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

_A RECORD OF PERSONAL EXPERIENCES._



ROMANTIC SPAIN:

A Record of Personal Experiences.

BY

JOHN AUGUSTUS O'SHEA,

AUTHOR OF

"LEAVES FROM THE LIFE OF A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT,"
"AN IRON-BOUND CITY," ETC.

"Oh, lovely Spain! renowned, romantic land!"
CHILDE HAROLD.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. II.

LONDON:
WARD AND DOWNEY,
12, YORK STREET, COVENT GARDEN, W.C.
1887.
[_All Rights Reserved._]



CONTENTS OF VOL. II.


CHAPTER I.

                                                         Page

A Tidy City--A Sacred Corpse--Remarkable Features
of Puerto--A Calesa--Lady Blanche's Castle--A
Typical English Engineer--British Enterprise--"Success
to the Cadiz Waterworks!"--Visit to a
Bodega--Wine and Women--The Coming Man--A
Strike                                                   1-18

CHAPTER II.

The Charms of Cadiz--Seville-by-the-Sea--Cervantes--Daughters
of Eve--The Ladies who Prayed and
the Women who Didn't--Fasting Monks--Notice to
Quit on the Nuns--The Rival Processions--Gutting
a Church--A Disorganized Garrison--Taking it Easy--The
Mysterious "Mr. Crabapple"--The Steamer
_Murillo_--An Unsentimental Navvy--Bandaged
Justice--Tricky Ship-Owning--Painting Black
White                                                   19-41

CHAPTER III.

Expansion of Carlism--A Pseudo-Democracy--Historic
Land and Water Marks--An Impudent Stowaway--Spanish
Respect for Providence--A Fatal
Signal--Playing with Fire--Across the Bay--Farewell
to Andalusia--British Spain                             42-50

CHAPTER IV.

Gabriel Tar--A Hard Nut to Crack--In the Cemetery--An
Old Tipperary Soldier--Marks of the Broad
Arrow--The "Scorpions"--The Jaunting-Cars--Amusements
on the Rock--Mrs. Damages' Complaint--The
Bay, the Alameda, and Tarifa--How
to Learn Spanish--Types of the British Officer--The
Wily Ben Solomon--A Word for the Subaltern--Sunset
Gun--The Sameness of Sutlersville                       51-75

CHAPTER V.

From Pillar to Pillar--Historic Souvenirs--Off to
Africa--The Sweetly Pretty Albert--Gibraltar by
Moonlight--The Chain-Gang--Across the Strait--A
Difficult Landing--Albert is Hurt--"Fat Mahomet"--The
Calendar of the Centuries Put Back--Tangier:
the People, the Streets, the Bazaar--Our Hotel--A
Coloured Gentleman--Seeing the Sights--Local
Memoranda--Jewish Disabilities--Peep at a Photographic
Album--The Writer's Notions on Harem
Life                                                    76-102

CHAPTER VI.

A Pattern Despotism--Some Moorish Peculiarities--A
Hell upon Earth--Fighting for Bread--An Air-Bath--Surprises
of Tangier--On Slavery--The
Writer's Idea of a Moorish Squire--The Ladder of
Knowledge--Gulping Forbidden Liquor--Division
of Time--Singular Customs--The Shereef of Wazan--The
Christian who Captivated the Moor--The
Interview--Moslem Patronage of Spain--A Slap for
England--A Vision of Beauty--An English Desdemona:
Her Plaint--One for the Newspaper Men--The
Ladies' Battle--Farewell--The English Lady's
Maid--Albert is Indisposed--The Writer Sums up
on Morocco                                             103-135

CHAPTER VII.

Back to Gibraltar--The Parting with Albert--The
Tongue of Scandal--Voyage to Malaga--"No Police,
no Anything"--Federalism Triumphant--Madrid _in
Statu Quo_--Orense--Progress of the Royalists--On
the Road Home--In the Insurgent Country--Stopped
by the Carlists--An Angry Passenger is
Silenced                                               136-151

CHAPTER VIII.

On the Wing--Ordered to the Carlist Headquarters--Another
_Petit Paris_--Carlists from Cork--How
Leader was Wounded--Beating-up for an Anglo-Irish
Legion--Pontifical Zouaves--A Bad Lot--Oddities
of Carlism--Santa Cruz Again--Running
a Cargo--On Board a Carlist Privateer--A Descendant
of Kings--"Oh, for an Armstrong Twenty-Four
Pounder!"--Crossing the Border--A Remarkable
Guide--Mountain Scenery--In Navarre--Challenged
at Vera--Our Billet with the Parish Priest--The Sad
Story of an Irish Volunteer--Dialogue with Don
Carlos--The Happy Valley--Bugle-Blasts--The
Writer in a Quandary--The Fifth Battalion of
Navarre--The Distribution of Arms--The Bleeding
Heart--Enthusiasm of the Chicos                        152-187

CHAPTER IX.

The Cura of Vera--Fueros of the Basques--Carlist Discipline--Fate
of the _San Margarita_--The Squadron
of Vigilance--How a Capture was Effected--The
Sea-Rovers in the Dungeon--Visit to the Prisoners--San
Sebastian--A Dead Season--The Defences of a
Threatened City--Souvenirs of War--The Miqueletes--In
a Fix--A German Doctor's Warning                       188-210

CHAPTER X.

Belcha's Brigands--Pale-Red Republicans--The Hyena--More
about the _San Margarita_--Arrival of a Republican
Column--The Jaunt to Los Pasages--A
Sweet Surprise--"The Prettiest Girl in Spain"--A
Madrid Acquaintance--A Costly Pull--The Diligence
at Last--Renteria and its Defences--A Furious Ride--In
France Again--Unearthing Santa Cruz--The
Outlaw in his Lair--Interviewed at Last--The Truth
about the Endarlasa Massacre--A Death-Warrant--The
Buried Gun--Fanaticism of the Partisan-Priest          211-238

CHAPTER XI.

An Audible Battle--"Great Cry and Little Wool"--A
Carlist Court Newsman--The Religious War--The
Siege of Oyarzun--Madrid Rebels--"The Money of
Judas"--A Manifesto from Don Carlos--An Ideal
Monarch--Necessity of Social and Political Reconstruction
Proclaimed--A Free Church--A Broad
Policy--The King for the People--The Theological
Question--Austerity in Alava--Clerical and Non-Clerical
Carlists--Disavowal of Bigotry--A Republican
Editor on the Carlist Creed--Character of
the Basques--Drill and Discipline--Guerilleros _versus_
Regulars                                               239-268

CHAPTER XII.

Barbarossa--Royalist-Republicans--Squaring a Girl--At
Irun--"Your Papers?"--The Barber's Shop--A
Carlist Spy--An Old Chum--The Alarm--A Breach
of Neutrality--Under Fire--Caught in the Toils--The
Heroic Thomas--We Slope--A Colleague Advises
Me--"A Horse! a Horse!"--State of Bilbao--Don
Carlos at Estella--Sanchez Bregua Recalled--Tolosa
Invites--Republican Ineptitude--Do not Spur a Free
Horse--Very Ancient Boys--Meditations in Bed--A
Biscay Storm                                           269-299

CHAPTER XIII.

Nearing the End--Firing on the Red Cross--Perpetuity
of War--Artistic Hypocrites--The Jubilee Year--The
Conflicts of a Peaceful Reign--Major Russell--Quick
Promotion--The Foreign Legion--The Aspiring
Adventurer--A Leader's Career--A Piratical
Proposal--The "Ojaladeros" of Biarritz--A Friend
in Need--Buying a Horse--Gilpin Outdone--"Fred
Burnaby"                                               300-317

FOOTNOTES

NOTES OF THE TRANSCRIBER



ROMANTIC SPAIN.



CHAPTER I.

     A Tidy City--A Sacred Corpse--Remarkable Features of Puerto--A
     Calesa--Lady Blanche's Castle--A Typical English Engineer--British
     Enterprise--"Success to the Cadiz Waterworks!"--Visit to a
     Bodega--Wine and Women--The Coming Man--A Strike.


PUERTO de Santa Maria has the name of being the neatest and tidiest city
in Spain, and neatness and tidiness are such dear homely virtues, I
thought I could not do better than hie me thither to see if the tale
were true. With a wrench I tore myself from the soft capital of
Andalusia, delightful but demoralizing. I was growing lazier every day I
spent there; I felt energy oozing out of every pore of my body; and in
the end I began to get afraid that if I stopped much longer I should
only be fit to sing the song of the sluggard:--"You have waked me too
soon, let me slumber again." Seville is a dangerous place; it is worse
than Capua; it would enervate Cromwell's Ironsides. Happily for me the
mosquitoes found out my bedroom, and pricked me into activity, or I
might not have summoned the courage to leave it for weeks, the more
especially as I had a sort of excuse for staying. The Cardinal
Archbishop had promised a friend of mine to let him inspect the body of
St. Fernando, and my friend had promised to take me with him. Now, this
was a great favour. St. Fernando is one of the patrons of Seville; he
has been dead a long time, but his corpse refuses to putrefy, like those
of ordinary mortals; it is a sacred corpse, and in a beatific state of
preservation. Three times a year the remains of the holy man are
uncovered, and the faithful are admitted to gaze on his incorruptible
features. This was not one of the regular occasions; the Cardinal
Archbishop had made an exception in compliment to my friend, who is a
rising young diplomat, so that the favour was really a favour. I
declined it with thanks--very much obliged, indeed--pressure of
business called me elsewhere--the cut-and-dry form of excuse; but I
never mentioned a word about the mosquitoes. I told my friend to thank
the prelate for his graciousness; the prelate expressed his sorrow that
my engagements did not permit me to wait, and begged that I would oblige
him by letting the British public know the shameful way he and his
priests were treated by the Government They had not drawn a penny of
salary for three years. This was a fact; and very discreditable it was
to the Government, and a good explanation of the disloyalty of their
reverences. If a contract is made it should be kept; the State
contracted to support the Church, but since Queen Isabella decamped the
State had forgotten its engagement.

Puerto de Santa Maria deserves the name it has got. It is a clean and
shapely collection of houses, regularly built. People in England are apt
to associate the idea of filth with Spain; this, at least in Andalusia,
is a mistake. The cleanliness is Flemish. Soap and the scrubbing-brush
are not spared; linen is plentiful and spotless, and water is used for
other purposes than correcting the strength of wine. Walking down the
long main street with its paved causeways and pebbly roadway, with its
straight lines of symmetric houses, coquettish in their marble balconies
and brightly-painted shutters and railings, one might fancy himself in
Brock or Delft but that the roofs are flat, that the gables are not
turned to the street, and that the sky is a cloudless blue. I am
speaking now of fine days; but there are days when the sky is cloudy and
the wind blows, and the waters in the Bay of Cadiz below surge up sullen
and yeasty, and there are days when the rain comes down quick, thick,
and heavy as from a waterspout, and the streets are turned for the
moment into rivulets. But the effects of the rain do not last long;
Spain is what washerwomen would call a good drying country. Beyond its
neatness and tidiness, Puerto has other features to recommend it to the
traveller. It has a bookseller's shop, where the works of Eugène Sue and
Paul de Kock can be had in choice Spanish, side by side with the Carlist
Almanack, "by eminent monarchical writers," and the calendar of the
Saragossan prophet (the Spanish Old Moore); but it is not to that I
refer--half a hundred Andalusian towns can boast the same. It has its
demolished convent, but since the revolution of '68 that is no more a
novelty than the Alameda, or sand-strewn, poplar-planted promenade,
which one meets in every Spanish hamlet. It has the Atlantic waves
rolling in at its feet, and a pretty sight it is to mark the feluccas,
with single mast crossed by single yard, like an unstrung bow, moored by
the wharf or with outspread sail bellying before the breeze on their way
to Cadiz beyond, where she sits throned on the other side of the bay,
"like a silver cup" glistening in the sunshine, when sunshine there is.
The silver cup to which the Gaditanos are fond of comparing their city
looked more like dirty pewter as I approached it by water from Puerto;
but I was in a tub of a steamer, there was a heavy sea on and a heavy
mist out, and perhaps I was qualmish. Not for its booksellers' shops,
for its demolished convent, or for its vulgar Atlantic did this Puerto,
which the guide-books pass curtly by as "uninteresting," impress me as
interesting, but for two features that no seasoned traveller could,
would, or should overlook; its female population is the most attractive
in Andalusia, and it is the seat of an agreeable English colony. I
happened on the latter in a manner that is curious, so curious as to
merit relation.

I had intended to proceed to Cadiz from Seville after I had taken a peep
at Puerto, but that little American gentleman whom I met at Córdoba was
with me, and persuaded me to stop by the story of a wonderful castle
prison, a sort of _Tour de Nesle_, which was to be seen in the vicinity,
where the _bonne amie_ of a King of Spain had been built up in the good
old times when monarchs raised favourites from the gutter one day, and
sometimes ordered their weazands to be slit the next. This show-place is
about a league from Puerto, in the valley of Sidonia, and is called El
Castillo de Doña Blanca. We took a calesa to go there. My companion
objected to travelling on horseback; he could not stomach the peculiar
Moorish saddle with its high-peaked cantle and crupper, and its
catch-and-carry stirrups. We took a calesa, as I have said. To my dying
day I shall not forget that vehicle of torture. But it may be necessary
to tell what is a calesa. Procure a broken-down hansom, knock off the
driver's seat, paint the body and wheels the colour of a roulette-table
at a racecourse, stud the hood with brass nails of the pattern of those
employed to beautify genteel coffins, remove the cushions, and replace
them with a wisp of straw, smash the springs, and put swing-leathers
underneath instead, cover the whole article with a coating of liquid
mud, leave it to dry in a mouldy place where the rats shall have free
access to the leather for gnawing practice, return in seven years, and
you will find a tolerably correct imitation of that decayed machine, the
Andalusian calesa. It is more picturesque than the Neapolitan
_corricolo_; it is all ribs and bones, and is much given to inward
groaning as it jerks and jolts along. Such a trap we took; the driver
lazily clambered on the shafts, and away hobbled our lean steed.

The road to Lady Blanche's Castle is like that to Jordan in the nigger
songs; it is "a hard road to travel"--a road full of holes and quagmires
and jutting rocks; and yet the driver told me it had once been a good
road, but that was in the reign of Queen Isabella. Everything seems to
have been allowed to go to dilapidation since. On the outskirts of
Puerto we passed an English cemetery; I am glad to say it is almost
uninhabited. If there is an English dead settlement there ought to be a
live one, I reasoned, unless those who are buried here date from
Peninsular battles. The first part of the road to Blanche's Castle is
level, and bordered with thick growths of prickly pear; there is a view
of the sea, and of the Guadalate, spanned by a metal bridge--a Menai on
a small scale. Farther on, as we get to a district called La Piedad, the
country is diversified by swampy flats at one side and sandy hills at
the other. Blanche's Castle was a commonplace ruin, a complete "sell,"
and we turned our horse's head rather savagely. As we were coming back,
the little American shortening the way by Sandford and Merton
observations of this nature--"Prickly pear makes a capital hedge; no
cattle will face it; the spikes of the plant are as tenacious as
fish-hooks. The fibres of the aloe are unusually strong; they make
better cordage than hemp, but will not bear the wet so well"--a sight
caught my eyes which caused me to stare. A tall young fellow, with his
trousers tucked up, was wading knee-deep in the bottoms beside the road.
He wore a suit of Oxford mixture.

"Who or what is that gentleman?" I asked the driver.

"An English engineer," was the answer.

I stopped the calesa, hailed him, and inquired was he fond of rheumatic
fever. He laughed, and pronounced the single word, "Duty." A little
word, but one that means much. A Spanish engineer would never have done
this; they are great in offices and at draughting on paper, but they
seldom tuck up their sleeves, much less their trousers, to labour out of
doors as the young Englishman was doing. I made his acquaintance, and he
willingly consented to show me over the works in which he was engaged,
which were intended to supply Cadiz with water. In England water is to
be had too easily to be estimated at its proper value. At Cadiz it is a
marketable commodity. Even the parrots there squeak "agua." Every drop
of rain that falls is carefully gathered in cisterns, and the
conveyance of water in boatloads from Puerto across the Bay is a regular
trade. An English company had been formed to supply the parched seaport
and the ships that call there with fresh water, and its reservoirs were
situated at La Piedad. In the bowels of the flats below, where the
snipe-shooting ought to be good, our countryman told me the water was to
be sought. Galleries had been sunk in every direction in land which the
company had purchased, and pumps and engines are soon to be erected that
will raise the liquid collected there up to the reservoirs which have
been hewn out of the hills above. These reservoirs, approached by
passages excavated out of the rough sandstone, are stout and solid
specimens of the mason's craft directed by the engineer's skill. Here we
met a second gentleman superintending the labours of the men, but he was
surely a Spaniard; he spoke the language with the readiness of one born
on the soil; still, he had a matter-of-fact, resolute quickness about
him that was hardly Spanish. Doubts as to his nationality were soon
dispelled; the engineer we had surprised in the swamp presented us to
his colleague Forrest, engineer to Messrs. Barnett and Gale, of
Westminster, the contractors, as thoroughbred an Englishman as ever came
out of the busy town of Blackburn.

Mr. Forrest at once stood to cross-examination by the American, who had
all the inquisitiveness of his race.

"We employ a couple of hundred men, on an average, here," he said, "all
of whom, with but two exceptions, are Spaniards, and very fair
hard-working fellows they are; in the town below we have a small colony
of English, and if you don't take it amiss I shall be happy to present
you to our society."

I know little of the technicalities of engineering, but I saw enough of
this work to be certain that it was well and truly done, and I heard
enough of the scarcity of water in Cadiz to be convinced it will be a
great boon when finished. The reservoirs are constructed in colonnades,
supported by ashlar pillars and roofed with rubble; for the water must
be shaded from the sun in this hot climate; the pillars are buttered
over with cement, and there is over a foot of cement concrete on the
flooring, to guard against filtration. As we paced about the sombre
aisles, echo multiplied every syllable we uttered; the repetition of
sound is as distinct as in the whispering gallery of St. Paul's, and I
could not help remarking, "What a splendid robber's cave this would
make!"

"Too tell-tale," said the practical American; "make a better cave of
harmony."

"The only pipes that are ever likely to blow here are water-pipes,"
smilingly put in the engineer; "we intend to lay them from this to
Cadiz, some twenty-eight miles distant. Roughly speaking, we are about
ninety feet above the level of the place, so that the highest building
there can be supplied with ease."

The Romans were benefactors to many portions of this dry land of Spain;
they built up aqueducts which are still in use, but they neglected
Cadiz. The town has been dependent on these springs of La Piedad for its
water supply, except such as dropped from heaven, for three hundred
years, and attempts to obtain water from wells or borings in the
neighbourhood have invariably failed. The water which is found in this
basin, held by capillary attraction in the permeable strata through
which it soaks till the hard impermeable stratum is met--retained, in
short, in a natural reservoir--is excellent in quality, limpid and
sparkling. Puerto has been supplied from the place for time out of mind,
and Puerto has been so well supplied that it could afford to sell
panting Cadiz its surplus. With English capital and enterprise putting
new life into those old hills, and cajoling the precious beverage out of
their bosom, which unskilled engineers let go to waste, Cadiz should
shortly have reason to bless the foreign company that relieves its
thirst. Clear virgin water, such as will course down the tunnels to
bubble up in the Gaditanian fountains, is the greatest luxury of life
here; "Agua fresca, cool as snow," is the most welcome of cries in the
summer, and temperate Spain is as devoted to the colourless liquid that
the temperance lecturer Gough and his compeers call Adam's ale, as ever
London drayman was to Barclay's Entire. Success, then, to the Cadiz
Waterworks Company: we drank the toast on the hill-side of "Piety" they
were making fruitful of good, drank it in tipple of their and nature's
brewing, but had latent hopes that Forrest or his colleague would help
us to a bumper of the generous grape-juice for which the district is
famed, when we got down to the pleasant companionship of the English
colony below.

Nor were our hopes disappointed. There are innumerable bodegas, or
wine-vaults, in the town, in which bottles and barrels of wine are
neatly caged in labelled array, according to age, quality, and kind.
Very clean and roomy these stores of vinous treasure are, with an
indescribable semi-medicinal odour languidly pervading them. We visited
a bodega belonging to an Englishman, who ranks as a grandee of the
first-class, the Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo and eke of Vitoria, but who is
better known as the Duke of Wellington. The natural wine of this
district is too thin for insular palates. They crave something fiery,
and, by my word, they get it. Like that Irish car-driver who rejected my
choicest, oily, mellow "John Jameson," but thanked me after gulping a
hell-glass of new spirit, violent assault liquefied, they want a drink
that will catch them by the throat and assert its prerogative going
down. What a beamy old imposition is that rich brown sherry of city
banquets, over which the idiot of a connoisseur cunningly smacks his
lips and rolls his moist eyes. If he were only told how much of it was
real and how much artificial, would he not gasp and crimson! It would be
unmerciful to inform him that his pet cordial is charged with sulphuric
acid gas, that it is sweetened with cane-sugar, that it is flavoured
with "garnacha dulce," that it is coloured with plastered _must_ and
fortified with brandy, before it is shipped. Let us leave him in
blissful ignorance. We tasted many samples before we left, but I own I
have no liking for sherries, simple or doctored. Among Spanish wines I
far prefer the full-bodied astringent sub-acidity of the common Val de
Peñas, beloved of Cervantes. But the Queen of wines is sound Bordeaux.
To that Queen, however, a delicate etherous Amontillado might be
admitted as Spanish maid-of-honour, preceding the royal footsteps, while
the syrupy Malaga from the Doradillo grape might follow as attendant in
her train.

From wine to women is an easy transition. Both are benedictions from on
high, and I have no patience with the foul churl who cannot enjoy the
one with proper continence, and rise the better and more chivalrous from
the society of the other. Wine well used is a good familiar
creature--kindles, soothes, and inspirits: the cup of wine warmed by the
smile of woman gives courage to the soldier and genius to the minstrel.
With Burns--and he was no ordinary seer--I hold that the sweetest hours
that e'er we spend are spent among the lasses. I will go farther and say
the most profitable hours. And some sweet and profitable hours 'twas
mine to spend among the fawn-orbed lasses of Puerto, with their
childlike gaiety, their desire to please, and their fetching freedom
from affectation. Would that the wines exported from the district were
half as unsophisticated! These lasses were not learned in the "ologies"
or the "isms," but they were sincere; and their locks flowed long and
free, and when they laughed the coral sluices flying open gave scope to
a full silvery music cascading between pales of gleaming pearl. An
admixture of this strain with the fair-skinned men of the North should
produce a magnificent race; and, indeed, if we paid half the attention
to the improvement of the human animal which we do to that of the equine
or the porcine, the experiment would not have been left untried so long.
In-and-in breeding is a mistake, and can only commend itself, and that
for selfish reasons, to the Aztec in physique and the imbecile in mind.
The families which take most pride in their purity are the most
degenerate; the stock which is the most robust and handsome is that
which has in it a liberal infusion of foreign bloods. In my opinion, the
coming man, the highest form of well-balanced qualities--moral,
intellectual, and masculine--the nearest approach to perfection, must
ultimately be developed in the United States.

Puerto has a wide-spread reputation as the nursery-ground for
bull-fighters. To the arena it is what Newmarket is to the British turf.
Everybody there walks about armed, but murder is not more rife in
proportion than in London. As it happened, a fellow was shot while I was
there, but that would not justify one in coming to the conclusion that
homicide was a flourishing indigenous product. Still, the natives did
not escape the contagion of unrest of their countrymen. For example, the
last news I heard before leaving my English friends was that the men in
the vineyards had struck work. These lazy scoundrels had the impudence
to demand that they should have half an hour after arrival on the
ground, and before beginning work, to smoke cigarettes, the same grace
after the breakfast hour, two hours for a siesta in the middle of the
day, another interval for a bout of smoking in the afternoon, and
finally that each should be entitled to an arroba (more than three and a
half gallons English) of wine per acre at the end of the season. They go
on the same basis as some trades' unions we are acquainted
with--reduction of hours of labour and increase of wages. "Will you give
in to them?" I asked of an English settler, in the wine trade. "Give
in------" but it is unnecessary to repeat the expletive; "I'll quietly
shut up my bodega."



CHAPTER II.

     The Charms of Cadiz--Seville-by-the-Sea--Cervantes-Daughters of
     Eve--The Ladies who Prayed and the Women who Didn't--Fasting
     Monks--Notice to Quit on the Nuns--The Rival Processions--Gutting a
     Church--A Disorganized Garrison--Taking it Easy--The Mysterious
     "Mr. Crabapple"--The Steamer _Murillo_--An Unsentimental
     Navvy--Bandaged Justice--Tricky Ship-Owning--Painting Black White.


THE man who pitched on Cadiz as the site of a city knew what he was
about. Without exception it is the most charmingly-located place I ever
set foot in. Its white terraces, crowded with white pinnacles,
belvederes, and turrets, glistening ninety-nine days out of the hundred
in clear sunlight, rise gently out of a green sea necked with foam; the
harbour is busy with commerce, crowded with steamers and sailing ships
coming and going from the Mediterranean shores, from France, from
England, or from the distant countries beyond the Atlantic; the waters
around (for Cadiz is built on a peninsula, and peeps of water make the
horizon of almost every street) are dotted with fishing craft or
scudding curlews; the public squares are everlastingly verdant with the
tall fern-palm, the feathery mimosa, the myrtle, and the silvery ash,
which only recalls the summer the better for its suggestive appearance
of having been recently blown over with dust; the gaze inland is repaid
with the sight of hills brown by distance, of sheets of pasture, and
pyramidal salt-mounds of creamy grey; and the gaze upwards--to lend a
glow to the ravishing picture--is delighted by such a cope of dreamy
blue, deep and pure, and unstained by a single cloudlet, as one seldom
has the happiness of looking upon in England outside the doors of an
exhibition of paintings. The climate is dry and genial, and not so hot
as Seville. The Sevillanos know that, and come to Cadiz when the heats
make residence in their own city insupportable. Winter is unknown;
skating has never been witnessed by Gaditanos, except when exhibited by
foreign professors, clad in furs, who glide on rollers over polished
floors; and small British boys who are fond of snowballing when they
come out here are obliged to pelt each other with oranges to keep their
hands in. One enthusiastic traveller compares it to a pearl set in
sapphires and emeralds, but adds--lest we should all be running to hug
the jewel--there is little art here and less society.

"Letters of exchange are the only belles-lettres." Indeed. Now this is
one of those wiseacres who are _in_ a community, but not _of_ it, who
materially are present, but can never mentally, so to speak, get
themselves inside the skins of the inhabitants. That city cannot be said
to be without letters which has its poetic brotherhood, limited though
it be, and which reveres the memory of Cervantes, as the memory of
Shakespeare is revered in no English seaport. Wiseacre should hie him to
Cadiz on the 23rd of April, when the birth of Cervantes is celebrated,
for in spite of intestine broils, Spaniards are true to the worship of
the author of "Don Quixote," and his no less immortal attendant, whom
Gandalin, friend to Amadis of Gaul, affectionately apostrophizes thus:

      "Salve! Sancho with the paunch,
       Thou most famous squire,
    Fortune smiled as Escudero she did dub thee
    Tho' Fate insisted 'gainst the world to rub thee.
       Fortune gave wit and common-sense,
         Philosophy, ambition to aspire;
       While Chivalry thy wallet stored,
         And led thee harmless through the fire."

With the respect he deserves for this wandering critic and no more, I
will take the liberty of saying that there is art, and a great deal of
art, in the site of the clean town; and that there is society, and good
society, in that forest of spars in the roadstead, and in the fishing
and shooting in the neighbourhood. When the Tauchnitz editions have been
exhausted, and when the stranger has mastered Cervantes and Lope de
Vega, Espronceda, Larra, and Rivas, there is always that book which Dr.
Johnson loved, the street, or that lighter literature which Moore sings,
"woman's looks," to fall back upon. I am afraid some prudes may be
misjudging my character on account of the frequency of my allusions to
the sex lately; but I beg them to recollect that this is Andalusia, and
that woman is a very important element in the population of Cadiz. She
rules the roost, and the courtly Spaniard of the south forgets that
there was ever such an undutiful person as Eve. Woman played a
remarkable part in the events of the couple of months after the Royal
crown was punched out of the middle of the national flag. She is
political here, and is not shy of declaring her opinions. Ladies of the
better classes of Cadiz are attentive to the duties of their religion;
kneeling figures gracefully draped in black may be seen at all hours of
the day in the churches during this Lenten season, telling their beads
or turning over their missals. Those ladies are Carlist to a man, as
Paddy would say; they naturally exert an influence over their husbands,
though the influence falls short of making their husbands accompany them
to church except on great festivals such as Easter Sunday, or on what
may be called occasions of social rendezvous, such as a Requiem service
for a deceased friend. The men seem to be of one mind with the French
freethinker, who abjured religion himself, or put off thoughts of it
till his dying day, but pronounced it necessary for peasants and
wholesome for women and children. But _les femmes du peuple_, the
fishwives, the labourers' daughters, the bouncing young fruit-sellers,
and the like, are not religious in Cadiz. They have been bitten with the
revolutionary mania; they are staunch Red Republicans, and have the bump
of veneration as flat as the furies that went in procession to
Versailles at the period of the Great Revolution, or their great
granddaughters who fought on the barricades of the Commune. The nymphs
of the pavement sympathize strongly with the Republic likewise; but
their ideal of a Republic is not that of Señores Castelar and Figueras.
They want bull-fights and distribution of property, and object to all
religious confraternities unless based on the principles of "the Monks
of the Screw," whose charter-song, written by that wit in wig and gown,
Philpot Curran, was of the least ascetic:

    "My children, be chaste--till you're tempted;
       While sober, be wise and discreet,
     And humble your bodies with--fasting,
       Whene'er you have nothing to eat."

So long ago as 1834 a sequestration of convents was ordered in Spain,
but the Gaditanos never had the courage to enforce the decree till
after the revolution that sent Queen Isabella into exile. A few years
ago the convent of Barefooted Carmelites on the Plaza de los Descalzados
was pulled down; the decree that legalized the act provided an
indemnity, but the unfortunate monks who were turned bag and baggage out
of their house never got a penny. They have had to humble their bodies
with fasting since. For those amongst them who were old or infirm that
was a grievance; but for the lusty young fellows who could handle a
spade there need not be much pity, for Spain had more of their sort than
was good for her. Even at that date the revolutionists of Cadiz had some
respect left for the nunneries. But they progressed; the example of
Paris was not lost upon them. The ayuntamiento which came into power
with the Republic was Federal. Barcelona and Malaga were stirring; the
ayuntamiento made up its mind that Cadiz should be as good as its
neighbours and show vigour too. The cheapest way to show vigour was to
make war on the weak and defenceless, and that was what this
enlightened and courageous municipality did. The nuns in the convent of
the Candelaria were told that their house and the church adjoining were
in a bad state, that they must clear out, and that both should be razed
in the interests of public safety. It was not that the presence of
ladies devoted to God after their own wishes and the traditions of their
creed was offensive to the Republic; no, not by any means. The nuns
protested that if their convent and church were in a dangerous condition
the proper measure to take was to prop them up, not pull them down. But
the blustering heroes of the municipality would not listen to this
reasoning; they were too careful of the lives of the citizens, the nuns
included; down the edifices must come. The Commune of Paris over again.
The ladies of Cadiz, those who pass to and fro, prayer-book in hand, in
the streets, and startle the flashing sunshine with their solemn
mantillas, were wroth with the municipality. They saw through its
designs, and they resolved to defeat them. To the number of some five
hundred they formed a procession, and marched four deep to the
Town-house to beg of their worships, the civic tyrants, to revoke their
order. If the convent and church were in ruins, the ladies were prepared
to pay out of their own pockets the expense of all repairs. That
procession was a sight to see; there was the beauty, the rank, the
fashion, and the worth of the city, in "linked sweetness long drawn
out," coiling through the thoroughfares on pious errand. The fair
petitioners were dressed as for a _fete_; diamonds sparkled in their
hair, and the potent fan, never deserted by the Andalusians, was
agitated by five hundred of the smallest of hands in the softest of
gloves. But the civic tyrants were more severe than Coriolanus. They
were not to be mollified by woman's entreaties, but rightly fearing her
charms they fled. When the procession arrived at the Town-house, there
was but a solitary intrepid bailie to receive it. They told him their
tale. He paid them the usual compliments, kissed their feet in the grand
Oriental way individually and collectively, said he would lay their
wishes before his colleagues, but that he could give no promise to
recall the mandate of the municipality--it was more than he dare
undertake to do, and so forth. The long and short of it was, he politely
sent them about their business. They came away, working the fans more
pettishly than ever, and liquid voices were heard to hiss scornfully
that the Republic, which proclaimed respect for all religions and
rights, was a lie, for its first thought was to trample on the national
religion, and to dispossess an inoffensive corporation of cloistered
ladies of their right to then property. Here the first act of the drama
ended.

The second was, if anything, more sensational, though infinitely less
attractive. The Federals bit their thumbs, and cried:

"Ah, this is the work of the priests!"

So it was; not a doubt of that. The Federals meditated, and this was the
fruit of their meditations:

"Let us organize a counter-procession!"

That counter-procession was a sight to see, too; the feature of elegance
was conspicuous by its absence, but there was more colour in it.
Harridans of seventy crawled after hussies of seventeen; bare arms and
bandannas were more noticeable than black veils and fans; the _improbæ
Gaditanæ_, known of old to certain lively satirists, Martial and Juvenal
by name, turned out in force. Mayhap it is prejudice, but Republican
females, methinks, are rather muscular than good-looking. Still they
have influence sometimes, and when they said their say at the Town-house
the ladies plainly betrayed how much they dreaded that influence. They
wrote to Madrid praying that the municipality should be arrested in its
course. Señor Castelar did send a remonstrance; some say he ordered the
local authorities not to touch the church or convent, but they laughed
at his letter, and contented themselves by reflecting that he was not in
possession of the facts--that is, if they reflected at all, which is
doubtful.

Act the third was in representation during my stay. I passed the
Candelaria one morning. Scaffolding poles were erected in the street
alongside in preparation for the demolition of the building, and a party
of workmen in the pay of the municipality were engaged gutting the
church of its contents, and carting them off to a place of deposit,
where they were to be sold by public auction. These workmen looked
cheerful over their sacrilege. A waggon was outside the door laden with
ornaments ripped from the walls, gilt picture-frames, fragments of
altar-rails, and the head of a cherub. Half a dozen rough fellows in
guernseys had their shoulders under a block of painted wood-carving. As
far as I could make out, it was the effigy of one of the Evangelists. I
was refused admittance to the building, but I was told the sacramental
plate had been removed with the same indifference. The nuns escaped
without insult, thanks to the good offices of some friends outside, who
brought up carriages at midnight to the doors of the convent and
conveyed them to secret places of safety put at their disposal by the
bishop.

The people who committed this mean piece of desecration were all Federal
Republicans. They disobeyed orders from Madrid, and would disobey them
again. They were as deaf to the commands of Señor Castelar as to the
prayers and entreaties of the wives and daughters of respectable
fellow-citizens. And all this time that the central authority were
defied, artillerymen and linesmen were loitering about the streets of
Cadiz. Eventually it was plain they would be disarmed, as they were
disarmed at Malaga; and they would not offer serious opposition to the
process. Their officers were barely tolerated by them. The Guardia Civil
were true to duty, but when the crisis came, what could they do any more
than their comrades at Malaga? They were but as a drop of water in a
well. Disarmament is not liked by the old soldiers who have money to
their credit, but there is a large proportion of mere conscripts in the
ranks, and they are glad to jump at the chance of returning home.

Troubles worse than any may yet be in store; meanwhile the sun shines,
and Cadiz, like Seville, takes it easy. But there is a bad spirit
abroad, and it is growing. A pack of ruffians forcibly entered a mansion
at San Lucar, and annexed what was in it in the name of Republican
freedom; the "volunteers of liberty" have taken the liberty of breaking
into the houses of the consuls at Malaga in search for arms; an excited
mob attacked the printing-office of _El Oriente_ at Seville after I
left, smashed the type, and threatened to strangle the editor if he
brought out the paper again; and the precious municipality of Cadiz has
nothing better to do than order that no mourners shall be allowed in
future to use religious exercises or emblems, to sing litanies or carry
crosses, at the open graves of relatives in the cemeteries.

In the merchants' club (of which I was made free) they were saddened at
the disrupted state of society, but took it as kismet, and seemed to
think that all would come right in the end, by the interposition of some
_Deus ex machinâ_. But who that God was they could not tell: he was
hidden in the womb of Fate. As Cadiz accepted its destiny with
equanimity, I accommodated myself to the situation, and did as the
natives did. I helped to fly kites from the flat housetops--a favourite
pastime of mature manhood here; I opened mild flirtations with the
damsels in cigar-shops, and discovered that they were not slow to meet
advances; I expended hours every day cheapening a treatise on the
mystery of bull-fighting, with accompanying engravings, in vain--its
price was above rubies. But my great distraction was a strange character
I met at dinner at the house of the British Consul. I did not catch his
name at our introduction, so I mentally named him Mr. Crabapple. He was
short and stout, had a round wizened face freckled to the fuscous tint
of a russedon apple, and was endowed with a voice which had all the
husky sonority of a greengrocer's. He was beardless and sandy-haired,
and one of those persons whose age is a puzzle to define; he might have
been anything between fifteen and five-and-thirty. As he talked of
Harrow as if he had left it but yesterday, I was disposed to set him
down as a queer public-school boy on vacation, until I was astounded by
some self-possessed remark on Jamaica dyewoods. We stopped in the same
hotel. One morning he descended the stairs, a sort of dressing-case in
hand, and yelled to an urchin at the door:

"Here, you son of a sea-calf, take this down to the waterside for me!"

