. The wood-carvers of Spain have always been famous,
and the craft appears to be in no danger of falling behind its old
reputation, much beautiful decorative work of this description being
produced for modern needs. The _Circulo de Artes_ holds an exhibition in
Madrid every other year, and in the intervening years the Government has
one, in the large permanent buildings erected for the purpose at the end
of the Fuente Castellana. The manufacture of artistic furniture and
other connected industries are encouraged also by a bi-yearly exhibition
in Madrid, where prizes and commendations are given. The chief centres
of artistic furniture-making are Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, and
Zaragoza. Exhibitions of arts and crafts and of all kinds of industries
and manufactures are also held, at intervals, in the principal towns all
over the country. An interesting exhibition of Spanish and South
American productions was held in 1901 in Bilbao with great success.

Nor ought we to forget the industry for which Seville is famed. The
manufacture of tobacco is almost wholly in the hands of women, and is a
very important industry, thousands being employed in the large factories
making up cigars, cigarettes, and preparing and packing the finer kinds
of tobacco. The cigar-girl of Seville is a well-known type, almost as
much dreaded by the authorities as admired by her own class. The women
are mostly young, and often attractive, extremely pronounced both in
dress and manners, and are quite a power to be reckoned with when they
choose to assert themselves. On more than one occasion they have taken
up some cause _en masse_, and have gathered in thousands, determined to
have their way.

When this happens, the powers that be are reduced to great straits.
Neither the _Guardia Civile_ nor the military can be relied on to use
force, and unless the army of irate women can be persuaded to retire
from the contest it is probable that, relying with perfect confidence on
the privileges of their sex, they will gain what they consider their
rights--at all events their will.

No country in the world is more suited for manufactures and exports than
Spain. She has an unexampled seaboard, and many magnificent natural
harbours, and now an easy approach through Portugal to the sea, even if
her own ports should be insufficient. Common commercial interests are
likely to bring that Iberian kingdom or commonwealth to pass which has
been the dream of some of her politicians, and is still cherished in
parts of both countries. The northern ports in the Atlantic are,
perhaps, the most important; that of Bilbao, a most unpromising one by
nature, has grown out of all recognition since the close of the Carlist
war. The railway to the iron mines was already in course of construction
when the war broke out; everything was stopped, the workmen carried off
willy-nilly to join the marauding bands of the Pretender, the
town--which boasts that it has never been taken, although twice almost
demolished during the two insane civil wars--was wrecked and well-nigh
ruined, its industries destroyed, its commerce at an end. With peace and
quietness came one of the most extraordinary revivals of modern times:
the population increased at a marvellous rate, the new town sprang into
existence on the left bank of the Nerrion, the river was deepened, the
bar, which used to block almost all entrance, practically removed,
extensive dock-works carried out; so that in ten years the shipment of
ore from the port sprang up from four hundred and twenty-five thousand
tons to 3,737,176, and is increasing daily. Bilbao, with its five
railway stations, its electric tramways, and its population of
sixty-six thousand, has become the first and most important shipping
outlet of Spain. Nor have the southern ports of Huelva and Seville been
much behind it in their rapid progress; while on the Mediterranean coast
are Malaga, Almería, Aguilas, Cartagena, Valencia, and Tarragona--all
vying with the older, and once singular, centre of commercial and
industrial activity, Barcelona. The northwest seaboard has been hitherto
somewhat behind the movement, owing to a less complete railway
communication with the rest of the country; now that this is no more a
reproach, the fine natural harbours of Rivadeo, Vivero, Carril,
Pontevedra, Vigo, and Coruña, are gradually following suit, some with
more vigour than others. The little land-locked harbour of Pasages has
for some years been rapidly rising to the rank of a first-class shipping
port.

It is satisfactory to note, from the latest statistics, that in 1899
Spain possessed a total of one thousand and thirty-five merchant ships,
that in the same year she bought from England alone sixty-seven, and
that 17,419 ships, carrying 11,857,674 tons of exports, left Spanish
ports for foreign markets. Although no official information has been
published since that year, the increase since the close of the war has
been in very much greater ratio. From the same records we find that
during the year 1899 no fewer than sixty-nine large companies were
formed, of which twenty-three were for shipping, eight were new sugar
factories, seven banks, seven mining, six electric, and ten others
related either to manufacture or commerce, the total capital of these
new enterprises representing one hundred and twenty-eight millions of
pesetas.

In contrast to Portugal, the _caminos reales_, or high-roads, of Spain
have long been very good. It is true that where these State roads do not
exist, the unadulterated _arroyo_ serves as a country road, or a mere
track across the fields made by carts and foot-passengers, and when an
obstruction occurs in the form of too deep a hole to be got through, the
track takes a turn outside it, and returns to the direct line as soon as
circumstances permit. An _arroyo_ is given in the dictionary as "a
rivulet"; it is, in fact, generally a rushing torrent during the rains,
eating its way through the land, and laying down a smooth, deep layer of
sand, or even soil, between high banks. Immediately after the rainy
season this affords a firm, good road for a time, but eventually it
becomes ploughed into impassable ruts by the wheels of the carts, unless
trampled hard by the feet of passing flocks.

Government undertakes the cost and the super-intendence of the _caminos
reales_, and does it well. The corps of engineers is modelled on French
lines, and is a department of the Ministry of Public Works. The course
of study is extremely severe, and the examinations are strict and
searching. When a candidate passes, he is appointed assistant-engineer
by the Ministry, and he rises in his profession solely by seniority.
Every province has its engineer-in-chief, with his staff of assistants;
the superintendents of harbours, railways, and other public works are
specially appointed from qualified engineers. In addition to the care of
the construction and repair of all highways and Government works in his
district, the engineer-in-chief has the overlooking of all works which,
although they may be the result of private enterprise and private
capital, are authorised or carried out under Government concession.
These concessions are only granted after the project has been submitted
to, and approved by, the Ministry of Public Works, and it passes under
the supervision of the engineer of the provinces. In old days, if not
now, there was a good deal of "the itching palm" about the officials,
not excluding the Minister himself, through whose hands the granting of
concessions passed, even the wives coming in for handsome presents and
"considerations," without which events had a knack of not moving; and
when the army of _Empleados_ became _Cesantes_, this work, of course,
began all over again. The railway engineers form a separate body, the
country being mapped out into arbitrary divisions, each under the charge
of one engineer-in-chief, with a large body of assistants.

The telegraph system of Spain has now for many years been in a good
condition. The construction of the lines dates from about 1862, when
only five miles were in operation. There is now probably not a village
in the whole country that does not possess its telegraph office, and in
all the important towns this is kept open all night. A peseta for twenty
words, including the address, is the uniform charge, every additional
word being ten centimos. The telegraphs were established by the
Government, and are under its control. All railway lines of public
service, and those which receive a subvention, must provide two wires
for Government use. Telephones are now in use in all large centres, and
electric lighting and traction are far more widely used than in England.



CHAPTER XI

THE ARMY AND NAVY


It is not necessary to say to anyone who has the smallest acquaintance
with history that Spaniards are naturally brave and patriotic. The early
history of the Peninsula is one of valour in battle, whether by land or
sea. The standard of Castile has been borne by her sons triumphantly
over the surface of the globe. Few of us now remember that Johnson wrote
of the Spain of his day:

    Has Heaven reserved, in pity to the poor,
    No pathless waste, no undiscovered shore,
    No secret island on the trackless main,
    No peaceful desert, yet unclaimed by Spain?

In the old days when Drake undertook to "singe the King of Spain's
beard," and carried out his threat, our sailors and those of Philip II.,
some time "King of England," as the Spaniards still insist on calling
him, met often in mortal combat, and learned to recognise and honour in
each other the same dogged fighting-power, the same discipline and quiet
courage. The picture of the Spaniards standing bareheaded in token of
reverence and admiration of a worthy foe, as some small English ships
went down with all their crew rather than surrender, in those old days
of strife, touches a chord which still vibrates in memory of battles
fought and won together by Englishmen and Spaniards under the Iron Duke.
True, some battered and torn English flags hang as trophies in the
armoury of Madrid, but one likes to remember that in the only battle
where our colours were lost, the Spanish troops were commanded by an
Englishman, James Stuart, Duke of Berwick, the direct ancestor of the
present Duque de Berwick y Alva, and the English by one of French birth.
In every case where foreign foes have invaded Spain, sooner or later
they have been driven out. _Santiago! y Cierra España!_ was the war-cry
which roused every child of Spain to close his beloved country to alien
domination.

Unfortunately, the yoke of the foreigner came in more invidious guise.
From the death of Ferdinand and Isabella to the year 1800, the sons of
Spain were immolated to serve causes which were of no account to her, to
protect the interests of sovereigns who had nothing in common with her
provinces, to add to the power of the Austrian Hapsburgs and the French
Bourbons. We have seen how the people whom Napoleon had believed to be
sunk in fanaticism, dead to all national aspiration, the mere slaves of
a despicable King, and the sport of his debauched Queen and her lover,
sprang to arms and drove the invader from their land. So would it be
to-day if the country were even threatened by foreign invasion. "The
dogs of Spain," as Granville called them, know well how to protect their
soil.

Within comparatively recent years the campaign in Morocco, and the
expeditionary force sent to Cochin-China, showed that the Spanish army
was not to be despised. It has been the misfortune of Spain that her
soldiers have too often had the melancholy task of fighting against
their own people, or those of their colonies, both of whom have been
excited and aided in insurrection for years by foreign contributions of
arms and money. In these unhappy fratricidal struggles the fighting has
never been more than half-hearted, and during the numerous military
_pronunciamientos_ it has often been necessary to keep the troops from
meeting, as they could never be trusted not to fraternise; and after the
first abortive attempt by Prim to effect the revolution which later
freed the country, the curious spectacle was afforded of Prim and his
soldiers marching quietly out of one end of a village, while the troops
of the Queen, sent in pursuit, were being purposely kept back from
marching too quickly in at the other.

The army of Spain would seem to suffer from a plethora of officers,
especially those of the highest rank. In the time of Alfonso XII., there
were ten marshals, fifty-five generals, sixty-six _mariscales de
campo_, and one hundred and ninety-seven brigadiers; adding those on the
retired list liable for service, there were in all five hundred and
twenty generals, four hundred and seventy-two colonels, eight hundred
and ninety-four lieutenant-colonels, 2113 commandants, 5041 captains,
5880 lieutenants, and 4833 sous-lieutenants. With such an array of
officers, it is scarcely to be wondered at that promotion in the
ordinary way was looked on as impossible, and the juggle of military
_pronunciamientos_ was regarded as almost the only means of rising in
the army. It was no uncommon thing to promise a rise of one grade
throughout a whole corps to compass one of these miniature revolutions.
However, all that is happily past. General Weyler,--whose name indicates
alien blood at some period of his family history,--the present Minister
of War, has taken the thorough reform of the army in hand, though it is
too soon to say if he will be as successful as is generally expected
from his known energy and common sense, since the work is only now in
progress.

One of the most fertile sources of disturbance in the old days of Isabel
II. was the presence of the _primo sargentos_. These petty officers,
having risen from the ranks, and invested with an authority for which
they were often quite unsuited, were always ready, for a consideration,
to aid the cause of some aspiring politician, now on one side, now on
another. They are now, fortunately, abolished.

The Spanish artillery is a splendid body, and is officered from the
best families in the country. In the only military insurrection in which
the common soldiers shot some of the officers obnoxious to them--that of
the Montaño Barracks, in 1866--the leader of the mutinists was a certain
_hidalgo_. It was the promotion of this man that led indirectly to the
abdication of Don Amadeo, who opposed the action. Indignant at the
disgrace to the service, all of the artillery officers in Spain sent in
their resignations. They were accepted, and the _primo sargentos_ raised
to the rank of officers to fill their places. The result was unlimited
mutiny among the rank and file and danger to the State. Some of the
young officers who had retained their uniforms, though no longer
attached to the corps, finding the troops in utter disorder and revolt,
quietly donned their uniforms, went down to the barracks, and gave their
orders. The men instantly fell into the ranks, and the situation was
saved. The _primo sargentos_ were abolished, the officers reinstated.
But Amadeo had had enough; he ceased to attempt to reign
constitutionally in a country where the constitution meant only one more
form of personal greed and excess. He was _demasiado honesto_ for the
crew he had been called to command, and he left the country to tumble
about in its so-called "republican" anarchy until another military
_pronunciamiento_ set Alfonso XII. on the throne. And that has been,
fortunately, the last performance of a kind once so common in Spain.

All military men admire the effective corps of light mountain artillery.
The small guns are carried on the backs of the splendid mules for which
the Spanish army is famous, and can be taken up any mountain path which
these singular animals can climb. Mules are also used to drag the
heavier guns, and must be invaluable in a mountainous country. The
animals are quite as large as ordinary horses, are lithe, active, and
literally unhurtable. I have myself seen a mule, harnessed to a cart
which was discharging stones over the edge of a deep pit, when levelling
the ground at the end of the Fuente Castellana in Madrid, over-balanced
by the weight behind him, fall over, turn a somersault in mid-air, cart
and all, and, alighting thirty feet below, shake himself, ponder for a
few seconds on the unexpected event in his day's labour, and then
proceed to draw the cart, by this time satisfactorily emptied, out of
the pit by the sloping track at the farther side, and continue his task
absolutely unhurt and undisturbed.

Until the final overthrow of the Carlists by Alfonso XII., the Basque
Provinces, amongst their most cherished _fueros_, were exempted from the
hated conscription; but the victorious King made short work of that and
of all other special rights and privileges--which, in truth, had been
abused--and now all the country is subject to conscription. Every man
from nineteen to twenty years of age is liable to serve in the ranks,
except those who are studying as officers. A payment of £60 frees them
from service during peace; but if the country is at war there is no
exemption. The conscripts are bound for twelve years--three with the
colours, three in the first reserve, three in the second, and three in
the third.

Navy? Alas! Spain has none. Two battle-ships alone remain--_El Pelayo_
and _Carlos V._ (the former about nine thousand five hundred tons, the
latter not more than seven thousand)--and some destroyers and torpedoes.
How a nation that once ruled the sea, and whose sailors traversed and
conquered the New World, has allowed her navy to become practically
extinct at the moment when nations which have almost no seaboard are
trying to bring theirs up within measurable distance of England's, it is
impossible to say. Even before the outbreak of the war with America
there were but a few battle-ships, and these were wanting in guns and in
almost all that could make them effective--save and except the men, who
behaved like heroes. It seems to be a consolation to Spaniards to
remember that it was in the pages of an English journal that an
Englishman, who had seen the whole of the disastrous war, wrote: "If
Spain were served by her statesmen as she has been served by her navy,
she would be one of the greatest nations of the world to-day."

The history of the part borne by the Spanish navy in the late war with
America, as written by one of Admiral Cervera's captains,[1] with the
publication of the actual telegrams which passed between the Government
and the fleet, and the military commanders in the colonies, is one of
the most heartrending examples of the sacrifice, not only of brave men,
but of a country's honour to political intrigue or the desire to retain
office. This, at least, is the opinion of the writer of this painful
history, and his statements are fully borne out by the original
telegrams, since published. It is impossible to imagine that any
definite policy at all was followed by the advisers of the Queen Regent
in this matter, unless it were the incredible one ascribed to it by
Captain Concas Palan of deliberately allowing the fleet, such as it was,
to be destroyed--in fact, in the case of Admiral Cervera's squadron,
sending it out to certain and foreseen annihilation--so as to make the
disaster an excuse for suing for peace, without raising such a storm at
home as might have upset the Ministry. With both fleets sunk, and those
of their men not slain, prisoners of war, there was no alternative
policy but peace. Captain Concas Palan claims for his chief and the
comrades who fell in this futile and disastrous affair "a right to the
legitimate defence which our country expects from us, though it is
against the interested silence which those who were the cause of our
misfortunes would fain impose on us," and says that "some day, and that
probably much sooner than seems probable at present," the judgment of
Spain on this episode will be that of the English _Review_, which he
quotes as the heading of his chapter. He goes on: "War was accepted by
Spain when the island of Cuba was already lost to her, and when the
dispatch of a single soldier more from the Peninsula was infinitely more
likely to have caused an insurrection than that of which our Ministers
were afraid--at the moment, also, when our troops were in want of the
merest necessaries, the arrears of pay being the chief cause of their
debilitated condition, and when a great part of the Spanish residents in
Cuba, under the name of 'Reformers,' 'Autonomists,' etc., had made
common cause with the insurgents, while they were enriching themselves
to a fabulous extent by contracts for supplies and transports. In these
circumstances it was folly to accept a struggle with an immensely rich
country, possessing a population four times that of ours, and but a
pistol shot from the seat of action." The Government of Spain was
perfectly aware that the troops in Cuba were already quite insufficient
even to cope with the insurgents, that the people at home were already
murmuring bitterly at the cost of the war, and that it was impossible to
send out a contingent of any practical value. Sickness of all kinds,
enteric, anæmia, and all the evils of under-fed and badly found troops,
were rapidly consuming the forces in Cuba, "and yet the Government took
no thought of who was to man the guns whose gunners were drifting daily
into the hospital and the cemetery.... The national debt was increasing
in a fabulous manner, and recourse was had to the mediæval remedy of
debasing the currency, while even at that moment the troops had more
than a year's pay in arrear, and absolute penury was augmenting their
other sufferings."

    [1] _La Escuadra del Almirante Cervera_, por Victor M.
    Concas Palan.

This was the moment which the responsible Ministers of the Crown thought
propitious to throw down the gauntlet to the overwhelming power of
America rather than to face what the writer terms the "cabbage-headed
riff-raff of the Plaza de la Cevada" of Madrid. Again and again was the
absolute inefficiency of the fleet pointed out to them. Even the few
ships there were, all of them vastly inferior to those of the United
States' navy, were without their proper armament; they might have been
of some service in defence of the coast of Spain, but in aggressive
warfare they were useless. Allowing somewhat for the natural indignation
of one of those who was sacrificed, who saw his beloved commander and
his comrades-in-arms sent like sheep to the slaughter, and all for an
idea,--and that a perfectly stupid and useless one,--there is no
gainsaying the facts which Captain Concas Palan relates, and the
original telegrams verify every word of his story. Admiral Cervera was
sent out with sealed orders; but he had done all that was in his
power--even asking to be relieved of his command--to prevent the folly
of sending away from the coasts of the mother country the only ships
which could have protected her, while they were absolutely useless
against the American navy in the Antilles. Left with no alternative but
obedience, he managed to gain the safe harbour of Santiago de Cuba with
his squadron intact. Secure from attack, he landed his men to assist in
the defence of the town from the land side. And then came the incredible
orders that he was to take out his four ships to be destroyed by the
American navy waiting outside! Never in the world's history was a more
magnificent piece of heroism displayed than in the obedience to
discipline which caused Admiral Cervera to re-embark his marines and
lead them forth to certain death, well knowing what they were to face,
for he hid nothing from them. He called on them as sons of Spain, and
they answered heroically, as Spaniards have ever done in history: "For
honour!"

Spain has suffered deeply and sorely in her pride; but she has never
worn her heart on her sleeve--she suffers in silence. A quotation from
the _Época_ of July 5th, two days after the destruction of Cervera's
fleet, shows the spirit in which the country bore that terrible blow. It
is headed "Hours of Agony." "Our grief to-day has nothing in it which
was unexpected. The laws of logic are invincible; our four ships could
not by any possibility have escaped the formidable American squadron.
The one thing that Spain expected of her sons was that they should
perish heroically. They have perished! They have faced their destiny;
they have realised the sole end which Spain looked for, in this
desperate conflict into which she has been drawn by God knows what blind
fatality; they have fallen with honour."

That is true; but how about the leaders whose long misrule of the
colonies had helped to bring on the disaster which their predecessors
for many years had courted? How about the political corruption which,
when large sums were being spent on the colonies, had allowed immense
private fortunes to be made while Manila was left without defences, and
the absolutely unassailable bay of Santiago de Cuba had on the fort
which commanded its entrance only useless old guns of a past century,
more likely to cause the death of those who attempted to serve them than
to injure an enemy? How about the Government that deliberately entered
on a war of which the end was perfectly foreseen, and, while seated
safely in office at home, thought the "honour of Spain" sufficiently
vindicated by offering up its navy, already made useless by neglect and
niggardliness, as a sacrifice? Captain Concas Palan points out that even
after it was fully recognised that the retention of Cuba was impossible,
the worst catastrophes might have been avoided. "In place of treating
for peace while the squadron was intact at Santiago, which, as well as
Manila, could have been defended for some time, the Ministers waited to
sue for peace until everything was lost, while it was perfectly well
known beforehand that that result was inevitable." During the whole
time, _mañana veremos_ was the rule of action--a to-morrow that never
was to dawn for those whose lives it was intended to sacrifice. Heaven
works no miracles for those who fling themselves against the impossible!

