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Title: Romantic Spain - A Record of Personal Experiences (Vol. I)
Author: O'Shea, John Augustus, 1839-1905
Language: English
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A Record of Personal Experiences.




"Oh, lovely Spain! renowned, romantic land!"



[_All Rights Reserved._]


This Book is Enscribed



This simple recital of personal haps and mishaps in perturbed Spain from
the abdication of Amadeus to the entry of Don Carlos, puts forward no
claim to the didactic or dogmatic. Its chief aim is to amuse. Of course,
if I succeed in conveying knowledge and dispelling illusions--in Tasso's
words, if I administer a pill under a coating of jam--I shall be
cock-a-hoop with delight. But I warn the reader I am not an unprejudiced
witness. I am passionately fond of Spain and her people. Although years
have elapsed since the events dealt with occurred, I fancy the narrative
will not be hackneyed, for in Spain public life repeats itself with a
fidelity which is never monotonous. I do not pretend to cast the
horoscope of the poor little monarch who is in the nurse's arms, but
Heaven guard him! 'Twere better for him that he had been born in a
Highland shieling.

Should there be much individualism in these pages, it is intentional,
and to be ascribed to the instance of friends. They said, "Bother
history; give us plenty of your own experiences." It is to be hoped they
have not led me astray by their well-meant advice.




Which, being non-essential, treats partly of Spain,
but principally of the Writer                               1-23


The Old-Fashioned Invocation--"Them 'ere Spanish
Kings!"--Candidates for a Throne--_En Voyage_--Bordeaux
and the Back-ache--An Unmannerly
Alsatian--The Patriot gets a Roland for his Oliver--Small
Change for a Hot Bath--Plan for Universal
Coinage--Daughters of Israel--The Jews Diagnosed--Across
the Border--The Writer is Saluted "Caballero"--Bugaboo
Santa Cruz--Over a Brasero                                 24-42


A Make-Believe Spain--The Mountain Convoy--A
Tough Road to Travel--Spanish Superiority in
Blasphemy--Short Essay on Oaths--The Basque
Peasants--Carlism under a Cloak--How Guerilla-Fighting
is Conducted--A Hyperborean Landscape--A
Mysterious Grandee--An Adventurous Frenchman--The
Shebeen on the Summit--Armed Alsasua--Base
Coin                                                       43-60


Madrid--The Fonda and its Porter--The Puerta del
Sol--Postal Irregularities--Tribute to the Madrileños--The
Barber's Pronunciamiento--Anecdotes of King
Amadeus--Checkmating the Grand Dames--Queen
Isabella--The Embarrassed Mr. Layard of Nineveh--The
Great Powers Hesitate--America Goes Ahead--General
Sickles--Mahomet and the Mountain--Republicanism
among the Troops--A Peculiar Pennsylvanian
Dentist--Castelar under Torture--The
Writer meets one of his Sept--Politicians by Trade--Honour
among Insurgents--Alonso the Reckless                      61-91


A Late Capital--The Gambling Mania--A French
Rendezvous--The Duke de Fitzpepper--The Morality
of Passing Bad Money--Spanish Compliments--Men
in Pickle--A Licentious Ballet--Federal Manners--Prim's
Artifice--Nouvilas Goes North--A Carlist
Proclamation--Don Alfonso--Midnight Oil--Castelar's
Circular                                                  92-112


Warning to Ladies--The Hotel Parliament--An Anglo-Spanish
Mentor--The Evil Genii of the Monarchy--The
Curses of Spain--Government and Religion
Affairs of Climate--The Carlists, Norwegians, and
English, all Republicans!--Notions on Heredity--The
Five Spanish Parties--The Army the Lever of
Power--The Student-Cæsar--Order _versus_ Republic--The
Chained Colours--Dorregaray's Appeal to the
Soldiers--Influence of the Church--Wanted: a
Benevolent Despot                                        113-131


The Carnival--About Kissing Feet--Mummers and
Masquers--The Paseo de Recoletos--The Writer is
taken for Cluseret--Incongruity in Costume--Shrove
Tuesday--Panic on the Prado--A Fancy Ball--The
"Entierro de la Sardina"--Lenten Amusements--A
Spanish Mystery--"Pasion y Muerte de Jesus"--Of
the Stage Stagey--Critical Remarks                       132-160


Another Chat with Mentor--A Startling Solution of
the Spanish Question--The Penalties of Popularity--The
Republic another Saturn--The New Civil
Governor--The Government Bill--Outside the Palace
of the Congress--Providential Rain--Wild Rumours--Federal
Threats--The Five Civil Guards--Inside
the Chamber--The Great Debate--The Two Reports--Compromise--Minor
Speechmakers--A Pickwickian
Contention--The Division--Victory for the
Ministry--The Five Civil Guards Trot to Stables          161-182


The Inventions of Don Fulano de Tal--Stopping a
Train--"A Ver Fine Blaggar"--The Legend of Santa
Cruz--Dodging a Warrant--Outlawed--Chased by
Gendarmes--A Jack Sheppard Escape--The Cura
becomes Cabecilla--Sleeping with an Eye Open--Exploits
and Atrocities--Dilettante Carlists in
London--The Combat of Monreal--Ibarreta's Relics--A
Tale for the Marines--The Carlists Looking-up            183-200


Barbarism of Tauromachy--A Surreptitious Ticket--The
Novillos--Islington _not_ Madrid--Apology for
Cock-Fighting--Maudlin Humanity--The Espada a
Popular Idol--In the Bull-Ring--A Precious "Ster-oh"--The
Trumpets Speak--The Procession--Play of
the Quadrille--The Defiance--"Bravo, Cucharra!"--"Bravo,
Toro!"--The Blemish of the Sport--An
Indignant English Lassie                                 201-224


The Shamrock of Erin and Olive of Spain--Hispano-Hibernian
Regiments--The Spanish Soldier--An
Unpopular Hidalgo--Flaw in the Harness--The
Organization of the Army--The Guardia Civil--The
Cavalry, Engineers, and Infantry--General Cordova--The
Disorganization of the Army--Mutiny in
Pampeluna--Officers Out of Work--Turbulent Barcelona--Irresolute
Contreras--Pistolet Discharges
Himself--The Madrid Garrison                             225-248


Luring the Reader into a Stony Desert--A Duel on the
Carpet--Disappointment of the Special Correspondents--The
People Amuses Itself--How the Ballot
Works--A Historic Sitting of the Congress--Castelar's
Great Oration--The Glory of Spain--About
Negro Manumission--Distrust of "Uncle Sam"--Return
of Figueras--The Permanent Committee--A
Love-Feast of Politicians--The Writer Orders
Wings                                                    249-265


The Writer Turns Churlish and Quits Madrid--Sleep
under Difficulties--A Bad Dream--Santa Cruz again--Off
St. Helena!--Dissertation on Stomach Matters--A
Hint to British Railway Directors--"Odds, Hilts
and Blades"--A Delicate Little Gentleman is Curious--The
"Tierra Deleitosa"--That Butcher again                   266-281


Delectable Seville--Don Juan Scapegrace--The Women
in Black--In the Triana Suburb--The City of the
Seven Sleepers--Guide-Book Boredom--Romance
and Reality--The Prosaic Manchester Man--King
Ferdinand Puzzling the Judges--Mortification by
Proxy--Some Notable Treasures--Papers and Politics--The
Porcelain Factory--"The Lazy Andalusiennes"--About
Cigars--The Gipsy Dance                                  282-311



     Which, being non-essential, treats partly of Spain, but principally
     of the Writer.

The sun was shining with a Spanish lustre--a lustre as of glowing
sarcasm--seeing that on that very day a Fire-Worshipper, Dadabhai
Naoroji, was over-shadowed in his attempt to become a Member of
Parliament for Holborn. The sun, I repeat, was shining with a Spanish
lustre while the inquisition was being held. The tribunal was in the
open air, under the mid plane-tree in Camberwell Green, the trimmest
public garden in London. Conscience was the inquisitor, and the charge I
had brought against myself was that of harbouring a vagrom spirit. I
should have been born in a gipsy caravan or under a Bedaween's tent.
Nature intended me to have become a traveller, a showman, or a
knight-errant; and had Nature been properly seconded, I should have been
doing something Burnabyish, Barnumesque, or Quixotic this afternoon,
instead of sitting down on a bench between a tremulous old man in
almshouse livery and a small boy fanning himself with a cap. Yes; I fear
I must plead guilty. I am possessed by a demon of unrest; my soul chafes
at inaction, calls aloud for excitement. Had I the ordering of my own
fortune I should spread the white wings of a yacht to woo the faint wind
(but it may be blowing freshly off the Foreland), or should vault on the
back of a neighing barb with bushy mane and tail. But I am Ixion-lashed
to the wheel of duty, leg-hampered by the log of necessity.

What is a gentle-born vagabond to do?

The law will not permit him to pink with his sword-stick the first smug
fellow he meets on the side-path, self-respect debars him from
highway-robbery which can be perpetrated without fear of the law, and it
is idle to expect a revolution in this humdrum country within any
reasonable period. A General Election which is going on, with its paltry
show of coloured strips of calico, its printed appeals to the gullible,
its occasional bits of ribbon and bursts of cheering, its egotisms, its
stupidities, its self-seekings, its shabby intrigues and simulated fire,
its dull, dreary, drivelling floods of witless substance in
ungrammatical form--that, surely, is no satisfying substitute for the
tumult of real political strife.

Motion is the sovereign remedy for the vagabond's disease, and lo!
through the leafy barrier of the pollarded limes bordering the Green,
jingle the bells of the tram-car with its trotting team of three
abreast. Three mules, which bring my thoughts to Spain, and to a letter
I have had from my publishers, satirically asking how soon they might
expect the last pages of a promised book on the land of the Dons, the
first line of which is not yet committed to paper. I must think over
that book as I jog along the grooves of the street rails, and survey the
prospect from the roof. How do those mules on the flanks manage to avoid
knocking their hoofs against the metal-ruts, and tripping themselves
up? What a stand-and-deliver air the conductor has as he presents his
snip-snap apparatus, like the brutal key of the primitive dentist, and
viciously punches an orifice in your ticket! For these conductors, as
for letter-carriers, I have a profound sympathy; they are over-worked
and under-paid; and yet they enjoy motion in abundance. But there is a
poetry of motion, as when charging squadrons skim the plain, or a
graceful girl with dainty ankles trips across the beeswaxed floor; and
there is a prose of motion, as of a policeman plodding over his beat, or
the Sisyphus-toil of the treadmill. I ask myself, Will a tram-conductor
ever write a poem? Hardly, I think; and yet, why not? Was not Edward
Capern, who achieved some smooth verses, a letter-carrier?

New Cross, our terminus so far. Over the way is another tram, which will
take us to Greenwich for the outlay of another twopence. Shortly it will
be one continuous avenue of pretentious masonry, from the Thames at
Blackfriars to the Thames by the naval palace, instead of the former
pleasant drive through Surrey fields. With what a fever they are
building, terrace upon terrace, street upon street, interminable rows of
villas in line or semi-detached! The patches of verdure, so refreshing
to the jaded city eye, are diminishing in size and lessening in number.
I like Greenwich; but they should never have removed the veterans of the
ocean from it. Dear to the soul of youth, hankering for the strange and
the stirring, were their three-cornered hats, their wooden stumps, their
withered monkey-jaws puffed with quids, and their hoarse, squall-tearing
voices. What a consuming thirst they had, and with what heroic industry
they did tell lies! Peter of Russia was right: the sovereigns of
England, the sea-rulers, should hold court in Greenwich. The Park with
its fallow-deer is regal; the Painted Hall is eloquent with historic
memories; the initial meridian is an imposing address; and then the
Thames--but here, we are at it. A steamer awaits, and will carry us to
the heart of London for a groat.

How dingy, dirty, despicable most of those steamers are! with their
low-roofed, grimy cabins; their irritating hawkers of hat-strings and
small beer; their stale stock of mawkish refections; their job-lot
orchestras of wheeze and pipe and scrape and tootle; their smell of
bilge and oil, sweat and cheap cigars, overtopped at holiday-times by
the sulphurous oath or the rank obscenity of some reeling passenger. And
yet how skilfully they thread their way through the crowded Pool; how
readily they answer the wheel; with what ease they slow or quicken their
run, and dart hither and thither; and with what nicety they are brought
alongside the floating wharf! I wonder do the skippers of these boats
move their hands in their dreams. Is the finger-sign for "Back her,"
that they use at home when they wish to replenish their pipes?
Collisions there may be, explosions there have been; but the career of
the mariner who plies between Chelsea Pier and the port of Woolwich must
be singularly free from such vicissitudes as shipwreck or failure of
provisions; he is seldom caught in a tornado, or banged into by a
privateer; he rarely knocks up against an iceberg, or gets a glimpse of
the Flying Dutchman; sharks he may not study, except, perhaps, in the
Westminster Aquarium, and when he dies he is trenched in commonplace
clay. I cannot picture such a mariner to myself as having the spirit to
ejaculate, "Shiver my timbers!"

The sight of a vessel from Seville laden with fruit and wine recalls me
to that letter from the publishers and the book anent Spain. Not a word
of it written yet. _They_ will be shivering _my_ timbers if I have it
not ready in season. But I am not of those, like Anthony Trollope, who
can sit down to their desks and turn out so many pages of copy at a
stretch mechanically, much as a tinglary with its rotating handle grinds
out a series of tunes. I cannot write unless I am in the mood, and that,
I find, depends on the state of health and the absence of mental worry.
The brain with some people refuses to become a piece of machinery. Of
motion is often born inspiration--Hermes, god of oratory, is represented
with _petasus_ and _talaria_--and I am enjoying motion.

"Ease her--stop her!" Blackfriars Bridge, and here I quit the steamer's
deck for the tram that will take me back to the place whence I came,
and so enable me to have made a diversified circular tour by land and
water for the expenditure of tenpence. Who would waste his substance on
coach-men and high-steppers; who would envy Sir Thomas Brassey his
lordly pleasure-craft, when this round of travel, with its buoyant sense
of independence at the end, can be accomplished for tenpence? And now I
shall hie me to a bar I wot of, and with the two pence that remain of my
splendid shilling, I shall cheer the inner man with a clear, cool,
mantling glass of foam-crowned bitter beer.

The beer ought to be good in Camberwell, for here Mrs. Thrale lived of
yore, and the ponderous lexicographer took his walks, and mused on the
vanity of human wishes. We have breweries still, and we have groves,
even groves of Academus, where one may laugh; for are they not sacred to
the shades of the two Hoods and Jeff Prowse, the "Nicholas" of _Fun_, as
to Nick Woods, the Napier-recorder of Inkermann, and to associations
with William Black, Henry Bessemer, and John Ruskin, master of art,
which is something more, and more significant, than that _Magister
Artium_ which persons doubtful of their gifts or station ostentatiously
affix to their names? And in our groves we have such variety of
arborescent prizes as no other district of London can boast, extending
to the arbutus or strawberry-tree, and the liriodendron or tulip-tree.
The liriodendron has been planted in Palace Yard, in the hope that the
breath of wholesomeness, genial to its native America, shall permeate
the badly-ventilated atmosphere of the adjacent House of Commons. I love
trees as if I were suckled by a hamadryad. May he who cuts them down to
build whereon they stood taste the bitterness of Acheron!

And Camberwell Green, which I dearly affect, is it not replete with
every modern convenience, as those ambitious amateurs who write the
auction-bills are wont to phrase it? There is a bank where you may cash
a cheque; two public-houses where you may spend great part of it
fuddling yourself; a police-station where you may sleep the fuddle off;
a pillar-box where a letter may be posted summoning a bail to your aid;
a drinking-fountain where you may slake your thirst when you come out
penitent from the police-office; a Turkish-bath, with a
crescent-and-star daubed piece of bunting over it, where you may knead
your frame into sobriety; a hairdresser's where you may make yourself
presentable; a stationer's where my friend Morris will lavishly dose you
with the tonic of moral apothegm; and, right opposite, a horse-trough
where you may give yourself the ducking you deserve.

Inside the tavern, where I sought the beer, I met a financier, a shrewd
fellow of a gross habit of body and a dry wit. He is accountant to a
firm of book-makers, and can hold his own with the tongue; he married
into the family of a late eminent prizefighter, and, with the
connection, seems to have acquired the talent of holding his own with
the fist. I like Wat much, and have obtained various scraps of desultory
information from him which are useful.

Imprimis, that a penny ticket on a river-steamer on a Sunday constitutes
a man as _bonâ fide_ a traveller as Henry M. Stanley, and endows him
with the privilege of getting liquid comfort within prohibited hours.

Item, that the cigars on the outside of a bundle, and therefore indented
with the tape, are generally the best.

Item, that if there is hide or pelt on a carcase before a butcher's
stall, you may take for granted it is a British carcase. Foreign meat
has to be skinned to avoid the risk of importation of cattle-disease.

And, ultimately, that if you are about to drown yourself in the Thames,
and are anxious to avert identification, the best spot to throw yourself
off is in the neighbourhood of a ship at moorings, as then you are
likely to be drawn under her and kept in the chains for months.

Some readers who are unaware that there were no gentlemen with
coat-armour in the College of Apostles, may object that in presenting
them to Wat I am introducing them to low society; but I can assure them
that I have seen a very respectable Duke hail-fellow-well-met with a
jockey, and my friend Wat has a far fuller education than the primest
of jockeys. He is apt and accurate in quotations from English
literature; and if you venture to make Greeks "meet" Greeks in his
presence, or talk of fresh "fields" and pastures new, or attribute the
tempering of the wind to the shorn lamb to Holy Writ, he will lay you
ten to one in sovereigns you are wrong, and win your money. He is also a
champion orthographist, and will back himself to spell English words
against any man in the British Empire for £500, bar words technical.

"Ah," he said, "my noble! is it true you are going on a lecturing-tour
next winter?"

"If God but spare me health and lung-power I am," was my reply.

"And wherefore, may I ask? Can you not do better at the desk?"

"The desk is monotonous; besides, I yearn for change, and I may be able
to freshen up my ideas, and set down some notes in my tables. 'Twill
improve intellectual and physical health."

"It will, of course," agreed Wat. "For instance, it will be perfectly
delightful journeying to Inverness, say, in the depth of December."

"As it so happens, I am booked for Inverness on a date in that month."

Wat stared at me. "Do you know," he said, "'tis a far cry to Loch Awe,
and Inverness is at the other side of Loch Awe? Thither and back from
where we stand is eleven hundred and ninety miles."

I was surprised; I had not entered into these details; but I held my

"Have you got many engagements?"

"Yes; the first was from Dollar, which I accept as a good omen; and,
curiously enough, 'tis not in the United States."

"No," said Wat; "'tis between Edinburgh and Stirling. What fee do they
tender you there?"

I told him.

"Ahem!" he continued, fondling his chin as he spoke. "If you don't
cumber yourself with luggage--a courier-bag will do--and if you bus it
to King's Cross, and stop at a temperance hotel in 'Auld Reekie,' and
give servants no tips, and condescend to all invitations, with a wise
economy, I take it, you won't drop more than five-and-twenty shillings
on that transaction."

"How! What do you mean? You surely are not serious?"

"Why, the railway return fare to Edinburgh alone is
five-pun-nine-and-six; and that will burn a hole in your fee."

"Perhaps," I ventured, not to look foolish, "I may have means of getting
to Edinburgh for nothing."

"Ah!" said Wat, with a sigh and a sorrowful sententiousness, "if you
think you can try on that, well and good; but I'm getting so precious
fat that I can no longer hide myself under a seat!"

The barman, who had overheard the dialogue, here burst into an ill-bred
fit of laughter. That attendant had some appreciation of humour; but Wat
did the correct thing, nevertheless, in rebuking him for his untimely
hilarity. The barman should have waited until he had retired to his own

This lecturing, as I explained to the financier, is rather a hazardous
experiment after a man has passed his fortieth year. It is like learning
to act--even more arduous than that, for you have no prompter, and must
be qualified to think upon your legs. Interruptions must not check the
flow of your eloquence; indifference must not chill your enthusiasm. You
must be suave, alert, sonorous, and roll forth a discourse got off by
rote as if it were the offspring of the moment's inspiration. The
combustion of thought must appear to be a spontaneous combustion. Once
your tale is set a-going, there must be no pause, no hesitancy; the
electric current must be maintained to strong and constant power, or
your audience sinks into a freezing dulness of courteous attention,
which wishes, but fears, to yawn.

"Yes," said Wat, "the steam must be kept up. But if a Derby dog strays
on the course--I mean if a bullock blunders on the track, what then?"

"That is the difficulty. It is vexatious if a man dozes off and
endeavours to balance himself on the tip of his nose on the floor, when
you are in the high ecstasy of a rhetorical period."

"I know," said Wat. "When you are what you call piling up the agony."

"Or when a deaf dowager is seized with a fancy to sternutate as you are
waxing pathetic."

"Sternutate. That's a good word," remarked Wat admiringly. "I swear I
could spell that. By-the-bye, how are you getting on with that book on

_Ecce iterum Crispinus._

"Good-afternoon I am just on my way home to write it."

       *       *       *       *       *

The title I shall leave to the finish. Something catching is sure to
suggest itself. The dedication I pencilled off months ago. Let that

The subject, I think, is good. Spain is comparatively unknown. John Bull
on his travels will not open to it. The British tourist in the Peninsula
too often carries with him his native sense of superiority and his
constitutional tendency to spleen. He turns up his nose at what he
cannot, or will not, understand. If the beef is tough, he does not
consider that it ought to be, most of the animals from whose ribs it
came having done honest work as beasts of burden before they were
driven to the slaughter-house. If the Val de Peñas is rasping to his
palate, he ignores that the taste for wine, as for olives and Dublin
stout and Glenlivat, is acquired. If the tobacco is coarse and weedy, he
forgets that it is cheap, and that he can roll his cigarette and smoke
it between the courses. But why does he not console himself for the
absent by what is present--the ripe golden sun, the luscious fruits, the
picturesque costumes, the high-bred dignity of the humblest beggar, the
weird Æolian melody of sudden trills of song, the flashing eyes,
mantilla-shaded, which speak romances in three volumes in every glance?
The truth is, your Briton abroad, I mean the average one--not men like
Mr. Gladstone in Sicily, or Captain Burton everywhere, Queen's
Messengers and Special Correspondents, travelling Fellows of Oxford and
pilgrims of art--your Briton of the tourist type is less inclined to
adapt himself to another sphere than to try and assimilate that other to
his own.

This tourist goes to Spain; he hurries from end to end of the Peninsula,
his guide-book in his hand and his opera-glass across his shoulder; he
pays a flying visit to the Escurial, and pronounces it a gloomy crib;
drops in on Seville, sees it, and does not marvel; mayhap he wanders as
far as Granada, and finds it a dreary "sell;" and then he returns
homeward, hot and tired and disappointed, and is eloquent on the
rapacity of innkeepers, the profusion of counterfeit coin, the
discomforts and unpunctuality of locomotion, the shocking
uncleanliness--but, however, "you know, we got on better than the
Joneses; we saw more sights and covered more country in fewer days." And
this peripatetic postures for the rest of his life as an authority on
Spain! The only point, perhaps, on which his judgment is to be accepted
is one which he might have learned in London, namely, that Price's
circus is not quite so good as Sanger's in Westminster or Hengler's off
Oxford Street. Out upon the poor fool! _He_ know Spain! Why, that is
more than I could dare to say, and I have had experience of it under
Monarchy and Republic, in peace and in war; have mixed with Carlists in
the field, and Intransigentes in the fortress; have traversed it from
Irun to Gibraltar, from Santander to Malaga. He who has not been
admitted into the intimacy of domestic life in Spain, who has not
listened to habaneras by the camp-fire, joined in the jota on the
village sward, shared in thorough sympathy in the sports of the arena
and in the rites of religion, dipped into the peasant's olla podrida,
nay, even watched the flushed gamblers over their cards, with the
eager-eyed baratero standing by--he does not know Spain. All this have I
done, and more; and yet I am but on the threshold of acquaintance with
that great and beautiful home of paradox, that land of valour and
courtesy, of fidelity and magnanimity, of piety and patriotism; and, in
a lesser degree, of the vices which are opposed to these good qualities.
No country of Europe so near to us is so little known. Yet in none is
the soil fertilized by so much British blood. But this was in the
bygone; and the yearly increasing swell of journeying-against-time
tourists has not swept in tidal wave over the Peninsula. Even Spanish
plays--and Spain can boast of one of the richest springs of dramatic
literature in Europe--are comparatively sacred from the desecrating
touch of the ruck of contemporary English stage adulterators.

Spain is not known; and yet it is not for the lack of word-painters to
make it familiar in pen-and-ink pictures. There is Ford, most learned
and graphic of guides, as full of irresistible prejudice as he is of
impulsive affection. There is Borrow, that robust, quaint, and
captivating, if sometimes over-fanciful, cicerone, albeit his errand to
Spain was as indiscreet in purpose as it was bootless in result. There
is Sala, of memory richly stored--whom I freely salute as past-master in
his craft--most charming, observant, and illustrative of roving
journalists. Ford, Borrow, Sala, all know Spain and "things Spanish" by
personal experience; but it is plain that too many of the latter-day
critics of Spain and the Spaniards are of the class who are ready to
write social novels on Chinese life with no more knowledge of the
Flowery Land than is to be obtained under the dome of the Reading-room
of the British Museum. The pity of it is that this second-hand evidence
is too often taken on trust, while the truthful records of eye-witnesses
are shoved into a dusty corner of the cupboard. It is so nice to be
patted on the head and rubbed down with the grain, to be reminded that
we are what we always thought ourselves to be--the perfect, the
registered A 1 people of the universe, the people who set the pattern,
the people who are righteous, moral, honest, tolerant, charitable, and
modest; who wage no unjust wars; who have no Divorce Court scandals; who
know not bank frauds; who never persecuted Highlanders, or Jews, or
Irishmen; who permit no misappropriations of money left to the poor; who
make no brag over small victories against badly-armed savages. But stay,
this is taking me to Africa, not Spain; and Africa does not begin at the
other side of the Pyrenees, the epigram of Dumas to the contrary
notwithstanding. My great object is to coax the English reader to be
reasonable, and not to take the dimensions of the round world by the
parochial yard-measure, nor to gauge the Coliseum by the standard of

However, I shall not complete this work unless I make a start. _Dimidium
facti_--but these odds and ends of Latin, which give to style an
eighteen-penny polish of erudition and prove nothing, you can pick at
will from "Swain's Collection of Easy Sentences." If I wait till I am in
the mood, my suspense may be as long as that of the rustic on the bank
of the stream. Perhaps Samuel Johnson, LL.D., was near the mark when he
said that the author that thinks himself weather-bound will find, with a
little help from hellebore, that he is only idle or exhausted.

And now a paragraph to elucidate why I have dedicated this book to a
gentleman with whom I never exchanged a word. Apart from the bright and
solid facts that he wards the weak, and has the pluck to change his
opinions when he feels himself in the wrong, there are in his case two
reasons all-sufficient to secure his counterfeit presentment a niche in
my album, and himself a nook in my heart--he hath killed a bull in the
arena, and he is husband of Byron's grand-daughter; and Byron was a
poet--yea, a poet, I re-affirm, the hysterics to the contrary of sixteen
screaming _laudatores Veneris_ in non-lucid intervals counting for

       *       *       *       *       *

I have lost faith in Wat. In a moment of misplaced confidence I laid a
wager on him at a spelling competition. He put one _n_ in innuendo, and
the _i_ after the _ll_s in paillasse. If he had only gone to the root of
the matter! I offered such long odds, too--a frayed copy of the "Iliad"
to a gilt and morocco-bound set of the "Newgate Calendar."


     The Old-Fashioned Invocation--"Them 'ere Spanish
     Kings!"--Candidates for a Throne--_En Voyage_--Bordeaux and the
     Back-ache--An Unmannerly Alsatian--The Patriot gets a Roland for
     his Oliver--Small Change for a Hot Bath--Plan for Universal
     Coinage--Daughters of Israel--The Jews Diagnosed--Across the
     Border--The Writer is Saluted "Caballero"--Bugaboo Santa Cruz--Over
     a Brasero.

O mules, liquorice, onions, oranges, garlic, and eke figs, cork and
olives, and all you other products of Spain, come to my aid now that I
enter upon my theme! Why should not a prose-chronicler of this era
proffer his appeal as did the poets of era undetermined, of the eras of
Augustus or the Second Charles? Perchance the _Θεα_, _Musa_, or
Muse, to whom he makes his plea, may prove less kind than those to whom
Homer, Virgil, or Milton prayed; but he has his remedy. In most
instances, he can eat them.

Having complied with what used to be a hallowed custom, I shall now,
following the example of that shrewd man, the late Abraham Lincoln,
proceed to tell a story. The deadly sin in any book is dulness, and an
occasional anecdote--if it point a moral so much the better--is sovran
balsam for spleen.

I had a literary friend in London, and as he once returned to his
residence by Regent's Park after a long walk, and asked had anyone
called during his absence, the housekeeper replied "No;" but, correcting
herself, added, "leastways, nobody, sir, except one of them 'ere Spanish

The Spanish king who was of no consequence was one of the race of
Pretenders, and had the proud blood of countless generations of
thick-lipped Bourbons meandering through his veins.

In the February of 1873, from which my personal knowledge of Spain
dates, there were quite a number of these Spanish kings on the carpet.
Amadeus, the Italian, had vacated the throne on the 11th, in a message
which substantially affirmed that the peaceful government of Spain was
hopeless--his Majesty gave it up as a bad job--and the two Chambers,
combining as the sovereign Cortes, proclaimed the Republic by a majority
of four to one. Of the aspirants to the crown there were notably Don
Carlos Maria de los Dolores, the legitimate heir--if there be any virtue
in legitimacy--and Don Alfonso, only son of the deposed Isabella, a boy
of fifteen, at school at Vienna, a legitimate claimant if the abolition
of the Salic law in 1830 be acknowledged. There was one who might have
been a king, but sensibly declined the proffered honour, in the person
of the ancient Espartero, Duke of Victory, Prince of Vergara; and there
was a Prussian princeling, a Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who had been
nominated king in the midsummer of 1870, and whose nomination afforded
the coveted pretext for the war between France and Germany. Besides,
every Captain-General in the country--and the allowance is five--was a
king _in prospectu_, not to mention the multifarious leaders of the many
parties in the Congress, all of whom were qualified to be kings in their
own conceit. Spain being thus suffering from a plethora of kings--as one
result of which the Republic existed--it struck those who had
commissioned me to chronicle the humours of besieged Paris that I might
find some material for instructive and entertaining writing at the other
side of the Pyrenees.

There are several ways of getting to Madrid. I had no difficulty in
selecting mine--in fact, I had no choice. It was my duty to go there by
the quickest route, no matter what the expense, the danger, or the
inconvenience. These were the terms implied in my bond. The first stage
was to Bordeaux. Over that I shall not dwell beyond a passing note on
the excitement of the mad drive from terminus to terminus through Paris
streets, in the early morn, at the rate of four statute miles an hour,
in order, as Brother Jonathan has it, to "establish connection," and the
misery of the long railway pilgrimage south. The scenery, I believe, was
lovely; but fatigue, and the worry of a constrained position, and the
frequent jerky stops as one was dozing to sleep, and the impatient
summons "_en voiture_" as the hungry man was settling to a square meal,
indisposed one for the proper appreciation of the picturesque. I got so
eye-dazed from the whirl and dust and flitting sentinels of
telegraph-posts on the long music-lines of telegraph-wires, that I could
not distinguish a life-buoy from a funeral wreath. There were no
sleeping-cars between Paris and Bordeaux then; back-ache, with an
occasional variety in the shape of migraine, is my principal memory of
that journey. Back-ache, the reader will allow, would take the poetry
out of a honeymoon trip. And here I interpose a short parenthesis to
register my acknowledgment to the philanthropist who invented
sleeping-cars with their complementary accommodations. He is a
benefactor to travelling humanity. Statues have been erected to dozens
who have done less good to their kind--soldiers, lawyers, politicians,
and patent pill-makers. Sleeping-cars avert exhaustion, ill-humour, bad
dreams, and kidney-disease, not to exclude the back-ache and migraine
afore-mentioned. Whenever a bronze memorial is to be raised on the
Thames Embankment to their inventor, I am ready with my contribution.

At Bordeaux, where I shuffled into the nearest hotel, I uncoiled myself,
and took the kinks out of my bones; but of the wine capital I shall say
no more than that "I came, I slept, I left." At leaving, a little
adventure variegated the itinerary. As I entered the railway-carriage, a
gentleman on the opposite seat, its only occupant, was sucking an
orange. I pulled out my cigar-case, and politely asked him if he had any
objection to my smoking.

"Are you a German?" he demanded stiffly.

"Pardon me," I said, "I inquired if you had any objection to my

"Are you a German?" he repeated almost fiercely, his eyes flashing.

"I fail to see what business it is of yours what my nationality may be."

"It is my business, and I insist on your answering my question," he
shouted, dropping the orange in his anger.

"And I decline to answer it," I said quietly.

Now he fairly raged. There is nothing which so provokes a man of hasty
temper, with whom you may be in a controversy, as to preserve a
tranquil, self-possessed demeanour. Ladies who nag their husbands are
aware of this interesting feature in household ethics.

"Ah, you _are_ a German!" he yelled. "You are a Prussian. I will not sit
in the same compartment with you'!" and he stood up, and danced, and
went through a round of epileptic gesticulation.

"Your absence will not leave me inconsolable," said I, in soft, sweet
accents, ceremoniously lifting my hat.

He bounced out of the carriage like a maniac, stamped along the
platform, muttering with incoherent vehemence as he went, and presently
reappeared with a gendarme, whom he informed that he suspected I was a
Prussian spy. Interrogated, he could advance no proof beyond his own
suspicions, my arrogant coolness of manner, and my hesitation in
returning a straightforward reply.

"I am sure he is," he concluded, "for he all but admitted it."

The gendarme was perplexed, and asked me very civilly, was I a German?

"Distinctly not," I answered.

Had Monsieur any papers? I produced my British passport, which he
looked at, pretended to understand, folded up, returned to me with
excuses for having given me so much trouble, and fixed a look of grave
reproach on his countryman. The latter was embarrassed, and had not the
grace to make a frank apology, but mumbled something to the effect that
I might have saved all this annoyance if I had stated what countryman I
was at first.

"If you had put your question in the French fashion, that is to say
courteously, I might have done so," I said.

He blushed, and stammered forth the apology at last; he hoped I would
forgive his quickness, but he could not control himself when he met a
German; he hated the race--the Germans were a pack of cold-blooded
robbers, who had brought ruin on his country. He had vowed vengeance
against them, and he had reason for it, for he was an Alsatian.

I saw my chance.

"_Mon Dieu!_" I exclaimed, throwing up my hands in affected horror. "It
is you who are the German, then, and not I. Do you not know, sir, that
Alsace has been a province of Germany for the past two years?"

If the face be an index to the mind, that Alsatian must have passed
through a mental cyclone. Luckily for the angel who records bad
language, his rage was so terrible that he lost the power of speech, the
while I gently moved my head to and fro, and gazed at him with
compassionate remonstrance, as much as to say how could he, a
sausage-eating creature, have had the heart to pass himself off on me as
a Frenchman? It was cruel, but it was merited. That Alsatian I despised
as the meanest thing in patriotism I had ever met--and my experience of
the article is not limited--for even were I a German, so long as I
behaved myself with propriety he had no right to insult me by his surly
cross-examination. But I suppose the poor devil thought he was playing
the rôle of redresser of the wrongs of his country, and exacting an
instalment of that _revanche_ of which we hear occasional frothing
babble. If I were a German I should be proud of it, and I hope I should
have had the firmness to tell my Alsatian interlocutor so to his teeth.