"Will he understand you?" I said.

"Bound to," Mr. Crabapple replied; "never talk to them any other way,
anyhow. 'Tis their business to understand. Ta, ta--deuce of a hurry."

"Where are you going, may I ask?"

"Read the Church Service--rather a bore--Sunday, you know."

The nondescript, then, was a chaplain.

The same evening he returned to the hotel, and on the following morning
I saw him again descending the stairs, the same dressing-case in hand.
He nodded salute, slung his luggage to the same urchin with the cry,
"Hook it, you lubber!" and, turning to me, said, "Ta, ta, sheering off
again."

"Where to now?"

"Mediterranean."

"There's no boat to-day."

"There is, though--there's mine;" and he was off.

The supposed chaplain was a stray-away from a novel by Marryat,
commanded her Majesty's gunboat _Catapult_, and was at Cadiz on the duty
of protecting British interests. At the moment his mission was to carry
important despatches to Gibraltar.

My mission to Cadiz was, partly, to ascertain the progress of the
inquiry into the case of the _Murillo_ steamer, more than suspected of
having run down the _Northfleet_, a vessel laden with railway-iron and
navvies, off Dungeness, on the night of the 22nd of January previous.
Three hundred lives had been lost on the occasion. I knew something of
that wreck, for I had seen and spoken with the survivors in the Sailors'
Home at Dover on the following evening. A dazed, stupid lot they were,
of an exceedingly low standard of intelligence. The sense of their own
rescue had overcome the poignancy of grief. I envied them their
stolidity, which I explained to my own mind by the rush of the engulfing
waters still swirling and singing knell of sudden doom in their ears.

"Guv'nor," said one clown to me, "I seed my ole 'ooman go down afore my
eyes, and I felt that grieved a'most as if I was agoin' down myself, and
I chewed a bit o' baccer."

I saw the _Murillo_ lying quietly a little distance off the land--a
handsome, shapely craft, fine in the lines, with a sharp stem fashioned
like that of a ram. She was painted black, with the exception of a band
of pink above the water-line, where she was coated with Peacock's
mixture. The British Consul informed me that he understood the inquiry
into the guilt of the master was to be carried on _secretly_. He would
not be allowed to attend it. Copies of the depositions of the accused,
and permission to see them, had also been denied to the agents of the
British Government, who applied for them for the purposes of the Board
of Trade inquiry. Though Spaniards, in private conversation, own that
the _Murillo_ is the criminal ship, they seem, for some unaccountable
reason, to be anxious that she should escape the penalty of her
wickedness, as if the national honour were concerned, and the national
honour would be served by cloaking an offence cruel and mean in itself,
and awful in its consequences.

There is a sentence in the Comminations which would keep running in my
mind every time I thought of that emigrant ship sent to the bottom off
Dungeness--"Cursed is he who smiteth his enemy secretly." But if he who
smites his enemy secretly is accursed, what is he who smites his
neighbour and then flees away like a coward in the dark? Is he not twice
and thrice wicked, and to be branded with malediction deeper still? Such
a thing the _Murillo_ steamer did--there could be no manner of doubt
about it; every seafaring man and every Spaniard admits her
blood-guiltiness; yet there she lies off Puntales, near the Trocadero,
calmly expecting soon to be under weigh again with her criminal master
and crew on board, with no punishment registered against her or them.
The Consul-General of Spain in London wrote to the papers after the loss
of the _Northfleet_, saying if this man was the wrongdoer he would be
punished, and sent to Ceuta or Tetuan. But he is the wrongdoer, and he
will never be sent to Ceuta or Tetuan. The master of the _Murillo_ and
the sailors of the watch on the fatal night are in prison, but they will
never be brought to serious account. The figure of Justice in these
latitudes is true to the sculptor's ideal in one sense: the eyes are
bandaged, not that Justice shall be impartial, but that she may not
see.

This instance of the _Murillo_ is but one of many, and as it illustrates
an artifice of tricky ship-owning, it will be well to state why the
_Murillo_ will go scot-free, and may audaciously turn up again in
British waters disguised by a few coats of paint, exhibiting a fresh
figure-head, and bearing a new name in gilt lettering on her stern.

In the first place, the _Murillo_ belonged not to Spanish so much as
English owners. The line of steamers of which she was one was the
property of a company of shareholders. The company was anxious that
their vessels should fly the Spanish flag, so they made one Don Miguel
Styles the nominal head of the firm. This individual was a mere clerk in
their office, a man of straw, and at the date of the catastrophe Don
Miguel Styles had no more substantial existence than our old friend John
Styles: he was dead, and in his grave.

Nextly, Mr. Daniel Macpherson, one of the most eminent merchants in the
port of Cadiz and Lloyd's agent, had been served with an instrument
claiming damages to the amount of 50,000 pesetas (£2,000), because that
he had calumniated the good ship _Murillo_, and caused her prejudice and
injury by detaining her a couple of months in the waters of Cadiz. The
persons who instituted this action forget that the Spanish courts have
no jurisdiction in the matter of libels published in England. And as for
the prejudice caused to the vessel, it is incredible that the British
Government should be so weak as to wait for letters from Lloyd's agent
before opening an inquiry into the deaths of some three hundred of its
subjects and the identity of the dastardly scoundrel who was the cause
of their deaths, who disabled the ship that held them, and then slunk
off, leaving them to the mercy of the midnight sea. That the _Murillo_
was that vessel, even those who maintain that she cannot be proved
legally guilty do not attempt to deny. It is true, as they say, that
moral certainty is one thing, legal certainty another. But there was
seldom a clearer chain of circumstantial evidence pointing to the
perpetrator of any crime than that which convicted the _Murillo_ of
being the misdemeanant. She was off Dungeness at the hour of the
disaster, and she was in contact with a ship; this the imprisoned master
admitted in his log. But he alleged that the ship could not have been
the _Northfleet_. He said he came into collision with a vessel; that he
stood by her for half an hour; that one of her boats put off with some
persons on board carrying a lantern; that they went round her examining
whether there was anything wrong; and that no call having been made to
him for assistance he steamed away. But there was a discrepancy between
the entry in his log and that in the log of the engineer. The latter, an
Englishman, stated that the engines of the _Murillo_ were backed before
the collision, that she went astern afterwards, and then went on ahead.
The delay altogether was only for a few minutes. No mention of the
half-hour. The engineer had no object in telling a lie. The master of
the _Murillo_ had. No other ship was in collision off Dungeness that
night. Besides, what meant the order to the _Murillo_ to come on at once
to Cadiz if she had been in collision, and not stop at Lisbon, whither
she was bound as port of call, if not to get her into limits where
justice is notoriously blind and halt? Argument is unnecessary and
childish; it was the _Murillo_ which cut down the _Northfleet_. But
Spain will never exact retribution for the destruction of the property
and the sacrifice of the lives of aliens. Cosas de España.



CHAPTER III.

     Expansion of Carlism--A Pseudo-Democracy--Historic Land and Water
     Marks--An Impudent Stowaway--Spanish Respect for Providence--A
     Fatal Signal--Playing with Fire--Across the Bay--Farewell to
     Andalusia--British Spain.


TOWARDS the close of February, a grave official report was published in
the _Gaceta_ of Madrid, announcing that an engagement had been fought
with the Carlists and a victory scored, _one_ of the enemy having been
killed. We were now in April, some six weeks later, and Carlism still
showed lively signs of existence, notwithstanding the death of that
solitary combatant. The statement of the troops employed against it will
be the best measure of its importance. These consisted of a battalion
and two companies of Engineers, four companies of Foot Artillery, a
battery of Horse and five batteries of Mountain Artillery; eight
squadrons of Cuirassiers, seven of Lancers, four of Hussars, a section
of Mounted Chasseurs (Tiradores), and eighteen battalions of Infantry of
the line, with five of Cazadores, or light infantry. Behind this force
of regulars were the Francos or Free-shooters of Navarre (who were about
as good as their prototypes, the _francs-tireurs_ of France--no better),
some mobilized Volunteers, and the Carabineros, or revenue police. There
were some who imagined that the hosts of Don Carlos might crown the
hills of Vallecas, and present themselves before the gate of Atocha to
the consternation of Madrid, as did those of his predecessor in the
September of 1837. But the Federals of the south did not mind. What did
not touch them, they cared not a jot for. They were of the
pseudo-democracy which wants to live without working, consume without
producing, obtain posts without being trained for them, and arrive at
honours without desert--the selfish and purblind pseudo-democracy of
incapacity and cheek.

As I had no pecuniary interest in salt, wine, phosphate of soda, hides,
or cork--the chief exports of Cadiz--I left the much-bombarded port on
the _Vinuesa_, one of the boats of the Alcoy line plying to Malaga. My
immediate destination was the Hock, but we went no nearer than
Algeciras, the town on the opposite side of the bay, off which Saumarez
gave such a stern account of the Spanish and French combined on the 12th
of July, 1801. The sea was without a ripple. The bright coasts of two
Continents were in view. On such a day as this the first adventurers
must have crossed from Africa to Europe. Hero might almost have swum
across. Even Mr. Brownsmith of Eastchepe might rig a craft out of an
empty sugar hogshead, set up his walking-stick for mast, tie his
pocket-handkerchief to it for sail, and trust to the waves in
safety--that is, if Mr. Brownsmith of Eastchepe had in him the heart of
Raleigh, not of Bumble. Some men are born to be drivers of tram-cars,
some to be captains of corsairs. The pioneer of navigation must have
been cut out by nature to be a High-Admiral of bold buccaneers.

We were only five passengers on the steamer, and we amused ourselves
comparing notes. One told of a voyage from Barcelona to Alicante which
he had once undertaken. The first night out they lost a sailor; he was
seized with a fit and died; and then came the poser. When they would
arrive at Alicante and muster the crew for the inspection of the health
officers one would be wanting; suspicions would be aroused that he had
fallen a victim to contagious disease, and they ran the hazard of being
stuck into quarantine unless they could succeed in buying themselves off
with an exorbitant bribe. While they were in a quandary, a white head
popped above a gangway forward and a voice sang out:

"I'll get you out of the hole for a consideration."

"Who the deuce are you? Where did you spring from?" cried the skipper.

"A stowaway,--a flour-barrel. I'll parade as the dead man's substitute
for ten dollars and a square meal."

In the end they were glad to accept the impudent proposal; the corpse
was flung overboard, and the stowaway entered the port of Alicante an
honest British tar, looking the whole world in the face like
Longfellow's village blacksmith, and jingling ten dollars in his
pocket.

We passed by Barrosa, where Graham gave the French such a thrashing in
1811, and the 87th Irish Fusiliers earned their glorious surname of the
"Eagle-takers;" and over the waves of Trafalgar where Nelson did his
duty, and was smitten with a bullet in the spine; and passing into the
Straits and rounding the point by Tarifa, stood in for the Bay of
Gibraltar. A spacious swelling spread of live water it is, and safe,
except, as one of my fellow-passengers informed me, for a rock off the
Punta del Carnero, or Mutton Point. The rock is covered when the tide is
high (for there is a tide here), but rears its tortoise-like back over
the surface for some hours at the ebb. The Channel squadron was coming
out of Gib some years before when an ironclad grounded on this rock, but
was got off without more damage than a scraping. As the danger to the
navigation was outside the limits of the fortress, the British
authorities applied to the Spanish for permission to clear away the
obstruction. It was easily to be accomplished. A party of sappers could
set a caisson round it, bore a gallery, insert a charge, and blast the
rock into smithereens with safety and despatch. But the Spaniards would
not consent to such an interference with the designs of Providence; the
poor fishermen on the coast were often dependent for their livelihood on
what they could pick up from wrecks, and if this rock were removed
Nature would be sacrilegiously altered, and the interesting wreckers
deprived of many an honest coin. I tell the tale as it was told to me. I
wonder should it be dedicated to the amphibious corps.

Another story bearing on the successful revolution inaugurated by Prim
is worth relating, as it deals with an episode of Spanish politics which
is repeated almost every other year with slender variations. The play is
the same; the scene and the _dramatis personæ_ are merely shifted. One
of the stereotyped military risings was to be initiated at Algeciras on
the arrival of Prim from England. The intimation that he was at hand was
to be made by the firing of two rockets from the ship which carried him.
On a certain night at the close of August, 1868, two rockets blazed in
the sky, and were noticed by the impatient conspirators at Algeciras,
who flew to arms to cries of "Down with the Queen," and "Live Prim and
Liberty." But no Prim landed. The alarm was premature, the rising a
flash in the pan. What they had taken for the bright herald of the
advent of "El Paladino" was the signal of a Peninsular and Oriental
steamer which had arrived on her passage to Port Said. For the sake of
appearances, a number of unfortunate fools were set up against a wall
and had their brains blown out in tribute to law and order. But the
fruit was ripening. Within little more than a fortnight came the
insurrection of the fleet at Cadiz, upon the appearance in that port of
the popular hero, and before the end of the month Queen Isabella had
fled over the French frontier, never to return to Spain as a sovereign.
Prim's plot was attended with a fortune in excess of his most sanguine
hopes; he entered Madrid in triumph in October, and was created a
Marshal in November. All was joy and enthusiasm, but the hapless tools
of ambition who had helped to prepare the way for him below in Algeciras
were not of the jubilee.

At first sight the rock looms up large like a frowning inhospitable
islet, the stretch of the Neutral Ground being so low that one cannot
detect it above the sea-level until almost right upon it. We left the
_Vinuesa_ and entered a boat with a couple of sturdy rowers, who offered
to pull us across the Bay for five dollars. As I dipped a hand in the
brine one of them raised a cry of "Take care!" there were "mala pesca"
there. Mr. Shark, who is an ugly customer, had been cruising in the
neighbourhood, and had taken a morsel out of an American swimmer a
little time before. There were three masts protruding over the water at
one spot, the relics of some gallant ship, and index to one of those
godsends which the Spanish Government is solicitous to guarantee to the
distressed and deserving local fishermen. What a pity it was not the
_Murillo_! That would have been poetic retribution.

No matter: with all thy faults I like thee, Spain, and especially that
brown dusty province of Andalusia, with its oranges and pomegranates;
its dancing fountains splashed with sunshine; its winsome damozels with
such lisping languors of voice; its philosophic waiters upon the morrow,
happy in a cigarette, a melon and a guitar; its muleteers crooning
snatches of lazy song; its peasants with hair tied in beribboned
pigtail; its tawny boys in Manola colours; aye, and its artistic
beggars.

"Ah! now you see the Neutral Ground; that village to the left is Lineas,
where you can get a glass of Manzanilla cheap," exclaimed a companion.

I do not set exceeding store by your pale thin Manzanilla, nor do I care
to load my mouth with the flavour of a drug store.

"There are the sheds we put up the time Prim was expected; they are on
the Neutral Ground, ha, ha! where the soil is supposed to be inviolate;
but we have forgotten to take them down since. We were too many for
them."

And now we are by the landing-stairs, and the Customs' officer demands
our passport in English. We answer him cheerily that we need none, and
to his smiling welcome we step on the soil of British Spain; but it
would be unpardonable to begin describing it at the tail of a chapter.



CHAPTER IV.

     Gabriel Tar--A Hard Nut to Crack--In the Cemetery--An Old Tipperary
     Soldier--Marks of the Broad Arrow--The "Scorpions"--The
     Jaunting-Cars--Amusements on the Bock--Mrs. Damages' Complaint--The
     Bay, the Alameda, and Tarifa--How to Learn Spanish--Types of the
     British Officer--The Wily Ben Solomon--A Word for the
     Subaltern--Sunset Gun--The Sameness of Sutlersville.


WHERE I went to school, we had a droll lad, whose humour developed
itself in mispronunciation. In my nonage I considered that unique. Now I
know it is a rather common order of quaintness. Hugh used to call Sierra
Leone, "Sarah Alone;" Cambodia, "Gamboge;" Stromboli, "Storm-boiler;"
and Gibraltar, "Gabriel Tar." How we used to wrinkle with laughter at
his sallies, launched with an artistically unconscious air, until the
swooping cane came swishing down on our backs! And here I was in Gabriel
Tar. I vow the first inclination I felt was to write to Hugh with the
date engraved on the note-paper, and indeed so I should have done, but
that I had not seen him for nigh twenty years, and when last I heard of
him he was married, and had learned to be serious and to speak with
precision. The fun had been driven out of him by responsibility.
Propriety had come with prosperity.

Call it by what name you will, Gabriel Tar, or Gibraltar, that
infinitesimal scrap of territory over which the Union Jack floats, is
supremely unpalatable and insolently insulting to the Spaniard. It is a
bitter pill to swallow, an adamantine nut to crack. I suppose he is
welcome to take it--when he can; but he knows better than to try. It is
the gate of the Mediterranean. Logically, it is an injustice that a
stranger should sit in the porter's lodge and swing the key at his
girdle; but it is as well that the porter is one who is too surly to
barter his trust for gold. So Gabriel Tar will remain intact, until the
porter grows feeble or falls asleep.

British Spain, or "the Rock," or Gib, as it is indifferently termed, or
Sutlersville, as I prefer to name it, can be converted into an island at
the will of its defenders. The sandy spit of Neutral Ground at one side
of which Tommy Atkins, fresh-faced, does his sentry-go in brick-red
tunic and white pith-helmet, and at the other side of which swarthy
Sancho Panza y Toro, in projecting cap and long blue coat, fondles a
rifle in the bend of his arm, can readily be flooded; and the bare,
sheer, lofty north front, with scores of cannon of the deadliest modern
pattern lying in wait behind the irregular embrasures that grimly pit
its surface, hardly invites attack. It frowns a calm but determined
defiance; and even the Cid himself might be excused if he turned on his
heel and puffed a meditative cigarette after he had surveyed it.

British Spain is small, being but one and seven-eighth square miles
English in area; but it is mighty strong. The population, comprising the
garrison, is less than fifteen thousand; but behind that slender cipher
of souls are the millions of the broadest and biggest of empires. I do
not know what the population of the cemetery is, but it receives rapid
and numerous accessions at each periodical outbreak of cholera. I paid a
visit to it--I have a fondness for sauntering in God's acre--and arrived
in time to witness a funeral. When the coffin was laid in the grave, a
young man, probably the husband of the deceased, threw himself prone on
the turf beside the open burial-trench, and burst into such a passionate
tempest of heart-rending sobs and moans and wailings, that I had to move
away. These Southerners are more demonstrative in their grief than the
men of the North. I question if their sorrows spring from deeper depths,
or are so lasting. The caretaker of the cemetery, an elderly Tipperary
soldier, with a short _dudheen_ in his mouth, was seated smoking on a
head-stone by a goat-willow. We got into conversation.

"There were worse places than Gib--singing-birds were raysonable here,
and some of them had rayl beautiful plumage."

My countryman, like the Duke of Argyll, had a weakness for ornithology.

"That spread of land beyant was where the races were held, and small-arm
parties from the fleet sometimes kem ashore and practised there. They
used to play cricket there, too. The symmetry wasn't a gay place, but
there were worse. There were some beautiful tombs--now _there_ was a
parable ov wan; 'twas put up by their frinds to some officers who were
dhrownded while they were crossing a flooded sthrame on their way back
from a shooting excursion. The car-drivers, who were dhrownded wid them,
had no monument. 'Twas a quare world; a poor man had the chance of dying
wid a rich man, but was not to be berrid in his company. Well, he
supposed it was for the best," and here he hammered the heel-tap out of
his pipe on the side of his shoe; "when the last bugle sounded a
field-officer would feel uncomfortable like if he had to be looking for
his bones in the same plot wid a lance-corporal."

Truly, a queer world. Death with impartial summons knocks at the cabin
of the poor and the palace of the wealthy; but in the undertaker's
interest the equality of the grave must not be conceded. The plebeian
who commits _felo de se_ is served properly if he is hidden at the
cross-roads by night and a stake driven through his body. The lunatic
King who drowns himself, and drags his doctor to the same fate--who is a
suicide duplicated with the suspicion of murder--is embalmed and laid to
rest in consecrated ground amid incense and music, lights and flowers,
the tolling of bells, and the chanting of dirges.

The funeral was over; they were just finishing the _De Profundis_. My
countryman had to quit me. "_Oyeh!_ that fellow who was making such a
lamentation might be married agin in a twelvemonth. The army plan was
the best; after the 'Dead March' in _Saul_ came 'Tow-row-row.'--another
so'jer was to be had for a shilling. He did not drink; he thanked me all
the same--had taken the pledge from Father Mathew whin he was a boy, and
meant to stick by it; but he would accept the price of a singing-bird he
had set his mind upon, since it was pressed upon him."

Gibraltar is but a huge garrison. In the moat by the gate, as I
re-entered, a big drummer and a tiny mannikin-soldier with cymbals were
practising how to lead off a marching-past tune. The "Fortune of War"
tavern elbows "Horse-Barrack Lane;" a print of "The Siege of Kars" is
side by side in a shop-window with Dr. Bennett's "Songs for Soldiers."
The Plazas and Calles of the mainland of Spain have been parted with.
The names of streets, hostelries, and stores are English. Instead of
tiendas and almacenes and fondas, you have fancy repositories,
regimental shoe-shops, and porter-houses. There, for example, is the
celebrated "Cock and Bottle," and farther on "The Calfs Head Hotel." If
you traverse Cathedral Square, no larger than an ordinary-sized
skittle-alley, you arrive by Sunnyside Steps to the Europa Pass. Notices
are posted by the roadside cautioning against plucking flowers or
treading on the beds under pain of prosecution. But the bazaar bewilders
you with its alien figures, its confusion of tongues, and its eccentric
contrasts of dress. In five minutes you meet Spanish officers; nuns in
broad-leaved white bonnets; a bearded sergeant nursing a baby;
bare-legged, sun-burnished Moors; pink-and-white cheeked ladies'-maids
from Kent; local mashers in such outrageously garish tweeds; stiff
brass-buttoned turnkeys; Jews in skull-cap and Moslems in fez; and while
you are lost in admiration of a burly negro, turbaned and in grass-green
robe, with face black and shiny as a newly-polished stove, you are
hustled by a sailor on cordial terms with himself who is vigorously
attempting to whistle "Garry Owen."

But above and before all, the sights and sounds are military. Sappers
and linesmen and artillerists pullulate at every corner; fatigue-parties
are confronted at every turn; the bayonet of the sentinel flashes in
every angle of the fortress from the minute the sun, bursting into
instantaneous radiance from behind the great barrier of craggy hill,
lights up the town and bastions and moles, until the boom of the
sunset-gun gives signal for the gates to be closed. Every tavern looks
like a canteen; the gossip is of things martial; the music is that of
the reveille or tattoo--the blare of brass, the rub-a-dub of parchment,
or the shrill sound-revel of Highland pipes (for there is usually a
Scotch regiment here). The ladies one meets all have husbands, or
fathers, or uncles in the Service; even the children--those of English
parents well understood--keep step as they walk, and the boys amongst
them compliment any well-dressed stranger with a home face by rendering
him the regulation salute. This is highly gratifying to the civilian
sojourning in the place; for he insensibly succumbs to the _genius
loci_, squares his shoulders, expands his chest, and feels that if he is
not an officer he ought to be one.

Except the enterprising gentry who devote themselves to cheating the
Spanish excise by smuggling cigars and English goods across the border,
the Scorpions live by and on the garrison, and therefore do I name their
habitat Sutlersville. "Scorpion," I should add, for the benefit of the
uninitiated, is the _sobriquet_ conferred by Tommy Atkins on the natives
of the Rock, as that of "Smiches" is merrily applied by him to the
Maltese, and of "Yamplants" to the denizens of St. Helena. There is a
tolerable infusion of English blood among the Scorpions, but it is
hardly of the healthiest or most respectable.

Gib is familiar to thousands of Englishmen, but it must be unfamiliar to
many thousands more. This is my excuse for exhuming some notes of my
stay there. Don't be afraid, I am not going to pester you with
guide-book erudition. Let others take you to the galleries and caves,
lead you up the ascent to the Moorish tower, inform you that the one
spot in Europe where there is an indigenous colony of monkeys (the
patriarch of which is styled the "town major") is here, and enlighten
you as to the interesting fact that this is the only locality out of
Ireland where the Irish jaunting-car is to be objurgated. Mine be a
humbler task.

Society in Gib is select, but limited. It is uniform, like the clothes
of the influential portion of the inhabitants. Gib is the wrong place to
bring out a young lady, though Major Dalrymple's daughters, immortalized
in Lever's novel, could not well have found a better hunting-ground. But
then Major Dalrymple's daughters were regular garrison hacks--so the
irreverent subs of the Rovers used to call them--and never stood a
chance beside the daughters of the county families. There are racing and
chasing at the station, and theatricals and balls. I arrived at the
wrong season. The three days' local racing, for horses of every breed
but English, was over, and most of the men were going to Cadiz by
special boat next day, _en route_ for the Jerez races, which are the
best--indeed, I might almost say the solitary--meeting in Spain.

"There are only two things in this land worth talking about," said an
English merchant to me at Cadiz; "the steamers of Lopez and the races of
Jerez."

The hunting (thanks to brave old Admiral Fleming for having started that
diversion) was over too. The meets have to come off, naturally, outside
the frontier of British Spain. The sport is pretty good--one cannot
quite expect the Melton country, of course--the riding hard, and the
horses invariably Spanish; no English horses would do, for no English
horse would be equal to climbing up a perpendicular bank with sixteen
stone on his back, and that is a feat the native steeds, bestridden by
British warriors in pink who follow the Calpe pack, have sometimes to
accomplish. There is a Spanish lyrical and theatrical troop in the town;
but it is Holy Week, and lyricals and theatricals are under taboo.
Occasionally charity concerts are given by amateurs, and plays are even
performed in Lent Champagne, of the Fizzers, has won a reputation by his
success on the boards when he dons the habiliments of lovely woman
beyond a certain age. But, as I told you before, I arrived at the wrong
season. There are no balls at the Convent, which is the Governor's
residence; and, touching these balls, I have a grievance to ventilate,
at the request of Mrs. Quartermaster Damages. She specially imported
frilled petticoats from England to display in the mazy dance, and she
assured me they were turning sere and yellow in her boxes. She never
gets a chance of bringing them out except once in the twelvemonth, when
she is asked to the "Quartermasters' Ball." But there is a reason for
everything, and Mrs. Quartermaster Damages is fat and forty, and not
fair, and--tell it not out of mess--they say she has a tongue.

At this particular time, you perceive, this fortified fragment of the
empire was dull; but usually it is gay, and the officer quartered there
has always an excellent opportunity of learning his trade and acquiring
skill in the gentlemanly game of billiards. He can make maps and surveys
of the neutral ground, and watch the guard mounting on the Alameda, or
read the account of the siege in Drinkwater's days; and when he tires of
the green cloth and its distractions, and of his own noble profession,
he can throw a sail to the breeze in the unequalled Bay, or take a
flying trip to Tarifa to sketch the beautiful from the living model, or
go to Ceuta to see the Spanish galley-slaves and disciplinary regiments,
forgetful of our own chain-gangs; or steam across to Tangier to riot in
Nature and a day's pig-sticking.

The Bay, the Alameda, and Tarifa--these are the three delights of
Gibraltar.

You have heard of the Bay of Naples, and the Bay of Dublin, which equals
it in Paddy Murphy's estimation. I know both; and Gibraltar, the
little-spoken-of, leaves them nowhere. The sky, and the undulating
mirror below that reflects it, are such a blue; the rocks are such an
ashen-grey; the Spanish sierras such a leonine brown, with summits
wrapped in clouds like rolling smoke; and the sun goes down to his bath
in the west 'mid such a vaporous glow of yellowing purple and rosy gold!

The Alameda is a bower of Venus cinctured by Mars. Here is a gravelled
expanse bounded by hill and sea, with cosy benches under the shade of
palmitos--the civilization of the West in alliance with the rich
vegetation of the East. Sometimes, in the morning, five hundred men or
more--garrison artillery, engineers, and infantry--muster there,
previous to marching to their posts; there is a banging of drums, a
blowing of bugles, a bobbing vision of cocked-hats, and a roar of hoarse
words of command--all the pomp and pride and circumstance of glorious
war before the fighting begins. Sometimes, in the evening, a band plays,
and the Alameda is the resort of fashion and of nursery-maids.

Tarifa, shining in the sunset across the water, is a tempting morsel for
the landscape-painter, and the dwellers in Tarifa are the best teachers
of Spanish. A British subaltern bent on improving his mind could
encounter an infinitely better preceptor there than "Jingling Johnny,"
the self-appointed professor to the garrison, who hires himself on
Monday, makes you a present of a guitar-tutor on Tuesday, and asks you
to favour him with six months' payment in advance on Wednesday. To be
sure, the Spanish those Tarifans speak is slightly Arabified; but their
tones of voice are persuasive, and their methods of teaching agreeable.
The professor taken by the British subaltern is invariably a female, and
the females of Tarifa are not the ugliest in the world. They still
retain many customs peculiar to their Moorish ancestors. They wear a
manta, not a mantilla--a sort of large-hooded mantle, with which they
hide the light of their countenance, except an eye--but that is a
piercer, ye gods I and they keep it open for business. When a stranger
passes, especially if he looks like a sucking lieutenant from the
fortress beyond, the manta falls, disclosing the soft loveliness
beneath, and the wearer affects a pretty confusion, and hastens with
judicious slowness to re-adjust its folds. The British subaltern reels
to his quarters seriously wounded, and may be seen the following
morning, with his hair blown back, spouting poetry to the zephyrs on
Europa Point. Oh no!--that only occurs in romances; but he may be seen
drinking brandy-and-soda moderately in the Club-House.

Poor British subaltern! How Sutlersville does exploit him! He is a
sheep, and bears his fleecing without a kick. Watch those lazy,
lounging, able-bodied, smoking, and salivating loons who prop up every
street-corner, and monopolize the narrow pathways--these all live by
him; they eat up his substance, and fatten thereupon. These are the
touting and speculating sons of the Rock, the veritable Scorpions, who
are ever ready to find the "cap'n" a dog or a horse or a boat, or
something not so harmless, to help him on the road to ruin, and whisper
in his ear what a fine fellow he is--"As ver fine a fellow--real
gemman--as Lord Tomnoddy, who give me such a many dollars when he go
away." The first word these loons pronounce after coming into the world
must be _baksheesh_. They are born with beggary in their mouths, and the
British subaltern acts as if he were born to be their victim. There he
is below, of every type, lolling outside the hotel-door that looks on
that Commercial Square which is so thorough a barrack-square, with its
romping children, its dogs, its dust, its guard-house with chatting
soldiers on a form in front, and the important sentinel pacing to and
fro, regular and rigid as a pendulum, keeping vigilant watch and ward
over nothing in particular. We have a rare company to-day; besides the
engineers and bombardiers, and the linesmen of the 24th, 31st, 71st, and
81st, the four infantry regiments on the station, we have men on leave
from Malta. They came up to the races, and are waiting for the P. and O.
steamer to take them back. That fat little customer is your sporting
sub. I only wonder he is not in cords, tops, and spurs. What a hearty
voice he talks in! He asks for the _Field_ as if he were giving a
view-halloo. Then there is the moist-eyed, mottle-cheeked, puffy,
convivial sub, who is knowing on the condition of ale, and is too
friendly with Saccone's sherry. The convivial sub, I am happy to say, is
dying out. Then there is the prig, who is "going in" for his profession.
I call him a prig, because when people are going in for anything they
should have the good sense not to blow about it. To hear Mr. Shells and
his prattle about Hamley and Brialmont and Jomini, _kriegspiel_ and the
new drill, you would imagine he was bound to put the extinguisher on
Marlborough, Wellington, Wolseley, and the rest of them; and yet the
chances are, if you meet him twenty years hence, he will be a captain on
the recruiting service, with no forces to marshal but six growing
children. Then there is the sentimental sub, the perfect ladies' man,
who plays croquet and the flute, pleads guilty to having cultivated the
Nine, and affects a simpering pooh-pooh when he is impeached with having
inspired that wicked but so witty bit of scandal in the local paper. By
singularity of pairing, his fast friend is the muscular sub, who walks
against time, and can write his initials with a hundredweight hanging
from his index-finger.

Happy dogs in the heyday of life, all of them; how I envy them their
buoyant spirits, their rollicking enjoyment of to-day, and their
contempt for the morrow! But the morrow will come nevertheless, and
with it Black Care will come often. Gib is a haunt of the Hebrews; they
or their myrmidons beset the subaltern at genial hours, after luncheon
or after mess, pester him with vamped-up knick-knacks for sale, appeal
to him to patronize a poor man by buying articles he does not and never
by any means can want--"pay me when you likes, Cap'n, one yearsh, two
yearsh." The "cap'n," who may have left Sandhurst but six months, may be
weakly good-natured, and ignore the fact that his income is not elastic;
some day that he thinks of taking a run to England Ben Solomon, who
seems to be able to read the books in the Adjutant-General's Office
through the walls, pounces upon him with his little bill, and he is
arrested if he cannot satisfy his Jewish benefactor. Loans are advanced
at a high rate "per shent" by the harpies, and enable him to stave off
the temporary embarrassment; the "cap'n" is happy for the moment, but
the reckoning is only deferred that it may grow. The arrival of Black
Care is adjourned, not averted. The plain truth of it is, Gibraltar is a
den of thieves, and has been the burial-pit of many a promising young
fellow's hopes. There are two tariffs for everything--one for natives,
the other for the British subaltern and the British tourist; and the
British subaltern and the British tourist are foolish enough to submit
to the extortion in most cases. With some half-dozen honourable
exceptions, the traders are what is popularly known as "Jews" in their
mode of dealing. They cozen on principle, sell articles that will not
last, and charge preposterous prices for them; they impose upon the
young officer's softness or delicate gentlemanly feeling, and consider
themselves smart for so doing. In this manner Gibraltar, with all its
discomforts, is dearer than the most expensive and luxurious quarter in
the British Isles.

But we have other specimens of the genus officer in the lounging
slaughterers by profession, who are so busy killing time. The lean
bronzed aristocratic major, whose temper long years in India have not
soured; the squat pursy paymaster (why are paymasters so fearfully
inclined to fat?); the raw-boned young surgeon with the Aberdeen accent;
"the ranker," erect and grizzled, and looking ever so little not quite
at his ease, you know, for the languid lad with fawn-coloured moustache
straddling on the chair beside him is an Honourable; the jovial portly
Yorkshireman, who is in the Highland Light Infantry, naturally; and the
lively loud-voiced Irishman, laughing consumedly at his own jokes--all
are here, conversing, smoking, mildly chaffing each other, and
exchanging "tips" as to the next Derby. They make a book in a quiet way,
and occasionally invest in a dozen tickets in a Spanish lottery. What
will you? One cannot perpetually play shop, and the British officer has
a rooted objection to it, although he does his duty like a man when the
tug of war arises. Better that he should join in a regimental
sweepstakes, or lose what he can afford to lose to a comrade, than give
way to the blues. He does not gamble or curse, like his Spanish
_confrère_; his potations are not deep, nor is he quick to quarrel. Then
let him race on the Neutral Ground; let him hunt with the Calpe pack;
and let him back his fancy for the big event at Epsom. Those are his
chief excitements at Gib, and help to give a fillip to life in that
circumscribed microcosm, pending the anxiously expected morn when the
route will come, or, mayhap, the call to active service, in one of those
petty wars which are constantly breaking the monotony of this so-called
pacific reign.

"Guard, turn out!" cries the Highland Light Infantry sentinel under my
window, and the smart soldier laddies fall in for the inspection of the
officer of the day. What a thoroughly military town it is! By-and-by the
evening gun booms from the heights above, where Sergeant Munro, taking
time from his sun-dial and the town major, notifies the official sunset.
Bang go the gates. We are imprisoned. Anon the streets are traversed by
patrols in Indian file to warn loiterers to return to barracks, the
pipers of the 71st skirl a few wild tunes on Commercial Square, the
buglers sound the last post, the second gun-fire is heard, and a hush
falls over the town, broken only by the challenges of sentries or their
regular echoing footfalls on their weary beats. The thunder of artillery
wakes you in the morning anew, and if you venture out for a walk before
breakfast you thread your way through waggons of the army train or
fatigue-parties in white jackets. You stumble across cannon and
symmetric pyramids of shot where you least expect them; the line of
sea-wall is intersected by figures in brick-red tunic, moving back and
forward on ledges of masonry; the morning air is alive with drum-beats
and bugle and trumpet-calls; everything is of the barrack most
barrack-like; the broad arrow is indented in large deep character on the
Rock. It is impossible to shake off the Ordnance atmosphere. The Irish
jaunting-cars are all driven by the sons of soldiers' wives; the
clergy-men are all military chaplains; those goats are going up to be
milked for the major's delicate daughter; that lady practising horse
exercise in a ring in her garden is wife to Pillicoddy of the Control
Department, and is merely correcting the neglected education of her
youth; the very monkeys--diminishing sadly, it grieves me to say--recall
associations of the mess-room, for you never fail to hear of that
terrible sportsman, "one of Cardwell's gents," who thought it excellent
fun to shoot one some time ago. Luckily, the rules of the service did
not permit him to be tried by court-martial, or the wretched boy might
have been ordered out for instant execution, so great was the
indignation. But if he was not shot he was roasted as fearfully as ever
St. Laurence was; he was reminded a thousand times if once that
fratricide is a fearful crime, and if ever Nemesis visits his pillow it
will be in the shape of a monkey without a tail.