So long ago as 1823, Thomas Jefferson wrote to President Monroe: "The
addition of the island of Cuba to our Confederacy is exactly what is
wanted to round our power as a nation to the point of its utmost
interest." John Quincy Adams went so far as to state that "Cuba
gravitates to the United States as the apple yet hanging on its native
trunk gravitates to the earth which sustains it"--a statement which has
the more force when it is remembered that for over fifty years the Cuban
insurgents had been liberally supplied with arms, ammunition, stores,
and troops from the United States whenever they required them! And this,
not because Cuba was mismanaged by Spain, but because America coveted
her as "the most interesting addition that could be made to our system
of States," to quote Jefferson once more.

Nevertheless, the heroic sons of Spain were offered up as an expiation
for the sins of her political jugglers for generations past. With the
knowledge that America had at least for seventy years been seeking an
excuse for "rounding her power as a nation" by the seizure of Cuba, no
real effort was made to redress the grievances of her native population,
nor to efficiently defend her coasts.

The state of affairs in Manila was still worse. The culpable neglect of
the Government had resulted in the so-called squadron not being
possessed of one single ship of modern construction or armament; and
when the unfortunate marines and their heroic commanders had been
immolated by the overwhelming superiority in numbers and efficiency of
the Americans, the noisy injustice and anger of a senseless crowd at
home were allowed to compass the lasting disgrace of casting the blame
for the foreseen disasters on Admiral Montojo, who was thrown as a
victim to the jackals.

To-day, we find Spain absolutely without a navy. Two second- or
third-class ships--and they not even properly found or armed--are all
she possesses. Men she has, however, with the traditions of a great
past, while the officers of her navy are thoroughly alive to the class
of ships and the armament which are needed to give their country the
protection, and their foreign policy the dignity, which other countries
of far less importance are able to sustain. No wonder that her writers
are pointing out that instead of being satisfied with immense
long-winded despatches and notes, couched in grandiloquent language,
which Spanish Foreign Ministers seem to think amply sufficient, strong
nations have a habit of sending an iron-clad, or two or three cruisers
to back up their demands, and that no other European country but Spain
thinks it safe or wise to leave her coasts and her commerce entirely
without protection in case of a European war breaking out. Will the
nation itself take the matter in hand, and in this, as in so many other
matters, advance in spite of its Government? If it waits for the
political seesaw by which both parties avoid responsibility, there will
be small chance of a navy. The same ministry is in power to-day which
landed the country in the Spanish-American War, and it would seem as if
the nation considers it the best it can produce. _Mañana veremos?_



CHAPTER XII

RELIGIOUS LIFE


The natural bent of the Spanish mind is religious. Taking the nation as
a whole, with all its marvellous variations in race and character, no
portion of it has ever been reproached for insincerity in its religious
beliefs. It has been often held up to reproach for bigotry and
superstition; but the people have in past ages been penetrated by a
sincere reverence for what they have believed to be religion, and
perhaps no other nation has been more thoroughly imbued with an
unwavering faith in the dogmas taught by its religious instructors.
English Roman Catholics--especially those who have seceded from the
Anglican Church--are fond of declaring that Spain is "a splendid
Catholic country," "the home of true Catholicism," and so forth. To a
certain extent this has been true of it in the past, and "dignity,
loyalty, and the love of God" are still the ideals of the people at
large, although in Spain, as in some other Continental nations, the
practice of religious duties is now, to a great extent, left to the
women of the family and to the peasantry. Young Spain, and the
progressive party in it, can no longer be said to be under the
domination of the Church, even in outward appearance. It will be well if
the swing of the pendulum does not carry them very far from it, and into
open revolt.

The history of the Church in Spain and of its relations with Rome is a
curious one. It can scarcely be said to have been much more amenable to
the Papacy than that of the Church of England, though it has remained
always within the pale of the Roman Catholic persuasion. In the old time
the kings aspired to be the head of the Spanish Church, and were none
too subservient to the Pope. The Inquisition and the Society of Jesus
were distinctly Spanish, and not Roman, and were at times actually at
variance with the Vatican. Probably from their long struggles with the
barbarians, and later with the Moors, Spaniards have a habit of always
speaking of themselves as Christians rather than Catholics, which
strikes strangely on one's ears.

The evils which have been wrought in Spain by the terrible incubus of
the Inquisition, and by the domination of the Jesuits and other orders,
who obtained possession of the teaching of youth, have been little less
than disastrous, because their power has been deliberately used for ages
past to keep the lower classes in a state of absolute ignorance, slaves
of the grossest superstition, and mere puppets in the hands of the
priesthood. Even well within the memory of living people it was thought
a pity that women should be allowed to learn even to read and
write,--safer to have them quite ignorant,--while the peasantry and the
inferior classes believed anything they were told, and could be excited
to any pitch of fanaticism by the preaching of their religious teachers.
The Inquisition was often used as a political machine, and was sometimes
only clothed with the semblance of religion; but by whomsoever it was
directed, and for whatsoever purpose, it was a vile and soul-destroying
institution. It deliberately ground down and destroyed every spark of
intelligence, of liberty, of attempt at progress; it dominated the whole
nation like the shadow of the upas tree, manufactured hypocrites, and
led to the debasing of a naturally fine people of good instincts to an
ignorant and fanatical mob, who, in the name of religion, were
entertained with gigantic _autos-da-fé_, as the Roman populace were with
the terrible spectacles of their gladiatorial shows and the immolation
of Christian victims in the arena.

It was the people themselves who rose against this hateful tyranny; it
was their better instincts that put an end to the "Holy Office" and its
enormous crimes. Shortly after the Revolution of 1868, when religious
liberty had been established, and the people, for the first time in
their long history of disaster, were breathing the air of freedom,
certain improvements which were being made, in the shape of laying out
new streets, pulling down old rookeries, and building better houses, led
to a new road being cut through the raised ground outside the Santa
Barbara Gate. The exact spot of the great _Quemadero_--the oven of the
Inquisition--was not known, but it chanced that the workmen cut right
through the very centre of it. A more ghastly sight, or an object-lesson
of more potency, could scarcely be imagined. The Government of the day
found it advisable to cover it up as quickly as possible; the excitement
of the people was thought to be dangerous; and though those at the head
of affairs were no friends to the priests or the Jesuits, there was no
desire to reawaken the passions and let loose the vengeance which led
the populace in 1834 to murder them wholesale.

I happened to be returning from a ride with a companion when, quite
accidentally, we came upon this excavation, and even passed down the new
road before we realised where we were. The _Quemadero_ had evidently
been in the shape of an immense basin. There in the banks at each side
were the stratified layers of human ashes; between each _auto-da-fé_ it
was evident that the remains had been covered with a thick layer of
earth; finally, at the top of all these smaller bands of black, horrible
ashes, came one huge deposit, which marked the awful scene of the last
gigantic _auto_. This ghastly bonfire was sixty feet square, and seven
feet high, as history records, when one hundred and five victims were
slowly tortured to a frightful death in the name of Christ, while the
King, Charles II., and his Court and the howling rabble of Madrid looked
on with savage enjoyment. Nothing can ever obliterate the impression of
that scene, nor make one forget the deadly clinging of those ghastly
black ashes, which the wind scattered about, and which it was impossible
to escape or to get rid of. The fell work of the "religious" authors of
the holocaust had been well done--nothing was left but ashes; and the
next day, by order of the Government, sand or soil had been thrown over
all that could bear witness to this horrible episode in the history of
the Church in Spain, while the people who inhabit the houses built over
the spot probably know nothing of the records of human agony and brutal
bigotry that still lie beneath their homes.

We hear of these things and read of them in history, but one needs to
have seen that awful memorial to realise what share the Inquisition has
had in transforming a naturally heroic and kindly people into the inert
masses which nothing, or almost nothing, would move so long as they had
_pan y toros_ (bread and bulls). Thanks to the horrors of the
Inquisition and the _Autos-da-fé_, the whole people have acquired a
character which assuredly they do not deserve. The blind bigotry and
cynical cruelty of Philip II. and his lunatic successors have been
identified with the races over which, unfortunately for Spain, they
ruled for so many years. When one remembers that this is the view taken
of the Inquisition, and of the domination of the Church in effacing all
kinds of culture, by the liberal and educated Spaniard of to-day, and
that there is, even now, an extreme party which would fain see the "Holy
Office" re-established, with all its old powers, it is easy to
understand at what a critical point the clerical question has arrived in
Spain; nor need one wonder at the feeling which in all parts of the
kingdom has been aroused by the recrudescence of the religious orders,
more especially of the determined struggle of the Jesuits to retain and
even to reassert their power.

The Madonna, who is always spoken of as "La Vírgen," never as "Santa
María," is the great object of love and of reverence in Spain, while the
words _Dios_ and _Jesus_ are used as common exclamations in a way that
impresses English people rather unfavourably. It is a shock to hear all
classes using the _Por Dios!_ which with us is a mark of the purest
blackguardism, and the use as common names of that of Our Lord and of
_Salvador_, or Saviour, always strikes a disagreeable note. There is in
Madrid a "Calle Jesus," and the sacred name, used as a common expletive,
is heard on all sides. One of the most charming of Yradier's Andalusian
songs, addressed by a _contrabandista_ to his _novia_, runs thus:

    Pero tengo unas patillas.
    Que patillas puñála!
    Es lo mejor que se ha jecho
    En de Jesu Cristo acá![2]

    [2] "But I have such a stunning pair of whiskers!
        The best that have ever been seen since those of Jesus Christ!"

And no one is offended; in fact, no irreverence is probably meant.

But the innumerable "Vírgenes" which abound throughout the country, and
all seem different, have the heartfelt devotion of all classes. To one
or other of them the bull-fighter goes for protection and aid before he
enters the arena; the mother whose child lies sick vows her magnificent
hair to the Virgin of the Atocha, or of the Pillar, or some of the many
others scattered about the country, if only she will grant what she
asks; and you may see these marvellous locks, tied with coloured
ribbons, hanging amongst the motley assemblage of votive offerings by
the side of her altar, when the prayer has been answered. It is
difficult for us, with the best intentions, not to let prejudice colour
our judgment, and to understand what we are told--that these are really
all the same "Mother of God"; for, if so, one would imagine that she
would hear the devout prayers of her worshippers, to whichever of the
wooden images--most of them said to have been carved by St. Luke, and
black by age, if not by nature--they are addressed. But no, the Virgen
del Cármen is only efficacious in certain circumstances; and in the time
of Isabel II. she used to be taken down from her altar and placed in the
Queen's bedroom whenever an addition to the Royal Family was imminent.
Those in the other parts of Spain have each their specialty, and
pilgrimages are necessary to their shrines before the prayers addressed
to them can be listened to by the original.

The various saints in their way are wooed with candles burnt before
their images, or little altars set up to them at home; but they are
sometimes treated with scant courtesy if they do not answer the
expectations of their worshippers. On one occasion in Madrid, I
remember, San Isidro, who is the patron of the labouring classes, had
the bad taste, as his votaries considered, to send rain on his own
_fiesta_--a thing unknown before. Lest he should err in this way again,
the mob went to his church, at that time the principal one in Madrid,
smashed the windows, and did all the damage they could compass before
the Civil Guards came to the rescue. A servant-girl I knew, had for a
long time been praying to San Antonio to send her a _novio_
(sweetheart), expending money in tapers, and otherwise trying to
propitiate the saint. At last, finding him deaf to all entreaties, she
took the little wooden image she had bought, tied a string round his
neck, and hung him in the well, saying: "You shall stop there till you
send me what I want." Some little time after, she actually found a
_novio_, and hastened gratefully to take San Antonio out of his damp
quarters, set him up on his altar again, and burn tapers for his
edification. I had thought this an example of special ignorance and
superstition; but the other day, in reading some of the papers of the
_Spanish Folklore Library_, I found there is a widespread belief that if
San Antonio, and probably some other saints, do not answer the prayers
of their votaries who burn candles before them, it is a good thing to
hang them in a well till they come to their senses! It is difficult for
any unbiassed person to understand that this is not fetish worship, as
it would certainly seem to be, but we are told that it is something
quite different.

The religious _fiestas_, as I have said, may be classed among the
amusements of the people. During the warm season they invariably end
with a bull-fight. In winter there are no bulls. Whether it be the
_Romería_ of Santiago de Compostelo, the _Santa Semana_ in Toledo or
Seville, _Noche-Buena_ and the _Day of the Nativity_ in Madrid or
Barcelona, gaiety and enjoyment seem to be the order of the day. Even
Lent is not so bad, for just before it comes the Carnival and the
grotesque "Burial of the Sardine" by the _gente bajo_, and of the three
great masked balls, one is given in mid-Lent, to prevent the Lenten
ordeal being too trying, and Holy Thursday is always a _fiesta_ and day
of enjoyment. On this day, in Madrid, takes place the washing of the
feet of the poor in the Royal Palace--a function that savours a good
deal of the ridiculous, but which was never omitted by the _piadosa_
Isabel II., and was revived by her son. For forty-eight hours the bells
of all the churches remain silent, no vehicles are allowed in the
streets, which are gravelled along the routes Royalty will take to visit
on foot seven of the churches, where the Holy Sepulchres are displayed;
and in the afternoon all Madrid resorts to the Plaza del Sol and the
Carrera San Geronimo, to show off their gayest costumes in a regular
gala promenade. Finally, on Saturday morning--why forty-eight hours only
is allowed for the supposed entombment does not quite appear--the bells
clang forth, noise and gaiety pervade the whole city, and the day ends
with a cock-fight and the reopening of the theatres, and the first grand
bull-fight of the season is held on Easter Sunday. Verily, the Church is
mindful of the weakness of its vassals, and shows as much indulgence as
is thought needful to keep the people amused and careless of all else. I
remember, when I first noticed this wearing of the most gaudy colours on
Maundy Thursday, a day one would naturally expect to be one of special
mourning, I was told it was allowed by the Church because on that day
Pilate put the purple robe on Our Lord!

The processions and functions of Holy Week and other _fiestas_ have been
so often and so fully described that there is no need to refer to them;
but there are several curious survivals and religious customs in
out-of-the-way places which seem to have escaped notice. I have not been
able to find in any book on Spain a description of the strange dance
which takes place in the cathedral of Seville on, I think, three days in
the year, of which two are certainly the day of the Virgin and that of
Corpus Christi. The origin of the dance seems to be lost, nor is its
special connection with Seville known. All that one can hear of it is
that one of the archbishops of Toledo objected to the dance as being
irreverent and unusual, and ordered it to be stopped. The indignant
people referred the matter to the Pope, but even the date of this appeal
seems to be dubious, if not unknown. His Holiness replied that he could
not judge of the matter unless he himself saw the dance. Accordingly,
the boys who figure in this strange performance were taken to Rome, and
they solemnly danced before the Pope. His verdict was that there was
nothing irreverent about the dance, but he thought, as it was known only
to Seville, it would be better eventually to discontinue it; but so long
as the dress worn on the occasions when it is practised, lasted, the
dance might continue. The dresses have lasted to the present day, and
will always continue to last, say the Sevillanos, for as one part wears
out it is renewed, but never a whole garment made. The dress is
peculiar: it consists of short trousers to the knees, and a jacket which
hangs from one shoulder, stockings and shoes with large buckles or
bows, and a soft hat, somewhat of the shape of a Tam-o'-shanter, with
one feather--that of an eagle, I think. The dress is red and white for
the day of Corpus, and blue and white for the day of the Virgin, covered
with the richest gold embroidery, for which Spain has always been
famous. The boys, holding castanets in each hand, advance, dancing with
much grace and dignity, until they reach the front of the High Altar;
there they remain, striking their castanets and performing slow and very
graceful evolutions for some time, gradually retiring again as they came
in, dancing, down the nave. The boys are regularly instructed in the
dance by the priests, and the number is kept up, so that neither dancers
nor garments ever fail. The Pope's order is obeyed, while the Sevillanos
retain their strange religious function. The fact of the performance
taking place in the evening perhaps accounts for its being so little
known, but it would seem also as if the authorities of the cathedral do
not care to have attention drawn to it. The dance is called _los
seises_, and even the origin of the name is unknown.

In Holy Week and at Christmas are performed passion plays at some of the
theatres, strangely realistic, and sometimes rousing the audience to
wild indignation, especially against Judas Iscariot, who is hissed and
hooted, and is often the recipient of missiles from the spectators,
while interspersed with this genuine feeling one hears shouts of
laughter when anything occurs to provoke it. On one occasion one of the
Roman soldiers (always unpopular in the religious processions) appeared
on the stage, dragging, by a cord round the neck, a miserable-looking
man carrying a huge cross, so heavy that it caused him continually to
fall. As the soldier kicked him up again, and continued to drag him
along by the neck, the audience became ungovernable in their rage.
"_Déjale! Déjale! Bruto! Bruto!_" they yelled; and, finally threatening
to storm the stage and immolate the offending soldier, the play had to
be stopped and the curtain rung down.

In villages too poor to possess _pasos_--the beautifully modelled
life-size figures which form the _tableaux_ in the rich churches and
processions--human actors take their place. In Castellon de la Plana,
where there is a yearly procession in honour of Santa María Magdalena,
somewhat curious scenes take place. The Magdalen, in the days of her
sin, is acted by a girl chosen for her beauty, but not for her
character. She is gorgeously attired, and is allowed to retain her dress
and ornaments after the performance. She is installed in state in a cart
decorated with palms and flowers, and is surrounded by all the men of
the village on foot, for it is part of the performance that they are
allowed to say what they please to her. She acts the part to perfection
apparently, and enjoys it, to boot. In another car comes the penitent
Magdalen, dressed in pure white, and decorated with flowers. This part
may be taken only by a young girl of unblemished character. It is
thought the greatest honour that can be paid to her, and you are told by
the people that she is always married within the year. This procession
winds its way up the mountain to a small shrine of Santa María
Magdalena, where it is said that her church once stood; but finding the
climb up the hill was inconvenient to the lame and the aged, she very
considerately, one night, moved the whole edifice down intact to
Castellon de la Plana, where it now stands.

Going by rail once, many years ago, to Toledo, to see the processions on
Good Friday, the train was accidentally delayed for some time a little
distance from one of the stations, and there, in a small garden by the
roadside, was being enacted the scene of the Crucifixion by human
actors. A full-size cross was erected, and on it, apparently, hung a man
crowned with thorns, and with head bowed upon his breast. In reality he
was kneeling on two ledges placed for the purpose at a convenient
distance from the cross-bars. It was cold, and the actor was covered by
an old brown tattered cloak, such as the peasants wear now, and which we
see in Velasquez's pictures. His feet stuck out behind the cross, but
his arms were tied in a position which must soon have become painful.
Around lay a cock tied by his legs, a ladder, a sponge tied on a stick,
a sword, a lantern, and all the usual emblems of the Passion. The holy
women and the Roman soldiers with their spears were just coming out of
the cottage near by to take up their positions in this strange and
pathetic _tableau_. The face of that peasant in the tattered brown
cloak, not less than the spectacle of the people kneeling around in
evident sorrow and worship, haunted me for many a day.



CHAPTER XIII

EDUCATION AND THE PRIESTHOOD


Education, especially that of the masses, has made great strides since
the Revolution. At that time perfect liberty of religion and of
instruction was established, and in this particular the somewhat
retrograde movement at the Restoration, in allowing the return of the
religious orders banished in the early years of the century, has only
resulted in a greater number of private schools being established by the
Jesuits and other teaching orders. With the public instruction they have
never been allowed to interfere.

Every town and village has now its municipal and free schools, kept up
by the _Diputacion provincial_. In all the chief towns there are
technical and arts and crafts schools, also free, the expenses being
borne by the Ministry of Fomento. Besides these are many private
schools, taught by Jesuits and other teaching orders. The Ministry of
Fomento is at present trying to bring in a law making education
compulsory, and bringing all schools under State control. There are
numerous girls' schools, managed by committees of ladies, as well as
the convent schools and other private establishments. There are also
normal schools, maintained by the Ministry of Fomento, where women and
girls, as well as men, can take degrees and gain certificates for
teaching purposes. In every capital of Spain one of these schools is
established. There are ten universities, of which the principal is that
of Madrid. In some of these only medicine and law are studied, but
others are open for every class of learning. In all these numerous
schools and colleges great advance has been made in late years; in the
department of science, electricity has taken a very noticeable step
forward, and in applied electricity Spain probably compares favourably
with any of the European nations. Even the small towns and some villages
are lighted by electricity, having gone straight from petroleum to
electric light. Most of the large towns have, besides the light,
electric tramways, telephones, etc., the engineers and artisans employed
in these works being of a very high class. Electrical engineers are not
under Government control, as the civil and mechanical engineers are, and
have therefore better chances of coming to the front and making a career
for themselves. The Government engineers, however, are kept up to the
mark of other countries, and an attempt has been made by the present
Minister to alter the system by which civil and mechanical engineers are
compulsorily a body appointed and controlled by Government.