From Bordeaux to Bayonne, down through the Landes, is a most interesting
ride, as I dimly recollect; but I have no notes of it, and I infer that
nothing particular occurred as I sped through the fat, nice, pleasant
country. I had a short stay at Bayonne--long enough, however, to enable
me to mark by ethnological signs and tinge of complexion that Spain was
near. There were architectural signs, too, for there were colonnades in
some of the streets to shelter promenaders from the powerful sun. Plenty
of soldiers in Bayonne, and plenty of Hebrews. All of the latter seem to
be engaged in the money-changing business. The whole art of
money-changing consists in undervaluing the coin you are buying, and
setting an exaggerated value on that you are giving for it. I must have
lost a small fortune in the course of my money-changing transactions,
therefore am I a most determined adherent of a uniform system of coinage
for all civilized nations; and that coinage, I maintain, should be
decimal. Fancy a foreigner getting small money for a sovereign after he
has incurred a debt of one and sixpence for a hot salt-water bath on the
South Coast! The fair attendant offers him a crown-piece, two
half-crowns, two florins, two shillings, two six-pences, two groats, two
threepenny bits, a postage stamp, a wheedling simper and a charity-bob.
He is puzzled, and to my thinking he is justified in being puzzled; and
if the attendant be not exceedingly attractive he is cheated. Coinage
should be simple--should be so plain in identity that a child could
distinguish it in the dark, and its worth should descend in regulated
gradation. This reform will come eventually. One of the objections to a
universal mintage may be that there would be a struggle as to whose
profile should be sunk into the stamps--a point on which many rulers are
solicitous, for they foresee that it is the only species of immortality
they will ever attain. His Majesty of Araucania might legitimately
protest against having his individuality merged in the lineaments of the
artistic concretion of the Republic of San Marino, and the Queen of
Madagascar (what is her name, by-the-bye?) might not easily be weaned
from a natural longing for the luxury of having her own face in the
perpetual youthfulness of Hebe imprinted on the discs which circulate
at Tananarivo. That objection might be met in two ways; one side of the
coin might be common to all the world, and the other reserved for the
vanities, or the vanities might toss up, and acquire the renown of the
numismatist's glass-case in turn.

That the reform will come I am convinced, but not while the Hebrews can
hinder it. It is their interest to have this diversity of coinage; and
they are very conservative of what is their interest. I have for a long
time been trying to make up my mind about the Hebrews. My sympathies fly
out to them because they have been persecuted, foully persecuted, on
account of their religious belief, while, on the other hand, my
antipathies are stirred because they make to themselves an idol of gold.
Beautiful are the daughters of Israel with a striking Old Testament
beauty, marvellously imperious considering the lengthened apprenticeship
of helotry through which they have served; but _naïveté_ is not the
quality one would look for in their countenances. As well seek a dimple,
or a blush, or a coy reserve. Oh! beautiful indeed, and to an imposing
degree, with long straight nose, full orbs, pursing lips,
clean-chiselled regular contour; but the earliest lesson they learn is
how many grains Troy go to a silver shekel. They may have in them still
the fire of Jael, who drove the tent-peg into the skull of the tyrant,
or the fierce genius of the poetic Deborah, who was one of the first to
strike the lyre of triumph; but, alas! that it must be said, the gentle
Ruth, gleaning in the fields of barley, is a lost tradition of the race.
I can almost imagine the tender-eyed Leah and the well-favoured Rachel
figuring in an idyl of another Wakefield family; but, then, where are we
to seek for them? Not in Bayonne. There are no artless Jewesses there;
the pupils under their black lashes glitter with the glow of cupidity,
and I prefer the light of love. There is something in it more womanly
and mellow. I have seen the eyes of a Jewess almost bulge out of their
sockets like those of the telescope fish, as she gazed on the treasures
of Notre Dame at Paris--to me a degrading dilatation--and I set it down
to the instincts engendered by centuries of servitude, when the Jews
discovered that the surest mode of checkmating their masters was by
amassing money, and lending it out to them at usurious rates. Certes,
they are a pushing and clannish tribe, and skilled in the mimetic arts;
but they are not so high-souled and all-influential as their friend
Disraeli would fain make them in a chapter of elaborate gush in that
fine novel, "Coningsby." In the main I admire them; but I could wish
that they stripped to manual toil oftener; that they were less
obsequious in indigence, and less despotic and dictatorial when they are
in authority--niggers and Hindoos can be that; that they were less prone
to exhibit their entire stock-in-trade in the shop-window; that they
were less ostentatious in their hospitality, when they are hospitable,
and that they had a quieter taste in raiment. Now, I think I have had
ample retribution out of that greasy matron at Bayonne, who exploited me
when converting my honest notes of the Bank of England into Spanish

From Bayonne the train rattled along not far from the fringe of the Bay
of Biscay, by Biarritz and St. Jean de Luz, and across the bridge
spanning the Bidassoa to Irun, the border town of Spain, close by
Fontarabia's wooded height. Here we had a pause for customs and passport
examination and change of carriages. No railway official could give me
any information as to how far the line went; it might go to Madrid, it
might not go more than a few miles; the country was unsettled. These
officials impressed me as sulky or stupid or timorous, or all three
combined, and made glaring contrast with the smart servants on the
London, Chatham and Dover line, who know everything that regards their
calling, and are always quick and decisive in answer without taint of
rudeness. But I was recalled from my comparisons by one word, which
wrought a magic effect upon me.

That word was "_caballero_!"

How elated I felt! I realized that I was in Spain, and seemed to grow in
inches and self-esteem. I lent myself to an unconscious swagger, tipped
my hat jauntily on one side of my head, and was swayed by an almost
irresistible inclination to retire to some unobserved corner and wax the
ends of my moustache.

The speaker was a Guardia Civil, the Spanish equivalent for a French
gendarme. A solemn man in a cocked-hat, protected by a glazed cover, his
complexion was of sickly walnut-juice sallow, like the flesh-tint on a
portrait in oils by an old master. The complexion was characteristically
Spanish. He was the State personified, and had much dignity. He told me
I might count upon getting to Beasain, a village in a valley at this
side of one of the mountains of the Pyrenean range, but that progress
beyond that by rail was problematical, as the Cura Santa Cruz had torn
up the track.

This was the first I had heard of the Cura Santa Cruz, one of the most
ferocious and redoubtable of the partisans of Don Carlos. Truculent were
the stories which were told of him. He was Raw-head-and-bloody-bones in
cassock; priest and picaroon, with a well-developed tendency towards
wholesale murder; Bogie with a breviary--that is, according to some.
According to others, he was a brave, disinterested and reverend patriot;
a sort of Hofer-cum-Tell individual, etherealized by the sanctity of his
vocation. Anyhow, be he maleficent or benign, it was clear that he was
Somebody, and had filled the whole country-side with awe. He led a corps
of guerrilleros, who rejoiced in the nickname of the Black Band; and
such was the terror inspired by their exploits, that the whisper that
Santa Cruz was hovering near stunned opposition, and brought in any
ransom demanded. He must have been in one of his benign moods on this
occasion, for he permitted our train free passage through his territory;
and in the evening we drew up in a snow-bound basin, where shuddered the
straggling hamlet of Beasain. I took up my lodging for the night in a
two-storied cabin, and sent a news-letter to London, recounting what I
had seen and heard so far. I was urged to this by an intimation which
had reached me, that a rival had preceded me on the road to Madrid by
twenty-four hours. The first blow is half the battle, and I calculated
that if I could get the ear of the public in advance of him, there would
be a point gained. Communication with England was open from Beasain.
Heaven knows how it would be to-morrow or next day.

There was fearful tangible evidence of the presence of Santa Cruz in
this remote valley. At one extremity where the cavernous opening of the
railway tunnel made a dark gap in the hillside, the track had been
wrenched from its fastenings, and the sleepers smeared with oil and set
on fire. Heaps of charred timber marked the spot, and alongside, down in
a ravine, lay the wreck of shattered carriages and locomotive, just as
they had been tumbled in a topsy-turvy blending of complete collapse. It
made me tremble to reflect what this meant, and I came to the conclusion
that Santa Cruz was thoroughgoing in his warfare and restrained by few
scruples of compassion.

Over the fumes of the brasero, the brass-pan with its stifling embers of
charcoal, placed on a stand in the middle of my room, my landlord and I
with outstretched palms held long confab before I turned into bed. His
mother had been French, and we gossiped in that tongue. His views were
tolerably impartial, but it was plain that the Carlists had his good
wishes. The factions were partially dispersed, but were not defeated, he
said; they would give more trouble; and then he horrified me with a
well-authenticated tale of a recent fight at Aspeitia, where an old
villager had taken refuge in a house which was subsequently occupied by
the troops. He fell dead after a volley fired by the Carlists. His son
was one of those who had joined in the volley, and the awful muffled
rumour was spreading among the peasantry that it was by the son's bullet
the father had been slain.


     A Make-Believe Spain--The Mountain Convoy--A Tough Road to
     Travel--Spanish Superiority in Blasphemy--Short Essay on Oaths--The
     Basque Peasants--Carlism under a Cloak--How Guerilla-Fighting is
     Conducted--A Hyperborean Landscape--A Mysterious Grandee--An
     Adventurous Frenchman--The Shebeen on the Summit--Armed
     Alsasua--Base Coin.

And this is sunny Spain, the land of the olive and the vine. Spain it
certainly is in the absolute sense of the word in political geography,
but in no other. It is no more Spain than the Highlands are England. The
language, the race, the habits, the growths, are different. The
language, the Euscara, is known to only one man not born within the
borders, the polyglot Prince Lucien Buonaparte. A hackneyed legend runs
that the devil tried to learn it, and dislocated his jaw. The race is
the aboriginal Iberian, and has none of the languor of the south in
it--a stubborn, not a supple race. The habits of the people are
industrious. The growths are rather of the apple and the pine than the
olive and the vine.

There before us rises the wall of Nature's handiwork which shuts us out
from the true Spain.

In my boyhood I often gazed with admiration on a print of Napoleon
crossing the Alps. He was astride of a prancing white charger. I have
since learned to detest Napoleon, and to know more of mountain travel.
That masterful general, but cruel, dishonourable, bad man--demon-man
with genius undoubted and will unbendable, but with the most
unscrupulous of insatiate and insensate ambitions, and a leaven of
littleness--did not face the heights of St. Bernard on a mettlesome
steed, but on a patient mule, and the luxury of his apparel was
restricted to furs. Wrapped up in the thickest clothing I could find, I
watched the convoy forming outside the station at Beasain in the sunlit

The train from San Sebastian got in at nine in the morning, and before
ten a procession of six waggons, built after the massive, clumsy fashion
of the French diligence, was drawn up in line. Horses and mules,
generally in teams of five--three leaders and two wheelers--were yoked
to the ramshackle vehicles. The passengers, muffled in cloaks, rugs,
scarfs, shawls and comforters--for there was ice in the breath of the
keen air of the mountain--literally packed themselves in the narrow
"insides" of the old-fashioned coaches. There were five in the low,
narrow hutch upon wheels with myself, all males; we were as close as
sardines in a box. There were some ladies of the party. I trust they had
more space at their disposal. The luggage was piled on the roofs and
covered with tarpaulins, the drivers mounted the seats in front, whips
were cracked, and off we bounded at a pace that would rouse the
applause, or peradventure the envy, of the gentlemen who tool the
Brighton coach. Gaily our skinny steeds breasted the rise, sending a
curl of mist from their hides, and shaking merry music out of the
collars of bells round their necks as they clattered over the hard road.
For three miles we dashed along at express speed. How spirit-stirring is
rapid motion! I actually was warming into a wild joy, and praying that
we might encounter the Carlists, under the influence of this gallop in
the bracing morning atmosphere.

Suddenly there is a stop. The Carlists? No. But here the ascent begins,
and a body of mountaineers await us with a string of bullocks. The three
leaders are unharnessed and attached behind; and eight bullocks, two by
two, are yoked in front of the pair of mules who act as wheelers. The
same is done with the other waggons. I watch this process of yoking the
bullocks with much curiosity. A strong piece of board is run across the
heads of the pair who are coupled, and firmly tied in front of the
horns; a sheepskin is thrown over that, for what purpose I cannot tell;
and the ropes by which the bullocks drag us are fastened to the piece of
board afore-mentioned. They pull, not against the shoulder, but against
the horn. Their owners, muscular peasants, lightly clad, though it is
cold, walk beside them with long pointed sticks, and occasionally goad
them in the flanks. When that does not suffice, they push them, or rain
blows on their hides, or twist their tails, and when all other means
fail they swear at them. But the grave oxen move no quicker; they cling
to their own gait as if deeply convinced of the truth of the adage,
"Fair and easy goes far in the day." The peasants call one "demonio" and
another a cow; but the sleepy pair keep never minding, as they waddle
along with drooping heads, held closely together as if whispering

At this early point in my experiences, the painful knowledge is forced
upon me that the Spaniards are highly accomplished in the art of
imprecation. If our army swore terribly in Flanders, I have my theory to
account for it. They must have picked up the habit there, and the
Spaniards under Alva had left their traces behind them in the speech of
the region they had occupied. As a rule, swearing betrays a poverty of
invention; it is the resource of the vulgar and ignorant to emphasize
their assertions; but in Spain the swearing developed an originality
that almost reconciled one to it. There was an awful insolence, a ribald
riotousness in some of the oaths which redeemed them from the scorn
which every well-balanced mind should feel for displays of petulance. I
respect a good round oath--an oath that blanches my cheeks and makes me
imagine that it would not be extraordinary if the ground were to open
and swallow the varlet who uttered it. That sort of oath is to be
tolerated for its audacity. The malediction is a higher form of oath,
and some maledictions are magnificent. To the amateur I can recommend
King Lear's upon Cordelia, Francesco Cenci's upon Beatrice--which is
more Shakspearian than Shakspeare--and even puny Moore's upon the
traitorous Gheber. The joint-stock oath which Sterne puts into the
mouths of the Abbess of Andoüillets and the novice, Margarita, who had
the whitlow on her middle finger, is passable for its fantastic
ingenuity; and the strong locutions pat in the lips of a certain
Duke--unless notoriety belies him--are to be licensed because of his
rank, and because he is a soldier. But he should have the courage to
blurt them out on all occasions. He who dares to outrage society should
not shrink from offending an individual.

"You---- naughty boy, why did you sound the wrong call?" said H.R.H. to
a bugler, but as soon as he got out of earshot of a certain Personage,
he muttered in an angry undertone, "You canonized little beggar, you
know what I meant."

The Spaniards are liberal and earnest and dogged in their railings,
anathemas, and execrations, but still the sleepy oxen do not hurry
themselves. They care no more for a volley of select comminations than
the jackdaw of Rheims did for the archbishop's curse. Of a verity this
bullock's pace is a snail's pace, and we have ample leisure to inspect
the peasants as we crawl along. Brawny, hardy, and firmly-knit as
Highlandmen, their faces are weather-beaten and frank; their manner,
when one speaks to them, independent but polite; in dress like unto
their Celtic kinsmen of Brittany, short-jacketed, loose, and slovenly,
but in stature more like to the tall mountaineers of Tipperary. They
must be poor, very poor; but they have the appearance of content, and
with it of honesty, sobriety, and civility.

And now a little secret must be imparted. Every man-jack of these
ox-drivers is a Carlist, and that is the reason we are not attacked
to-day! In a week those innocent clowns may be blazing away at the
regular army of Spain from the brushwood on a hillside, for after such
fashion are Carlist wars conducted. A band assembles at the call of some
chief--that is to say, the peasants leave their cabins and meet at some
rock, some conspicuous tree, or some cross-roads. They have with them a
flag, perhaps; perhaps a priest or two; they are badly armed with such
arms as insurgents carry--blunderbusses, flint-muskets, fowling-pieces,
horse-pistols; they have no distinctive uniform, except a few of the
older bands--the permanent army of Carlism--which are clad in the seedy
clothes that the French Garde Mobile wore during the late war. The
campaign opens; a descent is made upon some village, the mayor is asked
to supply so many hundred rations, and the young men are summoned to
join the flag. Sometimes the mayor refuses, and there is a fight between
"the volunteers of liberty," that is to say, the local national guard,
and the Carlists. On the average, so the reports go, one man is killed
in each of these combats, and three wounded. That is a battle at this
stage of the Carlist war. With the regular troops sent against them the
Carlists act otherwise. They take up ground in some inaccessible eyrie,
pop at the passing detachments from their ambuscade, draw them on in the
hope of catching them in a trap; but the troops are cautious, they
pepper away at the Carlists from a distance until the Carlists run, and
the affair ends, as usual, with the loss of one man killed and three
wounded. The peasants return to their cabins to tell the tale of their
gallantry, and if the troops perchance should come their way, why they
are but inoffensive, ingenuous tillers of the soil, the most peaceful
beings on the face of nature. The firearm is hid in the thatch or in the
neighbouring hedge. But the officers who lead the troops do not allow
their enemies the monopoly of gasconade. In the _Gaceta de Madrid_ the
bulletin of the engagement duly appears, and the names of the doughty
warriors are chronicled for the admiration of the señoritas. One Carlist
chief--at least, so pretend the wags--had been killed outright thrice,
wounded mortally five times, and has had his band completely dispersed
and broken up seven times in the _Gaceta_, and yet he is still alive
and troublesome. A most outlandish war, but how disastrous in its
effects on the trade and prosperity of the country! It could not be
carried on if the soil were not rich to plenteousness. There is an
adventurous vigour in the breed, too, and the terrain lends itself to
guerilla fighting. So far, I know nothing of the merits of Carlism; but
this I can divine, that it is the old rivalry betwixt town and country,
and the "pagans" or villagers are all Carlists--question of transmitted
feud or local traditions, or both. The rustics have the advantage over
the town-bred men; they are familiar with the by-paths; every sheiling
is a refuge for them, every dweller therein a self-constituted scout.
When they choose to seek them, they must have secure hiding-places.
Artillery is an arm of derision in the hills; cavalry can rarely act
effectually, and in the way of reconnoitring is next to useless, as its
movements can be espied from rock-cover on every eminence; but in the
open these insurgents can do nothing against disciplined troops. Pity
that they should be such fools as to abandon their pleasant and
comfortable, if humble, homesteads, to help on the aspirations of any
right-divine make-believe claimant to the heaven-sent mission--by
accident of birth--of impressing other human beings that he is wiser
than they, and should have revenues and reverence for condescending to
govern them.

What would our ox-drivers do, I wonder, if they could overhear and
understand the conversation in which thoughts like these are exchanged
in the lumbering Noah's ark they are helping through their domain? We
are getting nigh and nigher to the clouds, and the quilt of snow on the
mountain grows thicker. The pathway is traceable only by the marks of
the hoofs of beasts of burden and the ruts of wheels, and the fleecy
banks at each side rise gradually higher. It is palpably colder, and yet
we are far from the culminating point of the Pyrenean pass; straight
saplings are not infrequent around, and here and there a lowly hut in a
nook under some sheltering rock, both hut and rock hoary with snow,
startles us with the reminder that human beings actually live here. The
Basques, said Voltaire, are a people who sing and dance on the summit
of the Pyrenees. Our ox-drivers do not sing, neither do our muleteers.
This interminable glare is becoming very fatiguing to the eyes, and the
higher we ascend the rarer are the refreshing little streaks of darker
hue. Stumps of dwarf trees replace the straight saplings to be seen
lower down; and hardly are we on the crest of one snow-capped hill than
another, hidden under the same smooth sheet of everlasting lime-white,
mocks us. Slowly and painfully the oxen toil along, and the peasants by
their side sink knee-deep at every step. Will this ever end? It was
picturesque at first to watch the long caravan coiling over the spiral
track which turns right and left like a corkscrew. Now it is tedious,
for we are chilled and worn-out, hungry and cramped. The sublimity of
nature is grandiose, but there may be too much of it. One tires of
rolling perpetual cigarettes; one even tires of studying the forcible
Spanish adjurations that begin with the third letter of the alphabet. My
companions, four French commercial travellers, relapse into silence and
doze off into fitful starts of the sleepiness begot of extreme cold;
the fifth--a grandee of Castile I take him to be at the very least by
his appearance, broad swarthy countenance, shaven upper lip and chin,
and short spade whiskers of a night-black--the fifth, this Spaniard, did
not relapse into silence, for he had never uttered a word since we

What weariness to the flesh is this tedious climb to regions
hyperborean! I catch myself yawning. What if our waggon were to break
down! At last one of the Frenchmen bursts out, "_Dieu de Dieu, j'en ai
assez_." He would stand or rather sit it no longer, opened the door, and
alighted. We all followed his example, even to the taciturn Spaniard,
and took to the road. A walk in advance might send the blood
circulating, and on we plodded in the middle of the path, regardless of
the snow which soaked into our boots and saturated our trousers to the
knees. Not a living being was visible but two crows who bore us company,
and hopped on our flanks like a covering-party. The road was tantalizing
in its tortuousness; after walking a furlong we found ourselves a couple
of yards directly above the point we had quitted a quarter of an hour
before. One of the Frenchmen, seeing this, had an inspiration; he
determined to go up the mountain perpendicularly, and before we could
dissuade him he had sunk to his armpits in a treacherous crevasse. We
dragged him out by making a cable of our pocket-handkerchiefs and
throwing it to him. He took his wetting in good part.

"Ah!" he cried, "shan't I have something to tell them when I get back to
the Boulevard des Italiens." And then, as if reflecting, he added, "But
no, 'twill never do; they'd call me _farceur_."

A red-brick building with an arrangement of iron on the roof, as if it
had been employed as a signal-post, faced us--high up on the pinnacle of
a ridge at one moment; was at our side the next; behind us anon; and
directly before us now. By turns it was small and large. We were asking
ourselves (all except the Spaniard; he never spoke) was this a
phantasmagoria, when a jingle of bells was heard on the still air. Where
did it come from? We could see nothing. Suddenly, as a theatrical ghost
springs from a trap-door, at an abrupt turn a wild figure appears
bearing right down upon us. A Carlist chieftain? Not so fast. A muleteer
simply, sitting sideways on his prad, and leading a half-dozen mules
laden with panniers in Indian file behind him. He told us we had reached
the summit, and that there was a fonda a short distance off. Signs of
life multiplied; we met mountaineers, with oxen drawing small cars with
solid wheels similar to those of toy carriages--wheels that kept up
perpetual creak and croak--and finally we encountered the caravan from
Alsasua to Beasain. But we encountered no Carlists, that is, no armed
Carlists, for every man there is Carlist in soul. The smoky fonda was as
miserable as the most miserable of Irish shebeens; yet they gave us good
white bread and eggs to eat, and, with the aid of the sauce of hunger
and sundry glasses of acid Val de Peñas to wash it down, we made a
hearty meal. The caravan overtook us in half an hour; the rest of the
journey was downhill, the snow was deeper than on the other side, and
the jolting terrific, but we did not care. Our goal was near, and we
had eaten and drunk. We laughed at the dangers we had passed, and even
the Spaniard unbent and exhibited unexpected powers of conversation.
Alas! for my judgment; he was no grandee of Castile, but a butcher from
Saragossa, a mere _carnifex_ with blood of the common red tint.

At Alsasua we came upon a village bleaker than Beasain, with soldiers
billeted under every roof. They loitered in twos and threes about the
wide street, which was drab with patches of dirty snow. Here were placed
a few mountain guns under custody of a shivering sentry, there a bugler
in slovenly greatcoat blew some call with pinched lips on a battered
instrument. At the station--a rude shanty with wooden partitions and a
plank erection run up as refreshment-stall--some attempt had been made
at fortification. There were mud-works thrown up in its vicinity, and
the walls were roughly loop-holed. A party of Linesmen were in
possession. On a siding close by was the locomotive which had been
riddled with shot by the insurgents on the now disused line to
Pampeluna. Our own locomotive was awaiting us, with steam up, and I
hurried to procure my ticket. I pushed a piece of honest red gold
through the wicket, and an extremely nice, slim female clerk gave me the
pasteboard with my change and thanks. Something struck me in the silver
shoved towards me; the leaden hue of the pesetas was suspicious. I took
up one and rung it; the dull sound convinced me it was bad. I rung
another--same result. I was desolate; but I had to call the attention of
the extremely nice girl to the error she had fallen into; and she
coolly, without adumbration of a blush, or faintest pretence at apology,
took back the base coins, and gave me their equivalent in coins that
were sterling. And then, for the first time, it broke upon me, that it
was not considered a scoundrelly act to pass bad money upon an innocent
foreigner, or upon an innocent native, for the matter of that. I further
learned that if I had removed that bad money from the counter, I should
have had to bear with the loss. That extremely nice girl would have
assured me with all politeness that I must be labouring under an

The Spaniard has personal dignity to a prodigious degree. But his
personal dignity does not hinder the ordinary Spaniard from endeavouring
to foist counterfeit stamps upon his neighbour whenever he has the

The tarantara of a bugle stirred a company of soldiers to take their
places in the train. They were our escort to Miranda, on the borders of
Old Castile, where we might consider ourselves out of danger. It is my
opinion we were never in any danger.

We reached Miranda safely, and from that swept down in the darkness to
Madrid without molest, the most of us snoring as regularly as the funnel
of the engine snorted. I had a fearsome vision of a sweet Spanish maiden
who had knowingly placed a worthless peseta in the tirelire at Mass, and
had been sentenced by Santa Cruz to grill on the gridiron of hell for
the term of her natural life. A carpet-bag utilized as a pillow was the
origin of my vision. Had that carpet-bag been more carelessly packed,
the penalty on the poor girl might have been prolonged to eternity.


     Madrid--The Fonda and its Porter--The Puerta del Sol--Postal
     Irregularities--Tribute to the Madrileños--The Barber's
     Pronunciamiento--Anecdotes of King Amadeus--Checkmating the Grand
     Dames--Queen Isabella--The Embarrassed Mr. Layard of Nineveh--The
     Great Powers Hesitate--America Goes Ahead--General Sickles--Mahomet
     and the Mountain--Republicanism among the troops--A Peculiar
     Pennsylvanian Dentist--Castelar under Torture--The Writer meets one
     of his Sept--Politicians by Trade--Honour among Insurgents--Alonso
     the Reckless.

First impressions of Madrid, "the only court," do not fill the visitor
with awe. It is an aggregate of masonry, fragmentary on the edges,
compact in the middle, on a sandy plateau in a waste of arid landscape.
There is lack of natural shade and water, albeit there are tree-planted
walks and gardens, with cedars and Himalayan pines, and fountains with
fulness of clear flow are abundant. It wants a river; the Manzanares, I
am told, is but a ditch. I do not know if that is so; I never could see
the Manzanares. A rugged, sun-blistered city, Madrid struck me as no
more characteristically Spanish--or what I had taught myself to accept
as such--than Turin is Italian; both are half-Frenchified. In the
northern distance are the summits of the Guadarrama hills, and the
unseen breeze which sweeps down from its snowy eyries amongst them cuts
like an icicle. The Madrileño fears it, for it has a trick of permeating
the streets with a subtile, chilling, killing breath; and when the
Madrileño steps from the sunny to the shady side of the street he is
careful to lift a corner of his cloak as screen to his mouth.

The central point of Madrid is the Puerta del Sol--a bare, broad,
irregular area off which nine thoroughfares diverge. Round it the
day-god, greatest friend of Spain, pivots in glory. Now he floods one
side with radiance, now he drops his cloth of gold over another. The
Puerta del Sol is the focus of interest for the population. Thither the
gossips repair, and there the affairs of the nation are discussed very
often by those who have acted, act, or hope to act as leaders of the
nation. Naturally I made for the Puerta del Sol, for it was of vital
importance to me to be in the movement, in the very vortex of the pool.
I was fortunate. I got rooms in the Fonda de Paris, an hotel at the
corner of the Calle de Alcalá, the principal avenue leading from the
Plaza. As proof of the unsettled condition of affairs and its effect
upon trade, it need only be said that at the _table d'hôte_ of this, the
first hotel in the capital, where one hundred and thirty persons usually
sit down to dinner, there were sometimes not more than fifteen or
twenty, and a proportion of these were fly-about Special Correspondents.
Yet in this exiguous circle of prudent people who were detained in
Madrid, or foolhardy people who had travelled there, turned up the
irrepressible British tourist. Of the latter class we had charming
specimens at dinner one evening in two English girls, with fresh peachy
complexions, and hair like wavy masses of ripe maize. They had no guide
but their faithful "Murray." What became of them subsequently I never
ascertained; but it is to be trusted they were as lucky as the
enterprising young lady who relied on Erin's honour and Erin's pride in
the reign of King Brian, and made the tour of the Emerald Isle with a
gold ring on the tip of a wand. That would hardly pay the hotel-bills

A great feature in the fonda was Constantine, the hall-porter, a tall
swarthy man, who was as fluent a linguist as an Alexandria dragoman. He
was Greek by birth, but had a strain of English blood on the mother's
side. His sire may have been a South Sea cannibal or a South African
lion-slayer for aught I remember; but that there was something
phenomenally bold in him I am certain. Constantine's instincts were
predatory, and his manners morose. There was a tradition that he had
been a bandit in the neighbourhood of Smyrna, or an innkeeper by the
Marseilles docks--much about the same thing, and that he was prepared to
do little jobs of human carving for a consideration. However, these may
have been fables got up by travellers in search of excitement to invest
Constantine with an interesting air of romance. He was very civil to me
and did not cheat me more than I chose. I never had occasion to ask him
to kill anybody.

From my windows I could command the mid-basin in the Plaza, more for use
than ornament, and as great a rendezvous of the quidnuncs as a
village-pump. The panorama of life lounged or moved or bustled
beneath--shifting groups of cloaked disputants, veiled women tripping
gracefully along, stately Civil Guards in three-cornered hats, sombre
priests with Don Basilio head-gear, the various moulds of human nature
from the grandee to the mendicant, and above all that brood with which I
soon grew familiar, and for which I conceived an invincible disgust--the
sallow, peering, prating, importunate brood of hungry place-hunters,
impatient to dip their fingers into the Government pie. Cabriolets
passed to and fro, tram-cars with such sleek well-conditioned mule-teams
jolted on the rails; here a horse-soldier trotted by with clattering
accoutrements, there a water-carrier sturdily trudged; and in a
sheltered angle a long-locked vendor of a magic hair-restorer vaunted
his wondrous balm in sonorous patter, and occasionally curtained his
face with his thick mane brought over from his back as tangible
testimony to the fertilizing properties of the balm. In short, from
those windows I could take in the cardiac pulsing of Madrid. Below me,
as I sat and smoked my cigarette, the beginning of change or crux,
accident or riot, the initial whims or humours of the populace, the
formation of a procession or the overture of a pronunciamiento, were
within my ken. And at one corner of the Puerta were the General Post
Office and Telegraphic Bureau, a matter of great convenience to me, if
only they were properly managed. However, it was far easier to collect
news than to send it to the desired destination. The post was as unsafe
as in those days in another land when Mr. Richard Turpin, highwayman,
and his comrogues intercepted his Majesty's mails. As for messages by
wire, I was not long in learning that no important information was
allowed to be sent; true, the money for its transmission was taken,
but--delayed, or forwarded, or suppressed even--the strict rule in that
establishment was "no money returned." Vain were complaints. The Special
Correspondent had no resource but that of the negro suffering from
toothache; 'twas his to grin and bear it. The idea of ever again seeing
the colour of the coin which has passed into the palm of a Spanish
functionary is laughable in its pastoral innocence. As well expect to
handle last year's snow. The system of ignorant espionage still obtained
in the Peninsula, as I was forced reluctantly to observe: the word
"Cuba" or "Carlos" on the telegraphic form at once aroused the scruples
and suspicions of the official, and led to the confiscation of the
message. In the end, I discovered how to facilitate the despatch of
news; but as that is my secret I keep it to myself. Suffice it that in
my bill of expenses the item "sundries" was elastic.

There are some valuable guide-books to Spain, and to them I refer the
reader if he desire to be crammed with curious knowledge about churches
and picture-galleries, museums of arms, and the beautiful upholstery of
the Duke of Sixty-Blazons' palace. My behest was with living not dead
Spain, as investigated during the throes of a political convulsion. I
made my notes on the Madrileños without bias, and without bias I give
them. I spent five weeks in constant and free intercourse with all
classes of the inhabitants. During that time I did not detect one
Belleville face; I did not catch the glitter of a knife except at a
dinner-table, nor remark a single drunkard staggering along the streets.
Yet I was in every quarter of the town, to the lowest, at all hours.
There are parts of London where the foreign visitor could not penetrate
and come back with the same story. The Madrileños are indolent--granted;
but they are frugal, temperate, and well-conducted. Occasionally a
poniard is slipped into the ribs of an enemy, but mistakes will occur in
the best-regulated families. If this be a vindictive and blood-sucking
people, the vampirism is adroitly concealed; the dirty linen must be
washed in the dark corner where the charcoal is stored, so that Paul Pry
may not be gratified with the sight. There is no working population at
Madrid; there are no large manufactories, no thriving centres of
employment. That is one reason why Madrid is orderly compared to other
and livelier cities. Prosperous Barcelona swarms with mechanics and
artisans, and that is one reason why Barcelona is disorderly. The
rights-of-man agitators generally find favour there. The International
has its ramifications in the Catalonian capital. In Madrid, the
International is a pigmy failure. Its emissaries came once and laboured
zealously to stir up the son of toil to a proper consciousness of his
dignity. After months of propagandism they succeeded in persuading
Figaro to shake a rebellious pole and fiercely flourish his

"Know, ye smooth-lipped minions of the despot Capital," quoth the
barbers in an indignant round-robin, "we shall no longer submit to the
gross tyranny of shaving you before eight of the morning!"

But Figaro was defeated; Madrid let its beard grow.

The sudden departure of the Italian-bred monarch had apparently plunged
the politicians into a pit of bewilderment. They did not know how they
stood. Amadeus after his reign of five-and-twenty months had perchance
left few partisans behind him, but assuredly no enemies. His principal
fault, but that was fatal, consisted in his being a foreigner. It was
universally vouchsafed that he was very brave, a true hidalgo in that
respect, and if he had been removed in the orthodox method by revolution
or the assassin, his name would have been garlanded with rosemary for
remembrance. But Spanish pride was nettled to the quick at the cavalier
way he had tossed back, with a shrug of the shoulders, the gift of a
crown when he had tired of it. He had looked upon the throne of Castile
as a gewgaw to be surrendered with indifference, and steamed contentedly
to Italy to enjoy his comparatively obscure Dukedom and rank of General
in preference. He had chosen the wiser and happier part, but to those he
had abandoned it was mortifying in the extreme. Still, he was an
unquailing chevalier, almost fit to be a Spaniard, this son of Victor
Emmanuel. He had disarmed hostility, and compelled the praise of the
envious, the very day he entered Madrid, forty-eight hours after the
funeral of Prim, when he spurred ahead of his escort and offered his
breast undismayed to the aim of any or all assassins.

That entry of Amadeus could not have inspired him with much of the
buoyancy of a bright expectation. There was in it more of sanguinary
suggestiveness than sanguine hope. The ghostly presence at the King's
first dinner in the palace could not be denied--that of the slaughtered
"Paladino," no longer fiery and strenuous, but a figure, inert, waxen,
blood-bolstered, a bullet-riddled flesh-target It was most unpropitious
of entries. There was an odour of cerecloth in the tapestry, the yellow
hue of immortelles in the épergnes, a sediment of bitterness in the
wine-cup, a strain of melancholy in the music. And yet there was some
semblance of gaiety, for with all his austere stateliness your Spaniard
is very like unto the Irishman:

    "With one auspicious, and one dropping eye,
     With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
     In equal scale weighing delight and dole."