One wearies of the same scenes of beauty, and would fain barter the Cork
Woods for the chestnuts in Bushy Park; the bright Bay and the watchet
sky pall on the senses, and a dull river and drab clouds would be
welcomed for change. The day rises when the conversation of the same
set, the stories repeated as often as that famous one of grouse in the
gun-room, and the stale jokes anent the Sheeref of Wazan and the rival
innkeepers of Tangier, black Martin and "Lord James," cloy like treacle;
the fiction palmed upon the latest novice that he must go and have a few
shots at the monkeys, if he wishes to curry favour at headquarters,
misses fire; the calls of the P. and O. steamers, and the thought that
their passengers within a week either have seen, or will see, the
little village works its effect; even bull-fighting is adjudged a bore,
and one sighs for Regent Street and the "Rag and Famish," flaxen
ringlets, and roast bee£ A twelvemonth might pass pleasantly on the
Rock; but after that the "damnable iteration" of existence must jar on
the nerves like the note of a cuckoo. Still, as my philosopher of the
cemetery remarked, there are worse places--far worse, Assouan and Aden,
for example; so let not the gallant gentleman repine whom Fate has
assigned to a round of duty in Sutlersville. For Tommy Atkins of the
rank and file, it is wearisome when he is young; he should not be asked
to stay there longer than a twelvemonth while he is at the age which
yearns for novelty, and during that twelvemonth he should be drilled as
at the depôt. For the old soldier it is a good station, and should be
made a haven of rest.



CHAPTER V.

     From Pillar to Pillar--Historic Souvenirs--Off to Africa--The
     Sweetly Pretty Albert--Gibraltar by Moonlight--The
     Chain-Gang--Across the Strait--A Difficult Landing--Albert is
     Hurt--"Fat Mahomet"--The Calendar of the Centuries Put
     Back--Tangier: the People, the Streets, the Bazaar--Our Hotel--A
     Coloured Gentleman--Seeing the Sights--Local Memoranda--Jewish
     Disabilities--Peep at a Photographic Album--The Writer's Notions on
     Harem Life.


I WAS gradually getting into the mood of Pistol, and cried a foutra for
the world of business and worldlings base. My soul was longing for
"Africa and golden joys." Here I was at the elbow, so to speak, of the
mysterious Continent, where the geographers set down elephants for want
of towns. Why should I not visit it? I might never have such a chance
again. I stood in the shadow of one Pillar of Hercules. Why not make
pilgrimage to the other? Having notched Calpe on my staff, I resolved to
add Abyla to the record.

I was the more inclined to this, as I had recollection that Tangier had
been part of the British dominions for one-and-twenty years. In 1662
Catharine of Braganza, the "olivader-complexioned queen of low stature,
but prettily shaped," whose teeth wronged her mouth by sticking a little
too far out, brought it as portion of her dowry to Charles II. The 2nd,
or Queen's Own Regiment, was raised to garrison the post, and sported
its sea-green facings, the favourite colour of her Majesty, for long in
the teeth of the threatening Moors. The 1st Dragoons still bear the
nickname of "the Tangier Horse," and were originally formed from some
troops of cuirassiers who assisted in the defence of the African
stronghold for seventeen years; and the 1st Foot Regiment owes its title
of "Royal" to the distinction it gained by capturing a flag from the
Moors in 1680. That was the year when old John Evelyn noted in his diary
that Lord Ossorie was deeply touched at having been appointed Governor
and General of the Forces, "to regaine the losses we had lately
sustain'd from the Moors, when Inchqueene was Governor." His lordship
relished the commission so little--indeed, it was a forlorn errand--that
he took a malignant fever after a supper at Fishmongers' Hall, went
home, and died. In 1683 the Merry Monarch caused the works of Tangier to
be blown up, and abandoned the place, declaring it was not worth the
cost of keeping. The Merry Monarch was not prescient. A century
afterwards Gibraltar was indebted for a large proportion of its
supplies, during the great siege, to the dismantled and deserted
British-African fortress. For many reasons Tangier was not to be missed.

By a happy coincidence a party of three in the Club-House Hotel--a
retired army captain, his wife, and a lady companion--were anxious to
take a trip to Africa. We agreed to go together, and had scarcely made
up our minds, when another retired captain, who habitually resided in
Tangier, gratified us by the information that he was returning there,
and would be happy to give us every assistance in his power. Retired
Captain No. 1 was a jolly fellow, fond of good living and not
overburdened with æstheticism--a capital specimen of a hearty
Yorkshireman. He looked after the provand. His wife, portly and short of
temper, was as good-natured as he. She insisted on discharging the
bills. The lady-companion was thin, accomplished, and melancholy. She
kept us in sentiment. Retired Captain No. 2 was a fellow-countryman of
mine, bright-brained and waggish. He was the walking guide-book, with
philosophy and friendship combined. I was nigh forgetting one, and not
by any means the least important, member of the party--Albert. Mrs.
Captain introduced him to me as a sweetly pretty creature. At her
request I looked after him. Tastes vary as to what constitutes beauty,
but I candidly think a broad thick head, crop ears, a flattish nose, and
heavy jowls could not be called sweetly pretty without straining a
point; and all these Albert possessed. He was a bull-dog (I believe his
real name was Bill, and that he had been brought up in Whitechapel). As
a bull-dog he had excellent points, and might be esteemed a model of
symmetry and breeding by the fancy, or even pronounced a beauty and
exquisitely proportioned by connoisseurs; but sweetly pretty--never! I
could not stomach that, especially when Albert growled and laid bare his
ruthless set of sound white teeth.

Before leaving Gibraltar I had two novel sensations, nocturnal and
matutinal. The first was a view of the Bay by moonlight, the white
crescent shining clearly down on a portion of the inner waters brinded
by shipping, and on the outer spread of sleepy, cadenced wavelets
rippling phosphorescently under the pallid rays. By the Mole were
visible the outlines of barques, steamers, coal-brigs, and xebecs; away
to the left were the _Catapult_ and a few of her mosquito companions;
and far out rode at anchor a stately frigate of the United States'
fleet. The twinkling lamps of the city afloat sending out reddish lines,
and the fuller, clearer, luminous pencillings of the gas-lamps of the
city ashore, made a not ungrateful contrast to the quivering chart of
poetic moonbeams. Bending over their edge were the deep shadows of the
massive Rock; and bounding them, at the other side, the barren
foot-hills of Algeciras mellowed into a phantom softness by distance and
the night.

Next morning, as I strolled by the sea-wall towards the Ragged Staff
Battery, I saw a sight that took away my appetite for breakfast. Pacing
slowly to their work to the music of clanking chains was a column of
wretched convicts.[A] What haggard faces, with low foreheads, sunken
eyes, and dogged moody expression or utter blankness of expression!
Purely animal the most of that legion of despair and desperation looked,
and sallow and sickly of complexion. They were a blot on the fresh
sunshine. How hideous their coarse garb of pied jackets branded with the
broad arrow, their knickerbockers and clumsy shoes! Wistfully they moved
along, hardly daring to glance at me, through fear of the turnkeys with
loaded rifles marching at their sides. I almost felt that, if I had the
power, I would demand their release, as did the Knight of La Mancha that
of the criminals on their way to the galleys, although they might have
been as ungrateful as Gines de Passamonte; but those hang-dog
countenances banished impulses of chivalry.

The little steamer, the _Spahi_, which conveyed us across the Strait,
was seaworthy for all her cranky appearance, and made the passage of
thirty-two miles quickly and comfortably for all her roughness of
accommodation. She was a cargo-boat, but her skipper was English, and
did his best to make the ladies feel at home. Besides, Captain No. 1 had
brought a select basket of provisions and a case of dry, undoctored
champagne. One of our first experiences as we cleared Algeciras, with
turrets like our martello-towers sentinelling the hills, and the
three-masted wreck--"Been twenty-one days there," said the skipper, "and
not an effort has been made to raise it yet, and not even a warning
light is hung over it at night"--was to sight a bottle-nosed whale
puffing and spewing its predatory course.

"What are those ruins upon the Spanish shore for?" asked the
accomplished lady.

When she was informed that they were the beacons raised in the days of
old, when the Moorish corsairs haunted that coast, and that the moment
the pirate sail was descried in the offing (I hope this is correctly
nautical) the warning fire blazed by night, or the warning plume of
smoke went up by day, to summon Spain's chivalry to the rescue, she was
enchanted, and recited a passage from Macaulay's "Armada."

We made the transit in a little over three hours, and, rounding the
Punta de Malabata, cut into the Bay of Tangier, and eased off steam at
some distance from the Atlantic-washed shore. There is no pier, but a
swell and discoloration, projecting in straight line seawards, marks
where a mole had once stood. That was a piece of British handiwork; but
the Moor, who is no more tormented by the demon of progress than the
Turk, had literally let it slide, until it sank under the waters.

The Sultana of Moorish cities Tangier is sometimes called, and truly she
does wear a regal, sultana-like air as seen from afar, cushioned in
state on the hillside, her white flat roofs rising one above another
like the steps of a marble staircase, the tall minarets of the mosques
piercing the air, and the multitudinous many-coloured flags of all
nations fluttering above the various consulates. But in this, as in so
many other instances, it is distance which lends enchantment to the
view.

We went as near to the shore as we could in small boats, and when we
grounded, a fellowship of clamouring, unkempt, half-naked Barbary Jews,
skull-capped, with their shirts tied at their waists and short cotton
drawers, rushed forward to meet us, and carry us pickaback to dry land.
The ladies were borne in chairs, slung over the shoulders of two of
these amphibious porters, or on an improvised seat made by their linked
hands, but to preserve their equilibrium the dear creatures had to clasp
their arms tightly round the necks of the natives. This would not look
well in a picture, above all if the lady were a professional beauty. But
there was nothing wrong in it, any more than in Amaryllis clinging to
the embrace of Strephon in the whirling of a waltz. Custom reconciles to
everything. On stepping into the small boat I had my first difficulty
with Albert. I trod on his tail. The dog looked reproachfully, but did
not moan. His mistress scowled, and warned me to take care what I was
about for an awkward fool. Her husband, with a pained look on his face,
mutely apologized for her, and I humbly excused myself and vowed
amendment. I am not revengeful, but I did enjoy it when one of the
porters, tottering under the weight of the fat lady, made a false step
and nearly gave her a sousing. I clambered on my particular Berber's
back, dear Albert in my arms, and we splashed merrily along; but Captain
No. 1, who turned the scales at seventeen stone two pounds, had not so
uneventful a landing. Twice his bearer halted, and the warrior,
abandoning himself to his fate, swore he would make the Berber's nose
probe the sand if he stumbled.

As I was discharged on the beach, I was confronted by a majestic Moor.
His grave brown face was fringed with a closely-trimmed jet-black beard,
and his upper lip was shaded with a jet-black moustache. He wore a white
turban and a wide-sleeved ample garment of snowy white, flowing in
graceful folds below his knees; and on his feet were loose yellow
slippers, peaked and turned up at the toes. This was Mahomet Lamarty,
better known as "Fat Mahomet," who had acted as interpreter to the
British troops in the Crimea, and who, at this period, was making an
income by supplying subalterns from Gib with masquerade suits to take
home and horses to ride. Mahomet in his sphere was a great man. He was
none of your loquacious _valets de place_, no courier of the
Transcendental school. He had made the pilgrimage to Mecca and was a
Hadji; he was a chieftain of a tribe in the vicinity, and had fought in
the war against the Spanish infidels; he could borrow his purest and
finest Arab from the Kadi; he was free to the sacred garden of the
Shereef, or Pope-Sultan, one of the descendants of the Prophet, Allah be
praised!

Mahomet, who was known to both the Captains, passed our small
impedimenta through the custom-house--there is an orthodox custom-house,
though there is no proper accommodation for shipping--and we trailed at
his heels up the close, crowded, rough alleys which did duty as streets.
It would be hard to imagine a more thorough-going change than our scurry
across the waves had effected. We were in another world completely. We
had been transported as on the carpet of the magician. It was as if the
calendar had been put back for centuries, and the half-forgotten
personages of the "Thousand-and-One Nights" were revivified and had
their being around us.

Tangier is a walled and fortified town; but Vauban had no hand in the
fortifications, and it is my private opinion the walls would go down
before a peremptory horn-blast quicker than those of Jericho. It swarms
with a motley population much addicted to differences in shades of
complexion. The Tangerines exhaust the primitive colours and most of the
others in their features. There are lime-white Tangerines, copper and
canary-countenanced Tangerines, olive and beetroot-hued Tangerines,
Tangerines of the tint of the bottom of pots, Tangerines of every--no, I
beg to recall that, there are no well-defined blue or green Tangerines;
at least, none that came under my ken. The town is as old as the hills
and courageously uncivilized. There is no gasholder, no railway-station,
no theatre, no cab-stand, no daily paper, and no drainage board to go
into controversy over. It is unconsciously backward, near as it is to
Europe--a rifle-shot off the track of ships plying from the West to the
ports of the Mediterranean. It preserves its Eastern aroma with a fine
Moslem conservatism. Its ramparts of crumbling masonry are ornamented
with ancient cannon useless for offence, useless for defence. There is
said to be a saluting-battery; but the legend runs that the gunners
require a week's clear notice before firing a salute.[B] There is no
locomotion save in boxes and on the backs of quadrupeds; and quadrupeds
of the inferior order are usually, when overtaken by death, thrown in
the streets to decompose. But if the irregularity of the town would
galvanize the late Monsieur Haussmann in his grave, its situation would
satisfy the most exacting Yankee engineer. It is huddled in a sheltered
nest on the fringe of a land of milk and honey; it has the advantage of
a spread of level beach, and rejoices in the balmiest of climes.

The streets are so narrow that you could light a cigar from your
neighbour's window on the opposite side; but there is no window, neither
at this side nor the other. A hole with a grating is the only window
that is visible. Moors are jealous, and to be able to appreciate their
household comforts you must first succeed in turning their houses inside
out. Those who have dived into the recesses say the fruit is as savoury
as the husk is repulsive. The windowless houses with their backs
grudgingly turned to the thoroughfares are low for the most part, and
the thoroughfares are--oh! so crooked--zigzag, up and down, staggering
in a drunken way over hard cobble-stones and leading nowhere. There are
mosques and stores entered by horse-shoe arches, a bazaar dotted over
with squatting women, cowled with dirty blankets, selling warm
griddle-cakes; moving here and there are the same spectral figures,
similar dirty blankets veiling them from head to foot; over the way are
cylinders of mat, with nets caging the apertures at each end, to hold
the cocks and hens, rabbits and pigeons, brought for sale by Riffians,
descendants of the corsairs of that ilk, stalwart, brown, and
bare-legged, with heads shaven but for the twisted scalp-lock left for
the convenience of Asrael when he is dragging them up to Paradise.
Hebrews have their standings around, and deal in strips of cotton, brass
dishes, and slippers, or change money, or are ready for anything in the
shape of barter. Seated in the shade of that small niche in the wall, as
on a tailor's shop-board, is an adool, or public notary, selling advice
to a client; in the alcove next him is a worker in beads and filigree;
from a dusty forge beyond comes the clang of anvils, where half-naked
smiths are hammering out bits or fashioning horse-shoes. Mules with
Bedouins perched, chin on shin, amid the bales of merchandise on their
backs, cross the bazaar at every moment; or files of donkeys, stooping
under bundles of faggots, pick their careful way. By-and-by--but this is
not a frequent sight--a Moslem swell ambles past on a barb, gorgeous in
caparisons, the enormous peaked saddle held in its place by girths round
the beast's breast and quarters, and covered with scarlet hammer-cloth.
If we move about and examine the stalls, we see lumps of candied
sweetmeats here; charms, snuff-boxes made of young cocoanuts and beads
there; and jars of milk or baskets of dates elsewhere. At the fountain
yonder, contrived in the wall, mud approached by rugged, sloppy steps,
water-carriers, wide-mouthed negro slaves, male and female, with brass
curtain-rings in their ears, and skins blacker than the moonless
midnight, come and go the whole day long, and gossip or wrangle with
loafers in coarse mantles and burnous of stuff striped like
leopard-skin. Beside the silent, gliding, ghost-like Mahometan women and
the Hottentot Venus, you have Rebecca in gaudy kerchief and Doña Dolores
in silken skirt and lace mantilla from neighbouring Spain. In the
mingling crowd all is novelty, all is noise, all is queer and shifting
and diversified.

The hotel where we put up was owned by Bruzeaud, formerly a messman of a
British regiment. It was approached by a filthy lane, and commanded a
prospect of a square not much larger than a billiard-table. In the
middle of this square was the limp body of a deceased mongoose. At the
opposite side of it was a Mahometan school, where the children were
instructed in the Koran, and their treble voices as they recited the
inspired verses in unison kept up drone for hours. The build and
surroundings of the hostelry left much opening for improvement, but we
had no valid ground for complaint. The beds were clean, Bruzeaud was a
good cook, the waiter was attentive and smiled perpetually, which made
up for his stupidity; we had a single agreeable fellow-guest in a
Frenchman, who spoke Arabic, and had lived in the city of Morocco as a
pretended follower of the Prophet; and, besides, there was that dry
undoctored champagne, which it is permissible to drink at all meals in
Africa.

There was another hotel in Tangier, a more pretentious establishment,
owned by one Martin--surname unknown. Martin was a character. He was an
unmitigated coloured gentleman, blubber-lipped and black as the ace of
spades, with saffron-red streaks at the corners of his optics. He was a
native of one of the West India Islands, I believe, but I will not be
positive. Mahomet Lamarty pressed me to tell him in what English county
Englishmen were born black, and when I said in none, he gravely
ejaculated that in that case Martin was a liar, and habitually ate dirt.
To avert possible complications into which I might have been drawn, I
had to hasten to explain that Martin might possibly have been born in a
part of England known as the Black Country. He had served in the
steward's department on the ship of war where the Duke of Edinburgh,
then Prince Alfred and a middy, was picking up seamanship. Hence his
Jove-like hauteur. He had rubbed-skirts with Royalty, and to his
fetter-shadowed soul some of the divinity which hedges kings and their
relatives had adhered to him. I never met a darkey who could put on such
fearful and wonderful airs. Where he did not order he condescended. He
showed me an Irish constabulary revolver which he had received from "his
old friend, Lord Francis Conyngham--'pon honour, he was delighted to
meet him. It was good for sore eyes--who'd a-thought of his turning up
there!" Splendidly inflated Martin was when he spoke of "his servants."
This thing was entertaining until he grew presumptuous. If you are
polite to some people they are familiar, and want to take an ell for
every inch you have conceded. And then you have to tell them to keep
their place. But Martin, with the instincts of his race, saw in time
when it was coming to that. What a misery it must be for a coloured
gentleman of ambition that the tell-tale _odor stirpis_ cannot be
eliminated! Martin spent extraordinary amounts of money on the purchase
of essences, but to no effect; he could not escape from himself; the
scent of the nigger, _che puzzo!_ would hang round him still. He was a
great coward with all his magniloquence, and when cholera attacked
Tangier, left it in craven terror, and sequestered himself in a country
house a few miles off.

The two captains and I "did" Tangier conscientiously, with the zest of
Bismarck over a yellow-covered novel, and the thoroughness of a Cook's
tourist on his first invasion of Paris. We crawled into a stifling crib
of a dark coffee-house, and sucked thick brown sediment out of
liliputian cups; we smoked hemp from small-bowled pipes until we fell
off into a state of visionary stupor known as "kiff;" we paid our
respects to the Kadi, exchanged our boots for slippers, and settled down
cross-legged on mats as if we were the three tailors of Tooley Street;
we almost consented to have ourselves bled by a Moorish barber--Mahomet
Lamarty's particular, who lanced him in the nape of the neck every
spring--for the Moorish barber still practises the art of Sangrado, and
also extracts teeth. But in my note-taking I was sorely handicapped by
my ignorance of the language. Arabic is spoken in the stretch extending
from Tetuan to Mogador by the coast, and for some distance in the
interior; Chleuh is the dialect of the inhabitants of the Atlas range,
and Guinea of the negroes. Spanish is slightly understood in Tangier and
its vicinity, and is well understood by the Jews. The houses are
generally built of chalk and flint (_tabia_) on the ground-floor, and of
bricks on the upper story. Moorish bricks are good, but rough and
crooked in make. The houses inhabited by Jews are obliged to be coated
with a yellow wash, those of natives are white, those of Christians may
be of any colour. The Jews are made to feel that they are a despised
stock, and yet with Jewish subtlety and perseverance they have managed
to get and keep the trade of the place in their hands. That fact may be
plainly gathered from the absence of business movement in the bazaars
and public resorts of Tangier on the Jewish Sabbath. Your Hebrew does
not poignantly feel or bitterly resent being reviled and spat upon,
provided he hears the broad gold pieces rattling in the courier-bag
slung over his shoulder. He nurses his vengeance, but he has the common
sense to perceive that the readiest and fullest manner of exacting it is
by cozening his neighbour. At this semi-European edge of Africa he
enjoys comparative license, although he is forced to appear in skull-cap
and a long narrow robe of a dark colour something like a priest's
soutane. But the son of Israel when he has a taste for finery (and which
of them has not?) compensates for the gloom of his outer garment by
wearing an embroidered vest, a girdle of some bright hue, and white
drawers.

The daughters of Israel--but my conscience charges me with want of
gallantry towards them in a previous chapter, and now I can honestly
relieve it and win back their favour. They are the only beautiful women
who mollify the horizon of Tangier: the Mahometan ladies are not
visible, those of Spanish descent are coarse, and of English are
washed-out; while their lips are against the negresses. I have a batch
of photographs of females in an album--aye, of believers in the Prophet
amongst them, for it is a folly to imagine you cannot obtain that which
is forbidden. Hercules, I fancy, must have overcome with a golden sword
the dragon that watched the gardens of the Hesperides--which, by the
way, were in the neighbourhood of Tangier, if Apollodorus is to be
credited. On looking over that album, the majority of the faces are
distinctly those of Aaronites, and most favourable specimens of the
family, too There are melting black orbs curtained with pensive lashes,
luxuriant black hair, regular features, and straight, delicately
chiselled noses. These Jewesses generally wear handkerchiefs disposed
in curving folds over their heads, and are as fond of loudly-tinted
raiment and the gauds of trinketry as their sisters who parade the sands
at Ramsgate during the season. There is a photograph before me, as I
write, of a Jewish matron, fat, dull, double-chinned, and sleepy-eyed,
who must have been a belle before she fell into flesh. She wears massy
filigree ear-rings, two strings of precious stones as necklaces,
ponderous bracelets, edgings of pearls on her bodice, and rings on all
her fingers. Her shoulders are covered with costly lace, and the front
of her skirt is like an altar-cloth heavy with embroidery. I dare say,
if one might peep under it, she has gold bangles on her ankles. It would
surprise me if she had an idea in her head beyond the decoration of her
person. As we turn the leaf, there is a full-blooded negress with a
striped napkin twisted gracefully turban-wise round her hair, and coils
of beads, large and small, sinuously dangling on her breast, like the
chains over the Debtor's Door at Newgate. A very fine animal indeed,
this negress, with power in her strong shiny features; a nose of
courage, thin in the nostrils, and cheek-bones high, but not so high as
those of a Red Indian. If she were white, she might pass for a
Caucasian, but for that gibbous under-lip. She lacks the wide mouth and
the hinted intelligent archness of the Two-Headed Nightingale, and has
not the moody expression and semi-sensuous, semi-ferocious development
of the muscular widows of Cetewayo; but for a negress she is handsome
and well-built, and would fetch a very good price in the market. The
slave-trade still flourishes in Morocco. On the next page we meet two
types of young Moorish females: one a peasant, taken surreptitiously as
she stood in a horse-shoe archway; the other a lady of the harem,
taken--no matter by what artifice. The peasant, swathed from tip to heel
in white like a ghost in a penny booth, and shading her face with a
cart-wheel of a palm-leaf hat looped from brim to crown, and with one
extremity of its great margins curled, is a prematurely worn,
weather-stained, common-looking wench, with a small nose and screwed-up
mouth. She is a free woman, but I would not exchange the dusky
bondswoman for five of her class. Centuries of bad food, much
baby-nursing, and field-labour sink their imprint into a race. The harem
lady, whose likeness was filched as she leaned an elbow against a low
table, is in a state of repose. She squats tailor-fashion, her fingers
are twined one in another in her lap, her eyes are closed, and her
expression is one of drowsy, listless voluptuousness. She is fair, and
her dress (for she is not arrayed for the reception of visitors) is
simple--a peignoir, and a sash, and a fold of silk binding her long rich
tresses. A soft die-away face, with no sentiment more strongly defined
than the abandonment to pleasure and its consequent weariness. By no
means an attractive piece of flesh and blood, and yet a good sample of
the class that go to upholster a seraglio.

I have never had the slightest anxiety to penetrate the secrets of the
Moslem household, and I consider the man who would wish to poke his nose
into its seclusion no better than Peeping Tom of Coventry--an insolent,
lecherous cad. I would not traverse the street to-morrow to inspect the
champion wives of the Sultan of Turkey and Shah of Persia amalgamated;
and I deserve no credit for it, for I know that they are puppets, and
that more engaging women are to be seen any afternoon shopping in Regent
Street or pirouetting in the ballets of half-a-dozen theatres.

Your lady of the harem is an insipid, pasty-complexioned doll, nine
times out of ten, and would be vastly improved in looks and temperament
if she were subjected to a course of shower-baths, and compelled to take
horse-exercise regularly and earn her bread before she ate it.

How do I know this? it may be asked. Who dares to deny it? is my answer.

But here is a digression from our theme of the condition of the Jews at
Tangier, and all on account of a few poor photographs! In one sentence,
that condition is shameful. It is a reproach to the so-called civilized
Powers that they do not interfere to influence the Emir-al-Mumenin to
behave with more of the spirit of justice towards his Jewish subjects.
In Fez and other cities they have to dwell in a quarter to
themselves--"El Melah" (the dirty spot) it is called in Morocco city;
and when they leave the Melah they have to go bare-footed. They are not
permitted to ride on mules, nor yet to walk on the same side of the
street as Arabs.

The late Sir Moses Montefiore, a very exemplary old man in some
respects, visited Morocco in his eightieth year to intercede on behalf
of his co-religionists, and promises of better treatment were made; but
promises are not always kept.



CHAPTER VI.

     A Pattern Despotism--Some Moorish Peculiarities--A Hell upon
     Earth--Fighting for Bread--An Air-Bath--Surprises of Tangier--On
     Slavery--The Writer's Idea of a Moorish Squire--The Ladder of
     Knowledge--Gulping Forbidden Liquor--Division of Time--Singular
     Customs--The Shereef of Wazan--The Christian who Captivated the
     Moor--The Interview--Moslem Patronage of Spain--A Slap for
     England--A Vision of Beauty--An English Desdemona: Her Plaint--One
     for the Newspaper Men--The Ladies' Battle--Farewell--The English
     Lady's Maid--Albert is Indisposed--The Writer Sums up on Morocco.


THE Government in Morocco would satisfy the most ardent admirer of
force. It is an unbridled despotism. The Sultan is head of the Church as
of the State, and master of the lives and property of his subjects. He
dispenses with ministers, and deliberates only with favourites. When
favourites displease him, he can order their heads to be taken off.
Favourites are careful not to displease him. The land is a _terra
incognita_ to Europeans, and is rich in beans, maize, and wool, which
are exported, and in wheat and barley, which are not always permitted to
be exported. Altogether the form of administration is very primitive and
simple. It is a rare privilege for a European to be admitted into the
Imperial presence, and indeed the only occasions, one might say, when
Europeans have the privilege are those furnished by the visits of
foreign Missions to submit credentials and presents. It is advisable for
a private traveller not to go to the chief city unless attached to one
of these official caravans; but by those who have money a journey to Fez
may be compassed with an escort. This escort consists of the Sultan's
very irregular soldiers, who are armed with very long and very rusty
matchlocks, of a pattern common nowadays in museums and curiosity shops.
Ostensibly the escort is intended to protect the traveller from the
regularly organized bands of robbers which infest the interior; but the
experience of the traveller is that when the robbers swoop down he has
to protect the escort. Christians are looked upon as dogs by all the
self-satisfied natives, and treated so by some of them when they can be
saucy with impunity. It was my lot to be called a dog by a small
fanatic, who hissed at me with the asperity and industry of a disturbed
gander, and pelted me with stones. But two can play at that game, and
that boy will think twice before he lapidates a full-grown Christian
again. But he will hate him for evermore, and when he has reached man's
estate will teach his son to repeat the doggerel: "The Christian to the
hook, the Jew to the spit, and the Moslem to see the sight."

The Sultan collects his revenue (estimated at half a million pounds
sterling a year, great part of which is derived from the Government
monopoly of the sale of opium) by the aid of his army; but as he never
nears the greater portion of his dominions, there must be some nice
pickings off that revenue by minor satraps before it reaches his sacred
hands. There is quite a phalanx of under-strappers of State in this
despotism. For instance, at Tangier there is a Bacha or Governor, a
Caliph or Vice-Governor, a Nadheer or Administrator of the Mosques, a
Mohtasseb or Administrator of the Markets, and a Moul-el-Dhoor or Chief
of the Night Police. There is a leaven of the guild system, too, as in
more advanced countries. Each trade has its Amin, each quarter its
Mokaderrin. There is a Kadi, or Minister of Worship and Justice, to whom
we paid our respects. Justice is quick in its action, and stern in the
penalties it inflicts. The legs and hands are cut off pilferers, heads
are cut off sometimes and preserved in salt and camphor, and the
bastinado is an ordinary punishment for lesser crimes. But the Moors
must be thick in the soles, nor is it astonishing, as the practice is to
chastise children by beating them on the feet. Mahomet Lamarty
volunteered to procure a criminal who would submit to the bastinado for
a peseta. In the market-place I compassionated an unfortunate thief
minus his right hand and left leg. We took a walk to the prison, which
is on the summit of the hill, Captain No. 1 thoughtfully providing
himself with a basket of bread. What a hell upon earth was that sordid,
stifling, noisome, gloomy keep, with its crowds of starving
sore-covered inmates. In filth it was a pig-sty, in smell a
monkey-house, in ventilation another Black-hole of Calcutta. Turn to the
next page, reader mine, if you are squeamish. Heaven be my witness, I
have no desire to minister to morbid tastes; but I have an object in
describing this dreadful _oubliette_, for it still exists--exists within
thirty-two miles of British territory, and it is a scandal that some
effort is not made to mitigate its horrors. Through the bars of a
padlocked door, from which spurt blasts of mephitic heat, we can descry
amid the steam of foul exhalations, as soon as our eyes become
accustomed to the dimness, a mob of seething, sweating, sweltering
captives, like in aspect as a whole to so many gaunt wild beasts. Some
are gibbering like fiends, others jabbering like idiots. They are there
young and old; a few--the maniacs those--are chained; all are crawled
over by vermin, most are crusted with excretions. The sight made me feel
faint at the time, the very recollection of it to this day makes my
flesh creep. We were fascinated by this peep at the Inferno. The moment
these caged wretches caught a glimpse of us they rushed to the door,
and on bended knees, or with hands uplifted, or with pinched cheeks
pressed against the bars, raised a clamour of entreaty. We drew back as
the rancid plague-current smote our faces, and questioned Mahomet by our
looks as to what all this meant.

"They want food," he explained.

These prisoners are allowed two loaves a day out of the revenues of the
Mosques; but two loaves, even if scrupulously given, which I doubt, are
but irritating pittance. They may make cushions or baskets, but their
remuneration is uncertain and slender. Those who are lucky get
sustenance from relatives in the town, but the majority are
half-starving, and are dependent for a full meal on the bounty of chance
visitors. We poked a loaf through the bars. It was ravenously snapped
at, torn into little bits, and devoured amid the howls of those who were
disappointed. Then a loaf was cast over the door. What a savage
scramble! The bread was caught, tossed in the air, jumped at, and
finally the emaciated rivals fell upon one another as in a football
scrimmage, and there was a moving huddle of limbs and a diabolical
chorus of shrieks and yells. That could not be done again; it was too
painful in result Mahomet undertook to distribute the remainder of our
stock through an inlet in the wall, and we drew away sick in head and
heart from that den of repulsive degradation, greed, brutality, cruelty,
selfishness, and all infuriate and debased passion--that damnable
magazine of disease physical and moral. It is undeniable that there were
many there whose faces were passport to the Court of Lucifer--murderers,
and dire malefactors; but better to have decapitated them than to have
committed them to the slow torture of this citadel of woe. There were
inmates who had been immured for years--inmates for debt whose hair had
whitened in the fetid imprisonment, whose laugh had in it a harsh
hollow-sounding jangle, and whose brows had fixed themselves into the
puckers of a sullen, hopeless, apathetic submission to fate. Their lack
of intelligence was a blessing. Had they been more sensitive they would
have been goaded into raging lunacy.

Let us to the outer freshness and make bold endeavour to fling off this
weight of nightmare which oppresses us. Passing by the ruinous gate
yonder with its wild-looking sentry, we reach the open space where
crouching hill-men are reposing on the stunted grass, and ungainly
camels, kneeling in a circle, are chewing the cud in patience, or
venting that uncanny half-whine, half-bellow, which is their only
attempt at conversation. Let us take a long look at the country beyond
with its gardens teeming with fruit and musical with bird-voices; walk
up to the crown of that slant and survey the valleys, the plateaux, the
brushwood, the flower-patches, spreading away to the hills that swell
afar until the peaks of the Atlas, cool with everlasting snow, close the
view. One is tempted to linger there lovingly, though darkness is
falling. There is a gift of blandness and briskness in the very
breathing of the air. When you have had your fill of the beauties on the
land side, turn to the sea, meet the evening breeze that comes floating
up with a flavour of iodine upon it, range round the sweeping vista,
from giant Calpe away over the Strait flecked with sails on to
Trafalgar, smiling peacefully as if it had never been a bay of blood,
and finish by the vision of the great globe of fire descending into the
Atlantic billows.

Our stay in Tangier was most gratifying because of its variety and
unending surprises. Existence there was out of the beaten track, and
kept curiosity on the constant alert. It was a treat to pretend to be
Legree, and to negotiate for a strong likely growing nigger-boy. I
discovered I could have bought one for ten pounds sterling, a perfect
bargain, warranted free from vice or blemish; but as I was not prepared
to stop in Africa just then, I did not close with the offer. It may be a
shocking admission to make, but if I were to settle down in Morocco, I
confess, I should most certainly keep slaves. There is a deal of
sentimental drivel spouted about the condition of slaves. Those I have
seen seemed very happy. In Morocco they are well treated; and if
desirous to change masters the law empowers them to make a demand to
that effect. It is true that a slave's oath is not deemed valid, but
Cuffy bears the slight with praiseworthy equanimity. I am sure if Cuffy
were in my service he would never ask to leave it, and I would teach him
to appraise his word as much as any other man's oath (except his
master's), by my patented plan for negro-training, based on Mr. Rarey's
theories. As the land about Tangier was rated at prairie value--an acre
could be had for a dollar--I might have been induced to invest in a
holding of a couple of hundred thousands of acres, but that my ship had
not yet come within hail of the port. What a healthy, free, aristocratic
life, combining feudal dignity with educated zest, a wise man could lead
there--if he had an establishment of, say, three hundred slaves, a
private band, a bevy of dancing girls, Bruzeaud for _chef_, an extensive
library, sixteen saddle-horses, and relays of jolly fellows from
Gibraltar to help him chase the wild boar and tame bores, eat
couscoussu, and drink green-tea well sweetened. He should Moorify
himself, but he need not change his religion, and if he went about it
rightly, I am sure, like the village pastor, he could make himself to
all the country dear. Take the educational question, for example. If he
were diplomatic he would pay the school-fees of the urchins of Tangier.
These are not extravagant--a few heads of barley daily, equivalent to
the sod of turf formerly carried by the pupils to the hedge academies in
dear Ireland, and a halfpenny on Friday. He should affect an interest in
the Koran, and make it a point of applauding the Koran-learned boy when
he is promenaded on horseback and named a bachelor. He might--indeed he
should--follow the career of his _protégé_ at the Mhersa, where he
studies the principles of arithmetic, the rudiments of history, the
elements of geometry, and the theology of Sidi-Khalil, until he emerges
in a few years a Thaleb, or lettered man. Perhaps the Thaleb may go
farther, and become an Adoul or notary, a Fekky or doctor, nay--who
knows?--an Alem or sage. Ah! how pleasant that Moorish squire might be
by his own ruddy fire of rushes, palm branches, and sun-dried leaves;
and what a profit he might make by judicious speculation in
jackal-skins, oil, pottery, carpets, and leather stained with the
pomegranate bark! He would have his mills turned by water or by horses;
he would eat his bread with its liberal admixture of bran; he would rear
his storks and rams. The professors who charm snakes and munch
live-coals would all be hangers-on of his house; and he would have
periodical concerts by those five musicians who played such desert
lullabies for us--conspicuously one patriarch whose double-bass was made
from an orange-tree--and would not forget to supplement their honorarium
of five dollars with jorums of white wine. Sly special pleaders! They
argue with the German play-wright: "_Mahomet verbot den Wein, doch vom
Champagner sprach er nicht._"

From the Frenchman at the hotel, whose knowledge of Morocco was
"extensive and peculiar," I acquired much of my information on the
manners and customs of the people. Watches are only worn and looked at
for amusement. Instead of by hours, time is thus noted: El Adhen, an
hour before sunrise; Fetour (repast) el Hassoua, or sunrise; Dah el Aly,
ten in the morning; El Only, a quarter past twelve; El Dhoor, half-past
one; El Asser, from a quarter past three to a quarter to four; El
Moghreb, sunset; El Achâ, half-an-hour after sunset; and El Hameir,
gun-shot. Meals are taken at Dah el Aly, El Asser, and El Moghreb. The
houses are built with elevated lateral chambers, but there is a narrow
staircase leading to the Doeria, a reception-room, where visitors can be
welcomed without passing the ground-floor. The walls are plastered, and
covered with arabesques or verses of the Koran incrusted in colours. The
wells inside the houses are only used for cleansing linen; water for
drinking purposes is sought outside.