Medical science has made great strides during the last ten or twelve
years. The hospitals are reformed, and all sanitary and antiseptical
arrangements are now strictly attended to, and brought into line with
the latest developments of science. A fine new hospital, San Juan de
Dios, has been built in Madrid, on the plan of St. Thomas's in London,
and this is only one of many improvements. The reorganisation of all
scientific teaching is now engaging the attention of the Minister. An
excellent sign of the present state of medical science in Spain--which
only a few years ago was so far behind the age--is the fact that the
International Congress of Medicine is fixed to meet in Madrid, for the
first time, in 1902.

Since the establishment of religious liberty, the Americans seem to have
made themselves very busy in missionary work. Mrs. Gulick, the wife of
the American missionary in San Sebastian, claims to have "proved the
intellectual ability of Spanish girls," and has secured State
examination and recognition of her pupils by the National Institution of
San Sebastian, and a few have even obtained admission to the
examinations of the Madrid University, where they maintained a high
rank. One always has a feeling that missionaries might easily find a
field for their zealous labours in their own country; but if an impulse
was needed from a foreign people for the initiation of a higher
education among the daughters of Spain, they will certainly be able to
carry on the work themselves, with such women as Emelia Pardo Bazan to
lead the way. Mrs. Gulick is said to project a college for women in
Madrid without distinction of creed. The whole affair sounds a little
condescending, as though America were coming to the aid of a nation of
savages; but if the Spaniards themselves do not object, no one else has
any right to do so.

The Protestant movement has made but little progress in Spain. The
religion is scarcely fitted to the genius of the people, and the
Anglican Church has shown no desire to proselytise a nation which has as
much right to its own religious opinions and form of worship as the
English nation. The Americans and English Nonconformists are very busy,
however, and talk somewhat largely of the results of their labours. In
most of the large towns there are English chapels and schools, and a
certain number among the lower classes of Spaniards have joined these
communities. A private diary of a visit to Madrid so long ago as 1877
describes the English service there. The congregation numbered "quite
five hundred." "They were of the poorer classes of both sexes, with a
sprinkling of well-dressed men and women. They seemed to perform their
devotions in a spirit of entire reverence and piety, not unlike a
similar class in our churches at home. The clergyman delivered an
impressive and forcible discourse, chiefly on the honour due to the name
of God, and reprobated the profane use of the most sacred names, so
common among the Spanish people.... Altogether I look upon the
congregation at the Calle de Madera as a nucleus of genuine
Protestantism in Spain."

As this is the opinion of a perfectly unbiassed onlooker, and has
nothing of the professional element about it, it may be taken as
absolutely reliable. In the towns, such as Bilbao, where there is a
large English colony, there are various churches and chapels, and
considerable numbers of communicants and Sunday scholars. Looking back,
as I am able to do, to the days when there was no toleration for an
alien faith; when even Christian burial for the "heretic" was quite a
new thing, and living people could tell of the indignities heaped on the
corpse of any unlucky English man or woman who died in "Catholic" Spain;
when to have omitted, or even hesitated about, any of the religious
actions imposed by the Church would have exposed one to gross insult,
and perhaps injury; the progress towards enlightened toleration of the
opinions of others seems to have been remarkable. It is, perhaps, more
significant that the members of the new congregations should be
generally of the lower classes, because it is precisely these people who
have always been mere unthinking puppets in the hands of their priests.

Although there is at the present moment such a deep and widespread
revolt against the Jesuits and some of the other orders, especially
among the students and the better class of artisans and workmen, there
is not, so far as a stranger may judge, a revolt against the Church
itself, nor even against the parochial clergy. It would seem rather that
there is a fixed determination that the priests shall keep to their
business, that of the service of religion, and shall not be allowed to
interfere in secular education, or, by use of the confessional, to
dominate the family; and, above all, that the convents shall not be
filled by force, undue persuasion, or cajolery. The state of the Roman
Catholic religion and its priesthood in England is constantly being held
up as the ideal of what the Church in Spain should be.

Almost all the modern novelists of Spain show us characters of priests
with whom every reader must feel sympathy. Valera, Galdós, Pardo Bazan,
and others depict individual clerics who are simple, straightforward,
pious, and in every way worthy men, the friend of the young and the
helper of the sorrowful. Sometimes they are not very learned, and not at
all worldly-wise, but they show that the type is largely represented
amongst the priesthood of Spain, and there are not wanting some of
distinctly liberal tendencies. There was a remarkable article in a
Madrid paper of radical, if not socialistic, tendencies, the other day,
by one who signed himself "A priest of the Spanish Catholic Church."
Lamenting over the sentimentalism of modern religion, and the distance
it had travelled from its old models, he says: "Instead of the Vírgen
being held up to admiration as the Mother of Our Lord, and as an example
of all feminine perfection, the ideal woman and mother, the people are
called on to worship the idea of the Immaculate Conception, an abstract
dogma of recent invention, and in place of showing us the perfect man in
the Son of God, they are asked to worship a 'bleeding heart,' abstracted
from the body, and held up as an object of reverence, apart from the
living body of Jesus Christ." It is the reform of the national religion
still ardently loved in spite of all the crimes that have been committed
in her name, that the liberal-minded Spaniard wants, not the
substitution of a foreign church; although no doubt the opportunity, now
for the first time possible, of learning that there are people every
whit as good and earnest as themselves, who yet hold religious opinions
other than theirs, is bound to have a widening and softening effect on
the narrowness of a creed which has hitherto been regarded as the only
one.

The extraordinary outbreak against the Jesuits and the religious orders
of the last year had many causes, and had probably long been seething,
and waiting for something to open the floodgates. That something came in
the marriage of the Princess of Asturias, and the coincidence,
accidental or otherwise, of the production of Galdós's play of
_Electra_. The marriage was a love match; the two young sons of the
Count of Caserta, who were nephews of the Infanta Isabel on her
husband's side, had been constantly at the Palace in Madrid, companions
of the boy King. An attachment sprang up between Don Carlos, the elder
of the two, and the King's elder sister, the Princess of Asturias. In
every way the projected marriage was obnoxious to the people. The Count
of Caserta himself had been chief of the staff to the Pretender, Don
Carlos, and though he and his sons had taken the oath of allegiance to
the young King, Spaniards have learned to place little reliance on such
oaths. Had not Montpensier sworn allegiance to his sister-in-law Isabel
II.? and of how much was it worth when the time came that he thought he
could successfully conspire against her? To allow the heiress to the
Crown to marry a Carlist seemed the surest way to reopen civil war, and
upset the dynasty once more. Moreover, the Jesuits were supposed to be
behind it all. The Apostolic party was apparently scotched and Carlism
dead, but was not this one more move of the hated Jesuits to resuscitate
both? The Liberal Government refused to allow the marriage; the Queen
Regent, actuated, it is said, solely by the desire to secure what she
considered the happiness of her daughter, who refused to give up her
lover, was obstinate; and rather than give in, Sagasta and his Ministers
resigned. A Conservative Ministry was formed--the methods of
manipulating elections must be borne in mind--and the marriage was
carried out. Even before the wedding-day the storm broke, and things
looked ugly enough. Riots and disturbances occurred all over the
country, as well as in Madrid itself; attacks were made on the houses of
the Jesuits, who were credited with being the authors of the situation;
and then followed the Government's suicidal step of suspending the
constitutional guarantees over the whole country. Absolutism had once
more raised its head! The Conservative Ministers, or many of them, were
accused of being mere tools in the hands of the Jesuits, and it was
complained that the confessor of the young King was one of the hated
order.

For a time Spain seemed to be on the verge of one of her old
convulsions. It appeared doubtful if the Queen Regent had not sacrificed
the crown of one child to gratify the obstinacy of another. Fortunately,
a catastrophe was averted. After vain efforts to retain the Conservative
party in power, or to form a coalition, which all the best public men
refused to join, Sagasta was once more recalled to power, the
constitutional guarantees were restored, and the sharp crisis passed.
But the attention of the nation had been attracted to what it considered
the machinations of the Jesuits; order was indeed restored in Madrid and
the provinces, but the "clerical question" had come to the front, and
there was no possibility of allowing it to slumber again. It was
discovered that not only had many of the religious orders, whose return
had been allowed by convention after the Restoration, under certain
limitations, largely increased their numbers beyond the limits allowed
them, but that others had established themselves without any
authorisation from the Government; also that considerable properties
were being acquired in the country by the orders, though, of course,
held under other names. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Madrid
petitioned the Government to order an inquiry into the affairs of these
religious bodies, pointing out that they were establishing manufactories
of shoes, chocolate, fancy post-cards, and other objects of commerce,
interfering with the ordinary trades, and underselling them, because,
under the plea of being charitable institutions, they evaded duty. The
heads of colleges and the Society of Public Teachers also asked for
Government interference and the reassertion of the laws of 1881 and
1895, guaranteeing perfect liberty of instruction, because they affirmed
that the Fathers, Jesuit and others, undermined the teaching of science
in the schools by means of tracts distributed to the pupils, and also by
using the power they obtained in the confessional to set aside the
lessons in science given in the colleges.

The action of the Government was prompt and judicious. Strict inquiries
were at once made into the question of the manufacturing orders, and
those not paying the duty were reminded of the immediate necessity of
doing so, and of furnishing to the Ministry of Fomento full particulars
of the trades carried on by them. Houses that were permitted by
convention were warned to reduce their numbers to those allowed by law,
and all unauthorised orders were warned at once to leave the country.
The Press took a dignified and moderate position in the matter. It
pointed out that perfect religious liberty existed, and that all that
was needful was to see that the religious orders obeyed the law of the
country as other people did; but that to inaugurate a system of
persecution would be to return to the Dark Ages, and to follow the bad
example set by the Church itself in former years.

Meanwhile, a clear intimation had been given by the Government that
public instruction was absolutely free, and that no interference would
be allowed with the teaching of science in the public schools. After
all, public opinion alone can deal with the question of the confessional
and the occult influence of the priest, for the remedy lies in the hands
of those who place themselves under the domination of the confessor.

So far, well! The riots were at an end, and the more sensible and
law-abiding people were satisfied that the ground stealthily gained by
the Jesuits had been cut from under their feet as soon as the full light
of day had been let in on their proceedings. Then came the extraordinary
excitement caused by Galdós's play. To a stranger reading it, it is
obvious that the public mind must have been in a strange condition of
alarm and distrust to have had such an effect produced upon it by a
drama which has no great literary worth, and which appears commonplace
and harmless to an outsider. The story is simply that of a young orphan
girl, who, according to Spanish ideas, is extremely unconventional,
though nothing worse. There is nothing of the emancipated young woman
about her as the type is known in England; in fact, she has a perfect
genius for those domestic virtues which "advanced" English women regard
with disdain. The villain of the piece, is a certain Don Salvador, who,
though the fact is never mentioned, is obviously a Jesuit, and the
interest of the play consists in the efforts made by this man, first by
fair means and then by foul, to separate Electra from her _fiancé_, and
immure her in a convent. He succeeds, to all appearance, by at last
resorting to an infamous lie, which reduces the girl to a state of
insanity, in which she flies to the convent from the lover whom she has
been led to believe is her own brother. Finally, by the action of a nun
who leaves the convent at the same time as Electra, the truth is made
known, and the girl is rescued.

"You fly from me, then?" exclaims Don Salvador.

"It is not flight, it is resurrection!" replies the lover, in the last
words of the play.

This drama ran an unprecedented number of nights in Madrid, over fifteen
thousand copies of the book were sold in a few weeks, and it is still
running in the provinces. Some of the bishops and the superior clergy
have had the folly to denounce the play and to forbid their
congregations to witness or to read it. There is not an objectionable
word or idea in it from first to last, except such as may be
disagreeable to the Church--as that women should be educated so as to be
the intellectual companions of their husbands, and should not be
entrapped into convents by foul means and against their will. The action
taken by the clergy in this matter has not only largely advertised the
play, but has led to angry demonstrations against them, and has
strengthened the temper of the people to resist all clerical domination
in temporal matters.

There have not been wanting from time to time signs, especially in the
large manufacturing towns, of a spirit of revolt against all religion.
Socialism, atheism, and even anarchism are all in the air, and if these
are to be counteracted by religious teaching at all, it will certainly
not be by the narrow dogmatism of the old school. There is a deep fund
of religious feeling in the Spanish character which it would take a
great deal to uproot, but it must be a wide-spirited and enlightened
faith which will retain its hold over the people, who are everywhere
breaking their old bonds and thinking for themselves.



CHAPTER XIV

PHILANTHROPY--POSITION OF WOMEN--MARRIAGE CUSTOMS


Travellers complain somewhat bitterly of the increase in the numbers and
the importunity of beggars in Spain; but wherever monks abound, beggars
also abound, and the long-unaccustomed sight of the various religious
habits naturally brings with it the hordes of miserable objects who
afford opportunities for the faithful to exercise what they are taught
to believe is charity--loved of God. This, however, is more especially
the case in Granada, or those favoured spots affected by the rich
tourist, who has not always the same opinion about indiscriminate
charity as the native Spaniard. In old days, the wise policy of Charles
III. had reduced very greatly the swarm of beggars. A certain number of
terrible-looking objects--the fortunate possessors of withered limbs,
sightless eyeballs, or other disqualifications for honest work--still
ostentatiously displayed their badges of professional mendicancy, and
lived, apparently quite comfortably, on the alms of the passers-by. But
the enormous competition which has since sprung up in this "career"
must interfere a good deal with its lucrativeness.

There is no poor law as yet in Spain. Philanthropy is left to voluntary
effort; but the list of charities is so great, and so widely spread over
the whole country, that one would think wholesale beggary would be
superfluous. Madrid is divided into thirty-three parishes, each having a
board of _Beneficéncias_, the Government holding a fund which these
boards administer. The Queen is the President of the whole. Each board
has its president and vice-president--generally ladies of the
aristocracy--a treasurer, vice-treasurer, secretary, and vice-secretary,
and a body of visitors; accounts are rendered monthly to the governing
board, whose vice-president presides in the name of the Queen. There are
also the confraternities of St. Vincent and St. Paul, the members of
which are gentlemen and ladies who work independently of each other.
These, however, have no established funds, but depend on voluntary
subscriptions and gifts. Both these associations visit the poor in their
own homes. The Pardo and the San Bernadino are societies and homes for
benefiting men, women, and children; they have been founded by ladies.
For boys there is the School of the Sacred Heart, and the Christian
Brothers. The School of San Ildefonso belongs to the _Ayuntamiento_, and
has secular masters. There is a small asylum, with chaplaincy attached,
for architects. Santa Rita is a reformatory for boys in Carabanchel,
under a religious brotherhood. For girls there is the Horfino, the
Mercédes Asylum--founded in memory of and kept up by the rents of Queen
Mercédes--Santa Isabel and San Ildefonso, the French St. Vincent de
Paul, San Blas, on the same lines as the Mercédes, Santa Cruz, the
Inclusa, and the Spanish Vincent de Paul. For fallen girls there are the
Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, the Ladies of the Holy Trinity, and
the Oblates of the Holy Redeemer.

In all parts of the country branches of these or similar institutions
abound. None are more liberal to the funds of these voluntary charities
than the bull-fighters, who, if they make large fortunes, never forget
the class from which they sprang, and are most generous in their
donations. When occasion demands an extra effort, a _fiesta_ is given at
the Plaza de Toros, and the whole of the profits go to the charity for
which it has been held. No doubt these schemes have their faults in
operation, and Galdós in some of his popular novels does not fail to
hold up--not exactly for admiration--the fashionable ladies who think
it "smart," as we should say, to join these boards and societies, and
talk with much unction of their public good works and the statistics of
their pet societies, while neglecting the poor and the needy at their
own doors, or trying to send into "Homes" those who have no desire or
need to go there if a little Christian charity were only shown them by
their neighbours. Nevertheless, there is a large amount of organised
philanthropy in Spain to-day, and it appears to be of a wise and
efficient kind. One should not forget to mention also the workshops for
the lowest orders, established by the Salerian Fathers, to which the
attention of the Government has been called by late events.

The general position of women in Spain and their influence in public
life cannot be described as of an advanced order. As a rule, they take no
leading part in politics, devoting themselves chiefly to charitable
works, such as those already named. There is, as we have seen, a general
movement for higher education and greater liberty of thought and action
amongst women, and there is a certain limited number who frankly range
themselves on the side of so-called "emancipation," who attend
socialistic and other "meetings"--a word which has now been formally
admitted into the Spanish language--and who aspire to be the comrades of
men rather than their objects of worship or their playthings. But this
movement is scarcely more than in its infancy. It must be remembered
that even within the present generation the bedrooms allotted to girls
were always approached through that of the parents, that no girl or
unmarried woman could go unattended, and that to be left alone in the
room with a man was to lose her reputation. Already these things seem to
be dreams of the past; nor could one well believe, what is however a
fact, that there were fathers of the upper classes in the first half of
the last century who preferred that their daughters should not learn to
read or write, especially the latter, as it only enabled them to read
letters clandestinely received from lovers and to reply to them. The
natural consequence of this was the custom, which so largely prevailed,
of young men, absolutely unknown to the parents, establishing
correspondence or meetings with the objects of their adoration by means
of a complaisant _doncella_ with an open palm, or the pastime known as
_pelando el pavo_ (literally plucking the turkey), which consisted of
serenades of love-songs, amorous dialogues, or the passage of notes
through the _reja_--the iron gratings which protect the lower windows of
Spanish houses from the prowling human wolf--or from the balconies. Many
a time have I seen these interesting little missives being let down past
my balcony--how trustful the innocents were!--to the waiting gallant
below, and his drawn up. Only once I saw a neighbour, in the balcony
below, intercept the post, and I believe substitute some other letter.
Cruel sport!

Perhaps born of this necessity of making acquaintance by fair means or
foul comes the custom, which appears to savour of such grossly bad
manners to us, of a man making audible remarks on the appearance of a
girl he has never seen before as she passes him in the street. _Ay! que
buenos ojos! Que bonita eres! Que gracia tienes!_ and the like. Far
from giving offence, the fair one goes on her way, perhaps vouchsafing
one glance from those lovely eyes of hers, with only a sense that her
charms have received their due tribute--not much elated, perhaps, but
certainly by no means offended; nor, indeed, was offence intended. The
fixed stare, which to us would mean mere ill-bred ignorance, is only
another ordinary tribute to the passing fair one from the other sex.

Marriage customs have changed much in the last few decades, and even
civil marriages are now not wholly unknown. In old days, if the ceremony
was performed in church, the bride and all the ladies must be attired in
black, for which reason the fashionable world established marriages in
the house, where more brilliant costumes might be displayed. These
generally take place in the evening, and the newly married couple do not
leave the house, unless the new home happens to be close by. In any
case, honeymoon tours are, or were, unusual. The _velada_ is the
ceremony in church, which must take place before the first child is
born, to legalise the marriage, but it does not necessarily immediately
follow the other ceremony. At it the ring is given. When the two
ceremonies take place at the same time it must be in the morning,
because the bride and bridegroom partake of the Holy Sacrament fasting.
From the description of a _boda_ in Galicia, in one of Pardo Bazan's
novels, it would seem that the bride there wears white, even at the
church. The wedding is a portentous affair, lasting all day from early
morning, and the bride and bridegroom remain in the house. Fernan
Caballero devotes some pages in _Clemencia_ to showing how preferable is
the Spanish custom of "remaining among friends" to that of the newly
married couple, as she says, "exposing themselves to the jeers of
postilions and stable-boys." Yet the English custom is in fact gaining
ground, even in conservative Spain.

Although marriages are often made up by the parents and guardians, as in
France, without any freedom on the part of the bride at least, custom or
law gives the Spanish woman much more power than even in England. A girl
desiring to escape from a marriage repugnant to her can claim protection
from a magistrate, who will even, if necessary, take her out of her
father's custody until she is of age and her own mistress. More than
that, if a girl determines to marry a man of whom her parents
disapprove, she has only to place herself under the protection of a
magistrate to set them at defiance, nor have they the power to deprive
her of the share of the family property to which by Spanish law she is
entitled. I do not know if these things are altered now,--one does not
hear so much of them,--but I know of several cases where daughters have
been married from the magistrate's house against the wishes of their
parents. In one case, the first intimation a father received of his
daughter's engagement was the notice from a neighbouring magistrate that
she was about to be married, and in another, a daughter left her
mother's house and was married from that of the magistrate to a man
without any income and considerably below her in rank. In all these
cases, the contracting parties were of the upper classes.