There were sundry plots to take the life of Amadeus, but Providence
protected him, and he made it a point, after each attempt or threat, to
show himself in public with the ostentation of a reckless courage. He
rode or walked about with a single aide-de-camp, which was a crime with
those monarchists who set store by the pageantry of state. On one
occasion, as he was returning to the palace, the horse in a
hackney-coach with a fat bourgeois inside took fright, and started off
at break-neck speed, overtaking the King's carriage. The King's coachman
whipped up his team, but the wheels of the two vehicles had locked in
each other, and the horses galloped frantically side by side. The
aide-de-camp, fearing a new and daring experiment in regicide, snatched
his rapier from the sheath and began furiously prodding through the
window of the hackney-coach. The fat bourgeois shrunk and flattened
himself into a corner, drew in his breath, and dodged the lunges of the
searching steel. When the palace-gates were reached, and the animals
were stopped, the unfortunate citizen was extricated from his hazardous
position more dead than alive. He was glistening with the wetness of
fright, trembled like an aspen, and blubbered as he begged for mercy.
The panelling was pierced, and the cushion ripped into rags; but by some
extraordinary luck the poor man, who was a harmless dealer in
provisions, had escaped without a scratch. But he owned that he never
before had five minutes of such violent exercise complicated with vile
terror. During the scene Amadeus kept his seat tranquilly, and relaxed
into a smile as he discovered the mistake of his too-zealous companion.

The conspiracies of the saloons were more successful, as efforts to
annoy without contravening law always are. They are not so readily met.
And the malicious ingenuity of woman, when she lays herself out to be
offensive, is remarkably inventive and diabolically persistent. Some of
the grand dames of Madrid had the impish inspiration to put the Royal
couple into Coventry. There is a fashionable carriage-drive in the
capital corresponding much to ours between Hyde Park Corner and Queen's
Gate. Whenever Amadeus and his spouse went there for an airing, the
blue-blooded of the opposition significantly trotted off. Once an
immense procession of the aristocratic families made its appearance, and
slowly and perseveringly "took the dust." Such a turn-out of gala
equipages had not been witnessed for years. All the ladies were arrayed
in the ancient Spanish costume; the fan and veil with high comb and
carnation in the hair in every case replaced the Parisian bonnet and
parasol. It was a protest against the foreign dynasty, and was clearly
meant as a demonstration of insult. One of the Royal household was equal
to the provocation; whether Spaniard or Italian I am not sure, but the
latter I think, so subtle was his revenge. He went round to all the
houses of ill-fame in the capital that night, and entered into
conversation, burnished with duros, with their female occupants. The
next evening Madrid was afforded the spectacle in its most fashionable
drive of a parade of courtesans, in ancient Spanish costumes, fanning
themselves, and smirking at their acquaintances from the vantage of
luxurious chariots. It was a scandal, but Madrid grinned, and the
patricians of the antediluvian stem confessed themselves beaten.

There was still a lingering fondness for the deposed Isabella among the
lower orders. They looked upon her as a good sort, one of the old stock,
prayerful, and affable. She was accustomed to enter wayside cabins, and
get into homely chat with the peasants. The Italian woman never did
that. Alphonse Daudet's description of Isabella as a stout queen, who by
her massive jaws and high complexion resembled a coarse-rinded
blood-orange, would not be endorsed by these humble yearners after the
bygone. Indeed, they regarded her as one who had been a type of beauty
in her time, and was still a type of good-nature, and were forgiving to
her peccadilloes, she was so devout. Of course I must not be understood
as speaking here of Spanish partisans of the Republican idea. They had
no more pity for the creatures tainted with Royalty than the Polynesian
for his leprous kinsman--but they were comparatively few.

Great Britain, at that period, was represented by Mr. Austin Layard, and
the United States by General Daniel Sickles. The British Envoy was in a
dilemma; he did not know how far he would be justified in recognising
the newly-proclaimed Republic; if he received visits of ceremonial it
would be an unpardonable breach of courtesy not to return them; in
short, to use a very graphic locution of the masses, he was waiting to
see how the cat jumped, and cheerfully submitted to a diplomatic
catarrh which confined him to his room. I went to visit him, when we had
an interesting dialogue on some recently exhumed relics of antiquity and
exquisite bits of crockery-ware. Mr. Layard impressed me as more taken
up with concerns of Nineveh and Wardour Street than of _la haute
politique_. But, as he frankly acknowledged, he was not free to act
until he had received his instructions from Downing Street. Though there
is no written pact to the effect, the rule is that Russia, Germany,
Austria--the Great Powers in short--shall only act in conjunction, and
after having exchanged confidential notes, when eventualities arise
affecting all their interests, such as this in Madrid; and--another
consideration besides--was there really any Government yet? It was only
provisional. It could hardly be supposed that any of the Great Powers
would refuse to bow to the will of the Spanish people; but what was its
will? That was a question that could not be admitted to be definitely

The United States had struck the key-note--had recognised the infant
Republic, while the Prime Minister, Señor Figueras, was waiting for the
chorus of acclamation from the "robust voices" of those Great Powers
which deliberate before they act. The United States are a fast-trotting
buggy; but these Great Powers in this miserable, played-out old
Continent are slow coaches. Not that there were not deliberations in the
White House before General Sickles was authorized to use his
discretionary power in signing the baptismal certificate of this
Republic of accident. General Sickles was undoubtedly clever; he had
experience in his time as a journalist, an advocate, and a soldier. It
was his opinion that Spain had found in the Republic the means of
establishing her power and prosperity on a solid basis. During the
crisis, he kept his Government informed of what was passing, and to his
demand transmitted by cable in the dawn of Wednesday, the 14th of
February, an answer was returned within twenty hours, permitting him to
exercise his judgment as he thought proper. He imagined that a Federal
Republic, on the pattern of that of the United States, with provincial
legislatures in Catalonia, Aragon, Andalusia, and so on, and a National
Congress in Madrid, was the panacea for the ills of Spain, and that that
would be sufficient to dissolve all antagonisms of race, custom, and
feeling, and amalgamate them into one accordant patriotic sentiment. The
General was over-hopeful in the estimation of others, who knew Spain as
well as he; but he acted rightly according to his views, and ably
according to his gifts--only it was to be hoped the General would use
his influence to dissuade his Government from offending its friends and
brothers of Spain by proposing anew a transaction that would lead to the
abandonment of Cuba--an awkward mission with which he was once charged.
Surely if a diplomatic representative could quietly talk the influential
personages of the nation to which he was accredited into a zeal for the
abolition of slavery in Porto Rico, he could quietly talk the
influential personages of his own nation into letting Spanish territory
alone. A pompous man this American Minister, active, talkative, and on
cordial terms with himself. He hobbled about on his cork leg, leaning on
the arm of his handsome Spanish wife, the second. There was a legend in
Madrid that the General had lost his limb in a duel about a lady; there
had been a question of petticoats in his career once, but it never
entered into the minds of those simple Madrileños that a soldier without
a breastful of decorations might have been wounded, as he had been, on
the battle-field.

The United States were friendly; but France, Republican France, what was
she doing? Why did she delay to move? She, at least, ought to have had
some fellow-feeling for another Republic without Republicans. The truth
was, M. Thiers could not come to any decision without consulting his
Council of Ministers. His action was not quite so unfettered as that of
President Grant. This was the more to be regretted that Señor Olózaga
recognised the Republic of mob acclamation--that of the 4th September,
1870, in Paris--without hesitation. The same compliment was felt by
Spaniards to be due to the Republic of accident.

On the 20th of February, Señor Castelar took a course that might give a
galvanic shock to the world of diplomats, but which was worthy of a
bold Republican prophet. Since the mountain would not come to Mahomet,
Mahomet went to the mountain. In plainer words--but has not one an
excuse for being figurative when speaking of Señor Castelar?--the
Minister for Foreign Affairs determined to take the bull by the horns
(pardon this figure for the sake of its aptness in Spain). The
representatives of the Great Powers did not call on him; he called on
them. His coy advances were met with frigid politeness. A Madrid paper
asserted that "an important and friendly conference" had been held
between the Minister and Mr. Layard, which, to say the least, was a
_suggestio falsi_. Mr. Layard, as an English gentleman, could not but
have received his visitor in a friendly manner; but he kept within the
strict line of his very delicate duties with a studious discretion.
Señor Castelar saw plainly that events had not prepared the way and made
straight the path of the new Republic towards recognition. The Great
Powers could not be found fault with, if they were slow to admit to the
brotherhood of nations a Republic which had already exhibited within
its fortnight's existence what may be literally called two dictatures
(those of Señores Rivero and Martos), the abdication of power by a
majority, two provisional and two "permanent" Governments, a cabinet of
conciliation, and a cabinet of homogeneity, not to mention a round of
permutations in the civil governorships of Madrid, and the
captain-generalcy of New Castile, and in the commands of the armies of
the North and Catalonia.

From the country poured in felicitations to the Republic from hamlet and
city, tumid with a rampant joy. These documents emphatically protested
that the majority of the population was Republican. Yet talk
confidentially to any Spaniard, not actually a Republican propagandist,
and not one of the ignorant lower classes of the towns--an average,
intelligent, middle-class Spaniard--and he would tell you there were no
Republicans in Spain. The thorough frankness with which Spaniards speak
of their own country, its divisions and its national faults, is
phenomenal. "We are very foolish," they own with a charming candour,
but the foreigner had better not chime in with them. They will fire up
in an instant. If they are foolish, it is no business of his; Spanish
quarrels are conducted precisely on the principles of those between man
and wife. The outsider who interposes in them must be prepared to wipe a
bloody nose.

But the doctrines of Republicanism were producing their effects in the
army nevertheless, and the first of these was a tendency to
demoralization. The troops at Barcelona fraternized with the working
men, and raised cries for the Republic and for their own liberation from
service. They desired individual as well as national independence. In
that they were but logical. The Republicans out of power inveighed
against standing armies as a monstrosity, a relic of effete Monarchical
tyranny. The argument was now used against the Republic; the bird of
freedom was menaced by a shaft plumed from her own wing. If discipline
were once generally relaxed in the army, which is the salt of Spain,
then farewell security and come chaos. That was the chief peril in the
way. A man, in the highest meaning of the word, one born to command,
was wanted to save the country. He was looked for in vain. Prim had left
no successor.

In forming my opinions on Spain and the Spaniards, I was aided not a
little by the good offices of a shrewd but eccentric American dentist,
named Maceehan, who had left Pennsylvania at so remote a date that
nobody could recollect it. Long as he had been absent from his native
country, he retained its accent, its peculiarities, and evergreen
patriotism, and on each recurring 4th of July gave a lavish banquet in
honour of American Independence in a restaurant decked with
star-spangled banners, and had the privilege of making all the magnates
of the capital, soldiers, ministers, courtiers, nobles, poets, and
painters, clink their glasses as he sang "Yankee Doodle." Long as he had
been in Madrid, he could not speak Spanish correctly, and his mistakes
fed the clubs with side-splitting anecdotes. He was the soul of
hospitality, and garrulous as a jay. He was in the secrets of the
wire-workers, and had a novel process of extracting information as he
extracted teeth. As his patient sat in the chair of torture he plied him
slyly with interrogatories, and learned what he wanted, but he never
betrayed confidences. In his way he was as proud as the proudest
Spaniard of them all. Emilio Castelar came to him once with an agonizing
toothache. Maceehan laid hold of the offending fang with his forceps.
Castelar shrieked and clutched at his hand.

"You have got the wrong tooth!"

"Caramba!" said the Pennsylvanian, lowering his instrument. "So you have
come here to teach me my business. I will thank you to leave the room,

"I beg a thousand pardons, but consider the pain. Do with me as you
like, dear doctor."

"The dear doctor in that case will adjourn the operation till to-morrow.
By that time the señor may have discovered that though the dear doctor
may not be an adept at literature or administration, he has some skill
at pulling teeth."

And Castelar, in spite of his apologies and entreaties and plaints, had
to accept the penance of four-and-twenty hours. He could not think of
going anywhere else, for Maceehan was master of his profession. There
was not a set of artificial grinders in Madrid with which the American
was not familiar. He had looked into the mouths of every Infante and
Infanta, had lanced the gums of awful Captains-General, and inserted
gold wires in the ivory treasures of most of the reigning beauties. He
had been dentist by appointment to Isabella, and had care of the
_mâchoire_ of the lovely Eugenia de Montijo in her maidenhood. The very
thought of sipping a cup of tea in the intimacy of a man who had
fingered the palate of a Cardinal, plugged the hollow in a Queen's
molar, and arrested the manifestation of caries in the central incisor
of an Empress, was too much. It was oppressive.

I was amply provided with letters of introduction at starting, but I was
in no hurry to present them. It was fortunate for me. Those who were in
power to-day were in disgrace to-morrow, and _vice versâ_, and most of
those to whom I had credentials were leaders of parties. One
non-politician, a scion of my own sept, but no relative, I did call
upon, as funds were to be forwarded to me through his agency. A
pleasant old man, he had a brogue as Irish as the _canavaun_ of the Bog
of Allen, although he had quitted Ireland in early childhood--a mellow,
musical, unctuous brogue. What a sovereign contempt he had for fomenters
of revolution, intriguers, and the drones who buzzed while others
worked, and wanted to be rewarded for buzzing!

"Namesake," he said, "if you knew the mean secret motives of half these
wretched politicians by trade, you would spit upon them. There was but
one man fit to govern this nation."

I forget whom he mentioned, but it was a Marshal (Narváez, I fancy),
who, when asked on his death-bed by his father-confessor, Did he forgive
his enemies? answered that he had none--he had shot them all.

"There may be nothing serious here for the present," he continued, "and
yet one can't tell; but I think they will go on shilly-shallying and
tinkering up constitutions for months to come."

"Then I should have a better field for my labours in the Carlist

"Undoubtedly; but if you think of going there, you must cut off that
yellowish-red beard or they will call you Judas Iscariot. Do you speak

"No; but as to the beard, I am equal to the sacrifice of shaving it and
dying my moustache."

"Ah, yes; you may do that sure enough, but it is not so easy to learn

If I could not learn Basque I could learn of the Basques, and what I did
learn was so much to their credit that it is only fair to write it down.
They were not Thugs, they were neither sanguinary nor thievish. The
peasantry of the Basque provinces are the finest in Spain--intelligent,
hospitable, brave, gentle, but fiercely fanatical where religion is
concerned. Instances were narrated to me of travellers who had been
arrested by them, being liberated without damage to person or detriment
to purse. In one case a Frenchman was robbed by a small party, but his
money and papers were restored to him a few days after by one of the
chiefs, with an apology. The correspondent of the _Temps_, who
accompanied the army in a previous Carlist campaign, informed me that
after a skirmish in which forty Carlists were captured, he was anxious
to send an account of the affair to Paris, but he did not know how.

"Hold!" said a colonel, "I'll find you the means."

He called over a prisoner, and asked him if he were let off on parole,
would he take a letter through the disturbed district, and post it on
the other side for a French gentleman? The man pleaded fatigue.

"You'll be well paid."

At last he consented; my informant gave him the letter and a five-franc
piece. While monsieur was searching his pockets for more money to give
him, the prisoner said:

"I have no change, caballero; how shall we manage?"

The prisoner duly set off; the letter was duly posted and duly arrived,
and the prisoner faithfully returned and delivered himself up. Honour is
not yet extinct in the Basque provinces, nor is magnanimity in the
Spanish army. The commandant dismissed the peasant with a look of
admiration and a push on the back. But some fireside philosopher will

"Why, these honourable fellows cut telegraph wires and fire on railway

The Carlists explain: "The telegraph and the railway are our greatest
enemies; the one sends for reinforcements, the other brings them."

The unfortunate station-masters are to be pitied. Lizárraga sends one
word that he will incur the penalty of death if he makes up a train for
troops. The troops arrive, their commander demands to be furnished with
a train to take him to a certain point; if the station-master refuses he
is not merely threatened with the death-penalty, but incurs it on the
spot. But the fireside philosophers, assuming the cocked-hat of the
general, will continue:

"Why not protect the telegraphs and the railways?" The query may be met,
_more Hibernico_, by another:

Do the philosophers know how enormous and difficult an extent of country
has to be protected?

It would take more men than there are in the Spanish army altogether,
including the regiment of dismissed generals in Madrid, to act as
military milesmen in the perturbed territory. The Army of the North did
what it could--that is to say, it fortified the railway stations,
converting them into veritable block-houses, and supplied escorts to the
trains; but the Carlists had an unpurchasable ally in the darkness. They
could come down in the night and play old Harry with metals and wires.
The insurgents were ill-armed and undisciplined, but they were on their
own ground, every square inch of which they knew; they were leal to each
other, and they had acquired the secret of guerrilla campaigning--that
is, they harassed the regulars by fighting and running away, so that
they might live to fight another day. They avoided concentration in
mass, knowing how dangerous it is to pack all one's eggs in a single

So daring had these Carlists become that bands had made demonstrations
in perilous nearness to the capital, or rather they had been organized
in the capital itself and had taken to the field in the neighbourhood.
From a rising ground hard by the palace could be distinguished with the
naked eye a thicket on the desolate plain in the distance, where the
remnants of one band were known to be hiding. The fates were against
the insurgents, as they were met at Buendia and badly beaten two days
after they had unfurled the banner of revolt. Eleven of them were slain,
including a priest, twenty wounded and one hundred and seventeen taken
prisoners, including their two chiefs. The elder of these, Alonso, a man
of three-score and ten, died in the military hospital of Madrid on the
19th of March. He was a venerable fanatic of asinine stupidity to have
risked a fight with regular troops in the open. Fortune, in my
experience, favours not so much the brave as the wary. Had this
particular Alonso the brave, really an Alonso the reckless, availed
himself of a few picks and spades--the first farmhouse will seldom fail
to supply entrenching tools--he might have lived to die in his own bed
of a natural disease.


     A Late Capital--The Gambling Mania--A French Rendezvous--The Duke
     de Fitzpepper--The Morality of Passing Bad Money--Spanish
     Compliments--Men in Pickle--A Licentious Ballet--Federal
     Manners--Prim's Artifice--Nouvilas Goes North--A Carlist
     Proclamation--Don Alfonso--Midnight Oil--Castelar's Circular.

Madrid is not an early capital--natural effect of the climate. In the
middle of the day the blinds are let down, the shops are shut, the
streets are empty--everybody who can at all manage it is taking the
siesta. The business of sunlight is at a standstill. The few hours thus
stolen from the day are religiously made restitution of to the night,
which is undoubtedly the most agreeable period for a stroll. Pleasure is
in full swing, the promenades are alive, flirtation is methodically
practised in the Spanish way--that is, through an intervening
lattice--theatres and ball-rooms contribute to the programme of
diversion, the coffee-houses (where chocolate is mostly consumed) are
packed to the door-posts, and the business of gaslight is prosecuted
with a desperate concentration of energy and a brooding perseverance.

The business of gaslight, unfortunately, is high play. That is one of
the social curses of Spain. Everybody gambles, to the sentries in the
guard-house, the patients in the hospitals, the felons in the gaols.
Such is the overwhelming dominion of this national passion that I should
not be surprised at reading of a condemned man on his way to the garrote
craving a hand of cards with the executioner to distract him from his
sorrows. Strained the situation was at this crisis, and in all the clubs
the cards were thrown on the tables with a fever as of men seeking some
relaxation from the fierce game of politics; but, as I had opportunity
to assure myself afterwards, this was nothing exceptional. The fever for
play as high as the pocket can allow, often higher, is normal. The
foreigner--and all foreigners provided with the slightest credentials
are most graciously made free of the clubs--soon takes note of that.

The Fornos, the Suizo, and other coffee-houses were transformed into
debating-forums, and sometimes I frequented them to catch what was going
on; but my haunt of predilection was a restaurant patronized by French
refugees. They had brought with them the Gaulish gaiety, and it was
instructive to see Communists, fugitive aristocrats, bagmen with the
asphalte of the boulevards still clinging to the soles of their boots,
and steady old settlers in Madrid foregathering in friendly
forgetfulness of differing shades of political coats. One of the three
Marquesses de Fonvielle and de Coutuly, of the _Temps_, amongst other
journalists, used to drop in regularly. De Coutuly has since strayed
into diplomacy. Touching journalists who wander into that luxurious
labyrinth, the representative of the _New York Herald_, at Madrid, a
painstaking gentleman with a certain cleverness, Russell Young,
subsequently became United States' Minister to China. Prizes of this
class, which rain upon Continental and American publicists, seldom fall
to the lot of their brethren of the British press, unless they get into
Parliament or boldly single themselves out from the anonymous herd.
Then they are sometimes promoted to a Consulship in an insalubrious
region, where they have every facility for studying the manners of the
buck-nigger, and the customs of the lively sand-fly. Far and away the
most interesting customer of this restaurant was the Duke de Fitzpepper,
a tall, dark, strong man with curly black hair, a boisterous voice, and
a bold laugh. He had to quit France on account of an affair of honour.
He had been in the Imperial Navy, had a squabble with his captain, and
resigned his commission that he might send him a challenge. They met
with the customary duelling swords, but de Fitzpepper made a mistake. He
ran his antagonist through. I know naught of the merits of the quarrel,
but to my insularly uneducated mind it appeared that the gallant
nobleman experienced inadequate remorse at having the blood of a
fellow-creature on his soul. Perhaps I am hyper-sensitive, but when de
Fitzpepper used to boast "_Je me connais dans le flingot_," it sent a
thread of cold water creeping down my spine, not from fear but from
aversion. Yet it was impossible to keep aloof from him for long, he was
such a joyous, dashing, carry-your-outworks pattern of a musketeer.

Evil associations corrupt good manners, I suppose, which must be the
excuse for a Frenchman with whom I entered into conversation in this
mirthful caravanserai. I happened to show him a coin which had been
passed upon me, an escudo, which would be worth a sovereign if it were
not counterfeit.

"What a shame!" he exclaimed as he fingered it. "What are you going to
do with it?"

"Nothing," I said. "It's useless to me."

"Lend it to me, pray."

I gave it to him, and the following night he asked me what commission I
would allow him. He had passed the bad escudo in his turn. I was
indignant, and accused him of having been guilty of a dishonest act. I
would touch none of the proceeds of his crookedness.

"Nonsense!" he said, astonished. "I got rid of it in a hell. They're all
rogues there when they have a chance."

I submit to the casuists that this was a very nice case of conscience.
Winning money at cards is not earning it. He who seeks to win it is
demoralized, and it is to his advantage and the advantage of society
that he should be discouraged in his pernicious foolishness. Therefore,
q.e.d., it was commendable to palm that base coin upon him. I was
unequal to deciding the question off-hand, so I elected to take not a
real of the Frenchman's equivocal profit. But if the Frenchman was to
blame, was I not responsible in the first instance, as having afforded
him the means of cheating his neighbour? When the casuists shall have
elucidated this riddle to their satisfaction, perhaps they will oblige
by telling me how many thousand angels could alight on the point of a

Morality is at a low ebb in Madrid, or rather the moral code is
regulated by notions peculiar to the latitude. So with habits. A man
must be "native and to the manner born," before he can affect competency
to interpret them. For example, when a Madrileño asseverates that his
house is yours, or that his equipage which you so much admire is at your
disposal, he does not intend that you should take up your residence
with him there and then, or hold his coachman at your beck. It is simply
a form of etiquette, a mode of speech, as of the Englishman of past
generations who challenged you to mortal combat and subscribed himself
"your obedient humble servant." You will be guilty of a grave solecism
if you imitate that American to whom the grandee remarked with effusion
that the stud which captivated his taste was his own, his very own.

"Thanks," said Brother Jonathan; "I'll take the roan and the chestnut
to-day and call for the others to-morrow!"

Although a man may tender you fraudulent coinage with a brazen front, he
may be keen in honour, and resent an insult to his sister with a
knife-stab; although he may intrigue for a Government place with a slimy
self-abasement, under circumstances the same being may go forth
unflinchingly and sacrifice himself on the altar of his country. Spain
is the home of paradox. The beggar is addressed as "your worship,"
mutiny is a venial offence, bribery of officials is a recognised
prescription. At the very epoch of which I write, the murderers of Prim
were stalking about the capital; it was a town-crier's secret who they
were and who was the personage who was their employer, yet none had the
temerity to denounce them. And in the saladero, or the "salting-tub," as
the prison was called, it was notorious that there were malefactors who
gave lessons in forgery, and who positively utilized their cells as
convenient head-quarters from which to prey on the unwary public. Their
plan was to write to somebody of position, whose name they had lighted
on in a directory, and inform him that they had often heard speak of him
as a citizen of integrity, and felt that they might trust him; they were
singularly situated, immured for a debt of a few duros, and yet in the
vicinity of his residence they were cognizant of an immense buried
treasure; if he would only send them the trifle needful to pay off that
debt and cover their fare to his town, they would take him with them to
the site of the secret hoard, and repay him with interest for his
kindness. This transparent ruse actually told with hundreds of dupes.
How the _auri sacra fames_ will deprive sane men of sense! He would be
a spendthrift of sympathy who would waste his sympathy upon them.

I had been under the impression that Spain was a deeply religious
country. The impression was illusive. It may be fanatically religious in
parts, but too often the educated classes rail at religion. As comes to
pass when inordinate demand has been made on credulity, a reaction
arises, and those whose faith was implicit yesterday become the scoffing
heretics of to-day. The tide has turned, and it is no unfrequent
occurrence to hear a Spaniard declare he is not a Christian, whose
fathers would have perhaps burned at a stake the wretch who would have
dared to utter such a profanity. This is very bad. One extreme is as
wicked as another. If the Scylla of stupid superstition was dangerous,
the Charybdis of arrogant scepticism is destructive. This is essentially
a Roman Catholic country, yet never have I seen anywhere, in the lands
where Roman Catholicism is disliked and contemned even, the ceremonies
and institutions of the Church treated with more undisguised ribaldry. I
went to the Novedades, a popular theatre in a humble quarter of the
town in the vicinity of the Calle de Toledo, to see what the piece on
the occasion, "El Triunfo de la República," was like. I got in as a
"Carlist ballet" was being danced; two men were dressed to represent two
famous cabecillas, Saballs and a colleague, two others to represent the
Carlist priest, Santa Cruz, and a monk of the party. Santa Cruz was
bulky as Friar Tuck, leered from under his scoop hat, drank wine,
reeled, toddled, fell, and kicked up his heels as the wild Mabille
quadrille music was played; and high was the content and noisily
expressed the delight of the audience. The four women who took part in
the Terpsichorean orgie wore the robes of nuns, and must have belonged
to the order of Sisters of Shame, if to any. They had blue hoods, white
bands across their foreheads and bosoms, red crosses wrought on their
habits, and trailing skirts of white. Their dancing was not voluptuous;
it would be a misnomer to let it down with so mild an epithet; it was
grossly indecent. They exposed their limbs, and the audience was
ecstatic at the sight. Not a murmur of censure was to be heard. And
this bacchanalian riot, too obscene for any self-respecting house of
ill-fame, was supposed to be held in a church. The scenery showed a
mockery of ecclesiastical architecture and pious pictures. As a dramatic
effort, "El Triunfo de la República" was very poor. Zorilla was
caricatured as a fox (a play upon his name), and Sagasta as a
devil-fish, and the apotheosis revealed the Genius of Spain waving a
flag lettered with the words, "Viva la República Federal!" The flag was
welcomed with vehement cheers, in affirmation that those who looked on
and admired the burlesque of ministers of the national faith were all
stout Federal Republicans, corresponding somewhat to the Communists of
the Paris of two years before.

These Federals, I own, I do not like. A deputation of them from the
provinces arrived one of these evenings, and put up at the Fonda de
Paris. They were scrubby louts, smoked between the courses although
ladies were at table, which, however, could be condoned, as it was
Spanish. But they also wore their hats. That irritated one guest, and he
called to a waiter to bring him a hat which he would find on a peg
outside. Having been handed his head-gear, he clapped it on, and said
that was all he wanted. The hint was not lost. The boors dined in a room
by themselves during the rest of their stay. And yet these Federal
Republicans profess to respect public opinion; but by the phrase must be
understood the opinion of those who agree with them. The Intransigentes,
on whose support they depend, have arms in their hands, and will try to
keep them. Only one man was ever able to disarm them, and he was
assassinated. If Prim did not know the Spanish mind intuitively, and as
no other man ever knew it, even he would not have succeeded. After the
promiscuous distribution of arms to the multitude had been made from the
windows of the storehouses in Madrid at the close of 1868, he tried
every means to get them back, but to no purpose. Promises of rewards to
those who would give up the guns were useless; threats and coaxings were
in vain. At last Prim hit on a notable scheme. At a review he publicly
insulted the corps he was so long trying to disembody; he either rode
past them without noticing them, or made remarks on their appearance
the reverse of complimentary. The officers threw up their commissions in
dudgeon; they had served the cause of the people faithfully, and were
not to be treated with contempt; they would no longer carry arms for
such ungrateful friends. It was just what Prim wanted.

While Madrid was thus seething and bubbling as if it were on the verge
of boiling over, and the great question of elections for the new Cortes
to determine the future "permanent" style of administration was being
mooted, the Carlists were plucking up heart and maturing their designs.
They fancied they would soon have the nation before them the _nudum et
cœcum corpus_ of Sylla's description--defenceless and blind.
Nouvilas, one of the numberless generals of Spain, was ordered to the
north. At a Republican meeting before his departure, he promised that he
would take his five sons with him to fight against the Carlists. At the
same meeting he declared himself the uncompromising enemy of all
dictatorships, and warned those who expected that he would use his power
in that sense not to make a mistake. He was a soldier, not a politician,
and the day that the Republic would be consolidated, and peace secured,
he would retire into private life. It did not seem as if peace were
shortly to be secured. There was a proposition to raise fifty battalions
of free corps to crush the insurgents. The only difficulty in the way
was the loan for their armaments. The battalions were to be organized by
provinces, and each was to be composed of 900 men (making a total of
44,100), and to be officered from the reserve. The proposition of itself
was sufficient to wake the fools out of their paradise. These Carlists
were not to be underrated. If they could do nothing else, they could
issue proclamations. They were great at these. They promised to give the
army the "licencia absoluta" which some soldiers demanded from the
Republic at Barcelona. One Ramon V. Valcarces, commandant-general of the
province of Lugo, was exceedingly anxious that the Galicians should come
out to conquer or die. He told them that the national banner of their
legitimate King waved triumphantly in the provinces of Catalonia,
Castile, Leon, the Asturias, and the Vasco-Navarre, which was a piece of
bounce--legitimate, may it be called?--on his part; and added
scathingly that the Government at Madrid was in the hands of a group of
adventurers, who called themselves Spaniards and Liberals. Those
impostors would raise the taxes until it would be impossible to pay
them, would sell the Antilles and persecute religion.

Tidings were wafted to us mysteriously that the brother of the
legitimate King, H.R.H. Don Alfonso, of Bourbon and Lorraine, had held a
review of the forces of Saballs at Vidra, in Catalonia. His Royal
Highness was accompanied by his wife, the Doña Maria. His Royal Highness
wore flesh-coloured riding breeches with black stripes, jack-boots, a
zamarra or sheep-skin upper garment, and a flat white cap of the make of
those used by Scotch shepherds. Doña Maria wore a cap of the same kind,
with a gold tassel coquettishly falling over her left shoulder. The
august pair were mounted, and the lady, who chivalrously accompanied her
husband, witched the Carlists with noble horsemanship. Don Alfonso was
surrounded by a brilliant staff, conspicuous amongst whom was a son of
that Don Enrique of Bourbon who was shot in a duel by the Duke of

The "only court" did not lack a moidering liveliness. Of nights I
usually leant by my balcony overlooking the Puerta del Sol, and watched
the frail sodality of the Moon prowling about in charge of the
superfluous duenna, the while the brawl of palaver, the cries of "água
fresca," or of the last edition of the _Correspondencia_, the "theeah"
in such wise cadenced, or the boom of the watchman's voice came floating
upwards, before I sat me down to a hard spell of work, sifting grain
from chaff, and committing my thoughts to paper, a moistened towel round
my temples, and a pot of black coffee at my elbow. The sun was usually
ogling the fountain in the Plaza before I had finished.

The burden of work imposed upon the correspondent who desired to be
loyal to duty was weighty on occasion. For example, late on the 26th of
February the official journal came out with a lengthy circular from Don
Emilio Castelar, to the representatives of Spain abroad. The object was
to obtain the recognition of the Republic by Powers other than the
United States and Switzerland. I saw the importance of sending a
translation of this pregnant State paper at once, and shut myself up in
my room with a supply of pens, ink, and paper, and the indispensable
coffee-pot. I was not an accomplished Spanish scholar, but with the aid
of a youthful groundwork in Latin, a fair knowledge of Italian, a
familiarity with French, and a dictionary, I succeeded in turning out a
full, accurate--nay, I will say a vivid--rendering of this historic
composition before I unlocked my door, and transmitted it to London
within twelve hours. Spanish is not difficult. If Italian is the
daughter of Latin, Spanish is the son. And with energy and mother-wit,
one can do much.

Castelar's was a brilliant and sustained effort; but it read more like
an essay by Macaulay than a diplomatic holograph. It was splendid, but
it was not official. It lacked crispness, and dealt in excessive
rhetoric from the phrase in an opening paragraph where it spoke of Spain
assuming a place in the Amphictyonic council of Europe, to the closing
sentence. The fall of the Monarchy was traced to the hour when the
institution solemnly ceded its own country to the foreigner (alluding to
the pitiful abdication of Charles IV. in favour of his "friend and ally"
Napoleon, at Bayonne in 1808). True, attempts had been thrice made since
to revive the old system with a new spirit, but they had failed; in
1812, the Democratic Monarchy; in 1837, the Parliamentary Monarchy; in
1869, the Elective Monarchy. The former order of things disappeared
through inherent domestic causes; the Republic appeared of its own
virtue, by the law of necessity. In 1869 the Constituent Cortes had
proclaimed a Monarchy for three fundamental reasons: firstly, because it
corresponded with the traditions of the Spanish people; secondly,
because they believed it would secure liberal principles; and thirdly,
because it would harmonize their form of government with that existing
in nearly every part of Europe. The trouble was where to find the
monarch. They had no dynasty typifying religious and national principles
united to modern spirit like that of England, no princes like those who
had built up the unity of Italy and of Germany on battlefields; their
sovereign houses presented no stability. They had to look outside for a
king, at the double risk of disturbing the peace of Europe and wounding
the national sentiment. They found him in the scion of an illustrious
line, united to France by the war of 1859, to Prussia by the war of
1866, to Great Britain by the establishment of parliamentary rule in
Italy. But the national sentiment of Spain was against him. It left him
in a solitude that was asphyxia. At last he renounced a crown of which
he only felt the weight on his brow and not the dignity in his soul.
When he left, this Government came not by violent revolution, but by
logical evolution. The Republic was not provisional, but definitive. (As
if there were any finality in politics!) The Cortes which had proclaimed
it were the most permanent estate in the nation, inasmuch as when others
melted away they remained. It was the same Cortes which undertook the
national defence in the epic years from 1808 to 1814, which abrogated
the rights of Don Carlos to the ancient crown, and which sanctioned the
dethronement of the Bourbons. Spain owed the change she had effected to
no cosmopolitan influences or agitations. She sought autonomy, not
Utopianism; she coveted no conquest, but she wished to show that she was
living, not dead; that she was still great, but not with the greatness
of ruin, like the empires buried under the valleys of Asia.

There was an excellent thickset gentleman in Madrid, a literary
pluralist, who combined the offices of "own correspondent" to several
London journals. He was a diligent "snapper-up of unconsidered trifles,"
who would never set even the Manzanares on fire. He met me after I had
despatched my version of Castelar's circular, and was cooling my aching
brain on the shady side of the Puerta del Sol.

"Did you read that thing of 'Musica's'?" he said. ("Musica" was the
nickname of the silver-tongued professor-politician.)

"Yes; lovely and long and flimsy as a rainbow," I remarked.

"I think you ought to send an epitome of it to London."

"I shall not."

"Well, I may tell you Chose is sending the whole of it on," he

Chose was a most formidable rival.

"Who translated it for him?" I asked.

"As it is very important I am getting my sons to do it. Indeed, he asked

"And you never told me."

"Ah! you see, he has a reputation to sustain."

"And I have a reputation to make."

"I'll let you have a _précis_ to-morrow."

"No, thanks," I answered, turning on my heel.

The thickset gentleman looked mighty blank when he gazed on the paper a
few days after with my translation covering nearly two columns of small
type, nor did his astonishment lessen when I confided to him that it had
been made for me by the Man in the Moon.