Among many singular customs--singular to us--I noted that a popular
remedy for illness is to play music and to recite prayers to scare away
the devil. An enlightened Moor might think the practices of the Peculiar
People quite as strange, and question the infallibility of cure-all
pills at thirteen-pence-halfpenny the box. The dead in Morocco are
hurried to their graves at a hand-gallop. That, I submit, is no more
unreasonable than many English funeral usages, such as incurring debt
for the pomp of mourning. At Moorish weddings the bride is carried in
procession in a palanquin to her husband's house amid a _fantasia_ of
gunpowder--the reckless rejoicing discharges of ancient muskets in the
streets. Well, white favours, gala coaches, and _feux de joie_ at
marriages of the great are not entirely unknown among us. Nobody sees
the Moorish wife for a year, not even her mother-in-law, which I
consider a not wholly unkind dispensation. The Moorish wife paints her
toe-nails, which, after all, is a harmless vanity, and less obtrusive
than that of the ladies who impart artificial redness to their lips.
And, lastly, the Moorish wife waits on her husband. Personally, I fail
to discover anything blamable in that act, though I must concede that it
is eccentric, very eccentric. These allusions to the Moorish wife in
general lead up naturally to one in particular in whom I took a
professional interest, for she was as remarkable in her way as Lady
Ellenborough or Lady Hester Stanhope, or that strong-minded Irishwoman
who married the Moslem, Prince Izid Aly, and whose son reigned after his
father's death.

The Shereef has been mentioned. He is the great man of the district,
with an authority only second to that of the Sultan himself. Claiming
to be a lineal descendant of Mahomet, he is entitled to wear the green
turban. His name at full length is long, but not so long as that of most
Spanish Infantes--Abd-es-Selam ben Hach el Arbi. He is a saint and a
miracle-worker. He has been seen simultaneously at Morocco, Wazan, and
Tangier, according to the belief of his co-religionists, wherein he
beats the record of Sir Boyle Roche's bird, which was only in two places
at once. Like Jacob, he has wrestled with angels. He is head of the
Muley-Taib society, a powerful secret organization, which has its
ramifications throughout the Islamitic world. He draws fees from the
mosques, and has gifts bestowed upon him in profusion by his admirers,
who feel honoured when he accepts them. Exalted and wide-spreading is
his repute where the Moslem holds sway, and unassailable is his
orthodoxy, yet he has had the temerity to take to himself a Christian
wife. This lady had been a governess in an American family at Tangier.
There the Shereef made her acquaintance, wooed and won her. They were
married at the residence of the British Minister Plenipotentiary; the
officers of a British man-of-war were present at the ceremony, and
slippers and a shower of rice, as at home, followed the bride on leaving
the building. The Shereef and, if possible, the Shereefa were personages
to be seen, and Mahomet Lamarty was the very man to help us to the
favour. His Highness lived four miles away, and we formed a cavalcade
one afternoon and set off for his garden, the ladies accompanying us. We
passed through cultivated fields of barley and _dra_ (a kind of millet),
crossed the river Wadliahoodi, and ascended a road which faced abruptly
towards the hills. An agreeable road it was, and not lonesome; we had
the carol of birds and the piping of bull-frogs to lighten the way, and
leafy branches made reverence overhead. There were abundance of fruit
and such beautiful shrubs that I rail at myself for not being botanist
enough to be able to enlarge upon them. There were orange-groves, yellow
broom, dog-rose, and apples, pears, peaches, apricots, plums,
pomegranates, figs, and vines. It was such an oasis as a very young
Etonian in the warmth of a midsummer vacation might have likened to
Heaven. The range of hills of El Jebel rose left and right, and at parts
presented a steep cliff to the ocean. This ridge is about twelve miles
in width, and its fertile slopes amply merit to be lauded as the best
fruit-producers in the empire, "as bounteous as Paradise itself."

Mahomet Lamarty, who was our guide, entered the Shereef's grounds to
prepare for our introduction; and now the ladies, who had insisted on
coming with us, rebelled, and said point-blank they would not salute the
Shereefa as "Your Highness." They were impatient to see her, but they
declined to give countenance to a Christian who had demeaned herself by
wedding a heathen.

"The visit was of your own seeking, ladies," I said; "if you are not
willing to treat Her Highness with deference, better stay outside."

They were not equal to that sacrifice after riding four miles.

"Who'll start the conversation?" said Captain No. 1. "You start it" (to
me) "like a good fellow, and I'll take up the running."

Captain No. 2 said he would hang about for us outside.

Mahomet beckoned to us and we ventured into the garden. Coming down a
pathway we saw an austere, swarthy, obese man of the middle height. He
was white-gloved, and wore a red fez, a sort of Zouave upper garment of
blue, with burnous, baggy trousers, white stockings, and Turkish
slippers. It was the Shereef. I had agreed to open the interview, but
when it came to the trial my Arabic (I had been only studying it for two
hours) abandoned me. Mahomet did the needful. I thanked His Highness for
his kindness in admitting us to his demesne, and he smiled a modest,
solemn smile, and looked greeting from his small eyes. When he
discovered that I had been travelling in Spain, he asked me--always
through Mahomet--what they were doing there. On having my reply--that
they were tasting the miseries of civil war--translated to him, he shook
his head, shrugged his shoulders, and slowly ejaculated:

"Unhappy Spain! Silly, unfortunate people! That is the way with them
always. They are at perpetual strife one with another."

And then Mahomet interposed with a parenthesis of his own depreciatory
of the Spaniards, whom he loathed and despised. He had fought against
them in the war of 1839-1860, and the Shereef had also headed his
countrymen, and had shown great courage and coolness in action. His
presence had infused a high spirit of enthusiasm into the undisciplined
troops.

"Bismillah!" grunted Mahomet. "The Spaniard is beneath contempt. He was
almost licked in one battle. He was four months here, and how far did he
get into the interior?"

Mahomet conveniently forgot the defeat of Guad-el-ras, the occupation of
Tetuan, and the indemnity of four hundred millions of reals which was
exacted as the price of peace; but he was literally correct, the
victorious O'Donnell did not flaunt his flag beyond a very exiguous
strip of the territory of Sidi-Muley-Mahomet.

We were walking as we talked, and by this time had reached the brow of a
wooded rise which commanded an uninterrupted prospect of the ocean. The
flowery cistus flourished on the eminence, and cork-trees, chestnuts,
and willows shielded us from the fierceness of the sun. Behind and
around were a succession of richly-planted gardens. We halted, and the
Shereef, scanning the horizon in the direction of the Rock, suddenly put
a question to me which almost took my breath away:

"Do they buy commissions over the way still?"

"No; that system has been abolished."

"It is well," he remarked, with a scarcely suppressed sneer. "It was
incredible that a great nation and a fighting nation should make a
traffic of the command of men, as if a clump of spears were a kintal of
maize," and as he relapsed into silence a soldierly fire gleamed in his
irides, his frame seemed to straighten and swell, and the nature of the
prophet retired before that of the warrior.

From where we stood we could ferret out a house with a veranda in front,
built on a terrace and begirt with trees. That was the residence of His
Highness; but we turned our eyes in another direction, lest we should be
suspected of rude curiosity by this courteous African. I was trying to
divine the tally of years our host had numbered. No Arab knows his own
age, and here it may be useful to tell the reader wherein the
distinction lies between the Moor and the Arab. Virtually they are the
same; but the name of Moor is given to those who dwell in cities, of
Arab to those who roam the plains. Mahomet came to my aid. His Highness
had whiskers when Tangier was bombarded by Prince de Joinville. That was
in August, 1844, a good nine-and-twenty years before, so that
Abd-es-Salam must have long doubled the cape of forty, which would leave
him considerably the senior of his Frankish wife.

We turned at a noise--the creak of a rustic wooden gate on its hinges; a
figure approached. And then it was given to me to gaze upon Her Highness
the Shereefa of Wazan. She was not called Zuleika, but Emily--her maiden
name had been Keene, and she came not from the rose-bordered bowers of
Bendemeer's stream, nightingale-haunted, but from the prosaic levels of
South London, where her father was governor of a gaol. Truly she was a
vision of gratefulness in that paynim tract--a rich brunette, with
large black eyes, long black ringletted tresses, and a well-filled shape
with goodly bust. Her attire was neat and graceful and not Oriental. She
was clad in a riding-habit of ruby brocaded velvet, with jacket to
match, had a cloud of lace round her throat, and an Alpine hat with
cock's feather poised on her well-set head. She might serve as the model
for a Spanish Ann Chute. Bracelets on her plump wrists and rings on her
taper fingers caught the sunshine as she occasionally twirled her
cutting-whip. Her voice was bell-like and melodious, with the faintest
accent of decision, and her manner, after an opening flush of
embarrassment, was cordial and debonair. The embarrassment was because
of her inability to extend to us the hospitality she desired. She
explained that she had to receive us in the garden as the house was
undergoing repairs. After the customary commonplaces, she freely entered
into conversation, and took opportunity at once to deny that she was a
renegade; she wore European costume, as we saw, and attended the rites
of the English Church, for it was one of the stipulations of the
marriage contract that she should have perfect liberty to follow her own
faith.

"I wish every English girl were as happily married as I," she said, "and
had as loving a husband."

It was gratifying, therefore, to note that she found herself as women
wish to be who love their lords. She had been married on the 27th of
January, and as the Shereef had entered into his present residence but
recently, they were still at sixes and sevens. It was his habit to spend
the winter in the country and the summer in town. She had been but two
years in Morocco, and had not yet mastered Arabic.

"His Highness understands English?" She shook her head, and quickly
interpreting a lifting of my eyelids, she smilingly added, "Spanish was
the medium of our courtship." And then, as we promenaded the garden
path, she became communicative, and dwelt with pardonable expansion on
the virtues of her lord and master, who followed behind side by side
with the portly Yorkshireman. His charity, she said, was unbounded.
Slaves were frequently sent to him as presents, but he kept none. He was
modest on his own merits, and yet he was the most enlightened of Moors.
He had visited Marseilles, a war-ship having been put at his disposal by
the French Government, and was most anxious to take a tour to Paris and
Vienna, and above all to England. It was his desire that railways should
be constructed in Morocco, and he was glad when he was told that there
was some likelihood of a telegraph cable being laid to Tangier.

"Then," interrupted I, "with your Highness's influence on the tribes
around, exercised through your husband, there should be a fair prospect
of pushing civilization here."

"Ah, yes!" she exclaimed, with a glow on her cheeks, "that is one of my
dearest hopes, that is my great ambition. I believe that my marriage,
which has been cruelly commented upon in England, may effect good both
for these poor misunderstood Moors and my own country people."

"Is the Shereef on friendly terms with the Sultan?"

"No, I am sorry to say there is a feud between them at the moment. The
Sultan objects to my husband for using an English saddle."

"Hum!" (to myself mentally) "if the august Muley cannot brook an English
saddle, what must he think of an English wife? Or do these Moslems, like
some Christians I know, strain at a gnat and swallow a camel? Mayhap it
is even so. The pigeon-prompted camel-driver, who built up his creed
with plentiful blood-cement, saw fit to add a new chapter to the Koran,
when he fell in love with the Coptic maiden, Mary."

The Shereefa told me that her father and mother had come out to see her.
They were averse to the alliance at first, but were satisfied that she
had done the right thing when she told them how content she was, and
with what high-bred consideration for her wishes in the matter of
religion her husband had behaved. Their intention was to stop for four
days, but they extended their visit to fourteen. "And now," she
continued, "I can use to my lord the words of Ruth to Naomi, 'Whither
thou goest I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge; thy people
shall be my people'"--a pause--"yes, and 'thy God my God,' for there is
but one"--archly--"the matter of the Prophet we shall leave aside."

I admired the lady's pluck, and if I were that Moorish squire I have
tried to sketch, I should esteem it an honour to have her on my visiting
list. But I am a theological oddity, and my wallet of prejudices, it is
to be feared, is sadly unfurnished. I never could rise to that
sublimated self-sufficiency of intellect that I could consign any
fellow-creature to everlasting pains for the audacity of differing in
dogma with myself. I have met good and bad of every creed, Mahometans I
could respect--whose word was their bond--and so-called Christians and
Christian ministers with a most uncharitable spiritual pride, whom I
could not respect. The liver of the persecutor was denied me. Were the
fires of Smithfield to be rekindled, my prayers would be sent up for the
floods of Heaven to quench them, and for the lightnings of Heaven to
annihilate the fiends who had piled the faggots.

"By-the-bye," said the Shereefa, "do you know any of those people who
write for the papers in London?"

I admitted that I had that misfortune.

"Some of them are fools as well as cowards," she went on. "They have
written articles about me full of ignorance and malice. Have they no
consideration for the feelings of others?"

"I am afraid, your Highness, some of them are more brilliant than
conscientious; they would rather point an epigram than sacrifice style
to truth or good-nature."

"One of them in particular," she said, and there was an irritated ring
in her voice, "has singled me out for attack, and given me in derision a
name which he believes to be Mahometan, but which is really Jewish."

And with her cutting-whip she viciously snapped off the heads of some
poppies. The episode of Tarquin's answer to the emissary of Sextus
occurred to me, and I felt that if my colleague, Horace St. J----, were
there, he would have passed a very bad quarter of an hour.

The females of our party joined us, and I formally presented them,
taking a malicious pleasure in emphasizing the "your Highness." The
Shereefa received them right graciously, but it was easy to notice that
a chill came over the conversation. They were careful never to use the
title to their English sister. In fact, it was a tacit ladies' battle.

It was time to leave, and the Shereefa presented her visitors with two
nosegays, gathered by her own hands. The act had in it something very
royal, with the smallest trace of sly condescension. The Shereef
accompanied us to the outer gate. On the way I motioned to Captain No. 1
to offer him a cigar. He did; his Highness accepted it, bowed, and
gravely put it in his pocket. As we stood on the road at parting, a
peasant was passing with a load of twigs on his shoulders. He cast them
off, threw himself on his knees, kissed the hem of the holy man's
garments, and the back of his proffered hand.

We were descending the hill when a rustle in the bushes attracted me,
and a white face peeped out and a voice besought me in English to stop.
It was the Shereefa's London lady's-maid. She could not resist the
temptation of enjoying a few sentences with one of her own race. From
her I learned that there were twenty-seven Moorish women in her master's
household; that there was a tank at Wazan large enough to float a ship;
that her master had been married before, and had two sons and a lovely
Mahometan child, a daughter, to whom the Shereefa was teaching English
and the piano; "but remember, please," and here she grew important, and
had all the dignity of a retainer, with a great sense of what was due to
her caste and the proprieties, "that my mistress's children, if she have
any, will be Europeans!"

As we got back to our hotel the muezzins were summoning the faithful to
their vesper orisons, and Albert was moaning ruefully under the
sideboard. Mrs. Captain had out her sweetly pretty pet at once, and
covered him with caresses and endearments.

"Somebody has given him something that has disagreed with him. Was it
you?" she said to me, and there was that in her tone which made me quake
in my shoes.

Meekly and truthfully I protested that I had not; I had fed him in the
morning in her own presence; the darling was in his usual health and
spirits when we left, but--intercede for me, Puck, and you aerial imps
of mischief, for no other spirit will--I could not help murmuring in
audible soliloquy, "The carcase of that mongoose, which was on the
square outside this morning, is no longer there."

The scene that followed, to borrow the hackneyed phrase, beggars
description. The house was turned upside down; to my mental vision arose
sal volatile and burnt feathers, swoons and hysterics. Mahomet's dove
alone can tell how all might have ended had not the Frenchman suggested
a bolus. Captain No. 1 and I were commissioned to inquire into the
mystery of the disappearance of that baleful mongoose. When we got out
of earshot of the hotel there was the popping of a cork, and we emptied
effervescing beakers to the speedy recovery of Albert the Beloved.
Certes, that bull-dog had a very bad fit of dyspepsia; but the bolus did
him a world of good, and before we retired to rest we had the felicity
to hear him crunching a bone. Peace spread its wings over our pillows.

The next day we took a trip to the lighthouse on Cape Spartel, the women
labouring in the field making curious inspection of the cavalcade as it
wended by, but quickly turning away their faces as we males tried to
snatch a look at them. The road was no better than a rugged track on a
stony plateau. There was a spacious view from the Phare, which was an
iron and stone building put up at the cost of three or four of the
European Powers (I forget which now), the keepers being chosen from each
of the contributory nations. The Sultan had given the site, but refused
to hand over a blankeel towards the expenses, arguing that as he had no
fleet, he had no personal object in making provision against wrecks. We
were well mounted, but these Barbary cattle have a nasty trick of
lashing out, so that it is prudent to give a wide range to their
hind-hoofs. Mahomet, riding with very short stirrups, led the party. My
saddle was an ancient, rude, and rotten contrivance, and as I loitered
on the road home, giving myself up to idle fantasy, my friends got on
far ahead. Waking from my day-dream I gave the nag the heel, and as it
sprang forward at a canter the girth turned completely round, and I was
pitched over in unpleasant nearness to a hedge of cactus. The ground was
soft, and I was not much bruised; but when I rose the nag had
disappeared round a corner, and I was left alone in the African
twilight. Presently a sinewy fiery-eyed Moor came with panther-step in
sight leading me back the nag. He had a basket of oranges on his back,
and gave me one with a respectful salaam as I vaulted on my Arab steed
and galloped Tangier-ward bareback.

Judging from the scanty rags upon him, this man was of the poorest, yet
he asked for nothing; there were sympathy, innate politeness and
independence withal in his bearing. To him I abandoned the saddle; it
was the least he might have for his friendly act. Talking over this
incident with the Frenchman at Bruzeaud's, who knew the country, he told
me that the Moor was intelligent, honest, faithful to his engagements,
and had a go in him that, under advantageous circumstances, would
enable him to spring again to his former height of power and riches. But
he struck me as happy, although some of his social customs recalled the
feudal age, and he lived under the always-present contingency of
decapitation. May it be long before speculation rears the horrid front
of a joint-stock hotel in Tangier, or the prospectors go divining for
copper, coal, iron, silver and gold. I could wish the Moorish women,
however, would wash their children's heads occasionally, and not take
them up by the ankles when they spank them. After a sojourn in every way
pleasurable--pshaw! Albert's illness was a trifle, and we soon resigned
ourselves to the miseries of the prisoners on the hill--we ate our last
morsel of the Jewish pasch-bread of flour and juice of orange, cracked
our last bottle of champagne, and took our leave of the Dark Continent
with lightsome heart. The impression this little by-journey left upon me
was so agreeable that I could not avoid the enticement to communicate it
to the reader. If I have wandered from romantic Spain, it was only to
take him to a land more romantic still.



CHAPTER VII.

     Back to Gibraltar--The Parting with Albert--The Tongue of
     Scandal--Voyage to Malaga--"No Police, no Anything"--Federalism
     Triumphant--Madrid _in Statu Quo_--Orense--Progress of the
     Royalists--On the Road Home--In the Insurgent Country--Stopped by
     the Carlists--An Angry Passenger is Silenced.


"How like a boulder tossed by Titans at play!" said the sentimental
lady, as we approached Gibraltar on our return.

"More like a big-sized molar tooth," broke in Mrs. Captain.

And, indeed, this latter simile, if less poetic, gave a better idea of
the conformation of the fortified hill, with the gum-coloured outline of
all that was left of a Moorish wall skirting its side. The tooth is
hollow, but the hollow is plugged with the best Woolwich stuffing, and
potentially it can bite and grind and macerate, for all the peaceful
gardens and frescades of the Alameda that circle its base like a belt
of faded embroidery. At Gibraltar our party separated, the Yorkshire
Captain and his friends taking the P. and O. boat to Southampton, my
countryman going back to Tangier after having made some purchases, and I
electing to voyage to Malaga by one of Hall's packets, which was lying
at the mercantile Mole discharging the two hundred tons of Government
material which it is obliged to carry by contract on each fortnightly
voyage. When Albert and I parted no tears were shed; we resigned
ourselves to the decree of destiny with equanimity. But I humbly submit
that Mrs. Captain, when thanking me for my good intentions towards him,
might have spared me the ironical advice not to volunteer for duties in
future which I was not qualified to fulfil. "Volunteer," ye gods! when
she had absolutely entreated me to take him in charge.

Before leaving the Club-House, I was pressed to relate our adventures in
Africa. I had no pig-sticking exploits to make boast over; but I turned
the deaf side of my head to certain whispers about holy men who
imported wine in casks labelled "Petroleum," who affected to be
delivering the incoherent messages of inspiration when they were merely
trying to pronounce "The scenery is truly rural" in choice Arabic, and
who accounted for the black eye contracted by collision with the kerb by
a highly-coloured narrative of an engagement in mid-air with an emissary
of Sheitan. Neither did I accord any pleased attention to anecdotes of a
"lella," or Arab lady, who tempted the Scorpions to charge ten times its
value for everything she bought by telling them to send them to a
personage whose title was exalted. Gib is a very small place, and, like
most diminutive communities, is a veritable school for scandal. I took
my last walk over the Rock, past the "Esmeralda Confectionery," which
still had up the notice that hot-cross buns were to be had from seven to
ten a.m. on Good Friday, and paced to the light-house on the nose of the
promontory, where the meteor flag, ringed by a bracelet of cannon, flies
in the breeze. And then I meandered back, and began to ask myself, had
Marryat aught to do with the sponsorship of this outpost of the British
Empire? Shingle Point, Blackstrap Bay, the Devil's Tower, O'Hara's
Folly, Bayside Barrier, and Jumper's Bastion--the names were all
redolent of the Portsmouth Hard; and I almost anticipated a familiar
hail at every moment from the open door of "The Nut," and an inquiry as
to what cheer from the fog-Babylon.

The trip to Malaga on one of the Hall steamers which trade regularly
between London and that port, calling at Cadiz and Gibraltar, was very
agreeable, and the change to such dietary as liver and bacon was a
treat. We were but three passengers--a steeple-chasing sub of the 71st,
Señor Heredia, of Malaga, and myself. And now I have to make an open
confession. I am unable to decipher the log of that passage. I have a
distinct recollection of the liver and bacon, but more important events
have worn away from my mind. There are the traces of pencil-marks before
me; I dare say they were full of meaning when I scrawled them down, but
now I have lost the key. "Jolly captain--left his wife--forty
years--electric light deceives on a low beach--fourteen children--El
Cano--break in the head of wine-casks": there is a literal copy of the
contents of a page, which may mean nothing or anything, frivolity or a
thesaurus of serious information. Memory, what a treacherous jade thou
art! It may be said, why did I not take copious notes in short-hand? I
would have done so were I a stenographer; but I am not. I tried to
acquire the accomplishment once, and ignobly failed. I could write
short-hand slightly quicker than long-hand, but when written, I could
not transcribe my jottings.

Flanking a beautiful coast, mostly hill-fringed--with hills, too, of
such metallic richness that lead and iron were positively to be quarried
out of their bosoms--we steamed into the harbour of Malaga, and landed
at the Custom-House quay. But there were no Customs' officers to trouble
us with inquiry. A red-bearded, flat-capped, dirty fellow in bare feet,
holding a bayoneted rifle with a jaunty clumsiness, accosted Señor
Heredia with a laughing voice. He was a sentinel of the provisional
government established in Malaga. The nature of that government may be
judged from his frank avowal: "We've no police--no anything." There were
French and German war-vessels at anchor, which was some guarantee of
protection for strangers. A novel tricolour of red, white, and a
washed-out purple had replaced the national flag. The Federal Republic
existed there, and yet the city was quiet; and official bulletins were
extant, recommending the citizens to preserve order. But this quietude
was not to be relied on over-much. One of the magnificoes under the new
_régime_ was a dancing-house keeper, and his principal claim to
administrative ability lay in the ownership of a Phrygian cap. Another,
who styled himself President of the Republic of Alhaurin de la Torre, a
territory more limited than the kingdom of Kippen, had stabbed a lady at
a masked ball a few months previously, for a consideration of sixty-five
duros. Still, it would be unfair to infer from that example that every
Malagueño was a mercenary ruffian, Señor Heredia related to me an
anecdote of a poor man who had found a purse with value in it to the
amount of thirty thousand reals, and had given it up without mention of
recompense. But a city where the wine-shops had nine doors, and
potato-gin was dispensed at a peseta the bottle, and there were "no
police--no anything," was not a desirable residence; and, as I had no
call there, and weeks might elapse before another revolution might be
sprung, I gladly took train to the capital.

Madrid was tranquil, but with no more confidence in the duration of
tranquillity than when I left it. The army was still in a state akin to
disruption, with this difference--the rascals who had rifled the pockets
of the dead Ibarreta a few weeks before, would sell the bodies of their
slain officers now, if there was any resurrectionist near to make a bid.
Worse; I was given to understand that there were suspicions that the
gallant staff-colonel had been shot by his own men. The dismissed
gunners were still wearily beating the pavements, and a subscription
organized on their behalf among the officers of the other branches of
the service by the _Correo Militar_ was open. What were these gentlemen
to do? There was a rumour that they had been invited to enter the
French service, to which they would have been an undoubted acquisition,
bringing with them skill, scientific knowledge, and experience. But they
were Spaniards, not soldiers of fortune, and would decline to transfer
their allegiance, even if France were disposed to bid for it. Still, what
were they to do? In Spain as in Austria--

    "Le militaire n'est pas riche,
     Chacun salt ça."

But the _militaire_ must live. Othello's occupation being gone, the
artillery officers had no alternative but to do what Othello would have
done had he been a Spaniard--conspire.

The usual manoeuvring and manipulations were going on as preparation
for the election of the Constituent Cortes, and the extreme Republicans
were full of faith in their approaching triumph all along the line. They
were awaiting Señor Orense, but if he did not hasten it was thought
events so important would eclipse his arrival that, when he did come,
the Madrileños would pay as small heed to him as the Parisians did to
Hugo when he surveyed the boulevards anew after years of exile. They
would honour him with a procession, and no more. The venerable
Republican, by the way, is a nobleman, Marquis of Albaida. But he is not
equal to the democratic pride of Mirabeau, marquis, who took a shop and
painted on the signboard, "_Mirabeau, marchand de draps._"

"If you are a true Republican, why don't you renounce your title?"
somebody asked once of Orense.

"If it were only myself was concerned I would willingly," responded the
Spaniard; "but I have a son!" Rousseau was a freethinker, but Rousseau
had his daughters baptized all the same.

Meanwhile the Carlists were making headway. The Vascongadas, Navarre,
and Logroño, with the exception of the larger towns and isolated
fortified posts, were now in their power. Antonio Dorregaray, who was in
supreme command, was reported to have 3,200 men regularly organized,
well clad, and equipped with Remingtons. The Remington had been selected
so that the Royalists might be able to use the ammunition they reckoned
upon helping themselves with from the pouches of the Nationalists. In
addition to this force of 3,200, which might be regarded as the regular
army of Carlism, there were formidable guerrilla bands scattered over
the provinces. Our old acquaintance, Santa Cruz, had 900 followers in
Guipúzcoa. The other cabecillas in that region were Francisco, Macazaga,
Garmendia, Iturbe, and Culetrina, all men with local popularity and
intimate knowledge of the mountains. In Biscay, the commander was
Valesco, and his lieutenants were Belaustegui, del Campo, and the
Marquis de Valdespina, son of the chieftain who raised the standard of
revolution at Vitoria in 1833. Their factions were estimated at 2,500.
After Dorregaray, the most dangerous opponent to the Government troops
was Ollo, an old ex-army officer, who was licking the volunteers into
shape; and after Santa Cruz, the most noted and dreaded chief of
irregulars was Rada, who was also operating in "the kingdom," as their
province is proudly called by the daring Navarrese. The elements in
which the Royalists were wanting were cavalry and artillery; but they
had some money, foreign friends were active, the French frontier was not
too strictly watched nor the Cantabrian coast inaccessible, and Don
Carlos--Pretender or King, as the reader chooses to call him--was biding
his time in a villa not a hundred miles from Bayonne. When the hour was
considered favourable, he was ready to cross the border and take the
field, or rather the hills; and his presence, it was calculated, would
be worth a _corps d'armée_ in the fillip it would give to the enthusiasm
of his adherents.

And yet the "only court" held its tertulias, and the doñas talked
millinery, and bald politicians sighed for a snug post in the
Philippines, and the gambling-tables and the bull-ring retained their
spell upon the community. It was the old story: Rome was on the verge of
ruin, and the senate of Tiberius discussed a new sauce for turbot.

As I saw no immediate prospect of the outburst of those important
events, which were cloud-gathering over Madrid, and nearly all my
colleagues had departed, I resolved to pursue my journey to London. I
had _carte blanche_ to return when I deemed there was no further scope
for my pen; but there was an obstacle in the way. Miranda was the
terminus of the rail to the north; the track thence to the Bidassoa had
been closed by order of the lieutenants of his Majesty _in nubibus_,
King Charles VII. In other words, 179 kilometres of the main iron line,
the great artery of communication with France, were held by the
insurgents. Obstacles are made to be met, and, if steadily met, to be
overcome. Surely, I reasoned, there must be some intercourse carried on
in these districts. I passed through territory occupied by Carlists
before. Why not again? Besides, I had nothing to fear from the Carlists,
the tramp carols in the presence of the footpad (which, I submit, is a
neat paraphrase of a classic saw); and if I did chance to meet them,
there would be that dear touch of romance for which the lady-reader has
been looking out so long in vain.

I started. The journey to Miranda I pass by. One is not qualified to
write an essay on a country from inspection through the windows of a
railway-carriage in motion, more particularly at night. As well attempt
to describe a veiled panorama, unrolling itself at a hand-gallop. At
Miranda, which was crowded with soldiers, there was a diligence that
plied to San Sebastian by tacit arrangement with the knights of the
road--that is, the adherents of Don Carlos. As the fares were very
expensive, I suspect the speculator who ran the coach was heavily taxed
for the privilege, and recouped himself by shifting the imposition to
the shoulders of passengers. The day was fine, the roads were good, the
vehicle was well-horsed, and we got away from the boundary of republican
civilization at a rattling pace. My fellow-voyagers were mostly French,
some of them of the gentle sex, and chattered like pies until they fell
asleep. I believe it is admitted by those who know me best that I can do
my own share of sleep. On the slightest provocation--yea, on what might
be condemned as no reasonable provocation--I can drop my head upon my
breast and go off into oblivion. Nor am I particular where I sit or if I
sit at all. Any ordinary person can fall asleep on a sofa or at a
sermon, but it requires a practitioner with an inborn faculty for the
art to achieve the triumphs of somnolence which stand to my credit. I
have taken a nap on horseback; I have marched for miles, a musket on my
shoulder, in complete slumberous unconsciousness; I have nodded while
Phelps was acting, snoozed while Mario was singing, and played the
marmot while Remenyi was fiddling; awful confession, I have dozed
through an important debate in the House of Commons! I am yawning at
present. It is to be hoped the reader is not. And so I burned daylight
the while we drove through a country reputed to be pregnant with
surprises of scenery until, at long last, the diligence drew up in the
straggling street of Tolosa. We halted here for dinner, and resumed our
journey with a fresh team at an enlivening speed, until about two miles
outside the town we came to an abrupt stop.

"An accident, driver?"

"No, señor, but the Carlists."

Some of my fellow-passengers turned pale, the ladies did not know
whether to scream or consult their smelling-bottles; and before they
could decide, a tall, slight, gentlemanly-looking man of some
four-and-twenty years, with a sword by his side, a revolver in his belt,
an opera-glass slung across his shoulder, and a silver tassel depending
from a scarlet boina, the cap of the country, appeared at the hinder
door of the diligence, bowed, and asked for our papers. He glanced at
them much as a railway-guard would at a set of tickets, inquired if we
were carrying any arms or contraband despatches, and being answered in
the negative, gave us a polite "Go you with God," and motioned to the
driver that he might pass on. As we galloped off, all eyes were turned
in the direction of the stranger; he leisurely walked over a field
towards a hill, two peasants equipped with rifles and side-arms
following at his heels. They were young and strong, and wore no nearer
approach to uniform than their officer.

"This is abominable," cried a French commercial traveller (so I took him
to be), as soon as we had got out of hearing of the trio. "The notion of
these three miscreants stopping a whole coachful of travellers in broad
daylight is atrocious!"

"They did not detain us long," said I.

"They did us no harm," said another.

"And that officer, I am sure, was very polite, and looked quite a
D'Artagnan--so chivalrous and handsome," added one of the ladies.

"They are no better than bandits," said the commercial traveller.
"Driver, why did you not resist?"

For reply, the driver pointed with his whip to a wall, under the lee of
which a party of at least fifty armed men, portion of the main body from
which the outpost of three had been detached, were smoking, chatting, or
sleeping. The commercial traveller relapsed into silence. We met with no
further adventure in our ride to the frontier, but experienced much
fatigue.



CHAPTER VIII.

     On the Wing--Ordered to the Carlist Headquarters--Another _Petit
     Paris_--Carlists from Cork--How Leader was Wounded--Beating-up for
     an Anglo-Irish Legion--Pontifical Zouaves--A Bad Lot--Oddities of
     Carlism--Santa Cruz Again--Running a Cargo--On Board a Carlist
     Privateer--A Descendant of Kings--"Oh, for an Armstrong Twenty-Four
     Pounder!"--Crossing the Border--A Remarkable Guide--Mountain
     Scenery--In Navarre--Challenged at Vera--Our Billet with the Parish
     Priest--The Sad Story of an Irish Volunteer--Dialogue with Don
     Carlos--The Happy Valley--Bugle-Blasts--The Writer in a
     Quandary--The Fifth Battalion of Navarre--The Distribution of
     Arms--The Bleeding Heart--Enthusiasm of the Chicos.


AFTER a short stay in London I was despatched to Stockholm, to attend
the coronation of Oscar II of Sweden and his spouse, which took place in
the Storkyrkan, on the 12th of May. At the Hotel Rydberg I met my Madrid
acquaintance, Mr. Russell Young, who was a bird of passage like myself,
and had just arrived from Vienna, where he had been detailing the
ceremonial at the opening of the International Exhibition in the Prater.
While enjoying myself at a ball at the Norwegian Minister's, I received
a telegraphic message, ordering me at once to the Austrian capital. I
was very sorry to leave, for I was delighted with peaceful airy
Stockholm and the free-hearted Swedes--it was such a change after Spain;
but I had neither license nor leisure to grumble, and flitted to Vienna
as fast as steam could carry me. The Weltausstellung did not prove to be
a lodestone, although in justice it must be admitted it was one of the
finest shows ever planned, and was fixed in one of the most agreeable of
sites. It was too far away, however, to attract the British public, and
there were rumours of cholera lurking in the Kaiserstadt; so I was
recalled, but to be sent to Spain once more. My mission was to
penetrate, if possible, to the headquarters of the Carlists, with the
view of giving a fair and full report of the strength, peculiarities,
and prospects of their movement.

At the London office of the sympathizers with the cause I was furnished
with the address of certain Carlists in confidential positions in
France, and letters were sent on in advance, so as to secure me a
favourable reception. Armed with a sheet of flimsy stamped in blue with
the escutcheon of Charles VII., and the legend "Secretaria Militar de
Lóndres," and with, what was more potent, a big credit on a
banking-house, I started afresh on the now familiar route.