While on this subject, I must mention what seems to us the barbarous
manner in which infants are clothed and brought up, though the English
fashions of baths, healthy clothing, and suitable food are now largely
followed amongst the upper classes. When the King was still an infant a
great deal of his clothing came from England, and he was brought up in
the English method. This probably set the fashion, and the little ones
playing in the Park now are much like those one is accustomed to see in
London. But among the poor, and even some of the bourgeois class, the
old insane customs prevail, and it is not surprising to hear that the
death-rate among infants is extraordinarily high. From its birth the
poor child is tightly wrapped in swaddling clothes, confining all its
limbs, so that it presents the appearance of a mummy, swathed in coarse
yellow flannel, only its head appearing. So stiffly are they rolled up
that I have seen an infant only a few weeks old propped up on end
against the wall, or in a corner, while the mother was busy. There is a
superstition, too, about never washing a child's head from the day it
is born. The result is really indescribable. When it is about two years
old, a scab, which covers the whole head, comes off of its own accord,
and after that the head may be cleansed without fear of evil
consequences. Some English servants who have married in Spain set the
example of keeping their infants clean, and, therefore, healthy, from
the first, and, seeing the difference in the appearance of the children,
a few Spanish women have followed suit; but it requires a good deal of
courage to break away from old traditions and set one's face against the
sacred superstitions of ages--and the mother-in-law!

One wonders, not that Spanish men grow bald so early, and not bald only,
but absolutely hairless, but that they ever have any hair at all; for
after all the troubles of their infancy their heads are regularly
shaved, or the hair cut off close to the skin all the summer. On the
principle of cutting off the heads of dandelions as soon as they appear,
as a way of exterminating them, the surprising thing is that the hair
does not become too much discouraged even to try to sprout again. Funny
little objects they look, with only a dark mark on the skin where the
hair ought to grow in summer, and at most a growth about as long as
velvet in the winter, until they are quite big boys! The girls generally
wear their hair so tightly plaited, as soon as it is long enough to
allow of plaiting at all, that they can scarcely close their eyes.
Young Spanish women, however, have magnificent hair; though they, too,
grow bald when they are old, in a way that is never seen in England.



CHAPTER XV

MUSIC, ART, AND THE DRAMA


One is apt to forget how much the history of music owes to Spain. The
country was for so long considered to be in a state of chronic political
disturbance that few foreigners took up their abode there, except such
as had business interests, and for the rest the mere traveller never
became acquainted with the real life of the people, or entered into
their intellectual amusements. It is quite a common thing to find the
tourist entering in his valuable notes on a country which he has not the
knowledge of the world to understand: "The Spaniards are not a musical
people," and remaining quite satisfied with his own dictum. Yet Albert
Soubies, in his _Histoire de la Musique_, says, in the volume devoted to
Spain: "Spain is the country where, in modern times, musical art has
been cultivated with the greatest distinction and originality. In
particular, the school of religious music in Spain, thanks to Morales,
Guerrero, and Victoria, will bear comparison with all that has been
produced elsewhere of the highest and most cultivated description. The
national genius has also shown itself in another direction, in works
which, like the ancient _eglogas_--the contemporary _zarzuelas_ of Lope
de Vega and Calderon--and the _torradillas_ of the last century shine
brilliantly by the verve, the gaiety, the strength, and delicacy of
their comic sentiment.... The works of this class are happily inspired
by popular art, which in this country abounds in characteristic
elements. One notes how much the rhythm and melody display native
colour, charm, and energy. In many cases, along with vestiges of Basque
or of Celtic origin, they show something of an Oriental character, due
to the long sojourn of the Moors in this country."

As regards this pre-eminence, it is enough to remember that Spain was
anciently one of the regions most thoroughly penetrated by Roman
civilisation. It is not too much to say that this art has never sunk
into decadence in Spain. During the sixteenth century the archives of
the Pontifical chapel show the important place occupied by Spanish
composers in the musical history of the Vatican, and among the artists
who gained celebrity away from their own country were Escoledo, Morales,
Galvey, Tapia, and many others. To the end of the seventeenth century a
galaxy of brilliant names carried on the national history of Spanish
music, both on religious and secular lines; and though in the eighteenth
and part of the nineteenth centuries there was a passing invasion of
French and Italian fashion, the true and characteristic native music
has never died out, and at the present time there is a notable musical
renaissance in touch with the spirit and natural genius of the people.

A Royal Academy of Music has, within recent times, been added to the
other institutions of a like kind, and native talent is being developed
on native lines, not in imitations from countries wholly differing from
them in national characteristics. Spaniards are exacting critics, and
the best musicians of other countries are as well known and appreciated
as their own composers and executants. Wagner is now a household word
among them, where once Rossini was the object of fashionable admiration.
The national and characteristic songs of Spain have been already
referred to. They are perfectly distinct from those of any other nation.
There is about them a dainty grace and pathos, combined frequently with
a certain suspicion of sadness, which is full of charm, while those
which are frankly gay are full of life, audacity, and "go," that carry
away the listeners, even when the language is imperfectly understood.
The charming songs, with accompaniment for piano or guitar, of the
Master Yradier, are mostly written in the soft dialect of Andalucia,
which lends itself to the music, and is liquid as the notes of a bird.
The songs of Galicia are, in fact, the songs of Portugal; just as the
Galician language is Portuguese, or a dialect of that language, which
has less impress of the ancient Celt-Iberian and more of French than
its sister, Castilian, both being descendants of Latin, enriched with
words borrowed from the different nations which have at one time or
another inhabited or conquered their country.

The guitar is, of course, the national instrument, and the songs never
have the same charm with any other accompaniment; but the Spanish women
of to-day are prouder of being able to play the piano or violin than of
excelling in the instrument which suits them so much better. The
Spaniard is nervously anxious not to appear, or to be, behind any other
European nation in what we call "modernity," a word that signifies that
to be "up-to-date" is of paramount importance, leaving wholly out of the
question whether the change be for the better or infinitely towards the
lower end of the scale.

The records of Spain in art, as in literature, are so grand, so
European, in fact, that it is much if the artists of to-day come within
measurable distance of those who have made the glory of their country.
Nevertheless, the modern painters and sculptors of Spain hold their own
with those of any country. After the temporary eclipse which followed
the death of Velasquez, Ribera, and Murillo--the eighteenth century
produced no great Spanish painter, if we except Goya, who left no
pupils--Don José Madrazo, who studied at the same time as Ingres in the
studio of David, began the modern renaissance. He became Court painter,
and left many fine portraits; but, perhaps, as Comte Vasili says, "La
meilleure oeuvre de Don José fut son fils, Federico; de même que la
meilleure de celui-ci est son fils Raimundo."

Raimundo Madrazo and Fortuny the elder, who married Cecilia Madrazo,
Raimundo's sister, have always painted in Paris, and have become known
to Europe almost as French artists. Fortuny, by his _mariage Espagnol_,
became the head of the Spanish renaissance. Unfortunately, he has been
widely imitated by artists of all nations, who have not a tithe of his
genius, if any. Pradilla, F. Domingo, Gallegos, the three Beulluire
brothers, Bilbao, Gimenez, Aranda, Carbonero, are only a few of the
artists whose names are known to all art collectors, and who work in
Spain. Villegas has settled in Rome. The exhibition of modern Spanish
paintings in the London Guildhall last year (1901) was a revelation to
many English people, even to artists, of the work that is being done at
the present day by Spanish painters, both at home and in Paris and Rome.
In sculpture, also, Spain can boast many artists of the highest class.

The drama in Spain has in all times occupied an important place. The
traditions of the past names, such as Calderon, Lope de Vega, Tirso de
Molina, Moreto, and others, cannot exactly be said to be kept up, for
these are, most of them, of European fame; but in a country where the
theatre is the beloved entertainment of all classes, and perhaps
especially so of the poor or the working people, there are never wanting
dramatists who satisfy the needs of their auditors, and whose works are
sometimes translated into foreign languages, if not actually acted on an
alien stage. It would be impossible and useless to give a mere list of
the names of modern dramatists, but that of Ayala is perhaps best known
abroad, and his work most nearly approaches to that of his great
forerunners. His _Consuelo_, _El tejado de Vidrio_, and _Tanto por ciento_
show great power and extraordinary observation. His style, too, is
perfect. Señor Tamago, who persistently hides his name under the
pseudonym of "Joaquin Estebanez," may also be ranked amongst the leaders
of the modern Spanish drama, and his _Drama Nuevo_ is a masterpiece.
Echegaray belongs to the school of the old drama, whose characteristic
is that virtue is always rewarded and vice punished. His plays are very
popular because they touch an audience even to tears, and he has several
followers or imitators. The comedies of manners and satirical plays are
generally the work of Eusebio Blasco, Ramos Carrion, Echegaray the
younger, Estremada, Alverez, though there are others whose names are
legion. Echegaray is really a man of genius. A clever engineer and
professor of mathematics, he was Minister of Finance during the early
days of the Revolution. His first play took the world of Madrid by
surprise and even by storm. _La Esposa del Vengador_ had an
unprecedented success, and at least thirty subsequent dramas, in prose
and in verse, have made this mathematician, engineer, and financier one
of the most famous men of his day. His art and his methods are purely
Spanish. I have already referred to the phenomenal success of Perez
Galdós's _Electra_ within the last few months. It must, however, be
ascribed chiefly to the moment of its presentation rather than to any
superlative merit in the drama. It is well written, which is what may be
said of almost all Spanish plays, for the language is in itself so
dignified and so beautiful that, if it be only pure and not disfigured
by foreign slang, it is always sonorous and charming. To the state of
the popular temper, however, and the coincidence of the political events
already referred to must be ascribed the fact that a piece like
_Electra_ should cause the fall of a Government, and bring within
dangerous distance the collapse of the monarchy itself. The excitement
which it still produces, wherever played, is now in a great part due to
the foolish action of some of the bishops and the fact that individual
clerics use their pulpits to condemn it, and attempt to forbid its being
read or seen.

Spain is not particularly rich in great actors, although she has always
a goodly number who come up to a fair standard of excellence. The great
actors of the day in Madrid are María Guerrero and Fernando Diaz de
Mendoza. They obtained a perfect ovation during the last season in the
play, _El loco Dios_, of Echegaray--a work which gives every opportunity
for the display of first-class talent in both actors, and which led to a
fury of enthusiasm for the popular dramatist, which must have recalled
to him the early days of his great successes.

Since the beginning of the eighteenth century, Spain has had three great
Academies, which, even in the troublous times of her history, have done
good work in the domains of history, language, and the fine arts; but it
is since the Revolution that they have become of real importance in the
intellectual development of the nation, and other societies have been
added for the encouragement of scientific research and music. The
earliest of her academies was that of language, known as the Royal
Spanish Academy. It is exactly on the lines of the Académie Française.
Founded in 1713, its statutes were somewhat modified in 1847, and again
in 1859. There are only thirty-six members, about eighty corresponding
members in different provinces of Spain, and an unlimited, or at least
undetermined, number of foreign and honorary correspondents. Besides the
Central Society in Madrid, the Royal Spanish Academy has many
corresponding branches in South America, such as the Columbian, the
Equatorial, the Mexican, and those of Venezuela and San Salvador. The
existence of academies of language in the South American States does not
appear to effect much in the way of maintaining the purity of Castilian
among them, for South American Spanish, as spoken at least, is not much
more like the original language than the South American Spaniard is like
the inhabitant of the mother country. The dictionary of the Royal
Academy of Spain, like that of France, is not yet completed.

Philip V. founded the Royal Academy of History in 1738. Under its
auspices, especially of late years, much valuable work has been done in
publishing the original records of the country, to be found at Simancas
and other places; but the authentic history of Spain is still
incomplete. Up to the time of his assassination, Don Antonio Cánovas del
Castillo was its director, and Don Pedro de Madrazo its permanent
secretary. The society, now known as the Real Academia de San Fernando,
founded in 1752, under the title of Real Academia de las tres nobles
Artes, has now had a fourth added to it--that of music. The functions of
its separate sections are much the same as those of the English Academy
of Painting and the sister arts. A permanent gallery of the works of its
members exists in Madrid, and certificates, diplomas, honourable
mention, etc., are distributed by the directors to successful
competitors.

Later societies are the Academies of Exact Science, Physical and
Natural, of Moral and Political Science, of Jurisprudence and
Legislation, and last, but by no means least, the Royal Academy of
Medicine, under whose auspices medical science has of late years made
immense strides, and is probably now in line with that of the most
advanced of other countries.



CHAPTER XVI

MODERN LITERATURE


The name of Pascual de Gayangos is known far beyond the confines of his
own country as a scholar, historian, philologist, biographer, and
critic. Although now a man of very advanced age, he is one of the most
distinguished of modern Orientalists, and his _History of the Arabs in
Spain_, _Vocabulary of the Arabic Words in Spanish_, and his _Catalogue
of Spanish MSS. in the British Museum_ are known wherever the language
is known or studied. He has published in Spanish an edition of Ticknor's
great work on Spanish literature, and has edited several valuable works
in the Spanish Old Text Society besides innumerable other historical and
philological books and papers, which have given him a European
reputation. His immense store of knowledge, his modesty, and his genuine
kindness to all who seek his aid endear him as much for his personal
qualities as for his learning.

Next to Gayangos in the same class of work, Marcelino Menendez y Palayo
may perhaps be mentioned. His _History of Æsthetic Ideas in Spain_ has
been left unfinished so far, owing to the demands made on his time by
his position in the political world as one of the Conservative leaders.
Don Modesto Lafuente, though scarcely possessing the qualities of a
great historian, is accurate and painstaking to a great degree; but in
the field of history many workers are searching the archives and
documents in which the country is so rich, and throwing light on
particular periods. Cánovas del Castillo, in spite of his great
political duties, was one of the most valuable of these; and the eminent
jurist, Don Francisco de Cardenas, and the learned Jesuit, Fidel Fita,
and other members of the Academy of History are constantly working in
the rich mine at Simancas. New papers and books are continually being
brought out under the auspices of this society, throwing light on the
past history of the country.

Fernan Caballero, a German by race, but married successively to three
Spanish husbands, may be said to have inaugurated the modern Spanish
novel _de costumbres_, and her books are perhaps better known in England
than those of some of the later novelists. By far the greater writer of
the day in Spain, however, in light literature, is Juan Valera, at once
poet, critic, essayist, and novelist. His _Pepita Jimenez_ is a
remarkable novel, full of delicate characterisation and exquisite style,
second to none produced in any country--a novel full of fire, and yet
irreproachable in taste, handling a difficult subject with the mastery
of genius. It has been translated into English; but however well it may
have been done, it must lose immensely in the transition, because the
Spanish of Valera is the perfection of a perfectly beautiful language.
In this novel we have the character of a priest, who, while we know him
only through the letters addressed to him by the young student of
theology, the extremely sympathetic hero of the story, lives in one's
memory, showing us the best side of the Spanish priest. Other novels of
Valera's, _Doña Luis_ and _El Comendador Mendoza_, a number of essays on
all sorts of subjects, critical and other, and poems which show great
grace and correctness of style, have given this writer a high place in
the literature of the age.

Perez Galdós is a writer of a wholly different class, although he enjoys
a very wide reputation in his own country and wherever Spanish is read.
His _Episodes Nacionales_, some fifty-six in number, attract by their
close attention to detail, which gives an air of actuality to the most
diffuse of his stories. They are careful and very accurate studies of
different episodes of national life, in which the author introduces,
among the fictitious characters round whom the story moves, the real
actors on the stage of history of the time. Thus Mendizábal, Espartero,
Serrano, Narvaez, the Queen of Ferdinand VII., Cristina, and many other
persons appear in the books, giving one the impression that history is
alive, and not the record of long-dead actors we are accustomed to find
it. Galdós appears to despise any kind of plot; the events run on, as
they did in fact run on, only there are one or two people who take part
in them whom we may suppose to be creations of the author's brain.
Certainly, one learns more contemporary history by reading these
_Episodes_ of Perez Galdós, and realises all the scenes of it much more
vividly than one would ever do by the reading of ordinary records of
events. As the tendency and the sympathy of the writer is always
Liberal, one fancies that Galdós has written with the determined
intention to tempt a class of readers to become acquainted with the
recent history of their country who would never do so under any less
attractive form than that of the novel. His works must do good, since
they are very widely read, and are extremely accurate as history. His
play, _Electra_, which is just now giving him such wide celebrity, is of
the actual time, and the scene is laid wholly in Madrid. The freedom
that he advocates for women is merely that which Englishwomen have
always enjoyed, or, at least, since mediæval times, and has nothing in
common with the emancipation which our "new women" claim for themselves.
Galdós, also, is fond of introducing the simple-minded and honest, if
not very cultivated, priest. His style is pure, without any great
pretention to brilliancy, or any of the straining after effect which so
many of the English writers seem to think gives distinction.

Pedro Alarcón is novelist first, and historian, poet, and critic
afterwards. That is to say, his novels are his best-known and most
widely read works. He has two distinct styles. His _Sombrero de Tres
Picos_ is a fascinating sketch of quaint old village life, full of quiet
grace, while _El Escándalo_ and _La Pródiga_ are of the sensational
order. He writes, like Galdós, in series, such as _Historietas
Nacionales_, _Narraciones Inverosímiles_, and _Viajes por España_.
Parada is a native of Santander, and writes of his beloved countrymen.
_Sotilezas_, his best-known, and perhaps best, novel, treats of life
among the fisher-folk of Santander, before it became an industrial town.
Writing in dialect makes many of his stories puzzling, if not impossible
for foreign readers.

The lady who writes under the pseudonym of "Emelia Pardo Bazan" may be
said to be the leader or the pioneer of women's emancipation in the
sense in which we use the words. She is a native of Galicia, and is
imbued with that intense love of her native province which distinguishes
the people of the mountains. Her novels are chiefly pictures of its
scenery and the life of its people, though in at least one she does not
hesitate to take her readers behind the scenes of student life in
Madrid. It would not be fair to apply to this writer's work the standard
by which we judge an English work, because in Spain there is a
frankness, to call it by no other name, in discussing in mixed company
subjects which it would not be thought good taste to mention under the
same circumstances with us. _Una Cristiana_ and _La Prueba_, its sequel,
are founded on the sex problem, and, probably without any intention of
offence, Pardo Bazan has worked with a very full brush and a free hand,
if I may borrow the terms from a sister art. Her articles on
intellectual and social questions show an amount of education and a
breadth of view which place her among the best writers of her nation.
She is not in the least blinded by her patriotism to the faults of her
country, especially to the hitherto narrow education of its women. She
holds up an ideal of a higher type--a woman who shall be man's
intellectual companion, and his helper in the battle of life. She is by
no means the only woman writer in Spain at the present time; but she is
the most talented, and occupies certainly the highest place. Her
writings are somewhat difficult for anyone not conversant with
Portuguese, or, rather, with the Galician variety of the Spanish
language, for the number of words not to be found in the Spanish
dictionary interfere with the pleasure experienced by a foreigner, and
even some Castilians, in reading her novels. Pardo Bazan was an
enthusiastic friend and admirer of Castelar, and belongs to his
political party. A united Iberian republic, with Gibraltar restored to
Spain, is, or was, its programme.

_Hermana San Sulpicio_, by Armando Palacio Valdés, is one of the
charming, purely Spanish novels which has made a name for its author
beyond the confines of his own country; but since that was produced he
has gone for his inspiration to the French naturalistic school, and,
like some English writers, he thinks that repulsive and indecent
incidents, powerfully drawn, add to the artistic value of his work.
Padre Luis Coloma, a Jesuit, obtained a good deal of attention at one
time by his _Pequeñeces_, studies, written in gall, of Madrid society.
His stories are too narrowly bigoted in tone to have any lasting vogue,
and his views of life too much coloured by his ultramontane tendencies
to be even true. Nuñez de Arce is, like so many Spaniards of the last
few decades, at once a poet and a politician. He played a stirring part
from the time of the Revolution to the Restoration, always on the side
of liberty, but never believing in the idea of a republic. His _Gritos
del Combate_ were the agonised expression of a fighter in his country's
battle for freedom and for light. Since the more settled state of
affairs, Nuñez de Arce has written many charming idyls and short poems.
In the _Idilio_ is a wonderful picture of the, to some of us, barren
scenery of Castile, in which the eye of the artist sees, and makes his
readers see, a beauty all the more striking because it is hidden from
the ordinary gaze.

Of José Zorilla as a poet there is little need to speak. His countrymen
read his voluminous works, but they are not of any real value.
Campoamor describes his _Dorloras_ as "poetic compositions combining
lightness, sentiment, and brevity with philosophic importance." His
earlier works were studied from Shakespeare and from Byron, who was the
star of the age when Campoamor began to write. His most ambitious work,
the _Universal Drama_, is "after Dante and Milton." He is a great
favourite with his fellow-countrymen, both as poet and companion. He is
a member of the Academy and a Senator.