     Warning to Ladies--The Hotel Parliament--An Anglo-Spanish
     Mentor--The Evil Genii of the Monarchy--The Curses of
     Spain--Government and Religion Affairs of Climate--The Carlists,
     Norwegians, and English, all Republicans!--Notions on Heredity--The
     Five Spanish Parties--The Army the Lever of Power--The
     Student-Cæsar--Order _versus_ Republic--The Chained
     Colours--Dorregaray's Appeal to the Soldiers--Influence of the
     Church--Wanted: a Benevolent Despot.

In the first line, it may be generous to warn ladies (if any of the
gentler sex there be among my readers) to skip this chapter. There will
be no indelicate disclosures--not that indelicate disclosures would bar
the inquisitiveness of some females, judging by the ingenuity with which
they intrigue for seats at the trials in the Divorce Court, and the
avidity with which they devour "spicy," that is scandalous, details; but
matter of a political, speculative, and quasi-philosophical nature is to
be discussed, and I fear me much it will be dry and prosy.

A shady little room in one of the upper stories of the Fonda de Paris
was used as reading-room. It was thickly carpeted, the walls were
covered with oil paintings in massive ornamented frames, and on the
tables were placed curious jars, antique candlesticks, bronze
statuettes, damascened daggers, and what is known as the merchandise of
_bijouterie_ and _vertu_. There were few papers there, and but one book,
a Spanish Army List in gorgeous green velvet cover with gilt clasps. In
fact, it was more of an auctioneer's private show-room than _cabinet de
lecture_, for the Brothers Fallola were dealers in _bric-à-brac_, and
could not forego the chance of poking their wares under the notice of
their customers. The Italian is first cousin to the Hebrew.

We held a grave Parliament of our own in this little room, and there I
made the acquaintance of an English settler in Spain--an elderly
gentleman who had been engaged in mining. He was well educated, had
travelled widely, was pronounced in his views, and as he expressed them
with candour and was possessed of a high order of intelligence, I
listened to him with attention. Indeed, we all accepted him as Mentor.
He indoctrinated me into the knotty catechism of Spanish politics.

Broadly speaking, he maintained that the monarchy was its own greatest
enemy. It had fallen because of its indifference to public opinion.
Among its evil genii were the pastrycook Marforio, Father Claret, and
Sister Patrocinio. The birth of a daughter to Ferdinand VII., fault of
nature, was the primal fatality. As Count O'Neil remarked when he heard
the natal salute stop at the nineteenth cannon-shot, unhappy Spain was
doomed, because of the gender of the newly-born, to be over-shadowed
with the pall of grief and mourning. But the primal error was the
unnatural marriage of Isabella to her cousin, Don Francisco. Never was
there a more ill-assorted union. A woman of ardent temperament and
strong fibre was allied to a feeble nonentity without sap or spirit. Had
she become the spouse of a man like Victor Emmanuel, things might have
gone better.

Spain was a grand country, he held, one of the richest in creation in
minerals, forests, vineyards, orchards, silk and flocks. The people were
a people that improved upon intercourse, and had some grand qualities.
But the curses of Spain were the ignorance of the masses, the greed of
the professional politicians, and the varying ascendancy of some one
man's power in the army.

"Was the country ripe for its existing form of government?" I asked.

"Government," said he, "like religion, is very much a matter of birth
and training, or, to put it more briefly, of climate. The circumcision
of Judaism, the ablutions of Mahometanism, are the simple useful
dictates of some wise man skilled in sanitary science. People of warm
southern natures crave light and colour and music in worship; in colder
lands, with dispositions hardier and less imaginative, they are
satisfied with severe forms----"

"I know all those theories about religion," I interrupted, "but I am
anxious to have your judgment on government."

"Identically the same--affair of climate. Those who have to brave
privations and work hard for a living are Republicans; the Swiss, for
example, the Norwegians, and the Carlists."

"The Carlists! I thought they were Royalists."

The Mentor laughed as he said, "Royalists! why, they are the only
Republicans in this land. Have you not heard of their fueros? They
reject the tax of blood--they will have no unwilling soldiers taken from
their midst. So Republican are they that they will not tolerate a Bishop
in their ecclesiastical organization, strict Catholics though they
profess themselves. He of Seo de Urgel is the nearest Bishop to their
territory, and his diocese is properly in Andorra."

"But the Norwegians are Monarchists," I ventured.

"In name only, as the English are. There is no more democratic
administration in the world than that of king-ruled Norway; and in
England you are likewise a Republic--that is, you enjoy Republican
freedom, only you choose to call the President a Queen. The Queen is but
a figure-head, the vivified Union Jack. The Prime Minister, that is to
say the elect of the people, not the Queen, sways the genuine wand of

"And the House of Lords, the most Conservative hereditary legislature in
Europe, how do you account for its existence in this British Republic?"
I hazarded as a clincher.

"An accident, my dear sir," he replied, as he pulled at his cigarette.
"Like that puff of smoke, it has no power; it is but vapour, and like
vapour it will disappear some day, to be succeeded by a Senate on the
French or American model. Life-peerages can be justified; the hereditary
principle has been tried and found wanting. The male offspring of a
jockey are not necessarily skilful horsemen; the son of a fencing-master
may be an awkward butter-fingers; the daughter of a _prima ballerina_
may be a cripple."

I passed that figure of speech about the vapour, though disciplined
vapour drives a locomotive. But I urged, "Do you not believe in blood?
Would you place the descendant of a line of brave and cultured men, with
traditions to look back upon, on the same level with Bill Sykes or a
Bosjesman? Is a game-cock a dunghill? Is a thoroughbred a

"R-o-t, rot, my dear sir," said Mentor, with an irritating coolness. "Of
game-cocks I know nothing; but as far as your horse argument goes, I am
prepared to meet you. Care is taken that the mare shall be mated with
the proper sire, so that the qualities long worked up to, by judicious
crossing, shall not be lost or deteriorated; but there is no such
selection in the case of a lord; he follows his own figary, and his
figary is usually money, to regild a faded shield. Blood, sir, has less
to do with those things than education and the associations of
childhood. Send an earl's son to St. Giles', and he will grow up a saucy
gutter-boy; send a burglar's son to Eton, and he may develop into what
is conventionally recognised as a gentleman."

There was no arguing down our Mentor on this point, so the subject was
changed, and he tried to disintegrate the ingredients in the very mixed
dish of Spanish parties--a complete olla podrida. There were five
factions in the distracted State, two schools of Monarchists and three
of Republicans. These were--1st, the Alfonsists, or those who wished
that the son of the deposed Queen should be raised to the throne; 2nd,
the Legitimists or Carlists (embracing a large body of the clergy); 3rd,
the Republicans of long standing, who were actually in power; 4th, the
ex-Monarchists--the neo-Republicans or Radicals, who sometimes called
themselves Progresistas, and favoured the United Republic; and 5th, the
Intransigentes, or the Irreconcilables, the extreme of the extreme, who
clamoured for a Federal Republic.

"As example of that ignorance of the masses of which I spoke," said
Mentor, "the mob of Madrid is fiercely Federal, which proves that it
does not know what Federalism is; for one of the first results of
Federalism would be to reduce this capital to the plane of a third-rate
provincial town. Federalism is Spanish dismemberment. If such a system
were adopted, you would have a Royalist North, a Red Republican
Catalonia, and a pauperized Castile, politically piebald. Catalonia is
Federal, in which Catalonia writes itself down ass, for that province is
manufacturing, and with the downfall of protection its prosperity must

"Is there any chance of Amadeus being coaxed back?"

He laughed a laugh that embarrassed me.

"A kick is not soon forgotten, for it is always an insult even when
administered with an embroidered slipper."

"What do you think of the situation at the moment?" (This was in the
first week of March.)

"Madrid," he answered, "is a hot-bed of political intrigue, and a
complicated intrigue is in act of being developed at present. This, I
take it, is a fair estimate of the situation. The men in office are
controlled by fears of the violent Republicans outside, whom they are
powerless to keep under; and the Radicals are anxious to get into office
to restrain these same violent Republicans, but hesitate because of the
apprehension that they have not sufficient material force behind them.
They would fain climb, but that they fear to fall. Thus, as you
perceive, the disorganization of the army is at the bottom of all the
difficulties, for that it is which leaves the mastery with the dreaded
Intransigents. Those, the 'partisans of action' as they are aptly
called sometimes, have more energy than either the Ministry or the
Radicals, and if this dilly-dallying goes on much longer they may make a
bold attempt to get the reins into their own hands. The Radicals are
opposed to a dissolution of the Assembly because they fear the Reds
would command the polls at the new elections, and go in for sweeping
changes on the model of their predecessors in Paris. The present
Ministers have not the vigour to check the manœuvring that would
bring about such an occurrence, and the Radicals believe that they only
could oppose and beat down the fanatics of Communistic proclivities.
There are cynics, however, who sneer at patriotic affirmations, and
whisper that loaves and fishes have more to do with them than love of

I reflected that patriotism of that order was not an exclusively Iberian
production, but that possibly the cynics were disappointed politicians

"The state of the army," resumed Mentor, "is the question after all. A
great portion of the rank and file are violently Republican, and one
cause of insubordination is that the privates do not believe in the
Republicanism of their officers. Of course, the object of the Ministry
in raising the proposed battalions of volunteers, is less to put down
Carlism than to have a force to fall back upon in case of the army
giving itself furlough. I have reason to know that one Minister at least
is very uneasy on account of the want of discipline of the troops, and
urges upon his colleagues that their first labour should be devoted to
repressing all signs of disorder. But the fight for place at Madrid has
more interest for them, and the army is melting away. When Ministers
make up their minds to a rigorous supervision of the soldiery, there may
be no soldiers to supervise."

It dawned upon me that Spaniards, although enjoying the reputation of
being quick with lethal weapons under the spur of sudden passion, were
very slow in taking ordinary resolutions. "Mañana" is the watchword of
the nation: a favourite proverb is twisted into "Never do to-day what
you can possibly put off till to-morrow." As a French writer wittily
observed, the chariot of State in Spain is fashioned of tortoise-shell
and drawn by snails.

"What do you think of Castelar?"

"Castelar!" echoed the Mentor, with a shoulder-movement of compassionate
irony, "honest, but weak. He is too good, too single-minded, too
amiable, too much of a student to play the Cæsar. Picture to yourself a
doctrinaire who can quote Aristotle in the Chamber, while his country is
travelling the road to ruin. Poor Señor Castelar is not the coming man."

"And where may we look for him?" I asked.

"Quien sabe? At this moment he may be waxing his moustache in the
Balearic Islands, or sipping chocolate in the coffee-house on the

That coffee-house was always full at the juncture. Indeed, to one who
had not been made stoical by familiarity with excitements, the tokens of
the atmosphere were portentous. Congress often sat under the protection
of an armed guard. The crowds in the streets were always large. The talk
was of bloodshed; but I had grown so sceptical that I would hardly
believe in bloodshed in Madrid until what looked a liquid red had been
chemically analyzed and proved to be blood. We had false alarms every
other night, and shops were shut for an hour or two; but we got no
nearer to revolution than the discussions of sundry excited parliaments
over the marble-topped tables. There Spaniards flushed purple, and
gesticulated violently over their temperate glasses of sweetened water.
What a blessing this is not a whisky-drinking country!

"No," continued the Mentor; "Castelar is the least of all fitted to
govern Spain. This people requires to be ruled by stern will and strong
grip. The result of handing it over to a weak administration is
palpable. Of all nations of the world, Spain is least prepared for
Republicanism, and the theoretical Republicans who essayed to control
her, in an evil moment for themselves, must before this have discovered
the gross blunder they have made. The Republic is a splendid word; but
Order is a word more wholesome. The present so-called rulers are
incapable of preserving order. They sowed the wind when they taught the
soldiers to be malcontent under the Monarchy, because an army was an
artificial need in a free nation. Now that the soldiers are taking them
at their word, they are reaping the whirlwind. They promised Spain
liberty, and Spain, from every indication, is about to enjoy a spell of
license. Heaven knows how it will all end; but those who have acutely
watched changes like this in other countries are not slow to tell us
that we shall have anarchy first to the full."

"And then?" I inquired, "for anarchy is no remedy. It is never final.
What shall we have after that?"

"Perhaps a Conservative Republic, but more likely an iron despotism, the
dominance of some successful General who has the knack of answering his
opponents by ordering their heads to be sliced off."

"Is not that General as likely as not to come from the Carlist camp?" I

Mentor shook his head in a decisive negative. "No," he said; "outside
the northern and a portion of the eastern provinces, Carlism has no

"But may not the name of Dorregaray, who has crossed the frontier again,
turn out to be a spell-word? They tell me he distinguished himself in
the war with Morocco."

"Yes," assented Mentor, "he commanded a regiment of galley-slaves

"And," I continued, "in Cuba at the outbreak of hostilities he was to
the fore."

"True, true; but I would not give that," and he snapped his fingers,
"for the fidelity of such as Dorregaray. He served under Don Carlos in
the civil war from 1836 to 1840, and that did not hinder him from
donning a uniform under Isabella. Cosas de España! Have you never heard
of Piquero? His action is a pretty fair criterion of the political
morality of your ordinary ambitious Spanish soldier."

No, the man's name was new to me.

"Well, he commanded the regiment of Malaga when Ferdinand VII. returned
from France and was made absolute monarch. General Piquero, as soon as
he got wind of the decree of absolutism, thought he would be first to
curry favour at Court, and sent an address to the palace, praying that
his regiment might have the honour of wearing chains emblazoned on the
colours in testimony of attachment to the King. The prayer was
magnanimously acceded to, and the chains were absolutely borne on the
colours for years. Yet not very long afterward this Piquero, this mean,
fawning cur, changed front and became a yelping hungry mastiff of
democracy. I don't anticipate Dorregaray would play that part."

"Anyhow," I persisted, "the Carlist General has sent forth a manifesto
in his self-assumed capacity of commander-in-chief of the Vascongadas
and Navarre to the soldiers of the Spanish army. He calls upon them to
lay down their arms, promising them free discharges if they desire it,
but promotion, decorations, and rewards if they join his standard. What
do you think of that?"

"I do not blame him," said Mentor. "In thus tempting the army, he is
only doing as every military chief who has ever lifted himself to power
by a pronunciamiento has done. The sergeants and corporals are
invariably lured with the bait that they shall be made captains and
lieutenants, the common soldiers that their pay and rations shall be
increased. Such men as go over to Dorregaray only act as too many of
their predecessors have acted. In this instance they have an excuse;
they can say, 'We were Royalist soldiers a few weeks ago; we are
transformed into Republican soldiers now. Our will was never consulted.
We are Royalist still, therefore we rally to Don Carlos, who represents
the principle of Monarchy.' They could say this, but I am far from
thinking they will. Spaniards of the rank and file do not chop logic; it
is the non-commissioned officers who initiate mutinies for purposes of
personal advancement; the private is a machine, not a thinking bayonet."

In response to my inquiry as to the influence which remained to the
Church, my Mentor shook his head, and said outside the hilly regions
where Carlism prevailed, and the remote rural districts, it was next to
null, save among the more comfortable class of women. The common
Spaniard took his faith as he would his heritage; he was a Christian
because his fathers were so before him--it was an affair of family--and
his calling himself a Christian, which signifies Christian exclusively
of the Roman Catholic persuasion, is a survival of the thoughts
bequeathed by the Saracenic occupation. He who was not a Christian was a
"Moro," and to this day the Jew or the Protestant is a Moor, tarred with
the same brush as the turbaned Islamite.

"The Church," concluded Mentor, "is not to blame if it bums incense and
assaults Heaven with prayers for such a change of Government as will
bring money to its coffers. If the Republic last, the Church will be
separated from the State, and every congregation will have to pay its
own minister. That would be frank, at all events; but so long as there
is a State religion, the ministers of which are supposed to be paid, it
is a scandal not to pay them, and their reverences are perfectly right
to turn Carlist or Alfonsist."

After these discussions in the reading-room I sometimes felt as if I had
been endeavouring to unravel the Schleswig-Holstein tangle. Was I not
right in warning off the ladies? Truly, Spanish politics are confusing.
My usual reflections upon them resolved themselves into the uneasy
conviction that they were a Lincoln morass overlaid by a London fog,
and that it would be a joy to have some thousands of Will-o'-the-Wisp
guides prisoned to the chins in the quagmire, and replaced by one
benevolent despot bearing the light with strong, sure grasp.


     The Carnival--About Kissing Feet--Mummers and Masquers--The Paseo
     de Recoletos--The Writer is taken for Cluseret--Incongruity in
     Costume--Shrove Tuesday--Panic on the Prado--A Fancy Ball--The
     "Entierro de la Sardina"--Lenten Amusements--A Spanish
     Mystery--"Pasion y Muerte de Jesus"--Of the Stage Stagey--Critical

Simultaneously with the Ministerial crisis we were tortured by the
throes of the Carnival, which was a trial too great for a Republic so
young. But the weather came to the aid of the powers that were, and
prevented the festival from rising to a height of merriment when it
might become tumultuous. The opening day was one of leaden skies and
moist pavements in the forenoon, of little patches of ultramarine above
and little eruptions of noise below in the afternoon. There is one
consolation on a wet day--you can conveniently make inspection of the
extremities of dear womankind. I no longer elevate my eyebrows at the
Spanish formula of compliment to the mistress of one's affections--"I
kiss your feet." Anyone could kiss them with pleasure; they are so tiny,
shapely, and sylph-like. There surely are the "little mice" of
Suckling's ballad! Atalanta must have had ankles like those revealed
under the lifted skirts of the doncella yonder, Cinderella such another
pair of arched insteps. But one cannot contemplate them for ever, bitten
by the statuary's mania for the symmetric though he be.

On the second morning, there was a light grey fog, like the smoke after
gunpowder, on the square called "The Gate of the Sun." I have tasted the
joys of Carnival elsewhere--at Rome in Papal times and at Paris in
Imperial times--but never did the tomfoolery like me less. Muggy
weather, miserable Carnival. No showers of _confetti_, no procession of
the _bœuf gras_ even. Here and there the orchestras of the theatres,
clad in the cast-off finery of the supernumeraries thereof, parade the
streets, and make dissonance with their instruments. Very German-bandish
this dissonance sounds, with a variety of horror thrown in liberally in
the shape of tambourines and triangles. One corps of mumming musicians
is dressed as Zouaves; another might be directors of a Funeral Company,
so sad their garments; a third is got up in a costume semi-nightshirt,
semi-dressing-gown; all send out agents to tout for _backsheesh_. That
is their great point of resemblance. The masquers are few in the
streets, and, such as they are, wear their motley as if for pay, not for
pastime. They are of the usual order, Pierrots, Polichinelles, and
cavaliers, with no wigs, with powdered wigs, and with curly wigs, and
with vizors hideous or ghastly, or simply droll and grotesque. Among the
latter are some which might have been designed by Dykwnkyn for a Drury
Lane pantomime; but the individual who carried off the palm of burlesque
was an equestrian I met in the Plaza Mayor, looking like one of the men
in armour of a Lord Mayor's show with bonneted head-gear, astride of a
pot-bellied Clydesdale. Perhaps he may have been caricaturing "the
ingenious gentleman" of La Mancha. My most grateful anticipation of
Spain was, that it was behind the age, and was in no hurry to overtake
it. But this did not hold good in Madrid, and dear womankind with the
tiny feet was the culprit. She disfigured herself at that epoch with an
enormous bustle on which a Barbary ape might conveniently rehearse a
bolero. Well, we have had our Grecian bends, our crinolines and
crinolettes, our pull-backs and Piccadilly limps. Fashion spells despot
everywhere, and dear womankind will cheerfully obey its dictates, even
though she have to blur her cheeks with patches, distort her spine, or
tightlace herself into consumption.

In the afternoon a long procession of carriages (mostly hired) traverses
the Calle de Alcalá and the promenade to the left of the fountain where
Cybele is sculptured driving a pair of meekest ox-like lions; the folk
in the carriages are not wildly joyous in their dissipation, nor are the
horses that draw them restive with excitement. Everything is dull,
consequently respectable; orderly, consequently dreary. The Foresters'
_fête_ at the Crystal Palace is more hilarious. No shafts of delicate
raillery are shot by cherry lips; no peal of silvery laughter rings
out. The Carnival is "stale, flat, and unprofitable," except to those
mumming musicians who have paid sixteen shillings for the license to beg
during the three mock-mirthful days. I survey the scene from a window in
the Paseo de Recoletos, and get all my enjoyment out of the cynical
remarks of a monstrously fine Burgundian lady, who criticises the
dresses of her Spanish sisters as they glide by. The dresses are very
tasteless, but the Frenchwoman's remarks are very ill-natured, and
ill-nature is gratifying when your neighbour is its object. A friend
enters and claps me on the back.

"Do you know, old fellow, that that stormy petrel of the Revolution,
Cluseret of the Commune, is said to be in Madrid?"

"Never! What brings him here?"

"_Said_ to be, was my expression," he added. "As a fact, I don't believe
he is here, but they take you for him. That is how the tale of his
arrival has got into the papers."

The Burgundian lady turns. "Cluseret!" she ejaculates; "absurd! I have
seen Cluseret; he is much taller and much handsomer than this

I bowed to hide my face, which was what Mr. Whistler might have called a
symphony in black and red, frown and blush. I have since thought what a
caustic retort I might have made if I had said politely, "And, it is to
be hoped, much more well-bred." But I said nothing, for the same reason
that Dr. Johnson gave once to Boswell--"I had nothing ready, sir."

The panorama underneath is duller now; occasionally a foolish horseman
canters by, covered as to his person and his charger's quarters with a
flowing roquelaure of sheeny green satin; or a black-haired damsel trips
it by, with features concealed by sky-blue mask, and proportions by an
outer vesture of a painfully bright gamboge colour. I wonder is her hair
her own, and are her eyes black. Most likely they are--night eyes are
the rule here--the fair (that is the dark) sex are all going to
purgatory if the French couplet be authority:--

    "Les yeux noirs
     Vont au purgatoire."

Again fanciful reflection is broken in upon by the thrumming of guitars,
the shrill squeak of fifes, and the eternal whirr and jingle of the
tambourines and triangles, and I descend and make my way through the
fast-thickening crowds to my hotel. There, where the company, like the
waiters, is polyglot; where a noble, white-bearded English gentleman is
sandwiched between a little German professor and a Diputado to the
Congress, where French journalists sit by young American exquisites, who
are picking up notions in Europe, and mere tourists who have come to
"do" Spain in thirteen days are listening to the experiences of a mining
engineer from the West Riding of Yorkshire, who has been in the country
for thirteen years; the gossip, unlike the fun without, is fast and
furious. But as it is all of politics, and I gave the reader a dose of
that in the last chapter and may have to repeat it anon, I turn to the
windows and scan the ever-animated, always-varying picture on the Puerta
del Sol. Ladies in veils white and black, as of Genoa and Milan
respectively, pass and re-pass, gilt missals in their hands. They will
be at the masked balls to-night, for this, as I have said already, is
the home of paradox, where the announcement of the church in which the
Quarant'ore, or Forty-hours' Exposition of the Sacrament, is being held,
is printed in the same column with the theatrical advertisements. Over
the way stand a group in the national "capa." Why do they not wear
slouched and plumed beavers? To me a chimney-pot hat surmounting a cloak
is as dire an outrage on poetic association as a Venetian bravo with a
quizzing-glass. It offends the sense of fitness. What if the Madrileños
were to take to the Ulster-coat? It would make a capital Carnival
disguise at all events. But the cloak, is it not mysterious,
brigandish--tragic, if you will? Mark that loosely-built, tawny man of
dare-devil aspect on the edge, bending intently towards the excited
speaker in the middle. Something has discomposed him, for his cheeks
purple. There is an agitated flutter under the cloak, and its folds are
flung back. You expect to be startled by the blade of a stiletto, and
out comes a soiled pocket-handkerchief! It is as if Jupiter Tonans were
to threaten a thunderbolt and compromise with a sneeze.

The third day of the Carnival, Shrove Tuesday, was all that could be
desired, sunny, sprightly, bustling. The streets palpitated with
merrymakers walking, riding, or driving, most of them handsomely
dressed; the music--good, bad, and indifferent--was unceasing; the
legions of roysterers attired themselves in every conceivable vagary of
costume, even to the cheap resource of a chintz dressing-gown. They were
cheerful, but in a business-like matter-of-fact way, and as they
promenaded twirled corncrakes, jingled tin cans, and tootled horns. Few
women disgraced themselves by appearing in men's clothes. Madrid is more
continent than Paris; and, to its credit be it recorded, there was
neither drunkenness nor horse-play. In the afternoon the scene in the
Prado was kaleidoscopic in variety and beauty and motion; it had in it
the gay element of the true Carnival, and those who had held aloof
before or had been deterred from sharing in the _fête_ by the
inauspicious natural weather or by nervousness owing to the unsettled
condition of the political weather, came out fresh, frolicsome, and bent
on making up for lost time. Some of the dresses were luxurious, and
triumphantly bore the test of sunshine, which is inexorable for what is
worn or seedy or imitation. And yet there seldom was a time to which the
stereotyped figure of speech about dancing on a volcano more strikingly
applied. Electricity was in the air; the troops were under arms; the
Deputies were consulting under the protection or the threat (as the
balance of feeling might incline) of canister-stuffed cannon, and it was
quite within the range of the possible that before nightfall the cavalry
might be fetlock deep in blood, and the carnage of the Dos de Mayo be
repeated--a worse carnage, for the Spaniards who fell then were patriots
slain gloriously fighting against the foreigner, and now they would be
Spaniards killed by brothers.

The stream of pleasure was in its full force and flow when a strange
murmur followed by a succession of slight screams arrested the attention
of the merrymakers. Faces were turned inquiringly towards the point
whence the sounds came; the faces grew serious as a carriage was noticed
breaking from the ranks and driving smartly down a side-street, they
were overspread with alarm as other carriages filed off, and then, quick
as a cloud overcasts the sun, a curtain of gloom fell upon the moving
multitude. There was a halt as if by general consent, a dead silence, a
thrill of trepidation, and a rapid rush and scurry hither and thither to
shelter. Trailing skirts were caught up, vizors were thrown aside,
grey-bearded patriarchs tore off their wigs and spectacles, the fiddling
and singing came to an abrupt ending, and were replaced by curses and
shrieks; all order and courtesy were cast to the four winds of heaven.
It was a perfect tragi-comedy; a mixture of the terrible, the risible,
the ominous, the rococo. I never saw transformation so sharp. It was as
if there was no room for any less ignoble feeling in the lately jocose,
bantering throngs than self-preservation. Drivers lashed their horses
and mules and galloped off furiously; equestrians careered towards all
points of the compass; those on foot bolted into every hall-way that
stood ajar, or disappeared down the nearest openings; shrubs and flowers
were trampled upon, and in a span shorter than it takes to recount it,
the avenue of the Prado was a desert. It was fierce wholesale scamper
and stampede. The roadway and parks were strewn with fans, masks,
pocket-handkerchiefs, gloves and slippers; the entire company of
masquerading Arabs, Prussian officers, Morris dancers, Inquisitors, and
troubadours had taken incontinent flight, most of them breathless and
white; the ladies in their varied characters of gipsies, grisettes,
Galician nurses, and Court coquettes had all scudded off in such a
dismayed flutter that they had forgotten to swoon, and forfeited the
finest of opportunities of breaking into hysterics. They were really
frightened. I sought refuge (from what I knew not, whether earthquake,
hurricane or revolution) in a thick clump of bushes at the side of the
Paseo, where I stumbled over a panting make-believe toreador, and a
curious wire-woven article of ladies' dress, which latter I appropriated
as trophy. By-and-by, as no fresh cry of alarm was raised, the
bull-fighter crawled out, and I took heart of grace to return to the
centre of the town, where I learned that the scare was groundless. It
had its origin in the glitter of the bayonets of some soldiers returning
from their duties at the Palace of the Congress. Madrid was timid as a
sick girl. It struck me that if there had been genuine cause for the
panic, and that a charge had been made or a volley with lead fired,
there would have been unequalled scope for a picture of the type of
Gérôme's "Duel after the Bal Masqué," but on a more liberal
scale--Polichinelle pierced by a bayonet-thrust, the floured face of
Pierrot streaked with blood, and poor Jack Pudding sprawling in the
death-agonies in the gutter.

The festivities were prolonged to the small hours of the night, or
rather of the morning, none the less vigorously for the passing
fear-spasm in the Prado; the masked balls at the theatres were packed
with guests who enjoyed themselves, or fancied they did, which is as
much as one can reasonably expect in this mundane sphere sometimes.

The "Marseillaise" from a vibrating brass band might be heard, nay
almost felt, crashing through the glass-doors and bursting in a cataract
of sound through the drapery at the entrances of the café on the
ground-floor of the Fonda de Paris at the hour when honest burgesses
should be _tête-à-tête_ with the pillow.

On Ash Wednesday, which rose rainily, there was an augmentation in the
average of headaches, and a rise in the rates for apothecary's stuff.
The pious revellers went (with an interval for washing and change of
clothes) from the ball-room to the churches to receive the ashes.
"Remember, man, thou art but dust, and unto dust thou shalt return,"
says the priest, and smears their foreheads with the cinders of last
year's palm-branches. Another custom, peculiar to the date, the
"entierro de la sardina," was duly observed by those wicked rogues, the
non-pious revellers. The sardina is not the fish, but a portion of the
intestines of a pig, which is laid to earth with pseudo-lamentation in
token of _carne vale_, farewell to flesh-meat for forty days. With a
lugubrious affectation of grief the funeral pageant passed. It was very
profane--an undissembled mockery of a religious procession. A banner
striped pink and yellow and inscribed "á los Cubanos" was carried in
front by a fellow in West Indian negro dress with blackened face. Next
came a troop of blackened acolytes, two by two, and then a canopy such
as is borne over the Host, which canopy was held in travesty of homage
over a beer-keg. A sacrilegious choir, chanting a parody of a Gregorian
hymn, paced behind, and a gigantic blackguard, the _serpent du village_,
supplied a droning accompaniment from a bassoon. A blackened
high-priest, with a conical black hat and a cope bee-barred black and
yellow, closed the burlesque train and made believe to read a mass-book
through his pantomimic goggles. There was an attendant who rang a
funeral bell, another who tapped a muffled drum, and a third who swung
right under the nostrils of the onlookers a censer containing ground
resin made vile to the smell by some fetid compound. Occasionally the
profane rascals halted for a pull at a goat-skin of wine.

There are some queer customs, the undeniable relics of paganism, in
Spain. On Christmas-eve the streets are paraded by men rattling pots,
just as the Romans used to celebrate the row that was made in Olympus to
hide the birth of Jupiter from Saturn. In the Basque provinces they
honour the Virgin Mary under the name of Astarte, a clear loan from the
worship of Venus. As I am treating of queer customs, it is worth
chronicling that the Republicans entered the churches as soon as their
favourite Government was proclaimed and frantically rang the bells. A
Bishop took care to exorcise the Republican demon next day by carefully
sprinkling the bells with holy-water.

For all the Lent, the treacherous and trying weather, the wars and
rumours of wars, Madrid enjoyed herself, ate, drank and made merry,
flirted and gambled. The Opera, a cosy well-frequented resort of the
fashionable set, was open, and gave the _Creation_ and _L'Africaine_,
and the usual repertory of musical masterpieces of which I plead
profound technical ignorance redeemed by passionate fondness. The
soprano was that plump goddess with the dimpled double chin, fair-haired
Marie Sass. The orchestra was one of the finest I had ever heard, and
the chorus in personal appearance one of the ugliest I had ever seen,
and that, I can assure the reader, is saying much. The Zarzuela, a
play-house devoted to opera-bouffe--the sacred lamp of burlesque was not
trimmed--presented "Golden Dreams," a beautiful piece with plot and fun
not cumbered with that scenic sumptuousness which is trying to edge
acting ability off the boards elsewhere.

The respectable theatres in Madrid shut their doors on the Fridays in
Lent, and respectable theatre-goers remain at home. It is not the
correct thing to be seen pleasure-hunting on a day of mortification and
white meats. But actors must live, as well as in London. Those who are
connected with high-priced houses and are decently paid can afford to
lose one night in the week. But there are poorer followers of the
Thespian art who are in very bad case indeed, owing to this tribute to
religious scruple. If we are to be virtuous, well and good: but let us
be virtuous in earnest. We have bull-fights on the Sundays in Lent. Why
may we not enjoy the singing of Marie Sass in _Norma_ on a Lenten
Friday? This thin distinction between what is right and what is not--so
thin that men of the cold north cannot make it out--comes under the
category of those indigenous peculiarities which surpass all
understanding. Anyhow, it presses rather heavily on the humble votaries
of the sock and buskin who are attached to the middle-class houses, and
who are docked of one night's salary in every week of the seven in the
penitential season, in order that the proprieties of a public which is
not particular to a shade as to how it observes the Sabbath may be
respected. The low theatres--the Romea, where the Republic is glorified;
the Alhambra, where heels are kicked up and lewd songs are rolled forth;
the Capellanes, where monks and nuns are caricatured, have reason on
their side, at all events. They dare to be logical in their contempt for
the Church, and keep open all the year round, on Friday as on Sunday, in
the time of fasting as of feasting.

The Teatro Martin is not a low theatre nor yet is it a high-priced one.
The actors there are not rich, but the audience has some pretensions to
delicacy of taste. What is the lessee of the Martin to do during the
Lent? To rob his treasury of one night's receipts and cheat his patrons
of one night's enjoyment? That would be the last crime any spirited and
enterprising lessee would dream of committing--if he could avoid it.
From this dilemma the gentleman of the Teatro Martin has discovered an
escape. He opens his house on Fridays, but he converts it into a temple;
he reconciles amusement with religion; he produces a Passion Play! I
went to see it for the special reason that it was my privilege once to
describe the Passion Play in the Bavarian Highlands, and I was anxious
to compare one representation with the other, and, if possible, to renew
my emotions of the past.

The house was tolerably full, except the boxes, which were unoccupied,
save one by a sedate family party. Devout folk of the Latin race are
famous for the interest they take in the spectacular. They admire the
pomps of religion; and this Passion Play, which was almost a function,
had evidently brought many to the theatre who are seldom seen there on
ordinary occasions. I thought I could detect a pious bearing in the
pittites. The well-to-do persons--male and female--who sat patiently on
the mouldy benches looked serious, as if they had come to assist at a
sacrifice. There were old ladies there, I could almost take my word, who
are more often to be encountered, with morocco-bound prayer-books in
their shrivelled hands, creeping to early service. The gallery was
packed, and the gods, for gods, were gentlemanlike. There was nothing in
the aspect of the house meriting description--it was roomy, ill-lit,
full of draughts and dust--one of those houses we know so well. The
scene-painter, if the act-drop was a fair sample of his powers, was a
victim to colour-blindness; the orchestra showed a Republican freedom in
its scorn for the trammels of time and tune; but the prompter in his
hooded box, full in the middle of the range of footlights, was the
feature of the show. He had a very distinct voice--so distinct was it
that every sentence he directed to the actors rebounded from the flats,
came back in sibilant echo, and ascended to the gods. I have no
intention of giving an analysis of the piece; to speak the sad truth, it
did not come up to my expectations. Ober-Ammergau spoiled me for
exhibitions of the kind. I could not screw up my enthusiasm, tried I
ever so hard. That which charmed in Bavaria had no charm in Spain. The
stately panorama which was put before the awe-struck spectator in that
valley of the Ammer was not visible here. The blue sky overhead and the
eternal hills in sight above the walls of the simple wooden structure;
the music so tender and solemn; the clear-browed peasants losing their
identity in the fervid rendering of their parts; the enraptured
attention of the auditory, whose lips moved in prayer sometimes, and
whose eyes sometimes brimmed with tears, as if the scenes they watched
were real--those were things to be remembered. They were the points that
helped to make an impression in Bavaria, that dispelled prejudice and
replaced it with a pleased satisfaction which insensibly swelled to
admiration; but they were wanting in this stuffy play-house. No illusion
was possible. One never lost the consciousness that he was looking on at
a stage-play acted for money by indifferent stage-players. There was a
smell of paint and tobacco-smoke about. Then there was the voice of that
irrepressible prompter, the shaven faces of the hungry supernumeraries
who played the Roman soldiers, the gas-rakes, the shaky wings, the mark
of the trap-doors from which devils with a family likeness to the imps
of pantomime spring up to-night, and the statue of the Commander may
emerge to-morrow night, the scenes that would not run smoothly in the
grooves, and the stiff stereotyped exits and entrances. Everything was
of the stage, stagey. One could not get rid of the notion that Caiaphas
had dined on puchero with its flavour heightened by garlic. It was very
palpable that the Apostle Peter wore a wig and a beard of tow. Mary
Magdalen had an air of operatic resignation, and was troubled with the
arrangement of her drapery. There was a layer of pearl-powder on the
Virgin's cheeks.