Before undertaking the journey into the territory in revolt I halted at
Bayonne to procure the necessary passes. These were obtained with ease
from the Junta sitting in the Rue des Ecoles, the members of which
professed that they desired nothing so much as the presence of the
representatives of impartial foreign journals, so that the truth about
the struggle should be made known to the rest of Europe. From Bayonne I
proceeded to Biarritz, where I had a conference with the Duke de La
Union de Cuba, a warm Carlist partisan, to whom I had an introduction,
and thence I went to St. Jean de Luz, a drowsy, quaint, world-forgotten
nook. A _petit Paris_ it was called in a vaunting quatrain by some
minstrel of yore. But Brussels may be comforted. It is nothing of the
kind, but something infinitely better. The breezes from the main and the
mountains, from the Bay of Biscay and the Pyrenees, conspire to supply
it with ozone. There is music in the boom of the surf as it pulsates
regularly on the velvet sands of a semicircular inlet, where dogs frisk
and youngsters gambol in the sunshine.

In a hotel on the edge of that inlet, the Fonda de la Playa, where I put
up, a young Irish gentleman named Leader was recuperating from a severe
wound in the leg. He had received it in the service of Don Carlos, in a
skirmish near Azpeitia, where he was the only man hit. He was out with a
party of the guerrilleros, and came across a company of the Madrid
troops. To encourage his own people, or rather the people with whom he
had cast in his fortunes, he went well to the front, and mounting on a
bank of earth, hurled defiance at the enemy. He was picked down by a
stray shot, and if he had been taken prisoner it is probable that he
would have paid for his temerity with his life. The Spaniards were not
clement towards foreigners who interposed in their domestic quarrel.
Leader was carried off by his companions and secreted in a peasant's
hut. The troops, swearing vengeance, searched the hut next to it, but,
by some accident, failed to continue the quest to the refuge of the
wounded man. He bled profusely, but the hæmorrhage was finally arrested
by some rude bandaging, and at night he was helped astride a donkey, and
conveyed across the frontier into France. He told me he had suffered
excruciating torments at every jolt of the jog-trotting animal on that
mountain journey. Had the bullet struck him an inch higher he would have
had to suffer amputation; but his luck stood to him, and at the time we
met he was getting on fairly towards recovery, thanks to youth, a good
constitution, and the healthy air of St. Jean de Luz. I could not
understand the ardour of Leader's partisanship for the Carlists. He
spoke the merest smattering of Spanish, and had no profound intimacy
with the vexed question of Spanish politics or the rights of the rival
Spanish houses. The ill-natured whispered that he was crying "Viva la
República" when he was knocked over. It is possible, for he had fought
for the French Republic with Bourbaki's army, and may, in his
excitement, have forgotten under what flag he was serving. I take it he
was a soldier by instinct, and ranged himself on the side of Don Carlos
more from the love of adventure than from any other motive. He was a
fine athletic young fellow, with a handsome determined cast of features.
He had been an ensign in the 30th Foot, and had resigned his commission
to enjoy a spell of active service when the Franco-German war was
proclaimed. That he had behaved bravely in the campaign which led to
internment in Switzerland was evidenced by the ribbon of the Legion of
Honour which he wore. Leader was very anxious that an Anglo-Irish legion
in aid of Don Carlos should be organized. I felt it my duty to warn
those to whom he appealed to think twice before they embarked on such a
crusade. He was very wroth with me for having thrown cold water on the
project, but that did not affect me. I had more experience of such
follies than he, and my conscience approved me. A man may be justified
in playing with his own life, but he should be slow in playing with the
lives of others. He prepares a vexing responsibility for himself if he
is sensitive.

In the next room to Leader was a fellow-enthusiast, Mr. Smith Sheehan,
an ex-officer of Pontifical Zouaves, and son of a popular and eccentric
town-councillor of Cork. He was an agile stripling, skilled in all
gymnastic exercises. He had also done some fighting with the Carlists,
and was in France on furlough, which the soldiers in the Royalist force
appeared to have no insuperable difficulty in getting. He told me there
was a large infusion of his old regiment amongst the guerrilleros, and
that they helped to bind the partisan levies in the withes of
discipline. Most of them had smelt gunpowder at Mentana and Patay. The
famous cabecilla, Saballs, had been a captain at Rome, and Captain
Wills, a Dutchman, who had been killed in a brush at Igualada, had been
sergeant-major in Sheehan's company.

There was another ex-British officer of short service, who had a
remarkably imposing and well-cultivated growth of moustache. He was a
violent doctrinaire Carlist, but suffered from a chronic malady which
prevented him from taking the field; still there was none who could plot
with a more tremendous air of mystery. He was a Carlist because it was
"the correct thing" to be one in the fashionable ring at St. Jean de
Luz, where he had settled, and because he inherited a name associated
with chivalric insurrection. For the sake of his family I shall call him
Barbarossa. He was no honour to his house, for he was an inveterate
gambler, and was not careful in discharging the obligations he wantonly
contracted. He is dead. His death was no loss to society. In fact, if
the whole host of gamblers, lock, stock and barrel, were swept by a
fairy-blast to the regions of thick-ribbed ice, the world would be the
gainer.

When I left Spain, Carlism was to be put down in a fortnight--in Madrid.
Now it threatened to last as long as a Chinese play. The Royalists--I
suppose they had earned the title to be so named by their
perseverance--had achieved numerous small successes which had raised
their _morale_, and they were being supplied with arms of precision from
abroad, and trained to their use. They had even taken some mountain-guns
from their enemy. Leader made me laugh with his accounts of Lizarraga
shouting "Artillería al frente!" and a couple of mules, with one
wretched little piece, moving forward; and of the intimidating clatter
made by three shrunk cavaliers in cuirasses a world too wide for them,
and alpargatas, trotting up a village street. The alpargata is the
mountain-shoe of canvas, with a hempen sole, worn by the Basque
peasants. The association of surcoats of mail and rope slippers is
incongruous; but what does that reck? Those cuirasses were _spolia
opima_.

And Santa Cruz?

The honest gentleman had retired into private life. His excesses had
raised such a storm of opprobrium against the Carlists that they had to
request him to desist. Lizarraga summoned him to render himself up a
prisoner. "Come and take me," replied Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz had near
two thousand followers; Lizarraga a few hundred. Lizarraga declined the
invitation. But the priest caused seven-and-twenty Carabineros, taken
prisoners at the bridge of Endarlasa, near Irun, to be shot, and this
filled the cup to overflowing. The Carlists averred they would slay him;
the Republicans vowed they would garrote him for a Madrid holiday; the
French Government declared its intention of putting him under lock and
key if it caught him within its jurisdiction. His band was disarmed "by
order of the King," and dispersed, and the Cura himself nebulously
vanished--whither we may see anon.

There was a large accretion to the population of St. Jean de Luz in
Iberian refugees, and as they sat and conversed under the foliage of the
public promenade, frequent sighs might be overheard, and remarks that if
this sort of thing were to go on, "Spain would soon be in as bad a
condition as France." At all hours there came to the beach poor exiles
of Spain, who turned their eyes sadly to the line where sky met ocean.
Of what were their thoughts--of home and friends, of the flutters of
the casino or the ecstasies of the bull-ring? If they were looking for
the Spanish fleet they did not see it, for a reason as old as the
"Critic." It was not in sight. They came down in numbers in front of my
hotel at nine o'clock on the morning of Monday, July 28th, a few days
after my arrival, when a strange yellow funnel turned the point, and a
long low Red-Roverish three-masted schooner-yacht steamed into Socoa,
the roadstead of St. Jean de Luz. If the exiles were correctly informed,
that was the Spanish fleet in a sense--the notorious Carlist privateer,
the _San Margarita_, which had recently landed arms and ammunition for
the Royalists at Lequeieto and elsewhere. She had been doing a stroke of
business in the same line that morning. In the grey dawn she had dropped
into the embouchure of the Bidassoa, at a few hundred yards from the
town of Fontarabia. The work was well and quickly done. Boats
requisitioned by friends on land put off to her, and returned laden with
bales of merchandise. These artless bales were packages of
breechloaders, with bayonets to match, wrapped in sail-cloth. As soon
as they were received on shore they were distributed amongst some
thousands of Carlists in waiting, who at once proceeded to fix bayonets,
fall into ranks, and with shouts of exultation march off in good order.

Meanwhile, the "volunteers of liberty," as the Basque Republicans called
themselves, ensconced their persons out of range in a sort of castle
beside the church of Fontarabia's "wooded height," and amused themselves
taking pot-shots at the rising sun. But they did not venture from their
shelter; they knew a large body of armed Royalists were watching their
movements from the summit of Cape Higuer, and only awaited the provoke
to pounce down upon and swallow them. A detachment of Frenchmen from the
frontier hamlet of Hendaye quietly took up ground on the strand to see
that there was no breach of neutrality, and had an uninterrupted view of
the whole operation. As soon as the daring little privateer had done her
work she innocently steamed to Socoa; the Carlists on the hills waved
adieu and disappeared; the French soldiers returned to their quarters;
and the Fontarabian "volunteers of liberty "--well, most probably they
swore terribly, and effected a masterly retrograde movement on the
nearest posada.

I had a call to board the _San Margarita_. Not a boat could be had in
St. Jean de Luz for love or money; the passage from the sea into the
harbour is narrow, and the fishermen, though hardy navigators, are shy
of facing the current when the sea is rough. Leader and myself walked by
the goat-path on the crags leading to the southern side of the harbour
so as to avoid the bar, and succeeded in chartering a skiff at Socoa. A
quarter of an hour's pull brought us alongside the yacht, and on sending
up our cards we were at once invited on board by the owner. To my
surprise I discovered that the entire crew was British, as reckless a
set of dare-devils as ever cut out a craft from under an enemy's guns.
The skipper, Mr. Travers, was a Cork man, an ex-officer of the Indian
Navy, who had lost a finger during the Mutiny; but the life and soul of
the enterprise was an ex-officer of the Austrian and Mexican armies,
Charles-Edward Stuart, Count d'Albanie, great-grandson of "the Young
Pretender." His uncle, John Sobieski Stuart, had resigned his claim to
the throne of England on his behalf,[C] so that I actually shook the
hand of the man who under other circumstances might be wielding the
sceptre of that empire on which the sun never sets. Instead of a crown
he wore the genuine old Highland bonnet--not that modern innovation, the
military feather-bonnet. In face this descendant of royalty was an
unmistakable Stuart, with the characteristic aquiline nose, and a proud
dignity of expression. He might have sat for the portrait of Charles the
Martyr-King, by Vandyck, in Windsor. He was a convinced and earnest
supporter of the claims of Cárlos Séptimo, whom he regarded as a cousin,
and a sort of modern counterpart of the young Chevalier, the "darling
Charlie" of Jacobite minstrelsy. He received us with the hospitality of
his nation, and we had a long chat as we paced the deck briskly, the
Count discussing the prospects of the rising, and then verging off into
gay anecdotes of his military career in Austria, and inquiries after
mutual acquaintances in London. By-and-by Captain Travers made his
appearance, a tall weather-beaten navigator in orthodox naval dress,
with a glass in his eye. He bowed severely to the Stuart, who as coldly
returned his salute. It was easy to perceive that there was a restraint
in the demeanour of the men on both sides; but there was a tacit
armistice for the occasion. I heard afterwards that they did not talk to
each other, except on strict matters of duty, and when taking their
short walks on deck, one confined himself religiously to the larboard,
the other to the starboard. Travers took me in tow, while the alert
Count with his quick manner strode to and fro with Leader, and kept up a
jerky fire of conversation nearly all to himself, occasionally twirling
his peaked beard. Travers and I lolled over the bulwarks, and laughed
and sampled the contents of an aqua-vitæ bottle, "Special Jury" whisky
from Ireland, and I learned that this ill-assorted pair had been
sharing some close hazards on their audacious cruiser.

A few days previously they had been chased by _El Aspirante_, a Spanish
gun-boat, which gave them eight shots. One caught them on the port
quarter, and shivered some timbers, but effected no more serious damage.

"I wish we had only an Armstrong twenty-four pounder close handy," said
the mate, "and we'd have saved them 'ere dons the price of a coffin, I'd
take my davy!"

From what I saw of the seamen, I think this was no empty boast. Some of
them had served with one Captain Semmes on a certain craft called the
_Alabama_, and had been picked up after the fight with the _Keasarge_,
off Cherbourg, by Mr. John Lancaster's yacht, the _Deerhound_. There is
no need for concealment now, so that I may freely admit that the
_Deerhound_ and the _San Margarita_ were one and the same. Travers, who
was in love with the yacht, told me if he had another blade to the screw
he could give leg-bail to the fastest ship in the Spanish navy. At
leaving, I was asked to take a trip with them; they were about to visit
their floating arsenal in the Bay of Biscay, load, and try to run
another cargo. I respectfully declined--fortunately for myself; my
orders were to get to the Carlist headquarters, not to go playing Paul
Jones.

Leader and Smith Sheehan were about to cross the border, and readily
acceded to my request to form one of the party. We rose at daybreak next
morning and looked out of window for the _San Margarita_. The roadstead
of Socoa was a blank. She had steamed away during the night. After the
customary chocolate we started blithely, in a light basket-carriage with
a pair of fast-trotting ponies, that whisked us in less than two hours
to the foot of the Pyrenees. Here we had to alight, the road up the
mountain being impracticable for vehicles. A boy guide was in waiting to
show us over the border by the smuggler's path--a wild short-cut through
a labyrinth of brushwood. The guide was a remarkable youth in his way;
he understood not a syllable of French or Spanish, and spoke only Basque
which none of us comprehended, so that our parley with him was somewhat
uninteresting. Yet I was anxious to elicit the opinions of that guide. A
lad who could strike the path up the mountain with such truth might, by
some instinct, have seen his way through Spanish politics. Our walk was
a trial of endurance. I had traversed the Pyrenees in snow, and that was
fatiguing enough in all conscience; but now the sun was beating cruelly
on the parched herbage, and plodding up the ascent was like treading
burning marl. I had to cry halt half-a-dozen times before we reached the
summit; and yet that marvellous guide, with the baggage of all three on
his head, kept on with a springy step and serene smile, like the youth
in "Excelsior." It was an alternation of wheezing and stumbling with me,
with a continuous ooze of perspiration, till I arrived heaving and
panting on the crown of the ridge, and flung myself on the turf beside a
pile of planking fresh from the woodcutter's axe. There was no further
need to be wary, for this was Spain. We were over the border, and now my
companions could breathe freely in every sense. Before they had passed
the imaginary line they were liable to be arrested by the gendarmes,
conducted back and interned, for they had that about their persons which
betrayed that they were no innocent travellers. At every noise ahead, a
scud was made to the cover of the tall ferns and brambles by the
wayside, and an advance party of one was thrown out to reconnoitre. The
precautions were superfluous, if we knew but all. From the 15th of July,
the French patrols had got the hint to be blind. So lax was the cordon
on the day we crossed, that a brigade of Carlists, each man with a
repeating rifle on his shoulder and two revolvers in his belt, might
have gone into Spain and never have had their sight offended by a
solitary French uniform.

The view from the comb of the hills, as grasped on a sunny day, repays
all the toil and trouble of the ascent; and looking round, one begins to
realize the fascination of mountain-climbing. On one side extend the
plains of France, washed by the greenish-blue waves of the Bay of
Biscay, and studded as with pearls by the coast-towns of Fontarabia,
St. Jean de Luz, Biarritz, Bayonne, and so on northwards till the vision
fails. On the other side rise in convoluting swells the mountains of
Navarre and Guipúzcoa, their slopes dyed in every shade of green from
grass and lichen, shrub and tree, except where the naked rocks, bursting
with ore, expose themselves. Iron, lead, silver, are all to be found in
the bosom of the earth in this richest and most beautiful of lands.
Nature has been lavish beyond measure, and man, instead of using her
gifts, has ungratefully diverted them for generations to the purposes of
guerrilla warfare and cheating the Custom-House officers. But this high
moral tone hardly sits well on a man who was aiding and abetting the
entry of a couple of foreign free-lances, on homicidal thoughts intent,
and perhaps doing a stroke of contraband on his own account. We suffered
no molestation; but others might not have escaped unpleasantness. The
agent of a Hatton Garden jeweller might have had to pay toll, if the
story were true that a few of the dispersed "Black Legion" had got off
with their rifles and started a joint-stock company in the
bush-whacking line, and were doing a pretty fair business.

The descent on the Spanish side was almost precipitous, and had to be
effected with exceeding care. At times we ran down the track, rugged
with sharp crags, almost head foremost, and only saved ourselves from
falling by clinging to the nearest sapling. But there is an end to
everything, and at last we came on the road that dips into the village
of Echalar, in the district of Pampeluna, province of Navarre. Here we
dismissed our guide, and here I encountered, for the first time, a
regularly organized Carlist company, detached from the fifth battalion
of Navarre, which was in garrison at Vera, some eight miles distant; but
as I shall have opportunity to speak of the entire battalion soon, I
defer comment on its appearance.

My companions were desirous of pushing forward, and the provisional
alcalde of the village gave us a trap to take us on. There is an
excellent road by the mountain-side, until a tunnel to the right is
reached, when we entered a most picturesque, well-wooded defile, through
which the Bidassoa pours its waters. We dashed along gaily until we
came in sight of the steeple of the church of Vera at twilight.

A cry of "Who goes there?" from the gloom arrested us at the entrance of
the town.

Leader sung out, "España."

Again came the sentinel's cry, "What people?" and cheerily ran the
answer, "Voluntarios de Carlos Séptimo!"

"Pass," was the reply; and we took the street at a trot, and pulled up
at the door of the parish priest's dwelling, where the Irish soldiers of
fortune promised me a billet for the night. The kindly pastor was equal
to expectations; we had a cordial welcome, a good dinner, and beds with
clean sheets.

Sad tidings met my companions--those of the death of a young friend, Mr.
John Scannel Taylor, a native of Cork, in the service of Don Carlos. A
few months previously he had been a promising law student in the Queen's
University of Ireland, with every prospect of a bright career before
him. He arrived from England in the middle of June, and attached
Himself to the partida of General Lizarraga in order to be near his
fellow-countryman, Smith Sheehan. Previous to Mr. Sheehan's returning to
Bayonne with despatches, he tossed up a coin to decide whether he or
Taylor should have the choice of the duty. Poor Taylor won, and elected
to remain with Lizarraga, as there was likelihood of fighting at hand.
The very next day Yvero, where the Republicans held a
strongly-intrenched position, was attacked, and the young Irish
volunteer made himself conspicuous in the onset. While advancing in the
open, setting a pattern of bravery to all by the steady way he delivered
his fire, the gallant fellow was struck by a bullet in the leg. He kept
on limping until he was touched a second time in the arm, but still he
persevered with a dogged courage, when a third bullet struck him in the
forehead, and he dropped with outspread arms, raising a little cloud of
dust. He must have been stone-dead before he reached the ground. His
conduct was "muy valiente," so said his Spanish comrades. He was picked
up after the affair, and decently interred side by side with two
officers who met their deaths in his company. This was the first time he
was under fire, as it was the last; but there is a fatality in those
things.

This young Irishman, Taylor, was luckier than some of his fellows in one
respect. Short as he had been in the service, he had attracted the
notice of Don Carlos. His comrade Sheehan and he were pointed out to
"the King" by Lizarraga as two modest deserving young soldiers who had
offered to fight in the ranks--a trait of unselfishness that must have
astonished the Carlist leaders, as most of the volunteers they had from
France came out with the full intention of commanding brigades, when
divisions were not to be had.

"I wish I had a thousand like them," said Lizarraga, who was a genuine
soldier, and one of the few Spaniards not unjust to foreigners.

Don Carlos shook hands with Mr. Taylor and thanked him. His Majesty
spoke some few minutes in French with Mr. Sheehan, and, as the
conversation gives some insight into Carlism, I may venture to repeat
it.

Don Carlos.--"You have served before?"

Irish Soldier.--"Yes, sire, in the Pontifical Zouaves."

Don Carlos.--"Ha! good. In the same company with my brother, perhaps?"

Irish Soldier.--"No; but I had the privilege of knowing Don Alfonso."

Don Carlos.--"He is in Catalonia now, and has many of your old
companions in arms with him. You are serving the same cause here as in
Rome--the cause of religion and of order and of legitimate right."

Irish Soldier (bowing).--"I should not be here if I did not feel that,
your Majesty."

Don Carlos (smiling).--"I thank you sincerely. General Lizarraga tells
me you are Irish."

Irish Soldier.--"I come from the south of Ireland, sire."

Don Carlos.--"A country I feel much sympathy for. She has been very
unhappy, has she not? Are things better now?"

Irish Soldier.--"For some years Ireland has been, improving, sire."

Don Carlos.--"That is well. She deserves better fortune, for she has a
noble, faithful people."

Don Carlos drew back a pace and made a stiff military nod; the Irishman
brought his rifle to the "present arms," turned on his heel, and marched
back to the ranks, and thus the interview terminated.

The valley in which the little town of Vera nestles might have been that
where Rasselas was brought up, so secluded, smiling, and peaceful it
looks. The Bidassoa, famous in tales of the Peninsular War, flows
through it, no doubt; but the Bidassoa here is a trout stream winding
through meadows and fields of maize, and thoughts of bloodshed are the
last that would occur to anyone contemplating its mild current. The
mountains walling in the vale are lined with growths of heather, fern,
and blossoming furze to their very crests, and the verdurous picture
they hem is one of poetic calm and plenty. Labourers are digging away in
the fields below, the tinkle of cow-bells is heard from the pastures,
and anon blends with their Arcadian music the soft chiming of
church-bells summoning to prayer; there is a mill with its clacking
wheel, and a foundry with a tuft of smoke curling from its chimney;
orchards and vineyards lie side by side with patches of corn, and along
the high-road peasants pass and repass, shortening their way with song
and laughter, and strings of mules or droves of swine scamper by.
Another Sweet Auburn of Goldsmith, in another Happy Valley of Johnson,
this cosy Vera with its river and trees would seem to any English
tourist ignorant of its history; but how the English tourist would be
misled! Though the peasants laugh and sing, and the labourers dig, and
there are outer tokens of peace, there is no peace in the valley or
town; there are sights and sounds there of war, and that of the worst
kind--civil war. The mill is grinding corn for the commissariat stores,
the foundry turns out shot instead of ploughshares, the boxes on the
mules' backs are packed with ammunition. If you listen, you will hear
the roll of drums and the shrill blowing of bugles more often than the
soothing bells; if you watch, you will notice that not one man in ten is
unprovided with a firearm, for this quiet-looking place is the very
hotbed of Carlism; the insurrectionary headquarters for the province of
Navarre; the arsenal and recruiting depôt for all the provinces in
revolt. The disciples of the rod have fled from it, and those of the
musket have come in their stead.

At half-past four on the morning after our arrival in the mountains, I
was roused from a profound sleep by the sound of the bugle. A solitary
performer was blowing spiritedly into his instrument; what piece of
music he was trying to execute I could not make out, but that his
primary object was to "murder sleep" was evident, and he succeeded.
Losing all note of time and place, I thought for a moment I was in
London, and that this was a visit from the Christmas waits. But there
was a liveliness in the tones incompatible with the season when the
clarionet, trombone, and cornet-à-piston form a syndicate of noise, and
parade the streets for halfpence. The bugle was in a jocular mood. Judge
of my astonishment when I learned that this merry melody was the
Carlist's reveille! The insurgents had got so far with their military
organization that they had actually buglers and bugle-calls. Nay, more,
they had drummers and a brass band!

Now I think of it, there is an inadvisability in my calling them
insurgents while in their power; but what phrase am I to employ? In the
pass in my pocket I am recommended to "the Chiefs of the Royal Army of
his Catholic Majesty Charles VII.," as an inoffensive "corresponsal
particular," to whom aid and protection may be safely extended. But then
there are the Republicans, and if they catch me giving premature
recognition in pen-and-ink to the Royalist cause, they may rightly
complain that a British subject is flying in the face of the great
British policy of non-intervention. I think I have discovered an escape
from the dilemma. The Carlists speak of themselves as the Chicos, "the
bhoys," so Chicos let them be for the future, and their opponents the
troops--not that it is by any means intended to be conveyed that the
troops so called are much more martial than the Chicos.

Well, the boys have got buglers who bugle with a will. They blow a blast
to rouse us, another for distribution of rations; they have the
assembly, the retreat, the "lights out," and all the rest, as regular as
the Diddlesex Militia. I got up in the Cora's house, looked at the
Cura's pictures--which were more meritorious as works of piety than as
works of art--and hastened to the Plaza, where I was told there was
about to be a muster of the Chicos, and I would have a leisurely
opportunity of passing them under inspection. The Plaza is a flagged
space enclosed on two sides by houses, some of which are over a couple
of centuries old, with armorial bearings sculptured over the doors; on
the third by the Municipality; and on the fourth by a grey church, lofty
and large, seated on an eminence and approached by a flight of stone
steps. The Municipality is a massive building, level with the street,
with a colonnaded portico, and a front over which some artist in
distemper had passed his brush. This façade is eloquent with mural
painting, if one could only understand it all. There are symbolic
figures of heroic size, coveys of cherubs, hatchments, masonic-looking
emblems, and inscriptions. A Carlist sentry, dandling a naked bayonet in
the hollow of his arm, was pacing to and fro in the portico, and the
remaining warriors of the post were lounging about, cigarette in mouth,
much as our own fellows do outside the guard-house on Commercial Square,
at Gibraltar. I was curious to see the Carlist uniform. Assuredly the
uniform does not make the soldier, but it goes a great way towards it.
Uniformity was the least striking feature in the dress of the men before
me. They were clad in the ordinary garb of the mountain-peasants. Short
coarse jackets and loose trousers, confined at the waist by a faja, or
girdle of bright-coloured woollen stuff, were worn by some; blouses of
serge, knee-breeches, and stockings or gaiters, by others; but all,
without exception, had the boina, or pancake-shaped woollen cap of the
Basque provinces, and the alpargatas, or flat-soled canvas shoes.
By-and-by was heard a bugle-blast and the quick, regular tread of
marching men, and the head of a company came in sight. In perfect time
the company paced, four deep, into the Plaza, halted, and fell into line
in two ranks. Thus, in succession, seven other companies arrived,
forming the fifth, battalion of Navarre, a vigorous, wiry set of men,
impressing the experienced eye as excellent raw material for soldiers,
albeit got up in costume very much resembling that of brigands of the
Comic Opera. Physically, the natives of the hilly northern provinces are
the pick of Spain. The battalion had its flag, white between two stripes
of scarlet, on which was inscribed the name of the corps, and the
legend, "The country for ever, but always in honour." This was, of
course, written in Basque, of which my rendering is rather free, but it
gives exactly the sense of the sentiment. It was soon palpable to
anybody, who knows anything of such matters, that the Chicos were weak
in officers of the proper stamp, and still more so in under-officers.
Smoking was common in the ranks, and when the men stood at ease, they
stood very much at ease indeed. The officers, in some cases, were
distinguished in dress from the privates solely by gold or silver
tassels dependent from their boinas, and their boinas were of blue,
white, brown, or even Republican red, according to the fancy of the
wearer. All the officers had revolvers and swords. The men were armed
somewhat indiscriminately, one company with Chassepots, another with
Remingtons; there were carbines, and percussion rifles, and
smooth-bores, and even a few flint-locks; but I failed to discern a
single specimen of the trabuco, the bell-mouthed blunderbuss we are
accustomed to associate with the Spanish knight of the road. Ammunition
was carried in a waist-belt, with a surrounding row of leather tubes
lined with tin, each of which held a cartridge--in fact, the Circassian
cartouch-case. There were many grizzled weather-stained veterans in the
ranks who had fought with Zumalacárregui and Mina in the Seven Years'
War; but as a rule the Chicos were literally boys in age, and here and
there a child of twelve or fourteen might be seen measuring himself
beside a patriotic musket. In relief to the peasant dresses were to be
noticed frequent attempts at more soldierly costume in the shape of worn
tunics of the French National Guards or Moblots, and some half-dozen
uniforms of the Spanish Line, with the glazed képi exchanged for the
boina. On the top of many of the boinas, fastening the tassel, was a
huge brass button, with the monogram of the "King," and the inscription,
"Voluntarios, Dios, Patria, y Rey." Another sign particular of this
irregular force that impressed me much was a bleeding heart embroidered
on a small scrap of cloth, and sewn on the left breasts of nearly all on
the ground. This appeared to be worn as a charm against bullets; and
with a strong notion that it would protect them in the hour of danger, I
am convinced nine out of ten of those peasants carried it. It may be as
well to add that inside that embroidered patch were written, in Spanish,
the words, "Stop; the heart of Jesus is here; defend me, Jesus." Many
others of the Carlists carried scapulars, rosary beads, and blessed
medals as pious reminders. The habit of wearing this representation of
the heart of the Saviour over the region of the human heart dates so far
back as the Vendean War, and had been introduced in the present instance
by M. Cathelineau, grandson of the celebrated French Royalist loader.

The battalion had assembled on the Plaza to give up their old arms, and
to receive a portion of those which had been landed from the _San
Margarita_. They deposited those they had with them by sections in the
Municipality, and emerged with the others, bright, brand-new Berdan
breechloaders. They seemed proud of their weapons; some went so far as
to kiss them; and, if looks were any criterion of feelings, their
glowing faces said, as emphatically as it could be said, "Now that we
have good tools, we shall show what good work we can do." Boxes of
metallic ball-cartridges, centre-primed, were piled on the Plaza, and
were quickly and quietly opened and distributed. Not an accident
occurred in the process. Many a less wonderful phenomenon has been
advertised as a miracle. I fully expected to have my coat spattered with
some warrior's brains every other moment, with such a reckless rashness
were the rifle-muzzles poked about. One shot did go off, while a high
private was trying if his cartridge fitted to the chamber; the charge
singed the hair of a captain, and the bullet lodged in the middle of the
word "Prudencia" on the façade of the Municipality. The captain would
have it that he was killed, spun round on his own centre like a
humming-top, and finally, coming to himself, shook out his clothes in
search of the lead. There was a roar of laughter, and the careless
soldier who had endangered the life of his officer was allowed to pass
without rebuke. That was the worst point in Carlist discipline I had
seen yet. There was too much familiarity towards superiors; the rank and
file lacked that fear and respect for the officers which are the
strongest cement of the military fabric. This was to be explained partly
because the officers were not above the men in social position, and
partly because any enterprising gentleman who bought gold braid and
tassels, sported a sword, and appraised himself an officer, was accepted
at his own valuation.



CHAPTER IX.

     The Cura of Vera--Fueros of the Basques--Carlist Discipline--Fate
     of the _San Margarita_--The Squadron of Vigilance--How a Capture
     was Effected--The Sea-Rovers in the Dungeon--Visit to the
     Prisoners--San Sebastian--A Dead Season--The Defences of a
     Threatened City--Souvenirs of War--The Miqueletes--In a Fix--A
     German Doctor's Warning.


THESE horrible and bloodthirsty Carlists turned out to be amiable
individuals on acquaintance. I suppose they could put on a frown for
their enemies, but for my companions and myself they had nothing but
open smiles and hearty hand-grips. One great recommendation was our
being billeted on the parish priest. His reverence had none of the Santa
Cruz in him; he was a gentle, zealous, studious clergyman, yet was
filled with the purest enthusiasm for the cause of what he regarded as
legitimacy. The Don Carlos who raised the standard in 1833, he
maintained, was the rightful heir to the throne of Spain. The law by
which the succession had been changed was an _ex post facto_ law, passed
after his birth, and not promulgated until Ferdinand VII. had a female
child. In May, 1845, that Don Carlos, really Charles V., resigned in
favour of his son, Charles VI., and in September, 1868, he, in his turn,
relinquished his rights to the present claimant to the throne, Charles
VII., whom might God preserve.

The Cura was unusually civil towards us because we were Irish, and as
Irish were presumably of clean lineage--that is to say, free from
kinship with Jews or infidels. As reputed descendants of settlers from
Bilbao, we were entitled to a full share in all the privileges of the
province of Biscay. This was as well to know. It was a consolation to us
to learn that it was an advantage to be Irish somewhere under the sun.
The King of Spain is but Lord of Biscay, and has to swear under the
oak-tree of Guernica to respect the fueros or customs of the province.
Don Carlos had so done; he was in Spain, it was true, but where he was
at the moment the Cura was unable to say; his court was perambulatory.

The fueros were abolished by the Cortes in 1841 and but partially
restored in 1844, so that in inscribing them as one of the watchwords on
their banner, the Basques were fighting for something more solid than
glory. They cling to their rights as Britons do to Magna Charta, only
with this difference--they have a clearer conception of what they are. I
had been trying to arrive at some knowledge of the fueros, and obtained
much information from a volume by the late Earl of Carnarvon.[D]
Guipúzcoa, Alava, and Biscay, though an integral part of the Spanish
monarchy, for ages enjoyed their own laws, and a recapitulation of some
which were in force in Biscay will be a fair sample of all. Biscay was
governed by its own national assemblies, arranged its own taxation,
yielded contributions to the Sovereign as a free gift, had no militia
laws, was exempt from naval impressment, provided for its own police in
peace and its own defence in war. No monopoly, public or private, could
be established there. Only Biscayans by birth could be nominated to
ecclesiastical appointments; every Biscayan was noble, and his house was
inviolable; there was perfect equality of civil rights. In short, those
Basques flourished under the amplest measure of Home Rule, and had all
the benefits of the Habeas Corpus Act under another name long before
that Bill was legalized by the Parliament of Charles II. The
liberty-loving Basques were tolerant as well as independent. The
Inquisition was never vouchsafed breathing-room in their midst. When
Protestants escaped from France after the massacre of St. Bartholomew,
they were treated to asylum amongst them.[E]

We moved about among the guerrilleros. They were mostly light-limbed and
stalwart men, and were none the worse for the sprinkling of seniors of
sixty and lads of sixteen. Many had the bow-legs of the mountaineer,
built like the hinder pair of artillery-horses--the legs that tell of
muscularity and lasting stamina. Their drill was very loose, and skill
in musketry left much to be desired. They had no perception of
distance-judging, and some were so grossly ignorant of the mechanism of
their weapons that they knocked off the back-sights of their rifles,
alleging that they hindered them from taking correct aim. The Marquis de
la Hormazas--a meagre, tall, elderly man--was commandant of the
battalion, and was stern in the exaction of discipline. During the stay
of the Navarrese at Vera, a captain was degraded to the ranks for having
entered the lists of illicit love. The Frenchwoman who was the partner
of his amour was politely shown over the mountain and warned not to
return.

The battalion left for the interior of the province. Leader was still
too weak to enter on a campaign; Sheehan had to look after the
belongings of his comrade Taylor, and break the news of his death to his
mother; and I saw plainly that it was out of the question attempting to
catch up the flitting headquarters of Don Carlos without a horse.
Besides, I had to complete arrangements for the transmission of letters
and telegraphic messages when I had any to send, and for the reception
of money; in sum, to open up communication with a base. So we returned
to France as we came.

On arriving at St. Jean de Luz, a startling rumour awaited us. The
steel-built Carlist privateer had been captured at the mouth of the
Adour; she had been taken a prize to San Sebastian; Stuart and Travers
were in close custody; and there were alarmists who whispered that they
would be tried by drum-head as pirates, and hung up in chains in the
cause of humanity. It was well for me I did not accept the invitation to
that water-party. I ran over to Bayonne to ascertain what particulars I
could, saw the Carlist Junta, the British and Spanish Vice-Consuls, and
from their combined and conflicting narratives was able to sift some
grains of the authentic. But the sudden first report was undeniable. The
weasel had been caught asleep.

The _San Margarita_ was a serious loss to the cause. She had cost
£3,500. She was very fast, being capable of a speed of between ten and
eleven knots an hour, and should be equal to fourteen knots if her
lifting screw had another blade. A three-bladed screw had been provided,
and was to have been fitted to her stern on her return from the
ill-fated expedition which put an end to her roving career. It was true
that the descendant of kings was under bolts and bars. The French
journals described him as a "Monsieur Stuart, a Scotch colonel,
entrusted by the English Catholics with collections for the Carlist
cause." They had never heard of his royal lineage, of his connection
with the Austrian cavalry, or of his exploits by the side of the unhappy
Maximilian in Mexico. He assumed the responsibility of ownership of the
vessel. The hue-and-cry description of him was "a man of forty to
forty-five years of age, over middle height, figure spare, features
thin, and resolute in expression."

The burly bronzed Corkonian was also in durance, and with the pair of
officers were a picked crew of thirteen Englishmen, including engineers,
steward, stokers, and able-bodied seamen, and one Spanish cabin-boy. A
Basque pilot, an old smuggler, familiar with every nook and crevice of
the Bay of Biscay, had escaped.