It is impossible, however, to do more than indicate a few of the writers
who are leaders in the literature of Spain to-day. There has, in fact,
been an immense impulse in the production of books of all classes within
the last twenty or thirty years. In fiction, Spain once more aspires to
have a characteristic literature of her own, in place of relying on
translations from the French, as was the case for a brief time before
her political renaissance began.

A notable departure has been the foundation of the Folklore Society, and
the publication up to the present time of eleven volumes under the name
of _Biblioteca de las Tradiciones Populares Españolas_, under the
direction of Señor Don Antonio Machado y Alvarez. In the introduction to
the first volume, the Director tells us that, with the help of the
editor of _El Folklore Andaluz_ and his friends, D. Alejandro Guichot y
Sierra and D. Luis Montolo y Raustentrauch, he has undertaken this great
work, which arose out of the _Bases del Folklore Español_, published in
1881, and the two societies established in 1882, the Folklore Andaluz
and Folklore Extremeño. These societies have for object the gathering
together, copying, and publishing of the popular beliefs, proverbs,
songs, stories, poems, the old customs and superstitions of all parts of
the Peninsula, including Portugal, as indispensable materials for the
knowledge and scientific reconstruction of Spanish culture. In this
patriotic and historical work many writers have joined, each bringing
his quota of garnered treasure-trove, presenting thus, in a series of
handy little volumes, a most interesting collection of the ancient
customs, beliefs, and, in fact, the folklore of a country exceptionally
rich in widely differing nationalities.

Many of the tales, which it would seem even at the present time,
especially in Portugal and Galicia, are told in the evening, and have
rarely found their way into print, have the strong stamp of the
legitimate Eastern fable, and bear a great family resemblance to those
of the _Arabian Nights_. As, in fact, the _Thousand and One Nights_ was
very early published in Spanish, it is probable that its marvellous
histories were known verbally to the people of the Iberian continent for
many centuries, and have coloured much of its folklore. _The Ingenious
Student_ is certainly one of these. Barbers also play an important part
in many of these tales. It is quite common for the Court barber to marry
the King's daughter, and to succeed him as ruler; but the barber was,
of course, surgeon or blood-letter as well as the principal
news-agent--the forerunner of the daily newspaper of our times. The
transmutation of human beings into mules, and _vice versa_, is a common
fable, and we meet with wolf-children and the curious superstition that
unbaptised people can penetrate into the domains of the enchanted Moors,
and that these have no power to injure them. The story of the Black
Slave, who eventually married the King's daughter and had a white mule
for his Prime Minister, is very Eastern in character. "From so wise a
King and so good a Queen the people derived great benefit; disputes
never went beyond the ears of the Chief Minister, and, in the words of
the immortal barber and poet of the city, 'the kingdom flourished under
the guidance of a mule: which proves that there are qualities in the
irrational beings which even wisest ministers would do well to
imitate.'" _The Watchful Servant_ is, however, purely Spanish in
character, and it closes with the proverb that "a jealous man on
horseback is first cousin to a flash of lightning." _King Robin_, the
story of how the beasts and birds revenged themselves on Sigli and his
father, the chief of a band of robbers, recalls "Uncle Remus" and his
animal tales; for the monkeys, at the suggestion of the fox, and with
the delighted consent of the birds and the bees, made a figure wholly of
birdlime to represent a sleeping beggar, being quite certain that Sigli
would kick it the moment that he saw the intruder from the windows of
his father's castle. In effect both father and son became fast to the
birdlime figure, when they were stung to death by ten thousand bees.
Then King Robin ordered the wolves to dig the grave, into which the
monkeys rolled the man and the boy and the birdlime figure, and, after
covering it up, all the beasts and birds and insects took possession of
the robbers' castle, and lived there under the beneficent rule of King
Robin.

_Silver Bells_ is, again, a story of a wholly different type, and
charmingly pretty it is, with its new development of the wicked
step-mother--in this case a mother who had married again and hated her
little girl by the first husband. _Elvira, the Sainted Princess_ tells
how the daughter of King Wamba, who had become a Christian unknown to
her father, by her prayers and tears caused his staff to blossom in one
night, after he had determined that unless this miracle were worked by
the God of the Christians she and her lover should be burned.

One fault is to be found with these old stories as remembered and told
by Mr. Sellers; that is, the introduction of modern ideas into the
Old-World fables of a primitive race. Hits at the Jesuits, the
Inquisition, and the government of recent kings take away much of the
glamour of what is undoubtedly folklore. The story of the _Black Hand_
seems to have many varieties. It is somewhat like our stories of Jack
and the Bean Stalk and Bluebeard, but differs, to the advantage of the
Spanish ideal, in that the enchanted prince who is forced to play the
part of the terrible Bluebeard during the day voluntarily enters upon a
second term of a hundred years' enchantment, so as to free the wife whom
he loves, and who goes off safely with her two sisters and numerous
other decapitated beauties, restored to life by the self-immolation of
the prince. The _White Dove_ is another curious and pretty fable which
has many variations in different provinces--a story in which the King's
promise cannot be broken, though it ties him to the hateful negress who
has transformed his promised wife into a dove, and has usurped her
place. Eventually, of course, the pet dove changes into a lovely girl
again, when the King finds and draws out the pins which the negress has
stuck into her head, and the usurper is "burnt" as punishment--an ending
which savours of the _Quemadero_.

The making of folklore is not, however, extinct in Spain, a country
where poetry seems to be an inherent faculty. One is constantly reminded
of the Spanish proverb, _De poetas y de locos, todos tenémos un poco_
(We have each of us somewhat of the poet and somewhat of the fool). No
one can tell whence the rhymed _jeux d'esprit_ come; they seem to spring
spontaneously from the heart and lips of the people. Children are
constantly heard singing _coplas_ which are evidently of recent
production, since they speak of recent events, and yet which have the
air of old folklore ballads, of concentrated bits of history.

    Rey inocente--a weak king,
    Reina traidora--treacherous queen,
    Pueblo cobarde--a coward people,
    Grandes sin honra--nobles without honour,

sums up and expresses in nine words the history of Goday's shameful
bargain with Napoleon.

    En el Puente de Alcoléa
      La batalla ganó Prim,
    Y por eso la cantámos
      En las calles de Madrid.

    At the bridge of Alcoléa
      A great battle gained Prim,
    And for this we go a-singing
      In the streets of Madrid.

Señor Don Eugenio de Olavarria-y Huarte, in citing this _copla_ (_Folklore
de Madrid_), points out that it contains the very essence of folklore,
since it gives a perfectly true account of the battle of Alcoléa.
Although Prim was not present, he was the liberator, and without him the
battle would never have been fought, nor the joy of liberty have been
sung in the streets of the capital. There is seldom, if ever, any
grossness in these spontaneous songs of the people--never indecency or
double meaning. No sooner has an event happened than it finds its
history recorded in some of these popular _coplas_, and sung by the
children at their play.

The Folklore Society has some interesting information to give about the
innumerable rhymed games which Spanish children, like our own, are so
fond of playing, many of them having an origin lost in prehistoric
times. One finds, also, from some of the old stories, that the devils
are much hurt in their feelings by having tails and horns ascribed to
them. As a matter of fact, they have neither, and cannot understand
where mortals picked up the idea! The question is an interesting one.
Where did we obtain this notion?



CHAPTER XVII

THE FUTURE OF SPAIN


An Englishman who, from over thirty years' residence in Spain and close
connection with the country, numbered among her people some of his most
valued friends, thus speaks of the national characteristics:

"The Spanish and English characters are, indeed, in many points
strangely alike. Spain ranks as one of the Latin nations, and the
Republican orators of Spain are content to look to France for light and
leading in all their political combinations; but a large mass of the
nation, the bone and sinew of the country, the silent, toiling tillers
of the soil, are not of this way of thinking.... There is a sturdy
independence in the Spanish character, and an impatience of dictation
that harmonises more nearly with the English character than with that of
her Latin neighbours.... There is a gravity and reticence also in the
Spaniard that is absent from his mercurial neighbour, and which is,
indeed, much more akin to our cast of temper.

"True it is that our insular manners form at first a bar to our
intercourse with the Spaniard, who has been brought up in a school of
deliberate and stately courtesy somewhat foreign to our business turn of
mind; but how superficial this difference is may be seen by the strong
attachment Englishmen form to the country and her people, when once the
strangeness of first acquaintance has worn off; and those of us who know
the country best will tell you that they have no truer or more faithful
friends than those they have amongst her people."

Speaking of her labouring classes, and as a very large employer of
labour in every part of the Peninsula he had the best possible means of
judging, this writer says:

"The Spanish working man is really a most sober, hard-working being, not
much given to dancing, and not at all to drinking. They are
exceptionally clever and sharp, and learn any new trade with great
facility. They are, as a rule, exceedingly honest--perfect gentlemen in
their manners, and the lowest labourer has an _aplomb_ and ease of
manner which many a person in a much higher rank in this country might
envy. When in masses they are the quietest and most tractable workmen it
is possible to have to deal with. The peasant and working man, the real
bone and sinew of the country, are as fine a race as one might wish to
meet with--not free from defects--what race is?--but possessed of
excellent sterling qualities, which only require knowing to be
appreciated. I cannot say as much for the Government employees and
politicians. Connection with politics seems to have a corrupt and
debasing effect, which, although perhaps exaggerated in Spain, is,
unfortunately, not by any means confined to that country only."[3]

    [3] _Commercial and Industrial Spain_, by George Higgin,
    Mem. Inst. C. E., London, 1886.

In Spain to-day everything is dated from "La Gloriosa," the Revolution
of 1868, the "Day of Spanish Liberty," as it well deserves to be called,
and there is every reason to look back with pride upon that time;
because, after the battle of Alcoléa, when the cry raised in the Puerta
del Sol, _Viva Prim!_ was answered by the troops shut up in the
Government offices, and the people, swarming up the _rejas_ and the
balconies, fraternised with their brothers-in-arms, who had been
intended, could they have been trusted by their commanders, to shoot
them down, Madrid was for some days wholly in the hands of King Mob, and
of King Mob armed. The victorious troops were still at some distance,
the Queen and her _camarilla_ had fled across the frontier, the
Government had vanished, and the people were a law unto themselves. Yet
not one single act of violence was committed; absolute peace and
quietness, and perfect order prevailed. The ragged men in the street
formed themselves into guards: just as they were, they took up their
positions at the abandoned Palace, at the national buildings and
institutions; the troops were drawn up outside Madrid and its people
were its guardians. Committees of emergency were formed; everything went
on as if nothing unusual had happened, and not a single thing was
touched or destroyed in the Palace, left wholly at the mercy of the
sovereign people. The excesses which took place in some of the towns,
after the brutal assassination of Prim and the abdication of Amadeo,
were rather the result of political intrigue and the working of
interested demagogues on the passions of people misled and used as
puppets.

With the advance of commerce and industry, and the massing of workers in
the towns, has come, as in other countries, the harvest of the
demagogue. Strikes and labour riots now and then break out, and the
Spanish anarchist is not unknown. But the investment of their money in
industrial and commercial enterprises, so largely increasing, is giving
the people the best possible interest in avoiding disturbances of this,
or of any other, kind: and as knowledge of more enlightened finance is
penetrating to the working people themselves, the number who are likely
to range themselves on the side of law and order is daily increasing.
The improved railway and steamer communication with parts of the country
heretofore isolated, much of it only completed since this book was
begun--in fact, within the last few months--is bringing the northern and
western ports into prominence. Galicia now not only has an important
industry in supplying fresh fish for Madrid, but has a good increasing
trade with Europe and America. Pontevedra and Vigo, as well as
Villagarcia, are improving daily since the railway reached them. Fresh
fruit and vegetables find a ready market, and new uses for materials are
coming daily to the front. Esparto, the coarse grass which grows almost
everywhere in Spain, has long been an article of commerce, as well as
the algaroba bean--said to be the locust bean, on which John the Baptist
might have thriven--for it is the most fattening food for horses and
cattle, and produces in them a singularly glossy and beautiful coat.
This bean, which is as sweet as a dried date, is given, husk and all, to
the mules and horses at all the little wayside _ventas_, and is now used
in some of the patent foods for cattle widely known abroad. The stalk of
the maize is used for making smokeless powder, and the husks for two
kinds of glucose, two of cotton, three of gum, and two of oil. _Glucea
dextrina_ paste is used as a substitute for india-rubber. These products
of the maize, other than its grain, are employed in the preparation of
preserves, syrup, beer, jams, sweets, and drugs, and in the manufacture
of paper, cardboard, mucilage, oils and lubricants, paints, and many
other things. The imitation india-rubber promises to be the basis of a
most important industry. Mixed with equal portions of natural gum, it
has all the qualities of india-rubber, and is twenty-four per cent.
less in cost.

A great deal has been said about the depreciation of the value of the
peseta (franc) since the outbreak of the war with America, but this
unsatisfactory state of affairs is gradually mending; and the attention
of the Government is thoroughly awakened to it. The law of May 17, 1898,
and the Royal decree of August 9 provide that if the notes in
circulation of the Bank of Spain exceed fifteen hundred millions, gold
must be guaranteed to the half of the excess of circulation between
fifteen hundred and two thousand, not the half of all the notes in
circulation. The metal guarantee, silver and gold, must cover half of
the note circulation, when the latter is between fifteen hundred and two
thousand millions, and two-thirds when the circulation exceeds two
thousand. But the Bank has not kept this precept, and there has, in
fact, been an illegal issue of notes to the value of 6,752,813 pesetas.
So states the _Boletin de la Cámara de Comercio de España en la Gran
Bretáña_ of April 15, 1901.

The _Boletin_, after giving an account of the English custom of using
cheques against banking accounts, instead of dealing in metal or paper
currency only, as in Spain, strongly advocates the establishment of the
English method. It is only in quite recent years that there has been any
paper currency at all in Spain; the very notes of the Bank of Spain were
not current outside the walls of Madrid, and had only a limited
currency within.

Barcelona has long been called the Manchester of Spain, and in the days
before the "Gloriosa" it presented a great contrast to all the other
towns in the Peninsula. Its flourishing factories, its shipping, its
general air of a prosperous business-centre was unique in Spain. This is
no longer the case. Although the capital of Cataluña has made enormous
strides, and would scarcely now be recognised by those who knew it
before the Revolution, it has many rivals. Bilbao is already ahead of it
in some respects, and other ports, already mentioned, are running it
very close. Still, Barcelona is a beautiful city; its situation, its
climate, its charming suburbs full of delightful country houses, its
wealth of flowers, and its air of bustling industry, give a wholly
different idea of Spain to that so often carried away by visitors to the
dead and dying cities of which Spain has, unfortunately, too many.

It is becoming more common for young Spaniards to come to England to
finish their education, or to acquire business habits, and the study of
the English language is daily becoming more usual. In Spain, as already
remarked, no one speaks of the language of the country as "Spanish"; it
is always "Castellano," of which neither Valencian, Catalan, Galician,
still less Basque, is a dialect--they are all more or less languages in
themselves. But Castellano is spoken with a difference both by the
_pueblo bajo_ of Madrid and also in the provinces. The principal
peculiarities are the omission of the _d_--_prado_ becomes _praö_--in
any case the pronunciation of _d_, except as an initial, is very soft,
similar to our _th_ in _thee_, but less accentuated. The final _d_ is
also omitted by illiterate speakers; _Usted_ is pronounced _Uste_, and
even _de_ becomes _e_. _B_ and _v_ are interchangeable. One used to see,
on the one-horsed omnibus which in old times represented the locomotion
of Madrid, _Serbicio de omnibus_ quite as often as _Servicio_. Over the
_venta_ of El Espirito Santo on the road to Alcalá--now an outskirt of
Madrid--was written, _Aqui se veve bino y aguaardieñte_--meaning, _Aqui
se bebe vino_, etc. (Here may be drunk wine).

The two letters are, in fact, almost interchangeable in sound, but the
educated Spaniard never, of course, makes the illiterate mistake of
transposing them in writing. The sound of _b_ is much more liquid than
in English, and to pronounce _Barcelona_ as a Castilian pronounces it,
we should spell it _Varcelona_; the same with _Córdoba_, which to our
ears sounds as if written _Córdova_, and so, in fact, we English spell
it.

Spaniards, as a rule, speak English with an excellent accent, having all
the sounds that the English possess, taking the three kingdoms, England,
Scotland, and Ireland, into account.

Our _th_, which is unpronounceable to French, Italians, and Germans,
however long they may have lived in England, comes naturally to the
Spaniard, because in his own _d_, soft _c_, and _z_ he has the sounds of
our _th_ in "_th_ee" and "_th_in." His _ch_ is identical with ours, and
his _j_ and _x_ are the same as the Irish and Scotch pronunciation of
_ch_ and _gh_.

The Spanish language is not difficult to learn--at any rate to read and
understand--because there are absolutely no unnecessary letters, if we
except the initial _h_, which is, or appears to us, silent--and the
pronunciation is invariable. What a mine of literary treasure is opened
to the reader by a knowledge of Spanish, no one who is ignorant of that
majestic and poetic language can imagine. With the single exception of
Longfellow's beautiful rendering of the _Coplas de Manrique_, which is
absolutely literal, while preserving all the grace and dignity of the
original, I know of no translation from the Spanish which gives the
reader any real idea of the beauty of Spanish literature in the past
ages, nor even of such works of to-day as those of Juan Valera and some
others.

Picturesque and poetic ideas seem common to the Spaniard to-day, as
ever. Only the other day, in discussing the monument to be erected to
Alfonso XII. in Madrid, one of the newspapers reported the
suggestion--finally adopted, I think--that it should be an equestrian
statue of the young King, "with the look on his face with which he
entered Madrid after ending the Carlist war." What a picture it summons
to the imagination of the boy King--for he was no more--in the pride of
his conquest of the elements of disorder and of civil war, which had so
long distracted his beloved country--a successful soldier and a worthy
King!

Spain is a country of surprises and of contradictions; even her own
people seem unable to predict what may happen on the morrow. Those who
knew her best had come to despair of her emancipation at the very moment
when Prim and Topete actually carried the Revolution to a successful
issue. Again, after the miserable fiasco of the attempt at a republic,
the world, even in Spain itself, was taken by surprise by the peaceful
restoration of Alfonso XII.

I can, perhaps, most fitly end this attempt at showing the causes of
Spain's decay and portraying the present characteristics of this most
interesting and romantic nation by a quotation from the pen of one of
her sons. Don Antonio Ferrer del Rio, Librarian of the Ministry of
Commerce, Instruction, and Public Works, and member of the Reales
Academias de Buenas Letras of Seville and Barcelona, thus writes, in his
preface to his _Decadencia de España_, published in Madrid in 1850: "It
is my intention to point out the true origin of the decadence of Spain.
The imagination of the ordinary Spaniard has always been captivated by,
and none of them have failed to sing the praises of, those times in
which the sun never set on the dominion of its kings." While professing
not to presume to dispute this former glory, Señor Ferrer del Rio goes
on to say that he only aspires to get at the truth of his country's
subsequent decay. "There was one happy epoch in which Spain reached the
summit of her greatness--that of the Reyes Católicos, Don Fernando V.
and Doña Isabel I. Under their reign were united the sceptres of
Castilla, Aragon, Navarra, and Granada; the feudal system
disappeared--it had never extended far into the eastern limits of the
kingdom--the abuses in the Church were in great measure reformed, the
administration of the kingdom with the magnificent reign of justice
began to be consolidated, in the Cortes the powerful voice of the people
was heard; and almost at the same moment Christian Spain achieved the
conquest of the Moors, against whom the different provinces had been
struggling for eight centuries, and the immortal discovery of a new
world. Up to this moment the prosperity of Spain was rising; from that
hour her decadence began. With her liberty she lost everything, although
for some time longer her military laurels covered from sight her real
misfortunes." After referring to the defeat of the _Comuneros_, and the
execution of Padilla and his companions, champions of the people's
rights, he goes on to show that while the aristocracy had received a
mortal blow in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella in the cause of
consolidating the kingdom and of internal order, they had retained
sufficient power to trample on the liberties of the people, while they
were not strong enough to form a barrier against the encroachments of
the absolute monarchs who succeeded, or to prevent the power eventually
lapsing into the hands of the Church. "Consequently, theocracy gained
the ascendency, formidably aided and strengthened by the odious tribunal
whose installation shadowed even the glorious epoch of Isabel and
Fernando, absorbing all jurisdiction, and interfering with all
government. Religious wars led naturally to European conflicts, to the
Spanish people being led to wage war against heresy everywhere, and the
nation--exhausted by its foreign troubles, oppressed internally under
the tyranny of the Inquisition, which, usurping the name of 'Holy,' had
become the right hand of the policy of Charles V., and the supreme power
in the Government of his grandson, Philip II.--lost all the precious
gifts of enlightenment in a blind and frantic fanaticism. The people
only awoke from lethargy, and showed any animation, to rush in crowds to
the _Autos da fé_ in which the ministers of the altar turned Christian
charity into a bleeding corpse, and reproduced the terrible scenes of
the Roman amphitheatre. Where the patricians had cried 'Christians to
the lions!' superstition shouted 'Heretics to the stake!' Humanity was
not less outraged than in the spectacle of Golgotha. Spanish monarchs
even authorised by their presence those sanguinary spectacles, while the
nobles and great personages in the kingdom thought themselves honoured
when they were made _alguiciles_, or familiars of the holy office.
Theocratic power preponderated, and intellectual movement became
paralysed, civilisation stagnated."