I shall not bore the reader with an essay on mysteries and
miracle-plays; neither, as I have said, shall I attempt to analyse this
sacred drama, in seven acts, of "The Passion and Death of Jesus;" but I
shall take the liberty of giving an epitome of some notes, pencilled on
the spot, in the intervals of interruption by that loud prompter. The
_Pasion y Muerte de Jesus_ (that is the Spanish title) is written by Don
Enrique Zumel, who appears to have fathered as many pieces as Lope de
Vega, but whose pieces are not quite so well known. It was brought out
for the first time in this self-same Teatro Martin on the 3rd of March,
1871. It is in verse, and has some literary merit. In the main incidents
it resembles the Bavarian play, which does not deviate noticeably from
the Bible narrative. It is unnecessary, therefore, to go over the
incidents of its various acts. The Greek chorus to be remarked at
Ober-Ammergau is absent. The tableaux from the Old Testament prefiguring
events in the New are absent also. The first Act opens with a dialogue
between Magdalen and some women of Jerusalem. The Saviour, with the
Apostles, enters on the scene almost immediately after. Magdalen's
garments are rich with spangles; her mantle is scarlet; she has flowers
in her luxuriant tresses, and looks a vain creature. The Saviour is
personified by an actor with a singular likeness to Joseph Mayer, the
Bavarian Christus. Pale, clean-chiselled face, long black locks
smoothed over, downcast eyes, a meek demeanour generally--the
characteristics are identical. The voice of this man, who essayed so
awful a _rôle_, was low and sweet; and, to give him his due, he moved as
if he was filled with respect for his dangerous part. The Virgin comes
on the scene in the same Act. She is clad in blue nun-like raiment. The
people who filled up the background wore sandals, and had white towels,
swathed in folds like those of the turban, round their raven-black hair.
The entry into Jerusalem was shown, the Saviour being mounted on a white
ass. The orchestra here woke up, and played a joyous strain to a chorus

    "Con palmas y oliva
     Y alegre cantar
     Y pintados florea
     De lindos colores
     Hijas de Judá
     Llegad! Llegad!"

and terminating with a hosannah to the Redeemer. The only anachronisms
in dress that impressed me in this first Act were a silk net with which
one young person of Jerusalem confined her rebellious hair, and a strip
of black velvet which another had fastened round her throat, bringing
out the whiteness of her skin by contrast. In the second Act Caiaphas
speaks of Jesus as the fomenter of a "thousand conflicts between Church
and State." The Last Supper is pictured after Leonardo da Vinci, and
Judas comes into relief, a sullen scowler, who overdoes his part thus
early. In the garden scene in the third Act the figure of Jesus in
prayer is shown with a ray of _luz Dumont_, the lime-light of our London
stage, playing upon it! I left my seat after this, and loitered outside
till the Crucifixion scene was on. At Ammergau it was appallingly
impressive; here it was sensational purely. The drama wound up with the
bursting open of the sepulchre. I came away free from any desire to
witness Don Enrique Zumel's production again. Without absolutely
shocking one's feelings on a subject which should be sacred and
approached reverently, if at all, his Passion Play offended fine taste
throughout because of the obtrusive staginess of its action, get-up, and
surroundings. Still the actors were occasionally applauded, and the
audience left in a contented mood.

But the provisional rulers took care that those under their guardianship
should have stronger pabulum than spoon-meat.

Napoleon I., unless the tale be a legend, used to order a new coat of
gilding to be laid on the dome of the Invalides when the people of Paris
chafed under his tyranny. That gave them something to talk
about--supplied a sensation of twenty-four hours. The Spanish Republican
governors are working on the same principle. _Panes et circenses_ was
the charter of the Roman plebs, "pan y toros" is that of the plebs of
Madrid. I do not know how it is with the bread, but the rulers let the
lieges have bulls galore to occupy their minds. There are grand corridas
for professionals and amateurs. Nor is bull-fighting the only pastime
provided for the populace; cock-fighting, with game-birds from the
Canary Islands, is also carried on every Sunday morning in a pit
constructed for the purpose, mains are scientifically fought, and money
is prodigally squandered. All countries have their peculiarities. In
some, people go racing on the Lord's Day; in others they are content
with getting drunk in the bosoms of their families.

       *       *       *       *       *

writer on Spanish folk-lore, Mesonero Romanos, better known as "El
curioso parlante," who flourished some fifty years since, seems utterly
ignorant of the record of the "entierro." His account only goes to show
that Spain is the most conservative country of Europe. A huge "sardina"
placed on the top of a bier is carried by a number of fellows in
carnival costume, each of them having on his head a cone of immense
height, somewhat resembling the dunce's cap that was formerly such a
usual thing in English village-schools. In front, and at the back of the
procession, appears a crowd of young men and of girls from the slums of
Southern Madrid, in three groups, called "coros," or choirs. There is
the "coro de mancebos," or young men's choir; the "coro de doncellas,"
or girls' choir; and the "coro de inocentes," or innocents' choir. The
_locus in quo_ is that part of the south of the Spanish capital which
extends from the Vistillas de San Francisco to the Church of San
Lorenzo; for, in contradistinction to Paris, the South of Madrid is
almost exclusively inhabited by what M. Gambetta used to call the new
social strata, while Mr. Bright spoke of them many years ago as the
_residuum_. In connection with the sardina, and rising on the same
coffin, a figure of "Uncle Marcos" is carried, somewhat similar in form
to the stuffed Guy Fawkeses which are carried about in the streets of
London on the 5th of November. When the procession has reached the
Puente Toledana, the figure of Uncle Marcos is burnt on a funeral pile,
and the sardina is buried in a ditch prepared on purpose. While all this
is going on, songs intended to be parodies of the Catholic Church hymns
and canticles are chanted by the accompanying choirs, and altogether the
performance is, for all practical purposes, a parody of the Church
processions so frequent in Spain and all Southern countries. When it is
all over, a good many of the actors indulge in libations. Not
unfrequently the burial of the sardina is followed by a free fight, and
half a dozen dead or wounded are the outcome of the battle. Disgusting
as the whole performance may appear, more especially the blasphemous
simulacre of religious worship, it must be admitted in palliation that
the very idea of mocking the rites of the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman
Church never so much as enters the minds of the performers, who would
repudiate with the utmost indignation the notion of intentionally
placing themselves outside the pale of the Church, and violating the
"buenas costumbres" by what they are doing.


     Another Chat with Mentor--A Startling Solution of the Spanish
     Question--The Penalties of Popularity--The Republic another
     Saturn--The New Civil Governor--The Government Bill--Outside the
     Palace of the Congress--Providential Rain--Wild Rumours--Federal
     Threats--The Five Civil Guards--Inside the Chamber--The Great
     Debate--The Two Reports--Compromise--Minor Speechmakers--A
     Pickwickian Contention--The Division--Victory for the Ministry--The
     Five Civil Guards Trot to Stables.

On the morning of March 8th, I met my Anglo-Spanish Mentor in the
reading-room of the hotel. To my usual inquiry as to the condition of
health of the Republic, he replied that he thought we were nearing the
critical point.

"There is a cataclysm impending," he said. "We have got beyond the stage
of changing the names of streets and substituting the Hymn of Riego for
the Royal March. Everybody agrees that a _coup d'état_ is necessary, and
may be imminent; we want an intelligent despotism--but the despot must
always be a man of our own party. There is the hitch. Castelar probably
may have some amiable hobby, like Lamartine, of 'employment for adults
and education for the young.' Whatever be the sequel of the trial of
strength, I hope we may have a strong administration, not one like the
present, where the Minister of Grace and Justice is all grace and no

"Do you know," he added, after a pause, "I have an idea as to the
solution of this Spanish question?"

"What is it, pray?"


I roared with derisive laughter.

"I am serious," he continued. "This is the age of arbitration. Why not
of colossal international barter? We could rule the country as we rule
India, set Sikh against Hindoo, and play off Ghoorka against both."

"You do not reckon with Spanish pride," I said.

"Bah! The pride that lowered itself to the acceptance of foreign royalty
might condescend to pocket foreign gold."

"When Pedro brought me my chocolate this morning he told me there had
been demonstrations in some of the lower quarters."

"Yes; but they are easily accounted for. The populace do not see the
impracticable promises of the Republicans realized, and are impatient
for the millennium of liberty, equality, and fraternity, with no work
and lots to eat superadded. But the demonstration was very trivial, it
limited itself to the sticking of a red flag in front of a hall-door.
There are wicked slanderers who say that Figueras had something to do
with it, and passed the word that the 'people' should bring an outward
pressure to bear upon his brethren of the Assembly, so that he might get
rid of some of his ungrateful colleagues by the argument, 'See, you are
impossible, the people won't have you; better for the sake of order
leave, that you may avoid the humility of being sent away.'"

"Surely," I expostulated, "Señor Figueras would not descend to such a
base trick of democracy!"

"My innocent friend," said Mentor, "once a man binds himself to what is
falsely called the 'people' he has to put up with much inconvenience,
swallow his pride, and humour his exacting pet. Figueras knows this
already; he has been stopped by groups in the streets at various times,
and obliged to amuse them by small harangues, the same as if he were a
Punch-and-Judy showman, making his 'pitch' for ha'pence."

"Unpleasant situation," I remarked. "He must weary of that soon."

"Most likely his admirers will weary of him--and then," said Mentor,
with a chuckle--"then for a spell of chaos. The Republic, like Saturn,
has an ugly propensity for devouring its offspring. The mob fondles
Republicanism as its exclusive property, spreads palm-branches under the
feet of its prophets one week and stones them the next. Castelar,
Figueras, Pi y Margall, are the prophets to-day; they will be victimised
in the end. To them will succeed men more violent, who will make larger
promises, and then, finally, will spring up a strong reaction and a
return to something old-fashioned and stable."

Mentor was a thorough-paced Conservative and a pessimist into the
bargain. In order to draw him out I pleaded that the Government was
doing its best to conciliate all parties. For instance, it had appointed
Estévanez, Civil Governor of Madrid.

"Aye," said Mentor, "another evidence of the truth of what I advance.
That was done to please the Intransigentes. Estévanez is beloved of the
Reds, and took to the hills a few months ago in assertion of Federal
Republican principles. He held the rocky mountain pass of Despeñar
Perros in Andalusia, at the head of a handful of men, but he boasts that
he neither destroyed railways nor cut telegraphic wires, and holds
certificates to that effect from the railway companies and the
Government. He is an old soldier, a man of energy, and his influence
with his party in this province is paramount. If the Constituent Cortes
proclaim a moderate or a united Republic he may make himself
obstructive. But I must bid you good-day; I am off for my constitutional
in the Botanical Gardens."

The reference to the Constituent Cortes reminded me that this was the
date appointed for the consideration of the Government Bill for their
election, introduced into Congress on the night of the 4th of March.
This Bill consisted of eight articles, the most important of which were
that the elections should take place on the 10th of April and three
following days, and the meeting on the 1st of May; that all Spaniards
above the age of twenty should have votes; and that on the suspension of
the session of the existing Cortes a permanent committee from their
members, with consultative functions, should be appointed for the
interregnum. It was felt that this was throwing down the glove, and the
lines were now marshalling for the tug of war. The Radicals are
disquieted. They know that if they go to the country not one-third of
them will be returned, for the reason that whoever holds the Ministry of
the Gobernacion, or Interior, in this paradise of universal suffrage can
return the nominees of his party, and determine their majorities with
mathematical certainty. Ministers act illegally in the article which
provides that men of twenty may vote. The young men are the main
strength of Republicanism everywhere, and this article at a single
arbitrary scratch of the pen adds half a million electors to the rolls.
Hitherto the right of voting was restricted to males who had attained
twenty-five years. The Radicals object to this sweeping alteration in
the law, made with the distinct object of defeating their chances; and
the hatred of those half-million of young men thus sought to be
enfranchised by the new Republic will be acquired to the Radicals from
the very fact of their opposition.

When the hour for opening the Congress came, the building looked more
like a barrack than a House of Parliament. A grim Guardia Civil, in a
three-cornered hat, stood sentry, with fixed bayonet, at the side-door
in the Calle de Turco, by which the Deputies enter. At every window men
in uniform were to be seen; officers with jangling scabbards moved about
the lobbies and ante-rooms, instead of the usual moody, sallow, shabby
crowd of taciturn waiters on Providence, muffled in mantles and hidden
in smoke, who hang about for hours, and occasionally pass mysterious
slips of paper by the liveried and silver-laced ushers to Señor Don This
or That within.

What can their business be? I often puzzle myself by asking. Have they
claims on Government for ancestral property gone down in the Armada? Are
they pretenders to the succession in a licence to sell tobacco and salt
in Minorca? Or are they simply intriguing for a ticket to the House? The
problem waits for solution.

They are not here to-day. In their places are the soldiers who watch
over the safety of the representatives of the people. Luckily it is wet,
and the crowds outside cower and huddle under a camp of umbrellas. Your
persistent drizzle is a terrible enemy to revolution. There is nothing
like it for putting a damper on noisy out-of-door agitation. But the
occasion is a great one, and though the clouds seem to have been
transformed into tanks with bottoms pepper-castored with leaks, and
never tire of the weary drip-drip, the citizens of Madrid bravely
affront the weather and collect on the sloppy approaches to the Palace
of the Congress to discuss the affairs of the commonwealth. They look
resolute enough to go under a shower-bath in the interest of their
country. Patiently they stand, with knit brows, their soaked mantles
clinging to their persons, while the Deputies drive or walk up, and
enter to take part in the important discussion at hand--the discussion
which is to decide whether there are to be barricades in Madrid and in
all the great cities, and some widows the more in Spain within
four-and-twenty hours.

Denser grow the throngs and livelier the excitement, for all the rain.
Reports the most eccentric and alarming are bandied about. The people
have burned down the churches in Malaga; but Malagueño, "as everybody
knows," remarks a French journalist, "is the synonym for _méchant_." In
another knot a rumour circulates that a meeting of Radicals had been
held the evening previous, at which the German, Austrian, and Italian
ambassadors were present, and that they spoke of the necessity of a
joint intervention to assist in the restoration of peace. This senseless
rumour was believed by some fools, and the Radicals who were supposed to
be ready to open the door to the foreigner were cursed and hissed, or
howled at, as they stepped into the Palace. Word passes that the
Intransigentes are in arms in the lower quarters of the town, and have
taken up "strategic points" in view of any emergency that may arise. If
the Government is beaten they mean to raise the red flag, to occupy the
theatres as they did once before, to turn the Plaza Santa Ana and the
Plazuela de Anton Martin into head-quarters, and, if necessary, to march
on the Parliament-house and make an example of those traitorous Radicals
who would betray the people and bring back the Monarchy. Law-fearing
Madrid is in a state of wan terror, and thanks Providence for that
thrice-blessed rain. The men who compose the noisy groups belong to the
lower classes; they are not very numerous, but they are very determined.
The active demonstration is confined to a nucleus of some one hundred
and fifty persons. Delegates occasionally arrive from distant parts of
the town, whisper to comrades in the mob, and depart. It is known that
the troops are confined to barracks, that a hundred picked men of the
Guardia Civil have reinforced the garrison of the Palace of Congress,
and that Señor Martos has not quitted it since the previous night.

Try and realise to yourself a crowd from Clerkenwell Green surging and
yelling angrily in the open space before Westminster Hall, a battalion
of the Coldstreams keeping watch and ward on the faithful Commons, and
Mr. Speaker, for reasons of personal security, compelled to have a
shakedown in the House!

At half-past three o'clock the flag is run up to the head of the staff
on the roof, but it droops limp and woebegone in the wet. The Assembly
is in session. The waiting crowds increase; the windows commanding a
view of the Palace are filled, and the pavements of the streets
contiguous are black with anxious loiterers, in spite of the detestable
weather. News of what is going on inside the Chamber escapes by
driblets; as soon as a Deputy or a reporter comes out he is button-holed
and interviewed.

"The Radicals hold firm," says one, and there is a howl of rage, and the
chattering _flâneurs_, who linger on the pavement at a safe distance,
stir their heels with a rare unity of sentiment. "Devil take the
hindmost!" is the motto of these dignified burgesses of Madrid when a
cry of danger is raised; bang go the shutters against the shop-windows
in a jiffy.

At one period the attitude of the crowd immediately opposite the
entrance of the Palace boded ill; cries of "Viva la República Federal!"
and "Death to the Radicals!" were raised, and Señor Estévanez, the Civil
Governor of Madrid, was obliged to come out and speak to his pet lambs,
and pacify them with the assurance that the Federal Republic was safe.
Five mounted Civil Guards took up their stations at the mouth of the
Calle de Turco after this, and stood there silent, statue-like, with
drawn swords in their gauntleted grip, until day had melted into
twilight, and twilight into night. These five cavaliers, in their heavy
cloaks, blacker than the darkness around, had really something
supernatural in their grisly quietude as they rested stock-still in
their saddles. Their mission was ominous of evil; they were there an
ugly index of what was feared. Had they found it necessary to clap spur
to their horses and plunge upon the mob, I would not have given much for
their lives. Those five "lost sentinels" were sure to have been picked
off before their comrades on foot could have sallied from the adjacent
building to their rescue. Sinister-looking fellows, in jackets and fur
caps, with rifles slung across their shoulders, were not ensconced in
the street-corners in easy range without a purpose.

The scene inside the Chamber gave equal token that a question of vital
interest was being debated. The gallery assigned to the public was
crammed as closely as the pit of Drury Lane on Boxing Night; the press
gallery ran over with reporters; every seat available was full but those
reserved for the ambassadors. Their seats were empty; not even the
war-worn figure of General Sickles was to be distinguished. Cristinos
Martos, looking anxious but firm, was in the presidential chair; and the
halberdiers in purple and gold, with their heavy silver maces and
nodding white plumes, occupied their accustomed places to the right and

The President rings his bell for business. The first operation is to
read the minutes of the previous sitting, which are approved. Then one
of those obstructive members to be encountered in every legislative
assembly--be it Reichsrath, Rigsdag, Skupstina, or Storthing--rises to
take his little innings on some petty topic that concerns none beyond
his own small circle. He is quickly bowled out, and the order of the day
is arrived at--that for which we are all waiting, that which makes this
one of the most serious and important sittings since the abdication of
the King. The reading of the reports of the committee was first
proceeded with, that of the majority taking precedence. This document
was rather long, but may be summarised into a lament that the Government
intended to make the permanent committee a purely consultative body; a
declaration that the time was unsuitable for an election, civil war
being actually carried on in Spain; and a protest that the clause
establishing twenty as the age from which the privilege of voting dated
was "an abuse and an irregularity." It concluded with a project of law,
in a single article, binding the Assembly to convoke the Cortes whenever
it considered the condition of the country such as to guarantee freedom
of suffrage and the interests of the Republic.

Primo de Rivero's report was then read. He based it on the conviction
that the transitory period should be closed in the interest of domestic
order, and that the Constituent Cortes would be the true representation
of the national will. To effect conciliation, he would submit a bill
fixing May 10th as the period of election, June 1st as that of the
meeting of the Cortes, and twenty-one as the age at which Spaniards
should have power to exercise electoral rights.

The consideration of the report of the minority, which was looked on as
an amendment, came first.

The Chief of the Executive Power, Figueras, himself opened the
discussion. The Government had presented a bill so framed that they
hoped it would satisfy the divers aspirations of the Assembly. They
thought they could go no further, but since Primo de Rivero had seen fit
to draw up his conciliatory report they had resolved to modify their
primitive proposition in certain particulars, such as the definition of
the faculties of the permanent committee and the date of the elections.
But that was the extreme limit of compromise. They would stand or fall
by the vote about to be given. If the Chamber gave them its support they
would proceed with the rude task of administration, and they were
resolved firmly to sustain order, military discipline, and the majesty
of the law. Here Señor Figueras branched off into a schoolboy digression
as to what the law was, and how it should be administered. Coming to the
real point, he said if Primo de Rivero's bill were rejected, the Cabinet
would hand in its resignation, and would ask the representatives to name
its successors on the spot, for in those critical moments a solution of
continuity in power would be attended with grave risks.

Señor Guardia then rose to deny that the existing Chamber had fulfilled
its mission, and that the opportune time had arrived for the election of
another. The very Government itself had made avowal to that effect.
Certain bills remained to be discussed and voted. Besides, had they not
other duties of greater necessity? What was the state of the country? An
armed absolutism prevailed in some provinces; Catalonia recognised no
chiefs but those of the locality (here there were interruptions). In
the cities of the South, the public forces had abandoned their arms to
persons more or less authorised in some of them, and in others the
partition of sacred property had been announced. In the heart of Castile
and Andalusia the ayuntamientos had to resign in the presence of
superior force. Under those circumstances no elections could be carried
on with liberty. And, as if this were not sufficient, there was an
article which added 400,000 electors to the register. This was an
aggravation of difficulties when mistrust was supreme everywhere. The
majority of the reporting committee (of which he formed part) believed
that the initiative of a convocation of the Cortes should come, not from
the Government, but from the Chamber. The destruction of the elements
which were not represented in the Government was what was sought by this
call for a new Chamber.

Primo de Rivero then explained his position, which was curious. He, a
member of the Radical party, disagreed with his colleagues; but his
motive was the salvation of the Republic. If his bill were not
accepted, the disasters that would fall upon the country would be
tremendous and immediate. This plump declaration created what is called
"sensation." The General next reviewed the different solutions which
offered themselves. A new Cabinet of Republicans of long standing was
not to be thought of, and a mixed Cabinet would be a calamity. One other
solution remained, the formation of a Cabinet from the Radical majority.
With all respect he would ask, Did that majority possess the moral
authority to raise the standard of Republicanism? Did they recollect
that their former chief, Ruiz Zorilla, called them cowards because they
were about to proclaim the Republic? He repudiated the accusation.

Here there was a row, which recalled to mind that famous one between Mr.
Pickwick and Mr. Blotton, of Aldgate. Señor Juan Ramon Zorilla rose to
defend his absent relative. After a call to order, and a palaver, during
which Primo de Rivero explained that he was speaking merely of Señor
Zorilla the politician, but that Señor Zorilla personally was all that
was honourable and patriotic, the discussion flowed back into its proper

The General frankly admitted that the Radicals lacked moral authority.
"Now," he said, "we are Republicans, but a month ago we were
Monarchists." He then related with an ingenuousness that was remarkable
in a professed friend, all the faults his party had committed, and
prophesied that if a Radical Cabinet were formed it would not last three
days. Who knows what might occur? Interruptions punctuated the soldier's
discourse, but he turned round and told those who did not like what he
said, that prudence was better than valour when valour was stupid and
made reckless exposure of lives. He wound up by asking the
representatives to seek inspiration in their patriotism and love of
liberty, and support his bill, which he confessed was his in spirit
only, and had not been drawn up by him but by members of the Government.

These opening orations of the champions of the two parties in the
committee, the majority of six, and the minority of one, give the pith
of the arguments _pro_ and _con_. Then followed talkee-talkee by
obscurities--speechlets of the maundering school, habitual of nights in
St. Stephen's, when wise men betake themselves to the terrace, and the
stenographers yawn and chew their pencils. A Republican editor declared
that the Republican press was all that was lovely, and a Deputy from
Barcelona affirmed that the city by the Mediterranean was a model of
tranquillity (why was there a loud "haw-haw" here?). One of the Zorilla
family rose to defend his absent namesake a second time, and Señor
Lopez, chairman of the reporting committee, asseverated that the
Radicals had no yearning for office, that the Government should be
satisfied with an Assembly so liberal and so much inclined to help it,
and that if anarchy were to be the issue, the waters of the Jordan would
not wash the men who ruled of the responsibility. Then Cristinos Martos
descended from his tribune, and said he would accept any arrangement
which would secure peace. The crisis had come. The question by which the
Ministry had elected to stand or fall was put to the test, and exactly
nineteen Radicals, less than a score out of over two hundred, voted in
the opposition.

So the Republicans retain their seats and bloodshed is averted. The
mercy is due, not to the goodness of the cause, nor to the persuasive
pleadings of its advocates, but to the intimidation of the mob. The
Radical majority were the judges, and the judges were cowed by the
rabble of the streets and their spokesmen in the Chamber. The Radical
majority had it in their power to put the Republicans off the coveted
blue benches of the Treasury; but the Radical majority, feeling that
there were no strong arms outside to back them, "caved in." That is the
plain way of putting it. Five members out of every six in the house were
Radicals, six out of seven of the sections of the house were Radical.
Those sections, or standing committees, are drawn by lot on the first of
every month, and all members must belong to one or other of them. Every
bill that is presented must be referred to a committee composed of seven
members, one selected by each section. Six of the members of the
committee to report on the bill of dissolution presented by Señor
Figueras were Radicals; one solitary member, General Primo de Rivero,
recalled from fighting the Carlists in Guipúzcoa, favoured the
Government. The Opposition stood to the Ministry as six to one. And the
Opposition being thus strong, the Ministry had beaten it! The wonder
ceases when it is recollected that the hands of the majority were tied;
every plan was tried to influence them into not ousting the
Ministry--coaxing and cajolery, appeals to their love of peace and
country, and ultimately threats. As result, when it came to the "who
shall?" they did not sustain the convictions they had openly expressed
on all previous occasions. Peradventure this was patriotism,
peradventure it was prudence.

The debate was over. It was ten o'clock. The crowd raised exultant
shouts and dispersed to their homes, to the clubs, or to the
coffee-houses, where there was soon a file-fire of hand-claps to summon
the waiters and a Babel of voluble jabber. The five ghostly cavaliers
outside the Palace of the Congress started to life, sheathed their
sabres, caught up their bridles, and returned to their stables.

The Republic had been reprieved. What a sigh of relief San Isidro
Labrador, patron of Madrid, must have heaved.


     The Inventions of Don Fulano de Tal--Stopping a Train--"A Ver Fine
     Blaggar"--The Legend of Santa Cruz--Dodging a
     Warrant--Outlawed--Chased by Gendarmes--A Jack Sheppard Escape--The
     Cura becomes Cabecilla--Sleeping with an Eye Open--Exploits and
     Atrocities--Dilettante Carlists in London--The Combat of
     Monreal--Ibarreta's Relics--A Tale for the Marines--The Carlists

Every other day--every other hour, I might almost say--a new rumour was
born in Madrid. These rumours were usually figments, always
exaggerations. If one were to inquire into their origin Don Fulano de
Tal, the Man in the Street, was certain to have assisted as
_accoucheur_. Alas! truth in Spain is coyest of sparrows, and to be
caught must have not a grain but a whole bushel of salt shaken over its
tail. Don Carlos was always turning up somewhere like a bad shilling.
Were he to be where he was said to be, he must have been a supernatural
Don Carlos--must have inherited the seven-leagued boots of fairy tale,
as his brother had the invisible cloak, for he was here, there,
everywhere, and nowhere, at one and the same time. But wherever hovered
the Pretender, or the "heir presumptuous," as a Spanish acquaintance,
not well up in English as "she is spoke," persisted in calling him, or
whatever he may have been doing, there could be no doubt that some of
his followers were in the field and alarmingly active. On the 13th of
March, the capital was furious at the official news that communication
with France and the rest of Europe by the north had been cut. Vitoria
was the limit of Spain now; beyond it was the troublous No Man's Land,
where the legends of Manuel Santa Cruz and his desperadoes abounded. He
it was who had ripped up the rails near Tolosa, and waited for the
accident which was sure to occur when the first train travelling towards
the frontier would arrive. Four inoffensive passengers were hurled into
eternity. The excuse for the conduct of this minister of peace was that
these trains carried troops. If the railway company would pay him a
tribute and engage to carry no troops, Santa Cruz, who is accommodating,
would let them pass freely. The company was willing, for these
interruptions were killing the dividends, but the Government objected.
In common justice to the more intelligent members of the party this
soldier-priest disgraced, it should be admitted that they cursed him
loudly and deeply. His conduct was bringing his order into disrepute.
For instance, in Vitoria, near his own hunting-ground, when the Republic
was proclaimed, the Civil Governor dropped a hint that it would be
necessary to "exterminate the highwaymen of the black soutane." The
priests of the town got so frightened that they did not dare to show
themselves in the streets. But they were in no danger, though the
merciless Manuel was doing what he could to make the priests' garb
unpopular. A Carlist paper in Madrid, with some conscience left, had the
honesty to say Manuel was not a credit to his cloth, and that Don Carlos
did not approve of the many savage acts he had committed. Manuel sent
the editor a letter, with his compliments, promising to teach him better
manners than to speak ill of the absent when he came to Madrid! The
general anticipation, based on a fond hope, was that if Manuel ever did
come to Madrid, it would be strapped on a hurdle. But he had his
admirers, nevertheless. My friend, the Duke de Fitzpepper, swore in his
execrable execrating English that he was a "cottam ver fine blaggar--oh,
ye-es! _tous qu'il y avait de plus crâne, mon cher!_" From one of these
admirers who knew his family, I obtained an interesting epitome of his

Santa Cruz was born at Elduayen in Guipúzcoa in 1842. An aged uncle gave
him some lessons in Latin, and placed him in an ecclesiastical seminary,
where he seems to have principally devoted himself to the practice of
athletic exercises. He came out in 1866 a clerk and a gymnasiarch rolled
in one, and was appointed to the pastoral charge of Hernialde, a cluster
of houses near Tolosa. He attended zealously to the duties of his
ministry, leading a simple, frugal life with his sister; but when
stories of the struggles of Zumalacárregui and Gonzales Moreno in the
previous Carlist war were recounted by the wide hearth, it was noticed
that the priest's eyes blazed like the faggots sputtering in
flame-spikes towards the chimney-top. He was a Monarchist of the Basque
stamp by race, by education, by conviction. He should have been a
warrior, not a preacher of the Gospel; but if the circumstances which
produce the man had not arisen, he might have vegetated and died in
obscurity in his mountain village. The circumstances arose in August,
1870. A revolt of the four provinces of Alava, Guipúzcoa, and Biscay
(the Basques or Vascongadas), and Navarre, was to take place in that
month. At the outset it was rendered abortive by the treachery of a
Colonel Escoda. It broke out on the 27th of August, and was suppressed
on the following day. Santa Cruz, whose opinions were well known to the
party, had been asked to watch over a depot of arms which had been
collected for the insurgents at Hernialde. His share in the plot was
betrayed, and one morning, as he was celebrating Divine Service, his
church was entered by a party of soldiers who waited at the foot of the
altar until he had finished the ceremony.

"In the name of the law, follow me," said the officer in command; "I
have a warrant for your arrest from Madrid."

"Very well," said the Cura; "but surely you will allow me to breakfast
first, unless they ordered you to take me captive on an empty stomach."

This was murmured in a tone so dulcet and injured that the officer
hastened to assure the clergyman that he might breakfast, and
accompanied him to the presbytery.

"Sin ceremonia," said the Cura, "will you condescend to share my meal?"

"Thanks, very much."

The priest entered the house; the soldiers waited outside, and argued
that it was an infernal shame and a piece of tyranny on the part of Prim
and the rest to have ordered such a harmless, nice man to be clapped
into gaol. Presently a peasant with a basket of fruit on his head came
out of the house. The soldiers waited long. They waited in vain. The
peasant and the priest were one and the same.

For two years Santa Cruz wandered in the mountains and in France, was
"on his keeping," as they say in Munster, but was finally arrested and
interned at Nantes, by the French authorities. A characteristic story
was related of his arrest. He was stopped on the bridge between St. Jean
de Luz and Cibour by two gendarmes.

"Your papers?" demanded one.

"My papers! Wait till I look for them," answered Santa Cruz, not in the
least disconcerted.

He fumbled in his pockets, turned them inside out, tapped the lining of
his clothes, searched high and low, pretending to be very much
astonished that he could not discover the document; and, suddenly, while
the gendarmes, thrown off their guard, were speaking to one another,
made a spring sideways, and was off like a bolt from a bow, the agents
of authority pounding after him in their clumsy jack-boots. The chase
lasted an hour, to the intense amusement of all the idlers of the town;
but a peasant, not grasping the true state of affairs, clutched the
panting Santa Cruz and held him until the arrival of the gendarmes.

In 1872, when Don Carlos again made appeal to arms, Santa Cruz succeeded
in evading notice, and crossing the frontier, attached himself as
chaplain to the band of Recondo. The Pretendiente himself entered by the
pass of Vera, but was surprised at Oroquieta, in Navarre, by General
Moriones, who defeated him on the 4th of May, and withered his hopes for
that time. The convention of Amorovieta followed, arms were given up by
thousands, and the factions, or partidas, dispersed to their homes.
Santa Cruz returned to France. After a week's interval he re-entered
Spain, and joined a body of the insurgents who still ranged the hills in
Guipúzcoa. One day he missed his companions in a forced march, and fell
into an ambuscade.

"I am Santa Cruz," he said to the soldiers, unquailingly, "do what you
will with me."

He was pinioned and led to the nearest village.

The commandant of the detachment, one Urdanpilleta, went up to his
prisoner and said to him, with an inexcusable pettiness of sarcasm:

"My good lad, you are out of luck. In a few hours you are safe to be

"All right. We shall see about that," stoically answered Santa Cruz.

The priest was led into a large two-storied house, and thrust into a
room near the garret, there to enter on his preparation for death. There
was a bed in the room, and from the sheets on that bed Santa Cruz made
the rosary on which to tell his litany, which was not one for the dying.
He tore them up, twisted them, tied them together, and letting himself
out of the window as far as his improvised rope would go, dropped into
the arms of a couple of friends beneath. Before the alarm could be given
he was up to his neck in a marsh, where his head was concealed by a rank
growth of rushes. After an enforced bath of twelve hours he sought
refuge with a wood-cutter, who helped him to pass over by night into
France. The tale of his escape added to his fame. He was no longer a
cura, he was a cabecilla--a born leader in partisan warfare. The
Carlists still kept the field in Catalonia, but in the north-west all
was apparently over. Order reigned as in Warsaw. Nevertheless, it was
felt that a spark would rekindle a conflagration. Santa Cruz was the

"If I had only thirty men at my back, I'd lift the flag again," Santa
Cruz was overheard to boast.

The thirty men presented themselves; and, on the 1st of December, 1872,
the irrepressible priest, now surnamed the Peter the Hermit of Carlism,
recrossed the frontier. Six days afterwards he stopped the mail train a
few miles outside San Sebastian, and Madrid learned with stupor that the
Carlist insurrection had flared up anew.

"That was virtually the knell of the Savoy dynasty," said my informant,
"and Santa Cruz it was who tolled the knell."