If reports were credible, the _San Margarita_ had already landed two
millions of cartridges, and an immense quantity of arms. Much vexation
was caused to the officers of the Spanish navy in those quarters by the
stories of the daring feats she had achieved, absolutely discharging a
cargo once on the very wharf of Lequeieto, as if she were a peaceful
merchantman, and on another occasion sending off rifles and ammunition
by small boats in the dead of night, a man-of-war lying sleepily
oblivious of what was going on just outside her. It was felt that her
continued impunity was a reproach, and three small vessels of the
Spanish navy were commissioned to cruise between Bilbao and Bayonne on
the look-out for her. This little squadron of vigilance consisted of _El
Aspirante_ and _El Capricho_, gun-boats, and the _Buenaventura_, a
three-gun steam-brig. On Tuesday, August 12th, the _Buenaventura_,
flying a George's Jack at her peak, was off Fontarabia for a portion of
the day, close in shore. At nightfall she disappeared--it is now
supposed into the sheltered and almost invisible inlet of Los Pasages,
between Fontarabia and San Sebastian. Before daybreak on Wednesday, the
Carlists under Dorregaray swarmed down from the hills covering Cape
Higuer. The _San Margarita_ came in sight, and began landing arms in the
same spot where the undisturbed landing of the 28th July had been
effected. Not more than three hundred stand had been put on shore, and
about one hundred thousand cartridges in boxes, labelled in English
"metallic rolled cartridges, centre-primed," when she had to get away,
as the daylight began to play the informer. She dropped down towards
Bayonne, and appears to have reached a point some four miles from the
French shore (the exact distance is a moot question), where she laid to
and allowed her furnaces to cool The men were "dead tired out" after
their night's work, and the captain considered that he was within the
protection of French waters. But there is a very ancient proverb about a
pitcher and a veil, and the period of its realization had been reached
at last Whilst the _San Margarita_ was effecting the landing, a
coastguard's boat had slipped from under the heights of Fontarabia, and
given notice of what was going on to the _Buenaventura_ in Los Pasages,
and the brig steamed out, still with the British colours at her peak
Whilst the Carlist privateer was motionless in fancied security--there
was some want of prudence or vigilance there, surely--the gun-brig crept
down and overhauled her before alarm could be given, and the rakish
schooner-yacht, the skimmer of the seas, had the humiliation of falling
a prey to a wretched slow boat that she could laugh at with steam up in
the open sea. The arrest was made in the usual manner, and the captors
behaved with the customary naval courtesy. They were over-joyed at their
good fortune, and gave their prisoners to eat and to drink--champagne to
the officers and chacoli to the men. They towed their prize into the bay
of St. Sebastian, and there was triumph. The yellow and scarlet flag of
Spain was over the wee _San Margarita_ as she entered, and Colonel
Stuart and Captain Travers and their companions must have felt sore,
for all the good cheer and generous wine. Still there was quite a
courtly scene on board--hand-shakings and reciprocal compliments--as
they were marched off to the dungeon of the Castillo de la Mota on a
hill in the city, where they were incarcerated. There they did not fall
on such pleasant lines as afloat. The Republicans lost no time in
unloading the vessel. They took off her, with a hurry that betrayed
apprehension, 1,545 carbines and six Berdan breech-loaders, with a
number of armourer's tools. It was remarked that the rifles supplied to
the regular troops from Madrid were sighted to eight hundred metres, but
that the range of those seized from the Carlists did not exceed five
hundred.

I went over to San Sebastian by tug from Socoa on the 16th of August,
and sent up my card to M. de Brunet, the British Vice-Consul. He said he
had called on the prisoners, and that the sailors murmured at their
treatment. If I went to the citadel, after three--as it was Saturday
afternoon, and visiting hours commenced then--I could see them without
difficulty. I did clamber up the hill, and found this was not the case.
On owning that I had no pass from the military governor, I was denied
admittance. Happening to meet the commandant, I represented what I
wanted, and he very civilly granted me leave to visit the prisoners
"para un momento." As the gates were thrown open Stuart advanced and met
me, grasping my hand cordially, and slipping a letter up the sleeve of
my coat. He had caught sight of me labouring up the hill, and had
immediately hastened to scribble a few lines which he trusted to my
sympathy with misfortune to smuggle to their destination for him. He was
not mistaken, and in so doing I had no qualm of conscience. I
accompanied him to his cell, and he told me the story of the capture of
the _San Margarita_. It was substantially as I have related; they
thought they were in a _mare clausum_, at all events they had drifted
out of it on the tide of fate; but there was a nice question of
international law. The _ruse_ of hoisting the British flag was
legitimate if the _Buenaventura_ substituted her own flag before
proceeding to board them. The _San Margarita_ had the flags of more
than one nation in her lockers; but the gun-brig had no power to act the
policeman in neutral waters. There was the point. Travers was in a
separate lodging; they had been accommodated at first in the one cell,
but they could not agree--ashore as afloat the old feud existed.
However, both assented to a truce in order to have a talk with me. They
were cheerful, had cigars _ad libitum_ (at their own expense, of
course), and were permitted to get their rations from the Hôtel de
Londres in the city. The cells they occupied were bare, white-washed,
low-ceiled rooms, some eight paces by six. They were not so clean or
well-ventilated as Newgate cells, and the beds were spread on the floor.
The captives had access to newspapers and writing materials, and it is
but the due of the officers in charge to testify that they were
extremely affable and disposed to make their prisoners as comfortable as
possible. Still, in the close, stifling weather, to be locked up within
the narrow circuit of a dungeon was limbo. The pair wore their own
clothes, Travers still retaining a navy-jacket with brass buttons
engraved with the initials of some yacht club, and did not complain of
having been subjected to indignities. While I was with them the shadow
of a face darkened the window; it was a Carlist prisoner who had hoisted
himself up on the shoulders of a comrade from a yard below; he had a
letter in his mouth. I took it, and slipped him a bundle of cigars for
distribution among his fellow cage-birds. From this it may be deduced
that the gaol regulations were not very stringent. The Carlists were
treated as forfeit of war, not felons, and had no honest chance of
illuminating their brows with the martyr halo of Baron von Trenck or
Silvio Pellico.

San Sebastian is the most modern town in the Peninsula, having been
re-built in 1816, three years after its destruction by the incensed
allied troops. It is a great summer resort of wealthy Spanish idlers--a
sort of Madrid-super-Mare. The attractions of the capital are to be had
there, with the supplementary advantages of pure air, mountain scenery,
and luxurious sea-bathing on a level sandy beach. There is a public
casino, and a score of clandestine hells where a fortune can be lost in
a night at monté--in short, every infernal facility for Satanic
gambling. Cigarettes are cheap, and so are knives. There is an Alameda,
where the band plays, and a passable imitation, of the Puerta del Sol,
less the fountain, in the broad arcaded Plaza de la Constitution. There
is a small theatre, a spacious bull-ring, and several commodious
churches, where Pepita can talk the language of fans to her heart's
content. Every attraction of Madrid which could reasonably be expected
is to be had, I repeat, and hidalgos and sloe-eyed senoras speckle the
promenades in the gloaming, and impart a mingled aroma of garlic and
gentility, pomade and pretentiousness, to the chief town of Guipúzcoa.
San Sebastian would be for Madrileños what Paris is for Bostonians, if a
few of the attractions of the "only court," which could not reasonably
be expected, were not lacking--say an occasional walk round of the
Intransigentes, to show their political muscles; a grandiloquent, frothy
word-tempest in the Congress, and the Sunday cock-fight. I am speaking,
be it understood, of San Sebastian in ordinary summers. A short
twelvemonth before my visit, a pair of pouting English lips told me it
was "awfully jolly."

At the date with which I am concerned, it was anything but "awfully
jolly." The fifteen thousand rich visitors who were wont to flock into
the city during the season had gone elsewhere to recruit their health on
the sands and lose their money at the gaming-tables. They had been
frightened to the coasts of France by the apparition of Carlism, and San
Sebastian was plaintive. Her streets and her coffers were empty. The
campamento of bathing-huts was ranged as usual on the velvet rim of the
ear-like bay, but no bathers were there. There were more domestics than
guests in the hotels; and at the _table d'hôte_ three sat down in a
saloon designed for a hundred to breakfast in; and we had no butter. The
peasants in the country round were afraid to bring in the produce of
their dairies and barn-yards. The bull-ring was to let; conscientious
barbers shaved each other or dressed the hair on the wax busts in their
windows, in order to keep alive the traditions of their craft; the
fiddlers in the concert-room of the casino scraped lamentations to
imaginary listeners. A Sahara of dust had settled on the curtain of the
theatre, and fleet-footed spiders made forages athwart it from one
cobwebby stronghold to another. The once festive resort had lost its
spirits completely, and all on account of this civil war. It was summer,
but the city was in a state of hibernation. No business was done in the
shops, the cafés were empty, most of the resident population who could
afford it had emigrated, and the public squares were as vacant as if
there were a perpetual siesta. There was no sign of animation, as we
understand it in England. There were but three vessels in the west
bay--the _Buenaventura_, a merchant steamer, and the _San Margarita_,
pinioned at last, her yellow funnel cold. Sojourn in the place was
insupportable. I knew not how to kill the tedious hours. I climbed again
to the Castle of the Mota, inspected some English tombs on the slope of
the acclivity, and noticed that if the citadel is still a position of
strength, nature deserves much of the credit. The defences recently
thrown up had been devised and executed carefully, and if the defenders
were only true to themselves, the Carlists, with no better artillery
than they possessed, might as well think of taking the moon as of
entering San Sebastian. They would have a formidable fire from
well-planted cannon to face; stockades, and strong earthworks, and more
than one blockhouse cunningly pierced with loopholes, to carry. Even if
San Sebastian was entered, the configuration of the streets was such as
to give every aid to disciplined men as opposed to mere guerrilleros.
The city is built in blocks, on the American system; the wide
thoroughfares cross each other at right-angles, and all of them could be
swept as with a besom by a few guns _en barbette_ behind a breastwork at
either end. In this sort of work, accuracy of aim is not called for, as
in that warfare up in the mountains. If it were, not much reliance could
be placed on the Republican artillery. General Hidalgo had well-nigh
nullified that arm of the service. A Carlist leader, in whose
information and whose word confidence could be reposed, assured me that
not a single Carlist had yet been killed or wounded by the Republican
gunners. The estimated lists of the enemy's casualties given by both
parties during the struggle, I may remark _en passant_, were grossly
exaggerated. The butcher's bill was very small in proportion to the
expenditure of gunpowder. Returning to the question of the defence of
San Sebastian--even on the supposition that the main works and town were
to fall into the hands of the Carlists, the citadel still remained,
where a determined leader could hold out till relief came, as long as
his provisions lasted. This lofty citadel is almost impregnable. It was
hither the French retired in 1813, and it took General Graham all that
he knew to dislodge them. If I were asked what were the prospects of the
Carlists getting into the place, I should say there was but one--by
crossing over a golden bridge. But that implied the possession of money,
and money was precisely what the Carlists declared they needed most.

There was always the remote hazard of a Carlist rising in San Sebastian,
for there were in the city the children of settlers from the rural
districts who bit their thumbs at the sight of the muzzled _San
Margarita_, and prayed that Charles VII. might have "his ain again." But
they were in the minority. The Miqueletes, a soldierly body of men in
scarlet Basque scones very like to the Carlist head-gear, and a blue
capote with cape attached, garrisoned the citadel. They were brave and
loyal to the Republic, and the object of deep grudge to the Chicos, for
they were Basques of the towns. Many of these provincial militiamen had
come in from the small pueblos in the neighbourhood, where they ran the
risk of being eaten up by "the bhoys;" and this was the only accession
to the population which redeemed the dismal, tradeless port from the
appearance of having been stricken by plague and abandoned, and lent it
at intervals an artificial bustle.

I sickened of San Sebastian, with its angular propriety; its high,
haughty houses, holding up their heads in architectural primness; its
wide geometrical streets, where there is no shade in the sun, no shelter
in the wind. I began to hate it for its rectilinearity, and dub it a
priggish, stuck-up, arrogant upstart among cities. What business had it
to be so straight and clean and airy? Fain would I shake the dust off my
feet in testimony against it; but here was the trouble. How to get
away--that was a knotty problem. The railway had been torn up for
months, and the armour-vested locomotives were rusting on the sidings at
Hendaye. The dirty hot little tug, the _Alcorta_, that plies between the
quay and Socoa, had left; and I grieved not, for the thought of a
passage by her was nausea. Three more torturing hours never dragged
their slow length along for me than those I spent on board her coming
over. Try and call up to yourself three hours in a low-class cook-shop,
coated an inch thick with filth, and fitted over the boiler of a penny
steamer dancing a marine break-down on the Thames, opposite the outlet
of the main-drainage pipes. That, intensified by strange oaths and
slop-basins, was the passage by the _Alcorta_. But dreary, lonely San
Sebastian was not to be endured. Those poor fellows above, accustomed to
the wild freshness and freedom of the sea, how they must mourn and
repine! By some means or other I must get back to the world that is not
petrified. No diligences dare to affront the dangers of the short
journey to the Irun railway-station, since three were stopped some days
before, the traces cut, the horses stolen, the windows shattered, the
woodwork burned, and the charred wreck left on the roadside, a terror to
those who neglect to obey the commands of the Royalist leaders.

"Royalist prigants, serr!" shouted a corpulent German doctor, connected
with mines in the neighbourhood, who retained fierce recollections of
having been robbed of a "boney, capitalest of boneys for crossing a
mountain."

I told the doctor I was about to trust to luck, and set out on foot if I
could persuade nobody to provide me with a vehicle.

"Serr, you air mad, foolish mad," said the doctor. "Those horrid
beebles, I tell you, are worse than prigants; if you hayff money, they
will dake it; if you hayff not money, they will stroke your pack fifty
times, pecause you hayff it not. They will cut your ears off; they will
cut your nose off; they are plack tevils!"

I determined to trust to luck all the same. The black devils might not
be all out so black as they were painted.



CHAPTER X.

     Belcha's Brigands--Pale-Red Republicans--The Hyena--More about the
     _San Margarita_--Arrival of a Republican Column--The Jaunt to Los
     Pasages--A Sweet Surprise--"The Prettiest Girl in Spain"--A Madrid
     Acquaintance--A Costly Pull--The Diligence at Last--Renteria and
     its Defences--A Furious Ride--In France Again--Unearthing Santa
     Cruz--The Outlaw in his Lair--Interviewed at Last--The Truth about
     the Endarlasa Massacre--A Death-Warrant--The Buried Gun--Fanaticism
     of the Partisan-Priest.


THERE is fine scope for exaggeration in civil war; but he who wants the
truth about the Montagues does not consult the Capulets. There must be
bad characters amongst the Carlists, I reflected; and when they are on
outpost duty at a distance from officers, and have taken a drop of
aguardiente too much, they may sometimes fail to appreciate the nice
distinction between _meum_ and _tuum_. The band of one Belcha, which was
hovering in the neighbourhood of San Sebastian, had a shady reputation.
It would be unjust to tempt these simple-minded guerrilleros with the
sight of a Derringer, a hunting-watch, a tobacco-pouch, or a
reconnoitring-glass. All these articles are useful on the hills. But
even Belcha's looters had some conscience; they drew the line at money
and wedding-rings. Besides, in cases of robbery restitution was
invariably made when the chiefs of the revolt were appealed to in proper
form, so that on the whole the Carlists did not deserve the name the
German doctor had given them. Regular soldiers do not always carry the
Decalogue in their kit; there was marauding in the Peninsula,
notwithstanding the iron discipline of the Iron Duke; the Summer Palace
at Pekin was despoiled of its treasures by gentlemen in epaulettes, and
the Franco-German War was not entirely unconnected with stories about
vanishing clocks. So I would not be diverted from my purpose.

Before leaving San Sebastian I tried to obtain permission for a second
visit to the citadel-prison in order to see the crew of the _San
Margarita_, but without avail. Yet the officers in charge (all of the
regular army), and indeed the privates of the local militia, were
anything but truculent gaolers; they seemed willing to strain a point to
oblige. The Republicanism of the officers was of a very pale red; but
there was one hirsute Volunteer of Liberty who acted as chief warder,
and took a delight in the occupation. He rattled his bunch of keys as if
their metallic dissonance were music, grumbled at the urbanity of his
superiors, and bore himself altogether as if their politics were
suspicious; and he, a pure of the pure, were there as warder over that
too. I nicknamed him the hyena in my own mind; but I could not conceive
him laughing anywhere save in front of a garrote with a Royalist neck in
the rundel, and then his laugh at best would be but the inward chuckle
of a Modoc.

Stuart took the hyena coolly, regarding him as an amusing phenomenon;
Travers surveyed him as he would the portrait of the Nabob on London
hoardings, and pronounced him a whimsical illustration of Republican
sauce. Stuart, I should have stated, was anxious that it should be
known that he had caused the name of the whilom _Deerhound_ to be erased
from the list of yachts, when he chartered her as a merchant-steamer,
renamed her, and went into the contraband-of-war line. It was contrary
to his wish to compromise any club. The confiscated cargo was the last
he had intended delivering, but he told me with a smile that ten
thousand stand of rifles had already found their way to Vera. There was
no legitimate explanation of the capture of the hare by the tortoise,
although Travers was prepared to swear he was in French waters--he
thought he was, no doubt--but he was just on the wrong side of the
limit. There was one comfort. On the way to Bayonne a boat-load of men
had been landed at Socoa on leave, amongst them the Basque pilot, who
might otherwise have been helped to a short shrift, and the dog's death
from a yard-arm.

Carlist sympathizers endeavoured to procure me a conveyance to Irun, but
nobody cared to affront the loss of horses, for Belcha's band
requisitioned the cattle even of those identical in political
feeling--the good of the cause was their plea--so at last I was forced
to say I should be glad of a trap to Los Pasages, a few miles off,
whence I might be able to go forward on foot.

While I was waiting for the arrival of the vehicle, and reading _El
Diario_, the local daily paper--a sheet the size of the palm of one's
hand--until I had the contents by rote, an incident occurred to beguile
suspense. The vanguard of the corps of Sanchez Bregua, the commander of
the Republican Army of the North, rode into the city. They had come from
Zarauz, a seaside village four leagues away--a section of mounted
Chasseurs in a uniform like to that of the old British Light Dragoons.
The troopers were in campaign order, with rifled carbines slung over
their backs, pugarees hanging from their shakoes over their necks, and
were dust-covered and sunburnt, but soldierly. They were horsed
unevenly, and for light cavalry carried too great a burden. But that is
not a fault peculiar to Spanish light cavalry. The average weight of the
British Hussar equipped is eighteen stone. A quarter of an hour later
the main body came in sight, a long column of infantry marching by
fours. It was headed by a party of Civil Guards, acting as guides. As
the column reached the open space by the quay, it deployed into line of
companies, a movement capitally executed. The men were bigger and
tougher than those of the French Line. Their uniform was similar, except
that they had wings to their capotes instead of worsted epaulettes. All
wore mountain-shoes, but were not hampered with tenting equipage on
their knapsacks. Each battalion was led by a staff-officer, who was
splendidly, or wretchedly, mounted, as his luck had served him. The
company officers carried alpenstocks, and their orderlies had officers'
cast foraging-caps on top of their glazed shakoes. I noticed a battalion
of Cazadores, distinguished by the emblematic brass horn of chase
wrought on their collars, and two companies of Engineers in uniforms
entirely blue, with towers on their collars. These latter were robust,
sinewy young fellows. After the infantry came a company of the 2nd
Regiment of Mountain Artillery with four small pieces, each drawn by a
single mule, and behind them a squadron of Mounted Chasseurs, and a
long cavalcade of pack-horses and mules.

After a deal of exploration a driver was dug up, and after a deal of
negotiation he consented to take me to Los Pasages. Thanks to Republican
vigilance, but principally it may have been to the nature of the ground,
the road thither was clear. We started at six o'clock in the evening,
and after a lively spin through sylvan scenery drew up in less than an
hour at the outskirts of a village on the edge of a quiet pool, which we
had bordered for nigh a mile. No papers had been asked for, on leaving,
at the bridge over the Urumea, where a post of volunteers kept guard by
an antique and stumpy bronze howitzer, mounted on a siege-carriage, and
furnished with the dolphin-handles to be seen on some of the
last-century guns in the Tower Arsenal. No papers were asked for either
at the Customs' station, some hundred yards farther on; but the
Carabineros looked upon me as a lunatic, and significantly sibilated.
None were asked for at the approach to the village. Scarcely had I
alighted when a fishwife ran out of a cabin and addressed me in Basque.
I could not understand her, and motioned her away, when a winsome lassie
of some eighteen summers, tripping up the road, came to my aid, and
began speaking in French as if she were anticipating my arrival.

"Monsieur wants a shallop to go to France?"

I was taken aback, but answered, "Yes."

"Monsieur will follow me."

And she gave me a meaning sign--half a wink, half a monition. I
followed, and examined my volunteer guide more attentively. What a prize
of a girl! Hair black as night, but with a glossy blackness, was parted
on her smooth forehead, and retained behind, after the fashion of the
country, by a coloured snood, but two thick Gretchen plaits escaped, and
hung down to her waist, making one wish that she had let her whole
wealth of tresses wander free. Eyes blue-black, full by turns of soft
love and sparkling mischief; Creole complexion, with blood rich as
marriage-wine coursing in the dimpled cheeks; teeth white as the fox's;
lips of clove-pink. And what a shape had she--ripe, firm, and piquant!
Do you wonder that I followed her with joy? Do you wonder that I began
weaving a romance? If you do, I pity you. Did I want a shallop? Of
course I did; but alas! might I not have echoed Burger's lament:

    "The shallop of my peace is wrecked
     On Beauty's shore."

She was a Carlist, I was sure of that. All the comely maidens were
Carlists. In the service of the King the most successful crimps were
"dashing white sergeants" in garter and girdle. And she took me for an
interesting Carlist fugitive, and she was determined to aid in my
escape. How ravishing! She was a Flora Macdonald, and I--would be a
Pretender. I had fully wound myself up to that as we entered Los
Pasages.

Los Pasages consists of rows of houses built on either side of a basin
of the sea, entered by a narrow chasm in the high rocky coast. Sailing
by it, one would never imagine that that cleft in the shore-line was a
gate to a natural harbour, locked against every wind, and large enough
to accommodate fleets, and whose waters are generally placid as a lake.
This secure haven, _statio benefida carinis_, is hidden away in the lap
of the timbered hills, and is approached by a passage (from which its
name is borrowed) which can be traversed in fifteen minutes. The change
from the boisterous Bay of Biscay, with its "white horses capering
without, to this Venetian expanse of water in a Swiss valley, dotted
with chalets and cottages, must have the effect of a magic
transformation on the emotional tar who has never been here before, and
whose chance it was to lie below when his ship entered. The refuge is
not unknown to English seamen, for there is a stirring trade in minerals
with Cardiff, in more tranquil times. But now Los Pasages is deserted
from the bar down to the uttermost point of its long river-like stretch
inland, except by the smacks and small boats of the native fishers, a
tiny tug, and a large steamer from Seville which is lying by the wharf.
There is no noise of traffic; the one narrow street echoes to our
tramping feet as I follow my charming cicerone, who has started up for
me like some good spirit of a fairy-tale. She leads me to an inn, bids
me enter, and flies in search of the owner of the shallop. The landlord
comes to greet me, and I recognise in him an acquaintance--Maurice, a
former waiter in the Fonda de Paris, in Madrid. I questioned Maurice as
to my chances of getting across to Irun by land that night; but he
assured me it was too late, and really dangerous; that the road was
infested by gangs of desperadoes; and that it would be safer for me to
travel, even in the day-time, without money or valuables. The owner of
the shallop came, but as he had the audacity to ask eighty francs for
transporting me round to Fontarabia, and as I had found Maurice, I
resolved to stop in Los Pasages for the night.

"You have only to cross the water to-morrow morning," said Maurice, "and
you are in Kenteria, where you will be sure to get a vehicle."

The backs of the houses all overlook the port, and all are balconied and
furnished with flowered terraces, from which one can fish, look at his
reflection, or take a header into the water at pleasure. A glorious nook
for a reading-party's holiday, Los Pasages. Not if fair mysteries like
my friend crop up there; but where is she, by-the-way? She does not
re-appear; but Maurice will help me to discover who and what she is.

"Maurice, are there any pretty girls here?"

Maurice looks at me reproachfully.

"Señor, you have been conducted to my house by one who is acknowledged
to be the prettiest in all Spain."

That night I dreamt of Eugenia, the baker's daughter, the pride of Los
Pasages, who was waiting for a husband, but would have none but one who
helps Charles VII. to the throne. I recorded that dream for the
bachelors of Britain, and conjured them to make haste to propose for
her--not that the Carlist war was hurrying to a close; but I have
remarked that girls inclined to be plump at eighteen sometimes develop
excessive embonpoint about eight-and-twenty. On inquiry, I found a key
to the enigma which had filled me with sweet excitement. Eugenia, who
had been to the citadel-prison to carry provisions to a friend in
trouble, had seen me speaking to Colonel Stuart, and was anxious to
serve me because of my supposed Carlist tincture. My supposed Carlist
tincture did not prevent a lusty Basque boatman from charging five
francs next morning for the five minutes' pull across the water to the
road to Renteria, where I caught a huge yellow diligence, which had
ventured to leave San Sebastian at last with the detained mails of a
week. The machine was horsed in the usual manner--that is, with three
mules and two nags--but how different from usual was the way-bill! With
the exception of the driver and his aide, a youngster who jumped down
from the box every hundred yards, and belaboured the beasts with a
wattle, there was not one passenger fit to carry arms. We had a load of
women and babies, a decrepit patriarch, and two boys under the fighting
age. We halted at Renteria, harnessed a fresh team to our conveniency,
and sent on a messenger to ascertain if the Carlists had been seen on
the road. Everybody in Renteria carried a musket. All the approaches
were defended by loopholed works, roofed with turf, and a perfect
fortress was constructed in the centre of the town by a series of
communications which had been established between the church and a block
of houses in front by _caponnières_. The church windows were built up
and loopholed, and a semicircular _tambour_, banked with earth to
protect it from artillery, was thrown up against the houses in the
middle of the street, so as to enfilade it at either side in case of
attack. There were troops of the line in Renteria, but no artillerymen,
nor was there artillery to be served. Without artillery, however, the
place, if properly provisioned, could not be taken, if the defending
force was worth its salt.

The messenger having returned with word that all was right, we went
ahead at a fearful pace on a very good road, lined with poplars, and
running through a neat park-like country. Over to the right we could see
the church-spire of Oyarzun, and the smoke curling from the chimneys; a
little farther on we passed the debris of a diligence on the wayside;
the telegraph wires along the route were broken down, and the poles
taken away for firewood; we dived under a railway bridge, but never a
Carlist saw we during the continuous brief mad progress over the eight
miles from Renteria to the rise into Irun.

We clattered up to the rail way-station at a hand-gallop, the people
rushing to the doors of the houses, and beaming welcome from smiling
countenances. There was a faint attempt to cheer us. At the station a
number of officials, a couple of Carabineros, and a knot of idlers were
gathered. The driver descended with the gait of a conquering hero, and
turned his glances in the direction of a cottage close by. An old man on
crutches, a blooming matron with rosary beads at her waist, and a
nut-brown maid with laughing eyes stood under the porch, embowered in
tamarisk and laurel-rose. The driver strode over to them, crying out
triumphantly:

"El primero! Lo! I am the first."

"How valiant you are, Pedro!" said the nut-brown maid, advancing to meet
him.

"How lucky you are!" said the matron, with a grave shake of the head.

"How rash you are!" mumbled the grandfather; "you were always so."

I envied that driver, for the nut-brown maid kissed him, as she had the
right to do, for she was his affianced, and had not seen him for five
days.

From the Irun station to Hendaye was free from danger. I walked down
through a field of maize to the Bidassoa, crossed by a ferry-boat to the
other side, where a post of the 49th of the French Line were peacefully
playing cards for buttons in the shade of a chestnut, and a few minutes
afterwards was seated in front of a bottle of Dublin stout with the
countryman who forwarded my letters and telegrams from over the border.

Naturally I had a desire to ascertain the whereabouts of Santa Cruz. The
man had almost grown mythical with me. I had heard at San Sebastian that
ten thousand crowns had been offered for his scalp at Tolosa, and the
fondest yearning--the one satisfying aspiration of the hyena--was to
tear him into shreds, chop him into sausage-meat, gouge out his eyes, or
roast him before a slow fire. Which form of torment he would prefer, he
had not quite settled. A sort of intuitive faculty, which has seldom
led me astray, said to me that Santa Cruz was somewhere near. I revolved
the matter in my mind, and fixed upon the man under whose roof he was
most likely to be concealed. I went to that man and requested him
bluntly to take me to the outlawed priest--I wished very much to speak
to him.

He smiled and answered, "He is not here."

"The bird is flown," I said, "but the nest is warm. He is not far away."

"True," he said, "come with me."

We drove some miles--I will not say how many--and drew up at an enclosed
villa, which may have been in France, but was not of it. To be plain, it
was neutral territory, and my host, who knew me thoroughly, disappeared
for a few moments, and said Santa Cruz was sleeping, but that he had
roused him, and that he would be with us presently.

I was sitting on a garden-seat in front of the house where he was
stopping, when he presented himself on the threshold, bareheaded, and in
his shirt-sleeves. The outlaw priest was no slave to the
conventionalities of society. He did not adjust his necktie before
receiving visitors. I am not sure that he wore a necktie at all. Let me
try and draw his portrait as he stood there in the doorway, in
questioning attitude. A thick, burly man under thirty years of age, some
five feet five in height, with broad sallow face, brawny bull-neck, and
wide square-set shoulders--a squat Hercules; dark-brown hair, cut short,
lies close to his head; he is bearded, and has a dark-brown pointed
moustache; shaggy brows overhang his small steel-gray eyes; his nose is
coarse and devoid of character; but his jaws are massive, his lips firm,
and his chin determined. He is dressed like the better class of peasant,
wears sandals, canvas trousers, a light brownish-gray waistcoat, and has
a large leathern belt, like a horse's girth, round his waist. His
expression is severe, as of one immersed in thought; with an occasional
frown, as if the thought were disagreeable. His brows knit, and a shadow
passes over his features when anything is mentioned that displeases him;
but I was told when he smiled, the smile was of the sweetest and most
amiable. I cannot say I saw him in smiling mood, but I saw him frown,
and never did anyone so truly translate to me the figure of speech of
"looking black." He advanced with self-possession, returned my salute
without coldness or _empressement_, as if it were a mere matter of form,
and sat down beside me. We had a long chat. Santa Cruz did not take much
active part in it, but listened as his host spoke, punctuating what was
said with nods of assent, and now and again dropping a guttural
sentence. His maxim was that deeds were of more value than words, and he
adhered to it. His host, I may interpose, was the most devoted of
Carlists, and had given largely of his means to aid the cause. He had
great faith in Santa Cruz, and told me in his presence (but in French,
which the Cura understood but slightly) that while Santa Cruz was in the
northern provinces, the King had half-a-man in his service, and that if
he would now call on Cabrera he would have a man and a half, for that
Santa Cruz would act with Cabrera.

"If Don Carlos does not consent to that," said my host, "you will see
that he will have to return into France, and live in ignominy for the
rest of his days!"

This Cura, represented in the Madrid play-house as half-drunk and
dancing lewdly, was the most abstemious and chastest of men, and neither
smoked nor drank wine. His fame went on increasing, as did the number of
his followers. He effected prodigies with the means at his command. His
friends in France supplied him with two cannon, which were smuggled
across the border. He turned the foundry at Vera into a munition
factory; employed women to make uniforms for his men; and insisted that
the intervals between his expeditions should be given up to drill. He
was dreaded, respected, admired by his band; he was strong and hardy;
faced perils and privations in common with the lowest, but used no
weapon but his walking-stick The priest, the anointed of God, may not
shed blood. The affair of Endarlasa was the coping-stone of his career.
Various accounts were related of that event; it is only fair to let
Santa Cruz himself speak. This is what he told me:

At three one morning he opened fire on the guard-house occupied by the
Carabineros, at the bridge over the Bidassoa, between Vera and Irun. A
white flag was hoisted on the guard-house. He ordered the fire to cease,
and advanced to negotiate the conditions of surrender. The enemy, who
had invited him to approach, by the white flag, fired and wounded one of
his men. He issued directions to take the place, and spare nobody. The
place was taken, and nobody was spared. Twenty-seven dead bodies
littered the Vera road that morning.

"Is it true that you pardoned two?" I asked the priest.

"No, ninguno! Porqué?" he answered with astonishment. "Not one. Why
should I?"

The reason I had asked was that I had been told that a couple of the
Carabineros had plunged into the Bidassoa and tried to swim to the other
side; but the Cura, on his own avowal, with Rhadamanthine justice had
commanded them to be shot as they breasted the current, and they were
shot. He was no believer in half-measures.

A lady partisan of his, who had dined with him the day before, told me
he never breathed a syllable of the attack he meditated, to her or any
of his band. An English gentleman, who visited the ground while the
corpses were still upon it, assured me that the sight was horrifying,
and, such was the panic in Irun, that he verily believed Santa Cruz
might have taken the town the same afternoon, had he appeared before it
with four men.

To pursue the story of the redoubtable Cura. The bruit of his exploits
had gone abroad, and among certain Carlists it seemed to be the opinion,
as one of them remarked to me, that "_Il a fait de grandes choses, mais
de grandes bêtises aussi._" He was making war altogether too seriously
for their tastes. Antonio Lizarraga was appointed Commandant-General of
Guipúzcoa about that period, and ordered Santa Cruz to report to him.
Santa Cruz, who was in the field before him, and had five times as many
men under his control, paid no heed to his orders. Lizarraga then sent
him a death-warrant, which is so curious a document that I make no
apology for appending it in full:

     TRANSLATION.

     (A seal on which is inscribed "Royal Army of the North, General
     Command of Guipúzcoa.")

     "The sixteenth day of the present month, I gave orders to all the
     forces under my command, that they should proceed to capture you,
     and that immediately after you had received the benefit of clergy
     they should execute you.

     "This sentence I pronounced on account of your insubordination
     towards me, you having disobeyed me several times, and having taken
     no notice of the repeated commands I sent you to present yourself
     before me to declare what you had to say in your own defence in the
     inquiry instituted against you by my directions.

     "For the last time I ask of you to present yourself to me, the
     instant this communication is received; in default of which I
     notify to you that every means will be used to effect your arrest;
     that your disobedience and the unqualifiable acts laid to your
     charge will be published in all the newspapers; and that the
     condign punishment they deserve will be duly exacted.

    "God grant you many years.

    "The Brigadier-General Commanding.

    (Signed) "ANTONIO LIZARRAGA.

    "Campo Del Honor, 28th of March, 1873.

    "Señor Don Manuel Santa Cruz."

    "Note.--Have the goodness to acknowledge this, my
    communication."


This missive was received by Santa Cruz, but he never acknowledged it.
His host permitted me to read and copy the original.

"Is not that arbitrary?" he said to me in English; "very much like what
you call Jedburgh justice; hanging a man first and trying him
afterwards. Lizarraga says, 'This sentence I pronounced'--all is
finished apparently there; and yet he cites the man whom he has ordered
to be immediately executed to appear before him to declare what he has
to say!"

Another phrase in this death-warrant, which escaped the host, impressed
me with its naïveté:

"_God grant you many years._"

But Lizarraga, in this politeness of custom, meant no more, it is to be
presumed, than did the Irish hangman who expostulated with his client in
the condemned cell:

"Long life to ye, Mr. Hinery! and make haste, the people are getting
onpatient."

Santa Cruz bit his way out of the toils, however, but not so his band.
They were surrounded at Vera, caught, with a few exceptions, disarmed,
assembled and addressed in Spanish by the Marquis de Valdespina, whose
remarks were translated to them into Basque by the Cura of Ollo. They
cried "Viva el Rey!" Their arms were subsequently restored to them, and
the men were distributed among other battalions. But they still regret
their old leader, and Santa Cruz is popular by the firesides of the
mountaineers of Guipúzcoa. One of his mountain guns fell into the hands
of Lizarraga, but the other was buried in some spot only known to
himself and a few trusted companions.

During my interview I made it my business to study the priest
attentively, and this is what I honestly thought of him. He was a
fanatic, a sullen self-willed man with but one idea--the success of the
cause; and but one ambition--that it should be said of him that it was
he, Santa Cruz, who put Don Carlos on the throne of his ancestors. The
globe for him was bounded by the Pyrenees and the sea; he had but one
antipathy after the heretics (all who did not worship God as he did) and
the Liberals, and that was Lizarraga. I considered it a mistake that
Lizarraga was not the Cura of Hernialde, and Santa Cruz the
Commandant-General of Guipúzcoa. The priest had a natural military
instinct--I would almost go so far as to say a spice of military
genius; and had he had a knowledge of the profession of arms would
probably have developed into a great general of the Cossack type. His
hatred to Lizarraga led him into littleness and injustice. He chuckled
at the idea of Lizarraga not being able to find the buried gun, as if
that were any great triumph over him; and he sneered at the idea of
Lizarraga, who was not able to take Oyarzun, meditating an attempt on
Tolosa. I could thoroughly understand that the Carlist priest bore
malice to the officer who supplanted him and condemned him to death. But
what Lizarraga did was done in compliance with the King's will. At the
same time there could be no doubt that Santa Cruz was treated with scant
courtesy after all he had accomplished, and had a right to feel himself
ill-used, and the victim of jealous rivalry. He said that he was
prepared, any day the King permitted him, to traverse the four
provinces, and hold his enemies _in terrorem_ with five hundred men. And
he was the very worthy to do it. He complained bitterly that three of
his followers had been shot by Lizarraga. One story relates that they
stole into Guipúzcoa to levy blackmail, another that they merely went to
dig up some money that was interred when the legion was disbanded. In
any case they appeared in arms in a forbidden district, and incurred the
capital penalty. Santa Cruz went to Bordeaux to beg for their lives at
the feet of Doña Margarita. She received him most graciously, and
promised to send a special courier to her husband to intercede in their
behalf. Before the King's reprieve could possibly have arrived the three
were executed.