This has ever been the result of priestly rule. One can understand the
feeling of the liberal-minded Spaniard of to-day that, without wishing
to interfere with the charitable works inaugurated by the clergy, nor
desiring in any way to show disrespect to the Church, or the religion
which is dear to the hearts of the people, a serious danger lies, as the
Press is daily pointing out, in the religious orders, more especially
the Jesuits, obtaining a pernicious influence over the young,
undermining by a system of secret inquisition the teachings of science,
gaining power over the minds of the officers in the army, and
establishing a press agency which shall become a danger to the
constitution.

Spain's outlook seems brighter to-day than it has ever been since her
Golden Age of Isabella and Ferdinand; and it is the people who have
awakened, a people who have shown what power lies in them to raise their
beloved country to the position which is her right among the nations of
the world. But prophecy is vain in a country of which it has been said
"that two and two never make four." This year, if all go well meantime,
Alfonso XIII. will take the reins in his own hands--a mere boy, even
younger than his father was when called to the throne; than whom,
however, Spain has never had a more worthy ruler. But Alfonso XII. had
been schooled by adversity--he had to some extent roughed it amongst
Austrian and English boys. He came fresh from Sandhurst and from the
study of countries other than his own. To a naturally clever mind he had
added the invaluable lesson of a knowledge of the world as seen by one
of the crowd, not from the close precincts of a court and the elevation
of a throne.

For his son it may be said that he has been born and carefully educated
in a country where absolutism is dead, and by a mother who, as Regent,
has scrupulously observed the laws of the constitution. He will come, as
King, to a country which has known the precious boon of liberty too long
to part with it lightly; to a kingdom now, for the first time in
history, united as one people; where commerce and mutual interests have
taken the place of internecine distrust and hatred. It is only at the
present moment that this happy condition of things is spreading over the
country; each month, each week, giving fresh evidence of new industries
arising, of fresh capital invested in the development of the country. It
is in the sums so invested by the mass of the people that those who
believe in a bright future for Spain place their hopes; but we may all
of us wish the young monarch for whom his country is longing,
"God-speed."



PORTUGUESE LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY



CHAPTER XVIII

LAND AND PEOPLE


It has been said, and it is often repeated, that if you strip a Spaniard
of his virtues, the residuum will be a Portuguese. This cruel statement
is rather the result of prejudice than arising from any foundation in
fact. It has a superficial cleverness which attracts some people, and
especially those who have but an imperfect knowledge of the true life
and character of the people thus stigmatised.

Lord Londonderry, in Chapter VI. of his _Narrative of the Peninsular
War_, writes thus of the difference of character between the two
nations: "Having halted at Elvas during the night, we marched next
morning soon after dawn; and, passing through a plain of considerable
extent, crossed the Guadiana at Badajoz, the capital of Estremadura.
This movement introduced us at once into Spain; and the contrast, both
in personal appearance and in manners, between the people of the two
nations, which was instantly presented to us, I shall not readily
forget. Generally speaking, the natives of frontier districts partake
almost as much of the character of one nation as of another.... It is
not so on the borders of Spain and Portugal. The peasant who cultivates
his little field, or tends his flock on the right bank of the Guadiana,
is, in all his habits and notions, a different being from the peasant
who pursues similar occupations on its left bank; the first is a genuine
Portuguese, the last is a genuine Spaniard.... They cordially detest one
another; insomuch that their common wrongs and their common enmity to
the French were not sufficient, even at this time, to eradicate the
feeling.

"It was not, however, by the striking diversity of private character
alone which subsisted between them, that we were made sensible, as soon
as we had passed the Guadiana, that a new nation was before us. The
Spaniards received us with a degree of indifference to which we had not
hitherto been accustomed. They were certainly not uncivil.... Whatever
we required they gave us, in return for our money; but as to enthusiasm
or a desire to anticipate our wants, there was not the shadow of an
appearance of anything of the kind about them. How different all this
from the poor Portuguese, who never failed to rend the air with their
_vivats_, and were at all times full of promises and protestations, no
matter how incapable they might be of fulfilling the one or
authenticating the other! The truth is that the Spaniard is a proud,
independent, and grave personage; possessing many excellent qualities,
but quite conscious of their existence, and not unapt to overrate
them.... Yet with all this, there was much about the air and manner of
the Spaniards to deserve and command our regard. The Portuguese are a
people that require rousing; they are indolent, lazy, and generally
helpless. We may value these our faithful allies, and render them
useful; but it is impossible highly to respect them. In the Spanish
character, on the contrary, there is mixed up a great deal of
haughtiness, a sort of manly independence of spirit, which you cannot
but admire, even though aware that it will render them by many degrees
less amenable to your wishes than their neighbours."

With due allowance for time and circumstances, much in this passage
might have been written to-day instead of nearly ninety years ago, and
one cause of the difference in feeling is no doubt explained truly
enough. Perhaps some shallow persons are affected by the fact that in
good looks the Portuguese are as a race inferior to the Spaniards. But
there is no such real difference in character as to justify an impartial
observer in using a phrase so essentially galling to England's allies,
of whom Napier said: "The bulk of the people were, however, staunch in
their country's cause ... ready at the call of honour, and susceptible
of discipline, without any loss of energy."

Throughout the whole Iberian Peninsula the main axiom of life appears to
be the same: "Never do to-day what you can put off to to-morrow." On the
left bank of the Guadiana it is summarised by the word _mañana_; on the
right bank the word used is _amanhã_. There is only a phonetic
distinction between the Spanish and the Portuguese idea. It is necessary
for the traveller in these countries to keep this axiom well in mind,
for it affords a clue to character and conduct the value of which cannot
be over-estimated, and not only to the character and conduct of
individuals, but to the whole national life of the inhabitants. In
Portugal it permeates all public and municipal life, and appears to
affect most especially that portion of the population who do not earn
their living by manual labour. The higher one goes up the scale, the
greater becomes the evidence of the ingrained habits of dilatoriness and
procrastination, and so any hard work on the part of the lower class of
toilers cannot be properly directed, and the commerce and industry of
the country either dwindle away together, or fall into the hands of more
energetic and active foreigners, who naturally carry off the profits
which should be properly applied to the welfare and prosperity of the
Lusitanians.

The mineral wealth and natural resources of the country are enormous,
and it is really sad to contemplate the little use that is made of the
one or of the other unless developed by alien energy and worked by alien
capital. As regards this latter important factor, the administrative
corruption and the unsound state of the national finances render it
difficult to find foreign capitalists who are able and willing to embark
in the industrial enterprises, the successful issue of which affords the
only chance for this most interesting nation to recover something of its
ancient prosperity and to once more take a position in the world worthy
of the land of the hardy sailors and valiant captains who have left so
imperishable a record over the earth's surface.

The intellectual life of Portugal seems to have ceased with Camoens. It
is rather pathetic the way in which the ordinary educated Portuguese
refers back to the great poet and to the heroic period which he
commemorated. No conversation of any length can be carried on without a
reference to Camoens and to Vasco da Gama. All history and all progress
appear to have culminated and stopped then. Apparently nothing worthy of
note has happened since. Camoens returned to Lisbon in 1569, and his
great epic poem saw the light in 1572. He died in a public hospital in
Lisbon in 1579 or 1580. In the latter year began the "sixty years'
captivity," when Portugal became merely a Spanish province; yet there
is no recollection of this--except the ingrained hatred of Spaniards and
of everything Spanish--or of the shaking off the yoke in 1640, and of
the battle of Amexial in 1663, where the English contingent bore the
brunt of the battle, and the "Portugueses," as they are called by the
author of _An Account of the Court of Portugal_, published in 1700,
claimed the principal part of the honour. The traces of the Peninsular
War have faded away, and on the lines of Torres Vedras there is scarcely
any tradition of the cause of their existence. In Lisbon, indeed, there
is one incident of later date than Camoens, which is considered worthy
of remembrance,--the great earthquake of 1755,--but this can scarcely be
looked upon as a national achievement, or a matter of intellectual
development.

That Camoens is a fitting object for a nation's veneration cannot for a
moment be doubted. The high encomium passed upon "the Student, the
Soldier, the Traveller, the Patriot, the Poet, the mighty Man of Genius"
by Burton, appears to be in no way exaggerated. The healthful influence
of his life and writings has done and is still doing good in his beloved
country. But though the man who in his lifetime was neglected, and who
was allowed to die in the depths of poverty and misery, is now the most
honoured of his countrymen, and his rank as one of the world's great
poets is universally acknowledged, his labours have been to a certain
extent in vain.

Not only industry, but culture, literature, and art appear to be
infested with the mildew of decay. There is a good university at
Coimbra, where alone, it is said, the language is spoken correctly.
There is an excellent system of elementary and secondary schools, but in
practice it is incomplete and subject to many abuses, like most public
institutions in the country. The irregularities of the language, without
authoritative spelling or pronunciation, and the best dictionary of
which is Brazilian, have a bad effect upon the literature of the
country.

The language, more purely Latin in its base than either of the other
Latin tongues, with an admixture of Moorish, and strengthened by the
admission of many words of foreign origin, introduced during the period
of great commercial prosperity, possesses ample means for the expression
of ideas and of shades of thought, and though it loses somewhat of the
musical quality of the other languages in consequence of a rather large
percentage of the nasal tones which are peculiar to it, yet it will hold
its own well with the remaining members of the group.

Whatever the cause, however, there is hardly any general literature;
almost the only books (not professional or technical) which are
published, appear to be translations of French novels--not of the
highest class. Perhaps in the study of archæology and folklore is to be
found the most cultured phase of Portuguese intelligence. The
Archæological Society of Lisbon strives to do good work, and has a
museum with interesting relics in the old church of the Carmo, itself
one of the most interesting and graceful ruins left out of the havoc
caused by the great earthquake.

As might be expected under such circumstances, the newspapers are, with
few exceptions, of the "rag" variety. Conducted for the most part by
clever young fellows fresh from Coimbra, they are violent in their views
and incorrect in their news, especially with regard to foreign
intelligence. They have some influence, no doubt, but not so much as the
same type of newspaper in France. The habitual want of veracity of the
Portuguese character is naturally emphasised in the newspapers, and no
one in his senses would believe any statement made in them.

A sure sign of the decadence of intellectual life, as well as of
commercial activity, is to be found in the postal service, with its
antiquated methods and imperfect arrangements. It is administered in a
happy-go-lucky manner, which amuses at the same time that it annoys.
Truly, with the post-office, it is well constantly to repeat to one's
self the phrase: "Patience! all will be well to-morrow!" Probably it
won't be well; but none but a foolish Englishman or Frenchman or German
will bother about such a little matter.

A kindly, brave, docile, dishonest, patient, and courteous people, who,
to quote Napier "retain a sense of injury or insult with incredible
tenacity;" and a due observance of their customs and proper politeness
are so readily met, and friendly advances are so freely proffered, that
a sojourn amongst them is pleasant enough. I have wondered that the
tourist has not found his way more into this smiling land, though, no
doubt, his absence is a matter of congratulation to the traveller in
these regions. The country has many beauties, the people and their
costumes are picturesque, and the cost of living--even allowing for a
considerable percentage of cheating--is not excessive. There is, I
suppose, a want of the ordinary attractions for the pure tourist or
globe-trotter. There are churches, monuments, and objects of interest in
goodly numbers, and there is beautiful scenery in great variety; but the
true attraction to a thoughtful visitor lies in the contemplation of the
people themselves.

The Portuguese, taken as a whole, are not a good-looking race. The
women, who, as a rule, are very pretty as little girls, lose their good
looks as they grow up, and are disappointing when compared with the
Spaniards. Sometimes one comes across fish- or market-women of
considerable comeliness, which, when conjoined to the graceful figure
and poise induced by the habitual carriage of heavy weights on the head
and the absence of shoes, makes a striking picture. The costume is
attractive, and the wealth of golden ear-rings, charms, chains, and such
like, in which these women invest their savings, does not somehow seem
anomalous or incongruous, though shown on a background of dirty and
ragged clothing.

One unfortunate peculiarity that cannot help being noticed is the number
of persons whose eyes are not on the same level. When this does not
amount to an actual disfigurement, it is still a blemish which prevents
many a young girl from being classed as a beauty. This and the peculiar
notched or cleft teeth seem to point to an hereditary taint. Also
unmistakable signs of a greater or lesser admixture of black blood are
numerous. As a rule, the Portuguese are dark-complexioned, with large
dark eyes and black hair; but, of course, one meets many exceptions. The
men of the working class are fond of wearing enormous bushy whiskers,
and women of all classes are accustomed to wear _moustachios_. The thin
line of softest down which accentuates the ripe lips of the _senhorina_
of some seventeen summers becomes an unattractive incident in the broad
countenance of the stout lady of advancing years; and when, as sometimes
happens, the hirsute appendages take the form of a thin, straggling
beard, with a tooth-brush moustache, it can only be described as an
unmitigated horror.

Society in Portugal is very mixed. There are the old _fidalgos_, haughty
and unapproachable, and often very poor, the descendants of the nobles
whose duplicity, ability in intrigue, and want of patriotism are so
often alluded to in the pages of Napier. Then there are the new
nobility, the "titled Brasileros," as Galenga calls them, who have come
back from Brazil to their native land with large fortunes acquired
somehow, and who practically buy titles, as well as lands and houses.
Wealthy tradesmen, also, hold a special position in the mixed middle
class. There is, too, a curious blending of old-fashioned courtesy with
democratic sentiments. The tradesman welcomes his customers with
effusive politeness--shakes hands as he invites them to sit down, and
chats with these perhaps titled ladies without any affectation or
assumption. After a while the parties turn to business. A sort of
Oriental bargaining takes place, the seller asking twice as much as the
object is worth and he intends to take. The purchaser meets this with an
offer of about half what she intends to give. With the utmost politeness
and civility the negotiations are conducted on either side. Each gives
way little by little, and in the end a bargain is struck. The amounts
involved appear to be enormous, as the _reis_ are computed by thousands
and hundreds; but, then, the _real_ is only worth about the thousandth
part of three shillings and twopence at the present rate of exchange,
and the long and exciting transaction, in all its various phases, has
resulted in one or other of the parties having scored or missed a small
victory. Verily, even to the loser, the pleasure is cheap at the price.

The Brazilian element is most conspicuous in Lisbon, and partly in
consequence that city is only a little modern capital, somewhat feebly
imitating Paris in certain ways, and, consequently, lacking the
individuality and interest of Oporto. Yet Lisbon has a charm of its own;
and the beauties of the Aveneida, the Roscio (known to the English as
the "Rolling Motion Square," from its curious pattern of black and white
pavement), the Black Horse Square, the broad and beautiful Tagus, the
hills whereon the city is built, and the lovely gardens with their
sub-tropical vegetation, will repay a stay of some weeks' duration.

Outside the mercantile element, there is considerable difficulty for a
stranger to formulate the boundaries of other social strata. It would
appear that the professions are in an indifferent position. Lawyers, of
course, as in most other countries, are looked upon as rogues. How far
this is the effect of the general prejudice, or whether it has any
special foundation in fact, it would be hard to say. No doubt there are
upright men amongst them, as in every other walk of life. There is a
general idea that the medical training is lax, and the doctors, as a
rule, are not highly considered. It is admitted, however, that they are
as devoted, and as ready to risk their own lives, as those of other
countries, a fact which was fully proved by several of the doctors at
Oporto and Lisbon on the occasion of the outbreak of the plague in 1899.

The system of fees in general use tends to damage the position of both
lawyers and doctors. In reply to the question as to his indebtedness,
the client or the patient is told: "What you please." This sounds
courteous, but is, in effect, embarrassing, as it is hard to estimate
what is a fair fee under the circumstances, and generally one or the
other of the parties is dissatisfied, and a sore feeling is left behind.

There are several orders of knighthood, which are showered about on
occasion. The reasons for giving them are various. For instance, a Court
tradesman may receive a decoration in lieu of immediate payment of a
long-standing bill. The ribbons and buttons are not worn so freely as
elsewhere on the Continent. The polite style in addressing a stranger is
in the third person, and such titles as Your Excellency, Your Lordship,
and Your Worship, sometimes enlarged with the adjective _illustrissimo_
(most illustrious), are common enough. When an Englishman is first
addressed as _Vossa Illustrissima Excellencia_ (Your Most Illustrious
Excellency), he begins to feel as if he were playing a part in one of
Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operas. He soon gets used to it, however,
and accepts the superlatives without turning a hair.

Of all classes it may be said that their manners are, on the whole,
good, and their morals generally lax. Cleanliness has no special place
assigned to it amongst the virtues. If it comes next to godliness, then
the latter must be very low down the scale. It seems incredible, but
verminous heads are to be found in the ranks of well-to-do tradespeople.
Fleas and bugs abound, and happy is he whose skin is too tough, or whose
flesh is too sour, to attract these ferocious insects. There is not much
luxury and there is a fair amount of thrift, while frugality of living
is common, especially among the populace.

One great characteristic is the intense love of children which is
exhibited by all classes, and there is no surer way to the good will of
a native than a kindness, however slight, to a child in whom he or she
is interested. As is natural under such circumstances, the children are
shockingly indulged and spoilt, with all the resultant unpleasant and
evil consequences. Cats, also, are great favourites with the Portuguese,
and the thousands of shabby animals of Lisbon and Oporto show no sign of
fear if a stranger stops to stroke them. They are accustomed to kind
treatment, and look upon all human beings as friends.

As a rule, a rather large number of servants are employed. They are
poorly paid, and in many households indifferently fed and housed. Often
they are dirty, lazy, dishonest sluts. They chatter shrilly with the
master or mistress, answer and argue when told of any shortcoming, and
are always ready to go off at a moment's notice. But they are often
capable of devoted service, and of a sincere desire to be obliging, and
may always be counted on to exhibit the utmost kindness to the children
of the house. Their written references, as a rule, are frauds. If you
ask for the _boas referencias_ (good references), so often mentioned in
the advertisements of _criadas_ (female servants), you will probably
find that, even if genuine, they are antiquated, and that they leave
many gaps between the various periods of service which can only be
filled up by conjecture. _Criadas_ are not, as a rule, of immaculate
virtue, and give some trouble by their desire to go to _festas_ and to
servants' balls. The male servants are, as a rule, better than the
_criadas_. Servants are somewhat roughly treated, and are ordered about
as if they were dogs. It is always said that they do not understand or
appreciate milder or more civil treatment, and are inclined to despise a
master or mistress who uses the Portuguese equivalent to "please," or
who acknowledges a service with thanks. I am inclined to doubt this,
both from my personal observation and from a casual remark made to me by
the landlady of a hotel at Cintra, that her waiters and servants much
preferred English to native visitors, because of the greater politeness
and consideration shown to them by the former. Of course, as in all
other countries, servants are described as one of the greatest plagues
in life; but this must be taken for what it is worth. And what would the
ladies do without such a subject to grumble about?

Portugal is a poor country, despite its natural resources. The wealthy
people are few, and consist mainly of returned Brazilians. It cannot be
said, either, that the classes in the enjoyment of a competence
constitute a fair average of the community. But the poor are very
abundant. Wages are terribly low, even a foreman in an engineering shop
getting only a milrei a day, averaging _3s. 2d._ in English money. On
the other hand, it must be remembered that in such a climate the "living
wage" is necessarily lower than in England. Many necessities in England
are superfluities or even inconveniences under sunnier skies. The
people, too, are very frugal, and even in towns, though rents be high,
all other necessaries are moderate in price. The standard of life is not
high, and the people are contented with a style of living which would be
indignantly rejected by English labourers.

The artisans are not good workmen, but plod on fairly well, and, with
the exception of _festas_, require few holidays. They prefer to work on
Sundays, and grumble at their English employers, who generally split the
difference, by closing their shops for half a day. They look upon this
as a grievance, however much they may be assured that it makes no
difference in their wages.