This notable individuality must have the rare magnetic power of
compelling men to follow and believe in him, and of winning over their
fidelity. His band of thirty has now swelled to five hundred, as devoted
as ever were the Highlanders of Preston and Falkirk. He believes in his
star; and he does not believe in carrying on hostilities with kid-gloves
on his hands. Vitriol is more in his line than rose-water. I should very
much like to meet Santa Cruz. He is said to be as agile as Mina, a
wonderful walker, and to share all the fatigues and privations of his
followers. He accomplished an almost incredible journey across the
craggy hills and ravines, from Tafalla in Navarre to the confines of
Biscay, in sixteen hours. At sunset, when the halt is called, and the
provisions are distributed, the guerrilleros assemble round their chief,
who resumes for a time the character of the Cura of Hernialde. Evening
devotions are repeated, and prayers are offered for his Majesty King
Charles VII., the Much-Desired; for Spain and her rescue from the
monster of anarchy; for the dead, and for those who are next to die on
the "campo de honor." The devotions ended, the priest again becomes the
partisan-chief, and praises or blames his soldiers; and then the guards
are set, and the guerrilleros, wrapped in their blankets, take a final
pull at the wine-skin, and sink to rest upon the heather. Long after the
band has been shrouded in mist lethargic, the figure of Santa Cruz may
be seen looming against a rock, upright but for the head, which is
supported by a huge gnarled staff. In his hand he grasps a key. When the
benumbed or listless fingers part and release that key four times,
Santa Cruz gives the rousing signal, the guerrilleros start to their
feet, and the line of march is again taken up.

Is it not all delightfully romantic? If the late Miss Jane Porter, who
wrote that prized book of truant youth, "The Scottish Chiefs," were only
to have encountered this pretty man, she would have swooned with the joy
of authorship. Had Harrison Ainsworth but dreamed of such unconventional
possibilities, he would never have debased his intellect to the
glorification of a vulgar prison-breaker like Jack Sheppard. But the
only craftsman of the pen who could have risen to the height of the
theme was he who wove the gold-shot tale of "Paul Clifford."

The latest news we hear of the Carlist priest is that a woman was shot
by his orders at Escoriaza.[A] On second thought I am not so sure that I
should very much like to meet Santa Cruz. And at this very period,
while the shrieks of a fusilladed female were ringing in the air, a
fussy committee of dilettante Carlists, sitting in London, protested
that the sacred cause of legitimacy was advancing by lawful, chivalric,
and immaculate means only! From the snug security of their back-parlour
they wrote letters to the papers denying the "wanton" destruction of
railway-stations by the Carlists. The flames were still undulating over
the station of Santa Olla, between Burgos and Pancorbo, while the ink
was wet on that inspired refutation! There are factories of falsehood
elsewhere than in Spain.

A cabecilla had warned the station-masters in Guipúzcoa that all
railway-servants who durst perform their work would be shot, and that
all trains which had the hardihood to move would be given over to the
flames; and Lizárraga, an ex-field-officer of the regular army, had
calmly notified to the alcaldes of the province that he would fine them
what would be the equivalent of a hundred pounds sterling with us the
first time they failed to advise him of the movements of troops, and
that he would stick them up against a wall and put a bullet through
their heads for the second offence. Passports through the Carlist lines,
formally drawn up, sealed, and signed, were for sale for ten duros
(about two pounds sterling) in bureaux transparently dissembled, and met
with ready purchasers. The article was cheap, if only as a curiosity.
Here is the textual copy of an announcement in _La Esperanza_, a
recognised and tolerated Carlist organ of Madrid:

"The direction of the Northern Railway Company having failed to observe
the neutrality ordered respecting the conveyance of troops and stores of
war, the Carlists, we are assured, cut the line yesterday at four points
in the province of Guipúzcoa."

The Republic that permitted a newspaper published under its nose thus to
talk of rebels against its authority "ordering" the railway companies
not to convey troops was not arbitrary, to my thinking. But Spain is an
enigma. An English Government would hardly permit a journal to speak of
the operations of a Fenian band in the same terms.

There could be no concealment of the fact that the adherents of Charles
VII., king _in nubibus_, were making headway.

On the 9th of March a combat was fought at Monreal, a village on the
slope of a hill to the south-east of Pampeluna, between the factions of
Dorregaray, Ollo, Perula, and others, and the regulars under Nouvilas,
the General who had set out from the capital with such a grandiloquent
farewell speech. Pampeluna is distant sixteen hours by rail. The account
of the combat, the most important since Oroquieta, was published in the
official journal four days afterwards.

In the interval the Carlist papers at Madrid had been singing hosannas
over an alleged victory of their friends, and boasting that the
Republican General had lost his artillery. The Republican Government did
not suppress those papers. As a matter of course, Nouvilas claimed the
victory for himself. Victories are always claimed by both sides in this
civil struggle. To get near truth one must read the narratives for and
against, compare and balance them, and by jealous analysis of evidence
it is possible one may light, in a haphazard way, on something vaguely
resembling what actually happened.

The report of Nouvilas is before me as I write. He estimated the enemy
at 2,500 infantry and 200 cavalry. His own force, consisting of a
battalion of the Chasseurs of Porto Rico, two companies of the
Guadalajara infantry, a section of mountain artillery (two guns, I take
it), a couple of sections of the Hussars of Pavia, and one of the
Lancers of Numancia, made up a total of about 600 foot and 80 horse. The
combat lasted through two hours of darkness, and Nouvilas, although
bragging that he dislodged the Carlists, has to admit that he was unable
to follow up his success. Reason: his troops had marched eight leagues
without food or rest! A league is 4,565 English yards; multiply that by
eight, and I think it will be suspected that the tale of Nouvilas was
intended for the amphibious branch of the service. He confesses to a
loss of one superior officer (Colonel Don Manuel Ibarreta, of the Staff
Corps), and five rank and file killed, three officers and fifty-three
wounded, six _contused_, and four missing.

An anecdote casts a lurid light of disclosure on the discipline of this
victorious column. The Staff Corps have a museum at Madrid, and were
anxious to procure some relics of their comrade who had "died gloriously
while holding a hazardous position with singular courage." All they
could get was his cap and sash. His boots were pulled off, his pockets
rifled, and every little article he possessed, to his English lever
watch, was appropriated--doubtless by soldiers who were desirous of
souvenirs of so gallant a gentleman.

Certain inferences were to be drawn from the report of Nouvilas. The
Carlist position was admirably chosen, the leaders took proper
precautions against surprise, and the men fought with dogged pluck. They
must have been badly equipped, since they left behind them firearms of
every description. They are armed anyhow; some carry fowling-pieces,
some blunderbusses, and some fight with sticks and stones, as the return
of those six soldiers contused establishes. The General had
breechloaders and mountain howitzers; hussars and cuirassiers supported
his infantry; and yet these rebels of the hills held their own for two

Even on his own showing the victory of the Republican commander was
poor, and dearly purchased. At one time he admits he was encircled by
the enemy, and had to unsheath in self-defence. He reports four men
missing--that means captured; and, though having routed his foes, he can
only point to thirteen prisoners and two dead horses! The Carlists fled
"precipitately," but they appear to have had leisure to carry off their
wounded with the exception of sixteen. Reference to Carlists supposed to
be wounded, coupled with the silence about those supposed to be dead, is
remarkable. Were there none killed? General Nouvilas, instead of going
forward next day, returned to Pampeluna to indite a despatch in which he
directly commends his own four sons, and indirectly praises himself. He
has been laid up with sore throat since, and has been unable to resume
his prosecution of the dislodged and dispersed enemy. I begin to think
these Carlists, as my landlord at Beasain predicted, "will give more


     Barbarism of Tauromachy--A Surreptitious Ticket--The
     Novillos--Islington _not_ Madrid--Apology for
     Cock-Fighting--Maudlin Humanity--The Espada a Popular Idol--In the
     Bull-Ring--A Precious "Ster-oh"--The Trumpets Speak--The
     Procession--Play of the Quadrille--The Defiance--"Bravo,
     Cucharra!"--"Bravo, Toro!" The Blemish of the Sport--An Indignant
     English Lassie.

Constantine, the porter at the Fonda de Paris, asked me one forenoon
would I like to take a ticket for a bull-fight. He had an excellent one
(excellent batch, he meant) to dispose of "in the shade." I stared at
him indignantly, nodded my head in the same vein, but winked as I passed
through the hall and sprang up the stairs. An English clergyman and his
daughter, who had expressed an abhorrence for tauromachy in my presence,
had overheard Constantino's temptation, and hence my behaviour.

"Tauromachy!" the dear old minister argued. "What can you expect, sir,
from a people who have to buckle two languages in double harness to find
a name for their brutal practice? 'Tis illegitimate, sir, like the
derivative. _Taurus_ is Latin, μἁχη is Greek; the compound is

I bowed, for Emmeline was seemly, with a delicate elegance, and she
looked up with a pleased and almost triumphant look, as much as to say,
Papa is not one of your common persons, but a mighty learned dignitary

That was why Constantine waited his opportunity to slip the ticket into
my hands in a corridor, explaining that a seat in the shade was a
privilege not to be despised, as the sun at the other side flung a glare
on the spectator that dazzled his view; besides, it was broiling and
headachy to sit for hours in its rays.

"I knew you would go the first chance you had," said Constantine; "I
read it in your eyes as you gloated over the pictures of the sport in
the hall. They make a magnificent fan, or you could hang them up on the
wall in your house in England; I can let you have a lot a bargain. I
was sure of it when you stopped opposite the placard of the corrida
outside, and shook yourself with joy."

Constantine was a good judge of human nature. I would as soon think of
visiting Madrid and not seeing a bull-fight, as of visiting
Constantinople and not hunting after the dancing dervishes; Kandy, and
not gazing on the Perra Harra procession; London in the season, and not
going to the Military Tournament.

But, as I afterwards learned, the weather was still too cold for the
genuine game; this might be regarded as a rehearsal, but was patronized
by the connoisseurs, as there were openings for criticism on the style
of novices, and estimates as to who had in them the stuff of coming men.
The bull wants the ardent heats of midsummer to fire him for the combat.
The true season begins with a late Easter-tide, when the kings of the
herd, fresh from the meadows, have arrogant blood careering in their
veins, and are supple in the limbs. To stimulate them now, the dogs or
the banderillas de fuego, both alien to true tauromachy, would have to
be called in. This is but the heyday of the novillos, the unripe
beasts, with india-rubber or wooden balls blunting their half-developed
horns, who are sent into the arena to be at the mercy of youths
ambitious to become chulos. The novillos prance and frisk and toss their
adversaries; it is a frolic and no more. Months afterwards I saw a band
of blind mendicants armed with long sticks descend into the ring at
Murcia, and succeed, some of them, in keeping off the novillos. As well
as giving youngsters the favour of familiarizing themselves with the
capa, used to irritate the bull, this practice puts the animal himself
into good wind, and teaches him what he has to expect when he is
admitted into the pit of the amphitheatre for the final tussle. Your
common bull is not apt for these duels; he must be a bull of race,
haughty and high-spirited, before he is welcomed as a gladiator
_moriturus_. There are stock-breeders in Castile and Andalusia renowned
for the superb stamp of their cattle; and of these, not the least
renowned is a noble count who bears the name and is a descendant of
Christopher Columbus. But the immature tomfoolery has no more
resemblance to the stern, actual diversion than a donkey-race has to the
Derby. The description in "Childe Harold" is spirited, but has been
pared down to accommodate itself to the exigencies of rhyme. Byron when
he wrote it must have had a spasm of squeamishness. But that must have
been a gorgeous function at the marriage of Isabella, when a public
square was converted into an amphitheatre, Toro was monarch for days
consecutive, and the bonniest cavaliers of Spain, clad in jackets
glimmering with gems, entered the lists against him.

In England, where patronizing leading-articles are indited about those
semi-civilized Spaniards, whenever a toreador is injured in the exercise
of his profession, nothing would seem to be really known about the
sport, and yet there is a self-sufficient assumption among persons
called "well-informed" that they know all about it. Speaking once with a
colleague of the press at Madrid, the representative of a very great
English paper, I was told almost the only instructions he had received
on leaving London were not to write anything of bull-fighting, or
"hackneyed rubbish of that sort." Yet no nearer approach to
bull-fighting has ever been witnessed in England than a silly simulacrum
at the Agricultural Hall. The first calf that was enlarged from the
make-believe toril on that occasion quietly proceeded to nibble a scrap
of paper on the tan. The toreadores were real toreadores, but the bulls
were not of the fiery breed of Andalusia. If they had been, the agents
of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals would have
thought twice before venturing into the same enclosure with them to bar
the entertainment on the score of cruelty. Still, the enterprising
public caterer who had brought over the quadrille of bull-fighters was
wise in his generation. Had the legitimate article been given, there was
enough foretokening of patronage on the opening night to prove it would
have been a great success.

I call bull-fighting a glorious pastime. In my mental vision I can mark
the rising gorge of some splenetic Briton of the philanthropic school as
he reads this phrase, "glorious pastime," wipes his glasses and reads it
again. How am I wrong? It is savage, bloodthirsty, and debasing, he
will say. Therein I join issue with him, though I may bring a censorious
pile of cant crumbling and clattering about my ears. Cock-fighting was
once popular in these islands, and that not so long ago. I have often
played truant from school, and challenged a thrashing, to drain the high
pleasures of a well-contested main. The late Admiral Rous and the late
Lord Derby were admirers of the sport, and if I am not mistaken the
rules governing a London pit sometimes patronized by royalty had a place
in the earlier editions of Hoyle. The best apology for cock-fighting I
ever heard was made by an eccentric uncle of mine, who asked his censor,
"Why did God put the fighting drop into the game-cock's veins but that
he might fight when he got the chance?"

There is cruelty, peradventure, in attaching long steel spurs, keen as
bradawls, to the cocks' legs, as there is in supplying men-at-arms with
swords and rifles instead of letting them wage war against one another
with teeth and feet and fists--the weapons of nature. Chanticleer of the
martial breed should be put into the ring with his natural spurs.

Well, in Spain he is, for the sport flourishes there still; and one of
my recollections of my last day in Madrid is having sacrificed a meal to
be present at the Circo de Gallos, the recognised building where combats
of the kind are carried on in a well-filled amphitheatre, with roped
platform in the centre, and seats in tiers around. The roadway in front
was lined with equipages, and the curled darlings of the Madrilene
aristocracy stepped in to witness the tournament and bet on the result;
but I own the gentler sex I never met there. There are rules to regulate
the conduct of the matches posted conspicuously on the walls; there are
scales to weigh the combatants, lemons to clean their spurs, a regular
staff of heelers, time-keepers, and umpires; the fixtures are given in
the newspapers in the same column as the theatrical programme, and the
guardians of public order are always in attendance. On the same
principle bull-fighting is conducted, and the same argument holds good
in favour of its retention.

This babble of cruelty is veriest wind-bag humanity, and, logically, has
not a leg to stand upon. To confront the king of the herd in the arena
is bolder and braver than to course the hare at Altcar, or shoot pigeons
at Hurlingham, or make a battue of pheasants in a Norfolk
preserve--sports to which our patricians are disposed, sports which are
chronicled in the fashionable organs with apparent approval. There is
more risk to those who share in a bull-fight than in knocking ponies
about on the polo-ground at Preston, sawing their mouths and breaking
their shins, or in worrying the fox over the pastures of Leicestershire.
As for that cold-blooded, cowardly, treacherous recreation of the
contemplative man, flinging bait to a harmless defenceless fish, and
luring him to a painful end, it is a piece of deliberate barbarism not
to be mentioned in the same breath with bull-fighting. And yet Mr. John
Bright, who has the reputation of being a gentleman of chivalrous temper
and pacific instincts, is said to be passionately fond of this
recreation. Observe to what the reasoning of those who frantically
protest against the national pastime of Spain reduces itself. So far, I
wish it to be understood that I am arguing with the intent of
establishing a _reductio ad absurdum_. If coursing, hunting, shooting,
and fishing are justifiable--and I hold that they are--then on the like
grounds are cock-fighting and bull-fighting justifiable. The beasts on
the earth, the birds of the air, and the fishes in the sea, are all
created for man's use and benefit. To kill them is no crime, if the
killing be not attended with the infliction of wanton pain. The destiny
of the minor order of creation is to minister to the appetites or
necessities of the lord of creation; and pleasurable excitement is a
necessity. The objections to the position here taken up are untenable,
except by maudlin and maundering humanitarians, who think more of the
life of a pet poodle than of the life of their fellow-man, and by that
lost section of mild lunatics, the vegetarians.

Having said so much in defence of bull-fighting, I may be permitted, in
entering into details of the diversion, to anticipate experiences and
knowledge which did not come to me until later on. The further my
acquaintance with the ring extended, the more convinced I became that
tauromachy will last as long as Spain lasts. It has blemishes, like
other recreations. To my thinking, the chief is that Toro goes into the
sanded arena foredoomed to die. No matter how pluckily he fights, no
matter what play he shows, the cachetero awaits him. Then there is
torture, but an unavoidable torture, in the mode in which horses are
killed. I well remember what an acclimatized aficionado, M. de Coutuly,
of the Paris _Temps_, said to me in a discussion on the point:

"These horses are under capital sentence when they are helped to the
grace of a historic death in the amphitheatre; they are rescued _en
route_ to the knacker's-yard; but, bah! it is useless to try to convince
men with English prejudices. With you, the horse is more valuable than
the man."

Thorough garrons these horses are in old Spain; but in the South
American countries, colonized from Spain, I am told they bring spirited
barbs into the ring, who can bite and kick, and take their own part
generally, and who sometimes clear the bull at a bound, as he advances
to the attack.

If tauromachy will last in Spain as long as Spain lasts, so likewise
will those who practise the art he held in honour. No names are guarded
in fonder reverence there to-day than those of Montes, Pepete, and
Pepe-Hillo; and when Frascuelo was wounded, his residence was besieged
by sympathizing inquirers. The bulletins of his health were read as
anxiously as if they were issued from a royal palace. Bouquets, pastry,
and billets-doux were laid in tribute on the mat of his bedchamber, and
the sweetest and proudest dames of the sweet and proud patrician houses
of Castile--houses with sangre azul unsuspicious in their veins, and
thirteen grandees in their pedigree--sent to inquire after the condition
of the famous espada. Tom Sayers was never more idolized in England than
Frascuelo is in Spain. And so, in like manner, are his compeers,
Lagartijo, and the rest. This liking for them is pushed to excess, much
as the cult for heroes of the prize-ring was with us in a past
generation. Once I was roused from a nap by Liberato, a faithful
body-man, shuffling his feet to the sprightly movements of a bolero. His
eyes twinkled like laughing fire, his gitano-tinted cheeks had a
tawny-purple grape-flush. He was under a high-pressure of exhilaration,
and instinctively sought to relieve himself by dancing.



"What devil possesses thee? Hast got a tress of thy ama's hair, or
fallen upon a treasure-box of Boabdil?"

"Señor, I am proud as a hidalgo this day. You know Frascuelo?"

"Si, si."

"I have seen him; I have heard him speak."

"Dios mio! If it be not a poor jest on thy part, thou'rt a happy man."

"No jest, señor; and hearken!" approaching and lowering his voice: "he
sat at the same table with me, and," this impressively and
confidentially, "he shook hands with me as we parted!"

"Caramba! Let me shake that hand."

Laugh at this anecdote, but did not a New York hack-driver make a small
fortune by letting out for osculatory purposes the hand that helped
Jenny Lind from her carriage? Have not strawberries touched by the lips
of Lydia Thompson fetched a guinea each at a dramatic _fête_, and
photographs of Sara Bernhardt, signed with her sign-manual, run up to an
alarming figure at the Albert Hall? Have I not myself been privy to the
offer by a British matron of sums incredible for the straw through which
the Prince of Wales had sucked a sherry-cobbler at the Paris Exhibition
of 1867?

"Ster-oh!" ejaculated the negro waiter with open mouth. "Why, bress you,
dat's no use, we trowed it away; but, as yer a nice ole lady, heah's a
dozen for nuffin!"

The spectacle in the Plaza de Toros, the spacious unroofed area
surrounded by stone benches rising one above another, away to the
sheltered balconies up high at the back, is one of the most enlivening
that imagination can conceive on the afternoon of a corrida, when male
and female humanity, all jubilant bustle and expectancy, make a
prismatic girdle around. Fans move with an incessant tremulous flutter;
there is a continuous susurrus of voices, broken by occasional hoarse
bursts of laughter at some mishap, or hoarse roars of welcome as some
favourite enters; the regal sun discharges his fierce messages of light
from his throne of blue, and the costumes of every colour, wavering with
the pulsations of the throng, are an active kaleidoscope, most vivid and
variegated. We are in our places. We have stepped up the Alcalá at the
heels of the picquet of armed militia charged with the maintenance of
order. We have threaded our way through the rough maze of passages to
our palco, peeping at the stable where the sorry horses are kept, at the
room where the toreadores dress themselves, and at the little oratory
where the matador prays before he stalks into the palestra. We are in
our places, and everybody is in his place; the Governor of the city in
his box of state yonder. While the music races over the assemblage in
glad alternation of rush and ripple, let us look below. There is a
strong wooden barrier some six feet high around the arena, and at
knee-height, on the inner side of this barrier, there is a berme to help
the pursued chulo to a footing as he vaults over into the surrounding
lane formed by this interior and an exterior barrier. This lane is
guarded by policemen, and is so narrow that a bull has not room to turn
in it; for bulls sometimes bound over the inner barrier. When that
occurs, and I have seen it occur not seldom, they are driven round until
they reach one of the gates opening into the ring. The trumpets and
tymbals speak warning; a profound silence falls upon the crowd for an
instant, and then from a side passage enters the cavalcade we have
awaited--enters to a stately martial march. First, the mounted alguazil
in his ancient garb, plumed, cloaked, funereal; then the chulos, lithe,
young, graceful; then the picadores on their garrons, Mexican-looking in
their saddles, with tall pummel and crupper and shovel-shaped stirrups,
wide-leafed sombreros, their short jackets tagged all over, their yellow
breeches and their high boots lead-lined; then the banderilleros, and
then the matador, the chieftain of the troop. The alguazil beseeches the
key of the toril from the Governor, receives it, turns it in the lock;
and as the bull with dazed vision enters into the sunshine at one gate,
he disappears at an amble through another.

The bull! What a noble specimen of his race!--broad-browed,
clean-horned, and clean-limbed; high courage in his bloodshot orbs, his
dilated nostril, and his lashing tail! On the right and left the
quadrille arrange themselves, the picadores, each with a spike at the
end of his long shaft, and a kerchief bandaging one eye of his horse;
the chulos, pretty fellows in turban, loose embroidered jackets, ruffled
shirts, kneebreeches of coquettish hue and texture, silken hose and
buckled shoes, standing, with their cloaks, nearer to the centre of the
ring. All these toreadores are men of symmetry and power, all wear
chignons in nets, and are close-shaven, except as to side-whiskers of
the brief "mutton-chop" order, and all bear themselves as if they were
proud of their vocation. The bull waits. The chulos give challenge. They
rush upon him, shaking their gaudy little cloaks, and as he charges they
scamper to the sides, while one takes up the running from another. In
short, they tease him as much for the sake of tiring him out as of
testing his disposition. But by-and-by one chulo ingeniously leads the
charging bull towards a horse. Toro rushes head-foremost. The picador
is unequal to keep him off with his spike; the horse is gored in the
belly and overthrown, the rider falling under. The chulos cluster to the
rescue, with their fluttering cloaks, and draw the bull away confused.
The picador is extricated; the horse is taken out, and in a few moments
after re-enters, his entrails packed inside and stomach sewn up, and is
once more offered to the maddened brute, always on his blind side. We
shall hurry over this episode of the tournament; I do not like it, nor
do you. But here is something really fine. The banderilleros enter, with
barbed shafts decked with ribbons, poised in each hand, and make a
feinting advance on the bull, and as he runs to meet them they deftly
hurl their shafts and elude him by a demi-volte. The act of doing this
well is to plant one banderilla on each side of the bull's neck, close
by the streaming favours that mark the herd from which he is
furnished--the colours of his stable, so to speak--to plant them evenly
and at equal distances from his crest, and when this is skilfully
accomplished there are frantic yells of praise, and caps and cigars are
showered into the arena. When the banderillero is awkward, they rain on
him with potatoes. These banderilleros incur hazard. I have seen one so
keenly chased by the bull that he was pinned against the barriers by the
bull's horns as he was in the act of vaulting over. Pinned, but not in
the flesh; the branching horns stuck in the wood at either side, just
above the calf of one leg, and imprisoned him until he had to be sawed

This is but the prologue; now for the play. Toro by this time is in a
white rage; there is foam at his chaps, his steaming sides are laced
with blood. Cucharra of Puerto Santa Maria is the matador. Majestically
he strides towards the Governor's box, stoops in obeisance, and in a
loud voice makes proclamation: "Brindo por Puerto Santa Maria, por toda
su compañia, por el vulgo de Madrid; voy á matar ese bicho ó el bicho me
mata á mi;" an address which may thus be freely rendered: "I pledge
myself to Puerto Santa Maria and all its society, and to the people of
Madrid; and now I am ready to kill this animal, if the animal cannot
kill me." He removes his turban, and, with a graceful jerk with his
right hand from behind his back over his left shoulder, flings it into
the Governor's box, as a gage of his boasted prowess. He takes his
straight keen-tempered sword and his cloak of offensive scarlet, and
advances towards the bull. Now is the supreme trial, now is the time
when men let their lighted cigarettes drop from their mouths and clench
their teeth; now is the time when women close their fans and draw long
breaths. Cucharra faces Toro at a yard's distance. They regard each
other. Cucharra hides his sword under his cloak, and presents it to the
bull. Toro lowers his head, shuts his eyes, and charges, but the
toreador gracefully slips aside and saves his life by a turn of the
heel. Three times he repeats the feat of this risksome pirouette; but
woe to him if he is an instant too late in his movements, or if the soil
is treacherous. The fourth time, as the bull lowers his head, Cucharra
lifts himself on his toes, and with one sure swift blow plunges the
blade, almost to the hilt, into the spine of his antagonist. The bull
stands; there is a shout of "Bravo!" the bull still stands, ten seconds,
twenty, thirty; there is a howl of disappointment; but Cucharra gazes
contemptuously around; he knows he has done his work well, and, my
faith, he has. Toro quivers and drops, and Cucharra plants a foot on the
neck of his prostrate enemy. The bull has died of internal hæmorrhage;
not a drop of blood has distilled from his mouth. Bravo, Cucharra!

This death at the first thrust--death without drip of the crimson fluid
from the mouth--is the artistic death. When the sword pierces at the
wrong spot, is displaced by the shaking of the bull, and sent flying,
gore-wet, through the air, it is awkward workmanship.

But Toro showed "mucho fuego" before he was so neatly pierced in the
medulla. Bravo, Toro! And now the cachetero stoops over him, and, with
one dig of his sharp knife in the neck, makes assurance doubly sure. The
team of mules trot in, and trot out again with the dead champion at
their heels; and the urchins outside are dancing on his carcase as the
drums and tymbals give prelude to the entrance of a second champion
into the enthusiastic circle.

The slimy pools in the arena are promptly strewn with sand, and the
fresh bull is ushered into the lists, either against the same quadrille,
or against another espada with his special troop of assistants. Some of
the brutes are self-possessed, as that "proud and stately steer" Harpado
of Xarama, who was matched with Ganzul the Moor.

    "Dark is his hide on either side, but the blood within doth boil,
     And the dun hide glows, as if on fire, as he paws to the turmoil,
     His eyes are jet, and they are set in crystal rings of snow;
     But now they stare with one red glare of brass upon the foe."

All in vain, Toro. Thy fate is sealed. Useless to prance round with
defiance, to bellow with unsatisfied wrath, to churn the sand with
furious hoof and flash hither and thither the flaming arrows of thy
glance. Thou art foredoomed, and wilt fall as surely after brave
struggle as thy mate, less eager for the strife, who has to be pricked
up to anger, and drops at last bewildered amid the derision of the
crowd. That is where I find fault with the sport. Toro who shows good
fight should get his respite, like the Roman gladiator who pleased the

Still, is his fate to be deplored? Confess, is it not rather to be
envied? He gives up his vital principle in the rapture of battle; he
feels no wound but the grievous one to the combatant that he can beat
down no more foes; he yields breath with a bold front; there is threat
in his agony as he sinks, still with challenge in his port, amid the
applause of admiring thousands. There is something of martyr-heroism in
this ending. It is grander, nobler, happier than to fall by the
butcher's plebeian mallet in the slaughter-house, or to succumb to the
slow miseries of rinderpest. Whoso denies it will downface me next that
it is fitter for the warrior to die of podagra in a four-post bed than
to perish on the field with harness on his back--that dropsy at St.
Helena was more to be coveted than a bullet at Waterloo!

Tauromachy, I repeat, will last as long as Spain lasts. It will have its
school and its dialect, its canons of skill expatiated upon in
elaborate treatises; its honoured exponents; its impassioned amateurs
and its munificent patrons; its historiographers and poets. In my
devotedness to it I have sacrificed the favour of a comely English
maiden, for Emmeline, who has seen through my hypocrisy in the hall,
averts the light of her countenance as we sit down to dinner. I am sorry
for it, for I had inclinings towards that lady, she was so attentive to
her father, and she had confided to me with such a pretty frankness that
she sighed for the days when Mohammad-al-Hamar was throned in Granada.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE BY THE WRITER'S DAUGHTER.--The conceit of you. Emmeline, I think,
was quite right to cut you, after your brutishness. No doubt you think
the glorification of bull-butchery a piece of fine writing, and so
original, you know. I'm up to the games of you authors; but if I were
the printers I would not print one single line of it. I should just like
to put a pen in the bull's hand and read _his_ description of the


     The Shamrock of Erin and Olive of Spain--Hispano-Hibernian
     Regiments--The Spanish Soldier--An Unpopular Hidalgo--Flaw in the
     Harness--The Organization of the Army--The Guardia Civil--The
     Cavalry, Engineers, and Infantry--General Cordova--The
     Disorganization of the Army--Mutiny in Pampeluna--Officers Out of
     Work--Turbulent Barcelona--Irresolute Contreras--Pistolet
     Discharges Himself--The Madrid Garrison.

In Moore's "Melodies" crops up a martial lyric, in which there is a
jingling reference at the end of every verse to the shamrock of Erin and
olive of Spain. Here is about the pith of its sentiment:

     "May his tomb want a tear and a name,
    Who would ask for a nobler, a holier death,
    Than to turn his last sigh into victory's breath,
      For the Shamrock of Erin and Olive of Spain!"

The Blakes and O'Donnells are apostrophized; but as well as I can make
out what the bard is driving at, he had Wellington and his companions
in his mind's eye.

There had been closer and earlier and longer ties than those of the
campaigns against the French between Spain and Ireland. According to the
annals of the Four Masters (translated by the father of the late Edmond
O'Donovan), the Clanna-Milidh set sail from Galicia and invaded the
Emerald Isle in the year 1698 before the Christian era. They established
the Milesian dynasty, which lasted two thousand eight hundred and
seventy years--rather a better record than we meet in Bulgaria, modern
Greece, and sometimes even in Spain itself. Galway, _teste_ Kohl,
carries the imagination to Granada and Valencia. At the beginning of the
eighteenth century there were six Irish regiments at least in the
Spanish service, namely, those of Hibernia, Irlanda, Limerick, Ultonia,
and Waterford (all infantry), and the Dragoons of Dublin. There was also
an infantry regiment called Conacia, or Wauchop, after its commander,
one of a fighting family well known in the Lothians. There were officers
of my name in the Limerick and Ultonia corps, as there are in the
Spanish army still.[B] Most of these Irish organizations were disbanded
at the close of the last century, and all had lost their purely Irish
character, although the titles, Hibernia, Ultonia, and Irlanda, were
retained on the list till 1833.

Naturally, and because of profession and certain associations, I took an
interest in soldiers, and, at the risk of offending the lady-reader who
is waiting for the romantic part of this book, I intend to devote a
chapter to the Spanish army. Such judgment as I have to offer is formed
not alone upon what I saw at Madrid, but afterwards, when I had
opportunity of watching the troops at work. Before going any further, I
may unreservedly confess that I hold a high opinion of the Spanish
soldier. He is sober, enduring, brave, and an indefatigable marcher.
Better raw material for warfare, I am sure, could not readily be come
at, and I am equally sure that if more attention were paid to drill, and
if the curse of morbid aspirations for promotion amongst the lower
grades were more rigidly repressed, the Spanish army would regain its
ancient renown. This restless and diseased ambition is not to be traced
to the rank and file, but to those immediately above them, the men with
a puffed-up idea of themselves, and a smattering of education, and is
often developed by the connivance of their immediate superiors. Let us
take an example. In 1866 there was an uprising in favour of Prim, headed
by the sergeants of artillery at the San Gil barracks, in Madrid.
Captain Hidalgo was privy to the plot, which eventuated in a fiasco, but
not before sundry officers of the regiment had lost their lives. A large
number of the sergeants were summarily shot a few days afterwards.
Hidalgo escaped. In the November of 1872, Hidalgo, then a General, was
appointed Master-General of the Ordnance by Amadeus. Amongst the
artillery there is a strong _esprit de corps_, and the officers in a
body declared they would resign unless the appointment were cancelled.
They did not object to Hidalgo on account of his implication in mutiny,
which is a recognised institution in the Spanish army, but because they
believed he had previous knowledge that some of his brother-officers
would be sacrificed, and never gave them a word of warning or raised a
plea in their behalf. The want of comradeship was his crime, and the
resignations of those who protested against it were accepted in a bulk.

At the time I was in Madrid the artillery was in a state of
demoralisation. The captains of the scientific force were all promoted
sergeants, and the old officers were idly parading the streets in plain
clothes. Amadeus had certainly committed a foolish act, although he may
have justified himself to himself by the reflection that in approving an
appointment made by his Ministers he was behaving loyally, and that by a
wholesale rejection of the demand of the discontented officers he would
set up an iron precedent against insubordination. He never paused to
think that he was stripping Spain of a vital portion of its harness. A
sergeant may be an excellent practical gunner, and be able to lay a
piece accurately; but that does not qualify him to command a battery.
Scientific acquirements and training are necessary, a mastery of
technique and tactics, quickness of resource, and the habit of
authority. The promoted sergeants were wanting in these essentials, and
the Carlists soon found out the weak spot in the armour.

The strength of the permanent army is fixed annually by the Cortes, and
every Spaniard above the age of twenty is liable to be drawn, and has to
serve four years under the flag. The nation is divided for military
purposes into five captain-generalcies, the commandant of each of which
holds a rank corresponding to a British field-marshal. The nominal
strength of the infantry in round numbers is about 60,000; artillery,
9,500; engineers, 2,300; and cavalry, 11,500. Then there are the
provincial militia, some 44,000 strong; the carabineros, or revenue
police, 12,000; and the Guardia Civil, 10,000. These Civil Guards are
picked men, robust, strapping, seasoned fellows, and are distributed
over the country like the French gendarmery, to whose duties theirs are
similar. They form a _corps d'élite_, and are the very mainstay of
order. In fact, without them life and property during times of political
commotion would very often be at the mercy of any horde of ragamuffins
with weapons in their hands and the courage to use them. They are
handsomely uniformed, wearing cocked-hats of the pattern of those to be
seen in the prints of the First Napoleon, fine cloth tunics of dark
blue, with epaulettes of white cord, and yellow side and cross-belts,
and present a manful, soldierly appearance. From their valour and
topographical knowledge they have been very serviceable in carrying on
the guerrilla warfare with the Carlists, and are the terror of brigands
and evil-doers. If all the troops were as orderly and well disciplined
as these, Government would be easy, and those at its head might afford
to be firm, regardless of mob clamour. In short, these magnificent Civil
Guards are the best military force the country possesses. Some of them
are mounted (and capitally mounted too), and all have an elevated notion
of duty. A mutiny is never inaugurated by the Civil Guards. They stick
to each other like wax, and are faithful to the powers that be,
regardless of their political colour, so long as those powers are
accepted by the nation. Dynasties may change and depart, as Ministries
do; but the Guardia Civil is an organization immutable and goes on for
ever. The one charge made against them has its warrant in necessity.
When a prisoner is sent to gaol in some remote town under escort of the
Civil Guards, he often makes an attempt to run away, and is invariably
shot between the shoulders. No strict inquiry into the circumstances is
made--it is an understood practice--a rascal is got rid of, to the
relief of the community, by a quick and economic method, which is a
desirable improvement on the laggard processes of law.