As we were about to leave, a colleague who was with me asked the Cura if
he would permit him to visit his camp, if it came to pass that he took
up arms again in Spain.

"We shall see," said Santa Cruz; "wait till I am there."

My own conviction is that the priest held correspondents in abhorrence,
and that his first impulse would have been to tie a zealous one up to a
tree, and have thirty-nine blows given him with a stick. Perhaps I did
him wrong, but if ever he did take up arms again, it was my firm
intention to be south when he was north, for he was about the last
person in creation to whose tender mercies I should care to entrust
myself.



CHAPTER XI.

     An Audible Battle--"Great Cry and Little Wool"--A Carlist Court
     Newsman--A Religious War--The Siege of Oyarzun--Madrid Rebels--"The
     Money of Judas"--A Manifesto from Don Carlos--An Ideal
     Monarch--Necessity of Social and Political Reconstruction
     Proclaimed--A Free Church--A Broad Policy--The King for the
     People--The Theological Question--Austerity in Alava--Clerical and
     Non-Clerical Carlists--Disavowal of Bigotry--A Republican Editor on
     the Carlist Creed--Character of the Basques--Drill and
     Discipline--Guerilleros _versus_ Regulars.


WHEN a man's office is to chronicle war and he is within hearing of the
echoes of battle, but cannot reach a spot from which the scene of action
might be commanded, it is annoying in the extreme. Such was my strait on
the 21st of August, a few days after my arrival from San Sebastian. I
was at Hendaye, the border-town of France. From the Spanish frontier the
report of heavy firing was audible for hours, apparently coming from a
point between Oyarzun and Renteria. First one could distinguish the
faint spatter of musketry, and afterwards the undeniable muffled roar of
artillery. Then came a succession of sustained rolls as of
volley-firing. About noon the action must have been at its height. The
distant din was subsequently to be caught only at long intervals, as if
changes of position were in course of being effected; but at three
o'clock it regained force, and raged with fury until five, when it
suddenly died away.

I was burning with impatience, and made several unavailing attempts to
cross the Bidassoa. The ferryman, acting under instructions from the
gendarmes, refused to take passengers. By the evening train a delegate
from the Paris Society for the Succour of the Wounded arrived from
Bayonne with a box of medicine and surgical appliances. He, too, was
unable to pass into Spain. Meantime, rumour ran riot. Stories were
current that there had been fearful losses.

"At eleven o'clock men were falling like flies," said one eye-witness,
who succeeded in running away from the field before he fell.

Not a single medical man would leave France in response to the call of
the Paris delegate for volunteers to accompany him. Were they all
Republicans? Did they fear that Belcha might take a fancy to their
probes and forcipes? Or did they look upon the big battles and
tremendous lists of casualties in this most uncivil of civil wars as
illustrations of a great cry and little wool? If the latter was their
notion, they were right. Three days after this serious engagement, I
learned the particulars of what had taken place. General Loma, a
brigadier under Sanchez Bregua, with a column of 1,500 men, came out
from San Sebastian to cover a working-party while they were endeavouring
to throw up a redoubt for his guns on an eminence between Irun and
Oyarzun, so as to put an end to the tussle over the possession of the
latter hamlet, which was a perpetual bone of contention. The Carlists
fired upon him from behind the rocks in a gorge to which he had
committed himself, but were outnumbered. Word was sent to the cabecilla,
Martinez, at Lesaca, and he arrived with reinforcements at the double,
and encompassed Loma with such a cloud of sulphurous smoke that the
Republicans had to fall back upon San Sebastian. The casualties in this
Homeric combat were not appalling; there was more gunpowder than blood
expended. The losses on the Republican side were one killed and fifteen
wounded. On the Carlist side they were less, for the Carlists kept under
cover of the fern and furze. But then it must be considered that the
firing only lasted nine hours!

Don Carlos was not slow in calling the printing-press to his aid. One of
his first acts after his entry into his dominions was to start an
official gazette, _El Cuartel Real_, the first number of which is before
me as I write. I have seen queer papers in my travels, from the
_Bugler_, a regimental record brought out by the 68th Light Infantry in
Burmah, to the _Fiji Times_, and the _Epitaph_, the leading organ of
Tombstone City, in the territory of Arizona; but this assuredly was the
queerest. It was published by Cristóbal Perez, on the summit of Peña de
la Plata, a Pyrenean peak. There might be less acceptable reading than a
_résumé_ of its contents.

_El Cuartel Real_ does not impose by its magnitude. It is about
one-eighth the size of a London daily journal; but if it is not great by
quantity it is by quality. Over the three columns of the opening page
figure the three watchwords of the Royal cause, "God, Country, King."
The paragraph which has the post of honour is headed "Oficial," and has
in it a flavour of the _Court Newsman_. Here it is as it appears in the
original, boldly imprinted in black type:

"S. M. el Rey (q.D.g.) continúa sin novedad al frente de su leal y
valiente ejército.

"S. M. la Reina y sus augustos hijos continúan tambien sin novedad en su
importante salud."

As it is not vouchsafed to everyone to understand Castilian, I may as
well give a rough translation, which read herewith:

"His Majesty the King (whom God guard) continues without change at the
front of his loyal and valiant army.

"Her Majesty the Queen and her august children also continue without
alteration in their precious health."

Then _El Cuartel Real_ appends what takes the place of its leading
article--a reproduction of a letter from Don Carlos to his "august
brother," Don Alfonso, setting forth the principles on which he appeals
for Spanish support. This document is so important that I must return to
it anon. Then comes a circular from the "Real Junta Gubernativa del
Reino de Navarra," in session at Vera. The purport of this, epitomized
in a sentence, is to raise money. Next, we arrive at the "Seccion
Oficial," the most important paragraph of which announces that the
Chief, Merendon, has inaugurated a Carlist movement in Toledo, with a
well-armed force, exceeding 280 men--to wit, 150 horsemen and 130
infantry--and that he hopes shortly to gather numerous recruits. The
"Seccion de Noticias" makes up the body of the paper, and is richer in
information. We are told that the most excellent and illustrious Bishop
of Urgel, accompanied by several sacerdotal and other dignitaries,
arrived in the town of Urdaniz, at half-past seven on the previous
Wednesday evening. His Lordship rested a night in the house of the
Vicar, and left the following morning, escorted by his friend and host,
the said Vicar, Brigadier Gamundi, and Colonel D. Fermin Irribarren,
veterans of the Carlist army, for Elisondo. From that the prelate was
reported to have started to headquarters, "to salute the King of Spain,
august representative of the Christian monarchy, which is the only plank
of safety in the shipwreck of the country."

The _Cuartel Real_ warmly congratulates the Bishop on the fact of his
having come to the conviction that "the present war is a religious war,
and on that account eminently social"--(social in Spanish must have some
peculiar shade of meaning unknown to strangers, for otherwise there is
no sequence here)--and proceeds to speak with an eloquence that recalls
that wretched Republican, Castelar, of the standard of faith in which
resides Spanish honour and--here come two words that puzzle me, _la
hidalguia y la caballerosidad_; but I suppose they mean nobility and
chivalry, and everything of that kind. The next notice in the royal
gazette is purely military, and makes known that the siege of the
important town of Oyarzun has begun. "On the 20th the batteries opened
fire, and, according to report, the enemy had one hundred men _hors de
combat_." The batteries! There is a touch of genius in that phrase.
Reading it, one would imagine that the Royalists had a royal regiment of
artillery, and that eight pieces of cannon, at the very least, played
upon the unfortunate Oyarzun. A jennet with a 4-pounder at its heels
would be a more correct representation of the strength of the Carlist
ordnance.

To resume the story of the siege of Oyarzun. "On the 21st," adds _El
Cuartel Real_, "there was talk of a capitulation, and it is possible
that the place has surrendered at this hour." The paragraph that
succeeds it is a gem: "Of the 1,010 armed rebels in Eibar (Guipúzcoa),
210 betook themselves to San Sebastian, when they suspected the approach
of the Royal forces, and the 800 remaining gave up to General Lizarraga
their rifles, all of the Remington system." There is no quibble about
the latter statement. The Carlists had easier ways of procuring arms
than by running cargoes from England. But is there not something
inimitable in the epithet "rebels"? There can be no question but that
everyone is a rebel in romantic Spain--in the opinion of somebody else.
The only question is, Who are the constituted authorities? Until that is
settled the editor of _El Cuartel Real_ is perfectly justified in
treating the volunteers of liberty, in those districts where Charles
VII. virtually reigns, as armed rebels. Although this town of Eibar had
frequently risen up against the legitimate authorities named by his
Majesty, it is pleasant to learn that General Lizarraga did not impose
the slightest chastisement on the population, thus giving a lesson of
forbearance to the "factious generals." Next we are informed that on the
day the Royal forces entered Vergara, the ignominious monument erected
by the Liberals in record of the greatest of treasons (the treaty
between the treacherous Maroto and Espartero in 1839) was destroyed
amidst enthusiasm, and the parchment in the municipal archives
commemorating its erection was taken out and burned in the public
square. I may add (but this I had from private sources) that the coin
dug up from under the monument was cast to the wind as the money of
Judas. Navarre, continues _El Cuartel Real_, is dominated by our valiant
soldiers under the skilful direction of his Majesty; Lizarraga has
occupied in a few days Mondragon, Eibar, Plasencia, Azpeitia, Vergara,
and other important places in Guipúzcoa, and obtained "considerable
booty of war;" the standard of legitimacy is waving triumphantly in
Biscay, and Bilbao is blockaded. There the tale of victory ends; but we
arrive at matters not less gratifying in another sense. The
distinguished engineer, Don Mariano Lana y Sarto, has been appointed to
look after the repair of the bridges destroyed by Nouvilas. Don Matias
Schaso Gomez, a member of the press militant, has been promoted to be a
commandant for his valour at Astigarraga, and is nominated for the
laurelled cross of San Fernando; and the illustrious doctor, Señor Don
Alejandro Rodriguez Hidalgo, has been named chief of the sanitary staff,
and entrusted with the establishment of military hospitals.

The last paragraph in this curious little gazette, printed up amid the
clouds on the summit of the Silver Hill, states that the Royal quarters
were at Abarzuzu on the 17th instant, and that Estella, close by, was
stubbornly resisting, but would soon be in the power of the Royalists. A
column which had attempted to relieve the garrison was energetically
driven back towards Lerin by two battalions commanded by his Majesty in
person. But by the time _El Cuartel Real_ came under my notice Estella
had fallen, and the Carlists had put to their credit a genuine success.

As the question of Carlism is still one of prominent interest--is,
indeed, what the French term an "actuality," and may crop up again any
day, the letter of the claimant to the throne to Don Alfonso (alluded to
some sentences above) is worth translating. It is the authoritative
exposition of the aims of the would-be monarch, and of the line of
policy he intended to pursue should he ever take up his residence in
that coveted palace at Madrid. Its date is August 23rd, 1873, and the
contents are these:

       *       *       *       *       *

"MY DEAR BROTHER,

"Spain has already had opportunities enough to ascertain my ideas
and sentiments as man and King in various periodicals and
newspapers. Yielding, nevertheless, to a general and anxiously
expressed desire which has reached me from all parts of the
Peninsula, I write this letter, in which I address myself, not
merely to the brother of my heart, but without exception to all
Spaniards, for they are my brothers as well.

"I cannot, my dear Alfonso, present myself to Spain as a Pretender
to the Crown. It is my duty to believe, and I do believe, that the
Crown of Spain is already placed on my forehead by the consecrated
hand of the law. With this right I was born, a right which has
grown, now that the fitting time has come, to a sacred obligation;
but I desire that the right shall be confirmed to me by the love of
my people. My business, henceforth, is to devote to the service of
that people all my thoughts and powers--to die for it, or save it.

"To say that I aspire to be King of Spain, and not of a party, is
superfluous, for what man worthy to be a king would be satisfied to
reign over a party? In such a case he would degrade himself in his
own person, descending from the high and serene region where
majesty dwells, and which is beyond the reach of mean and pitiful
triflings.

"I ought not to be, and I do not desire to be, King, except of all
Spaniards; I exclude nobody, not even those who call themselves my
enemies, for a king can have no enemies. I appeal affectionately to
all, in the name of the country, even to those who appear the most
estranged; and if I do not need the help of all to arrive at the
throne of my ancestors, I do perhaps need their help to establish
on solid and immovable bases the government of the State, and to
give prosperous peace and true liberty to my beloved Spain.

"When I reflect how weighty a task it is to compass those great
ends, the magnitude of the undertaking almost oppresses me with
fear. True, I am filled with the most fervent desire to begin, and
the resolute will to carry out, the enterprise; but I cannot hide
from myself that the difficulties are immense, and that they can
only be overcome by the co-operation of the men of notability, the
most impartial and honest in the kingdom; and, above all, by the
co-operation of the kingdom itself, gathered together in the
Cortes which would truly represent the living forces and
Conservative elements of Spain.

"I am prepared with such Cortes to give to Spain, as I said in my
letter to the Sovereigns of Europe, a fundamental code which would
prove, I trust, definitive and Spanish.

"Side by side, my brother, we have studied modern history,
meditating over those great catastrophes which are at once lessons
to rulers and a warning to the people. Side by side, we have also
thought over and formed a common judgment that every century ought
to have, and actually has, its legitimate necessities and natural
aspirations.

"Old Spain stood in need of great reforms; in modern Spain we have
had simply immense convulsions of overthrow. Much has been
destroyed; little has been reformed. Ancient institutions, some of
which cannot be revivified, have died out. An attempt has been made
to create others in their place, but scarcely had they seen the
light when symptoms of death set in. So much has been done, and no
more. I have before me a stupendous labour, an immense social and
political reconstruction. I have to set myself to building up, in
this desolated country, on bases whose solidity is guaranteed by
experience, a grand edifice, where every legitimate interest and
every reasonable personality can find admittance.

"I do not deceive myself, my brother, when I feel confident that
Spain is hungry and thirsty for justice; that she feels the urgent
and imperious necessity of a government, worthy and energetic,
severe and respected; and that she anxiously wishes that the law to
which we all, great and small, should be subject, should reign with
undisputed sway.

"Spain is not willing that outrage or offence should be offered to
the faith of her fathers, believing that in Catholicity reposes the
truth she understands, and that to accomplish to the full its
divine mission, the Church must be free.

"Whilst knowing and not forgetting that the nineteenth century is
not the sixteenth, Spain is resolved to preserve from every danger
Catholic unity--the symbol of our glories, the essence of our
laws, and the holy bond of concord between all Spaniards.

"The Spanish people, taught by a painful experience, desires the
truth in everything, and that the King should be a king in reality,
and not the shadow of a king; and that its Cortes should be the
regularly appointed and peaceful gathering of the independent and
incorruptible elect of the constituencies, and not tumultuous and
barren assemblies of office-holders and office-seekers, servile
majorities and seditious minorities.

"The Spanish people is favourable to decentralisation, and will
always be so; and you know well, my dear Alfonso, that should my
desires be carried out, instead of assimilating the Basque
provinces to the rest of Spain, which the revolutionary spirit
would fain bring to pass, the rest of Spain would be lifted to an
equality in internal administration with those fortunate and noble
provinces.

"It is my wish that the municipality should retain its separate
existence, and the provinces likewise, proper precautions being
employed to prevent possible abuses.

"My cherished thought as constant desire is to give to Spain
exactly that which she does not possess, in spite of the lying
clamour of some deluded people--that liberty which she only knows
by name; liberty, which is the daughter of the gospel, not
liberalism, which is the son of disbelief (_de la protesta_);
liberty, in fine, which is the supremacy of the laws when the laws
are just--that is to say, conformable to the designs of nature and
of God.

"We, descendants of kings, admit that the people should not exist
for the King so much as the King for the people; that a king should
be the most honoured man amongst his people, as he is the first
caballero; and that a king for the future should glory in the
special title of 'father of the poor' and 'guardian of the weak.'

"At present, my dear brother, there is a very formidable question
in our Spain, that of the finances. The Spanish debt is something
frightful to think of; the productive forces of the country are not
enough to cover it--bankruptcy is imminent. I do not know if I can
save Spain from that calamity; but, if it be possible, a
legitimate sovereign alone can do it. An unshakable will works
wonders. If the country is poor, let all live frugally, even to the
ministers; nay, even to the King himself, who should be one in
feeling with Don Enrique El Doliente. If the King is foremost in
setting the example, all will be easy. Let ministries be
suppressed, provincial governments be reduced, offices be
diminished, and the administration economized at the same time that
agriculture is encouraged, industry protected, and commerce
assisted. To put the finances and credit of Spain on a proper
footing is a Titanic enterprise to which all governments and
peoples should lend aid."

       *       *       *       *       *

Here follow a repudiation of free trade as applied to Spain, and a few
well-turned periods dealing in the usual Spanish manner with the duties
of the ruler, laying down, among other axioms, that "virtue and
knowledge are the chiefest nobility," and that the person of the
mendicant should be as sacred as that of the patrician.

At the close there is a very sensible sentence, affirming that one
Christian monarch in Spain would be better than three hundred petty
kings disputing in a noisy assembly. "The chiefs of parties," continues
the letter, "naturally yearn for honours or riches or place; but what in
the world can a Christian king desire but the good of his people? What
could he want to be happy but the love of his people?"

The letter winds up by the affirmation that Don Carlos is faithful to
the good traditions of the old and glorious Spanish monarchy, and that
he believed he would be found to act also as "a man of the present age."
The last sentence is a prayer to his brother, "who had the enviable
privilege of serving in the Papal army," to ask their spiritual king at
Rome for his apostolic benediction for Spain and the writer.

If this document was written _propriâ manu_, by Don Carlos, he must be
endowed with higher intellectual faculties than most Kings or Pretenders
possess. It is undeniably clever, and is more progressive than one would
expect from an upholder of the doctrine of Divine right. It may be, as
Tennyson sings, that the thoughts of men (even when they are Bourbons)
are widened with the process of the suns. But I protest that there is
such a masterly mistiness in it here and there, such a careful elusion
of rocks and ruggednesses political, and such a fine wind-beating
flourish of the banner of glittering generality, that I think there were
more heads than one engaged in the concoction of the manifesto. I have
studiously refrained from the introduction of the religious topic as far
as I could in this work--it is outside my sphere; but I should be unjust
to the reader did I not give him some information (not from the
controversial standpoint) on a subject which will obtrude itself in any
discussion on the merits of the conflict which has twice distracted
Spain and may divide the country again. It is unfortunately indisputable
that religion was poked into the quarrel. The struggle was described in
_El Cuartel Real_ as a religious war; the theological allegiance of the
partisans of Don Carlos was appealed to, and their ardent attachment to
the Papacy was worked upon, as in the concluding sentence of the
proclamation of Don Carlos. In those portions of the north where Carlism
was all-powerful, the authorities were emphatically showing that those
who served under them must be practical Roman Catholics _nolentes
volentes_. An austere placard, signed by Barona, member of the Carlist
war committee, was posted in the province of Alava, and ordained among
other articles: Firstly, that the town councillors of every municipality
should assist in a body at High Mass; secondly, that the mayors should
interdict, under the most severe penalties, all games and public
diversions, and the opening of all public establishments during Divine
service; and thirdly, that all blasphemers, and all who worked on a
holiday, who gave scandal, or who danced indecently, should be
_scourged_. The first of these articles is lawful enough in a country
which is almost exclusively Roman Catholic. In England nothing can be
said against it, seeing that British soldiers of all denominations are
compelled to attend Church parade, and the prisoners in all gaols have
to register themselves as belonging to some religion. There is just
this theoretical objection, however--the article implies that municipal
honours are to be limited to members of one creed, which is intolerant.
That which underlay the antipathy of numerous Conservatives outside
Spain to the Royalist cause, was the belief entertained that the success
of Don Carlos would lead to the re-assertion of clerical preponderance,
would destroy liberty of conscience as understood in most European
nations, and would set up a political priesthood. The manifesto of Don
Carlos does not deal with those points in the full and categorical
manner desirable. I was told there were two parties in the Carlist camp,
the clerical and--for want of a better name, let it be called--the
non-clerical The former, the Basques, and those who gave Carlism its
great primary impulsion, were as zealously Roman Catholic as ever Manuel
Santa Cruz was. They looked forward to the re-acquisition of the
ecclesiastical domains and the re-establishment of the Catholic Church
in all its ancient supremacy of wealth and power. The non-clericals knew
that the Basques, even assuming them all to be Carlists, were but
660,000 in number, a small minority of the population, and that the
existence of a State unduly influenced by a Church--things temporal
controlled by personages bound to things spiritual--was antagonistic to
the feelings of the majority of Spaniards.

Having met a nobleman distinguished for his services to Carlism, I put
it to him bluntly, "Would Don Carlos on the throne mean a relapse into
religious bigotry?"

He answered me with candour, "I am a Roman Catholic, and if I thought so
I should be the last man to lend a penny to his cause."

"But," I urged, "that is the general impression in England, where he is
trying to negotiate a loan, and if it is left uncorrected it does him
injury. Why does he not repel the impeachment?"

"The truth is," he said, "Don Carlos has made too many public
explanations."

I returned to the charge, challenging my acquaintance to deny that many
of the supporters of Don Carlos would fall away if they had not the
thorough belief that his cause was as much identified with the triumph
of Roman Catholicism as with that of legitimacy. His reply was not a
denial, but an admission of the fact, with the addition that in war one
must not be too particular as to the means of enlisting aid, and
stimulating the enthusiasm of supporters, which is an argument as true
as it is old. Don Carlos, in his manifesto, goes on the assumption that
the Republicans are all atheists, or something very like it. It is only
fair to let the Republicans speak for themselves, and explain what is
the Republican estimate of the Carlist religion. The San Sebastian
newspaper, _El Diario_, may be assumed to be a fair exponent of the
sentiments of the anti-Carlists, and thus emphatically, and not without
a spice of antithesis, it delivers itself:

"The religion which has the commandment, 'Thou shalt not kill,' forbids
murder.

"The religion which has the commandment, 'Thou shalt not steal,' forbids
robbery.

"The religion which is peace, obedience, and love, is no friend of war,
rebellion, and massacre.

"Resigned and joyous in other days, its martyrs went to death in the
amphitheatre of Rome, and on the plains of Saragossa, pardon in their
souls and prayer on their lips; to-day pardon is exchanged for wrath,
and prayer for reproach. Instead of the martyr's palm, we have the
Berdan breech-loader and the flash of petroleum.

"Anointed of the Lord, ministers of Him who died invoking blessings on
His enemies, kindle the fires of fratricidal strife, which they call a
sacred war, and lead on and inflame their dupes by the pretence that the
gates of Paradise are to be forced open by gunshot.

"Meanwhile the bishops are silent, Rome is dumb, the moral law sleeps,
the canon law is forgotten; and these pastors, transforming their flocks
into packs of wolves, scour the plains, blessing murder and sanctifying
conflagration.

"'King by Divine right,' they cry, like the legists of the Lower Empire;
'Die or believe,' like the sons of the Prophet. Apostles without knowing
it, they seek to achieve the triumph of a Pagan principle by a Saracenic
process.

"They say that religion is lost, because it is shorn of the honour and
power their kings gave it; that the portals of heaven are barred,
because they have forfeited their tithes and first-fruits, their rents
and fat benefices; and they try to convince us by discharges of musketry
that our whole future life depends, on the one hand, on a question of
vanity, and on the other, on a question of stomach.

"Holy Apostles, disciples of Him who had not a stone whereon to lay His
head, you who conquered the earth with no arms but those of word and
example, oh! would you not say if you returned here below, 'Those who
preach by the voice of platoons; those who evangelize from the mouth of
cannon; those are not, cannot be, our disciples and successors, for they
are not fishers of souls, but fishers of snug posts under government'?

"And you, glorious martyrs of the Roman circus and Saragossan fields,
oh! would you not say, 'No, this Christianity, which goes about sowing
battle; desolation, tears, and blood wherever it passes, is not
ours--no, this Christianity at the bottom of the slaughter of Endarlasa,
of the hecatomb of Cirauqui, of the sack of Igualada, and of a hundred
other cruelties, is not ours. Our religion says "Kill not," and this
murders; says "Steal not," and this robs. No, this is not the
Christian, but the Carlist religion'?"

That is a good specimen of the rhetorical school of writing popular in
Spanish newspapers; but all that is written is not gospel. From personal
observation it was evident to me that these Republicans of the Spanish
towns of the north were not so scrupulous in the outward observances of
religion as the tone of this indignant Christian leading article would
convey; neither were the Carlists the "packs of wolves" they were
represented to be.

Let us see how this inflamed sense of so-called religion affected the
rank and file among the adherents of Don Carlos.

Indubitably the Royalists, with a very few exceptions, were more than
moral--they were sincerely pious, and esteemed it a grateful incense to
the Most High to kill as many of their Republican countrymen as they
could without over-exertion. They bowed their heads and repeated prayers
with the chaplains who accompanied them; as the echoes of the Angelus
bell were heard they were marched to Divine worship every evening, when
they were in the neighbourhood of a church; they were palpably impressed
with deep devotional convictions, and yet they were not sour-faced like
the grim Covenanters of Argyle, nor puritanically uncharitable like the
stern propounders of the Blue Laws of Connecticut. Their beads returned
to the pocket or the prayers finished, they laughed and jested, were
frolicsome as schoolboys in their playhour, and the slightest tinkle of
music set them dancing. Hospitable and fanatic, faithful and ignorant,
temperate and dirty--such are some prominent traits in the character of
the brave Basque people of the rural districts who wished to govern
Spain, but who were Spaniards neither by race, nor language, nor
temperament, nor feeling.

Taken all in all, they are a right manly breed, and, with education to
correct inevitable prejudices, would be capable of great things. But
before they could become efficient soldiers, they needed a severe course
of training. In the flat country, south of the Ebro, it would be cruel
and foolish to oppose them to regular troops. As guerrilleros, they
were without parallel, being content with short commons, and ever ready
to play ball after the longest march; but they were ignorant of
soldiering as technically understood. In the copses and crags of their
own provinces they were invincible, and could carry on the struggle
while there was a cartridge or an onion left in the land. But where the
tactics of the "contrabandista" no longer availed, where surprises were
impossible and mysterious disappearances not easy, and where the bulk of
the people were not willing spies, the aspect of affairs was different.
They were mediocre marksmen with long-range arms of precision, and had
no proper conception of allowances for wind or sun. Target-practice was
not encouraged, and yet it was not through thrift of ammunition, for the
waste of powder in every skirmish was extravagant, and one could not
rest a night in a village held by the Carlists without being disturbed
by frequent careless discharges.

With the bayonet, as far as I could learn, they were impetuous in the
onset, and stubborn, especially the Navarrese. But bayonet-charges
cannot carry stone walls or mud-banks; and in the face of the almost
incessant peppering of breech-loaders, rushes of the kind have become
slightly old-fashioned. To the Carlists, in any case, was due the credit
of readiness to have recourse to the steel whenever there was a rift for
hand-to-hand fighting. Their military education unfortunately confined
itself to the rudiments of the drill-book. They fell in, dressed up,
formed fours by the right, extended into sections on column of march and
went through the like movements very well--so well that it was a pity
they had not an opportunity of adding to their stock of knowledge. They
had an instinctive aptitude for skirmishing, and were expert at forming
square, the utility of which, by the way, is as questionable nowadays as
that of charging.

More attention was paid to discipline than to drill. Pickets patrolled
the towns into which they entered, and repressed all disorder after
nightfall; outpost duty was strictly enforced; "larking" was not
tolerated, and punishments were always inflicted for known and grave
breaches of order.



CHAPTER XII.

     Barbarossa--Royalist-Republicans--Squaring a Girl--At Iron--"Your
     Papers?"--The Barber's Shop--A Carlist Spy--An Old Chum--The
     Alarm--A Breach of Neutrality--Under Fire--Caught in the Toils--The
     Heroic Tomas--We Slope--A Colleague Advises Me--"A Horse! a
     Horse!"--State of Bilbao--Don Carlos at Estella--Sanchez Bregua
     Recalled--Tolosa Invites--Republican Ineptitude--Do not Spur a Free
     Horse--Very Ancient Boys--Meditations in Bed--A Biscay Storm.


BARBAROSSA, who had never been over the border, suggested to me that I
should take a trip to Irun, which was held by the anti-Carlists. It
would be incorrect to write them down as Republicans; they were sprung
from the Cristinos of the previous generation, and as such were opposed
to any scion of the house against which their fathers had fought for
years. All of them were _de facto_ Republicans, and had more knowledge
and enjoyment of Republican freedom than those who prattled and raved
of Republicanism in Madrid and the south; but they did not take kindly
to the name. As my friend the late J. A. MacGahan wittily said of
them--"They were the Royalist-Republicans of Spain." They were as fond
of their fueros as any Carlist in the crowd, but they stood up for
Madrid less that they cared for the policy or personages of the central
government, than that they had a deep-seated hereditary hatred of their
neighbours of the rural districts. At heart they were in favour of a
restoration of the throne, and on that throne they would fain seat the
young Prince of the Asturias. In those latitudes the lines of John Byrom
a century before would well apply:

    "God bless the King, I mean the faith's defender;
     God bless--no harm in blessing--the Pretender;
     But who Pretender is, or who is King,
     God bless us all--that's quite another thing!"

"If you go to Irun," said Barbarossa, stroking his moustache, "I am game
to go with you."

"I am satisfied," said I; "but recollect, you undertake the job at your
own risk. You are known as an associate of Carlists, and suspected to
be a Carlist agent. I am a stranger and comparatively safe."

He had weighed all that, and was ready to face possible perils. But he
was not fit to undergo probable fatigues. He could sit at a green table
in an ill-ventilated atmosphere the night long, but he could not walk
three miles at a stretch. Neither could he (on account of his illness)
venture on horseback. To effect a crossing by the railway bridge from
Hendaye to Irun was out of the question; it was barrier impenetrable.
The Frenchman would not allow you to pass in your own interest; the
Spaniard declined to admit you in his so-considered interest. To take
the mountain-route was tedious, and in the case of Barbarossa not to be
thought of; the bridge of Endarlasa was broken--a most contorted
specimen of artistic dilapidation. To be sure, one could manage to creep
to the other side by the submerged coping of the parapet, if endowed
with the balancing powers of a rope-walker and the lustihood of the
navvy. But Barbarossa was not a Blondin, and had not a physical
constitution proof against a wetting. I had got across that bridge
once, holding on by my teeth and nails, and retained recollection of it
in a fit of the cold shivers; but I did not care to repeat the
operation. In our dilemma, Barbarossa, who was a plucky knave, hit upon
the plan which ought to have commended itself to us at first.

"Let us stray up the river-bank a few hundred yards," he said, "seize a
boat, and row ourselves across."

No sooner was the proposition made than it was adopted; but we were
saved from the ephemeral disgrace of posing as petty amphibious pirates,
degenerate Schinderhannes of the Bidassoa. We saw a boat; a girl was
near. The boat was her father's; she engaged to take us over for a
consideration--I am certain she had set her heart on a string of
straw-coloured ribbons and a sky-blue feather in a shop-window in
Hendaye--and to await our return at nightfall. We arranged the signal,
and stealthily stole across, drifting diagonally most of the way; and I
entrusted the speculative French damsel with my revolver and my Carlist
pass, and paid her a farewell compliment on her face and figure as I
stepped ashore. Giving her the revolver and pass enlisted her
confidence. We strolled along with apparent carelessness, entered a
posada on the road by the waterside and had refreshments. I said I
should feel much obliged if they could let us have a trap to Irun and
back, as we had business there, and my friend was tired and not much of
a pedestrian. An open carriage was provided, and off we drove by the
skirt of the hill of St. Marcial, where the Spaniards gave Soult such a
dressing in 1813, passed a series of outer defences with their covering
and working parties, and entered one of the gates of the town, and never
a question was asked. Ditches had been dug round the place and
earthworks thrown up; but the principal reliance of the garrison seemed
to be in loophooled breastworks made of sand-bags superimposed. Here and
there were walls of loose stones--more of a danger than a
protection--rude shelter-trenches, and mud-built, wattle-knitted
refuges, round-topped, and disguised with branches. They had made the
position strong; but they should have gone in for more spade and less
stones, more mole and less beaver.

We trotted over the narrow paved street, with its flagged sidepaths, and
drew up on the Plaza, overlooked by the solid square-stone mansion of
the Ayuntamiento. The windows were screened with planks, and armed
groups lounged in front; there were barrels of water and heaps of gravel
at intervals upon the ground; memories of Paris rose to my mind--Irun
was preparing for bombardment. If the Carlists had no serious artillery
in fact, they had a powerful ordnance in the apprehensions of their
adversaries. Perhaps this was the explanation of the rhodomontade about
the batteries in _El Cuartel Real_. We were congratulating ourselves on
the ease with which we had run the blockade, when an officer of the
Miqueletes approached our carriage and demanded our papers. I showed my
Foreign Office passport, with the visa of the Spanish Consulate at
London upon it. He gave a cursory look at it, bowed, and returned it to
me. Then came the turn of Barbarossa, and there was a flash of shrewd
spitefulness in his eyes.

"Your papers, señor?"

"I have none. I didn't think any were required."

"Ah! doubtless you thought Irun was in Carlist occupation. You are
wrong."

"No; I knew it was not in Carlist occupation. What has that to do with
me? I am an Englishman," producing a packet of letters.

"I don't want to see them. I know you. What do you want here?"

"To see a friend."

"Who is your friend?"

Barbarossa was not in the least nonplussed. He said he had heard a
fellow-countryman, a comrade of his, was in the town.

"You will have to turn back the way you came, and thank your stars you
are permitted."

"But I am hungry."

"And the horse wants a feed," interposed the driver, who no doubt had
his own object to serve.

"Well, you may stay here for refreshment, but you must get outside our
gates before dark."

We drove to the principal inn, where we alighted and ordered dinner.
Barbarossa sat down, and I went out to look at the place and search for
a barber's shop, for I sorely needed a shave. Irun is a well-constructed
town on the shelving slope of a smaller rise between Mounts Jaizquivel
and Aya, not far from the coast. It has a population of some 5,000, and
in ordinary years does a good trade in tiles and bricks, tanned leather,
and smith's work, besides sending wood to Los Pasages for the purposes
of the boat-builders. The Bidassoa at its base branches, and thus forms
the islet of Faisanes, off which the prosperous fisherman can fill his
basket with trout, salmon, and mullet, aye, and lumpish eels, if his
predilections so tend.

But I have no intention to describe Irun. Théophile Gautier has done
that before me, and I am not sacrilegious. There was another customer in
the barber's shop. As I left after the shave he followed, and accosted
me on the flagway confidentially.

"How are you, captain?"

"You are in error," I answered. "I am no captain."

"What! Did I not see you take a boat for the _San Margarita_ at Socoa?"

"That may be; but I only boarded her through curiosity."

"Do not be afraid," he whispered. "How is Don Guillermo?"

"What Don Guillermo?"

"Señor Leader. I was with him when he was wounded; I am a Carlist. I am
here on the same mission as yourself; to spy what the vermin are doing."

"Ha! good; ramble on, and don't notice me. It is dangerous."

He sauntered along the causeway, hands in pockets and whistling, and
presently popped into a tavern, and I re-entered the fonda. Hardly had I
set foot over the threshold when I was stupefied by a welcome in a
familiar voice, none other than that of Mr. William O'Donovan, who had
been my comrade and amanuensis throughout the irksome beleaguerment of
Paris.[F] We did not throw our arms round our respective necks, hug and
kiss each other--I reserve my kisses for pretty girls, newly-washed
babes, and dead male friends, and then kiss only the brow--but we did
join hands cordially and long. In answer to my query as to what had
brought him to this queer corner at the back of God-speed, he explained
that he was acting as correspondent of a Dublin paper; for, it appeared,
the people of Ireland were consumed with anxiety as to the progress of
the Carlist rising--details of which, of course, they could not obtain
in the mere London papers--and were particularly desirous to have record
of the doings of the Foreign Legion, a great majority of whom were sons
of the Emerald Isle. His younger brother, a medical student, was likely
to come out to join that Legion, and as for Kaspar (a name by which we
knew his brother Edmond, afterwards triumvir at Merv), he was sure to
turn up. Mother Carey's chicken hovers near when the elements are at
strife. He was immensely satisfied with his diggings, he said, liked
the natives, and considered this a splendid chance for improving his
Spanish. He was reading "Don Quixote" in the vernacular. In a sense, I
looked upon his presence as a perfect godsend to us, as he came in most
appropriately as a _Deus ex machinâ_ to create the character of
Barbarossa's invented friend. O'Donovan was in good standing with the
Republicans of the town, as he was a staunch Republican himself, and
could spin yarns of the Republics of antiquity, and of the greatness of
Paris, and the glories of the United States. He was getting on famously
with Castilian, and was charmed with the redundancy of its vocabulary of
vituperation, which was only to be equalled by the Irish, of which his
father had been such a master. I made Barbarossa and my old chum known
to one another, and we dined together, pledging the past in a cup of
wine tempered with the living waters which bubbled up in the sacristy of
the parish church, and were distributed in bronze conduits through Irun.
After the meal and the meditative smoke of custom, O'Donovan sat down to
write a letter, which I guaranteed to post for him in France, and
Barbarossa and I sallied forth for a walk.