[Illustration: A COUNTRY CABIN IN GALICIA]

A very hard-working class of men are the Gallegos, the natives of
Galicia, who are nearly as numerous in Lisbon as they were when Napier
wrote, and where, then as now, they act as porters, messengers,
scavengers, and water-carriers, and are found in all sorts of lowly
and laborious occupations. As porters and messengers, they have an
excellent reputation for honesty, and for being most civil and obliging.
Gallenga, a fairly shrewd observer, considers that the employment of
these Spaniards has deplorable effects on the character of the
Portuguese nation. I cannot go all the way with him in the gloomy view
he takes of it, but it must be conceded that the existence of such a
body of aliens (estimated at twelve thousand in Lisbon alone) working
hard and well at occupations which the Portuguese will not do at all,
or, if they attempt them, will do indifferently; herding together some
ten or twelve in a small room, living on maize bread and a clove of
garlic washed down with water; accepting thankfully a very attenuated
hire, and yet contriving to send substantial savings back to
Galicia,--must considerably affect the labour market and tend to keep
wages low. They also close certain forms of labour to the native worker,
and cause these industries to be looked on with contempt.

In towns like Lisbon and Oporto a great number of persons are employed
in the fish trade. The fish-girls, with their distinctive costumes,
their bare feet, and the graceful poise of the heavy basket of fish on
their heads, are a very characteristic feature of both towns. The
costumes differ in the two cities, mainly in the head-gear, but they are
both picturesque and dirty, and emit the same "ancient and fish-like
smell." The men, too, with their bare legs and feet, balancing a long
pole on the shoulder, with a basket of fish at each end, will cover a
marvellous amount of ground in a day at the curious trotting pace which
they affect. Miles inland these men will carry their finny wares,
stopping at the public water-supplies to moisten the cloth which
protects the fish from the sun and dust. These may or may not be fresh
when the day's work is nearly done, but housewives purchasing a supply
in the afternoon had better keep a very sharp look-out.

Fish plays an important part in the domestic economy of dwellers within
a reasonable distance of the sea, and forms a considerable item in the
food-stuffs of the working classes. It is fairly cheap, and is cooked so
as to get the full value of it. More important than the fresh fish is
the salted cod (_bacalhao_). This, which Napier described as "the
ordinary food of the Portuguese," is the backbone of the worker's
_menu_. It is not fragrant, nor is it inviting in aspect in its raw
state, but it is said to be highly nutritive, and it can certainly be
cooked in ways which make it appetising. The midday meal, which the wife
brings to her husband at his work, and shares with him as they sit in
the shade, is often composed of a _caldo_ (soup) made of _bacalhao_, or
of all sorts of oddments, thickened with beans and flavoured with
garlic, accompanied by a bit of rye-bread or of _broa_, the bread made
from maize. These soups and breads, accompanied by salads, onions,
tomatoes, and other vegetables, washed down with draughts of a light red
table-wine of little alcoholic strength, form the not unwholesome
average diet of the worker with his hands. If he wants to get drunk, he
can do so, with some difficulty, by imbibing sufficient wine, but the
easiest method is to drink the fearful crude spirit _aguardente_. If he
survives, he gets horribly, brutally drunk, and possibly does some
mischief before he recovers. But it is only fair to say that he but
rarely gets drunk, and that when he is thirsty he quenches his thirst
with water, with a harmless decoction of herbs or lemonade, or with the
almost innocuous wine. This sobriety is not the result of any temperance
legislation or restrictions. No license is required for opening a shop
for the sale of liquor. Only revenue dues and _octroi_ duties have to be
paid, and, of course, there is a liability to police supervision, which
provides the police with a means of increasing their very inadequate pay
by bribes or blackmail.

The amusements of the workman in the town are few enough, and mostly of
a domestic character. He sits on his doorstep, or on a bench in the
nearest gardens. He smokes the eternal cigarette, gossips with his
neighbours, plays with his children, and pets the cat. His only real
playtimes are the _festas_, when for some hours he indulges in
revelry--if, indeed, it be worthy of such a title. He reads the
newspaper but little,--if he can read at all,--which is, perhaps, a
good thing for him, and he is generally a Republican. This Republicanism
is mostly academic, but the "red" type is not wanting, and a fiery
spirit might be roused at any time, with consequences that cannot be
foreseen. Of course, the younger men tinkle the guitar, and make love
more or less openly to the girls. When age overtakes a man or misfortune
overpowers him, there is no poor law to take him in charge, but there
are extensive and well-organised charities in every centre which are
eager and willing to assist those who are temporarily afflicted, and to
afford sustenance--a bare sustenance, perhaps--to those who are
permanently disabled.

The amusements of the town--the theatre, the concert, and the opera--do
not affect the workman much; his budget does not allow of such
indulgence, except on the occasion of a free performance. Though they
are fairly musical and love the theatre, the Portuguese have no really
æsthetic side to their character. There is a queer song and dance,
topical and rather broad, the _chula_, the somewhat monotonous refrain
of which is to be heard everywhere and at all hours, and from all
manners of lips. The washerwomen kneeling by the brook bang the
unfortunate clothes on the flat stones in rhythm with the tune, and
beguile the time with the interminable song. It arises in unexpected
places, and is a fairly sure item in the gathering of the younger folk,
both in towns and villages, in the cool of the evening. Concerts and
theatres are fairly patronised by the more moneyed classes, but the
performances are not, as a rule, of a very high calibre. There is a
subsidised theatre at Lisbon, but it does little to elevate the dramatic
art elsewhere.



CHAPTER XIX

PORTUGUESE INSTITUTIONS


The Portuguese army is raised by conscription, each parish, according to
size, having to contribute an annual quota of young men between twenty
and twenty-one years of age. These have to serve three consecutive years
with the colours, and then pass into the reserve for another ten years.
During the latter period no conscript can leave the country without a
passport. In time of peace the army is supposed to number about thirty
thousand men, and on the war footing should consist of about one hundred
and twenty thousand men and two hundred and sixty-four guns. The men,
who in summer wear brown holland clothes, look hardy enough, and,
according to ordinary report, are worthy of the plucky _caçadores_ of
the Peninsular War, who, according to Napier, made most excellent
soldiers when properly led. It is still said of the Portuguese soldier
that with three beans in his pocket he can march and fight for a week
without making any further demands upon the commissariat department.
This military service does not affect the nation much, either morally
or physically, and the only economical effect is probably that it
provides a fruitful source of plunder to corrupt officials. As any man
can free himself of the three years' service with the colours by paying
a sum of about £24, it may be imagined what an opening this affords for
special peculation.

The navy consists of about five thousand men, and of a few modern
war-ships, and of some old boats whose seaworthiness is questionable.
The best ship at present on the list is the cruiser _Dom Carlos_, which
was sent to take part in the naval pageant which formed the first
portion of the funeral of Queen Victoria. The sailors, who are much to
be seen in Lisbon, where the great naval barracks are situated, look
smart enough, and as the Portuguese have always been good sailors, it
may safely be predicted that, in case of necessity, they will make the
most of the limited means at their disposal, or of such of them as have
not been utterly ruined by official indifference or worse.

In the towns one meets men in various employments, such as the police,
who have served in the army, and still retain some sort of soldierly
appearance, but once get into the country, and it is vain to look for
any evidence of military service amongst the rural population.

The country-folk are a patient lot; most of them ruminants, like their
own oxen. Sleepy always, and slow in their movements, they are often
devoted to the farm, or _quinta_, on which they work, and are, perhaps,
slightly more honest than their fellows in the towns. They are frugal
enough, and enjoy their huge junks of dark bread, washed down with
water, at their midday meal, and a sound sleep under the shade of an
orange tree or a eucalyptus, or a bit of a wall, until it is necessary
to begin work again. The peasant costumes are not inviting; they are
simply squalid. Costumes in the towns are much better. Still, on festal
days the village women deck themselves out with bright-hued shawls, and
the men wind brighter scarfs round their waists to keep up their
patchwork trousers, and thus relieve what would otherwise be the
intolerable dinginess of the whole scene. The farmer himself, mounted on
his mule, with high-peaked saddle and enormous wooden stirrups decorated
with brass, his cloak, with the bright scarlet or blue lining folded
outwards, strapped on in front, with his short jacket and broad-brimmed
hat, offers a smart and typical figure.

In town or country, the beautiful oxen are worthy of admiration. They
are the most satisfactory of all the rural animals. Horses, shabby and
attenuated, little sheep of a colour from black to dirty grey, showing
affinity to goats, and having neither the grace of the latter nor the
sleepy comeliness of our own sheep, black and white cows whose points
would not be much thought of by judges at an agricultural show, goats of
all sorts of breeds, and finally pigs of a most lanky and uninviting
appearance, form the stock of the farms. Heaps of chickens of all sorts
run about everywhere, and enjoy fine dust-baths by the side of the road.

The aspect of the country varies much between north and south. In the
former, one sees real grass and hedges, and the bright flowers that are
common everywhere look all the better for their green background. The
commonest hedge in the south, and occasionally in the north, is made of
a few layers of stones loosely laid together with a row of aloe plants
on the top. These grow formidable in time, with huge sharp-pointed
leaves, and they present a curious appearance when at intervals in such
a row plants send up their huge flowering stems from nine to twelve feet
high, looking at a little distance like telegraph poles.

Despite the squalid clothes of the peasants, there are many picturesque
aspects of rural life. The driving of large herds of cattle by mounted
men, armed with long goads, is an interesting as well as an artistic
sight, and the same may be said of the primitive agricultural
occupations. The crops are harvested with a sickle, and you may wake up
some morning to see the field opposite your house invaded by some twenty
to thirty reapers, men and women, boys and girls, patiently sawing their
way through the wheat or barley, or whatever it is. The corn is threshed
out with the flail, or trodden out by the oxen--all operations fair to
look upon. Forms of cultivation interesting to watch are the very
primitive ploughing, the hoeing of the maize, and all those connected
with the culture of the vines and the orange and other fruit trees, and
especially the irrigation, which is so important to these latter. In
fact, one of the most charming of rural sights is the old water-wheel,
groaning and creaking as it is turned by the patient ox or mule or pony,
splashing the cool water from the well out of its earthen pots--each
with a hole in the bottom--and discharging it into the trough leading to
the irrigation channels or to the reservoir from which the water may
afterwards be let off in the required direction.

But agriculture is not always so backward and primitive. There are great
landowners and large farmers who use the newest and best agricultural
implements. The Government does what it can to encourage the use of
artificial manures, and there are societies which render important
services to agriculturists and to fruit-growers. Amid such labours live
the quiet country-folk. They have no thought of anything; they have no
special amusements beyond an occasional _festa_ and a dance. They sit
round the village well in the evening, and when not talking scandal,
tell stories about--"Once upon a time there was a poor widow with one or
more daughters," or "There was once a king's son"--often a Moorish
king. The old well-known tales reappear, modified to the Portuguese
character and morality.

The following is a story taken from Braga's excellent book: "There was,
once upon a time, a poor widow that had only one daughter. This girl,
going out to bathe in the river with her companions on St. John's eve,
at the advice of one of her friends, placed her ear-rings on the top of
a stone, lest she should lose them in the water. While she was playing
about in the river an old man passed along, who, seeing the ear-rings,
took them and placed them in a leather bag he was carrying. The poor
child was much grieved at this, and ran after the old man, who consented
to restore her belongings if she would search for them inside his sack.
This the girl did, and forthwith the artful old man closed the mouth of
the bag and carried her off therein. He subsequently told her that she
must help him to gain a living, and that whenever he recited--

    'Sing, sack,
    Else thou wilt be beaten with a stick!'

she was to sing lustily. Wherever they came he placed his sack on the
ground, and addressed the above formula to it, when the poor girl sang
as loud as she could:

    'I am placed in this sack,
    Where my life I shall lose,
    For love of my ear-rings,
    Which I left in the stream.'

The old man obtained much money from the audiences attracted by his
singing leather bag. The authorities of one town, however, became
suspicious, and, examining the sack while its owner was asleep, found
and released the child. They filled up the bag with all the filth they
could pick up, and left it where they had found it. The little girl was
sent back to her mother. When the old man woke next morning, and took
out the sack to earn his breakfast, the usual incantation had no effect,
and when he applied the threatened stick the bag burst, and all the
filth came out, which he was compelled to lick up by the enraged
populace." At the close of the story the cigarettes glow, the white
teeth gleam, the bushy whiskers wag, the old women chuckle, the girls
giggle, and the youths snigger, and as the short twilight is now over,
the group breaks up, and each vanishes into his or her own
vermin-pasture to sleep until _amanhã_ has actually become to-day, and
the sun shines on another exact repetition of yesterday.

The Portuguese are superstitious, and are devout up to a certain point,
and the clerics are exceedingly intolerant. In the morning one sees, as
in all Roman Catholic countries, devout worshippers kneeling about in
the churches before their favourite shrines, but, unlike the practice of
most Roman Catholic countries, the churches are closed at or about noon
for the most part, and are only open for special masses after that time.
The procession of the Host is greeted with most extreme reverence, and
whether it be in the fashionable Chiado at Lisbon or along a country
lane, all uncover and make the sign of the cross, and many, even
fashionably dressed ladies and gentlemen, kneel down and bow themselves
humbly as the sacred wafer passes by, borne by the gorgeously vested
priest; at least, in the cities the vestments are gorgeous, and a long
train of acolytes and attendants makes the procession imposing, but in
the country the vestments are often mildewed and decayed, and the one or
two rustic attendants are not dignified in appearance. Still, the sacred
symbol is the same, and the reverence and the devotion are the same.

There is an excessive hierarchy for the size of the country, there being
in Portugal proper three ecclesiastical provinces, ruled respectively by
the Patriarch of Lisbon and by the Archbishops of Braga and Evora.
Besides these, there is the colonial province which is ruled by the
Archbishop of Goa, Archpriests and other dignitaries abound, so that a
priest has something to look forward to in the way of promotion; and
yet, as a rule, the priests perform their duties without zeal and in a
slovenly manner. One often hears it said that their behaviour and their
morality leave much to be desired. There are among them gentlemen of
blameless life and even of ascetic practices, but it is commonly
reported that, as a whole, they are of inferior birth and education. It
is not easy for a stranger to form any opinion on these points, but it
must be conceded that their appearance is generally suggestive of the
truth of the statement, and it may be admitted that there is an undue
proportion of ignoble and sensuous faces amongst them.

Funerals are occasions of great pomp, and are often picturesque enough,
while the masses for the dead at intervals after and on the anniversary
are, no doubt, profitable to the Church. By attending these one has a
good opportunity of testifying to the esteem in which the deceased was
held, or to one's good will towards the family or representatives. These
masses are generally advertised in the papers, with thanks to those
friends who have attended funeral masses. As there is scarcely any
intellectual activity in Portugal, there is practically no religious
thought. A dull acquiescence in the dictates of the Church may be
crossed by an occasional gleam of rebellion against sacerdotalism,
roused by some temporary stirring up of the hatred felt against the
Jesuits. But it in no way alters the habitual attitude of the people
towards religion and its outward manifestations. One thing is certain,
and that is that in town or country a man or a woman must be in the
lowest depths of poverty and distress to refuse to throw a few _reis_
into the bags of the licensed mendicants who, bareheaded, and clad in
scarlet or white gowns, go round soliciting alms for the support of the
churches on whose behalf they are sent out.

As is customary in most countries, the women are more amenable to
religious influences than the men, and are more under the dominion of
the priest. This is not likely to be altered yet awhile, for, under the
present system of education and bringing up, the female portion of the
community is not only not intellectual, but may even be described as
being unintelligent. They are slovenly, and cannot be described as good
housewives. They are pleasure-loving and garrulous, though this latter
trait is not, I suppose, a specially national characteristic. They do
much hard work, especially in the fields. In the classes above (if
_above_ be the proper word) the hand-workers, the young girls are still
kept very strictly, and are not allowed to go out alone. Their knowledge
of life is limited to the view from the windows of their homes, where
they may be seen looking out on the street scenes below whenever the
shade allows them to stand at the window or on the balcony. No "new
woman" movement of any importance has yet taken place, and though there
are modifications in woman's position in the national life, it is
probable that it will take one if not more generations before women in
Portugal achieve the emancipation which their sisters have attained in
more progressive countries.

In one circumstance, however, woman does take her place by the side of
man, and that is in the bull-ring--not, indeed, in the arena, but in
every part of the amphitheatre, from the worst seats on the sunny side
to the costly boxes in the shade. She takes as great an interest in the
bull-fight as the man, and if she does not shout and swear, or fling her
hat into the ring in her enthusiasm, she delights probably more than the
man in the beauty of the spectacle, and appreciates almost as fully the
feats of skill and daring which give such special attraction to the
national pastime. This is a right royal sport, and as in Portugal the
horrid cruelty which defaces it in Spain is absent, there is no
overwhelming reason why the women should not sit and applaud the
picturesque scene and the exhibitions of pluck and agility shown by the
performers.

The scene is really magnificent, and the enthusiasm of the audience must
be witnessed in order to understand the underlying potentialities of the
Portuguese character. The vile abuse of a bull who will not show fight
is comical to listen to. Probably, in such a case, the bull has been
through it all before, and he does not care to make wild rushes at
cloaks which have nothing substantial behind them. So he paws up the
sand and looks theatrical, but refuses to budge. Then a nimble
_bandarilhero_ faces him, and fixes a pair of _bandarilhas_ in his
neck--one on each side if he can manage it. This is unpleasant, no
doubt, but the bull's former experience tells him that it is not
serious, and not even very painful. It was irritating the first time,
but no well-bred bull should condescend to be upset by such a trifle.
Another pair of _bandarilhas_, and yet another, are fixed into his
shoulders by their barbed points--or the attempt is made to fix them.
Then the bull begins to play the game in a condescending sort of way.
Then the great man, the _espada_ himself, comes on the scene, and
arranges and waves his scarlet flag, and walks up to the obstinate
animal, perhaps flicks him in the nostrils with his pocket-handkerchief
and calls him _vacca_ (cow)! At last, seemingly out of good nature, the
bull rushes at the red flag, has the highly decorated dart stuck between
his shoulders, by the daring _espada_ who may perform some other feat,
listens to the applause, and laughs to himself when he hears the
bugle-call and sees the trained oxen rush in with their long bells and
their attendant herdsmen, and with more or less of a frolicsome air he
trots out of the arena in their company and, having had his sore
shoulders attended to, and having had a good feed, chews the cud with a
pleasant reminiscence of the afternoon's work. It is a mistake not to
kill the bull, which is not cruel in itself, but which would prevent
some rather tiresome interludes when a knowing old bull refuses to be
coaxed into playing his part of the game.

Far different, however, is the scene when a really spirited bull comes
in with a rush and charges wildly at the brightly attired performers,
and makes them skip over the barrier, often leaving their cloaks behind
them. Sometimes the bull skips over too, and then there is a most
amusing scene, as performers, attendants, and all vault back over the
barrier into the ring itself. When the _espada_ finally performs his
courageous feat under such conditions, he obtains such an ovation as his
skill deserves. Hats of all sorts and shapes are cast to him in the
arena, which he has to pick up and throw or hand back to the admirers
who testify their satisfaction in this curious manner. Cigars, also, are
thrown at the successful bull-fighter's feet, and these he keeps. The
most famous _espadas_ are all Spaniards, and they all wear the
traditional dress of their calling. If, on the one hand, there is not
the thrill of the actual killing of the bull, on the other there are no
miserable old horses to be ripped up, and no smell of blood. Next to the
actual bull-fights come the selections of the young bulls from the
herds, when the members of the Tauromachian Societies exhibit their
skill, and where many a gay young fellow gets much knocked about in
exhibiting his agility or the want of it.

Other sports cannot be said to have any marked existence. Dancing is a
national amusement, and a few of the Anglicised Portuguese go in for
cricket and lawn-tennis. Cycling, though not unknown, is far from
common, the roads being, as a rule, much too bad for comfortable or even
for safe riding.

Local and provincial government leaves much to be desired in Portugal.
The keeping up of the roads is inconceivably bad. A royal road (_estrada
real_) is generally the worst of all, and, with such an example before
them, it is not to be wondered at that local authorities neglect their
duties in this matter.

"No capital city in Europe suffers so much as Lisbon from the want of
good police regulations." This quotation from Napier might very well be
written to-day, and extended to include all Portuguese towns. Perhaps it
is fair to say that it is not so much the regulations that are at fault
as the incompetence and indifference of each local authority, which
irresistibly suggest that corruption alone can account for such a mass
of evil. The administrative machine is elaborate, and ought to be more
effective. First, there is the district, ruled by the Civil Governor, an
officer somewhat resembling a French prefect, with its corporate body
known as the District Commission. There are seventeen districts, which
are subdivided into two hundred and sixty-two communes. The head of a
commune is the Administrator, and the corporation is known as the
Municipal Chamber. The last subdivision is that of the communes into
parishes, of which there are three thousand seven hundred and
thirty-five. Each of these has as its head an officer called a
_regedor_, and occupies the attention of a _junta de parochia_, or
parish council.