The cavalry is controlled by a director-general, who has a respectable
staff of subordinates at his disposal. There are only two regiments of
cuirassiers--the 1st, or King's; and the 2nd, or Queen's. There are two
regiments of carabineers known as Calatrava and Bailen. There are eight
regiments of lancers, viz., Farnesio, Villaviciosa, España, Sagunto,
Santiago, Montesa, Numancia, and Lusitania. The hussar regiments are but
two, Pavia and the Princess's. Prim's son, a boy of fifteen, was captain
in the former, and the veteran Espartero honorary colonel of the latter.
The name of a former colonel, Don Pedro Elio, "who died gloriously on
the field of honour," like Latour d'Auvergne, first grenadier of France,
is also borne on the rolls of the Princess's. There are six regiments of
mounted chasseurs--namely, Almansa, Alcántara, Talavera, Albuera,
Tetuan, and Castillejos, and two squadrons of Galicia and Mallorca
respectively. These men, as far as I have seen, are well horsed,
Andalusia furnishing some capital chargers, well-made and well-paced,
and up to decent weights. There is nothing peculiar in the cavalry
uniform, which is formed upon the French model. In fact, it would be
difficult to distinguish the dragoons from the French dragoons, but that
they have a seat and know how to keep it, and that their helmets are of
a round Roman style, with a rising sun in a circuit of rays right in

The remount depôts are at Granada and Córdoba, and there are four
establishments where sires for cavalry purposes are maintained at the
expense of the State--namely, Córdoba, Baeza, Llerena, and Alcalá de
Henares (the latter exclusively for the use of the mounted artillery).
There is also a military school for the cavalry, maintained on the same
system as that of the French at Saumur.

The Engineers are quite as tall but not so sturdy as our Grenadiers, and
look up to their work. This was the favourite force of Prim, and it is
only second to the Guardia Civil in its obedience to constituted
authorities. From what I hear the men are carefully trained in sapping
and mining, though of them, as of Spanish soldiers universally, one is
compelled to say that they have too much leisure, and when soldiers have
too much leisure the Devil invariably finds them occupation. The value
of the artillery, which had been one of the best organizations of its
class in Europe, as I have already said, at that precise epoch ranked at
_nil_. Reports were circulated every day that the difficulties in this
branch of the service had been arranged, but the wheels want such a
dose of oil in Spain that one can never be certain that the machine is
in order till it moves. The artillery is denuded of officers, and the
infantry and cavalry have officers too often that are valueless; and in
that lies the secret of the deterioration of an army which was once, and
still might be made, capable of great things.

There are forty regiments of infantry, numbered as ours were, but known
also by distinctive names, generally those of the locality in which each
was originally raised. Thus the 1st Regiment is Rey, or the King's; the
2nd, Reina, or the Queen's; the 3rd, the Prince's; the 4th, the
Princess's; the 5th, the Infante's; the 6th, the Regiment of Saboya; the
7th, of Africa; and then come those with territorial titles--the
Regiments of Zamora, Soria, Córdoba, San Fernando, and so on, until we
reach the 40th, which is called the Regiment of Málaga. The 14th, 29th,
and 30th are respectively known as the Regiments of America, of the
Constitucion, and of Iberia.

Each regiment consists of three battalions, except the 20th (the
Guadalajara) and the 34th (the Granada), which have but two; and in
each battalion there are six companies. Nominally, each company numbers
about 80 rank and file, but he would be a wise man who could say how
many answer to the roll-call in the existing state of disorganization.
There are twenty-four battalions of handy light troops, who are equal to
almost anything human in the way of marching. Agile and untiring, sound
in wind and limb, they can get over an extraordinary length of ground
with a speed that would not discredit professional walkers in England.
The French foot-chasseur, who can put on an astonishing spurt now and
again, is no rival to the Spanish cazador.

The infantry uniform is almost exactly that of the French--long grey
capote, blue tunic with the number of the regiment on the collar, and
red trousers. Instead of a shako the head is protected by a projecting
cap of cloth and glaze, something like a stiffened Glengarry without
ribbons. Those absurd white gaiters which gather dirt so quickly when it
is wet under foot, and give the French soldier incessant bother to look
after their pipe-claying, are replaced in the Spanish service by
calfskin buskins and black cloth spatterdashes. Few more sensible
uniforms are to be met with in Europe. Properly officered, there is
nothing to prevent the Spanish infantry from regaining the prestige it
once held. The men have the right stuff in them, are temperate and
frugal, cheerful under privation, and hardy as wild ducks. They do not
want pluck either; they have the reputation of showing a good deal of
dash in their pursuit of the Carlists; but that is no fair criterion of
what they could do when pitted against the troops of some great Power in
ordered line of battle. Good lungs are indispensable in Carlist warfare,
as an officer who was hunting them for six weeks in Catalonia, and never
caught one, begged me to recollect. "You want men who can breast hills,"
he said. But good lungs are valuable in a campaign anywhere, and looking
at these lively, well-set Spaniards as they trot along under their
packs, I must say they favourably compare with those weakly men of the
French line I saw staggering to the Eastern Railway Terminus at Paris,
on their way to Metz, in 1870, or with some of the lank striplings I
saw defiling before Victor Emmanuel at Somma in the autumn of 1872.

The Minister of War (Cordova) and the Minister of Marine (Béranger) are
good. The general and the admiral had really no politics; but they knew
their respective departments better than any men in Spain. Cordova comes
of a fighting family, and "ran the army," to use an expressive
Americanism, under Isabella, under the Serrano-Prim Administration,
under Amadeus, and would, I dare say, under Don Carlos, if he came
to-morrow. In fact, the general is a military Vicar of Bray, but for the
less egotistical motive that he loves his profession, and does not care
to see it and Spain go to the bad, which Spain would if the army did.
But he is not a Republican, neither is Béranger; and the sovereign
people will only be governed by Republicans. They will not permit men of
another party even to do them a service. Therefore the general and the
admiral, and their colleagues of the Finance, Public Works, and the
Colonies, have patriotically made up their minds to retire. Thus, for
the moment, stands Spain, ruled by an Assembly divided against itself
and an Executive in a state of dissolution.

Meanwhile the army is hurrying to the devil at the double-quick. The
troops which fell back on Pampeluna, after the affair at Monreal, broke
into open mutiny a few days afterwards. Some of them raised cries in
favour of Don Carlos, others in favour of Don Alfonso; and the majority
threw up their caps and shouted enthusiastically for the Republic,
meaning always that Federal Republic which they did not understand, and
which had not yet been created. The latter demonstration was quite as
much a breach of discipline in its way as the others. It was stated that
agents of the Carlist party, which was strong in Pampeluna, provoked
these disturbances in the first instance, plying the men with liquor,
and supplying them with money. At all events, that is how the Government
accounts for the outbreak. In their turn the Republicans got excited,
and instigated the soldiers to demand that the thirteen Carlist
prisoners they had taken should be shot without trial or benefit of
clergy, in defiance of the laws of honourable warfare. These
Republicans are not scrupulous. They talked of massacring all the
Carlist sympathizers in Pampeluna--in short, of commencing a sort of
Sicilian Vespers on a smaller scale; and so threatening did their
attitude become at one period, that the priests in the town had to
disguise themselves as peasants and fly to the mountains, and the laymen
who were suspected of a love for Royalty had to block up their doors and
windows. This was what one of the few trustworthy journals of Madrid,
_El Imparcial_, related, and may account for the inactivity of the
gallant General Nouvilas quite as much as that sore throat which
confined him to his room.

In Catalonia the disorganization was worse. The battalion of Chasseurs
of Manila separated into several parties, which were wandering over the
province, spreading terror wherever they went. The patriotism of the
volunteers of the Republic had been invoked to try and bring them back
to discipline. Such an attempt might lead to combats that would have the
result of embittering still more the spirit of the freebooters, which
those soldiers were in the fullest sense of the word. Persuasion by
gunpowder, when employed by irregulars, seldom pacifies regulars. Either
of two events was possible--those soldiers would get the better of the
volunteers, or might turn over to the side of Don Carlos. Meantime the
Carlist bands in the province are increasing, and have the field pretty
much to themselves. Four hundred officers of the army came to Madrid the
other day, and are now walking about the capital _en pékin_. Like the
frozen-out gardeners who parade London suburbs in the depth of a hard
winter, they've "got no work to do," but, unlike those impostors, they
are really anxious for a job. I have chatted with some of those
officers, and I know several of them would not be averse to flashing a
sword for the son of their former Queen. They had to leave their
regiments because they could no longer command them. The bonds of
discipline were completely smashed. The men were unmanageable. In some
barracks Phrygian caps were as common as the regulation head-gear. The
sergeants of the line, jealous of the promotion of the sergeants of the
artillery, thought they should have their turn; and the privates did not
see the justice of volunteers being offered two pesetas, or about 1s.
7d. a day, while they, who did more and better work, encountered more
risks, and suffered more hardships, received but a miserable pittance of
a few pence. The general in command was recalled, and Contreras sent
down in his place. He has a reputation as an unimpeachable Republican,
one of old standing, and not "for this occasion only;" and much faith
was reposed in the influence of his name. But Contreras failed to charm;
and, indeed, he appears to have gone the wrong way about his business.
An officer whom he put under reprimand went to two barracks and tried to
rouse the men to mutiny. He failed; but the men were so little careful
of discipline that they let him depart in peace. At last two adjutants
on the personal staff of Contreras arrested him and brought him before
the General. What course did the General, whose authority had been thus
grossly set at defiance, adopt? Order the offender to be shot? No. That
would be the mode in a serious army. But Contreras is not Suwarrow. He
dismissed the mutineer in epaulettes with a fatherly
admonition--appealed to his better feelings. In all likelihood, General
Contreras felt that he could not afford to be justly severe. The army
was too restive.

Private letters from Barcelona do not mince the matter. The few columns
which went out against the Carlists refused to march unless they were
headed by detachments of Republican volunteers. The officers ran serious
personal risks in their quarters. One of them was condemned to death by
a mock court-martial of his own men, and was actually put on his knees
preliminary to being shot, when a sergeant interposed, and harangued his
comrades into moderation. But all the sergeants have not the good sense
and courage of that worthy fellow. Some privates in Barcelona have been
trying to have their own profit out of the Republic, by discharging
themselves from further service without as much as asking leave; they
have sold their uniforms to the dealers in old clo', and are going about
the streets in peasant dress, making no secret of their intention to
give up the trade of fighting. The great anxiety of the Republican
man-at-arms in Spain is to turn his sword-bayonet into a sickle, and his
rifle into a mattock. That is what he pretends; I hope he has not a sly
hope of vegetating for the rest of his days in lazy vagabondage, with
occasional spasms of brigandage just to keep his hand in at shooting. A
training in the Spanish army is not exactly the thing to fit for the
peaceful and toilsome monotony of industrial occupations.

The battalions of cazadores of Mérida and Barcelona, in garrison at
Valencia, exhibited symptoms of discontent; but the officers were on the
alert, and checked them on the spot. That is the only plan--nip the evil
in the bud. It is the custom in Spain to confine troops to barracks
during times of popular commotion. The artillery quartered at Valladolid
caught the contagion of mutiny, and would have broken their bounds but
for the prompt arrival of the captain-general and military governor, who
succeeded with some trouble in pacifying them. These unpleasant tokens
are not confined to the land forces; they are said to have spread to
the sailors and marines. A steamer was under orders to leave the port of
Barcelona the other night, but the crew emphatically refused to go; they
argued that they were entitled to be paid off, and enjoy liberty on
shore, under the benign regulations of the Republic. To be brutally
candid, the army has taken the bit between its teeth and bolted. I fear
I am repeating a twice-told tale, but it is well that it should be
impressed on the reader, that he may know what the cuckoo-cry of "No
army" signifies. One of the leading points of the programme of the
Spanish Republicans out of office was that a soldier was a machine, and
that no soldier should exist in a free nation. Now that the Republicans
are in office the soldiers take them at their word, and claim their
discharges. The machinery is out of gear. The Republicans never
contemplated that they would require soldiers to put down a civil war.
Señor Figueras, in spite of all his eloquence and honesty, can hardly be
more successful in pacifying turbulent Barcelona than General Contreras.
Catalonia is as great a stickler for its usages as the Basque provinces
are for their fueros. One of the fueros of the Basque provinces is
exemption from the quinta, or conscription; their only soldiers are the
Miqueletes, a body of men somewhat like the Irish constabulary, who are
not bound to act beyond their own provinces. Thus the army which is
serving against the Carlists in Biscay, Alava, and Guipúzcoa, is in the
provinces, but not of them. Catalonia cries out against the
conscription, too, and Barcelona--hot-blooded, troublesome Barcelona,
which never loses a chance of standing up for independent
opinions--encouraged her garrison in the demand for its discharge.

The regular troops were to be replaced by the highly-paid volunteers.
That was the proposition. But how is the increased call on the Financial
Ministry to be met? Where is the money to pay these volunteers to come
from? And without regular troops, what was to become of Cuba? The gold
that is brought back from the Pearl of the Antilles is dearly bought
with Spanish blood. People in England little dream what a drain that
everlasting little-thought-of Cuban insurrection was upon the Spanish
army. Thousands of men perished in the island every year, not from the
bullets of the insurgents, but from privations, fatigue, the torrid
clime, and the deadly swamp fever.

In sum, the army has been petted; the army is spoiled; the army, like a
wanton child, is naughty. Ministers have shown indecision in shifting
generals, generals have set the example of indiscipline in tolerating
mutinous officers, officers have thrown off their uniforms in dudgeon
and despair, sergeants have waylaid the War Office, so to speak, with
the cry of "Promotion or your life!" Can poor Pistolet of the rank and
file be blamed if he sighs for freedom, his sweetheart, and his native
village? The Republic promised him all these, and now he is wicked
enough to ask for them. There is one way of bringing naughty children to
their senses, but Pistolet is too big a boy to submit to the rod from a
weakly master.

In the capital we were comparatively safe. Unless the garrison divided
against itself or the ordinary troops and the Guardia Civil fell out,
there was no danger of bloodshed in any quantity. The population is not
singularly ferocious. The privates move quietly in the streets in pairs,
and are particular to salute their officers, though there is one
officer, on an average, to every fifteen men, and most of these officers
lack the thoroughbred air of gentlemen, and apparently have risen from a
low social level. The sergeants are self-controlled, and brighten the
promenades with their green worsted gloves and the great laced V's on
their sleeves. I never miss a chance of admiring the garrison at parade.
Physically the men are up to a high standard--superior to those of most
European armies; morally they have the name of being patient and
well-conducted; in formation they are steady, in dressing precise, and
in movement they have a step as quick, but more _dégagé_ than the
Prussians. Were I a Spaniard, I would, every time I bent in prayer,
offer up a supplication for the conversion--or perhaps the something
else--of the bedizened culprits who are sending the soldiers to rack and


     Luring the Reader into a Stony Desert--A Duel on the
     Carpet--Disappointment of the Special Correspondents--The People
     Amuses Itself--How the Ballot Works--A Historic Sitting of the
     Congress--Castelar's Great Oration--The Glory of Spain--About Negro
     Manumission--Distrust of "Uncle Sam"--Return of Figueras--The
     Permanent Committee--A Love-Feast of Politicians--The Writer Orders

It may be urged with some show of truth that under the mirage of the
adventurous, I have lured the reader, anxious for the sensational, into
exhausting deviations in the stony desert of politics. I am guilty, and
I am sorry that I shall have to sin again--politics are so ultimately
interwoven with life in Spain. But it must not be imagined that these
accounts of what happened more than a decade ago are no more useful or
interesting than the stale report of the death of Queen Anne. In Spain
history has the trick of literally repeating itself. The country is
split into the same camps still, and occurrences similar to those of
which I treat are certain to be presented to the world anew. The drama
will be the same; the company only will be strange. And the information,
such as it is, which I give now, may furnish the key to much that would
otherwise be hard to unlock when the curtain rings up again.

Before one more error of political errantry, I must tell of a duel which
did not come off, for the sake of its moral. This was how the affair
arose. There was a discussion in the Assembly in reference to an alleged
insurrection in Porto Rico. Señor Padial asked, was it true that the
insurgents had raised cries of "Death to Spain," and demanded the
independence of Porto Rico, and the massacre of the local volunteers?
Several members got up to speak, and one of them, for what reason I
cannot fathom, characterized the question as "a farce unworthy of the
Conservative party." After a little while Señor Ardanay proceeded to
read some documents proving the reality of the disturbances. He was
interrupted by a torrent of voices, and Señor Padial shouted that the
Civil Guards and volunteers of the island had got up the whole row, and
that General Sanz was the author of the farce. General Sanz politely
retorted, "Your worship is wanting in truth." Several honourable
gentlemen sprang to their feet, and asked that Señor Padial's words
should be taken down in writing. And then the Assembly became a
bear-garden. Señor Olavarrieta claimed "la palabra," but the President
would not give him the privilege of speaking. He spoke all the same, and
said, "We shall not allow ourselves to be insulted by those señores,"
pointing to the Porto Rico deputies. The confusion became worse
confounded. The President rang his bell, called "Order," and threatened
to suspend the sitting. General Sanz then rose, looking wicked, and
asked that the words offensive to the Civil Guards and the volunteers
should be taken down in writing. As for what had been said offensive to
himself, he asked nothing; he knew what course to take. In England this
might have meant that the soldier would treat Señor Padial with silent
contempt; in Spain, with my preconceived notions of the pride of blue
blood and the fire of Castile, and all the rest, I took it that it could
only mean "pistols for two and coffee for one." The confession is sad;
but the truth at any price, the truth is so rare under this sky. Sundry
Special Correspondents who had come out to describe the revolution that
would not come off, were cudgelling their brains to discover how they
could assist at this passage of arms, in order that they might render a
full, true, and particular account to the public. The encounter would
have been more diverting than a bull-fight. Opinions were divided as to
whether it was better to go disguised as a hackney coachman or an
apothecary's assistant. I hurried, after dinner, to the Café Fornos, the
great rendezvous of Madrid politicians, to hear the latest details of
the pending affair of honour. It was to come off--no doubt of it; but
when and where, I could not hear. Next morning I read that the
difficulty had been arranged. It may be a satisfaction that the
barbarous "code of honour" has fallen out of fashion in Spain; but it
would be a still greater satisfaction if the practice of gentlemen
giving each other the lie in public were to fall out of fashion also.
The scene was disgraceful, and I am glad to be able to add that most of
the deputies were thoroughly ashamed of it; and in places of public
resort some went so far as to say that they would take their seats no
more in the Assembly. But they were in their places all the same on the
following afternoon. The Congress of Spain is no more mannerly on
occasions than legislatures elsewhere; but the occasions are rare.

My visit to the Café Fornos was not for nothing, after all. There was a
scene there too. A group of low fellows, overheated with wine, entered
about eight o'clock, while the immense hall on the ground-floor was
crowded with Radical deputies, officers, and quiet Madrileños who
frequent it nightly, and commenced bellowing for the Republic after
their hearts--that is to say, the Republic, Federal, Social, and
Uncompromising. The shout was taken up by another group outside, which
blocked up the entrance in the Calle de Alcalá. It was evidently a
premeditated manifestation. A Republican deputy who was present tried to
calm the disorderly crew, but to no purpose. They had come to shout,
and they would have their shout out. Señor Estévanez, the civil
governor, was dining in a room upstairs, but Señor Estévanez did not
leave his repast. When the thirsty and uncompromising federal social
citizens were hoarse they retired. They had effectually succeeded in
annoying the coffee-drinking tyrants who had the impudence to wear
broadcloth, and they withdrew to drain bumpers to their tremendous
exploit elsewhere.

These individuals were all in favour of the "social liquidation." This
cry of the drones had partisans in every citizen with an empty pocket
and a patch on his garments, for it means that the provident shall be
robbed to satisfy the improvident. But nathless these agitators, Spain,
I was told, was likely to be quiet for five or six weeks--that is, quiet
in the Spanish sense, with an insurrection in one stage of heat or
another, smouldering or flaming, in half a dozen provinces. The
elections would be tranquil, with "scrimmages" here and there; they
would not be elections without. The voting is by ballot. Theoretically
the system is faultless, but in practice jugglery is possible, and does
habitually occur. The alcalde has some influence in the matter, so has
the parish priest, so has the nearest large landed proprietor, so has
the local police functionary, and so has the mob. Ballot-boxes have been
broken open or have disappeared mysteriously. And thus it happens that a
Spanish constituency sends in a buff man as its representative by a
crushing majority at one election, and a blue man or a red man by a
crushing majority at the next. The constituency has not changed in the
interval, but the Minister in the Gobernacion, or, as we should call it,
the Home Office, has. There lies the secret.

I pass over small squabbles, which were of daily occurrence at the
Palace of the Congress, to come to the sitting of the 21st March, 1873,
which deserves to be handed down to history. On that day the Bill for
the Abolition of Slavery in Porto Rico was introduced by Castelar, in a
speech over which all Madrid went into raptures. The "inimitable
tribune," as his admirers call him, surpassed himself. He led off in the
usual oratorical style by pretending that he was not going to be
oratorical--"the bench on which he sat was one for actions, not
words"--and then, in the usual oratorical style, he contrived to say so
many words that the official paper next morning was full of them.

His first speech, made when he was but twenty-one, in the year 1854, was
on the very same subject, as he reminded his hearers. The Christian
religion, he said in the course of his remarks, was the religion of the
slave, and the Apocalypse the poem of the slave. Christ was the
descendant of enslaved kings, a bondsman of Roman conquerors. But I must
give up the attempt to follow the "inimitable tribune;" his lengthened
and dazzling chain of eloquence was too elaborate to be picked up link
by link. He was historical, passionate, and poetical by turns, but
always intensely rhetorical, keeping a close watchfulness for effect,
for Señor Castelar does not argue so much as declaim. He had the good
taste to defend the Radical Ministry from the charge of having acted in
favour of emancipation because the influence of the United States was
brought to bear upon it. Such a course, he asserted, would be unworthy
of the dignity and independence of the country.

I must tell you that the way to make Spain recoil from doing an act she
admits to be good and needful is to counsel her to do it--she will not
be advised by others. It would not be Spanish. If a Spaniard has a
notion of getting himself re-vaccinated, take care, if you are a friend
of his, how you talk to him on the subject. If you recommend him to have
the operation performed, he will change his mind at once. He will not be
bidden, he will risk small-pox in preference. It may happen that he will
die, but at all events he will have the satisfaction of having had his
own way.

Señor Castelar flattered the self-love of his countrymen by assuring
them that they were magnanimous of their own free will, and not because
foreigners had advised them to be magnanimous. He next delivered himself
of some tuneful periods about humanity, and then wandered off into a
spoken essay on the behaviour of the great European Powers on this
question of serfdom. He alluded to England as "the least democratic, but
most liberal of nations," and praised Russia for having set Spain the
example of unriveting the shackles of the slave. He apostrophized the
opponents of abolition, telling them that on their heads would fall the
responsibility if the law were not passed, but that he and his
colleagues would be answerable for the consequences if the law were
passed. Then the speaker waxed patriotic, and spoke the stereotyped
sentences on the glory and grandeur of Spain. Why should there be
rivalries between Creoles and Peninsulars--those who were born in the
colonies and those who were born in the mother-country? It was
deplorable. Were they not all of the same race? Was not the blood of the
Cid and of Pelayo careering in all their noble veins, and the spirit of
Spain living in all their generous souls? His peroration was
grandiloquent; he appealed to them to cease their bickerings, to close
up their ranks, and to labour unitedly for the maintenance of order,
authority, and the integrity of the territory, and they would earn the
benediction of history and of conscience, which was much more, for it
was the benediction of God.

At the close of his discourse, which was incontrovertibly a masterpiece,
Señor Castelar was surrounded by numerous colleagues, and warmly
congratulated. His speech established among other welcome things that
the orator-minister was no atheist. His remarks breathed the truest
Christianity. Next it was manifest that Spain, Republican as
Monarchical, would not, without a bitter struggle, cede one inch of
territory over which the national flag floated. Those who were
interested in the retention of slavery in the colonies were the holders
of slave property, and the deputies who had lived there and shaken the
pagoda-tree to some purpose, and who, now that they were back in Spain,
had a grateful recollection of what they owed to slavery. Those
gentlemen predicted that the immediate emancipation of the negro would
be the ruin of the colonies, and would inevitably lead to their loss by
the mother-country. The Ministry of King Amadeus originally brought in
the measure for the abolition of slavery in Porto Rico, preliminary to
the introduction of another to get rid of the system in Cuba. The chief
argument against the measure was that it was due to intriguing on the
part of American politicians, whose object was to smooth the way to the
ultimate incorporation of the Antilles with the United States. The
sincerity of American friendship is suspected by Spaniards. They know
that Uncle Sam has a longing eye on the islands in the Caribbean Sea;
and has already tried to negotiate Spain out of her American
possessions. Spain, recollecting this keenly, mistrusts him. And Señor
Castelar, whilst acquitting his predecessors in office of having acted
at the suggestion of the United States, let it be very plainly
understood that this Republic would fight that other and greater and
aggrandizing Republic to her last man and last dollar, before she would
consent to the abandonment of one square foot of soil. The vested rights
of slave-owners would not suffer completely, for the bill embraced a
proposition to pay them an indemnity equivalent to eighty per cent. of
the value of their live chattels. Forty per cent. of this was to be
guaranteed by the mother-country, and forty by the enfranchised colony,
so that twenty per cent. was the comparatively small pecuniary
sacrifice the inheritors of an odious system would have to make to

Whether the manumission of the bondsman in Cuba, which was bound to
come, would hasten the independence of that island--or, what was more
likely, its annexation to the United States--I am not competent to
pronounce. Ultimately, it is the conviction of the wise and experienced
that the Queen of the Antilles must achieve her independence; but it
will be less on account of abolition than for reasons geographical,
climatic, and military. The ocean rolls between Spain and the sunny
cluster of isles, the climate is deadly to the Spanish soldier, and the
Spanish army cannot afford a perpetual depletion.

Nobody in Spain dares to defend slavery as moral, or protest against its
abolition on grounds higher than those of political expediency. The
adversaries of the bill affirmed that gradual abolition would be safer
than immediate abolition, and that the matter could well afford to wait.
The newly-proclaimed Republic had interests of far greater present
importance to attend to, they said; but the philo-negrists retorted that
it was a shame not to free the negro under the Republic, which was based
on the broad principle of freedom to all, without distinction of colour,
and that a beneficent and noble act could not be done too soon. If the
Monarchy had lasted, there could be no denying it, this project of
abolition would have been enacted without fail.

Late in the night, after Castelar had delivered his oration, Señor
Figueras returned from his trip to the provinces. He was met at the
railway-station by groups of friends, personal and political, and
escorted to his residence, where he was serenaded by the band of a
regiment of foot artillery. The night was dark and rainy, which was an
ingratitude to the patriotism of the musicians. If it did not savour of
ill-nature one might be permitted to remark that speeches, however
splendid as specimens of composition from a bench, which the speaker
admits should be one for acts, not words, and midnight clangours of a
brass band under the dripping window-sills of a tired Minister, were
hardly what was needed most and first in the country. But Spain is not
like any place else.

On the 22nd the Assembly sat until seven, when there was a break-up of
two hours for refreshments; after which was held a night sitting (a most
unusual thing), prolonged until half-past one the next morning. This was
the last of that Assembly. The powers of the Cortes, save and excepting
such as were purely legislative, were delegated to a Permanent Committee
of twenty, which was to aid Ministers in their task, until the meeting
of the Constituent Cortes. In the interval between the two sittings this
committee was chosen by the nominating sections of the Radical and
Republican parties respectively, all shades of opinion being represented
upon it. The President of the Assembly, the four Vice-Presidents, and
the four Secretaries, held _ex-officio_ seats on the board. An analysis
of the names of the twenty-nine shows that there were fourteen Radicals,
eight Federals, four Conciliadores (who may be counted with the
Federals), two Conservatives, and an Alfonsist.

This moribund sitting was unique in its unanimity and enthusiasm. The
Bill for the Abolition of Slavery in Porto Rico was passed without a
dissentient voice. There was kissing and clasping of hands, and friendly
hugging all round. Señor Padial and General Sanz, who were anxious to
fight a duel to the death a few days before, met in the Salon de
Conferencias and made up their quarrel. They cemented their
reconciliation with an embrace, and one sentimental Deputy who was
looking on, cried, "May this be an auspicious omen of the union between
Spain and the Antilles!" Señor Figueras promised that the Executive
Power would faithfully see to the maintenance of order during the
elections. Another señor proposed that the act they had accomplished on
the date of the 23rd should be recorded on a marble tablet, to be
erected in the chamber. The proposition was received with cheers; and
truly the act which knocked the chains off the limbs of 35,000 slaves
merited record. The Marquis of Sardoal, who occupied the presidential
throne, prayed God to enlighten the minds of the Government and the
Permanent Committee, and then declared the Assembly dissolved. There
were loud shouts for the "Federal Republic," and just one weak voice for
the "Spanish Republic."

The clouds had blown over. Now was the hour for congratulations. Many
persons who were preparing to send away their families resolved to let
them remain. I had no further occupation in Madrid. A Deputy who had
thirty years' experience of life in the capital told me that this was
the last place in Spain where there was likely to be a disturbance for
the present; but he added, "If you think of going elsewhere, be sure to
give me an address where I can telegraph to you, for something may
always turn up." I had waited nigh five weeks in the expectation of that
something turning up, and at length I began to think I had better seek
fresh fields and take a look at real Spain.


     The Writer Turns Churlish and Quits Madrid--Sleep under
     Difficulties--A Bad Dream--Santa Cruz again--Off St.
     Helena!--Dissertation on Stomach Matters--A Hint to British Railway
     Directors--"Odds, Hilts and Blades"--A Delicate Little Gentleman is
     Curious--The "Tierra Deleitosa"--That Butcher again.

"If you want to see real Spain," said the British Minister to me, "don't
stop here longer than you can help. Go south." That fixed me. With a
natural impulsiveness I pronounced "the imperial and crowned, very noble
and very loyal and very heroic town"--all which titles it bears--a fraud
and a failure as far as my calling was concerned. There had been great
cry and little wool. I was as churlish as a hangman cheated of his
client. That terrible thing which was perpetually on the eve of coming
to pass had not come to pass. After all, I reflected, it was for the
better; for if there had been stupendous tidings to wire, the
Government telegraphic system would have broken down under the
operation. A message more than twenty lines long was a shock to the
clerks, and set them discussing so excitedly that they let the fire of
their cigarettes die out. The "only court" grew hateful to my mind. It
had produced no men to charm by, save Frey Lope de Vega Carpio, Don
Pedro Calderon de la Barca, and the Maestro Tirso de Molina--and they
were dead. It was a nest of political hornets, and head-quarters of
hyperbole; flimsy feathers of lying gossip floated thick as midges in
midsummer air; as in Athens, the populace spent its leisure, which was
the best part of its life, in nothing but hearing or telling new
stories. I would shake the dust of the Prado off my feet, in testimony
against the unsatisfying capital. Architecturally, it was a
higgledy-piggledy of houses on a high bare site; climatically, it was a
mixture of furnace and hall of winds; socially, it was slow, and a
disappointment; intellectually, it was below zero. My parting words--I
cannot say my farewell--will be framed on those of Jugurtha to Rome:
"_Urbem venalem et mature perituram, si emtorem invenerit._"

I paid a good-bye visit, with thoughts of a stirrup-cup, to Maceehan, at
the Fornos, and discovered him listening to Bret Harte's poem of "Table
Mountain," recited by Russell Young, who was lolling on a sofa in an
upstairs cabinet. The dentist did not seem to "take much stock in it."
An appreciation of the horrors of Chinese cheap labour requires a
liberal antecedent education on the Pacific slope. Dr. Maceehan was, for
his own sake, sincerely sorry I was going away; but for my sake he was
glad, as I had been overworking myself, and was badly in want of a kick
in the liver.

It is an error to speak of any city or people when you are under the
influence of sluggish bile, for you are liable to do them injustice. It
is a sin not to withdraw the unjust words. I am tempted to sin; but on
consideration I follow the example familiar in a certain legislature,
and take back the unparliamentary language into which I have been
betrayed by jecoral derangement. Honour to the manes of Uxem-Ali-Beck,
Ambassador from the Shah of Persia, who came to Madrid in 1601, and fell
in love there. He liked it. I fell in love ten times a day, but nobody
would fall in love with me.

On a Sunday night at nine o'clock, I quitted the city, and on Tuesday
morning I had my hair trimmed by a barber of Seville. The journey, like
most long railway journeys, is one of infinite weariness to the flesh.
The first-class carriages are roomy and well-padded, so that short
travelling, except for invalids, is comfortable enough. The correo, or
mail train--that which I took--leaves but once in twenty-four hours,
and, in consequence of carrying the mails, has to stop at every station,
so that its progress is slow, albeit the quickest to be had for money.
There were nine sociable young Spaniards in the compartment with me. The
gauge of the road is wide, admitting of five broad seats at each side,
and the motion of the train is easy and nurses to sleep, without that
violent rocking which one sometimes experiences while rattling
northwards from London in the Flying Scotchman. But the backs of the
seats are stiff and straight as a Prussian drill-sergeant, and do not
nurse, but "murder sleep," as I speedily found to my sorrow. However,
they do nurse a crick in the neck. I was woke out of a wayward doze just
as I was about to undergo the punishment of death by the garrote. I had
been dreaming a fearsome dream. In a weak moment I had accepted the
crown of Spain. I had granted my subjects every conceivable privilege,
pandered to all their crazes, gone so far as to give them a bull-fight
every day in the week and two on Sundays and festivals, paying all
expenses out of my own royal pockets. But they were not to be satisfied,
unless I would go into the bull-ring myself. That was the straw that
breaks the camel's back. I flatly refused. They rebelled, kicked me off
the throne, led me in a felon's yellow coat on a wretched donkey to the
place of execution, and planted me in the fatal chair. Most poignant
humiliation yet, all the crowned heads of Europe, led by the Czar of
Russia, were invited to the spectacle and joined in a howling chorus of
"Serve him right." I looked my last around, and woke up with a toss of
my noddle against the back of the seat. We were at Alcázar. A
fellow-traveller kindly offered to let me lay my head between his legs
if I would give him my carpet-bag for a pillow. There is nothing like
reciprocal accommodation on a journey. I agreed, the train started
again, and I lost myself in the land of Nod. This time I was following
the campaign against the Carlists. Suddenly I was roused by a cry--

"Santa Cruz!"

I knuckled my eyes, the carriage was motionless, and I distinctly heard
the name of the dreaded priest Santa Cruz repeated. This was no dream.
Had I mistaken the terminus? Had I been speeding northwards all this
time? I was in a most perplexed tangle of mind, half pleased at the
prospect of meeting the redoubtable Cura in person, half apprehensive
lest I might give lodging to a chance bullet, and miss the opportunity
of describing him. As I was preparing to jump out, the tram moved on
anew. I turned to the railway guide and discovered the explanation of
the mystery. Santa Cruz is a station on the Andalusian line between Val
de Peñas and Almuradiel. A third time I fell asleep, to be roused by
another cry--

"St. Helena!"