We were lounging about the Calle Mayor gazing at the escutcheons over
every hall-door--your bellows-mender and cobbler in this democratic town
were invariably of the seed of Noah in right line--when the alarm was
raised that fifty horses had been carried off by the Carlists almost at
the gates, and that two shots had been heard. The bugler sounded the
call "To arms," and forthwith a little company consisting of thirty-two
men, the bugler aforesaid, and a captain, set out at a quick step for a
high ground beside a signal-tower at one end of the town. We hurried
forward with them, and passed out through one of the four gates, on the
side next the mountains. The soldiers took a position on the slope of a
hill a couple of hundred yards from the gate, and Barbarossa and I
sheltered ourselves behind an orchard-wall, from which there was an
uninterrupted view of the billowy tract of meadow and pasture land
beneath, cut into patches by thick hedges. Quick on our heels emerged
from the town some half-dozen intrepid "volunteers of liberty," and the
inevitable small boy, a red cap stuck jauntily on three hairs of his
head and a large cigarette in his mouth. One of the volunteers--he who
had demanded our papers on the Plaza--looked viciously at Barbarossa,
who assumed a most artistic pretence of stolidity.

"Come here, señor, and you will have a better vision of your friends,"
he said with mock suavity.

Barbarossa smiled, thanked him, and walked quietly to the place
indicated, an exposed opening beside the wall.

"I can see nothing," he said.

I adjusted my long-distance glass, and ranged over the wide stretch of
landscape, but could see nothing either. As I shut it up and returned it
to the case, a sergeant advanced from the party of soldiers on the slope
and marched directly towards me. I was puzzled and, I own, a trifle
unnerved.

"Señor," he said to me, "I carry the compliments of my captain, and his
request that you would lend him your glass, as he has forgotten his
own."

"With pleasure," I answered readily, much relieved. "I will take it to
him myself, as it is London-made, and he may not understand how it is
sighted."

This may have been a breach of neutrality, but what was I to do? If I
refused, the glass would have been taken from me, and I should have been
compromised. I handed it to the officer with my best bow, explained its
mechanism to him; he bowed to me, and from that moment I felt that I was
under his wing. I may be wrong, but I have a notion that in a skirmish
it is much better to be near regulars than volunteers, and I stood in a
line with the military a few paces away.

Suddenly there was a spark and a report away down in a field of maize,
some six hundred yards below us, and the whizz of a bullet was heard.

"Steady, men!" said the captain; "don't discharge your rifles."

The sight was very pretty as they stood in a group on the green hillside
in attitude of suspense, their weapons held at the ready, and all eyes
fixed on the front, from which the smoke was rising. It was very like
to the celebrated picture by Protais, familiar in every cabaret in
France, "_Avant le Combat;_" but even more picturesque than that, for
these soldiers were dressed most irregularly--some in tattered capote,
others in shirt-sleeves, some in shako, others in _bonnet de police_. A
few civilians had crept out of the town by this time, and the chief of
the Miqueletes roared peremptorily to have that gate shut. This was not
an agreeable position for Barbarossa and myself. Our retreat was cut
off. We were unarmed. If one of those amateur warriors were killed, we
ran the imminent hazard of being massacred by his comrades. On the other
hand, there was the liability of being ourselves shot by the Carlists.
How were they to distinguish a neutral or a sympathizer from their foes?
I confess I could not help smiling as the thought occurred to me what a
piece of irony in action it would be if Barbarossa were to be helped to
a morsel of lead by his friends, the enemy. With a cheerful equanimity I
contemplated the prospect of his receiving a very slight contusion from
a spent bullet on a soft part of his frame.

Ping, ping, came a few reports, but evidently out of range. Each
smoke-wreath was in a different direction.

"This may get hot," I said to myself; "the Carlists may not be
sharpshooters, but this clump of uniforms in relief on the grass must
present a blur that will be an enticing target for them. I dare not go
back to the wall, but it might be discreet to lie down. There is no
disgrace in offering them a small elevation of corpus." I stretched
myself on the sward, acted nonchalance, and lit a cigar.

The volunteers could no longer be held in control. They opened action on
their own account, one fellow distinguishing himself by the rapidity of
his fire, and the intensity with which he aimed at something--or
nothing.

"Ah, that's Tomas!" said a portly civilian connoisseur, with his hands
in his pockets. "We know him, he is making music; he wants to get
himself remarked."

The soldiers did not deliver a shot, but the volunteers kept cracking
away, and the invisible Carlists replied. Nobody was hit, though
bullets could be heard whizzing overhead for twenty minutes, and one
did actually knock a chip off a wall. That was the sole damage done to
the Republican position; the damage to the Carlist must have been less.
Two of the Miqueletes ventured stealthily down a road leading towards
the point from which the nearest jets of smoke curled, following the
ditch by the side, stooping and peering through the bushes. There was a
volley from afar. They hesitated and stood, as if undecided whether to
advance.

"Sound the retire for those men," said the captain; and as the call rang
out they returned.

That volley was the last sign the Carlists gave; and after waiting ten
minutes, the captain shut up my glass, returned it to me, and remarked
that the attack was a feint, and had no object beyond worrying his men.
He gave the order "March," the gate was opened, Barbarossa rejoined me,
and we returned to Irun, taking care to keep as near the regulars as we
could. "Nada--nothing," cried the captain to an inquiring lady on a
balcony, and the town-gates were closed after the volunteers had
returned and tramped to the Plaza with the proud bearing of citizens who
had done their duty.

How that heroic Tomas did strut! A fighter he of the choicest brand, one
not to stop at trifles; there was martial ire in his flaming glance;
defiance breathed from his nostrils; triumph sat on his lips; he swung
his arms like destructive flails; and as he entered a tavern one could
only fancy him calling in a voice of Stentor for a jug of rum and blood
plentifully besprinkled with gunpowder and cayenne pepper to assuage the
thirst of combat.

O'Donovan gave me his letter. Barbarossa hinted that it was our best
course to slope, and slope we did, as soon as the horse was harnessed.
As we passed down the street a grinning face saluted me from a doorway.
It was that of my acquaintance from the barber's shop. He gave me a
meaning wink. The artful Carlists had evidently succeeded in their
object, whatever it might have been. On the river-bank our fair and
faithful ferry-maid awaited us. We were conveyed over in safety, and at
the hotel of Hendaye soon forgot the perils we had encountered.

Barbarossa was dead-beat, and threw himself on a sofa, where he sank
back heavy-eyed and exhausted; and I, almost feared that he would drop
into a coma, as the penalty of overstraining nature, until the sight of
a pack of cards restored him as if by a spell to his normal wakefulness.

Even in a disturbed region it is needful to have a change of linen, so
we got back next morning to St. Jean de Luz, where I had left my
baggage. There I met M. Thieblin, a colleague, whom I had seen last at
Metz, previous to the siege of that fortress in the Franco-German war.
He was now representing the _New York Herald_, and had just returned
from Estella, at the taking of which place, the most important the
Carlists had yet seized, he had the luck to be present. He assured me
that it was utter fatuity to dream of following the Carlists, except I
had at least one horse--but that it would be sensible to take two if I
could manage to procure them. It was more than an ordinary man was
qualified to cope with, to make his observations, write his letters, and
look after their transmission, without having to attend to his nag, and
do an odd turn of cooking at a pinch. The riddle was how to get the
horse--a sound hardy animal that would not call for elaborate grooming,
or refuse a feed of barley. Horse-flesh was at a premium, but he thought
I might be able to have what I wanted at Bayonne, on payment of an
extravagant price. A requisition for forage and corn could be had
through the Junta; and I should have no trouble in getting an orderly on
applying with my credentials to the chief of staff of any of the Carlist
columns to which I might attach myself. We had a long conversation, and
Thieblin frankly informed me that in his opinion the Carlists had not
the ghost of a chance outside their own territory. There they were cocks
of the walk. What the end might be he could not pretend to vaticinate,
but "El Pretendiente" would never reign in Madrid. The conflict might
last for months--might last for years; but the Carlists owed the
vitality they had as much to the divisions and inefficiency of their
adversaries as to their own strength. There would be no important
engagements--to dignify them by the epithet--until the organization of
the insurrectionary forces was regularized, and they had a stronger
artillery and an adequate cavalry. M. Thieblin did not stray far from
the bull's-eye in his prophecy.

I went to bed in the mood of Crookback on Bosworth Field, and felt that
my dream-talk would shape itself into the cry, "A horse! a horse!"

Until that coveted steed had been lassoed, stolen, or bought, I must
only endeavour to justify my existence--that is to say, render value for
the money expended on me by picking up "copy" anywhere and everywhere.

I was advised to go to Bilbao by sea, but the advice came too late. The
last steamer from Bayonne had ventured there four-and-twenty hours
before I sought my passage, and even on that last steamer the few
voyagers were unable to insure their lives with the Accidental Company,
although they consented to promise that they would descend into the hold
the instant they heard a shot. It was almost as full of jeopardy to
travel to Bilbao by sea as to sail down the Mississippi with a racing
captain and a lading of rye-whisky on board. One Monsieur Gueno, master
of the barque _Numa_, of Vannes, made moan that he was seriously knocked
about while he lay in the Nervion, off the Luchana bridge, during a
skirmish between the Carlists and the troops. They both fought
vigorously, but they gave him most of the blows. One of his crew, in a
punt behind, was killed, and twenty-five bullets were embedded in a
single mast. He had the tricolour flying all the time. A
fellow-countryman of his, Monsieur Jarmet, of the ship _Pierre-Alcide_,
of Nantes, sent in a claim for an indemnity of £160 for damages
sustained by his vessel much in the like manner. A Spanish war-craft,
moored behind him, began pelting the Carlists with shot; the Carlists
replied, and the _Pierre-Alcide_ came in for the bulk of the favours
distributed. Three bullets penetrated the captain's cabin, and four rent
holes in the French flag. Neither pilots nor tugs were for hire at
Bilbao, and captains of sailing vessels had only to whistle for a
favouring wind and rely on their own good fortune and skill. Bilbao had
to be dismissed on the merits.

Taking it for granted that I had that evasive horse, I reasoned, as I
tossed on my bed, to the restless whimper of the Bay of Biscay, over
which a storm was brewing, that "el Cuartel Real," the headquarters of
the King, was the natural goal. There first information was to be had,
and it was felt that it was about the safest place to be; but the King
seldom stopped under the same roof two nights successively, and no one
could tell where he would be two days beforehand. If he was at Estella
when one started, he might be at Vera or Durango, or goodness knows
where, when one got to Estella. So far his progress had been a success;
he was present at the taking of Estella, and exercised his Royal
clemency by releasing the captured prisoners. It would have been more
politic to have demanded an exchange, for there were partisans of his
own in Republican dungeons (Englishmen amongst them); but then prisoners
have to be fed and guarded, so on the whole it was as well they were set
free. It was very much the case of the man who won the elephant at a
raffle. If the stories, spread assiduously by the Republicans, of the
massacre and maltreatment of captives by the Carlists were correct,
here was the opportunity for the exercise of wholesale cruelty; but
there was not a particle of truth in such charges, which, by the way,
one hears in every civil war. Where Don Carlos might advance next, or
where severe fighting--not such brushes as that I witnessed at
Irun--might take place, was a mystery. The movements of the Republican
leaders were inexplicable, and conducted in contravention of all known
principles of the art of war. They harassed their men by long and
objectless marches. They ordered towns to be put in a state of defence
at first, and then withdrew the garrisons. They engaged whole columns in
defiles, where a company of invisible guerrilleros could tease them.
They acted, in most instances, as if they had no information or wrong
information. The latter, I believe, was nearer the truth. Their system
of espionage was inefficient, as the information they got was
untrustworthy, and always would be, in the northern provinces, for the
feeling of the masses of the people was against them. Instead of making
headway they were losing ground every day, and would so continue until
they received reinforcements with fibre, and were commanded by officers
who really meant to win, and had the knowledge or the instinct to
conceive a proper plan of campaign. The generals could hardly be
censured, for their hands were tied; they were forbidden to be severe;
they dared not squelch insubordination. Capital punishment, even in the
army, and at such a crisis as this, was abolished. There had been, I
heard, something suspiciously resembling a mutiny in the column of
Sanchez Bregua. A certain Colonel Castañon was put under arrest on a
charge of Alfonsist proclivities; but the Cazadores and Engineers
threatened to rebel unless he was liberated; and Sanchez Bregua, instead
of decimating the Cazadores and Engineers, as Lord Strathnairn would
have done, liberated the Colonel.

But to that question of my route. Peradventure the presence to my dozing
vision of the General commanding the Republican troops of the north that
had been might help me towards a solution.

"That had been" is written advisedly, for Sanchez Bregua had been
recalled to Madrid, not a day too soon. He was one of those generals
whose spine had been curved by lengthened bending over a desk. Loma, who
was active and dashing, and had the rare gift of confidence in himself,
had taken his stand at Tolosa, and was awaiting the advent of Lizarraga.
All his men, and every able-bodied male in the town, were diligently
excavating ditches and making entrenchments. Until Tolosa was captured
by the Carlists, no serious attack on Pampeluna was probable; and that
attack was likely to assume the form of an investment. Estella was to
the south of Pampeluna, and all the country round, from which provisions
could be drawn, was in the occupation of the Carlists. Tolosa was the
objective point of the moment, and to Tolosa I determined to go. An
attempt on San Sebastian could not enter into the calculations of the
Carlist leaders at this stage of their revolt. The stronghold was almost
inaccessible on the land side, and men, munitions, and provisions could
be easily thrown into it by water. Irun, Fontarabia, and even Renteria
(were artillery available) could be seized whenever the comparatively
small sacrifice of lives involved would be advisable. But the game was
not worth the candle yet. Were Irun or Fontarabia in the hands of the
Carlists, there was the always-present danger of shells being pitched
into them from a gunboat in the Bidassoa; and Renteria, outside of which
the Republican troops only stirred on sufferance, was to all intents as
serviceable to the Carlists as if it were tenanted by a Carlist
garrison, which would thereby be condemned to idleness.

That whirlwind ride from Renteria to Irun would come before me as the
storm battalions mustered outside, and the waves began lashing
themselves into violence of temper. What if I had to go to Madrid while
such weather as this was brooding? To get to the capital one is obliged
to embark at Bayonne for Santander, and proceed thence by rail--so long
as no Carlist partidas meddle with the track. Romantic Spain!

But are not those Republicans who affect that they know how to govern a
country primarily and principally to blame? Only consider the continued
interruption of that short piece of road between San Sebastian and
Irun. Is it not disgraceful to them? One of our old Indian officers, I
dare venture to believe, with eighteen horsemen and a couple of
companies of foot, could hold it open in spite of the Carlists. But such
a simple idea as the establishment of cavalry patrols of three, keeping
vigil backwards and forwards along the line of eighteen miles, with
stout infantry posts always on the alert in blockhouses at intervals,
seems never to have entered into the obtuse heads of those officers
lately promoted from the ranks. Seeing that the intercourse of different
towns with each other and with the coast and abroad has been so long
broken up, I cannot fathom the secret of how the population lives. The
troops arrive in a village one day and levy contributions, the
guerrilleros arrive the next and do the same; the fields must be
neglected, trade must droop, yet nobody apparently wants food. True, the
land is wonderfully fat; but some day the cry of famine will be heard.
No land could bear this perpetual drain on its resources. And then I
thought of Carlists whom I met in France, who had given of their goods
to support the cause. With them I talked on this very subject. They
were respectable and respected men; they prayed for success to Don
Carlos with sincere heart; but they had left Spain, and they complained
that this condition of disturbance was lasting too long.

"You ask me why I did not remain," said one to me; "wait, and you shall
see."

He opened a door and pointed to three lovely little girls at play, and
continued, "These are my reasons; I have made more sacrifices than I was
able for the Royal cause, and they asked me at last for another
contribution, which would have ruined me. I love my King; but for no
King, señor, could I afford to make those darlings paupers."

Had these Carlists any glimmer of the sunshine of a victorious issue to
their uprising? (egad, that was a strong blast, and the waves do swish
as if they were enraged at last!). Thieblin thinks not. And yet they are
active, and, like the storm outside, they are gaining strength. Those of
them under arms are four times as numerous as the Republicans in the
northern provinces. Leader swears to me that everyone who can shoulder a
musket is a Carlist. There are no more Chicos to be had, unless the
volunteers of liberty come over, rifles, accoutrements and all, to
Prince Charlie--a liberty they are volunteering to take somewhat freely.

I was rash in saying there were no more Chicos. Did not a company of
"bhoys" trudge over to Lesaca to offer their services recently? But they
were very ancient boys. The youngest of them was sixty-five. They were
veterans of the Seven Years' War, and mostly colonels. Their fidelity
was thankfully acknowledged, but their services were not gratefully
accepted. The aged and ferocious fire-eaters were sent back to their
arrowroot and easy-chairs. At all events, they had more of the timber of
heroism in them than those diplomatic Carlists of the _gandin_ order,
who are Carlists because it makes them interesting in the sight of the
ladies, but whose campaigning is confined to an occasional three days'
incursion on Spanish territory, with a cook and a valet, saddle-bags
full of potted lobster and _pâté de foie gras_, and a dressing-case
newly packed with _au Botot_ and essence of Jockey Club. There are
personages of this class not unknown to society at Biarritz and
Bayonne, who have been going to the front for the last three months, and
have not got there yet. One would think their game of chivalry ought to
be pretty well "played out;" but to the folly of the vain man, as to the
appetite of the lean pig, there is no limit.

By Jove! There is a clatter; the casement is blown open, and the light
is blown out, and through the gap whistles the cool, briny breath of the
Atlantic, and I can almost feel the wash of the white spray in my hair.
Better a stable cell in the Castle of the Mota to-night than a tumbling
berth in the _San Margarita_. This was the close of my interview with
myself, and I turned over on my pillow and fell precipitately into a
profound dreamless sleep.



CHAPTER XIII.

     Nearing the End--Firing on the Red Cross--Perpetuity of
     War--Artistic Hypocrites--The Jubilee Year--The Conflicts of a
     Peaceful Reign--Major Russell--Quick Promotion--The Foreign
     Legion--An Aspiring Adventurer--Leader's Career--A Piratical
     Proposal--The "Ojaladeros" of Biarritz--A Friend in Need--Buying a
     Horse--Gilpin Outdone--"Fred Burnaby."


AND now I take up the last chapter of this book, and I have not half
finished with the subject I had set before myself at starting. By the
figures at the head of the last page I perceive that I have almost
reached the orthodox length of a volume, and perforce must stop. For
some weeks past I have been looking and longing for the end, for I have
been ill, weary and worried, and my labour has become a task. Slowly
toiling day by day, I knew I must be nearing the goal; yet, like the
strenuous Webb on his swim from Dover to Calais, the horizon seemed to
come no closer. The land in sight grew no plainer, although each
breast-stroke--the pleasure of a while agone, but oh! such a tax
now--must have lessened the distance. Even to that excursion there came
an hour of accomplishment and repose; but to this, of pen over paper, I
cannot flatter myself that the hour is yet. I have to abandon the work
incomplete. As it has happened to me before, the theme has expanded
under my hands, and I shall have to rise from my desk before I penetrate
to the Carlist headquarters, of which I had to say much, or have
experiences of that strangest of Communes in Murcia, with its sea and
land skirmishes and its motley rabble of mutineers, convicts, and
nondescripts, of which I had to say much likewise.

Whether I shall have the privilege of recounting my adventures at the
court and camp of Don Carlos, and by the side of the General directing
the siege of Cartagena, who admitted me as a sort of supernumerary on
his staff, will depend on the reception of this, the first instalment of
my experiences in Spain.

An act of unjustifiable barbarism or stupidity, or both--for barbarism
is but another form of stupidity--was perpetrated by some Carlists
outside Irun while I was negotiating for that indispensable horse. An
ambulance-waggon, displaying the Red Cross of Geneva, had sallied from
the town, and was fired upon. The Paris delegate I had met at Hendaye
was in charge of it, and averred that it was wantonly and wilfully
attacked. I thought it, singular that nobody was hurt, and reasoned that
the man was excitable, and got into range unconsciously. The duty of the
Geneva Society properly begins after, and not during a combat; and when
gentlemen are busy at the game of professional manslaughter, no
philanthropic outsider has any right to distract them from their
occupation by indiscreet obstruction. The Parisian did not view it in
that light, and downfaced me that these rustics, to whose aid he was
actually going, tried to murder him of malice prepense. It was useless
to represent to him that these rustics may have never heard of the
modern benevolent institution for the softening of strife, and may have
regarded the huge Red Cross as a defiant symbol of Red Republicanism,
and perhaps a parody of what is sacred. So in the estimation of that
citizen of the most enlightened capital in the universe, these Basques
were ruthless boobies with an insatiable passion for lapping blood. But
mistakes and exaggerations will occur in every war. The only way to
obviate them is to put an end to war altogether--_which will never be
done_! When Christ came into the world, peace was proclaimed; when He
left it, peace was bequeathed. War has been the usual condition of
mankind since, as it had been before; and Christians cut each other's
throats with as much alacrity and expertness as Pagans, often in the
name of the religion of peace.

I heard two eminent war-correspondents lecture recently, and I noticed
that those passages where fights were described were applauded to the
echo. The more ferocious the combat the more vigorous the cheers. The
faces of small boys flushed, and their hands clinched at the vivid
recital. The nature of the savage, which has not been extirpated by
School Boards, was betraying itself in them. Yet these two
war-correspondents thought it an acquittal of conscience after their
kindling periods to dwell on the immorality of war. The one spoke of the
beauty of Bible precepts, the other disburdened himself on the cruelty
and wickedness of a battle. What artistic hypocrisy! It was as if one
were to strike up the "Faerie Voices" waltz, and tell a girl to keep her
feet still; as if one were to lend "Robinson Crusoe" to a boy, and warn
him not to think of running away to sea. Still, I must even add my voice
to the orthodox chorus, and affirm that warfare is bad, brutal,
fraudful, a thing of meretricious gauds, a clay idol, fetish of humbug
and havoc, whose feet are soaking in muddy gore and salt tears; yet in
the privacy of my own study I might sadly admit that the Millennium is
remote, that the Parliament of Nations exists but in the dreams of the
poet, and that Longfellow's forecast of the days down through the dark
future when the holy melodies of love shall oust the clangours of
conflict is a pretty conceit--and no more.

War is inexcusable, and is foolish and ugly; but, like the poor and the
ailing, we shall have it always with us. It is criminal, except as
protest against intolerable persecution, or in maintenance of national
honour or defence of national territory; and even in these cases it
should be undertaken only when all devices of conciliation have been
tried in vain. Next to the vanquished, it does most harm to the victor.
Yet about it, as about high play, there is a fascination, and I have to
plead guilty to the weak feeling that I would not look with overwhelming
aversion on an order, should it come to me to-morrow, to prepare to
chronicle a new campaign and face the chronicler's risks; and they are
real. But I should not go into it with a light heart, like M. Emile
Ollivier. I might be, in a quiet way, happy as Queen Victoria was
(according to Count Vitzthum) for she danced much the night before the
declaration of hostilities against Russia, but spoke of what was coming
with amiable candour and great regret.

We are on the eve of a Jubilee Year, when the halcyon shall plume his
wing, and we shall hear much oratorical trash and hebetude about the
peacefulness of this happy reign.

Does the reader reflect how many wars we have had in the pacific
half-century which is lapsing? The tale will astonish him, and should
silence the thoughtless word-spinners of the platforms. The door of the
temple of Janus has been seldom closed for long. Our campaigns, great
and small, and military enterprises of the lesser sort, could not be
counted on the fingers of both hands. We have had fighting with Afghans
and Burmese (twice); Scinde, Gwalior, and Sikh wars; hostilities with
Kaffirs, Russians, Persians, Chinese, and Maoris (twice), Abyssinians,
Ashantis, Zulus, Boers, and Soudanese, not to mention the repression of
the most stupendous of mutinies, a martial promenade in Egypt, and
expeditions against Jowakis, Bhootanese, Looshais, Red River rebels, and
such pitiful minor fry.

In St. Jean de Luz, the nearest point to the disputed ground and the
best place from which to transmit information, there was a small and
select British colony, mostly consisting of retired naval and military
officers. A dear friend of mine amongst them was Major Russell, who had
spent a lengthened span of years in the East--an admirable type of the
calm, firm, courteous Anglo-Indian--who had never soured his temper and
spoiled his liver with excessive "pegs," who understood and respected
the natives, who had shown administrative ability, and who, like many
another honest, dutiful officer, had not shaken much fruit off the
pagoda-tree, or even secured the C.B. which is so often given to
tarry-at-home nonentities. Russell used to pay me a regular visit to the
Fonda de la Playa. One morning as we were chatting, Leader strode into
the coffee-room, a vision of splendour. He had got on his uniform as
Commandant of the Foreign Legion--a uniform which did much credit to his
fancy, for he had designed it himself. He wore a white boina with gold
tassel, a blue tunic with black braid, red trousers, and brown gaiters.
He had donned the gala-costume with the object of getting himself
photographed. Commandant is the equivalent of Major in the British
service, so we agreed to dub the young Irishman henceforth and for ever,
until he became colonel or captain-general, Major Leader.

"Promotion is quick in this army," murmured Russell. "I served all my
active life under the suns of India, and here I am only a major at the
close. Leader joined the Carlists less than three months ago, and he is
already my equal in rank."

"The fortune of war, Russell," said I; "don't be jealous. I was offered
command of a brigade under the Commune, but I declined the tribute to my
merit, or I would not be here to-day. I met a man in Bayonne yesterday,
and he was ready to assume control of the entire insurrectionary
forces."

"Who? Cabrera?"

"No," I answered; "catch Cabrera coming here. He is too much afraid of a
ruler who is no pretender. The renowned Commander-in-Chief of Aragon and
Valencia, Don Ramon the Rough and Ready, is Conde Something-or-other
now, a willing slave to petticoat government. He is to be seen any day
pottering about Windsor."

"And who is this speculator in bloodshed?"

"A foreign adventurer," I explained, "who does not know a word of
Spanish, much less Basque, is unacquainted with the topography of the
country, and has not the faintest inkling of the idiosyncrasies of the
lieutenants who would serve under him, or of the mode of humouring the
prejudices of the people of the different provinces in revolt."

"What answer did they give to his application for employment?"

"A polite negative. They told him they could not appoint him a leader
without offending the susceptibilities of adherents with claims upon
them men of local influence, and so forth. Behind his back, they laughed
at his entertaining temerity."

That Foreign Legion never came to maturity. Leader showed me a
commission authorizing him to organize it. Lesaca was to be the depôt,
French the language of command, and Smith Sheehan the adjutant. It might
have developed into a very fine Foreign Legion, but no volunteers
presented themselves to join it but two young Englishmen, one of whom
was sick when he was not drunk, and the other of whom felt it to be a
grievance on a campaign that a cup of tea could not be got at regular
hours. How Sheehan did chaff this amiable amateur!

"You will have nothing to do but draw your pay, my lad," he said. "The
cookery is hardly A 1, but 'twill pass. Think of the beds, pillows of
hops under your head; and every regiment has its own set of
billiard-markers and a select string-band, every performer an artist."

After an arduous service of one day and a half that gentleman returned
to the maternal apron-strings, laden to the ground with the most
harrowing legends of the horrors of war. Leader was not a warrior of
this stamp--far from it; he had vindicated his manliness at Ladon
outside Orleans, where Ogilvie, of the British Royal Artillery, had met
his fate by his side, and there was something soldierly in the way he
bore himself in his vanity of dress. Not that I think the dandies are
the best soldiers--that is merest popular paradox. To me it is as
ridiculous for a man to array himself in fine clothes when he is going
to kill or be killed, as it would be for him to put on gewgaws when he
was going to be hanged. As Leader disappears from my account of Carlist
doings after this--we were associated with different columns--it may be
of interest to tell of his subsequent career. He served in a cavalry
squadron on the staff of the King, and when the cause collapsed came to
London. His uncle tried to induce him to settle down to some steady
employment in the City. Leader expressed himself satisfied to make an
experiment at desk-work.

"It was useless," said Leader with a hearty crow as he related the story
to me. "The friend who had promised to create a vacancy for me in his
office ordered his chief clerk to lock the safe and send for the police
when he heard of my antecedents. He invited me to dinner, but candidly
told me that a rifle was more in my line than a quill."

And yet it was in the service of the quill the young soldier ended his
days. He got an appointment as an auxiliary correspondent to a great
London daily paper during the Russo-Turkish war. He was elate; the road
to fame and fortune now lay open before him. The next I heard of him was
that he had succumbed to typhoid fever at Philippopolis.

A Scotch _spadassin_ arrived in our midst about this period. He was most
anxious to draw a blade for Don Carlos, but he had a decided objection
to serve in any capacity but that of command. He did not appreciate the
fun of losing the number of his mess as an obscure hero of the rank and
file, though he would not mind sacrificing an arm, I do think, at the
head of a charging column, provided that he had a showy uniform on, and
that the fact of his valour was properly advertised in the despatches.
He had an idea that would commend itself to Belcha's bushwhackers, but
it was not entertained. It was to take passage with a few trusty men on
the tug for San Sebastian when she was reported to be conveying specie
for the payment of the Spanish Republican troops, to drive the voyagers
down the hold, throttle the skipper, intimidate the crew, take the wheel
and turn her head to the coast, seize and land the money under Carlist
protection, and then scuttle her. The least recompense, he calculated,
which could be awarded to him for that exploit by his Majesty Charles
VII. was the Order of the Golden Fleece; and a very appropriate order
too.

There was a set of Carlist sympathizers known to the fighting-men as
"ojaladeros," or warriors with much decoration in the shape of polished
buttons. Their depôt was at Biarritz, an aristocratic watering-place
born under the second French Empire, and not ignorant of some of the
vices of the Byzantine Empire. There are healthful breezes there, but
they do not quite sweep away the scent of frangipani. Warlike, with a
proviso, the Scot might have been designated, but he was not to be
compared with these ojaladeros; he would fight if he had a lime-lit
stage to posture upon; they would not fight at all, but they moved about
mysteriously, as if their bosoms were big with the fate of dynasties,
held hugger-mugger caucus, and were the oracles of boudoirs.

At Bayonne there was a better class of Carlist sympathizers; such of
them as were of the fighting age were there in the intervals of duty. To
a job-master's in the city by the Adour I was recommended as the most
likely place to procure a steed. At the Hôtel St. Etienne, where I
stopped, I was gratified by an unexpected encounter with the genial
captain[G] (Ronald Campbell), who had brought a juicy leg of mutton at
his saddle-skirts to the relief of my household after the siege of
Paris. He went with me to the job-master's--it is as well to have a
friend with you when you do a horse-deal. I had no choice but Hobson's.
The job-master was desolated, but he had sold three animals the day
before to an English milord, a very big gentleman, and his party. He had
just one horse, but it was a beauty. The horse was trotted out. It was
well groomed--they always are, and arsenic does impart a nice gloss to
the hide--and looked imposing, a tall three-quarter-bred bay gelding.

"You'll have to take it," said the captain, "though I fear it will not
be a great catch for mountain-work. Seems to me that it stumbles--that
lie-back of the ears is vicious--ha! rears too--and by Jove! it has been
fired. No matter. Where needs must, you know, there's no alternative.
Buy it by all means."

I closed with the bargain, got a loan of a saddle, bought a pair of
jack-boots, and ordered my purchase to be brought round to the door of
the hotel within half-an-hour. I am no rough-rider, and I had not
counted on the high mettle of this, which was literally a "fiery,
untamed steed." It had been fed for the market, and had had no exercise
for two days previous. I meant to try its paces to St. Jean de Luz, and
show off before the damsels of Biarritz; but, lack-a-day! what a
declension was in store for me. It had best be given in the words of a
letter to my kindly compatriot, written while defeat was fresh in my
mind. Thus the epistle runs:

       *       *       *       *       *

"DEAR CAMPBELL,

"My first essay on my eight hundred francs' worth of horse-power
was a sight to see.

"_Imprimis_, the stirrup-leathers were long enough for you.

"_En suite_, I gave the dear gelding his head because he took it,
and he incontinently faced a post of the French army at the Porte
d'Espagne. The sentry came to the charge and cried, _On ne passe
pas ici._ The blood-horse went at him, the sentry funked, and then,
as if satisfied with his demonstration, the blood-horse--the bit
always in his mouth--made a _demi-tour_, and faced a post of
douaniers. This also was sacred ground, it appears, but the
douaniers let the blood-horse pass, not even making the feint to
prod his inside for contraband. The scene now changes to the Place
de la Comédie (there's something in a name), where by virtue of
vigorous tugging at curb and snaffle I just succeeded in keeping my
gallant gelding off the cobble-stones. He went a burster over the
bridge by a short turn down a street and to the door of his stable,
and there he positively stopped, and I swear I felt his sides
shaking with laughter. I called the groom; said I thought it would
rain; besides, I did not know the road. On the whole, I had
reconsidered the matter, and would go to St. Jean de Luz by train.
The groom was awfully polite, pretended to believe me, and provided
a man to take forward my eight--oh, hang it! we shan't think of the
price.

"Humiliation! you will say. Yes, sir, and I feel it; but that horse
will feel it too. When I get him somewhere that none can see, and
where sentries, douaniers, and stables of refuge don't abound, I
shall ask him to try how long he can keep up a gallop; but, by the
body of the Claimant, I shall have sixteen stone on his back.

"Yours with knees unwearied and soul unsubdued."

       *       *       *       *       *

At St. Jean de Luz I learned at the principal hotel that the English
milord was Captain Frederick Burnaby of "the Queen of England's Blue
Guards." He was supposed to have some secret official mission to Don
Carlos, to whose headquarters he had directed his steps, and I at once
took measures to follow in his tracks.



THE END.

       *       *       *       *       *


BILLING & SONS, PRINTERS, GUILDFORD.


_BY THE AUTHOR OF "ROMANTIC SPAIN."_


AN IRON-BOUND CITY; or, Five Months of Peril and Privation. 2 vols. 21s.

    "A story of peril, adventure, privation,
     Is told, in two vols., to your great delectation,
     With shrewd common sense and uncommon sensation!
     Here's the painful account of Parisians defeated:
     And Paris besieged is most 'specially' treated:
     Like a trusty Tapleyan, bright, hopeful, and witty,
     O'Shea tells the tale of 'AN IRON-BOUND CITY.'"--_Punch._

"We can listen with unjaded interest to the oft-told tale of the fall of
Paris when it is told by so genial and sunny-minded an
historian."--_Saturday Review._


LEAVES PROM THE LIFE OF A SPECIAL

CORRESPONDENT. 2 vols. 21s.

"The great charm of his pages is the entire absence of dulness, and the
evidence they afford of a delicate sense of humour, considerable powers
of observation, a store of apposite and racy anecdote, and a keen
enjoyment of life."--_Standard._

"Redolent of stories throughout, told with such a cheery spirit, in so
genial a manner, that even those they sometimes hit hard cannot, when
they read, refrain from laughing, for Mr. O'Shea is a modern Democritus;
and yet there runs a vein of sadness, as if, like Figaro, he made haste
to laugh lest he should have to weep."--_Society._

"Delightful reading.... A most enjoyable book.... It is kinder to
readers to leave them to find out the good things for themselves. They
will find material for amusement and instruction on every page; and if
the lesson is sometimes in its way as melancholy as the moral of Firmin
Maillard's 'Les Derniers Bohemes,' it is conveyed after a fashion that
recalls the light-hearted gaiety of Paul de Kock's 'Damoiselle du
Cinquième' and the varied pathos and humour of Henri
Murger."--_Whitehall Review._


WARD AND DOWNEY, PUBLISHERS, LONDON.


FOOTNOTES:

[A] Gibraltar is no longer a penal settlement.

[B] That has all been changed since. There are serviceable rifled guns
at Tangier now, and the Sultan has some approach to a regular army,
organized by an ex-English soldier.

[C] Stuart married Lady Alice Hay, grand-daughter of William IV., in
London, in 1874, and is now dead. He left no heir, so that the House of
Hanover may rest easy. The story that the Cardinal of York ("Henry
IX."), who died in 1807, was the last of the Stuart line, is all bosh.
Charles-Edward had a son by the daughter of Prince Sobieski.

[D] Review of the social and political state of the Basque Provinces, at
the end of a book on "Portugal and Galicia," published in 1848 by John
Murray.

[E] It should be noted that in July, 1876, directly after the war was
over, the fueros were entirely done away with by a special law.

[F] See my last book, "An Iron-Bound City." Poor Willie died in New York
of a complication of diseases on last Easter Sunday--an anniversary of
hopefulness. His path of existence here was thorny. Unsurfeiting
happiness be his portion in the meads of asphodel!

[G] Now Colonel the Baron Craignish, Equerry to his Royal Highness the
Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg Gotha.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTES OF THE TRANSCRIBER OF THIS ETEXT.

The following typographical errors in the book have been corrected in
making this etext:

Abd-es-Salem changed to Abd-es-Salam

Dorregarray changed to Dorregaray

Ojoladeros changed to Ojaladeros

Enderlasa changed to Endarlasa

Enderlaza changed to Endarlasa

I deserve no creditor changed to I deserve no credit for





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