The scavenging, sanitation, watering, paving, and all the other works
which fall within the sphere of the municipality or local authority are
defective and neglected. The one bright point, both in Oporto and
Lisbon, is the care, skill, and attention with which the public gardens
and squares are tended. The palms, tree-ferns, cacti, and other
semi-tropical and sub-tropical plants are beautiful in themselves, and
are arranged and intermingled with other trees and shrubs in a most
artistic manner. The grass (upon which no one, of course, may walk) is
kept green by constant watering, and affords a delightful contrast to
the generally dry and dusty aspect of the city. Another organisation
which is generally efficient and well conducted is that of the fire
brigades. The municipal firemen--the _bombeiros_--are often stimulated
by a healthy rivalry with the volunteer brigades, which are numerous,
well found, and, as a rule, well managed. The latter are often centres
of good charitable work outside their actual fire service, and they are
valuable as offering a fair and worthy opportunity for the display of
sound public spirit and good feeling.

Though Portuguese laws are, as a rule, admirable in themselves, the
administration thereof is bad in the extreme, and the judiciary have a
reputation for turpitude remarkable even amongst the recognised
corruption of all officials. In Portugal proper there are two judicial
districts--that of Lisbon and that of Oporto. Each has a high court
known as a _Relação_, and there are inferior courts of various styles
and titles. Above all is the Supreme Tribunal of Justice at Lisbon,
which is the final court of appeal, and the reputation of which is
somewhat better than that of any other tribunal. The administration of
criminal justice is naturally amongst the worst. According to common
repute, the only consideration with the judges is how they are to get
the costs paid--whether they are more likely to obtain them through an
acquittal, which throws them on the prosecutor, or by a conviction.
Also, it is generally said that the police themselves are recruited from
amongst the very lowest classes.

The prisons are described as being something awful, only to be equalled
in Morocco and savage countries. In the market-place of beautiful Cintra
stands the prison, against the barred windows of which crowd the
prisoners, begging for money, cigarettes, and food, which are supplied
to them through the prison bars by their friends and sympathisers, and
by soft-hearted people. Those who are incarcerated in the upper story
have baskets, which they lower by means of strings, so that they may be
supplied in the same manner. This seems to have amused Miss Leck
(_Iberian Sketches_, Chap. VI.), but it assumes a much more serious
aspect when one considers that in those filthy dens all the prisoners
are huddled together--old men and boys, the murderer and the petty
thief, habitual criminals and unfortunate persons taken into custody on
mere suspicion, or charged with an alleged breach of some police or
even railway regulation; for it must be remembered that a station-master
has nearly the same power as a policeman in taking a person into
custody. "No one shall be put in prison," says the Portuguese code,
"except under special circumstances"; but when the exceptions are
considered, they are found to cover nearly every abuse of authority on
the part of the pettiest official which can be conceived. Hence, all
persons are obliged to submit to gross injustice and to a certain amount
of blackmail if they wish to avoid the noisome experiences of a
Portuguese gaol.

The Portuguese must be undoubtedly "of a docile and orderly
disposition," as Napier says, or the crying injustices to which they
submit with such patience would lead them to revolt; and if this were to
happen, who could attempt to predict what excesses would be left
uncommitted by a violent southron mob whose passions had been roused to
such a pitch of activity? Perhaps _paciencia_ and _amanhã_ have their
utility, and enable the people to bear the ills they have. They can even
joke and caricature themselves, and though the comic journals are
neither brilliant nor artistic, they show, at least, that a sense of
humour is still left in our Lusitanian friends.



INDEX


    Academies, 238, 243

    Actors, 242

    Agriculture, 167 _et seq._

    Alfonso XII., 28, 104, 144, 268, 273

    Alfonso XIII., 98, 272

    Amadeo, King, 143

    American War, 192 _et seq._

    Amusements, 111 _et seq._

    Andaluces, 33

    Andalucia, 33

    Apostolic party, 9

    Aragon, 29

    Army, 183 _et seq._

    Art, 236 _et seq._

    Artillery, 187

    Artistic furniture, 176

    Arts and crafts, 175, 176

    Asturian nurses, 27

    Asturias, 26

    Asturias, Princess of, 103, 219

    Austrian kings, 15, 21, 22

    _Autos-da-fé_, 18, 200, 201


    Bank of Spain, 265

    Barcelona, 266

    Basque Provinces, 26, 27, 188

    Basques, 28

    Beggars, 226

    Berwick y Alva, Duke of, 184

    Bilbao, 11, 161, 177, 178, 266

    _Boletin de la Cámara de Comercio_, 163, 265

    _Bueyes_, 28

    Bull-fighters, 126 _et seq._

    Bulls, 95 _et seq._

    Bureaucracy, 148, 156


    _Cabestros_, 95

    Caciqueism, 145, 148 _et seq._

    Cæsars, Spanish, 11, 12

    _Camarilla_, 6

    Campoamor, 61

    Cánovas del Castillo, 136

    Capital, 174, 175

    Carlos, Don, 7, 9, 10

    Carriages, 88-90

    Casa de Campo, 84, 85

    Castelar, 139 _et seq._

    _Castellano_, 266

    Castile, 31

    Castilians, 11, 25, 32

    Catalans, 25

    Cataluña, 17, 175, 266

    Cats, 79 _et seq._

    Cervantes, 47, 48

    Cervera, Admiral, 47, 190, 193

    _Cesantes_, 145-147

    Characteristics, 38 _et seq._, 260

    Charitable institutions, 227

    Charles III., 22

    Charles V., 14

    Children, 233

    Church, the, 9, 199

    Cigar industry, 177

    Clerical question, 21, 221, 272

    Climate of Madrid, 65 _et seq._

    Climates of Spain, 167, 170

    Cock-fighting, 112

    Colonies, 147

    Commerce, 156 _et seq._

    Concas Palan, 190

    Confessional, 218, 222, 223

    Conscription, 188

    Constitution, 154

    Consumption, 67, 68

    Costume, national, 78, 79

    Courage, 42 _et seq._

    Court, 97 _et seq._

    Cristina, Queen, 9, 98

    Cuba, 147, 195


    Dance and song, 113 _et seq._

    Dances, modern, 58, 59

    Dances, national, 112 _et seq._

    Dances, religious, 208

    Daoiz y Valarde, 46

    Democratic feeling, 6, 39

    Dignity, 38

    Donkeys, 90, 92

    _Dos de Mayo_, 45

    Drama, modern, 209, 240 _et seq._

    Dramas, religious, 209-212

    Dress of Spanish women, 62


    Echegaray, 241

    Education, 159, 213

    Electra, 219, 242

    Electrical science, 214

    Elephant and bull, 126

    Emperors, Roman, 12

    _Empleomania_, 145, 146, 152

    Engineers, 214

    Espinosa, Monteros de, 102

    Estremadura, 32

    Etiquette of Spanish Court, 100 _et seq._

    Exports, 177


    Factories, 175, 176, 266

    Ferdinand and Isabella, 5, 13, 15

    Ferdinand VII., 8, 22

    _Feria_ of Seville, 34

    Fertility of soil, 73

    _Fiestas_, 116, 206

    Flowers, 73

    Folklore, 253 _et seq._

    Ford, 51

    French influence, 173

    Fuente Castellana, 78

    _Fueros_, 10, 28, 188

    _Fueros_ of Aragon, 29


    Gala procession, 108, 109

    Galdós, 219, 248

    Galicia, 25, 26

    Gallegos, 26, 87

    Games, national, 111

    Gayangos, 246

    Geographical features, 178

    Gloriosa, La, 10, 262

    Goths, 12, 24

    Government, 142 _et seq._

    Government, local, 153

    Grandes of Spain, 100

    Guitar, 113, 238


    Hippodrome, 62

    Horse-racing, 125

    Horses, 91 _et seq._


    Iberian rejon, 118

    Iberian unity, 251

    Incas, 18

    Independence, War of, 45

    Industries, 161, 263 _et seq._

    Infantas, 54, 103, 106

    Influence of the Press, 129

    Inquisition, 19, 199, 200, 271

    Irrigated land, 172

    Irrigation, 171 _et seq._

    Isabel II., 6, 53, 107, 207

    Isabel la Católica, 5, 8, 15, 29, 270


    Jaime, Don, 8

    _Jota Aragonesa_, 114

    Jesuits, 199, 213, 217, 218, 220 _et seq._, 272

    Journalists, 130


    King Alfonso XIII., 272, 273

    Kings, Austrian, 21, 22

    Kings, Bourbon, 8, 22, 118


    Labour, 174

    Lace, 165

    Lagartijo, 122 _et seq._

    Land and people, 1

    Land laws, 173

    Landscape round Madrid, 71, 72

    Land value, 172

    Language, 266 _et seq._

    Literature, modern, 246 _et seq._


    Madrazo, 239, 244

    Madrid, modern, 77

    Madrid, old, 77

    _Mañana_, 52, 74, 195, 197

    Manners, 40

    Mantilla, 79

    Manufactures, 164, 165, 175 _et seq._

    Manzanares, 83

    Marriage customs, 229 _et seq._

    Medical science, 215

    Meetings, political, 138

    Mendizábal, 9, 23

    Metal work, 176

    Military system, 183 _et seq._

    Mineral wealth, 160 _et seq._

    Montpensier, Duke of, 104 _et seq._

    Moors, 17 _et seq._

    Mules, 90, 188, 255

    Music, 81, 236


    Narvaez, 249

    National feeling, 184, 185, 193

    National games, 31

    Navy, 47, 189 _et seq._

    Newspapers, 132 _et seq._

    Nicknames, 106

    _Noche Buena_, 108


    Orders, religious, 203, 213, 219, 221, 272

    Ostriches, 85

    Outlook, 260 _et seq._

    Oxen, draught, 94


    Pacing horses, 90

    Painters, 239 _et seq._

    Palace Royal, 61

    _Palaciö_, 23

    Pardo Bazan, 251

    Pardo, el, 85

    Parque de Madrid, 71

    _Pasos_, 210

    Passion plays, 209, 212

    Pavía, 140

    _Pavo, pelando el_, 230

    Peasants, 24 _et seq._

    Pelayo, 61

    _Pelota_, 31, 111

    People, 38 _et seq._

    Philip II., 16, 202, 271

    Pigs, 166, 167

    Poetry, 114, 268

    Politeness, national, 39, 40, 51, 52

    Political parties, 7, 134 _et seq._

    Politicians, 50, 135

    _Pollos_ and _pollas_, 88, 89

    Ports and harbours, 178

    Pottery, 175, 176

    Poverty, 226

    Press, 129 _et seq._

    Priesthood, 199, 218

    Prim, 142-144

    Procrastination, 52

    Productive land, 172

    _Pronunciamientos_, 144, 145, 147, 186

    Protestants, 216

    Pyrenees, 25, 30


    Queen Cristina, 97, 98, 103

    Queen Mercédes, 97, 106

    _Quemadero_, 20, 201

    Quijote, Don, 48

    Quixotic characteristics, 48


    Race, 24

    Railways, 157 _et seq._

    Regent, 9, 98, 145

    Religion, 37, 109, 198 _et seq._

    Republic, 139, 141

    Restoration, 144

    Revolution, 10, 262

    Rice, 161

    Riding, 89

    Roads, 180

    Roman Spain, 11, 12

    Romero Robledo, 136, 137


    Sagasta, 151

    _Sala_, 33

    Salic Law, 8, 9

    Schools, 159, 160

    _Seises, los_, 208, 209

    Sericulture, 164

    Serrano, 105

    Sheep, merino, 32, 166

    Shipping, 178

    Silk manufactures, 16, 164

    Silvela, 151

    Smoking, 36, 60

    Society, 55 _et seq._

    Songs, 33, 81, 82, 114, 238

    Songs and dancing, 114

    Spanish-American War, I, 192 _et seq._

    Sugar industry, 168

    Superstitions popular, 102, 205, 233


    Teatro Real, 62

    Telegraphic system, 181

    Terror of 1824, 22

    _Tertulia_, 56 _et seq._

    Theatres, 62, 116

    Tobacco, 177

    Toledo, 15

    Toothpicks, 63

    _Toreros_, 121

    _Tribunal de las Aguas_, 34


    Universities, 159

    _Usted, de_, 98


    Valencia, 34

    Valera, Juan, 61

    _Velo_, 79

    Verse-making, 257

    Virgin, 37, 203


    War of Independence, 45 _et seq._

    War, Spanish-American, 1, 192 _et seq._

    Wars, Carlist, 9

    Water, want of, 169

    Wellington, Duke of, 26

    Weyler, General, 186

    Wines, 162 _et seq._

    Women, 53, 62, 229 _et seq._, 249

    Wood-carving, 176

    Woollen manufactures, 164

    Working men, 21, 83, 241, 261


    _Zarzuela_, 116

    Zorilla, 122, 252

    _Zortico zorisco_, 115


PORTUGUESE LIFE

    Agriculture, 301, 302

    Aloes, 301

    _Amanhã_, 280

    Amusements, 296, 302

    Army, 298

    Artisan class, 292


    _Bacalhao_, 294

    Bargaining, love of, 287

    Brazilian elements, 287-291

    Bull-fighting, 307 _et seq._


    Camoens, 281

    Characteristics, 278 _et seq._, 284, 285

    Charities, 296

    _Chula_, 296

    Cleanliness, 289

    Coimbra, 283

    Costumes, 285, 300

    Customs, 285


    Dances, 296

    Decorations and forms of address, 289


    Fish, 294

    Fish-girls, 293

    Funerals, 306


    Gallegos, 292

    Gallenga, 293

    Government, local, 310


    Insects, 290

    Institutions, 298

    Intellectual life, 281


    Land and people, 277

    Language, 283

    Laws, 312

    Lisbon, 281

    Londonderry, Lord, 277


    Manners and morality, 289

    Medical training, 288

    Military system, 298

    Mineral wealth, 281

    _Moustachios_, ladies', 286


    National fare, 294

    Navy, 299

    Newspapers, 284


    _Octroi_ duties, 295

    Oporto, 293

    Oxen, 300


    Peninsular War, 277

    Police, 311

    Postal service, 284

    Prisons, 313


    Religion, 304, 305 _et seq._


    Scenery, 285

    Servants, 290

    Society, 286


    University, 283


    Wages, 292

    Wealth, 292

    Wealth, mineral, 281

    Women, 285, 287, 307

THE END



Our European Neighbours

Edited by WILLIAM HARBUTT DAWSON


    12º. Illustrated. Each, net $1.20
    By Mail.                     1.30


=I.--FRENCH LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By HANNAH LYNCH.

"Miss Lynch's pages are thoroughly interesting and suggestive. Her
style, too, is not common. It is marked by vivacity without any drawback
of looseness, and resembles a stream that runs strongly and evenly
between walls. It is at once distinguished and useful.... Her five-page
description (not dramatization) of the grasping Paris landlady is a
capital piece of work.... Such well finished portraits are frequent in
Miss Lynch's book, which is small, inexpensive, and of a real
excellence."--_The London Academy._

"Miss Lynch's book is particularly notable. It is the first of a series
describing the home and social life of various European peoples--a
series long needed and sure to receive a warm welcome. Her style is
frank, vivacious, entertaining, captivating, just the kind for a book
which is not at all statistical, political, or controversial. A special
excellence of her book, reminding one of Mr. Whiteing's, lies in her
continual contrast of the English and the French, and she thus sums up
her praises: 'The English are admirable: the French are lovable.'
"--_The Outlook_.


=II.--GERMAN LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By W. H. DAWSON, author of "Germany and the Germans," etc.

"The book is as full of correct, impartial, well-digested, and
well-presented information as an egg is of meat. One can only recommend
it heartily and without reserve to all who wish to gain an insight into
German life. It worthily presents a great nation, now the greatest and
strongest in Europe."--_Commercial Advertiser_.


=III.--RUSSIAN LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By FRANCIS H. E. PALMER, sometime Secretary to H. H. Prince
Droutskop-Loubetsky (Equerry to H. M. the Emperor of Russia).

"We would recommend this above all other works of its character to those
seeking a clear general understanding of Russian life, character, and
conditions, but who have not the leisure or inclination to read more
voluminous tomes.... It cannot be too highly recommended, for it conveys
practically all that well-informed people should know of 'Our European
Neighbours.'"--_Mail and Express._


=IV.--DUTCH LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By P. M. HOUGH, B.A.

"There is no other book which gives one so clear a picture of actual
life in the Netherlands at the present date. For its accurate
presentation of the Dutch situation in art, letters, learning, and
politics as well as in the round of common life in town and city, this
book deserves the heartiest praise."--_Evening Post._

"Holland is always interesting, in any line of study. In this work
its charm is carefully preserved. The sturdy toil of the people,
their quaint characteristics, their conservative retention of old
dress and customs, their quiet abstention from taking part in the
great affairs of the world are clearly reflected in this faithful
mirror. The illustrations are of a high grade of photographic
reproductions."--_Washington Post._


=V.--SWISS LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By ALFRED T. STORY, author of the "Building of the British Empire," etc.

"We do not know a single compact book on the same subject in which Swiss
character in all its variety finds so sympathetic and yet thorough
treatment; the reason of this being that the author has enjoyed
privileges of unusual intimacy with all classes, which prevented his
lumping the people as a whole without distinction of racial and cantonal
feeling."--_Nation._

"There is no phase of the lives of these sturdy republicans, whether
social or political, which Mr. Story does not touch upon; and an
abundance of illustrations drawn from unhackneyed subjects adds to the
value of the book."--_Chicago Dial._


=VI.-SPANISH LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By L. HIGGIN.

"Illuminating in all of its chapters. She writes in thorough sympathy,
born of long and intimate acquaintance with Spanish people of
to-day."--_St. Paul Press._

"The author knows her subject thoroughly and has written a most
admirable volume. She writes with genuine love for the Spaniards, and
with a sympathetic knowledge of their character and their method of
life."--_Canada Methodist Review._


=VII.--ITALIAN LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By LUIGI VILLARI.

"A most interesting and instructive volume, which presents an intimate
view of the social habits and manner of thought of the people of which
it treats."--_Buffalo Express._

"A book full of information, comprehensive and accurate. Its numerous
attractive illustrations add to its interest and value. We are glad to
welcome such an addition to an excellent series."--_Syracuse Herald._


=VIII.--DANISH LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By JESSIE H. BROCHNER.

"Miss Brochner has written an interesting book on a fascinating subject,
a book which should arouse an interest in Denmark in those who have not
been there, and which can make those who know and are attracted by the
country very homesick to return."--_Commercial Advertiser._

"She has sketched with loving art the simple, yet pure and elevated
lives of her countrymen, and given the reader an excellent idea of the
Danes from every point of view."--_Chicago Tribune._


=IX.--AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By FRANCIS H. E. PALMER, author of "Russian Life in Town and Country,"
etc.

"No volume in this interesting series seems to us so notable or valuable
as this on Austro-Hungarian life. Mr. Palmer's long residence in Europe
and his intimate association with men of mark, especially in their home
life, has given to him a richness of experience evident on every page of
the book."--_The Outlook._

"This book cannot be too warmly recommended to those who have not the
leisure or the spirit to read voluminous tomes of this subject, yet we
wish a clear general understanding of Austro-Hungarian life."--_Hartford
Times._


=X.--TURKISH LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By L. M. J. GARNETT.

Miss Garnett, while not altogether ignoring the dark side of life in the
Empire, portrays more particularly the peaceable life of the people--the
domestic, industrial, social, and religious life and customs, the
occupations and recreations, of the numerous and various races within
the Empire presided over by the Sultan.

"The general tone of the book is that of a careful study, the style is
flowing, and the matter is presented in a bright, taking way."--_St.
Paul Press._

"To the average mind the Turk is a little better than a blood-thirsty
individual with a plurality of wives and a paucity of virtues. To read
this book is to be pleasantly disillusioned."--_Public Opinion._


=XI.--BELGIAN LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By DEMETRIUS C. BOULGER.

"Mr. Boulger has given a plain, straight-forward account of the several
phases of Belgian Life, the government, the court, the manufacturing
centers and enterprises, the literature and science, the army, education
and religion, set forth informingly."--_The Detroit Free Press._

"The book is one of real value conscientiously written, and well
illustrated by good photographs."--_The Outlook._


=XII.--SWEDISH LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY=

By G. VON HEIDENSTAM.





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