Taught by former experience, I was not to be discomposed now. We had
pierced the bowels of the Sierra Morena, and Santa Elena was but the
name of a station on its southern side. The next time I fell off I
enjoyed a genuine sleep. I do not think it would have roused me if "Salt
Lake" or "Skibbereen" had been shouted in my ear through a

At Menjibar, where we arrived about ten in the morning, there was a
delay of twenty minutes for breakfast. By way of whet, I presume, my
fellow-travellers all lit cigarettes as we were gliding up by the
platform. This Spanish railway restaurant was a reproach to Mugby
Junction. It was scrupulously clean, the fare was excellent, and the
tariff moderate. The price of every article was legibly painted in
distemper on the walls. Premising that a real is, roundly speaking,
twopence halfpenny of our money, a list of some of the viands and
liquids to be had and their cost will be interesting--only the reader is
requested not to open the book previous to bolting his food at the
hurry-up and grab-all refreshment-room at Amiens, or when he is about to
confront scalding soup and monumental sandwiches at some of our British
buffets. It might ruffle his temper and jeopardize his digestion. A
breakfast consisting of a couple of eggs, two plates of meat or fish,
dessert, bread and wine, can be had for twelve reals. The wine is the
common wine of the country, and pleasant and healthy tipple it is when
you get used to it. You can procure a baby bottle full for one real, and
if you like to be extravagant you can pay twenty-four for a bottle of
Bordeaux, or forty for a bottle of champagne. The Bordeaux is too dear.
As for champagne, nobody drinks that habitually except kings of the
Bonanza dynasty; but myriads of men, especially at race-meetings, drink
a beverage which they take for the bubbling, roseate, kindling nectar
with inspiration in every wavering pearlet. "Fizz," I think they call
it. I hope they enjoy it. "Compound of crime at a sovereign a quart"
(see James Smith's poems somewhere), I call it. He who quaffs champagne
at dinner, save on a foggy day, is unworthy of God's gifts. The proper
hour for the absorption of that delicious exhilarant is at eleven in the
forenoon, and then but two glasses at the most should be taken. These
glasses should not be the absurd shallow lapping-glasses, nor yet the
slender stork-glasses, but the goodly tumbler. If it be summer, there
should be a lump of ice in the crystal goblet; and the connoisseur will
always hold it between him and the sunlight before imbibition, and
ejaculate, "There's a picture!" For these hints I am indebted to that
princely gourmet of palate most exquisite, John Kavanagh, of the Inman
ocean-ferry line, Founder and President of the Cocktail Club, of which I
am the Laureate. Returning from our divagation, the amateur of beer may
have a big bottle at these Spanish railway hotels for four reals, but I
counsel him abstention. It is never advisable to drink beer in a
wine-growing country. The soul of Sir Wilfrid Lawson would be elevated
to the height of successful joke-making at the catalogue of the
teetotal drinks, which range from sugared water to milk and orangeade.
My weakness is egg-flip. For dinner, which is to be partaken of at
fourteen reals, one has a soup, a fry, an _entrée_, a roast, a salad,
two sweets or fruits, bread and wine. The _entrées_ are usually rib of
mutton, veal or a beefsteak, which sometimes makes you think there is
something like leather. A hen, which is a luxury, rates at fourteen
reals, but a tortilla of the hen's eggs is to be preferred. If any
complaints are felt to be necessary as to attendance or provand, the
station-master has a volume wherein to write them down at the disposal
of travellers.

From Menjibar we steamed along through a beautiful landscape of this
beautiful province of Andalusia. The fields were emerald green and ought
to be fertile, but they seemed to lack cultivation. Very few persons
were to be seen working in them. In proportion as nature had been
prodigal, man appeared to be lazy. Still, viewed as the painter, not the
agriculturist would view it, the landscape was delicious in its quiet
loveliness. Patches of silvery grey--that dreamy neutral silvery grey
which is to be caught in perfection on willows played upon by
moonlight--here and there lightened the mellow masses of verdure. Those
were olive groves. The hills on the horizon, seen through an odd curtain
of rain, for the day was showery, had the vaporous hazy outline of some
of Murillo's pictures. Anon we passed by the bridge of Alcolea, the
scene of the defeat of Queen Isabella's forces under Nouvaliches by
Serrano in 1868. The field is altogether too pretty to have been defiled
by a sanguinary episode of civil war. A gently winding stream courses
'mid rich undulating meadows at the base of a ridge of hills covered
with cottages enbowered in plantations and orchards. As if inflamed by
the warlike associations of the locality, my companions produced
sword-canes, dirks and poniards, and began comparing them with the air
of experts. Not one of these sociable young Spaniards was unprovided
with a lethal weapon. I was devoutly thankful that they had not got to
talking politics on the road, or I might have had to deplore the absence
of a bye-law applying to passengers carrying edged tools from that code
which so carefully shuts out the drunkard, and insists that nobody with
a loaded gun or pistol shall enter a carriage.

At Córdoba the train stopped, and we changed carriages for the
Andalusian capital. During my short stay I was invited to take my choice
of a varied assortment of daggers, navajas, skeens, and stylets, which a
sturdy hawker, who looked as if he knew how to handle them, had strung
round his waist.

The fellow was a perfect walking arsenal, or rather a peripatetic bit of
Sheffield, and expatiated affectionately on the temper and cutting
qualities of his wares. I declined to buy. He showed his teeth, and told
me I might go farther and fare worse. I was very happy to take him at
his word, and get into a carriage that was going as far as Seville,
which was occupied by only one person, a delicate little gentleman with
a bright, keen, kindly face. To him came a courier as he leant out of
the carriage-window.

"Why does one see so many Scotch caps about?" asked the little
gentleman, in English.

"Because Gibraltar is near, and there are smugglers there," answered the

"Why does one see so many dogs about?" asked the little gentleman.

"Because they find more food here than at home," answered the courier.

"Why does not one see the train start to time?" asked the little

"Because this is Spain," answered the courier.

That was conclusive, and the little gentleman drew in his head and sat
down opposite me. He was a charming companion, a young American of
culture and courtly manners, who was travelling in Spain for his health.
He loved the country and the people, and told me many anecdotes of acts
of kindness of which, being sickly, he had been the object from this
strange, tender, passionate race, as ready with generous help as with
the stiletto-point. Poor little gentleman! I fear he has made a void in
some fond household long since, for he was sore stricken with decline.

"The Spaniard," he said, "in fine, is the most courteous of men; he
never sits down to eat in your presence without offering you a share of
his meal." And it is true.

From Córdoba to Seville the way lies through a land of delights--the
"tierra deleitosa" of Andalusia. Again we swept by green fields and
silvery grey olive groves; anon we skirted vivid clusters of
orange-trees laden with the great luscious fruit, which is ever in
season. On we passed by plains bristling with huge spiky clumps of aloes
alternating with growths of Barbary figs, until, towards twilight, we
came in sight of the Guadalquivir with its boats, and on the farther
side, near a copse of cypress, the walls of the Cartuja Convent, now
turned into a porcelain factory by an enterprising Englishman, who makes
imitation Moorish tiles where the hooded friars sang matins and lauds.

It was seven o'clock when we drove into "proud Seville," too late to
look at any of her marvels, but not too late to enjoy a good dinner in
the Fonda de Paris, a namesake and branch of the hotel where I had been
stopping at Madrid. My _vis-à-vis_ at the dinner-table was the Saragossa
butcher--I began to think now he was a political agent--who had been my
_vis-à-vis_ on my tedious ride over the mountains from Beasain to
Alsasua. Was this varlet on my track? I began to entertain serious
apprehensions on the score. It has been my lot for years to have been
shadowed by _mouchards_, gendarmes, detectives, and policemen.

My goings-out and my comings-in have been noted; my house has been
watched by hulking louts in uniform whom their foolish superiors pitched
upon as accomplished pryers; nay, even a female with _pince-nez_,
sealskin jacket, long purse, and an Ollendorffian intimacy with most
Continental tongues, has been cunningly slipped at my heels. I have
been, thank the Lord, misunderstood by fools, belied by knaves, avoided
by the timorous, tabooed by the contemptibly "respectable" (odious
word), and slandered by scoundrels whom I had befriended. Heads have
been wagged, and I have been adjudged a deep card and a dangerous
character. Nothing could be got out of _me_.

The explanation is simple. I had nothing to conceal. You cannot squeeze
aqua tofana out of a stone. I was suspected, I take it now, because, in
the exercise of my vocation, I had been thrown into the society of
Communists, Nihilists, Fenians, and Carbonari. Had I confined myself to
card-sharpers, prize-fighters, copper captains, hypocrites, libertines,
and ladies of the Loosened Cincture, all would have been well. And yet,
'fore Heaven, I can assure the Powers, great and small, I have never
meditated wrong to a State or a potentate, never harboured an unkind
thought for a dog, and never joined a secret society but the Order of
Antediluvian Buffaloes, and they expelled me from the lodge for
unbuffalo-like behaviour.

If I was sure that Saragossa butcher was a spy, I would not put prussic
acid in his chocolate, but I almost think I would sprinkle cowhage
between his sheets.


     Delectable Seville--Don Juan Scapegrace--The Women in Black--In the
     Triana Suburb--The City of the Seven Sleepers--Guide-Book
     Boredom--Romance and Reality--The Prosaic Manchester Man--King
     Ferdinand Puzzling the Judges--Mortification by Proxy--Some Notable
     Treasures--Papers and Politics--The Porcelain Factory--"The Lazy
     Andalusiennes"--About Cigars--The Gipsy Dance.

There are but three spots in the world of which I had formed mental
pictures from my reading, that rose to the level of anticipation when I
came to visit them. Venice was one of these, Naples another, and
Seville, delectable Seville, the third. There is a Spanish proverb which
declares, "Who hath not seen Seville hath not seen a marvel," and I am
prepared to own that who doth not believe that proverb is an unenviable
sceptic. At first sight the city is a disappointment. Glance at it from
the railway and you will have no wish to stop. But alight and remain
there a few days, and you will find it hard to drag yourself away. The
place grows upon you. Each hour reveals new charms; there is a
fascination in the very atmosphere; and in the end you will catch
yourself exclaiming that the pearl of Andalusia is the fairest gem in
the Spanish crown--would be a priceless ornament to any crown.

The setting of the jewel is not worthy of it--a great plain covered with
greyish grass; clumps of tall, brown-blossomed agave; a sky metallic in
its lustre, blazing and intense; a dim streak of azure on the horizon
indicating the far sierra, and, creeping lazily through the flat, a
dull, yellow river. But the city itself! Verily, it is a marvel--a
grotto of serene mysteries in a granary of plenty, the true city to
cultivate the gay science and savour the delicate relishes of bliss.

Don Juan--I mean the Don Juan of the Tenorio family, linked to fame by
Tirso de Molina, Glück, and Mozart, not the hero of Byron's poem--was
born here, lived here, and lies under an ivy-clad sarcophagus in the
gardens attached to the Duke de Monpensier's palace. No sweeter nook of
earth could he have chosen for life's dreary pilgrimage, which he made
as little dreary as he well could, if one-half that is said and sung of
him be true. He was a sad scapegrace, and no pattern to the rising
generation; his back knew no sackcloth, and his shoes no peas; but he
died penitent. His tomb, a chaste thing in marble and brass, ought to be
as attractive for pilgrims of the Wertherian school as the monument to
Abélard in the Père-la-Chaise.

Threading the puzzling maze of Seville streets, one might fancy that all
the ladies here had been in love with the wanton rascal, and were still
in mourning for him. The dress of womankind of the better class is
invariably black; their tiny feet, coffined in dainty shoes, peep from
under a pall of black skirts; black mantillas float over billows of inky
hair, while black eyes flash with the melancholy fire of funeral torches
over the tremulous tips of black fans. Why they patronize black (which
is a conductor of heat) in this hot climate I cannot for the life of me
make out. Certainly it is not because of sympathies solemn or
lugubrious; for the character of these lissom damsels of Seville is the
reverse of gloomy. There is no taint of Inquisitorial days in their
souls. They are grave only externally, and all that is coquettish,
winning, and womanly within. If they hang out the undertaker's emblems
it can only be through love of the rule of contraries, for they are arch
in every step and glance, and bring sunshine with them into shady
places. They are fond of seeing and being seen; they cannot be looked on
as mutes, for they carry a fan, which in Spain is equivalent to a
semaphore; why then will they persevere in wearing this sepulchral
raiment? I flatter myself I have discovered two reasons, either of which
will answer--first, to typify their remorse for all the hearts they have
broken; and, next, because it is very becoming.

The women of the lower classes do not confine themselves to the same
severity of taste. They are as amorous of glaring colours as negresses.
Cross the iron bridge over the Guadalquivir, here a slow current of
chocolate and milk, and go into the Triana suburb where Tatterdemalion
holds court. There you will meet gowns of printed cotton of the
liveliest hue--gowns that flaunt violent pinks and gamboges, but never a
violet or a pearl-grey, much less a black. These daughters of the people
generally adorn their braided dark hair, which is thick and silky enough
to drive a Parisian belle into agonies of jealousy, with a few bright
natural flowers, and sport cheap trinkets and ear-rings, and fling gay
kerchiefs over their shoulders. The men are as true to the native
costume as the women. That abomination, the stove-pipe hat, seldom
shocks the æsthetic mind. The head-gear is the wide round hat with low
crown and inward-turned brim. The large blue or brown cloak, with
parti-coloured lining, is almost universally worn as in Madrid, but with
this difference: in Madrid the tail of it is held before the mouth as if
there was an epidemic of toothache; in Seville, it drapes full and free.
The Andalusian jacket--broidered with tags, and short so as to show the
scarlet waist-sash--tight trousers, and shoes of untanned leather, are
likewise common. A tidy active working-suit this Andalusian suit is, but
it must no more be argued that the men who wear it are tidy and active
and addicted to hard work than that the women who wear black are going
to a burial-service. No; Seville is the most deliciously idle place in
creation, and the Sevillanos are the most deliciously idle people.

The _vis inertiæ_ is cultivated here as a science; the Castle of
Indolence is somewhere in the vicinity; the central offices of the Lazy
Society are situated in the Calle de las Sierpes. The natives take to
lotus-eating naturally. Pure effect of climate. The Seven Sleepers were
born in Seville, and their descendants still have their torpid being in
the city. It was never meant for the bustle of trade or the whirr of
machinery. It is the place of all others to read Theocritus, 'mid bowers
dipping their leaves into plashing fountains, to eat fruit, listen to
distant music, blow languid wreaths of perfumed smoke, and shut one's
eyes to have visions of fair women. It is the veritable opium-eater's

Of deliberate design, I abstain from writing of the public buildings and
monumental curiosities of Seville. All that can be had by those who
choose in the exhaustive guide-books of Richard Ford and Henry O'Shea.
To my thinking, nothing can be more insufferable than the statistics of
architecture, the bald jargon of styles plateresque and ornaments
charrigueresque, the raptures over chancels and transepts and ogee
windows, the precise accounts of such a bell, which would turn the scale
at so many hundredweight, and such a spire, which is three yards and a
quarter taller than the York Column, with the everlasting scraps of
poetry from the treasury of ready-made quotations interlarded between.
It is worse even than the cant of criticism which Laurence Sterne
castigated with honest pen. Hugo was a genius, and even Hugo was almost
unequal to saving "Notre Dame de Paris" from the dead weight of
architectural detail which cumbered its spirit.

Let us look at Seville without the guide-book or guide, walk through its
labyrinth of narrow paved streets with mind open to receive, and mark
the features of the East side by side with those of the West. Those
flat-roofed buildings with greeneries on the summit, those jealous
balconies and windows with their iron trellis-work, those cool inner
spaces with tesselated floors and surrounding of marble pillars of which
we catch glimpses through the metal fret-work of the private doors--how
Moorish they are! The sights and sounds, the ragged and bronzed beggar
urchins, the hawkers of lemons and water, the strings of donkeys and
mules in fringed blinkers pattering along under huge net or straw
panniers, crammed with fruit, or charcoal, or tiles, or cork-wood--how
characteristic, how utterly un-Frankish! That lolling clown, with legs
dangling over the tawny sheared sides of a diminutive donkey, is a study
in himself. Then the melodious street-cries, the lively braying and
whinnying, and the perpetual tinkling of the collar-bells worn by all
four-footed beasts that pass, except nobody's dog and the rich man's
horse--what a pleasant concert they make!

If you wish to change the scene, roam through the plazas, with their
marble water-basins and orange-trees; go to the Duke de Montpensier's
garden, with its wealth of myrtles and fern palms; wander to the
river-side and look at the ships lading or unlading; or ascend the
Giralda, the old mosque steeple from which the muezzin called the
faithful to prayer, and take in the comely mass of colour beneath in one
broad sweep. Then the changing sky that canopies this "fragment of
heaven let fall upon earth!" The riot of clouds when the elements war,
and after the midday heats the genial rain pours down as if the blue
expanse overheard were a lake--how fervent and cordial! At night, when
the city streets are crowded with groups in conversation; when the
fragrant, flower-garlanded patios are visible by mystic lights pendent
from gilt chandeliers, like votive lamps before a shrine; when
caballeros pay court to their lady-loves through gratings as caballeros
are licensed only to pay court in Spain; when plaintive songs, with a
reminiscence of the desert about them, are chanted in monotonous cadence
to the accompaniment of a guitar--how grateful it all is to him who is
not lost to the sense of poetry! Imperceptibly one yields himself to the
associations of the bygone, and imagination takes wing. As the night
ages and silence enwraps the scene--a silence only broken by the deep
boom from a clock-tower or the voice of the sereno, the Spanish
watchman, hobbling along with his lantern swinging from his pike and his
bunch of keys from his girdle, singing out the hours--the effect is
stronger; and I confess, while roaming in such a frame once, I so lost
myself to the present that I should not have been surprised if I had met
the Knight of La Mancha and the three gallants of the _Canard à Trois
Becs_ in mocking whispers at his heels, or Figaro himself on a
serenading excursion; but with the last puff of my cigar died out the
ideal and returned the real. I hastened back to my hotel, which might
once have been a Moorish palace, and there, to make the assurance doubly
sure that this was the nineteenth century, sat in an American
rocking-chair a gentleman in a tweed suit, reading _Galignani's
Messenger_ and drinking pale ale.

That gentleman was not a poet; he was an English tourist. It was the
period before the Holy Week, with its world-renowned solemnities,
celebrated with a pomp second only to that of Rome in her heyday, and
drawing strangers in swarms from every point of the compass. If I
expected to enjoy an intellectual chat with that gentleman I was

"Only fancy!" he began; "the landlord has been here, and the beggar says
we'll have to pay double for board and lodging if we don't clear out
before the 5th of April."

To my explanation that a time of deep interest was at hand, and that
accommodation would be at a premium, Manchester (I felt instinctively he
must be a commercial traveller and in the dry-goods line) continued:
"Yes, I know: bull-fights, Italian opera at the San Fernando, races, fat
women, talking seals, peep-shows, whirligigs--all the fun of the fair.
By Jove! I've half a mind to hang on."

He had not heard of the grand open-air religious processions from Palm
Sunday to Good Friday, nor of the uniquely pathetic service of the
_Tenebræ_, nor of the gorgeous jubilance of Easter Sunday. Some enemy to
Seville spread the rumour that the Republic had set its face against
such ceremonies as mere gauds and vanities, customs more honoured in
the breach than the observance, and that this year they would not be
held. But Seville would not have it so; she would not relinquish her
chance of enjoying a religious raree-show and fleecing the foreigner for
any Republicans. The civil governor issued a proclamation comforting the
lieges by the pledge that now, as ever, the Holy Week would be grandly
kept, kept in a way worthy of cultured Seville, and cultured Seville
rubbed her hands with glee. Crowds were expected to flock in, and the
master of the hotel intended to act royally by them--that is, exact
tribute from them whilst they were at his mercy. Seville meant to be
awfully devout during Passion Week, and awfully jolly the week after. On
Easter Sunday there was to be a bull-fight, one of the finest in Spain,
between the greatest of living toreadores and some bulls of choicely
savage breed. The annual fair, which was represented to me as a revel of
glowing and changing tints in dress--a treat not to be missed by the
artist on any account--was to be held in the middle of April, and
speculative committees were busy over the details of race-meetings,
balls, fireworks, and merry-making generally.

I pressed the representative of the mart of cotton not to depart. But he
was obdurate to arguments touching on the æsthetic. For him the sacred
Biblico-traditional drama of "The Seven Dolours of the Virgin Mary" had
no attraction. He preferred fireworks and the learned pig.

"No," he added, as if musing; "on second thought, I shan't. Bull-fights
I can see at Madrid; and the only race-meeting worth attending, I'm
told, is that at the place where the sherry is manufactured."

"Surely," I ventured, with artless good-nature, "you will wait to
patronize Mr. Spiller, who is advertised as skater-in-ordinary to the
Duke of Edinburgh. It will be something to boast of, that you saw him
gliding and gyrating before the astonished natives, whose only idea of
ice is in the shape of creams, dyed a delicate amber, and tinctured with
essence of lemon. Then, again, your countryman, old Tom Price, the Batty
of the Peninsula, has pitched his tent on the Alameda of Hercules. He's
not to be missed."

"Tom Price--bah! You should go to Astley's, in the Westminster Bridge
Road, my boy. That fairly takes the cake. I'm off!"

He went, and I was not sorry; but the spell was broken. I was guest of
an inn. My elysian train of reverie had been smashed up; the genius of
dry-goods had evicted poetry under circumstances of aggravated
harshness; before the stamp of the elastic-sided boot of Manchester,
Pedro the Cruel and Alonso the Wise, Murillo and Luca Giordano, Maria de
Padilla and Leonora de Guzman, "el Rey Chiquito" Boabdil and the heir of
Columbus--all had melted into thinnest of air.

Inexorable duty called me elsewhere before the Holy Week solemnities, so
that I have no opportunity of describing them _de proprio visu_, and I
do not care to rehearse twice-told tales. But whilst I was in Seville I
wandered to and fro and made good use of my leisure, hearing and seeing
as much as most visitors. Of those things which remain imprinted on my
memory I may repeat some without incurring--at least so I trust--the
imputation of boring the reader. There was a basin in the gardens of the
Alcázar, where I was wont to sit beneath the shade of the foliage in
the strong heats of noon. There is an anecdote concerning it which
impressed me mightily. King Ferdinand was here one day, and was sore
perplexed by an affair of state. He required a just and astute judge to
decide some vexed question of the first importance. Walking up and down
he unconsciously picked an orange, cut it in twain, and flung one half
into the water, the cut side downwards. Suddenly an idea struck him. The
monarch sent for a judge, and asked what was that floating before him.

"An orange," was the answer.

Irritated, he dismissed him, summoned another, put the same question,
and received the same reply. This went on until at length one authority,
before answering, drew the fruit towards him with the branch of a tree,
picked it out of the water, and gave the true reply:

"Half an orange!"

There is a sound moral at the core of this orange.

There are five-and-twenty parish churches in Seville and two thousand
priests; but, as too often happens on the Continent, the women were
vastly more attentive than the men to observances of devotion. I made
the acquaintance of a wealthy burgess, a dealer in curiosities, who
asked me round to his shop to inspect some of the charming peasant
costumes of Murcia, now fast falling into disuse--and a grievous pity it
is. It was Friday when I visited him, and he was gobbling pork-chops.

"What! you a Christian, you a son of the Church!" I exclaimed.

"Ah! señor," he apologized; "forgive me! I am very frail, but my wife is
_so_ good a Christian. I reverence that woman. She has gone to Mass
without breaking her fast, and when she returns she will only take one
small cup of chocolate."

But all the burgesses of Seville are not like to him who practised
mortification by proxy. The gentlefolk are pious, and the commonalty are
not irreligious. Cheerfulness and sobriety are the rule; gambling and an
idleness excused by the enervating influences of the too generous sun
are the predominating vices, as elsewhere in Southern Spain.

I saw few ebullitions of temper, much hospitality among the poor, no
downright thievishness, but the irresistible tendency to pass bad
money--which is accounted a venial failing in the Peninsula.

The Cathedral is a superb pile, and occupies the site of an ancient
mosque. The stained-glass windows are so many captive rainbows.
Pretermitting talk about dimensions and the like, I may note some few of
the remarkable features which are most apt to be recalled by the
stranger. Foremost among these are the stone pulpit from which St.
Vincent de Ferrer preached; the slab over the remains of Ferdinand, son
of Christopher Columbus, whereon are inscribed the words (referring to
his illustrious father), "A Castilla y á Leon Mundo Nuevo Dió Colon,"
and a Crucifixion by a Mexican negro, who was never known to paint any
other subject. It is a peculiarity of artists of the Spanish school, in
representations of the Sacrifice on Calvary, to use three nails and
place the wound on the right side; Italians use four, and place it on
the left. In the Capilla Real is the figure of the "Vírgen de los
Reyes," the patron of Seville, a gift from St. Louis of France,
surmounted by the identical crown with which the brow of the canonized
monarch was pressed, and enclasped as to the throat by a diamond
necklace valued at ninety thousand duros, presented by Doña Berenguela,
the mother of St. Ferdinand. Among the treasures in the relicario of the
sacristy is a massive gold group made of ore brought by Columbus from
America, consisting of two figures sustaining a globe, the globe alone
weighing fifteen pounds. Passing under a horseshoe arch, in a dusty
corridor beside which is preserved the shrivelled mummy of an ungainly
alligator sent by the Sultan of Egypt to Alonso the Wise when seeking
his daughter's hand, the Chapter Library is reached. The prizes of this
collection are the manuscripts of the discoverer of the New World and
the book, "_Tractatus de Imagine Mundi_," which he took with him on the
caravel when he first crossed the Atlantic. There are marginal notes to
it in his own minute and legible handwriting, in one of which he lays
down this apothegm of sad wisdom: "No one is secure from adversity."
There are no especially beautiful pictures by Murillo--especially, I
say, for all of his are beautiful--in the Cathedral, but the church of
La Caridad contains two masterpieces: the "Miracle of our Lord feeding
the Multitude," and that of "Moses bringing the Living Water from the
Rock of Horeb." The latter is full of diversity of expression underlain
by a thrill of mad eagerness brought out with a terrible truth. Another
famous picture is the "Descent from the Cross" of Campana. This was
painted in 1548, and was so natural that Murillo was never weary of
resting in rapt contemplation before it, and on his death-bed asked to
be buried at its feet in the church of Santa Cruz. He had his wish. But
the dogs of war came panting that way. Soult entered Seville, pulled
down the church, desecrated the master's grave, and stole all of his
canvas he could lay his sacrilegious paws upon to grace the Louvre. The
Spaniards do not love the French, nor is it astonishing.

Among the delights of Seville one of the chief must not fail to be
enumerated--no shrieking newsboys shove latest editions into the face of
the lounger. This is not a reading people; for a woman to know how to
read was accounted immoral so late as the beginning of this century.
There are some papers at Seville, nevertheless; among others, _El
Oriente_, devoted to Carlism, and _La Legitimidad_, which advocated the
interests of the ex-Queen Isabella's son and heir; but they have little
to say. In the lack of suicides, stabs in the dark, and
pronunciamientos, they are driven to fill up their space with extracts
from the almanac and lists of letters thrown into the Post Office
without prepayment. Some countryman must have caught the local disease,
for in one list given in _La Legitimidad_ it was notified that two
envelopes had been indolently committed to the box without stamps, one
addressed to "Miss Mary, Hyde Park," and the other to "Monsieur" (an
evident misprint for "Mister") "Francis O'Mahony, Shankerhill."

It may be a surprise to some that Carlism had its adherents, but
wherever the Church is powerful there Carlism exists, and as the Church
is particularly powerful amongst the weaker sex, the Spanish women are
almost universally Carlists. Many a ferocious Intransigente, who spouts
fire and brimstone, and death to kings and priests in the clubs, has to
sing very small when he comes home, for the Señora dotes on Don Carlos
and works slippers for the father confessor. In Seville I should say the
Intransigente element is feeble; it is strongest, perhaps, in the
municipality (which, by the way, issued an edict secularizing the
cemetery of San Fernando), because this party of action is always on the
watch and pushes itself into office; but the immense majority of the
business folk are monarchical, only they wish to have the Prince of the
Asturias, not Don Carlos, for their monarch, and all the gentlefolk,
without exception, are anti-Republican. I had proof of this at the
theatre, where "La Marsellesa," a comedy intended to glorify the advent
of the Republic, was played. The speeches in favour of Federalism very
often fell flat, and occasionally were hissed, while the satirical hits
at "social liquidation" and the like were uncommonly relished.

I have dwelt on indolent Seville. Surely there must be some industries
pursued in this metropolis of the _dolce far niente_. They are not many.

There is a cannon-foundry and a copper-foundry, but more in keeping with
the associations of the radiant district is the porcelain factory. An
Englishman, Mr. Charles Pickman, bought one of the convents sequestered
in 1836, and has transformed it into a factory, where he turns out some
capital imitations of the ancient glazed tiles. Seldom has a hive of
industry been reared in nobler building or on more lovely site, nestling
in gardens enamelled with flowers, wealthy in fruit-trees, and on the
banks of a river. Some may consider it profanity that potters' wheels
spin and buzz in an edifice once consecrated to religion; but labour is
prayer, and sanctifies of itself. A number of healthy, handsome girls
are busily engaged colouring and burnishing the ceramic ware which is
fashioned in the old cloisters; and their joyous songs over their work
cannot be very displeasing to the spirits of the pious brethren who
preceded them in the locality, if there be any ground for the belief
that the shades of the dead are permitted to haunt the spots they
tenanted in the flesh. There are in those songs reminiscences of Bizet's
_Carmen_. These Andalusian lasses have to thank the Englishman for
giving them the opportunity of earning their bread and olives honestly,
and they have the happy look of independence. Their full-blooded
complexions would shame our pale Lancashire factory hands. They can
hardly realize how lucky they are to ply such a neat trade in an
atmosphere of freshness and sweet odour, under a dome of sapphire.

Another institution to go over is the great Government tobacco-factory,
close by the Cathedral, where no less than five thousand women are
employed. The sight is the workwomen. The process of cigar-making is as
uninteresting as that of diamond-polishing, and yet one goes to witness
both with far more anxious anticipation than to inspect what is far more
remarkable--the making of a pin. The building in which the manufactory
is carried on is a world in itself--an imposing oblong block, with a
railed enclosure in front. Being Government property, it is guarded by
soldiers, and the stranger is apt to take it, at first sight, for a
gigantic barrack. The name of the king in whose reign it was erected
(one of the Ferdinands) is still outside. The Republic has not ordered
it to be erased, as a French Republic would have done before this. At
Madrid I noticed the same delicacy, or forgetfulness, if you prefer it;
the monogram and crown of Isabella were untouched on the lamp-posts in
the most revolutionary quarters. The interior of the building consists
of long whitewashed halls, divided into colonnades by rows of pillars,
from which spring vaulted ceilings. The women are seated at low tables
about two feet from the ground, in parties of half-dozens. They were
there of every age, from the tawny hussy of sixteen to the fully
developed matron with her infant tumbling in a cradle beside her, and
the wrinkled hag with her iron-grey locks bound with a gay bandana.
Poor, but merry and impudent withal, they were; and some of the
sprightly hoydens, with sprays of lilac and rosebuds in their
magnificent ebon hair, were a little too ready with a wink. There is a
tradition that they smoke, not dainty cigarettes, but full-flavoured
cigars; in any case, they are carefully searched before leaving to see
that they do not smuggle out any trabucos for personal consumption or as
gifts to their favoured swains. They were dressed invariably in lively
cotton prints, with short shawls of red, or crimson, or saffron, or
other hue outvying the tulip in garishness. To be shockingly frank, not
one of them was conspicuously pretty; they had brilliant eyes and teeth,
but all had an ill-fed, dried-up appearance, even those who were
inclined to flesh. The Spanish woman, after a certain age, has a
tendency to get fat without passing through the buxom stage;
connoisseurs pretend that this is the combined effect of rancid oil and
sweetstuff. But it is not gallant to dive into the secrets of female
nature. Very assiduously these "lazy Andalusiennes" bent to their tasks,
picked and sorted the leaves, rolled the cigars into shape, clipped
them, gummed the ends, and packed them into bundles tied with smart
ribands of silk; for they are paid by the piece, and the bull-fighting
season is near, and they must save the price of a seat at the corrida on
Easter Sunday, come what will. The cigars are assorted in boxes
according to their shape and size, their brand and their strength, the
latter being indicated by the words "claro," "claro colorado,"
"colorado" (which is the medium flavour), "colorado maduro" and "maduro"
as they advance in five gradations from mild to strong. Leaving the
cigar-hall, I was shown into the cigarette-hall, where a number of
quieter girls, with shallow boxes of tobacco-dust almost as fine as
snuff before them, were rolling the paper cylinders exactly as it is
done by smokers, but with fingers surer and nimbler. In another hall the
cartuchos, or packages to hold cigarettes and tobacco, were made. They
were ready printed and cut, waiting to be put on a wooden frame, turned
over, and pasted. One child of ten was pointed out to me as the quickest
in the lot. Her small hands flew over her work with a rapidity that
dazzled. She had need to be expeditious, poor wean, for she received
just one farthing for every hundred packages she made!

There are others besides the tantalizing tile-makers and the saucy
cigarreras who are rebellious to the drowsy influences of clime, and
profanely work--the gipsies and the beggars. There are some of the
former here, though not so many as in the pages of Murray. The
excessively dirty and extremely picturesque race, with parchment skins
and high cheek-bones, is dying out. A few stray members of the tribe
remain in the remotest and raggedest part of the transpontine suburb,
and shear mules, cope horses, and do tinkering jobs generally, filling
in their spare time with petty larceny. Their women shuffle cards and
tell fortunes. A splendid people they are, those gipsies--in Borrow's
book and on canvas. In private life their society is not to be courted.
If you do not want to see them, they are sure to turn up; if you do, as
I did, you must look for them, and not always with success. I came
across but one during my stay in Spain--a yellow girl who was eager to
exhibit her palmistry at my expense in the immense coffee-house under
the Fonda de Paris at Madrid--and she left a strong impression on my
mind of having been own sister to a persuasive prophetess who once
cozened me of half-a-crown on the towing-path at Putney at the 'Varsity
boat-race on the Thames. Your hopes of assisting at a gipsy dance at
Seville will be disappointed. If you give a courier two pounds sterling,
he may be able to improvise you one; a pack of filthy, bony men and
women will execute epileptic saltatory movements before you--not the
Esmeralda dance, but lewd swaying of the body from the hips, and
vehement contortions; and finally one creature will throw her
handkerchief at your feet. A well-bred caballero will fill the
handkerchief with shining dollars, and hand it back to her with a bow.
This dance is work, downright hard work; but it is a dance for money.
Mammon, not Terpsichore, is the genius to whom worship is paid. The
mendicants toil as hard at their trade as those dancing gipsies. I
counted fifty-seven in a short morning walk--some robust and some
well-dressed, with the well-acted meekness of genteel poverty. The
cripples, the deformed, the adults with baby arms and the jumping
Billy-the-Bowls could not be paralleled out of South Italy. From the
assortment could be furnished Burns's "Holy Fair" and the Pattern in
"Peep o' Day" twice over, with something to leave. They are all
past-masters and mistresses in the art of petitioning; they are
professors of physiognomy like Lavater, and can tell at a glance a face
which ought to belong to a charitable mortal; and then, what a command
they have of the gamut of lungs, from the whine, the wheedle, and the
snuffle, to the unctuous, droning prayer or the fierce malediction!

Still--beggars, gipsies, heat, and laziness to the contrary
notwithstanding--Seville is delectable, and a marvel in its gardens and
groves, its flowers and fruit, its fountains and fish-pools, its soft
climate and soft people, its languorous repose and silvery tinkles to
prayer. Seville is romance. Shall it ever be mine again to lie beneath
the shade of its secular orange-trees, and blink at clustering shafts
of marble tipped with silver sun-rays, and dream dreams? As I write,
methinks to my ear rises the cry of the guardian of the night, the last
I heard as I left, half warning, half supplication: "Ave Maria
Purissima, las diez han dado."




[A] In fair play to Santa Cruz, it is right to state that he believed
this female to be a spy, who, under the pretence of Carlism, was willing
to "betray the volunteers of God and the King, and carried despatches to
the enemy sewn up in her dress." Still, the idea of a minister of
religion ordering a woman to be shot does not recommend itself, although
the woman may have justly deserved her fate.

[B] The Duke de Sanlucar is an O'Shea. I hope he is a relative of mine;
for kinship with a grandee, however distant, is something to brag about.
We always speak of our exalted connections. One never hears me dropping
a syllable of a cousin of mine who was a bounty-jumper in the United
States, agent-in-advance to a nigger-minstrel troop, and subsequently
drove a butcher's cart in Brooklyn. He was a fearful, but most
fascinating ruffian.

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